Thai leader attends Buddhist ceremony as political crisis deepens

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP ) -- Thailand's prime minister says he wants to avoid a confrontation with protesters trying to topple his government, and today's he's gone to a Buddhist temple to pray for the health of the Thai king.

Meanwhile, the protesters remain entrenched at the country's two main airports. The occupation has stranded about 300,000 foreigners while Thailand's economy loses millions of dollars. One economic analyst says "the absence of effective and credible leadership" is slowing the nation's economic growth.

The protesters vow to stay until the prime minister steps down. He's refused, though neither the army nor the king has offered him any firm backing.

A Constitutional Court is set hear closing arguments in a case tomorrow accusing the prime minister and his party of electoral fraud. A guilty verdict would bar the prime minister from politics and dissolve his party.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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