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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Heavens above

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Monday urged Thais to put their faith in astrology, and blamed the alignment of planets for the current economic and political troubles. But a "real" fortune teller said the ex-premier was wrong and predicted bloodshed in three weeks.

Street protests against the Thaksin government have been rumbling since May 25, while soaring oil prices and inflation have shaken investors and prompted farmers and transport workers to threaten strikes.

This is because Mars and Saturn are close together, Mr Thaksin claimed on Monday. He added that the troubles will ease soon.

"Be patient with the headache-inducing situation until July 2," Mr Thaksin told reporters. "Mars moving close to Saturn causes the headache. When Mars leaves, the situation will ease."

Famed fortune-teller Luck Rekhanitade disagreed. He predicted the opposite, that a deadly situation will occur on July 2.

In fact, he said that July 2 is the scariest day of the past 30 years. He predicted conflicts will erupt which could lead to bloodshed in the heart of the city when the violence peaks on July 6.

The astrologer urged Thais to reunite, a step which would prevent his prediction from coming true.

Mr Thaksin has put great stock in predictions of fortune tellers and astrologers.

When he was prime minister, Mr Thaksin ordered the first plane at the new Suvarnabhumi airport to land t precisely 9:19am because a seer had convinced him it was an auspicious moment.

For a while, he cancelled weekly press conferences, claiming that Mercury was not in a favourable alignment.

For all his faith in fortune tellers, he was completely taken by surprise when the army overthrew him in a coup on Sept 19, 2006.

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