The Dalai Lama celebrates his 86th birthday

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Exiled Tibetan government officials watch a message from their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on a screen during a ceremony to mark the 86th birthday of the Tibetan leader in Dharmsala, India, Tuesday, July 6, 2021. This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the celebrations were muted and behind closed doors. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)

DHARMSALA, India (AP) — The Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama is celebrating turning 86 by thanking his supporters and expressing his appreciation for India, where he has lived since he fled his homeland in 1959.

The Dalai Lama said in a video message Tuesday: “I want to express my deep appreciation of all my friends who have really shown me love, respect and trust.”

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The Dalai Lama made the hillside town of Dharmsala his headquarters after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.

Usually, the spiritual leader’s birthday is a fairly elaborate affair in the town, but this year, due to the pandemic, the celebrations were muted.

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