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Oil-rich Brunei's absolute ruler marked 50 years in power Thursday, with elaborate celebrations that included a glittering procession through the capital on a gilded chariot.Brunei, a former British protectorate of about 400,000 people, relies heavily on oil and gas exports for its wealth.Despite tight social controls, the sultan is hugely popular. The sultan, once the world's richest man, has a firm grip on power, but Brunei has also become a microcosm of the trouble faced by oil-dependent states.As global energy prices tumbled, government revenue dropped by 70 percent, putting Brunei in recession since 2014 .
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