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Thailand Publisher Skips NY Times Edition Over 'Sensitive' Article on King

FILE - Supporters hold a portrait of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej in Bangkok, Thailand, May 10, 2015.

The New York Times said Tuesday its local publisher in Thailand did not publish the day's edition because it featured an article about the health of the country's king and questions about the future of the monarchy.

Thailand has strict laws prohibiting criticism of the royal family with punishments of up to 15 years in prison. Convictions under those laws have risen since the military seized power in a coup last year.

The Times said in an email to subscribers that the printer considered the article that appeared on the front page of its Asia editions "too sensitive."

"This decision was made solely by the printer and is not endorsed by the International New York Times," the email read.

The 87-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the world's longest serving monarch and is one of the few unifying public figures in Thailand, which has suffered through political conflict for much of the past decade.

But with a number of health problems in recent years, there are fears of renewed political instability once the king dies. His apparent successor, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, is not thought to be as widely respected across the full spectrum of Thai society.

The article discusses efforts by the military rulers, who enjoy the support of the king, to boost the image of the king and the crown prince. It also quotes opponents who say the monarchy must evolve to be more like those in European nations.