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The Australian government in June granted the Indian industrial giant Adani approval to extract coal from a vast, untapped reserve. The coal is to be transported to India, to fuel a new $2 billion power plant Adani is building with government support. Some of the electricity generated will be sold next door, to Bangladesh.

The project ensures that coal will remain woven into the economy of all three countries for decades.

But the story also encapsulates why Asia keeps burning a substance that scientists say contributes to climate change: abundant supply and demand, generous government support and scarce alternatives.

Quotable: “Throw enough subsidies and anything can be viable,” said one analyst. “If they did not have special treatment back in India they wouldn’t be able to use expensive Australian sourced coal viably.”

Israel on Thursday barred two freshman Democratic congresswomen, Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who have been vocal supporters of the Palestinians and had planned to visit the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Israel’s decision came hours after President Trump urged the country to block them from entering, saying on Twitter “it would show great weakness” if they were allowed to visit.

He has previously targeted the two women, outspoken opponents of him and his policies, in speeches and Twitter posts that critics have called racist and xenophobic.

Analysis: Mr. Trump’s intervention was an extraordinary step to influence an allied nation and punish his political opponents at home, crossing yet another line that other presidents generally respected.

Chinese border officials have started routinely searching the phones of people entering from Hong Kong, raising concerns that Beijing is trying to identify people sympathetic to the protest movement that has embroiled the city for weeks.

The searches come at a time of heightened anxiety in Hong Kong over the possibility of a crackdown from Beijing, particularly as images of a buildup of Chinese forces in Shenzhen, across the border from Hong Kong, have been widely circulated.

Details: Travelers said that after presenting their IDs at the border, they were taken into a small enclosed area where uniformed officers asked them to unlock their cellphones. Some officers flipped through the phones, while others checked bags and luggage. At no point did the officers say what they were looking for.

Related: President Trump said Wednesday that China should “humanely” settle unrest in Hong Kong before a trade deal is reached, for the first time tying the fate of the movement with the trade war.


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Cordelia Scaife May, an heiress to the Mellon banking and industrial fortune, evolved from an environmental-minded socialite to an ardent nativist who helped create what would become the modern anti-immigration movement. And, 14 years after her death, her money is still funding that agenda.

The Times looked through interviews and court records, government filings and archives to unearth the most complete record of her thinking, and a story that helps explain the ascendance of once-fringe views in the immigration debate.

Iran: Gibraltar released an Iranian oil tanker it had impounded in July, defying a request from the U.S. hours earlier to seize the vessel. It’s the latest sign that officials in Gibraltar and London were trying to de-escalate tensions with Tehran.

Britain: The police on Thursday confirmed that another police officer was sickened by Novichok in the nerve-agent attack last year that nearly killed the Russian former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, bringing the total number of people known to have been poisoned in the episode to six.

South Korea: President Moon Jae-in, in a speech on the 74th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II on Thursday, struck a conciliatory note toward Japan, expressing hope that the two countries could mend their worsening economic relations.

U.S.: A gunman in Philadelphia surrendered after a standoff of more than seven hours in which six police officers were wounded.

The 1619 Project: The Times Magazine’s special issue on the legacy of slavery in the U.S. includes this look at how the country’s economy is, to this day, still shaped by slavery. Scholars and experts have drawn a direct line from management practices invented by enslavers and overseers — including depreciation — to modern-day capitalism.

Snapshot: Above, the miniature protagonist of the stop-motion video series “The Tiny Chef” showing off his tree-stump home. The six-inch-tall character, who cooks up vegan recipes while chattering away, has become an Instagram star and the production team behind the videos has plans to develop the franchise across various platforms.

Perspective: The way in which the Indian government unilaterally revoked Kashmir’s special status “comes from a kind of hubris and ignorance,” the novelist Arundhati Roy writes in an Op-Ed for the Times. “As the world looks on, the architecture of Indian fascism is quickly being put into place.”

Joseph Tsai: The Alibaba co-founder is closing in on a record-breaking deal to gain sole ownership of an N.B.A. franchise, the Brooklyn Nets.

Tuberculosis: The Food and Drug Administration effectively endorsed a three-drug regimen that has shown a 90 percent success rate against the most lethal strain of the disease.

What we’re watching: This episode of the Vox series “Earworm.” Adam Pasick, editorial director of newsletters, writes: “It takes a fascinating look at the rise and fall and rise of male falsetto, the octave-busting, breathy voice associated with singers like D’Angelo and Curtis Mayfield. It really hits the high notes. (Plus there’s a playlist.)”

Cook: Corn and coconut soup is naturally sweet, and a little spicy from added chile.

Listen: Alessia Cara’s “Rooting for You” is lilting and pleasant, a light vamp with some digitized saxophone jammed in the middle.

Watch: The creators of the HBO series “Our Boys” discuss its story, which dramatizes the aftermath of the 2014 murder of three Jewish teenagers by Hamas militants.

Read: Former President Barack Obama has shared his summer reading list, which includes the works of Toni Morrison, who died last week. (Three of her books also appear on our paperback trade fiction best-seller list.)


Smarter Living: If you’re ready to open your wallet for climate concerns, our Climate Fwd: newsletter advises considering donations to grass-roots groups — particularly those led by young people — which may have the strongest chance of moving the needle of public opinion. There are also groups that have an impact on greenhouse gas emissions, like those that focus on food waste, forest protection and restoration and even girls’ education.

And our consumer tech reporter, Brian X. Chen, discovered just how much data hackers can get on you just from your mobile phone number.

Earlier this month, 20 Democratic presidential contenders turned up at the Iowa State Fair.

Between the corn dogs and Skee Ball games, there was a prime attraction: the world’s most famous butter cow statue.

The tradition dates back to 1911, when J.K. Daniels created the first one using wood, metal, wire and steel mesh to give shape to 600 pounds of pure cream butter. The 8-foot-long, 5.5-foot-high creation — about the size of a real cow, and refrigerated against the late summer heat — became an annual fixture.

Since then, four successors have carried on the tradition.

The current sculptor, Sarah Pratt, took on the role in 2006 after a mere 15 years as an apprentice.

Every year when the fair ends, most of the butter (salted, to make it last longer) is reused for future sculptures. But if it were eaten, state fair officials say it could butter about 19,200 slices of toast.


That’s it for this briefing. Have a great weekend.

— Alisha


Thank you
To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. Emma Goldberg, a researcher for the Times editorial board, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about the detention camps in Western China.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Granter of three wishes (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• “Diagnosis,” a Netflix series based on Dr. Lisa Sanders’ popular column in The New York Times Magazine, debuts today.


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