Your Thursday Briefing – The New York Times

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The Supreme Court said on Wednesday that most Central American migrants could be prevented from seeking asylum while the legal fight plays out, a major victory for the Trump administration.

A federal appeals court had largely blocked the policy, which requires migrants to first seek asylum in countries they travel through on their way to the U.S. The rules reversed longstanding policies that allowed people to seek haven no matter how they got to the U.S.

Background: Most asylum seekers who have tried to enter the U.S. this year are migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

What’s next: The case will almost certainly return to the Supreme Court, but not for months.

The Trump administration said on Wednesday that it would prevent the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes, as teenage vaping rises.

The move comes after nearly 500 cases of vaping-related respiratory illnesses emerged across the country and amid increasing concern about the largely unregulated market of e-cigarette and cannabis vaping products.

Background: Facing accusations that it was deliberately targeting young people, Juul Labs, the country’s dominant e-cigarette seller, announced last year that it would stop shipping most flavored pods, like mango and cucumber. But the administration said that just caused a shift to menthol and mint, which would also be banned.

The details: About one-quarter of American high school students reported vaping within the past 30 days, up from 20 percent last year.

Flooding this year across the Midwest and the South affected nearly 14 million people. To visualize the extent of the disaster, The Times created a composite map showing areas that were inundated at some point from January through June.

Related: Globally, extreme weather events displaced a record seven million people during the first six months of 2019, according to a report released today, putting it on pace to be one of the most disastrous years in almost two decades.

Another angle: President Trump, seeking to justify his claim of a hurricane threat to Alabama, pressed for a federal scientific agency to “clarify” a forecast that contradicted him, according to people familiar with the events.

Last year, Justify won the Triple Crown, one of the most storied achievements in sports. His owners later sold his breeding rights for $60 million.

But The Times has learned that the colt failed a drug test and should not have run in the first Triple Crown race, the Kentucky Derby. Instead, the California Horse Racing Board took over a month to confirm test results, then quietly moved to drop the case and change its rules, retroactively clearing the horse.

The details: Documents reviewed by The Times do not show any evidence of pressure or tampering by Justify’s owners. The horse’s Hall of Fame trainer, Bob Baffert, didn’t respond to multiple attempts to contact him.

“We like to think that landing a coveted college spot is a golden ticket for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. We think less critically about what happens next.”

In an essay for The Times Magazine, the Harvard professor Anthony Abraham Jack, above, argues that schools must do more to address the needs of students who come from poverty, as he did.

Call for action on guns: Chief executives of some of America’s best-known companies are expected to send a letter to Congress today, urging an expansion of background checks to all firearm sales and stronger “red flag” laws.

Democratic debate: The top 10 presidential candidates will be on the same stage for the first time, starting at 8 p.m. Eastern. Here’s what to watch for.

Snapshot: Above, at the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum on Wednesday. Ceremonies in Lower Manhattan, at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pa., commemorated the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

In memoriam: T. Boone Pickens, the swashbuckling Texas oil-and-gas entrepreneur, threatened takeovers of big energy companies and cast himself as a defender of shareholder rights. He died on Wednesday at 91.

Smarter Living: Vitamin D is critical for healthy bones. But high doses may actually lower bone density in healthy adults, a clinical trial found. The study didn’t find any increased risk of serious health issues, like cancer or kidney stones.

And not all dogs are well-trained pets (even if they’re still very good dogs). Here are tips for finding a trainer.

This summer, China put its first indigenous aircraft carrier out for sea trials and launched its first commercial rocket into space.

But animal lovers may be more interested in another milestone: China’s first cloned cat.

The animal was born in July with DNA from a deceased British shorthair, China’s state-controlled news media reported. The owner, a 22-year-old Chinese businessman, had kept the corpse in his refrigerator while waiting for a technician to extract skin cells.

The clone was named after the original cat: Da Suan (大蒜), meaning Garlic. The owner told our colleague Sui-Lee Wee that the name just came to him.

The new Garlic’s birth solidifies China’s position among the major cloning nations, which include Britain, South Korea and the U.S. Sinogene, the company that did the cloning, has cloned more than 40 dogs and is working on a horse.

But Sinogene’s chief executive says he has never owned a pet.

“Cats and dogs require too much care,” he said.

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Chris

Thank you
Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford and Chris Harcum provided the break from the news. Mike Ives, a reporter based in Hong Kong, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is an interview with Andrew Yang, the Democratic presidential candidate.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Spooky (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• For the past year, The Times has published weekly reports documenting civilian and military deaths in Afghanistan. Two reporters in our Kabul bureau explained how they kept track of casualties.

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