North Korea, Kurds, Bombardier: Your Thursday Briefing

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Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

China’s slowing economy has opened the door to “business cults” — essentially pyramid schemes that have lured in tens of millions of people with promises of riches or advancement.

Despite a crackdown that began last month, after a 23-year-old college graduate was found dead in Tianjin, the government has warned that the schemes are spreading faster and growing larger. Above, suspected members of one scheme detained in Guangxi province in June.

For the authorities, a key concern is the intense loyalty some groups inspire, which could threaten the Communist Party’s own grip on society.

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David Dare Parker for The New York Times

• Western Australia is in the throes of a methamphetamine epidemic, fueled by the wages of the masses of bored, isolated men drawn to booming mineral mines.

The increasing use of stronger and more addictive crystal meth, or ice, has driven a sharp rise in deaths. The state has responded with stepped-up interdiction and increased prison terms, but also rehabilitation programs, like the one above in Perth.

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Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

• Yingluck Shinawatra, Thailand’s former prime minister, can appeal the five-year prison sentence the Supreme Court handed down on Wednesday. She was convicted of mismanaging a rice-subsidy program for farmers.

But she must be physically present in court to do so — and since she fled the country last month, her whereabouts remain unknown.

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Atul Loke for The New York Times

• India’s tolerance for stray dogs has been on particular display in Mumbai, where the rich lavish them with attention and even the poorest spare them food.

When a few ducked into a river and came out with blue coats, residents quickly traced the reason: a business that dumped blue dye. Luckily, it rapidly fades.

Business

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Thomas Samson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The planned merger of the rail business of the German industrial giant Siemens and the French train equipment maker Alstom

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