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Morning Update: A Wave Of Foiled Bomb Attacks

Pipe bombs target prominent Democrats, Russian and Chinese spies reportedly eavesdrop on Trump, Ariana Grande has a new album already. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, Oct. 25.

Posted on October 25, 2018, at 8:13 a.m. ET

Pipe bombs were sent to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and other prominent Democrats

In an act of terrorism that drew a massive law enforcement response along the East Coast, multiple prominent Democrats and critics of President Donald Trump were sent explosive devices yesterday.

Who were the intended recipients of the pipe bombs? Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters. The office of US Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz also received one, but that package was addressed to former attorney general Eric Holder.

Another was sent to the CNN office building, addressed to former CIA director John Brennan. Brennan, a leading critic of the president, is a contributor to MSNBC and NBC News, but not CNN. This morning, a suspicious package was found at Robert De Niro's business office in New York, though police haven't said if it's connected to the bombs.

What has the response been? New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo blasted the current polarized political climate, with thinly veiled references to Trump. CNN’s president criticized Trump for his antagonistic rhetoric against the press, while Brennan said Trump helped incite the anger behind the bomb scare.

What was Trump’s response? Yesterday at a rally, the president said, “Any acts or threats of political violence are an attack on our democracy itself.” Though CNN was targeted by the would-be bomber, Trump blamed the media, repeating the frequent refrain that journalists are spreading fake news. The media “has a responsibility to set a civil tone and to stop the endless hostility,” Trump said.

Chinese and Russian spies are reportedly listening to Trump’s cellphone calls

It’s the sort of story that would have been a scandal if these were normal times.

The New York Times reported that spies from Russia and China are regularly eavesdropping on President Trump’s phone calls. Regularly.

It’s not like Trump is making the eavesdropping difficult — according to the report, the president regularly uses two iPhones modified by the National Security Agency, as well as one that's off the shelf. White House staff members have urged him to only make calls over a secure phone line, the paper reported.

Chinese spies in particular are seeking to learn who the president trusts and how he might be manipulated, according to the report, as the US and China are engaged in a trade war.

SNAPSHOTS

The Today show went off on coworker Megyn Kelly for her blackface comments. The hosts of the show did not hold back their criticism of Kelly, who earlier this week had suggested suggested that blackface was acceptable “as long as you were dressing up as, like, a character.” Later that day, she issued an apology to her “friends and teammates” at NBC News for her remarks via email. The hosts of Today dissected Kelly’s comments and apology, with Al Roker saying that “while she apologized to the staff, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the country.”

Police arrested two middle school girls who allegedly planned to kill 15 students and scatter body parts. Two young girls in Bartow, Florida, are in custody after they were discovered in the bathroom of their school with several knives on them. Police say the girls — ages 11 and 12 — admitted they were plotting to kill at least 15 of their peers and then “leave body parts at the entrance” of the school. The students allegedly told police they were Satan worshippers and had planned the attack over the past few days.

The leader of a white supremacist group was arrested after being caught in Central America. Robert Rundo, the head of the Rise Above Movement (RAM), was taken into custody after landing at a Los Angeles airport. RAM members are implicated in the 2017 violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one anti-racist protester dead. Two other group members were also arrested, and a fourth remains at large. RAM operates as a sort of white power boxing gym with a clothing line and social media channels it uses to reach members outside California. An expert described the group as on “the cutting edge of white supremacy.”

Taylor Swift fans said they voted early because they were inspired by her activism on Instagram. After posting about early voting, Swift also encouraged her 112 million Instagram followers to share photos of themselves casting ballots for the chance to end up on her story. This comes after she drove a giant spike in voter registration earlier this month. We talked to some of those fans about how Swift motivated their vote.

Ariana Grande just hinted that she has already made a new album during her terrible last few months. The singer has had a tough stretch, but she revealed that she channeled all of that pain into a new album, and it may even arrive before the end of the year. So to recap: In 2018, Grande broke up with longtime boyfriend Mac Miller, started dating Pete Davidson, mourned the first anniversary of the Manchester bombing, got engaged to Davidson, released her album Sweetener, lost Miller to an apparent drug overdose, and ended her engagement to Davidson. Her fans were shook to hear that she had found time through all that to make more music.

Apple’s Tim Cook called for a new law to mitigate the intrusion of big tech firms into people’s lives

It hasn’t been a great year for technology. From privacy scandals and the proliferation of fake news, to consumer realizations that their relationship with technology has possibly gone too far, people are reconsidering the value Big Tech brings into their lives.

Under this cloud, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke at a top-level privacy conference in Brussels and expressed concern about the indiscriminate collection of people’s data by technology companies. He added that platforms can “magnify our worst human tendencies … deepen divisions, incite violence, and even undermine our shared sense or what is true or false.”

Cook voiced support for a “comprehensive federal privacy law” in the US, the first time the company has backed strong privacy laws.

This dad’s thread on toxic masculinity has many parents clapping in appreciation

Aaron Gouveia is a father to three boys. This week, an experience with his middle son Sam filled him with sadness and anger. His response to it has gone viral.

Gouveia describes Sam, who is 5, as the type of kid many would think of as a “boy’s boy.” He likes to get dirty and loves trucks and sports, but also loves to carry purses.

For the past few years, Sam has also loved to get his nails done by his grandma, who used to do manicures for a living. The boy wore nail polish to school when he was younger with no issue, but this week he came home in tears — he was bullied for it.

Gouveia tweeted a lengthy and meaningful Twitter thread, saying he wants all parents to “allow our boys to experience their full range of emotions without fear or shame.” The responses to the thread have been utterly lovely.

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