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Morning Update: No One Can Tell What's Normal Anymore

Trump defends Kim Jong Un's human rights record, Mexico's deadly election, Apple adds a new security feature.

Posted on June 14, 2018, at 7:58 a.m. ET

113 politicians have been killed ahead of Mexico’s election. There are still two weeks to go.

“Violence is altering the profile of candidates,” one expert told us. “Who sticks around? The reckless and those who collude [with criminals].”

That’s because this electoral season has been a brutally violent one in Mexico.

More than 100 candidates, pre-candidates, and current and former politicians have been killed, according to an organization tracking this. The government’s tally — 34, which counts only candidates — still pushes the death toll to four per month.

It gets more dramatic: There are hundreds of candidates who have backed out of their races out of fear for their safety, and many others who have curbed campaign activities.

The attacks have been brazen: a politician killed on a public bus, a candidate murdered while taking a selfie. You need to read Karla Zabludovsky’s deep dive into the violence in Mexico’s election.

Trump defended Kim Jong Un’s human rights abuses after the summit

Yesterday, while speaking to Fox News, President Trump praised Kim Jong Un as “tough,” “smart,” and a “great negotiator.”

When host Bret Baier asked the president if he brought up human rights with Kim at the summit, Trump said only “briefly.”

“You know, you call people, sometimes, killers. He is a killer,” responded Baier. Trump interjected that “well, he's a tough guy,” adding that, “when you take over a country” at 27 years old, as Kim did, “that's one in 10,000 that could do that.”

Still, Baier pressed, saying Kim has “still done some really bad things.” Trump responded, "Yeah, but so have a lot of other people done some really bad things.” You should watch the whole exchange.

A further thought:

When politics gives way to theater, we lose a sense of the magnitude of what’s supposed to be surprising. Watching the exchange reminded me of Katherine Miller’s thoughtful piece on the news cycle during this presidency: “each day demands your judgment. Is this normal? Is this normal? Is this normal?”

SNAPSHOTS

The Italian prime minister’s new EU adviser compared the EU to Nazi Germany. In a blog post from 2014, Luciano Barra Caracciolo, Italy's new undersecretary for EU affairs, posted an image of an EU flag being peeled back to reveal a Nazi flag underneath. He has authored books on the incompatibility between EU treaties and Italy’s constitution, and has argued for the country to exit the euro.

Hawaii just became the first state to ban a pesticide linked to developmental delays in kids. The bill Gov. David Ige signed into law bans all chemicals containing the insecticide chlorpyrifos, starting in 2019. It also prohibits spraying pesticides within 100 feet of schools while they're in session. Chlorpyrifos is sprayed on crops across the US to kill a variety of pests. People who apply it have to wear chemical-resistant gloves, coveralls, and respirators, and avoid treated areas for one to five days.

McDonald’s has cold brew now, and what is coffee anymore? In fairness, it was only a matter of time before the cold brew craze found its way to the massive fast-food chain. McDonald’s debuted its own cold brew beverage in two varieties: frozen coffee and frappe. This is the part where you swear you’ll never try it, and then give in four days later because you’re “curious.”

A politician is warning her fellow Russians not to do sex with foreigners during the World Cup. Tamara Pletnyova, the head of the Russian Duma's Family, Women, and Children Committee, says to be especially careful if a potential father is “of a different race.” Her comments come as Russia is desperately trying to convince the world that it's ready to tackle the racism that many are predicting will come along with the World Cup. Incidentally: Happy World Cup day to you!

There’s going to be a Fortnite World Cup with $100 million in prize money. If you’re familiar with the fandom of the video game, you might say, “Of course, this was inevitable.” For the uninitiated, Fortnite is multiplatform game where 100 players vie for resources and compete against one another to be the last person standing. It’s also the reason you haven’t seen some of your loved ones in weeks. The Fortnite tournament will be open to all players, with qualifying tournaments starting in fall 2018.

We now have a title for the next Wonder Woman movie. It’s going to be called Wonder Woman 1984. Chris Pine will be back for it. I’m hyped.

Apple is adding a new feature that prevents police from unlocking iPhones

In its new update, Apple is rolling out a feature called USB Restricted Mode. Its main function is to prevent tools used by law enforcement from unlocking devices.

How it works: You know how you have to enter your passcode before transferring data from an iPhone to a computer through iTunes? Mobile forensic firms figured out a workaround so they can transfer the data without the passcode.

USB Restricted Mode closes that loophole. With the mode on, iPhone users will need to enter their passcode every hour to maintain a USB connection for data transfer.

Where this is coming from: Apple acknowledged that the feature was designed in part for users in countries where phones are easily obtained by police and criminals. The company has long challenged the FBI's request to break into a passcode-protected iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters.

The Queer Eye guys gave our readers heartfelt, meaningful advice on love and self-care

I have not been especially shy about my love for Netflix’s revival of Queer Eye, because it’s so good.

I am particularly ecstatic to tell you that, with two days until the premiere of the second season (yes, already!), we sat down with them and they offered the best advice on self-care. I won’t spoil it for you, but let me tell you it was a useful thing to read this morning.

Oh, okay, here’s a bit:

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Don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy,

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