Historic sale. A Chinese company announced today it has agreed to pay $4.72 billion to acquire the world’s largest pork producer, Virginia-based Smithfield Foods Inc. If shareholders approve the deal, it will be the largest Chinese acquisition of an American company. Hong Kong-based Shuanghui owns a variety of global businesses that include food, logistics and flavoring products and is the majority shareholder in China's largest meat processing enterprise. Smithfield owns brands such as Armour, Farmland and its namesake. Under the terms of the deal, approved by the boards of both companies, Smithfield will retain its Virginia headquarters in the tiny town where the company was founded in 1936. Shuanghui also will honor collective bargaining agreements with Smithfield’s 46,000 workers.
Drone strike. The Taliban’s second in command in Pakistan reportedly died in an American drone strike today, Pakistani intelligence officials said. Waliur Rehman participated in cross-border attacks in Afghanistan against United States and NATO forces. In 2010, U.S. officials offered $5 million for information that would lead to him. Rehman was wanted in connection with his involvement in an attack on a U.S. base in Khost, Afghanistan, in 2009 that killed seven Americans. A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban denied reports of Rehman’s death.
French militant attack. A 21-year-old French convert to Islam has admitted attacking a French solider with a knife earlier this week in Paris. Officials suspect the attack might have been inspired by a similar incident in London last week, in which two Muslim men killed a British soldier in broad daylight on a busy street. The French soldier was treated and released from the hospital. Officials say the suspect, whose full name has not been released, has been a follower of “traditionalist even radical Islam for the last three or four years.” He also has been in trouble before for theft and possession of firearms. Police tracked him down using video footage taken near the crime scene and DNA from a fruit juice bottle found in a bag nearby.
Human error. Marine officials announced today that human error was responsible for the March training accident in Nevada that killed seven Marines. According to an official statement, “The Marines employing one of the mortars did not follow correct procedures, resulting in the detonation of a high explosive round at the mortar position.” An unnamed source said a Marine put a mortar round in the tube as another round was being fired, triggering the explosion. Three officers were relieved of their command following the incident. Brig. Gen. James Lukeman, commander of the 2nd Marine Division, relieved the officers “because he lost trust and confidence in their ability to ensure proper preparation for, and conduct of, live fire training events,” the statement said. The three remain on active duty.