Insider attack. An Afghan soldier opened fire at a military training facility today, killing a U.S. Army major general, the highest-ranking officer to die in the Afghan war. According to the Associated Press, 15 others were injured in the attack, half of them Americans. The attack took place at Camp Qargha, a base west of Kabul that includes the Afghan National Army Officer Academy. A German brigadier general was also wounded. Afghan officials say the shooter was killed. Other details are sketchy, but Afghan reports describe the shooter as a local soldier, not just someone wearing an Afghan army uniform.
African investment. African leaders are meeting with U.S. officials and business leaders today in Washington, D.C., in the first ever U.S.-Africa business forum. According to reports, President Barack Obama plans to announce $14 billion in private investment in the continent’s banking, construction, information technology, and clean energy industries. The business focus comes on the second-day of the summit, which brought about 50 African leaders to the U.S. capital to talk about ways to improve trade and foreign relations between America and African nations. More than 90 U.S. companies are attending today’s events. Tonight, the Obamas will host a formal dinner for the visiting dignitaries. White House staffers will have to navigate some tricky social issues, including memorizing the faces of those officials who will drink wine and those who abstain because of their Islamic faith.
Will it hold? Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour cease-fire that began this morning. As the skies over Gaza fell silent, Israel also pulled all of its troops out of the territory, with officials saying the army has destroyed all of the 32 known tunnels Hamas had burrowed under the Israeli border. While talks for a permanent end to the current hostilities get started in Egypt, Palestinian officials are pressing the International Criminal Court (ICC) to bring war crimes charges against Israel. The United Nations already is investigating alleged human rights violations perpetrated by Israeli Defense Force troops during the offensive. Israeli officials said if the ICC pursued a case, they would bring counter charges against the Palestinians.
Troop buildup. All those sanctions against Russia evidently aren’t working. NATO officials said today Russia now has about 20,000 troops amassed at the Ukrainian border, an increase of 8,000 just in the last week. The units include a “spectrum”of assets: infantry, mechanized divisions, armor, a lot of artillery, both conventional and air defense, and special forces and logistics. Meanwhile, more than 100 international experts are combing through the crash site of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, looking for victims’remains and scattered belongings. After a few days of unfettered access to the site, the search teams had to cut their work short Monday thanks to renewed fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels in the area.
How many points is that? Scrabble aficionados are getting some new words to work with, although the game’s older players might not appreciate the advantage the update to the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary likely will give their younger opponents. The 5,000 new words include such favorites with millennials as bromance, selfie, chillax, and buzzkill. The dictionary was last updated 10 years ago. Scrabble has been around for 66 years.