Tuesday’s Mini-Report, 8.5.14

Today’s edition of quick hits:
 
* Afghanistan: “A U.S. Army two-star major general was killed Tuesday in an insider attack at an Afghan military training facility, U.S. Defense and military officials told NBC News. More than a dozen Western soldiers in all – including several Americans – were shot as high-level officials visited the heavily guarded military complex.”
 
* Middle East: “As a 72-hour cease-fire mediated by Egypt took hold on Tuesday, Gazans emerged to view a shattered landscape with Hamas still in power, while Israel began to debate the politics, costs and accomplishments of the monthlong war. Israel announced the withdrawal of all its forces from the Gaza Strip and both sides said they would engage in talks on a lasting arrangement to keep the peace.”
 
* Clumsy spy craft: “Over at least two years, the U.S. Agency for International Development – best known for overseeing billions of dollars in U.S. humanitarian aid – sent nearly a dozen neophytes from Venezuela, Costa Rica and Peru to gin up opposition in Cuba. The danger was apparent to USAID, if not to the young operatives: A USAID contractor, American Alan Gross, had just been hauled away to a Cuban jail for smuggling in sensitive technology. He remains there still.”
 
* Does the Terrorist Watch List actually intend to watch terrorists? “Of the 680,000 people caught up in the government’s Terrorist Screening Database – a watchlist of ‘known or suspected terrorists’ that is shared with local law enforcement agencies, private contractors, and foreign governments – more than 40 percent are described by the government as having “no recognized terrorist group affiliation.”
 
* Combating Ebola in Africa: “Alarmed by the world’s worst outbreak of Ebola, West Africa leaders have declared extraordinary measures to fight the disease, including closing schools, authorizing house-to-house searches for infected people and, at least on paper, sometimes vowing to go beyond the standard international controls for halting the virus…. But that tough stance is being accompanied by loose enforcement that is deeply worrying to doctors and health care workers trying to stem the rapid spread of the virus.”
 
* Executions: “Information about how military commissions would handle executions is essentially non-existent – but that’s not acceptable for lawyers of the alleged mastermind behind the USS Cole bombing. They want the military to reveal exactly how it would put him to death if he is found guilty.”
 
* Ex-Im: “Supporters of the Export-Import Bank used the U.S.-Africa Summit on Tuesday to rally support for its reauthorization. President Obama, former President Clinton and other U.S. officials and business leaders touted the 80-year-old bank as an economic tool that can help African countries while supporting U.S. jobs.”
 
* Also at the Summit: “President Barack Obama on Tuesday pledged $7 billion in U.S. investments at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum. The president said the new financing would promote American exports as part of ‘The Doing Business in Africa Campaign,’ launched by the administration.”
 
* When public attitudes really aren’t helpful: “A majority of Americans think the economic benefits of good transportation outweigh the cost to taxpayers, but they can’t agree on how to pay for new highways or repairs of old ones, according to a new Associated Press-GfKpoll.”
 
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
 

Tuesday's Mini-Report, 8.5.14