US, South Korea to hold joint air force drill in early December

Six F-22 Raptor stealth fighters, similar to above, would be deployed in the Vigilant Ace exercise, will run from December 4 to 8. (Reuters)
Updated 24 November 2017

US, South Korea to hold joint air force drill in early December

SEOUL: The air forces of South Korea and the US are scheduled to hold a regular joint drill next month, deploying six F-22 Raptor stealth fighters in the exercise, a South Korean defense ministry official said on Friday.
The drill, called Vigilant Ace, will run from Dec. 4 to 8, the official said. The F-22 stealth fighters will be joined by F-35 aircraft, a US Air Force official said.
The Vigilant Ace drill is held regularly by the US and South Korea to simulate wartime defenses.
About 12,000 US personnel will participate with South Korean troops while 230 aircraft will be flown at eight US and South Korean military installations, the US Seventh Air Force said in a news statement.
US Marine Corps and Navy troops will also participate, it added.
“This realistic combat exercise is designed to enhance interoperability between US and Republic of Korea forces and increase the combat effectiveness of both nations,” it said.
The exercise comes as North Korea continues to press forward with developing its nuclear and missile program, in defiance of global condemnation and sanctions, though it has not held tests for two months.
Pyongyang strongly protests against joint drills of this nature, which it views as aggression against the isolated state.


UK vaccine frontrunner could be available in first half of 2021

Updated 1 min 58 sec ago

UK vaccine frontrunner could be available in first half of 2021

  • Human trials of the vaccine will expand to hundreds more people in the “coming weeks.”

LONDON: A leading British scientist has said a Covid-19 vaccine could be rolled out across the country as early as the first half of next year.

Professor Robin Shattock leads the team working on Imperial College London’s vaccine, one of the UK’s two most promising research programs. He told Sky News: “We anticipate if everything goes really well, that we'll get an answer as to whether it works by early next year.

“Assuming that the funding is there to purchase that vaccine, we could have that vaccine rolled out across the UK in the first half of next year.”

Shattock also warned that there was “no certainty” that any of the vaccines currently being developed would work, but said the risk of that is “very, very low.”

Imperial College London is now conducting human trials of their vaccine, with 15 volunteers having received it so far. Shattock said this will be ramped up in the “coming weeks” to include another 200 to 300 patients.

“I think we're very lucky in the UK that we have two very strong candidates, the one from Imperial, the one from Oxford, and so we’re pretty well placed, but there's still not a certainty that either of those two will work,” he said.

Oxford University is also developing a vaccination for Covid-19, in partnership with British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca.

While Shattock said he hopes Imperial College London’s vaccine will be available for the whole of the UK in the first half of next year, it is unclear how long it would take for it to be available outside of the country.

The UK, European Union and the US have all invested huge sums into vaccine development, and struck deals with pharmaceutical companies worth hundreds of millions of dollars each to ensure first-in-line access to successful vaccinations.

However, international organizations such as the UN, International Red Crescent and Red Cross, and Doctors Without Borders have raised concerns that the world’s poorest countries will be unable to access vaccinations and effective Covid-19 treatments due to rich countries outspending them.