Niger military says 25 soldiers are dead after another large attack blamed on extremists

A US special forces soldier stands in front of Chadian soldiers during Flintlock 2015, an American-led military exercise, in Mao, February 22, 2015. (Reuters)
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Updated 10 January 2020

Niger military says 25 soldiers are dead after another large attack blamed on extremists

NIAMEY: Militants carried out another large assault on Niger's military Thursday, leaving at least 25 soldiers dead along with dozens of extremists only a month after the worst attack of its kind in years, the military said.
The latest violence blamed on extremists struck the town of Chinagodrar right on Niger's troubled border with Mali. There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the attack bore the hallmarks of an Daesh-linked group that said it was behind the December ambush near the town of Inates.
Thursday's assault comes just days before French President Emmanuel Macron is due to meet in France with the president of Niger and other leaders from the Sahel region — a meeting that was pushed back a month ago after the unprecedented attack on Niger's armed forces.
The leaders from France's former colonies of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger are due to discuss the future role of the French military in the face of mounting extremist attacks.
Niger's defense ministry said late Thursday that 63 jihadists had been killed along with the 25 soldiers in the attack some 11 kilometers (7 miles) from the border with Mali.
On Wednesday, the UN envoy for West Africa and the Sahel spoke of “a devastating surge in terrorist attacks against civilian and military targets” in recent months.
Mohamed Ibn Chambas told the UN Security Council that terrorist attacks have increased five-fold in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger since 2016. There were more than 4,000 deaths reported in 2019 compared to an estimated 770 deaths in 2016, he said.
Military camps have increasingly been targeted by the extremists, who have amassed more weapons and vehicles for their arsenal with each ambush. Mali's military already has retreated from some of its most remote and vulnerable outposts following a surge in deadly attacks.


US to pay over $1 bn for 100 mln doses of J&J’s potential COVID-19 vaccine

Updated 05 August 2020

US to pay over $1 bn for 100 mln doses of J&J’s potential COVID-19 vaccine

  • The latest contract equates to roughly $10 per vaccine dose produced by J&J
  • This is J&J’s first deal to supply its investigational vaccine to a country

WASHINGTON: The United States government will pay Johnson & Johnson over $1 billion for 100 million doses of its potential coronavirus vaccine, its latest such arrangement as the race to tame the pandemic intensifies, the drugmaker said on Wednesday.
It said it would deliver the vaccine to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) on a not-for-profit basis to be used after approval or emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
J&J has already received $1 billion in funding from the US government — BARDA agreed in March to provide that money for the company to build manufacturing capacity for more than 1 billion doses of the experimental vaccine.
The latest contract equates to roughly $10 per vaccine dose produced by J&J. Including the first $1 billion deal with the USgovernment, the price would be slightly higher than the $19.50 per dose that the United States is paying for the vaccine being developed by Pfizer Inc. and German biotech BioNTech SE.
The US government may also purchase an additional 200 million doses under a subsequent agreement. J&J did not disclose that deal’s value.
J&J plans to study a one- or two-dose regimen of the vaccine in parallel later this year. A single-shot regimen could allow more people to be vaccinated with the same number of doses and would sidestep issues around getting people to come back for their second dose.
This is J&J’s first deal to supply its investigational vaccine to a country. Talks are underway with the European Union, but no deal has yet been reached.
J&J’s investigational vaccine is currently being tested on healthy volunteers in the United States and Belgium in an early-stage study.
There are currently no approved vaccines for COVID-19. More than 20 are in clinical trials.