Suspect from 2015 Paris attacks speaks to judge for first time

Abdeslam Salah, above, spoke to help clear Ali Oulkadi, who allegedly drove him in Brussels the day after the Paris attacks, and refused to answer other questions. (AP)
Updated 09 March 2018

Suspect from 2015 Paris attacks speaks to judge for first time

PARIS: The sole surviving suspect from the November 2015 Paris extremist attacks has agreed for the first time to answer questions about others accused of involvement.
A source close to the case said that Salah Abdeslam was in a judge’s office on Friday for a joint hearing with Ali Oulkadi, who allegedly drove him in Brussels the day after the Paris attacks.
The source said Abdeslam spoke to help clear Oulkadi and refused to answer other questions.
Abdeslam was Europe’s most-wanted fugitive when he was captured as a suspect in the Nov. 13 attacks that killed 130 people. He is imprisoned, but hasn’t gone to trial in France.
Abdeslam previously said silence would be his defense.
The source was not allowed to speak publicly on the case.


UK scientists to update COVID-19 vaccine to resist new variants

Updated 21 January 2021

UK scientists to update COVID-19 vaccine to resist new variants

LONDON: The team behind the UK’s main COVID-19 vaccine, developed at Oxford University, is preparing to update the inoculation to be resistant to new strains of the virus.

British newspaper The Independent reported that the team is mobilizing this new effort in response to the variants seen in the UK, South Africa and elsewhere.

The efficacy of the current vaccine against the most common strains of COVID-19 is being assessed by scientists from the university, with preliminary results expected toward mid-February. 

Prof. Sarah Gilbert, the team’s lead, said the researchers would not wait to discover the test’s results before acting, and instead are already synthesizing the new variants into the jab that is currently being rolled out nationwide.

Scientists at Oxford University are understood to be confident that their vaccine will not need to be adapted in response to the British variant, which was discovered last month after an especially rapid outbreak in Kent. 

Data published by Pfizer and BioNTech, the producers of the other vaccine being provided in Britain, has indicated that their inoculation is resistant to the new COVID-19 strain.

More analysis is being conducted to assess whether it will be able to neutralize the newer South African and Brazilian variants.

A spokesperson from Oxford University said any necessary modifications would take “one day’s worth of work” before being grown in cell culture within a laboratory.

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