2 dead, 2 hurt in drive-by shooting on Spartanburg street

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — Two people were killed and two others hurt in a drive-by shooting in a South Carolina neighborhood, authorities said.

Witnesses told Spartanburg police that a man fired from the back seat of a SUV into a group of people on a residential street around 9 p.m, Police spokesman Maj. Art Littlejohn said.

Four people were wounded and taken to the hospital, Littlejohn said in a statement.

Travoiris Antoine Gentry, 28, of Anderson and Jaquante Donell Burris, 24, of Spartanburg, died a short time later, Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said.

Witnesses told police the shots were fired from a white SUV. No arrests have been made and police did not release a possible motive for the shooting.


1 man killed, 1 injured after car rolls into flooded area

DEDHAM, Mass. (AP) — One person was killed and another was seriously injured after a car rolled over into a flooded area along Route 95 in Dedham, State Police said.

The car was headed northbound at the University Avenue exit when it rolled over and ended up submerged in several feet of water between the roadway and the exit ramp, police said in a statement.

Troopers responded to the crash around 4:20 a.m. and pulled two men from the vehicle. The passenger was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The driver was taken to a hospital with serious injuries.

The men’s names were not immediately released.

State Police are investigating the crash and what caused the vehicle to go off the road.


1 man, 2 women fatally shot in LI home; baby found unharmed

FARMINGVILLE, N.Y. (AP) — A man and two women were discovered shot and killed inside a Long Island house , and a baby was found in the home unharmed, police said.

Suffolk County authorities went to the home on Overlook Drive in Farmingville, New York, around noon, after getting a 911 call from a relative who had come by the house, Suffolk County Detective Lt. Kevin Beyrer told Newsday.

The relative had come to check on someone in the house and told police he thought the people inside were dead.

Police were investigating the circumstances, and Beyrer said it appeared a door at the residence had been kicked in and the doorjamb broken.


Two members of Kentucky State University board resign

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Two members of Kentucky State University’s governing board resigned days before the abrupt departure of the campus president, adding to the upheaval in the highest ranks of the school as it faces an independent investigation into its finances.

Soon after M. Christopher Brown II’s resignation as school president this week, Gov. Andy Beshear called for an independent accounting of KSU’s finances and signed an order empowering the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education to provide guidance and oversight during the review.

The development comes as Kentucky’s sole public historically Black university contends with concerns about its financial health and lawsuits alleging misconduct by campus officials.

In the days before Brown’s departure, Candace McGraw submitted her resignation from the school’s Board of Regents. In her resignation letter, McGraw said she was “not fully aware of the time needed to engage fully in order to ensure the ongoing success of the university.”

“Since I would not be able to fulfill my responsibility to the best of my ability, I believe the university would be better served by another appointee,” her letter said.

McGraw, a recent board appointee, is CEO of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

Paul Harnice also resigned from the school’s board before Brown left, The State Journal reported. The Frankfort newspaper was the first to report on the regents’ resignations. Harnice did not immediately respond to a phone call and an email on Friday from The Associated Press.

Harnice’s resignation letter did not provide an apparent reason for his resignation, The State Journal reported.

“The purpose of this letter is to advise you that I have decided to resign from the Board of Regents of Kentucky State University effective immediately,” Harnice said. “It goes without saying that I wish the best to Kentucky State University, its employees and students going forward.”

Brown, who was KSU’s president since 2017, spoke about his resignation in a podcast appearance posted this week. He insisted the school’s financial issues were unrelated to his leadership.

“This is not about malfeasance, this is not about litigation, this is not about missing money,” Brown said. “It’s about a cash flow question, which is, let me say to be honest and fair, a very real question.”

Brown did not elaborate further and could not be reached for further explanation of his comments.

In April, KSU said it received positive results from its annual independent financial audit, with a budget surplus of $2.3 million for fiscal year 2020. The legislature last year authorized a $55.5 million bond to build a 400-bed dormitory and dining hall using private financing. Under a public-private partnership, a Lexington company will operate and maintain the property and KSU will finance it through a 35-year lease, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

After Brown’s resignation, the school’s regents named senior vice president and spokeswoman Clara Ross Stamps as acting president at the Frankfort school. They also voted to hire auditors to review the school’s financial situation. Stamps declined afterward to provide any information about possible problems or the reason for Brown’s departure.

“The Council on Postsecondary Education is poised and ready to provide our assistance to the leadership of Kentucky State University as they move forward,” council President Aaron Thompson said.

In his executive order, Beshear directed Kentucky’s postsecondary education council to assess the school’s financial status and provide a report prior to submitting appropriation recommendations for the next biennial budget. The council also will assist the university in developing a management and improvement plan.

“I believe in KSU,” the Democratic governor told reporters. “So we are going to work to get through this time. We are going to work to get back on track. And my commitment is to be transparent once this audit is done, so that everybody can see any of the concerns that are out there.”


Woman convicted in kidnapping gets re-sentencing hearing

KANKAKEE, Ill. (AP) — A woman convicted in the 1987 kidnapping and death of a northern Illinois businessman has been granted a re-sentencing hearing by the state’s appellate court.

Nancy Rish, 59, petitioned in December 2017 for a resentencing hearing so that the court can consider evidence of domestic violence. Stephen Small of Kankakee suffocated in a plywood box when a breathing tube running to the surface failed before a ransom could be paid.

Her attorneys argued Rish was coerced by ex-boyfriend Daniel Edwards into driving him and that she was unaware of his kidnapping plan even as he had her pick him up from the remote, wooded burial site and drive him between phone booths where he made ransom calls.

The attorneys argued her case is what Illinois legislators had in mind when they passed legislation in 2015 giving abuse victims who had been sentenced to prison for crimes a break on their sentences.

In its ruling Thursday, the court noted the state maintained the trial court’s sentence rested on the “horrific nature of the crime in which (defendant) played an integral part” and that the evidence of domestic violence could not overcome the seriousness of the crime.

“This is the first time in 33½ years that she’s gotten a ruling that may result in her sentence being reduced from natural life,” Margaret Byrne, a private attorney who is representing Rish pro bono, told the Chicago Tribune.

Rish was sentenced to life in prison after a jury trial in 1988. Edwards was convicted and sentenced to death. The sentence was commuted to a life term by then-Gov. George Ryan as Illinois moved toward ending the death penalty.

Rish, an inmate at Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln, has maintained her innocence through more than three decades of legal losses. In July 2019, Kankakee County Judge Michael Sabol rejected Rish’s petition for a re-sentencing, rejecting the argument a new sentence was warranted because of a change in Illinois law.


Georgia authorities: Man killed by police after traffic stop

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia police officer fatally shot a car passenger who pointed a gun at police following a traffic stop, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said.

The GBI news release said were Savannah police officers were talking to the driver of a car pulled over Saturday night when a passenger in the car, Maurice Sentel Mincey, 36, of Savannah, began moving around in the vehicle.

The release says officers asked Mincey to stop moving and show his hands.

“Mincey refused to do as instructed and suddenly stepped out of the vehicle,” the GBI release said. “Mincey then pointed a firearm at officers and an officer fired gunshots at Mincey, striking him.”

Mincey died at the scene. An autopsy was planned.

The GBI said it would investigate and turn its findings over to the Chatham County District Attorney’s Office.

The Savannah Morning New reports that the incident is the 54th police officer-involved the GBI has been asked to investigate this yea


Laila Majnu

Laila Majnu (2018 film)

Sources say Laila Majnu is directed by Sajid Ali, but the latest Bollywood version of an old love story cannot escape the trademark seal of his brother and co-writer Imtiaz Ali. A quote that tries to turn the star-lover’s story on its head, contemporary Laila Majnu has several recurring themes. We also get dialogue similar to some of the franchise’s previous films, a tormented hero and female lead whose point of view is hardly important.

Sajid Ali’s style seems partly independent and partly inspired by his brother. Perhaps this explains the schizophrenic nature of this film. The tone varies greatly with the first half looking amateurish, much like the champs, and the second half bringing oomph to the proceedings.

Ali’s story is set in Kashmir, where laila (Tripti Demri) is the spoiled daughter of a politician whose beauty attracts many fans. She enjoys attention while dreaming of the perfect man who will sweep her off her feet. Kais (Avinash Tiwari) is also a spoiled child who lives on his rich father. He overcomes Lila, convinced that their love is a love that transcends social barriers and enmity between their illustrious families.

But Laila’s father does not share her views, rejects their romance and marries her to his student Iban (Sumit Kaul). Sadly Kayes leaves Kashmir, returning after four years. But something has changed. Case is not the same cocky youth he used to be. From now on, Leila Majno acquires an almost unreal feel to her.

Layla is within reach but still not his, and as realization approaches, Case slowly disintegrates. A man who was already on the verge of collapse, spiraled into delusion. Ali captures this breakup in detail, and shows us Case laughing madly, dancing like a possessed man and babbling like crazy.

In the films of Imtiaz Ali such as “Rockstar”, “Jab Harry Met Sejal” and “Tamasha”, the focus is always on the man and how he reacts to unrequited love. The tormented, anxious hero is a recurrent theme in all of his films, and in “Leila Majno” we see another version of him. To credit to Avinash Tiwary, he sinks his teeth in the role and has an engaging screen that makes it hard to take your eyes off him.

On the other hand, Demre is there for the cosmetic effect. It only acts as a catalyst for Kaes’ self-destruction, which is best because she doesn’t quite match Tiwary in terms of acting chops. The uneven acting is in keeping with the rest of the film, which swings wildly between occasional bouts of clarity and absurdity.

Laila Majnu (2018 film)

Laila Majnu (Indian pronunciation: [lɛːlaː mədʒnuː]) is a 2018 Indian romance film starring Avinash Tiwari and Triti Dimri. Presented by Imtiaz Ali and co-produced by Ekta Kapoor, Shobha Kapoor and Preity Ali. The film is directed by Sajid Ali.

The film was released in theaters on September 7, 2018.

Taking a leap from the classic folklore of star-crossed Laila and Majnun lovers, the story takes place in the present day in Kashmir where Laila and Majnu face problems relevant to today’s youth. While dealing with their feuding families, a passionate love story unfolds. Layla, who appears as a girl living in her fantasy world, always dreaming of a ‘special’ person in her life, meets Qais (Mecnun) on a fateful night when she secretly left her home to pray in a cemetery to meet. Love her. Qais and his friends track her down until Laila finally gives him her mobile number. The story moves into the intimate romantic relationship between the leaders, against the backdrop of the rivalry between their families. Soon, news of their romance becomes the talk of town, which eventually reaches Laila’s family and her father warns her to stay away from someone of such a bad reputation. Despite the warning, Laila continues to see Qais and is eventually caught red-handed. Leila forcibly married Eban, who supports her father politically.

Heartbroken and Kais leave town while Layla and her husband struggle with domestic violence. After they meet 4 years later, Layla and Qais are overwhelmed by the desire to stay together. Laila’s husband left and opened the door for family reunification, but Laila was required to stay away from Qais until the waiting period for a month.

However, things take an ugly turn when Qais, tired of waiting, flees to the mountains. Soon the mystics shocked him and realized that he did not need Laila to complete his love. Laila also realizes that Qais no longer needs her. She ends her life shortly after Qais dies near her grave and the lovers’ reunion is seen after death.


Tripti Dimri as Laila

Avinash Tiwary as Qais Bhatt / Majnu

Farhana Bhat as Jasmeet

Duaa Bhat as Shama

Benjamin Gilani as Sarwar

Parmeet Sethi as Masood

Sumit Kaul as Ibban

Sahiba Bali as Ambreen

Abrar Qazi as Zaid

Shagufta Ali as Laila’s Aunt

Mir Sarwar as Qais’ Brother-in-law

Vasundhara Kaul as Qais’s Sister

Sujata Sehgal as Laila’s Mother

RJ Rafiq as Tauseef

Moomin Rafiq as Umer

Shahid Gulfam as Rasool


Hitesh Sonik composed the film’s background score and Niladri Kumar, Joi Barua and Alif composed the songs. The lyrics of the song were written by Irshad Kamel, Mahmoud Jamy and Mohamed Monem. The first single “Ahista” was released on August 9, 2018. This was followed by a song titled “Ya Meri Laila” on August 13, 2018.

Hitesh Sonik composed the film’s background score and Niladri Kumar, Joi Barua and Alif composed the songs. The lyrics of the song were written by Irshad Kamel, Mahmoud Jamy and Mohamed Monem. The first song “Ahista” was released on August 9, 2018, followed by the song “Ya Meri Laila” on August 13, 2018.

Track listing
1.“Aahista”Niladri KumarArijit SinghJonita Gandhi5:20
2.“O Meri Laila”Joi BaruaAtif AslamJyotica Tangri4:41
3.“Tum”Niladri KumarAtif Aslam4:39
4.“Hafiz Hafiz”Niladri KumarMohit Chauhan5:39
5.“Sarphiri”Niladri KumarShreya GhoshalBabul Supriyo4:05
6.“Gayee Kaam Se”Joi BaruaDev NegiAmit SharmaMeenal Jain4:13
7.“Lala Zula Zalio”Joi BaruaFrankie (Kashmiri), Joi Barua, Sunidhi Chauhan3:00
8.“O’Meri Laila” (Radio Version)Joi BaruaJoi Barua3:11
9.“Tum” (Version 2)Niladri KumarJaved Ali4:41
10.“Katyu Chuko”AlifMohammad Muneem3:04
Total length:42:33

Awards and nominations

Date of CeremonyAwardsCategoryRecipient(s) and nominee(s)ResultRef.
16 February 2019Mirchi Music AwardsUpcoming Music Composer of The YearNiladri Kumar – “Aahista”Won[11][12]
Lyricist of The YearIrshad Kamil – “Aahista”Nominated
23 March 201964th Filmfare AwardsRd Burman Award For Upcoming Talent in Film MusicNiladri KumarWon[13]
Best Playback Singer (Female)Jonita Gandhi – “Ahista”Nominated[14]

Download Laila Majnu Full Movie 720p 2018 free | Best Romantic Movie


4 killed after shooting outside DC stadium

WASHINGTON (AP) — The game between the San Diego Padres and Washington was suspended in the sixth inning after a shooting outside Nationals Park that caused echoes of gunfire inside the stadium and prompted fans to scramble for safety in the dugout.

The shooting, an exchange of gunfire between people in two cars, left three people injured, according to Ashan Benedict, the Metropolitan Police Department’s executive assistant police chief. One of the people who was shot was a woman who was attending the game and who was struck while she was outside the stadium, he said. Her injuries weren’t considered life-threatening.

Two people who were in one of the cars later walked into a local hospital with gunshot wounds and were being questioned by investigators, Benedict said, and the extent of their injuries wasn’t immediately clear. Investigators were still trying to locate the second vehicle involved in the shooting.

The gunshots caused panic among fans inside the stadium, some of whom ducked for cover, hiding underneath tables and behind seats as announcers warned people to stay inside the park.

“It was just a chaotic scene,” umpire crew chief Mark Carlson told The Associated Press. “We heard what sounded like rapid gunfire. We didn’t know where it was coming from.”

The Padres had just taken the field for the bottom of the sixth when several loud pops were heard from the left field side of the ballpark.

Fans sitting in left field quickly began leaving through the center field gate. A short time later, fans along the first base side began briskly leaving their seats.

Some fans crowded into the Padres’ dugout on the third base side for cover, while sirens could be heard from outside the park.

Ted Borenstein, 26, was at the game with his girlfriend and his best friend, celebrating her birthday and “having a great time” when he heard two pops. He said the group thought it was practice for a fireworks show.

Borenstein said he quickly realized it was far more serious when he saw people in the stands start filing out and watched Padres star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. “bolt from the field.”

In the stadium’s Diamond Club, where he and his friends were, people were hiding under tables and chairs, thinking there was a shooter inside the stadium.

“People were down on the ground, kind of petrified, trying to calm down the younger kids,” he said.

“I was taken aback, I was scared,” he said.

The Nationals initially announced there had been an incident outside the stadium and posted a message on the scoreboard telling fans to remain inside the stadium.

About 10 minutes later, the team tweeted: “A shooting has been reported outside of the Third Base Gate at Nationals Park. Fans are encouraged to exit the ballpark via the CF and RF gates at this time.”

More than two dozen police cars, ambulances and fire engines were on the street outside the third base side of the stadium and a police helicopter hovered overhead.

The shooting comes as Washington, like many other cities in the U.S., is facing a rising number of violent crimes and homicides. A 6-year-old girl was killed and five other people were wounded in a shooting Friday night about three miles from Nationals Park.

Just hours before Saturday night’s shooting, Washington’s mayor and police chief, flanked by federal law enforcement officials to announce a $60,000 reward for information in that case.

By nightfall, they had another incident to investigate.

Arman Ramnath, 27, from nearby Arlington, Virginia, and a recent law school graduate, said he and a friend were sitting in the third base side of the Nationals Park when they heard what sounded like fireworks.

“We weren’t sure what it was. Then everyone started ducking,” Ramnath said.

Ramnath said he and his friend ended hiding behind the seats for five or more minutes. After a while people started getting up and leaving, he said, but stadium announcements told fans to wait. Eventually they were allowed to leave.

“It felt very surreal. I wasn’t really sure how to react,” Ramnath said. “I mean, you hear about it … but you never expect it to be something that could affect you.”

Police had initially said they believed one of the victims worked at the stadium, but that was not the case.

The Padres led 8-4 when the game was halted. It will be resumed Sunday afternoon, followed by the regularly scheduled game. Officials said fans should expect to see an increased police presence at Sunday’s game.

Tatis had four hits for San Diego. Ryan Zimmerman homered for Washington.

“Hope everyone is safe!” Tatis posted on Twitter.


Vaccine inequity: Inside the cutthroat race to secure doses

PARIS (AP) — No one disputes that the world is unfair. But no one expected a vaccine gap between the global rich and poor that was this bad, this far into the pandemic.

Inequity is everywhere: Inoculations go begging in the United States while Haiti, a short plane ride away, received its first delivery July 15 after months of promises — 500,000 doses for a population over 11 million. Canada has procured more than 10 doses for every resident; Sierra Leone’s vaccination rate just cracked 1% on June 20.

It’s like a famine in which “the richest guys grab the baker,” said Strive Masiyiwa, the African Union’s envoy for vaccine acquisition.

In fact, European and American officials deeply involved in bankrolling and distributing the vaccines against coronavirus have told The Associated Press there was no thought of how to handle the situation globally. Instead, they jostled for their own domestic use.

But there are more specific reasons why vaccines have and have not reached the haves and have-nots.

COVID-19 unexpectedly devastated wealthy countries first — and some of them were among the few places that make the vaccines. Export restrictions kept the doses within their borders.

There was a global purchase plan to provide vaccines for poorer countries, but it was so flawed and underfunded that it couldn’t compete in the cutthroat competition to buy. Intellectual property rights vied with global public health for priority. Rich countries expanded vaccinations to younger and younger people, ignored the repeated pleas of health officials to donate their doses instead and debated booster shots – – even as poor countries couldn’t vaccinate the most susceptible.
The disparity was in some ways inevitable; wealthy nations expected a return on their investment of taxpayer money. But the scale of the inequity, the stockpiling of unused vaccines, the lack of a viable global plan to solve a global problem has shocked health officials, though it wasn’t the first time.

“This was a deliberate global architecture of unfairness,” Masiyiwa told a Milkin Institute conference.

“We have no access to vaccines either as donations or available for us to purchase. Am I surprised? No, because this is where we were with the HIV pandemic. Eight years after therapeutics were available in the West, we did not receive them and we lost 10 million people.”

“It’s simple math,” he said. “We have no access. We have no vaccine miracle.”

The World Health Organization has duly updated its epidemic playbook after every outbreak, most recently with Ebola in mind. Then, as often in the decades before, an emerging illness was largely contained to countries lacking robust public health services, with poor sanitation and crowded living conditions and limited travel connections.

For years, the WHO assessed countries’ readiness for a flu pandemic: The United States, European countries and even India ranked near the top. The U.S. readiness was 96%, and Britain at 93%.

On Jan. 30, 2020, WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak in China to be a global emergency. It would be months before the word “pandemic” became official.

But that same day, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations, or CEPI, was planning for the worst. CEPI announced “a call for proven vaccine technologies applicable for large scale manufacturing,” according to minutes from its scientific advisory group. CEPI said it would be critical “to support the strategy for global access” early in the game.

CEPI quickly invested in two promising coronavirus vaccines being developed by Moderna and CureVac.

“We said very early on that it would be important to have a platform where all countries could draw vaccines from, where there’s accountability and transparency,” said Christian Happi, a professor at Nigeria’s Redeemer’s University and a member of CEPI’s scientific advisory committee. “But the whole idea was that we thought rich countries would fund it for the developing world.”

Happi said officials never expected the pandemic would strike first and hardest in Europe and the U.S. Or that their assessment of preparedness in the world’s most advanced economies would prove horrifically optimistic.

Global health experts would soon come to realize that rich countries “could sign a piece of paper saying they believe in equity, but as soon as the chips are down, they will do whatever they want,” he said.

On March 16, five days after the global pandemic was declared, the novel mRNA vaccine developed by Moderna was injected into a trial participant for the first time.

By then, the disease was tearing through the elderly populations of Europe and the United States.
Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech were the first companies to come out with an mRNA vaccine, devising methods of mass production almost on the fly. Scientists at Britain’s Oxford University also came up with a vaccine with a more traditional platform, and Bill Gates brokered a deal for them to partner with AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical company with global reach but no experience in vaccine production.

On April 30, the deal was confirmed: AstraZeneca took sole responsibility for the global production and distribution of the Oxford vaccine and pledged to sell it for “a few dollars a dose.” Over the next few weeks, the U.S. and Britain secured agreements totaling 400 million doses from AstraZeneca.

The race to make and secure vaccines was on, and the United States and Britain were leagues in front of the rest of the world — a lead they wouldn’t lose. Still, both countries would see life expectancy decline by at least a year in 2020, the biggest drop since World War II. In the European Union, 22 countries saw their average lifespans cut short, with Italy leading the list.

But as grim as the situation was, all those countries had a major advantage: They were home to the pharmaceutical companies with the most promising vaccine candidates, the world’s most advanced production facilities, and the money to fund both.

On May 15, 2020, President Donald Trump announced Operation Warp Speed and promised to deliver vaccines against coronavirus by New Year’s. With unparalleled money and ambition behind the project, Warp Speed head Moncef Slaoui was more confident than his counterparts in Europe that a vaccine was in the offing. He signed contracts almost without regard to price or conditions.

“We were frankly focused on getting this as fast as humanly possible. If I had to redo it, I probably should have voiced more of a global dimension,” said Slaoui. “The operation had focused, which was frankly also part of its success, on staying out of the politics and making the vaccines.”

The idea of including clauses to ensure that vaccines would go to anyone besides Americans wasn’t even considered.

At the same time, the U.S. repeatedly invoked the Defense Production Act — 18 times under the Trump Administration and at least once under Biden. The moves barred exports of crucial raw materials as factories were ramping up production of the as-yet-unapproved vaccines — and eventually, of the vaccines themselves.

But it also meant those materials would run low in much of the rest of the world. The U.S. stranglehold would lift only in spring 2021, and only partially.

Operation Warp Speed supercharged the global race to secure vaccines, but it would still take another two weeks until COVAX — the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility — was formally announced as the entity to ensure equity, with the Serum Institute of India as the core supplier for the developing world.

COVAX had the backing of the World Health Organization, CEPI, vaccines alliance Gavi and the powerful Gates Foundation. What it did not have was cash, and without cash it could secure no contracts.

“Operation Warp Speed signed the first public deals and that started a chain reaction,” said Gian Gandhi, UNICEF’s COVAX coordinator for supply. “It was a like a rush on the banks, but to buy up the expected supply.”

Some involved in the COVAX project flagged India as a potential problem early on, according to minutes of meetings in late spring and early summer of 2020.

India’s government had blocked exports of protective gear, but many global health authorities who hadn’t fully grasped the extent of pandemic nationalism found it unimaginable that the country would block vaccines when the world was counting on them. Also, India had so far been spared the waves of death that were sweeping across Europe and the Americas.
A separate plan put forward by the government of Costa Rica and the World Health Organization to create a technology-sharing platform to expand vaccine production foundered. Not a single company agreed to share its blueprints, even for a fee — and no government pushed them behind the scenes, according to multiple people involved in the project.

On the global scale, the one organization that could have pushed for more technology sharing was the Gates Foundation, whose money to WHO nearly matches that of the U.S. government.

Instead, Bill Gates defended stringent intellectual property rights as the best way to speed innovation. His foundation poured money and influence into the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, which also failed to generate the money or influence needed to ramp up production outside already existing hubs.

In the United States, meanwhile, manufacturing and the trials went on in parallel, which is where taxpayers and the companies took enormous risks that paid off for both.

But in retrospect, Slaoui said, given the sheer amount of taxpayer money involved, each time they signed new contracts the U.S. and other countries could have pushed companies harder to share their knowledge, if only for the duration of the pandemic.

“From a geopolitical standpoint, it’s critical that they do that,” he said.

Nowhere was the situation more dire than Africa. In February, WHO’s African expert in vaccine development, Richard Mihigo, was among many who said the continent’s experience with other pandemics had uniquely prepared it for a complex vaccine deployment.
Five months later, contemplating the plight of a continent that gets 99% of its vaccines from abroad, Mihigo adds a rueful footnote: “One of the lessons we learned from this pandemic is how badly prepared we were in vaccine production in the region and how dependent we were on imports.”

Those imports have only barely begun to materialize — and they are insufficient to meet even the limited goals of the COVAX initiative to vaccinate at least 20% of the population of 92 low- and middle-income countries by the end of this year.