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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Azerbaijan Helicopter Crash

BAKU, Azerbaijan -- A helicopter belonging to Azerbaijani Airlines crashed into the Caspian Sea, killing six people, a company official said Saturday.

The Mi-8T craft was taking off from an offshore floating drilling rig when it crashed into the sea Friday evening, airline spokesman Maharram Safarli said. Four crew members and two oil workers died, he said.

Crashes of the Mi-8 -- a workhorse helicopter used widely in civilian aviation and the military in the former Soviet Union -- occur frequently and often are blamed on poor maintenance and excessive age. (AP)

Amnesty Appeals to Azeris

BAKU, Azerbaijan -- Human rights group Amnesty International has made an appeal to the Azeri government to release two journalists imprisoned for writing a story critical of Islam.

Samir Sadagatoglu and Rafik Tagi wrote a story last year comparing Islam unfavorably with Christianity. A court sentenced them to four and three years in prison.

Last month the Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights, Thomas Hammarberg, called for the reporters' release and the U.S.-based Committee to Protest Journalists rated Azerbaijan as among the 10 worst countries for press freedom. (Reuters)