Azerbaijan apologizes after two killed in shooting down of Russian helicopter

Azerbaijan apologizes after two killed in shooting down of Russian helicopter
A view shows what is said to be a crash site following the downing of a Russian military Mi-24 helicopter at an unknown location in Armenia, in this handout photo released November 9, 2020. (Reuters/Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Republic of Armenia)
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Updated 10 November 2020

Azerbaijan apologizes after two killed in shooting down of Russian helicopter

Azerbaijan apologizes after two killed in shooting down of Russian helicopter
  • Armenian and Azerbaijani forces have been fighting for six weeks over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh

BAKU: Azerbaijan admitted on Monday it had shot down a Russian military helicopter on its border with Armenia and apologized.
Two crew members were killed and a third was injured when the helicopter was shot down in Armenia near the border with Azerbaijan on Monday, the defense ministry in Moscow said.
“The Azerbaijani side offers an apology to the Russian side in connection with this tragic incident,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, adding the move was an accident and “not aimed against” Moscow.
The foreign ministry said the helicopter flew at a low altitude during hours of darkness and close to the state border between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
“Helicopters of the Russian air force had not been previously sighted in the area,” the statement added.
Baku said Azerbaijani forces decided to open fire due to heightened tensions amid fighting with Armenian separatists.
It offered its condolences to the families of those killed and said it was ready to pay compensation.
The incident came during a spike in fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenian separatists over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.


UK scientists warn too early to tell if new COVID-19 variant more deadly

UK scientists warn too early to tell if new COVID-19 variant more deadly
Updated 43 min 47 sec ago

UK scientists warn too early to tell if new COVID-19 variant more deadly

UK scientists warn too early to tell if new COVID-19 variant more deadly
  • PM Boris Johnson had previously said evidence showed higher mortality rate 
  • Top medics have said it is “too early” to say whether the variant carries with it a higher mortality rate

LONDON: The discovery of a new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) variant in the UK should not alter the response to the pandemic, scientists say, despite fears that it could prove more deadly.
Top medics have said it is “too early” to say whether the variant, thought to be up to 70 percent more transmissible, carries with it a higher mortality rate.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed there was “some evidence” the variant had “a higher degree of mortality” at a press conference on Friday, Jan. 22, with the UK’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, adding it could be up to 30 percent more deadly. 
That came after a briefing by the UK government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) said there was a “realistic possibility” of an increased risk of death.
Prof. Peter Horby, Nervtag’s chairman, said: “Scientists are looking at the possibility that there is increased severity ... and after a week of looking at the data we came to the conclusion that it was a realistic possibility.
“We need to be transparent about that. If we were not telling people about this we would be accused of covering it up.”
But infectious disease modeller Prof. Graham Medley, one of the authors of the Nervtag briefing, told the BBC: “The question about whether it is more dangerous in terms of mortality I think is still open.
He added: “In terms of making the situation worse it is not a game changer. It is a very bad thing that is slightly worse.”
Dr. Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling for the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, said he was “quite surprised” Johnson had made the claim.
“I just worry that where we report things pre-emptively where the data are not really particularly strong,” he added.