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Spain to extend state of alarm for safe air traffic

12-15-2010 09:05 BJT

MADRID, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- The Spanish Government decided on Tuesday to extend the State of Alarm imposed on December 4 until January 15 in order to ensure safe air traffic over Christmas period.

The decision was adopted at an emergency cabinet meeting on Tuesday evening and is expected to be approved by parliament Thursday with the support of parties such as Basque nationalists, PNV and the Catalans, CiU.

The State of Alarm was originally imposed on December 4 as a result of the wildcat strike called by the country's air-traffic controllers.

The strike closed Spain's airspace and airports for around 20 hours and caused chaos that affected over 300,000 travelers on a holiday weekend.

By calling the State of Alarm, the government placed the striking air-traffic controllers, who earn an average annual salary of around 400,000 U.S. dollars a year, under military jurisdiction with failure to obey orders punishable by a possible prison sentence.

It was the first time a State of Alarm has been called since the return of democracy to Spain and the Spanish Constitution allows that condition to last for 15 days.

The current State of Alarm will expire on December 19, but with the Christmas holiday season just around the corner, the government is not prepared to risk any further disruption.

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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