Spanish government urges extension of state of alert

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The Spanish government on Tuesday called on parliament to extend until mid-January a state of alert over a wildcat strike by air traffic controllers, Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said.

"We agreed to ask Congress to extend the state of alert," Rubalcaba said at a news conference after a cabinet meeting.

The 15-day state of alert decreed on December 4 will be prolonged until January 15, he added.

The controllers called in sick en masse on December 3, rapidly shutting down the nation's airspace at the start of one of Spain's busiest holiday weekends in a protest over working hours and benefits, and disrupting the travel plans of hundreds of thousands of people.

© 2010 AFP

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