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Dec 15, 2014 6:59 AM

Belgian strike paralyzes traffic, idles industry

The Associated Press

BRUSSELS (AP) A general strike in Belgium paralyzed air and rail traffic and idled companies throughout the country Monday, as trade unions capped a month of protests against government austerity policies.

Monday's strike targeted measures by the nation's business-friendly government to cut into employees' income, extend working hours and restrict social services. The strike also had an immediate international impact since it effectively shut down Brussels Airport, a busy hub with connections throughout Europe and beyond.

Airport spokeswoman Florence Muls said some 600 flights had been canceled, affecting 50,000 passengers.

The strike did not stop the European Union's foreign ministers from meeting at the European Council building in Brussels.

The series of labor actions, the toughest in years, started last month with a demonstration that drew 120,000 protesters.


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