General strike shuts Belgian airspace, grounds flights

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All flights in and out of Belgium have been canceled until Wednesday night as public transport workers went on a 24-hour strike. Police, postal and hospital services will also be affected.

A general strike called by three unions, which are calling for higher wages, is expected to paralyse Belgium on Wednesday. The strike comes in response to a collapse in wage negotiations.

It said in a statement that it "does not have sufficient insight into the staffing levels during the industrial action that will start tonight".

In Belgium, workers do not have to say in advance whether or not they plan to work during trade union actions, making it hard for authorities to predict availability.

The decision to cancel all flights was taken because Skeyes does not know how many employees will take part in the strike, which means it's unclear if critical posts will be filled. Charleroi Airport, which is located in the southern part of the country and mostly serves low-priced carriers Ryanair and Wizz Air, will remain completely closed during its regular operating time from 6:30 am to 10 pm local time. Above that altitude, a control center in the Dutch city of Maastricht was controling aircraft flying above Belgian territory.

Westminster Kennel Club's annual dog show trots into to NY
Kent and Gwen Meyer, who own Meyer's Tails Up Farm in Belvidere, are heading to Westminster with two top-winning show dogs. Dogs from affenpinschers to Yorkshire terriers are rounding the rings at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show .

Brussels Airlines, the largest Belgian airline, has cancelled nearly all flights that will take off or land in Belgium on February 13, with the exception of very few flights to Africa, which are still scheduled to operate normally.

German carrier TUI fly operated its scheduled Belgian flights from the nearest French and Dutch airports.

Global trains like the Eurostar, Thalys and TGV services are unlikely to be disrupted.

All flights to and from Belgium will be suspended for 24 hours due to a national strike that includes air traffic control, according to local officials.

"We have no indication of any impact of the strike on the meeting", a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation official told AFP.

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