LONDON – The start of a three-day strike by cabin crew at British Airways spurred chaos and passenger angst on Saturday as union members promised more airline and rail walkouts in the coming weeks as Britain prepares for a hotly contested general election.
BA’s cabin crew are disputing a pay freeze and changes to working conditions. Their Unite union also says BA didn’t inform it of cost-cutting plans.
BA said it would handle as many as 49,000 passengers on both Saturday and today. That compares with the average 75,000 for a normal weekend day in March. At its Heathrow base, more than 60 percent of long-haul flights were operating, but only 30 percent of short-haul. At Gatwick, all long-haul flights and more than half the short-haul flights were running as normal, as were flights from London City airport.
Rallies decry Kremlin policies
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – Thousands of people have rallied across Russia to denounce the government’s economic policy and demand more freedom in a new challenge to the Kremlin reflecting increasing disillusionment and a growing potential for protests.
Many participants in Saturday’s rallies, dubbed the “Day of Wrath” by the opposition, demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
About 1,000 people demonstrated in St. Petersburg holding placards reading “Putin’s team must resign!”
Police barred protesters chanting anti-Putin slogans from holding a rally in downtown Moscow. City police spokesman Viktor Biryukov said 70 people had been detained for taking part.
Opposition activists have insisted the Russian constitution guarantees the right of assembly.
Volcano prompts flood fears
REYKJAVIK, Iceland – Authorities evacuated hundreds of people after a volcano erupted beneath a glacier in southern Iceland, the country’s civil protection agency said today.
The eruption occurred around 11:30 p.m. Saturday beneath the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, the fifth largest glacier in Iceland.The volcano is covered by an ice cap.
Fearing flooding from the glacial melt, authorities evacuated some 400 people in the area 100 miles southeast of the capital, Reykjavik, but officials said no damage or injuries have been reported.