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World Travel Watch

Canceled flights emphasize alert; French rails get tense

Email|Print| Text size + By Larry Habegger and James O'Reilly
Globe Correspondents / January 4, 2004

Air security: The cancellation over Christmas of six Paris-to-Los Angeles Air France flights, combined with reports that terrorists may have infiltrated foreign flight crews, raises the specter of a 9/11-like attack. Effective last week, the United States is requiring all foreign airlines to put armed guards on flights over its airspace if its terrorism officials deem such action necessary. Earlier, the United Kingdom had tightened security for trans-Atlantic flights and said it was considering putting armed sky marshals on some planes.

France: Strikes by national railway workers are probable this month because management rejected union demands for pay raises retroactive to 2003. One union has been calling for a strike on Jan. 21. Rail strikes in France dramatically disrupt travel throughout the country.

Persian Gulf: The State Department warned that it had received information of a terrorist threat in Bahrain, but did not give specific details. The announcement advises Americans to remain vigilant in public places where Westerners congregate. Meanwhile, the British government warned that attacks in Saudi Arabia could be ''in the final stages of preparation."

Editor's note: Because conditions can change overnight, always make your own inquiries before you leave home. From the United States, contact the State Department via phone (888-407-4747; 317-472-2328; 202-647-5225), fax (202-647-3000), or website (http://travel.state.gov); abroad, check in with the nearest US embassy or consulate.

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