Strikes Threaten World Cup

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PARIS: France's roundup of suspected Islamic terrorists two weeks ago hasn't stopped the World Cup from being taken hostage -- by the country's own workers. With the crippling Air France pilots' strike in Day 5 and Paris subway and train drivers walking off the job along with airport baggage handlers and mechanics and employees in the electrical, gas, hotel and retail industries, the event could turn into a nightmare for fans.

"French workers are firing a warning shot across the government's bow, showing how disruptive they can be," says TIME correspondent Bruce Crumley. While most of the other strikers are simply beating their chests, the pilots have caused serious damage by grounding most flights of the tournament's official carrier. While a compromise is reportedly within sight, the situation remains unpredictable. "Everyone wants a resolution before next week when the tournament begins," says Crumley, "but it's hard to predict the behavior of people who are capable of such cynicism -- after all, these pilots are among the best-paid in the world."