August 16th, 2010
06:20 AM ET

World update: Strike threatens to close UK airports

An update from the CNN newsdesk in London on some of the stories we're following on Monday:

Strike talks - Talks are being held today in the UK between the trade union Unite and representatives from the company BAA in order to try to avoid a strike by airport workers. BAA operates six airports in the UK and if the strike goes ahead, it will cause chaos for European passengers as Heathrow, Edinburgh and Glasgow are among the airports that would have to close.

South Africa press - South Africa prides itself on having one of the most aggressive and free presses on the continent. But this could change if the ruling party gets its way. Embarrassed by media allegations of corruption and mismanagement, the ANC is trying to push through a bill which opposition parties and press watchdogs say will criminalize investigative journalism. Under the new proposal journalists can be jailed for up to 25 years if found in possession of classified state information.

Northern Ireland economy - Northern Ireland has been one of the regions in the UK worst hit by economic uncertainty. Still a fledgling economy struggling to regain momentum after years of conflict, house prices have plummeted and jobless figures have risen. But is this economic uncertainty contributing to the escalation of sectarian violence as disillusioned young people are vulnerable to extremist elements preying for new members?

Mosque or Cathedral? For Muslims, Cordoba in Spain is seen as a center of learning and a symbol of Islam’s Golden Age. But Cordoba’s famous mosque – a historic masterpiece of Islamic architecture - is now a Christian cathedral. That has sparked debate among Spanish Muslims who are now demanding the right to pray there. But the local government and Spain’s Catholic Church have rejected their appeals. Can Cordoba’s Mezquita be both a mosque and a cathedral? 

Israeli PM in Greece - Benjamin Netanyahu is due in Athens Monday on the first visit by an Israeli prime minister to Greece.

Female gondolier - Giorgia Boscolo spent hundreds of hours on the Venice canals, learning the intricate waterways and how to handle and steer a distinctive banana-shaped boat, according to Italy's ANSA news agency. Her effort paid off. This week, Boscolo passed her final exam and is likely to become Venice's first-ever female gondolier.

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