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Germany

Tougher Air Safety Rules Spark Debate

A proposed packet of legislation aimed at increasing the security of German air space is being met with harsh criticism by members of the Green party. Following a psychiatrically-disturbed small-plane pilot's attempt to fly into a Frankfurt high-rise building last January, government officials have proposed new draft legislation to give the defence department more options should a plane threaten innocent civilians on the ground. Among the most controversial of the many proposals is one giving the defence minister -- in extreme circumstances outlined in the legislation -- the right to order a plane shot. Volker Beck, the manger of parliamentary affairs for the Green party, has denounced the draft as a "license to kill" and says that at best new regulations can establish a chain-of-command to decide what to do in emergency situations, but it can't foresee each and every eventuality in specifics and prescribe what to do.