Iraq moves to head off demonstrations as protester killed

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BAGHDAD – Iraq scrambled to head off further protests on Monday by cutting politicians’ pay and ramping up support for the needy after a teenage demonstrator was killed at a rally in the country’s north. Protests in recent weeks have taken place nationwide, in Iraq’s Sunni, Shiite and Kurd areas, railing against corruption, high levels of unemployment and poor provision of basic services such as clean water and electricity.
On Monday, the Iraqi government said it would postpone the implementation of a planned law that would increase import tariffs, a day after MPs cut their salaries and those of ministers and raised funds allocated to a ration card programme that provides food for six million families.
“Parliament is working to achieve all the demands of the population,” Osama al-Nujaifi, the speaker of the Council of Representatives, told a Baghdad news conference on Monday after lawmakers approved the 2011 budget.