Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sistani calls for progress

'The spiritual leader of Iraq's Shiite majority urged politicians on Saturday to slash their benefits and improve public services, a day after thousands took part in a deadly nationwide "Day of Rage".

The cabinet is to dedicate its meeting on Sunday to the issues raised in the Friday protests, while a human rights group said investigations had to be opened into the deaths of demonstrators who rallied against high levels of corruption, unemployment and poor public services.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said the government needed to make progress on improving power supplies, providing food for the needy, creating jobs and combating corruption.

He also called on Iraq's leaders to "cancel unacceptable benefits" given to current and former politicians, and said they must "not invent unnecessary government positions that cost Iraq money".'

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