Iraqi gov't issues 2nd package of measures amid protests

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BAGHDAD, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi government on Tuesday issued a second package of measures to be undertaken in response to massive angry protests that swept across Iraq in the past few days, promising projects, land distributions and job opportunities.

A statement by the media office of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said among 13 measures to be undertaken by the state, a committee chaired by prime minister himself will be formed in order to distribute residential plots for Iraqi people.

About 12.6 million U.S. dollars will be allocated for a Ministry of Electricity project, where 3,000 poor families will receive solar systems as an alternate source of power for free, according to the statement.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Trade will facilitate procedures to register small ventures for young people, free from tax, and increase job opportunities for the country's unemployed youth. Projects include programming companies, waste recycling and cleaning companies, the statement said.

General Secretariat of Ministers Council will form provincial committees tasked with responding to protesters' demands and report back to the prime minister within a period of three months. Each committee will be chaired by a minister and its members will include the governor of the province and law makers from the provinces, as well as the provincial police commander.

Earlier in the day, the Iraqi parliament voted on the first package of reforms proposed by the government in response to massive outrage among Iraqis who took to the streets in nationwide protests against unemployment and corruption.

In a session chaired by Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi and attended by 212 lawmakers, parliament voted on recommendations of a parliamentary committee tasked with following protesters' demands, a statement by the parliament said.

Parliament decided to cancel the offices of general inspectors at ministries and freeze work of provincial councils, the statement said.

Late on Saturday, the Iraqi government responded to the raging masses by pledging stipends for poor unemployed people, more job opportunities as well as building housing complexes across Iraqi provinces.

The state promised pensions to be allocated to families of people died in the violence that accompanied the protests, and tens of thousands of released security members shall be re-contracted by authorities.

Last Tuesday, thousands of Iraqis took to the streets of Baghdad and other Iraqi provinces to voice their anger against the government amid deteriorating living standards and absence of improvement in public services.

However, violence accompanied the nationwide unrest, resulting in the death of 104 people and wounding of 6,000, including a minority of security forces, according to a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior.

Early on Friday morning, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi urged the protesters to calm in a televised speech, confirming that the demands of the masses for reforms have reached the government. Enditem

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