'Libyan gov't announces increase in wages, food subsidies'

Reports say Gaddafi will raise public sector wages to 150% in bid to maintain power; UNSC set to discuss arms embargo, sanctions on Libya; videos show evidence of mass executions as unrest enters 9th day.

February 25, 2011 12:18
3 minute read.
Anti-Gaddafi gunmen in Libya

Anti-Gaddafi gunmen in Libya 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)


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In a bid to hold on to power, the Libyan government announced on Friday that it plans to raise wages, increase food subsidies and give special allowances for all families, according to Reuters quoting Libyan TV reports.

The reports said that every family will receive about $400 to help cover increased food prices, and that salaries for some public sector workers would increase by 150 percent.

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US, allies pressure Gaddafi to halt Libya violence
Gaddafi blames Osama bin Laden for unrest in Libya

As unrest in the North African country enters its ninth day, the UN Security Council was scheduled to meet Friday afternoon to discuss a proposal backed by France and Britain for sanctions against Libyan leaders over the recent violence against demonstrators in the North African country.

The French and British plan to ask the UN for an arms embargo and financial sanctions against Libya, and intend to take Libyan leaders to the International Criminal Court over crimes against humanity, according to Reuters.

Although no vote is expected on a sanctions resolution, Western diplomats told Reuters they hope for quick negotiations on the document next week.

Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Friday called an emergency NATO council meeting to discuss the situation in Libya, reported Reuters.

"It's a bit premature to go into specifics but it's well-known that NATO has assets that can be used in a situation like this and NATO can act as an enabler and coordinator if and when individual member states want to take action," Rasmussen was quoted as saying.

As the fighting appears to be nearing the capital, former Libyan justice minister Mustafa Abdel Galil, who resigned from his post earlier this week, warned on Friday that Gaddafi may use biological and chemical weapons against civilians, according to an Al Jazeera report.

"We call on the international community and the UN to prevent Gaddafi from going on with his plans in Tripoli," Galil told Al Jazeera.

"At the end when he’s really pressured, he can do anything. I think Gaddafi will burn everything left behind him."

Galil's comments come after evidence of mass executions by government forces emerged in recent days based on videos uploaded on YouTube.

The clips show dead and bloody bodies of people who are reportedly soldiers, after they were executed for refusing to shoot demonstrators. Other videos showed civilians preparing mass graves in Libya. The videos come amid reports Thursday that as many as 2,000 people have been killed in the Libyan unrest.

After heavy fighting continued Thursday, reports said Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was preparing soldiers for a fight over Tripoli on Friday.

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turmoil in the Middle East

Earlier, the Libyan government appeared to have lost control of much of the eastern part of the nation while protestors claimed new gains in cities and towns closer to the heart of Gaddafi's regime in the capital.

Among the gains, protesters said they had taken over Misrata, which would be the largest city in the western half of the country to fall into their hands.

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