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WORLD IN BRIEF: Iraqi premier says he'll cut his salary by half

Iraqi premier says he’ll cut his salary by half

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s prime minister said Friday he’ll return half of his annual salary to the public treasury in a symbolic gesture that appeared calculated to insulate himself from the anti-government unrest spreading across the Middle East.

It was a stunning statement for Nouri al-Maliki, who has resisted disclosing his pay in the five years he has led Iraq. He described it as an effort to narrow the gap between the nation’s rich and poor.

Coming in the wake of popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, however, al-Maliki also seemed to be shielding himself from public bitterness over Iraq’s sagging economy and electricity shortages.

Car bomb explodes near Afghan police chief’s house

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — A suicide car bomb struck outside the house of the police chief in southern Afghanistan’s largest city Friday, wounding at least two people. It was the second attack on him this week.

Chief Khan Mohammad Mujahid was inside the house but wasn’t hurt when the bomb went off. He said he believes the attack was aimed at him following efforts by his force and the NATO-led coalition to root out Taliban insurgents in areas surrounding Kandahar city.

‘‘They want to scare the people from joining the government,’’ Mujahid said.

U.S. and NATO officials have said they believe they are making progress in routing insurgents from Kandahar city and its environs since a surge of forces into the area this past summer.

Somali ax man gets 9 years for cartoonist attack

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A Somali man convicted of terrorism for breaking into the home of a Danish cartoonist who had caricatured the Prophet Muhammad was sentenced Friday to nine years in prison.

The Aarhus city court ruled that Muhideen Mohammed Geelle should be expelled from Denmark after serving his sentence.

Defense lawyer Niels Christian Strauss told The Associated Press he had launched an appeal against the conviction and sentence.

The 29-year-old entered cartoonist Kurt Westergaard’s home armed with an ax on New Year’s Day 2010. Westergaard locked himself inside a panic room and was unharmed.

— From wire reports