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Greek Lawmakers To Fast-Track Raft of Reforms

Greek lawmakers are to fast-track an enormous bill needed for the country to complete a third review of its  bailout program.
The 400-article, 1,326-page bill includes several thorny issues that opposition parties are likely to vote against.
It will be introduced to parliamentary committees at 3 p.m. local time on Wednesday where it will be discussed over three sessions before it is sent to the plenum on Friday.
The debate will conclude on Monday (Jan. 15) and will be voted on later in the day.
A last-minute amendment included in the bill abolishes auctions of foreclosed homes in courts and establishes only online auctions, effective Feb. 21.
Other measures to be voted on include a change of dividends to families with more than three children; the criteria will be stricter and the dividends will be given to families with incomes lower than that specified in current legislation.
An article that has been fiercely opposed by leftist parties is a stricter law on strike action, which will make it harder for labor unions to take industrial action, requiring them to win the backing of 50% plus one of active members.
Shares in 14 public utility companies will pass to the new independent privatization fund, the Public Holdings Company, or EDIS.
Further amendments are on the hours of operation of pharmacies; new criteria on bakery licenses; changes in the powers given to economic-crime police; licenses for four new casinos in Florina, Santorini, Mykonos and Crete; plus new legislation for consumer protection.

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