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Privatization bill passed in Cyprus despite controversy

NICOSIA -- Cyprus's parliament passed a controversial privatization bill Tuesday hours before a deadline to receive the next tranche of a 10-billion-euro (US$13.8 billion) international bailout. Following the vote, Nicosia can now expect to receive 230 million euros in rescue aid.

The bill passed during an emergency session by a vote of 30-26, with no abstentions, after MPs failed last week to adopt a previous version.

The government amended the bill to ensure it got a majority backing, because another rejection would have jeopardized the country's bailout program.

The amended bill said the terms and conditions of workers at the country's ports, power and telecoms authorities, which are earmarked for privatization, would be safeguarded.

Despite that, protesters gathered amid a heavy police presence for a second time in less than a week.

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