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Czech lawmakers approve compensation for religious groups for property seized by Communists

The lower house of Parliament has overruled an upper house veto and gave a green light to a plan by the center-right government to pay billions of dollars in compensation for property seized by the former totalitarian Communist regime.

Under the plan approved in a 102-1 vote early Thursday, the country's 17 churches would get 56 percent of their former property now held by the state — estimated at 75 billion koruna ($3.8 billion).

They would also get 59 billion koruna ($3 billion) in financial compensation over the next 30 years. The state, meanwhile, will gradually stop covering their expenses over the next 17 years.

Parliament's upper house, which is controlled by the left-wing opposition, rejected the plan in August.