Portuguese parliament approves bill to probe deadly forest fires

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Portuguese parliament passed a bill on Friday to create an independent commission to investigate the cause of the devastating forest fires in central Portugal earlier this month.

Portuguese Lusa News Agency said the bill was voted in favor by the ruling Socialist Party and the largest opposition Social Democratic Party, CDS-PP and the Left Bloc. The Portuguese Communist Party voted against it with abstention from the Green Party and People-Animal- and Nature.

The independent technical commission will be formed by 12 experts, six of them to be appointed by the speaker of parliament, and the rest by the Council of Rectors of Portuguese Universities (CRUP).

The investigation of the commission will focus on causes of the devastating fires, which erupted on June 17 in Pedrogao Grande, some 150 km northeast of Lison, claiming at least 64 lives, and injuring more than 250 others.

The commission will submit a report to the parliament when their work is completed.

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