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Albanian Times, May 6, 1996

From: Albanian Times <AlbaTimes@aol.com>

The Albanian Times (by AlbAmerica TRade & Consulting International) Directory

CONTENTS

  • [01] Albanian Bourse-A Link to World Market, Official Says

  • [02] Italian Firms to Build Tourist Villages

  • [03] Lek's Value Falling

  • [04] Rights Group Protests Foreign Interference

  • [05] Government Denies Socialist Claim on Violent Attack

  • [06] 80 Years Old Land Mines Unearthed in Albania


  • [01] Albanian Bourse-A Link to World Market, Official Says

    TIRANA, May 3 - Albania's central bank governor Kristaq Luniku said the country's new stock exchange would give an impetus to economic reform and provide a link to capital markets abroad. ``It will...strengthen the treasury bill market by making the flow of capital for mass privatisation easier and ensuring important links for the Albanian economy with international capital markets,'' Luniku said in a speech on Thursday. The governor said the bourse would be an important source of information for investors and the business world and it would serve as an efficient way for the government to keep inflation at moderate rates. He gave no details. Albania's inflation rate in 1995 was 6.01 percent. Albania's first stock exchange opened in Tirana on Thursday, marking a further step in the transition of Europe's poorest economy to a free-market system. The bourse will trade treasury bills, securities and privatisation vouchers as well as foreign exchange. It will have two weekly sessions, on Mondays and Thursdays. (Albanian Times/Reuters)

    [02] Italian Firms to Build Tourist Villages

    Two Italian companies have plans to build tourist villages in Ksamil, southern Albania. STT and Torcello Holding said the two tourist villages that will flank each-other will offer about 1,000 beds and will be complete with sweaming pools, golf courses and a boat area. The construction, a $35 million investment, is expected to last three years and will employ 300-400 local people. (Albanian Times)

    [03] Lek's Value Falling

    The Albanian Lek has reached its lowest value in exchange with other currencies since 1992. Last week, one US dollar was exchanged at 110 Leks down from about 100 Leks more than a month ago. The Lek's value has been low since the beginning of May, an unexpected drop after 4 years of relative stability. Analists blame the fall on the new monetary relationships emerging in the country and the political insecurity ahead of the national elections. Many traders are dumping leks in exchange of more stable foreign currencies. In February Albania's central bank intervened after the Lek demonstrated similar weaknesses, but the currency rebounced quickly to previous levels. At that time, officials played down the fluctuation of the Lek, expressing confidence that last year's low inflation was a guarantee to stability in the currency market. Albania's inflation rate in 1995 was 6,01 percent, down from a forecast 10 percent and the budget deficit is said to be under control. (Albanian Times)

    [04] Rights Group Protests Foreign Interference

    TIRANA, May 5 - Albania's Helsinki Committee has protested statements by visiting foreign personalities as election support for the ruling Democratic Party. The human rights group said their speeches on the Democrats' campaign trail contravened Albania's electoral law which prohibits ``persons not holding Albanian citizenship from conducting an election campaign.'' The group was referring to Michel Pericard, parliamentary head of France's ruling Rally for the Republic (RPR), who has publicly expressed support for the ruling Democrats ahead of May 26 elections. Democratic Party chairman, Tritan Shehu defended Pericard's visit. Mr. Pericard told reporters on Sunday the criticism would not end his support for the conservative ally's struggle against a communist resurgence in Albania. Last week he spoke at rallies for Albanian President Sali Berisha's Democratic Party. ``The practice of conducting the political debate by engaging personalities from abroad runs counter to Albanian law,'' the rights watchdog said in a statement. Pericard told reporters he was amused by the Helsinki Committee's statement. ``The participants in the rallies understood very well that I was French and this didn't bother them,'' he said. ``Democracy means respect and tolerance and this means that no one can be banned from speaking.'' "If coming out of communism one day means returning to it the next, then this would be a fatal defeat for all of Europe,'' Pericard said. Albania has been visited recently by several high personalities, including Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro and former German President Richard von Weiszaecker, all expressing support for the Democratic Party's government. (Albanian Times/Reuters)

    [05] Government Denies Socialist Claim on Violent Attack

    TIRANA, May 4 - The Albanian government on Saturday denied an opposition Socialist Party claim it had instigated a violent attack by plain-clothed police against leaders of the rival party ahead of elections on May 26. The Socialists said plain-clothed police hurling stoned had smashed car windows in a convoy carrying party leaders to a rally in Burrel, 100 km (60 miles) northeast of Tirana. But an interior ministry spokesman denied the claims, saying the Socialists had twisted the truth to incriminate police and the government of President Sali Berisha. ``The Socialist Party has distorted the events according to their taste,'' said the ministry statement, carried by the official ATA news agency. ``Accompanied by their illegal bodyguards, (the Socialists) broke road traffic rules and called passersby ``fascists' and ``dogs', and this led a group of children bewildered by their actions to stone the rebel cars,'' the spokesman said. The Socialist Party accused the government of instigating the violence which they said injured several people and left a driver in serious condition. They said they had filed a legal complaint. (Albanian Times/Reuters)

    [06] 80 Years Old Land Mines Unearthed in Albania

    TIRANA, May 4 - Albanian police unearthed 200 landmines dating back over 80 years to the Austro-Hungarian empire, the daily Gazeta Shqiptare reported on Saturday. Construction workers had found the mines buried at a depth of one and a half metres in central Albania. ``Even an amateur could see the mines were very old and had become completely rusty from such a long time under ground,'' it said, adding they were still dangerous and could explode. An inhabitant of Kavaja, 50 km (31 miles) west of Tirana said his father had bought the mines from the Austro-Hungarian army early this century, using their bronze and lead parts for his trade, the paper reported.

    The material was reprinted with permission of AlbAmerica Trade & Consulting
    International. For more information on ATCI and the Albanian Times, please
    write to AlbaTimes@aol.com
    Copyright © ATCI, 1996

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