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ATCI: Albanian Times, 98-01-06
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From: AlbAmerica Trade & Consulting International <http://www.worldweb.net/~ww1054/>
Albanian Times Vol. IV, No. 1
January, 6 1998
 UNDP to Increase Assistance to Albania in 98TIRANA, January 4 - UNDP and other United Nations agencies operating in Albania, have pledged increased assistance to Albania during 1998, UNDP said in a year-end statement.
The report says that the UN family of agencies operating in Albania offered humanitarian and emergency aid to Albania to overcome the crisis at the beginning of 1997. In 1998 UNDP will focus on three traditional fields: easing the poverty, creating jobs and stable living conditions and helping in public administration and governing. Environment and women will also be part of the UNDP programs.
 Albania to Boost Chrome ExtractionTIRANA, January 5 - Chrome reserves in Albania are estimated at 37 million tones. During 1987-90 about 1 million tons were extracted, but later production fell due to economic relocations. In 1997 about 157 thousand tons were extracted. Around 23 thousand tons of ferro chrome were produced. In the last 5 years, Albkrom (The Albanian Chrome Mining Company) has suffered losses estimated at $12 million. Improvements have been planned for 1998 aiming at promoting chrome production. In 1998, Albkrom expects to extract 215 thousand tons of ore. The expected ferro-chrome production is estimated at 42 thousand tons.
 Greece to Continue Support for Albanian ArmyTIRANA, December 30 - Greece pledged Tuesday to continue supporting Albania militarily because it considered its neighbor to be a strategic partner in the Balkans. ``The cooperation between our countries is not casual, it is not influenced by special individuals ... but it is a cooperation with a strategic character,'' Greek Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, on a two- day visit to Albania, told a news conference. Athens would continue support for Albania's Durres and Sarande naval bases, provide logistic support for two brigades, improve infrastructure at Rinasi military airport and help organize the Albanian army, he said. Athens would also assist Tirana with funds to build housing for army officers and increase cooperation for reviving Albania's military industry.
 Albania to Get a Constitution in 1998 - PM SaysTIRANA, December 31 - Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano has said he is determined to give the country a new constitution next year as the lack of one drove the nation to political and economic crisis earlier this year. ``We cannot afford to lose time because this cycle of crisis to stability and vice versa.... has been provoked by the void left by having no constitution,'' Nano said in a televised speech late on Tuesday. Albania has been governed by a package of constitutional laws since 1993 after it scrapped its communist constitution of 1974. Communism was toppled in December 1990 and two years later former president Sali Berisha's Democratic Party swept to power, defeating Nano's Socialists. Nano said the Albanian people would be able to vote on a new constitution in a referendum next year.
 USAID to Build Computer Center at Tirana University HospitalTIRANE, January 2 - USAID has committed $30,000 to establish a computer center in Tirana's Hospital University Center, ATA said. The program will be materialized through AIHA, a Washington based private group that has been working with Albania for several years. According to Pirro Prifti, of the Albanian Health Ministry, the center will facilitatey communications among hospitals in Albania and would enhance cooperation with other health care systems in the world.
 British Charity to Help Albanian HospitalsTIRANA, January 2 - ADRA, a British Charity Association has pledged a supply of equipment worth 300 million Leks to Tirana hospital and to seven other districts, the Ministry of Health said. John Arthur, Association's representative agreed that ADRA would cover urgent demands for X-Ray and surgery equipment. The equipment would be distributed to hospitals in Tirana, Tepelena, Durres, Vlore, Berat, Ballsh, Sarande and Puke.
 Private Companies Involved in Illegal Sale of ChromiumTROPOJE, January 2 - Albanian officials say several companies in Tropoje and Kukes have been involved in the illegal sale of Chromium ore last year, taking advantage of the unrest that swept the country. Three such companies continue this activity even today in Kukes' Kam mine due to lax controls, officials told ATA. "The economic damage amounts to $75,000," they added.
 Italian Companies Resume Activity in ShkoderSHKODER, January 2 - Two Italian firms in the northern city of Shkoder, Kausal and Mega have resumed production after an interruption caused by the unrest that swept Albania in March 1997. Kausal - a garment company and Mega - a shoe manufacturer, employed 170 people. In the past four years, 47 foreign firms hd been operating in the district of Shkoder, mainly in garment, silver craft, and building materials. Since March 97, only 12 of them have been able to resume activity.
 Albania, Greece Sign Transportation AccordTIRANA, January 2 - An agreement signed in Athens by the end of 1997 adjusts the cooperation between Albania and Greece in the field of road, goods and passengers transportation, the Albanian Foreign Ministry quoted by ATA said. Both sides agreed that Albania would take part in the inter- European road system with the roads Durres-Kapshtice,
Kapshtice-Siatista and Ormenio-Burgas which will link Albania with the Black Sea.
 Officials Plan Rehabilitation of Iron - Nickel Industry in 98TIRANA, January 1 - In Albania, efforts are underway to reactivate the stagnant iron-nickel industry, officials said. Albania plans to materialize agreements with the Swiss "Marc Rich" company which is studying a partial rehabilitation of the decrepit metallurgic plant in Elbasan.
Also, cooperation is underway with the Greek "Arco" company to exploit the Bitincka mine in Devoll district.
 Pilot Companies Facing Huge DebtsTIRANA, January 3 - Three pilot energy enterprises in Vlora, Elbasan and Shkodra are the
principal debtors to the Albanian Energetic Corporation (KESH), with debts estimated at 1,007 million Leks. In 1997, the companies paid only seven percent of the energy bills to KESH.
The World Bank, which has helped set up the pilot enterprises with 30 percent of private shares is studying the situation and will decide on whether the project should continue.
This material was reprinted with permission of AlbAmerica Trade and Consulting International (ATCI). For more information on ATCI and the Albanian Times, please write to AlbaTimes@aol.com.
Copyright © ATCI, 1998