They discussed the situation in Kosova and the possibility of a peaceful solution to its issue. b.j/p.ta/lm/z/
At the moment of arrest, the police sequestered two revolvers, an automatic with silencer, several cartridges, an amount of foreign currency and other things in a villa in Tirana where the group lived.
Only in November, within two days, the group sent 10 bills worth 10 000 dollars each in the address of Santa Cruiz in Bolivia. The bills were signed by Trojano Karlos, with destination Jorge Antonio Flores.
The group has carried out his activity under cover of computer fortune games in Tirana and in several districts of Albania. eva/lm/Z/
During the period prior to these campaigns the Socialist Party through vouchers gathered large amounts of money reaching the figure around 375 million leks and 22 million drachmas.
"The pyramid" of socialists has been multiplied in the pyramid of the "Populli" firm.
So, the paper says further on that people charged with the collection of financial aid for the SP turn out to be the most powerful clients of the "Populli" firm.
They, through initial obligations, have attracted the millions from the people who had trusted their money to the "Populli" foundation.
However, the paper says, the lists of clients of this company also include many widely known names, mainly of the left parties such as the SP, Agrarian Party and others. jz/lm/Z/
The aim of this draft-law is to consolidate the pluralist spectrum as well as to facilitate the activities of the political parties that could not meet the conditions of the electoral law and that of local government elections, according to which they should win over three per cent of the votes in the parliamentary elections and over one per cent of the votes in the local government elections.
Also, the parliament approved the draft-law on the adherence of the Republic of Albania to the Conventions of the International Labor Organisations as well as the decree on a change to the law of the Value Added Tax (VAT). The decree exempts from the VAT kerosene and liquid gas.
The draft-law on a change to the law "On customs estimation" was as well approved. jz/lm/e
In an interview with the weekly Montenegrin newspaper "Monitor", he says that he admires the imagination of the Belgrade demonstrators.
Speaking of his support of the Belgrade protesters, although they have made no statement on Kosova, Demaci said: "Albanians should not think that what is taking place in Serbia is an internal affair of it because their destiny is decisively linked with that of the Serb people, and they should necessarily take part in the events in Serbia."
He says that democracy has not existed in Serbia since 1878, when the Serb state was created. "The regimes replaced one another, but there has been no democracy," Demaci says adding that the Kosova issue is not explained properly.
"Albanians should be part of the democratic movement in Serbia, contribute to it as well as make demands," Demaci says adding that "fighting for their own rights the Albanians fight for Serbia's democratisation, as well."
He says that the minimum demand of the Albanians should be the confederation, which he believes to be "a great allowance for the Serb people."
Demaci says that he has openly negotiated with the Serb opposition as he has many friends among the organisers of the demonstrations.
He says that he has been four times in Belgrade over the last two months and wishes that the Serb opposition comes to power and "prepare for a democratic solution of the Kosova issue."
Demaci, chairman of the Council for the Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms in Kosova, has served 28 years in the Serb jails.
Several years ago the European Parliament awarded Demaci the Sakharov prize." cela/pas/E
The paper says that the police operation aims at clearing up the enigma of robbing hundreds upon thousands of Albanians of their money through the pyramid schemes of these two foundations. This is considered one of the biggest financial crimes in the history of Albania.
The 250 million dollars of these foundations have been frozen In the National Bank by a decision of the Albanian government, while police have found some five million dollars in their affiliates in districts.
The money, offices and luxury villas of the participants of these firms have as well been sequestered.
The president of the "Xhaferri" Foundation, Xhaferri, who according to some newspapers has been arrested of late, has told the police that he has applied a pyramid scheme and that his foundation has operated without any initial basic capital.
Also, according to the confessions at police station by the president of the "Populli" foundation, B. Driza, his foundation has functioned based on the pyramid scheme, in which one fourth of the citizens wins and three fourth of them fail. Driza has also said that he has had no basic capital and is not able to pay his clients according to the contract.
The two aforesaid foundations originate from the foundation "Demokracia Popullore", led by Xhaferri. Driza, one of the former officials of Xhaferri, separated from the "Demokracia Popullore" foundation and created the "Populli" foundation.
The separation took place in order to avoid an earlier explosion of the "Xhaferri" pyramid and greatly enlarged the foundation of each of the pyramids, inevitably increasing the number of the victims of these foundations, the paper says. jz/lm/E
The article entitled:"Kosova has the right to self-determination" covers the meeting of Foreign Minister Shehu with his Portuguese counterpart Gama in Lisbon.
The paper says that while the opposition rejects being organiser of the January 19 protest, it calls for other rallies.
Rilindja Demokratike carries an interview with Adem Demaci with the weekly Montenegrin newspaper "Monitor" entitled:"Albanians who fear that Milosevic will open a front in Kosova are cowards".
The paper carries an interview with Vebi Alimuca, president of the VEFA company with this newspaper under the headline:"I hail the creation of the Transparence Commission".
Zeri i Popullit under the title:"Xhaferri and Driza in prison" says that the two presidents of the socalled charitable foundations, "Xhaferri" and "Populli" face trial.
"The state against the opposition" says the newspaper regarding the summoning to the prosecutor's office of the opposition leader, Mejdani, accused of organising the January 19 protest.
Republika reports on the arrest of the two presidents of the the "Xhaferri" and "Populli" foundations. Under the title:"The RP chairman with many powers and mandates" covers yesterday's meeting of the National Council of the RPA.
Rilindja reports that "Life in Kosova is complicating". The paper covers the German, French and Italian press on the events in Kosova.
Albania, under the headline "'Spider' operation destroys fraudulent pyramids" carries the article:"150 000 Albanians save they money from robbing". "Milosevic turns his eyes to Kosova", is the title of the paper's editorial.
Koha Jone, regarding the arrest of the two presidents of the "Populli" and "Xhaferri" foundation, says:"The bosses of usuries arrested".
The paper entitles its editorial:"Usuries, fault and the IMF".
Gazeta Shqiptare reports on this problem under the title:"The bosses of the 'usury' business arrested". The paper speaks of the report of the chairman of the State Control, Blerim Cela, on the activity of 1996 to be presented in parliament today.
Dita Informacion, under the title:"Police blitz operation all over Albania", reports on the arrest of the bosses of the "Xhaferri" and "Populli" foundations. eva/lm/Z/
Anyhow, the phenomenon of usuries appeared in the first years of this century - continues the paper. In 1927, a trader from Gjirokastra (Southern Albania) disappeared with some 10 000 gold napoleons collected from southern citizens. He gathered the money to give returns of 6 per cent. Such sensational stories (which ended with the disappearance of the swindler from the city) had also happened in Elbasan and Shkoder (respectively Middle and Southern Albania), mainly during the years '30 and the World War II.
But the most well-known story of pyramids is "Sejdia", which happened at the beginning of years '90. Ajdin Sejdia, presented as a powerful businessman, after gathering some 3 million dollars, disappeared after his extradition in Switzerland, and suddenly in 1996, when people had lost hopes to take their money abck, the name of "Sejdia" appeared again in Albania, returning the debts.
Some socialists motivate the return of his money with a secret financement from the current pyramids in order to consolidate the trust of people in them. The hypothesis becomes true when thinking that the money were returned at a moment when pyramids Xhaferri and Populli were blooming. The return of money from Sejdia encouraged thousands of people to deposit their money in these two firms - ends the paper./jz/mt/sh/
An extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers, held Thursday under the direction of Premier Meksi, approved the draft-law to ban pyramid schemes, Premier press and information office reports.
The approval of this draft-law became necessary to protect the interests of individuals from the use of luring and concealed forms of illegal and massive embezzlement of citizens' savings, and to prevent them from being used in Albania again.
The draft-law to abolish the pyramid schemes was immediately pushed through parliament for approval today.
It is expected the draft-law to be approved in the afternoon sitting of the People's Assembly./jz/mt/sh/
The charge d'affaires of the Rumanian Embassy, Mr. Gheorghe Bucura, responding to the journalists' questions, spoke about the current situation in Rumania.
With regard to the education sector, he stressed the bilateral cooperation, mentioning over 600 Albanians who study in Rumanian high schools and universities./kled/mt/sh/
Regarding the relations with Albania, the Portuguese party stressed that the good political will should respond to direct concrete cooperation, based on a coherent information to know the capacity of both countries.
Minister Shehu spoke about the potential reserves that Albania offers as a partner in fields like agriculture, mines, tourism, infrastructure etc.
The achievement of a new Accord with the European Union is considered as an important step towards the full integration of Albania in EU, which would increase the bilateral exchanges with Portugal, as an EU member country, stressed Shehu.
At the end of the official visit in Portugal, the Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister, Shehu, was received in the Portuguese parliament by the Presidency of the Assembly. In the meeting, Shehu was informed about the work of the Portuguese Parliament, as well as on the establishment of the parliamentary group of friendship Albania-Portugal.
The Portuguese party showed its readiness to exchange experience on the problems of integration into the European structures that Albania is facing now, a challenge faced by Portugal about a decade ago.
At the end of the meeting, the invitation for the Albanian Speaker, Pjeter Arbnori to visit Portugal was transmitted to Shehu.
During the official visit in Lisbon, Minister Shehu was accompanied by the extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassador of Albania for France and Portugal, Besnik Mustafaj. /ake/kled/mt/sh/