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Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA), 98-01-08

Albanian Telegraphic Agency Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA) Home Page at <http://www.telpress.it/ata>

Albanian Telegraphic Agency

CONTENTS

  • [01] There is no corruption but only small abuses in hospitals
  • [02] Vlore university to have access to internet soon
  • [03] About 50 per cent of the staff in Albanian scientific institutions have left to other countries
  • [04] Parliament to accept anti-crime package with priority - deputy speaker
  • [05] SP has not demanded Berisha's imprisonment although he has committed penal acts - Secretary
  • [06] Three persons wanted detained by police
  • [07] Cement workers in Elbasan demand a 100 per cent increase of salaries
  • [08] New package of anti-crime laws underway
  • [09] EU chancellories strongly react towards Berisha's declarations
  • [10] Crime intends to weaken state - prosecutor general
  • [11] There are still incriminated people in Albanian police - Ulqini
  • [12] Press Review
  • [13] Soon five new agreements to search oil
  • [14] Investment main goal for first half of 1998
  • [15] US dollar sheds some gains
  • [16] Collective contract on teaching signed
  • [17] No zero tariffs but easing them to promote domestic production
  • [18] Political pact against organized crime and terrorism
  • [19] Tirana Mayor urges ban on crime
  • [20] Interior Ministry says no changes confirmed - Officials slandered by press continue to work normally -
  • [21] Naval line Otranto-Vlore resumes work
  • [22] Producer Spartak Pecani named director of cinematographic center
  • [23] National road Master plan ready in July '98
  • [24] Soros finances school reconstruction
  • [25] Special envoy visits Kosova
  • [26] Flags of Tirana town hall fly at half mast
  • [27] I am neither optimist nor pessimist in my profession - La Pergola
  • [28] New chief of Tirana Police Directorate named
  • [29] More money from VAT, custom duties in '97 than previuos year
  • [30] Parliament is legitimate to draft a constitution - La Pergola

  • [01] There is no corruption but only small abuses in hospitals

    - Director of University Hospital Centre TIRANE, Jan 7 (ATA) - By K Shehu: "There may be small abuses but no corruption in hospitals," director of University Hospital Centre Mustafa Xhani told ATA.

    The press is recently alluding of a possible corruption of the white uniforms. Proceeding from this act, Mr Xhani explains the opinion that "we cannot put an equal mark between corruption and abuses."

    According to him, "we have adopted disciplinary measures for those persons who make abuses."

    Mr Xhani explains that "if a doctor accepts 'bribes' without the patient's consent, we as department have decided to not to allow him to exert his profession."

    Since this institution was able to give medical treatment to all the patients who came in this centre during the unrest in Albania although there were a lot of difficulties, director Xhani stressed that "the staff of all the hospital system feels offended by the media which is denigrating the figure and authority of the doctor." kei/xh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [02] Vlore university to have access to internet soon

    VLORE, Jan 8 (ATA)-By H. Koci,

    Technological University "Ismail Qemali" in Vlore city will soon have access to internet network.

    "This project has been financially supported by the Soros foundation," the university rectorate sources told ATA.

    The internet will help receive contemporary information and will be part of the university's teaching programme. Also, the internet network will transmit news stories about the Vlore University activities and broader from the city.

    The university was inaugurated in the academic year 1994-1995. It includes branches such as nurse training, naval engineering, business and tourism and English.

    The students of this university staged a hunger strike at the beginning of 1997, protesting against the state and former president Sali Berisha, becoming a symbol of civic revolts in Vlore. s.sh/kei/lm

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [03] About 50 per cent of the staff in Albanian scientific institutions have left to other countries

    TIRANE Jan 8 (ata) - By P Shuteriqi: The scientific opposition to the government has been completely missing in the past 5-6 years in Albania due to the fact that Albanian intellectuals have been employed to other countries.

    The emigration of the intellectuals was one of the negative phenomena of the past five years under President Sali Berisha, during which most qualified specialists trained in renowned international institutions and centres left Albania, in many cases, forced by economic difficulties, sources of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Albania reported on Thursday.

    At present, nearly 50 per cent of the staff in many study institutions and research centres depending on the Academy of Sciences, are working in other countries.

    Among the main factors for this, said Prof Farudin Hoxha, are the insecure social situation and the economic difficulties.

    "The state, not the governments which replace one another, must attach the proper attention and care sanctioned by law to this part of people which is the most qualified category of the society and make greater investments in order to determine the place these people deserve in the society," says Mr Hoxha. ssh/kei/xh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [04] Parliament to accept anti-crime package with priority - deputy speaker

    TIRANE, Jan 8 (ATA)-By A. Simoni, The Albanian Parliament will meet in plenary session not earlier than next Monday and accept with priority the anti-crime law package of the government, parliament's deputy speaker Namik Dokle said on Thursday.

    "The urgency required in yesterday's meeting with the parliamentary commission chairmen is right, but the plenary session has no reason to convene earlier," said Dokle.

    According to him "urgency" means that the law or the package of laws be prepared urgently by the respective ministry, be urgently sent to the government, urgently examined by parliamentary commissions, and then we will include it with priority (without violating procedures, but avoiding some "smaller" laws) in plenary session, which is the last point.

    "Actually three other draft-laws are being examined in commissions, while the anti-crime draft-law has not yet arrived in parliament, thus the session cannot be held earlier," Dokle explained.

    According to Tirana's daily, several socialist deputies, in the meeting of their parliamentary groups, expressed themselves in favour of removing the immunity of the chairman of the Democratic Party, Sali Berisha, linking this request to several recent armed conflicts.

    "I hold that justice is justice and politics politics. Politics should not come out above justice," said Dokle. s.s/kei/lm/k

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [05] SP has not demanded Berisha's imprisonment although he has committed penal acts - Secretary

    TIRANE, Jan 8 (ata) - By Aurel Simoni: The Socialist Party has in no case demanded that ex-president Sali Berisha be imprisoned although it accepts that the present chairman of the opposition Democratic Party has committed acts during his mandate, which are punishable by the Penal Code, Musa Ulqini, SP Secretary for Public Relations told ATA on Thursday.

    He added that SP demanded in its yesterday's meeting of the parliamentary group that police must execute the law.

    "Nevertheless, most of the Albanians know that ex-President Berisha has made acts which are punishable by the Penal Code in the time when he was President and the vote of the people against Berisha on June 29, 1997 polls was 'the sentence' they gave to him," said Ulqini.

    Koha Jone cites on Thursday the socialist deputy Spartak Braho to have been in favour of an imprisonment for Berisha.

    "It is not true," said Ulqini, "Braho, like any other one there, has not demanded such a thing." s.s/kei/xh/k

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [06] Three persons wanted detained by police

    TIRANE, Jan 8 (ATA)-A person from Vlore, aged 27, declared wanted since several months ago on charges of a number of murders, was detained by police in Tirane on Wednesday, Interior Ministry spokesman says.

    On the same day police forces detained a 24-year old from Kukes, as he had escaped prison, and a 33-year old from Fushe Kruje, involved in the killing of a person in March of 1997. s.s/kei/lm/k

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [07] Cement workers in Elbasan demand a 100 per cent increase of salaries

    ELBASAN, Jan 8 (ata) - By Pellumb Zekthi: The independent ECF Enterprise for the production of cement in Elbasan asked on Thursday the Lebanese owners of the enterprise to increase 100 per cent the salaries of its 700 workers or the trade union will start on January 25 an unlimited strike.

    The workers demanded the signing of a collective contract of labour as one of the basic agreements between the employer and the workers.

    The contacts so far between the representatives of the workers with the Lebanese owner Charles Bouri, who possesses 70 per cent of the enterprise, have yielded no results.

    In the mean time, for a group of workers, one of the reasons for this trade union movement is their fear for possible cuts of jobs.

    Sources of the leading council of the enterprise deny that such a step would be taken, adding that two new fronts of work will be opened in that enterprise.

    In July last year, the trade union of the cement factory staged a several-day general strike asking the annulment of a tender by the National Privatization Agency in the first ten days of March, according to which most of the factory was sold to the existing owners. ake/kei/xh/k

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [08] New package of anti-crime laws underway

    TIRANE, Jan 8 (ata) - By Aurel Simoni: With the new package of anti-crime laws, the deputies as well as reporters will be responsible for their declarations, Musa Ulqini, Secretary for Public Relations of the Socialist Party told a news conference in Tirane on Thursday.

    Ulqini added that the idea was launched in the meeting that the SP parliamentary group held last Wednesday. Ulqini left the further details of the project to the jurists, who are preparing it in the context of an anti-crime law package, which will be discussed in parliament next week, given the recent tragic events Albania, with several persons killed.

    "Unfortunately, today's crime is also openly being supported by a political rear, which, although directly responsible for Albania's last chaos, continues to act contrary to the national interests," said Ulqini, meaning with the word "rear" the "remainder of the DP and the Berisha clan". s.s/kei/xh/lm/k

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [09] EU chancellories strongly react towards Berisha's declarations

    TIRANE, Jan 8 (ata) - EU chancellories have strongly reacted to a declaration of the Albanian Democratic Party chairman, Sali Berisha, according to which "The Constitution will be approved only when DP comes to power," and have been categorically against earlier elections in Albania, demanded by Berisha, Shekulli wrote on Thursday citing reliable official sources.

    "EU chancellories have insisted that the constitution must be adopted as soon as possible, that every effort in this direction will be supported, thus expressing the readiness for judicial assistance," writes the paper referring to the same sources.

    The latest reports from the West follow the recent stance of the EU member countries which reacted negatively towards the thesis of ex- president Berisha for earlier elections and a technocrat government in Albania. kei/xh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [10] Crime intends to weaken state - prosecutor general

    TIRANE, Jan 8 (ATA)-By Th. Thanasi, The aim of the crime is to waken the state, destabilise order and police, Albania's Prosecutor General Arben Rakipi told ATA.

    Referring to the relations between the structures engaged in the fight against crime, Rakipi said that "the already made public relations between the police and the justice bodies, court - prosecutor's office, should not be taken much into consideration".

    In the end, these bodies "act in accordance with the set laws and the relations between them comply with these laws".

    Hence, based on the existing laws, it is too much for the relations between the bodies fighting crime "to be assessed based on personal relations or statements". They will be adjusted only through the implementation of the law, Rakipi said.

    But, he explains, when the law becomes an obstacle "it should be studied and proposed for changes so that it properly responds to the concrete situation the country is undergoing." s.s/kei/lm

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [11] There are still incriminated people in Albanian police - Ulqini

    TIRANE, Jan 8 (ata) - By Aurel Simoni: There are still people in Albanian police who have been incriminated since the unrest in this country last year, declared on Thursday the Socialist Party Secretary for public relations, Musa Ulqini.

    "There is still room for reform in police structures," Socialist secretary said "which will be based on professionalism and depolitization."

    Ulqini also declared that the head of Police Department of Tirane, Pashk Tusha, is also named chief aide of the Interior Minister, Neritan Ceka. /s.s/xh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [12] Press Review

    TIRANE, Jan 8 (ata) - The frequent attacks against and killings in the ranks of police in the recent days make the main story of almost all the dailies, but naturally seen from different political viewpoints. The independent papers, less influenced by the political wings, consider the situation as follows: The first point is the charge for ex-president of state, Sali Berisha (presently opposition DP leader) as the one who has instigated the crime against police. Escalation of this crime under calls of Berisha and facing a stand of waiting by the Government has made the greatest independent local paper Koha Jone to present in its editorial "State and Anti-state," the option that either the government will exert its authority for the execution of the law and the recovery of the state institutions, or the anti-state will ruin the values.

    Regarding this, the other independent paper, Albania, known as advocate of Berisha, writes in its first page "Berisha must be arrested." The paper writes, as Koha Jone also reports, that this news was made public in the meeting of the parliamentary group of the ruling socialist party. Will Berisha, former President, be arrested or not? This is the question put today by all Albanian papers and triggered by the increase of the tension in the country and by declaration of politicians which focus in "Berisha is the culprit." Concerning this, the independent Shekulli prints the declaration of the Interior Minister, Neritan Ceka, that "Berisha is Responsible for Tropoje Massacre." Two days ago, two policemen and a civilian were killed in Tropoje, birthplace of ex President Berisha. "Bargain with Death Coffins" writes this paper in its editorial, implying that the policy plays with the acts of death instead of stopping the crime. This idea is elaborated in several articles of the press, which on the one hand report that state representatives will honour the victims of crime, the policemen, and on the other hand write that the DP opposition will organize a rally in the square of Tirane to pay homage to the victims.

    "DP Ready for Coup D'etat" writes the independent Koha Jone. The paper has taken the argument for the coup d'etat from an urgent meeting of the parliamentary group of the ruling Socialist Party, which accuses the former-president of preparing the coup d'etat, based on two facts: DP has called for a response by every manner and means, which implies the use of weapons; and the call by DP leaders that "Greek soldiers be attacked with weapons" referring to 105 Greek soldiers who are in Albania under the auspices of the NATO structures.

    Newspaper Shekulli, independent daily, today writes of the stand of European Union towards the DP opposition. "EU chancellories have strongly reacted to stands of Berisha, stressing that they do not support him at all, " writes the paper.

    The DP political paper, Rilindja Demokratike, using the same recently made known facts, says: "Stop to the killing hand of the government of gangs". In a headline the paper quotes a statement of the DP chairman:"Governmental Silence Is A Makbethian Silence".

    While the current situation with the police forces being attacked by crime is being almost fully covered by the independent papers.

    Koha Jone reports that many changes will take place in the Interior Ministry with the aim to strengthen fight against crime. This shuffle is considered by the paper "Storm in the Interior Ministry".

    The paper says that Deputy Minister Bare will no longer be in this position and the ministry's crimes director, Hakani, will be discharged.

    The paper also formulates the police request for another legal framework under the title:"Leave us shoot criminals".

    The independent Gazeta Shqiptare focuses on the Albanian Parliament and its attention to crime. "The assembly in alarm. What are going to do?", the paper says, announcing the news that "Parliament will soon deal with the new legislation to protect the police forces". xh/lm

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [13] Soon five new agreements to search oil

    The expansion of oil search in 1998 will be one of the main goals of the sector. Five new agreements to search oil will be signed within January, the Minister of Public Economy and Privatization, Ylli Bufi told ATA, Thursday.

    Potential foreign oil companies divided into two groups will start searching for oil in country's various regions. Four companies like OMV, Enter Prise, CLYDE and MOL falling in the first group will sing two contracts to search oil in the southern part of Albania.

    In the second group are included three other companies like Oxidental, IPC and ANSCHUTV will sing contracts to search oil in the northern part of Albania.

    Both groups shortly will start the work after the agreements will be signed with respective ministries, to search, process and produce oil. Part of these companies for some years now have started their activity in Albania.

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [14] Investment main goal for first half of 1998

    Three months after the Brussels meeting, where some $600 million were pledged to Albania, at present are committed $271 million, sources close to the Ministry of Development and Economic Cooperation reported Thursday.

    Out of this sum around $170 million will be injected to cover the balance of payment, while the rest some $170 million will go to development projects to be implemented step by step during the first half of 1998.

    A considerable part of projects regard infrastructure, reforming the administration, developing the private sector in industry and agriculture and rehabilitation of small and medium enterprises.

    Concretely were the money will be pumped up is in starting the work in road segment Durres-Rrogozhine, rehabilitation of Vlore port, in road segment Rrogozhine-Lushnje, in Durres ferry boat terminal, in the rehabilitation of Durrres-Pogradec railway and in the implementation of two projects for the economic development of Lushnje and Permeti zones.

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [15] US dollar sheds some gains

    Thursday's average exchange rate in the informal market of Albanian currency "lek" against foreign currencies like USD, DM, SFR, ITL was in favour of these last.

    So $1 = 152,60 lek, lossing 0,65 points compared with yesterday's 153, 25 lek. The DM was traded for 84,34 lek gaining 0,79 points compared with yesterday's 83,55 lek and ITL (1000) traded for 84,75 lek and so on.

    Thursday exchange rate

    Currency                        Average exchange rate
    USD                               152,60 lek
    DM                                 84,34 lek
    ITL (1000)                         84,75 lek
    GRD (100)                          52,71 lek
    SFR                               102,46 lek
    
    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [16] Collective contract on teaching signed

    TIRANA, Jan 8 (ATA) - By P. Shuteriqi: Ministry of Education and Science, state representative as employer and the leaders of two trade unions on teaching as employees, signed on Thursday a collective contract.

    The Ministry is engaged to work with the government in increasing the wage of teachers and inflation indexing, which now is 40 percent.

    For the first time the leaders of both trade unions joined a round table overcoming many differences, Xhaferr Dobrushi, head of the Trade Union Federation of Education and Science said after the collective contract was signed.

    Both trade unions member over two third of the teachers but all the teachers profit from this contract, which defines evaluation and employment criteria such as wage or teaching hours equal to all. kled/ak/sh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [17] No zero tariffs but easing them to promote domestic production

    An effective customs' policy to reduce tariffs not only for consumption goods, but to stimulate certain sector of economy as well will be implemented for 1998, according to sources from the Ministry of Finance.

    "We can't speak of zero tariffs, but easing them especially in agricultural sector," sources from the ministry told ATA. Changes on the new customs' code will allow foreign and local investors to bring in upgraded technology, paying for them proportional customs duty and not instantly as it used to be.

    Meanwhile within the framework of the new privatization strategy as for all private enterprises, which has gained exclusivity, or in joint ventures with state enterprises a new liberal customs duty policy will be followed.

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [18] Political pact against organized crime and terrorism

    TIRANA, JAN. 8 (ATA)-The parties of the government coalition that emerged from the June 29 polls in 1997, signed Thursday a political pact against the organized crime and terrorism, by expressing their all-out support to state institutions and police in their efforts to fight growing crime in Albania.

    The political parties, participants in the government coalition, the Socialist Party (SP), the Social Democratic Party (SDP, the Democratic Alliance Party (DAP), the Human Rights Union Party (HRUP) and the Agrarian Party (AP), by signing the pact today, are engaged to draft a package of laws "which will give to the juridical state and the order forces maximal powers to hit the organized crime and terrorism everywhere." They will work together "to draft a strategy for nationwide disarmament," and to set up a permanent anti-mafia parliamentary commission, accompanied by the respective law.

    The government coalition parties will encourage without reserves "any non-political initiative which will fight against the organized crime and terrorism in Albania in any legal form," and also engage in the rigid demand within a very defined legal framework, towards all the Albanian politicians "to stop any appeal or anti-constitutional statement, which in any way or another incites crime or terrorism and destabilization in Albania, accompanied by the respective political and legal responsibilities for the moment the country is going through."

    The political parties, which have signed the Political Pact against the organized crime and terrorism, demand a resolute and immediate reaction from the justice bodies against crime, by expelling the corrupted segments within them, which have proved themselves to be unskilled and clumsy.

    They also ask "a greater engagement from the government structures to support the order forces to fulfill their prior technic and financial needs."

    The political parties, participants in the government coalition, invite the President of the Republic to back as the head of the state the most severe fight against the organized crime and terrorism. They call on the Albanian people to understand that in these moments the fight against terrorism is a fight for the dignified future of Albania in the Balkans and Europe./a.ke/s.s/mt/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [19] Tirana Mayor urges ban on crime

    TIRANA, Jan 8 (ATA) - By Eva Allushi: Opposition parties organised a rally on Thursday at the Skenderbeg square in the capital the day of the funeral of police officer Avdyl Matoshi killed in Tropoja two days ago.

    "We express indignation for the event and urge a ban on crime," Albert Brojka, Tirana Mayor said avoiding to give a political character to what happened in the Cernice village, Tropoje on January 6.

    The funeral procession stopped for some minutes at the square to continue later the way to the capital cemetery. Participants in the rally accompanied the procession in silence.

    A communique of the Interior Ministry said on Wednesday that "the killing of the police officer Avdyl Matoshi should not be given a political character." "Giving a political character to the event without finding the persons responsible does not help uncover the truth, but it only instigates revenge and self-avenge."

    Matoshi, 29, officer of the criminal police of the Mati commissariat, was killed on Tuesday midday in Cernice village by a criminal hand.

    The Interior Ministry considered Matoshi's murder a killing on duty.

    "Though he was not responsible for Tropoja district, he was self- sacrificed to defend the life of the citizens who had fallen into an ambush, " the spokesman said.

    A group of experts of the ministry in cooperation with officials of the Attorney General is working to identify and seize those responsible for the killing. kled/ak/sh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [20] Interior Ministry says no changes confirmed - Officials slandered by press continue to work normally -

    TIRANA, JAN. 8 (ATA) - By Th. Thanasi: Change of staff at the Interior Ministry or their appointment is a competence of the Government, Besnik Shehu, the chief of the cabinet in the Interior Ministry, said to ATA.

    Asked whether there is any proposal by the Interior Ministry on these changes Shehu replied "no comment".

    "I consider the changes necessary, at least in this situation when police need compactness," underlined Shehu, who added that the changes should not be considered an alarm.

    The director of the criminal police in the Interior Ministry, Fatmir Hakani, said that "I have no official confirmation for the movement of my post."

    The same opinion expressed the chief of the General Control Sector in the Interior Ministry, Fadil Cani.

    "I am skillful to work wherever I will be appointed," said Cani./kled/mt/sh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [21] Naval line Otranto-Vlore resumes work

    VLORE, JAN. 8 (ATA) - By H. Koci: The naval line Otranto-Vlore resumed work. Sources from the customs of Vlore reported to ATA that "The first ferryboats with goods and travellers have arrived in Vlore from the port of Otranto (Italy)."

    The port of Otranto is an important center which connects Italy with the town of Vlore. It has encouraged the business and investments in this town and broader.

    The naval line Otranto-Vlore was interrupted in February 1997, with the beginning of riots. /s.sh/kled/mt/sh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [22] Producer Spartak Pecani named director of cinematographic center

    TIRANA, JAN. 8 (ATA) By F. Nikolla: The producer Spartak Pecani has been appointed director of the Cinematographic Center, sources from the Ministry of Culture reported on Thursday.

    A document, signed by Albania's Prime Minister Fatos Nano, has confirmed the proposal of the Minister of Culture, Arta Dade, that the above post be held by the producer Spartak Pecani.

    This center, set up by the Albanian government some times ago to support the cineasts with financial aid, has been headed so far by the actor Xhevdet Ferri, former deputy of the Democratic Party for the district of Durres in the Albanian Parliament before the parliamentary elections, held in June last year./kled/mt/sh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [23] National road Master plan ready in July '98

    The study of master plan on national roads network with Swedish assistance will be over during the first half of 1998, officials from the Ministry of Transportation and Public Affairs told ATA Thursday.

    The study will define the priorities in road construction taking into consideration all started projects or those planned to start soon.

    Also, with Swedish assistance is forecasted to start soon the study of road maintenance network.

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [24] Soros finances school reconstruction

    KORCE, Jan 8 (ATA) - By B. Fejzullaj: Soros Foundation is financing the reconstruction of four schools in the city of Korca, Southeastern Albania.

    "Reconstruction has started in the eighth year school "N. Veqilharxhi", "Demokracia" and in a special school for the handicapped and Soros has accorded 500 thousand dollars," Ilo Konstandini, chief of the local education department said to ATA.

    The reconstructing work will also start in the eighth school "N. Frasheri" soon.

    The schools will be supplied with laboratories and contemporary equipment, which will be financed by the Foundation in the framework of the project on development of education in Albania. s.sh/kled/ak/sh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [25] Special envoy visits Kosova

    PRISHTINE, Jan 8 (ATA) - A special envoy of the world organisation of International for Education Louis Veber arrived on Thursday for a few-day visit to Prishtina.

    He met Abdyl Rama, head of the Kosova parliamentary Commission on Education and Agim Hyseni, head of education trade unions.

    Veber also visited several schools opened in private houses.

    He expressed his great concern on the grave situation of the Albanian education in Kosova and the need for a greater engagement by the International for Education to overcome this situation.

    Veber said that he was very impressed with the determination of the Albanian pupils, students and teachers to continue classes even in these difficult conditions. b.j/pta/kled/ak/sh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [26] Flags of Tirana town hall fly at half mast

    TIRANA, Jan. 8 (ATA) - By K. Shehu: "I have not violated any law, I have only honoured the victims," said the mayor of Tirana, Albert Brojka, regarding the fact of flying the flags of this state institution at half mast.

    The flags of the Tirana town hall flied at half mast today " a day of mourning," declared as such by the 'Union for Democracy' on the funeral day of the police officer Abdyl Matoshi.

    "It was not a national mourning day, it was only a mourning day and there is no law for such cases," said Brojka.

    Asked about this problem, the chairman of the parliamentary commission on laws, Fehmi Abdiu, stated: "To my view, there are competent bodies which set such dates. These bodies are defined by law, and neither by Sali Berisha nor by the President of the Republic or the political parties." /kled/mt/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [27] I am neither optimist nor pessimist in my profession - La Pergola

    TIRANA, Jan 8 (ATA) - By A. Simoni: Head of the Venice commission "Democracy through law" Antonio La Pergola met later on Thursday in Tirana with two co-chairmen of the parliamentary commission on constitution.

    "I am neither optimist nor pessimist in my profession," La Pergola said at the beginning.

    "I cannot be very optimist for what is happening in Albania," Sabri Godo, one of the co-chairman said. "We have difficulties with the constitution; so far the problem is political, both sides cannot join the round table. I have asked for the participation of other opposition parties in the process of constitution."

    Experts on constitution attended the meeting of La Pergola with Godo and Imami.

    Later, La Pergola was expected to meet with the deputy Speaker Namik Dokle.

    La Pergola, the head of the Venice Commission arrived on Thursday in Tirana on the invitation of the Albanian parliament to discuss with the Albanian authorities on constitution.

    Tomorrow, he was expected to meet President of the Republic Rexhep Meidani, Prime minister Nano, party officials and constitutionalists. s.s/kled/ak/sh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [28] New chief of Tirana Police Directorate named

    TIRANA, Jan. 8 (ATA) - In a meeting, organized Thursday with leaders and staff of the Tirana Police Directorate, the deputy Prime Minister, Bashkim Fino, accompanied by leaders of the Interior Ministry Ceka and Legisi, presented the new director of the Tirana police directorate, colonel Fadil Canaj.

    Colonel Pashk Tusha, the current leader of the Tirana police, will begin working on Friday as Director of the Inspection Department in the Interior Ministry.

    Fino appreciated the work of colonel Tusha carried out in one of the most difficult moments the Albanian police went through.

    According to PM spokesman, Ben Blushi, Fino guaranteed the police effective of the capital for the support of the government. He asked from the police forces a greater engagement in the fight against crime, and called on them not to hesitate for the integration of professional elements in the ranks of police./s.s/kled/mt/sh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [29] More money from VAT, custom duties in '97 than previuos year

    Some lek 10,8 billion were collected from the Value Added Tax and lek 8,4 billion from customs revenues to state coffers during 1997, sources from the Customs General Department report.

    Compared to previous year, 1996, some 5 billion lek are collected from the VAT and 1,3 billion lek from customs revenues alongside the crisis period.

    A boost in customs incomes is planned in 1998 respectively with 41 billion lek out of 21 billion lek collected in 1997 and 14 billion lek in 1996.

    Month		Customs' Revenues VAT Lek mln 1997
    January		  823	  874
    February	  759	  865
    March		  213	  255
    April		  135	  169
    May		  292	  330
    June		  263	  377
    July		  352	  381
    August		  659	  675
    September	1,447	1,427
    October		1,210	1,962
    November	1,175	1.829
    December	1,005	1,639
    
    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [30] Parliament is legitimate to draft a constitution - La Pergola

    TIRANA, Jan 8 (ATA) - By A. Simoni: Head of the Venice Commission Antonio La Pergola conceded on Thursday that "the present parliament has the legitimacy, according to constitutional provisions, to draft and approve a constitution for Albania," sources said after the meeting.

    The same sources said that La Pergola acquainted the Albanian politicians with the respective articles of the constitutional provisions, which are related to the draft and approval of constitution by a parliamentary commission and then to be submitted to parliament.

    "La Pergola was satisfied with the way the constitution commission was elected," Sabri Godo, one of the co-chairmen of the commission, said.

    But, La Pergola said that other settings should be found to make all political parties join the round table.

    He refrained from reaching an immediate conclusion.

    "We are here to examine the problems of constitution; we are here to listen to and reach conclusion and give advices after the meetings. We do not guarantee a constitution because this is an exclusive affair of Albanians and we will help move ahead this process," La Pergola said.

    He confirmed the visit of the common delegation of the Council of Europe, European Parliament and OSCE from January 21 to 23, which "will contribute in clearing up this unbearable situation," Godo said./s.s/kled/ak/sh/


    From the Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA) Home Page at http://www.telpress.it/ata


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