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Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA), 98-01-17

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] Germany accords 48 million marks for Albania
  • [02] Policemen burned alive declared Honourable Citizens
  • [03] Italian firms employ 1,300 women
  • [04] Boom in chromium production for 1998
  • [05] 60 persons detained for contraband
  • [06] Berisha speaks of constitution out of commission - speaker
  • [07] Press review
  • [08] Prosecutor of Berat presents resignation
  • [09] Cutting jobs in public sector stirs up tensions - republican leader
  • [10] Prosecutor of Berat presents resignation
  • [11] Cutting jobs in public sector stirs up tensions - republican leader
  • [12] 24 million liras and 17 thousand Lek looted from four Italians
  • [13] Democratic Party of Albania hurries to announce its government program
  • [14]
  • [15] Albania asks affirmation of Albanians' identity like Macedonians in FYROM
  • [16] Talks on economic issues between Albanian party and the Macedonian one have a particular importance - Spokesman
  • [17] 530th anniversary of death of Scanderbeg commemorated in Lezhe
  • [18] Administrative reform to be conducted along with the process of privatization
  • [19] Albanian government hails initiatives contributing to Kosova issue - advisor
  • [20] Structural changes in Police Department of Shkoder
  • [21] President Meidani visits Scanderbeg museum in Kruje
  • [22] Local currency losses points v USD
  • [23] Germany earmarkes 48 million marks for Albania
  • [24] Rome commemorates 530th anniversary of death of Scanderbeg - Meeting for Gjergj Kastrioti in Piazza Albania -

  • [01] Germany accords 48 million marks for Albania

    TIRANA, Jan 16 (ATA) - Germany has accorded an amount worth 48 million marks to help Albania during 1998.

    This was confirmed in the recent talks in Bonn between an Albanian delegation including officials from the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, that of Finance, Bank of Albania and the German delegation, including senior officials of the Ministry of Federal Economic Cooperation and Development, Foreign Ministry, the German Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Association for Technical Cooperation (GTZ).

    The meeting discussed holding inter government negotiations to make concrete the help for 1998 and set that spring is the appropriate time.

    During the talks, the German government assured that it will continue to back the Albanian government without reserve. ake/s.s/kled/ak/sh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [02] Policemen burned alive declared Honourable Citizens

    URA VAJGURORE, Jan 16 (ATA) - By Ilir Manka: Municipality Council of the city of Ura Vajgurore decided in its last meeting to declare "Honourable Citizens" the policemen Miltiadh Koçi, Asllan Selmani, Arjan Shemuni and Ilia Banaj, who were burned alive on duty on June 17, 1997.

    The shocking event of June 17 last year was considered by the political forces of the coalition government a political crime plotted by the Democratic party. The Socialists and its allies have linked the burning of policemen inside the armoured carrier after the SP leader Fatos Nano left the city of Berat with the name of Azem Hajdar, who led the mafia gangs operating in the area from a motel near the city.

    Political forces have often insisted on throwing light on this event but there are no new proofs yet besides what the people have said. ake/kled/ak/sh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [03] Italian firms employ 1,300 women

    KRUJE, Jan 16 (ATA) - By B.Lala: Three Italian firms operating in Kruja have employed some 1,300 women to produce shoes.

    Abaz Kurti, Director of the Labour office at the district council said to ATA that this has lowered the number of unemployed to 35 percent. s.sh/kled/ak/sh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [04] Boom in chromium production for 1998

    A boost of 39 percent is forecasted in the production of chromium ore in 1998, compared to the previous year. It is foreseen also the growth of the enrichment chromium output with 68 per cent more than in 1997.

    The coalition government is during all the efforts to put chromium's industry back to track. During the last five years, this industry was nearly ruined.

    For the year 1998, the Ministry of National Economy and Privatization, has foreseen that the chromium production goes to 22.000 tones, compared to 158.000 tones produced in 1997.

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [05] 60 persons detained for contraband

    TIRANA, Jan 16 (ATA) - By Th. Thanasi: Sixty citizens have been arrested for contraband and are under investigation pending trial, Agim Tirana, chief of the Investigation Department at the Attorney General office said to ATA on Friday.

    Smugglers are transporters and customs personnel and the figure includes only those detained, Tirana said.

    He added "a great number of defendants are being investigated at liberty."

    The hottest spots of contraband are Durres, Vlora and Korça, Tirana said. These are groups of smugglers localised in special areas and 9 from 60 belong to two groups in Durres, five in Elbasan and five in Korça, he added. s.s/kled/ak/sh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [06] Berisha speaks of constitution out of commission - speaker

    TIRANA, Jan 17 (ATA) - By Keida Kostreci: Leader of the Democratic party (DP) Sali Berisha has always attended the discussion of constitution but out of the commission," Skender Gjinushi, speaker, said to ATA on Saturday.

    "The DP leader is present in drafting constitution but he has expressed his views in news conferences and roads," Gjinushi said referring to the absence of the largest opposition party in the debate on constitution.

    Gjinushi said that the DP request for a round table on constitution is unclear because the commission charged with this is a round table in itself.

    "We will consult international partners what to do for the constitution if the DP continues to refuse cooperation," Pandeli Majko, head of the SP parliamentary group said to ATA.

    International political organisations and other higher structures of the Albanian state consider constitution a necessity.

    Head of the Venice commission Antonio La Pergola and the Director General of ODIHR Gerard Stoudmann, who visited Albanian this month, spoke of a compromise of all political forces on constitution, which they call urgent for Albania. s.s/ak/v/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [07] Press review

    TIRANA, Jan 17 (ATA) - "Zhulali under law suit for war crimes" is the title of the independent Albanian daily Koha Jone, which reports that the former Defence minister Safet Zhulali can be tried by the International Court of War Crimes. It quotes the prosecutor's office as saying that "selling of arms includes not only financial speculation but also violation of international conventions on arms' sale, supplying even the hot beds. The same office said "if we open the papers to investigate on financial violations then the International Court will deal with the scandal of arms' sale to warring sides.

    The Ministry of Defence, as Zhulali, himself has said, has the documents, which prove the arms' trade. "These papers show that armaments were bound for Bosnia Herzegovina and Ruanda, two hottest and bloodied spots during the second half of this century." The article says "Albanian prosecutors see this as an open violation to international conventions, which ban any supply of arms to warring sides."

    Referring to the weapons' smuggling, the daily Zeri i Popullit in the article entitles "Zhulali, trafficker and minister ..." says "former Defence minister Safet Zhulali is the most wealthy among Albanians. None can believe until he sees the papers, which prove that Zhulali has ordered the deposit of $500 thousand, money whose source is unknown. The same paper says that a series of deposits estimated at some millions of dollars have been deposited since '93 to "Meico" account number and are kept at the National Commercial Bank. The deposits are all in "Cash".

    Everything was done contrary to the law. "The fact that Safet Zhulali has authorised the deposit on Meico account number, at a time when former deputy minister Bashkim Shehu and former director of Meico Sali Kuçi have done the same, the daily says adding that it is clear that "Meico, SHIK and other firms, which have undertaken dirty businesses, have their deposit account in banks."

    The second day of the successful visit of the Albanian prime minister Fatos Nano in Macedonia is covered by most of today's press.

    "I will assure you that an Albanian university in Macedonia will be opened soon due to your cultural behaviour and structures underway," Nano told students and pedagogues of the Albanian Faculty of Skopje in a meeting in the government villa "Makedonia", the daily Zeri i Popullit said.

    Education should be resolved through democratic means and not through road protests, the Albanian prime minister said. The independent daily Koha Jone reports that Nano had said that the diplomas the Albanians received in universities out of Macedonia will be recognised. "We agreed with prime minister Crvenkovski that the Macedonian authorities recognise the diplomas students received whenever they study," the daily quotes the Albanian premier as saying. He added that it was the Macedonian counterpart, who proposed this first.

    The same daily said that in a joint news conference in a tourist spot in Mali i Sharrit, Nano told Albanian journalists: "Democratization of the Balkans is starting from South because the North is still under Belgrade's communist totalitarianism, which has led to apartheid, particularly on Albanians."

    On his part, Crvenkovski said "I praised this successful visit not only for the eight successful accords reached but also for the bilateral expression that this train goes ahead also in the future."

    Koha Jone quotes the Macedonian prime minister saying "Negotiations showed that there are no taboo topics between the sides."

    He added: "We should accept the European norms not only for the education but also for other issues," Nano's visit to Macedonia is also covered by other independent daily Gazeta Shqiptare, which see it "A honey moon in rapports between the two states," or by Shekulli, which says both sides agreed on Kosova issue.

    Rilindja considers Nano - Gligorov talks historic.

    Former deputy Interior minister Agim Shehu has been involved in events happened in Vlora and particularly in the killing of Artur Rustemi, sources of the Attorney General said to Gazeta Shqiptare. In the article entitled "Agim Shehu charged of Vlora", the paper says that the number two of the Albanian police is not the only one to hold responsibility because there are others, who are thought to be tried on this event, the same sources said.

    Investigations are moving ahead and light has been thrown on events gradually, the same sources say. The variant that Rustemi was killed by the police is the most acceptable ... and that the killer has not done it out of his initiative but was ordered. Agim Shehu has always ordered the operation through radio from his Tirana office, sources said.

    Agim Shehu, the General who fled Albania, is one of the persons who was thought to be directly responsible for the events in Vlora last March when the special police forces were under his command. "They include not only Rustem's killing, but also all other events happening in Vlora since the protest has broken out until the police special forces clashed with the people," the article of Gazeta Shqiptare reports.

    Another article of Shekulli on contraband says that a super ring on smuggling will be soon eliminated by the police. "This is the largest group in number and geographical location because we have information that it operates in over five big cities in Albania," sources of the Prosecutors' office say.

    Sources of the Interior Ministry say that this group numbers dozens of persons and extends its "relations" to neighbouring countries, Greece and Italy.

    The daily reports that the Attorney General has drafted a plan to seize the largest group of contraband. A prosecutor says "the contraband ring was organised by police officials, who have not handed over the papers and arms after being discharged from the duty on charges of involvement in smuggling." s.sh/mima/ak/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [08] Prosecutor of Berat presents resignation

    BERAT, Jan 16 (ATA) - By Ilir Manka: The Prosecutor of Berat, Luan Isufi, has presented his resignation to the General Attorney's Office, sources of the district prosecutor's office say.

    Isufi is an experienced lawyer at the head of the judiciary body in Berat. For 15 years he has directed local prosecutor's offices in Berat and Skrapar. His colleagues in the court and prosecutors office were dismissed from their posts with the advent to power of DP in 1992. Resignation of Isufi is considered as an act which was expected. He has been publicly criticized by high officials of public order in Berat for weak points at work, while the opinion and representatives of political groupings have seen Isuf's request for resignation as "a new chance for a better judiciary in Berat." /a.ke/kled/xh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [09] Cutting jobs in public sector stirs up tensions - republican leader

    TIRANE, Jan 17 (ATA)-By E. Allushi, The Republican Party (RP) does not agree with the employment policies applied by the Nano Government and urges the government to analyse this issue.

    "We consider the cutting of 15 000 jobs in public sector as a measure which will stir up social tensions," Fatmir Mediu, RP chairman told a news conference on Saturday.

    Mediu pointed to the indispensability of a serious analysis of the situation. He expressed the opinion of the RP that the government should intend credit of business by the banks, reexamination of the fiscal and customs policy as well as further privatisation of economy.

    He said that "state security is still present in the Albanian public administration", and, on this occasion, this party asks the president not to decree the changes made by the socialist majority in parliament.

    The RP, in cooperation with the Albanian United Right (DPSH), asked all the political forces that their leading structures be subjected to the scrutiny of figures.

    Referring to the visit of Prime Minister Nano to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Mediu said:"The demands of the Albanians of Macedonia to be recognised as state constituting element have not been part of Nano's agenda of talks". s.s/pas/lm

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [10] Prosecutor of Berat presents resignation

    BERAT, Jan 16 (ATA) - By Ilir Manka: The Prosecutor of Berat, Luan Isufi, has presented his resignation to the General Attorney's Office, sources of the district prosecutor's office say.

    Isufi is an experienced lawyer at the head of the judiciary body in Berat. For 15 years he has directed local prosecutor's offices in Berat and Skrapar. His colleagues in the court and prosecutors office were dismissed from their posts with the advent to power of DP in 1992. Resignation of Isufi is considered as an act which was expected. He has been publicly criticized by high officials of public order in Berat for weak points at work, while the opinion and representatives of political groupings have seen Isuf's request for resignation as "a new chance for a better judiciary in Berat." /a.ke/kled/xh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [11] Cutting jobs in public sector stirs up tensions - republican leader

    TIRANE, Jan 17 (ATA)-By E. Allushi, The Republican Party (RP) does not agree with the employment policies applied by the Nano Government and urges the government to analyse this issue.

    "We consider the cutting of 15 000 jobs in public sector as a measure which will stir up social tensions," Fatmir Mediu, RP chairman told a news conference on Saturday.

    Mediu pointed to the indispensability of a serious analysis of the situation. He expressed the opinion of the RP that the government should intend credit of business by the banks, reexamination of the fiscal and customs policy as well as further privatisation of economy.

    He said that "state security is still present in the Albanian public administration", and, on this occasion, this party asks the president not to decree the changes made by the socialist majority in parliament.

    The RP, in cooperation with the Albanian United Right (DPSH), asked all the political forces that their leading structures be subjected to the scrutiny of figures.

    Referring to the visit of Prime Minister Nano to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Mediu said:"The demands of the Albanians of Macedonia to be recognised as state constituting element have not been part of Nano's agenda of talks". s.s/pas/lm

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [12] 24 million liras and 17 thousand Lek looted from four Italians

    TIRANE, Jan 17 (ATA) - By Th Thanasi: Four Italian nationals were looted last Friday evening.

    "Three of them were looted at around 8 p.m. in their hired house in the street M Gjollesha," sources of Tirane police told ATA. There were four armed and masked people, who, after terrorizing the Italians, had taken from them 20 million liras, a camera, 2 parkas, some gold items and two wrist watches.

    Preliminary reports say that police have many facts which will help them catch the thieves. On the same day, unidentified people looted 4 million liras and 17 thousand lek in one of the offices of the Italian owner, Franc Darresi, located in street Bajram Curri in Tirane. /s.sh/pas/xh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [13] Democratic Party of Albania hurries to announce its government program

    TIRANE, Jan 17 (ATA) - By A Haxhiu: Along with its request for fresh elections and a new technocrat government, the Democratic Party of Albania hurried to announce in the Saturday's news conference its government program for the economy and the fiscal system. Describing as wrong the policy of the present government in these fields, the expert on economy in that party, Albina Karamitro and the DP Secretary General, Ritvan Bode, tried to give a number of data, which, according to them, have led to a full neutralization of the Albanian economy.

    "We denounce the increase of value-added tax to 20 per cent, which has led to the increase of inflation, of unemployment and reduction to half of the real salaries of the people," said Karamitro.

    DP declared the Government program, promising the lowering of the customs taxes, of the VAT and the income tax, which, according to them, can make possible the solution to the crisis.

    DP leader, Sali Berisha spoke on the economic questions. He called Albania the country with the highest fiscal measures as compared with other countries. /pas/xh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [14]

    GJIROKASTER, Jan 17 (ATA) - By H Cani: The Albanian Parliament Speaker Skender Gjinushi and the chairman of the Socialist Party parliamentary group, Pandeli Majko condemned Saturday in Gjirokaster the terrorist act carried out some days ago in that city, during which the whole SP headquarters and a two-storied building nearby were totally ruined.

    "Terrorism is short-lived," said Majko in Gjirokaster. He described the latest events in that city as acts of people who want to give the image of destabilization, to restrain the realisation of projects and to discourage investors.

    While Gjinushi said that "The gangs and crime will be powerfully punished. Local government bodies must open perspectives for development for the local people."

    Gjinushi and Majko visited the office of programming and development in the Gjirokaster town-hall and had a meeting with residents of that city in the cinema hall. /s.sh/pas/xh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [15] Albania asks affirmation of Albanians' identity like Macedonians in FYROM

    TIRANE, Jan 17 (ATA)-By K. Kostreci, Albania's Prime Minister Fatos Nano, during his two day visit to FYROM, (January 15-16), asked from the Macedonians to create equal possibilities to develop education, culture, science, language and, in general, to affirm the Albanian identity, like the Macedonians.

    Nano visited FYROM, at the invitation of his counterpart Branko Crvenovski, while his visit to Tetove marked the first visit of an Albanian Prime Minister in modern history to this center of the Albanian tract in Macedonia.

    "The situation of Albanians in FYROM will be improved if the Albanian and Macedonian governments cooperate," Ben Blushi, spokesman of the prime minister told a news conference on Saturday, expressing the position of the Albanian government.

    Blushi added that there is an emancipation from the old prejudices in the relations between Albania and FYROM, stressing that in all the meetings with Prime Minister Nano and his delegation, the Macedonian side had an Albanian representative.

    "The Macedonians asked a certain time, indispensable for the institutionalisation of the rights of the ethnic groups in FYROM," said Blushi.

    The political advisor to Prime Minister Nano, Vladimir Prela, expressed the belief that the Macedonian state has the will to achieve equality among citizens.

    Nano and his delegation signed eight agreements.

    During Nano's meetings with his counterpart Crvenovski, the two prime ministers expressed the commitment of their governments to intensify bilateral relations in all fields.

    In his meeting with Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov, Nano insisted on finding not only institutional but also constitutional solutions for the benefit of the Macedonia Albanians.

    "We know there will be no European integration unless our inter- ethnic issues are resolved," said Gligorov. s.s/pas/lm

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [16] Talks on economic issues between Albanian party and the Macedonian one have a particular importance - Spokesman

    TIRANE, Jan 17 (ATA) - By Keida Kostreci: The spokesman of Albania's Prime Minister considered of particular importance in a news conference on Saturday the talks on question of economy between the Albanian party and the Macedonian one during a two-day visit of PM Fatos Nano and and three ministers of Albania to the FYROM.

    "Besides the agreements signed, the two parties agreed on other agreements in the field of telecommunication, energy, oil and free zones," said spokesman Blushi.

    The Albanian and Macedonian governments signed the agreements "On elimination of double taxation" and "On customs assistance," in the field of financial relations, while in the field of transport, they signed the agreement "On international transport of passengers and commodities."

    The spokesman of the Prime Minister stressed that the agreements were of mutual interest.

    "One of the priority topics was that for the international transport which is related with corridor 8. The two prime ministers, Nano and Crvenkovski, reached the conclusion that the drives and the work for corridor 8 must be coordinated," said Blushi.

    He stressed that the markets of Albania and Macedonia are not so attractive as when they are united with one another, along with the markets of other Balkan countries, such as Bulgaria, etc.

    During the visit of the senior Albanian Government delegation to the FYROM, also two other agreements were signed in the field of agriculture and food and three in the field of judiciaries. /s.s/pas/xh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [17] 530th anniversary of death of Scanderbeg commemorated in Lezhe

    Lezhe, Jan 17 (ATA) - By Zef pergega: Activities to commemorate the 530th anniversary of the death of the Albanian National Hero, Gjergj Kastrioti Scanderbeg, started on Saturday morning in the city of Lezhe, northwest of Albania.

    The President of Albania, Rexhep Meidani, members of the Government, the representative of the Republic of Kosove in Tirane, representatives of the Diplomatic Corps in Albania and of religious communities, placed bouquets of flowers in the obelisk devoted to the National League and in the Memorial of Scanderbeg.

    Gjergj Kastrioti, named Skender by the Turks (as they called the Great Alexander) fought for 25 years in succession against Ottoman armies, becoming an insurmountable barrier for the extension of their domination in Europe. He was had to face two of the savagest sultans of Turkey, Murat II and Mehmet II, whose attacks against Albania failed for 25 successive years as long Scanderbeg was alive.

    In his address on this occasion in Lezhe, President Meidani highlighted the life and work of the Albanian extremely brave man, who became a symbol of the Albanian national identity. "The need of this identity, he said, becomes more urgent if the consequences of our near history are born in mind, when the social organization of the Albanians, mostly for their fault, was seriously shaken in face of the challenge of the creation of an open economic and political system."

    "Let us work together to build the new identity after the example of that identity that Scanderbeg built. My conviction is that Scanderbeg was one of those symbols whom the Albanian community needs," said Meidani, stressing that now Albanians need those features of Scanderbeg which are related neither with his ability to use the heavy sword, nor with his bravery in the unequal battles with the enemy, but with the maturity of Scanderbeg which could keep the Albanians united. President Meidani added that Albanians do not need to have "a false Scanderbeg, wearing modern clothes and sprawling in the history to take a place in it at any cost, sometimes splitting the Albanians and sometimes uniting them."

    "The establishment of the communication among the Albanians is the greatest objective that the Albanian political class, in cooperation with the intellectual elite, the political subjects and with the support of all the Albanian people, must attain in order to set up the bridges of cultural communication, as well as the bridges made of concrete, which someone could ruin at night. If we succeed not to allow that our bridges be destroyed and that ideas, people, goods move freely on them, then we may see another objective realised, the integration of Albanian values into the world culture," said President Meidani. /s.s/pas/xh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [18] Administrative reform to be conducted along with the process of privatization

    TIRANE, Jan 17 (ATA) - By Keida Kostreci: The administrative reform in Albania will be carried out along with the process of privatization which will create new jobs, the Prime Minister's spokesman, Ben Blushi told a news conference on Saturday.

    The declaration followed a news conference of the chairman of the Republican Party, Fatmir Mediu, in which he has that the RP considers the reduction of 15 thousand posts in the administration as a measure which will lead to social tensions.

    "The administrative reform is one of the main elements in the establishment of the rule of law," said on the same issue the PM's political aide, Vladimir Prela, in the news conference. He added that the reform is proceeding well and taking mature steps. /s.s/xh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [19] Albanian government hails initiatives contributing to Kosova issue - advisor

    TIRANE, Jan 17 (ATA)-By K. Kostreci, Greece's readiness to host a summit among Tirane, Prishtine and Belgrade testifies once again to the fact that Kosova is again being treated at international diplomatic round tables, the political advisor to Prime Minister Fatos Nano told a news briefing on Saturday.

    However, he said that he had been informed of this initiative through the press as there had been no formal invitation, yet.

    "Albania welcomes the initiatives contributing to the Kosova issue. I hold the Kosova issue can only be resolved step by step and through dialogue," advisor Vladimir Prela said.

    Prela evaluated the discussions on Kosova by the Contact Group, the French-German initiative and the latest Greek initiative, which testifies to the importance this issue has assumed among diplomatic circles.

    Greece has declared its readiness to host a summit among Tirane, Prishtine and Belgrade, respectively Nano, Rugova, Milosevic, through Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou in the Greek parliament.

    Papandreou said that the developments in Kosova greatly worry the Greek government, therefore it is ready to negotiate any contact which serves the solution to the problems, such as the Nano-Milosevic meeting at the Crete Summit.

    Also referring to the meetings of Prime Minister Nano in FYROM with senior Macedonian authorities, in which the Kosova issue occupied an important place, Prela stressed the Albanian government's commitment to dialogue with Prishtine and Belgrade, especially for the implementation of the education agreement.

    "A characteristic of the Albanian government's policy on Kosova is respect for the Kosova authorities, local legitimate representatives, and treatment of this issue at international levels," said Prela. s.s/lm

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [20] Structural changes in Police Department of Shkoder

    SHKODER, Jan 17 (ATA) - By Myfit Malja: A structural reorganization took place in the Police Department in the Shkoder district on Friday. Now the number of commissariats has reduced to two, from three that was so far, and they will be directed by lieutenant colonel Zait Keci and major Qemal Llukaj.

    The head of this department, Colonel Mit'hat Havari told ATA that the work of the Shkoder Police Department will focus on the fight against organized crime, trafficking, drug-addiction, trafficking and trading and vehicle robbers. A.ke/pas/xh/

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [21] President Meidani visits Scanderbeg museum in Kruje

    KRUJE, Jan 17 (ATA)-By B. Lala,

    President Meidani visited the Gjergj Kastriot Scanderbeg in Kruje town, Northeast of Tirane, on Saturday.

    Meidani visited Kruje, in the context of the activities devoted to the 530 anniversary of the death of the Albanian national hero, Gjergj Kastriot Scanderbeg.

    Accompanied by the local government authorities, the president visited for nearly one hour the pavilions of the National Museum, devoted to the Albanian hero of all times.

    He familiarised himself with the authentic documents devoted to his struggles and efforts in defence of the Albanian territories against the attacks of Ottoman herds.

    Under the leadership of Scanderbeg, the Albanian army repelled three sieges of Kruje by Sulltan Mehmet II, called The Invader.

    Kruja fell in the hands of the ottomans only in the fourth siege, in 1478, 11 years after the death of Scanderbeg. The third and the fourth siege of Kruja was led by Mehmet II, himself. s.s/pas/lm

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [22] Local currency losses points v USD

    Saturday'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 = 153,79 lek, gaining 0,50 point compared with yesterday's 153, 20 lek. The DM was traded for 84,40 lek gaining 0,44 points compared with yesterday's 83,96 lek.

    The ITL (1000) was traded for 84,80 lek gaining 0.44 points compared with yeasterday's 83,96.

    GRD (100) was exchanged for 53,1 lek, gaining 0,43 points compared with yesterday's 52,67 lek and so on.

    Saturday exchange rate
    
    Currency	Average exchange rate
    USD		153,70 lek
    DM		 84,40 lek
    ITL (1000)	 84,80 lek
    GRD (100)	 53,10 lek
    SFR		102,70 lek
    
    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [23] Germany earmarkes 48 million marks for Albania

    Germany has accorded an amount worth 48 million marks to help Albania during 1998.

    This was confirmed in the recent talks in Bonn between an Albanian delegation including officials from the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, that of Finance, Bank of Albania and the German delegation, including senior officials of the Ministry of Federal Economic Cooperation and Development, Foreign Ministry, the German Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Association for Technical Cooperation (GTZ).

    The meeting discussed holding inter government negotiations to make concrete the help for 1998 and set that spring is the appropriate time.

    During the talks, the German government assured that it will continue to back the Albanian government without reserve.

    Albanian Telegraphic Agency

    [24] Rome commemorates 530th anniversary of death of Scanderbeg - Meeting for Gjergj Kastrioti in Piazza Albania -

    ROME, Jan 17 (ATA) - By Ilenja Mehilli: The Albanian National Hero Gjergj Kastrioti - Scanderbeg was commemorated on January 17, 1998 in Rome.

    The monument of Scanderbeg, almost the same as that in the centre of Tirane, has been erected in Piazza Albania, with the inscription: "To the memory of the 500th anniversary of the death of Gjergj Kastriot - Scanderbeg, insurmountable defender of occidental civilization."

    A conference and a commemorative gathering were held in Piazza Albania premises to mark the 530th anniversary of the death of Scanderbeg. Present were representatives of foreign embassies in Rome and Vatican.

    The conference was opened by Albania's Ambassador in Rome Pandeli Pasko, who spoke on the importance of the personality of Scanderbeg, the only National Hero of Albania.

    General Angioni, special state commissar appointed by the Italian government to direct operation Alba in Albania in spring-summer of 1997, spoke on the importance of the agreement reached between the two states, listing the main events since the period of Scanderbeg until now.

    Also senator Camberleti and Emanuela del Re, reporter, who has published four books on Albania, spoke in the meeting.

    In name of the arberesh population, the docent of the Albanian language in the Naples University, Prof. Dr Italo Fortino spoke.

    The arberesh singer Silvana Likursi sang some old folk songs. The conference was closed by artist Drita Haxhiraj with verses by Fan Noli and the poet Visar Zhiti, translated in Italian.

    A mass in the Albanian language will be conducted in the catholic church of Sant Athanasio to mark the 530th anniversary of the death of Scanderbeg. The Mass will be held by arberesh, Monsignor Fortino. /a.ke/pas/xh/


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


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