Great patriot Mid’hat Frasheri’s remains return home

Great patriot Mid’hat Frasheri’s remains return home

TIRANA, Nov. 14- The remains of intellectual, writer and statesman Mid’hat Frasheri returned on Wednesday Nov. 14 morning in Tirana from the USA, where he unexpectedly passed away. Frasheri, who is also known as Lumo Skendo, his pen name, will

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Real estate registration officers sued for power abuse in Saranda

Real estate registration officers sued for power abuse in Saranda

TIRANA, Nov. 13 – Tirana’s Supreme State Audit (SSA) reported to the prosecution office eight Saranda Real Estate Registration Office workers who it suspects have abused their power. The SSA submitted to the prosecution the documents proving for the eight

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MoI’s active military status becomes new dividing point between President and PM

MoI’s active military status becomes new dividing point between President and PM

TIRANA, Nov. 13 – On Monday, President Ilir Meta published the information he’d inquired from the ministry of defense concerning the active military status of the current deputy interior minister Sander Lleshi, which constitutionally disqualifies him from being appointed as

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Tirana residents protest Great Ring project, as opposition warns of corrupt affair

Tirana residents protest Great Ring project, as opposition warns of corrupt affair

TIRANA, Nov. 12 – Over the last two weeks, residents living in the Astir area – soon to be part of a construction project that foresees demolishing a number of houses and buildings – have been protesting and calling on

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President Meta attends hundredth anniversary of WWI armistice in Paris

President Meta attends hundredth anniversary of WWI armistice in Paris

TIRANA, Nov. 12 – Albanian President Ilir Meta was invited by French counterpart Emmanuel Macron to attend the commemoration ceremony of the hundredth anniversary of the World War I armistice, which took place at the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris.

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President-PM debate on Albania’s new MoI persists, as Meta inquires answers

President-PM debate on Albania’s new MoI persists, as Meta inquires answers

TIRANA, Nov. 11 – Albanian President Ilir Meta and Prime Minister Edi Rama publicly exchanged commentary again on Saturday, when Rama re-sent his proposal to make General Sander Lleshi the country’s new interior minister to Meta to decree, although Meta

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President Meta joined by Italian counterpart in Arberesh community visit

President Meta joined by Italian counterpart in Arberesh community visit

Albania’s President Ilir Meta was joined by his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella this week as he visited southern Italy, a region where the ethnic Albanian Arberesh community has been living since settling in the 15th century following the death of

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Albanians still lead region’s youth migration, with 79 percent looking to leave

Albanians still lead region’s youth migration, with 79 percent looking to leave

TIRANA, Nov. 8 – The ever-increasing trend of Albanian youth to leave the country as soon as possible has lowered chances for the country’s economy to improve, as experts have claimed for years it’s particularly this part of the society

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Nationalistic sentiments take over Katsifas’ funeral service

Nationalistic sentiments take over Katsifas’ funeral service

TIRANA, Nov. 8 – Albanian police took drastic measures on Thursday at the Kakavije border point between Greece and Albania, as thousands of Greeks were expected to cross in order to attend the funeral of Konstantinos Katsifas, who died on

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Appointment of Albania’s new chief spy decreed by president after one year hanging

Appointment of Albania’s new chief spy decreed by president after one year hanging

TIRANA, Nov. 6 – Albanian President Ilir Meta announced on Tuesday he signed the decree appointing Helidon Bendo as the new Director of the State Intelligence Service (SHISH). Bendo, who has so far served as deputy director of SHISH, was

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Nov. 14- The remains of intellectual, writer and statesman Mid’hat Frasheri returned on Wednesday Nov. 14 morning in Tirana from the USA, where he unexpectedly passed away. Frasheri, who is also known as Lumo Skendo, his pen name, will be buried near the intellectual brothers Frasheri at the artificial lake park of Tirana. 

A honorary commemoration ceremony was held for his figure at the Academy of Sciences, where notable political and intellectual figures participated. A number of public also participated in the ceremony to honor the beloved figure of Albanian independence history and language. 

Mid’hat Frasheri is the son of Abdyl Frasheri, the eldest brother of the renowned Frasheris brothers, intellectuals, writers, statesmen. 

He was born in 1880 in Ioannina, and died suddenly in 1949 at New York. The purpose of his visit at the US was to organize the Free Albania Committee in America. He was buried at the Ferncliff, Westchester, and then finally relocated in Albania, making his testament come true after almost seven decades. His mortar crate covered with our national flag was inearthed next to his father’s tomb. 

Mid’hat Frasheri, or Lumo Skendo, has a long history of activism in Albania. After finishing his studies in Istanbul, he worked for the Turkish administration until 1905 before moving to Thessaloniki where he was working in political related duties. 

He has been writing since 1987, and when in Thessaloniki he established the ‘’Kalendari Kombiar’’ (National Calendar) newspaper which had a circulating publication until 1928. In 1901 he published the first full biography of his uncle Naim Frasheri. In 1908 he also established the newspaper ‘’Liria’’ (Freedom) in Thessaloniki. In his newspapers he was discussing Albania-related issues, regarding its independence, language and national identity.

In Nov. 1908, he was appointed director of the Manastir Congress, where the Albanian alphabet was discussed and composed, along with Albanian linguistic issues. He was later appointed deputy director of the Alphabet Commision, and was the first to suggest a Latin alphabet adaptation to our own. 

Shortly after the Congress finished, Skendo established ‘’Diturija’’ (Knowledge), a magazine for the Albanian literature and language, which holds high linguistic, cultural and literary values for our history. The National History Museum is also to publish a compressed two-volume publication of the magazine for the public, in celebration of our unique language and history. 

Later in Sept. 1909, he participated at the National Congress of Elbasan where the delegates discussed about culture and education, and decided to start introducing the Albanian alphabet chosen by the Manastir Congress in all schools in the Albanian territory. 

Frasheri was also appointed delegate of Permet, Elbasan and Peja in 1912 at the National Vlora Assembly of Ismail Qemali and signed the Declaration of Independence, along with the many other intellectuals and statesmen of our nation. 

In Qemali’s provisional government he was appointed Minister of World Affairs. He has also held the post of Minister of Public Affairs, Albanian consul general in Belgrade and postmaster general. In 1920 he was was appointed Albanian delegate at the Paris Peace Conference where he remained until 1922. After returning from that post, he was appointed Albanian ambassador to Greece and United States until 1926.

When Zog became the first King of Albania, Skendo decided to choose the path of the quiet life by opening the Lumo Skendo bookstore in Tirana from 1926-1939. Considering the multitude of his knowledge, he also worked as a pharmacist as well.

During World War II he established Balli Kombetar (National Front), a political organization that fought on behalf of ethnic Albania against the fascist occupation in our country. Balli Kombetar collaborated with the German militants in our nation to fight the fascist and anti-nazi guerrillas groups. When the communist regime of Enver Hoxha was established in Albania, he was considered an enemy and became a politically persecuted individual, as many other intellectuals during that era. 

He fled to Italy, and then moved to London where he established the Free Albania Committee, and engaged in anti-communist groups. In 1949 he went to the US to establish the Committee there, after he was chosen director in London, but died of a heart attack at the Lexington Hotel in New York, and buried there.

Mid’hat Frasheri never married, but dedicated his life to Albania’s liberation instead. He worked to establish an alphabet, Albanian-speaking schools and education. He fought in building a national identity for our citizens, better our history and develop our culture and linguistics. A great statesman, and the father of Albanian Nationalism at its best, purest form. 

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Nov. 13 - Tirana’s Supreme State Audit (SSA) reported to the prosecution office eight Saranda Real Estate Registration Office workers who it suspects have abused their power.

The SSA submitted to the prosecution the documents proving for the eight local officials the established violations of property records on the southern coast, mainly in the Ksamil area, without proper legal documentation.

It also informed it has filed its denouncement towards a registrant and a former registrant, the former Deputy Registrant and five local specialists working at the Real Estate Registration Office in Saranda.

According to the SSA, officials have committed violations in dozens of cases of property registration, revenue collection, the issuance of property certificates for formerly limited assets, and so on.

The coastal area between Vlora and Saranda has seen a rapid growth of intense construction in the last decade, especially those related to tourism.

In recent years, apart from property conflicts in the courts, dozens of land, pasture and construction land files that have ended up in Vlora’s and Saranda’s prosecution offices of Vlora and Saranda because of abuse include local officials.

Only last month, Albanian police arrested former Socialist Party MP Arben Ndoka on corruption charges related to coastal property abuse and adverse possession.

Surveillance of the Ndoka brothers over their discussions with Real Estate Registration Office employees proved they had illegally taken huge amounts of property under their ownership.

Last March, the Lezha police investigated a criminal group suspected of abusing properties in Lezha’s Shengjin area and in this context detained 12 persons, among whom the Lezha Mayor, and declared another 11 as wanted.

All of them are being accused of adverse possession of 234,548 square meters of coastal land in Lezha’s Shengjin, proving that what is happening in Saranda currently has been happening all over Albania.

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Nov. 13 - On Monday, President Ilir Meta published the information he’d inquired from the ministry of defense concerning the active military status of the current deputy interior minister Sander Lleshi, which constitutionally disqualifies him from being appointed as minister of interior according to Meta. 

In his request for information directed to the defense ministry, Meta has raised a number of questions concerning Lleshi’s military status, the clash between the MoI’s civil function and Lleshi’s long military career, the constitutional issue of appointing him as MoI and his conviction that an active military man cannot run or be appointed as lawmaker or minister without first resigning from duty. 

In a letter sent to Meta, Lleshi clarified he no longer holds an active military status, but that he’d nevertheless give up his military career once and for all. 

He said he cannot be considered an actively military member, as only those serving at the Armed Forces and wear uniform carry an active status.

Lleshi underlined that upon accepting the proposal to become interior minister he decided to give up military career, although the court's decision has given the opportunity to both, and that with the request addressed to Meta he renounces the rights deriving from the appeal's decision.

Lleshi was released from the post of Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army in 2013 by decree of then-President Bujar Nishani. He appealed to the courts, and the Administrative Appeal granted him the right in 2017, also approving his return to office and the Ministry of Defense’s duty to pay his salary until appointment day. Meanwhile, the case passed to the High Court, where it hasn’t yet received an official solution.

Meta's questions focus precisely on this case and the positions held after the court decision by both the defense ministry and Lleshi himself.

Meta also said Prime Minister Edi Rama was aware of this constitutional issue, also when he proposed Lleshi as MoI for the second time on Saturday, and did not provide any explanations or information on the issue and every issue that may derive from it. 

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Nov. 12 - Over the last two weeks, residents living in the Astir area - soon to be part of a construction project that foresees demolishing a number of houses and buildings - have been protesting and calling on the government to guarantee them compensation for their properties.

On Monday, after protesting for about two hours in front of Tirana’s Municipality building and asking for a meeting with Mayor Erion Veliaj or any municipality representative authorized to give information, the protesters said Tuesday, Nov. 13, is the deadline to have a meeting or else they warned to block Unaza e Madhe (Great Ring road) for good. 

“We will not free the road until we are given a solution to our problem,” protesters said, as they blocked one of the main roads in Tirana’s centre, creating heavy traffic.

One of the protesters who gave a declaration for local media during the protest, said his son’s wife had ended up in prison for protesting the road expansion project foreseeing the demolition of their houses.

“They took my son’s wife to give birth in prison. There are men in that house, not just women. They cannot step over all these people,” the Astir resident told local media.

In front of the municipality, protesters also started chanting anti-government statements, such as warnings that their houses will be demolished over their dead bodies. 

The protests, which began right after the Head of Road Authority Afrim Qendro and other officials announced on Nov. 5 that “317 objects will be touched by the Great Ring road expansion project,” have been ongoing over the last two weeks at the Astir area and have even turned violent at times.

Residents have time and time again blocked the traffic in both axes at the Astir road, continuously calling for a complete compensation of all the people living in the buildings to be demolished, as opposed to those who already have property ownership titles, as the government plans on doing.

Another reason behind the aggravated protests is the residents’ claims the government did not warn them enough time in advance of the plan to demolish the houses and only give compensation to those who have already received their property ownership titles.

The protests have turned violent as drivers passing at Astir have physically confronted and tried to remove residents, while on Saturday the cameraman of a private media who was doing field reporting was punched by an angry driver.

 

The government’s plan

Last Monday, Nov. 5, Head of Road Authority Afrim Qendro, Head Inspector of the National Inspectorate of Territory Defense Dallendyshe Bici and Tirana Deputy Mayor Arbri Mazniku, among others, gave a press conference regarding the Great Ring road project.

Qendro said that during the project’s tracking phase around 317 projects will be demolished, 163 out of which are under legalization and will be disqualified and 123 hold property ownership titles and will receive compensation.

He added there is no other kind of information for the remaining objects in the area.

“We are in the first phase of object tracking. As soon as we have the approving status from the Real Estate Registration Office, we will begin demolishing the objects. But we will wait for the institutions. The project has a 100-year-old importance and will be accompanied by all urban elements. We conducted our field work and made all preliminary assessments,” Qendro said.

Further on, Qendro clarified the owners of the objects to be disqualified will be included in the homeless people’s list and be given a lease bonus.

“All households that are under legalization will need to be disqualified. The Tirana Municipality will arrange them available housing support programs. They will be treated with a special lease payment procedure in order to move to a quick procedure and be approved as soon as possible at the municipal council and have the opportunity to benefit the lease bonus for a period of at least one year, but which is also renewable until they have the opportunity to be restructured and managed in the new houses,” Qendro said.

The Big Tirana project, from the capital’s Maternity Hospital to the roundabout known as ‘the Eagle’ - due to the double-headed eagle statue at its middle - at the Tirana-Durres highway entrance, has cost 26.5 billion ALL for a length of 27 km. 

Soon, the segment from the Eagle to Shkoza is also expected to be launched. 

 

The political dimension 

On Monday, the opposition’s Democratic Party made public, through its spokeswoman Ina Zhupa, documents allegedly proving the benefactors of the Great Ring project were predetermined.

“The corrupt scheme is clear. The winners have been predetermined because in three different tender procedures, there was only one valid offer, while the second participator was been included to legitimize the tender but has not actually made any offers,” Zhupa said. 

Only a day earlier, DP leader Lulzim Basha spoke of an “offshore company” related to the Great Ring project and promised to reveal the “government’s corrupt affairs” the rest of the week,

On Monday, Zhupa made the names of alleged offshore companies clear.

“DH Albania was established this year’s July, one month and a half before the tender opening, under the name of the parent company Dunvel Haberman ltd. Its parent company is an offshore company, with unknown owners, registered in the United States of America, which is known as a fiscal paradise. The other company, Biba X, has no road construction experience and only added this activity shortly before the winner of the 18 million euro tender was announced. The company Biba X  was seized even during the period when it participated in the project’s tender,” Zhupa said. 

DP  representatives and lawmakers have attended the protest on different days throughout the week, expressing solidarity with the protesters’ cause.

DP lawmaker Flamur Noka, in a media statement, denounced the municipality’s silence on the Greater Ring road residents’ “legitimate protest.”

“On this seventh day of protest, everything has gone to dead ears. The government and the municipality act as if these residents don’t exist, only because they notified they will demolish all their houses. No one has come to talk to them,” Noka said. 

He added the municipality’s behavior with over 2,000 residents is “barbarous” and “non-humane,” as it has taken their money and votes to legalize their houses, which has now decided to demolish without granting compensation.

He promised the residents’ the DP’s support in their legitimate right to be compensated. 

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Nov. 12 - Albanian President Ilir Meta was invited by French counterpart Emmanuel Macron to attend the commemoration ceremony of the hundredth anniversary of the World War I armistice, which took place at the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris. 

At the start of the officially activity, which was also attended by US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and other world leaders, Meta was welcomed in a state ceremony at the Élysée Palace by Macron and his wife,.

During his meeting with Macron, Meta expressed the high estimates for the traditional and excellent relations between the two countries and stressed the importance of their dynamic. 

Meta also praised Macron’s role in building a stronger and much more united Europe.

During his stay in Paris, Meta also met Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with whom, according to the president’s office announcement, he praised the unique relations between our people in respect and gratitude toward Israel's history and expressed his will to build an even closer relationship in the future between the countries.

Despite the excellent relations between France and Albania mentioned by Meta, France’s Macron was one of the key players, along with Netherlands’ Foreign Minister Stef Blok, who blocked Albania’s chances to open accession negotiations in order to eventually become EU member back in July.

According to Macron, the EU should not expand before fixing its own internal policies and making sure all its member states are aligned with the same democratic core values and perspectives, also signaling distrust towards Albania’s so-far-achieved EU-based reforms.

France is one of Albanian asylum-seekers’ favorite destinations, while French authorities have warned, time and time again, the country must do something to curb its migration waves, especially since it’s considered a ‘country of safe origin,’ meaning Albanian citizens are, most of the time, not applicable to receive asylum by EU states.

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Nov. 11 - Albanian President Ilir Meta and Prime Minister Edi Rama publicly exchanged commentary again on Saturday, when Rama re-sent his proposal to make General Sander Lleshi the country’s new interior minister to Meta to decree, although Meta rejected it last week.

Meta’s spokesperson Ted Blushi said Meta has begun the process of cooperating with all the relevant institutions to become clear on all the questions he had since the start but which he did not manage to, despite all the efforts.

“Concerning the new process, he has decided to also inform the head of parliament on all his questions, as the procedure of naming a new minister is a mandatory cooperative process between three institutions - prime minister, president, parliament,” Blushi said.

Rama responded to Meta’s statement through his Head of Communication Endri Fuga.

Fuga said Rama appreciates Meta efforts to receive clear and full answers, but added Meta had not asked any clarifications from Rama after sending him a letter where he, without offering any reason or justification, rejected Lleshi and asked to meet Rama.

Further on, Fuga stated Meta will receive the answers to all the questions he had sent in the form of a written letter on Monday morning.

“Also in function of exhaustively addressing the issue, which President Met has not raised as an issue during his meeting with the prime minister, but only express it in written form, as a questionnaire to the minister of defense, only yesterday, the President will receive along with his answers an exhaustive solution, which doesn’t leave place for any interpretations. From any side,” Rama’s statement highlighted.

Last week, after former Minister of Interior Fatmir Xhafaj unexpectedly resigned his post, Meta refused to sign the decree on Lleshi's appointment.

The official motives of this decision have not yet become official and there is not even an official act coming from the president for his decision, apart from the letter sent to Rama saying that "he was not able to create full conviction to trust Lleshi.”

Meta’s stand on the issue has been accompanied with public debate.

During his parliamentary speech last Monday, Rama insisted the president cannot reject the appointment of a government member and went on to make Lleshi deputy minister of interior, but will all competences of a minister himself.

Asked again on Friday, Meta stood by his decision to reject Lleshi, while also speaking of the legal motivations behind his rejection. 

“For what it concerns the legal part, without wanting to give lectures on the Constitution to amateurs, dilettants or those who are biased, I would invite them to read the Constitution and the president’s competences again and see only his oath is formal or ceremonial,” Meta said.

Meanwhile, both the US Embassy to Tirana and the EU delegation have reacted to the news of Lleshi’s appointment as deputy MoI by stressing it is vital the interior ministry if fully functional.

Analysts and independent political observers also claimed Albania has fallen into a sudden constitutional crisis throughout last week, while also raising concerns about Lleshi’s appointment as deputy minister as unprofessional.

 
                    [post_title] => President-PM debate on Albania’s new MoI persists, as Meta inquires answers 
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                    [post_date] => 2018-11-09 11:35:24
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                    [post_content] => Albania's President Ilir Meta was joined by his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella this week as he visited southern Italy, a region where the ethnic Albanian Arberesh community has been living since settling in the 15th century following the death of Albania’s national hero Skanderbeg and Ottoman occupation.  A community of some 90,000 people, the Arberesh have preserved the Albanian language and traditions for more than five centuries and are also marking 2018 as the ‘Pan-national Skanderbeg Year’ commemorating the 550th death anniversary of Albania’s national hero.
                    [post_title] => President Meta joined by Italian counterpart in Arberesh community visit  
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                    [post_date] => 2018-11-09 10:34:54
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-11-09 09:34:54
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Nov. 8 - The ever-increasing trend of Albanian youth to leave the country as soon as possible has lowered chances for the country’s economy to improve, as experts have claimed for years it’s particularly this part of the society that can help speed up development. 

According to a Gallup study, 79 percent of Albanians between 15 and 29 years old want to leave Albania once and for all.

“I wanna leave as soon as possible. I have thought of going to Germany,” an Albanian youth told local media.

Among the region’s countries, the second largest figure of people who seek to leave their home countries is observed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with 62 percent, while the third largest figure is observed in Macedonia, with 51 percent, while for Serbia and Montenegro, the part of youth that wants to leave is smaller than 50 percent.

The main reasons Albanian youth wants to leave Albania is the perceived unemployment.

“There is no work and making a life is very difficult,” another youngster told local media. 

According to the official Albanian statistic institute (INSTAT), during the second trimester of 2018 unemployment for ages 15-29 years old reached 22.6 percent, almost two times more than the average unemployment rate. 

More than the lack of work, it is the lack of hope for a better future most youths quote as their main reason for leaving the country.

“There is no future here,” another Albanian youth has told media.

These figures are not the result of only one study.

Back in August, the National Youth Network and the CRCA Centre completed another survey as part of the National Youth Index, where it was resulted that the youth, which accounts for 35 percent of the population, claims it is not a priority for any public institution.

“The first problem raised in all consultations conducted with young people from all 12 regions of Albania is the lack of studying opportunities. They complete their study cycle and feel this difficulty since their student years. Then, when they finish their studies, they have no employment opportunities due to the lack of incentive policies for youth employment by the government,” head of the NYN and study’s author Ervjola Osmanaj said.

Youth participation in decision-making processes is also very low. The report found that over 70 percent of young people do not have government support to be represented in decision-making processes or local government branches.

Polls show that young people are being used only as a political background, but do not have any effective participation in policy-making or political decision-making and do not find support from it.

In addition, one of the main challenges for youth remains employment, while about 80 percent of youth organizations say they do not have government support for promoting youth employment.

The report also cites data from the International Labor Organization (ILO), which show Albania occupies one of the first places in Europe for youth unemployment.

All these circumstances, taken together, are main drivers behind Albanian youth’s apathy and inclination to leave the country and never look back. 

 
                    [post_title] => Albanians still lead region’s youth migration, with 79 percent looking to leave 
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                    [post_date] => 2018-11-09 10:25:26
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Nov. 8 - Albanian police took drastic measures on Thursday at the Kakavije border point between Greece and Albania, as thousands of Greeks were expected to cross in order to attend the funeral of Konstantinos Katsifas, who died on Oct. 28, during a shootout with Albanian police. 

Local media reported throughout Thursday morning that 670 foreign citizens had entered the Kakavije border point, all of whom were thoroughly checked by the police.

Additional sources reported at least ten people were kept from entering Albania, although it is highly probable a much bigger number was detained, as at least one right-wing Golden Dawn Party van filled with supporters was warned by the Greek side to be arriving.

Among the Greeks prohibited from entering were also those allegedly wearing shirts bearing nationalistic signs and anti-Albanian quotes mentioning Northern Epirus.

On the Albanian side, police forces from Tirana even arrived to Bularat, where Kotsifas was killed and buried, while the Gjirokastra police was placed in the periphery of Bularat, to make sure no incidents occur during the funeral, which took place at around 1pm. 

On its side, the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs also called on all Greek citizens who decided to attend Katsifas’ funeral to demonstrate self-control and respect over Katsifas’ family and the funeral service , according to Greek media. 

Katsifas was dressed in military uniform and close to 2000 people attended it. 

No matter the draconian measures to maintain a civil and calm funeral, nationalistic sentiments and tones did take over the service, as reported by local media. 

According to local broadcaster Top-Channel, the service  was accompanied by numerous Greek flags as well as nationalistic symbols which not only went against Albania, but also Macedonia. 

After the religious service , the crowd allegedly accompanied Katsifas’ coffin by singing nationalistic chants and unfolding a flag where “Northern-Epirus” was written, as “Albanians leave, this is Greece” was heard being sang in the background.

After the entire funeral ended, the crowd of Greek citizens was reported by Top-Channel correspondent to have also gone to the Gjirokaster-Kakavije main road holding the unfolded Greek flag, creating traffic and blocking the way of vehicles passing there. 

Konstantinos Katsifas, who was killed during a shootout with officers of the Renea Special Force on Sunday, as Bularat was commemorating the fallen Greek soldiers during the Greek-Italian war, caused a storm of nationalistic and radical statements that overtook the public discussion.

Katsifas was reported by Albanian media and police forces to have shot on the RENEA effectives who were gathered in Bularat to make sure nothing happened during the commemoration service, while the Albanian police said normal procedure was followed during the entire event.

Greek media, however, reported RENEA effectives lowered a Greek flag the minority member has placed to commemorate the fallen from the war and that caused him to shot at them and, in turn, be killed.

Throughout the week, protests overtook major Greek cities Athens and Thessaloniki, as many Greeks saw a hero in the face of Katsifas and called for investigations to go to the end of what happened. 

 
                    [post_title] => Nationalistic sentiments take over Katsifas’ funeral service 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Nov. 6 - Albanian President Ilir Meta announced on Tuesday he signed the decree appointing Helidon Bendo as the new Director of the State Intelligence Service (SHISH).

Bendo, who has so far served as deputy director of SHISH, was proposed about a year ago to take over leading this institution right after his predecessor Visho Ajazi resigned.

Meta kept the decree of his appointment hanging during this entire time, although Bendo actually led the institution with all the competencies the director would have.

Asked last December on this issue, Meta said that "such a decision is important and the President of the Republic must be convinced that a final decision strengthens the independence and efficiency of such an important national security institution.”

A career intelligence officer and a mathematician by training, Bendo had been at the service since the tumultuous 1990s, at the same time that Ajazi also signed up.

However, Ajazi left to live in Canada for many years working in IT, where his primary training is based, until returning as head of the intelligence service.

Albanian media reported this week Ajazi had competed several months ago to get a job as a security advisor at NATO headquarters, indicating he was planning to leave the service.

SHISH is Albania’s primary intelligence service. Its responsibilities include acquiring intelligence and counterintelligence on issues relevant to national security. Its responsibilities also extend to issues related to constitutional order and specifically encompass a role in fighting organized crime, illegal trafficking and terrorism.

Meanwhile, Ajazi’s resignation last year, after serving as the head of SHISH for five years, sparked questions whether the decision was personal or had come under pressure from the government. 

 
                    [post_title] => Appointment of Albania’s new chief spy decreed by president after one year hanging 
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            [post_date] => 2018-11-16 11:15:33
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            [post_content] => TIRANA, Nov. 14- The remains of intellectual, writer and statesman Mid’hat Frasheri returned on Wednesday Nov. 14 morning in Tirana from the USA, where he unexpectedly passed away. Frasheri, who is also known as Lumo Skendo, his pen name, will be buried near the intellectual brothers Frasheri at the artificial lake park of Tirana. 

A honorary commemoration ceremony was held for his figure at the Academy of Sciences, where notable political and intellectual figures participated. A number of public also participated in the ceremony to honor the beloved figure of Albanian independence history and language. 

Mid’hat Frasheri is the son of Abdyl Frasheri, the eldest brother of the renowned Frasheris brothers, intellectuals, writers, statesmen. 

He was born in 1880 in Ioannina, and died suddenly in 1949 at New York. The purpose of his visit at the US was to organize the Free Albania Committee in America. He was buried at the Ferncliff, Westchester, and then finally relocated in Albania, making his testament come true after almost seven decades. His mortar crate covered with our national flag was inearthed next to his father’s tomb. 

Mid’hat Frasheri, or Lumo Skendo, has a long history of activism in Albania. After finishing his studies in Istanbul, he worked for the Turkish administration until 1905 before moving to Thessaloniki where he was working in political related duties. 

He has been writing since 1987, and when in Thessaloniki he established the ‘’Kalendari Kombiar’’ (National Calendar) newspaper which had a circulating publication until 1928. In 1901 he published the first full biography of his uncle Naim Frasheri. In 1908 he also established the newspaper ‘’Liria’’ (Freedom) in Thessaloniki. In his newspapers he was discussing Albania-related issues, regarding its independence, language and national identity.

In Nov. 1908, he was appointed director of the Manastir Congress, where the Albanian alphabet was discussed and composed, along with Albanian linguistic issues. He was later appointed deputy director of the Alphabet Commision, and was the first to suggest a Latin alphabet adaptation to our own. 

Shortly after the Congress finished, Skendo established ‘’Diturija’’ (Knowledge), a magazine for the Albanian literature and language, which holds high linguistic, cultural and literary values for our history. The National History Museum is also to publish a compressed two-volume publication of the magazine for the public, in celebration of our unique language and history. 

Later in Sept. 1909, he participated at the National Congress of Elbasan where the delegates discussed about culture and education, and decided to start introducing the Albanian alphabet chosen by the Manastir Congress in all schools in the Albanian territory. 

Frasheri was also appointed delegate of Permet, Elbasan and Peja in 1912 at the National Vlora Assembly of Ismail Qemali and signed the Declaration of Independence, along with the many other intellectuals and statesmen of our nation. 

In Qemali’s provisional government he was appointed Minister of World Affairs. He has also held the post of Minister of Public Affairs, Albanian consul general in Belgrade and postmaster general. In 1920 he was was appointed Albanian delegate at the Paris Peace Conference where he remained until 1922. After returning from that post, he was appointed Albanian ambassador to Greece and United States until 1926.

When Zog became the first King of Albania, Skendo decided to choose the path of the quiet life by opening the Lumo Skendo bookstore in Tirana from 1926-1939. Considering the multitude of his knowledge, he also worked as a pharmacist as well.

During World War II he established Balli Kombetar (National Front), a political organization that fought on behalf of ethnic Albania against the fascist occupation in our country. Balli Kombetar collaborated with the German militants in our nation to fight the fascist and anti-nazi guerrillas groups. When the communist regime of Enver Hoxha was established in Albania, he was considered an enemy and became a politically persecuted individual, as many other intellectuals during that era. 

He fled to Italy, and then moved to London where he established the Free Albania Committee, and engaged in anti-communist groups. In 1949 he went to the US to establish the Committee there, after he was chosen director in London, but died of a heart attack at the Lexington Hotel in New York, and buried there.

Mid’hat Frasheri never married, but dedicated his life to Albania’s liberation instead. He worked to establish an alphabet, Albanian-speaking schools and education. He fought in building a national identity for our citizens, better our history and develop our culture and linguistics. A great statesman, and the father of Albanian Nationalism at its best, purest form. 

 
            [post_title] => Great patriot Mid’hat Frasheri’s remains return home
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