Prosecutor office closes investigation of former ambassador to the U.S.

TIRANA, Sept. 26 – Tirana prosecutor office said Tuesday they had completed the investigation of abuse against former ambassador to the United States Fatos Tarifa. He was ambassador to Washington 2001-2005. tarifa is accused of abuse with public funds in

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Mustafaj takes part at Francophone conference

BUCHAREST, Sept. 26 – Albanian Foreign Minister Besnik Mustafaj took part at the 22nd session of the Conference of the foreign ministers of the Francophone countries held in the Romanian capital Bucharest, the foreign ministry reported Tuesday. The conference discussed

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Albania is in a crucial period for NATO accession

TIRANA, Sept. 24 – Alan Van Egmond, the head of the Balkans and Eurasia programs at the Pentagon, was quoted by the Voice of America that Albania is in a crucial period regarding its accession to NATO. Van Egmond pointed

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Korca police arrest drug dealer

KORCA, Sept. 27 – Police in the southeastern city of Korca said Wednesday they had arrested an 18-year old man, Artan Zallemi, found with half a kilogram of marijuana. Police checked a bus going from Korca to the Greek city

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Berisha meets with Djukanovic

TIRANA, Sept. 27 – Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha met Wednesday with his Montenegro counterpart Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, who was attending the meeting of southeast European defense ministers in Tirana. The two premiers discussed about the bilateral ties and

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Integration minister meets with new EC ambassador

TIRANA, Sept. 19 – Albanian Minister of Integration Arenca Trashani met Tuesday with the new Ambassador o the European Delegation in Tirana Helmut Lohan. Trashani made an introduction to the ambassador on the government’s efforts toward the integration process, reforms

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Mafia style murder in Shkodra

SHKODRA, Sept. 19 – Police reported Tuesday that Clirim Cafi, 33, was killed while he was driving a BMW X5 vehicle in Shkodra. He was killed at 10 a.m. at Qemal Stafa quarter in Shkodra shot some times with a

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Kosova aid for Himara’s earthquake affected families

HIMARA, Sept. 18 – Fifteen trucks with construction materials from Kosova reached Himara to help the local authorities repair the damaged houses from the August quake tremors. The materials were distributed to all the affected areas. The Kosova aid was

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Albania: Amicable relationship among religious groups

TIRANA, Sept. 15 – The U.S. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor released recently a report submitted to the Congress by the Department of State on the religious freedom around the world, including Albania. Following is what the report

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Family falls into a fall

ELBASAN, Sept. 19 – One person died and six others of the same family were injured in a car accident Tuesday in the central city of Elbasan in Qafe Thana mountainous road. A Mercedes car fell in to a cliff

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 26 - Tirana prosecutor office said Tuesday they had completed the investigation of abuse against former ambassador to the United States Fatos Tarifa. He was ambassador to Washington 2001-2005. tarifa is accused of abuse with public funds in the reconstruction of the building where the embassy was sheltered and also for the financial abuse in buying cars and repairing them. Prosecutor office said they had resulted that such expenditure were not documented. The amount he is accused of is some $100,000. tarifa was sued at the prosecutor office from the High State Control.
President Alfred Moisiu had fired him from the post after a report alleging he sought a bribe in return for a contract to reconstruct the embassy building in Washington. Local newspapers reported that Tarifa had asked a businessman to pay US$3,500 for his son's schooling in Netherlands to secure the building tender. Tarifa denied the report, which cited the Albanian accounting office as its source. He has refused, however, to come to the Albanian capital when called by authorities to answer questions. Tarifa previously served as ambassador to Netherlands.
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                    [post_content] => BUCHAREST, Sept. 26 - Albanian Foreign Minister Besnik Mustafaj took part at the 22nd session of the Conference of the foreign ministers of the Francophone countries held in the Romanian capital Bucharest, the foreign ministry reported Tuesday. The conference discussed a draft statement on the technology of information in the education system. The conference members decided to propose to the Francophone summit the Albanian membership. Albania is an associated member.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 24 - Alan Van Egmond, the head of the Balkans and Eurasia programs at the Pentagon, was quoted by the Voice of America that Albania is in a crucial period regarding its accession to NATO. Van Egmond pointed out that the U.S. would back Albania's efforts to become an Alliance member. He stressed the reforms that are being implemented at the moment would show whether Albania could become a NATO member in the next two years.
Albania, on its side, repeated this week that it is ready to take part in international peacekeeping missions like that of Iraq, or increase troops in Afghanistan, and also continue participation in the Bosnia mission to show the proficiency of its troops.
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                    [post_content] => KORCA, Sept. 27 - Police in the southeastern city of Korca said Wednesday they had arrested an 18-year old man, Artan Zallemi, found with half a kilogram of marijuana. Police checked a bus going from Korca to the Greek city of Thessaloniki near the Kapshtica border crossing.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 27 - Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha met Wednesday with his Montenegro counterpart Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, who was attending the meeting of southeast European defense ministers in Tirana. The two premiers discussed about the bilateral ties and regional developments. Berisha hailed Djukanovic for his country's independence adding that Montenegro would be an important factor of peace, stability and cooperation in the region. Djukanovic thanked Berisha for Albania's support during the independence process. Djukanovic said that his country's independence, followed by that of Kosova, would help the region get rid of the past and look forward toward a European future. Both premiers agreed to urge their governments to strengthen ties and improve infrastructure linking the two countries. They also agreed to lift the economic barriers and further liberalize the commercial exchange.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 19 - Albanian Minister of Integration Arenca Trashani met Tuesday with the new Ambassador o the European Delegation in Tirana Helmut Lohan. Trashani made an introduction to the ambassador on the government's efforts toward the integration process, reforms in the social, economic spheres and also the fight against corruption and the organized crime. The minister also asked the new ambassador to help the country to raise administration capacities needed along the integration road.
Lohan said the Stabilization and Association Agrement, which was signed in June and ratified by the European Parliament earlier this month, wouild help and promote free competition in every sector and also it will bring lower prices.The ambassador did nto forget to remind the minister that the participation of th eopposition in the process was obligatory.
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                    [post_content] => SHKODRA, Sept. 19 - Police reported Tuesday that Clirim Cafi, 33, was killed while he was driving a BMW X5 vehicle in Shkodra. He was killed at 10 a.m. at Qemal Stafa quarter in Shkodra shot some times with a pistol. Police found four bullets shots against him. 
The killer was driving a Vespa motorbike with a helmet leaving toward the Perash quarter after the crime, according to witnesses. Many police forces were sent around the district to check roads and cars. Cafi was known in the northern town as a dangerous person feared of many crimes before. He was accused before in 2002, together with two other persons, for an attempted murder and illegal possession of weapons. But the Shkodra district court declared him innocent. The same year the court declared him guilty of attempted kidnapping a person and sentenced him to 12 years imprisonment. Cafi appealed and the sentence was lowered to one-year imprisonment. Cafi was also suspected for human trafficking and other murders.
                    [post_title] =>  Mafia style murder in Shkodra 
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                    [post_content] => HIMARA, Sept. 18 - Fifteen trucks with construction materials from Kosova reached Himara to help the local authorities repair the damaged houses from the August quake tremors. The materials were distributed to all the affected areas. The Kosova aid was accompanied by Jahja Lluka, adviser of the Kosova Prime Minister Agim Ceku. 
                    [post_title] =>  Kosova aid for Himara's earthquake affected families 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 15 - The U.S. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor released recently a report submitted to the Congress by the Department of State on the religious freedom around the world, including Albania. Following is what the report wrote on Albania.
The report said that Albania's constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respected this right in practice.There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom during the period covered by this report, and government policy continued to contribute to the generally free practice of religion. The generally amicable relationship among religious groups in society contributed to religious freedom.
The majority of citizens were secular in orientation after decades of rigidly enforced atheism under the communist regime, which ended in 1990. No reliable data were available on active participation in formal religious services, but estimates ranged from 25 to 40 percent. Despite such secularism, most citizens associated themselves with a traditional religious group. Citizens of Muslim background made up the largest traditional religious group (estimated at 65 to 70 percent of the population) and were divided into two major communities: those associated with a moderate form of Sunni Islam and those associated with the Bektashi school (a particularly liberal form of Shi'a Sufism). Bektashis were estimated to represent approximately one-quarter of the country's Muslim population. In 1925, after the revolution of Ataturk and the Bektashis' expulsion from Turkey, the country became the world center of Bektashism, although it has not been recognized as such by the Government. In 2005, the Muslim community, historically known as the Albanian Muslim Community, resumed using the name "Albanian Islamic Community."
The Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania (referred to as Orthodox) and the Roman Catholic Church were the other large denominations. An estimated 20 to 25 percent of the population belonged to communities that are traditionally Albanian Orthodox and approximately 10 percent to the Roman Catholic communities. The Orthodox Church became independent from Constantinople's authority in 1929 but was not recognized as autocephalous (independent) until 1937.
Muslims were found throughout the country but were concentrated mostly in the middle of the country and to a lesser extent in the south. The Orthodox lived mainly in the south and Roman Catholics in the north of the country; this division was not strict, however, particularly in the case of many urban centers, which had mixed populations. The Greek minority, concentrated in the south, belonged almost exclusively to the Orthodox Church. In addition to the four traditional religious groups, the country had substantial numbers of Protestants, Baha'is, members of Jehovah's Witnesses, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and other smaller religions. All reported that they freely carried out their religious activities.
According to the State Committee on Cults, during the period covered by this report, there were a total of 245 religious groups, organizations, and foundations other than the 4 traditional faiths active in the country. This number included 34 different Islamic organizations and 189 Protestant (Christian) organizations. The largest foreign missionary groups were American, Western European, and Middle Eastern.
The constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respected this right in practice. The Government at all levels sought to protect this right in full and did not tolerate its abuse, either by governmental or private actors. According to the 1998 Constitution, there is no official religion and all religions are equal; however, the predominant religious communities (Sunni Muslim, Bektashi, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic) enjoy a greater degree of official recognition (e.g., national holidays) and social status based on their historical presence in the country. All registered religious groups have the right to hold bank accounts and to own property and buildings. Official holidays include religious holy days from all four predominant faiths. Religious movements may acquire the official status of a juridical person by registering with the Tirana District Court under the Law on Nonprofit Organizations, which recognizes the status of a nonprofit association regardless of whether the organization has a cultural, recreational, religious, or humanitarian character. The Government does not require registration or licensing of religious groups; however, the State Committee on Cults maintains records and statistics on foreign religious organizations that contact it for assistance. No groups reported difficulties registering during the period covered by this report. All religious communities have criticized the Government for its unwillingness to grant them tax-exempt status. Since 2003, foreign religious missionaries have been exempted from the residence permit tax.
The State Committee on Cults is charged with regulating the relations between the Government and all religious communities, large and small. Following parliamentary elections in July 2005, a new government came to power in September 2005. In the previous government the chairman of the Cults Committee had the status of a deputy minister and reported directly to the prime minister. In the current government, the Cults Committee has been moved within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Youth and Sports. The Cults Committee recognizes the equality of religious communities and respects their independence. The Cults Committee is charged with working to protect freedom of religion and to promote inter-religious cooperation and understanding. The Cults Committee claims that its records on religious organizations facilitate the granting of residence permits by police to foreign employees of various religious organizations. No organization claimed any difficulty in obtaining residency permits during the period covered by this report. However, as a general rule, foreign religious missionaries were issued only one-year residency permits and not five-year permits, as allowed under law for residents who have been in the country more than two years. The new government promised to issue longer period permits but had not yet begun to do so. No single religious organization has been singled out; all have been treated equally. In 2004, the State Committee on Cults assisted 1,084 foreign missionaries in obtaining residency permits.
There is no law or regulation forcing religious organizations to notify the Cults Committee of their activities; however, Article 10 of the constitution calls for separate bilateral agreements to regulate relations between the Government and religious communities. At the end of the period covered by this report, only the Roman Catholic Church has finalized such an agreement with the Government; this agreement entered into force in March 2005. 
In July 2004, Parliament approved a law on the restitution and compensation of properties confiscated during the communist regime. According to this law, religious communities have the same rights as private individuals in matters of property restitution or compensation. However, the religious communities question the law's limitation on property restitution to 150 acres. The Cults Committee recently announced that the new government intended to establish a fund for monetary compensation. Moreover, the Government announced plans to remove bureaucratic and legalistic hurdles that have hindered the return of confiscated properties. Specifically, the Government will no longer require that religious organizations produce titles and deeds proving original ownership before making restitution.
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                    [post_content] => ELBASAN, Sept. 19 - One person died and six others of the same family were injured in a car accident Tuesday in the central city of Elbasan in Qafe Thana mountainous road. A Mercedes car fell in to a cliff at 6 p.m. police could not say which was the reason of the fall. All the injured were not in life-threatening conditions.
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            [post_date] => 2006-09-29 02:00:00
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            [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 26 - Tirana prosecutor office said Tuesday they had completed the investigation of abuse against former ambassador to the United States Fatos Tarifa. He was ambassador to Washington 2001-2005. tarifa is accused of abuse with public funds in the reconstruction of the building where the embassy was sheltered and also for the financial abuse in buying cars and repairing them. Prosecutor office said they had resulted that such expenditure were not documented. The amount he is accused of is some $100,000. tarifa was sued at the prosecutor office from the High State Control.
President Alfred Moisiu had fired him from the post after a report alleging he sought a bribe in return for a contract to reconstruct the embassy building in Washington. Local newspapers reported that Tarifa had asked a businessman to pay US$3,500 for his son's schooling in Netherlands to secure the building tender. Tarifa denied the report, which cited the Albanian accounting office as its source. He has refused, however, to come to the Albanian capital when called by authorities to answer questions. Tarifa previously served as ambassador to Netherlands.
            [post_title] =>  Prosecutor office closes investigation of former ambassador to the U.S. 
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            [post_name] => prosecutor-office-closes-investigation-of-former-ambassador-to-the-u-s-_100303
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