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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Council of Europe clarifies report leakage on Albania

STRASBOURG, Sept. 25 – Following the appearance in the Albanian media of extracts of the preliminary draft report on local and regional democracy in Albania, the Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities clarified Monday that any version

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Interior Ministry officials donate blood

TIRANA, Sept. 27 – A group of officials at the Interior Ministry donated blood Wednesday in a gesture of helping the health system in the country, the second time they are doing that in the last 10 months. “That is

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Gen. Piccoti to help reform of Albanian armed forces

ROME, Sept. 26 – The Italian Delegation of experts (Die) in Albania, the 23-member structure instituted in 1997 that supplies the training support to the Albanian Armed Forces will not be headed any more from Gen. Salvatore Gravante, leading it

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Tirana cemetery to get fresh breathing

TIRANA, Sept. 27 – A government decision Wednesday will hep the Sharra cemetery in western Tirana to extend its space, thus offering places to the dead. The cemetery has been practically ‘dead’ since August after it had no more space.

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Author of false documents arrested

TIRANA, Sept. 27 – Tirana police said Wednesday they had arrested Mariglen Nikaj, 57, accused of falsifying officials documentation. Police found at his apartment many documents and other documents that were not filled and also stamps that were used to

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Albanian prosecutors trained to fight money laundering, terrorist financing

TIRANA, Sept. 22 – U.S. officials started Monday a weeklong training of Albanian investigators and prosecutors on how to fight financial crimes, money laundering and terrorist financing, the U.S. Embassy said. The training was named “Crime Scene Investigations” and held

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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] => STRASBOURG, Sept. 25 - Following the appearance in the Albanian media of extracts of the preliminary draft report on local and regional democracy in Albania, the Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities clarified Monday that any version of that document did not have legal or political value until its validation by the competent bodies of the Congress.The draft report and draft recommendation will be submitted for approval to the Institutional Committee at its meeting on 16 October 2006, after which it will be subject to amendments. It will be submitted for adoption to the Congress at the autumn session on 14 November 2006. Only the report and recommendation published after the session in November will be considered as valid.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 27 - A group of officials at the Interior Ministry donated blood Wednesday in a gesture of helping the health system in the country, the second time they are doing that in the last 10 months. "That is an interesting and responsible initiative that should be supported by all the other public institutions and the citizens," said deputy Interior Minister Ferdinand Poni.
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                    [post_content] => ROME, Sept. 26 - The Italian Delegation of experts (Die) in Albania, the 23-member structure instituted in 1997 that supplies the training support to the Albanian Armed Forces will not be headed any more from Gen. Salvatore Gravante, leading it since 2004, but from Gen. Aldo Piccotti. Albanian President Alfred Moisiu highly evaluated Gen. Gravante for "the precious support supplied from the Die in the realization of the plans not only in favor of the Armed Forces, but also in the interest of the Albanian civil population."
                    [post_title] =>  Gen. Piccoti to help reform of Albanian armed forces 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 27 - A government decision Wednesday will hep the Sharra cemetery in western Tirana to extend its space, thus offering places to the dead. The cemetery has been practically 'dead' since August after it had no more space. All the dead were put at the same grave with one of their old family members. The issue turned into a political debate with the Tirana city hall and the central government accusing each other for blocking the process of expropriation of the surrounding land. At last, the government decided to give some 5,000 square meters of new land to the cemetery management and pay about 15 million leks for the land expropriation.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 27 - Tirana police said Wednesday they had arrested Mariglen Nikaj, 57, accused of falsifying officials documentation. Police found at his apartment many documents and other documents that were not filled and also stamps that were used to 'officialese' them. In another case police arrested Xhafer Pinari, 59, again for falsifying documentation but also for illegal possession of weapons. Pinari had a number of documents for vehicles and also a considerable number of bullets.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 22 - U.S. officials started Monday a weeklong training of Albanian investigators and prosecutors on how to fight financial crimes, money laundering and terrorist financing, the U.S. Embassy said. The training was named "Crime Scene Investigations" and held under the auspices of the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security. The training was sponsored by the U.S. departments of Defense, Justice and Treasury and the European Commission, the embassy said. The course covered topics such as techniques in securing crime scenes, evidence gathering, vehicle screenings, and post-bomb blast investigations. The 19 Albanian police officers chosen for the course come from police stations around the country. The training was part of the Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program (ATAP), which was established in 1983, and has trained and assisted over 48,000 foreign security and law enforcement officials in 141 countries.
U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Stephen Cristina highlighted the importance of the fight against such illicit activities and the link between corruption and these activities, assuring at the same time of the U.S. support for Albania's efforts in this important fight. "Those who are here today, giving a week of their valuable time to this course, represent the front line in the fight against the illicit activities that are the subject of this training seminar. This is not easy work, and I commend you for your contributions," he said. "The fight against money laundering, financial crimes, and terrorist financing, as well as the corruption that enables them to take place, are common subjects of debate in Albania, and rightly so given that Albania's success in this fight will determine how quickly it achieves its goal of entering NATO and the EU."
Money laundering, financial crimes, and terrorist financing have direct and negative consequences for Albania's internal and external security if criminals are free to operate with impunity and borders are permeable to dangerous materials and dangerous people, according to Cristina. Sophisticated financial crimes and money laundering are increasingly used around the world to finance terrorism, often in countries far from the site of any actual terrorist event. The existence of these phenomena severely lowers the attractiveness of Albania as a target of foreign direct investment.  Without positive economic prospects, there is a temptation for the most promising young Albanians to leave the country and the "brain drain" phenomenon will continue. Fighting these ills is critical to Albania's prosperity and to realizing the hopes of the younger generation. Ridding Albania of these scourges is key to Albania's image abroad.  In the worlds of international business and politics, image really is everything, said Cristina.  
Fighting organized crime and corruption in Albania, one of the poorest countries in Europe, is a precondition for the country's possible future membership in NATO and the EU.
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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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