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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Four new private universities to open in Tirana

TIRANA, Sept. 27 – The government granted Wednesday the license of functioning to four new universities in Tirana. They were all private ones. They were the law university Justicia, Wisdom University,Aldent and Medikadent.

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Three steel workers burnt in Elbasan

ELBASAN, Sept. 26 – Three steel workers at the Turkish Kurum steel plant in Elbasan got burnt Tuesday, one of them in serious conditions. They were working and it is believed the solar liquid they use was the cause of

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Berisha attacks Serbia’s opposition to Kosova independence as ‘unrealistic’

TIRANA, Sept. 24 – One of the main topics of interest that came out after an hour long speech with all the government successes in one year from Prime Minister Sali Berisha on Sunday was his attack against Serbia’s opposition

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Berisha speaks of successes in the fight against crime

TIRANA, Sept. 24 – Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha paid special attention at this hour-long speech Sunday on the government successes in the fight against organized crime and crime in general. “A year ago Albania was dominated from criminal groups

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New Albanian ambassadors appointed in Belgrade and Budapest

TIRANA, Sept. 26 – The foreign relations parliamentary commission passed Tuesday two new candidates for the post of ambassadors in Serbia and Hungary. Spiro Koci, a career diplomat, will be the new ambassador to Belgrade. He actually is head of

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SEDM pledge more presence in international missions

TIRANA, Sept. 27 – On Wednesday Defense ministers from southeastern European countries met in the Albanian capital to discuss strengthening military ties, regional security and participation in international military missions. The annual Southeastern Defense Ministerial Meeting was being attended by

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Rumsfeld Praises Albania for Military Contribution in Iraq, Afghanistan

TIRANA, Sept. 26-27 – U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld visited Albania for two days Sept. 26-27 to discuss the country’s efforts to join NATO and security in the Balkans during an annual meeting of southeastern European defense ministers. Rumsfeld

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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.
                    [post_title] =>  Author of false documents arrested 
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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] => TIRANA, Sept. 27 - The government granted Wednesday the license of functioning to four new universities in Tirana. They were all private ones. They were the law university Justicia, Wisdom University,Aldent and Medikadent. 
                    [post_title] =>  Four new private universities to open in Tirana 
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                    [post_content] => ELBASAN, Sept. 26 - Three steel workers at the Turkish Kurum steel plant in Elbasan got burnt Tuesday, one of them in serious conditions. They were working and it is believed the solar liquid they use was the cause of the fire that engulfed them. One of them was urgently taken to Tirana military hospital for a more specialized health care. Authorities have, however, not made public the causes of the incident saying they are still investigating it.
                    [post_title] =>  Three steel workers burnt in Elbasan 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 24 - One of the main topics of interest that came out after an hour long speech with all the government successes in one year from Prime Minister Sali Berisha on Sunday was his attack against Serbia's opposition to Kosova's independence which he called as unrealistic. Berisha suggested the international community may have to impose a solution to resolve the disputed province's status. Berisha said the Serbian opposition must not be allowed to stand in the way of a settlement. Kosova is entering the final phase of U.N.-brokered talks that many believe will give it independence from Serbia. Ethnic Albanians, who make up 90 percent of Kosova's 2 million people, are seeking independence. Serbs are willing to grant the province broad autonomy, but they see it as the heart of their ancient homeland and want it to remain a part of Serbian territory. "I believe Belgrade continues to take an unrealistic stand on Kosova's status but that lack of realism should not hamper the final solution," Berisha told the news conference. The prime minister said a consensus between the two sides was preferable, but suggested the international community may have to impose a solution. "In the Balkans' 150-year history all deals have been imposed. Let this (on Kosova) be the last and the others be achieved with consensus and good understanding in a democratic Balkans, integrated into Europe," he said. Albania has been the biggest supporter for Kosova's independence, leading to frosty relations with Serbia. Tirana has, however, always said it has no territorial claims and does not intend to change its border. "Albania considers the resolution of Kosova's status, and this country's independence, as vital for Balkans' peace and stability, in accordance with the full guarantee of freedom and rights of Kosova minorities and citizens," said Berisha. The chief U.N. envoy for Kosova Maarti Ahtisaari told the U.N. General Assembly last week that time was short on U.N.-brokered efforts to determine the province's future stat us but that he had no "fixed deadlines." The six major powers guiding the Kosova talks have given U.N. negotiator Martti Ahtisaari a green light to propose his own settlement proposal and try to resolve the status of the Serbian province by the end of the year. Nearly seven months of U.N. negotiations in Vienna have failed to bridge the gap between Serbs who oppose independence and the Kosova Albanians who insist on it. 
Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic told the Pristina newspaper Epoka e Re that independence for Kosova without Serb approval could spark trouble not only in Kosova but in neighboring Bosnia, Montenegro and Macedonia. Draskovic says Kosova is a spiritual as well as a territorial issue for Serbs. Although Kosova has held an important symbolic place for Serbs since the middle ages, the province today has a 90-percent ethnic-Albanian population. Ahtisaari may likely propose some form of conditional independence for Kosova with strong safeguards for the Serb minority. Government spokesmen in Belgrade have repeated their complaint that Ahtisaari is biased in favor of the Albanians and should resign his position. Ahtisaari has said that while he has no fixed deadline he does intend to move ahead swiftly. He says that if Kosova does become independent it would not set a precedent for other nations. Russia, a member of the six nation Contact Group, has said that if Kosova is permitted to secede from Serbia, that would be a precedent that could apply elsewhere.
                    [post_title] =>  Berisha attacks Serbia's opposition to Kosova independence as 'unrealistic' 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 24 - Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha paid special attention at this hour-long speech Sunday on the government successes in the fight against organized crime and crime in general. "A year ago Albania was dominated from criminal groups and organizations that were among the richest in Europe," said Berisha. He named the clans of Koka, Zemuni, Aldo Bare, Nehat Kulla, Lul Berisha, Cobo, Kuqo and many others that had Tirana, Durres, Lushnja, Berat and other towns under control and that had turned Albania into a main route from drug and other traffic. Berisha said that they were in close connection with the previous Socialist government officials and especially he accused Prosecutor General Theodhori Sollaku as being 'caught' by the crime networks. These groups and organizations had executed and kidnapped, robbed and terrorized thousands of citizens, businessmen, domestic and foreign journalists line in no other country in Europe. They had blackened Albania's name and image. With their links up to the highest levels of the cleptocratic system they were among the most powerful decision-takers in the country," said Berisha. The premier added that due to the 'zero tolerance' declared from his government to the crime, due to the courage, professionalism, commitment of police officers, intelligent services, prosecutors and judges, now "Albania is a calm and safe country." He mentioned the arrest or destruction of many criminal organizations in Durres, Tirana, Lushnja, Shkodra, Elbasan, Korca, Tropoja, etc. with the arrest of their bosses. Government authorities have sequestered some euro15 million of assets belonging to them. More than 1,000 persons were put under arrest for grave crimes. The government passed the law on the responsibility of the local administration in the case of finding drugs planted in their areas. Berisha added that there was an 'excellent' collaboration with international counterparts. Fighting human traffic was another point of priority set from the government. The government also passed the three-year moratorium to stop use of speedboats. Many other measures have been undertaken at the Rinasi/Mother Teresa international airport and border crossings. Fundamental results in the fight against organized crime released from the burden of danger and threat not only citizens in the areas controlled by crime before but the whole country, according to Berisha. "These results had a very positive impact in the international arena and Albania's image in the world," he said. "Successes of this fight not only made safer the life of the Albanian citizens but also opened the doors and made possible the signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union." Berisha also considered as a good consequence of these results the increase of tourist number by 30 percent this summer compared to a year ago. "Albania had a tourist season among the calmest in Europe," he said.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 26 - The foreign relations parliamentary commission passed Tuesday two new candidates for the post of ambassadors in Serbia and Hungary. Spiro Koci, a career diplomat, will be the new ambassador to Belgrade. He actually is head of the ministry's department of international organizations, He has also been deputy chief of Albanian Mission in OSCE in Vienna. Florian Nova will be the new ambassador to Budapest. He is head of the department of Europe, America and Russia. He has been before a diplomat in Ankara, Turkey and charge d'affaire in Belgrade.
                    [post_title] =>  New Albanian ambassadors appointed in Belgrade and Budapest 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 27 - On Wednesday Defense ministers from southeastern European countries met in the Albanian capital to discuss strengthening military ties, regional security and participation in international military missions. The annual Southeastern Defense Ministerial Meeting was being attended by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and senior NATO military officials and ministers from Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Italy, Romania, Slovenia, Turkey and Ukraine. Bosnia, Georgia, Serbia and Montenegro were also invited to attend as observers. 
They discussed contributing more to international peace operations saying in a statement after the meeting that they were considering "potential opportunities in other peace support operations." Many of the countries attending the Tirana conference are NATO members, but some _ including Albania, Croatia, Ukraine and Macedonia _ seek to join the alliance at its 2008 enlargement summit, and Rumsfeld said their success would depend on their ability to implement reforms. Albania said it might increase its troop numbers in Afghanistan, while Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic said his country was discussing contributing to NATO missions. Albania's defense minister, Fatmir Mediu, opened the meeting by saying it showed the participants' "will and strong commitment" to cooperate in serving "our common vision for a world of stability, peace and democracy." Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha said that "unresolved issues and terrorism make the security of our region fragile ... which makes close cooperation between our countries necessary." Most countries attending the Tirana conference are members of the South East European Brigade, or SEEBRIG, created in 1998 to coordinate military and security efforts among countries that at the time were not NATO members. Albania was also proud to mention that the idea of creating the SEDM was made known 10 years ago in Tirana. Traffic at the center of Tirana has been at a standstill for two days due to security measures for the meeting. Driving during the two days was difficult.
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                    [ID] => 100309
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                    [post_date] => 2006-09-29 02:00:00
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2006-09-29 02:00:00
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 26-27 - U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld visited Albania for two days Sept. 26-27 to discuss the country's efforts to join NATO and security in the Balkans during an annual meeting of southeastern European defense ministers. Rumsfeld met with his Albanian counterpart, Defense Minister Fatmir Mediu, and also with Prime Minister Sali Berisha and President Alfred Moisiu thanking Albania for the troops sent to serve in Iraq. "We value our relationship, partnership with Albania. And we are deeply grateful for the troops who serve in Iraq and help to defend freedom," he said after meeting with Mediu. "What you're doing is historic. I believe when you look back to that in five, 10, 15, 20 years from now you'll see the contribution you've made and the contribution your country has made, and take great pride in what you've done," he said.
Albania, a predominantly Muslim country which hopes NATO will invite it to become a member at in 2008, backed the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Although it was unable to provide significant military support, it opened its airspace and offered U.S.-led forces the use of its bases. The Albanian army unit serves in Iraq under U.S.-led command in a non-combat role, mainly patrolling the airport in the Iraqi city of Mosul. "Albanian armed forces will stay on the side of the American armed forces in Iraq until the mission is over. We want to be the real partners of the American armed forces," said Mediu.
Rumsfeld also awarded medals to a dozen Albanian soldiers who had served in Iraq and also the Global War on Terrorism medallion to the Albanian Army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Pellumb Qazimi "in appreciation of his country's contribution and steadfast commitment to fighting the global war on terror."
The tiny Balkan country also has peacekeeping contingents in Bosnia and Afghanistan.
The secretary is facing growing criticism for the Iraq war at home, but he is finding leaders in the Balkan region eager to join the battle. Albanian military officials declared their unequivocal support for the United States' battle against terrorism. And Montenegro's prime minister said his small country would like to participate in peacekeeping operations. Albania currently has 120 troops in Iraq. Both Albania and Montenegro are working to gain admission to NATO and other international groups, and the U.S. has pledged to support their efforts.
"We value our relationship , partnership with Albania and we are deeply grateful for the troops who serve in Iraq and help to defend freedom. I should say there is always a question why should young men and young women go so many many miles away in a foreign country. I've been asked that question in many countries. If you think about it in afghanistan there are some 42 nations in a colaition and in iraq there are 34 countries. all have sent their finest to help in the war against terrorism. I can remember when I've been in the republic of Korea not too long ago i was asked by a young journalist, clearly too young to remember the Korean war. She said why should our young people go across the whole world to Iraq and Afghanistan and risk their lives on behalf of Korea. I pointed out to her that unless many young men and women show the will to go all over across the world to Korea and help defend freedom there, she would not be free today. What you're being is historic. I believe when you look back to that in 5, 10, 15, 20 years from now and see the contribution you've made and the contribution your country has made and take great pride in what you've done. Now to families: and these lovely young ladies and young men. families also sacrifice. and i know and the minister knows, the people in the government had known it and you are appreciated for the sacrifice you make. Thank you so much."
When questioned when the U.S. troops would withdraw from Iraq, he said, "It's a very difficult thing to answer that question. It's for the Iraqi people to provide for their government, it's for the Iraqi people to provide for their own security and our task has been to assist them. They have developed the security forces capable for providing for security in their country. They're now some 302,000 Iraqi security forces. We are involved as well NATO in helping to train them. They have been increasingly taking over responsibility for the security of the country. They provided all security for elections for example. They are assuming responsibility for a larger number of the towns. Two provinces have been turned over to Iraqi government, we are turning over military bases to the Iraqis. One can't predict with perfect certainty the pace which that will happen. We known that responsibility, command and control are continuously increased for the Iraqis and  decreased for the coalition forces. Our goal is obviously to recognize that the country is perfectly capable in governing itself and providing for their own security and the task is to give them the best point. I think they are making a good progress. I think they are going to achieve that goal and what we see during this year is a continuation of more and more responsibility given to them. But trying to put a specific date is unimaginable as President Bush has repeatedly said it's the condition on the ground that will determine that pace and thus far they are proceeding all well."
On a report from the intelligence services that the war in Iraq had increased rather than decreased terror threat, Rumsfeld responded that, "I don't know if i van add anything beyond what the president of the U.S. has said  and the director of the national security John Negroponte has said. Apparently some portions of it have been released and I understand that the president made the decision to declassify a number of the key judgment so that the American people and the world will be able to see the truth and precisely what that particular document says.
Asked on new members in NATO, he said that, "The U.S. has been in consistent in favor of enlarging NATO and every country participate in PfP progress. Of course that decision is particularly up to the countries involved. It is a good thing that more countries are participating in the PfP program and the U.S. encourage the enlargement."
"Our country has been a strong supporter of NATO enlargement. Part of it involves the member nations 26 countries of NATO, part of it involves progress that individual nations that aspire to become part of NATO have to undertake on the way of reform. It is an interaction between the nations who aspire to join NATO and the nations in the NATO and their assessment as to the progress those countries are making with respect to the reform that are appropriate for NATO members. I look forward to see a number of country to join NATO in the period ahead."
On Afghanistan, "I have been impressed by the extent to which NATO for the first time in its history has undertaken a major military activity outside of Europe, outside of NATO territory, and to the extent to which NATO countries 26 nations everyone of them is involved in one way or another contributing and committed to success in that Afghanistan effort. In any given moment forces rotate in and rotate out the supreme allied commander, the military command and the secretary-general have to go out to the nations and reminding them that there is a certain requirement and they periodically will be hearing the supreme allied commander asking the countries to fill in the gap whatever short of they might be. I have every confidence that NATO has full commitment in Afghanistan and the requirement from the commander on the ground be as necessary and appropriate fulfilled by the NATO nations and the PfP nations. the success in Afghanistan is important to Europe, it's important to Asia and it's important to 25-27 mln people in that country."
                    [post_title] =>  Rumsfeld Praises Albania for Military Contribution in Iraq, Afghanistan 
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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.
            [post_title] =>  Tirana cemetery to get fresh breathing 
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