Property legalization initial process extended by two months

TIRANA, Sept 11 – Shaban Memia, who heads the government agency on the property legalization, said Monday that the timing for the volunteer registration of the illegal property and buildings which expired Sept. 15 would be extended by two more

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Cannabis cut in Tepelena

TEPELENA, Sept. 12 – Police said Tuesday they had arrested two persons and cut some 250 cannabis plants in the village of Krahe, Tepelena district. Police have been involved in a nationwide operation against cannabis plants though few people have

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Berisha makes a much-wanted visit to neighboring Greece

TIRANA, Albania (AP) _ Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha started Tuesday a two-day visit to neighboring Greece in an effort to boost political and economic ties and get the country’s southern neighbor’s support for integration efforts into the European Union

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Olldashi and Rama in Brussels

TIRANA, Sept. 13 _ Interior Minister Sokol Olldashi and Socialist leader Edi Rama went both to Brussels this week to meet with European Union officials. Olldashi met with European Commission vice president of freedom, internal affairs and justice Franco Fratini,

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Police arrest two policemen

TIRANA, Sept. 11 – Police said Monday they had arrested two police officers for abuse of posts and corruption. Ferdinant Beqiri, 40, working in Fier, and Artur Kupi, 27, working in Kruja, were arrested after found they had asked for

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OSCE helps Albania prepare correct voter lists

TIRANA, Sept. 9 – Following the mediation process it started in August the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) agreed Friday to help Albania prepare electoral lists that have been considered a major shortcoming in the tiny Balkan

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Nano group preparing a political platform

TIRANA, Sept. 11 – A group of Socialist parliamentarians who support former prime minister and party leader Fatos Nano is working to prepare a platform on how to win the local government elections, a move that has caused trouble in

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Another Mjaft protest for water supply

FIER, Sept. 12 – The non-governmental organization Mjaft held Tuesday another protest for lack of water supply in the city of Fier. Its activists put two 5 kilogram cans at a square between the city hall and the prefecture. That

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Rama sues Nishani and a ministry spokesman

TIRANA, Sept. 11 – Socialist Party leader and Tirana Mayor Edi Rama sued Democratic Party MP Bujar Nishani and spokesman Gerti Bogdani of the Minister of Transport Lulzim Basha for defamation. Rama’s spokesman Saimir Tahiri handed over the documents to

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Albanians hand over arms and ammunition voluntarily

MAT, Sept. 12 – Three persons in Klos and Macukull, Mat district, voluntarily handed over to police a number of weapons and ammunition. They handed over a 60-mm mortar, two rifles and an automatic rifle, according to police office Aldo

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept 11 - Shaban Memia, who heads the government agency on the property legalization, said Monday that the timing for the volunteer registration of the illegal property and buildings which expired Sept. 15 would be extended by two more months due to the great number still expected to enter that. All those who do not self-declare their illegal property until Nov. 15 there will be a symbolic fine after that period, according to Memia. For two months in the process there have been some 160,000 statements of illegal property nationwide, whose owners have asked to get legalized. Authorities think there is a greater number and giving time to that would help the process. (Tirana Times Staff)
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                    [post_content] => TEPELENA, Sept. 12 - Police said Tuesday they had arrested two persons and cut some 250 cannabis plants in the village of Krahe, Tepelena district. Police have been involved in a nationwide operation against cannabis plants though few people have been arrested. Very often police find the drug planted in a no-man's-land and they find it hard to find the persons to blame.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Albania (AP) _ Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha started Tuesday a two-day visit to neighboring Greece in an effort to boost political and economic ties and get the country's southern neighbor's support for integration efforts into the European Union and NATO.  Berisha said before going there that during his visit to Greece Sept. 12-13 he would talk with host Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, other top officials and businessmen "to intensify the already very good ties in all the spheres." Relations between the two neighbors often become tense because of perceptions of racism and xenophobia against Albanians living in Greece.

Greece will support Albania' Euro Atlantic agenda
Host Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis pledged support Wednesday for Albania's efforts to join the EU and NATO, following talks with his visiting Albanian counterpart. Karamanlis said Athens "attributes great significance" to its northern neighbor's bids to join the organizations. Greece is already a member of both. "We are ready to help (Albania) with its efforts to implement the necessary reforms and commitments it has undertaken to the European Union," Karamanlis said. The small Balkan country took its first step toward possible EU membership in June, signing the Stabilization and Association Agreement, and also hopes to be invited to become a full NATO member by 2008.
Karamanlis and Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha also discussed ways of boosting economic and political ties, as well as police and military cooperation. Berisha said discussions included the rights of the ethnic Greek minority in southern Albania, and of the estimated 600,000 Albanian immigrants living in Greece. He said his government would "seriously discuss" a Greek proposal to establish a rail link between the two countries.
Earlier Wednesday, the two countries' energy ministers signed a deal on bilateral energy cooperation. 

In his second day of visit Berisha also met with Greek President Karolos Papoulias both considering their countries' ties as 'excellent.' "We have been and will remain the strongest and consequent supporters of Albania's integration into NATO and EU," said Papoulias. Berisha thanked Papoulias for his personal contribution in the promotion of relations between the two countries. Papoulias cut short a visit to Albania last year not meeting with Albanian President Alfred Moisiu in Saranda for security issues. A group of Cams was protesting in Saranda for their rights in Greece. Papoulias went back to Greece from Gjirokastra where he stopped.
Berisha also made honorary ceremonies to the Monument of the Unknown Soldier in Athens.

On Tuesday Berisha met with Greek parliament Speaker Anna Benaki - Psarouda both highly considering the level of relations and pledging further strengthening. Benaki-Psarouda said Greece would strongly support Albania's integration efforts. The Greek Speaker evaluated the fact that the Albanian government had as a minister a member of the Greek minority in the country. "That is one of the indicators that Albania respects the international standards on minorities," she said. "I am a witness of the support of the greek democratic forces to the albanian democratic forces since the start of political pluralism in Albania. I am also witness of the assistance that the Greek people and parliament have given to Albanians in their efforts of development and integration into Europe," said Berisha.

Strengthening economy cooperation
Berisha had also a visit to the Greek Chamber of Industry meeting Greek investors and businessmen. Berisha presented to them his 'Albania, 1 euro' idea explaining what facilities they would have if they put their money in Albania. Greece has already some 430 million euro of investment in the country. Berisha pledged to the Greek businessmen that the government would strongly fight corruption that has plagued his country. "The major goal of my government is to make Albania the freest country for foreign investment," he said. 
Topics of discussion sure were more than 600,000 Albanian immigrants living in Greece, other joint interest topics, including asking for Greece's support in the tiny Balkan country's integration efforts into the European Union after signing the Stabilization and Association Agreement in June, the first step toward membership. Albania is also expecting to be invited to become a full NATO member by 2008.
Greece is Albania's second trading partner after Italy.
Political agenda

The issue of the Greek cemeteries in southern Albania was also not mentioned during the trip, though it is clear it could have been a topic in the talks. Albania was surprised some months ago to learn that allegedly a priest there had paid money to certain individuals for taking out of land bones of other Albanian dead persons and use them for Greek soldiers killed during the Second World War here when Italy attacked Greece from the Albanian land. Investigation until now has shown only many bones did not belong to Greeks but it has not accused the priest or anyone else for that. Greece wants to have three cemeteries in southern Albania for the soldiers.
During the two-day visit there was not mentioned at all in the news releases anything on the Cam issue, who claim reparation, though Greece insists that it had closed 60 years ago. Albanians have for years demanded that Greece pay compensation for property they lost. The Party for Justice and Integration, that supports the Cam issue, publicly appealed to Berisha to mention their case during the trip.

Berisha also met with the former Greek president Constantinos Stephanopoulos who visited Albania before he left the post.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 13 _ Interior Minister Sokol Olldashi and Socialist leader Edi Rama went both to Brussels this week to meet with European Union officials.
Olldashi met with European Commission vice president of freedom, internal affairs and justice Franco Fratini, who hailed the government for the fight against corruption. Fratini also said that he had asked the EU to facilitate Schenghen visa procedure for Albania citizens. Fratini said that Albanian authorities should pay special attention on reforms in police, security of documents and training of police forces that would ensure efficient fight against organized crime. Olldashi informed Fratini on the government's successes in the crackdown against a number of criminal organizations this year.
Olldashi also went to the Netherlands where he met with the Europol head Max Peter Ratzel. Albania will sign a membership agreement in 2007.
On the same day Rama went to the EU headquarters to meet with Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn. He presented to Rehn all the complaints from the opposition against the government. As Rama said after the meeting the EU asks Albania to go ahead. The EU has also always told to any opposition not to boycott parliament or elections or the democratic processes.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 11 - Police said Monday they had arrested two police officers for abuse of posts and corruption. Ferdinant Beqiri, 40, working in Fier, and Artur Kupi, 27, working in Kruja, were arrested after found they had asked for a bribe of 300,000 leks from a person to help him find the car stolen a year ago. Beqiri had been accused before for the same charge of corruption when he hid some documents in a case of a car accident.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 9 - Following the mediation process it started in August the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) agreed Friday to help Albania prepare electoral lists that have been considered a major shortcoming in the tiny Balkan country's recent polls. The OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Albanian Interior Ministry to provide expertise to help modernize the country's civil registration and address systems. Welcoming the invitation from the Albanian authorities to address recent ODIHR recommendations, Ambassador Christian Strohal, Director of ODIHR, said that "The only viable solution to Albania's problematic voter lists is the development of a modern civil registry system based on high quality data. This cannot be done overnight. That is why ODIHR has recommended that the system is in place by the next parliamentary elections in Albania, scheduled for 2009. Work, however, needs to start now." The OSCE Presence in Albania and the ODIHR stand ready to assist Albania in implementing all OSCE election recommendations, said a statement. Updating the voter lists has been a major source of friction among Albanian political parties. ODIHR, which monitored the 2005 general election, has said the poll marked an improvement but still fell short of international standards with incorrect voter lists being a key shortcoming with many voters listed in different places.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 11 - A group of Socialist parliamentarians who support former prime minister and party leader Fatos Nano is working to prepare a platform on how to win the local government elections, a move that has caused trouble in the main opposition party fearing they may try to weaken the fight against the government of Prime Minister Sali berisha of the Democratic party. Andis Harasani said that the political platform will be made public from Nano himself when it is prepared. It aims that the opposition's fight becomes stronger and harsher. He said a working group will complete it soon but added there was not the case of any action to leave the party from any member of this group.
Nano came out in the public a week ago accusing his party leaders of failing to fight Berisha. Immediately there sparked rumors of his return to make alliances and, why not, supporting groups to be elected as president next year, though he personally denied that.
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                    [post_content] => FIER, Sept. 12 - The non-governmental organization Mjaft held Tuesday another protest for lack of water supply in the city of Fier. Its activists put two 5 kilogram cans at a square between the city hall and the prefecture. That is the last protest from Mjaft that has undertaken a campaign with protests nationwide, during which friction with opponents have not lacked.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 11 - Socialist Party leader and Tirana Mayor Edi Rama sued Democratic Party MP Bujar Nishani and spokesman Gerti Bogdani of the Minister of Transport Lulzim Basha for defamation. Rama's spokesman Saimir Tahiri handed over the documents to the Tirana prosecutor office. Rama has accused them for their accusations that they considered him linked with crime and drugs made Sept. 2 and 8 that was based on the material got from ATA news agency.

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                    [post_content] => MAT, Sept. 12 - Three persons in Klos and Macukull, Mat district, voluntarily handed over to police a number of weapons and ammunition. They handed over a 60-mm mortar, two rifles and an automatic rifle, according to police office Aldo Puca, who added such acts had increased during the recent times. Police in the district have arrested 30 wanted persons during this year and the number of crimes is half compared to the same period last year.
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            [post_date_gmt] => 2006-09-15 02:00:00
            [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept 11 - Shaban Memia, who heads the government agency on the property legalization, said Monday that the timing for the volunteer registration of the illegal property and buildings which expired Sept. 15 would be extended by two more months due to the great number still expected to enter that. All those who do not self-declare their illegal property until Nov. 15 there will be a symbolic fine after that period, according to Memia. For two months in the process there have been some 160,000 statements of illegal property nationwide, whose owners have asked to get legalized. Authorities think there is a greater number and giving time to that would help the process. (Tirana Times Staff)
            [post_title] =>  Property legalization initial process extended by two months 
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