INSTAT confirms increased number of asylum seekers in Albania

INSTAT confirms increased number of asylum seekers in Albania

TIRANA, Aug. 22 – Albania has seen an increase in the number of asylum seekers from third countries using its territory as a transit point to reach European countries. According to data published on Wednesday by the Institute of Statistics,

Read Full Article
MEK members residing in Albania hit British journalist, local media reports

MEK members residing in Albania hit British journalist, local media reports

TIRANA, Aug. 19 – British journalist Lindsey Hilsum was hit by members of the Iranian opposition group known as Mujahedin e Khalq (MEK) living in a “fortified camp” nearby-Durres’ Manez village, on which she’d come to report on for Britain’s

Read Full Article
Montenegro sends refugee guarding troops to border with Albania

Montenegro sends refugee guarding troops to border with Albania

TIRANA, Aug. 18 – Montenegro has sent military troops to the border with Albania to prevent the influx of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa. The news was officially announced by the Montenegrin Ministry of Defense. “The Montenegrin

Read Full Article
Court imprisons Swede trafficking arms to afford studies

Court imprisons Swede trafficking arms to afford studies

TIRANA, Aug. 16 – The Serious Crimes Court imprisoned Swedish, 21-year-old Ricard Vall, who was arrested in Muriqan on Monday trying to smuggle 19 illegal guns on his way to Sweden. Vall told judge Sander Simonio that he was only

Read Full Article
Albanians among Genoa bridge collapse tragedy victims

Albanians among Genoa bridge collapse tragedy victims

TIRANA, Aug. 16 – Two Albanians were part of the 39 victims caused by the collapse of a bridge during a powerful storm in Italy’s Genoa on Tuesday. The news about the Albanian victims were confirmed by the Italian ministry

Read Full Article
Western Balkans states’ territorial integrity is sacred, Merkel says

Western Balkans states’ territorial integrity is sacred, Merkel says

TIRANA, Aug. 13 – German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that there can be no border changes in Western Balkan countries. She made this comment after meeting with Bosnian Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic, with whom she discussed regional developments.

Read Full Article
Two earthquakes rock Albania, also felt in the region

Two earthquakes rock Albania, also felt in the region

TIRANA, Aug. 11 – Two 5,1 and 5,4 magnitude earthquakes of the Richter scale hit Albania on Saturday, damaging a big number of buildings but causing no victims.  The Ministry of Defense reported the stronger quake hit at around 5.30 p.m.

Read Full Article
Border corrections are Balkan recipe for disaster, Washington Post writes

Border corrections are Balkan recipe for disaster, Washington Post writes

TIRANA, Aug. 11 – An opinion published at the globally renowned Washington Post on Thursday said that proposing new divisions in the region as a solution for the future of the Balkans in general, and the Euro-Atlantic integration of Serbia

Read Full Article
Justice Ministry seeks punishment for Vlora judge who issued soft punishment

Justice Ministry seeks punishment for Vlora judge who issued soft punishment

TIRANA, Aug 10 – In Albania, the Justice and Interior Ministry strongly opposed on Wednesday the decision of Vlora Judge Herila Çela to punish an individual arrested two times within a few months only with house arrest. The case refers

Read Full Article
National Youth Network: Unemployment drives 70 percent of youth abroad

National Youth Network: Unemployment drives 70 percent of youth abroad

TIRANA, Aug. 9 – The National Youth Network and the CRCA Center completed the National Youth Index, as part of the “Youth in Albania” study, in which the youth, which accounts for 35 percent of the country’s population, claims it

Read Full Article
WP_Query Object
(
    [query_vars] => Array
        (
            [cat] => 28
            [paged] => 4
            [error] => 
            [m] => 
            [p] => 0
            [post_parent] => 
            [subpost] => 
            [subpost_id] => 
            [attachment] => 
            [attachment_id] => 0
            [name] => 
            [static] => 
            [pagename] => 
            [page_id] => 0
            [second] => 
            [minute] => 
            [hour] => 
            [day] => 0
            [monthnum] => 0
            [year] => 0
            [w] => 0
            [category_name] => news
            [tag] => 
            [tag_id] => 
            [author] => 
            [author_name] => 
            [feed] => 
            [tb] => 
            [comments_popup] => 
            [meta_key] => 
            [meta_value] => 
            [preview] => 
            [s] => 
            [sentence] => 
            [fields] => 
            [menu_order] => 
            [category__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [category__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [category__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag_slug__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag_slug__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [ignore_sticky_posts] => 
            [suppress_filters] => 
            [cache_results] => 1
            [update_post_term_cache] => 1
            [update_post_meta_cache] => 1
            [post_type] => 
            [posts_per_page] => 10
            [nopaging] => 
            [comments_per_page] => 50
            [no_found_rows] => 
            [order] => DESC
        )

    [tax_query] => WP_Tax_Query Object
        (
            [queries] => Array
                (
                    [0] => Array
                        (
                            [taxonomy] => category
                            [terms] => Array
                                (
                                    [0] => 28
                                )

                            [include_children] => 1
                            [field] => term_id
                            [operator] => IN
                        )

                )

            [relation] => AND
        )

    [meta_query] => WP_Meta_Query Object
        (
            [queries] => Array
                (
                )

            [relation] => 
        )

    [date_query] => 
    [post_count] => 10
    [current_post] => -1
    [in_the_loop] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [current_comment] => -1
    [found_posts] => 9939
    [max_num_pages] => 994
    [max_num_comment_pages] => 0
    [is_single] => 
    [is_preview] => 
    [is_page] => 
    [is_archive] => 1
    [is_date] => 
    [is_year] => 
    [is_month] => 
    [is_day] => 
    [is_time] => 
    [is_author] => 
    [is_category] => 1
    [is_tag] => 
    [is_tax] => 
    [is_search] => 
    [is_feed] => 
    [is_comment_feed] => 
    [is_trackback] => 
    [is_home] => 
    [is_404] => 
    [is_comments_popup] => 
    [is_paged] => 1
    [is_admin] => 
    [is_attachment] => 
    [is_singular] => 
    [is_robots] => 
    [is_posts_page] => 
    [is_post_type_archive] => 
    [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 2920b385820e2016b9ccb91152d78356
    [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 
    [thumbnails_cached] => 1
    [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => 
    [query] => Array
        (
            [cat] => 28
            [paged] => 4
        )

    [request] => SELECT SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS  wp_posts.ID FROM wp_posts  INNER JOIN wp_term_relationships ON (wp_posts.ID = wp_term_relationships.object_id) WHERE 1=1  AND ( wp_term_relationships.term_taxonomy_id IN (28) ) AND wp_posts.post_type = 'post' AND (wp_posts.post_status = 'publish') GROUP BY wp_posts.ID ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC LIMIT 30, 10
    [posts] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 138285
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2018-08-22 14:09:29
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-08-22 12:09:29
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 22 - Albania has seen an increase in the number of asylum seekers from third countries using its territory as a transit point to reach European countries.

According to data published on Wednesday by the Institute of Statistics, in 2017, 309 asylum seekers in Albania brought an increase of 28.8 percent, compared to 2016.

Asylum seekers are mainly from Syria, Algeria and Afghanistan. According to official data, the number of male asylum seekers in 2017 increased compared to 2016, while the number of female asylum seekers in 2017 declined.

According to INSTAT data, Albanian authorities recorded 1,049 irregular foreigners in 2017, mainly from Syria, Algeria and Lebanon, with a 14.6% increase compared to 2016.

The vast majority of irregular foreigners, according to Albanian border police, come from the Greek border with the Albanian territory, in the southeastern and southern areas.

 

Increased number of undocumented foreigners during the first half of 2018 

Albanian authorities confirmed during August that they have made significant steps in curbing the passing of refugees who came from Greece and used Albania as a transit point to go to European countries.

Deputy Minister of Interior Rovena Voda said after an inspection at the Albanian-Greek border that the trend of refugee entry has decreased after the initial growth that was observed in the first half of 2018.

Albanian official data reported that from January to May in 2018, about 2133 refugees crossed the Albanian border, double the number compared to the same period in 2017.

Albanian police placed special forces to strengthen border regime at the border with Greece after the escalation of refugee entry. Meanwhile, the vast majority of refugees seeking asylum in Albania or entering irregularly, then head to Albania's border with Montenegro. 

A few days ago, the Montenegrin Defense Ministry announced it would place police and military patrols in the border with Albania.

According to the Montenegrin authorities' media announcement, the decision was made mainly to prevent illegal border crossings from Albania, as well as other illegal actions at the border area and that surrounding it. 

 

Increased number of legally documented foreigners during 2017

According to data from the Albanian Institute of Statistics, the number of foreigners with residence permits in Albania in 2017 increased by 3.1 percent compared to 2016.

INSTAT stated there are 7,637 foreigners coming from Europe currently living in Albania, making up 59.2 percent of foreigners, versus 66.5 percent in 2016.

Meanwhile, according to official data, 3,618 foreigners came from Asia, marking an increase of 11.5 percent compared to 2016.

But the largest increase of foreigners legally living in Albania was marked by African, American and Oceanian nationals, who are 1,651 in numbers - up to 73.6 percent increase compared to 2016.

According to official statistics, 6,334 foreigners came to Albania for employment purposes in 2017, accounting for 49.1 percent of foreigners, versus 50 percent in 2016. 

 
                    [post_title] => INSTAT confirms increased number of asylum seekers in Albania 
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => instant-confirms-increased-number-of-asylum-seekers-in-albania
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-08-23 14:27:09
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-08-23 12:27:09
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=138285
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [1] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 138268
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2018-08-19 18:58:21
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-08-19 16:58:21
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 19 - British journalist Lindsey Hilsum was hit by members of the Iranian opposition group known as Mujahedin e Khalq (MEK) living in a “fortified camp” nearby-Durres’ Manez village, on which she’d come to report on for Britain’s Channel 4, local media reported on Sunday.

According to Shqiptarja.com, Albanian authorities attempted to keep the Aug. 10 incident a secret from the public, although Prime Minister Edi Rama, Minister of Interior Fatmir Xhafaj, high police authorities and the British Embassy to Tirana were notified.

Hilsum and her producer Darius Bazargan were investigating and filming the 3,000 Mujahedin, whom Iran considers a terrorist group and whom Albania has been controversially hosting as refugees after the US removed MEK from its terrorist groups’ list in 2012, accompanied by an Albanian translator. 

According to the testimony of an eye-witness, private police guarding the fortified camp where the MEK members are hiding attempted to take hold of the camera used to film, while some of the members hit Hilsum, who began to scream, until state police patrolling the area stopped them and took the foreigners at the police station, where they testified. 

“They tried to take her camera and break it. The journalist panicked and began to scream, while they grabbed the man that was accompanying them by the neck,” the eye witness told Shqiptarja.com. 

It is also reported Channel 4 will run the recordings of the MEK members in Albania in the following days, where the incident with Hilsum and her team will also be depicted.

After a request made by the Albanian media, a spokesperson for MEK said they have reason to doubt the British journalists are, in fact, in contact with the Iranian secret service, which they fear will attack the Mujahedin in their camp here in Albania, which was the only country that accepted to host them. 

The MEK announcement said that no one had notified them of the journalists’ arrival and plans to film them and added that Albanian secret service had also requested them to stop filming and had been ignored. 

According to the announcement, the violence reported is misinformation spread by Iranian secret agent Massoud Khodabandeh, who is allegedly in touch with the journalists.

It is unclear what further steps have been taken by the Albanian authorities after Hilsum’s testimony, but local media reports violence between MEK members and international journalists who have come to Albania to investigate on their lives here has occurred before. 

Relations between Albania and Iran date back to the 19th and 20th century, when several Albanian Renaissance poets were inspired by Persian culture and Bektashism, an ultra-liberal mystical Muslim sect with roots in Sufism and Shia Islam that is also present in Albania, to promote Albanian independence. 

However, relations between Albania and Iran in the past few years have been strained by Albania’s willingness to accept providing shelter to MEK, which had been on the list of terrorist organizations for several years by the United States.

Meanwhile, independent experts have raised serious question marks on MEK members presence in Albania, even more than the concerns already raised by their presence here as an ex-terrorist group that is still considered terrorist in many parts of the world. 

According to earlier statements by MEK members, their stay in Albania will stretch until the end of Iran’s dictatorship, however experts have not excluded the possibility that MEK members may be building a base against Iran, during their stay in Albania.  

 
                    [post_title] => MEK members residing in Albania hit British journalist, local media reports 
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => mek-members-residing-in-albania-hit-british-journalist-local-media-reports
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-08-20 19:01:56
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-08-20 17:01:56
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=138268
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [2] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 138256
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2018-08-18 15:11:27
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-08-18 13:11:27
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 18 - Montenegro has sent military troops to the border with Albania to prevent the influx of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa.

The news was officially announced by the Montenegrin Ministry of Defense.


“The Montenegrin troops will be used starting Thursday to control the border region and the state border with the Republic of Albania at the Bozhaj customs point. Border security will be ensured by joint police patrols and armed forces that will prevent illegal crossings to Montenegro as well as other illegal activities in the border region,” said the Montenegrin Ministry of Defense's announcement.

In May, Montenegrin authorities warned they would build a fence on the border with Albania, precisely to prevent the passage of refugees from the Middle East. But the construction of the fence was skipped as an option and troops were rather sent at the border.

In July, Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban offered his Montenegrin counterpart to help with the migration crisis. According to Orban, Montenegro would thus protect not only its territory, but also Hungary and the European Union as a whole. The Middle East and North African refugees have found a new path to move to Western EU countries passing through Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Over the past year there has been an increase in the number of migrants in Montenegro. In the first six months of this year, 2113 people came from Syria, Pakistan, Algeria and Morocco, a figure almost ten times higher than in the same period last year

Montenegro has also prepared two shelters for potential immigrants from the Middle East and from Africa. They are two ex-Yugoslav Army bases in Bozhaj, near the border with Albania and Zogaj of Ulcinj.
                    [post_title] => Montenegro sends refugee guarding troops to border with Albania 
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => montenegro-sends-refugee-guarding-troops-to-border-with-albania
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-08-19 15:16:58
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-08-19 13:16:58
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=138256
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [3] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 138247
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2018-08-16 19:19:18
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-08-16 17:19:18
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 16 - The Serious Crimes Court imprisoned Swedish, 21-year-old Ricard Vall, who was arrested in Muriqan on Monday trying to smuggle 19 illegal guns on his way to Sweden. 

Vall told judge Sander Simonio that he was only the transporting link in the illegal arm traffick deal and that he was planning to use the money to continue his studies.

Vall had arrived to Kosovo’s Pristina after flying to Istanbul, where he’d stayed for four days and where he’d met the still unidentified person who gave him the guns for the illegal trade.   

“I thought of going back to Sweden by land,” local media reported Vall to have said, adding he’d take the bus from Pristina to Germany. 

He was caught on Muriqan’s border crossing by the Albanian police. Vall did not give out names of any of the people the police believes to be leading the illegal gun deal.

The Serious Crimes Court is expected to contact respective authorities in both Kosovo and Sweden to help identify the other people involved in the arm trafficking ring, as Albanian police sources remain confident Vall was only the transporter. 

 
                    [post_title] => Court imprisons Swede trafficking arms to afford studies 
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => court-imprisons-swede-trafficking-arms-to-afford-studies
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-08-17 11:14:14
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-08-17 09:14:14
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=138247
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [4] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 138244
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2018-08-16 17:46:46
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-08-16 15:46:46
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 16 - Two Albanians were part of the 39 victims caused by the collapse of a bridge during a powerful storm in Italy’s Genoa on Tuesday. 

The news about the Albanian victims were confirmed by the Italian ministry of interior, while a number of people are still missing as teams continue their rescuing missions among the Morandi Bridge ruins.

According to the ministry’s sources and a re-confirmation from the Albanian foreign ministry, the Albanian victims were Marjus Djerri and Admir Bokrina.

The cars on the bridge fell from a 45 meter height, along with large concrete chunks, over the warehouses of an industrial park beneath the bridge. According to the authorities, all the victims were among those who were driving on the bridge and none of them were from the people who were underneath or next to it.

Three children were among the victims, while so far 15 people are said to be injured.

The General Chief of the Italian Carabinieri Riccardo Sciuto said that given the number of cars on the bridge at the time of the collapse, there are still hopes of finding other survivors among the ruins.

“We are making estimates based on the number of cars crossing the bridge. Based on this hypothesis, considering that there were 35 cars on the bridge, we believe there may be other people as well,” said Sciuto.

Italy's Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli on Wednesday blamed the company managing the bridge, "Autostrade per l'Italia", saying it had not implemented the contract. He added the government will begin a national investigation for all old bridges and tunnels.

The bridge united two important highways connecting Italy to France. It was built in 1967 and in recent years had caused concern among engineers because they had noticed its degradation, although the bridge was renovated in 2016.

Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said Tuesday's misfortune indicates that Italy should spend more on its infrastructure, even if it would require a violation of the European Union's budget regulation.

On Facebook, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama expressed his condolences towards the victims’ family members.

“We are all close to Marijus and Admir’s families and follow the situation hour after hour with pain and regret for all the men, women and children who lost their lives at the apocalyptic Genoa scene,” Rama wrote.

 
                    [post_title] => Albanians among Genoa bridge collapse tragedy victims
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => albanians-among-genoa-bridge-collapse-tragedy-victims
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-08-16 17:46:46
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-08-16 15:46:46
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=138244
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [5] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 138233
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2018-08-13 19:05:16
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-08-13 17:05:16
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 13 - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that there can be no border changes in Western Balkan countries.

She made this comment after meeting with Bosnian Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic, with whom she discussed regional developments. Merkel said that she and her guest agreed on several issues. 

“We agreed on three issues, which are more important: the first is the territorial integrity of all Western Balkan states. This is a sacred thing and we have to keep repeating it because there is always efforts to open discussions on borders. We can not have this. The European future of all Western Balkan countries depends on it,” Merkel said.

The last two weeks have seen an ongoing discussion concerning the idea of Kosovo’s territorial division, exchange or “border correction,” in the context of the process of normalizing relations between Kosovo and Serbia.

The talks are expected to resume in September and should lead to a comprehensive binding legal agreement for normalizing relations between Kosovo, which has entered its 11th year of independence and Serbia, which continues to oppose it.

The agreement is a condition for both sides to advance on their path towards European Union integration.

A number of Kosovo politicians have echoed Merkel’s words, among whom the head of the Self-determination (Vetëvendosje) Movement Albin Kurti.

Kurti told the Voice of America that any “border correction” discussion is wrong and might lead to harmful consequences. 

Although Kurti’s political party is engaged with the national union of Albanians, he said giving away Northern Kosovo in exchange of uniting Albania and Kosovo is still wrong.

“I don’t believe that we should destroy the state of Kosovo to unite Albanians, I believe that the strengthening of the state of Kosovo is in the function of its unification with Albania. I am against that in exchange of uniting Kosovo with Albania we should give away Kosovo's North, Trepča, the Gazivoda Lake, or accept the partition of the city of Mitrovica,” Kurti told VOA. 
                    [post_title] => Western Balkans states’ territorial integrity is sacred, Merkel says 
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => western-balkans-states-territorial-integrity-is-sacred-merkel-says
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-08-16 13:15:10
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-08-16 11:15:10
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=138233
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [6] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 138224
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2018-08-11 20:24:18
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-08-11 18:24:18
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 11 - Two 5,1 and 5,4 magnitude earthquakes of the Richter scale hit Albania on Saturday, damaging a big number of buildings but causing no victims. 

The Ministry of Defense reported the stronger quake hit at around 5.30 p.m. and had a depth of five kilometers, with an epicenter near the village of Vinjoll of the Mat district, 120 km north of Tirana.

The Institute of Geosciences, Energy, Water and Environment reported the other quake occurred at 5.38 p.m., around 40 km north of Tirana, with an epicenter near the town of Bulqize.

The strong quakes were felt in about five different cities of the country, but also in neighboring Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia due to the earthquake’s depth, while it was followed by 15 aftershocks.  

The ministry reported 67 damaged buildings in the towns of Klos, Mat and Bulqize, but over 200 damaged buildings were actually reported in the Diber district from journalists and residents alike. Most of them suffered cracked walls and ceilings, while several were left completely uninhabitable. There were no human injuries.

The ministry added that authorities are coordinating work to assist the population.

Local media also reported that on a road in northeastern Valbone-Bajram Curri a massive rock fell due to the quake and hit a passing vehicle, injuring two people, but this has not been confirmed by authorities.

Saturday’s earthquake is similar to that of July 4, whose epicenter was in the Hamallaj and Lalz Bay area, 31 km Northwest of Tirana, and which caused panic, especially in the capital, where many residents left their houses and offices and spent a long time in open spaces.  
                    [post_title] => Two earthquakes rock Albania, also felt in the region 
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => another-earthquake-rocks-albania-also-felt-in-the-region
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-08-13 10:06:33
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-08-13 08:06:33
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=138224
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [7] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 138222
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2018-08-11 13:14:47
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-08-11 11:14:47
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 11 - An opinion published at the globally renowned Washington Post on Thursday said that proposing new divisions in the region as a solution for the future of the Balkans in general, and the Euro-Atlantic integration of Serbia and Kosovo in particular, is actually “a recipe for geopolitical instability.” 

The opinion, written by Carl Bildt, comes after almost two weeks of ongoing debate in the region, stemming from Kosovo President Hashim Thaci’s idea to “correct” Kosovo borders in the context of EU-mediated talks on normalizing relations between Kosovo and Serbia.

Although it was Thaci who first spoke of the idea of border correction, translated by a number of analysts and experts into Kosovo’s territorial division, Bildt says that “discreetly, Serb and Albanian political leaders have been exploring the possibility of sorting out their differences using territorial swaps.”

The idea of sorting out territorial disputes by exchanging territories is not foreign for Belgrade’s political circles, however it lately seems to have also gained momentum in Albania as well.

Theoretically, this “correction” would include the separation of the Serb-inhabited North, and also the possible exchange of the North of Kosovo for the Presevo Valley, an Albanian-majority region south of Serbia.

“The idea is certainly not new, but it was dangerous in the past and it remains so in the present. Serbia’s strongman Slobodan Milosevic and Croatia’s leader Franjo Tudjman conspired in the early 1990's to divide up Bosnia between them. But the international reaction put a stop to these plans,” Bildt writes.

So far, the EU and US policy has been stated clearly: preserve the borders that were in old Yugoslavia and seek solutions within them.

More specifically, the European Commission issued a statement on Friday, saying that Serbian President Aleksander Vucic and Thaci have had “intensive and productive talks in the context of the deal to fully normalize relations and that they have agreed to intensify the work done,” while adding that a permanent solution implies a realistic, stable and possible solution in agreement with international law and with both Kosovo and Serbia.

Under the assumption that Kosovo is now warming up to Serbian claims for this particular solution between the countries, Bildt writes that “to further Balkanize the Balkans is to open the region for further conflict and bloodshed.”

In Bildt’s account, Vucic has been actively toying with the idea, which has lately, according to his sources, also made Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama receptive to it. 

On Thursday, Vucic said said he is engaged to separate Serbians and Albanians in Kosovo.

“I am in favor, and this is my policy, to separate from Albanians, because having a territory that we don’t know who is in charge of and who it belongs to is a constant source of conflict,” Vucic said, while adding this deal can only be successful if accepted by the Serbian people and beyond, as “it takes two to tango.”

Bildt, however, echoing the concerns of a number of local and international analysts, firstly lists the opposition coming from the Serbian Orthodox Church and its leadership in Kosovo.

“They argue that a division of this sort will be a betrayal of the Serbs living in Kosovo south of the river Ibar and in all probability will lead to a complete ethnic cleansing of the area, with threats also to the historic Orthodox monuments in the area. A territorial swap would likely be followed by a population swap to create ethnically homogeneous territories. While some claim that this might pave the way for more stability, eventually including a greater union between and coming together of Albania and Kosovo, this is hardly likely,” Bildt writes.

In addition, considering the region’s wider conflictual context, this deal between Serbia and Kosovo could also risk opening up a Pandora’s Box over the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina - “an opportunity hardliner Bosnian Serb leaders will certainly welcome.”

Lastly, Bildt lists the issue of Macedonia - another country where Albanians are a substantial part of the population. 

“If the Albanian areas of the wider region start coming together also through a process of territorial swaps, there will certainly be those asking why this should not apply to Macedonia as well. That would seriously be playing with fire,” Bildt argues.

In the face of the international good-will to further the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of both countries, Bildt writes that a compromise should certainly be found between Prishtina and Belgrade - “a compromise which might well include a greater degree of decentralization to Serb parts of Kosovo and could mean admitting Kosovo into the United Nations as well” but should in no way toy with borders and divisions in the Balkans that were dangerous back in the 1990's and which remain dangerous to this day. 

 
                    [post_title] => Border corrections are Balkan recipe for disaster, Washington Post writes 
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => border-corrections-are-balkan-recipe-for-disaster-washington-post-writes
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-08-15 16:56:35
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-08-15 14:56:35
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=138222
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [8] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 138219
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2018-08-10 18:17:27
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-08-10 16:17:27
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug 10 - In Albania, the Justice and Interior Ministry strongly opposed on Wednesday the decision of Vlora Judge Herila Çela to punish an individual arrested two times within a few months only with house arrest. 

The case refers to 28-year-old Taulant Manaj from Vlora, arrested early in February this year, for “attempted murder” and “illegal weapons possession”. 

He was initially left on house arrest by the Vlora Court of Appeals, but in June he ended up in jail again after breaking house arrest, while being found again with illegal weapons.

Despite his history of arrests, Çela decided to remove the measure of imprisonment, changing it into house arrest a couple of days ago.

“Today, the Ministry of Justice has asked the Inspectorate of the High Council of Justice to urgently investigate the actions of the judge regarding the case. We will pursue the case and propose to the HCJ to take measures in proportion to the violation, including the dismissal of the judge if necessary,” said Deputy Minister of Justice Toni Gogu, after the case was made public in the media. 

Deputy Minister of Interior Besfort Lamallari spoke of  decision “bordering to absurd” which, according to him, “has questioned all the struggle and sacrifices made so far.”

According to the Ministry of Interior, there have been more than 18 cases when district courts have made soft decisions against individuals who were arrested carrying illegal weapons, who attempted armed robbery, or who broke security measures and carried weapons in the city, becoming public danger.

“Maybe judges who have and continue to issue decisions likes the latter one, think they will get away by simply being filtered out of the system, but no. After the end of the vetting, everyone will be punished, because the vetting does not simply mean getting the trash out of the Justice palace, but the tool that will guarantee justice puts justice into place.”
                    [post_title] => Justice Ministry seeks punishment for Vlora judge who issued soft punishment
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => justice-ministry-seeks-punishment-for-vlora-judge-who-issued-soft-punishment
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-08-10 18:17:27
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-08-10 16:17:27
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=138219
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [9] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 138216
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2018-08-09 15:08:39
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-08-09 13:08:39
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 9 - The National Youth Network and the CRCA Center completed the National Youth Index, as part of the "Youth in Albania" study, in which the youth, which accounts for 35 percent of the country's population, claims it is not a priority for any public institution.

The index is a survey of 15 youth organizations and it showed the government and municipalities have operated without implementing the national youth action plan and do not fulfill state obligations attached to it.

“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.

“81 percent of young people say the Albanian government does not support, encourage or develop supportive policies for their employment. This is an alarming figure, when international organizations also point out that 30 percent of Albanian youth is unemployed. The government should therefore attach great importance to this situation,” Klaudio Pulaha from the CRCA said.

Young people claim that they are facing lack of chances and disregard from decision-making institutions on employment and development issues that affect their lives.

Since last year, no funds were spent on youth, while the state budget for it was only 0.01 percent even though youth accounts for over one third of the population.

Municipalities also lack budgets for youth, and 80 percent of respondents claimed in the Index that friendly services are seriously lacking.

Hence, they ask for for a Youth Card, a Youth Law, a parliamentary youth subcommittee and a multifaceted budget for them both in the central government and in the local government.

 
                    [post_title] => National Youth Network: Unemployment drives 70 percent of youth abroad 
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => national-youth-network-unemployment-drives-70-percent-of-youth-abroad
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-08-09 15:08:39
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-08-09 13:08:39
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=138216
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

        )

    [post] => WP_Post Object
        (
            [ID] => 138285
            [post_author] => 281
            [post_date] => 2018-08-22 14:09:29
            [post_date_gmt] => 2018-08-22 12:09:29
            [post_content] => TIRANA, Aug. 22 - Albania has seen an increase in the number of asylum seekers from third countries using its territory as a transit point to reach European countries.

According to data published on Wednesday by the Institute of Statistics, in 2017, 309 asylum seekers in Albania brought an increase of 28.8 percent, compared to 2016.

Asylum seekers are mainly from Syria, Algeria and Afghanistan. According to official data, the number of male asylum seekers in 2017 increased compared to 2016, while the number of female asylum seekers in 2017 declined.

According to INSTAT data, Albanian authorities recorded 1,049 irregular foreigners in 2017, mainly from Syria, Algeria and Lebanon, with a 14.6% increase compared to 2016.

The vast majority of irregular foreigners, according to Albanian border police, come from the Greek border with the Albanian territory, in the southeastern and southern areas.

 

Increased number of undocumented foreigners during the first half of 2018 

Albanian authorities confirmed during August that they have made significant steps in curbing the passing of refugees who came from Greece and used Albania as a transit point to go to European countries.

Deputy Minister of Interior Rovena Voda said after an inspection at the Albanian-Greek border that the trend of refugee entry has decreased after the initial growth that was observed in the first half of 2018.

Albanian official data reported that from January to May in 2018, about 2133 refugees crossed the Albanian border, double the number compared to the same period in 2017.

Albanian police placed special forces to strengthen border regime at the border with Greece after the escalation of refugee entry. Meanwhile, the vast majority of refugees seeking asylum in Albania or entering irregularly, then head to Albania's border with Montenegro. 

A few days ago, the Montenegrin Defense Ministry announced it would place police and military patrols in the border with Albania.

According to the Montenegrin authorities' media announcement, the decision was made mainly to prevent illegal border crossings from Albania, as well as other illegal actions at the border area and that surrounding it. 

 

Increased number of legally documented foreigners during 2017

According to data from the Albanian Institute of Statistics, the number of foreigners with residence permits in Albania in 2017 increased by 3.1 percent compared to 2016.

INSTAT stated there are 7,637 foreigners coming from Europe currently living in Albania, making up 59.2 percent of foreigners, versus 66.5 percent in 2016.

Meanwhile, according to official data, 3,618 foreigners came from Asia, marking an increase of 11.5 percent compared to 2016.

But the largest increase of foreigners legally living in Albania was marked by African, American and Oceanian nationals, who are 1,651 in numbers - up to 73.6 percent increase compared to 2016.

According to official statistics, 6,334 foreigners came to Albania for employment purposes in 2017, accounting for 49.1 percent of foreigners, versus 50 percent in 2016. 

 
            [post_title] => INSTAT confirms increased number of asylum seekers in Albania 
            [post_excerpt] => 
            [post_status] => publish
            [comment_status] => closed
            [ping_status] => closed
            [post_password] => 
            [post_name] => instant-confirms-increased-number-of-asylum-seekers-in-albania
            [to_ping] => 
            [pinged] => 
            [post_modified] => 2018-08-23 14:27:09
            [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-08-23 12:27:09
            [post_content_filtered] => 
            [post_parent] => 0
            [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=138285
            [menu_order] => 0
            [post_type] => post
            [post_mime_type] => 
            [comment_count] => 0
            [filter] => raw
        )

    [queried_object] => stdClass Object
        (
            [term_id] => 28
            [name] => News
            [slug] => news
            [term_group] => 0
            [term_taxonomy_id] => 28
            [taxonomy] => category
            [description] => 
            [parent] => 0
            [count] => 9939
            [filter] => raw
            [cat_ID] => 28
            [category_count] => 9939
            [category_description] => 
            [cat_name] => News
            [category_nicename] => news
            [category_parent] => 0
        )

    [queried_object_id] => 28
    [post__not_in] => Array
        (
        )

)

Latest News

Read More