Government offers constitution amendments

TIRANA, Oct. 9 – Prime Minister Sali Berisha told Democratic Party parliamentarians to prepare a request for amendments of the constitution as set in the Aug. 30 consensual deal with the main opposition Socialist party. The Democrats’ parliamentary group did

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Russia seeks to restore close cooperation with Albania

MOSCOW, Oct. 11 – Russia is seeking to restore close cooperation with Albania, according to Russian Ambassador in Tirana Alexander Prishchepov speaking at the Russian-Albanian business forum on Wednesday. “In particular, Russia seeks to restore active trade and economic interaction,”

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Police fine foreigners with expired residence permits

TIRANA, Oct. 12 – Police have fined some 400 out of 600 foreigners who are staying in Albania with expired residence permits, according to Shekulli newspaper Thursday. Police also reported that 301 other foreigners were not allowed to enter the

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Government funds air mapping

TIRANA, Oct. 11 – The government decided Wednesday to fund with 105 million leks the agency of legalization for its project of photographing in a digital way from the air all the country’s territory. The money will be used to

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Parliament debates on communism crimes

TIRANA, Oct. 9 – The parliament was involved Monday evening in a long debate between the two main groupings _ majority Democratic party and their allies and opposition Socialists and their allies. There were two topics to discuss between them.

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Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister visits Albania

TIRANA, Oct. 11 – Luxembourg’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn visited Albania and met with top officials pledging his country would ratify next spring the Stabilization and Association Agreement Albania has signed with the European Union. Asselborn

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Police clash with Ksamil residents

KSAMIL, Oct. 11 – Residents in the southernmost tourist commune of Ksamil, Saranda district, clashed with police and stopped their work in taking down illegal construction they had built. Construction police had destroyed two buildings and stopped at the third

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Former communist president visits Kosova

PRISHTINA, Oct. 8 – Former and last communist president in Albania Ramiz Alia, 81, visited Kosova last weekend where he met with all the top politicians and officials there and welcomed with all the due honors. Alia was invited from

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Government approves loans with foreign institutions

TIRANA, Oct. 11 – The government approved Wednesday a loan of 6.13 million Islamic dinars taken from the Islamic Bank for Development on the construction of the fishing harbor in Durres. The government also approved another loan from the International

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Cannabis found with mule trying to cross into Greece

SARANDA, Oct. 11 – Border police in southernmost district of Saranda found a mule trying to transport some 60 kilograms of cannabis sativa across into Greece. Police officer Ardian said the mule was found early morning near Konispol trying to

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Oct. 9 - Prime Minister Sali Berisha told Democratic Party parliamentarians to prepare a request for amendments of the constitution as set in the Aug. 30 consensual deal with the main opposition Socialist party. The Democrats' parliamentary group did that, which means that the parliament will soon vote whether to accept the amendments of the constitution which dealt with the increase of the local authorities' mandate from three to four years and increase of the number of the members of the Central Election Commission. But it did not include the delay of holding the local elections at a bad weather timing, as asked from the opposition.
"We should show our seriousness on what we have signed," said Berisha at a meeting of the parliamentary group accusing Socialists of always trying to set obstacles in holding the local polls expected between Dec. 20 and Jan. 20, very likely Jan. 14. Berisha launched his flow of accusations against the Socialists expressing his surprise how the opposition did not want to hold elections and try to hamper them. 
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                    [post_content] => MOSCOW, Oct. 11 - Russia is seeking to restore close cooperation with Albania, according to Russian Ambassador in Tirana Alexander Prishchepov speaking at the Russian-Albanian business forum on Wednesday. "In particular, Russia seeks to restore active trade and economic interaction," he said. "From the 1950's Albania's economy was oriented to the USSR, which practically created all industry of the country. Our states laid a reliable foundation for bilateral cooperation. This foundation will give us an opportunity of restoring comprehensive interaction based on market conditions." Albanian Ambassador in Moscow Teodor Laco stressed, "the intergovernmental commission's session and the signing of the agreements between the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the two countries on the exchange of information will prove of both sides' intention to restore traditional friendly relations after the eight-year break." Russia and Albania maintain economic interaction, mainly in the field of trade. Russia's export reaches about 100 million U.S. dollars. Partnership in the energy sector is a priority field in Russian-Albanian cooperation.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Oct. 12 - Police have fined some 400 out of 600 foreigners who are staying in Albania with expired residence permits, according to Shekulli newspaper Thursday. Police also reported that 301 other foreigners were not allowed to enter the country because they lacked proper documentation. In the last two weeks police have sent away, or deported five foreigners who had violated residence permits. They have been Asians but no identity was given by the police. The maximum fine can go up to 90,000 leks.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Oct. 11 - The government decided Wednesday to fund with 105 million leks the agency of legalization for its project of photographing in a digital way from the air all the country's territory. The money will be used to launch an international tender and for the winning bidding company that will do that. 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Oct. 9 - The parliament was involved Monday evening in a long debate between the two main groupings _ majority Democratic party and their allies and opposition Socialists and their allies. There were two topics to discuss between them. 
First the opposition asked the prime minister to make public how much money they had paid to BG & R U.S. company that helped them during the electoral campaign last year. They said the figure should be higher than $182,000 and accused them of contracting a company that now lobbies in favor of Belgrade against Kosova independence. The majority turned down their request to create a parliamentary investigative commission but of course accusations from both parties continued.
What attracted more the attention of the parliamentarians, but also Albanians, was the discussion of the crimes of communism. The Democrats had prepared a draft resolution that denounced the communist crimes and wanted former totalitarian regime be denounced. Though it seemed that both groupings were denouncing communism and late dictator Enver Hoxha, the debate was very harsh. Berisha turned to them saying the Socialist Party was the only one in former eastern European countries that had not disbanded but was a successor of the previous communist party. He started to call names on their leaders. Socialists responded saying that Berisha has been one of the most devoted communist during the former regime. And the debate got harsher following rumors that many parliamentarians and also other top officials were former members of the secret police Sigurimi. Berisha mentioned some nicknames used allegedly for some of the Socialist parliamentarians, who also responded with the same language.
The Socialists counterattacked saying they were preparing a draft law to be passed by the parliament according to which all former files of secret police Sigurimi would be made public, especially for those public personalities, top officials and politicians. Yes, responded Berisha. He would open all the files. But a day later Skender Gjinushi of the Social Democrats, in opposition, said that Berisha and his government had extinguished many files belonging to his militants and there had remained only big lists which were hard to verify if were true. Petro Koci of the Socialists also said that former Sigurimi officials had normally supported their party while those secret, or illegal spies had gone to the Democrats' side.
The draft resolution may be discussed in the coming days after some amendments. But as Spartak Ngjela, a former political dissident , said during the debate politics was playing games but not really doing what it says: opening files and also compensating former political persecuted.
A group of the political persecuted also held a protest before the parliamentary session complaining that all governments in post-communist Albania had only propagated the fight against former communist regime, but done nothing to compensate them who had suffered for almost half a century under Enver Hoxha. They have been asking a day work-counted cost for each of them but the governments have played with the list of the political persecuted.
Berisha said, however, during the debate at the parliament that his government would start compensation of the former political persecuted starting from next year.
Some former political prisoners said, however, they did not trust the government promises and the debate to be a real one. Fatos Lubonja said that was more a political rhetoric.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Oct. 11 - Luxembourg's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn visited Albania and met with top officials pledging his country would ratify next spring the Stabilization and Association Agreement Albania has signed with the European Union. Asselborn met with Prime Minister Sali Berisha and Foreign Minister Besnik Mustafaj. Both sides highly evaluated the excellent political relations adding they would work to increase economic ones at the same standard.
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                    [post_content] => KSAMIL, Oct. 11 - Residents in the southernmost tourist commune of Ksamil, Saranda district, clashed with police and stopped their work in taking down illegal construction they had built. Construction police had destroyed two buildings and stopped at the third after some scores of people started to throw stones at them. A civilian driver of one of the machines was slightly injured. Residents said the government had no right to topple them down after they had invested so much money there. They said they were not informed beforehand about the destruction. One of them whose building was destroyed said that was not illegal. Police said they had been informed since August, adding there were more than 150 illegal constructions in the village.
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                    [post_content] => PRISHTINA, Oct. 8 - Former and last communist president in Albania Ramiz Alia, 81, visited Kosova last weekend where he met with all the top politicians and officials there and welcomed with all the due honors. Alia was invited from a private television station. He was warmly welcomed the moment he put his feet in Kosova at the airport. He started the visit with a wreath of flowers in Decan for the KLA fighters. In the second day of his visit Alia started private meetings with Kosova President Fatmir Sejdiu, to continue with Prime Minister Agim Ceku and political leaders Hashim Thaci, Veton Surroi and Ramush Haradinaj. Alia made no statement after the meetings. It was learnt however that he talked on Kosova's final steps toward independence. He also talked to the KTV private television station. Alia was elected as the country's president since 1982 when late dictator Enver Hoxha was still living, and then became his successor in 1985 upon his death. Alia was also re-elected as president in 1991 but resigned a year later. He also served some prison years for abuse of post. Alia's old family origin is from Kosova, from where his family moved to Shkodra.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Oct. 11 - The government approved Wednesday a loan of 6.13 million Islamic dinars taken from the Islamic Bank for Development on the construction of the fishing harbor in Durres. The government also approved another loan from the International Development Association on supporting agriculture projects.
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                    [post_content] => SARANDA, Oct. 11 - Border police in southernmost district of Saranda found a mule trying to transport some 60 kilograms of cannabis sativa across into Greece. Police officer Ardian said the mule was found early morning near Konispol trying to transport the drugs into Greece. There was arrested no person and police continued investigation to find the people responsible.
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            [post_content] => TIRANA, Oct. 9 - Prime Minister Sali Berisha told Democratic Party parliamentarians to prepare a request for amendments of the constitution as set in the Aug. 30 consensual deal with the main opposition Socialist party. The Democrats' parliamentary group did that, which means that the parliament will soon vote whether to accept the amendments of the constitution which dealt with the increase of the local authorities' mandate from three to four years and increase of the number of the members of the Central Election Commission. But it did not include the delay of holding the local elections at a bad weather timing, as asked from the opposition.
"We should show our seriousness on what we have signed," said Berisha at a meeting of the parliamentary group accusing Socialists of always trying to set obstacles in holding the local polls expected between Dec. 20 and Jan. 20, very likely Jan. 14. Berisha launched his flow of accusations against the Socialists expressing his surprise how the opposition did not want to hold elections and try to hamper them. 
As expected Socialists counterattacked and said that the Democrats were trying to hold elections at a bad timing in order to be easier for them to manipulate them.
Leaders of smaller political groupings appealed to the two main parties that fulfilling the required standards was very important. They said that the electoral reform was indispensable to achieve free and fair elections. They called for the continuation of the electoral reform that has been blocked, and the need to respect the topics agreed between the Democrats and the Socialists in their Aug. 30 agreement.
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