Back to homepage

Free to Read

‘Equus’ play breaks taboos in Albanian theatre history with first nude scenes

‘Equus’ play breaks taboos in Albanian theatre history with first nude scenes

TIRANA, March 30 – Young Albanian actor Igli Zarka has broken taboos at the Albanian National Theatre with his debut role in British playwright’s “Equus” drama, appearing nude on stage as he performed the role of teenager in a show

Read Full Article
New York-based artists explore human forms in Tirana display

New York-based artists explore human forms in Tirana display

TIRANA, March 30 – More than a dozen contemporary New York-based artists including Albania-born Alkan Nallbani and Emil Bakalli will be featured in a collective Tirana show, exploring what they call “fractured body” and human forms. “This show is comprised

Read Full Article
Visitors invited to confess what they were doing when dictator died

Visitors invited to confess what they were doing when dictator died

TIRANA, March 30 – The death of Albania’s Stalinist dictator Enver Hoxha in April 1985 after ruling the country with an iron fist for about four decades since the end of World War was experienced as a national tragedy in

Read Full Article
WTTC: Albania’s tourism industry set to register one of Europe’s fastest growth

WTTC: Albania’s tourism industry set to register one of Europe’s fastest growth

TIRANA, March 30 – Albania’s emerging tourism industry is set to register one of the region’s highest growth in the next decade in terms of its contribution to GDP, employment, investment and exports, according to a report by London-based World

Read Full Article
De Biasi under fire following national side’s fourth consecutive loss

De Biasi under fire following national side’s fourth consecutive loss

TIRANA, March 29 – Albania’s coach Gianni De Biasi has come under fire to prematurely end his Albania contract due to expire in late 2017 following the national sides fourth consecutive loss, including three World Cup qualifiers and a friendly,

Read Full Article
Albania to play Bosnia friendly after bidding adieu to World Cup qualifying bid

Albania to play Bosnia friendly after bidding adieu to World Cup qualifying bid

TIRANA, March 27 – Albania will play a home friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Tuesday evening after bidding adieu to its World Cup qualifying bid with a third straight loss against Italy. The home test against one of the

Read Full Article
Fighting for a stronger Europe!

Fighting for a stronger Europe!

By Sigmar Gabriel It’s your birthday, Europe! Sixty years ago, on 25 March 1957, the founding members of the European Union signed the Treaties of Rome. This date is a major crossroads for the most successful project for freedom, peace and prosperity

Read Full Article
New form for declaration of funds aims to provide transparency in electoral campaign

New form for declaration of funds aims to provide transparency in electoral campaign

TIRANA, March 22 – The international community has stepped up efforts to assist Albanian officials in providing transparency in party funding during electoral campaign, representatives of three bodies said this week. Experts from the European Union, OSCE and Council of

Read Full Article
Be wary of Russian influence on elections, former U.S. senator says

Be wary of Russian influence on elections, former U.S. senator says

TIRANA, March 22 – Former U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli has called on Albania to be cautious and vigilant over Russia’s attempts to meddle with the country’s upcoming general elections. In a television interview Wednesday, Torricelli said that there is solid

Read Full Article
Marubi pictures make debut U.S. showcase

Marubi pictures make debut U.S. showcase

TIRANA, March 23 – More than a hundred pictures of the famous 19th and early 20th century Marubi photo collection are being showcased in Connecticut at a gallery run by an Albanian artist in their first trip to the U.S.

Read Full Article
WP_Query Object
(
    [query_vars] => Array
        (
            [cat] => 37
            [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] => free
            [tag] => 
            [tag_id] => 
            [author] => 
            [author_name] => 
            [feed] => 
            [tb] => 
            [paged] => 0
            [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] => 37
                                )

                            [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] => 430
    [max_num_pages] => 43
    [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] => 
    [is_admin] => 
    [is_attachment] => 
    [is_singular] => 
    [is_robots] => 
    [is_posts_page] => 
    [is_post_type_archive] => 
    [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 92cb3452c9b6cfc3b118a3115cc53ab1
    [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 
    [thumbnails_cached] => 1
    [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => 
    [query] => Array
        (
            [cat] => 37
        )

    [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 (37) ) 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 0, 10
    [posts] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 131803
                    [post_author] => 29
                    [post_date] => 2017-03-30 19:23:53
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-30 17:23:53
                    [post_content] => zarka 2TIRANA, March 30 - Young Albanian actor Igli Zarka has broken taboos at the Albanian National Theatre with his debut role in British playwright's “Equus” drama, appearing nude on stage as he performed the role of teenager in a show receiving mixed reactions.

Dino Mustafic, the renowned Bosnian director of Albanian origin, was applauded in Tirana for daring to stage a tough contemporary piece and featuring the first explicit nude role in the 70-year history of Albania's National Theatre.

"It's a play that makes us reflect on our conscience so that we can understand how much we have evolved as human beings. This performance also makes us reflect on ourselves and freedom and how much the society, lack of civilization and everybody makes us destroy our freedom," the 47-year-old director said about his Albania “Equus” premiere.

Shaffer’s 1973 play about a psychiatrist’s attempt to treat a young man obsessively fascinated with horse, “Equus” creates a chilling portrait of how materialism and convenience have killed human capacity for worship and convenience. “Rarely has a playwright created an atmosphere and situation that so harshly pinpoint the spiritual and mental decay of modern man,” one critic wrote of the play written by Shaffer, an award winning playwright and screenwriter who died in mid-2016 at the age of 90.

Commenting on the much-rumored nude scene, Mustafic described it as an expression of freedom.

"No, it's not nude, that is his costume. Our Alan rides outdoors. He takes pleasure in freedom. We are also free when we don't have clothes on. The body is an actor's instrument. A body on the stage is never a provocation. It has inspired from Michelangelo's era to present day. If beauty can be a provocation, then I did it intentionally," Mustafic told reporters about his play, staged at the National Theatre in Tirana from March 17 to 20.

Speaking about his debut role as Alan Strang at the National Theatre, young actor Igli Zarka said "it was something fantastic, the whole public supported our performance because the play is not about nudity."

"We worked with so much love. The first time I appeared nude, just one night before the dress rehearsal, everybody supported me, which encouraged me to appear again and again," said Zarka.

Being in the limelight for the first nude role, Igli Zarka, who has just graduated in acting from Tirana's Academy of Arts said he was hardly coping with it.

"Nevertheless, I am not used to handling all of this," he said.

Journalist Alma Mile said there were mixed reactions to the show, an all-Albanian performance with veteran actor Timo Flloko starring as the psychiatrist.

"During the interval acts, when the public had the opportunity to exchange thoughts with each other; there were also people who didn’t consider that theater, somebody called it courageous for the Albanian stage where nudity is still taboo, another one experienced it in the most normal way while somebody found it inappropriate," Mile wrote.

"Despite the excesses, ‘Equus’ is a special work that targets beyond the everyday, a challenge for the theatre and actors performing in it. A work that will be long remembered by the public, hopefully not only because of the fact that a young man appeared nude," she added.

 
                    [post_title] => ‘Equus’ play breaks taboos in Albanian theatre history with first nude scenes
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => equus-play-breaks-taboos-in-albanian-theatre-history-with-first-nude-scenes
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2017-03-30 19:23:53
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-30 17:23:53
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=131803
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [1] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 131800
                    [post_author] => 29
                    [post_date] => 2017-03-30 19:17:27
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-30 17:17:27
                    [post_content] => FABTIRANA, March 30 - More than a dozen contemporary New York-based artists including Albania-born Alkan Nallbani and Emil Bakalli will be featured in a collective Tirana show, exploring what they call "fractured body" and human forms.

"This show is comprised primarily of living New York City artists working in a variety of media, who are all inspired by the human form. These artists have extraordinarily diverse creative approaches to this very old subject," says the FAB gallery of Tirana's University of Arts where the collective exhibition will remain open from April 3 to 17.

The media represented ranges from paintings to bronze casting, resin casting, video, and inkjet printing just to name a few, with the way artists representing the figure differing as dramatically as their material choices.

“These artists’ works are an amazing cross-section of the deeply personal, eccentric, and culturally specific ways that we approach our creative and physical selves,” says the FAB art gallery.

Among the participant artists, Albania-born and educated, New York-based artist Alkan Nallbani, uses oil paint and ink in energetic and fluid ways to bring to life figures that might otherwise be static.

Emil Bakalli is another Albanian artist based in New York where he also works as an arts professor that will be featured in the collective exhibition of eighteen international artists.

Artists Jane Lafarge Hamill, Eddie Chu, and Brett Rogers riff on classical portraits. But, through their idiosyncratic working methods, the resulting paintings verge on being almost completely abstract and nonrepresentational.

Artists Michael Grey and Brian Christie approach the figure from a scientific background. Grey studied genetics and Christie runs a successful scientific illustration firm. Both of these artists deconstruct the human form based on an intimate understanding of the hidden bodily systems that support and sustain our lives.

Jerry Kerns, John Jacobsmeyer, and Jason Bereswill look at the way the figure is portrayed in popular culture. Kerns takes his material from comics and pulp illustrations, Jacobsmeyer, is clearly inspired by the artificial worlds of video games, and Bereswill lifts his sources directly from the hero worship imagery of surf magazines.

Classical materials and forms are used in both Alkan Nallbani and Graham Day Guerra’s works. Guerra cobbles together references from artists such as Durer and Vesalius, and then overlaps them to make his complex webs of drawings. Michael Rees rounds out this group with sculptures that are comprised of parts of the human anatomy put together in ways that perhaps only he fully understands. He has created a private syntax of thumbs, skulls, and intestines, organizers say.

Participant Artists: Alkan Nallbani / Graham Day Guerra / Norm Paris / Jason Bereswill / Jane La Farge Hamill / Michael Joaquin Grey / Paul Jacobsen / Brett Rogers / John Jacobsmeyer / Emil Bakalli / Jonny Detiger / Bryan Christie / Nick Knight / Jamie Adams / Michael Rees / Kevin Zucker / Andrew Raftery / Eddie Chu

Where: FAB art gallery, University of Arts, Tirana

When: April 3 to 17
                    [post_title] => New York-based artists explore human forms in Tirana display
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => new-york-based-artists-explore-human-forms-in-tirana-display
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2017-03-30 19:17:27
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-30 17:17:27
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=131800
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [2] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 131797
                    [post_author] => 29
                    [post_date] => 2017-03-30 19:13:47
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-30 17:13:47
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, March 30 - The death of Albania's Stalinist dictator Enver Hoxha in April 1985 after ruling the country with an iron fist for about four decades since the end of World War was experienced as a national tragedy in Albania as in many other communist countries where these leaders were admired massively, but secretly made happier about 100,000 people who were persecuted by being mostly interned, imprisoned and even killed for political reasons.

Albania artist Ilir Kaso, a visual arts professor, is looking back how people experienced the dictator's death about three decades ago, when he was only a three-year-old child and is trying to collect new testimony by visitors to the exhibition who were older and remember more about the dictator's death on April 11, 1985 at the age of 76. The communist regime continued for another five years until the early 1990s when the first multi-party elections were held.

"I don't remember much what happened on that April day of 1985. It was Thursday. I wasn’t even three years old yet when the day suddenly stopped and attention shifted somewhere else," says the 35-year-old artist about his "What were you doing when the dictator died" exhibition.

"The only thing I have not forgotten is the people's faces, they were similar. There was also joy for somebody that day, but they couldn't celebrate, on the contrary, they had to cry. There were also people who couldn't cry but bit their cheeks in order not to laugh at distorted faces. Maybe that day somebody lost a loved person and couldn't cry about them, because the dictator was dead," says Ilir Kaso.

The artist says he will turn his exhibition facilities into a recording studio, inviting visitors to confess their stories.

The exhibition at the Zeta art gallery, one of Tirana's best private run contemporary spaces, will run until April 5.
                    [post_title] => Visitors invited to confess what they were doing when dictator died
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => visitors-invited-to-confess-what-they-were-doing-when-dictator-died
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2017-03-30 19:13:47
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-30 17:13:47
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=131797
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [3] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 131794
                    [post_author] => 29
                    [post_date] => 2017-03-30 18:58:22
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-30 16:58:22
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, March 30 - Albania's emerging tourism industry is set to register one of the region's highest growth in the next decade in terms of its contribution to GDP, employment, investment and exports, according to a report by London-based World Travel & Tourism Council, WTTC.

In its latest Economic Impact Research report, the WTTC ranks Albania 26th out of 185 countries for its travel and tourism long-term growth prospects from 2017 to 2027, leaving behind almost all regional competitors who have a longer tradition in the tourism industry.

The 2017 report shows the contribution of the travel industry to Albania's GDP is forecast to grow by an average of 6 percent annually over the next decade, while employment is expected to grow by a slower pace of about 3 percent.

The travel and tourism contribution to total capital investment and exports is also forecast to grow by 5 to 6 percent, among Europe's fastest growth rates for 2017-2027.

The WTTC says the direct contribution of travel and tourism to the Albanian economy was at about U.S. $1 billion in 2016, accounting for 8.4 percent of the GDP and is expected to increase by 6.2 percent annually to reach $2 billion to 10.8 percent of the GDP by 2027.

The sector’s total contribution including wider effects from investments, the supply chain and induced income impacts was at $3.2 billion in 2016 or about 26 percent of the GDP and is expected to grow by 6.1 percent to (€6.1 bln) annually 33 percent percent of the GDP in 2026.

The London-based organization estimates the travel and tourism industry directly supported 85,000 jobs in 2016 in Albania and expects employment numbers to increase by another 34,500 to 120,000 over the next decade.

The direct contribution to employment includes employment by hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services excluding commuter services. It also involves the activities of the restaurant and leisure industries directly supported by tourists.

The total contribution of Travel & Tourism to employment including wider effects from investment, the supply chain and induced income impacts in 2016 was 267,000 jobs or about 24 percent of the country's total employment.

The WTTC says Albania generated about $1.77 billion in income from foreign tourists in 2016 and attracted about $200 million in investment.

Despite the global ever-increasing and unpredictable shocks from terrorist attacks and political instability, to health pandemics and natural disasters, the 2017 outlook remains positive, and over the longer term growth of the travel and tourism sector will continue to be strong so long as the investment and development takes place in an open and sustainable manner, says the World Travel and Tourism Council.

A rapidly growing industry

With tourism on top of the agenda as one of the emerging drivers of economic growth, Albania has been actively promoting its coastal, mountain and cultural heritage tourism in a bid to become a year-round destination.

Investment in tourism resorts has recently revived by offering investors state property in priority areas for a symbolic Euro 1 for up to 99 years in return for investment and job creation, although long-standing disputes over unclear property titles remain a huge barrier to attract foreign investors.

The country boasts dozens of sandy and rocky beaches along its 476 km coastline stretching through the Adriatic and Ionian, the most famous of which are found on the Albanian Riviera south of the country.

Three UNESCO World Heritages, the Butrint archaeological park and the historic towns of Gjirokastra and Berat, in southern Albania, also unveil the rich cultural heritage in Albania, a gateway to the Mediterranean boasting a mix of Illyrian, Roman, Greek and Ottoman civilizations.

Earlier this year, Albania was rated as one of the top seventeen global destinations to visit in 2017 by the prestigious CNN news portal amid other renowned destinations such as the U.S., Canada, France, Denmark, China and Australia.

“The tiny Mediterranean country — once one of the Cold War’s most forbidding Stalinist redoubts — has been Europe’s best-kept secret for the better part of two decades. Sunny, cheap and with mile after mile of pristine beaches and unspoiled wilderness, Albania has made much of what it has after it emerged blinking into the daylight of freedom in the ’90s,” writes the CNN.

In mid-2016, the National Geographic portal also rated Albania among the top 10 destinations that deserve more tourists.

“A burgeoning tourist industry—centered around its meticulously preserved UNESCO-listed Ottoman towns, including Berat and Gjirokastra, and the stretch of land now known somewhat archly as the Albanian Riviera—now brings in almost 3.5 million tourists a year,” wrote the National Geographic.

Albania offers a miscellaneous picture of coastal and mountain tourism and has been attracting more and more foreign tourists in the past few years being nicknamed as “A New Mediterranean Love” and “Europe’s Last Secret.”

The 2015 opening of the Sazan Island, a former military base some 20 kilometers from the coastal town of Vlora, to local and foreign tourists for the first time in 70 years, and a Cold War secret bunker outside Tirana that the former communist regime had built underground decades ago to survive a possible nuclear attack, also attracted a lot of interest among international media and visitors.

Travel income slightly rose to a historic high of €1.35 billion in 2015 when Albania was visited by 4.1 million foreign tourists, according to Bank of Albania and INSTAT data.
                    [post_title] => WTTC: Albania's tourism industry set to register one of Europe’s fastest growth
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => wttc-albanias-tourism-industry-set-to-register-one-of-europes-fastest-growth
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2017-03-30 18:58:22
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-30 16:58:22
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=131794
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [4] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 131784
                    [post_author] => 29
                    [post_date] => 2017-03-29 18:35:42
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-29 16:35:42
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, March 29 - Albania's coach Gianni De Biasi has come under fire to prematurely end his Albania contract due to expire in late 2017 following the national sides fourth consecutive loss, including three World Cup qualifiers and a friendly, a losing streak Albania had not been suffering since more than a decade ago.

Having led Albania for the past five years and managing to take it to a first ever major competition such as the Euro 2016, the national side led by De Biasi has left much to be desired following the impressive Euro 2016 debut when Albania was unlucky to make it to the knockout stage as one of the best third-placed sides, punished by its goal difference. The national side lost to hosts France and Switzerland but beat Romania 1-0 in their group stage, in impressive performances that led to a heroes' welcome upon their arrival in Tirana.

The Euro 2016 euphoria and over-confidence seem to be still present in the national side whose success peaked in mid-2016.

The World Cup qualifying campaign started pretty well with a tough injury-time win against Macedonia in a postponed match and an easy win over minnows Liechtenstein. The following tests for Albania proved disastrous with Spain, Israel and Italy all getting easy wins in their qualifiers with Albania who conceded seven goals and failed to score even a single goal, bidding adieu to its qualifying campaign almost halfway through the group stage matches.

To make matters worse, the national side also suffered a 2-1 home loss against Bosnia and Herzegovina this week to register its fourth consecutive loss, a losing streak it had not experienced since 2005 when it was led by German Hans-Peter Briegel.

"It is true that we suffered four consecutive losses. I think people who can understand should know that Albania's win would be the right result, this because of the absences we had and the team's performance. Friendlies also serve to test new players. We would be losing time if we didn't test candidate players for the near future," De Biasi told reporters after the Bosnia friendly, justifying the fourth consecutive loss.

Although Football Association President Armand Duka has made it clear De Biasi will remain with the national side until the end of the year when a possible renewal could be made, the association’s secretary general has hinted next June’s away qualifier with Israel could prove decisive for De Biasi.

"We hope we will not lose against Israel and get a positive result. We have no differences with Israel despite the progress of the game in Elbasan. If the contract is terminated amicably, that's something else," says Ilir Shulku, the secretary general at Albania's Football Association.

Down to nine men, Albania lost 3-0 in its home qualifier against Israel last November in a match played under extremely tight security measures over fears of a possible terrorist attack, irritating the Red & Black fans who have since boycotted the national side’s matches, claiming unfair treatment by police forces.

Fatbardh Jera, a member of the football association's executive committee, says the end of the World Cup qualifiers could be the end of De Biasi's era at the national side.

"De Biasi is under contract until the end of the campaign. However, this could also be the end of his era. Of course, he could leave at the end of the campaign," Jera has said.

The 60-year-old former Torino and Udinese club coach was also rumored to take over Italy following the Euro 2016 campaign and has not hidden his ambition to train a big national side.

De Biasi also has Albanian citizenship and was recently awarded an order of merit by the Italian president for promoting football and friendly relations between the two neighbouring countries.
                    [post_title] => De Biasi under fire following national side's fourth consecutive loss 
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => de-biasi-under-fire-following-national-sides-fourth-consecutive-loss
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2017-03-29 18:35:42
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-29 16:35:42
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=131784
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [5] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 131761
                    [post_author] => 29
                    [post_date] => 2017-03-27 14:07:41
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-27 12:07:41
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, March 27 - Albania will play a home friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Tuesday evening after bidding adieu to its World Cup qualifying bid with a third straight loss against Italy.

The home test against one of the toughest Balkan sides is also seen as key for Gianni De Biasi and his future as Albania's coach after having led the national side for the past five years and managing to take it to a first ever major tournament such as Euro 2016.

Albania played well in last Friday’s qualifier with Italy but was punished by an early penalty for a needless foul and squandered several scoring opportunities before it conceded its second knockout goal. To make matters worse, the national side now faces the threat of a huge fine by the world football's governing body, FIFA, and play one or two matches behind closed doors after the Italy qualifier was suspended for several minutes as a group of Albanian fans threw flares on the pitch.

The Italy qualifier was seen as the last chance for Albania to remain in race for a top two finish and a possible play-off opportunity for Russia 2018, although mathematically Albania can still make it if they win all five remaining games.

Having played all five first round matches, Albania now see themselves rank fourth with only six points, trailing leaders Spain and Italy by seven points and lagging behind three points third-placed Israel, who now remain Albania's sole rival in their fight for a third place in group G of the World Cup qualifiers.

“Of course I feel bad because we lost to Italy and now our qualifying chances are zero," De Biasi told a Swiss newspaper.

"I think we played a tactically good game, the team performed well and surprised the opponents from the start. We made an individual mistake, and in my opinion, the referee quite generously awarded a penalty kick and this is when the match changed," De Biasi told a press conference upon arriving in Durres last weekend as Albania prepares for the Bosnia friendly.

The Italy encounter also produced some clashes within the national side with Basel midfielder Taulant Xhaka announcing he will no longer join the national side as long as De Biasi is in charge. A regular starter in the past few years, the Basel player of Kosovo roots claims he has been given no explanation for not being included on the starting line-up and not used as a substitute by coach De Biasi.

Taulant Xhaka, 25, and his younger brother, Swiss international Granit Xhaka, made history at the Euro 2016 becoming the first brothers to face each other on different national sides at a European championship when Albania faced Switzerland at the opening group stage fixture.

Albania will play Bosnia and Herzegovina on Tuesday, March 28 at the Elbasan Arena stadium. The two teams have faced each other four times with each national side having won once and drawn twice.

The Bosnia side travel to Albania after thrashing minnows Gibraltar 5-0 to keep their World Cup qualifying hopes alive as they trail leaders Belgium by 3 points in Group H.

Bosnia and Herzegovina who have been playing as a national side since 1992 after breaking up from former Yugoslavia made their major international debut at the 2014 World Cup. They currently rank 29th in the FIFA March ranking, up 25 spots compared to Albania who have lost considerable ground following three consecutive losses against Spain, Israel and Italy.

The Albanian national side will travel to Israel on June 11 and play home to modest Liechtenstein on Sept. 2 before facing Macedonia three days later. The Red & Blacks will conclude their qualification campaign in October 2017 with two tough fixtures against former world champions Spain and Italy.
                    [post_title] => Albania to play Bosnia friendly after bidding adieu to World Cup qualifying bid
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => albania-to-play-bosnia-friendly-after-bidding-adieu-to-world-cup-qualifying-bid
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2017-03-27 14:45:48
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-27 12:45:48
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=131761
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [6] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 131754
                    [post_author] => 29
                    [post_date] => 2017-03-24 10:43:58
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-24 09:43:58
                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_131755" align="alignright" width="300"]gabriel Sigmar Gabriel, Germany's Federal Foreign Minister[/caption]

By Sigmar Gabriel

It’s your birthday, Europe! Sixty years ago, on 25 March 1957, the founding members of the European Union signed the Treaties of Rome. This date is a major crossroads for the most successful project for freedom, peace and prosperity that the world has ever known.

This gives us cause for celebration.

After 60 years of Europe, we are standing at a crossroads once again, however. The financial crisis and our efforts to deal with the refugee movements have ruthlessly exposed the weaknesses of the European integration project. The UK will provide notification of its desire to leave the European Union in a few days’ time. This is a wakeup call. We must reach an understanding on what Europe means to us, where we want to go with the Union and what we are prepared to do to achieve this.

This is the actual significance of this anniversary of the Treaties of Rome.

The European integration project is under greater attack today than at any time in the past, from within and from without, by populists who claim to have simple solutions and by autocrats who loathe our values. They are all out to dismantle or even destroy Europe.

For me, it is clear that the path of European integration is both the right and the only path to take. Let us not deceive ourselves. In this world stricken by crises in which so many certainties have fallen by the wayside, the countries of Europe can only successfully defend their interests and values when they speak with one voice. No European country, not even Germany, can do this on their own any more. Together, we are so much more and so much stronger than the sum of all of our individual nations. We must close ranks in order to do this.

This 60th anniversary must therefore stand as a beacon of hope and as a call to fight for Europe. We must not remain silent when voices clamour for an end to European integration.

Fighting for Europe means defending our common, i.e. our European, values. We want to make the EU, which has brought us decades of freedom and stability, fit for the future. The rule of law and democracy, solidarity with one another and diversity among our member states are the building blocks of the European project. We must stand up for this both on the international and domestic stage.

Fighting for Europe also means standing up for what we have accomplished. Dismantling our integration will not help us. We overcame the sovereign debt crisis together. We are working to ensure that everyone in the eurozone is able to look ahead with confidence, that there is a return to growth across the board and that new prospects are generated with more jobs. We will need to further deepen economic and monetary union to achieve this – not in order to set ourselves apart from the others, but because we are more closely linked than ever before thanks to our common currency.

Our work goes beyond this, however. The historic task that we now face is to create a better and stronger Europe. We must invest together in the European Union and make the most important project for peace and prosperity of our age fit for the future.

Firstly, in European foreign and security policy. It is time to do away with the perception that we are not responsible for our own security. It is true that Europe must finally come of age. Our partnership with the USA and NATO are the cornerstones of the transatlantic community. However, the European Union must be able to cope with crises and conflicts in its neighbourhood by itself. Initial steps have been taken and further measures must follow.

Secondly, we need protection of Europe’s external borders that is genuinely worthy of the name. Borders have lost much of their significance within Europe. That is an amazing achievement – but strong external borders are equally important. Amidst the crises in our neighbourhood and the refugee flows, we can see how important effective protection of our borders is. Anyone who holds Schengen dear must also value the protection of our external borders. While a number of measures have got off the ground, we must do more. This is a European task that applies to us all, and not to only those of us who are most affected.

Thirdly, Europe must raise its game with respect to domestic security. The fight against terrorism is a common effort. We must do better in this area, through improved cooperation and better communication. People in Europe should not have to live in fear – be it in Brussels, Paris, Berlin or elsewhere. Freedom and security are two sides of the same coin.

Fourthly, we must be far more mindful of the fact that part of the European project’s allure always was to do with the promise of prosperity. The single market brought prosperity to most of us, and over a long period of time. However, too many people in Europe feel that they no longer benefit from a common Europe, but have been left behind. We have to appreciate and take steps to counter this. For me, fighting for Europe therefore means strengthening the single market and taking the social dimension of the European project seriously. We need new conditions for growth and prosperity. This includes European investments in digital infrastructure, as well as in education and research. If we manage to deploy our resources better and, at the same time, if everyone is willing to tackle the necessary reforms to preserve their competitiveness, then we will not be net contributors and net recipients, but all net beneficiaries of Europe.

We want to stand together in order to send a message from Rome that we Europeans are getting our act together and standing up for Europe and that we want to do a better job! We will succeed if we do not allow ourselves to be guided by our fears and if we revitalise the European spirit with courage and self-confidence and if we take everyone on board and challenge certain national sensitivities.

Germany is prepared to do just that.
                    [post_title] => Fighting for a stronger Europe!
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => fighting-for-a-stronger-europe
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2017-03-24 10:43:58
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-24 09:43:58
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=131754
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [7] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 131748
                    [post_author] => 29
                    [post_date] => 2017-03-24 09:59:16
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-24 08:59:16
                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_131749" align="alignright" width="300"]lista Voter looks at registration lists. (Photo: OSCE/Archives)[/caption]

TIRANA, March 22 - The international community has stepped up efforts to assist Albanian officials in providing transparency in party funding during electoral campaign, representatives of three bodies said this week.

Experts from the European Union, OSCE and Council of Europe have drafted a new declaration form for political parties to explain how they obtain electoral campaign funds. 

The announcement was made at a roundtable on political party funds held in Tirana.

Experts said that the declaration form can be used without the need of amending the Electoral Code.

In his address, the chairman of the Central Election Commission, Denar Biba, welcomed the initiative and said that corruption in the electoral process hampers election standards.

“We must identify the origins of funds used in the campaign and elections. Albania is a poor country whose electoral campaign expenses are extraordinary,” Biba said.

The co-chairman of the Ad-Hoc Commission for the Electoral Reform, Socialist Party MP Taulant Balla, said that the ruling majority supports the introduction of the form in an attempt to toughen criteria for self-declaration of party funds.

“We need to institutionalize changes to the Criminal Code and introduce tougher penalties against electoral crimes such as taking pictures of the ballot paper and other offences,” Balla said.

The declaration form recommended by experts of the OSCE, European Union and Council of Europe sanctions that private funding of political parties must be done through bank transactions which will also include additional information on the party donor.

 
                    [post_title] => New form for declaration of funds aims to provide transparency in electoral campaign
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => new-form-for-declaration-of-funds-aims-to-provide-transparency-in-electoral-campaign
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2017-03-24 09:59:16
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-24 08:59:16
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=131748
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [8] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 131740
                    [post_author] => 29
                    [post_date] => 2017-03-24 09:46:58
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-24 08:46:58
                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_131741" align="alignright" width="300"]Former U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli (Photo: PDP) Former U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli (Photo: PDP)[/caption]

TIRANA, March 22 - Former U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli has called on Albania to be cautious and vigilant over Russia’s attempts to meddle with the country’s upcoming general elections.

In a television interview Wednesday, Torricelli said that there is solid information to back up claims that Russians can meddle with elections in democratic countries.

“It is clear that there are attempts from the Russians to intervene in the elections. There is evidence for Russian intervention in the United States, in France and other Western Europe countries,” said the former Democratic Party senator from New Jersey.

He added, “I urge people in Albania to be cautious. I urge the media to check their sources. Many falsities will be promoted. Electoral bodies must be careful with their contacts. It is certain that there is a Russian agenda to influence the elections,” he added.

The U.S. politician urged political forces to set aside their disagreements and ambitions and think about what’s better for the citizens and the country.

“Political parties come and go, but the country remains. Its future must be a priority,” he said during the interview with a local television station.

The former U.S. senator was visiting Tirana to express support for the cause of the exiled Iranian opposition resettled in Albania at the request of the United States and the United Nations. He attended the celebrations of the Persian new year (Nowruz), along with former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton.

 
                    [post_title] => Be wary of Russian influence on elections, former U.S. senator says
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => be-wary-of-russian-influence-on-elections-former-u-s-senator-says
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2017-03-24 09:46:58
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-24 08:46:58
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=131740
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [9] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 131724
                    [post_author] => 29
                    [post_date] => 2017-03-23 19:00:03
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-23 18:00:03
                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_131726" align="alignright" width="300"]marubi 4 Funeral ceremony, Kel Marubi, 1937[/caption]

TIRANA, March 23 – More than a hundred pictures of the famous 19th and early 20th century Marubi photo collection are being showcased in Connecticut at a gallery run by an Albanian artist in their first trip to the U.S. where an estimated 200,000 people of Albanian roots live.

Gjergj (George) Pali, an artist from Shkodra who managed to flee the country in the late 1980s just before the country's hardline communist regime was collapsing and has been living in the U.S. ever since opening dozens of exhibitions, says he is happy he is inaugurating his GR gallery in Stamford, Connecticut, with the Marubi exhibition.

"It's a great pleasure to inaugurate this gallery and successfully conclude this initiative with friends from Shkodra to have Marubi here," says Pali, a 60 year-old artist who a couple of years ago came back to Albania with an exhibition in Tirana.

Curator Vladimir Myrtezaj described Pali’s May 2015 "Journey" exhibition in Tirana as an intensive artistic research, a fertile imagination, which combines well the genres of painting and collage.

“His work rests upon two main pillars: one is a current of subconscious reminiscence closely related to music, which he often transforms in a thoroughly instrumental form in his paintings, while the second comes from the author’s traumatic journey during which he often considers the origin of life describing it through an openly tragic humor in his paintings,” says the curator about Pali, who escaped Albania for political and artistic reasons in January 1988 at a time when people crossing the border were also executed, imprisoned and had their families interned.

Lucian Bedeni, the director of the Marubi national photo museum in Shkodra, says the exhibition serves promoting cultural heritage.

[caption id="attachment_131728" align="alignright" width="300"]marubi 3 Ships at docks, Kel Marubi, 1913[/caption]

"At a time when everybody seems interested in politics, we should not lose focus on promoting cultural heritage such as Marubi," Bedeni told VoA in the local Albanian service.

The "Life in images" exhibition features 150 black and white pictures portraying men and women from all social classes in their daily life at the end of the 19th century, when the first Albanians migrated to the U.S.  The pictures reveal a people anchored to their traditions, fierce guardians of their identity, set against the backdrop of the flourishing city of Shkodra, says curator Zef Paci.

The selected pictures are part of the newly restored Marubi national museum of photography in Shkodra, home to home to 500,000 photos and negatives tracing the beginning of Albanian photography in the 19th century by capturing life and historic events in Albania and the region.

The exhibition at Gjergj Pali's GR Gallery in Connecticut will remain open for four months until July 17.

Albanian photography started with Pietro Marubi, an Italian immigrant fleeing political repression from his country. He opened Albania’s first photography studio in 1858. Three generations of Marubis followed in his footsteps. For about a century, the Marubi family amassed more than 500,000 negatives. The selection of pictures reveals the political, social, cultural and religious diversity of the country.
                    [post_title] => Marubi pictures make debut U.S. showcase
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => marubi-pictures-make-debut-u-s-showcase
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2017-03-23 19:00:03
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-23 18:00:03
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=131724
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

        )

    [post] => WP_Post Object
        (
            [ID] => 131803
            [post_author] => 29
            [post_date] => 2017-03-30 19:23:53
            [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-30 17:23:53
            [post_content] => zarka 2TIRANA, March 30 - Young Albanian actor Igli Zarka has broken taboos at the Albanian National Theatre with his debut role in British playwright's “Equus” drama, appearing nude on stage as he performed the role of teenager in a show receiving mixed reactions.

Dino Mustafic, the renowned Bosnian director of Albanian origin, was applauded in Tirana for daring to stage a tough contemporary piece and featuring the first explicit nude role in the 70-year history of Albania's National Theatre.

"It's a play that makes us reflect on our conscience so that we can understand how much we have evolved as human beings. This performance also makes us reflect on ourselves and freedom and how much the society, lack of civilization and everybody makes us destroy our freedom," the 47-year-old director said about his Albania “Equus” premiere.

Shaffer’s 1973 play about a psychiatrist’s attempt to treat a young man obsessively fascinated with horse, “Equus” creates a chilling portrait of how materialism and convenience have killed human capacity for worship and convenience. “Rarely has a playwright created an atmosphere and situation that so harshly pinpoint the spiritual and mental decay of modern man,” one critic wrote of the play written by Shaffer, an award winning playwright and screenwriter who died in mid-2016 at the age of 90.

Commenting on the much-rumored nude scene, Mustafic described it as an expression of freedom.

"No, it's not nude, that is his costume. Our Alan rides outdoors. He takes pleasure in freedom. We are also free when we don't have clothes on. The body is an actor's instrument. A body on the stage is never a provocation. It has inspired from Michelangelo's era to present day. If beauty can be a provocation, then I did it intentionally," Mustafic told reporters about his play, staged at the National Theatre in Tirana from March 17 to 20.

Speaking about his debut role as Alan Strang at the National Theatre, young actor Igli Zarka said "it was something fantastic, the whole public supported our performance because the play is not about nudity."

"We worked with so much love. The first time I appeared nude, just one night before the dress rehearsal, everybody supported me, which encouraged me to appear again and again," said Zarka.

Being in the limelight for the first nude role, Igli Zarka, who has just graduated in acting from Tirana's Academy of Arts said he was hardly coping with it.

"Nevertheless, I am not used to handling all of this," he said.

Journalist Alma Mile said there were mixed reactions to the show, an all-Albanian performance with veteran actor Timo Flloko starring as the psychiatrist.

"During the interval acts, when the public had the opportunity to exchange thoughts with each other; there were also people who didn’t consider that theater, somebody called it courageous for the Albanian stage where nudity is still taboo, another one experienced it in the most normal way while somebody found it inappropriate," Mile wrote.

"Despite the excesses, ‘Equus’ is a special work that targets beyond the everyday, a challenge for the theatre and actors performing in it. A work that will be long remembered by the public, hopefully not only because of the fact that a young man appeared nude," she added.

 
            [post_title] => ‘Equus’ play breaks taboos in Albanian theatre history with first nude scenes
            [post_excerpt] => 
            [post_status] => publish
            [comment_status] => closed
            [ping_status] => closed
            [post_password] => 
            [post_name] => equus-play-breaks-taboos-in-albanian-theatre-history-with-first-nude-scenes
            [to_ping] => 
            [pinged] => 
            [post_modified] => 2017-03-30 19:23:53
            [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-30 17:23:53
            [post_content_filtered] => 
            [post_parent] => 0
            [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=131803
            [menu_order] => 0
            [post_type] => post
            [post_mime_type] => 
            [comment_count] => 0
            [filter] => raw
        )

    [queried_object] => stdClass Object
        (
            [term_id] => 37
            [name] => Free to Read
            [slug] => free
            [term_group] => 0
            [term_taxonomy_id] => 37
            [taxonomy] => category
            [description] => Want to read some of our articles, but are not ready to become a full paid subscriber? Register for free, and read all articles in this section — for free.
            [parent] => 0
            [count] => 430
            [filter] => raw
            [cat_ID] => 37
            [category_count] => 430
            [category_description] => Want to read some of our articles, but are not ready to become a full paid subscriber? Register for free, and read all articles in this section — for free.
            [cat_name] => Free to Read
            [category_nicename] => free
            [category_parent] => 0
        )

    [queried_object_id] => 37
    [post__not_in] => Array
        (
        )

)

Latest News

Read More