Back to homepage

Free to Read

Albania claim historic qualification for Euro 2016

Albania claim historic qualification for Euro 2016

TIRANA, Oct. 11 – Albania’s dream of a first ever qualification in a major football competition has finally come true after more than eight decades of attempts. Albania beat Armenia 3-0 on Sunday night to claim direct qualification in the

Read Full Article

Op-Ed: Why meaningful justice sector reform is vital

By Robert Wilton* Justice systems, like justice careers, are a journey. In my country, the UK, we have just celebrated the 800 year anniversary of one of our greatest justice system milestones. And we’re still reforming. So if Albania’s justice

Read Full Article

Op-Ed: ‘A good day for Europe and a good day for Albania’

By Hellmut Hoffmann* Twenty five years ago today, on 3 October 1990, after nearly half a century of division, the reunification of Germany took place. After the fall of the wall in Berlin on 9 November 1989 this was not

Read Full Article
Nurse hiring program set up to contrast bogus asylum trend

Nurse hiring program set up to contrast bogus asylum trend

TIRANA, Oct. 5 – Germany has agreed to employ 250 Albanian nurses, featuring the legal employment opportunity as a contrast to about 40,000 Albanians who have sought political asylum in Germany since the start of the year, but who Berlin

Read Full Article
Albania play Serbia, Armenia in last qualifiers in bid to secure first ever direct qualification for major competition

Albania play Serbia, Armenia in last qualifiers in bid to secure first ever direct qualification for major competition

By Ervin Lisaku TIRANA, Oct. 5 – Having already secured a historic place in the play-offs of the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, Albania will play its last two group matches at home to Serbia and away to Armenia this week

Read Full Article
New bunker monument met with protests

New bunker monument met with protests

TIRANA, Oct. 1 – A new monument depicting a bunker, which the authorities had planned to build as the entrance to a new museum on the communist era, has sparked anger among the former political dissidents who suffered under the

Read Full Article
Authorities deny they want OSCE out of the country

Authorities deny they want OSCE out of the country

TIRANA, Sept. 23 – Albanian authorities are not seeking the ousting of the OSCE from Albania, a government spokesman said this week, after the publication of a letter from the foreign ministry to all public institutions asking them to report,

Read Full Article
Editorial: Heroes and villains

Editorial: Heroes and villains

As members of a people small in number, Albanians instinctively become interested when other Albanians make news internationally, either in the homelands or anywhere in the world. Albanians in America are particularly in focus, simply because that country has been

Read Full Article
Draft law with up to 50-fold increase on business fines sparks debate

Draft law with up to 50-fold increase on business fines sparks debate

TIRANA, Sept. 21 – Government-proposed changes to the tax procedures law, which increase penalties on tax evasion up to 50-fold,  sparked debate at the parliamentary economic commission this week, with the opposition describing them as repressive and punitive and with

Read Full Article
Hoxha’s photos make comeback at Peza festivities, lead to angry reactions

Hoxha’s photos make comeback at Peza festivities, lead to angry reactions

TIRANA, Sept. 17 – Festivities commemorating the Conference of Peza, a WWII anti-fascist event, have been accompanied by controversy after nostalgic supporters of the late communist dictator, Enver Hoxha, appeared with his portraits and chanted his name. A group of

Read Full Article
WP_Query Object
(
    [query_vars] => Array
        (
            [cat] => 37
            [paged] => 75
            [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] => 
            [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] => 877
    [max_num_pages] => 88
    [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] => 98860b077bc6e9c14b4f6c1c1b5fac27
    [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 
    [thumbnails_cached] => 1
    [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => 
    [query] => Array
        (
            [cat] => 37
            [paged] => 75
        )

    [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 740, 10
    [posts] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 123982
                    [post_author] => 29
                    [post_date] => 2015-10-11 20:09:02
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-10-11 18:09:02
                    [post_content] => alb 2TIRANA, Oct. 11 - Albania's dream of a first ever qualification in a major football competition has finally come true after more than eight decades of attempts.

Albania beat Armenia 3-0 on Sunday night to claim direct qualification in the 2016 UEFA European Championship in a decisive last qualifier for the second place in Group I of the Euro qualifiers to avoid play-offs in case of a possible third place.

Albania's coach Italian Gianni De Biasi praised the team's performance and he dedicated the success to all Albanian fans who have supported the team in every step.

It all started well for Albania who desperately needed a victory after the disastrous stoppage time defeat at home to Serbia few days ago, with an early own-goal by the Armenians. Berat Djimisti scored the second goal to give Albania a comfortable 2-0 lead in the first half before striker Armando Sadiku sealed the historic victory which for the first time takes Albania to a major football competition.

Albania climbed to second with 14 points in Group I of the qualifiers, leaving behind Denmark with 12 points who were hoping for a draw in the Armenia-Albania fixture.

Portugal extended their group lead to 21 points after beating Serbia 2-1 in the last qualifier.

Denmark will have another chance in the play-offs while Serbia and Armenia ranked fourth and fifth with 4 and 2 points respectively.

Celebrations kicked off immediately after the final whistle all over Albania, Kosovo and the Albanian Diaspora.
                    [post_title] => Albania claim historic qualification for Euro 2016
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => albania-achieve-historic-qualification-for-euro-2016
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2015-10-12 12:16:11
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-10-12 10:16:11
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=123982
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [1] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 123935
                    [post_author] => 5
                    [post_date] => 2015-10-09 11:17:52
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-10-09 09:17:52
                    [post_content] => By Robert Wilton*

Justice systems, like justice careers, are a journey. In my country, the UK, we have just celebrated the 800 year anniversary of one of our greatest justice system milestones. And we’re still reforming. So if Albania’s justice sector reform isn’t finished by the end of the year, don’t worry. Getting it right is more important than getting it fast.

Meaningful justice sector reform is, simply, the future stability and sustainability of this country. Its success will be decided not in laws on paper, but in the daily experiences of citizens in courtrooms all across Albania. You, today, by graduating, are going to the front line of the future of your country.

We all know that impartiality is the essential quality of a judge. Well, there is currently a dispute underway in Albania, which is larger than any case you will ever try, and in it you cannot be impartial.

This dispute is the contest between integrity and corruption. In this dispute, there is no impartiality: you cannot stand aside and say “this is not my fight”. You must take sides. Choosing one side will certainly bring you some attractive short-term benefits, as a solitary individual. Choosing that side will also destroy your reputation, the integrity of your Courtroom and everything you have worked for so far, the faith of your citizens in their own country, and in the end it will destroy the reputation of the country and the country itself. You must decide if you care about that.

The details of the justice sector reform are becoming clearer. There will be a vetting of judges. Those who fail will lose their careers and their reputations. Some will go to jail.

For those who choose the winning side in this contest between integrity and corruption, the rewards will be great, and lasting. In a fair system, you will succeed because of your own talent, not because of how much money someone is paying someone else. The best of you can advance rapidly. Your profession will finally have the prestige it enjoys in other countries. International investors will want to come to Albania. Your citizens will have a country they believe in, and they will look up to you as the guardians of it. Do you care?

I urge you, as future judges and prosecutors, to take an interest in what is going on in the Assembly and to play your part. Events in the Assembly will affect you, and you must also affect them.

Your greatest sustainable impact on your society will be in helping to establish and to protect a rule of law culture. If there is not a rule of law culture, there is no trust in society and without trust there is no society, and there is no country. If you establish and protect a rule of law culture, you make everything else possible for your country’s progress and integration.

You have chosen justice as your vocation at a critical moment in the history of the country. With your choice come great responsibility and great opportunity. By taking up your vocation at this critical moment, you have an opportunity unique to your generation to shape the future. You will decide if this country fails or if it succeeds.

I commend you for taking this responsibility, and I would like to join you in celebrating the opportunity. I am proud that the OSCE has been active behind the scenes in supporting the School of Magistrates and remains active at every level of the justice sector, from the strategic discussions about reform through to our work to help individual judges in individual courtrooms deliver justice more effectively. I look forward to our continued partnership with you all.

Let us start by celebrating your graduation from the School of Magistrates: I congratulate you, and I wish that you will always make wise judgments.

*  These were the remarks the the deputy head of the OSCE Presence, Robert Wilton, made this week at the ceremony of the School of Magistrates. The headline has been chosen by Tirana Times.

 
                    [post_title] => Op-Ed: Why meaningful justice sector reform is vital
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => op-ed-why-meaningful-justice-sector-reform-is-vital
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2015-10-09 11:17:52
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-10-09 09:17:52
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=123935
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [2] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 123911
                    [post_author] => 5
                    [post_date] => 2015-10-09 11:15:03
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-10-09 09:15:03
                    [post_content] => By Hellmut Hoffmann*

Twenty five years ago today, on 3 October 1990, after nearly half a century of division, the reunification of Germany took place.

After the fall of the wall in Berlin on 9 November 1989 this was not only another good day for Germany – this was a good day for Europe and a good day for Albania!

For this reason we wish to celebrate this day with you in the opera with a musical performance.

The reestablishment of the unity of Germany as a state has opened the door for the creation of the unity of Europe as a whole on the basis of democracy, freedom, security, the rule of law, solidarity, tolerance and economic progress.

Everyone who thinks in historical terms will be aware that Germany feels committed to these values and objectives in a particular way.

Germany is an engaged champion of European unification – but not only for reasons of historical reflection but out of conviction that the peoples and states of Europe will only manage to secure their specific idea of living together over the long term through an ever closer union.

Only more recently we have had to learn once more from painful experience that the way in which we wish to live together is exposed to dangers. 

United Germany tries its level best to act in a spirit of solidarity and to contribute to peaceful solutions, particularly for the reason that we have had the experience that the reduction of tensions can lead to good outcomes.

Whoever tries to do this must be aware that he cannot fulfil all expectations and desires.

If a common project is to be successful, all have to make their contribution and where necessary get their house in order.

I do not exclude ourselves from this – to name one example I would refer to the colossal

challenge of the present refugee and migration crisis, which will keep us busy for a long time to come.

 

***

It is more than a mere historical coincidence, that -- only two months after the reunification of Germany-- in Albania in December 1990 forces of change dared to come to the fore with great courage.

Overcoming the division of Europe made possible not only the toppling of the dictatorship in Albania, but also led the country back into the fold of the European family.

The European Union is a significant factor of stability in the world. To secure this for the long term, a wise policy of enlargement is called for.

Germany supports Albania‘s endeavors towards joining the European Union.

Much has been achieved already, but much remains to be done.

As just one example I would refer to the very important reform of the judiciary, which will only be successful, if it manages to really establish confidence into the judiciary.

For more than a quarter century Germany has been strongly engaged in Albania with many projects in many fields.

With the Western Balkans conference the Federal Government has initiated the Berlin

Process in 2014, which can bring the entire region forward by way of concrete projects.

The excellent state of relations between our countries finds expression i.a. in the fact that with the successful visit of Federal Chancellor Merkel in July this year, we have seen the very first bilateral visit of a German Federal Chancellor to Albania. We were delighted at the warm welcome accorded to the Chancellor.

 

***

We want to deepen the ties between our countries also with many projects of cultural cooperation.

Therefore also this year we will organize the German October, which we have put under the motto 25 Years of Reunification – 25 Years of Transition in Albania.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of reunification we wish to offer you tonight with Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana a classic of the musical history of the 20th century – and this combined with a rare ballet performance!

We are grateful to the Opera’s director, Mr. Kerni, not only for having made this particular suggestion with the realization of which we fulfil a dream of his, but also for the fact that we can be guests in his house tonight.

I am happy to include the Minister of Culture, Ms. Kumbaro, in my thanks as well.

This great project, to the realization of which many have contributed and which has taken weeks of rehearsal, shows in an exemplary way what we wish to achieve with our cultural work, i.e., to bring artists from our two and other countries together in a productive process of mutual learning.

We are most grateful to Youri Vámos, a native Hungarian living in Germany, who has made himself a name internationally as choreographic story-teller and to Joyce Cuoco for the choreography; we are equally grateful to the orchestra directed by Desar Sulejmani, an Albanian who lives in Germany, to the choir under the direction of Dritan Lumshi, the choir of the Jordan-Misja-School under the direction of Bujar and Mira Alliu and to all other contributors.

***

The famously grandiose appeal to Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi, that is the goddess of fortune and fate as the ruler of the world, reminds us that fortuna, that is fortune, must be there, if something great like the reunification of a country or a continent is to succeed – but to rely on fortuna alone is not enough because we are well advised to be aware that without decisive action nothing or only little would be accomplished! It remains for me to wish us all joy at a beautiful rendition of Carmina Burana.

* These were the remarks German Ambassador Hellmut Hoffmann made at an event in Tirana commemorating 25 Years of Reunification of Germany at the National Opera and Ballet Theater in Tirana with a performance of Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, a classical music piece  from the 20th century that came with a ballet performance in Tirana.
                    [post_title] => Op-Ed: ‘A good day for Europe and a good day for Albania’
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => a-good-day-for-europe-and-a-good-day-for-albania
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2015-10-09 11:18:26
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-10-09 09:18:26
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=123911
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [3] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 123910
                    [post_author] => 5
                    [post_date] => 2015-10-09 10:50:45
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-10-09 08:50:45
                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_123923" align="alignright" width="300"]After being selected among more than 1,000 candidates, the 250 nurses will work to learn German for a year before heading to jobs in the northern European country. (Photo: GoA)  After being selected among more than 1,000 candidates, the 250 nurses will work to learn German for a year before heading to jobs in the northern European country. (Photo: GoA)[/caption]

TIRANA, Oct. 5 – Germany has agreed to employ 250 Albanian nurses, featuring the legal employment opportunity as a contrast to about 40,000 Albanians who have sought political asylum in Germany since the start of the year, but who Berlin sees as unwanted economic migrants.

German Ambassador to Tirana Hellmut Hoffman said programs like the one set up for the nurses are the best way to get employment in Germany, while all asylum requests would be denied.

After being selected among more than 1,000 candidates, the 250 nurses will work to learn German for a year before heading to jobs in the northern European country.

Albanian Labor Minister Blendi Klosi said they may be followed by thousands of others in health-care and other areas, including the tourism industry.

Albanian authorities have planned or are in the process of opening different academies to help people to train for professions that are in demand in the new economy at home and abroad.

Klosi said next year the government will double the money to be spent on professional education in the country.

Prime Minister Edi Rama said that the legitimate way to employment in Germany was through education and professional accreditation. It is the only safe way to achieve a better life, he added.

A significant part of the population in Albania wants to migrate due to lack of employment and opportunities at home, according to research done by civil society experts and the Office of the Ombudsman. 

Most of those who choose to leave the country live in deep poverty, are unemployed and come from vulnerable parts of society.

In September, the number of migrants in Germany from western Balkan countries fell, and they made up only seven percent of newly-registered asylum seekers, according to Germany's interior ministry.

In the first eight months of this year, nearly 40,000 Albanians migrated to Germany. They will all be deported, according to authorities.
Out of about 138,151 migrants, only 9,774 had arrived from Albania, Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and Montenegro in September, a decline from earlier months.

Authorities believe it is a sign the trend is ebbing due to the efficient public awareness campaign that the German authorities are holding in all western Balkan countries.

The sudden surge this year has left local German authorities scrambling to register as well as provide lodging, food and basic care for the new arrivals.

As Germany expects up to one million refugees this year, Chancellor Angela Merkel's generosity towards migrants has sparked discord within her coalition.

Berlin is now stepping up action to deter economic migrants from trying to obtain asylum in the country, in a bid to free up resources to deal with applicants from war-torn countries like Syria.

Germany has added Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro to a list of so-called safe origin countries, which would result in swifter deportations of migrants from these states.

 

 
                    [post_title] => Nurse hiring program set up to contrast bogus asylum trend
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => nurse-hiring-program-set-up-to-contrast-bogus-asylum-trend
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2015-10-09 10:53:26
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-10-09 08:53:26
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=123910
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [4] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 123882
                    [post_author] => 29
                    [post_date] => 2015-10-05 11:09:55
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-10-05 09:09:55
                    [post_content] => By Ervin Lisaku

[caption id="attachment_123883" align="alignright" width="300"]RSI SOCCER-EURO/SERBIA-BRAWL S SPO SOC SER A drone incident in Belgrade in Oct. 2014 marred the first qualifier between Serbia and Albania[/caption]

TIRANA, Oct. 5 - Having already secured a historic place in the play-offs of the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, Albania will play its last two group matches at home to Serbia and away to Armenia this week in a bid to secure a first ever direct qualification in major football tournament.

All eyes this week will be on Thursday's qualifier with Serbia, with tight security  measures already taken to prevent a possible incident that would mar Albania's dream.

The first qualifier with Serbia in October 2014 was abandoned after a drone carrying a banner depicting Albanian nationalistic and patriotic symbols sparked violence on the pitch which saw Albanian players running for the dressing room and hit with objects thrown from the stadium where Albanian fans had been banned to attend.

Last July, Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport gave Albania a 3-0 victory for the abandoned match away to Serbia in a final decision ending a legal battle which reversed a previous ruling by Europe’s football governing body in favour of Serbia.

Only a few dozen Serbian fans have been invited to support their team in the key Oct. 8 qualifier at the Elbasan Arena stadium.

"On October 8, Football must be the only key message at the Elbasan Arena. Don't touch the pitch! Say no to racism and respect the national anthems. Don't get provoked and don't create incident but strongly support the Red and Blacks!" says an awareness video in an appeal to Albanian football fans.

Albania's national side has already started training ahead of the two key qualifiers with Italian coach Gianni De Biasi optimistic of  the team's chances to qualify directly.

"We know the importance of these two matches and are aware of the degree of their difficulty. The team is concentrated and aware to give their maximum. We are not afraid of anybody," De Biasi told journalists in a press conference on Saturday.

Tomislav Karadzic, the president of Serbia's Football Association, has said Albania plays a historic match and is very close to its qualification and it will be difficult for Serbia to stop them.

"It would be a great surprise if they go to France," Karadzic is quoted as saying by local Albanian media.

U.S.-based prestigious sports network ESPN has dubbed the qualifier as the "Balkan Match" and is reported to be shooting a documentary on the Albania-Serbia match.

Prime Minister Edi Rama, who has also invited his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic to watch the match at the Elbasan Arena Stadium, has described the match against Serbia as a key qualifier and appealed to players and fans to show respect for Serbia.
"Just play, have fun, enjoy the game," said Rama quoting former NBA star Michael Jordan.

With two games to go before the Euro qualifier close, Albania currently rank third in Group I with 11 point, four less than leaders Portugal and one point less compared to second-placed Denmark who have only one game left away to Portugal on Oct. 8.

Armenia and Serbia are hopeless in the group with 2 points and 1 point respectively.

Albania's hopes for a direct qualification received a blow last September when a stoppage-time winner by Portugal avenged their shock defeat in the opening Euro 2016 qualifiers last year.

Albania's qualifying campaign will close on Oct. 11 when they play away to Armenia which they beat 2-1 last March.

The top two group teams and the best third-placed side in the nine groups qualify directly for the final tournament of the Euro 2016. The eight remaining third-placed teams will contest play-offs to determine the last four qualifiers.
                    [post_title] => Albania play Serbia, Armenia in last qualifiers in bid to secure first ever direct qualification for major competition
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => albania-play-serbia-armenia-in-last-qualifiers-in-bid-to-secure-first-ever-direct-qualification-in-major-competition
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2015-10-08 11:13:20
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-10-08 09:13:20
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=123882
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [5] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 123878
                    [post_author] => 5
                    [post_date] => 2015-10-02 11:02:42
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-10-02 09:02:42
                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_123879" align="alignright" width="300"]The new monument site is located behind the Interior Ministry and would serve as the entrance to an underground museum. (Photo: PDP)  The new monument site is located behind the Interior Ministry and would serve as the entrance to an underground museum. (Photo: PDP)[/caption]

TIRANA, Oct. 1 – A new monument depicting a bunker, which the authorities had planned to build as the entrance to a new museum on the communist era, has sparked anger among the former political dissidents who suffered under the regime.

Tens of members of the community tried to storm a police barricade in Tirana to tear the new structure down. They say they oppose building such a structure from scratch when bunkers like it still litter the country, reminding them of their terrible communist past.

The new monument site is located behind the Interior Ministry and would serve as the entrance to an underground tunnel that was built to be used by the communist authorities to shelter the top military and law enforcement officials in case of a war.

The communist regime built 700,000 bunkers across the country during its rule, fearing attacks from both the Soviet Union and the Western countries. 

Now many of the bunkers have been destroyed and their materials recycled. Larger ones are used to house anything from small businesses to restaurants.

The protest also has political connotations. The former political dissidents say they mistrust the current left-wing government, which they say has members that are nostalgic of the communist era. The protest was supported my lawmakers of the center right opposition.

Another monument 200 meters from the site, built with the approval of the formerly politically persecuted community uses a small bunker that was already on the site, a piece of the Berlin Wall and an entrance to a former labor camp.

Last year, authorities opened to the public a big underground five-story building constructed from the communist to shelter their command in case of a war and capable of confronting a nuclear attack too.

The government is trying to turn former communist places into tourism attractions, which seems not to have pleased the politically persecuted, who view the left-wing government with suspicion.

They took their complaint this week to the country’s president, Bujar Nishani, through the Pan-national Union for the Integration of Political Prisoners and Persecuted of Albania.

The association expressed concern and protested against the re-introduction of Communist dictatorship symbols such as the most recent building of a bunker symbolizing the dictatorship at the courtyard of the Ministry of Interior.

Nishani's office said the president had been watching with worry attempts to reintroduce communist symbols 25 years after the regimes fall, and he added he would follow up withing the bounds of his constitutional role to make sure that balances are kept and that all sectors of the society are protected.

Last week, there was anger among many Albanians when festivities commemorating the Conference of Peza, a WWII anti-fascist event, were accompanied by nostalgic supporters of the late communist dictator, Enver Hoxha, with his portraits and chanting his name.

A group of veterans and members of the Communist Party, went to the monument commemorating the events of the National Liberation War in Albania after the end of the official ceremony attended by the Socialist Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj and several MPs from the ruling Socialist-led coalition. Veliaj distanced himself from the photographs, saying they were not part of the ceremony organized by the municipality.




                    [post_title] => New bunker monument met with protests
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => new-bunker-monument-met-with-protests
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2015-10-02 11:02:42
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-10-02 09:02:42
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=123878
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [6] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 123643
                    [post_author] => 5
                    [post_date] => 2015-09-25 10:59:13
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-09-25 08:59:13
                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_123645" align="alignright" width="300"]Albania has been a member of the OSCE since 1991. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons) OSCE building in Vienna. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)[/caption]

TIRANA, Sept. 23 – Albanian authorities are not seeking the ousting of the OSCE from Albania, a government spokesman said this week, after the publication of a letter from the foreign ministry to all public institutions asking them to report, limit and draw to a conclusion all projects with the organization.

The letter said Albania had made enough progress to where it no longer needed the assistance it once did from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Despite the public statement to the contrary, several government sources indicated Albanian officials are seething following the leakage last week of an OSCE report on accusations of corruption an ill-gained wealth for Albania's top political leaders.

Neither the government nor the OSCE have denied the leaked documents' authenticity.

The foreign ministry said its letter was used in order to recalculate the projects with the OSCE and look at the priorities, not as a response to the accusations in the report.

Authorities said however that they welcome all the OSCE reports and its assistance in different areas and they are looking to improve the cooperation with the OSCE and the other international institutions.

The leaked OSCE report shook the political establishment in Albania, as it was filled with allegations of massive wealth, corruption and criminal ties among members of the political class.

However, the head of the OSCE office in Albania, Ambassador Florian Rauning, said the leaked information was unauthorized and misleading and it does not represents OSCE’s official views.

“The summary was merely a collection of information from reports in the Albanian media and allegations circulating publicly. The presence did not verify the information used, as the purpose of the exercise was to obtain an overview of allegations, not to determine their truth,” Rauning said in a statement last week, expressing regret that this information was made public without authorization and “subject to misinterpretation and political manipulation.”

 
                    [post_title] => Authorities deny they want OSCE out of the country
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => authorities-deny-they-want-osce-out-of-the-country
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2015-09-25 11:09:51
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-09-25 09:09:51
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=123643
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [7] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 123651
                    [post_author] => 5
                    [post_date] => 2015-09-24 11:37:49
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-09-24 09:37:49
                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_123652" align="alignright" width="300"]Laura Mersini-Houghton, a physicist born and raised in Tirana, has become an official candidate for the Nobel Prize for her daring theories and complicated mathematical calculations on the existence of black holes. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)  Laura Mersini-Houghton, a physicist born and raised in Tirana, has become an official candidate for the Nobel Prize for her daring theories and complicated mathematical calculations on the existence of black holes. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)[/caption]

As members of a people small in number, Albanians instinctively become interested when other Albanians make news internationally, either in the homelands or anywhere in the world. Albanians in America are particularly in focus, simply because that country has been a magnet for the best, brightest and the most daring from all over the world -- and Albanians are no exception.

So this week, when a small news item came up noting that Laura Mersini-Houghton, an Albanian American physicist and university professor born and raised in Tirana, has become an official candidate for the Nobel Prize for her daring theories and complicated mathematical calculations on the existence of black holes, Albanians were naturally proud. She is Albanian, and hard work and sheer smarts have taken her at the pinnacle of global academia. She is not alone by the way. Ferid Murad, another American scientist whose father was an Albanian immigrant, has already won the Nobel Prize. I met Dr. Murad once at my former university a decade ago. He beamed with pride, telling me about his Albanian father and pride he felt of the many honors he had received in Albania.

Another American with an Albanian immigrant father who made international headlines this week is Martin Shkreli, whose name is so typically Albanian that when the stories came out describing him as “the most hated man in America” this week, it made news in Albania too, even-though Mr. Shkreli appears to have no respect for the homeland of his father, calling Albanian a worthless language on social media. You see, Mr. Shkreli does not find value in anything unless it involves money. A financier and profiteer, he took over a drug that is vital of people with weakened immune systems and jacked up the price 5,000 percent overnight – and then went off on a disastrous public tirade trying to protect his decision. The public backlash has been immense, and rightly so.

Albanians, like all the people of the world, have heroes and villains, at home and abroad. There are the people that get up with the sun, toil all day to provide for themselves and their families through honest hard work. These are the unsung heroes of Albanian life, who hardly ever get a spot in the media's attention and are often treated with arrogance and disregard by those in power.

Then, there are the villains. Some of them are typical crooks -- the thugs wearing jogging outfits. Others wear suits and ties -- a few of these even sit in offices paid for by taxpayers, many Albanians believe.

Albanians have to live with both their heroes and villains, but they do not have to be defined by the latter. A society where everyday heroes working hard and honestly make up the majority of the people has the power to correct its course no matter how large the challenge is. It can do so by choosing to become inspired by the Mersinis and Murads of this world, not by the Shkrelis.

- Written by Andi Balla
                    [post_title] => Editorial: Heroes and villains
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => editorial-heroes-and-villains
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2015-09-25 10:31:10
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-09-25 08:31:10
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=123651
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [8] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 123632
                    [post_author] => 29
                    [post_date] => 2015-09-22 15:57:53
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-09-22 13:57:53
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 21 - Government-proposed changes to the tax procedures law, which increase penalties on tax evasion up to 50-fold,  sparked debate at the parliamentary economic commission this week, with the opposition describing them as repressive and punitive and with members of the governing coalition also expressing concern.

The new changes envisage fines of up to 10 million lek (€71,000) on big businesses operating in the wholesale trade for not issuing tax receipts, compared to 200,000 lek (€1,411) currently. Fines on small businesses are also envisaged to increase 10-fold from 50,000 lek (€353) to 500,000 lek (€3,529).

Tax inspectors can also sue the taxpayer in case of repeated violation with tax receipts, says an amendment to article 121 of the tax procedures law.

Finance Minister Shkelqim Cani described the measures as necessary to support the nationwide campaign against informality that the Albanian government has launched.

Opposition Democratic Party MP, Ridvan Bode described the proposed measures as repressive toward the business community and coming at a time when government has failed to meet its revenue targets.

"The whole of this proposed package only deals with the increased repression and punitive measures on households and businesses. There is a clear relation with barriers set on market entry," said Bode, a former finance minister.

The penalties were also opposed by some MPs of the Socialist Movement for Integration, the ruling Socialists major coalition partner.

"I think the tendency to increase fines will not bring any improvement to the Albanian economy but will ruin business," said Gjovalin Kadeli, a SMI MP.

The amendment allowing customers not to pay if they are not provided tax receipts, also sparked fierce debates.

In the new draft law, the Albanian government has also proposed that big businesses operating in the wholesale trade will be banned to engage in retail sale starting April 2016.

Penalties on uninsured workers have been unified to 500,000 lek (€3,528) for both SMEs and big businesses. Reporting lower than the real wage has also been made punishable with 500,000 lek.

The new draft law also envisages what Prime Minister Edi Rama has often quoted that “buyers have the right of not paying for goods and services they are provided in case traders don’t issue a fiscal receipt.”

The Albanian government has also proposed some harsh amendments to the Criminal Code removing fines on smuggling and informality, removing fines and envisaging only imprisonment of up to ten years for imports, exports and transit of illegal goods.

The changes, which have been proposed under a draft law approved by government and require a qualified majority of 84 votes in the 140-seat Parliament, come at a time when the Socialist Party-led coalition has launched a nationwide campaign against informality.

Under the current Criminal Code, smuggling of excise goods is punishable by fines or imprisonment of up to seven years but if the new amendments are approved perpetrators risk no fines but only up to seven years in prison.

"Carrying out illegal commercial activity or conducting commercial activity not registered with tax authorities, failure to declare employees and issue fiscal receipt is a criminal offence and is punishable by up to three years in prison," says the new article 180/a proposed as an amendment to the Code.

The tax administration will also have to be careful as failure to collect taxes within the legal deadlines is made punishable by up to seven years in prison.
                    [post_title] => Draft law with up to 50-fold increase on business fines sparks debate
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => tougher-penalties-on-businesses-spark-debates-in-new-bill-discussion
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2015-09-22 16:40:19
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-09-22 14:40:19
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=123632
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [9] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 123607
                    [post_author] => 5
                    [post_date] => 2015-09-18 11:03:14
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-09-18 09:03:14
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 17 – Festivities commemorating the Conference of Peza, a WWII anti-fascist event, have been accompanied by controversy after nostalgic supporters of the late communist dictator, Enver Hoxha, appeared with his portraits and chanted his name.

A group of veterans and members of the Communist Party, went to the monument commemorating the events of the National Liberation War in Albania after the end of the official ceremony attended by the Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj and several MPs from the ruling Socialist-led coalition.

Veliaj distanced himself from the photographs, saying they were not part of the ceremony organized by the municipality.

Such appearances of Hoxha supporters have increased in the past few years, always leading to controversy led by representatives of former political prisoners under his regime and center right opposition, which this week called Peza appearances "provocations” of Socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama.

“What makes this even worse is that the event was paid with taxpayer money," said Edi Paloka, the leader of the Democratic Party's parliamentary group.

The event was organized by the Municipality of Tirana as a big youthful party to teach young Albanians about the anti-fascist resistance during WWII.

Hoxha ruled Albania with iron fist from the end of WWII until his death in 1985. Thousands of people were executed or jailed for political reasons. There is widespread condemnation of his rule in Albania, and the numbers of those who have nostalgia for the communist regime are tiny.

 
                    [post_title] => Hoxha's photos make comeback at Peza festivities, lead to angry reactions
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => hoxhas-photos-make-comeback-at-peza-festivities
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2015-09-24 16:06:27
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-09-24 14:06:27
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=123607
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

        )

    [post] => WP_Post Object
        (
            [ID] => 123982
            [post_author] => 29
            [post_date] => 2015-10-11 20:09:02
            [post_date_gmt] => 2015-10-11 18:09:02
            [post_content] => alb 2TIRANA, Oct. 11 - Albania's dream of a first ever qualification in a major football competition has finally come true after more than eight decades of attempts.

Albania beat Armenia 3-0 on Sunday night to claim direct qualification in the 2016 UEFA European Championship in a decisive last qualifier for the second place in Group I of the Euro qualifiers to avoid play-offs in case of a possible third place.

Albania's coach Italian Gianni De Biasi praised the team's performance and he dedicated the success to all Albanian fans who have supported the team in every step.

It all started well for Albania who desperately needed a victory after the disastrous stoppage time defeat at home to Serbia few days ago, with an early own-goal by the Armenians. Berat Djimisti scored the second goal to give Albania a comfortable 2-0 lead in the first half before striker Armando Sadiku sealed the historic victory which for the first time takes Albania to a major football competition.

Albania climbed to second with 14 points in Group I of the qualifiers, leaving behind Denmark with 12 points who were hoping for a draw in the Armenia-Albania fixture.

Portugal extended their group lead to 21 points after beating Serbia 2-1 in the last qualifier.

Denmark will have another chance in the play-offs while Serbia and Armenia ranked fourth and fifth with 4 and 2 points respectively.

Celebrations kicked off immediately after the final whistle all over Albania, Kosovo and the Albanian Diaspora.
            [post_title] => Albania claim historic qualification for Euro 2016
            [post_excerpt] => 
            [post_status] => publish
            [comment_status] => closed
            [ping_status] => closed
            [post_password] => 
            [post_name] => albania-achieve-historic-qualification-for-euro-2016
            [to_ping] => 
            [pinged] => 
            [post_modified] => 2015-10-12 12:16:11
            [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-10-12 10:16:11
            [post_content_filtered] => 
            [post_parent] => 0
            [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=123982
            [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] => 877
            [filter] => raw
            [cat_ID] => 37
            [category_count] => 877
            [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