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Elhaida Dani releases new ‘I’m Alive’ Eurovision song

Elhaida Dani releases new ‘I’m Alive’ Eurovision song

TIRANA, March 17 – In less than one month after Albania withdrew its late 2014 winning song for the Eurovision song contest, the country’s representative Elhaida Dani has released a new song and video in record time ahead of the

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Albania to borrow up to €750 million from international markets

Albania to borrow up to €750 million from international markets

TIRANA, March 16 – The Albanian government says it plans to borrow Euro 250 million in a 10-year loan to support public investments and expects to raise another Euro 300 to 500 million in its second Eurobond issue later this

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On Int’l Women’s Day, calls grow for more female leaders

TIRANA, March 8 – As Albania celebrated International Women’s Day Sunday with some ceremonies across the country, there were calls for a stronger leadership roles for women in Albania and neighboring countries. A group of women lawmakers from Albania, Kosovo,

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Committing to respecting children’s rights and fighting child labor

By ROBERT WILTON* We are here to build on an important partnership. We are here to address a crime. The use of forced child labour is a serious human rights violation. In Albania, children reportedly work in the agricultural, textile,

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Journey through serenity

Journey through serenity

By ALBA CELA Catch up on the latest photo exhibition at Tirana Time Book House  All beautiful things stem from spontaneity and the latest photo exhibition showing 20 photographs by new artist Manjola Çondi at the Tirana Times Book House named

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Xhuvani gets 35 years for night club murders

Xhuvani gets 35 years for night club murders

TIRANA, March 10 – A Tirana court has sentenced 25-year-old Konstandin Xhuvani to 35 years imprisonment for killing four people at a nightclub in Tirana last year. Judge Sokol Tona of the Tirana Court ruled that Xhuvani is to serve the

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Albania to sell Soviet-era MiG fighter aircraft

Albania to sell Soviet-era MiG fighter aircraft

TIRANA, March 9 – Albania has put up for sale its stock of Soviet-era MiG fighter aircraft in a new effort a decade after retiring them and six years after the country’s NATO membership. Defence Minister Mimi Kodheli says she

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Editorial: A chance to end ‘tough guy’ politics

Editorial: A chance to end ‘tough guy’ politics

It reads like a script from the hit television series “The House of Cards”: Wealthy businessman with suspicious past who bought a seat in parliament through bankrolling his party’s electoral campaign has been targeted for assassination by those in power

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Tirana Times celebrates 10-year anniversary

Tirana Times celebrates 10-year anniversary

Tirana Times has marked a decade since its founding in February 2005 with a reception at its headquarters, bringing together the newspaper’s founders, staff, readers and friends on Feb. 25, including many representatives of the diplomatic community, civil society and

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Major oil, gas and energy summit to take place in Tirana

TIRANA, March 2 – A major energy summit is scheduled to take place on March 17-18 in Tirana. The Albania Oil, Gas & Energy 2015 Summit will have the participation of major global operators and key Albanian leaders and experts,

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                    [post_content] => elhaida DaniTIRANA, March 17 - In less than one month after Albania withdrew its late 2014 winning song for the Eurovision song contest, the country's representative Elhaida Dani has released a new song and video in record time ahead of the promotional tour for next May's competition in Austria.

Dani's new song "I'm Alive" is a pop ballad with modern and ethnic element which grows by the end and manages to exhibit Elhaida’s impressive vocal, says Eurovision on its official website.

"I believe I did my best in record time and hope and I can pay you back for the trust in me," Dani told fans in social networks, sharing the new music video with them.

The new entry was composed by Kosovo duo Zzap & Chris, with lyrics by Sokol Marsi and the adapted English version by U.S based Kosovo singer Linda Halimi who came third in the 2014 national competition serving as platform to select the country's Eurovision representative.

Back in late December 2014, Dani was initially selected to participate in the Eurovision contest with her "Diell" (Sun) ballad but the song was withdrawn after a dispute with its composer.

“The author of the song ‘Diell‘, for personal and irrevocable reasons, has decided to withdraw the song and unfortunately it will be impossible for me to perform it in the Eurovision song contest 2015. Accordingly to his decision and in agreement with the Albanian broadcaster RTSH, I will represent my country in Vienna with a new song,” wrote in social networks Dani, who in 2013 made every Albanian proud by winning the Voice of Italy song contest.

“I will work hard to ensure the presentation of a song appropriate to the prestige of the event and to make Albania achieve a respectable result in the competition," she added.

Born in the northern town of Shkodra, Dani, 21, started her singing career 2008 when she participated in the Kënga Magjike festival. One year later she won the Star Akademi talent show, followed by her victory in Top Fest in 2012. She rose to fame in 2013 when she won the Voice of Italy song contest.

"This means a lot to me. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to represent Albania in an important festival such as Eurovision and making my dream come true," Dani told the audience in late 2014 after she was announced the festival's winner and asked to sing the winning song again.

Back in 2012, Rona Nishliu became the most successful Albanian Eurovision representative after ranking fifth among 26 finalists in the 2012 song contest held in Azerbaijan. Nishliu collected 146 points to see herself rank 5th, the best result since 2004 when Albania made its Eurovision debut with Anjeza Shahini who came sixth.

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, March 16 - The Albanian government says it plans to borrow Euro 250 million in a 10-year loan to support public investments and expects to raise another Euro 300 to 500 million in its second Eurobond issue later this year.

In a tender announcement, the Finance Ministry says it is seeking proposals by major financial institutions for a 10-year Euro 250 million loan at a fixed interest rate until April 1, 2015 and expects the full disbursement of the amount by next June.

The loan is guaranteed by the IBRD, the World Bank's lending arm for middle income and credit-worthy poor countries, which is guarantor for Euro 200 million, or 80 percent of the total loan.

Meanwhile, the Albanian government has also launched a call for a consultant as it prepares to issue its second Eurobond as its inaugural five-year Eurobond of 300 million euros matures this year.

The timing seems favourable as the European Central Bank continues keeping its key rate at a historic low of 0.05 percent and has undertaken quantitative easing of Euro 1.1 trillion into the ailing eurozone economy, considerable cutting bond yields in international markets.

Finance Minister Shkelqim Cani has earlier said government is planning to borrow Euro 300 million to 500 million from international markets so that lending to businesses and households from local banks is not affected. After overcoming a 12-month moderate decline only last July, lending continues remaining at sluggish growth rates of 2 to 3 percent with non-performing loans at around a quarter as the key barrier for easier lending standards.

In its new rating, Standard & Poor's, one of the world's leading rating agencies revised Albania's outlook on long-term sovereign credit rating to positive from stable affirming its 'B/B' ratings, which is expected to have a positive impact on Albania's external borrowing and the Eurobond interest rates.

In late 2010, Albania issued its first-ever Eurobond of 300 million euros with a maturity of up to five years and an interest rate of 7.5 percent. The money was mainly used to pay off a costly syndicated loan to fund the costly Durres-Kukes highway linking Albania to Kosovo.

Government’s new borrowing comes at a time when the Albanian economy is expected to accelerate to 3 percent in 2015, up from an expected 2 percent in 2014 but public finances continue struggling as public debt stands at a record high of around 70 percent of the GDP.

In its new 2016-2018 macroeconomic framework approved in early 2015, government expects the public debt to embark on a downward trend starting 2015 as part of its fiscal consolidation programme with the IMF.

Public debt is expected to drop by 0.2 percent to 71.8 percent in 2015 before dropping to 68.9 percent in 2016, 65.7 percent in 2017 and 62 percent in 2018, registering the first decline since 2010.

Total debt service, which includes interest payments plus the repayments of principal to creditors, cost the Albanian government a record of around 57.8 billion lek (Euro 404 million) in 2014, almost the same amount government spend on public investments, as public debt rose to 72 percent of the GDP, according to a report published by the Finance Ministry.

Albania's official public debt stock climbed to a record high of around 978 billion lek (Euro 6.85 billion) or 69.15 percent of GDP excluding government arrears of around 2.6 percent of the GDP.

Recent legal changes allow the Finance Minister to borrow without prior approval by Parliament within the limits set by the budget.

Government argues the legal changes, which were approved again by the Parliament last February after the law was turned down by the President, are aimed at accelerating borrowing procedures in order to secure lower interest rates.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, March 8 - As Albania celebrated International Women’s Day Sunday with some ceremonies across the country, there were calls for a stronger leadership roles for women in Albania and neighboring countries.

A group of women lawmakers from Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and Presevo Valley gathered in Prishtina's parliament to discuss their role and how to increase the participation of women in politics and decision-making.

Albanian lawmaker Mesila Doda told a Kosovo newspaper that there need to be more women involved in politics, saying that Albania has advanced some on this issue, but the neighboring countries like Kosovo had not. She urged all political parties in Albania and Kosovo to have more women in their election lists.

"Why not," she said. "It would be good for us if a woman would become the next Mayor of Tirana."

Albania holds municipal elections on June 21, and several women have been named as potential candidates on both sides of the political spectrum for the key post of mayor of the Albanian capital, seen as a stepping stone to the prime minister's office.

OSCE Ambassador to Albania Florian Raunig urged local political parties to include more women in the Albanian politics as key to the further development of democracy.

The country’s laws require that at least 30 percent of the nominated candidates should be women. In fact that is never been accomplished or fulfilled. Parties have preferred to pay the associated fines instead. However, there are more women in the latest parliament and government than ever before.

“A substantial representation of women in decision-making is essential for any country that wants to reach its full potential. Albania has made remarkable progress particularly by increasing the number of women in government to 30 percent,” said Raunig. “However, there are still challenges ahead as women make up only about 20 percent of members of parliament, and especially in the local government where only 12 percent of local councilors and only one percent of mayors are women.”

He added that several political parties have pledged to increase the number of women candidates on their lists.

"This is laudable and is hopefully an indication that the Albanian political class is serious about dealing with the issue of gender equality in politics. It is also essential that the parties put women in positions in the candidate lists which give them a fair and realistic chance to be elected,” Raunig said.

In the run-up to the 2015 local elections, the OSCE Presence in Albania has intensified efforts to promote gender equality and empower women to fully participate in public and political life. The presence says it is building their capacity to stand as candidates in the elections and lobbying for the full implementation of the gender quota in the Electoral Code – both in letter and spirit.

 
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                    [post_content] => By ROBERT WILTON*

We are here to build on an important partnership. We are here to address a crime.

The use of forced child labour is a serious human rights violation. In Albania, children reportedly work in the agricultural, textile, garment, footwear and mining sectors. According to INSTAT, 57,000 children in Albania – eight percent of five to seventeen year-olds – are economically active.

A number of these children are reportedly employed in factories, where they are exposed to heavy machinery and chemicals. By international standards and Albanian legislation this is the worst form of child labour, as it jeopardises the physical, mental and moral well-being of the child.

Addressing child labour in economic sectors is an extremely difficult task, but working together, we can find solutions. That is why the partnership established between the OSCE Presence and BiznesAlbania is so important.

One solution is the Code of Conduct we are presenting today. It is a common standard to prohibit the exploitation of children in the worst forms of child labour and the employment of children below the minimum legal age.

This is a true partnership - an initiative of the OSCE Presence, funded by the Italian Government and embraced by BiznesAlbania. This code is a comprehensive framework for businesses to consider their impact on the rights and welfare of children. It contains of a number of commitments that businesses can take to respect children’s rights in their operations.

The code also informs other stakeholders, particularly in government and civil society, on their engagement with business. While the government has the primary duty to protect, respect and fulfil children’s rights, businesses and civil society must comply with the national law and respect international standards on children’s rights. The code, as a measure of positive action, seeks to advance the role of businesses in upholding international human rights standards to help build a world fit for children.

The Code of Conduct was written by Mr. Mike Dottridge, an expert in the field. He will speak to us in a few minutes. It is also based on the results of multi-stakeholder consultations here in Albania with business associations, civil society representatives and the government.

Today’s endorsement of the code by BiznesAlbania is an important step towards protecting children’s rights in Albania. It will be followed by an information campaign targeting businesses and employees on the employment of children. The presence will provide further expertise to BiznesAlbania to help raise awareness amongst the business community and secure their commitment to implement the code.

It is critical that companies do business in a socially responsible manner: with care for people, resources and the environment. Let me conclude by calling on all businesses to step up their efforts to respect and support children’s rights in the workplace and community. This is not only a legal obligation, but also a moral responsibility we all share to protect every single child, without discrimination.

Together, let us commit to respecting children’s rights and build a future in which all children have the opportunity to realize their full potential.

*These were the comments the OSCE Deputy Head of Presence Robert Wilton made at the event “Code of Conduct on the employment of persons below 18 years of age” in Tirana on March 11, 2015.

 
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                    [post_content] => By ALBA CELA

Catch up on the latest photo exhibition at Tirana Time Book House 

All beautiful things stem from spontaneity and the latest photo exhibition showing 20 photographs by new artist Manjola Çondi at the Tirana Times Book House named ‘Journey’ is a tribute to spontaneous celebration of beauty and light. Manjola travels with her camera through impressions and reflections of light, the camera resembling a fairy tale with access to the solitude of falling brown leaves and frothy sea waves crashing into stone beaches.

The majority of the photographs come from her native Albania with the notable exception of a snapshot that plunges us into the shocking blue waters of the Bosphorus in Istanbul. Nature is the obvious winner though the eye sometimes wonders into stone gates of churches and lonely fishing boats. Manjola’s signature seems to be her relationship with the memory that a certain snapshot captures and then transforms into a frame, a quest through photography to register a notable moment in any inward or outward journey.

Manjola is just getting started, she surprises us with an old-fashioned yet retro- good fascination with nature. She is to experiment with other forms such as portraits or urban landscapes. Although she is not a professional photographer her passion for photography is tangible. Photography is her faithful travel companion and her intimate diary of emotions.

The technique chosen for the exhibition embedding the photographs among book shelves is a welcome challenge for the viewers who find their attention sometimes naturally diverted to the books. Different art forms are synthesized without much effort in a pleasurable treasure hunt.

Art bestows satisfaction upon us whether it comes from a well-established and well-known name or from an amateur young voice hence Tirana Times is to be commended on the access and opportunities it creates for the emerging artists.

Manjola’s photography invites us into a quiet journey with lots of stops to reflect and enjoy, to make worthy memories of the simple things that our eyes value as beautiful.

The ‘Journey’ photo exhibition will be open at the Tirana Times Book House until March 15, 2015.

 

 
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                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_1688" align="alignright" width="300"]Kostandin Xhuvani Kostandin Xhuvani[/caption]

TIRANA, March 10 - A Tirana court has sentenced 25-year-old Konstandin Xhuvani to 35 years imprisonment for killing four people at a nightclub in Tirana last year.

Judge Sokol Tona of the Tirana Court ruled that Xhuvani is to serve the full sentence without the opportunity for parole or a later pardon. Xhuvani is also to serve the entire term at a high-security prison under the sentencing rules.

Prosecutors had originally asked for life imprisonment, the highest sentence in Albania, but Xhuvani profited from a scheme that allows for a speedier trial and lower sentence if the accused pleads guilty.

Xhuvani has said in a letter to the court that he killed four people last November, including one of his friends by mistake, “under the effects of drugs and alcohol,” following a quarrel at a night club on Elbasan Street.

Xhuvani's case shocked public opinion and led to the resignation from parliament of his mother, Luiza Xhuvani, 50, an Albanian film and theater star and then-governing Socialist party lawmaker.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, March 9 - Albania has put up for sale its stock of Soviet-era MiG fighter aircraft in a new effort a decade after retiring them and six years after the country’s NATO membership.

Defence Minister Mimi Kodheli says she has ordered the initiation of legal procedures for the auction of the remaining stock of MiG fighters Albania inherited from the Cold War under communism.

The Soviet-era fighters which took the lives of 35 Albanian pilots but were not used in any attack against potential ‘revisionist’ invaders of isolated communist Albania will be offered to museum collectors and for scrap, said the defence ministry in a statement.

The last MiG fighter took off from the Kuçova military air base in November 2004 soon before Albania declared their retirement and its shift to pure helicopter force.

Under the 45-year communist regime Albania had a considerable air fleet of Soviet Union and Chinese MiG 15, 17, 19 and 21. A considerable number of them are displayed in the country's state museums, including the new museum of armed forces in Tirana.

"In the 1970s, Albania’s Military Aviation was fully efficient with over 70 MIG-19 and 12 MIG-21 aircraft, a combat squadron of MIG-17 fighter jets and many combat-training MIG-15 aircraft," says the Albanian Armed Forces.

The first installation of Jet Aviation was established in the Kuçova air base, southern Albania, in 1955, comprising MIG-15 aircraft. The Aviation Regiment in Rinas, outside Tirana, which was composed of a squadron of MIG-19 aircraft and a squadron of MIG-17 aircraft, was created in 1962 when Albania established the Aviation School.
                    [post_title] => Albania to sell Soviet-era MiG fighter aircraft
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                    [post_content] => It reads like a script from the hit television series "The House of Cards": Wealthy businessman with suspicious past who bought a seat in parliament through bankrolling his party's electoral campaign has been targeted for assassination by those in power who no longer need him.

That's what Tom Doshi, a Shkoder MP, has told Albanians after he was expelled by the parliamentary group of the ruling Socialist Party after a very public spat with the country's prime minister over lack of access and unwillingness by the prime minister and the government to accommodate Doshi's requests.

The accusations have been dismissed as fantasy by Prime Minister Edi Rama and his chief coalition partner, Parliamentary Speaker Ilir Meta, who Doshi accused of ordering the hit. However, investigations are taking place to go to the bottom of the claims, and the parliament's work has been entirely hijacked by the affair as the opposition demands Meta's dismissal and accuses the government of being in bed with criminals.

More than the thriller-like story, Doshi's expulsion has brought attention to one of the ugliest features of Albanian politics in the last decade: The growing influence of a select group of business owners and other 'tough guy' elements who became wealthy or locally powerful in the chaotic years of post-communist Albania amid allegations of involvement in criminal activities.

Such elements have become influential on both sides of the political spectrum, first as campaign financiers and local party enforcers and later as members of parliament.

Albania's key international partners -- the United States and the European Union -- had raised concern for years over the trend and rightfully so.

Doshi was the poster child of the group, using his wealth and influence in the Shkoder region to turn the once right-wing stronghold into a Socialist victory in the last elections. But that clearly came at a high cost for the image of the party elsewhere.

Prime Minister Rama's political decision to distance himself from Doshi was the right one. Others like him need to be expelled from politics as well, so they cannot exert undue influence which would no doubt be against the country's laws and democratic ethics and ultimately mire the government's work.

This should serve as a time of reflection. The major parties need to come together and make a pact to clear the ranks from those with suspect wealth and 'tough guy' attitudes. They and their money should have no place in our democracy. Otherwise, it is party capture, which then leads to state capture.

Campaign financing needs to become entirely transparent with all funds going through banks, and their origin must be verified to make sure they were not ill-gained. Legal changes must take place where needed to enforce such norms.

The Doshi soap opera unfolding on Albanian screens is giving anyone who is trying to watch and understand a headache. Murder for hire, hidden cameras and criminals in politics -- are the themes currently on Albanian screens.

The problem is that the quality of the debate is set by the quality of the politicians and the representatives elected in parliament.

The quality of the Albanian parliament today in terms of intellectual capacity is lower than it was a decade ago -- and 'tough guys' and those who bought their seats through campaign financing now make up a large portion of the parliament.

Both major parties now have an opportunity to eliminate this negative element from Albanian politics -- starting with the people running in the upcoming mayoral elections of June 21.

 
                    [post_title] => Editorial: A chance to end 'tough guy' politics
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                    [post_content] => Tirana Times has marked a decade since its founding in February 2005 with a reception at its headquarters, bringing together the newspaper’s founders, staff, readers and friends on Feb. 25, including many representatives of the diplomatic community, civil society and political life in Albania.

Tirana Times was established as Albania's first English-language weekly newspaper a decade ago when the country lacked a professional in-depth news and analysis source for international audiences that had an interest in the country.

With its coverage of Albania's transition to full democracy and Euro-Atlantic integration as well as all aspects of Albanian life, Tirana Times has become the go-to source for original news and views devoted to serving the English-speaking audience in Albania and abroad.

Jerina Zaloshnja, the Tirana Times publisher, thanked all the staff who had worked for the newspaper through the years. A veteran Albanian journalist, she and her husband, Albert Rakipi, came up with the idea of creating Tirana Times, more than a decade ago.

She said one of the newspaper's success stories had been standards of uncompromising fairness and lack of political bias, based on the best international standards and the hard work of Albanian and international staff.

"There was a lot of skepticism in the beginning," Zaloshnja said. "Everyone wanted to know who was backing the newspaper and for what reason. Overtime, all realized the newspaper had no leanings and no agenda other than covering Albanian life in a way that international audiences could understand."

The newspaper's executive editor, Andi Balla, said the news business is changing, but Tirana Times has stayed true to its journalistic mission.

"We also realize that the newspaper business has evolved and is moving quickly online, but we believe that the foundation of quality journalism remains the same, as we present our stories to our audience around the world in print, online and through social media channels," Balla said.

He recently led a team that overhauled the newspaper's online presence, allowing for a better reading experience and leaving a larger number of stories accessible to all readers, while also enhancing the experience of subscribers.

In addition to current events and politics, Tirana Times also has a very strong focus on business news, as the international business community makes up a large portion of its audience and plays a growing role in Albania.

In addition, the newspaper tries to promote the best Albania has to offer in terms of culture and travel through frequent features aimed at an international audience.

"We have a sole agenda: providing the best, impartial and independent coverage to our audience," Balla said.

He added that "in this digital age in which we live ... 10 years is a long time, so the fact that Tirana Times has been published every Friday for 10 years is a success in itself."

Regular readers such as diplomats, business and NGO representatives as well as local politicians appreciated Tirana Times progress in ten years in an exhibition featuring front-page posters, cover stories and features which have left a mark on the paper's journey

The newspaper’s revamped website was also introduced to the audience as a more interactive and user-friendly guide to the Tirana Times content and regular updates on breaking news.

Wine and snacks served at the Tirana Times bookshop offered a great opportunity to share views with readers and get feedback.

Readers and friend of Tirana Times also commented on its anniversary.

Wishing the newspaper a happy birthday, German Ambassador Hellmut Hoffmann thanked all who contributed to the weekly over its first ten years and continue to do so.

"As a foreigner living in Albania who unfortunately does not understand, let alone speak, Albanian I am most grateful for the provision of information on political, economic, social or cultural issues in a language I can work with and in a manner which is most useful for me as a diplomat," Ambassador Hoffman said. "The Albanian media landscape has seen an enormous development over the last 25 years and I am very pleased that the Tirana Times, which can proudly claim to have made a significant contribution to a culture of respect, dialogue and objectivity in Albanian journalism, is part of it."

He added that "we are all aware that the existence of free, independent and unbiased media is a cornerstone for any democracy and we all know as well that to attain and preserve this requires a constant effort."

Remzi Lani, the director of the Albanian Media Institute, said Tirana Times has an irreplaceable place in the ensemble of the Albanian press.

"It is unique not just because it is published in English, but because it is an objective window into Albanian life -- politics, diplomacy, business and art," Lani said. "It stays away from the conflictual nature and the extreme politicization of the Albanian press. I would have liked to have seen a newspaper like it in Albanian as well."

 

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, March 2 - A major energy summit is scheduled to take place on March 17-18 in Tirana.

The Albania Oil, Gas & Energy 2015 Summit will have the participation of major global operators and key Albanian leaders and experts, according to International Research Networks, the event organizer.

Prime Minister Edi Rama will welcome investors as the keynote speaker as Albania is ready to open its doors for international oil companies to invest in the country’s prolific hydrocarbon sector.

The summit counts the industry minister, that of economic development, trade and entrepreneurship and other senior local officials among the speakers.

The summit will provide a unique opportunity to discuss the new key role of Albania within the oil, gas and renewables sectors, and for Europe’s energy security, the organizers said. The country’s future energy potential will also be evaluated with the national and international players of the industry.

Albania has been in the limelight as part of the TAP gas pipeline. That was noted recently when Albania’s energy Minister Damian Gjiknuri met with Azerbaijan's national oil company to discuss the development of the Southern Gas Corridor and the implementation of the master plan for the gasification of Albania.

Azerbaijan and Albania are now working closely on projects providing alternative gas sources and transport routes from Azerbaijan to south-eastern Europe, which will contribute to the development of Albania. This issue will be extensively assessed at the summit.

 
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            [post_content] => elhaida DaniTIRANA, March 17 - In less than one month after Albania withdrew its late 2014 winning song for the Eurovision song contest, the country's representative Elhaida Dani has released a new song and video in record time ahead of the promotional tour for next May's competition in Austria.

Dani's new song "I'm Alive" is a pop ballad with modern and ethnic element which grows by the end and manages to exhibit Elhaida’s impressive vocal, says Eurovision on its official website.

"I believe I did my best in record time and hope and I can pay you back for the trust in me," Dani told fans in social networks, sharing the new music video with them.

The new entry was composed by Kosovo duo Zzap & Chris, with lyrics by Sokol Marsi and the adapted English version by U.S based Kosovo singer Linda Halimi who came third in the 2014 national competition serving as platform to select the country's Eurovision representative.

Back in late December 2014, Dani was initially selected to participate in the Eurovision contest with her "Diell" (Sun) ballad but the song was withdrawn after a dispute with its composer.

“The author of the song ‘Diell‘, for personal and irrevocable reasons, has decided to withdraw the song and unfortunately it will be impossible for me to perform it in the Eurovision song contest 2015. Accordingly to his decision and in agreement with the Albanian broadcaster RTSH, I will represent my country in Vienna with a new song,” wrote in social networks Dani, who in 2013 made every Albanian proud by winning the Voice of Italy song contest.

“I will work hard to ensure the presentation of a song appropriate to the prestige of the event and to make Albania achieve a respectable result in the competition," she added.

Born in the northern town of Shkodra, Dani, 21, started her singing career 2008 when she participated in the Kënga Magjike festival. One year later she won the Star Akademi talent show, followed by her victory in Top Fest in 2012. She rose to fame in 2013 when she won the Voice of Italy song contest.

"This means a lot to me. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to represent Albania in an important festival such as Eurovision and making my dream come true," Dani told the audience in late 2014 after she was announced the festival's winner and asked to sing the winning song again.

Back in 2012, Rona Nishliu became the most successful Albanian Eurovision representative after ranking fifth among 26 finalists in the 2012 song contest held in Azerbaijan. Nishliu collected 146 points to see herself rank 5th, the best result since 2004 when Albania made its Eurovision debut with Anjeza Shahini who came sixth.

 
            [post_title] => Elhaida Dani releases new ‘I'm Alive’ Eurovision song
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