European Nickel ends drilling in Albania

LONDON, Dec. 11 – European Nickel said Tuesday that it had completed a two phase 8,500 metre RC and diamond drilling program, which started in Oct. last year, at its Korce exploration permit in southeast Albania. The exploration permit, granted

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CPI rises 3 percent compared to last year

TIRANA, Dec.8 – The rise in food products prices has increased Albania’s monthly consumer price inflation to 0.9 percent in November from 0.1 percent in October. The data was released by the country’s National Statistics Office (INSTAT) on Friday. Albania’s

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Economic priorities are surpassed by election concerns in EU-Albania talks

TIRANA, Dec. 12 – Albania held the first days of the week, Dec. 11-12, a round of negotiations with the European Commission, the first in the country after the signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement in June. That was

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Trade Gap widens due to high exports

TIRANA, Dec.8 – Albania’s trade deficit expanded for the first eight months of 2006 by 17 percent compared to last year reaching 139.4 billion leks ($1.49 billion/1.13 billion euro). National Statistics Institute (INSTAT) reported the latest data on Friday, citing

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Daily Power Cuts become official

TIRANA, Dec.8 – KESH announced official hours for power cuts admitting the severe energy crisis that ha shit the country. In rural areas, Albanians face power cuts of up to 20.5 hours a day power utility KESH said on Friday.

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Tax revenues go up

TIRANA, Dec.12 – Albania’s tax revenues went up by 12.4 percent compared to last year. The government collected 71.2 billion leks ($759.4 million/573 million euro) in taxes in the first 11 months of the year, according to the data released

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Project for species risking extinction

BARI, Dec. 12 – Because of the isolation Albania has had until 16 years ago due to the communist regime, some species that normally risk extinction in other Mediterranean areas have survived there. That is the reason that Italy has

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First Investment Bank will open new branches in Elbasan and Vlora

TIRANA, Dec.11 – Bulgarian privately held First Investment Bank’s Albanian branch is considering to open two branches by the middle of January as part of plans to expand in the local market. The news was communicated by FIB Albania general

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Berisha invites Puglia investor in Albania’s energy

TIRANA, Dec. 13 – Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha invited Italian investors from the Puglia region to come and invest their money in the Albanian energy system which offers great opportunities. Berisha met with the president of the Puglia region

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Digital Mapping of Albania, seven companies compete

TIRANA, Dec.11 – The digital photographing of the Albanian territory will be assigned to a company through an open international tender. The project is worth up to 500 million leks ($5.4 million/4.1 million euro) and has drawn a total of

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                    [post_content] => LONDON, Dec. 11 - European Nickel said Tuesday that it had completed a two phase 8,500 metre RC and diamond drilling program, which started in Oct. last year, at its Korce exploration permit in southeast Albania. The exploration permit, granted to European Nickel's wholly owned local subsidiary, covers approximately 55 square kilometers. The geology of the permit area consists of a complex laterite structure overlain by Tertiary sediments and calcareous conglomerates and containing ferronickel and nickel silicate horizons, which are themselves overlain by iron-nickel laterites. The company said 23 holes were drilled on a 1 km x 400 m grid delineating two nickel laterite areas covering a total area of approximately 4 km2. Seven holes have confirmed the mineralization in these two areas with an average thickness of 6.3 m and an average nickel grade of 1.01 %. European Nickel said following the completion of the initial drill program, drilling will be carried out during the 2006/2007 field season on a tighter grid of 400 m x 400 m. This program will seek to prove the full extension of the nickel mineralization and, at the same time, an exploration adit will be constructed to recover a bulk sample of ore for rock mechanic and bulk acid leach tests. The bulk tests will be conducted at ENickel's test plant facilities at its Caldag site in Turkey. 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Dec.8 - The rise in food products prices has increased Albania's monthly consumer price inflation to 0.9 percent in November from 0.1 percent in October. The data was released by the country's National Statistics Office (INSTAT) on Friday. Albania's consumer price index (CPI) reached 110.3 points in November, compared to the base 100 points in December 2001, INSTAT said in a statement. In October, it measured 109.4 points. The November consumer prices rose by 2.9 percent, faster than in October when they rose by 2.2 percent. The rise was though lower than the 3 percent annual growth in November 2005. The rise in consumer prices in November was caused mainly by higher prices of foods, drinks, clothes and shoes. Prices of furnishings and household equipments and of transport services fell by 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively. They were the only ones to record a negative change. Prices of tobacco, cigarettes and alcohol, rents and utilities prices, and the prices of communication, cultural and entertainment services were unchanged and all other prices were higher from the previous month. Compared to annual figures, the price rise in November was led by alcohols and cigarettes, a significant11.4 percent more expensive than a year ago. Rents and utilities prices also boosted the annual inflation, rising by seven percent. The prices of clothes and shoes, furnishings and household equipment and communications were lower in an annual framework. As part of its inflation controlling strategy, the central bank of Albania targets an average annual inflation rate of 3 percent for 2006. The average annual inflation rate in 2005 was 2.4 percent.
                    [post_title] =>  CPI rises 3 percent compared to last year 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Dec. 12 - Albania held the first days of the week, Dec. 11-12, a round of negotiations with the European Commission, the first in the country after the signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement in June. That was the 15th meeting of the Consultative Task Force and the 9th meeting of the Joint Committee between the EU and Albania, according to the EC delegation and the Albanian Ministry of Integration. These meetings allowed the Commission and the Albanian authorities to engage in fruitful discussion on issues including election preparations and reform in the fields of rule of law, fiscal policy, infrastructure, environment, agriculture and fisheries, according to an EC statement. The talks focused in particular on Albania's obligations under the SAA. 
Albania launched Dec. 1 the interim agreement with the EC which would lower customs tariffs for hundreds of goods imported from the European Union member countries. "The EU Presidency and the Commission welcomed the entry into force of the Interim Agreement on 1 December.  The Interim Agreement and the SAA provide a comprehensive framework for the further development of EU-Albania relations," said the statement. The Albanian authorities agreed with the Commission that strengthening the rule of law is a key underlying factor for Albania's further development. The Commission welcomed Albania's progress in fighting corruption and organized crime and encouraged Albania to sustain its efforts. It called on Albania in particular to further pursue judicial reform, to adopt further systemic measures to fight corruption, and to strengthen its efforts to fight money laundering and to protect witnesses. The political clash in the country was a major topic of discussion in the talks. The boycott of the opposition parties for the Jan. 20 local elections will turn into a main topic for the country in the near future. Europe warned Albanian politicians they should bear responsibility for the domestic problems and not wait for the international factor's interference to resolve their disputes. "The Commission underlined that respect for democratic principles is a fundamental tenet of the SAA. All Albania's political leaders bear a responsibility to its citizens for the conduct of the local elections. Political leaders should not expect the international community to arbitrate among them. All twenty-five EU foreign ministers met yesterday in Brussels.  They stressed that the government and the opposition need to work together constructively to ensure the free and fair conduct of the local elections," said the statement read from Dirk Lange, head of Unit for Albania at the European Commission. Lange, nevertheless, declined to discuss into detail and continuously repeated words from Olli Rehn, EU enlargement commissioner, that if election standards were regular there was no reason to boycott them, that is, on one side telling the government that election standards should be up to international standards, and, on the other side, telling the opposition they should not boycott them. The Commission welcomed Albania's ratification of the Energy Community Treaty and signature of the European Common Aviation Area Agreement and encouraged Albania to continue to progress in implementing these agreements. The Commission welcomed the positive trend on collection of customs revenue and Albania's efforts to strengthen customs capacity and structures to promote export and investment. It encouraged Albania to make further progress in the areas of privatization, addressing the grey economy, land registration and restitution, and veterinary and sanitary issues.  The Commission assured Albania that it will continue to play its part under the agreements signed with Albania and more broadly through the Stabilization and Association process. Integration Minister Arenca Trashani assured the Commission that Albania will continue to show determination in fulfilling the commitments it has undertaken. 
                    [post_title] =>  Economic priorities are surpassed by election concerns in EU-Albania talks 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Dec.8 - Albania's trade deficit expanded for the first eight months of 2006 by 17 percent compared to last year reaching 139.4 billion leks ($1.49 billion/1.13 billion euro). National Statistics Institute (INSTAT) reported the latest data on Friday, citing faster growing imports as the cause. Last year, Albania's trade deficit rose by 12.64% to 195.9 billion leks.. For the past three quarters of 2006, exports were 14.7 percent higher than last the year, while imports increased by 16.4 percent, according to INSTAT figures. A breakdown of the figures shows that the majority of Albania's trade is carried out with European Union (EU) member states. This accounted for 67 percent of Albania's merchandise flow in the first eight months of the current year, with Italy and Greece remaining the country's top trading partners. Out of the total imports 61.24 percent came from the EU. The country exported to the EU  88.8 percent of its traded goods in these first eight months. Imports from Italy accounted for 27.7 percent of Albania's total imports and exports to Italy contributed 72.9 percent of the country's total exports for the relevant period.

Exports
The major Albanian exports were textiles, footwear, construction materials, metals and food, drinks and tobacco. Textiles and footwear especially remained Albania's main exports in August as they were in the previous seven months of the year. They accounted for 51.2 period of Albania's exports in August and comprised 55.4 percent for the first three quarters of 2006. The second ranking ones were construction materials and metal exports with 15.3 percent of the total in August and 16.9 percent for the first eight months of the year. Foods, drinks and tobacco accounted for 10 percent of total exports in August and 7.7 percent for the total period considered.

Imports
Machines, equipment and spare parts, made up most of Albania's imported articles with a contribution of  20.1 percent in the total figure of all imports through August. Food, drinks and tobacco products were the second biggest import item with 18.6 percent of the total. Imports of metals and construction materials followed, accounting for 15.8 percent of the country's total imports. 
Albania is trying to boost its agricultural sector in order to reduce agricultural imports and support local business. Recommendations of the EU are also being considered by the government in order to fulfill European standards for food exports. The latest factor influencing trade is the implementation of the Interim Agreement, started on December 1 that has lowered custom fees and changed the structure of taxation relevant to trade. A direct result has been an increase in the import of vehicles from the EU, which are no longer subject to custom taxes.
 The Interim Agreement is part of the Stabilization and Association agreement signed by Albania on June 2006. 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Dec.8 - KESH announced official hours for power cuts admitting the severe energy crisis that ha shit the country. In rural areas, Albanians face power cuts of up to 20.5 hours a day power utility KESH said on Friday. The restriction on the electricity supply is an effort to avoid worsening the energy crisis. Provincial cities will have blackouts up to 13 hours while Tirana up to six hours, KESH said in a timetable of the cuts. KESH executive director Andi Beli said last week that hospitals, embassies, water supply stations, bakeries, police and government institutions will be given priority power supplies. KESH offsets electricity shortages mainly through imports because the existing hydropower stations are outdated. The drop in imports of cheaper energy from countries like Bulgaria and Romania is the main reason for the crisis, according to Beli.
This week, KESH plans to urgently import 101,000 MWh from Greek, Slovenian and Swiss firms for the three months to end-February, while next year it will import 2.206 million MWh of electricity. Last year's power crisis affected the country's economic growth lowering it to 5.5 percent from initially forecast 6.0 percent. It paralyzed the business activity and led to severe economic implications for the habitants.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Dec.12 - Albania's tax revenues went up by 12.4 percent compared to last year. The government collected 71.2 billion leks ($759.4 million/573 million euro) in taxes in the first 11 months of the year, according to the data released on Tuesday. Social insurance contributions also rose by 52 percent on the year. The total amount up to November reached 33.6 billion leks, according to the country's tax office. Increasing tax revenues have bee one of the major achievements of the new government which included the revenues with a selective approach in the budget approved by the parliament last month. 
                    [post_title] =>  Tax revenues go up  
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                    [post_content] => BARI, Dec. 12 - Because of the isolation Albania has had until 16 years ago due to the communist regime, some species that normally risk extinction in other Mediterranean areas have survived there. That is the reason that Italy has started a project named the Comunita' of the Universita' Mediterranean (Cum) in collaboration with the Albanian Ministry of Environment, Albanian Academy of Sciences, Bari Universita, Lecce and Tirana, and the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute, trying to preserve this natural patrimony before it is lost. The project called "Ceratonia" (Conservation on endemic rarities and trans-border organism for natures on Italy to Albania) was introduced to Tirana during the "Days of the Puglia Region in Albania" which will last until Dec. 16. 
                    [post_title] =>  Project for species risking extinction 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Dec.11 - Bulgarian privately held First Investment Bank's Albanian branch is considering to open two branches by the middle of January as part of plans to expand in the local market. The news was communicated by FIB Albania general manager Martin Bogdanov who said that the new locations are Vlora and Elbasan. Currently the bank has operative units in the capital Tirana and in Durres, the country's biggest Adriatic port. The Durres branch is being changed to meet higher standards and will be completed soon, according to Bogdanov. FIB Albania which was set up a year ago, still expects to obtain a banking license by the end of January. Previously, the Bulgarian parent operated in Albania through a branch, but a preliminary approval to start commercial operations last January. FIB Albania's strategy aims at putting FIB among the top 10 largest banks in the Albanian banking market. The latter comprises 17 banks. 
                    [post_title] =>  First Investment Bank will open new branches in Elbasan and Vlora 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Dec. 13 - Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha invited Italian investors from the Puglia region to come and invest their money in the Albanian energy system which offers great opportunities. Berisha met with the president of the Puglia region Vendola who had come to take part at the "Days of the Puglia to Tirana." Berisha told Vendola that Albania has 300 sunny days a year and "this creates enormous opportunities of investments also in the field of the green energy." Albania is suffering continuous power cuts due to the lack of rain and consequently electricity production from its hydropower stations, and also due to the poor management of the system. 
                    [post_title] =>  Berisha invites Puglia investor in Albania's energy 
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                    [post_date] => 2006-12-15 01:00:00
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Dec.11 - The digital photographing of the Albanian territory will be assigned to a company through an open international tender. The project is worth up to 500 million leks ($5.4 million/4.1 million euro) and has drawn a total of seven bids, Agency for legalization, urbanization and integration of informal zones (ALUIZNI) said on Monday.
The seven bidders are: Croatian photogram-metric, geo-informatics, cartographic and cadastral services provider Geofoto, Austrian company Meixner Vermessung, Italian Compania Generale Riprese Aeree, French IGN France International, Italian SMA Basilicata, Israeli Operational Management & Crisis Containment System and a group of Japanese Pasco Corporation and Finnish Finnmap. Geofoto placed the lowest offer of 2.3 million euro, while Meixner Vermessung placed the highest offer of 4.0 million euro, the government in a statement. 
ALUIZNI spokeswoman Edita Dedia said that "digital mapping will be the first ever (in the country). Without it the legalization will be impossible." She added that pre-qualified bidders would be announced by the end of the week. The current Albanian government is trying to control the widespread illegal construction activity by a new legalizing initiative for housing and commercial sites built up without the necessary permits.
                    [post_title] =>  Digital Mapping of Albania, seven companies compete 
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            [post_date] => 2006-12-15 01:00:00
            [post_date_gmt] => 2006-12-15 01:00:00
            [post_content] => LONDON, Dec. 11 - European Nickel said Tuesday that it had completed a two phase 8,500 metre RC and diamond drilling program, which started in Oct. last year, at its Korce exploration permit in southeast Albania. The exploration permit, granted to European Nickel's wholly owned local subsidiary, covers approximately 55 square kilometers. The geology of the permit area consists of a complex laterite structure overlain by Tertiary sediments and calcareous conglomerates and containing ferronickel and nickel silicate horizons, which are themselves overlain by iron-nickel laterites. The company said 23 holes were drilled on a 1 km x 400 m grid delineating two nickel laterite areas covering a total area of approximately 4 km2. Seven holes have confirmed the mineralization in these two areas with an average thickness of 6.3 m and an average nickel grade of 1.01 %. European Nickel said following the completion of the initial drill program, drilling will be carried out during the 2006/2007 field season on a tighter grid of 400 m x 400 m. This program will seek to prove the full extension of the nickel mineralization and, at the same time, an exploration adit will be constructed to recover a bulk sample of ore for rock mechanic and bulk acid leach tests. The bulk tests will be conducted at ENickel's test plant facilities at its Caldag site in Turkey. 
            [post_title] =>  European Nickel ends drilling in Albania 
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