Murder in Vlora

VLORA, Sept. 10 – Krenar Grabova, 38, was publicly shot Sunday and murdered, according to police. Another person, Kreshnik Rakipi was also murdered but Grabova seems to have been the main target. There were many alternatives on the reasons why

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OSCE helps Albania prepare correct voter lists

TIRANA, Sept. 9 – Following the mediation process it started in August the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) agreed Friday to help Albania prepare electoral lists that have been considered a major shortcoming in the tiny Balkan

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Ammunition traffic to Greece stopped

KORCA, Sept. 12 – Police arrested a 21 year old man who was trying to transport some 20,000 rounds of ammunition allegedly to Greece. Kreshnik Agolli, resident of Vashtni village in Korca district, was arrested Monday. He was driving a

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Rama sues Nishani and a ministry spokesman

TIRANA, Sept. 11 – Socialist Party leader and Tirana Mayor Edi Rama sued Democratic Party MP Bujar Nishani and spokesman Gerti Bogdani of the Minister of Transport Lulzim Basha for defamation. Rama’s spokesman Saimir Tahiri handed over the documents to

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Police arrests in September

TIRANA, Sept. 12 – Police said they had arrested 42 wanted persons during the first 11 days this month, considering it a success. They were wanted for different crimes like murders, illegal traffic, economic crimes and others. Police said that

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Albatros Airways suffers a government-president conflict

TIRANA, Sept. 13 – The suspension of the private flight company Albatros has dominated the main news of the newspapers, television and radio stations in the last week. Albania’s low-cost carrier Albatros Airways has been suspended leaving passengers stranded. Albatros

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A British-Albanian couple arrested for car traffic

VLORA, Sept. 12 – Police in the southwestern port town of Vlora said they had arrested Hafir Qejvanaj, born in Presevo, Serbia but with British citizenship, and his Albanian wife Esmeralda for trafficking stolen cars. They were found selling two

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Political deal threatened to fail

TIRANA, Sept. 13 – The political deal between the tow main political parties signed by the end of August for reforms in the electoral law is threatened to fail from the behavior of the two main groupings referring to the

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Cannabis cut in Tepelena

TEPELENA, Sept. 12 – Police said Tuesday they had arrested two persons and cut some 250 cannabis plants in the village of Krahe, Tepelena district. Police have been involved in a nationwide operation against cannabis plants though few people have

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Helmuth Lohan becomes new European Commission Delegation head in Tirana

TIRANA, Sept. 12 – Ambassador Helmuth Lohan, 59, is the new head of the EC Delegation office in Tirana. Lohan is an economist by training. He joined the European Commission in 1978. His first assignments were in the Commission’s economics

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                    [post_content] => VLORA, Sept. 10 - Krenar Grabova, 38, was publicly shot Sunday and murdered, according to police. Another person, Kreshnik Rakipi was also murdered but Grabova seems to have been the main target. There were many alternatives on the reasons why Grabova was murdered. One could have been his links with the Gaxhai band, while the other could have been for political reasons as Grabova was openly known as a supporter and strong fan of the governing Democratic party. Grabova worked at the taxation office in Vlora. Grabova has been under the police attention since 1998 as a member of the Gaxhai band. It has been suspected for kidnapping a person and also collaborating in some other crimes in the city. Rakipi, on his side, seems to have been clear of such links and may have been accidentally found at the wrong place and the wrong time.
On Sunday at 21.20 local time Grabova and Rakipi went out of a Euroloto kiosk when they were confronted with a masked man. The masked man had a Tomson 9-mm Luger automatic rifle that failed to shoot. Then the masked man immediately put out a model 54 pistol and shot both men who tried to run away with it. The masked man left on foot to the 29 Nentori quarter and along the way he also stopped some cars showing them the pistol. He made that to block the traffic and not let police reach him easily, something which he did achieve. Both victims were sent to the hospital but they died soon. Police found six bullets shots against the victims, together with a black cap. Police checked the city during the whole night but in vain. They interrogated many persons, including two other clients at the Euroloto kiosk. It is believed that the killer was about 25 years old.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 9 - Following the mediation process it started in August the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) agreed Friday to help Albania prepare electoral lists that have been considered a major shortcoming in the tiny Balkan country's recent polls. The OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Albanian Interior Ministry to provide expertise to help modernize the country's civil registration and address systems. Welcoming the invitation from the Albanian authorities to address recent ODIHR recommendations, Ambassador Christian Strohal, Director of ODIHR, said that "The only viable solution to Albania's problematic voter lists is the development of a modern civil registry system based on high quality data. This cannot be done overnight. That is why ODIHR has recommended that the system is in place by the next parliamentary elections in Albania, scheduled for 2009. Work, however, needs to start now." The OSCE Presence in Albania and the ODIHR stand ready to assist Albania in implementing all OSCE election recommendations, said a statement. Updating the voter lists has been a major source of friction among Albanian political parties. ODIHR, which monitored the 2005 general election, has said the poll marked an improvement but still fell short of international standards with incorrect voter lists being a key shortcoming with many voters listed in different places.
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                    [post_content] => KORCA, Sept. 12 - Police arrested a 21 year old man who was trying to transport some 20,000 rounds of ammunition allegedly to Greece. Kreshnik Agolli, resident of Vashtni village in Korca district, was arrested Monday. He was driving a Fiat car and did not stop to police checks. Because of the night two other persons found in the car left. Agolli remained there and was arrested. Police found some 8,000 bullets in the car. Some 12,000 other rounds were found at his house. Investigation showed that the ammunition was destined for Greece. "It is a network of traffickers who trafficked ammunition to Greece," said police.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 11 - Socialist Party leader and Tirana Mayor Edi Rama sued Democratic Party MP Bujar Nishani and spokesman Gerti Bogdani of the Minister of Transport Lulzim Basha for defamation. Rama's spokesman Saimir Tahiri handed over the documents to the Tirana prosecutor office. Rama has accused them for their accusations that they considered him linked with crime and drugs made Sept. 2 and 8 that was based on the material got from ATA news agency.

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 12 - Police said they had arrested 42 wanted persons during the first 11 days this month, considering it a success. They were wanted for different crimes like murders, illegal traffic, economic crimes and others. Police said that arresting wanted persons remains one of the main duties.
During one month, Tirana police have blocked 16 grams of heroin and five kilograms of cannabis. They had arrested 18 persons and investigated free four others.
                    [post_title] =>  Police arrests in September 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 13 - The suspension of the private flight company Albatros has dominated the main news of the newspapers, television and radio stations in the last week. Albania's low-cost carrier Albatros Airways has been suspended leaving passengers stranded. Albatros was founded in 2004 and operates Fokker 100 aircraft. "Solid facts show it lacks the capacity to manage the transport of passengers," Albania's Civil Aviation Director Gazmend Dibra told reporters this week after suspending flights.
He said unpaid debt of 447,412 euros was the reason for grounding Albatros. But the airline, which operates several flights a week to seven cities in Italy, says it is being victimized. "Several hundred passengers have been re-routed to a competitor company, without so much as consulting us and in full disrespect of our existing passenger protection agreements," said Albatros president Aleksander Hoxha in an open letter.
Top Channel private TV station broadcast a registration of a phone call between Albatros manager, and nephew of President Alfred Moisiu, and Dibra where it was suggested that Albatros was suspended because of links with Moisiu, who was not firing Prosecutor General Theodhori Sollaku from the post as the opposition Democrats, and their Prime Minister Sali Berisha had required following two months of parliamentary investigation ending in July. A day later Dibra came out with a letter sent from Moisiu's close aide asking assistance for Albatros against another private company Belleair.
The fight has culminated with the political aspect. Democrats insist that everything is a business disagreement and the company may resolve the issue if it pays back the money. While the opposition insists the government did it as a pressure on Moisiu to fire Sollaku. They asked for the resignation of Dibra and the Transport Minister Lulzim Basha from the post.
Opposition parliamentarian Petro Koci asked the prosecutor office to start the case and surprisingly the Tirana prosecutor office started investigation following the tape of the phone conversation. But there is no clear indication on what charge the penal prosecution may be launched.
Dibra said that the conversation was changed and manipulated without denying he had spoken with them. "The Albatros owner had offered to talk with his uncle (Alfred Moisiu) to dismiss Theodhori Sollaku so that his company resumes working. What I have said is that Albatros company should pay back the debt and then resume working," said Dibra.
Transport Minister Basha spoke to the parliament saying everything was speculation from the political side, expressing determination that the government authorities would simply apply the law. Berisha himself on Tuesday repeated the saying that it was a business case and that every business should be treated equal to the law. He also ironically spoke about the tape of the phone call between Dibra and Albatros manager.
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                    [post_content] => VLORA, Sept. 12 - Police in the southwestern port town of Vlora said they had arrested Hafir Qejvanaj, born in Presevo, Serbia but with British citizenship, and his Albanian wife Esmeralda for trafficking stolen cars. They were found selling two Toyota and Mercedes cars they had rented from two Kosova agencies.
                    [post_title] =>  A British-Albanian couple arrested for car traffic 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 13 - The political deal between the tow main political parties signed by the end of August for reforms in the electoral law is threatened to fail from the behavior of the two main groupings referring to the voters' list. "The government has undertaken threatening steps," said Socialist MP Ben Blushi Tuesday. Democratic Party MP Bujar Nishani said the Socialists had blocked it with the voters' list. The government has time until October 20 to prepare a correct, or say, better arranged voter lists. Government authorities say that would be easy to do. The opposition says they want to monitor such a repair of the lists fearing manipulation from the governing forces. The opposition complains that an official added to the local government offices should not be there claiming he would make a political control of the process. The official was added from the prefect, who is legally entitled to monitor the process, said Nishani.
There are two issues for the voter lists which serve as the basis of this quarrel. One is the timing of improvement of the lists and the second is nominating prefect as the official to monitor the process. The political deal probably did not go to such details that seem to have blocked the whole process. Nishani accused Rama directly for blocking the process. While the opposition asked the government not to nominate the prefect for the monitoring.

Olldashi
It seemed that the conflict started after Interior Minister Sokol Olldashi said that authorities would use the individual birth certificates for an indefinite amount of time and not only for three months. He said that passports could be used instead, trying to reduce the long hours that thousands of Albanians spend everyday at the local authorities to get a birth certificate they need for many places. The opposition reacted immediately saying that was made to manipulate the voter lists
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                    [post_content] => TEPELENA, Sept. 12 - Police said Tuesday they had arrested two persons and cut some 250 cannabis plants in the village of Krahe, Tepelena district. Police have been involved in a nationwide operation against cannabis plants though few people have been arrested. Very often police find the drug planted in a no-man's-land and they find it hard to find the persons to blame.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Sept. 12 - Ambassador Helmuth Lohan, 59, is the new head of the EC Delegation office in Tirana. Lohan is an economist by training. He joined the European Commission in 1978. His first assignments were in the Commission's economics department. Later on, Mr.Lohan worked on the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, as spokesman for the Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, and as Economic Counsellor in the European Commission's Delegation in Moscow. In the past years, Mr. Lohan has worked as Head of Unit for Regional Programs in the Enlargement Directorate General of the European Commission in Brussels.   
Mr. Lohan is German by origin. He is married and has two children. 
Lohan's arrival comes at a delicate and interesting moment in the tiny Balkan country. Albania signed in June 12 the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU, which is considered as a first step toward full membership. Earlier this month the deal was ratified by the European Parliament. Now all member countries should ratify it before it comes into power. Albania should, however, fulfill hundreds of pages of duties to comply with standards of the EU member countries and requirements, a process that may take at least ten years.
Lohan also comes at a critical political timing in the country. Though not directly involved in the political affairs the EC delegation office in Tirana has always been a key player in the country's politics. The recent mediation, together with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, between the two main political parties to resume reforms on the electoral law was a significant case. EC delegation office is also a direct monitor of the country's integration efforts and the direct negotiator in the process
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            [post_date] => 2006-09-15 02:00:00
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            [post_content] => VLORA, Sept. 10 - Krenar Grabova, 38, was publicly shot Sunday and murdered, according to police. Another person, Kreshnik Rakipi was also murdered but Grabova seems to have been the main target. There were many alternatives on the reasons why Grabova was murdered. One could have been his links with the Gaxhai band, while the other could have been for political reasons as Grabova was openly known as a supporter and strong fan of the governing Democratic party. Grabova worked at the taxation office in Vlora. Grabova has been under the police attention since 1998 as a member of the Gaxhai band. It has been suspected for kidnapping a person and also collaborating in some other crimes in the city. Rakipi, on his side, seems to have been clear of such links and may have been accidentally found at the wrong place and the wrong time.
On Sunday at 21.20 local time Grabova and Rakipi went out of a Euroloto kiosk when they were confronted with a masked man. The masked man had a Tomson 9-mm Luger automatic rifle that failed to shoot. Then the masked man immediately put out a model 54 pistol and shot both men who tried to run away with it. The masked man left on foot to the 29 Nentori quarter and along the way he also stopped some cars showing them the pistol. He made that to block the traffic and not let police reach him easily, something which he did achieve. Both victims were sent to the hospital but they died soon. Police found six bullets shots against the victims, together with a black cap. Police checked the city during the whole night but in vain. They interrogated many persons, including two other clients at the Euroloto kiosk. It is believed that the killer was about 25 years old.
            [post_title] =>  Murder in Vlora 
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            [post_modified] => 2006-09-15 02:00:00
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