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WORLD
November 15, 2013 | By Shashank Bengali
WASHINGTON - Albania on Friday rejected the United States' request to allow Syria's chemical weapons to be destroyed on its soil, dealing a blow to the international effort to dismantle President Bashar Assad's toxic arsenal. The decision by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama came after several days of protests in the small Balkan nation, where activists have opposed taking in Syria's chemical weapons because of environmental and security concerns. The international watchdog agency spearheading the disarmament effort has called for the weapons to be destroyed outside Syria, which is in the midst of a grinding civil war, but no country has volunteered to host the effort.
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WORLD
November 21, 2013 | By Carol J. Williams
The international agency tasked with locating and destroying Syria's chemical weapons said Thursday it was calling for help from private industry in neutralizing 1,000 metric tons of chemicals and munitions after U.S. ally Albania balked at hosting the operation. In a report on its "detailed plan of destruction" approved Thursday, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons laid out its prioritized destruction schedule under which the most dangerous chemical arms and substances -- already removed from the country -- will be rendered harmless and buried in secure waste sites.
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NEWS
January 16, 1985 | United Press International
Avalanches in northern Albania in the last week have killed 57 people, injured more than 50 and damaged at least 30 houses, the official state news agency ATA said Tuesday.
WORLD
November 15, 2013 | By Shashank Bengali
WASHINGTON - Despite pressure from the Obama administration, Albania's prime minister said Friday that he would not allow the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons in the European country. Prime Minister Edi Rama surprised some Western officials by saying in a televised address that it was "impossible" to take on the job of dismantling Syrian President Bashar Assad's toxic arsenal because "we lack the necessary capacities to get involved in this operation. " Rama bowed to growing protests in the small Balkan nation, where activists have opposed being the host country for the costly and complex process of neutralizing Syria's weapons, because of concern over toxic waste.
NEWS
March 29, 2007
What on earth has happened? ["Revenge of the Nerd," March 22] I considered model U.N. kids to be very cool. (I represented Albania in 1961.) SANDY GREENSTEIN Pasadena
WORLD
November 10, 2013 | By Shashank Bengali
WASHINGTON - For years, when the United States has needed to hand off a dirty diplomatic chore, one obscure nation has reliably raised its hand: Albania. A poor sliver of a country clinging to the edge of Europe, Albania took in ethnic Uighur prisoners from Guantanamo Bay when the United States couldn't repatriate them to China. It offered asylum to 210 members of the Mujahedin Khalq, the Iranian dissident group long confined to a camp in Iraq. Now the United States is turning to Albania again, hoping it will allow Syria's chemical weapons to be destroyed on its soil.
NEWS
March 10, 1985 | Associated Press
Greece established a cultural program Friday with neighboring Albania that will permit exchange visits by journalists, students, scientists, cultural groups and sports teams. Greeks will also be permitted to lecture at a teacher training college in Gjirokaster in southern Albania, home of an ethnic Greek minority thought to number more than 200,000, according to the two-year program.
NEWS
June 9, 2002 | MERITA DHIMGJOKA, ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
Isa Haruni wakes up each morning wondering if this day will be his last. He and his 75 male relatives are potential targets in a 7-year-old blood feud sparked by a killing committed by a cousin. "Every day, I kiss my children before I leave home thinking I might not have another chance," says the merchant, his broad shoulders slumping and dark eyes twitching. Haruni, 42, and his relatives aren't the only potential victims. Under decades of communist rule, deadly family feuds were rare in Albania, but communism is history, and nearly everyone in Albania has a gun. Old debts are being settled, and new blood is being shed.
WORLD
June 11, 2003 | Esther Schrader, Times Staff Writer
TIRANA, Albania -- Saying the emerging democracies of the former communist bloc are shifting the European center of gravity eastward, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Tuesday voiced strong support for the bid of predominantly Muslim Albania to gain membership in NATO. Visiting the capital of this small, rugged country on the Adriatic Sea, Rumsfeld thanked Albania's leaders for supporting the U.S.-led war in Iraq and the campaign to unseat the Taliban government in Afghanistan.
NEWS
February 8, 2009 | Llazar Semini, Semini writes for the Associated Press.
Once Europe's most forbidding coast, this sparkling stretch of the Ionian Sea is slowly revealing lost treasures that date back 2,500 years and shipwrecks from ancient times. Over the last two summers, a research ship carrying U.S. and Albanian experts has combed the waters off southern Albania inch by inch, using scanning equipment and submersible robots to seek ancient wrecks. In what organizers say is the first archaeological survey of Albania's seabed, at least five sites were located, which could fill in blanks on ancient shipbuilding techniques.
WORLD
July 1, 2013 | By Carol J. Williams
Europe's unhappy family expands with Croatia Monday, July 1 -- Croatia, spun free 20 years ago after a brutal war with Serbs and Muslims over the remnants of a disintegrating Yugoslav federation, becomes the 28 th member of the European Union on Monday. The nation of 4.5 million people with hundreds of miles of stunning Adriatic Sea coastline and islands joins a club that has lost much of its luster in recent years as its members struggle through recession, debt, record unemployment and flagging confidence in the euro common currency used by 17 EU states.
WORLD
April 10, 2013 | By Carol J. Williams
Anila Rubiku grew up in a country that no longer exists, at least not the isolated, repressed and paranoid state that was Albania before Eastern Europe's anti-Communist revolutions. The Balkan country that broke away from its iron-fisted mentors in Moscow, Beijing and Belgrade to pursue an even more Stalinist path has changed dramatically in the two decades since democracy began making inroads. But the scars of despotism remain visible on the landscape and in the mentality of Albanians, tens of thousands of them having endured unimaginable brutality in “re-education camps” during the long post-World War II dictatorship of Enver Hoxha . Hoxha sowed fear among the 3 million inhabitants of his remote Adriatic Sea enclave with constant warnings of imminent invasion by Albania's real and imagined enemies.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 8, 2011
Ramiz Alia Albania's last communist leader Ramiz Alia, 85, who was Albania's last communist president and is credited with opening to democracy one of the world's most isolationist political systems, died Friday of lung complications, an Albanian official announced. He assumed leadership of the Albanian Communist Party in 1985 after the death of his longtime friend, dictator Enver Hoxha. After a series of massive student protests, Alia introduced political and economic reforms that paved the way for the country's first free elections in 1991.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 21, 2011 | By Jodie Burke, Special to the Los Angeles Times
The Zenelajes Albania is beautiful, but for decades it was cut off from the rest of the world by a communist dictator. "There were no foreign clothes, which was a big thing for us," Vilma Zenelaj says, drawing a deep laugh out of her older sister Greta, a dark-haired beauty often mistaken for Demi Moore. Albania's communist regime collapsed soon after the Berlin Wall fell. Vilma left first, arriving in Oregon as a high school exchange student in 1996. Greta stayed in Albania to finish her degree in journalism, even as civil war broke out. Luckily, Mom and Dad, both doctors, won the visa lottery and emigrated to Michigan.
TRAVEL
February 7, 2010 | By Barry Zwick
If you go THE BEST WAY TO SARANDE AND BUTRINT The only daily cruises to Albania sail from the northern Greek island of Corfu. Communications are quirky in Corfu; my ATT cellphone, with a built-in GSM chip for Europe, worked perfectly in Athens and Santorini but not at all in Corfu. The safest way to buy tickets is to visit the head office of Ionian Cruises, a 15-minute walk from the heart of Corfu, and buy them with cash. Credit-card fraud is rampant throughout Greece. Seats are available even during the peak summer season a day in advance and often on the morning of the cruise.
TRAVEL
February 7, 2010 | By Barry Zwick
Somewhere on Earth there must be a cheaper, easier, more exotic cruise, packed with even more beautiful sights and filled with more history, providing even tastier food, but for now, I'm happy to settle on this one: Ionian Cruises' daily excursion from Corfu, Greece, to Sarande, Albania. How cheap is it? Thirty-eight euros (about $55) for the round-trip boat ride, 19 euros (about $27) for a shore excursion that includes a fabulous buffet lunch. That's about $82 for an enchanting day in Albania, an additional dollar if you want a big glass of wine with your lunch.
NEWS
November 23, 2008 | Elena Becatoros, Becatoros writes for the Associated Press.
Drene Markgjoni spent 12 years in a hard-labor camp, punished for her fiance's attempt to flee Albania's regime, then one of the world's most repressive and isolationist. She swore she would never suffer like that for somebody else again. She pledged to forgo sex and marriage for the rest of her life, and declared herself a man. That was six decades ago. Now 85, with close-cropped white hair, dressed in a man's blue striped shirt and black trousers, she greets visitors with a manly handshake.
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