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In the News

Two stories caught my eye this morning. According to the IHT authorities here have started an investigation into a Jordanian suspected of funding terrorism. He is alleged to be an associate of Yasin al-Qadi, a Saudi who part owned Tirana's 'Twin Towers' (right) and was on both US and UN watchlists.

It's good that the authorities here are acting against these people. Albanians generally are very complacent about the risks these people pose. Believing that religion is not important to Albanians, they think that there is no possibility of extremist organisations gaining a foothold here.

The second story comes from the the Southeast European Times which reports that the government plans to introduce a flat tax system from 2008. The flat tax system has been adopted by a number of former communist countries. Most significantly, from Albania's point of view, it was introduced in Macedonia earlier this year.

The efficacy of flat tax systems is debated by practitioners of the dismal science, but obviously it doesn't make any difference what the rate is if there is no efficient system to collect it. Also, one aim of the plan is to attract outside investment, but the tax rate is only one small part of the problems Albania faces in this regard - widespread corruption, weak implementation of property rights, poor infrastructure and more mean that the country will continue to struggle to attract money.

Comments

N.Ago said…
Për ty dhe familjen tënde, Gëzuar Pashkët!
Happy Easter!
our man said…
Thank you. Happy Easter to you and yours also.
Elvis Plaku said…
Happy Easter....
Anonymous said…
I have been involved in these 'religious' affairs since I was 16. The threat of fundamentalism, while real, should not be feared. The few thousand who fall to the allure of a global cause and a ready-made identity will be swamped by the sheer force of materialistic nationalism. At least in Albania and Kosovo.
Stu said…
Just discovered your blog. Fascinating insight into a country people know little about. Great stuff!
our man said…
Thanks Stu.
Anonymous said…
"Albanians generally are very complacent about the risks these people pose. Believing that religion is not important to Albanians, they think that there is no possibility of extremist organisations gaining a foothold here."

Yes, for an Albanian, only after he/she stepps out of the country can we finally understand the threat.

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Whimper

And now the end is near
and so i face nanananana...

Never did like that crappy song.

But it's true nevertheless.

Tomorrow in the wee hours of the morning we will be heading for the airport for the last time. I suppose it was too much to expect that I could have kept this going while getting ready to leave. So apologies for the lack of postings over the last weeks. This is post number 380 something so I suppose one post every two days is not a bad average.

There were probably 380 more in my head or scribbled down on scraps of paper, but many of them are perhaps best left there.

I suppose I should be penning - or typing - my final thoughts and reflections on two years in Tirana, but right now I don't have any. Maybe in a month or two though I might come back with something.

Thanks to all of you who have read this blog - especially those of you who have become regulars. Thanks also for linking and thanks to all who left comments.

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Welcome

Welcome to Our Man in Tirana. I moved to Tirana, capital of Albania, in October 2005 and left in October 2007. This blog is a mix of photographs, reports, links, impressions and, undoubtedly, prejudices relating to the city and the country.

Since I am no longer in Tirana I am no longer updating this blog. However, there are over 300 posts covering this two year period and I hope that they are still of some interest.

So if you are curious about Albania or if you are planning to visit I hope this blog will be of value.

Miss Globe 2007

On Saturday, we were at the Rogner meeting with an expat friend who was leaving Tirana. It was breakfast time, and as our friend was finishing his tea the breakfast room started to fill up with over-dressed (or under-dressed) young women wearing blue sashes. These were the contestants for the Miss Globe 2007 beauty pageant being held in Tirana tonight at the Palace of Congresses. High heel boots and mini-skirts - or in a couple of cases micro-skirts, or possibly just belts - have never struck me as obvious breakfast attire, but the girls seemed happy enough tottering and wobbling around with their tea and toast. I'm not sure why they were wearing their sashes - perhaps in case they forgot which country they came from.
As we were leaving they were boarding a large coach which I had seen a number of times around the city in the last few days for their next trip. I'm not sure how some of them made it up the steps, or how they managed to sit down, but perhaps these are the kinds o…