Monday, October 13, 2008


Although we’re in the midst of a global financial crisis, there is no lack of a variety of all sorts of other worldwide news – some somber and some frivolous, as usual.

Today in New York we’re celebrating Columbus Day with the usual festive, long parade along Fifth Avenue, while closely watching how Wall Street and the other world markets are reacting to the bail out plans decided during this past weekend. While some euphoria seems to explode about a positive turn around on one side, on the other, political tensions are weighing in heavily due to the uncertain outcome of the upcoming presidential elections on Nov. 4th.

Some newspapers seems to recycle again some old and trite subjects, such as the story of Albania’s “sworn virgins” that keeps resurfacing from time to time; just recently it reappeared on the Associated Press, and from there it spread to CBS News, the Washington Post, the NY Times, the Baltimore Sun, the Salt Lake Tribune, the Chicago Sun, MSNBC, National Geographic (video), etc.

Other papers are treating more serious matters, such as the still fragile relationship of Kosovo with some of its neighbors (although Macedonia and Montenegro just added themselves to the number of states recognizing its independence), or the corruption that still reigns in Albania. The Economist of this week, in one page, touches upon both subjects:
-- Kosovo: Getting on with big brother
-- Albania: The Final Mistery

A propos of variety of news, some cover a range of very contrasting subjects, to say the least. While some Italian “ ultra` (right extremists)” rioted, this past weekend, outside a soccer stadium in Bulgaria, singing fascist hymn in the name of “Il Duce”, in Tirana the widow and children of the ex communists dictator, Enver Hoxha, were being interviewed on the anniversary of his 100th birthday.

Online, I also read that in Tirana there are new urban plans that will probably disrupt the already chaotic life there, such as the re-development of the huge Skanderbeg square, while other avenues are re-paved. Among the so called ‘hopeful’ news I cannot help noticing that the giant Real Estate conglomerate of Century 21 has also recently established itself officially in Tirana. This is in addition to the several other similar English agencies that have been already advertising, for quite a while, loads of properties all over Albania. However, beware! it’s not all gold what’s being described.

Among all these news there is also the one about my next trip to Tirana, which will take place next week. Amidst the preparations I’m making sure that my ‘absentee ballot’ vote is properly filed here before departure. I shall resurface again by the middle of next week, if all goes well…. So, keep tuned in!

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