Tirana, July 4, 2015 (AFP) - Two Czech tourists were shot dead while travelling by car in northern Albania, Albanian police said Saturday. The two tourists, identified by police as Michael Svatos, 27, and Anna Kosinova, 36, were found dead in their car on Friday in Prekal, some 150 kilometres (90 miles) north of capital Tirana in Dukagjin region, the police said.
Investigators found a rifle in the car and a dozen bullet casings outside the vehicle. The two were on their way to join a group of other Czech tourists in the town of Theth in the same region. Police said it has questioned around a dozen people over the incident. Three Czech tourists who disappeared in Dukagjin in 2001 are still missing.
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2015 14:27:08 +0100 (MET)
Tirana, Feb 10, 2015 (AFP) - Albania's capital was rocked Tuesday by two blasts targeting a pharmacy owned by a minister's family and the apartment of a senior police officer. No one was injured in the pre-dawn explosions described by Prime Minister Edi Rama as "terrorist acts". The first explosion heavily damaged the pharmacy owned by Interior Minister Saimir Tahiri's family, a police statement said.
The second blast, which followed shortly afterwards, rocked the apartment of a police official, also causing heavy damage, the statement said. Rama said the blasts were clearly aimed at intimidating Tahiri's family. "The perpetrators will be found and brought to justice soon," he vowed in a statement. Police also said they had defused a third explosive device around 0515 GMT, near a bus station just a few meters (feet) from the site of the first blast. Local prosecutors said a probe was underway.
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2014 06:42:07 +0100 (MET)
TIRANA, Nov 23, 2014 (AFP) - The massive, top secret Cold War nuclear bunker of former Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha was opened to the public on Saturday, decades after it was built by the paranoid communist regime fearing an attack by the West that never came. The ex-dictator's bed, covered with a red mattress, is still in place in his bunker bedroom, with a Soviet-era radio placed on his bedside table. During Hoxha's 40-year rule, Albania was one of the world's most isolated countries, obsessed about an attack by the West.
Now, 24 years after the fall of the regime, its countryside is still dotted by the remains of some 700,000 bunkers. Officials have said the structures, referred to as "mushrooms" by locals, were built to be indestructible and defend against an army of millions. According to informed sources, Hoxha, who died in 1985, had at least four secret refuges built for him and his family around Tirana. Built into the side of a mountain just east of the capital Tirana, the 2,685 square metre (28,900 square foot) underground shelter opened Saturday sprawls over five levels and contains 106 rooms, including a cinema.
Built covertly between 1972-1978, it was designed to serve as the headquarters of the central committee and the communist assembly in the event of war. A guide at the opening described it as a "real five-star" complex. "We have decided to open everything up," Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama after visiting the site. "The idea to build it arose after a visit (by Hoxha) to North Korea in 1964," said defence ministry spokesperson Edlira Prendi. Until recently the giant bunker still featured on an Albanian army "top secret" list, she added. The bunker will be placed under the care of the tourism and culture ministry, and will also host a museum and an exhibition space for artists.
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2014 11:02:13 +0100 (MET)
TIRANA, Nov 19, 2014 (AFP) - Three people were killed overnight in northern Albania in severe flooding caused by torrential rains, police said on Wednesday. A 63-year-old man and his 23-year-old daughter died after their car was carried away by flood waters while they were driving on a mountain road. Their bodies were found early Wednesday in a canal, some two kilometres (1.2 miles) from the site of the accident, a police statement said.
The third victim was a 23-year-old man who died on Tuesday evening in the same area, some 45 kilometres (28 miles) north of capital Tirana, when a bridge that he was crossing on motorcycle collapsed. Due to heavy rains, several houses in the northern Albanian region as well as around Tirana were still flooded Wednesday. Some areas were also threatened by landslides. Police and army have dispatched rescue teams to help families hit by the floods.
Date: 3 Apr 2014
Source: Instituti I Shendetit Publik [in Albanian, trans. Sabine Zentis, edited]
On "2 Mar 2014" [typo? See next paragraph.], the Tepelene district Epidemiological Service notified the Institute of Public Health regarding 4 anthrax cases that presented at the Kuta hospital Tepelene.
These people were infected while butchering & handling the flesh of an ill cow slaughtered on 22 Mar 2014. Those affected are being treated in the Tepelene hospital and are in good health; the situation is under control.
This took place in Great Arrez village in the municipality of Luftinje, a known anthrax outbreak site where, in 2003, some cattle died from anthrax. Epidemiologic investigation continues to focus on relevant measures and, in the days to come, will have updated information.
[Anthrax reports from Albania to OIE are uneven in frequency, with none between 2001 and 2004 and only one outbreak reported in 2005. However, in 2007, there were 2 bovine outbreaks reported in Gjirokaster, one of which also involved cattle, sheep and goats, plus a 3rd outbreak only involving sheep and/or goats. In 2008, there were one bovine outbreak and 2 small ruminant outbreaks, in 2009 one small ruminant outbreak, and in 2010 one bovine outbreak and 3 small ruminant outbreaks. No outbreaks were reported for Gjirokaster in 2011, and to date, there are no anthrax outbreak reports out of Albania for 2012 and 2013.
Latterly, the annual numbers of human cases reported nationally vary from the high teens to 82 cases. I think we can safely assume that this recent event in Great Arrez village is typical.
Gjirokaster is an inland province in southern Albania, near the border with Greece. For maps of Albania, see