Country: Albania
Tiranë District
Population: 418 495

Why a Theatre’s Demolition Has Sparked Outrage in Albania

Critics say the demolition of the National Theatre is an old project of Prime Minister Edi Rama, since the time when he was Culture Minister in 1998 and proposed to build a tower in its place and incorporate the theatre inside.

The renewed bid to demolish the theatre divided artists and activists, and raised concerns among anti-corruption and heritage watchdogs.

Protesters, Police Clash over Theatre Demolition in Tirana

Demolition workers bulldozing the National Theatre in Tirana, Albania, on May 17, 2020. Photo: Nensi Bogdani/BIRN

The demolition was bitterly opposed by activists, opposition politicians and artists who wanted the buildings originally constructed during World War II during the Italian occupation to be renovated.

Kosovo and Albania Ponder Unified Basketball League

Elvira Dushku, the secretary-general of the Kosovo Basketball Federation, said on Tuesday that the basketball governing bodies in Pristina and Tirana are discussing ideas for a potential league merger.

"For many years, we have discussed the creation of a common league at our meetings, but intensive discussions have started since last year," Dushku said.

Balkan Gangsters ‘Profiting From Pandemic’, Report

In Serbia, it noted, agencies set up to fight cybercrime switched to focusing on people accused of causing panic and spreading disinformation on social networks and in Viber groups.

Some crime activities have decreased as a result of the pandemic, the report points out. Migration, for example, dropped significantly towards the end of March, it says.

More Balkan Countries Confirm First Coronavirus Cases

Albania, Bulgaria and Moldova registered their first cases of the coronavirus at the weekend as the illness continues to expand its reach in the Balkans and worldwide.

The Albanian Ministry of Health on Sunday said the two cases had arrived from Italy, were in a stable condition and have been placed in care.

Protesters Win ‘Battle’ in ‘War’ Over Albanian Theatre’s Fate

Protesters clashing with Albanian police on 24 July 2019 at the gates of the National Theatre. Photo: Gent Shkullaku.LSA

The announcement by Rama of the initiative on March 2018 was followed by two years of regular protests over the fate of the country's cultural heritage, political cronyism and concerns about the over-development of the centre of Tirana.

The EU Decides within Days whether to Start Membership Talks with Tirana and Skopje

The foreign ministers demanded rapid integration in the Western Balkans.

Within a few days, the EU will decide whether to start membership talks with Northern Macedonia and Albania. This was made clear during a meeting between the foreign ministers of Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia and representatives of the European Commission in Thessaloniki.