Albania - Russia seeks to rejoin UN Human Rights Council despite its war on Ukraine

Zelenskyy visits wounded Ukrainian soldiers in New York ahead of UN speech


23-09-19 03:11

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited wounded Ukrainian soldiers at a New York City hospital before his speech at the United Nations General Assembly. He emphasized the importance of Ukraine's messages being heard by its partners and questioned the presence of Russian terrorists at the United Nations. Zelenskyy also mentioned his attendance at a UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine but was uncertain about his seating arrangements if Russia's foreign minister spoke. After his visit to New York, Zelenskyy will travel to Washington to meet with US President Joe Biden and other officials.
Zelenskiy vows to be heard as he prepares for first in-person UN address since Russia’s invasion


23-09-19 02:29

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will address the UN General Assembly in-person for the first time since Russia’s invasion in February 2022. Zelenskiy is expected to make his case to the world and to Washington for continued help in repelling Russia’s invasion, nearly 19 months into the war. The US Congress is weighing President Joe Biden’s request to provide as much as $24bn more in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. US lawmakers are increasingly divided over providing additional money to Ukraine.
People smugglers cut Channel migrant crossing prices by more than half


23-09-19 08:56

People smuggling gangs have reduced prices for crossing the English Channel in small boats to their lowest on record in response to a decline in the number of Albanians making the journey. Kurdish gangs are now charging £1,500 ($2,062) for a seat on a small boat, compared to the previous standard price of £3,500. The decline in the number of Albanians crossing the Channel has been attributed to a fast-track deportation deal between the UK and Albania, as well as increased enforcement of illegal working and police crackdowns on cannabis farming. In total, nearly 24,000 migrants have crossed the Channel so far this year.
Analysis: EU, Italy talk tough on migration but action won't be easy


23-09-19 10:24

Italy's right-wing Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, has called for the EU naval mission "Sophia" to be revived, but this time to block migrant departures from North Africa rather than save lives at sea. However, migration experts and international law experts have said that this would be illegal and unfeasible. Critics have argued that pushing back boats would violate international asylum rules, the European Convention on Human Rights, and be operationally dangerous. The revival of "Sophia" would raise the issue of where to send rescued migrants, as other EU nations have previously refused requests from Italy to redistribute migrants around the bloc.
Polish soccer federation president to announce new coach on Wednesday after firing Santos

Associated Press

23-09-19 14:55

The Polish soccer federation president, Cezary Kulesza, has announced that he has chosen a new national team coach and will reveal the name on Wednesday. The previous coach, Fernando Santos, was fired last week as Poland sits in fourth place in its European Championship qualifying group. Local media and federation officials have speculated that Marek Papszun, Michal Probierz, or Jan Urban could be potential candidates for the job. Poland is currently behind Albania, Czech Republic, and Moldova in its qualifying group.
I’m not surprised Theresa May says she’s proud to be woke. She’s never been a true Conservative


23-09-19 21:54

Former UK Prime Minister Theresa May has declared herself "woke and proud" during an interview, causing controversy among Conservative voters. The term "woke" is associated with a Marxist creed and is seen as contrary to conservative beliefs. Critics argue that being woke means supporting issues such as allowing school children to choose their gender and undergoing gender reassignment. These critics state that the majority of people are still horrified by these ideas and do not want a Conservative government to encourage them. May's declaration has also been criticised in relation to her time as Home Secretary when she introduced the 2015 Modern Slavery Act. Critics argue that the legislation made it easier for people to exploit loopholes, leading to an increase in claims of slavery victimhood among migrants. The article suggests that May has shown a lack of concern for the practical consequences of her actions and implies that she is out of touch with the concerns of Conservative voters.
Letters: Rishi Sunak could capitalise on Labour’s misguided moves in Europe


23-09-20 00:01

Conservative voters are calling on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to make adjustments to the government's policies, including net-zero targets and inheritance tax, in order to retain the party's core vote at the next general election. They argue that the government should abandon "woke fanatic" policies and reduce corporation tax in order to appeal to Conservative voters. Meanwhile, Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour Party, has been criticised for suggesting that the UK should become an associate member of the European Union. Critics argue that the EU has no intention of offering a beneficial deal to the UK and that Starmer's proposal would only benefit the bloc, not the UK. They also argue that the EU has a much bigger problem with illegal immigration than the UK, so it makes no sense for the UK to join in with the EU's problems.
Russian official told to ‘stop the war’ over disrupting Zelensky

The Independent

23-09-21 07:41

Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, was told to "stop the war" after objecting to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky speaking before the UN Security Council. Nebenzia accused the Albanian council president of demonstrating "open disregard" for UN procedures. Albanian prime minister Edi Rama, chairing the session, responded that Nebenzia should "stop the war" if he did not want Zelensky to speak. Zelensky later thanked Rama for "correctly handling Russia".
Weakened Aston Villa punished by Legia Warsaw on return to European football


23-09-21 21:50

Aston Villa's head coach, Unai Emery, made several mistakes in his team selection for Villa's first European group game in 13 years against Legia Warsaw. Calum Chambers and debutant Clement Lenglet both had difficult nights, with Villa suffering a 3-2 defeat. Emery's record in European football is outstanding, but this poor performance will raise questions about his team selection and whether he underestimated Legia Warsaw. Villa's hopes of qualifying from the group stage are not completely gone, but this was an unexpected setback. Emery remains confident in his squad and believes they can learn from the defeat.
Ex-FBI counterspy chief McGonigal set to plead guilty in payment plot

Washington Post

23-09-22 10:00

Charles F. McGonigal, a former FBI agent, is set to plead guilty over a separate case accusing him of hiding secret cash payments while overseeing highly sensitive cases. As the special agent in charge of the FBI’s counterintelligence division in New York from 2016 to 2018, he supervised investigations into Russian oligarchs, including Oleg Deripaska. McGonigal pleaded guilty last month to conspiring to violate US sanctions and launder funds for Deripaska. He will now plead guilty to charges of falsifying records or documents and concealing material facts or making false statements, which each carry a maximum of five years in prison.
Ex-FBI agent pleads guilty to concealing $225K loan from former Albanian official

Associated Press

23-09-22 20:21

Former FBI counterintelligence official Charles McGonigal has pleaded guilty to concealing a $225,000 cash payment from a former Albanian intelligence official. The payment was not characterised as a bribe by the indictment, but prosecutors argued that McGonigal should have reported it, as it created a conflict of interest between his private financial interests and his FBI duties. The charge of concealment of material facts carries a maximum prison sentence of five years. McGonigal pleaded guilty in August to a separate charge of conspiring to violate sanctions on Russia.
Pope Francis insists Europe doesn't have a migrant emergency and challenges countries to open ports

The Independent

23-09-23 09:30

Pope Francis has urged European leaders to open their ports to migrants fleeing poverty, rather than closing their doors. Speaking in Marseille, the Pope rejected the notion of an "emergency" in relation to migration, arguing instead that the phenomenon was a long-term reality that needed to be addressed humanely. The comments came as Italy's far-right government threatened to blockade Tunisia and increase the number of repatriations of migrants. French President Emmanuel Macron has also taken a tougher stance on migration and security issues, ahead of next year's European Parliament elections.
Pope Francis insists Europe doesn’t have a migrant emergency and challenges countries to open ports

Associated Press

23-09-23 09:30

Pope Francis has called on European leaders to open their ports to migrants fleeing hardship and poverty, insisting that the problem is not an emergency but a long-term reality that must be addressed humanely. The pope was speaking at a conference in Marseille at which Catholic bishops from the Mediterranean region were present. Francis has long made the issue of migration a priority, and his latest comments came as Italy threatens to blockade Tunisia and increase repatriations in response to an influx of migrants.
Italy to tackle shepherd shortage by recruiting them from Kyrgyzstan


23-09-23 11:41

The Italian island of Sardinia is recruiting shepherds from Kyrgyzstan to address a shortage of workers. The island has an ageing population, low birth rate and depopulated rural areas, leaving it unable to find enough shepherds to look after its flocks. As part of a new agreement, around 100 shepherds and their families will be recruited from Kyrgyzstan. Once in Sardinia, they will receive special training and cultural mediators will help them adapt to their new life. The shepherds will be paid around €1,400 per month, compared to a median wage of $350 per month in Kyrgyzstan.
France blocks waterways to foil people smugglers’ ‘taxi boats’


23-09-23 15:29

France is blocking its rivers and waterways to prevent people smugglers from using them to transport migrants across the English Channel. French border force and police are using buoys to create a floating barrier near the estuaries of rivers to block smuggling gangs. The tactic, combined with increased beach patrols, has contributed to a 22% decrease in successful Channel crossings by small boats this year. The French government has also installed surveillance equipment along the coast, and officials have been lobbying for joint UK-French patrols with the power to turn back boats at sea in French waters.
1 Kosovo police officer killed and 1 wounded in an attack in the north, raising tensions with Serbia

The Toronto Star

23-09-24 09:15

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti has blamed Serbia for an attack on a police patrol in the village of Banjska, Leposavic, near the border with Serbia. One police officer was killed and another injured in the attack. Kurti accused Serbia of supporting organised crime in Kosovo, which he said was destabilising the country. Serbia has denied the allegations. The attack comes at a delicate time in EU-facilitated talks between Serbia and Kosovo aimed at normalising relations between the two former foes.
One Kosovo police officer killed and another wounded in an attack in the north, raising tensions

Associated Press

23-09-24 07:57

Kosovo's Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, has blamed neighboring Serbia for an attack on a police patrol in the village of Banjska, Leposavic. One police officer was killed and another wounded in the attack, which Kurti said was carried out by "masked professionals armed with heavy weapons." He accused Serbia of politically, financially, and logistically supporting organized crime in Kosovo. The attack comes at a delicate moment in the European Union-facilitated dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo to normalize ties. The two countries have been at odds for decades, and tensions have been high between them in recent months.
Masked gunmen attack Kosovo police and kill 1 officer in an escalation of tensions with Serbia

The Toronto Star

23-09-24 13:13

The prime minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, said on Sunday that a police officer was killed and another was wounded in an attack in the village of Banjska, which he blamed on Serbia. Kurti alleged that "masked professionals armed with heavy weapons" opened fire on a police patrol and that an organised professional unit of at least 30 military professionals had come to fight in Kosovo. Serbia and Kosovo have been at odds since their 1998-1999 war, which left over 10,000 people dead. Kosovo unilaterally declared independence in 2008, but Serbia has refused to recognise this. Kurti said the incident was a "sad day" for Kosovo and called on the attackers to hand themselves over to Kosovar authorities. The EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, condemned the "hideous attack" and called for an end to the violence. The US ambassador to Pristina also condemned the attack. The incident comes at a time of increasing tensions between Serbia and Kosovo, as the two countries engage in EU-facilitated talks to normalise their relations.
Serbian gunmen storm Kosovo village before killing police officer


23-09-24 17:14

Gunmen attacked a village in Kosovo, battling police and barricading themselves in a Serbian Orthodox monastery. Monks and pilgrims were trapped inside the monastery’s temple during the siege. It is unclear who was behind the violence, but Kosovo’s prime minister and interior minister blamed “Serbia-sponsored criminals.” The attack comes after tensions between Kosovo and Serbia escalated when Pristina installed ethnic Albanian mayors in four Serb-majority districts in May. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Serbia, along with allies China and Russia, has refused to recognise its independence.
Kosovo mourns a slain police officer, some Serb gunmen remain at large after a siege at a monastery

Associated Press

23-09-25 07:52

Kosovo is observing a day of mourning for an Albanian police officer who was killed by Serb gunmen. The gunmen barricaded themselves in an Orthodox monastery, leading to a stand-off with the police. Three of the assailants were killed and two injured, while two others were arrested. The attack has raised tensions between the two former foes, who are currently seeking to normalise ties. Kosovo accuses Serbia of backing the gunmen, a claim that Serbia denies.