Albanian newspaper headlines 

For those of you who have lapsed lately in your daily reading of Albanian newspapers, here's a roundup of today's headline stories.

Koha Jone, the biggest tabloid daily, challenges prime-minister Fatos Nano to take real measures against corruption by his ministers, rather than just engaging in the naming and persecution of another few scapegoats, albeit at the relatively high level of General Secretaries as in a press-conference yesterday. Otherwise, Koha Jone predicts as it has for some time, Nano is heading for demise, even within his own socialist party.

Meanwhile daily Shekulli reports that one of Nano's men is implicated in the current project to create a waste processing plant in the vicinity of Tirana, which will not only process waste from Albania's major cities but also large quantities of imported garbage from Italy. The paper decries a conflict of interest among rumours about the incentives received from the Italians. For me this is also a strange story about comparative advantage.

Rilindja Demokratike, the paper of the right-wing opposition that is still widely despised for its involvement in the disasterous pyramid schemes of the nineties, is outraged over the "scandal of scandals" as it alleges that the prime-minister has lied when he published his declaration of private belongings last week (Albanian politicians make such declarations as part of the anti-corruption programs). Nano declared that his Mercedes was a present from the local DaimlerChrysler dealer, whereas according to the paper it was a present from a businessman whose name is published in the article. Nano also declared a 260sqm flat in the center of Tirana as a present he gave to his second wife. Nano declared he paid 35000 euro for the flat, from money that he received from the state for his unlawful imprisonment during the rule of right-wing parties in the nineties. The paper attacks on all fronts, claiming that the apartment is in reality three times bigger, worth fifteen times more, and that Nano declared previously that the money from his prison time went to his first wife as part of the divorce.

The socialist party newspaper Zeri i Popullit is reporting that opposition-leader Sali Berisha has declared his own income since eviction from power to be as low as 4000 euro per year, all of which is put in scare quotes by the paper. The waste processing plant is argued to prevent ecological disasters rather than provoking them.

And finally, the monthly political magazine Klan runs a commentary on Fatos Nano's generally bad relations with most media in the country. The paper points out that inspite of the acrimonious relationship, Nano often manages to instrumentalise the press for his purposes when he needs its support. The author rejects Nano's accusation that the Albanian press is behaving irresponsibly:
The irresponsibility in Albania is a proportional dimension, which is to be found distributed in equal measure in the political system, in the economy, in the security apparatus, in friendship, or also at the head of government. In a proportion that is neither inferior nor superior to that of the whole Albanian society.

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