Friday, September 30, 2011

Albanian EU Progress Hindered by Lack of Consensus

Albania's Democratic Party and Socialist Party continue to be at loggerheads stifling Albania's opportunity to join the EU. Here's BIRN's latest take on that emotionally exhausting standoff in the Albanian Parliament.


Albanian EU Progress Hindered by Lack of Consensus

The inability of political leaders to reach consensus on key reforms within in Albania is delaying the country’s progress towards European Union candidacy, a report published by the Open Society Foundation in Albania, OSFA, has shown.

Besar Likmeta

Adela Halo, coordinator of the good governance and integration programme at OSFA and a co-author of the report, told Balkan Insight that political consensus was a key part of passing reforms in Albania.

“What we have that a good part of the measures addressed as a priority by the European Commission, require political consensus,”
she said.

OFSA’s report, which analyzed progress in implementation of measures planned by the Albanian government in the Action Plan Addressing the Recommendations of the EC Opinion, found that last year the pace of reforms slowed down considerably compared to the previous year.

Out of 102 planned measures for implementation in 2011, only 20 per cent were implemented, compared to 57 per cent in 2010, while 76 of the measures are partially implemented and work has not even started on four per cent of them.

Within the implemented measures, 80 per cent are in the fight against corruption and organised crime. No measures have been fully implemented in the areas of the functioning of the parliament, the appointment of the Ombudsman and Constitutional and High Court judges, and only 5 per cent of the overall implemented measures come from the priority on justice reform.

Albania first applied for EU candidacy status in April 2009, but its bid was turned down by the European Commission last October, because not enough progress had been made in political dialogue, the fight against organized crime or against corruption.

Last year, the commission issued 12 recommendations on policy areas, which needed to be addressed with reforms, in order for Tirana to obtain the EU candidate status and open the door for a possible date for negotiations.

However, the Socialists and the Democrats, Albania’s main political parties, have been at loggerheads with each other ever since the 2009 disputed parliamentary elections. For the better part of 2010 the Socialist opposition boycotted parliament or participated only formally, protesting alleged irregularities in the poll, while calling for a parliamentary investigation of the alleged fraud. The year long-political crisis, culminated in the January 21, 2011 anti-government demonstration that left four protestors dead and dozens wounded.

The Socialist opposition boycotted parliament again after the May 8 local elections, in protest against what it alleged were fresh irregularities in the race for the post of Tirana mayor. The boycott worsened the political environment, as it meant that bills requiring a two-thirds majority in parliament to become enshrined into law could not be passed. This brought reform in the country to a virtual standstill.

October Youth Resources & Opportunities


BYF After-School Jobs: The Boston Youth Fund will be funding jobs at several organizations for the 2011-2012 school year. Participating organizations will be accepting applications through Oct 21. Interested applicants must complete BYF’s Application and bring it to their desired site. Jobs include childcare assistants, administrative assistants, after-school tutors, and more at $8/hr, max 10 hrs/week. All applicants must be 15 years of age on or before Nov 27 and cannot turn 19 on or before May 11, 2012. Must be currently enrolled in high school or an alternative education program. All applicants must be full-time residents of the City of Boston. For a complete list of work sites & application:

Boston Centers for Youth & Families After School Programs: The BCYF Program Guide for 2011-12 is online now! Find programs from fall through spring for all ages including homework help, GED, basketball, volleyball, yoga, chess, computer class and more. Limited print copies available at your neighborhood BCYF center. 617-635-4920,


Register to Vote!: If you are a US Citizen, a resident of Boston and will be 18 years old for the upcoming Municipal Election on Nov 8, then register to vote by Oct 19! If you have registered to vote but will be out of town (i.e. college) learn how you can vote by Absentee Ballot. Also, get info on this fall’s Municipal Election.

Our Vote Matters!: Find the answers to questions asked by young voters.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

3 Million Visitors Flock to Albania this Year

I have to commend the V. Rev. Arthur E. Liolin, Dean of Saint George Albanian Orthodox Cathedral in South Boston, for his frequent and interesting posts about Albania to MASS BESA at massalbanians@yahoogroups com. Here's an interesting - and little known - tidbit about Albania that he recently posted:


3 Million Visitors Flock to Albania this Year

Albania tourism increases in 2011

The number of people visiting Albania in the first eight months of this year has doubled since 2008. The country welcome 3 million tourists between January and August of 2011, as the Balkans continue to attract foreign interest.

The tourism growth has been a constant drive for the Albanian economy, with a 16 per cent increase in tourists this year than 2010. Approximately 300,000 more people visited the country, a jump largely attributed by the Ministry of Tourism to an improved infrastructure and quality of service.

New roads, ports and airports have all been introduced, pushing up international demand. While 870,000 of the tourists recorded were Albanians residing abroad, 2.1 million of the 3 million were foreign citizens, indicating that overseas interest in the Balkans is still rising.

Albania’s progress is only matched by Bulgaria. Continuing to reside in’s Top of the Props charts, international demand for bargains in the Balkans has been fuelled by the price drop of property in Bulgaria’s ski resorts, which are now 50 per cent cheaper than two years ago.

Developments are therefore on the up in both countries, with Albania’s stretch of coast between Vlore and Sarande – dubbed the “Albanian Riviera” – seeing a rapid wave of construction. But while some developers rush into projects without planning permission, the Albanian property industry praised the development of the Lalzit Bay Resort at the 2011 RealEX Conference.

The Adriatic coast resort was awarded project of the year at the conference, which took place in Tirana, for its high quality infrastructure and strong commitment to the environment.

Resort partner Ravin Maharajah commented:

"Albania is no longer a country hiding in the shadows thanks to an ever improving infrastructure and real GDP growth. Construction projects such as the $400m Tirana-Elbasan highway and increased frequency of flights most recently between London and Tirana have made huge contributions to rising tourist numbers. As well as this, the country has been experiencing high levels of positive publicity with the likes of legendary business magnet Donald Trump speaking of the rapidly growing Albanian property market at the RealEX conference recently.”

"In addition, Albania has become a distinctive emerging market and has been attracting firm interest from foreign investors with foreign direct investment (FDI) in Albania exceeding the $1 billion mark last year according to the UNDP Resident Coordinator."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Frosina Thought of the Month (Mendimi i Muajit)

- Mos harro se ne rast se mundesite per bema te medha nuk vijne kurre, mundesia per bema te mira vjen per dite. Ajo per te cilen ne aspirojme, eshte miresia dhe jo lavdia.*

- Remember that if the opportunities for great deeds should never come, the opportunity for good deeds is renewed day by day. The thing for us to long for is the goodness, not the glory.

- By F. W. Faber

Happy New Year 5572 from Jane and Van Christo

L'Shana Tora - 5572

Happy New Year to all of our Jewish friends
from Jane and Van Christo

Charity Walk in Boston on October 3, 2011

This is a reminder about our first charity walk taking place this Sunday, October 2nd, at noon on the Boston Harbor-Walk starting at the McCormack Bathhouse on Day Blvd in South Boston. It looks like the weather is going to be perfect for our three mile scenic walk along the water. We are hoping to see many of our members along with their friends and relatives. If you can't join us, please consider making a donation to this very worthy cause by using the link to the MAASBESA Paypal site. AALS t-shirts will be given to donors making a $25 or more contribution. If you want a t-shirt please respond to this email with the size you need.

For more details click on the Facebook link or see the AALS website under future events.

Thank you and hope to see you there,
Elise Loukas
Vice President,
Albanian American Law Society


Monday, September 26, 2011

8 Tips For Improving Your Marketing Communications

My older son, Jeff, is Executive VP at ARTCO and regularly distributes useful marketing hints on the internet based on his long experience in the printing business. Below is Jeff's most recent marketing counsel that could be helpful to small business owners and others.

8 Tips For Improving Your Marketing Communications

In this era of mass communication, taking the time to personalize a thoughtful selling proposition is a surefire way to stand out in a crowded marketplace. A carefully worded sales letter can open doors like magic.

Be warm, genuine and personal. Advances in printing technology have made personalization a surprisingly affordable option. If you don’t have resources to build a customized database, be as specific as possible (e.g., “Dear Business Owner”).

Get to the point. You only have seconds to grab a reader’s attention. Use your first sentence to make a compelling statement. Follow up immediately with benefits, testimonials, and a call to action.

Present the offer on page one. Some writers use a headline or Johnson Box to present the offer, but these techniques can make the letter look more like advertising. Another option is using boldface type. Whatever approach you use, make sure it’s on page one and persuasive enough to keep your prospect reading.

Watch the page count. If you can say everything you need in one page, fantastic! Refer the prospect to inserts containing additional detail. If you must use more than one page, end the first page in mid-sentence. This appeals to our natural sense of curiosity, encouraging the reader to turn the page.

Eliminate the risk. Is your offer too good to be true? Take skepticism out of the mix by assuring the reader there is no obligation; guarantee what you say.

Create urgency. Make a logical case why the reader must respond now. Maybe it’s a limited time offer, supplies are limited, or a price increase is expected.

The end is as important as the beginning. The person with the highest authority relevant to the reader should sign in blue ink. The postscript (P.S.) is one of the most-read parts of a letter, like a headline at the end; use it to restate your offer or response deadline.

A prospect is worth the cost of a stamp. Don’t count on the reader to connect to your website to request additional information. Include a postage-paid business reply card.

Writing a sales letter is thought by many to be an art form, so consider outsourcing to a specialist. If you choose to write the letter yourself, include these basic elements to make customers magically appear.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 9:46 am


Posted by Alejandro Mayorkas, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Each September, Constitution Day and Citizenship Day and the weeklong celebration of Constitution Week offer an important opportunity to reflect on the meaning and importance of U.S. citizenship. It’s a special time for me and the entire workforce of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). As the federal agency responsible for naturalization and citizenship, USCIS has the privilege of welcoming America’s newest citizens.

As part of this annual commemoration celebrating citizenship, we highlight naturalization ceremonies across the country and recognize the significant contributions of immigrants who have chosen to become Americans.

In addition, we are proud to announce grants totaling $9 million for 42 organizations charged with expanding citizenship preparation services for permanent residents.

Read more at:

Israeli Architect Warns Albania against Damaging Heritage

I was somewhat distressed to read the following article about Albania in and thought other Albanian-Americans should see it.


News 20 Sep 2011
Israeli Architect Warns Albania against Damaging Heritage

An ongoing road development project in southern Albania could threaten archaeological heritage sites, a member of the International Council of Monuments and Sites, ICMS, has warned.

Besar Likmeta

Giora Solar, an Israeli preseveration architect who led a joint fact-finding mission with UNESCO last year aimed at identifying the impact a road expansion would have on Albania’s Butrint Archeological Park, said ongoing road developments along the coast could have a detrimental affect on heritage sites.

“Butrint was the subject of our mission, but at the same time there could be other cultural or natural sites, affected by the coastal project, which are not under international monitoring, and therefore not mentioned - but potentially put at risk.”
he said.

In 2007, Albania commenced a large-scale development project of its southern coastal areas, building new roads to connect coastal villages in the Southern Riviera. The aim was to make the villages more accessible and provide better transport links for tourists.

Last year, Solar’s joint fact-finding mission with UNESCO and ICOMOS, looked at the impact one road expansion had on the Butrint Park. The findings of the report showed that the ruin would not be damaged by the road expansion but the surrounding land could be affected.

FALL 2011 Consumer Information Catalog

A Frosina Advisory __________________________________________________________________________________

FALL 2011 Consumer Information Catalog
Free and low-cost information

Albanians and other newcomers to the USA should visit to read, download (pdf) and order useful publications online in the FALL 2011 Consumer Information Catalog from the U.S. Government Printing Office. The Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC) publishes the Consumer Information Catalog to deliver useful consumer information from federal agencies to the public.

The current FALL 2011 Catalog lists useful information about, for example,
Federal Programs - Cars - Education – Health and more with data supplied in the form of individual booklets by sponsoring federal agencies and offices. Below are only a few titles:

“Your Social Security Number and Card” 515W, FREE / “Social Security: Understanding the Benefits” 519W, FREE / “Social Security: What Every Woman Should Know” 523W, FREE / “For Public Sale! Used Federal Government Personal Property” 320W, $1.50

“Understanding Vehicle Financing” 306W, $1.50 / "Buying a Used Car" 301W, $1.50 “Buying a New Car” 302W, $1.50

“Saving and Investing for Students” 614W, Free / “Start Saving for College - Better Buy Degrees” 509W, Free / “We the People – A More Perfect Union” Poster 507W, Free

“Health Scams” 576W, Free “Antibiotic Resistance” 534W, Free/ “Pap Tests” 612W, Free/”Mammograms” 548W, Free / “Diabetes Medicines” 596W, Free / “High Blood Pressure – Medicines to Help You” 559W, Free

“A Guide for Seniors: Protect Yourself Against Investment Fraud” 577W, Free / “Get the Facts on Saving and Investing” 584W, Free / ”Consumer Guide to Financial Self-Defense” 580W, Free

Over 100 booklets are free of charge (except for a $2.00 service fee* to accompany an order) with other costs beginning at 50 cents and up per booklet. Multiple copies of some free titles are available. Please call toll-free 1-719-948-2995 Monday-Friday 9-5 Eastern Time or for more information.

*INTERNET: Save the $2.00 service fee! Check out where you can read, download (pdf) and order all publications online. No more phone or Fax orders.

Frosina Information Network | 162 Boylston St, / Boston, MA 02116 | Telephone: 617 / 482-2002 | Fax: 617 / 482-0014
Van Christo, Executive Director / Harold B. Dondis, Esq., Clerk and Legal Counsel
email: / Website: / Blog:
Tirana Office: Vladimir L. Misha, Director / email:

Frosina is a Section 501 (3)(C) Non-Profit, Charitable, Tax Exempt Albanian Immigrant and Cultural Resource

Thursday, September 22, 2011

First Albanian to earn Law & Policy Doctoral Degree


Contact: Dr. Elda Sinani

Elda Sinani Awarded Doctorate from Northeastern University
First Albanian to earn Law & Policy Doctoral Degree

(HARTFORD, CT, September 21, 2011) Elda Sinani, a resident of Glastonbury, CT was awarded a Doctoral Degree in Law & Policy on September 17, 2011, from Northeastern University in Boston, MA. She is the first native of Albania to earn this specific degree in U.S.A., among other Albanians who have earned Ph.D.’s, J.D.’s, and M.D.’s

Dr. Sinani’s doctoral dissertation was entitled, “Stepping Up from the Shadows: Creating a Model for Leadership Development Among Immigrant Women.” A native of Albania who immigrated to the United States in 2000, Dr. Sinani said she had long wanted to do a study on immigrant women in this country. However, she soon found that virtually all existing academic work on the subject focused on its negative aspects, such as spousal abuse and substance abuse. “From my own personal experience, I knew that there are many immigrant women who are overcoming the numerous barriers they face and becoming leaders both within their own communities and in the general population. I wanted to tell their stories and create a leadership model in order to inspire other immigrant women to take full advantage of the opportunities this country offers.” Over 20 immigrant women were interviewed in the course of the study. The dissertation was completed in June, 2011 under the direction of Dr. Thomas H. Koenig, Professor of Sociology at Northeastern, and Dr. Philip Timothy Howard, Professor of Law at Northeastern.

Dr. Sinani has attended numerous national and international conferences. On April 29, 2010 she participated with a presentation at the International Congress of Educational Research in Antalya, Turkey. In addition, Dr. Sinani’s recent study “Stepping Up from the Shadows” has been accepted for presentation at the Conference, “Strangers in New Homelands: Deconstruction and Reconstruction of Home among Immigrants in the Diaspora,” at the University of Manitoba, Canada.

In addition to her doctoral degree, Dr. Sinani also holds law degrees from the University of Shkodra, Albania, and the University of Connecticut, School of Law. Formerly a Prosecutor in Albania, she has extensive experience in public service and administration. She currently works for the City of Hartford as a Project Manager in the Department of Development Services.

- END -

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Olympic/Titanic Trivia: A tidbit from Van Christo

Some of those of you who know me are aware of the fact that I was brought to the USA from Albania at the age of one year on board the huge British liner "Olympic." However, it was only after I became an adult that I was surprised to learn the "Olympic" was a sister ship of the ill-fated "Titanic!" Then, in the column THIS DAY IN HISTORY in The Boston Globe (September 20, 2011), I further learned that "In 1911, the British liner RMS Olympic collided with the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Hawke off the Isle of Wight; although seriously damaged, the Olympic was able to return to Southampton under its own power." Interesting, perhaps?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Frosina's office in Boston closed for 2 weeks


Frosina's office on Boylston Street, Boston, will be closed from September 5, 2011 to September 17, 2011.

Please do not contact Frosina during that period, that is - please - no telephone calls, emails, or other means of communication during those dates.

Many thanks for your attention and cooperation.

Van Christo

Thursday, September 1, 2011

3 MA Sources for English Language Istruction

The MA Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) and English for New Bostonians (ENB) are embarking on an exciting new initiative, the MA AmeriCorps New American Integration Program, in partnership with the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants (ORI) to match 30 AmeriCorps Members with community-based refugee- and immigrant-serving organizations in three Massachusetts cities—Lynn, New Bedford and Boston.

Members will support and deliver English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) instruction, and Civic Education and Citizenship Assistance, and work to connect immigrants and refugees with community resources. They also will work with host site staff to enhance volunteer recruitment capacity to develop ongoing expanded services.
Seeking a part-time Program Coordinator who will oversee project start-up activities, Member training and 15 community placements at AmeriCorps host sites; and work closely with NAIP staff at ORI, MIRA’s Organizing team, and ENB staff to meet the goals and objectives of the position. Applications are requested no later than September 16, and will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Claudia Green
Executive Director
English for New Bostonians
105 Chauncy St., Suite 901
Boston, MA 02111
617.350.5480 x203