When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

TOPIC: albania


Serbia And Kosovo: A Local Conflict Turns Dangerously International

Tension are rising between Serbia and Kosovo, taking on an international dimension with Russia lending its support to Serbia, while NATO has long had a presence in Kosovo. There is only one real solution to such a historic feud over territory and ethnicity, and it's called: Europe.


PARIS An unresolved conflict is always a potential time bomb. That's what happened last week in the Caucasus, with Azerbaijan's recapture of Nagorno-Karabakh, driving thousands of Armenians into exile. And it is also what is threatening Europe's southern flank, with violence breaking out between Serbia and Kosovo.

Watch VideoShow less

Gabon Coup Leader Sworn In, Escaping Burning Man, Google Turns 25

👋 Ǹdéèwō!*

Welcome to Monday, where Gabon’s coup leader is sworn in as “transitional president” after President Ali Bongo was ousted last week, Russia launches an attack on one of Ukraine’s biggest grain ports and the most-used search engine celebrates its 25th birthday. Meanwhile, in Les Echos, Basile Dekonink reports from the small Balkan nation of Albania, where incessant waves of emigration have decimated demographics.

[*Igbo - Nigeria]

Keep reading...Show less

Albania, The Brutal Demographics Of A Neverending Exodus

Since the fall of communism in 1991, the small Balkan state has been slowly but inexorably emptying itself, at the pace of incessant waves of emigration. With an aging and declining population and a birth rate in free fall, it is facing all kinds of challenges.

MEMALIAJ — It is 1 p.m. on a summer Saturday, and only the barking of a dog breaks the silence in the street of this small Albanian town. The sun illuminating Minatori Square doesn’t change a thing: there’s not a soul to be seen in this former mining town in Southern Albania. On the steps leading up to the cultural “palace," there is no one. Behind the drawn curtain of the old kepuce italiane ("Italian shoe") store, no one. In the red-brick buildings that threaten to crumble into ruin: no one.

“There’s nothing here anymore. No work, no money, no bread. Everyone left after the end of the dictatorship," says Stefan Arian, a 60-year-old man who speaks rusty Greek, sitting at the Café Qazimi, one of the few businesses still open. It’s hard to picture that, not so long ago, this abandoned town was one of Communist Albania’s great working-class centers. Built from scratch in 1946 to exploit the nearby coal mine, the city counted up to 12,000 inhabitants in its heyday. Barely more than 1,000 remain.

Memaliaj isn't the only one: Kukës, Zogaj, Përmet, Narta — there are dozens of such towns and villages in Albania. From North to South, the small Balkan state is criss-crossed by semi-ghost towns, with few or no inhabitants. It is the mark of a unique demographic phenomenon: since the fall of the communist regime 30 years ago, the country has been slowly but inexorably emptying itself through incessant waves of emigration.

Keep reading...Show less

This Happened — August 26: Mother Teresa Is Born

Mother Teresa was born on this day in 1910.

Get This Happened straight to your inbox ✉️ each day! Sign up here.

Keep reading...Show less
Riley Sparks, Ginevra Falciani, Renate Mattar

Where Conversion Therapy Is Banned, And Where Its Practices Are Ever More Extreme

After almost five years of promises, the UK government says it will again introduce legislation to ban conversion therapy — and in a policy shift, the proposed law would include therapies designed for transgender people.

Conversion therapy, which includes a range of practices that aim to change someone’s sexuality or gender identity, has long been controversial. Many in the LGBTQ community consider it outright evil.

As the practice has spread, often pushed on young people by homophobic family members, there has been a worldwide push to make conversion therapy illegal, with the UK as the latest country set to ban such practices as electric shocks, aversion therapy and a variety of other traumatic, dangerous techniques to try to change someone's sexual preferences or gender identity.

✉️ You can receive our LGBTQ+ International roundup every week directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

The British Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy, the professional body which governs therapists in the UK, calls the practice “unethical (and) potentially harmful.”

In France, journalists have documented many healthcare professionals offering the pseudoscientific practice. In one case, a self-described “LGBT-friendly” therapist offered to “cure” a young lesbian through so-called "rebirth therapy," a dangerous practice that was banned in some U.S. states after unlicensed therapists killed a 10-year-old girl during a session.

For one Canadian man, therapy included prescription medication and weekly ketamine injections to “correct the error” of his homosexuality, all under the guidance of a licensed psychiatrist. Some people are forced into treatment against their will — often minors — but most of the time, those who receive conversion therapy do so willingly.

The UK announcement of plans to ban conversion therapy for England and Wales comes after four separate British prime ministers had promised, for almost five years, to ban the practice.

Watch VideoShow less
In The News
Anna Akage, Bertrand Hauger, Lila Paulou, Chloé Touchard and Emma Albright

Pressure On Putin In Aftermath Of Darya Dugina’s Murder

Russian authorities opened a murder investigation after Darya Dugina was murdered in a car bomb on the outskirts of Moscow on Saturday. Dugina’s father is Russian author and staunch Putin ally Alexander Dugin: Both of them were together before the attack, though Dugin took a different car than his daughter’s and minutes later the explosion occurred. It is believed he was the intended target of the car bomb.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

Based on evidence collected from the explosion, the Russian Investigative Committee said it believed someone planned and ordered the car blast. “Taking into account the data already obtained, the investigation believes that the crime was pre-planned and was of an ordered nature," the investigative committee said in a statement Sunday.

Watch VideoShow less
Bertrand Hauger

Albanian Abandon

After six decades of good old film photography, I decided a couple of years ago that it was time to switch to a digital camera. One of the first series with my new gear was in Albania — this particular photograph under the watchful eye of Albanian soldiers.


Gendercide: Aborting Female Fetuses Occurs In Europe Too

Abort until a son is born.

Having a girl is bad news in China and India, where female fetuses are too often aborted on purpose. But, according to a new German documentary, even Europe is not free of the horrid practice sometimes called "gendercide."

Watch VideoShow less
food / travel
Giacomo Tognini

Five Crime-Fighting Apps Around The World

It gives new meaning to the concept "community policing." The explosion of smartphones is allowing people to fight crime from their pocket, wherever they may be. We take a look at five crime-fighting apps from around the world:


Addiopizzo, a citizen's organization founded a decade ago on the Italian island of Sicily to combat Mafia extortion, recently launched two apps to carry its mission against organized crime into the digital age, the Italian regional newspaper Giornale di Sicilia reports. The organization certifies businesses that refuse to pay the pizzo, the protection money demanded by the Mafia. Mostly active in the Sicilian capital of Palermo and Catania, the island's second-largest city, one of Addiopizzo's new apps help users locate certified restaurants, cafes and other businesses in the area, while the other is a travel app geared towards tourists who want to book a Mafia-free holiday.

[rebelmouse-image 27089195 alt="""" original_size="1024x683" expand=1]

Protest against Sicilian mafia — Photo: Valentina Mignano

Watch VideoShow less

Eurovision 2015 Contestants: Albania

The 60th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, that annual European musical event that no one really understands, will take place on May 23 in Vienna, Austria. This year, 40 countries will participate, including, for the first time that country down in the extreme southeastern corner of Europe: Australia. (organizers cite “strong cultural ties” to explain their qualification).

We will use this space to introduce the 40 contestants this year, one-by-one.

Watch VideoShow less

Albanian Newlywed Drama

Getting married is hard work. This Albanian couple was taking a break from their wedding photo shoot in the ancient Roman theater of Butrint. Located in the very southern tip of modern-day Albania, this archeological site was known as Bouthroton in Ancient Greece and later as the Roman city of Buthrotum.

This is one of the very first pictures I took with my new camera. Still getting used to it...

Watch VideoShow less