Monthly Archives: June 2014

The 21 year-old Albanian wins 1.5 million dollars in lottery

Euglen Muslli is 21 year-old and still lives with his parents in Brooklyn, New York who last week won 1.5 million dollars in lottery.

“Many people talk about the American Dream, but I’m living it for real right now,” said Euglen Muslli, who emigrated from Albania in the U.S., only six years ago. After having a haircut on May 19, while walking near a point of sale of the lottery tickets he stopped to buy a ticket.

“When I found out I won I was shocked and now I really do not know what to do,” he said to the American media.

Muslli who won 1.5 million dollars, in his bank account will have receive a net1.18 million dollars; the remainder will go for taxes, writes “”.

“I want to keep on working,” said the young fortunate. “Down the road, I want to open an Italian restaurant. I love the Italian food.”

The original article was posted at – Click here to read the original article.

Land Rover: Adventure into the Albanian valley of Theth

A region built on warm hospitality and community spirit. Elizabeth Gowing heads out in a Land Rover Discovery to one of Europe’s most remote valleys in the small town of Theth, Northern Albania.

Elizabeth Gowing came to Kosovo eight years ago and fell in love with the Albanian Lands. She learned to speak Albanian, and set up a charity, The Ideas Partnership working on environmental, education and cultural heritage projects.

Land Rover Discovery conquers steep rocky ascents and high-passes covered in snow, as it drives through a part of Europe where no roads lead.

The original article was posted at – Click here to read the original article.

Albanian-American Youth Voices festival in NYC

This year’s “Youth Voices” festival was hosted by Gent Basha and Anisa Demi. The festival combined the competition with the fun of exhibiting the Albanian traditional dances. The Festival program was divided into two parts and all participants were competitive for different jury prizes.

After the first part, which was competitive, the jury decided about prizes for all participants of the first part of the program that was implemented successfully by the children.

The second part of the program continued with Albanian traditional dancing and was closed with a collage of songs and movies for children, accompanied by the Artistic Ensemble “Albanian songs and dances” from New York and the famous Albanian singer Arben Krasniqi who sang together with the children.

In the end the jury awarded the respective prizes. The jury was composed of Jeton Murtishi (Chairman) and members Kristofor Xhokaxhi, Luan Bexheti, Arben Krasniqi and Lindita Mezini Lole.

The first award was given to the song “Albanian Language” written by Gjergj Fishta, which was interpreted by Aurora Çumani and Angela Rusha, with the music of Demokrat Shahini and the orchestration of Gjergj Paparisto. The price was delivered by the first Albanian member of New York State Assembly, Mr. Mark Gjonaj.

The organizers of this festival were Pranvera Çobo, the founder and artistic director of the festival, Bujar Alimani, festival director, Violeta Mirakaj, librettist, Altin Ruçi, designer and Lorend Çobo, festival coordinator.

After the awards ceremony, two presenters of the festival gave flower bouquets for their support to the festival, for: the N.Y. Assembly member Mark Gjonaj; Dr. Ana Cohen; members of the jury; “Albanian Culture TV” director Adam Belliu; President of the Albanian School in Staten Island and New York and the President of “Alba Life” TV, Qemal Zylo; the festival artistic director Pranvera Çobo and the festival coordinator, Lorend Çobo.

The original article was posted at – Click here to read the original article.

The Swiss learn about Kosovo’s gastronomic culture

Lirije Mala from “Kulturpunkt” has been the proud host of a short course on Kosovo’s gastronomic culture. A group of Swiss ladies from the “Frauenverein” organization have had the chance to learn and taste some of the products that Kosovo has to offer. 

Mrs. Mala and her visitors had prepared a range of tasty meals such as : garlic and sour yogurt soup, chicken and rice, cabbage salad, the usual tomato and pepper salad, onions and feta cheese. To truly excite the taste buds, Mrs. Mala had prepared the traditional feta cheese and spinach pie, a rare delicacy for the Swiss audience. The ladies, eager to learn the skill, have learned how to prepare the pie dough and separate it into measurable pieces.

The event was accompanied by a range of products offered in the Swiss market, products that originate from Kosova. Mrs. Malaj was happy to hear that many of the ladies were astonished and will try and make the pies and salads. All in all, the Swiss had the chance to learn more on the Kosovar cuisine and Albanian tradition.

The original article was posted at – Click here to read the original article.

Bedair Jashari, the man who tailored away to the riches!

Mr. Jashari arrived in the United States in 1999 with a total of 20 dollars in his pocket. Now, among his clients are names of famous starts and athletes. Just like the thousands of dream-chasers, Mr. Jashari had come to the United States with the ambition of making use of his talent. His ambition and hard-work had finally paid off when he joined the “Bhambi’s”  tailoring house, a well known tailor shop among the elites of Manhattan. 

Bedair Jashari had arrived in Brooklyn,NY on the year of 1999. With two children and a pregnant wife, Bedair had decided to take a good look at his last 20 dollars and make a decision. Had initially been hosted by his uncle, whom he constantly praises and is grateful for the help. Bedair had been taking all the possible jobs that he could handle, he had been working back to back shifts until his English finally caught up and enabled him to look for a more professional career.

“Initially, I was very eager to start working as a designer or tailor, however, my lack of English had made it nearly impossible for companies to even consider my applications. I had sent hundreds of applications, without an answer. Years later, I decided to give it another shot and here I am. Today I work as a classic suit designer and am very happy.”

” I am very thankful to God for the talent and ambition. Only through this talent have I made it here. My ambition was never personal, just like in the past, I constantly think of ways I could better my profession as well as help others” – explains Mr. Jashari.

The famous names among his customer are: former President Bill Clinton, Senator John McCain, Pierce Brosnan,Nicole Kidman, Hillary Duff, Calvin Klein, George Forman and many others. Mr. Jashari is convinced that attention to details and customer care are the keys to a successful business. “Attention to detail brings perfection in tailoring” M.Jashari.

The original article was posted at – Click here to read the original article.

Life of Albanian lawyer Ylber Dauti in NY

Ylber Dauti, a lawyer, is among the most successful Albanian young advocates in America and Europe. His name has been frequently seen in the U.S. and Albanian media. He is frequently selected by “Verdict Search Report & New York Law Journal” for excellent records. Lawyer Dauti has won numerous cases on legal issues of a few million dollars. Therefore, he is classified as “the millionaire lawyer”.

In the list of his victories, sensational issues that have dictated to change even the state laws were recorded. But, which are the latest victories of the lawyer? In this article we will introduce: the victory with a seven-figure of an Albanian client a few weeks ago, the victory of a delicate issue with two Albanian children who as adults will find themselves being multimillionaires; maximum victory with an American client who became a millionaire; the latest involvement in the “Verdict Search Report and the New York Law Journal”; and the meeting with George Soros where he was assigned to give him a special award. How he felt when he lost the first court battle ten years ago? What emotions he experiences after a prolonged legal battle? Why does he recommend to his clients the saying of Mark Twain, the same located in a conspicuous place of his office: “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything”?

The latest news from “The Daut Law, PC” legal office of the Albanian lawyer is a trial that ended a few weeks ago in New York. His client was an Albanian born and raised in America. The lawyer says that the jury selection was a coincidence; one of the selected members was of Albanian origin, who came in the U.S. 20 years ago. This was unusual in 10 years of experience of Dauti. This coincidence made him happy, as he thought that he himself as an Albanian lawyer and his Albanian client would feel better since there would be an affinity, but the feeling quickly dissipated; the selected Albanian jury member resigned due to his weak English. However the trial continued with another selection and the question ended positively. The Albanian client came satisfied from defense of the lawyer Dauti, not only due to the amount of compensation with seven figures he won, but also with professionalism and ethics of Mr. Dauti.

Lawyer Dauti has worked hard to protect children. Nights, weeks and months until he succeeded; he proved so reliably that the other side was to blame for the accident. Alongside other evidence, he managed to convince the opposing party through the testimony of two experts: a child psychologist and a civil engineer. The judge was shocked from the compensation amount of the issue and stated that “she had never seen or heard that such a great amount o was given in a case like this, because – according to her – injuries were so minor.” How much was the amount of compensation? The lawyer does not give figures, but repeats what his clients have written in a public letter published in “the Sun” that: “When the children grow up they will realize that they are multimillionaires…”
“But I would like to add, the lawyer says,  “especially one of them will have a lot of millions and probably won’t need to work at all during his life – of course he doesn’t have to work, but I would not suggest such a thing at all.”

Lawyer Dauti was also highly appreciated in a public letter from another client, Joseph Kramer, which he published in “Dielli” magazine in February 2013. Thanks to Dauti’s legal office, Kramer won the biggest judicial remuneration for 2012 in the state of New York. Also, Dauti holds a record of “Verdict Search Report & New York Law Journal” for winning the “premises liability” twice for the biggest amount earned in a judicial case in the New York state. Ylber Dauti is also the first Albanian lawyer being a member of “Million/Multimillion Dollar Advocates Forum”.

The original article was posted at – Click here to read the original article.

Halit Rexhepi:The hope of the Swiss International Chess Team

While Mr. Rexhepi has been living in Switzerland for 29 years. He is still a holder of B visa, a status that makes him a long stay visitor; however the residence status does not hold Mr. Rexhepi back from being a stellar player. He is the one of the best chess players and is willing to represent Switzerland wholeheartedly.

Mr. Rexhepi is so far the person with the greatest chances of representing Switzerland at the International Chess Competitions for people with damaged hearing. So far, he has an impressive record of being three times selected as the champion of chess for people with damaged hearing.

“When I am playing chess, I forget about all my problems,” says Mr. Halit Rexhepi. One thing he does not forget are his cigarettes. While playing at the 2008 chess competitions at St. Gallen, he could not focus due to restrictions on smoking. Playing for hours without smoking was just too difficult. He is not convinced that a ban on smoking is rational because “this way we would have to disqualify the players that have garlic breath,” jokingly argues Mr. Rexhepi.

Halit Rexhepi and his family had moved to Switzerland 21 years ago. After finishing high school, he had worked as a salesman at a grocery store. His first hearing aid device was given to him at a Swiss Hospital. Mr. Rexhepi explains that his hearing is damaged up to 70% and is unable to learn sign language, however, he can read lips and that is how he manages to get by. Besides, he jokingly explains that playing chess does not require one to speak.

Initially, Mr. Rexhepi started playing at a chess club called “Kosova”, a club initiated from Kosovar Diaspora members in St. Gallen. His numerous wins had motivated him to move forward and win the title of Swiss champion of Chess for People with Hearing Damage. Even though Mr. Rexhepi is not a citizen, he will represent the Swiss team at the World Championship Competition that is to be held in Croatia. The team is consisted of six members and Mr. Rexhepi shall be leading it to success.

The original article was posted at – Click here to read the original article.

Kosovo Diaspora forever thankful to Oldham

Osman Caka arrived in Oldham on 27th of May 1999, penniless and frightened. Mr. Caka traveled from Clayton in order to pay a visit to the plaque commemorating the 10th anniversary of Oldham accepting the Kosovar-Albanian refugees.  His story echoes the personal stories of thousands of Albanian refugees that had fled Kosovo due to the conflict.

“Every year I go, I never forget. I had a second birth in Oldham, it is my second home and it is very, very important that we never forget. Oldham people gave everything to our people. They gave us food, clothes, heart and spirit — and for that I will always be thankful.” Mr. Caka is very grateful and now pays a regular religious like visit to the plaque ever since it had been unveiled on 2009.

The original article was posted at Oldham News – Click here to read the original article.

She comes in spring

Antoneta Kastrati: When Passion and Dedication Speak through Documentary Film-making

Antoneta Kastrati has a unique story to tell.  Raised in the village of Zahaq (city of Peja), she abandoned her studies in medicine to pursue a career in film directing. Antoneta chose documentary film making as a medium of expression.  In 2009, she graduated with a Master’s degree from the Kosovo Institute of Journalism and Communications.  She was chosen as one of the eight women directors chosen by the American Film Institute Directing Workshop for Women from across the United States.   Since 2003, Antoneta has produced over ten documentaries that share insights into social issues ranging from traditions of marriage, women in politics, domestic violence, homophobia, deforestation and coal pollution.

In an interview for Kosovo Diaspora, Anoneta talks about her struggles and challenges that led her to successful film production.

KD: Tell us a bit about your background and the work you do?

Shortly after the war in Kosovo, I joined the “Balkan Sunflowers”, a volunteer humanitarian group that organized activities for youth and children. It was there I first started learning about camera and documentary film. I got involved in documentary film because it was vehicle for me to express myself as well as tell stories that mattered.  I moved to Los Angeles after I received my master’s degree.

KD: How did the idea for your short film “She Comes in Spring” come about?

At the end of the war, only two days before NATO troops entered Kosova, my mother and older sister were killed by a group of Serbs from a nearby village.  The killer is still free today somewhere in Serbia. I had wondered many times about going to find them and what it would be like to confront them.

So, I wrote She Comes In Spring exploring the possibility of confrontation, in a fictional form. The script however, changed a lot from the first initial draft.  She Comes In Spring now tells the story of brutality of the war through the point of view and the memory of a Serbian soldier, who now many years after the war is faced with his past.

She Comes in Spring is the first step for me in a long process of dealing with the past.  It is a predecessor to a documentary film I plan to make in the near future.

KD: What are the most worthy reactions the film has received so far?

After the Newport Beach Film Festival screening in California, I was approached by an old man in tears who gave me a long hug telling me how brave I was. He talked to me about the importance of remembrance and sharing the stories of war so they won’t happen again. I soon realized that he was a Holocaust survivor. Here he was 90 years old and had spent most of his life bringing to light the atrocities and lessons from the Holocaust.  I felt such closeness to this old man. He reminded me of the importance and the responsibility I have as a survivor – to bring to light and never forget the dead.

Another reaction worth mentioning came from a French citizen, after the Dokufest screening who said what was so unique about this film is the fact that it is a confrontation with Serbs about what happened, and that it is something he hasn’t seen as of yet and that it is of a crucial importance.

Another reaction was a recent one, from a woman from Prishtina who sent me a Facebook message after my screening at Femmes Fatales Film Festival, which I was not able to attend. I am going to quote part of her message “During the screening, I was sitting next to a woman from Serbia. While we, the Albanian audience, were wiping our tears in secret, the woman from Serbia was crying out loud.”

In addition, I think that International audiences were surprised to see a film coming from Kosovo, made by a war survivor that tells the story in an unbiased, truthful way, away from nationalistic clichés and stereotypes.

KD: What projects are you working on now?

I am writing and developing my first feature film based on Empty Bucket, a short I directed few years ago, which I plan to shoot in Kosovo hopefully in the next two years. It is a story of Lume, a young bride married in an isolated Kosovo village who is haunted by nightmares and suffers her second miscarriage in a row. Her mother in law is convinced that Lume is cursed by black magic and sends her on a journey of witch doctors, unusual rituals and forced bed rest, in order to heal her from the curse. Later, as her husband’s family celebrates a new pregnancy, Lume’s wartime past comes back to haunt her and her unborn baby.

It is a drama/mystery and it deals with the consequences of the war in present day Kosovo.

KD: How do you see the art and culture scene in Kosovo?

I think there have been some good developments in the recent years, primarily in film.  I am very much excited about the new generation of directors from Kosovo. I see an emergence of honest, professional and creative work coming from this new wave of directors. There have been a handful of short films that have had international success. There are some feature films being developed that I can’t wait to see in the big screen, such as “The Wedding” from Blerta Zeqiri and “Babai” by Visar Morina.

Another shift happening in the last few years comes from QKK (Kosovo Cinematographic Center) and it has to do with financing. In the past few years they have started to trust and finance film projects from young directors. I think that is a great step for the future of Filmmaking in Kosovo.

KD: How can diaspora members help better the image of Kosovo?

Doing the work we are inspired to do. Creating qualitative work that moves beyond our borders. We have seen with Rita Ora and Majlinda Kelmendi. They are working hard and moving forward in doing what they know how to do best.  I think work speaks for itself.

To find out more about Antoneta Kastrati or her Film click here “She comes in Spring”

From Busboy to Restaurant Owners in two US cities

Russ, Jack and Jeff Sinanaj are the trio behnd the successful mini-restaurant empire with over 200 employees in New York City and Arizona.

The brothers grew up in Montenegro and Russ Sinanaj was the first to come to the US followed by Jack and then Jeff. The brothers went through a lot, starting off as dishwashers at a pizzeria and working their way up to waiters at the Peter Luger Steak House. The brothers found their inspiration and passion while working at the restaurant. The road to success has not been easy but hard work and determination finally paid off and in 2005 Russ and Jack opened up their own restaurant along with two of their cousins – the Ben and Jack’s Steak House on E. 44th St, followed by four more restaurants, one in Arizona and three in Manhattan.

In an interview for the Jack Sinanaj said “I am lucky. I guess it’s about hard work and believing in your dreams.”

The brothers managed to gather $1.2 million when Jeff Sinanaj found a location for the restaurant, the E. 44th St. since he was working as a real estate broker at the time. They started hiring staff including the grill man that worked at Peter Luger and opened up The Ben and Jack’s Steak House. It did not take long before the restaurant got good reviews and became a hot stop for diners.