Ex-admiral turns down US national security adviser job: reports

Robert Harward. (U.S. Marines/Handout via Reuters)
Updated 17 February 2017
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Ex-admiral turns down US national security adviser job: reports

WASHINGTON: A former navy admiral reportedly tapped by President Donald Trump to be his national security adviser has declined the post, US media said on Thursday.
Robert Harward’s rejection leaves President Donald Trump without a replacement for retired general Michael Flynn, who resigned over a scandal involving his links with the Russian ambassador in Washington.
Officially Harward said he had turned down the job because of family and financial commitments.
However several US media outlets, including CNN and Politico, reported late Thursday that Harward was unhappy because he had no guarantees that the National Security Council — and not Trump’s political advisers — would be in charge of policy,
In a statement read on CNN, Harward said he had turned down the job because he “could not make that commitment.”
“This job requires 24 hours a day, seven days a week focus and commitment to do it right. I currently could not make that commitment,” the statement read.
He added that since retiring he’s had a chance “to address financial and family issues that would have been challenging in this position.”
An unnamed Harward friend told CNN he refused the job because of the chaos at the White House, while the Washington Post said it was in part because he would not be able to choose his own staff.
Harward, 60, spent much of his career in the Navy SEALs, the tough special warfare units, and commanded SEAL Team 3, which specializes in operations in the Middle East.
During his career Harward also worked closely with retired Marine Corps General James Mattis, the current defense secretary.
He led Special Warfare task groups in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq beginning in 2002. A year later, he was in the White House of President George W. Bush as part of the National Security Council, and in 2005 moved to the new National Counterterrorism Center.
After a tour in Afghanistan, from 2011 to his retirement in 2013 he was deputy commander of US Central Command — in charge of US military operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
After retiring Harward became a representative of defense contractor Lockheed Martin in the United Arab Emirates and made appearances as a military expert for the ABC television network.
The shaven-head tough guy, who spent his teenage years in Iran in the 1970s and speaks Farsi, was widely seen as a steadying presence after the volatile Flynn.
Flynn resigned after being implicated in several telephone conversations with the Russian ambassador in Washington before Trump took office.
Harward’s rejection caps a riotous day for the 70-year-old US president, who earlier Thursday lambasted his critics in the media and in politics in a wide-ranging one hour, 16-minute-long press conference.


Scientific study finds asylum seekers boosting European economies

Updated 21 June 2018
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Scientific study finds asylum seekers boosting European economies

  • Asylum seekers contributed most to a country’s gross domestic product after three to seven years, the research found
  • The findings come amid a rise of anti-immigrant sentiment across Europe, where immigration peaked in 2015 with the arrival of more than a million refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa

NEW YORK: Asylum seekers moving to Europe have raised their adopted nations’ economic output, lowered unemployment and not placed a burden on public finances, scientists said on Wednesday.
An analysis of economic and migration data for the last three decades found asylum seekers added to gross domestic products and boosted net tax revenues by as much as 1 percent, said a study published in Science Advances by French economists.
The findings come amid a rise of anti-immigrant sentiment across Europe, where immigration peaked in 2015 with the arrival of more than a million refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa.
An annual report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees released on Tuesday showed the global number of refugees grew by a record 2.9 million in 2017 to 25.4 million.
The research from 1985 to 2015 looked at asylum seekers — migrants who demonstrate a fear of persecution in their homeland in order to be resettled in a new country.
“The cliché that international migration is associated with economic ‘burden’ can be dispelled,” wrote the scientists from the French National Center for Scientific Research, the University of Clermont-Auvergne and Paris-Nanterre University.
The research analyzed data from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Asylum seekers contributed most to a country’s gross domestic product after three to seven years, the research found. They marginally lowered unemployment rates and had a near-zero impact of public finances, it said.
Greece, where the bulk of migrants fleeing civil war in Syria have entered Europe, was not included because fiscal data before 1990 was unavailable, it said.
Chad Sparber, an associate professor of economics at the US-based Colgate University, said the study was a reminder there is no convincing economic case against humanitarian migration.
But he warned against dismissing the views of residents who might personally feel a negative consequence of immigration.
“There are people who do lose or suffer,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“Immigration on balance is good,” he said. “But I still recognize that it’s not true for every person.”