Canadian pastor returns home after North Korea ordeal

James Lim, center, the son of Rev. Hyeon Soo Lim, speaks to the media at the Light Presbyterian Church, in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, on Saturday, after his father's return home from a North Korean prison. (AP)
Updated 13 August 2017
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Canadian pastor returns home after North Korea ordeal

OTTAWA: A Canadian pastor imprisoned in North Korea for more than two years returned home Saturday days after being released, officials said.
Hyeon Soo Lim, 62, was arrested in January 2015 on charges of subversive activities against the North Korean regime, an accusation denied by Ottawa.
Although sentenced to hard labor for life, he was granted “sick bail” following a visit to Pyongyang by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s national security adviser Daniel Jean.
“Today, we join Pastor Lim’s family and congregation in celebrating his long-awaited return to Canada,” the foreign affairs ministry said in a press statement.
“Canada has been actively engaged on Mr. Lim’s case at all levels, and we will continue to support him and his family now that he has returned,” it added.
According to local media reports, Lim was flown to a military base in Trenton, some 170 kilometers (100 miles) east of Toronto.
His liberation came at a moment of high tensions between North Korea and the United States. Three Americans remain in the custody of the regime of Kim Jong-Un.
Pyongyang has threatened to launch missiles on the island Guam, a strategic US outpost in the Pacific some 3,300 kilometers (2000 miles) from North Korea.
US President Donald Trump for his part as promised to rain down “fire and fury” on Kim’s regime.
Lim, who belongs to the Light Korean Presbyterian Church, was considered at the time of his arrest one of the most influential Christian missionaries in North Korea.
He had previously traveled extensively in the country to work in orphanages and hospitals.
But some projects he worked on, including a noodle plant and flour mills, were linked to associates of Jang Song-Thaek, the purged uncle of leader Kim.
Jang was arrested and executed for treason in December 2013.


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.”