Man sets himself on fire outside New Zealand parliament

The man was taken to hospital in a critical condition. (Video grab)
Updated 21 September 2017
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Man sets himself on fire outside New Zealand parliament

WELLINGTON, New Zealand: A man who set himself on fire outside New Zealand’s parliament was in a critical condition Thursday, police said, just two days before the country’s general election.
Fire and ambulance officers rushed to the man, who journalists at the Wellington building said was a lone protester.
Radio New Zealand said witnesses reported seeing the man holding a placard relating to the family court.
One unnamed bystander told the radio station he saw the incident from the nearby Backbencher hotel.
“Everyone was looking out the windows then people started rushing out of the Backbencher with buckets of water and stuff like that,” he said.
“I hadn’t actually seen what was happening but then when the smoke cleared there was a guy lying on the ground and he’d obviously been burned.”
Police would not comment on whether the man’s identity was known, or what his motives were.
Senior sergeant Glen Turner told reporters security footage would be examined as part of the investigation.
“Things like this are highly unusual and extremely unfortunate,” Turner added.
New Zealand is in the midst of a tightly contested election campaign in which conservative Prime Minister Bill English is battling a challenge from center-left rival Jacinda Ardern.


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.”