Philippines declares victory over Daesh in Marawi

Philippine Army scout rangers who participated in anti-terrorism training attends a graduation ceremony to coincide with the end of fighting against Daesh supporters in the southern Philippines, in Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao on October 23, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 24 October 2017
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Philippines declares victory over Daesh in Marawi

CLARK FIELD: After five months of intense fighting between Philippine government security forces and the Daesh-backed Islamist Maute group in Marawi City, the government has declared victory.
Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana made the announcement at the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defense Ministers Meeting, which opened here on Monday.
Ministers from the 10 ASEAN member nations — the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Brunei Darussalam — arranged a special meeting to discuss ongoing and future coordinated approaches to the growing security threats in Southeast Asia, particularly terrorism and violent extremism.
Lorenza announced the Philippine government’s victory in Marawi in a press conference, saying that combat operations in the country’s only Islamic city had been terminated, as the remaining Maute fighters had been killed.
“There are no more militants inside Marawi City,” Lorenzana said, confirming what President Rodrigo R. Duterte said last week when he declared the city free from terrorists.
Lorenzana claimed the victory meant the government had “defeated terrorism in the Philippines.”
“In crushing the most serious attempt thus far to export violent extremism and radicalism to the Philippines and the region, we have contributed to preventing its spread in Asia and (helped) to maintain global peace, stability, and security,” he said.
“While we (acknowledge) that these tactical and strategic gains will not annihilate the ideology completely, we declare that this achievement is a clear manifestation of how our regional cooperation can lead to a decisive advance against the proliferation of terrorism in this part of the world,” Lorenzana continued.
The defense secretary expressed his gratitude for the help extended by the US, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, and Singapore, and China as government forces battled the militant forces.
Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis praised the Philippines for its victory in Marawi.
Mattis is in the Philippines for the ADMM-Plus — a platform for ASEAN defense chiefs to engage their counterparts from Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, and the US.
“One of the first things I’m going to do is commend the Philippine military for liberating Marawi from the terrorists,” Mattis said in a statement released by the Pentagon. “It was a very tough fight, and I think the Philippine military sent a very strong message to the terrorists.”
Mattis added that his attendance was an opportunity to recognize ASEAN for 50 years of promoting peace and stability in Southeast Asia, and 40 years of cooperation with America.
“They have done a very good job of it,” he said.
Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne, who is also attending ADMM-Plus, met the crews of the two Australian Defense Force (ADF) AP-3C Orion aircraft which provided aerial surveillance support to the Philippine government’s successful operations against the Maute group in Marawi.
“We ask a lot of the men and women of the ADF and they answer without question and I particularly want to acknowledge that today,” she said. “I want to acknowledge the very real contribution that our ability to work with the government of the Philippines and the armed forces of the Philippines makes in terms of effective regional engagement.
“Australia and the Philippines have an extremely long, shared regional and military history. And our engagement in surveillance activity here has been an extension of that,” she continued. “An important extension of that.”


Scientific study finds asylum seekers boosting European economies

Updated 3 min 51 sec ago
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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.”