Two killed as snow, sub-zero temperatures paralyze Europe

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Pedestrians cross Whitehall as snow falls in London. (AP)
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Pedestrians cross the millennium bridge as heavy snowfall hits London. (AFP)
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A man fits snow chains to his car in the village of Brenchley in southeast England. (AFP)
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The Ajaccio basin covered with snow on the French Mediteranean island of Corsica. (AFP)
Updated 27 February 2018
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Two killed as snow, sub-zero temperatures paralyze Europe

BUCHAREST: Two people were found dead in Romania as snow and sub-zero temperatures across much of Europe saw flights canceled, road and rail transport disrupted and schools closed on Tuesday.
A Siberian weather system forecasters have called the “beast from the east” brought the coldest temperatures for years to many regions. The freeze was expected to continue for much of the week.
In southern Romania, an 83-year-old woman from Adancata was found collapsed in the snow and died on the way to hospital, the Institute for Emergency Situations (ISU) said. A 65-year-old man was found dead late on Monday in the eastern county of Suceava, an official told state news agency Agerpres.
Parts of a motorway linking the capital Bucharest to Constanta and dozens of other roads were closed. More than 80 trains and 15 flights were canceled, Romanian police said, and Romania’s Black Sea ports were closed.
Record snowfall of 182 cm (72 inches) paralyzed the northern Croatian town of Delnice and rescue services took several hours to evacuate residents in the nearby village of Mrzle Vodice. Temperatures hit a low of -20 degrees Celsius in Zavizan on the Velebit mountain.
Schools were closed in Bucharest and ten Romanian counties as well as across western and central Croatia.
The roofs of dozens of houses collapsed under the weight of snow in the Unsko-Sanski canton in northwestern Bosnia.
State-run RTCG TV reported that Montenegro’s main Golubovci airport was closed for several hours overnight.
In Britain, parts of the east saw up to 10 cm of snow and the weather service said temperatures could fall toward -10 degrees Celsius in some rural areas.
Some schools closed on Tuesday and train services and some flights were canceled. In London, snow covered some parts of Westminster and a blizzard briefly swept through the Canary Wharf financial district.
A rare snowstorm in Rome on Monday prompted Italian authorities to call in the army to help clear the streets.
As the storm moved south on Tuesday, Naples saw the most snow since 1956. It blanketed the beach and covered fishing boats in small city ports such as Santa Lucia and Mergellina.
With a snow-covered Mount Vesuvius providing the backdrop, the snow paralyzed traffic and train services. Schools were closed in Naples and much of southern Italy.


Scientific study finds asylum seekers boosting European economies

Updated 31 min 57 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.”