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Rahaf al-Qunun arrives in Canada – no mention in Saudi media

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Rahaf al-Qunun arrives in Canada – no mention in Saudi media | The Thaiger

The 18 year old Saudi runaway who says she feared her family and possible death if she was deported back to Saudi Arabia, has arrived in Canada. Canadian officials offered her asylum in a case that became global news after the plucky woman mounted a Twitter storm, barricaded in her airport hotel room last weekend.

The Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland met Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun at Toronto’s airport after arriving on a Korean flight from Bangkok, via Seoul.

“This is Rahaf al-Qunun, a very brave new Canadian.” 

Al-Qunun smiled as she exited an airport arrival door wearing a Canada zipper hoodie and a UN High Commissioner for Refugees cap.

Her arrival in Canada ended a dramatic seven days that started with her fleeing her family while visiting Kuwait and flying to Bangkok. 

After a week of diplomatic ‘push and pull’ between the Thai, Saudi, then Australian and Canadian governments, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees was allowed to step in and assess the woman’s request for refugee status.

On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would accept Al-Qunun as a refugee. The Canadian PM said the situation has highlighted the cause of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia.

Upon her arrival yesterday the Canadian FM said Qunun preferred not to take questions.

“It was a pleasure for me this morning to welcome her to her new home.”

“She is obviously very tired after a long journey and she preferred to go and get settled. But it was Rahaf’s choice to come out and say hello to Canadians. She wanted Canadians to see that she’s here, that she’s well and that she’s very happy to be in her new home.”

Freeland said Qunun commented about the cold weather and she responded that it gets warmer in Canada.

Qunun Tweeted two pictures from her flight. One with what appears to be a glass of wine and her passport and another holding her passport while on the plane #I did it and emojis showing plane, hearts and wine glass.

There was no immediate Saudi government reaction, nor any mention of her arrival in state media.

If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

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Thai-owned Dusit D2 Hotel under fire in Nairobi

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Thai-owned Dusit D2 Hotel under fire in Nairobi | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Google Maps

Two explosions and gunfire have been heard amid an apparent attack at an upscale hotel and office complex in Kenyan capital Nairobi. News just in from independent.co.uk

“We are under attack,” another person in an office inside a complex in the DusitD2 hotel told Reuters, then hung up. Local television showed smoke rising from the area.

“I just started hearing gunshots, and then started seeing people running away raising their hands up and some were entering the bank to hide for their lives,” a woman working in a neighbouring building told the news agency. She also heard two explosions, she said.

Nairobi police commander Philip Ndolo said officers had cordoned off the area around Riverside Drive due to a suspected robbery.

However, police spokesman Charles Owino told local media officials were not ruling out an attack by militants.

Read the rest of the Reuters report HERE.

 

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Paralyzed from rare disease, Caroline returns home from Thailand

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Paralyzed from rare disease,  Caroline returns home from Thailand | The Thaiger

Original report by Karina Bolster and David Hylton. PHOTOS: Facebook/Jim Brader

A 22 year old woman from Virginia, US, who was paralyzed after her diagnosis of a rare auto-immune disease while teaching in Thailand, has arrived back home in the US.

Caroline Bradner was hospitalised in Thailand ever since.

A travel insurance company had agreed earlier this month to help Bradner get home. Caroline had originally travelled to Surat Thani in southern Thailand for a marketing internship but soon fell in love with teaching English to young children.

“She thought that would help broaden herself and also give back to other people,” said her father Jim Bradner.

But two months in to her six month stay the unexpected happened.

On December 22 Caroline woke up in her apartment in Thailand unable to move, according to her sister.

“It’s a punch in the gut,” Bradner said.

Read more about Caroline’s condition and the challenge to get her home HERE.

Paralyzed from rare disease,  Caroline returns home from Thailand | News by The Thaiger

A friend, also from Virginia, took Caroline to the hospital after she started exhibiting symptoms of weakness, abdominal pain and paralysis.

Doctors in Thailand diagnosed her with Guillain Barre Syndrome, a rare auto-immune disease that causes your body’s immune system to attack your nerves.

The family found out about Caroline’s situation when they were picking her sister up at the airport.

Caroline’s mother flew out Christmas Eve to help with her daughter’s recovery while the rest of the family focused on finding a way to get her home.

Last night (Saturday), her father posted photos to Facebook as Caroline arrived home.

Friends, family and strangers donated to a GoFundMe page, originally created to help pay for transportation.

“Any additional funds will be donated to GBS/CIDP Foundation International,” the fundraising page said.

Original article HERE

Paralyzed from rare disease,  Caroline returns home from Thailand | News by The Thaiger

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Thai cabinet extends visa-fee-waiver until after Songkran

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Thai cabinet extends visa-fee-waiver until after Songkran | The Thaiger

Tourists from over 21 countries will continue to benefit from an extension to the visa fee waiver introduced in November last year.

In a move to boost tourism, the cabinet has extended the 2,000 baht visa-on-arrival fee waiver, according to Tourism and Sport Minister, Veerasak Kowsurat this morning (Tuesday).

The waiver was set to end on Sunday, January 6, 2019, but will now continue through the Chinese New year holidays next month and Songkran in the middle of April.

The numbers of tourists arriving from mainland china had significantly dropped in Q3, 2019 following several incidents resulting in Chinesedeaths, principally the sinking of ‘Phoenix‘ where 47 Chinese tourists died.

The countries included in the fee waiver include…. Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China,  Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Taiwan.

For the original story regarding the initial visa waiver announcement, click HERE.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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