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Several other countries, including Australia, had been in talks with the U.N.’s refugee agency to accept Alqunun, Surachate said earlier in the day.

“She chose Canada. It’s her personal decision,” he said.

Canada’s ambassador had seen her off at the airport, Surachate said, adding that she looked happy and healthy.

She thanked everyone for helping her, he said, and added that the first thing she would do upon arrival in Canada would be to start learning the language. She already speaks more than passable English, in addition to Arabic.

The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees welcomed Canada’s decision.

“The quick actions over the past week of the government of Thailand in providing temporary refuge and facilitating refugee status determination by UNHCR, and of the government of Canada in offering emergency resettlement to Ms. Alqunun and arranging her travel were key to the successful resolution of this case,” the agency said in a statement.

It wasn’t immediately clear what prompted Alqunon to choose Canada over Australia. Australian media reported that UNHCR had withdrawn its referral for Alqunon to be resettled in Australia because Canberra was taking too long to decide on her asylum.

UNHCR officials were not immediately available for comment. Australia’s Education Minister Dan Tehan said Saturday that Australia had moved quickly to process her case but Canada decided to take her in. He added that, ultimately, the outcome was a good one. “She’s going to be safe,” he said.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, cited Alqunun’s “courage and perseverance.”

“This is so much a victory for everyone who cares about respecting and promoting women’s rights, valuing the independence of youth to forge their own way, and demanding governments operate in the light and not darkness,” he said in a statement.

Alqunun was stopped Jan. 5 at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport by immigration police who denied her entry and seized her passport.

She barricaded herself in an airport hotel room and took her plight onto social media. It got enough public and diplomatic support that Thai officials admitted her temporarily under the protection of U.N. officials, who granted her refugee status Wednesday.

Alqunun’s father arrived in Bangkok on Tuesday, but his daughter refused to meet with him. Surachate said the father — whose name has not been released — denied physically abusing Alqunun or trying to force her into an arranged marriage, which were among the reasons she gave for her flight. He said Alqunun’s father wanted his daughter back but respected her decision.

“He has 10 children. He said the daughter might feel neglected sometimes,” Surachate said.

Canada’s decision to grant her asylum could further upset the country’s relations with Saudi Arabia.

In August, Saudi Arabia expelled Canada’s ambassador to the kingdom and withdrew its own ambassador after Canada’s Foreign Ministry tweeted support for women’s right activists who had been arrested. The Saudis also sold Canadian investments and ordered their citizens studying in Canada to leave.

No country, including the U.S., spoke out publicly in support of Canada in that spat with the Saudis.

On Friday, Trudeau avoided answering a question about what the case would mean for relations with the kingdom, but he said Canada will always unequivocally stand up for human rights and women’s rights around the world.

Canadian officials were reluctant to comment further until she landed safely in Canada.

Alqunun had previously said on Twitter that she wanted to seek refuge in Australia.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne met Thursday with senior Thai officials in Bangkok. She later said Australia was assessing Alqunun’s resettlement request.

Payne said she also raised Australia’s concerns with Thai officials about Hakeem al-Araibi, a 25-year-old former member of Bahrain’s national soccer team who was granted refugee status in Australia in 2017 after fleeing his homeland, where he said he was persecuted and tortured.

He was arrested while vacationing in Thailand in November due to an Interpol notice in which Bahrain sought his custody after he was sentenced in absentia in 2014 to 10 years in prison for allegedly vandalizing a police station — a charge he denies. Bahrain is seeking his extradition.

Al-Araibi’s case is being considered by Thailand’s justice system, she said.

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Saudi Arabia’s inclusion in benchmarks will change the market



Visitors stand and watch stock movements displayed on large video screens inside the Saudi Stock Exchange, also known as the Tadawul All Share Index in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Monday, Nov.28, 2016.

Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Visitors stand and watch stock movements displayed on large video screens inside the Saudi Stock Exchange, also known as the Tadawul All Share Index in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Monday, Nov.28, 2016.

Saudi Arabia’s long-awaited inclusion in major global benchmarks could have an immediate and dramatic impact on financial markets, according to the chief executive officer of the kingdom’s Capital Markets Authority (CMA).

The taps of foreign capital are about to open for a number of Gulf states over the coming months, with Saudi Arabia poised to be included on the FTSE Russell index from March.

Over the next 12 months, the oil-rich kingdom is also expected to be included on the MSCI EM index as well as the J.P. Morgan Emerging Market government bond index.

Speaking to CNBC’s Hadley Gamble at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Tuesday, Yasser Al-Sharif said: “We believe it is going to change the market quite markedly.”

“We are actually quite excited to see how this will change the market dynamic, increase the depth, increase institutionalization,” he added.

Inclusion in these major global benchmarks is expected to trigger tens of billions of dollars into Saudi Arabia’s debt and equity markets.

But, there are also concerns among some external observers that this extra capital could inadvertently cause the Saudi government to take their foot off the gas when it comes to economic reforms.

When asked whether an influx of foreign capital could derail the governments enthusiasm for reforms, Al-Sharif replied: “We don’t believe so.”

“Increasing foreign investor participation is a pivotal part in not just reforming the capital market … But I think it also increases the level of governance even in private companies that are looking to go public eventually. And that’s an area that we are looking to push a lot more strongly as more and more flows come in to absorb that additional liquidity.”

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Golf pro Sergio Garcia talks about success, winning and losing



While Garcia is best known for his achievements on the golf course, he’s also found success in other fields, including as chairman of Spanish football club CF Borriol.

He said others looking to achieve similar success, either in sports or elsewhere, should concentrate on two key things.

“Obviously, you have to work hard at it to make sure that you’re the best that you can be,” said Garcia. “But, also, you have to enjoy what you do.”

“If you enjoy what you do, it’s much easier to do it at a high level, it’s much easier to practice to try to get better at it. Those two things are important if you want to try to be successful.”

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Indonesia industry minister Airlangga Hartarto on benefits



A worker marks steel rollers in the roll shop area of the PT Krakatau Steel plant in Cilegon, Banten province, Indonesia.

Bloomberg | Getty Images

A worker marks steel rollers in the roll shop area of the PT Krakatau Steel plant in Cilegon, Banten province, Indonesia.

The ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China has opened up new opportunities for Indonesia, the Southeast Asian nation’s minister of industry said Tuesday.

Indonesia is the largest economy in Southeast Asia, the region tipped by many to be one of the beneficiaries of a tariff fight that has threatened global growth. Experts have said the conflict between the world’s two largest economies would push companies to speed up plans to move parts of their supply chains from China to countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia.

And Indonesia has seen that shift happening, Minister Airlangga Hartarto told CNBC’s Nancy Hungerford at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The official said a number of companies that produce textiles and footwear have explored the opportunity to move from China to Indonesia. The Southeast Asian country has also been exporting more steel to the U.S., he added. That’s despite U.S. President Donald Trump imposing additional tariffs on steel and aluminum imports in March last year.

Indonesia exports of iron and steel to the U.S. jumped 87.7 percent year-over-year in the January through November period of 2018, according to data from the country’s trade ministry. During the same period, total exports to the U.S. grew 3 percent, the data showed.

Those opportunities aside, Airlangga said the trade war could end up hurting the global economy and that’s not good for all countries.

“I think the new norm of slow growth is not good for everybody … It’s not good enough for Indonesia to create jobs for the people,” the minister said.

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