A REFUGEE football player has been welcomed home in Australia hours after his threat of extradition to Bahrain was lifted.

Hakeem al-Araibi (pictured) was greeted by hundreds of supporters at Melbourne Airport following two months of detention in Thailand.

The 25-year-old had been detained there while on honeymoon at the request of Bahraini authorities, but was released after Thailand came under great pressure from Australia’s government, sporting bodies and human rights groups.

Al-Araibi told the cheering crowd: “I would like to say thanks to Australia.

“It’s amazing to see all of the people here and all of the Australian people and all of the media who supported me.”

MEANWHILE in the United States, President Donald Trump has mocked a former Democratic congressman while on a trip to Texas to promote his immigration policies.

Beto O’Rourke, who is mulling a presidential run in 2020, held a protest against Trump’s border wall across the street from the president’s rally which was attended by thousands.

Commenting on O’Rourke’s crowds – which Trump said were smaller than his – the US leader said: “That may be the end of his presidential bid.”

Work on the first extension to the existing barrier – 14 miles in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley – starts this month.

A recent AP-NORC poll found that more Americans oppose a wall than support it.

IN INDIA, at least 17 people have been killed after a budget hotel in central New Delhi was engulfed by fire.

The region’s minister of health and urban development said most of the deaths at the Arpit Palace Hotel in Karol Bagh had been due to suffocation.

Satyendra Kumar Jain also hit out at the hotel’s building standards, claiming “carelessness” was evident.

He added the incident would be investigated and the wrongdoer punished.

AT least five male journalists in France have been suspended from their jobs for allegedly co-ordinating online harassment through a private Facebook group.

Members of the “League of LOL” group – which included Parisian journalists, publicists and communication designers – were accused of mocking web users with sexist, homophobic and racist insults between 2009 and 2012.

Journalist Vincent Glad, who began the group in 2009, said he “owes apologies” to all those who have been harassed.

Glad wrote that he now feels “horrified to see one of my tweets from 2013 where I joked about rape culture. I am ashamed”.