Amazon, Best Buy partner to offer Fire TV Smart TVs

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Amazon (AMZN) and Best Buy (BBY) have formed a multiyear partnership to bring Fire TV Edition smart TVs to customers in the U.S. and Canada.

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Starting this summer, Best Buy will launch more than 10 4K and HD Fire TV Edition models from Toshiba and Insignia, which will feature Amazon’s Fire TV operating system. Other models will be launched later in the year.

American consumers will be able to purchase these new smart TVs exclusively in Best Buy stores, on BestBuy.com, and for the first time, from Best Buy as a third-party seller on Amazon.com starting in the summer. They will be available for purchase in Canada later this year

Barbara Bush, mother of 43rd U.S. president and wife of 41st, dead at 92

Barbara Bush, the snowy-haired president’s wife whose plainspoken manner and utter lack of pretence made her more popular at times than her husband, U.S. president George H.W. Bush, died Tuesday. She was 92.

Family spokesperson Jim McGrath confirmed the death in a statement. The cause wasn’t immediately known.

Bush brought a grandmotherly style to buttoned-down Washington, often appearing in her trademark fake pearl chokers and displaying no vanity about her white hair and wrinkles.

“What you see with me is what you get. I’m not running for president — George Bush is,” she said at the 1988 Republican National Convention, where her husband, then vice-president, was nominated to succeed Ronald Reagan.

The Bushes, who were married Jan. 6, 1945, had the longest marriage of any presidential couple in American history. And Bush was one of only two presidential wives who had a child who was elected president. The other was Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams and mother of John Quincy Adams.

“I had the best job in America,” she wrote in a 1994 memoir describing her time in the White House. “Every single day was interesting, rewarding, and sometimes just plain fun.”

On Sunday, McGrath said Bush had decided to decline further medical treatment for health problems and focus instead on “comfort care” at home in Houston. She had been in the hospital recently for congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In 2009, she had heart valve replacement surgery and had a long history of treatment for Graves’ disease, a thyroid condition.

“My dear mother has passed on at age 92. Laura, Barbara, Jenna, and I are sad, but our souls are settled because we know hers was,” George W. Bush said in a statement Tuesday. “Barbara Bush was a fabulous First Lady and a woman unlike any other who brought levity, love, and literacy to millions. To us, she was so much more. Mom kept us on our toes and kept us laughing until the end. I’m a lucky man that Barbara Bush was my mother. Our family will miss her dearly, and we thank you all for your prayers and good wishes.”

A spokesperson says former president George H.W. Bush held his wife’s hand all day and was by her side when she died.

Jean Becker, the chief of staff at Bush’s office in Houston, said in a statement that the 41st president “is broken-hearted to lose his beloved Barbara.”

Becker says it’s a “very challenging time” for the 93-year-old Bush, but “he also is stoic and strong, and is being lifted up by his large and supportive family.”

Former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney said in a statement: “A woman of great intelligence, conviction and kindness, Barbara Bush held no rancour for anyone, no matter how tough the political battles she may have endured. A great champion of literacy and children’s education, Mrs. Bush made the world a better place”

Funeral services are planned for 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, which she and her husband regularly attended.

According to a post on the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation website, Barbara Bush will lie in repose from noon to midnight Friday at the church for members of the public wishing to pay respects.

The funeral service Saturday is by invitation only.

Burial will be on the grounds of the Bush library at Texas AM University in College Station, about 161 kilometres northwest of Houston.

U.S. President Donald Trump ordered U.S. flags flown at half-mast in her honour.

The publisher’s daughter and oilman’s wife could be caustic in private, but her public image was that of a self-sacrificing, supportive spouse who referred to her husband as her “hero.”

Mia Trumble, 7, sits on Bush’s lap after the former first lady spoke at ceremony for Literacy Maine in Biddeford, Maine, in June 2011. (Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press)

In the White House, “you need a friend, someone who loves you, who’s going to say, `You are great,”‘ Barbara Bush said in a 1992 television interview.

Her uncoiffed, matronly appearance often provoked jokes that she looked more like the boyish president’s mother than his wife. Late-night comedians quipped that her bright white hair and pale features also imparted an uncanny resemblance to George Washington.

Eight years after leaving the nation’s capital, Bush stood with her husband as their son George W. was sworn in as president. They returned four years later when he won a second term. Abigail Adams was unable to share the experience: She died in 1818, six years before John Quincy Adams was elected.

‘Ferociously tart-tongued’

Barbara Bush insisted she did not try to influence her husband’s politics.

“I don’t fool around with his office,” she said. “And he doesn’t fool around with my household.”

In 1984, her quick wit got her into trouble when she was quoted as referring to Geraldine Ferraro, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee at the time, as “that $4 million — I can’t say it, but it rhymes with rich.”

“It was dumb of me. I shouldn’t have said it,” Mrs. Bush acknowledged in 1988. “It was not attractive, and I’ve been very shamed. I apologized to Mrs. Ferraro, and I would apologize again.”

From left: Former first ladies Rosalynn Carter, Barbara Bush, Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan and then-Sen. Hillary Clinton are seen in January 2003. (Reed Saxon/Associated Press)

Daughter-in-law Laura Bush, another first lady, said Bush was “ferociously tart-tongued” from the start.

“She’s never shied away from saying what she thinks … She’s managed to insult nearly all of my friends with one or another perfectly timed acerbic comment,” Laura Bush said in her 2010 book, Spoken from the Heart.

In her 1994 autobiography, Barbara Bush: A Memoir, she said she did her best to keep her opinions from the public while her husband was in office. But she revealed that she disagreed with him on two issues: She supported legal abortion and opposed the sale of assault weapons.

“I honestly felt, and still feel, the elected person’s opinion is the one the public has the right to know,” she wrote.

She also disclosed a bout with depression in the mid-1970s, saying she sometimes feared she would deliberately crash her car. She blamed hormonal changes and stress.

“Night after night, George held me weeping in his arms while I tried to explain my feelings,” she wrote. “I almost wonder why he didn’t leave me.”

She said she snapped out of it in a few months.

Family woman

Mrs. Bush raised five children: George W., Jeb, Neil, Marvin and Dorothy. A sixth child, three-year-old daughter Robin, died of leukemia in 1953.

In a speech in 1985, she recalled the stress of raising a family while married to a man whose ambitions carried him from the Texas oil fields to Congress and then into influential political positions that included ambassador to the United Nations, Republican Party chairman and CIA director.

“This was a period, for me, of long days and short years,” she said, “of diapers, runny noses, earaches, more Little League games than you could believe possible, tonsils and those unscheduled races to the hospital emergency room, Sunday school and church, of hours of urging homework or short chubby arms around your neck and sticky kisses.”

This August 1992 photo shows the Bush family portrait in Houston, Texas. (Reuters)

Along the way, she said, there were also “bumpy moments — not many, but a few — of feeling that I’d never, ever be able to have fun again and coping with the feeling that George Bush, in his excitement of starting a small company and travelling around the world, was having a lot of fun.”

In 2003, she wrote a follow-up memoir, Reflections: Life After the White House.

“I made no apologies for the fact that I still live a life of ease,” she wrote. “There is a difference between ease and leisure. I live the former and not the latter.”

Along with her memoirs, she wrote C. Fred’s Story and Millie’s Book, based on the lives of her dogs. Proceeds from the books benefited adult and family literacy programs. Laura Bush, a former teacher with a master’s degree in library science, continued her mother-in-law’s literacy campaign in the White House.

From left: Barbara Bush, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Laura Bush are seen in April 2013 in Dallas, Texas. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The 43rd president was not the only Bush son to seek office in the 1990s. In 1994, when George W. was elected governor of Texas, son Jeb narrowly lost to incumbent Lawton Chiles in Florida. Four years later, Jeb was victorious in his second try in Florida.

“This is a testament to what wonderful parents they are,” George W. Bush said as Jeb Bush was sworn into office. He won a second term in 2002, and then made an unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

Sons Marvin and Neil both became businessmen. Neil achieved some notoriety in the 1980s as a director of a savings and loan that crashed. Daughter Dorothy, or Doro, has preferred to stay out of the spotlight. She married lobbyist Robert Koch, a Democrat, in 1992.

In a collection of letters published in 1999, George H.W. Bush included a note he gave to his wife in early 1994.

“You have given me joy that few men know,” he wrote. “You have made our boys into men by bawling them out and then, right away, by loving them. You have helped Doro to be the sweetest, greatest daughter in the whole wide world. I have climbed perhaps the highest mountain in the world, but even that cannot hold a candle to being Barbara’s husband.”

‘Cherish your human connections’

Barbara Bush was born Barbara Pierce in Rye, New York. Her father was the publisher of McCall’s and Redbook magazines. After attending Smith College for two years, she married young naval aviator George Herbert Walker Bush. She was 19.

After the Second World War, the Bushes moved to the Texas oil patch to seek their fortune and raise a family. It was there that Bush began his political career, representing Houston for two terms in Congress in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

In all, the Bushes made more than two dozen moves that circled half the globe before landing at the White House in 1989. During the next four years, opinion polls often gave her approval ratings that exceeded her husband’s.

George H.W. Bush poses with his wife Barbara during his campaign for Congress in the 1960’s. (AFP/Getty)

The couple’s final move, after Bush lost the 1992 election to Bill Clinton, was to Houston, where they built what she termed their “dream house” in an affluent neighborhood. The Bush family also had an oceanfront summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

After retiring to Houston, the Bushes helped raise funds for charities and appeared frequently at events such as Houston Astros baseball games. Public schools in the Houston area are named for both of them.

In 1990, Barbara Bush gave the commencement address at all-women Wellesley College, though some had protested her selection because she was prominent only through the achievements of her husband. Her speech that day was rated by a survey of scholars in 1999 as one of the top 100 speeches of the century.

“Cherish your human connections,” Mrs. Bush told graduates. “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend or a parent.”

Trudeau meeting the Queen, talking trade and war with PM May

Prime Minster Justin Trudeau will meet with Queen Elizabeth for the third time on Wednesday.

Trudeau’s audience with the Queen will take place at Buckingham Palace. While the first few moments of their discussion will be captured, cameras are not permitted into the Queen’s apartment to record the entire conversation. That talk is private.

Trudeau’s first meeting with the monarch took place at Buckingham Palace shortly after Trudeau took office in 2015. His second private meeting was at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, the Queen’s official Scottish residence.

Officials say Trudeau wants to reassure U.K. businesses that the Canadian government is prioritizing a free trade agreement with Britain.

In 2017, Canada and the U.K. had over $26.5 billion in two-way merchandise trade, making the U.K. Canada’s fifth largest merchandise trade partner.

Officials say Canada is willing to open formal trade negotiations with the U.K. the “day after” Brexit closes next March.

The Canadian government plans to use the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Europe as the blueprint for any new deal between Canada the U.K.

May and Trudeau are also expected to discuss the recent military strikes in Syria and ramped-up diplomatic tensions with Russia.

Canada expelled four Russian diplomats and rejected the credentials of three others in response to a nerve gas agent attack in Salisbury, U.K. that has been widely blamed on the Russians.

Trudeau is expected to start the day Wednesday at London City Hall, where he’ll meet with Mayor Sadiq Khan. Trudeau will later take part in a discussion with youth from a local high school and mark the centenary of women obtaining the right to vote in the U.K.

On Thursday, Trudeau will attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) summit. The 53 Commonwealth nations meet every two years. This year’s discussions will centre on four themes: fairness, prosperity, security and sustainability. 

CSIS worked to thwart diplomatic efforts to secure Abdelrazik’s release, documents suggest

Court records released as part of the $27-million lawsuit involving former terror suspect Abousfian Abdelrazik suggest Canada’s spy agency went to extraordinary lengths to disrupt efforts by diplomats trying to win the man’s release from a Sudanese prison.

According to the documents, intelligence officers routinely contradicted Canadian Foreign Affairs officials in order to ensure the alleged al-Qaeda suspect remained in custody — raising questions about whether those officers lied to the Sudanese about the strength of the case against Abdelrazik.

The documents, including briefing notes, email traffic and cables from the Canadian embassy in Khartoum, span six years and also show former Foreign Affairs minister Lawrence Cannon ignored the advice of his officials when he denied Abdelrazik an emergency passport in the spring of 2009.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service has long denied asking that the now 55-year-old Montreal man be detained by Sudanese authorities in 2003 — but the documents raise fresh questions.

Abdelrazik claims he was tortured while in custody and said in an interview with CBC News that he is bitterly disappointed the federal government has chosen not to settle his case but will instead fight it out in court.

“I’m an innocent person,” he said. “I want to end this drama.”

He said he wonders if he is paying the political price for settlements with other alleged terror suspects, including former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr.

“I hear the media complain of the Canadian people, [and] the taxpayer. I hear that,” Abdelrazik said. “I wonder why, why [do] they leave it for the last moment. Why? I don’t understand.”

The Liberal government pulled out of mediation talks one day before they were to begin at the end of February.

The trove of sometimes heavily redacted internal Foreign Affairs and CSIS documents released as part of the lawsuit show multiple arms of Sudan’s government, including the intelligence branch, told Canadian diplomats that CSIS asked for Abdelrazik’s arrest.

The information coming from Sudan’s foreign ministry was quite specific. One Sudanese official was quoted in a June 11, 2004, Canadian embassy cable message saying that “all of the ‘trouble’ started because Canada sent a security officer [redacted] who talked to the Sudanese security division and told them to hold Mr. A [redacted].”

That message raises the possibility that whoever spoke to the Sudanese may have misled them about the case against Abdelrazik.

“We are coming as a third party trying to say what the security officer told them is not true,” said the embassy message.

Newly released documents raise questions about whether CSIS misled Abousfian Abdelrazik’s Sudanese captors about the strength of the case against him. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Abdelrazik spent nearly six years in prison or forced exile after CSIS fingered him as an al-Qaeda terrorist. The Federal Court ordered the Stephen Harper government in 2009 to bring him home after Cannon refused to issue a temporary passport.

Cannon is named personally in Abdelrazik’s lawsuit, which was on the way to being settled until federal lawyers pulled out of mediation in February.

The former minister declined comment and directed CBC News to government lawyers.

Spies, lies and diplomacy

The former head of intelligence at Foreign Affairs tells CBC News that CSIS told him it did not order Abdelrazik’s detention.

Dan Livermore isn’t sure now whether to believe it.

“We have still not been able to get to the bottom of this,” Livermore told CBC News in an interview.

A former CSIS analyst said he does not believe the spy agency was responsible.

“I find it hard to believe that CSIS would say, ‘Oh, and by the way, pick him up, he’s a danger,'” said Phil Gurski, now retired, who worked counter-terrorism cases with both CSIS and Public Safety.

“I don’t want to cast (aspersions) on the reputation of the Sudanese foreign ministry in 2003 or the Sudanese intelligence service. Suffice to say the Sudan intelligence service is not the American intelligence service. It’s not the British intelligence service. So I think we have to take the statements of the Sudanese with a certain grain of salt.”

The relative reliability of the Canadian and Sudanese intelligence services is a material point in Abdelrazik’s case.

A Federal Court judge, ruling last year on a separate lawsuit filed by Abdelrazik against the RCMP, stated CSIS was “complicit” in his detention.

The Security Intelligence Review Committee investigated CSIS’s handling of the case in 2013 and found the spy service based its threat assessment of Abdelrazik on “incorrect and exaggerated information.”

The watchdog said it did not find evidence that CSIS “ever directly requested or recommended” that the suspect “be detained should he leave Canada,” but qualified its assessment by underlining that other government departments — outside of its mandate — might have other information.

Former minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada, said the documents show the spy service overstepped its bounds. He’s calling on the RCMP to weigh in.

“There should absolutely be an investigation to determine whether there’s been criminal infractions there,” said Neve.

With the lawsuit ongoing, CSIS and the departments of Justice and Public Safety are declining comment.

The court documents reveal inconsistent timelines on when CSIS learned of Abdelrazik’s arrest.

A heavily redacted CSIS memo said it was “verbally informed” on Sept. 11, 2003, hours after the detention. Three months later, however, a CSIS official insisted to Foreign Affairs that “the Service did not learn of his arrest until the following day.”

CSIS pitched hard to convince diplomats that the suspected al-Qaeda operative should remain in custody, even though it was unable to offer evidence that would satisfy either a Canadian or Sudanese court.

“Abdelrazik is one of Canada’s most dangerous and violence-prone Sunni Islamic extremists,” wrote a CSIS operative whose name was withheld. “Our primary concern should Abdelrazik be released is the virtual certainty that he will resume serious threat-related activities in Canada or elsewhere.”

Almost a year after the arrest, diplomats were dismayed to find their appeals to the Sudanese government were being clandestinely undermined.

‘We felt CSIS went behind our backs’

“According to [redacted], the Canadian Office in Khartoum is contradicting information they received from the Canadian Security Service,” said a June 22, 2004, Foreign Affairs briefing note.

A Foreign Affairs “officer was told by at least two government officials that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has been communicating with them about the case and are giving them instructions on what to do with Abousfian (Abdelrazik) and the Canadian Office keeps pressuring them to make a decision with regards to the judicial process in place.”

Livermore said he wonders whether CSIS lied in order to disrupt efforts to help Abdelrazik.

“There were portions of this case where we had inadequate information from CSIS, portions of this case where we felt CSIS went behind our backs to take actions that we didn’t agree with,” he said. “But trying to put names to actions, trying to put exact dates to these actions, is extremely difficult absent documentary evidence.”

One fact was abundantly clear: the Americans wanted the Sudanese-Canadian off the streets in 2003.

Amnesty International Canada Secretary General Alex Neve says he wants the RCMP to investigate whether CSIS interfered in diplomatic efforts to secure Abdelrazik’s release. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

“Our belief, and it’s a belief I still harbour, is that it was the CIA that solicited Abdelrazik’s detention from the Sudanese authorities, possibly suggesting that they were acting on behalf of CSIS. But the facts of the case are still to this day pretty murky,” Livermore said.

There was a sense among diplomats by 2008 that they had been run over by their CSIS colleagues in the Abdelrazik case, the documents reveal.

“I was very uncomfortable with our [Foreign Affairs Department] position on this case (being) heavily influenced by other Canadian government agencies, which was to offer the subject all possible assistance short of real help in returning to Canada,” wrote David Malone, a senior official at Foreign Affairs, on May 1, 2008.

“As to the Sudanese authorities, I do remember them seeming amused with our serial hypocrisies in this regard.”

Abdelrazik was in Sudanese custody twice.

After his release, he lived with family in Sudan but was unable to fly home to Montreal because the U.S. had placed him on a no-fly list and designated him a terrorist.

Those classifications have now been removed. He returned to Montreal in 2009.

For almost three years in Sudan following his release from detention, he had very little income and subsisted on handouts of emergency funds from the Canadian embassy.

The documents show that in 2008, officials in Ottawa debated whether to ask him to repay $6,607.76 in discretionary funds given to him.

1 dead after Southwest Airlines jet with damaged engine makes emergency landing

A Southwest Airlines jet blew an engine at 32,000 feet and got hit by shrapnel that smashed a window, setting off a desperate scramble by passengers to save a woman from getting sucked out. One person died and seven others were injured.

The pilot of the twin-engine Boeing 737, bound from New York to Dallas with 149 people aboard, took it into a rapid descent and made an emergency landing in Philadelphia as passengers using oxygen masks that dropped from the ceiling said their prayers and braced for impact.

Travellers said fellow passengers dragged the unidentified woman back in as the sudden decompression of the cabin pulled her part way through the opening.

The dead woman was identified as Jennifer Riordan, a mother of two from Albuquerque, N.M., who worked as an executive for Wells Fargo bank in community relations. 

Marty Martinez, one of the passengers, told CBC’s As It Happens that he knew they were in trouble after hearing a boom and seeing the oxygen masks deploy.

A photo posted to the account of Marty Martinez, left, shows passengers preparing for the emergency landing. (Marty Martinez/Facebook)

He said one of the windows exploded and “there was a lot of wind coming in.”

The woman in the seat near the window was unconscious and she was “almost flailing out of the window.”

He said “everyone was screaming” as people scrambled to try and help.

“I’ll never forget the look on the flight attendant’s face.”

Martinez, who captured some of the chaos in a Facebook Live, told As It Happens guest host Susan Bonner he used the social media tool in a frantic bid to try and reach out to family and friends.

Martinez, who offered condolences to the family of the passenger who died, said he’s still in a state of shock.

“Any of us could have sat in that seat,” Martinez said. 

Another passenger, Alfred Tumlinson, of Corpus Christi, Texas, said a man in a cowboy hat rushed forward a few rows “to grab that lady to pull her back in. She was out of the plane. He couldn’t do it by himself so another gentleman came over and helped to get her back in the plane and they got her.”

In a recording of conversations between the cockpit and air traffic controllers, an unidentified crew member reported: “We have a part of the aircraft missing, so we’re going to need to slow down a bit.” She also said that there was a hole in the plane and that she was told “someone went out.”

Passengers commended one of the pilots for her cool-headed handling of the emergency. She walked through the aisle and talked with passengers to make sure they were OK after the plane touched down.

Investigation launched

U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chairman Robert Sumwalt said one person died, but he gave no details. It was the first passenger fatality in an accident involving a U.S. airline since 2009.

Southwest said it is co-operating fully with the NTSB investigation.

Gary Kelly, the company’s CEO, offered condolences to the loved ones of the deceased passenger.

A photo taken by a passenger on the Southwest flight shows some of the external damage. (Marty Martinez/Facebook)

“They are our immediate and primary concern, and we will do all that we can to support them during this difficult time and the difficult days ahead,” he said in a video statement posted online late Tuesday afternoon, calling the death a “tragic loss.”

The death marks Southwest’s first in-flight fatality, Kelly said.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday evening, Kelly said he has reached out to the family of the passenger who died but has not yet made contact with them. 

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said there was a fuel leak in the engine when firefighters arrived and a small fire was quickly brought under control. After the plane landed, a woman was hospitalized in critical condition, and seven others were treated for minor injuries, authorities said.

Twelve other passengers were assessed, with seven of those being treated on the scene for minor injuries, local officials said.

It was too early to tell exactly what had happened, but that there was some damage to the plane’s fuselage and wings, the local officials said.

Emergency personnel monitor the damaged engine of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380, which diverted to the Philadelphia International Airport this morning after the airline crew reported damage to one of the aircraft’s engines, on a runway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S. April 17, 2018. (Mark Makela/Reuters)

The NTSB is sent a team to Philadelphia to investigate and begin an immediate inspection of the engine and fuselage. The engine will eventually be moved off site so investigators can do a detailed teardown.

Sumwalt told a news conference Tuesday evening that a preliminary investigation showed an engine fan blade was missing, having apparently broken off, and that there was metal fatigue where it normally would be attached.

“It is very unusual so we are taking this event extremely seriously,” Sumwalt said. “This should not happen and we want to find out why it happened so that preventative measures can be put in place.” He said the investigation could take 12 to 15 months to complete.

Sumwalt said part of the engine’s covering was found in Bernville, Pa., about 113 kilometres from the Philadelphia airport.

Earlier in the day, the Philadelphia airport tweeted that Flight 1380 “landed safely at PHL and passengers are being brought into the terminal.” No other details were given.

The Federal Aviation Administration said that the plane landed after the crew reported damage to one of the plane’s engines, along with the fuselage and at least one window.

After the plane landed, Martinez posted photos of a damaged window near the engine.

News helicopter footage showed damage to the left engine and the tarmac covered with firefighting foam, although there were no signs of flames or smoke.

Tracking data from FlightAware.com shows the flight was heading west over New York’s southern tier when it abruptly turned toward Philadelphia.

The explosion blew open a plane window, as detailed by a passenger (Reuters)

Southwest has about 700 planes, all of them 737s, including more than 500 737-700s like the one involved in Tuesday’s emergency landing.

It is the world’s largest operator of 737s. The Boeing 737 is the best-selling jetliner in the world and has a good safety record.

Investigators are likely to take apart the failed engine from Tuesday’s plane and examine maintenance records as they try to piece together the cause of the explosion.

Meanwhile, the company that made the engine says it is helping investigators figure out what went wrong.

CFM International said in a statement Tuesday that it sent technical experts to help the NTSB. CFM is a joint venture of General Electric and France’s Safran.

The company says that type of engine is installed on more than 6,700 planes and has flown more than 350 million hours since its introduction in 1997. The engine has an outstanding safety and reliability record, the company said.

The engine failure was reminiscent of a similar event on a Southwest Boeing 737-700 jet in August 2016 as it flew from New Orleans to Orlando, Fla.

Shrapnel from the engine left a hole 12 by 40 centimetres just above the wing. Passenger oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling. Pilots landed the plane safely in Pensacola, Fla.

Investigators with the NTSB said one of the engine’s fan blades broke off from the hub during the flight. The broken edge of the blade showed crack lines consistent with metal fatigue.

Sri Lankan family of Bruce McArthur’s latest alleged victim thought he was in hiding

The Sri Lankan family of Bruce McArthur’s latest alleged victim did not report him missing because they thought he was in hiding after the Canadian government rejected his refugee application.

Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, 37, came to Canada in 2010 as one of 492 Sri Lankans seeking asylum aboard the MV Sun Sea.

McArthur, 66, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Kanagaratnam, on Monday. The alleged serial killer is already facing first-degree murder charges in connection with the deaths of seven other men, all of whom had ties to Toronto’s Gay Village.

In an emotional interview in Tamil, Kanagaratnam’s mother and cousin told CBC Toronto the family has been reeling from the news since a cousin in the Greater Toronto Area phoned to tell them of Kanagaratnam’s death on Friday.

“We’ve been looking for him for two years,” said Suthakaran Thanigasalam, Kanagaratnam’s cousin.

“We need to know what happened to him. Why did it happen? We need to know when he died.”

Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam’s mother, Santhanaladchumy Kanagaratnam, left, and cousin, Suthakaran Thanigasalam, right, talk to a CBC reporter from Sri Lanka. (Viber)

In December, a family member wrote a Facebook post looking for Kanagaratnam who they said was living in Canada.

Det.-Sgt. Hank Idsinga confirmed police have seen the post. But he would not comment on what police think happened to Kanagaratnam, only that investigators have evidence linking him to Toronto as late as 2014. 

We need to know what happened to him. Why did it happen? We need to know when he died.– Suthakaran Thanigasalam, victim’s cousin

Police previously released a photo of Kanagaratnam, deceased, a move Idsinga described as a “last resort” to figure out who he was.

Thanigasalam, and Kanagaratnam’s mother, Santhanaladchumy Kanagaratnam, say the family knew he was in Toronto and last spoke to him in late August 2015.

Daily calls stop coming

The two say Kanagaratnam used to phone daily, but then the calls stopped coming and when they tried to call him his phone wasn’t working.

“That’s when we started to worry,” said Thanigasalam. “I called everybody here and asked if they had a contact for him … I don’t know who to ask, who to talk to, I don’t know anything.”

Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam and his mother Santhanaladchumy Kanagaratnam. She says her son ‘didn’t have any bad habits.’ (Suthakaran Thanigasalam)

At a news conference on Monday, Idsinga said he believes Kanagaratnam was killed between early September and mid-December 2015.

Police said Kanagaratnam’s remains were found in a garden planter at a home on Mallory Crescent, in northeast Toronto, where McArthur worked as a landscaper.

The remains of at least seven men, including Kanagaratnam, were found on the property.

On Tuesday, Idsinga said investigators still plan to search nearly 100 other properties once the ground thaws, including some with planters.

Thanigasalam said the family never tried to file a missing person’s report because they were scared Kanagaratnam would be caught by the Canadian government and sent back to Sri Lanka.

Brother fatally shot in Sri Lanka

“His brother was shot and killed, so there’s no one to look after his mother,” Thanigasalam told CBC Toronto. “He’s the only responsible one. He has no choice, he has to look after his family, that’s why he came to Canada.”

The cousin said Kanagaratnam was the fourth of six children in his family. His youngest brother was killed in 2007 during the armed conflict between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil fighters.

Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam was the fourth of six children in his family. (Suthakaran Thanigasalam)

Unlike many of McArthur’s other alleged victims, police have no evidence linking Kanagaratnam to the Gay Village. Police are still trying to figure out how he met McArthur.

The victim’s mother and cousin told CBC Toronto he never told them about any friends he might have in Canada, and they have no idea how he might have known McArthur.

Kanagaratnam sent money home

Kanagaratnam’s mother said he “didn’t have any bad habits” and used to send money home from Canada. At one point when he didn’t have a job, she said he found work moving furniture for people.

Since they last heard from Kanagaratnam, Thanigasalam said the family in Sri Lanka has been struggling.

“His mother she had a small street stall,” said Thanigasalam. “For two years that’s how she survived.”

I’m just in sadness without knowing what’s going on.– Santhanaladchumy Kanagaratnam, victim’s mother

Now the family is left wondering when Kanagaratnam’s body will be coming home.

Police told CBC Toronto there’s no timeline for when any of the victims families will get the remains of their loved ones back. The decision is up to the coroner’s office.

“I’m just in sadness without knowing what’s going on,” said Kanagaratnam’s mother, through tears.

“Where is my baby?”

Struggling Dubai retailer eyes first profits after restructuring

Marka, which has exclusive rights to manufacture and sell Real Madrid products in the Gulf region, said on Tuesday it expects to be operationally profitable for the first time in the first quarter of 2018.

The struggling retailer, which is embarking on an ongoing cost control program, has failed to turn a profit since being established in 2014.

But the company’s chairman, Khaled Jassim Bin Kalban, said in a statement published by the Dubai Financial Market that the restructuring programme has started to show “beneficial impact”.

He said the company expects to achieve operational profitability in Q1 against a loss of AED4.6 million in the previous quarter.

He said the results reflect progress made by the company over the past 12 months, meeting the changing demands of its customers.

He added: “Over the past 12 months, Marka has focused its efforts on streamlining its structure, exiting unprofitable businesses and making the company ready for growth.

“Today we are pleased to see the positive results this exercise has had, as achieving operational profitability is an important milestone. Marks is now ready to face the future with confidence.”

Last October, at its General Assembly meeting, shareholders of the company approved the “continuity of operations”.

In May, Marka announced a new CEO, Benoit Lamonerie, who replaced Nick Peel, who resigned last year after failing to turn a profit since Marka was established in 2014.

Peel had said that he would make Marka become profitable by the fourth quarter of 2015.

GCC needs to spend $89bn on extra power capacity by 2022

Middle Eastern and North African countries need to spend $260 billion over the next five years for electricity production to meet rising demand, a report said on Tuesday.

The region, which includes oil heavyweights Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq, must make the investments to add 117 gigawatts (GW) of power generation by 2022, Arab Petroleum Investment Corp. (APICORP) said.

The Dammam-based energy development bank said $152 billion is needed for electricity generation and the rest for transmission and distribution projects.

It estimated that power capacity in the Middle East and North Africa, currently standing at 321 GW, needs to expand by 6.4 percent on average annually by 2022 to meet growing demand.

The six nations belonging to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – need to spend $89 billion to add 43 GW over the next five years, according to APICORP estimates.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia lead the way with expected investments worth $33 billion and $21 billion, respectively, it said.

Iran needs to add 25 GW of power to its current capacity of 77 GW with estimated investments of $50 billion, according to the report.

Iraq, another oil-rich country, is required to invest $39 billion to add 12 GW of electricity by 2022, it said.

Egypt, the most populous country in the region, is estimated to need $46 billion of investments to add 22 GW of power to raise its capacity to 60 GW in 2022.

APICORP said that countries in the region are increasingly resorting to clean energy sources like solar and nuclear to produce electricity.

For Pakistani dockworkers in Dubai, kushti is a way of life

Every Friday evening in Dubai’s bustling Deira district, a sandy lot is transformed into the ring of champions. It is kushti wrestling night and Kala Pehlwan is ready to fight.

As the sun sinks below towering palm trees, dozens of men — many in tunics, others in T-shirts — begin to form a perfect circle.

Most are Pakistani or Indian, from the cross-border region of Punjab, where kushti is a beloved pastime. They are also a pillar of the United Arab Emirates’ workforce.

Veteran wrestlers, now referees, pour water over the inner ring to minimise dust.

A peanut vendor drags a rickety cart around the circle, tending to the crowd — now three rows deep. 

“Clink, clink, clink,” ring out wooden cymbals with bells.

The wrestlers unabashedly strip down to their underwear, donning yellow, red, or even floral-patterned loincloths.

“Kala Pehlwan, son, come to the ring! Suhail, son, come to the ring,” cries out 50-year-old Mohammed Iqbal – a Dubai kushti fixture.

Glaring, the opponents swipe one another’s bodies with sand – a reciprocal move to counter sweat.

The day’s matches are quick – sometimes under a minute – and hard fought.

A foot is trapped between a rival’s legs, a fighter flips over his opponent’s shoulders to escape his grip. One pins his match down on his stomach and throws sand in his face before getting restrained by the referees.

Spectators dart into the ring to film fights. Others watch in rapture, breaking out in cheers at decisive moments in the match.

The winner is declared when a fighter manages to pin his opponent to the ground on his back.

If the fight starts going over 20 minutes, the referees declare a tie.

On this evening, Kala Pehlwan finds himself overpowered – and faced with a challenge.

“Find me a fighter that can beat me,” his opponent taunts.

Kala Pehlwan, 26, huddled with friends and came up with a plan. They would find a challenger — not from Dubai, but from their hometown of Muzaffargarh in the Punjab region of Pakistan.

Within days, they had gathered the money, throwing in 50-100 Dirhams (roughly $15-25, 12-20 euros) each to pay for a plane ticket.

“I can’t meet you tonight I’m going to the airport,” Kala Pehlwan tells AFP one Monday evening.

Two days later, AFP met Kala Pehlwan at his workplace, Dubai’s gleaming Waterfront Market.

Row upon row of ice-topped stalls are laden with fresh fish from Oman, Sri Lanka and beyond — a testament to the shipping hub that is Dubai.

The stalls bear the names of Emirati owners, but South Asians are the face of the market.

“We have connections from Pakistan at the fish market,” says Kala Pehlwan. This is where he learned about the kushti matches when he arrived in Dubai six years ago.

The brawny fighter enters the delivery area, crossing paths with his mentor, Mohammed Iqbal, who is pushing a cart of fish.

“When I enter the market everyone is excited. They recognise me and know my name. And if there is any problem, they come to help me because I’m famous,” Kala Pehlwan grins.

That evening, Mohammed Shahzad – the challenger from Muzaffargarh – tags along.

Dressed in a crisp, blue tunic, Shahzad, 22, says he didn’t hesitate when he received Kala Pehlwan’s call.

“The other fighter beat my friend and challenged him to find someone who can knock him out… so I came to Dubai,” he grinned.

Kala Pehlwan says kushti is a way of life back in Muzaffargarh.

“In our town, it’s a tradition to learn wrestling. Everybody grows up on kushti. They do not have bad habits like cigarettes or drugs. Everyone is trying to be fit for a fight.”

Kala Pehlwan – whose real name is Mohammed Arsalan – took his nom de guerre from a hometown legend who shares his fighting style.

He says a proper diet, coach and training are key to success. Eating right is his biggest challenge in an expensive metropolis.

Here, the fish market has some benefits. 

“Fish is my favourite dish. It is the healthiest food because in Dubai, most things are coming in frozen form but fish is fresh. Every other day I am eating a fish from the market. We are getting free fish from our employer at the end of the day,” Kala Pehlwan says, returning to stack crates.

For Kala Pehlwan and many of his friends, Dubai is a temporary stage in life — a place to save cash before returning home.

They work hard and sleep in shifts.

AFP obtained permission to film at the men’s residence but was unable to because it would have disrupted the group’s sleeping patterns.

“We all have our jobs here. Some are porters, some work in the fish market,” Iqbal says ahead of a Friday match.

But kushti, he adds, “is our tradition. It’s where we come to de-stress.”

Iqbal wrestled for more than two decades in Dubai before passing the torch to the next generation, whom he takes the time to train each evening before work.  

“It’s not hard to get a space for these fights because in Dubai they always want entertainment and encourage us.

“The (authorities) say arranging fights like this is better than fighting in anger where you live or at your workplace,” said Iqbal.

Kala Pehlwan says he can earn AED500-600 ($135-$165) on a good night – the money collected in a plastic bag by the referee and champion – but kushti is not about money.

“We can’t enjoy life, we can’t have a good time if we don’t have wrestling in Dubai,” he said. 

When Friday night comes around again, it’s the visiting challenger Shahzad who wins.

Kuwaiti airline launches new flights to Saudi holy city

Kuwait-based Jazeera Airways has announced the launch of new direct flights to the holy Saudi city of Madinah.

Jazeera Airways said its foray into the second largest Islamic pilgrimage destination comes as part of its mission to serve the increasing demands of pilgrims.

“We are pleased to be opening a route to Madinah to improve services for pilgrims. They are an important segment for us, from Kuwait and for travellers from other countries such as India,” said Rohit Ramachandran, CEO, Jazeera Airways.

Jazeera Airways said it will provide a frequency of three weekly flights while flights to Taif will be resumed during the month of Ramadan starting May 16 until June 6.

One of the most visited cities and sacred in the Islamic religion, Madinah holds religious buildings, monuments and museums dedicated to covering and conserving Islamic history.
It is home to spectacular mosques and key pilgrimage sites namely Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, or the Prophet’s Mosque, Quba Mosque and the Seven Mosques which comprises a complex of mosques. 

Flying to 23 destinations across the Middle East, Europe and India, Jazeera Airways operates a fleet of nine Airbus A320 aircraft.