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Albania national deserts cruise ship, captured at Atlanta Amtrak station, feds say

An Albanian national was pulled off an Amtrak train in Atlanta days after he deserted his cruise ship while it was docked in the Port of New Orleans, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

>> Read more trending news 

A Carnival vessel agent notified the New Orleans customs office May 21 that cruise ship member Gentian Kurdina, 23, failed to return, the agency said.

New Orleans and Atlanta customs officers coordinated during the investigation and searched for the man.

He was boarding a train in Atlanta bound for New York City late Tuesday night when authorities took him into custody for removal from the U.S., according to officials.

"U.S. Customs and Border Protection maintains a high level of vigilance and works closely with a myriad of law enforcement partners as part of efforts to manage our borders," Steven Stavinoha, the director of the New Orleans Office of Field Operations, said in a statement.

>> Related: ICE will read license plates to find undocumented immigrants

"This is just the latest example of the men and women of CBP working hard every day to secure our borders and keep our nation safe."

Release of child rapist with more than 100 victims on hold after appeal by attorney

The release of an admitted child rapist is on hold until Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court can review the decision to release him, according to attorney Wendy Murphy. 

>> Read more trending news  

Murphy, who is also a victims' advocate, filed an appeal to Wayne Chapman's release Thursday. 

Chapman has admitted to molesting more than 100 boys and is the longtime suspect in the Andy Puglisi disappearance.

70-year-old Chapman has been behind bars since 1977, when he was convicted of raping young boys. He finished serving his sentence in 2004, but has been held as a sexually dangerous person for the last 14 years.

This week, the Department of Corrections said Chapman must be released after two qualified examiners recently found him no longer sexually dangerous. 

Under state law, the DOC ordered his release.

While in custody Chapman, with few exceptions, has consistently refused to take part in sex offender treatment.

Chapman's lawyer told Boston 25 News that his client is ill and will likely never be able to leave the hospital. 

Earlier this year, Chapman filed a petition for release from civil commitment, arguing he is no longer sexually dangerous. Chapman has had several of these public hearings before single judges and juries, and he lost each time.

>> Related: Convicted child rapist Wayne Chapman no longer a threat, state determines

The most recent decision was January 2016, when a jury found Chapman still sexually dangerous.

In preparation for the upcoming hearing scheduled for July, two "qualified examiners" met with Chapman and found him no longer sexually dangerous. Under a 2009 SJC decision, once that happens, release is mandated.

Murphy's appeal alleged that procedure was not correctly followed. Murphy also said the SJC is asking Department of Corrections, the Attorney General's office, the District Attorney and Chapman's lawyer to respond to the appeal by next Wednesday. 

Murphy said the victims are relieved, grateful, and optimistic that Chapman's release has been delayed.

>> Related: Lawyer: Wayne Chapman's undisclosed medical condition requires daily attention

Governor Charlie Baker's Office sent Boston 25 News the following statement:

“Governor Baker believes anyone with Wayne Chapman’s history of convictions should not be released from prison, the Legislature should review the state laws that led to his release so that the victims of such horrible crimes are protected in the future, and supports the SJC’s decision to review this case.”

Man allegedly tried to force woman into his truck — then her dog bit him

Authorities in Coweta County, Georgia, are searching for a “suspicious” man they say attempted to get a woman to get in his truck Monday.

>> Read more trending news

The man allegedly approached the woman while she was walking her dog near the Timberidge neighborhood on North Ga. 29 when a black Dodge Ram pickup approached her, according to a news release by the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office.

The man offered the woman a ride, and after she refused, he got out of his vehicle and approached her, the release said.

The woman’s dog bit him before he returned to his truck and left, the release said. 

The man was described as around 50 to 60 years old and wearing an Atlanta Braves baseball cap, the release said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the case investigator at 678-423-6708.

Obese patients less likely to die from infection after hospitalization, study finds

Obesity has been linked to several health issues, including heart disease and diabetes. However, the extra fat could have some benefits, according to a new report. 

>> Read more trending news 

Researchers from the European Association for the Study of Obesity recently conducted a trial to explore the survival rates of those admitted to hospitals for infections. 

To do so, they analyzed more than 35,000 patients in Denmark hospitalized for infections between 2011 and 2015. They then followed the subjects 90 days after their discharge, making note of their weight.

>> Related: New anti-obesity drug could help you get rid of fat without dieting

After analyzing the results, they found that obese individuals were 40 percent less likely to die from an infection compared to underweight people, and they were 50 percent less likely compared to normal weight people. 

“Overweight and obesity were associated with substantially reduced 90 day mortality following incident hospital admission for infection,” the researchers wrote. 

They also noted that underweight people were twice as likely to die from infection compared to those at a normal weight. However, they said recent weight loss may have been due to an underlying disease and noted deaths did not increase for underweight patients who had not recently lost weight.

>> Related: One-third of all humans are now overweight — and American children are leading the way

The findings were presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Austria, and three other studies discovered similar results. 

Taiwanese researchers found that obese people hospitalized for pneumonia were 20 to 30 percent less likely to die from the illness.

The same team said hospitalized overweight or obese patients were also more than 20 percent less likely to die from sepsis, a blood infection.

>> Related: Obesity linked to 11 types of cancer as overweight population grows, study says 

Lastly, Dutch researchers revealed that seriously ill patients, who were obese, were less likely to undergo rapid muscle wasting.

Teacher credited with stopping shooter at Noblesville West Middle School in Indiana

Students at Indiana’s Noblesville West Middle School are hailing a science teacher as a hero for his actions Friday, when a boy opened fire on classmates at the school.

>> Read more trending news

A teacher, identified by The Indianapolis Star as Jason Seaman, sprung into action after a student asked to use the bathroom Friday morning and returned to the classroom with a pair of handguns, police said.

Seventh-grader Ethan Stonebraker told The Associated Press that students were taking a test when the unidentified student walked into the classroom and opened fire.

>> Noblesville, Indiana middle school shooting: 2 injured, student in custody

“Our science teacher immediately ran at him, swatted a gun out of his hand and tackled him to the ground,” seventh-grader Ethan Stonebraker told The Associated Press. “If it weren’t for him, more of us would have been injured for sure.”

The Star reported that Seaman was shot three times and underwent surgery Friday. An unidentified student was also injured, according to police.

He released a written statement to media Friday evening: 

“First of all, thank you to the first responders from Noblesville and Fishers for their immediate action and care. I want to let everyone know that I was injured (but) am doing great. To all the students, you are all wonderful and I thank you for your support. You are the reason I teach.”

Jason Seaman’s brother, Jeremy Seaman, told the Star that he was not surprised by reports of his brother’s actions.

“He’s not really ever been the person to run away,” Jeremy Seaman told the Star. “When the safety of the kids is at hand, it’s not surprising to me that he was going to do what he had to do.”

Jason Seaman has been a teacher in Noblesville for four years, according to his LinkedIn profile. He has also served as head football coach for seventh-graders for two years.

Jeremy Seaman  told the Star that his brother is married with two young children.

Jason Seaman played college football for Southern Illinois from 2007 to 2010, according to ESPN. The team's head coach, Nick Hill, said in a statement Friday that Jason Seaman "was a great teammate (and) one of the team's hardest workers." 

"You could always trust him to do the right thing," he said.

Jason Seaman continued to recover Friday. Police continue to investigate the shooting.

Noblesville, Indiana middle school shooting: 2 injured, student in custody

Police took a middle school student into custody Friday morning on suspicion of firing shots at Indiana’s Noblesville West Middle School, leaving at least two people injured.

>> Read more trending news

Update 7:44 p.m. EDT: Jason Seaman, the teacher injured in the shooting, released a statement Friday evening:

“First of all, thank you to the first responders from Noblesville and Fishers for their immediate action and care. I want to let everyone know that I was injured (but) am doing great. To all the students, you are all wonderful and I thank you for your support. You are the reason I teach.”

Update 2:50 p.m. EDT: The Indianapolis Star identified the teacher injured in Friday’s shooting at Noblesville West Middle School as Jason Seaman. The newspaper reported he was shot three times while knocking the gun out of the hands of a middle school student who fired shots at the school.

Jason Seaman’s brother, Jeremy Seaman, told the newspaper that he was not surprised by reports of his brother’s actions. Students have told several news stations that his quick thinking saved an untold number of lives.

“He’s not really ever been the person to run away,” Jeremy Seaman told the Star. “When the safety of the kids is at hand, it’s not surprising to me that he was going to do what he had to do.”

Jeremy Seaman told the Star that his brother was undergoing surgery Friday.

Update 2:39 p.m. EDT: Noblesville police Chief Kevin Jowitt said at a news conference Friday afternoon that the student who opened fire at Noblesville West Middle School earlier in the day asked to be excused from class before returning with a pair of handguns. 

Jowitt said the student was quickly taken into custody.

Update 2 p.m. EDT: A Noblesville West Middle School student told WXIN that a science teacher sprang into action Friday after a student opened fire at the school, knocking the gun from the shooter’s hand and likely saving lives.

The seventh-grade girl, who was not identified, told the news station that “this science teacher bravely swatted that gun away from the gunman’s hands, saving everyone else in that room.”

Another seventh-grader, Ethan Stonebraker, told The Associated Press that the shooter walked into his science class while students were taking a test.

"Our science teacher immediately ran at him, swatted a gun out of his hand and tackled him to the ground," Stonebraker said. "If it weren't for him, more of us would have been injured for sure."

It was not immediately clear if the teacher was the same one injured in Friday morning’s shooting. 

Police said a juvenile and an adult teacher were injured when an unidentified male student opened fire at the school around 9 a.m. Another student also suffered an ankle fracture, according to officials with Riverview Health.

Update 11:43 a.m. EDT: Vice President Mike Pence thanked law enforcement officers and shared condolences after a shooting at a middle school in his home state, Indiana.

“Karen and I are praying for the victims of the terrible shooting in Indiana,” Pence wrote on Twitter Friday, referring to his wife, Karen Pence. “To everyone in the Noblesville community -- you are in our hearts and in our prayers.”

Update 11:28 a.m. EDT: Noblesville police Chief Kevin Jowitt confirmed that a teacher and a juvenile were injured Friday morning in a shooting at Noblesville West Middle School.

Police did not identify either of the victims. They were taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital and Riley Hospital, respectively, Jowitt said.

Officials with Riverview Health said earlier Friday that a second student was treated for an ankle fracture after the shooting.

Authorities had a suspect, identified as a male student, in custody Friday morning.

Jowitt said Noblesville West Middle School had been cleared by 11:30 a.m. However, he added that authorities also received reports of a threat made at Noblesville High School.

Police are investigating the report.

Update 11:18 a.m. EDT: Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said he and other officials are monitoring the situation in Noblesville after at least two people were injured in a shooting at Noblesville West Middle School on Friday.

Authorities are expected to provide additional details about Friday’s shooting in a news conference later in the day.

Update 10:55 a.m. EDT: Chad Lancaster, whose eighth-grade daughter and sixth-grade son attend Noblesville West Middle School, told the Indianapolis Star that his daughter called her mother, his ex-wife, while hiding under a desk amid reports of an active shooter on campus.

He told the newspaper he has been unable to get in touch with his son.

“This is surreal," Lancaster told the Star. "This happens in high school, not here."

Officials with Riverview Health said one of the two people injured in Friday morning's shooting was taken to the hospital and transfered to Riley Hospital in stable condition. A second person, a student, was being treated for an ankle fracture.

Officials told the Star earlier Friday that an adult was also injured in the shooting.

A suspect, who has not been identified, was in custody after the shooting.

Update 10:40 a.m. EDT: Indiana University Health officials told the Indianapolis Star that an adult and a teenager were injured in Friday’s shooting at Noblesville West Middle School.

The two have not been identified. Indiana State Police said earlier Friday that they were taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital for treatment of their injuries and that their families had been notified.

Update 10:20 a.m. EDT: Indiana State Police confirmed two people were taken to a hospital after authorities responded Friday morning to reports of an active shooter at Noblesville West Middle School.

Officials said a suspect was in custody after the shooting. Authorities were expected to provide additional details at a news conference later Friday.

Original report: Authorities confirmed around 9:40 a.m. that police had a suspect in custody after responding to a report of an active shooter situation at the middle school.

Check back for updates to this developing story.

SEE: Cat takes wild ride, clinging to roof of minivan going 60 mph down freeway 

Rebel the cat from Omaha, Nebraska, has used up one of his nine lives.

>> Read more trending news 

The cat was videotaped by another driver clinging to the top of a minivan driven by its owners, who were traveling at 60 mph down an Omaha freeway last week, according to KETV.

Rebel’s owner, Michelle Criger, told the news station that the cat must have been on the roof for at least 2 miles before a motorist finally alerted her and her boyfriend that they had a cat on top of their vehicle. 

>> Related: Your cat really does like you, in fact more than food, study says

She said when they pulled over on Interstate 480 and saw the cat, they realized it was their 2-year-old feline Rebel.

“When I got him off the roof of the van, he wasn't scared at all,” Criger told KETV. “He wasn't shaking, heart racing, nothing. We were more scared than him,” she said.

Criger said the cat, which was just fine after the wild ride, is living up to its name.

“He takes off, does what he wants,” she said. “He's a rebel. He does everything he wants to do.”

>> Trending: Pet stores restricted to selling only rescue animals in San Francisco

Rebel’s owner said she’s definitely learned one thing from the experience: to always check both on top and underneath the van before she drives off.

‘I can’t stay’: DUI suspect flees fatal wreck, cops say

Two years before a deadly head-on crash last Friday night, Benjamin Harris Rollins had been charged with DUI and lost his license.

>> Read more trending news

So when a witness helped pull Rollins from his 2007 Toyota Camry, which he’d been driving home from Moon Shadow Tavern in Tucker, Georgia, he had something to mention.

“I don’t have a license,” he said, according to arrest warrants. 

Then: “I can’t stay.”

He fled Lavista Road on foot, police said. Left at the scene were Edward Freeland Harris, who died in the other car, and Leigh Harris, who was badly injured.

Also, a woman identified in the warrants as Rollins’ ex-girlfriend remained in his car. 

By the time police found Rollins later that night, he was injured and was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital for treatment. He also allegedly smelled of alcohol and admitted he’d been drinking.

Police researched further and saw that his license was still suspended from the previous pending DUI case. 

He was booked in the county jail the next day on charges that include vehicular homicide, DUI, driving with a suspended license and hit-and-run.

Efforts to reach family of the Harrises, both 52, weren’t immediately successful. 

What is Nipah virus? Deadly brain-damaging virus spreads in India

At least 12 people have died of Nipah virus in the Indian state of Kerala since the rare outbreak began weeks ago, according to a Health Ministry official.

>> Read more trending news 

Another 40 with Nipah symptoms are being treated in area hospitals.

Here’s what you need to know about the virus:

What is Nipah virus?

According to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Nipah virus was first isolated and identified in 1998-99 when Malaysian and Singaporean pig farmers and others in close contact with the animals suffered with encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and respiratory illnesses.

>> Related: Deadly Nipah virus has not spread in south India, officials say

The virus, a member of the family  Paramyxoviridae, is named after the Malaysian village of Sungai Nipah, where many pig farmers became ill.

In 1999, nearly 300 human cases of Nipah virus were reported, including 100 deaths. More than one million pigs were euthanized to contain the outbreak.

The virus is more frequent in Bangladesh and India, where exposure to Nipah virus has been associated with eating raw date palm sap and with contact with infected bats or humans.

Nipah was first identified in Bangladesh in 2001. Annual outbreaks have occurred there and in eastern India since.

How is Nipah virus transmitted?

>> Related: Man in India dies while trying to take selfie with bear

The virus is typically transmitted to humans after direct contact with bodily fluids of infected bats (commonly fruit bats of the Pteropodidaefamily), pigs or other infected people. 

As aforementioned, consumption of raw date palm sap has also been associated with exposure to the virus. Fruit bats often eat dates from palm trees and sometimes nest in wells.

“Hospital-acquired infections are a major path of human to human transmission,” the Indian microbiologist G. Arun Kumar testing the virus samples in India, told Reuters.

>> Related: This virus looks and acts like the flu, but it isn’t — What is adenovirus?

Symptoms of Nipah virus

  • fever
  • headache
  • drowsiness
  • disorientation
  • mental confusion
  • respiratory illness

According to the CDC, symptoms typically begin with fever and headache 5-14 days after exposure.

>> Related: Scientists worry brain-wasting ‘zombie deer’ disease could spread to humans

Treatment of Nipah virus

There is no vaccine for Nipah, and no treatment beyond supportive care.

“The drug ribavirin has been shown to be effective against the viruses in vitro, but human investigations to date have been inconclusive and the clinical usefulness of ribavirin remains uncertain,” the CDC reports.

The virus kills up to 75 percent of those infected.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Ivanka Trump defends Serena Williams, slamming her status as unseeded at French Open

Ivanka Trump is defending tennis great Serena Williams and slamming Williams’ lack of seeding at the French Open, calling it a penalty for being pregnant.

>> Read more trending news 

“This is ridiculous,” Trump said on Twitter. “Serena Williams is a formidable athlete (best ever) and loving new mother. No person should ever be penalized professionally for having a child.”

French Open officials announced this week they would not give Williams a seeding based on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) rankings. The 23-time Grand Slam champion and three-time French Open winner is ranked No. 453 by the WTA.

>> Related: Serena Williams back in action, playing first match since giving birth

“This year again, tournament officials will establish the list and ranking of the women's seeds based on the WTA ranking,” French Tennis Federation officials aid in a statement to The Associated Press. “Consequently, (the seeds) will reflect this week's world ranking.” 

“The WTA should change this rule immediately,” Trump said.

Williams took 14 months off to have her first child and was No. 1 in the rankings at the last Grand Slam she played, the 2017 Australia Open, before taking time off to give birth in what turned out to be a difficult pregnancy, including six weeks of bed rest.

>> Related: Tennis champ Serena Williams reveals she ‘almost died’ after giving birth to first baby

Without seeding at the French Open, Williams could potentially have a tough time in the early rounds, having to face top-ranked players right off the bat, instead of in later rounds. 

Gas will cost drivers $1 billion more this Memorial Day weekend

Traveling for Memorial Day weekend will cost you more at the pump this year.

>> Read more trending news

A gallon of regular gas is expected to cost $2.96 on average this holiday weekend, an almost 50 cent jump from Memorial Day weekend in 2017, according to AAA

Drivers will end up paying over $1 billion more for gas this weekend nationwide, GasBuddy.com reports.

This is due to huge global demand and a shrinking international supply, according to NBC.

“Pending U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, as well as OPEC cuts and record U.S. oil production, are influencing higher crude oil prices in the market,” AAA spokeswoman Jeanette Casselano told NBC News.

In some places, gas prices have spiked in recent weeks.

In New York City, a Mobil station reportedly sold gas at $4.99 per gallon.

To trim gas costs, experts say to drive about 5 miles under the speed limit. Drivers can also try to save on gas by avoiding starting and stopping abruptly in traffic, instead easing off the gas, NBC reports. Also, a clean air filter and good tire air pressure can help keep gas costs low.

Meghan Markle’s coat of arms released: what does the emblem mean?

Less than a week after becoming the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle has received an official coat of arms approved by Queen Elizabeth II.

>> Read more trending news

According to Kensington Palace, the Duchess of Sussex is represented in the emblem by a songbird, with its wings elevated as if it is flying. The bird also has an open beak, with three quills that represent communication and the power of words.

The blue background represents the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California and two golden rays across the shield also represent the Sunshine State, Kensington Palace said

Beneath the shield on the grass is a collection of golden poppies, California’s state flower. It also includes wintersweet, which grows on the grounds of Kensington Palace.

In the emblem, the arms of a married woman are shown with those of her husband, a representation of their union side by side in the same shield. 

Markle also picked those flowers to be featured in her wedding veil.

>>Read: Meghan Markle selects Givenchy dress for royal wedding

The coat of arms was designed by the College of Arms in London.

Thomas Woodcock, the Garter of Arms who helped craft the design, said Markle was active in the design process. 

“The Duchess of Sussex took a great interest in the design. Good heraldic design is nearly always simple and the Arms of The Duchess of Sussex stand well beside the historic beauty of the quartered British Royal Arms,” said Woodcock in the statement from Kensington Palace. “Heraldry as a means of identification has flourished in Europe for almost nine hundred years and is associated with both individual people and great corporate bodies such as Cities, Universities and for instance the Livery Companies in the City of London.”

Markle also represented her California roots in her royal wedding invitations, which were printed with American ink.

Now that Meghan has received her coat of arms, she and Harry can get their own “conjugal coat of arms,” which will likely be officially unveiled in a couple years, PEOPLE reports.

William and Kate’s conjugal coat of arms debuted in September 2013, just over two years after their wedding in April 2011.

Rachel Dolezal, white woman who posed as black, charged with welfare fraud

A former NAACP official who made international headlines in 2015 when it was discovered she had posed for years as a black woman has been charged with fraud, accused of cheating the government out of $8,847 in public assistance. 

Rachel Dolezal, who in 2016 changed her name to Nkechi A. Diallo, was charged Tuesday with first-degree theft by welfare fraud, second-degree perjury and false verification for public assistance, according to court documents obtained by KHQ-TV in Spokane, Washington. The victim in the case is listed as Washington state’s Department of Social and Health Services. 

Dolezal resigned from her post as head of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP in June 2015 after her white parents came forward and revealed her true lineage. She first applied for public assistance for her and her teenage son two months later, claiming that she no longer was able to find work, the Spokane Spokesman-Review reported

Dolezal, who also worked as a professor of African-American studies, was first questioned about her ethnicity during an interview with KXLY in Spokane. Dolezal in that interview talked about alleged hate crimes she’d reported to police over the years, including nooses she said were hung at homes where she and her two sons lived. 

About eight minutes into the raw interview footage, the reporter showed Dolezal a photo of a black man she said was her father, asking if the man was really her father. 

“I don’t know what you’re implying,” Dolezal said. 

“Are you African-American?” the interviewer asked. 

“I don’t understand the question of -- I did tell you that yes, that’s my dad.”

“Are your parents, are they white?” the reporter asked.

Dolezal walked away from the interview. 

Dolezal said in later interviews that she identifies as black, a claim that has brought the term “transracial” into the national conversation about race. She is the subject of a Netflix documentary, called “The Rachel Divide,” that premiered in April. 

The court documents outlining the charges against Dolezal, who is now legally known as Diallo, allege that the DSHS’s Office of Fraud and Accountability learned in March 2017 from one of its criminal investigators that she had written and published a book. The investigator, Brad Borden, knew from previous news articles that Diallo had admitted to going on public assistance since her lies about her background had been uncovered. 

Diallo told The Guardian for one of those news stories, published on Feb. 25, 2017, that she was jobless and had to resort to feeding her children through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. 

“A friend helped her pay this month’s rent; next month she expects to be homeless,” the newspaper reported. “She has applied for more than 100 jobs, but no one will hire her, not even to stack supermarket shelves.”

Borden found ample reason to doubt those claims, according to authorities. 

“(Borden) conducted a review of Diallo’s DSHS records and found she had been reporting her only source of income was $300 per month in gifts from friends,” the DSHS’s investigative report stated. “He researched the publisher of Diallo’s book and found a typical contract would include payments of $10,000 to $20,000 as advances against later royalties.”

Borden learned about the published book, “In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World,” from Diallo’s LinkedIn profile, the investigative report said. 

DSHS fraud investigators subpoenaed Diallo’s self-employment records in September, as well as her bank statements from 2015 to the present. The records showed that Diallo had failed to report all her income to the department, the report said.

Investigators said her bank statements showed she deposited just under $84,000 into her account in the two years subpoenaed. Investigators found during their probe that aside from the income from her book, Diallo also failed to report her income from speaking engagements, soap making, doll making and the sale of artwork she created, the report said. 

Diallo’s business license indicated she had registered businesses under the trade names Melanin Spectrum, Gimme Some Sugar, Living Spectrum Studios, Rachel Dolezal, Royal Soaps and Shine On, the investigative report said

Read the entire report from DSHS investigators here.

When Diallo was called in for an interview last month, she invoked her rights and refused to speak with investigators. The investigators ended the interview.

The investigative report said that Diallo was informed multiple times of the reporting requirements to receive assistance, as well as the possibility of criminal prosecution if she “willfully provided false information or failed to accurately report her circumstances.”

Further details of the investigation indicate that, when applying online for assistance in August 2015, Diallo, who then still went by Rachel Dolezal, reported zero expected monthly income and said she and her son were living off $480 in child support. She also stated she had just $54 in her bank account at the time. 

Her bank records show she actually had nearly $2,000 in her account on the day she signed the application, the report said. 

A few days later, in a telephone interview with a welfare worker, Diallo claimed she was behind on her rent because of her lack of income, the report said. In that call, she was told to report by Sept. 10 if her gross monthly income exceeded the threshold of $1,726. 

Bank statements show that, while Diallo was claiming little to no income, she deposited nearly $3,000 per month that September and October, the investigators said. In November, they said, she deposited more than $11,000. 

In January 2016, she reported no income changes on her mid-certification review, the investigative report stated

>> Read more trending news

Diallo is accused of continuing the deception throughout 2016, bringing in up to $6,600 each month despite requesting food assistance for herself and her two sons, the report said. She reported no cash or money in her bank accounts on her June 2016 eligibility review, despite having more than $3,000 in her checking account at the time, investigators said. 

According to the report, she also failed to report receiving unemployment benefits, citing child support as her sole source of income. 

In January 2017, around the time of her name change, Diallo’s mid-certification review indicated no change in her income level, the investigative report said. At that time, she was asked about her rent and utility costs, which the report said she listed as $1,094. 

She was asked how she paid those expenses with just $480 in child support each month. 

“Barely! With help from friends and gifts,” Diallo responded, according to the report

She told The Guardian the following month that she and her children were near homelessness, though her bank records showed that she deposited about $3,000 in January and February. 

Investigators allege that Diallo continued the deception about her income through March 2017, when Borden requested the investigation, and beyond. She reported a change of circumstance in November but claimed it was for a one-time job for which she earned $20,000 for speaking and voice-overs, investigators said. 

Diallo was largely criticized on social media following the news of the pending charges. Twitter was also abuzz with jokes.

 

If convicted, Diallo faces 15 years in prison on the charges, KHQ-TV reported. She will be arraigned June 6 in Spokane County Superior Court.  

At least 3 pedestrians injured in hit-and-run in Portland, Oregon

At least three women were injured Friday after an SUV jumped a curb in downtown Portland and struck them before speeding away, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

Portland Fire & Rescue officials confirmed authorities were responding to the incident near the intersection of SW 6th Avenue and SW Hall Street around 10:20 a.m. local time.

Update 3:55 p.m. EDT: A suspect was in custody Friday after a blue SUV struck at least three women Friday in downtown Portland, KPTV reported.

Police earlier asked for help locating the SUV. By 12:45 p.m. local time, authorities said the vehicle had been located.

Update 2:25 p.m. EDT: Portland police confirmed that three women were injured Friday in a hit-in-run reported in downtown Portland.

Police said the injuries appeared to be serious and two of the women’s injuries appeared to be life-threatening.

Authorities said a fourth person might have also been injured but left the scene before police arrived.

Officials did not rule out the possibility that the crash could be connected to terrorism, though police said it was too early to tell Friday afternoon.

Update 1:53 p.m. EDT: Police described Friday’s crash as a “hit and run,” according to KATU.

A witness, who said he was nearly run over, told The Oregonian that it was clear that the driver of the car acted intentionally before Friday’s crash.

"When he got right before me he gunned it,” said the man, who was not identified. He estimated that the vehicle was traveling at about 45 mph when it collided with several other pedestrians.

Original report: The Oregonian reported that at least three people were injured, citing an officer at the scene.

Matt Ritzi told the newspaper that he was walking to Portland State University when he saw the aftermath of the accident, which left three or four people on the ground. He said he saw more than a dozen people trying to help them. "

I heard a lot of moaning and crying," he told The Oregonian. "I didn't see much movement."

Check back for updates to this developing story.

Childhood leukemia may be triggered by germs, could be prevented, study suggests

A leading cancer researcher has suggested the likely cause of childhood leukemia, adding that most cases of the condition may be preventable.

>> Read more trending news 

Dr. Mel Greaves of the Institute of Cancer Research in London examined more than 30 years of research to develop his theory, and published the scientific review in the journal Nature this week.

According to his review, acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), which is the most common type of childhood cancer, is likely caused by a combination of genetic mutations developed while babies are still in the womb, plus an infection with an unknown bacterium or virus.

"It has always struck me that something big was missing, a gap in our knowledge - why or how otherwise healthy children develop leukemia and whether this cancer is preventable," Greaves, who has been studying ALL for more than 40 years, told Sky News. "The research strongly suggests that ALL has a clear biological cause, and is triggered by a variety of infections in predisposed children whose immune systems have not been properly primed.”

>>Related: FDA approves new leukemia treatment, costs $475k

The most important implication is that most cases of childhood leukemia are likely to be preventable.

"It might be done in the same way that is currently under consideration for autoimmune disease or allergies - perhaps with simple and safe interventions to expose infants to a variety of common and harmless bugs," he suggested.

According to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last year, ALL is the most common cancer among children and adolescents in the United States. The form of leukemia accounts for 20 percent of all cancer cases in people under age 20, with more than 3,000 new cases reported in the country every year. 

Greaves' findings suggest that something as simple as exposing children with the first stage mutation to benign microbes may be enough to protect them from developing ALL. If this is the case, thousands of families across the country and around the world could potentially be spared the emotional heartache of a child's leukemia diagnosis.

"The problem is not infection – the problem is lack of infection," Greaves said, according to The Independent.

>> Related: Leukemia disguised as strep throat kills 10-year-old girl in days

Previous studies have shown that attending day care, where kids are exposed to bacteria and viruses from others, and breastfeeding both appear to protect children from developing ALL. This is likely a result of the priming effect these activities have on a child's immune system early on.

Although Greaves’ review suggests the research is both novel and compelling, some experts point out that his conclusions are not entirely new, “but rather an expansion of concepts that have been considered for many years," Dr. Amelia Langston, a leukemia and stem cell transplant specialist at Emory University's Winship Cancer Institute told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"It happens that we now have the molecular tools to begin to sort out how it all might work, and he incorporates these new data into what amounts to an evolving model," Langston said, adding that "some of the fine details that are proposed [in the review] remain speculative.""But the point is, they generate testable hypotheses that may lead us closer to an ability to prevent some forms of ALL," she said.

>> Related: 7 surprising things that can increase your risk of cancer

Langston also said many details would need to be worked out before a new strategy for prevention or treatment could be developed. However, the existing data suggests socializing children at an early age is "likely on balance to be a positive thing for the child."

She said this early priming is beneficial for "many reasons," but primarily to help children develop healthy immune systems.

Further laboratory studies are needed to better understand the cause of ALL, according to Langston. But Greaves’ theory does provide a path forward for researchers.

"This will involve both study of patients and animal studies looking at the immune machinery at a very fine level," she said. "The hope would be that if we can fully understand the molecular pathways at work we may be able to tip the balance away from leukemogenesis."

>> Related: Why are more black women dying of breast cancer compared to white women?

But Langston carries serious doubt that "any single strategy will eradicate this form of ALL."

Grab tissues: New ‘Christopher Robin’ trailer drops

Grab the box of Kleenex. The first full-length trailer for the “Christopher Robin” movie has been released and it will take those who had a special toy when they were young back to their childhood in an instant.

>> Read more trending news 

Watch the trailer below: 

The movie stars Ewan McGregor as adult Christopher Robin, Hayley Atwell as Evelyn, the voices of Jim Cummings as both Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, Toby Jones as Owl, Peter Capaldi as Rabbit, Brad Garrett as Eeyore, Sophie Okonedo as Kanga and Nick Mohammed as Piglet.

“Christopher Robin” hits theaters Aug. 3, E! News reported.

Luke Bryan announces 2018 Farm Tour; stops include Ohio, Florida, Georgia

Luke Bryan announced the official dates for the 10th annual Farm Tour 2018, with six stops in cities from Ohio to Florida.

This year, the “Sunrise Sunburn Sunset” country superstar will kick off the tour September 27 in Irwin, Ohio. 

“I can’t believe we’ve been doing this 10 years!” Bryan said in a statement on his website. “Our goal was to bring big-city production concerts into these small towns across the U.S. giving those communities the opportunity to attend shows that would never come their way.”

Tickets for the “Bayer Presents Luke Bryan Farm Tour 2018” go on sale June 6. Presale ticket sales begin June 1, according to his website

Proceeds from the Farm Tour go toward college scholarships for students from local farming families who are attending local colleges or universities near their own town.

Over 100,000 people have attended the Farm Tour since it kicked off in 2009. Over 50 scholarships have been given out to date, according to Bryan’s announcement

Bryan, a Georgia native, told Billboard that the Farm Tour is a very personal experience for him. 

“My whole existence, and the reason that I’m in country music, was based on me being in an agricultural family,” Bryan told Billboard. “It taught me everything I know about life, and my work ethic. It has shaped who I am. I took all those values, and I brought them to Nashville, and used that hard work to get my career off the ground. I still go back home and talk to my dad, and talk about how the business is going. It’s still very present, and very important in my life.”

Luke Bryan 2018 Farm Tour dates:

  • Sept. 27: Irwin, Ohio – Springfork Farms
  • Sept. 28: Pesotum, Illinois – Atkins Farm
  • Sept. 29: Boone, Iowa – Ziel Farm
  • Oct. 4: Archer, Florida – Whitehurst Cattle Company
  • Oct. 5: North Augusta, South Carolina – Misty Morning Farms
  • Oct. 6: Ringgold, Georgia – Doug Yates Farms

11-year-old given full-ride scholarship to Southern University

A bright 11-year-old was awarded a full-ride scholarship to college this week.

>> Read more trending news

Elijah Precciely, a home-schooled student who already had been taking classes at Southern University, plans to start full-time at the college in spring 2019, according to WAFB.

Elijah put a school cap on his head and a letterman jacket on over his shirt and bow tie before he academically signed with the university Friday at a meeting attended by his family and the school’s board of supervisors, according to The Advocate

"It feels great," Elijah told The Advocate. "I thank God that all my hard work and all the pouring (into me) did not go in vain."

He will study physics and mechanical engineering through the honors college. When he was 8, he started taking biology, physics and business classes at the school, according to The Advocate.

He has also published a book, submitted five patents for inventions and hosts a weekly radio show, according to The Advocate.

Oregon teen sues school district after suspension over pro-border wall T-shirt

A high school senior in Hillsboro, Oregon, is suing the Hillsboro School District after he claims his First Amendment rights were violated when he was asked to cover up a T-shirt supporting a border wall along the U.S. southern border.

>> Read more trending news 

According to Willamette Week, the T-shirt said, “Border Wall Construction Company” and featured a quote from President Donald Trump: “The wall just got 10 feet taller.”

Addison Barnes told KGW that he wore the shirt to a politics class at Liberty High School last January, knowing they were going to discuss immigration. 

Barnes said after students and a teacher complained, the school’s assistant principal pulled him out of the class room and told him to either cover up the T-shirt or go home. 

Barnes said his first instinct was to put a jacket on, but then decided to change his mind.

“I thought to myself, ‘You know this isn't right, this is my First Amendment right to be able to wear this shirt,’” Barnes told KGW. “So, I took off the jacket and the assistant principal had seen that and sent for a security guard to escort me out of class.”

Students told KGW that the school has a large Latino population.

“(The shirt) offended a lot of people,” Liberty High School senior Mark Guzman told KGW. “In the hall, kids would ask me if I’d seen it.”

The lawsuit filed Friday by Barnes’ attorney in U.S. District Court in Portland states that Barnes engaged in a “respectful, silent, and peaceful expression of his political views by wearing a T-shirt,” Willamette Week said.

The Hillsboro School District refused to respond to requests for comment. The ACLU of Oregon told KGW in a statement that “The school clearly crossed the line when it required a student to remove a T-shirt that voiced support for Donald Trump's border wall or face a suspension. This shirt is mean spirited, but it isn't a ‘disturbance’ under First Amendment case law.”

The ACLU also stated that it is “disappointing” that the high school decided to censor the student, instead of using it as an opportunity to discuss immigration.

Mother cat looks ‘surprised’ when doc says she’s expecting

Any female expecting a new arrival has probably had a similar look, no matter the mother’s species. 

A stray cat named Ulla was getting a little heavier after she arrived at Greenland’s Dyrenes Venner animal shelter. So shelter workers took her to a veterinarian for an ultrasound, the “Today” show reported

The worker’s gut feeling was right. Ulla’s expecting four or five kittens. 

>> Read more trending news 

Workers posted photos of Ulla getting the good news last week to social media where they have gone viral.

Not only has Ulla’s good news been shared all over the world, she also has a new family who will care for her until she has her babies and who will then will take care of her offspring until they are old enough to find their forever homes. Mom will stay with her newfound family, People magazine reported

For more on the Dyrenes Venner animal shelter, visit its Facebook or Instagram pages. 

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