Tamir Rice probe transferred to county







  • Tamir Rice, 12, was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer

  • Police say the boy held an air pistol that looked like a real gun




(CNN) -- The investigation into the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old boy by a Cleveland police officer has been transferred to the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department, the city of Cleveland announced Friday.


A Cleveland police officer fatally shot Tamir Rice in November in a city park. Police said the boy was reaching for an air pistol in his waistband that the officer thought was a real gun.


"This decision to turn the investigation over was made to ensure that transparency and an extra layer of separation and impartiality were established," Mayor Frank G. Jackson said. "I believe that the best way to ensure accountability in a use of force investigation is to have it completed by an outside agency."


No charges have been filed. The investigation will be conducted by Chief Clifford Pinkney of the sheriff's office, which will present information to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office for determination of possible charges.


The Tamir Rice shooting was one one of several police shootings of African-American males in 2014 that sparked a series of anti-police demonstrations across the United States.


Justice Dept.: Cleveland police has pattern of excessive force


CNN's Sarah Jorgensen contributed to this report.



Cancers blamed on 'bad luck'





  • Roughly two-thirds of cancers in adults can be attributed to random mutations, study says

  • "The remaining third are due to environmental factors and inherited genes"

  • Behaviors (e.g. smoking, excessive sun exposure) still strongly tied to some cancers

  • Medical statistician emphasizes the need for early detection




(CNN) -- Ever marvel at someone who smoked and still lived to be 90? Just plain good luck, researchers say. And those who live like Puritans and get cancer anyway?


That's bad luck -- and it's the primary cause of most cancer cases, says a Johns Hopkins Medicine research study.


Roughly two-thirds of cancers in adults can be attributed to random mutations in genes capable of driving cancer growth, said two scientists who ran statistics on cancer cases.


That may sound jaw-dropping. And Johns Hopkins anticipates that the study will change the way people think about cancer risk factors.


They also believe it could lead to changes in the funding of cancer studies, with a greater focus on finding ways to detect those cancers attributed to random mutations in genes at early, curable stages.


Smoking can still kill you


But, no, that's not permission to smoke or to not use sunblock.


Some forms of cancer are exceptions, where lifestyle and environment play a big role. Lung cancer is one of them. So is skin cancer.


And, if cancer runs in your family, this unfortunately doesn't mean you're in the clear. Some cancers are more strongly influenced by genetic heritage than others.


"The remaining third (of cancer cases) are due to environmental factors and inherited genes," the Kimmel Cancer Center said in a statement on the study published Friday in the magazine Science.


In fact, all three factors work together.


"All cancers are caused by a combination of bad luck, the environment and heredity, and we've created a model that may help quantify how much of these three factors contribute to cancer development," said cancer researcher Bert Vogelstein.


Compounding matters


An unhealthy lifestyle can compound matters, but more for some cancers than for others, the scientists said.


"Changing our lifestyle and habits will be a huge help in preventing certain cancers, but this may not be as effective for a variety of others," medical statistician Cristian Tomasetti said.


He placed heavy emphasis on early detection.


Stem cells in our organs divide constantly to replenish damaged tissue. Sometimes there are random mistakes in the replication of DNA, small mutations, Vogelstein said.


Some genes, when they mutate, are more apt to promote cancer growth.


"The more these mutations accumulate, the higher the risk that cells will grow unchecked, a hallmark of cancer," Vogelstein said.


Scientist have known this for a long time, but what the study reveals was how big of an influence it is.


"The actual contribution of these random mistakes to cancer incidence, in comparison to the contribution of hereditary or environmental factors, was not previously known," says Vogelstein.


Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, told CNN the study was "good science" that backed up what many scientists already thought.


"This is actually just confirmation of something that we have known for probably 20 years," he said.


"As we have learned more and more about cancer ... we've come to realize that a number of cancers start purely because of mutations that happen that are just unexplainable. Bad luck is, unfortunately, the right way to explain it."


Those cancers that develop have escaped at least three fail-safe systems in the body that deal with these cell mutations, he said; these are programmed cell death, or apoptosis, DNA repair enzymes and certain cells in the immune system.


Cell division and statistics


For their study, the two scientists came up with an average total number of cell divisions in 31 different tissues within a human lifetime. And they looked at the cancer risk in each of those tissues.


They determined that the more a tissue's cells divide, the higher the chance cancer could develop in that tissue.


"Our study shows, in general, that a change in the number of stem cell divisions in a tissue type is highly correlated with a change in the incidence of cancer in that same tissue," says Vogelstein.


Colon tissue, for example, divides much more than other intestinal tissue, and cancer in the colon is much more prevalent there, the study said.


With colon tissue, the scientists took environmental influences into account.


Doing the math overall, the two scientists arrived a rate at which cancer risk can be explained by the cell divisions. It was 65%, they said.


Lifestyle


But the researchers drew a line between one group of cancers and another. Of the 31 they looked at, they determined that 22 were basically "bad luck" cancers.


But nine others appeared at rates noticeably higher than could be expected from cell division alone -- which the researchers said is probably due to habits, pollution or genetics.


No surprise: Lung cancer and skin cancer were two of them, they said. Smoking and too much sun exposure are still strongly linked to those cancers.


Brawley said the study's findings should be no reason to alter behaviors shown to lessen the risk of cancer.


"We have good epidemiological data to show that people can reduce their risk of cancer and I would encourage them to do those things," he said.


They include not smoking, managing their weight so they don't become obese and taking physical exercise, he said.


As for the suggestion the study's findings may prompt changes in funding, Brawley said he would be pleased just to see more money go into research.


"Only 10% of the grants submitted to the NIH (National Institutes of Health) actually get funded because we have such a shortage of money," he said.


"We invested in the United States last year $5 billion in cancer research. I would like to see more."


CNN's Laura Smith-Spark and Alexander Felton contributed to this report.



Officers shot; 2 bodies found





  • NEW: Fire marshal: Blaze was intentionally set at victims' North Carolina house

  • NEW: The victims "would give the shirts off their back," the fire marshal adds

  • Authorities found their bodies in a truck driven by a man involved in a police shootout

  • 2 police suffered non-life threatening wounds; 2 suspects were taken by authorities




(CNN) -- Really good people.


That's how Judy Law of Oxford, North Carolina, described her neighbors Jerome Faulkner, 73, and his wife, Dora, 62. The couple were found dead Thursday by West Virginia authorities, their bodies hidden under a mattress in a red Chevrolet truck after two police officers were shot and wounded at the scene.


"They kept to themselves, but when someone needed them, they were there," Law said of the Faulkners. "I can't even begin to understand why something like this happened."


The first sign of something amiss came Thursday morning, when Law woke to sirens and fire trucks congregating about 500 feet up the road at the Faulkners' home in Oxford.


Granville County Fire Marshal Doug Logan said the blaze was set intentionally, destroying the house. Video showed that it left little more than the home's front steps, its foundation and some scorched framing.


The county's sheriff, Brindell B. Wilkins Jr., told CNN affiliate WRAL that the Faulkners had been at home when two men came in, set their house ablaze and took off with the couple in their pickup truck. They'd be found dead hours later.


"(Jerome Faulkner) and his wife were good, fine people," said Logan. "They were the kind of people that would give you the shirts off their back.


"Why would anyone want to do this to them?"


West Virginia police shot at during traffic stop


More than 200 miles to the northwest, two police officers from the town of Lewisburg, West Virginia, pulled over a white Chevrolet SUV with North Carolina plates after learning it had been reported stolen.


As the officers were conducting the traffic stop on Interstate 64, a red Chevrolet truck pulled up alongside them, West Virginia State Police Lt. Michael Baylous said.


The driver of the truck then "pulled a handgun and shot at both officers," he said.


Group: Ambush attacks on officers increase


The drivers of both Chevrolets fled. The man behind the wheel of the red truck "went over the hillside and was eventually taken into custody," while the other motorist "drove behind a guardrail on the interstate and hid for a short amount of time," Baylous said.


"Eventually, he walked up to the interstate and turned himself in to law enforcement without incident," the State Police lieutenant added.


One of the suspects, 21-year-old Eric Campbell, was in the South Regional Jail in Beaver, West Virginia, on Friday, corrections Officer Jonathan Keller said. He is being held on two counts of malicious assault and two counts of attempted homicide, all charges related to the police shootout.


His father, Edward Campbell, is now in a West Virginia hospital but will face the same charges, according to Baylous. He said the pair are from Alvin, Texas, a Houston suburb some 1,200 miles from where they were found.


"We believe if the West Virginia police had not have stopped them that this crime spree would have continued on," said Wilkins, the Granville County sheriff. "And it's no telling from the investigation at this point what we're going to find."


Neighbor of victims: 'It's senseless'


The West Virginia police officers who the father and son pair allegedly shot and wounded were taken to Greenbrier Valley Medical Center in nearby Ronceverte. Lewisburg Mayor John Manchester said Friday morning that the officers are both doing fine after undergoing minor surgeries.


"I'm thankful that the officers will make a full recovery," the mayor said. "Officers put themselves in dangerous situations every day. You never know what will be following you out the door."


While the Campbells were arrested in the shooting of those two officers, it was not immediately clear what charges the father and son will face in connection with Jerome and Dora Faulkner.


Their deaths have already shaken people in Oxford, a tight-knit town of about 8,000 people 30 miles northeast of Durham.


Jerome Faulkner was chief of the Cornwall Volunteer Fire Department in Oxford before retiring. One of his two sons, with the Raleigh Fire Department, followed him into the field, according to Logan.


Law, for one, is having trouble understanding how something so bad could happen to such good people.


"It's senseless," she said.


CNN's Kevin Conlon, Dave Alsup and Mayra Cuevas contributed to this report.



Harry Reid hurt in fall





  • NEW: President Barack Obama called the injured incoming Senate minority leader

  • Sen. Harry Reid broke facial bones and ribs in an exercising accident Thursday

  • He's expected back in Washington this weekend is expected to fully recover




(CNN) -- Sen. Harry Reid, 75, is recovering at home after he broke "a number of ribs and bones in his face" when he was exercising, his office said Friday in a statement.


The Nevada Democrat was using a piece of equipment to exercise on Thursday when it broke, causing him to fall.


His doctors expect a full recovery, and he's set to return to Washington over the weekend before the Senate reconvenes next week.


According to the statement, the Senate Democratic Leader was treated and admitted overnight as a precaution at University Medical Center in Las Vegas after first being transported to St. Rose Dominican Hospital in Henderson by his security detail.


President Barack Obama called Reid on Friday, White House spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters, "to wish him a full and speedy recovery."


Reid's office later announced Friday that Reid had been discharged from the hospital.


"He spent the day with his wife, Landra, talking to fellow senators, friends and staff and preparing for the Senate's return," Reid's Deputy Communications Director said in an emailed statement Friday. "He sends his thanks to all those who sent warm wishes and is ready to get back to work."


RELATED: Harry Reid Fast Facts


Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, was quick to make a joke and wish his colleague well.







It's not the first time Reid has hurt his ribs in recent years. In October 2012, his motorcade was involved in a multi-car accident in Nevada that left him with rib and hip contusions. He went to the hospital but was released shortly afterward.


In 2011, Reid also suffered minor injuries after slipping and falling in the rain while running outside in Washington, resulting in a dislocated shoulder and a bruise around his left eye.


Reid will become the Senate Minority Leader when Congress reconvenes.



Fatah posts skulls with Jewish stars





  • The image was posted to Fatah's official Facebook page

  • Contacted by CNN, a Fatah official said the party wants the photo removed

  • It's the latest controversial image from Palestinian Authority President Abbas' party




(CNN) -- The political party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas posted a drawn image online showing a large pile of skulls and skeletons with Jewish stars on them.


An Israeli government spokesman called it "despicable."


Along with the image, posted Wednesday to the Facebook page of the Fatah party, are the words "lingering on your skulls."


When contacted by CNN on Friday, a member of the Fatah Central Committee disavowed the image.


"Fatah did not design this image," Mahmoud al-Aloul said. The person who posted it to Fatah's page "is currently being asked to remove it. The image and the text do not reflect the opinions of Fatah." The image was then pulled from the page.







The image, which also includes a rifle and the Fatah flag, quickly drew the ire of some people who saw it on social media. Some, including Ofir Gendelman, spokesman for Israel's Prime Minister, pointed to it as a sign that Fatah is not as "moderate" as it's often described.





Mideast in Turmoil




Terror concerns sweeping the Middle East

Fatah is considered the more moderate of the two major Palestinian political parties. Hamas, which controls Gaza, has engaged in repeated battles with Israel in recent years. Fatah controls the West Bank.


("Fatah may not be moderate, but relative to Hamas, it is restrained," Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute said in congressional testimony in 2013.)


The image was posted as part of an online celebration of Fatah's 50th anniversary. The group was founded on January 1, 1965, carrying out its first major attack against Israel.


Ehud Yaari of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy called the latest image "typical of their ongoing propaganda."


It's not the first time Fatah Facebook images have sparked anger. After three Israeli teens were kidnapped and killed last year, "The Facebook page for Fatah, the Palestinian Authority's main party, had a number of cartoons, including one showing the three teenagers as Jewish rats, wearing yarmulkes, caught on a fishing line," world affairs columnist Frida Ghitis wrote on CNN.com.


CNN's Irene Nasser in Jerusalem contributed to this report.



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