National briefs: Starbucks: Keep guns out

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NEW YORK -- Tired of being thrust onto the front lines of the nation's debate over guns, Starbucks is asking customers to leave firearms behind when they are in its stores and its outdoor seating areas.

Starbucks said Wednesday its decision was neither in response to Monday's shooting rampage at a naval installation in Washington, D.C., nor to the elementary school shooting spree in Newtown, Conn., last year.

"... customers in many stores have been jarred and fairly uncomfortable to see guns in our stores, not understanding the issue and feeling that guns should not be part of the Starbucks experience, especially when small kids are around," Howard Schultz, the chief executive of Starbucks, said in a telephone interview.

Under the change, baristas and other store employees will not ask customers who come in with guns in holsters, say, to leave or confront them in any way, Mr. Schultz said.

Cold-case discoveries

SAYRE, Okla. -- When three teenagers from this small Oklahoma town disappeared on their way to a high school football game in 1970, rumors swirled as to what happened to the trio.

Now authorities believe they have a key piece to the puzzle: A 1969 Camaro, just like the one the teens were driving, was pulled from a lake with the skeletal remains of three people inside.

And a second car containing remains, an early 1950s Chevrolet, was also recovered from Foss Lake. Custer County Sheriff Bruce Peoples believes it may solve another case in which two men and a woman disappeared a year before the teens vanished.

Both vehicles were discovered Tuesday in about 12 feet of water by divers conducting a training exercise at the lake about 30 miles east of town.

Space station cargo launch

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. -- A commercial cargo ship made its successful debut Wednesday, rocketing toward the International Space Station and doubling the number of NASA's private suppliers for the high-flying lab.

Orbital Sciences Corp. launched its first-ever supply ship from Virginia's Eastern Shore, the departing point for a NASA moonshot less than two weeks ago. The California-based SpaceX company also has been delivering station supplies.

Kidnapped girl rescued

ELLENWOOD, Ga. -- A 14-year-old Georgia girl abducted in a home invasion robbery was found alive on Wednesday after a wide search by several law enforcement agencies, and two suspects were in custody, police said.

Ayvani Hope Perez had been taken from her suburban Atlanta home early Tuesday after authorities said armed robbers broke in, demanded money and jewelry and were told there was none. Authorities have said the robbery and abduction appeared to be random.

Clayton County Police Chief Gregory Porter said the girl was found in a nearby community, Conyers.

Beanie Babies tax case

CHICAGO -- H. Ty Warner, the creator of Beanie Babies plush toys, was charged with tax evasion for failing to report $3.2 million in income on a secret Swiss bank account that held as much as $93.6 million in assets.

Mr. Warner, 69, will plead guilty in federal court in Chicago for hiding income at UBS, the largest Swiss bank, U.S. Attorney Gary Shapiro said Wednesday.

Mr. Warner reported his 2002 income as $49.1 million, omitting money he made on his UBS account.

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