Wal-Mart drops gun sales in some stores
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has decided to stop selling guns in about a third of its U.S. stores in what it calls a marketing decision based on lack of demand in some places, a company spokeswoman said Friday. The world's largest retailer decided last month to remove firearms from about 1,000 stores in favor of stocking other sporting goods, in line with a "Store of the Community" strategy for boosting sales by paying closer attention to local differences in demand. "This decision is based on diminished customer relevancy and demand in these markets," said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Jolanda Stewart. Hunting and shooting advocates said it was a surprise that Wal-Mart, which has a strong hunting and fishing tradition, would surrender the field in at least some areas to big-box outfitting stores like Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's.
Bushes report $735,180 adjusted gross income
WASHINGTON -- President Bush and the first lady paid about $187,000 in federal taxes this year on income of about $735,000. Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife made more than 10 times as much, overpaid the tax man and are looking for a $1.9 million refund. According to the president's tax return released Friday by the White House, the Bushes had adjusted gross income of $735,180 -- about $50,000 less than the year before. The couple paid $187,768 in federal taxes for last year -- about $19,500 less than they paid the Internal Revenue Service for 2004. Their income included Bush's presidential salary -- about $400,000 -- and investment income from trusts that hold their assets. The Bushes contributed $75,560 -- about 10 percent of their income -- to churches and charitable organizations.
Confirmation of Prodi's victory in Italy closer
ROME -- Center-left leader Romano Prodi moved closer to becoming the next Italian premier Friday as the Interior Ministry sharply lowered the number of contested ballots in the hard-fought parliamentary election, boosting the likelihood his narrow victory will stand. As judges continued counting contested ballots and Italians awaited the final word, Prodi reiterated his confidence, while Premier Silvio Berlusconi, a billionaire media mogul, still refused to concede. "The match is over," Prodi, speaking from Bologna where he was spending Easter weekend, was quoted as saying by the Italian agency Apcom. "Now let's move on." Leaving a soccer stadium where he watched his Milan soccer team defeat crosstown rival Inter Friday evening, Berlusconi described himself as "an optimist, a fighter."
Authorities try to catch bear that mauled family
BENTON, Tenn. -- Using traps baited with honey buns and doughnuts, authorities Friday tried to capture a potentially crazed black bear that killed a 6-year-old girl and mauled her mother and 2-year-old brother. It was only the second documented attack on a human by a black bear in modern Tennessee history, said state Wildlife Resources Agency spokesman Dan Hicks. The attack took place Thursday at a waterfall near a campground in the Cherokee National Forest, where rangers said the animal might have been suffering from a disease that affected its behavior.
Chinese hospital claims successful face transplant
BEIJING -- A man whose face was badly disfigured after an attack by a black bear received a partial face transplant Friday, in what a hospital described as a first for China. The hospital's claims, if verified by independent experts, would make China the second country to conduct the procedure. The partial face transplant came only half a year after doctors in Amiens, France, performed the world's first such procedure, transplanting lips, a chin and a nose on to a woman who had been attacked by a dog. In Friday's operation, a statement from Xijing Hospital in the central city of Xi'an said Li Guoxing was given a new cheek, upper lip, nose, and an eyebrow from a single donor. No details were provided about the donor.
-- From wire reports