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NATION IN BRIEF: Mother, son missing after van found on beach

The Associated Press. A food service employee wheels a cart into a Continental Airlines jet Jan. 30, 2009, at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Continental announced Monday it is launching a food-for-sale program that mirrors other carriers.

The Associated Press. A food service employee wheels a cart into a Continental Airlines jet Jan. 30, 2009, at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Continental announced Monday it is launching a food-for-sale program that mirrors other carriers.

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- The fiance of a mother whose minivan was found on a private Puget Sound beach is using his Web site to plead for information leading to the safe return of the woman and her 8-year-old son.

Officials found no sign of Shantina Smiley, 29, of Silverdale or her son, Azriel Carver, after the minivan they were driving to her stepfather's home in Castle Rock was discovered north of Olympia early Sunday.

Investigators said the doors of the car were open and her wallet was inside.

Thurston County sheriff's investigators are treating the case as suspicious.

Smiley's fiance, Robb Simmons, has posted pleas for help on his Web site.

''The past 36 hours have been nerve-racking and full of fear, pain and sorrow,'' Simmons wrote.

Leaky valves could delay planned April shuttle launch

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Space shuttle Discovery has some leaky valves that could delay its launch next month.

NASA discovered the helium leaks over the weekend. The valves are part of a control system used to maneuver the shuttle in orbit and for re-entry.

NASA spokesman Allard Beutel said Monday that engineers will conduct additional tests later this week, to see if they can live with the problem. If any valves need to be replaced, Discovery would have to be moved from the pad back into the Vehicle Assembly Building. That would result in a lengthy delay.

For now, Discovery is scheduled to blast off April 5 on a two-week supply mission to the International Space Station. Only four shuttle missions remain.

Continental Airlines to charge for food

ATLANTA -- Attention coach passengers. Continental Airlines, which used to boast about giving away free hamburgers and barbecue while rivals passed out tiny bags of pretzels, is changing its tune on food.

Continental plans to launch a food-for-sale program that mirrors what other carriers are already doing.

A spokesman said Monday that the airline, based in Houston, expects a $35 million annual benefit, from cost savings and added revenue.

Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, US Airways and United Airlines are among carriers that already charge for food on flights.

Calvin Klein parent to buy Hilfiger for $3B

NEW YORK -- Two iconic American clothing labels -- preppy Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, known for its modern aesthetic -- are coming together under one roof after Phillips-Van Heusen said it will purchase Tommy Hilfiger for about $3 billion in cash and stock.

The deal adds a prominent brand to Phillips-Van Heusen's stable, which also includes Izod and Arrow. It's expected to help Phillips-Van Heusen introduce some of its brands overseas, where 65 percent of Hilfiger's business is generated.

Apparel analysts expect the Hilfiger brand to expand further beyond its stronghold in Europe into Asia and South America, while bolstering its U.S. business.

More charges in alleged punching of kid at Wal-Mart

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Police in Ohio have brought more charges against a Wal-Mart shopper accused of punching children in the head for kicks.

Columbus Police Sgt. John Hurst said two additional assault counts were filed Sunday against 68-year-old Ralph Conone. He was arrested at a Wal-Mart store last week on similar charges after police said he smacked a woman's sons with a key sticking out of his fist.

Hurst said the new charges involve a 2-year-old boy struck the same way in two separate incidents at the store Feb. 28.

Man involved in Obama threat sentenced to 10 years for theft

DENVER -- A Colorado man who sparked fears of an assassination plot against Barack Obama has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in a separate theft case.

The Colorado attorney general's office said Monday that Shawn Robert Adolf must pay more than $88,000 in restitution. Adolf and five others were arrested after heavy equipment and automobiles were stolen in Colorado. Adolf pleaded guilty to theft in October.

Adolf and two others were arrested in 2008 before the Democratic National Convention in Denver after witnesses said they discussed killing Obama.