Four Southern California men have been charged with plotting to kill Americans and destroy U.S. targets overseas by joining Al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan, federal officials said. The defendants, including a man who served in the U.S. Air Force, were arrested for plotting to bomb military bases and government facilities and for planning to engage in "violent jihad," an FBI spokeswoman said. A federal complaint says Sohiel Omar Kabir, 34, of Pomona, introduced two of the other men to the radical Islamist doctrine of Anwar al-Awlaki, a deceased Al-Qaida leader. Those three later recruited a fourth man. Kabir served in the Air Force from 2000 to 2001.
Three men were sent to prison after admitting to taking part in an unsuccessful plot to bomb a highway bridge in Ohio with what turned out to be a dud device provided by a government informant. Prosecutors had described the suspects as self-proclaimed anarchists who acted out of anger against corporate America and the government. All three defendants -- Connor Stevens, 20, Douglas Wright, 26, and Brandon Baxter, 20 -- apologized in court. Wright, an Indianapolis man authorities called the ringleader, received the sternest sentence, 11 1/2 years.
A Houston woman was sentenced to 80 years in prison for her felony murder conviction in the death of one of four children killed in a fire at her home day care. Jessica Tata, 24, was convicted last week in connection with the death of 16-month-old Elias Castillo. Authorities say Elias was one of seven children whom Tata left unsupervised at her home while she went to a nearby store. Prosecutors say she left a pan of oil cooking atop a stove-top burner and that this ignited the February 2011 blaze. Three children were seriously injured.
After nearly two weeks of wrangling over vote counts, Rep. Allen West, the Republican firebrand who arrived in Congress in 2010 on a wave of Tea Party support, conceded to his Democratic challenger, Patrick Murphy. Murphy, a 29-year-old political neophyte from South Florida, won the race by 1,904 ballots, or 0.58 percent of the vote from St. Lucie, Martin and North Palm Beach counties. The House race between the men was one of the most expensive and bitter in the country. The candidates pilloried each other's reputations, with Murphy saying West was pushed out of the military and West portraying Murphy as an irresponsible party boy.
The Church of England synod voted down a measure to consecrate women as bishops, ending for now 12 years of debate on the question. The 470 participants of the annual synod were divided into three houses -- bishops, clergy and laity, with a two-thirds majority in each house needed to pass the resolution. A wide majority of bishops and clergy voted in favor, but the laity vote, 132 to 74, caused the motion to fail. Reintroducing the measure could take five years.
Cairo has reached a preliminary agreement with an International Monetary Fund team for a loan of as much as $4.8 billion that officials say is necessary to support the ailing economy. Since last year's uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak, the economy of the Arab world's most populous country has been battered. Foreign currency reserves have plunged by more than 50 percent as protests and unrest stunted productivity and cut revenue.
Software company founder John McAfee says he's hiding in plain sight, wearing disguises as he watches police and reporters stake out his home on the Caribbean island of Ambergris Caye -- and blogging about it all. The blog describes life on the lam after police called him a "person of interest" in the slaying of fellow American Gregory Viant Faull and asked him to turn himself in for questioning. McAfee says his disguises include a grungy street peddler and a foul-mouthed German tourist.
President Hamid Karzai has signed off on the execution of 16 Afghan prisoners, a rare move in the country in the years since the end of the mass public executions favored under the Taliban's rule. Half of the prisoners, convicted of crimes including murder, rape, kidnapping and treason, were hanged Tuesday afternoon, according to Nasrullah Stanekzai, a legal adviser to the president. The remaining eight were to be executed Wednesday.