In brief: Four men accused of terrorism plot
LOS ANGELES – Federal authorities say four Southern California men have been charged with plotting to kill Americans overseas and in the United States by joining al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said the defendants are under arrest for plotting to bomb government facilities and public places.
According to the federal complaint unsealed Monday during initial appearances, 34-year-old Sohiel Omar Kabir introduced two other California men to the radical Islamist doctrine of Anwar al-Awlaki, a deceased al-Qaida leader.
Authorities allege Kabir traveled to Afghanistan and communicated with the two – 23-year-old Ralph Deleon and 21-year-old Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales – so he could arrange for their travel to join him and meet with his contacts for terror organizations. They later recruited 21-year-old Arifeen David Gojali.
The complaint says Deleon and Santana told an FBI source of their plans to engage in “violent jihad.”
Hobby Lobby must offer birth control
OKLAHOMA CITY – A federal judge Monday rejected Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.’s request to block part of the federal health care overhaul that requires the arts and craft company to provide insurance coverage for the morning-after and week-after birth control pills.
In a 28-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton denied a request by Hobby Lobby to prevent the government from enforcing portions of the health care law mandating insurance coverage for contraceptives the company’s Christian owners consider objectionable.
The Oklahoma City-based company and a sister company, Mardel Inc., sued the government in September, claiming the mandate violates the owners’ religious beliefs. In his ruling denying Hobby Lobby’s request for an injunction, Heaton said that while churches and other religious organizations have been granted constitutional protection from the birth-control provisions, “Hobby Lobby and Mardel are not religious organizations.”
Hobby Lobby’s attorney said the companies’ owners will appeal.