Top news: Prosecutors on Wednesday charged three college friends of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, with destroying evidence and misleading investigators -- crimes that could carry between five and eight years in prison. Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, both from Kazakhstan, were charged with removing Tsarnaev's laptop and a backpack containing fireworks from the suspected bomber's room, while Robel K. Phillipos, an American, is charged with lying to investigators. The four men met while attending the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.
According to court documents obtained by the New York Times, the three friends returned to Tsarnaev's apartment on the April 18 -- after the F.B.I. had released photographs of the bombing suspects -- and placed the damning evidence in a dumpster outside. Kadyrbayev reportedly sent a text message to Tsarnaev noting his resemblance to the F.B.I.'s photo. "lol," the suspected bomber replied, "you better not text me." "[C]ome to my room and take whatever you want," he added.
There is no evidence that any of Tsarnaev's friends knew about the bombing plot beforehand.
AfPak: Pakistani troops clashed with Afghan police Wednesday in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province, where Kabul says Pakistan is building a military installation on its side of the Durand Line. The fighting, which lasted several hours, left one Afghan police officer dead and two Pakistani soldiers wounded. Afghanistan has since dispatched hundreds of additional troops to the disputed border region.
- Embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made a rare public appearance Wednesday, visiting workers at the Umayyad Electrical Station in Damascus.
- Flash floods killed least 13 people in Saudi Arabia Wednesday after the country was hit with unusually heavy rains.
- A series of attacks and bombings across Iraq on Wednesday left at least 22 people dead.
- Authorities in Chad on Wednesday foiled a coup attempt against President Idriss Deby.
- Some 260,000 people died during the famine that struck Somalia between 2010 and 2012, according to a new study.
- Nigeria on Wednesday pledged to take action against soldiers found guilty of misconduct during last month's raid in Baga that destroyed thousands of homes and left at least 37 dead.
- Venezuelan lawmakers brawled on Wednesday after members of the opposition flouted a gag order by National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello.
- Bolivian President Evo Morales on Wednesday expelled USAID from the country to protest a comment made by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in April.
- Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff sent lawmakers a second proposal to earmark all future oil royalties for public education.
- The European Central Bank on Thursday slashed interest rates to .5 percent from .75 percent.
- The EU is mulling trade action against Bangladesh to pressure the country to tighten safety regulations after last week's factory collapse that left more than 400 dead.
- A new report by the U.S. Trade Representative named Ukraine as the worst abuser of intellectual property rights.
- North Korea on Thursday sentenced U.S. citizen Kenneth Bae to 15 years of hard labor for crimes against the North, according to the state news agency.
- Since 2007, Chinese computer hackers have breached almost every major U.S. defense contractor, stealing closely guarded technological secrets.
- South Korea announced Wednesday that it will provide $270 million in emergency loans to companies operating in the shuttered Kaesong joint-industrial park in North Korea.