Dzhokhar’s Friends: NBC News: “The two friends of Boston marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who were arrested and charged in May, now face two additional charges connected to what the FBI says was their attempt to destroy evidence. Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, both students from Kazakhstan, were indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury, the next step in bringing them to trial. In addition to being accused of conspiracy to obstruct justice, the count on which they were originally arrested, they are now also charged with obstructing justice and aiding and abetting.”
What the Defense Said: Reuters: “An attorney for Tazhayakov … said he had been trying for the past three months to persuade federal prosecutors to drop charges against his client. ‘There was no motive and no order from Tsarnaev to destroy evidence,’ Bukh said in a phone interview. ‘Unfortunately, we couldn’t convince them. At this time there is little left but to go to trial.’ Kadyrbayev’s attorneys could not be reached for immediate comment.”
The American Friend: Politico: “An American friend of Tsarnaev arrested around the same time as the Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov, Robel Phillipos, was not indicted Thursday. His lawyers filed a motion asking to postpone a preliminary hearing in his case. ‘The parties are engaged in negotiations aimed at possible resolution of this matter,’ Phillipos attorneys Derege Demissie and Susan Church wrote in the motion.”
It’s Thursday. Welcome to the Slatest PM, where we’re rounding up the day’s top stories and gearing up for the weekend. Follow me, your afternoon news guide, on Twitter at @s_brodez and the whole team at @slatest.
JPMorgan Under Federal Investigation: New York Times: “JPMorgan Chase disclosed on Wednesday that it faced a criminal and civil investigation into whether it sold shoddy mortgage securities to investors in the run-up to the financial crisis, the latest legal threat to the nation’s biggest bank. JPMorgan acknowledged for the first time the existence of the investigation — one of several mortgage-related problems looming for the bank — in a quarterly regulatory filing. It said that the civil division of the United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of California… has “preliminarily concluded” that JPMorgan flouted federal laws with its sale of subprime mortgage securities from 2005 to 2007. The parallel criminal inquiry, according to one person briefed on the matter, is in a more preliminary stage.”
Russia Disappointed With U.S.: BBC: “The Kremlin says it is ‘disappointed’ the US cancelled bilateral talks in September, after Russia granted asylum to intelligence leaker Edward Snowden. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foreign affairs adviser said the move showed the US could not develop ties with Russia on an ‘equal basis.’ A White House aide said Mr Snowden’s asylum had deepened the pre-existing tension between the two counties. But Mr Obama still plans to attend the G20 economic talks in St Petersburg.”
Assad’s Neighborhood Struck by Rebels: Al Jazeera: “Rockets and mortar bombs hit the Damascus neighbourhood of Syrian President Bashar Assad, as rebels demonstrated their ability to strike one of the most secure areas of the capital. At least two rebel brigades on Thursday claimed to have hit the presidential motorcade as it was ferrying the president to morning prayers in the heavily guarded Malki district, where the president lives and works. State television said two mortar shells landed in Malki, injuring two regime guards - but the regime was adamant the shells did not hit the presidential convoy. Assad was later shown on state media leading prayers at Anas bin Malik mosque in the neighbourhood.”
More Effective Malaria Vaccine: NBC News: “After decades of frustrating research to find a highly effective malaria vaccine, a novel approach is showing promise against the mosquito-transmitted disease, a team of government, academic, and private researchers reported in a study published Thursday in the journal Science. Malaria infected an estimated 200 million people worldwide in 2010 and caused as many as 1.24 million deaths, mostly in children. In an early-stage clinical trial, the so-named PfSPZ vaccine protected from malaria infection all six volunteers who received five doses, the most, and protected six of the nine volunteers who received four doses. In contrast, five out of the six unvaccinated participants became infected with the disease.”
Dallas Update: Morning News: “Authorities say a grenade-wielding man went on a shooting rampage at homes in Dallas and DeSoto late Wednesday, killing four people and wounding four others. The suspect has been identified as Erbie Bowser, 44. Authorities say it appears he was trying to kill a former girlfriend and his estranged wife, who lived at the house in DeSoto where police say the second attack occurred. She had filed for divorce in January 2011, but the case is still pending.”
Study Finds Race Divide in Friendships: Reuters: “About 40 percent of white Americans and about 25 percent of non-white Americans are surrounded exclusively by friends of their own race, according to an ongoing Reuters/Ipsos poll. … There are regions and groups where mixing with people of other races is more common, especially in the Hispanic community where only a tenth do not have friends of a different race. About half of Hispanics who have a spouse or partner are in a relationship with non-Hispanics, compared to one tenth of whites and blacks in relationships.”
Busy Hurricane Season Ahead: Associated Press: “This Atlantic hurricane season may not be quite as busy as U.S. forecasters once thought, but they still warn of an unusually active and potentially dangerous few months to come. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration updated its hurricane season forecast Thursday, trimming back the number of hurricanes they expect this year to between six and nine. That is less than the seven to 11 hurricanes NOAA predicted back in May. The forecast calls for three to five of those hurricanes to be major, with winds greater than 110 mph.”
A Few More Quick Hits from Slate:
- MoneyBox: Where Airplanes Go When They Retire
- Crime: Let’s Get Rid of the AMBER Alert System. It Doesn’t Work.
- Weigel: Georgia Conservatives Like Paula Deen More Than MLK (But Only Slightly!)
- XX Factor: New Study Says Women Are Cat-Fighting Gold Diggers and Gucci is Magic
- BrowBeat: Dear Moviegoing Texters: You’re Outnumbered. Sincerely, Shushers.
That’s all for today. See you back here tomorrow. Until next time, tell your friends to subscribe, or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.