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Access, limits on criminal records in Mass.

The state’s new online system for criminal background checks provides easier access for employers, but limit their searches of criminal history to 10 years back.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2012/05/07/BostonGlobe.com/Foreign/Images/07francepic.jpg Socialist Francois Hollande elected in France

Hollande’s presidential victory will be seen as a challenge to the German-dominated vision of economic austerity.

Blue Cross plan targets abuse of painkillers

Blue Cross Blue Shield is launching a policy to curb abuse by significantly limiting the amount of pain medication most patients can receive without prior approval from the insurer.

Claire McCaskill is an incumbent in Missouri.

Associated Press/File

Female candidates key to Democratic Senate

From Mass. to Hawaii, Democrats are leaning heavily on their party’s women to retain control of the Senate, which they now control by a razor-thin margin.

Most of the employees at FreeCause, a Boston technology company, wear headphones at work.

Firms debate headphone use at the office

There is a growing debate on whether plugging in to your own personal soundtrack increases workplace productivity or undermines communication.