Front page

Mass. tax revenues decline; budget trims loom

Recent tax collections have been unexpectedly disappointing, failing to measure up to last year’s levels.

The city shuttles more than 33,000 students every day.

A better year for Boston school bus arrivals

Boston school buses — chronically late last year, prompting a barrage of criticism — are increasingly arriving on time this fall.

Medicare payment changes draw fire

Neurologists in Boston and nationwide are objecting to a plan that would pay them less for certain diagnostic tests, a change meant to cut Medicare costs.

The Nation

High court to consider taking gay marriage cases

Karen Golinski (left), a federal employee, has sued to add her wife, Amy Cunninghis, to her health insurance plan.

By Lisa Leff

The Supreme Court may decide this week whether to take up challenges next year to the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Maryland studies repeal of death penalty

No executions have occurred under Martin O’Malley.

Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland is considering another attempt at repealing the death penalty when lawmakers reconvene in January.

2 children among 4 dead in Calif. highway crash

Five other people were hurt when a Toyota Prius crossed the center line on a highway and struck a Toyota Sienna minivan.

The World

112 die as fire ravages Bangladesh garment factory

Firefighters extinguished a fire Sunday in the Tazreen Fashions plant in Savar, outside Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital.

By Vikas Bajaj

It took firefighters all night to put out the blaze at the factory, Tazreen Fashions, after it started Saturday about 7 p.m.

Spanish separatist parties make gains

Voters in economically powerful Catalonia raised the likelihood that the region will hold an independence referendum.

Congo and M23 rebels negotiate in Uganda

Ugandan Defense Minister Crispus Kiyonga said he is mediating discussions to help end a violent rebellion.

Editorial & Opinion

John E. Sununu

Washington’s holiday fruitcake

 Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, President Obama, and Harry Reid meet in the White House Cabinet Room in 2011.

By John E. Sununu

Like any tradition — visiting certain relatives, attending the same Christmas parties, or listening to the president carry on — it can start to wear you down after awhile.

James Carroll

The Earth experiment

By James Carroll

“Geoengineering” can help counter climate change, but does it go too far?

Alan Berger

Iranian exiles and international blunders

By Alan Berger

Spend enough time kibitzing about international affairs and you are liable to develop an obsession with blunders.

Metro

Mass. tax revenues decline; budget trims loom

The revenue drop is adding to the pressures on Governor Deval Patrick, who is also struggling with a drug lab crisis and a fatal meningitis outbreak traced to Massachusetts.

By Stephanie Ebbert

Recent tax collections have been unexpectedly disappointing, failing to measure up to last year’s levels.

A better year for Boston school bus arrivals

The city shuttles more than 33,000 students every day.

By James Vaznis

Boston school buses — chronically late last year, prompting a barrage of criticism — are increasingly arriving on time this fall.

Medicare payment changes draw fire

By Chelsea Conaboy

Neurologists in Boston and nationwide are objecting to a plan that would pay them less for certain diagnostic tests, a change meant to cut Medicare costs.

Business ǀ Science

As residences rise, downtown builds a new vitality

By Casey Ross

The construction of residential towers is transforming Boston’s long-struggling downtown area into a full-blown neighborhood.

As options expand, Black Friday sales slip

Black Friday ‘‘is certainly not dead,’’ said the National Retail Federation’s chief, but ‘‘it’s starting to spread out.’’

By Stephanie Clifford

After spending years to make Black Friday into the year’s blockbuster shopping day, retailers undercut themselves this year.

Shopping apps help ease the pain

By Mark Baard

The best apps for smartphones and tablets are as useful inside the mall as for shopping online.

Obituaries

Lawrence Guyot, civil rights leader and community activist

In the 1960s, Lawrence Guyot endured beatings and arrests as he fought for voting rights for African-Americans.

By Hamil R. Harris

Mr. Guyot, 73, fought to empower the poor and disenfranchised from his native Mississippi to the District of Columbia.

Miriam Hall-Wunderlich, 72; had gift for friendship

Miphi Hall-Wunderlich

By Bryan Marquard

A dedicated mother, singer, English teacher, and bank manager, Mrs. Hall-Wunderlich was “someone who was easy to love.”

Bryce Courtenay, 79, popular Australian novelist

Bryce Courtenay started writing fiction in his 50s.

By Bruce Weber

Mr. Courtenay, who became an author in his early 50s, sold more than 20 million copies of his 21 books.

Sports

Frank Spaziani fired as BC football coach

Frank Spaziani met with N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien after BC’s season-ending loss to the Wolfpack.

By Julian Benbow

Following a 2-10 season and a four-year record of 21-29, Spaziani was let go as BC seeks to rebuild its moribund football program.

Dan Shaughnessy

BC fired its football coach and nobody cares

Frank Spaziani was ousted at BC after a 2-10 season.

By Dan Shaughnessy

We are sports-crazed Bostonians, but this is a pro sports town and what Boston College does just doesn’t register on our radar.

Celtics 116, Magic 110

Celtics outlast the Magic in OT

Rajon Rondo (15 points, 16 assists, 9 rebounds) beats Josh McRoberts in the second half.

By Gary Washburn

The Celtics needed a fourth-quarter rally to rescue a win on a night when they were outplayed, outhustled, and at times out-executed.

G: Health

G Cover

Meditation can improve health

A class at the Advaita Meditation Center in Waltham.

By Jan Brogan

Researchers have reported positive results from meditation in a wide range of ailments, including heart disease, weight management, and chronic pain.

In Practice

Using humor in the doctor’s office

By Dr. Suzanne Koven

A joke — any joke — breaks down barriers, including between a doctor and a patient.

Dance Review

A shimmering ‘Nutcracker’ from Boston Ballet

Boston Ballet’s Paulo Arrais and Kathleen Breen Combes (above) and Jeffrey Cirio (below right) in rehearsal last week.

By Thea Singer

The Boston Ballet’s new “Nutcracker” brings a softness and light — a wistful knowingness — to the venerable holiday classic.

More Stories

Music Review

Ray LaMontagne mesmerizes at Orpheum

By Scott McLennan

Book Review

‘The Legend of Broken’ by Caleb Carr

By Steve Almond

Daily Dose

Heart-healthy dining tips for the holidays

By Deborah Kotz

Daily Dose

Teens have their own body image issues

By Deborah Kotz

Events

Boston-area to do list

By June Wulff

Monday Night Television

Critic’s corner: What’s on TV tonight

By Matthew Gilbert

Annie's Mailbox

Ask Amy column

Chess Notes

Weekly chess column

By Harold Dondis and Patrick Wolff

Names

Joe Biden chills out on Nantucket for Thanksgiving

By Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein

Names

Jay Harrington warms up ‘Hot in Cleveland’

By Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein

Names

Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ video most watched

By Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein

Names

Documentarian Ken Burns to be honored

By Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein

Names

Local celebrities spotted in and around town

By Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein