Front page

Mass. pupils near the top in math and science

Eighth-graders outperformed most countries on a highly regarded international math and science exam, according to results being released Tuesday.

Mattapan killings juror sent home; work starts anew

The man was dismissed from the jury after other jurors told court officials that he revealed to them that he had researched ballistics information online.

Marybeth Mills Muldowney (right) wants the mortgage deduction unaltered.

Debee Tlumacki for the Boston Globe

Loss of mortgage deduction would be hard hit in Mass.

The mortgage-interest tax deduction that homeowners have long enjoyed could be diminished or eliminated as part of efforts to reduce the federal deficit.

The Nation

Strauss-Kahn, hotel housekeeper settle civil suit

Nafissatou Diallo, who said Dominique Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her, was at the hearing in the Bronx courtroom.

By Russ Buettner

Former French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn reached a secret settlement with the New York hotel housekeeper who accused him of sexual assault last year.

Colorado theater shooting suspect asked for notebook back

Attorneys for James Holmes called the University of Colorado four days after the attack and asked the school to return a package Holmes sent his psychiatrist.

Washington man gets life for 1957 slaying of Illinois girl

Jack McCullough, 73, was convicted in September for the abduction and killing of Maria Ridulph, 7, in December of 1957.

Jack McCullough, 73, was convicted in September in one of the oldest unsolved crimes in American history to make it to trial.

The World

Syrian rebels capture part of massive army base

As the Syrian conflict has spilled into Lebanon, soldiers patrolled in Tripoli after clashes there killed at least 17 people.

By Bassem Mroue

The rebels captured part of a military base near the northern city of Aleppo, strengthening their hold near the Turkish border.

North Korea extends rocket test

North Korea on Monday extended the launch period for a controversial long-range rocket by another week until Dec. 29, citing technical problems.

Afghan attacks down, but insider threat rises

Overall violence declined just slightly in the past year and widespread corruption continues, according to a Pentagon report.

Editorial & Opinion

Farah Stockman

Food aid fattens up lobbyists

By Farah Stockman

Each year, the United States spends more than $1.5 billion feeding starving people overseas, but our charity comes with a catch: The food has to be bought in America.

Joanna Weiss

For parents, where to draw the line on risk?

By Joanna Weiss

Children can be resilient, but for worried parents in a world of potential dangers and fears, such a notion may not offer solace.

Paul McMorrow

Cambridge needs to ditch parking lots to move ahead

By Paul McMorrow

Two development plans in the city hinge on giving incentives to desirable developments, and on converting stagnant parking lots into active buildings that advance broader benefits.

Metro

Mass. pupils near the top in math and science

“State and local policy matters . . . can have a powerful influence in advancing or slowing educational progress,” US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said.

By James Vaznis

Eighth-graders outperformed most countries on a highly regarded international math and science exam, according to results being released Tuesday.

Part 3 — Secret courts

Courts inside prisons, far from public view

The Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Ga., where the detainees outnumber town residents.

By Maria Sacchetti and Milton J. Valencia

Thousands of immigrants find themselves at the mercy of a legal system that, for many, amounts to an assembly line toward deportation.

Mattapan killings juror sent home; work starts anew

Dwayne Moore entered Suffolk Superior Court in Boston.

By Brian Ballou

The man was dismissed from the jury after other jurors told court officials that he revealed to them that he had researched ballistics information online.

More Stories

A tale of two courtrooms at Suffolk Superior Court

By Michael Levenson and Brian Ballou

Kevin Cullen

Stop and hear the bells

By Kevin Cullen

COHASSET

Grand jury declines to indict Cohasset man

By Sarah N. Mattero

Globe Santa

Ailing mom seeks gifts for two

By Christopher Tangney

Timeline

The growth of the US immigration system

By Milton J. Valencia

Business

Loss of mortgage deduction would be hard hit in Mass.

Marybeth Mills Muldowney (right) wants the mortgage deduction unaltered.

By Jenifer B. McKim

The mortgage-interest tax deduction that homeowners have long enjoyed could be diminished or eliminated as part of efforts to reduce the federal deficit.

Bank of America gets low customer ratings in survey

By Todd Wallack

The bank’s customer satisfaction level fell to its lowest in more than a decade.

A123 Systems sale still a raw deal to some

An employee examined a solar panel at Wanxiang NewEnergy in Rockford, Ill.

By Erin Ailworth

Congressional Republicans criticized a Chinese firm’s purchase of the bankrupt Waltham battery-maker that received millions in taxpayer dollars under President Obama.

Obituaries

Dr. Barry Lang; surgeon became lawyer

By Sarah N. Mattero

Dr. Lang, 68, exchanged a medical career for one in law simply because he had run out of things to learn about.

Jon Kest, 57; organized low-wage workers in New York

Jon Kest helped organize home day-care workers.

By Margalit Fox

Mr. Kest, a founder of the Working Families Party and a longtime community advocate in New York, organized the recent strike by the city’s fast-food workers.

Robert Lescher, 83; agent represented Robert Frost

By Paul Vitello

Mr. Lescher epitomized a kind of Old World ideal of an author’s agent — courtly, literary, and invisible.

Sports

Christopher L. Gasper

Dominant Patriots defense earned the spotlight

Texans quarterback Matt Schaub tries to hide but he can’t escape the sack by Rob Ninkovich (50) in the first quarter.

By Christopher L. Gasper

The Patriots’ defensive improvement is not a figment of fertile imaginations. It’s real.

Dan Shaughnessy

Patriots look like they’re heading to Super Bowl

WesWelker cradles the ball as he hits the deck inside the 5-yard line after giving Houston defensive back Kareem Jackson (25) the slip. The play set up the Patriots’ first touchdown.

By Dan Shaughnessy

The statement made in the romp over the Texans was that nobody in the AFC can beat the Patriots in the playoffs.

Once again, Tom Brady looks like an MVP

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has now played more than a season’s worth of games on “Monday Night Football”.

By Michael Whitmer

Brady’s four-touchdown performance against the Texans has triggered many to say he’s poised to collect another MVP award.

G: Living

G Cover

Buying gifts for the hard-to-please

Lori Hartnett, pictured at her Quincy home with her mother, Joan McGregor.

By Beth Teitell

Forget the Grinch or Scrooge, the most-dreaded characters this time of year are the Hard to Buy For.

Tips to solve all your holiday shopping problems

By Beth Teitell

Tips on shopping for the Hard to Buy For include: buy small but extravagant items; personalize gift cards; and go practical.

Frame By Frame

Poking fun at the powerful — in an artful way

“L’EMINENCE GRISE”

By Sebastian Smee

Jean-Leon Gerome’s “L’Eminence Grise” has been in the collection of the MFA for more than a century.

More Stories

Album review | Pop

Bruno Mars offers romance, reggae, and raunch in latest

By Sarah Rodman

Album review | HIP-HOP

Wiz Khalifa, ‘O.N.I.F.C.’

By Ken Capobianco

Album review | ROCK

Green Day, ‘¡Tré!’

By Scott McLennan

Album review | HIP-HOP

Big Boi, ‘Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors’

By Julian Benbow

Events

Boston-area To Do list

By June Wulff

Tuesday night television

Critic’s corner: What’s on TV tonight

By Matthew Gilbert

Annie's Mailbox

Ask Amy column

By Amy Dickinson

Movie Stars

Movie capsules

Names

Celtics share the spirit of the season

By Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein

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Damien Echols to sign book in Peabody

By Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein

Names

‘Fighter’ director to film in Boston again

By Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein

Names

Holiday bling that benefits the Jimmy Fund

By Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein

Names

Room to Grow gala draws a crowd in Boston

By Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein

Names

Off to Miami Beach, for the love of art

By Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein

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Eliza Dushku cast in TV reboot of ‘The Saint’

By Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein

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Is Donald Trump a fan of the Patriots?

By Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein

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Warren spreads some Christmas cheer with Pops

By Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein