Front page

State fines 3 power providers $25m

In an unprecedented move, Mass. regulators imposed nearly $25 million in fines against three power companies for their response to two major storms last year.

“This will increase the possibility I buy a new book in a bookstore rather than on Amazon,” said Candy Zito-Wolf, an IT manager from Watertown.

Amazon will begin charging sales tax in Mass.

The world’s largest online merchant said that it has agreed to start collecting the tax next November.

Scott Campbell is facing unrelated charges in a patronage scandal.

Jurors stuck over Cahill; former aide acquitted

Timothy Cahill’s former campaign manager was acquitted of corruption charges, but the jury said it was deadlocked on the charges against Cahill.

Poor ticket sales in the team’s first season at Gillette Stadium have contributed to a $715,000 cost overrun.

Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

In move up, UMass football sees empty seats, high costs

Lower-than-expected attendance in the first season at Gillette Stadium has driven up the cost of the school’s effort to enter big-time college football.

Real-bearded Dan Greenleaf (left) must be nice all year. Jim Manning says real whiskers aren’t needed.

Real or fake beards? Santas split on the issue

In the community of men who portray Santa Claus, there is a longstanding disagreement over the best way to embody the big man.

The Nation

Despite labor’s fury, Michigan OK’s union changes

Amid protests in the State Capitol, the Michigan Legislature approved legislation that will weaken unions.

By Monica Davey

The GOP-dominated Michigan Legislature approved sweeping, statewide changes to the way that unions will be financed.

George Zimmerman restrictions to remain

By Lizette Alvarez

The judge in the Trayvon Martin murder case rejected a request that the defendant, George Zimmerman, be allowed to remove his monitoring device and travel around the state.

Gunman among 3 dead in Oregon mall shooting

A firefighter and police officer spoke to a woman outside Clackamas Town Center on Tuesday. Police said the shooter had died, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

By Steven Dubois

A gunman opened fire in a suburban Portland shopping mall Tuesday, killing two people and wounding another, authorities said.

The World

US promises to recognize Syrian rebels

By Mark Landler, Michael R. Gordon and Anne Barnard

President Obama said the US would recognize a coalition of Syrian opposition groups as the country’s legitimate representative, marking a new phase of US engagement.

British government to legalize same-sex marriage

By Jill Lawless

The British government announced that it will introduce a bill next year legalizing gay marriage — but banning the Church of England from conducting same-sex ceremonies.

French politician wants party revote

By Nicola Clark

In an effort to clear an impasse over who won a vote for leadership of France’s center-right opposition party, the declared loser proposed a new election in the spring.

Editorial & Opinion

Scot lehigh

How about Bill Weld for US Senate?

Former Governor William Weld endorsed Scott Brown in his Senate battle with Elizabeth Warren.

By Scot Lehigh

The former Mass. governor is a bigger thinker, a larger personality, and a more engaging figure than Scott Brown, and he’s more bipartisan.

jeff jacoby

Freedom from unions

Protesters gathered for a rally at the State Capitol in Lansing, Mich., on Tuesday.

By Jeff Jacoby

Even Michigan, a cradle of organized labor, embraces right-to-work legislation – and the liberty it protects.

joshua green

The GOP’s weak hand on entitlements

By Joshua Green

For Republicans, entitlement cuts are a long-sought-after prize, but one that’s difficult to openly acknowledge.

Metro

State fines 3 power providers $25m

NStar worker Doug Hernon repaired electric lines in Burlington two days after Tropical Storm Irene hit in August 2011. Hundreds of thousands in the state were without power.

By Peter Schworm

In an unprecedented move, Mass. regulators imposed nearly $25 million in fines against three power companies for their response to two major storms last year.

Jurors stuck over Cahill; former aide acquitted

Scott Campbell is facing unrelated charges in a patronage scandal.

By Michael Levenson

Timothy Cahill’s former campaign manager was acquitted of corruption charges, but the jury said it was deadlocked on the charges against Cahill.

Real or fake beards? Santas split on the issue

Real-bearded Dan Greenleaf (left) must be nice all year. Jim Manning says real whiskers aren’t needed.

By Billy Baker

In the community of men who portray Santa Claus, there is a longstanding disagreement over the best way to embody the big man.

Business

Amazon will begin charging sales tax in Mass.

“This will increase the possibility I buy a new book in a bookstore rather than on Amazon,” said Candy Zito-Wolf, an IT manager from Watertown.

By Jenn Abelson and Laura Finaldi

The world’s largest online merchant said that it has agreed to start collecting the tax next November.

Even higher heating bills in new forecast for winter

Foxborough resident Mary O'Dea had to shovel snow off her driveway during a fall storm.

By Sarah Shemkus

Despite recent mild temperatures, colder days — and higher heating bills — are still on their way, according to analysis.

Lowell candle company shines in Hollywood

Ymittos employee Kevin McMullin dips candles into hot wax, manually rotating each bay about a dozen times. The color and quality of the candles have won raves by filmmakers.

By Kathleen Pierce

The handmade candles produced by Ymittos Candle Manufacturing Co. in Lowell have appeared in 23 films, including “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Lincoln.”

Obituaries

Asna Aronie, 98, farmer talented in art, calligraphy

Asna Aronie

By Laurie D. Willis

Mrs. Aronie was a gifted artist who helped run a poultry farm in Needham and her family’s real estate business.

Ravi Shankar, 92; sitar virtuoso inspired the Beatles

Ravi Shankar won three Grammys during his career.

By Muneeza Naqvi and Ravi Nessman

Mr. Shankar, the sitar virtuoso who introduced traditional Indian ragas to Western audiences over a 10-decade career, died Tuesday.

Gloria Davy, 81, soprano of 20th-century music

Gloria Davy as Nedda in the opera “Pagliacci.”

By Margalit Fox

Ms. Davy, a Brooklyn-born soprano who was the first African-American to sing Aida with the Metropolitan Opera, died Nov. 28 in Geneva.

Sports

Donald Fehr is giving the NHL owners a fight

Emphasizing communication, Donald Fehr has been front and center in leading the NHL players’ association.

By Fluto Shinzawa

The NHLPA executive director has used what leverage he’s had to prompt the owners to cede gains to the players, but he may have pushed too far.

Patriots set sights on AFC’s top playoff seed

Bill Belichick thanks fans for their support after the Patriots routed Houston Monday night.

By Michael Whitmer

A first-round bye and even the No. 1 playoff seed are still in play for New England after the 42-14 beatdown of the Texans.

Bruins prospect getting used to North American play

Swedish goaltender Niklas Svedberg is 10-4-1 with Providence.

By Fluto Shinzawa

For Swedish goalie Niklas Svedberg, 2012-13 is akin to a year abroad, where immersion and first-hand learning with Providence are the priorities.

G: Food

13 Provencal desserts

Fougasse (olive bread).

By Debra Samuels

The consul general of France in Boston brings Provencal flavors to a holiday spent in America.

The French consul general’s Christmas Eve desserts

The French consul general’s 13 Christmas desserts

Recipe for fougasse (Provencal flatbread with olives)

Fougasse, a yeast flatbread something like focaccia or pizza dough, is rolled out and sprinkled with chopped green and black olives, dried thyme, and rosemary in the French Consul General’s home.

More Stories

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New Granary Tavern is more than a bar

By Anne V. Nelson

Cookbook Review

You don’t need to be a chef to turn out a good sauce

By T. Susan Chang

Book Review

‘Familiar’ by J. Robert Lennon

By Eugenia Williamson

A Tank Away

York, Maine has multiple personalities

By Diane Bair and Pamela Wright

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Boston-area to do list

By June Wulff

Annie's Mailbox

Ask Amy column

By Amy Dickinson

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After blowout win, Patriots wrap up some fun

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Siobhan Magnus will front ’90s supergroup

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Tackling acts of kindness with Patriots’ Jerod Mayo

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New leader for Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown

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A party for literacy in Jamaica Plain

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Boston gets a select look at ‘The Lifeguard’

By Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein