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Obama taps John Kerry as secretary of state

President Obama nominated Senator John Kerry of Mass. as the next secretary of state on Friday.

A post Kerry has prepared to tackle

A lifetime spent around foreign policy and international issues has prepared John Kerry for the State Department.

Some letters extend beyond the material world.

Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

Postal Service shares a century of letters to Santa

This year marked the 100th anniversary of the official start of the Letters to Santa program, which seeks to match the neediest writers with benefactors.

Joe Muxie teared up during a moment of silence at the Garden of Peace in Boston on the one-week anniversary of the shootings in Connecticut.

BILL GREENE/GLOBE STAFF

Moment of silence for Newtown’s victims

One week after the Connecticut attack, a mournful nation observed a moment of silence in memory of the 20 children and six adults killed.

National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre spoke on Friday in Washington, DC.

NRA response to shootings: Armed officer in every school

The group’s top lobbyist slammed violent video games and movies, and said that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.’’

Shannon Nichols put a bear at a Fairfield, Conn., memorial to Sandy Hook School victims.

Menino, police call NRA gun plan preposterous

Mayor Menino called the organization’s demand for an armed guard in every US school a “ploy to bring more guns into our neighborhoods.”

The Nation

Obama taps John Kerry as secretary of state

 At the White House, President Obama nominated Bay State Senator John Kerry as the next secretary of state.

By Bryan Bender and Glen Johnson

President Obama nominated Senator John Kerry of Mass. as the next secretary of state on Friday.

A post Kerry has prepared to tackle

During testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971, John Kerry asked: “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”

By Tracy Jan and Bryan Bender

A lifetime spent around foreign policy and international issues has prepared John Kerry for the State Department.

NRA response to shootings: Armed officer in every school

National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre spoke on Friday in Washington, DC.

By Bobby Caina Calvan

The group’s top lobbyist slammed violent video games and movies, and said that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.’’

The World

North Korea says it has detained a US citizen

By Jean H. Lee

North Korea said Friday that a US citizen has been detained after confessing to unspecified crimes.

Energy, trade, Syria on agenda for Putin at EU summit

Russia's President Vladimir Putin addresses the media, at the end of the EU-Russia summit Friday.

By James Kanterand Stephen Castle

Russian President Vladimir V. Putin began his first talks at the European Union-Russia Summit since his reelection this year.

Syrian rebels step up attacks on strategic sites

By Ben Hubbard

Syria’s rebels stepped up attacks, while reports emerged that President Bashar Assad’s forces continued to fire missiles at rebel areas.

Editorial & Opinion

Tom Keane

A guide to last-minute gifts, Massachusetts style

By Tom Keane

Know anyone who would appreciate a Warren-and-Brown-themed Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots or a Deval Patrick Magic 8-Ball?

Lawrence Harmon

Good food belongs in poor neighborhoods

By Lawrence Harmon

People should consider a one-time investment of $100 to become member-owners of the Dorchester Community Food Co-op.

Renée Loth

A few of my favorite things

By Renée Loth

The icy waters off Plum Island Sound, the first crocus, the throaty sound a cello makes … these are the things I’d mourn should the apocalypse come.

Metro

Menino, police call NRA gun plan preposterous

Shannon Nichols put a bear at a Fairfield, Conn., memorial to Sandy Hook School victims.

By Martine Powers

Mayor Menino called the organization’s demand for an armed guard in every US school a “ploy to bring more guns into our neighborhoods.”

Postal Service shares a century of letters to Santa

Some letters extend beyond the material world.

By David Filipov

This year marked the 100th anniversary of the official start of the Letters to Santa program, which seeks to match the neediest writers with benefactors.

Pharmacy in meningitis outbreak files for bankruptcy

By Zachary T. Sampson

New England Compounding Center is accused of distributing tainted steroids that have killed 39 in a nationwide outbreak.

More Stories

Scramble underway for John Kerry’s Senate seat

By Noah Bierman and Michael Levenson

Moment of silence for Newtown’s victims

By Peter Schworm and Brian Ballou

globe santa

Globe Santa expanding reach through social media

By Kathleen McKenna

Business

Gasoline price gap widens as suppliers use different tactics

Scott Nutile filled up at a Waltham Mobil station where gas was $3.55 a gallon for regular.

By Erin Ailworth

The gap is unusually wide right now, and caused in part by the speed at which prices in the overall market are falling.

City reviewing key waterfront development plans

By Casey Ross

A new review of Boston’s downtown waterfront could result in sweeping changes to the area between Long Wharf and the Northern Avenue Bridge.

TJX buys Internet retailer Sierra for $200 million

By Jenn Abelson

The deal is expected to help the firm launch e-commerce sites for its T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods chains.

Obituaries

Thomas W. McGee, ex-speaker of Mass. House, dies at 88

Thomas W. McGee served as speaker from 1975 to 1984.

By Zachary T. Sampson

Mr. McGee served as speaker from 1975 until 1984, when he was ousted in a bitter rift by George Keverian, who had served as majority leader.

Donald Romeo, 78; dentist, pilot aided Honduras’s poor

Dr. Romeo in his plane for the Flying Dentists Association.

By Stephanie M. Peters

An oral surgeon who loved to fly planes, Dr. Romeo volunteered for the Flying Dentists Association’s mission trips to Honduras.

Larry L. King, 83; wrote ‘The Best Little Whorehouse’

“The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” became a Broadway smash after Mr. King wrote a magazine article about the Chicken Ranch brothel for Playboy in 1974.

By Mark Kennedy

Mr. King’s magazine article about a campaign to close down a popular bordello became a hit Tony Award-nominated musical and a movie starring Burt Reynolds.

Sports

Bucks 99, Celtics 94

Celtics tumble in overtime

Paul Pierce followed his 40-point game Wednesday with 35-pointer Friday. But his teammates struggled in the 99-94 loss to the Bucks.

By Gary Washburn

Paul Pierce followed his 40-point game Wednesday with 35-pointer Friday. But his teammates struggled in the 99-94 loss to the Bucks.

Chung trying to keep up with Patriots defense

Even when he isn’t on the field, safety Patrick Chung is doing all he can to keep pace with the defensive calls.

By Julian Benbow

Even when he isn’t on the field, safety Patrick Chung is doing all he can to keep pace with the changing defensive calls.

Revolution sign Braintree’s Scott Caldwell

Revolution coach Jay Heaps (left) and GM Michael Burns flank the team’s newest member, Scott Caldwell.

By Craig Forde

Caldwell fulfilled his lifelong dream of playing professional soccer for the New England Revolution.

G: Family

Story slams growing in popularity

A story slam at Rosebud Bar and Grill in Somerville, hosted by a group called Massmouth.

By Eugenia Williamson

Storytelling events are growing in popularity across the country, thanks in part to New York nonprofit The Moth and its radio reach.

From the Archives

From the Globe archives: Santa airborne, bound for the North End

Boston is transformed during the holiday season, as Santa walks the streets, excited children abound, and fanciful decorations are everywhere.

Book Review

‘Silent House’ by Orhan Pamuk

Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk’s “Silent House” was written nearly 30 years ago.

By Richard Eder

“Silent House,” written nearly 30 years ago, has a few of Pamuk’s strengths, but if it has any real interest it is to illustrate how much a novelist can grow.