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Obama and congressional leaders try to avoid fiscal cliff

Senate leaders will spend the weekend trying to patch together a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. Obama said if a compromise isn’t reached, he will push for a vote.

Mass. could lose 50,000 jobs if federal dollars dry up

The state is one of the most vulnerable to the deep budget cuts because it receives a disproportionate share of federal defense, research, and development money.

Leaders in party support Markey

Top state Democrats threw their weight behind Representative Edward Markey in what appeared to be an effort to avoid a divisive primary.

The Tennant family has participated in study using DNA sequencing in a bid to understand preterm birth.

Jay Premack for The Boston Globe

A tangled debate centers on newborns’ DNA

DNA sequencing yields useful information about traits and predisposition to disease, but is creating an ethical dilemma for doctors and parents.

Oscar Epstein rides the Green Line to work at the state’s Highway Division.

Oscar Epstein, Mass.’s oldest employee, keeps on working

Epstein, 89, joined the Department of Transportation’s Highway Division in 1949. His salary was around $3,000. He now makes $80,000.

The Nation

Obama and congressional leaders try to avoid fiscal cliff

 President Obama plans to appear on “Meet the Press” on Sunday to press for an agreement before the deadline.

By Christopher Rowland and Chelsea Conaboy

Senate leaders will spend the weekend trying to patch together a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. Obama said if a compromise isn’t reached, he will push for a vote.

Leaders in party support Markey

Rep. Ed Markey, who plans to run for John Kerry’s Senate seat if it becomes available, helped Elizabeth Warren campaign.

By Frank Phillips

Top state Democrats threw their weight behind Representative Edward Markey in what appeared to be an effort to avoid a divisive primary.

Congress extends foreign surveillance law

 Senator Dianne Feinstein helped block an amendment seeking more disclosure.

By Larry Margasak

The government’s can monitor overseas phone calls and e-mails of suspected foreign spies and terrorists — but not Americans.

The World

Russia seeks to meet with Syria opposition

By Ellen Barry

Though Russia opposes forcing out Syria’s president, Bashar Assad, it expressed support for a process that would engage both sides.

Mexico finds smuggling tunnel near US border

By ADRIANA GOMEZ LICON

Mexican authorities have discovered a sophisticated smuggling tunnel equipped with electricity and ventilation not far from Arizona.

Vietnam police arrest dissident lawyer

The arrest escalated a crackdown on those who speak out against the country’s one-party, authoritarian rule.

Editorial & Opinion

Lawrence Harmon

Second career for Menino: Working with kids

 Mayor Menino greets children at the Catholic Charities Teen Center Monday.

By Lawrence Harmon

Menino has been a believer in Boston’s children. The power to act on that belief, however, doesn’t reside exclusively in City Hall.

Derrick Z. Jackson

Wistful hopes for US offshore wind energy

By Derrick Z. Jackson

Will Obama’s reelection and whatever fiscal plan eventually emerges in Washington keep the turbines spinning — or will the future of energy whirl right on past us?

editorial

N.H. should reassess legacy of Senator Styles Bridges

N.H. Senator Styles Bridges (center) may have played a role in the suicide of a Wyoming Senator.

The politics of the ’50s were vicious. Whether that’s a good enough excuse for Bridges is for his latter-day constituents in N.H. to decide.

Metro

A tangled debate centers on newborns’ DNA

The Tennant family has participated in study using DNA sequencing in a bid to understand preterm birth.

By Carolyn Y. Johnson

DNA sequencing yields useful information about traits and predisposition to disease, but is creating an ethical dilemma for doctors and parents.

Oscar Epstein, Mass.’s oldest employee, keeps on working

Oscar Epstein rides the Green Line to work at the state’s Highway Division.

By Eric Moskowitz

Epstein, 89, joined the Department of Transportation’s Highway Division in 1949. His salary was around $3,000. He now makes $80,000.

On Plum Island, another punishing storm

Ian and Graham McKay dismantled the damaged beachside deck on the family home.

By Billy Baker

Crews were dismantling decks from four beachfront homes heavily damaged in this week’s storm and preparing to erect a large sandbag barrier.

More Stories

William Lantigua will seek another term as Lawrence mayor

By Melanie Dostis and Zachary Sampson

Wayward Arctic bird rescued in Roxbury

By Melissa M. Werthmann

Portland, Maine

Same-sex marriage begins in Maine today

By David Sharp

Somerville club cancels New Year’s party after fight

By Sarah N. Mattero and Melissa M. Werthmann

Business

Mass. could lose 50,000 jobs if federal dollars dry up

By Megan Woolhouse

The state is one of the most vulnerable to the deep budget cuts because it receives a disproportionate share of federal defense, research, and development money.

Strike at ports in Boston, elsewhere averted

Boston’s port would have been affected by a threatened strike, which has been postponed.

By Hiawatha Bray

A threatened strike by dock workers that would have closed much of the Port of Boston and other East Coast ports has been put off for at least 30 days.

St. Luke’s emergency room pact terminated

By Beth Healy

St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford terminated the group that has provided its emergency room care and is negotiating with physicians from Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Obituaries

Sheila Evans, 83, fund-raiser and Smith College trustee

SHEILA EVANS

By Kathleen McKenna

Mrs. Evans, who had lived in Cohasset for more than 50 years, led a capital campaign that raised $163 million for her alma mater.

Jean S. Harris, 89, killer of Scarsdale Diet doctor

Jean Harris (left) spent 12 years in prison for killing Herman Tarnower (above) in 1980.

By Joseph Berger

Mrs. Harris’s 1981 trial for the murder of a prominent New York physician galvanized a nation mulling feminist perspectives with its story of vengeance by an aging woman scorned.

Fontella Bass, 72, singer famous for ‘Rescue Me’

Fontella Bass belted out “Rescue Me” at a festival in 1995.

By Jim Salter

Ms. Bass was a soul singer who hit the top of the rhythm and blues charts with ‘‘Rescue Me’’ in 1965.

Sports

Celtics still looking for winning combination

Rajon Rondo (center) and his teammates had to face the ugliness of Thursday’s rout in LA.

By Gary Washburn

Are they a contender in the Eastern Conference or a team that will fight for a bottom playoff seeding? Right now, the Celtics are the latter.

Patriots seek fast start after early stumbles

Tom Brady and the Patriots got off to a lackluster start last Sunday against the Jaguars, who came in hungry despite their poor record.

By Michael Whitmer

Combining the starts of the last two games, Tom Brady and the Patriots have fallen behind by a score of 41-3.

Jerry York of Boston College one win away from record

A win against Alabama-Huntsville on Saturday in Minneapolis will make BC coach Jerry York the winningest coach in college hockey.

By Nancy Marrapese-Burrell

A win against Alabama-Huntsville on Saturday will give the Boston College coach the most wins in college hockey history.

G: Family

In season of resolutions, parents line up to fess up

By Beth Teitell

Did I care more than my son did if he made the middle school basketball team?

From the Archives

From Globe archives: The holiday season in Boston

This week we look back at Boston’s holiday traditions. The city is transformed in this season with visual treats of Santa walking the streets, excited children abound, and fanciful decorations. Among all of the shopping and hustle, warm-heartedness permeates the city.

Mieka Pauley poised for a breakthrough

Singer-songwriter Mieka Pauley started busking in Red Line stations and now plays clubs and lives in New York.

By Jeremy D. Goodwin

Pauley, 32, hasn’t yet made a big commercial breakthrough, but has earned her keep through relentless touring.

More Stories

Weekly chess column

By Harold Dondis and Patrick Wolff

events

Boston-area to do list

By June Wulff

Movie Stars

Movie capsules

names

Winikers celebrate 50th anniversary in style

By Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein

names

Forecasts for 2013

By Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein

names

Justin Bieber watches Celtics lose

By Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein

names

Ed Helms joins family and friends at MFA

By Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein

names

Dennis Lehane’s dog still not found

By Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein

Celebrity news

Actor Nick Stahl arrested

Annie's Mailbox

Ask Amy column