Front page

Senate deal prevents tax hikes for many, delays spending cuts

The Senate passed a compromise early Tuesday that prevents income tax hikes on nearly all working Americans while raising taxes on the wealthiest.

With any fiscal deal, payroll tax apt to rise

Even with a fiscal deal, most employees will take home less this year because of an expiring payroll tax cut.

Top row: Kevin White, Helen Gurley Brown, Phyllis Diller, George McGovern. Middle: Mike Wallace, Nora Ephron, Rodney King, Dave Brubeck. Bottom: Chuck Colson, Whitney Houston, John Silber, Don Cornelius.

Enduring memories of luminaries lost in 2012

The Globe remembers some of the notable figures, locally, nationally, and internationally, who passed away in 2012.

Fireworks exploded over Boston Common Monday night as revelers crowded Boston for the annual First Night celebration.

First Nighters ring in 2013 around Boston

Revelers in the Hub cheered the arrival of the New Year under a fireworks display that burst over Boston Harbor as the clock began ticking on 2013.

Homicides decrease in Boston for third straight year

Homicides have been reduced by solid police work, an aging population, and better trauma care.

Rebecca Davila and her family live in a housing authority apartment. With her, from left, are Genesis, 11 (with their dog Woody); Luis, 13; and Priscilla, 7. Luis has asthma.

Asthma reduced in Boston public housing

New Boston data indicate asthma incidences have dropped nearly by half since 2005.

The Nation

Senate deal prevents tax hikes for many, delays spending cuts

Vice President Joe Biden worked with Senate leaders on both sides Monday to reach the agreement.

By Christopher Rowland

The Senate passed a compromise early Tuesday that prevents income tax hikes on nearly all working Americans while raising taxes on the wealthiest.

Many revelers are intent on leaving 2012 behind

Jeremy Turnmeyer and Emily Mae Billington of Wisconsin rang in the new year with a kiss in New York’s Times Square.

By Jennifer Peltz and Verena Dobnik

The world did its best to ring in 2013 with hope for renewal after a year of economic uncertainty, searing violence, and natural disasters.

Gay marriage becomes legal in Maryland

Gay couples are preparing for New Year’s Day weddings in the first state south of the Mason-Dixon Line to allow same-sex marriage.

The World

To encourage peace talks, Pakistan frees eight Taliban

By Shaiq Hussain

Pakistan said it has released prominent Taliban prisoners in an effort to assist the peace process in neighboring Afghanistan.

Pleas issued for couple gone missing in Afghanistan

The family of an ailing, pregnant American woman missing with her Canadian husband has made a public appeal for the couple’s safe return.

Israel eases Gaza materials blockade

Trucks passed through the Kerem Shalom Crossing at the border of Israel and the southern Gaza Strip.

By Amy Teibel

Israel has started allowing long-banned building materials into the Gaza Strip, its first key concession to the Hamas under a cease-fire.

Editorial & Opinion

James Carroll

A new year of pluralism

A dancer performs in a New Year’s Eve celebration in Bali Monday.

By James Carroll

We are crossing into a realm where the deepest meaning of civic connection is no longer defined by national citizenship. Now, all politics is global.

Paul McMorrow

The twin phoenixes: Filene’s and Ferdinand

By Paul McMorrow

There’s poetry in the fact that, in 2013, the pits at the Filene’s building in Downtown Crossing and the Ferdinand building in Dudley Square will be rising in unison.

Jennifer Graham

The faith personified in ‘Les Miserables’

Hugh Jackman plays Jean Valjean in the film adaptation of Les Miserables.

By Jennifer Graham

We can’t have Bibles in schools anymore, but still we have “Les Miserables,” which puts forth the essence of the Christian faith — and with a much better soundtrack.

Metro

Asthma reduced in Boston public housing

Rebecca Davila and her family live in a housing authority apartment. With her, from left, are Genesis, 11 (with their dog Woody); Luis, 13; and Priscilla, 7. Luis has asthma.

By Kay Lazar

New Boston data indicate asthma incidences have dropped nearly by half since 2005.

Homicides decrease in Boston for third straight year

By Matt Carroll

Homicides have been reduced by solid police work, an aging population, and better trauma care.

For two casino groups, a dispute over investor

Peter Picknelly, CEO of Peter Pan Bus Lines, in his company’s Springfield headquarters in December. He is working with Penn National Gaming in proposing a casino for Springfield’s north end.

By Mark Arsenault

Casino developers in Palmer and Springfield are arguing over which project may claim Peter Picknelly, who invested in Palmer before joining Springfield.

Business

With any fiscal deal, payroll tax apt to rise

By Todd Wallack

Even with a fiscal deal, most employees will take home less this year because of an expiring payroll tax cut.

WTKK set to switch from talk to music format

Jim Braude has hosted a liberal talk show on the FM station.

By Callum Borchers

The radio station’s switch comes amid lackluster ratings and a failure to carve out a niche.

Quirky kiosk restaurants drawing in mall shoppers

Ashley Morehouse and Michal Grabias dined at the Wasabi sushi restaurant at the Natick Mall after shopping earlier this month.

By Kathleen Pierce

The unique restaurants are popping up in unexpected places at the mall, snagging shoppers lured by high-end fare in open-air kiosks

Obituaries

Thomas McGee, 88, House speaker for longest period in state history

Mr. McGee served as speaker of the House from 1975-1985.

By J.M. Lawrence

Though 5-foot-6, Mr. McGee was a former boxer and Marine tank operator. His tenure as speaker lasted from 1975 to 1985.

Sports

Patriots’ Josh McDaniels won’t head elsewhere

Josh McDaniels lost 17 of his 22 final games as head coach of the Broncos, and was fired in 2010.

By Shalise Manza Young

The offensive coordinator dismissed suggestions he could be a head-coaching candidate, and said he’s focused on the playoffs.

Dan Shaughnessy

Get ready for Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning for AFC title

Peyton Manning and Tom Brady could face each other again in the AFC Championship game.

By Dan Shaughnessy

Go ahead and amuse yourself with prospects against the Ravens or Colts. Manning and the Broncos are the only folks with a chance to keep the Patriots from a return trip to the Super Bowl.

On Basketball

Celtics at a loss to understand season of struggles

There is growing uncertainty as to whether Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and these Celtics are capable of greatness.

By Gary Washburn

The Celtics’ offseason overhaul has resulted in more problems than solutions as they enter 2013 a sub-.500 team and a shell of their former selves.

G: Living

G Cover

Trying to ride viral videos to wider fame

Jimmy Craig (left) and Justin Parker. The duo behind Fatawesome, who have been friends since high school, had a viral hit with the video “Cat-Friend vs. Dog-Friend,” which spurred some national attention.

By Glenn Yoder

Billerica duo Jimmy Craig and Justin Parker hope to turn their viral video “Cat-Friend vs. Dog-Friend” into a shot at steady comedy careers.

Television Review

Jews amid the culture of the Broadway musical

Irving Berlin is one of a large group of Jewish composers who made it big on Broadway.

By Sarah Rodman

“Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy,” a PBS documentary, explores Jewish history on Broadway through a uniquely entertaining group of talking heads.

Critic’s Notebook

Let us now praise (not quite) famous men

Jane Greer and Robert Mitchum in a scene from the 1947 film noir ‘’Out of the Past,’’ directed by Jacques Tourneur.

By Mark Feeney

New publications beg the question of whether famous directors, painters, and authors shape our imaginative life more than lesser-known talents.