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Uncertainty on fiscal cuts stalls activity in Mass.

Universities, hospitals, and defense contractors are delaying hiring and expansion because Congress postponed spending decisions.

Fiscal deal makes social programs more vulnerable

The lack of spending cuts will place enormous pressure on entitlement programs and the new heath insurance plan.

James Foley, who was captured in Libya in 2011, had been filing reports and videos from Syria until six weeks ago.

War reporter kidnapped a second time

James Foley, a Boston-based foreign correspondent abducted in Libya in 2011, was kidnapped in Syria on Thanksgiving Day, his family said.

All were set for cold as Linda Connors of South Boston walked Yorkshire terriers Mimi (left) and Missy on Day Boulevard Wednesday. The temperature hit 17, and an overnight low in the single digits was predicted.

JOHN TLUMACKI/GLOBE STAFF

Deep freeze hits Boston area

Temperatures dropped into the single digits in parts of Massachusetts Thursday morning.

Scott Brown, left, questioned Wednesday whether US Representative Edward J. Markey is a bona fide resident of Massachusetts.

Brown swipes at Markey’s residency

Scott Brown questioned whether potential Senate campaign rival Edward Markey is a bona fide Massachusetts resident.

You can wear a bag, but cursing at a sports event is illegal.

Antiquated state laws stir modern-day worry

Obscure Massachusetts laws, and the fact they’re still on the books, often provoke humor. But to some, outmoded statutes are no laughing matter.

The Nation

Fiscal deal makes social programs more vulnerable

By Bryan Bender

The lack of spending cuts will place enormous pressure on entitlement programs and the new heath insurance plan.

Stalled Sandy aid infuriates Northeastern Republicans

US Representatives Peter King, right, and Michael Grimm, both Republicans from New York, spoke to media after meeting with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to discuss the relief fund hold up in Congress for Hurricane Sandy victims Wednesday.

By Raymond Hernandez

Elected officials from the New York area erupted with outrage after the House refused to take up a federal aid package.

Hillary Clinton released from hospital, expected to recover

By Josh Lederman

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was released three days after a blood clot was discovered in her head.

The World

30 killed in blast at gas station outside Damascus

By Anne Barnard

An explosion turned a long line of cars waiting for rarely available fuel into a deadly inferno that killed at least 30 people sitting in their cars or on motorcycles.

Bedouins ousted from West Bank

By MOHAMMED BALLAS

Israeli military ordered dozens of Palestinian Bedouins to leave their communities so it could conduct exercises in a remote area of the West Bank.

Celebratory gunfire kills Filipino girl

A 7-year-old girl died Wednesday after being hit in the head by a stray bullet during New Year’s Eve revelry in the Philippines.

Editorial & Opinion

JULIETTE KAYYEM

A storm of a fight

Dennis Kane stood above the charred remains of his destroyed home in the Breezy Point section of Queens.

By Juliette Kayyem

The delay in providing Congressional aid to victims of Hurricane Sandy also delays an upgrade to the federal relief system.

Joan Vennochi

Democrats for democracy? Not in Mass.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, left, applauds while campaigning with U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., right, at a senior center in Medford, Mass., Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

By Joan Vennochi

Democrats want to clear a path for Edward Markey in his bid to replace John Kerry in the Senate, although a primary battle could be good for the party and their nominee.

editorial

The Zipcar revolution

Zipcar was founded in 2000 and will soon move its corporate offices from Cambridge to the Innovation District.

Zipcar’s expansion from a Cambridge startup into a global brand has helped fuel a revival of urban living.

Metro

Brown swipes at Markey’s residency

Scott Brown, left, questioned Wednesday whether US Representative Edward J. Markey is a bona fide resident of Massachusetts.

By Noah Bierman and Frank Phillips

Scott Brown questioned whether potential Senate campaign rival Edward Markey is a bona fide Massachusetts resident.

Antiquated state laws stir modern-day worry

You can wear a bag, but cursing at a sports event is illegal.

By Andrew Carden and Kristen Lee

Obscure Massachusetts laws, and the fact they’re still on the books, often provoke humor. But to some, outmoded statutes are no laughing matter.

War reporter kidnapped a second time

James Foley, who was captured in Libya in 2011, had been filing reports and videos from Syria until six weeks ago.

By Peter Schworm

James Foley, a Boston-based foreign correspondent abducted in Libya in 2011, was kidnapped in Syria on Thanksgiving Day, his family said.

Business

Uncertainty on fiscal cuts stalls activity in Mass.

By Megan Woolhouse and Todd Wallack

Universities, hospitals, and defense contractors are delaying hiring and expansion because Congress postponed spending decisions.

Tech Lab

After hype, some digital devices flopped

By Hiawatha Bray

Smart televisions, 3-D TVs, video calling, and Ultrabooks promised to be “world-changing” products, but didn’t change a thing.

Expiring payroll tax cut to hit everyone’s paycheck

By Beth Healy

Workers will see a small increase as a result of the tax package passed by Congress — about $822 a year for taxpayers earning between $50,000 and $75,000.

Obituaries

Werner Gans, businessman; cellist fled from Holocaust

Mr. Gans played with the Newton Symphony Orchestra and was a cellist for 22 years with the Boston Civic Symphony.

By Michele Richinick

Mr. Gans, 89, played with the Newton Symphony Orchestra and was a cellist for 22 years with the Boston Civic Symphony.

Patti Page, 85, singer of ‘Tennessee Waltz,’ ‘Old Cape Cod’

Her ‘‘Tennessee Waltz,’’ from 1951, sold 10 million copies.

By Anita Gates

Ms. Page’s hits like ‘‘Tennessee Waltz,’’ “Old Cape Cod,’’ and ‘‘How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?’’ made her one of the most successful pop singers of the 1950s.

Carl Woese, 84; biophysicist who discovered life’s ‘third domain’

CARL WOESE

By William Yardley

Dr. Woese’s discovery 35 years ago of a “third domain” of life in the vast realm of microorganisms altered scientific understanding of evolution.

Sports

Grizzlies 93, Celtics 83

Celtics lose fourth straight

Celtics Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have nothing to smile about late in the fourth quarter of a loss to the Grizzlies at the Garden.

By Gary Washburn

After three listless quarters and a handful of chances to pull off a dramatic rally, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and the Celtics lost to the Grizzlies, 93-83.

Dan Shaughnessy

Celtics need to make a bold move

Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett, left to right, watched from the bench late in the third quarter of Wednesday night’s loss.

By Dan Shaughnessy

They don’t play defense, lack toughness, and are lost when Kevin Garnett isn’t on the court. Danny Ainge needs to do something big to shake up this team.

Patriots fondly remember equipment man Don Brocher

Don Brocher was with the Patriots for all seven of their Super Bowls (three wins).

By Shalise Manza Young

Brocher, who was with the Patriots for all seven of their Super Bowls (three wins), lost a six-month battle with leukemia on New Year’s Day.

G: Style

How Richard Emmanuel became reverend of a church with a mission but no members

Richard Emmanuel and The Church.

By Joseph P. Kahn

Gloucester’s Richard Emmanuel may lose his 44-year old alternative church to the bank, but his spirit and sense of humor remain intact.

Who will make Michelle Obama’s Inaugural gown?

President Obama and Michelle Obama on inaugural night in 2009. She wore a Jason Wu-designed gown.

By Christopher Muther

A look at some strong contenders.

Movie Review

‘Bestiaire’ captures behavior: beastly, otherwise

Denis Côté’s documentary, “Bestiaire,” shows the lives of animals at a Canadian park and their interactions with caretakers and visitors.

By Wesley Morris

In this documentary, the fine Canadian filmmaker Denis Côté views animals at a Quebec safari attraction.

Globe North

‘This Old House’ puts finishing touches on Essex cottage

Work began on the Essex cottage in the spring, with the crew of “This Old House” filming as the renovations were done.

By Joel Brown

“This Old House” has worked its magic on an Essex cottage for episodes to air on PBS stations beginning this month.

Salem painting contractor gets her moment in spotlight

Brooke Cambridge, owner of BLC Painting of Salem, in Danvers where her company is involved in painting a restaurant as part of an A&E TV show.

By Joel Brown

A&E’s “Flipping Boston” recently shot episodes on the renovations of a condo in Lynn and a pizzeria in Danvers, which were both painted by Salem-based BLC Painting LLC.

Woburn

Woburn determined to expand downtown parking facility

By John Laidler

Though turned down in a recent bid for a $5 million state grant for a new downtown parking facility, Woburn officials are not abandoning their effort to complete the project.

Globe South

Yoga: A mind and body resolution for the new year

Gail O’Leary led her class through a one-hour vinyasa session at the Norton Parks and Recreation Center.

By Jennette Barnes

The stretching and breathing of yoga go easy on the spirit while challenging the body as much or as little as is needed.

Yoga demographics

Yogo demographics: Some interesting data.

Holbrook

Seniors getting a larger center, but traffic a concern

By Christine Legere

Town leaders are looking into an expanded senior center to replace the current one, but the facility would be located at one of Holbrook’s busiest intersections.

Globe West

Area employers adapt to a new generation

Ryan Archambeault, digital marketing coordinator at Vibram. Generation Y is seen as mobile, open to change, and placing a high value on work environment.

By Calvin Hennick

As the oldest members of the Millennial Generation are entering their 30s and becoming a force in the workplace, employers say they are adapting.

Millennials in the labor force

Millennials will make up 40.5 of the US work force by 2020.

Garden in the Woods launching makeover

By Lisa Kocian

The New England Wild Flower Society is embarking on an ambitious revitalization project at the Garden in the Woods botanical garden.