Front page

MBTA may halt $190m order for commuter rail cars

Chronic delays and concerns about shoddy workmanship have prompted executives to threaten cancellation of the contract and possibly seek a new firm.

MBTA riders are thinking twice before they touch potentially germ-covered poles on trains.

Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

Close quarters send a shudder in flu season

With an outbreak stoking fears, people in Boston are swimming in hand sanitizer and flocking for flu shots. But on MBTA trains, germs bring a special kind of dread.

Officials expect 600,000 to 800,000 people to attend President Obama’s Jan. 21 inauguration ceremony.

SAUL LOEB/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

For Obama’s second inaugural, fund-raising limits lifted

Four years ago, $50,000 was the maximum donation for the president’s gala. Now, individuals can give up to $1 million, and the ban on corporate donations is gone.

Patrick seeks higher health payments by retirees

Most future state and municipal retirees would have to pay about $1,000 a year more for health care under Governor Patrick’s plan to save up to $20 billion over the next three decades.

Cambridge cancer diagnosticians strike a chord

A start-up that uses genomics data and DNA sequencing to help doctors pinpoint treatments for cancer has drawn high-profile backers such as Bill Gates.

The Nation

For Obama’s second inaugural, fund-raising limits lifted

Officials expect 600,000 to 800,000 people to attend President Obama’s Jan. 21 inauguration ceremony.

By David Uberti

Four years ago, $50,000 was the maximum donation for the president’s gala. Now, individuals can give up to $1 million, and the ban on corporate donations is gone.

Assault weapons ban seen as hard to enact

Vice President Joe Biden, second from right, during a meeting with Sportsmen and Women and Wildlife Interest Groups and member of his cabinet, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013.

By Michael D. Shear and Peter Baker

The White House has calculated that a ban on military-style assault weapons will be exceedingly difficult to pass through Congress and is focusing on other measures.

Shotgun-wielding student shoots one

 Paramedics assisted a student following a shooting on Thursday at a rural high school in Taft, Calif. A teacher and a school official talked the gunman into surrendering.

By Tracie Cone

A 16-year-old student armed with a shotgun walked into class in a rural California high school, shot one student and fired at another.

The World

Chavez misses his inauguration

 Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez cheered at his inauguration on Thursday despite his absence from the event. Chavez has been out of the public eye for more than a month since a fourth cancer surgery. It was the first time in Venezuela’s history that a president has missed his inauguration.

By Ian James and Christopher Toothaker

Nothing shows the extent of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s grip on power quite as clearly as his absence from his own inauguration Thursday.

Three Kurdish activists are found slain in Paris

Kurds staged a demonstration in Diyarbakir, Turkey, to protest the killing of three activists in Paris on Thursday.

By Dan Bilefsky and Alan Cowell

One of the dead women was a founder of the Kurdistan Workers Party, a Kurdish separatist group that has waged a guerrilla war against Turkey since 1984.

Google leader chides North Korea

By Andrew Jacobs

Eric E. Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, returned from a visit to North Korea with a message for the nation’s new leader: Embrace the Web or else.

Editorial & Opinion

SCOT LEHIGH

Gun safety: Put a price on it

By Scot Lehigh

An intriguing idea to curb gun violence: Require gun owners to carry liability insurance for the firearms they own.

Joshua Green

How the House wrecked the ceiling

 Dick Gephardt’s 1979 “Gephardt rule” enabled the House to raise the debt ceiling without a vote on it.

By Joshua Green

As the next budget crisis unfolds, keep in mind that the true outrage stems from Congressional antics, not the deficit.

Joan Wickersham

Hillary Clinton’s cookies

By Joan Wickersham

An old cookie recipe brings back memories of a candidate’s wife who proved homemaker-in-chief was not her only career choice.

Metro

MBTA may halt $190m order for commuter rail cars

fThe Framingham MBTA commuter rail stop.

By Eric Moskowitz

Chronic delays and concerns about shoddy workmanship have prompted executives to threaten cancellation of the contract and possibly seek a new firm.

Kevin Cullen

A list far too long

By Kevin Cullen

If the mother of a 7-year-old boy with behavioral ­issues wanted to find a Glock instead of a therapist, she wouldn’t have to go to 66 gun stores.

Close quarters send a shudder in flu season

MBTA riders are thinking twice before they touch potentially germ-covered poles on trains.

By Billy Baker

With an outbreak stoking fears, people in Boston are swimming in hand sanitizer and flocking for flu shots. But on MBTA trains, germs bring a special kind of dread.

More Stories

Parishes start to pool assets

By Lisa Wangsness

Scandal grows at Beverly school

By Walter V. Robinson and Katherine Landergan

State removes violent games from rest stops

By Travis Andersen and Jarret Bencks

BOSTON

Girl, 5, shot with BB gun by brother, 9

By Colin A. Young

SPRINGFIELD

Woman jailed in threats to Scott Brown, Martha Coakley

By Haven Orecchio-Egresitz

WINTHROP

Body washes up on Winthrop Beach

By Haven Orecchio-Egresitz

NEWTOWN, Conn.

Newtown parents want police to stay at schools

By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN

Business

Cambridge cancer diagnosticians strike a chord

By Robert Weisman

A start-up that uses genomics data and DNA sequencing to help doctors pinpoint treatments for cancer has drawn high-profile backers such as Bill Gates.

Shaw’s, StarMarket part of $3.3 billion sale

A spokeswoman for Albertson’s LLC said Shaw’s and Star Market are expected to keep their brand names.

By Chris Reidy and Jenn Abelson

The stores will be sold to a group that includes Cerberus Capital Management, which owns Boston’s Steward Health Care System.

Patriots games a boon or bust for local businesses

Even for preseason Patriots games, traffic turns roads leading to Gillette Stadium into virtual parking lots.

By Callum Borchers

Businesses around Gillette Stadium are split about the Patriots and the playoffs: Traffic creates a parking windfall for some and revenue headaches for others.

Obituaries

Rex Trailer, Boston’s cowboy, dies

For 18 years, Rex Trailer’s “Boomtown” taught children rope tricks, riding, respect, and other lessons of the West.

By Bryan Marquard

The television cowboy, 84, reached millions of children with songs, sketches, horse riding, and rope tricks during the 18-year run of “Boomtown” on WBZ-TV.

Sol Yurick; novelist’s 1965 work ‘The Warriors’ gained cult following

Swan (Michael Beck) and Mercy (Deborah Van Valkenburgh in 1979’s “The Warriors.”

By William Yardley

Mr. Yurick, 87, was a writer whose best-known work, ‘‘The Warriors,’’ recast an ancient Greek battle as a tale of warring New York street gangs.

James M. Buchanan, 93; Nobel laureate meshed politics, economics

James M. Buchanan spent most of his career teaching in Virginia colleges.

By Matt Schudel

Dr. Buchanan’s opposition to deficit spending and support of a balanced-budget amendment helped shape conservative economic and political thought.

Sports

Dan Shaughnessy

No offense, but the Texans simply can’t win

Arian Foster and the Patriots will be back in Foxborough on Sunday.

By Dan Shaughnessy

Dan Shaughnessy is sticking by his analysis that the Texans can’t beat the Patriots, but he wants Houston fans to know he’s not their enemy.

Imported from Germany, Sebastian Vollmer has shined

Sebastian Vollmer has become an important part of Tom Brady’s protection.

By John Powers

The man they call “Seabass” has an unusual background, but has become a pillar of strength for the Patriots offensive line.

Symptom-free, Nathan Horton eager to play

On Thursday, Nathan Horton skated at full pace with his teammates since suffering the head injury that halted his 2011-12 season.

By Fluto Shinzawa

Free of his head injury, Horton wants a new shot at a postseason run that was taken away from him last year.

More Stories

Patriots notebook

Wade Phillips: Wes Welker is not ‘real athletic’

By Michael Whitmer

Texans notebook

Texans need to be better in red zone vs. Patriots

By John Powers

Celtics notebook

Celtics rookie Jared Sullinger is opening eyes

By Jason Mastrodonato

Sports Media

Ted Johnson making himself heard on radio

By Chad Finn

Ravens-Broncos scouting report

Can the Ravens stop Peyton Manning?

By Jim McBride

Packers-49ers scouting report

Aaron Rodgers has tall order vs. 49ers

By Jim McBride

Falcons-Seahawks scouting report

Hot Seahawks a roadblock for Matt Ryan

By Jim McBride

College hockey notebook

Quinnipiac hockey rolling along at No. 5

By Nancy Marrapese-Burrell

Ravens at Broncos | Saturday, 4:30

Having Manning led to breakout years for Thomas, Decker

By Arnie Stapleton

Packers at 49ers | Saturday, 8

Consistency now a trademark of Packers defense

By Nancy Armour

Seahawks at Falcons | Sunday, 1

Two talented corners lead Seahawks against Falcons

By Tim Booth

MIAA eyes new baseball tourney

By Anthony Gulizia

Saint Louis 70, UMass 62

UMass falters down stretch, loses to Saint Louis

By Steve Overbey

G: Arts & Movies

Stage Review

‘Marry Me a Little,’ reworked for our times, at New Rep

Phil Tayler and Erica Spyres in the New Repertory Theatre’s production of “Marry Me a Little.’’

By Don Aucoin

Nearly a decade after Massachusetts led the way in legalizing same-sex marriage, a new production of “Marry Me a Little’’ includes gay relationships.

Movie Review

‘Gangster Squad’ is just flash

From left: Giovanni Ribisi, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Anthony Mackie, Michael Peña, and Robert Patrick play LAPD officers called the Gangster Squad.

By Wesley Morris

Echoes of better movies don’t make this one of them.

Movie Review

‘Fairhaven’: Finding yourself in the shadow of Tom Brady

Medford-bred writer-director Tom O’Brien’s film is set in the Massachusetts seaside town.

By Tom Russo

This locally shot indie’s slender story line features Medford-bred writer-director Tom O’Brien.

More Stories

Critic’s Notebook

Wesley Morris looks back at ‘Nothing But a Man’

By Wesley Morris

Critic’s picks

Boston-area classical music

Book Review

‘Ratlines’ by Stuart Neville

By Clea Simon

Television Review

‘Girls’: Painfully good

By Matthew Gilbert

Television review

‘Shameless’: Bring on the praise

By Matthew Gilbert

Television Review

‘Banshee’: B-movie promise

By Matthew Gilbert

Scene & Heard

Moe Pope and Rain deliver hip-hop with a grander vision

By Martín Caballero

High Five

Susan McKeown’s New York inspiration

By James Reed

Night Watch

Rando Radio at River Gods

By Peter Cocchia

Boston-area to do list

By June Wulff

Movie Stars

Movie stars

Critic’s corner: Jan. 11

By Matthew Gilbert

Annie's Mailbox

Ask Amy column