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3 big providers exploring health alliance

Talks have begun between two major teaching hospitals and the state’s largest physicians organization: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Lahey Health, and Atrius Health.

Representative Tim Huelskamp, shown with a constituent, represents one of the country’s most conservative congressional districts.

Craig Hacker for the Boston Globe

April 4

Kansas district shuns compromise

Tim Huelskamp is a passionate conservative, and the voters in western Kansas strongly support him and his views.

MBTA could have 1 bidder for $1 billion rail contract

One of the two companies competing to provide Greater Boston’s commuter rail service is threatening to drop out if the MBTA does not provide key information by Friday, potentially leaving the state with only one bidder for the largest contract in Massachusetts history.

Some 1,000 people turned out on Boston Common Wednesday in opposition to gun control, which speakers warned would subvert the Constitution and lead to a police state.

1,000 gun-rights advocates crowd Boston Common

American flags mixed with Revolutionary War banners that warned, “Don’t Tread on Me.” Dire predictions of tyranny spurred cries of defiance from 1,000 people on Boston Common. And the overarching message, delivered by a parade of speakers Wednesday to a receptive audience, was that gun control will subvert the US Constitution and open the door to a police state.

Acting probation commissioner Ellen J. Slaney (left) said, “Honestly, the scandal was a very painful experience for the whole service. These are well-educated, accomplished people who have been embarrassed.” Her predecessor, Ronald P. Corbett Jr. (right), emphasized improving the tarnished agency’s day-to-day performance.

New leaders try to fix Mass. Probation Department

Almost three years after the patronage scandal, the agency is still trying to erase the legacy of cronyism, secrecy, and ineptitude from 12 years under John J. O’Brien.

District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said he is not concerned about the failure of other prosecutors to attain higher office.

Daniel Conley jumps into Boston mayoral contest

The Suffolk district attorney formally launched his bid with more than $866,000 in his campaign coffers and the muscle of almost 20 years in elected office.

The Nation

Connecticut passes wide-ranging gun control law

Gun rights advocates at the Conn. Capitol railed against restrictions as misguided and unconstitutional.

By Susan Haigh

Lawmakers gave final approval early Thursday to a bill that includes restrictions on weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines.

Experiment believed to detect evidence of dark matter

The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, which may have discovered preliminary evidence of dark matter, is carried aboard the international space station (above).

By Carolyn Y. Johnson

An MIT experiment reported to have found preliminary evidence of dark matter, the mysterious substance that makes up about a quarter of the universe.

W.Va. sheriff killed on lunch break

Sheriff Eugene Crum had been cracking down on the drug trade in southern West Virginia.

By John Raby and Vicki Smith

A new sheriff who was cracking down on the drug trade in southern West Virginia’s coalfields was fatally shot Wednesday.

The World

Taliban attack kills at least 44 at compound in Afghanistan

By Azam Ahmed

The attack was one of the deadliest insurgent attacks in the decade-long war in Afghanistan.

US to deploy missile defense in Guam

South Korean workers were refused entry to North Korea Wednesday, an escalation of recent tensions in the region

By Karen DeYoung

The move is a response to North Korean threats to U.S. military bases in the Pacific, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

Report calls for a phaseout of ‘Cold War autopilot’ plan

By Donna Cassata

Dwindling military budgets and the diminished threat of a nuclear war in Europe dictate that the US and Russia remove some nuclear weapons.

Editorial & Opinion

JOAN VENNOCHI

Suffolk Downs casino is less of a sure bet

By Joan Vennochi

The mayoral power vacuum, the loss of an investor, soft city-wide support, and competition in Everett and Milford are putting up head winds for East Boston’s casino bid.

JULIETTE KAYYEM

Is it time to worry?

Cleaning workers retrieved the carcasses of pigs from a branch of the Huangpu River in Shanghai on March 10.

By Juliette Kayyem

Dead pigs in a river, followed by a deadly new bird flu, may spell a pandemic.

EDWARD L. GLAESER

Excessive regulation turns Boston taxi industry into corrupt mess

By Edward L. Glaeser

The system has evolved mainly to enrich the holders of taxi medallions, even as drivers struggle to earn a living and passengers pay some of the highest rates in the country.

Metro

Sequester squeezes judiciary in Massachusetts

By Milton J. Valencia

Federal courts in the state have been forced to furlough public defenders and cut back on probation programs because of cuts in funding.

Former Romney aides lend hand to Mass. Senate hopefuls

Eric Fehrnstrom (left), Mitt Romney’s former spokesman, is backing Gabriel E. Gomez while Beth Myers is joining the campaign of former US attorney Michael J. Sullivan.

By Michael Levenson

Alumni from Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign have dispersed to rival camps in the three-way Republican race for the Senate nomination

Cambridge Health Alliance latest to cut beds for children with mental illness

By Chelsea Conaboy

The hospital system said it will eliminate 11 of its 27 beds for treating children and teens with acute mental illness and will end inpatient care for its youngest children.

More Stories

Daniel Conley jumps into Boston mayoral contest

By Andrew Ryan and Jim O’Sullivan

FRAMINGHAM

Framingham police search for sex assault suspect

By Derek J. Anderson

LOWELL

Teens accused of stealing purse

By Todd Feathers

Business

Worcester Airport happy to have JetBlue

Mayor Joseph M. Petty of Worcester greeted JetBlue’s Dave Barger. Barger says the airline is in Worcester for the long haul.

By Katie Johnston

There is hope JetBlue will revitalize an airport that has repeatedly lost service, but some are skeptical that the airport will generate enough passengers to be self-sustaining.

Tech Lab

Apps to manage your e-mail on smartphones

By Hiawatha Bray

These apps replace the standard e-mail software found on smartphones, and include enhancements to keep your inbox in line.

Planet Fitness grows with ‘judgment-free’ gyms

Wakefield’s Cristina Winsor did not belong to another gym before she joined the Planet Fitness in Reading.

By Sarah Shemkus

Executives and members tie the company’s rapid growth to its affordability and focus on nurturing a grunt-free zone.

Obituaries

Chuck Fairbanks; coach revived Patriots’ fortunes in ’70s

Sam Cunningham got tips from Chuck Fairbanks in 1973.

By Bryan Marquard

Mr. Fairbanks, 79, led the Patriots to the playoffs twice in six seasons before his departure after the 1978 season.

Paul Williams, Crawdaddy founder, father of rock critics

Paul Williams took the magazine from Swarthmore to Boston, then New York.

By Paul Vitello

Mr. Williams, 64, was a writer and critic who founded the alternative pop music magazine Crawdaddy.

Jack Pardee, Texas A&M star and NFL coach for Oilers; 76

By Richard Goldstein

Mr. Pardee was a survivor of coach Bear Bryant’s brutal ‘‘Junction Boys’’ training camp at Texas A&M who went on to become a longtime NFL linebacker and head coach.

Sports

red sox 7, yankees 4

Clay Buchholz shines in win over Yankees

Clay Buchholz pitched seven innings, giving up one run on six hits, as the Red Sox defeated the Yankees for a second time to start the season.

By Peter Abraham

Clay Buchholz allowed one run over seven innings as the new-look Red Sox beat the Yankees, 7-4.

Dan Shaughnessy

At this rate, will the Red Sox ever lose?

Worst to first, and led by rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. Two games into the season, this is the theme of the 2013 Red Sox.

By Dan Shaughnessy

Worst to first. Two games into the season, this is the theme of the 2013 Red Sox.

celtics 98, pistons 93

Celtics clinch playoff berth

Jeff Green had another high-flying performance for the Celtics, scoring a game-high 34 points against Detroit.

By Baxter Holmes

Jeff Green scored a game-high 34 points, and the Celtics beat the Pistons, 98-93.

G: Style

Michelle Obama designer Jason Wu talks fashion at the ICA

Jason Wu became a star after Michelle Obama picked his gown for the Inaugural Ball — twice. His designs (at left and right) wowed New York Fashion Week fans earlier this year despite a blizzard.

By Christopher Muther

Wu broke onto the fashion scene at 26, grabbing the spotlight with fearless designs — and a fan in the first lady. At the ripe old age of 30, he has no intention of slowing down.

As ‘Mad Men’ moves into late ’60s, the cocktails evolve

Sea Breeze.

By Christopher Muther

The new season, set in 1968, saw cocktail culture in a precarious slide as a new generation began rebelling against their parents’ beverages.

Instagram fashion: Alyssa Noches

Alyssa Noches is as influenced by designers as by legendary photographers.

By Christopher Muther

A look at Noches’ Instagram album reveals a platinum bombshell who isn’t shy about showing off her midriff and shoulder tattoos.

Globe North

Lynnfield

Parents fight proposed Lynnfield schools schedule change

By David Rattigan

Parents are protesting a new teacher contract that calls for school to begin 10 minutes earlier, with an earlier release time twice a month.

Malden teacher takes hands-on approach to learning

Victor Da Canha and sixth-grade science teacher Michael Hansen discuss planet orbits at the Linden STEAM Academy in Malden.

By Mark Micheli

Science teacher Michael Hansen’s methods of using real tools and data to teach — the same as professional scientists — stand out.

Teaching outside the book

Some methods Michael Hansen has used to teach science to his students at the Linden STEAM Academy in Malden.

Globe South

Federal sequester cuts felt locally with job losses, program cuts

Alison Demadis worked in the food lab at the US Army Natick Soldier Systems Center last June. About 1,500 workers there will be taking a 20 percent pay cut.

By Katheleen Conti

Communities outside Boston are about to feel the pain as a result of $85 billion in automatic federal spending cuts that went into effect last month.

Canton

Sharing memories of survival during the Holocaust

Holocaust survivor Janet Applefield of Canton was only 4 when the Nazis invaded her native Poland and often speaks about her childhood.

By Steve Maas

Over the last 25 years, Janet Singer Applefield has been speaking about her childhood eluding the Nazis.

Avon

Avon leaders battle trash transfer station proposal in Holbrook

By Johanna Seltz

Avon officials are worried that a new trash transfer station on the Holbrook-Avon line will bring more trash trucks to the small town.

Globe West

Milford

New health center to provide more primary care in Milford

By Ellen Ishkanian

A satellite office of the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center will provide services to people without insurance or access to basic health care.

Shifting balance on Route 9 in battle for shoppers

Construction continues on

By Scott Van Voorhis

New stores opening along Route 9 in Chestnut Hill have the area’s retail scene buzzing again and means more competition for the shopping centers in Natick, Framingham.

Lawrence

Limbo for government employees costs taxpayers thousands

By Deirdre Fernandes

Public employees can spend weeks, months, and sometimes even years on paid administrative leave, costing local taxpayers thousands of dollars.