Toll from natural gas disaster in Merrimack Valley passes $1 billion

Columbia Gas’ parent company said its cost could keep growing and that it is seeking to settle the numerous lawsuits filed against it.

Pope Francis greets a cardinal during the opening of a global child protection summit for reflections on the sex abuse crisis within the Catholic Church, on February 21, 2019 at the Vatican. - Pope Francis has set aside three and a half days to convince Catholic bishops to tackle paedophilia in a bid to contain a scandal which hit an already beleaguered Church again in 2018, from Chile to Germany and the United States. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / POOL / AFP)VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images

Pope opens sex abuse summit, demands bishops act now

Pope Francis opened the summit by warning bishops that the faithful want concrete action, not just condemnation.

Jose Rodriguez of Lynn shoveled snow in Somerville on Monday.

Snow, sleet, and rain are expected into morning commute

Thursday morning’s commute could be slippery and slow because of winter precipitation and limited visibility.

FILE- In this Sept. 21, 2018 file photo, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks to news media at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H.Democrats are eager to unseat Collins. Critics are still incensed over the prominent centrist's vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and are angry over the government shutdown. They say she has veered to the right and are no longer confident she'll stand up to President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

Elise Amendola/Associated Press/File 2018

Senator Susan Collins is feeling the heat

The Maine senator has long had a reputation for bipartisanship and moderation. Lately in her home state, she’s inspiring the kind of liberal animus typically directed at people named Trump.

// Walsh announces 459 new affordable housing units across Boston

A lion’s share of the funding for the city’s new units — $18 million — comes from the Community Preservation Fund, Mayor Martin J. Walsh said Wednesday.

// MBTA, union officials quietly renegotiating pension fund amid budget gaps

The discussions are moving slowly, according to one union negotiator. But what they ultimately produce could reshape the T’s finances and pension system for years.

// Mueller is said to be nearing end of his investigation into Trump and Russian interference

Justice Department officials believe Special Counsel Robert Mueller is completing his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and expect a report in the coming days.

// Salem marijuana shop closed to recreational customers until further notice

Customers seeking to buy recreational marijuana products at a Salem dispensary are out of luck for now.

Connecticut governor urges approval of recreational marijuana, sports betting

Governor Ned Lamont says he’s hoping to work with Connecticut lawmakers on two new potential sources of revenue: sports betting and recreational marijuana sales.

// Gambling regulators authorize settlement in Wynn lawsuit

A settlement is pending in Steve Wynn’s lawsuit seeking to block the release of Massachusetts’ investigation into allegations of sexual assault against him.

// Coast Guard lieutenant compiled hit list of lawmakers and journalists, officials say

Prosecutors say a Coast Guard lieutenant is a “domestic terrorist” who wrote about biological attacks and had a hit list that included prominent Democrats and media figures.

Saugus, MA - 2/13/19 Head baker Rigoberto Cartagena (cq) flours dough on the sheeter. Kane's Donuts (cq) is opening a new location in Saugus, near the orange dinosaur. (The shop and the dinosaur date from the 1950s.) Co-owner and president Paul Delios (cq) said the expected hard opening will be by March 1. Photo by Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff Topic: Kane's Reporter: Jon Chesto

Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Kane’s starts making doughnuts off Route 1 — next to the Orange Dinosaur

Doors will open to the public next week. But the road here began back in the summer of 2016, at a fund-raiser that auto mogul Ernie Boch was holding in Norwood for his Music Drives Us charity.

// What to know about child flu deaths in Massachusetts

Now that a third Massachusetts child has died from the respiratory illness, an infectious disease specialist discusses the risks for young people.


// Instead of running in 2020, these Democratic hopefuls should just stay home

Tally up all the candidates announced and rumored and you’ve got a field so sprawling that it makes the unwieldy 2016 Republican primary feel intimate.

// ‘Here’s an old friend. This tank saved my life’: WWII veteran rides on Sherman tank again

Clarence Smoyer was a gunner on tanks with the Third Armored Division in the drive into Germany. Now 95, he had the chance to ride on one again in Charlestown on Wednesday.

BOSTON, MA - 2/20/2019:ALL SMILES.....surrounded by Chinese Progressive Association staff members , Chinatown hair salon owner, Yan Chi Chen seated center who has run a hair salon at 106 Tyler St in Boston's Chinatown, settles with his landlord out of court and to his advantage, he won't be displaced. (David L Ryan/Globe Staff ) SECTION: METRO TOPIC 21chinatownphoto

David L Ryan/Globe Staff

A Chinatown salon owner, facing eviction, will remain in his shop after all

The case demonstrated the challenges that residents and business owners face as landlords look to speculate on a booming real estate market and raise rent, forcing the displacement of longtime business owners and clients.

Bruins 3, Golden Knights 2

// Coach Bruce Cassidy took a chance on David Backes, and he delivered the winner in a shootout

Backes, who has scored five times all year, beat Marc-Andre Fleury to extend the Bruins’ win streak to seven.

Arizona Coyotes' Nick Cousins, right, shoves Minnesota Wild's Charlie Coyle along the boards during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)


Acquiring Charlie Coyle a smart move by Bruins

Coyle likely will make his Black and Gold debut Saturday in St. Louis on David Krejci’s right wing.

// Jeff Johnson, hall of fame swimming coach at Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, dies at 74

Mr. Johnson’s boys’ and girls’ teams at Acton-Boxborough posted more than 500 dual meet victories.

LEsley Becker/Globe Staff; Adobe

Lesley Becker/Globe Staff; Adobe

Opinion | Jesse M. Fried and Charles C.Y. Wang

Senators take aim at the buyback boogeyman

Legislation could threaten not only the capital markets but the workers and communities the senators claim to care about.


// Next Partners chief needs to repair hospital chain’s partnership with Harvard

“It is time for Partners to realize that its hospitals are affiliates of Harvard Medical School and not the reverse.”


// Voter ID laws aren’t worth fighting over

A sweeping new study finds no evidence that requiring voters to show ID before voting suppresses minority turnout.

A police official says ‘‘Empire’’ actor Jussie Smollett is now considered a suspect ‘‘for filing a false police report’’ and that detectives are presenting the case against him to a grand jury.

Jussie Smollett is charged with making false report in Chicago attack

Actor Jussie Smollett was charged with making a false police report when he said he was attacked by two men who hurled racist and anti-gay slurs and looped a rope around his neck.

Love Letters

// My fiancé doesn’t know how to be alone

He has to constantly be with people when I am not around, and then I feel excluded.


// Truth and Consequences

Opinion columnist Michael Cohen takes a candid and no-holds-barred look at the current political moment. Sign up now.

Love Letters: The Podcast

Season Two: How do you meet someone?

Dating in 2019 is…complicated. Frustrating. Sometimes completely exhilarating. In Season 2 of the podcast, Meredith Goldstein goes deep on one of her most-asked questions.

Listen:   Apple Podcasts   |   Stitcher   |   RadioPublic


Special reports

They were the top of their class at Boston public schools. Then life happened

Read a multi-part investigation into how and why the lives of promising Boston valedictorians didn’t quite turn out the way they expected.

The Big Picture

WAEL HAMZEH/EPA/Shutterstock

The Big Picture

Smartphone society

In a world where the smartphone is now ubiquitous, photographers capture daily life in which the personal device is part of the moment.


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Governor Charlie Baker (left) and MEMA director Kurt Schwartz surved damaged caused by tornado in Concord.

State emergency management director to leave after nine years

MEMA is responsible for ensuring the state is prepared to withstand, respond to, and recover from all types of emergencies and disasters, according to its website.

Real Estate

//$medium-9070.jpg Are we ignoring — or outright banning — an easy affordable-housing fix?

Mobile homes may be the least expensive and most effective means of addressing the region’s housing shortage.


// Supplies of a bladder cancer drug are dwindling, as patients scramble

There’s a critical national shortage of a cancer drug that has been used for decades and that is remarkably effective.