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December 8, 2021
How we got to ‘Omicron,’ a previously obscure, D-list letter
The Greek letter has grabbed the world stage and become the dreaded “variant of concern.”
‘Everything is on the table’: Wu announces free COVID tests, masks, and vaccination clinics to combat new phase of pandemic
Boston health officials will distribute 20,000 free rapid antigen home tests and free masks to neighborhoods with the highest rates of COVID-19, Mayor Michelle Wu’s administration announced.
He was sent to prison by a corrupt Boston police detective. Now, 26 years later, prosecutors want him freed
A review of the decades-old conviction of James Lucien found that key evidence went missing and crucial witnesses were coached or ignored, and “significant evidence of police misconduct and perjured testimony.”
Jerome Rappaport, philanthropist and civic leader who shaped Boston and its institutions, dies at 94
Mr. Rappaport had been changing Boston’s history since helping to defeat Mayor James Michael Curley in 1949.
A Beautiful Resistance | Jeneé Osterheldt
What we mean by Black Girl Magic
Black women are not mythical. Nor superhuman. Our magic is in our realness, our love, and the way we rally around one another.
PATRIOTS 14, BILLS 10
Patriots, on quite the run, ground out a historic victory over division rival Bills
Mac Jones threw just three passes, a record for the fewest in franchise history, but 222 rushing yards against Buffalo's stout defense was enough to keep New England atop both the division and the conference.
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Editorial & Opinion
Arts & Lifestyle
Justice Department sues Texas over state redistricting maps, citing discrimination against Latinos
The Justice Department has sued Texas for the second time in a month over voting-related concerns, this time alleging that Republican state lawmakers discriminated against Latinos and other minorities when they approved new congressional and state legislative districts that increased the power of white voters.
The pandemic has your blood pressure rising? You’re not alone
Last year was a tough one. Americans grappled with a global pandemic, the loss of loved ones, lockdowns that splintered social networks, stress, unemployment, and depression. It is probably no surprise that the nation’s blood pressure shot up.
Emmett Till investigation closed by Justice Department
The US Justice Department told relatives of Emmett Till on Monday that it is ending its latest investigation into the 1955 lynching of the Black teenager from Chicago who was abducted, tortured, and killed after witnesses said he whistled at a white woman in Mississippi.
What does the US owe separated families? A political quandary deepens.
The Trump administration’s family separation policy drew condemnations when it came to public light in 2018, not only from Democrats but also from Republicans like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Melania Trump.
New York City poised to give voting rights to noncitizens
Under a bill nearing approval, some 800,000 noncitizens would be allowed to cast ballots in elections to pick the mayor, City Council members and other municipal officeholders.
Prosecutor criticizes school over run-up to fatal shooting in Michigan
Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said the investigation's findings will determine whether school officials will be charged in last Tuesday's attack at Oxford High School.
Companies linked to Russian ransomware hide in plain sight
When cybersleuths traced the millions of dollars American companies, hospitals, and city governments have paid to online extortionists in ransom money, they made a telling discovery: At least some of it passed through one of the most prestigious business addresses in Moscow.
Biden expected to offer warnings and alternatives in call with Putin
President Biden is expected to offer some diplomatic alternatives to military action in Ukraine when he speaks to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a video meeting Tuesday, but Biden will warn him that if he orders his forces to invade Ukraine, Western allies may move to cut Russia off from the international financial system, administration officials said.
Suu Kyi falls, but Myanmar’s democratic hopes move on
When a court in Myanmar on Monday handed down the first sentences in the junta’s long list of charges against Aung San Suu Kyi, it closed a chapter on an era of weak and compromised democracy in a Southeast Asian nation long ruled by a military fist.
End of an era: Germany’s Merkel bows out after 16 years
Merkel's tenure is ending with her leaving office to praise from abroad and enduring popularity at home. Her designated successor, Olaf Scholz, is expected to take office Wednesday.
About 100 Japanese lawmakers visit controversial shrine
A group of about 100 Japanese lawmakers prayed at a Tokyo shrine viewed by China and the Koreas as a symbol of Japanese wartime aggression on Tuesday, 80 years after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.
Violence erupts as French far-right TV pundit holds presidential campaign rally
Anti-racism activists were beaten up Sunday as far-right former French TV pundit Eric Zemmour held his first presidential campaign rally near Paris, a few days after he formally declared his candidacy in a video that highlighted his anti-migrant and anti-Islam views.
Editorial & Opinion
State hate crime law needs a 2022 redo
As extremism grows, delivering justice means closing loopholes and expanding the law’s reach.
Reform isn’t enough; get rid of the FBI
Its culture is too deeply embedded for effective reform. The best solution is to abolish the FBI and start anew. We need to rethink the kind of agency needed to investigate federal crimes.
Rachel R. Yorlets
No one taught me that epidemiology is political — but it is
Our current triage has been as ineffective as it is unethical.
From Texas to Massachusetts for an abortion
If Roe v. Wade is overturned or gutted, it will formalize the huge social, cultural, and legal gulf between states that protect abortion rights and those that will choose to restrict or ban abortion.
Cry for transparency of prison system has not lost its urgency
As criminal justice reforms take hold across the country, we can’t ignore what is happening behind prison walls.
US lag in rapid COVID testing is business as usual
The situation in the United States involving the rapid test for COVID-19 is another indicator of what passes for American values.
Bid for tax on wealthy in Mass. could be seen in new light
Readers share a range of views on the proposed surcharge on personal income above $1 million and the needs of the Commonwealth.
As the bureaucracy wheezes, an ailing father waits for his son
Tom Romano literally broke his back for his country. For some reason, that country has not been able to honor that service by reuniting him with his son.
THE GREAT DIVIDE
‘We have a mandate’: Boston leaders hear arguments for elected School Committee after voters backed it in November
Last month, nearly 80 percent of Boston voters supported a nonbinding referendum proposing voters elect their School Committee members.
Former teacher at Boston school pleads guilty to raping student over four years
David Lockwood, a former science and homeroom teacher at Timilty Middle School in Roxbury, will spend the next four years in prison.
‘We’re sinking’: R.I. human services agencies face workforce crisis
Organizations in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut that help people with developmental disabilities and behavioral health needs are losing workers -- and the people they help can’t get the services they need to survive.
Mayor Wu says there is no timeline for Mass. and Cass tent removal
“We are working as quickly as possible," the mayor said of her administration's plans to move people living in the tent encampments around the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard to transitional housing sites across the city.
Pressure on small businesses hurts children, too
It’s no secret that small-business owners have been struggling to stay afloat in the nearly two years since COVID-19 upended our lives. A father of three from Cambridge is no exception.
Today in History
Today is Tuesday, Dec. 7, the 341st day of 2021. There are 24 days left in the year.
SJC upholds rape and murder conviction of man charged in death of 19-year-old woman
The state’s high court Monday upheld the aggravated rape and murder conviction of a New Hampshire man for the 1987 homicide of Dora Brimage, using the decision to change how juries are allowed to view women victimized because of their gender.
About 200 UMass Memorial Health workers fired for not getting vaccinated against COVID-19
Some 200 employees of UMass Memorial Health, the largest hospital system in Central Massachusetts, have lost their jobs for failing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by the system’s Dec. 1 deadline, a spokesperson said Monday.
An Andover preschool hired an unusual teacher’s aide: a robot
“Kebbi” teaches neurodivergent children at Shawsheen Preschool in the hopes of improving their communication, attention, and emotional understanding skills.
Workers at three Somerville cafes are planning to unionize
An organizing committee representing Diesel Café, Bloc Café, and Forge Baking Company penned a letter to their shared management team requesting them to voluntarily recognize the union and participate in good faith contract negotiations.
Meet the new casino boss. Holaday hopes to help Encore emerge from the pandemic
Encore Boston Harbor Casino is bouncing back strong from the pandemic and new president aims to keep it that way.
Trustees of Reservations taps John Judge as its next chief executive
Judge, who currently leads the Appalachian Mountain Club, will take the reins of the country’s oldest land trust in February.
BuzzFeed’s stock surges then falls in its public debut
BuzzFeed started trading on the stock market Monday, a big step that could help the company expand, but its debut was anything but smooth.
Moderna shares sink while market awaits Omicron variant updates
Moderna dropped more than 13 percent on Monday, making it the worst performing stock in the S&P 500 Index.
NLRB files complaint against Whole Foods over BLM apparel
Stories you may have missed from the world of business.
Defendant wins dispute over $50b in bitcoin
A computer scientist who claims to be the inventor of bitcoin prevailed in a civil trial verdict Monday against the family of a deceased business partner that claimed it was owed half of a cryptocurrency fortune.
50 mph gusts. Just three passes. The Patriots didn’t just beat the Bills — they beat the elements, too
Relentless, cold, and unceasing, the wind whipped its way across the Bills home field, affecting strategy so much that the Patriots only attempted three passes that amazingly ended up being enough for a 14-10 victory.
Talented QBs such as Josh Allen have changed the face of the AFC East
The Bills’ quarterback is in his fourth year in the league and continues to improve with each season.
Ben Volin | Instant Analysis
Playing it safe was the way to go, and now the Patriots are in the driver’s seat in the AFC East
This was not the prettiest win by any stretch, but it improved the Patriots to 9-4 and first place in the AFC playoff standings.
Once the lockout ends, Red Sox will have a to-do list to attend to
Though the Sox made a flurry of moves just before the work stoppage, they are far from done in retooling the roster.
Extent of injuries to Damien Harris, Adrian Phillips unclear after Patriots’ win over Bills
Harris exited in the third quarter and didn't return. Phillips was injured on the final drive of the game.
Which is the best Patriots draft class of the Bill Belichick era?
There's been a lot of talk that the 2021 class, comprised of players like Mac Jones, Christian Barmore, and Rhamondre Stevenson, could end up being the most impactful. Here are six others you should take note of.
Snow and wind make for tougher conditions as Patriots, Bills prepare to prime-time showdown
In the hours before Monday night's kickoff, snow showers descended on Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. with gusts reaching as high as 49 m.p.h.
Jets lose top wide receiver Corey Davis for remainder of 2021 season
Davis (34 catches, 492 yards, 4 TDs in nine games), who signed a three-year, $37.5 million deal in the offseason, will have core muscle surgery Tuesday.
Celtics hitting offensive stride at the right time as difficult December rolls on
Ime Udoka's team faces a tough stretch in December, but Jayson Tatum and the Celtics can be confident in outscoring most.
Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec will return for senior season
Jurkovec had wrist surgery this season and missed six of the Eagles' 12 games.
Examining the issues in the MLB standoff: Preserving competitive integrity
The idea of teams “tanking” to get better draft picks chafes at players’ competitive instincts as much as they see it as an excuse for teams to pay less in salary.
Bruins defenseman Jack Ahcan showed that he had a pretty good handle on things
Coach Joe Sacco saw a lot that he liked in the young blue liner, and Ahcan generated some buzz on Twitter, too.
HS HOCKEY | GARRETT REAGAN SUMMIT
Takeaways from the return of the Reagan Hockey Summit after a one-year COVID hiatus
A sense of normalcy prevailed at the season-opening hockey event that drew a robust attendance of 66 teams. Said Malden Catholic boys' coach Chris Kuchar: "I’m just so happy for these guys to be able to get back, and play high school hockey."
Flyers fire coach Alain Vigneault after eight straight losses, tab Mike Yeo as interim coach
Flyers sought a new direction after Vigneault was unable to get team on track after its eight-game skein. Assistant Michel Therrien was also fired.
2021 Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit dies after workout
The Bob Baffert colt tested positive for a steroid after winning the Derby but had not been officially disqualified.
Arts & Lifestyle
I was with her through the worst of it
"She had a job but no car, and I gave her rides to and from work for two months. I didn’t mind because I got to spend time with her."
Boston College museum receives $20m gift of art from Peter Lynch
Lynch’s gift to BC’s McMullen Museum of Art includes works by Pablo Picasso, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, and Mary Cassatt.
An especially robust season’s greetings from the Holiday Pops
Thursday's concert marked the first time that the Boston Pops had performed live in front of an audience in its Symphony Hall home in two years.
An empty Cambridge movie theater is just what this filmmaker needed to create a zombie apocalypse
Conor Holway’s “Apple Cinema” mostly takes place inside the actual Apple Cinemas, which had been closed through much of the pandemic.