Front page

William ‘Mo’ Cowan to be interim US senator

William “Mo” Cowan is Governor Deval Patrick’s choice to serve as the interim US senator until the successor to John F. Kerry is chosen by the voters June 25. This week, Kerry formally resigned from the US Senate seat he held for 29 years and was also confirmed as the nation’s secretary of state by his Senate colleagues in an 94 to 3 vote. Cowan is a North Carolina native and Duke University graduate who came to Boston to attend Northeastern University Law School in the early 1990s - and never left the region. One of the city’s leading African-American lawyers, Cowan is a former partner in the politically connected law firm of Mintz Levin.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2013/01/31/BostonGlobe.com/Metro/Images/cowa7777-3479--90x90.jpg Cowan’s path to Senate began in small-town N.C.

Mo Cowan, Governor Deval Patrick’s pick for interim senator, said his upbringing in a largely segregated tobacco town was essential to his rise.

BlackBerry’s Z10 is expected help reverse a slide in sales.

Tech Lab

Long-spurned BlackBerry poised to win affection anew

Using an overhauled operating system, the smart and snappy Z10 touchscreen phone ought to put BlackBerry back at the leading edge of the industry.

Photos by Dina Rudick/globe Staff

From wintry to spring-like weather in one day in Boston

Wednesday’s near-record 60-degree temperature melted away the wintry look that enveloped the Public Garden the day before. A return to seasonable weather is predicted for week’s end.

Catholic event cancels talk by Islam critic

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester on Wednesday rescinded an invitation to Robert Spencer, a Catholic whose work depicts Islam as an inherently violent religion, to speak at its annual Catholic Men’s Conference in March. The invitation was withdrawn after Muslims in Massachusetts expressed concerns to the diocese about the appearance of Spencer, scheduled to be a featured speaker. Spencer said he had not been alerted to the cancellation. “There is nothing hateful or bigoted about what I say,” Spencer said.

Tech sector spurs Mass. growth as US economy contracts

The Massachusetts economy grew slightly faster than the nation as a whole at the end of last year, continuing a modest expansion despite the economic crisis in Europe and political crisis in Washington, the University of Massachusetts reported Wednesday. In the the last three months of the year, the Massachusetts economy grew at a 1 percent annual rate compared with a slight contraction in the US economy, due largely to a pullback in government spending as federal agencies awaited the outcome of the so-called fiscal cliff debate.

The Nation

Sides drawn as hearings on guns begin

Assisted by her husband, Mark Kelly (right), former representative Gabrielle Giffords prepared to testify onWednesday.

By Jennifer Steinhauer

The universe of potential changes to federal gun laws seemed to shrink during an occasionally fraught Senate hearing on gun violence.

Storm system blasts into Southeast, spawning tornadoes, killing at least 2

Justin Chandler searched through debris of his brother-in-law’s shop after a storm ripped through Coble, Tenn.

By KATE BRUMBACK and DAVID GOLDMAN

A massive storm system raked the Southeast, spawning tornadoes and dangerous winds that overturned cars, killing at least two people.

1 dead, 2 hurt in Ariz. office shooting

By Jacques Billeaud

Police are searching for a 70-year-old man suspected in a Phoenix office shooting that left one dead and two wounded, saying that he is ‘‘armed and dangerous.’’

The World

Israeli strike in Syria raises fear of wider war

An opposition fighter gestured near a barricade during fighting in the Ain Tarma neighborhood of Damascus Wednesday.

By Isabel Kershner and Michael R. Gordon

Israeli warplanes carried out a strike deep inside Syrian territory, possibly on a convoy carrying sophisticated anti-aircraft weaponry.

Beijing takes urgent action on smog

By Edward Wong

The Beijing government put in place emergency measures to try to combat thick smog that has encased the city, which the Communist Party has hailed as a showcase capital.

Hanoi releases activist from US

By Chris Brummitt

Vietnamese authorities on Wednesday released and deported an American prodemocracy activist detained since April.

Editorial & Opinion

JOAN VENNOCHI

Menino, the king incumbent

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino arrives for his annual State of the City address at Faneuil Hall Tuesday.

By Joan Vennochi

With this week’s State of the City address, the five-term mayor put another generation of Bostonians dreaming of taking his seat on hold.

Editorial

In naming Mo Cowan to Senate, Patrick lessens state’s clout

Mo Cowan Dec. 8, 2010.

Massachusetts is brimming over with political talent, including many potential picks of greater stature than Cowan, and many with vastly greater national experience.

Editorial

Brain injuries: Obama punts the football

 Young football players practice drills in Concord in August.

Political leaders, especially the president, can play a helpful role in pressing football officials for radical improvements.

Metro

William ‘Mo’ Cowan to be interim US senator

William “Mo” Cowan was Governor Deval Patrick’s chief of staff.

By Frank Phillips

Governor Patrick selected William “Mo” Cowan, his former chief of staff, to serve until the successor to John F. Kerry is elected on June 25.

Yvonne Abraham

Digging up support for an official Mass. groundhog

By Yvonne Abraham

Do you know that Massachusetts has been without an official groundhog for centuries? Outrageous!

Cowan’s path to Senate began in small-town N.C.

William “Mo’’ Cowan, shown with his wife, Stacy, and sons Grant and Miles, was going to return to the private sector.

By Michael Levenson

Mo Cowan, Governor Deval Patrick’s pick for interim senator, said his upbringing in a largely segregated tobacco town was essential to his rise.

More Stories

BOSTON

Pedestrian struck, killed by vehicle in Roxbury

By Haven Orecchio-Egresitz

news analysis

Patrick confident in choosing confidant Cowan

By Noah Bierman

Yvonne Abraham

Cowan pick is 100 percent Patrick

By Yvonne Abraham

Business

Tech sector spurs Mass. growth as US economy contracts

By Robert Gavin

The contrast offered further evidence the state is rebounding from the recession at a more robust pace than the nation as a whole, largely on the strength of its technology industries.

Tech Lab

Long-spurned BlackBerry poised to win affection anew

BlackBerry’s Z10 is expected help reverse a slide in sales.

By Hiawatha Bray

Using an overhauled operating system, the smart and snappy Z10 touchscreen phone ought to put BlackBerry back at the leading edge of the industry.

1366 Technologies opens $6m Bedford plant

1366 Technologies technician Becky Allen handled a solar cell at the company’s pilot plant in Bedford. 1366 was founded in 2007.

By Erin Ailworth

The company aims to succeed where other solar firms have fallen by testing its technology at a pilot plant before tapping a federal loan guarantee.

Obituaries

Stanley Shmishkiss, leader of Cancer Society board

Mr. Shmishkiss was honored for raising money to fight cancer.

By J.M. Lawrence

Mr. Shmishkiss, 93, was a former resident of Marblehead and Swampscott who helped the American Cancer Society secure major gifts from the world’s wealthiest donors.

Patty Andrews, 94; battled, harmonized with sisters

The Andrews Sisters, (from left) Maxene, Patty, and LaVerne, cut 400 songs and sold about 80 million records.

By Bob Thomas

She was the last surviving member of the Andrews Sisters, whose hits such as “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B” captured the home-front spirit of World War II.

Abu Musa, 86; Palestinian fighter abandoned Arafat

By Albert Aji

He was a hard-line Palestinian military commander who rebelled against leader Yasser ­Arafat to form his own rival party.

Sports

Celtics 99, Kings 81

Celtics roll over Kings

Kevin Garnett congratulates Paul Pierce, right, during the Celtics’ win on Wednesday.

By Gary Washburn

The Celtics moved to 2-0 without Rajon Rondo, as six players scored in double figures to leave Boston one game under .500.

Dan Shaughnessy

Colin Kaepernick looks like future of NFL

San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick was a three-sport star in high school and he was drafted by the Chicago Cubs.

By Dan Shaughnessy

Kaepernick, who led the 49ers to the Super Bowl after becoming the starting QB midseason, can beat defenses with his arm and with his legs.

Bruins notebook

Nathan Horton picking his spots well for Bruins

Nathan Horton has scored two of his three goals in the third period for the 5-0-1 Bruins, who have yet to lose in regulation.

By Fluto Shinzawa

The forward has scored two of his three goals in the third period for the 5-0-1 Bruins, who have yet to lose in regulation.

G: Style

Fritz Klaetke has designs on a Grammy

Susan Battista and Fritz Klaetke of Visual Dialogue creative agency.

By Liza Weisstuch

The South End designer is nominated for a Grammy for his inventive music packaging of “Woody at 100.”

Screen Actors Guild wins the fashion award

By Christopher Muther

The Screen Actors Guild Awards’ underdog status results in some fun and downright risky fashion extremes.

Abby Larson on how she built Style Me Pretty into a respected online resource for brides-to-be

“I like weddings that are beautiful but really, really approachable. They’re not stuffy or ostentatious,’’ says Abby Larson, founder of the Style Me Pretty blog.

By Rachel Raczka

Abby Larson, founder of Boston-based Style Me Pretty, hosted an event for Gilt City Boston at GrettaCole in Back Bay recently to talk about her new book and her humble blogging beginnings. Larson founded her well-curated wedding site with her husband and “tech guru,” Tait, in 2007, and since then her readership has exploded, becoming a respected online resource for all things bridal.