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Businesses call Defense of Marriage Act unfair

Nearly 300 companies and business groups across the country, including many prominent Massachusetts firms, are asking the US Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, saying it forces them to discriminate against married gay employees. A who’s who of corporate America, from Wall Street to Silicon Valley, signed on to a friend-of-the-court brief filed Wednesday in a case to be heard by the justices next month. The group of 278 businesses included many large employers across the state, including EMC Corp., State Street Corp., Akamai Technologies Inc., and a number of law firms and health insurers.

John Kerry and David Thorne shared a warm greeting.

Jacquelyn Martin/Reuters

Statecraft is the latest bond for Kerry and Thorne

Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Rome is a chance for him to see David Thorne, a longtime friend and US ambassador to Italy.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2013/02/28/BostonGlobe.com/Metro/Images/wiggs_mayor_37800--90x90.jpg Not saying he’ll run, Menino banters about the campaign

“Let’s have a nice, good campaign,” Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, a 20-year incumbent, said he told 39-year-old Councilor John R. Connolly about the upcoming race.

Pope Benedict XVI rode through St. Peter’s Square for the final time on Wednesday and told the cheering masses that his eight-year papacy held joy and light as well as “moments in which the waters were agitated and the wind contrary.”

DMITRY LOVETSKY/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Pope says farewell in St. Peter’s Square

He circumnavigated St. Peter’s Square in the popemobile for the last time. He gave his final waves to cheering masses. And most profoundly, Pope Benedict XVI bestowed his valedictory words to the world in a heartfelt, sometimes wistful address that highlighted the price of being a pope — and its rays of happiness.

Aaron Swartz was arrested in 2011 after allegedly using MIT’s network to illegally download documents from JSTOR.

Inquiry widens into Swartz prosecution

A congressional committee is broadening its investigation of the Boston-based prosecution of political activist Aaron Swartz.

Sequestration? Few can explain latest budget crisis

Sequestration is the latest down-to-the-wire, fasten-your-seat-belts federal financial precipice that has left many Americans scratching their heads.

The Nation

Key part of Voting Rights Act may be overturned

By Adam Liptak

A central provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 may be in peril, judging from tough questioning from the Supreme Court’s conservative members.

Newtown victim’s father urges action

Neil Heslin, the father of a 6-year-old boy who died in the Sandy Hook massacre, holds a photo during his testimony Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

By Alan Fram and Philip Elliott

After weeks of arguing constitutional fine points and citing rival statistics, senators wrangling over gun control saw and heard the anguish of a bereft father.

Inquiry widens into Swartz prosecution

Aaron Swartz was arrested in 2011 after allegedly using MIT’s network to illegally download documents from JSTOR.

By David Uberti

A congressional committee is broadening its investigation of the Boston-based prosecution of political activist Aaron Swartz.

The World

Attacks on Afghan police kill 20

An Afghan soldier walks next to a damaged bus being towed Wednesday after a suicide attack in Kabul.

By Rod Nordland

Twenty police officers were killed in two attacks Wednesday, including a mass poisoning, in southeastern Afghanistan.

Three get life terms in Greek graft case

Former mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos was convicted of embezzlement.

By Niki Kitsantonis

The former mayor of Greece’s second city and two of his top aides were sentenced after being found guilty of embezzling almost 18 million euros ($23.5 million) in state funds.

US wants to boost support for Syrian rebels, Kerry says

By Anne Gearan

The US is one of about a dozen nations preparing a package of broader financial and practical support for the rebels fighting to oust Syria’s president.

Editorial & Opinion

Opinion | JOAN VENNOCHI

Yahoo’s broken glass ceiling

By Joan Vennochi

Marissa Mayer looks like she’s trying to out-macho the men who run most of America’s boardrooms.

JULIETTE KAYYEM

UN’s cold, but correct, call on Haiti

Children are treated for cholera at a clinic in Haiti. The epidemic was introduced, it is widely believed, by UN peacekeepers.

By Juliette Kayyem

The UN’s assertion of immunity for peacekeepers after a cholera outbreak might be tragic for a nation that has had its fair share of tragedy. But it is absolutely right.

NICHOLAS BURNS

Military’s limits show need for America’s neglected weapon

By Nicholas Burns

We may now be entering a decade of diplomacy as we learn that military power is not always the answer for many of the difficult problems ahead.

More Stories

Letters | $850m expansion plan for South Station

Costly temporary solution puts north-south rail link at risk

Letters | $850m expansion plan for South Station

Project would boost transit system, connect people to jobs

Letters | $850m expansion plan for South Station

Modernized hub would elevate Boston on national, world stage

Metro

Sequestration? Few can explain latest budget crisis

By Akilah Johnson

Sequestration is the latest down-to-the-wire, fasten-your-seat-belts federal financial precipice that has left many Americans scratching their heads.

Longfellow Bridge repairs, disruption to start in summer

Red Line train service over the Longfellow Bridge will be suspended for 25 weekends but will still be available during the work week.

By Martine Powers

The $255 million project will lead to three years of disruptions, including suspending Red Line service for 25 weekends and eliminating northbound traffic.

Markey says abortion shift was personal

US Representative Edward J. Markey campaigned at a Newton restaurant last weekend.

By Stephanie Ebbert

US Representative Edward J. Markey said he was never making a political calculation when he became a supporter of abortion rights decades ago.

More Stories

Menino angered by Boston firefighter’s heroin arrest

By John R. Ellement and Andrew Ryan

Maine player describes bus wreck

By Lauren Dezenski and John R. Ellement

West Bridgewater

West Bridgewater police provide tips on keeping teens safe

By Christine Legere

Business

Businesses call Defense of Marriage Act unfair

By Beth Healy

Nearly 300 companies are asking the US Supreme Court to strike down the act, saying it forces them to discriminate against married gay employees.

Tech Lab

Microsoft Office shines online

Microsoft held a launch event for Office 2013 in New York on Jan. 29. The company is now offering Office 365 as a subscription service. It comes with the full tool kit: Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, and Access.

By Hiawatha Bray

Office 365 has a name that makes sense because Microsoft expects you to pay for it every day. And the funny thing is, you might just want to.

Jackson Square development project picking up steam

A portion of the massive $250 million Jackson Square project rises at the corner of Centre Street and Columbus Avenue.

By Casey Ross

The $250 million effort to revitalize Jackson Square is building momentum following years of delays.

Obituaries

Van Cliburn, 78, pianist-turned-legend in depths of the Cold War

Van Cliburn performed to a packed, enraptured audience in Moscow during the International Tchaikovsky Competition.

By Timothy Page

Mr. Cliburn, 78, was a tall, gangly, curly-haired Texan who became the most famous classical pianist in American history over the course of a single extraordinary week in 1958.

Stephane Hessel; French Resistance hero helped inspire Occupy Wall Street

Stephane Hessel, an icon to many generations.

By Lori Hinnant

Mr. Hessel, 95, wrote the 32-page book, ‘‘Time for Outrage,’’ that became a source of inspiration for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Sports

Mike Napoli finally ready for game action

Mike Napoli has been brought along slowly after being diagnosed with a degenerative hip condition.

By Peter Abraham

Napoli, after starting slow because of his hip condition, is set to play for the Red Sox on Friday in spring training.

At Harvard, bond strong between coach and player

Siyani Chambers is a candidate for the Cousy Award (nation’s top point guard) and has a special bond with Harvard coach Tommy Amaker.

By Julian Benbow

Freshman point guard Siyani Chambers is coach Tommy Amaker’s brain on the court, largely because of a relationship forged long before Chambers got to Harvard.

on basketball

Jordan Crawford out to disprove critics

He has been known as a gunner, but Jordan Crawford believes he can fit into the Celtics’ system.

By Gary Washburn

The newly acquired scorer comes with a sketchy reputation, but Crawford said he can fit well in the Celtics’ system.

G: Style

As their nests empty, life changes direction for many women

Jill Kerner Schon serves a customer at the Paint Bar in Newtonville. The enterprise she was told would not succeed will soon expand to Newbury Street.

By Mindy Pollack-Fusi

Many women pursue new or rejuvenated careers as their family duties diminish — including those who’ve long been working moms.

Tips on how to find a bathing suit that fits well

 Corte’s spring line includes a variety of styles in neutrals like black, white, and gray, with muted greens and pinks.

By Erica Thompson

Daniela Corte, a Boston-based swimwear designer, is out to make the mission to find the perfect suit a little less stressful.

Joe Aaron Segal and the lessons of ‘Project Runway’

Joe Aaron Segal (above) and his World of JAS fashions (below).

By Erica Thompson

Framingham-native Joe Aaron Segal, a former contestant on Lifetime’s “Project Runway” Season 11, learned to balance creative with commercial.

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