Front page

Social worker said Fitchburg family needed no further oversight

A woman placed a candle during a vigil Wednesday across from the Fitchburg home where Jeremiah Oliver lived.

Jim Davis/Globe Staff

The social worker also didn’t carry out mandatory monthly visits to the home where 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver lived, the state said.

Jared Remy

‘Deficiencies’ found in handling of Jared Remy case, DA says

An independent review criticizes the decision to not hold Jared Remy after his arraignment on domestic violence charges. He allegedly killed his girlfriend the day after his release.

Child welfare agency still lacks medical guidance

To this day, if staffers within the agency need advice from medical experts, they are often left scrambling to find help on their own.

Republican Charles Baker (left), and Democrats Martha Coakley (center) Steve Grossman have failed to gain traction in raising funds for the 2014 election.

Globe photos/File

Weary donors slow to back candidates for governor

Candidates have been unable to rouse voters’ interest in the race to succeed Governor Deval Patrick.

A driver did some on-the-fly windshield scraping on the Leverett Connector.

For commuters, timing of storm was everything

Tuesday’s surprisingly potent storm turned the afternoon commute into a slow, slippery slog that snarled traffic and aggravated even the most patient drivers.

The Nation

Bipartisan budget agreement clears Congress

US Senator Richard Blumenthal (right), Democrat of Connecticut, walked to the Senate chamber on Wednesday before a vote on the budget compromise.

By David Espo

Congress sent President Obama legislation scaling back across-the-board cuts, adding a late dusting of bipartisanship to a year more likely to be remembered for near-perpetual gridlock.

White House panel recommends new limits on NSA spying

By David E. Sanger and Charlie Savage

In a more than 300-page report, the group also strongly recommended that any operation to spy on foreign leaders would have to pass a rigorous test.

Reno hospital killer appeared to be on mission

Medical staff members left a Reno hospital after a gunman killed a doctor, wounded two others, and killed himself.

By Scott Sonner

Detectives have not been able to establish a motive or relationship between the man who shot the two doctors and the relative of a patient Tuesday before killing himself.

The World

Palestinians ready to extend talks with Israel

By Karin Laub

The Palestinians are ready to extend talks beyond an April deadline if a detailed framework agreement is in place by then, the chief Palestinian negotiator said.

Kerry announces more typhoon aid

Secretary of State John Kerry toured the typhoon-ravaged Philippines, where entrepreneur Illac Dia showed off his solar-powered lamp, made from readily availabe parts. Kerry also announced more US aid.

By Keith Bradsher

Secretary of State John Kerry announced Wednesday that additional US humanitarian aid would be sent to the Philippines.

Strip-searched diplomat transferred

By Cara Anna

Devyani Khobragade says she has full diplomatic immunity from prosecution. The State Department disputes that.

Editorial & Opinion

NICHOLAS BURNS

Peacemakers, 2013

Melinda Gates is helping to change the face of global health by giving millions the chance for a better life.

By Nicholas Burns

In a year of violence, these people made a difference.

JOAN VENNOCHI

The Orwellian NSA

By Joan Vennochi

The National Security Agency’s wide-ranging collection of phone data is something George Orwell may have imagined, a federal judge said.

alex beam

Switching sides — why not?

By Alex Beam

Once you’ve made your mind up, you won’t change it. Unless you change your mind about that.

Metro

Social worker said Fitchburg family needed no further oversight

A woman placed a candle during a vigil Wednesday across from the Fitchburg home where Jeremiah Oliver lived.

By Michael Levenson, Brian MacQuarrie and Travis Andersen

The social worker also didn’t carry out mandatory monthly visits to the home where 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver lived, the state said.

Child welfare agency still lacks medical guidance

By Patricia Wen and Neil Swidey

To this day, if staffers within the agency need advice from medical experts, they are often left scrambling to find help on their own.

‘Deficiencies’ found in handling of Jared Remy case, DA says

Jared Remy

By Eric Moskowitz

An independent review criticizes the decision to not hold Jared Remy after his arraignment on domestic violence charges. He allegedly killed his girlfriend the day after his release.

More Stories

Weary donors slow to back candidates for governor

By Jim O’Sullivan and Frank Phillips

YVONNE ABRAHAM

Jeremiah Oliver was a little boy lost

By Yvonne Abraham

Harvard student arraigned in bomb hoax

By Milton J. Valencia and Eric Moskowitz

Globe Santa

Comics step up to lend a hand

By Jeremy C. Fox

Business

Fed to ease off stimulus with $10b cut

By Binyamin Appelbaum

It’s a modest first step toward unwinding the broader stimulus campaign as its officials gain confidence that the economy is growing steadily.

McDonald’s walk-up window to offer 24-hour service

McDonald’s in Central Square plans 24-hour service at its new walk-up window.

By Taryn Luna

The window doesn’t just let lazy customers skip the extra 25 feet to interior counter — the fast food chain hopes to keep it open after the lobby closes at 11 p.m.

Panelist calls on Partners to abandon South Shore plans

By Robert Weisman

A member of the state Health Policy Commission said Partners HealthCare’s expansion plans would raise costs and lessen competition on the South Shore.

Obituaries

Ronnie Biggs; became a star after ’63 Great Train Robbery

By Margalit Fox

Mr. Biggs, 84, was a carpenter and petty crook who became an international celebrity for his role in one of Britain’s most famous crimes.

Ray Price; helped define country’s honky-tonk sound

Ray Price shown in 1983.

By Chris Talbott

Mr. Price, 87, set the precedent for change in country music more than a decade earlier than Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard.

Harold Camping; forecast end of the world in 2011

Mr. Camping said the world would end on May 21, 2011.

By T. Rees Shapiro

Mr. Camping, 92, was a Christian radio evangelist whose fire-and-brimstone sermons provoked an international frenzy.

Sports

pistons 107, celtics 106

Celtics come up short against Pistons

Pistons forward Greg Monroe was called for a charge on Celtics center Vitor Faverani in the third quarter.

By Baxter Holmes

The Celtics scored 42 points in the first quarter, a team record for any quarter in the season, but then wilted against the bigger Pistons.

Buffalo’s John Scott always ready for a fight

At 6-8, 259 pounds, John Scott is arguable the NHL’s most feared fighter.

By Fluto Shinzawa

At 6-8, 259 pounds, Scott is arguably the NHL’s most feared fighter. And the Bruins, who face the Sabres Thursday, know his work all too well.

on baseball

David Ortiz will get extension from Red Sox — in time

David Ortiz will have to wait for an extension as the Red Sox have some moves to figure out.

By Nick Cafardo

The Sox are taking the high road and know, first and foremost, they want Ortiz to remain a Sox for the rest of his career.

G: Style

The dog days of Christmas

Mallorie Ekstrom prompts 1-year-old Lebowski as Fiona Gohery photographs the dog with Santa at Durty Harry’s pet boutique in Brookline during a benefit for All Dog Rescue.

By Beth Teitell

Between photos with Santa, canine parties, and a role as holiday peacemaker, the family pooch can’t get a moment's rest.

Book REview

‘Starling’ by Sage Stossel

Sage Stossel’s illustrations of her superhero Amy are light and simple.

By Max Winter

The book is straight out of the age of “New Girl” and “Sex in the City,” in which we are drawn to watch a female protagonist for her flaws, not in spite of them.

How to care for those holiday houseplants

Poinsettias (left) and cyclamen (bottom) are among the houseplants that are staples of holiday decorating.

By Carol Stocker

If you want to keep houseplants long term, consider setting them up in a cool, sunny area to be brought out for display when company arrives.

Globe North

Some climb dizzying heights to deliver super-sized holiday cheer

By Katheleen Conti

Organizers of towering holiday displays often volunteer their time and brave potentially risky situations to bring joy to an expectant public

Giblees in Danvers separates itself from the malls

Robert Gibeley (left) and his son Alan are watching over a family institution at Giblees, a men’s clothing store in Danvers with roots in a 1940s haberdashery in Salem.

By Robert G. Pushkar

The clothing store thrives in a stagnant economy because of a simple philosophy Alan Gibeley spelled out: client relationships, service, and quality product.

Local artists dazzle with handmade Christmas ornaments

Beach and Nature Company offers beach-themed ornament kits.

Looking for a unique Christmas ornament for your tree or to give as a gift? Check these out:

Globe South

South Shore Votech shows what it has to offer students

Culinary student Marissa Matson works on frosting during a bakery class at South Shore Vocational Technical High School in Hanover.

By Cara Bayles

More and more middle school students want to be a part of the real-world experience that vocational school offers.

Middleborough

Traffic, other concerns stall approval of Christmas Tree Shop

By Michele Morgan Bolton

An attorney for the shop, as well as some town officials, say they feel confident a compromise could be worked out to facilitate approval of the new venture.

Weymouth

Weymouth child-care center closes abruptly

By Johanna Seltz

After 10 years of operation, Curious Kids, on Main Street, closed suddenly this month, leaving dozens of families in the lurch.

Globe West

Olin students offer classes for local kids

Olin College of Engineering student Rachel Boy worked with 3rd graders at the Mitchell School in Needham.

By Jaclyn Reiss

More than 30 undergraduates volunteer to lead a semester’s worth of free weekly workshops on math, science, and engineering.

Candidates face off for 9th Norfolk House seat

By Calvin Hennick

Dan Winslow, who occupied the seat during his unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination in the US Senate race, resigned in September to take a job in the private sector.

Private colleges try to attract students scared by costs

By Jennifer Fenn Lefferts

Throughout the nation, schools are freezing tuition, guaranteeing graduation in four years or matching aid offers at competing institutions.