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Cambridge, MA, 12/19/2018 -- Santa Ed Donlan chatted with Keeley Arnold, 3, of Danvers (R) during an office Holiday party at a local tech company called Vertica. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff) Topic: 20badsantas Reporter:

Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

‘Some of them are real schmucks’: A Santa shortage is leading to some questionable portrayals of St. Nick

Among the complaints levied by veteran Santas: skinny Santas, cheap-suited Santas, Santas with crumbs on their coats or nicotine in their beards.

Traders at the New York Stock Exchange listen as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is seen on a video screen giving a news conference from Washington after the Fed announced a rate increase, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Seeking middle ground, Fed raised rates, will be careful with increases next year

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates as expected, indicating that it sees the economy growing fast enough to merit a tap on the brakes. But it also dropped the number of expected rate increases in 2019.

President orders troops out of Syria

President Trump has ordered a rapid withdrawal of all 2,000 U.S. ground troops from Syria within 30 days, declaring the four-year American-led war against the Islamic State militant group as largely won, officials said Wednesday.

12/11/2018 AMESBURY, MA Beverly Daigle (cq) 76 of Southampton, waits for a group session to start at the Amesbury Council on Aging. (Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe)

Depression, ranging in severity, shadows old age for nearly a third of Mass. seniors

Diagnoses, spanning in severity from mild seasonal affective disorder to major depressive disorder, affects 31.5 percent of people over 65, according to a new UMass-Boston report.

Penny Marshall.

TARA SULLIVAN

Penny Marshall and the lasting impact of ‘A League of Their Own’

The film has visceral connections to what women are capable of, what women were once denied, what women can overcome, and how women can connect.

The Nation

Stopgap bill to avert shutdown punts border wall to next year

By Emily Cochrane

WASHINGTON — Moving to end a looming government shutdown, Congress is hoping to pass a stopgap spending bill this week that would keep the government funded through Feb. 8 — and would punt the impasse over a southern border wall to the new year and a divided Congress.

Kushner earns praise for backing criminal justice overhaul

In this Dec. 13, 2018, photo, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner listens during a meeting between President Donald Trump and newly elected governors in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. A real estate investment firm founded by Kushner is betting big on the Trump administration’s Opportunity Zone tax breaks. But it’s not that interested in steering its investors to the poorest, most-downtrodden areas that the program seeks to revitalize. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

By Jill Colvin

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner worked with advocates, legislators, and those on both ends of the political spectrum to forge a deal intended to make the nation’s criminal justice system fairer.

Data: Massachusetts has few migrant children in its care

Massachusetts ranks 15th out of the 17 states that have migrant youths in custody.

The World

Trump withdraws US forces from Syria, declaring victory against ISIS

By Mark Landler, Helene Cooper,

In overruling his generals and civilian advisers, Trump fulfilled his frequently expressed desire to bring home American forces from a messy foreign entanglement.

Child soldiers tell of fear, carnage on Yemen’s front lines

Morsal, right, and Abdel Hamid , two 14-year-old former child soldiers recruited by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, pose for a photograph at a camp for displaced persons where they took shelter, in Marib, Yemen, in this July 27, 2018, photo. Experts say child soldiers are “the firewood” in the inferno of Yemen’s civil war, trained to fight, kill and die on the front lines. Though both sides in the war recruit children, the Houthi rebels rely on them the most. One Houthi military official said 18,00 children had been recruited over the past four years. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

By Maggie Michael

The Houthis have inducted 18,000 child soldiers into their army since the beginning of the war in 2014, a senior Houthi military official acknowledged.

Italy and EU reach a budget deal, as populist plan runs into reality

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte delivered his speech on the budget law at the Senate, in Rome, on Wednesday.

By Jason Horowitz

After months of torturous negotiations, acrid insults, internal tensions, and enough social media airtime to fill a Netflix series, Italy’s populist leaders bowed to the demands of the European Union to roll back its expensive, rules-flouting budget.

Editorial & Opinion

Opinion

Eliza Dushku: I worked at CBS. I didn’t want to be sexually harassed. I was fired

NEW YORK - APRIL 26:

By Eliza Dushku

I do not want to hear that I have a “humor deficit” or can’t take a joke. I did not over-react. I took a job and because I did not want to be harassed, I was fired.

JOAN VENNOCHI

‘Lock him up!’ is bad karma for Michael Flynn

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn speaks during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 18, 2016. He used his prime-time speech to lead the crowd in a chant of

By Joan Vennochi

Michael Flynn’s “Lock her up!” chant about Hillary Clinton comes back to haunt him.

Letters

Somerville’s Union Square is a neighborhood at a turning point

Somerville, MA - November 29, 2018: A cyclist passes down Somerville Ave at Union Square in Somerville, MA on November 29, 2018. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) section: metro reporter:

Residents view the massive changes afoot warily and seek oversight of development.

Metro

A Globe journalist is appearing on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday. Here are just a few secrets she spilled

Globe journalist Carrie Blazina is appearing on Jeopardy Dec. 20.

By Cynthia Needham

How do you cram for a show that’s just as likely to ask about hair bands as it is to quiz players on the periodic table? Did she have a buzzer strategy? And what’s the real dirt on Alex Trebek?

Kevin Cullen

Differing viewpoints, different colors, same team

Tufts football players Tim Reitzenstein and Dan Dewing congratulated each other during their final game together against Middlebury College.

By Kevin Cullen

Two Tufts student-athletes’ differing politics, like their different skin color, doesn’t get in the way of their friendship. In fact, by accepting their differences, they have become closer.

Red Sox have a plan to improve bleacher seats at Fenway Park

Rendering of a proposed music theater the Red Sox owners and Live Nation would build alongside Fenway Park.

By Travis Andersen

The team also wants a new function room that’ll provide “sweeping views” of the playing field, and a 5,000-seat theater alongside the ballpark.

Business & Tech

Hiawatha Bray | Tech Lab

What’s Facebook worth to you?

A figurine standing in front of Facebook’s logo, as seen on the cracked screen of a smartphone.

By Hiawatha Bray

How much money would Facebook users take to give up the social network?

Speculation builds as Newbury College announces it will sell its campus

By Tim Logan

It’s not often that 10 acres of prime real estate in Brookline go on the market. But that’s what will happen when Newbury College closes next spring.

SoftBank just invested $500 million in a Cambridge company

Cambridge, MA - 12/18/18 - A sensor made by the company can detect crashes when placed in a vehicle. Cambridge Mobile Telematics, an eight-year-old Cambridge startup, just took in $500 million in venture funding. It's one of the largest funding rounds in Boston history, and it shows how money can transform a company and the lives of people in it. (Lane Turner/Globe Staff) Reporter: () Topic: (20bigmoney)

By Andy Rosen

There are still some numbers big enough to make a splash in Boston’s hot startup market.

Obituaries

Riccardo Giacconi, Nobel-winner who used X-rays to explore the universe, dies at 87

Riccardo Giacconi arrived to his office after learning that he was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Prize for physics.

Dr. Giacconi used X-rays to explore the universe during research at a variety of venues, including the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Galt MacDermot, composer of ‘Hair’ and ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’

Mr. MacDermot (center right), with John Guare and chorus members of a remake of “Two Gentlemen of Verona.’’ Mr. MacDermot and Guare combined on writing the play’s music.

By Harrison Smith

A onetime church organist and choirmaster in Montreal, Mr. MacDermot was perhaps an unlikely choice to compose the music for ‘‘Hair.’’

Sports

TARA SULLIVAN

Penny Marshall and the lasting impact of ‘A League of Their Own’

Penny Marshall.

By Tara Sullivan

The film has visceral connections to what women are capable of, what women were once denied, what women can overcome, and how women can connect.

HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS’ BASKETBALL NOTES

Bishop Fenwick girls can visualize a title run in Division 3

Bishop Fenwick's Elizabeth Pica and Jaxson Nadeau box in Bishop Feehan's Brianna Gillen, at Fenwick, in Catholic Central League matchup. Mark Lorenz for the Boston Globe.

By Nate Rollins

The Crusaders return four of five starters from 2017-18 squad that advanced to state semifinals.

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

After 41 seasons — and 303 wins — Tom Lopez retires as Lincoln-Sudbury football coach

11/29/2017 Sudbury- Ma- Lincoln Sudbury Head Coach Tom Lopez at a afternoon Football practice. Jonathan Wiggs\Globe Staff Reporter:Topic.

By Brendan Hall

“I told the kids, to coach 48 years at one place, I’ve had the best job in America. I’m leaving with a lot of smiles on my face,” Lopez said.