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Spoiled Patriots: In success-soaked Boston, has all the winning dimmed the excitement?

You could be forgiven for wondering, in the lead-up to the Patriots’ ninth Super Bowl appearance in 18 years, whether the thrill has finally begun to wear off.

Ruby Maddox, who works at Mount Holyoke College, uses Focusmate, a service that matches strangers online for

Procrastinating? A stranger watching you might help

Some people rely on virtual coworkers, real people they’ve never met connected online via video, to get work done. Devotees swear by it.

Middlebury College Campus, Middlebury VT (Corey Hendrickson for the Boston Globe).

Higher education struggles are hitting Vermont hard

Higher education is the third-largest industry in Vermont, yet the state faces a particularly acute version of the challenges that threaten the industry nationwide: decreasing enrollment.

Trump disputes ‘naive’ intelligence chiefs, suggests they ‘go back to school’

President Trump lashed out at his intelligence chiefs Wednesday after they told Congress that North Korea is unlikely to dismantle its nuclear arsenal and the Iran deal is working.

New Bedford 12/06/18- (left-right) Margarita Fuentes Herrera, Mirna Pacaja and Paula De Leon Carrillo, are three plaintiff's in a sexual harassment lawsuit against a Fall River seafood- processing plant. Boston Globe by Debee Tlumacki (metro)

Settlement reached in sexual harassment case against Fall River seafood plant

Over five years after the alleged workplace misconduct began, the women have agreed to a $675,000 settlement in a federal lawsuit against Atlantic Capes and BJ’s.

The Nation

Trump criticizes US intelligence officials, disputing assessments on Iran, other threats

By Shane Harris and John Wagner

Trump criticizes US intelligence officials, disputing assessments on Iran, other threats

Trump Organization says it will use system to verify workers’ documentation

FILE -- Eric Trump, left, and Donald Trump Jr., executive vice presidents of the Trump Organization, at a ribbon cutting for a new clubhouse at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx on June 11, 2018. The Trump Organization said late Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, that it was implementing a system to weed out undocumented immigrants who try to get jobs at its properties. (Sam Hodgson/The New York Times)

By Miriam Jordan

The move followed reports in The New York Times last month that the president’s company was employing people at its flagship golf club in New Jersey who were in the country illegally.

Foxconn’s plan for giant Wisconsin factory now looks uncertain

By Danielle Paquette

Foxconn’s plan for giant Wisconsin factory now looks uncertain

The World

Maduro’s words range from conciliatory to harsh, says US intervention would go worse than Vietnam

By Ana Vanessa Herrero and Austin Ramzy

President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela says he is open to talks with the opposition trying to unseat him, and references a famous failed U.S. intervention to warn against the outcome of a future attempt at occupation in Venezuela.

Bangkok schools closed over air pollution concerns

By KAWEEWIT KAEWJINDA

More than 400 schools in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, were shut for the rest of the week Wednesday due to increasing concern over dangerously unhealthy air pollution.

3 Iraqi refugees arrested in Germany over attack plot

By DAVID RISING and FRANK JORDANS

German authorities arrested three Iraqi refugees on Wednesday on allegations they were planning an Islamic extremist bombing attack, and searched properties in three states in connection with their investigation.

Editorial & Opinion

Charlie Baker takes on Big Pharma

Transparency is the key to saving state dollars while not depriving those in need of the life-saving treatments that are changing health care delivery.

Opinion | Robert K. Coughlin

Governor Baker’s proposal on drug-pricing will hurt biotech — and consumers

Symbol of money dollar from colored pills and capsules on green background. Expensive medicine and medical insurance

By Robert K. Coughlin

The Legislature should reject Gov. Baker’s Medicaid proposal and opt instead for a bipartisan effort at real reform.

Letters

Winning gamesmanship in Washington

A reader sees a fresh way in which Donald Trump’s presidency is like a reality show.

Metro

Somerville is suing opioid makers and distributors, alleging negligence and fraud

Purdue Pharmaceuticals in Stamford, Conn., faces lawsuits from several cities and states.

By Danny McDonald

Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone is calling for “the bad actors within the opioid industry” to be held to account.

Yvonne Abraham

Maura Healey’s suit against Purdue Pharma shows recipe for addiction

Attorney General Maura Healey’s lawsuit against Purdue Pharma claims that the company, led by members of the Sackler family, incentivized the opiate explosion every step of the way.

By Yvonne Abraham

In excruciating detail, the lawsuit lays out how the maker of OxyContin and other opioids pushed its deadly products on vulnerable patients as aggressively as any street dealer would.

Settlement reached in sexual harassment case against Fall River seafood plant

New Bedford 12/06/18- (left-right) Margarita Fuentes Herrera, Mirna Pacaja and Paula De Leon Carrillo, are three plaintiff's in a sexual harassment lawsuit against a Fall River seafood- processing plant. Boston Globe by Debee Tlumacki (metro)

By Jeremy C. Fox

Over five years after the alleged workplace misconduct began, the women have agreed to a $675,000 settlement in a federal lawsuit against Atlantic Capes and BJ’s.

Business & Tech

WBUR unveils new space for the city

BOSTON, MA - 1/30/2019: WBUR-- Boston's NPR affiliate and home to the city's largest radio newsroom-- is opening a new convention location, CitySpace, and rolling out a new $40 million campaign to transform WBUR from a radio-focused news outlet to a multimedia one.(David L Ryan/Globe Staff ) SECTION:BUSINESS TOPIC 31wbur

By Max Reyes

Boston’s NPR affiliate is opening a new convention location, CitySpace, and rolling out a new $40 million campaign to transform WBUR from a radio-focused to a multimedia news outlet.

Chesto Means Business

Debate heats up in Hartford around bringing back tolls to Connecticut

08/04/2016 ALLSTON, MA An All Electronic Tolling (AET) gantry on the Mass Pike. Photographed from the East side just before exit 20 in Allston. (Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe)

By Jon Chesto

Connecticut lawmakers are staring at yet another budget deficit. The potential revenue could be too good to pass up.

Doctors bribed with lucrative speaking gigs, ex-rep testifies

Arizona-based Insys Therapeutics.

By Maria Cramer

The testimony came on the third day of the landmark racketeering trial against five former Insys Therapeutics executives and directors, including the company’s founder.

Obituaries

Miguel Civil, pre-eminent scholar of world’s oldest written language, dies at 92

By Harrison Smith

He spent decades studying ancient cuneiform tablets, examining the last wedge-shape traces of what is probably the world’s oldest written language.

Morton Sobell, last defendant in Rosenberg spy case, 101

By Paul W. Valentine

Mr. Sobell had steadfastly denied guilt for decades, then abruptly acknowledged complicity in 2008.

James Ingram, a hitmaking voice of ’80s R&B

By Jon Caramanica

James Ingram, whose voice — technically precise, crisp and reserved, yet full of audacious feeling — made him one of the defining singers of R&B in the 1980s, has died. He was 66.

Sports

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER

Revolution make major acquisition in Spanish midfielder Carles Gil

Aymen Abdennour of Valencia CF and Carles Gil of Deportivo de la Corua during their La Liga match between Valencia CF and Deportivo de la Corua, at the Mestalla Stadium, on 2 April 2017 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Maria Jose Segovia/NurPhoto) *** Please Use Credit from Credit Field ***(Sipa via AP Images)

By Frank Dell’Apa

Gil, 26, will be the Revolution’s highest-paid player at $2 million a season. “We feel he’s worthy of it,” technical director Michael Burns said.

TARA SULLIVAN

Roger Goodell’s mouth moved, but he said his usual nothing

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell smiles as he listens to a question during a news conference for the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

By Tara Sullivan

The NFL commissioner’s annual state of the league press conference lacked real answers for a league loaded with questions.

CHRISTOPHER L. GASPER

Patriots lineman Joe Thuney can talk a good game — in Spanish

New England Patriots offensive guard Joe Thuney (62) sets to block against the Chicago Bears during an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018, in Chicago. The Patriots won 38-31. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)

By Christopher L. Gasper

The bilingual Thuney is the go-to guy for Spanish-language media, and his line play speaks well of him, too.

More Stories

GARY WASHBURN | ON BASKETBALL

Terry Rozier flourishes in his turns as starting point guard

By Gary Washburn

NORA PRINCIOTTI

Rob Gronkowski details the physical toll his body takes

By Nora Princiotti

CELTICS NOTEBOOK

Jayson Tatum will play in Rising Stars game again

By Adam Himmelsbach

PATRIOTS NOTES

Robert Kraft wants to extend Tom Brady beyond next season

By Ben Volin and Nora Princiotti

CELTICS 126, HORNETS 94

Home, sweet home: Celtics erupt in second half, rout Hornets

By Adam Himmelsbach

HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS’ BASKETBALL NOTES

The Sisters Blasetti have ‘brought us stability’ as anchors of Hingham’s roster

By Greg Levinsky

JOE SULLIVAN | COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Harvard basketball gets a much-needed boost with Bryce Aiken’s return

By Joe Sullivan