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New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, center, leaves federal court, Monday, May 4, 2015, in New York. Skelos and his son were arraigned on charges including extortion and soliciting bribes amid a federal investigation into the awarding of a $12 million contract to a company that hired his son. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Corruption charges dog NY Senate chief

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. — The leader of the state Senate defiantly dismissed a federal criminal complaint against him as “nothing more than a press release” on Tuesday and vowed to keep his position even as more of his fellow Republicans called for him to step down. A day after his arrest on corruption charges, Dean Skelos said he will fight the …

Incoming UMass president vows to increase online learning

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

BOSTON — On the eve of a Wednesday visit to the flagship campus in Amherst, incoming University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan vowed to expand online learning at the five-campus system. Meehan, the current chancellor of the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, said more than half of recent Lowell graduates took at least one online course. “It’s important to expand our online opportunities for people …

Under tight security, Kerry makes symbolic stop at Somali airport

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Two decades after dead American soldiers were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, John Kerry on Tuesday became the first secretary of state to set foot in Somalia, a symbolic visit to show support for the African nation’s fledgling government and the United States’ readiness to move past a dark …

Joni Mitchell may be out of hospital soon

Monday, May 4, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Folk singer Joni Mitchell may be released from the hospital soon but still cannot confer with doctors about her medical care or long-term treatment, an attorney told a judge on Monday. The assessment by …

GOP field grows as longshots Fiorina, Carson launch bids

Monday, May 4, 2015

WASHINGTON — Former technology executive Carly Fiorina and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson joined the rapidly expanding 2016 Republican presidential class on Monday, casting themselves as political outsiders in underdog campaigns, eager to challenge the elite of both parties. …

Study: CO2 cuts will save 3,500 US lives a year

Monday, May 4, 2015

WASHINGTON — The Obama Administration’s hotly debated plan to reduce heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the nation’s power plants will save about 3,500 lives a year by cutting back on other types of pollution as well, a new independent …

2 gunmen killed outside prophet cartoon contest

Sunday, May 3, 2015

GARLAND, Texas — Two armed men who opened fire on a security officer outside of a provocative contest for cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad have been killed, authorities in the Dallas suburb of Garland said Sunday night. …

UN: Aid flowing better, even as Nepal suffers airport woes

Sunday, May 3, 2015

KATHMANDU, Nepal — Runway damage forced Nepalese authorities to close the main airport Sunday to large aircraft delivering aid to millions of people following the massive earthquake, but U.N. officials said the overall logistics situation was improving. The …

Women freed from Boko Haram tell of stonings

Sunday, May 3, 2015

YOLA, Nigeria — Even with the crackle of gunfire signaling rescuers were near, the horrors did not end: Boko Haram fighters stoned captives to death, some girls and women were crushed by an armored car and three died …

NYPD officer shot in head fighting for life

Sunday, May 3, 2015

NEW YORK — A man who officials say boasted of being a street “hellraiser” and who served prison time for attempted murder was arraigned on charges that he shot a New York City police officer in the head. …

Six days after riots, Baltimore lifts curfew

Sunday, May 3, 2015

BALTIMORE — Six days after riots sparked by Freddie Gray’s death, Baltimore’s mayor lifted a citywide curfew Sunday and faith leaders called for continued activism until justice is achieved. A jubilant crowd of several hundred prayed and sang …

Arab coalition forces land in Yemen

Sunday, May 3, 2015

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — With helicopter gunships hovering overhead, at least 20 troops from a Saudi-led Arab coalition came ashore Sunday in the southern port city of Aden on what military officials called a “reconnaissance” mission, as fighting raged between Iranian-backed Shiite rebels and forces loyal to the …

Valley Views: Tree Swallow Pair

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Tree Swallow Pair Pondside Road, Longmeadow Photograph and text by Margaret “Pedge” Daniels, Longmeadow I have a favorite spot for tree-swallow watching down along Pondside Road in Longmeadow, and often visit it just to see who might be …