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State/Region Briefs

Mass. US senators defend their votes on filibuster

BOSTON — Massachusetts’ two U.S. senators are defending their support of a key change to the Senate’s filibuster rule.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren says the change helps ensure a government that functions better for everyone, no matter who is president.

Sen. Edward Markey says Republicans were blocking nominees even when they had no issues with their qualifications.

Former Republican Sen. Scott Brown criticized the vote, calling it “another reason for change in the Senate.”

Bill would make Vt. 1st to drop oil stocks

MONTPELIER, Vt. — When Vermont lawmakers return to work in about six weeks, they will consider whether the state should sell off its investments in oil, coal and other fossil fuel companies.

Legislation drafted in the House and Senate would require pension funds covering Vermont teachers and state and municipal employees to sell off those investments to avoid promoting activities that contribute to climate change.

State Treasurer Beth Pearce disagrees with the strategy, saying it’s better for Vermont to work from within to change the companies’ activities and encourage pursuit of more renewable energy resources.

Environmental writer and activist Bill McKibben, whose group 350.org supports divestment, says the strategy of working from within has been tried for a generation but has not been effective.

New Frontier awards presented today

CAMBRIDGE — The 2013 John F. Kennedy New Frontier Awards will be presented to a leader on veterans’ issues and the founder of an online charity.

Kennedy’s grandson, Jack Schlossberg, will present the annual awards today to Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, one of the first two female combat veterans to serve in Congress, and Charles Best, founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org, a charity that connects donors with public school teachers to meet teaching needs.

The ceremony will take place at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. The awards will be presented on the 50th anniversary of the state funeral services for President Kennedy.

The awards honor Americans under 40 who are changing their communities and the country with their commitment to public service.

Harvard journal apologizes for blog

BOSTON — A Christian journal run by Harvard University students has apologized for publishing and republishing an essay by an anonymous writer who wrote that Jews deserve to be punished by God for killing Jesus.

The Boston Globe reports that the essay was posted on the Harvard Ichthus website on Wednesday, removed, edited, reposted Friday morning and removed again.

Aaron Gyde, the editor-in-chief of the Ichthus, posted an apology on the journal’s website Saturday on behalf of the journal’s editorial board.

Gyde wrote that it wasn’t the intent of the writer or the Ichthus to present an essay that could be interpreted as anti-Semitic. Gyde says the blog was intended to communicate the necessity of salvation through Jesus Christ.

The essay was written by an anonymous Jewish convert to Christianity.

Authorities investigating killing in New Bedford

NEW BEDFORD — Police and the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office are investigating the killing of a 31-year-old man in New Bedford.

Authorities say Sharone Stafford of New Bedford was killed Saturday night.

Police and paramedics responded to reported gunshots shortly after 11:30 p.m. and found Stafford lying on Winsor Street near the intersection of Crapo Street. He later died at St. Luke’s Hospital.

The State Medical Examiner’s Office will be performing an autopsy to try to determine exactly how Stafford died.

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