Chinese company to buy local tech publisher

Boston-based IDG announced today it's being purchased by China Oceanwide Holdings Group, a banking and financial concern with some media holdings.

The purchase of IDG gives it control of a global tech-publishing and market-research concern founded in 1964 in Newton by Patrick McGovern. His estate had owned the company since his death in 2014.

IDG Capital, China's first technology venture-capital concern, founded by McGovern and one of his executives in China, will hold a minority stake in the company, which will continue to be headquartered here.

Garden security guards charged with abusing homeless; one now faces criminal charges

Thu, 12/22/2016 - 09:00

The Globe reports on aggressive security measures against homeless people in North Station, including a Dec. 9 incident in which surveillance video apparently shows a guard smashing a man in the face with his own cane on Dec. 22.


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State's district attorneys ordered to review 20,000 drug cases possibly screwed up by disgraced state chemist

After several years of ruling on individual drug convictions possibly tainted by disgraced chemist Annie Dookhan, the Supreme Judicial Court today issued rules for dealing with the more than 20,000 remaining drug convictions she had something to do with.

Rather than continuing to hear cases on a one by one basis, foregoing any further consideration of Dookhan-related convictions or just issuing a blanket rule dismissing all the cases at once, the state's highest court directed the state's district attorneys to first conduct their own case reviews and identify cases they don't think they could win on re-trial because the case relied so heavily on certification by Dookhan that the substances used to convict people were really the drugs she said they were.

The number of cases at issue is based on lists of Dookan-related convictions compiled by the state's district attorneys at the request of the court.

After identifying the cases they wouldn't want to re-try, the DAs would then have to ask a judge to dismiss and vacate those convictions with prejudice - meaning they could not attempt to re-try the defendants.

This is essentially the standard the SJC and the Massachusetts Appeals Court have used in deciding earlier Dookhan cases: Dismissal if the justices did not think the convictions could stand up without her certification and upholding the convictions if prosecutors had enough other evidence to convict even without certification that a substance was an illegal drug.

Then, after those cases are disposed of, the remaining defendants would have to be notified their cases were not being dismissed - and given access to a state-funded public defender should they wish to consider their own individual appeals, the court ruled.

If the number seeking counsel is so large that counsel cannot be
assigned despite [the Committee for Public Counsel Service]'s best efforts, the single justice will fashion an appropriate remedy under our general superintendence authority for the constitutional violation, which may include
dismissing without prejudice the relevant drug convictions in cases where an indigent defendant is deprived of the right to counsel.

The justices continued:

The remedy we order, challenging as it is to implement, preserves the ability of these defendants to vindicate their rights through case-by-case adjudication, respects the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, and maintains the fairness and integrity of our criminal justice system in the wake of a laboratory scandal of unprecedented magnitude.

Wave of threatening phone calls shut Jewish community centers, including one in Newton

Ha'aretz reports on the last wave of what turned out to be hoax calls to Jewish centers across the country, including the Jewish Community Center of Greater Boston in Newton.

At 1:20 p.m., Sean Roche reported on the all clear:

Lot is full. Building is bustling. Essential and undaunted.

Boston almost ready to uncork BYOB at small restaurants in outer neighborhoods

The Boston Licensing Board today approved regulations that will let small restaurants without liquor licenses let their customers bring in beer and wine.

But there's a catch: The board now has to design online and paper application forms for potentially eligible restaurants. Board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini promised City Council President Michelle Wu she and her staff would expedite the process, which she estimated could mean restaurants could apply by springtime.

Chris Lin, owner of Seven Star Street Bistro on Belgrade Avenue in Roslindale, told the board he can't wait: His holiday season in his new dining room was dead, because nobody wants to have a holiday celebration without something to drink, and his business overall is down dramatically since he sold off the expensive beer-and-wine license he had purchased last year.

Under the regulations, only restaurants without existing liquor licenses in neighborhoods that don't have a plethora of drink-serving restaurants would be eligible for one of the new BYOB permits: All restaurants downtown and in the North End, South End, Bay Village, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway, Chinatown, the Seaport and the West End would continue to be banned from offering BYOB.

Diners at restaurants who get one of the $400 BYOB licenses would be allowed to bring in wine bottles no larger than 750 ml. Although the board initially proposed banning beer drinkers from bringing in beer bottles larger than 16 ounces - and no more than 64 ounces in total - the board amended that to allow growlers as well.

Harder liquors and cordials would remain banned at such restaurants. Also, patrons could not go out for more beer or wine during their visits. Restaurants would be barred from charging a corkage fee - and would have to stop letting in people with alcohol at 11 p.m. Also, no drinks with brunch: BYOB cannot start earlier than 5 p.m.

Wu said she was "very thrilled" to finally see the idea - which she and then Councilor Steve Murphy first proposed some two years ago - get this close to actually being put into effect. "I'm eager to see this become another tool for economic development in the city," she said.

But when Pulgini said nobody could get a license until the board designed and put up an online application form, Wu asked if there were any way the board could begin accepting applications on paper immediately, to help out restaurants who have been champing at the bit of all these months. "We'll get this done as soon as we can," Pulgini said.