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He's counting on protesters

August 07, 2006|Brian Hanrahan and Ellen Alperstein | Times Staff Writers

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador refused to back away from his demand for a full recount of the Mexican presidential vote, announcing that his supporters will hold a mass rally today at the offices of the election tribunal.

"It's for the well-being of the nation and all Mexicans," said Lopez Obrador, who lost the July 2 election by about 244,000 votes out of 41 million cast.

At a rally Sunday in Mexico City, some of his supporters called for a blockade of streets around the capital's airport or for a takeover of the congressional building or the National Palace. But a demonstration leader told them: "We have to use our heads.... In peaceful civil resistance, people have to ask, 'What is the best idea?' " Page A5


Iditarod champion Susan Butcher dies

Susan Butcher, a four-time winner of the Iditarod sled dog race, died of leukemia at 51, leaving behind a husband, two daughters and some remarkable stories.

Like the time an angry moose attacked her dogs and she had to keep the beast at bay with an ax for 20 minutes until help arrived. And the time she raced five hours in a blinding blizzard, navigating only with a small compass. And how, after being raised in New England, she moved to Alaska, lived in the bush and taught herself how to mush. Page B11


Conflict leaves scorched earth

Human misery is, of course, paramount when discussing the toll of war. But mass conflict also leaves its mark on nature.

Israeli officials estimate that fires started by Hezbollah rocket attacks have destroyed half a million trees in the pine forests of northern Galilee. Thousands of acres of grasslands have also burned, ruining a key source of feed for cattle.

"One day I had 22 fires at the same time," says an Israeli fire chief. Page A6


Warrior dreamed of having a family

Marc Alan Lee, a Navy SEAL serving in Iraq, preferred not to discuss the war when he spoke with his wife back home. "Everything was planning for the future," she said.

But he managed to combine the two subjects in an e-mail this summer, mentioning some children he saw in Ramadi: "The youngest girl was a glimpse into the future of our daughter, really cute curly hair, small and petite. It made me want a family so bad with you."

That won't happen. Lee, 28, was reported killed Friday -- the first SEAL to be slain in Iraq. A petty officer 2nd class, Lee was involved in a firefight with insurgents in Ramadi.

His wife of four years describes SEALs as having an aura of invincibility and a "toughness about life generally." But the support she's received from other SEALs, she says, shows another side: "They really care about you." Page B3


Making life easier, or maybe harder

What's "universal design"? It's a concept that stresses accessibility, with features such as wide doorways and level thresholds to make life easier for people who use wheelchairs or walkers. In Riverside County, the Murrieta City Council just approved an ordinance requiring builders to incorporate such amenities in 15% of their new residences.

Other cities are considering mandating more user-friendly dwellings too. But builders aren't happy, saying many people who don't need the special accommodations will wind up paying for them. Page B4


500 channels and nothing to watch

Young people in 2006 have a diversion for just about every sound of the alphabet: e-mail, iPods, Xboxes and YouTube. Their opinion of this Nirvana of entertainment and technology options?


A Times/Bloomberg poll of people ages 12 to 24 finds most of them saying they're bored with their choices for entertainment. But they love their gadgets, and in fact tend to fiddle with them while also doing homework, partly because focusing on just one task isn't very interesting.

The poll also turns up some conclusions that run counter to conventional wisdom: Young people are turned off by movie-going not because of bad films but because of high prices, rude patrons and excessive advertising; most kids 12 to 17 don't have a or similar account; and young adults don't get their news from the Internet or comedy programs such as "The Daily Show." Page A1


Big Apple, polishing

Do people in New York, where man-motor relationships supposedly last only as long as a taxi ride, really have long-term love affairs with cars? Sure they do. New Yorkers even hold classic-car nights like those in L.A., although the music might be more likely to come from "The Godfather" soundtrack than the Beach Boys. Page A10



A new road to health

Western medicine and its patients like the familiarity of traditional practice. But a growing number of Americans seem eager to experiment with alternative therapies. Page F1


You really can run from RSI

The initialism RSI is familiar to denizens of cubicles and assembly lines alike -- repetitive stress injury: the aches, shooting pains and weakness borne of performing too much activity in too few positions for too long.

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