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Living in sprawl not healthy, study says

People who live in sprawling communities tend to suffer more health problems, according to the first study to document a link between the world of strip malls, cul-de-sacs and subdivisions and a broad array of ailments.

The study, which analyzed data on more than 8,600 Americans in 38 metropolitan areas, found that rates of arthritis, asthma, headaches and other complaints increased with the degree of sprawl. Living in the least sprawling areas, compared with living in the most, was like adding about four years to people's lives in terms of their health, the study found.

"Suburban sprawl affects your health," said Roland Sturm, a senior economist at the RAND Corp. of Santa Monica, Calif., who led the study, which is being released today.

Nonprofit executives

see salaries rise rapidly

WASHINGTON _ Compensation increases in 2003 for the executives who run the largest nonprofit organizations nearly doubled the rate of inflation, according to the annual survey by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

The study being released today showed the median salary of 215 chief executives was $291,356. The median is the middle point of that group, meaning 107 leaders made more than that figure and 107 made less.

The publication determined that the middle range of the increases from 2002 to 2003 was 3.7 percent, almost twice the inflation rate of 1.9 percent last year. Still, the rate of compensation increase was the smallest since 1996, the figures showed.

The top earners surveyed worked at hospitals: Harold Varmus, president of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and Floyd Loop, chief executive of Cleveland Clinic Foundation, both of whom earned $1.7-million in 2003.

Agencies beef up antiterrorism efforts

WASHINGTON _ Agencies across the federal government are launching an aggressive and unusually open offensive aimed at thwarting terrorist plots before and during the presidential election in November.

Numerous law enforcement and counterterrorism officials warned last week that a heightened threat of terrorist attack will persist through the January inauguration.

The government's strategy will include heavy surveillance by the FBI, increased checks of terrorism watch lists by local police and heightened security at polling places on Nov. 2, officials said.

Counterterrorism officials concede they do not have new or specific intelligence outlining plans for an attack, but say they remain alarmed by indications that al-Qaida and other terror groups might seek to influence U.S. elections.

Edwards says ticket will be tough on terrorism

LEWISTON, Maine _ Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards said Sunday a Kerry-Edwards administration would show no mercy to terrorists.

"When I am your vice president we will find al-Qaida. We will find these terrorists where they are and we will crush them before they can do any harm on America," Edwards told about 2,600 people at a town hall meeting.

"This is a battle against good and evil. This is a battle between freedom and those that would stop freedom."

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