Flat Earth: Sugar-cane daddy for Mother Russia

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The Independent Online
WITH the news that South Africa's ``Mother of the Nation'', Winnie Mandela, is to be honoured in New York's Harlem district as ``queen of all people of African ancestry'', comes the more disturbing report that Vladimir Zhirinovsky plans to become father of the Russian nation. Literally.

The nationalist politician has offered to increase the population of ethnic Russians by fathering children in every region of the country. If a woman wanted his baby, he said, ``I would meet her halfway''.

Vlad is, of course, an energetic fellow. But can he significantly populate a country as big as Russia? We turn to Cuba.

A recent visitor to the island tells us about PPG. Produced at Laboratorios Dalmer outside Havana and promoted as a cholesterol-reducing drug, it is being bought by Latin lovers looking for an ``uplifting'' experience. Cynics say PPG, or Policosanol, is simply a money-maker that owes its reputation to a boost in the bloodstream from its sugar-cane base.

Zhirinovsky owes it to Russia, and to medical science, to plop down $20 for a box of the tiny yellow tablets and let history be the judge.