People: Zhirinovsky's name-change on the record

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The Independent Online
MORE revelations about the disputed background of Vlad imir Zhirinovsky, the ultra- nationalist Russian leader. Handwritten public records in the archives at Alma-Ata, Kaz akhstan, where he grew up, show he had the Jewish name of Eidelshtein until he was 18. He changed his name to Zhirinovsky in June 1964, before moving to Moscow.

But a spokesman for Mr Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic party will have none of this. 'The documents have clearly been forged. Ever since his birth, his only last name has been Zhirinovsky. This name (Eidelshtein) never figures in his documents.'

Mr Zhirinovsky says the documents had been 'prepared against me', possibly by Russian security agents. But an official at the archives says a man offered her money to remove documents about Mr Zhirinovsky from the files.

(Photograph omitted)

FRANCE shows it appreciates the things that matter - music, style and food. A father and son, Maurice and Jean-Michel Jarre have been elevated to the Legion of Honour in the French Easter honours list. Maurice, a prolific composer of film music, including the theme for Doctor Zhivago, becomes an officer, and his son Jean-Michel, he of the laser- beam son et lumiere shows, is made chevalier, or knight.

Another knight is Jack Lang, the flamboyant former Socialist culture minister. And Claude Terrail, whose La Tour d'Argent restaurant in Paris wins three Michelin stars and has a spectacular view over Notre Dame, was given the top rank of commander.

THE OUTGOING Brazilian Economy Minister, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who resigned to run for president in October's elections, may have to sharpen up his act to bring in the masses. His chief opponent, Luis 'Lula' Inacio da Silva of the Workers' Party, known for his swift and earthy rhetoric, condemned Mr Car doso's decision to drop his economic reforms in mid-inflationary flow (current rate 42 per cent per month and rising) as 'the equivalent of a mother abandoning her newborn child in the delivery-room'.

Business people see Mr Cardoso as their best hope of beating the charismatic and popular Lula. But critics remember him as a poor campaigner who comes across as professorial and distant on the hustings. They recall that during a failed attempt to become mayor of Sao Paulo in 1985, he began squirming in his chair when asked whether he believed in God.

BRAZIL'S legendary footballer Pele, meanwhile, has been giving his views on another crucial matter: sex before the match. 'Some people need sex to be calm. It's up to the players. The day before the game I think a player should rest. Personally I preferred to rest before the game.'

It was not, in Pele's view, the sexual act that impaired players' performance but the build- up - the nightclubbing, the excessive drinking and the late nights. But he confessed how, as a 17-year-old Catholic boy, he had been thrown off his stride when training for the 1958 World Cup in Sweden by the sight of local women sunbathing topless by a lake. His solution: 'I didn't look towards the lake.'

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