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Follow the leader

Russian cult worship is not just Putin it on

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is the object of worship for an all-female sect that has sprung up in a village 250 miles southeast of Moscow, reports Britain's Daily Telegraph. Members of the sect, led by a woman who calls herself Mother Fotina, believe Putin, 58, is a reincarnation of the early Christian missionary Paul. Followers are reportedly encouraged to sing upbeat patriotic Soviet songs and to survive on a Spartan diet of turnips, carrots, peas and buckwheat. Father Alexei, the priest in the local church, dismissed Mother Fotina, whose real name is Svetlana Frolova, and the sect as a nonsensical mix of Orthodoxy, Catholicism, the occult, Buddhism and political propaganda. A Putin spokesman denied any connection to the sect, saying he had not even heard of it before.

Friends again

Zuckerberg gets back on Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg has his Facebook account back. The other Mark Zuckerberg, that is. Indianapolis bankruptcy attorney Mark S. Zuckerberg - not to be confused with Facebook founder Mark E. Zuckerberg - said Facebook sent him error messages saying he has a fraudulent identity and shut down his profile for a few hours Wednesday. The account was restored with an apology from Facebook. The attorney told the Indianapolis Star that he was required to provide copies of his birth certificate, his driver's license and his Indianapolis Bar Association license when he set up his account in 2009.

Mother's love

Kid gets beauty tips, Botox shots

San Francisco authorities are investigating a mother who said she gives antiwrinkle Botox injections to her 8-year-old daughter, who appears in beauty contests. Kerry Campbell appeared with her daughter Britney on Thursday on ABC's Good Morning America. She enrolls Britney in beauty pageants and said she got the idea to give her daughter Botox from other pageant mothers. Botox injections can be painful and are not recommended for anyone under the age of 18.

School comforts

Sandwiches are cold punishment

Kids, if you like the hot lunch at school, say so out loud and often. Students at a Pennsylvania school got sandwiches this week for failing to appreciate the hot meals they get. The Harrisburg Patriot-News reported that the pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade students at Camp Curtain School in Harrisburg also received cold sandwiches as punishment for misbehavior, including failure to clean up after themselves. An administrator told the newspaper that behavior quickly improved. Fruit and vegetables did not go off the menu, and the hot meal service resumes Monday.

Compiled from Times wires and other sources


"A Senate panel grilled oil executives over high gasoline prices. To which the oil executives asked how a group that is running a $14 trillion deficit can ask anyone questions about money."

Jim Barach, political humor blogger (