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Image: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi
Str  /  Reuters file
"The essential ingredients for Coca-Cola come from African plants and so compensation must be paid to us," Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi asserts.
By John W. Schoen Senior Producer
msnbc.com
updated 9/14/2006 7:10:55 PM ET 2006-09-14T23:10:55

After decades of the tensions and hostilities, the recent turnaround in relations between the U.S. and Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi has been nothing short of miraculous. Once the target of U.S. bombing raids for his sponsorship of terrorism, Gaddafi is now seen as an ally in the war against terrorism by Washington, which this year ended a stretch of diplomatic isolation that began in the Reagan administration.

But now comes word that the Libya leader is once again taking aim at the U.S. — this time the Atlanta-based maker of that iconic American product, Coca-Cola.

According to the Italian news agency Adnkronos International, Colonel Gaddafi claims Coca-Cola is African. And he wants a share of the company’s profit on every can or bottle sold across the continent.

"The essential ingredients for Coca Cola come from African plants and so compensation must be paid to us," Gaddafi said at a meeting marking the seventh anniversary of the African Union.

The folks at Coke headquarters wouldn’t comment directly on the Libyan leader’s claim, but said African bottlers are already making money from company products made and sold exclusively in Africa.

“They do use local ingredients, but the beverages are not exported out of Africa to other markets,” said a spokeswoman. “That’s our business model everywhere in the world.”

Adnkronos International points out that the Libyan leader has made other unorthodox claims in the past, including the assertion that William Shakespeare was actually an Arab immigrant to England called Sheikh Zubeir.

Not so bad ideas

  • In Woody Allen’s 1973 movie “Sleeper,” a clarinetist who runs a health-food store is frozen, revived 200 years later and is surprised to learn that in 2173 hot fudge sundaes are good for you.

    Now scientists at candy maker Mars, Inc. believe that future has arrived. On Thursday, the company announced “another breakthrough from its world-leading cocoa research program” — a product called CocoaVia(R) Milk Chocolate which “combines great-tasting milk chocolate with all the heart-healthy benefits of CocoaVia(R) dark chocolate.”

    Independent studies have confirmed that ingredients in dark chocolate known as flavanoids can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. But dietitians suggest that before you go out and binge on a party pack of Snickers, consider other sources of flavanoids instead.

    “One of the reasons you shouldn’t rely on chocolate for antioxidants, in the place of vegetables and fruits, is the calorie load,” writes Karen Collins , a dietitian for the American Institute for Cancer Research. “A small piece of dark chocolate has only 50 calories, but most candy bars contain at least 200. In comparison, a serving of vegetables and fruits contains a generous amount of health-promoting phytochemicals and only 25 to 80 calories.”

    So go ahead and munch on that 3 Musketeers bar. Just don't uses it as an excuse to skip a trip to the gym.

  • For those of you with no artistic ability whatsoever — but who still feel the need to express yourself visually —  the folks at Buddha Board Inc. have come up with the product for you.

    For a mere $29.95, you can purchase a 12” x 9.5” white board complete with bamboo brush and “Japanese-style” water holder to tap into "the Zen concept of living in the moment," according to the company's recent press release.

    "You simply paint on the surface with water and your creation comes to life in bold design," said the release.

    But, alas, you'll leave behind no evidence your complete ineptitude in the visual arts.

    "As the water slowly evaporates, your art magically disappears, leaving you with a clean slate and a clear mind —  ready to create a new masterpiece.”

    But that’s not the point. According to Buddha Board, Inc. you’d don’t have to be another Picasso to enjoy the satisfaction of smearing paint on a white board.

    “Proponents of Art Therapy explain that the process of expressing creativity offers benefits that range from a greater feeling of self-awareness to an overall sense of well-being,” said the company. “Using imagery, color, and shape helps people express thoughts and feelings that may otherwise be difficult to articulate.”

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