If the zombies don't get you, the hurricane will

An emergency preparedness report by the US Centers for Disease Control warns against a zombie apocalypse ... and other news you can lose.

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Disaster control authorities have warned Americans that they need to prepare for an attack by zombies.

Under the heading "Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse", the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggest an emergency kit that "includes things like water, food, and other supplies to get you through the first couple of days before you can locate a zombie-free refugee camp".

It also urges families to sit and create an emergency plan for "where you would go and who you would call if zombies started appearing outside your doorstep".

The CDC admits that although the likelihood of zombies roaming the streets of the United States is low, it hopes the advice will prompt people into thinking about their response to natural disasters such as flooding or earthquakes."

Prof needs culture lesson

A visiting lecturer in Saudi Arabia has been banned after he showed students a photograph of a Saluki in a keffiyeh. Joseph Williams, a US academic, was giving a talk on the effect of climate change on desert animals and wanted to contrast dogs in the United States and Saudi Arabia.

Outraged students at Taif University in Mecca province began to walk out of his lecture as soon as the slide of the dog in a red and white checked headscarf appeared on screen.

University officials ordered him to stop the lecture and barred him from the campus.

Mr Williams said he had not intended to cause offence and had been given the image by a local professor who had found it on the internet.

New museum has a point

A new museum has opened to display the world's largest collection of pencil sharpeners.

The Rev Paul Johnson had accumulated more than 3,400 sharpeners by the time of his death last year.

The new museum was opened in a visitors' centre near his home in Carbon Hill, in the midwestern US state of Ohio.

Mr Johnson began his collection in the 1980s, but the oldest sharpener dates from 1906.

Paramedics need not apply

An investigation into why a remote New Zealand district has 230 ambulances has uncovered a tax scam.

Drivers had discovered that registering their cars as emergency vehicles allowed them to pay an annual registration fee of just NZ$60 (Dh172) compared with the normal rate of $287.

The country's transport agency became suspicious after comparing the sparsely populated district in Otago, at the tip of the South Island with the capital, Wellington, which had only 62 ambulances.

The drivers of the fake ambulances have now been warned that they face fines of up to $2,100.

Four years ago, officials clamped down on large numbers of private cars being registered as hearses to exploit a similar loophole.