News at a Glance

By Sarah Masker
Senior Writer

1.) “The zombies are coming!” the Homeland Security Department says. Not really, though. The government is asking citizens to be ready for a zombie apocalypse as part of a public health campaign to encourage preparation for actual disasters and emergencies. If America can prepare for a zombie attack, what’s a little thing like a hurricane, pandemic, or earthquake? Government recommendations include having an emergency evacuation plan and a change of clothes, as well as plenty of fresh water, extra medications, and emergency flashlights. That’s great, but does Homeland Security really expect people to take this seriously?

2.) What would happen if it really started raining men, cats and dogs, or meatballs? Well, after weeks of denial, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko admitted that a teddy bear shower did in fact occur in Belarus on July 4. A small Swedish plane entered the country’s airspace and dropped hundreds of teddy bears in black parachutes, carrying signs that read “Belarus freedom” and “We support the Belarus struggle for free speech.” In 2005, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that Belarus is “the last true remaining dictatorship in the heart of Europe.” At least now it’s a dictatorship with snuggly comfort.

3.) Amazon really screwed up this time. Seth Horvitz, a 38-year-old musician, ordered a flat-screen TV and received a military-style assault rifle instead. When UPS delivered the package, Horvitz was surprised to find a semiautomatic Sig Sauer SIG716 inside, which is a type of gun used by law enforcement and the military. “I was confused as to how that kind of mix-up could happen,” he said. Really, automatic weapons and televisions don’t even fall into the same category. Way to go Amazon.

4.) Germany might be doing pretty well compared to the rest of Europe, but now the country has a serious problem on their hands: a shortage of beer bottles, just in time for Oktoberfest. Brewers generally wash and reuse their bottles 50 times and rely on customers to return them, and every summer brewers deal with a shortage. This summer, however, is especially bad. Let’s hope those bottles turn up before Sept. 22, when Oktoberfest kicks off.

5.) Some people are better at gambling than others; other people just notice when the casino makes a mistake. An Atlantic City casino, Golden Nugget Atlantic City, is suing 14 gamblers who raked in over $1.5 million after realizing that eight decks of cards had not been preshuffled, and therefore the same sequence of numbers would appear over and over again. The gamblers kept raising their bets and scored 41 consecutive winning hands of baccarat. Benjamin Dash, a lawyer for the gamblers, said, “There is absolutely no law in New Jersey that would permit the Golden Nugget to declare the game illegal because it failed to shuffle cards.” He’s got you there, guys. Learn from the mistake and move on.

6.) Where did all the SpongeBob SquarePants coins go? When Peregrine Financial Group collapsed in July, some 76 sets of silver coins sporting the cartoon character’s image went missing, in addition to 39 ounces of gold. The commemorative coin sets, minted in New Zealand, have a total retail value of about $20,000. Who knew a yellow sponge in boxers could be so valuable? Of course, if that’s what Peregrine Financial Group was doing with its time and money, no wonder it went under.

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