A braided leather whip, a sniper rifle, six jars of fertilizer and a copy of the Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook were among the presents foreign leaders have given US President George W. Bush. They are clearly trying to tell him something.

The inventory of official gifts from 2004, published this week by the US State Department, reads like the wish list of the sort of paranoid survivalist who holes up in his log cabin to await Armageddon, having long ago severed all ties with the rest of the world.

The president received a startling array of weapons, including assorted daggers and a machete from Gabon. He got the braided whip with a wooden handle from the Hungarian prime minister. The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook, a gift from the Sultan of Brunei, has some tips on how to use some of these implements in a tight spot.

The paperback also explains how to wrestle with an alligator, escape from a mountain lion and take a punch. But the small arsenal of guns presented by Jordan's King Abdullah, including a US$10,000 sniper rifle, would presumably render much of that advice unnecessary.

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