The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Violent vicar

London, Dec. 11 (Reuters): A British vicar reduced young children to tears and stunned their parents when he said Santa Claus and his reindeer would burn to a crisp while delivering presents at supersonic speed.

Stand-in vicar Lee Rayfield shattered the illusions of dozens of kids when he joked in his carol service sermon that Santa and his reindeer would burn up doing 3,000 times the speed of sound as they delivered gifts to 91.8 million homes.

“I am mortified and appreciate that I have put some parents in a difficult position with a lot of explaining to do,” Rayfield told the Daily Telegraph. “I love Christmas.”

Newspapers said many children at the school service at St Mary’s Church in Maidenhead, west of London, were distraught when Rayfield pointed out that it was logically impossible for one man and his sleigh to deliver 378 million presents in just 31 hours.

Tech tips

n London (Reuters): A computer programme is outperforming human tipsters in picking the winning teams in Australian Rugby League. Artificially Intelligent Tipster, or MAIT, is a software programme developed by Alain McCabe of James Cook University in northern Queensland, Australia. It has been right more than 66 per cent of the time across the rugby season and it can easily be adapted for other sports such as soccer, baseball or cricket. “The programme outperforms the best human tipsters,” New Scientist magazine said on Wednesday. MAIT uses a combination of inputs such as the team’s performance, points scored, statistics and other factors to predict the outcome of a match.

Peeping pits

n Seattle (Reuters): Voyeurs will no longer be free to take pictures or film up women’s skirts in Seattle from Tuesday, after the City Council unanimously passed an ordinance to close a loophole that previously made such acts legal. The new law was introduced because the state Supreme Court ruled in September that video peeping underneath clothing was legal when it overturned the conviction of two men who were arrested for filming up women’s skirts without their knowledge. The state said then that voyeurism laws did not apply if “upskirt” photography took place in public areas without a “reasonable expectation of privacy”. “The victims in these cases are often young women, teenagers, and even young girls, which makes this doubly troubling,” said council member Jim Compton. The new ordinance states that “recording or transmitting images of another person’s intimate areas” without their consent would result in a a fine of up to $5,000 or up to one year in jail.

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