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Since 1st March, 1999
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Santa lessons

New York, June 27 (Reuters): This burglar could have used some lessons from Santa Claus.

became wedged in the chimney of an Italian family restaurant in Queens, New York, for almost three hours during an early break-in today, police and the owners said.

Police were called to Luigi’s Italian Cuisine at 0615 GMT to rescue the man. Officers and fire-fighters broke through part of the chimney using jackhammers and drills, eventually dislodging him three hours later.

Co-owner Josephine Napolitano said she and her husband had been up late last night watching a videotaped show of funny things caught on camera — including one about a burglar who had to be greased with butter to be freed from a chimney.

“Not five minutes later, the police called us and said we’re inside the restaurant, we’ve broken the locks, we have someone in your chimney,” Napolitano said. “At first I was thinking, this is a joke, but no it wasn’t,” said Napolitano, whose family has run the restaurant in the Jackson Heights neighbourhood of Queens for 45 years.

A police spokeswoman said the suspect was being treated for injuries in the hospital.

Dead in bed

Berlin (Reuters): A German man lay dead in his bed for almost three years before being found, police said on Friday. A post mortem revealed the man, in his fifties, had suffered serious head injuries, suggesting murder. “We’re assuming he was murdered in September 2000,” said Christiane Leven, police spokesperson in Hamburg. Police have arrested a 30-year-old care worker who used to look after the wheelchair-bound man. Police discovered the remains of the corpse on Thursday after breaking into the man’s apartment when neighbours complained of a strange smell.

Ruff yoga

New York (Reuters): New York City dog owners who worry that their furry friends need some stress management have a new option: yoga for dogs. “Ruff Yoga” — a so-called doga class aimed at relaxing the canine denizens of this often un-Zen city — is being offered once a month in a downtown city park. Half-an-hour on the yoga mat makes Isaac, her cocker spaniel, a calmer dog, said doga devotee Sarah Klein. First there was a short inspirational reading about dogs and a moment of “OM-ing.” Then the women, following a yoga instructor, took their dogs through traditional poses, starting, without a trace of irony, by forming the furry bodies into the inverted V of the “downward dog” pose.Then they bent over the dogs and curled their best friends into “child's pose,” renamed“puppy's pose.”

As a crowd of onlookers grew, the women stretched their dogs Ä all of them on the small side Ä to the left and the right and lifted them in their arms like furry weights. From time to time, they paused to pull the wandering dogs back to their mats and shush their barks.

”Give him a little love,” yoga instructor Suzi Teitelman, 31, told her students.“Come forward, give him a kiss,” Teitelman instructed as she leaned over her own spaniel, 2-year-old Coaly.

The class, sponsored by national fitness chain Crunch, grew out of Coaly climbing on her owner's yoga mat at home, Teitelman said.“Yoga came from the animals. It's natural instinct,” she said.

Three women left the lesson with their dogs after several minutes, but those who stayed said it was worth it.

”I feel more relaxed and I think she does too,” 24-year-old Tracy Alfajora said of Tallula, an 8-month-old, 3-pound Yorkshire terrier who had just finished her first class.

Yoga for dogs, sometimes called doga, has taken hold with pet lovers beyond New York.

Due on bookshelves in September is“Doga: Yoga for Dogs” from Chronicle Books. The book, based on the fact that some of yoga's best known positions are based on the movements of dogs, has tips on practicing yoga with your dog.

And yoga guru Bruce Van Horn is studying the physiological effect of yoga on dogs at a New Jersey animal shelter. Using stress reduction techniques like breathing exercises, he aims to calm the dogs and help them be adopted.

Horn, whose book“Yoga for Pets and the People who Love Them” also is due in the fall, says he has noticed results with his own dog.“It's a healing thing,” he said.

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