The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Santa shock

Amsterdam, Nov. 24 (Reuters): Santa Claus may be known for generous gift-giving, but people had to chase two of his helpers out of an Amsterdam post office after they staged a failed heist, a Dutch newspaper said today.

Two people dressed up as “Black Pete” — a ubiquitous symbol of the Christmas season in the Netherlands — had queued patiently, but when their turn came, one ducked behind the post office counter while the other waved “something that looked like a weapon”, the De Telegraaf newspaper reported.

“It isn’t clear if they were really armed, but they did have a sack with them,” a police spokesperson said.

The heist failed when outraged clients chased off the would-be robbers, who escaped by bicycle.

The Dutch Santa, Sinterklaas, is usually accompanied by helpers dressed as “Black Pete” — often seen as a Moorish figure like the servants who might have accompanied the real-life Saint Nicholas, a wealthy bishop from an area that is today part of Turkey.

Crime cut

Dhaka (AFP): A television reporter’s wallet was stolen as he interviewed a government minister on crime in the Bangladeshi capital, a newspaper reported on Monday. After interviewing home minister Altaf Hossain Chowdhury at the busy Gausia market, the NTV television network reporter realised his wallet, which contained some 4,000 taka ($69), had been stolen, the Prothom Alo daily reported. Chowdhury visited several markets yesterday to assess anti-crime measures.

Turkey tune

London (Reuters): Britain’s farming union has released a chill-out album to help turkeys keep calm in the understandably stressful run-up to Christmas. Geoff Hemus is one of 300 UK farmers who will be playing recordings of Gregorian chants, whale calls and rustling forests to his 3,500 birds. “At first they seemed rather bemused and started gobbling more. They didn’t chill out, lie down and cross their legs. But then they got their confidence back,” he said. Farmers have long believed drowning out the crash and bang of farmyard life is good for birds. “If they are less stressed, they eat more and put on more pounds,” Hemus said. National Farmers’ Union spokesperson Simon Rayner said there was anecdotal evidence that birds like listening to the radio. “So this is an experiment to find out which type of noise is most effective,” he said. However, Hemus’ turkeys only have two-and-a-half weeks to relax before they have to face the music for Christmas. The union plans to announce the number one turkey-soothing track next month.

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