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The Independent Online
Some neglected news stories of the past week:

Claws out at Santa congress.

A dispute has interfered with the smooth running of the 32nd World Santa Claus Conference which opened this week in Copenhagen. Finns, claiming to represent the sole true Father Christmas, have boycotted the event. All 132 red-robed delegates agree, however, that his correct address is c/o North Pole, Greenland. The Finnish Santa now faces possible excommunication.

Delivery bikes

Midwives in Sri Lanka are to be provided with motorcycles because of the size of their service areas.

Naked thief

A Japanese woman who tried to rob a Tokyo taxi-driver of a bag full of fares had her blouse ripped off in the tussle. She was arrested after witnesses alerted police to a woman running away. "They noticed her because she was trying to escape naked," a police spokesman explained.

Naked thief with beans

Miami police arrested a robber who had attacked a delivery driver, hidden in his van, armed himself with a knife and cans of beans and taken all his clothes off. A hostage negotiator eventually persuaded him to put his trousers on and give himself up. He was charged with aggravated battery.

Irreconcilable similarities

Bruce Jensen from Bountiful, Utah, who had filed a missing-person report on his wife, was surprised when police told him that his wife of three- and-a-half years was actually a con-man named Felix Urioste. Jensen had married Urioste when she/he told him she/he was pregnant after a single sexual encounter. He never saw his wife naked in the next three-and-a- half years, during which time Urioste was making free with his credit cards. "I feel pretty stupid," Jensen said. He will seek an annulment citing "irreconcilable differences".

Bite worse than bark

According to the German postal service, 2,916 postmen were bitten by dogs last year.

Explanation wanted

The Bureau of Food and Drugs in the Philippines has threatened to ban the sale of fruit-flavoured condoms unless the manufacturers can give a satisfactory reason for producing them. "You only add a flavour when it is something to eat," said a Bureau spokesman.

Judge gives lady the bird

A woman in Surrey has been threatened with imprisonment if she continues feeding birds with bin-liners full of bread. Neighbours have described how they have been regularly woken at 5am by the screeching of hundreds of pigeons. One man collected six buckets of bird droppings when cleaning his foul-smelling gutters.

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