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Every Christmas, Children around the World write Letters to Santa Claus: Want to know who Answers them?

Letters to Santa arrive year round, but the bulk of them come in November and December

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Santa Claus
Residents of Santa Claus, Indiana, answer thousands of letters from around the world, with a personal note on every one. VOA
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SANTA CLAUS, INDIANA, December 21, 2016: Every Christmas, children around the world write letters to Santa Claus. While the missives never make it to the North Pole, they do reach Santa Claus.

Volunteer elves at work

The tiny town may be 6,000 kilometers south of the North Pole, but the residents are some of Santa’s best helpers. That’s because every year, these volunteer elves get nearly 25,000 letters intended for Old Saint Nick. The U.S. Postal Service ensures they arrive no matter how they’re addressed.

Ed Reinhart, who serves as Chief Mail Elf, reports, “They come in the mail and that’s all they have on them – Santa or Santa, North Pole. Some of them say ‘the guy in the big red suit’.” Other times, letters from small children arrive without a stamp or just a sticker in the corner.

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Head Elf Pat Koch says the volunteers answer every one of them, and have been doing so for more than a century. “From the earliest we know is that the postmaster started answering letters in 1914 that children wrote.”

Santa Claus Postmaster James Martin starting answering children’s letters to Santa in 1914. VOA

By 1930, the postmaster was overwhelmed. When Pat’s father heard, he organized local veterans, the American Legion, area clergy and the high school typing classes into the first volunteer letter-writing elves. Pat started helping a decade later.

These days, the elves send out one of four form letters that bear positive messages about sharing, being good, and helping others. “We never promise anything, and we never admonish anything. We just encourage,” Pat says, adding that each letter is individualized. “So they have their name on the letter and there’s something personal.”

Even elves need a return address

While they try to answer every letter, the elves are saddened when no return address is included. Their research team tries to track the letters by post marked zip code, but sometimes that’s not enough. So they encourage parents to always check for return addresses before letters are mailed. To get a reply from Santa by Christmas, letters must arrive by December 21. The elves will respond after that, but it may be several days late.

The full address is:
Santa Claus Museum
P.O. Box 1
Santa Claus, IN 47579

Letters to Santa arrive year round, but the bulk of them come in November and December. Ed Rinehart believes there isn’t a country that hasn’t been heard from.

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This year, Hatchimals (electronic toys that come in plastic eggs), iPhones, puppies, and ponies are all big requests from children. But there are plenty of requests from adults too. Young people from China ask to do well on exams or get into university. “We’ve had some adults that have asked for a diamond ring or a husband,” Rinehart reports with a laugh. “We’ve had adults that ask for healing.”

Letters from Santa are cancelled with a special holiday postmark. VOA

On an average day, he takes a thousand letters to the post office, where he stamps them with a Santa Claus stamp, specially designed each year by a local high school student.

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The elves of Santa Claus never dreamed their good deeds would get so much attention. Despite suggestions that people pay for the letters from Santa, they hold firm in their commitment to continue the service for free. As Pat Koch says, “Everything that happens, happens because there are good people who care about the real Christmas spirit and the real meaning of Christmas.” (VOA)

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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

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Google, Facebook face greater scrutiny in Australia. Wikimedia Commons

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?