Where’s Santa? NORAD’s tracking the sleigh, and any ‘Christmas gift’ from North Korea | CBC News

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Where’s Santa? NORAD’s tracking the sleigh, and any ‘Christmas gift’ from North Korea | CBC News

NORAD’s annual tracking of Santa delivering gifts around the world comes with another thing on the radar: Any signs of a North Korea missile launch in what Pyongyang officials are calling a “Christmas gift.”

Based in Colorado Springs, the North American Aerospace Defence Command is a combined U.S. and Canadian military command. Its mission is to issue aerospace and maritime warnings and controls across North America.

But for more than six decades, NORAD has also offered real-time animated tracking of Santa Claus as his reindeer-powered sleigh traverses the globe delivering Yuletide gifts to children.

“As NORAD conducts its primary mission of defending North America from threats, we’re proud to continue our tradition of tracking Santa’s journey around the world,” NORAD said in a statement.

NORAD’s Santa tracking website gets nearly 15 million unique visitors from more than 200 countries and territories across the globe, the agency said. It relies mostly on volunteers to make the program possible, with the team typically handling more than 12,000 emails and 100,000 telephone calls from people wanting to know Santa’s location. 

NORAD in recent years has been tracking North Korean long-range missile tests. Pyongyang warned Washington earlier this month of a possible “Christmas gift.” That came after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gave the United States until the end of the year to propose new concessions in talks over his country’s nuclear arsenal and reducing tensions between the two long-time adversaries.

NORAD’s Santa-tracking tradition started in 1955 when a Colorado Springs department store misprinted the phone number to the North Pole in a newspaper advertisement, according to its website.

NORAD tracks Santa as he starts his journey on Tuesday to deliver presents across the world. (NORAD/Reuters)

The first call came from a little girl and went to U.S. Air Force Col. Harry Shoup, director of what was then known as the Continental Air Defence Command.

The colonel assured the girl that Santa was on en route, and when more children called the command centre, the military added a new task to its defence mission.

Renamed NORAD three years later as a combined Canadian and U.S. agency, the Santa mission has continued uninterrupted ever since. Santa watchers can now track his whereabouts through NORAD’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube accounts.

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