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August 25th, 2019

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Seems Like an Honest Mistake | Update

News of the Weird

By News of the Weird

Published Jan. 18, 2019

Seems Like an Honest Mistake | Update
John Stevenson of Inverclyde, Scotland, hit a bump in his plans to vacation in the United States when his visa was denied after he declared himself a terrorist while filling out a Department of Homeland Security online form commonly known as ESTA.

One of the questions on the form asks, "Are you a terrorist?" Stevenson, 70, told The Independent that the website "must have jumped from No to Yes without me knowing," adding that the site kept timing out and crashing as he and his wife, Marion, tried to answer the questions.

"I even called the border control in the U.S. and gave them my passport details," he said. "They looked up my ESTA number and said, 'You're a terrorist.' The only time I've been in court was for jury service. Marion is sick about it. ... I don't know why that question is on the form in the first place."

(UPDATE: United Airlines refunded the Stevensons' airline tickets and gifted them two free flights to New York once their visa troubles are all worked out.) [The Independent, 12/1/2018]

In The Hague, Netherlands, motivational speaker Emile Ratelband, 69, will not turn 50 on his next birthday, as he had hoped. As reported earlier, Ratelband petitioned the court in November for an age change, saying he feels discriminated against both in the career realm and on Tinder. But the Associated Press reported that on Dec. 3, a Dutch court rejected his plea to become 49, saying he did not convince judges that he had been discriminated against and that "Mr. Ratelband is at liberty to feel 20 years younger than his real age and to act accordingly," but noting that changing his age would nullify any number of records from public registers. Ratelband hopes to appeal. [Associated Press, 12/3/2018]


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