John Stevenson of Inverclyde, Scotland, hit a bump in his plans to vacation in the United States on Dec. 3 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." United Airlines refunded the Stevensons' airline tickets and gifted them two free flights to New York once their visa troubles are all worked out.

'Scuuuuse me!

• At the Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton, England, there was more in the air than just the sharp projectiles tossed by competitors on Nov. 16. According to Reuters, former two-time champion Gary Anderson, 47, of Scotland, prevailed over Wesley Harms, 34, of the Netherlands, to reach the quarterfinals, but Harms had a gripe: He said he was affected by the "fragrant smell" Anderson had emitted as they played. "It'll take me two nights to lose this smell from my nose," Harms told a Dutch television station. Anderson objected, saying the smell came "from the table side," laying the blame on spectators. "If the boy thinks I've farted he's 1,010 percent wrong," Anderson declared. "If somebody has done that they need to see a doctor. ... He says it was me, but I would admit it."

• Shanetta Yvette Wilson, 37, was in line at a Dollar General store in Dania Beach, Fla., on Nov. 25 when she let one rip. John Walker, who was standing nearby, was offended and complained about "the defendant farting loudly," according to the resulting Broward County Sheriff's Office complaint, so Wilson pulled out a small folding knife, opened it and threatened to "gut" Walker as she moved toward him. The Miami Herald reported that police called to the scene tracked down Wilson and charged her with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill.

Government in action

Yoshitaka Sakurada, 68, a 22-year member of Japan's parliament, was named by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in October to two new posts: cybersecurity and Olympics minister for the country. But according to Reuters, at a committee meeting on Nov. 14, when a member of the opposition asked Sakurada a "gotcha" question about his computer literacy, he admitted: "I've never used a computer! ... I've always directed my staff and secretaries to do that kind of thing." He assured the lawmaker there would be no problems.


An unnamed substitute teacher in Montville, N.J., won't be returning to Cedar Hill School after revealing a sacred secret to first-grade students there on Nov. 29. Superintendent Rene Rovtar told that the sub got into a debate with a student about whether Santa is real. That's when the 6-year-olds started quizzing her about the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Elf on a Shelf, and the teacher "proceeded to debunk all of it," Rovtar said. Parents reported doing "damage control" after the kids returned home from school, and the sub is no longer welcome in the district.

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