Tabloid roundup: Obama's real birth certificate, a spy in the White House, murder charges for an aging star, and more!

Barack Obama’s real Kenyan birth certificate has been discovered, President Trump has caught “Russia’s White House spy,” and actor Robert Wagner has been hit by “grand jury murder charges” - if you believe this week’s tabloids.

Alas, it’s another basketful of wishful thinking, fact-challenged alternate realities.

“Proof Obama was born in Kenya!” screams the ‘Globe’ front cover, declaring his Hawaiian birth certificate a forgery, and publishing “the real deal” issued by the Coast Province General Hospital in Mombasa, the Republic of Kenya, on August 4, 1961. The “damning hospital birth certificate” was revealed by Obama’s own “brother” - actually, his half-brother, Malik Obama.

It ’s a great scoop, except for a few minor details: This is the same Kenyan birth certificate we first saw eight years ago; in the early 1960s the term “Coast Province” was not used, as provinces were still referred to as “regions;” the nation was then called the Dominion of Kenya, not the Republic; Mombasa was part of Zanzibar until 1963; and the attending physician named on the certificate worked in Nairobi, not Mombasa. The alleged certificate also uses American-style date notations - month, day, year - rather than the British-style then used in Kenya: day, month, year. And the certificate looks nothing like any Kenyan birth certificate of its time.

Apart from that, it’s a good story.

Robert Wagner has finally been brought to justice for killing his wife, Natalie Wood, the ‘Globe’ claims on its cover. Except when you read the story inside, it turns out to be more wishful thinking. Read the rest

Four killed in attack at UK Parliament

Four people, including an assailant and a police officer, were killed today in an attack at the Houses of Parliament that authorities say was an act of terrorism.

Ministers of Parliament were locked in after police shot and killed a man who reportedly ran at the gates by Parliament square and stabbed an officer. Moments earlier, a car had run five people over on nearby Westminster Bridge, leaving at least two dead and twenty injured.

Prime Minister Theresa May is to chair an emergency meeting of ministers today, writes the BBC.

BBC Radio 5 reports that "around three shots" were heard.

Update: the BBC posted a map of the area and the events as reported, with a detailed eyewitness report. Read the rest

Child interrupts remote expert interview on BBC News

This morning, BBC News was interviewing Pusan National University professor Robert Kelly live from what is apparently his home office and someone else apparently wanted his attention...

Read the rest

South Korea's Constitutional Court upholds President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment

The Constitutional Court in South Korea upheld the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye on Friday. She has now been formally removed from office over a bribery and big business corruption scandal that dragged on for months. Park is the first democratically elected leader in South Korea to be kicked out of office. The nation's constitution states that presidential election shall be held in 60 days.

And now the question is, will they “lock her up”?

Read the rest

Norwegian news site makes readers pass test proving they read the post before commenting on it

NRKbeta, the tech page of Norway's public broadcaster, ran a story about proposed internet surveillance laws. But to comment on it, you had to know what was in the story.

The team at NRKbeta attributes the civil tenor of its comments to a feature it introduced last month. On some stories, potential commenters are now required to answer three basic multiple-choice questions about the article before they’re allowed to post a comment. (For instance, in the digital surveillance story: “What does DGF stand for?”)

My first thought is that it couldn't work in America or Brexit because the presence of the test itself would only generate its own towering buttnami of rage. People would pass the test just so they could chock up the comments with complaints about how the test censors them. Read the rest

Timelapse of every New York Times cover since 1852

Similar to web page evolution, watch the New York Times' evolution from just text to images with every front page since 1852 in about one minute. Read the rest

Norma McCorvey dead at 69; anonymous 'Jane Roe' plaintiff in Roe v. Wade abortion case

Norma McCorvey, the anonymous "Jane Roe" in the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade, has died. Read the rest

Here's the weirdest, scariest stuff Trump said at 77-minute 'I’m not ranting and raving' meltdown

“Peace through strength,” Donald Trump said to reporters today in a rambling, aggressive, monologue news conference that lasted 77 minutes. Trump rattled on in circular patterns about plans to “build and rebuild” the “great” military and law enforcement. He dodged questions on Flynn, Obamacare, leaked reports of turmoil within the administration, and expressed outrage at being questioned repeatedly about “this whole Russia scam that you guys are building so that you don’t talk about the real subject which is illegal leaks.”

Read the rest

Puzder to withdraw labor secretary nomination, as Team Trump fails and flails

Trump's pick for Labor Secretary is reported to be withdrawing his name from consideration.

Read the rest

Hugely successful Facebook fake news author considers himself a "satirist"

Paul Horner says he made more than $10,000 month writing fake news on Facebook that was widely shared by Trump supporters and picked up by the real press -- for example, hoax stories about protesters being paid to turn out against Trump -- and that he targeted Trump supporters as an act of "satire" to show that they would credulously share anything, providing that it confirmed their conspiracy theories about the left and the Democratic party. Read the rest

Yes, humans are capable of creating a happy and successful liberal society: The Netherlands

As U.S. headlines bombard us with proof of how low humanity can go, here's a look at a happy, peaceful, and prosperous country -- The Netherlands -- to remind us that it is actually possible for the human race to get it right. If people want to change present circumstances through liberal ideals, it's helpful to look at a liberal, politically stable country with a strong and open economy. Also known as Holland, the country does not have the same history and culture that creates the inherent social and economic problems in the U.S., but it is clearly moving in the right direction -- forward.

It's a great destination for liberal ex-patriates looking for a place to live and work -- especially in the tech sector -- that already has its shit together, in case you really are now considering moving out of the country. Staying or going, it makes sense to see what a liberal society looks like and how it works. 

We've compiled a list of facts about The Netherlands to show you what humans can do when they're not fighting en masse on Twitter:

The Dutch government plans to ban the sales of petrol and diesel-powered cars in 2025Healthiest country in the world for dietKeeps closing prisons due to a lack of prisonersFirst to legalize same-sex marriageHighest concentration of museums in the worldHighest English-proficiency in the world where it is not first languageHighest population density in EuropeHome to more bikes than peopleCycling in the Netherlands is the safest in the worldAmsterdam’s Schiphol airport offers more direct flights than any airport in the world83 percent of the population live in urban areas but there are few high risesLargely secular country: up to 40 percent of Dutch say they have no religion, 30 percent are Catholic, and 20 percent are Protestant. Read the rest

Canada's immigration website mysteriously crashes

The BBC reports that Canada's immigration info website has been intermittently unavailable through the night and early morning. Experts are trying to discern what on Earth might have caused a great many people to visit the website all at once, straining its resources.

I get the above appropriately blurry, tantalizing view of gros morne national park, but nothing to click on and nowhere to go.

Read the rest

Help the homeless hero who reported a NJ bomb

Lee Parker and Ivan White found and reported a bomb allegedly planted by Ahmad Khan Rahami in Elizabeth, New Jersey. You can thank them by supporting the local homeless program. Read the rest

Here's what you need to know about Twitter's new character limit update

Twitter has been struggling to attract new users and retain existing ones. In a long-awaited update for the social network, Twitter announced today that video, still images, animated GIFs, polls, and quotes will no longer apply to the 140-character limit for tweets.

Read the rest

Muckrock and Motherboard launch $2,000 Thiel Fellowship to FOIA the crap out of Peter Thiel

Muckrock today announced a $1,000 grant for projects to increase public understanding of noted Donald Trump supporter and anti-Gawker-lawsuit-funder Peter Thiel. Motherboard matched the Muckrock reporting grant funds, and now the grant is $2,000.

Apply to MuckRock’s Thiel Fellowship here.

“Applications are on a rolling basis with the first deadline of October 1, 2016. Applicants should email the following to info@muckrock.com with the subject line'MuckRock Thiel Fellowship,'” says the announcement.

From Muckrock's Michael Morisy:

Peter Thiel - co-founder of both PayPal and Palantir and an early Facebook investor - has profoundly reshaped industry after industry and, ultimately, remade the world to fit his radical vision of the future. Unfortunately, despite his impact in industries ranging from digital payments and mass government surveillance to radical life extension and seasteading, the media has done relatively little reporting on the details of his companies, often leaving the public in the dark on his contributions to society.

But maybe you can change that.

With MuckRock’s Thiel Fellowship, we want to help journalists and researchers better understand this pivotal figure’s work and share what they learn with the world.

MuckRock is offering a grant of 250 requests (a $1,000 value), plus our invaluable FOIA expertise, to between one and three inaugural Thiel Fellows who propose projects that help the public better understand organizations or areas of research and public policy connected with Thiel. Even better, Motherboard has agreed to double that, providing an additional $1,000 to fund FOIA request fees, research, potential stipends, or other related costs of the fellowship.

Read the rest

Chill out with the Current Conditions channel

Current condition (via Mefi) is a website lurking in the airwaves and wires somewhere between teletext, those high-number cable channels that just play music and weather, and where the planes were in 19A0 or so. Read the rest

Oppps.ru: patient zero in Russia's fake news epidemic

Donald Trump did not slam the International Paralympic Committee's decision to bar Russian athletes from the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, and the BBC never quoted him as saying, "The decision to bar Russian Paralympics athletes was made by complete retards. These people are the real cripples." But virtually every news outlet in Russia ran a story saying both things were true, after Oppps.ru (The Optimist) ran a completely false story to that effect. Read the rest

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