If and when Iraq becomes a vacation magnet, one historic site tourists will not be encouraged to visit is the hole in the ground where Saddam Hussein was caught last December. According to reports, the US 4th Infantry Division, which controls that zone, sought the OK from higher authorities to destroy the hole as well as the nearby mud hut that were the dictator's final hiding places. Denied. But division engineers were told to come up with a plan to seal the hole in a way that will require "some work" to undo.
Still in a tizzy about that controversial Super Bowl halftime show? Then perhaps you don't want to know that organizers of the Olympic Summer Games in Athens are promising "surprises" in the Aug. 13 opening ceremonies, for which an enormous TV audience is virtually guaranteed. While nudity isn't expected, one official refused even to hint at what might be involved. Then Gianna Angelop-oulos added, "I don't know if [there were] high expectations for the Super Bowl, but here there are, and we will try not to disappoint them."
Consumers filed more than 516,000 complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last year, up from 404,000 in 2002. For a fourth straight year, identity theft was the most common gripe, the agency reported recently, although claims involving Internet-related fraud - from bogus auctions to get-rich-quick schemes - accounted for about 55 percent of the total. Some of the top categories of consumer-fraud complaints in 2003, by percentage:
Identity theft 42%
Internet auctions 15%
Shop-at-home/catalog sales 9%
Internet services/computers 6%
Prizes, sweepstakes, and lotteries 5%
Foreign money offers 4%
Telephone services 3% - Associated Press