I’m going to Vietnam with Mum, and possibly Cambodia with Mum and Dad. I’m a bit freaked out about doing a tour, as I’m not really a people person (unless I get to choose the people), and I’m not into pre-packaged experiences, but Intrepid are meant to be good and it’ll be much easier for Mum.

US base damages ancient site of Babylon
” U.S.-led troops using the ancient Iraqi city of Babylon as a base have damaged and contaminated artifacts dating back thousands of years in one of the world’s most important archaeological sites, the British Museum said Saturday.

For example, military vehicles crushed a 2,600-year-old brick pavement, and archaeological fragments, including broken bricks stamped by King Nebuchadnezzar II around the same time, were scattered across the site, a museum report said.

‘This is tantamount to establishing a military camp around the Great Pyramid in Egypt or around Stonehenge in Britain’

‘Not only is what the American forces are doing damaging the archaeology of Iraq, it’s actually damaging the cultural heritage of the whole world’

For more than 1,000 years, Babylon was one of the world’s premier cities, where King Nebuchadnezzar II built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
The city declined and fell into ruin after it was conquered by the Persians under Cyrus the Great around 538 B.C. ” (Guardian)
And in more detail, including: “The most serious damage may be invisible, the contamination and disturbance of areas which have never been excavated, which may mean that many of the secrets of Babylon, including the site of the hanging gardens, may never be resolved.”

“In a year marked by terrorism, natural disasters and culture wars, Pope John Paul II said lobbying against gay marriage was at the top of the Vatican

“The US military investigated building a “gay bomb”, which would make enemy soldiers “sexually irresistible” to each other, government papers say.
Other weapons that never saw the light of day include one to make soldiers obvious by their bad breath.

In a variation on that idea, researchers pondered a “Who? Me?” bomb, which would simulate flatulence in enemy ranks.” (BBC)