Business diary: Your best shot at investment

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The Independent Online

Ping. An intriguing email arrives. "Still a market for quality guns, but customers demand value," it is entitled. We know organised crime is ever-more professional these says, but has it really started employing marketing consultants? As it turns out, no. The email is a press release from William Evans, the posh shotgun maker with shops in Mayfair and Bisley, claiming that its wares might be a decent investment in these turbulent times. "As a result of volatile financial markets,high-quality shotguns remain a relatively safe place to put [your] money," it explains. Until you start playing with them, that is.

The tiger who came for your job

As if Britain's constructionsector doesn't have enough to worry about as Britain's economic recovery slows and the housebuilding industry stutters. Building magazine reports that it is about to face a whole new source of competition from overseas. "Hungry, desperate and on the prowl," is the magazine's front cover warning this week. "The Irish are coming." It even features a rather terrifying drawing of a salivating celtic tiger.

Prior engagement or hissy fit?

Though culture secretary Jeremy Hunt affected to take Jim Naughtie's unfortunate mis-speak on the Today programme in good humour yesterday, one wonders what his true feelings really were. An hour or so later, he left a press conference where he had been presenting the Government's broadband proposals promising to return to take questions following a short live interview with Sky News, the Beeb's arch-rival. Much to the dismay of the assembled hacks, Mr Hunt never came back.

Flightless or not, the birds won't fly

Pigeons are the new ostriches – at least in Canada. A decade or so ago, investors across Europe were scammed out of their savings by a scheme promising guaranteed returns from investments in ostrich farming. Now the same thing has happened in Ontario, with just a tiny change in modus operandi. The operator of a $20m pigeon-breeding scheme has just been charged with fraud after making similar promises about the investment performance of his feathered friends.