Promotional gifts get weirder and weirder. Forget the baseball cap and pen: Liffe, the futures and options exchange, plans to offer delegates leather chewing gum holders at its Chicago conference in October. Liffe was at a loss to explain why it had opted for such a quirky freebie, though did inform us that Hermes sell them for more than pounds 80. Sadly, these are not the ones on offer.
Mission Impossible award goes to the Peek group, the Oxfordshire-based company that has won the contract to supply a pounds 6m traffic control system in Bangkok. Anyone who is familiar with the Thai capital will know that its roads are in a permanent state of chaos with hordes of motorcyclists, cars and spluttering tuk-tuks jostling for position at traffic lights like Damon Hill on a grand prix grid.
Peek claims that the optimistically named Scoot system will help matters no end by adjusting the timing of the lights to the flow of the roaring traffic. 'I'm not saying it will be the panacea to all their problems, but it will help,' Allen Standley, Peek's managing director, says hopefully.
As Yugoslavia tears itself apart, its economy continues to slide into the abyss. With inflation running at 15 per cent a day (that's one thousand billion per cent a year), the authorities have decided to issue a more wallet-friendly 50 million dinar note (about two quid, but that's at today's prices). This will save people carrying around a great wad of dosh to buy a simple item like a loaf of bread. Or, as one Belgrade resident put it: 'If you want to buy a Mercedes, you need another car just to carry the money.'
Bad news for Hawaiian pizza lovers down under. We learn that a group that last month poisoned tins of pineapple imported into Australia from Thailand and Indonesia has threatened the Pizza Hut chain and other fruit importers.
The rather over-zealous protectionist group, Australian Products First, sent a letter to a Brisbane newspaper demanding that food outlets sell only Aussie products. 'As a precaution, we have decided to temporarily withdraw pineapples from our pizza range,' a Pizza Hut spokesman says helpfully.Reuse content