OUR China correspondent has been back in touch after a long period of

silence. The Scottish engineer who is working on a major contract near

Beijing keeps us up to date with vignettes about life in his adopted


His latest intelligence concerns China's unwanted ammunition. He

writes: ''Almost every country in the world has an army. Armies have

guns and ammunition. Ammunition has a 'shelf life' after which it has to

be disposed of. Charts of the sea around Britain show areas marked

'Danger explosives dumping ground', this obviously being how we dispose

of the problem.

''Not in China, they have a much better idea. Instead of it costing

money to dispose of obsolete ammunition they charge people for the

privilege of firing it off. Prices vary according to what you want to

fire, anything is possible and the army makes a profit. I am going to do

this thing.''

China, I know, is moving towards a market economy, but is this not

carrying things a bit too far?

One that got

away, honestly

WE have all heard a few fishy tales in our time but Charles McSherry,

managing director of Prosys, the Glasgow-based business systems and

communications firm, came up with the real thing when he broke off from

a fishing holiday on the River Spey to attend a business breakfast to

accept the Investors in People award from Tom Farmer, chairman of IIP in


Each of the 45 guests at the Stirling Management Centre was presented

with a gift of smoked salmon, but McSherry had the decency to admit the

fish was not the result of his efforts on the Spey. He had, he

conceeded, purchased it from SL Neill, the salmon smoker, who is also a

customer of his.

He then went on to confess that, as far as he was concerned, all the

salmon on the river had got away. At least he was honest.

On the ball but

still too late

WHO said you should never let sport get in the way of business?

Certainly not Jack McGinn, the former chairman of Celtic Football Club

and vice-president of the Scottish Football Association.

He was due to unveil Skillball, a device designed to help youngsters

develop their footballing talents, at the opening of Strathclyde

Business Development's latest New Enterprise Workshops in Alexandria.

Unfortunately, he was delayed along with the Celtic team on the journey

back from Georgia after their European Cup Winners Cup victory.

The event had to go on without SBD's star turn, but we are assured

there is a bright future ahead for Skillball. Perhaps, McGinn should

have taken the prototype along to Parkhead earlier this week where it

might have come in useful.

The Paris match

must go on

STAFF at legal firm MacRoberts are waiting to hear if Jim Arnot, one

of their senior partners, managed to organise a game of cricket.

He has been at the International Bar Association annual get together

in Paris where there is normally a cricket match between England and the

Rest of the World.

It seems, however, the organisers decided there were other more

interesting pastimes and organised an afternoon of sport which included

a golf tournament and a sailing regatta instead.

Nevertheless, Arnot, who is known as someone who normally gets his

way, headed for the city's Palais Des Congres determined the cricket

match would go on. Watch this space!

Goats of the

world unite

YOU may have been under the mistaken belief that Beijing was hosting

its major conference this year when the women of the world gathered

there, but the Chinese capital's big event is actually taking place in

1996, when the V1 International Conference on goats is being held from

May 6 to ll.

Jia Youling, chairman of the Chinese organizing committee, has invited

the Glasgow Chamber of Conference, and has informed it that: ''The COC

has put a strong program into place for the enjoyment of international

guests, and accompanying persons.''

Visitors will have an opportunity to see China's goat industry and,

says the invitation, ''to exchange information about the China of goats

and the related industry.''

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce denies that it has suggested to the

Chinese authorities other Scottish chambers that it thinks would be more

suitable recipients of this invitation.

Fruit take to

city's streets

GLASGOW'S ''pears'' raised a few eyebrows yesterday as they were seen

wandering around the city centre clutching a briefcase in one hand and

pears in the other.

The businessmen were in fact returning from the annual election

meetings of the 14 Trade Incorporations of Glasgow which were held in

the Trades Hall on Glassford Street. At the meeting the 200-year-old

tradition of handing out pears to ''craftsmen'' is continued.

The story goes that when, at the end of the 18th century, the Trades

Hall moved to its present location on land purchased from Mr Glassford

part of the ground attached contained an orchard and craftsmen would

help themselves to pears as they left their September meeting. The

orchards may have disappeared but the tradition continues.

Among those elected yesterday was former Glasgow Lord Provost Robert

Gray, who became Deacon of the Incorporation of Wrights, a trade with

which he has been connected for 50 years.

Robertson puts

his finger on it

SHADOW Secretary of State George Robertson was taken aback when Dr

Allan Groden, managing director of Sanmex in Rutherglen, appeared

carrying a cumbersome container which he announced was an aerosol can.

Robertson, who thought he was at the factory to open a state of the

art production line for leading brands of aerosol, must have wondered if

he had arrived at the wrong address.

But the MD quickly put his mind at rest, explaining that what he was

holding was a 1930s aerosol can. A relaxed Robertson then declared the

new line open, and welcomed the fact that a further 100 new jobs would

be created at the factory over the next 12 months.