UNITED States President Bill Clinton sure is serious about this trade war. He's threatening to slap big tariffs on nursing nipples and gas lamps. The US Consulate yesterday produced a list of all kinds of bizarre items which may be subject to 100 per cent customs taxes. Also on the list are colostomy bags, plastic crutch tips, wooden picture frames, illuminated signs and a wide range of sports equipment - but not water skis. And it may be necessary to raise tariffs on 'mushrooms and truffles prepared or preserved otherwise than by vinegar or acetic acid'. Mantillas are also at risk of being targeted, a fact that will be of interest to those who know what they are - perhaps 0.1 per cent of the American population, and no they're not an insect. We read the list as far as water beds, 'reflective triangular warnings for road use', and candied nuts before we could struggle no further. Some of the most baffling stuff is rather badly-timed. After all, it's impossible for tariffs to be raised quickly because of the statutory consultation period, during which no doubt the American Association of Water Bed Users will no doubt be lobbying hard. So why put up the tariffs on diaries, which is another item on this list? No one buys a diary in March. Not so lucky PROPERTY Post talks today about the supposedly 'lucky' tower which has eight floors with eight walls that is being sold by entrepreneur Michael Kiesser, who claims he helped set up the Great Wall Hotel in Beijing. Sceptical? We reckon this is just another dodgy attempt to flog British property to mug Hong Kong punters. Well, Michael is offering up this evidence: last month the Brits had a national lottery with a single bumper payout of GBP17.8 million (about $214.24 million). He traced his personal logo, which he's used for years, over the winning numbers on the ticket. This is his logo:and above it's traced on to a lottery ticket with the winning numbers marked. 'This is as close as you can get . . .' he says. Well, yes. Except that Michael didn't actually enter the lottery. Anyone who has the secret of winning a $220 million lottery and fails to enter has, in accounting terms, just lost $214 million, which doesn't sound so lucky at all. Death wish THERE are two schools of thought on yesterday's market collapse, according to one broker. One, the market was rigged at the end of last year and has finally gone where it belongs. Two, it's what brokers who greeted each other with sun neen fai lohk deserved. (Note for non-Cantonese speakers: Sun neen fai lohk means Happy New Year but sounds very much like 'In the New Year, go down very fast'.) Good lad YAQUB Khan, the chap who was fired in unorthodox circumstances from the the senior ranks of the auxiliary police in 1978, received something remarkable in the post on the last day of last year. Out of the blue, he received a 'Season's Greetings' card from Alistair Goodlad, the British minister with responsibility for Hong Kong. Mr Yaqub's 17-year battle for justice has made him a drawing pin on the chair of the 'stinking racist colonial Brits', as he affectionately calls them. 'I checked in the envelope to see if there was a cheque in there, but there wasn't,' said the retired superintendent, who says he still hasn't got what a court awarded him way back in 1990. Mr Yaqub was nevertheless touched by the gesture: Alistair sent him a super card, tied with a ribbon as befits a minister of Her Majesty's Government. Tax free A STRANGE phenomenon greeted a conscientious citizen who turned up at the Inland Revenue's offices in Wan Chai yesterday to pay his tax: an eerie silence. 'There were dozens of windows with staff ready to take money, but no one paying their tax,' he reported. Every year, the Inland Revenue is mobbed with people who turn up in person - or sometimes send their amah - to pay their tax and collect a receipt. Indeed, in previous years the Post has run stories of massive queues and fire hazards as though cash was being given away rather than collected. Given that there are 430,000 tax demands sent out with a due date in January, it occurred to us that there might be something of a problem here. The Inland Revenue's Allan Gill wasn't panicking though. 'I think it could build up by the end of the week,' he reckoned. 'If people want to come down and pay their taxes, now's a good time,' he said, using the opportunity to get a plug in for his department. It had better look up. Hamish is rather counting on this cash to buy the jacuzzi for the air traffic controllers at Chek Lap Kok. Grave news THE BBC World Service has got inside sources that put other news organisations to shame. In yesterday's 9 am news bulletin, the newsreader read the following headline: 'Three Palestinians said they were killed by Israeli soldiers.'