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The Independent Online

SIMON OLSWANG, who founded one of Britain's leading libel and media law firms nearly 20 years ago, the eponymous "Olswang", has moved into new territory by heading up an Internet company called "Amaze".

SIMON OLSWANG, who founded one of Britain's leading libel and media law firms nearly 20 years ago, the eponymous "Olswang", has moved into new territory by heading up an Internet company called "Amaze".

Mr Olswang stepped down his day-today involvement with his law firm last year, becoming chairman. Since then he has been looking for other roles, and chairing a new player in the booming business-to-business e-commerce sector seemed just the ticket, he says.

Since founding Olswang's in 1981 Mr Olswang has been involved in defending newspapers in high-profile libel cases and advising on big film contracts. Now he will be leading a bunch of netheads who design websites. So are they about to float? "Not today," he says. Typical lawyer.

THE CHARTERED Institute of Bankers' (CIB) annual conference starting next Tuesday (19th) should be even more interesting than usual. Derek Wanless, who was ousted as chief executive of NatWest last week, is giving a key-note speech as recently installed president of the CIB.

Mr Wanless will speak on "Investing in Skills to Manage Risk and Enhance Delivery". Fellow speakers include Sir Brian Pitman, chairman of Lloyds TSB, whose own speech will include a section on "Banks Behaving Badly".

Mr Wanless should take comfort from the fate of fellow chief executive Martin Taylor, who stormed out of Barclays last autumn.

Mr Taylor is now head of the Government inquiry into cigarette smuggling, the Institute of Public Policy inquiry into the future of public/private partnerships, is a "special adviser" to Goldman Sachs and sits on the board of Antigenics, an American biotech company. Next month Mr Taylor joins WH Smith as non executive chairman on a salary of pounds 150,000.

So cheer up, Mr Wanless. Things can only get better.

AMERICAN EXPRESS and the London Tourist Board have teamed up to promote the capital as a shopping destination for visitors. They have spent a six-figure sum on "Shop London", which will provide "personal shoppers" to potential tourists on its own website.

The target audience includes France, Germany, the Middle East, Scandinavia, Italy and Spain.

So, I asked, how many different languages will the websites be translated into?

This stunned the organisers. "None", they replied. "We tend to find that when people visit England they expect to speak English."

THE BOER War has been cancelled due to lack of interest.

A costume ball at Cape Town's Mount Nelson Hotel on 16 October to commemorate the start 100 years ago of the Anglo-Boer war has been scrapped due to apathy. A spokeswoman for the hotel said the South African Arts and Culture Ministry had called it off. "I was very disappointed. I was really looking forward to it," she said.

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