CITY DIARY

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The Independent Online
Journalists rarely make the telephone number pay bracket - but one is obviously hoping to do so. A personal finance editor of a well-known weekly investment magazine that chronicles the comings and goings of share prices in the City, among other things, was called on to meet his public on a BSkyB programme. Sky was hoping he might contribute some wisdom on the subject of the Middle East. Said journalist turned up to perform and demanded to know how much he was to be paid for his appearance. Sky declined to be forthcoming with any readies, and the journalist refused to go on without payment. Needless to say, the programme went ahead without him.

Sir Phil Harris, the Axminster, king who runs Carpetright, was in typically bouncy mood yesterday as he introduced his young marketing manager to the press. Step forward Martin Harris, youngest son of the carpet guru and one of three Haris offspring working in dad's business.

At the ripe old age of 25, Harris junior has been working on and off for dad since he was 13, so he knows his Berber cord from his Wilton. Martin has been working full time for Carpetright for the last couple of years, after completing a business studies degree in Boston. Great things are expected of the boy but he will get no favours. "He's got to see where he gets," Sir Phil says.

But Harris jnr seemed mustard keen to graduate to the highest Carpetright office. "I'll give it a go."

The controversial draft management plan issued to SBC-Warburg staff this week has sent traders on Warburg' furtures and options desks into paroxyms of depression. Although profitable, the desk has been subject to close inspection following Nick Leeson's exploits in Singapore. Now the worried rocket scientists have found their department has been left off the provisional map, which makes them fear they are about to be closed down.

Betting on the Almighty is one thing most would not attempt to do. But City Index, the spread betting outfit notable for sponsoring Celtic Swing on the only occasion it has lost a race, in the Madagans 2000 Guineas in May, will be doing just that on 29 June, when it offers a bet on the weather at 4.30pm at Newbury racecourse.

The spread will open on the temperature to be read at the finishing line and if this falls below 18C punters will get a reduction of pounds 2 on members' day badges and entrance fees.

A spokesman for the company said the offer was a one-off. "We used to offer a bet on the weather at mid-day every day, but we had to stop that as people were getting inside information."

The first Children in Cities week will start on Monday. Those young at heart might like to try their hand in the kids' game night with a spot of Twister, Ker-Plunk or Buckeroo, then head down to Bangers wine bar on Tuesday. For those in need of a more cerebral workout, on Wednesday a chess international grandmaster will pit his wits against 60 players. Companies already involved in sponsoring the week include Nomura, NatWest Markets, Royal Bank of Canada and Cameron Markby Hewitt.

A company is offering a computer program that is supposed to help gamblers pick their very own set of winning numbers. Perhaps reflecting a national trend, the marketers are offering the National Lottery disk at a bargain price, and throwing the football pools version in for free with every order. As yet there is no version for those who prefer to bet on the horses.

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