CITY DIARY

Some staff at Forte's head office in Holborn are apparently finding the hotel chain's decision to close the staff canteen a little hard to swallow. Rocco Forte's largesse meant that all manner of meals were served free of charge. However he has now decided that more profitable use of the space is required and has requisitioned half of it for extra offices. The remaining half will be refurbished and turned into a coffee-bar-style outlet which will serve subsidised - but not free - grub.

Rocco has decreed that the 300 staff should thus receive a pounds 1,000 one- off compensation payment each, leaving him with a hefty pounds 300,000 bill. While not enough for some, it should buy an awful lot of sandwiches.

Not content with streamlining its equities desk for that 'pan- European' approach, Credit Lyonnais Securities has decided to go long on the German market. Sources say it wants to recruit fresh blood to bolster Germanic efforts.

To start the ball rolling it has picked up the red-headed Hans-Peter Wodniok from Robert Fleming to be its man on the spot. Wodniok, who spent five years as head of German research for James Capel before moving to Fleming, becomes head of German equity research and sets up shop today in Hamburg.

Orange, the digital mobile phone network, has turned a few faces red in its quest to cover the nation. Church towers are ideal for transmitters and prove popular with parishes whose fabric funds benefit from the rental income.

But plans to install two dishes - each just 2ft in diameter - on the tower of historic Beverley Minster have run into trouble. The dishes were welcomed by the Parochial Church Council, but turned down by the local authority. A case for divine intervention perhaps?

Bill Gates and Warren Buffet will be going on holiday together in September. But before you rush to carry their bags you should know that the bulk of the billionaire buddies' trip will be spent on a train travelling through China. Buffet wouldn't comment on his travel plans but Microsoft said that the trip was a personal vacation for Gates and his wife.

The software chief will no doubt be glad of some relaxation after months spent preparing for the introduction of Windows 95, and battling the Justice Department's antitrust investigation.

The British Heart Foundation - this year's nominated charity of the Lord Mayor of London, the Rt Hon Christopher Walford - has come up with a blooming good idea to raise cash. It has linked up with Age Concern and the Imperial Cancer Research Fund to cut a swathe through the fresh flower market - worth around pounds 946m a year.

All profit from the charities' Guernsey-based, and wholly owned, Charity Flowers Direct company will go back to the charities. The founders estimate mail order sales will top pounds 18m this year.

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