City Diary: A drink in Singapore? Mine's a pint of Leeson

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The Independent Online
A Hong Kong microbrewery that won fame with a beer named Leeson Lager, after the jailed Barings Singapore trader Nick Leeson, plans to list its shares on Nasdaq in New York.

The South China Brewery has recently applied to the exchange for a listing in order to raise money for expansion. It prefers New York to Hong Kong because of Nasdaq's electronic accessibility, according to the company's managing director David Haines.

South China Brewery was formed in December 1994 with just US$1m in capital. It brews three of its own labels - Crooked Island Lager, India Pale Ale and Dragon's Back. It now wants to set up microbreweries in Thailand, Shanghai, and - wait for it - Singapore. Somehow I don't think the Singapore authorities will be terribly amused at being served up Leeson Lager.

It's 90 degrees on the streets of London and even the Governor of the Bank of England is in shirt sleeves. Eddie George is now holding his meetings outside in a pleasant courtyard of the Bank. Pimms, anyone?

Snipers on the roof, body searches on the way in, 150 policemen, 20 police vans. A top-security trial perhaps? In fact, the security encountered by Costain's shareholders at yesterday's egm in Westminster's QEII centre was truly over the top.

The main "threat", as far as the police were concerned, was the Newbury by-pass protesters, who in the event were outnumbered at least three to one by the police. The peaceful nature of the protest didn't stop the police from hauling various of the hairier protesters away.

The road protesters wanted the Malaysian rescue package voted down and Costain to go into receivership, so that the whole road building project will have to go back to the tendering stage. No wonder they were waving banners saying: "Lovell must go."

In the event chief executive Alan Lovell carried the day and the vote went through. Now they can call off the snipers.

A European women's group is preparing to boycott Nestle's Perrier mineral water next week unless the company withdraws a Belgian advertising campaign which they say is offensive to women.

The billboard adverts, designed by Publicis FCB, show three naked women whose breasts are covered only by Perrier bottle tops, with the curious caption "wonderbubbles".

Catherine Mackenzie-Smith is the organiser of one of the Lloyd's of London's ginger groups which are threatening to spray writs for fraud around the market. She has quite enough work to do keeping the strangely named Non-North American Names Association on the ball. She found even more on her plate last Friday when she flew back from the US to find her offices in Whitechapel, in London's East End, burgled.

Amongst the stuff that had been nicked was a hard disk drive containing "sensitive information," she says. So whodunnit?

"I have no idea at all. But its a funny thing that somebody should come to the third floor of this very large building," she says.

The police are continuing with their enquiries. Let's hope the "information" doesn't fall into the wrong hands.

I wonder if those Treasury "kids" that Chancellor Ken Clarke blamed last week for the leaked proposal paper (on privatising the welfare state and selling off gravity) have popped up somewhere else.

The Adam Smith Institute's annual "Economy in Government" competition encourages members of the public to suggest the best way Whitehall should be spending and saving taxpayers' money. This year, one contestant, Dennis Snower, who lists himself as from an economics department in the University of London, suggests: "A bold move to opt out of welfare state services in return for tax reductions."

Sounds exactly like the radical stuff which drew such withering contempt from Ken Clarke. Is someone at the Adam Smith Institute having a tease?

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