Column Eight: Divine Light in the dark

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The Independent Online
THE ARREST of George Walker has caused a ripple of anxiety in the quiet waters of the Emissaries of Divine Light, a community of spiritual Christians based in Gloucestershire. For, among the charges faced by the former head of Brent Walker, it is alleged that he falsified an invoice which said that Brent Walker owed pounds 5.5m to Anglo- French Investments Ltd.

The only Anglo-French Investments registered at Companies House is owned by the Emissaries and their sister order in France.

DAVID Montgomery, the new chief executive of Mirror Group Newspapers, is considered by most of the Mirror hacks as the antithesis of socialism. But he is about to do away with one of the bastions of Maxwellian elitism, the executive dining room.

The ordinary staff canteen and the dining room are to be merged. And Monty is to stage a food tasting to decide which caterer will continue with the Mirror's lucrative contract.

AFTER two years resisting the complaints of destitute underwriting members, the former Lloyd's chairman David Coleridge was in no mood for any nonsense in his first week back running Sturge Holdings, the Lloyd's agency.

To bemused Sturge staff the combustible Mr Coleridge stormed: 'If anyone here joins an action group they can collect their P45.'

AS POLITICAL uncertainties continue to haunt Hong Kong, one British organisation is hoping to exploit the stock market volatility there.

IG Index, the London bookies who take bets on anything from frozen pork bellies to Norman Lamont's career expectancy, are to open a book on the Hang Seng index.

BRITISH punters could soon be placing bets on Argentinian nags. Ladbroke Group yesterday announced a deal to open 70 off-course betting shops in Argentina in a tie-up with the Palermo race track.

Meanwhile, the UK bookies' body Bola is pressing the Government to allow betting shops to open at night in time for the national lottery. The time difference would make evening betting on the afternoon races in Buenos Aires a cinch.

NOTHING seems to be going right for Norman Lamont. At the annual pre-Budget session at Chevening, Kent, last weekend, he and his deputy Michael Portillo were soundly thrashed by their officials on the snooker table.

Sir Terry Burns, the permanent secretary, is said to have wielded a mean cue.

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