Column Eight: Farewell with apologies

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The Economist's pride at having its editor, Rupert Pennant-Rea, join the ranks of the great and the good at the Bank of England was tarnished yesterday only by having to print a full-blooded, full-page apology to . . . the Bank of England.

Fulsomely, the paper acknowledged that the renewed DTI investigation into the Blue Arrow affair - which had been triggered by one of its articles - had cleared the Bank, NatWest, Tom Frost et al. Apologies, retractions and farewells all round.

EVEN THE most blue-blooded solicitors seem unfussed about the company they keep when it comes to business.

Farrer & Co, the firm that acts for the Queen, also seems to play a role in the affairs of Rupert Murdoch, hardly the Royal Family's biggest fan. Companies House documents reveal that Farrer acted on behalf of Cruden Investments (UK) Ltd - renamed Victoria One - which was an offshoot of Cruden Investments Pty Ltd, the Australian Murdoch family company that owns large chunks of News Corporation.

A MESSAGE from the anti- smoking lobby. A year ago Roger Shute - who has this week taken stakes in GM Firth and Anglia Secure Homes - retired from BM Group because of ill health brought on by a 100-a-day habit.

A realisation that this could bring the end has converted him to a six-to-10-a-day man 'on a good day', he says. And, although he has found work for those twitching fingers by engaging in share deals, his retirement is apparently permanent.

ANYBODY who felt unenlightened by the Credit Card Research Group's January briefing, Credit Card Charges Explained, can be forgiven. It contained an error. In Month 2 of the illustration, interest is charged on pounds 50 from day 5 to day 15, not from day 7 to day 17. Got that?

PARTY-POOPERS need not apply. After four years of defying the recession and sceptics, Kenny's, owner of two of London's favourite American-style restaurants, is looking for new partners. No doubt investors should display a taste for jambalaya, gumbo and Mardi Gras as well as a hefty wallet.

GOOD NEWS for Lamont from the brokers Smith New Court. 'Despite the recent bounce, the stock still looks oversold following the revelation of difficult trading,' says the note recommending a recovery buy. Unfortunately for the Chancellor, it refers to the textile company that owns Shaw Carpets.