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ISA lottery bites the dust

Of all the proposals for the new Individual Savings Account to have bitten the dust, one in particular will be the most mourned. It was that of offering a monthly prize draw worth a magnificent pounds 1,000 to all new ISA savers. The Treasury's post-Budget document simply says it was "decided not to proceed with the idea". The fate of the civil servant who dreamt that one up is not known.

Superwoman vs Virgin

Say what you like about Nicola Horlick, but she puts her money where her mouth is. She has accepted Virgin Direct's challenge to beat the FTSE All Share index by at least 2 percentage points a year for the next three years or pay pounds 6,000 to charity. In turn, she is challenging Virgin's tracker fund to outperform the index in each of the next three years or forfeit the same amount to charity.

Bombshells for tenants

Terrorism insurance is something one never thinks they need - until it's too late. But as more and more homebuyers colonise former office buildings in city centres, any resumption in an IRA bombing campaign could hit them where it hurts: in their wallets.

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Animal crackers

Collecting animal-shaped and other jokey jewellery is nothing new. Victorians were keen wearers of similar items more than 100 years ago, as a forthcoming auction will show. Except their's wasn't cheap paste: be prepared to see prices reach pounds 6,000 or more for individual solid gold and bejewelled cats and dogs.

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Anoraks to the rescue

Calling all Britpop fans: First Direct, the telephone bank, is launching an Anorak Amnesty, in which wearers are being asked to hand over their old cagoules and such to Shelter shops so they can be re-sold to the public to raise money for homeless people. The amnesty, jointly undertaken with Shelter, is being kicked off with a pounds 17,000 donation by First Direct. Liam Gallagher is said to be keen to donate one of his anoraks - after he's finished punching in a fan's face, of course.

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