Move quickly to enter bears in sloth contest

People & Business

London Zoo is reopening one of its favourite landmarks, Bear Mountain, this Easter, and populating it with sloth bears, a peaceable yet threatened species from Sri Lanka.

To mark the refurbishment of London's only realistic mountain range, the London Zoo is appealing to readers for nominations for "two top City bear traders of 1996, or likely candidates for 1997".

Each of the City bears would receive a free sloth adoption, worth around pounds 1,000. The City pessimists would also get a photograph and certificate and a chance to visit the sloths when they arrive. Call Charlotte Phillips on 0171-240 9900 with nominations.

When Richard Branson's trans-world balloon landed with a bump in the early hours of yesterday morning, it wasn't just the bearded entrepreneur's considerable ego which lost out.

City Index, the spread betting specialists, reckoned on Mr Branson and his pals staying aloft for 13 to 15 days, making it roughly three-quarters of the way around the world. In the event Mr Branson's thrill-packed eight hours aloft counted as one day, according to City Index.

Neil Murphy of City Index says: "It's a great disappointment. We lost about pounds 800. There were some big sellers but luckily some buyers saved our bacon. About 40 people placed bets."

Mr Murphy was going to donate all profits from the bets to Mr Branson's nominated charity and, if the Virgin man had completed the trip, he would have doubled that amount.

It was not to be. But Mr Hughes is hopeful. "If Mr Branson's balloon is in good working order, and if the American and Swiss balloon attempts fail, then he may have another go in two weeks' time. We would support him."

Intriguingly, Mr Hughes says City Index thought about taking bets on Kevin Keegan's survival at Newcastle, but turned down the idea since they knew something was up some time ago and "so did the high-street bookies".

The Curzon Partnership, a 10-partner headhunter in London which specialises in City and IT recruitment, has just hired a singer-songwriter who specialises in Indy- rock-soul music.

Ian Hughes, 33, also has a string of engineering degrees from Cambridge and a background in management consultancy, but rocking the house is his first love.

"I've played in bands since I was a teenager and I'm never going to give it up," Mr Hughes tells me.

So why go into headhunting? "It is an exciting new challenge for me," said Mr Hughes. Maybe. If anyone wants to find out whether Mr Hughes can convincingly "rock out", he hopes to get a gig at the Turk's Head in Twickenham. Party on, dudes.

Full marks for the funniest press release I've seen this year: "Many UK companies are not convinced of the real benefits of floormats, according to a recent research report commissioned by leading Dust Control Mat manufacturer WOM International."

You said it. Neville de Sousa, WOM's group sales director, declares: "The number of big and small customers not currently using mats is quite staggering - the one message that we need to deliver loud and clear is that everyone needs them." Consider the message delivered, Neville. And mind your feet.

One of my colleagues was lunching with Zeneca's chief executive, Sir David Barnes, and other company bigwigs yesterday, and was interested to find that these lunches are held in a bijou flat within Zeneca's London head office.

It transpires that Zeneca has four such mini-flats within the head office. When it converted the building two years ago, Westminster Council directed that it would have to have a mix of residential as well as business uses.

Not that you could buy a flat inside Zeneca. They're all used for company entertaining. I'm not sure that was what Westminster Council had in mind.

I'm happy to mention that it was the freelance illustrator, Daniel Taylor of Fulham, who drew the cartoon of Jimmy Herbert, Britain's oldest full-time stockbroker, that we used yesterday.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...