Business Diary: 01/04/2010

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Rio wheels in the big guns in China

Rio Tinto has a new recruit in its battle to rebuild relations with China after the bribery and commercial secrets case this week. The Sydney Morning Herald reports the mining giant has signed up Henry Kissinger, the Nobel Peace Prize winner or war-mongerer (delete depending on your views). Dr Kissinger, is an influential figure in China and Rio hopes he can broker a peace deal.

Sports bodies learn from past mistakes

Good to see our leading sports associations singing from the same songsheet yesterday as they condemned Ofcom's ruling that Sky has to cut the price of its sports channels. And this time, the Premier League, the RFU and the ECB even put out their own releases – when Ofcom last went public, their announcements were almost identically worded, almost as if a friendly broadcaster had done the drafting work for them.

Reaching the trees other brewers don't

Thanks to Heineken for sending us its latest annual report days after publishing it on the internet. The headline on page 17 is "Sustainability: an established philosophy for a new decade", though this hasn't stopped the brewer waxing lyrical for a further 159 pages – and then sending endless copies of the thing out. Not so sustainable after all.

Tell the DWP you can't take it with you

It would be funny if it wasn't so tragic. The Department of Work and Pensions admits that, in the past three years, it has spent £200m on benefits for people who didn't really deserve them, or even need them – on account of being dead.

Shooting down the April Fool's gags

The Diary has been besieged by businesses hoping we'll fall for their "funny" April Fools' Day gags. Some are good, others less so. The prize for the worst try of the day goes to Cloud Net, a telecoms company from Walsall, which wants us to believe it is recalling a truckload of phones it sold that come with lasers that can down a plane from 20 miles away. We can only pray this really is a joke.

Number of the day: £5m

Cost of Dairy Crest's ads for Country Life butter, with Johnny Rotten. The costs have eaten into its profits