Business Diary: 20/02/2010

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The Independent Online

Three Nobel winners better than two

Well done to the organisers of two letters to the FT, where 60 economists rejected calls for cuts to public spending.

Not only did they get three times as many signatories as a rival group that wrote to the Sunday Times, their number included two Nobel prize winners. Still they could have done better: Paul Krugman backed the letter too yesterday, which would have been a Nobel hat-trick if he'd been asked to sign.

An opportunity for the men at M&S

Big news from the marketing folk at Marks & Spencer, which is making a push into the man bag market. We await the inevitable advertising refrain: "This isn't just a man bag, it's a Marks & Spencer man bag ... "

Paulson says sorry for anti-British outburst

Former US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, pictured, admits in his autobiography he told a room full of aides that "the British screwed us" on hearing that Barclays Bank would not, as he had hoped, buy Lehman Brothers and rescue it from failure. Two years later, Mr Paulson admits to having become a little emotional. "It was frustration," he says. "You can't walk in another person's shoes, so I shouldn't criticise them. I did, but I shouldn't have."

A brief that no one else would envy

Best of luck to Petros Christodoulou, of the National Bank of Greece, who has landed the toughest job in the world. He's the new boss of Greece's Public Debt Agency. The incumbent, Spyros Papanicolaou, has got the push. Can't think why.

Ryman's hunky new model looks familiar

Good to see retailer Ryman backing new modelling talent in its ad campaigns. Its shops are currently plastered with pictures of a model selling the company's association with the Sport Relief charity. It's only Theo Paphitis, the retailer's owner.

Number of the day: 17%

The decline in exports of French wine and spirits last year. On the plus side, Vodka exports were up by 14 per cent.

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