Business Diary: A never-ending search for transparency

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The Independent Online

Our regulators really know how to tie themselves up in knots. The Competition Commission (CC) has appointed an independent panel to investigate conflicts of interests of its members. All very laudable of course – and the CC was caught out in this area during its investigation of BAA's airports. But shouldn't there be a panel to investigate any conflicts that the independent panel might have?

Flash mobs aren't for grown-ups

It was never going to end well when advertising agencies began using flash mobs as a sales technique. Check out the Creative Review website for the most cringeworthy example yet: an invasion of the floor of the New York Stock Exchange by cheesy singers and dancers plugging Dr Pepper. Enough already of the getting down with the kids.

Geography lessons for Wapping please

All journalists make mistakes on occasion, but Carlisle readers of The Times might be forgiven for spluttering into their coffee on reading the paper's reports of an arrest made in connection with a man facing corruption charges. The suspect "was intercepted by SFO officers in Carlisle, Scotland", the paper reports. Last time we looked, Carlisle was very much in England.

The bankers take a pasting from OECD

Despite five days of bankers' endless bleating in Davos (or maybe because of it), there seems to be little sympathy for the poor souls. Even the OECD is unmoved. "The complaints from bankers that poor regulation caused the crisis is like you have a massive fire, the fire brigade comes in and you blame them for flooding the house," says John Evans, an adviser to the organisation.

Apprentice McFadden leads by example

Business minister Pat McFadden will today launch National Apprentice Week at a Morrison's supermarket in Camden, north London. McFadden should know a thing or two about apprenticeships – he currently spends his days shadowing the movements of his boss, Lord Mandelson.

Number of the day: 4 per cent

Total drop in the FTSE 100 index of leading shares during January