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Business News

Business Diary: Ascot welcome for Derby saviour

Things were looking decidedly ropey for the Derby when the mobile phone giant Vodafone ended its backing of the great horserace a few years back leaving the organisers scratching their heads over a new sponsor.

So much so that the Queen is understood to have told Investec boss Bernard Kantor that he had saved the Derby when the South African bank decided to step in to back the meeting. Kantor got his reward yesterday when he entered Ascot in a horse-drawn carriage having been invited to join the Royal procession.

Google's take on 'The Guardian'

Someone at Google has a sense of humour. As The Independent reported yesterday, Guardian News & Media is about to make job cuts as it moves from prioritising its print newspapers to a greater emphasis on digital publishing. Google's news digest service concluded it was an interesting story too, collating 27 reports on the job losses. But strangely, the top three entries were links to the part of The Guardian's website that covers recruitment matters, including details of how to apply for work experience.

High fuel prices crack Autoglass

There is good news and bad from Autoglass, the windscreen repair company. One effect of inexorably rising fuel prices, it says, is that people have been driving much more slowly and cautiously – that, of course, means our roads are just a little bit safer, for which we should all give thanks. On the downside, the company points out that this trend has meant there have been considerably fewer damaged windscreens for it to repair. As a result, it laid off 400 staff yesterday. For their sake, try not to slow down too much.

Europe's Lehman is a little way off

So is Greece really Europe's Lehman Brothers, as some folk were suggesting yesterday? Well, its sovereign debt crisis shows no sign of going away, and as the country lumbers ever closer to default, there is real fear about the knock-on effects of a total collapse. Still, if Greece really does go down, the problems, in itself, would be manageable. It's more like Europe's Bear Stearns. Now Spain, on the other hand, really would be a disaster – we're not at Lehman yet.