Business Diary: Asda boss is soon back on message

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The Independent Online

Good to see Judith McKenna, Asda's finance chief, venture off script after being asked why Wal-Mart had "sold" Asda for £6.9bn to a vehicle called Corinth in the summer (it was actually just a group restructuring). "I nearly choked on my cornflakes," said Ms McKenna. "We have not been sold." Normal service was soon resumed. In a 15-minute monologue, she managed to get the phrase "low prices", or a variation of it, in 10 times.

Tyler stays mum on his Qatari meeting

Why is David Tyler, Sainsbury's new chairman, so coy about the Qatari Investment Authority? Mr Tyler is happy to say he met large investors, including QIA, the subject of gossip last month that it may launch a fresh bid for the grocer, before taking the helm on 1 October. But Mr Tyler won't say where or when the meetings took place. Curious.

McDonald's staff sing for their supper

It may not quite be The X Factor, but McDonald's is touchingly proud of its staff. It asked 1.6 million employees around the world to enter a singing competition – Voice of McDonald's – with a $25,000 prize. You can help judge the contest online at, where 30 staff from 18 different countries need your vote to make it through to the semi-finals.

Ryanair takes on Ireland's women

Ryanair has landed in hot water yet again. For years it has published a charity calendar featuring scantily-clad cabin crew – all women – in alluring poses. This year, the airline even managed to secure a spread in The Sun to promote the calendar. Ireland's National Women's Council was predictably unimpressed, but its criticism cut no ice with Ryanair. A spokesman said: "The NWC clearly don't like fun or charity."

The fraudsters who seem to be honest

You've got to hand it to the online banking fraudsters. Their latest attempt to con HSBC customers into handing over details of their accounts, features not only a perfect reproduction of the bank's home page, but also copies of all its warnings about internet fraud.

Number of the day: 28,000

The number of Britons who still have a black-and-white television only, according to TV Licensing figures.