Business Diary: Banks keep the noise down as they party on

Happy tidings from the corporate events firm Venturi's Table: it organised Christmas parties for 97 firms this year, only five down on last year's total. One thing has changed, however – 30 of those clients insisted that the firm signed confidentiality agreement this year, compared to only nine in 2008. The firm says it does a lot of business with banking clients, in case you're wondering who is being so secretive.

National Express ends the year on a high

John Devaney, chairman of National Express, says this year has been challenging but that it is drawing to a close on a brighter note. For example: "We have eliminated the loss-making elements of our rail business". That's one way to describe the fact that ministers confiscated your best franchise.

New London freesheet trials on the web

The news that a new freesheet to rival the London Evening Standard will launch in the capital in the new year was met with some scepticism last month. But The London Weekly is already up and running online, we can reveal, and appears to have hired a fulsome staff. Check it out for yourself at www.thelondon

Just in case you don't speak French

Thank goodness for the translation services of Hammerson. The property company put out two announcements to the Stock Exchange yesterday. First it told the world about its "Acquisition des Terrasses du Port à Marseille". But then it realised we might not understand that, so helpfully published a second note explaining that the announcement referred to the "Acquisition of Les Terrasses du Port, Marseille".

Life is sweet for the super rich

Don't believe what you hear about the super-rich losing their shirts during the financial crisis. The latest edition of Spear's, the ultra-glossy magazine aimed at Britain's richest 25,000 people, is out, and it appears to be doing well. The magazine, run by William Cash, is packed with ads for everything from private banking to yacht brokerage.

Number of the day: 12.5 per cent

Loss of productivity at Indian firms due to staff spending too much time on Facebook, according to India's Chambers of Commerce and Industry.