Business Diary: BofA says don't buy the rumour

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The Independent Online

The poor saps running the crisis-hit Bank of America are so fed up with the gossip doing the rounds about their problems that they've taken to sending memos to their own staff to deny the rumours. "Some blogs are speculating about rumours of merger talks with JP Morgan Chase, which are baseless and don't even make practical sense," the bank has told them. As for the idea that it's about to raise tens of billions of dollars from investors to bolster its funding, that's "just wrong".

Grandson floats deregulation idea

His grandfather Milton was one the most influential figures in 20th century economics, and now Patri Friedman, 35, wants to make his own mark on the world. The American blog Details reports that Friedman is dreaming of setting up new nation states in the Pacific off the coast of San Francisco – basically, a flotilla of offices built on oil rig-style platforms in international waters. The territories would thus be free of all the regulations and laws that clogs up the system in normal countries. Watch this space.

Hitting the starter on the economy

If they're good enough for the politicians, they're good enough for would-be small businessfolk. The people behind the StartUp Britain campaign, which, as the name suggests, hopes to persuade more people to start their own businesses, have found themselves a battle bus in which they intend to tour the nation to spread the message. The bus will visit 14 towns and cities around the UK dispensing practical advice on entrepreneurship.

So, is Mervyn King the great escapist?

Economics can sometimes be a dry science, so everyone likes a good metaphor. Not least Barclays Capital, which seems very proud of a new take on the divide between members of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee. The rest of us were perfectly happy with hawks versus doves, but BarCap thinks it better to divide MPC members into levellers and escapists. The debate is all about where you stand on the output gap, apparently. Do you think it will catch on?