Business Diary: Full-steam ahead for Siemens man

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The Independent Online

Congratulations to Andreas Goss, who runs the UK arm of German engineering giant Siemens – his home country has just handed him a gong – the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Officially, the award is for his long record of supporting Anglo-German relations and promoting Europe to a Eurosceptic audience. But we note that Goss is getting his medal just weeks after clinching for Siemens a huge UK Government contract to build new Thameslink trains – which may see British workers at the Derby factory of the rival bidder Bombardier lose their jobs. Who says Germans have no sense of humour?

Austria refuses to chase more cows

Lost in translation? The Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter has a curious explanation for her country's reluctance to even discuss the possibility of a Greek default. At the European finance ministers' meeting yesterday, she explained: "The more consistent we are the better – I don't want to chase every week another cow through the village". We think we know what Ms Fekter was getting at, but it's a saying with which we're not familiar.

Making money from avian flu

Smart business people should always be on the alert for the next money-making opportunity, so hats off to Risk Information Services for the warning it put out yesterday about a rise in cases of bird flu. "Although scientists have played down the risks of the disease spreading to humans, particularly in the Western world, it would be advisable for operational risk managers in all industries – especially those located in Asia – to dust off their pandemic-flubusiness-continuity plans," it explained. In other words, scientists aren't worried, but startpaying a company like, say, Risk Information Services, anyway.

Angry birds cause financial damage

We enjoy a quick game here too, but we think our addiction to Angry Birds, the smartphone gaming app, is under control. That may not be true for everyone, reports The Atlantic, the American magazine. It calculates that even if as little as 5 per cent of the total amount of time people spend playing the game is at work, the resulting loss of productivity in the US economy may be $1.5bn. Scary.