Business Diary: Hacks take battle to the skies

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The Independent Online

Fleet Street's telecoms hacks were at loggerheads yesterday but not over their scoops. Instead, the papers were battling to see who had the, erm, fastest pigeon. The broadband group Plusnet released 20 pigeons in London to race the 150 miles to its Yorkshire headquarters, with each one assigned to a journalist. The race marked the roll-out of its fibre-optic broadband – no, Diary wasn't sure of the connection either – but unfortunately The Indy's bird could only mark the occasion by limping home in eighth. Pete the Pigeon has already been put on a strict regime to turn things round in time for next year's event.

Murdoch's Daily loses Gaines

News emerges that Rupert Murdoch's iPad-only newspaper, The Daily, has been hit by a senior defection. The news outlet has seen several departures from the reporting staff over the past month – including a features and a political reporter as well as a TV critic – but yesterday it emerged that Jim Gaines, managing editor of The Daily, is to join Thomson Reuters as ethics and standards editor. Was that not a position currently available at News International, then?

Tesco boasts of smasher Brasher

Diary is a little worried that Richard Brasher, the UK chief executive of Tesco, may be going beyond the call of duty. It appears he has been working rather hard recently to improve the performance of the supermarket giant's domestic business. His new boss, Philip Clarke, boasted of the exertions yesterday: "Richard is giving it every waking hour and every ounce of energy." We just hope the poor chap isn't over-exerting himself, and advise he head down Tesco's veg aisle and slap a few cucumber slices over his eyes.

Banks in a muddle over Arab names

International banks ordered to freeze assets from Libya, Egypt and Tunisia have run up against an unusual problem. According to The Wall Street Journal, many have been unable to comply with governments' wishes because there are so many ways to translate Arabic names. It turns out that tracking down and blocking accounts of officials on the watch list are tough at the best of times; the US Treasury has 12 different spellings for Muammar Gaddafi alone.