Business diary: Hunger striker disdains pub grub

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The Independent Online

Good to see Tim Martin, the chairman of Wetherspoon, sticking to his guns in the latest issue of Wetherspoon News (we're big fans of the pub group's magazine here). Mr Martin answers readers' letters personally and is delighted with the support he is receiving from Mrs Maggs, a Hampshire resident, who complains about opposition to a new Wetherspoon pub in genteel Lymington. "People are often afraid of change," he says. "For example, in Royal Tunbridge Wells, a hunger striker set up stall outside our prospective pub." That particular hostelry won design awards and is still going strong, but sadly Mr Martin offers no news of the hunger striker's fate.

Blanchflower sides with Posen

In embarrassing Mervyn King in front of the Treasury Select Committee last week, Adam Posen managed to pull off a trick that David Blanchflower, the Governor's former bête noire on the Monetary Policy Committee never managed. Naturally, Mr Blanchflower was impressed, wading into the debate about Mr King's political neutrality. "His language was outrageous and made the Governor look like George Osborne's poodle," says Mr Blanchflower of Mr King's bid to bat the controversy away.

Car park as vehicle for data capture

Black Friday, the US shopping fest that follows Thanksgiving, is always watched closely by retail analysts who want to identify winners and losers. This year, with the ongoing questions about the wider economy, the demand for such analysis was higher than ever. Step forward Chicago-based Remote Sensing Metrics, which has access to satellite images of car parks all over the US. Its analysts then count the number of vehicles entering and exiting each and every one. For the record, this year's Black Friday looks to have been a decent one for American retailers.

The apple of Jobs's eye

And finally... have you heard the latest news about our cousins across the Irish Sea? It seems that Steve Jobs, the Apple chief executive, is in talks about a plan to buy Ireland and solve the country's debt problems overnight. It will be rebranded as iLand. We thank you.