Business Diary: Kraft calls take flight to Portuguese coast

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The Independent Online

Diary's sympathies go out to the poor Aussie and his girlfriend whose new year break in Portugal was interrupted by several calls seeking information about Kraft's hostile bid for Cadbury. Callers to Kraft's PR company Brunswick usually get a transfer to the firm's duty officer when its offices are closed, but there appears to have been something of a foul-up with the system. Celebrating a bit too early perhaps? "We are trying to get to the bottom of it," says Sunday's duty officer.

Bernanke's got a gong but what about Merv?

No rest for the wicked. The Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee holds its first meeting of the year on Wednesday. With interest rates and quantitative easing likely to remain on hold, the big question is whether Governor Mervyn King's Christmas was ruined by his opposite number in the US, Ben Bernanke, picking up Time magazine's person of the year gong. Those close to Mr King say his role in saving Britain from depression has yet to be recognised.

Going cheap: how to get the winter blues

Here's some good news to cheer you up and warm the cockles as the first week of 2010 continues with a big freeze. Amazon is offering 40 per cent off a tome by Oliver James on how the capitalist dream has made us all thoroughly miserable over the past 60 years. After all, what else is there to do during long winter evenings, other than read Britain On The Couch: How Keeping Up with the Joneses Has Depressed Us Since 1950.

Essex boys keep it local thanks to Santander

A January update from the Bank of Essex. Yes, such a company really exists and, what's more, it is offering overdrafts to the county's businesses. Funded by Spanish giant Santander (owner of Abbey), the bank launched last year and serves the community where other institutions have failed. Essex girls (and boys) do it with their local bank, you might say.

Number of the day: £1.3bn

Total state aid now extended to Japan Airlines after the government offered to double its credit at the weekend.

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