Business Diary: Movie moguls win one against Wall Street

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The Independent Online

Readers may remember how Diary highlighted the entertaining little spat over the planned launch of movie futures contracts.

Well, it seems Hollywood has won the latest round in its battle with Wall Street: an amendment preventing the trading of derivatives based on box office results was approved in Congress yesterday. The speculators will no doubt try for a second take after the mid-terms, though, with predicted gains for the Hollywood-hating Republicans.

Why has no one thought of this before?

We've got global positioning systems, Google Earth and applications that can tell you where to find a bar, a taxi or even where to look for a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Now here's BeTomorrow with the last word in iPhone apps: Toilet finder, a free application that links you to what is claimed as the biggest worldwide database of public conveniences. Why has nobody thought of this before? And when's the iPad version coming out?

This is why they worry about Spanish debt

Analysts at Credit Suisse have come up with a chart of sovereign defaults going back to the Middle Ages. That might not sound very useful, but it could explain why everyone's so worried about Spain: the chart identifies 18 defaults since 1557, double the number of the second-worst offender, France; though France apparently had numerous defaults before 1500; it's just that the researchers don't have les dates.

But we should be careful of chucking stones

So, what about Britain? Well, our Triple A rating might be more solid now that George Osborne has promised to take the axe to just about everything except a horribly expensive US weapons system we can never use (Trident) but the chart still lists three: 1340, 1472 and 1594. So we're not quite as safe as houses. The Dutch are better (just one in 1814).