Business Diary: No free ride for Auntie on Tory battle bus

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The Independent Online

The BBC has long feared that the Conservatives, egged on by their good friend Rupert Murdoch, have it in for them. Maybe they're right. Our spy on board the Conservatives' election bus says all the TVs on it are tuned to Sky News. As Adam Boulton analyses the election live, the Tories apparently couldn't give a fig what the Beeb is saying.

An important lesson in financial fraud

The nation's students are the latest targets of those nasty old internet-based fraudsters, who have been blitzing the UK with emails ordering kids who are expecting a grant or loan from the Student Loans Company to register their details with a fake site. As if students aren't skint enough, the scam merchants are plotting to pinch their last few quid.

Stiglitz blames his compatriots for crisis

Poor old Joseph Stiglitz is guilt-ridden. At a Cambridge conference this week, the US economist said he thinks the Greeks are not entirely to blame for their plight. "That is a real risk, that US monetary policy, flooding the world with liquidity, is helping create bubbles all over the world, and creating instability in many other countries in the world," he says. America's fault again, it seems.

Halfords to ride through pain barrier

Best of luck to the 400 Halfords staff who are about to set off on a bike trip from the retailer's most northerly store in Elgin, Scotland to the most southerly, in Penzance. Taking in every store on the way, they will cover 2,000 miles, with each team member cycling one leg of the journey. They aim to raise £50,000 for Macmilllan Cancer Support.

Google's Facebook takeover that wasn't

The Diary woke up in a panic yesterday, with Radio 4's Today website announcing "Google's takeover of social-networking site Facebook has raised pressure for the site to install a 'panic button' to help protect children against being groomed by paedophiles." Did we miss the biggest takeover the internet has ever seen? It turns out not. It was a straightforward cock-up from the programme that prides itself on setting the agenda.

Number of the day: £1.59trn

The value of China's foreign exchange reserves, now at an all-time high.