Credit crisis diary: Germany hit with a Merkel backlash

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The Independent Online

Did Angela Merkel bite off more than she can chew with her broadside against the world's central banks and their quantitative easing policies? While our own Bank of England maintains a dignified silence, the US Fed's Ben Bernanke has already publicly denounced the German Chancellor's complaints. And Neelie Kroes, the European Union's competition commissioner, chose yesterday to launch an attack on Germany's own banking system. "Europe urgently needs a Germany that is in good form again," Ms Kroes concluded.

Paulson misses out for once

You can't get them all right. Paulson & Co, the hedge fund run by the US billionaire John Paulson, closed out most of its short position on Barclays on Tuesday, a couple of days into the decline in the bank's share price. That gamble looked a tad premature last night, with Barclays sliding another 5 per cent on the day. Doubly annoying is the fact that this is a longstanding position which was £220m more valuable in January, according to some estimates.

Please try to keep up in White City

People say the publicly funded BBC is over-resourced, with its ever-expanding online division coming in for particularly heavy criticism. But they must be short of staff down in the online business unit. How else to explain the site's decision to lead for most of yesterday with a story about the pound's rise against the dollar? It looked a little daft since the BBC's own data feed showed that after an hour or so of gains first thing, sterling went into freefall for the rest of the day.

BT's speedy response to broadband criticism

Good timing from BT, which yesterday unveiled a big increase in the speed of its broadband service for many residential and business customers. The announcement came less than 24 hours after stories surfaced complaining about the way some of BT's broadband customers see their access speed slowed right down during busy periods. A case of from zero to hero.

T he elections that don't matter to voters

Another vote of no-confidence in Brussels, this time from Britain's small business owners. As the country goes to the polls in the European elections, a survey from Cranfield School of Management warns that four-fifths of small business owners think the results will make little or no difference to their firms.

businessdiary@independent.co.uk

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