The City Diary: Roll call of those killed in the cause of mining

Slackbelly

In a cheery opening to this week's column, here's a new SlackBelly feature examining the numbers that tend to get ignored within company annual reports, such as how many employees die while working at FTSE 100 companies each year.

I'll take it sector by sector – and this week it's the turn of the miners – but I'll be back to determine which company experiences the most workplace fatalities. According to information contained within their most recent annual reports (stock phrase: "we cannot say we are truly successful until we eliminate fatalities in our workplace") Fresnillo suffered no employee deaths, Rio Tinto one, Lonmin three, Randgold four and Barrick Gold four (although one of those poor souls died from a bee sting). Meanwhile, BHP Billiton and Antofagasta had five each, Xstrata nine, ENRC 12 and Anglo American 19, but even those numbers were trumped by Vedanta (no stranger to all kinds of controversies) which claimed 27 employee fatalities, plus another 40 contractors who perished when a 248 metre chimney under construction collapsed. Vedanta says: "We remain dedicated to observing and implementing the highest standards of safety at all our projects and operational sites and continue to strive to make the working environment as safe as possible for our employees and contractors". So that's all right, then.

Analysts' spat over the fate of M&S's shares

Marc Bolland, the hunky new boss of Marks & Spencer, presented his strategy for the retailer last week – to mixed reviews.

Simon Irwin, the retail analyst at Liberum, had already downgraded the shares to a Sell, which provoked a furious response – not from the company, but from rival analyst Nick Bubb at Arden.

His note on the topic employed the highly unusual tactic of heckling the opposition ("Liberum look to have got it wrong by cutting M&S to Sell", wrote Bubb) before going on to opine: "[M&S's] strategic review reads very well. Neutral recommendation (440p target) under review, pre the 9.15am meeting, as the shares should bounce on this".

Embarrassingly for Bubb, the shares have been falling since 10.30am that day, and closed the week at 393.2p. Who appears wrong now, Nick?

Embattled brokers find solace in tips for fine tipples

You just can't keep a man rapped over the knuckles by the Financial Services Authority down. Peter Shakeshaft is the former chief exec of Wills & Co stockbrokers, the disgraced investment firm that collapsed earlier this year after the FSA fined it for misleading clients purchasing high-risk shares.

Now he's back, this time as a director of a wine investment company called Vin-x, which Shakeshaft is running alongside fellow former Wills director, Darren Lansdown.

Lansdown's had a tough year too having been told by the regulator that his "conduct fell short of the FSA's prescribed regulatory standards for approved persons", but he's hitting the phones once more and calling former Wills punters to see if they fancy investing in a few bottles of Chateau Latour 1996 and Chateau Lafite 2006.

Lansdown reckons that the firm has yet to recommend a losing bet in its first six months in operation and adds: "This is not a regulated market and there are lots of rogues and sharks." Bottoms up!

Blogging is a funny old game

Tom Glocer, the chief exec of Reuters, has been away in South America visiting Brazil and Argentina. Can he resist employing a lame line on football when blogging about his trip? Of course he can't. "The quadrennial World Cup was played this year, so perhaps I could be excused for thinking it would not be an auspicious time for Argentine-Brazilian relations," he muses. "However, my experience this week in Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo belies that assumption ... There was a recognition that what is good for Brazil could also be very good for Argentina, through free trade, labour mobility and foreign investment. What a wonderful maturing in the bilateral relations of these perennial football rivals. But don't expect to see Diego Maradona replace Dunga any time soon".

Riveting stuff. But is that the same man who wrote last year: "The parallels between sport and business are overused to the point of being hackneyed"? Surely not.

Madoff's life of luxury goes under the hammer

I see that more belongings of Ponzi schemer, Bernie Madoff, are being auctioned off by US Marshalls, after a previous sale raised $1m.

The 400 lots include a 10.54-karat diamond engagement ring that once belonged to his missus, a 1917 Steinway grand piano and an array of sculptures including a bronze bull, miniature busts of Plato and Aristotle as well as a pair of marble lions (say what you want about Bernie, but boy did he have taste).

Still, my favourite lot is a pair of black velveteen slippers embroidered with Madoff's initials, in a style that one imagines would have pleased Noel Coward's dandified Mr Bridger, as he cruised through his own spell in prison during the Italian Job.

Such luxuries seem to have been denied to the fraudster, however. Is there no end to his punishment?

postmaster@slackbelly.com

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
News
Robyn Lawley
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Arts and Entertainment
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint)
newsBloomsbury unveils new covers for JK Rowling's wizarding series
News
scienceScientists try to explain the moon's funny shape
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
As Loki in The Avengers (2012)
filmRead Tom Hiddleston's email to Joss Whedon on prospect of playing Loki
Voices
voices In defence of the charcoal-furred feline, by Felicity Morse
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

1st Line Support Technician / Application Support

£20000 - £24000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider of web based m...

Team Secretary - (Client Development/Sales Team) - Wimbledon

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Secretary (Sales Team Support) - Mat...

Accountant / Assistant Management Accountant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an Assistant Management Ac...

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star