Pembroke: A jumbo-sized mystery

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The Independent Online
Anyone in the vicinity of Curzon Street in Mayfair, London, yesterday morning, might have wondered why there was an Indian elephant wandering down the road surrounded by bald men who kept nipping into the local branch of Ladbroke.

The reason was the launch of the latest edition of Trivial Pursuit questions, which will all centre on stories that featured in the news during the year.

The Ladbroke connection referred to a question about betting shops being allowed to remain open until 10pm. The bald men illustrated a question asking which group of men are three times as likely to have a heart attack (a bit of a blow there for the follically- challenged). And the elephant question referred to an organisation that obtained permission to send elephant dung throught the post. The answer? Chester Zoo.

It could have been worse. The organisers had hoped that Rani the elephant would illustrate the news story rather more literally, but were disappointed.

God met Mammon yesterday when the Bishop of Oxford, the Right Reverend Richard Harries, shared a podium with Lord Laing of Dunphail, the former chairman of United Biscuits, to launch a new initiative on business values. The two got together to encourage more businesses to develop ethical policies and codes of practice.

'In recent years, the church has been attacked for having a negative attitude towards business,' the bishop said. 'What we want to do here, is, from a Christian point of view, affirm our view of business. If business is so important, it needs to have values.'

Lord Laing, who goes to chuch every week, was equally hard-hitting. 'In the late 1980s people just expected companies to make money,' he said. 'They didn't mind how they made it.'

Lord Laing said he hoped the tide was turning, and he would be sending 400 chairmen a new booklet on business values. He must hope it has more impact than yesterday's press conference. Eight people turned up.

Sir James McKinnon, the doughty director-general of Ofgas, has switched industries to another with strong regulatory connections. Yesterday he signed up as a non-executive chairman of Ionica, a Cambridge-based telephone company, taking his tally of non-exec posts to four.

Sir James was not available to comment on his new appointment yesterday as he was giving a lecture in the US. On gas, apparently, not telephones.

Still on matters telephonic, it seems BT is having a struggle with its own personal crime wave. When customers call out the repair man they should be warned that if any holes need to be drilled for wiring they should provide the Black & Decker.

We hear that theft of equipment from BT vans has reached such proportions that engineers are having to conduct their duties sans their snazzy portable drills and extension cables.

One colleague was recently not only asked to provide all the electrical equipment but also informed that only thick and rather unsightly black cable could be used as the more discreet white stuff had gone walkies out the back of his van.

It will be all champagne and smiles today at Habitat's flagship store in the Kings Road, London, when the doors are flung open on its pounds 1m refurbishment. The new-look shop is apparently all stone floors, natural wood and metal, and pioneers a drive by Vittoria Radice, the managing director, to refurbish Habitat's 35 stores and open 20 more over the next four years.

The Chelsea shop should also be swinging tomorrow night when a band, Too Damned Hot, will tootle away at a charity reception for Habitat charge card holders.

The Staffordshire Development Association took what it probably believes to be a bold step yesterday when it announced it was twinning itself, in the strictly economic sense, with Veszprem county in Hungary.

The idea, it seems, is to encourage Staffordshire firms to develop trade links with the region and vice versa.

Whether there is much of a market for upmarket pottery in the great plains of Hungary is not yet known. But the SDA was yesterday making confident noises about finding outlets for at least one of Veszprem's exports - its red wine.

(Photograph omitted)

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