Pembroke: Wage justice

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The Independent Online
If you're looking for a well-paid job in the City, get in an application to Smith New Court. According to the broker's annual report, which was published yesterday, the average salary soared 28 per cent to a very handy pounds 66,555 a year.

The firm's 1,119 staff shared pounds 79.8m, excluding pension and social security costs. The company is known for paying healthy bonuses, but a spokesman refused to discuss remuneration.

Was the rise justified? Well, SNC did double its profits.

The Bank of England, which is 299 years old today, has already started issuing details of its tercentenary celebrations. A new pounds 50 note featuring the bank's first governor, Sir John Houblon, will be issued next year along with a commemorative pounds 2 coin.

Church services, conferences and grants to research bodies have all been announced and jugglers are believed to be in intensive training for a float at the Lord Mayor's show in November.

One item that will be missing is a book charting the bank's history that was to have been written by the Daily Telegraph and Spectator columnist Christopher Fildes. Mr Fildes couldn't find time to finish the book and the bank is having to make do with an illustrated history of its banknotes, snappily titled Promises to Pay.

There was a peevish atmosphere at the annual meeting of Thames Television yesterday. Only two shareholders turned up, because 97 per cent of the shares are owned by Pearson, the Financial Times to Madame Tussauds conglomerate. But one, Donovan Winter, made his presence felt.

Directors' hypocrisy and abandonment of the small shareholder were just some of the contents of an extended tirade from the floor in a meeting that lasted longer than the directors might have hoped.

We are told Mr Winter once enjoyed a working relationship with Thames TV's chairman, Lord Braborne. Things have obviously soured a bit.

Baghdad has come up with a typically brusque solution to the Opec negotiations deadlock: chop off the hands of the Kuwaiti and Saudi ruling families for violating their oil production quotas. This helpful suggestion comes from the Iraqi army's daily newspaper.

More worryingly, the paper says oil-producing countries could one day find themselves forced, like Iraq, to 'draw swords' on Kuwait if they don't resist the moves of the emirate's ruling family. Does any of this sound familiar?

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