People & Business

I hear that Elisabeth Murdoch's husband, Ghanaian born Elkin Pianmin, has decamped back to the United States, apparently fed up with Britain and the Brits following an unhappy adventure into British ethnic publishing with the New Nation newspaper. His stake in the venture, aimed largely at London's black community, has been sold. Also abandoned in Mr Pianmin's return to the US West Coast is his plan to launch a new black TV station in the UK.

So where does that leave the 290-year-old Ms Murdoch, who remains in London working for her pa's media empire as head of programming at BSkyB. Minus a husband seems to be the answer. She's even had to rely on the services of such maverick entrepreneurs as the carrot-topped DJ Chris Evans as an escort at the many functions her job requires her to attend. What a comedown.

All of which may help explain the pounds 3m sponsorship deal BSkyB has just signed with Mr Evans' Virgin Radio. It might also cause Murdoch senior to rethink his plans for the succession. At present his youngest son Lachlan has been pencilled in to take up the reigns. Elisabeth, he said recently, would have to make up her mind about how many kids she wanted and where she wanted to live. Not any longer, it would appear.

They're fighting in the forecourts. In the right corner, James Frost, the combative chairman of petrol retailer Save Group. And over by the air pump, Dean Overton, the former managing director who was sacked by Mr Frost for "gross misconduct" in November.

Mr Overton is suing his former employers for "a very substantial sum in damages" and has written to Save's shareholders to tell them so. Now Mr Frost has thrown petrol on the fire by revealing why Mr Overton was sacked. He claims Mr Overton dismissed two long-serving Save employees who subsequently had to be paid compensation. Mr Overton also wrote "threatening" letters to licensees who were suspected of opening their stations late, he claimed.

Mr Overton protests that he was just following orders. "I'm a very loyal person," he tells me. "If I'm instructed to do something then that is what I do." Mr Frost, meanwhile, refuses to pay a penny. "I wouldn't buy off a forecourt attendant, and I won't buy off a managing director either," he thunders. Get ready for round three.

Good to hear that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has called in Docman to sort out its IT problems. Each court case the SFO brings involves hundreds of thousands, often millions, of pieces of paper as evidence. Docman, an IBM computer system costing pounds 15m, should sort it out.

I was a little disconcerted, however, by the accompanying claim from the SFO's director, Rosalind Wright, yesterday, that "The SFO is a world- leader in the investigation and prosecution of major fraud cases." Cripes. The rest can't be up to much. Don't mention the Maxwells, Blue Arrow, Roger Levitt ...

You would think that, having trousered pounds 50m from selling his shares in Betterware, chairman Andrew Cohen would be keen to plough more money into his stable of racehorses. After all, one of the Brummie entrepreneur's nags, Suny Bay, is third favourite to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.

Not a bit of it. Mr Cohen tells me he is thinking of reducing his spending on racing, centred on his stables at Lambourn, in Berkshire. He says he agrees with the Makhtoum family's recent criticisms of British horse racing and the lack of adequate prize money. Which makes you wonder - just when will he have enough money? And what will he do with his present pile? He already has the best collection of Charlie Chaplin memorabilia in the world.

The European Monetary Institute, the forerunner of the planned European Central Bank, and one of key players in shaping monetary union, yesterday confessed shamefacedly that it doesn't have its own Internet site. The only site that the EMI does feature on is run by the European Commission, and site hasn't been updated for two years. Quel horreur!

Chastened Euromandarins at the EMI promised yesterday that they will launch their own site this month. Meanwhile if you're one of those interesting people who really need to know the latest about monetary union, stick to the British Government site at http://presid.fco.gov.uk

It seems you can hardly move in modern offices without being molested by experts in Feng Shui, the Chinese art of creating a harmonious environment. I was delighted therefore to read in a booklet published by President Office Furniture, titled "Everything you wanted to know about offices but were afraid to ask II", that Feng Shui, literally translated means "wind and water". I suspected as much.

Arts and Entertainment
Sheeran arrives at the 56th annual Grammy Awards earlier this year
musicYes, that would be Ed Sheeran, according to the BBC
Sport
Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer, Alan Hansen and Gary Lineker during Hansen's final broadcast
Sport
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
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

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Directory, ITIL, Reuter)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?