Rogue Trader: What's happening this week

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The Independent Online

Bank Holiday: much-needed rest for the 6,000 Barclays Bank employees recently down-sized.


It's National Childcare Week. Check to see if you have any children. If so, install a secret camera at home to make sure the Latvian nanny is not torturing them. Make an effort to be home before midnight at least once this week. Lloyd's List prints fuzzy (faked) 10-year-old picture of Sir Nicholas Goodison lifting up Nicola Horlick's jumper while off his face at a Society of Chartered Actuaries' annual Christmas Dinner dance.


Lloyd's List apologises to Nicola Horlick. Financial Times to print (faked) tape transcript of Eddie George boasting of his weekend exploits as a King's Cross crack dealer after reporters pose as members of First National Import/Export Bank of Chechnya. "I only did it to try and impress them and make them feel at home," he explains.


Which? Telephone magazine to run (faked) 15-year-old "world exclusive" pictures of Lord King in a posing pouch cavorting with Richard Branson in a Bangkok massage parlour. Boots and Pilkington finals, but City shows more interest in the Cricket World Cup finals.


Richard Branson offers more nude pics of self to the world's press: "No publicity is bad publicity." Rupert Murdoch bid for Which? Telephone magazine is referred to OFT. Osborne & Little Finals. Everybody apologises to everybody else and heads off to the country for the weekend. National Childcare week ends.

Commodities ... the soap opera

Previously in Commodity News: the base metals took to bullying Softs, and Aluminium broke off his affair with Saffron. Graphite was in jail after being framed by the Cartel Cops. Coffee was hyperactive and cocoa depressed. Brent Futures was feeling cocky and picked a fight with Bell Weathers. Cotton broke up a pub brawl between Lean Hogs and Pork Bellies. Former glamour-puss Sugar was depressed and turning to alcohol again.

Now read on: exotic new character African Cobalt was in town, trying to interest the ever-delinquent base metals in a super alloy scheme linked to the Congo. He promised "significant quantities of metal" from Zambia. Coffee, the manic depressive, was still on a high, but nobody expected that to last.

Uranium was drafted into the military and was soon depleted. Bell Weathers insulted Brent Futures, who turned sulky and started plotting his revenge. But what form will it take? Tune in to the next episode of Commodity News; the world's first soap starring non-ferrous metals and tradeable put options.

The current edition of Business Week features a very important report on the potato chip (frites) industry in Belgium ...

* "A love of potatoes represents one of the few unifying factors in Belgium."

* Important statistics: Belgium has 10 million people, 7,000 chip shops and each Belgian eats an average 100 kilos of chips every year.

* Celebrity chip-eaters: "King Leopold II, the most outsized figure in Belgian history and conqueror of the Congo, first ate frites when he visited fairgrounds then he ordered them to be prepared at the Royal Palace.

* Why Belgium is more interesting than Idaho: "It is the world's largest potato field," says Eric Desmaret, director of the European Association of Potato Processing Industries. Eric comes from Belgium.

* "One winter in the 19th century, ice made fishing. So Belgians cut up potatoes in the shape of small fish and fried them instead."

* In 1861, a Brussels entrepreneur named Frites opened a stand selling fried potatoes in Brussels and gave his name to the invention.

The week's Four Fords ...

HARRISON FORD: Indiana Jones, Raider of the Lost Ark or, in Welsh, Jones the Raider. Highly successful actor.

EX-PRESIDENT GERALD FORD: Highly successful at walking in a straight line and chewing gum at the same time.

JOHN FORD: Highly successful Wild West film director.

FORD UK: Highly successful at blackmailing the Government into providing multi-million subsidies in return for not closing down its South Wales engine plant, throwing 1,400 on the dole.