The Canary

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Cable twist: Eurotunnel has generated considerable excitement with the news that it is to run even more fibre optic telecoms links through its hole in the ground. Such "dry" cabling, it claims, is far more efficient than "wet" cables sitting on the seabed. So can someone explain why it costs more to telephone from Dover to Calais than from the Isle of Eigg to Hawaii?

Medic Alert: Barclays insists it has disclosed the truth and nothing but - so there can be no excuse for the continuing scepticism of many in the City for the now-you-see-him-now-you-don't drama of Michael O'Neill, whose cardio-vascular system was blamed for not being up to the job. What else does Barclays insist is true? Sir Peter Middleton, acting chief executive, and the Barclays board, have ruled out selling. "I can't see the Bank of England standing by and allowing a hostile bid," sniffs a trader at Barclays Capital. Why not?

Millennium Bug Panic: Millennium bug hysteria is at fever pitch in The City where Christmas leave is being cancelled for thousands of operations staff. But the smart money is now moving to the view that the scare has been blown out of all proportion. Most computers seem to crash on a daily basis in any case.

Bank on the run: Reeling from its losses in Russia and criticism from all sides, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is trying to salvage its reputation at its annual general meeting in London. The new president, Horst Koehler has had his work cut out trying to keep delegates and shareholders pacified. As for the Russians, their government presentation consisted of one message: "We're sorry, please send more money."

Church drops BAe shares: The Church of England appears to have belatedly noticed that British Aerospace is an arms manufacturer and hence intends to sell its substantial shareholding. But there is an argument that many of the weapons built by BAe are of doubtful lethality at the best of times and hence it remains perfectly ethical to own shares. The Eurofighter, approaching pounds 100m a copy, is the most expensive thing ever purchased by British taxpayers. It has been contributing to BAe profits for almost 20 years, but has never fired a shot in anger - and may never do so, since it was designed to fight a Russian air threat that no longer exists.

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