The City & media diary

Ocean's 14 strike at King's Cross relieves JP Morgan of computer hardware
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The Independent Online

You've heard of the credit crunch now meet the hardware hit. Late on Thursday a George Clooney inspired, 'Ocean's Eleven'-style heist took place at a data centre in King's Cross, London. Thieves allegedly dressed as police officers are thought to have handcuffed security guards and walked off with millions of pounds of hardware used by JP Morgan. The Met confirmed a "high value" robbery at the Verizon Business data centre, used by the bulge bracket investment bank, among others. A huffy Verizon publicist admitted that there had been a "service interruption" but that none of the servers had gone down. The light fingered crew are thought to have taken computer hardware rather than sensitive information. JP Morgan stayed shtum on the issue. At least this wasn't a case of the data going missing in the post.

Back to the peace of an office

When Angela Spindler suddenly quit Asda and the George fashion label in August, she said she wanted to spend more time with her kids. Four months was evidently enough. Spindler, one of the most senior women in British retail clearly couldn't hack the door slamming and teenage tantrums and instead has opted for the awesome task of reviving flagging department store Debenhams.

Windsor tipple works wonders

Brand managers take note... It has always been difficult to measure exactly what impact a Royal warrant has on sales. But now we have a better idea. Shortly after the ingredients of the Queen's favourite cocktail were revealed in the BBC programme 'The Royal Family at Work' (gin and Dobonnet in case you wondered) sales have jumped 41 per cent. Asda execs are calling the tipple the Windsor Wonder...

Trump denies generosity

Donald Trump, the US super-developer and star of the original American version of 'The Apprentice', whose latest endeavour is a controversial plan for a spanking new golf course in Scotland, or possibly, if he doesn't get his way, Northern Ireland, may have a well-hidden streak of generousity. But if so, he's determined to keep it under wraps. He has "pooh poohed" as fanciful a report that he tipped a Santa Monica waiter $10,000 (4,500) after dinner at the Buffalo Club. The tycoon denies even being in California when the alleged gratuity was made. published a copy of Trump's MasterCard receipt showing the whopping tip on an $82.27 bill. "This was done by the stupid restaurant to get publicity," he told reporters, pointing out that it wasn't his signature.

Back on the links, Trump has been told by a city council in California that he has to uproot hundreds of ficus trees at his Trump National Golf Club after residents complained the trees were blocking their ocean views.

Beware those vegetarians

Consultants at GEE, the corporate governance watchdog, reckon vegetarians pose a serious risk to businesses and that the office party could become a ghost of Christmas past. The party-poopers are in a fluster over the Employment Equality Regulations 2003. Stuart (Bah-Humbug) Chamberlin of GEE says: "Crazy as it may seem, it would not be impossible for vegetarians and those who reject religion to try to bring a claim under the new regulations."

HIPs war turns nasty

Kirstie "I love estate agents" Allsopp inspires nothing but vitriol in Jeff Smith, boss of HIP Payment Services, for her stance over Home Information Packs. The incensed Smith made his views known in a press release. "Throughout her involvement in the HIPs debate, Kirstie Allsopp has failed to disclose the fact that she is a Tory politician, and has merely been an opposition spokesperson from day one. I challenge anyone to take her opinions seriously, particularly when Conservative characters have stood smiling behind the faade of this supposedly neutral celebrity."

BBC staff can't get dates

The anticipated BBC cutbacks are set to cause scheduling and time-keeping chaos from January. Staff have been told they will not be receiving free diaries this year.

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