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No time should be wasted asking them to reform – just do it

Business Diary: The great Barclays board cull

A new tome from the former Financial Times editor Sir Geoffrey Owen makes fascinating reading. Evolution or Revolution charts the way in which company boards have changed over the past 50 years. Sir Geoffrey highlights the case of Barclays Bank, which had more than 40 directors at one stage during the 1960s. It's now down to 13, including only two executive directors. A good job too, one might say, given the prices those executives charge the bank for their services.

Patten: I won't be popular at the BBC

Lord Patten told MPs yesterday that if he was confirmed as the new chairman of the BBC he would expect to be unpopular – and predicted that "there will be all hell let loose" as the corporation is forced to cut spending on programming.

Barclays hatches plan to buy Egg's UK credit cards

Barclays Bank is buying the British credit card assets of the online lender Egg from Citigroup to boost its retail banking business. The deal, agreed for an undisclosed sum, will give Barclays 1.15 million credit card accounts with about £2.3bn of outstanding balances.

Letters: Arab revolution creeps nearer to the oilfields

The uprising in Bahrain may have more serious implications for the US than they care to acknowledge. The replacement of a longstanding ally by a populist regime formed from Islamist parties who in the 2006 elections won 32 out of 40 seats in the lower house of Parliament may be just the first of a string of Gulf regimes that could fall to unrest.

Business Diary: Osborne misses getting Knighted

How did George Osborne, who the banks regard as an ally, dare to mount yesterday's attack on the sector? Well, let's put it this way, he waited until the banks' defender-in-chief was safely out of the way to announce he intended to raise their tax bills. Angela Knight, the fearsome boss of the British Bankers' Association, was conspicuous by her absence from the airwaves yesterday, so the Chancellor did not have to face her wrath. Did he know she was on holiday?

Osborne tells Davos: Firms must spend

George Osborne, the Chancellor, has urged cash-rich British companies to start spending and investing again in order to get the country's stalling economic recovery back on the road.

David Prosser: Do you trust your financial adviser?

Outlook It is impossible to argue with the Financial Services Authority's Sheila Nicoll, who yesterday called for the "rebuilding [of] trust between customer and adviser", as the regulator unveiled reforms of the financial advice market that will take effect at the start of 2013.

Business Diary: One good deed deserves another

Ping. In comes an email announcing that John Varley, the former Barclays Bank boss, is to be the next chairman of Marie Curie Cancer Care, a very worthycharity indeed. Ping. Just 15minutes later, an email from the Financial Services Authority arrives revealing that Barclays has been fined £7.7m and told to pay £60m in compensation formis-selling investment products while Varley was in charge. Good to see that both Varley and Barclays are giving something back.

David Prosser: Why are Britons crosser about bankers' bonuses than anyone else?

Outlook So here we go again. There is something about Goldman Sachs that winds people up the wrong way. So while Goldman is an American bank that has had no direct support from the British taxpayer, there will no doubt be a hue and a cry when it today unveils its compensation figures, including, as they will, some generous rewards for London-based staff.

DJ Taylor: A tight-lipped ogre, a stammering prince

Bob Diamond of Barclays seemed cross at being questioned by MPs, but Colin Firth might get us all talking to each other

Leader of animal rights attacks is jailed

The leader of an animal rights group which attacked branches of Barclays Bank because of the company's then links to the animal testing lab Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) was jailed for 12 months today.

Letters: Bank bonuses

I read David Buik's "View from the City" (10 January) several times. Had to, because I felt sure it was a wind-up. I looked for irony, the tongue in the cheek, but – Wow! – Mr Buik actually was arguing for a bank bonus culture.

David Prosser: Bankers' bonuses: the great government climbdown begins

Outlook: The claim of the BBC yesterday to have discovered that our biggest banks plan to ignore publicoutrage and pay yet more large bonuses will not be winning too many prizes as a journalistic scoop.

Bank raider detained under Mental Health Act

A robber who raided a bank and then went to a pub, threw the cash in the air and said, "the drinks are on me" was today detained under the Mental Health Act.

Business News in Brief: Incorrect information costs businesses £125m a year

British businesses are losing out on £125m every year due to incorrect customer data, according to Royal Mail research.

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'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

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UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
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300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
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Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

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Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

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14 best kids' hoodies

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Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

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