hei-fi

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

Bank robber admits bomb hoax and firearm charges

A convicted robber who terrified staff and customers by telling them he had a bomb as he held up a bank pleaded guilty to a string of charges today, police said.

Richard Lambert: What business leaders want next: A growth strategy

The cuts were needed, but so is a plan for growth

The Business on John Varley, Chief executive, Barclays Bank

I thought that rich American bloke ran Barclays these days?

Simon Read: When will the banks start listening to our fair complaints?

Another week, another astonishing list of complaints about our banks. On Thursday it was the Financial Service Authority's turn to release statistics demonstrating just how little banks care about customer service. The City watchdog reported that around 1.3 million complaints about poor service or the misselling of financial products were logged against the high street banks in just six months.

Geoghegan to leave HSBC as board considers chairmanship

The future of HSBC, Britain's largest bank, was last night thrown into disarray as it emerged that Micheal Geoghegan, its chief executive, is now almost certain to step down at the end of the year after failing to secure the chairman's role.

Business Diary: The bottle to take on Volvic

Handbags at dawn in the bottled water industry. Volvic, the French water giant, has put out a triumphant press release championing what it claims is the "UK's first plastic bottle made using plant material". That's really got up the nose of Belu, one of its British rivals, which is renowned for its high ethical and environmental standards. A spokesman haughtily points out that it has been using bottles made from corn since 2006. Thank goodness these folk don't drink anything stronger than water.

LSE asks MWM to find new chairman

The London Stock Exchange has appointed MWM Consulting, the headhunting company run by Anna Mann, to help it find a possible new chairman.

Matthew Bell: The IoS Diary (19/09/10)

Is the Putin administration secretly funding the Tory party? I only ask because of an intriguing donation that has popped up on the Electoral Commission's register of interests, from a mysterious Russian hedge fund. In March this year, £10,000 was donated by Xenon Capital Partners, a Moscow-based fund created apparently for the sole purpose of advising Russian state-owned companies in the energy industry, which also manages a $2bn state-owned power utilities fund. Of course, it's all above board, as the company is also registered to an address in London, and British companies are allowed to donate as much as they like to political parties. Still, makes you wonder.

Business Diary: Red signal for Virgin Trains

It looks like Virgin Trains picked the wrong man to annoy when a string of its staff rather let down Simon Middleton at Crewe station recently. Mr Middleton is in the process of promoting his book, Build a Brand in 30 Days, and thus has access to the services of a public relations agency. It promptly put together a press release cataloguing Virgin's shabby treatment of Mr Middleton, and sent it to hundreds of journalists. Virgin seems to have forgotten the golden rule: the customer is always right, especially if he has some influence.

Business Diary: Celebrities turn out in the City

To BGC Partners in Canary Wharf, for its annual charity day. The brokerage, part of Cantor Fitzgerald, has been hosting the bash for several years to commemorate the 9/11 attacks on the US, in which more than 650 of its staff lost their lives. Yesterday's event produced a good turnout, with celebrities including Jonathan Ross, Penny Lancaster, David Coulthard, Honor Blackman, Johnny Vaughan, Lisa Snowden and Cilla Black all swapping places with BGC's brokers to close out deals. The event raises millions of pounds for around 75 charities, but there's no news yet on whether the stars also made more money for BGC than its own brokers normally manage.

Letters: Hatred

Muslims left to face hatred

Business Diary: Now it's Ryanair the opera

We're loving Fascinating Aida (they style themselves as Britain's top female comedy singing trio, though it can't be a large category) and their take on the blessed Ryanair. Check it out for yourself on YouTube, but this sample lyric sums it up: "Cheap flights, cheap flights, we should have gone by sea; there's no such thing as fecking flights for 50p." The tirade – though no doubt Ryanair will see it as more of a tribute – continues in that fashion for a good five minutes.

Business Diary: HR Owen boss is well-qualified

At first sight, the appointment of Andy Duncan, the former Channel Four as the new chief executive of HR Owen, the posh motor dealer, looks a little curious. From television studio to car showroom is an unusual career move. Still, at least Mr Duncan's personal choice of motor won't embarrass him in front of his new colleagues. Our spies tell us he drives a rather swish Audi S5 turbo cabriolet – not much change out of £40,000 for that one.

David Prosser: Bob Diamond joins the investment bankers running Britain's banks

Outlook It is almost two years to the day since the British Government, via the Financial Services Authority, effectively vetoed Barclays Bank's plan to buy Lehman Brothers, condemning the failing American investment bank to collapse. And although Bob Diamond, the Barclays man championing the takeover, was furious, he has much to be grateful for. Had Barclays been saddled with Lehman in its entirety, its ability to ride out the rest of the financial crisis would have been in question. Instead, it bought Lehman's choicest assets at a knock-down price and Mr Diamond came up smelling of roses.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee