News

Strong demand for Costa coffee and a solid performance by budget Premier Inns saw a sharp rise in third-quarter sales at Whitbread, leaving it confident it will meet targets for the year

The Business On... Irene Rosenfeld, CEO, Kraft Foods

Ah, the corporate raider.

David Prosser: Wolseley's Swiss move threatens the foundations of Chancellor's tax policies

Outlook: Though the worst of the downturn is over and finance directors are returning to such matters, the Chancellorcould be forgiven for feeling betrayed

Leading article: Private money and public interest

As ever, fools rush in. Those who stumbled over themselves to paint Vince Cable as a wild-eyed Marxist on the basis of early extracts from his Liberal Democrat conference speech were left with egg on their faces yesterday when the Business Secretary delivered a classic defence of regulated free markets. But the furore did serve to highlight a prominent and malign feature of official attitudes towards the private sector in Britain.

David Prosser: It may have provoked but Cable's speech was hardly anti-capitalist

Outlook We can surely forgive Vince Cable one afternoon of political grandstanding. In opposition, Mr Cable was the LibDems' showman-in-chief, a far more effective and respected critic of the Labour government than the Conservatives with whom he now works. How the hair-shirt of office must have chafed these four long months. Even when his Tory colleagues asked Sir Philip Green, that master of tax avoidance, to work for coalition, the Business Secretary felt compelled to bite his tongue.

Hotel Chocolat finds it has plenty of room for expansion

The premium chocolatier with its own cocoa plantation is aiming for 70 UK stores in the next three years

Dom Joly: Bovine ablutions, and other country ways

It's the sheer level of violence that I can't comprehend.

Business Diary: HSBC keeps Britain waiting

With the banks taking so much flak for not doing enough to help Britain's ailing recovery, it was interesting to note HSBC's priorities yesterday. Britain's biggest bank by far didn't get round to doing briefings in London until lunchtime, with management having spent the morning talking to audiences in the Far East. Still, what do people expect? Chief executive, Michael Geoghegan, is now based in Hong Kong.

Top 10 clues to the real King Arthur

The King Arthur we know is one of romance, ephemera and myth. But is he real? Arthur has been in and out of fashion more than denim: one year his veracity is being argued by every archaeologist in Britain, the next he's ignored or derided.

Evercore man runs Takeover Panel

A leading investment banker is to take charge of the Takeover Panel, just as the watchdog considers a major overhaul of the City's deal-making rules.

Last Night's TV: In Loving Memory, BBC2<br />The Bionic Vet, BBC1<br />The Private Life of Cows, BBC2

In Loving Memory, Alison Millar's film about the commemorative shrines you increasingly see by roadsides these days, began with a piercing recollection; a mother sitting in her car and remembering the day she opened the door to two policemen who – ominously – had all the time in the world. She wasn't about to be rushed to an intensive care ward because her 18-year-old daughter was already dead. And there was worse: "I want to go and see her because she's my daughter," Rebecca Taylor's mother remembered thinking, "and the next thing is I can't go and see her because she's burnt... beyond recognition burnt." "I just wanted to bath her and dress her and hand her on to the next person," she added a little later, her voice, as it did many times tightening to a thread that strained but never quite broke. And denied the opportunity to say goodbye that way, Nicole Taylor's grief flowed into other channels, including one of those tender little eyesores that accumulate at the site of fatal accidents.

FTSE chiefs earn &#163;3.1m a year despite recession

Recession or not, the UK's top executives are still earning a typical £3.1m a year each – with a "poor correlation" between their pay and shareholder value, according to two of the country's leading authorities in the field. The level of remuneration will fuel the debate about boardroom excesses, with a crucial vote on pay at Marks & Spencer due next week. Shell and Tesco are two of the other leading British companies that have suffered from adverse publicity about "fat cattery". MM&K, a business consultancy, and Manifest, which advises institutional investors on how to vote at corporate AGMs, say that the typical pay of a FTSE-100 boss rose by 5 per cent since the slump began in 2008.

Cadbury's jobs fears realised as Kraft wields axe

Kraft Foods has axed nearly three-quarters of Cadbury's staff who were covered by global contractual terms at the confectionery giant's head office, The Independent has learned.

Business Diary: Blessed are the BT peacemakers

BT was no doubt expecting fisticuffs when launching its cut-price offer of Sky Sports this week – the feud with its rival has, after all, been pretty bitter.

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Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

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