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Journalism - The Guardian

City diary
Friday November 22, 2002

  • There's two ways of looking at the BBC's 10 Greatest Britons lovefest: either it's in the organisation's greatest tradition of public broadcasting, or it's little more than a highbrow carbon copy of Channel 4's Top 10 franchise. We're leaning towards the second option with the news that Auntie is now working on the Greatest British businessmen and women, especially as the BBC's business editor Jeff Randall has only managed to come up with six entries. Seemingly oblivious to irony, the BBC news website asks: "But is the list complete?" Well, no, it is quite clearly at least four people short.

  • Microsoft has finally conceded what everybody knew all along: it can't be trusted. Revealing the latest security hole in its browser, it admitted that even with the fix installed, the hole could be reopened if people automatically accept Microsoft-approved files. The only solution is to remove the company from Internet Explorer's trusted publisher list, it stated. Microsoft announced 85% profit margins this week.

  • Is the OECD turning into a modern-day Cassandra? Yesterday, it confidently predicted 1.5% global growth for 2002. But nearly all European governments have given higher estimates (nothing to do with meeting pre-agreed euro growth targets of course). Now we see the organisation has kept January 20-22 clear for a discussion on the "risks, policies and actions" for "near earth objects". Which, to you and me, means a huge meteorite landing on earth and wiping us all out. Will this honourable institution be ignored again and doomed to watch its prediction come true?

  • Speaking of seasonal doomsayers, far from delighting in a 6% boom in retail sales, the centre for retail research has decided to put out a report headlined "35 shoplifting days until Christmas". As it joyfully states: "What should be the most profitable time for retailers is being blighted by armies of organised criminals." Ho! Ho! Ho! And what's to blame for this atrocity? Why, the euro, of course. "Failure to budget for the introduction of the euro may have made families turn to easy crime." What a load of roasted chestnuts.

Link to copy on Guardian

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