New foe for Gangs of New York?

The White House is likely to appoint Michael Garcia, assistant secretary for immigration and customs enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security, to replace David Kelley as the next US attorney for the southern district of New York.

Given Kelley's tough record - especially when it comes to indicting home-design gurus and basketball coaches-turned-telecoms executives - some white-collar criminals may be tempted to greet the news with a sigh of relief.

But Garcia may not be an easy touch, either.

Garcia is not a stranger to the US attorney's office in Manhattan. He spent most of the 1990s there prosecuting high-profile terrorism cases and, in his recent job, has taken on gang members by charging them with immigration offences.

Perhaps the Wall Street gang should not relax just yet.

Feminine fizz

Could woman power restore the fizz to the troubled soft-drink industry?

First Coca-Cola promoted Mary Minnick, head of Asian operations, to a more powerful global role overseeing marketing and innovation. Then, last week, PepsiCo expanded the responsibilities of Dawn Hudson, in charge of the flagship Pepsi brand in North America, to include the group's other carbonated drinks. The changes are part of efforts to reverse declining cola sales as consumers fret about expanding waistlines.

Minnick and Hudson are already been talked of as possible future chief executives. With Indra Nooyi, Pepsi's chief financial officer, and Irene Rosenfeld, head of the company's snack food business, also among the potential successors to Steve Reinemund, a female boss of Pepsi seems likely.

But Observer wonders whether more conservative Coke is ready to cross the gender divide after 119 years of male leadership.

Renter's market

Donald Trump probably pays more attention than most to the fortunes of Chicago's real estate market.

He is planning a 90-storey, five-star condominium and hotel tower that will come close to rivalling the Sears Tower, the Windy City's tallest structure and the third tallest in the world.

Trump will be encouraged, no doubt, by news that the Sears Tower has signed its first new leases since the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

The new leases may mean that tenants are becoming more comfortable about taking space in tall buildings.

Unfortunately, the news is not so good for Chicago's real estate market generally.

Chicago faces a glut of office space planned when the economy was humming along five years ago. Yet the city is recovering slowly as job creation lags the rest of the US.

Trump will be hoping for better times by 2008. That's when his planned tower is due to open its doors.

Charles' crown

There aren't many who wouldn't swap places with a prince but Prince Charles of Britain's case is an exception.

Having finally set a date for his wedding - with little fanfare - to his long-standing lover Camilla Parker Bowles, Charles will instead be attending a funeral.

He is the royal family's representative to the Pope's funeral on Friday, the original date of his civil union with the woman who will not be queen and is destined to remain in the shadow of Diana, Charles' late first wife. Given that many of the leading players at his wedding - the Archbishop of Canterbury and Tony Blair, prime minister, for example - will probably be in Rome he had little option but to postpone the day.

It is payback for the Roman Catholic Church more than 450 years after the English monarchy flung it out of the country.

Back in the 16th century an English king intent on divorcing his wife and marrying another woman was prepared to ignore Rome and do things his own way - even to the point of establishing his own church and nabbing many of the assets of the Catholics.

There is no such defiance now. The divorced heir to the throne will pay the royal family's last respects to a pontiff who famously had strong views on the sanctity of marriage.

Still tasteless

Five years ago, at the peak of the dotcom boom, a company called Domain Hypermarket was launched in the UK, auctioning more than 2,000 memorable internet addresses to the highest bidder.

One of them was, with a reserve price of £15,000 ($28,000). A Catholic Church spokesman condemned the sale as "callous and exploitative". But Martin Newman, founder of the start-up, was unrepentant. "I think there is value in the address," he said.

So what has become of as it approaches the moment of its greatest commercial potential? Alas, the address is still for sale, now through a different domain name dealership and with a drastically reduced price tag of €300 ($385). And what of Newman and his dreams of an internet fortune? Well, his own address - - is also up for sale.

Vertical integration

From the department of ironic detachment comes news that Patrick Carroll has launched XPL, a chewing gum for people trying to quit smoking. Carroll is also the maker of Legal, a cigarette he launched last year.

"XPL is for the smoker who's not ready to quit," says Carroll, whose press photo shows him holding a packet of cigarettes. "XPL is the only gum available that is scientifically proved to reduce the negative effects of smoking by cleaning up a smoker's teeth, cleaning up their breath and cleaning out the nicotine."

And Observer thought lung cancer was a negative effect.

Get alerts on Opinion when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window)

Comments have not been enabled for this article.

Follow the topics in this article