Lesson learned as 'new UBS' draws up code of conduct Good to see UBS grasping the nettle and giving itself an ethical makeover with the production of its 'Code of Business Conduct and Ethics'. Readers will recall the reputation nightmare that UBS has been through over the past few years over its brush with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The US had been irritated by the Swiss bank's so-called wealth management arm, which was found to have been encouraging clients to evade US taxes by funnelling funds through shell companies set up in exotic locations like Hong Kong and Liechtenstein. The bank avoided prosecution in the US last year by agreeing to pay a US$780 million fine and to turn over some 4,700 accounts belonging to Americans to the IRS. However, UBS is hoping that is all in the past. In his preface to the code, chief executive Oswald Grubel refers pointedly to the 'new UBS', while noting 'all UBS employees and directors are expected to comply with the laws, rules and regulations of the countries in which we operate'. Cutting to the chase the code says: 'We do not provide assistance to clients or colleagues in acts aimed at deceiving tax authorities.' Strange that all those high-powered minds never realised that before. Anyway, however belatedly, it's encouraging to see that UBS now accepts that crime doesn't pay - at least not any more. Forever blowing bubbles When is a bubble not a bubble? Apparently when it's in China. We see that Jim Chanos, who heads the hedge fund Kynikos Associates, thinks the mainland's property market is a classic case. 'Looking like Dubai times 1,000 - or worse,' says the man who made a fortune from rumbling the great Enron scam. 'Bubbles are best identified by credit excesses, not valuation excesses, and there's no better credit excess than in China,' he told CNBC. Aha! But China is different, say others. Arthur Kroeber, the managing director of Beijing-based independent research firm Dragonomics, says China 'is not even close' to being a bubble like Japan in the 1980s and the mother of all bubbles that popped in the US in 2008. The music will stop at some point, Kroeber agrees, but not for at least 15 years when urbanisation stops. So where does this leave Chanos - forever blowing bubbles? Romance of travel Our attention has been drawn to an intriguing ranking of airports. Unlike most, which apportion praise and blame for efficiency, services and convenience, this one ranks airports that give travellers the best chance for romantic liaisons. The route to romance is an airport that combines lengthy delays combined with plenty of bars and coffeeshops to meet. The survey was compiled by Axe, a men's grooming firm and commentator on the chemistry between men and woman, together with Sperling's BestPlace and targets the 33 largest metropolitan airports. Top of the list are Liberty International, Newark, and John F Kennedy International, thanks to some of the longest and most frequent delays encountered (average delay time 65 minutes). JFK has 17 coffeeshops, while Newark has 52 restaurants, making them two of the best airports for making connections of a different kind. The first non-US airport is Charles de Gaulle in Paris, ranked seventh, and London's Heathrow at nine. Needless to say Hong Kong is too efficient for romance, coming in at 17. Escaping censors' net Google's difficulties with the mainland have once again drawn attention to its paranoia over anything approaching free speech. But despite the thousands deployed by the Chinese government to keep the internet free of so-called subversive material there is still plenty that escapes the censor's attention. Lai See has it on good authority that as long ago as 2002, if you used the mainland version of Google and typed in 'evil Jiang Zemin', you were led to an online game called 'slap the evil dictator Jiang Zemin'. The site url is www.urban75.com/Action/jiang.html . It's a bizarre game where you score points by zapping the bouncing heads of Jiang and, oddly, former British foreign secretary, the late Robin Cook (above), while the Chinese national anthem plays. Why Cook should star in this game remains a mystery, although he did meet Jiang in Beijing in 1998 during the first high-ranking British mission to China after the handover.