CITY DIARY

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Trouble at Barings is spreading to its progenies. The chief executive of McDonnell Information Services, the computer services company brought to the market by Barings last year, received a ticking off from its image consultants yesterday. Jeremy Causley, who twice last year warned anxious investors of trading problems, was announcing halved annual profits when he was disciplined at a photo-call by his spin-doctor. Apparently, he was looking too happy.

The Barings kerfuffle is causing trials of conscience for some of the institution's friends. When the fertiliser hit the air-conditioning at the weekend, Anthony Cardew, the public relations grandee, was straight in there helping old friends in the corporate finance department. But when the administrator was appointed on Friday, and bill-payment was called into question, Mr Cardew graciously handed over the reins to another firm.

Spymaster, the naughty surveillance shop in Portman Square that specialise in bugs and other covert gadgetry, has diversified into an unusual new market. Bombarded by requests by its Middle Eastern clients for technology to track extremely expensive but wayward hunting falcons, it has developed a special range of telemetry tracking equipment. Camel-riding sheikhs can send bearers into the desert with radio-wave-emitting aerials and use a hand- held computer to locate quickly their precious birds The range depends on whether the falcons are flying or perched in a tree, an expert tells me.

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