Column Eight: Marcos makes his mark

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The Independent Online
Brainwashed by a combination of excitable weathermen and technicolour satellite photographs, many people meekly accepted that Hurricane Andrew was born of low atmospheric pressure in the Bay of Mexico.

A pox on that, cries Imelda Marcos (or words to that effect). The restless ghost of her late husband and dictator Ferdinand is responsible. What is more, he will continue to cause natural disasters until his body (currently languishing in Honolulu) is brought home to Manila. Or so she says.

Since Marcos died the Philippines has suffered typhoons, a huge earthquake and the ongoing eruption of the Mount Pinatubo volcano.

'I hope we can put the remains of the president to rest. So that these negative vibrations will leave us,' intones Imelda. Quite.

An end-of-summer freebie trip to Florida and the Bahamas would have sounded alluring had the hurricane chosen to holiday in the Far East this year.

As it is, a hundred British loss adjusters who have just been flown over to assess insurance claims are not to be envied. An electricity supply is rare and the only running water gushes down streets and through bedrooms.

Soon, however, the sun will reappear. Enfeebled Andrew has been downgraded to a tropical storm. The loss adjusters will get a tan yet.

As predictable as the Treasury's autumn spending round is the onset of the seasonal jobs merry-go-round in the City. Neil MacKinnon, chief economist at Yamaichi, is the latest to go, moving to Citibank as chief currency strategist.

Mr MacKinnon, a known left-winger, was widely tipped to become an economics adviser to the Labour Party were it to win the general election. No doubt a sizeable financial inducement offered by Citibank will ease the disappointment of Labour's poor show - even if ideological leanings remain unfulfilled.

British Telecom writes to a customer who, after hiking miles to a telephone box in his small North Yorkshire hamlet, tried to convey that his telephone had not worked for a fortnight. BT's letter is dated 25 August 1992.

'We have fully investigated the fault which you reported on 26 August 1992. We have tried to phone you to confirm this, but without success. If you feel that you still have a problem with this line, don't hesitate to call us.'

The customer's reponse: 'Aaaagggh.'