OPINION

January 15, 2003

NATIONAL BANK IN THE DARK: The Liberal party (led by Sophocles Venizelos), issued the following announcement yesterday on the merger of the National Bank and Bank of Athens: «The sudden decision by the (Papagos) government to impose the merger of the National Bank and the Bank of Athens, which is both pointless and inadvisable, borders on the scandalous because of the procedure followed and the conditions under which it was carried out. Negotiations were carried out in utmost secrecy by a member of the government (Ed. note: Spyros Markezinis, the minister for coordination) and a group of businessmen, without the knowledge neither of the public nor the National Bank, making the entire procedure astonishingly irregular. PARTISAN BELGRADE-PAO 1-0: The day before yesterday, the soccer match between the powerful Yugoslav team Partisan and PAO was held at the Panathinaikos stadium before a crowd of 22,000 spectators. The Greek team played wonderfully, but was finally defeated 1-0. The goal was scored in the 83rd minute by Bobek(…). The best players on the Greek team were the defenders Linoxylakis and Aloupis, and forwards Kazakos and Papantoniou. OIL DISTRIBUTION: The distribution of 200 drams (640 grams) of oil per person has been ordered for the population of Athens and provinces that do not produce oil.