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Counting the weeks

It's just under a year until the start of European monetary union, and you would expect banks to be pulling out all the stops. But while they wrestle night and day with the technical details, little is being done to inject some fun into the proceedings. Salomon Smith Barney is leading the pack with its "Countdown to Emu calendar" - displaying the number of weeks left until January 1 1999 - recently erected in the firm's lobby.

You might expect something flashy and hi-tech from the American bank, but on closer inspection the calendar is a kid's-style creation of paper and glue. The feature has been on display in Salomon's London building since mid-October, but strangely nobody in the firm will admit to putting it there. Disappointingly, other banks have nothing planned to commemorate the Emu countdown. Perhaps they think they can't compete. Rebecca Bream

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