Slumdog a firming favourite. According to the market, it is almost all over but for the presentation — Slumdog Millionaire will win the Academy Award for Best Picture and Danny Boyle will be vote in as Best Director. The Crikey Oscars election indicators have both the film and the director as 86% chances of winning.

More motor vehicle industry pleading sure to come. Motor vehicle sales figures out this morning will ensure that there will be further cries for help from local manufacturers. The slide in new car sales continues apace with the January 2009 trend estimate of 75 937 being 0.8% lower than the corresponding estimate for December 2008 and 16.5% lower than the trend estimate 12 months earlier. Decreases in the trend estimate have now been recorded for 13 consecutive months. In seasonally adjusted terms the January 2009 estimate for total sales of new motor vehicles (76 224) decreased by 1.1% compared with December 2008.

General Motors have already laid the foundation for another approach to Canberra for further assistance with yesterday6’s announcement in the United States of world-wide job cuts. It will not be long before they come knocking.

AaaaaHhhhhh! My cry of pain came when reading Denis Shanahan’s prediction that Peter Costello will be staying in Parliament for another term. Thus there will be no relief from Costello to challenge and Costello not to challenge stories for another four and a bit years. I hereby declare a Costello leadership free zone until he becomes leader or retires from the House of Representatives. I’m sure you will understand!

A proper English sponsorship. With English cricket reeling this morning from losing its sponsorship association with an American financial institution headed by a man with a colonial knighthood, it is pleasing to be able to report that the proper British bank Lloyds has agreed to continue its sponsorship association with the Chelsea Flower Show. It appears that the Lloyds Chairman Sir Victor Blank, a man with a proper knighthood bestowed by the Queen of England rather than the ruler of Antigua, has long been a regular at the Chelsea Flower Show’s Gala preview night. It would have been churlish to think that needing to be bailed out by the British Government to the tune of a few tens of billion pounds should get in the way of the bank continuing with its floral association. So a lazy couple of hundred thousand pounds was found so Lloyds could keep up the good work and Sir Victor could entertain his guests in an appropriately proper fashion.

Relief from fires must be close at hand. The Victorian bushfires have dropped out of the top 10 most read stories list on the Herald Sun website this morning so relief must surely be at hand. While the tragic death of a firemen is splashed all over the front of the paper edition, here is what the readers are actually reading:

  1. INXS fires frontman
  2. ‘Mum gunned down at the door’
  3. Rihanna’s disgust at Brown
  4. US cheques out options
  5. Hitler was a real pig
  6. Joaquin’s director takes blame
  7. Minogue raises eyebrows
  8. Men arrested over Aussie rape
  9. Sol’s top secret phone stolen
  10. ‘I’m no party girl’ — Steph

It is a similar story at The Age , where the front page treatment of the aftermath of the bushfires is not reflected by what is being read on the web.

Peter Fray

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