Credit crisis diary: Anyone want to buy a second-hand jet?

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The Independent Online

Got a spare $20m knocking about? If so, why not pick up a bargain in the second-hand business jet market. Prices are plummeting, says used plane dealer Jet Republic, following a 90 per cent increase in the number of second-hand jets on the market (presumably there'll be a few more once the US car manufacturers are forced to flog their fleets in return for a state bailout). The average plane could be yours for $16m, with running costs coming in at around $3.5m a year. Cheap as chips.

No, Mr Bond, I expect you to pay my legal costs

Sean Connery's support for the Merger Action Group, the David currently taking on the Goliath that is the Department for Business over its waving through of the Lloyds TSB/HBOS merger, has won many plaudits north of the border. But is the former Bond star, left, aware of the Government's threat to make the group pay its legal costs, should MAG lose its bid to get the Competition Appeals Tribunal to overturn the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform's backing of the deal, as most independent analysts expect it to? Could prove expensive.

The small investors selling Britain short

Whatever happened to the patriotic spirit? Three-quarters of all short positions currently held by British private investors are bets against the pound, according to new research from DigitalLook.com. You can't fault people's savvy, given sterling's slide in recent months, but trading this way is surely on a par with betting against our national cricket team. And let's hope those private investors aren't planning an overseas holiday any time soon – they should be using their ill-gotten gains to boost spending and save us all from the recession.

Where do they find those statistics?

More embarrassment for the Office for National Statistics, whose figures on retail sales have repeatedly raised eyebrows this year. A fortnight ago, the ONS suggested total sales fell by just 0.1 per cent in October, for example, only to see the British Retail Consortium flatly contradict its analysis this week with much more unpleasant looking figures. It's the latest in a series of such humiliations for the ONS, whose figures are now being routinely ignored by many City analysts.

If you didn't laugh you'd cry

A delightful new credit-crunch gag is doing the rounds: What is the one thing that Wall Street and the Olympics have in common? Synchronised diving.

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