Newspaper review: EU 'meddling', Prince George's first stamp and a Mantovani obsession

Several papers choose to lead their coverage of developments in the EU referendum campaign by highlighting the observations of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. The former Luxembourg prime minister said the bloc is losing people's support because it is "interfering in too many domains in their public lives".

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Mr Juncker's comments on the way the EU meddles in the affairs of other countries, says the Times, came amid growing fears that a British exit from the EU could trigger a chain reaction affecting other nations.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Mr Juncker's "candid and highly pessimistic assessment" was an acknowledgement that the idea of closer integration was facing "ruin" because of a backlash from voters angered by a lack of respect for the powers of national government.

The Daily Mail notes it is possible he was trying to show the EU is listening as part of a bid to convince British voters it can reform itself.

However, it says Mr Juncker has finally admitted the "truth on bloated Brussels". His candid comments will be used by Brexit campaigners to back up their case, it says.

The Daily Express sees the remarks as an "astonishing confession of failure" of the EU.


Gove's case

A speech given by Justice Secretary Michael Gove on the case for Brexit also comes under the spotlight.

The Times says he turned Europhile warnings of increasing instability on their head by claiming a vote to leave would lead to the democratic liberation of a whole continent. His arguments, the paper says in a leading article, have raised the tone of the debate and deserve to be taken seriously.

Image copyright Reuters

The Daily Mail sees Mr Gove's remarks as persuasive, describing them as a message of confidence and optimism.

The Sun says Mr Gove did a "bang-up job putting Project Fear to the sword".

While the Daily Mirror accepts Mr Gove's argument "displays an intelligence", it says he was unable to explain what would happen economically in the event of a Brexit.

Meanwhile, the Guardian chooses to angle its story on the speech on Labour's rejection of Mr Gove's vision as "completely ridiculous utopian rubbish".

The Financial Times points out critics have questioned the merit of Mr Gove's decision to hold up the example of Albania as being among the possible economic models of a post-Brexit future.


Eye-catching headlines


First class tribute

A photograph of four generations of the royal family features on the front page of many papers.

The specially-commissioned shot of the Queen and the heirs to the throne - the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince George - was taken by Ranald Mackechnie at Buckingham Palace in June last year.

Image copyright Ranald Mackechnie/Royal Mail/PA

The image is for the Royal Mail and forms the scene on a sheet of four commemorative stamps to mark the Queen's 90th birthday.

The Times describes it as one of the most charming royal group photos of recent years.

And it notes that the inclusion of Prince George, then nearly two, makes him the youngest member of the royal family to feature by himself on a postage stamp.

The Daily Telegraph records the background to the shot - the use of stand-ins, four visits to the palace and foam blocks for Prince George to stand on to make sure he was not too far below the other royals in the picture.

The New Day describes the "historic snap" featuring the four generations as "the jewel in the philatelist's crown".

Prince George wears a beaming smile as he poses, notes the Sun. Six other stamps of the monarch make up the set and the Sun describes the collection as a "first class tribute to the Queen".


'Social revolution'

The Guardian reports on the findings of an observational study which suggests loneliness and social isolation have been linked to a 30% increase in the risk in wealthy societies of having a stroke or coronary artery disease.

Research by the universities of York, Liverpool and Newcastle published in the online journal Heart argues for the inclusion of social factors in medical education, says the paper.

In a leading article, the Times calls for a "social revolution to deal with the growing problem of isolation".

The Daily Express says loneliness is a "silent disease that is crippling many elderly people in Britain... We are often urged to do things in the cause of maintaining a healthy lifestyle but it is becoming clear that we can do something to help others too."


What the commentators say...

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Media captionFay Schlesinger, head of news at The Times, and Financial Times energy correspondent Kiran Stacey join the BBC News Channel to review Wednesday's front pages.

Mantovani obsession

Finally, the Daily Telegraph carries news of a pensioner who has spent close to £500,000 recreating the sound of Annunzio Paolo Mantovani's light orchestra and staging concerts of his idol's work.

Image caption The real Mantovani in 1971

Paul Barrett's obsession began at the age of 12 when his father took him to see a concert by the Anglo-Italian conductor and composer.

When he retired and sold his family's builders merchants business in Sheffield Mr Barrett, now 70, and living in Bournemouth, was able to fulfil that childhood dream.

The Daily Mail says he has learnt to play percussion himself but pays £20,000 a time to hire musicians, a conductor and music venues.

"When his 48-piece orchestra starts playing, the hundreds of thousands of pounds Paul Barrett has spent pursuing his 'magnificent obsession' all seems worth it," says the paper.


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