'Seven-a-day' fruit and veg call, full employment and April Fool spoofs

A stall in a French fruit and veg market

Several papers report that most of us need to eat more fruit and veg, after research suggested increasing the recommendation of five-a-day would help people live longer.

However, while the Daily Telegraph and Metro report that 10 portions would do the trick on the back of one academic's comments, the Daily Express and Times stick to the seven used to draw conclusions in the research.

But the Telegraph quotes another public health specialist, the University of Reading's Gunter Kuhnle, suggesting the advice should not be altered at all. "Messing with the sacred cows of health advice is dangerous: we run the risk of undermining the strength of such messages."

As the Times points out, there are in any case mixed messages around the world. Danes are advised to eat six a day, while their neighbours in Sweden are told: "Fruit and vegetables every time you eat." Hungarians are advised to eat just three portions daily, while the Dutch are told: "Two portions, twice a day."

In the Guardian, there are words of caution for fruit fanatics keen to notch up their 10 portions. It quotes the University of Liverpool's Simon Capewell warning about the amount of sugar in fruit. He tots up the refined sugar in a "five-a-day" menu comprised of a glass of orange juice, dried figs, a smoothie and tinned fruit salad, and comes to 60g - more than in a bottle of cola.

The Daily Express lends a helping hand by printing "simple swaps", such as blueberries for high-sugar raisins, a lower-sugar peach for a pear or raspberries for sugary grapes.

'April fool'

Image copyright Reuters

Chancellor George Osborne's freshly declared ambition to help Britain have "the highest employment rate of any of the world's leading economies" has the Sun renaming him "George Jobsborne".

"By committing to the promotion of productive employment for as many as possible, Mr Osborne shows that he understands the central importance of the dignity of work," says the Telegraph's editorial.

For Chris Giles, in the Financial Times, the ambition "rekindles memories of the end of the second world war... Then, politicians of all parties accepted that a primary responsibility of government was a 'high and stable level of employment after the war' through the maintenance of strong demand for goods and services". However, he says it's a tough goal given Britain currently lies fourth of the G7 club of developed nations, behind Germany, Canada and Japan.

The Times's front page cartoon pictures a man reading an article declaring "full employment" and telling his friend: "April fool!" However, while in the paper's Thunderer column Tim Montgomerie accepts the chancellor's "dream" is most associated with the "idealistic Left", he adds: "By giving his party a grand purpose Mr Osborne was connecting with people's preferences for shops, airlines and other brands with strong ethical commitments at the heart of their identity."

The Telegraph notes that the chancellor refused to say exactly what he meant by "full" employment but that the government's independent forecaster considers "full employment" to exist when unemployment is about 5%. Sketchwriter Michael Deacon reckons: "He wants a new definition of 'full', one that's up-to-date and fit for purpose in our ever-changing 21st-Century world. And his new definition of 'full' will be... 'not full'."

Meanwhile, the Guardian focuses on a Trades Union Congress report suggesting nearly half the jobs in parts of the UK pay less than the "living wage" of £8.80 an hour in London and £7.65 elsewhere. It prints a map of "blackspots" such as Kingswood, near Bristol, where 48% of workers are paid below that level and "brightspots", such as Poplar and Limehouse in east London, where it's 5.6%.

Its cartoonist Steve Bell reworks the Conservatives' old "Labour isn't working" election poster by sketching a long, twisting line of employees leading to a food bank, with the slogan: "Poverty wage isn't working".

April fools

Image copyright various
Image caption Will Edinburgh have a European king, descended from James VI of Scotland?

Scotland's looming independence referendum provides plenty of inspiration for those working on spoof stories to mark 1 April.

The Times suggests that the Duke of Saxony - a German descended from the Stuart kings - sees the prospect of Scottish independence as a chance to claim the throne of Scotland. The clue, however, lies in quotes attributed to an academic Amadan Giblean, whose name is a Gaelic translation of April Fool.

The Guardian envisages Scotland showing it's "part of Europe" by switching to driving on the right, relabeling the signage system so that the M8 motorway becomes the S8 and constructing huge, spiralling "direction reversal" systems to avoid accidents when cross-border motorists become confused by the lane switch.

First Minister Alex Salmond's head would replace that of the Queen on a pound coin named the "Salmond Sterling", according to the Daily Telegraph's "Flora Poli".

The Daily Mail says it's snapped a ministerial aide accidentally revealing the design for a "Scot-free Union Jack", minus the blue of the saltire. It quotes "Avril McTickle" complaining that there's "no constitutional need to change the flag".

Meanwhile, away from Scotland, the Sun reports that the Queen has approved fracking in the grounds of Buckingham Palace in a bid to reduce "rocketing" palace utility bills of £3.1m. If the line about Prince Charles being convinced doesn't quite give the game away, the quotes from "green campaigner Avril Fuel" ought to.

And the Daily Express says British famer Ian Hatchett's hens are laying square eggs at his "Flair Loop" farm, in Suffolk.

April fools?

Image copyright AP

The back pages are no joke for cricket fans, as another humiliating defeat sees England return to the back pages. After the Test side's winter Ashes whitewash, the World Twenty20 team crashed to a 45-run defeat to the Netherlands in Bangladesh.

The Sun records the public apology issued by captain Stuart Broad in the wake of what the paper calls a "pathetic new low", while describing England as a "Hol lot of rubbish" who were "clogged by the Dutch".

Meanwhile the Daily Telegraph describes the loss as leaving the team "sent home in disgrace", England having already failed to qualify for the tournament's later stages.

And former captain Mike Atherton, writing in the Times, says it will make it very difficult for the England and Wales Cricket Board to appoint Ashley Giles as permanent head coach. "Of course, there is context and some sympathy for a man who has never really had the chance to stamp his authority on the job and who now faces the possibility of being out of one," he says, noting that key players have been injured or rested.

However, sympathy is in short supply in the Guardian, where opener Michael Carberry criticises Giles's managerial qualities. The paper's cricket correspondent Mike Selvey says Giles might be a victim of the fallout from the "dreadful" defeat but that no-one should be shocked at the loss.

There is support from another former national skipper, Nasser Hussain, in the Daily Mail. "Just as I wouldn't judge a player on a couple of showings, so I wouldn't jump to conclusions about Giles' ability to be full-time coach of this England team."

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