Newspaper headlines: 'Doctors at war' over strikes and 'selfie makes Kate giggle'

An escalation of the NHS contract dispute and an unexpected intervention by senior doctors pushes the issue back to the front pages.

Plans by junior doctors to stage a series of five-day strikes between now and Christmas were condemned by senior colleagues in a "surprise statement", the Guardian reports.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges expressed disappointment at the planned action following "agonised hours of deliberation", the paper says.

The Times says the "rebuke" from the academy - an umbrella body for the royal colleges that set professional standards - "represents a shift in tone among the top ranks of the medical profession".

'Growing unease'

Previously the academy had expressed sympathy with junior doctors' concerns over their new contract, but "with patients' groups also condemning the strikes, unease is strengthening among senior doctors", the paper writes.

"Exasperation is also building among professional leaders about what they see as unrealistic expectations and shifting demands among junior doctors."

"Doctors at war over juniors' strike plan," is the Daily Telegraph's front page headline.

It says the academy condemned as "disproportionate" the strike action announced by the British Medical Association (BMA), with junior doctors accused of putting patients at risk.

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Image caption The first five-day strike is planned for later this month

The Guardian adds that even senior members of the BMA are split over whether to support the action, which is over a new, imposed contract affecting issues such as weekend working and pay.

A vote of the BMA's council on Wednesday went 16-12 in favour, following a "tense and highly charged discussion", it reports.

Both the Daily Mail and Metro pick up on Theresa May's first intervention in the dispute, with headlines suggesting the prime minister told doctors they had "never had it so good".

Metro says Mrs May pointed to "record levels of funding going into the NHS and more doctors... than we've seen in its history".

The Mail says she accused junior doctors of "playing politics" with patients' lives.

'Sign of intent'

"In a sign of intent, the prime minister intervened to make it clear the government will not back down against the BMA's militant leaders on the 'crucial' new contract for junior doctors," the paper adds.

"Mrs May also brushed aside calls from junior doctors and Labour for Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to be sacked."

In an editorial column, the Daily Telegraph says patients will expect the government to stand its ground in what is "perhaps Theresa May's first serious test of leadership".

Urging junior doctors to cross the picket line, the paper adds: "The thought of doctors behaving like postal workers or train drivers will horrify people - including, we are sure, most doctors.

"A delayed letter or train is annoying. A delayed operation or emergency care can be a matter of life and death."

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Image caption Some papers say it is time for Jeremy Hunt to quit

The Daily Mirror, which calls for Jeremy Hunt to quit in an editorial column, draws attention to a radio interview in which it says the "shameless" health secretary caused "outrage and disbelief by having the brass neck to compare himself to NHS founder Nye Bevan".

The i headlines its coverage: "Junior doctors declare war on Hunt."

In a comment piece inside, Jane Merrick argues that it is time for the prime minister to acknowledge that Mr Hunt has become "too toxic" to stay in post.

"The determination of junior doctors to take strike action in the face of a reasonable, union-agreed contract shows this has become more than a dispute about hours," she writes.

"It is a personalised war with the health secretary."


King of selfies

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Heard the one about a "hunky" builder, a sneaky selfie and a royal party? No? Well, it made the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge laugh during a visit to Newquay in Cornwall.

A number of papers have some fun with the encounter, which happened when Prince William spotted "cheeky builder" Sam Wayne taking a photo from a distance and quipped: "That's got to be a bad selfie."

But Mr Wayne, working at a Duchy of Cornwall housing project, replied "I took one with your dad," referencing a snap taken with Prince Charles in 2014.

The Daily Mail quotes Mr Wayne as saying: "I was told no selfies before the visit, but I took one... I'm a bit of a selfie freak I suppose."

The Daily Express describes him as the "hunky builder who made Kate giggle", thanks to the "determined" efforts of the "cheeky chap".

In keeping with the cheeky tone, the Times' Valentine Low writes: "If he was as good at the day job as he was at taking selfies, Sam Wayne would be a master builder."


Banish the blues

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The next story should come as a comforting read for those of you, like me, who have recently returned to work after a summer break.

The Daily Telegraph reports on a study that suggests the physical and psychological benefits of a holiday can last for a month after returning home.

Scientists discovered that "just six days away is enough to trigger genetic changes which dampen stress, boost the immune system and lower levels of proteins linked to dementia and depression", writes the paper of the US study.

"Although previous studies have shown that getting away has a positive impact on mental health, the new research is the first to prove that a break can actually change how a person's genes function."

California dreamin'

The study involved 94 healthy women, aged between 30 and 60, who stayed at a retreat in California for six days, the Daily Mail reports.

Researchers collected blood samples and interviewed participants before and after their stay and compared the activity of 20,000 genes for signs of any alterations.

"Genes that are normally needed for dealing with injury, wound healing and stress were far less active immediately after the holiday," the paper says.


What the commentators say

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Media captionBroadcaster Dame Joan Bakewell and Liam Halligan, economics commentator at the Daily Telegraph, join the BBC News Channel to review Friday's front pages.

'Booming economy'

"The economy is booming following the vote to leave the EU," declares the Daily Express lead story about what it describes as "startling new figures" showing a record rise in manufacturing.

It says the "respected" Markit/CIPS UK manufacturing index unveiled the biggest month-on-month jump in its 25-year history.

The paper says it has "dealt a blow to the Remain campaigners Project Fear doom and gloom predictions".

The Financial Times also carries the story, with the headline: "Busy factories fuel pro-Brexit MPs' claims of Treasury scaremongering."

"The figures showed activity in Britain's factories hit a 10-month high in August, the latest sign that the economy may be recovering its poise after the initial shock of June's Brexit vote."

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According to the paper, Barclays analysts say business nerves have been settled by the "speedy formation" of Theresa May's government, the interest rates cut and a signal that the chancellor will ease austerity.

However, the FT adds that Philip Hammond told colleagues it was "too early" to say whether the economy had emerged in good shape after the Brexit vote and he was awaiting further economic data.

Meanwhile, the paper's lead suggests the rise of China's renminbi as "the world's most heavily traded emerging market currency" is eroding London's grip as the leader in the global currencies trading business.