Newspaper review: 'By George,' exclaim papers


"By George," exclaim many of Thursday's newspapers, following the news that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have chosen a name for their new son - who is third in line to the throne.

The Daily Express, among others, continues to lead on the royal baby, noting that the decision to name the new prince after his paternal great-great-grandfather will bring "enormous pleasure" to the Queen.

It is a sentiment that is unlikely to be shared by the nation's bookmakers though, according to the Daily Telegraph.

It says they are expected to pay out about £750,000 after Catherine and William opted for the most heavily-backed name.

The paper, like others, cannot resist the urge to reflect on the colourful legacy of the long line of King Georges - summing them up as the mad, the bad and the Oscar-inspiring famous.

Babysitter needed

The new baby may be born to rule but it is, in many ways, the very ordinariness of his first few days on earth that is the great equaliser, according to the Daily Mirror.

It says Catherine's decision to stay with him at her parents' house shows that she - like every new mum - wants to be with her mother when a baby is born.

An heir to the throne needs a babysitter as much as anyone else, the paper concludes.

The Matt cartoon in the Telegraph features a flagpole in Catherine's home town of Bucklebury - with a nappy rather than the union flag billowing in the wind.

The Sun notes that, regardless of his privileged upbringing, baby George is likely to live seven years longer than a boy born in the north on the same day.

It throws down the gauntlet to the prime minister, arguing that any leader who could bridge the gap between the north and south and generate wealth in Britain's industrial heartlands would go down in history as "great".

'No illusion'

The Times is alarmed at a "mysterious" sudden rise in national death rates that also appears to be more pronounced in poorer areas.

The paper says it has seen a leaked government report revealing that thousands of elderly people have died unexpectedly during the past year - about 600 more a week than the weekly average for the past five years, leaving public health officials baffled.

It wonders if cuts in council care for pensioners could be responsible or whether we are witnessing a plateau in the upward trend of life expectancy.

Whatever the reason, the findings cannot be dismissed as a statistical illusion, it insists.

The Independent also claims to have gained access to confidential information.

It says it has seen a secret list - passed to a parliamentary committee - on the activities of big corporations like banks and pharmaceutical firms.

The paper alleges that companies from two of the country's biggest industries have hired private investigators to unlawfully obtain a range of personal data about individuals.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency knew about the illegal practice for years, it reports, but did nothing in what amounts to a potential scandal that could be "bigger than phone hacking".

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