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Fruit benefit study examined risk of premature deaths

The fruit study, published on, examined the association between fruit and vegetable intake and risk of premature deaths.

Researchers from China and the US analysed 16 studies involving more than 830,000 participants - 56,000 of whom died during the follow-up period.

Higher consumption of fruit and vegetables was significantly associated with a lower risk of death from all causes, particularly from cardiovascular disease.

They found the average risk of death from all causes was reduced by about 5% for each additional daily serving of fruit and vegetables.

But once a person had consumed five portions, there was no additional benefit noted for extra portions.


Drinking in middle age can 'lead to memory loss'

Heavy drinking during middle age can lead to memory loss in later life, a study has shown.

Researchers from the University of Exeter Medical School found a history of excessive drinking or alcohol abuse more than doubled the risk of developing a severe memory impairment.

Read: Study links memory loss to heavy drinking

Heavy drinking in middle age can damage memory in old age, the study found. Credit: PA

Scientists questioned 6,542 American middle-aged adults and assessed their mental abilities over an eight year period.

The evidence showed there was a public health issue not being addressed, researchers said.

Lead researcher Dr Iain Lang, from the University of Exeter Medical School, said: "This finding - that middle-aged people with a history of problem drinking more than double their chances of memory impairment when they are older - suggests... that this is a public health issue that needs to be addressed."

Read: Violent crime fall linked to rise in alcohol prices

More than five a day has 'no additional health benefit'

Five pieces of fruit and veg a day may well be enough.
Five pieces of fruit and veg a day may well be enough. Credit: PA

Eating more portions of fruit and veg than the recommended "five a day" has no additional benefit on reducing a person's risk of death, researchers have suggested.

Consuming five portions of fruit or vegetables each day is linked to a lower risk of premature death but eating more portions appears to have no further effect, their study concluded.

The findings contradict recent research which found that eating "seven a day" holds the lowest risk of death.

UN finds stash of rockets in Gaza school used as shelter

The United Nations agency that looks after Palestinian refugees said it had found a cache of rockets at one of its schools in the Gaza Strip and deplored those who had put them there.

United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) spokesman Chris Gunness condemned those responsible for placing civilians in harm's way by storing the rockets at the school but he did not specifically blame any particular party.

"We condemn the group or groups who endangered civilians by placing these munitions in our school. This is yet another flagrant violation of the neutrality of our premises. We call on all the warring parties to respect the inviolability of UN property," Gunness said in a statement.

Israel has targeted a few UNRWA sites during fighting in the current 22-day-old campaign against Islamist militants in the Gaza Strip, and has in the past said the agency's property was used for hostile purposes.

Businesses to take action 'when vote outcome is known'

Craig Anderson, senior business partner at KPMG in Scotland, said:

It is clear that the business community is still seeking to have concerns allayed as we move closer to September 18.

Our research suggests that most businesses probably do not feel sufficiently informed to make appropriate long-term plans, with any action likely to be taken only when the outcome is known.

– Craig Anderson, KPMG


85% of Scottish firms haven't planned for Yes vote

Scottish first minister Alex Salmond will be hoping the businesses' guesses are wrong.
Scottish first minister Alex Salmond will be hoping the businesses' guesses are wrong. Credit: PA

More than eight out of ten businesses in Scotland do not yet have plans in place to deal with the result of the referendum if the country votes for independence, a new survey has revealed.

Almost 84% of Scottish firms that were questioned in the latest KPMG Business Instincts Survey said they had not yet considered a continuity plan for how to deal with changes if there is a Yes vote on September 18.

Issues such as potential changes to the tax regime if Scotland left the UK, the impact of any change in currency and the impact trade with the rest of the UK are businesses' main concerns, according to the survey.

BA sued over claims pilot assaulted orphanage girls

 Simon Wood pictured during a visit to an orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya in 1999.
Simon Wood pictured during a visit to an orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya in 1999. Credit: PA

British Airways is to be sued for damages over claims one of its pilots sexually abused children in African schools and orphanages.

Lawyers representing 16 young girls and women who claim First Officer Simon Wood assaulted them said the airline bears responsibility because he carried out the alleged attacks while on stopovers.

An inquest is due to be held into the death of Wood, 54, who was struck by a train in August while awaiting a court appearance accused of indecently assaulting a young girl and making indecent images of children.

Law firm Leigh Day said Wood allegedly molested youngsters during stopovers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania while flying for British Airways. Some of their clients are aged just eight.

Billy Bragg helps overturn ban on guitars in prisons

Protest singer Billy Bragg has helped reverse a government ban on steel-strung guitars in prison.

The activist joined politicians and fellow musicians, including former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, calling for inmates to be granted use of guitars with steel strings as well as nylon.

Billy Bragg says guitars can aid the rehabilitation of prisoners.
Billy Bragg says guitars can aid the rehabilitation of prisoners. Credit: Empics

Bragg, who started the Jail Guitar Doors initiative in 2007 as means of helping prisoner rehabilitation through sourcing guitars for prisons, said: "As an incentive to engage in rehabilitation, individual access to steel-strung guitars can really help the atmosphere on a prison wing."

Labour MP Kevin Brennan (Cardiff West), who also supported the campaign, said: "This is a victory for common sense and I'm pleased after months of campaigning the UK Government has listened.

"If we want to reduce reoffending we need to support purposeful activities like learning to play an instrument."

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