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A Glance around France: Burgundy winemakers rejoice as farmers in the south revolt

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A Glance around France: Burgundy winemakers rejoice as farmers in the south revolt
Photo: AFP
12:41 CEST+02:00
Here's a look at some of the main stories from around France on Thursday.
Occitanie
 
There are certainly some angry farmers in the south of France at the moment... and it's all down to the government. 
 
Some 200 to 300 farmers took to the streets in the town of Montauban in the southern French region of Occitanie on Wednesday to protest the government's recently announced plan to end the rule that means seasonal workers are not obliged to pay any social security contributions. 
 
The demonstration, which saw several streets blocked by fruit and vegetable producers, was called by the local farmers union, according to reports. 
 
Farmers also mounted roadblocks with tires, straw bales, manure, apples and agricultural waste. 
 
 
 
And farmers aren't the only ones who are angry...
 
South east 
 
The TGV might be known to some for its superlative service but there are some passengers in the south east of France who aren't so convinced.
 
A group of TGV users gathered at Valence train station in the south east of France on Thursday morning to demonstrate over the planned changes to the TGV schedule. 
 
The change, set to come into effect on December 9th, will see fewer trains in the morning, with just one instead of three trains between Valence and Lyon before 9 am. On top of that the trains will arrive into a different station in Lyon which for many commuters is unacceptable.
 
Meanwhile chiefs at French railway operator SNCF have said that while they understand the outrage, they are constrained by construction at one of the Lyon TGV stations. 
 
 
Burgundy
 
Wine lovers, we have some good news...
 
Burgundy's winemakers have promised that the 2018 vintage is set to be an "exceptional" one for white wines.
 
 And the reason may be surprising to some. 
 
According to the president of the region's wine association BIVB, global warming is benefiting the production of certain vintages. 
 
"Obviously, global warming benefits our vineyards, especially for pinot and chardonnay," François Labet said, adding that champagnes are also doing well after the hotter than average summer. 
 
So, while farmers suffer from the drought, winemakers are thrilled. 
 
 
The East
 
There was a shocking story from near a little village in the east of France on Thursday. 
 
According to an extraordinary report, which up until now has been kept secret, there are records of seven babies born between 2009 and 2014 without hands or arms near the village of Ain. 
 
And so far doctors have no explanation for this unusually high level of cases in such a small area except to say that it would not be genetic or down to drugs and drink.  
 
"We interviewed all the mothers with a very extensive questionnaire on their lifestyle. The only thing they have in common is that they all live in a very rural area," a scientist told the French press. 
 
 
Central France 
 
There is a big power vacuum in a town in central France at the moment and it looks like most people are blaming the mayor. 
 
In the town of Saint-Avertin in the Indre-et-Loire department in central France, 20 out of 27 of the town council's elected representatives, including the president of the department, have resigned to protest against the mayor's management style.
 
On top of that, it seems like the problems could also be in part down to the fact that the mayor seems to be stoking the flames of a dispute between the department president and a politician who could replace the mayor next term. 
 
As a result of the series of resignations, fresh elections will have to take place by the end of the year.
 
 
Alsace 
 
No doubt nature conservationists in Alsace were thrilled to welcome a protected species back into their midst. 
 
After several centuries away, the carnivorous European pond turtle -- the most endangered reptile on the continent -- has returned to the region. 
 
 
 
The south
 
Are French mushrooms doomed?
 
Mushroom season is looking pretty meagre in many regions in France this year due to the long, hot summer. 
 
Only regions where there have been heavy storms, such as the southern Alps and the Pyrenees can look forward to a healthy 2018 harvest, experts have said.
 
And with the effects of global warming increasing, it seems like the situation can only get worse. 
 
 
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