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It's been a busy 'rentrée', with political news to greet me just as I got back to work and a slew of strikes and demonstrations to keep me on my toes. If you want to keep up-to-date with some of the news stories I cover and follow, you might want to check out my Twitter feed (@toucanradio).

Here's what I've been up to on the features front:

Wo/man's work, redux


I've extended my Wo/man series with a profile of a female firefighter.
As you can hear, this woman is tough! She has accepted that her profession is, and will remain for the forseeable future, very male.
Staying with the theme of women, I spent an evening with a group of young female entrepreneurs pitching their start-ups, and spoke to them about the lack of women in the French tech scene. You can hear that here: Where are France's women techies?

And you might say the (former) French Education Minister is asking that question of all French children. He suggested introducing coding classes in public schools. One woman is beating him to it: she started her own coding school for kids after she could not find a course for her son. Listen here.
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WWI, 100 years later


I spent some time in and around the Somme battlefields, to get a sense of how northern France is commemorating the centenary of the First World War. I came across a man (photo above, left) who has been collecting WWI artifacts his whole life and has created his own museum, complete with trenches: Pozieres man keeps WWI memories alive. I also looked into the idea of 'war tourism' with people visiting the Thiepval Franco-British memorial (listen here), and discovered how South Africa remembers the war at its own memorial site (listen here).

In Paris, taxi drivers marked the centenary of the Battle of the Marne by recreating the convoy they put together to shuttle soldiers to the front: Commemorating the 'Taxis de la Marne'.

Moo


As I wrote in the last newsletter, I visited the so-called "1000-cow farm" in the Picardie region, to learn about factory farming, French-style. I met people in the nearby villagers who have become environmental activists because of the dairy farm. As the report went to air, the first cows arrived. Here's the report: Villagers protest against 1,000-cow dairy. And the story is not over: activists who broke into the farm earlier this year are going on trial at the end of this month...

New music for old instruments


This is not my project, but I have been living with it for a while! The Baroque ensemble Flying Forms has recorded an album of music written by Nissim Schaul, and it is now (finally!) available for sale. Click here to buy the CD or MP3s (cdbaby.com/cd/flyingforms).
It's a beautiful mix of old and new, and probably like nothing you've ever heard before!
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