France’s Wine Stocks Reach 12-year Low After 2012 Harvest Slide

But despite a more open exchange between Iran and the six world powers – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States – diplomats said no breakthrough had been achieved in the Geneva talks and many disagreements remained. “We are waiting for substantive change,” Fabius told parliament. “Given what he know on Iran, the Guide (Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) being the same, we are compelled to be cautiously open.” Paris has been one of the strongest advocates of sanctions to pressure Iran over its nuclear program. The United States and its allies suspect Iran is seeking nuclear bomb-making capability despite Tehran’s insistence that its program has only peaceful aims. French President Francois Hollande was the first Western leader to meet new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly in September, warning that Paris expected “concrete gestures”. “It is too early to draw conclusions,” Fabius said. “France will not mix up appearances with reality.” So far Iran has defied U.N. Security Council demands that it halt enrichment and other sensitive nuclear activities, leading to multiple rounds of crippling international sanctions that have reduced Iranian oil exports, caused inflation to soar and the value of the Iranian rial currency to plummet. Speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the talks, a Western diplomat said the negotiations had been neither positive nor negative, but the major powers had been able to ask specific questions on key issues and received certain answers creating a basis to move forward. “We can’t say that we will find a solution in the coming weeks, but we now have a tool for a common exchange,” he said. The fact that all the Iranian negotiators spoke English made life easier, he added.

Protestors express the same outside the Church of Scientology in France. France Scientology: Labeled a “fraud” by France’s high court. Protestors express the same outside the Church of Scientology in France. Though recognized as a formal religion in the United States and elsewhere, the practice of Scientology has just been branded as a scam and a racket in France, despite cries of religious discrimination, reports the AFP via Yahoo! News on Oct. 16. There are approximately 45,000 Scientologists in France. The obtuse religion, founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, came under fire in the European country when five former members charged the organization with coercing them into spending thousands of dollars on required reading material, questionable services and Church merchandise. The Church was initially found guilty of commercial harassment, and on appeal the charge has stood. Church officials are not happy that their easily misunderstood religion has been declared fraudulent. Scientology is a worldwide religious movement practiced in 184 nations. Its bona fide rights of its members to practice their faith unimpeded by government interference have been acknowledged by the high courts of many nations, including unanimous decisions by the European Court of Human Rights, a statement from the French Church of Scientology after the verdict reads. The conviction carried a fine of 600,000 Euros ($820,000 dollars), in addition to the Church losing any foothold as it attempts to become a recognized religion in France.

France Scientology: Fraud leveled against Church of Scientology by high court

Last years wine-grape harvest was the smallest in at least 40 years after weather damage and disease, according to the Agriculture Ministry. Rising bulk wine prices more than made up for a drop in volumes sold in 2012-13, with the cost of bulk whites without a regional indication jumping 32 percent, FranceAgriMer data show. Stocks are at historically low levels, very much below the five-year average, Janvier said in Montreuil-sous-Bois, France. Due to the weakness of supply, prices rose to a rather high level. This years wine production will probably rise less than the 6.6 percent increase to 44.1 million hectoliters forecast by the Agriculture Ministry, based on the outlook provided by various regions, according to Eric Rosaz, in charge of wine industry at FranceAgriMer. The ministry forecasts are a bit optimistic, Rosaz said. We wont be very far from 43.5 million hectoliters. 2001-02 Low Wine producers start the season with the lowest stocks since at least 2001-02, FranceAgriMer said, citing customs data. Inventories of wine with a protected designation of origin fell to 23.2 million hectoliters as of Aug. 1 from 25.8 million hectoliters a year earlier. The biggest slide in wine inventories was noted in the combined regions of Burgundy , Beaujolais, Savoy and Jura, where stocks slumped 30 percent to 1.72 million hectoliters, according to the crop office. The volume of wine held by producers in Bordeaux dropped 9 percent to 8.96 million hectoliters, while Champagnes inventories fell 6 percent to 4.22 million hectoliters, according to FranceAgriMer. In the region of Languedoc-Roussillon, Frances biggest wine region by production, stocks at the start of August fell 16 percent to 7.34 million hectoliters. The wine year in France runs from Aug. 1 to July 31. Still Wine The volume of still wine held by merchants dropped about 3 percent to 13.2 million hectoliters, while inventories of sparkling varieties rose 13 percent to 7.9 million hectoliters, crop office data showed. Frances sales of bulk wine with a regional indication rose 7 percent in 2012-13 to 606 million euros ($828 million), with higher prices for all varieties making up for smaller volumes of red and rose, FranceAgriMer said.