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

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.

France Covers Obama’s Middle East Retreat

Thats the lowest since at least 2001-02, the crop office said. 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.

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

But here was the French foreign minister talking about a possible military engagement against Iran in a more forceful manner than anything summoned so far by the U.S. president. Mr. Fabius was not advocating a strike, volunteering eventual French participation, or indulging in simple Obama-bashing. But he was expressing a kind of French contempt for the U.S. administration’s evasive vocabulary about the Iran endgame. Which augurs what? Enlarge Image French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and John Kerry at the U.N. on Sept. 26. Reuters When talks between Iranian President Hasan Rouhani’s emissaries and diplomats of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany begin this week in Geneva, France’s medium-term choice will be between two roles. Paris could play the hard-line defender of the international nonproliferation regime, which would mean, among other things, insisting on Iran’s closure of the Arak reactor as a starting point for negotiations. Or Paris could revert to its old routine as a cranky sideline voice, watering down its stated refusal to accept a weak, ambiguous deal on Iranian nukes. Camille Grand, the director of the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Research, argues that this France is different.