BERN, SWITZERLAND – Wine consumption remained stable in 2013 and beer consumption slipped a bit, figures released by Bern Wednesday show. But the changes are so small that a rainy spring and autumn could be the explanation, according to the Federal Agriculture Office. Foreign wines lost some ground to local wine production.
The Swiss in 2013 drank on average 8.3 litres of pur alcohol. Wine consumption rose from 36 litres per person to 36.1, or one decilitre (one glass) more. Beer consumption fell from 56.5 to 55.8 litres, a fall of 7 decilitres – but the amount of the changes are insignificant in terms of pure alochol consumption, notes the FOA.
Swiss extend Russian embargo, slightly
Swiss media are busy analyzing the federal government’s announcement that it has added more Russians to its black list, linked to the conflict with Ukraine. The measure falls far short of the European Union’s measures, which is seen as good – with Switzerland maintaining its independence – and bad, as a weak step that is ultimately ineffective. Le Temps argues that it sends a signal to Swiss businesses, but that in any event the stronger message to businesses comes from the United States, in the form of the hefty fine paid by BNP Paribas to the US for transactions carried out with embargoed Sudan in 2000.
Chinese visas, twinned cities
Chinese tourists may soon find it easier to enter the Schengen area, following the approval in June by the EU and Switzerland of a six-month trial. Tourists currently must reserve a hotel and flight before getting a visa, but during the trial period tourists taking part in sports or cultural events or traveling on business don’t need to show proof of these reservations.
The shift could be good news for the resort of Crans-Montana, which just signed Switzerland’s first agreement for twin regions, with the Inner Mongolian region of Ordos. The agreement to develop ties will eventually lead to agreements in the areas of education, tourism, technology and health, the Swiss said during the signing ceremony last weekend. China’s ambassador to Switzerland, Xu Jinghu, took part in the ceremony. Crans-Montana is a resort comprised of six communes.