Here's some of my stock pick(s)
ASTI (US) — Solar
AGU — Agricultural
CUM — Copper
CRESY (Argentina) — Agricultural
BAA — Mining
LMA — Mining
PPX — Thermal
HDY (US) — Oil
VRX — Pharmaceuticals
UEC (US) — Uranium
TKO — Mining
Most are under $10.
PPX, is currently trying to be bought up by another company. Hopefully that wont fall through.
Vibrant Montreal brings new Canadian rock sound to world scenes
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 (EST)
Montreal, the Canadian city known for its fierce winters, has become an international hotspot for a new wave of indie bands.
The Montreal band "Arcade Fire" during a performance
© AFP/GettyImages/File Kevin Winter
PARIS (AFP) - Led by trailblazers Arcade Fire, guitar-wielding groups have been touring overseas, winning fans and have everyone wondering about the secret of the city’s sudden success.
Alongside the rock scene, electronic acts such as DJ Champion, Kid Koala and Tiga have made "based in Montreal" a fashionable stamp of quality.
In the process, the image of Canadian music, once dominated by pop crooners Bryan Adams and Celine Dion, has been redefined.
"Montreal is an extremely cosmopolitan and open city," said homegrown singer Pierre Lapointe, giving his reasons for the new vibrancy.
"We couldn’t care less about origins. What we look for is good music and interesting ways of doing things," he added during a stop in Paris.
Montreal is home to about two million people, making it the biggest city in the French-speaking eastern province of Quebec.
Music journalist and commentator for Canadian cable channel MusiquePlus, Nicolas Tittley, puts the vitality of the guitar scene down to North American influences.
The Montreal band "Arcade Fire" during a performance
© AFP/GettyImages/File Kevin Winter
"Rock, country, blues, folk. Basically, all the music movements linked to North America are not foreign for 'les Montrealais'," he said in an interview.
Indie rockers Arcade Fire have sold a million albums worldwide, according to their record label, and fellow groups Wolf Parade, The Bell Orchestre, Patrick Watson, Stars, The Besnard Lakes or The Dears are following in their footsteps.
The francophone movement includes Ariane Moffatt, Karkwa, Ghislain Poirier, Les Trois Accords and Malajube.
Malajube is threatening to cross the language divide and break into English-speaking markets after the group’s new album "Trompe-l'oeil" won plaudits from US reviewers.
Although Montreal is a majority francophone city, most people can speak (and sing in) both languages and the city is also home to a large, well-integrated ethnic population.
"The openness that we have in Montreal is quite unique," said Laurent Saulnier, programmer for the Montreal International Jazz Festival and Francofolies de Montreal event.
"Few cities in the world have access to so many sorts of music from everywhere: France, USA, Europe, South America, or Africa."
The cross-over of influences and culture is also seen in the music collaborations.
Pierre Lapointe, The Dears, Les Trois Accords and Loco Locass, a rap group similar to the Beastie Boys, make guest appearances on the Malajube’s album.
Critics snipe that the hype will not last, but for the moment at least, a new, fresh face has been put on Canadian music overseas. ©AFP
DURING the 2000 presidential campaign, the candidate from Texas fielded a question from Canada: “Prime Minister Jean Poutine said you look like the man who should lead the free world into the 21st century. What do you think about that?”
When George W. Bush pledged to “work closely together” with Mr. Poutine, Montrealers fell off their chairs laughing. It wasn’t so much that the Canadian leader was, in fact, Jean Chrétien, but that the “reporter” — Rick Mercer, a television comedian — had invoked the city’s emblematic, problematic, comedic junk food dish: poutine.
A gloppy, caloric layering of French fries, fresh cheese curds (a byproduct of Cheddar making) and gravy, poutine goes deep into the Quebequois psyche. Somehow, Quebec’s rural roots, its split identity (Acadian farmers or Gallic gourmets?) and its earthy sense of humor are all embodied by its unofficial dish.
This may be one reason that until now poutine has not traveled well. True, it was on the menu for years at Shopsin’s, the quirky West Village restaurant that closed this year, but so was nearly every other known foodstuff. But recently, it has materialized in a handful of cities across the United States. In New York City, it is on the menu at three highly divergent establishments, and this time it shows signs of taking hold.
Andy Bennett, the chef at the Inn LW12 in the meatpacking district, recalled his reaction on being told (by the Canadian faction of the inn’s owners) that poutine must be served. “I said, you’ve got to be kidding me. Then I realized I wasn’t going to be able to get away from it.”
Mr. Bennett, however, was converted. “You have to embrace these things,” he said. “Now it’s our biggest selling item by a long stretch.”
“I think it’s going to be across the city soon,” he said. “It’s going to stick without a doubt.”
Mr. Bennett’s choice of words was apt. Poutine is an extreme stick-to-your-ribs concoction, whose name is said to derive from Quebequois slang. According to the dominant creation myth, in 1957 a restaurateur named Fernand Lachance, when asked by a customer to combine fries and cheese curds, said it would make “une maudite poutine” — an unholy mess. (And this was pre-gravy. Another restaurateur, Jean-Paul Roy of Le Roy Jucep, claims to have first served fries with gravy and curds in 1964.)
Since Mr. Lachance’s death three years ago, poutine’s de facto spokesman has been Bob Rutledge, creator of the Web site MontrealPoutine.com. Mr. Rutledge, a professor of astrophysics at McGill University specializing in neutron stars, black holes and gamma ray bursts, first heard of poutine on moving to Montreal in 2004. He was instantly smitten.
“When I started asking about it, I got one of two responses,” he said. “It was either: ‘Oh here’s my favorite poutine place; you must go...’, or else it was: ‘Oh my God, why do you want to eat that stuff?’ It’s a veritable food phenomenon; half the people are embarrassed it exists.”
Siobhan O’Connor, a journalist who moved to New York from Montreal five years ago, has a different view. “The only people who don’t like poutine are people on a diet,” she said. “It’s the first thing you want when you go back, a real late-night post-drinking thing.”
Ms. O’Connor recently sampled the new batch of New York poutines. The classic version at Sheep Station, an Australian gastropub on the western edge of Park Slope, initially struck her as too dry. But, on discovering that the Quebequois chef, Martine Lafond, had secreted further curds and gravy under crisp, hot fries, she warmed to it, declaring the gravy authentically peppery, salty and meaty, and the curds as fresh as could be expected so far from home.
At Pommes Frites, an East Village storefront that traffics in Belgian fries but now has a sideline in their Canadian cousins, neither the rubbery, yellowish curds nor the lukewarm, flavorless sauce met with Ms. O’Connor’s approval. But Mr. Bennett’s four varieties at the Inn LW12 did, despite distinctly unorthodox stylings.
“I’d come back here just for this,” she declared of the plate with five-spice gravy and chewy strips of pork belly, though she found the Stilton cheese in the rich, toothsome braised beef with red wine version to be overload and the herby marinara sauce on the tomato version — called Italienne back home — disappointing. Though somewhat overshadowed by its glitzy sisters, the classic, too, more than passed muster.
Ms. O’Connor explained that poutine really belonged to the French speakers — her Irish-Montrealer mother, for instance, had never tried it — until “around 2000, when people started messing with it: green peppercorns, Gruyère, truffle oil...”
According to Professor Rutledge, variations on the theme are fine. “They strike me as creative and interesting so I give bonus points,” he said. He is, however, from Southern California. The average Montrealer seems to be more of a purist.
The chef Martin Picard, one of Montreal’s most high-profile culinary figures, embraces poutine at his restaurant Au Pied de Cochon. “That dish becomes an international passport,” he declared. “It’s not haute gastronomie, but it permits Quebec to get more interest from the rest of the world.”
Mr. Picard said he occasionally offers classic poutine as a “clin d’oeil” — a wink — to Quebequois cuisine, but his version with foie gras is what everyone remembers. For this, the regular poutine sauce — a thick, highly seasoned chicken velouté, which Mr. Picard enhances with pork stock — is enriched by foie gras and egg yolks. The dish is crowned with a four-ounce slab of seared goose liver.
Whether Montreal’s embarrassing but adored junk food does take root in New York, it may never attain the status it achieved earlier this year when the CBC revealed the results of a viewer poll on the greatest Canadian inventions of all time. Granted, poutine came in only at No. 10. But it beat, among other things, the electron microscope, the BlackBerry, the paint roller and the caulking gun, lacrosse, plexiglass, radio voice transmission and basketball.
Montreal fest maverick
Serge Losique conquers Montreal scene
By SHANE DANIELSEN
Claude Miller's "Un Secret," starring Cecile de France and Patrick Bruel
In an increasingly corporate fest milieu, Serge Losique is a maverick. Pugnacious, unpredictable, the 76-year-old Montreal World Film Festival chief has for over three decades run his event as a personal fiefdom, as shuttered and inscrutable as the court of Tamburlaine.
He's also a survivor, having seen off a recent challenge that would have sunk many a less determined adversary. Launched amid great fanfare in February 2005, the New Montreal FilmFest quickly signed a high-profile director (former Berlin and Venice topper Moritz de Hadeln) and boasted coin from Canada's major government film offices. It was, its backers claimed, the breath of fresh air the Montreal film scene badly needed.
But in fact, the newcomer proved one of the fest world's more conspicuous train wrecks.
The omens were not good: Both the fest's staff and its board were castigated by de Hadeln in the Canuck press just days before opening night -- but the reality proved far worse, with few (and flummoxed) guests, an empty red carpet and most films unspooling to near-empty houses. "It was," one attendee commented, "like watching the Lusitania go down. For 11 days."
From across town, you could practically hear Losique's sigh of satisfaction. Sure enough, after that first, disastrous edition, the plug was pulled. Bloodied, but defiantly unbowed, the veteran fest celebrated its 30th anniversary last August.
However, the very creation of a rival fest signaled other, more serious concerns -- specifically, a deepening feud between Losique (who runs his event as a private company, even owning its principal venue, the Imperial Theater) and his chief funders, Canadian government bodies Telefilm Canada and Sodec, the Quebec film agency.
Both claimed disenchantment with Losique's autocratic managerial style and "lack of accountability" to the local film community. In electing to side with the NMFF, they expected his event to fold. Instead, the tyro event went under, leaving both bodies with oeuf on their faces.
"The problems we encountered in the last two years with Telefilm Canada and Sodec are due to the fact that they are judge and jury," Losique reports. "Sooner or later, this approach to culture has to change."
Losique has challenged the status quo before: "We raised these questions (just) as we raised questions about the rules of FIAPF (the Intl. Federation of Film Producers Assn.). We quit them. Now FIAPF is better, with new rules, and we are a member again." In the same way, he says, the relationship with Telefilm Canada is "becoming more normal." His lawsuit against them has quietly been dropped: "We're not yet kissing each other, but we are talking to each other."
Still, Telefilm has not committed to reup its funding: a spokesman would say only that MWFF was still "under evaluation." Sodec, however, has returned to the fold, announcing in June that Losique's event would be once again among the eight Quebec film fests to share its annual C$800,000 ($750,000) pot.
For many attendees, the chief virtue of the World Film Fest -- and the reason for its enduring importance on the fest landscape -- is the sheer unpredictability of its programming. Where Toronto, true to its origins as the Festival of Festivals, essentially culls a greatest-hits lineup from Berlin, Cannes and Venice, the Montreal slate comprises many off-the-radar pics from across the globe.
Last year saw entries from 76 countries; this time, filmmakers from Chad to the U.S. will compete on equal terms for the Grand Prix of the Americas, the event's major award. Many of these will be world premieres. As such, it's a distinct change from the homogenous, shopping-list selections of most fest selections.
Or as Losique puts it: "Our goal is to find the best films from as many countries as possible. We are not looking for 'names,' because even great names can produce bad films. In some festivals, you see the parade of stars and starlets offered by the marketing junket machine of Hollywood. We are not here to please dubious merchants, but to display the gems of the film industry."
Still, he admits to a growing sense of dejection: "The emotional mystery of cinema is disappearing. Today you can buy any film on DVD on the same shelves with cat and dog food. Films d'auteur are gradually dying at the box office, and that's a danger for a quality film festival and also for cinema in general." The only way forward, he believes, is to retain a sense of perspective: "If you're too big, it's not good for cinema and discoveries. If you are too small, you do not exist for the media and sponsors. A festival should not be so big that you cannot even appreciate the films. Some middle road must be found."
Du site de BBC News - 2 articles sur la conférence à McGill en fin de semaine, in "the Canadian city of Montreal" - lol
Forum tackles genocide prevention
Local people in front of burnt out buildings in Darfur
Delegates said atrocities continued to this day in Darfur
A conference in the Canadian city of Montreal has been discussing ways to try to prevent genocide.
Delegates heard from survivors of the Nazi Holocaust, as well as genocidal campaigns in Rwanda and Cambodia.
Many delegates referred to the current crisis in Darfur, Sudan, which has been described as "genocide in slow motion".
"It seems that for the most part the vow of 'never again' was not taken seriously," Payam Akhavan, the conference chair, told AFP news agency.
Esther Mujawayo, a Rwandan woman who lost her mother, father and husband in the 1994 genocide, said she was sceptical about the world's willingness to prevent atrocities.
"Don't tell me you didn't know. The world did know. The world looked away. You knew but did not have the will," said Mrs Mujawayo.
"When the people were evacuating, the French, the Belgians, the Americans, all the expatriates, they even evacuated their dogs and their cats," while Rwandans were left behind, she said.
Much of the discussion at the conference, sponsored by McGill University's law faculty, has centred on how to prevent common aspects of genocides, like media outlets demonising potential victims and foreign bureaucratic inertia preventing intervention.
But a controversial thesis was also presented by the French scholar, Gerard Prunier.
He said the only way to stop government sponsored mass killings was to give military backing to opponents of that government.
"If we decide that in fact what is going to happen is of a genocidal dimension, we have to support, including militarily, the people who are fighting against it," he said.
He told the BBC that would mean arming and assisting the rebels fighting against government-backed militia in Darfur.
Some two million people have been displaced and at least 200,000 have died during the four-year conflict in western Sudan.
Can the world stop genocide?
Can the world stop genocide?
A conference in the Canadian city of Montreal has been discussing ways to prevent genocide. BBC world affairs correspondent Mark Doyle, attending the meeting, asks whether this can be done.
Remains of victims of the Rwandan genocide laid to rest at the Murambi Genocide Memorial.
Some 800,000 Rwandans were slaughtered in 100 days in 1994
The 75-year-old woman sat on stage in front of hundreds of United Nations officials, legal experts and academics.
The day before, Marika Nene had travelled from Hungary to Canada - the first plane she had ever taken on her first journey outside Hungary.
She was not intimidated by the gathering. Her long hair was lit up by a stage light and her facial features were strong.
But the strongest thing about Marika Nene, a Roma - or Gypsy - woman who was trapped in the anti-Gypsy pogroms during World War II, was her determination to tell her story.
"I had no choice. I had to give myself up to the soldiers," Marika Nene said through a translator.
"I was a very pretty little gypsy woman and of course the soldiers took me very often to the room with a bed in it where they violated me. I still have nightmares about it".
Many members of Marika Nene's Roma family died in the work camps and the ghettos.
She had travelled to Montreal to give a reality check to the experts and UN officials at the "Global Conference on the Prevention of Genocide".
We do not need to have a legal finding that genocide has been committed in order to take preventive action
Former war crimes prosecutor
She was joined by other survivors - from Rwanda, Cambodia and the Jewish holocaust. They all told their horrific stories bravely.
But there was something especially extraordinary about the elderly Roma who had transported herself from a village in eastern Hungary into the glare of an international conference in one of the most modern cities in the world.
It was an example of what Nigerian Nobel Prize-winning author Wole Soyinka would later describe to me as one of those points where people meet each other in a spirit of "egalitarian awareness".
Six million Jews or one million Tutsis are just numbers. But this strong Roma woman was a human being who was not ashamed to tell her story.
The Montreal conference drew personalities from the UN, academia and the legal profession.
Romeo Dallaire could do little to prevent the Rwandan genocide
The general aim was to build pressure on politicians to take mass killings - even in far-off places about which we know little and sometimes care less - far more seriously.
If that sounds like a fuzzy and vague ambition, Canadian Gen Romeo Dallaire, who commanded a UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, begged to differ.
Gen Dallaire led a force in Rwanda which was betrayed by UN headquarters in New York - his mission was starved of resources and so forced to observe genocide rather than stop it.
Since that failed mission, he has made a career out of lobbying politicians to do better on issues like peacekeeping, abolishing the use of child soldiers and nuclear disarmament.
"This conference is aimed especially at young people," said Gen Dallaire from a hotel surrounded by the campus buildings of McGill University, which organised the conference.
"If these young people became politically active," he continued, "they could dictate a whole new concept of what national interest should be and what humanity should be."
What is genocide?
Payam Akhavan, professor of international law at McGill and a former prosecutor at the UN war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, said defining genocide mattered from a legal point of view - but that analysing how it could be prevented was the real point.
Pol Pot in the 1970s, and shortly before his death in the 1990s
Pol Pot, who led Cambodia's Khmer Rouge, was never brought to justice
"The legal definition of genocide is contained in the 1948 Genocide convention," he told me.
"In simple terms, it is the intentional, collective destruction of an entire human group based on national, racial, religious or ethnic identity."
"But the key point", Mr Akhavan continued, "is that we do not need to have a legal finding that genocide has been committed in order to take preventive action."
That is because, of course, by the time the lawyers have decided a mass killing fits their definition, it is usually too late to act.
The Iranian-born professor said it was necessary to think about the ingredients of genocide, which he listed as:
* incitement to ethnic hatred
* demonisation of the target group
* radicalisation along ethnic or religious lines
* distribution of weapons to extremist groups
* preparation of lists of those to be exterminated
As someone who personally witnessed and reported on the Rwandan genocide, I found it quite disturbing to read about other mass killings.
Genocides can only be stopped by the people directly involved
It was not the details which I found shocking, but the spooky similarities that kept cropping up across the world.
The lists prepared by the Hutu extremists in Rwanda, for example, were mirrored by the obsessive recording of the details of victims by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.
The yellow identity stars Jews were forced to wear in World War II were the equivalent of the ethnic identity cards every Rwandan had to carry.
This is the grim opposite of Wole Soyinka's "egalitarian awareness". It is the social science of genocide, which appears to have common features across history.
The conference aimed to isolate and analyse Mr Akhavan's "early warning" factors to raise awareness.
But what to do with the information?
As speaker after speaker reminded the Montreal conference, the US government, among others, has asserted that genocide is being committed right now in the Darfur region of Sudan.
It was continuing even as we sipped our coffee in softly carpeted rooms and nibbled our Canadian canapes.
Everyone has known about it for several years but virtually nothing had been done to stop it.
A dissident voice
So all the talk about "early warnings" and "United Nations peacekeeping forces" and "the will of the international community" could be said to amount to little.
Local people in front of burnt out buildings in Darfur
The US and others have said a genocide is unfolding in Darfur
At this point, a controversial scholar intervened with comments which challenged the entire conference.
French author Gerard Prunier, like the proverbial ghost at a wedding, said genocides could not be prevented by the international community.
"When you see a dictatorial regime heating up, everyone starts talking, talking, talking ... and by the time the talking stops, either matters have quietened down or they have happened."
And that is the crux of the matter, according to Mr Prunier - it is difficult for politicians or the military to intervene in a situation that has not yet evolved into a crisis.
Give war a chance?
So what is Mr Prunier's solution?
"Genocides can only be stopped by the people directly involved - and usually that means people involved in the war that accompanies most mass killings."
And if it is the government committing the genocide, the solution is "arm the rebels", he says.
"It won't be clean - it will be messy," the French author said, "but it is more likely to stop the mass killing than international intervention."
To a large extent, Mr Prunier has history on his side. The Holocaust only ended when the allies destroyed Hitler's regime.
The killing fields of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge were only stopped when the Vietnamese army moved in. And the genocide in Rwanda only ended when the Tutsi rebels overthrew the extremist Hutu regime.
Against this, it could be argued that some interventions have worked - for example the Nigerian intervention in Liberia, which was followed up by a UN peacekeeping mission.
It seems that resolving dramatic human rights abuses may require some of the diplomacy and the "international good will" that flowed so freely in Montreal.
But as well as what Winston Churchill called "Jaw Jaw", some situations, it seems, may only be resolved by "War War".