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 user 2005-10-03 at 10:24:00 am Views: 57
  • #12984

    Bono,Geldof Could Take Novel Nobel Peace Prize

    OSLO (Oct 05) – Irish
    rock stars Bob Geldof and Bono are among the bookmakers’ tips to win
    the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, alongside more orthodox candidates
    like campaigners against nuclear arms or a peace broker for Indonesia.
    Experts are divided about whether the secretive five-member committee
    would dare to broaden the scope of the $1.3 million award in 2005 to
    honor Geldof or Bono, who have campaigned for years to ease hunger and
    poverty in Africa.
    Last year, the committee won both plaudits and brickbats for awarding
    the prize for the first time to an environmentalist, Kenya’s Wangari
    Maathai, for leading a campaign to plant millions of trees across
    After that mixed reception, guardians of what many view as the world’s
    highest accolade may be reluctant to be innovative a second time. A
    total of 199 candidates have been nominated for the 2005 award, which
    can be split up to three ways.
    “If the prize branches out to virtually anything that is trendy, it
    stands to lose the intent that (Swedish founder) Alfred Nobel had — to
    prevent war,” said Janne Haaland Matlary, a professor of political
    science at Oslo University.
    “I think there are two acute problems in the world — anti-terror work
    and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” she said.
    On the 60th year of the 1945 U.S. nuclear bombing of the Japanese
    cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, she and many experts say an obvious
    option is to honor efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.
    Still, Bono and Geldof have risen from 66-1 to be third joint favorites
    at 7-1 on an Australian bookmakers’ ranking in recent days after Stein
    Toennesson, a leading Norwegian prize commentator, placed them among
    his favorites.


    “If the committee wants to go further this year in widening its
    interpretation of peace, the prize could go to Bono or Geldof,” said
    Toennesson, head of the Peace Research Institute, Oslo.
    Top of the bookmakers’ ranking is former Finnish President Martti
    Ahtisaari, at 4-1, for brokering a peace deal between Indonesia and
    Aceh rebels this year to end a three-decade conflict in which 15,000
    people have died.
    Then come U.S. Senator Richard Lugar and former Senator Sam Nunn, on
    6.5-1, for their work to dismantle aging nuclear weapons in the former
    Soviet Union. The ranking broadly matches Toennesson’s.Others disagree.
    “Since the committee went quite far and were innovative with Maathai
    they would want to go a little bit back to a core Nobel theme,” said
    Espen Barth Eide, a director at the Norwegian Institute of
    International Affairs.
    He said that his favorite was the U.N. nuclear watchdog and its head, Mohamed ElBaradei.
    Candidates who campaign against nuclear arms include Nihon Hidankyo, a
    group of survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki or Senji Yamaguchi, a
    Nagasaki survivor. The 1995 and 1985 prizes also went to anti-nuclear
    Or the committee might honor a relief group, like Save the Children or
    Oxfam, for work after the Indian Ocean tsunami.In deciding the prize, a
    problem is the vagueness of Nobel’s 1895 will.
    It says the prize should go to the person who has done most for
    “fraternity between nations,” for reducing armies or for holding peace
    congresses.But the committee may be open to new ideas. The head of the
    Ole Danbolt Mjoes, was instrumental in persuading ex-South African
    President Nelson Mandela to visit the Arctic city of Tromsoe in June
    for an anti-AIDS rock concert.
    If the iconic Mandela sees rock music as a way of spreading the word
    about AIDS, why can’t the Norwegian Nobel Committee follow suit with
    peace? “No comment,” Mjoes said, adding: “We always use the will as our
    basis and have a holistic approach.”