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Bono named for Nobel Peace Prize

Posted on Tuesday, February 18 @ 09:00:26 CET by Macphisto

OSLO (Reuters) - The governor of the U.S. state of Illinois who spared all inmates on death row, Pope John Paul, a Cuban dissident and Irish rock star Bono are among a near-record 150 nominees for the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize.

"We have a total of 150 nominees so far, of which 21 are organisations," Geir Lundestad, the head of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, told Reuters on Tuesday after compiling a list of names sent by a February 1 deadline.

He said the list was likely at least to match the record 156 for the 2002 prize, won by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, because members of the secretive five-member awards committee can propose names when they first meet on February 25.

Lundestad said fears of war in Iraq had apparently not distracted from peace efforts elsewhere in the world. "The range of nominees is very wide," he said.

Stein Toennesson, the director of the Peace Research Institute, Oslo, said chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, will be favourites if they help avert war in Iraq.

"If they succeed in getting Iraq to disarm sufficiently to prevent the United States and Britain from going to war, then they deserve it," he told Reuters.

Lundestad declined to give names of nominees for the $1 million prize, named after Sweden's Alfred Nobel and due to be awarded in October.

People and organisations whose names have been made public elsewhere include the European Union, peace group Women in Black, Bono, Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng, Cuba's leading dissident Oswaldo Paya and human rights group Global Witness.


George Ryan, the former governor of Illinois who commuted the sentences of more than 150 people on death row in January, is among nominees along with former Czech President Vaclav Havel and French President Jacques Chirac.

Other names include two U.S. campaigners seeking to clean up Russia's ageing nuclear weapons, Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar.

Peace experts say that Americans like Ryan, Nunn or Lugar can probably forget 2003 because Carter won in 2002. The committee increasingly aims for an international scope.

"Two Americans in a row would be too much," said Irwin Abrams, an expert on the prize and professor emeritus at Antioch University, Ohio.

Lundestad said there were no hard and fast rules. But prizes have almost never gone to people of the same nationality in consecutive years. Among rare examples, Norwegians won in 1921 and 1922, Americans in 1945 and 1946.

Peace experts say it may be especially hard to predict the award this year because three of the committee members, appointed by Norway's parliament for six-year terms, are new.

Thousands of people around the world have the right to make nominations, including members of all national parliaments, members of international law courts, professors of history, social science, philosophy and theology and former winners.

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