The Nobel Peace Prize: Who Will Win?
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The Nobel Peace prize will be announced Friday morning. Until then the world must wait with bated breath as the committee confers. In the meantime, here are the seven most likely candidates, as ranked by betting odds maker PaddyPower.com.
Note that the odds are changing constantly (Bono was well behind a few days ago).
UPDATE: And the winner is Liu Xiaobo!
Name: Liu Xiaobo
Xiaobo is a 55-year-old Chinese dissident who is currently imprisoned in China. In 2009, after his public support and championing of Charter 08, a document demanding that China extend to its citizens the rights ascribed in the Universal Charter of Human Rights, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison for "inciting subversion to state power." While oddsmakers put his chances as very high, China has made it clear there will be repercussions for Chinese-Norweigan relations if he wins.
The ubiquitous do-gooding pop star (watch a GOOD Video on him here) would certainly be a popular and obvious choice, and oddsmakers have him second. After getting so much heat for giving the prize to a (relative) light-weight last year, however, might the committee go for someone with a little more of a serious background? Or at least one whose main campaign hasn't been getting such bad press?
Name: The European Union
This alliance of European countries is high on the odds list, though the justifications remain murky. For stopping conflict in Europe through free trade and open borders? For helping to slow the financial crisis through bailouts? For being close to Norway?
Name: Tim Berners-Lee, Roberts and Cerf, and the internet
The power of the internet to help peace and democracy is obvious, though as we've read recently, may be overstated (as in the case of the nonexistent Iranian Twitter Revolution). Still, crediting the entity or its inventors would be a worthy decision.
Name: Mary Robinson
Robinson is the former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, a worthy position to be honored for. She is considered, by some, to be anti-Israel, though that may not be an issue with the Nobel Committee.
Name: Hu Jia
Like Liu, Hu is a jailed Chinese dissident. Hu's work has been mostly in environmental activism and fighting for better care and more rights for Chinese AIDS patients. He was sentenced to 3.5 years in jail in 2008 for his activities. Also like Liu, a win for Hu would make China anything but pleased.
Name: Morgan Tsvangirai
Tsvangirai was a former political dissident in Zimbabwe who worked within the system and eventually won an election over the corrupt ruler Robert Mugabe. While the victory wasn't total—he now runs a power-sharing government with Mugabe despite winning the most votes—a Peace Prize could help him in the upcoming Zimbabwean elections.