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Nobel Peace Prize: From White Helmets to Angela Merkel, who are the favourites?

FYI: There are bets on Prime Minister Narendra Modi winning the Nobel Peace Prize too. The Norwegian Academy will announce the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

world Updated: Oct 06, 2017 09:49 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Nobel Peace Prize,White Helmets,Angela Merkel
Combination image of Angela Merkel (left), Pope Francis (right), and the White Helmets (upper image)  (Agencies)

The Norwegian Academy will announce the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday to the person or group that has “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”.

Commentators say a peace prize for non-proliferation of weapons might be appropriate this year as tensions have escalated between the US and North Korea over possible nuclear warfare.

The five-member committee chosen by the Norwegian Parliament awarded the prize to President Juan Manuel Santos last year for his efforts to bring peace to Colombia after a half-century-long conflict with rebel guerillas.

Here’s a list of possible contenders popular with brokers:

Mohammad Javad Zarif and Federica Mogherini

Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini -- called ‘architects’ of the Iran nuclear deal -- are favourites for the peace prize, with 3/1 odds of winning on Ladbrokes betting website.

But that may be a contentious choice. “The Nobel committee would make a big splash if it awarded the prize to the Iran nuclear deal,” said Asle Sveen, a peace prize historian.

Screengrab of the Nicerodds website.

US President Donald Trump has threatened to tear up the deal and he told the United Nations in his debut address last month that it was an “embarrassment”. The nuclear deal’s supporters, however, say the deal ensures Iran cannot manufacture an atomic bomb and it shows how open dialogue can defuse even the most high-stakes crises.

Sveen said the honour could also go to former US secretary of state John Kerry.

Mohammad Javad Zarif and Federica Mogherini pose prior to a round of talks, in Tehran, Iran. (AP File Photo)

White Helmets

Syrian rescue service White Helmets is close on the heels of Zarif and Mogherini to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Many are hoping the volunteer group, formally known as Syria Civil Defence, will win the award this year. The organisation has helped rescue more than 90,000 people in conflict areas of Syria and Turkey and has been speculated to be a favourite before.

Currently, it has odds of 5/1 on Ladbrokes and is tied with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a union of African countries that intervened earlier this year to ensure peaceful transition of power. The White Helmets has the same odds of 5/1 on another website Unibet.

A Syrian civil defence volunteer, known as the White Helmets, holds the body of a child after he was pulled from the rubble following a government forces air strike on the rebel-held neighbourhood of Karm Homad in the northern city of Aleppo. (AFP File Photo)

Pope Francis

Pope Francis might just be the first pontiff to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The spiritual head of the Church is in the fray for championing social causes such as relief for refugees, speaking against poverty and displaying a relatively progressive stand on climate change. His odds of winning range from 6/1 to 10/1 on several betting websites.

Angela Merkel

The German Chancellor, whose popularity has diminished in the Fatherland for leaving its borders open to refugees amid the Europe migrant crisis, could receive the Nobel Peace Prize for the same reason. Although the arrivals have now slowed, Germany accepted more than 890,000 asylum seekers in 2015.

The emerging leader of the ‘Free World’ has since said that she does not regret her decision to allow refugees into Germany even though voters punished her with a bitter victory in the election last month. Her chances of winning are tied with Pope at 10/1 or 13/2 on online betting forum Paf.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Bellevue Castle in Berlin. (Reuters File Photo)

American Civil Liberties Union

The non-profit organisation features in the Top 10 contenders of the prize on Oddschecker, Nicerodds, with best chances of 6/1. ACLU’s goal is to “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States”.

Similarly, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick was listed too. His protest against attacks on minorities kick-started a debate in America that has drawn in other players, politicians and even US President Donald Trump into the controversy.

Honorary mentions

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also placed in the contenders’ list with chances of winning the 8 million Swedish kronor (over than Rs 6 crore) prize at 81/1.

Ironically, brokers bet on Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as both of them traded barbs and threatened each other with evocative slurs. Luckily, or not, Trump’s odds are 100/1 and Un’s are even lesser, at 500/1.

A combination photo shows Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. (Reuters File Photo)

Trump’s daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Philippine President accused of human rights violations Rodrigo Duterte were nominated as well.

(With inputs from agencies) 

First Published: Oct 06, 2017 09:48 IST