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Posts tagged ‘Nobel Prizes’

2 Nobel literature prizes to be awarded after 2018 scandal

October 10, 2019

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Two Nobel Prizes in literature will be announced Thursday after the 2018 literature award was postponed following sex abuse allegations that rocked the Swedish Academy. The chemistry prize went Wednesday to three scientists for their work leading to the development of lithium-ion batteries. That was a day after the physics award was given to a Canadian-American and two Swiss, and on Monday the Physiology or Medicine award went to two Americans and one British scientist.

So far, nine Nobel prizes have been awarded this week and all the laureates are men. The coveted Nobel Peace Prize is Friday and the economics award on Monday. In March, the foundation behind the Nobel Prize in literature said the Swedish Academy had revamped itself and restored trust. The Nobel Foundation had warned that another group could be picked to award the prize if the academy didn’t improve its tarnished image.

The literature prize was canceled last year after a mass exodus at the exclusive Swedish Academy following sex abuse allegations. Jean-Claude Arnault, the husband of a former academy member, was convicted last year of two rapes in 2011. Arnault allegedly also leaked the name of Nobel Prize literature winners seven times.

Among the favorites for the literature award are Canadian poet Anne Carson, novelists Maryse Condé of Guadeloupe, Can Xue of China and Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, author of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which has been made into a hit TV series.

In his will, Swedish industrialist and dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel specifically designated the Swedish Academy as the institution responsible for the Nobel Prize in literature. Other institutions in Sweden and Norway were given the task to find winners for the other Nobel Prizes.

Nobel decided the physics, chemistry and medicine should be awarded in Stockholm, and the peace prize in Oslo. His exact reasons for having an institution in Norway handing out the peace prize is unclear, but during his lifetime Sweden and Norway were joined in a union, which was dissolved in 1905.

Wednesday’s chemistry prize went to John B. Goodenough, a German-born engineering professor at the University of Texas; M. Stanley Whittingham, a British-American chemistry professor at the State University of New York at Binghamton; and Japan’s Akira Yoshino, of Asahi Kasei Corporation and Meijo University.

On Tuesday, Canadian-born James Peebles, 84, an emeritus professor at Princeton University, won the physics prize for his theoretical discoveries in cosmology together with Swiss scientists Michel Mayor, 77, and Didier Queloz, 53, both of the University of Geneva. The latter were honored for finding an exoplanet — a planet outside our solar system — that orbits a solar-type star, the Nobel committee said.

A day earlier, two Americans and one British scientist — Drs. William G. Kaelin Jr. of Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Gregg L. Semenza of Johns Hopkins University and Peter J. Ratcliffe at the Francis Crick Institute in Britain and Oxford University — won the prize for advances in physiology or medicine. They were cited for their discoveries of “how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.”

With the glory comes a 9-million kronor ($918,000) cash award, a gold medal and a diploma. The laureates receive them at an elegant ceremony on Dec. 10 — the anniversary of Nobel’s death in 1896 — in Stockholm and in Oslo.

Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report.

Controversy stalks Nobel Peace, Literature prizes

October 06, 2019

STAVANGER, Norway (AP) — Controversy stalks the Nobel prizes for peace and literature in a way it rarely does for science. The revamped panel at the Swedish Academy who will hand out the Nobel Literature prizes Thursday for both 2018 and 2019 would relish arguments about the winners, rather than intrigue about the #MeToo scandal that forced the institution to suspend the prize last year.

And U.S. President Donald Trump has done his part to kindle intrigue about the 2019 Peace Prize winner, by simultaneously seeming to pitch himself for the prize while also slamming the Norwegian panel that awards it.

“Controversy is a natural effect of the Literature Prize,” says Mats Malm, the Swedish Academy’s new permanent secretary, appointed to head a reformed 18-person panel after two years of convulsions at the prestigious institution. “We want to contribute to the international discussion about literature and what it is supposed to be.”

The literary science professor is leading an overhaul of the body, which was ripped apart in late 2017 and 2018 by sex assaults involving Jean-Claude Arnault , the husband of a former academy member and a once-notable figure on Sweden’s cultural scene.

Arnault was convicted last year of two rapes in 2011 but not before accusations of abuse had led to an exodus of academy committee members, the ouster of then-Permanent Secretary Sara Danius and the absence of a Nobel Literature prize for the first time since 1943 at the height of World War II.

With a threat hanging from the Nobel Foundation — the body behind the Nobel Prizes — that the Swedish Academy could be stripped of its right to award the prize, the academy brought in five external members to help adjudicate the two literature awards this year. At the same time, it ousted everyone involved in the scandal and it “no longer includes any members who are subject to conflicts of interest or criminal investigations,” according to the foundation.

Across the border, the five-person Norwegian Nobel Institute that oversees the Peace Prize usually claims not to enjoy the controversy that accompanies its choices. But Geir Lundestad, the non-voting secretary of the committee from 1990 to 2014, says some members have traditionally thrived on the controversies that the high-profile prize inevitably brings.

“I am not sure the differences between the two committees are so big. The literature and peace prizes are more accessible to ordinary people than the prizes for medicine, physics and chemistry,” he says. “Some of the members enjoy the controversy that brings. It varies tremendously between members. But many recognize that some sort of controversy goes with the territory.”

The Nobel committees never announce the names of candidates and nominations are not revealed for 50 years. Lundestad was in charge when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to former U.S. President Barack Obama within months of his inauguration in 2009 — a prize that has attracted the ire of Trump, his successor.

Obama was there “for about 15 seconds” before he was awarded the prize, Trump told a press conference in February. Trump has been nominated for the Peace Prize by U.S congressmen for opening a dialogue with North Korea.

“I’ll probably never get it, but that’s OK,” Trump said. “They gave it to Obama. He didn’t even know what he got it for.” Second-guessing the thinking of the secretive panel is rarely fruitful, but the committee is not immune from the charms of U.S. presidents. As well as Obama, Theodore Roosevelt won it in 1906, Woodrow Wilson took the prize in 1920 and Jimmy Carter was chosen for the award in 2002.

However, a better signal for this year’s award might be former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, who won the Peace Prize alongside the International Panel on Climate Change in 2007. Gore at the time was the face of the climate movement, a mantle now sitting on the slender shoulders of 16-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden.

The teenage activist bolstered her profile last month, stepping onto the global stage at the U.N. to berate world leaders. “How dare you?” she kept saying to some of the world’s most powerful people, accusing them of ignoring the science behind climate change. “You are failing us.”

Last month, Thunberg won the Right Livelihood award, often called the “Alternative Nobel.” British bookmakers have Thunberg as the hot peace prize favorite this year, with Trump listed as a rank outsider behind several other world leaders, including two prime ministers, Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia and Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The panel could also choose to acknowledge the joint leadership of Greece’s Alexis Tsipras and North Macedonia’s Zoran Zaev. The two prime ministers put 30 years of acrimony between their neighboring countries behind them when they agreed that the former Yugoslav republic should officially be renamed from Macedonia to North Macedonia and Greece should drop its objections to its neighbor joining NATO.

On the literature side, the British website Nicer Odds has solved the dilemma of having two winners announced this year by only taking bets on the 2019 winner. Among the favorites are Canadian poet Anne Carson, novelists Maryse Conde of Guadeloupe and Can Xue of China and Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, author of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which has been made into a hit TV series.

The Nobel week begins Monday with the awards for physiology or medicine. The Physics Prize is handed out Tuesday, chemistry the following day, this year’s double-header Literature Prizes will be awarded Thursday and the Peace Prize will be announced on Friday.

The economics prize — officially known as the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, which is the only prize not created by the Swedish industrialist and inventor of dynamite — will be awarded on Oct. 14.

Nobel’s reason for having an institution in Norway hand out the Peace Prize while others are awarded in Sweden is unclear, but during his lifetime the two Scandinavian countries were in a union, which was dissolved in 1905.

Nobel fame this year comes with a 9-million kronor ($918,000) cash award, a gold medal and a diploma. The laureates get them at elegant ceremonies in Stockholm and Oslo on Dec. 10 — the anniversary of Nobel’s death in 1896.

Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen and Sheila Norman-Culp in London contributed to this report.

Nobel Peace winners urge global action vs. sexual violence

December 10, 2018

STOCKHOLM (AP) — The Congolese doctor who shares this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the use of rape and sexual violence as weapons of war called Monday for strong international action against the abuse, including reparations for victims.

Dr. Denis Mukwege, founder of a hospital in eastern Congo that has treated tens of thousands of victims of the country’s conflicts for two decades, and Iraqi activist Nadia Murad received the prize at a ceremony in the Norwegian capital, Oslo. They split the 9-million-kronor ($1 million) amount.

In an address interrupted by frequent applause, Mukwege criticized the international community for allowing Congolese to be “humiliated, abused and massacred for more than two decades in plain sight.”

“I insist on reparations, measures that give survivors compensation and satisfaction and enable them to start a new life,” he said. “I call on states to support the initiative to create a global fund for reparations for victims of sexual violence in armed conflicts.”

He said countries should take a stand against “leaders who have tolerated, or worse, used sexual violence to take power. … This red line would consist of imposing economic and political sanctions on these leaders and taking them to court.”

Dozens of armed groups in Congo profit from mining the country’s trillions of dollars’ worth of mineral resources, many of which are crucial to popular electronic products such as smartphones. “As consumers, let us at least insist that these products are manufactured with respect for human dignity. Turning a blind eye to this tragedy is being complicit,” Mukwege said. An outspoken critic of Congo’s government, he added: “My country is being systematically looted with the complicity of people claiming to be our leaders.”

Murad, a member of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, was kidnapped and sexually abused by Islamic State militants in 2014. She became an activist after escaping and finding refuge in Germany. She told the ceremony that she wants world leaders to translate sympathy for victims into action against the abusers.

“The fact remains that the only prize in the world that can restore our dignity is justice and the prosecution of criminals,” Murad said. “Young girls at the prime of life are sold, bought, held captive and raped every day. It is inconceivable that the conscience of the leaders of 195 countries around the world is not mobilized to liberate these girls,” she said.

“What if they were a commercial deal, an oil field or a shipment of weapons? Most certainly, no efforts would be spared to liberate them,” she said. Berit Reiss-Andersen, head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee that chooses the peace laureates, also said action was necessary.

“This award obligates Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad to continue their vital work. But the award obligates us to stand side by side with them in the struggle to end wartime sexual violence,” she said. Back in Iraq, Murad’s sister and brother who live in a camp for displaced Yazidi people in Dohuk in northern Iraq expressed their happiness for their sibling’s Nobel Prize.

“We are very happy, because on this date, Daesh was defeated in Iraq, on the same day Nadia is receiving her award … This is like a tumor in the chest of Daesh. We are very glad, and very proud,” her sister Khayriya Murad told The Associated Press at the family’s caravan where a photo of Nadia hung on the wall. She was busy receiving congratulations from friends and camp management staff. Daesh is an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.

The winners of the medicine, physics, chemistry and economics Nobels received their awards Monday in Stockholm; no winner of the literature prize was named this year. In comments at the awards banquet, William Nordhaus, an American who shared the economics prize for his work studying the consequences of climate change and proposing carbon taxes, took a swipe at those who are unwilling to address global warming.

“Some obstacles are unnecessary and manmade, such as those posed by the financial interests of polluters or the ludicrous arguments of some of our politicians,” he said. He shared the prize with Paul Romer, also of the United States, who was honored for studying how economies can encourage innovation.

The chemistry prize went to Americans Frances Arnold and George Smith and Britain’s Gregory Winter for work that speeds up the evolution of proteins and enzymes. James Allison of the United States and Japan’s Tasuku Honjo shared the medicine prize for discoveries in activating the body’s immune system to fight cancer. The physics prize was awarded to Donna Strickland of Canada, Gerard Mourou of France and Arthur Ashkin of the U.S. for developments in laser technology.

Associated Press writer David Keyton reported in Stockholm and AP writer Jim Heintz reported from Moscow. AP writer Rashid Yahya in Dohuk, Iraq, contributed to this report.

Nobel Peace Prize awarded to anti-nuclear campaign group

October 06, 2017

OSLO, Norway (AP) — The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Friday to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, a group of mostly young activists pushing for a global treaty to ban the cataclysmic bombs.

The award of the $1.1-million prize comes amid heightened tensions over both North Korea’s aggressive development of nuclear weapons and President Donald Trump’s persistent criticism of the deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

The prize committee wanted “to send a signal to North Korea and the U.S. that they need to go into negotiations,” Oeivind Stenersen, a historian of the peace prize, told The Associated Press. “The prize is also coded support to the Iran nuclear deal. I think this was wise because recognizing the Iran deal itself could have been seen as giving support to the Iranian state.”

The Geneva-based ICAN has campaigned actively for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons adopted by the United Nations in July, but which needs ratification from 50 countries. Only three countries have ratified it so far. It organized events globally in 2015 to mark the 70th anniversaries of the World War II U.S. atomic bombings of the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Last month in Berlin, ICAN protesters teamed up with other organizations to demonstrate outside the U.S. and North Korean embassies against the possibility of nuclear war between the two countries. Wearing masks of Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, protesters posed next to a dummy nuclear missile and a large banner reading “Time to Go: Ban Nuclear Weapons.”

The group “has been a driving force in prevailing upon the world’s nations to pledge to cooperate … in efforts to stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons,” Norwegian Nobel Committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen said in the announcement.

The prize “sends a message to all nuclear-armed states and all states that continue to rely on nuclear weapons for security that it is unacceptable behavior. We will not support it, we will not make excuses for it, we can’t threaten to indiscriminately slaughter hundreds of thousands of civilians in the name of security. That’s not how you build security,” ICAN executive director Beatrice Fihn told reporters in Geneva.

She said that she “worried that it was a prank” after getting a phone call just minutes before the official Peace Prize announcement was made. Fihn said she didn’t believe it until she heard the name of the group proclaimed on television.

ICAN leaders later popped open some bubbly to celebrate the prize, and held up a banner with the name of the organization in their small Geneva headquarters. “We are trying to send very strong signals to all states with nuclear arms, nuclear-armed states — North Korea, U.S., Russia, China, France, U.K., Israel, all of them, India, Pakistan — it is unacceptable to threaten to kill civilians,” she said.

Reiss-Andersen noted that similar prohibitions have been reached on chemical and biological weapons, land mines and cluster munitions. “Nuclear weapons are even more destructive, but have not yet been made the object of a similar international legal prohibition,” she said.

Reiss-Andersen said “through its inspiring and innovative support for the U.N. negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons, ICAN has played a major part in bringing about what in our day and age is equivalent to an international peace congress.”

Asked by journalists whether the prize was essentially symbolic, given that no international measures against nuclear weapons have been reached, Reiss-Andersen said “What will not have an impact is being passive.”

Jamey Keaten in Geneva, George Jahn in Vienna and Jim Heintz in Stockholm contributed to this story.

Japanese roots of Nobel winner Kazuo Ishiguro celebrated

October 06, 2017

TOKYO (AP) — Nobel literature laureate Kazuo Ishiguro left Japan at the age of 5, but some in the country of his birthplace are celebrating his roots. Ishiguro’s former kindergarten teacher in Nagasaki said it’s like a dream come true. Teruko Tanaka recalled to Japan’s Kyodo News service that he was a quiet boy who liked to read books.

Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki but raised and educated in England. He was awarded the Nobel Prize on Thursday. Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue said he is proud that the city has a Nobel Prize winner who has kept Nagasaki close to his heart. Ishiguro’s first novel describes the city soon after the U.S. atomic bomb attack in 1945.

Colombia’s Santos accepts Nobel, urges shift in drug war

December 10, 2016

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on Saturday, saying it helped his country achieve the “impossible dream” of ending a half-century-long civil war.

A smiling Santos received his Nobel diploma and gold medal at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway, for his efforts to end a conflict that has killed 220,000 people and displaced 8 million. “Ladies and gentlemen, there is one less war in the world, and it is the war in Colombia,” the 65-year-old head of state said, referring to the historic peace deal this year with leftist rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Santos used his acceptance speech to celebrate the end of the longest-running conflict in the Americas, pay tribute to its victims and call for a strategy shift in another, related war — on drug trafficking worldwide.

Just a few years ago, imagining the end of the bloodshed in Colombia “seemed an impossible dream, and for good reason,” Santos said, noting that very few Colombians could even remember their country at peace.

The initial peace deal was narrowly rejected by Colombian voters in a shock referendum result just days before the Nobel Peace Prize announcement in October. Many believed that ruled out Santos from winning this year’s prize, but the Norwegian Nobel Committee “saw things differently,” deputy chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen said.

“The peace process was in danger of collapsing and needed all the international support it could get,” she said in her presentation speech. A revised deal was approved by Colombia’s Congress last week.

Several victims of the conflict attended the prize ceremony, including Ingrid Betancourt, who was held hostage by FARC for six years, and Leyner Palacios, who lost 32 relatives including his parents and three brothers in a FARC mortar attack.

“The FARC has asked for forgiveness for this atrocity, and Leyner, who is now a community leader, has forgiven them,” the president said. Palacios stood up to applause from the crowd. FARC leaders, who cannot travel because they face international arrest warrants by the U.S., were not in Oslo. A Spanish lawyer who served as a chief negotiator for FARC represented the rebel group at the ceremony.

Colombians have reacted to Santos’ prize with muted emotion amid deep divisions over the peace deal. The vast majority didn’t bother to vote in October’s referendum. For many Colombians in big cities, Santos’ overriding focus on ending a conflict that had been winding down for years has diverted attention from pressing economic concerns.

Santos’ speech made a reference to fellow Nobel laureate Bob Dylan, this year’s surprise winner of the literature award, by citing the lyrics of one of his most famous songs, “Blowin’ in the Wind.” The president also used the Nobel podium to reiterate his call to “rethink” the war on drugs, “where Colombia has been the country that has paid the highest cost in deaths and sacrifices.”

Santos has argued that the decades-old U.S.-promoted war on drugs has produced enormous violence and environmental damage in nations that supply cocaine, and needs to be supplanted by a global focus on easing laws prohibiting consumption of illegal narcotics.

“It makes no sense to imprison a peasant who grows marijuana, when nowadays, for example, its cultivation and use are legal in eight states of the United States,” he said. The other Nobel Prizes were presented at a separate ceremony in Stockholm to the laureates in medicine, chemistry, physics and economics. Dylan wasn’t there — he declined the invitation, citing other commitments.

The crowd still gave Dylan a standing ovation after a Swedish Academy member praised his work in a speech. An awkward moment ensued as American singer-songwriter Patti Smith, performing Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” forgot the lyrics midway through.

“I apologize. I’m sorry, I’m so nervous,” Smith said, asking the orchestra to start over, as the formally dressed audience comforted her with gentle applause. In a speech read by U.S. Ambassador to Sweden Azita Raji at the Nobel banquet later Saturday, Dylan alluded to the debate about whether a songwriter deserved the Nobel Prize in literature.

Dylan said when William Shakespeare was working on “Hamlet,” he probably was thinking about which actors to pick and where he could find a skull. “I’m sure the farthest thing from Shakespeare’s mind was: ‘Is this literature?'” Dylan said.

Like the Bard of Avon, Dylan said, he also deals with “mundane matters” such as whether he’s recording in the right key and not whether his songs are literature. However, he thanked the Swedish Academy for considering that question “and, ultimately, for providing such a wonderful answer.”

__ Associated Press writer Joshua Goodman in Bogota, Colombia, contributed to this report.

Colombian leader Juan Manuel Santos wins Nobel Peace Prize

October 07, 2016

OSLO, Norway (AP) — Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for his efforts to end a five-decade civil war that has killed more than 200,000 people — and said he received the award in the name of the Colombian people.

The award came just days after Colombian voters narrowly rejected the peace deal that Santos helped bring about. Nobel judges conspicuously did not honor his counterpart, Rodrigo Londono, the leader of the rebels.

“The referendum was not a vote for or against peace,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said, insisting the peace process wasn’t dead. “What the ‘No’ side rejected was not the desire for peace, but a specific peace agreement.”

Santos said the Colombian people deserved the honor. “Especially the millions of victims that have suffered in this war that we are on the verge of ending,” Santos said in an interview posted on the Nobel Foundation’s Facebook page. “We are very, very close. We just need to push a bit further to persevere.”

Reacting to the award on Twitter, Londono said “the only prize to which we aspire” is one of social justice for Colombia, without far-right militias or retaliation. Santos and Londono — the leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, better known by his nom de guerre Timochenko — signed a peace deal last month to end Latin America’s longest-running conflict after more than four years of negotiations in Cuba.

Six days later, Colombians rejected it by the narrowest of margins — less than a half percentage point — over concerns that the rebels, who were behind scores of atrocities, were getting a sweetheart deal. Under the accord, rebels who turned over their weapons and confessed their crimes would be spared jail time and they would be given 10 seats in congress through 2026 to transition to a political movement.

In Bogota, 20 activists camped out in front of Colombia’s congress to demand the peace deal not be scuttled shouted “Peace deal now!” and “Colombia wants peace!” at the news. “This is a big help, but we’re not leaving until there’s peace,” said Juliana Bohorquez, a 31-year-old artist.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it believes that Santos, despite the “No” vote, “has brought the bloody conflict significantly closer to a peaceful solution.” It said the award should also be seen “as a tribute to the Colombian people who, despite great hardships and abuses, have not given up hope of a just peace, and to all the parties who have contributed to the peace process.”

Committee secretary Olav Njoelstad said there was “broad consensus” on picking Santos as this year’s laureate — the first time the peace prize went to Latin America since 1992, when Guatemalan human rights activist Rigoberta Menchu won.

Santos, 65, is an unlikely peacemaker. The Harvard-educated scion of one of Colombia’s wealthiest families, as defense minister a decade ago, he was responsible for some of the biggest military setbacks for the rebels, known by their Spanish acronym FARC. Those included a 2008 cross-border raid into Ecuador that took out a top rebel commander and the stealth rescue of three Americans held captive by the rebels for more than five years.

Yet awarding Santos alone was a departure from the Nobel committee’s tradition of honoring both sides in a peace process, like it did in 1994 for an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord and in 1998 for peace talks in Northern Ireland.

“I can’t think of another time when they didn’t give to both sides,” said Nobel historian Asle Sveen, who isn’t connected to the committee. “But the referendum made it difficult. The opposition who won the referendum would have been provoked. I suspect the committee took the FARC out at the last minute.”

The committee recognized that the referendum result had “created great uncertainty” about Colombia’s future. “There is a real danger that the peace process will come to a halt and that civil war will flare up again,” it said. “This makes it even more important that the parties, headed by President Santos and FARC guerrilla leader Rodrigo Londono, continue to respect the cease-fire.”

Prize committee chair Kaci Kullmann Five said the prize should be seen as encouragement to the FARC as well. “Giving the prize to Santos is not a belittlement to any of the other parties,” she told The Associated Press. “The FARC is obviously a very important part of this process. We note that the FARC has given important concessions.”

Santos and Londono met only twice during the entire peace process: last year when they put the final touches on the most-controversial section of the accord — how guerrillas would be punished for war crimes — and last month to sign the accord before an audience of world leaders and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

The Colombian vote Sunday was also seen as a referendum of sorts on Santos, who has staked his presidency on securing peace but in the process, critics say, neglected the economy and other pressing issues. Santos’ approval rating in July was near the lowest it has been since he took office in 2010.

Norway, along with Cuba, has been a sponsor of the Colombian peace process since the outset. The public phase of talks began in Oslo in 2012 and the Norwegian government’s bald-headed, mustached representative to the talks, Dag Nylander, has become a minor celebrity among Colombians, who have followed every announcement from Havana on TV.

A record 376 candidates were nominated for this year’s award, which carries a prize of 8 million Swedish kronor (about $930,000). Last year’s peace prize went to Tunisia’s National Dialogue Quartet for its efforts to build a pluralistic democracy.

The 2016 Nobel Prize announcements continue with the economics prize on Monday and the literature award on Thursday. All awards will be handed out on Dec. 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896.

Ritter reported from Stockholm. Joshua Goodman in Bogota, Colombia, contributed to this report.

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