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International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) wins Nobel Peace Prize

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The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday to an international watchdog that campaigns to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) won “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons,” the Nobel committee said in a statement.

The prize was awarded by a committee of five people chosen by Norway’s parliament.

It comes as the United States and North Korea are engaged in a tense standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear program, and as speculation intensifies that President Trump could be preparing to abandon a two-year-old nuclear deal with Iran.

Last year’s accolade was given to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos “for his resolute efforts to bring the country’s more than 50-year-long civil war to an end.”

Officially, the names of nominees are meant to be kept secret for at least 50 years, but names do get leaked, often by overzealous nominators. Often, they are inaccurate.

Each year, Norway’s Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) draws up its own shortlist based on its own assessment of qualified and deserving candidates.

For 2017, PRIO had identified what it felt were five possible winners:

  • Mohammad Javad Zarif and Federica Mogherini (Iran nuclear deal)

  • UNHCR and High Commissioner Filippo Grandi (Europe’s refugee crisis)

  • Cumhuriyet and Can Dündar (Press freedoms in Turkey)

  • The Economic Community of West African States (African democracy)

  • The White Helmets and Raed al Saleh (Syrian civil war)

No pontiff has ever won the prize, but Pope Francis was also favored by bookmakers. In recent years, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has also been seen as worthy candidate for her decision to open her country’s borders to more than 1 million refugees since 2015.

Technically, anyone can get nominated by an eligible nominator. These are usually distinguished academics, heads of research institutes, politicians or former laureates.

History has delivered a few suspect nominees, Adolf Hitler notably, in 1939. For the past two years, Donald Trump’s name has made it onto the list.

Between 1901-2016, 97 Nobel Peace Prizes have been awarded. Other stats related to the prize: 2 have been been divided between three persons; 16 women have been recipients; 62 is the average age of laureates the year they were awarded the prize; 1 winner, Vietnam’s Le Duc Tho, declined the prize; 3 winners were under arrest at the time of the award: German pacifist and journalist Carl von Ossietzky, Burmese (now Myanmar) politician Aung San Suu Kyi and Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo.

This year’s award comes amid debate about whether Suu Kyi — who won the prize in 1991 — should be stripped of the honor. The de facto leader of Myanmar has drawn condemnation for her defense of her country’s treatment of its Rohingya population, a minority Muslim group. Rohingya have been fleeing Myanmar in the thousands for neighboring Bangladesh amid atrocities in Rakhine state.

Friday’s announcement caps a week in which Nobel laureates have been named in medicine, physics, chemistry and literature.

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Motherland News

Grenade attack victims receive blood donations in Ethiopia.

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Solidarity is building up in Ethiopia two days after the grenade attack on a political rally by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Addis Ababa football fans gathered at the National Red Cross to donate blood to victims injured in the explosion.

‘‘My condolences to the families of the victims. We will not stop supporting them. May the souls of those who lost their lives rest in peace’‘, said St. George Football Club supporter, Waqajira Midekisa.



‘‘It is very sad that this has happened at a time when we are working for peace. We didn’t expect this to happen, but we are so happy to be available today to help our brothers and sisters by giving blood at this crucial time’‘, said Kidestemariam Tesafye, organizer of the blood donation exercise.

On Sunday, Ethiopia’s health Minister announced that 2 people have died following the attack.

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The explosion took place when the new Prime Minister had just finished his speech in front of tens of thousands of people gathered in Meskel Square, in the centre of the capital.

One person was killed and more than 150 injured during ensuing panic moments after the attack.

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Guatemala’s eruption: Gercia digs for lost relatives.

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The ‘official’ search for victims has ended in San Miguel Los Lotes , a town devastated when Guatemala’s deadly Fuego volcano erupted earlier this month.

But some determined locals aren’t giving up, like 48-year-old Eufemia Garcia Ixpata said she would continue to search for some 50 family members lost.



“I’m not going to give up until I have a part of my family and am able to give them a Christian burial. Even if it’s just a few little bones, even if it’s just a piece of cloth”, Garcia said.

Even now, at the crack of dawn, she leaves the shelter where she’s been living, to go out and dig for dozens of missing relatives.

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For Garcia , the search has at times been highly emotional. She found the remains of one of her children. And also found some remains of her mother – a 75-year-old who had decided she could NOT outrun the volcanic flow.

Whenever the alarms ring out warning of more volcanic activity Garcia puts her search through the rubble on hold— and instead visits the morgue or checks local hospitals. She only stops to eat when food is shoved in front of her by aid workers.

And Garcia is not alone in her anguish.

Scores of people remain missing, while hundreds of survivors remain in shelters, wondering what happened to their loved ones when volcanic ash rained down on their home.

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Over 900 migrants picked up off Coast of Libya.

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Libya’s coastguard picked up 490 migrants off the coast of Tripoli on Sunday in the third rescue operation of the day.

Rami Ghameed, the commander of the Ras Ajdir ship which picked up the migrants, said that throughout the day, a number of coastguard ships across the country’s waters picked up a little over nine hundred migrants from a total of six rubber dinghies.



‘‘There were a total of six rubber boats, two were rescued by (the Libyan coastguard’s) central sector, the Ras Ajdir ship rescued three of the boats, and the Sabratha (coastguard) ship rescued one boat. The Sabratha ship is on its way to Tripoli’s naval base.

The number of those rescued on the boats picked up by the central sector was around 361 people, and this ship, the Ras Ajdir, picked up around 490 people’‘, Ghameed said.

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Sunday’s rescue operations brought the total number of migrants trying to reach Europe, but taken back to Libya, to well over 1,000 since last week alone.

Libya’s western coast is the main departure point for migrants fleeing wars and poverty and trying to reach Europe.

The number of crossings has sharply dropped since July 2017 due to a more active coastguard presence with support from the European Union.

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