News / Europe

Pakistani Teenage Activist, Japanese Author Tipped for Nobels

FILE - Malala Yousafzai gives a speech after receiving the "Leadership in Civil Society" award at the Clinton Global Initiative 2013 in New York September 25, 2013.
FILE - Malala Yousafzai gives a speech after receiving the "Leadership in Civil Society" award at the Clinton Global Initiative 2013 in New York September 25, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— A Pakistani teenage activist shot by the Taliban and a Japanese author who writes about alienation and a fractured modern world are tipped as Nobel Prize winners ahead of the annual awards that start on Monday.
 
Malala Yousafzai, 16, shot in the head by the Taliban last year for demanding education for girls, gave a speech at the United Nations in July saying she would not bow to “terrorists” who thought they could silence her. She is a favorite for the peace prize among experts and betting agencies.
 
“I have Malala Yousafzai on top,” Kristian Berg Harpviken, director of Oslo-based peace research institute PRIO, told reporters. “The E.U. (European Union) got the prize last year and the E.U. prize was poorly understood and fundamentally questioned in many quarters.”
 
One obstacle could be her age. Tawakkol Karman, a Yemeni human rights activist and youngest winner to date, was 32 when she received the prize and some experts argue the prize would overburden such a young woman. Yousafzai is living in Birmingham, England, and still facing Taliban threats.
 
British bookmaker Ladbrokes has put Japanese author Haruki Murakami in pole position for the literature prize.
 
Murakami is very popular in Japan, but has also become well known abroad for his works which deal with isolation and love and bring the surreal into everyday life.
 
His first novel, Hear the Wind Sing, was published in 1979, but Murakami first leaped to literary stardom in 1987 with Norwegian Wood, a bleak coming-of-age story dominated by grief and loss and named after a Beatles song.
 
Since then, his works, including Sputnik Sweetheart, Kafka on the Shore and 1Q84 - which sold one million copies in the first month in 2009 - have all been bestsellers.
 
His works veer between the surreal and the mundane, often featuring characters isolated from the world, either metaphorically because of loneliness or mental illness or physically existing in a parallel reality.
 
Accolades in Stockholm will go also to medicine, physics, chemistry and economics. Oslo will name the peace prize winner on Friday.
 
Secrecy
 
The discussions on the prizes are wrapped in secrecy. The 18 members of the Swedish Academy who award the Nobel prize for literature are only allowed to discuss the prize within the walls of the Academy itself. Minutes are only made public half a century after the meetings.
 
It is extremely rare for the name of any winner to leak out, though 2010 was an exception when Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet got a tip that test-tube-baby pioneer Robert Edwards had won the award for medicine.
 
The annual prizes created in the will of dynamite tycoon Alfred Nobel were cut by 20 percent to 8 million crowns ($1.2 million) last year as returns on its roughly $450 million fund fell amid years of global financial downturn.
 
“I very much doubt that I would propose increasing the prize money,” Nobel Foundation executive director Lars Heikensten told Reuters. “There are reasons in the world to try and be safe.”
 
Scientists who predicted the existence of the Higgs boson - the mysterious particle that explains why elementary matter has mass - are Thomson Reuters' top tips to win this year's Nobel prize in physics.
 
The two possible winners are Britain's Peter Higgs - after whom the particle was named - and Belgian theoretical physicist Francois Englert, according to Thomson Reuters' Nobel prediction expert David Pendlebury.
 
His forecasts are based on how often a scientist's published work is cited by other researchers, and his system has accurately forecast 27 Nobel prize winners since 2002.
 
Potential winners for economics include Sam Peltzman and Richard Posner of the University of Chicago for their research on theories of regulation.
 
In medicine, those tipped include Adrian Bird, Howard Cedar and Aharon Razin, from Britain and Israel, for work on a process known as DNA methylation, which helps determine how and when genes in the body are switched on.
 
Among potential chemistry winners are U.S. scientists M.G. Finn, Valery Fokin and Barry Sharpless for developing so-called “click chemistry,” which has applications in diagnostics and in making surface coatings with unusual properties.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid