News / Europe

Pakistani Teenage Activist, Japanese Author Tipped for Nobels

FILE - Malala Yousafzai gives a speech after receiving the
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.
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 Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs