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

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs