Kushner, Berkowitz nominated for Nobel peace prize for Israel deal

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and his deputy, Avi Berkowitz, were nominated on Sunday for the Nobel Peace Prize for their role in negotiating four normalization deals between Israel and Arab nations known as the “Abraham Accords.”

The deals were announced in a four-month span between mid-August and mid-December and were the most significant diplomatic breakthroughs in the Middle East in 25 years as the region girds for a prolonged confrontation with Iran.

Nominating the pair of former deputies to then-President Donald Trump was American attorney Alan Dershowitz, who was eligible to do so in his capacity as a professor emeritus of Harvard Law School.

Kushner and Berkowitz were key figures in negotiating deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.

In a statement, Kushner said he was honored to be nominated for the prize, which will be awarded in October.

Some lawmakers have complained about the Morocco deal because, to win the nation’s agreement, the United States recognized its sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

270 million people face starvation, says WFP as it receives Nobel Peace Prize

By Reuters Staff

OSLO (Reuters) – Some 270 million people worldwide – equivalent to the combined populations of Germany, Britain, France and Italy – stand on the brink of starvation, the head of the United Nations’ World Food Program said on Thursday upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

The WFP, which has coordinated medical logistics during the coronavirus pandemic, was announced winner of the award for 2020 in October.

“Because of so many wars, climate change, the widespread use of hunger as a political and military weapon, and a global health pandemic that makes all of that exponentially worse — 270 million people are marching toward starvation,” David Beasley said from the WFP headquarters in Rome, upon receiving the Nobel medal and diploma.

“Failure to address their needs will cause a hunger pandemic which will dwarf the impact of COVID. And if that’s not bad enough, out of that 270 million, 30 million depend on us 100% for their survival,” he added.

Instead of the usual ceremony at the Oslo City Hall before dignitaries including Norway’s King Harald, WFP officials stayed in Rome due to the coronavirus pandemic.

They are expected to travel to Oslo at a later stage to deliver the traditional Nobel lecture.

The remaining Nobel awards – for medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and economics – which are traditionally handed out in Stockholm – have also been moved online.

The ceremonies are held every year on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the death of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, who founded the awards in his 1895 will.

Norwegian lawmaker nominates Trump for Nobel Peace Prize

By Gwladys Fouche

OSLO (Reuters) – A Norwegian lawmaker has nominated Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize for 2021 for helping broker a deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, the second time he has put forward the U.S. president for the honor.

Thousands of people are eligible to nominate candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize, including members of parliaments and governments, university professors and past laureates.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which decides on the award, declined to comment.

“It is for his contribution for peace between Israel and the UAE. It is a unique deal,” Christian Tybring-Gjedde, a member of parliament for the right-wing Progress Party, told Reuters.

Tybring-Gjedde, who nominated Trump for the 2019 award for his diplomatic efforts with North Korea, said he also nominated him this year because of the U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.

Nominations for this year’s award closed on Jan. 31 and the winner will be announced on Oct. 9 in Oslo.

(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

No need for Shinzo Abe: Trump already nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

FILE PHOTO - U.S. President Donald Trump listens to Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

By Gwladys Fouche

OSLO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is not saying whether or not he nominated Donald Trump for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, but the question may be moot: the U.S. president has been put forward by others for the prestigious award.

During a White House news conference on Friday, Trump said the Japanese premier had given him “the most beautiful copy” of a five-page nomination letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

Since then Abe has declined to say whether he had done so. Regardless, Trump has already been nominated by two Norwegian lawmakers.

“We have nominated him of course for the positive developments on the Korean Peninsula,” Per-Willy Amundsen, who was Justice Minister in Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s cabinet in 2016-2018, told Reuters.

“It has been a very difficult situation and the tensions have since lowered and a lot of it is due to Trump’s unconventional diplomatic style,” he added.

Amundsen, who is a member of the rightwing Progress Party, wrote a letter to the award committee together with his parliamentary colleague Christian Tybring-Gjedde, he said.

The letter was submitted in June, immediately after a summit Trump held in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un aimed at easing tensions and tackling Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

Tybring-Gjedde, who sits on the Norwegian Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, also confirmed the joint nomination of Trump when contacted by Reuters.

“A possible award would, of course, depend on the talks leading to a credible disarmament deal,” he said.

A wide range of people can nominate for the Nobel Peace Prize, including members of parliaments and governments, heads of state, university professors of history, social sciences or law and past Nobel Peace Prize laureates, among others.

The deadline for nominations for the 2019 prize, which will be announced on Oct. 11., was Jan. 31.

The five-strong Norwegian Nobel Committee, which decides who wins the award, does not comment on nominations, keeping secret for 50 years the names of nominators and unsuccessful nominees.

Still, it did say earlier this month that 304 candidates were nominated for this year’s prize, of which 219 are individuals and 85 are organizations.

Last year’s prize was jointly awarded to Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege and Yazidi human rights activist Nadia Murad.

(Editing by Frances Kerry)

Americans reflect on Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy 50 years on

FILE PHOTO: People gather to march in the annual parade down MLK Boulevard to honor Martin Luther King, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S., January 16, 2017. REUTERS/Billy Weeks

By Kia Johnson

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Reuters) – A half century after Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, visitors still flock to the Memphis, Tennessee, site where the civil rights leader was assassinated and say that while there has been progress in racial equality, more strides need to be made.

“We still look like there is a shadow over us, still seems like something is holding us back,” Charles Wilson, a black man from Mississippi, said during a recent visit to the site.

On April 4, 1968, King, 39, was shot on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. The motel is now part of the National Civil Rights Museum, which includes Room 306, preserved as it was when King stayed there, and vintage cars parked out front.

A Baptist pastor and civil rights activist, King worked to end legal segregation of blacks in the United States. He gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech at the August 1963 March on Washington, and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 at age 35 – the youngest man to have received the award.

Despite King’s advocacy of nonviolent resistance, the days immediately following his death were marked by rioting in several American cities. Thousands of National Guard troops were deployed.

Wilson, the recent National Civil Rights Museum visitor, and his son Charles Jr. were among those who contemplated King’s legacy and the status of civil rights in the United States.

“I think that the changes that people fought for as far as voting and et cetera, a lot of people don’t take advantage of it, and a lot of people gave their lives for that right, they fought for it and people now don’t appreciate it,” Wilson Jr said.

Nancy Langfield, a white woman visiting from Missouri, said politicians in Washington do not reflect the racial makeup of the United States.

She deplored what she called the rhetoric coming out of Washington, calling it hateful and mean. “I look at the government and it looks very white to me, and then I think about the country and it doesn’t seem overly white to me,” Langfield said.

For Hyungu Lee, of Tennessee, who visited the museum with his family, King’s legacy is still alive.

“Even though he is not here, I feel that his spirit is with us now, and because of him, our human rights is getting better and better, so I feel really thankful,” Lee said.

(Reporting by Kia Johnson; Writing by Suzannah Gonzales; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

Thousands of Israelis file past coffin of former president Peres

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton stands with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein next to the flag-draped coffin of former Israeli President Shimon Peres, as he lies in state at the Knesset plaza,

By Jeffrey Heller

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Thousands of Israelis filed past the flag-draped coffin of Shimon Peres outside parliament on Thursday, honoring the former president and prime minister who won worldwide praise for his efforts in peace talks with the Palestinians.

U.S. President Barack Obama is among foreign dignitaries due to attend the funeral on Friday of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who died on Wednesday at 93, two weeks after a stroke.

But with Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations frozen since 2014, it was unclear whether Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who sent a condolence letter to Peres’s family, would travel to Jerusalem from nearby Ramallah for the ceremony.

The leaders of Egypt and Jordan, the only Arab states to have signed peace treaties with Israel, were not on the roster of participants issued by Israel’s Foreign Ministry.


An Israeli man lays a wreath near a portrait of former Israeli President Shimon Peres, as a woman photographs nearby, as Peres lies in state at the Knesset plaza, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem

An Israeli man lays a wreath near a portrait of former Israeli President Shimon Peres, as a woman photographs nearby, as Peres lies in state at the Knesset plaza, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem September 29, 2016. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Tens of thousands of people were expected to walk past Peres’s coffin during Thursday’s 12-hour memorial in the parliamentary plaza, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin laid wreaths.

“We came to pay our respects to a wonderful man who we thought would carry on forever,” said Michael Leon, a British-born bank worker. “He was a man with a great dream to bring peace to this region, the new Middle East. Sadly, we have not reached that goal yet but we still carry on with his aims.”

Britain’s Prince Charles, former U.S. president Bill Clinton and French President Francois Hollande were due to attend Peres’s funeral in the “Great Leaders of the Nation” section of Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl cemetery.

Peres shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with the late former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for reaching an interim peace deal in 1993, the Oslo Accords, which however never turned into a lasting treaty.

(Editing by Louise Ireland)

Ten Sentenced To Life In Attack On Malala Yousafzai

Ten terrorists who attempted to kill child activist Malala Yousafzai in 2012 have been sentenced to life in prison.

The men could be eligible for release in 25 years.

The men were arrested last September in a district of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, two years after the attack on the then 15-year-old Malala.  Taliban militants had targeted the girl for her outspoken insistence that girls had a right to education.

Authorities in the case say the terrorists were taking instructions from the Pakistan Taliban’s leader Mullah Fazlullah.  The Taliban told the men that Malala was “a symbol of the infidels and obscenity” for her desire to have girls obtain education.

Officials could not say if the men sentenced today were the actual gunmen in the attack.  The Pakistani government has claimed they arrested “the entire gang” involved in the attack but have not named the actual gunmen.

Malala went on to continue her activism after recovering in England from her wounds and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.

Teen Taliban Tried To Kill Wins Nobel Peace Prize

A teen girl who stood up to the Taliban and survived an attempted assassination has received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Malala Yousafzai is the first teenager to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Malala was a teen advocate for girls being given an education, which went against the edicts of the Islamic terrorist group.  The Taliban tried to assassinate the then 15-year-old as she traveled to school in Pakistan’s Swat Valley in October 2012.  The bullet struck above her left eye and grazed her brain but did not cause fatal damage.

She was flown to Britain where she received treatment and now attends school.  She is still a worldwide advocate for the rights of women in Islamic countries and to raise awareness of the treatment of women by Islamic groups such as the Taliban and ISIS.

“The extremists were and they are afraid of books and pens,” Yousafzai said in a speech last year at a UN youth assembly. “The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women. The power of the voice of women frightens them.”

“The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambition,” Yousafzai said last year. “But nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage were born.”

Fugitive NSA Leaker Snowden Nominated For Peace Prize

The man who stole classified information from the National Security Agency and then fled the country to avoid prosecution for his actions is now an official nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Two members of the Norwegian government nominated Edward Snowden.

Baard Vegard Solhjell, a former environment minister, and Snorre Valen released publicly their nomination for Snowden.  They claimed that Snowden’s release of the classified NSA actions “has contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order.”

The members of the Nobel panel do not confirm nominees but people who make nominations are permitted to release the information to the public.

The nomination comes a few days after Snowden released new documents showing that the NSA and their British counterparts were doing real time spying on use of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.