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Nobel season opens with Snowden, chili research

Stockholm – Nobel season opens with speculation rife over fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden’s prospects for the peace prize and whether the first award announced Monday — the medicine prize — could go to research into chili, heat and pain.

US physiologist David Julius has been touted by Sweden’s leading daily Dagens Nyheter to win the medicine prize for discovering that pain receptors have the same reaction to pain, temperature and the spicy component of chili.

“David Julius’s discoveries have given us a much deeper understanding of how feeling works and completely new possibilities to produce drugs against chronic pain,” Maria Gunther, science editor at the paper wrote.

While the Nobel week begins with three science prizes — including physics on Tuesday and chemistry on Wednesday, most of the speculation surround the coveted peace prize to be announced Friday.

This year’s peace prize has drawn a record 278 nominations, including that for Snowden — whose name was put forward by two Norwegian lawmakers for his exposure of widespread US electronic surveillance.

Snowden analyst would be a controversial choice as “many continue to see him as a traitor and a criminal”, according to Kristian Berg Harpviken, director of the peace research institute Oslo (PRIO), one of few analysts to publish a list of potential winners.

Nonetheless the five members of the Nobel Committee could still give him the award to “underline the independence of the Nobel Committee” from the Norwegian and US authorities, according to Nobeliana.com, a website run by leading Norwegian Nobel historians.

– Too controversial –

Others have rubbished the Snowden speculation.

“Judging from the past, I can’t see that coming. It’s too controversial — and Scandinavians are too fond of the (United) States,” Robert Haardh, head of Stockholm-based Civil Rights Defenders told AFP.

Pope Francis — topping bookmaker Paddy Power’s list with 9/4 odds — would be another controversial choice.

“Pope Francis has brought attention to the fate of the poor, and the need for a new approach to development and economic redistribution,” according to PRIO’s Harpviken.

But critics argue that a Nobel for the pope would cause a similar outcry to President Barack Obama’s 2009 Nobel — less than a year into his presidency — which drew complaints that he was awarded for potential good deeds in the future rather than anything he had achieved.

Other favourites, also tipped last year, were 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist for girls’ right to education and Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege.

While analysts believe the conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine do not easily lend themselves to a peace prize, the Nobel Committee could choose to promote international security cooperation as it did with last year’s award to the chemical weapons watchdog OPCW.

“What we badly need at the moment is the re-evaluation of multilateral cooperation,” Ian Anthony, head of the Stockholm peace research institute, SIPRI, told AFP.

Awarding a group like the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) could, “focus people’s thinking” on how to solve conflicts like the one raging in Ukraine, he said.

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BDP decides Balopi’s fate

22nd November 2021
Balopi

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.

The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.

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BDF-Namibians shootings autopsy report revealed

22nd November 2021
BDF

The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.

This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.

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Gov’t confused over Moitoi’s UN job application

22nd November 2021
VENSON MOITOI

The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.

Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.

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