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AFP, Oslo: Syrian rescuers risking all to save war-hit civilians and the brokers of Iran’s nuclear deal are among
contenders for Friday’s Nobel Peace Prize after Colombia’s peacemakers fell from pole position.
As the annual Nobel prize-giving week reaches its peak, the five-member Norwegian committee will unveil its decision at 0900 GMT, the only one of six awards to be presented in Oslo and the one which traditionally garners the greatest attention.
For once, Experts, online betting sites and commentators had thought they were on to a sure thing with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC chief Rodrigo London, alias Timoleon “Timochenko” Jimenez, widely seen as frontrunners after signing a deal to end 52 years of civil war.
But they were suddenly forced to rethink after voters in Colombia rejected the agreement between their government and the communist FARC rebels in an October 2 referendum.
That threw the prestigious prize wide open again, and with a record 376 nominations to consider, predicting the winner is largely a lottery, with experts far from unanimous over who the committee will choose.
On the eve of the award, several Nobel watchers flagged civilian-led endeavours, with two betting sites giving Greek islanders the best odds for coming to the aid of thousands of desperate refugees landing on their shores after making the perilous journey across the sea from Turkey.
For others, it was the work of Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege in helping women recover from the violence and trauma of sexual abuse and rape in war-torn eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Resilience and bravery
Syria’s White Helmet volunteers were also touted as possible winners for their daring efforts to rescue civilians caught up in the carnage of the country’s five-year war.
Working in rebel-held areas, the force has won international plaudits for the bravery of its nearly 3,000 volunteers who risk life and limb to pull survivors from the rubble, with their nomination for the prize firmly backed by Britain’s Guardian newspaper.