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CC: Al Gore Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize

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      February 1, 2007


      Former US vice president Al Gore is seen as a possible winner of the 2007
      Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to save the planet from global warming,
      the head of the Oslo Peace Research Institute has said.

      "The issue of global warming is also very topical and ... it wouldn't be
      impossible for the Nobel committee to honour a person combatting this
      threat. In such case, Al Gore ... seems to me to be a possible candidate,"
      the institute's head, Stein Toennesson told AFP Thursday.

      Emails, faxes and letters have been flowing in to the Nobel Institute in
      Oslo ahead of the February 1 deadline for nominations, with Finnish peace
      broker Martti Ahtisaari and Chinese dissident Rebiya Kadeer also tipped as
      possible laureates.

      Two Norwegian members of parliament have nominated Al Gore jointly with
      Sheila Watt-Cloutier, a Canadian who represents more than 150,000 fellow
      Inuits in the Inuit Circumpolar Conference and who has campaigned to draw
      attention to climate change in the Arctic.

      The former US vice president is currently criss-crossing the globe with his
      documentary "An Inconvenient Truth", a hard-hitting rallying cry against
      global environmental catastrophe.

      "This is clearly some of the most import conflict prevention work that is
      being done. Climate change could lead to enormous waves of refugees, the
      likes of which the world has never seen before," Heidi Soerensen, a
      Socialist Left MP who nominated Gore and Watt-Cloutier, told daily
      Aftenposten on Thursday.

      "One hundred million climate refugees, major changes in drinking water
      supplies and a reduction in biological diversity ... will rapidly become a
      major security threat," co-nominator Boerge Brende, of the Conservative
      party, told the paper.

      Toennesson said the Nobel committee might choose to honour the fight against
      climate change.

      But after a few unconventional winners in recent years -- the prize went to
      Kenyan ecologist Wangari Maathai in 2004 and the Bangladeshi micro-credit
      pioneer Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank last year -- Toennesson said the
      committee could also decide to return to a more "traditional" peace

      "I still believe very strongly in Ahtisaari," he said of the 69-year-old
      former Finnish president.

      Ahtisaari oversaw talks in Helsinki that led to a peace agreement in 2005
      between the Indonesian government and rebels in the province of Aceh. He is
      now the United Nations' special envoy for talks on the final status of

      "The peace process in Indonesia is so important. He has a good chance but
      everything depends on how the situation in Kosovo develops," Toennesson

      Ahtisaari has been nominated several times in recent years. He has a long
      history of peacemaking, including mediation efforts in Namibia, the former
      Yugoslavia and the Northern Ireland.

      Other possibile Nobel winners cited by Toennesson include Chechen human
      rights activist Lidiya Yusupova; Rebiya Kadeer, a leader of China's Uighur
      Muslim minority, who lives in exile in the United States; and Thich Quang
      Do, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk fighting for democracy and freedom of
      expression while living under house arrest.

      Arne Liljedahl Lynngaard, the chairman of the board of the Rafto human
      rights foundation, also cited Kadeer as a possible laureate.

      "The prize will be the last one before the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and
      Rebiya Kadeer would be a serious candidate if the committee wants to draw
      attention to the human rights situation in China," he said.

      While the Nobel Institute remains tight-lipped about the list of candidates,
      those who nominate are entitled to go public with their choices.

      As a result, Indian and Latin American organisations are known to have put
      forward the name of Bolivian President Evo Morales.

      Thousands of people are eligible to submit nominations, including members of
      parliament and government worldwide, as well as university professors,
      previous laureates and members of several international institutes.

      The five members of the Nobel committee are also allowed to nominate their
      own candidates at their first meeting in February.

      The winner of the prize will be announced in October and it will be awarded,
      as tradition dictates, on December 10, the anniversary of the death of the
      founder of the prize, Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel.

      Last year, Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank beat 190 other nominees to
      win the prize.


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      Published by David Sunfellow
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