They thought it would strengthen Obama. It didn’t.
Geil Lundestad, director at the institute for 25 years, said in his just-published memoir that he and the committee had unanimously decided to grant the award to Mr. Obama just after his election in 2009 more in hopes of aiding the American president to achieve his goals on nuclear disarmament, rather than in recognition of what Mr. Obama had already accomplished.
“Even many of Obama’s supporters thought that the prize was a mistake.”
Normally the Nobel committee’s decision regarding recipients remains private, and Mr. Lundestad’s frank and revealing remarks regarding internal decisions have caused a stir in Norway, detailing the politicking and compromises that have gone into determining the annual laureate. Read the rest of this entry »
Nordic Girl Strings Herself from Tree for Nearly Four Hours
Ryan Steadman reports: London-based artist Hilde Krohn Huse hung helplessly from a tree for 3.5 harrowing hours at the hands of… herself.
The artist, who is originally from Norway but has lived in London since she was young, decided to suspend herself from a tree with rope in a forest near Aukra, Norway as part of a video piece for an art class.
“I felt sick when I saw the video for the first time, I experienced everything anew. But I slept on it and realized that the video is quite decent.”
Award-winning artist Hilde Krohn Huse
Clearly, something went awry, and the 26-year-old Ms. Huse found herself strung out in the buff, unable to free herself.
“The video ends when the camera shuts off, but I was there calling for help for another 30 minutes,” Ms. Huse told Norway’s VG newspaper about the incident. “I felt sick when I saw the video for the first time, I experienced everything anew. But I slept on it and realized that the video is quite decent.”
Bonus: Enjoy this long, depressing, confessional, navel-gazing, “actuality of truthfulness’ video by the artist, from Nov 26, 2014
And for our multilingual readers, enjoy this original story from Norway’s vg.no
Hilde Krohn Huse (26) hang naken i et tre i en halv time før noen fant henne, men det ble litt av en video ut av det hele.
Videoen har vunnet Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2015, en konkurranse for engelske sisteårsstudenter. Premien er å få videoen utstilt i et storstilt galleri som åpnes opp i november – der vil verkene vises i ett år.
Hilde Krohn Huse er en av 37 andre som vil få sitt verk utstilt i galleriet som ligger på veien opp mot Buckingham Palace, men det var ikke planlagt at 26-åringen skulle lage vinnerfilm.
I utgangspunktet skulle Huse ut å filme en scene til en videoserie hun holdt på med. Hun gikk ut i skogen ved hjemstedet Aukra i Møre og Romsdal, rigget kameraet klart og begynte å henge i repet– så hektet foten seg fast.
– Der videoen slutter slo kameraet seg av, men jeg hang der og ropte på hjelp i 30 minutter, sier Huse til VG på telefon fra London.
En venn hørte til slutt ropene og kom til unnsetning. Read the rest of this entry »
Peace Prize committee demotes chairman Thorbjoern Jagland
The Oslo, Norway-based committee gave no reason for downgrading the former Norwegian prime minister and respected diplomat from his perch.
At the same time, as German media conglomerate Deutsche Welle observes, Jagland was widely condemned in 2009 when his committee bestowed the prestigious award on then-newly elected President Barack Obama.
“Jagland’s ejection from the chairmanship marks the first time that a sitting Nobel Peace Prize committee boss has been demoted in the history of the prize — since 1901”
Jagland, 64, was serving his first year as Peace Prize chairman when his committee conferred the international award upon Obama for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”
The committee announced that Obama would receive the award in October 2009, just over eight months after he became president.
“The war in Iraq officially ended more than two years later, in December 2011. Since that time, the political situation has deteriorated markedly. A new entity called ISIS currently controls a portion of Iraq and Syria which is, in total, twice the size of Pennsylvania.”
In response to a barrage of criticism, Jagland proclaimed that the Nobel committee’s goal was to hail Obama’s oratory about removing nuclear weapons from the world. Jagland also said he hoped to symbolize “the spirit of the times, the needs of the era,” according to Deutsche Welle.
When Obama received his Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, the United States was engaged in wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
The war in Iraq officially ended more than two years later, in December 2011. Since that time, the political situation has deteriorated markedly. A new entity called ISIS currently controls a portion of Iraq and Syria which is, in total, twice the size of Pennsylvania.
The American-led coalition in Afghanistan officially ended combat in December 2014. However, U.S. forces continue to skirmish constantly with militant Islamic radicals. Read the rest of this entry »
Photo/AFP Norwegian Muslims create a human peace ring around the synagogue in Oslo, Norway on February 21, 2015. More than a 1,000 joined a peace vigil in Oslo Saturday, hosted by young Norwegian Muslims in a show of solidarity with Jews a week after fatal shootings in Denmark targeted a synagogue and free speech seminar.
“We want to show our support to the Jews after what happened in Copenhagen.”
As the small mainly elderly Jewish congregation filed out of the synagogue after Shabbat prayers, a group of young Muslims, many of them teenage girls wearing headscarves, formed a symbolic ring outside the building to roaring applause from a crowd of more than 1,000 people.
“This is the best possible response we can give to the polarisation we’ve seen in debates after the attacks in France and Denmark.”
“This shows that there are many more peacemakers than war-makers,” 37-year-old Zeeshan Abdullah, one of the organisers told the crowd.
“There is still hope for humanity, for peace and love across religious differences and background,” he added, before a traditional Shabbat ceremony was held in the open air with many demonstrators adding their voices to the Hebrew chants.
Norway’s chief rabbi appeared visibly moved when he said it was the first time the ceremony had taken place outdoors with so many people.
“It is unique that Muslims stand to this degree against anti-Semitism and that fills us with hope… particularly as it’s a grassroots movement of young Muslims,” said Norway’s Jewish community leader Ervin Kohn, adding that the rest of the world should “look to Norway”.
“Working against fear alone is difficult and it is good that we are so many here together today.”
There was a heavy police presence at the event and sharp shooters placed on surrounding buildings but no incidents were reported. Read the rest of this entry »
Pakistani teen Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating girls’ education, and Indian children’s rights advocate Kailash Satyarthi were jointly awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. Yousafzai, 17, is the youngest winner of the award. She was honored for “her heroic struggle” and becoming “a leading spokesperson for girls’ right to education,” said Thorbjørn Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. “Despite her youth, Malala … has shown by example that children and young people can contribute to improving their own situation.”
Satyarthi, 60, has been a lifelong campaigner against the exploitation of children for financial gain. “The Nobel Committee regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism,” Jagland added. “It has been calculated that there are 168 million child laborers around the world today. In 2000 the figure was 78 million higher. The world has come closer to the goal of eliminating child labor.” Yousafazi, who received a standing ovation when she made a powerful address to the United Nations on her 16th birthday, is still receiving treatment in Britain for her injuries. Read the rest of this entry »
For The Independent, Heather Saul writes: A Saudi Arabian court has sentenced the editor of a website that discussed religion in the ultra-conservative Islamic kingdom to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes.
His website included articles that were critical of senior religious figures such as Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti and allegedly insulted Islam and religious authorities, according to Human Rights Watch.
Prosecutors had demanded Badawi be tried for apostasy, a charge which carries the death penalty, but this was dismissed by the judge.
Badawi was originally sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes in July last year, but an appeals court overturned the sentence and ordered a retrial – which then earned him a more severe sentence. Read the rest of this entry »
This is why a future president might finally do away with the practice of nominating a top political donor to be an ambassador.
Here’s how the White House described wealthy executive George Tsunis when President Barack Obama nominated him to be the top U.S. diplomat in Norway in September 2013:
“George J. Tsunis is the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Chartwell Hotels, LLC. From 1999 to 2009, Mr. Tsunis was of counsel at Rivkin Radler, LLP and served as partner since 2005. Mr. Tsunis was Special Counsel to the Town of Huntington Committee on Open Space Preservation as well as Counsel to the Dix Hills Water District from 2003 to 2009. From 1998 to 1999, he practiced law at Goldberg & Cohen in Brooklyn, NY. From 1996 to 1998, he was a Legislative Attorney at the New York City Council. Mr. Tsunis received a B.A. from New York University and a J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law.”
Norway’s Slow TV Trend Continues: ‘National Knitting Evening’
Nancy Tartaglioni reports: Knit one, purl … eight-plus hours of live stitching? That’s what’s happening tonight on Norwegian public broadcaster NRK2 as folks around the country gather in viewing parties. The show is part of a phenomenon known as Slow TV which has increasingly captivated Norway. The overall gist of the concept, to which LMNO Productions recently acquired U.S. rights, is a hybrid of unhurried documentary coupled with hours and hours of continuous coverage provided by fixed cameras trained on a subject or an event. Prior to tonight, those have included a 7.5-hour train journey, a 134-hour coastal cruise, a stack of firewood and salmon. Tonight, NRK2 will turn its lens on National Knitting Evening.
Sophie Brown reports: Bodies recovered from the Westgate shopping center on Thursday are probably those of two attackers, according to a Kenyan official. Ndung’u Gethenji, who heads the committee investigating the Sept. 21 attack, said AK47 rifles were found next to the bodies, ruling out the possibility that they were soldiers since the army does not use those weapons.
Meanwhile, one of the suspected gunmen has been identified as Norwegian Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow, 23, who was born in Somalia, the BBC reports.
More than three weeks on, it remains unclear how many gunmen were involved in the attack and whether any escaped. Authorities initially reported that 10 to 15 militants were at the mall but surveillance video appears to show only four men.
TIME.com‘s Samantha Grossman writes: Americans have the largest disposable incomes in the world, but that doesn’t mean they’re the dropping the most cash on food, alcohol and tobacco. Analyzing data from the USDA and EuroMonitor International, the folks over at the Huffington Post noted that as a whole, Americans spend a smaller portion of their incomes on food than their peers in other developed nations. On a more comprehensive ranking, which factors in all money spent on food eaten at home, dining out, alcohol and tobacco, the U.S. places just nineteenth. Read the rest of this entry »