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Santos, An Awkward Nobel Peace Prize

The committee that awards the Nobel Peace Prize does not approach its task the way the Academy assigns the Oscars. The Nobel is not a trophy to crown an achievement as much as a message … or more precisely, a "shot in the arm." The Nobel committee has long made it clear that they choose people or organizations that are advancing the cause of peace, and, as such, need an extra boost of international recognition to take their work and objectives further. It has sometimes led to some head-scratching choices. Last year, the prize went to the "Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet". In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama was lauded barely eight months after he took office.


The 2016 choice appears to be even more odd. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos won the Nobel this morning less than a week after a democratic rejection of his efforts to end the half-century civil war with communist rebel group FARC that has killed some 220,000 people.


The Nobel committee explained its choice in the face of last Sunday's referendum that rejected the peace deal: "This result has created great uncertainty as to the future of Colombia. There is a real danger that the peace process will come to a halt and that civil war will flare up again. This makes it even more important that the parties, headed by President Santos and FARC guerrilla leader Rodrigo Londoño, continue to respect the ceasefire."


The committee added that the peace deal's collapse "does not necessarily mean that the peace process is dead." It remains to be seen if this Nobel is that final shot in the arm needed to bring peace to Colombia. Or if the committee should start picking its winners like the Oscars.



WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY (& WEEKEND)



HURRICANE MATTHEW BATTERS FLORIDA

After killing at least 339 people in Haiti, Matthew struck Florida today making it the first major hurricane to make a direct hit on the U.S. in more than a decade.


UKIP LAWMAKERS BRAWL IN EU PARLIAMENT, ONE ENDS UP IN HOSPITAL

Steven Woolfe, a lawmaker who could become the next head of the British far-right UKIP party, said he was recovering well in hospital after a fight yesterday with a colleague at a European Parliament meeting in Strasbourg. Read more from The Guardian.


— ON THIS DAY

From Edgar Allan Poe to Simon Cowell, here's your 57-second shot of history.


SATELLITE IMAGES SHOW NORTH KOREA NUCLEAR TEST SITE ACTIVITY

A U.S. monitoring group said the images could indicate that Pyongyang was planning a new test or that it was collecting data from the last one, Reuters reports.


GIANT BANNER OF VLADIMIR PUTIN APPEARS ON NYC BRIDGE

A mysterious poster of Russia's president with the word "Peacemaker" was hung yesterday on the Manhattan Bridge in New York City. Police officers quickly took it down, the New York Post reports.


— WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

The worst fear in Damascus is a lasting truce between Russia and the United States, which they believe would halt the Assad regime's offensive and delay the total victory. From the Syrian capital, Giordano Stabile writes for Italian daily La Stampa: "The tide has been turning for Assad since August, when the large Damascus suburb and rebel stronghold of Darayya surrendered to government forces. Darayya had been a symbol of opposition to the regime and a constant source of rockets and mortar fire for residents of Mezzeh, a primarily Alawite, pro-Assad hilltop district of the capital. ... The regime's victory in Darayya created a buoyant mood in the capital, and now Mezzeh's three-lane main road, lined with palm trees planted by French urbanists in the 1930s, is abuzz with life and clogged with traffic. Blackouts that used to last half a day now last only three hours."

Read the full article, Meanwhile In Damascus: Pro-Regime Optimism Far From Aleppo Siege.


"RACIST" GANDHI STATUE TO BE REMOVED FROM GHANA COLLEGE CAMPUS

Professors in the Ghanian capital of Accra have called for the removal of a statue of Mahatma Gandhi, saying the Indian icon of nonviolence,was racist and believed in the superiority of Indians over black Africans, The Guardian reports.


— MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD

House For Rent — Washington, D.C., 1990


80.6%

That's the percentage of people aged 15 to 29 in Italy currently living at home with their parents, the highest in the world according to the OECD's recent "Society at a Glance" report.


MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH

MMA KIDS

The ever-controversial Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov is at it again, facing major criticism after posting several Instagram videos of his three sons, aged 8, 9 and 10, taking part in brutal Mixed Martial Arts bouts.

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Eyes On U.S. — California, The World Is Worried About You

As an Italian bestseller explores why people are fleeing the Golden State, the international press also takes stock of unprecedented Silicon Valley layoffs. It may be a warning for the rest of the world.

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Are you OK, Meta?

Ginevra Falciani and Bertrand Hauger

-Analysis-

For as long as we can remember, the world has seen California as the embodiment of the American Dream.

Today, this dream may be fading — and the world is taking notice.

A peek at the Italian list of non-fiction best-sellers in 2022 includes California by Francesco Costa, a book that looks to explain why 340,000 people moved out of the state last year, causing a drop in its population for the first time ever.

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Why are all these people leaving a state that on paper looks like the best place in the world to live? Why are stickers with the phrase “Don't California my Texas” attached to the back of so many pick-up trucks?

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