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 â€¦ 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)
- Legislative elections in Morocco.
- Second U.S. presidential debate (Sunday).
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.
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
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.
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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.