Experts tip Tsikhanouskaya, Thunberg or reporters for Nobel Peace Prize - Reuters News Agency

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Experts tip Tsikhanouskaya, Thunberg or reporters for Nobel Peace Prize

OSLO (Reuters) – This year’s Nobel Peace Prize could go to exiled Belarusian dissident Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, climate activist Greta Thunberg, or a media watchdog such as Reporters without Borders (RSF), Norwegian experts on the prize said on Wednesday.

The winner of the $1 million prize, arguably the world’s top accolade, is selected by a five-member panel appointed by the Norwegian parliament, and will be announced in Oslo on Oct. 8.

Groups fighting for freedom of the press such as the Paris-based Reporters without Borders (RSF) or the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) were among the main contenders, said Henrik Urdal, director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo.

“It resonates with the large debate about the importance of independent reporting and the fighting of fake news for democratic governance,” he said.

The fight against global warming could also be recognised, along with Swedish teen activist Thunberg, perhaps the world’s best known climate campaigner.

“The U.N. Security Council has expressed its concern that the adverse effects of climate change may constitute a risk to international peace and security,” said Asle Sveen, a historian of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Both Sveen and Urdal have correctly predicted winners in the past, including some that had a comparatively low international profile before they were selected.

They both also cited Tsikhanouskaya of Belarus as another top contender. She has led the opposition to president Alexander Lukashenko since last year, when she fled her home country after a presidential election her supporters say was rigged.

“(Belarus has) one of the most oppressive regimes in the world and a largely non-violent opposition. That would be a prize that resonates worldwide and would also be seen as a general reaction to what we now see as a bit of an autocratic backsliding in many countries,” said Urdal.

This year’s winner will be chose from among 329 total nominees, though the committee won’t release the full list for 50 years.

While thousands of people – from members of other parliaments worldwide to past laureates – are eligible to nominate candidates, the eventual winner has tended recently to come from among those proposed by lawmakers from Norway itself.

Norwegian parliamentarians surveyed by Reuters have disclosed nominations for both Thunberg and Tsikhanouskaya, as well as jailed Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny, U.S. politician Stacey Abrams and the World Health Organization.

Betting agency Paddy Power has the WHO as its favourite at odds of 5/4, followed by Navalny (21/10) and the Black Lives Matter movement (5/1).

PARIS (Reuters) -Lionel Messi said on Wednesday he wanted to power Paris St Germain to their first Champions League trophy, putting the tearful farewell he bade to Barcelona behind him after signing a two-year contract with the deep-pocketed French soccer powerhouse.

Messi joined the star-studded PSG as a free agent after Barcelona, where he begun and always imagined he would play out his career, acknowledged last week they could no longer afford him.

Thousands of PSG fans thronged the side’s Parc des Princes stadium, daring to believe their team would now deliver the Champions League having hoovered up domestic titles since free-spending owners Qatar Sports Investment European arrived in 2011 but always fallen short of European soccer’s top prize.

Messi said he was hungry to add more Champions League titles to the four he won with Barcelona.

“That’s why I am here (to win trophies). It’s an ambitious club,” Messi told a news conference.

After years of failing to get beyond the quarter-finals, PSG finally reached the final in 2020, but lost to Bayern Munich, while last season they went out in the semi-finals.

“My dream is to win another Champions League, and I think this is the ideal place to be to do that,” added Messi, who in a nod to his first squad number in senior football at Barcelona will wear the No. 30 jersey at PSG.

The Argentine conceded he did not know when he would make his debut, having not played since winning the Copa America with his country last month.

“I’m coming back from holiday. I need a bit of a pre-season to get myself going,” he said.

FAIR PLAY RULES

Messi will join former Barca team mate Neymar in Paris.

The Brazilian left Catalonia for the French capital in a world record 222 million euro ($259.94 million) deal in 2017, but never hid his desire to link up with his close friend once again on the pitch.

They will now line up with French Word Cup-winner Kylian Mbappe in a potent front-three attack.

“To play with the likes of Neymar and Mbappe is insane,” Messi continued.

France’s top soccer league has always been perceived as the poorer cousin to top flight leagues in neighbouring England, Germany, Spain and Italy.

PSG’s Qatari money is enabling PSG to compete at their level, though much of the rest of the league is way adrift in terms of resources. In unusual comments praising a club’s transfer dealings, Ligue 1 President Vincent Labrune celebrated Messi’s signing as a big win for French soccer.

“The arrival of Messi will bolster the attractiveness and visibility of our championship across continents,” Labrune said in a statement. He thanked the club’s owners for creating what he called one of sport’s biggest franchises globally.

However, some commentators have asked how PSG could afford to sign Messi within the Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations of European soccer’s governing body, UEFA.

UEFA’s FFP rules are designed to prevent clubs spending more than they earn. Spain’s La Liga’s own FFP rules are more stringent than UEFA’s, with each club given a salary cap they must adhere to.

“We’re always attentive to Financial Fair Play. It’s the first thing we check with the commercial, financial and legal people before signing someone,” PSG chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi told the same news conference.

“MAGICIAN”

Messi held up his new shirt to thousands of fans outside the stadium, waving shyly as they beat drums, released smoke flares and chanted his name.

Local fan Nelson Dross, 17, told Reuters: “Why do I love him? Because he makes us dream. He’s a magician, a genius.”

Messi wept on Sunday as he told Barcelona fans he was leaving his childhood club.

“I’ll always be thankful to Barca and their fans. I went there as a boy, and we had some good and bad times,” he said on Wednesday.

Asked how he would feel if the time came to square up against his old club, he replied: “It would be nice on the one hand to face them in the Champions League, especially with fans, but on the other strange to go back to my home in another team’s shirt – but that’s football.”

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