Nobel Chairman Calls for Liu Xiaobo’s Release, Peace Prize Awarded in Absentia
The Nobel Peace Prize committee honored Liu Xiaobo, who is serving an 11-year sentence in China for his 2008 document calling for democracy, at a ceremony in Norway. Xiaobo was represented on the stage by an empty chair. Nobel Chairman Thorbjorn Jagland called for Xiaobo’s release, comparing his situation to that of former South African president Nelson Mandela and Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
China, which blocked television coverage of the event and clamped down on internet communications referring to it, called the Nobel ceremony a “political farce.” China boycotted the ceremony and was joined by 17 other countries, including Russia and Pakistan. Under pressure from the EU and human rights groups, Serbia reversed its decision to boycott at the last minute.
In his absence, a statement Xiaobo wrote before being jailed in 2009 was read aloud. In the document, entitled “I Have No Enemies,”, he wrote:
“I hope to be able to transcend my personal experiences as I look upon our nation’s development and social change, to counter the regime’s hostility with utmost goodwill, and to dispel hatred with love.”
Liu Xiaobo’s wife, Liu Xia, was prevented from traveling to Oslo to receive the award and the accompanying $1.4 million prize. Police maintained a presence at her Beijing home, and her telephone and internet have been cut off.
Car Carrying Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Attacked in London
Students protesting the tuition hikes approved Thursday by Britain’s parliament attacked the Rolls Royce carrying Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, as it traveled through London in what one security analyst called one of “the most serious security breaches of the past decade”.
Protesters threw bottles and paint at the vehicle, shattering one of its windows. Their vehicle had been temporarily separated from its security escort in the throng of demonstrators.
Students have taken to the streets in recent days in London to protest the increase in tuition, part of a broader austerity program being enacted throughout the British government’s budget.
Elizabeth Edwards’ Funeral to Be Held Saturday
Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former presidential candidate John Edwards, will be laid to rest Saturday in Raleigh, N.C., in a ceremony open to the public. Edwards died of cancer on Tuesday, shortly after announcing that the disease had spread to her liver and doctors had recommended against further treatment.
Iran Denies That it Freed Woman Condemned to Stoning
The Iranian government is denying rumors that it had freed Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who appeared in several images in her home, which were in fact part of a documentary filmed by Iran’s state-run Press TV channel. The 43-year-old woman is accused of adultery and in the murder of her husband. Her sentence has drawn criticism from human rights groups around the world, and last year Iran suspended the stoning sentence. She still faces the death penalty.
Pakistan Suicide Bomb Kills at Least Nine
A suicide bomb in northwest Pakistan, detonated outside a hospital, killed at least nine people and injured 28 more. It is the latest in a series of attacks in the region, including an attack on a meeting of anti-Taliban tribal leaders and on a bus carrying civilians.