LIBERIA: President's Nobel Peace Prize criticized by election rival

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
REPORTING FROM JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA, AND LOS ANGELES -- The news that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and peace activist Leymah Gbowee have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize was received with pride Friday by many in their native Liberia, a West African country scarred by a brutal and ruinous civil war.

But the timing of the announcement, just four days before Johnson-Sirleaf seeks reelection, angered some of her critics. Her main rival, Winston Tubman, called the choice provocative and unacceptable, Agence France-Presse reported.

Thorbjorn Jagland, head of the Nobel committee in Oslo, dismissed suggestions that the prize could influence the poll, saying the committee does not base its decisions on domestic political considerations.

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Three women's rights activists win Nobel Peace Prize

Nobel600
 
REPORTING FROM CAIRO -- The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to three women from Africa and the Middle East who symbolized the nonviolent struggle to improve their nations and advance the role of women's rights throughout the world.

The winners were Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first democratically elected female president; her countrywoman Leymah Gbowee, a peace activist who challenged warlords; and Tawakul Karman, a Yemeni human rights leader seeking to overthrow an autocratic regime as part of the so-called Arab Spring.

“We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society,” said the citation read by Thorbjorn Jagland, head of the Nobel committee based in Oslo, Norway.

Photos: The 2011 Nobel Prizes

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