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2014 Nobel Peace Prize: Pope, Putin, Snowden, Malala among Bumper Crop of Nominees

(Photo: S. Korean government)

(Photo: S. Korean government)

Pope Francis, Russian President Vladimir Putin and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden are among a record 278 people nominated for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

AFP reports other notable names among this year’s bumper crop of candidates include Pakistani education advocate and Taliban assassination attempt victim Malala Yousafzai, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, US Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, jailed Belarusian human rights activist Ales Belyatski and pioneering Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege.

Pope Francis, whose efforts against wealth inequality helped earn him the nomination, is the favorite of many Nobel watchers.

Putin, formerly head of the Soviet KGB, was nominated for his role in averting a US war against Syria by suggesting dictator Bashar al-Assad’s regime turn over its chemical weapons stockpile to international control. It is believed his chances of winning the prestigious prize have diminished recently due to Russia’s armed intervention in neighboring Ukraine’s ongoing political crisis.

Snowden, who is currently living in exile in Russia, revealed massive US surveillance of billions of phone and electronic communications in nearly every corner of the globe. Targets of NSA spying include heads of state, including US allies, corporations, social media and gaming sites, and countless individuals, including American citizens.

Yousafzai, now 16, was shot in the head by a Taliban militant in 2012 in retaliation for her advocacy and activism for girls’ education in her native Pakistan.

Getting nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize is relatively easy. Thousands of people, including lawmakers, ministers, professors and Nobel laureates, can nominate candidates. The five members of the Nobel committee can also add names to the list.

The winner will be announced on October 10.

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