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Blatter should win Nobel Peace Prize: Putin

Russian president Vladimir Putin has called for Sepp Blatter, the scandal-hit head of the international football body Fifa, to get the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in international sport.

Blatter should win Nobel Peace Prize: Putin
FIFA President Sepp Blatter shakes hands with Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, during the Preliminary Draw on Saturday. Photo: Fifa/Getty Images
Speaking only days after the Swiss football boss visited St Petersburg to preside over the draw for Russia's 2018 World Cup, Putin said that Blatter, along with the heads of other international sporting bodies such as the International Olympic Committee, deserved “special recognition”. 
 
“If there is anyone who deserves the Nobel Prize, it’s those people,” he told the Swiss TV station RTS. 
 
In the interview, Putin dismissed the ongoing investigations into widespread bribery within Fifa, led by US, Swiss and other law enforcement agencies. 
 
“We all know the situation developing around Mr Blatter right now. I don’t want to go into details but I don’t believe a word about him being involved in corruption personally,” he said.
 
Some of Fifa’s most senior officials have been indicted, but so far Blatter himself has not been touched and he claims not to have been involved. 
 
Nonetheless, he resigned as Fifa president in June under growing international pressure. 
 
The 79-year-old has long been suspected of coveting a Nobel Peace Prize.
 
He has played a central role in the Handshake for Peace collaboration launched with Norway’s Nobel Peace Centre, an offshoot of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, in 2012. 
 
The Nobel Peace Centre discontinued the collaboration in June within days of Blatter’s resignation. 
 
The bribery investigations into Fifa have cast a pall over Russia’s winning bid to host the 2018 World Cups, leading Putin, along with much of the Russian media, to interpret them as politically driven.  
 
In his RTS interview Putin noted that Britain had also bid to host the World Cup in both 2018 and 2022. 
 
“The way there is this fight against corruption makes me wonder if it isn’t a continuation of the bids for 2018 and 2022,” he said. 
 

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‘No question’ of stripping Suu Kyi of Nobel Peace Prize: Norway committee

Norway's Nobel Institute said Wednesday it had no intention of withdrawing its Peace Prize from Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi after a damning UN report termed the treatment of the Rohingya people as "genocide."

'No question' of stripping Suu Kyi of Nobel Peace Prize:  Norway committee
Aung San Suu Kyi's husband Michael Aris and their sons Kim and Alexander Aris accept her Nobel Prize for her in 1991. Photo: Bjørn Sigurdsøn/NTB Scapix
“There is no question of the Nobel Committee withdrawing the peace prize,” director Olav Njolstad said. “The rules of the Nobel Peace Prize do not allow it,” he added.
   
A UN probe released Monday detailed evidence of genocide and crimes against humanity “perpetrated on a massive scale” against the Rohingya, including acts of rape, sexual violence and mass killings. 
   
At a UN Security Council session on Tuesday, a number of countries — including the United States, Britain, France and Sweden — called for Myanmar's military leaders to be held accountable. 
   
Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 when she was detained by the military for championing democracy and human rights.
   
She was only allowed to leave Myanmar to recieve the award 21 years later as the military apparently eased its iron grip on the country.
   
As the Rohingya crisis has deepened in the past year with the flight of hundreds of thousands to neighbouring Bangladesh, Suu Kyi has come under increasing international pressure to speak out about their plight.
   
So far however she has said very little and steadfastly avoided any critical comment of Myanmar's military.
   
The Nobel Peace Prize committee had warned last year about the worsening situation in Myanmar and had urged all parties to do “everything possible to end discrimination against and persecution of minorities.”
   
Njolstad repeated that statement, adding: “This call is not any less timely after the UN report.”
   
The Myanmar government on Wednesday bluntly rejected the UN's findings.
   
“We didn't allow the (UN Fact-Finding Mission) to enter into Myanmar, that's why we don't agree and accept any resolutions made by the Human Rights Council,” government spokesman Zaw Htay said, according to the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper. 
   
He pointed to the formation of Myanmar's own Independent Commission of Enquiry, which he said was set up to respond to “false allegations made by UN agencies and other international communities.”