OPCW wins Nobel Peace Prize

Awarded the prize "for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons".

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), based at the Hague in the Netherlands, has won the Nobel Peace Prize. Official announcements were made one hour after the result was leaked by Norweigan public broadcaster NRK.

The OPCW was widely expected to win the prize after its global work was drawn attention to by its involvement in Syria. Over 1,400 people died following a sarin gas attack in the suburbs of Damascus this August, prompting involvement by the organisation, who is charged with ridding the country of its sizeable stockpile. The body has been overseeing the international elimination of chemical weapons since 1997, when it was created in order to enforce the 1997 Chemical Weapons convention. Experts arrived in Syria in September with a view to completing their work by mid-2014.

A statement accompanying announcement of the OPCW as Nobel Peace Prize winner added: “Disarmament figures prominently in Alfred Nobel’s will. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has through numerous prizes underlined the need to do away with nuclear weapons. By means of the present award to the OPCW, the Committee is seeking to contribute to the elimination of chemical weapons.” The $1.25 million prize is expected to widen the OPCW's remit and put further pressure on countries, like Russia and the USA, who did not observe an April 2012 deadline to destroy their chemical weapons.

Out of the 259 nominees for this year’s prize, the OPCW was a strong favourite alongside Pakistani schoolgirl and gender rights activist Malala Yousafzai and Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege, known for his pioneering work with rape victims since 1999. It had been previously suggested that awarding Yousafzai the prize could have put her in more danger.

Past winners have included Barack Obama, Aung San Suu Kyi, the 14th Dalai Lama and Mother Theresa. Last year, the European Union won the prize "for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe".

Kalimi Mugambi Mworia, director of the International Cooperation and Assistnace division for the Organisation of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), speaks during the opening of the Fifth Regional Meeting of National Authorities in Asia, in Doha 0
Holly Baxter is a freelance journalist who writes regularly for The Guardian and The New Statesman. She is also one half of The Vagenda and releases a book on the media in May 2014.
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Will anyone sing for the Brexiters?

The five acts booked to perform at pro-Brexit music festival Bpop Live are down to one.

Do Brexiters like music too? If the lineup of Bpoplive (or more accurately: “Brexit Live presents: Bpop Live”) is anything to go by, the answer is no. Ok, former lineup.

The anti-Europe rally-cum-music festival has already been postponed once, after the drum and bass duo Sigma cancelled saying they “weren’t told Bpoplive was a political event”.

But then earlier this week the party was back on, set for Sunday 19 June, 4 days before the referendum, and a week before Glastonbury, saving music lovers a difficult dilemma. The new lineup had just 5 acts: the 90s boybands East17 and 5ive, Alesha Dixon of Britain’s Got Talent and Strictly Come Dancing fame, family act Sister Sledge and Gwen Dickey of Rose Royce.

Unfortunately for those who have already shelled out £23 for a ticket, that 5 is now down to 1. First to pull out were 5ive, who told the Mirror that “as a band [they] have no political allegiances or opinions for either side.” Instead, they said, their “allegiance is first and foremost to their fans” - all 4our of them.

Next to drop was Alesha Dixon, whose spokesperson said that she decided to withdraw when it became clear that the event was to be “more of a political rally with entertainment included” than “a multi-artist pop concert in a fantastic venue in the heart of the UK”. Some reports suggested she was wary of sharing a platform with Nigel Farage, though she has no qualms about sitting behind a big desk with Simon Cowell.

A spokesperson for Sister Sledge then told Political Scrapbook that they had left the Brexit family too, swiftly followed by East 17 who decided not to stay another day.

So, it’s down to Gwen Dickey.

Dickey seems as yet disinclined to exit the Brexit stage, telling the Mirror: "I am not allowed to get into political matters in this lovely country and vote. It is not allowed as a American citizen living here. I have enough going on in my head and heart regarding matters in my own country at this time. Who will be the next President of the USA is of greater concern to me and for you?"

With the event in flux, it doesn’t look like the tickets are selling quickly.

In February, as David Cameron’s EU renegotiation floundered, the Daily Mail ran a front-page editorial asking “Who will speak for England?” Watch out for tomorrow’s update: “Who will sing for the Brexiters?”

I'm a mole, innit.