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Hiroshima survivor to accept Nobel Peace Prize for nuclear watchdog
By Michel COMTE
Ottawa (AFP) Oct 28, 2017

Nobel prize money will no longer be 'invested' in nuclear weapons
Oslo (AFP) Oct 27, 2017 - The Nobel Foundation said Friday its prizes will no longer be funded with investments from nuclear arms producers, just weeks after awarding the peace prize to a nuclear weapons disarmament campaign group.

The private institution, based in Stockholm, is responsible for managing the fund left by the prizes' founder, Alfred Nobel, a Swedish scientist who invented dynamite.

The cash award given to Nobel laureates comes from this fund, which according to Norwegian environmental organisation Framtiden i Vaare Hender (The Future in Our Hands) is financed with investments in funds from companies that manufacture nuclear weapons.

This means that part of the cash award -- which this year was SEK nine million ($1.1 million; 925,000 euros) per category -- came from companies such as "Airbus, Boeing, Safran and Northrop Grumman Corp," so it is "very likely that the Nobel Foundation is invested in companies involved in (the) production of nuclear weapons," Framtiden said.

The discovery was made all the more embarrassing because the Nobel peace prize on October 6 was awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

"The timing is unfortunate," Nobel Foundation director Lars Heikensten said.

He added however that after a hardening of the its ethical rules, the foundation had stopped investing, even indirectly, in producers of nuclear weapons, and that it had given itself 12 months to adjust or opt out of funds that invest in companies that manufacture these bombs.

"One can discuss that we should have done that earlier, but we sharpened our standards in March and we are now following through with it," Heikensten said.

"At the latest, by March next year we will have no investment in anything that is connected with any kind of production which is classified as connected with nuclear weapons".

Confronted with the revelations on Thursday, the head of the Nobel Institute Olav Njolstad admitted on Norwegian radio that it "doesn't look good".

ICAN is a global civil society movement pushing for a global treaty to ban nuclear arms, one that was signed by 122 countries -- although none with such weapons -- in July.

The campaign said Thursday it had invited a survivor of the World World II atomic bombing of Hiroshima to receive the Nobel alongside ICAN executive director Beatrice Fihn.

Setsuko Thurlow was 13 years old when, on August 6 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the southern Japanese city, killing 140,000 people, according to estimates.

Setsuko Thurlow was 13 years old and standing only a mile away from ground zero when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945.

More than 62 years after that horrific day, she will jointly accept the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of this year's laureate, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), an organization in which she has played a major role.

"I remember a bluish-white flash. My body was flung into the air, and I remember a sensation of floating," she said in an interview with AFP, describing the day of the bombing.

Thurlow suddenly found herself pinned under a collapsed building with dozens of others people. A stranger eventually pulled her out.

"The city I saw was almost indescribable," she said.

It was 8:15 am in Hiroshima and the sun had been up for nearly two hours, yet darkness covered the ruins.

"It was like the morning had turned to night," Thurlow said. "The dirt and particles from the mushroom cloud had prevented the sun's rays from getting through."

It was eerily quiet: "Nobody was yelling, nobody was running. Survivors didn't have the physical or psychological strength. All they could muster was a faint whisper, begging for water."

Thurlow said she looked around and saw thousands of people who were "badly burned and swollen. They no longer looked human. That image burned into my retina."

"As a 13-year-old high school student, I witnessed my city destroyed. It had become a city of death."

An estimated 140,000 people were killed in the atomic blast on August 6, 1945. Another 80,000 would die in the bombing of Nagasaki three days later.

- Sharing 'painful memories' -

Now 85 and living in Canada, Thurlow tells her story widely -- to school children and diplomats alike -- in order to bring attention to the horrors of nuclear war in the hope of stemming nuclear proliferation.

She has been a leading figure in ICAN since its launch in 2007 and played a pivotal role in the UN negotiations that led to a treaty outlawing nuclear weapons in July, the group said in a statement.

"I keep recalling these painful memories so that people who have never experienced such devastation can understand," she said.

"It's very difficult for many people to understand, but it's extremely important that we use our ability to imagine (these horrors), and together we can stop this from ever happening again."

Reflecting on the current state of affairs, Thurlow lamented the proliferation of nuclear weapons to nearly 15,000 since the World War II, although arsenals are down significantly from a peak in the mid-1980s.

"The world is a much more dangerous place now," she said.

Thurlow condemned US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's threats of war and personal insults that have sparked global alarm.

And she rebuked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for not signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in July.

A spokesman for Canada's foreign ministry said, "progress on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation must involve states with nuclear weapons," which Ottowa does not have.

The situation on the Korean peninsula, Thurlow said, "is very frightening, even for a person like me who experienced the first atomic bombing."

"I'm very worried."

The octogenarian urged citizens of the world to get involved in nuclear anti-proliferation efforts.

"We all have to do our part," she said. "Don't just leave it to the fading memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors."

"No other human being should ever experience the violence of nuclear weapons. Never again."

Gulf widens between Washington and UN partners
Washington (AFP) Oct 16, 2017
US President Donald Trump's decision not to recognize Iran's compliance with a landmark nuclear deal is set to complicate crucial diplomacy at the United Nations on everything from North Korea to Syria, experts say. While Trump stopped short of burying the deal, booting its fate to Congress for now, one diplomat summed up the feeling of many regarding its long-term prospects: "The agreement ... read more

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