‘People of Hong Kong’ nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

People form a human chain in the harbour area in Hong Kong on September 30, 2019. (File/AFP)
Updated 16 October 2019

‘People of Hong Kong’ nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

  • The former British colony is going through its worst political crisis since its return to China in 1997
  • Millions have taken to the streets of Hong Kong, initially against a now-dropped bid by its leaders to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland

OSLO: A Norwegian politician has nominated the “people of Hong Kong” for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, in a move which risks drawing China’s ire.

“I have nominated the people of Hong Kong, who risk their lives and security every day to stand up for freedom of speech and basic democracy, to the Nobel Peace Prize for 2020,” Guri Melby, a member of Norway’s parliament for the liberal party, said in a Twitter post on Tuesday.

In an interview published by newspaper Aftenposten on Wednesday Melby explained that “what they do has an impact far beyond Hong Kong, both in the region and in the rest of the world.”

The former British colony is going through its worst political crisis since its return to China in 1997. Millions have taken to the streets of Hong Kong, initially against a now-dropped bid by its leaders to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland.
But after Beijing and Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam took a hard line, the movement snowballed into a broader push for democracy and police accountability.

Activists say freedoms are being eroded by Beijing, contrary to a deal that outlined Hong Kong’s 1997 return to China from British colonial rule.

Melby’s initiative is likely to displease China, which was already angered by the Nobel Committee’s 2010 decision to give the award to imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who has since died.

Although the Nobel Committee is independent from the government in Norway, Beijing froze its relations with the Scandinavian country, suspended negotiations for a free trade agreement and blocked imports of Norwegian salmon.

Relations between the countries did not normalize until December 2016, after Oslo committed to not “support actions that undermine” Chinese interests.

Nominations are however common and this year the Nobel Committee had to pick from 301 candidates.

In the end the prize was awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for his work in resolving the conflict with bitter foe Eritrea.


US to pay over $1bn for 100m doses of J&J’s potential COVID-19 vaccine

Updated 05 August 2020

US to pay over $1bn for 100m doses of J&J’s potential COVID-19 vaccine

  • The latest contract equates to roughly $10 per vaccine dose produced by J&J
  • This is J&J’s first deal to supply its investigational vaccine to a country

WASHINGTON: The United States government will pay Johnson & Johnson over $1 billion for 100 million doses of its potential coronavirus vaccine, its latest such arrangement as the race to tame the pandemic intensifies, the drugmaker said on Wednesday.
It said it would deliver the vaccine to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) on a not-for-profit basis to be used after approval or emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
J&J has already received $1 billion in funding from the US government — BARDA agreed in March to provide that money for the company to build manufacturing capacity for more than 1 billion doses of the experimental vaccine.
The latest contract equates to roughly $10 per vaccine dose produced by J&J. Including the first $1 billion deal with the USgovernment, the price would be slightly higher than the $19.50 per dose that the United States is paying for the vaccine being developed by Pfizer Inc. and German biotech BioNTech SE.
The US government may also purchase an additional 200 million doses under a subsequent agreement. J&J did not disclose that deal’s value.
J&J plans to study a one- or two-dose regimen of the vaccine in parallel later this year. A single-shot regimen could allow more people to be vaccinated with the same number of doses and would sidestep issues around getting people to come back for their second dose.
This is J&J’s first deal to supply its investigational vaccine to a country. Talks are underway with the European Union, but no deal has yet been reached.
J&J’s investigational vaccine is currently being tested on healthy volunteers in the United States and Belgium in an early-stage study.
There are currently no approved vaccines for COVID-19. More than 20 are in clinical trials.