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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 February, 2004, 23:06 GMT
Nobel Peace winner to be revealed
2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi
Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi said the trial was a farce
Speculation has been growing over who will win the Nobel Peace Prize when it is announced on Friday.

But, as usual, the fiercely independent committee that makes the award has given nothing away.

The list of nominations is secret, but there is speculation it includes the UN's atomic inspection agency, the IAEA, and its head Mohamed ElBaradei.

George Bush and Tony Blair are known to have been nominated, for going to war against Saddam Hussein.

Right-wing Norwegian politician Jan Simonsen put them forward, saying they laid the foundations for a democratic Iraq.

Unknown winner?

It is thought the former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix, who argued for more inspections before the war on Iraq began, may also be in the running.

Nobel-watchers say the committee might go for someone relatively unknown.

This year a record 194 nominations were received by the 1 February deadline.

Some observers point to a plan sketched out in 2001, the 100th anniversary of the prize, to widen its scope beyond traditional notions of peace work to include the environment, culture or the media.

Environmentalists from Russia and Kenya, Aids campaigners and the Chinese surgeon who raised the alert over Sars have been mentioned as outside bets.

Muslim winner

Last year the Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi, 56, became the first Muslim woman to be afforded the honour.

She won the $1.4m ($800,000) prize for her work for the rights of women and children in Iran.

On Thursday, the Austrian novelist and playwright Elfriede Jelinek was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature.

The Nobel committee cited her "musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that with extraordinary linguistic zeal reveal the absurdity of society's clichés and their subjugating power".

On Monday the last Nobel prize, for economics, will be announced.

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