This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.
the surprise announcement Friday from Oslo, Norway:
THORBJOERN JAGLAND, CHAIRMAN: "The Norwegian Nobel
Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for two thousand nine is to be
awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen
international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."
And in Washington this was the reaction:
BARACK OBAMA: "To be honest, I do not feel that I
deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who have
been honored by this prize -- men and women who have inspired me, and inspired
the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace. But I also know that this prize reflects the
kind of world that those men and women, and all Americans, want to build."
In the United States and around the world, there
was praise for the decision, but also criticism. Some suggested that the Nobel committee
acted too soon. The last day for nominations was February first, less than two
weeks after the president took office.
Past winners included American presidents Theodore
Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. Jimmy Carter and vice president Al Gore were
honored after their terms. The prize, worth almost a million and a half
dollars, will be awarded in Oslo in December.
announcement came the same week as the eighth anniversary of the war in Afghanistan.
President Obama spent the week in a series of meetings to consider future
policy in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan. Administration officials say
they expect decisions within a few weeks.
They suggest that he is considering a "middle
ground." His top commander in Afghanistan is reportedly asking for as many
as forty thousand additional troops. General Stanley McChrystal has warned that
without more troops, the United States could lose the war.
But Vice President Joe Biden supports a proposal to
narrowly target military efforts at al-Qaida, using unmanned aircraft and
American-led invasion eight years ago removed the Taliban government that
sheltered Osama bin Laden. His al-Qaida group carried out the terrorist attacks
on the United States on September eleventh, two thousand one. Days later, on
October seventh, President George W. Bush announced the start of the war.
Today the war is the second longest in American
history, after Vietnam. In March, President Obama approved twenty-one thousand
more troops. Operations have intensified. More than four hundred American and
coalition troops have been killed so far this year, more than during all of
There are also the accusations of
widespread cheating in the August twentieth presidential election. The results
of a partial recount are expected to be announced next week.
Public opinion surveys show falling support among
Americans for the war. Forty-eight percent of people in a USA Today/Gallup Poll
taken this week said the president should send more troops to Afghanistan.
Thirty-eight percent said he should begin to withdraw troops. Seven percent
said the number should remain the same.
there is still the war in Iraq. The goal is to withdraw all combat troops by
next September, but leave thousands of troops to train Iraqi forces.
And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written
by Brianna Blake. I'm Steve Ember.