The Odds November 2005

Who Will Win the Nobel Peace Prize?

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When the Nobel Peace Prize is presented, on December 10, the winner will join a veritable Valhalla of do-gooders that includes Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, and Martin Luther King Jr. So it may sound odd to hear U2's lead singer, Bono, touted as a front-runner—at least by the Irish bookmaker Paddypower.com. The famously earnest champion of Third World debt relief is among a record 199 nominees on this year's "short" list. But achtung, bidders: the prize is expected to go to a person or an organization associated with disaster relief for victims of last year's tsunami. Here are some potential winners.

11:4Viktor Yushchenko. The new Ukrainian president embraced the West and quelled anti-Russian sentiments. He was also badly disfigured by poison. The $1.3 million that accompanies the prize could buy a lot of ointment.

7:1Bono. He would be the first entertainer to win the award. His credentials include recording a song to benefit tsunami victims. And you think his ego is big now.

14:1Colin Powell. The former secretary of state was nominated for his help in trying to end the civil war in Sudan. But what about Iraq?

16:1Bob Geldof. Is Geldof being considered because he organized Live Aid and Live 8, or because he reunited Roger Waters with Pink Floyd?

20:1Ravi Shankar. The Indian musician influenced the Beatles and sired the pop singer Norah Jones, but he's not known for activism. Close, but no sitar.

25:1Hugo Chavez. It's a bet Pat Robertson wouldn't take; others seem to agree. Long odds on the beret-wearing, oil-hoarding Venezuelan president.

33:1Pope John Paul II. Rules forbid nominating the deceased, but the pope passed away just after the Nobel deadline. There's been only one posthumous winner: the UN secretary general Dag Hammarskjöld, in 1961.

250:1Tony Blair and George Bush. Neither one stands an earthly chance of winning a peace prize during wartime.

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