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    February 28, 2008 -- In all 197, nominations have been made for the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize, the second highest to date, the Norwegian Nobel Institute said.

    The tally includes 164 individuals and 33 organisations, and the total number of nominations has been topped only by the year 2005 when 199 nominations were made.

    The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize was shared by former US vice president Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for their efforts to raise awareness about climate change.

    The Nobel Committee has in recent years broadened the definition of peace as indicated by the 2004 selection of Kenyan human rights activists and environmentalist Wangari Maathai and the 2006 choice of Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi national behind the Grameen Movement micro-banking system that has helped millions in his homeland.

    Nobel Committee secretary Geir Lundestad was quoted as telling public broadcaster NRK that more men than women were nominated.

    The Nobel Committee advises nominators not to announce their proposals. However, there are no rules against the procedure allowing plenty of speculation before the announcement, normally in mid-October.

    The NRK report listed several names often mentioned in earlier speculation including former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari, former German chancellor Helmut Kohl, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng, Israeli nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu, debt relief campaigner Bob Geldof, exiled human rights activist Rebiya Kadeer who has highlighted the Uighur ethnic minority in China, as well as the Austrian-based relief organisation SOS Children's Villages and the European Union.

    Among those who have the right to nominate candidates for the coveted award are parliamentarians, academics, former peace prize laureates as well as current and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

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