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Malala picks up Nobel Peace Prize

Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi have received the Nobel Peace Prize for risking their lives to fight for children's rights.

The 17-year-old Ms Yousafzai, from Pakistan and the youngest ever Nobel winner, and Indian Mr Satyarthi, age 60, collected the award at a ceremony in the Norwegian capital to a standing ovation.

Saying that all children have a right to childhood and education instead of forced labour, Nobel committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland said "this world conscience can find no better expression than through" this year's winners.

The Nobel awards in medicine, physics, chemistry and literature are set to be presented in Stockholm later.

The award ceremonies are always held on December 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel's death in 1896.

Ms Yousafzai said she hopes her prize will inspire young girls all over the world to fight for their rights and step forward to lead.

She was shot by the Taliban in October 2012 for asserting her right to an education. She said the time is now for women to proclaim their rights and that "change is coming".

Ms Yousafzai insisted she felt the bond of a global sisterhood of sorts, with women gathering the strength to fight for equality. She said: "It's their voice that I will be raising today."

In his speech to the gathering, Mr Jagland related how Ms Yousafzai was shot and said Islamic extremist groups dislike knowledge because it is a condition for freedom.

"Attendance at school, especially by girls, deprives such forces from power," he said.

He mentioned Mr Satyarthi's vision of ending child labour and how he abandoned a career as an electrical engineer in 1980 to fight for it.

He singled out another Indian, Mahatma Gandhi, who remains the most notable omission in the 113-year history of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Mr Jagland said the prize winners live according to Gandhi's principle: "There are many purposes I would have died for. There are no purposes I would have killed for."

As Ms Yousafzai was receiving her award, a young man briefly ran on the stage but was whisked off quickly by a security guard.

Earlier, he had shaken her hand in the Grand Hotel where she was staying, telling her how much he admired her.

The newly minted laureate has often expressed a wish to lead - setting sights on one day becoming Pakistani prime minister and following in the steps of the late Benazir Bhutto.

She described her pride in being Pakistsani and what the award would mean for people back home.

"There was a time this region of the world was called a terrorist place and many people get scared of it. No one even tried to say the name of this country," she said.

"So I am really proud to tell people that the people of Pakistan are peaceful, they have harmony, they love each other, they believe in brotherhood.

"But there are some extremist-minded people who misuse the name of Islam and who give a bad name of our country.

"But that's not true. Many people are standing up for children's rights, woman's rights and for human rights."

Ms Yousafzai and Mr Satyarthi have talked of further collaboration and friendship.

"When I asked her that 'I think you're like my daughter, can you accept me as father?' and her response was very immediate, very spontaneous. She said 'Yes, you are my new father'," Mr Satyarthi said.

"And then I asked her father also ... 'what are you going to do in this new situation?' And he was so happy. He said 'Yes, yes. You are the new father for her'."

In his acceptance speech, Mr Satyarthi referred to rapid globalisation, high-speed internet and international flights that connect people.

"But there is one serious disconnect, it is a lack of compassion," he said, urging the audience to "globalise compassion" starting with children.

Ms Yousafzai's parents sat side-by-side in the front row of the hall holding hands and she thanked them for their unconditional love.

"Thank you to my father for not clipping my wings and for letting me fly," she said.

"Thank you to my mother for inspiring me to be patient and to always speak the truth, which we strongly believe is the real message of Islam."


From Belfast Telegraph