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U.S. President Barack Obama listens to applause before speaking at the Summit on Climate Change at the United Nations headquarters in New York in this September 22, 2009 file photo. Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize on October 9, 2009 for giving the world “hope for a better future” with his work for peace and calls to reduce the global stockpile of nuclear weapons.

OSLO — In a stunning surprise, the Nobel Committee announced Friday that it had awarded its annual peace prize to President Obama “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

“He has created a new international climate,” the committee said in its announcement. President Obama’s name had not figured in speculation about the likely winner until minutes before the prize was announced here.

Likely candidates had been seen here as including human rights activists in China and Afghanistan and political figures in Africa.

The committee said it wanted to enhance Mr. Obama’s diplomatic efforts. “We are awarding Obama for what he has done,” the committee said. “Many other people and leaders and nations have to respond in a positive way” to President Obama’s diplomacy. Read the rest of this entry »