Tuesday's intriguing people
December 7th, 2010
12:49 PM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people

Navi Pillay

The U.N. high commissioner for human rights says she has a good reason for not attending the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

Friday’s ceremony coincides with Human Rights Day, and Pillay is scheduled to host a meeting with human rights defenders in Switzerland, spokesman Richard Colville told Foreign Policy.

Yang Jianli, another Chinese dissident who represents Liu before the Nobel committee, isn’t buying it. He called Pillay's decision not to attend “a clear and unequivocal abdication of her responsibilities as high commissioner.”

He also blasted U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for failing to raise Liu’s case when he met with Chinese President Hu Jintao shortly after the Nobel committee’s announcement.

Though Yang claims that the U.N. is buckling to pressure from China, Colville said Pillay – a South African lawyer who got her start defending opponents of apartheid – simply couldn’t bow out of the Swiss event.

According to BBC, 19 countries including China will not attend the ceremony in Oslo, Norway. Forty-four will attend.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Jiang Yu told the BBC that China would not change because of “interference by a few clowns.”

China has mounted a campaign to dissuade nations from attending the ceremony and said through its state-run media that 100 countries back its stance. Xinhua further cited a professor as saying that Liu was a “Chinese criminal [who] challenged China’s judicial authority and interfered in China’s internal affairs."

The Nobel Committee, of course, sees it differently and applauds Liu’s calls for multi-party democracy and human rights reforms.

In other developments this week: Liu’s lawyers said they were prevented from appealing their client’s charges; they say they were also prevented from visiting Liu’s wife, who has been under house arrest since the Nobel announcement; and an Australian-based Chinese dissident was detained in Shanghai en route to Oslo, The Australian reported.

Richard Davis

The bishop of Orlando, Florida’s Church of Healing and Prosperity is done with the black church's own “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

After being dismissed by another Orlando church in 2003 following accusations of sexual misconduct, Davis said, he felt alone, and only one person came to his assistance: Trish Duncan, a lesbian, who told him, “Now you know what it’s like to be gay in the black church.”

Homophobia exists in several facets of society, but it is especially prominent in the black church. Researchers from Trinity College to Penn State University to Vanderbilt have long addressed the plights of gays in the black church.

Vanderbilt sociologist Richard Pitt has compared the black church’s stance on gays to the military’s policy banning openly gay and lesbian service members. He has also examined how gay black men negotiate conflicts between their religion and sexuality.

“Gay men attend churches for all the same reasons anyone else might,” he told the Vanderbilt View this month. “They come for the messages and community that doesn’t denigrate them and ignore the occasional messages that pointedly might be antagonistic toward them.”

Not only has Davis apologized to gay members of his church, he has conducted a series of forums this year titled, “Gays in the black church: Is it time to come out of the closet?” He promotes "the gospel of inclusion for gays, lesbians and down-low brothers and sisters."

The Orlando Sentinel described the meetings, which pitted church members and gays against each other, as heated. Gays felt rejected and abused by their church and community, while church members said homosexuality was immoral and bad for children and the country, it reported.

Davis told the paper that some of the best musicians, orators and preachers are homosexual, and the black church has had no problem so long as they keep it to themselves.

“We were hypocritical because while gays were amongst us, worked and died, we never recognized them, never gave them the love that Jesus would give them,” Davis told the Sentinel.

Christopher Hester

The youth soccer coach from Madison County, Mississippi, is suing former U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering over a December 2009 fight at a soccer game.

Police were called to a youth soccer match after the two got into a tussle in the parking lot after the game, according to the Clarion Ledger.

Hester, 39, who was wearing a neck brace from previous surgery, told CNN affiliate WAPT-TV last year that the Republican ex-congressman accused of him of saying something to his son before pulling him out of the vehicle.

Pickering, who became a lobbyist after 12 years in the House, countered in a statement that Hester made his 11-year-old son cry uncontrollably. The Ledger elaborated, saying that Pickering accused Hester of calling his son “pathetic.”

When he confronted the coach, he said, Hester began “attacking and assaulting me, and I was forced to defend myself by restraining him,” WAPT-TV reported.

Both men initially filed assault charges against the other but withdrew them so the child witnesses would not have to testify, according to WLBT-TV.

Hester’s lawsuit claims that he lost income and suffered permanent scarring and disfigurement from the altercation, WLOX-TV reported.

Pickering’s attorney, Mike Malouf, told the Ledger that he was surprised by the suit because he had not heard from Hester’s attorneys in a year. He said his client would have paid any reasonable medical fees as a good-faith gesture but remained adamant that his client was not at fault.

soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. ?????

    Slow news day?

    December 7, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joe

    The problem with the prizes are that only an elite group can nominate or award the prize. That's their right, but it makes it very political. I mean, didn't Obama get a prize without doing anything?

    December 7, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg Gilbert

      Agree. Just like it's politics. It's all BS. It's funny when the UN makes a scientific statement about the enviromental movement and then ties it with a political statement of what we should do about it which is totally unscientific. They try to make their solutions have the appearance of science but it only fools fools.

      December 7, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      I totally agree with you. Al Gore gets the prize for a film. Obama gets the prize before he does anything. Nobel represents most academic communities... you're either us or not, and it's my agendas not yours.

      December 7, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moose

      Exactly right. Obama got it for doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Just like he's doing now as a President - ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

      December 7, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • nheckt

      I could care what these losers think. They only give pats on the back to each other in their circle. Maybe a circle jrk is more in line with what they are doing

      December 7, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Blaum

    This "Prize" means so little to so many anymore..... it was cheapened with Obama winning it for doing nothing... and with Gore for being a weatherman.... it use to reward people for their achievments to human kind.... not their politics....

    December 7, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      And don't forget Carter for whatever he did. But it snubs real peace leaders like Reagan.

      December 7, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • a slozomby

      carter successfully brokered a peace deal between israel and egypt. no small feat.

      December 7, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. pat

    Lets take this opportunity to thumb our noses at China as long as they imprison critics of their oppressive regime.

    December 7, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • a slozomby

      yes lets thumb our noses at china. and ignore the US government's attempts to silence assange.

      December 7, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • pat

      Lets take this opportunity to thumb our noses at China as long as they imprison critics of their oppressive regime AND silence Assange

      December 7, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Schmedley

    "Yang Jianli, another Chinese dissident who represents Liu before the Nobel committee, isn’t buying it. He called Pillay's decision not to attend “a clear and unequivocal abdication of her responsibilities as high commissioner. [...] He also blasted U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for failing to raise Liu’s case when he met with Chinese President Hu Jintao shortly after the Nobel committee’s announcement."

    Um, yeah. He wants the UN, India and South Korea to pick a fight with China right after the North Koreans fired an artillery barrage that killed 4 South Koreans. I think Mr. Yang's cause would benefit from a better sense of tact and timing... Get a clue dude.

    December 7, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sally Li

      Who is picking the fight – a committee independently weighing the options of handing out a prestigious international prize, or a ratbag Government which is imprisoning political dissidents, or anyone who opens his or her mouth in any way disagreeable to the rats? Not only are they doing this in China, but China is using its influence to do this all over the world, including the United States. Cause and effect is a wonderful thing in terms of "getting a clue".

      December 7, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Realist

    China is the enemy......................

    December 7, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sally Li

      The militarist, expansionist, hegemonist government of China, and the warped version of history which has been taught in mainland Chinese schools and colleges for the past 61 years, is the enemy – not only of the people of every nation of the world, but also of the people of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, Tibet, Xinjiang and China itself. These militarists ought to be arrested and put on trial for their aggression against Korea, and their catspawing of their puppet North Korean regime (including their advising and assisting North Korea to repudiate and break the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.) How dare the clownish leadership of China label anyone else as a clown. And how dare they wrap themselves in the cloak of a judiciary which is really a kangaroo extension of their own military. The Chinese actions of influencing the judiciary in other countries, including the USA, need to be closely looked at by the US Government, which seems to operate on the principle of "straining at a gnat, and swallowing a camel". It brags about how it stops infiltrators from these small Middle Eastern nations, and that is a success, but the failure rate of stopping infiltrators from China would be laughable, if it weren't so tragic and ominous. They need to do something now. Thumbing noses at China is not enough, facing down China is the only proper response by the Free World.

      December 7, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Walter

    Golly, 44 attending and 19 not attending.... I guess that means the other 400 or so didn't bother the RSVP?

    December 7, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Yakobi.

    Here are the countries that won't be attending:
    China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Serbia, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Venezuela, the Philippines, Egypt, Sudan, Ukraine, Cuba and Morocco.

    Notice a pattern?

    December 7, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      Yes, I do. US Taxpayers either gave them money (to buy bombs and guns), owe them money, or both 😉

      December 7, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jerry

    What is so surprising about the UN? The United States should pull out of the UN and tell them to take their Taj Mahal to one of the countries that are really benefiting from the American largess.

    Good riddance!

    December 7, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Patrick

    I would like the developed world to come to its moral senses and leave the U.N. and start instead a Body of Democratic States. They should have specific requirements for membership and should allow free trade and thus economic benefits among themselves. Countries could also be on provisional membership (think Iraq, Russia) if they are moving on the path to meeting all these requirements. And, of course, no membership would be given to the thugocracies and dictatorships of the world (Iran, North Korea, Cuba, China, Burma, Vietnam). This idealized approach will of course never happen because of the elites who value diplomacy and accomodation (all a disguise for their country's personal short-term benefit). But one can wish. Barring that, just get out of the U.N. or refuse to fund them unless they change.

    December 7, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      never hurts to dream.

      December 7, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tom


    December 7, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Matt

    Interesting... I could have sworn the Nobel Peace Prize was a Swedish event.

    Great editing CNN!

    December 7, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      The Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo. Great pointless posting, Matt. Better luck next time.

      December 7, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. brown

    The Nobel prize story gives us all a glimpse into the near future ... your new Chinese master is not going to tolerate
    your free thinking ways! Your children are so deserving of a future of intolerance! hahaha!

    December 7, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. the_dude

    I don't care what they say. Lady gaga is the hottest ever who cares if she has an adams apple and has to tuck her sack back?

    December 7, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • USMC Ret.

      As Larry the cable guy would say. "I don't care who yuh are now that's funny right thar".

      December 8, 2010 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  15. Timothy

    When Aung San Suu Kyi was nominated and given a Noble Peace Prize, she was under house arrest by the Burmese military regime in 1991. So the fact stating "Friday will mark the first time since 1936 that a Nobel Peace laureate will not be present at his or her ceremony" is needless to say misinforming the public.

    December 7, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
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