April 21, 2015 -- Updated 4:10 pm GMT

Prince Of Asturias Awards Given Out

Posted in: Spain

Spain’s version of the Nobel Prizes were handed out today, in the northern Spanish city of Oviedo. The heir to the Spanish throne, Crown Prince Felipe, personally handed the prizes to each recipient. The awards are named after his official title, the Prince of Asturias. spain prince of asturias awards nadal 300x202 Prince Of Asturias Awards Given Out

Before giving the awards out, Prince Felipe told the audience the reasons why the recipients were chosen this year. They were picked for their “spirit of sacrifice, for their exceptional qualities, but also, for their human values,” said the Prince.

The recipient for the award for Sports was the number one ranked tennis player in the world, Spain’s very own Rafael Nadal. He was all smiles as he received his award. Prince Felipe called Nadal a ”great tennis player” and “a great human being.”

“Rafa has stated that the important thing is not to be a good athlete, but a good person.”

Other winners include Google, for the Communications prize. Four African organizations were rewarded for their fight against malaria with the Award for International Cooperation, and Bulgarian philosopher Tzetan Todorov received the prize for Social Sciences.

Venezuela’s Youth and Children Orchestra was awarded the Prince of Asturias prize for the Arts, which was picked up by its president Maestro Jose Antonio Abreu. Canadian author Margaret Atwood was rewarded for her work with the Letters Award. The Scientific and Technical Research Award went to one Japanese and four US scientists for their innovative work in nanotechnology.

betancourt award 300x215 Prince Of Asturias Awards Given OutBut the highlight of the ceremony was when the Concord award was given out. That went to former Colombian presidential candidate, Ingrid Betancourt. Earlier this year, Betancourt was released from the jungles of Colombia after six years being held hostage by rebels.

“For a hostage, Christmas is the worst time of year,” she said. “Some of my friends are calling for everyone around the world to march altogether on one day, before Christmas, on the 28th of November, to call for all of Colombia’s hostages to be freed. From here, a world where we have everything, I am asking for you to reach out to those who have lost everything,” said Betancourt, to loud applause.

The Prince of Asturias awards have been handed out since 1981. A committee chooses the winners based on their qualities as human beings, and their contributions to their fields.

Abdullah & Rania End Tour In Brazil

Posted in: Jordan

The King and Queen of Jordan have wrapped their tour of Latin America today in Brazil. The royal couple was supposed to continue on to other countries in the region, but issues back in Jordan are calling them home early. brazil jordan bsb107 300x148 Abdullah & Rania End Tour In Brazil

Just as it was in Chile and Argentina, King Abdullah met with leaders to discuss economic and diplomatic ties with Jordan. This time it was with Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The two leaders also talked about Mid-East peace talks, and the Jordanian king praised Brazil as a model for Jews and Arabs, as the two groups live peacefully together in Latin American nation.

“Brazil provides an example of regional cooperation and peaceful coexistence. Its multicultural society is an example. Its Arab community is the largest in Latin America and one of the largest in the world. This conveys a message to my region,” said the King.

He also praised the role of the Brazilian president in the first Summit of South American and Arab Countries (Aspa), held in Brasília in 2005.

Along the same lines, Lula claimed that the Jordanian king is admired as the leader of the main efforts for peace in the Middle East. “His dedication is a source of inspiration to all of those who believe in peace,” said the president. “His coming to Brazil strengthens a political dialogue that cannot be postponed, between two countries committed to a future of peace and well-being in the Middle East,” he stated.

rania school 207x300 Abdullah & Rania End Tour In BrazilWhile Lula and the King discussed relations between the Israelis and Palestinians, Queen Rania continued her work for UNICEF by visiting a school in Sao Paulo that is funded by the United Nations organization. Just like in Argentina, the Queen wore slacks and a UNICEF T-shirt to the school. Back in September, Rania vowed to expand education resources for children in struggling nations. Although Brazil has made leaps economically, there is still an issue of poverty there.

There was no gala dinner for the King and Queen, just a simple luncheon. The two will be back in Jordan Saturday.