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Efforts to Stop UNESCO Science Award in Honor of African Dictator

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Science  28 May 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5982, pp. 1089
DOI: 10.1126/science.328.5982.1089-a

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Unless human-rights organizations score a last-minute victory, one or more life scientists could find themselves in an awkward spot next month: to be awarded a prize by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that is named after one of Africa's most infamous dictators. As Science went to press, behind-the-scenes discussions about the award, named after President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, were still going on at UNESCO, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) were increasing the pressure to stop, or at least postpone, what they see as a major embarrassment. But a UNESCO spokesperson said the five-member jury has already made its choice, and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova could adopt their recommendations as early as this week. Prize rules stipulate that up to three researchers, groups, or institutions can share the $300,000 award.