US President Barack Obama has announced that he would award the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honour, to George W Bush next year.

According to the New York Daily News, the decision has come a day after Bush gave a respectful nod to Obama at the groundbreaking of his library in Dallas.

“The decisions of governing are on another President’s desk, and he deserves to make them without criticism from me,” Bush had said.

NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell, St. Louis (baseball) Hall of Famer Stan Musial, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Wall Street wizard Warren Buffett top the list of scholars, athletes, artists, achievers who would be presented the award at a White House ceremony early next year.

“These outstanding honourees come from a broad range of backgrounds and they’ve excelled in a broad range of fields, but all of them have lived extraordinary lives that have inspired us, enriched our culture, and made our country and our world a better place. I look forward to awarding them this honour,” the paper quoted Obama, as saying.

The rest of the list includes civil rights activist Representative John Lewis (D-Ga.), environmentalist John H. Adams, poet Maya Angelou, Holocaust survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein, optometrist murdered by the Taliban Dr. Tom Little, civil rights activist Sylvia Mendez, disabled rights advocate Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith and former AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney.

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