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ARABICA: Unemployed Saudi Women, 'Arabs Got Talent', Libya Teacher Killing

Your weekly shot of what the Arab world is saying, hearing and sharing.

On the road to Nalut, Libya
On the road to Nalut, Libya
Laura Thompson

Many Saudi women clueless about job hunting
A new government study shows that a full quarter of Saudi women aren’t sure how to go about getting a job. Employment among Saudis is being encouraged in a country dominated by foreign workers, and women’s rights initiatives like an internationally publicized driving campaign is a sign of the times in Saudi Arabia.

Response to teacher's murder in Libya
According to a Twitter user, Ronnie Smith’s grieving wife placed lit candles at the spot where the American teacher was assassinated in Benghazi, the city that served as a capital for the Libyan resistance.

زوجة الاستاذ الامريكي روني سميث الذي اغتيل �ي #بنغازي توقد الشموع �ي ن�س المكان الذي قتل �يه زوجها #ليبيا

— Sarah (@SarahFighi) December 7, 2013

His early morning murder came after a string of other killings, including a car bombing during a police officer’s funeral.

Smith, who described himself as “Libya's best friend,” had been teaching for over a year in a local high school. He was out for an early morning jog when several unidentified men gunned him down.

A number of Libyans tweeted translations of a post reportedly from Smith’s own Facebook page, published just over a month ago: “There is one thing Libyans are good at: making foreigners feel like family.”

Other Internet users criticized Smith, though without endorsing his murder. One Facebook user posted a note pointing to Smith’s relationship with an evangelical church in Austin, Texas. The church had posted a letter indicating that Smith was in Libya in part to spread Christ’s message.

Proselytism is illegal in Libya, and Christian missionaries have been arrested there as recently as earlier this year.

A Lebanese Superstar
Najwa Karam, a Lebanese singer and superstar judge on the recently completed Arabs Got Talent, found herself again in the spotlight — this time on Twitter.

لا تنسوا التغريد مع #مسبحة_ناصر #خاتم_حلمي #نظارة_علي أو #مراية_نجوى Ù„Ù�رصتك بالÙ�وز بأحدى واحدة منهم #ArabsGotTalent pic.twitter.com/pxiQQMzge5

— Arabs Got Talent (@ArabsGotTalent) December 5, 2013

“Najwa’s mirror” was trending Wednesday, next to #Mandela and #PaulWalker. Karam tweeted an image of her phone, asking, “Who will win #Najwa's Mirror? Follow us tonight, on our last episode of @Arabs Got Talent” — a reference to the show's motto "Leave your mirror, pack your luggage and be ready for the new season of Arabs Got Talent."

#NKO من سيربح #مراية_نجوى؟ تابعونا الليلة �ي الحلقة الأخيرة من @ArabsGotTalent لمعر�ة إسم الرابح pic.twitter.com/LQSeUWQeS3

— Najwa Karam (@najwakaram) December 7, 2013

Twitter users responded with a firestorm of “Najwa's mirror” hashtags.

Karam created controversy recently when she supported an American singer on what is typically an Arab-only talent show. Jennifer Grout, from Cambridge, Mass., finished third place in the finals. Here is a video of her final performance, in which she sings a famous song by Lebanese-Egyptian singer Souad Muhammad entitled, “I’ve Missed You.”

Beliebers In Tunis
A young Swedish-Tunisian girl living in Stockholm started a Twitter trend after she uploaded a YouTube video asking for Justin Bieber to bring his concert and his new 3-D Believe movie to Tunisia.

Her video plea is followed by a clip of high school girls in Tunisia singing their hearts out to Bieber’s “All Around the World” and declaring themselves “Believers” — not to be confused with Bieber's regular fans, called "Beliebers." One student, Sandra, tells the camera, “I really don’t want to stay home on Christmas Day while other believers are having fun watching the Believe movie.”

#BelieveMovieInTunisia !! <3 pic.twitter.com/GKLqcNrup6

— Follow me Bieber plz (@sarrabelieber13) December 9, 2013

Cold aggravates crisis for Syrian refugees
Following snow, ice and freezing temperatures, the UN is more concerned than ever for the almost one million Syrian refugees currently living in the Beqaa region of Lebanon. Many lack heat, wood for fires, and basic protection from the cold in their often watery tents.

One Twitter user lamented, “Where are the rich Arabs and millionaires while displaced children live in tents in #Beqaa in #Lebanon snow.”

أين أغنياء العرب و أصحاب الملايين عن أط�ال النازحين �ي #البقاع �ي #لبنان ثلج و عايشين �ي مخيمات pic.twitter.com/PPoQUBeO9d

— NURAN â˜�ï¸� (@3___NoOr) December 11, 2013

Saudi film wins Oscar nomination
Wadjda, the first feature-length film made by a female Saudi director, has been selected as the Saudi Arabian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards.

أ�ضل أحداث مهرجان دبي الدولي السينمائي كان قضاء وقتا ممتعا مع مارتن شين! كل الحب, هي�اء pic.twitter.com/6POm2fIB43

— Haifaa Al Mansour (@HaifaaMansour) December 11, 2013

Director Haifa Al-Mansour — center — with Martin Sheen at the Dubai Film Festival. Translation: "The best of the events at the Dubai Film Festival was spending fun time with Martin Sheen!"

Saudi director Haifaa Al-Mansour found her 11-year-old actress one week before filming began. In an interview with The Guardian, Al-Mansour said she was committed to using only Saudi actors, despite being hard to find — Saudi actresses, in particular. Her lead actress hails from a conservative family in the capital city of Riyadh, and she reportedly received permission from her family to act until the age of 16, at which time she would need to find a more respectable career path.

Al-Mansour’s film appropriately focuses on the nuanced lives of Saudi women in a country whose especially restrictive, “protective” laws make women’s mobility difficult, though women resist in all kinds of creative, vigorous and often endearing ways. Al-Mansour’s film found financing from the country’s most powerful prince, Al Waleed Bin Talal, the benefactor of a number of endowed professorships in some of the most prestigious U.S. universities (such as Harvard University and Georgetown University).

Here’s the official trailer for Wadjda.

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Inside Copernicus, Where All The Data Of Climate Change Gets Captured And Crunched

As COP28 heats up, a close-up look at the massive European earth observatory program 25 years after its creation, with its disturbing monthly reports of a planet that has gotten hotter than ever.

A photo of Sentinel-2 floating above Earth

Sentinel-2 orbiting Earth

Laura Berny

PARIS — The monthly Copernicus bulletin has become a regular news event.

In early August, amid summer heatwaves around the Northern Hemisphere, Copernicus — the Earth Observation component of the European Union's space program — sent out a press release confirming July as the hottest month ever recorded. The news had the effect of a (climatic) bomb. Since then, alarming heat records have kept coming, including the news at the beginning of November, when Copernicus Climate Change Service deputy director Samantha Burgess declared 2023 to be the warmest year on record ”with near certainty.”

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Approaching the dangerous threshold set by the Paris Agreement, the global temperature has never been so high: 1.43°C (2.57°F) higher than the pre-industrial average of 1850-1900 and 0.10°C (0.18°F) higher than the average of 2016 (warmest year so far). Burgess, a marine geochemistry researcher who previously served as chief advisor for oceans for the UK government, knows that the the climate data gathered by Copernicus is largely driving the negotiations currently underway at COP28 in Dubai.

She confirmed for Les Echos that December is also expected to be warmer than the global average due to additional heat in sea surfaces, though there is still more data to collect. “Are the tipping points going to be crossed in 2023,?" she asked. "Or is it just a very warm year part of the long-term warming trend varying from one year to the next?”

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