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A historic deal to curb global climate change has been reached. At least 20 women in Saudi Arabia have been elected to public office for the first time. And Hollywood is preparing for the worldwide premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Posted on December 14, 2015, at 8:36 a.m. ET

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195 countries have reached a historic deal to curb global warming.

After nearly two weeks of tense negotiations — and six years after a failed summit in Copenhagen — representatives from almost 200 countries came to an agreement to curb climate change, BuzzFeed News’ Jim Dalrymple II writes from Paris.

The accord “will see an accelerated phase-out of fossil fuels, the growth of renewable energy streams, and powerful new carbon markets to enable countries to trade emissions and protect forests,” The Guardian writes.

  • The deal aims to keep the increase of atmospheric temperatures to well under 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.”

  • That 1.5 degree figure has been especially important for small island nations — such as the Seychelles and the Marshall Islands, which have adopted the phrase “1.5 to stay alive” — where the rise in sea levels are already having an impact. .

  • Scientific studies have concluded if the world warms more than 2 degrees Celsius, it’ll “be locked into a future of devastating consequences, including rising sea levels, severe droughts and flooding, widespread food and water shortages and more destructive storms,” the New York Times writes.

  • The accord also states that richer countries will provide developing countries with $100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020 and a commitment to further finance in the future.

  • Under the deal, individual countries have to set emissions reduction targets as well as a regular review of those goals, BBC News reports. The targets themselves, however, aren’t legally binding.

Charles Platiau / Reuters

And a little extra.

The deal isn’t perfect. “The caps on emissions are still too loose, likely to lead to warming of 2.7 to 3 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels,” and poor countries fear that the money provided to them won’t actually be enough to protect them, The Guardian writes.

World leaders praised the deal. French President François Hollande called the agreement a “major leap for mankind,” and U.S. President Barack Obama said it’s “the best chance we have to save the one planet we have.”

Can you guess which of these companies are the most climate friendly?

WE’RE KEEPING AN EYE ON

At least 20 women have been elected to municipal councils in Saudi Arabia in the country’s first poll open to female voters and candidates.

The female candidates were elected to 10 different councils across the country, from small cities to large ones. Four women were elected in Riyadh, the country’s capital and largest city, BuzzFeed News’ Laura Silver and Alicia Melville-Smith write. Women were also elected in the cities of Jiddah and Qassim, and the village of Madrakah, according to the Associated Press.

The women represent just 1% of the roughly 2,100 municipal council seats that were up for election, “but even limited gains are seen as a step forward for women who had previously been completely shut out of elections,” the AP writes. Roughly 130,000 women registered to vote, compared to 1.35 million men.

Congratulations to Salma bint Hizab al-Oteibi. First woman Councillor in #Saudi 👍🏼 #SaudiArabElection #Mecca

What’s next?

Saudi Arabia was the last country in the world to allow women to vote, but conditions for women were still “highly restricted,” Deutsche Welle writes.

Women in Saudi Arabia still aren’t allowed to drive, and can’t pursue higher education or travel without permission from a male guardian.

If you want the latest news and stories, download the BuzzFeed News app for iOS and Android (in U.S. app stores only).

DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?

Meet the two people risking everything to end this crime against women.

Somalia has one of the highest rates of female genital mutilation in the world. “Cutting” is the polite shorthand for what’s known in Somali as gudniin (literally: circumcision), and referred to by international advocacy groups as “female genital mutilation” or FGM. Two activists — Dr. Abdul “Dhegacaade” Giama and Hawa Aden — are trying to change that, one taboo at a time. BuzzFeed News’ Jina Moore reports from Somalia.

“We’ve spent a hell of a lot of money, time, resources on FGM but the impact is not satisfactory,” Dhegacaade told BuzzFeed News. “The real problem is [the] taboo. We give it taboo … How are you going to [end] this if you don’t break the social barrier?”

Somalia’s women’s minister has called for an end to the practice and lawmakers are drafting a bill that is expected to be considered next year, Moore writes.

Women sell milk on the street in Galkayo, Somalia.
Farah Abdi Warsameh / AP Photo

Women sell milk on the street in Galkayo, Somalia.


A child was taken from a same-sex couple in Kansas and given to an alleged abuser.

Kansas authorities are under fire for allegedly discriminating against same-sex families wishing to adopt or foster children, after a case of alleged child abuse thrust the issue out of bureaucratic secrecy and into the spotlight, BuzzFeed News’ David Mack writes.

The case centers on baby Isabella, an infant girl who was removed from a same-sex couple and was placed in the care of the Schumms, a husband and wife who already had 14 other children. On Nov. 19, the Schumms were arrested on child abuse and torture charges.


Lisa and Tesa Hines, the two women from whom the child was removed, said they believe the only reason Kansas officials gave Isabella to the Schumms is because they’re lesbians. Their struggle, LGBT advocates say, is emblematic of the plight of same-sex families attempting to adopt or foster children in Kansas.

Lisa (left) and Tesa Hines return Isabella’s belongings to storage in the basement of their home. Tesa said that doing laundry is always painful now because she must be around the items.
Kit Doyle for BuzzFeed News

Lisa (left) and Tesa Hines return Isabella’s belongings to storage in the basement of their home. Tesa said that doing laundry is always painful now because she must be around the items.

Quick things to know:

  • A teacher was stabbed in a Paris suburb by a man shouting about ISIS, according to reports. (BuzzFeed News)

  • Egypt said it hasn’t found evidence of terrorism linked to the crash of a Russian passenger jet in Sinai that killed all 224 people aboard on Oct. 31. (Reuters)

  • Hundreds of thousands of people in the central Philippines have been evacuated as Typhoon Melor made landfall. (The Guardian)

  • France’s far-right suffered a big defeat. The Front National party failed to win a single region in elections held Sunday, despite a first-round breakthrough last week. (BuzzFeed News)

  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will join seven other Republican presidential candidates in Tuesday’s debate in Las Vegas. (BuzzFeed News)

  • Global supermarkets are selling shrimp peeled by slaves. (Associated Press)

  • The U.S. warned American citizens against traveling to Burundi, after more than 100 people were killed in two days of violence in the African nation’s capital. (BuzzFeed News)

  • Twitter has warned some of its users that their accounts may have been hacked by “state-sponsored actors.” (BBC News)

  • And here are the people who are camping out ahead of the Los Angeles premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. (The Guardian) And to carry you over until the movie’s release, here’s the trailer one more time. (BuzzFeed News)

Lucasfilm / Via youtube.com / Via youtube.com

Happy Monday

There have been quite a few badass women in 2015, and BuzzFeed News’ Rossalyn Warren has compiled a list of 17 you probably didn’t hear about. Meet Niloofar Rahmani, 23, who became Afghanistan’s first female pilot to serve in the air force since the fall of the Taliban. And the 57 schoolgirls who escaped the terrorist group Boko Haram, and then later returned to school. And Tu Youyou, who was the first Chinese woman to win a Nobel Prize for medicine, despite not having a medical degree or a PhD. Badass women alert.

Some of the badasses of 2015: The girls who demanded that Marvel include more female superheroes in its merchandise.
Via Twitter: @HeroicGirls

Some of the badasses of 2015: The girls who demanded that Marvel include more female superheroes in its merchandise.

This letter was edited and brought to you by Claire Moses and Brianne O’Brien. You can always reach us here.

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