13/08/2016 Reporters - Short Edition


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From here in the world's newsroom, we send out correspondents to bring


you the best stories from across the globe.


This week: Trapped by the siege of Aleppo.


Quentin Sommerville speaks to some of the millions of Syrians


And we talk to rebel fighters who rejected the ceasefire.


TRANSLATION: We only recognise this call for a ceasefire by the UN to be


nothing but the chance to give the regime a chance


to catch its breath after the defeat they suffered.


Two years after the first outbreak, Tulip Mazumder returns


to Sierra Leone to see how its health system is coping.


Could killer whales solve the mystery of the menopause?


Victoria Gill joins scientists trying to find out why


orcas stop having babies so early in life.


This is a unique population of killer whales.


They have been monitored closely for 40 years,


and it is all that time that has made this response possible.


And what a marvellous moment! Silva wins gold!


And from the favelas of Rio to Olympic gold, we meet


the Brazilian judo champion whose success has brought cheer


I think it is very important to show the world that the


child of a favela can conquer the world.


The world looks on this week at the desperation of civilians


caught up in the civil war in Syria deepened.


The ceasefire calls came and went, the fighting deepened.


Civilians without food were forced to cook leaves from trees,


doctors warned that if attacks on medical facilities continue,


there would be none left within a month.


The city is split between the rebel-held east


Quentin Sommerville has gained exclusive access to the homes


of some civilians and two fighters on the front line.


In this neighbourhood, the shops and the factories are gone.


Here, there are only battlefields and front lines.


These rebels, along with jihadists, attack the regime's siege.


Thank God, says a fighter, we made it, we stepped on you,


The miracle of Aleppo is that people still survive here.


A clockwork lamp is Mohammed's only light.


The situation here has become even more desperate.


TRANSLATION: We wash with our hands. There is no water.


Sometimes, we are cut off for four or five days,


You have to go outside to the well. We have nothing here.


She is just one woman with six children, and they are among


2 million people the UN says are now suffering across rebel-held East


TRANSLATION: I used to cook from aid we got a while back,


but that is finished. We don't have any food, nothing.


We cook leaves off the trees. The situation is horrendous.


The UN wants a ceasefire for the city, but a rebel


commander spokesman remotely dismisses the idea.


TRANSLATION: To be honest, this UN stance is biased.


When Aleppo was under siege, and the injuries and wounds


were becoming rotten because of the lack of medical care,


and people suffered from shortages, we did not hear


We as military fighters only understand these calls


for a ceasefire by the UN to be nothing but to give a chance


for the regime to catch its breath after the big defeat


One of his men took our cameraman on a tour, and they are keen to show


that they have regained control of this part of Aleppo,


But aid is only trickling through these ruins.


Aleppo is still divided by war and united by suffering.


No flowers for London tonight, a Chinese Valentine's to forget.


Now, you wouldn't normally associate killer whales with the menopause,


but British scientists have been studying them for the past 40 years


Humans and killer whales are two of only three species that


have evolved to stop having babies about halfway through their lives.


Victoria Gill joined researchers on a very unusual


Visibly close family bonds, and these orcas have something else


in common with humans, something very rare.


Female killer whales go through a kind of menopause.


So this team has come to the Pacific coast to work out why any species


should evolve to stop reproducing so early in life.


They will have their last calf in their late 30s or 40s,


but potentially can live until 80, 90, or possibly the oldest


So our interest in this from an evolutionary


perspective, because that is really hard to explain.


While it is familiar to us, it is a phenomenon seen


only in humans and two marine mammal species.


Even long-lived wild apes and elephants don't go


To study it, the scientists work with conservationists here who have


painstakingly documented the lives of these orcas.


This is a unique population of killer whales, in that they have


been followed and monitored, watched closely for 40 years,


and it is only all of that time that has made this


We take photographs and get individual pictures,


identification pictures, on everybody, and then


we see who has new babies, and we see who is missing,


and we do this over and over over all the years, and we have


kept very good track of what the total population has.


This is what has given insight into the crucial role that females


are playing in their later, post-productive lives.


So we have got a male here, and his mother is just close by,


This is the kind of social interaction?


Just the kind of social interaction you want.


Yes, just this kind of bond between mother and son.


The centre's vast library of killer whale data has allowed the team


to reveal how menopause benefits this species.


They discovered that all the females lead their pod as it hunts,


and adult sons depend on their postmenopausal mothers


They keep the group alive, they help support individuals,


they survive for longer, and by unpicking the importance


of these killer whales, we can start to unravel


The team here will continue to watch from the surface as these animals


reveal the evolutionary secrets and key parts of our own lives.


Now, to undoubtedly the biggest event of the week now, the Olympics.


Every nation has their Olympic heroes, but for the host nation,


Brazil, there can be no one who has brought such joy as Rafaela Silva,


whose gold medal in judo marks a fairytale rise from a childhood in


We have met the Olympic champion who learned judo


just so she could defend herself growing up.


Brazil's first gold medal in the Rio Olympics,


a lifetime achievement for the judoka Rafaela Silva.


She came from the favela, the City Of God, and rose


TRANSLATION: I lived in a very aggressive world.


The children couldn't play, and we had to rush home whenever


Now the girl who fled stray bullets is being chased for


I think it is very important to show someon from a favela


Rafaela won the women's 57-kilogram final.


It is a highly symbolic victory for Brazil.


This is the home where she grew up, just outside the City Of God.


Her mother told me that she put her in judo as a little girl


because she was getting into fights in the streets.


Now, her face is on every newspaper and on the family T-shirts.


In London 2012, Rafaela was disqualified early on,


and suffered a wave of racist attacks.


A short drive away, this is Rafaela's second home,


her training centre, one of the judo schools run


by the Reaction Institute, an NGO that takes judo to poor


Here, her victory is shared by everyone.


We are very proud, because it is someone who came


from the same place we did, so then you think, wow,


Rafaela says she has no idea where she would be if it were not


With all the scepticism ahead of the Rio Olympics,


Rafaela's story has ignited Brazilian pride and will inspire


many children like her for years to come.


And that is all from Reporters this week.


From me and the whole team here in London, goodbye for now.


temperatures in the mid-20s to day in southern parts of England. Plenty


of sunshine in Devon, lovely picture that one. Similar scene, blue skies


in Gwyneth,


A weekly programme of stories filed by BBC reporters from all over the world, ranging from analyses of major global issues to personal reflections and anecdotes.

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