13/08/2016 Reporters - Short Edition


13/08/2016

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

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you the best stories from across the globe.

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This week: Trapped by the siege of Aleppo.

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Quentin Sommerville speaks to some of the millions of Syrians

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And we talk to rebel fighters who rejected the ceasefire.

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

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nothing but the chance to give the regime a chance

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to catch its breath after the defeat they suffered.

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Two years after the first outbreak, Tulip Mazumder returns

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

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Could killer whales solve the mystery of the menopause?

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Victoria Gill joins scientists trying to find out why

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orcas stop having babies so early in life.

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This is a unique population of killer whales.

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They have been monitored closely for 40 years,

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

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And what a marvellous moment! Silva wins gold!

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

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the Brazilian judo champion whose success has brought cheer

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

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child of a favela can conquer the world.

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The world looks on this week at the desperation of civilians

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caught up in the civil war in Syria deepened.

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The ceasefire calls came and went, the fighting deepened.

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Civilians without food were forced to cook leaves from trees,

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doctors warned that if attacks on medical facilities continue,

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there would be none left within a month.

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The city is split between the rebel-held east

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Quentin Sommerville has gained exclusive access to the homes

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of some civilians and two fighters on the front line.

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

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Here, there are only battlefields and front lines.

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

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

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The miracle of Aleppo is that people still survive here.

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A clockwork lamp is Mohammed's only light.

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The situation here has become even more desperate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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commander spokesman remotely dismisses the idea.

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

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When Aleppo was under siege, and the injuries and wounds

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were becoming rotten because of the lack of medical care,

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and people suffered from shortages, we did not hear

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We as military fighters only understand these calls

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

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for the regime to catch its breath after the big defeat

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

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that they have regained control of this part of Aleppo,

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But aid is only trickling through these ruins.

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Aleppo is still divided by war and united by suffering.

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

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

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

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Humans and killer whales are two of only three species that

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

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Victoria Gill joined researchers on a very unusual

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Visibly close family bonds, and these orcas have something else

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in common with humans, something very rare.

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Female killer whales go through a kind of menopause.

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

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should evolve to stop reproducing so early in life.

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

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

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So our interest in this from an evolutionary

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perspective, because that is really hard to explain.

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

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only in humans and two marine mammal species.

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

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

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painstakingly documented the lives of these orcas.

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

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been followed and monitored, watched closely for 40 years,

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

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We take photographs and get individual pictures,

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identification pictures, on everybody, and then

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

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

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kept very good track of what the total population has.

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

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are playing in their later, post-productive lives.

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

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This is the kind of social interaction?

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Just the kind of social interaction you want.

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

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

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to reveal how menopause benefits this species.

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

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and adult sons depend on their postmenopausal mothers

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They keep the group alive, they help support individuals,

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they survive for longer, and by unpicking the importance

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of these killer whales, we can start to unravel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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We have met the Olympic champion who learned judo

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just so she could defend herself growing up.

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Brazil's first gold medal in the Rio Olympics,

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a lifetime achievement for the judoka Rafaela Silva.

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

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TRANSLATION: I lived in a very aggressive world.

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

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Now the girl who fled stray bullets is being chased for

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

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Rafaela won the women's 57-kilogram final.

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It is a highly symbolic victory for Brazil.

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

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

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because she was getting into fights in the streets.

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

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In London 2012, Rafaela was disqualified early on,

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and suffered a wave of racist attacks.

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

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her training centre, one of the judo schools run

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

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Here, her victory is shared by everyone.

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We are very proud, because it is someone who came

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

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

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With all the scepticism ahead of the Rio Olympics,

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Rafaela's story has ignited Brazilian pride and will inspire

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many children like her for years to come.

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And that is all from Reporters this week.

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

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

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

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in Gwyneth,

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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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