17/12/2016 Reporters - Short Edition


17/12/2016

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I'm Philippa Thomas here at the BBC's headquarters

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In this special edition of the programme, we're

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looking back at some of the best reports from this year from our

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network of correspondents around the world.

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Stand-off in the skies above the South China Seas.

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Rupert Wingfield-Hayes flies over one of the most

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contested areas in the world, incurring the wrath

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Ian Panell reports from Barack Obama's former hometown and finds

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Fergus Walsh investigates how scientists

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are using animals to grow human organs.

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The BBC went to extraordinary lengths this

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year to get a rare glimpse of China's determined

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expansion in the South China Sea, one of the most contested areas

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Beijing is building huge artificial islands on

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the Spratly Island chain, which the Americans and others

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But Rupert Wingfield-Hayes flew in a small, civilian aircraft into

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China's self-declared security zone 200 kilometres off

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It's just before dawn on the Philippine island of Palawan.

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Even at this hour, it's hot, but there's

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no sign here of the trouble brewing a few hundred miles out to sea.

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I'm about to take off on a trip the Chinese government

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Just 140 nautical miles from the Philippine

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Until a year ago, there was nothing here, just a submerged atoll.

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Millions of tonnes of material have been dredged up to build this huge

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As we close to 12 nautical miles, this.

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Down below, we can see a pair of Chinese Navy ships.

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We are a civilian aircraft flying over international

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waters and yet we are being repeatedly threatened.

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What we get is the Chinese sending out that message.

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Foreign military aircraft, unidentified aircraft, leave this

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Our captain responded saying we are a civilian aircraft,

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It didn't make any difference whatsoever.

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They just repeated that threat, we must

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As we fly on, the full extent of the construction is revealed.

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A cement plant is visible on the new land.

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And then, for the first time, a clear view of the new

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A Chinese fighter taking off from here

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could reach the Philippine coast in nine minutes.

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In the last year, China has built at least seven new

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islands and three new runways in the South China Sea.

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One here at Mischief Reef, another at Subi Reef,

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and the biggest of all at Fiery Cross.

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The aim is to reinforce China's claim to the whole of the

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More than 40% of the world's trade passes through the waters below us.

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China is determined to assert its control.

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America and its allies say they won't let that happen.

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As we have found out, it may already be too late.

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Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, BBC News, in the South China Sea.

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Now to evidence of a startling rise in

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levels of gun violence in parts of the United States, including

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President Obama's political home, Chicago.

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Killings in the city have reached a 20-year high.

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A deadly summer of violence brought this year's death toll to 500.

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Most of the victims and their killers are young black men.

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Ian Pannell and cameraman Darren Conway spent a week in

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Chicago and found a world where gangs and guns rule.

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Here, in my neighbourhood, they start young, man.

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When you read the news headlines, that's the age frame they are dying

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We've got to teach the kids how to defend themselves.

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It is senseless violence at the end of the day but it is like,

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what do you do when you're caught in that moment?

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You'd rather be caught with protection than without protection.

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But, I've never seen so many guns like now.

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Bodiel is a rapper from the west side, now the most violent part of

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He is a member of the Vice Lords Gang.

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He's been in prison and even he's shocked by what's happening.

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It's like somebody dropped off crates of guns in everybody's hood.

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I think a lot of guys need to die in order to

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I think some of these BEEP need to get killed and get

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knocked off and get them out of the way to make it a better place.

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More people have been killed here since

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2001 than US deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

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To be honest, I've got a son that's seven and

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I haven't taught neither one of them how to ride

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The environment they live in is not safe.

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I miss you. I miss you too.

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I love you. I love you, Dadda.

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It's hard when you don't really have help, you know what I'm saying?

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It's like, we're put in a weird position,

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With so many guns and so little control,

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This may sound like the stuff of science fiction movies

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but American researchers broke new ground this year by trying

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The research uses a pioneering technique known as gene editing,

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which enables DNA to be altered simply and quickly.

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Some believe it could provide the answer to the

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As Fergus Walsh explains, it also raises many ethical issues.

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You are watching two species being mixed.

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Human stem cells are being injected into a

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You can see them travelling down the tube.

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This biologist in California is trying to grow a human pancreas

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Our hope is that this pig embryo will develop normally but

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the pancreas will be made almost exclusively out of human cells.

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So then that pancreas could be compatible with a patient

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The technique is known as gene editing.

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It uses molecular scissors to delete the DNA instructions

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in the pig embryo to create a pancreas.

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The ambition is the human cells will fill the void

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The same technique might enable other organs to be grown

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The BBC's Panorama was allowed to film the sows which

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were pregnant with human pig embryos, known as chimeras.

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If human stem cells were taken from a patient,

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the transplant organs could be tissue matched,

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This research raises profound ethical concerns,

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crucially just how human are the piglets developing inside

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It's such a sensitive area that the chimeric embryos will

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not be permitted to go to term but be removed for tissue analysis

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after 28 days gestation, when they're about

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Crucially, they'll check whether the pig's

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developing brain gains human-like qualities.

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Another pioneer in this field told me this question has yet

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With every organ we try to make, be it kidney, liver or lung,

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we will look at what's happening in the brain.

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If we find that it's too humanlike, we won't

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7,000 people in the UK are on the transplant waiting list.

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Hundreds die each year before a donor can be found.

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Patient trials, involving gene-edited pig organs, are

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And that's all from this special edition of Reporters, looking back

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at some of the best reports from this year.

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The best of today's Sunshine was in Scotland, Northern

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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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