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Topic Reading-Vol.2435-12/11/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
Why the world is becoming more allergic to food
Food allergy is an abnormal response to a food triggered by the body's immune system. Common food allergic reactions are fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts like walnuts, eggs, milk, sesame, and wheat. An allergic reaction varies by person and the amount of exposure to a particular food. It could be just itching or swelling in the mouth, vomiting or diarrhea, and in a severe case, tightening the throat and trouble breathing, or drop in blood pressure, which could be fatal.
The problem is that the rate of confirmed food allergies among children has been increasing over the last few decades especially in western countries and also in urban environments. It is still unclear what factors to blame. The most likely factors are pollution, dietary habits, and less exposure to microbes, parasites and less exposure to the sun.
In any case, clear and accurate food labeling, avoidance of allergic foods, and a proper diagnosis and treatment are all essential to refrain from allergy-producing problems.
Read the article and learn what food allergy is about.


Topic Reading-Vol.2434-12/10/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
Nearly 1 million people sit China's civil servant exam
While many young Chinese college students are dreaming to be a high-flying entrepreneur, quite a number of people and their parents seem to think to become a civil servant is more attractive than other job opportunities. Indeed, over 900,000 people applied for 15,500 national civil servant job positions and took exams this year. That sounds very competitive as only one out of every 63 candidates can get the “iron bowl” job.
If there was a bowl made of iron, it would be very solid and difficult to break. Then an “iron bowl” job means it is a very stable job or a job you will never lose. The “civil servant” is still considered an “iron bowl” job by many Chinese people. This makes the competition very fierce, as hundreds of thousands of people fight for civil servant jobs every year. Once people become official civil servants, their life can be worry-free. It’s a decent and secure job.
But this is not limited only to Chinese people. In India, over 23 million people applied for 10,000 available jobs for the state-owned India Railways.
(Reported in Vol.2251 “The jobs in India that attract thousands of applicants.”)
Indeed, there are a lot of people who are looking for an iron bowl or iron rail job in these most populous countries.
Enjoy reading and learn how fierce the competitions are to be employed by the state.


Topic Reading-Vol.2433-12/9/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
Totally awesome: Seven ways you use Americanisms every day
What influences the most to a language? Culture, media, immigrants, technologies, or new practices? English originated in England, spread across Great Britain, and was adopted in the territories of the British Empire, such as Australia and America. After the World Wars, America’s influence started to surpass the UK’s in many areas and became the world’s most influential country, especially in media, entertainment, and education that affect numbers of people not only in the country but also to other parts of the world. As the US flourishes, it has become more independent in the language and developed new words and altered pronunciation and spelling; such as highway for motorway and color for colour. After the second millennium, American English became the de-facto standard of the world English. Now anywhere you go, you’ll most likely hear local English TV stations use American English, even in the old British territories, like India or New Zealand.
However, as the number of non-native English speakers increases, such a distinction may not be so critical. Yes, English seems to become the most commonly used language on the globe. So, it’s no longer an issue of British or American but how well practically and effectively the language is used.
Enjoy reading and think which spelling or pronunciation you want to learn for the time being.


Topic Reading-Vol.2432-12/8/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
How George H.W. Bush helped end the Cold War peacefully
Born on June 12, 1924, Massachusetts, George Herbert Walker Bush, was a two-term U.S. vice president under Ronald Reagan, from 1981 to 1989. He then became the 41st U.S. president and served a four-year term until 1993. Before starting his political career in 1967, he was a World War II naval aviator and Texas oil industry executive.
During his 12-year tenure in the White House, he witnessed the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the Soviet Union, and subsequently the Cold War. He dedicated himself to lead the nation and its allies to help establish the new world order with their old enemy.
He peacefully passed away on the last day of November 2018 at the age of 94, only seven months after his wife, Barbara’s death. His eldest son, George Walker Bush, also served as the 43rd president of the U.S.
Enjoy reading about a man who served the nation for years during the last world transformation.


Topic Reading-Vol.2431-12/7/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
The US averaged at least 1 deadly mass shooting a month in 2018
Every year, over 10,000 lives are taken away by gun violence in the U.S. This means an average of 30 gun-victims every day. In some cases, multiple people are gunned down often by assault or military grade weapons, such as AR-15, AK-47 or M-16. When four or more people are killed, not including the suspect, it is generally called a mass shooting.
Though the year of 2018 has yet to close its curtain, there already have been 18 such incidents in the US as of the end of November. They took place at a house, synagogue, and high school, leaving family members and friends, worshippers, and students gunned down on the floors while they were having peaceful moments.
Why are there so many gun violence victims in a country where most people enjoy freedom and opportunities? Can democracy, government transparency, higher education, wealth, or heavily-armed police force ever reduce such violence?
Read and learn how serious and repetitive US gun violence is.


Topic Reading-Vol.2430-12/6/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
New Zealand beached whales: Why are so many getting stranded?
In late November, scores of whales were found dead on several beaches in New Zealand. They seem to have gotten stranded on the beaches by groups, in one case a dozen whales and in another case over 100. While whale stranding is not that uncommon, why did such a large number of marine mammals get stranded on the beach all of a sudden?
Experts suggested a few possible causes but have been unable to conclude the case yet. The whales might have been too ill to swim or eat and died. Their navigation and communication system by echolocation might have been confused in very shallow waters. The groups might have been misguided by the leader or a member of the herd. Warmer water temperature might have led their preys to certain areas and the whales followed them.
In any case, such mysterious mass stranding seems to have been happening since before humans inhabited the southern islands.
Enjoy reading and learn about another mystery of nature.


Topic Reading-Vol.2429-12/5/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers
How Japan's corporate culture allows corrupt CEOs to win
Consistency may be one of the words that describe Japan’s corporate culture. Lifetime employment still is one of the commonly practiced, or at least understood, employment standards in Japan. Unlike most of the corporations in capitalist economies, new graduates are usually hired without specific job descriptions or terms of the employment in Japan. Once employed, employees are expected to do what they are assigned to do. In many cases, they continue to work in the same company for a long time, experiencing various jobs and responsibilities and learning to perform better within the organization. While such intra-company career development practice ensures consistency, it doesn’t seem to foster innovative or outward-looking attitudes or culture.
There is no single factor that caused the recent Nissan chairman’s misconducts. There is no one system or practice that ensures flawless corporate governance, either. But having ousted its absolute boss, Nissan has presumably learned a hard lesson.
Enjoy reading and learn what Japan’s employment system is like.