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9/22/2019

Topic Reading-Vol.2720-9/22/2019


Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The US auto industry is almost extinct in Europe
In Europe, around 15 million new cars are sold every year. If you look at Europe as a market, it is the third-largest after China’s 28 million and US’s 18 million. Yet, Europe is a big market for an automotive company, it is a very demanding and challenging place to produce or sell cars for non-European car companies. While German premium brands like Mercedes, BMW and Audi are all keeping good brand image, presence and profits in other marketplaces, no US brand has ever achieved a sizable market share or generated meaningful revenues in Europe. Yet they had been there for the sake of global business ambition or presence until they finally found that such ambition was just an illusion and not worth the effort and investment. In fact, European automotive market is very challenging; environmental regulations are much more demanding than the ones in the US, buyers are very price-sensitive, roads are narrow and winding, and parking space isn’t accommodating for large American SUVs or vans. Facing the undeniable reality, US automakers have almost retreated from this sizable yet too demanding market. After all, search engines, music channels, SNSs, and mobile payment platforms are getting more diverse these days. Globalization doesn’t seem to apply to all businesses.
Enjoy reading and think if doing business globally is a good strategy or not.

9/21/2019

Topic Reading-Vol.2719-9/21/2019


Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Animals show their funny side for the 2019 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards
Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards (https://www.comedywildlifephoto.com/) is a global, online, and free-to-enter showcase of light-hearted photos of the most amazing wildlife on our planet. It shows not only the funny side of wildlife but also the necessity of wildlife conservation. Before the Overall Winner and Category Winners is announced on November 13, here are some of the finalists of the annual competition. Which one you think will win the title?
Enjoy seeing the photos and put titles on each wildlife photo.

9/20/2019

Topic Reading-Vol.2718-9/20/2019


Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Why the world is becoming more allergic to food
Are you allergic to a certain food, animal, drug, or substance? Nowadays, there are more people who suffer from allergy symptoms, such as skin redness, hives, swelling, vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing and anaphylactic shock. Such life-threatening reactions can be caused by particular trigger foods, like milk, eggs, peanuts, sesame, wheat or particular fish and shellfish.
In developed countries especially like the West, the number of children who suffer from allergies is on the rise. As many as seven percent of children in the UK and nine percent of those in Australia are affected by food allergies while only two percent of adults have such a problem.
When the immune system tries to fight generally harmless substances, such as food, pollen, or animal fur, an allergic response could be triggered. It is thought that modern lifestyles, urban environment, and even improved hygiene are the contributors to the immune system’s overreaction.
It seems that humans’ lifestyles are causing problems not only to the environment and other species but also to humans themselves.
Enjoy reading the article and learn what and how serious food allergies are.

9/19/2019

Topic Reading-Vol.2717-9/19/2019


Topic Reading-Vol.2717-9/19/2019
Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Internet magic: A look back at Jack Ma at Alibaba
He’s one of the world’s greatest Internet tycoons. Jack Ma, an ex-English teacher in China, crated Alibaba in 1999 in Hangzhou, China. The e-commerce giant opened Taobao, the online shopping platform in 2003, created Alipay, an online payment platform, and launched 11.11 sales event in 2009. The company raised $25 billion by an IPO, Initial Public Offering, in New York Stock Exchange in 2014. Alibaba groups provide consumer-to-consumer (Taobao), business-to-consumer (Tmall), and business-to-business (Alibaba.com) sales services via web portals, as well as electronic payment services, shopping search engines, and cloud computing services. Though often compared with its US rival, amazon, Alibaba isn’t involved in direct sales or doesn’t own any warehouses. They simply help small businesses and merchandisers reach consumers.
The founder and chairman of Alibaba, 马云 (Ma Yun), more known as Jack Ma around the world, completely retired from the company on his 55th birthday.
When he was young, he applied for 30 different jobs and got rejected by all. He also applied Harvard Business School ten times and rejected. Neither the employers nor admission officers noticed his potential contribution or donation.
Now, what will he do? Will anyone decline his application?
Enjoy learning a brief history of one of the most successful and influential Internet business entrepreneurs.

9/18/2019

Topic Reading-Vol.2716-9/18/2019


Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Brazil Amazon: Old enemies unite to save their land
Though the world fears the devastation of this year’s Amazon rainforest fires, those who live in the rainforests are concerned more about illegal human activities such as logging and mining, which contaminate waters and destroy the nature and resources of their homeland. Such activities have increased dramatically ever since Bolsonaro swore in as President of Brazil last January. Over 800,000 indigenous people live in 450 protected territories by law, approximately 12% of the land in Brazil. However, the president has been supporting developers to make use of the protected area for the economy and shown no interest in the ecology and environment of the area and lives of the habitants.
In order to cope with this pressing threat, long-time adversarial tribes in the rainforest agreed to unite to fight against their common enemy. Even though their weapons are no use against bulldozers and guns, their newly formed frontline might push the administration to enforce the protection laws.
Clear and present danger indeed brings people, their ingenuities and minds together. And the world seems to need to realize the underlying problems of the Amazon rainforest fires.
Enjoy reading and learn about what indigenous people really need to fight against.

9/17/2019

Topic Reading-Vol.2715-9/17/2019


Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The Tokyo rugby club keeping elderly players healthy
Originated in England in the 19th century, rugby is a high-impact sport played by two teams of 15 players. Rugby is played mainly in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, and an estimated global following of 475 Million people. International matches have taken place since 1871, and this year, The Rugby World Cup is hosted in Japan.
Since it is a high-impact sport, Rugby is usually played by young, well-built youths and adults, both men and women. But in Japan, where its population is aging at an unprecedented speed, there is a number of senior citizens who enjoy playing this high-impact sport. In fact, there are 150 clubs that stage competitive matches for players above the age of 40 in Japan and one of them have three rugger who are older than 90. Interestingly, those super senior rugby players seem to enjoy the sport very much despite the risk of injuries or even a heart attack.
In Japan, such active seniors who enjoy the sports and habits they used to do are called return something. Return surfers, return skiers, and return motorcycle riders (especially big bikes) are just a few examples. Many of them are now free from family or business obligations and ready to enjoy what they really want to do. They have time and money, the most essential resources to have fun.
Enjoy seeing the photos of active Japanese senior ruggers.

9/16/2019

Topic Reading-Vol.2714-9/16/2019


Dear MEL Topic Readers,
California passes landmark gig economy rights bill
“Gig” typically means a job for a specified period of time or by the project. In the gig economy, independent workers take temporary positions or job opportunities that are offered by organizations or customers. Typical examples of such workers are freelancers like web designers, independent contractors like baby/pet sitters and ride-hailing drivers, and project-based workers like engineers and technicians.
As the workforce becomes more mobile and ubiquitous, work can be done anywhere and whenever needed. Also, digitization and smartphones have made matching easier between those who need the workforce and those who want to offer their time.
A typical business model is ride-hailing services. A mobility service provider matches riders with drivers via mobile apps or websites, such as Uber in the US and DiDi in China. Since these gig workers are paid only by their time or services, they don’t have any other benefits that ordinary employees enjoy, such as paid absence, sick pay or health care.
Now, lawmakers of California, the home to many such gig economy giants like Uber and Lyft, have passed a landmark bill to mandate companies to offer such benefits to gig workers. Though how the law is enforced is yet to be seen, this could increase the labor costs to the gig economy companies significantly, and could even affect their business model.
Enjoy reading the article about the law that could shake the rising gig economy.