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Topic Reading-Vol.3087-9/23/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Google says its carbon footprint is now zero
No business can be run without a carbon footprint. Even if all the electricity a company uses was generated by solar or wind power, the construction of the facility or production of those power generators and batteries emit greenhouse gasses. Also, even if all the employees commute by trains or electric vehicles, or work from home, electricity is consumed, which could have been generated by burning fossil fuel. However, rich companies like Google can offset their emission by planting trees or investing in green projects. Though it still leaves a carbon footprint in some way or another, a commitment to achieve zero carbon footprint is admirable, especially by a globally influential company like Google, which uses substantial electricity for its data centers. The competitors and other companies have no choice but to follow the suit to meet the new business standards and expectations. Indeed. To be competitive in advanced technologies, high-tech companies seem to need to advance in the environmental field as well.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about new Google’s move to the next level.


Topic Reading-Vol.3086-9/22/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Covid-19 Singapore: A ‘pandemic of inequality’ exposed
There are quite a few countries where wealthy citizens enjoy economic growth, urban development, and labor services that are supported by a large number of expatriates. For instance, around and over 70% of the populations of oil/gas-rich Qatar, UAE, and Kuwait are expatriates, many of whom have been building skyscrapers, constructing and repairing roads, and collecting garbage. Without their labor, the economies, and the daily lives of those city states can’t be sustained even for a day.
Singapore is no exception. Of the 5.7 million total population, nearly 1.7 million, or 30%, are non-residents, many of whom provide essential labor services for the residents of the city state. Though Singapore is a technologically advanced, tightly governed, and highly disciplined community, the conditions of those expats’ lives seem far below the ones of the citizens. Many of those expat workers came from India and Bangladesh to earn and send money to their families. They live in dorms where a dozen or more workers share a room, a limited number of toilets, and showers. Social distancing is hardly possible in such overcrowded dorms, and as a result, the Covid-19 cluster occurs here and there.
Someone says it’s a pandemic of inequality. The prime minister admitted that their actions to those dorms were not without shortcomings. One of the dorm’s occupants wants to be treated just like a human.
Read the article and learn about the living conditions of expats workers in Singapore, but not the financial elites who enjoy their lives in a high-rise apartment.


Topic Reading-Vol.3085-9/21/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Qantas offers a seven-hour flight to nowhere
While most travelers, whether on business or leisure, taking a flight is a measure to get to the destination, some people just want to fly to experience unusual environment and time. Unfortunately, most of the international flights from and to Australia are currently not in service due to travel restrictions. So, to entice pleasure fliers, Australia’s proud airline, Qantas, is flying a seven-hour scenic flight from Sydney to Sydney on October 10, covering Queensland, the Gold Coast, outback heartland, and the Great Barrier Reef, including a low flyover over some landmarks. Sounds exciting? Only 134 tickets for business, premium economy, and economy class were on sale, and believe or not, they all sold within 10 minutes despite what they look like regular fares. Did they charge any premium on window seats?
A boarding pass of Flight QF787 from SYD to SYD on 10/10/2020 may become premium.
Enjoy reading the article and think if you are interested in such a scenic flight.


Topic Reading-Vol.3084-9/20/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Israel's borders explained in maps
The State of Israel is a small country on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern shore of the Red Sea. It was established in May 1948 after the British mandate terminated but without setting borders. The next day on May 15, the newly established state was invaded by forces of Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon. Since then, wars, invasions, armistices, occupations, attacks, and literation have been repeated, yet no clear borders have been internationally recognized. Also, though the nation’s capital is Jerusalem, all but two of the 89 foreign embassies are located in Tel Aviv because whose land Jerusalem is still disputed. Despite the tiny land area, scarce natural resources, and small population, Israel’s military forces, intelligence, and economy are all first-class, especially in the high-tech industry. Surviving in such a hostile environment, the small nation must have an edge.
Indeed, border disputes are hard to resolve. But will there be any day when both Jewish and Arabs live peacefully in the region?
Read the article and learn about Israel’s borders.


Topic Reading-Vol.3083-9/19/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Global perception of US falls to two-decade low
What do people think of the US recently? It was a global leader in the late 20th century until a few years ago when the current administration suddenly seemed to have given up its international leadership roles and shifted its focus on domestic popularity.
The findings from 13,000 people in 13 US allies, namely Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, the UK, the Netherlands, Japan, and South Korea, show that positive views on the US have dropped significantly to the lowest level in the last two decades. All but South Koreans have a more unfavorable view of the US than those who answered favorably. Also, over 80% of the respondents mentioned the US handled coronavirus poorly, the leading country of both coronavirus cases and its death toll.  
It takes years to earn respect from others but it takes only a few mistakes or bad tweets to lose it.
Read the article and think about what you think of the US now and after November.


Topic Reading-Vol.3082-9/18/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Singapore distributes Covid contact-tracing tokens
Singapore is known as a melting pot of diverse cultures with Malay, Chinese, and Indians as the main cultures and also many other Asian cultures brought in by migrant workers like Filipinos. Also, it is known as the tech-savvy state. In fact, Singapore was the first to introduce a contact tracing app to help contain the spread of Covid-19 in March. Of the five million total population, the app is used by 1.4 million residents as of August, though it was initially downloaded by nearly half of the population.
In order to resume businesses as normal as swiftly as possible, the business-minded city-state government has started distributing Bluetooth contact-tracing tokens to all the residents. The token is small enough to be either strapped or hand-carried by anyone. It doesn’t require any download or operation, so that anyone can use it, even for those who aren’t used to smartphones. Also, the information of the contacts stored on the token is only uploaded by or handed physically to the health ministry only when the user tests positive. No fear of privacy breach.
Will this high-tech device with practicality and safety will be used by the rest of the residents?
Enjoy reading the article and learn what makes a tracking system work to all.


Topic Reading-Vol.3081-9/17/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Climate crisis could displace 1.2 billion people by 2050, report warns
In the next three decades, you aren’t going to see or hear good news about the environment. Global warming of course is the first to blame. It has been causing climate changes such as rising sea levels, severer weather conditions, draughts, and floods only to name a few. Such changes in climate are also causing ecological disruption, threatening already vulnerable species, forests, and biodiversity around the world. Another human-causing impact on the environment is increasing population, modernization, and urbanization. The present world population is about 7.8 billion and it is estimated to reach 10 billion by the middle of the century, and the majority of the increase will take place in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where water shortage already is a constant, life-threatening problem. In fact, nearly one-third of the world population now already suffers from severe water stress.
So, when more parts and broader areas of the world become more unsuitable and unsustainable for people to live in, what will they do? The exodus from the sinking or dying places and migration to more livable places sounds like a viable option. But how many?
Read the article and think about how today’s divided world will become united to cope with the global problem.