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Topic Reading-Vol.2322-8/20/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Are your internet habits harming wildlife?
As you probably know, Elephants, Rhinos, and Pangolins are critically endangered species mainly because of poaching and trafficking of their ivories, horns, and skins. There are also other species that are endangered by human desire, not for their body part but because of their cuteness. As photos and videos of rarely-seen cute animals like Red pandas and Loris attract viewers on the Internet, the demand for these little animals increases and develops a black market where people try to capture and sell these animals to those eager buyers. As a result, the population of these cute animals decreases in the wild.
Adoration of animal photos and videos could indeed endanger their lives and existence.
Enjoy reading and learn what harmless, heartwarming images on the Internet could do to wildlife.


Topic Reading-Vol.2321-8/19/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
New Zealand bans foreigners from buying property
Good news and bad news. When property value goes up, the property owners become wealthier. However, it makes those who don’t difficult to buy or rent one, especially the young. That is what has been happening in New Zealand and Australia where a flock of Chinese investors have been pouring their money into the real estate market. As a result, housing prices have soared to the level where restrictive measures to foreign buyers have taken place. Australia did it last year and has seen a decline in their housing prices. New Zealand followed the move and has just passed a similar law.
The new law is waiting for the Royal assent, which signifies that the bill has the approval of the Governor-General as the Sovereign’s representative.
Enjoy reading and learn how foreign investors could affect the lives of the citizens and permanent residents.


Topic Reading-Vol.2320-8/18/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Selfie violence and illegal bathing at Rome's Trevi Fountain
Have you seen Trevi Fountain in Rome? Created in 1762, this 49-meter wide Baroque fountain is one of the most famous fountains in the world. It was featured in old movies like Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita, the eponymous Three Coins in the Fountain, and Roman Holiday.
The fountain draws not only visitors but also coins in large numbers, as much as 3,000 euros daily because visitors throw a coin with the right hand over the left shoulder as shown and sung in a 1954 movie Three Coins in the Fountain. How many of those coin throwers have seen the movie?
Anyway, the more crowded a hot spot is, the higher the chances of disputes among visitors and violations of the law. And that is not limited to this popular fountain in Italy.
Enjoy reading and learn some don’ts in this Europe’s popular travel destination.


Topic Reading-Vol.2319-8/17/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
India’s impressive concept about nothing
Zero is fundamental to math, physics, engineering and modern technologies. As you might know, today’s computers use the binary number system that is made up of only 0s and 1s.
The concept of zero was developed in ancient India, where nothingness is embraced as part of teachings in Buddhism and Hinduism, as well as in meditation of yoga.
While the Ancient Greeks only counted up to 10,000, ancient Indians did over trillions. They also had the concept of infinity. No wonder many IT experts and executives are from India these days.
Enjoy reading and learn how zero came to the world.


Topic Reading-Vol.2318-8/16/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Good cod! A bitesize history of fish and chips
Yesterday in Volume 2317, stories of French Fry were introduced. Today, let’s learn about one of the most popular ways of serving fried potatoes in Britain, Fish and Chips.
You may wonder why two distinct foods were combined and became one popular dish. When and how each food became popular, and who ate them in the early days. Back then, fried food was a luxury. It was only enjoyed by the rich and served on plates. As the two fried foods became popular, they were wrapped in old newspaper. Today, the combined dish is served anywhere in the UK with lemon and/or vinegar.
Enjoy watching the video, of course in a British accent, and learn this popular British dish.


Topic Reading-Vol.2317-8/15/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Can Belgium claim ownership of the French Fry?
No matter how you call it, French Fry, Chips, or Steak Fry, it is deep fried potatoes. Though how, when, and where it was invented is still unsure, somehow the dish is often called French Fry. Today, this popular dish is enjoyed in distinct ways around the world. For the British, chips must be provided with fried fish, called fish and chips. In America, fries always come with burgers. In Belgium, double-fried French Fry is eaten with a touch of mayonnaise. And each claims that it is their cultural heritage.
Interested in the origin of this popular dish?
Enjoy reading and learn how fried potatoes were invented and are enjoyed in different places around the world.


Topic Reading-Vol.2316-8/14/2018

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Australian hotel chain fined $2.2 million for manipulating TripAdvisor reviews
Do you check any user reviews when you book a hotel or restaurant?
TripAdvisor is a website that shows users’ reviews of hotels, restaurants, accommodation bookings and other travel-related content. While most of the content is created by the website users, their revenue is generated by advertisement by the hotels and restaurants. It sounds like a well-balanced business model provided that the user reviews are properly shown. Nowadays, hotel staff these days try their very best to get good reviews, or not to get bad ones, because such reviews show up immediately on this or other review websites, which could significantly affect the reputation of the property.
However, some of the properties have made a malicious effort to hide negative reviews. For example, a large Australian hotel chain gave an invalid email address to TripAdvisor for negative reviews. It is a violation of the consumer protection law, and the hotel chain was fined $2.2 million by the federal court.
Now you may wonder if positive reviews were truly contributed by the guests or hotel staff.
Enjoy reading and think how to use or discount the reviews on travel websites.