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Topic Reading-Vol.111-7/31/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Japanese equestrian defies Father Time as the oldest competitor at London Olympics!
Tough to imagine how such an old man at the age of nearly most of the contenders’ grandfather competes in this year’s Olympic Games even though the sport doesn’t require physical strength or stamina that is required to complete 42 km running in a little over two hours or 100m dash in less than ten seconds, it still requires substantial physical and mental strength, as well as full commitment of the individual and support from others.
This 71-year-old Japanese rider has been training in Germany with his horse to prepare for this event, away from his country and family, getting up early in the morning every day to practice with is horse and workout after the practice to be ready for a medal.
Enjoy reading and learning about this man’s dedication to the sport.


Topic Reading-Vol.110-7/30/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Amazon founder Bezos donates $2.5 million to support gay marriage in Washington.
Out of 50 states in the U.S, how many do you think have already legalized gay marriage so far? And how many of those legalized states survive the referendums put up by the opponents?
Why those representatives vote to legalize gay marriage while the popular votes have said no?
And what are the motives for Bezos, Gates and Ballmer to make substantial donation to support gay marriage? Do they, both lawmakers and donors, just want to look liberal or they believe gay marriage is the human right that needs to be legally recognized like the gender and race discrimination in the last century?
Enjoy reading and thinking why.


Topic Reading-Vol.109-7/29/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
The End of Print for Newsweek Is on Barry Diller's Horizon.
It seems that in the media world, any publication, such as newspaper or magazines like Newsweek could be traded just like a commodity good. And the buyer of such media of course tries to get return out of the investment. For such cases, whether to publish the media online, hard-print or both is just a matter of financial decision by costs and revenue which is generated by ad and circulation whether subscription or newsstand, even for Newsweek.
You’ll see much more digital only publications as smart phones and tablet PCs or readers such as iPad become more popular and affordable. Soon, you may find such devices offered at $1 or free as publishers or retailers find enough revenue stream by the sale of digital media and other products.
Enjoy reading and learning about the media format.


Topic Reading-Vol.108-7/28/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Gun sales spike in Colorado after shooting, just like they did in Arizona!
Another topic reading for the tragic massacre in a suburban city of Denver, Colorado. As introduced by Vol.106 on July 26, the day before yesterday, tighter gun control bill or ban is hardly likely to happen in America, where people can buy all kinds of fire arms, not only handguns but also military style assault semi-automatic rifles. More surprisingly, people, not in general but those who are afraid of tighter gun control bills and who most likely have already possess a collection of guns rush to firearm shops to buy more to own more.
Enjoy reading and learning about this hard-to-believe reactions seen in America.


Topic Reading-Vol.107-7/27/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Sally Ride, first U.S. woman in space, dies at 61.
Another story of death? But this time is about an honorable woman who went to space as the first female American astronaut abroad space shuttle Challenger three decades ago. She even went back to space two years later and spent a total of over 343 hours in space. After NASA, she became a professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego, taught students and wrote books.
She was even quoted by President Barack Obama as a national hero and a powerful role model.
Her last challenge was a tough one, a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, which took her life away at the age of 61.
Enjoy reading and learning about this inspirational woman and her life.


Topic Reading-Vol.106-7/26/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Fear drives opposition to gun control?
Most of you probably know that people can legally own, carry and shoot guns, in some states, nearly anywhere including shopping malls where families and children are all over and bars where people are either relaxed or in many cases the other way around.
You many think such tragic massacre in Aurora, Colorado could spark a fierce debate to tighten up the gun laws or even ban to carry guns, but according to the author of this article think that opposite is more likely with interesting observation backed by trends, demographic and profile of Americans.
Enjoy reading and learning this eye-opening aspect to gun control in the U.S.


Topic Reading-Vol.105-7/25/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Even after attacks on humans, sharks should be protected.
This opinion essay was posted by a surfer/photographer in Hawaii who survived from a tiger-shark attack at the expense of one of his legs. His concern about the Eastern Australian government’s reaction to lift a ban to hunt the great white sounds reasonable, even after hearing news of the fifth fatality victim of a great white shark in a ten-month period off the coast of eastern Australia, because of the difficulty to find the specific shark that attacked the surfer or that specific species since those endangered predators tend to move quite a distance constantly to seek easy preys, so that such attempt might end up killing numbers of other innocent sharks or other marine creatures that are essential to keep the marine ecosystem in balance.
Enjoy reading and learning this interesting aspect to the marine predator.


Topic Reading-Vol.104-7/24/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers, Troops march in San Diego gay parade - in uniform!
There had been a non-written but official policy called, “Don’t ask, don’t tell” about the service members’ sexual orientations until it was repealed last year. And this year, the first time ever, US military service members, including soldiers, sailors, officers and even a navy commodore paraded to show their pride in uniform, which is specially allowed for this particular occasion as the public attention to this event is getting disregardable.
For the last ten years, ways people communicate have been drastically changing so as the public recognition, rights and laws for gay public.
Enjoy reading and learning this progressive event and its background.


Topic Reading-Vol.103-7/23/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers, Norway remembers Utoeya and Oslo victims, one year on.
A year has just passed since the historic tragedy struck the capital city and a small island of the Scandinavian country, where only five million people live peacefully surrounded by beautiful nature. The number of the victims was far greater the one just occurred in Aurora, Colorado, nearly as large as five time, including 34 teenagers who were in the summer camp.
The trial for this massacre is to judge whether the accused is sane or insane, which means the killer will be sent to whether a prison or a psychiatric ward for a long time, presumably for the rest of his life. Will that be all or enough?  
This time again, just read the article, see the video to remember the tragedy, and mourn for all those who lost their lives in the city and on the island, and send the best wishes to their families and loved ones as well as those who were wounded or were horrified at the site.


Topic Reading-Vol.102-7/22/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Gunman turns movie into surreal horror: 'This is real' .
By now, you must have heard, read or watched this tragedy in usually quiet and safe city near Denver, Colorado. This is one of the most tragic and historic massacre by one gunman even in the U.S. where people are permitted to purchase, own and use guns for self defense.
The moviegoers there, who had been excited about watching the premier show of the new Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises”, were horrified when this gunman appeared in a dark armor with an automatic rifle, shotgun and handgun.
This time, just read and mourn for all those who lost their lives in the theater and wish the best for those who are still in the hospitals.


Topic Reading-Vol.101-7/21/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Rural Chinese get online as mobile overtakes desktop.
The total number of the Internet users reached 538 million in China alone. This number itself is staggering but it is more amazing to learn that roughly 70% of them are connected via mobile phones. The majority of the increase seems to come from rural areas, presumably farmers and their families who couldn’t otherwise have the Internet connection. The impact of this increasing number of mobile internet users, surfers, bloggers and twitters is huge as the government’s proud Great Firewall of China, which monitors and constraints the web traffic, is facing difficulty chasing mobile apps. This is making it more challenging for the sole ruling party to govern of the most populated nation whose people seem to be often very vocal and active in social movement.
Enjoy reading and learning from the article.


Topic Reading-Vol.100-7/20/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Ag Sec Vilsack, US secretary of agriculture, wishes for ‘rain prayer’ to combat painful drought.
As sixty percent of US land is currently suffered from this worst-in-25-years drought, the top US agriculture official has been praying and is now even ready to dance for rain drops! Technologies to send people up into the space or drones in the air to search and attack insurgents don’t seem to help solve this problem or even relieve any pain by the act of the Mother Nature.
Another thing you may learn is how the food price is going to be affected. It’s interesting to know that livestock price will fall in a short term because the producers tend to slaughter them to save feeding costs.
Severe drought isn’t happening only in the U.S., which is the largest producer of crops and farm produces, but also South Korea, too where prayers are doing their best for rain.
Read and learn the below article, the 100th Topic Reading, and hope, wish and pray for rain to those affected areas.


Topic Reading-Vol.99-7/19/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Marissa Mayer: Six life lessons from Yahoo CEO.
A 13-year veteran at one of the most influential online companies and the 20th employee of then start up venture has made a drastic change in her career at the age of just 37, and a few months before her first delivery. This super intelligent and also elegant professional is going to lead a once dominant but now struggling online company which has already replaced two heads within a year. Anything could happen in Silicon Valley but this is quite a staggering move.
Enjoy reading and learning about this latest topic.


Topic Reading-Vol.98-7/18/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Pressure valve off in al-Assad's Syria.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said a few days ago that fighting in Syria was so widespread that the conflict was a civil war. The change in status suggests that combatants will now be officially subject to the Geneva Conventions, leaving them more exposed to war crimes prosecutions. The Red Cross had previously regarded only in the limited areas as war zones. It is then if the officials, general, commanders and soldiers of the collapsing regime who gives orders or execute those orders could be prosecuted should, or when now, the regime fall. It would discourage those who have been protecting and fighting for the dictator.   
Enjoy reading and learning about nearly the last stage of another Arab Spring uprising.


Topic Reading-Vol.97-7/17/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
BBC wrote; Japan protests at Chinese ships near disputed islands.
China Daily wrote; Japan told to respect sovereignty.
Today, you’re going to read two articles. It’s interesting to find that the same topic is written quite differently by two influential media, one is semi-state news paper of one of the disputing countries clearly expressing its claim and the other is a western media company not seemingly involved or interested in the dispute directly.
A similar topic was introduced on Topic Reading-Vol. 92-7/12/2012.
Enjoy reading and comparing two different views on a same topic.


Topic Reading-Vol.96-7/16/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
End of empire for Western universities?
There are 129 million college graduates between ages 25-34 in the OECD countries in 2010, which is expected to increase to 204 mil for the next ten years. Among those highly educated workers or professionals, Chinese accounts for approximately 18 per cent in 2010 and 29 per cent in 2020, and if India is combined, the second largest country by population now, the number is expected to grow from 30% to 40%.
This drastic shift in knowledge-based workers could lead a transition from mass production to knowledge economy occupations in those countries and economies, improve employment rates and earnings, if the economy and environment are able to produce enough job opportunities suitable for them. But 20% of the Chinese college graduates don’t seem to be able to find suitable jobs when they graduate even now. Will the world be able to create such many high-tech or highly-skilled jobs for the next several years?
Enjoy reading and learning from this article.


Topic Reading-Vol.95-7/15/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Foreign schools give a valuable lesson.
Approximately 80 per cent of millionaires and over 90 per cent of billionaires in China plan to send their children to study overseas at graduate, under-graduate and even middle schools such as Concord in the U.S. and Eaton in England, which put more emphasis on whether the students will suit all environments and take all the opportunities open to them for their future, rather than paper exams. The wealthier people become, the more cautious they seem to be on education, especially among political leaders, business elites and education professionals, like Korea.
Enjoy reading and learning from this article.


Topic Reading-Vol.94-7/14/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Parents charged in UAE after hidden baby found in carry-on!!!
How can parents put their five-month old baby in a carry-on bag trying to smuggle him/her through airport security check? This baby was x-rayed and found by the security personnel who had never experienced or expected to scan and see such a live item in baggage before.
Fortunately, the baby was found fine but the parents now may be fined.
Enjoy reading and learning about this unusual carry-on baggage.


Topic Reading-Vol.93-7/13/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
3,000-year-old ‘Frankenstein’ mummies discovered in Scotland.
Have you seen a movie or read a book about a revived man whose body was composed of parts from other dead people? Have you ever thought about mummifying such a composed body for some reason or another? Here is an interesting discovery in Scotland and researchers and archeologists  are trying to find the reason or purpose of such unusual prehistoric practice.
Enjoy reading and imagining what kind of rituals was taken place in those pre-historic times.


Topic Reading-Vol.92-7/12/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
South China Sea tension tops ASEAN regional agenda.
This is going to be one of the hottest and most sensitive issues in Southeast Asia now and seems to be that way for some time since China changed it stance to become more aggressive and assertive on territorial issues especially in the resource rich region, namely South China Sea. It seems to be very complicated geopolitical issue not only the disputes seen on and above the surface but also the materials seem to be lying underneath the water.
By the way, the population in Southeast Asia exceeds 600,000 million, over 20% larger the one of the EU and double the one of the U.S., and is growing more than most of the other regions in the world. There is no wonder why natural resources are one of the top agendas in and beyond the region, as well as the criticality of the sea-lanes.
Enjoy reading and learning about what’s going on in the disputed sea.


Topic Reading-Vol.91-7/11/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Afghanistan aid: Donors pledge $16bn at Tokyo meeting.
Following the US’s announcement the day before being designated a Non-NATO ally status, the struggling poor country in mid Asia is going to be granted USD$16b in an effort to build social infrastructure and platform to be able to grow as a self-reliance country, which is currently depending 95% of its GDP on foreign financial assistance. Will it be possible for such an economically depending country to become one that can walk by itself? Have there ever been countries that made such dramatic transition or transformation in modern history?
Enjoy reading and learning about the commitment made by Afghanistan, its foreign allies and the UN.


Topic Reading-Vol.90-7/10/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
U.S. designates Afghanistan a major ally, creates defense ties.
What does designation by the U.S. to another country mean? How many and what countries are designated by the country that possesses world largest economy and military? There are several interesting aspects and facts this new designation suggests.  
Enjoy reading and learning about US’s approach to influence other in the world.


Topic Reading-Vol.89-7/9/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
People power a sign of times in China's internet age.
What the Chinese ruling party and its leaders are afraid the most may not be a military aggression by foreign enemies or downtown of the global economy but uprising of its own citizens.
Because of the quick, effective, massive and interactive communication tools such as twitter, Facebook and photo/video exchange apps, people can raise, initiate, dispatch and communicate whatever they want almost instantly especially for the country where such uprisings or even revolts have been part of its history.
Enjoy reading and learning about the people’s power in People’s Republic.


Topic Reading-Vol.88-7/8/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Gap between Mac and PC sales the smallest in 15 years.
How many of you understand what the above headline means or what Apple used to be called?
In the previous century, it was a manufacturer and seller of Macintosh computers and competed against IBM, neither of them no longer define themselves so. In fact, IBM sold its PC biz years ago while Apple simply changed it name by dropping “computer”.
What is the gap between Mac and PC, or Mac and the others?
Enjoy reading and learning about this historic discovery!


Topic Reading-Vol.87-7/7/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Japanese parliament report: Fukushima nuclear crisis was 'man-made'!!!
The report provided by a Japanese parliamentary panel concluded in July 2012, NOT 2011, that neither TEPCO nor government regulators were prepared for such a devastating tsunami that could trigger a nuclear disaster. And made the negligence of its significance of the consequences and reluctance to report promptly and openly made the situation worse than anyone could think of.
It’s such a pity that such report was released over a year later, which could be part of the problem.
Enjoy reading and learning about this historic discovery!


Topic Reading-Vol.86-7/6/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
A closer look at the Higgs boson
Some of you might have learned or remember that everything is made up of atoms, and inside atoms are electrons, protons and neutrons, and they are made of quarks and other subatomic particles. Are these already enough to read? If so, just click the below and enjoy the photo. If you are still interested in learning a little more, prepare your dictionary and read it through. It is always an exciting experience to learn new things in English, especially a historic discovery or matter like this tiny boson, which has been searched nearly half a century since it was theorized by several groups and physicists. And it’s also a good opportunity to learn what CERN is and does.
Enjoy reading and learning about this historic discovery!


Topic Reading-Vol.85-7/5/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
South Korean 'joke' may lead to prison
Unlike the topic reading yesterday, this isn’t in North but South Korea, where people are supposed to be able to openly express their opinions or views to others or via the Internet, at least a 23 year-old Park Jung-geun thought until he was caught by the authority earlier this year. Is there a law to restrict to show North Korean flag on the Internet?
Enjoy reading and learning from this article!


Topic Reading-Vol.84-7/4/2012

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
North Korea's New Image Shaped by Platform Shoes, Earrings and Cell Phones.
Kim Jong Un, who assumed the title of supreme leader last December seems to try to establish a softer and more popular image to his people, especially the young and women.
Now, North Korean women are allowed to wear pants, earrings and platform (thick sole) shoes. Some 20,000 children were invited to spend their happiest and most amusing day at the zoo and amusement park in the capital city. More mobile phones and western fast foods are becoming available to the public. Where have the hunger, poverty or forced labor camp all gone?
Enjoy reading and learning from this article!


Topic Reading-Vol.83-7/3/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,Bar-headed geese in high-flying wind tunnel test.
Do you have any idea how high a bird can fly in the air. The higher the altitude is, the lower the temperature and oxygen level are, which makes it very expensive not only to function but also just to live.
This extreme experiment seems to have revealed that the bar-headed goose is able to outperform the human, of course without any oxygen mask at the highest point on earth, 9000m, the peak of the Mount Everest.
Enjoy reading and learning from this experiment.


Topic Reading-Vol.82-7/2/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,Hong Kong SAR 15 years on: Is it still Special?
How many of you observed or paid attention to the handover of the tiny colony back to Chine 15 years ago after it had been ruled by Britain/British Empire for just over 150 years?
And there has been a promise to keep the place and people independent from political ruling for 50 years, which has been kept so far on the surface.
It's a very special and unique promise that China made with its people, the former ruler and the world perhaps, and has been keeping to maintain its integrity, face and investment from the world.
Enjoy reading and learning what Hong Kongers are thinking and feeling.


Topic Reading-Vol.81-7/1/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem placed on UNESCO's world heritage sites in danger list.
The 21-member committee, meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, voted 13 in favor, six against and two abstentions, to include the church and pilgrimage route on its list of sites, where located in the Israeli-controlled West Bank.
Among those who opposed to list the nominated church included the U.S. and Israeli, which don't recognize the proposing body, the Palestine, which became a member of UNESO last year but hasn't been recognized as a state of the main body, the U.N. yet.
Historically and practically, when people or countries are unable to open dialogues, exchanges or trade, cultural activities or emergency aid seem to take place beforehand as they are usually harmless and their values are shared by the most. However, those two tightly-tied countries strongly opposed the proposal. Why?
Enjoy reading and learning from this article!