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Topic Reading-Vol.203-10/31/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
Nintendo's Wii U games console will be sold at a loss.
Game consoles seem to face very tough competitions not only with its own turfs but also other handheld devices such as smartphones and tablet PCs that offer similar or even more attractive game software or applications as some of its entertaining features at very competitive, sometimes lower-than-the-manufacturing-cost prices, expecting their future revenue streams by phone/data subscription, sales of applications or game software,  and/or online shopping.
Nintendo, once regarded the most profitable game consoles and their software company, has lost money for the last three consecutive first-half fiscal years because of not only the lower-than-expected unit sales but also the exchange rate, is now selling its newest proud Wii U game console below its cost.
Enjoy reading and learning what’s going on in the personal game industry. 


Topic Reading-Vol.202-10/30/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
China's 'lost generation' recall hardships of Cultural Revolution.
Another story about China but this time it’s about what happened there back in the mid 1060s till the middle of 1970s when “Cultural Revolutions” took place and forced millions of intelligent youngsters to education-less lives ruthlessly for several years in rural villages where only farming existed in those days.
Now those who spent their precious time in rural villages have reached the age of retirement and seem to enjoy their lives but the torturous memory will never go away.
Enjoy reading and learning about one of the modern politically and historically violent movement that affected so many youth.


Topic Reading-Vol.201-10/29/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
Tourists' trip to Japan sparks controversy.
The number of tourist between Japan and China has declined sharply ever since Senkaku Islands, or Diaoyu Isands, dispute erupted this past summer. While most of the Japanese seem to worry about economy especially already-hard-hit tourism and airlines industry, retailers awaiting generous Chinese tourists, and the companies that sell goods and services in the growing China’s domestic market, the Chinese, especially who are more vocal, call for patriotism to criticize those who buy Japanese goods or travel to Japan or justify their protests or even their acts of vandalism.
Enjoy reading and find if this article look one-sided, well-balanced or well-informative to you.


Topic Reading-Vol.200-10/28/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
Apple unveils iPad Mini, starting at $329.
Do you have any idea how many iPads have been sold since its debut two years and a half ago?
The world most valuable company in terms of the market capitalization (value of the total shares) announced proudly that they had sold over 100 million iPads over the past 30 months, which might be one of those Guinness Book World Records when the unit sales figure is multiplied by the price, the sales revenue.
The new iPad mini seems to offer all the convenient features, benefits, and applications that its cousin models have and added more mobility and affordability, which makes it very competitive in the already crowded 7” tablet PC market.
Enjoy reading and learning about this long awaited release of new Apple in the 200th Topic Reading from MEL School.;_ylt=AkWvm.I7XuD3VoaN2Bu9bzys0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNsbDA0aHJvBG1pdANUb3BTdG9yeSBGUARwa2cDZTAxODJkZGItZTFiNC0zZGE2LWJhZWMtZmEyM2U3ZGQ0NWJkBHBvcwMxBHNlYwN0b3Bfc3RvcnkEdmVyAzUxNzRmZWUxLTFkNGYtMTFlMi1iYjVlLWVkM2FhMThhZGMwMA--;_ylg=X3oDMTFpNzk0NjhtBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25z;_ylv=3


Topic Reading-Vol.199-10/27/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
Grandson of Kim Jong Il talks about school, life outside North Korea.
His powerful grandfather, who had been the leader of one of the most closed countries in the world, passed away last year and his uncle, who is younger than his father, took over the position. He’ now a freshman at the United World College in Mostar, Bosnia, speaking English very fluently and living in the dorm with a roommate from Libya.
His name is Kim Han Sol, a grandson of Kim Jong Il, who looks very intelligent and thoughtful for his age.
Enjoy reading and watching this rare video interview with could-be-a-heir youngster of North Korea. 



Topic Reading-Vol.198-10/26/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
Postcard: Why Berlin and America are kindred spirits.
There used be a time when the city was surrounded and divided by a distinctive wall that allowed Westerners to enjoy their freedom and lifestyle while Easterners were watched and monitored not to go over the wall for defection, and if they tried, the watch guards had no hesitation to shoot them and many lost their lives.
That had been the scene over a few decades ago before the wall was torn down in 1989. Now Berliners still thank the US for their role during and post the Cold War but they also seem to realize that they are taking a similar role to revive Europe from the financial crisis.
Enjoy reading and learning about how Berliners think of the US politics. 


Topic Reading-Vol.197-10/25/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
How to get to the top of China's Communist Party.
Everyone knows that the one of the two most powerful and influential countries in the world has a single party system, which governs and rules the country and its people and businesses, appoints judges, influences and dominates its key state enterprises, and more importantly, controls the media, information and communication.
It’s a rare article about the party’s influences and power as well as the ladder and battles they have to challenge and win to get to the top tiers.
Enjoy reading and learning about the party politics that is far different from the ones in most countries, but is very historical in a sense.


Topic Reading-Vol.196-10/24/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
L'Aquila quake: Italy scientists guilty of manslaughter.
An official announcement of a scientific prediction, which turned out to be incorrect, was convicted guilty of multiple manslaughter in Italy where over 300 citizens were killed by a devastating earthquake three year ago that hit shortly after the safety-assurance announcement had been made.
Now scientists or medical experts might become afraid of being targeted in legal responsibilities for their research results, findings or predictions and likely to become more conservative or ambiguous when they disclose or share their scientifically valuable information.
Enjoy reading and learning about this latest verdict on a scientific certainty.


Topic Reading-Vol.195-10/23/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
To Shrink Rents, S.F. Considers Shrinking Apartments.
For most Americans, 220 square feet, or about 20 square meters, studio apartment with a bathroom, kitchen, closet, and a living area about the size of a cruise-ship cabin is a shrink, which, for most Japanese or at least residents in Tokyo, is a totally acceptable size.
The city is considering reducing the minimum size requirement for studios in order to provide more affordable renting options, whose average rent for studio is around $2,000.
Enjoy reading the text and comments from their readers and listeners about the size.
(By the way, the of the studio in the illustration is 290 sq, about 27 square meters.) 


Topic Reading-Vol.194-10/22/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
UK experiences 'weirdest' weather.
Many of you probably know that it rains a lot, or at least often, in England as photos and videos showing people carrying umbrellas in London even on a dry day. They seem to have a weird weather conditions recently, making meteorologists and hydrologists, scientists working on the movement, distribution, and quality of water including the hydrologic cycle, water resources and environmental watershed sustainability.
Enjoy reading and learning meteorological, hydrological and environmental terms.


Topic Reading-Vol.193-10/21/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
Government to let Cubans travel freely.
How many of you know the Cuban Revolution which ousted the former dictator on the new Year’s Day in 1959, or the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, which scared not only the people in the U.S. and U.S.S.R. but also the whole world of a possible nuclear war?
The Caribbean island country had been dictated by the revolution leader Fidel Castro until he “succeeded” his position to his brother Raul in 2008, who now serves as an elected president of the country. Ever since he took his office, he has been trying to make “positive” changes to keep maintain his popularity and regime.
Starting from next year, he will allow his citizens to travel abroad without getting “exit visa”, which has been intact for the last 50 years.
Does he have to worry about reelection like the US president?
Enjoy reading and learning about modernization of a communism country in the Caribbean.


Topic Reading-Vol.192-10/20/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
China's first Sino-US university founded.
New York University, located in the hub of world economy and ranked 32 in the 2013 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, is opening a jointly operating campus in Shanghai, now the most active and fastest growing business, commercial and financial hub in Asia. Those who graduate from this newly established university will receive certificate and degree from both NYU and NYU-Shanghai. What’s more attractive for students from mainland China is the tuition, that is expected to be only about 100,000 yuan (about $15,950), less than a half of NYU’s tuition and fees $41,606 in 2011-2012 school year. The tuition for foreign students isn’t listed yet.
They are planning to have 300 students next year to start, half of which come from abroad. Isn’t that an interesting learning opportunity?
Enjoy reading and learning about this new joint educational venture.



Topic Reading-Vol.191-10/19/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
Skydiver Felix Baumgartner lands highest ever jump.
Can you believe jumping out of a balloon from 39km above the ground, for over four minutes of free fall, reaching a supersonic top speed over 1,000km, which is faster than today’s any commercial aircraft, and landing safely on a target site on the ground?
An Austrian jumper broke the record of the highest jump, which had been built over 50 years ago, being supported by that record holder, wearing an astronaut-like suit and oxygen tank. It’s simply astonishing, isn’t it?
Enjoy reading the article and watching the video of this astonishing record breaking jump.


Topic Reading-Vol.190-10/18/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
New hope in wounded Pakistani teen activist's struggle to survive.
Militants deliberately shot a 14-year-old girl who had won its nation’s peace prize a year earlier, in an attempt to take her life on a bus carrying students from school to their homes in Pakistan. The girl is a famous blogger who has been encouraging young people to take a stand against the Taliban, that demand veils for women, beards for men and a ban on music and television. They allowed boys' schools to operate but closed those for girls.
Instead of their attempt to shut this brave girl’s mouth, their would-be-assassination sparked not only national but also international attention and debate to stand up against the crucial militants.
Read and learn about what happened to a brave 14-year-old girl in Pakistan.


Topic Reading-Vol.189-10/17/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
US prepares first-strike cyber-forces.
The US military said it wouldn’t hesitate to use its forces to take preemptive actions against foreign actors if any significant cyber attack to the nation, its citizens, institutions, infrastructures, or interest is imminent.
They referred not only 9.11.2001 but also Peal Harbor, but not mentioned in this article, as examples of attacks to the country and seem to be committed to defend its interests and people from such coward attacks.
Enjoy reading and learning about cyber-attacks and cyber-forces.


Topic Reading-Vol.188-10/16/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
Nobel Peace Prize awarded to European Union.
Ever since it was formed back in 1951 by the former enemies, only several years after the long and intense war that had ruined and devastated the continent and killed, wounded and suffered millions of people, the group of countries and people have been making significant effort for a historic transformation from a continent of war to a continent of peace.
EU seems to well deserve to be honored the distinguished award after its six decades of continuous and dedicated work with their determined will and infinite patience.
Enjoy reading and learning about the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize.


Topic Reading-Vol.187-10/15/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
Chinese author Mo Yan wins Nobel Prize for Literature.
Do you still remember that the Nobel Peace Prize 2010 was awarded to Liu Xiaobo, for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China but he wasn’t able to attend the award ceremony because Chinese government didn’t allow him to do so. But this time, they seem to be OK with this honor and allowed its state media to announce it positively even before their politically very critical party’s assembly.
Some people seem to be a little puzzled over this selection but his pen name Mo Yan, which means "don't speak" in Chinese, may raise a more general question, “why that name?”
Enjoy reading and learning about this surprising news and story about a lonely writer.


Topic Reading-Vol.186-10/14/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
Toyota to recall 7.4 mln vehicles globally.
A recall is a terrible nightmare that none of the automakers wishes to have. It admits that there is a significant enough defective in a car they sold in the past that needs to be fixed or replaced, which could spoil the car, brand and manufacture’s image badly. It also costs millions dollars to announce and contact the users of the vehicle, provide the parts to be replaced or used to fix, and labor costs to the dealers.
This time, the total number the automaker is recalling is nearly the number of cars they sold last year.
Enjoy reading and learning about the scale of this historical recall by #2 auto maker in the world. 


Topic Reading-Vol.185-10/13/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
China hints at reforming labor camp system.
How many of you know or have heard a political, certainly neither judicial nor educational, practice called labor camp, which is to reeducate political criminals, or opponents, through rigorous labor works in remote, isolated and secretive locations where public eyes can hardly reach, in order to keep the society in order.
In Soviet era, Siberian labor camps were widely known and used where hardly no heating or sufficient food was provided to those who had been sent without trials or public records.
Whose society? What is in order?
Enjoy reading and learning what kind of political or social practice has been still used in modern China.


Topic Reading-Vol.184-10/12/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
North Korea says it has missiles that can reach the United States.
A said, “I’m now able to hit B in the head from 8 meters away.”
Then B bluffed, “I can even kick A’s parent in the butt from 100 meters distance.”

Enjoy reading and learning about this sort-of announcements just made in Korean Peninsulas.  


Topic Reading-Vol.183-10/11/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
Chavez clown prince of a decaying society.
How many of you know that Chavez, the top of the country that has more oil than any other country in the world, was reelected to run for another six years, another nightmare to the U.S. as he’s one of the harshest bashers. An astonishing fact is that the population of country is about a little short of one-tenth of the US’s, they suffer more homicides than the United States. And the government deficit goes over 20% of its GDP, more than double of the US. How come the oil money doesn’t make the country safer and healthier in finance? Why such a leader is reelected again? Was the election fair and legitimate? And if that’s the case, democracy is the best solution to the country and its people?
Enjoy reading and learning this interesting contributing report.



Topic Reading-Vol.182-10/10/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
Analysis: Reprogrammed cells open new medical window
While it seems quite surprising to reprogram ordinary cells to behave like embryonic stem cells offers, it seems quite reasonable to award scientists with the world most prominent prize who discovered and discovered reprogrammed cells. Britain's John Gurdon and Japan's Shinya Yamanaka are awarded The 2012 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Sir John B. Gurdon of Britain and Shinya Yamanaka of Japan for work that revolutionized the understanding of how cells and organisms develop.
Reprogrammed cells - known as induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells - offer an ethically neutral alternative. While some ethical, medical and safety issues still need to be studied, this discovery and development sure is historic to the medical science world.
Enjoy reading and learning about what this scientific milestone is about.



Topic Reading-Vol.181-10/9/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
Video of autistic child being beaten provokes Internet outrage.
Another video clip of an outrage of a four-year-old girl with autism being beaten in a treatment facility in China that is supposed to take care of those mentally ill children drew public attention. To make the viewers of the video even angrier is the teachers or caregivers on the scene who made no effort to stop the outrage or tried to take care of the unconscious child.
Autism, a mental condition in which a person is unable to communicate or form relationship with others, is said to be the number one mental disorder in China but the care facilities for these mentally disordered children aren’t enough and often very costly.
Only video clips can reveal such outrages?
Read the article and watch the video clip, if you think you can bear such a cruel scene.


Topic Reading-Vol.180-10/8/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
World's fastest radio telescope starts up in Australian outback.
Is “farthest” or “largest” the appropriate word to describe the specs or performance of a telescope? Well, radio telescopes is to "listen" to radio waves from the cosmos.
They built and have just started operating this A$152 mil array of antennas in a remote outback where other man-made radio signals that would interfere with the antennas picking up astronomical radio signals are minimal. And it’s just the beginning of a much larger project to connect more radio antennas in the southern hemisphere.
To show how outstanding this fastest telescope is, it has been book for the next five years by the scientists and astronomers from all over the world!
Enjoy reading and learning about this newest gadget to listen up the sky!


Topic Reading-Vol.179-10/7/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
China firm sues Obama over blocked US wind farm deal.
It is quite astonishing to know that a foreign company trying to invest in the US sues the president of the country for whatever the reason because they won’t get any public support when the huge trade imbalance is one of the hottest issues for the presidential election just a month ahead. Though national security is something not widely open to the public, most of those who lean that a Chinese company is buying wind farm projects right next to a restricted airspace used by the Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility will frown at the move, and most likely support the decision that the chief of the nation who has the final say on the security matter for the people of the country.
Can any Chinese company sue its own government for blocking a commercial deal because of national security concern?
Enjoy reading and learning about another aggressive move of a company of an aggressive country.


Topic Reading-Vol.178-10/6/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
Move over iPhone: In China, it's cool to call on 'Xiaomi'
Some of you may think iPhone and Galaxy are the only thinkable options when you consider buying or changing a smartphone, considering their size, thickness, weight, design, features, speed, interface, performance, connectivity, and popularity, not to mention the price. But in China, there are several alternatives that outsell those global giant brands at half or less than the price without giving up any or not so much of the advantages but for 4G, which in some cases not so critical.
And the founder of the Xiaomi, Lei Jun even said, If Jobs had lived in China, I think he could not have succeeded. Jobs was a scrupulous perfectionist, while Chinese culture emphasizes the middle path.”
Enjoy reading and learning about China’s smarphone market, isolated yet huge enough to harbor several strong brands and products.


Topic Reading-Vol.177-10/5/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
Half of Great Barrier Reef Lost in Past 3 Decades.
GBR, The Great Barrier Reef, lies off the northeastern coast of Australia, is of course one of the most beloved Mother Nature’s museum in the sea is reported that it has lost half of the natural treasure over the course of the last three decades, and is still shrinking by a few percentage points every year. There are several factors that have been causing such steep decline and they seem to be mostly man-made. One of the experts is saying in this article, “If we do fail our generation will forever be remembered for unimaginable, unforgivable stupidity and sloth.”
Enjoy reading and learning about the danger of one of the most valuable assets of our planet.



Topic Reading-Vol.176-10/4/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
It was 30 years ago today the CD began to play.
By now, the question should be how many of you know, have seen or heard vinyl records, a turn table or laser disks, all of which rounded to produce analog sound up until around the end of the last millennium. However, CDs aren’t new any more, which sales have been declining steadily being replaced by downloads, which offer instant pleasure title by title, so that you don’t have to pay extra for the songs you may not like so much.
Enjoy reading what kind of change and transition people had to live with just three decades ago.


Topic Reading-Vol.175-10/3/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
Mars rover Curiosity finds signs of ancient stream.
You might still remember the sign of water in the past by the rounded shape of pebbles, which scientists have been looking forward to seeing on the surface of our neighboring planet, Mars, and they found it but not surprisingly because they had been expecting to see it from their previous observation. How long ago it was or whether it is still there is still unknown but with further exploration of rover Curiosity may bring us more findings or possibly evidence.
Enjoy reading and learning about how those scientists and astronomers are excited about this ambitious project.


Topic Reading-Vol.174-10/2/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
Driverless car bill is signed in California at Google headquarters.
California always has been progressive in terms of adopting advanced automotive technologies  while pushing the industry to adopt tougher safety or environmental requirements, such as air bags, gas emission and minimum gas mileage. Not only harboring one of the most techy companies but also signing such legislation at its headquarters that has been pioneering the technology for some time testing auto-driven vehicles over 300,000 miles on the road.
It still will take several more years of further tests, engineering and regulation setting before commercialized versions of driver-less vehicles to appear on the road but it still is worth learning and imaging such vehicles that may take you a place while taking a nap or surfing the Internet.


Topic Reading-Vol.173-10/1/2012

Dear MEL School's Topic Readers,
What does China's first aircraft carrier mean?
As introduced in Vol.169 on Sep. 27, the first aircraft carrier was commissioned by People’s Liberation Army, Chinese military, when tensions on the disputed seas are at the highest after the last World War. It is then interesting to know how China thinks and talks about such a significant deployment that is going to require further investment and development for the coming decades because only having one aircraft carrier doesn’t seem to strengthen their maritime power or presence much, aside from the pride of ownership. But this article clearly shows that isn’t the case.
Enjoy reading and learning about the new superpower’s intension to expand its fleets on their national day.