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Topic Reading-Vol.295-1/31/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands to abdicate for son.
You probably don’t often hear or see “abdicate” or “abdication” as the word isn’t used so regularly or frequently especially because there are only 45 or so monarchs in the world and 16 of them honor the same monarch, the British monarch.
Furthermore, those on the throne tend to live longer like their ordinary commoners nowadays.
Are those who can choose to abdicate and when they can do more contended than those who can’t or don’t?
Enjoy reading and learning about the most recent abdication, unless someone else does so before she does. 


Topic Reading-Vol.294-1/30/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Holocaust victims mourned at Auschwitz and beyond.
Before clicking the link to the today’s topic, you may wish to check the terms below, to make it sure you understand what this article is about.
- Holocaust: the genocide program by Nazi Germany World War II that killed millions of Jews in the 1930s and 1940s.
- Auschwitz : It’s one of the concentration camps in Poland established by the Nazi regime during World War II.
- Ghetto: the area of a town where minority group live because of social, religious, or economic pressure. During World War II, Nazis forced Jews to live in the Ghettos in its occupying territories until they start sending them to the concentration camps.
If you’re interested to learn more about the Holocaust, check before or after reading the topic article.
Enjoy reading and learning about the remembrance of Nazis war crimes.


Topic Reading-Vol.293-1/29/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Japan posts record high trade deficit in 2012.
Things like the financial crisis in 2008, earthquake and tsunami in 2011 that destroyed the nuclear power plant in Fukushima and resulted in a surge of liquid natural gas, or LNG, import, and the dispute over inhabited islands in the East China Sea in 2012 all hit Japan’s trade balance hard particularly in 2012.
In order to fill the energy demand especially for summer peak season when none of their 54 nuclear power plants under scheduled-inspection is expected to resume its operation soon, power companies and operators in Japan are buying more LNG to generate more power and even planning to build high-efficiency-coal power plants, that will surely increase more import.
What will happen if such trends continue?
Enjoy reading and learning about how serious Japan’s trade deficit is and is going to be.


Topic Reading-Vol.292-1/28/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
After threats against U.S., North Korea turns ire to South.
Neither updated news reports about what’s going on domestically nor photos or video footages of the people and their activities are available about the country where most of the children and civilians seem to be starving without enough power or heat in the severe winter while soldiers, officers and generals who are loyal to their dictator look well fed and warmly clothed in their sleek uniforms.
Armed with deliberate provocations and sometimes sudden actions against its southern neighbor whose people are supposedly their friends and relatives, the country is still playing a game that seemed to have angered its main supporter this time.
Enjoy seeing the photos and reading the article about this last of the kind dictated country. 


Topic Reading-Vol.291-1/27/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Spain unemployment rate hit a record: youth rate at 55%.
If one out of four who wants to have a job, or six million adults out of 47 million of the country’s overall population, are unemployed at the end of the year, what kind of Christmas and New Year were celebrated? To make the picture looks even worse, as high as 55% of the youth between the age of 16 and 24 are unable to find their jobs in the debt-stricken European country. If you were a university student who is about to finish your education but is unable to speak foreign language other than your native one, what would be your course of action?
Are you willing to learn a language that could offer a better chance to be employed or to be innovative and take initiative to start a new business?
Enjoy reading and learning about the situation in Europe.


Topic Reading-Vol.290-1/26/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Island issue sinks China-Japan tourism.
A dispute doesn’t come only from one side, it’s always erupted in both parties concerned, sometimes escalated or other times settled before things going too far and becomes out of control.
Tourism is the hardest-hit-business in the two countries that have been disputing over Senkaku or Diaoyu Islands since late summer, 2012. While Japanese tourists are afraid of the safety to travel to China, Chinese tourists seem to be more conscious of where to visit at a time when their government is calling for patriotism. So, where are those Chinese tourists are going?
Enjoy reading and learning about what is going on in tourism in China and Japan.


Topic Reading-Vol.289-1/25/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Hong Kong's mounting food waste problem.
Most of you know that Hong Kong offers delicious cosines and also that the residents of seven million in the tiny place love eating out. But not so many of you have ever thought about what they are doing with 3,500 tons of unwanted food that is filling the city’s landfills, or garbage mountains, daily. Another staggering fact is that as much as 40% of food there is uneaten in the city where only a small amount of food is produced from its land.
Enjoy reading and learning what sorts of solutions are being taken or underway.



Topic Reading-Vol.288-1/24/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Censored Bond film Skyfall opens in China.
It took two months for Chinese officials to remove sensitive or provocative scenes and mentions from the biggest gross income movie of all time to release officially in China. As many of you may know, there are already a lot of pirated versions being sold in the market and circulated among many friends as other movies or music albums usually are in the world largest market in number.
Enjoy reading and learning about another great wall of China.


Topic Reading-Vol.287-1/23/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Austrians vote to keep compulsory military service.
Numbers of European countries have compulsory military service system, conscription, or the draft, which mandates military service for a period time when men reach a certain age, like Denmark, Greece, Norway, Turkey, Russia, Switzerland, Korea and China. Austria and its neighboring Switzerland are both observe neutrality and citizens and politicians of those countries have been in a long dispute as to how effective the system is to encounter modern terrorism or cyber attacks and whether they should abandon or maintain the compulsory system.
Enjoy reading the article and seeing the photo, and think about the conscription system in the modern world.


Topic Reading-Vol.286-1/22/2013

Topic Reading-Vol.286-1/22/2013
Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Japan talk of warning shots heats up China dispute.
This headline hasn’t seemed to have been covered much by Japanese media, save a few or quite differently, though it is definitely a very critical national defense and diplomatic issue on the disputed islands in the East China Sea.
Tracer bullets, though not intending to shoot down but to warn intruding aircraft that further actions can be taken should the intrusion continues, could spin out of control, like history tells us, especially when China is under extreme pressure on economic growth, human rights, and controls on the press and freedom in the midst of its leadership transition.
Enjoy reading and learning how a single issue could be viewed and talked differently by the media and from perspectives. 


Topic Reading-Vol.285-1/21/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Living with Beijing's 'air-pocalypse'.
Bad to Hazardous to Crazy Bad, these are the indexes to show the quality of outside air, ambient air pollution, which is said to be not as crucial as large a health risk as more immediate forms of air pollution such as tobacco and indoor air pollution in smoky restaurants and bars.
Solutions; wearing a facial mask or turning on an in-room air-purifier? It seems that better way to get the cleaner air and sunshine back to the capital of the world most populated and polluted, in terms of greenhouse gasses and carbon emissions, is to cut the sources of air pollution such as reducing the number of vehicles on the road, replacing old inefficient factories and facilities to modern energy efficient ones, and reinforcing regulations to curb emissions.
But as said in this article, big cities like London and Los Angeles had the same problem only a few decades ago and longer.
Enjoy reading the text and seeing how smoggy the city is.


Topic Reading-Vol.284-1/20/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
'Deeply flawed' Lance Armstrong admits using performance enhancing drugs.
Some of you might have been waiting to hear him admit if he indeed did, how he did and why he tried to conceal it so long. Once a seven straight-year titlist of the most prominent cycling race in the world, Tour de France, a survivor of a cancer, and a founder of the cancer charity Livestrong, finally said “yes” to the TV host’s questions regarding his doping and cheating.
Enjoy watching the video footage and reading the article to see the sensational moment. 



Topic Reading-Vol.283-1/19/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Obama unveils sweeping plan to battle gun violence.
You all know what happened in Newtown, Connecticut in the U.S.A. only about 10 days before Christmas, 2012, 20 elementary school children and six staff members of the school were ruthlessly murdered by hundreds of bullets by a single gunman. The president of the country signed 23 executive actions, which can go effect immediately once they are signed without waiting for lengthy arguments in the congress to help officers and agencies manage their operations within the federal government itself. The video of the announcement and signing shows how President and Vice President took this issue seriously and personally.
Enjoy watching the video and learning the language they used to state such a sensitive issue in their country where buying, owning, using, and collecting firearms are all legally allowed.


Topic Reading-Vol.282-1/18/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
A Library Without Books? BiblioTech to Open.
Once you get used to reading e-books, you may feel more comfortable and convenient, or even natural to select, buy, carry, and store your books online and read those books ubiquitously on your reading device such as Kindle or iPad. Then do you still feel like physically going to the library where you can read or borrow e-books on the site, even if you can “return” those e-books online?
You may enjoy smelling e-gadgets instead of paper and ink, or being consulted robots or e-librarians instead of human librarians. But there will be one clear-cut benefit and common ground. It’s free of charge to read those “stored” books because it’s a library!
At this moment, enjoy reading and learning about this new concept of a future library.


Topic Reading-Vol.281-1/17/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
India's Hindu Kumbh Mela festival begins in Allahabad.
What do you think is the biggest gathering of humanity on Earth nowadays?
For this once-every-12-year Hindu festival, as many as 100 million people are expected to gather to wash their sins. To accommodate this many pilgrims in a 55-day period, fourteen temporary hospitals have been set up with 243 doctors deployed round-the-clock, and more than 40,000 toilets have been built.
But what if such many sins are washed in the river as it’s believed, what happened to the water down the river?
Enjoy reading and learning about this historical Hindu event.


Topic Reading-Vol.280-1/16/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Social media make us more honest.
Do you think you are more honest when you write online or on paper?
Have you ever post a comment under someone else’s or false ID, for your own or someone else’s benefit? For example, a writer could post a positive review for his/her own work, so could a singer for his/her song. It doesn’t sound so surprising to learn about such fake online reviews because they can be done so easily without feeling as guilty as falsifying in person. But when you learn that such falsification is practiced by a government agency to control media and public opinion in a large scale, you may feel a little surprised or even scared.
Enjoy reading and learning what “butler lies” and “sock puppets” are and how they are used online.


Topic Reading-Vol.279-1/15/2013

Saudi Arabia's king appoints women to Shura Council.
A new affirmative action is taking place to allocate 20% of the government council’s seats to women in this conservative Muslim kingdom in the Middle East. The council is not only allocating special seats but also building a special entrance and exit to those newly appointed female council members to its building in order to ensure segregation of male and female.
Another progressive move there is that women will be entitled to vote and stand local election in 2015 for the first time. These changes are regarded as a big step forward for the country where women are still not allowed to drive cars or travel without permission by a male guardian.
Enjoy reading and learning about very different customs of a conservative Islamic country from others.


Topic Reading-Vol.278-1/14/2013

Whew! Huge Asteroid Apophis Won't Hit Earth in 2036
Can you imagine a 340meter-wide asteroid flies by the Earth at a range even closer than some o f the satellites orbiting around our planet? You may be even more surprising to learn that astronomers are predicting such close flyby in over a decade or score from now.
Now no wonder why you need to learn math!
Enjoy reading and learning how math plays its roll in astronomy. 


Topic Reading-Vol.277-1/13/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
UK still has 13,000 black-and-white TVs!
It’s surprising to learn that number of people or households still use B/W TV screen now. But it is even more surprising to find how one can learn how many B/W TVs are still being used.
It’s seems that “a licensing fee” is still charged in the UK and the fees are different for BW and color. What about 3D?
Enjoy reading and learning how people are managing their pockets in the U.K.



Topic Reading-Vol.276-1/12/2013

Topic Reading-Vol.276-1/12/2013
Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Half of all food 'thrown away' claims report.
A staggering research shows that nearly a half of the food produced is wasted on the globe at some point, not harvested because of the outlook, lost or damaged during the transport or storage, or simply wasted in consumption.
Furthermore, if you think about how much water to grow or produce those wasted food, this world is wasting too much while a lot of people in Africa are starving even now. When you think of the number of mouths this world will need to feed in the middle of this century, when the population is going to add another two billion or 30% of what there are now, this level of waste needs to be reduced.
Enjoy reading and learning about how inefficient and thoughtless humans are or how much we can or must do now and the future.


Topic Reading-Vol.275-1/11/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Temperatures off the charts as Australia turns deep purple.
What color do you think is the hottest in the world of meteorology? Many think red is hot, dark red, or crimson. Apparently, just painting the weather forecast chart in red isn’t enough to show how deadly hot Australia is these days. It has been so hot, hotter than any reliable previous record the national average temperature went over 40 degrees Celsius on the seventh day of 2013, and is going to be even hotter for the next several days. This record heat wave has forced the Bureau of Meteorology of Australia another color on top of crimson to show hot central Australia is going to be.
Enjoy reading and seeing a jaw-dropping weather forecasting chart that shows over 50 degrees Celsius.


Topic Reading-Vol.274-1/10/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Smartphone cyberattacks to grow this year!
Some or many iOS users seem to think they are immune to cyberattacks. When Apple announced that they have over 500 million registered customers on their app shop and paid several billion dollars to their app developers and providers, why not those cybercriminals to target iOS market and devices to hack or manipulate?
The more convenience and one-stop solution are enjoyed, the higher the security risk might be.
Enjoy reading and learning about the next possible wave of cyberattacks, possibly to your loved device.



Topic Reading-Vol.273-1/9/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Opinion: Corruption as China's top priority.
It’s easy to say China’s political system is corrupted but how much? It seems to be bad enough to be put the highest priority under the new administration after observing how easily and drastically corrupted administrations were turned down last year, whether under a dictator or democratically elected leadership.
The next question is what could be more effective solution than the others, punishment, prevention, or microblogs by over 400 million users?
Enjoy reading and learning how seriously the new leaders are trying to contain the deep-rooted problem of their social system. 


Topic Reading-Vol.272-1/8/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
First subway to cross Yangtze opens.
How many of you know the Yangtze River? The longest river in Asia and the third longest in the world, which flows for a little over 6,400 km from Tibet plateau through Chongqing, Wuhan, Nanjing, and Shanghai and into the East China Sea. It is the most important river in the history, culture and economy of China along with the Yellow River.
Now China has completed another major historical construction, right after opening the longest super-high-speed train from Beijing to Shanghai, the first subway to go across the proud river. The three-kilometer-long subway tunnel is expected to shorten the travel time by over half of the car travel over the bridges in the capital city of Central China’s Hubei province, Wuhan on the last Friday of 2012.
Enjoy reading and learning about this newly opened subway tunnel under the historical river in the historical city.


Topic Reading-Vol.271-1/7/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Should the Indian Gang-Rape Victim Remain Anonymous?
It’s a very sensitive issue whether the identity of a violent crime like rape should be revealed or remain obscure, or kind of between, can be revealed with the victim’s or her family’s permission. Of course revelation should never be only to satisfy or entice the media’s appetite but to make a move or change help the victim or prevent such violence for the future.
Read and think, and even discuss with your family or friends about this highly controversial issue.


Topic Reading-Vol.270-1/6/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China to outstrip Europe car production.
Four decades ago, nearly one in every two vehicles sold in the world was made in the factories located in Europe, where the industry originated back in 1885. Last year, it produced nearly 19 million cars and light trucks and maintained its number one position, with a gap of million cars from the second biggest producer, China. This year, despite its slight growth projection, the number one position is going to be taken by the biggest car market, where numbers of small and economy cars are being sold and competition has been and is going to be very fierce.
Enjoy reading and learning about the shift in the manufacturing locations of one of the most biggest and influential industries.


Topic Reading-Vol.269-1/5/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
How Corn Syrup Might Be Making Us Hungry-and Fat.
You probably can tell what is common among fructose, glucose, and sugar, but may find it a little difficult to tell the difference between fructose and glucose, especially when you are asked which of these two makes you feel more stuffed.
A recent study has found that fructose, which is widely used to sweeten drinks, ketchup, and snacks, seems to encourage people to eat more than glucose. This suggests that if you take fructose sweetened food or drink, you may be stimulated to eat more, thus you’ll get more weight.
Enjoy reading and learning what makes you eat or drink more, especially after the holiday season. 


Topic Reading-Vol.268-1/4/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Tallest building in the world turns into giant fireworks show.
How many of you know what the tallest building is in the world and where? It’s the Burj Khalifa, a 828-meater soaring tower with 163 floors, that opened in 2010 in Dubai. It’s now not only the tallest but also the most spectacular fireworks display site on the planet.
One question is how the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra playing live on the Burj Steps kept their perforce going while such eye-popping and ear-splitting fireworks display was taking place?
Enjoy seeing this spectacular show and think where the money to do such a show came from?;_ylt=Ajxim.uLkXH_MXcqnoluKqWs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNsY2dnYTh2BG1pdANUb3BTdG9yeSBGUARwa2cDNmI1MThjMDEtOTAzOS0zOWFjLWE0MWQtY2Y2NTYwMTUxMzkwBHBvcwM1BHNlYwN0b3Bfc3RvcnkEdmVyAzQ0ZjI1OGYzLTU0NTYtMTFlMi05YmU2LWI5YjYzOGQwNTVjMg--;_ylg=X3oDMTFpNzk0NjhtBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25z;_ylv=3


Topic Reading-Vol.267-1/3/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
How Gratitude Can Improve Your Life.
How happy you are could be measured or defined by how grateful you can be. For example, which situation you feel happier, giving the way to someone or being given the way by someone, or eating someone else’s apple or giving your to someone, especially when you’re aware that your last moment is nearing? You don’t have to pay anything, go anywhere or look for anything. Opportunities to make you feel happier seem to be everywhere at any moment in your life.
Enjoy reading and learning how to improve your life



Topic Reading-Vol.266-1/2/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
What a year for China in 2012 -- what about next year?
Another prediction for the new year. This time specifically for China, which has been increasing its influences around the region and over the world, in all aspects including military presence, market and manufacturing volume and scientific might. They are already operating much longer and faster bullet trains systems than Japan and selling more cars than the U.S., not to mention drinking more beer, eating more pork and burning more fossil fuels and emitting more green house gasses than any other country in the world. Would you be surprised if they send someone to the moon in 2013?
Enjoy reading and predicting what China would or might do this year, besides imagining over a half billion people are using the Internet there, in Chinese language.


Topic Reading-Vol.265-1/1/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
13 stories for 2013: From Syria to the climate to the 'post-Gangnam' era.
Happy New Year! Some of you might have had a big party last night and other might have spent a quiet and peaceful night to welcome a new year by listening to the watch-night bell ring.
Here is a relatively long article about the events or trends that could happen in 2013, not many of them sound happy or prosperous but rather threatening ones in some regions like Northeastern Africa, Middle East, and both Western and Eastern Asia.
Put those New Year’s Cards aside and enjoy learning what seems to be hot topic for the year.