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Topic Reading-Vol.354-3/31/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Louvre is most visited venue of 2012.
Are you one of those museum goers? If so, Louvre may be one of the museums you’d like to visit someday, if you haven’t because it was the most visited of this kind in 2012 with nearly 10 million visitors. One surprising fact is that they drew a million more visitors over the previous year, thanks to its new wing of Islamic art. Other most popular museums are Metropolitan Museum in New York and three of such in London.
So, a simple question arises. Are those most popular museums are mostly visited by the visitors of the cities or its residents? As you may know, Paris, New York and London are all world most popular tourists’ destinations anyway.
Enjoy reading and learning about world most popular museums!


Topic Reading-Vol.353-3/30/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Gordon Brown: 32 million girls not at school, we must push for change.
Can you imagine a remote village where girls haven’t been allowed or expected to attend even elementary schools in Indian subcontinent, Pakistan, Afghanistan or some part of Africa? You might be even more surprised to hear that not only female students but also teachers who are brave enough to teach them are in need for armed guards to attend school to protect them from Islamic extremists who believe girls shouldn’t be educated but be treated in their traditional way to do domestic works, deliver and raise children, and serve men. And even more surprising fact to learn is that there’re millions and millions of such girls who are in such discriminatory situations that need to be helped immediately.
Enjoy reading a report by one of the former premiers of the U.K. who has been trying to offer those girls and teachers help, and think about what need to be done for the people and places that are so different from yours.


Topic Reading-Vol.352-3/29/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Airline 'fat tax': Should heavy passengers pay more?
Some of you may know that there are several surcharges flyers may be required to pay on their flight, such as on fuel and excess baggage. But have you ever thought of being charged on your excess weight or getting discount on your lower-than-standard weight?
Some people take up more space than standard seats and cost the airline extra fuel, which produces more CO2 into the air. Therefore, the heavier the passengers are, the higher the economic and environmental burdens are, both inside and outside the cabin. Does it mean airlines can simply charge more to overweight people for the same flight, space and services than ordinary passengers?
Enjoy reading and learning about a radical paper published by a Norwegian scholar.  


Topic Reading-Vol.351-3/28/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Obama gives Secret Service its 1st female director.
The US army is going to have female combat troops as early as next year. US Secret Services, that protects America's leaders, visiting world leaders, national special security events, and the integrity of the nation's currency and financial systems,  the long has been thought as defending team of men wearing dark sunglasses and earphones, not to mention their trademark black suits, is now going to have the first female officer to head and manage the organization. Many would agree to have someone with discipline on their top position after the inconsiderate acts took place in Columbia last year before their POTUS (Secret Services nick name for President of the United States) arrived there.
Enjoy reading and learning about the historic assignment for the essential and prominent organization in the US.



Topic Reading-Vol.350-3/27/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Charm offensive: Peng Liyuan, China's glamorous new First Lady.
Now, China has not only a new leader but also a first lady who appears in public in front of both domestic and international media. The one-party-ruled nation has been keeping low profile on the wives of their top leaders ever since their founding father Mao Zedong’s wife, Jiang Qing, who had led the disastrous Cultural Revolution, was arrested and jailed in the late 1970s.
Some Chinese proudly blogs, “The U.S. has Michelle Obama, we have Peng Liyuan.”
Enjoy reading and learning about China’s proud first lady who has debuted in front of international media.


Topic Reading-Vol.349-3/26/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Sydney dims down for Earth Hour climate change protest.
How many of our Topic Readers turned off the lights at 8:30 pm on March 23rd, or knew about The Earth Hour? It is a globally organized event by World Wild Fund for Nature that has been held since 2007 to raise awareness about the need to take action on climate change. The participating households and businesses are encouraged to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour. This year, the energy-exporting giant, Russia took part in the event by turning the lights off at his palace, the Kremlin.
Enjoy reading and learning about this grassroots event which has spread throughout the world. 


Topic Reading-Vol.348-3/25/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Slumbering Sun Should Wake Up This Year.
Do you think our star, the Sun, is sleeping? It comes out of the eastern horizon every morning and wakes us up and sets in the west to welcome the night.
It seems to have an eleven-year cycle to be more active than other periods of time, which occasionally blasts out a cloud of superheated plasma to our planet.
Enjoy reading and learning about our star’s activities.


Topic Reading-Vol.347-3/24/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Universe is older than previously thought, new study shows.
None of the map of your town, prefecture or state, country, continent and even the world is more mysterious than the one of the universe. The European Space Agency’s spacecraft has recently allowed the astronomers and astro-physicians to draw detailed map and also trace the time of the origin of the universe, which is found out to be a little older than previously estimated, just by 100 million years. More interestingly, “ordinary matters”, or visible things such as stars, galaxies, and planets, accounts only 4.9 percent of the universe. What is the rest of the universe then?
Enjoy reading and learning how the universe was created, has been expanding and now consist of. 


Topic Reading-Vol.346-3/23/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
YouTube reaches one billion monthly users.
How many of you remember that the social network giant Facebook reached the one-billion-user milestone late last year? Here is another internet giant that has announced its monthly viewers have passed the same mark, the one most of you probably have seen before or been enjoying time to time. But how many of you knew that YouTube is owned by Google?
Enjoy reading and learning about how the world of Internet is becoming more dominated by a few giants.


Topic Reading-Vol.345-3/22/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Chinese city offers US$50k for professional tweeter.
Would you like to be an ambassador to promote one of the historical and scenic towns in China that is now in search of someone who plays the role of modern Marco Polo, but not by writing things on paper by twitting on the Internet?
They’ll pay you if you are chosen to play the role and have you stay in the town for 15 days, of course at no charge! But there is one requirement. You need to be fluent in Chinese.
Enjoy reading and learning about one of the latest attempts to draw more foreign tourists to an ancient town.


Topic Reading-Vol.344-3/21/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
10 best French restaurants in Paris.
Do you care for French cusine? When you have a chance to visit Paris, one of the most enchanting cities when it comes to dining, you certainly make sure not to miss a chance to enjoy a meal at one of those award winning or renowned bistros in town.
Here are 10 recommended good ones at different price ranges, so that you may find ones that suit your taste and budget for your next visit there.
Enjoy reading the brief descriptions the restaurants and seeing the photos of their proud dishes. 



Topic Reading-Vol.343-3/20/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Abu Dhabi working on sunshine as Middle East's largest solar power plant goes live.
They say it’s clean and renewable energy but financial source of the mega solar power plant is funded by selling oil, which is neither clean nor renewable when it is burned to generate energy.
However, humans have found the way to turn the inhabitable and implantable desert into useful property.
Enjoy reading the below text and watching a video that shows how eye opening this solar plant is.

The Dh2.2 billion plant covering 2.5 sq km in Madinat Zayed in the Western Region is the largest renewable energy project in the Middle East. It will generate 100 megawatts of clean and sustainable energy - enough to power 20,000 homes, and the biggest step so far towards Abu Dhabi's goal of obtaining 7 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.
Shams 1 is "a signal that the UAE is in the vanguard of renewable energy in the region and the world", said Dr Sultan Al Jaber, chief executive of Masdar, the Abu Dhabi alternative energy company that owns 60 per cent of the Shams Power Company.
The plant is also an integral part of Abu Dhabi's 2030 Vision, with its goals of diversifying the region's energy mix and building a knowledge-based economy. Shams 1 will "extend the life of the UAE's hydrocarbon resources and support our long-term energy and economic security", said Dr Al Jaber. Bader Al Lamki, director of clean energy at Masdar, said Shams 1 "fits into Masdar's goals, and Masdar fits into Abu Dhabi's broader energy story". "Hydrocarbons will diminish one day and it is important that we diversify the mix," he said. "Abu Dhabi has been a leader in this field, and we would like to continue in that role on the global stage."
When fully operational, the plant will displace carbon dioxide equivalent to planting 1.5 million trees, or taking about 15,000 cars off the road.


Topic Reading-Vol.342-3/19/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
English dropped from top Chinese university exams.
27 top universities in China, including Peking and Tsinghua universities, have decided to allow some talented students to take either Chinese and math or physics and math for their individual entrance exams. They want to recruit more talented and competitive students who are exceptionally strong in science, engineering or art studies but not so much in English.
However, when it comes to graduating from those prominent universities, most of the students pass College English Test-4, or CET-4, at least and even CET-6, an upper level English test, whose vocabulary requirements go over 4,000 and 6,000 words respectively.
So the question is study English before or after entering those universities.
Enjoy reading and learning about China’s latest change in university admission policy. 


Topic Reading-Vol.341-3/18/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Jurassic Park 4 to be directed by Colin Trevorrow.
How many of you have seen “Jurassic Park”, “The Lost World Jurassic Park” or “Jurassic Park III”?
The historic CG created world of dinosaurs that had only been played by humans in dino-clothes that looked unrealistic and awkward, generated huge sensation when it was first released 20 years ago when then-most advanced PCs weren’t as fast or capable as today’s smartphone.
The new one is going to be 3D as speculated and what else?
Enjoy reading the first glimpse of the historic and monstrous movie series. 



Topic Reading-Vol.340-3/17/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Samsung’s Galaxy S4 unveiled in NY.
How many of you have already been using or thinking of using a Smartphone? It seems that two mighty high-tech companies are leading the market and users’ attention and the gap between these two market leaders and the others seems to be widening.
Innovation, design, and user interface seem to be the driving force to earn users’ attention and motivation to keep the brand or switch from others. One model could bring huge success or failure to those players, none of whom can afford to miss any chance as the market is expanding so rapidly globally.
Enjoy watching the presentation video and feel the latest innovation. 


Topic Reading-Vol.339-3/16/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Catholics: 5 ways for Francis to move forward
Yesterday in our Topic Reading Vol.338-3/15/2013 issue, you might have learned five things about the new pope, the leader of world largest religion with 1.2 billion followers. Today, you’ll find voices from those followers and priests of the very conservative religion, which seems to require some drastic changes to move forward or at least to follow the trend.
by the way, does or will he tweet or blog like some of the popular political leaders?
Enjoy reading and learning what are expected to the new leader of the global religion.


Topic Reading-Vol.338-3/15/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Five things to know about the new pope.
The same day as the world biggest country chose its leader, the world largest religion did the same.
The new pope, isn’t from their homeland or the continent but from South America and it’s the first in modern history that a non-European pop rules the religious community.
Enjoy reading and learning about the new leader of the traditional religion. 



Topic Reading-Vol.337-3/14/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Falkland Islanders vote to stay British.
93% of the approximately 1,600 legitimate voters voted and only three said no to a referendum asking if you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as one of 14 Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom.
The island, located only 480 kilometers east of the tip of South America, has been under British sovereignty since 1933. Some of you might remember or know that Argentina tried to get the island “back” to their ruling and suddenly landed troops on the islands and went to war in 1982.
Now will they respect the referendum or threaten the residents by military aggression again?
Enjoy reading and learning about territorial dispute in the Atlantic Ocean.



Topic Reading-Vol.336-3/13/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
What's behind the display of embalmed world leaders?
Nowadays, embalming doesn’t seem to be a familiar or common practice used when someone dies and its remains need to be preserved for some time, in some cases for decades for political purposes.
It has been qualified skills and techniques for thousands of years as seen in influential leaders such as Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen, more recently Lenin and Mao Zedong. It also has been used trying to preserve the remains of people who suddenly or unexpectedly died away from home the best at their last, but not for months or years to be displayed but for a short period of time usually only until their loved ones or other mourners see and pay respects for them.
Enjoy reading and learning why and how this practice has been evolved and used. 


Topic Reading-Vol.335-3/12/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Who you gonna call? New York reinvents the pay phone.
How often do you use a pay phone or phone booth lately when you have your own device to make a call much more conveniently and privately?
Still, The Big Apple, not iPhone Apple, is looking for inventing new public pay phone (and its booth), hoping to make it as an iconic landmark of one of the busiest and most popular cities in the world.
Enjoy reading and seeing innovative ideas for what the 21st century pay phone could be like. 


Topic Reading-Vol.334-3/11/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China tops list for executive gender equality.
How high do you think the proportions of women are in senior management positions in China, North America and the EU? They are 51%, 21% and 25% respectively.
Although this survey result doesn’t seem to reflect the photos or the first names of the political leaders of those regions, it still shows us how open China’s job market actually is to women, or how progressive Chinese women are in pursuing their career in business.
Enjoy reading and learning about how wide the gender gaps are in senior management positions in various regions in the world. 



Topic Reading-Vol.333-3/10/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Antarctic Lake Vostok yields 'new bacterial life'.
Looking for a life form that has been unclassified and unidentified seems to be worth drilling deeper than 800 meters over years in completely frozen soil in the coldest place on the planet, where the lowest record temperature marked -89 thirty years ago.
More surprisingly, those who are drilling are trying to reach and get DNA samples from life forms in the underwater lake! Why?
Enjoy reading and learning why drilling in the coldest place on Earth is such a big event! 


Topic Reading-Vol.332-3/9/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Dolphins may be calling each other by name.
If dolphins can talk to each other in their own language or signals, why not calling each other by their names especially when they swim in a distance and can’t see each other?
Scientists believe that they have ways to identify their close friends and mimic the way the others speak, or send signals. If that is the case, they are the only creature call others by the name or identity other than humans.
Enjoy reading and learning about this interesting research finding and joyful marine creature. 



Topic Reading-Vol.331-3/8/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China's sex ratio at birth declines.
Just imagine a group of 100 girls and another group of 118 boys are lined up facing each other, trying to find someone to dance with. 18 boys won’t be able to find their partners so they may look for ones in other groups. But if other groups have even more boys than girls, what will they do?
That’s what has been happening in China, where boys are preferred over girls especially under their famous one-child policy, since 1980’s when a technology enabled parents to find their prospective baby’s gender.
Enjoy reading and learning about China’s competitive situation not for entering a good college or getting a job this time but for finding a partner. 


Topic Reading-Vol.330-3/7/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Does skipping breakfast make you put on weight?
Are you a breakfast-eater or skipper, or struggling dieter or care-free non-dieter? Many say and believe that breakfast is the most essential meal for the day for nutrition, diet and physical and brain performance. How true are these premises?
Enjoy reading and learning how complicated to prove or generalize the effects of the first meal of the day is. 


Topic Reading-Vol.329-3/6/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
World's biggest mall a China 'ghost town'.
Located in the center of China’s manufacturing hub, Guangdong province, the world largest shopping mall in terms of leasing space opened in 2005 and re-launched 2008, is still nearly empty by both tenants and shoppers. It seemed to have an easy access to the capital and permission to construct such a huge project back then but neither to shops and shoppers ever since it opened.
Would you be interested in shopping in a empty mall or prefer to get into the crowd?
Enjoy reading and learning about what is behind the scene of rapidly growing China. 


Lesson Report Senior-1 March 4th

Hello class! This is Towako from MEL School.
How are you doing today?
It's Tuesday, March 5th, 2013.
It's sunny and warm today. Did you enjoy the sunshine?
Yesterday, you worked on the reading task very hard.
We'd reviewed the vocabulary again and again, but it still seemed to be a bit challenging for you.
According to a research, you have to encounter a word in different context at least seventeen times to remember it. So, it means the fewer chances to see a new word are, the less the possibility to remember the word will be.  That also means if you have many chances to see a new word, you'll have a good possibility to remember it. I strongly recommend you should read a variety of articles.
Our speaker yesterday was Azusa. She talked about a coming concert of the school band. She is a member of the band, so she has to practice very hard.
The next speakers are Michihiro and Aoi. Get ready for your speech!

<Lesson Review>
Cover to Cover Unit 4 Online Part 1 Not all fun and games? Communication tasks  (pp. 44-47)
Chapter 33 Unit 1
Grammar and Communication-3 間接話法:間接疑問文 if
Exercise-3 #4-5 (pp.116)
Deep listening Lesson 16 (pp. 36-37)

See you on Thursday!


Topic Reading-Vol.328-3/5/2013

Topic Reading-Vol.328-3/5/2013
Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Robotic balls and GPS walking sticks: Latest bizarre tech trends.
It seems that many nice-to-have gadgets are under development to woo not only techy people who are always looking for the latest technologies, devices or apps but also those who need care by others, such as GPS equipped stick for seniors or a smartphone that monitors the holder’s medical conditions.
Not all those gadgets shown at the World Mobile Conference will be marketed in the near future but you can at least learn what sorts of new mobile digital products can be expected for your convenience.
Enjoy reading and seeing the photos of some of the highlighted gadgets at the conference. 


Topic Reading-Vol.327-3/4/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Returning overseas students on the rise, China.
A returnee back to China after studying and earning a master’s degree in the U.S. mentioned that China is an energetic growing power entity; but the US is more peaceful and stable, and as an inspired young person, she likes the challenge more than a peaceful and steady life.
Isn’t that a spirit that young people should have when they try to find new opportunities when unemployment rate is high and more and more talented and educated students are entering the job market with higher degrees?
Another staggering figure is that there are over 300,000 oversea students in China in 2012, up 12% from the previous year, which reached over 40% of the number of the students who were studying in the U.S. from abroad. The country is surely drawing talents from overseas.
Enjoy reading and learning what drives young people to study abroad and search job opportunities. 


Topic Reading-Vol.326-3/3/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Shark kills number 100 million annually, research says.
When a human is attacked by a shark, it becomes big news around the area. Swimmers and surfers get afraid of this predatory marine creature. The level of fear is so high, as shown in the movie called “Jaws”, that sometimes a large scale shark hunt is conducted.
However, while the number of annual “shark attacks to humans” is less than a hundred even in the record-high year, the number of “human attacks to sharks” is over a million times larger, according to the latest analysis by marine scientists. Since the reproduction cycle of sharks ranges between several years to over 10 years and the reproduction rate isn’t high enough to keep its population, human appetite, particularly for luxurious Chinese soup, seems to turn this marine predator to a prey in the ocean.
Enjoy reading and learning how predatory human appetite is. 


Topic Reading-Vol.325-3/2/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
EU banker bonus cap 'self-defeating'
How much incentive is enough for bankers to work hard, smartly and sometimes greedily to bring more profit to their employers? Or how much is acceptable for taxpayers who had to pay to bailout the banks after the 2008 financial crisis? Is it EU’s responsibility or a job to regulate such incentives for individuals in a particular industry while risking of loosing financial businesses to its competitors in other continents?
Enjoy reading and learning about how people think and act for someone else’s financial compensation.



Topic Reading-Vol.324-3/1/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Smartphone power struggles: Will we ever have battery-free mobiles?
Which do you think is a more distant dream, sending a man to Mars or net-surfing on a battery-free smartphone? Neither dream seems to be attained via a shortcut, at least within the next few years. The time required to reach Mars could only be shortened by speed and the usable time of a smarphone could be prolonged by longer-lasting battery, less power-consuming design, or additional power supply such as solar or kinetic energy.
Enjoy reading and learning about new technologies, yet some distant away to be realized, that could offer you less stressful and less worrisome life with a smartphone.