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Topic Reading-Vol.445-6/30/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Kevin Rudd ousts Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Just about 100 days before the national election, the labor party of Australia decided to replace the leader its own party and the prime minister of the country and give the seat to its former leader who once ousted by the incumbent and first female PM, Ms. Gillard.
The new leader isn’t expected to win the election but to minimize the loss against its rival Conservatives. So, is this shakeup for the people, the party or the politicians who are in fear of losing their seats?
Enjoy reading and learning about what made the first female PM out of her post just shortly before a national election.


Topic Reading-Vol.444-6/29/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Maersk 'Triple E': Introducing the world's biggest ship.
Maersk Group the largest container ship operator and supply vessel operator in the world since 1996. The maritime freight transport company is about to add the world largest ship to its world largest fleet. The new Triple E class ship, a quarter-mile long and 20-story-building tall built with 60,000 tons of steels, has capacity to carry nearly enough pairs of sneakers to the population of the U.K. and South Korea combined.
Why Triple E? Enjoy reading and finding the fact and figures of the vessel as well as what the freight company is going to deliver.


Topic Reading-Vol.443-6/28/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Breathtaking photos of Hong Kong airport glory days.
How many of you have experienced one of the most accommodating airports, Hong Kong International Airport, which opened in July 1998? Before then, there was an airport that wasn’t as friendly as the new one, at least to those who land and take off airplanes as it is located in the middle of Kowloon City and its runway just stood out to the sea. The pilot had to make a 45 degrees turn right before the landing just right above residential apartment buildings, where both those residents and passengers on the landing planes could see each other. Now after 15 years of the closure, the ex-airport is reborn as a seaport, Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, which is going to accommodate cruise ships and other large vessels.
Enjoy seeing the photos and reading the article about the long-served airport in Hong Kong. 


Topic Reading-Vol.442-6/27/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
UNESCO adds 19 sites to World Heritage List.
How many sites do you think are listed after The UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Committee’s 37th annual session?
With newly added 19 sites this year, the UNESCO World Heritage List features 981 sites from 160 countries. So another 19 sites next year or the year after next will make the list to hit 1,000 mark!
Enjoy seeing the stunning views of the newly listed sites and reading the inscriptions of those valued cultural, natural and mixed properties. 


Topic Reading-Vol.441-6/26/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Up in the sky, look: It's Supermoon!
Did you have a chance to see brighter and larger full moon than usual last weekend?
Don’t worry, you weren’t going to be a werewolf but were just very lucky to have a chance observe Supermoon, which occurs only once a year or so when moon gets to the closest point to earth at the same time of full moon. It was actually 30% brighter and 14% larger than most full moon. Isn’t that worth checking?
If you feel to have missed such an unordinary moon in the ordinary sky, be patient until August next year.
Enjoy reading the article and seeing the video and photo of the unusually bright and large moon.


Topic Reading-Vol.440-6/25/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Brazilian protesters take a break as more security hits the streets.
Why Brazilians protest over the constructions and preparations for its proud hosting of the World Cup Football games next year and the Olympic Games in 2016? What made the public, who undoubtedly no less enthusiastic than any other footballs fans on the globe, so upset while hosting and playing in the soccer Confederations Cup tournament?
A slight price increase of public bus fares seems to have fueled the already stressed the public anger, which has been ignited by inflation and price hikes especially on daily foods such as tomatoes and onions, and energy like gasoline, as well as the widening gap between the rich and the rest because of social injustice and corruption.
Although the local governments reversed the announcement of the bus-fare increases, it seemed to be a little too late to cease the protests across the country.
Enjoy reading and learning about the unrest in a country which has been enjoying rapid and steady economic growth as one of the BRICS nations over the last decade. 


Topic Reading-Vol.439-6/24/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Hani Rice Terraces wins World Heritage status.
While Japan is celebrating the inscription of its proud Mt. Fuji on the prestigious World Heritage List, Chine is also awarded a cultural landscape on the list, Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, on Saturday, June 22nd.
These graduated terrace steps are commonly used for rice fields on hilly or mountainous terrain in South East Asia, which decrease erosion and surface runoff, and are effective for growing crops that require a lot of water, including rice.
Enjoy seeing the breathtaking photos of the newly listed rice terraces but be reminded that the work in such terraces certainly looks breathtaking. 


Topic Reading-Vol.438-6/23/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Archaeologists discover lost Maya city in Mexican jungle.
The ancient civilization was first established between four thousand years ago till about two thousand years ago, or the Pre-Classic period but many of the Maya cities were built and prospered during the Classic period (AD 250 to 900), throughout the Post-Classic period until the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century.
What the explorers discovered deep in the jungle in Eastern Mexico, which took them three weeks to clear the way to reach the site, was one of those ancient cities built in the Classic period.
Enjoy reading and learning about this latest historical discovery of an ancient monument. 


Topic Reading-Vol.437-6/22/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
The psychology of workout music.
How many of you jog or do exercise to music? Do you run an extra kilometer or at a faster pace if you listen to music while running or waking? It seems that music could provide some benefit when you are engaged in a paced physical activity such as jogging or swimming.
Besides those physically-enhancing effects, there seem to be some other benefits for listening while exercising. You can relieve yourself from hearing your own labored breathing!
Enjoy reading and learning about the relevancy of music and physical response.


Topic Reading-Vol.436-6/21/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
New York City residents sort their garbage as part of new composting program.
Just sorting recycled paper, plastic, bins and cans, burnable and non-burnable doesn’t seem to be enough to live in a big city any more. Now, the residents of New York are going to be required to separate their food waste from other burnable trash.
It’s a new initiative lead by the aggressive mayor of the most populous and busiest city in America, who is also pushing people to eat and drink healthily and cut smoking.
Hadn’t people been separating and using the food waste until recently to grow farm produce?
Enjoy reading and learning about one of the modern attempts to protect the environment. 


Topic Reading-Vol.435-6/20/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China's Tianhe-2 retakes fastest supercomputer crown.
Tianhe-2, meaning Milky Way-2, is the top of the latest list of the world fastest 500 supercomputers. It runs at 33.86 petaflop/sec, the equivalent of 33,860 trillion calculations per second, which is twice as fast as the second on the list. On the list, the US has 252 systems, China does 66, Japan 30, the UK 29, France 23 and Germany 19. This looks like reflecting the size of the economy, doesn’t it?
Enjoy reading and learning about how fast those supercomputers are. 


Topic Reading-Vol.434-6/19/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Iran's Rowhani seeks 'constructive interaction'
With a population of roughly 75 million, the Persian spoken Islamic republic whose president is elected by the public every four years but allowed to be reelected only once has just elected its new president to take office in August.
But who has the supreme power and authority in the nuclear developing nation, which was once called one of the Axis of evil by the former US president? Since their presidential candidates must be approved by the Guardian Council prior to running in order to ensure their allegiance to the ideals of the Islamic revolution which took place in 1979 under Ayatollah Khomeini. Therefore, the President is just responsible for the implementation of the Constitution and for the exercise of executive powers, except for matters directly related to the Supreme Leader, who has the final say in all matters. It sounds a similar to the government of the one-party ruled country, China, doesn’t it?
Enjoy reading and learning about the mighty Persian Islamic country’s new president. 



Topic Reading-Vol.433-6/18/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Hillary Clinton initiative will focus on kids.
After visiting 122 countries and still jet lagged, the former first lady, US senator and the chief of the nation’s diplomacy, is back onto the public stage, unveiling the initiatives she and her family members, including the former president, will take on.
No matter whatever she says and will say, people can’t and won’t stop speculating whether she will bid in 2016 presidential election.
Enjoy reading and learning about the recent move of one of the most powerful and respected women.


Topic Reading-Vol.432-6/17/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
UN: India to be world's most populous country by 2028.
If you want to sell milk or shoes, which market would you choose to develop for the coming decades? The good news is that there are countries and areas whose population is growing at a much faster pace than previously estimated, according to the UN data released on June 14th. The bad news is that those are the places where medical services aren’t always available to the majority of the people, especially the ones who live in poverty in remote areas.
India’s population will surpass China’s by 2030 and so will Nigeria’s the US’s by 2045, and the world population is expected to reach 9.6 billion by the middle of the century, roughly a 33% increase from the current 7.2 billion.
Enjoy reading and learning about the latest estimate of the world population by the UN.


Topic Reading-Vol.431-6/16/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Just Explain It: What is Déjà Vu?
Have you ever experienced strong sensation that something or scene you’ve just faced or seen had been experienced in the past, whether it actually happened or not? It’s called Déjà vu, meaning "already seen" in French.
Though scientists have been studying the cause of this strange phenomenon but haven’t come up with a definitive theory or explanation yet, there are two likely theories are presented in the video.

Enjoy seeing the video, and if you still like to understand more, reading the article below.


Topic Reading-Vol.430-6/15/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Degrees matter when hunting for a job.
You learned how serious Chinese students are to take the Gaokao, China’s national university entrance exam, in our topic reading yesterday, or Vol.429, even though unemployment rate for those who newly or recently graduated from college in the country is higher than those who only graduated secondary schools.
However, overall in China and over the world, the return on investment on higher education seems to pay off.
Enjoy reading and learning about the data and study how higher education affects employment. 


Topic Reading-Vol.429-6/14/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Gaokao opened to migrant students.
Last weekend, a little over nine million Chinese students took the nation’s college entrance exam, or Gaokao, which could provide families without any influential background an essential opportunity to change their destiny through education despite criticisms over the practice of deciding everything with one exam.
Then what do migrant students mean? A migrant student is a person who has a registered permanent residency address, or hukou, that does not match his or her current residence. In other words, they are students whose parents work and live in places, usually major cities, away from their registered homeland, mainly rural areas.
Enjoy reading and learning about China’s famous hukou system and gaokao. 



Topic Reading-Vol.428-6/13/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
World's priciest city to be an expat is...?
Many of you may think the priciest cities to live in for foreigners with their living standards and lifestyles, not the local ones, lie in Shanghai, Hong Kong or Tokyo. Yes, they are some of those priciest ones in Asia and also in the world but none of them was ranked within the top five.
Oslo, the capital of the Scandinavian country Norway, was surprisingly found to be the most expensive town to live in for expatriates, mainly because of high labor costs and taxes on alcohol.
Enjoy reading and learning what makes some cities pricier to live in than others.


Topic Reading-Vol.427-6/12/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
More students looking overseas-China.
Among the 400,000 Chinese students who were studying overseas, nearly 95% of them paid their tuitions themselves, of course not those students but their families. The sheer number is staggering as it increased by almost 18% from the year earlier but their affordability, considering the high tuitions and living costs in the U.S., their favorite learning place, demonstrates how wealthy China’s middle class is now.
According to the article, part of the reason for such an increase in number is to avoid taking their famous life-determining and overly demanding national college entrance exam, which is taken by nearly 10 million students each year.
Enjoy reading and learning how eager Chinese students are to study overseas. 


Topic Reading-Vol.426-6/11/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Obesity problems may skip a generation, Edinburgh University study finds.
First, how relatively heavy a person is to be classified as overweight or obesity? In general, the Body Mass Index, or B.M.I., of 25 or higher is regarded as overweight and 30 or higher is obesity. A new study finds that an obesity mother seems to impact not only on the birth weight of her own children but also their children, meaning her grandchildren. This means a grandchild of an obese mother could have higher risk of getting diabetes as well.
Enjoy reading and learning about the cause, inheritance and effect of obesity.


Topic Reading-Vol.425-6/10/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Can city farms feed a hungry world?
Any idea what’s urban or vertical farming is about? Unless people can harvest and distribute food more or at a faster pace than the population grows over the next few decades, there could be serious food shortages across the world when the world population is expected to grow nearly by two billions.
City planning has been separated from agriculture for so long but originally, they had been closely tied until recently. People used to eat what they could get from the neighboring producers, of course with much less carbon footprint.
Enjoy reading and learning about some ideas to use urban infrastructures to fill our stomach.


Topic Reading-Vol.424-6/9/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
What's driving unrest and protests in Turkey?
It has been a democratic country since 1950. The incumbent prime minister, who seems to be the most popular politician of the country, was re-re-elected only two years ago. So, why all of a sudden are there so many protests and demonstrations, confrontation with the police and excess-use of power by the police across the country? What’s wrong with the country where ?
Enjoy reading and learning about what’s going on in the mighty Muslim country with a population of 75 million yet wants to be a member state of EU.


Topic Reading-Vol.423-6/8/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Police dog bids farewell to slain cop.
Dogs are really attached to their family members and trainers, may be more than what people think they are. This heartbreaking photo shows how a dog could miss its partner officer who was gunned down while on duty.
Enjoy reading the article and seeing the photo. 



Topic Reading-Vol.422-6/7/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Disney raises U.S. theme park prices up to 9.6 percent.
In America, while you pay just about $4.20 on average to fill your stomach with a Big Mach, you will be asked to pay $95 for a one-day passport to the Magic Kingdom in Florida and $92 in Anaheim, California for this summer respectively. This means you can eat nearly 22 Bic Macs for a one-day ticket to Disney.
Let’s compare. In Japan, this Disney-Bic Mac index is about 19 as a one-day passport to Tokyo Disney Land costs JPY6,200 and a Bic Mac costs JPY320.
As you can see, the ratios of these two countries aren’t that different. However, how come a nearly 10% hike at once right before summer holidays while the average 30-year fixed mortgage is only around 4%?
Enjoy reading and learning about this aggressive Mickey’s move.


Topic Reading-Vol.421-6/6/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Brazil's middle-class boom -- but are they tempting a bust?
This nearly 200 year-old country has the 5th largest land space and population seems to be enjoying robust economy driven by surging consumer spending that comes from all income levels. As a result, the Latin America’s largest economy marked sixth largest GDP last year after the US, China, Japan, Germany and France, but surpassed the U.K.
Enjoy reading and learning about the booming economy and consumer spending in the host country of the next Olympic Games. 


Topic Reading-Vol.420-6/5/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Are the French really as arrogant as the surveys say?
If you ask Europeans how they view and perceive each other, who do you think is ranked #1 for being arrogant? Most popular and widespread perception is that French people are more arrogant than others. Is this perception true? If so, how was it formed? How do they actually view each other these days especially when financial crisis still looms over EU countries?
Enjoy reading and learning how Europeans think and feel each other.


Topic Reading-Vol.419-6/4/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Will Russia’s smoking ban be successful?
Russia, where a lot of people regularly enjoy drinking spirits to ease their stress from the severe winter or political and/or economical pressure, seems to have been smokers paradise until June 1st this year when a new ban on smoking in some public places such as hospitals and prisons as well as 15m perimeter of public transportation entrances and stations.  
It sounds like quite a challenge for the government to ban a practice that 40% of the population enjoy regularly especially when its economy isn’t performing because of the energy price pressure.
Enjoy watching the video as to how people there think about and react to the new regulation. 


Topic Reading-Vol.418-6/3/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
No rise in cancer rates after Fukushima disaster - UN.
For those thousands of local residents who are still forced to live away from their homes around and near the devastated Fukushima nuclear power plants, this new report may sound differently from those who aren’t. If they hadn’t left their homes, they might have gotten higher risk of getting certain cancer because of the effect of radiation. But a big question still lies. When will they be able to come back to their homes?
Enjoy reading and learning about a recent report about the health of those evacuees from the ruined nuclear power plant. 


Topic Reading-Vol.417-6/2/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Will mammoths be brought back to life? Liquid blood find fuels cloning hopes.
Have you seen a movie Jurassic Park, which was written by Michael Crichton, an American best-selling author, producer, director, and screenwriter, best known for his work in the science fiction, medical fiction, and thriller genres. In the movie, there was part that showed how dinosaurs were cloned from DNA found in well-preserved blood.
Now, a team of scientists have gotten a step closer to possibly realize the authors dream as they found real liquid blood of a mammoth in the ice in Siberia.
Enjoy reading and learning how excited those scientists are with the new finding. 


Topic Reading-Vol.416-6/1/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Should I be concerned about new virus?
How many of you still remember the epidemic of SARS nearly a decade ago? When people travel all the time and all around the world more and more, the chance of a new virus becoming an epidemic or even pandemic is getting higher and concern about the ones no effective vaccine hasn’t been produced yet is mounting.
Enjoy reading and learning what and how much we need to worry about this new virus.