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Topic Reading-Vol.476-7/31/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Bo Xilai indicted for corruption.
Once a member of the most powerful Central Committee Political Bureau and the top of Chongqing, one of the top four metro cities, is now formally indicted for corruption and misuse of his power. His wife was already sentenced to death because of a murder case she committed to protect her family’s interest but was given a two-year reprieve, which seems to be a popular treatment to high-ranking party leaders and their family members while demonstrating party’s commitment and enforcement to root out corruptions and abuse of power of civil servants and party officials.

Enjoy reading and learning about how China announces its decisive action to fight against disciplinary violations to clean up its public image.


Topic Reading-Vol.475-7/30/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
South African chef 'too fat' to live in New Zealand.
While the country has one of the highest obesity rates among the developed countries with nearly 30% of people overweight, it declined a visa extension simply because the applicant is heavier than average overweight, which could put the person at higher risk of suffering diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. It sounds more like an economical reasoning rather than health.
Enjoy reading and learning as to how stingy a ministry could be when it comes to health insurance cost.



Topic Reading-Vol.474-7/29/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Hunter Mahan, leading RBC Canadian Open, withdraws when wife goes into labor.
There are times when people need to choose whether to stay or leave, continue or cease, or say yes or no. It’s just a matter of priority, what’s more important than others, no matter how precious or valuable the sacrifice might be. It could be just a great deal or some sort of financial gain, a relationship with someone or a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Here is a golfer who walked away from a leading tournament to be at his wife’s first labor work thousands of miles away. It didn’t seem to take him any longer than a mere second to leave the golf course in Canada for the airport to catch the first available flight back to Texas.
Enjoy reading and learning what a priority means to one of the most prominent golfers today. 

Editor's Note: There are twin girls who were born on this very day 20 years ago in California. Their father was of course by their side taking his first ever day-off, which greatly surprised everyone in his office. Happy birthday!


Topic Reading-Vol.473-7/28/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Bring Any Working Cellphone to Best Buy, Get a Free Samsung Galaxy S3.
Consumer marketing deals these days seem to offer not only economic but also environmental value. When you’re thinking of getting a new smartphone or tablet PC, you most likely leave your still-functioning conventional or smart phone somewhere in the desk drawer or closet because it’s small enough not to bother you much. But what if you get, not pay, $50 to replace your phone with a band new smartphone? You probably would be more motivated to check the store that offers such a stimulating incentive rather than others that don’t, wouldn’t you? And if you learn that your phone would be resold somewhere that still values it, wouldn’t you be more encouraged to trade in rather than adding another used-to-be-used phone to you collection or creating high-tech waste harmful to the environment, would you?
Enjoy reading and learning about a recent consumer marketing approach.


Topic Reading-Vol.472-7/27/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Biggest-ever foreign turnout expected for North Korea mass games.
How many of you have ever imagined traveling to one of the most secretive countries, North Korea, especially to enjoy experiencing an entertainment event? Long after Cold War, there aren’t any other human mass games of this scale that you can see on live, with over 100,000 dancers and singers participating, presumably outnumbering the spectators of the nation’s proud stadium, to show off how united and powerful the country is to its food and energy hungry citizens. But is seems that more foreign tourists are attracted to see this extravaganza these days.
Enjoy reading the article and seeing the photos of the spectacle. 


Topic Reading-Vol.471-7/26/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Female genital mutilation: 30 million girls 'at risk'
Circumcision isn’t just for boys or men. Female circumcision, or Female Genital Mutilation, F.G.M., is still a popular practice mainly in Africa and the Middle East where Islam and Judaism are the most common belief. It is estimated that over 100 million women alive today would have undergone such painful and harmful surgical procedure without medical reasons.
The good news is that even more men in certain area where the practice is still popular are against FGM than women. The bad news is that it is overwhelmingly popular in some places such as Somalia, Egypt and Sudan.
Enjoy reading and learning about this physically and mentally dangerous practice still popular in today’s world.


Topic Reading-Vol.470-7/25/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
How animals evolved to stay cool under the sweltering summer sun.
We humans came up with ideas to deal with sizzling summer heat, such as wearing loose clothes, eating or drinking cold stuff, ventilating or cooling the air inside the building or house.
Many of you might know that dogs pant to cool off their body instead of sweating like humans do, so do the large ears elephants have. But there are other four-legged animals that live in places where temperatures go up over 40 degrees, or 100 in Fahrenheit, without shades or water such as desert or savanna?
Enjoy seeing the photos of amazing ecological cooling systems of animals and reading the explanations. 



Topic Reading-Vol.469-7/24/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China frees banks to set their own lending rates
In general, banks usually make profits by charging interest on the money they are lending to people or companies. Therefore, the higher the gap between the lending and paying (to depositors or other financial institutions) interest rates are, the higher the bank’s revenue might be.
Banks in China have been restricted to set their lending interest rate at no lower than a set rate by its central bank. In other words, their selling prices have been restricted. Now, as part of China’s move to make its financial market more market driven, banks are now allowed to set their lending rates freely. This means they could offer lower lending rate to compete in the financial market, which could be good news to borrowers.
Enjoy reading and learning about a recent move in China’s financial market.


Topic Reading-Vol.468-7/23/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Detroit files for bankruptcy protection.
Just like individuals and businesses, a municipal government could go bankrupt.
When you owe more than what you earn and become unable to pay your debt, you may liquidate some or all of your assets to pay off the debt, issue I.O.Y. (I Owe You: a signed document acknowledging a debt) to your employees and venders, ask for bankruptcy protection to keep your daily business going or take all of these options. But if you employ a large number of personnel and owe your citizens and businesses your services, you have no choice but to take all these options to fulfill your duties.
This time, the city of Detroit, a major urban center in the Great Lakes region of the American Midwest and the center of the American automotive industry for more than a century filed Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection to prevent itself from being liquidated and to keep running their services, including the police, firefighting units, schools and administrative functions.
The city has a nick name of “Motor City” or “Motown” as it hosts Big 3 auto manufactures, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, which is now owned by Italian car manufacture FIAT.
Enjoy reading and learning how badly such an iconic American metro city became bankrupt. 


Topic Reading-Vol.467-7/22/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Primitive human society 'not driven by war'.
It is assumed that over 90% of the humans lived around 12,000 years ago made their living by hunting and gathering, not farming. A research, which had studied isolated tribes around the world over the last century found that violence in those early human communities was mostly driven by personal conflict rather than wars or battles between groups or tribes.
You may find it quite interesting to study modern tribes to assume how people in ancient times lived but life style of those isolated tribes doesn’t seem to have changed much since pre-agricultural era.
There still seemed to be certain number of killings within those communities that look more peaceful than the modernized world.
Enjoy reading and learning about ancient hunter gatherers. 


Topic Reading-Vol.466-7/21/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Genetic advance in Down's syndrome.
Down syndrome is a genetic disorder and is typically associated with a delay in cognitive ability and physical growth, and a particular set of facial characteristics. The average IQ of young adults with this syndrome is around 50 whereas normal young adults’ is about 100.
This syndrome is the most common chromosome abnormality in humans and is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21, one of the 23 pairs of chromosomes in humans and the smallest.
A team of scientists have demonstrated a new proof of concept that could explore a new approach to materialize a treatment or prevention of the disorder.
Enjoy reading and learning what Down or Down’s syndrome is about and the latest medical- science advancement that might lead to new medical treatments for the condition. 


Topic Reading-Vol.465-7/20/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Bloomberg's latest anti-obesity effort encourages New Yorkers to take the stairs.
The popular billionaire mayor, who is due to leave the office after serving one of the most popular cities for 12 years, has been promoting health not only for the citizens but also visitors and workers of the city by banning transfat and supersized sodas that could fatten already overweighted Americans. Now his latest and most likely his last move is to make or let people use stairs instead of elevators to exercise more by changing the city code and creating a group to suggest design changes in the buildings and sky scrapers but without financial incentives or subsidizing building owners or developers because he believes living longer is enough economic initiative.
Enjoy reading and learning how a successful businessman and dedicated mayor has been tackling obesity problems. 


Topic Reading-Vol.464-7/19/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Chilling Report: Earth Loses 300 Billion Tons of Ice Each Year.
Very most of the planet’s glacier ice lies on Greenland and Antarctica, in some part as thick as nearly 5 kilometers. And a new science study has revealed that that glacier ice seems to have melted faster in the last two decades than in the last 10,000 years.
Although some part of Antarctica has added more ice because of increased snow fall, the loss of such ice sheets has affected the environment, raising sea levels even faster than the prediction by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007.
Enjoy reading and learning about the effects of global warming. 



Topic Reading-Vol.463-7/18/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
At Ford, robots in the driver's seat.
Google has developed and been testing its computerized automatic driving system, which is capable of driving a vehicle on public roads to a desired location even without a human driver on board or remote monitor. Then why a automotive company recently started using a robot to test drive a vehicle by actually moving its steering wheel, shifting the gear and actuating the gas pedal and brake all physically?
Enjoy reading and learning what the durability test for automobiles is about.


Topic Reading-Vol.462-7/17/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
JK Rowling revealed as author of The Cuckoo's Calling.
How do you think most people choose books to read, by category, the story or the writer?
The crime novel under an unknown male writer had been sold only 1,500 copies before its real author’s name was revealed that it was her not him who had written the book. But the sales soared both online and offline once Rowling’s name appeared as the author.
Did she want to find out how good she is as a crime story writer?
At least one crime writer had said that the book must have been written by a mature writer while an editor had turned it down before it was published, suggesting not bad but not great.
Enjoy reading and finding why she did so.


Topic Reading-Vol.461-7/16/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Protest prompts China to cancel Jiangmen uranium plant.
It seems that public protests have more power than ever before in some of the Arabian countries that had been or have been ruled by tyrants. But it took not only considerable time and numbers of demonstrations but also bloody fights on the streets and lives of people.
Now even in China, public protests, though still heavily curtailed, seem to have effective force to the ruling party or local governments to change their decisions.
Just about 24 hours after by a mere 1,000 protesters marched the streets of a southern city near Hong Kong, the local government announced that it would call off its ambitious project to build and operate a uranium plant.
Enjoy reading and thinking of what made the powerful ruling party make such a quick decision to back off its plan in response to such a small protest, which could set a precedent for future cases. 


Topic Reading-Vol.460-7/15/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Malala at U.N.: The Taliban failed to silence us.
On October 9, 2012, masked Taliban gunmen tried to silence her but badly failed. Nearly nine months later on her 16th birthday, she was able to speak up to the world leaders at the UN headquarters in New York. What she wanted wasn’t an opportunity for revenge against those gunmen but education for every child in the world, including the children of the extremists, especially the Taliban. She believes those extremists are afraid of the power and influence of books and pens, and the voice of women.
Enjoy reading the article and hearing her speech in front of children and leaders from the world.


Topic Reading-Vol.459-7/14/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
One final mountain to climb after Japan assignment.
Most of you may regularly use, or might have used at least a few times, google map to find locations, see street views, or to get directions to some place for whatever the occasion might be.
Now, 30,000 trekkers climb Japan’s most honored mountain each year, and that number is expected to grow as it was listed recently granted UNESCO World Heritage status, there is no wonder why the Google Street View Trekker team planed to map out a path up to the peak.
What kind of ads will pop out when someone is enjoying spectacular street view toward and around the top of the mountain?
Enjoy reading the article about how a foreign correspondent enjoyed climbing Mt. Fuji with the Google team.  



Topic Reading-Vol.458-7/13/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Japanese defense report worrisome, says China.
This is China’s official and diplomatic reaction to what Japan said in its recently-issued annual defense report especially on disputed islands. Isn’t it interesting to learn what the other side of the table thinks and talks about the very issue that you’re working on?
Enjoy reading and learning what and how China reacts and announces its stance on a issue that has been disputed nearly a year.


Topic Reading-Vol.457-7/12/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Smartphone becomes in-car head-up display.
Head-up Display, or HUD, has been considered an expensive nice-to-have gadget mostly for luxury automobiles. With HUD, a driver can keep their eyes more on the road rather than looking down the cockpit or navigation display, which will improve the safety, convenience and comfort for driving.
Now, using a conventional smartphone, which hardware is replaced every other year or so, its apps and maps are upgraded every day and the location is updated every second, you don’t have to spend fortune on ancient technology which the car company developed several years ago.
Enjoy reading and learning about an interesting and application and usage of smartphone.


Topic Reading-Vol.456-7/11/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
IVF as cheap as £170, doctors claim.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a process by which an egg is removed from the woman and fertilized by sperm in a tube, or simply called "test tube experiments", which could cost as much as £5,000 per cycle. Now the science behind IVF seems to be reduced to the level at which ordinary couples in developed countries and even in developing countries can afford.
This is one of those prospective medical treatments that are expected to flourish in the 21st century when population growth is faster in developing countries in Asia and Africa.
Enjoy reading and learning about the latest move in assisted fertilization.


Topic Reading-Vol.455-7/10/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Australia’s beer can regatta.
How many empty cans of beer and/or soft drinks do you think those racers, or rowers of the boats, need to consume and collect to take part in this annual boat racing? It surely sounds and looks eco friendly provided that all those used cans are going to be recycled after the event.
It’s their 40th anniversary race with 65 contestants from as far as Canada and Belgium. Some of the competing boats is as long as 12 meters in length!
Enjoy reading and learning about this ultimate eco-friendly racing with unlimited fun! 



Topic Reading-Vol.454-7/9/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Three Latin American leftist leaders offer asylum to Snowden.
By the time you read this article, the ex-CIA contractor who has been in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo international airport since June 23 might have made his asylum to one of those three Latin American countries, chosen to go somewhere else or put off his decision as to where to settle himself in.
The interesting fact to be learned from this case is that there are at least three leftist leaders in Latin America have announced to accept his asylum, if requested. Is it just to demonstrate their hostility to Washington or to acquire a diplomatic card future bargain?
Enjoy reading and learning about the reactions of those anti-America leaders in Latin America. 


Topic Reading-Vol.453-7/8/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Great green blob covers Chinese waters.
Are you willing to swim or go in such green, not necessarily clean in this case, water like this?
It doesn’t look harmful to humans but surely not healthy from any aspects. The Chinese authority has attributed the cause of the growth of this massive green algae to warmer seas but experts say other factors such as agricultural waste, industrial pollution, or human sewage seem to have grown the biomass.
Enjoy reading and seeing unusual photos of super-grown green weeds in the sea. 


Topic Reading-Vol.452-7/7/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
5 Things You Didn't Know About Competitive Eating.
The 98th Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, New York, is won by a man who swallowed 68 hotdogs in just ten minutes, which is a total of nearly 20,000 calories, 1,173 grams of fat, 210 mg of cholesterol and 48,990 mg of sodium, enough calories for 10 days for a healthy adult man.
Is competitive eating just a game or some sort? It seems to require not only a healthy body but also constant physical training, not to mention the power to chew and swallow such massive amount of food in a short period of time as well as supersized and inflatable stomach. Then how do those contestants develop such demanding ability and capacity to compete?
Enjoy reading and learning about this extreme contest and its contestants’ efforts. 


Topic Reading-Vol.451-7/6/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Seattle Man Catches 200-Year-Old Fish
Is it Coelacanth or some sort? Not quite. It’s actually just rockfish caught from the deep sea off the coast of Alaska by a real estate developer from Seattle who is much younger than the fish.
But a question arises: how do you measure the age of fish? First, this rare fish unlike most other fish species grows bigger as it ages. That is why the fish caught by the pleasure fisherman weighed a record-breaking 39.8 pounds, or just about 18 kilograms. Also, this fish’s ear bone grows one ring for every year it lives just like a tree would.
Enjoy reading and learning about this rare, supersized and centuries-old fish.


Topic Reading-Vol.450-7/5/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
New filial law sparks debate.
It may be hardly believable for a grandparent to sue his or her children for not visiting often or caring enough in a country where filial duty has (or now had) long been a family practice.
As now economic development, one-child policy, migrate workers and hyper-competition in education and job market seem to have affecting the tradition in China, which is becoming one of the fastest aging societies in the world, those lonely or left-out grandparents are in need of more visits and care by their offspring and the court ruled that they should be taken care by law.
Enjoy reading and learning about the latest move to support and even enforce the traditional family value.


Topic Reading-Vol.449-7/4/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Emergency fire shelters last chance for survival.
The wildfire in Arizona took lives of 19, mostly in their 20s, elite firefighters called “hotshot crew”, or an interagency hotshot crew (IHC). It is a crew of 20 firefighters specially trained to cope with wildfires. Hotshot crews are considered an elite group among wild land firefighters, because of their extensive training, high physical fitness standards, and ability to undertake difficult, dangerous, and stressful assignments.
The last effort for survival when those wildfire fighting crews is to put themselves into their emergency fire shelters, which is designed to reflect heat and trap cool breathable air inside for a few minutes while a wildfire burns over a person. Unfortunately, this shelter wasn’t resistant enough to protect their lives from the blaze.
Read and learn about what the emergency fire shelter is like. 


Topic Reading-Vol.448-7/3/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Southwest bakes in 115 to 120-degree heat!
How many of you are able to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius or vice versa?
Don’t worry; the Fahrenheit scale isn’t officially or practically used in the U.S. and a few other small countries. But when you hear or read temperatures like 115 to 120 degrees, you’ll be quite surprised or confused. Is the U.S. such a hot place?
In order to convert the Fahrenheit to Celsius, you need to subtract 18 first and then divide the figure by 1.8, or multiply it by five and divided the result by nine. Here are some comparative figures;
- the boiling point of water is 212 degrees Fahrenheit=> 100 degrees Celsius
- 125 degrees Fahrenheit=> 52 degrees Celsius
- 100 degrees Fahrenheit=> 38 degrees Celsius
-   75 degrees Fahrenheit=> 24 degrees Celsius
-   25 degrees Fahrenheit=> 10 degrees Celsius
- the freezing point of water is 32 degrees Fahrenheit=> 0 degrees Celsius
Enjoy reading and learning how hot the South-western part of the U.S. is.



Topic Reading-Vol.447-7/2/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
In China, activists fight for gay marriage.
Is China, which is governed by one ruling party, more liberal than its neighboring democratic countries in terms of equal rights? At least the demonstration walk with arms around each other's shoulders by students in a small village in Northern China on June 28 wasn’t cracked down by the authority like the one in Beijing 14 years ago.
Are those who are openly gay or supportive of them find themselves equally treated or not discriminated in today’s society especially in rural regions or will they in the near future?
Enjoy reading and learning about what and how they feel about their current situations and foresee their future society. 


Topic Reading-Vol.446-7/1/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
NASA telescope to study mysterious part of the sun.
You may know that the sun’s surface is very hot, no lower than 6,000 degrees Celsius, but some region of its outer atmosphere, the temperature goes as high as two million Celsius.
Why so? That is something astronomers have been trying to find clues and therefore, an observational spacecraft was launched and in orbit.
Enjoy reading the brief article and seeing the photos of NASA’s latest mission to observe the hottest region of the sun.