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Topic Reading-Vol.507-8/31/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Our first line of defense against violent solar storms.
You see, feel and enjoy the benefits of the Sun every day but how much do you know about the activities and their effects and influences on our lives? You may find it more substantial than you can imagine especially on aviation, communication and power generation when solar activity becomes extreme.
Enjoy reading and learning what space weather means and affects our lives, such as how strong the solar wind is or will be and how resistant the magnetic field of our planet is.


Topic Reading-Vol.506-8/30/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
A post-Christian Middle East?
It’s a highly sensitive topic to discuss, the relationship between politics and religion in a country, and the majority and minority of the races and religions in a certain region especially when the regime or the population changes.
Not only the proportion but also the size of non-Muslim population in the Middle East seems to have been decreasing over the past decades. And when things go unstable, unjustifiable hostility grows against each other and that is when conflicts and clashes between religious groups evolve.
Enjoy reading and learning about the religious conflicts in the Middle East. 


Topic Reading-Vol.505-8/29/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China announces end date for taking prisoners' organs.
Taking internal organs from executed prisoners for transplants is a highly controversial topic especially in a country where over thousands of prisoners are estimated to be executed every year and the justice system doesn’t seem to be as independent as other established countries.
China has been using “donated organs of executed prisoners” for transplants but recently admitted such practice and announced to cease it within the next several years because those organs of the executed prisoners are more likely to be infected by some disease which could cause long term affects to those who are undergone the transplant.
Here is a question. Is it acceptable to use a dead prisoner’s organ to save someone else’s life provided that an execution is something that is usually scheduled, which does offer a great convenience to prepare for a transplant but it also could create a chance to be traded, not to mention the possibility that the prisoner might have not been notified his or her donating the organ(s)?
Enjoy reading and thinking about the practice and discipline.


Topic Reading-Vol.504-8/28/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Things you may not know about the 1963 March on Washington.
Today a half century ago at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during “the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom”, this one of the most famous and influential speeches was addressed by American activist Martin Luther King, Jr., asking for equal rights for all.
The event took place in the nation’s capital at a larger than ever attendance of 250,000 civil right supporters. Considering the situations going on in the streets of Egypt between the supporters of the former democratically elected president and publically supported (?) military forces, it seems quite amazing that such a large-scale rally went peacefully without any bloodshed.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historical speech, enjoy reading some of the facts before and around the scene and seeing some photos of those days.


Topic Reading-Vol.503-8/27/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
India: the Story You Never Wanted to Hear.
Some of you might have heard how unfairly and disrespectfully women are treated in some countries in Asia, the Middle East or Africa, not being allowed to attend any school, forced to get married before teenage or even circumcision. India is known as one of the worst place when it comes to how women are treated because of the frequent rape incidents not only to the local residents but also to foreign visitors.
The day before the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” address in Washington asking for equal and fair treatment to all, read and learn how an American university student wants to express her disastrous experience in India. 


Topic Reading-Vol.502-8/26/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Saudi King intervenes to help 610kg man.
There must have been several benchmark weights like 100, 200 or 500 to take serious actions to reduce, or at least to stop, adding weight, such as  exercising more, eating less or getting medical treatment. But now this person weighs way over half a ton, heavy enough to draw attention from the king of the oil rich country. He is an extreme case but overweight seems to be a common problem in the Middle East, where over one-third of the adult population considered overweighed.
Does horseback or camelback riding help people more from becoming obese than car riding? One thing for sure is that neither of those animals would be able to bear such weight anyway.
Enjoy reading and learning about the growing concern in the gulf.


Topic Reading-Vol.501-8/25/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
CIA acknowledges its mysterious Area 51 test site for first time.
How many of you believe there have been visitors or contacts from other planets to ours? Many suspected or believed so when reports of Unidentified Flying Objects - or UFOs - started to emerge from the desert near Las Vegas, Nevada in the middle of the 20th century. There were numerous photos, some were fake, appeared in the newspapers and on TV shows in those days and many people suspected that Area 51 was the place where contacts with extra terrestrial, also known as E.T., were made.
However, a newly declassified government report acknowledges the existence of Area 51 as a site to base secretive reconnaissance aircrafts such as U-2s and A-12s, whose moves and lights looked so differently from others that many supposed them as U.F.O., which in a sense correct because they looked unidentified flying objects.
Enjoy reading and learning how people got excited about what they saw (believed to see) in the sky about a half century ago in the 500th topic reading.


Topic Reading-Vol.500-8/24/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
European forests near 'carbon saturation point'.
Before working on ‘carbon saturation point’, you may want to study what ‘carbon cycle’ is. It is the process by which carbon is transferred between land, sea and the atmosphere.
The next term you may be interested in checking before reading this 500th anniversary topic reading is ‘carbon sink.’ It is a natural or artificial reservoir that accumulates and stores some carbon-containing chemical compound for some time.
A recent study suggests that forests in Europe are getting reduced and old, thus they seem not to be able to absorb as much CO2 as being produced in the near future.
The good news is they have a place and an organization to tackle this problem beyond borders of the countries in the continent. But what about other part of the world such as Asia, South America or Africa? Are they or will they be able to study, discuss and come up with solutions?
Enjoy reading and learning about nearly present and clear problem of our planet.
Lastly but not the least, your continuous or even occasional, reading of MEL School’s Topic Reading is very much appreciated. 500 topics have been archived since the beginning of this project and more will be introduced in the future. So, please keep enjoying reading and learning.


Topic Reading-Vol.499-8/23/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
It was 54 years ago today we added the 50th state.
Alaska, the coldest but rich in nature and natural resources, was the second to the latest, and Hawaii, the warmest and beloved travel and vocation destination, was the latest to be granted statehood of the U.S. both in 1959. It seems to have taken considerable political moves and bargains behind the scenes to pass the legislatures to grant the status to those remote territories.
Now, there are only 1.4 million residents in Hawaii but they welcome a little over seven millions visitors. One fifth of those visitors fly from Japan and China respectively and drop significant amount of money and provide business and job opportunities there. So, the decision made about half century ago seems to pay off.
Enjoy reading and learning about how statehood was granted to the tropical territory.


Topic Reading-Vol.498-8/22/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Milestone study probes cancer origin.
In order to find how to cure cancers, it is important not only to develop ways to attack or remove cancer cells but also to find what mutated the healthy ordinary cells to tumors. Only a few signatures for mutation had been known until some British medical scientists have found more traces that seemed to have caused mutations to healthy cells other than ultra violet, or UV, and smoking.
Enjoy reading and learning about new dimension to prevent from and fight against cancers. 


Topic Reading-Vol.497-8/21/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China to fight extravagant official celebrations.
It sounds not only formal and official but also serious and strict. It’s no longer just announcing general guidance as political propaganda but rather displaying specific guidelines as the code of conduct and ethical standards according to an announcement issued jointly by the party’s top committee and relevant government offices.
Is it that important to maintain its one-party ruling regime to demonstrate frugality and sensitivity to the public? Aren’t there more critical or appealing issues such as democracy or transparency of the nation’s governance?
Enjoy reading and learning about a China’s recent public announcement.



Topic Reading-Vol.496-8/20/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Can retirement kill you?
In most developed countries where medical, dental and hygienic standards are high, people live much longer, nearly as much as a decade, than they did a half century ago. And in those who work full time in such areas not only can work longer than before but also should continue working longer to keep them busier and healthier because social interaction and engagement seem to matter to their both mental and physical health. One of the doctors who researched the issue suggests that people shouldn’t retire entirely suddenly but rather reduce their workload and work time gradually do avoid turning the switch off at once, which sounds a little controversial because many say that “on-and-off”, such as work time and off time, or weekdays and weekends is essential to enjoy life and work when people work full time.
Enjoy reading and learning what matters the most when people retire from their work.



Topic Reading-Vol.495-8/19/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Raha Moharrak: First Saudi woman to conquer Everest and break taboos.
If you remember reading an article, in Vol. 407 on May 23 this year, about a woman from the ultra-conservative Islamic country reached the top of the world, you’ll find this issue is about the same woman but with more focus on before and after the climb.
She seems to be fortunate because it took only an email and three days to get an agreement for her ambitious challenge by her father who has a say on anything in her life as she hadn’t been, and still isn’t as of now, married yet. She also seems to be influential enough to have encouraged a young Saudi teenage-girl to ask her dad to buy her a bicycle.
If riding a bike or driving a car is so uncommon or un-Islamic, what would it take for a young unmarried Saudi woman to go to the beach in a swimming suit?
Enjoy reading and learning about their tradition in the modern day.



Topic Reading-Vol.494-8/18/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
India aircraft carrier: New Delhi launches first home-built carrier.
Another aircraft career by growing power in Asia, this time India. China commissioned one last year that had been purchased from Ukraine, the former Soviet Union, back in 1999,  refurbished it secretively themselves, and finally commissioned it last year. They are also building ones of their own. Indian navy actually bought one from its former sovereign state, the Britain, in 1987 that has been commissioned as its flagship ever since. The country has been building one of their own and has launched it this month which is due to be commissioned in 2018. But why do those countries want to have such an expensive ship not only to build, maintain and operate but also requires extensive supportive vessels for active duties?
Enjoy reading and learning what aircraft carrier means to the navy. 



Topic Reading-Vol.493-8/17/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Malaria vaccine shows early promise in clinical trials.
How much do you know about Malaria, a fatal mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals that is transmitted via a bite from an infected female mosquito. According to the World Health Organization, or W.H.O., there were an estimated 219 million cases of the disease in 2010 and an estimated 660,000 deaths by the disease.
Although it has been known that a good immunity could be built up with substantial level of infected mosquito bites like over 1,000 times over time, the method doesn’t seem to be practical to apply to many.
Enjoy reading and learning about how researchers have come up with a potential and practical vaccine development against this fatal disease.


Topic Reading-Vol.492-8/16/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Can You Pass This 8th Grade Exam From 1912?
Can you answer this question, “Through which waters would a vessel pass in going from England through the Suez Canal to Manila?”
A century ago, or a year before the World War I broke out, it seems that exams for middle school students in America required very different knowledge and intelligence from now. They didn’t seem to be required to learn so much about influences or consequences of environmental problems or information technologies but seemed to be expected to learn basic and common knowledge in those days like; How long of a rope is required to reach from the top of a building 40 feet high to the ground 30 feet from the base of a building?
Enjoy reading and solving some of the questions being made 100 years ago.


Topic Reading-Vol.491-8/15/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Human trafficking roundup nets 75 in Spain, France.
In the previous, Topic Reading introduced illegal trafficking of ivory, mainly to China and other Asian countries from Togo, a small country in Africa. There is another large scale trafficking that may catch your attention but this time it isn’t of a thing but humans from China to Europe and America.
An organized and masterminded group of human traffickers were caught in Spain and France which ported and guided Chinese people who had wanted to live in other countries such as America, Britain and France, and surprisingly Spain and Greece where the unemployment rate is at their record high level.
Enjoy reading and learning about how people can be smuggled. 


Topic Reading-Vol.490-8/14/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Togo arrests large-scale ivory trafficker.
A small country in Western Africa, which land size is the 125th largest in the world, with a population of approximately seven million has been known as a trafficking point for ivory, whose trade has been banned internationally since 1989. In the small country, there is a guy who was recently arrested for a charge of trading ivory. He had been in the business for over 30 years which might have lead to the killing of “dozens of thousands of elephants.” However their current law could only give him a maximum of ONE year in prison.
Is that a fair punishment for such a large scale slaughter of animals? Is their law preventive to stop globally banned trafficking?
Enjoy reading and learning about an unbelievable scale of crime and justice in a small country.


Topic Reading-Vol.489-8/13/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Blind, Deaf Dogs 'Watch Out for One Another'
These two handicapped dogs happened to meet and be kept together at a dog shelter in California, one blind and the other deaf, and found themselves to be their life-time partners, just like an old American movie, “See no Evil, Hear no Evil”

The two dogs seem not only to compensate each other but also to feel comfortable being together. And there was a woman who felt compassionate about them and took them home. Now the two dogs seem to enjoy peaceful life without fear or hunger.
Enjoy reading and learning about a pair of dogs that were born with misfortune but have recently found beautiful partners and are now enjoying fortunate lives together.


Topic Reading-Vol.488-8/12/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
What if two good delicacies together, Ramen Burger vs. Waffle Taco?
If you’re awfully busy but want to enjoy two favorite dishes, here are a couple of ideas, click below to find the latest offerings by an independent chef and a national chain with 6,000 locations.

Which would be your call? If you want to have both, you’d enjoy four delicacies at a same time!
Enjoy reading and seeing the photos of mixed delicacies.



Topic Reading-Vol.487-8/11/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Have a taste of the world's first stem cell burger.
Who wants to bite a $330,000 burger which doesn’t taste as juicy as ordinary ones, especially whose patty isn’t made from farm-grown natural beef but from artificially developed stem cell?
It was developed in the hope of saving the world from the looming food and meat crisis as the world population and appetite for meat are expected to grow at a faster pace than ever for the next several decades.
Which would be your choice when the price of such stem-cell grown, or cultured, beef meets or goes lower than naturally-grown one? When will be the time MacDonald’s starts offering Big Mac Cultured?
Enjoy reading the article and seeing the video of the first of a kind cultured burger. 


Topic Reading-Vol.486-8/10/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Japan accepts Potsdam terms, agrees to unconditional surrender.
Today 68 year ago, Japan surrendered unconditionally to the allies, ending the long distracting war that the empire had started in Manchuria in 1931, invaded China in 1937 and further expanded to the Pacific by the Pear Harbor attack in 1941. So many people, not limited to the military personnel but enormous number of civilians suffered from the tragic war during the period. Furthermore, it took hundreds of thousand innocent lives in Hiroshima and Nagasaki only in two days. What made the decision so wrong and so late?
Enjoy reading and learning how western history site describes the surrender on the day that should not be forgotten. 


Topic Reading-Vol.485-8/9/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Dying US boy is best man at parents' wedding.
You might wonder how a boy can serve as his parents’ best man. That’s because his parents had planned to have their wedding in 2014. But then you might also wonder why the boy is dying. That’s because he’s suffered a serious and fatal leukemia and was told by the doctors that he would have only a few weeks left to close his two years life. It’s too short for anything but this two years must be a blessing memory for his parents.

Enjoy reading and learning about a life of a boy that is way too short for his parents. 


Topic Reading-Vol.484-8/8/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China sails through 'first island chain'
It was of course reported in Japan too, that Chinese navy vessels passed through the Soya Strait and Miyako Strait in July but they weren’t linked as much as what China has announced.
They now believe that the so-called First Island Chained has been broken, which refers to the first major group of islands and the sea around them off the East Asian continental mainland, including the Japanese islands, Ryukyu Islands, China's Taiwan and the northern Philippines, so that they are now capable of sending and supporting its warships to fight in channels far from their mainland.
Enjoy reading and learning China’s views on maritime territory, naval aggression and national security against the U.S. and its allies. 



Topic Reading-Vol.483-8/7/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China starts work on world's tallest building.
Only less than a year left for the 828-meter Burj Khalifa in Dubai to claim as the world tallest building as a new skyscraper is now under construction in Changsha in central China, which is going to stand 838 meters tall from the ground. What’s more surprising is that the new top-of-the-world skyscraper is projected to be completed its construction in April, 2014, only within nine months after it was announced in July, 2013. How could that happen?
Enjoy reading the article and seeing the video of the staggering pre-fabricated method to build such a tall building at a speed faster than the time between seeding and harvesting crops.
Also, enjoy learning the fact that there will be over 1,000 skyscrapers, taller-than-152-meter building, have been completed, being constructed and planned by 2000 in China.


Topic Reading-Vol.482-8/6/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Taiwan vote on nuclear plant referendum sparks brawl.
Parliament is a place where democratically elected representatives or counselors discuss matters and make decisions and laws for the people of the country. It could have a heated argument or rigid standoff and becomes unable to reach any agreement. That is a saga of democracy, isn’t it? But in some cases, a dispute heats up over the boiling point and erupts, and the members of the parliament start fighting with their hands rather than mouths.
That what exactly happened in the parliament of Taiwan when they were about to vote on whether to hold a referendum on completing construction of their fourth nuclear power plant near its capital city, Taipei. Interestingly, some of the members tried to cool down the heat by throwing cool water over other members who were exchanging punches.
Enjoy reading the article and seeing the video how heated parliament could go over a controversial issue.  



Topic Reading-Vol.481-8/5/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Chinese online game targets Japanese-held islands.
A very hostile online game towards Japan was released in China on the 85th birthday of the People’s Liberation Army, China’s military forces. The game is created in collaboration with the military that is hoping to boost patriotism as well as to recruit more young students who are the main users of such war and action games. It seems more evident these days China more openly regards Japan as their hypothetical enemy or something and doesn’t show any intention to conceal it.
Enjoy reading and learning about what image China’s military is trying to promote to the youth and how they are trying to recruit young soldiers.


Topic Reading-Vol.480-8/4/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Yemeni girl from YouTube wants education, not marriage.
What sort of educational opportunities is given to girls in a place like Yemen where over a half of the girls under the age of 18 are married and whose parliament passed a legislation to raise the minimum age of marriage to 17 but has never been signed to become effective because of the pressure by conservatives who claim the law isn’t Islamic?
There is an eight-year-old girl who left her parents’ house to escape from a set marriage to become a domesticated young housewife but to be an educated young talent.
How many young girls in such ultra-conservative regions aren’t given proper, or at least minimum, education? Do restrictive religious practices meet today’s living standards, basic requirements or human rights?
Enjoy reading the article and watching the video to learn what education means to young girls. 


Topic Reading-Vol.479-8/3/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
The Real Reason Kids Need to Master Their Math Skills.
This is something many students want to know; why we have to learn math and how necessary it is to find and deal with a job, or just simply live daily lives while calculators, computers or even other humans do the math for you, at least for most of the time.
The aim of developing math skill doesn’t seem to just answer math problems correctly but to adapt problem solving strategy through thinking logically, considering options and justifying the conclusions. This ability is becoming more essential these days when humans are required to cope with situations and environment that are changing more constantly and drastically that ever before. In short, developing math skills isn’t just for ability to calculate correctly to given preset problems but for adaptability to the changing situations.
Enjoy reading and learning what math is about and what it could provide for you. 


Topic Reading-Vol.478-8/2/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Pope Francis: Who am I to judge gay people?
As you know, Pope is the Bishop of Rome and the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. The incumbent Pope is Francis, elected on 13 March 2013 after Benedict XVI, has just become the first Pope to visit South America, gathering as many as three million people in the world famous beach Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro.
He made this first-time-ever visit for any Pope to visit Brazil whose Catholic population is the largest in the world but the proportion has been declining for the last decade against Protestants. The church’s tough position on abortion, divorce and gay marriage seem to have been the underlying reasons of the decline as the world, especially the young, seek more freedom and less borders among people because of particular practices and orientations.
However, the new Pope seems to be more sensitive and flexible on these issues based on the comments he made on his flight back to Vatican.
Enjoy reading and learning about the stance of the world most influential clergy. 


Topic Reading-Vol.477-8/1/2013

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Ramadan acts as 'Super Bowl for adverts' in the Middle East.
You’ve got to know what Ramadan is in the first place. During this nearly a month period, Muslims are supposed to refrain from eating food, drinking liquids, smoking, and engaging in sexual relations between dawn until sunset. And what will they do with the time without any food or drinks? Watching TV more!!!
Enjoy reading and learning what people might do and companies do with them during this special period.