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Topic Reading-Vol.660-1/31/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Stem cell 'major discovery' claimed.
What are stem cells? They can become any other type of cells to play a specific fixed role such as nerve cells or muscle cells. In other words, they can regenerate alternative part of body.
A Japanese scientist has discovered a new way, called STAP (stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency) cells, to create stem cells simply by dipping blood cells into acid. If this revolutionary finding is put into practice, of course after further research and experiments, it could explore potential to start a new age of personalized medicine in a much faster and therefore more affordable way.
Will this finding be awarded another Nobel Prize like iPS by Dr. Yamanaka?
Enjoy reading and learning about this revolutionary discovery by a 30-year-old enthusiastic researcher.


Topic Reading-Vol.659-1/30/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Are Little Rock schools finally desegregated?
It was back in September, 1957 when the desegregation of the students was officially and legally taken place in Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Since then, countless efforts and actions have been made to bring equal educational opportunity to everyone at school. However, there seem to be a long way to reach the goal as financial and residential disparity still exist or even has widened between the two races.
Higher dropouts and lower grade and test scores are among the most significant problems among black students whose families aren’t as affluent as white students’. Some of those problems could be attributed to the school district where the racial mix of the residents considerably differs from the national or even state average.
Enjoy reading the article and thinking what could be done to bring in more balanced and equal educational opportunities and outcomes.


Topic Reading-Vol.658-1/29/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Hollywood's worst honored with Razzie Award nominations.
Is it honored or ashamed to be nominated for a Hollywood award?
Not this annual Golden Raspberry Awards. It could be also awfully discouraging to the audiences who enjoyed seeing the performance of the actors/actresses that starred in those nominated movies to know that they were the worst ones of the year. You may see some big or your favorite names among those nominated, such as Depp, a first time nominee, and Stallone, who has been nominated more than any other star, a record breaking 31times of the 34-year award history.
Enjoy reading the article and seeing the photos of those ashamed or honored scenes of the movies.


Topic Reading-Vol.657-1/28/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Online LL.M.s Offer U.S. Law Study Abroad.
You can get almost anything online just by a click of a mouse or touch on the screen with a credit card payment. Now, you could get a master’s degree online provided that you pass the exam.
Unlike Mooc such as edX or Cousera, which provides online learning opportunity to anyone at anywhere but not a degree, much more prestigious and valuable U.S. master degree of laws, or Latin Legum Magister (LL.M), now can be obtained online. That could be very helpful especially for the lawyers who are already practicing laws in other countries as they could be international lawyers without moving to and staying in the U.S. for two years off their businesses and families.
As the US laws become more popular and precedent-setting in other countries because of their far-larger market size than any other country in the world, such online courses would surely make them prevalent.
Enjoy reading and learning about the latest online education initiative.


Topic Reading-Vol.656-1/27/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Epic adventurer Sean Conway finds home on rundown war boat.
It seems impossible for an average swimmer to swim the length of Britain. But this man completed 1,400 km his four-and-half month journey last year from Land's End to John O'Groats being accompanied his support ship. More surprisingly, during his journey in the water, he purchased an 85-year-old boat to restore to live in with his aged mother through eBay auction. Why? Because he simply needed a place or boat to live in.
Some people try to push themselves to the limit and beyond to achieve their goals. And this man definitely falls in that category with great enthusiasm. His next challenge is to run 7,000 km from Cairo to Cape Town in Africa.
Enjoy reading and learning about a man of extraordinary strong will.


Topic Reading-Vol.655-1/26/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Honeybee shortage threatens crop pollination in Europe.
More honeybees needed to make the world greener?
EU is taking initiative to replace fossil fuels by biofuels such as oilseed rape, sunflowers and soybeans. That sounds environmentally friendly, doesn’t it? Then plant and grow more of them!
Unfortunately, nature or food chain isn’t that simple. In order to increase those bio-fuel producing crops, more pollinators such as honey bees or bumblebees are needed, otherwise farmers could face shortage of pollination to grow crops for food. And researchers have found that there is severe shortage of honeybees in some part of Europe, particularly in the U.K. If the problem isn't solved swiftly, British farmers could have to bear financial burden to pollinate fruits and vegetables.
Enjoy reading and learning about how food chain affects agriculture and environment.


Topic Reading-Vol.654-1/25/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Don't call Canadians 'American' or smile at the French, British hoteliers told.
Hotelkeepers face and service foreign guests and deal with all softs of requests and demands every day, especially those who work in the hotels in London where travelers come and stay from all over the world. And those British hoteliers seem to have learned how to generalize foreign guests by nationality from their business experiences.
It’s quite interesting to know how people are viewed by others in certain situation like staying in a hotel in a foreign country, though some of the references seem too exaggerated.
Enjoy reading and learning the dos and don’ts recommended by the experienced or just stereotyped British hotelkeepers.


Topic Reading-Vol.653-1/24/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Smoker numbers edge close to one billion
As the number of people living on this planet has increased rapidly for the last thee decades, so has the number of smokers, according to the Journal of American Medical Association report. And that increase has been generated mainly in developing countries where public health awareness and education are not quite up to the speed of economic development and population increase.
Is it just bad for physical health? Another data suggests that nearly five trillion cigarettes were consumed three decades ago but now over six trillion cigarettes are smoked, a little over 25% increase. Doesn’t that much fume from smoking affect the environment and air pollution as well?
Enjoy reading and learning how smoking is popular and prevalent in some places in the world.


Topic Reading-Vol.652-1/23/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
India's Delhi government launches anti-corruption helpline
Bribe takers must be feared by this helpline. It is designed and designated to set up sting operations to catch and arrest those who have long been demanding money for favor from ordicnary citizens.
Corruption is a major problem in India, though it isn’t unique to this subcontinent. It is a common practice in most of the developing countries, not to mention China, which is no longer regarded as “developing country.”
This problem seems to be serious enough for a newly formed party that pledged to fight against corruption to win 40% of the seats in last month's Delhi elections. Because of the public support in the capital’s election and overwhelmingly positive reaction to this helpline, the party is now seeking to contest the national elections which are expected to take place in this spring.
Enjoy reading and learning about the heated anti-corruption move in a hot country.


Topic Reading-Vol.651-1/22/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Davos: The world's most exclusive gathering
It is the highest city in elevation in Europe, and is one of the most popular Alps ski resorts with only a little over 10,000 permanent residents. Every winter, over two thousands political, business, academic and other leaders from all parts of the world gather in this mountain resort town to discuss agendas that affects the region or the world. This year’s attendees include the secretary general of the United Nations, presidents and prime minister of Israeli and Iran, Microsoft founder and some movie starts.
The World Economic Forum, or W.E.F., is no doubt one of the most prominent and prestigious meetings in the world. It was founded by a German engineer and economist, Klaus Martin in 1971. The aims of this gathering is to improve the state of the world by engaging those invited leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
Enjoy reading and learning why this exclusive gathering has been attracting so many leaders from different parts and fields.


Topic Reading-Vol.650-1/21/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
New terror weapon: Little girls?
It is quite common in developed countries for parents to have their children clean the house or do grocery shopping. In developing area or among poor families, parents have their children do housework or help them make their living in their farms, shops or even on the street. Having children help the housework or family business may also be good learning experience for the children, up to certain extent.
However, putting a vest with massive explosive on a child and having him or her detonate it in a target place or detonating it remotely cannot be allowed at any circumstances.
Here is a video clip and an article about such unforgivable act and practice by some of the Islamic militants.


Topic Reading-Vol.649-1/20/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Hiroo Onoda, Japanese soldier who long refused to surrender, dies at 91.
How many of you saw or remembered the sensational scene when this last soldier of Japan’s Imperial army finally surrendered and showed up to the then-modern society after three decades of hiding in a jungle in one of the small islands of the Philippines four decades ago?
He was sent to the island as an intelligent officer and ordered fight and not to die. He sincerely followed the order and hid him and his fellow soldiers away from his enemy and the local residents until 1974 with food and water he could get in the jungle. During the time in the jungle, he lived without any contacts or interactions with anyone but his few team members. In a sense, he time-traveled for three decades!
Enjoy reading and imagining what the completely isolated life for 30 years is like.


Topic Reading-Vol.648-1/19/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
30th Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
In a cold morning, you may have to struggle to get out of the warm bed, especially when ice and snow cover the roads and paths outside. But they may sometimes give you breathtaking art show.
In Harbin, China, where the average temperature stays between -12 and -24 degrees Celsius in January, the Annual International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival has been taken place for the last half century, except during the Cultural Revolution period.
There, you’ll enjoy not only the unimaginable icy coldness that most of you have ever experienced but also unmistakably beautiful art of ice and snow.
Enjoy seeing the photos of the ice and snow show.


Topic Reading-Vol.647-1/18/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Five trends to watch at CES.
How many of you are interested to buy an even bigger and higher-resolution televisions set, and if yes, how much more are you willing to spend on one? Would you rather have a smarter watch that monitors your physical movements and health conditions to give you timely and wise advice to improve your health, give alerts or send warning messages? Are you expecting your home and car more connected to your smartphone so that you can turn on and off electronic devices from somewhere else or give commands to the onboard computer of your car?
There are a lots of can-do technologies and eye-opening gadgets that are presented at International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Only a few of them have ever been manufactured and marketed and very few from them survive. As a matter of fact, Apple usually introduces its new product lines at their own event, not a public show like CES.
Anyway, it’s still fun to look around what people and companies are showing off at such big events.
Enjoy reading and learning what kind of technology upgrades you can expect in the future.


Topic Reading-Vol.646-1/17/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
The Cold War: A landmark documentary series
Today, there is an economy driven superpower in Far East, China, which is building powers and influences to the surrounding region and even the world against the other existing superpower, the U.S. But almost seven decades ago when the World War II was nearing to the end, there was an ideology driven superpower in the west of Europe that was trying to influence its sphere, the Soviet Union and another economy driven superpower across the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. which didn’t suffer from the war as devastatingly as the rest of the northern sphere.
Though then two superpowers didn’t fight directly each other, tensions between them were so hot that lead the world into the Cold War divided and defined the world whether East or West, communism or non-communism, comrades or friends until a quarter century ago.
Enjoy reading and learning the highlights of the Cold War.


Topic Reading-Vol.645-1/16/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Colorado's recreational marijuana stores make history.
Marijuana is said to be the third popular recreational drug in America after alcohol and tobacco but it has been banned for recreational use or retail sale to the public.
But now, Colorado allows registered dispensaries to sell up to an ounce of the weed for recreational use without proof of needs for mental treatment. Many from outside the state or even tourists across the border lined up to purchase the expensive weed to smoke.
How it works? Can it be addictive? Is it healthier than other recreational drugs?
Enjoy reading and learning about the excitement and argument about the first retail sale of Marijuana to the public.


Topic Reading-Vol.644-1/15/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Smaller seats, fee rises and new planes? 2014: The year ahead in air travel.
If you’re a frequent flyer, either on business or for pleasure, you’ll most likely be interested in finding out how the benefits and convenience in booking one airline over the others and what the size of your legroom will be like this year. In short, booking and seating are the two main factors when it comes to choosing an airline.
These are all depending on how and how much those airliners are going to put their money on attracting and satisfying passengers, as well as investing and receiving deliveries of new aircraft, such as Airbus’s A350 or Boeing’s 787.
Enjoy reading and learning what kind of changes, whether upgrade or cut, or tighter or larger, might affect your journey in the air.


Topic Reading-Vol.643-1/14/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Latvia becomes 18th state to join the Eurozone.
How many of you are familiar with this small ex-Soviet country that is sandwiched by its Baltic neighbors Lithuania and Estonia? It has been independent only since 1990 when they restored its independence from Soviet. This tiny country with just two-million population has become the newest member of the second most traded currency, Euro.
For the last two weeks since the beginning of this year, both their own currency, Lat, has also been circulated but today’s the last for Latvians to see their old coins and notes.
Some are in favor of the move, expecting new investment from other countries to come in, but others are worrying about inflation and or simply missing their pride currency. The move also could mean the country’s more reliance on European countries and economy in the future than Russia, which is the largest trade partner for the country today.
Enjoy reading and learning about a historic change for the Baltic nation.


Topic Reading-Vol.642-1/13/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China to promote cultural soft power
The world second largest country in the size of economy and the scale of military now wants to promote its cultural supremacy to the world, while selling over 20 million new cars a year on the roads, burning more coal than any other country and emitting the largest amount of CO2 into the atmosphere.
What is the objective to promote “cultural soft power” to the world? Is it something they already possess and now is the time to let others know of or they want to develop or change something that they can be proud of to others?
Enjoy reading and learning about what is their next step to influence the world.


Topic Reading-Vol.641-1/12/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Cash machines robbed with infected USB sticks.
Creating highly sophisticated malicious software and install it to a physical memory device like a USB, take it to an ATM of a European bank like UBS to withdraw cash. The person who is trying to steal money with this method has to take a risk to physically expose him or herself to the security camera to do the job. Does it sound high tech?
Probably this is just one of the examples that criminal programmers do to make their living. They could develop and install such programs to numbers of USBs and sell them to whoever wishes to take a risk, maybe with an advance payment or a second code to make sure the payment is going to be made once money is withdrawn. Sounds like ordinary businesses that involve payment collection risks.
Enjoy reading and learning about a business model to withdraw cash from ATMs.


Topic Reading-Vol.640-1/11/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
New envoy 'must find right mix'
This year, the US administration assigned Caroline Kennedy, an extremely well known hair of JFK, new ambassador to Japan, who has been very warmly welcomed by Japanese politicians, businesses and the public and is expected to play a key role to strengthen the close tie and cooperation between the two allies.
At the end of the year, the administration also announced a new ambassador to China, the other super power in military and economy.
The bridge between the two giants has about the same length as the one to Japan but is far bigger and wider and bears heavier traffic that could cause serious accidents at any time. To control this already congested and getting even busier traffic, the role of the traffic controller is vital for not only to both ends but also to the others around the water.
Enjoy reading and learning how this newly nominated envoy to China viewed and expected by his new customer.


Topic Reading-Vol.639-1/10/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Dream destinations for 2014
If you’re planning or dreaming your future travel shortlist, these subjectively chosen destinations might be some help for you. From sharing your breakfast with endangered wild animals in Kenya to flying to see and hike around the most stunning glacier-melted water in Alaska, a list of ten extraordinary travel destinations picked by the editors guides you to a never-thought-of –before world. Fortunately, not all of them are out of reach in terms of time and budget.
Enjoy reading and seeing the photos of some of the most interesting and attracting travel destinations.


Topic Reading-Vol.638-1/9/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
New analysis of ocean currents may solve eel mystery.
The eel is a mysterious marine creature in terms of its delicacy and life habits.
In many parts of Europe, eels are a popular dish, smoke, fried or boiled particularly at Christmas, while in Japan, they are often eaten broiled or steamed and broiled with special soy-source in summer time.
However recently, their populations both in Europe and Asia have been declining, making the market price sky high and conservationists deeply worried.
They migrate in somewhere in deep sea, and the new born baby eels, called elvers, travel several thousand kilometers back to their “originated rivers” were they are going to live for the next 20 years or so before traveling back to their “born seas” to migrate.
How they find those never-been-before places miles and miles away has been and still is an unanswered mystery to scientists and fishermen.
Enjoy reading and learning about this now endangered marine species.


Topic Reading-Vol.637-1/8/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China to take free navigation system global
China over-performs the US in large scales such as in the amount of CO2 emissions and beer consumption, the number of new cars sold and mobile phones used The country is expected to exceed the size of overall economy, or GDP, within a decade or two.
Furthermore, it is ambitiously going to be independent from the U.S. in positioning systems, first in Asian countries and eventually to the world with its “Beidou” global positioning and navigation services by 2020. It has already deployed 16 satellites since 2000 and will launch another 24 in the next six to eight years to expand the coverage to global. And they are going to provide such lucrative and dependable services to free to any and all.
What does it mean? While everyone in the region can enjoy the benefit of using the Global Satellite System, or GPS, provided by the US, why China wants to deploy and operate such a costly satellite system for free?
Enjoy reading and thinking about the ambition of the rising dragon.  


Topic Reading-Vol.636-1/7/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
13 comfort foods to boost weight loss
Two weeks after Christmas and a week after New Year’s Day, it may be time for you to rethink about your diet.
Vigorous exercise of course burns calories and fight fat and strict diet surely reduces calorie intake.
The question is how long can you endure such challenges? Also, it’s unhealthy simply to cut or reduce meals because it could unbalance the nutrition and unwise to sacrifice the satisfaction of tasting and filling your stomach because it is important for your mental health.
Are there any foods or dishes that provide both satisfaction and nutrition?
Enjoy reading and learning how to overcome these contrary challenges.


Topic Reading-Vol.635-1/6/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
McDonald's on employee resources site: Not lovin' it
It seems convenient for a large corporation or organization like McDonald’s or Walmart to have an outside vendor operate an internal resource information services like website or newsletter to their hundreds of thousands of employees. However, it could create unthinkable, out-of-touch or lack-of-commonsense communication that wouldn’t have been done if its own employees had been doing the job themselves.
Would you dare to encourage your employees to take second jobs to compensate the low wage or not to eat foods from their own menu but to choose healthier foods from your competitors?
Enjoy reading and learning how generally-acceptable communication could fool a particular group of people.


Topic Reading-Vol.634-1/5/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Aircraft safety: Should planes have parachutes?
About one-tenth of small aircraft is equipped with a parachute that reduces the descending speed to just slow enough to land safely when it’s falling out of control.
That sounds like a rational idea, doesn’t it? Then why the rest of the small aircraft don’t have such a safety mechanism? What about large commercial airliners that carry hundreds of passengers?
There seems to be economical justification or motivation needed for aircraft manufactures, airlines or even governments to make such a costly and radical move because it requires huge, bulky and costly parachutes to work with such huge aircraft as well as large scale redesigning and manufacturing of the aircraft.
Enjoy reading and learning about this could-be-lifesaving safety device.


Topic Reading-Vol.633-1/4/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
How do you design a building when your client is God?
Architects, like other professions, are required to realize what their clients want or achieve. For example, the newly opened 104-story One World Trade Center, or 1 WTC, is the primary building of the new World Trade Center complex in New York City and is the tallest building in the United States is part of an effort to memorialize and rebuild following the destruction of the original World Trade Center complex during the attacks of September 11, 2001. Another example is ancient Egyptian pyramids which were not only to rest the dead kings for the next world but also to show how great, wealthy and authoritative the rulers were to their people and perhaps to their enemies.
So what about religious buildings? There are numbers of historical, traditional and inspirational architectures around the world. They are expected to bridge not only the prayers’ spirits to their gods or prophets but also the people and their communities.
Enjoy reading the article and the photos of unique contemporary religious architectures.


Topic Reading-Vol.632-1/3/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Gaia space telescope's billion pixel camera to map Milky Way.
How many stars can we see in the night sky? How many stars are there in the universe?
Astronomers believe there are no fewer than 100 billion just in our galaxy, which is just a fraction of the Milky Way.
The Gaia space telescope equipped with a billion-pixel camera was launched into space by European Space Agency (ESA). The telescope is expected to help measure distances to those billions stars in order to build a three-dimensional picture of our galaxy. It is also expected to find more exoplanets on top of already-identified 167 of them.
As the estimated cost for this five-year project is a billion dollars, does it mean they are going to spend $1 or less to map a star?
Enjoy reading and leaning about this bold mission.


Topic Reading-Vol.631-1/2/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
EU citizenship for sale -- for $880,000.
Whoever, no matter where he or she lives or what he or she does, may apply for a citizenship of one of the EU states, provided that the person is wealthy enough to afford 650,000.
What are the benefits or privilege to obtain such a pricy passport? Two most likely answers seem to be the freedom to travel without visa to over 160 countries around the world and the right to live anywhere in the 27 EU membership countries and get a job there.
This highly controversial law was legalized by a tiny island nation in the Mediterranean Sea, Malta, where only a little over 400,000 residents live in. The island country is no exception of recession in the southern European nations like Greece and Italy and is seeking investors and buyers of its assets. And its passport, which is more valuable in other countries than in the issuer, seems to be the best property they could offer to cash rich foreigners.
Enjoy reading and learning what selling-a-passport business is like.


Topic Reading-Vol.630-1/1/2014

Happy new year to MEL School’s Topic Readers!
Here is this year's first topic reading for you.
How to Sell Your House to Chinese Buyers.
While diplomatic and military tensions in the Western Pacific waters are rising between the two superpowers, property businesses between them is heating up on American soil. The cash rich Chinese are now looking for real estates in America and the property owners in America want to sell their properties to those emerging buyers to the market.
One thing needs to be understood is that they are buying the properties mainly for investment. Therefore, there seem to be preferred markets, locations and properties on their shopping list. Also, they seem to be long-term and serious investors and study hard before inspecting their interested properties.
To close a deal with such buyers, there are some tips the seller’s side should know, including lucky and unlucky numbers and feng shui.
Enjoy reading and learning about how to work with property investors from China.