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Topic Reading-Vol.688-2/28/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Facebook goes beyond 'male' and 'female' with new gender options!
How you identify your gender status is how you want to be recognized by others. When you are asked to create your profile such as the D.O.B, race, school, religion or interests, you want to type the exact information or choose the most suitable options, not just the closest.
In addition to male or female, Facebook, the world largest social networking service, now offers more gender options for those who wish to identify themselves more accurately, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, as many as 50! Accordingly, they also added a gender-neutral pronoun “they/their.”
Enjoy reading and learning what gender options people might want to choose to identify themselves.


Topic Reading-Vol.687-2/27/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Belgium's parliament votes through child euthanasia.
How young one can make a big decision, like to live or to die?
Euthanasia itself is a highly controversial issue. Only a handful of countries or states have legalized the practice.
In February 2014, Belgian parliament passed a bill to lift the age limit for euthanasia, allowing even an elementary child’s request for dying can be granted with his or her parent’s and doctor’s consent. The country is dominated by Catholics who usually aren’t so progressive in humane acts like abortion or euthanasia.
What made them legalize such a controversial practice? Will this law ease the mental pain of the parents whose child is in great physical pain that cannot be cured or eased?
Enjoy reading and thinking which to vote, aye or nay if you were an MP, member of parliament. 


Topic Reading-Vol.686-2/26/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China is still a jobs hotspot for expats.
Though China is still the second largest country in the size of economy, the amount of trade, numbers of products produced and sold are larger than any other country in the world, such as beer, cars and smartphones, not to mention the population of 1.3 billion. Then, what about the size of job market for foreigners there?
The number of foreign workers in China, excluding those in Hong Kong and Macau, exceeded a quarter million in 2012, up 17% from 2007, according to China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security. Where do those expatriates come from? Mostly from the U.S. and the U.K., where job opportunities are plentiful and compensations are lucrative for talented or skilled workers, not to mention the living standards and environment, compared with China.
Are China’s job opportunities for foreigners more attractive than the ones in their homeland? You may want to research what the job opportunities and compensation packages are like. You may also want to think what benefits you may earn for the long run.
Enjoy reading and learning about the job market and opportunities for foreigners in China.


Topic Reading-Vol.685-2/25/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Gillard takes new role with global education campaign.
50 million plus. This is an estimated number of children who have no chance or access to primary school in poorest countries. They are mainly in the sub-Saharan Africa and in some parts of Asia where grownups spend more time and effort on just feeding their families, or in some cases fighting against other tribes or people of different beliefs.
An ex-PM and ex-education minister of Australia is setting out her new life to help them. Ms. Julia Gillard is taking the chairwoman’s role of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to help 60 or so poorest countries to provide education to their children.
Enjoy reading and learning about this new challenge of a dedicated and respected ex-politician of Australia.


Topic Reading-Vol.684-2/24/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Danish zoo kills healthy giraffe, feeds body to lions.
It may sound outrageous and inhumane act to kill a healthy young animal even it’s an euthanasia, especially in a zoo where animals are supposedly housed, fed and taken care to entertain the visitors. On February 8, a two-year old healthy male giraffe was shot in the head in a zoo in the capital of Denmark despite the numbers of petitions and criticism from all over the places. More surprisingly, the body was autopsied outside in front of the visitors including children and the finally eaten by other habitants of the zoo such as lions and tigers.
As a matter of fact, dozens of animals like goats, antelopes and wild boar are culled in the zoo every year to maintain a sound and healthy population of those species.
Why a healthy young male giraffe?
Inbreeding, or breeding too closely related animals, may cause chronic diseases or genetic disorders.
Any other options?
Enjoy reading the article and seeing the video to find why the carers had to kill their beloved animal.


Topic Reading-Vol.683-2/23/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Philly schools consider universal enrollment model.
The U.S. is a diverse country and people like to have choices as to what to eat, where to live, how to spend time, who to work or live with or which school to attend. Indeed, when it comes to deciding which high school to attend, there are several types to choose from such as pubic, charter, private, religious or even cyber schools. With such variety of choices, families have to research their best options and submit various applications in different forms by different due dates. In order to save such time consuming process, a new enrollment model to offer families a central gateway is becoming popular among major cities such as Washington, D.C., Newark(NJ), Denver and New Orleans.
Philadelphia, the largest and the central city of Pennsylvania and the second largest cities on the East Coast, is another major city that is considering following the suit.
Enjoy reading and learning about a new enrollment and application system that could bring in not only convenience but also limitations to applicants.


Topic Reading-Vol.682-2/22/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Burgers challenge baguettes in French fast food stakes.
Can you imagine yourself eating a hamburger in a street café facing Les Champs-Élysées, one of the famous among and visited streets by tourists? Now there is no surprise seeing over half of sandwich eaters are munching hamburgers in France, where their proud and beloved baguettes sandwiches had dominated their lunch menu until recently. As a matter of fact, France is now the second largest market for MacDonald’s!
However, while giving up their luxurious two-hour lunch with wine to follow the world eat-and-back-to work trend, they still seem to maintain their gourmet taste with the simple bun-and-patty sandwich.
Enjoy reading and learning how the French enjoy American sandwich.


Topic Reading-Vol.681-2/21/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
NASA: 2 places on Mars could have been habitable.
Earth’s outer neighboring planet, Mars is the second smallest planet in the Solar System after Mercury, which is often called as the "Red Planet" because of its reddish look. Though it is smaller, lighter, colder and drier than Earth, it’s been believed to be habitable, at least sometime in the past. And people on Earth have been spending large sum of money, intelligence and time to find some proof, whether it is or was habitable, or it was once inhabited. To satisfy the curiosity, several rovers have been sent to the red planet by the U.S.A., the E.U., and Russia, and a few of them are still under operation, and two of them seem to have found some compelling evidence of the planet’s habitable conditions.
Enjoy reading this scientific article and seeing some desertic views of the Red Planet.


Topic Reading-Vol.680-2/20/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Beijing open for 'equal' dialogues with Taipei.
Another historic move for cross-Strait relations. Only a week after a historic meeting between the head of the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office of China and Taiwan’s counterpart in Nanjing, Xi Jinping, the head of the party and nation met the former Premier and Vice President of the Republic of China. At the meeting, Xi expressed respect for Taiwan’s political system and readiness for equal talks to promote peaceful development of cross-Straits relations.
After the end of World War II, the Chinese Civil War resumed between Chiang Kai-shek led Chinese Nationalists (Kuomintang) and Mao Zedong’s Chinese Communist Party. In December 1949, Chiang evacuated his government to Taiwan with 2 million people from mainland China along with many China’s national treasures, gold reserves and foreign currency reserves. Today, while the People’s Republic of China is officially and diplomatically recognized in the international community, Taiwan, or the Republic of China isn’t recognized by almost any countries or the United Nations. However, even without official relationship between the cross-Strait states, they’ve been enjoying strong economic relations for the past decades.
Will the day come soon when Taiwan becomes part of China on the world map? (already is in the maps in China) Will that be something the U.S. and other neighboring countries want to see?
Enjoy reading and learning about China’s recent friendly moves and messages to Taiwan.


Topic Reading-Vol.679-2/19/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
From Windows to the Xbox: Bill Gates' 'pioneering' impact
Bill is back! He’s still alive and seems very much willing to be re-involved in the world of innovation, from the charitable cause that he and his wife had created and donated, and have dedicated most of their time for the last six years.
Those who were born or grown with “i” products might not be so interested in software titles or products with “MS.” Those who believe “Steve” was the sole and most influential IT business leader might be surprised to learn how innovative and substantial Bill and his company have achieved.
Enjoy reading and learning what Gates has done and is going to do to help reshape the IT giant in Seattle for its users all over the world.


Topic Reading-Vol.678-2/18/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Greenland glacier hits record speed.
Another clear and present sign of global warming. More ice melting at faster velocity in Greenland.
How many more evidences are needed to be witnessed for the most intelligent being on the planet to react to this catastrophic problem that they have been creating themselves?
What needed to be given up and endured today seems much easier and smaller compared to the one that is going to be dealt with in the coming future. When sea levels rise by a few centimeters, how many people will be forced to move and how much damage will be caused to the coast lines?
Enjoy reading and learning about another evidence of global warming.


Topic Reading-Vol.677-2/17/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Japan brainwashing kids.
The view of a mountain from one side is often quite different from the one from the other side. This is quite true when two countries look at one historical incident or territorial issue, especially at a time when dialogues between the countries aren’t taking place. The tensions rise between the two without a place to talk. One small incident could bring about disputes over other issues and lead to diplomatic bashing or even military conflict.
Everyone knows the solution. And it is very simple. A DIALOGUE at the top level!
It’s easy to say but difficult to do. But that is exactly what any parents teach their children, isn’t it?
Enjoy reading and learning how China views the recent Japan’s move on education.


Topic Reading-Vol.676-2/16/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China's unwanted babies once mostly girls, now mostly sick, disabled.
Traditionally, boys are preferred to girls in China. They are supposed to succeed the heir of their bloodline and family legacy, expected to succeed in business or advance their career to prosper the family and to look after their parents when they become old. This trend has been accelerated ever since one-child policy was set place three decades ago. As a result, the society has witnessed numbers of abandoned baby girls as well as young male adults who have difficulty finding their partners.
Today, newly set up orphanages are seeing less disparity in gender but more disabled or diseased babies coming in probably. This could be attributed to the change in social practices, improved economy and also lack of social welfare system.
Enjoy reading and learning why numbers of new-born babies are still abandoned in China.


Topic Reading-Vol.675-2/15/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
100 years of air travel: How planes shrunk the globe.
A century ago, the first commercial flight carried a passenger for the first time in human history. The honored passenger paid then-$400 ticket fee, which is equivalent to nearly today’s-$10,000, to travel 40 kilometers in 20 minutes in Florida in the U.S.A.
The last 100 years seem to have brought airplane, airliner and travel industries economic prosperity as well as passengers opportunities to travel far longer distance at far economical cost.
Enjoy reading the article and seeing the photos of historical milestone airplanes during the last century, and also finding which one looks more attracting to you.


Topic Reading-Vol.674-2/14/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China software to rival Android, iOS.
What do you care the most when it comes to choosing a smartphone or tablet PC besides the price? There are many determining factors like physical appeals such as the size, weight, thickness or design, and functional advantages like processing speed, features and connectivity.
What about the brand, manufacturer or the country of origin? How much to you care who makes the underlying operating system of the device when you buy a new phone?
Currently, eight out of ten smartphones sold these days are equipped with Google’s Android OS while around one or two come with Apple’s iOS. Those who buy Android OS seem to be less loyal to the OS while iPhone or iPad users have strong attachment to the brand, design and operating system.
Will Chinese people pay attention and make decisions when they choose a smartphones or tablet PC based on the origin or the name of the operating system?
One thing for sure is that China is surely aiming seriously and investing a lot to be less dependent on or more competitive in the U.S. dominated technologies and influences such as Global Positioning System, or G.P.S., missile defense system and naval powers including aircraft carriers. And now the operating system for mobile devices.
Enjoy reading and guessing what the future of the mobile operating system might be in China.


Topic Reading-Vol.673-2/13/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
And the world's most polluted city is ...
How eager you are to risk your health to visit a place and breathe the air that is 60 times more polluted than the level considered safe? Would you still like to fill your stomach with the local delicacy while absorbing more-than-full of particulates from smog?
Delhi, India and Beijing, China are crowned to be two of the most populated cities in the world. Both of the capital cities are not only over-populated by their respective local residents but also being visited by increasing number of tourists from all over the world who are expecting to enjoy exotic dining and world famous sightseeing attractions such as curry and Red Fort, Peking Duck and Forbidden Cities.
Enjoy reading and thinking if you still like to be one of those visitors.


Topic Reading-Vol.672-2/12/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Airbus' Beluga: Inside the world's strangest-looking airplane.
Have you ever seen a Beluga (most likely in a photo or video)? It’s a white arctic whale with a very weird looking oversized head. There is a type of aircraft that looks exactly like the Beluga. The odd-size-and-shaped aircraft, called Airbus A300-600ST, Super Transport, has been serving to transport parts to make aircrafts in Europe for the last two decades.
Why does it fly just in Europe? Because it was developed to transport parts to and from factories scattered in the continent to make Airbus airplanes. Though it isn’t capable of carrying the heaviest load or flying over an ocean or continent, it carries large parts such as wings or bodies of aircraft.
Enjoy seeing the photos and reading the explanations of this super-jumbo transporter in the sky.


Topic Reading-Vol.671-2/11/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Polar Bears Hunt on Land as Ice Shrinks
Less seafood because of lessened sea ice for polar bears? At least, the arctic animal seems to be able to adjust its preferred dining menu, sea food to meat on the land, and hunt the prey to cope with the Arctic climate change that has melted more sea ice than before and lessened their hunting environment.
It may sound better than seeing photos of polar bears swimming in the sea looking for food and drowned, as long as they can find enough population of alternative mammals on the ground to fill their diet. Fortunately, at this moment, the increased population of caribou seems to have been supporting the polar bears’. But how long will that population balance last if more sea ice melts and more bears start hunting on the ground for longer period than now?
Enjoy reading and learning how wildlife is trying to adjust its diet to survive.


Topic Reading-Vol.670-2/10/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
How hunters slaughter dolphins in Japan
Is Japan heading towards isolation from international community again like it did eight decades ago?
But this time it isn’t about the size of the naval fleet or controllership of oversea territories. It’s about how Japanese fishermen hunt and kill poor and harmless marine creatures.

The more the country tries to defend the internationally uncommon and unacceptable practice, the higher the disrespect and hatred will grow among international community even among the people who have been fans or supporters of the country and its customs, traditions or people.
This is another example how even often-criticized-for-its-shark-hunting China fools the practice on its semi-national English website.
Japan seems to need to be more sensitive about the perception of its present and past practices by the international community.  
Enjoy reading and learning about how its present and past practices are viewed and broadcasted and webcasted among international community.
See another example at;


Topic Reading-Vol.669-2/9/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Another voice lost, Korean 'comfort woman' dies.
Men dominated Japanese political society seems to lack sensitivity or simply just be thoughtless over sensitive issues to others, especially to women abroad. Some of those politicians, heads of local governments or even the chairman of the public broadcast agency seem to want to justify the conduct that suffered or ruined the lives and hearts of young women in neighboring countries.
Here are some questions to them.
If they were the fathers of those young girls who were taken away to serve as comfort tools for the soldiers of the army invading to your soil, would they dare to say that such conduct is the norm during the war?
Are they making such senseless remarks to or in front of their own families, especially their daughters?
What if their proud country were invaded by its neighbor and their lovely young girls were taken away to serve as the same tools as they think the norm during the war?
Read the article, watch the video and think how much and how long those women have suffered.


Topic Reading-Vol.668-2/8/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Genetically-modified purple tomatoes heading for shops.
The first question. Will you be willing to eat a pizza topped with purple tomatoes or dip your fries into purple ketchup for health benefits provided that they taste exactly the same as ordinary ones you usually enjoy?
If you’re curious enough or such a purple lover to try purple tomatoes, here is a second question. What if they are genetically modified, or commonly known as G.M., tomatoes?
There seem to be rational or emotional resistance against GM food crops. A survey in Britain shows only one out of four supported the technology for food.
Here is another question. Will those who supported GM crops eat GM food products or have his or her children eat them?
Enjoy reading and learning about the taste of purple tomatoes.


Topic Reading-Vol.667-2/7/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
U.S. Smog: Made in Chinese Factories, Funded by American Consumers.
Electronic products you see on the store shelves that are produced somewhere else must have left some amount of carbon footprint to get there but don’t contain air or water pollution within themselves, of course.
However, they seem to have created such pollution during the manufacturing process in some other places, most likely in factories in China. And the elements from the polluted air such as acid-rain-causing sulfate concentrations were found in the air where those products are being sold in the other side of the ocean, California, where strict air quality control measures have been posed already for decades.
Enjoy reading and learning about the bi-product of cheap offshoremanuracturing..


Topic Reading-Vol.666-2/6/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China's 21st century challenge: Define your narrative or fall behind
The last 100 years seem to have been the century of the rise of capitalism, democracy and the United States of America, what the next century is going to be like?
For the last decade, the world has witnessed unprecedented surge of Chinese power and influence such as economy, manufacturing, buying power, consumption, technologies, innovations and military force, not to mention the greenhouse gasses emissions and pollutions.
All those significant growths started to appear after the dark stagnating decades until after 30 some years after the end of the civil war. And during that growing period, the country seems to have abandoned much of its traditions but pride of its history of glory. And it hasn’t shown any clear vision, ideology or direction it is striving for, except immediate agendas and targets such as economic growth and air pollution reduction.
Enjoy reading and learning where China is now in history and what their major challenges are.


Topic Reading-Vol.665-2/5/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Beloved teen Sam Berns dies at 17 after suffering from rare disease
There is a very rare but serious disease that affects one’s life. It’s called progeria that causes premature, accelerated aging.
Sam Berns weighed about 20 kilograms at the age of 17 when he passed away in January, 2014. His efforts and attitudes to live positively like an ordinary high school student touched and moved the heart of many.

You definitely want to take a look at the video show Sam spoke to the public in October, 2013.
Not so many students at his age can talk about his or her physical and mental challenges like he had. So touching and moving.


Topic Reading-Vol.664-2/4/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Flying eye hospital helps blind to see.
What could make significant changes to the needy in developing countries isn’t always money. This flying eye hospital, a retired DC-10 aircraft donated by the United Airline, visits places where people with eye diseases need ophthalmological treatment by skilled ophthalmologists and proper equipment. They not only give treatment or surgeries but also provide onboard and real time training to the local ophthalmologists, doctors and medical students during the operations, so that they can ask specific questions.
This eyesight saving project is conducted by ORBIS, a U.S.-based non-profit organization that works in developing countries to prevent blindness and treat estimated 285 million visually impaired people.
Enjoy reading and learning about this eye-opening initiative.


Topic Reading-Vol.663-2/3/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Five Ways to Find Academic Help in an Online Course
As online courses become more available and popular, more students may face difficulty getting help when they need tutorial assistance, even though their peers or instructors are a click away.
Though it isn’t that embarrassing to ask simple questions, who to ask questions may not be as easy as on-site learning at campus.
But don’t be discouraged or worried. There are ways and means to solve such problems. And they aren’t that difficult or painstaking as you might think.
Enjoy reading and learning how to find in online courses.


Topic Reading-Vol.662-2/2/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Go figure: Lunar New Year 2014 in numbers
Add another one or two digits! When you talk about numbers about China, you may need to adjust the scale in your brain. They outnumber most of the figures of any other country, such as new car sales (20 million) and mobile phone subscribers (billion), not to mention the population of the country (1.3 billion).
As the country and people get wealthier, the number of travelers, both of those who go back to their homeland to see their loved ones during Lunar New Year holidays and of those who fly to other countries, are increasing.
Enjoy reading and learning about some stunning figures about the world most populous country, which might make you think of buying a bigger calculator with more digits!


Topic Reading-Vol.661-2/1/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
End of the line for 'Lunatic Express?' Kenya begins multi-billion dollar railway.
It was over a century ago then the colonial ruler, the Great Britain, built the first railway system called “Lunatic Express” on the ground of Kenya. It was half a century ago when Kenyan people became independent from the ruler.
Today, a new emerging superpower is going to help the African country upgrade the train system, China, providing financial aid and getting contract for construction in return.
While enjoying their independent status as a country from the colonial ruler, many of the countries in Africa are still dependent on various sorts of aids from other developed countries or their former sovereign states. Does this sound similar situation to the one about a couple of centuries ago?
Enjoy reading and learning about what African countries need and how China is trying to help or take advantage of it.