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Topic Reading-Vol.780-5/31/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
No imminent execution for Christian in Sudan, despite death sentence
Death punishment for apostasy? Sounds like a practice of faction of extremists or militants, doesn’t it?
It’s actually a verdict given by a primary court in a Muslim country in Africa to a pregnant woman who converted from Islam Christianity and got married to a Christian, even though her father was a Muslim but mother is a Christian.
Religious freedom doesn’t seem to be always guaranteed by law or respected in practice in numbers of countries, neither is an inter-religion marriage. While traditions and customs should be respected at any time in history, should people’s faith or belief be restricted in modern society?
Enjoy reading and learning about things happening to a faithful wife, mother of a 20-month boy and expecting another baby in Sudan.


Topic Reading-Vol.779-5/30/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Two meals a day 'effective' to treat type 2 diabetes
You might have though the other way around to control the blood sugar level. If you don’t want the amount of sugar in your blood too high, you probably would have been advised not to eat too much at once, rather, eat smaller amount more frequently throughout the day. But a recent experiment found that if the same amount of food is given to two groups of people, those who ate the food in two times a day, breakfast and lunch, lost more weight than those who enjoyed it in six times a day.
This is a very important and impactful research result to those who suffer from type 2 diabetes, which could cause heart disease, stroke or nerve damage. This disease occurs when one’s body does not produce enough hormone insulin to control the blood sugar level that usually rises after taking food or drink.
Then why less frequent eating seems more effective to control the blood sugar level?
Enjoy reading and learning about this interesting research finding.


Topic Reading-Vol.778-5/29/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Narendra Modi sworn in as Indian prime minister.
What’s so historic or special about this sworn in ceremony of the 15th prime minster of India?
Is that because his party made a landslide victory at the largest-ever democratic election in history, or the new PM used to be a tea boy and is from a low-caste background? Both are true but there is another historic factor. He was attended his inauguration ceremony by his counterpart of the neighbor and also rival country. Surprisingly, both India and Pakistan became independent in the same year 1947, but neither country is attended by the other’s political leader to its sworn-in ceremony.
The country has been slow at modernizing the social practices, developing economy and improving living standards compared to China whose population is nearly the same as theirs. So the new PM is expected to make swift and dramatic changes
Enjoy reading and learning about India’s new leader who won the largest-ever democratic election in history.


Topic Reading-Vol.777-5/28/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
A future of thirst: Water crisis lies on the horizon
As the world population increases at a historic pace, so does the consumption of food and water. Also, the amount of water for industrious use and home utilities such as toilet flush and gardening is expected to grow accordingly as modern life style becomes more popular among the increasing population. Then a simple question arises. Will people and the world get enough water?
There is also a scary scenario that Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned in a report in March. Climate change would further threaten the world water security such as water availability, water demand and pollution that already suffers roughly 80 percent of the world's population. The impact on climate change is expected to make wet countries wetter and dry countries drier.
Enjoy reading and learning how water shortage would affect the world security.


Topic Reading-Vol.776-5/27/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Why stakes are high in European election
Before discussing the final result that is going to affect EU’s course of direction for the next five years, why not learning a little more about what European Parliament is and does?
First, there are over 500 million people live in the 28-state cross-national group of countries and approximately 400 million of them voted for the election taken place on 22nd to 25th of May, the second largest after India’s 800 million.
Second, there are 751 Members of Parliaments, MEPs. The number of MEPs is allocated to each member state based on the population, Germany being the largest and Malta the smallest.
Third, they are influential. The parliament is a co-legislator with EU Council, the government ministers’ body, in most policy areas, including to choose the president of EU Commission, the EU’s executive body.
Enjoy reading and learning what the European Parliament is like before learning the latest election result.


Topic Reading-Vol.775-5/26/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
FDA approves 'Star Wars' bionic arm.
Some of you might remember the prosthetic that was attached to the Star Wars hero Luke Skywalker after he had lost his right arm during a light-saber duel with Darth Vader, his wicked father. That scientific movie inspired the inventor or Segway, a two-wheeled self-balancing personal transport, to develop more-functional-than-ever prosthetic that has recently been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, for sale in the US.
This practical and functional prosthetic is controlled by signals from the brain. It can perform delicate and sensitive tasks like zipping up a fastener, locking or unlocking a door with a key or handling an egg without breaking it.
Enjoy reading and seeing the video that shows you today’s science and innovations are stepping closer towards scientific imaginations dreamed of a few decades ago.


Topic Reading-Vol.774-5/25/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Nintendo apologizes for lack of virtual equality
Even in the game world, equality seems to be as critical as in the real world.
When the game giant introduced a virtual reality game, which personalized avatars of real players living on a virtual island develop a life story, to American market, it was criticized by gay players and gay-right advocacies for not allowing same-sex options in the game, which have already been common practices in the games developed in the U.S.A. The game has been a big hit in Japan where such marriage isn’t legally allowed or socially recognized. The company was forced to make an announcement that it will make the gamers choose such options available in the future versions, if any, but not the one to be released in June because of the game’s fundamental design concept.
Enjoy reading and learning how sensitive you need to be to social, traditional and religious practices and customs when you try to localize a product or service.


Topic Reading-Vol.773-5/24/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Want to live in the world's happiest place? This is where you should go...
To rank countries by happiness sounds like a very challenging task, doesn’t it? It’s because what people value varies by place, time, situation and environment. For example, those who live in a place where job availabilities are limited value environment differently from those who are enjoying robust economy but suffer from air pollution. Therefore, to compare how happy people feel in each country needs detailed work not only to quantify such subjective measurement but also to weigh the value of each questionnaire. And such research shows different results time to time as situations and environment in those places and the value of those people change.
Enjoy reading and learning how people feel happy about and value the places they live in.


Topic Reading-Vol.772-5/23/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
The most popular baby names are ...
Let’s get straight to the point. Noah for boys and Sophia for girls are the most popular baby names registered in 2013, according to the US Social Security Administration. Those baby names are submitted when their parents apply for Social Security numbers not so long after those babies are born.
As you might notice in the top ten list below, traditional or familiar names you might have seen or heard in your textbooks or books aren’t the majority in the top 10 list anymore. Of course. It is because the names of your friends were given when they were born decades ago by their parents who were born another a few decades ago. Unlike the royal family of the Britain, American parents seem to be more affected by movies, TV drams, games or other icons these days than before. They tend to avoid traditional or extreme names like George or Mary. Instead, they seem to prefer more popular, friendly names with some touch of originality, like So”f”ia, which ranked 13 in the list.
Enjoy reading and learning how parents are influenced by the trend, culture and tradition.
The Top 10 Most Popular Baby Names Registered in 2013 in America.
    Boys              Girls
1.  Noah              Sophia
2.  Liam              Emma
3.  Jacob             Olivia
4.  Mason            Isabella
5.  William          Ava
6.  Ethan             Mia
7.  Michael          Emily
8.  Alexander      Abigail
9.  Jayden           Madison
10. Daniel             Elizabeth


Topic Reading-Vol.771-5/22/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Epic flooding in Balkans raises fears about landmines surfacing
The historic rainfall caused catastrophic flooding and over thousand landslides in Balkans, namely Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Thousands of residents had to evacuate from their homes and towns. The number of the casualties and the cost of the damage are rising as the water recedes. Foreign aid is arriving and clean-up efforts will soon start. Though it is estimated to cost billions euros, people will eventually recover from the damage.
However, there is another totally unpredicted danger there. Landmines. During the Bosnian war about 20 years ago, thousands of landmines were placed by the soldiers and many of them had been still unremoved until the flood. Now many of those unremoved landmines are displaced by the flood and shifted to all over the places. Residents and rescue workers have to struggle with the risk and danger to deal with these decades-old buried hazards.
How long will it take to restore peace in Balkans?
Enjoy reading and learning what a thoughtless, inconsiderate and deliberate human act could do to peace and safety.


Topic Reading-Vol.770-5/21/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Saudi activist sentenced to 10 years, 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam
Every nation has its autonomous right to decide what’s right or wrong. And each country has options how it exercises its laws. Interestingly even in today’s more-globalized-than-ever world, laws vary considerably between states under different religious influences. For example, women still aren’t allowed to drive or vote in elections in some of conservative Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia.
There are numbers of extreme examples how a person could be punished just for dissent against the ruling religion, party or family of the country. To your surprise, lashing is still a common punishment in some countries. Whether a person can survive or not may depend on how the person is lashed or how durable he or she is against such physical torture but still 1,000 lashes just for dissent is undoubtedly outrageous and dangerous.
Enjoy reading and learning about one of the harshest sentences for public dissent.


Topic Reading-Vol.769-5/20/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
"Aftermath of riots will cost"
Another warning or threatening message from China. The above is a headline in Chinese Daily when Vietnamese protests against China’s provocative activates in the South China Sea spread and went into violence, killing two Chinese citizens and injured hundreds. China sent ships and aircraft to evacuate 3,000 citizens from the angry country which claimed that China had 119 ships in the area including warships, coast guard vessels and fishing boats and some of the ships had been provoking the Vietnamese vessels by ramming and firing water cannons at them.
China has laid claim to most of the South China Sea and been causing disputes with several of its neighbors in the region, including the Philippines and Malaysia. It is also in a bitter dispute with Japan over a group of tiny islands in the East China Sea.
The Chinese semi-state run media complained that with distorted information published by Vietnam's state-run media, the largest anti-China demonstrations in 10 years have been held throughout Vietnam, and anti-foreigner antagonism mixed with unhappy workers will be harder to control and will worry foreign companies. It also warned that "a major downturn in foreign investment would be a big economic blow". Don’t these claims sound like the ones heard in other neighboring countries and international communities when they had similar but more violent protests and riots fired and damaged made-in-Japanese products, looted and torched Japanese offices and stores in their own country?
Enjoy reading and learning what and how China claims when their actions and activities are under fire.


Topic Reading-Vol.768-5/19/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Young blood makes old mice more youthful
Did people who wrote or believed the vampire know this finding? Though it is still tests and researches on mice, it seems possible that the same effects might occur in humans.
Tests on older mice that are surgically joined with younger ones, which don’t sound realistic to humans, show improved and revitalized physical and neurological performances. And the same effects were also observed when older mice are injected some ingredients from younger ones. This could indicate a possibility for development of medical treatment for older humans who suffer from aging problems. But could it also suggest possibility for immortality that humans have longed for?
Enjoy reading and learning about the positive effects by blood infusion.


Topic Reading-Vol.767-5/18/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Catch a train from the sky! How vertical travel could transform your commute
Building a train station on the side of a skyscraper to save space? But why not the underground? You may ask this question to the architects who came up with this jaw dropping future building concept. Well, it is one of those ideas proposed to a design competition for future vertical building structures. Then what about the people working or living in such train-station building? Will they have to sacrifice the magnificent view to accommodate public transport?
Enjoy reading and imagining what the future urban city life is like.


Topic Reading-Vol.766-5/17/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Seven fascinating cities of destruction
No matter how vigorous and intelligent humans are, we seem to be no match for nature. So powerful and overwhelming the force of nature was, several prosperous ancient civilizations were abandoned or destroyed. And only their ruins show and tell us what their ingenuity and prosperity were, if they were to remain and be discovered.
Here, seven of such evidences of once-existed civilizations are shown. How many of them do you know? Which one of them do you want to visit the most?
Enjoy reading and imaging what their lives were like over centuries ago.


Topic Reading-Vol.765-5/16/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Incredible pencil drawing by 16-year old Irish girl wins award
These days, you can scan an object and print it on a sheet of paper or even recreate it with a 3D printer. You can also take photos with your smartphone and send them to your friends or post on a photo sharing site instantly. These recreated images or objects get more precise as resolution of the scanner, camera, printer or display becomes higher. That’s no surprise any more these days.
Then, how finely and realistically a human can draw an image or object without an aide of such technology, more specifically with a piece of pencil?
Here is a photographic drawing for an actual photo of an old man by a teenager in Ireland. It’s so finely and precisely drawn that hardly anyone could distinguish it from the original photo. It might actually look more real than the photo.
Enjoy seeing this finest art work by a young Irish teenage talent.


Topic Reading-Vol.764-5/15/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
8 tourists traps that are still worth visiting
How many of these eight most thrilling and attracting travel destinations have you visited yourself, seen in the photo or known? These chosen sights are so famous and popular that countless number of visitors, tourists and photographers crowd throughout the year even paying substantial time, money and effort. Aren’t there any alternative places or monuments to see in or near those traps? No. That is one reason everybody goes. And that is another reason so many people are attracted.
Enjoy reading and learning about these most crowded yet worth visiting places around the world.


Topic Reading-Vol.763-5/14/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China's top 10 foodie cities
China offers the most diversified and sophisticated food menus. The longest and most prosperous history has created a variety of local cousins in coastal and inland, wet and dry, and hot and cold regions. The most famous regional cooking styles known as “Eight Regional Cuisines" are; Shandong, Sichuan, Anhui, Guangdong, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu and Zhejiang. These styles are distinctive from one another because of available resources, climate, geography, history, cooking techniques and lifestyle.
These major cooking styles are just classifications of Chinese food but not the popular, ordinary food local people enjoy eating in their everyday lives. China Daily proudly introduces top 10 such local every-day food from countless numbers of food menus across the country.
Enjoy reading and seeing the “taste” of China’s delicacies.


Topic Reading-Vol.762-5/13/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Frontier Airlines now charging for carry-on bags
Many fliers, either novice or frequent, are conscious of the fare. These days, one can easily compare various fares, book a seat, purchase the ticket and even check-in online. But just comparing fares doesn’t seem to be enough to be economically successful to fly. You need to be able to know and plan what to carry for the trip, how much room to stretch your legs and what to drink for your comfort during the flight because these choices could make your cheapest fare to the highest.
A US low cost carrier, or L.C.C., headquartered in Denver, Colorado is following a successful business model that made a once-bankrupted Florida’s airline by charging everything but the body of the passenger himself or herself. Sodas and check-in bags are already the norm nowadays for such low cost carriers but a charge to use the overhead bin isn’t that popular practice yet. Extra leg room and preferred seat section are also on the price list.
Enjoy reading and learning how smart you need to be to take advantage of low cost carriers.


Topic Reading-Vol.761-5/12/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
What do animals dream about?
A very interesting question, isn’t it? Some of you might have heard a dog or a cat groan while it’s slumbering. But how can people find if certain animals or birds actually dream as they can’t answer such interrogations?
These days, there seem to be some ways to compare animals’ brain activities when they are awake and asleep. Some researchers studied the electrical activity in some part of animals’ brain if they fire certain neurons that are observed when they are in certain action like running or singing. They found that the same brain activities are seen while they are REM, rapid eye movement, sleep as the ones when they are in action. In other words, brains of some animals seem to be functioning in the same way as they do while they are awake.
But is that a dream? It might sound like just reviewing the activities they did during their wake-hours. No imagination or creation of something beyond the daily life or activities?
Enjoy reading and learning about animals’ dream.


Topic Reading-Vol.760-5/11/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Brazilian army occupies Rio shantytown ahead of World Cup
Is Rio de Janeiro safe for football fans? Only a month away to the world’s largest sport event of the year, FIFA World Cup, the main hosting city needed to bring in as many as 2,500 troops to conduct a crackdown on slams only few kilometers from its gate airport. Complexo da Mare is the largest of that kind that harbor notorious, mighty gangs that have been fighting each other and even attacking police posts. The local police are no match against the firepower and numbers of the gangs. The city then had to ask for military’s support to “occupy” the area until at least after the last day of the world event.
Will that be enough to secure safety of all the fans, players and visitors to the town? What will happen to the slams after the event? Will they go back to the same security level as before?
Enjoy reading and learning about Brazil’s serious commitment for safety of the sport event.


Topic Reading-Vol.759-5/10/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China splurging on military as US pulls back
Yet no consensus has been made as to how much China is spending on its military forces, analysts all agree that the rising power has been and will be allocating and increasing its military spending at a faster pace than any other country in the world.
Two factors need to be considered when such military expenditures are compared with western countries. The first one is fundamentals of economy such as currency exchange rate, price index, salaries and labor cost, property price and operation costs. For example, the cost to employ and deploy hundreds of thousand rank and file soldiers is significantly different between the U.S. and China. Also, China’s costs for software used in the entire military organization probably incomparably lower as they could develop software cheaply or even at free of charge by copying.
The other factor is geographical and operational challenges. While the U.S. is deploying its forces nearly all over the waters and places such as the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans, the Mediterranean and Arctic seas, Europe, Australia and Asia, China’s main focus is the land borders the Pacific Ocean. Even though the U.S. allocates 60% of its naval resources in the Pacific, China can concentrate its operation solely in the region.
Enjoy reading and learning what the present situation is and thinking about what the region’s map would be like a decade or two from now.


Topic Reading-Vol.758-5/9/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Can any train ride match the Orient Express for glamor and sheer romance?
Over a hundred and thirty years ago, the longest train service of that time started to bridge between some cities in Europe and the gate city to Middle East, Constantinople (now Istanbul). The first Oriental Express train departed from Paris on October 4, 1883, to Giurgiu in Romania via Munich and Vienna. It was soon extended to then Constantinople, Ottoman's capital up until its collapse in 1923, being ferried to cross the Bosporus. It took four days and three nights to complete the luxurious yet painstaking journey. The service was suspended during the wars but it lasted over a century until 2009.
Is it just nostology to exhibit how the train was furnished and enjoyed by the affluent passengers who spent days to enjoy traveling and socializing with others of the kind?
Enjoy reading and imagining how a four-day train journey would have been when there was no TV, recorded music or video, internet access or air-conditioning.


Topic Reading-Vol.757-5/8/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Georgia law allows guns in some schools, bars, churches
Nothing seems to be enough to stop expanding the right and areas that one can legally carry firearms in America. Now a half million gun permit holders in the state of Georgia, roughly five percent of the state’s population, are allowed to bring in areas where others don’t, such as airports, churches, bars, government buildings and even schools. The bill was supported by twice as many law makers as the opponents both in the House and in the Senate of the state.
Supporters of the law say it is their right to protect themselves and their families. They also say those who are permitted to purchase, own and carry guns have passed a background check. There are already more such gun license holders in the state without training how or when to shoot a firearm than law enforcement officers in the state. In other words, more guns could be carried by ordinary citizens than officers in public or busy places. So how many guns will there be in the world busiest airport, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport? If someone fires, how many people will react and pulled out their guns? How will they find who is the shooter and who are the good guys trying to protect themselves?
Smoking is prohibited but guns are permitted in public places and properties in Georgia.
Enjoy reading and learning about the latest gun law in a southern state of America.


Topic Reading-Vol.756-5/7/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
No longer just a factory, China is a mobile leader.
Where in the world do you think attracts, incubate and motivate IT talents and businesses the most? Most of you would probably think Silicon Valley.
Which market do you think has the toughest competition and keenest users for apps? Many of you might think Japan.
Then, which government do you think is the most supportive and active in promoting IT industry and its start-ups? Some of you might think Ireland or Finland.
Lastly, which country do you think have the richest source of most globally minded and highly educated IT engineers and developers? India?
As a matter of fact, it’s quite surprising to know that China seems to top the above lists. With over 700 million active smartphone users and more than seven million college graduates each year, they have the market and talents. Furthermore, the government that sensors their citizens the most in the world also support and stimulate IT innovation, incubation, and investment, especially in Beijing.
Enjoy reading and learning about the advancing entrepreneurship without fearing being copied or followed by others.


Topic Reading-Vol.755-5/6/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
As nuclear power dies, solar rises
Tuesday, April 22 was Earth Day 2014. Over a billion people around the world celebrated the 44th anniversary of the annual day of action. It started in the U.S. in 1970 when 20 million people across the country rallied for increased protection of the environment.
To commemorate this long-sustained action day, an article about the rise of green energy was posted by CNN. One surprising fact is presented. The world most economically driven country has been shifting its energy supply investments from the most-economically-efficient nuclear to most-environmentally-efficient renewable powers.
Enjoy reading and learning about the rise and shift of energy generation today, which will soon become the past.


Topic Reading-Vol.754-5/5/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
New Year's Twin Babies Born in Separate Years
Twins have birthdays? That could happen when two babies are born on two different days, most likely before and after midnight when the date changes.
What about twins born in two different years? You can now imagine that could happen when one of the twins is born at the very end of the last day of a year and the other is born at the beginning of the following year. Isn’t that purely coincidental?
Two such incidents were reported between 2013 and 2014 in the State and Canada. There could be more in other places in the world. But one thing for sure is that every year-end, the families are going to have big New Year Eve parties!
Enjoy reading and learning about the two happy families on the Children’s day in Japan.


Topic Reading-Vol.753-5/4/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
10 of the world's longest bridges
There are numbers of “World 10 something-s.” And there are also numbers of world longest bridges in various categories, though there is no standard way to measure the total length of a bridge. Some bridges are measured between the ramps and others are measured between the shorelines.
If you take a look at the list of the longest bridges, many of them are located in China. However, if you look at bridges by category such as suspension bridge span, overwater or even inhabitation, you’ll find ones in all over the places.
Enjoy reading and seeing the photos of uniquely identified longest bridges in the world.


Topic Reading-Vol.752-5/3/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Saudi Arabia to build world's tallest tower that will reach one kilometer into the sky
Are humans still in a race to show off something bigger, taller or costlier than others, particularly to the neighbors? To have the tallest and the most expensive building seems attracting enough to spend over one billion dollars to a rich royal family in Arabia.
The construction of this a-kilometer-high sky scraper began in April in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and is expected to be completed in 2019. There will be 59 high-speed elevators, five of them are double-deckers, to connect 167 floors. The view from its observatory deck at 500 meters above ground will be spectacular, overlooking the Red Sea and desert.
Which view would you like to enjoy, the one from the world tallest building in Jeddah or the second tallest one in Dubai?
Enjoy reading and learning about the kingdom’s ambitious plan and race.


Topic Reading-Vol.751-5/2/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Five endangered sites worth saving
The Global Heritage Fund There is a fund that tries to protect significant and endangered cultural heritage sites, especially the ones in developing world. On World Heritage Day, April 18th this year, the fund issued an annual list of five most endangered cultural sites to mark the day and draw attention to its activity.
Aren’t those cultural heritage sites supposed to be preserved? Not always. Actually, once the value of those sites are recognized and known to outside of the sites, they draw attentions that could work positively and negatively. Modernization, tourism and looting are among the most threatening causes to endanger historical and cultural sites, especially in developing countries where people are striving to live daily.
Enjoy reading and learning about the historically and culturally significant sites that were once created by ancient people but now are endangered by their descendants.


Topic Reading-Vol.750-5/1/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Iran execution stopped at the last minute
Which country to do you think have more executions? It seems to depend on the population and crime rate, how many of them are arrested and prosecuted, and how the laws are written, practiced and implemented. Although the actual number hasn’t been disclosed, China tops the list by a big margin. Iran follows at a rate of nearly a hanging a day with its Islamic law known as “eye for an eye.”
But even in Iran, a pardon could be given. Who could give a pardon to a convicted murderer? A judge, priest or the president? Nope. Only the family of the victim.
Here is a story of a very last minute, dramatic pardon given by the mother of the victim.

There are photos of the sensational and emotional scenes.