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Topic Reading-Vol.872-8/31/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Arizona nine-year old in Uzi gun lesson accident
Many would ask this question, “Why a nine-year-old girl was being trained to shoot a submachine gun in the first place?” The incident happened in front of her parents who had been shooting the scene by a smartphone until she accidentally shot her instructor in the head.
Even though it was an accident, the girl shot and killed a person. The fact remains. Will the parents sue the shooting range for misguiding the girl to the accident? What about the family members of the shot instructor? Will they do the same for mismanagement or gross negligence of safety procedures?
Read and think of this question. Is a roller coaster or some sort exciting enough to make children enticed these days?


Topic Reading-Vol.871-8/30/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China seizes 30,000 tons of chicken feet tainted by hydrogen peroxide
Another chicken scandal in China. This time not meat but feet, a widely consumed snack throughout the country. What’s the problem this time, expiration date, misleading label, mixed with something else or worse? Unfortunately, the worst. Contaminated.
As much as 30,000 tons of chicken feet contaminated with hydrogen peroxide, chemical compound often used for hair dying or bleaching, was seized by the authorities in several locations. The producers used the chemical to make their product look cleaner and whiter.
The good news is that chicken feet isn’t so popular in other countries or on the menu of food restaurant chains like McDonald’s. The bad news is there are many in China who ate or are still eating the contaminated product. Some angry Chinese says, “Tell us what not to eat but what we can eat.”
Enjoy reading and learning about this latest food scandal in China.


Topic Reading-Vol.870-8/29/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Solomons town first in Pacific to relocate due to climate change
Relocating the entire community to another island. That is the agreement reached and decision made to save the small community of 1,000 in an tiny island is the south Pacific. Because the island is just atoll of coral that rises only two meters above sea level, it is so vulnerable to sea level rises and tsunamis. Also, the township was built after the World War II, attachment of the residents to their mother land doesn’t seem to be as deep as other islanders. Rather, the residents seem to have no other choices but to move to a safer place.
Enjoy reading and learning about this bold attempt to deal with global warming.


Topic Reading-Vol.869-8/28/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Cambodian rat meat: A growing export market
Smart farmers they are. After harvesting their rice, they catch rice that have been eating roots and rice. But why don’t those rice farmers try to catch such crop-eating rats before their rice harvest? It’s because while they are growing rice, they are also feeding rats to harvest them.
Do they eat the rats? No. They catch them to sell, but not for the Cambodian’s stomach but for the Vietnamese’s. So, it’s for export.
Unlike rats in the town, rats in the rice field are clean as they live in the rice field and eat only roots and rice. It tastes like chicken. Vietnamese people seem to enjoy the delicacy and the demand is rising. So the rice farmers in Cambodia become busy catching and selling them to the traders.
Those farmers say the meat is clean and tasty but they still don’t eat it. Will you try to taste it?
Enjoy reading and learning about this interesting side business of the rice farmers in Cambodia.


Topic Reading-Vol.868-8/27/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Uranus: Why we should visit the most unloved planet
How much do you now about this remote planet in our solar system? It orbits outside Saturn, almost three billion km away from the Sun, 20 times further than the Earth. It is massive, 60 times as large as Earth, being covered by gasses. It has 26 small moons and a few faint rings. One interesting characteristics of this giant planet is that unlike other planets, it rotates on an axis pointing at the Sun. This means the half of the planet never gets sunlight for many years or decades.
Is it worth investing millions of budget to explore? Some scientists believe it is. But how much it could cost and will take to get some feedback from such a bold mission?
Enjoy reading and learning about this mysterious planet.


Topic Reading-Vol.867-8/26/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Being Chinese away from China
Sounds very similar to the situation like living away from parents. Missing the dish Mom used to cook or time spent with family without paying any particular attention. Many people don’t seem to recognize how significant the care and treatment their parents have given to them until they miss them. The same seems to be true about the culture and history of the homeland.
Viewing and thinking about the same thing from a different standing point gives you a chance to how others may look at the thing that you’ve been so familiar with. That is why traveling or living abroad often gives you good chance to review and appreciate what you think is just ordinary.
Enjoy reading and learning how young Chinese youngsters have learned the influence and value of their traditional cultures.


Topic Reading-Vol.866-8/25/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Can Qatar, Saudi Arabia ease tensions at Gulf Cooperation Council?
Qatar is one of the smallest states in the world in geography but is the largest exporters of Liquidated Natural Gas, LNG. Also, it has its national flag airline, Qatar Airways which owns just 134 aircraft in its fleet but 350 more to come including eight Airbus 380, super jumbo aircraft, trying to become one of the largest hubs in the fast-growing Gulf region.
But why is this ambitious, small, gas-rich country trying to be so maverick? What benefits will they get by being so independent from its neighbors?
Enjoy reading and learning the complexity of Arab states in the Gulf region.


Topic Reading-Vol.865-8/24/2014

 Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Greenland ice loss doubles from late 2000s
Another scientific evidence of global warming. Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are melting at a faster speed than they had been measured before, dumping 500 cu km of ice in the oceans annually. This amount of ice sheets is equivalent of just over a millimeter of sea level rise per year.
A millimeter a year a big deal? Of course it is. It means sea level could rise as much as three centimeters just in three decades, when the global population is expected to reach 9 billion, thirty percent more than now. How much land could be lost or how severe the climate change is going to be? Will we have enough water then?
A lot of actions seem to have been taken for research. But have humans made enough practical actions to solve this clear and present problem?
Enjoy reading and learning about this new research findings.


Topic Reading-Vol.864-8/23/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Hello Kitty at 40: The cat that conquered the world
The feline has just turned forty but she is nowhere close to have reached the hilltop. Rather, she seems to be even getting faster to lead the character marketing race. Unlike the popular black mouse and his girlfriend do, this pinky cat doesn’t speak or appear in movies much. Instead, she just appears on well over 50,000 toy products in 70 countries and brings Sanrio, the copyright holding company, over $750 million annual revenue.
Why is this Japanese icon so popular and adored beyond borders, races and cultures?
Enjoy reading and learning what “kawaii,” means to Japanese and why it’s attractive and ubiquitous.


Topic Reading-Vol.863-8/22/2014

 Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Which foods are off Russian menus?
As you know, the Western countries imposed severe economic sanctions against Russia after the Crimea incident and MH17 shoot down. Although the population of Russia is the ninth largest in the world, their import of food and agricultural products marks the fifth, according to the data from the European Commission. So what’s going on to Russia’s food supply that is heavily dependent on the western countries especially the EU?
Food supply and prices is the single most important and critical issue when it comes to ruling people. People don’t easily accept shortages or price-hike of their essential day-to-day food unless they have any other choice. Therefore, rulers have always been trying to guarantee the supply and prices of main food products, such as pork in China, rice in Japan, or bread in Egypt.
So what will the absolute leader of Russia do to deal with the recent economic sanctions? Also, what will the farmers and producers of banned food do in the EU and other western countries?
Enjoy reading and learning the impact of economic sanctions against Russia.


Topic Reading-Vol.862-8/21/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Athens Olympics leave mixed legacy, 10 years later
Does hosting an international event bring about reasonable returns on the investment and efforts?
Not always. These photos of the abandoned, unused or underused facilities and infrastructure clearly show the evidence of national failure, in a large scale.
After a decade of their proud event, the Olympic Games, most of the dedicated facilities built for the games in the ancient capital of Greece don’t seem to be used much or even maintained properly, not to mention the subway system which doesn't seem to have carried as many passengers as projected.
Yes, they have suffered economic hardship ever since the financial crisis in 2008. But why so many gorgeous athletic facilities were made but have never been used? Did they build them just for the sake of their proud sport gathering that originated in their ancient polis?
Enjoy reading and seeing another ruin of the ancient capital.


Topic Reading-Vol.861-8/20/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Cargo bikes, built for the short haul
You may see more bike riders in town these days maneuvering the traffic. They seem to save both time and money not only for transportation but also for exercising. Burning calorie instead of fossil fuels sounds much healthier to the body and friendlier to the environment, doesn’t it?
When it comes to carrying cargo by bike or trikes, it doesn't sound as practical as just riding as means of transportation. Well, there seem to be some success stories in European cities that made some deliveries faster and smoother than ordinary cargo trucks. And some cities in the west coast of the US are following the suit.
Enjoy reading and learning this new way of using an old technology.


Topic Reading-Vol.860-8/19/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad stripped of gold for impromptu strip
The fastest to reach the goal in a race doesn’t seem to be enough to win a medal.
A French athlete who had stripped off his vest when he crossed the finishing line in the men's 3,000m steeplechase was stripped off his medal because he violated the competition rule.
This isn’t the first time for this naughty runner to be punished. He traded blows with his team mate while they were still on the track in a 2011 race. He earned a suspension, not a medal.
If he does such absurd things on the track, what is his life on the street or at home?
Enjoy reading and learning about an a-little-too aggressive French hero.


Topic Reading-Vol.859-8/18/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Panama Canal at 100: A tale of growth and development
The canal that connects the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans was first worked by France over a century ago. The project was taken over the U.S. and completed on August 15, 1914. The century-old, 80km long canal was passed by over a million ships and is now under big renovation to allow larger ships to pass to connect Asia and east coast of America more efficiently.
Though the canal is the core and driver of the nation’s economy, the benefits and profits from the canal and its businesses don’t seem to have been shared or distributed as equally as they are supposed to be. Some say that the country is moving on two different tracks.
Enjoy reading and learning about this historical canal and its hope for the next century.


Topic Reading-Vol.858-8/17/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
How to feed 5,000 people a day
A cruise ship could carry, accommodate and entertain as many as 5,000 passengers whose quest is to be from their ordinary work and routines. They expect to enjoy their best vacations on board spending relaxing time on the deck with sea breeze, exciting evenings in the disco or casino with music and more importantly having extraordinary enticing meals of highest quality.
Since there is no other place to eat or drink, as many as five thousand highly demanding passengers need to be fed timely and in a highest possible manner. And don’t forget another 1,400 crew members who will be as hungry as the guests.
Then, how much food and beverages need to be stocked, served and trashed?
Enjoy seeing the video that shows you the backside and logistic of the cruise ship.


Topic Reading-Vol.857-8/16/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Without legendary director Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli faces uncertain future
How enthusiastic are you about animation movies? Are you crazy about the ones hand-drawn by Ghibli studio? While almost all the animated films today are made by Computer Generated Imaginary, or CGI, and project based contract with independents, Studio Ghibli makes theirs by the hand of the specialists who have been working there for years. But will the studio survive without their legendary directors while maintaining craftsmanship, appealing to the heart of the audience and realizing insights of human being?
Enjoy reading and learning the challenges the prominent animation studio is facing.


Topic Reading-Vol.856-8/15/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Humaima Malik: Will a Pakistani-Indian kiss be censored?
What would you feel or your reaction might be if your beloved superstar heroin kisses an actor of your enemy country in a movie produced in the enemy country? Would you regard her act infamy or just part of her profession?
This time, the highest paid Lollywood (based in Lahore, Pakistan) actress crossed the line by kissing a Bollywood (based in Bombay, India) superstar in a film. The “line” could be seen as national border, religious divide and/or war front between Pakistan and India.
Enjoy reading and learning how sensitive it is to cross a line between two neighboring countries.


Topic Reading-Vol.855-8/14/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Rosetta and its mission-Space probe chases a comet around the Sun in a quest to find answers about our origins.
Comets are mysterious. Astronomers had been observing those space objects that become barely visible only in years or decades with their eyes and telescopes until the last century. Now, they’ve obtained knowledge and enabling technology that have a spacecraft flyby or even land on some of those tiny comets orbiting our solar system. What their aims?
Comets are small, icy objects left over from the formation of the solar system. Therefore, by analyzing the composition of comets is expected to provide unanswered questions such as how the solar system was formed or where life came from.
The spacecraft was launched 10 years ago, completed its two fly-by missions to asteroids, and had been hibernated for 31 months to save energy until January this year. Now it’s getting ready to land its 100kg lander on the comet whose size is no larger than that of Mt. Fuji.
Enjoy reading and learning about this ambitious probe.


Topic Reading-Vol.854-8/13/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Eating out costs you 200 calories
More calories, sodium and saturated fat are the ones you’ll get by spending money on fast food or restaurant meals. This could be ok as long as you’re in hunger or need for extra energy to make up the burned energy, but not for your routine life.
New study based on 12,000 self-answered questionnaires to adults shows that as many as 30% of them ate fast food on two separate days. And over 20% of them ate at a full service restaurant on one of the days. Those who chose to eat out seem to have consumed 200 kilocalories more than those who eat at home.  
It seems clear that someone is conscious of his or her diet should avoid spending extra money on extra innutritious meal options, unless he or she is set to work out to burn the extra calorie intake.
Sounds sad, doesn’t it?
Enjoy reading and learning how unhealthy one could be to take an easy meal option.


Topic Reading-Vol.853-8/12/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
And the world's best zoo is ...
Are zoos and aquariums to entertain only kids? They surely show never-seen-before kinds of animals and sea creatures and such but they also provide unusual and extraordinary experience to the visitors of all ages.
A US based travel website, TripAdvisor has issued its annual Travelers’ Choice awards for Zoos and Aquariums around the world. The site claims that they used an algorithm to make both quantitative and qualitative analysis of the reviews gathered from all over the world for the last 12-month period. This year’s top 25 list of zoos shows nine US zoos and the list of aquariums ranks 10 aquariums in the U.S. It looks the U.S. still dominates and leads the world considerably, doesn't it? Are these very few of the world top lists of something that don’t show Chinese ones?
Enjoy reading and learning where you can find most entertaining and popular zoos and aquariums.


Topic Reading-Vol.852-8/11/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
The island looking to China for brides
Ever thought of living in a small isolated community where the entire population is just over 500 hundred and has been decreasing every year? Yet this tiny island in an inland sea in Japan is only a 20 minutes ferry-ride from the main island, there are only eight students in the sole middle school. As there aren't any job opportunities except for farming and fishing, the young leaves the island when they grow up except for very few who decide to stay his or her birthplace to keep their family properties and living. Do those young men find their living partners?
They seem to have found a wise solution. Inviting brides from China. There are now eight such wives living and growing their families. They may be the all or most of who came to live in the island for some time.
Enjoy reading and learning about this tiny island in the inland sea in Japan.


Topic Reading-Vol.851-8/10/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Hospital banks on milk donations
Unless the mother is unable to produce enough milk, babies usually prefer breast feeding to powdered milk, don’t they? It’s because not only breast milk tastes better and more nutritious but also it provides extra touch and care to the babies.
There is a milk bank in Nanjing, China that facilitates a breast milk bank, the second of that kind. It collects, stores and provides donated breast milk to sick or weakened babies for free of charge.
There are numbers of difficulties they face, such as the time and inconvenience that their donors have to bear, process the bank has to carry on to find and test the donors and their breast milk, and routine work to send-in and send back the donors to the bank to collect breast milk.
Enjoy reading and learning about the challenges the bank faces to feed babies with breast milk, a more natural way to grow babies.


Topic Reading-Vol.850-8/9/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Ebola's frontline: Battling fear and deadly virus
What is Ebola virus disease, EVD, or Ebla? It is the human disease caused by the Ebola virus. The symptoms typically include a fever, throat and muscle pains, and headaches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. At this stage, it could be thought just as ordinary cold or the flu. But then, it decreases the function of the liver and kidneys and even bleeding. These symptoms are similar to the ones of malaria or choler but this disease has much higher mortality rate of between 50% and 90% of those infected with the virus. There is no specific or effective treatment for the disease at the moment. Human-to-human transmission can occur via direct contact with blood or bodily fluids from an infected person, like AIDS. Therefore, medical or care workers who treat the patients are at high risk.
Enjoy reading and learning about the risk-full decision made by a team of medical volunteers who had been sent to a small African country for a medical project to improve day-to-day.


Topic Reading-Vol.849-8/8/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
UK to allow driverless cars on public roads in January
Do you think you’ll see cars driving on a busy street without a driver soon? Or if not that extreme, what about cars are driven not by a human driver but by an onboard computer?
It seems that some places in the world are competing to host such autonomous driving tests. Following the suits by California and Japan that allowed Google and Nissan to test drive driverless vehicles on the public road respectively, the UK now is trying to have three local governments to host such tests. Local governments seem to be interested in such opportunities because it could bring in new businesses and investment.
When do you predict to see driverless cars or attention-free drivers in the driver’s seat on the road and delivery drones hovering in the air?
Enjoy reading and learning what sorts of driving tests are on the road to the future.


Topic Reading-Vol.848-8/7/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Happy campers? A look at North Korea's summer camp 
Only $270 for a week long summer camp in an air-conditioned, fully secured and cared facility with kids from other countries? Sounds like an awfully good deal, doesn’t it? Where is it, though?
The heavily government subsidized camp facility is in North Korea but it isn’t a labor camp but an international children’s camp to host young students from the world. This summer, 300 courageous parents have sent their children to this camp from Russia, China, Vietnam, Tanzania and Ireland. Those children spent days on the beach and in the playground and sometime with local children.
Surprisingly, the camp is said to be open to any children in the world, even to Americans.
Enjoy reading and learning what this children’s camp is about in one of the most secretive and restrictive countries.


Topic Reading-Vol.847-8/6/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Caging corrupt 'tigers'
The incumbent leaders of the Communist Party of China, CPC, seem to be seriously and dedicatedly committed to crack down the past corruptions. However, it had been a big question whether or not the long suspected one of the very top leaders of the party’s hierarchy, the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the party’s Central Committee, would be arrested. And the current party’s head seems to have decided to show his commitment to zero tolerance to corruptions by party’s officials whether his or her position is current or past, or highest or rank and file.
While such extensive crack down of the past wrongdoings may be an effective way to demonstrate the commitment to disciplinary actions to the public, and party and military personnel, systematic and preventive mechanism, auditing and education are required to improve their ethics and customs.
Enjoy reading and learning how serious the corruption is in today’s China.


Topic Reading-Vol.846-8/5/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Amazon Rolls Out All-You-Can-Read Option
If you live in the states, you might have already tried this new e-reading service by the online giant, Amazon. The service looks reasonable or good deal for those who read more than one conventional paperback or e-book a month continuously. And it’ll be more valuable if you’re fortunate enough to find more expensive books in their 600k+ book titles. So what makes difference is rather categories and titles than the volume one reads a month.
Enjoy reading and finding if this service suits your needs and interest.


Topic Reading-Vol.845 8/4/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
How facial features drive our first impressions
Most of humans seem to judge strangers by the appearance, particularly by the face. More specifically, many people tend to form the first impression as to how approachable, dominant or attractive a person is by his or her face. If so, are there any proven or agreed scores, scales or measurements that form such facial impressions?
A neuroscientist in the U.K. and his team took data, made a mathematical model and produced cartoons and tested. They now have types of facial features that could form more or less desirable impressions to others. But what are they for while you can’t or may not want to change your face?
Enjoy reading and learning how they researched and how the outcomes could be used.


Topic Reading-Vol.844 8/3/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Welcome to Trieste, the tiny Italian city that shapes the world's wardrobe.
When it comes to predicting or imagining what the future is going to be like, design seems to play more important role than most of people think, at least the organizers of this annual design event believe.
In a small far north-east town of Italy hosts this annual event to discover the next best thing in the world of fashion design. Young and unknown talents from 70 countries gather to show their imaginative and futuristic design concepts, ideas and materials. The organizer intends to inspire young talents to come up new ideas and have them share and exchange them at one place.
Enjoy seeing some of the futuristic or imaginative designs from the youngest talents, who could be next top-notch fashion designers in the future.


Topic Reading-Vol.843 8/2/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Beef environment cost 10 times that of other livestock
Now it’s clear. Beef is to be blamed among all kinds of meat in terms of the environmental impacts.
A new research conducted in the U.S., calculated the environmental costs per consumed calorie of dairy, poultry, pork, and eggs. It suggests that beef production requires 28 more land and 11 times more irrigation water and also emits 5 time more greenhouse gasses and 6 times more nitrogen respectively, than the average of the other livestock categories. It is mainly because beef has the lowest energy conversion efficiency among the food group.
It sounds like good news for meat or dairy food lovers because the easiest way to reduce the environmental impacts is to simply switch from beef to some other meat products or eggs. There is  no need to be a vegetarian or to give up meat dishes.
Enjoy reading and learning how impactful to the environment to eat beef is.


Topic Reading-Vol.842 8/1/2014

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
47 shot. 5 dead. Chicago officials meet
It sounds like an incident in Baghdad or Kabul, doesn’t it? But this series of gun violence incidents happened over a summer weekend in a country that has the most organized, trained and well-equipped police forces, the United States of America.
So, how come a five-year old girl who just happened to be in her friend’s house was shot in the head by a stray bullet from outside and died? And she was just one of those who were shot over one ordinary weekend in Chicago. More surprisingly, 60 were shot and nine dead over the Independence Day weekend in the city. Do people in America celebrate their nation’s birthday not only with firework displays but also firearms shootings?
Read and learn the impact and emotion of the family members of the shooting victim as well as the remarks by the city officials.