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Topic Reading-Vol.1084-3/31/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Male monkeys prefer their dads
Don’t know why but it seems pretty much understandable, for young boys hang around with their dads, rather than with their moms or aunts. It also seems to be the case for other primates, like monkeys.
Is that because they learn more from the elders of the same gender or want to be sociable with their future rivals, group mates or boss?
Enjoy reading and learning about this interesting new finding.


Topic Reading-Vol.1083-3/30/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
New Ford car automatically obeys speed limits
No more Pedal to the Metal. Is that good news or bad news for enthusiastic drivers if their cars automatically slow down to the legal speed limit of the road they are driving? It’ll surely reduce the chance to get a speeding ticket or the use of gas. But what about mental sensation or satisfaction of driving faster?
Fortunately, such semi-autonomous vehicles are going to be offered by Ford, not Porch or Ferrari at least at the moment. But the company seems to believe such speed adjusting system is a step towards future autonomous or driverless vehicles. Will that be the norm in the near future?
Enjoy reading and learning about this latest auto-driving concept.


Topic Reading-Vol.1082-3/29/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Japan unveils Izumo, its largest warship since World War II
A full-flat surface warship has just been commissioned at Yokosuka, Japan. It is the largest vessel among Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF). It is 241-meter long and weighs 20,000 tons, about the same tonnage as Yamato-class battleship during World War II. Unlike China’s aircraft carrier, it is designed as a helicopter carrier, capable of hosting seven anti-submarine patrol helicopters on top of two rescue and transport helicopters. Why does Japan’s defense force need to fly that many helicopters over the sea? Both China and North Korea have over 60 attack submarines respectively, even though functionality of North Korea’s is questionable. Does Japan or any country want to see a foreign sub hiding in the bay of the capital like the Russian sub detected near Stockholm, Sweden in 2014?
Enjoy reading and learning about Japan’s new commission of its largest vessel.


Topic Reading-Vol.1081-3/28/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Who owns the Nile? It’s more complicated than you think
Countries that share critical necessities such as water, natural and maritime resources have basically two choices to make, share or dispute. If the parties try to share the necessities, they have to have long enduring talks, patience and concessions. If they can’t reach an agreement, they keep disputing, which could lead to a conflict or war.
The Nile, the 6,853km-long river is an inter-national river as its water resources are shared by eleven countries, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo-Kinshasa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt. It is the primary water source of Egypt and Sudan. How have they been managing and sharing this shared resource over centuries and millenniums?
Enjoy reading and learning the historic, as they claim, agreement those river-users made.


Topic Reading-Vol.1080-3/27/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Why Finland won't be teaching 'math' and 'history' anymore
Keep improving is the best way to be successful and sustainable. Of course, because once you stop moving, you’re more easily shot or likely passed by others. Like Einstein said, “Once you stop learning, you stat dying.”
That seems to be the motive for Finland whose education system is known as the best in the world. They came up with a century-old idea of combining subjects to facilitate learning and reflect real life. It’s called phenomena teaching, which focuses more on topics rather than subjects. In this concept, academically advancing students can work on writing and communication development while immature students could choose to take vocational courses.
How will it work in the classroom?
Enjoy reading and learning what the world leader in education is attempting to do.


Topic Reading-Vol.1079-3/26/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Lee Kuan Yew: Singapore's founding father divided opinion
Which wins, procedure or result, or more specifically, which is more essential to build or rebuild, or to establish or restore orders in a country?
A little over a half century ago, Singapore was nothing but a former colony of the Great Britain. It became a completely independent country just 50 years ago in 1965 under the leadership of one of the most prominent politicians in Asian history, Lee Kuan Yew. The Cambridge-educated young leader had led the city country to an economic powerhouse in Asia. Its GDP or income per capita is much higher, streets are spotlessly cleaner and crime rates are undoubtedly lower than any other Asian nation. However, some criticize the state has strict censorship on media and its judiciary system isn’t transparent. Yes. In fact, the country has ruled by a single party over a half century, just like China.
Enjoy reading and learning the legacy of the founding father of Singapore.


Topic Reading-Vol.1078-3/25/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Saudi Arabia's new desert megacity
Amazing speed and scale. This time not in China but in Arabia. While the Gulf states such as UAE and Qatar are competing in developing megacities and expanding airports, the most powerful and influential country, Saudi Arabia, isn’t just welcoming millions of pilgrims to its holy cities. The country is taking bald initiatives to create and develop new megacities, high-speed railway systems and super-efficient port to be sustainable and competitive even after its world largest oil reserve runs out.
Aiming young Saudis, especially those who return from Western countries to study, these projects are designed to suit the newly developed life styles and preferences of such returnees, including women who are not even allowed to drive or travel without their guardians permission.
Enjoy reading and learning about the dynamics of the conservative kingdom.


Topic Reading-Vol.1077-3/24/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Denmark could face attack if joins NATO shield: Russian ambassador
Nearly a quarter century passed since the end of the Cold War between the East and the West. However, there still seems or increasingly seems to be fierce tension between Russia and NATO, The North Atlantic Treaty Organization. This is a staggering comment made by an ambassador from Russia, which is one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council to a small Baltic country. He says that if Denmark joins the US-led missile defense, Danish warships become targets for Russian nuclear missiles. He uses the conditional type-one, “if Denmark joins ~ Danish warships become …”
Can such a Cold-War style threat be acceptable? What is the intention of such an iron-fisted pubic remark?

Enjoy reading and guessing what kind of game Russia intends to play.


Topic Reading-Vol.1076-3/23/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Yahoo to exit from Chinese mainland market
Another retreat from the mainland China. This time, Yahoo. Though the Internet giant had only a research and development center in Beijing with 300 or so engineers, it marks another setback for international tech companies in the biggest Internet space in the world. Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon and such are all have strongholds in major markets but not in China’s growing and increasingly influential cyber space or e-commerce market.
Aren’t these players competitive enough in China or are they somehow pushed out by the authoritative regulators? At least, the laid-off employees, mainly engineers, seem to have no problem finding new jobs as tech employers are starving for Internet talents.
Enjoy reading and learning how little the Internet giant’s retreat from China is.


Topic Reading-Vol.1075-3/22/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
California Has a New Plan to Beat the Drought, One Glass of Water at a Time
Unlike Europe, it’s still free of charge to be served a glass of water at a restaurant in California, even though you now need to ask for one. Neither the saving nor hassle sounds so significant, the state’s new water conservation program seems controversial where the draught is getting worsened for the last several years and the water reservoir is now at a historically low level.
Much more water could be saved if the agricultural sector is involved, which accounts for 80 percent of the state’s water use. Also, outdoor water use such as watering lawns and plants could be more strictly controlled because it consumes about a half of the water use in summer.
At any rate, restaurants maybe more encouraged to offer just bottled water like Europe so that they make more money with less tap water? That will at least make diners more cautious about leaving undrunk water, won’t it?
Enjoy reading and learning how severe the drought is in the most populous state in America.


Topic Reading-Vol.1074-3/21/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Exiled Tibet leader compares China to N.Korea, apartheid S.Africa
Though Tibet is one of the autonomous regions of China, it still has an exiled government ever since it was taken control back in 1959. The leader of the political cause claims none of Tibetan’s religion, culture or language is respected, or rather disregarded, and very few of the local residents enjoy economic prosperity that China says there is.
It is also astonishing to hear that they are issued identity cards with second-generation high-tech chips that enable the authority to know where and when they are every time the card is scanned by the reader. It sounds like the Internet of Things, or the IoT, doesn’t it? Can you decline the possibility of them forcing people being embodied such ID chip in their bodies in the future? Is such monitoring only in a science fiction movie?
Enjoy reading and learning.


Topic Reading-Vol.1073-3/20/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Russia's economic misery deepens
It looks like a radical roller coaster ride, for a long time and not knowing when it stops.
Russia’s central bank raised its lending rate from 11.5% to 17% in a single shot last year. The currency plunged as much as 40% against the US dollar just in six months. Food prices jumped over 20% in February compared to a year earlier. It’s hardly thinkable to see your paycheck raised at such a faster pace, isn’t it? How could ordinary people survive in such a drastically changing environment? And make the things worse, the tunnel looks very long and endless, or even descending.
Enjoy reading and thinking what the life is like under such a high inflation environment.


Topic Reading-Vol.1072-3/19/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
UN chief urges Japan, China, South Korea to reconcile
Another push from outside to the region. This time by the UN secretary general, urging Japan, China and his own country, the Republic of Korea to have dialogues to reconcile over their wartime history and stabilize the region’s security during his visit to Tokyo to mark the 70th anniversary of the United Nations.
Japan’s PM, Shinzo Abe didn’t respond directly to the comment but moved on to Japan's contributions to the U.N. and stressed its desire to be a permanent member of the UN Security Council. It sounds highly unlikely for China, one of the permanent members, to agree on such a demand unless the two nation’s odd relationship is reconciled
Enjoy reading and finding how others in the world are looking at northeast Asia.


Topic Reading-Vol.1071-3/18/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
South Africa claims first successful penis transplant
It sounds really ground-breaking, doesn’t it? A 21-year-old man was his removed after an unsuccessful circumcision three years ago. He was fortunate enough to be transplanted one from a deceased donor last year. Three months after the complicated surgery, the doctors who performed this first-time-ever successful transplant of such a kind announced that both the patient’s urinal and reproduction functions are working.
Enjoy reading and learning this unbelievable achievement by South African doctors.


Topic Reading-Vol.1070-3/17/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Egypt unveils plan to build glitzy new capital
How exciting it is to build a new capital! Well, it hasn’t been that unusual at least for the largest country in three continents. Guess what? Canberra, Brasilia and Washington D.C.
So, it doesn't sound so crazy for Egypt to move its capital from way-too-congested Cairo to a nearby location. They could design a greener and cleaner city not only to meet the needs for its increasing population and infrastructure requirement but also to lead design and architecture design concept for modern urban environment.
However, the loftier the ideas are, the higher the ticket price will be. Will they be able to realize such a big project? Will it become a popular tourists’ destination like their proud pyramids or the Nile? Can such a historic move from the historical place be supported by their own people without another big uprising?
Enjoy reading and learning what the historical town and country is thinking of now.


Topic Reading-Vol.1069-3/16/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Jupiter's largest moon definitely has an ocean: NASA
Ganymede, or Jupiter III, is the largest moon of Jupiter and also in the Solar System. It is actually larger than planet Mercury. It is covered with ice, as thick as 150 km. Underneath the ice, scientists and astronomers had been suspecting the existing of salt water that could nourish life of some kind. Now, already a-quarter-century old Hubble Space Telescope confirmed that discovery by observing changes in the aurorae around the distant moon, which scientists believe provides the best evidence for the existence of an ocean under the ice crust.
However, a telescope cannot see things inside the crust. So, the next step is to send a research space craft there. The European Space Agency mission is planning to launch an explorer in 2022 called Jupiter's Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE). It’ll travel a long distance and arrive at Jupiter in 2030. Still a long way to go, isn’t it?
Enjoy reading and learning about this breakthrough discovery.


Topic Reading-Vol.1068-3/15/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Life, the universe and everything? World's largest machine gets ready to restart
It simply is a very long, 27km crossing the Swiss-France boarder particle accelerator. It is designed to collide protons to find what could be created and observed.
It is because scientists and researchers are hoping to find the trace of the “dark matter,” which has been neither seeable or measurable so far, though it is believed to consist nearly 85% of the things in the universe.
You may not to understand what they are attempting to do but you’ll enjoy seeing the scale of investment and expectation on this substantial, international and inter-relational project in the photos.


Topic Reading-Vol.1067-3/14/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China's rubber-stamp parliament is a billionaires' club
It sounds like the most highly-valued ticket to attend an assembly on the planet. The National People's Congress is a China's top political advisory body, which takes place every year in March. There, 203 of the the richest 1,271 people in China delegates sit, listen to and rubber stamp what the party leaders say and propose. The combined wealth of those delegates is estimated to worth over $180 billion, greater than the GDP of Austria or South Africa. If you compare the scale of wealth with the U.S., the net worth of the top ten richest lawmakers in China is nearly 100 times larger than that of the US lawmakers.
Why are there so many high-ticket lawmakers in China?
Enjoy reading and finding the scale and mechanism of the politics and business in China.


Topic Reading-Vol.1066-3/13/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Pet Scoop: Dogs May Recognize Happy and Angry Faces, Sea Lion Pup Saved From Road
Happy or angry, dogs seem to be able to discriminate. Well, people naturally show such expressions not only to other humans but also to their pets and other animals, not knowing or expecting if they recognize how they feel about them.
New study found that trained dogs recognize such difference of unknown humans by photos, meaning without smell or feel. That’s quite interesting, isn’t it? Many people smile when they meet a pet dog of other’s, just like the way they do to other humans. And in most cases, dogs wave their tails in return. So, humans and dogs might have been socializing each other for a long time.
Enjoy reading and learning another unknown world around us.


Topic Reading-Vol.1065-3/12/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
India suspects charged over Nagaland mob lynching
An angry mob of thousands dragged a man from jail, beat and hanged him in a northern city of India. The man was an alleged rapist of a 19-year old local girl. The inside of this incident seems to lie in the ethnic and territorial issue because the guy was from one of the neighboring states.
Although such a large scale mob lynching is not a popular practice in India, there still are some sorts of street-justice being taken place. This incident also suggests that when tension rises between different ethnic, racial or religious groups, such violence could occur anytime anywhere. And make matter more difficult, it is extremely difficult to prevent such violent uprisings from occurring because they are hardly predictable.
Read and learn what the street justice is like.


Topic Reading-Vol.1064-3/11/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China tells Japan to set down historical baggage
Another message to Japan from China. This time it’s directly commented by its foreign minister at a press conference. It seems they’ve urged Japan to respect what it had said in the 50th and 60th anniversary of the WWII, or Japan’s invasion to the mainland China and it occupation of northern land then-called Manchuria.
He questioned if Japan continues to carry the baggage of history or make a clean break with past aggression. Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe is preparing what to say on August 15, the 70th anniversary, by appointing a 16-member panel composed of scholars, business leaders, journalists and other workers to discuss and come up with advice.
Enjoy reading and learning how clearly China warns Japan what to do and what not to do.


Topic Reading-Vol.1063-3/10/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Meet the 'rat tribe' living in Beijing's underground city
Many still want to live and work in the capital city even under the ground. Many of those who migrate to Beijing to get jobs live in underground cells. They are away from their families and homeland, enduring lonely and comfortless lives. While many of them seem to have given up their hope that they had had before some are still dreaming of living on the ground and working day and night. They don’t even have official resident permit, so they have no social security or insurance. Still, it seems to be a better option or chance to earn money for now and the future. The air in the underground might be less polluted than that of above the ground.
How does it sound to you? Enjoy reading and imagining what the underground living in the capital city is like.


Topic Reading-Vol.1062-3/9/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Secrets of learning a language — quickly
Do you want to learn a foreign language? Then, don’t waste your time on studying grammar first. That part of study can wait until you’re ready to understand and communicate in the language better. What’s you may want to do first is to open your mouth and heart. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or take risks because they won’t harm your language learning but they rather will give more opportunities to communicate better.
Also, experts say the more you immerse yourself in the foreign language you’re learning such as reading, listening to others speaking or speaking to people, the faster your progress will be.
Enjoy reading and finding useful and practical tips to learn a language fast.


Topic Reading-Vol.1061-3/8/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Feds fight 'maternity tourism' with raids on California 'maternity hotels'
What’s the difference between defection and unlawful immigration? Though, born in the US itself isn’t illegal, visiting there for the sole purpose of giving a birth without proper document is a problem. That’s what exactly some of affluent Chinese expecting mothers have been doing for the last several years. They even flew in to Vegas or Hawaii to look themselves as tourists.
More Chinese students study in the US colleges than any other student from other countries, accounting nearly one third of all the foreign college students. And now, those who should be able to enjoy their lives in their home country want to have their child have US citizenship. Why? Is that because of air pollution or anti-corruption crack down?
Enjoy reading and learning what drive Chinese mothers come to and give a birth in their rival country.


Topic Reading-Vol.1060-3/7/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Hundreds of starving koalas killed in Australia
Starving to death or injection for euthanasia? That sounds very difficult to choose for cute, innocent and harmless wild animal like the koala. However, living in the wild isn’t that easy or simple because those animals have to find enough food to live, on top of the protection from poachers or predators. When there are naturally occurring disasters such as wild fires, floods or draughts, those vulnerable may starve to death. So do when their population grows to the level where the environment cannot provide enough food to sustain the population. That seems to have happened in southeastern region in Australia where hundreds of wild koalas were euthanized for the last two years. Critics are blaming the government for their mismanagement. Authorities are saying the smell of the dead koalas had been unbearable.
Enjoy reading and thinking what could have been done in the first place or to deal with the situation.


Topic Reading-Vol.1059-3/6/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Japan's hidden people: Ainu try to keep ancient traditions alive
There are people living in the northernmost island of Japan, Hokkaido. They are called the Ainu, who are native to the land before people from the Honshu Island settled in over centuries ago. They had kept their simple life style to live in and enjoy the produce of nature, such as hunting and fishing, until Meiji restoration in the late 19th century. Now, though they are the indigenous to the island, they are a minority group with only a population of 24,000. Their cultures and traditions have been missed and language is nearly extinct with only a dozen or less speakers alive.
How come these people were put aside from the growth and prosperity that Japan has enjoyed for the last century and a half?
Enjoy reading and learning about the people and their lives in the northernmost island of Japan.


Topic Reading-Vol.1058-3/5/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
The front line of climate change: Alaska village must relocate as Arctic sea ice thins
Relocation of an arctic village because of the global warming? It seems so as ice isn’t formed as timely as it used to to protect this Alaskan island village from tidal waves. Although the effects of the global warming appear gradually, the impacts of extraordinary weather conditions such as hurricanes, typhoons, storms and heavy rains are catastrophic and devastating. Coastal regions around sea levels are already in great danger.
However, the problem doesn’t stop there. As a matter of fact, if the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets melt, sea levels are expected to rise about 80 meters. Should that occur, people, towns and infrastructures on coastal and inland plains would be underwater.
Enjoy reading and learning how serious and clear the danger of the rising sea levels.


Topic Reading-Vol.1057-3/4/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
The Mexican immigrant who set up a global drone firm
"It really is a land of opportunities," he says. Eight years ago, this guy was an immigrant from Mexico waiting for his green card, to live and work legally in the U.S. Now, he and his partner are the co-founders of one of the most successful drone firms, generating US$ 50 million in sales. The company has a factory in Mexico and building another in China.
While most of such tech engineers hold master’s or Ph.D. degrees, Mr. Jordi Munoz hasn't attended college. He earned his knowledge by google searching on the Internet. He also made his programming and operating system open so that he could get feedback from other enthusiasts at free of charge.
Enjoy reading and learning what could bring success in tech world, which he believes, “work hard, do the right thing and be honest.”


Topic Reading-Vol.1056-3/3/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Shaolin pays A$4m to close land deal in Australia
What is Shaolin? It is a Buddhist temple situated in the forests of Shaoshi Mountain in Henan province, China. It is one of the four holy Buddhist temples of China and also said to be the first temple that institutionalized kung fu.
This prominent Buddhist temple announced that it had closed a land deal in a southwestern city of Australia to build a temple, hotels and a golf course. This sounds like a really complicated complex, doesn’t it? And why is such a prominent Buddhist temple making such a substantial investment in Australia?
Enjoy reading and thinking what is driving the kung fu temple to make financial investment.


Topic Reading-Vol.1055-3/2/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Filthy India air cutting 660 million lives short by 3 years
It’s that bad. The country is already shamefully labeled as one of the most polluted places in the world, having been named 13 of its cities on the World Health Organization's list of the 20 most polluted.
And now a new research shows that that pollution in not only urban but also rural regions seems to have shortened their life expectancy by as long as three years. This suggests that lives of the young are the ones affected the most. To make this situation worth, the country is pledged to build more coal burning power plants to power up 300 million people who don’t have electricity now and also to boost its economy.
Enjoy reading and learning how severe the present and future air pollution is in soon-to-be the most populous nation in the world.


Topic Reading-Vol.1054-3/1/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Amnesty calls on UN powers to lose veto on genocide votes
The P5. The permanent members of the UN Security Council, China, Russia, France, the UK and the US are the nations that can say no to any proposition at the council. The veto was exercised only in two cases in 2014, once by China and twice by Russia. However, there were other resolutions or actions to save people in conflict areas that could have been taken if there were no threats of veto power.
The Amnesty International is now saying the P5 should surrender their veto right on issues related to mass killing and genocide, instead of protecting their political or geopolitical self-interest.
Enjoy reading and thinking if it’s time to bring this controversial issue on the UN table to protect the lives of civilians of the rest of the world.