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Topic Reading-Vol.1114-4/30/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Why we want food so much it hurts
Chocolate after having a big meal. Double-deep-fried French fries with mayonnaise for snack.
People sometimes experience sudden and irresistible desire for particular food or drink. Why? Is that because the body requires certain nutrition? Is it caused by some malfunction of the mind or discipline control mechanism?
There seem to be neither clear answers to the question nor solution to the problem. However, a researcher suggests one easy and forgiving countermeasure.
Enjoy reading and finding what could help you avoid indulging in this unhealthy behavior.


Topic Reading-Vol.1113-4/29/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Is China-Pakistan 'silk road' a game-changer?
It’s not just the enemy of my enemy is my friend. China’s announcement of investing $46bn to build an economic corridor from Gwadar in Pakistan to Kashgar in the Chinese region of Xinjiang and other infrastructure developing projects surprised the region and beyond. The amount of the investment is far larger the ones Pakistan has received from the U.S. since 2002.
This newly announced China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a combination of transport and energy projects, also aims to develop a major deep-sea port that will offer direct access to the Indian Ocean and beyond. Since China is heavily depending on oil import from Middle East, it seems vital to secure logistic lines to the region and also faster access to ship goods to Africa and Europe.
And probably as usual, China will send many of its workforce for the construction which could benefits their own people in a short run as well.
Enjoy reading and learning this historical long-term investment that could reverse the role in and around the Indian Ocean regions.


Topic Reading-Vol.1112-4/282015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Armenians mark 1915 mass killings
Mass killing, massacre, or genocide. No matter how it is called, such criminal conduct shall never be justified. A hundred years after the massacre in Armenia that was executed by then ruling government, Ottoman Empire, present-day administration, The Republic of Turkey, refuse to recognize it as genocide. They insist the number of the deaths was inflated and the cause of the deaths was part of war and starvation.
Armenia, a small Christian country is located in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia bordered by Turkey to the west and Georgia to the north, became independent only a quarter century ago from then Soviet Union. On April 24, they made a centenary of the massacre of up to 1.5 million of their people allegedly by Ottoman forces. The event was attended by the leaders from France and Russia and delegates from over 60 countries. A century after the massacre, only 26 countries have officially recognized it as genocide.
Enjoy reading and learning about this 100-year-old tragedy.


Topic Reading-Vol.1111-4/27/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Five classical music controversies
Progressive works, designs, and concepts often seem to be controversial, at least in the first place.
Some or many of now-highly-prominent painted or written arts, musical or performing arts, architectural designs or sculptural works were originally criticized or undervalued. When people first saw Picasso’s works or heard Beatles songs, those who digested or accepted their innovative style or progressive approach weren’t the majority.
Here are some examples of such controversies in classical music. Enjoy reading the article and listen to the controversial music works.


Topic Reading-Vol.1110-4/26/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
May the force be with ANA's awesome new "Star Wars" airplane
Livery designs for aircraft aren’t that new. Most of them represent the carrier’s corporate identity, brand logo or colors. Some of the look subtle and assuring and others look flashy and appealing.
But sometimes, carriers put promotional livery on their aircraft such as Pokémon and Kitty attempting family travelers to come on board.
This year, one of the biggest film works for years is scheduled to be released. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is under production for a December release. To take this sensational promotional opportunity, All Nippon Airways, or ANA, has decided to put a livery on one of its largest 787 Dreamliner fleet. Can you guess which of the characters is painted?
Enjoy reading and seeing this airliner’s unique promotional approach in the sky.


Topic Reading-Vol.1109-4/25/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
What's it really like to work at McDonald's?
60 years have passed since the opening of the first franchised McDonald's restaurant opened in Illinois, the USA. There are now 36,000 restaurants in the world with nearly two millions crews, both more than any other fast food restaurant chains.
Are their food and services liked by their customers? McDonald's an annual global sales fell by 15% in 2014, describing the climate as "challenging".
Are those employees well or reasonably paid? Employees in the US rallied for a significant pay raise recently.
Is the management and operation supported positively by their employees? "McJob" is a term defined in The Oxford English Dictionary as "an unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, especially one created by the expansion of the service sector".
Enjoy reading and learning about this 60-year-old fast food giant.


Topic Reading-Vol.1108-4/24/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
How the selfie stick was invented twice
Who invented it first? The “selfie” which is seen anywhere tourists, especially the young, go to take photos of themselves. It has become so popular and also annoying to others that large events such as concerts halls, stadiums, and museums ban the use of it.
The original concept of selfie was born in Europe when two inventors visited there in different times. One of them wanted a picture of his family and asked the locals to take a photo of them. The locals took his camera and ran away instead of taking a photo of them. This disgraceful incident was more than enough for the engineer of a camera company to come up with a solution.
Enjoy reading and learning how now-popular selfie was invented.


Topic Reading-Vol.1107-4/23/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Our ancestors really were cannibals
Revealed and confirmed. Their ancestors seem to have eaten each other in England 15,000 years ago. As the archeologists examined carefully the human remains found in 1992, they found the clear evidence of cannibalization. The sculls were modified for some purpose, and the bodies were butchered, carved and eaten.
Was that practiced only after the death of someone or while someone’s being alive?
Was it a common practice in other places then?
Enjoy reading and guessing what your ancestors might have been doing before history.


Topic Reading-Vol.1106-4/22/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
As student tests move online, keyboarding enters curriculum
Even though sway and touch are becoming the standard process to use tech gadgets such as smartphones, tablet and some PCs, keyboard typing can’t be missed for colleges and careers. Accordingly, instead of just choosing correct answers, students are now required to answer open-ended questions by typing a minimum of three pages in a single sitting in the 6th year in elementary school in most of the states in the U.S.
The higher the tasks are, the more thinking is needed. That itself is a much more challenging task than just choosing correct answers on paper, which isn’t a common practice in college or at work. Then, students must be able to operate an assigned machine, software and/or app properly to answer the questions. Sounds quite reasonable, doesn’t it?
Enjoy reading and learning what education should provide to students for their future.


Topic Reading-Vol.1105-4/21/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
EU accuses Google Shopping of search 'abuse'
Closed system vs. open architecture. Monopoly vs. competitive market. Convenience of one-for-all vs. competitive products and pricing.
Like Apple and Microsoft, Wintel (Windows-Intel) and the others, there have been a few large-scale anti-trust investigations, negotiations and litigation in high-tech industry.
This time, the search giant Google is facing a huge penalty by the EU. Even though the dominant search engine has been chosen by its users, the commission sees the search company’s abusing its dominant position in the market space. What have they done? Do you realize anything been done to you? If yes, was that annoying or rather convenient?
Enjoy reading and thinking who are benefited and who are abused by Google.


Topic Reading-Vol.1104-4/20/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Why migrants are dying in their thousands to reach Italy?
140,000 migrants arrived in 2011, 160,000 in 2013 and 174,000 in 2014 rescued by Italian navy. This means a total of half a million migrants crossed the Mediterranean from African coasts to Italy, and to other part of Europe. Why so many people are fleeing? Where in Africa are they from? Is it worth a risk boarding a smuggler’s boat that offers just enough space to be onboard?
Most of those refugees are from Libya where the famous tyrant Gadhafi was overthrown in 2011. Ever since the country was liberalized, there has been no effective control mechanism or force to stop illegal migrants sail off the coast, heading the nearest land of promise, Italy.
The more they help, the more will feel safer to sail off. A bitter controversy between humanitarian effort and immigration control, isn’t it?
Enjoy reading and learning what is going on in the beautiful sea between the two continents.


Topic Reading-Vol.1103-4/19/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
The firepower of America's gun advocates
The title seems to say it all. The National Rifle Association, NRA in short, has more firepower and financial force than most of the political pressure groups in America. The belief and support for gun ownership can also be seen in the crowd of 70,000 in Nashville, Tennessee, who gathered to see the latest firearms from all over the country.
The lives of 20 school children in Connecticut in 2012 didn’t change the power map of gun supporters and their opponents. Some states are even moving towards permitting gun-toting in public places and parks, in the name of self-defense and family protection, as well as their favorite justification, constitutional right.
Enjoy reading and thinking if America is two countries.


Topic Reading-Vol.1102-4/18/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Australia to stop welfare cash of anti-vaccine parents
Get a shot or loose A$11,000 a year.
That is going to be a choice parents in Australia have to make soon. The announcement was made by the administration to encourage parents have their children to vaccinate their children. Because of the refusals by the parents, there are approximately 39,000 children aged under seven who have not been vaccinated. Why? Some parents have a philosophical or religious objection to vaccines. Others fear that some vaccines against deadly diseases are dangerous.
Is it something that should be decided by parents’ belief? Isn't there any consideration of social or public influence?
Enjoy reading and thinking of this controversial topic, public responsibility and private belief.


Topic Reading-Vol.1101-4/17/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Google doesn't care where you went to college
Free lunch, gym, day care and laundry services. If you’re just looking for such luxuries and job challenges among the best and the brightest, you may want to think of applying for a job at Google.
But there seem to be a lot of highly educated and talented folks applying to get a job there. Two million a year! So you may wonder if your academic credit or performance may not be competitive enough to get a chance for a job interview. Not really. The company has different view on how to look for new teammates from their experience.
Enjoy reading what matters more for the tech giant.


Topic Reading-Vol.1100-4/16/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
The dystopian lake filled by the world’s tech lust
The fancier and greener the product is, the heavier the environment burden seems to be.
Rare minerals such as cerium and neodymium are used in all sorts of high tech products such as electric cars, smartphones and hard drives. While these rare minerals are found in other part of the world, most of them are produced in inland China. Why? It isn’t because of the production efficiency or product quality but because of the environmental burdens that other part of the world is unwilling to bear.
Once you see the place and smell the air in the town where those rare minerals are mined and refined, you may no longer view the tech gadgets you use every day in the same way.
Enjoy reading and seeing the photos and videos to learn the behind the scene of your tech gadgets.


Topic Reading-Vol.1099-4/15/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Malala Yousafzai gets her own asteroid
Now she is awarded an asteroid, but not the object but the naming.
Malala Yousafzai was shot by Taliban soldiers ruthlessly in Pakistan in 2012. She was treated in the hospital in England. She was co-awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Stockholm in 2014. She is known to many in the planet. But now, her reputation goes into space. A small asteroid is officially named after her in 2015. The Malala asteroid is among the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and orbits the sun every five-and-a-half years. Although the asteroid is too small and dark to be seen by human eyes, her name is seen in space map.
Enjoy reading and thinking what it’s like to see your name in space.


Topic Reading-Vol.1098-4/14/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Cyberattack disables 11 French TV channels, takes over social media sites
No firewall is perfect. Attackers seem to learn the defense mechanism of the wall by unlimited number of accesses. Furthermore, many of such hackers have unlimited time and resources as well as extremely high level of passion, motivation and sophistication. On the other hand, those who try to defend the system have hard time matching such powerful individuals as they are limited in number, time and budget. As a result, the White House and Defense Ministry in America and TV channels and their web sites in France were all hacked by unknown hackers just in a week. Even one-time security ID systems of Japanese banks were found to be breached.
What is safe or unsafe in the cyberspace?
Enjoy reading and learning the recent breach of a supposedly-secured firewall.


Topic Reading-Vol.1097-4/13/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Japan’s textbook revisions poisonous to neighborhood ties
Another harsh criticism over Japan’s war-time conduct from China.
Xinhua, the official press agency of the People's Republic of China, criticized strongly for Japan’s revising its junior high school textbooks regarding wartime history. It says the textbook review brainwashes young people and the revisions mark a step in the wrong direction.
No matter how biased or one-sided a story is, it’ll reach others’ ears and be heard. And if a story by one side is more repeatedly heard or seen than the other, it could form certain level of perception among listeners and viewers over time.
Enjoy reading and learning how much one can talk about another openly and publicly.


Topic Reading-Vol.1096-4/12/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
US, Japan trust each other but both wary of China: poll
Japan doesn’t seem to matter so much to Americans. It did a lot seven decades ago when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and also in the 1980s and early 1990s when Japanese products fiercely competed and took market shares in the main land. However, as much stronger and greater power threatens the peace in the Pacific and influences the world economy, Japan seems to be seen as a partner rather than a competitor or aggressor than before.
According to an opinion poll conducted to 1,000 people from each country, no more than 30 percent of the Americans said they knew of Japan’s prime minister, who is scheduled to address a joint session of the US Congress.
How Japanese do people view America then, especially about the atomic bombing to Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Enjoy reading and learning how the people of these two countries think each other 70 years after the war.


Topic Reading-Vol.1095-4/11/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Antarctica hits 63 degrees, believed to be a record
A temperature of 15.5 degrees Celsius on March 24 sounds pretty normal in places in northern America, eastern Asia or Europe. People enjoy walking and seeing flowers and greens outside and birds sing spring songs. That doesn’t usually happen in Alaska, Siberia or Scandinavia where snow and ice still cover most of the landscape. You can then imagine how extreme that temperature is in Antarctica, where the mean annual temperature of the interior is -57 °C.
Do the penguins in the photos look happy with the warm temperature? Do they look worried to have new predators arriving or emerging on their safe land?
Enjoy reading and guessing the impact of such unusual and extreme weather condition in Antarctica.


Topic Reading-Vol.1094-4/10/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
6 cultural differences between China and the US
Of course there are considerable cultural differences between them. Think about the origin, history, race, language, religion and faith, food, education, governance and wealth. What similarities do you find between America and China?
Readers of China Daily picked six major cultural differences they think dominant between them and the U.S. Though it is unsure how many of the contributors have lived or visited America or have ever had close or occasional contacts with Americans, it’s still interesting to know what they think are different from American culture.
Enjoy reading and learning the aspects of the people who once were the center of the world culture.


Topic Reading-Vol.1093-4/9/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
14 years worth of rain in one day triggers deadly flooding in driest place on Earth
You probably know of or have heard of Atacama Desert in Chili. It is famous as the driest place on earth. Rain falls only when powerful southern fronts break into the subsidence area. That’s what exactly happened at an extreme level on March 24th. Fourteen-year worth of rain poured just in one day, which caused severe flooding to a desert town which is totally vulnerable to such water.
The cold front seemed to have been enhanced by unusually warm ocean water temperatures that had been caused by El Nino event.
Enjoy reading and seeing the video footage of the unusual flooding in the driest place.


Topic Reading-Vol.1092-4/8/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
This frog shape-shifts
The chameleon camouflages itself by changing the skin color to wait for a prey to come by and to hide from its predators. This frog does much more than that. It changes not only the color but also the shape of the body. What evolution it is! If one species can make such evolution, humans may be able adopt themselves to new environment created by global warming.
Enjoy seeing this amazing video how this frog changes its shape.


Topic Reading-Vol.1091-4/7/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Why missing a night of sleep can damage your IQ
How long is enough? That’s a question whose answers vary by person.
Even though you know the answer, say seven or eight hours a night, you probably can’t enjoy such luxury every day. Some people never miss their daily exercises and others watch their diet for every meal. But not enough attention or passion is paid to good-night sleep.
According to some researchers, social ability, emotional stability and intellectual capability are all linked to sleep, except for very few who can survive and perform only with four or five hours of sleep.
It then seems to a question of your priorities. Sleep longer to do things better or sleep shorter hours to do more.
Enjoy reading and then think how long you’re going to sleep tonight.


Topic Reading-Vol.1090-4/6/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
President's books and speeches go mobile
Sounds like a modern version of The Little Red Book, doesn’t it? The Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong, or毛主席語錄; pinyin: Máo Zhǔxí Yǔlù, is a book of selected statements from speeches and writings by the nation’s founder. It was published from 1964 to about 1976 and widely distributed during the Cultural Revolution. The Little Red Book is the most popular versions designed to be carried easily for anyone to anywhere.
A half century later, there is a modern version of the party’s education initiative under the ubiquitous concept. The party seems to have agreed to go for Xi Jinping to be their dominant leader for the next decade.
Should western leaders read his books and quotations?
Enjoy reading and thinking of the influence of education.


Topic Reading-Vol.1089-4/5/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Pennsylvania university expels three students for racist comments on radio
Social standards before education. That’s what students need to learn before enrolling in college or university in the U.S. because it costs far more than the tuition to learn what not to do after enrollment.
Racism seems to still exist throughout the country and society even though it is forbidden by laws, regulations and cord of conducts. For politicians or business leaders, racially discriminating comments or behavior easily costs their current jobs and future opportunities.
Does it sound similar to driving after drinking?
Enjoy reading and learning how costly and serious it is to make racial remarks in the US.


Topic Reading-Vol.1088-4/4/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Identical Triplet Sisters Get Married Together in Joint Wedding in Brazil
The brides are not just twins but triplet sisters. And they are not just triplet sisters but identical triplet sisters. They all married at the same church on the same day. They wore identical wedding dresses and had the same hair style. The only differences are the color of the bouquets they were holding and bridegrooms they were being held by. Interestingly, one of the bridegrooms said he doesn't have any problem identifying his bride because she is the most beautiful one of the three.
Enjoy reading this amazing wedding and seeing the photos of the three couples.


Topic Reading-Vol.1087-4/3/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China unveils action plan on Belt and Road Initiative
The Silk Road is a network of trade and cultural transmission routes that linked China and India to the Mediterranean Sea in various times in history. It was named after China’s silk that was carried out along the route during the Han dynasty.
Now, under the present dynasty, China is trying to revive this ancient trade and cultural routes on both ground and seas. It is called the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road which was introduced by Xi Jinping in 2013 to enhance regional connectivity and prosperity.
This new initiative is going to be partially, or could be largely, funded by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, or AIIB, a financial project for regional infrastructure development, which is also initiated by China. Over 50 countries jumped on this wagon including major European countries which are usually regarded the US allies.
Enjoy reading and learning about China’s ambitious plans to build new trade infrastructure within and interconnect the regions and also financing initiative that has drawn participation from most of the major countries in the world.


Topic Reading-Vol.1086-4/2/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Why Singapore banned chewing gum
If you want to live in a safe and clean city, try Singapore. But you’re also required to obey the laws not to chew gums, litter, graffiti, jaywalking, spitting and urinating anywhere but in a toilet there.
Not only most of the Singaporeans but also many political and business leaders in the world seem to respect this long-term ruler of the city state who turned the tiny place of nothing to one of the most advancing and dynamic hub of economy, Lee Kuan Yew. But the nation is also known as one of the strictest nations when it comes to public manners.
So the choice seems to be yours. Would you be bothered by these things by others’ or by not doing these things yourself?
Enjoy reading and learning about the famous chewing-gum-ban.


Topic Reading-Vol.1085-4/1/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Cuddly Sifakas fight off Huge Marauding Snake
Another story of the monkey today. Don’t fool Sifakas, they could intimidate you to death. They are unique primate, only about 50 centimeters in length and five kilograms in weight, native to Madagascar, an island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Southeast Africa.
When a female of a group of eight sifakas was attacked by a 2.7meter-long boa, the group members counterattacked the boa and rescued her. But that wasn’t it. The released sifaka bit the boa snake on the head, damaging its lower jaw. The bite was so severe that the poor boa became unable to close its mouth. It retreated to nearby vegetation but didn’t move any more. Two months later, it was found dead. On the other hand, the lucky female sifaka gave birth to her baby four months after the boa’s death.
 What an unbelievable story is it? But it isn’t an April Fool’s but a real story witnessed and described by four hotel workers on the site.
Enjoy reading this amazing story.