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Topic Reading-Vol.1145-5/31/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Singapore Airlines jet loses power in a storm
When you’re on-board a flight cruising at 12,000 meters above the ground, the worst thing you could imagine is the engines go silent. Actually, passenger aircraft can fly and land only with one of the engines. But what if both of the two engines stop in the air? That’s what exactly happened to a flight from Singapore to Shanghai on May 23rd. The airplane had descended approximately 4,000 meters before the crew successfully rebooted the engines. None of the 180 passengers nor 12 crew members was injured and it landed at its destination safely.
How many of the passengers noticed the silence? What did they think of during the descend? What were they told by the captain? What would you do if you were on-board?
Enjoy reading about this amazing incident.


Topic Reading-Vol.1144-5/30/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Food #fail: 10 items in your fridge you've been eating incorrectly
You may be getting only half the benefits of the foods you are eating. If you want to get full or most of the benefits of healthy and nutritious foods such as broccolis, grains, strawberries, yogurt or garlic, you should pay attention to how to prepare and consume them.
Steaming rather than frying or boiling. That sounds simple enough to remember and carry out. But when it comes to the effect of oxygen, strawberries and garlic are totally opposite.
How much do you remember or care?
Enjoy reading and learning what makes difference to your health and nutrition.


Topic Reading-Vol.1143-5/29/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China to construct two large lighthouses in the South China Sea
China officially issued its first 9,000-page white paper on military strategy. What noted is that "some offshore neighbors take provocative actions and reinforce their military presence on China's reefs and islands that they have illegally occupied". "It is thus a long-standing task for China to safeguard its maritime rights and interests." It also states that they will never take offensive actions unless they are attacked, which sounds pretty reasonable as long as the territorial boundaries are agreed by its neighbors.
Now they are building two lighthouses in the disputed waters. From China’s point of view, this move complies with their self-claimed defense and security policy. And their newly clarified defense policy justifies any military actions to protect their proclaimed land, waters and facilities.
Enjoy reading and thinking what these maritime traffic lights and the runway they are building on the artificial island could provoke.


Topic Reading-Vol.1142-5/28/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Massive India heatwave 'kills 430'
Can you imagine what the air feels like at 48 degrees? Most of you probably have never experienced what the 40 degrees temperature is like. But that is what the people in India have suffered for the last few days and will for the next few days.
It seems too dangerous to do any outdoor activities as usual. People stay inside and take breaks more often under the shades. Still, nearly 500 heat-related deaths have been reported.
This extreme heatwave, even in India, is caused by lack of rain, which makes farmlands dry up. Consequently there will be food shortage in a later time. Is there sufficient water at least for now?
By the way, by this continuing heatwave, the number of casualties have already passed 1,000 mark as of 26th of May and is expected to rise even higher.
Learn what extreme heat is like in India.


Topic Reading-Vol.1141-5/27/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
German grandmother, 65, gives birth to quadruplets
It’s not just how old but also how many babies give birth to, on top of the fact that she already has seven grandchildren. So the newly born four babies are younger than their direct nephews and/or nieces! In other words, those newly born babies are already uncles and an aunt!
When they start attending school, their accompanying mother will be over seventy and when they turn 20, she’ll be 85. Those new members of her family must be very proud of their mother, not to mention their 13 sisters and brothers.
Enjoy learning about this amazingly courageous woman.


Topic Reading-Vol.1140-5/26/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Can cooking make you happier?
While the average time for cooking has been cut in half for the last two decades, the number of stress-related illnesses has doubled. Is there any link between cooking and smiling?
That’s all depending on how you take it. If you cook just because you have to, you may not become any happier by doing so. But if you enjoy cooking to please yourself or others, or to challenge something new to your regular menu, it seems to offer a great time before, during and after the process. There is no golden rule or anything. No big budget or fancy material is needed. Your attitude seems to be the best recipe for a good meal for your mental health.
Enjoy reading the text and thinking of the next menu.


Topic Reading-Vol.1139-5/25/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Why most of the world's jobseekers will be from one continent
Which continent will that be? The one least developed until now but its population growth is expected to outpace any other continent. Africa. In fact, among the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world, seven of them are in Africa.
As population and economy grow, more job opportunities are supposed to be created. But the rates of increase of these factors aren’t always balanced. Actually, unemployment ratio of the young is much higher than that of the older generations in Africa. Those who are entering the job market need to be educated or skilled to meet and fill the demand. Also, it is becoming crucial that innocent young people are provided jobs and hope for the future because those who enter the dark side are mostly unemployed and unsatisfied youngsters.
Enjoy reading and thinking of the future of the bright continent.


Topic Reading-Vol.1138-5/24/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Google's new self-driving cars hit the road
Imagine you were in a driverless car by yourself or with your friends, what would you do?
Surely, it’ll be a great relief from the frustration you suffer from and concentration you need to make when you drive yourself. You can use your smartphone to talk, chat, surf the Internet, play games or read a book. You can also take a nap or indulge in a philosophical question.
Google, one of the most valuable and aggressive tech companies, is almost ready to launch such driver-free vehicles. The car is designed to speed no faster than 40 km/hour, which seems appropriate for local drive for conventional use such as grocery shopping, short commute, or sending kids to school. Wait. If it drives itself, you don’t need to be in the car! You can have the car send your kid or pet, or your kid or pet can get to anywhere by themselves! That probably depends on the local regulations, not technology.
Enjoy reading and imagining what benefits and conveniences you might enjoy by a driverless car.


Topic Reading-Vol.1137-5/23/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Asian groups file complaint over Harvard admission practices
Gender, age, race, religion, nationality and income. All these non-academic factors might be taken into consideration for college admission policies on top of academic requirements in order to provide a balanced educational and social environment. That seems quite necessary because the society or organization college students will be working in after graduation is more diverse than college campuses.
However, it always causes sensitive and controversial argument and disagreement when it comes to allocation and weighing. That is the dilemma of affirmative action as there is no one right mix or balance that everyone agrees on. Therefore, university admission offices have to deal with continuous claims from those who were rejected.
Enjoy reading and learning how difficult to balance the mix and please the applicants.


Topic Reading-Vol.1136-5/22/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Why the world is wary of China's 'great wall of sand' in the sea
Building an artificial island and claiming it as one’s territory sounds like an aggressive act, especially in a disputed area. Taiwan, The Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, and Malaysia, all have been claiming certain islands in the Spratly Islands as theirs for decades even though most of them are tiny inhabitable islands or just rocks above sea level. Why are they disputing over such small land space?
The South China Sea produces nearly one tenth of the world seafood, valuable source of nutrition to the residents around the sea and products for export to other regions. Also, it is an important sea lane for the countries in and around the sea. And it is expected to have natural resources such as gas and oil, which haven’t been explored yet because of the dispute.
Now China is building an artificial island in the sea and claiming it as their soil in a speed faster than the impact of global warming. It could be an unsinkable aircraft carrier.
Enjoy reading and learning what matters so much in the disputed islands in the South China Sea.


Topic Reading-Vol.1135-5/21/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
NASA: 10,000-year-old Antarctic ice shelf will disappear by 2020
First, take a look at how rapidly and substantially Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctic Peninsula has lost its coverage. It measured 4,445 square miles in January 1995, went down to 2,573 square miles in February 2002 after the major disintegration, and shrank to 1,337 square miles a month later. This tells how quickly the ice shelf disappeared once it was disintegrated. It measured only a half the size after 2015 summer in May.
Ice shelves are very sensitive to atmospheric warming, and more importantly it affects ocean temperature significantly. That is because ice shelves are extensions of glaciers and function as barriers. Therefore if ice shelf disappears, glaciers will diminish accordingly and consequently global sea levels rises quickly. And this NASA’s report says it is disappearing much faster than it was predicted before.
What will the most intelligent creature on the planet do to deal with the problem that they are creating themselves?
Enjoy reading and thinking of the future with or without decisive and effective actions to solve this problem.


Topic Reading-Vol.1134-5/20/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Following Beethoven's Ninth
This piece of music has been known and loved by many for nearly two centuries. It is not only the finest but also the most artistically and emotionally appealing tunes, especially the song in the final movement.
This final symphony of the greatest composer in music history, Beethoven, was composed and performed back in 1824, after many years of depression and despair of his life. It has since played in many historic occasions and moved the people who played, sang and listened.
Enjoy reading and finding how this lovely piece of music has inspired many in the world.


Topic Reading-Vol.1133-5/19/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Twins have different fathers, judge finds in paternity case
A DNA test seems to have proved a fact that was not originally sought. A mother of twins wanted their father to pay child support. A DNA test was conducted to identify the father which did but only to one of the twins, meaning the father of the other of the twins is a different man.
It is rare but still possible. It could occur when there are two unfertilized eggs within a menses period, and each of them is fertilized by a sperm of a different man. In some cases, parents or either parent don’t or doesn’t realize that their twins are from different fathers. But when twins look obviously different in physical characteristics such as skin colors or facial lines, their father’s identity is questioned.
In this case, the man who was ruled to pay $28 a week by the court, certainly the father of one of the children. Does the man feel partly relieved or obligated? Whichever he feels, he’s now completely responsible for one of them. Another question is, is $28 a week enough to grow a child?
Enjoy reading and learning about this identity crisis.


Topic Reading-Vol.1132-5/18/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
California's drought is Asia's nightmare
Is California’s drought such a big deal to others in the world? Most of us tend to pay not as much attention to where almonds, cashew nuts or walnuts are produced as wine or cheese. However, if you take a look at the place of origin of those dry foods, you’ll most likely find California more than any other place. Also, broccolis, raisons and berries are largely produced in the sunny, now too sunny, state.
The Golden State has been experiencing a severer than ever drought in history. The state government has imposed various restrictions on water usage mainly to households and small businesses such as restaurants. However, the state’s largest water consumer, the agricultural industry, seems to have suffered badly than others even though water usage is less restricted to lessen the damage.
Aren’t there any effective temporary countermeasures or permanent solutions? The best and brightest in the Silicon Valley who drives an unmanned vehicle can’t come up with workable or practical solutions like some of the Asian countries like Singapore or the Philippines did?
Enjoy reading and learning some of the initiatives and wisdom that small countries have taken into practice to secure water supply.


Topic Reading-Vol.1131-5/17/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China announces holiday for V-Day celebration
Does 70th mean a lot to China and Russia? The leaders of the two recently-aggressive nations in terms of territory jointly celebrated the 70th anniversary of VE day on May 8th in Moscow in a greater scale than ever before with a massive military show off parade.
Now China is going to commemorate the 70th VJ day with the first time ever military parade along with a three-day national holiday that was suddenly announced only less than a four-month time. The state announcement said that September 3 will be a national holiday this year to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, or more importantly, the allied victory over Japan. And workers will get three days off from September 3 to September 5 (Thursday-Saturday) but they’ll have to work on Sunday, September 6 to make up.
In today’s digital era, paper calendar may not mean much any longer. However, such a sudden announcement of public holidays must make confusions and destructions to many businesses. Or are they get used to such order from the government (party)?
More importantly, why all of a sudden such an aggressive anti-Japan campaign is going to be held? Do they need to bring public attention to something off the slowing-down economy?
Enjoy reading and guessing why 70th anniversary has become such a big deal.


Topic Reading-Vol.1130-5/16/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Europe dreams of closing digital gap with the U.S.
One currency in most of the EU countries. One passport control to the 28-country region with a population of five billion. Yet, the travelers still have to pay roaming charges to access the Internet or to make a call by their smart or legacy phone, and e-commerce is far from borderless due to the local taxations and regulations.
There seems to be no surprise why European counties have been lagging far behind the US in innovating business or practicing services, especially for consumers.
Now the European Commission disclosed its aggressive plan to catch up and surpass America’s innovative and entrepreneurial leadership in the digital arena amid the time when some of its member states are on the brink of bankruptcy or resignation from the membership.
Enjoy reading and learning what and how the EU is trying to accelerate the speed to run in the digital race.


Topic Reading-Vol.1129-5/15/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
How safe is your password?
Some people think they are free from online frauds. Others think they are protected by the security software and password. Be warned. There are smart people out there who use their talent and make efforts to break those security walls. They are armed with malicious viruses, fake emails and algorithm to steal or find your ID and password combination.
If you want to protect your online privacy and property, knowing how and what those hackers do to steal or find information from your IT device or account may help you to protect them.
Enjoy seeing the video and think what to do to be safer.


Topic Reading-Vol.1128-5/14/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
10 things Singapore does better than anywhere else
Cleaner, greener and richer aren’t just enough to describe and enjoy this city-state.
Ever since it became independent from Malaysia in 1965, Singapore has been growing in a surprisingly orderly manner and became the wealthiest country in the world in terms of the Gross Domestic Product per person. Anywhere you go in this tiny 50 x 26 km city, you’ll find less crime, graffiti or trash.
What is your most interest, eating, swimming, shopping or greening?
Enjoy reading and seeing the photos of this appealing city, and plan your trip.


Topic Reading-Vol.1127-5/13/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Agreements cement relationship with Russia
You might have read the last issue (Vol.1125-5/11/2015) about Russia’s military show off parade which took place in the 70th anniversary of World War II. In the photo, the next to Putin sat the Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping who had met each other 10 times over the course of the last two years. This time, they signed more than 30 documents that are expected to boost their political and economic relationships, particularly in aerospace, high-speed railway and energy sectors.
Interestingly, these honeymoon-mood two countries were on the brink of a large scale war back in 1969 for a border dispute. Now their territorial interests seem to focus on different directions, Crimea for Russia and the Southeast Sea for China, neither of which seems to bother each other.
Enjoy reading and learning about deepening and expanding ties between the two powerful nations.


Topic Reading-Vol.1126-5/12/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Russia stages massive WW2 parade despite Western boycott
A huge military parade to commemorate the victory. Indeed it looks clearly a show off of the Russian military forces, intention and determination. Yes, it is to commemorate the victory of the deadliest war for Russia that took place and ended 70 years ago, with an estimated loss of 26 million lives of soldiers and civilians. But the celebration isn’t shared by the former allies of the victory because of the Russia’s annexation of Crimea and involvement in Ukraine.
As Chinese leader attended this Russian ceremony on VE day, it is highly likely that Russian president is going to attend Chinese version of WWII victory ceremony, the VJ day parade on August 16th, which China already announced that it would be a big military show off event.
The question is, if the 70th anniversary is such a big deal, what the 75th anniversary events will be like in 2020? Remember, the 75th VJ day is only a week after the end of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Enjoy reading the article and watching the video, and think what the regional maps in Eastern Europe and Southeastern and Eastern China will be like in 2020.


Topic Reading-Vol.1125-5/11/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Is the US love affair with McDonald's waning?
How often do you eat at a McDonald’s restaurant? If you’re unsure, when was the last time you had a meal there, in your country or somewhere else?
For middle-to-lower class Americans, the first question seems easy to answer. But whoever can afford other IEO, Informal Eating Out, options such as Chipotle, the second question seems more appropriate to be asked.
Higher in price, calories and risk for heart diseases. More people are staying away from the menu of this iconic American burger restaurant chain. Should they then offer healthier and lighter meals like their competitors do? Should they offer prepared-to-order sandwiches or wraps instead of the simplest Big-Mac set?
Enjoy reading and thinking what really the draw for the Golden Arches is.

You can also enjoy reading what McDonald's shake-up plans are;


Topic Reading-Vol.1124-5/10/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
How important is it for a company to have a great logo?
How many logos do you identify with their brands? A dozen or more? Your answer may please or disappoint the management of the company that invested a lot of money and resources hoping to improve their brand image and the bottom line.
Logo is a printed, embroiled, engraved, displayed or shown symbol or design that a company or an organization uses to promote its brand, activities, product or service. Typical examples are Nike’s "swoosh" symbol, Starbucks' twin-tailed mermaid and Apple’s partly-bitten apple. They represent the product or service of their brand and company. People who see these logos immediately recognize and identify the logo with their business.
It is a very powerful marketing tool but is hard to establish. Some companies attempt to change and fail. Others waste millions to create and promote their logos or brand, instead of making their best effort and investment onto their products or services. After all, it’s not the logo but the product or service that is valued by the customer.
Enjoy reading and learning how tricky a brand logo is.


Topic Reading-Vol.1123-5/9/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Why can't America have high-speed trains?
It took Japan a half a century to build 3,000 km high-speed railway network. It took China only eight years to establish 20,000 km high speed railroads to link most of the major cities and regions across the vast land.
The only near-high-speed train system in the U.S. is Acela Express that connects Boston, New York and Washington D.C, or the Northeast Corridor. This fast train service has been in operation since 2000 with an average operating speed of 135 km per hour for the 700 km distance.
Don’t Americans like train rides, or do they just prefer flying? Has the airline or airplane industry been blocking railroad projects? Is there any economical or environmental barrier to build train railroads?
Enjoy reading and learning why America isn’t investing or enjoying high speed railway network.


Topic Reading-Vol.1122-5/8/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Italy rescues over 6,000 migrants from Mediterranean
No matter how generous and open to migrants Italy is, it’s going beyond the tolerance level. How a country allocate millions of dollars a month to conduct rescue missions to search and save illegal migrants coming continuously from the other side of the sea? To make the matter even worse, those who are attempting to enter EU countries have no money, skills or education but groundless hope for a better life. And unfortunately, the number of such immigrants have been increasing for the last several months.
It’s easy to talk about humanitarianism. However, in reality, will they have enough space, facilities and personnel to accommodate thousands of new arrivals in three days? Will those migrants have place to live in and jobs to work for? Are other regions of the country and EU countries taking some of them to settle in?
Enjoy reading and learning about the struggles both sides of the Mediterranean Sea are coping with.


Topic Reading-Vol.1121-5/7/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
"Star Wars Day": What to do on May 4 (and why)
“May the force be with you.” Remember or have heard this famous phrase uttered by Jedi masters in Star Wars movies? And some of the fans of the legendary movie series came up with an idea to celebrate the star adventure scenes and characters by observing a day that sounds like the phrase, May the fourth.
This year, millions are waiting December when the latest, and may by the last, prequel is scheduled to be released. Many promotional events and activities seem to take place. Even an airline is making a considerable investment on paining “May the force be with ANA's "Star Wars" airplane. 

Enjoy reading and finding how excited Star Wars fans are with May the force or fourth.

And if such cosplay or theme party isn't enough to satisfy your Star Wars appetite, visit Madame Tussauds’s Star Wars' exhibit in London.


Topic Reading-Vol.1120-5/6/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Beidou navigation satellite extends its reach to global data
The fourth global navigation system will be in place by 2020. Currently the US, EU and Russia have their respective navigation system. Now China is expanding its navigation coverage from eastern region to the entire globe. But why we need that many incomparable navigation systems?
Navigation is used not only to find the present location but also to guide missiles, operate unmanned vehicles, locate objects and so on. Commercially, it doesn’t matter which system to use as long as signals are constantly received and accuracy is dependable. But when it comes to military operations, no one wants to depend on its enemy’s navigation system, as long as one can afford it. And when China is moving to be more independent from western powers and influential to eastern and other countries, it seems quite natural to have own global navigation system, which they can financially and technologically afford.
Enjoy reading and learning about China’s another ambitious initiative and investment.


Topic Reading-Vol.1119-5/5/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
How to learn with zero effort
How good is your memory? Can you remember 80 words of a totally unknown language in an hour?
That is the competition groups of researchers in the world engaged in. Various techniques were tried, tested and measured the effectiveness. Is there a golden rule?
Sorry, there doesn’t seem to be one method that works better than others. However, several combinations of different techniques were found to be more effective than any single method.
The question is, while you can find most of the information, record or data you need instantly by your smartphone, how important is it to use your brain energy to remember something?
Enjoy reading and thinking which method might work better for you.


Topic Reading-Vol.1118-5/4/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Stay out of our affairs, China tells outsiders
China has made it crystal clear. It doesn’t want anyone to involve in their interests. Its defense ministry even warned their now-archrival, the U.S., not to underestimate their determination and capability to defend the disputed territories immediately after the U.S. and Japan had announced their stronger tie to defend their interests.
In the meantime, mutual dependencies and interactions are growing. GM, the American icon for automobiles, sells more cars now in China than its home market. Chinese elites seem to expect to learn more and better in the U.S. than in the domestic universities. It sends more students to universities and colleges in the U.S. than any other country in the world. In tourism, Chinese tourists are the biggest money spenders especially in shopping in Japan among all the visitors from abroad.
Disputes and dependencies. They look like shaking hands with one hand while punching each other with the other hand.
Enjoy reading and learning how China voiced against the newly-strengthened US-Japan tie.


Topic Reading-Vol.1117-5/3/2015

Topic Reading-Vol.1117-5/3/2015
Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Meet the animal that's rarer -- and cuter -- than a panda
There is no doubt that this pika mammal is cute, no less than a giant panda. Unfortunately, it is undoubtedly endangered, even more than the panda.
The lli pika lives in the Tianshan mountain range in the Xinjiang region of northwestern China. It was discovered back in 1983 but hasn’t been observed, protected or conserved. Only the founder of this tiny cute species, Li Weidong, has been continually investigating the population and habitation in the mountains where elevations go beyond 3,000 meters. Recently, he, volunteers and researchers conducted searched the habitat and discovered that the population had went down and habitation had moved up to higher elevations. He thinks they retreated to higher elevations as glaciers retreated because of the global warming.
Enjoy reading and learning about this cute endangered poka.


Topic Reading-Vol.1116-5/2/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Japan's bitterest feud: Kansai vs. Kanto
Aggressive vs. subtle fashion, conservative vs. humorous talks, and salty vs. hot taste. These are just typical characteristic and linguistic differences between Kanto, the metropolitan Tokyo and its suburban cities, and Kansai, greater Osaka and Kyoto region. Kanto has been the capital of the nation for the last four centuries while Kansai had been until Edo Shogunate took it over. Also, Kanto was created by Samurais and absorbed migrants from different parts of the country but Kansai grew in more organic fashion over the course of 1,500 years.
Are these differences greater the ones in the East and West coasts of the US or Beijing and Shanghai in China?
Enjoy reading and finding some distinctively different culture and life styles in these two regions in Japan.


Topic Reading-Vol.1115-5/1/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Bhutan’s Dark Secret to Happiness
This article gives you a kind of clue for happiness that you’ve never imagined.
The Kingdom of Bhutan is a mountainous country at the eastern end of the Himalayas sandwiched by China and India. Although it is called a kingdom, it transformed from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy recently. The country is known as its “Gross National Happiness” index. It states its commitment to building an economy that would serve Bhutan's culture based on Buddhist spiritual values, different from the western material development that was represented by gross national product (GNP).
What is it? One example is their thoughts on death, which most people try not to think about. However, it is an inevitable part of any life form. Since people in Bhutan also believe in reincarnation, death leads to another life in a different form and time. Think the unthinkable.
Enjoy reading and learning about a very different idea of happiness.