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Topic Reading-Vol.1206-7/31/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
FT's new owner Nikkei eyes digital success
Buying a foreign newspaper at a three-time higher than the book value sounds like a bold move. Whether it is a sound investment or senseless extravaganza remains to be seen in the next few years.
Nikkei paid a staggering $1.3bn tag to acquire the full stake of the Financial Times, a prestigious English economic paper. The CEO of the Japanese newspaper said it is the FT's digital success that Nikkei wants to follow in footsteps. Indeed, the over-a-century-old newspaper company has made success in digital subscription model, which now derives as much as 70% of its revenue from its online and mobile subscribers.
The real question seems like not the price being paid but the value to be created.
Enjoy reading and learning about this recent take-over by Nikkei.


Topic Reading-Vol.1205-7/30/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Chrysler recalls 1.4 million hackable cars
Imagine the all the instruments, steering wheel and even gas and brake pedals are overridden by someone while you’re driving. You may feel like your car being taking over by ghost or something. That’s what could happen when the control and navigation system of a high-tech vehicle is hacked.
Chrysler has just announced a massive recall and software upgrade to prevent its “intelligent vehicles” from hacking. This move casts a cloud over “connected by the Internet” move that the all industries are working on. Information gathered by such connected things might offer convenience, efficiency and safety in an unprecedented scale but that connectivity itself could be vulnerable to malicious attacks or unintended flaws.
Enjoy reading and learning how scary intelligent car hacking is.


Topic Reading-Vol.1204-7/29/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
NASA finds 'Earth's bigger, older cousin'
This planet is 1,400 light-year away, yet scientists not only spotted the presence but also figured the location, size and other characteristics. How could they do that? A planet doesn’t shine itself, it just orbits its sun like the Earth does. What sort of technology has made it possible for scientists predict such information?
The $600 million Kepler mission was launched in 2009 to look for habitable planets in the far-away Milky Way. The telescope can scan the light from those distant stars and sense slightest drop in a star’s brightness, which is presumably caused by passing of a planet.
It sounds possible so far but how could they guess how far it is from its sun and how big it is?
Enjoy reading and learning about this astonishing mission and technology.


Topic Reading-Vol.1203-7/28/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Gay couple in legal fight with Thai surrogate over baby
A bit complicated issue here. A gay couple wanted to have a Thai woman give a birth to one of the pair’s biological baby. The surrogate mother received money for her labor and handed the baby girl to her father. The gay couple had been happy with the new family member until they heard that the surrogate mother wanted the baby back. She claims that she wants the baby back because she has missed her so much and also declared that the biological father and his husband are not an ordinary couple.
Is this just one of the common problems of subrogation or a matter of same-sex parental right? As more countries are recognizing the legal right of same-sex couples, this may not be just an individual case.
Enjoy reading and learning about this recent legal battle over a parent-ship.


Topic Reading-Vol.1202-7/27/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
New Zealand teen's hit Maori pronunciation video
Speaking something one strongly believes could spur unexpectedly high reactions. This is a good example of such cases. A video clip posted by a 15-year old New Zealander claiming for more effort to be made to preserve the indigenous language, Maori, was viewed by much more than he had imagined.
Although some of Maori words are commonly used in the islandic country, such as "kia ora" for hello and "ka pai" for good, only 4% of the population can speak the nation’s official language fluently.
When a language is lost, the whole culture will be weakened and therefore the history and knowledge will be lost.
Enjoy reading the article about and seeing the video of this young boy’s sincere appeal.


Topic Reading-Vol.1201-7/26/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Italy breaches rights over gay marriage - European court
Even a government can be fined for not recognizing the right of same-sex couples. Now in Europe where cultures, races, languages and religions are highly diversified, 24 out of the 47 member states have already passed laws to recognize the status and protect the rights of same sex couples, including Ireland where most of the population is conservative Roman Catholic. Italy, the heart of the religion, has been called for taking legislative actions but has failed to do so despite the commitment by the government. Now they are fined for not to comply with the European Convention’s Human Rights’ protection.
It won’t be too long for national and local governments, businesses and school are all required to recognize, respect and treat same sex couples as in the way as they do to opposite sex couples.
Enjoy reading and learning about this recent ruling on gay marriage in Europe.


Topic Reading-Vol.1200-7/25/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
A library cut by US-Canada border?
What do borders do beside dividing states? The form of a border varies. Manmade wall, fence or line whether visible or invisible, and natural divide such as river, lake or mountain. Whatever the form is, borders seem to have pros and cons such as separation, protection, inconvenience and in some cases opportunities to people who live around or go across them. Differences that could be seen across the border are currencies, taxes and duties, regulations, living standards, customs and human rights to name a few.
For most of us, crossing a border still is an intriguing moment, isn’t it?
Enjoy reading and seeing the people and activities along borders.


Topic Reading-Vol.1199-7/24/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
KKK rallies for Confederate flag in S Carolina
Two centuries after the Civil War and a half century after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, America is still divided. The Confederate flag had been on the grounds of public offices until the Jun 2015 massacre of nine black worshippers inside a historical church in Charleston.
One of the America’s most radical white supremacists, Ku Klux Klan, more known as K.K.K., rallied to protest against a decision to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds. They were met by the counter-protesters and escorted by the police, they at least made their words heard through the media.
While the nation has recently recognized gay marriages legally, racism still seems to exist deeply in the heart of some Americans.
Enjoy reading and finding the latest racial conflict in the U.S.A.


Topic Reading-Vol.1198-7/23/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Loch Ness hunter: Have we been catfished by Nessie?
Humans don’t seem to have sensible ability to identify what they saw. Some say now the Lock Ness is catfish, which could grow to as heavy as 300 kg and looks ugly. That could be mistakenly seen as a dinosaur in the water. But the most of the witnesses claimed that they had spotted or took photos of a strange neck-to-head like object above the water. Neither of the story sounds convincing to the rest of the world. But one thing still certain is that the passion and dedication of a man who had given up everything and has been living by himself by the loch for 24 years to solve this mystery.
Enjoy reading and learning about this still-mysterious monster in Loch Ness.


Topic Reading-Vol.1197-7/22/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Some Indian men are marrying multiple wives to help beat drought
Neither Indian laws nor Hindu principles allows this practice. However, it gives support needed for the family and status to live in the community for the women.
In this small and remote village in India, a man who had married a woman for long added two more women as his wives to his family to have them fetch water from a river or well far away from the village where there is no water available in dry season. Because those women were widows, this arrangement brought back their social status in the community where only men and married women are socially recognized. In other words, it's water that keeps this unusual family together.
Enjoy reading and learning about this unusual situation and solution in a remote village in India.


Topic Reading-Vol.1196-7/21/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Why is Pakistan swapping English for Urdu?
The population of Pakistan is about to reach 200 million and is expected to go over 270 million by the middle of the century. It means more and more young Pakistanis are going to be educated for the next several decades. 
A big change is going to happen in this mostly Muslim country. The language. English and Urdu, their native language, are their official languages now but they are going to use just one of them. Guess what? Urdu, not English, will be the only official language in Pakistan. If they live mostly in their domestic societies and communicate mainly with each other, that won’t be a big change or problem. But for young children who will have to seek for better education, find jobs or develop more prospective careers may have to face extra challenges. If children are educated only in one mother language, they have to learn English as a foreign language, which tend to make many if not most students learn it less eagerly, like other countries.
Will this move create more culturally united community or financially divided country? Singapore, Philippine or Hong Kong may get you some idea.
Enjoy reading and learning about this recent move in Pakistan.


Topic Reading-Vol.1195-7/20/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Why isn’t American a language?
How has American English evolved from its original language? It was over three centuries ago when immigrants crossed the Atlantic to look for new life in a new place. Since then, there have been numbers of immigrants, forced labors and dream seekers of different languages came and settled the country. The country has enjoyed the prosperity and influence to the world with its surpassing military and financial force. There is then a wonder why American English is still a variation of English, like Roman from Greek.
Enjoy reading and learning how American English has evolved over the centuries but still is English.


Topic Reading-Vol.1194-7/19/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Why do humans kiss each other when most animals don’t?
It seems to be a matter of mating, the ultimate goal of romance. Most mammals can detect and find suitability for mating by certain smell, pheromones. It is important to sustain the species with healthy genes. In some animals like dogs, pheromone is included in the urine. That’s why dogs sniff around when they walk outside.
But one question still remains unanswered. Why people in some cultures kiss while others don’t? Of the 168 cultures the scientists investigated, only 46% of the cultures kiss in the romantic sense. Is that because people of certain cultures have higher sensitivity for pheromones and others don’t?
Enjoy reading and learning about this relatively newly expanding customs between couples.


Topic Reading-Vol.1193-7/18/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Japanese war orphans visit graves of adoptive Chinese parents
At the end of the Japan’s war against China in 1945, many Japanese migrants had lived in northern part of China, then called Manchu. They faced unthinkably difficult time when their military guard, Kwantung Army, left them and retreated to Korean Peninsula. During the chaos, many Japanese children were abandoned in China. Some of the fortunate ones were raised by the local Chinese families. When China and Japan normalized their relations in 1972, most of them returned to Japan.
Now after seven decades from the war, some of those Japanese orphans, now seniors, came back to China to visit the graves of their foster parents. Without them, they wouldn’t live now, even though some of them had harsh treatment by their Chinese parents.
Enjoy reading and learning how China reports such abandoned and raised Japanese children at the end of the war.


Topic Reading-Vol.1192-7/17/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Should we build a village on the moon?
Is space exploration waste of money? The new chief of the European Space Agency, ESA, argues that there is no wall between exploration and practical applications. He points out an example of the greenhouse effect which was found by using satellites and also was discovered by an exploration mission to Venus.
Then why is he thinking of building a village on the Moon? He thinks there will a lot of new findings about the universe from the far side of the moon that could not be seen from the Earth.
Also, the Moon is a practical place for experiments for humans to travel and settle on other planets like Mars because it takes only four days from the Earth rather than six months to Mars.
More importantly he envisions the project shouldn’t be limited certain or selected countries but open to any including China and Russia. They might be causing security concerns on the Earth these days but very unlikely on the Moon where only cooperation works.
Enjoy reading and learning about this ambitious and audacious idea, or proposal.


Topic Reading-Vol.1191-7/16/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
On 18th Birthday, Nobel Winner Malala Yousafzai Opens School for Syrian Refugees
When she was 11, she wrote a blog detailing her life under Taliban occupation, their attempts to take control of the valley, and her views on promoting education for girls in the Swat Valley.
When she was 15, she was shot in her head by Taliban in the school bus.
When she was 16, Time magazine featured her as one of "The 100 Most Influential People in the World."
In 2014 when she was 17, she was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for her struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.
Now she celebrated her 18th birthday in Lebanon by opening a school for Syrian refugee girls and called on world leaders to invest in "books not bullets."
Enjoy reading and watching the video of this young girls latest appearance to the public.


Topic Reading-Vol.1190-7/15/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Thailand's repatriation of illegal immigrants just a legal issue
If you haven’t read the topic reading Vol.1187 issued on July 12, please read it first. It’ll tell you what happened to about 100 Uighurs who fled to Thailand from China. They are Turkic Muslims who lived in Xinjiang where 45% of the population is native Uighurs. Despite the criticism from the world, Thailand handed them to China’s authority.
Now, this Chinadaily article shows the photos of those deported Uighurs whose faces were all covered. Each of them looks escorted by two masked officers side by side as if they were serious convicts or militants.
Yes. That’s how China is going to treat those refugees. The news article harshly criticizes foreign media and activists and sternly insists that many of those repatriated by Thailand are extremists who want to become "jihad fighters" in the war-torn areas of the Middle East or even suspects of terrorist crimes in China. The article also states that those who have committed terrorist crimes will be brought to justice and others will be educated and resettled.
Read this article and think of what justice, reeducation and resettlement mean to those people in China.


Topic Reading-Vol.1189-7/14/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Facebook updates 'Friends' icon to reflect gender equality
Very subtle but profound change they’ve made. From a man in the front and a smaller woman in the back to a woman in front and a man of the same size in the back. This change was made to the world largest SNS’s key icon, “Friends.” Though the sizes of the silhouettes are same, they aren’t shown in the same line. Does it represent Facebook’s commitment to equality of genders or priority to women?
In fact, approximately the two-thirds of Facebook employees is men. When it comes to tech sector, only 15% is women. Even though the company’s COO is a well-known woman, only less than a quarter of the senior-level employees is women. That probably isn’t the only reason they’ve made this change in the icon but maybe a sign of change. But what about LGBT friends?
Enjoy reading and learning about this recent change in the popular icon.


Topic Reading-Vol.1188-7/13/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Step away from the burger: Why a 'Western' diet is bad for your health
Is fish or chicken burger better in nutrition than the ordinary beef hamburger? There are various factors that affect nutrition to human body. It seems the more processed the food is, the less nutritious benefits it provides. For example, burgers, sandwiches, frozen prepared meals, snacks and sweets. They are mainly Western foods. These could be substituted by beef bowl, pasta, chicken noodle or fruits that are commonly eaten in other part of the world.
However, as the global population, especially urban population increases, trendy and convenient and Western fast food are becoming more popular all over the world. And make the matter worse, migrants to such urban cities tend to exercise less but eat more such not-so-nutritious fast food. This not only increases the number of people who are overweight or obese but also the risk to suffer from diseases such as diabetes and colon cancer.
Getting western education teaches how to develop better job careers but doesn’t seem to improve the diet.
Enjoy reading and learning what should be avoided for diet.


Topic Reading-Vol.1187-7/12/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Turkish police hit Uighur protesters with pepper spray
Xinjiang is part of China as autonomous region. It used be mostly populated by Uighurs, who are ethnically Turkic Muslims. They have been under heavy pressure and oppression by China since it was merged in 1949. Some of them just endure and live quietly, others fight against the authority or flee to other countries. Recently, those who fled to Thailand were sent back to China. This move angered some Turkish Muslims and they protested against Thai consulate in Istanbul because those Uighurs would be persecuted in their homeland by the authority. And another angered group in Ankara tried to storm into Chinese embassy.
It’s how complicated these demonstrations are. As China increases its presence and influence to the world, its human right issues seem to be paid less attention or even ignored. But religious, racial, ethnic and cultural values are no less important than economy for many people.
Enjoy reading and learning how Uighur, Turkey, Thailand and China are involved in the recent incident in Turkey.


Topic Reading-Vol.1186-7/11/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Ageing rates vary widely, says study
Is chronological age the best indicator for how old a person is? How close is it to the person’s biological or mental age?
Imagine meeting old school friends after a couple of decades. You’ll be surprised how different they look, including you. Some look nearly as same as they were while others look so different that you might even think they were their parents. You may agree that when people turn 50, they surely look widely different. Some may look in their 40s and others look 60s. However, a new study has found that people seem to age at a speed much faster or slowly than others even in their 20s or 30s.
Tracking nearly 1,000 New Zealanders, the study found that at the age of 38, some people's biological ages ranged from the late-20s to nearly 60. If people’s biological ages vary that much, should people in the same chronological age be treated in the same way? For example, how much medicine or calorie should be taken, how much exercise is recommended, what sort of physical examination is appropriate and how much longer they should work?
Enjoy reading and thinking of chronological, biological and mental ages.


Topic Reading-Vol.1185-7/10/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Why 2016 candidates should worry more about China
It’s surely a long race for the presidential contenders who seeks to become the president of the U.S. But that time period may not be as long as most of the politicians think given the speed of changes that China can make. For example, it took only a several years to build 20,000 km high speed train network and just a several months to build an artificial island in the South China Sea. By the time the US decides who the next leader is in 2016, the situation or even the map in Asia-Pacific region may have been changed.
Though Chinese leaders worry about competitions with their rivals, they don’t have to worry about elections. By the time the next US leader is inaugurated, the powerful Chinese leader, Xi Jinping will have solidified his second term team and support from the PLA, People’s Liberation Army.
The US seems to need strong determination and commitment to the region, if its interest is still there for the next decade.
Enjoy reading and learning about what American leaders should worry about.


Topic Reading-Vol.1184-7/9/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
How two mice conquered the island.
How quickly do mice increase their population?
Female mice are known to become sexually mature only in six to eight weeks after birth. A sexually-matured female mouse produces an average of six offspring at a time, and she can deliver the next litter only in three to four weeks. In other words, once a female mouse reaches eight weeks old, she can produce six baby mice every four weeks for 16 months. And they mate with any other male mouse, even with their own sons or grand-sons. In short, a new-born female can deliver as many as nearly 100 mice before she dies.
If there are no predators in their habitat, that’s how many and how quickly they can grow. And this remarkable breeding power was observed by the scientists in New Zealand.
Enjoy reading and learning how amazing mice’s breeding and surviving power is.


Topic Reading-Vol.1183-7/8/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China betting big on these 10 industries
Big picture for the next decade. Having become the largest market in automobiles and mobile phones as well as the largest importer of oil not to mention the industries exporting goods and merchandises to all over the world, China revealed its ambitious plan to grow 10 business categories to lead the global market. Their plan mainly focusses on machineries, transportation and information technologies.
Since its huge domestic market has grown these industries to some extent, those businesses, both private and state-owned, seem to be ready to compete in the global market places particularly with their cost advantages.
However, as quality standards and customer expectations in these business categories are high, the key to success may depend on how well they learn from others’ successes and their own mistakes.
Enjoy reading and learning what China is up to for the next decade.


Topic Reading-Vol.1182-7/7/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Big boost for Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS)
Harvard University is known as one of the most prominent and prestigious universities in the US and the world. It has produced numbers of entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Mike Zuckerberg to name a few as well as leaders and executives in global or promising corporations.
It is also known for its premium tuition. Though many of the students have access to variety of financial aid programs, they still have to pay or owe a lot.
But what makes the university stand out the most is the huge endowment from its graduates. They are campaigning to raise 6.5 billion now and has already raised over five billion. And this newly donated staggering 400 million by one of its MBA graduates seems to ensure the success of the campaign. The amount of this generous donation by a single person is the record high even in Harvard’s 379-year history.
Enjoy reading and learning about this generosity and investment for future engineering and technology.


Topic Reading-Vol.1181-7/6/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
China unveils new, ambitious climate goals
The world most populous country is also the largest greenhouse gas emitter. With annual car sales has gone beyond 20 million mark since 2013, China itself has suffered from climate change and environmental problems, especially water and air pollutions.
Prior to the upcoming UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris this fall, China has submitted its action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emission for the next few decades. The plan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emission per unit of GDP by 40-45 percent from the 2015 level by 2020.
China still regards itself as a developing country and blames already developed countries for the climate change. It also seems to take a leadership role to inspire developing countries to bring their action plans to cope with the climate change.
Whatever their intentions are, there won’t be any considerable outcomes from the fall convention without China and the US’s commitment.
Enjoy reading what China has said it will do for the next decades.


Topic Reading-Vol.1180-7/5/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
'Webtoons' become S Korea's latest cultural phenomenon
No wonder why people look so intense when they look at their smartphones with earplugs. Webtoon is a mixed word of web and cartoon. It is specifically designed to be read in smartphone or tablet displays. Readers scroll down the display instead of turning the pages. It is also enhanced with voice overs, music or sound effects and is delivered via smartphone platform or app providers.
All these works could be done by a single webtoonist who is equipped with a powerful PC and dedicated software. Webtoonests can also modify their works or create new works specifically designed for sponsors who want to use webtoons to promote their products or services. Some of the hit webtoons have even been remade for movies or TV drama series.
All parties involved, the creators, distributors and readers, seem to enjoy this new entertainment art and the government is supporting this new industry as their next Korean art.
Enjoy reading and learning about this new win-win entertainment.


Topic Reading-Vol.1179-7/4/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
As hostility grows, some Chinese say so long Hong Kong
Hong Kong has been politically part of the Republic of China since 1997. However, the residents of Hong Kong, or Hong Kongers, seem to have distinctive identity apart from the mainlanders. And their cultural and behavioral gap seems to be widening, occasionally escalates to hostile protests or disputes.
Millions of the mainlanders have attained middle-class status, income and buying power in recent years. They own houses for investment and a car or two, buy luxurious goods and travel overseas. They are also eager to save money and go shopping wherever they can buy things cheaper or save taxes, such as Korea, Japan and Hong Kong. Retailers in those market places welcome these aggressive and deep-pocketed buyers, of course. But some local residents seem to be annoyed by their buying spree, which sometime creates price hikes and merchandise shortages. As a result, mainlanders who have been treated coldly or protested by Hong Kongers started turning their back to the town of skyscrapers.
Enjoy reading and learning about what is going on in this small part of China.


Topic Reading-Vol.1178-7/3/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Live tiny, save big
How small is tiny? It seems to depend on to who you ask this question.
The median size of a new home is over 230 square meters in the US and Australia but it’s only 137 square meters in Denmark. Popular size family condos in Tokyo have only 70 to 80 square meters. At any rate, living in a smaller-than-average home seems to save a lot such as the utility bills, maintenance fees and work, insurance payment and cleaning chores, not to mention the cost of the property or mortgage. It also offers freedom from financial burdens, security concerns and unworthy pride. Actually you may feel proud to live in an eco-friendly home.
Just pros but no cons? Not really. There are issues you need to deal with.
Enjoy reading and learning what a living-in-a-tiny-space is like.


Topic Reading-Vol.1177-7/2/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Hotdog cheese burger layered with chips & more freaky combinations
If you’re looking for extraordinary fast food, check this out. There are several appetizing, or at least interesting combinations of typical junk food items such as pizza, hot dog, fried chicken, hamburger, and tacos. Some of them are simply added or sandwiched and others are wrapped or rolled. It may be convenient to get such combos when you want to have two or more kinds of junk foods. For example, pizza and hot dog, fried chicken and waffle or donuts and burger.
If you worry about the calories, don’t even look at these menus, or share one with others.
Enjoy reading and seeing this fast food extravaganza.


Topic Reading-Vol.1176-7/1/2015

Dear MEL School’s Topic Readers,
Sex-themed e-books given curfew in Germany
Before anything, a new law should be enforceable. Only after it’s enforced, its validity and effectiveness can be assessed. However, lawmakers sometimes seem to make rules that are hardly enforceable, mainly for face-saving purpose, leaving those are going to be affected stranded.
In Germany, a new rule has been set to limit adult e-book sales only during the midnight, intending to protect the youth from the exposure of such adult contents. Retailers are now struggling to find a way to enforce the rule. However, kids will soon find ways to maneuver the rule. This could make those adult e-books somehow more interesting and valuable to kids, just like smoking or drinking.
Enjoy reading and learning about this highly controversial German rule.