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Topic Reading-Vol.1511-5/31/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Norway consumer body stages live app terms reading
To read or not to read. That is rather a simple and easy question to answer when it comes to the terms and conditions of the app you’re about to use in your smartphone. Have you ever read any?
A consumer agency in Norway actually read all the terms and conditions of the most popular apps the Norwegians use in their smartphones, an average of 33. Can you imagine how long it took to read them out? It took longer than a day.
You can easily tell that those terms and conditions aren’t designed to be read. They are there for their own sake. But why? Do they really believe such unfriendly notice and agreement will protect them from legal or ethical liabilities?
Enjoy reading and thinking if there could be just one easy and simple notice that smartphone users can choose to agree or not for any app.


Topic Reading-Vol.1510-5/30/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Indian space shuttle makes first test flight
Science is the heart of India. There are already considerable numbers of leaders, scientists and engineers showing their superior talents all over the world.
In the meantime, India is still an underdeveloped or uncivilized country in today’s standards. There are still hundreds of millions people who don’t have access to sanitary toilets or clean water. Also, wages and incomes are considerably low compared to other Asian countries.
However, these superiorities and inferiorities together seem to create new economical solutions to usually-expensive things, such as heart surgeries and space missions.
Enjoy reading and learning what this soon-to-be the most populous country is working on.


Topic Reading-Vol.1509-5/29/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Why did the U.S. bomb Hiroshima?
70,000 and 40,000 immediate deaths in two days by two human-made bombs. And hundreds deaths followed by burns and radiation exposure. Most of them were innocent civilians who had nothing to do with the war.
Those who have visited the museum and seen the photos and exhibitions learn how devastating the effects of the bomb and its radiation were. And most likely they will say no to nuclear weapons, forever.
But there are still over 50% of Americans who think the use of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was justified, according to a recent poll.
Will this historic visit by the first sitting president of the bombing country ever change the view and understanding of nuclear weapons of the country or in the world? There seem to be more, much more world leaders who should come and see those silent but most vocal proof.
If you haven’t, you should. You’ll learn more than you’ve ever learned about nuclear power.


Topic Reading-Vol.1508-5/28/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Obama's visit to Japan goes off-script for Abe
Sudden rain on a picnic day. Heavy traffic on the way to a job interview. No matter how much and how well things are planned and arranged, anything could happen. That what seems to have happened when the first incumbent President of the United States made an official visit to Hiroshima. It was supposed to be a historic milestone for Japan and more importantly to Japan’s PM Mr. Abe who is planning to take advantage of the visit to boost his momentum for the upcoming election.
However, only a week before the G7 summit, an American service man raped and killed a young Japanese woman in Okinawa, where there has been intense dispute over the relocation of the US base. This incident overshadowed Obama’s attempt to reconcile and reinforce US-Japan tie at a time when Mr. Abe is trying to strengthen Japan’s role to keep peace in the region.
Enjoy reading and thinking if Murphy's Law applies to this case.


Topic Reading-Vol.1507-5/27/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Half of fresh graduates get job or become entrepreneurs
12 million new graduates from universities and vocational schools. That still is a significant number of job seekers even for China whose population is over 1.3 billion.
The question is if there are enough jobs for those new graduates.
Not really. There is always mismatch between potential employers and employees. Even though the nation’s economy is expected to grow over several percentage points, there is always a gap between what those young graduates want to do and what kinds of talents employers want to hire.
Enjoy reading and thinking what kind of skills, experiences or talent are needed to find a job in such a competitive market.


Topic Reading-Vol.1506-5/26/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
What North Korean defections mean
So little has been shown or known about this country, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or North Korea. What their people’s lives are like, how children are educated or why such dictatorship still exists.
In fact, there have been numbers of defectors from the North to the South, though very little information has been announced to protect the defectors and their family members.
So it is quite unusual for South Korea to announce a defection of a high-ranking military officer who seems to provide valuable information and insight of the regime.
Enjoy reading and learning about the sensitivity of announcing a defection.


Topic Reading-Vol.1505-5/25/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Taiwan, the place to be a woman in politics
For the first time, Taiwan has a female president, Tsai Ing-wen. What’s remarkable about her reaching the position is that unlike South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines, she has no family connections or influence in politics.
In fact, there are more female legislators than constitutionally allocated seats in Taiwan. And there are several female politicians who are taking highly responsible positions, including party leaders and government ministers. Is Taiwan such a gender-free society?
Not so simple. Actually, there seem to be much higher hurdles that female politicians have to overcome than men.
Enjoy reading and learning what is equal opportunity in theory and practice.


Topic Reading-Vol.1504-5/24/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Protecting Europe from ballistic missiles
Does a strong defense system stimulate or deter aggression by others? Or will it simply destruct the power balance between countries?
At least Russia seems to feel NATO’s recently deployed advance missile defense system threatening to their proud ballistic missiles. The only justification of the ballistic missile system is deterrence. Once the capability becomes ineffective or questionable, there is no card to play with. Therefore, no matter how much NATO officials deny, Russia seems to feel threatened and work toward upgrading their defense and offense capabilities.
Though power balance only benefits those who have powers, it is still a convenient and practical solution to prevent a war from happening.
Enjoy reading and learning what deters foreign aggressions.


Topic Reading-Vol.1503-5/23/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Russia's military might: Putin's foreign policy in numbers
Force of Military. Though the influence and might of the Internet surpassed those of pens some time ago and have even reached to the level that expelled some leaders and officials from their positions, military power still makes or breaks the game between countries.
It still is the tank that penetrates the land, the aircraft that dominates the air space and the warship that secures the sea lanes. And unfortunately, it seems to be the nuclear weapon that deter invasions or aggressions by other countries.
Military parade is also getting no less popular than the cold-war era. Why? It probably aims to show off not only the strength of one’s forces but also the loyalty of the military organization to the governing body and the leader(s).
Enjoy reading and thinking the correlation between peace and military.


Topic Reading-Vol.1502-5/22/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
India to ban unofficial maps and satellite photos
Geospatial information. It is of or relating to the relative position of things on the earth's surface. They are used for maps in apps for smartphones and PCs. It is widely and openly available for anyone in anyplace. Without it, things that are possible and useful now such as location and navigation services and apps will no longer be available.
India, still an authoritative and bureaucratic state in today’s standard, is considering to make a law that requires anyone to own or use its geospatial images to ask for permission. That would create a substantial hassle to companies like Google and Apple that are using satellite images to create and show maps for their users.
What is the rationale behind it? Does it do any good to a country?
Enjoy reading and thinking if such a draft could become a law.


Topic Reading-Vol.1501-5/21/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
7 Cool Things People Who Don’t Own a Dog Are Missing
Who is the best friend of humans? Arguably, dogs seem to be the best and friendliest companions for human beings. They are loyal, friendly, playful and sensitive, but not as demanding or critical as human friends or partners. They become satisfied when they are cared and fed. They usually don’t make noise or bother you like human family members.
But there are more benefits that dogs can provide than you might have thought of. And that probably the main reason more people tend to live with a dog or dogs in developed countries where something beyond materials is needed to enhance their lives.
Enjoy reading and thinking which of the seven benefits you can agree with.


Topic Reading-Vol.1500-5/20/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Singapore terms join Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary, or OED, is one of the most authentic reference of English words. In order to be recognized as authentic English, a word must be used in several cases and has been used for some time.
Here are some examples of newly added words to the dictionary from Hong Kong and Singapore.
While an ang moh was eating chilli crab in a hawker center in Hong Kong, he was hit by a killer litter.
He ate delicious char siu in a dai pai dong in the wet market in Singapore.
Did you make it out?
Enjoy reading and learning the newest words in the authentic dictionary.
Last but not the least, thank you for reading this 1,500th Topic Reading. 
It took four years and 40 days to get here.


Topic Reading-Vol.1499-5/19/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Rare flight for the biggest plane in the world
Six engines and crew members to fly this big boy. He is 84 meters long, 88 meters wide and 18 meters high. He weighs 285 tons himself and can eat as much as 300 tons of jet fuel and take off as heavy as 640 tons. When in the air, it cruises at 800km/h and flies 4,000 km with 200 tons of cargo. Amazing, isn’t it?
This is how big this super air carrier Antonov An-225 Mriya is. Originally, he was made to carry the then Soviet version of Space Shuttle in 1988. After the program ended, he was converted into a commercial cargo plane specialized in heavy cargo such as gas machinery and power generator.
A rare flight? This super-jumbo cargo plane flies only a couple of times a year because the need for such cargo transport is quite limited.
Enjoy seeing the photos and learning about this amazing cargo carrier.


Topic Reading-Vol.1498-5/18/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Happy 30th anniversary 'Top Gun'!
Top Gun. Not a gun fight but a dog fight, of course. It is one of the iconic movies in the 80’s starred by then young and fresh Tom Cruise. The world then was still during the Cold War, so it wasn’t Russia but U.S.S.R. that the US F-14A Tomcat fighter jets had dog fights with. The engagement in the air was so intense that the audience forgot everything during the dog fight. Also, young Cruise played the main character, whose call sign is Maverick, so cool with the lines and music, not only when he was on the fighter jet in the air but also on the monster bike on the ground. Both seemed to satisfy his need for speed.
If you feel the need, the need for something, this is the movie you should watch for the weekend.
Enjoy recalling, or watching if you haven’t, this 30-year old iconic movie


Topic Reading-Vol.1497-5/17/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Would you let a robot perform your surgery by itself?
Surgeons are humans. Not all the surgeons are equal. Some are extremely good and others aren’t. Then, which would you prefer, an unexperienced surgeon or an autonomous, robot to perform a surgery to replace some part of your tissue? It requires not only preciseness to cut and stich the tissue but also judgement and adjustment as surgery goes on because tissues are highly volatile.
Now, surgery robots equipped with today’s Ai technology can perform such complicated task, and do it better than humans.
Though the process is performed by a robot, a live surgeon attends the surgery. This means that the quality of the surgery is more standardized by human-only surgery.
Another benefit of this autonomous robot surgery is that certain surgeries can be conducted anywhere anytime.
It seems that more robots will be seen not only in hotels and restaurants but also in hospitals.
Enjoy reading and thinking of the power and potential of self-learning robots and drones.


Topic Reading-Vol.1496-5/16/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
How the Cultural Revolution changed China forever
70% good, 30% bad. That is how China’s paramount leader Deng Xiaoping rated the founding father, Mao Zedong. The question is what the bad 30% was.
One of the biggest disruptions Mao created was the Cultural Revolution, which started 50 years ago, this day. Thousands of citizens were denounced as class enemies or counter revolutionaries, and were abused, tortured and killed over the course of 10-year period. Many were forced into labor camps to correct their ideology or sent to rural villages to do farming. And party officials and military generals were not exempted. Many of them were purged and expelled from their positions. This chaos lasted as long as 10 years until Mao died in 1976.
Why and how such madness continued for a decade?
Enjoy reading and learning one of the modern human-caused disasters.


Topic Reading-Vol.1495-5/15/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Watly: The computer that provides clean water, energy, internet access
What are three fundamental infrastructures for civilization? And what if all those three are provided by one green machine?
That’s what these Italian-Spanish entrepreneurs are working on. This capsule-like module is designed to provide electricity, clean water, and Internet services that are all vital to civilize the left-behind Sub-Saharan Africa where over two-thirds of the population have no electricity and one-third have no access to clean water, not to mention the access to the Internet.
The team of enthusiastic members of this start-up company has come up with a solution to all and is working on installing 10,000 units across Africa.
Mobile phone and online service companies must be thrilled to get such infrastructure to reach such untouched market.
Enjoy reading and learning about this lofty project.


Topic Reading-Vol.1494-5/14/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
What yoghurt tells us about the obesity fight
Yoghurt is healthy food, provided that it is produced and consumed properly. But in fact, substantial amount of tasty and satisfying ingredients are added to many of yoghurt products, such as sugar and flavorings, which could easily provide more than your daily intake limit. For example, popular yoghurt packs are found to contain 25-30 grams of sugar, enough for a day. This is especially critical in the U.K. where approximately 60% of the population is overweight or obese.
How to choose and eat healthy food isn’t as easy as it sounds like.
Enjoy reading and thinking if you are obsessed with processed food.


Topic Reading-Vol.1493-5/13/2016

PLA enlists rap-style music video to recruit young people
People’s Liberation Army, or PLA. is China’s military. Even while the economy is slowing down and the unemployment ratio new college graduates goes over 20%, they are striving to recruit young talents. Under the long-standing one-child policy, Chinese youths don’t seem to incline to take labor-intensive jobs, especially military.
That’s why the hard-line muscular organization came up with a rap-style music video to recruit young people, particularly educated ones.
Whether a single video, which is no more exciting or attracting when it compared with other private organizations’ recruiting videos, will draw attention from the young remains to be seen.
Enjoy reading and seeing the video, and think if a free new iPhone might attract more attention from young people.


Topic Reading-Vol.1492-5/12/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
New arrivals: The most popular baby names of 2015
Which name would you prefer, a popular one of the time or of all times? The answer probably varies for whom the name is, yourself, your child or a pet.
Another way to look at names is whether you think of the sound or letters of the name, and with or without the family name. Does the combination sound good to your ears or look good on paper or screen?
Also, there are other factors such as admiration, religion, tradition and family inheritance. But it seems that the most popular names on the list seem to reflect what people of the time think cool.
Enjoy looking at the top ten most popular baby names in America.


Topic Reading-Vol.1491-5/11/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Russia's Valery Gergiev conducts concert in Palmyra ruins
It used to be a place where ancient people enjoyed plays and shows. It had been the place where executions by IS took place until it was recaptured by the government troops in March. Now it is used to show off how Russians contributed for the redemption of the historic heritage site.
Historically, musicians in Russia seem to have been walking very difficult paths. Sergei Prokofiev and Dimitri Shostakovich to name a few. Some seemed to have no choice but to flee to America like Sergey Rachmaninov and Igor Stravinsky.
Valery Gergiev is surely one of the most renowned and respected music conductors today. He performed in places where natural or human-caused disasters occurred such as South Ossetia after the short Russian-Georgian war in 2008 and Tokyo after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2012.
Music is music. It is art. It moves people, which could be used for good but also abused.
Enjoy reading and thinking what it’s like to be famous and influential in Russia.


Topic Reading-Vol.1490-5/10/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
DNA secrets of Ice Age Europe unlocked
Analysis versus guessing. That seems to be the difference what DNA provides to anthropology these days. Before DNA analysis, it was like guessing from the look, structures and characteristics of the human remains in comparison with others.
Now anthropologists have become scientists who analyze what’s really in the remains genetically, so that they can compare the findings with other genetic compounds.
In short, as one professor in the article says, it’s like observing how the batter a cake is made in each process, instead of guessing what the batter was made of by the taste or chemical analysis.
Enjoy reading and learning how much DNA analysis can bring about.


Topic Reading-Vol.1489-5/9/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Migrant Crisis: Changing attitudes of a German city
Is 1.3 per cent is impactful or influential to the rest and the whole?
That is the number of refugees that a German town, whose population is just a little over 200,000, accepted in 2015 alone. Those refugees are mainly from Syria and Afghanistan where domestic conflicts and militants have been killing many and forcing others to flee their homeland.
What is it like to deal with new neighbors whose beliefs, cultures, languages and customs are significantly different?
And what is it like to settle in a foreign land where the residents have totally different beliefs, cultures, languages and customs?
Enjoy reading and thinking if you could accept such refugees or settle in a completely different place.


Topic Reading-Vol.1488-5/8/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
William Trubridge: Freediver sets new world record
How long can you hold your breath under water? Thirty seconds or a minute? Interestingly, you could hold your breath around two minutes if you’re healthy. Surprisingly, the world record is ten times as long as the average, staggering 20 minutes.
Then how deep can you dive without a tank of air or fins? It poses a tremendous challenge and risk as once you dive into water, you need to swim up to the surface. It’s a roundtrip, which means you need to have not only big and flexible lungs but also skills and mental management how deep you want to go and return safely.
How to prepare to break a world record? William Trubridge of New Zealand, who broke his own world record again at 122 meters deep in the water again, says he trains as many as 15 times a week, does physical exercises to develop flexibility of his lungs and practices yoga for both physical and mental training.
Enjoy reading this story about this amazing freediver and his challenges.


Topic Reading-Vol.1487-5/7/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Chinese police to patrol streets of Rome to protect tourists
Chinese police officers in uniform in Rome? Are they there to escort deported Chinese criminals back home? You might have thought that they are deployed to police unruly Chinese tourists, if you’ve read yesterday’s Topic Reading Vol.1487.
Four Chinese police officers are deployed in Rome and Milan to protect and help Chinese tourists in the popular travel destinations. This is the first of that kind to enhance the security of foreign tourists in Italy and also in Europe. The country is visited so many foreign tourists that there are not only criminals but also numbers of greedy merchants and service providers to take advantage of unexperienced foreign tourists who can barely understand or speak Italian. And Chinese tourists are their easy targets.
It sounds like a true international cooperation. But does it have to be police officers?
Enjoy reading and thinking if you want to see uniformed police officers of your country in a different country.


Topic Reading-Vol.1486-5/6/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Across China: China targets tourist misbehavior
Tour agencies are like schools and tour guides play role as teachers. When it comes to disciplines and manners of Chinese tourists, that’s what seems to be needed. Travel agencies have to “educate” tourists to act in a civilized way and avoid unruly behavior, such as picking up luggage before the airplane stops or making too much noise in public places in their homeland and abroad.
But there are more ethical issues that should be educated by their parents, such as how to use toilets or wasting food on the buffet table. Yes, Chinese aren’t the only people who become unruly or reckless when they are buying things or being customers. But wouldn’t it be so difficult to be a little considerate or nice to others like they are to their friends?
It’s not hard to imagine what those Chinese fishermen are doing in the international waters or poachers doing in Africa.
Enjoy reading and thinking who should be teaching ethics and moral to children and adults. 


Topic Reading-Vol.1485-5/5/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Identity 2016: 'Global citizenship' rising, poll suggests
It’s an unclear question. If you’re asked if you identify yourself global, you may wonder what “global” means. Does it mean to be open to travel to or work or live in other part of the world, or to accept anyone from other countries to your community?
Without specifying what “global” means, a research was conducted to 20,000 people in 18 countries. It found that people in growing countries seem to consider themselves more global than those in established countries. That may be because those globally-minded people are interested in going abroad to see, experience or even learn in other countries.
But the respondents of the country, namely Germany, which took a large number of immigrants last year consider themselves nationally minded rather than global.
Enjoy reading and thinking if you’re more globally minded or locally minded.


Topic Reading-Vol.1484-5/4/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Public gets first inside view of the nation's tallest building
Another skyscraper in Shanghai. The Shanghai Tower. This about-to-complete tower is 561 meters high, even taller than three other over-400-meter tall buildings in the busy city and will be the second in the world only after Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
It’ll take a less-than-a-minute ride to the observation deck on the 121st floor, though the admission price hasn’t been announced yet. There is a reception desks on the 101st floor for the only hotel in the building that occupies from 84th to 115th floors, meaning the guests may stay in the rooms higher or lower than the reception floor.
If you’re interested in dining at 556 meters high above the ground or swim in a pool nearly 400 meters from the ground, you should plan to book a table or sign the membership soon.
Enjoy reading and imagining what you may oversee from the observation deck. 


Topic Reading-Vol.1514-6/3/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Chasing the light: 2016 National Geographic travel photo contest entries
Do you like taking photos when you travel? If you do, do you print or share them with others? Maybe when you’ve taken good ones worth showing to others.
Some people, even though they aren’t pros or experts, do take astonishingly gorgeous photos that make yours look dull. And there are contests to gather impressive photos of people and things around the world that were taken while traveling.
Enjoy seeing some of the beautifully shot photos entered in this year’s National Geography Travel Photographer contest.

Topic Reading-Vol.1483-5/3/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Incredible new views of an over-photographed city
Hong Kong is famous for its skyscrapers and night view. The city is more densely built-up than any other city but Singapore. People there seem to spend more time on going up and down in the buildings than moving on the ground.
With the aid of a drone, distinctively different kind of photos of this popular dense city are taken by a native Hong Konger. The skyscrapers look absolutely stunning and breathtaking. They look colorful in daylight but beautiful with electric-lights.
Hong Kong looks not only busy and crowded but also elegant, at least in a way.
Enjoy seeing the photos of this dynamic city.


Topic Reading-Vol.1482-5/2/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Harriet Tubman will be face of the $20
Race and gender. These are always extremely controversial issues in America. Some may think Americans are over-sensitive, over-reactive or over-engineering to the issue that can be settled without the intervention of the law or public debate. But they are indeed essential aspects when they decide who to represent important things or events such as banknote or movie. A recent example is Star Wars, whose new episodes are played by more women and non-white men compared with the previous ones including the main two characters.
So when it comes to the figure to appear on a banknote, there won’t be any easy way to reach a consensus. This time, the US Department of the Treasury announced that Harriet Tubman, a former slave who turned into a civil activist will appear on the front of the new $20 bill.
Whoever appears in the front or back, the value is no larger or smaller than the amount printed on the banknote.
Enjoy reading and learning about this amazing woman.


Topic Reading-Vol.1481-5/1/2016

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Who are Islamic 'morality police'?
How conservative or restrictive a state could be? It seems Sharia, Islamic religious law, is strictly enforced to practice in some Muslim-majority countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia by deploying dedicated task force to police public places. Those rules include public socializing between unmarried men and women, wearing headscarf too far back on the head or exposing any other part of the body but eyes.
As more non-Islamic cultures and life-styles become popular around the world, religious conservatism seems to hardens its position. Such moves are also seen in Hindu society like India.
But is policing religious order and obedience mandatory to observe a religion?
Enjoy reading and thinking what matters more in day-to-day life in modern world.