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Topic Reading-Vol.1876-5/31/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
AlphaGo sweeps world's best Go-player Ke Jie 3-0
The last match by the famous AI go player. Google’s AlphaGo won all the three games against the human go champion, Ke Ji of China. It was said to be the most intense and the closest go match fought between human and AI.
After beating its human counterpart, the AI champion is going to make use of its intelligence and learning ability in medical field.
Though the defeat was bitterer than ever for the human champion, he is going to explore the mysteries of Go by making good use of this unforgettable experience.
It seems that while AI outperforms human intelligence in certain tasks, it also inspires human ingenuity.
Enjoy reading and thinking how you will make use of or work with artificial intelligence.


Topic Reading-Vol.1875-5/30/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Inside Syria: How life goes on in a besieged town
Though it is a suburb of the capital of the country, the town is surrounded and blockaded by the government forces. Eastern Ghouta in Syria has a population of 400,000 and is a major defensive point for rebels. The town had been bombed by the government and Russian aircraft until a truce was signed in May. It is still blockaded and deliveries for daily necessities, including water, food and medical supplies, are quite limited.
How do people in such a disastrous condition live their daily lives? It seems that when there are no other viable options, people manage to find ways to cope with difficulties for survival, and also to have fun.
Enjoy reading the text and seeing the photos to learn what the street life in a besieged town in Syria.


Topic Reading-Vol.1874-5/29/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Are you washing and drying your hands wrong?
First of all, do you always wash your hands when you leave a public toilet or get home?
If yes, which do you think is better to use to wash and dry your hands, soap or anti-bacterial hand wash, cold water or hot water, or towel or hand-dryer?
Whenever you touch something unclean, your hands get microbes and bacteria that need to be removed before touching your mouth or eyes. How to remove such health-threatening objects is very simple. Wash your hands properly. There seems to be no one particular thing that makes significant changes to the effectiveness of hand cleaning but to wash your hands thoroughly for half a minute, much longer than you think. And there is a piece of useful and practical advice to do it right; sing a song while washing.
Enjoy reading the article and think of your strategy to keep your hands clean.


Topic Reading-Vol.1873-5/28/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Ramadan 2017: Why is it so important for Muslims?
Every year during the ninth-lunar-month, all healthy adult Muslims don’t eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. Even though each culture has its own tradition, Ramadan is practiced by more than one billion Muslims around the world as one of the holiest events in Islam. Because of the long fast during the day, it makes Muslims become more companionate to those in need. They also enjoy this holy month. When they break the day’s fast, they have a large meal called “iftar,” which usually is shared by extended family members and guests.
No wonder why dusk-to-dawn curfews, if they were in force, are often lifted during Ramadan.
Muslims seem to be reminded intensively what they believe in every year.
Enjoy reading the text and learn what Ramadan is about.


Topic Reading-Vol.1872-5/27/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
'Star Wars' turns 40, but did you know....
Whether you’re a die-hard fan of the movie franchise or not, you know or at least have heard the music, main characters, such as Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi and R2D2, and the memorable and popular lines, such asMay the Force be with you,” and “I’ve got a very bad feeling about this.”
It was four decades ago when the famous opening trumpet fanfare and roaring triumphant march, composed by John Williams and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, stunned every audience in the theater. Then first opening crawl appeared on the screen to begin the Star Wars saga, "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...."

Episode IV: A NEW HOPE
"It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.
During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire's ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.
Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy...."

It was the beginning of the ever-lasting space adventure, Star Wars.
  Star Wars Episode IV:A New Hope Opening crawl

Enjoy reading the trivia of this one of the most beloved and successful movie franchise.


Topic Reading-Vol.1871-5/26/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Locked out of China, South Korea's K-pop stars are heading to the US
A deployment of a new missile defense system doesn’t seem to have secured businesses as usual for South Korea.
Difficulties arose from the deployment of Terminal High Altitude Are Defese, THAAD, system against Beijing’s protest have significantly declined the sales of Korean companies in shopping malls and department stores, automobiles, and electronics in China. Also, arrivals of Chinese tourists to Korea, which represented nearly a half of total tourist arrivals last year, dropped sharply. And the impact doesn’t seem to stop there. Entertainment business is also severely affected.
China had been a big market for Korean pop culture until this anti-Korean sentiment was created. Now as K-pop groups have lost opportunities to hold concerts in China, they are developing US market by touring across the country. That’s good news for young K-pop fans in America who had been given no chance to enjoy their on-stage performance and excitement.
Who could have imagined a missile system would divert K-pop tours from China to the US? It seems that the world is getting more unpredictable these days.
Try predicting what could happen if North Korea deploys a missile offensive system.


Topic Reading-Vol.1870-5/25/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Why are Mediterranean diets so healthy?
Another food topic that makes or keeps you healthy.
Mediterranean diet is widely recommended nutrients by nutritionists and dietitians. It is originally from the diet in Greece, Southern Italy, France and Spain. It uses plenty of olive oil, cereals, vegetables and fruits as well as fish and some dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt. It is said to reduces the risk of getting heart disease, diabetes and over-weight. Probably more importantly to all, it is palatable and enjoyable food especially with wine.

What is exactly Mediterranean diet and why it’s good for your health, read the below article.

If you are interested in what kind of dishes are Mediterranean diet, check this out.


Topic Reading-Vol.1869-5/24/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Eat like a pro: Eight foods to help improve your athletic performance
Food science. It indeed affects your health, physical strength and even brain functions. Most of you know that carbohydrate fuels energy, protein helps develop muscles, and good-fat provides long term endurance and helps your brain functions and so on.
Today, many people worry more about calories and fat rather than nutrition and muscles. But what makes someone perform better in sports or exams is to eat right food at a right time.
In order to maximize top athletes’ performance during games and speed up recovery after long games, football clubs also compete in the kitchen. Along with coaches and trainers, they have dedicated nutritionists and dietitians who prepare right food at a right time for the players.
Here, one of such dietitians gives you a list of most nutritious foods that will improve your physical performance. Though eating such food doesn’t make you a professional player, you can at least enjoy eating the same foods as your favorite professional athlete eats.
Enjoy reading and thinking if you want to eat these magic foods daily to feel like being a top football player.


Topic Reading-Vol.1868-5/23/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
These are the most climate-damaging foods
Beef and Lamb are the worst, followed by Butter, Shellfish, Milk and Pork. These are the foods found to be the most responsible for climate change, according to a new study by a non-profit environmental advocacy group.
Beef and cattle combined accounts as much as two thirds of animal agriculture emissions because a large amount of pesticide and fertilizer, which requires substantial fossil fuels, is used to produce its feed. Also, its digestive system produces a lot of methane gasses.
What will you do now? Switch red meat to white meat, butter to margarine, or milk to soymilk? Whatever you do, don’t eat just one thing too much. Your size and health also affect the environment.
Enjoy reading and learning another aspect of global warming. 


Topic Reading-Vol.1867-5/22/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The company cleaning up the world's biggest hotels
Great ideas and opportunities seem to lie in daily life. Most of the time when you check out of a hotel, you also leave the remains of the soap bar, shampoo and conditioner in the bathroom.
Though the number of hotels that use dispensers is increasing, there still are millions of soap bars are discarded every day in the world. So what if those remains are recycled or reused?
That is what this not-for-profit corporation, Save the World, has been working on to improve the hygiene especially in underdeveloped areas. They partner with local hotels to collect remains of soaps, clean and recycle for reuse. Sounds like a why-not kind of move but it hadn’t been implemented at this scale until the founder, who had been a frequent business traveler, came up with this simple concept.
What could be the next move to make use of unused toiletries in hotel rooms, shampoos, conditioners and toilet roll?   
Enjoy reading and thinking what you will do with the toiletries in your hotel room.


Topic Reading-Vol.1866-5/21/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Ex-communist states complain of rip-off food in EU
The wall that divided the east and the west collapsed nearly three decades ago. Economic borders that separated Central and Eastern Europe were removed over a decade ago. Now, people should be enjoying the same, or similar, standards and qualities for any product anywhere in EU, shouldn’t they?
But in fact, some of Czechs, Slovaks, Poles and Hungarians feel that the products sold in their market places are not as good as the ones in former western states, even with the same brand and identical label. Some people in former eastern-block countries cross the border to go shopping to the other block. Why?
According to a comparative study conducted in Czech, eight out of 24 products, such as coffee, cheese and chocolate, were found to have inferior quality or different composition compared with the ones in Germany.
It seems that market mechanism isn’t in place in former socialist countries.
Enjoy reading and learning about the segregation in consumer products in Europe. 


Topic Reading-Vol.1865-5/20/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Xi calls for joint efforts to turn Belt and Road into path for peace, prosperity
The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, or Belt and Road in short, is a development strategy proposed by Chinese president Xi Jinping. It aims to establish closer connectivity and cooperation among countries between China and the rest of Eurasia by a land belt and a sea road.
In order to demonstrate the impact on and interest by the countries involved, China hosted the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on May 14-15, 2017 in Beijing, which was attended by representatives from more than 130 countries and 70 international organizations, including 29 heads of states, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
What seemed to have been praised the most during the conference was the amount of money China committed to invest for the initiative, an equivalent of RMB 380 billion, or USD55 billion, on infrastructure, industrial capacity and financing to the countries along and around Belt and Road.
For some of the less-developed countries, such generous investment is substantial enough to change their previous priorities, preferences or alliance, even if a good portion of the money might be paid to Chinese companies and workers through the development projects.
Enjoy reading and thinking if this new initiative and investment are going to change the global map in the near future.


Topic Reading-Vol.1864-5/19/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Kim Si Woo: Ready to switch clubhouse for military barracks after Sawgrass win
One of the most divisive and deadliest wars in history isn’t over, yet. Though the fighting of the Korean War ended in 1953 when an armistice was signed, no peace treaty has been made. Thus, both sides of Korea are technically still at war. And in South Korea, it is compulsory for all able men to serve in military for about two years, longer than most other states that still have mandatory military service.
It was such a glorious honor for this talented young golfer, Kim Si Woo, and for his mother country Korea, to win this year’s the Players Championship, unofficial fifth major title, at the age of just 21, the youngest winner of the tournament’s history. However, he won’t be exempted from the mandatory military service because the title is NOT significant enough compared to the medals in the Olympic Games or gold medals in the Asian Games.
Enjoy reading and learning how serious the situation in the peninsula even 65 years after the military fighting ended.


Topic Reading-Vol.1863-5/18/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Classics keep top spot on list of most popular US baby names, but ...
Do you know how you were named? Were you named after someone who were very popular when you were born, or had been popular when your parents were younger?
Given names tend to reflect who or what name people think is popular or cool, especially in America where visual entertainment and professional sports seem to give considerable influence on people’s minds.
Every year, popular baby names list is announced by the Social Security Administration in the U.S., and in 2016, Emma, Olivia and Ava were the top three on the girls’ list and Noah, Liam and William were for the boys’ list.
Do you think you’ll follow the tradition of your country to name your baby, or the latest trend?
Enjoy reading and learning what influences the most to name a baby.


Topic Reading-Vol.1862-5/17/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
A 518km ice-road across the tundra
Want a fast life or a slow life? If you live in an urban city, especially in a metropolitan area, you probably and naturally live in the former way. Even if you live in a rural town, you won’t have so much choice left either as most of you make your living by earning money in some way or another.
Here in a remote village in northern Canada, Fort Chipewyan, where an ice road is built in every winter to get to its nearest an urban service area that is over 200 kilometers away, there still is a guy who lives in a traditional slow life. He doesn’t have to burn fossil fuels to drive around but he rides a sleigh pulled by Siberian Huskies. The dogs are in fact his lifeline because he uses the sleigh to go fishing and to bring back the catch. The fishing trip is also essential for the dogs as they are shared the fish as their main meal.
Enjoy reading and seeing this photo gallery to learn what the life is like in a remote village in Canada.


Topic Reading-Vol.1861-5/16/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The best sources of protein for vegetarians
Either you’re a vegetarian or not, this article helps you take essential nutrient for your health, protein. Meat and fish provide good amount of protein of course, but there are other foods that are rich in protein, such as beans, milk, eggs and nuts.
Nutritionists suggest that adults take about 50 grams of protein a day, though the amount varies by the weight of the person and how much exercise the person does a day. It doesn’t sound too difficult to achieve that goal if you eat a hamburger or chicken fillet sandwich just for lunch. The problem of getting pure protein is that it doesn’t taste much, like egg white or chicken breast, so you end up adding or cooking in calorie-rich, salty sauce or dressing to enrich the taste. But if you know a variety of food options that are rich in protein, you can enjoy healthier diet and more balanced nutrition.
Enjoy reading and learning how to take protein in a healthy and beneficial way for your health and wallet.


Topic Reading-Vol.1860-5/15/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
China's mobile payment era: Costs and benefits
New methods seem to arise where there are no dependable and convenient options.
In developing areas where there are no railroads, highways or airports can be built faster and more economically. Also, to places where there are no telephone lines, mobile phone grids can be established more easily to cover every home and every phone. In fact, in some developing countries, the first electronics device or appliance people get is a mobile or even smart phone, rather than a TV set or refrigerator.
The same seems to be true for payment. In a place like China where there aren’t enough ATMs or credit card readers, mobile payment seems to have taken their places. In fact, QR code is seen on everything and everywhere in China because it is created easily by anyone and read instantly by any smartphone. People don’t seem to have hesitated to become online payment users.
On the other hand, such online payment methods haven’t become so popular in places like Japan or the US where cash or credit card payment has been customary.
People are often more reluctant to change from the way they’ve been used to than to adopt new methods or convenience.
Enjoy reading and learning how fast the other part of the world is changing.. 


Topic Reading-Vol.1859-5/14/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Shiki-shima: Has Japan just launched the world's most luxurious train?
How luxurious do you want to be for a train trip? Japan’s East Japan Railway (JR East) has just launched a new train service, called Shiki-shima, for two-to-four-day itineraries around eastern Japan.
The train was designed by a world-class designer and the dining menus are created by a Michelin-starred chef. Since the ticket price for a private suite starts at over $4,000, it seems like a luxury cruise on the land rather than a train ride.
But what is exclusive about Shiki-shima doesn’t stop there. The ticket. Those who wish to get a ticket for this supreme experience are asked to submit an application to get on the lottery list. There are only 17 private suites on this luxury train and all the suites are already booked until March next year.
Sounds like a luxurious business for JR East, doesn’t it?
Enjoy reading the text and think which cruise you prefer spending your time and money on, sea or land.


Topic Reading-Vol.1858-5/13/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The strange reason Spaniards eat late
What sort of daily schedule do people in Spain live? Start working at 9:00am, have two-hour lunch at 2:00pm, finish working at 8:00 and have dinner at 9:00. It sounds like Spaniards live in winter time, not summer time just to be sure, throughout the year. Surprisingly, siesta, a short nap after lunch, isn’t that popular as it used to be. So why do they live such a distinct daily life?
In 1940, then dictator General Franco decided to match Spain’s standard time with the one of Nazi Germany, his main supporter. Franco, who outlived Hitler by three decades, seemed to have preferred the late-hour life and never changed the wrong time zone. It seems that 35 years was long enough for Spaniards to have gotten used to the daily schedule, and the wrong time zone became their standard time.
Do they want to adjust their clocks back to live healthier or more natural lives?
Enjoy reading the article and think which daily schedule suits your life style better.


Topic Reading-Vol.1857-5/12/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Is it time to scrap gender specific awards?
Which sounds more meaningful to you to classify awards, by gender or genre? While the director of a movie is non-binary, actors and actresses are segregated. Why so? Is that because of the gender of the actor or the role played in the movie?
One of the most rising stars, Emma Watson, was awarded a first-ever non-binary big title, the MTV Movie and TV award for best big-screen actor for her role in Beauty and the Beast.
This move was triggered by an entry with the Emmys by a female-born non-binary actor who acted a role of a non-binary character in a movie. The academy accepted their, not her, entry as an “actor,” used as a non-gendered word.
It may not be too long before the world will see more such combined categories become common, just like server instead of waiter or waitress, flight attendant for steward or stewardess.
Enjoy reading and thinking what non-binary classifications will become common in the future.


Topic Reading-Vol.1856-5/11/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Wives wanted in the Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands is an archipelago, about halfway between Norway and Iceland. It is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark. Approximately 50,000 people live in the 18 major islands and most of them speak only Faroese as a first language. The climate isn’t so lovely, often windy, wet, cloudy, and cool.
The major problem of these islands is gender imbalance, especially among the young as they leave to look for education and employment in more promising places for their future.
So, unlike other European countries where anti-immigration sentiments are on the rise, Faroe Islands are welcoming immigrants who wish to have a new family with Faroese men, especially from much warmer places in Asia, like Philippines and Thailand. And they are getting success in creating new families and cultures.
But what sorts of challenges do those women from totally different climate, culture and language cope with?
Enjoy reading and learning about this attempt for survival and revival of the shrinking community in a northern territory.


Topic Reading-Vol.1855-5/10/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
A leap into the future? The race for a sub-two-hour marathon
Marathon is a running race to run 42.195 kilometers, the distance believed to have been run by a Greek soldier to report their victory at the Battle of Marathon to Athens. It became one of the official Olympic events in 1896, and now over 800 marathon events are held every year.
The current world record for men’s marathon is 2:02:57 established by a Kenyan runner, Dennis Kipruto Kimetto, only less than three minutes short of breaking the two-hour benchmark.
How long will humans have to wait to see someone break this physical and mental barrier?
The course, conditions, and equipment all matter significantly to run just a few second faster in each kilometer, not to mention the training and nutrition. And sporting goods giant Nike has been working on a project called “Breaking2” since 2014 to achieve this goal. Their latest attempt took place on Saturday May 6 at 5:45 a.m. in Monza, Italy. Three top runners challenged, all put Nike’s specially customized running shoes on. The end result?
Enjoy reading and learning what sort of challenge to run 42.195km in two hours is like.
After reading the article, you may want to check the result of the May-6th attempt;


Topic Reading-Vol.1854-5/9/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
How farmers put apples into suspended animation?
Do you eat or buy apples only in fall when they are picked off the trees in the fall? But apples are on the shelves almost all year around Why do apples stay fresh, or not over-ripened so long? Where are they stored, and how?
You may think temperature control does most part to keep the fruit from go ripening. If that is the case, apples must have been stored in fridges somewhere. But you also know that you can keep apples, or any other fruits, fresh only for a week or a few weeks in the fridge. So how are those apples on the shelves have been kept “fresh”?
In fact, atmosphere and chemicals do a lot to control the ripening process. One method that has been used to keep the fruit fresh is to reduce the oxygen in the air, which is essential for ripening reaction, from the normal 20% level down to a few percent level. Another way is to use a molecule to block the access of the hormone.
Simple enough?
Enjoy reading and learning what makes you enjoy eating apples all year round.


Topic Reading-Vol.1853-5/8/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
A look at the latest twist in Puerto Rico's debt saga
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, located in the Caribbean Sea, is an unincorporated territory of the United States. Though both English and Spanish are set as their official languages, the latter is widely spoken among the 3.5 million residents in the islands.
Their economy been struggling for a decade and the government has been relying heavily on bonds to make up the shortfall of income too much for too long. It was fortunate for Puerto Rico to have been able to sell such bonds to American investors who wanted to enjoy the tax break. It was unfortunate that the territory hasn’t recovered from recession and the government’s debts have mounted to the level that the islandic territory can no longer sustain.
While the commonwealth’s financial future is under the hand of a US judge now, their political status is going to be judged by the residents in the fifth of such referendums due in June.
Enjoy reading and learning about the financial crisis of this tropical state.


Topic Reading-Vol.1852-5/7/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
US photographer captured moment of her death in Afghanistan
So shocking to see these photos at the cost of photographers’ own lives. These newly released photos show two soldiers right at the moment when a mortar shell blew up during a training exercise in Afghanistan. And the takers of the photos were also killed. One of them is an American service woman who was training an Afghan soldier, who shot her camera in the second photo. She was only 22 years old then.
Though the images of the moment of blast survived, she and four soldiers didn’t.
See the photos and feel what the cost of war really is.


Topic Reading-Vol.1851-5/6/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Russia is now the world's third largest military spender
US and China combined accounted for nearly a half of the global military spending in 2016, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. And the countries in the second group are; Russia, Saudi Arabia, India and France.
To compare government spending on a certain field, such as social security, education or military service, there are several factors need to be adjusted; currency exchange rate, GDP per capita, the ratio to the total spending or GDP, and most importantly, what are included and how they are counted in the spending, in other words, transparency and accountability.
But one figure that is relatively dependable is the change from the previous year. And in 2016, Russia boosted its military spending by nearly six percent. That sounds quite substantial considering the oil prices and domestic economy of the country.
Is it just to update its aging equipment or to upgrade the force for new initiatives?
By the way, the estimated total military spending in 2016 was 1.69 trillion dollars.
Enjoy reading and thinking if military spending improves security or provokes conflicts.


Topic Reading-Vol.1850-5/5/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Childhood obesity – why is it on the rise?
Today’s Children’s Day holiday in Japan. It is to respect ad celebrate children's personalities and happiness. Yes, children should be embraced within a caring and safe environment where they can learn through playing and eating guided by their parents or guardians.
So why is there an alarming level of childhood obesity and overweight problem in the UK? The ratio of children who are heavier than supposed-to-be weight range has been on a steady rise for the last two decades, and now every child per three children is overweight or obese. This is more serious than it sounds because 85% of these overweight/obese children are expected to become obese as adults.
The cause of the problem? More than enough food or not enough exercise. Then why has the problem still been on the rise? Are there any tips that can be adopted without too much sacrifice?
Enjoy reading and learning what can be done to the clear and present danger and the future of the U.K. (and any other country). 


Topic Reading-Vol.1849-5/4/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Family tree of dogs reveals secret history of canines
How dogs look and how they have evolved don’t always match. Researchers found that there are 23 groups of dog breeds after analyzing the genetics of 161 modern dog breeds. Some of the dog breeds share the same roots but others don’t. For example, while hunting dogs, such as the spaniels, the pointers, the setters and the retrievers, seem to have developed in one place, herding dogs, such as the collies and the shepherds, don’t share the same genetic characteristics.
By identifying dogs’ genetic similarities, they could be better treated when they suffer from certain diseases, or given appropriate prevention measures because some group of dogs are vulnerable to certain diseases.
Enjoy reading and learning about humans’ closest and longest partners.


Topic Reading-Vol.1848-5/3/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Japan moving toward 2018 abdication for emperor
The emperor of Japan is the ceremonial head of state of Japan. He is, by constitution, regarded the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people. The current emperor, Akihito, will turn 84 in December this year. He abruptly delivered an extremely unusual and unprecedented video message last August addressing his desire to step down due to his declining health.
Japanese administration swiftly formed a panel to discuss and propose how to make a smooth succession without delay or hustle. Things have been discussed extensively by the panel are; the title of the retired emperor, empress and the brother of the succeeding emperor, place for them to live in, budget, and the new era name because there has been no such abdication under the current constitution since 1947.
However, controversial issues, such as future succession, shrinking royal family and female emperor, remain untouched to avoid creating endless debate.
Enjoy reading and learning about the abdication of the 1500-year-old imperial family of Japan.


Topic Reading-Vol.1847-5/2/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Female Islamic clerics in Indonesia issue rare child marriage fatwa
The Republic of Indonesia is the fourth largest country in the world in terms of population. Of the 260 million Indonesians, nearly 90% are Muslims, the world’s largest Muslim country.
It is also one of the top ten countries with the highest absolute numbers of child brides: 1,408,000 women aged 20 to 24 were married before the age of 18, the nation’s legal age, or one in every seven girls. In some rural areas, the child marriage is estimated to go over 30%. It’s mainly because of the cultural traditions but other factors drive the practice, such as poverty, economic dependency, financial incentives and dowry practices, as well as a lack of access to education and health services.
Now female Islamic clerics gathered and issued an Islamic religious decree, urging the government to raise the minimum legal age from the current 16 to 18 for women to marry. Whether the government or the congress bring it to the discussion table is still uncertain, but the sheer number of female Muslims can’t be easily ignored.
Enjoy reading and learning about the problem of child marriage. 


Topic Reading-Vol.1846-5/1/2017

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Of the 4.38 billion total population in Asia and the Middle East in 2015, 2.24 billion were men and the rest, 2.14 billion, were women. This makes 0.1 billion gap between the two genders, or 100 million more men than women. Is that gap significant?
Naturally, the gender ratio at birth is around 105 boys per 100 girls, but women outnumber men at the age of 65 and older because of their higher life expectancy. In some part of Asia, such as India, China and Vietnam, there are much higher boys-girls ratio at birth and in youth because of their high preference for male children.
Why boys not girls? There are in depth traditional, situational and economic reasons in these fast-growing countries. But if everybody has the same gender preference, there is no need for rocket science to figure out the consequence. Parents’ preference seems to create heavy burden to their own children.
Enjoy reading and learning what makes people choose boys over girls and what could solve or ease such problems.