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Topic Reading-Vol.2972-5/31/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
This town is in two countries
Is there a part of another country in your town? Enclave is a part of a country that is surrounded by another country. For example, West Berlin was an enclave which comprised the western part of the city of Berlin for four decades during the Cold War. In this case, the enclave was surrounded by tall concrete walls that prevented people from crossing the border. Actually, there are quite a number of enclaves in the world beyond national, state, or district borders, most of which aren’t usually distinguished or recognized.
Baarle-Hertog is one such enclave in The Netherlands. The town consists of 24 small Belgian exclaves, all of which are within the Netherlands. These enclaves were created after the Treaty of Maastricht in 1843. Unlike West Berlin, all of the 2,700-or-so residents and any visitors can walk across the complex borders freely, some of which go through streets and even inside shops and cafes, thanks to the Schengen Agreement. So, you can have lunch at a Belgium restaurant, have coffee at a Dutch cafe, and do groceries at a Belgium supermarket, and sleep in a bed in the Netherlands.
Enjoy watching the video and learn about this Belgium enclave in the Netherlands.


Topic Reading-Vol.2971-5/30/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The CNN Travel quiz: Who, what, why, when and where in the world?
There is one thing that many of you wish to plan now but probably still hesitate to do. Traveling. Especially during the restrictive measures like lockdown, isolation, and state of emergency, many people want to go out somewhere to refresh themselves. Indeed, breathing the air and feel the atmosphere of different places, experiencing cultures and traditions of other peoples, enjoying foods and meals in local streets and markets, or just sleeping in a different bed makes you feel relaxed.
Now, do you want to check how well you know about other places and things in the world? Here are some quite tricky questions to test your knowledge of the world, such as cities, airplanes, wonders, and foods. Squeeze your brain instead of googling and try answering the questions, you’ll find how knowledgeable you are about the world.
Note: You’d better choose the categories that you have good knowledge of instead of challenging them all.


Topic Reading-Vol.2970-5/29/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Why it's time to redesign the old air conditioner
Can’t live without air conditioners? Even if you don’t use or have one at home, most offices and commercial buildings are air-conditioned. Furthermore, data centers use air conditioners to cool the machines and processors to run the Internet and store data from all over the world. Surprisingly, while technologies for construction and information have evolved substantially for the last century, the basic designs of today’s air conditioners haven’t changed much since the first air conditioner was brought in the market back in 1926.
By the middle of the century, 4.5 billion air conditioners are estimated to be in use around the world, 3.3 billion more units than today. Many of those new air conditioners will be added in developing countries where temperatures are quite high, such as south Asia and Africa. According to the International Energy Agency, today’s air conditioners consume about 10% of the total electricity. It is obvious that the world is going to need to generate much more electricity in the coming decades especially when electric vehicles become popular. The world desperately needs innovations to control air temperatures and humidity more efficiently.
The Global Cooling Prize has recently been initiated to incentivize individuals, teams, and companies to design the next generation of air-cooling systems. The design must not only innovative but also practical. Of the over 2,000 participants, eight finalists were granted $200,000 to develop prototypes that will be tested in sizzling Delhi’s summer, whose average high-temperature is 33.6°C and the average low is 26.4°C.
Enjoy reading the article and learn how challenging it is to design and produce air conditioners of the 21st century.


Topic Reading-Vol.2969-5/28/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
In pictures: Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr amid coronavirus
Eid al-Fitr, or Festival of Breaking the Fast (Ramadan), is an Islamic holiday to mark the end of Ramadan, a month-long, dawn-to-sunset fasting. Usually, it is a three-day fest of gift-giving and gorge on special meals with loved ones, neighbors, and friends. However, under the coronavirus pandemic, such mass-gatherings and close interactions can not be held in a usual manner. Worshippers are checked their temperatures before worshipping, required to wear Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, such as a face mask, face cover and protective gloves, and maintain social distancing in the mosque.
The number of Muslims around the world is about 1.8 billion, nearly one in every four humans on Earth. Also, in countries like Turkey and Iran, where coronavirus has infected and killed many, nearly all the citizens are Muslims. How can they prevent the novel virus from spreading during the festive time? Only time will tell.
Enjoy seeing the photos of this annual religious event under a  


Topic Reading-Vol.2968-5/27/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Robot dog tries to herd sheep
In Topic Reading Vol.2957, a walking robot dog was shown to warn visitors to the park in Singapore to keep social distance, and they seemed to obey the warning. Now, another Boston Dynamics built robot was tested to herd sheep in New Zealand. This sheep-herding robot, called Spot, is designed to navigate sheep in tricky terrain, just like trained herding dogs do. It was sent to sheep and beef stations for test and let it run around with dogs. Interestingly, the dogs seemed to think Spot was just one of the machines and weren’t bothered at all. On the other hand, sheep seemed to have thought it was one of those herding canines and maneuvered away from Spot.
Will AI learn to herd sheep like herding dogs do or will it learn to work with the dogs like the robot assistant in Vol.2967?
Enjoy seeing the video and think about how soon humans will see a matching number of robots in the future.


Topic Reading-Vol.2967-5/26/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The robot assistant that can guess what you want
For now, robots work by themselves. Painting and assembly robots in automotive factories do pre-programmed tasks in a separate zone. Delivery robots in some hotels carry things like drinks and a blanket to the assigned rooms. Flipping robots grill, flip, and place burger patties as programmed. However, there aren’t any robots that work along with humans autonomously, like holding a heavy object while the human worker is working on it, handing the right tool to the right spot timely, and reacts to avoid accidents.
Ocado, a British online supermarket, is now looking for a collaborative robot, or cobot, to improve the work efficiency of its workers. Though it is still at a test stage, their prototype cobot can monitor what its human coworker is doing and what he/she needs and provide assistance. Thanks to today’s machine learning, the artificial intelligence of the robot monitors and learns how to help human workers much faster than being programmed.
When will we see such robot colleagues in workplaces? Will they also understand and respond to a joke?
Enjoy reading the article and watching the video to learn what and how robots may help human workers.


Topic Reading-Vol.2966-5/25/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The unsurpassed 125-year-old network that feeds Mumbai
It seems eating homemade lunch has long been an essential part of daily work life in Mumbai, India’s business capital. Interestingly, Mumbai workers seem to prefer eating delivered homemade lunch at their workplaces rather than taking their lunchboxes with them. The question is how do they get their homemade lunch at their workplaces?
The Dabbawallas is a lunchbox delivery and return system that delivers boxed lunch, or Dabba, from homes and restaurants to people at work. In the late morning, lunchboxes are collected at homes on time, carried to the district’s collection site, sorted by the destinations, taken to the respective delivery hubs by trains or bicycles, then distributed to their customers on time by bike or on foot. Sounds like one of those food-delivery services, doesn’t it? But they’ve been providing this service over a century at an affordable price to their customers while providing their deliverymen with decent pay and welfare, and more importantly pride. Recently, this food delivery system has been paid great attention by business school, delivery giants like DHL and online food-delivery companies like Deliveroo and Uber Eats because of their nearly flawless and on-time delivery practices to serve nearly 200,000 customers daily.
It seems that dabbawallas are part of the social infrastructure in Mumbai.
But you may wonder why Mumbai workers aren’t taking their lunch boxes with them when they leave their homes in the first place. Is there any cultural, religious, domestic, or environmental reason? This question is unanswered.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about this century-old lunch delivery service network in Mumbai.    

For your further interest, watch this video;


Topic Reading-Vol.2965-5/24/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Qatar Airways cabin crew to wear hazmat suits
Safety is our number one priority; any airline says so. Indeed, pilots make their best to fly safely and cabin crew guides and instruct the passengers on board to abide by the safety regulations and requirements. Nowadays, safety doesn’t necessarily mean to prevent accidents or troubles from happening. Passengers and crewmembers are all concerned about clear and present danger. Covid-19 and hygiene.
As airports are adding new safety and screening measures, including disinfection booth, quick blood testing, and sniffing dogs, some airlines are requiring their passengers to wear face guards or masks during flights. But that won’t be enough to ensure safety in an enclosed environment like an airplane cabin. Flight attendants have numerous close contacts with passengers during flights. They need to be protected the most to avoid infecting and being infected by the passengers. So, Qatar Airways, Qatar's flag carrier, introduced a protected suit to be worn by cabin crew over their uniforms during flights in addition to safety goggles, gloves, and a mask. Will the passengers feel safer or scared? Do you want to eat an inflight meal or drink soda that is served by such a heavily protected attendant?
Enjoy reading the article and seeing the photos and think if you want to wear a hazmat suit during the flight, too.


Topic Reading-Vol.2964-5/23/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Airport dogs could sniff out coronavirus
Detection dogs are trained to detect specific substances, such as explosives, drugs, and firearms. They are usually deployed at airports where such items are illegally carried in. There also are sniffing dogs that are specially trained for medical purposes. They can detect specific odors that come out of humans who have certain medical conditions like malaria or cancers.
Now, there is one thing that customs, immigration, and health offices of any country worry the most in common. COVID-19. So, researchers in the UK have picked up several super sniffing dogs and are now training them to detect the novel virus. Those dogs are being trained to learn the odors of the people who have been tested positive, specifically from their face masks and nylon socks, which the researchers found the most effective for training. If successful, a COVID-19 sniffing dog can screen as many as 250 people per hour.
Another new safety procedure may be seen at the airport soon.
Enjoy reading the article and watch the video to learn how dogs could help humans’ physical problems.


Topic Reading-Vol.2963-5/22/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
A deadly virus is sweeping multiple states. At risk are rabbits
Contagious diseases aren’t limited to humans. Recently, a strain of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease was found among wild bush rabbits in the Western USA. The Europe-originated virus causes internal bleeding and swelling only to rabbit species. Though how the virus arrived in the US is still unknown, it seems to have already spread to Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and California. Though rabbits aren’t nocturnal, they are not fond of showing themselves to their predators, including humans, which means it is not easy to monitor and cope with a situation like this.
You may wonder if it matters to humans. Since rabbits are herbivorous, they are part of the ecosystem on the ground. Also, their predators will lose a source of food either on the ground and in the air. Humans are too busy dealing with their own virus thread now to worry about rabbits in the wild. But rabbits are also domesticated as pets and grown as food. Sooner or later, this rabbit disease will affect the pet market, dining tables, and the ecosystem.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about another outbreak of a contagious disease.


Topic Reading-Vol.2962-5/21/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
One every eight minutes: India's missing children
It is estimated that over one child per minute, or 180 children per day, disappears from their families in India. Some children are sold by their own family and others are tricked to get a job or live a better life. Once trafficked, they are enslaved to work with little or no wage, beg on the street, or exploited as sex workers.
Poverty is the first to blame for child trafficking. Also, lack of good education and weakness of law enforcement causes such inhumane acts by the traffickers and abusers of children. Another cultural problem is that even if an enslaved child gets a chance to return home, he or she is often ashamed in their community.
Watch the video to learn how such a malicious act is still practiced widely and daily in India.


Topic Reading-Vol.2961-5/20/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
These dancers may stun you because they can't hear music
Do you think it’s possible to dance without any piece of music or sound? Maybe, if you have some kind of music or sound in your mind to dance to or with someone who can lead the dance. But can you imagine a troupe of dancers performing an amazingly organized and synchronized dance show without a hint of sound? That is what the China Disabled People's Performing Art Troupe performs on the stage of famous theaters around the world. None of the dancers can hear any sound. Also, the troupe’s band plays music for the audience during the performance. Though they play music in total harmony, no one conducts the band as none of the band members can see anyone, anything. They are all blind.
Formed in 1987 as an amateur arts group, the China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe, CDPPAT has become the international top performing art troupe, My Dream and Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva have also become a world-famous cultural brand. It is not only self-support but also set up a charity fund to help non-profit career with the income from commercial shows. Their philosophy is based on self-respect, self-confidence, self-improvement, and self-reliance, as well as mutual respect, mutual care, mutual aid, and mutual complementarities.
Watch the video and learn about this amazing performing artists and musicians from China.


Topic Reading-Vol.2960-5/19/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Coronavirus: How exposed is your job?
Which jobs are more at risk to infectious diseases like the coronavirus and which are less? Simply, the closer contacts with others you have, the higher the risk you will bear. And of course, healthcare workers have a much higher risk to be infected as they constantly have close contacts with patients who are already infected. However, they aren’t as vulnerable as taxi drivers or hairdressers who aren’t used to wearing protective equipment like facial masks or gloves.
There is a survey conducted in the US before Covid-19 pandemic about the level of exposure to diseases at work and how close those workers are to other people for 359 jobs. Though job requirements and practices vary widely by county and individual responsibility, the data shows how exposed a job is and how close the person is to others. Just enter a job, you’ll find a relative risk level of the job. Please be reminded that the ranking is based on a US survey though it is recently conducted.
Exposure, close encounter, protection, and preventive action all matter to increase or decrease the risk of infection.
Enjoy reading the article and enter some jobs to find their risk level to infectious diseases.


Topic Reading-Vol.2959-5/18/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
People can't stop using these emojis during the pandemic
How often do you use emojis on your tweet or messaging app? Even if you aren’t a keen user of emojis like Roger Federer, you might have used a few or regularly insert some into your message. Indeed, emojis are very convenient and practical to convey the meaning and nuance that aren’t described well by texts. Especially in a difficult time like this, people seem to use emojis more than before to enhance their indirect interactions where facial expressions, tones, and body language are missing. The problem is that there aren’t any pandemic or COVID-19 specific emojis officially yet. So, people are adopting some existing emojis to express their emotions like 🙏 more often than ever before.
When we cover our 😷 because of 🦠, emojis seem to help us express ourselves more explicitly than usual.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about how people are communicating these days.


Topic Reading-Vol.2958-5/17/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Face masks and mandatory selfies for drivers: How Uber rides are about to change
Passengers of some airlines are required to wear face masks on board the flight. Visitors to public places and buildings are also required to keep a social distance. Now, what about passengers in taxies and rideshare vehicles?
In-car space is such an enclosed environment that viruses could easily be transmitted. Also, rideshare vehicles, of course, are shared by many from different places. Both users and drivers feel more uncomfortable should the other(s) isn’t wearing a facemask or face-cover.
Uber is a multinational ride-hailing company that offers platforms for peer-to-peer ridesharing and food delivery services. The company now operates in nearly 800 metropolitan areas in the world. They now require both their drivers and riders to wear a facemask or face cover. To make sure they comply with the safety policy, Uber uses selfie and feedback functions to report the riding experience.
Does this help relieve or reduce your anxieties about sharing a ride with someone you don’t know?
Well, knowing who the person does not ensure your safety nowadays. You want to know if the person has viruses or not. Will we soon see a quick virus check of others like your PC?
Enjoy reading the article and watch the video to learn about another new standard for transportation.


Topic Reading-Vol.2957-5/16/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Coronavirus: Robot dog enforces social distancing in Singapore park
Nowadays, it is more like a health rather than a security concern to monitor public places like parks, stations, and airports. There are a variety of devices to monitor how crowded those places are or how close people are standing or walking, such as CCTV cameras, drones, head-mount cameras, or smartphone apps. But how about a robot dog?
Singapore was one of the earliest and strictest enforcers of social distancing policies to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. Now, they also want to be an early adopter of a new robot to patrol public parks. They’ve deployed a robo-dog, made by Boston Dynamics, that walks around a popular park measuring the distance of people and sound a warning to those who stay in less than one-meter parameter. This robo-dog walks smoothly with its four legs and looks unique enough to draw visitors’ attention. A quite effective patrolling robot, isn’t it? Also, the warning sounds in a friendly manner and ends with “Thank you,” a nice touch for a patrol robot. Also, since robots are free from coronavirus, people may feel safer to be patrolled and warned.
Enjoy watching the video to learn about this unique approach to keep social distance.


Topic Reading-Vol.2956-5/15/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Saudi Arabia triples VAT to support coronavirus-hit economy
It was 2015 that the oil-rich kingdom took a number of strict austerity measures when oil prices collapsed from record highs, including slashing lavish bonuses, overtime payments, and other benefits and perks in the public sector. In January 2018, the kingdom’s first value-added tax was introduced. It was a hard hit to everyone, including ordinary citizens, migrant workers, and state employees. However, the tax rate was a mere 5% and state employees were granted a hefty compensation of 1,000 riyals ($267) a month for the rising cost of living and gas prices, which would offset the VAT for over $5,000 purchase each month. Now, from July 1 this year, only 30 months after the introduction, approximately 1.5 million state employees, nearly 20 million other Saudis, and over 12 million non-Saudis are going to be levied 15% VAT. And this time, state employees will suffer the hardest hit as their monthly compensation is suspended as of June 1.
Even though the kingdom is not responsible for the coronavirus pandemic, who initiated the recent oil price war? What sort of austerity measures will be applied to royal families?
Read the article and learn about this swift and drastic austerity measure in the oil-rich desert kingdom.


Topic Reading-Vol.2955-5/14/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Intelligent methods used to recover trade after outbreak
No one knows how soon people start getting on board, staying at hotels, and visiting tourist destinations. There will be a lot of new measures and standards placed at airports, train stations, hotels, and attractions, such as body-temperature checks, face mask requirements, social distancing, and disinfection protocols. However, these preventive or restrictive measures aren’t likely to lure more travelers. So, China’s travel industry is already working on recovering from the largest economic and travel slump in modern history under the new norm using China’s advanced technologies and popular social networks. One such practice is streaming videos to show the real scenes of the location or exhibitions, either live or updated. As people will have gotten used to video learning to learn new things or get the information they need, this may become another new norm in the post-pandemic travel promotions.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about new practices to recover from the pandemic.


Topic Reading-Vol.2954-5/13/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Coronavirus leaves the Gulf's migrant workers in limbo, with no income and no easy way out
Oil-rich Gulf nations, such as the United Arab Emirates, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia have been relying heavily on millions of migrant workers to develop and sustain their economies. There are as many as 20 million migrant workers administered in the region. In fact, foreigners outnumber national citizens by a large degree in these countries. Those workers came from South Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Indonesia, and the Philippines where well-paid job opportunities are limited for uneducated or unskilled workers.
Now, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, most of these migrant workers are stranded and quarantined in labor camps unemployed and unpaid. These overcrowded compounds are thought to be hotbeds of the pandemic as many workers share small rooms, toilets, showers, and kitchens. They are now hoping to be repatriated to their homes, but chances are slim as very few commercial flights are flying in the region. They have no choice but to sit and wait to be sent home or employed again with little to eat.
They repatriated money to their homes but now they are waiting to be repatriated.
Read the article and watch the video to learn about the migrant workers who had been helping and sustaining the economy and prosperity of the gulf nations.


Topic Reading-Vol.2953-5/12/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
What will staying in a hotel look like in the near future?
After the pandemic, you may expect no one will be sitting right next to you on the airplane or in the movie theater. But how a hotel stay will be like? You will most likely see very different hygiene standards and service practices from the pre-COVID-19 era. Here are some examples.
Entry check: your body temperature may be checked before check-in.
Check-in and Check-out: minimum interaction, shielded counter, contactless payment with a smartphone.
Elevator: maximum capacity of two or four persons.
(Lower floors may be preferred to avoid elevator rides)
Door key and knob: contact-free locking & unlocking, entrance & exit. (Sounds convenient?)
Rooms: disinfection will become priority number one for both the guests and the operator.
Breakfast Buffet: your favorite self-serving all-you-can-eat buffet may be replaced with a cafeteria-style serving or a-la-carte menu.
Gym and Spa: most unlikely to open unless effective medicine or reliable vaccine becomes available.
Bar and cafe: will be operated under strict social distancing guidelines.
(With a face mask and social distancing, gests and servers may have to speak loudly or shout!)
So, will there be a new star rating by hygiene standards, like a five-star hygiene maintenance with three-star service/facility hotel?
Enjoy reading the article and think about what makes you feel safer for your next hotel stay.


Topic Reading-Vol.2952-5/11/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The coronavirus is crushing India's Bollywood, the world's most prolific film industry
Bollywood is the Indian Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai, which used to be called Bombay. Having been releasing nearly 2,000 movies annually, Bollywood makes India the world’s largest film producing country. Last year, India’s box office revenues reached $1.4 billion, most of which were generated by Indian films. It surely is a big industry that employs a large number of employees and wage workers and also provides revenues to movie theaters.
However, cinemas have been shut down since March 25 due to the coronavirus lockdown. They are expected to reopen on May 17 when the nationwide lockdown expires but under strict social distancing rules. There will be a vacant seat between each audience, meaning theaters can fill only half of the seating capacity and generate 50% less revenue. Also, as movie productions have been on hold, those who work by daily wage have lost their income for some time. No one knows how long the aftermath of the pandemic will last, Bollywood is now facing a life-changing crisis.
Read the article and watch the video to learn about this catastrophic damage to India’s film industry.


Topic Reading-Vol.2951-5/10/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Coronavirus: Can live-streaming save China's economy?
After the weeks of lockdown, Wuhan, once the epicenter of the coronavirus, is trying to revive its economy. But how? With nearly 800 million smartphone users in the country, the quickest and most impactful yet most economical way to promote a product/service is Douyin, China’s original version of TikTok. The short streaming video platform is used by both those who want to present something and those who want to find something attractive. It has been used widely for sales promotion, new product launch, and public relations. In fact, big-ticket items like a Boeing 747 and even a rocket launch was sold via this platform, thanks to so-called online celebrities. They are powerful influencers with millions of followers who are willingly spread the message to others. Surprisingly, those influencers aren’t popular stars or models but just ordinary citizens.
Now, usually conservative government/party officials are also trying to jump on the bandwagon to revitalize virus-hit Wuhan’s economy by taking part in live-streaming videos to promote local products. And you know what? It seems to have worked!
Enjoy reading the article about China’s pragmatic party officials and online celebrities who are trying to stimulate and revitalize the hard-hit economy.


Topic Reading-Vol.2950-5/9/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
See how a mask affects how a cough travels
Why is setting social distancing guidelines matter? Why should facial masks be required or recommended to prevent from spreading the novel virus?
Researchers at Florida Atlantic University carried out an experiment that shows how far droplets from a cough travel and stay in the air. Surprisingly, the artificially caused droplets hit 3 feet (90 cm) almost immediately, traveled 6 feet (1.8m), the recommended social distance guidelines, in 5 seconds, and reached 9 feet (2.7m) in 10 seconds. Also, in another 30 seconds, the droplets reached 12 feet (3.6 m) even though they became much less dense. Indeed, droplets not only travel farther but also remain in the air longer than you can imagine.
When facial masks become a social attire, will we see designer’s brands or virus-proof masks?
Enjoy watching the video and learn why face masks are now recommended or required.


Topic Reading-Vol.2949-5/8/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The place Chinese travelers want to visit in 2020 is... Wuhan
Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province. With over 11 million residents, it is not only the most populous city but also a major transportation hub and considered the economic, financial, commercial, and cultural center of Central China. But the city is now more known as the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the world. The city was locked down by the central government from January 23 until April 8 this year to prevent the virus from spreading to other parts of the country, and the world. There were over 50,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and nearly 4,000 deaths were attributed to the outbreak officially in Wuhan. Since the city officials, medical staff, and residents had to endure a long, difficult time, people across the country praised and supported their efforts. Now, when Chinese netizens are asked where to travel after the outbreak, many of them picked Wuhan more than any other city. It seems that the perseverance and courage that people in Wuhan demonstrated impressed others in China.
However, it is still too early to book tickets and a hotel room as no one knows if Wuhan, or any other city, is or will be free from COVID-19 yet.
Read the article and think about which Chinese city you may want to visit after the outbreak.


Topic Reading-Vol.2948-5/7/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Russia adds record 10,000 coronavirus cases in dramatic turnaround as Putin's problems stack up
The population of Russia is a little over 145 million, approximately the sum of the populations of Germany and Italy. Though it is the world largest country by land size, over 100 million people are urban residents, including 12 million in the capital city, Moscow.
Though the Russian government claimed that the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic was under control about a month ago, the number of coronavirus cases have been on the rise recently. In fact, they added over 10,000 new cases on a single day, May 3, and brought the total number of cases over the 100,000 mark, the seventh-highest number in the world. Even though Moscow represents less than 10% of the nation’s population, over half of the total cases are in the capital city. One of them is the person was Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, who is hospitalized as of now.
Another chilling fact of Russia’s coronavirus cases is that of the over 1,300 recorded deaths by the novel virus, about 50% of them were reported asymptomatic [eɪsɪmptəˈmætɪk], having shown no symptoms or evidence of illness or abnormality. You can tell how difficult it is to deal with this silent and invisible deadly virus that could spread so easily and quickly without being felt or recognized. As a result, hospitals in Moscow are totally overwhelmed by the increasing number of patients, and more and more medical workers have been infected and fallen.
Read the article and think how easily COVID-19 could spread without strict measures by the government and consciousness of the citizens.


Topic Reading-Vol.2947-5/6/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Canada bans assault-style weapons after its worst ever mass murder
Nova Scotia [noʊvəˈskoʊʃə] is a small maritime province in eastern Canada with a population of just under one million. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, it usually is a peaceful place where lobsters, wild berries, and Christmas trees are exported more than any other place in the world.
On April 20, a 51-year-old man who disguised as a police officer shot 13 dead and killed nine in house fires during a 12-hour rampage near province’s capital Halifax. The mass murderer was reported to have used several semi-automatic handguns and two or more semi-automatic rifles, including a military-grade assault weapon. It was enough for Canada to take immediate action to prohibit the trade or use of any military-grade assault weapons. Canada’s brother states, Australia and New Zealand, had already adopted a similar measure after a mass shooting incident respectively. How many deaths must the US endure before they ban assault weapons? The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind, the answer is blown’ in the wind.
Enjoy reading the article and think why assaulted weapons have been sold to ordinary civilians in the first place.


Topic Reading-Vol.2946-5/5/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
Critics said the flu kills more than coronavirus. Why that's not a fair comparison -- and now, it's not even true
The basic reproduction number, or the basic reproductive ratio, denoted R0 and pronounced “R naught,” is the reproduction number that indicates how contagious an infectious disease is. R0 tells you the average number of people who will contract a contagious disease from one person with that disease. If no one has been vaccinated or previously infected, an R0 less than 1 causes less than one new infection, and the disease will decline and die out eventually. If R0 is 1, the disease will stay alive and stable but won’t spread rapidly or widely. However, if R0 is greater than 1, each infected person causes more than one new infection, and therefore, the disease will be transmitted between people and could trigger an outbreak or epidemic. For example, the R0 of measles or chickenpox is over 10, smallpox is around 5, a common cold is between 2 and 3, and the SEASONAL flu is usually less than 2. However, the R0 of COVID-19 is at least 2 and possibly 3-5.
Another problem is that the outbreak of the coronavirus doesn’t seem to be seasonal as the virus spread to the southern hemisphere where March and April are summer months. Also, while symptoms of the seasonal flu appear within a few days, it takes more than several days before noticeable symptoms appear to the infected person. In addition, a flu vaccine could weaken the symptoms, no effective vaccine for the novel virus has been developed or approved yet. All in all, coronavirus is more contagious, long-lasting, and dangerous to humans than the seasonal flu. That’s why many cities have been locked down and strict measures have been taken by the national and local governments for more than weeks, even months.
Read the article and watch the video to learn why COVID-19 is such a threatening disease.


Topic Reading-Vol.2945-5/4/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The dark side of working from home: loneliness
Working from home isn’t the same for everyone. It is a challenging environment for those who are used to working with colleagues in the office or dealing with customers face-to-face. When you work with others, there are uncountable numbers of interactions that make you feel connected. These physical, social interactions are essential for mental and emotional health and welfare, which affects significantly on productivity, motivation, and loyalty to the work. But when such social bonding is missed, many workers seem to find themselves feel isolated or disregarded, and they tend to take things from the dark side, according to some experts.
For example, not receiving a reply instantly to your message or request make the person feel neglected, even though the receiver has other immediate issues to deal with, such as changing the baby or boiling pasta at home.
How should you deal with such work loneliness that seems to last at least for a while?
Enjoy reading the article and learn some tips to work from home.


Topic Reading-Vol.2944-5/3/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,
'Crazy beast' fossil discovery shows the evolutionary weirdness of early mammals
Sitting about 400 kilometers off the coast of East Africa, Madagascar is an island country in the Indian Ocean. As the island has been isolated from other continents since 88 million years ago, its inhabitants, such as dinosaurs, reptiles, animals, and plants evolved very uniquely, some of which still live there and most others extinct long ago.
Recently, researchers found well-preserved fossil of an extinct mammal that is believed to have lived over 60 million years ago. Since its features widely differ from existing mammals, they named it “Adalatherium” or "crazy beast." For example, the crazy beast seems to have walked very differently from today’s mammals as their front half and back half do not match. Also, its back teeth look nowhere close to other animals of similar size.
Enjoy reading the article and imagining how the beast walked, ran, and ate in such an isolated environment millions of years ago.