Aral Sea

The Aral Sea was an endorheic lake lying between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The name translates as "Sea of Islands", referring to over 1,100 islands that had dotted its waters; the Aral Sea drainage basin encompasses Uzbekistan and parts of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Iran. The fourth largest lake in the world with an area of 68,000 km2, the Aral Sea has been shrinking since the 1960s after the rivers that fed it were diverted by Soviet irrigation projects. By 1997, it had declined to 10% of its original size, splitting into four lakes: the North Aral Sea, the eastern and western basins of the once far larger South Aral Sea, one smaller intermediate lake. By 2009, the southeastern lake had disappeared and the southwestern lake had retreated to a thin strip at the western edge of the former southern sea. Satellite images taken by NASA in August 2014 revealed that for the first time in modern history the eastern basin of the Aral Sea had dried up; the eastern basin is now called the Aralkum Desert.

In an ongoing effort in Kazakhstan to save and replenish the North Aral Sea, the Dike Kokaral dam project was completed in 2005. Salinity has dropped, fish are again found in sufficient numbers for some fishing to be viable; the maximum depth of the North Aral Sea is 42 m. The shrinking of the Aral Sea has been called "one of the planet's worst environmental disasters"; the region's once-prosperous fishing industry has been devastated, bringing unemployment and economic hardship. The water from the diverted Syr Darya river is used to irrigate about two million hectares of farmland in the Ferghana Valley; the Aral Sea region is heavily polluted, with consequential serious public health problems. UNESCO added the historical documents concerning the development of the Aral Sea to its Memory of the World Register as a unique resource to study this "environmental tragedy". Geographer Nick Middleton believes that the Amu Darya did not flow into the shallow depression that now forms the Aral Sea until the beginning of the Holocene, it is known that the Amu Darya flowed into the Caspian Sea via the Uzboy channel until the Holocene.

The Syr Darya formed a large lake in the Kyzyl Kum during the Pliocene known as the Mynbulak depression. Most of the area around the Aral Sea was inhabited by desert nomads who left few written records. However, the Oxus delta to the south has a long history under the name of Khwarezm, it was once the westernmost border of China during the Tang dynasty. Russian naval presence on the Aral Sea started in 1847, with the founding of Raimsk, soon renamed Fort Aralsk, near the mouth of the Syr Darya. Soon, the Imperial Russian Navy started deploying its vessels on the sea. Owing to the Aral Sea basin not being connected to other bodies of water, the vessels had to be disassembled in Orenburg on the Ural River, shipped overland to Aralsk, reassembled; the first two ships, assembled in 1847, were the two-masted schooners named Mikhail. The former was a warship. In 1848, these two vessels surveyed the northern part of the sea. In the same year, a larger warship, the Constantine, was assembled. Commanded by Lt. Alexey Butakov, the Constantine completed the survey of the entire Aral Sea over the next two years.

The exiled Ukrainian poet and painter Taras Shevchenko participated in the expedition, painted a number of sketches of the Aral Sea coast. For the navigation season of 1851, two newly built steamers arrived from Sweden, again by caravan from Orenburg; as the geological surveys had found no coal deposits in the area, the Military Governor-General of Orenburg Vasily Perovsky ordered "as large as possible supply" of saxaul to be collected in Aralsk for use by the new steamers. Saxaul wood did not turn out a suitable fuel, in the years, the Aral Flotilla was provisioned, at substantial cost, by coal from the Donbass. In the early 1960s, the Soviet government decided the two rivers that fed the Aral Sea, the Amu Darya in the south and the Syr Darya in the east, would be diverted to irrigate the desert, in an attempt to grow rice, melons and cotton; this was part of "white gold", to become a major export. This temporarily succeeded, in 1988, Uzbekistan was the world's largest exporter of cotton. Cotton production in Uzbekistan is still important to the national economy of the country.

Cotton is Uzbekistan's main cash crop, accounting for 17% of its exports in 2006. The construction of irrigation canals began on a large scale in the 1940s. Many of the canals were poorly built, allowing water to evaporate. From the Qaraqum Canal, the largest in Central Asia 30 to 75% of the water went to waste. Today, only 12% of Uzbekistan's irrigation canal length is waterproofed. Of the 47,750 km of interfarm irrigation channels in the basin, only 28% have anti-infiltration linings. Only 77% of farm intakes have flow gauges, of the 268,500 km of onfarm channels, only 21% have anti-infiltration linings, which retain on average 15% more water than unlined channels. By 1960, between 20 and 60 km3 (4.8

2016 Rugby Americas North Championship

The 2016 Rugby Americas North Championship, the ninth edition of NACRA Rugby Championship, is a rugby union championship for Tier 3 North American and Caribbean teams. Pool play takes place between 2 July. Unlike the 2015 edition of the tournament, teams are split into North and South zones, but not Championships and Cups; as this edition of the tournament doubles as a round of qualification for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, only full members of World Rugby will compete. Nine teams will participate in the 2016 tournament. Notable changes from last year: Jamaica returns to participate in the qualifier. Saint Lucia, British Virgin Islands, Curacao and Caicos Islands and USA South are not participating, as they are not full members of World Rugby Pre-tournament World Rugby Rankings in parentheses. Games Pre-tournament World Rugby Rankings in parentheses. Games 2019 Rugby World Cup – Americas qualification RAN Website

Vinnie Mele

Vinnie Mele is an American singer, actor and instrumentalist. His style is influenced by blues, southern rock and country music. Mele's songs contain pop culture references. Vinnie Mele, was born Vincenzo Seraphino Mele in Marietta, the son of Anthony Mele Sr., the founding executive director of Washington Morgan Community Action Agency from 1967–1987, Ada, a beautician. His parents owned a Mel's beauty salon. Mele's father is Italian-American, his mother is Irish-American. Mele has a brother. Mele was raised in the Norwood neighborhood of Ohio. Mele's musical talents soon came to the fore. Mele loved singing at an early age, his first public performance was at age fourteen, he recorded with a local rock band at sixteen. Mele started playing guitar in his early teens, his love of the blues and soul music flourished as he started collecting records. He attended Marietta High Washington State Community College in Marietta. During High School Mele worked at a local music store repairing musical instruments.

Mele worked for a sound-rental company and a recording studio during this time. After an unsuccessful attempt to study music academically, Mele acquired a position with the local cable company. In 1993 Mele formed his first band, named "Souls of Silence" which got renamed "Quantum Placit", he describes Quantum Placit as "the best band from Marietta you never heard of". Mele's guitar and vocals contributed to Quantum Placit's set list of cover songs by the Cure, Eagles, Green Day, Poison, U2, Eric Clapton and Mister Black. Members of Quantum Placit were: Aaron Curran, James Keaton, Jeremy Harmon, Todd Elliott, Jessie Paige, Vinnie Mele, Todd Richards, John Richardson, Emily Welch. Quantum Placit became QP3 in 1995. In 1999 the drummer, Aaron Curran moved from the area. Mele and Harmon posted ads on the internet for a drummer. Dean Vellenga who moved to Athens, Ohio replied and auditioned for the position. Mele and Vellenga had that in the pocket sound, it inspired music veteran Dave Martin to hire QP3 as his backup band.

For the next three years, QP3 performed as the Dave Martin Band. Mele learned a lot from Martin's guitar playing, he credits most of his musical influences were created during this time. In 2003, Mele formed Vinnie and the Lubricators, performing a variety of music styles: rock, blues and reggae. Mele performed with other local groups. To keep busy as a musician, he hosted a weekly open mic at a local pub. In 2009, Mele started his solo career, he was set to release his first album of original music titled Painting Pictures. After the studio session's Mele decided to put the release on the back burner. To date this album has not been released. In 2012, Mele released his debut CD "35", none of the tracks were of those from the "Painting Pictures" Sessions. Mele has a second album to be released in 2013. Mele continues to tour, he has appeared at the Brickstreet BBQ Festival, was a supporting act on the MBC's 2008–2009 concert series. Mele has worked and performed with artists such as Koko Taylor, Hubert Sumlin, Lucky Peterson, Merl Sanders, Pierre Bensusan, Hank Williams Jr. & III, the Grass Roots, Peter Dickinson, Jimmy Rogers, Trace Adkins, B.

J. Thomas. Mele has played Fender Stratocaster and Paul Reed Smith guitars. Mele is known to use a Dr. Z Maz 38 Combo, sometimes paired with a Fender amp, such as a Blackface Super Reverb or Vibrolux. Mele's current band: Vinnie Mele – guitar, vocals Chris Sheparddrums Jason Feathers – keyboards Jeremy Harmon – bass guitarMele performs with the Jimmy Clinton Band, Colton Pack, Taylor Sams, Vinnie and the Lubricators. 2009 – Painting Pictures Julie Zickefoose. "Julie Zickefoose on Blogspot: December 2007". Retrieved November 4, 2015. "Vinnie Mele and the Lubricators". ReverbNation. Retrieved November 4, 2015. Myspace band page