click links in text for more info

Saparmurat Niyazov

Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov (Turkmen: Saparmyrat Ataýewiç Nyýazow, Cyrillic: Сапармырат Атаевич Ныязов. He was First Secretary of the Turkmen Communist Party from 1985 until 1991 and supported the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt, he continued to lead Turkmenistan for 15 years after independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Turkmen media referred to him using the title "His Excellency Saparmurat Türkmenbaşy, President of Turkmenistan and Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers", his self-given title Türkmenbaşy, meaning Head of the Turkmen, referred to his position as the founder and president of the Association of Turkmens of the World. In 1999, the Assembly of Turkmenistan declared Niyazov President for Life of Turkmenistan. In his time, he was one of the world's most totalitarian and repressive dictators, he promoted a cult of personality around himself and imposed his personal eccentricities upon the country, such as renaming Turkmen months and days of the week to references of his autobiography the Ruhnama.

He made it mandatory to read the Ruhnama in schools and governmental organizations, new governmental employees were tested on the book at job interviews and an exam on its teachings was a part of the driving test in Turkmenistan. In 2005, he closed down all rural libraries and hospitals outside of the capital city Ashgabat, in a country where at that time more than half the population lived in rural areas, once stating that, "If people are ill, they can come to Ashgabat." Under his rule, Turkmenistan had the lowest life expectancy in Central Asia. Global Witness, a London-based human rights organisation, reported that money under Niyazov's control and held overseas may be in excess of US$3 billion, of which between $1.8–$2.6 billion was situated in the Foreign Exchange Reserve Fund at Deutsche Bank in Germany. Niyazov was born on 19 February 1940 in Gypjak, just outside Ashgabat in the Turkmen SSR, he was a member of the influential Tekke tribe. According to the official version of his biography, his father Atamyrat Niyazov died in World War II fighting against Nazi Germany, while other sources contend that he dodged fighting and was therefore sentenced by a military court.

The other members of his family were killed in the 1948 Ashgabat earthquake that caused extreme damage and a high number of casualties in the city. His mother Gurbansoltan Eje was part of the cult of personality later, he grew up in a Soviet orphanage. After finishing school in 1959, he worked as an instructor in the Turkmen trade-union exploratory committee, he studied at the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute, where in 1967 he received a diploma as an electrical engineer. After graduating, he went to study in Russia, but was expelled a few years for academic failure. In 1962 Niyazov started his political career, he rose through the ranks, becoming First Secretary of the Ashgabat City Committee, First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Turkmen SSR in 1985. He gained this post after Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev had removed his predecessor, Muhammetnazar Gapurov, following a cotton-related scandal. Under Niyazov, the Turkmen Communist Party had a reputation as one of the most hardline and unreformed party organizations in the Soviet Union.

On January 13, 1990, Niyazov became Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Turkmen SSR, the supreme legislative body in the republic. The post was equivalent to that of president. Niyazov supported the Soviet coup attempt of 1991. However, after the coup collapsed, he set about separating Turkmenistan from the dying Soviet Union; the Turkmen Supreme Soviet declared Turkmenistan independent and appointed Niyazov as the country's first president on 27 October 1991. On 21 June 1992 the Turkmenistani presidential election of 1992 featured Niyazov as the sole candidate, chosen as the country's first popularly elected president. A year he declared himself Türkmenbaşy: "Leader of all Turkmen". In 1994 a plebiscite extended Niyazov's term to 2002; the official results showed. On 28 December 1999, Parliament declared Niyazov President for Life. Niyazov and his Russian-Jewish wife, had a son and a daughter. Niyazov became president at the transition of Turkmenistan from a Soviet republic to an independent state.

His presidency was characterised by an initial crumbling of the centralised Soviet model that in many respects was unsuited to function as a separate entity. There was outside concern about press freedom and to a lesser extent religious rights of minority religious groups. Niyazov made a personal attempt to create a cultural background for the new state of Turkmenistan by writing and promoting the Ruhnama, an autobiography meant to guide the people of Turkmenistan with his ideas and promote native culture, he took part in creating new holidays with a specific Turkmen nature and introduced a new Latin-based Turkmen alphabet to replace Russian Cyrillic. The Latin Turkmen alphabet consists of: Aa, Bb, Çç, Dd, Ee, Ää, Ff, Gg, Hh, Ii, Jj, Žž, Kk, Ll, Mm, Nn, Ňň, Oo, Öö, Pp, Rr, Ss, Şş, Tt, Uu, Üü, Ww, Yy, Ýý, Zz. Niyazov became a substitute for the vacuum left by the


Tamenglong is an Indian town and the district headquarters of the Tamenglong district. It is located in the state of Manipur; the town is inhabited by the people of the Zeliangrong community. The Rongmei language is spoken in surrounding area. Tamenglong is located in western Manipur lying on the hilltop from, it is 160 km west of Manipur's capital city. The town is surrounded by the following districts: Senapati District to the East, North Cashar Hills District of Assam to the West, Peren District Of Nagaland to the North and Churachanpur of Manipur to the South. Tamenglong District contains virgin forests, exotic orchids and endangered plants, wildlife; the forests contain subtropical forests and bamboo brakes. The dense tropical evergreen forests are located along the riversides across the district. Tamenglong is called the Land of the Hornbill as the, Great Pied Hornbill and Indian Pied Hornbill species are found here. Wildflowers include several types of orchids, including epiphytic and terrestrial.

Tamenglong district of Manipur has a topography of irregular undulation with turbulent rivers, caves and dense tropical forests covering the land. Along the river Barak there is a series of seven waterfalls; the Tharon cave is located at about 27 km from the district HQ. The map of the entire cave is painted on a stone at the main entrance. Archeological excavation of the cave shows connections to the Hoabinhian culture of North Vietnam. Zeilad lake at Makoi is associated with a number of pythons and water birds. There are several other lakes nearby including Guiphop Zei, Nrou Zei, Nap-sam Zei. Buning Meadow is located on the western side of Tamei town. A number of well-groomed uneven small mounds as well numerous brooks mark the stretch. In early summer ground orchids and Wild Lilies can be seen in the meadow; the meadow is home to wild birds and foxes. Phelong Village is well known for its taste. Phelong has been one of the major producers of oranges in Tamenglong District. Taningjam Village is one of the oldest villages of Tamenglong District.

The rivers and Rock Garden are well-known attractions for a visit to the village. Zeliangrong Nagas, which speaks 4 different dialect.1 Zeme Naga 2 Liangmai Naga 3 Rongmei Naga 4 Inpui Naga Köppen-Geiger climate classification system classifies its climate as humid subtropical. Tamenglong is a highland; the warmer months are rainy. July receives most rain. Tamenglong official website

Slaphappy: Pride, Prejudice, and Professional Wrestling

Slaphappy: Pride and Professional Wrestling is a book written by reporter Thomas Hackett that describes, with a sociological and philosophical bent, the industry of professional wrestling. Through talks with fans and wrestlers in independent wrestling promotions, as well as a visit to the Hart family and The Rock, Hackett describes professional wrestling. Through bibliography, he identifies parallels between pornography, theatre plays, wrestling. Through numerous interviews and much field research, Thomas Hackett makes many observations and explains professional wrestling in critical detail. Dividing the sport into different themes, he explains each with examples, including that of a hardcore fan who turned away from the sport named Urial Yakobov. Identifying himself as a non-fan of the sport, Hackett gained many observations and important statements from people within the industry. Like a trained sociologist, he communicates his theories on the sport through writing, making sense of a whimsical, unique sport, unpredictable and childish.

The New York Times gave the book a mediocre review. Kirkus Reviews said the book is a "punch-drunk saga of showbiz ugliness". Publishers Weekly called the title a "fascinating study". Hackett, Thomas. Slaphappy: Pride and Professional wrestling. Harper Collins. New York, NY. 2006

Steve Bechler

Steven Scott Bechler was an American professional baseball pitcher, who played in Major League Baseball for the Baltimore Orioles. After starring for the South Medford High School baseball team, Bechler was selected by the Orioles in the third round of the 1998 MLB draft. Following five seasons in Minor League Baseball, Bechler made his major league debut with the Orioles in 2002. Attending spring training in 2003, he died of heat stroke while participating in conditioning drills. A medical examiner found that Bechler's use of ephedra as a weight-loss supplement contributed to his death. Following this revelation, the Food and Drug Administration opened an inquiry, which resulted in the banning of ephedra products in the United States. Bechler was born on November 1979, in Medford, Oregon, to Ernest and Patricia Bechler, he had three brothers. At the age of seven, he began playing baseball; as a youth, he competed in the Medford American Little League, Babe Ruth League, American Legion Baseball.

He was a member of the 1997 American Legion World Series champions. Bechler suffered from asthma as a child, endured heatstrokes while in high school. Bechler attended South Medford High School in Oregon, he graduated in 1998. Playing for the school's baseball team, he was named to the All-Oregon third team in his senior year. Heading into the 1998 Major League Baseball draft, Baseball America rated Bechler the best high school prospect from the state of Oregon; the Baltimore Orioles selected him in the third round draft. Bechler signed with the Orioles, he made his professional debut in Minor League Baseball with the Gulf Coast Orioles of the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League that year. He pitched for the Delmarva Shorebirds of the Class A South Atlantic League in 1999, for the Frederick Keys of the Class A-Advanced Carolina League in 2000. In 2001, he pitched for Frederick, was named a Carolina League All-Star, he did not appear in the All-Star Game, as he was promoted to the Rochester Red Wings of the Class AAA International League.

After struggling in two outings for Rochester, he was demoted to the Bowie Baysox of the Class AA Eastern League, where he remained for the rest of the season. After the 2001 season, the Orioles assigned Bechler to the Maryvale Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League; the Orioles added Bechler to their 40-man roster to protect him from being eligible in the Rule 5 draft. In 2002, Bechler pitched for Rochester, he had a 2–1 win–loss record with a 3.42 earned run average with Bowie and 6–11 record and a 4.09 ERA with Rochester. At the end of the minor league season, the Orioles promoted Bechler to the major leagues, he appeared in three games for the Orioles, pitching ​4 2⁄3 innings, in which he allowed six hits, four walks, three home runs, recorded three strikeouts. He suffered a strained hamstring in his final appearance. On October 22, 2002, Bechler married Kiley Mae Nixon at Community Bible Church in Central Point, Oregon; the couple were expecting a child at the time of his death. His daughter, was born in April 2003.

On February 16, 2003, towards the beginning of Orioles' spring training camp in Fort Lauderdale, Bechler collapsed while participating in conditioning drills. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, died the next day, his body temperature had reached 108 °F. An autopsy performed by Dr. Joshua Perper, a toxicologist serving as the medical examiner for Broward County, concluded that his death was caused by "'abnormal liver function and mild hypertension', his weight problem, the fact that he was not used to south Florida's warm weather and the toxicity of ephedra, he was using the supplement ephedra, against the advice of his trainer, had not eaten in two days in an effort to lose weight. At the time of Bechler's death, ephedra was banned by the International Olympic Committee, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the National Football League, but not by Major League Baseball. Bud Selig, the Commissioner of Baseball, called for a ban of ephedrine in the wake of Bechler's death. Numerous teams banned the use of ephedra in team clubhouses.

Following Bechler's death, the Food and Drug Administration, which had chosen not to ban ephedra, re-opened its efforts to regulate ephedra use. The United States Congress dropped its objections to banning ephedra, Bechler's parents testified in front of Congress; the FDA announced its decision to ban ephedra on December 30. Bechler was cremated following his death. On the six month anniversary of his death, Kiley scattered his ashes on the pitcher's mound of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, she filed a wrongful death claim against Nutraquest, the manufacturers of the supplement, seeking $600 million in damages. The lawsuit against Nutraquest was suspended in October 2003 when the company filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the United States Code; the Steve Bechler Scholarship Fund was begun by Bechler's parents in his memory. The fund receives money from South Medford businesses to help South Medford High School graduates afford college. List of baseball players who died during their careers Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs

Caucasus Greeks

The Caucasus Greeks, sometimes known as the Greeks of Trans-Caucasus and Russian Asia Minor, are the Greek-speaking peoples of the North Caucasus and Transcaucasia in what is now southwestern Russia and northeastern Turkey. These include the Pontic Greeks, though they today span a much wider region including the Russian north Caucasus, the former Russian Caucasus provinces of Batum Oblast' and Kars Oblast', now in north-eastern Turkey and Adjara in Georgia. Greeks spread into these areas well before the Christian/Byzantine era as traders, Christian Orthodox scholars/clerics, refugees, or mercenaries who had backed the wrong side in the many civil wars and periods of political in-fighting in the Classical/Hellenistic and Late Roman/Byzantine periods. One notable example of such pre-modern Caucasus Greeks is the 7th-century Greek Bishop Cyrus of Alexandria from Phasis in present-day Georgia. However, these Greek settlers in the Caucasus became assimilated into the indigenous population, in particular that of Georgia, with whom Byzantine Greeks shared a common Christian Orthodox faith and heritage.

The vast majority of these Greek communities date from the late Ottoman era, are defined in modern Greek academic circles as'Eastern Pontic', as well as'Caucasus Greeks', while outside academic discourse they are sometimes defined somewhat pejoratively and inaccurately as'Russo-Pontic'. In general terms Caucasus Greeks can be described as Russianized and pro-Russian empire Pontic Greeks in politics and culture and as Mountain Greeks in terms of lifestyle, since wherever they settled, whether in their original homelands in the Pontic Alps or Eastern Anatolia, or Georgia and the Lesser Caucasus they preferred and were most used to living in mountainous areas and highland plateaux. In broad terms, it can be said that the Caucasus Greeks' link with the South Caucasus is a direct consequence of the highland plateaux of the latter being seen and used by the Pontic Greeks as a natural refuge and rallying point whenever North-eastern Anatolia was overrun by Muslim Turks in the Seljuk and Ottoman periods.

Although large numbers of Greeks live in parts of Ukraine and southern Russia, such as Mariupol and Stavropol Krai, the term Caucasus Greeks speaking should be confined to those Greeks who had settled in the former Russian Transcaucasus provinces of Batum and Kars Oblast', parts of Georgia such as the region around Tsalka, central Abkhazia and other localities of the Black Sea Russian Riviera. Following the Ottoman conquest of the Empire of Trebizond in 1461 large numbers of Pontic Greeks left the Pontic Alps region as refugees and resettled in parts of the South Caucasus, Georgia; the son of King David of Trebizond's son George had fled there with his retinue and married a Georgian princess of the Gurieli dynasty. However, The numbers of these early Pontic Greek refugees to Georgia were in any case fairly small, so although some of the refugees managed to retain their Pontic Greek language and identity, others assimilated through intermarriage into the other Christian communities of the South Caucasus region their fellow Christian Orthodox Georgians but those Armenians or Ossetians who were Orthodox.

To complicate matters further, many so-called "Ottoman Turks" who settled in Georgia and the South Caucasus following Lala Mustafa Pasha's Caucasian campaign of the 1570s were Pontic Greeks from northeastern Anatolia who had adopted Islam and the Turkish language for official purposes but continued to use Pontic Greek in their daily lives, with one prominent example of an Ottoman Muslim Georgian of Pontic Greek origin being Resid Mehmed Pasha. These Greek Muslims who adhered to Islam in Georgia either assimilated with the Turkish-speaking Muslim population of southern Georgia defined as Meskhetian Turks, returned to parts of eastern Anatolia such as Kars following the Russian annexation of Georgia in 1801, or reverted to their Greek Orthodoxy following the annexation and reintegrated into the Greek Orthodox population of the country. According to available historical evidence we know that thousands of Pontic Greeks from Ottoman north-eastern Anatolia and the Gümüşhane region of the Pontic Alps are known to have gone to Tsalka in 1763 on being invited by King Heraclius II of Georgia to develop silver and lead mining at Akhtala and Alaverdi.

Many of their descendants survive in Georgia’s Marneuli district, although most immigrated to Greece, Thessaloniki in Greek Macedonia in the mid-1990s. It is difficult to verify the numbers of all such waves of Pontic Greeks from the Pontic Alps region to Georgia and the South Caucasus between circa 1520 and 1800, which according to Anthony Bryer is the most obscure period in the history of Pontus and the Pontic Greeks, owing to the scarcity of contemporary Greek and Ottoman Turkish sources on the subject. Modern historians suggest that following the Ottoman conquest of 1461, many, if not most Pontic Greeks retreated up into the highlands, where it was easier to maintain their culture and freedom from the encroachments of the Ottoman authorities; this movement was reinforced in the early 1600s by the growing power along the coastal valleys districts of the derebeys, which further encouraged Pontic Greeks to retreat away from the coast deeper into the hi


Antonio Zamperla S.p. A. is an Italian design and manufacturing company founded in 1966. It is best known for creating family rides, thrill rides and roller coasters worldwide; the company makes smaller coin-operated rides found inside shopping malls. Zamperla builds roller coasters, like the powered Dragon Coaster, Mini Mouse, Zig Zag, Volare. In 2006, Zamperla announced a motorcycle-themed roller coaster. Rights to some of S. D. C.'s rides were handed to Zamperla after the company went bankrupt in 1993. In 2005 the founder of the company, Mr. Antonio Zamperla, became the first Italian to be inducted into the IAAPA Hall of Fame by virtue of his significant contribution to the entire industry, joining other pioneers such as Walt Disney, George Ferris and Walter Knott. Unlike companies such as Intamin, Vekoma, or Bolliger & Mabillard that concentrate on larger and faster roller coasters, Zamperla focuses on more family-friendly roller coasters that can be mass-produced, taken down, transported to different locations.

They are a major manufacturer of flat rides with such names as: Balloon Race, Bumper cars, Disk'O, Ferris wheel, Water Flume Ride, Galleon/Swinging Ship, Sky Drop, Windshear, Energy Storm, Z-Force, Rotoshake, Turbo Force, Power Surge, Mini Jet. The company is organized in different departments, the Art Department that works on the study and creation of different themings of the rides, the Technical Department that designs the engineering of the attractions, the Production Department that handles their realization, the Sales Department, the Customer Care and the Park Development Department that works on the design and creation of an amusement park. In 2010 Antonio Zamperla S.p. A. was selected by CAI to restore and renovate the Coney Island area in New York City. The company managed Coney Island's Luna Park and installed only Zamperla rides, representing a perfect test bed for new attractions before to launch them. In 2003, Zamperla transformed the Trump Organization's Wollman Rink, within New York City's Central Park, into Victorian Gardens, a traditional-style amusement park with rides like the "Family Swinger", "Samba Balloon", "Aeromax", "Convoy", "Rocking Tug", "Kite Flyer".

Another famous Zamperla project is Kernwasser, north of Düsseldorf, a former nuclear power station, turned into an amusement park called Wunderland Kalkar. As of 2019, Zamperla has built 346 roller coasters around the world. Official website