Madagascar the Republic of Madagascar, known as the Malagasy Republic, is an island country in the Indian Ocean 400 kilometres off the coast of East Africa. At 592,800 square kilometres Madagascar is the world's 2nd largest island country; the nation comprises the island of Madagascar and numerous smaller peripheral islands. Following the prehistoric breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana, Madagascar split from the Indian subcontinent around 88 million years ago, allowing native plants and animals to evolve in relative isolation. Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot; the island's diverse ecosystems and unique wildlife are threatened by the encroachment of the growing human population and other environmental threats. The archaeological evidence of the earliest human foraging on Madagascar may date up to 10,000 years ago. Human settlement of Madagascar occurred between 350 BC and 550 AD by Indianized Austronesian peoples, arriving on outrigger canoes from Indonesia; the social and religious situation of Indonesia during those times were that of Hinduism and Buddhism, along with native Indonesian culture.

These were joined around the 9th century AD by Bantu migrants crossing the Mozambique Channel from East Africa. Other groups continued to settle on Madagascar over time, each one making lasting contributions to Malagasy cultural life; the Malagasy ethnic group is divided into 18 or more subgroups, of which the largest are the Merina of the central highlands. Until the late 18th century, the island of Madagascar was ruled by a fragmented assortment of shifting sociopolitical alliances. Beginning in the early 19th century, most of the island was united and ruled as the Kingdom of Madagascar by a series of Merina nobles; the monarchy ended in 1897 when the island was absorbed into the French colonial empire, from which the island gained independence in 1960. The autonomous state of Madagascar has since undergone four major constitutional periods, termed republics. Since 1992, the nation has been governed as a constitutional democracy from its capital at Antananarivo. However, in a popular uprising in 2009, president Marc Ravalomanana was made to resign and presidential power was transferred in March 2009 to Andry Rajoelina.

Constitutional governance was restored in January 2014, when Hery Rajaonarimampianina was named president following a 2013 election deemed fair and transparent by the international community. Madagascar is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the Southern African Development Community, the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie. Madagascar belongs according to the United Nations. Malagasy and French are both official languages of the state; the majority of the population adheres to traditional beliefs, Christianity, or an amalgamation of both. Ecotourism and agriculture, paired with greater investments in education and private enterprise, are key elements of Madagascar's development strategy. Under Ravalomanana, these investments produced substantial economic growth, but the benefits were not evenly spread throughout the population, producing tensions over the increasing cost of living and declining living standards among the poor and some segments of the middle class; as of 2017, the economy has been weakened by the 2009–2013 political crisis, quality of life remains low for the majority of the Malagasy population.

In the Malagasy language, the island of Madagascar is called Madagasikara and its people are referred to as Malagasy. The island's appellation "Madagascar" is not of local origin but rather was popularized in the Middle Ages by Europeans; the name Madageiscar was first recorded in the memoirs of 13th-century Venetian explorer Marco Polo as a corrupted transliteration of the name Mogadishu, the Somali port with which Polo had confused the island. On St. Laurence's Day in 1500, Portuguese explorer Diogo Dias landed on the island and named it São Lourenço. Polo's name popularized on Renaissance maps. No single Malagasy-language name predating Madagasikara appears to have been used by the local population to refer to the island, although some communities had their own name for part or all of the land they inhabited. At 592,800 square kilometres, Madagascar is the world's 47th largest country, the 2nd largest island country and the fourth-largest island; the country lies between latitudes 12°S and 26°S, longitudes 43°E and 51°E.

Neighboring islands include the French territory of Réunion and the country of Mauritius to the east, as well as the state of Comoros and the French territory of Mayotte to the north west. The nearest mainland state is Mozambique, located to the west; the prehistoric breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana separated the Madagascar–Antarctica–India landmass from the Africa–South America landmass around 135 million years ago. Madagascar split from India about 88 million years ago during the late Cretaceous period allowing plants and animals on the island to evolve in relative isolation. Along the length of the eastern coast runs a narrow and steep escarpment containing much of the island's remaining tropical lowland forest. To the west of this ridge lies a plateau in the center of the island ranging in altitude from 750 to 1,500 m above sea level; these central highlands, traditionally the homeland of the Merina people and the location of their historic capital at Antananarivo, are the

Trondheim bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics

Trondheim 2018 was a proposed bid for Trondheim, Norway, to host the 2018 Winter Olympics. Along with Oslo and Tromsø bid, it was one of three options for the Norwegian Olympic Committee, who chose to not bid for the games. Most of the events would take place in its suburbs. Nordic skiing and biathlon would have taken place at Granåsen, which has hosted the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 1997. Five competition ice rinks would be built: two at Leangen, for short-track speed skating and figure skating and ice hockey, Tiller for ice hockey, Stjørdal for curling, Brattøra for speed skating; the latter would be built nearly a sea level, would have spectators on one end and a glass wall on the other, giving a view of the Trondheimsfjord. Freestyle and snowboarding would be located at Vassfjellet. Alpine skiing and sliding sports would be located at Oppdal. With the exception of Brattøra, all venues would have been build in connection with existing venues; the opening and closing ceremonies would have taken place at Lerkendal stadion, the home ground of Rosenborg BK.

A media center was planned at Lerkendal. The Olympic Village would afterwards be sold as housing. A separate Olympic Village would be built in Oppdal. Medal ceremonies would take place at Torvet in the city center of Trondheim, Torget in Oppdal. For volunteers, 30,000 beds exist, another 30,000 beds are available within two hours of Trondheim; as long as existing plans for transport in the region were followed, only minor upgrades to Trondheim Airport, Værnes would be needed. The upgrades would allow the transport time along the 116 kilometers Trondheim and Oppdal in 75 minutes. Marvin Wiseth, managing director of the project group, stated that Trondheim's goal was to "give the Olympics back to the people", they estimated 2 million spectators at the events. In Norway, regional policy was an important factor in deciding; the Trondheim bid was one of three submitted to the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports, along with Oslo and Tromsø. The three bids were evaluated by a committee led by Odd Martinsen, which concluded that Trondheim was the second-most suitable, behind Oslo, based on the same criteria that IOC uses to evaluate bids.

The decision for a Norwegian applicant was taken by the NIF board on 30 March 2007. In the first round of voting, only Geir Kvillum voted for Trondheim. In the following round, both Oslo and Tromsø received six votes, President Odd-Roar Thorsen received the decisive vote. "Trondheim 2018". Trondheim Municipality. 2007. Archived from the original on 21 March 2011. Retrieved 21 March 2011


Meghalaya is a hilly state in northeastern India. The name means "the abode of clouds" in Sanskrit; the population of Meghalaya as of 2016 is estimated to be 3,211,474. Meghalaya covers an area of 22,430 square kilometres, with a length to breadth ratio of about 3:1; the state is bounded to the south by the Bangladeshi divisions of Mymensingh and Sylhet, to the west by the Bangladeshi division of Rangpur, to the north and east by India's State of Assam. The capital of Meghalaya is Shillong. During the British rule of India, the British imperial authorities nicknamed it the "Scotland of the East". Meghalaya was part of Assam, but on 21 January 1972, the districts of Khasi and Jaintia hills became the new state of Meghalaya. English is the official language of Meghalaya. Unlike many Indian states, Meghalaya has followed a matrilineal system where the lineage and inheritance are traced through women; the state is the wettest region of India. About 70% of the state is forested; the Meghalaya subtropical forests ecoregion encompasses the state.

The forests are notable for their biodiversity of mammals and plants. Meghalaya has predominantly an agrarian economy with a significant commercial forestry industry; the important crops are potatoes, maize, bananas, spices, etc. The service sector is made up of real insurance companies. Meghalaya's gross state domestic product for 2012 was estimated at ₹16,173 crore in current prices; the state is geologically rich in minerals. The state has about 1,170 km of national highways, it is a major logistical center for trade with Bangladesh. In July 2018, the International Commission on Stratigraphy divided the Holocene epoch into three, with the late Holocene being called the Meghalayan stage/age, since a speleothem in Mawmluh cave indicating a dramatic worldwide climate event around 2250 BC had been chosen as the boundary stratotype. Meghalaya, along with the neighbouring Indian states, have been of archaeological interest. People have lived here since Neolithic era. Neolithic sites discovered so far are located in areas of high elevation such as in Khasi Hills, Garo Hills and neighbouring states.

Here neolithic style jhum or shifting cultivation is practised today. The highland plateaus fed by abundant rains provided safety from a rich soil; the importance of Meghalaya is its possible role in human history through domestication of rice. One of the competing theories for the origin of rice, is from Ian Glover, who states, "India is the center of greatest diversity of domesticated rice with over 20,000 identified species and Northeast India is the most favorable single area of the origin of domesticated rice." The limited archaeology done in the hills of Meghalaya suggest human settlement since ancient times. After the Conquest of Taraf in 1304, Shah Arifin Rafiuddin, a disciple of Shah Jalal and settled in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills where he preached Islam to the local people, his khanqah remains in Sarping/Laurergarh on the Bangladeshi border but the part containing his mazar is in Meghalaya on top of Laur Hill. The British discovery of Camellia sinensis in 1834 in Assam and companies to renting land from 1839 onwards.

Meghalaya was formed by carving out two districts from the state of Assam: the United Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills, the Garo Hills on 21 January 1972. Before attaining full statehood, Meghalaya was given semi-autonomous status in 1970; the Khasi and Jaintia tribes had their own kingdoms until they came under British administration in the 19th century. The British incorporated Meghalaya into Assam in 1835; the region enjoyed semi-independent status by virtue of a treaty relationship with the British Crown. When Bengal was partitioned on 16 October 1905 by Lord Curzon, Meghalaya became a part of the new province of Eastern Bengal and Assam. However, when the partition was reversed in 1912, Meghalaya became a part of the province of Assam. On 3 January 1921 in pursuance of Section 52A of the Government of India Act of 1919, the governor-general-in-council declared the areas now in Meghalaya, other than the Khasi states, as "backward tracts." Subsequently, the British administration enacted the Government of India Act 1935, which regrouped the backward tracts into two categories: "excluded" and "partially excluded" areas.

At the time of Indian independence in 1947, present-day Meghalaya constituted two districts of Assam and enjoyed limited autonomy within the state of Assam. A movement for a separate Hill State began in 1960; the Assam Reorganisation Act of 1969 accorded an autonomous status to the state of Meghalaya. The Act came into effect on 2 April 1970, an autonomous state of Meghalaya was born out of Assam; the autonomous state had a 37-member legislature in accordance with the Sixth Schedule to the Indian constitution. In 1971, the Parliament passed the North-Eastern Areas Act, 1971, which conferred full statehood on the autonomous state of Meghalaya. Meghalaya attained statehood on 21 January 1972, with a Legislative Assembly of its own. Meghalaya is one of the Seven Sister States of northeast India; the state of Meghalaya is mountainous, with stretches of valley and highland plateaus, it is geologically rich. It consists of Archean rock formations; these rock formations contain rich deposits of valuable minerals like coal, limestone and sillimanite.

Meghalaya has many rivers. Most of these are seasonal; the important rive