Kuddle, a Norwegian picture sharing app designed for children and billing itself as a rival to Instagram could have 1 million users by the end of the year and plans an aggressive push into the US market, chief executive says - @Reuters
Norway (/ˈnɔrweɪ/; Norwegian: Norge (Bokmål) or Noreg (Nynorsk)), officially the Kingdom of Norway (Kongeriket Norge in Bokmål and Kongeriket Noreg in Nynorsk), is a Scandinavian unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island. Peter I Island is a dependent territory and thus not considered part of the Kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land. Norway has a total area of 385,252 square kilometres (148,747 sq mi) and a population of 5,109,059 people (2014). The country shares a long eastern border with Sweden (1,619 km or 1,006 mi long). Norway is bordered by Finland and Russia to the north-east, and the Skagerrak Strait to the south, with Denmark on the other side. Norway has an extensive coastline, facing the North Atlantic Ocean and the Barents Sea.
King Harald V of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg is the current monarch of Norway. Erna Solberg became Prime Minister in 2013, replacing Jens Stoltenberg. A constitutional monarchy since 1814, state power is divided between the Parliament, the King and his Council, and the Supreme Court. Between 1661 and 1814, Norway was an absolute monarchy, and before 1661, the King shared power with the Norwegian nobility. Traditionally established in 872 and originating in one of the petty kingdoms, Norway is one of the oldest still existing kingdoms in Europe and world-wide. The Kingdom has existed continuously for over 1,100 years, and the list of Norwegian monarchs includes over sixty kings and earls.
Norway has both administrative and political subdivisions on two levels, known as counties (fylke) and municipalities (kommune). The Sámi people have a certain amount of self-determination and influence over traditional territories through the Sámi Parliament and the Finnmark Act. Norway maintains close ties with the European Union and its member countries (despite rejecting full EU membership in two referenda), as well as with the United States. Norway is a founding member of the United Nations, NATO, the Council of Europe, and the Nordic Council; a member of the European Economic Area, the WTO and the OECD; and is also a part of the Schengen Area.
The country maintains a combination of market economy and a Nordic welfare model with universal health care and a comprehensive social security system. Norway has extensive reserves of petroleum, natural gas, minerals, lumber, seafood, fresh water, and hydropower. The petroleum industry accounts for around a quarter of the country's gross domestic product. The country has the fourth-highest per capita income in the world on the World Bank and IMF lists, as well as ninth-highest on a more comprehensive CIA list. On a per-capita basis, it is the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas outside the Middle East, From 2001 to 2006, and then again from 2009 to 2014, Norway had the highest Human Development Index ranking in the world. Norway has also topped the Legatum Prosperity Index for the last five years. The OECD ranks Norway fourth in the 2013 equalised Better Life Index and third in intergenerational earnings elasticity. From 2010 to 2012, Norway was classified as the most democratic country by the Democracy Index.
Two centuries of Viking raids to southern and western areas of Europe tapered off following the adoption of Christianity especially since AD 994. Norway expanded its control overseas to parts of Britain, Ireland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Greenland, and Norwegian power peaked in 1265. Competition from the Hanseatic League and the spread of the Black Death weakened the country, and when the native royal house became extinct in the 1300s, Norway was gradually absorbed into a union with Denmark that lasted more than four centuries. In 1814, Norwegians adopted a constitution before being forced into a personal union with Sweden. In 1905, Norway ended the union, subsequently confirmed in a referendum, and thus over 500 years with monarchs residing outside the country. In the same year, the country confirmed the election of its own king. Despite its declaration of neutrality in World War II, Norway was occupied for 5 years by forces of Nazi Germany. In 1949 it abandoned neutrality, becoming a founding member of NATO. Discovery of oil in adjacent waters in the late 1960s boosted Norway's economic fortunes.