“What in the World?” Quiz – Week of Feb 18-24, 2018

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Don’t forget to sign up as a World Affairs Council member (TNWAC.org/join) to be eligible to win the monthly quiz prize.

Check your global affairs awareness with these ten questions taken from the week’s news reports provided via @TNWAC #TNWACquiz.

The only rule is to use the ‘honor system.’  No answer Googling!

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Drew Lorelli, Washington, DC

Savannah Ramsey, Nashville TN

Charles Womack, Cookeville, TN

David Hillinck, Huntsville, AL

Pete Griffin, Nashville, TN

Mike Bush, Nashville, TN

Katherine Prather, Nashville, TN

Pratik Yedla, Huntsville AL

Well Done!

(If you’re a weekly winner you’ll be entered for the monthly prize drawing but you must be a TNWAC member to win.  TNWAC.org/join )


Putin County: A Journey Into the Real Russia

Anne Garrels

More than twenty years ago, the NPR correspondent Anne Garrels first visited Chelyabinsk, a gritty military-industrial center a thousand miles east of Moscow. The longtime home of the Soviet nuclear program, the Chelyabinsk region contained beautiful lakes, shuttered factories, mysterious closed cities, and some of the most polluted places on earth. Garrels’ goal was to chart the aftershocks of the U.S.S.R.’s collapse by traveling to Russia’s heartland.

Returning again and again, Garrels found that the area’s new freedoms and opportunities were exciting but also traumatic. As the economic collapse of the early 1990s abated, the city of Chelyabinsk became richer and more cosmopolitan, even as official corruption and intolerance for minorities grew more entrenched. Sushi restaurants proliferated; so did shakedowns. In the neighboring countryside, villages crumbled into the ground. Far from the glitz of Moscow, the people of Chelyabinsk were working out their country’s destiny, person by person.

In Putin Country, Garrels crafts an intimate portrait of Middle Russia. We meet upwardly mobile professionals, impassioned activists who champion the rights of orphans and disabled children, and ostentatious mafiosi. We discover surprising subcultures, such as a vibrant underground gay community and a circle of determined Protestant evangelicals. And we watch doctors and teachers trying to cope with inescapable payoffs and institutionalized negligence. As Vladimir Putin tightens his grip on power and war in Ukraine leads to Western sanctions and a lower standard of living, the local population mingles belligerent nationalism with a deep ambivalence about their country’s direction. Through it all, Garrels sympathetically charts an ongoing identity crisis. In the aftermath of the Soviet Union, what is Russia? What kind of pride and cohesion can it offer? Drawing on close friendships sustained over many years, Garrels explains why Putin commands the loyalty of so many Russians, even those who decry the abuses of power they regularly encounter.

Correcting the misconceptions of Putin’s supporters and critics alike, Garrels’ portrait of Russia’s silent majority is both essential and engaging reading at a time when cold war tensions are resurgent.

More Information and Ordering

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We’ll post the answers and the names of the winner(s) in next week’s quiz.

Here’s last week’s questions and answers:


Week of Feb 11-17, 2018

1. The inaugural demonstration launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket, a project of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, featured THIS payload accompanied by a looped recording of “Space Oddity” by David Bowie:

A. A life-sized wax replica of sci-fi writer Isaac Asmimov
B. A collection of artifacts suggesting extra-terrestrial visits in ancient times
C. A space-suited mannequin named Starman in a Tesla Roadster
D. A collection of items representing Musk’s native South Africa

Correct Response: C. A space-suited mannequin named Starman in a Tesla Roadster

2. North Korea’s “charm offensive” with South Korea over participation in the Winter Olympics has resulted in all of these benefits EXCEPT:

A. Delayed planned bilateral military exercises between the United States and South Korea.
B. Reopened a rail link between north and south that facilitated joint economic development.
C. North Korean leader Kim Jung-Un’s sister was “feted” at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
D. Conditional agreement for a bilateral summit in Pyongyang with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Correct Response: B. Reopened a rail link between north and south that facilitated joint economic development.

3. An Israeli F-16 was shot down during strikes against Iranian military targets in THIS country after a drone incursion into Israeli airspace sparked a serious cross border battle.

A. Iran
B. Syria
C. Lebanon
D. Iraq

Correct Response: B. Syria


4. British Prime Minister Theresa May and key ministers will deliver a series of speeches in coming weeks designed to layout the “Road to Brexit.” Which of these statements regarding Brexit is FALSE?

A. London hopes to reach agreement next month on a Brexit transition deal.
B. Despite outside pressure, May’s cabinet is united on its backing for the split with the EU.
C. EU officials are on record that a transition deal is not a certainty.
D. A poll taken last week found 74% of Britons were unclear about May’s Brexit strategy.

Correct Response: B. Despite outside pressure, May’s cabinet is united on its backing for the split with the EU.

5. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in her weekly video podcast, ““Without directly interfering … I would like to say the following very clearly as German chancellor: We as Germans are responsible for what happened during the Holocaust, the Shoah, under National Socialism (Nazism).” She was responding to a student’s question concerning THIS:

A. Discussion of the role of collaborators in WWII occupied countries in support of the “Final Solution.”
B. Claims by German right wing politicians questioning the facts surrounding the Holocaust.
C. A law in Poland making it a criminal violation to suggest the country was complicit in the Holocaust.
D. None of the above.

Correct Response: A law in Poland making it a criminal violation to suggest the country was complicit in the Holocaust.

6. THIS man “has transformed [Hungary] into a political greenhouse for an odd kind of soft autocracy, combining crony capitalism and far-right rhetoric with a single-party political culture. He has done this even as Hungary remains a member of the European Union and receives billions of dollars in funding from the bloc,” according to the New York Times.

A. President Andrzej Duda
B. President Aliaksandr Lukashenka
C. Prime Minister Viktor Orban
D. Prime Minister Klaus Iohannis

Correct Response: C. Prime Minister Viktor Orban

7. Gerry Adams recently stepped down after 34 years leading the republican movement Sinn Fein party, the political wing of the banned Provisional Irish Republic Army. PIRA was behind sectarian “Troubles” in Northern Ireland. Adams was replaced by THIS person, who said, “I won’t fill Gerry’s shoes. But the news is, that I brought my own.”

A. Mary Lou McDonald
B. Siobhan Flanagan
C. Philo Taylor Grundy
D. Paul David Hewson

Correct Response: A. Mary Lou McDonald

8. The Vatican and THIS country are close to ending negotiations to resolve who controls the Catholic Church there. However, some Catholics there see the agreement as “could betray clerics and parishioners who have illicitly practiced their faith for decades and risked arrest and persecution by worshiping in the so-called underground church.” They also worry that “a deal could end the independence for which the underground church has long stood,” according to The New York Times.

A. Myanmar
B. Saudi Arabia
C. China
D. Cuba

Correct Response: C. China

9. A snap presidential election was set for April 22nd in Venezuela where THIS controversial president is seeking a new six-year term and most challengers have been barred from running. The ruling Constituent Assembly composed of THIS man’s political allies have put in place measures to make it difficult to challenge him.

A. Raul Castro
B. Rafael Correo
C. Hugo Chavez
D. Nicolás Maduro

Correct Response: D. Nicolás Maduro

10. President Mohamed Abdullah Mohamed claimed Somalia was close to defeating THIS group that has terrorized the country and its neighbors although many challenges remains. He also defended the decision to allow American drone attacks against the group.

A. Boko Haram
B. Al-Shabab
C. Lord’s Resistance Army
D. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb

Correct Response: B. Al-Shabab

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