“What in the World?” Quiz – Week of May 27-June 2, 2018


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

Alternate Link to Quiz

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Charles Bowers, Nashville, TN

Pratik Yedla, Huntsville, AL

Colleen Ryan, London, UK

Katherine Lybarger, Nashville, TN

Kevin Cronin, Nashville, TN

Drew Lorelli, Washington, DC

Anne Brandt, Nashville, TN

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“The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age”

by David E. Sanger

In 2015, Russian hackers tunneled deep into the computer systems of the Democratic National Committee, and the subsequent leaks of the emails they stole may have changed the course of American democracy. But to see the DNC hacks as Trump-centric is to miss the bigger, more important story: Within that same year, the Russians not only had broken into networks at the White House, the State Department, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but had placed implants in American electrical and nuclear plants that could give them the power to switch off vast swaths of the country. This was the culmination of a decade of escalating digital sabotage among the world’s powers, in which Americans became the collateral damage as China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia battled in cyberspace to undercut one another in daily just-short-of-war conflict.

The Perfect Weapon is the startling inside story of how the rise of cyberweapons transformed geopolitics like nothing since the invention of the atomic bomb. Cheap to acquire, easy to deny, and usable for a variety of malicious purposes—from crippling infrastructure to sowing discord and doubt—cyber is now the weapon of choice for democracies, dictators, and terrorists. Two presidents—Bush and Obama—drew first blood with Operation Olympic Games, which used malicious code to blow up Iran’s nuclear centrifuges, and yet America proved remarkably unprepared when its own weapons were stolen from its arsenal and, during President Trump’s first year, turned back on the US and its allies. The government was often paralyzed, unable to threaten the use of cyberweapons because America was so vulnerable to crippling attacks on its own networks of banks, utilities, and government agencies.

Moving from the White House Situation Room to the dens of Chinese government hackers to the boardrooms of Silicon Valley, New York Times national security correspondent David Sanger—who broke the story of Olympic Games in his previous book—reveals a world coming face-to-face with the perils of technological revolution. The Perfect Weapon is the dramatic story of how great and small powers alike slipped into a new era of constant sabotage, misinformation, and fear, in which everyone is a target.

About the Author

David E. Sanger is the chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times. A 1982 graduate of Harvard College, Sanger has been writing for the Times for 30 years covering foreign policy, globalization, nuclear proliferation, and the presidency.

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 May 20-26, 2018

1. Four thousand doses of Ebola vaccine were shipped to Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of Congo to try to head off an outbreak of the deadly disease. The cases in Mbandaka, a port city on the Congo River, have health officials worried the highly communicable disease could spread down river to THIS 10 million population capital of the DRC.

A. Kinshasa
B. Khartoum
C. Luanda
D. Abuja

Correct Response: A. Kinshasa

2. The United States and South Korea are in discussions over North Korea’s renewed harsh rhetoric last week and prospects for the June 12 Trump-Kim Jong-un summit. Pyongyang called off talks with South Korea after critical remarks about all of these EXCEPT:

A. American deployment of an aircraft carrier battle group in the Yellow Sea.
B. The US-ROK “Max Thunder air combat exercises.
C. So-called “repugnant” comments from US National Security Advisor John Bolton.
D. Pyongyang’s demand for return of 12 female restaurant workers who defected.

Correct Response: A. American deployment of an aircraft carrier battle group in the Yellow Sea.

3. Venezuelans, in the midst of an economic meltdown that sees as many as 5,000 people flee the country every day, went to the polls on Sunday with just over 46 percent of eligible voters participating to give THIS embattled leader a new six-year term. His reelection was disavowed by his main rivals and not recognized by the United States. THIS newly reelected, 55 year-old, former bus driver and protégé of the late Hugo Chavez is:

A. Evo Morales
B. Nicolas Maduro
C. Juan Manuel Santos
D. José “Pepe” Mujica

Correct Response: B. Nicolas Maduro

4. China’s air force conducted long range combat aircraft operations in the South China Sea last week that included landings and takeoffs of bombers from disputed tiny islands and built up reefs. The aviation operations in contested zones militarized by China drew angry responses from lawmakers and expressions of concern from the government of THIS nation which won a case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague two years ago. The tribunal found China’s historic claim had been “extinguished” by the UN Conference on the Law of the Sea and ruled in favor of THIS country.

A. Philippines
B. Vietnam
C. Malaysia
D. Indonesia

Correct Response: A. Philippines

5. Last week saw increased friction between European allies and the United States over President Trump’s decision to break out of the Iran nuclear deal. WHAT leader publicly said, “Looking at the latest decisions of Donald Trump, someone could even think: With friends like that, who needs enemies?”

A. French President Emanual Macron
B. European Council President Donald Tusk
C. German Chancellor Angela Merkel
D. British Prime Minister Theresa May

Correct Response: B. European Council President Donald Tusk

6. Israelis and Palestinians were in the news this week celebrating triumph and tragedy, respectively, with all of these developments EXCEPT:

A. Observing the 25th anniversary of the State of Israel’s creation.
B. Observing the 70th anniversary of the “Nakba” or the “catastrophe” that marked Palestinians losing their homeland.
C. Opening the US Embassy in Jerusalem.
D. Palestinian protests at the Gaza border that resulted in 58 killed and over 1,000 wounded.

Correct Response: A. Observing the 25th anniversary of the State of Israel’s creation.

7. THIS country has experienced a little reported 18-month separatist conflict that has seen “targeting killings,” arson and looting. U.S. Ambassador Peter Barlerin met with President Paul Biya last week to call for dialogue before telling reporters, authorities had authorized “targeted killings, detentions without access to legal support … and burning and looting of villages.” The conflict between the French-speaking majority and the English-speaking minority has seen tens of thousands flee THIS country for Nigeria.

A. Benin
B. Chad
C. Niger
D. Cameroon

Correct Response: D. Cameroon

8. The Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s coalition won the majority of seats in the Iraqi parliamentary vote on Friday. Al-Sadr, a long-time foe of the United States, took this action within 24 hours of his bloc’s electoral victory?

A. Ordered free passage of Iranian military forces and material across Iraq to Syria.
B. Declared restrictions on movement of American diplomatic personnel in Iraq.
C. Met with Vice President Haider al-Abadi for talks on forming a ruling coalition.
D. Warned Saudi Arabia and other Sunni-majority Gulf States about interfering in Iraq.

Correct Response: C. Met with Vice President Haider al-Abadi for talks on forming a ruling coalition.

9. Voters in THIS country with a large Catholic population go to the polls on Friday to consider a referendum that would permit its parliament to liberalize abortion laws.

A. Italy
B. Spain
C. Ireland
D. Poland

Correct Response: C. Ireland

10. How much of the $45 million price tag for Prince Harry’s and Meghan Markle’s wedding went to cover security?

A. $10 million
B. $20 million
C. $30 million
D. $40 million

Correct Response: D. $40 million

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