I Said He Would Be Entertaining.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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donaldtrump

Say what you like about him, but he is entertaining. Trump is already making what was looking like one of the dullest election campaigns in history into something worth looking at – just now and again though.

The latest nonsense comes from the business world, namely Macy’s, NBC and Univision.

Macy’s has decided to drop Trump-related merchandise, and the other two are going to break off ties (pun, tee-hee!) with the Donald.

The Macy’s decision is fairly clear, they’d rather run away from controversy and lose money than ride out the storm. I wonder do they sell goods manufactured in the sweat shops of the world, often by children? Maybe we should look in their hypocrisy department – fourth floor next to the white flags if I remember correctly?

waving white surrender flag

However, no one knows exactly what the NBC and Univision decision means in practical terms. For example, will they sell their half of the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants and if they do who will they sell it to? Or will they buy Trump’s half which will mean giving him top dollar for the shows because I don’t think he will let them away softly. In fact he would be within his rights to sue NBC for breach of contract relating to the pageants if this dodgy decision leads to a cancellation.

Either way it will be more wealth for Trump, which is probably what the move was designed NOT to do when they were thinking about it. That’s assuming they did think about it, which appears increasing unlikely.

trump two fingers

Neither has NBC given great thought as to who is going to host “The Apprentice” in a post-Trump era. They’ve hinted that they are going to look for a new star to replace Trump on the long-running reality show, but he’ll be a hard act to follow. Maybe it’s a chance for another dose of the limelight for the Shark Tank’s Mr Wonderful or even Mark Cuban, both of whom seem to thrive on the small screen and both of whom seem to have egos on the grand scale.

This hasty decision also leaves a BIG question mark about the partiality of these TV companies during the election race. Will they – or perhaps better, can they – continue to cover Trump fairly as a presidential candidate?

Former President Bush, President Bush and Governor Bush depart the christening ceremony of the USS George H.W. Bush in Virginia

Then there’s former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, part of the Bush, Bush and Bush super wealthy and well connected dynasty who want the big seat in the White House again. Jeb has said his decision to run for the Republican nomination will be based on two things: his family and whether he can lift America’s spirit.

After the great job his father and big brother did as President in lifting America’s spirits (a little sarcasm there) how could the voters do anything other than make him the GOP Presidential candidate? Oh dear me!

Despite the family history, Bush seems to be making good progress so far. But he had an easy start, because prior to the arrival of Trump on the scene he had no high profile rival. He still holds a significant lead over the second-place Trump.

Some think Jeb Bush would be the best candidate to handle illegal immigration and social issues. Just like his brother perhaps, see video.

On the economy Trump would probably be favorite, especially after the way Dubya Bush let spending go out of control during the latter stages of his war-mongering Presidency.

Apart from these two, although there are numerous others in the field,there does not seem to be any other close runners. Not yet anyway. But things in election races can always change suddenly as a skeleton or two tumble from their closets.

Trump is trying to capitalize on his business background. There is no doubt that that gives him an advantage over the career politicians. In business Trump lives or dies by his decisions. As for the Senators and Governor would-be’s, they are used to other people paying for their mistakes not them personally. It’s a significant difference in the mindsets of the two types of contender.

There is no doubt that Trump is correct when he says that the “American public is ready for a leader with a proven track record of success.” This is particular so after eight years of a dithering Obama administration.

Whether or not “Eighty percent of Central American girls and women are raped crossing into the United States,” one would have thought that America was ready for someone who wasn’t afraid to tell it how it is, instead of trying to pander to every minority viewpoint be it legitimate or crazy.

In politics a bit of controversy is always…

what’s the word….

“Entertaining?” That’s it.

trump with hand mic

As if to emphasize the fact, contrast what is going on in the Republican camp with the Democrats.

Hillary Clinton launched her presidential bid via a lackluster video message on social media way back in April and she continues to be the overwhelming front-runner among Democratic hopefuls for the White House job.

In fact the Democrat competition has turned into an amalgamation of Dullsville & Boringtown. There’s only one horse (make that horse’s ass) in the running. What she needs to blow all that cash for I don’t know. Build a hospital ward for the poor you dummy, you’re already selected.

hillary rodham clinton presidential bid 2016

Vice President Joe Biden, who has twice before made unsuccessful bids for the Oval Office – in 1988 and 2008 – might make another one, unsuccessful one that is. Recently he has said he thinks he’d “make a good President.” He is perhaps basing that on comments in the press that he is known for his foreign policy and national security expertise. He shouldn’t, because during the past eight years he has shown absolutely no grasp of either foreign affairs or national security.

Of course, it may well be that come the actual Presidential election next year, it will be Jeb versus Hillary and dull as they are the Democrats may win again. In a democracy the voters sometimes get it wrong.

In the meantime I’m still finding the Donald’s entry into the fray, what’s that word again….

“Entertaining!”

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The Greeks Can’t Afford To Bear Gifts These Days

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Greek financial crisis

I used to love listening to George W Bush when he talked about the ‘Grecians’. He was an idiot, but unlike some holders of his post I think he secretly knew it.

But, enough of that, let’s concentrate on the Grecians.

Their financial crisis is deepening and they’ve shut down all their banks. They’ve also imposed what are called ‘capital controls’, in other words what you can and cannot do with your own money –  assuming you could get to it in the first place.

Several Western countries, including the US and Britain, have issued travel warnings for Greece. Not a warning about the place being very dangerous, just a warning to have enough cash to be able to pay for things now that the banks are shut and presumably their ATMs as well.

queue at Greek ATM

This recent activity by the Greek government is because of the breakdown of talks between Athens and the European Union concerning the Grecians’ enormous debt that they clearly can’t afford to pay back. EU finance ministers rejected Athens’ request to prolong a financial assistance program.

It is also about a bit of timely government blackmail.

The Greek government has so far been unable to formulate any meaningful plans to curtail their spending significantly. The Greek people likewise have become used to living beyond their means and are reluctant to tighten their belts. The people are blaming the government and the government is blaming the people and nothing is really getting resolved.

So Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, shut the banks and said they would stay shut until July 6, conveniently the day after a nationwide referendum on whether to accept the bailout terms proposed to Greece by its creditors.

Some commentators also think that the banks may have been shut because they don’t have enough cash left. The Greek people think the same and are panicking to get their money out of the banks. Runs on banks inevitably lead to disaster.

As Greece is part of the Euro zone it does not have control of its own monetary system. In other words, unlike America which can simply print more money if and when it needs it, the Grecians have to rely on the European Central Bank giving them cash. and it has refused to give them any more Euros.

That decision could prompt Greece to default which would probably lead to it being kicked out of the Euro zone and possibly out of the EU itself, which would be an historic first and something that would be done very reluctantly.

Greek financial crisis cartoon

The rulers of the EU are in what is known as a ‘tight spot’. If they don’t take a tough line on the Grecians they can be sure other poor countries in the EU will follow suit. If they do take a tough line, then the upheaval will undoubted have an impact on the Euro currency.

A Greek default would also be another kick in the greedy teeth of the big financial institutions who own a good part of the massive €300 billion debt – you see there are positives in every situation if you look hard enough.

So it looks like emergency meetings and frantic discussions all over the place in Europe.

Despite the fact that Dubya is long gone from the political scene, I don’t think we’ve heard the last about the Grecians just yet.

By the way, Happy Independence Day to all my American visitors, bet you’re glad you’re not part of Europe these days.

Happy 4th July USA

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Are Government Bureaucrats Capable Of Looking After Data They Collect About Us?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Office of Personnel Management

If you’ve read any of the political posts on this blog you’ll already know the answer to the question posed in the title.

Staffed by stupid bureaucrats, the government isn’t capable of doing anything right, apart from trying to make all our lives miserable with needless and intrusive rules and regulations.

Proving the point, recently in the press there have been numerous stories about the personal data of an estimated 18 million current, former and prospective federal employees being the victim of what they call a ‘cyber breach’ at the Office of Personnel Management.

I say 18 million because that is what has currently been estimated by none other than FBI Director James Comey in a closed-door briefing to Senators recently. A far cry from the government’s lies that ‘only’ 4.2 million files were hacked. And that 18 million number is expected to grow, not get smaller – which I suppose makes the government’s lie even bigger.

The same hackers who accessed the Office of Personnel Management’s data are believed to have last year breached an OPM contractor, KeyPoint Government Solutions. When that OPM breach was discovered in April, investigators found that KeyPoint security credentials were used to breach the OPM system.

KeyPoint_Logo

Some investigators believe that after that intrusion last year, OPM bureaucrats should have blocked all access from KeyPoint, and that doing so could have prevented more serious damage.

But the bureaucrats refused to do anything – probably waiting for a sub-committee to write a 2,000 page report first!

It is believed that the Chinese government is behind this latest ‘cyber breach’, which is considered the worst ever against the U.S. government – so far, that is. The Chinese hackers are believed to have built their own backdoor access to the OPM system, armed with high-level system administrator access codes.

Naturally since it happened under his watch and the buck stops with him, President Obama has ordered his administration to answer all accusations of incompetence by minimizing the severity of breach.

But the OPM’s internal auditors told a House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee last week that key databases housing sensitive national security data, including applications for background checks, had not met federal security standards.

Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass

Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., responded thus, “I wish that you [the OPM] were as strenuous and hardworking at keeping information out of the hands of hackers as are at keeping information out of the hands of Congress.”

If only!

So are the government bureaucrats capable of looking after the data they collect on us?

Of course they aren’t.

Looks as if all Snowden, the subject of Wednesday’s post (if you want to read it click here), is really guilty of, is doing the bureaucrat’s job more efficiently.

whistleblower techie

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Midgets Understand Everyone.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Just a small pun in the title to introduce you to this week’s selection of word plays, or puns.

As always….

Enjoy or endure!!

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rofl

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A problem shared

is a problem laughed at.

A problem shared is a problem laughed at

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A lot of people say I am egocentric

– but enough about them

egocentric

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I was named after my father.

I don’t really like the name ‘Dad’ though.

dad

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Three out of four people

make up 75% of the population.

75 percent

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Oh how times have changed.

I used to spend my nights out ogling women.

Now I spend my nights in googling them.

googling

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My friend asked me to

walk down a hill with him.

So I declined.

walk down a hill

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I finally went to the doctor this morning

after years of my knees giving way

whenever I’m in a slow moving queue.

It’s a longstanding problem.

longstanding problem

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What do you call

a Scottish landowner?

Hectare.

Scottish landowner

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Don’t tell anyone I told you this,

but people say that I gossip far too much.

gossip far too much

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My wife has packed her bags and gone

– just because of my fetish with touching pasta.

I’m feeling cannelloni right now.

cannelloni

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It’s hard being a member

of the innuendo society.

the innuendo society mug

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One of the toddlers on the

Intensive Care Unit is playing

with a toy donkey.

ICU baby, shaking that ass.

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Traitor Or Patriot?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Snowden Traitor or Patriot

A lot has been written about Edward Snowden, the NSA employee who leaked files of secret documents to the public. Some of the reaction has been in praise of him as a patriot and some of it castigating him as an enemy of the people and a traitor.

So who is right?

I guess that depends on your point of view.

If you think the government did the right thing snooping illegally on its own people and on its allies, then you are probably in the camp that wants to see Snowden shot as a traitor.

If you think Snowden did the right thing to expose the deceit and crimes of government agencies so that the general public became better informed about what was being undertaken in its name, then you are probably in the camp that wants Snowden left alone.

There is no ambiguity in which camp the government resides. It wants to see Snowden repatriated to the US to face numerous charges that would result in him – perhaps not being shot – but certainly spending a long, long time in prison. It’s not about punishing Snowden, it’s about sending a message to other like-minded government employees.

To back up their claim to have Snowden punished, the press is continually being leaked stories of how Snowden put lives at risk because of his revelations.

Sunday Times Snowden smear

For example, take the latest claims leaked to a British newspaper is that Russian and Chinese intelligence analysts have decrypted some of his Snowden’s stolen files and have been able to identify US and British secret agents as a result. Apparently personnel has had to be withdrawn from overseas operations in hostile countries because their identities have been “blown”. It’s an unlikely scenario because the vast majority of ‘spies’ hold diplomatic posts in embassies and as such have the benefit of diplomatic immunity if exposed.

And there have also been counter claims denouncing stories like these as ‘smear tactics’ used by the government without any evidence to support them. The counter claimers also point to the fact that the latest newspaper to carry the government’s leaked story is Rupert Murdock’s ‘Sunday Times’, the very same source that carried the government’s leaked dossier on Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction, every single “fact” in which proved to be a lie.

Cynics also point out that this latest anti-Snowden non-story in the British press has been timed precisely to coincide with the British government’s new Snooper’s Charter act, which enables the security services to access all internet activity. Convenient to say the least!

As for Snowden himself, he says that when fled the US he took four copies of a cache of top secret documents lifted from the NSA’s intranet but handed these over to carefully selected journalists and no longer has them in his possession.

Naturally NSA sources dispute this, arguing that when Snowden defected to Russia he took the files with him.

Once again who you believe depends on which camp you are in.

It is possible that Snowden is lying, but it is also possible that he is telling the truth.

If it is the latter it is a reasonable assumption that any leaks of his documents after he left Hong Kong have been the result of the files being hacked or stolen from the journalists he passed them on to.

When you think about it, journalists are not intelligence or computer experts and probably were an easy mark for the hackers. Even the more security conscious ones invariably use encryption programs such as PGP, TruCrypt and Tor, which are all vulnerable to the kind of hacking available to the US and other governments.

For what it’s worth, my money is on the government’s latest leak being more bullshit. When you’ve clearly done something wrong, and want to keep on doing it, it’s always cool to be able to distract the crowd by blaming someone else.

So it’s not my fault.

it's not my fault

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The ‘F’ Word And More – It’s Fasab Fact Day!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Don’t be offended by the title.

An ‘F’ word here or there never hurt anyone.

So get stuck into the facts (that’s an ‘F’ word too!)

Enjoy.

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who is afraid of the 'F' word

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In 2011 approximately one third

of divorce filings in the US

contained the ‘F’ word,

yes, that’s the one

“facebook”.

(See, it wasn’t nearly

as bad as you thought.)

facebook divorce evidence

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HOT fact:

The temperature of the Earth’s core is

5500 degrees celsius (9900 degrees fahrenheit).

That is the same temperature as the surface of the sun.

temperature of the Earth's core

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Getting a silver medal in the Olympics

will make you feel worse than getting a bronze

(because you just missed the gold)

silver medal in the Olympics London 2012

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There is actually a beer brewed

from bananas in some countries

beer brewed from bananas

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Out of 44 Presidents of the United States,

32 have served in the military.

15 Presidents served in the Army/Army Reserve,

9 served in state militias,

6 served in the Navy/Naval Reserve

and 2 served in the Continental Army.

President Reagan Military Service

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Croatian Josip Belušic invented the speedometer.

(How about that for a fast fact?)

Josip Belušic

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Answering the call of nature is something

Europeans usually associate with the utmost privacy,

which is why American toilets,

with huge bottom and side gaps,

seem so weird to some foreigners.

American toilets

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The first webcam was actually created

to monitor a coffee pot at

the University of Cambridge.

first webcam

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Russian spies used to use hollow coins

to pass messages to each other in the US

and one of these coins made it into circulation.

One day a paperboy dropped the coin

and it split open revealing its coded contents.

The code baffled the FBI and CIA

until a Russian spy defected to the US

and interpreted the note.

It was a welcome message from Moscow

…and it was intended for him.

hollow coins to pass messages

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In Australia there is a river

called the ‘Never Never River’.

Never Never River

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The toaster in your kitchen

contains a more powerful computer

than the one used by NASA

to send astronauts to the moon.

It only had 64Kbyte of memory

and operated at 0.043MHz.

toaster

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After the release of the Top Gun movie in 1986,

the US Navy stated that the number of

young men who wanted to become Naval Aviators

went up by 500 percent.

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No More Quizzes – Not This June Anyway. (Except For This One!)

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Welcome to final fasab quiz for June 2015.

Half the year almost gone, but not before you get the chance to try out these questions.

As usual, if you get stuck, you can find the answers waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below, but please NO cheating.

Enjoy and good luck.

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Quiz 6

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Q.  1.  What was bought by the United States from France in 1803?

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Q.  2. ‘Black’, ‘Hooper’ and ‘Bewick’ are all types of what bird?

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Q.  3.  What city in South America is known as ‘The City Of The Kings’ ?

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Q.  4.  Very recently in the news for all the wrong reasons, what organization do the letters ‘FIFA’ represent?

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Q.  5.  Who was the leader of the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953?

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Q.  6.   What did Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discover by accident on November 8 1895?

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Q.  7.  He was born in Illinois and died in Idaho and during his lifetime he published seven novels, six short story collections, and two non-fiction works, and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature. Many of his works are considered classics of American literature. Who was he?

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Q.  8.  What name is given to calfskin, dressed and prepared for writing on?

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Q.  9.  Which sea is sometimes called the Euxine Sea?

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Q. 10.  What is the name given to the person who is appointed the chief lawyer of the U.S. government?

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Q. 11.  Name the famous Russian ballet dancer who changed the face of modern ballet?

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Q. 12.  Who invented the rabies vaccination?

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Q. 13.  Who is the current (2015) British Prime Minister?

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Q. 14. Big points opportunity. How many countries lie between Canada and Colombia? (A point for the correct number and a bonus point for each one you can name correctly.)

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Q. 15.  What fruit is ‘Calvados’ distilled from?

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Q. 16.  What is ‘Scooby’ short for in the name ‘Scooby Doo’ ?

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Q. 17.  What does ‘RADAR’ stand for?

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Q. 18.  In which French city was Joan of Arc put to death?

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Q. 19. What are the seven most popular sports in America? (A point for each correct answer and a bonus point if you can name them in the correct order.)

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Q. 20.  He was famous as ‘Dracula’, ‘Scaramanga’ and ‘Saruman’. Who was he?

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ANWERS

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Q.  1.  What was bought by the United States from France in 1803?

A.  1.  The Louisiana territory (828,000 square miles).

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Q.  2. ‘Black’, ‘Hooper’ and ‘Bewick’ are all types of what bird?

A.  2. Swans.

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Q.  3.  What city in South America is known as ‘The City Of The Kings’ ?

A.  3.  Lima, Peru. (Ciudad de los Reyes)

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Q.  4.  Very recently in the news for all the wrong reasons, what organization do the letters ‘FIFA’ represent?

A.  4.  The Fédération Internationale de Football Association, the international governing body of association football, futsal and beach soccer.

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Q.  5.  Who was the leader of the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953?

A.  5.  Joseph Stalin.

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Q.  6.   What did Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discover by accident on November 8 1895?

A.  6.  X-rays.

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Q.  7.  He was born in Illinois and died in Idaho and during his lifetime he published seven novels, six short story collections, and two non-fiction works, and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature. Many of his works are considered classics of American literature. Who was he?

A.  7.  Ernest Hemmingway.

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Q.  8.  What name is given to calfskin, dressed and prepared for writing on?

A.  8.  It is known as ‘Vellum’.

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Q.  9.  Which sea is sometimes called the Euxine Sea?

A.  9.  The Black Sea.

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Q. 10.  What is the name given to the person who is appointed the chief lawyer of the U.S. government?

A. 10.  He/she is known  as the ‘Attorney General’.

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Q. 11.  Name the famous Russian ballet dancer who changed the face of modern ballet?

A. 11.  Rudolf Nureyev.

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Q. 12.  Who invented the rabies vaccination?

A. 12.  Louis Pasteur.

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Q. 13.  Who is the current (2015) British Prime Minister?

A. 13.  David Cameron.

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Q. 14. Big points opportunity. How many countries lie between Canada and Colombia? (A point for the correct number and a bonus point for each one you can name correctly.)

A. 14.  There are 9 countries that lie between Canada and Colombia – they are The United States, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.

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Q. 15.  What fruit is ‘Calvados’ distilled from?

A. 15.  Apples.

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Q. 16.  What is ‘Scooby’ short for in the name ‘Scooby Doo’ ?

A. 16.  Scoobert.

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Q. 17.  What does ‘RADAR’ stand for?

A. 17.  ‘RADAR’ stand for ‘Radio Detection and Ranging’.

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Q. 18.  In which French city was Joan of Arc put to death?

A. 18.  Rouen.

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Q. 19. What are the seven most popular sports in America? (A point for each correct answer and a bonus point if you can name them in the correct order.)

A. 19.  1.  American Football     2. Baseball     3. Basketball     4. Ice Hockey    5. Soccer    6. Tennis    and    7. Golf

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Q. 20.  He was famous as ‘Dracula’, ‘Scaramanga’ and ‘Saruman’. Who was he?

A. 20.  He was the wonderful actor Sir Christopher Lee.

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