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"What in the World?" Weekly Quiz -- Jan 14-20, 2019

In a speech at a university in Cairo, part of his nine-nation tour of the Middle East, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that the U.S. and its allies would work "to expel every last __________" from Syria:

 
"supporter of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad"
"ISIS fighter"
"Iranian boot"
"enemy of the Kurds"
After two years of delays and refusal to leave office by outgoing President Joseph Kabila, presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) finally took place, setting the stage for that nation's first democratic transfer of power since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960.  However, THIS shadow hangs over the certification of opposition candidate Félix Tshisekedi's as the nation's new president:
Vote tallies by the DRC's Catholic Church showed another candidate, Martin Fayulu, as the winner; Fayulu was leading in polls taken before the election
Doubts abound that Tshisekedi eventually won by striking a power-sharing agreement with Kabila
Losing candidates have 10 days to contest the results to the DRC's constitutional court
All of the above

Scientists in Hawaii and around the world are mourning the death of George, the last surviving member of the species Achatinella apexfulva.  What was George?

 

A Hawaiian salamander
A pineapple tree
A Hawaiian tree snail
A bacterium

The European Union took the extraordinary step of freezing THIS organization's assets, citing planned attacks in France and Denmark, as well as two alleged assassinations in the Netherlands:

 
Iranian intelligence service
Saudi intelligence service
The CIA
North Korean intelligence service

The Trump administration downgraded the EU's diplomatic status from that of a state, to an international organization, but did not inform the EU's delegation to Washington, led by Ambassador David O'Sullivan.  How did Mr. O'Sullivan discover the change?

 

At a White House state dinner
At recent trade negotiations
At the funeral of the late US President George H.W. Bush
During a meeting at the U.N.

Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, resigned abruptly, well ahead of the 2021 end to his term at the global lending organization.  Kim's resignation would normally mean that US President Donald Trump would appoint a successor, but what potential obstacle does Mr. Trump now face?

Opposition from member nations over the long-standing practice of allowing the U.S. to appoint the World Bank's president
A backlog in appointments to posts in the US government that must be filled first
The general disdain for multi-lateral organizations that Mr. Trump has shown throughout his presidency
By convention, the appointment of the World Bank's president now falls to the Organization of African States

THIS world leader made the unprecedented choice to address his fellow citizens directly, through a televised address, in order to refute yet another set of corruption charges brought against him by police.  The leader in question made the address to argue that indicting him ahead of elections scheduled for April 9th would be "unfair":

Donald Trump of the United States
Emmanuel Macron of France
Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel
Justin Trudeau of Canada

King Muhammad V of Malaysia abdicated this week, only two years after ascending to the throne.  Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy: What characteristic of its government's structure, and King Muhammad's abdication, make it this situation unusual?

 

The throne is shared between 9 different ruling houses, each taking a 5-year term as ruler
King Muhammad V's abdication was the first-ever for Malaysia
No reason was given for the abdication
All of the above

Canadian-born actress Sandra Oh made entertainment history this week by doing THIS:

 

Winning the Golden Globe for best actor in a television series
Being the first person of Asian descent host the Golden Globes
Being the first host to also win an award
Winning a Golden Globe in two separate categories

Traces of rare lapis lazuli pigment, mined only in Afghanistan and used by medieval scribes to illuminate manuscripts, has been found in THIS location. The discovery means that previously held theories on medieval history must be reconsidered:

In dental plaque on teeth belonging to a medieval woman: Up until this discovery, it was widely believed that only men were scribes, or were allowed to illuminate sacred texts
In Iroquois pottery shards, meaning that North Americans had contact with people from Europe or Asia much earlier than researchers thought
In a skeleton found in Antarctica and dating back to about 900 CE, implying that European or Asian explorers landed there much earlier than previously thought
In samples taken from the moai of Easter Island: This points to potentially different origins for the stone the moai are carved from than previously thought
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