UK: The Monday Briefing - Christmas Quiz 2014

Last Updated: 25 December 2014
Article by Ian Stewart

Most Read Contributor in UK, August 2017

Our 2014 Christmas Quiz offer a wide-ranging test of knowledge, from the most popular activities during conference calls to the price of Christmas puddings. We hope you enjoy it.

1. The Louvre is the world's most popular art gallery with 9.3m visits in 2013. How many visits did Disney's Magic Kingdom in Florida clock in the same year?

a) 18.6m      b) 11.7m      c) 6.2m  

2. Greece's economic woes have resulted in sharp cuts to its public spending and its deficit/borrowing this year is lower than those of most major economies in the euro area. According to the IMF, Greece has the 15th highest level of borrowing in the developed world, amounting to 2.7% of GDP. Which developed economy has the highest level of borrowing this year?

a) US              b) Japan        c) Spain

3. London's Heathrow airport was used by 72.4m passengers in 2013. How many passengers used Beijing's Capital airport last year?

a) 83.7m      b) 68.9m      c) 58.2m

4. The Economist Intelligence Unit rated Singapore and Paris as the world's top two most expensive cities to live in this year. Which is the least expensive city according to them?

a) Mumbai       b) Kathmandu      c) Bucharest

5. Which country has the greatest percentage of its population aged under 14 years old?

a) Canada    b) Niger    c) Vietnam

6. Which country has the largest rural population – people living outside cities – as a proportion of its total population?

a) Russia       b) Italy       c) Brazil

7. In which of these countries does it take the longest time to register a company?

a) Singapore      b) Brazil      c) New Zealand

8. A 2014 survey reported in the Harvard Business Review and carried out by Intercall, the largest international conference call company, looked at what people do during conference calls. Which of the following activities did people most admit to doing while on a call?

a) Exercising           b) Playing video games             c) Visiting the restroom

9. Match the following emerging market economies – Hungary, India, Russia, Ghana, Nigeria – to the following events that occurred in 2014:

a) Decided against introducing the world's first internet tax, following protests?

b) Did not ship any oil to the United States over a monthly period – the first time this has happened since records began in 1973, due to the shale oil revolution in the US?

c) Held its first training exercises with combat dolphins, deployed to find underwater mines?

d) Became the fourth nation to place a satellite in orbit around Mars on a budget of just $72m?

e) Had its president dispatch £1.7m in cash in a plane to Brazil to pay the country's World Cup squad over unpaid wages?

10. Three of the following were added to the basket of goods used to calculate the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in the United Kingdom this year, while three were removed from the basket. Which were added?

a) Canvas shoes       b) Flavoured milk         c) Gardeners fees            

d) Wallpaper paste      e) DVD rental internet subscription     f) Netflix

11. Credit default swaps CDS) provide investors with a way of insuring against a country defaulting on government debt. Which of these three countries is the riskiest to lend to, according to CDS spreads?

a) Greece     b) Iraq      c) Russia

12. In a blind test by a panel of experts conducted by Which? Magazine, Morrisons M Signature Jewelled Christmas Fruit Pudding achieved the top score of 85%, well above Harrods at 73% and second-from-bottom Fortnum and Masons at 48%. The Fortnum and Masons 454g St James Christmas Pudding costs £10. How much does the top-rated Morrisons pudding cost?

a) £2.99        b) £3.99        c) £4.99

13. Technological and productivity improvements have led to improving quality and much lower prices for an array of consumer goods. In 1950 a Freed-Eiseman 16 inch TV cost $795 in the US, roughly a quarter of the average annual salary. According to official data, adjusted for improvements in the quality of goods, how much has the price of a TV fallen in the US since 1950?

a) 98%           b) 81%           c) 65%  

ANSWERS: Based on market data at 11th December 2014

1. Answer: 18.6m. Disney's Magic Kingdom is the world's most popular theme park with 18.6m visits last year, almost twice the number to the Louvre. Disneyland Paris also attracted more visitors than the Louvre.

2. Answer: Japan. Japan has the highest level of borrowing in the developed world this year, amounting to 7.1% of GDP. It is followed by Spain, the US and the UK, all borrowing more than Greece this year.

3.  Answer: 83.7m. With the rise of international trade and a globetrotting middle-class in emerging Asia, the centre of global aviation is moving eastward. Beijing's Capital is the second busiest airport in the world, used by 83.7m passengers last year. Nine of the world's top 20 busiest airports are now in Asia. Heathrow comes third after Beijing's Capital and Atlanta's Hartsfield airport, which remains the busiest in the world although passenger numbers declined last year.

4. Answer: Mumbai. Four of the five cheapest cities are in the Indian subcontinent and Mumbai is the cheapest city in the world. A loaf of bread costs a ninth of its price in Paris and a litre of petrol less than half. Easily available labour and the resultant low wages, along with government subsidies, ensure prices of basic commodities remain low here. London is the 15th most expensive city in the world and the seventh in Europe.

5. Answer: Niger (50.1%). Out of the 20 "youngest" countries in the world, 18 of them are in Africa. This year UNESCO released a report, which forecast that by 2100 almost half of the world's children would be African, marking one of the most dramatic demographic changes in history. In contrast, countries such as Germany and Italy face a demographic challenge, as they have much older populations (27% of Italians and Germans are aged 60 or over).

6. Answer: Italy (31%). Italy has a relatively large rural population for a developed country. One of the great demographic trends of our time is the migration of people from rural to urban areas. Rural populations are shrinking particularly fast in developing countries, as people migrate to growing cities in search of work and better pay. The World Health Organisation estimates that over 1m people every week migrate to urban areas, with the world's "urban population" now at 54% of the total population, up from 34% in 1960.

7. Answer: New Zealand (0.5 days on average). Ease of doing business is a key indicator of a country's progress. Many emerging markets, despite rapid growth in recent decades, still lag on many competitiveness indicators, including this one.

8.  Answer: Visiting the restroom (47%). We thought this study highlighted the importance of face-to-face meetings, but the authors of the report also pointed to the dangers of scheduling unproductive meetings. Rob Bellmar, Intercall's executive vice president of conferencing and collaboration, told Harvard Business Review that the fault is not in our attention spans, but in our approach to work. "Part of the problem comes from too many meetings," he said. "This leads people to confuse activity with productivity."

9. Answer: a) Hungary. b) Nigeria. c) Russia. d) India. e) Ghana

10. Answer: Netflix, flavoured milk and canvas shoes were all added to the CPI basket in the annual reshuffle of the "shopping basket" that the Office for National Statistics uses to gauge changing spending habits and lifestyles of UK consumers. Fruit snack pots, men's clothing hire were also added to the 2014 list.

11. Answer: Greece. According to the CDS market, Greece still has the highest risk of defaulting on its debt, having been close to default a number of times since the euro crisis broke. Russia recently moved in to the top 10 riskiest countries following the effects of the crisis in Ukraine and falling oil prices. It is now rated by the CDS market as being at greater risk of default than Iraq.

12. Answer: £3.99. The Harrods pudding costs £12.99 for 454g. The judges described the Morrisons pudding as, "Simply majestic" and commended its pleasing nutty texture, light citrus notes and great depth of flavour. 

13. Answer: 98%. Technological innovations, the move to digital components and the offshoring of production have led to huge improvements in audio-visual quality, a widening of choice, and at lower prices.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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