What is OPEC?

  • International organisation whose mission is to coordinate the policies of the oil-producing countries.
  • Since it's inception in 1960, OPEC was able to influence the oil price by acting as an economic cartel - but from Nov. 2014, Saudi Arabia (OPEC's de facto leader) started treating the organisation as increasingly irrelevant.
  • Member countries are Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Libya, UAE, Qatar, Indonesia, Algeria, Nigeria, Ecuador, Angola, & Gabon (note that Russia & Norway are not members)..

What is Ebola?

  • Rare infectious, deadly illness, first detected in 1976 in an outbreak near the Ebola River (Democratic Republic of Congo) in Africa.
  • People get infected only by direct contact through broken skin, nose or mouth or with the blood or bodily fluids of someone infected.
  • 2014 epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa.

What is ISIS?

  • The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is a Sunni, extremist and violent political and military group controlling territory in Syria, Iraq, eastern Libya, and Sinai in Egypt.
  • Designated as a terrorist organization by UN, EU among others, and accused of human rights abuses and ethnic cleansing.
  • Principal aim is to establish an Islamic state in Sunni-majority regions of Iraq & Syria. Broad aim is to build a caliphate to emulate the days of Islam's Prophet Mohammed.

Who is Pope Francis? (1936 – present)

  • Reigning Pope of Catholic Church.
  • Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • Noted for his humility, concern for the poor and informal approach to the Papacy.

Who is Jean-Claude Juncker? (1954 – present)

  • Luxembourg politician (12th and current President of the European Commission).
  • Prime Minister of Luxembourg 1995 - 2013.
  • Minister for Finance - Luxembourg 1989 - 2009.

Who is Chuck Hagel? (1946 – present)

  • US politician (Defence Secretary Feb 2013 - Nov 2014).
  • Vietnam War veteran (2 purple hearts), US Senator (Republican) from Nebraska from 1997 to 2009.
  • Removed from Defence Secretary position in Obama cabinet reshuffle.

South Africa in 3 bullet-points?

  • Democratic country on the south end of Africa, one of the few on the continent never to have had a coup d'état.
  • Population 53 million, of whom 80% are black, with 11 official languages.
  • President is Jacob Zuma and the 3 capitals are Pretoria (executive), Bloemfontein (judicial) and Cape Town (legislative).
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