2012 enters the record books. Were you paying attention? A news quiz.

Chris Carlson/AP
(Read caption)

The year 2012 brought no shortage of significant news, from scheduled political transitions in the US and China to unexpected tragedies, moments of human triumph, and more record-setting in the realm of social media.

It's gone by quickly. Were the London Olympics really just a few months ago? Test your knowledge of these events with the Monitor's 2012 news quiz.

Which of these Republican presidential hopefuls never led the pack in the RealClearPolitics poll average during the primary season?

Rick Santorum


Ron Paul


Newt Gingrich


Mitt Romney


The world didn't end on Dec. 21 (and the ancient Mayans never really predicted it would), but which of these things DID occur that day?

Washington was in disarray as negotiations faltered on both a fiscal "plan A" and a "plan B."


The National Rifle Association called for armed guards in US schools.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 100 points.


All of the above.


As of December, how many Syrians were in urgent need of humanitarian assistance within the country, according to the UN?

4 million


2 million.


14 million


9 million


In the first nine months of 2012, the number of pirate attacks off Somalia's coast differed by roughly how much from the same period in 2011?

Down 30 percent


Up 30 percent


Down 65 percent


Up 65 percent


Election 2012 ended with Republicans controlling the House and Democrats holding the Senate. But how many state legislatures will each party control in 2013?

Republicans effectively control 28, Democrats 19


Republicans effectively control 24, Democrats 18


Republicans effectively control 26, Democrats 24


Republicans effectively control 22, Democrats 15


National Public Radio's 'Car Talk' stopped dispensing entertaining automotive advice in 2012. Who among the following was never cited in the show's credits?

Chief Legal Counsel Hugh Louis Dewey of Dewey, Cheetham & Howe


Jeep Driver Jocelyn De Contents


Audience Estimator Adam Illion


Additional Insurance Provider Donny Von Thingaboutet


As the Communist Party chose new leaders in the fall, how did China fare among 183 countries, ranked from least to most corrupt, according to Transparency International?









When Jamaican Usain Bolt won the 200-meter sprint in the London Olympics, runners from what nations joined him on the medal stand?

Jamaica and the USA


Jamaica only


Jamaica and Britain


USA and Britain


On Oct. 14, Felix Baumgartner jumped from the highest altitude ever, and is estimated to have broken the sound barrier during his free fall. How high did his helium-filled balloon take him, before he jumped?

147,000 feet


85,000 feet


118,000 feet


128,000 feet


The US elections were the most-discussed political event in Internet history. At the time of peak volume on Twitter, how many tweets per minute were being posted?

Over 100,000


Over 300,000


Over 800,000


A googol (10,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000,­000)


Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, threatened which of these nations with a 'red card' should it not improve the reliability of its economic statistics?









Astronomers have been busy seeking – and announcing findings – of 'Earth-like' planets that may occupy habitable zones in other solar systems. One such planet, announced in December, circles which of the following stars?

Betelgeuse, 640 light-years away


Vega, 25 light-years away


Alpha Centauri, 4.4 light-years away


Tau Ceti, 12 light-years away


The music video 'Gangnam Style,' featuring a signature dance style by South Korean pop musician Psy, became the first YouTube video to have been viewed 1 billion times. How long did it take to reach that many viewers?

Three months


Five months


11 months


16 months


Europe made faltering progress on its public-debt crisis in 2012, and the euro survived. How much did the currency's value change versus the US dollar between Jan. 1 and Dec. 12?

Up 4 percent


Down 12 percent


No change at all


Down 5 percent


On Dec. 14, Newtown, Conn., was the site of one of the worst mass shootings in history, including 20 schoolchildren, six teachers or school administrators, the gunman, and his mother. The mourning community was indundated with letters of support and donations. What was the volume of teddy bears alone?









Gasoline prices didn't go sky high but still gave consumers pause. As of Dec. 28, about how different is the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded from its price a year ago?

Up more than 15 cents per gallon


Down more than 15 cents per gallon


Up less than 5 cents per gallon


Down less than 5 cents per gallon


Which college football team might become the first to beat a rival from all six major US conferences in the same season, by the time bowl games are over in January?

University of Oregon


Notre Dame


University of Wisconsin


University of Alabama


The US birth rate hit the lowest level ever recorded in 2011, according to data announced in late 2012 by the National Center for Health Statistics. What was the number of births per 1,000 women?









The social network Pinterest, on which people 'pin' pictures relating to their hobbies and other interests, won lots of publicity for its rapid growth. In January, the network was reported to have reached 10 million unique monthly US visitors, faster than any other independently operated website. How long did it take?

About 22 months


About four months


About three years


About 12 months


After Russians went to the polls in March, the country's newly created League of Voters said which of the following?

Vladmimir Putin won a decisive victory.


Vladmimir Putin's support wasn't really above 50 percent.


The election system had been "discredited" by widespread violations.


Late in 2012, British adventurer Graham Hughes became the first person to set foot in all the world's countries (more than 190) without using an airplane. About how long did his journey take?

Seven years


326 days


One and a half years


Four years