The truth behind the headlines left open to question

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JUST how well do you keep up with current events? Like to test yourself in fair and open combat? Right, then - here are some questions based on what's been happening in the world in the past few days. See how well you make out in this searching quiz]

1. Michael Jackson was recently forced to abandon his current world tour for personal reasons. But what was the name given to Jackson's world tour?

a) Painkiller.

b) Paracetamol.

c) Coke] It's the Real Thing.

d) No more than eight tablets during any 24-hour period.

2. The Royal Variety Command Performance is so-called because:

a) The Queen could, if she wanted, put an end to the whole sorry business with one short command.

b) The Royals take it in turn to watch it.

c) There's nothing royal about it, there's no variety, nobody seems in command and not much performing gets done.

d) There are plans to burn it down and claim the insurance.

3. In the past week or so, Arthur Scargill has appeared on both radio's Any Questions and television's Question Time. This is because of:

a) Brilliant enterprise on the part of BBC producers.

b) Complete lack of fresh ideas on the part of BBC producers.

c) Some sort of retraining scheme set up by the Government for ex-miners.

d) Roy Hattersley's permanent ensconcement on Have I Got News For You.

4. When British Rail is finally privatised, so few people will come forward to take up the option of running parts of the railway network that the Government will be forced to take it over, and will set up a new organisation to do so. What will this be called?

a) British Rail.

b) Another fine mess.

c) Major's last stand.

d) A triumph for market forces.

5. Asil Nadir is an anagram of?:

a) Nasal drain.

b) Rail insanity.

c) INA is unreal.

d) IRA in Dallas.

6. The clandestine photos of the Princess of Wales were:

a) Strangely boring.

b) A total intrusion of privacy.

c) Widely discussed in my paper though not actually reproduced.

d) Bought for an undisclosed sum by the National Portrait Gallery for the nation.

7. For every doctor appointed to a post in November, there were:

a) Twenty new administrators employed.

b) Forty new strains of Beijing flu discovered.

c) Fifty new TV soaps not set in a hospital.

d) A minimum of 90 hours a week worked by junior hospital doctors under Virginia Bottomley's far- seeing stewardship of the National Health Service.

8. ln Italian, San Marino means:

a) Holy sailor]

b) Sailor's hospital.

c) It's not arrivederci, it's only auf Wiedersehen]

d) On yer bike, England]

9. The recent spate of television programmes on John F Kennedy's last days must mean:

a) A lot of TV producers can remember exactly where their parents were when JFK was shot.

b) They still have no idea who did it, otherwise they wouldn't still be making programmes about it.

c) It was more interesting than doing a programme on the last days of Arthur Scargill.

d) Kennedy dead is more interesting than Clinton alive.

10. General Aideed is at this very moment:

a) At liberty.

b) Enjoying the support of the American gun lobby.

c) Having three square meals a day.

d) Being asked by Pepsi to consider going on a world tour.

11. Under the latest proposed defence cuts:

a) We shall only be able to go to war with an enemy fewer than 100 miles away.

b) All regiments will have to be funded by their royal patron.

c) The Army, Navy and Air Force will be privatised, and Saddam Hussein is said to be interested.

d) There will be no ammunition dumps left for the IRA to break into and steal from.

12. Finally, what was the truth about those supposed high-level talks between Sinn Fein and the Government?

a) They did take place, yes, but the Government did not actually talk to the Sinn Fein people - they got actors to speak their words for them.

b) They did take place, yes, but unfortunately Sinn Fein showed no interest in tendering for any part of British Rail.

c) Sinn Fein apologised for making a mess of the attempt to implicate Asil Nadir in an attempt to implicate a High Court judge.

d) Nobody believed that any talks had taken place between Sinn Fein and the British Government, until the Government started denying it vehemently.