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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS

Muslims & Anti-Fascists Face Right-Wing Anti-Muslim Protesters in London; U.S. Marks 8th Anniversary of 9/11;

Aired September 11, 2009 - 14:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ADRIAN FINIGHAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: An end of the week bounce, Europe's stock markets recover from a temporary fall in risk appetite.

Drained, dry, and driven to destruction, how men at the wheel of MG Rover ran the automaker into the ground.

And celebrity rookie traders, big names take to the trading floor in honor of those who died in the 9/11 terror attacks.

Hello, I'm Adrian Finighan, in for Richard Quest. This is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

Good evening. In London, I'm Adrian Finighan, all those stories in just a moment. First, we've got to bring you up to date on a developing story in northwest London. Riot police have moved in to quest clashes between Muslim and anti-Islamic demonstrators near the Harrow Central Mosque. CNN's Phil Black is there. Let's join him now live.

Phil, what's the latest?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Adrian.

Well, this is how 9/11 is being marked in this area of northwest London. You can see behind, that is the Harrow Mosque. And around that are hundreds of people. Police estimate around 1,000 or so Muslim and anti-fascist protesters who have gathered here today because this was the location selected by a coalition of far-right anti-Muslim protesters to mark 9/11.

They were expected to stage a fairly strong protest here this afternoon. So far though they haven't shown in any real numbers. But you do have this large group of Muslim and anti-Fascist protesters, they've been feeling quite passionate.

For the most it has been pretty relaxed, pretty calm. But every so often, small individuals, one or two people seem to have provoked the group into some sort of action. The crowds have charged forward challenging police lines, trying to chase down and catch these very small groups of individuals or so.

But for the moment, pretty calm right now, although we do understand that police have prevented a number of people who wanted to come here and protest against what they say is the "Islamization" of Europe, and they've held them back at a distance to ensure that this doesn't get any more emotional or any more heated than it already has -- Adrian.

FINIGHAN: So the people there behind you right now are there, as they see it, to defend the mosque. And what about these "anti-Islamization" protesters, are they aligned with any particular groups? Who are they?

BLACK: Well, you're right. This group here, we're told, have come from across London. They are Muslims from across London who have come here. The local mosque has actually told its locals to stay away. But it has still attracted this very strong group.

The anti-Muslim protesters, they seem to come together under the group "Stop the Islamization of Europe," that's what they call themselves. There have been a number of clashes between people under that group and Muslims in the city of Birmingham in recent weeks. Some arrests there, some scuffles, some violence.

The police were called in there as well. But it was fear that given those sorts of those scenes that we've seen in that city in recent weeks, that here on this very significant day, at a much bigger site, with more people involved, that sort of passion could really spill over.

It has on occasion here this afternoon, but for the most part, and once again, things are pretty calm -- Adrian.

FINIGHAN: Yes, about 30 minutes ago, Phil, we saw the crowd there running, and I heard you saying that they were running towards a train station, which is nearby there. What actually happened there, it looks a lot calmer than when I last saw you?

BLACK: It flared up very quickly, as you would have seen then, but died down, I guess, within minutes of that as well. That direction, that is where the Harrow train station is, and it is expected that if that -- if those anti-Islamization protesters get here, that was the likely entrance point into this particular neighborhood.

The police have had a very strong presence there through the afternoon, talking to people who have been getting on and off the tubes. And it looked like there were some people up there taunting the group in some way, but the numbers were small.

But as you saw, it triggered that very, very strong reaction from the crowd that was here. They pushed through those police lines, ran up the road, and tried to get as close to them as they possibly could.

But they did all calm down and return back to this location a few minutes later -- Adrian.

FINIGHAN: Phil, many thanks. Phil Black reporting live there from Harrow in northwest London. And Phil will continue to keep us up-to-date here on CNN with what is going on there.

Let's get down to business now. The financial world, European stock markets have wrapped up the week in positive territory. Now there had been plenty of speculation that a summer rally was about to burn out. But that hasn't happened. Let's take a look at the numbers here in London.

As you can see, the FTSE across the course of the week made a 3.29 percent gain. It even broke through the 5,000 mark at one point. Standout stocks here in London include British Airways up nearly 17 percent. Miners have done particularly well here in London too. Lonmin was up 9 percent on the week. Xstrata up by 11 percent.

Over in Frankfurt, the Xetra DAX, that was up by 4 -- over 4.5 percent -- or nearly 4.5 percent on the week. Big gainers include Commerzbank, a stonking (ph) performance from them. They were up nearly 22 percent on the week. Deutsche, Lufthansa was up by over 11 percent as well.

And in Paris, the CAC 40 was up 3.8 percent. Automakers there have stood out. Peugeot was up nearly 7 percent for the week, Renault was up over 10 percent. I'm having trouble with my mental arithmetic today.

Now a little earlier I spoke to Bob Parker. He, of course, is the chairman of Credit Suisse Asset Management. I asked him if the recent that we had seen in equities has outpace, perhaps, the prospects for future earnings.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BOB PARKER, CHAIRMAN, CREDIT SUISSE ASSET MANAGEMENT: Our view is that U.S. earnings in 2010 will increase by 20 percent. European earnings will increase by about 18 percent. We've clearly seen a base being formed in corporate earnings growth worldwide in the second quarter of this year.

I think the third quarter numbers, which are going to be announced, largely in October and early November, will show a sustained improvement in most sectors in corporate earnings growth.

And that will underpin the equity market rally, although having said that, the rally that we've had since early March is now looking very extended.

FINIGHAN: All right. So we've got consumer confidence improving, the pace of job losses slowing, many leading indicators are showing improvement. OK. If -- bearing in mind what you said about equities, are we seeing a genuine economic recovery here?

PARKER: The answer to that is clearly yes. I think we will be surprised by the strength of economic indicators worldwide in the balance of this year. What worries me is that going into to 2010 that we will see the developed economy start to moderate in terms of its growth pattern.

And there are a number of constraints, whether it be high unemployment, constrained bank lending, poor consumer spending that are going to constrain this recovery. So the economic numbers, particularly out of the States, Europe, and Japan, which are going to look very good in the next two to three months, I think we're going to fade into a rather mediocre growth pattern in 2010.

FINIGHAN: All right. Now on this side of the Atlantic, we have the Bank of England this week leaving interest rates unchanged. They also felt no need to explain why they had done that, which is unusual of late.

I mean, what do you read into that? Has normality returned?

PARKER: Normality -- well, it depends how you define normality, but in terms of the U.K., I think the key point is that the economy was clearly still in recession in April and May. I think there is a lot of evidence that come June and July of 2009, the U.K. economy started to move out of recession.

But the strength of recovery in the U.K. is very fragile. And the U.K. is clearly behind economies such as Japan, France, and Germany in terms of the timing of the coming out of recession and the pace with which it's going to come out of recession, at a time when inflation worldwide and also here in the U.K. remains very low.

So therefore the Bank of England is on hold with official interest rates of half a percent for the foreseeable future.

FINIGHAN: And you mentioned France and Germany. What does the rally in European equities this week tell us about the strength of the economic recovery there. Are earnings growth and recovery not already priced into the market?

PARKER: I think that the European equity markets will outperform between now and the end of the year. And I think one point which has to be emphasized is that so far this year we have had an extraordinary rally in emerging markets.

For example, markets like the Russian market, up 85 percent. India up close to 70 percent. Brazil, very strong gains indeed. I think between now and the end of the year, an outperformance by emerging markets will actually not be evident, but it may come back in 2010.

But certainly for the next two to three months, I think the developed markets will catch up to some extent.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FINIGHAN: Bob Parker of Credit Suisse Asset Management.

Well, let's take a look at what's happening on Wall Street right now. And it would seem that better-than-expected consumer confidence figures have been overshadowed by those worries that we were talking about there, Bob and I, about the recent rally in equities outpacing the prospects for earnings.

U.S. stocks in negative territory for the first time in five days. Right now the Dow Jones is down nearly half a percent. And also weighing on investors' there, news just in that the federal deficit in the States has climbed higher into record territory. It has hit $1.38 trillion in the first 11 months.

Now let's get you up to date with the news headlines. Fionnuala Sweeney joins us live in the London news room.

FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Adrian, grief and remembrance as America and the world mark eight years since the September 11th terror attacks. Moving memorials were held at the World Trade Center in New York. Children sang, bells tolled, and relatives read out of the names of their loved ones who lost their lives.

In Shanksville, Pennsylvania, bagpipes played for the 40 victims of the fourth hijacked jetliner that fell in a field there. And at the Pentagon, President Barack Obama laid a wreath of white flowers. He said the nation would never falter in its pursuit of terrorists.

A so-called normal training exercise by the U.S. Coast Guard near the Pentagon Memorial caused a real splash. Reports of gunfire were overheard on the Guards' radio, leading CNN and even Mr. Obama's security team to scramble for information. Flights were briefly held up at nearby National Airport, the Coast Guard said it gave other agencies only minimal notice of what was just a regular exercise, and says it is taking a good, hard look at what happened.

Pakistan says it is making progress in its fight against the Taliban. Military officials say they've arrested some key militants in Swat Valley, including a Taliban spokesman and well-known Taliban commander. Pakistan launched a four-month offensive in the volatile valley to clear insurgents from the one-time tourist haven.

Those are the headlines, back to you, Adrian, in the studio.

FINIGHAN: Fionnuala, many thanks. We will see you again a little later on.

Now all day on CNN we have been covering -- carrying coverage, rather of the somber commemorations of the September 11th terror attacks eight years ago today. One firm suffered above all others. It was Cantor Fitzgerald. They lost 658 employees that day. Now, though, the firm is back and trading is hairier than ever. We will tell you why these celebs have turned traders for the day.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FINIGHAN: It is, of course, eight years since the worst ever terrorist attack on America took the lives of thousands of people. 9/11 was a day that shook the world and its financial institutions to their core. Let's get more now on the somber ceremonies that were held at Ground Zero today. CNN's Richard Roth is in New York and joins us live now from the World Trade Center site.

Richard, the weather, I think, matching the somber mood there in Downtown New York today.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. Quite a contrast from the day of 9/11, which began with clear blue, beautiful skies. And of course, ended quite differently, with flame and smoke in the skies over Manhattan.

Yes, for those not involved with this day, it perhaps could be a little routine. And some yet have become numb to it all, despite the horrors. But for anyone remotely connected with it or living in New York, September 11th, you remember where you were, what you were doing, and you remember those who lost their lives here.

Earlier today here in New York, there was a reading of the names of those who died, nearly 3,000 people. They were read by family members plus volunteers. That's the spirit of this day. The president of the United States calling for a day of national service and volunteerism in honor of those who perished or were injured on 9/11.

Bells were rung. Moments of silence were conducted for the two moments when the planes -- the two commercial jetliners slammed into the two World Trade Center towers. And then within an hour, both had collapsed to the ground.

Afterwards, some family members spoke and reflected on the loss of their loved ones.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a very painful and devastating thing, and especially when this day comes, and as it draws near, it's like your gut is ripping out just knowing how it all happened. We never find anything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROTH: Now the United States vice president, Joe Biden, was here. And he gave very brief comments. Mayor Bloomberg was here. They're, of course, looking forward to the 10th anniversary two years out, which will be perhaps more of a landmark event here, but considering the weather conditions, many turned out, family members and others.

In the zone behind me, which is where the Trade Center towers stood, family members, after the service that was held in a park, went and dropped flowers and laid their respects here on the site of the murders in 2001 -- Adrian.

FINIGHAN: All right. Richard, many thanks, indeed. CNN's Richard Roth reporting live there from the site of the World Trade Center in New York.

Now the brokerage firm Cantor Fitzgerald was devastated in the September 11th attacks. Six hundred and fifty-eight employees were killed, every member of staff who was in the office in the Twin Towers on that day. Now those that survived vowed to keep the company going, to take care of the families, and to do good for others.

And 9/11 is the day when it all comes together. CNN's Susan Lisovicz has just returned from the BGC trading floor and she joins us now live to tell us all about it.

They let you out on the trading floor. You were actually attempting to make money here?

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, actually. I got in between a trade. I was able to listen in and I am told that the company, BGC, which is an offshoot of Cantor Fitzgerald, netted $5,000 on that one particular transaction.

And that's what they do. And I think if any firm has reason to celebrate eight years later, and I really use that word very carefully, it's Cantor Fitzgerald. It could have just shut down and gone away. And certainly the economy went into a tailspin after that. But it rebuilt itself quite literally.

It is bigger, more prosperous, and it does good on 9/11. Today is the fifth day that BGC donates 100 percent of its proceeds to charity, all sorts of causes, for instance, the Wounded Warriors, for instance, is one quite familiar. I saw some veterans there.

All sorts of celebrities come in. A.J. Burnett, who is a pitcher for the New York Yankees. Cast members from "The Sopranos." Ivanka Trump, who is becoming quite a name for herself, separate from Donald Trump, her father. And they help to drum up business.

And in the past four years, BGC has raised $23 million and people there are very happy. It's a way to honor those who have been lost and to continue to take care of the families who are -- have lost a mother or a father that one day eight years ago, that one morning eight years ago -- Adrian.

FINIGHAN: Yes, Susan, I want you to tell me very briefly what is happening on Wall Street right now in a moment on the markets. But first, I've been on the trading floor at BGC Partners here in London. And it is a pretty scary place, I have to say. It's just amazing to stand there and watch.

(LAUGHTER)

FINIGHAN: But I want to know, what was the atmosphere like today, as you say, I mean, there is always the party atmosphere because we're raising money for good causes. But then there are some pretty somber memories, aren't there, on this, the anniversary of the day?

LISOVICZ: There are. There are, Adrian. I mean, because when you start talking about that day, I was talking to an engineer who literally rebuilt the computer network, slept on a cot for months, and he was all misty-eyed when he was talking to me, even as he was saying, this is a day of celebration that those who were lost would be so proud of us, about what we've accomplished to rebuild the firm, to make it stronger than ever.

And to raise all of this money, they'd be proud of us. And that's why it's worth celebrating. And then, of course, to have all of these celebrities come in, it just raises the morale of the traders there who are doing it. And I was there, privileged to be part of it, like you.

And it reminds us of one other thing about 9/11, we saw the worst of humanity on 9/11, but we also saw the best of humanity. And this is the best of humanity, when you're helping out others who are in need. And it was a joy to be there, frankly.

FINIGHAN: Absolutely. Susan, many thanks, indeed. Susan Lisovicz reporting live there from Wall Street.

Well, I mentioned that the London trading room of BGC Partners, phone were thrust into the hands of dozens of celebs here in London for the same annual charity day. And one of those celebs included the Honey Monster, as you probably saw a few moments ago.

BGC's Canary Wharf trading floor hosted those rookie traders, and it was colleague Jim Boulden who went along today to see how they did.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM BOULDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Celebrities have been working these phones all day, raising funds for some 26 charities here on BGC Partners' floor in London. Now joining me is Shaun Lynn, the president of BGC.

Tell us about the day, tell us why this is taking place.

SHAUN LYNN, PRESIDENT, BGC PARTNERS: Well, it's annual event that we put together. We support over 26 charities every year. It's a remembrance of our friends and colleagues that on Sept. 11th, and also a bit of a celebration of what the city and what we can do for those charities. Many of those charities are children's charities.

BOULDEN: Now this started as a fundraiser for the families of Cantor Fitzgerald who lost their lives, more than 650 I believe, lost their lives on 9/11.

LYNN: Six hundred and fifty-eight. What happened was we decided afterwards that how the best way to look after families was to donate 25 percent of our profit. Then after two or three years we started to work out (INAUDIBLE). We wanted to try and help some other charities as well.

It's a very tearful time for us. You know, when you wake up this morning, it's very, very mixed emotions. You know what happened, you know, all of those years ago, but also you think about the good that you're going to do today as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm (INAUDIBLE) fundraising leukemia research, and it's a charge I've been involved in since my best friend died of leukemia. And they're one of the chosen charities that will hopefully benefit by getting some of the money from some of the trades today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sweating it, I'm totally sweating it here. I'm afraid to make a mistake.

BOULDEN: And is it good to be back?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It's great, I've been doing this for three years and I think it's one of these fantastic days that you go out there, you thank everyone for their contribution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got 4.8 billion to (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five-point-oh-five-oh for Jonathan (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That sounds fantastic.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They do yell numbers and you try and repeat the numbers without getting it wrong. And I think the point is people are -- they know that BGC are doing this day and they know it's for a good cause and they all of the reasons why. And so they're likely to do some trading.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Particularly in the current climate, I think anything that benefits charities raises profile, tells people about what's going on, is really important because any sort of recession, and charities seem to be particularly badly hit.

BOULDEN: So all of the money today that you make from the -- through the phones, 100 percent goes to charity, and also the sellers?

LYNN: Every broker works for nothing. He has no commission, no salary today at all. And everything we generate today goes to the charities.

BOULDEN: BGC Partners says it raised $24 million already with these fundraising events here in London and New York and Hong Kong. Last year was $8 million alone. And it certainly expects to surpass that amount this year.

Jim Boulden, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FINIGHAN: Jim and some good friends there, they go everywhere with him.

Now a damning report into the collapse of MG Rover. The businessman who ran the company until its collapse called to task by Britain's business secretary. We will have more on that right after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FINIGHAN: Hello, again.

The U.K. government wants to ban executives from failed car-maker MG Rover from running other companies. The so-called "Phoenix Four" were hailed as heroes when they bought the company from BMW for just a few dollars.

But after just five years, the company went bust, with debts of more than $2 billion. Now an 800-page report has been commissioned into the demise of MG Rover, it claims that the Phoenix Four extracted millions of dollars in pay and benefits over their years in charge.

But the directors have been quick to defend themselves. In an e- mailed statement, they say: "The report is entirely as we expected, a witch-hunt against us, and a whitewash for the government. It drips with the hallmarks of this government. Spin, smear, and point-blank refusal to take any responsibility for their own actions. We criticized the government for failing to help MG Rover.

"As we've seen elsewhere, there is a price to be paid for criticizing this government and for us the price is this report."

Well, here's what the spokesman for the four executives had to say a little earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAMSAY SMITH, SPOKESMAN FOR "PHOENIX FOUR": They understand the concerns raised about the level of remuneration. The facts of the matter are that they were paid very much in keeping with people in similar positions in the automotive industry at the time.

They were the owners of the company. They were not short (ph) for the workers, they were the owners of the company. And that is why they were remunerated to the extent that they were. Also that they took considerable risk in taking the company on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FINIGHAN: Well, the report paints a grim picture of the people involved in the collapse of MG Rover. It claims that the executives involved pocketed unreasonably large financial rewards, around $70 million in pay and perks.

Now this, from a car company that was at its peak in the -- and was an industry heavyweight in the 1960s. It employed some 250,000 people back then. It produced 40 percent of the cars bought in the U.K., including the Triumph, the Austin, the Land Rover, and Morris brands. And when it went bankrupt, its market share was down to just 3 percent.

Well, the U.K.'s business secretary, Peter Mandelson, is leading the charge against the Phoenix Four. He wants them to apologize and wants them to be banned from running other British companies.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETER MANDELSON, U.K. BUSINESS SECRETARY: The report is extremely thorough and it's painstaking. And what I find quite shocking is that the Phoenix Four directors, rather than offering any hint of humility or apology, should claim that after all of this time, it's a whitewash or a witch-hunt, you know, despite the fact that, you know, what happened cost so many people their jobs and so many creditors so much money, whilst they made a small fortune in the process.

And I hope they will reflect on this and offer, as I say, a hint of modesty and humility about what happened given the findings of this very lengthy report.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: What about the cost of the report? It is an enormous amount of money. And as people have been saying, a lot more money -- government money was spent on the report than was spent on trying to help MG Rover.

MANDELSON: You have to bear in mind that the report covers five years, hundreds of thousands of pieces of paper, but also a very complicated web of companies, created by the directors through which the assets of and from MG Rover were shifted around.

Now this has taken a great deal of time and money and effort to expose. But also when the company initially collapsed, a lot of people went to a lot of effort to destroy the evidence. And in the case of one of the directors, he bought some computer software, you know, to wipe all of the records and all of the evidence of what happened from his own computer.

So it was a tough job, and it did take time, and it did cost money. But it has now arrived at these conclusions and now everyone knows exactly what happened.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FINIGHAN: The U.K.'s business secretary, Peter Mandelson.

Now we've been talking a lot about September 11th during the show tonight, but how about September 15th? That's the day a year ago that investment banking giant Lehman Brothers went belly up, signaling the darkest days of the financial crisis.

Almost a year later we'll look at what has changed and what hasn't in "Life After Lehman."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FINIGHAN: Welcome back live from London.

This is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

In for Richard Quest, I'm Adrian Finighan.

Now, let's take you to Hungary, which continues to be severely inflicted by the worst of the -- the global economic slowdown. The economy there in Hungary is shrinking at its steepest rate in almost two decades. Its shed around 7.5 percent year on year in the second quarter and it's expected to contract nearly by 7 percent in 2009. The government doesn't expect growth to return much before 2011.

Now, there's also concern over unemployment. Analysts say that the jobless rate is near 13-year highs already and could top 10 percent by the year's end.

Hungary was, of course, the first European Union country to secure a bailout last year to avert a devaut -- a default. It lined up more than $29 billion from the IMF, the E.U. and the World Bank. Well, Hungary has got a new prime minister and he believes that reforms are needed to get the country back on track.

He spoke with CNN's Frederik Pleitgen in Budapest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GORDON BAJNAI, HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER: We have over a 7 percent decline in the second quarter of this year. I think we are bottoming out now in the summer and with the exports picking up in Germany and other European major economies, Hungary will gradually climb back to a smaller extent of recession.

FREDERICK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So how are you going to get your country out of this crisis?

BAJNAI: The crisis hit Hungary last October. It was like when you just switch the light on in a room. It showed that significant reforms are needed to get out of this crisis. Parliament has passed pension reform, increasing retirement age; social reform, focusing on work instead of social benefits; and tax reform, which has made -- made it much more versified for people to work and for employee -- employers to employ people in Hungary.

We have reduced the tax rate by more than 8 percent just within one year.

PLEITGEN: Are you going to need more loans from the international community, from the IMF, from the E.U.?

BAJNAI: For the time -- if markets remain as they are now, then not. We are acting upon it and we are coming out of this crisis on a solid, fundamental, prudent basis. It will be one of the most solid economies in -- in Europe, as far as budget deficit is concerned. And with the tax reforms, the pension reforms, the labor market reforms, what we achieve is that when the crisis will diminish, Hungary can be one of the fastest growing economies of the region again.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

FINIGHAN: Hungary's new prime minister there speaking with CNN's Frederik Pleitgen.

Let's get you up to date with the news headlines.

Fionnuala Sweeney joins us once again live from the London newsroom.

FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Adrian, an update now on a protest unfolding in London. Riot police moved in to quell clashes between Muslim and anti-Islamic demonstrators. The confrontation broke out near Harris Central Mosque in London, where a new 54 (ph) mosque is under construction. Police moved in after bands of Muslim youths threw sticks and stones as rival protesters.

The toll of bells, moments of silence -- solemn ceremonies as America pauses to remember the nearly 3,000 who lost their lives eight years ago in the 9/11 attacks. President Barack Obama placed a wreath at the Pentagon. He says the passage of time and the turning of seasons cannot diminish the pain and loss of the day.

In Shanksville, Pennsylvania, residents are remembering the 40 victims of United Flight 93. The hijacked plane went down in a field there before reaching its intended target.

Life in prison for a former president of Taiwan. Chen Shui-bian was convicted of bribery and graft during his eight years in office. His wife was also found guilty in related charges and sentenced to life, as well. Supporters of the 58-year-old Chen protested outside the court. Both convictions will be automatically appealed.

Outrage in South Africa around confirmed newspaper reports that female world champion runner, Caster Semenya, both female -- has both female and male sexual organs. South Africa's sports minister says he is shocked and disgusted at the reports and insists the 18-year-old is a girl. The international athletics governing body is urging caution and tells CNN it has received the results of Semenya's gender tests but has not fully reviewed them.

And that's it for me -- back to you, Adrian, in the studio.

FINIGHAN: Fionnuala, many thanks, indeed.

Now, it's been almost 12 months since the most defining event of the current financial crisis -- the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers.

So, what are the lessons that we've learned?

We'll bring you the best, in just a few moments.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FINIGHAN: Now, it was one of the most dramatic events that Wall Street has ever known. Monday marks one year since the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Financial markets tumbled around the world and the U.S. economy was brought to the brink.

CNN's Stephanie Elam is in New York right now with a look at what some financial heavyweights are saying one year later -- hey, Stephanie.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Adrian.

"Fortune" got rare access to some of the people in the highest offices at the time of the Lehman collapse. They were asked what they remember, what changed and what they've learned.

Legendary market analyst Meredith Whitney, she really made a name for herself after calling this crisis before almost anyone else. Well, she ties the Lehman anniversary to the one we're marking today.

Here's what she said. She said: "It felt like another 9/11. I don't think they should have let Lehman fail. The rules didn't seem uniformly applied. And it's very hard to get individuals comfortable with investing if different rules are being applied to different people."

Lloyd Blankfein went on to say -- he's the CEO of Goldman Sachs -- he went on to say this: "What I remember most was coming into the office on weekends and without my having made a call to anybody, I found everyone on our team at work. Everybody realized there was a crisis looming that was historical."

John Mack, who is the CEO of Morgan Stanley, also recognized the historical significance and the difficulty of facing a situation that was unprecedented. He went on to say: "People say, well, you should have never have let Lehman go out of business, but this was ground we've never been on before. But, you know, there's a lot of what we should, could, etc. I'm not sure there's one thing you could have done differently that weekend that would have made a difference."

Now, Mack announced yesterday that he's stepping down as CEO of Morgan Stanley. Under his leadership, Morgan was able to avoid a fate similar to that of its rivals, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch and, of course, Lehman Brothers -- Adrian.

FINIGHAN: Stephanie, many thanks.

We'll have full coverage of the -- the anniversary, the collapse of Lehman Brothers, on Monday's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

Stephanie Elam of CNNMoney.com -- Stephanie Elam of CNNMoney.com.

Stephanie, lousy weather there in New York today.

Let's see if we can do -- let's see if we can do something about that. I know a man who has a hot line to the weather gods. His name is Guillermo Arduino and he joins us now live from the CNN International Weather Center -- look, can you do something -- where are you?

Can you do something to fix this weather for us?

GUILLERMO ARDUINO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: No, I can't. And I am...

FINIGHAN: Oh.

ARDUINO: And I have the radar there lined up. I'm going to show you what's going on in New York -- awful, perhaps as bad as the rain that we're getting now in Greece and Turkey. A secondary system is moving in there. Of course, the damage has been done in here. We had floods all over. We are expecting over 50 millimeters of rain here -- more rain over the flooded sections. We will continue to cover this story throughout the night for our viewers in Europe.

And also here, we have more rain in the southern parts, into Adanna (ph) all the way into Antalia (ph) with that precipitation maker.

Now, you see the sky?

This is keeping things pretty good for Britain. We see some clouds here and there. The next two days are going to be nice for London. But we have windy conditions. Details coming up.

Also, some rain showers here into Scandinavia, close to Norway, especially. The rain I was talking about in Greece, there are red alerts in Crete because of this. Elsewhere, windy conditions, high seas. Look at London. How nice.

On Sunday, we may see an increase in clouds and then on Monday some more clouds -- even more clouds and maybe some rain showers. But nothing going on. A couple of areas affected by the radar. But compared to what we usually see there, nothing. This is rotating here. It's bringing the clouds down into those areas. Nothing in the way of delays announced around Dublin, Brussels, Munich, Copenhagen, Zurich with some clouds. We're talking about 15 minutes, I mean normal operations, weather induced.

And these are the winds. Coastal parts here of Norway and Sweden into Denmark, as well, then northern parts here of -- of the Netherlands and into Germany and southern parts of England with some rough -- some rough winds.

But France looking OK. The Ukraine looking OK. The warm air continues on the other side, 28 degree for Ukraine.

This is what's going on in New York. We have a system here -- a low pressure center bringing a lot of rain into the area, anywhere from Philly, as you see, up into Massachusetts and also Vermont and New Hampshire with some rain. Southern parts of New York, as you see, have been moving into northern sections and Pennsylvania with more rain. Unfortunately, a very bad day over there.

Now, also, we have -- I need to focus a little bit on the positive, too. In China, looking fine. In Shanghai south of that area into Taiwan looking OK. But look at the Philippines here with a lot of rain. And especially northern parts of Vietnam. We had landfall of a tropical depression here, first into Hynan (ph) and now moving into Northern Vietnam. So the weekend, especially on Saturday, promises to be very rainy, indeed, in these sections and northern parts of Vietnam.

As you see, the winds are not going to be a problem. The system is moving very quickly.

Rain showers in Tokyo, but Hong Kong, because of that indirect association with that cyclone, is going to see thunder a little bit more. But it's going to improve for the weekend.

So with rain. Tokyo is hit a little bit more and also here in Malaysia is where we see most of the rain. Indonesia at this time of the year stays under that area of dry conditions. So it's not that bad at all for them.

Let's see what's going on in the southern parts of the United States. I'm looking at an area in the Gulf of Mexico that is going to bring very bad weather into Louisiana, especially the coastal sections. So watch for that this weekend.

Also, coastal Texas.

But you know what?

After a heat wave that we had in Texas, especially here into San Antonio, refreshing rains. Because we have like 50 days of extremely hot conditions there. Now the rain is here to stay.

Elsewhere, the only alerts that I notice is in the Northeast -- Adrian, so that shall pass, as well.

Have a nice weekend -- back to you.

FINIGHAN: Guillermo, many thanks.

That's it for this edition of QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, which is back on Monday.

I'm Adrian Finighan.

"MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST" is next.

Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, as Richard would say, I do hope it's profitable.

See you.

END

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