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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS

Spain Budget Protests; Live: French President Addresses UN General Assembly; Draghi's Optimism Tempered With Warning; Economy in Focus at UN; Euro, Pound Flat; Spanish Demonstrations Getting More Tense; Anti-Austerity in Greece, Portugal

Aired September 25, 2012 - 14:00   ET

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


MAX FOSTER, HOST: Strikes turn violent in Spain. We bring you the very latest from Madrid.

A reason to be positive, but the ECB president tempers his optimism with a warning.

And tonight, we bring you interviews with the chief executives of Ericsson, Western Union, and chief economist Jeffery Sachs.

I'm Max Foster, this is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

Tonight in Madrid, protesters are marching on Spain's parliament in a mass protest against austerity. The Indignados or Indignants, as they are called, say they want to surround and occupy the congress building. Hundreds of riot police have formed a barricade in the hope of keeping the protesters out.

Spain's government is set to release its 2013 budget this week, and it's expected to include more cuts. Protesters say they've suffered enough and they want the prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, and conservatives to look at raising taxes on the rich.

Journalist Javier Ruiz joins us now on the line from the Spanish capital. Obviously, the demonstrators are out in force, but how would you estimate the numbers there?

JAVIER RUIZ, JOURNALIST (via telephone): Well, according to police sources, there are 6,000 protesters out there at this hour, and that number's going to increase, because it's been increasing for the last two hours. 6,000 people means that they outnumber the policemen. There are 1300 who are protecting the area.

And that can be a problem, because the demonstration is only allowed to go on for another hour, hour and a half. After 9:30 PM Spanish time, the policemen were start charging against the protesters, and that can become a dangerous situation.

FOSTER: OK, Javier, we'll be back with you later on in the program, but we want to take you to New York, now, because the French president, Francois Hollande, is speaking at the UN General Assembly.

FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): What the United Nations is for our world and what it has been for our history. And I also am aware of a sense of responsibility, because France is a permanent member of the Security Council and, therefore, has duties.

I'm also here at this rostrum to talk about values that do not belong to any people. Values that are not owned by any continent. And they're not the privilege of any group of the population. I am here to talk about universal values, which France has always proclaimed, the rights of every human being, wherever they live: liberty, safety, resistance to oppression.

These values and these rights are too frequently trampled upon in our world, especially because we are facing three main threats, which we must tackle head on. The first is the threat of fanaticism, which fuels violence. We have seen this in recent days.

The second is the global economy, which has been affected by a crisis, and which is also seeing an intolerable deepening of inequalities.

The third threat is climate change, which threatens the very survival of our planet. The mission of the Untied Nations is to tackle these challenges and, together, to find strong and just responses to them. They must be just, because without justice, force is blind. And they must be strong, because without strength, justice is powerless.

I am also here to express France's confidence in the United Nations. In recent years, together, we have been able to put an end to deadly conflicts, and we've been able to prevent confrontations.

But at the same time that we have sent out 100,000 blue helmets to act on our behalf -- and I would like to pay tribute to them -- at the same time, through division, through the blocking of our own institutions, and through inertia, the United Nations has been incapable of stopping war, violence, and attacks on the rights of peoples.

And so, on behalf of France, I would draw one conclusion, which I would like to share with you. If we want to make our world safer, it is up to us to shoulder fully our responsibilities. How? First of all, by reforming our own organization, the United Nations. The Security Council must better reflect the reality of the world today.

(APPLAUSE)

HOLLANDE (through translator): This is why, once again, I would recall that France supports the request for enlargement made by Germany, Japan, India, and Brazil. But we are also in favor of an increased presence by Africa, including among the permanent members.

Having a seat on the Security Council is not a privilege that stems from history, and it is not a matter of satisfying and ambition linked with economic power. No, having a seat on the Security Council means making the commitments to act in favor of peace in the world, because it is our duty to act, and to act together.

But we must act quickly, because it is urgent. The situation is urgent first and foremost in Syria. This Assembly at the United Nations has several times denounced the massacres carried out by the Syrian regime and called for those responsible to be judged. We have expressed that -- there was an expression of a desire for a democratic transition.

But still today, the suffering of the population continues. There have been almost 30,000 deaths in the last 18 months. How many more deaths will we wait for before we act? How can we allow the paralysis of the United Nations to continue?

I know one thing is certain: the Syrian regime will never again take its place in the concert of nations. It has no future among us. And this is why I've taken the decision on behalf of France to recognize the provisional government, representative of the new Syria, as soon as it is formed.

This government will itself have to give guarantees that every community in Syria will be respected and will be able to live in security in their own country.

And without waiting any longer, I would ask that the United Nations now give the Syrian people all of the support and assistance that they are requesting, and in particular, that liberated areas be protected and that humanitarian aid be assured for refugees.

With respect to the leaders in Damascus, they must know that the international community will not do nothing if the leaders use chemical weapons.

Another situation which is urgent is to fight against the most serious of threats to stability in the world. That is the proliferation of nuclear weapons. For several years, Iran has been ignoring the demands of the international community. It has escaped the monitoring of the IAEA. It does not respect -- it does not keep its own word or uphold resolutions of the Security Council.

I myself would like to see there be a negotiation. I would have liked to see steps and phases that -- and this negotiation has not yet taken place. France will not accept this situation, which threatens security in the region. But we also know that affects peace in the world.

And so, here, once again, I would like to say that we are ready to take moves to adopt new sanctions, not to punish the great Iranian people, but to tell its leaders that enough is enough and that negotiation must be resumed before it is too late.

The third urgent situation is, at last, to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The status quo is not a response. It is an impasse.

France will make -- will contribute and do everything it can to reestablish the basis for negotiation based on trust that would lead to the coexistence of two states. And everyone knows that this is the only solution that could lead to a just and lasting peace in the region.

And the last of the urgent situations that I will mention, but there are many others, the last I will mention but perhaps the one which should be first for us this week is in the Sahel. The situation created by the occupation of territory in the north of Mali by terrorist groups is intolerable, it is unacceptable.

And this is not only unacceptable for Mali, which is affected by this terrorist threat, but for all countries of the region and beyond the region. For all of those who might be affected by terrorism one day.

The African Union, which I would commend, and ECOWAS have said they're ready to take courageous decisions. The authorities in Mali have spoken, and so there is no further time that should be lost.

And France, I am announcing here, will support any initiative that would enable Africans themselves to resolve this issue in the framework of international law, with the clear mandate from the Security Council. Yes, Mali must recover its territorial integrity and the terrorists must be eliminated from this region in the Sahel.

Ladies and gentlemen, the role of the United Nations is to respond to urgent situations, but not only urgent situations. There's another ambition, which should bring us all together here, and that is development. The Rio conference, in which I participated --

FOSTER: French president, there, talking through various urgent situations that he sees in the world right now. Richard Roth has been monitoring that for us. What did you make of his list of countries? Iran, Syria amongst them, of course.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR UN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this no surprise. France has been in the lead, at least publicly, trying to get action, especially on Syria. But it's been frustrated deeply here at the UN Security Council, where Russia and China have blocked action. As one Western diplomat said, we are all an audience to a tragedy, as nothing has been really done.

Now, the French president making his first appearance here, socialist, elected. We'll also be talking about other themes, certainly Mali, the Sahel, famine, and troubles. But on Syria, he is saying that there should be these protection zones inside Syria for the thousands of people who have been abused and are on the run.

However, the UN is not going to be ready and unified to back that, to do that. The Syrian opposition and others have talked about having camps outside the Syrian borders, but nothing has been actively done in terms of Security Council resolutions for security that would be needed for this.

And also, the Syrian government has certainly not signed onto a deepening international involvement in its borders, Max.

FOSTER: When it comes to those sanctions on Iran, willing to support them, he said. Is that new?

ROTH: No. They've always been active in getting tougher, and they have their own sanctions, and there have been four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions, some of which have had some affect.

But we haven't -- we've been years away, now, from a unified council action to put more pressure on the Iranians. Some feel sanctions don't cut it anyway. President Obama earlier telling the UN General Assembly once again, time is not unlimited when it comes to Iran. We'll hear from President Ahmadinejad probably return fire verbally on Wednesday here in New York.

FOSTER: OK, Richard, thank you very much. We'll let you listen to the rest of that speech. Now, tonight, Mario Draghi is warning that -- warning European leaders not to get too comfortable. The head of the ECB says things may be getting better, but there's no time to relax when it comes to reform.

Speaking in Berlin, where he's been meeting the German chancellor, Draghi said Europe's leaders must press ahead with change.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIO DRAGHI, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK: My firm belief and central message to you today is that, provided all policy makers persevere with the necessary reforms, we have a number of reasons to be positive about where the euro area is heading.

We are seeing signs of improved sentiment in financial markets, and we expect the economy to return to growth next year. At the same time, considerable progress is being made on all fronts to strengthen the foundations of the euro area.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: The wider economy is in focus at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The French president was just alluding to that slightly earlier, and speakers are urging coordinated action to address the downturn.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DILMA ROUSSEFF, PRESIDENT OF BRAZIL (through translator): The theory is economic crisis that began in 2008 has taken on new and worrisome contours. The option made for orthodox fiscal policies has steadily worsened the recession in advanced economies and has thus affected emerging countries.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Make no mistake: a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained. It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOSTER: Well, Jeffrey Sachs is an economist and the director of Columbia University's Earth Institute. I asked him what he made of those comments from the Brazilian president.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFFREY SACHS, DIRECTOR, THE EARTH INSTITUTE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: The European countries and the United States have such a fiscal mess, they're not really in a position to lead with more fiscal expansion at this point. But she was reflecting a frustration, of course, that in general, the world economy's not functioning properly.

FOSTER: In terms of Obama's speech, he was obviously talking about a nuclear-armed Iran. It's grabbed a lot of headlines. "It's not a challenge that can be contained," he said. It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations and, crucially, the stability of the global economy.

So, he's suggesting that that is a major concern alongside the other concerns that were expressed about the global economy, the euro crisis, for example.

SACHS: Well, yes. He spoke about these big issues, but one can be sure also that he had one eye on the election campaign, which is just a few weeks away, so we can imagine that he was speaking largely to the domestic US audience even though he had world leaders there.

He wanted to show the firmness of US positions, he wanted to show after all of these riots against US interests and embassies in the Middle East that the US was going to be tough in response, firm in response. He did that.

I think that one should take account that this is just the final weeks of a presidential campaign also. This is part -- without question part of the context of his address.

FOSTER: How concerned are you about the world's poor right now and going ahead when it seems they're getting so little support right now and it's going to get worse, by the look of it.

SACHS: Well, one thing that really concerns me is that not only is being poor tough in this world, but there's so much climate change now that's occurring, massive droughts in the United States, by the way, also, but in the Horn of Africa, and in the Sahel of West Africa. These are devastating for poor people.

Many, many people are losing their lives, but the world doesn't pay very much attention, unfortunately. The world's busy and occupied with other things, or at least the rich and the powerful are. And even when we have a massive drought in the United States, the worst in modern history, the word "climate" does -- probably has come up about once in our political campaign here.

So, you've got to be worried when the world's adrift economically, environmentally, socially, but for the local political reasons of the main actors or the financial interests of the rich and powerful don't really want to pay more in taxes, we have a lot of drift without much solution. It's pretty concerning, actually.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: And whilst Jeffrey Sachs was speaking there, the French president was addressing this issue, calling for a development agency to Africa. We'll bring you more on that later on. He's still in his speech, as you can see, so we'll see what he says by the end of it.

Now a Currency Conundrum for you now. Which famous Cuban appears cutting sugar cane on the back of the three-peso note? Is it A, Che Guevara? B, Fidel Castro? Or C, Raul Castro? The answer later in the program.

The euro and the pound are fairly flat against he dollar at the moment. Investors are concerned that Spain is delaying a request for aid. And the Japanese yen is just nudging higher.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: Let's return to Spain, now. Tonight in Madrid, protesters are marching on Spain's parliament in a mass protest against austerity. Protesters say they've suffered enough, and they want the prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, and conservatives to look at raising taxes on the rich.

Journalist Javier Ruiz joins us now on the line from the Spanish capital. And what's interesting is, this isn't targeted at one political party. It's basically targeted at all politicians, isn't it?

RUIZ (via telephone): Yes, they are protesting against the government, but also against the opposition. They're trying to rescue democracy, that's what people are trying here and saying here.

There are 6,000 protesters outside the congress building as of now, and 1300 policemen. So chances are, this is going to to go up and become conflictive later on because the demonstration is only allowed to go on for another half an hour. After that, it becomes illegal.

FOSTER: By the looks of it, the police are struggling to keep control of it at the moment. What are your thoughts on what's going to happen from here?

RUIZ: Well, the first process has started already, so I'm guessing this is going to go on all night long. The police have arrested ten protesters so far, and there are six more people --

(AUDIO GAP)

RUIZ: -- after the first charge against some of the demonstrators, who right now are surrounding the congress building and yelling "Out! Out!" to the government and to the opposition party.

FOSTER: The budget is released on Thursday, isn't it? Where there are more austerity cuts expected. So, this is leading up to Thursday, or is it just pure frustration today?

RUIZ: Well, it is both things. The Thursday budget is going to confirm that further cuts --

(AUDIO GAP)

FOSTER: OK, Javier, we'll leave it there. Javier is going to be watching this for us. Those demonstrations do seem to be getting more and more tense, and the police are responding strongly.

It will become illegal in the next couple of hours, that protest. So, we'll see how the demonstrators and the police react to that. But there's certainly a tense scene, there, in Madrid.

Now, Greek unions have called for government workers to hold a 24-hour walkout on Wednesday. They're protesting against the austerity measures linked to Greece's bailout. It would be the first general strike under the current coalition government.

And in Portugal, Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho has dropped plans to raise social security contributions from workers. It comes after protests from the public there and from members of the country's coalition government.

Now next, fast funds in a crisis. How to get money to people in need in a flash. We'll hear from the CEO of Western Union after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: Welcome back, I'm Max Foster. These are the main news headlines this hour.

In Madrid, at least five anti-austerity protesters have been injured in clashes with police. Some protesters threw bottles and rocks at police as they gathered around Spain's congressional building. Now, the protesters accused the government and the opposition alike of trying to solve the financial troubles at the cost of its people.

US president Barack Obama was one of the first speakers at the UN General Assembly earlier today. He touched on the conflict in Syria, the controversy over Iran's nuclear program, and the death of US ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya. Mr. Obama said, quote, "violence and intolerance have no place among our United Nations."

The US president also spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative conference. He announced a federal plan to combat global human trafficking, which he said should be called by its true name, which is modern slavery. Mr. Obama says it is barbaric, evil, and has no place in a civilized world.

Also at the United Nations General Assembly, French president Francois Hollande has just called for the UN protection of areas of Syria which are under opposition control. Hollande says the Syrian leadership has no future and France will recognize an opposition government once it is formed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

FOSTER: Now Western Union is making it easier for (inaudible) to get funds to those in need. The financial services company has launched a global pay plan initiative that'll help move money rapidly through Western Union's global network of agents, providing a quick response to crisis situations.

Hikmet Ersek is the president and CEO of Western Union. He's in New York for the Clinton Global Initiative, where he joins me now live.

Thank you so much for joining us. First of all, just explain how the system will work. How is it going to speed things up for disasters, for example?

HIKMET ERSEK, CEO, WESTERN UNION: Well, if you know, Western Union is a very mission-driven brand. We move about $150 billion every year between consumers and between businesses SMS (ph).

One thing we realize also is that the NGO have the same needs after disaster to move money very fast to the people in need, you know, after disasters are -- after normal needs, they -- the people need the money immediately to buy water, shelter, food, whatever, medicine, whatever their needs are.

But the NGO have problem to move money to the rural areas where the disaster happen. So what we developed is that NGO global pay program which gives the NGO the capability to move money worldwide immediately for in hundred different currencies and that's so the people can take the money really immediately, can buy the goods they needed in that moment.

FOSTER: You're not just experts, though, in moving money, are you? You're experts in tracking it, and that's probably one of the great attractions of the system because there's a lot of corruption involved in distributing aid, because it passes through so many hands. But what you can do, I presume, is to track that money, and if it does disappear, you know at what point is disappeared.

ERSEK: Well, the good thing is here, is that the person really gets the money direct in their hand. And we immediately know where the money goes. It's only one system, one point system. You know, it's from Western Union to Western Union, and we immediately track that the money arrives safely in the people's hands and that's not always the case in other systems.

But in our system, we exactly can track it, that the money arrives on the people hand and it's safe, right, and they can pick up the money. And we educate our customers on the fraud or on the -- onto money laundering, that they don't get misused. We invest a lot on our activities that the people don't have, you know, it's fraudable (sic) activities.

So it's hard-earned money that the people need immediately, and that's very, very important for us. That's one of our core competencies that the people really get the money in their hands immediately, fast. And in 200 countries.

FOSTER: Have you had any resistance from the NGOs? Because you are, in a way, taking a bit of control away from them, of the finances, aren't you, because you're basically bypassing as many people as possible to get the money to the people that need it.

ERSEK: Well, it's not the case. We give actually the NGOs the flexibility that they can distribute the money immediately to the people. In that case, what happens is that it's a direct transfer to the people in the need, you know, when an NGO like Red Cross or like Mercy Corps has need to distribute the money in Indonesia in charter (ph) or in some part of the world which has, you know, the system is not easy to reach to the people, Western Union comes in place.

We have 500,000 locations globally. We are really in the rural areas, where the people need. And we really distribute the money of NGOs direct to the people so they are not stations between it. It goes directly to the people. So it helps actually the NGOs saving money. It's fast and it's managed them easy to manage their funds.

FOSTER: Hikmet Ersek (inaudible) Western Union, thank you very much indeed for joining us.

Well, next how mobile phones are helping feed hungry mouths. In "Our Mobile Society" segment, we look at digital food for those in need.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

FOSTER: Well, your mobile phone is an alarm clock, it's a photo album, games console, personal computer, wallet. Now it's even a means to feed the poor, as the U.N.'s World Food Program goes digital. The U.N. has teamed up with Marscar (ph) to replace physical food distribution with vouchers delivered straight to a person's mobile phone or a smartcard. These can be used in local markets, giving recipients greater choice and benefiting the wider community and the economy.

The WFP aims to deliver 30 percent of aid in cash or digital form by 2015. Ertharin Cousin is the executive director of the World Food Program. I spoke to her earlier and began asking just how the scheme will work.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERTHARIN COUSIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WFP: It's a mobile voucher. It is a digital voucher that they will receive on their cell phone. That, as you know, across the developing world, cell phone technology has increased exponentially, which provides us with an opportunity to reach through this platform now, giving these individuals an opportunity to purchase food in the market.

FOSTER: Rather than queuing up for food, they can then be in power to buy food themselves and put it directly into the local market, for example.

COUSIN: Exactly. What's happened is when you bring food aid in, it does not provide support for that local market, for those small holder farmers.

When we can provide beneficiaries with a voucher, what we are now doing is not only supporting the needs of the beneficiary and their children, but we are supporting the local market, which is creating an economic opportunity, because our goal is always to ultimately provide for the economic development of a community that will ensure that they no longer need benefits from the United Nations.

FOSTER: One question that comes to mind is that people are so poor that you're dealing with, how on Earth have they got a mobile phone? And if they haven't got a mobile phone, how do you then serve those people?

COUSIN: What's interesting and exciting is that mobile technology has developed in such a way that it's cents on the call. And so even for those who are earning less than $2 a day, a mobile phone, a pay-as-you-go mobile phone is available in many if not all the communities that we serve.

In reality, there are some communities where food aid will continue to be the tool that we use to provide support to those who would otherwise go hungry. But in many communities, we see that there is access to mobile technology that gives us the ability to work with this benefit.

FOSTER: In terms of corruption, there's always a concern about corruption and distributing food aid. Is this partly a solution to that as well? Because you're giving the power to the people on the ground as opposed to the workers?

COUSIN: Yes, very much so, because what it does is not only gives us a direct access t other beneficiary, but it also gives us the ability to track how the beneficiary uses the voucher that we provide to them.

We are very clear that the World Food Program has donor intent. And when donors invest in us, they are not providing income support to those we serve. They want to provide for the -- to meet the food needs of the women and children we serve. With this voucher, what it now does is give us direct access to that beneficiary, ensuring that the beneficiary then uses that voucher for the purchase of food.

FOSTER: Well, Ericsson says it's getting easier to connect to remote communities to the Internet. The telecommunications giant has launched a joint initiative with the new Peace Earth Foundation.

And here's the plan. To make mobile broadband readily available, even in conflict zone, using what it's calling PC in the cloud, or cloud computing, and by making handsets really cheap. Now Ericsson will also teach people how to use the technology. First off, it'll train students in South Sudan and in Uganda.

Earlier, the CEO of Ericsson, Hans Vestberg, explained to me how connectivity is spreading very fast, especially in Africa.

HANS VESTBERG, CEO, ERICSSON: (Inaudible) tremendous pace. I mean, you're thinking about five years ago in the area of Africa, it's -- the mobile penetration was very low. I mean, it's just increasing in a tremendous pace. And the reason is, of course, is the use of standard technologies.

So and it's the same Ericsson infrastructure we sell in Africa that we sell here in the U.S., where I am today, so that will bring down the scale. And the same goes for the handsets, which are also using the same technologies and we are all on the bandwagon in industry, where we're borderless.

And that's why we can bring down the prices on the technology and the handsets. And then it's more affordable. It's still more to go. Our prediction is by 2017 it's going to be 5 billion mobile broadband subscribers on Earth. That means we want to triplicate the amount of people having access to Internet in that timeframe.

So there's still more to come and more scale to come in order to penetrate further out, because not all people on this Earth has a mobile phone today. It's roughly 4.3 billion people on the Earth that has a mobile phone, and 6.3 billion mobile subscriptions currently.

FOSTER: Can I ask a very basic question? It's one that we were discussing in the office earlier, which was that even if you do get mobile phones to very, very poor people in Africa, how do they charge them?

VESTBERG: Normally, the normal way of charge in these areas, of course, prepaid. And of course, doing packages that are very much tailored for that area or that village or whatever. This -- and remember also, connectivity can come to the village and not all needs to have a mobile phone.

You can from that connectivity, for the 3D connectivity, of course, transmit out information to many people and not all needs a mobile phone. It can be a health worker that get the access to the phone, that actually can send remote information, doing the most simple information about health care in that rural village as well.

So I think that's what we're seeing happening. And I've spent the last year at the U.N. weekend, it's apparent in all the discussion here that (inaudible) enablers to mitigate some of the challenges (inaudible) around the world. That's (inaudible) technology, the mobile phones, the mobile networks, and the mobile broadband.

FOSTER: So as a major infrastructure supplier, you're pretty confident that most of Africa at some point in the not-too-distant future will have connectivity. So if they do get a phone, they can use it.

VESTBERG: Today, 90, plus-90 percent of the Earth population has mobile coverage, but not all have a mobile phone. That will continue to grow up for maybe 92, 93, 94 percent of the population has a mobile coverage.

Then it's up to us in the industry to see that we can use the same technologies, us mobile operators, and then we can bring down the cost even further in order to penetrate further out. And then we need (inaudible) mobile that are prepaid and the mobile broadband prepaid for 24 hours, et cetera, in order to get everybody to get the possibility to have connectivity to the Internet.

FOSTER: (Inaudible) the head of -- the CEO, rather, of Ericsson speaking to me earlier.

Now our top story was about Madrid and a protest there in Spain. They have another problem on their hands as well, wildfires. Jenny has been monitoring that for us.

Hi, Jenny.

JENNY HARRISON, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Max, these fires that we're talking about began actually Sunday, very strong winds have been coming through ahead of a front which is now beginning to work its way across much of Spain.

But this is the location. So we're looking of course Valencia, eastern Spain, in fact about 60 kilometers to the northwest, but there are dozens of fires that have sprung up over 600 firefighters have been fighting these blazes over 25 helicopters and planes. Remember, it is a mountainous area, but also over 2,000 residents across six different villages did have to be evacuated.

Have a look at these images, because this is what it's looking like by day. Now of course at nighttime, when the fires really got a hold, that was when people had to evacuate. They were given very little warning. The fire, of course, I would imagine even that much more terrifying when it was so dark.

But look at how close the fire is to people's property of course, people still very close as well trying to grab whatever they can. Amazingly, nobody has been injured and in fact, a lot of the residents have been allowed back. But the authorities are saying that the actual cause of the fire is under investigation. Certainly the weather hasn't helped.

Let me show you the area, too, in terms of the drought conditions, because it has been a tremendously dry 12 months across all of Spain. Last winter has gone down as the driest in decades, maybe about 70 years. And as I say, you can see that just everywhere is under some form of drought. And really, the majority of the country suffering from severe or even extreme drought.

There is rain in the forecast, whether it makes it that far south, instead we're still dealing with very heavy rains for the north of Spain across France, the low countries, Germany in particular the U.K. as well, some really heavy totals over the last couple of days.

And although this area of low pressure isn't moving very fast, it will begin here to shift as we go through the next couple of days. It will also weaken, too, as it works further towards the south. But in the meantime, in just the past 24 hours, look at some of these totals, Leeming in North Yorkshire, 75 millimeters of rain, 72 across in Shap.

And in Boulogne in France, wind gusts of 73 kph. But these winds not as strong as they were on Monday, 112 kph, maybe 90 kph on the Isle of Wight in the U.K. These are damaging winds, of course, and the winds still pretty brisk across the northwest. They will ease as that system pushes farther to the south, just a kind of a blustery couple of days there and across the north of Europe.

But do be prepared for some fairly lengthy delays still at the major airports, particularly moving further south with that system, Barcelona and Madrid, and of course, it's also cooling off as that rain comes through and, oh, Oktoberfest, Max, (inaudible) with this, a nice few days generally. It'll cool off here, though, as well, when the rain and the showers come through Thursday and Friday.

FOSTER: Let's all head there, Jenny.

HARRISON: Let's do that.

FOSTER: Thank you very much.

Next we get connected with "The Millennials." They've used the Internet since they were kids. We'll look at how they use it in the grownup world (inaudible).

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(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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FOSTER (voice-over): The answer to the "Currency Conundrum," the question again, who appears cutting sugar cane on the back of the 3 peso notes? It is Che Guevara, A, the Argentinian was a major figure in the Cuban revolution. He remains a national hero in Cuba, where he is remembered for promoting unpaid (inaudible) work like (inaudible).

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FOSTER: The United Nations Broadband (ph) Commission says that more than a third of the world's homes now have Internet access. In an increasingly digital world, being connected has never been easier or more important, actually.

It's something that comes naturally to the Millennial generation, not because of any special skills, but because they've never known any other way. Here's how our bright young things put that to their advantage.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): They are young and confident, educated and ambitious, born in the 1980s, they are the first generation to grow up with the Internet and their thirst for new technology knows no bounds. They're "The Millennials."

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Previously on "The Millennials,"

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) for our new drug (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, I'll give you my cell (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I don't have a dog (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) a promotion. So I just wanted to keep you in the loop on that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): From the moment we started following our Millennials, one thing was clear: staying connected was crucial to their success.

Mili Bongela, the archetypal multitasker, she admits without constant access to email and social media, there simply wouldn't be enough hours in the day.

MILISUTHANDO BONGELA, FASHION BLOGGER: I am most definitely addicted to the cell phone, my cell phone and the Internet. I cannot -- I sleep like this with my phone in my hand, because I've been reading tweets until my eyes close.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This journalist, blogger and boutique owner not only needs to keep herself up to date, but also keep her followers in the loop here at South Africa Fashion Week.

BONGELA: (Inaudible) for now and (inaudible). And then I'll (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's the theater.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Always happy to put on a show is our New York Millennial, budding actor, Michael Burbach. Before he made it to stage school, the Internet was his stage.

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MICHAEL BURBACH, ASPIRING ACTOR: I think the Millennials had to discover the Internet themselves. You know, my parents didn't know how to work, you know, AOL dialup. So with me at 7, 8, 9 years old, I was figuring out how to work the Internet myself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Today, this Millennial is figuring out how to make the Internet work for him.

BURBACH: I'm definitely going to get a website for myself and be on actors' websites because in this business, things don't fall into your lap.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Technology is a way of life for Millennials like Michael, but it's also the main reason why this generation is taking over the workforce.

CHRISTINE HASSLER, MILLENNIAL EXPERT: The way they think and they way they communicate is completely different. They move at a much faster speed mentally (inaudible) before. They are amazing learners.

MARIAN SALZMAN, EURO RSCG WORLDWIDE PR: They come with all the social media tools and tricks embedded them as native.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Social media is more than just a career tool. One of our first Millennials, Joe Braidwood, it was a career opportunity.

When he became chief marketing officer at SwiftKey, a new mobile app.

JOE BRAIDWOOD, CMO, SWIFTKEY: What we've done with SwiftKey is try to make typing much easier for people basically. We've taken some of the breakthroughs that exist in artificial intelligence, natural language processing and some big, kind of lofty technology, and kind of boiled it down into a keyboard on a phone.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Being a part of the mobile technology scene meant Joe always had to be one step ahead.

BRAIDWOOD: What I'm hoping to do now is go into (inaudible) Motorola, which is down here, next to Microsoft, because they've got a tablet there that should have our app on it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): And with more time spent on the road that at home, being constantly on call, (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To me, there's no real distinction between when I'm not working and when I am working. It's, you know, wherever I am.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have been struggling to deal with all my email, to make sure that I'm addressing absolutely everything in my -- in my to-do list.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for coming to the cool (ph). Obviously --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): But David Lloyd, running an intern placement company out of Santiago, Chile, means he also relies heavily on mobile technology.

DAVID LLOYD, MANAGING DIRECTOR, INTERN LATIN AMERICA: We wanted to talk about the rebranding exercise here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): And he also feels the strain on his work-life balance.

LLOYD: It's quite hard to find the girl who is OK with the lifestyle where you're somewhere for three months, somewhere for three months, somewhere for three months, somewhere for three months, constantly moving, chained to the BlackBerry.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): For Millennials, technology's advantage and an addiction all in one. They are all too aware that it's up to their generation to find the right balance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Being able to actually get face-to-face with some of these people and talk to them about what you're doing is so much more powerful than any amount of a massive inbox full of email or you know, a phone call that might not get picked up.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Next week on "The Millennials," the grand opening, months of hard work finally paid off as Sam Bumpass (ph) and Harry Park (ph) usher in (inaudible), only on "The Millennials."

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FOSTER: More to come, of course. In a moment, we'll bring you the latest from the markets.

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FOSTER: U.S. stock markets slightly lower as worries about the global economic growth overshadowed positive economic reports. There was a surge in consumer confidence in September and that helped lift the market earlier in the day.

But that enthusiasm faded by the afternoon as the gloomy outlook from Caterpillar weighed on sentiment. It has cut its forecast for 2015 and the Dow currently down 1/3 of 1 percent. The European markets are finished mostly up, boosted by positive U.S. consumer confidence in the housing data.

The Paris CAC was the best performer, adding nearly half a percent. Stocks paired gains following a gloomy economic forecast from Standard and Poor's. The ratings agency is expecting the Eurozone to shrink 0.8 percent this year, more than had previously been forecast.

Now the British Bankers Association will give up its role in setting the London interbank offered rates, otherwise known as LIBOR. Now the BBA's move comes at the request of the British government which has tried to restore faith in LIBOR after a fixing scandal earlier in the year.

A new system of regulatory structure for the rate is expected to be announced on Friday. LIBOR serves as a benchmark for more than $350 trillion worth of contracts globally. That is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. Thank you so much for watching. I'm Max Foster in London. The headlines are next.

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FOSTER: In Madrid, at least five anti-austerity protesters have been injured in clashes with police. Some protesters threw bottles and rocks at police as they gathered around Spain's Congressional Building. The protesters accused the government and the opposition alike of trying to solve the financial troubles at a cost of its people.

The U.S. president Barack Obama was one of the first speakers at the U.N. General Assembly earlier today. He touched on the conflicts in Syria, the controversy over Iran's nuclear program and the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya. Mr. Obama said, quote, "Violence and intolerance have no place amongst our United Nations."

The U.S. president also spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative conference. He announced a federal plan to combat global human trafficking, which, he said, should be called by its true name, modern slavery. Mr. Obama says it's barbaric and evil and has no place in a civilized world.

Also the at the United Nations general assembly, French President Francois Hollande has called for the U.N. protection of areas of Syria which are under opposition control. Hollande says the Syrian leadership has no future, and France will recognize an opposition government once it's formed.

The international charity, Save the Children, says Syria's civil war is taking a terrible psychological toll on the country's children. Its new report contains personal testimony from young Syrian refugees about the horrific acts of violence they witnessed. It says many Syrian children need help now to deal with their trauma and probably will for years to come.

That's a look at some of the stories we're watching for you here on CNN. "AMANPOUR" is next.

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