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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
Falling Oil Price Hits Currencies; Volatile Day for Oil Prices; Russian Ruble Hits Fresh Low; Russia Cancels South Stream Pipeline Plans; Zero Growth for Russia; Dow Ends in Red; Oil Prices Bounce; European Markets Down; Anxious Cyber Monday After Disappointing Black Friday Weekend; Inside Amazon on Cyber Monday; Fewer Shoppers Expected Cyber Monday; Hackers Steal Company Secrets; Sony Films Surface After Hacking; Syrian Refugees Face Food Shortage; Sting Takes to Broadway Stage; Visitors Tour Fukushima Disaster Zone; WHO Falls Short of Ebola Deadline; Lufthansa Flights Grounded
Aired December 1, 2014 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MAGGIE LAKE, CNN HOST: The Dow slips as volatility continues in the commodity markets. Trading has just come to an end on Monday, December the
The ruble is rocked. Falling oil prices see the Russian currency hit record lows.
After days of heavy selling, energy prices are on the rebound. Tonight, we ask a trader how low can we go.
And an Englishman in New York. Sting will be here live to tell me how he's going to rescue his own Broadway musical.
I'm Maggie Lake, this is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
Tonight, the fall in oil prices is having a devastating effect on the currencies of major oil producers. Let's start in Russia. The ruble
posted its biggest intra-day loss against the dollar since the financial crisis of 1998. It recovered slightly following an apparent intervention
by the central bank.
In Nigeria, the naira hit an all-time low against the dollar, despite the country's central bank also intervening. The government had already
pledged to cut spending.
And in Venezuela, the fall in oil prices is exposing an economy in trouble. The bolivar had hit a new low against the dollar on the black market. It
has fallen 50 percent over the past four months.
Now, oil prices went on a roller coaster ride Monday. After an early fall, Brent prices bounced back. They are now up around 3.8 percent for the day.
Now, as the price of oil has plummeted over the past few months, so has the value of the Russian ruble. Six years ago, $1 was worth 23 rubles. Today,
it's nearly twice that. The ruble has lost more than a third of its value this year alone.
And it's not just the government that's feeling the pinch. The deputy chairwoman of the Russian Central Banks predicts consumer prices are likely
to rise 9 percent this year, and more than 10 percent in 2015.
Well, joining me now, Sergei Guriev is an economics professor at Sciences Po in Paris. He joins us live. Sergei, thank you so much for being with
us today. When we hear about the ruble hitting levels we haven't seen -- or declines that we haven't seen since 1998, it understandably makes people
nervous. What kind of shape are Russia's finances in? Can they withstand this market action?
SERGEI GURIEV, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS, SCIENCES PO: Thank you very much for inviting me, Maggie. I think today's fall, and then a certain increase
in the (inaudible) is not as devastating as it used to be in the 1990s, but it is a big shock for everybody.
And today and in recent weeks, the ruble's dynamics was following oil prices closely. But of course, sanctions and capital outflow also
LAKE: We saw there was talk that perhaps the central bank was intervening even though they said that they would let the market determine the ruble's
level. What does this do to their credibility? What do you make of those reports?
GURIEV: I think the central bank so far has done a good job arguing that the floating ruble can actually help Russia to buffer the shock, to support
the competitiveness of Russian firms and consumers. So far, it's trying to maintain the floating exchange rate regime.
But of course, shocks like this are not good for credibility, are not good for financial stability. And if volatility like this continues, it will be
a major problem for the Russian financial sector and will probably result in further capital outflow.
LAKE: And what does it mean for Putin? How much of a problem will it be for Vladimir Putin?
GURIEV: There's no sound.
LAKE: OK. Sorry about that. We seem to be having some audio issues with Sergei. We'll see if we can get back to him if possible.
Meanwhile, Russia has canceled plans for a major gas pipeline to Southern Europe. President Putin is blaming European officials for putting up
obstacles to the so-called South Stream Project. The pipeline would have crossed the Black Sea, bypassing Ukraine. President Putin says instead,
Russia will boost gas shipments to Turkey and may build a hub on the border between Turkey and Greece.
Now, the head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development says Russia's energy situation is one of the reasons it will see -- the country
will see zero growth for next year. He told our emerging markets editor John Defterios that Russia has plenty on its plate aside from just the fall
SUMA CHAKRABARTI, EUROPEAN BANK FOR RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT: I think certainly Russia has been hit partly by the oil price, of course, and
partly by sanctions. And we are seeing, essentially, the economic growth in Russia slowing down very, very fast.
And that is going to affect Russia, of course, but it's also affecting the countries around Russia, who depend on remittances from laborers in Russia,
trade with Russia. It's hitting Central Asia and parts of Eastern Europe as well.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: What's your projecting from the EBRD for Russia stretching through 2015 as a result of the sell-off
that we see today in the ruble?
CHAKRABARTI: Close to zero growth. Very close, I think, to zero growth for next year.
DEFTERIOS: And you don't see anything improving that scenario because of the politics that we see at play as well?
CHAKRABARTI: Well, I think the sanctions picture doesn't get improved unless the geopolitics changes. And that would -- that's obviously in the
hands of Western countries and Russia together to work on that.
The oil price situation depends on other factors. So I think one part of the picture could change, if the geopolitics changes. The other part is
very much more market-driven, it seems to me.
DEFTERIOS: We've seen a more than $40 correction in oil prices since June. Is the next real challenge for the EBRD going to be the oil exporters that
are suffering so badly because their currencies are under pressure? Russia, you've had to step out because of the politics, but is this the
next real financial crisis?
CHAKRABARTI: I'm not so sure that it will be. I think many of these oil producers are pretty well cushioned with their reserves and so on. But
undoubtedly the oil prices are affecting a number of economies. It will hit a number of their budgets, for example, quite clearly.
So, take another country, like Kazakhstan, one we work very happily in. Clearly, their budget will be a bit more under pressure than it was a few
months ago because of the oil price as well.
DEFTERIOS: The Middle East have taken a very different tack when it comes to the oil producers. They're deciding now to kind of challenge the shale
producers of the United States. They'll have to live with less revenue. Are they going to be as willing to put money into the EBRD for the Arab
Spring transition economy? This is a key question for you.
CHAKRABARTI: Well, I'm here in the Gulf to really try and build this strong partnership with the United Arab Emirates, with Kuwait, with Saudi
Arabia. Countries which are absolutely fundamentally important in their relationship with North Africa, where we now are, in Morocco, Tunisia,
Egypt, and Jordan.
And the message I've heard here, certainly in Abu Dhabi, has been a strong message of support of continuing to put money into these countries, backing
reforms in Egypt, in Jordan, for example. And also wanting, really, to partner with EBRD in doing so.
LAKE: Let's go back, now, to Sergei Guriev, who joins us once again from Paris. Sergei, thank you for bearing with us through our problem. We were
talking about what this means for Vladimir Putin. How will this impact? Can he maintain a grip on power as the economy deteriorates?
GURIEV: Well, the most important implication is that normal people will see that something is not going on in the right direction. Because
government now controls the media, both the TV and newspapers and internet, with just a couple of independent channels and newspapers and one or two
independent TV channels remaining.
But exchange rate is something that you cannot control. It's the media that gets right at you, either through exchange rate in the banks -- in
bank branches, or in terms of prices in a department store.
And in that sense, of course it is a voice and a development for the government. And we will see how the government will react. But I think
the major challenge is what's going to happen over the next couple of years when Russian banks and corporations have to replace something like $300
And this is going to be a challenge, given that capital inflows are dried up, and reserves of the central bank are large, but still are limited.
LAKE: OK, Sergei, thank you so much for joining us. We continue to have a little bit of a problem with the shot, so we're going to leave it there,
but we appreciate your insight. Thank you so much. Sergei Guriev for us.
Well, US stocks ended in the red. The Dow closed down 49 points even as those oil prices rallied. A short time ago, I spoke with Peter Amandio.
He is the president at Chicago Energies. And I asked him what was behind that rise we saw in oil prices.
PETER AMANDIO, PRESIDENT, CHICAGO ENERGIES: Finally, we had a pretty good bounce where you had high volume in the rally off these lows. So, you made
a new long-term low of $63.75, and for it to come back up over $5 from that is quite impressive. And what really makes it impressive is that we
finally had a rally with good volume.
Now, for the long term, I wouldn't say that we've actually turned a corner yet, because I always say, in 2008, we went to $140 when the dollar was
very depressed. When the dollar came back, we pulled all the way back to $33 without North American shale. And I think if you're going to be a
bottom picker at these levels, you'd better keep that in mind just in case it goes further than you think.
LAKE: So, what is driving the long-term fundamentals? Is this about OPEC or is this about slowing global growth?
AMANDIO: I think it has to do with slowing global growth, slowing demand, a glut in supply, and the North American shale that we haven't had before.
LAKE: Is there any involvement -- every time we see a lot of volatility in oil, everyone blames the speculators, blame the hedge funds. Is this the
market that is trading on those fundamentals, or is there something more going on? Especially when you look at the speed of some of these moves.
AMANDIO: It seems quite fundamental right now, more fundamental than I've seen in a long time.
LAKE: So, Peter, we're talking about a floor. You said it's hard to be a bottom-picker here, but is there any indication where there is support?
Are we looking at $60? Are we looking at something steeper?
AMANDIO: Well, like I said, it's very hard to be a bottom-picker here, because if you keep it in mind that in 2009, with higher Chinese demand,
with North American shale production not being in the market, we pulled back to $33. And I've been around for 25 years, I've seen it at $9, I've
seen it at $140. And to me, even $50 is a high price for oil. But at anytime, it could turn around.
LAKE: Peter, when we talk about players here, there's a lot of politics involved right now, whether you look at OPEC, about the relations within
OPEC, about those US shale producers. Who is going to be key? Who are you watching in the market in terms of what is ultimately going to determine
what the price is here?
AMANDIO: Well, at some point, OPEC stepping in and making some cuts, that may happen. But at the very beginning of this move, when the Brent market
was $85, they came out and made statements to almost make it go lower, saying that they thought it was worth $80. Made it fall from there.
And I think what they were trying to do all along is to see lower prices to get their competitors out of the market, which would be the North American
LAKE: In Europe, a down day for the major markets as energy stocks tumbled once again. BP, Shell declined even though oil prices rebounded from a
five-year low. Mining shares, including BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto also fell after weaker-than-expected economic data from China and the eurozone.
Well, can Cyber Monday save the shopping season? If this weekend was any indication, US retailers may need a miracle. We're live from a gigantic
Amazon warehouse next.
LAKE: It's just over four weeks until Christmas and the retail frenzy is in full force. But there are differing fortunes on opposite sides of the
Atlantic. Here in the US, it's an anxious Cyber Monday after the biggest shopping weekend of the year didn't quite live up to expectations. Total
spending over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend fell 11 percent from last year. It's expected to reach $51 billion. That is down from $57 billion
Now, compared to scenes like this in the UK on Black Friday, one newspaper called it the day the UK went mad for shopping. British bargain hunters
pushed and shoved to get their hands on massively discounted items.
Not just in the stores, but online, too. One e-tailer is hoping the Black Friday frenzy continues into Cyber Monday. Jim Boulden takes a look inside
JIM BOULDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the Amazon Distribution Center in Peterborough, England, one of eight they have here
in the UK. And of course, it's a very busy day being Cyber Monday.
Last Cyber Monday, 2013, was a record day for Amazon, 4.1 million items were sold. But it's not clear if this Cyber Monday will be another record
day for Amazon, because here in the UK, Black Friday was its biggest day ever.
CHRIS POAD, DIRECTOR, AMAZON UK: And today, of course, is Cyber Monday. Traditionally, our biggest day of the year, the biggest shopping day of the
year online. Last year, 4.1 million items ordered.
But just three days ago, on Black Friday, we really had an extraordinary day, 5.5 million items ordered. That's the same as 46 items per second.
So, to beat that, today's going to have to be an enormous day.
BOULDEN: Now, Cyber Monday, the first Monday of December, stems from the theory that we used to worry about when our goods would be delivered if we
ordered them online. Would they make it for Christmas? Those days are long gone, says Amazon. In fact, you can still order on Christmas Eve
before midday with guaranteed delivery on Christmas Eve.
But still, that won't stop people from shopping online early this December. In fact, next Monday is called Manic Monday. For those who feel they might
have waited too long to order their goods online.
Jim Boulden, CNN, Peterborough, England.
LAKE: I think this could be a long month. Well, the US National Retail Federation predicts fewer people are shopping this Cyber Monday, about 127
million this year versus 131 million last year. Let's go over to Stephanie Elam at Amazon's warehouse in San Bernardino, California.
And Stephanie, it looks like things are busy, because your shot is shaking a little bit as everybody sort of hustles to get that stuff packed. But
what are you seeing there? Is it as busy, I suppose, as they had hoped?
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is busy in here. We watched it get busy, too. If you take a look at this space, it is massive. It is the
size of 28 American football fields. And inside of this building, there are some 15 million products. And that's in any Amazon facility, just
about, to give or take a few.
And if you take a look at how they go through and they pick out the products that need to be, then, sent off to their customers, it's a whole
process. And we saw how they pick those things off.
But then they've got to figure out how they're going to get them out to the customers, and a big part of that is, well, packing. And so, we're going
to talk to Kathleen over here. Kathleen is busy packing up what may be someone's holiday gift here. Kathleen, how do you know how to pack these
gifts up? I'm assuming they're gifts.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I get a nice computer screen that tells me what order goes to what item, and my tote here is full of items that have
individual orders attached to them. As I'm scanning items, they attach themselves to orders. I place it on our slam line here to get a shipping
label so I can get that to the packer -- or to the customer.
ELAM: To the customer. And this sticker in your hand right here is really important. Tell me about it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, this sticker right here attaches this item to that spool so that it can get the right shipping information so it can get
to the right customer on time.
ELAM: Awesome. Thanks, Kathleen. We'll let you get back to it. It's really quite efficient, how they're able to do that. And when you look at
the conveyor system here, there is a system of eight miles worth of conveyors here within this building, just within this one building. And
some of these belts, they go about 25 miles per hour. They are moving them speedily to get them out of here.
And even if you live close to one of these facilities, it doesn't mean that what you're ordering is coming from there. They have a very efficient
system of getting things to you. This is is Scott with Amazon. Scott, part of what's really important here is the labeling. Tell me about this
SCOTT STANZEL, AMAZON SPOKESMAN: Yes. So, as the packers are putting the items in the boxes for the customers, the last thing they do is apply that
white label. And what that tells the computer is, where does this need to go? What's in the box? Who needs to get it, and how fast?
And this system measures the weight of the box and decides, OK, we need to print a label, we need to apply it to the box, we need to get it out of
here on the correct truck at the correct time.
And so, this last -- this is really the second-to-last step before the customer order gets on to the truck to get out of here and make it to their
ELAM: So, one of the things, too, when you're shopping on Amazon, you'll see, it'll say order within the next hour and 31 minutes, and you can get
this by tomorrow. You really do have that down to a science.
STANZEL: It's very precise. We know that if you place an order at that very second, it will take us approximately this long to pack it up. It
takes us approximately that long to get it on the truck and to make it to you in time to meet that delivery promise.
And that guarantee, that promise to that customer, is very important, particularly this time of year when people are shopping for those holiday
ELAM: Right. And this is an important time not just for the customers, but also for the companies. The fourth quarter is massively important to
retailers. No different here. Here at Amazon, you had -- let's see, what is it? -- on average, 426 orders per second?
STANZEL: That's correct. Last year on Cyber Monday, it was our busiest day of all time, a record-breaking 426 items per second were ordered.
ELAM: So, when you take a look at that, it's got to be efficient, and they really are here.
LAKE: It certainly does. Stephanie, thank you for bringing that. I think we've gotten so used to shopping online that we forget everything that goes
behind it, which has made it so easy for all of us. There's a lot of logistics involved.
I unfortunately have not had enough time to do my online shopping, but I'm going to get to it. Stephanie, thank you so much.
ELAM: Me, either.
LAKE: That's right. We're working too hard.
Well, cyber attacks are a constant threat to companies, and it is no laughing matter. Still to come, in another new security breach, hackers
are targeting Wall Street, and they're stealing secrets.
LAKE: In a security breach unlike any other, a group dubbed FIN4 has stolen sensitive information from more than 100 publicly-traded companies.
All but three of the firms are listed on the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ, and most are in the health care and pharmaceutical industries.
The hackers appear to know Wall Street well. Their apparent motive, to use the information to manipulate the markets. Joining us is Jason Steer, he's
director of technology strategy at FireEye, the cyber security experts who uncovered the attack.
Jason, thank you so much for joining us today. How did you become aware of this? And do we know exactly who these people are, or at least where
they're operating from?
JASON STEER, DIRECTOR OF TECHNOLOGY STRATEGY, FIREEYE: Well, I think, Maggie, these are some great questions to ask. And I think for many
organizations around the world, these are questions that are still quite difficult to understand.
So, the things that we've revealed from the report today were very much focused on where we see the attackers emerging from. And using the tour
network to log onto some of these targeted organizations to access their e- mail to really understand what are their plans inside their acquisitions and mergers and legal information and market plans.
So, I guess the reality is, it's very difficult to track attackers today, but we can look at some of the infrastructure that they steal data and move
it to. We can look at some of the patterns in the websites and the domains that they use to operate these attacks via.
And it leads to some of the threads of the attack that we can join together to truly really start to build a picture of what these attacks look like
and the impact of them currently.
LAKE: A profile. And when you listen to this, it sounds like -- I think we're very used to sort of cyber criminals going after personal
information, stolen credit cards, stolen identities, to try to -- this seems to be what we would consider insider trading. This seems to be
different than what we've seen before.
STEER: Yes, certainly, I would say that the motive seems to be certainly fluctuating markets, having inside information to stocks, and plans which,
if we look at the health care and pharmaceutical markets, they do have high fluctuations based on new drugs launching, on legal case of drug problems,
So, certainly insider trading. But then, probably longer-term. Just understanding what these organizations are building, investing, challenging
new markets, and strategies at the board level really give great insights long term, not just for short-term financial gain. So, I don't think we
should underestimate the long-term incentives of this information as well.
LAKE: And Jason, do we have any idea how big this group is? How many people are operating it? And is it possible that they have help from the
STEER: Quite possibly. This is the -- the speculation across the industry that remains difficult is it could be the work of one or two people, it
could be the work of hundreds of people. And as we've seen before, when we revealed the APT1 report last year, it's very difficult to get a true sense
of the sophistication, the scale of these people behind attacks.
So, it's only now that we've gathered enough information to really start to join some of the dots of these attacks together. And there's probably a
huge amount of more information yet to gather to really build a more clear understanding of how it's being built and developed, I'm afraid.
LAKE: Yes. A new stage for Wall Street to grapple with, and no doubt very much now on the radar thanks to you guys of the federal officials. Jason
Steer, from FireEye, thanks so much for joining us.
Well, it is a hard-knock life for "Annie," and for Sony, the film studio behind the remake of the musical.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(MUSIC - "HARD-KNOCK LIFE" FROM "ANNIE")
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Annie's never going to find her family. None of us are.
QUVENZHANE WALLIS AS ANNIE, "ANNIE": We all have families somewhere.
ROSE BYRNE AS GRACE, "ANNIE": Just because you can run for mayor doesn't mean that you should.
JAMIE FOXX AS WILL STACKS, "ANNIE": The city needs me.
BYRNE AS GRACE: All right, take it easy, Batman.
(MUSIC - "HARD-KNOCK LIFE" FROM "ANNIE")
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAKE: Well, "Annie" was due for release on December 19th, but already, copies are available online. Sony Pictures admits it has been the target
of a major hack attack, and the FBI is said to be involved in the investigation.
It seems Sony has its suspicions about who is behind the hacking attack, and Samuel Burke has the story for us from London. So, Samuel, who does
Sony think is doing this?
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Maggie. Sony is looking into the possibility that North Korea is behind this hacking.
That's according to Re/code, a very well-respected technology journal in Silicon Valley.
Now, why would Hong Kong -- rather, why would North Korea have something against Sony? Well, this movie called "The Interview" is coming out in a
couple of weeks.
And it stars -- it's a comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, and they're celebrity journalists who get an interview with Kim Jong-un, the
North Korean leader. And along the way, the CIA enlists them in an assassination plot against that North Korean leaders.
But the regime in Pyongyang has not been happy with this movie. They've been fuming about it for weeks, Maggie. They even called it an
"undisguised" -- they called it "undisguised terrorism" and a "war action."
A spokesperson even went on to say, quote, "Those who defamed our supreme leadership and committed the hostile acts against the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea can never escape the stern punishment to be meted out." So, I think Sony is now looking to see if that "stern punishment" is what
they're receiving right now, Maggie.
LAKE: Yes. I'm sure they're going to try to get to the bottom of it. In the meantime, there was also some celebrity information that may have been
hacked along with this and maybe leaked. It's going to be a huge problem for Sony.
BURKE: Yes, not just films that aren't even out in theaters yet, that are now the top movies downloaded on websites like the Pirate Bay. These
hackers have also published lists of celebrity documents. The passport of Angelina Jolie, visas of actresses like Cameron Diaz, associated with Sony
Pictures, listed these documents that they alleged to have, and they say they might publish.
So, anybody who sends their social security number, their password over e- mail to their work, this is -- really represents the possibility of what can happen when everything is stored up in the Cloud, when a whole company
relies on Cloud computing and e-mail.
Also, e-mail hasn't been working for much of Sony, they've actually had to pick up the phone and call each other. So, also a signal to businesses
that you have to have the contingency plan in place, make phone calls, know who to call, lists of numbers, Maggie, in the event that crucial
information and technology goes down, like e-mail, you might actually have to call each other, Maggie.
LAKE: Which is shocking, and you'd be surprised, a lot of us don't have that information around. I think, Samuel, this once again underscores the
fact that a lot of companies are not spending and taking the precautions that they need to to prevent something like this from happening in the
It's a complaint we hear from cyber security experts all the time, and once again seems to be something I'm sure is going to enter the discussion. All
right, Samuel, thanks so much for bringing us up-to-date. Great to see you.
Well, coming up, a warning from the United Nations. A funding crisis at the World Food Program could mean millions of Syrian refugees will go
LAKE: Welcome back. I'm Maggie Lake. This is CNN. Here are the top news stories we are following for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAKE (voice-over): At least 16 border guards have been killed and four more seriously wounded after an attack by suspended ISIS militants on the
border between Iraq and Syria. Local officials in Anbar province say it was a surprise attack early Monday morning. The crossing is the only one
still controlled by Iraqi forces.
In Hong Kong, pro-democracy protesters fought with police late Sunday night and into the early hours of Monday morning. The clashes were some of the
most violent since demonstrations began more than two months ago.
Russia's ruble has been hit by the recent fall in oil prices. The currency has suffered its biggest one-day fall since 1998. Last week's decision by
OPEC not to cut global oil production is partly to blame.
U.S. President Barack Obama has announced a new police task force. He's also meeting with elected officials and law enforcement along with civil
rights and religious leaders, this after riots in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Mr. Obama is due to speak on the
on rush (ph) shortly. We will bring you those comments as soon as we have them.
The World Health Organization is reporting progress in the fight against Ebola but says much work still needs to be done. It says Guinea and
Liberia have met targets for curbing the outbreak but Sierra Leone lags behind because of a lack of facilities to treat patients.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAKE: More than 1.7 million Syrian refugees could face starvation this month. The United Nations says a funding crisis at the World Food
Programme has halted a program that offers food vouchers to the displaced. It says $64 million are needed immediately to continue providing aid.
Arwa Damon reports from Istanbul.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Around 1.7 million of the poorest Syrian refugees are now going to struggle even more when it comes to trying to
find ways to feed their families. The World Food Programme has just announced that it is suspending its food vouchers.
These are vouchers that were given out to families that they could then use in local markets. A lot of those that we had spoken to that relied on
these vouchers were constantly telling us that they still had to supplement them. The suspension of this program means it's going to be even harder to
make ends meet and to feed children, especially as winter is drawing closer.
The World Food Programme is warning that this has potentially disastrous consequences, not just for the Syrian families, but for the countries that
are trying to host. The main reason behind the suspension of this program is the lack of money. There quite simply is not the funding.
And many of those donor countries or others that had pledged financial assistance to the World Food Programme, well, that money simply has not
come through. This is a source of great frustration for the Syrian population, especially the refugee population, who are constantly wondering
why it is that the world is willing to seemingly stand by as they fall victim to violence and fate over which they have little control.
This is something that global donors can actually do something about. The World Food Programme says it urgently needs $64 million so it can start the
program up again for December -- Arwa Damon, CNN, Istanbul.
LAKE: The emergency coordinator for Syria at the World Food Programme told Becky Anderson suspending the program will have major consequences for
millions of refugees and the countries supporting them.
MUHANNAD HADI, REGIONAL EMERGENCY COORDINATOR FOR SYRIA, WFP: And let's be clear: the Syrian crisis is by far a political crisis. But in absence of
a political solution, there's only the humanitarian solution to support. And the world needs to stand by the Syrian people until this crisis are
So we're appealing for all the -- for the donor countries. We are also appealing for the countries in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf
States, to support this operation. It's tragedy. I mean, there are hundreds of thousands of Syrians in this harsh weather condition, living in
tents and makeshift shelter.
Already facing a lot of challenges and with now the -- this -- the interruption in the food, the suspension of the food, to them, I actually
don't know how they will survive. I mean, for me personally, not only as a humanitarian worker, for the World Food Programme, but as a parent, as a
father of three children, I don't know what a father would tell his children or how a mother would explain to her kids tomorrow or actually
today that we haven't received food from the World Food Programme.
It's a tragedy for us.
ANDERSON: Muhannad, it's not just about food. This assistance program, also pumps money into the economies of these host countries as the vouchers
are used in the shops. So stopping this assistance effectively turns off what is an injection of cash into what are some of the region's poorest
economies. And I think the impact on the host communities of the enormity of the Syrian refugee problem is one that goes underreported, doesn't it?
HADI: Absolutely. I mean, so far, the World Food Programme injected more than $800 million in the economies of the neighboring countries. Most of
it went into the economies of Lebanon and Jordan. And those are economies that are already having their own challenges and with the added burden of
the refugees, they are facing much more challenges.
So when you have this amount of cash to inject directly into the economies, it's definitely supporting the host communities and the governments.
LAKE: We have plenty more coverage of this story in the hours ahead. And if you want to find out ways that you can help, you can go online. Head to
cnn.com where you can find information about getting involved.
Well, up next, Sting is here. The musician is taking to the Broadway stage in his musical, "The Last Ship." But he's here first after this short
LAKE (voice-over): He's an English man on Broadway. Sting is taking to the stage to star in his musical, "The Last Ship." It's a story of passion
and hope, single play a foreman who rallies his struggling community to build a ship meant to sail around the world. It is also a story of
Sting made his debut as a Broadway composer writing the songs like this one.
(VIDEO CLIP, "THE LAST SHIP")
LAKE: And Sting joins us now.
Thank you so much for being with us today.
STING, MUSICIAN: Pleasure to be here.
LAKE: So this is making a lot of headlines, Sting to the rescue, not only for your show, but some hope for the Broadway season. It's a lot of
What are you hoping to.
STING: You know, ordinary musicals on Broadway are struggling in the same way. But we have a unique situation where the writer of the music and the
songs is actually able to take its place, take the place of the wonderful actor who's playing him, Jimmy Nail, and lo and behold, last week we had a
stellar week at the box office. So that seems to be working. So got to stay afloat.
LAKE: Now I saw that first-hand because I went to see it last night. And there was a lot of fantastic vibe. I have to tell the audience and I saw a
lot of people going to the window to pick up some tickets.
This is -- it's called "The Last Ship." But this is about much more than shipbuilding, isn't it? This is really very personal to you.
STING: Oh, I was born in a shipyard town in the northeast of England, literally in the shadow of a shipyard with giant ships over the house. And
so this has been in my consciousness for many, many years. But it's a story -- it's a love story. There's a beautiful heroine who has two
suitors. So there's a story of a father and a son and a story of a community that's struggling to retain its identity, its work, its reason
LAKE: It struck me when I was watching it that you talk about it being from your youth. But it could be today. I mean, there are so many people
who are feeling that same sense of being displaced, about a changing future, an uncertain future.
STING: I think in the West, you know, we -- the thing about being displaced by losing at work, it's the same as happened in Detroit. Any
city with a post-industrial experience will understand the themes of this play. But they're universal. They're universal.
LAKE: Now you mentioned that a lot of Broadway shows are struggling.
Why do you think it is that it's so hard, no matter what the review, no matter the audience reception. I mean, there was a standing ovation last
night. And yet it's so difficult. Why is that?
STING: You know, most Broadway musicals are based on an existing piece of work, a movie, you know, or a fairy tale everyone knows. This is a ground-
up original musical. And so it's not something that people know about. And we fight a battle on two fronts.
In the theater, we win the battle every day. We get a standing ovation every day and people love it. But outside the perception is do I really
want to see a musical about a shipyard? Is that really what I want?
The fact is, it's a very uplifting, rollicking celebration of community and it's not depressing at all. But it's also a serious musical, if that's not
a contradiction in terms.
LAKE: It is. And when something's original, you don't have the sort of that generation. A revival is easy enough; there's some familiarity with
What is going to be the hardest part for you? You've worn many hats in your career, but now you've got to get up in front of a live.
STING: The hardest part for me was to ask the permission of Jimmy, who's playing this character now extremely well. I mean, and saying we need to
do this. And he said absolutely, no problem. This is the right thing to do for the play.
He passed me the baton and I will pass it back to him. That was the hardest thing. It's the -- I'm just very excited about going on and doing
it. I know it kind of back to front, because I've seen every performance - -
LAKE: -- don't have to learn the words or the music --
STING: -- and so I'm happy to take up the baton.
LAKE: You said this broke writer's block for you. You hadn't written in years until you did this. You could have done an album, though. Why did
you chose (sic) live theater since it is so tough?
STING: There are very few places now where you can present a body of songs in the sequence that you meant them to be heard in. In other words, people
don't listen to albums anymore. They listen to playlists. So they'll listen to one of your songs and somebody else's.
So that idea of a concept is gone. So the live theater is probably the only -- one of the only places left where you can do that, where people sit
for two hours and they hear your idea evolving.
LAKE: (INAUDIBLE). That's very interesting. Where do you come down with the technologies change -- we don't listen to albums. We don't -- even the
way we listen has morphed in the last couple of years.
Where do you come down on this streaming debate?
STING: You know, it is evolving. It's -- what it is today will not be what it is in five years. I think it needs to be more equitable. I think
musicians need to be paid, particularly people starting out. The idea of becoming a musician and making a living as a musician is more and more
difficult. It's easy for me. It's fine. I've made my fortune, if you like.
But young musicians, like I have two children who are musicians, trying to make a living. And it's difficult. We need to be paid.
LAKE: Some people say, well, oh, this gives them a platform; otherwise they'd have to go to the machine and the middlemen are cut out and it's
actually better for artists. (INAUDIBLE) the streaming --
STING: That may be true, but I think the debate is an important one. And I was very -- I admired Taylor Swift for raising the debate into the public
sphere because not many people knew about it.
LAKE: Yes, as consumers, we tend to sort of group it all together. Just think of it as another device, I think.
Do you have -- back to the play, do you have a favorite? I know it's like asking who your favorite child is, but do you have a favorite act or a
favorite moment in the play for people who might want to (INAUDIBLE) the music and check it out first before they --
STING: The play ends with we launch a ship at the end. And there's an emotional charge at the end of that play, which it takes everyone by
surprise, and you see the whole audience lift up with this feeling of emotion. And they stand up. It's quite -- (INAUDIBLE) say surprise, but
it's very, very charged.
LAKE: Yes, it is. I would agree. That was one of my favorite -- and one of my favorite songs actually.
Would you do this again, knowing what you know about Broadway and the difficulty -- because the difference between making it successful -- and
the reviews have been fantastic for the music and the play itself.
But would you go through it all again --
STING: I'd love to be offered the opportunity to do it again, absolutely.
LAKE: -- off by the --
STING: No. I mean, I knew it was difficult. It is difficult. It's the most difficult thing you could possibly do on Broadway is to do a musical,
especially an original one. But I like to succeed against the odds.
LAKE: We're a body that's sort of hooked on binge watching on our tablets. Why is it important to go to live theater?
STING: Live theater is that we all enter a kind of darkened cave, the audience and the cast. And we create this kind of ritual where we dream.
You know, we create a metaphor onstage and everyone goes on -- literally goes on board with us for 2.5 hours.
It's a magical place.
LAKE: Sting, thank you so much for being with us. And for anyone who wants to check it out, December 9th through January 10th, I believe, Sting
is going to be there ready to entertain, on board, so to speak. Thank you, Sting.
STING: Thank you.
LAKE: Well, it's the tour of one of the most devastated places on Earth, but now tourists are heading to Fukushima in Japan. We'll show you what
they saw, next.
LAKE: The city of Fukushima in Japan remains devastated, nearly four years after an earthquake and tsunami caused a nuclear disaster. Thousands of
people died and the area became a wasteland. Now tourguides are taking people through those abandoned neighborhoods. Will Ripley shows us what
they're trying to achieve.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The first thing people ask about is the radiation. Is it even safe to go in when most are kept out?
Our local government tourguide says contamination levels are low, allowing quick trips into the safer parts of Fukushima prefecture, still empty from
the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
Nearly four years later outsiders are getting a rare look at this desolate, abandoned place, damaged from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami sits
untouched. Crumbling buildings are falling further into disrepair. Weeds are slowly taking over.
RIPLEY: What do they say when you see it for the first time?
KENICHI BAMBA, TOUR ORGANIZER, BRIDGE FOR FUKUSHIMA: At first they say, "Unbelievable."
RIPLEY (voice-over): Nobody can live here, not yet. Fear lingers about the invisible threat from radiation, released by the damaged reactors.
Soil and groundwater is contaminated.
RIPLEY: Agriculture gone.
RIPLEY: Businesses closed.
RIPLEY: So what's left?
RIPLEY (voice-over): Kenichi Bamba says these tours are part of a long- term plan to rebuild Fukushima prefecture. For him, a painful, personal task.
RIPLEY: You're from Fukushima.
BAMBA: Yes, absolutely.
RIPLEY: What do you think when you look around at all this damage?
BAMBA: I came here several times but still, I cannot say anything. Just sad. Just sad.
RIPLEY (voice-over): The nuclear plant is being taken apart. It'll take decades and billions of dollars to make it safe. I was there a few months
ago, forced to wear protective gear. It's one of the most dangerous places on Earth and it's visible in the distance, far too close for many to ever
feel safe here again.
Surveys show only about a fifth of former residents even want to come back. For many, moving on is easier than facing this.
RIPLEY: We're standing 2 kilometers, more than a mile from the coast. Yet here sits a boat that was picked up and dumped by the tsunami. Boats and
cars are all over this field, reminders of all the people who died here.
RIPLEY (voice-over): Akiko Kikisuka (ph) prays for her mother and father- in-law. Small shrines like this are everywhere.
"It's been almost four years," she says, "and it's still so sad to come here and remember that they're gone."
Fukushima tourguides hope by sharing the plight of these people others will be inspired to come here and rebuild.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to encourage local people for revitalization of Fukushima.
RIPLEY (voice-over): They hope this school gym, graduation banner still hanging, will have students again. This dusty piano will have someone to
play it. And this nuclear ghost town will someday be brought back to life -- Will Ripley, CNN, Fukushima, Japan.
LAKE: Today marks an important deadline in the fight against Ebola. The World Health Organization reports that two of the three worst affected
countries in West Africa are close to meeting their targets. But one is still lagging behind. CNN's Atika Shubert has the details.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Now by today, December 1st, the U.N. wanted to have 70 percent of those infected with Ebola under treatment and
70 percent of the victims who have died from the disease safely buried. That, they say, would successfully contain the outbreak with the ultimate
goal of getting 100 percent of Ebola cases by January 2015.
Now the good news is Guinea and Liberia have isolated more than 70 percent of Ebola patients. But Sierra Leone is still lagging behind particularly
in hot spots in the western part of the country. Now the World Health Organization said it has dramatically increased the number of hospital beds
and isolation units in all three countries. But the WHO warns it still needs to trace every case of Ebola to stop the outbreak.
BRUCE AYLWARD, WHO: We've got to get to 100 percent safe burials, 100 percent isolation and then 100 percent patients being found, contacts being
traced. That's how you solve Ebola.
SHUBERT: Now as of November 29th, the World Health Organization says 6,928 people have died from Ebola, more than 15,000 have been infected. Now 99
percent of those cases come from these three countries. And you can see Liberia and Sierra Leone have the vast majority of infections. So why is
Ebola still spreading?
Well, one problem is traditional burials, where family members wash the body as part of the funeral. Take this particular example. Ebola victims
in Guinea traveled to Kenema, Sierra Leone, to get help from a traditional healer. She later died of Ebola. Now well wishers came from all over to
bury her. More than 300 came and as many as 365 people were inspected at her funeral and later died in different areas.
Now the WHO estimates that 20 percent of new Ebola infections occur like this. Now there is some good news. U.S. researchers at the National
Institutes of Health say an experimental vaccine is now being tested on volunteer medical workers in West Africa. And the initial results are
promising. But it seems unlikely that Ebola will be contained by the end of this year -- Atika Shubert, CNN, London.
LAKE: Coming up, Lufthansa planes are on the ground in another two-day strike. We'll have the latest after the break.
LAKE: Misery for thousands of Lufthansa passengers; a two-day pilot strike has disrupted flights out of Germany's financial hub, Frankfurt. More than
1,000 flights have been canceled Monday and Tuesday. It's not the first time pilots have gone on strike over pay and passengers have expressed
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Now I have to sleep here in the airport for a night or look for a hotel. It is simply not acceptable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We're having a breakdown because our luggage is gone and we can't get it back. We are absolutely furious
and there are no staff here that we can ask, either. They've all disappeared and we have no idea what's going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAKE: For the pilots who are staging this walkout, those complaints are not going to stop the strike. One union member blamed Lufthansa's
management for the deadlock.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOERG HANDWERG, VEREINGUNG COCKPIT PILOTS' UNION (through translator): When you look at the whole thing in the wider context, we have conducted
talks on a range of topics.
And what we are currently encountering is a contract partner who no longer wants any partnership. They want to be able to rule autocratically.
Orders are given and we are supposed to nod them through. That is not a partnership. And as long as that does not change, we will not make any
progress in terms of positional provision, either. And its fees will certainly continue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAKE: Lufthansa says it remains open to talks and has called on the union to return to the negotiating table.
That's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'm Maggie Lake. We'll see you next time.