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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS

Dow Tops 18,000 for the First Time; U.S. Economy Grows 5 Percent; "The Interview" to Screen at Select Theaters; Kaku: "Childlike Wonder" of the Future; Strong GDP Numbers for U.S. Third Quarter; Delta Baggage Handler Ran Gun-Smuggling Operation; Dr. Christmas Decorates Tinseltown

Aired December 23, 2014 - 16:00   ET

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


RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: (INAUDIBLE) the stock exchange. The numbers held its own story, 18,000 on the Dow. Keep pushing the button and hit the

gavel. Three big hit, 18,000 on the Dow Jones for the first time in history. The Dow gains 1,000 points in just a week.

What a day! Tuesday, December the 23rd, this historic moment.

Tonight: we look at how the stock market raced to this brand new record, which is more than just a number. This "Interview" is not over. Sony will

show the movie this Christmas and we're going to speaking to one of the two theaters who are going to be playing it.

And it's the ultimate prohibited item on a plane: how a Delta employee smuggled hundreds of guns onto an aircraft.

I'm Richard Quest. Nearly Christmas and I still mean business.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

QUEST: Good evening. Consider it an early Christmas present for the markets. The Dow Jones has crossed the 18,000 for the first time. This is

the number; this is how it got there, up 18, up a third of 1 percent up to -- up 66 points to 18,025. Look at the whole session.

Investors are cheering the crucial milestone and it caps a year that's seen 35 record closes for the Dow. It came out of the gate higher. In fact, it

did get even higher just after lunch, gave back some of the gains. But by the close of play, it was up some 64 points.

It came 50 points within 18,000 at the beginning of December. But as you all have seen, let's look at how the last, say, three months has traded,

because this is fascinating again: 18,000 was tantalizingly close here. But then we had this dramatic drop in the market in the middle of December.

And at that point, just about there, it was at 17,000 and change.

So to put this in perspective, the market has gained the best part of 1,000 points in just over -- just under a week, I should say, since December the

16th. Look at this. This is the one year to the day, just so you get an idea of how we are since the beginning of the year, up roughly 8 percent.

How did we get here? How did we get here? Well, it's Christmas, so we're going to be suitably festive as we look at how we got here.

Here we have the QUEST MEANS BUSINESS Christmas tree. Now time to do a bit of -- well, the first thing, of course, to get towards 18,000, the first

thing was GDP, which today came in at 5 percent on an annualized basis for the third quarter, the GDP number sits very nicely on the tree.

Then we have the question of jobs. Here we have the jobs bauble. There have been 321,000 jobs added in November. And, incidentally, the U.S.

economy has pretty much gained and increased all the jobs it lost in the recession.

One of the big thrusting points in the last months, couple of months, the price of oil which has fallen some 40-50 percent on the exchanges. That

has disadvantages for the oil producing countries and parts of the U.S. economy, but it certainly is a great benefit to the consumer; puts more

money in the pocket.

Now there are some negatives. First of all, Russia: the problem with President Putin, the Russian economy, all related to the rising -- the

falling cost of oil. That is most definitely a negative for some people in the market.

Then you have emerging markets. They are going to feel the effects of a higher, stronger dollar. That is a negative. We'll put it down here. All

in all, though, the number one, the reason why we've reached 18,000. Ahh, Janet Yellen, the Fed. We have to put Janet Yellen near the top of the

tree because taking our baubles, we manage to get all the way to the top and we hit 18,000 on the Dow Jones industrials.

Ben Willis is with me, senior floor broker at Princeton Securities.

My gorgeous Christmas tree with Janet Yellen nearly the fairy at the top.

Are you celebrating 18,000?

BEN WILLIS, SR. FLOOR BROKER, PRINCETON SECURITIES GROUP: Yes, in one sense, because it's a very positive indicator for the psychology of the

individual investors around the world. It's one of the leading indicators for the individual investor. Quite frankly, it's not very important to

professional investors. The S&P 500 hit its all-time high yesterday ahead of the Dow Jones industrial average.

But for the people sitting at home that are watching CNN, they're reading their local newspapers, they look to the Dow Jones industrial average as an

indicator of what their 401(k) is doing, and they're going to have a very Merry Christmas all because of it.

QUEST: Now we -- back to, in my baubles on the tree, we've got the jobs; we've got the oil; we've got Russia; we've got a bit overheating and we've

got emerging markets.

For you, looking forward, what's the most important economic factor? Or is it Janet Yellen, the Fed and interest rates?

WILLIS: The central banks of the world, led by Janet Yellen. Your Christmas tree, you nailed it right on the head.

The world saw a major selloff in what was considered a currency war in an attack on Vladimir Putin and an attempt to remove him from office. We went

right at the heart. All the other sanctions we had been taking on were doing nothing. When we started to hit oil, that is really when we got

their attention.

So you see what's been going on, as they're forced into a currency war to defend their ruble and their currency because they can't -- their system

will not support $40 oil.

That was all reversed once the world became comfortable with $40 a barrel oil. We've had the admission by OPEC members and many other people,

including Russia, that we might hit that. Janet Yellen changed the game. And after the FOMC meeting, the world realized, the United States of

America economy is, in fact, strong enough to endure rising interest rates, which is an indication, you'll see in the rising dollar, as we have for the

last six, a very strong dollar. Actually Janet Yellen's --

(CROSSTALK)

QUEST: Let me jump in here, Ben, because I'm guessing, at the year to date, we're about 8-9 percent or whatever, 7-9 percent on the Dow. Now

we've had that 1,000-point gain.

About this point, time of the year, we look at what's likely to happen next year. You know the old saying, what have you done for me lately? Do you

see 2015 in a rising interest rate environment as being certainly volatile but overall good?

WILLIS: Absolutely without a doubt. Rising interest rates are an indication of health and health of the U.S. economy and the stocks that

trade in them. When you have -- I was here when Mr. Volcker raised rates to 17.5 percent. Take a look and see what the stock market was doing as

rates were rising.

Inflation is actually good for earnings and companies. So the fear actually should be wholly and solely placed in the U.S. Treasury market,

not in the equity markets.

QUEST: Ben, you're too young to remember those days of Volcker and those raising interest rates, too young.

WILLIS: I was right here.

QUEST: Good to see you there and good to see you that you're still there.

Here's our tree of 18,000 that we've been talking about. And there was the factor that we had earlier. It's just over here, the GDP number. It was

this GDP at 5 percentage points on an annual basis in the third quarter. That is one of the core reasons why the market really decided to go on its

full frolic at the moment.

It's the strongest quarter growth in more than a decade. It certainly beats previous estimates. Business and consumer spending certainly

increased. There was housing; there was exports. In other words, it was broad-based and it didn't all rely on inventories. In fact, inventories

was a slightly negative factor into this.

Randall Kroszner is currently professor of University of Chicago Booth School of Business, former member of the Federal Reserve board.

So you see, we put your -- well, we put Janet Yellen, who I'm sure you know very well, she's near our fairy at the top of our Christmas tree here in

the studio because her being patient has given us this rally.

But from an economic point of view, Randall, does this rally make sense?

RANDALL KROSZNER, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: Well, I think it's clear that the fundamentals are improving. We're getting stronger job growth. We're

getting stronger GDP growth. We had that one terrible cold, frightful quarter at the beginning of the year.

But since then, the weather hasn't been quite so frightful and GDP has been doing quite well, 4.6 percent and 5 percent. Not sure it's going to be

quite that strong going forward. But we seem to be on a pretty good track.

QUEST: At these rates, does, in your interpretation, the use of the phrase, "we can be patient," from the last FOMC statement, does that

suggest there's no inflation -- let's face it; with oil prices coming down, that's safe now -- we are still looking at mid- to late next year for

liftoff?

KROSZNER: I think the low inflation gives a long runway before liftoff needs to occur. We've just been seeing some stronger wage growth, which is

really good for the economy overall.

We haven't seen any wage pressure yet that might start coming in. If we start seeing some inflation pressure, then the Fed will start to move a

little bit faster. But right now, we're not seeing much inflation pressure. So that gives them that long runway before takeoff, probably in

the September or November of this next year.

QUEST: We have to be very careful here, because obviously at 5 million, 6 million, 7 million jobs have been created, huge job creation and -- but

there is a downside to it all, and that is income inequality in the United States has widened. It is now at its widest level, almost in history, and

some say it's grotesque.

So how does economics manage to readdress this fundamental inequality that now exists?

KROSZNER: I think it's really important to be able to reignite job growth because one of the key challenges is when people have no income; that, of

course, puts them further down in the ladder. The more jobs we can create, the more people have opportunities to be able to get ahead. And that's

really the key.

And the economy just hasn't been strong in doing that. It seems to be getting stronger. If we can continue on this path, I think that is going

to give a lot more opportunity to people and especially people at the lower end of the spectrum.

QUEST: Thank you very much, sir. Have a -- whatever you may be celebrating at this time of the year, make sure you do celebrate.

Thank you very much.

KROSZNER: I will.

QUEST: Good to see you.

KROSZNER: Same to you.

QUEST: And to you, sir. Thank you.

And with that, of course, 18,000 on the Dow. It is but a number, but an important one nonetheless.

Sony's made a dramatic about-face. "The Interview" will see the light of day. We're going to talk to of the theater owners, who says he's proudly

going to show it on Christmas. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

QUEST: "This is the best Christmas gift anyone could give us." With those words, one movie theater chief exec said after Sony announced plans to show

"The Interview." It will be shown but in a small number of U.S. theaters. And here you see the times that are being offered at a theater in Dallas.

It is the Alamo Drafthouse Theater in Dallas-Ft. Worth. There's the name of the movie, of course. And the showtimes are Thursday, December the

25th, Christmas Day. You can buy tickets at 2:20, 7:55, 10:15 and a nice midnight showing.

Sony had canceled "The Interview" after threats of terror attacks by North Korean hackers. The movie, you're well aware, satirizes the North Korean

leader, Kim Jong-un. It's a fictional attempt at his assassination.

Michael Furlinger is the president of the Plaza Theater in Atlanta, where "The Interview" will also be shown. He joins me now from the CNN Center.

Sir, thank you.

MICHAEL FURLINGER, PRESIDENT, PLAZA THEATER, ATLANTA: Good afternoon.

QUEST: Good afternoon. Did you approach them?

And when you did, what did you say -- Sony?

FURLINGER: Well, we were originally scheduled to play it on the first go- around. So you know, then we -- of course it got canceled like with everybody else. And we have sent a email to them yesterday morning that,

for some reason, if they changed their mind, that we were ready to go.

And, lo and behold, last night around 11:00 pm, the news came in, first as an email and then a phone call from Jeff Wei (ph), one of the executives at

Sony. And here we are today.

QUEST: Right. So, what are you going to do when you show it on Christmas Day? Are you going to make a hoopla? Are you going -- this is more than a

movie showing now. This is now in the views of many views (ph), this is now a freedom of speech, First Amendment event.

Are you going to make it into that?

FURLINGER: Yes. I think you've hit it right on the head and I think they -- the public is going to make it into that. I think they've really

decided that the time for censorship and intimidation is over. And they're going to support the film regardless of maybe they didn't even want to see

it originally. But they're going to support it with their dollars to let people know that this kind of behavior cannot be tolerated, especially from

another nation.

QUEST: Now obviously the police force in Atlanta, you will be in close contact with the law enforcement agents --

(CROSSTALK)

FURLINGER: We will be.

QUEST: -- one's expecting that there will be a sizable -- a sizable security force.

FURLINGER: Yes. Because of we have large auditoriums, a twin theater, it gives us a little bit more of an advantage as far as handling large crowds.

We do a lot of premieres here all the time and events. We're used to that.

Obviously we're going to take some other security precautions, perhaps on what you can bring into the theater as far as backpacks and all that type

of thing.

So we have some things in place and we will be in touch with the Atlanta police department this afternoon and get the rest of it all situated for

Christmas Day.

QUEST: Now as a theater owner, as somebody who put -- who shows movies -- and you've shown more than most and you've sat through more than probably

I'll ever see. To you, does this rank as one of the single most important movie moments for you?

FURLINGER: I really think it does because it's more about -- it's not necessarily about the film. It's about the idea that can you see it, are

you not going to be allowed to see it? The fact that somebody said no makes it probably one of the most important films of our recent time.

QUEST: I shall be in Atlanta. I might even come along and have a look at it meself.

FURLINGER: Please do.

QUEST: You might even get a dollar or two of me own money.

FURLINGER: Oh, good.

(LAUGHTER)

QUEST: Thank you, sir. Thank you.

FURLINGER: Merry Christmas.

QUEST: Merry Christmas to you and well done for showing this movie.

Even though it's only a few screenings, this marks a massive change in policy or so it would appear in Sony. On December the 16th, the terror

threats are made. And the hackers' message is -- says that moviegoers will meet, in their words, "a bitter threat." Remember the 11th of September,

2001, that was the distinct message.

The next day, Sony pulls the movie from release on Christmas Day, saying safety is paramount. Now Sony says that they always intended to release

it; this was merely canceling Christmas Day. Well, December the 19th, President Obama says quite clearly they made a mistake. He wished Sony

had spoken to him first.

Sony Pictures chief exec said he always planned to show the movie somewhere at some time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL LYNTON, CEO, SONY ENTERTAINMENT: We have not caved. We have not given in. We have persevered and we have not backed down. We have always

had every desire to have the American public see this movie.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST: Brian Stelter is our senior media correspondent, joins me now.

Well, I guess does it really matter, Brian, how we ended up where we do? I mean, the movie is going to be shown. Is it your feeling that they did

intend to show it?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST: It does matter, I think, Richard. And one reason it matters is because the studios like Sony and the theater owners have a

very complicated relationship. And if the relationship seems to sour, it can hurt Sony's business down the line. If the theater owners are less

interested in showing Sony movies, if they don't promote them as much, that can have a real impact.

So that's why there's a lot of interest in how all of this has happened. The comments we were just hearing from the owner in Atlanta were really

interesting, because he is suggesting he's very happy with what Sony is doing. He's going to profit off of what Sony's doing.

On the other hand, most of the big movie theater chains have not agreed to show this movie, at least not yet. Maybe they will in early January after

this movie has had a relatively limited rollout around Christmas Day.

QUEST: Do the movie theater owners, even with all the liability questions and the risks, do they start to look weaklings? Do they start to look no

spine, no gumption, no courage?

STELTER: You said it better than I could. And so far there's been a big fat "no comment" from many of them about the possibility.

The other people that are not commenting right now are the video on demand options. These are cable systems like Comcast and online services like

Netflix that could step up and help Sony release this online. My sense is that by the end of the day, Sony would like to announce some deal so that I

can sit on my couch on Christmas Day and watch this movie from the comfort of my own home for maybe five or 10 or 15 bucks. But so far we don't know

which, if any, companies are actually going to help Sony do that.

QUEST: From your talks with people at Sony, is it your feeling that they basically -- I mean, they're never going to make a penny on this movie.

But more than that, they've accepted the write-off of the total cost? Now it is about damage limitation for the company's name and reputation and a

First Amendment issue.

STELTER: It's definitely as much about a statement of freedom of expression as it is about the financial considerations. But if it was only

about making a statement, they could have put this movie online for free on their own online streaming site, which is called Crackle.

The fact that they haven't done that and instead they're sending copies of the movie to theaters suggests to me that they at least want to make a

little bit of money. They at least want to make a little bit off of this. But it's a $44 million movie. I'm not sure they're going to recoup all of

that.

QUEST: And finally, I don't want to talk unpleasantness at Christmas time, but Pascal's job, Amy Pascal's job and Michael Lynton's job, do they sit a

little more securely tonight or are they still both a little bit dodgy?

STELTER: This may help; they've got no less than three outside PR firms trying to help them right this ship. But keep this in mind -- and I'm just

speculating here -- the hackers said if this movie ever comes out in any form, they're going to release even more data, even more documents, even

more emails that are going to further embarrass Sony.

Now that Sony has gone ahead and released this movie in some form, what are the hackers going to do? That's what I'm going to be watching the next few

days. I wonder if we will see further leaks that further embarrass Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton.

QUEST: Once you've found out details, come and report them to us. Thank you very much, sir, Brian, who has a busy few days, few weeks ahead, even

though it may be Christmas.

Brain to brain communication: I'm thinking something. Can you work out what I'm thinking? Can we communicate without the benefit of the

satellite? (INAUDIBLE) says it's all possible and it's going to happen with our lifetime. His fascinating predictions for the future. Well, I

know one thing that's going to happen in the future. We'll be back.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(VIDEO CLIP, "STAR TREK")

QUEST: That was "Star Trek's" vision of the future. That vision was in 1967. Today communicators, voice control, portable file storage, they've

all become a reality. And for a vision of what the next decade may hold, we turn to theoretical physicist, Dr. Michio Kaku, who's one of the

father's of string theory.

He's a bestselling author. He's the host of "Sci Fi Science" on the Science Channel. I told him I was quite intimidated. After all, you don't

just sit opposite somebody like him very easily.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. MICHIO KAKU, THEORETICAL PHYSICIST: When I was a child, I was just fascinated by the future. I used to watch Flash Gordon on the weekends and

I was hooked, starships and robots and aliens from outer space. So I have a childlike wonder, looking at the future. Except now, I've been able to

interview over 300 of the world's top scientists for BBC Television and the Discovery Channel, to give you the most authentic look at the next 10, 20,

30 years.

QUEST: And when you look at that authentic, what's the common theme? What's the common thread?

KAKU: Well, first of all, computer power will be everywhere and nowhere. For example, in our contact lens, so when I see you, I'll see your

biography next to your image. You'll be speaking to me in Chinese. I'll see subtitles and so that infinite information anywhere we look at any

object. And that's even going to affect the way we view capitalism.

QUEST: Right. But hang on, hang on. That's technology. But will humans change? That's -- will the way we -- our physiology, our mental abilities,

do you see a change there?

KAKU: We're going to have a human body shop by which we'll be able to replace most human organs like we replace parts in an automobile. But the

brain, the brain hasn't changed in 100,000 years. We're still the cave men and cave women of old. And that's, for example, why we have no paperless

office. We crave paper because cave men used to crave proof of the kill.

QUEST: And because of that, we're not getting cleverer. Or are we?

KAKU: No, we're not getting cleverer, unless, we -- of course we begin to augment our memories. And last year, for the first time in world history

we're able to do that with a mouse. We can now record memories and insert the memories back and the mouse instantly remembers. Next will be

primates. And after that, Alzheimer's patients will have a brain pacemaker. You'll push a button and upload simple basic memories into your

mind. And beyond that, a brain pacemaker for the average person. So you'll be able to upgrade skills perhaps.

QUEST: Do you foresee -- I want to give you a document; I need you to understand something, a new language, you're traveling. I simply go ping

and it uploads to your brain? Is that likely? Not in our lifetime.

KAKU: No, we will have something called Brain Net which will replace the Internet. Brain Net will send memories, sensations, feelings on the

Internet which will replace the movies, for example, entertainment, even CNN.

(CROSSTALK)

KAKU: We'll have Brain Net by which we can actually send memories on the Internet.

QUEST: But where does it go? What's the goal here?

Because I'm reminded of the phrase, the man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

So tell me what the goal is here.

KAKU: Well, first two goals. As far as our daily life is concerned, we're going to have something that I call perfect capitalism. Supply and demand

are going to be perfect. You will know exactly how much anything really costs at Christmas time; no more fake bargains. And so demand and supply

will be perfect, meaning that the middle men will gradually be phased out, meaning that you will know exactly what things really cost by looking at it

with your contact lens.

As far as our bodies are concerned, we'll be able to be in some sense immortal. That is we will have a genome, a disc with all our genes on it,

and a connect home with all the memory circuits on a disc, and the two discs mean that after we die, our memories and our genetic blueprint live

on forever.

QUEST: I'm not being disrespectful here; I'm just being factually accurate.

The fact is you and I will not live to see that.

KAKU: That's not quite clear because we're beginning to understand the genes that control the aging process. We don't have the fountain of youth,

but we're --

QUEST: Would you live to have the fountain of youth?

KAKU: I personally wouldn't mind living beyond my years. And who knows. I think our grandkids may have the option of hitting the age of 30 and

stopping, simply stopping for decades at age 30.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

QUEST: Now there's a thought. If you think about it, as you have a cup of cocoa tonight, how would you like to have stopped your aging at the age of

30? Well, when we come back, the price of oil has stopped for the time being. But will it go lower? The head of the IEA to discuss energy on

QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. There is more "Quest Means Business" in a moment. This is CNN, and on this network the news always comes first.

Sony says "The Interview" is to get a limited release in the United States. The controversial film about the assassination of the North Korean leader

is to open in theaters on Christmas day despite threats of violence earlier this month by cyber attackers.

French authorities are deploying hundreds of extra soldiers across the country where they'll be patrolling crowded areas after three separate

attacks on police and pedestrians in the past few days. Authorities believe the attacks are unrelated.

The leader of the Algerian terror group that murdered a French hiker has been killed by the Algerian military. Troops set a trap for the Islamist

leader and then killed him along with two other militants. The group had killed Herve Gourdel who is shown here while he was hiking to Algeria in

September. They beheaded him later that month.

Greek lawmakers failed to choose a new president in a second round of voting. Stavros Dimas, the only candidate standing, was still shy of the

votes needed. A final round of voting takes place on December the 29th. If Parliament fails again, Greece will go to snap elections and the

thinking there is that it could bring an anti-austerity party into power.

A major milestone for U.S. stocks -- the Dow is above 18,000 for the first time in history. It crossed the mark shortly after trading began and there

was some strong GDP figures that saw the market close at an all-time high for the second day in a row.

The strong GDP numbers from the United States gave oil prices a boost. Brent is up 2.8 percent at $61 AT a barrel. The reason is quite simple --

if there is strong growth, consumption will be higher both for the consumer and in the production process. Greater consumption means more demand.

More demand means higher prices (RINGS BELL). Economics 101. The International Energy Agency though still predicts an overall drop in demand

last year.

CNN's emerging markets editor John Defterios asked its executive director when if ever demand goes back up.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARIA VAN DER HOEVEN, INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AGENCY DIRECTOR: Well, that's a very difficult question to put a date on that. But I think it's important

as we have to lower oil prices, demands will hopefully come back. And what we of course hope with this lower oil prices it will also create (ph) to be

an input to the global economic recovery.

JOHN DEFTERIOS, "CNN'S EMERGING MARKETS" EDITOR: Is $60 though something we're going to bank on at least for the first six months of 2015?

VAN DER HOEVEN: I wouldn't -- I wouldn't do that. I wouldn't do that because you don't know how the market is going to react. What we have seen

is now the steep fall in oil prices and what the past learned us that this volatility has its own sequence. You don't -- you don't know what's going

to happen. And that's why I think we must not take things for granted. We must not think that we are already there, that we have now already reached

a new cumulative (ph) , that's too early to say.

DEFTERIOS: We've seen incredible dislocation over the last six months, particularly over the last 30 days of 20 percent falling prices. This

can't b4e good for those planning in the shale production for example or even Russia. They want to go into the Arctic to explore natural gas.

VAN DER HOEVEN: Well that's a very -- that's a very big issue. What we can see the light tight oil -- if you want to keep -- to keep on producing,

you need to keep on drilling. And that means that all the times it's CAPEX costs, the capital costs come back. That's one thing. So the point is

how will that be hedged in the future and how will banks react to this issue? When you look into Russia and the Arctic, I think they have another

-- that's another issue. It's not a -- it's not about light tight oil, it's about long-term.

DEFTERIOS: You'd agree it wouldn't work at $60 a barrel?

VAN DER HOEVEN: It will be very difficult to make it to over $60 a barrel. That's quite true. On the other hand, a lower oil price like this also

will be an incentive for companies to innovate and be more efficient in their first -- in their procedures. So I hope this innovation issue will

be also -- also something that will be taken up at companies.

DEFTERIOS: You're not a believer probably of conspiracy theories, but there's a lot going around Saudi Arabia, targeting both the United States

and Russia to hold on to its market share and drive prices lower. What do you make of it? Because you represent the consuming nation.

VAN DER HOEVEN: (LAUGHTER). Well first of all, the consuming nations are not too -- don't think too bad about low oil prices because it's a real

input to their economy -- at least that is what we hope for. On the other hand, you know, OPEC is a guarantee for 40 percent of oil production. The

rest is coming from other countries -- non-OPEC countries. So what about a conspiracy? No.

DEFTERIOS: So others should cut production you're suggesting then if they want cooperation. We used to have a lot of cooperation --

VAN DER HOEVEN: Well --

DEFTERIOS: -- between the consuming nations and OPEC. We don't see cooperation between non-OPEC countries and OPEC countries right now.

VAN DER HOEVEN: That is exactly something up to them. But I think if you really want to cut production, you can't ask it just from one group or one

country to cut production. Then you have to be in it all together. But that's not going to happen because oil countries have a different position

on this and oil countries want to make money out of the oil.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

QUEST: And the IEA. Remember the guy with the really bulky carry on when you are flying from Delta -- from Atlanta to JFK? Well, remember that bag

that looked too big to go in the overhead compartment? He might have had more than his overnight incidentals in there. In fact, police say now a

Delta baggage handler ran a well-orchestrated gun-smuggling operation. How is this possible in 2014?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: It's a bastion of the travel world now, but TripAdvisor's been slapped with a $600,000 fine by Italian regulators. It's now sparked a war

of words during a season that's supposed to be about goodwill. Anything but between the regulators and TripAdvisor. You're familiar with

TripAdvisor of course. But this is what it's all about. Italian regulators say TripAdvisor's reviews are likely to mislead because the

people who are reading them are unable to distinguish between genuine and fake reviews. You'll be familiar -- you see dozens of reviews. Which ones

are real? Which ones are planted? Which ones are from the company or from the hotel? Who knows? Well TripAdvisor defends itself. It says that the

reviews are a force for good. It says the viewers that didn't like our reviews, they wouldn't keep coming back -- which is a pretty strong

argument. Who's going to read reviews if they think they're all made up? So, TripAdvisor decided to give the Italian regulators some advice for

themselves. This is the advice that the -- for the Italian Competition for the government Regulatory Authority. It was scathing. It called the

Italian Competition Authorities recommendations "unwarranted and out of touch." TripAdvisor stands on its reputation. It is, after all, the

largest review site of its kind in the world, where frankly most of us at least go and check to get a touch and a feel for what people are saying.

The weather forecast. It's a massive day for travel. I'm going on a short hop, Tom Sater. I'm only going from New York to Atlanta to the CNN Center

where I will be for the next few days -- hopefully you'll join us. But give me a global view.

TOM SATER, METEOROLOGIST FOR CNN INTERNATIONAL: I sure will. More advice for trip-goers. The holiday -- patience will get your farther, politeness

if we can say that. You may run into problems with the severe weather we've got in the Southeast. Look at this, Richard -- these are flights in

the air right now, across America to Europe, areas in the Middle East into India, you can see them into Russia of course. There's a lot of flights in

the air. Not so many right over the Atlantic right now, but let's take a look at current delays. Not on the list -- Stockholm reporting increasing

delays. We think that's more for volume than weather. But right now, we're looking at just some yellows and orange. You see

where the possibilities when you get into read, a further push back of your flights. But Berlin, I think you're going to start to see this green move

up as we start to see the winds increase. In the U.S., we'll look at the forecast in a moment. These are not so bad. Chicago is under a winter

storm watch for 10 to 16 centimeters of snowfall. That will begin in the next 24 hours. Right now it's the East Coast from Philadelphia with

significant delays. LaGuardia, JFK will soon turn red. Newark is and Boston will be in the next 24 hours.

In about eight hours, the weather is going to go downhill in New York. One wave has already moved through -- not a big problem but it's more volume

right now and any delay is going to cause an issue. Forecast -- look at the two hours plus for Boston. That's a good storm system moving up the

East Coast for BWI in Baltimore, Charlotte thunderstorms over 90 minutes. The forecast too for over two hours in Detroit, Newark over two hours.

This is going to be madness as we get into Christmas Eve and those last- minute flights that are trying to make their way there. Here's the storm system already in Mississippi. A tornado has done some damage, in fact,

just the last hour. That moves towards Charlotte. But it's heavy rainfall for areas of the Northeast, snowfall from Chicago, will move across the

Great Lakes, maybe a little bit into Toronto. Montreal stays wet -- could still cause some problems. West Coast -- Asia flights in toward Portland.

Maybe Seattle a little wet, possible delays, but a white, white holiday brushing across the Western parts of the U.S.

Most of the delays I think will be for winds because have the system really right now kind of throwing itself across the Northwest into Central Europe.

Temperatures have been pretty mild. Already we're, you know, starting to see mostly rainfall. Not a big vet of snow until you get from Warsaw over

toward Moscow which has been dumped on. But it's the winds from London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin in the next 48 hours toward Warsaw as well, but

again it's going to be the snow as the rainfall changes to snow off to the east.

Forecast -- 45 minutes in Brussels. This is not bad, 15 to 30 minutes -- mainly volume problems. Weather could be an issue in Amsterdam. And as

mentioned earlier, Stockholm's looking at an increased pushback already. Who's going to see the rainfall? In green you could see areas to the

north/northern areas of Germany. Above normal temperatures for Switzerland to Austria, and again, the heavy snow continues from Moscow up to St. Pete.

So we leave you this picture here in the Red Square -- heavy amounts of snowfall, Richard. Safe travels where you are. We will keep you posted,

but you could have a slight delay heading down to our neck of the woods.

QUEST: You're being very polite. You don't think my plane's going on time for one little minute, --

SATER: (LAUGHTER).

QUEST: -- do you?

SATER: You'll get here.

QUEST: I don't like that smile -- it had a certain sort of meanness about it. I shall see you, sir. I shall see you. Tom Sater. Now, this story -

- I mean -- of all the stories that we've brought you tonight, this one takes the biscuit. A baggage handler for Delta Airlines moved more than

bags. Police say he smuggled guns. In one alleged incident, 18 guns -- many of them loaded -- were inside his partner's carry-one bag on a Delta

flight from Atlanta to New York. It didn't happen once but at least five times.

CNN's aviation correspondent Renee Marsh reports from Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION AND GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: One hundred and fifty-three firearms were covered, smuggled onboard nearly 20

commercial passenger planes from Atlanta to New York -- that according to federal investigators.

KEN THOMPSON, KINGS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: They could put guns on the plane this time. They could've easily put a bomb on one of those planes.

MARSH: Here's how authorities say it happened. Delta baggage handler Eugene Harvey with a backpack full of guns uses his badge to enter the

secure area of the Atlanta Airport, bypassing security checkpoints. Most airport and airline employees like ramp workers and baggage handlers

undergo security vetting and reoccurring background checks but they do not go through daily TSA screenings to gain access to secure and restricted

airport areas. The accomplice, former Delta employee Mark Henry clears TSA and arrives at a concourse. The two men communicate by text message and

meet in an airport bathroom. Once inside, out of the camera's view, the guns are handed off.

CHAD WOLF, FORMER TSA OFFICIAL: TSA, the airports and the airlines after 9/11 are there to prevent this type of incident occurring.

MARSH: According to prosecutors, Henry boarded flights from Atlanta to New York with handguns, AR-15s and AK-47s -- some of the weapons loaded.

THOMPSON: This gun can shoot through a car door, can shoot through an apartment door, can shoot through a bullet-proof vest. In November, Mr.

Henry brought this gun on a Delta commercial airliner to New York.

MARSH: This kind of breach in security has happened before. In 2010 an American Airlines baggage handler helped smuggle 12,000 pounds of marijuana

onboard a flight to New York. In 2013, an airline employee sentenced after agreeing to smuggle a machine gun and cocaine onto a commercial plane. And

a 2009 government audit says workers with access to secured airport areas is one of the greatest potential threats to aviation.

WOLF: Everyone who's involved in aviation and aviation security know that this is a gap and a vulnerability.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

QUEST: (SIGHS). Rene! Rene! What can we say? I've never heard anything like this before.

MARSH: Richard, you know, we're talking about the world's busiest airport. You know how busy it is there. And this is just a glaring vulnerability

here. And I spoke with several people within the industry and they all tell me the same thing. There is no secret that there is this loophole.

But that begs the question -- well why hasn't anything been done? And it really, unfortunately, comes down to resources, it comes down to money, a

budget and -- think about it -- if TSA not only has to screen you and I but now they have to screen every single bag --

QUEST: Right.

MARSH: -- handler and every single other employee who's behind the scenes -- it may be quite, quite a costly venture.

QUEST: Extraordinary. Good reporting. Great report. Thank you very much, Rene Marsh joining me from Washington. Keep watching this one.

Absolutely extraordinary. Now, for those looking to deck the halls with only the finest Yuletide decorations, remember our Christmas tree that we

showed you earlier. Well, a man called `Dr. Christmas' who is putting the tinsel in Tinseltown is after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: Ah! You can't beat a good Christmas tree, especially one that's got 18,000 for the Dow Jones on the top. Well gone are the days of holiday

decorating with the same old ornaments last year. We have GDP oil in Russia. If you can afford Bob Pranga, Christmas tree stylist to the rich

and famous -- you're on for a good thing. He's known as Dr. Christmas. He offers packages that can cost as much as $80,000, and while celebrities

like Barbra Streisand, Whoopi Goldberg, Mark Wahlberg sip hot cocoa on the couch, dear old Bob is hard at work doing service in the cause of elves and

duty and turning their homes into personal winter wonderlands.

Bob joins me now from Los Angeles. How do you like my economic Christmas tree? I'm sure you think you could -- you could give me a few tips.

BOB PRANGA, CHRISTMAS TREE STYLIST: Oh my gosh, that tree is fantastic.

QUEST: Aw.

PRANGA: (LAUGHTER).

QUEST: What's the secret?

PRANGA: It -- the secret? Well you know, one of the things I tell people first of all -- you should hide those strings. (LAUGHTER).

QUEST: Right. Yes, you got me there, Bob. You got me there. For -- all right, what's the average amount that people pay because surely all your

clients can't say I want to spend $80,000? What's a respectable amount to pay you to do my tree -- holiday things?

PRANGA: Well, the average job is about $1,500 to $2,000, depending on what people want to have happen. But you know, as I always say with Christmas,

the sky is the limit. Whatever you want to spend, I'll be happy to spend it for you.

QUEST: Do you ever sort of feel a little embarrassed when somebody wants to spend tens of thousands on their holiday decorations?

PRANGA: Oh, no, not at all.

QUEST: (LAUGHTER).

PRANGA: That's the American way. (LAUGHTER).

QUEST: So, give me some tips -- the etiquette of decorating the tree because it's nearly Christmas Eve, so there are still a last few chances

besides hiding the string. Give me a couple of tips. What's the do's and the don'ts of a decent tree?

PRANGA: Well, first of all a decent tree -- have an idea of what you want to do before you start the process so it is enjoyable, you know?

Generally, have the furniture moved before you bring the tree into the house so that your loving partner doesn't strain something trying to move

it around. And then, remember most of all that this is supposed to be an enjoyable process. And if you're not having fun, then why do it?

QUEST: Right. Now, a final thought here, Bob. I'm of the belief if one's good, two must be better, three must be best of all. So, I just want to

ungershuck (ph) the tree with as much that I can possibly get on it. You're going to tell me less is more perhaps?

PRANGA: Oh, no. My big saying is `why do when you can over do?' You should do it to your heart's content. I mean, remember, this is supposed

to be a fun and enjoyable experience. If you want it, every piece of ornament that you want because, you know, ornaments do have feelings and

they don't like to be left in the box, then put it on the tree. If you're a minimalist, well, you know, put your three red balls on the tree and call

it a day.

QUEST: Absolutely. Sir, may I wish you -- next year when you're in New York, we're going to have you come for $5.50 -- we'll have a whip round and

you can come and dress me tree for me.

PRANGA: I'll do it for you for 4 -- no worries.

QUEST: Oh, it's a bargain, we have a deal. Bob, good to see you, sir. Thank you very -- have a lovely Christmas wherever you are. Now, from

Christmas trees to crystal balls. It is that time again. It is time for me to look in to see what's my Passport. Today like the airlines booked on

wristwatches. I see hats that'll keep me warm and toasty. My "Passport to 2015."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST: Wearable technology that's fashion-focused is what we're wearing with our "Passport to 2015." For tech fans, the refined designs means it's

possible to look chic rather than geek in the latest inventions. This is Ralph Lauren's polo tech shirt first worn by the ball boys at this year's

U.S. Open. This would look good in any hotel gym. And what's smart about it is this conductive band beneath the chest. It picks up the heart rate,

the breathing and additional wizardry and logs every step and calorie burned.

The Apple wristwatch will be amongst the most hotly-anticipated gadgets in 2015. The computer to your car port (ph). Boarding passes and flight

itineraries will be pulled up instantly. Store photos, check the weather, control thermostats, lock doors. And naturally you'll be able to access e-

mails and your favorite travel apps. Incidentally, airline apps are being more integrated into the experience. We can get that upgrade, change your

seats, see which is the best place to sit. Now, the apps are pitching passenger against passenger in the battle for the best deal and the best

part of the plane.

How about a warm and wireless way to experience music? One Voice (ph) has developed a beanie with a built-in Bluetooth headset. It streams music

from your portable device. The perfect way to listen to your favorite tunes on the redeye without (inaudible).

But there comes a time when you simply want to flock out the digital noise. And for such occasions, use Hush -- being developed as the world's first

smart ear plug. It claims to filter out unwelcome sounds while allowing important phone calls or alarms to intrude. Looking and traveling smart

becomes easier in 2015.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST: Brilliant. We'll have a "Profitable Moment" after the break. (RINGS BELL).

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: Tonight's "Profitable Moment." So the Dow's hit 18,000. It's a bit like our Christmas tree. It's 18,000 at the top, but it's a bit

rickety -- it's leaning over. The market's not quite sure which way it's going to go, and everybody's a little concerned that if you push or blow

too hard, it'll all fall over and end in tears. Well, that's the nature of the markets. But at least celebrate the fact we've hit 18,000 on the Dow.

A perfect position for me to say, that's "Quest Means Business" for tonight. I'm Richard Quest in New York. Whatever you're up to in the days

ahead, (RINGS BELL) have a profitable festive season.

END