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FAREED ZAKARIA GPS
Examining Appointments of World Bank Leaders; Discussion of Advances in Artificial Intelligence. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired February 17, 2019 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:18] FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria.
Today on the show the second richest man in the world, Bill Gates. He might be the wealthiest if he hadn't given away so much of his money trying to save the world. I'll talk to him about what he's learned while giving away his billions.
Also, artificial intelligence. People worry it will steal their jobs. But if we get it right, might it save our lives? How AI could find the drug that cures your disease.
And a cold war spy story of a different kind. In the years after World War II, why did the United States give up the chance to control one of the world's most powerful institutions? I'll tell you.
But first, here's my take. In recent weeks attention has focused on two freshmen Democratic members of Congress, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. Both of whom are Muslim and have made critical statements about Israel and its most ardent American supporters. Their tweets and comments have been portrayed by some as not simply criticisms of Israel but rather evidence of a rising tide of anti-Semitism on the new left.
Now I don't know what's in the heart of the two representatives, but I do believe that Muslims should be particularly thoughtful when speaking about these issues because anti-Semitism has spread throughout the Islamic world like a cancer. Omar and Tlaib are of course not responsible for this in any way but they should be aware of this poisonous intellectual climate.
In 2014 the Anti-Defamation League did a survey in more than 100 countries of attitudes toward Jews and found that anti-Semitism was twice as common among Muslims than Christians. It's far more prevalent in the Middle East than the Americas. It has sometimes tragically gone beyond words, morphing into terrorist attacks against Jews, even against children in countries like France.
It might surprise people to know that it wasn't always this way. In fact, through much of history the Muslim Middle East was hospitable to Jews when Christian Europe was killing or expelling them. The great historian Bernard Lewis once said to me people often note that in the late 1940s and '50s hundreds and thousands of Jews fled Arab countries. They rarely ask why so many Jews were living in those lands in the first place.
One shouldn't exaggerate the status of Jews under Islamic rule. They were second class citizens but they were tolerated and encouraged to a far greater degree in Muslim societies than in Christian ones.
Things changed in the late 19th Century when according to Lewis' seminal book, "The Jews of Islam," as a direct result of European influence, movements appear among Muslims of which for the first time one can legitimately use the term anti-Semitic. Muslims started to worry that the British who came to rule much of the Middle East were favoring the small non-Muslim communities, especially Jews. In expressing their hostility to Jews, Muslims began importing European anti-Semitic tropes like the notion of blood libel. Noxious anti- Semitic works started to be translated into Arabic.
What super charged to all these attitudes was the founding of Israel in 1948 and the determination of Arab leaders to defeat it. In their zeal to delegitimize the Jewish state, Arab states became vast propaganda machines for anti-Semitism. Brainwashing generations of their people with the most hateful ideas about Jews.
Anti-Semitism is now routine discourse in Muslim populations in the Middle East and alas far beyond. While some Arab governments have stepped back from the active promotion of hate, the damage has been done.
It should be possible to criticize Israel. As Peter Beinart has written, establishing two legal systems in the same territory, one for Jews and one for Palestinians, as Israel does in the West Bank, is bigotry. And it has lasted for more than a half century. It should be possible to talk about the vast influence of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee or AIPAC.
[10:05:01] I recall senators privately worrying that if they supported the Iran nuclear deal, AIPAC would target them. Of course, this is true of other lobbies and it's not the only reason senators voted against the deal.
These are all legitimate issues to vigorously debate and discuss in America just as they are in Israel. Unfortunately, by phrasing the issue as the two new representatives sometimes have, they squandered an opportunity to further that important debate.
For more, go to CNN.com/fareed and read my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.
In 1975 Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard University to found Microsoft with his friend Paul Allen. Gates spent the next 33 years building Microsoft into the behemoth it is today. He's still on the board of Microsoft, but his day job is now giving away much of the money he made from his company's success.
In less than 25 years the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given away more than $45 billion. It still has $50 billion in its endowment. Fellow billionaire Warren Buffett has given more than $20 billion of his fortune to the foundation. The Gates' 11th Annual Letter was published a few days ago. In it
they talk about what they learned in the process of trying to fight many of the problems that plague the world. I sat down with Bill Gates at his private offices near Seattle.
ZAKARIA: Bill Gates, pleasure to have you on.
BILL GATES, CO CHAIR, BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION: Great to be here.
ZAKARIA: There is a lot of talk these days about a kind of new economic mood. The cover of "The Economist" is about all the millennium socialists. There's talk of inequality. You yourself on this program have often said you think you're undertaxed. So now there are these proposals. And I wanted to ask you what you think of them. There's one that says there should be a 70 percent tax on marginal income, that is on income I think over $5 million. There's another which is a wealth tax on the total assets you have.
What do you think of these? Are these reasonable ways to think about what to do about economic inequality today?
GATES: Well, there's two reasons why the government needs to collect more revenue. One is that we only collect about 20 percent of GDP and we spend like 24 percent of GDP. So you can't let that deficit grow faster than the economy.
The second is that the promises the government has made like taking care of health care and pensions, those will become more expensive. A higher percentage of GDP. So we do need to collect more, and some people think the government, you know, should provide even new promises which is fine, but it just emphasizes there's no free lunch here. You'd have to collect more money.
As you go about doing this additional collection, of course you want to be progressive. You want the portion that comes from the top 1 percent or top 20 percent to be much higher, and so you have many ways of doing it. You can take the Social Security tax and take the limit off of that. You can take the ordinary income which is salaried type income and raise the rate which is a little below 40 percent. You could raise it. Some people have said back up to 70 percent.
You have to be careful of that, though, because the -- even when that rate was high, the asset collection because of ways people could defer wasn't -- never got above 40 percent, actually. But the big fortunes, if your goal is to go after those, you have to take the capital gains tax which is far lower at, like, 20 percent, and increase that.
ZAKARIA: And isn't that fair? Because, I mean, I sometimes wonder why is the government saying that one form of income is better than another? In other words, if one person is generating income through his or her labor and another is generating his or her income by manipulating capital, why is the government saying through its tax policy one is much better, that is through capital gains rather than through labor?
GATES: Well, I happen to agree with you. Steve Rattner had an article that said, hey, why don't we make capital gains income and ordinary income taxed at the same right rate? You know, it would get rid of a lot of complexity because whenever those rates vary you want to make one look like the other. You know, the famous part is that hedge fund people take what their labor generates and get it over into the capital gains side. And so you would simplify that.
[10:10:11] Whether or not these proposals actually get done, I don't know. There are even, you know, what you might call more novel ideas like an overall wealth tax which Piketty had in his book. Right now only when you sell stocks do you pay on the gain, or if you die, then your estate is valued.
I've been the biggest proponent of having the estate tax collect more money. It was at 55 percent. It's now down from that with a much bigger deduction.
ZAKARIA: Howard Schultz is running for president. Do you think that somebody who has made a fortune has a special knowledge, skill, aptitude, to be president?
GATES: Well, yes, I think the success you have in your life before you run for office absolutely gives us a sense of your leadership skills, your understanding of very complex problems. You know, the voters decide, you know, in general who, you know, helped win the war, World War II. Is that a good qualification or not?
You know, Howard Schultz did a great job with his business, and so there's some things that he gets some deep understandings from. Likewise, somebody who's been a mayor or a governor, they've been in an executive role as well. So I do think it's fine. You probably will find rich people disproportionately in your political representation but, you know, you wouldn't expect it to be more than like maybe 5 percent of the representatives as a whole.
ZAKARIA: Do you understand, though, the kind of -- all this backlash against capitalism and capitalists? So you have this with Amazon and New York where there was -- there's this backlash of saying why should New York provide $3 million of tax subsidies to one of the richest companies in the world? I mean, you -- Microsoft has had to deal with these issues in Seattle, I imagine.
Do you feel like we're in a new mood? Do you either worry or -- how do you feel when you see this kind of thing happening?
GATES: Well, it's not the 1930s where the system has really failed to provide adequate services, and therefore a lot of people are flirting with dramatic changes, but what used to be called socialism in the narrow sense. These are good debates. You know, should companies be able to compete states against each other and get the subsidies? You know, I sort of think not.
But hey, that's a separate issue. That's not an attack on capitalism. Capitalism has hundreds of parameters that you can change like the estate tax, the capital gains tax and it's still capitalism. As long as you have market-based pricing. You let people create new companies very easily.
You know, if you think there's a lot of competition someplace, you come in and intervene on that. Part of the reason I think people should say OK, things -- some things are going well overall is that flirting with radical change, dramatic change, how we run these systems, I personally -- my vote will be not to make a radical change.
Now you can say I'm biased because this system has worked well for me, and I feel -- I plead guilty to that, but as I look overall at the capitalist economies, there are a lot of good things doing, and I think you can tune the tax parameters and get way more equity and get some additional government services and still be in the same basic framework.
ZAKARIA: Stay with us. When we come back, bovine, flatulence, and reinventing toilets. Why they will both change the world. Bill Gates will explain.
[10:18:29] ZAKARIA: And we are back Bill Gates talking about his annual letter and what he has learned and what surprised him over this last year.
ZAKARIA: So this letter is all about the things that surprised you, and one of the things that surprised me was that you say Africa is the youngest continent. What was the surprise about that and why is that important?
GATES: Well, when people think about population growth, they tend to think that there's more babies being born. In fact, the number of babies has peaked. And outside of Africa, it's going down quite a bit, but Africa is just making up for that, and so it's going to have over half the young people are going to be on one continent. Now that continent will also have 90 percent of the people who have been in extreme poverty.
It has some of the weakest governance in the world. So the question of, do we invest in Africa and make those youth an asset, or are they an incredible source of instability, that's way more stark than when I started to look into how different is Africa?
ZAKARIA: You say that one of the big challenges of dealing with women's health issues, but issues that often call women's issues is that there is actually very bad data on women. I assume that means that we don't separate out these -- this aggregate been, and understand how much of it is women, how much is men?
[10:20:04] GATES: Exactly. We do know that if the income gets into the hands of women, they use it for the school fees, a more nutritious style in a way that lifts the family up in a better way. And so looking in this --
ZAKARIA: What do the men do?
GATES: Maybe buy alcohol, cigarettes, less long-term beneficial for the family. And so as we're creating these digital bank accounts, we need to understand, OK, are they in women's hands or not? Or as we're doing new agricultural things, we need to -- OK, which of the crops that the women get involved with?
For example, chickens in Africa, that's very much a women's thing. So we've put a lot more emphasis into that. So getting the data broken down to see OK, why do men own more of the cell phones? Do they do more of the bank accounts? That helps you with your interventions. And so that's why Melinda says in here data is sexist. That is, if we don't have the breakdown, we might miss our gender sensitivity.
ZAKARIA: A New York City is going to be built every month for the next 40 years. What does that mean? Is that good or bad?
GATES: Well, I use that as an opportunity to explain that when people think of climate change, they think mostly about electricity. And that's only a quarter of the emissions come from coal, natural gas plants that are generating your electricity. They -- when we make materials like steel and cement, those two alone are about an eighth of the emissions. And so the fact that we're going to build these cities that the world is urbanizing means that unless you have a totally zero emission way of making steel and cement, then you haven't come near to solving the overall climate problem.
And so moving away, the term clean energy has handicapped the field because that makes people think oh, maybe it's just electricity and passenger cars, and they don't see agriculture, industry, buses, trains, as part of the problem.
ZAKARIA: One crucial part is agriculture. And one thing you said you were particularly surprised by was how great a problem bovine flatulence is.
ZAKARIA: Want to explain what that is and why it's a problem?
GATES: Yes. So the animals that can eat grass have very unusual stomachs that have these bacteria that are methanogenic in there. And so they leak natural gas both out the front and the back. And so people said let's change the hay or throw some things in there. And it's been -- nobody knows how to get rid of that.
ZAKARIA: No one knows how to get cows to stop farting?
ZAKARIA: Or burping.
GATES: And so there is artificial meat but that's at a very early stage but that's another big source of greenhouse gas emission. So, you know, I'm just trying to make sure that the people who acknowledge the problem, which I think is fantastic, that they understand the breadth of innovation required before you can get anywhere near what we have to do which is zero.
If it was a 50 percent reduction, then you could ignore, OK, leave the cows alone. But because we're trying to avoid the temperature continuing to go up, you do need to go to zero, otherwise you're continuing to have temperature increase.
ZAKARIA: You threw a party in Beijing, a toilet fare. Why are you obsessed with toilets?
GATES: Well, I guess I'm obsessed in the challenges that with the world urbanizing and these developing countries, the biggest cities in the world will be places like Lagos. You know, 20 million, 30 million people, and the way we think of sanitation in the rich world is we build sewer systems. We put a lot of clean water in and we build the processing plant. That is so expensive that these developing countries' cities won't have it.
And so whenever you tour a slum, you might smell or see that human waste is not being removed and processed. And so the new idea is that the toilet itself would essentially burn up the human waste, turn it into ash and get rid of both the smell and the disease-causing nature of human waste, and that's the challenge we put to engineers seven years ago. In Beijing we showed how far we've come.
[10:25:05] So we have toilets that do this magic thing. They are 10 times more expensive than they'll need to be, but we're encouraged we'll get those out, sell them to places like tourist areas and use that volume hopefully over the next five years to get this $500 self- contained toilet.
ZAKARIA: So when you look at the problem of climate change, and as you said to get to zero emissions involves revolutions in, you know, dozens and dozens of crucial parts of the world. You've got, you know, the problem of toilets. You've got massive urbanization. You've got the reality of Africa with all these young men.
Doesn't it make -- get you down? Doesn't it make you think these problems are insurmountable they're so large?
GATES: No, absolutely not. I mean, you have to remember the base case. We were all subsidence farmers, and on average people lived to about age 30. And, you know, then as energy came along, industrial revolution and the digital revolution and the understanding of biology, life has improved dramatically. And, you know, so childhood death went from about 10 percent before our foundation got going. Now with our partners that we have it down to 5 percent globally, children died before the age of 5.
ZAKARIA: It used to be 10 percent. It's now 5 percent. GATES: Yes, exactly.
ZAKARIA: You cut it in half.
GATES: So that's six million children a year who survive that were not surviving as recently as 1990, so, you know, I see incredible progress. Yes, you know, you can worry about nuclear war or pandemics, you know, the AI takeover, polarization. There's many things that we as humans should be worried about and think about OK, how do we minimize that risk or adapt to that problem including climate change.
And, you know, I probably put more investments in to these various innovations including better seeds to help with the adaptation piece because we will have warming even if things go perfectly. There's a lot more warming coming between now and the end of the century in the perfect case. So, you know, it's a world of immense progress. And you'd rather be born today -- you know, if you're a woman, a gay person, a person who gets a disease, you'd rather be born today than 20 years ago, and you know, I feel very strongly, you'd rather be born 20 years from now than today.
ZAKARIA: Bill Gates, pleasure to have you on.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, in 1946 as America grew more and more worried about the communist menace from Russia, a grave concern about the allegiances of an American official changed how two great global institutions are run. That change is still in effect today. The amazing spy story when we come back.
ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World" segment. President Trump has displayed what one could call irony in his Cabinet picks, appointing, for example, a climate change skeptic to head the EPA. This month, Trump was true to form when it came time to nominate a new head of the World Bank. He chose David Malpass, an outspoken critic of both the bank and the multilateralism that underpins it.
But forget Malpass for a moment. The real question is why does the American president get to pick this global position?
Well, it all traces back to a three-week summit at a sprawling hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in the waning days of World War II. The conference was meticulously documented in Benn Steil's 2013 book "The Battle of Bretton Woods."
There history was made. John Maynard Keynes and the American Treasury official Harry Dexter White hammered away at an architecture for the new international economic system. In the end, the delegation of world leaders signed the agreement that created the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
The IMF was seen as the much more important agency. And President Truman wanted White for the top job at the IMF. But then, as Steil notes in his book, FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover told Truman the unthinkable. White, a founding father of the new economic world order, was thought to be a Soviet spy. Knowing this, Truman couldn't give White the job, so he grudgingly gave Europe the power to name the IMF chief. The U.S. satisfied itself with choosing instead the leader of the World Bank. And so a gentleman's agreement precipitated by a spy scandal created a precedent that has survived to this day.
One could argue for this method of succession in the early years of both institutions. The United States and Europe, after all, made up most of the world economy. When the World Bank was launched, the U.S. provided most of its capital and controlled 35 percent of the vote and was mostly tasked with rebuilding post-War Europe. But the world and the bank have evolved drastically since then. China is now the second largest economy in the world. Developing countries make up 60 percent of the world's economy.
Today the U.S. has less than 17 percent of capital investment in the bank and 16 percent of the vote share. But the U.S. is the only country that has veto power over the bank's decisions. And the process of choosing a new leader has remained opaque. All 12 previous presidents of the World Bank have been Americans chosen by the American president and ushered through by the board of directors.
In fact, 2012 was the first time an alternative to an American pick was ever even seriously considered. The current system is utterly out of sync with the emerging multi-polar world. It's important for developing countries to offer up alternative candidates and for the United States to cede space to accommodate them.
Up next, computers may not have a whole lot of bedside manner, but a question is emerging. Could they diagnose what ails you better than a human doctor, and could they cure you better than a human doctor?
A MacArthur genius will tell you all about how A.I. can help your life, when we come back.
ZAKARIA: Monday President Trump signed an executive order on maintaining American leadership in artificial intelligence. It's another area where the United States and China are coming into conflict. Two years ago Beijing announced it would be the world leader in A.I. by 2030. In the meantime, many citizens remain worried about A.I., scared by science fiction and news reports.
There's one way that scientists all believe A.I. can be greatly beneficial, your health. From diagnosing what ails you to figuring out what will cure you, the possibilities are endless. Daphne Koller is deeply interested in it all. The Stanford computer scientist is a co-founder of the online learning platform Coursera and was until recently the chief computing officer at Google's A.I. Health Initiative. She just founded a new company called Insitro which hopes to use computers to improve our health.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ZAKARIA: Daphne Koller, pleasure to have you on.
KOLLER: Pleasure to be here. Thank you.
ZAKARIA: What's the, kind of, most obvious place that -- that machine learning can help something like health care? One thinks about the reading of a -- of a scan or something like that. right?
KOLLER: The most obvious application for machine learning in health care is on the diagnostic side. I mean, you look at a patient record or a scan and you're supposed to predict what the patient has. It's -- this is something that could be done from multiple different types of data sources, ranging from looking at an X-ray scan or a pathology slide all the way through some of the more modern tools like looking at a liquid biopsy and actually thinking about what fragments of DNA are found in the blood.
ZAKARIA: And -- and why would the computer be better than the great doctor who's seen a whole bunch of these scans and can tell what the patterns look like?
KOLLER: Well, on the DNA side, people are actually not really good at looking at fragments of DNA and figuring out what they mean. But what's really surprising is that, even on the imaging side, where you would think, "You're right, people have been looking at these things for literally a century; why would a computer be able to do better?"
Computers are able to discern subtle patterns in these images that are very hard for people to see, partly because they can look at so many different samples and extract commonalities that people just can't hold in their heads. You look at a cancer pathology image, there's thousands of cells in there. Some of them are aberrant this way; some of them are aberrant that way. How do you put all that together into something that corresponds to a prognosis or a diagnostic?
But I think it becomes even more pressing when it's data types that people have no idea how to look at -- like you do one of those liquid biopsies and you're looking for very subtle changes in the composition of DNA that is present in -- in the blood. People have no idea how to look at that data.
ZAKARIA: So outside of diagnostics, I think everybody understands the computer can look at images with much greater detail and accuracy than human beings. Are there other areas? Because it feels like this could be applied to other things.
KOLLER: Yeah. I think that diagnostics is perhaps the most obvious one, but maybe more interesting are some of the less obvious applications like the work that we started to do on therapeutics. Therapeutics is not in itself an obvious prediction task. It's more of a design problem. You're looking to design a therapeutic, a treatment that has a particular therapeutic effect on a person. And so how do you define that, even, as a machine learning problem? Where do you get the data to train a computer to make those predictions is actually a really interesting and a subtle question. ZAKARIA: And so let me understand it. Because when you're trying to
look at a therapy, you say, "OK, there's a problem; we think we have a therapy for it, and now we're going to try it out."
And that trial process is what is very long and expensive and laborious and, you know, only one out of 20 drugs often make it, right?
KOLLER: That's right.
ZAKARIA: And so the idea is, what, that the computer will simulate and can do thousands and thousands of, kind of, mock trials?
KOLLER: Yeah, so our ability at this point to simulate human biology is incredibly far in the future. Our understanding of human biology is in such early stages relative to the complexity of the system that we're nowhere close to being able to simulate even a single human cell, far less the entirety of the human body.
I think the big question is can we create a data set that will allow us to at least to some extent predict what a perturbation, a change in the human system, changing the activity level of a protein -- what will it do to the overall human health outcome, for instance?
ZAKARIA: So paint a picture for me. If, you know, 10 years from now, if you're successful at the scale at which technology has been evolving, could I go in and get a series of scans which would tell me, "You have incipient, very, very early stage, almost undetectable, whatever it is, cancer or, you know -- and we're going to put you on a series of therapies because we've been able to see these things way before, years before they would ever have manifest in any kind of symptom?
KOLLER: I think that's going to be part of it. Some of that would even begin earlier, before you ever had the scans, by simply looking at, for instance, your genetics and being able to tell you that you should go get scanned more often. Now, you have to be careful about that because you don't want people to go get scanned and have all these false positives that lead to increasing health costs, maybe, without improving outcomes. But the other component is, once I catch it early, what's going to work for you? There's a lot of drugs that work for 10 percent or 20 percent of people but don't work for the remainder.
ZAKARIA: So in a sense what you're doing is you've come at the intersection of these two great technological revolutions that have taken place, one in bio with the mapping of the human genome and things like that, and the other in machine learning, right?
KOLLER: You know, you're absolutely right. I actually think of science as proceedings -- as proceeding in a set of epochs, or if you think about the late 1800s was chemistry, the periodic table, and then the early the 1900s was physics and understanding the nature between matter and energy. And the 1950s was computing. In the 1990s we have an interesting bifurcation. There was the era of data which emerged directly from computing and the era of what you might call quantifiable biology that -- that included the human genome and the ability to measure the activity levels of different genes and proteins and high-resolution microscopy. And I think those two threads are about to converge into a new epoch of science that is what you might call bio-data and the ability to not only measure biology at scale but also interpret the outcome and then engineer those outcomes to achieve -- engineer the system to achieve better outcomes for people.
ZAKARIA: Better outcomes but maybe not eternal life?
KOLLER: I think eternal life is -- is a stretch. Let's just say we've not seen a feasibility proof of eternal life, and so I'm not convinced that that is even a likely outcome. I'm not even sure it's a desirable outcome.
ZAKARIA: Daphne Koller, pleasure to have you on.
KOLLER: Thank you very much.
ZAKARIA: Up next, a guest book recommendation from none other than Bill Gates.
ZAKARIA: Countries like Japan and South Korea face a demographic crisis due to chronically low birth rates. But it was a Western country that made headlines this week for an initiative designed to tackle this very issue. And it brings me to my question. Which country announced that mothers of at least four children would be exempt from income tax: Hungary, Italy, Portugal or Poland? Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.
This week I asked Bill Gates to give us his recommendation for a book.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL GATES, FOUNDER OF MICROSOFT CORPORATION: My book would be "Billion Dollar Whale." It's a sad story of corruption in international finance, but fascinating. You know, as "Bad Blood" is to biotech, "Billion Dollar Whale" is to international finance -- not as profound as Pinker, Schmeil (ph), Rosling, but a wonderful read, very quick, thrilling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Thank you to Bill Gates for his book recommendation. Let me tell you about one more. The 2019 Victorian Prize for Literature, one of Australia's most important book prizes, was recently awarded to an author who was not allowed into the country to collect it. As you may know, Australia's immigration policies are pretty hardline. Indeed, Donald Trump told the country's former prime minister, quote, "You are worse than I am," unquote, during a conversation about refugees.
Asylum seekers who try to reach Australia by boat are processed in centers on nearby islands, sometimes languishing there for years. Human rights groups in the United Nations have expressed concern over such island centers and the health of the detainees. And debates over opening and closing centers continue.
Well, this year's winner of the Victorian Prize for Literature "No Friend But the Mountains" was written by Behrouz Boochani, an Iranian Kurd who was held in Australian detention centers on Papua New Guinea's Manus island for nearly six years. He wrote the award- winning book from the island by arduously typing it out on his mobile phone and sending sections via WhatsApp messages.
He may have had to rely on his cell phone to deliver his messages, but his victory with this book prize is, more than anything else, a testament to the power of words, no matter where they come from.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEHROUZ BOOCHANI, WINNER OF VICTORIAN PRIZE FOR LITERATURE: I have been in a cage for years, but throughout this time my mind has always been producing words, and these words have taken me across borders, taken me overseas and to unknown places. I truly believe words are more powerful than the fences of this place, this prison. This is a beautiful moment. Let us all rejoice tonight in the power of literature.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: The answer to my "GPS" challenge this week is A. Hungarian prime minister and far-right poster child Viktor Orban announced in his annual address to the nation that women who bear four or more children would be completely exempt from income taxes for life. The policy, which is meant to address the country's low birth rates is not unique. Nations from Russia to South Korea pay cash to growing families. And you may remember these viral video campaigns urging Polish couples to emulate bunnies; Danish ones to "Do it for Denmark," and for patriotic Singaporeans on Independence Day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(UNKNOWN): Let's not watch fireworks. Let's make 'em instead. Yeah. It's national night, and I want a baby, boo.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: What makes Hungary's policies different is Orban's characteristic xenophobia. "We want Hungarian children. Migration for us is surrender."
Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.