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First Move with Julia Chatterley
Countries And Companies Pledging Help As India's COVID Crisis Worsens; E.U. Says U.S. Tourists May Be Welcome This Summer If Vaccinated; Apple Upping Its Investment In U.S. Manufacturing And Jobs. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired April 26, 2021 - 09:00 ET
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JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Live from New York, I'm Julia Chatterley. This is FIRST MOVE and here is your need to know.
Aid and assistance. Countries and companies pledging help as India's COVID crisis worsens.
Holiday hopes. The E.U. says U.S. tourists may be welcome this summer if vaccinated.
And core commitment. Apple upping its investment in U.S. manufacturing and jobs.
It's Monday. Let's make a move.
A warm welcome once again to all our First Movers around the globe. It is great to be with you as always and we have a lot coming up this hour.
First and foremost, the humanitarian crisis still unfolding in India. The severity of the situation causing the international community, the Biden
administration, and big business to step up and offer support. We will bring you all the latest details on that very soon.
Plus, Apple's American ambitions, Tim Cook announcing a further $80 billion step-up to its multibillion-dollar spending plans over the next five years.
And, as I mentioned, too, stepping into summer. American holiday makers might be welcome in the E.U. this summer, but don't forget your vaccine
passport. The details on all of these top stories coming up.
It's the day after the Oscars, of course, too, but there is little movie magic for the U.S. majors premarket. A dramatic pause before a blockbuster
week of news, perhaps.
Walking the red carpet this week, Tesla after the bell today and then Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and more follow later this week. The Fed
and the Bank of Japan both update on U.S. -- on policy -- not U.S. policy, but on policy in general.
President Biden taking the spotlight on Wednesday with a speech before a joint session of Congress. Watch out for tax talk. I'm talking plans to
raise capital gains tax on the wealthy, the plan that triggered market volatility on Friday.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the world European stocks remain near records. Asia had a cautious session. A reflection perhaps of the devastating situation
in India and the potential for spillover effects, too.
Let's get to the drivers.
A catastrophic surge in India, the nation reporting more than 352,000 new COVID cases today alone forcing authorities to recall retired military
medical personnel to help save lives. Anna Coren has the details.
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As smoke rises over a pile of ashes, another family huddles over the remains of their
A son says farewell to his 49-year-old mother who died of COVID a day ago while his twin brother fights for his life in hospital. Another body draped
in marigolds is led into the crematorium. An assembly line of death and misery on an insurmountable scale.
For a fifth consecutive day, India has set a global record for daily infections and deaths, but health experts believe the real numbers could be
The acute shortage of oxygen across the country is the main killer as hospitals already over capacity turn away patients who don't have their own
oxygen cylinders and supply.
DR. SCL GUPTA, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, BATRA HOSPITAL, NEW DELHI: But here, if somebody dies, you know he has died because of the lack of oxygen. You
cannot describe that feeling, but you feel like crying, I tell. You're feeling so helpless.
COHEN (voice over): Unable to get an ambulance, this family takes their brother to hospital in a rickshaw, his feet protruding. But like all the
others they visited, it has no available beds, let alone enough oxygen.
"I tried almost all the hospitals," he says. "Everyone told me they had no oxygen supply, so I came here and they shooed us away at the gate saying
they don't have any oxygen."
The wait outside excruciating, but help never comes. He shakes his brother, but it is too late.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described the second wave as a storm that has shaken the country and announced the construction of more than 500
oxygen generation plants. But that's cold comfort for the families who feel their government has abandoned them and left them to fight this pandemic on
When critics say the government should have been preparing and stockpiling for the inevitable, it dropped its guard allowing social gatherings,
religious festivals and political rallies to be held, some the Prime Minister himself attended, giving the virus the chance to spread and
COREN (voice over): In the Capital, New Delhi, there is more than 30 percent positivity rate and half the cases by the start of this month with
a more contagious variant that's afflicting younger people and is now being detected in the U.K. and Switzerland.
For radio host, Stutee Ghosh, whose father contracted COVID, she pulled him out of hospital because she feared he would die there. For every 200
patients, only one doctor was available.
She bought an oxygen concentrator on the black market for an exorbitant price allowing her father to be cared for at home. But she says, if you
don't have money and privilege, what hope do you have in saving your loved ones?
STUTEE GHOSH, RADIO HOST: If, God forbid, you're in a position where you can't breathe, and you have doctors who are breaking down on social media
in front of the cameras saying patients will die. Patients are being turned away because there is no oxygen. Who will answer this? This is a failure.
COREN (voice over): Anna Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.
CHATTERLEY: India's crisis is a world crisis and we have to react accordingly. Ivan Watson joins us now. Ivan, great to have you with us. We
spoke to the government's Chief Scientific Officer last week and he admitted that they were caught off guard and that they reacted slowly,
simply due to the scale of this crisis.
What more have we heard from the government and what actions are they taking?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, just moments ago, you had top health officials give a press conference about the crisis,
and one of those individuals said that there is unnecessary panic out there, and it's contributing to shortages of oxygen and medicine and
creating these scenes outside the hospital.
That rings a little oddly when you consider there are a lot of reports right now about crematoria that are working around the clock, when we have
colleagues of our own that work with us who have lost loved ones in the last week who were scrambling to try to find ICU beds when the capital, New
Delhi, last week, according to the government had less than three dozen ICU beds left, when we're hearing about people acquiring oxygen tanks on the
There may be scenes of panic, but as you can see from these images right here of these crowded hospitals, there are also very sick people who are
not getting treatment, and a lot of desperate people trying to find hospital beds, trying to find medicine and oxygen as their loved ones
literally gasp for their breath.
Now, the government has announced a number of measures moving forward. It has announced plans to create more than 500 facilities around the country
to manufacture oxygen. The military has announced that it is going to mobilize military medical personnel. It's even calling up medical personnel
who have retired within the last two years to report back to duty.
And the authorities say they're trying to make sure that oxygen can move freely around the country. There have been reports from hospitals of their
own deliveries being stopped by police, for example, and the government has announced that it is going to create some kind of a GPS tracking system to
keep track of deliveries to make sure that they get to where they need to go.
We had health officials saying there is enough oxygen, but the bottleneck is in the transport and in the logistics. But suffice it to say, India is
going through a major crisis, and the Prime Minister himself has acknowledged that even though his own Health Minister six weeks ago was
saying that, hey, India has basically made it through the pandemic.
Now, you have the Prime Minister who is canceling campaign rallies that he was conducting less than two weeks ago with thousands of people
participating is now saying that India is facing a storm.
So there's been a dramatic shift in some of the rhetoric that's come out of the government as people are desperately trying to find ways to keep their
loved ones alive -- Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. We can't turn back time, but we can act now and they certainly need to continue to step up and react to this and the whole world
-- at least, we are starting to see the whole world react to this as well.
Ivan, great to have you. Thank you for that report. Ivan Watson there.
It's not just the international community, Google and Microsoft promising support for India amid the latest COVID wave. Both CEOs who are of course
Indian-born are rushing aid to the country.
Clare Sebastian joins me now. Clare, what more do we know? What are they doing?
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Julia, the India roots run very deep into Silicon Valley, it is a major force there. These two are
the most important executives in Big Tech in the United States.
What we know so far is Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft tweeting, "Microsoft will continue to use its voice, resources and technology to aid
relief efforts and support the purchase of critical oxygen concentration devices."
We have more detail from Google CEO -- Google and its parent company, Alphabet, Sundar Pichai putting a number on this saying there's $18 million
in new funding. Among those -- you know, including in that funding are grants to UNICEF and Give India which is an online donation platform to
help families affected by this crisis, employee donations from Google employees, and $15 million in free advertising for public health
information campaigns, information crucially important in this.
SEBASTIAN: Google also says in India, it is rolling out more information across maps and search including vaccination sites and things like that.
Other Big Tech are also involved. It's not just where the CEO is Indian. Amazon is helping with NGOs in bringing 10,000 new oxygen concentrators and
bi-pap machines. They tweeted a video of that also today.
But worth pointing out as well, Julia, that India is a crucial market for Big Tech. You cannot separate that from all of these efforts, 750 million
internet users, still growing, and we have to mention as well. Others hitting hurdles, when we talk about information, Twitter under scrutiny
today for complying with a government request to remove around a hundred posts which the government says are misinformation and causing panic.
Some of them though appear to be from opposition figures criticizing the Modi government's handling of the crisis, so a tightrope for Big Tech, but
stepping up efforts to help with this crisis.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, and at least in Twitter's case, they are telling us exactly who is demanding that these posts get taken down, of course, and
while you don't want to incite concern, it's good that we're aware, and we're aware because of social media in particular.
Clare Sebastian, thank you for that.
Okay, let's move on. Apple doubling down on its vision of the U.S. and its hub for cutting edge technologies manufacturing and creativity. It says it
will spend more than $400 billion in the states over the next five years on everything from data centers and research facilities to original TV shows,
promising to create tens of thousands of new jobs.
Christine Romans joins me now. Christine, it is not all new money and we have to be clear, but this is a monster, a monster amount of money. I was
doing some analysis here. It's the same as the GDP of Norway, so the 31st largest nation in the world, and of course, the market cap of Apple is
comparable to the GDP of Italy, the eighth largest nation in the world. Wowsers.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's a big sum, and look, when this was first announced in 2018, it was a $350 billion
commitment over five years and the then President of the United States, Donald Trump mentioned it at the very top of his State of the Union address
about how conditions were so good in America for doing business.
What Apple is saying this morning is they are upping that commitment and there is a new President in the Oval Office here, upping it by about $80
billion. And pretty much investing more money in every single state.
Something new here that's very telling, the research triangle in North Carolina, a big investment there of about a billion dollars. That will be
3,000 new jobs. These are very big, high-tech jobs. These are investments in silicon engineering, 5G technology, artificial intelligence, machine
So a big investment in domestic manufacturing and domestic business in the U.S.
Back in 2018, the company said over five years, it would be able to add 20,000 jobs in the U.S., new jobs. Apple says it's on track to meet that by
2023 and, in fact, is adding another 20,000 jobs over the next five years in places like Texas where by next year, you're going to have a big Austin
campus that will have employees coming there. San Diego, all across the country, a lot of different places.
CHATTERLEY: There's also another nod to this administration buried in this press release as well where it says that Apple is the largest taxpayer in
the United States and has paid almost $45 billion in domestic taxes over the past five years alone, just while you're contemplating raising
corporate tax rates.
ROMANS: The timing here is very, very key. You have got a Biden administration that is going to lay out its infrastructure and sort of
family economy plans this week to be paid for by higher taxes on the very rich and on companies.
This is showing -- this is Apple showing that it can do infrastructure, too. There's a big infrastructure push here in North Carolina for roads,
broad band, public schools. We don't know how much tax incentives the State of North Carolina is offering to Apple to come there and invest in its
research triangle area. Stay tuned on that.
But, indeed, this is -- I mean, $400 billion. That's not a small chunk of change.
CHATTERLEY: No, that's half of what the Republicans are now proposing, isn't it, for the infrastructure bill? Tighter, less flexible definition of
infrastructure in this case, as well.
Christine Romans, thank you for that.
ROMANS: You're welcome.
CHATTERLEY: All right, let me bring you up to speed with some of the other stories making headlines around the world.
Russian prosecutors have ordered the political offices of the imprisoned Kremlin critic, Alexei Navalny to suspend their activities and they have
asked courts to do the same for Navalny's anti-corruption foundation.
The move comes as the court is deciding whether to designate both organizations as extremist groups.
Let's go live now to Moscow with CNN's Fred Pleitgen. Fred, great to have you with us.
And just to be clear, if this court rules in the government's favor, it will mean that Navalny's operations, the group, the anti-corruption
foundation, ironically, will have the same designation as Islamic State, al-Qaeda, those kind of organizations.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You're absolutely right and it was quite interesting, one of Navalny's allies,
earlier today, said essentially, they believe that what the government is trying to do is declare the fight against corruption as being extremism.
The Kremlin was asked about this today as well, they said they are not going to comment on this trial because of course, obviously, it is still
ongoing, but certainly, would have a chilling, if not a destructive effect on Navalny's organization.
For instance, people who are working for that organization right now, if they continue to do so, they would face significant jail time. The same
with people who publicly support that organization, they would also face fines and possible jail time as well.
Even if you donate money or even tweet or re-tweet support for that organization, people then could face fines and also face significant jail
time for doing that as well.
So certainly there are many in the organization who believe that this is really the government accelerating, going after this organization, going
after Alexei Navalny.
Of course, one of the things we have to keep in mind, Julia that Alexei Navalny's organization and his anti-corruption foundation, they really are
right here. The only opposition groups that are spread across the entire country that have significant positions across the entire country and that
certainly do manage to bring a lot of people to the streets for their protest.
And so this trial is really one that is being looked at very, very carefully, not just here in Russia, but of course, internationally as well
and certainly one where you do feel that the organization, the people who run that organization, they believe that it could be very, very dangerous
In fact, you've just said that the prosecutor here ordered them to stop their organizations. We have already heard from Navalny's regional offices
that they have already stopped disseminating information because obviously, right now, as all of this is going on, it would be very dangerous for them
to continue working the way that they had before -- Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, I will quote Amnesty International because they are saying, it would be, quote, "One of the most serious blows to the rights,
to freedom of expression in association in Russia's post-Soviet history." Back to the future. Fred Pleitgen, live in Moscow, thank you for that.
An investigation is under way into that massive hospital fire in Baghdad over the weekend that killed more than 80 people and injured many more.
Iraq's Prime Minister has suspended the Health Minister and Governor of Baghdad. Health officials say they believe oxygen tanks exploded and set
off the flames.
Total is the latest energy giant to pull out of northern Mozambique citing security issues. The French firm is halting operations on a multibillion
dollar natural gas project in the region because of attacks by Islamic insurgents.
Last year, ExxonMobil postponed making fresh investments in the area because of the safety threat and we will have more on this and many other
stories from across the African continent on "One World" with Zain Asher. The program premiers today at noon Eastern Time, 5:00 p.m. in London and
6:00 p.m. in Johannesburg. Do not miss that. I'll be watching.
All right, still to come here on FIRST MOVE, the Bahamas launches one of the first Central Bank backed to cryptocurrencies, a Central Bank coin.
We'll speak to the man in charge.
And a concrete solution to climate change. The company is sinking carbon in a cement to cut emissions. That's all coming up. Stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE. Apple surprised investors today with a new multibillion dollar commitment to boost U.S. manufacturing. As
you can see, though, little commitment to fresh positioning ahead of this week's deluge of earnings from Apple and other tech giants, Amazon,
Facebook, Twitter and the like.
But confidence in the ongoing stock market rise is strong. A new Barron's poll showing 67 percent of money managers anticipating future market gains.
The numbers out of the United States later this week should help that, too.
Q1 GDP growth estimates are six percent or higher, all of this amid a continued spike in the price and demand for commodities. Lumber soaring to
all-time highs. Copper prices at their best levels in a decade, as long as you're not building.
Now the so-called everything rally triggering concerns about raw materials shortages and rising prices, of course, too. Now, travel stocks taking off
premarket after the E.U. Commission President raised hopes that Americans will be welcome in Europe this summer, but there's a catch.
Richard Quest joins us now. Richard, great to have you on the show. The catch of course is that you need a vaccine passport and we need to talk to
the C.D.C. in the United States and make sure they're willing to have you come back in as easily.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes, and I think those catches are logistical, but the principle has been set, Julia, and that's what is
significant here. They've agreed or in principle that since all the U.S. vaccines are also approved in the European Union, then there's no reason
why those who have had them don't -- couldn't have unfettered or unconditional access within Europe and that's going to be the way forward.
The logistical part, Europe has this digital green pass that it is putting together which will be electronic, whereas the U.S., as you know, is
handing out little white cards with stickers on them to show that you have been vaccinated.
Will that be acceptable as a mode of operation when you get to Europe? Will it have to be converted into the digital green pass? Those are the sort of
logistical things because what they are concerned about, and I think rightly, is fraud, forgeries and that sort of thing.
Julia, I would say it's not going to be next week or even next month. I think you're looking at middle to late summer before this thing is properly
up and running and, of course, the U.K. has to do its own independent deal since it's not part of the E.U.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, what about children, though? And what about the concerns of variants? I mean, to your point, late summer, but we've still got
significantly high levels of the virus in Europe, enough that lockdowns in certain cases are still needed.
There are still challenges. I can still see challenges beyond the logistics.
QUEST: Oh, absolutely. But those challenges will be met by PCR testing and, yes, children will provide a difficulty, but in some cases they will have
to be tested, a negative PCR test.
They're not so worried about children because the statistics do show that the younger -- it's harder to catch and they recover faster, but, because
there are those people who won't be tested, those people who can't have a vaccine. Those are the ones where they are going to have the difficulties.
I think we can focus too much on the problems -- cases and sort of miss the wood for the trees, as they would say, or the trees for the wood. The
reality is, opening up Europe through this sort of agreement will be a massive, massive benefit, and will only put into place what other countries
like Greece, which opens up on May 15th have said, look, we're going ahead anyway -- Iceland, Greece, Croatia, many countries have said we're going
It's time to let people travel if they have got a vaccination and we're going to see a massive ramp-up, I think, in flights.
CHATTERLEY: Actually, you raise a great point there, and that European nations decide for themselves anyway. So the Commission President can say
one thing, but in the end it's the countries themselves who say come on in, please.
Richard, stay there a second because I want to get your take on this next story. One of Britain's biggest asset managers is changing its name in a
rebrand, which has raised some eyebrows, to say the least, or furrowed some brows.
Standard Life Aberdeen will now be known as this -- it is a shortened version of the world Aberdeen, they've just taken the vowels out. Some
critics say that it is trying to attract a younger client base by mimicking a trendy startup.
Richard, you can't pronounce it. What do you make of this?
QUEST: Aberdeen -- the reality is, Julia, I am 59 years old and this is not designed for me. The truth is Standard Life and Aberdeen are both good,
solid, reliable, some say boring companies and insurance, and financial management and asset management and this is what they want to avoid. They
want to be seen as a thrusting, vibrant, modern in the same way as Robinhood, et cetera.
I mean, look, even the lower font, it is by -- fit for the future. I've seen new rebrandings before -- go on.
CHATTERLEY: I mean, they are trying to clean up what's been messy, I think, since the merger back in 2016. The stock is down 31 percent. I am like, fix
the business, never mind the name. Is it really 21st Century logo-ing? I kind of think it is a bit ridiculous.
QUEST: Yes, I mean, I remember decades ago when the company then, ICI, changed its logo, spent millions and all it did was smooth out the wavy
lines at the bottom to show that it was an easier run.
I mean, this is cute, a lot of money will have been spent on it. It's designed to attract younger generation. I'm the wrong person to sign off on
CHATTERLEY: There's no bad PR because at least we're talking about it.
But you know what I did? I put it into my iPhone and obviously auto corrected and it came out to abrade, wear away by friction or erosion. Oh,
dear. We'll see how it goes. Hey, at least, we're talking about it, so that helps them.
QUEST: We are.
CHATTERLEY: For now.
QUEST: Good one.
CHATTERLEY: Richard Quest, don't me make me started.
QUEST: Where does it end?
CHATTERLEY: Between you and me, we are done, I am being told. It's over. Thank you.
QUEST: All right, good time.
CHATTERLEY: The market opens next. Stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE. U.S. stocks are up and running this Monday and we have a higher open after an aimless week of trading last
week. Nothing in the world is aimless. Call it perhaps, the calm before the deluge of market moving this week beginning with Tesla's earnings after the
closing bell today.
The opening players are bucking the trend as well. Actually they're rising, too, after seeing them flip. Airlines and cruise lines are higher on signs
that the E.U. might soften travel restrictions for vaccinated Americans this summer.
Also in the cryptocurrency space, Bitcoin is higher and testing that $55,000.00 level again after last week's 19 percent drop. Fears that U.S.
President Joe Biden's proposal to almost double capital gains tax has helped to pressure cryptocurrencies in general last week.
Ethereum, XRP and Litecoin all bouncing back today, some of the biggest digital currencies out there.
The Bahamas may be best known for its beautiful beaches, but it is now making waves with its blockchain technology. The island launching one of
the world's Central Bank backed digital currencies in October. It's called the Sand Dollar, and it's backed by the Bahamian dollar which is also
pegged to the U.S. dollar.
To tell us all, joining us now, John Rolle, he is the Governor of the Central Bank of Bahamas.
John, fantastic to have you on the show. I'm incredibly excited to talk about this. You are right at the forefront on the cutting edge of adopting
this technology. Just explain to us how you see it working and why it's an advantage to traditional forms of money and currency.
JOHN ROLLE, GOVERNOR, CENTRAL BANK OF BAHAMAS: Thank you very much, Julia.
In the Bahamas, we started along with a process to modernize our payment system and we addressed a lot of issues along the way such as the big one,
which is financial inclusion.
Having an island archipelago, persons being scattered, even though a lot of the population has access to banking, the experience is different depending
on how close you are to the center.
What we needed to do was to accelerate the transition to the more distribution of services to digital channels and we also put emphasis on
bringing new payment services providers into the space.
And when we looked at the role that the public sector, in this case, the Central Bank would play, it was really in terms of making certain that
these platforms could communicate or as referred in the technical language, they are interoperable.
So we saw that a Central Bank digital currency of being the link to provide the interoperability, ensuring that a lot of the experience, the access of
persons have to cash. There's no discrimination in terms of how they choose a digital product provider and that the experience across product providers
doesn't become a hindrance.
In other words, we don't want persons to be fixated on who they choose to provide their payment services. Once we can make certain that they are
operating in an interoperable setting, and from that point of view, in a country where there are significant fixed costs to developing financial
services and structure, it makes sense for the public sector or the Central Bank in our case to go there and take the lead in putting the
infrastructure in and having the Central Bank digital currency as that lubricating mechanism or interoperable mechanism for the payment system.
CHATTERLEY: How much of a transaction cost reduction could we save? Because I think cuts to the heart of it, to your point, and I believe around 20
percent of your population are unbanked. So giving them access to mobile wallets and digital currency makes perfect sense to me.
But just in terms of the cost benefit, the efficiencies of a digital currency versus traditional forms of payment like cash, for example, what
are we talking about here? Can you give us a sense?
ROLLE: Well, from a policy point of view, we took the position that for you and I as individuals with mobile wallets, we are distributing payments
among ourselves. If it's the Sand Dollar, there is no transaction charge being exacted upon those users in the digital currency space. However, we
do allow the payment providers to charge for their services and other realms such as the emergent services that they provide.
One of the advantages that they have is the opportunity to reduce costs that the layers of intermediaries and payment base are reduced to the
extent that this is an entirely domestic platform to separate payments, which was not the case for the other types of transactions such as the
debit cards and the credit cards. Inevitably, there is an international element.
Both will continue to exist, but now we're introducing new persons who will potentially be using other services where you are literally in some cases,
the texting ones from one person to the next, for those individuals, the cost will be reduced.
CHATTERLEY: It makes sense to me. Talk to me about the fact that it's pegged to your local currency, which is also obviously pegged to the U.S.
dollar. There are critics here that say you need to have some ability for it to be a store of value rather than just an exchange of value, utility
If you want big business, if you want investors to hold this digital coin on their balance sheets, for example, what do you make of that? And is this
in any way comparable to a cryptocurrency like a Bitcoin, for example, or do you see what you're doing here as something entirely separate?
ROLLE: In some respects, it is separate. We are focused on enabling more efficient transactions in the payment space. We have not designed our
Central Bank digital currency as a substitute for deposit or equivalent asset in the banking system. As a matter of fact, we've said that there are
limits to how much of this instrument that the retail user can hold.
So we do not want a person to be looking at this as an alternative to deposit. That's certainly not what we are up to. We want the focus on how
it eases the settlement process with one that has plans to take it one place and to the bank.
CHATTERLEY: And so why is this superior to using something like a PayPal, for example, that isn't just purely domestic, it can cross borders and has
global reach? Why? You can educate me on the logic here of a Central Bank digital coin.
ROLLE: Well, think about it, if you have Apple Pay, PayPal, and many of the others in the U.S. with the market and you identified the equivalent in the
Bahamian market space, what is happening is that if those platforms are not interoperable or they cannot speak with each other easily, you're forcing
the consumer to make a choice on the basis of which platform they use for payment.
What we've said in the Bahamas is that, yes, we can have differentiated services, different platforms, but they must communicate and we provide the
glue for the communication across the platform.
So the Central Bank digital currency in this space allows the other payment platform to demonstrate whatever innovations they want and how they will
provide services. But every user at a minimum can now send funds across the system wherever, irrespective of the platform that they choose for those
billers, but that is what is important.
And so we were able, in many respects, to leapfrog the process because dealing with interoperability in the payment space is not an easy hurdle to
overcome especially if you already have a very developed system, but lots of providers in the space.
CHATTERLEY: It's so exciting. I think other Central Banks around the world should be talking to you. I can't wait to see your progress and look
forward to speaking to you soon. John Rolle, Governor of the Central Bank of the Bahamas, thank you.
ROLLE: Thank you.
CHATTERLEY: All right, coming up after the break, solid steps to reducing carbon emissions. Why investments are pouring into a Canadian company
trying to help the environment. We'll explain next.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE. Governments around the world are under pressure to cut carbon emissions as we saw last week, and as our
reliance on dirty fossil fuels sends numbers in the wrong direction, it is down to innovators to find solutions.
Well, cement is a key ingredient in concrete and it is all around us. It also has a massive carbon footprint. If you imagine the cement production
as a country, it would be the third largest emitter in the world behind China and the United States.
Now the Canadian company, CarbonCure found a way to permanently store carbon dioxide by injecting it into it concrete during production. The firm
was also a winner in Elon Musk's $20 million XPRIZE and investors include Amazon's Climate Fund and breakthrough energy ventures which is backed by
Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Marc Benioff, and Jack Ma.
Rob Niven is CEO and founder of CarbonCure and joins us now. Rob, great to have you with us.
I did a little bit of the explanation there of how you're doing this. But just let me take a step back and ask you what's the vision for CarbonCure,
and how are you tackling carbon emissions?
ROBERT NIVEN, CEO AND FOUNDER, CARBONCURE: Thank you very much, Julia. It's wonderful to be here today.
To start off with our vision, our vision is set a new global standard for making low carbon in circular concrete and that involves actually looking
at CO2 a bit differently. We consider CO2 as a feed stock. Of course, recognize that it's also a harmful greenhouse gas.
But as a feed stock in concrete production, you can actually put the CO2 to work and create additional value from incorporating it into the concrete
It's a chemical reaction that occurs where that CO2 is turned permanently into a mineral within concrete, which gives it a number of performance and
economic benefits as well.
CHATTERLEY: So you are effectively turning it on its head rather than being an industry that says, look, we just have to reduce our carbon footprint,
what we're saying is, what we are going to do is go out there, buy the CO2 and do something chemically with it to permanently lock it in concrete. And
actually, there are benefits that it makes the concrete, the cement, stronger, too, I believe?
NIVEN: Yes, that's exactly right. And just to be clear, we're not saying don't do all the other things. We still need to do everything on the table.
But this is another solution we can incorporate.
We would look at CO2 as being the fifth ingredient in concrete now where it does provide all of these sort of strength and production cost efficiencies
as well. So, really, there is no tradeoffs that are necessary, and that's allowing concrete producers to really adopt this technology so rapidly
around the world.
We're already operating in a little over 300 plants on four continents.
CHATTERLEY: Wow, so you're already up and running in 300 plants you said. How quickly can you transition from the traditional form of creating cement
to adopting your technology?
NIVEN: It's more -- I think of it more of a retrofit or an enhancement in the concrete production process, so we certainly don't want to replace the
concrete industry. It's a vital component for all the new infrastructure development that we're embarking on.
We're also building an equivalent of New York City every 30 days, so there is a lot of construction that needs to happen. Most of that will be made
with concrete. We just need to decouple it from the very high carbon emissions that come along with that. So it is really an enhancement of an
existing process and working with those existing employers and existing production processes so that it just becomes part of the new green economy.
CHATTERLEY: You said there were no tradeoffs. I guess, the only tradeoff one could bring in is the cost. How much more does it cost to buy the CO2,
to inject the CO2 into the cement versus just creating cement in the traditional way?
NIVEN: This is actually the best part, Julia, it is that 99 percent of the producers today don't incorporate any significant price premium whatsoever.
The reason why we're able to do that is by first focusing on the material science and using CO2 to actually improve the strength of the concrete,
which allows producers to be able to use a little bit less cement and which doubles up on the CO2 reductions, but it also provides them a bit of relief
on the economics so that they can provide this technology to the market at exactly the same price with equivalent or improved quality issues -- so
around material performance.
So really when I said no tradeoffs, I really meant that.
CHATTERLEY: You meant it. It is all right. It's just my job to challenge. But the only cost in this to your point ...
NIVEN: Please, as much as you want.
CHATTERLEY: ... is, there is some cost of buying in the technology, which, hey, if it pays back almost instantly, then that's fantastic. You mentioned
the 300 --
NIVEN: And there is no CapEx. That's the other part.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. Explain.
NIVEN: Oh, we actually borrowed from the technology model which is called a SaaS model, so we provide all of the equipment, all of the ongoing services
without any additional fee, and we charge a licensing fee that comes with that and that licensing fee is then offset by these production savings that
we had mentioned earlier.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, I think that's why we are getting a sense of why investors like Jeff Bezos, Marc Benioff, Reid Hoffman and Jack Ma are interested in
investing in you, quite frankly.
So where in the world is this being utilized now? And I could mention China briefly, and I will. I saw a statistic that said in three years, I think to
2013, they produced more cement -- concrete than the United States did in the entire 20th Century which, I'll verify the fact. But, Rob, are you
working with China?
NIVEN: We're not quite there yet. As you can imagine, there are so many concrete producers around the planet, there is about a hundred thousand. So
we still have a long way to go.
And, of course, China is a very interesting market, a very complicated market so there's a lot of other markets that we're focusing on today. Most
of our growth has occurred in the United States, but we're rapidly expanding into new markets.
And in the case of Asia, places like Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, these are all markets that we're already operating in. And within the United States,
just about every metropolitan area, major metropolitan area and many suburbs and smaller towns as well are actually already using CarbonCure, so
you're probably -- construction that is probably already occurring with CarbonCure without them even knowing about it.
CHATTERLEY: Fascinating, and you're not ruling out China, it's just a work in progress?
NIVEN: Absolutely. Our mission as a company is to reduce 500 mega tons per year by the year 2030. There's no way that we're going to be able to do
that without China. It's just a matter of walking before you run and developing the right partnerships and once we're ready, it will certainly
be a very interesting and very looked forward to opportunity.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, and the whole world will benefit. Rob, great to have you on. Thank you so much for sharing what your company is doing and thank you
for the work.
Rob Niven there, the CEO and founder of CarbonCure.
NIVEN: Thank you, Julia.
CHATTERLEY: All right, you're watching FIRST MOVE. More to come.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE. As the world paused for the pandemic, the transportation industry sees the opportunity to reimagine the
ways in which we move.
Bianca Nobilo has been exploring how technology is playing a pivotal role in that new future and she starts by looking at Virgin Hyperloop.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): November 8th, 2020, just outside Las Vegas, Nevada, Virgin Hyperloop passed another milestone in its
ambitious journey to revolutionize the way we move. It carried out its first passenger ride.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one -- launch.
NOBILO (voice over): Josh Giegel, CEO and cofounder of Virgin Hyperloop and Sara Luchian, the Director of Passenger Experience were the first to test
NOBILO (on camera); And what was that experience like for you?
JOSH GIEGEL, CEO AND COFOUNDER, VIRGIN HYPERLOOP: It was absolutely incredible. It was phenomenal to be sitting in a vehicle that we designed
and built, we'd made safe. And once we started going down the pod, we felt a nice gentle acceleration and then we got -- it was a pretty short test,
but we got to the end and all we wanted to do was go back again.
NOBILO (voice over): Virgin Hyperloop is harnessing magnetic levitation technology and wants to take it to the next level.
GIEGEL: Now, what we want to do is be the first new mode of mass transportation in over a hundred years, so we are not a plane, we're not a
car, we are not a boat, but what we are is a pod moving inside of a tube at the speed of an aircraft for a fraction of the energy consumption basically
taking you directly from where you are to where you want to be without stopping at every place along the way.
A smooth electrically, sustainably autonomous way. It is idea that being able to move 10 times faster than a car and doing that for a fraction of
the emissions, being able to connect, being able to move so many people, being able to save so many, I'll say tons of emissions is that, it's really
going to open up a lot of opportunities.
NOBILO (on camera): Has the pandemic altered the course of your planning or the execution of your pilot projects? What impact has it had for you
GIEGEL: The thing that I think that is maybe a little bit of a silver lining, if we could say that about the pandemic, is that it has really
accelerated the talk about sustainability.
We've seen a world with less congestion, we have seen a world with less pollution. We've also felt this absolute human desire to be connected to
each other. So we want to see each other. We want things faster and this is the opportunity for us to rethink what it is we're doing about the future
and make some changes instead of building back the past, we can actually build up the future.
CHATTERLEY: And that just about wraps up FIRST MOVE today, but I have to just finally wish my father, Happy Birthday. It is his birthday today, and
I have not seen him for a really long time and I just want to tell him that I love him, and I will hug him very soon. Happy Birthday, dad. You are the
That is really it for the show. If you've missed any of our interviews today, they will be on my Twitter and Instagram pages. Search for
Stay safe. "CONNECT THE WORLD" with Becky Anderson is next.
We will see you tomorrow.