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Isa Soares Tonight

EU Agrees On $54 Billion Aid Package For Ukraine; European Farmers' Protests Spread Over Economic Grievances; Lloyd Austin Apologizes For His Handling Of Cancer Diagnosis; In 2025, Hamilton Will Leave Mercedes And Join Ferrari; Israel-Hamas War; Four Israeli Settlers Sanctioned By U.S. For Violent Actions In The West Bank; The Shoe About To Drop On Cuba's Economy; Following A Cyberattack, Cuba Postpones Anticipated Increase In Fuel Prices; Cubans Are Warned Of 500% Increase In Fuel Price; The Global Impact Of Saving Chimpanzees. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired February 01, 2024 - 14:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: Buonanotte to you, I am Richard Quest in New York, sitting in today for Isa Soares. Tonight, welcome news

for Ukraine as European leaders agree to a major support package, it's worth more than $50 billion, we'll be live in Kyiv to assess the reaction.

Gridlock on the streets of Europe as farmers are protesting over regulations and rising costs. And an apology from the U.S. Defense

Secretary Lloyd Austin. He says he should have told President Biden about his cancer diagnosis. That story and a great deal more as we continue.

A very good evening to you. The European Union has agreed to send $54 billion in new aid to Ukraine. The leaders in the bloc overcame weeks of

resistance from Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban to get the deal done. Now, they're encouraging the United States to follow their example. The EU,

President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, says America should now in her words, do its fair share.


URSUA VON DER LEYEN, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: I think we have proven today by these 50 billion euros that we stand by Ukraine, and I

think it will be an encouragement for the United States, also to do their fair share.


QUEST: Now, for the time being, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is welcoming all the help he can get. He called the EU deal a sign of

solidarity on the continent.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE: I thank you for this opportunity during this tour of U.N. I'm grateful for your decision on the financial

instrument for us, for our people, for Ukraine. Ukraine facility with 50 billion euros for a four-year period. This is a clear signal that Ukraine

will withstand and that Europe will withstand.


QUEST: Now, the country's embattled military chief has written an opinion piece for CNN today. Valerii Zaluzhnyi argues that Ukraine cannot count on

the level of aid that it's secured in years past, and the countries trotting should lean on technology over manpower.

According to reports, this might be academic since sources are telling us that Zaluzhnyi is already being dismissed, and a presidential decree is

expected to come within the week. Fred Pleitgen is with me in Kyiv. We have much to get to. Let's pass it down into its individual bit. This news by

the EU, first of all, that they managed to do a deal and overcome Viktor Orban's resistance. But it's not enough money, is it?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, it certainly isn't enough money, but it certainly is something that's very

welcomed by the Ukrainians. And I think, Richard, is on two levels. On the one hand, you have obviously the military operational level, and on the

other hand, you have the political level where it's very important to as well in the military level, it's important because really every cent helps

the Ukrainians right now.

One of the main shortages that Ukrainians face, and I've seen this in various parts of the frontlines, especially in the east of the country is a

shortage of 155 millimeter artillery ammunition. And you'll recall that it was the European Union that actually promised the Ukrainians last year,

that they would provide them with 1 million artillery shells.

I think the deadline for that was supposed to be March of this year, but they already say they're going to fall well, short of that, they're only

going to be able to provide about half a million of those shells, which is a lot less than the Russians are currently manufacturing and the Russians

are getting from the North Koreans as well.

So, more artillery ammo is definitely something from that EU money that the Ukrainians will be looking forward to, and certainly something where it's

not and certainly will make and can make a big difference on the battlefield. And then, of course, in the political sphere, this is

extremely important for the European Union to show unity, but especially also for the Ukrainians because of the issues around U.S. military aid in

U.S. Congress.

Of course, that very much uncertain. So a big win today for the Ukrainians to show that, at least, that European bloc, the European Union is united

behind helping Ukraine. Richard.

QUEST: So, Fred, do we know how they bought off Viktor Orban? I mean, you remember, of course, that he went for a diplomatic coffee when they wanted

to open negotiations. What did they do this time?


PLEITGEN: Yes, I think it was for the diplomatic coffee I think Olaf Scholz claimed responsibility for that, saying that he suggested to Viktor

Orban to get that diplomatic coffee. In this case, it seems as though the Hungarians had been given the chance to review that 50 billion euros in aid

on a yearly basis to see whether or not, that is something that is being spent wisely.

And of course, there's oversight to as well. Of course, one of the other things that we know is that EU nations have been putting pressure on the

Hungarians, withholding also some money in general because of the behavior of Viktor Orban in the European Union, and in some of those meetings that

the Europeans have had.

So it seems as though, Viktor Orban, in this case, at least, has relented. He is going to give -- have some oversight over the process, at least, in

the --

QUEST: Yes --

PLEITGEN: Longer term. And that seems to be something that has allowed him to say yes to this deal, Richard.

QUEST: Fred Pleitgen in Kyiv, grateful for you, sir, thank you. Alexander Rodnyansky is an economic adviser to President Zelenskyy as well as an

Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Cambridge. He's with me now. Professor, the decision that the 50 billion euros is extremely

welcome, and we already know it's not enough, the U.S. has to sort of do its part too. Are you concerned that the U.S. will not?

ALEXANDER RODNYANSKY, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS, UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE: Look, I mean, there's always concern given the environment that

we're in. We're fighting a full-fledged war for more than two years. We have trouble balancing our budget as everybody knows, we're dependent on

international help on our -- on the support from our donors and from our alliances essentially.

So look, there's always a concern, but there's also confidence that we won't be let down, that it will pass, the Congress will vote the way it

should in order to support this common battle --

QUEST: Right --

RODNYANSKY: That we're fighting on.

QUEST: Two distinct aspects of the aid here. The first is that, which is used to pay salaries, pensions, to keep the civil service and to keep the

machinery of government moving. The second is the -- is the military hardware that you are requiring to prosecute the war. If you have to look

at this 50 odd billion, how does it break?

RODNYANSKY: Look, I can't give you the exact details, and not all of it is actually public information. But no matter how you slice it or dice it, how

you look at the issue, obviously, any support, even if it's for social expenditures for -- to pay pensions, to keep our operational costs running

to make sure that our enterprise or state-owned enterprise are functional.

If we receive -- if we receive foreign aid for that, and essential transfers in order to accomplish that, to make sure that the economy is

functional, that obviously reduces the amount of pressure there is on the military expenditure that essentially leaves open an --

QUEST: Right --

RODNYANSKY: Opportunity to spend more money, more resources for military efforts, even if we're collecting taxes internally for that.

QUEST: Why are you so confident that the U.S. will eventually pony up?

RODNYANSKY: Because I think everybody understands that this is a common struggle, a common battle that we're fighting out. And if you start

imagining the reverse, what would happen if we don't get the funding, we don't get the support, you end up in a much worse situation for everybody

involved, for western civilization, for the democracies essentially that will be directly affected by potentially further struggles and an

escalation of the war.

Everybody knows that. So that's why I think ultimately, if you look at the payoffs here, it's clear which side we're on.

QUEST: The -- what about this idea from Valerii Zelenskyy -- Zaluzhnyi said that Ukraine can't count on this level of aid ongoing. This is not

just an unpopular thought, but it's one that is being repeated by many people. I was listening to some political consultants in the U.S., who

basically says aid from the U.S. at those sort of levels is basically no longer going to be possible.

RODNYANSKY: Look, I'm not going to speculate on anybody commenting this, let alone our generals over this is going to be possible or not. I know

this is necessary, and ultimately, I think the western powers or allies will understand that this is necessary and there's no way around it for as

long as we're in this war, we need to make sure that Ukraine is victorious, otherwise, as I said, we end up in a much worse place for everybody

involved. So look, I think --

QUEST: I get it, but let me tell you, I hear what you say, but there is a -- there is a political reality that did not exist before, and whilst

Viktor Orban has been bought off on this occasion, the EU will not be able to maintain this level forever, and similarly, the southern Republicans

are absolutely adamant that the days of major financing for Ukraine, however, unpalatable it is for you to hear it, but those days are over.

RODNYANSKY: Well, look, there's two things, first of all, and I have to say this, this is exactly what the other side is counting on, right? This

is exactly what the Russian regime is counting on. So we're essentially giving it to them. That's not what we need to be clear about that.


And number two, of course, we have to respect the reality. We have to deal with it. And that's what we're actually doing. Our government is investing

more resources into our own production, into our own -- building our own capacities to make sure we have the ammunition when we -- when we need it,

to make sure that we can produce the amount of drones that we need on the battlefields, et cetera.

So we're trying to diversify, obviously, we're trying to build up our own capacities, our own production systems, but it takes time, it's not easy.

QUEST: You know, two years ago when this war -- this dreadful war began, we all talked about Europe fatigue, donor fatigue, and I think many of us

naive, you, myself included thought we were talking about a six-month horizon. You know, it will all be -- everyone will get tired.

But it wasn't, of course, as people like yourself know, it's much longer, that horizon, but it does seem to have arrived. That fatigue of, is there

a clear path for Ukraine to have military victory, whatever that might look like vis-a-vis, say Crimea, and it's not clear, is it?

RODNYANSKY: Look, I'm not going to comment on the military details here. I'm an economic adviser and I wouldn't like to speculate on that. What I

can say with regard to fatigue and more for the general, unfortunately, we have to live with the reality that we are in the stage of the war effort

where there's very little willingness on both sides actually, including on our side to look for some sort of compromises.

And that's obviously because we've sacrificed a lot of lives. We've basically paid a very high cost already, and everybody knows that, and

there's less willingness to compromise at this point because why would we - - were all these deaths in vain? And that's something you have to --

QUEST: Right --

RODNYANSKY: Respect because in other words -- in other words, the willingness to compromise on one hand and the amount of losses that you

experienced is a non-monotonous relationship between them. So at the beginning of the war effort, when we're starting to see a lot of losses,

people were willing to compromise in order to stop the bloodshed actually on both sides potentially because they were short.

Now, we're deep into the war and we want to make sure that we're victorious because otherwise, why all the sacrifices? Now that's unfortunate, that's

a tragedy --

QUEST: Right --

RODNYANSKY: And part of the war, but that's what we have to deal with.

QUEST: Alexander, very grateful. Thank you sir. Thank you.

RODNYANSKY: Thank you.

QUEST: Now, while the -- while the EU leaders are preoccupied with getting the Ukraine deal through, European farmers have been protesting and making

a great deal of noise outside the summit in Brussels.

Farmers across Europe have been throwing eggs and stones at the parliament building, their tractors around, a thousand of them have blocked traffic in

Brussels as well. We know of course, they were blocking in Paris and the major is in Paris in the last few days.

The reason is regulations and rising costs that this impact their livelihoods, and they're hoping the protests will put pressure on leaders

to advance their grievances. Melissa Bell is with me on these. Melissa, at its heart, what is this protest about?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is -- it is about the European Union, the way its subsidy program works, the way it's increasing environmental

demands make the lives of farmers difficult. But at a time when they say the European Union has also spectacularly failed to protect them from

imports of products brought from parts of the world where the same restrictions do not apply.

What we saw today was that anger we've seen spread, Richard, from Poland through Greece, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, come all the way into the

heart of the European district of Brussels.


BELL (voice-over): From Italy to Greece, Portugal and France. The anger of farmers has grown and spread, reaching now all the way to the heart of the

EU. Too restrictive they say in terms of regulations, but with little to protect them from unfair competition, especially from duty-free Ukrainian


Calls for action forcing themselves onto the agenda of leaders gathered in Brussels to discuss aid to Ukraine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We are asking the leaders to review their laws. They talk about being greener, but if that happens, then

there will be land which isn't worked anymore, and it's difficult enough as it is.

BELL: Concerns echoed by farmers in France who have reached the edge of Paris where the police have drawn a line.

EMMANUEL MATHE, FRENCH FARMER (through translator): We can't earn a living. We're subject to enormous constraints, and there are products

coming in from outside Europe that compete with us without having to apply the same rules that we're obligated to in order to reduce.

BELL (on camera): Scenes like these have been playing out across the European Union, and whilst the grievances are fairly distinctive from

country to country, what unites the farmers across the EU is in the end, frustration with Brussels, the red tape and bureaucracy regulations that it


And the facts say the farmers, that it doesn't protect them sufficiently from competition from outside the EU.


SEBASTIEN ABIS, INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL & STRATEGIC AFFAIRS (through translator): Why is it that we tell a European farmer that he cannot

produce like this. But we allow food products to enter the European market, which costs less. They have to produce food and increasingly, they have to

offer bio-energy and bio-economy.

They have to keep in mind the environment, the landscape, and sometimes regulations and standards. Not all measures are compatible or convergent.

BELL (voice-over): The anger has spread across the EU, and beyond the disruption now represents a political threat. With European elections just

a few months away and leaders rushing to announce concessions.

GABRIEL ATTAL, PRIME MINISTER, FRANCE (through translator): Our livestock farmers need specific support. That's why I'm announcing that we're

allocating 150 million euros to them in tax and social support starting this year and to continuing on a permanent basis.

BELL: Yet so far, little has calmed the farmers united across Europe in their anger at Brussels, which they say is killing their livelihoods.


BELL: Now, here in France, Richard, tonight as a result of those announcements made by the French Prime Minister, the two main farming

unions have urged their members to continue with the movement, to continue with their demands to keep the pressure up, but to leave the barricades.

So, we'll see whether the farmers heed that call and leave the motor ways that head into Paris. More broadly, we've also heard from Emmanuel Macron,

urging the European Union to come up with some mechanism that will give European farmers some of that much-needed relief. For now, though, very

little in the way of concrete measures come out of Brussels tonight, Richard.

QUEST: Good to see you, Melissa, thank you. Actually, here today, of course, I saw you and you were stuck in a car, of course. How long were you

stuck in that traffic --

BELL: We made it out, Richard --

QUEST: Yes, how long were you stuck in that thorn?

BELL: It was a good -- it was -- it was -- we were in there for three or four hours. The farmers had done a very good job of that grip around Paris,

it was dreadful. We're out now though.

QUEST: You're out. Absolutely. Thank you very much. Still to come tonight -- sitting in for Isa Soares. The U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is

talking about why he stayed silent on his recent visit to a hospital. And he speaks the growing tension between the U.S. and the Middle East.


QUEST: News to CNN I'd like to bring to your attention. Mercedes has confirmed that the seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton is to leave the

team next year.


Now, they're bringing reports that Hamilton was going to leave Mercedes for Ferrari for next year. So this is what he's saying. Mercedes announced he's

off, and in a statement, Hamilton says, "I've had an amazing 11 years with this team. Mercedes has been part of my life since I was 13. It's where

I've grown up.

And the time is right for me to take this step and I'm excited to be taking on this new challenge." So now, he goes to -- he goes on to say, I want to

thank this and the other, "I want to finish on a high note, I'm a 100 percent committed to delivering the best performance I can this season. I

made my last year with the Silver Arrows, one to remember."

So where as he been over his years? He was -- he started his career with McLaren in 2007. He then has been with Mercedes in 2013, and now 11 years

later or 12 years later, he's off to Ferrari. So that was something -- obviously, a great shock in the world. Amanda Davies will be with me shortly to put this into perspective and to discuss more about it, which

we'll talk more on this.

This is a very good call and extraordinary point everyone is talking about. Now, a short time ago, the U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin apologized

to President Biden and the American people. He said sorry for how he handled his recent cancer diagnosis.


LLOYD AUSTIN, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, UNITED STATES: I did not handle this right. I should have told the president about my cancer diagnosis. I should

have also told my team and the American public. And I take full responsibility. I was being treated for prostate cancer, the news shook me,

and I know that it shakes so many others, especially in a black community. It was a gut punch. And frankly, my first instinct was to keep it private.


QUEST: Now, the Secretary of Defense also spoke about last weekend's deadly drone attack on a U.S. base in Jordan. That attack by suspected

Iran-backed militias. President Biden is under growing pressure to respond, and here's what Secretary Lloyd said on that.


AUSTIN: I think at this point, we should -- it's time to take away even more capability than we've taken in the past. In terms of -- you use the

term escalation. We've not described what our response is going to be. But we look to hold the people that are responsible for this accountable. And

we also look to make sure that we continue to take away capability from them as we go forward.


QUEST: Now, sources are saying that -- U.S. officials are saying that seeing signs that Iran is actually worried about the escalating attacks by

its proxies in the region. The U.S. continues to attack back, carrying out more airstrikes against the assets of the Houthis backed by the Iranians.

The defense official says U.S. forces destroyed a sea drone in the Red Sea. Oren Liebermann is our Pentagon correspondent. Oren is with me. So this

interesting aspect that Iran might be concerned, in my word, that they're losing control over their proxies. Their proxies aren't necessarily doing

what they say or they could lead to an escalation that nobody can control.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: A few points to start from here. First, Iran, though it arms, supplies, trains, equips these militias

they back in Iraq and Syria, it doesn't have full control over their actions. And some of those actions, according to U.S. officials, have

gotten further and been more -- effectively more damaging, more deadly in that drone strike on Sunday than Iran was looking for.

U.S. officials have privately and frankly, openly said that Iran is not looking for a war, neither is the United States. And because that's the

direction that it appears, some of these attacks are moving towards again, especially that deadly drone attack on Sunday, Iran has expressed some

level of concern.

And according to officials, has looked for a pull-back, essentially a level of expressing their concern to the militias about, you know, this may be

going too far here.

QUEST: If that's the case, what ability does Iran have to rein them back?

LIEBERMANN: That's the key question. How much control does Iran truly have? And that's the difficult part to really get a sense of. That would

require getting into their communications that would effectively be Intelligence, and officials are loath to share that much with us.

But Iran has come under pressure, not just from the United States, which has questionable ability to exert pressure, but also from countries like

China and India, especially when it comes to the Houthis who have targeted international shipping. And in doing so, have had a dramatic effect on the

global economy with ships having to effectively add thousands of miles to shipping routes.


So, it's not just U.S. pressure, but pressure from other major countries on Iran, and now, we're all waiting to see how much of that pressure can they

exert on these militias, whether it's the Houthis, Hezbollah or the other groups in Iraq and Syria.

QUEST: Oren Liebermann at the Pentagon in the U.S., I'm grateful. Thank you. So a fascinating testimony has been heard today in the case of the --

of Jennifer Crumbley, and she is the mother of the Michigan school shooter, Ethan Crumbley. In her own defense, both she and her husband have been

charged with involuntary manslaughter. Ethan's deadly shooting rampage killed four people and he was only 14 at the time.


JENNIFER CRUMBLEY, MOTHER OF ETHAN CRUMBLEY: I mean, there's a couple of times where Ethan expressed anxiety over taking tests, anxiety about what

he was going to do after high school, whether it was college, military. So he expressed those concerns to me, but not to a level where I felt he

needed to go see a psychiatrist or mental health professional right away now.


QUEST: Now, the jury also saw journal entries from the shooter pleading for help only days before the mass shooting. One of the entries read, "my

parents won't listen to me about help or a therapist". Jean Casarez is with me, she's been watching events in New York. What sort of picture has

emerged of the mother?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is interesting because now we're in the defense case. First witness, Jennifer Crumbley himself --

herself. What we've heard from the prosecution is that Jennifer Crumbley was grossly negligent with her son, that she didn't know what he was doing,

and she should have known. She didn't pay attention to him.

She focused on so many other things in her life like her horses and other activities in her life, that it was foreseeable that her son would do

something like this when they got him a gun, right after Thanksgiving, that he had mental issues, and she knew it, and they still allowed that gun to

be purchased.

She's painting a very different picture. She's showing family pictures of how they all did things together all the time, that she was so concerned

about him constantly. She would see a mole on his back, a change, took him to the doctor, just showing a very different picture, also saying that she

never knew the possibility of any mental issues, that things were going on at school, they never for once called her.

The fact is that he did send texts saying, I think I'm having delusions, the bowls are flying off the shelves and the door is shutting, and she

said, he's always thought our house was haunted. It's been a running thing. He's always thought that, even went down to the basement with a Ouija board

once to try to bring the ghost out.

And she said, I think I saw this, but I didn't really pay attention because he just -- we always had this sort of running joke in the house. The house

was built in 1920. So --

QUEST: I know the salaciousness of extra marital relations and all sorts of things have been -- you know, once you start washing the dirty linen,

everything comes out.

CASAREZ: And it has in this case, and the prosecution is using it to show once again, gross negligence. She didn't pay attention to her son, she

admitted on the stand, she didn't go into explanation, just sort of, you know, it was six months, lasted six months, and then they moved on from

that, but I guarantee you, the prosecution on cross-examination will make a very big deal on everything she's testified to.

QUEST: Jean, grateful you're watching, and you'll come back when there is more to report. Thank you.

CASAREZ: I will.

QUEST: Tonight, still to come, President Biden takes an unprecedented step to try to stop the violent attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank.

And a sanctuary in Sierra Leone on a mission to save chimpanzees and the global impact.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN. More people get their news from CNN than any other news source.

QUEST: Lewis Hamilton is to leave Mercedes, we've confirmed that he's off at the end of this season. He'll join Ferrari, it's a multi-year contract,

and Ferrari says.

Amanda Davies, who knows more than is honest and decent about F1 is with me. All right. Why is he leaving?

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, he says very simply, Richard, he is up for a new challenge. But what -- I mean, what we are

talking about here is the most successful driver in the history of Formula 1 with the most iconic storied team on the grid. And this is one of those

unions that has waxed and waned on the rumor mill in recent years. The romantics have wanted it to happen because of what Lewis Hamilton has done

for the sports here with his seven world titles. And this Ferrari is the team where the great Michael Schumacher won the last five of his world

titles to take him up to seven.

And you know, the great romantics have this idea that perhaps Lewis Hamilton and can go to Ferrari, wear that iconic red race suit, and take

them back to the glory days, back to the winning ways that they haven't really seen in terms of championships since 2007. And of course, that would

take him, they hope, to that record breaking eighth world title. But that's very, very long way to go between where he is now, where Ferrari are now,

and that happening --

QUEST: All right.

DAVIES: -- they hope will be starting in 2025.

QUEST: Right. Now, you obviously follow this very closely. Did -- is it a case of Hamilton -- I get what you say. Go to Ferrari. Be -- you know, the

history, tradition, et cetera. But was he not happy at Mercedes? was there something going on there with, fellow drivers, fellow teammates that

basically he thought, nah, I'm off. I'm out of here.

DAVIES: Well, he wasn't winning. And Lewis Hamilton is a man who loves to win. You know, let's not kid --

QUEST: But was it the car -- was it the car or the driver?

DAVIES: It's not the driver that -- you know, Formula One is a sport that relies on technology and developments and it has eras and it has periods of



The Red Bull were the team that dominated, then Mercedes and Lewis came to the fore and became the most successful partnership in the history of this

sport. But in recent times, red Bull wrestled back that control and the power. Lewis hasn't won a race in Formula 1 since 2021. The statement that

he released and Mercedes released shows the utmost respect between both Mercedes.

Toto Wolf, the principal and Lewis, they talk about the partnership. Lewis talked about how he's grown up as a person with this team and with these

people. They have been so instrumental in backing his campaigns for the Hamilton Commission and, you know for diversity and inclusivity within the

sport. But ultimately, he wants to win. He's 39 now. He's going to be 40 when he joins Ferrari. So, this really is seen as one more final roll of

the dice.

QUEST: Are you expecting great things. Do you think --with your experience of this, do you think the -- that, you know, listening to the beautiful

poetry of which you've described the last few eras, do you think we are on the verge of a new, exciting era with this new marriage?

DAVIES: I mean, it's going to be exciting because it really does throw the cat amongst the pigeons to see how things transpire. Ferrari were the team

who won the only race that Red Bull didn't win last year. But as I said, they haven't won a championship since 2007. Red Bull are very confident

once again. But the signs are there, in terms of Fred Vasseur as the team principal at Ferrari, that they're moving in the right direction.

I mean, Lewis still has 24 races and a whole season to run with Mercedes before this project can really get going. But what it does in after a

period that has seen so much Red Bull dominance, people are saying it's been too easy for them. Max Verstappen is winning it all far too easily.

This asks a few more questions, and it will be very interesting to hear from the likes of Christian Horner and Max, and indeed from Ferrari. and

Lewis as to what they think happens next.

QUEST: Got you. You really bring home the excitement of it all, and I'm looking forward to never mind this season, but the next one after. Thank

you so much, Anna Davies, for this.

The U.S. is sanctioning four Israeli settlers for violence against Palestinians in the West Bank. The State Department says, it's the first

round of sanctions under an executive order signed by President Biden. And under the sanctions, the four will be barred from coming to the U.S. and

their financial assets will be blocked.

Israeli -- Israel's Prime Minister responded by saying, the sanctions were not necessary and that absolute majority of Jewish settlers in the West

Bank are law abiding citizens. Sources are telling us, the President -- the U.S. President recently discussed this issue with the Prime Minister.

Nic Robertson is with me from Tel Aviv. Our White House reporter, Priscilla Alvarez, is with me as well. Remember, we seem to just have Nic. But Nic,

this -- these sanctions, is it more symbolic than meaningful?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It plants a red flag, if you will, and it sets a red line boundary that the Biden administration

to, "The State Department will continue to do things that they think are in -- or put their foreign policy, particularly vis-a-vis Israel", on the

track of where they want to get it to.

So, it sends a message, and it's a message that's going to be, sort of, gratefully received by a lot of the regional partners of the United States

here as well, who look at what's happening in Israel. Who speak about Gaza and say, OK, if you can't do things about Gaza, then at least let the

Netanyahu administration know that there are lines they shouldn't cross.

And they would point to the situation in Huwara last, last year, a Palestinian town that some of the settlers and one of those -- who was a

part of this executive order went into. Homes were burned, cars were torched, a person was killed. The other three have also been involved in

violent incidents as well. So, it's -- I think it's more than symbolic. It's intended to say this is a red line.

Now, the finance minister, the leader of many settlers, Bezalel Smotrich, has said that this is an antisemitic lie.

QUEST: Which, of course, arguably is exactly what you would expect him to say, whatever the validity.

Priscilla, antisemitic from the White House, they say, I suspect they will just brush that off with a whatever.

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Richard, this is the outcome of growing concern within the administration and from President

Biden himself, who said that this violence risks stability in -- or undermines stability in the region.


Now, what this looks like is targeting four individuals, and they are accused of directly perpetrating violence, initiating and leading a riot,

setting buildings on fire, and assaulting civilians. Now, what the sanctions do here is block them from their property and financial

transactions in the U.S. Of course, the question going in, too, was does this apply to American citizens as there are many dual citizens in that

region? The answer to that question from senior administration officials is, no. This is targeted to Israelis, Palestinians and foreign nationals.

But again, this is an issue that has come up between the U.S. government and the Israel government. It's also one President Biden has raised

directly with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And it all builds on visa restrictions that we saw happen in late December.

Now, this cannot be separated, Richard, from the domestic politics here. President Biden is facing increasing pressure from Arab-Americans about a

ceasefire in Gaza. And so, he is in Michigan today. He's there for a political event. But of course, that here in the United States, that's a

state with a significant Arab-American population.

And so, the question was whether he's going to be meeting with them. Moments ago, National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby said that

their senior administration officials will meet with Arab-Americans over the next few days, but this is top of mind.

QUEST: All right. Thank you, Priscilla.

Back to you, Nic Robertson, for a quick, follow on. Nic, how much of this has both sides got -- well, both sides will make noises, both sides will go

over the fences, but neither side wants to let this be seriously damaging.

ROBERTSON: Correct. I don't think this is going to blow the situation up. The Prime Minister's office, as you said at the beginning, has said, look,

we deal with people who break the law here. And indeed, these men have all been taken to court on the account of these crimes that they've committed.

I think the sense here would be from some that they got off with light sentences. This does take it a level higher but I don't think it's going to

blow up a relationship that is already in not a particularly good position.

The direction of travel for the United States is not the same direction as travel as Prime Minister Netanyahu's government that's backed by settlers.

So, there's a divergence, but it's not going to blow it up at this moment.

QUEST: Nic, grateful. Thank you in Tel Aviv. Priscilla in Washington, thank you, too.

As we continue tonight together, Cubans are bracing for the shock at the pumps. Fuel costs are going to skyrocket in just a moment.



QUEST: Now, in Cuba, a cyber-attack on government computers has forced the authorities to delay an increase in the price of fuel. It was meant to go

up by 500 percent today. However, as CNN's Patrick Oppmann reports, the government now says it can no longer afford the subsidy on fuel.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN HAVANA-BASED CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even before the sun comes up, people line up for hours in Havana to pump gas. The Cuban

government owns every gas station on this island, and says it will raise prices at the pump more than an eye watering 500 percent. News of the

massive hike triggered a run-on fuel, before the increase takes place, which is expected to further batter an already failing economy.

You don't need to have three neurons. One is enough to know if this will be a disaster, he tells me. To fill up a car with 40 liters will cost 6,000

pesos. Most people don't earn that much in a month.

For decades, Cuba received oil donations from political allies in Venezuela and Russia, which it then sold to its citizens at rock bottom prices. But

as a communist run island weathers the worst economic crisis in decades, Cuban officials say subsidies on gas or a luxury the government can no

longer afford.

We are a country without fuel, he says, and we sell fuel at perhaps the cheapest prices in the region. Some of the cheapest in the world. But when

we raise the price of fuel, it's going to increase the cost of some services and the price of things.

Already as fuel supplies dwindle, people wait for hours to hitchhike. And more and more commuters return to riding bicycles. Others push to get onto

the ever scarcer public transportation. Without a control inflation and the gas price hike, Cubans who only earned the equivalent of a few dollars a

day may find themselves unable to afford a ride.

OPPMANN: Some Cubans say as transportation becomes more and more expensive here, it could actually cost more to get to and from work each day than the

salary they bring home.

OPPMANN (voice-over): An increase in fuel prices will also make it more expensive to transport food from the countryside to cities. A potentially

precarious situation, says this man who resells fruit and vegetables from his small cart.

Look how we are right now, he says. People are being impacted. If it increases one percent more, people will go crazy in the streets.

Cuba's socialist government has long said it protects the most vulnerable here. But a stagnant, centralized economy, stalled reforms, and increased

U.S. sanctions are forcing more and more into extreme poverty. The government has warned additional price hikes and cuts in services are in

store. Many hope to be gone by the time that happens. Lines outside foreign embassies grow longer by the day as more Cubans try to immigrate before the

island's economy hits rock bottom.

Patrick Oppmann, CNN Havana.


QUEST: Now in just a moment, I'll tell you about the efforts to rescue chimpanzees in Sierra Leone, which is also having an -- a bit of a positive

impact on the environment.



QUEST: A warm welcome back. A sanctuary in Sierra Leone is working to save the local chimpanzee population. One of the biggest problems is their homes

are disappearing. It's all about deforestation, of course. CNN's David McKenzie now takes a look at a holistic approach to saving the chimp that's

also helping save the planet.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's playtime in the forest. But these orphaned primates aren't monkeying


MCLEAN: This is Skippy is nibbling on my arm. You know what's happening in here is they are in chimp school, basically learning how to do chimps.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Skippy is much braver than the two boys. They try their best, but like their human cousins, they sometimes just need a

cuddle. Their carer wears a mask so the chimps don't catch a human cold.

BALA AMARASEKARAN, FOUNDER, TACUGAMA CHIMP SANCTUARY: Once you get in here, you have several groups --

MCLEAN (voice-over): We're in Sierra Leone with Bala Amarasekaran, the founder of Tacugama Chimp Sanctuary. He rescued his first chimp more than

30 years ago.

AMARASEKARAN: I think he started showing us the way in terms of it's not about just the chimp, it's about the species. So, I started looking --

rescued another chimp, another chimp.

Mack, you good boy? Mack, what's up?

MCLEAN (voice-over): Now, Tacugama has more than a hundred rescued chimps and they manage wild chimp habitats across the country. With just 5,500

western chimpanzees left in Sierra Leone, each one is precious. Like six- month-old Siyama.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, that was a bullet wound from when he was gotten - -

MCLEAN (voice-over): They rescued him just weeks ago after a hunter killed his mother.

MCLEAN: So, he still has shotgun pellets inside him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, so he was really, really weak. As I said, he couldn't even control his head movement.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Here on the edge of Freetown, humans are the biggest threat to chimps, but perhaps not how you may think.

MCLEAN: In the last few years, have you lost a lot of forest?

AMARASEKARAN: A lot of it. If you came here, like, two years ago, not a single building or any of these makeshift shelters you are seeing, nothing

was there. Yes, very sad that it's all going right before our eyes. I've been fighting this thing for 30 years, not 30 days.

MCLEAN (voice-over): And time is running out. Rampant, often illegal development is destroying the forests. Sierra Leone has lost 35 percent of

its tree cover since 2000. That's about 7,500 square miles, or the size of New Jersey. That's bad for chimps and it's terrible for us. Africa's

forests are critical to fighting climate change.

AMARASEKARAN: There is no more about preserving forest or wildlife, it's about preserving humans. We are trying to leave a better place for our


MCLEAN (voice-over): At Tacugama, they're doing everything they can to document and protect the extraordinary diversity of these forests. And the

wild chimps that roam here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's -- hello. Hi.


MCLEAN (voice-over): They believe if they can save their home, they might just help save ours.

David McKenzie, CNN, Western Area Forest, Sierra Leone.



QUEST: Now, a slightly more residential after four days on the run in Scotland. Have a look. Here's a monkey that was caught eating from a bird

feeder in someone's garden. It's a Japanese macaque and it escaped from its enclosure at the Highland Wildlife Park on Sunday.

Searchers even used thermal drone imaging to try to track him down. He's been nicknamed Kingussie Kong after the town where the park -- the name of

the park where he is. According to one person, that's our quote of the day, "He hung out, he looked a bit shifty, like he was where he wasn't supposed

to be." Which, of course, was true. Now he's home, and back where he belongs.

And that's our report tonight. I'm Richard Quest sitting in for Isa Soares. But you can't escape me. If you thought you could, you're wrong. I'll be

back. We'll have a short break and then "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS." And yes, I've got the bell. Ha ha, Isa.