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Quest Means Business
Joe Biden Predicts U.S. Economy Can Come Roaring Back; South Africa Administers First Doses Of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine; Rwandan President Speaks To CNN About Critic's Trial; "Call To Earth:" Virtual Reality Helps People Feel Closer To The Ocean; Texans In Sub-Freezing Conditions With No Power; Did North Korean Hackers Steal COVID-19 Vaccine Data?; Ford Goes All Electric On The Continent; Chile Hailed For Its Vaccine Roll Out. Aired 3- 4p ET
Aired February 17, 2021 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: All right, let's take a look and see how the markets are doing. The Dow has actually turned positive for the day
as a result of some pretty strong or decent rather investment economic data. It could still close at a record high.
Those are the markets and these are the main events. Joe Biden predicts the U.S. economy can come roaring back. We're expecting to hear from the
President this hour.
And South Africa starts its rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. I'll speak to the CEO of Investec and calls for energy executives to resign in
Texas as a devastating storm continues to freeze the grid.
Coming to you live from New York, it is Wednesday the 17th of February. I'm Zain Asher and this is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
Tonight, as Joe Biden prepares to sell his stimulus plan to the U.S. labor leaders, he is predicting it will super charge the country's post-pandemic
The nearly $2 trillion relief bill is winding its way through Congress without support from Republicans who say its price tag is simply too high,
too hefty. Mr. Biden told Anderson Cooper he has never seen such widespread support from economists.
At a CNN Town Hall event, he promised a combination of government spending and increased vaccinations will get the economy in this country roaring
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The first time in my career that there is a consensus among economists left, right and center that is
over and including I.M.F. and in Europe that overwhelming consensus is, in order to grow the economy a year two, three, and four down the line, we
can't spend too much. Now is the time we should be spending. Now is the time to go big.
We can come back, we can come roaring back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Arlette Saenz is in Washington for us. You heard the President there saying that the economy, he hopes, will come roaring back. Now is the time
to go big.
So for ordinary Americans, when can ordinary people who have been suffering in this country so much expect either vaccine relief or financial relief?
What is the time line?
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zain, President Biden has made clear that he wants there to be both economic relief and relief to
this COVID pandemic as quickly as possible.
When it comes to vaccinations, in our CNN Town Hall, he said that he expects 600 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine to be available by the
end of July. That would essentially be providing or make enough doses available to all Americans.
The next question is, is when those shots will actually get into Americans' arms. It may take a bit longer than that. But you also heard the President
say that he believes things will be back to some type of normal by next Christmas.
He didn't want to put a sooner timeline on that because he didn't want to ruin others' expectations relating to this pandemic. But what you are
seeing the President do this week is really make a full throated sales pitch when it comes to that $1.9 trillion COVID relief package that he is
trying to pass up on Capitol Hill.
He traveled to Wisconsin participating in that CNN Town Hall. Tomorrow, he will be going to Michigan to tour a Pfizer manufacturing facility. And
today, at the White House, he is hosting labor leaders where he is trying to promote and sell them on that COVID relief package that would provide
money not just for vaccinations and testing across the country, but also those $1,400.00 stimulus checks, though he is still tinkering with exactly
who -- what range of Americans would be able to receive that funding.
But another topic that will be discussed at this meeting later this afternoon with labor leaders is his forthcoming infrastructure plan. That
is something that he promoted during the campaign and something that the President believes could help jump start the economy and create more
American jobs. So that will be a topic of discussion as he meets with those labor leaders over at the White House.
But that top priority for the President right now is trying to get that COVID relief package passed over the finish line by early to mid-March when
those unemployment benefits start to expire.
ASHER: Arlette Saenz live for us there. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.
All right, so as Arlette was just saying there, Joe Biden now says that life in the United States could return to normal by Christmas this year.
He told the Town Hall in the U.S., it should hit 400 million vaccine doses by May and 600 million doses by the end of July. That is the timeline the
President has basically promised. That is when all Americans who want a vaccine should be able to get one.
ASHER: Biden predicted this would give the U.S. herd immunity and a normal life by the end of 2021. This timeline is setting slightly lower
expectations and predictions from Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Fauci says vaccines will be widely available by May or June and predicted herd immunity by the end of the summer. Both says it largely depends on the
Johnson & Johnson vaccine that has yet to be approved in the United States.
Catherine Rampell is an economics commentator and "The Washington Post" opinion columnist. Catherine, thank you so much for being with us.
So, vaccines aside, obviously vaccines is a huge piece of the economic puzzle in this country. Without a vaccine being administered to everybody
by July, how much power does the President really have to get this economy back on track?
CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, the way that former Obama economist has put it, Austan Goolsbee, rather, former CEA Chair under
Obama is that until we get people vaccinated, until we get the virus under control, we're basically burning money to stay warm and that we should
really be thinking about these sorts of big price tag fiscal policies as more about relief than stimulus.
That you're helping people keep a roof over their head, keep food on the table, you know, be able to pay their bills and not be homeless.
But in order to get the economy to wake up from its current, you know, induced coma, if you will, you really need to get the virus under control.
So that's the key. And then everything beyond that, you know, after the pandemic is more under control is, you know, sort of fiddling around the
ASHER: So Joe Biden talked about the importance of spending, the importance of going big. How does the White House judge really how ambitious to be at
a time like this especially given all of the tensions between the progressives in the party and the moderates?
RAMPELL: I think one of the lessons that they learned from the great recession was essentially that they were too conservative in the fiscal
response to what was then the -- you know, worst economic crisis in recent memory, and this one in many ways surpasses it.
So the lesson that they've taken is that they need to go bigger and bolder than they had ever thought conceivable because going big will ultimately
potentially cost less money in the long run both to the government's budget as well as to the economy in general if it means that we can get the
economy up and running a little bit faster, we get tax revenues and growth back on their pre-pandemic trajectory sooner.
So I think that they are definitely erring on the side of spending more rather than spending less. Of course, that's going to result in some
opposition both from Republicans and from some more centrist Democrats including for example, Joe Manchin in West Virginia.
So they're trying to thread this needle here and make sure that they can make the case to the members of their own party -- I think they have -- I
don't know that they have written off Republicans necessarily, but they have basically assumed that they could get much of this through, through a
party line vote through something called reconciliation.
So they are trying to make the argument to those in their own party that this is the only way to get the economy back up and running, look at the
lessons of history. Look at polling on the bill for that matter. The bill overall is quite popular amongst the general public including many
Republicans, some components of it are more divisive, but those are the kinds of arguments that they are making.
ASHER: And in terms of the $15.00 an hour minimum page, I mean, Joe Biden obviously was pressed on that last night. He has been pressed on that many,
many times. He has talked about -- you know, he is not necessarily sure it's going to be in this relief bill, but it is a priority for him.
When is the right time to do something like that? I mean, obviously, you have to get the timing right because the risk is of course, you do it too
soon in the middle of a pandemic and you end up costing the country jobs at a time when it cannot afford to lose anymore.
RAMPELL: This is a really tricky question, and I think the fundamental answer is we don't really know. The existing research on past minimum wage
increases is all over the place, and people who support a minimum wage can point to some studies that suggest that, you know, there will be relatively
minimal, you know, negative consequences for unemployment.
People who are against the minimum wage can find studies that reveal more or less the opposite, and the truth is that we haven't really gone through
an experiment quite like this one where we're talking about raising the minimum wage to such a large degree and including in some areas where
current wages are relatively low, right?
So if you look at a place like Mississippi, the median wage right now is $15.00 an hour. So that means if you were to raise the minimum wage to that
amount, it would be binding on half of the population.
Now, the way that this proposal works is it would phase it in over several years, so maybe there's less to worry about that. But small businesses are
understandably concerned about having their budget squeezed already by the pandemic, facing all sorts of additional expenses beyond labor costs.
And then, if you add onto that either immediate or near term additional labor costs how easy will it be for them to get back up and running?
So, you know, the short answer is, we don't really know. My general intuition is that we could do this in such a way to have relatively minor
employment costs and raise a lot of people out of poverty, but we have to be very cautious and we have to be mindful of the fact that there are a lot
of parts of the country where this would be binding on a lot of workers, and they may end up losing their jobs if we do it in too rushed of a
ASHER: Right, and as you mentioned it would be quite gradual what will happen, I assume, over many years.
Catherine Rampell, live for us there, thank you so much.
One of the foremost critics of the Rwandan government is on trial today in Kigali. Richard Quest pressed President Paul Kagame on that case, we will
bring you that interview next.
ASHER: South Africa has administered its first doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It is turning to that shot after pausing its AstraZeneca
rollout earlier this month, as it was suggested that vaccine might be less effective against the country's dominant variant of COVID-19.
David McKenzie reports from Johannesburg.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Zain, there was immense relief across South Africa as the very first frontline medical workers received the
Johnson & Johnson vaccine after many weeks of waiting.
We were at the Baragwanath Hospital, one of the largest on the continent, and it has really been at the frontline of the fight against COVID in two
dramatic waves here in South Africa.
We spoke to Lebogang Selahle. She is a nurse that is in the COVID ward. She said she wanted to get this not just for herself, but for her family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE: You've been in the COVID ward for so many months. What does it mean to you to now get a vaccine?
LEBOGANG SELAHLE, NURSE: You know, I am so happy, really -- ready to get the vaccine because of every day, when we go to home, I come to -- will I -
- I wonder what's going to happen. We're afraid of our family. So, at least now, we are okay.
MCKENZIE: Has it just been very emotionally challenging to deal with this period?
SELAHLE: It is very -- it is very -- yes, it is very challenging, and it's emotional, even if you know, you see every day those poor patients dying in
front of your eyes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKENZIE: President Cyril Ramaphosa also received his shot on Wednesday. The government had to rapidly change its strategy.
Just several weeks ago, they received a million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but soon after that, it was seen to be minimally effective against
the variant discovered here in South Africa in mild and moderate cases.
In the next few weeks, at Baragwanath and other hospitals and locations across South Africa, there will be tens of thousands perhaps hundreds of
thousands of health workers who will receive their shots -- Zain.
ASHER: Only seven of the 54 countries in Africa have begun vaccine rollouts. Officials on the continent say they are already behind, but they
risk falling further if they can't make progress soon.
The head of Africa's C.D.C. says the ease of logistics with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be crucial to their effort.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. JOHN NKERGASONG, DIRECTOR, AFRICA CENTRES FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: Giving one dose provides a unique and remarkable opportunity to
rollout the vaccination as well. I mean, in terms of refrigeration, it offers a very attractive vaccine to rollout into the remote areas.
So we remain encouraged with what we are seeing with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Investec's CEO, Fani Titi joins us live now. Fani, thank you so much for being with us.
Economies in Africa are clearly already suffering because of COVID-19. The economies of Sub-Saharan Africa are expected to shrink by 3.3 percent. We
know that South Africa's economy is expected not to be back to normal until 2025.
So, how much does the slow vaccine rollout we're seeing across the continent really slow the path to a full economic recovery?
FANI TITI, CEO, INVESTEC GROUP: I mean, clearly, the arrival of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is hopeful moment for South Africa. The rollout will take
quite a long time, but at least we can see the end of the pandemic in the next say six, nine, 12 months, and the continent as a whole is well behind
the curve which respect to the vaccine.
And the economy will not recover or rebuild unless the health problem has been resolved. So it is absolutely important that countries on the
continent get onto the bandwagon of the vaccine.
ASHER: We've talked a lot on this show and really across all news organizations around the world, all international news organizations about
the fact that, you know, this vaccine rollout really highlights the haves and the have-nots on the global economic stage.
Obviously in terms of Europe and the United States, there is a much faster access to vaccine than you have in Africa. A lot of people talking about
the fact that that would worsen economic inequality globally.
However, there's also the issue of economic inequality within Africa itself. A lot of African countries are extremely unequal, so how much of
the vaccine rollout, perhaps going to the wealthier Africans as opposed to those who are poorer first? How much does that bother you in terms of
worsening income inequality within the continent?
TITI: The vaccine rollout has to be done on an equitable basis. You've talked about the fact that richer nations have the resources and they have
secured the supply and poorer nations, in particular, African nations are not anywhere close to the top of the queue as it were and inter-Africa, the
same phenomenon does apply.
We are in a very big storm, but we're not in the same boat as it were. So inequality deepens particularly significantly.
If you think as an example about access to education. Those who have resources are more able to continue to learn online and remotely. Whereas
poorer communities are not able to do so.
So the impact and effects of the pandemic will be much deeper and much more long lasting on poorer communities.
ASHER: And when it comes to the lockdowns, I mean, you can talk about South Africa specifically since that's where you're based, but just in terms of a
full, tangible, real permanent recovery to the South African labor market, when can we expect to see that?
Obviously, you know, the Johnson & Johnson rollout in terms of that vaccine is just beginning, so obviously it's going to take time. But if you can
look into your crystal ball, when do you think the labor market will be back to normal in your country?
TITI: Look, the end of 2020, we saw a contraction in the economy of approximately 7.3 percent. We expect the economy to recover by about three
percent this year.
So in our estimation, only around 2024 will economic activity be to the pre-COVID levels. We've lost about two million jobs during the first
lockdown, so our expectation will be that it will take three to four years to recover to pre-COVID levels, and obviously, the lower skilled levels in
the economy will be affected much more drastically than the higher skilled jobs. So it is going to be quite a long haul.
ASHER: Fani Titi, live for us there. Thank you so much.
The real life man portrayed as a hero in the film "Hotel Rwanda" went on trial today in Kigali.
Paul Rusesabagina is credited with saving the lives of more than 1,200 people during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
He later left the country and became a vocal critic of President Paul Kagame. He was mysteriously brought back to Rwanda and arrested on
terrorism charges six months ago.
Richard Quest was just in Rwanda. He joins us live now from New York.
So, Richard, you actually talked to President Paul Kagame just last week. He said that there was no foul play in the way that Paul Rusesabagina was
brought back to the country. Obviously, a lot of international human rights organizations begged to differ there.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Oh absolutely. I mean, the man thought he was getting on a plane going to one place, and he
was then shackled and tied up and taken to Rwanda.
The story is, as it is believed to be, where he was then wanted for terrorist activity, the President says Rusesabagina was involved in.
The problem for President Kagame is that this incident is tarnishing his reputation because until now, he'd been seen very much as, by the
international community, as the man who held Rwanda together, who brought Rwanda forward after the 1994 genocide.
Now this trial is under way in the manner under which it has been taken that could all be looked at very differently.
I spoke to President Kagame in Kigali last week. This is what he said.
PAUL KAGAME, RWANDAN PRESIDENT: It was very proper and legal. In fact, he more or less brought himself, you see, whether he was acting on wrong
signals, but he went by those signals to continue the journey of doing the wrong things he had been doing in the past. So, I don't see --
QUEST: He got on a plane intending to go to one destination.
KAGAME: You know which one that is?
QUEST: He was bound and gagged and brought to this destination.
KAGAME: You know which destination --
QUEST: Tell me.
KAGAME: He was going to Burundi.
KAGAME: He wasn't going to Dubai as some of the people have said. Dubai was just a transit like Chicago was a transit. He came all the way from the
QUEST: But he didn't expect to end up in Kigali.
KAGAME: Well, I don't mind what he expected. If he expected to go to Burundi to connect with the people he has been working with or leading into
the destabilization of our country, what sympathies do I owe him or anybody?
QUEST: Did the government of Rwanda have a hand in bringing him to Kigali? Did you -- was the government responsible for renditioning him to Kigali?
KAGAME: No, no, no. Bringing him or guiding him to come to Kigali and rendition means like that -- that seem to be illegal. Totally different
Now, if somebody, for him, he was working with somebody in Burundi, right, in the same plot of destabilizing our country and the same person, for
example, decided to drive him to Kigali, the person he was working with and he had trusted and the government was working with that person he trusted.
How does the government become culpable for that cooperation?
QUEST (voice over): It's the rainy season in Rwanda. We could hear the storm approaching above us, and when the clouds finally broke, it was time
to pause, to reflect.
And after nearly an hour of waiting, we resumed the conversation.
QUEST: The international community fears that -- if I have permission to speak bluntly -- you know, Kagame wants him convicted, rubber stamped
caught, lock him up and throw away the key. What guarantees can you give today of a fair trial?
KAGAME: All those concerns can't be further from the truth. One, Rusesabagina, a citizen of this country who has done something terribly
wrong, admitted the crime. I have heard that he has -- he holds other citizenships of other countries. That's okay. I'm not going to quarrel with
He certainly did something wrong, and by the way he is accused with a number of other people. So he is not alone in this case that he is being
tried for, so that is also a correction that must be put forward.
So, taking him out of that and treating him differently and special, that's not going to work. So the case is going for all these people being tried
and it is important that there is a fair trial.
QUEST (voice over): Paul Kagame has been President of Rwanda since the year 2000. The country's Constitution has already been amended to allow him to
serve more terms.
Human Rights Watch claims that opposition figures are persistently targeted. If Kagame wins the next election in 2024, he could hold onto
power for a more than a decade longer.
QUEST: There's no western leader that has been in office as long as you have.
KAGAME: Do I care about that? Because a western leader is a western leader.
QUEST: Because elections normally throw people out. The nature of elections and democracies is that people get tired of it and they move to another
KAGAME: That is if you are telling me, you know, that everyone has to conform to what the west tells us to do. I'm not one of those people.
The western world is a world in its own. It has many good things that they do, it has many bad things they do.
QUEST: There's no democratically elected leader in a generally accepted democracy that has been in office as long as you.
KAGAME: Democracy is not defined by the west. No. If it does, then what happens of the contradictions that happen in the west? Where will we find
the countries, in the west they elect their leaders, and then they turn around and start complaining about the same leaders they have elected.
So you are telling me, democracy, therefore has imperfections whether it is in the west or anywhere else. But I cannot live by or live the
imperfections of the west.
QUEST: President Paul Kagame there speaking to me during my visit to Rwanda last week. I'm in quarantine at the moment which is why I'm joining you
from the study.
Paul Rusesabagina's family says his trial is a political sham. They made the following claims, they say -- they claim that President Kagame
oppresses critics. They say Rwanda has no jurisdiction.
He is a Belgian citizen now, not Rwandan, and he lives in the United States. And they say he was abducted to Rwanda because as you heard in the
interview, he thought he was going to Burundi.
You can see more of the interview online as we talk about the way in which Paul Kagame has reformed and changed Rwanda.
So, a lot there from a man who was and still is widely respected in Africa and the betting is, if you had to be a betting person then that he will
stand again in 2024, the date of the next general election.
ASHER: Richard Quest, live for us there, thank you so much.
Millions of people are still without people in the biggest energy producing state in the United States. Critics say the electric grid in Texas simply
wasn't prepare for a powerful winter storm this season.
We'll bring you that story, next.
ASHER: Hello, everyone, I'm Zain Asher.
There's more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment when we'll hear from the president of Ford Europe about why his company is spending a billion
dollars to go all electric on the continent.
And New York's Metropolitan Museum of Arts say it may have to sell valuable artworks to help stay afloat. The Mets director joins us live.
Before that, though, these are the headlines at this hour.
Prince Philip is currently in hospital in London. Buckingham Palace said the 99-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth was admitted as a precaution
after feeling unwell. He is expected to remain there for the next few days.
The U.N. says it will speak to the United Arab Emirates about new developments in the case of a Dubai princess. Princess Latifa's story made
international headlines after the BBC released apparent secret recordings of her claiming she was held hostage in a villa turned jail with no medical
According to the report, the princess hasn't been heard from in six months.
New protests in Barcelona, Spain over the dramatic arrest of rapper, Pablo Hasel. Catalan riot police stormed a university yesterday where he's
barricaded himself inside after being sentenced to jail in a free speech case.
Hasel was charged with glorifying terrorism and insulting Spanish royalty in his lyrics.
U.S. radio host, Rush Limbaugh, an iconic figure in conservative media, died today after a battle with lung cancer.
For more than three decades, Limbaugh's show reached millions of rural listeners known as ditto-heads. His provocative comments on gender and race
helped make him a cultural phenomenon. He was 70 years old.
The Biden Administration's vaccine rollout is expected to take a big hit from the winter storm sweeping parts of the United States. Experts say the
deep freeze will delay some vaccine deliveries possibly up to two weeks.
The storm is also causing massive disruption to power supplies especially in the state of Texas. Millions there are still in the dark.
Texas generates more energy than any other U.S. state by far. You may know it's a major oil supplier as well producing nearly 5,000 gallons of oil a
day but it also leads the nation in the production of natural gas.
Here you see a breakdown of how Texas gets its energy. Natural gas first followed by wind, coal and nuclear power. The outages now occurring do not
Listen to the CEO of Occidental Petroleum.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICKI HOLLUB, CEO, OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM: More than 2 million homes in the state of Texas were without power and electricity.
I was without electricity -- I've been this way now for more than 48 hours. I'm using a friend's condo and now they have electricity but no water.
So it's been very much a lesson for the state of Texas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CNN's Camila Bernal is in Dallas for us -- the third largest city in Texas.
So, Camilla, here you have a situation where the energy capital of the United States is dealing with black outs. Who's to blame for this and what
are politicians saying in response?
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN U.S. CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zain, everybody is blaming each other essentially but the problem is that there is no end in sight at
And what we're hearing from the governor, Greg Abbott, is that he blames specifically the operator of the grid here, that is ERCOT. And they're
saying that they're doing everything that they can. But you are seeing both Republicans and Democrats saying that they're not doing enough.
But the thing that concerns most Texans is the fact they don't have a timeline for when this is going to be restored. And so they're saying
specifically that people are going to have to prepare for two, maybe three days of this.
And we're talking people who are inside of their homes with temperatures in the 20's or 30's Fahrenheit, negative five, negative 10 degrees Celsius.
And that is inside of the home. So it's becoming increasingly dangerous as more and more people are having to deal with this day after day.
And so what people are saying is that they're upset, that they want answers. And even people we spoke to that have power say they're extremely
Take a listen.
TRICIA LANCASTER, DALLAS, RESIDENT: It's like waiting for a bomb to drop, like I have power but I'm waiting for it to go off. So you can't even relax
and enjoy the fact you have power because every time like my phone bings, it's someone else saying we lost power again.
And then you feel guilty because you do have power. So it's very stressful.
BERNAL (On Camera): Now ERCOT says that they need two specific things in order to restore the power. First, they say that they want the resources
back in action, essentially. So they need the generators back, they need the natural gas to essentially thaw in order to get that balance of supply
And the other thing they say they need is warmer weather. And so these are the two things that they say will return somewhat of a normality for
But the problem is that everyone is hoping for exact answers and they are not giving them. Which is creating this problem here in Texas as people
continue to deal with these temperatures.
There are some shelters that are open for people to go and warm up. And FEMA did say they're going to bring generators and blankets and anything
they can to help people but what people want is for all of this to be over and for officials to answer exactly why this is happening.
ASHER: Camila Bernal, live for us there. Thank you so much.
Ford is unveiling an ambitious plan to go all electric in Europe in less than a decade. The company says it will spend $1 billion to convert its
factory in Germany, its first electric vehicle production line on the continent.
CNN's Anna Stewart spoke to the president of Ford's European operations about this shift.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STUART ROWLEY, PRESIDENT, FORD EUROPE: We are going all in on electrification in all of Europe by 2026, all of our passenger vehicles
will zero emissions capable. That means either battery electric or plug-in hybrid. And by 2030, 100 percent battery electric vehicles.
And the first part of that journey is we are investing a billion dollars here in our Colon assembly plant to transform it to be our Colon
We'll build that first volume battery electric vehicle for Europe here for 2023.
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: You're certainly not the first car company to make an ambitious plan to go all electric by the end of the decade.
We've had some similar announcements from Volvo, General Motors, Jaguar, Land Rover and all this is going to put so much more pressure on raw
materials, on semiconductors.
ROWLEY: Well, of course, the electrification transformation, it's flawed (ph), but it's also an industry transformation and it's going to put huge
demands on battery capacity, the raw materials that come into there. But it's so important, therefore, that we plan ahead of that as we look forward
across the next decade.
The semiconductor issue you raised is a different one, that applies to all types of vehicle. We think that's a short-term issue the first half of this
year. But yes, we, like other industry players, are impacted by that.
STEWART: Moving into a sort of different space. How worried are you about rumors of an Apple car, plenty of rumors that Apple is looking to
partnership -- to partner with a car maker.
Of course, you partnered with Google which is one of their arch rivals.
ROWLEY: Yes. Well, we're really excited about our partnership with Google. It's really going to help us go on this digital connected journey. And, of
course, we have lots of competitors today, we have for a hundred years.
And what is important is that we are competitive and we produce fantastic differentiated digitally enabled vehicles. If we do that, we think we'll
just be fine.
STEWART: You're plowing into this future which will be all electric by 2030. Slightly pushed, I'd say, particularly in Europe where emission
standards are so strict. But is the infrastructure there yet, are enough people in Europe actually wanting to buy electric cars at this stage?
ROWLEY: Well, Anna, the demand is growing. We saw fourth quarter of last year, 10 percent of all passenger vehicles in Europe battery electric.
Consumers are rapidly moving in that direction.
Of course, regulation is a part of this as well. But we are seeing in every electrified offer we make very strong demand.
ASHER: It has more than 5,000 years of art in its collection. Now the Met Museum might sell some of it off to make ends meet.
We'll speak with the CEO and president next.
ASHER: "Call to Earth" is CNN's global call to action for the environment committed to the pioneers, projects and solutions helping create a
blueprint for a more sustainable future.
Here on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, we're sharing the stories of some remarkable people already answering the call to earth.
There are many reasons why people feel disconnected from the ocean -- you may live far away from the coast or be cut off from it by the pandemic.
Today's story is about a marine biologist who's using virtual reality to help people feel closer to the ocean.
DR. ERIKA WOOLSEY, CEO & CO-FOUNDER, THE HYDROUS: Once you break through the surface of the ocean it really opens up for you. You will see so much
life. It's colorful, it has so much movements.
It feels like a transition into another world.
My name is Erika Woolsey and I'm a marine biologist with a specialty in coral reef ecology. I'm also leader of The Hydrous, a non-profit devoted to
We want to promote ocean connection so that what we know about our ocean can turn into what we do to protect it.
Not everyone can access the ocean. I want to find ways to bring the ocean to everyone because the ocean is just too good not to share.
The technologies that we use include virtual reality that can re-create what it's like to be under water.
WOOLSEY: Has anyone found the turtle yet?
Through our VR film "Immerse" we've taken nearly 1 million people virtually diving since June of 2020. Since the pandemic, we're taking even more
people virtually diving.
Sometimes the people that are drivers and really miss what the coral reefs used to look like, sometimes just people who've never been to the ocean and
think it's scary, but that experience makes them wonder if they can try.
In order to collect this incredible 360-footage that makes you feel like you're diving, we use a very specialized camera. And it is basically 13
mounted cameras in an underwater housing.
When we stitch this footage together we can create this 360 effect where you can look in all directions.
Right now we're not only disconnected from our ocean but also each other. So these virtual dives are a wonderful tool to connect us more to our
I've seen some very dramatic changes in the places that I dive. Coral reefs have been degrading rapidly especially in the past years due to the effects
of climate change.
And when the coral goes and the color goes so do the fish, so do the other animals that depend on the reef.
No matter how far away from the ocean you live, you rely on the ocean. So much of our food, most of the oxygen that we breathe comes from the ocean.
Having this experience, even virtually, can make you feel a lot more connected. Wherever you are, you can put on a VR headset and feel like
Because it's that human connection to these beautiful and often inaccessible places that lead to positive change.
ASHER: And we'll continue showcasing inspirational stories like this as part of the initiative at CNN.
And let us know what you're doing to answer the call to earth. We'd love to hear from you, just use the #call to earth.
More news after this break.
ASHER: Well, authorities in South Korea are warning North Korean hackers may have stolen Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine data.
It's unclear when the alleged attack happened but one expert says it wasn't surprising given North Korea's vulnerability to the virus.
CNN's Will Ripley has more.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For the first time in more than a year North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, seen in public with his wife, Ri Sol-ju.
South Korean intelligence believes she may have been hiding out from COVID- 19 but you'd never know it. Not a mask in sight at this art performance on Tuesday.
Kim claims his country is virus-free. Foreigners in Pyongyang paint a very different picture.
CHAD O'CARROLL, FOUNDER, KOREA RISK, NK PRO & NK NEWS: One diplomat told me there are checks everywhere; checks to get onto buses, checks to get into
the diplomatic compound. He said it doesn't seem a country that is confident about its COVID situation.
RIPLEY: A South Korean lawmaker says North Korean hackers stole COVID-19 vaccine data from U.S. drug maker Pfizer sharing his own hand written notes
on Facebook from a classified intelligence briefing, but no official documents.
Pfizer told CNN it would not comment.
South Korea's spy agency NIS says North Korean hackers targeted domestic biotech companies but denied mentioning Pfizer by name.
The lawmaker insists he saw the intel stating North Korea hacked Pfizer.
DANIEL WERTZ, PROGRAM MANAGER, THE NATIONAL COMMITTEE ON NORTH KOREA: It certainly wouldn't be surprising if North Korea was trying to do everything
they could to get information about the vaccine.
RIPLEY: Pyongyang has not publicly responded to the latest theft claims. Diplomats routinely deny allegations of cyber crime.
A confidential U.N. security council memo shared with CNN last week accuses North Korean hackers of stealing more than $316 million. Money that may
have been used to expand Kim's nuclear and missile programs.
CHAO CHOY, DATA JOURNALIST< NK NEWS & NK PRO: Even if they can't use it themselves, that they might want to sell it to an interested buyer.
RIPLEY: Who would want to buy that kind of information?
CHOY: Anyone who wants extra research and development without having to pay millions of dollars.
RIPLEY: In November, Microsoft accused North Korea of targeting vaccine makers sometimes masquerading as World Health Organization representatives.
Reuters reported accusations of another unsuccessful North Korean cyber attack that month targeting British COVID-19 vaccine maker AstraZeneca.
CNN spoke with a staffer at North Korea's U.N. mission who called the report fake news.
BRUCE KLINGNER, FORMER CIA DEPUTY DIVISION CHIEF FOR KOREA: Cyber crime is a way of not only gaining currency for the regime but also to evade
RIPLEY: Former CIA deputy division chief for Korea, Bruce Klingner, calls North Korea one of the world's top three cyber threats alongside Russia and
KLINGNER: Now cyber crime is something that's much more lucrative, it's lower risk and it's lower likelihood of getting caught.
RIPLEY (Voice Over): A small nation with a large cyber army ready to strike at any time.
Will Ripley, CNN, Hong Kong.
ASHER: While many countries are struggling with their vaccine roll outs, Chile is reporting some impressive numbers.
CNN's Rafael Romo tells us how the South American country is managing its vaccination program.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A courtyard where you would normally see college students mingling is now a organized and efficient clinic.
This is the campus of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in Santiago, the capital, one of the many COVID-19 vaccination centers around
GABRIELA VALDERRAMA, SANTIAGO RESIDENT (Speaking in Foreign Language):
ROMO: Just after getting her first shot, this woman described the process as fantastic and very well organized.
While some Latin American countries like Nicaragua have yet to receive any vaccine, Chile has become the leader in the region.
The country of nearly 19 million had already given more than 1 million vaccines by February 9th and hit 2 million by Monday.
EDGARDO CRUZ, SANTIAGO RESIDENT (Speaking in Foreign Language):
ROMO: This 71-year-old man who just got his first shot proudly describes Chile as an international role model.
Key decisions like an early start in acquiring vaccines have made the difference.
In addition to schools and government buildings, health authorities have opened up vaccination centers around the country in places like shopping
malls and football stadiums.
A unified message about social distancing and mask use hasn't hurt either.
President Sebastian Pinera himself who's 71 years old and was therefore eligible to get the shot last week took advantage of the opportunity to
make a point.
SEBASTIAN PINERA, PRESIDENT, CHILE (Speaking in Foreign Language):
ROMO: This vaccine is safe and effective, the president said, hoping to convince any doubters its in their best interest to get the shot.
While other countries struggle to decide who should get the vaccine after front line workers, Chilean authorities came up with a vaccination schedule
that is being followed to the letter.
After health care workers, the focus was the elderly. Teachers, pharmacists and police officers became eligible Monday.
Chile has the fifth highest vaccination rate per capita in the world and is doing better than the European Union, according to data from Oxford
ROMO (On Camera): The goal is vaccinating 5 million people by the end of March and four out of five Chileans before the first half of 2021 is over.
Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.
ASHER: And there are just moments left to trade on Wall Street.
We'll have the final numbers and the closing bell right after this.
ASHER: All right. There are just moments left to trade here on Wall Street. The Dow is set to close at a record high after seesawing all day.
It's been a strong day for retail sales and producer price data.
Tomorrow, the U.S. will get new data on first-time jobless claims.
Let's take a quick look at the Dow components for you.
Verizon and Chevron are at the front of the pack thanks to new investments from Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett.
Apple, meantime, has hit a one-month low. It is down nearly two percent.
And that is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'm Zain Asher in New York.
The news continues right here on CNN.
JAKE TAPPER, HOST, CNN THE LEAD: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.