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Quest Means Business
Israeli Tanks Amass at Gaza Border as Aerial Attacks Intensify; British PM Says New COVID Variant Could Disrupt Reopening; Some U.S. States Lift Mask Mandate after C.D.C. Updates Guidance; House Republicans Vote To Make Elise Stefanik Conference Chair; Irish Health Authority Computers Hit By Ransonware Attack; Israel Escalates Assault On Gaza With Air, Artillery Barrage. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired May 14, 2021 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS HOST: Last day of the trading week, Friday, and look at the numbers. For the second straight day, the Dow is up. We're up
triple digits, more than that, 404 points, one and a fifth percent, above 34,000. Strong day in the market, a solid strong day in the markets. We'll
discuss and show you later.
That's the markets and these are the main events of the day.
Israel is ramping up airstrikes in Gaza, while the West Bank suffers its deadliest day in years.
The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is warning: a new COVID variant could disrupt the Britain's opening.
While Japan's most powerful chief executive tell us that holding the Olympics would be a suicide mission.
Tonight, live from the CNN Center in Atlanta, it is Friday, it is the 14th of May. I am Richard Quest here, of course at the CNN Center. I mean
Good evening. Tonight, it is about preparing for an extended operation.
[VIDEO CLIP PLAYS]
QUEST: Israel says it has plenty of targets in Gaza and no plans to stop. Its military buildup across the border is raising fears of a ground
invasion to come.
And from ground to air, Israel is stepping up the strikes as Palestinian militants are responding back with rocket fire. The Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu says Hamas cannot flee and insist things are not over yet.
Israel says more than 2,000 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel since Monday. The fighting so far this week has killed at least 122 people
across the two areas, in Gaza and eight people in Israel.
Some people and some families in Gaza are taking shelter at a U.N. School. U.N. officials says around 10,000 Palestinians have now been displaced and
is warning hospitals in Gaza could run out of fuel by Sunday.
Our correspondent, Nic Robertson who is at the Israel-Gaza border and joins us tonight.
Israel does not seem in any mood to ratchet down, let alone cease fire.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, the Prime Minister today saying that in the past 24 hours, they have been able to target Hamas
in their tunnels. That has sent a message to Hamas that they can be reached by Israeli Defense Forces wherever they are, and he said that he would
continue to do that.
He said that the task he had set out was to hit Hamas and hit them hard, and he said that had been done and would continue. The troops we were with
at the border this afternoon into early this evening certainly on standby. There wasn't a sense they were about to drive off from their location and
go across the border, not at all.
Typically, you would expect a much greater number of troops to be present. They were there with their tanks on personal carriers, heavy mechanical
diggers. What I can say is that the location we were at was targeted multiple times around dusk with rockets from Gaza intercepted by Iron Dome.
Rockets fired from Gaza to other locations as well that we could see, so that this sort of continual beat of rockets coming from Gaza, we heard
fighter jets flying down towards Gaza just a short time ago, it continues, even at this location here having a siren going off just a short while ago.
So far from over as the Prime Minister indicates.
QUEST: Nic, if we look at the two sides here, on the one hand, we have a complete asymmetry in terms of military might. Israel is way more powerful,
has more sophisticated weapons than Hamas. However, on the other side, you do have the indiscriminate nature of that which is coming back from Gaza,
basically lobbing rockets from Gaza back into Israel.
At the end of the day, I can't see how these ends.
ROBERTSON: If it wasn't for Iron Dome, with 2,000 missiles fired, you could reasonably expect without exaggeration a much higher toll on this side in
Israel, without a doubt. That there are greater casualties in Gaza speaks to the nature of the situation, but there is at the moment no way out of
I mean, we know that this grew out of a dispute over land in Jerusalem. That is the historic artifact that hangs over relationships between
Palestinians and Israelis. This is something that they've been struggling with.
ROBERTSON: The United States used to try to use its leverage. Egypt has been a partner in trying to secure peace here, before Jordan the same. But
at the moment, the two sides are not finding any common ground.
And absent in some people's estimation of new leadership, maybe it is not going to be found. Certainly, in the heat of battle, it's not go to be
found and the talk at the moment, although it is not happening, there is no substance effect for it so far, it is just the de-escalate and stop this
current round. Then, of course, the pressure comes off, and of course, what happens in the past, there is no hard drive, a successful hard drive for a
compromised peaceful solution.
QUEST: Nic Robertson, well, we'll be with you for two hours, so when there's more to report this evening as it gets late at night towards
midnight in Israel, come back.
Now, at least 10 Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers during the clashes at the West Bank on Friday.
Palestinian officials say it is the deadliest fighting there in years and the Palestinian Red Crescent says the Palestinians were targeted with live
ammunition. Israel says troops fired on rioters after failing to stop them with teargas and rubber bullets.
Uriel Lynn is the President of the Israeli Chambers Of Commerce, the former member of the Knesset who joins us now -- good evening -- from Tel Aviv.
So, it's a very difficult area, but is Israel -- are the people of Israel, in your view, ready and settling in for a long campaign?
URIEL LYNN, PRESIDENT, ISRAELI CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE: Well, that's what it is. I hope everybody understands that we have not started this military
operation. I'm sure that everybody understands it's really a terror organization bordering Israel, attacked a great part of the Israeli
civilization and we cannot say thank you. We have to retaliate. We have to contain it.
And in Israel, there is a general sentiment, there is a policy up to now trying to contain or compromise or appease in any way a terror organization
which is the Hamas, or the Jihad is really wrong.
The policy is really wrong because we think the power was growing, the ability to attack was growing, and the ability to really cause in Israel a
great danger, changing, rocking the security of the people and the stability of the country. It just got to very, very immense and monstrous
So, we have to do something to stop that and it cannot be another round, and people understand it's enough that we are going to stop right now or
agree to a ceasefire because the ceasefire or deterrent would not be enough. We need greater ability to do that.
QUEST: But if we go back to sort of where this all began, and I understand, it doesn't take much to light -- to touch the paper to set this thing off.
But the idea of the evacuations or the forced evacuations of people in these territories, for Palestinians who had lived there for years, which is
what started all of this thing off in the first place. Israel does not seem to be in a willing position for compromise on some of the core issues
before we get to violence.
LYNN: What I'll tell you, Richard, that if Hamas and the Jihad would really want to take care of their feeble population, help the children, try to
build an infrastructure, improve the health of the nation, then I can promise you Israel will be a real partner. But when you have a terrorist
organization after we have built the country here to which we believe that we can really have the right to live in security and stability, that it is
really being rocked by a terrorist organization, of course we cannot continue and agree to that.
We have to now think about the realities of the day. You cannot go back all the time back to historical proportions.
QUEST: So without suggesting -- at the end of the day, Israel had had a difficult start to the COVID pandemic, then manages to absolutely pull it
out of the hat with vaccines to the point where frankly the Israeli economy had huge potential.
QUEST: Now arguably, and I am not comparing lives with bodies, but policy makers look at the bigger issues as well. All of those gains are in
jeopardy. Your tourism industry is in jeopardy. The prospect of recovery is in jeopardy if Israel decides to continue prosecuting this latest
LYNN: Well, we have to judge the situation by the actual facts, but the reality we are facing, and we face the reality that a terrorist
organization, whatever they decide, they may gain a certain advantage, may attack about three thirds of the Israeli population, risking their lives.
Of course, I understand that everybody in any sovereign nation would understand that this is an impossible situation.
So, in the past, we believed that the reason that they are in power, they believe the deterrence, they're not going to do that because they're not
going to gain anything out of that. They are only causing destruction of the civil population. We know that, but still they have their own thinking,
and I think they don't really care very much about their civil population in Gaza.
Believe me, we feel very sorry that we need to have this right now retaliating -- people who are not really part of this conflict, but it
seems to be that they don't really care about them. They know very well we have to retaliate. They know that they are really moving and shelling
rocket attacks outside of the civilization.
QUEST: We'll leave it there. Thank you, sir. We will talk more in the days ahead. I appreciate your time. It is late in Israel. Thank you for staying
The unrest is spreading in the region. Hundreds of protesters in neighboring Jordan had to be dispersed by riot police after they charged
towards the Israeli border. And similar pro-Palestinian demonstrations across many Middle Eastern countries.
CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is at one demonstration in Beirut.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Dozens of people have gathered here in a neighborhood in Southern Beirut at a rally that they say is in solidarity
with the people of Palestine, with the families that are under bombardment in Gaza.
This is a protest that was organized by the group, Hezbollah, a political militant group, of course that operates here in Lebanon.
So far, the chief of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah hasn't spoken in nearly a week. So, these protests are a way to show the strength and support of that
movement. Again, this is organized by that rally, so a lot of rhetoric that you would expect to hear against their very bitter enemy, the State of
Israel and a great deal of condemnation.
I spoke to one young woman who told me that the scenes that she saw come out over the last week in Gaza brought her to tears. This comes at a very
sensitive time for the Middle East. It's the Eid al-Fitr holiday when people are celebrating the end of Ramadan.
So, coming out, showing solidarity, showing support, these families say is crucial.
Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, Beirut.
QUEST: Now, the U.K. set for the next phase of reopening. It begins on Monday, at the same time Boris Johnson is saying his government is anxious
about rising cases of the Indian COVID variant. After the break.
QUEST: The race between the virus and vaccine may be about to become a whole lot tighter. Boris Johnson is issuing that stark warning a short time
ago at Downing Street after cases of the Indian COVID variant doubled in the U.K. in a week.
He said the British government will accelerate its vaccination rollout in response.
Now, Britain is due to enter the next phase of reopening on Monday, but the Prime Minister said that would go ahead as planned.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I do not believe that we need on the present evidence to delay our road map, and we will proceed with our plan
to move to step three in England for Monday.
But I have to level with you that this new variant could pose a serious disruption to our progress and could make it more difficult to move to step
four in June. And I must stress that we will do whatever it takes to keep the public safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Cyril Vanier is in London. The Prime Minister was being very straightforward and blunt there, wasn't he? I mean, basically saying, look,
I believe we can go to -- continue with it, but this could change.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, Richard. And, in fact, the problem here is that the government just doesn't have all the
information it wants to have about this new variant, the b.22.214.171.124 which is one of the three variants first identified in India which is present here
in the U.K.
One of those three is a variant of concern. The big, big question, and the government doesn't have the answer to that yet because the medical data
just doesn't exist is how much more contagious is it than the current dominant variant? The one we referred to a few months ago as the one first
identified in the U.K. or the Kent variant as it is known here.
How much more transmissible is this Indian variant compared to the U.K. variant? And that is going to determine what scenario actually unfolds here
in the U.K. If it's a lot more contagious, then England's chief medical officer has not ruled out that there could be another surge of coronavirus
in this country and that's just a reality, Richard, that nobody here wants to contemplate after weeks of lockdown, schools being shut, after really,
really slowing gradual reopening of the country, this phase three on Monday which is great news, but phase four is still five weeks away.
The other scenario, the more positive scenario is this new variant is only a little bit more contagious. In that case, if vaccinations can progress
fast enough, then it could be contained. Certainly, the government is hoping that that is what will materialize. That is why it is scrambling to
extend surge testing to the most affected areas. The Army, Richard, will be in the streets deploying and handing out tests.
QUEST: And the increase or the rate of increase of vaccinations is being very targeted, isn't it?
VANIER: Extremely targeted. In fact, I think it is best referred to as accelerating the vaccination only for those who have already had their
first -- who are in between doses.
So people who are in between doses, normally you have a three-month delay before the second one. Well, they are bringing that down to two months. The
whole idea of this being to have more adults who have full immunity faster. You can't bring it down to a month because if you do that, there's a trade-
off, of course. You're not giving -- those are doses that you're also not giving the first dose to a number of people who currently have no immunity.
QUEST: Cyril, thank you. You've set us up nicely for talking with Dr. Leana Wen who is a CNN medical analyst and joins me from Baltimore where she sat
as Health Commissioner.
Doctor, how lovely to have you with us tonight. Thank you.
Cyril has set up the U.K. position nicely, but in the United States which is where we are, the C.D.C.'s decision to remove the mask mandate or in
certain circumstances, but de facto remove the mask requirement for vaccinated people raised eyebrows because only 35 percent of the country is
fully vaccinated, and it is nowhere near.
Now, bearing in mind what Cyril, who you were just listening to says, if the India virus and the Brazilian virus start to become more prevalent
here, could this become a worry?
DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, my concern, Richard, is not for the people who are already fully vaccinated. Those individuals are very
well protected from getting the coronavirus and different variants. It looks like the vaccines we have are also very protective against these
emerging variants as well, so that's great.
But what I am really concerned about is those people who are not yet vaccinated either by choice or because they cannot be vaccinated, or also
those who have the vaccine, but who may not develop enough immunity because maybe they are transplant patients or cancer patients on chemotherapy.
You're right, I think what the C.D.C. in the U.S. has essentially done is to remove mask mandates and distancing for everyone. Because if you're not
checking for vaccination status, and you're saying you could just take off your mask and not practice physical distancing, we are now saying that it
is a free for all, and I don't think we're nearly there yet.
QUEST: But Dr. Wen, I was looking this morning -- Singapore is an example where you may have seen the rate of infection or the number of cases has
risen in Singapore, specifically at the airport and those involved, of the 28 cases or 29 cases, 18 or 19 people had been fully vaccinated.
Now, it doesn't mean that they were seriously ill, but we are starting to get more evidence that vaccinated people can still get the virus, albeit at
a lower level. Is that a concern?
WEN: I'm actually much less concerned about that for two reasons. One is, yes, you're right, breakthrough infections do occur. So you can get
infected after being vaccinated. Although chances are you're going to have a mild illness, you may not have any symptoms at all.
The second thing we now know based on real world data out of Israel that even if you are infected, you're carrying a much lower viral load and much
less likely to infect other people.
So, in essence, if you are vaccinated, the chain of infection is probably going to be stopping with you. But we still have the situation in
Singapore, in the U.S. and so many other countries where most people are not yet vaccinated. That's my concern.
QUEST: Okay, so let me speak the truth that dare not speak its name. There are many people who are vaccinated, and perhaps myself included, fully
vaccinated that think, this is over. We have been told we don't have to wear masks. Restaurants are now back at full capacity, and pretty much
leading a pre-pandemic normal life on a daily basis. That's going to become the prevalent thought amongst the vaccinated countries.
WEN: I am actually entirely fine with that. I am fine if you are fully vaccinated for you to say, I realize the pandemic is still raging in other
parts of the world, even in my own country, but I am very well protected. I'm going back and resume my life. I recognize there may still be a risk to
me, it is not a zero risk, but I'm okay with that.
What I'm not okay with and this is my concern is that there are still in the U.S., there is two-thirds of the U.S. population are not yet fully
vaccinated, and many of these individuals were anti-mask and may not even have believed that coronavirus is real.
Now they have full license to go about and not wear a mask, not distance and put other people at risk. And it is not just other people who are truly
QUEST: Who are they putting at risk? I mean, see, if all of those who wish to be vaccinated are vaccinated, if the vulnerable and the elderly and the
infirmed are vaccinated, at what point can the rest of us say legitimately to those who refuse -- and I'm talking about those who refuse -- to those
who refuse, wait, that's up to you now. Go. You chose it, you made your bed. Sleep in it.
WEN: I mean, it's a fair point. I'll raise two more. One is, look at the unvaccinated who don't choose it for themselves.
WEN: I have a one-year-old and three-year-old. They did not choose to be unvaccinated. I would vaccinate them if I could. They are not able to be
vaccinated and I think our society has an obligation to children and also to those who are immunocompromised. Patients with cancer, with lupus, with
arthritis, with other conditions that they are on heavy doses of immunosuppressants. They didn't choose it.
WEN: And now, we have just made our world, their world a lot more unsafe because they are now going to be around unvaccinated unmasked people with
So maybe they now cannot be going to the grocery store. They now cannot be going to work and that's not really fair.
And I think the other point is, as a society, we want to try to end the pandemic. The best way for us to end the pandemic is for us all to be
vaccinated. And so I think there is a societal obligation that we have as individuals, it is not just about personal choice.
QUEST: Doctor, thank you. You're quite right, you put me back in place in terms of the reasons why and these are the sort of things people are
talking about in pubs and restaurants around the world, in the developed world tonight.
Thank you. Have a lovely weekend with your children, one and three. Thank you.
Now, the violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories continue. The clashes between protesters and forces in the West Bank, they're deadly. We
will be in Jerusalem after the break.
It is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. Good evening to you.
QUEST: Hello, good evening. I'm Richard Quest. There's more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for you in just a moment.
The chief executive of one of Japan's biggest companies says it would be a suicide mission to press on with the Tokyo Olympics.
And the pipeline company did pay a ransom to hackers. There is a new opening for cyber security manager. We'll talk about that.
This is CNN and here, the news always comes first.
India's Prime Minister is finally speaking out about the COVID-19 crisis in his country after three weeks of silence in a virtual meeting. Narendra
Modi called the virus an invisible enemy and said the government is fighting to contain the outbreak with more vaccinations and medical aid.
QUEST: The newest member of the House Republican leadership team is attacking President Biden for what she's calling his radical socialist
policies. Elise Stefanik is a staunch defender of Donald Trump has replaced Liz Cheney. She was ousted after the repeatedly challenging former
President Trump's unfounded assertion that the 2020 election had been stolen.
Ireland's health authorities shut down its computers following a significant ransomware attack. The House service executive says it's
working with security partners to assess the security breach. It follows after a major U.S. fuel pipeline network was targeted in the United States
with a similar attack.
Israel says it's prepared for an extended operation in Gaza, in a dramatic escalation of the conflict is now masked troops and is now hitting guards
with artillery fire as well as airstrikes. Israeli officials say Gaza militants have fired more than 2000 rockets towards Israel this week.
And in the West Bank, those clashes have turned deadly. Our senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman is with me from Jerusalem. Ben,
since we spoke 24 hours ago, I just had this literally at this time, how would you judge the situation to have changed deteriorated, define us as
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's become far more explosive, so to speak, Richard. I mean, now, the new element is, of
course, this unrest in the West Bank, a level of unrest we have not seen there since the days of the Second Intifada. According to the Palestinian
Ministry of Health, at least 10 people were killed, more than 500 people injured in protests across the West Bank.
Now we spent most of the day in Bethlehem where we saw the Palestinians throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks at the Israelis. And the Israelis
firing a tear gas, rubber bullets and in some instances automatic gunfire. We couldn't tell if that was horizontally or vertically. But certainly we
have not seen anything like this in quite some time. Now, what's interesting is that as a result of the communal violence within Israel
itself, what we saw is that the Israeli government made the decision to move units of the border police, who normally operate in the occupied West
Bank to those Israeli towns and cities to try to restore order.
And now of course, the West Bank is rising up. And of course, as a result of the deaths, we can pretty confidently say tomorrow, there will be at
least 10 funerals. And keep in mind tomorrow, Richard, is Nakba Day, the command catastrophe day as it's known in Arabic, which commemorates the
creation of Israel and the expulsion of Palestinians. So, if today was explosive, tomorrow will be even more so. Richard?
QUEST: OK. Ben, what is Israel's capacity to handle a (INAUDIBLE) war in Gaza at the moment and rising unrest in the West Bank at the same time?
WEDEMAN: That's a good question. And I think probably the Israeli command is asking itself, the same thing. Now, certainly, one thing Israel does not
lack for is weaponry. But the problem is it doesn't necessarily have the manpower to control the West Bank to try to reach -- restore order within
those mixed towns and be engaged in a hot war and possibly a ground incursion in Gaza. And to complicate matters even further, Richard, you had
incidents on the border with Jordan and in Lebanon where people tried to cross the line between Lebanon and Israel.
And one individual was killed. And apparently that individual was in some way affiliated with Hezbollah. So it seems that every day, this current
situation is spreading more and more. Richard?
QUEST: Ben, there's no doubt Israel has the weaponry as you were describing. I mean, you know, it - the asymmetry is so vast that if it came
to a full out war, Israel certainly has the capacity to crush, but the level of civilian casualties will be outrageously unacceptable.
QUEST: So Israel does have this extraordinarily difficult balancing act, if I see from the Israeli point of view in that sense.
WEDEMAN: It does, but it is faced with this challenge on so many fronts. And I wish I could answer your question, but I think that they are probably
having a hard time. The Israeli high command is probably having an even more difficult time answering that question because it's been quite some
time since they've had such a plethora of problems facing them all at once. And really coming down.
Just think about it, really, this situation started to escalate dramatically, Monday when the rocket fire started out of out of Gaza. And
in that time, what Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, we've seen every single day, the situation get evermore dangerous, ever more
complicated and sort of entering new arenas every single day. Richard?
QUEST: Ben, thank you. Good to talk to you on this tonight. And really with your expertise on the matter and hearing it just shows how difficult this
really is to understand and there we -- go ahead -- just Ben, go ahead.
WEDEMAN: It's just fireworks.
QUEST: All right.
QUEST: Thank you, Ben. A suicide mission. That's how one of Japan's top CEOs describe plans to go forward with the Tokyo Olympics. The CEO of
Rakuten speaks exclusively to CNN in a moment.
QUEST: It is 10 weeks to the day, to the start of the Tokyo Olympics. And now the CEO of Rakuten, one of Japan's top ecommerce companies is telling
CNN hosting the Olympics is a suicide mission. An exclusive interview Hiroshi Mikitani says he's been trying to convince the Japanese governments
to cancel the Tokyo games. Now, with the opening ceremony getting ever closer, he's joining a growing list of executive speaking out.
SoftBan's Masayoshi Son says he's afraid for Japan and other countries. Should the Tokyo Olympics go ahead as planned?
QUEST: Toyota, a leading sponsor says it's conflicted and heartbroken to see public discontent aimed at the athletes. Our Tokyo -- our correspondent
in Tokyo is Selina Wang.
SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Richard, the CEO of Japan's leading e-commerce company Rakuten is urging the Japanese government to
cancel the games. He says that hosting the games this summer would be a suicide mission. With the Olympics just 10 weeks away, public opposition to
the games is snowballing. But what the Rakuten CEO tells me amount to the strongest public criticism against the games from a corporate leader in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Do you think Japan should host the Olympics this summer considering rising COVID-19 cases in Japan and its strange medical system?
HIROSHI MIKITANI, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, RAKUTEN: I have been basted forward about this issue. And the fact that we have so late for the
vaccination. It's very dangerous to host the big international event from all over the world. So, the risk is too big. And, you know, I'm against
having Tokyo Olympics this year.
WANG: Do you think it's still possible that they could be canceled?
MIKITANI: I think it's -- everything is possible, right? I think, you know, I see -- I privately talk was meant with (INAUDIBLE) from other countries
and many people is not really supportive of hosting Tokyo Olympics this year.
WANG: Why do you think the government has been so forceful in its determination that they will still go ahead despite the public opposition,
including from business leaders like yourself?
MIKITANI: I don't know. To be honest, I call it this is like a suicide mission, to be very honest, and we should stop. I'm trying to convince them
but not successful so far.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WANG: I also asked the Rakuten CEO what great he would give the Japanese government for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccine
rollout. He said he'd rated a two out of 10. Japan has so far only fully vaccinated about one percent of its population. And the Rokuten's CEO's
concerns are echoed by other corporate leaders in Japan. The SoftBank CEO said he's afraid of Japan hosting the Olympic Games.
Toyota which is a top Olympic sponsor said the company is concerned by growing public frustration against the Olympic Games. Meanwhile, a petition
online received more than 350,000 signatures urging Japan to cancel the games in just nine days. Even a doctors' union urged for the games to be
canceled, saying that the games could turn into a super spreader event, even without any spectators. Richard?
QUEST: Now as the corporate debate is raging on the starting line to the games, 10 weeks is rapidly approaching. We're now seeing a relay of sorts
around the decisions over whether they will go ahead. So it's large companies in Japan and the key Olympic sponsors we're hearing from the
loudest. It's athletes like the golfer, Hideki Matsuyama and the tennis star Naomi Osaka that have expressed concern.
The power player in all of this is the International Olympic Committee which has billions of dollars and most of its revenue at stake. And the
Japanese government is insisting that the final decision is in the hands of the IOC. The prime minister is promising that the games will be safe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YOSHIHIDE SUGA, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We will thoroughly take anti infection measures for athletes and event officials so
they can participate in the game safely and at the same time we will protect our people's lives and health. This is our principal and holding
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Christine Brennan is in Washington economist for USA Today and one of our CNN sports analysts. Christine, so, what's your -- first of all,
let's get your gut feeling. Will they or won't they take place?
CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Richard, my gut feeling is that they still will take place. But it's changing just a bit. I would have said
about a month or two ago. 100 percent, 99 percent and now maybe I'm in the low 90s. I've covered the Olympics since 1984. This one has just been
barraged by so many things. The shame of this is among many, many shames in the sports end of it is that Tokyo was ready.
So many other Olympic cities have not been ready and if thought out in Tokyo was so ready to give us a wonderful -- 20 and 2021. And that's one of
the shames of the pandemic hitting, and really throwing everything into disarray.
QUEST: OK. So and it goes ahead, bearing in mind the current epidemiological situation in Japan, it's going to be pretty much almost
behind closed doors, no, overseas spectators, probably greatly limited in terms of numbers.
QUEST: Athletes who haven't really had a chance to train as well as they might, it begs the question, should it take place in the sense that what's
right -- forgive my -- I'm just naive on this, Christine. Why not delay until 2022?
BRENNAN: It's a good question. Up until now, the International Olympic Committee which you said, Richard, of course, is going to make the decision
at least. That's what we're hearing is that they said they would postpone as they did in March of 2020. And they would only postpone once and they
would cancel from there on out. 2022 is a packed sports year, international sports. You've got the Winter Olympics in February of 2022 in Beijing.
And you have the -- soccer, obviously, a huge event around the world in the summer of 2022 and into the fall. So, that's -- right now, that's a
problem. But I think that the crescendo is building and we are hearing more about this, I think that we may see more conversation about other options.
QUEST: OK. Now, again, forgive my naivety on this, but bearing in mind the difficulties of training, would you expect these Olympics if they go ahead
to be record breaking in any sense? What -- I mean, the athletes -- they build themselves up to the peak last year, then they had to ratchet down.
Someone who had COVID, someone who had this or that or the other. Just the sheer ability to become racehorse is of the finest caliber. Is that
BRENNAN: For some, yes. I mean, the American swimmers are training normally now and have been for months and around the world, track and field stars
and others are doing that. I think the flip side of this is this sense of having the world come together. Obviously things are changing by the
minute. I think the key element here is Japan only having vaccinated one percent of its population.
I think that moving forward is going to be the biggest problem in the sense of hosting the 10,000 athletes. But I do believe there is a possibility if
it goes forward of bringing a very positive feeling, frankly, Richard, around the world that that something good is coming in -- out of this
pandemic. And that's what the hope is for the Olympics. But boy oh boy, it is being buffeted by so many negative stories right now.
And so many things that could be a great concern, that obviously, it is warranted to have this conversation about what could happen. And what a
shame it would be in terms of sports. If you go from the 2016 Games in Rio, to the 2024 for Summer Games in Paris. In other words, eight years between
Olympics. That would be a lost generation of Olympians maybe. Minor on the list of concerns with COVID raging around the world still, but it would be
something of a sports tragedy if that does happen.
QUEST: Christine, thank you. You've really put that into context for us tonight. I'm very grateful. Thank you. And in case you remember the 2024
Olympics as Christine was as much remind you, that taking place in Paris. Colonial Pipeline has paid off the hackers behind the ransomware attack.
The company is also looking for someone to help prevent it suffer again, the next one in a moment. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
QUEST: CNN has learned from sources that Colonial Pipeline did pay a ransom to the hackers who cyberattacked, force it to shut down on America's most
important fuel networks. The fuel company isn't commenting. However, it has put out a job advert. It posted this opening for a cybersecurity manager
based here in Atlanta. No, that's not what I'm here to apply. Responsibilities include overseeing the development of cybersecurity
standards, and leading the recovery from security incidents classic, shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.
Natasha Bertrand is our White House reporter and joins me from Washington. This is extraordinary. This admission that the -- possibly the only reason
the Colonial Pipeline is back up and running this weekend with gas stations getting fuel is because they paid the ransom. What are they saying in
Washington about that?
NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: It is pretty remarkable, Richard. What we're hearing is that they were able to at least retain some
of the data with the help of the U.S. government and private entities. But they did end up paying that ransom because at the very beginning, they were
panicked about having this critical infrastructure shut down by a ransomware group that was demanding nearly $5 million.
So obviously, you know, the government has been trying to disincentive private companies from paying these ransoms because it could incentivize
further attacks of this nature. But sometimes these private companies simply have no choice.
QUEST: It's the point, isn't doesn't it? I mean, look at this, it's price, Natasha, just about perfectly five million, a lot of money to you and me in
our bank account. But chump change to a company like Colonial, you know, it's the rounding error on one of the accounts. So what do you think' is
going to happens next? Where does this go in Washington, where they do have the power to try and prevent ransoms being paid, or legislative?
BERTRAND: So ultimately, the federal government is going to leave this as a decision that private businesses have to make on their own, there are
guidelines that are going to be issued, of course to private companies as to whether or not they should be paying these ransoms. But ransomware is
also a part of everyday life now. It's an industry in and of itself. And sometimes, regardless of what the FBI has recommended, it is simply the
best possible option for these private companies just to pay the ransom and move on, especially when they -- again deal in healthcare sector in certain
critical infrastructure industries.
It just -- it just makes it so that it's easier for them to pay this, as you said, a margin and a rounding error and just move forward.
QUEST: Which makes it -- from a political point of view since you're in Washington, which makes it even more important that what President Biden
says about putting pressure on President Putin to prevent, even though he's saying this wasn't a Russian-sponsored attack, but the hackers are in
BERTRAND: And the White House has said that they do expect that President Biden is going to raise this with his Russian counterpart because many
Russia experts and many former officials have told us that there -- it's very, very little that gets done within Russia that does not have at least
the tacit approval of the Kremlin. So, it would be probably one of the main things that President Biden is going to want to speak to Russian President
Vladimir Putin about because again, while they don't know exactly who these hackers are, at this point, they do know that the group is operating inside
QUEST: Thank you. Have a good weekend. Natasha Bertrand joining us from D.C. The price of Dogecoin more than 30 percent as Coinbase said it's
preparing to allow users to buy and sell the currency on its app by the summer. Elon Musk gave Dogecoin a further boost tweeting, he's -- he is
working with Doge's development to improve system transaction efficiency potentially promising. As commission free trading apps have been opening up
to the markets to millions of new investors.
Financial education is becoming a key issue. Some platforms have been criticizing for allowing novices to get their hands dirty, invest in risky
assets without really knowing what they're doing.
QUEST: So, in today's Think Big, Isa Suarez takes a look at a new trading app in Dubai, where the focus is on education.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here's what's up in the markets, stock markets around the world slipped on Tuesday as investors --
ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is not your usual morning bulletin. It's the first of many podcasts that will educate a new
generation of online investors in the Middle East.
THOMAS HAYES, CHAIRMAN GREAT HILL CAPITAL: I think we're seeing a boom of these online trading platforms right now. Everyone has access to
smartphones. So it's really easy access. You're seeing a lot of self- directed people because ambitions are now zero.
SOARES: Free trading has encouraged millions of amateurs to invest and get involved in the markets. It's a trend that has been accelerated with the
access from platforms like Robinhood and eToro. Retail investors accounted for around 20 percent U.S. stock trading volumes in 2020. In the heart of
Dubai's financial district. Entrepreneur Feras Jalbout wants to help new investors in this part of the world navigate the world of finance.
FERAS JALBOUT, FOUNDER AND CEO, BARAKA: The next big idea is educating, enabling and empowering Middle East investors with a commission free
SOARES: Jalbout is launching a new platform called Baraka that will help you amateur traders invest in the U.S. stock market.
JALBOUT: Baraka is a mobile app, you transfer funds into the account and you can start investing right away. The idea is that it's accessible, it's
easy to use.
SOARES: What makes us different is the way it aims to educate its new investors, providing access to educational content and information about
JALBOUT: A lot of people in the MENA didn't even know what a stock was. We found that there's a massive gap in the market, whether it was related to
educational content or current events, that spoke to our demographic.
SOARES: A team of web designers and finance experts produce videos newsletters, infographic, explainers and morning podcasts.
HAYES: The main risks and the mistakes that new traders make is they try to make too much money too quickly. They don't do enough research and homework
so that they know what they're doing and they know what they're owning on the underlying basis.
SOARES: Jalbout believes raising financial awareness and his platform is key to reducing risks as he continues his mission to democratize the
JALBOUT: We don't expect everyone to be a professional hedge fund manager or professional investor. But we just want to get people invested.
SOARES: Bridging the gap between the professional brokers and the amateur investors. Isa Soares, CNN.
QUEST: We are continuing to follow the escalating violence in the Middle East. Jerusalem where we'll be in just a moment. In CNN, our coverage
continues. It's an extended QUEST MEANS BUSINESS this Friday evening.