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Quest Means Business
U.S. President Due To Speak To Israeli Prime Minister; AT&T To Spin Off WarnerMedia, Merge It With Discovery; New York To Loosen Mask Restrictions For Vaccinated People; World Economic Forum Cancels 2021 Meeting In Singapore; U.S. President Biden Says He's Speaking With Israeli Prime Minister. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired May 17, 2021 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN INTERNTATIONAL ANCHOR: Stocks have fallen just slightly just to start the week on Wall Street. Those are the markets, and
these are the main events.
Joe Biden is due to speak to Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel intensifies its airstrikes on Gaza.
AT&T is calling time on WarnerMedia, the parent company of this network is changing hands yet again.
And sunnier skies ahead. British tourists are literally queuing up to go on holiday as travel restrictions are lifted.
Live from New York, it's Monday the 17th of May. I'm Julia Chatterley and this is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
And good evening, U.S. President Joe Biden is due to speak with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu any moment now, as the White House
becomes increasingly concerned about the growing violence between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza. The conflict is now in its second week
with Sunday the deadliest day so far.
The Hamas-run Palestinian Health Authority says the death toll is now standing at 212, including 61 children. The Israeli Military says at least
10 people have died as a result of Hamas rocket fire in Israel.
A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces sees approximately 80 to 90 percent of the rocket manufacturing capacity in Gaza Strip has now been
destroyed. Separately, a senior Israeli military official has defended the destruction of a building in Gaza that housed news organizations.
Ben Wedeman, our senior national correspondent is in Jerusalem for us. Ben, great to be with you at the point upon which we're saying that 80 to 90
percent of their rocket manufacturing capabilities have been destroyed. Where are we in terms of either side saying, okay, enough is enough, and
perhaps we can approach a ceasefire point?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Julia, we're not there yet. The Israeli Security Cabinet met this evening, and it made it clear
that it will continue with this operation against Gaza, and this comes at a time when the humanitarian situation in Gaza itself is becoming
The Gaza electricity company says they may only be able to provide electricity and it is already at a reduced level to Gaza for perhaps a few
more hours or days at this point because the supply of fuel from Israel has been disrupted.
The U.N. refugee agency where Palestinians says that more than 43,000 Palestinians are taking refuge in 53 schools around Gaza, and that food
distribution, and many people in Gaza depend upon food has been halted awaiting a security assessment.
And so, the hostilities continue unabated. Israel today did kill one senior commander for Islamic Jihad, they continue to target what they call the
Hamas Metro, which they say is that the network of underground tunnels that Hamas has dug in and around Gaza.
But in terms of bringing this conflict to a halt, there's no clear indication at this point, the United States for the third time has blocked
an attempt by the U.N. Security Council to issue a statement on the conflict -- a statement that would have called for a halt to the bombing,
or rather, the hostilities and also a halt to the forced eviction of Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood here in Jerusalem.
This is increasingly becoming -- beginning to look reminiscent of the situation in 2006, when Israel was fighting Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the
United States really held back in terms of trying to restrain Israel, trying to allow Israel to achieve its objectives in that war, and perhaps
that's what's going on here.
When the Israeli say that they've disabled 80 to 90 percent of Hamas's ability to launch rockets that would indicate that somehow those objectives
are being achieved. But of course, the problem is we've seen time and time again, this is however worth pointing out, the fourth war in 13 years
between Gaza and Israel and it is probably just going to be a few more years until the fifth -- Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. Ben, it's a good point. I mean, you've spent time in Gaza, too. So you understand sort of the challenges of the situation there when
you're under this kind of artillery fire, even as nations around the world say Israel has the right to defend itself, just give us a sense of what
your view is and what's being experienced there.
WEDEMAN: I mean, this has happened before, and keep in mind that Gaza has been under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade since June 2007 when Hamas
essentially took over the Gaza Strip.
And what is happening here, and let's keep in mind that Gaza is often referred to as an open air prison, and that's a fairly accurate
description. But I was reminded that just a few years ago, a senior official with the U.N. described Gaza as a toxic slum, a toxic slum that
the residents live in from birth to death, and whatever, however this conflict ends, that reality isn't going to change -- Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Ben, great to get your wisdom. Thank you so much for joining us tonight. Ben Wedeman, our senior international correspondent there in
Now the conflict appears far from being resolved, as Ben was saying. On Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that the campaign in Gaza will
continue for, quote "some time."
U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken says the U.S. is alarmed by the violence and is trying to end it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Hundreds of people killed or injured, including children being pulled from the rubble. We're also
alarmed by how journalists and medical personnel have been put at risk.
Palestinians and Israelis, like people everywhere have the right to live in safety and security and the current violence has ripped it away.
So we've been working intensively behind the scenes to try to bring an end to the conflict.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: Nic Robertson is our international diplomatic editor. He is in Ashdod on Israel's Mediterranean coast. Nic, what did you make of what was
said today? President Biden also stopped short still, the White House, of calling for a ceasefire here, but again, he said he was going to speak to
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, sort of imminently and we believe that's obviously happening, if not now, very soon.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, I think when Secretary Blinken was speaking earlier in the day as well, he went on to
say that if the parties want a ceasefire, then we'll support and do everything we can.
What caught my eye was the fact that he said if they want, if both parties want a ceasefire. You don't say "if they want a ceasefire," if you think
that they do want a ceasefire and you believe that they're both committed to it. So it really seems a tip of the hat there to what we're seeing here
that the Israeli government still has objectives of Hamas, that it wants to -- that it wants to, in its worst, neutralize or take out of the equation.
Benny Gantz, the Defense Minister said that this evening, that there were still plenty more Hamas targets that the Israeli Defense Forces would like
to go after.
So, you know, I think you get the sense that, you know, President Biden comes to this, unlike President Trump, having some good relationship with
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He doesn't. President Biden doesn't have that relationship, he doesn't have the leverage.
His representative here in Israel met today with Palestinian leaders, Hady Amr, the State Department representative on Palestinian-Israeli Affairs met
with Palestinian officials, but the Palestinian political leaders in the West Bank, they don't control what happens in Gaza. They don't have control
over what Hamas does.
Hamas would like to be and feels it is gaining a political advantage over them, would like to be the dominant Palestinian political organization.
So you know, while the United States wants to have that influence, and let's not forget, President Biden came into office, his signature foreign
policy speech a few weeks after being in office was about upholding human rights and the value of human rights, and that was going to be part of his
signature as a way to sort of bring the international community and allies around him.
So at the moment, he is in a position where he is being criticized by other countries for not putting enough pressure on Israel to stop the strikes.
But the United States has always stood strongly behind Israel. So you know, when you add up all these pieces of the puzzle together, it doesn't appear
that we're on the brink of a diplomatic breakthrough. It does appear exactly as Ben rightly says that we've seen this before, and the United
States is creating a time space for Israel to do what it thinks it needs to do to prevent Hamas launching attacks against Israeli citizens in the
CHATTERLEY: And standing back and hoping that the perhaps the Egyptians and the Qataris can do something to create a breakthrough here.
Nic, great to have you with us. Thank you. Nic Robertson there in Ashdod.
OK, we're going to take a break here on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, but coming up, Warner Brothers can trace its founding back to 98 years -- WarnerMedia,
the result of an AT&T takeover lasted just three, a spin off with Discovery hopes to take on Disney and Netflix, after this.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
In 2016, AT&T described its bid for Time Warner as a way to future proof media, combining content with new ways to distribute it. Now nearly three
years later, after closing that deal, AT&T is spinning off WarnerMedia, CNN's parent company and combining it with Discovery.
The two companies hope to create a streaming behemoth large enough to compete worldwide with the likes of Disney and Netflix and beyond. CNN will
be included in the deal.
Discovery CEO David Zaslav will lead the new company. He spoke to my colleague, Poppy Harlow alongside AT&T CEO, John Stankey. Poppy asked what
this still means for viewers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID ZASLAV, CEO, DISCOVERY INC.: We have between 10 and 12 channels in every country of the world. You know, when we put something on our
Discovery Channel or some of our female channels, we could reach a billion people.
And so in every market in the world, we have people on the ground. We know who the mobile players are. We have content in language. We're also the
largest player in sports in Europe. We have three sports channels called Eurosport, it's like ESPN here.
And so the symmetry of how this works together, you take this incredible IP that content at Warner that people would pay for before they pay for
dinner, like "Superman" and "Batman" and "Game of Thrones" and you put that together with all the local content that we have in the market and the
relationships that we have, I think it gives us a big advantage in going global.
ZASLAV: We also have almost a hundred million homes to start with today. And John and I are at this together on a parallel basis and we're learning
a lot along the way. And so for instance, your question, you know, how do we offer this, you can offer it like Bob Iger does where he has a bundle
and that's working very well for Iger and Chapek at Disney.
Or you can do it the way that that John and Jason are doing it, where you have one super offering with HBO and HBO MAX, and both of them are good.
What we're going to learn, you know, as John rolls out AVOD this month, is learn more about how people want to buy the content. Do they want to pay
one price? Or do they want to, you know, have a bundle?
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: So it sounds like to be determined on that point. John, I've got to ask you, you know, I've been at CNN a long time. So of
course, I remember well the 2018 acquisition of Time Warner that included us that you guys fought, I mean incredibly hard for and through the courts,
you know, an over $80 billion deal.
And now, for about $38 billion less, you are -- "offloading" is not the right word -- but it's $38 billion less that you are now value -- that is
now valuing the WarnerMedia empire.
What did you learn from this was? Was it in retrospect, was the acquisition a mistake?
JOHN STANKEY, CEO, AT&T: Well, first of all, Poppy, I'm going to contest your numbers. I don't think that's actually correct. If you want to think
about it, probably a closer comparison would be $100 billion for the original Time Warner transaction.
And if you kind of look at taking the equity portion of this to Discovery's multiple and the debt that we're bringing back in at $43 billion, you're
right around in that same neighborhood. But you don't want to just conclude that that's the only return because during the pendency of owning it, there
were of course, cash flows generated over that period of time that the company and the shareholder got the benefit of.
There was about $5 billion of transactions that were done on various assets that we monetized. And more importantly, AT&T shareholders will take 71
percent of this new company, and part of why we're doing this is to expose the media asset to the market, so that it rerates to the appropriate
multiple that other media assets are selling at and I would expect after this equity goes into market, in fact, to the extent that Discovery trades
up right now, AT&T shareholders benefit from that.
And part of this is to unlock that value, that equity value that we think is suppressed by keeping the media asset in, so not only will it have been
an investment with a positive return up to this point, I expect that to accelerate as multiples rerate moving forward here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: This deal would bring some very well-known networks under one roof. Warner Media has key fiction brands, movies from Warner Brothers
studios and television from HBO. It also has news here at CNN, and live sports contracts.
Discovery has reality brands Oprah Zone, HDTV, TLC, the Food Network, and Animal Planet.
Once combined, the company will have spending power that would rival Netflix. David Zaslav says, he wants to spend about $20 billion a year
making new content. Netflix, for comparison, spends around $17 billion a year on content, at least for this year.
Brian Stelter is our chief media correspondent. Brian, there was a lot in that back and forth there between Poppy and David, of course, and John,
what do we need to know about this deal and understand because in the end, it's about how do you reach a consumer? How do you sell a streaming
product, when there's so much out there as alternatives?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's all about this race with Netflix and Disney and all the rest. Netflix leading the way, the
others playing catch up, and WarnerMedia and Discovery believe they will be much better off together playing catch up and challenging Netflix, not just
in the U.S. here, but also around the world.
The global part of this deal is really important.
Zaslav has been smart in recent years to expand in Europe and other parts of the world, giving Discovery much more of a global footprint. HBO MAX,
frankly, needs to catch up, needs to learn from Discovery and that is part of the thesis. And I think what Stankey said there about AT&T's point of
view is really interesting.
Yes, this is an unwinding of AT&T's deal for Time Warner, just three years ago that deal finally took effect, and now, it's being undone.
All right, I feel like we've barely gotten used to being owned by AT&T here at CNN, and now AT&T is going away.
But the logic he says is, the stock is not being valued. The media assets are not being valued in the stock price. He believes if you spin out the
media assets and have them exposed to the market, there's going to be more value for shareholders. And because AT&T shareholders will own 71 percent
of this new media company, he believes it's ultimately a win-win for AT&T as well.
CHATTERLEY: Interesting is an interesting way of putting it here, too. And I think in John's defense, this landscape has shifted so dramatically in
the last two to three years.
CHATTERLEY: Some would point out, look, perhaps you could have predicted that there would be that competition out there and the telecom brand didn't
need to own the content in order to benefit and get loyalty from data plan holders for AT&T, Brian.
What will the history books say on this deal? And to your point, do you think AT&T can benefit greater or more from the upside here of whatever
comes from this streaming behemoth in perhaps handling it themselves? Let someone else have a go.
STELTER: This was struck in 2016, and that took two years to get approval. Remember Trump's D.O.J. trying to block the deal, so I think back to 2016,
I think about all that lost time when it was up in the regulatory morass. Think about all that last time while Netflix was gaining and gaining and
You look back and you wonder, would AT&T had been smart to do something different in 2016? But again, that environment was very different back
then, what I think is clear now is that there's only going to be a few of these big behemoths. That's clearly Netflix and Disney and Amazon, maybe
NBC and Comcast, we are bringing up, maybe ViacomCBS, but those companies are now in an interesting position, maybe a difficult position now that
Warner and Discovery have struck this deal.
Discovery basically has found someone to go to the dance with and that was WarnerMedia. They have found their partner for this streaming battle. And
by the way, it's also still a cable battle. We are talking here on linear television, live television. There is still a lot of interest, and a lot of
audience for live TV, live news and sports. And Discovery has really valuable cable channels, like TLC, Food Network Animal Planet, so not only
are they growing in streaming, they're also going to have a lot of leverage in the cable marketplace.
And I don't know Julia, maybe we should have a home renovation show together or a cooking show. Who knows what's going to happen in a couple
CHATTERLEY: I'm up for it. How exciting. Home DIY, I can't promise to be the best at that, but I will always do it with enthusiasm.
I also like the point that David made, actually, you know, there are some brands here that people would pay for before they pay for their dinner and
given the streaming options out there, at some point, you've got to make a choice and you still have to eat.
STELTER: I thought that was a really essential point also. It is all about trying to get people to pay for three or four of these bundles, people
aren't going to pay for 20 of them. So there's actually a re-bundling going on now and what we're seeing here is Discovery Plus, HBO MAX, it's part of
that re-bundling process, that process is now underway, whether it's ultimately going to be the right financial play, whether they'll be able to
pay down the debt, those are big questions.
But these telecom companies, AT&T and Verizon, they're backing away. They don't want to do these media deals anymore. They want to focus on
distribution. Now, what is clear is that Netflix, Disney has a new rival with WarnerMedia and Discovery, again, a year from now once the deal takes
And on the CNN front, we have been short twice today in interviews with Zaslav, he will continue to remain and make sure CNN is autonomous. CNN has
an independence that's important for me and for you and I think many of our viewers to hear, you know, when CNN's ownership is changing, that's the
first question we always ask: are you going to leave us alone? And the answers have been yes, with one important caveat. They want to invest more
in, you know, streaming.
They want to make sure CNN has a streaming platform of its own as well.
CHATTERLEY: And the second question, of course, is when is Brian and Julia's Home Improvement show coming to air?
STELTER: Right. I guess that'll be on the CNN streaming service. Yes, great.
CHATTERLEY: We will keep you posted. Brian Stelter -- it could be a while. Thank you for that.
Okay, Vivian Schiller is the Executive Director at Aspen Digital. She is the former CEO of NPR, and General Manager of "The New York Times" and has
previously worked for both CNN and Discovery, so is best placed to give her views on this deal.
And Vivian, you're excited. Do you think there's huge opportunity here?
VIVIAN SCHILLER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ASPEN DIGITAL: I think there's huge opportunity. I've been buzzing since I first got wind of it yesterday, when
the report started to leak.
It's just an amazing combination of assets and talent. So I'm thrilled around the world.
CHATTERLEY: And how important is leadership here?
SCHILLER: Oh, it's critically important. I mean, there's -- I mean, first of all, you've got some extraordinary leadership, you know, on both sides
from Zaslav, and his deputies, and, of course, Jason Kilar. But there's not room for all of them.
And so, you know, Zaslav certainly has, I think earned the right to be leading this globally integrated company. He's had, you know, a tremendous
set of wins over the years, both in terms of most recently streaming with Discovery Plus, acquisitions of sports, even in news, global expansion, and
shareholder value. I mean, he was sort of -- I mean, it had to be him that's leading this.
CHATTERLEY: And for AT&T, I think we understand why telco companies really felt the need to make the foray into media or into the media space. When
you can do the deals you can bring content in without you having to pay up for it in its entirety. What do you think?
SCHILLER: You know, this makes me wonder. I mean, you know, I don't know if -- you know a few examples are a trend, but I wonder if this is the end of
vertical integration when it comes to media mergers.
I mean, the idea that you own everything all along, you know, the supply chain from literally the pipes all the way to you know, the IP and the
content, because this deal is not a vertical integration. This is the ultimate pure play content, horizontal integration of two media behemoths.
Yes, they both have streaming services. I think there's a lot for them to learn from each other, but it's about bundling some of the best content. I
think that you know, they are going to be the largest, most significant content library of sports, news, you know, entertainment, reality in the
So I think for like an AT&T just as Verizon divested, it just didn't make sense for them. It's just not what they know how to do. And AT&T here,
well, of course, people love the value via their ownership without being the operator.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, the 71 percent interest in this is highly valuable clearly at this moment.
Is this the best way to take on to your point, a Disney+ and Netflix? Some of the other challenges out there, scale, size, options matter?
SCHILLER: Yes, absolutely. I mean, that isn't to say that there's not room for niche media and there's a lot of niche media, but not when it comes to
sort of what we traditionally would call television assets. That's just not been successful. That's true when it comes to text and sort of, you know,
news or smaller publishers can be very successful when you're small.
But when you're talking about competing with the Disney's and the Apples and the Netflix, for people's primetime viewing and their share of
pocketbook, you've got to scale. And you know, both of these were tremendously large properties. But together, it's incredibly powerful.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, news, sports, reality.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. It's whatever you pick. Vivian, great to have you with us. Thank you.
SCHILLER: Yes. Thanks for having me.
CHATTERLEY: Vivian Schiller, Executive Director at Aspen digital there.
OK, U.S. markets are a touch lower to start the week. Let me give you a look at what we're seeing here, lower by some two tenths of one percent,
but as you can see, we are well off the session lows.
Disney in fact is the biggest loser on the Dow, off around two and a half percent. Why? Well, exactly what we've been talking about after the
WarnerMedia deal with Discovery, we are seeing heavier losses on the NASDAQ as tech stocks are facing a fresh selloff. They're continuing the momentum
that we saw last week.
Now coming up, we will tell you what the White House is doing about the conflict between Israel and Hamas as the U.S. President says he is speaking
to the Israeli Prime Minister. That's next. Stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: Hello. I'm Julia Chatterley. There's more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment when we'll be live from the White House as President Biden
pledges to send 10s of millions of vaccine doses to countries in need.
And does Tesla turn its back on Bitcoin? Not so fast says Elon Musk. But before that the headlines this hour.
According to a research, paper experiments show that Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines appear to protect against two-highly
transmissible COVID-19 variants first detected in India. Researchers say the findings highlight the importance of vaccinations. The paper has not
yet been peer reviewed.
India has reported fewer than 300,000 new COVID cases for the first time in almost a month. But it's still too early to say if the situation is
improving. Nationwide, more than 4000 people are still dying each day and rural areas are starting to see a rise in infections.
A powerful cyclone is swept ashore in India's Gujarat state complicating efforts to slow the spread of COVID. The storm has winds gusting up to 185
kilometers per hour before it hits all coronavirus patients in hospitals within five kilometers of the coast were evacuated to safer ground.
New York's governor says the state will adopt CDC guidelines and no longer require masks or social distancing for fully vaccinated people beginning on
Wednesday. Andrew Cuomo says everyone will wear masks on public transit, in schools and in some other communal settings.
The World Economic Forum has canceled plans to hold its annual meeting in Singapore this August. Officials say they decided to scrap the event
because of uncertainty over new coronas to coronavirus variants, vaccine rollouts and travel. The next meeting will be held next year. But they
still haven't determined where.
U.S. President Joe Biden is speaking to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today about the deadly violence in Israel and Gaza. Sunday was
the deadliest day so far of the week-long conflict. The Hamas run Palestinian Health Authority says the death toll in Gaza now stands at 212,
including 61 children. The Israeli military sees at least 10 people have died as a result of Hamas rocket fire in Israel. The White House is
weighing in on the escalating situation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The only way to bring an end to violence, to bring an end to this escalation of violence is for there to be
a two-state solution over time. It is going to require both parties wanting to engage in that and wanting to have a discussion about the path forward.
And who would be the point person from this end? We're certainly not quite there yet. It will be up to both parties to decide if they want to move
forward on that pathway.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: Let's bring in Kaitlan Collins who's at the White House for us. Caitlin, great to have you on the show. The White House though still
resisting pressure and calls for them to call for a ceasefire.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And even though you've got over two dozen senators now calling for an immediate
ceasefire, other U.S. allies like France calling for one, the U.S. has not gone there yet.
And instead, you've seen the way that they're talking about potential ways to end the violence. You kept hearing what Jen Psaki was saying during that
briefing earlier, talking about these quiet intensive conversations they're having behind the scenes.
They think that is the best route to go instead of publicly calling for a ceasefire that you did hear the Secretary of State Tony Blinken during that
press conference with his Danish counterpart earlier today saying that if a ceasefire is reached, those terms, of course will be up to the two sides
with the U.S. will help support that if they do come to an agreement. Of course, we know that they have not come to one yet.
And when the President himself was asked about this earlier about all this growing pressure to call for a ceasefire, what his position on it was he
did not give an answer and instead just said that he was going to talk to Netanyahu. He said that hour, so had that conversation should have occurred
by now or could still be underway.
COLLINS: And then he said he would talk to us about his latest stance on this. But it's notable because you haven't really seen President Biden come
out and talk a great deal about this violence ever since it first escalated. We know that there has been -- he's had a lot of conversations
behind the scenes, not just with the Prime Minister Netanyahu, but also with the Palestinian Authority, President Abbas as well behind the scenes
talking about what's going on as Secretary of State Tony Blinken and his national security adviser Jake Solomon are also engaged in these
But I think, of course, what you're seeing is not just how you're getting this pressure from senators for a ceasefire to be called, but you're also
seeing the rifts that this is exposing within the Democratic Party because we are seeing the progressive wing of the Democratic Party come out and say
the President Biden needs to be tougher on Israel, that is coming from the Rashida Tlaibs, the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, all of those
figures on the left wing of the Democratic Party calling for a change in the U.S. policy there.
And so how this ends up, it really remains to be seen. But we are still waiting to get a White House readout of that call with Netanyahu this
CHATTERLEY: Yes. And we'll certainly be waiting for that. Kaitlan, not the only subject we're following though, President Biden also made another big
announcement today promising to share 10s of millions of vaccine doses overseas. I just want to play his comments quickly for our viewers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We know America will never be fully safe until the pandemic is raising globally is under control. No
ocean is wide enough, no walls high enough to keep us safe. This means over the next six weeks, the United States of America will send 80 million doses
overseas. That represents 30 percent of the vaccines produced by the United States by the end of June.
This will be more vaccines than any country has actually shared to date, five times more than any other country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: Kaitlan, a hugely important commitment. But of course, it comes before the United States reaches herd immunity in the number of people it's
COLLINS: That's right. But what the President was basically arguing earlier is that there is enough vaccine supply in the U.S. Should those people who
have not gotten vaccinated yet want to go get one. They still believe we have enough additional supply, should we need booster shots come the fall.
And so right now what they're working on is getting this global vaccination going because it's so far been really slow.
And you're seeing these underdeveloped countries, developing countries, they have not vaccinated hardly any of their populations yet, as these
other more developed nations like the United States and the United Kingdom racing ahead with vaccinations in their nation. I don't think that's
particularly surprising. I think everyone kind of expected that's the way it would go. But I think one concern facing the White House that President
Biden did address earlier is getting edge dealt by China and Russia.
As they are sharing a vaccine that maybe has not been the through as rigorous of a process as the ones here in the U.S. have, but they're still
sending them out to countries and they're trying to solicit favors from them in response for getting that. Maybe politically, maybe down the road.
And so, the President said today that the U.S. of course is going to give up vaccines without it being done in order to secure favors.
It's going to be done through Covax, that international organization to equitably distribute these vaccines. But I think when it comes to the U.S.
standing in the world, this was a concern that some diplomatic officials had that the U.S. did not start sharing vaccines sooner that they were
going to be edged out by China and by Russia. And so, we're starting to see this get into place, those 20 million are on top of the 60 million.
He had already talked about but of course that it's just a small drop in the bucket. So, how it increases from there, everyone will be watching,
including when President Biden is that that G7 summit in Cornwall in June.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. And first and foremost quite important to save lives and as many as we can. Kaitlan Collins, great to have you with us and your
contacts there. Thank you.
OK. Lockdown rules are easing across the United Kingdom. What people there can now do and where they can go? That's up next, stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back TO QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. People across the U.K. got one step closer to resuming their pre pandemic lives on Monday.
Authorities eased more lockdown rules in England, Wales and most of Scotland. Even as health experts urged caution. In England, the new rules
allow up to 30 people to meet outdoors, up to six people or two households can now meet indoors. They can drink and dine inside pubs bars and
Cinemas, bowling alleys and museums can all reopen up to 30 people, can attend weddings, receptions, and other life events. Holiday travel abroad
is now possible but people are advised to only visit countries deemed safe. Ana Stewart spoke with people taking one of the first available flights and
she has this report from Gatwick Airport.
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): After nearly four months of a travel ban, holidaymakers finally allowed to take off.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it's been canceled, booked, canceled, booked several times. Yes. So finally going, really can't wait.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we've not been there since December. So, it's going to be --
STEWART: You're on the first flight out this morning.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely, yes. Quite missing that.
STEWART: These travelers are heading to Portugal, one of a select few destinations on the U.K.'s green list, which means no quarantine needed
when they return.
JOHAN LUNDGREN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, EASYJET: So from today, you're allowed to travel which is a big step. Now, of course, we would like to see
that the green list would have considered -- consistent of more destinations and countries. And we believe with the latest data that is
available that that green list can and should be expanded.
STEWART: Moving in the right direction. But how costly has the pandemic been for EasyJet in terms of the cash burn?
LUNDGREN: Of course, this has taken an immense toll on the whole of the industry and EasyJet has done an exception on that but we all just got to
do what it needs to take to manage the situation and come out strong on this. And today's the big first step of that journey.
STEWART (voice-over): Analysts say COVID testing requirements may hamper airlines recovery. Those traveling to countries on the U.K.'s green lists
still need to take two PCR tests for their return. And some destinations require further tests. It all adds up to an expensive holiday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three times the cost of the flights.
STEWART: That's how much the test costs, three times the cost of the flight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was anxious making because you're not sure what you're getting is what you should have.
STEWART (voice-over): There are also worries extra checks at the border could lead to long queues.
STEWART WINGATE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, GATWICK AIRPORT: So as passengers travel out of the airport, we've got a high degree of confidence that we've
got the right capacity in place to offer really good levels of service for passengers traveling through the airport probably are one area of concern,
which I'm sure will not surprise you is the border when passengers returned back into the U.K.
So, we've certainly be asking for passengers' tolerance, that that may take longer than it ordinarily would.
STEWART (voice-over): It's wheels up for airlines and airports as the travel ban lift. But it'll take time for the recovery to gain altitude.
Anna Stewart CNN, Gatwick Airport, England.
CHATTERLEY: As Britain's go on holiday, the United States is getting a different kind of tourism from Latin America. Some residents are booking
flights to the U.S. to get their COVID vaccine as CNN's Rafael Romo reports.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He leaves before dawn carrying two suitcases for the long trip. After hugging his family, Elver Estela is
off to the airport.
ROMO: The Peruvian business owner from Lima is traveling to Seattle. This is not just any trip, he says, but a life or death decision.
Our political environment means our government is unable to fulfill its duty. And that's why I have made this decision, Estela says. His goal is
spending a month in Seattle, just enough time to get both doses of the Pfizer vaccine. His wife Ursula who's also traveling to the United States
but later says she only has enough time to get the Johnson & Johnson single shot vaccine.
Vaccination has been very slow in our country, and we have decided we can't wait any longer. We were seeing many cases around us and the intensive care
units are overwhelmed, which means you can die she said.
Together they have spent $2200 to have three members of their family including their 18-year-old daughter fly to Seattle for a COVID-19 shot.
Elver arrives first.
This is not about the American dream, he says upon arriving. This is about the vaccine dream.
ROMO (on camera): Just like this Peruvian family many in Latin America who are tired of waiting and have the means to do it are traveling to the
United States to get a coronavirus vaccine. Florida imposed I.D. restrictions in January due to a sharp increase in the number of foreigners
seeking a COVID-19 shot in the sunshine state.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): You have people that live here six months, that's fine. They use the hospitals here, they pay taxes. But to just kind of come
in from another country or whatever, you know, we don't support that and we're not going to allow that.
ROMO: But Susana Milano, an Argentinian P.R. specialists were spending time in Florida says her country's passports was sufficient identification to
get the shot.
They didn't ask for anything for anything else you said. In fact, so many people from Argentina are traveling to Florida.
But according to this travel expert, the price of a ticket from Buenos Aires to Miami rose from an average of $800 in May of 2019 to approximately
2700 this month. According to Argentina's state-run carrier, in the first quarter of this year, their four Miami-bound weekly flights were at about
half capacity. Now it's six weekly flights are at 70 percent capacity.
In Latin America, traveling to get a shot has become a wedge issue between the haves and the have nots.
The Peruvian health minister has been critical of those who travel saying it reflects his country's inequality. But Elver Estela says, it's not about
money or social class, but about taking care of his family.
The minister is not going to feed my children or take care of my business. If I'm no longer around, he says.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, ready?
ESTELA: Yes. Ready.
ROMO (voice-over): At long last, Estela gets his first shot. And now he says he anxiously awaits for the rest of his family to do the same. Rafael
CHATTERLEY: Bill Gates divorce is bringing renewed scrutiny to his conduct at Microsoft when reporters raises questions about the timing of his
departure from the company's board of directors. That's up next. Stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. The pending divorce of Bill and Melinda Gates has led to renewed interest in his behavior at
Microsoft. The Wall Street Journal reports one engineer filed a misconduct complaint two years ago, not long before he stepped down from the company's
board of directors. The company confirms the board committee reviewed the matter. Christine Romans reports from New York.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Microsoft founder Bill Gates facing misconduct accusations for a relationship he had with a
Microsoft engineer starting in 2000. That's according to The Wall Street Journal. The paper found that his March 2020 resignation from the tech
company's board of directors followed an investigation into the affair by an outside law firm hired by the board.
The Microsoft board became aware of the affair in 2019 after the employee sent a letter detailing the relationship, The Journal reports. During the
probes of board members thought it was no longer fitting for Gates to continue his role with the company the Journal said citing people familiar
with the matter. A spokesperson for Microsoft telling CNN a committee of the board reviewed the concern aided by an outside law firm to conduct a
Throughout the investigation, Microsoft provided extensive support to the employee who raised the concern. A spokesperson for Gates admitted to the
relationship telling the Journal " there was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably." His decision to transition off the board was in no
way related to this matter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because you have to go some distance you can't get it nearby.
ROMANS (voice-over): At the time, gates announced his resignation, he said it was out of a desire to focus on his philanthropic work. In another
report, the New York Times reported that Gates developed reputation for questionable conduct in work-related settings, adding that on at least a
few occasions, Mr. Gates pursued women who worked for him at Microsoft and at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Time citing people with direct knowledge of the overtures. Gates' spokesperson denied any mistreatment of employees to the Times and said it
is extremely disappointing that there have been so many untruths published about the cause. The circumstances and the timeline of Bill Gates divorce.
These revelations come just weeks after Gates and his wife Melinda announced they were divorcing after 27 years of marriage.
BILL GATES, MICROSOFT FOUNDER: In the case of Melinda, it's a, you know, truly equal partner.
ROMANS (voice-over): The couple met in 1987 while she was working at Microsoft.
MELINDA GATES, WIFE OF BILL GATES: I was new to Microsoft, there were there are a lot of men there. And, you know, you're still looking around, you
know, you're still figuring it out.
B. GATES: But after about a year of that, you know, sort of, to our surprise, certainly my surprise, you know, we said hey, I love you and she
said she loved me.
ROMANS (on camera): These new reports come after the Wall Street Journal reported Melinda Gates was meeting with divorce lawyers in 2019 after
revelations about her husband's connection with accused sex trafficker, Jeffrey Epstein. Now sources told the Journal that Gates has concerns about
her husband's relationship with Epstein dated back to 2013. Especially because Melinda Gates is a global advocate for women and girls.
CNN has not confirmed this or any allegations cited by the journal and the Times. In New York, I'm Christine Romans.
CHATTERLEY: It took just one word from Elon Musk this weekend to rattle the cryptocurrency market. The Tesla CEO simply responded indeed to a tweet
suggesting his company might unwind its huge Bitcoin investment. He later said it has not done so. Bitcoin and some other major crypto assets tumbled
after his initial tweet. Paul La Monica joins me now. An amazing weekend in the cryptocurrency market.
Of course, it never closes, which is part of the problem or the issue here. But Bitcoin is bigger than one billionaire. It's also bigger than one
balance sheet. But Elon Musk is seen as a visionary and his views matter and they certainly matter in this market.
PAUL LA MONICA, CNN DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, to quote what Elon Musk said, indeed what he says on Twitter matters. And I think that right now
investors are trying to figure out is Musk all of a sudden becoming a Bitcoin bear because of the concerns about the energy required the
electricity to mine Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?
LA MONICA: This shouldn't have been something that was a surprise to an individual like Musk, who is obviously an entrepreneur in the electric car
business, he's made his billions by telling people to buy cars that don't use gas.
So, it's a little bit of a surprise that to be caught, you know, off guard by the perhaps on environmentally friendly aspects of Bitcoin mining. So it
does lead a lot of people to believe wonder, Julia, what is the real motivation here for Musk to be bringing down Bitcoin outside.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, and he did say that statement, of course. We are looking at other cryptocurrencies that have a fraction of the energy intensity
requirements that Bitcoin has. And a lot of people asking the questions exactly that you're asking, I think the questions that we're asking here at
a time when companies like Starbucks, when companies like Visa are dipping their toes into this space. PayPal is another one.
What does it mean to have such a huge name, perhaps turn around and go, look, we're not using it for this purpose, we're still going to keep it on
the balance sheet and to see the sheer level of validity that this has created? Is this a store, mini-Tesla branded teacup or something, perhaps
more fundamental about nascent technology particularly for major buyers?
LA MONICA: Yes, I think Julia that clearly cryptocurrencies are still so volatile, that many Fortune 500 companies have to think twice before they
want to accept cryptocurrencies as payment. Because do you really want to tell someone, you can use this currency to buy one of our goods and at 5:00
in the morning, it's worth X and then seven in the morning, it's worth 20 percent less of X because Elan musk just tweeted something silly.
That's not going to happen to the dollar. It's not going to happen to the Euro, the Yen or any other government-backed fiat currency. It could happen
to Bitcoin. So, I think that's going to give companies pause about whether or not to let consumers use Bitcoin, but you're going to see I think more
companies put Bitcoin on their balance sheet. It's a way to spice up their otherwise boring holdings of cash and treasury bonds.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. There's going to be more volatility. This is Musk ado about nothing, perhaps, and we move on or at least try to. Paul LA Monica,
thank you so much for that. And that is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'm Julie Chatterley in New York. Hala Gorani will be back with a special coverage of
the unfolding crisis in Israel. That's next. For now, we'll see you tomorrow.