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Quest Means Business
Palestinians Protest As Israel-Gaza Violence Grinds On; Reports Say Amazon In Talks To Buy MGM Movie Studio; Burry's Firm Reveals $534 Million Bet Against Tesla Stock; U.N. Security Council Meeting On Israel-Gaza Conflict; Massive Cyclone Hits Indian Coast Amid COVID Crisis; Around 8,000 Migrants Cross Into Spanish Enclave From Morocco. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired May 18, 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 INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: The Dow Jones is heading for a second straight day of losses as we go into the final hour of trading. A
look at the market shows you and just look at how this late, quite violent dip down, which is now pulling back up again which we need to understand
what happened that suddenly turned a sort of a miserably lower market sharply down, it is pulling it back up.
We will discuss this and tell you what's been going on as we look at the markets.
Those are the markets and these are the main events.
Palestinians are staging a general strike as a brief lull in rocket attacks fails to stick.
Investor famous for "The Big Short" makes a half billion dollar bet against Tesla.
And Amazon is reportedly on the hunt for the MGM lion.
Live from New York on Tuesday, it is the 18th of May. I'm Richard Quest and I mean business.
Good evening, Palestinians tonight are uniting in a show of support for Gaza. Across cities like Ramallah, the protesters have been taking part in
a general strike that closed businesses and schools in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and in communities across Israel. All the while the Israeli
bombardment of Gaza is continuing for an eighth day. This time targets like this factory was struck.
The IDF says it's also taking aim at the homes of Hamas commanders and the organization's tunnel network. And despite a brief overnight pause,
Palestinian militants fired mortar shells of rockets into Israel after daybreak.
Israel says two civilians were killed by a mortar strike in Ohad.
Israel had started to let aid convoys enter Gaza and then closed two border crossings that came under mortar fire.
Our correspondent, Nic Robertson is in Ashdod in Israel tonight. So before we talk around it, let's get the latest position tonight.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: The latest position, I think really comes from the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He says that
Hamas has been taken back years, that our enemies see what price we are charging, and I'm sure they will learn the lesson. That's the political
The military speak, the briefing from the military is, there are still targets to go after. Those targets are the tunnel networks and the rocket
launchers. There are about 13,000 to 14,000 rockets at the beginning of this.
Hamas and the other groups have fired about three and a half thousand of them, but the IDF is having a great deal of trouble they say targeting the
rocket launchers, and their tunnel network, although they've taken out over a hundred kilometers of it so far is very extensive, and they say there are
still other areas of that tunnel network they want to shut down.
We've been hearing the fighter jets just in the last, say 15 or 20 minutes here, overhead as they head towards Gaza.
I think that's the big stand back picture at the moment, Richard, that this is continuing and just before those fighter jets, we heard the sirens here
because there was incoming rockets coming from Gaza. We went to the shelter because the building just over my shoulder here, it might be out of sight
in the darkness, was hit by a rocket earlier today. So that's the broad picture.
QUEST: The onslaught of Israeli missiles and attacks against these tunnels and targets and the ferocity of them, it must be having some fairly sizable
effect. I mean, to use that phrase that the Israelis use, "mowing the lawn." I mean it must be degrading Hamas's ability, medium term, to
ROBERTSON: Well, they've taken out a number of commanders, which is obviously a strategic, you know, target and that means that more people
have to be promoted up. The IDF believes that they have taken out 80 to 90 percent of Hamas's capacity to build weapons. They believe they've taken
out about a hundred kilometers of tunnel. But you know, getting all of those targets isn't easy, the Israeli Defense Forces say because they're in
For example, one of the tunnel networks runs under a main street in Gaza, and although the street has been hidden in multiple places, collapsing the
tunnel, the collateral effect was that buildings along the side of that route, also collapsed and there were casualties as a result of that.
So for the Israeli Defense Forces to be able to sort of mop up some of those other parts is not an easy thing to do, given that they try to avoid
civilian casualties, that's certainly what they say. And I think as well, that this notion that the Israeli Defense Forces say that they're having
trouble targeting the rocket launcher speaks to the fact that Hamas and other groups are very clearly hiding those rocket launchers well.
They're absolutely vital pieces to have these sort of multiple rocket launchers that try to cheat past and get past the Iron Dome defensive
QUEST: Nic Robertson, thank you. Nic Robertson, come back when there is more to report and there are many developments tonight in Gaza and in
The White House says it prefers quiet diplomacy to public statements. One day after President Joe Biden expressed support for a ceasefire, the Press
Secretary, Jen Psaki said Mr. Biden doesn't want to debate the conflict in public. The United Nations Security Council has been meeting to discuss the
situation. The U.S. has so far blocked the Council from acting or issuing a formal statement.
Daniel Levy, was a senior adviser negotiator to former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, now President of the U.S.-Middle East Project. Mr.
Levy, as I understand it, you're not unduly optimistic of the opportunity of getting a lasting ceasefire.
DANIEL LEVY, PRESIDENT, U.S.-MIDDLE EAST PROJECT: I think we may share a British capacity for understatement there. No, I'm not unduly optimistic on
that front, because there is no military solution. So you've quoted what the Israeli Prime Minister has said, that appears to be building towards a
narrative of mission accomplished. There is significant doubt as to whether that's actually the case.
The editor-in-chief of the "Haaretz" newspaper in Israel has just called this the most failed and pointless Israeli mission in Gaza to date. But the
reason I'm not optimistic, yes, Hamas's capacity will be degraded. Is it 30 percent? Is it 90 percent? We don't know yet.
But that capacity will be rebuilt, just that it has -- as it has been with each iteration, and then you have to address the bigger question, because
Israel a nuclear power, a regional military superpower has no military solution because this is a political issue, the blockade of Gaza, the
ongoing occupation, Palestinian statelessness, denial of freedom and rights, without that, you're not going to get to grips with this. And we've
seen -- yes.
QUEST: Those are those are big issues that go to the heart of it, which have singlehandedly never been really dealt with, and I want to understand
what you believe a Biden administration can actually do bearing in your mind we've been calling for a ceasefire, and we'll continue to call for a
But your view is that Biden is not able to bring about that which he seeks.
LEVY: He's not able if he continues to tell himself that either the U.S. doesn't have the leverage with Israel, or it's just too costly to exert
that leverage with Israel.
I think the former can't be the case. The latter, I think, is the political equation that he has decided to read in a certain way. You mentioned that
spokesperson Jen Psaki has talked about quiet diplomacy.
I think to an Israeli here, it sometimes appears inaudible because if the Americans aren't making their message loud and clear enough, then Israel
will take the opposite message. They can not only push a cessation of hostilities, but more crucially use any time that is earned when there is
quiet where there is security to address those root causes.
If they choose not to, and especially if they offer cover for what Israel does, then the whole America is back, values, rights, international law
begins to ring very hollow and that's a problem for them.
QUEST: But isn't Israel -- sorry, isn't the United States in the same position that it is always in in this case? On the one hand, it can't push
Israel too far because of domestic opposition. But on the other hand, it has to recognize human rights violations and abuses by Israel, and that the
state of play that Biden finds himself in is no different to every other President of the United States, vis-a-vis Israel, except Donald Trump
didn't care about half the equation.
LEVY: Yes, and I think that's really important, Richard, because what is different is that not only did Donald Trump not care about half the
equation, but he burnt down and tore up the fig leaf, which was the peace process. He killed that option.
You can't hide behind it anymore, which means that the Biden administration comes into this with a lot more laid bare because increasingly people say,
don't talk to me about states and borders. Talk to me about whether these people have equal rights.
And in Biden world, Israel is already a partisan issue. Netanyahu made it that in American politics, and he now has a Democratic Party, who is saying
to him, this isn't good enough. That's a difference.
QUEST: Daniel Levy, good moment for us to say, thank you, sir. And appreciate it. We'll talk again, I appreciate it.
Now, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that the strikes on Gaza will continue in his words "as necessary." The Prime Minister, a
caretaker Prime Minister, who is also staring down bribery charges, and is now facing intense pressure from his own people.
CNN's Hadas Gold in Tel Aviv now looks at the shifting opinion inside Israel.
HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Israeli flags drape the ruined facades of buildings in Ramat Gan just outside Tel Aviv, clearing rubble
after a rocket turned this residential street into chaos.
SIGAL LEVIN, ISRAELI RESIDENT: We heard -- it was like really loud landings, we saw the mess, like this whole place was just in ruins and
people were screaming. You just can never really tell when something is going to happen.
GOLD (voice over): Split second decisions become a matter of life or death, a man killed standing behind this door.
As the conflict between Israel and Hamas enters its second week, the political stalemate in Israel, four elections, and still no permanent
government pushed aside.
ERAN HOLZ, ISRAELI RESIDENT: And every time of trouble, people don't think about the political issue and the things that divide us. We are all united
and help each other to overcome.
GOLD (on camera): There have been no opinion polls yet on how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has handled the situation and although many may
feel united now, the conflict has completely changed the political calculations here.
GOLD (voice over): Naftali Bennett, head of the small right-wing party, Yamina, was poised to leave his former boss and join the anti-Netanyahu
bloc, but as the conflict escalated and Israel began an intense military campaign, Bennett veered back announcing he would negotiate with Netanyahu
over a potential right-wing government, dashing the hopes of bringing an end to the Prime Minister's 12-year reign.
On the streets of Ramat Gan, despite the feelings of unity as rockets rained down, political divisions and instability have not been forgotten.
This pensioner whose electric shop was destroyed by the rocket says Netanyahu calls the situation, blaming him for the last two years of
political chaos. Fear and frustration with no end in sight.
LEVIN: Both sides are suffering. That's something people forget. I just want it to stop because I feel like no one's doing anything to make it
GOLD (voice over): Hadas Gold, CNN, Ramat Gan, Israel.
QUEST: And of course, as we continue tonight, the moment there are more developments in Israel, we will bring them to you immediately.
So yesterday it was WarnerMedia to Discovery, roll up, the media consolidation continues. Now it's the specter of Amazon buying a storied
Hollywood studio, the one behind "No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die."
QUEST: Roar. Well, it was bit more of a pussycat than a lion, but an iconic lion could soon be roaring in primetime. Here it is, properly.
[VIDEO CLIP PLAYS]
QUEST: Leo the lion, who apparently was born in Dublin Zoo. Anyway, Amazon is reportedly in talks to buy MGM, the studio with Hollywood classics such
as "James Bond" and "Rocky." The value of MGM is about $7 billion to $10 billion and the potential deal follows, of course, a move by CNN's parent
company, AT&T to merge the WarnerMedia subsidiary, of which I'm an employee, with Discovery.
Soon almost every hit show or movie will be watched, will be owned by a handful of companies. Amazon has already spent billions on new original
shows, whilst the WarnerMedia vault contains movies in the DC Universe and HBO shows like "Games of Thrones," teaming up with popular reality shows
from Discovery and even Disney is now bundling up with shows from Hulu and live sports from ESPN.
Frank Pallotta is with us. I am guessing -- I'm guessing that the Amazon- MGM deal obviously has been around, but any suggestion that the WarnerMedia move hurried them up?
FRANK PALLOTTA, CNN MEDIA WRITER: Yes, it's hard to tell if this is a cause and effect or just a pure coincidence. I mean, MGM has been looking for a
buyer for a very long time, and Amazon has been looking for ways to delve deeper into the entertainment world.
Obviously, Amazon is known as this e-commerce giant, but it has had a lot of hits. The "Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" won a ton of Emmys. It is putting
together a very expensive series on "Lord of the Rings." And in order to build up scale in this streaming environment, which is really, really
roofless, you need a ton of content. So what's a better way to get content than an iconic Hollywood studio behind one of the most iconic characters
and most beloved characters of all time in "James Bond"?
QUEST: Okay, $8 billion to $10 billion. They have clearly got the money. Does the deal make sense to you?
PALLOTTA: Yes, it makes a ton of sense to me. I mean, Amazon needs to build up its entertainment coffers a little bit more and MGM is looking for a
buyer. Now honestly, in any other week, this would have been a huge deal, but because it is following the Discovery-Warner-Media deal, it seems like
it's small potatoes, but it's not, it's a big deal.
But at the end of the day, what they're really buying here more so than anything else is "James Bond." MGM is an iconic studio but it was really
iconic in the Golden Age of Hollywood. I mean, "Wizard of Oz" of the '30s and the '40s. It's had some hits lately. It has "Legally Blonde" and
"Robocop" and the "Rocky" franchise, but "James Bond" is the franchise. It's one of the biggest franchises in the history of film and it's more
even of a lifestyle than a franchise.
I mean, the last film made (AUDIO GAP) million dollars so it makes a lot of sense to me.
QUEST: Frank, I need to ask you, I've been wanting to get some perspective on this. The WarnerMedia deal. Why did Comcast and NBC Universal work? I
mean, the arguments are it was sort of vertical integration again, although with a distributor, as opposed to a telco. Why did that work and the AT&T-
Time-Warner deal not?
PALLOTTA: I mean, it's hard to really say, but when you think about it, we're talking about very different eras here. I mean, Comcast and NBC
Universal was a very different time and Time Warner and AT&T, very different time period.
I mean, streaming has kind of changed everything here, including how these deals are coming together and the regulations that hold them up or get them
together quickly. If you remember also, Disney and FOX, that was another huge deal that happened very quickly.
So things have kind of changed in a rapid way because of streaming and they are going to continue to do that. I don't think we've seen the end of M&A
going forward, but I think the biggest that we've seen has kind of already happened with yesterday's deal. We'll see what NBC-Universal does going
forward. Viacom, Lion's Gate, MGM, Amazon, Apple, Sony, all of these companies have to find ways to get bigger so they can compete in the
QUEST: We'll talk more about it. Thank you, sir.
Michael Burry is the investor best known for spotting the housing bubble, and then making a big bet. He's now making a huge bet against Tesla.
Burry's contrarian and hugely successful play against subprime was depicted in "The Big Short" where he was played by Christian Bale in the film
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP OF "THE BIG SHORT MOVIE")
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want to bet against the housing market.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those bonds only fail if millions of Americans don't pay their mortgages. That's never happened in history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you'll excuse me, Dr. Burry, it seems like a foolish investment --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Based on prevailing sentiment of the market, banks in popular culture, yes, it is a foolish investment, but everyone is wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: That laughs. Well, now in an SEC filing, Burry's firm says it's taken a bearish position on Tesla. The car maker shares are actually up
today. Clare Sebastian is following the story, while the share is up in a well-known bear, a very successful one, from the short is betting against.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Richard. Excellent question. But the context around Tesla shares is worth looking at here. The
stock, as you know was up a huge amount last year, some 740 percent, but it has since come down about 35 percent from its peak in January, and about 25
percent in the past month.
There's been a lot of volatility. So perhaps this is a sort of, buy the rumor, sell the news type scenario. It's hard to really say. There's a lot
going on. Elon Musk, by the way, is in Germany at the moment visiting the site of their next European car factory.
So a lot going on, but it is hard to argue when you see someone like Michael Burry come out with this size of a bear. Richard, this is a huge
chunk of his portfolio, $530 odd million is what he is putting on this option here that he can sell Tesla at a certain price. We don't know what
price but clearly, he really believes in this call.
QUEST: Okay, but what's the per -- I mean, why? Tesla, obviously, it's got the whole Bitcoin business that it's dealing with in terms of its Bitcoin
investment, but it is making cars. It is not making as much money on them as it would like to, but it is saying it is operationally profitable, like
arguably, it's the Bitcoin that's making it profitable. But you know what I'm saying here. They are moving forward. So what's the purpose of this bet
other than to think that the current price is overvalued still?
SEBASTIAN: Yes, we know that he thinks that the current price is overvalued. He said so in a since deleted tweet in December that he thought
it was ridiculous. He used the #TeslaSouffle. He even encouraged Elon Musk to sell shares at the current price because it is so high, so we know that
he believes that.
He is also -- in another since deleted tweet, he has actually, I believe, deleted his Twitter account, he called out the regulatory credits. This is
another sort of unpredictable element alongside Bitcoin on Tesla's balance sheet. They get these credits, because they make a hundred percent non-
carbon emission cars, they're able to sell them to other car makers, and they make a lot of money doing that. But it is unpredictable and it will
eventually wind down.
So he has called that out as a red flag that has been juicing Tesla's balance sheet, but he talked about this, Richard and they say the margins
have been growing when it comes to cars. This is still the leader of the pack and there is a lot of future sort of runway for this stock. So it
really is still a very divisive stock, but he is taking a contrarian view.
QUEST: Clare Sebastian. Clare, thank you.
Now the International Energy Agency says new oil and gas projects must stop now. It is calling for a bold action to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
The IEA's Executive Director, Fatih Birol says green energy investments must be increased significantly.
QUEST: He was talking to Julia Chatterley on "First Move."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FATIH BIROL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AGENCY: We have -- although there are some technologies, clean technologies which are
available in the market, such as solar such as wind, such as electric cars, such as energy efficiency. First of all, we have to make the most out of
But this is not enough, even if you make the most out of those because there are some applications in energy we use, for example, in aviation. In
Ireland, still you cannot run down with wind. You have to find new technologies and here, such as the advanced battery technologies, hydrogen
solutions. For this, we have to mobilize incredible amount of investments.
Today, just to give you a ballpark, today, the global -- entire world -- energy investments is about $2 trillion for coal, oil renewables,
efficiency, about $2 trillion. And it is to go up to $5 trillion, big surge in the investment is needed. And once again, the capital is there.
What is needed is that the governments should give an unmistakable signal to investors that if you invest in these technologies, you will make money
in the future. This unmistakable political signal will be very important to mobilize investments in advanced economies.
But more importantly, as you just highlighted in the emerging world, such as Indonesia, China and India and others, that the bulk of the emissions in
the future will come from.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Deserted streets in the Palestinian territories. Palestinians are holding a general strike protesting against the Israeli bombing campaign in
Gaza. In a moment.
QUEST: Hello. I'm Richard Quest. That's more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in just a moment. Excuse me. Panic buying lockdown restriction scenes. Many of us
remember from last year are now playing out in Taiwan that's gripped by devastating new wave of infections. Our correspondent Will Ripley is there
and will report. And the economic reopening is creating new challenges, a fear of normality. I know it's hard to imagine.
We're now worried about what it's like, going back to what it's like would fall. But we'll tell you about that. All after I've updated you with the
news events of the day because this is CNN. And here on this network the news always comes first.
U.N. Security Council is expected to meet again to discuss the escalating war between Israel and militants in Gaza. Three times already the United
States has prevented the council from issuing a statement calling for an end to the violence. U.S. says it prefers quiet behind the scenes
Dozens of people were killed when the strongest cyclone on record to hit India's West Coast made landfall on Monday. The Indian Navy is looking for
scores of workers who are on vessels when the storm hit. It comes as hospitals in India, of course are already buckling under the weight of
Spain has expelled thousands of migrants who crossed into Ceuta from neighboring Morocco. As many as 8000 people made their way to the Spanish
enclave on Monday, and most in a single day. Lots of them swam there and at least one person drowned in the process. Spain's interior ministry says it
would send more security forces to secure the area if needed.
Palestinians are holding a general strike across the West Bank, Israel and Gaza. The streets were empty today in the West Bank, City of Hebron.
Palestinian-owned shops and businesses were padlocked in protests against Israel's onslaught. Demonstrations were held in places like Bethlehem and
at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. Israeli police fired stun grenades in Jerusalem to disperse the crowds.
To Gaza where people are facing a growing humanitarian crisis with key border crossings close since the beginning of -- is still it is eight days
ago. Israel briefly reopened to one at the request of the international community to let in a convoy of eight trucks.
Now that opening has now been closed because of water fire. The crossings provide a key lifeline to residents of Gaza, thousands of truckloads of
goods pass Kerem Shalom every month, 10 percent of it is humanitarian aid according to the United Nations.
The errors crossing has been close to foot traffic since the start of the pandemic last year. There are 15,000 people crossed in the first four
months of this year, mostly patients and companions. Lucia Elmi is UNICEF's special representative to Gaza and West Bank. She joins me from Bologna in
Italy. She joins me via Skype. So what is -- what is the current position in terms of the ability for UNICEF to get supplies, humanitarian supplies
LUCIA ELMI, SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE TO GAZA AND WEST BANK, UNICEF: Good afternoon. Thank you for having as. UNICEF is operation on the ground. And
we have a teammate that is currently in Gaza, that is able to continue to work with partners to deliver humanitarian assistance. We had the
preposition lifesaving supplies before the crisis. So, we'll be releasing those essential medical supplies.
We have equipment to do small repairs of the damage water pipes in order to increase this lightly, the capacity of the water desalination plant to
provide drinking water to 70,000 people. So, we have a certain capacity but is not enough.
Our colleagues, our staff are also very much affected with their families. They are under bombardment. So what we really need as UNICEF is to be able
to be outside, get the teams reorganized and work with partners to provide so much needed humanitarian assistance.
QUEST: Now, when I was speaking about this last week, there was a real threat that supplies would run out. How long do you think there is in terms
of stores of supplies of medications, of the necessary hospital equipment or even just basically food for children?
ELMI: Yes. No, supplies are running out. Electricity is already being cut in a number of areas. And is affecting most of the water and sanitation
ELMI: So, this preposition supplies that we had are sufficient for a few days only but I think water and sanitation facilities. So this preposition
supplies and we had are sufficient for a few days only. But I think that if we don't get regular predictable humanitarian access through the crossing,
through areas for people and teams and to curriculum for supplies, this situation is becoming even dire by the minute.
QUEST: Right. But at one of those crossings that was opened according to CNN's reporting today, one of those crossings was open, and then came under
mortar fire from the Palestinian side. So, it's not as if this is sort of a straightforward, is it? It's not as if that it's just -- if the Israelis
would only let them in, there seems to be military activity from the other side too when these crossings are open.
ELMI: So, what we really need, what children really need at the moment in Gaza is to get a decision of (INAUDIBLE) from all parties to be able to
have those humanitarian corridors for humanitarian workers and supplies. So, it's really called for parties to enter their cities, and to allow a
moment of tranquility to get the supplies they so much needed at the moment.
QUEST: That's certainly the absolute goal and should be the aim, and should be the result. But it's disheartening for you that basically, the Israeli
Prime Minister says it will continue as necessary until their job is done. And Hamas seems to be in no rush either to stop firing. So what are you
going to do?
ELMI: To continue to advocate for what children needs the most at the moment is a cessation of hostilities from all parties. So, it's really to
put children first because children have the first one to suffer and to suffer the most. So, it's really to all parties to make sure that we put
those children first at this point in time and also in the -- in the next few weeks and months and generations to come.
QUEST: And in terms of what you need, physically, you need donations of what?
ELMI: We need the flexible funding that is allowing us to rapidly scale up the programs. So, apart from that, of course, the access and the capacity
to be able to scale up is so much needed programs, that is really the flexibility of defending to quickly adapt to the situation, quickly adapted
to the needs of the children and made sure that children get what they needed the most.
QUEST: Right. But you talk about the flexibility of the funding. Now the funding comes from donor countries and it comes from members from member
countries. Who needs to pay more?
ELMI: It's a responsibility of course, it's all voluntary contribution. UNICEF is completely based on voluntary contribution of member states and a
private citizen including the private sector. So, it's really voluntary contribution to make sure that those children have access to those
essential services in the moment that they need the most.
QUEST: Thank you for joining us this year, Elmi. We will talk more as we get more details.
And so, to the United States now. President Biden has been visiting a Ford factory in Dearborn in Michigan and the visit was partly overshadowed of
course by events in the Middle East. The President have been hoping to showcase Ford's manufacturer of a new electric truck, however, there he was
met by protesters over his handling of the Israel-Gaza conflict. Dearborn has a large Arab American population.
The President stayed on message touting the Ford's electric truck signaled a new turn for the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I also wanted to put the world on notice. America is back. American is back in the competition for the
21st century. The future will be built right here in America. Look at this plan. We're moving, we're working again. We're dreaming again. We're
discovering again. We're leading the world again. We've shown each other in the world that there's no quit in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Now, as the U.S. economy comes roaring back labor shortage, we've talked about it on this program, as you know, is threatening to hinder the
recovery and employers across the country are struggling. I was in Atlanta over the last few days and look at that we are hiring, weekend crews with
experience. Come join legacy Mary Mac's. Great restaurant by the way. Wonderful fried chicken and biscuits.
But that tea room which is really a restaurant now hiring. Even the Mercedes Benz Stadium, where the Atlanta United place, looking for the
elevator hosts, looking for hospitality jobs. It is a common refrain across America at the moment. They need workers.
QUEST: CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are we doing on reservations today?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're doing good. We're on schedule.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, are we full?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the Brown Iron Brewhouse business is booming, or starting to after a punishing
year with a pandemic. But one day each week, the dining room is dark.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How's everything? So far? Good?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very good.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good.
ZELENY (voice-over): Because Patti Eisenbraun has no other choice.
PATTI EISENBRAUN, OWNER, BROWN IRON BREWHOUSE: It's not a lack of customers. It's purely for staffing reasons. I had 120 people before the
pandemic, I'm down to 70. I need immediate hire for 30 people.
ZELENY (voice-over): It's a stark warning sign in the economy. A labor shortage facing frustrated business owners here in Michigan and across the
country. Now hiring signs from restaurants to manufacturing. Hang most everywhere you look.
EISENBRAUN: We're trying everything we can. There's just not the people out there right now.
ZELENY (voice-over): Just as President Biden's fortunes were tied to tackling coronavirus. So too are they linked to an economic recovery. The
rest of his presidency will likely rise or fall on the strength of that rebound.
REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI): Yes, he will be judged on how the economy's doing as well, all of us. So our job is to work together and keep the
ZELENY (voice-over): Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell says the labor shortage is very real, as are its root causes. Like childcare concerns,
lingering COVID fears. And above all, women leaving the workforce in droves.
ZELENY: Optimistic about the economy are too soon to say?
DINGELL (on camera): I'm going to choose to be optimistic and it's my responsibility and everybody else's to make sure we deliver on that
ZELENY (voice-over): And delivering on that optimism means fighting the unmistakable economic headwinds. Many of which revolve around rebuilding
America's vanishing workforce.
MARGIE MARTIN, EMPLOYMENT SPECIALIST: We have tons of jobs, we have more jobs than folks.
ZELENY (voice-over): Margie Martin is an employment specialist matching workers to jobs. She's on the front lines of a question hanging over the
President's economic agenda, or unemployment checks keeping potential employees on the sidelines.
MARTIN: I don't think so. My own personal experience, these other issues that doesn't allow someone to get employment like a single mom doesn't have
a support system. All her kids are at home.
ZELENY (voice-over): Just north of Detroit in Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor is a Republican who's been watching the new president
closely. When we first met him last fall he told us he was supporting Biden.
MAYOR MICHAEL TAYLOR (D), STERLING HEIGHTS, MICHIGAN: I can't wait to cast my vote to get Donald Trump out of office.
ZELENY (on camera): So how are things going?
TARLOR: Well, I'm still very happy with my decision.
ZELENY (voice-over): But Taylor said he believes unemployment assistance should not be extended, so more people return to work.
TAYLOR: That's the number one concern I've heard from business owners.
ZELENY: Back at the brewhouse, Eisenbraun is offering a bounty for employees who bring in new workers. She also offers healthcare and a 401(k)
and dismisses those who blame all business owners for the labor crunch.
EISENBRAUN: Well, I think that the misconception that I see from the politicians is that the reason why people aren't going back to work is that
the jobs aren't worth it. These are low paying jobs, but they aren't.
ZELENY (on camera): These hiring challenges are a critical piece of the complicated economic puzzle facing the Biden administration. Now the
President traveling to the Detroit area on Tuesday to promote the new electric vehicles being built by the Ford Motor Company, that is part of
his jobs plan, part also of its climate plan. But all of these plans coming together representing trillions in federal spending rests at the heart of
how successful the economy of course will be.
How that ends will be a key part of President Biden's legacy. Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Detroit.
QUEST: As Taiwan fights a new surge in coronavirus, infections, people are clearing out the shelves and supermarkets. The confusion and panic taking
over. The report when we come back.
QUEST: It's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. Shoppers rush to supermarkets of Taipei as Taiwan tightened its COVID-19 restrictions. The island has reported more
than 700 cases in the past week and has only seen 2000 during the entire pandemic. So far, the latest spiking cases led to the case of panic buying
in the capital. CNN's Will Ripley is in Taipei.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What's happening here in Taiwan is really a cautionary tale for the rest of the world. This is an
island of 23 million people that for most of the pandemic, while the rest of the world was locked down and dealing with increasingly stringent social
distancing measures. Life here was normal. People gathered in large groups, they went to large dinners with friends and family.
They went to adult entertainment venues and gyms. And they live life as if there was no pandemic. It was a rare oasis in the middle of a global storm.
But now the storm has reached Taiwan. And even though the numbers remain low by comparison with other countries, just within the last day or so they
went over 2000 total cases for the entire pandemic and on Tuesday confirmed two additional deaths bringing their total to 14.
There's a lot of reason for people here in Taiwan to be concerned. For one, there's no herd immunity here. Up until recently, there wasn't much demand
for vaccines and the government has had a hard time getting them in any way. Somewhat because of complicated regional politics. Taiwan and its
relationship with Mainland China and the loyalties of regional distributors who sell the vaccines.
You also have the fact that locally produced vaccines may not be available until late July, Taiwan's president says. So, even if people want to get
vaccinated right now they can't. And they're highly susceptible to an outbreak. So that's why schools are closed for the next two weeks, foreign
nationals and transit flights suspended for at least one month starting on Wednesday.
And people here hoping that if they follow the most stringent social distancing measures to date, that they'll be able to get the numbers back
down and get life back to normal here. I'm Will Ripley reporting in Taipei, Taiwan.
QUEST: As we continue tonight. A fear of normality. Now, this is fascinating. As pandemic restrictions are lifted, so people are now feeling
anxious about returning to whatever role, however we choose to define normal life. After the break.
QUEST: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says that -- says there is no conclusive reason to delay England's full reopening next month. At the same
time, the Prime Minister says it's important to see how well COVID vaccines protect against variants such as the one first identified in India. While
some people around the world might be eager to get on with their lives. Not everyone is welcoming or return to normality.
CNN's Phil Black reports that reentry anxiety is real and more common than you think.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Confined largely to our homes, deprived of freedoms, experiences, and human connections. Somehow we've
mostly learned to get by. Now in countries with advanced vaccine programs we must adapt to get. To crowds, to conversations, to a pace of life that
seems distant and personally a little intimidating. And that makes me feel nervous, anxious, even fearful. But I don't know why I'm feeling this way.
ANA NIKCEVIC, PSYCHOLOGIST: I think we have all become a little inclined to be closed in and hesitant to go back to that normal life. And we need to
reinvigorate that social muscle.
BLACK (voice-over): Psychologist Ana Nikcevic says nervousness about returning to something like our old reality now has a name. Reentry
anxiety, but it's not new.
NIKCEVIC: This phenomenon has been observed by psychologists before in people who have spent protracted periods of time in isolation. For example,
people who have gone in the space.
BLACK (voice-over): Chris Hadfield understands why some people are feeling anxious.
CHRIS HADFIELD, FORMER ASTRONAUT: My longest time in space when I was living on board and commanding the International Space Station was a little
under six months. So, half a year. Halfway around the sun.
BLACK (voice-over): Hadfield says he returned to Earth a different person, and many of those emerging from lockdown will also have experienced
profound personal change.
(on camera): Perhaps some of the anxiety is fueled by the fear that things could go back, that we could lose some of what we found through this
HADFIELD: I think that's up to each of us, Phill. How am I going to take this new version of me and introduce it to this new version of the world
the most productive way as I possibly can.
BLACK: A practical optimism, I think that's what you're advocating there. Is that fair?
HADFIELD: That's how we fly spaceships, Phil, with a very deeply basement practical optimism.
BLACK (voice-over): Pip Hare believe she is her best self when battling oceans alone. She recently finished and 96-day non-stop single-handed race
around the world. But even with all her extraordinary courage, returning to life on land can be overwhelming.
PIP HARE, LONG-DISTANCE SOLO SAILOR: Just need to remember that we are adaptable, and we will go to a different kind of normal again. But you
don't want to throw yourself at it too hard and allow the change to happen gradually and make sure you're doing things that work for you.
JASON REZAIAN, JOURNALIST, DETAINED FOR 18 MONTHS IN IRANIAN PRISON: My wife and I were arrested.
BLACK (voice-over): Jason Rezaian resigned was imprisoned in Iran while working as the Washington Post's bureau chief.
REZAIAN: I spent 49 days in solitary confinement. And I went on to spend a total of 544 days in that prison.
BLACKL He knows the complex emotions that follow a sudden return to a once familiar life.
REZAIAN: In my case, I was, you know, one person and my wife, we were two people that were dealing with this. What we're talking about now is
billions of people around the world coming to this -- at almost the same time, just recognizing that everybody is going to have a different
reaction. And many of those reactions are going to be unexpected. Unexpected to the world and unexpected to those people themselves.
BLACK: So, we should all be a little gentle with each other perhaps.
REZAIAN: I think we should always be a little bit gentle with each other. But certainly in the -- in the weeks and the months ahead, you know, I
think we should pair towards forgiveness, there's going to be a lot of awkward encounters for everybody.
BLACK (voice-over): Everyone wants the pandemic to end. But in a world where old certainties have been swept aside, we can't all be sure we'll
want everything that comes next. Phil Black, CNN, London,
QUEST: Say fascinating, I can certainly feel that here in New York where of course the mask mandate is about to go. And down in Atlanta, where I was
where people are now back in supermarkets without masks and the like. So, absolutely.
Now, last, I mustn't prattle on, I need to show you what's happened in the last few moments. I've traded on Wall Street, Dow, look at that, whoa,
straight down towards the end, at the worst of the day comfortably. The reason, it's just investors weighing every concern you can possibly think
about from inflation, to what's happening with COVID in other parts of the world.
The Dow 30 shows well, not leading the Dow 30 after raising its outlook but the overwhelming losses and it's again a mixed match of every possible
reason you can feel that it's simply -- the market ran out of steam today with Chevron have the most down just with nearly three percent.
Special extended edition of QUEST MEANS BUSINESS tonight after the break. I'll be back in the Middle East or we will be together back in the Middle
East. A day of protests strikes, airstrikes and rocket fire because the news never stops like (INAUDIBLE)
QUEST: Good evening. A second hour QUEST MEANS BUSINESS tonight.