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Quest Means Business

Russia Denies its Airspace as Detour around Belarus; Biden Engages China on Trade, Probes COVID's origins; Australia's Victoria State Locks Down after New Outbreak; France, Austria Announce U.K. Travel Restrictions as Cases Rise; Report: Amazon Exploring Opening Physical Pharmacies; Jeff Bezos Formally Stepping Down as Amazon CEO on July 5. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired May 27, 2021 - 15:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS HOST: As we head to the closing bell in an hour's time, the gains of the day have been dwindling. The market has been

in the green all session, but as you look at the chart, you can see how earlier morning into afternoon, we're holding steady at a gain of around a

third of one percent. That's probably where we'll end the day. I don't know, I'm guessing that looking at the way the market has gone so far. That

is the market, and the main events of the day: Air France and Austrian are blocked from flying to Moscow as the fallout grows from the Ryanair


Europe's Justice Commissioner tells me economic sanctions may be the answer to the Belarus crisis.

And the United States is restarting trade talks with China as questions arise over the origins of COVID-19.

We are live in New York, as you'd expect, on Thursday. It's the 27th of May. I'm Richard Quest, and I mean business.

Good evening. Russia has refused to let two European carriers get to Moscow without crossing Belarus. Air France and Austrian Airlines have canceled

the flights rather than defy the E.U. guidance to avoid Belarusian airspace. Ireland's Transport Minister says the forced diversion of the

Ryanair flight earlier in the week was in his words, an attack on European aviation, and he welcomed an investigation by the U.N.'s aviation body,


The European Commissioner for Justice told me economic sanctions against Belarus must be considered.

Austrian Airline says Russia forced it to cancel a flight from Vienna to Moscow. The airline says it needed Russia to approve of a change to the

usual flight route which would cross Belarus. Air France say it's ran into the same problem with two of its flights from Paris. You can see on the map

the normal way would be to go across Belarus. What the airlines in Vienna and Paris wanted to do was go around Belarus as requested, not required,

but as requested by the European authorities.

After all the E.U. has told European carriers to steer clear of Belarus and is denying corresponding airspace to Belarusian planes. But then, Moscow

said "niet."

Matthew Chance is in Moscow. Matthew, in refusing to allow these two carriers to change their route, which wouldn't have hurt the Russians in

any way whatsoever, Moscow has really, truly backed up Lukashenko.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, I think, you're right, I think it's too early to yet judge whether this is

the start of a sort of blanket ban on all European carriers or global carriers that are trying to comply with the European recommendations and

avoid Belarusian airspace and cross into Russia through different parts of the country or whether it's just these two carriers at the moment, Air

France and Austrian Airlines, Russia perhaps sending a broad side, you could characterize it like that, sending a warning that this could escalate

further if Moscow chooses to escalate it.

As I say, at the moment, it's just the fact that these two carriers, and my understanding is there have been other carriers like British Airways and

other airlines as well that have circumvented Belarusian airspace and have still been permitted to land in Russia.

QUEST: Right.

CHANCE: And so it's not clear at this early stage what the Russians are planning.

QUEST: All right. Now, interesting, because it seems though Russians might be the answer to all of this. Listen to what the E.U. Justice Commissioner,

you'll hear more from him later, but listen to what the E.U. Justice Commissioner said about the importance of not just talking to Belarus, but



DIDIER REYNDERS, EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER FOR JUSTICE: It's very important that direction is coming not only from the European Union but also from

U.K. after the Brexit, from the U.S., from all the partners in the world, and that's very important to push pressure on Belarus, but to engage in

dialogue with Russia. Again, there is a real possibility to an entrance in Minsk through the situation in Russia.



QUEST: So, my reading between the lines, my guess is that E.U. Commissioners and governments realize that, you know, to use the phrase,

Lukashenko won't budge unless Putin says jump.

CHANCE: I think that's probably true. I mean, look, the whole world virtually is sort of lining up to impose sanctions on Alexander Lukashenko

on the Belarusian regime that he leads, talking about economic sanctions and the sanctions in the aviation sector already, personal sanctions

against him, against people, in his entourage to prevent them from traveling, things like that.

It hasn't shifted him one little bit, and that's because he knows that at the moment, he has Russia, Vladimir Putin standing right behind him and

giving him all the support, he needs and potentially as you're seeing with these airplane operators being refused entry into Russia if they circumvent

Belarus, also potentially escalating the crisis in favor of Belarus as well.

Now, there's a meeting tomorrow between Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin. He is coming here to Russia. They're going to be meeting in the

Southern City of Sochi. We're not expecting this to get much sort of public information about what's coming out of that meeting, but it will be an

opportunity for Vladimir Putin to sit face-to-face with the Belarusian leader and sort of tell him what he wants him to do.

And I think everybody understands it is that kind of relationship. What Russia wants at the moment from Belarus, Russia is likely to get.

QUEST: Matthew Chance in Moscow. Matthew, thank you.

Now as you just heard, the E.U. Justice Commissioner telling me Moscow -- and Matthew was saying -- Moscow is crucial to navigating the situation in

Minsk. Commissioner Didier Reynders say the dialogue with Russia could have a tremendous impact on what Belarus does next.


REYNDERS: First of all, of course, it was very important to condemn the situation in Belarus because it was an internal fight, in fact, in the

E.U., between Greece and Lithuania, so it's very strange to see such a decision. It's unacceptable to see a real act of piracy in the air, for

Minsk to take the plane on the ground.

And so the first element was to condemn such an action from Belarus and to ask for the release of the journalist and his partner. But more on that of

course, we are going to sanction. But there are different sanctions. There are sanctions on individuals responsible for such an act of piracy, but

then sanctions on different companies and entities, not only airlines companies, all the other companies who are financing the regime because we

need to put pressure on the financial side of the regime.

And then it's true that airline's company, we are working on the sanctions, in fact, to ban any other flight by European companies over Belarus, but to

have a real ban of different flights from Belarus to the European Union, and certainly, a ban to use the European airports.

So, it will be a way to organize a real isolation of the country, but of course we take care of the citizens, of the civil society. We don't stop of

course our action to support some partners in society. But the most important element is to maintain the pressure because we have some goals,

the release of the journalist and his partner.

QUEST: It is not working. It's not working. And the commentary and the analysis is that the European Union is talking tough, has got a small

stick, and Lukashenko, as long as Putin backs him, will ignore it all.

REYNDERS: Yes, but if you look now to the sanctions, it's reality. It is not just to talk. Of course, I said it was very important to put forward a

condemnation of social action, but it is not enough to say something, it is more important to take action and we have taken action on individuals, on

companies and also, about the airspace.

And now, we will continued to push pressure. Of course, it's also very important to stay in relation with Moscow, with Russia, to discuss on this,

because you know there is a link between Moscow and Minsk.

And so, in all, it's very clear that, of course, the European Council was just after the event, it was very clear that we have had not only to put

forward a condemnation, but to take actions and concrete actions, and we will continue to take actions.

QUEST: What's the next step? Because this incident happened on -- I agree, it only happened earlier this week. But already we've had just about a

hostage video of the poor man who has clearly been suffering.

What are the extreme actions that the Union is prepared to take if Lukashenko does not respond in short order?


REYNDERS: Well, there are two ways in the way to react. The first one is to continue to improve our sanctions and to see where it is possible to go

further with real sanctions not only on the individuals, but on the economy and on the different entities financing the regime because it's through the

funding that we have a real tool to do something. It's not just about individual sanctions.

But then the other way is to try to align different landmark parties because, of course, it is very important that direction is coming not only

from the European Union, but also from the U.K. after the Brexit, from the U.S., from other partners in the world, and that is very important to put

pressure on Belarus, but this is to engage a dialogue with Russia.

Again, there is a real possibility to an entrance in Minsk through the situation in Russia. And so we are working on both sides to continue to go

further with the sanctions and to push pressure from the E.U., but also to work together with different partners in such a case because we have seen

the same reaction in all the capitals and in Brussels.

QUEST: There are those who say, I can see where your policy is going, but that Lukashenko is basically saying, stick two fingers up. What he did in

basically hijacking a Ryanair plane was so out of the realms of normality that it requires an abnormal response to make sure it can never happen


REYNDERS: Yes, it is the first reaction, but we have seen the fact that with some sanction on Belarus, it was possible to see a positive evolution,

and of course, the sanctions are not there to stay. They are there if it's possible to go down if there is a real evolution in the country.

So for the moment, it's the first reaction in Minsk. But we'll see in the next days and in the next weeks if it's possible to have a real

improvement. Maybe the release of the journalist, of course is the first request, and then to see what are the positive acts in Minsk.

But to do that again, we need to work on the sanctions. We need to work on the pressure coming from the E.U. But we need to see if it's possible to

have likeminded partners to discuss directly with Lukashenko, but also indirectly with the President Putin.


QUEST: You'll hear more from the Commissioner later in the program.

Restarting trade talks and re-examining COVID. The White House is trying to pick up negotiations with China, unfortunately, it is where the former

President left off, at the same time asking Intelligence Agencies to take another look at how the pandemic began.



QUEST: The United States is reaching out to China on trade while raising new questions about the source of the coronavirus pandemic. President

Biden's top trade negotiator has spoken to her Chinese counterpart.

At the same time, Joe Biden was asking his Intelligence Agencies to take a deeper look at where and how the virus emerged. Now, U.S. reports says

several researchers at the Chinese Wuhan Institute of Virology got sick in November and needed hospital treatment, however, it wasn't until early

December that China reported the first suspected case of COVID-19. Beijing said there is no connection between the lab and the outbreak.

The general theory -- we will be well aware of this -- is that the virus jumped somehow from a bat or another animal or whatever, there's a

zoological connection, possibly probably at the wet market in Wuhan.

Rana Foroohar is CNN's global economic analyst and associate editor of "The Financial Times."

Now, the point here is, Rana, that the U.S. Intelligence Agency, until now, had said the most likely way was zoological, although they kept open the

lab prospect. But they haven't given much credence to it. Now, has that changed?

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: I think it has changed. And you know, this is really due to several activists, you know, in government, in

the biotech community that have always been saying not for any nefarious reasons but, look, there is a Level 4 virology lab in Wuhan. We know that

they were working with bat viruses. There was initial reporting done, a "Lancet" report actually that found that there were cases that seemed to be

coming from different places.

You know, Wuhan does have wet markets, so you can imagine the sort of theory of something originating in the wet market, which I've actually been

to in Wuhan, being valid. But this is a big city. I mean, this is not in the middle of nowhere. So I think bottom line, I think these things are

worth investigating.

QUEST: Okay. So USTR talks to opposite number. There's still a whole raft of various protectionist measures and tariffs that are hanging over; some

have been removed, some expired, but there's still a lot there. Is it in Biden's interest, the President's interest to remove them, to get back to a

year zero?

FOROOHAR: You know, I really don't think so. And I think that these questions of what's happening in Wuhan and the tariffs are sort of related

because there is a sense in some circles that we need to backpedal everything that the Trump administration did.

The Trump administration slapped on tariffs without really a global plan. Okay, fair enough, but there are still reasons to have tariffs in place,

one can argue on trade with China, which you know is a mercantile of its nation.

There are also questions to be asked about Wuhan. I think that you have to put politics out of it and say what really makes sense for each particular


QUEST: Luckily for us, you are the global economic analyst getting the title right. So I can jump you around the world from China to Russia. Now,

look, how far is -- how far -- you may have heard our earlier discussion on Belarus, and clearly Putin is backing Lukashenko so far.

But how far are these two governments, the Chinese government Xi and Putin, testing what Biden is going to do? And on the other side to that same coin,

Biden doesn't want to be distracted by these incidents, whatever, from his real goal of a domestic infrastructure policy?

FOROOHAR: Boy, Richard, you've packed the entire world into one question. That is the question right now.

If you think about all of these, the Biden administration is walking such a fine line. It needs to acknowledge that we have a one-world two-system

world now. China is going its own way. We are not going to go back to the 1990s.

At the same time, we've got a lot of problems at home. He needs to get a major economic plan through at a time when there are all kinds of social

and cultural demands on him as well.

The guy has got his plate full and he is doing a pretty darn good job of walking the line as far as I am concerned.

QUEST: Now, there's economic in your title as well, so I'm going to squeeze the assets -- pardon the phrase a little bit more, as we turn to the

financial world. Rana, where do you stand on the inflationary argument at the moment? Are you with Larry Summers and some of those hawks that believe

all this money is -- look at the numbers yesterday, four percent -- there's an explosion of inflation around the corner. Where do you stand?


FOROOHAR: So, I think that we're going to see short-term inflation. No question about it. We are already seeing commodities markets, supply chains

being squeezed as you know. I still think we're going to be okay in the mid to long term, and I'll tell you why.

There is so much technology investment right now. Companies that are coming out of this pandemic are doing everything digitally. They are investing in

software, they're replacing people. That's going to be a big issue for the labor markets, but it is actually pretty good for inflation. It creates

kind of a disinflationary trend mid to longer term. So I'm in the Yellen camp for now.

QUEST: I've ran out of parts of your title, so it is time for me to say, thank you. Thank you, Rana. Good -- hopefully you and the family are all


FOROOHAR: We're all well. We're hanging in there. New York is getting back to life and work, so, see you soon again, I hope.

QUEST: Looking forward -- please go on -- thank you, Rana, joining us there.

Dozens of people in Greater Melbourne have been diagnosed with COVID-19 this week and that's forced a week-long lockdown in Australia's Victoria


From now until next Thursday, people living there can only leave their homes for the essential usual things, caring for love ones medical

treatment and the like. Officials say they have identified more than 10,000 people who need to quarantine or be tested because they may have had

contact with someone newly infected.

The origin of the infection, by the way, is believed to be somebody who came back to Australia and initially tested negative. Australia's Victoria

State is entering the seven-day lockdown as health authorities race to contain a fresh cluster of infections in Greater Melbourne. It rose to 26

cases on Thursday. Angus reports from Melbourne.

ANGUS WATSON, CNN PRODUCER: The Australian State of Victoria entering a seven-day snap circuit breaker lockdown to try to get on top of a new

outbreak of coronavirus, just what the people there were worried about, a new outbreak with winter set to begin next week.

Just 26 cases may cut this outbreak, and the good news is that they're all linked. The bad news, contact tracers say, they've identified over 10,000

people who might be close or secondary contacts of somebody who is infected. More bad news, the virus variant that's spreading through the

community is the b. variant first detected in India and known as a variant of concern. This is what Victoria's acting Premier said about it on



JAMES MERLINO, VICTORIA STATE ACTING PREMIER: In the last day, we've seen 12 linked new cases, bringing the total number of cases linked to the hotel

quarantine breach in South Australia to 26. Sadly, we have one of those people in an ICU on a ventilator in not a very good way.

In the last day, we've seen more evidence that we're dealing with a highly infectious strain of the virus, a variant of concern, which is running

faster than we have ever recorded.


WATSON: the lockdown will come into effect on Thursday night local time. People told not to leave their homes unless they're buying food, going to

get some exercise, giving or receiving care, going to an essential job, or getting a coronavirus vaccine.

So they will have plenty of time to consider how the virus got back into the community after the state and the country at large had done so well in

keeping a lid on the virus through summer.

People are saying that they're concerned about the hotel quarantine system in Australia. This new case of COVID-19 that sparked the outbreak actually

came from Australia's hotel quarantine system. Somebody caught it there while spending their mandatory 14 days in state-run isolation having just

returned into the country.

There's concern as to why the government hasn't built more purpose-built facilities. Australia has only one such facility for quarantine, Howard

Springs in the northern territory, and there haven't been any cases that have crept out of that system. There have been around 20 outbreaks from

hotel quarantine settings as the pandemic has gone on.

The other concern that people feel not enough Australians have been vaccinated. Just 3.9 million doses have been given as a part of Australia's

vaccine rollout. Critics of the government say they're going too slowly.

Supply is a concern. Of course, Australia pinned its hopes on the AstraZeneca vaccine. Now because of the blood clot concern, Australians

over the age of 50 are the only ones to get that and that has slowed the rollout. That's also create someday hesitancy, which the government is

trying to assuage.

Angus Watson in Sydney, Australia.

QUEST: The man in charge of Europe's digital COVID certificate thinks that transatlantic travel could be back as soon as July. The Justice

Commissioner tells me, it can all be agreed in time for a Summit with Joe Biden. You will hear more from the Commissioner after the break. QUEST




QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. We've got a lot more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS to come. More from the E.U. Justice Commissioner on why he is optimistic

that travel between Europe and the U.S. can restart within weeks.

And movie studios to pharmacies, Amazon is using its scale and muscle to new industries dominating the competition. We'll find out how far that's

likely to go.

It all follows the news though, because on this network, this is CNN, and the news always comes first here.

The U.N. Human Rights Council has voted to launch an investigation into possible human rights violations during the recent Israel-Gaza conflict. In

a special session today, the Council's Commissioner said Israel's airstrikes could constitute war crimes.

Israel is blasting the probe, calling it shameful.

We're still waiting on official results from Syria's presidential election. But President Bashar al Assad is basically assured of winning a fourth

seven-year term. There are only two little known challengers since there has been a clamp down on dissent, activists have dismissed the election as

a sham.

The gunman who opened fire on coworkers at a rail yard in San Jose, California, appeared to target his victims according to local sheriffs who

tell police -- tells CNN that the shooter fired 39 rounds in all, killing nine people before killing himself.

Countries in Europe are announcing new restrictions on travel from the U.K. as its COVID cases continue to rise. This week, France said it would

implement a mandatory quarantine for anyone entering from the U.K. because of the variant that is now prevalent in Britain.

Austria said it will ban flights from the U.K. starting next Tuesday for the same reason.


Now the E.U.'s Justice Commissioner says he's hopeful tourists will be able to travel between Europe and the United States by July. Commissioner Didier

Reynders is spearheading the E.U.'s digital certificate and makes it possible.

I spoke to him as part of an upcoming aviation summit hosted by the airlines for Europe. He told me that travel picture should soon look a lot



DIDIER REYNDERS, EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER FOR JUSTICE: If we looked at the situation at the beginning of July, in Europe, it will be maybe 70 percent

of the adults vaccinated. So it's very important to say that with such a situation, we have two possible ways. The first one, it will be very

efficient. With the opening of the border with U.S. it's possible, it will be possible to travel from the U.S. to Europe with approval vaccination at

the individual level.

I said that because it's possible to come and then to receive maybe the European digital certificate. But of course, we're also in discussion to

see if it's possible to have the same kind of mechanism in the U.S.


QUEST: My question is -- my question is -- I see where you're going. My question is, can there be realistic possibility of success? Can you get

agreement with the US to put this in place for the summer 2021?

REYNDERS: I'm quite sure, because I said we have the regulation, that it's clear, because we have a political agreement, it will be possible to vote,

the new regulation at the beginning of June in the parliament. And to agree in the console. We have the technical solution. So, the digital tool at the

E.U. level and in the member states to do that. And we have started a discussion with our U.S. colleagues.

And again, you know that it would be possible to have a E.U.-U.S. Summit, mid-June between the 13 and the 16, the President Biden will be in

Brussels, and it will be possible, of course, to show that we are in a good position to solve all those issues. So it's very clear, we will be ready to

do that. Except, of course, all the time. If there is a negative evolution of the sanitary situation, but I'm quite sure that you will have a positive

evolution due to the vaccination campaign.

QUEST: You're a political animal, Commissioner. Is there a -- no, no, no, it's not an insult. It was a compliment.

REYNDERS: (INAUDIBLE) This is not an insult.

QUEST: What I'm asking is, you're a political animal. Tell me, is the intention to announce something at this E.U.-U.S. summit? Wouldn't that be

a great thing if that summit, Biden, von der Leyen, Michel are able to say we have agreed the travel ban is lifted as from ex-travel can be gained

from why?

REYNDER: We will announce two elements I'm sure. The first one is a version of (INAUDIBLE) is the intention to start again, a current approach about

the multilateralism. That's the main goal may be of such a summit, to show that with the new administration before it was more bilateral. And now we

are very open to try to have in common an influence in many multilateral discussions.

And of course, when we are looking to the free movement of people, we want to announce different kinds of positive revolutions. The first one will be

I said, the final agreement in the Parliament in Europe about the certificate, the final testing of our system. And I hope so, the final

decision about the opening of the bottle and the way to organize the recognition of the vaccination from people coming from both sides.

From Europe, it will be with the certificate, it will be very easy. From the U.S. we are in discussion to see what are the ways to buy the

vaccination. And (INAUDIBLE) of course, it will be a real opening of the travels between the two sides of the Atlantic Ocean.


QUEST: And that of course, we will follow very closely.

Amazon's apparently looking at expanding into two new directions this week. Last night we told you about its $8.4 billion deal for MGM. Wow. You can

never resist that. A move that gives it a foothold in Hollywood. Now Amazon's reportedly exploring one of its own line of drugstore. Shares in

Walgreens and CVS fell sharply after the report. Remember last night. Last night, the last -- the Walgreens Boots Alliance was the stock that lost the

most on the stock exchange.

It was down more than six percent. That was the reason Brad Stone is author of Amazon Unbound. A new book on how Amazon use its scale against potential

rivals. He joins me from Mill Valley, California via Skype. You're not surprised, are you rather? You're not surprised that the stock fell because

Amazon's now got its focus on it.


BRAD STONE, AUTHOR, AMAZON UNBOUND (via Skype): No, we've seen that again and again, Richard. I mean, it happened to grocery supermarket chains when

Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2017. There is a fear of Amazon in the market right now of what it can do to connect the various lines of its business

and enter new markets. And I think with drugstores, with healthcare and a trillion-dollar industry in the United States alone last year, you know,

it's got a lot of efforts, a lot of initiatives.

It has -- it has devices with diagnostic tools. It has the online pharmacy about PillPack. It has a line of healthcare clinics where employees can

walk in and a telehealth service called Amazon Care. So in a very -- like Amazon-like fashion, it's throwing a lot of things against the wall.

QUEST: Right. But Brad, how many of them make money? I mean, let's take the movies, let's take Amazon Prime the movie section. You know, billions

spent, they're buying MGM, but it's all really designed to filter to Amazon Prime and the main site. So how many of all these other things make money?

STONE: Amazon right now, Richard is incredibly profitable company. I know over the years, it has been associated with losing money. But, you know,

it's got this machinery that's working quite well. And when you think about Prime right now, it used to be a two-day shipping service, Amazon has

fulfillment centers outside of every major city. So shipping is no longer the differentiating factor, it's content.

So people are paying $119 a year to pay in large part for the kinds of movies and T.V. shows that Amazon will be buying with the MGM acquisition.

And as you know, Prime members just tend to spend a lot more. So it's all this sort of way to bring people into the Amazon system and never let them


QUEST: OK. But as a -- let's say, for example, the Whole Food purchase and the amount of money they then had to invest to make it a delivery service

as well. Whole Foods, MGM, you can see all the things that they have bought. It's still all about the site.

STONE: Well, increasingly, Richard, I would say it's not. I mean, Amazon has this cloud computing division that's incredibly profitable. It's also

stamping out these stores, these physical stores, and not just Whole Foods Market, but Amazon Fresh supermarkets that are now increasingly in major

cities in North America. And so, in a very Amazon like way, and this is the story I'm telling in the book, it just finds lots of ways to get you.

Lots of ways to win. It's also one of the reasons why it's such a complex target for regulators and lawmakers.

QUEST: Good to know [inaudible] discussion there. It just shows how good they are at this. I completely forgot about AWS, which of course is so

immensely profitable. Thank you for reminding me. And quickly, do you think that regulators eventually will smash this thing apart?

STONE: Smash it apart? No. I mean, you look at Microsoft in the 1990s, where it was a clear monopoly and it wasn't broken apart. Microsoft's now a

bigger company than Amazon. Amazon provides a lot of targets. In fact, we saw a lawsuit yesterday from the A.G. of Washington, D.C. There are things

that Amazon does that I think now is an extremely large company can be viewed as anti-competitive.

But the idea that there's an existential threat out there at a time when regulators have so many other targets and quite distracted. Facebook,

Google. I have a hard time seeing Amazon being broken up, at least by the government.

QUEST: And if we look at the succession after Bezos. Now let's take the Microsoft example. Gates leaves, the next CEO takes over, not a huge

success. Now we get the third one who recognizes where Microsoft needs to go. Do you see something similar? How much of Amazon's success can be put

up Bezos' door?

STONE: A whole lot, a whole lot. And on July 5th, that's the key date when Bezos turns over the reins to Andy Jassy. But I think on the spectrum of

kind of Steve Ballmer on one side of Microsoft and maybe Tim Cook on the other, we're likely to be more with Amazon on the Tim Cook side. Well,

number one, Bezos isn't going away, he's going to be executive chairman. Obviously, unlike Steve Jobs, he can still nurture the company.

But Jassy is the deputy who's kind of sat at the feet of the master for now 20 years, and I don't think the company is going to change very much. And I

think the momentum they've built up is sort of really hard to stop at this point.

QUEST: Brad, hard question for you. Do you like Amazon? Is it -- never mind whether you think it's good. Never mind what you think it does what it does

well. I mean, we all use it. So there's no conflict of interest here. I think I bought three things from Amazon in the last 24 hours, because it's

so easy, but do you like it?

STONE: Right. So Richard, you're asking me to abandon my journalistic distance and speak personally and I'll say, like you I'm a Prime member.

I'm an echo owner. I watch the T.V. shows and the movies on Prime video. And so in that respect, where I come out, it's like I feel like Amazon has

saved me a lot of time, particularly on shopping and I don't necessarily feel like a lot of technology companies these days, particularly the social

networks save me time.


STONE: So, I do think that there are lots of competition issues that need to be looked at with Amazon. But I'll just have to admit, you know, like a

lot of people, I'm a --I'm a customer.

QUEST: That's fascinating, isn't it? It's one of those few company -- like Microsoft, I suppose in its own time, where we all use the stuff maybe we

don't really put it. So thank you. That's fascinating. Thank you so much. Come back and talk more as we -- as we watch the --

STONE: Thanks, Richard.

QUEST: Thank you. Memorial Day weekend is ahead and the Bahamas is trying to lure back us tourists reopening to vaccinated travelers. The head of one

of the top resorts is with me next.


QUEST: Every time I tried to choose something to eat, part of the decision is also about not only is it healthy and good for me, or not as the case

may be, but also, is it a responsible choice? Is it actually doing anything to help promote a more sustainable way of life or sustainable future? And

so to our Call to Earth for this weekend, those who want to make responsible choices about what we eat. Here's technology helping you and me

verify from where our seafood comes.


MARKUS MUTZ, CEO, OPENSC: Only if we fish in a sustainable and ethical way can we keep fishing and do not deplete our oceans.

DERMOT O'GORMAN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, WWF-AUSTRALIA: Unless we solve the problem of feeding a billion people in a way that's sustainable we're

not going to avert the biodiversity crisis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Patagonian toothfish aren't easy to find at Sydney's fish market. Global demand for the delicacy has led ecologists to

warn that without careful management of fisheries, the species could be vulnerable to extinction.

MUTZ: Ten years ago if you had a green conscience, you wouldn't eat Patagonia toothfish because it was a critically endangered species. It is

now possible to eat this fish in a quite sustainable way. If you know that it was actually caught outside of marine protected areas.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Those protected areas crucial to giving the fish a refuge to reproduce. But the problem is.

O'GORMAN: How can you verify exactly where a fish was caught in a place that it is meant to be caught, and then track it through the supply chain

until it arrives on a consumer plate?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): To answer that question, the World Wildlife Fund has partnered with Australian technology company, OpenSC.

MUTZ: We know a lot about this fish, we know exactly where it was caught. And we can verify on the basis of data that it is only being caught in

areas where it's sustainable to do so.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Using OpenSC tech, each fish gets a digital identity when it's caught. A code that can't be altered.

MUTZ: We essentially give a fish a kind of passport that travels with it throughout the whole supply chain. We use blockchain technology in order to

create an immutable record of that. So that makes it fraud proof. You can't change that data anymore without leaving a trace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): The GPS location of the boat when the fish was caught, backed up by reading of the depth of the sea at that very

moment, information compiled by A.I. protected by blockchain and instantly available.

MUTZ: It's achieving inflammation, when and where this particular fish was caught. And most importantly, it shows you that the vessel only fished

where they were supposed to and not in marine protected areas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Thanks to OpenSC, 10 percent of Patagonian toothfish caught around the world and now tracked.

But there is work to be done. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization estimates 85 percent of the world's marine fish stocks are

either fully exploited or overfished. The OpenSC project is a small start in verifying the eco credentials of the fish we buy. But the WWF believes

conscious consumers are driving change and not just in seafood.

O'GORMAN: It's not hard to imagine a world where we say 100 percent of commodities on a type of platform like OpenSC. The vision is imagine a

world where consumers no matter what they buy, whether it's a fish, or a piece of beef, or a product containing palm oil, are able to confirm the

claims around sustainability that are so critical for a sustainable future. Until then, empowered consumers can lead the way by seeking out products

like this tracked and traced to fish, or at the touch of their smartphone.


QUEST: Oh, what a great idea, a great way to make sure that we know if things are as they say they are. So because of these we'll continue

showcasing these stories as part of a Call to Earth and you're involved. Use the #CalltoEarth when you tell us what you're up to.



QUEST: Air travel in the United States is six times busier this time than it was last year as Americans head to their Memorial Day weekend.

Strong vaccine rollout giving more opportunities for travel. The Bahamas are just a couple of hours away by plane and the islands reopened this

month to visitors who have their shots or have a negative test. Audrey Oswell is the president of Atlantis Paradise Island. She joins me via Skype

from Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Audrey, good to see you. So, the open is here. And I know safety is paramount for guests and for employees and

the environment that you're working in. What's been the biggest challenge?

AUDREY OSWELL, PRESIDENT, ATLANTIS PARADISE ISLAND (via Skype): Well, good afternoon, Richard. I would say the biggest challenge has been just making

sure that our guests remain safe and putting our new protocols in place. We reopened the resort back in December slowly. And it gave us time to adapt

to new protocols and make sure that we could create a safe environment.

And since that time, we've consistently been seeing our occupancy growing and more and more tourists comfortable traveling to paradise, the island.

And now it's becomes second nature. It's what we do. It's new norm for us.

QUEST: And the requirements of the country for vaccination, of course, to a large extent, takes that onus off you if you know somebody has already been

approved as vaccinated by the authorities.

OSWELL: That's correct. So fully vaccinated travelers do -- are not required to have any type of test to enter the Bahamas. Those who are not

fully vaccinated plus the 14-day wait period are required to take a PCR test within the five days of traveling to the Bahamas. So, whether you're

fully vaccinated or not, we welcome you, there's just (INAUDIBLE) protocols.

QUEST: OK. So where do you hope to grow business? I mean, the U.S. is obviously the key one, it's on your doorstep. But the ability to get higher

spending tourists from Europe, that is going to take some time to come along, don't you think?

OSWELL: Absolutely. Europe is slow to come back. British Airways is starting two flights a month from London Heathrow starting next month. So,

we're excited to see that return. We anxiously await candidate return to tourism and that's a strong market for us. But for the time being, the

U.S., Southern Florida, the Northeast, Midwest is a really strong visitation pattern for us.

QUEST: Audrey, I'm asking every CEO, President, top person that we have on the program, what did you learn about yourself and your management skills

and abilities? What did you learn yourself -- about yourself during the pandemic and how you handled it?

OSWELL: Well, there was a lot of time for self-reflect -- reflection. Certainly, an interesting question. But I would say that, you know, I've

always been very resilient and quick to adapt. I think that the pandemic what it taught me was the importance of safety and health. It's always been

a top priority here at Atlantis and certainly in my life, but the need to partner with specialists in certain fields like Cleveland Clinic that

helped us develop our clean and safe premise.

And certainly, the protocols to make sure that our team members and our guests and our marine life and everyone who passes through our doors is

safe. And just -- we're having to refocus on that. So, I would say the most important lesson, in short, would be the ability to shift your focus to

things that all of a sudden became much more important than they had been or top of mind than they had been in the past.

QUEST: Audrey, lovely to have you with us on the program tonight. Thank you, I appreciate it. We'll go -- we'll come there, and we'll go down that

slide together. Well, not together, I mean, side by side, but you get the idea. I'll get -- I'll go down the side, if you will. Thank you. Audrey

joining us from --



QUEST: And that's one of the things we are going to take some time on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. You see, during the crisis, we had voices of the crisis.

Well, I think it's just as important, now it's -- we're on the other side in many cases. I know in your country we may not be.


QUEST: But I think it's very important that we have the inspiring stories of opening and the uplifting stories of how people are doing it. And what

they learned throughout it. By the way, if you want to get hold of me, you know, the usual e-mail address. It is Let me show you the markets before we finish. Small gains on the big board and the -- and the S&P less so on the NASDAQ.

Look at the Dow 30 and you see exactly how -- there's Dow itself, the Dow is just picking up a bit of weight and the Dow 30. Boeing at the top,

that's on various issues with the Max. P&G at the bottom. Basically, old stocks are out of fashion. Today, Apple in the middle, a balanced market,

truly balanced market by the look of it there. We will take a profitable moment after you've had a short break.


QUEST: Tonight's profitable moment, the events with Belarus turning into a classic. Almost like carry type story. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, or

perhaps in this case, airline pilot activist, airports and the like. The reality is the key to all of this is in Moscow. And you heard that tonight,

as our guests talked about how Moscow's refusal to let Air France or Austrian fly round Belarus on their way to Moscow but allowed other

airlines such as British Airways to go through.

Is this -- is Vladimir Putin sending messages that he's involved, he will interfere, he will negotiate and ultimately, the final decision on whether

Roman Protasevich which is allowed to go and how Lukashenko deals with this. The final answer to that will come from Moscow, not from Minsk. How

he does it and what happens next. The answer is in Moscow. Just as I suspect, we always knew it was.

And that tonight is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'm Richard quest in New York, whatever you're up to in the hours and if not the days that I'm off

tomorrow, taking a long weekend, and why not? I hope it's profitable. The closing bell is ringing on Wall Street. The Dow eked out a small game.

Well, it's a growing game. Jake Tapper is next. Have a good weekend.