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Quest Means Business
Dow Down after Fed 2023 Interest Rate Warning; Financial Workers Told to Get Back to the Office; CureVac Shares Down on Poor Vaccine Trial Results; England Opens Vaccine to All Adults after Reopening Delayed; Construction Flaws Led to Mexico Rail Collapse; Frontier Airlines CEO on Internet Failure; Using Technology to Track Ocean Plastic; Biden Signs Bill to Make Juneteenth a Federal Holiday. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired June 17, 2021 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: The Dow is off some 200 points, and it was even worse earlier in the session. Let's have a look at the big board,
and to have a look -- to see how it's doing, as you can see, down 234 points -- 233 points. These are the markets and these are the main events
A tough day at the office. Bank shares are dropping as Wall Street bosses tell staff to return to work.
CureVac shares tumble after its COVID-vaccine shows disappointing results.
And spin the bottle. UEFA sends a message to players after they keep moving their sponsors' products.
Live from London. It is Thursday, June the 17th. I'm Isa Soares and I, too, mean business.
Good evening, everyone, and a very warm welcome. Tonight, U.S. markets are reacting sharply to the possibility the Fed will raise interest rates in
2023. Shares really of major banks are plunging. They warn that gangster results from their trading posts are likely to continue.
Let's have a look at those shares. Bank of America down more than four percent. Citigroup, similar. Wells Fargo more than 5.5 percent, and
JPMorgan Chase there down more than three percent.
Now, tech stocks are, for the most part, believe it or not, shaking it off. Investors are still bullish that sector will keep growing, and the tech-
heavy NASDAQ is easily outpacing the Dow, as well as the S&P as you can see there.
Now, the Fed based its new timeline for potential rate hike on inflationary pressure and an improving job market. But now, we are seeing the new U.S.
jobless claims rose last week for the first time, in fact, since April.
April, 412,000 people filed for the first-time benefits. That is more than economists had expected. Let's put this all into perspective. Paul La
Monica is in New York for us.
So, Paul, what we are seeing is the Dow coming back somewhat, off as much as 400 points earlier or so. Meanwhile, we saw those tech stocks really
moving in a different direction. Talk us through these very different market moves.
PAUL LA MONICA, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Yes, Isa, you clearly have right now a shift back, a rotation into the growth stocks, the proverbial FAANGs
of Big Tech that investors have been infatuated with for years over some of the value names that had increasingly become more attractive to many
people, you know, on Wall Street.
So, when you look at the Dow, for example, the tech stocks and the Dow are rising along with the NASDAQ, of course. But you have those cyclical names,
your Dow, Caterpillar, Honeywell and some of those big banks, they are all the ones that are tumbling and leading the Dow lower today.
SOARES: And as you were talking, we are looking at the big board, down 245 points or so. From investors that you've been talking to, Paul, I want to
get a sense of the mood in terms of the consensus. Is there a consensus following on from what the Fed said. Is there a feeling the Fed is not
acting quickly enough to stamp out rising inflation? Give me a sense of the mood, really.
LA MONICA: Yes, I don't get a sense that people are too nervous that the Fed isn't taking inflation seriously enough. I think that the market, by
and large, does believe a lot of what Jerome Powell and some of the other Fed members have said about things being transitory.
You're not going to have used car prices, which have been one of the bigger components of the big jump in consumer prices lately. That's not going to
rise indefinitely at this level. A lot of that has to do with people returning to work en masse, and also some of the supply issues because of
the semiconductor problems affecting new car production. That's just one area, I think, where there is a bit of a dislocation right now because of
the uniqueness of this situation we find ourselves in.
So, I think investors are taking some comfort from the Fed, but still, they don't they don't like taking their medicine, so to speak. They know that if
the economy continues to speed up, we can't leave rates near zero forever, the Fed has to start jacking them up eventually, and it looks like it is
going to be sooner rather than later, even though that is still probably not until 2023 that we get that first rate hike.
SOARES: Yes, I like the medicine, because they don't like taking the medicine, but it did catch many people off guard that move from the Fed.
LA MONICA: Yes. I think Jerome Powell, you know, was considered a very dovish Fed Chair, that he was not worried about inflation. And all of a
sudden, it seems like he may be shed some of those dove wings and grew a pair of hawk wings and he is realizing that yes, inflation is one of the
Fed's mandates. They obviously are worried about unemployment, and we saw what these jobless claims numbers this morning, they weren't great. So, the
Fed is going to pay attention to that.
LA MONICA: But the fed can't just focus on the labor part of the picture. If prices continue to move up, the Fed eventually has to take action.
That's probably going to be unwinding the bond purchases first or tapering, and then they will raise rates. This is probably a couple of years away.
It's not an immediate concern.
SOARES: And like you pointed out, it is a tough balancing act for the Fed in terms of the messaging because obviously you've got the hot inflation,
the lukewarm labor market. What lessons, though, can we learn from 2014 when they started winding down stimulus, you know, lessons from previous
tapering here -- Paul.
LA MONICA: Exactly. The Fed knows from the 2014 example that there was a so-called taper tantrum, when the market wasn't prepared for the Fed to
start tightening, and that's why I think now, the language is even becoming more painfully clear from Jerome Powell, more so than it even it was from
Janet Yellen and Ben Bernanke who are a lot more plain spoken than Alan Greenspan who has spoken riddles.
What I think Powell is now trying to get the market to understand is that they are going to talk about tapering, then they will taper. They will talk
about rate hikes, then they will hike rates. This is a well-choreographed over a period of several months to years' process that's going to take
place, and they don't want to upset the apple cart and make an already nervous Wall Street even more jittery.
SOARES: Indeed, I remember the riddles from Greenspan. Thanks for reminding me.
Paul La Monica there, thank you very much.
Now, the work-from-home experiment could soon be coming to an end in the financial industry if Wall Street executives really have their way. The
head of Morgan Stanley put it bluntly earlier this week. He said this, have a look, "If you can go to a restaurant in New York City, you can come into
the office. If you want to get paid New York rates, you work in New York. None of this -- I'm getting in Colorado and getting paid like I'm sitting
in New York City. Sorry, that doesn't work."
Well, Bank of America's CEO, Brian Moynihan said today he expects vaccinated employees back in the office by September. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN MOYNIHAN, CEO, BANK OF AMERICA: We built a vaccine tool three or four months ago and captured -- voluntary captured -- we have 70-plus
thousand people and it is -- we are concentrating on getting them back to work because that allows people to move about under the C.D.C. guidance
without masks and things like that.
As more people get vaccinated, we keep bringing more back. We've got a lot of work to get those back. But the view is, after Labor Day, our view is
all of the vaccinated teammates will be back and we'll be able to operate fairly normally and we'll then start to make provisions for the other team
mates as we move through the fall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, let's look at major financial companies right around the world. It's the American banks really leading the charge back to the
office. Citigroup, most British banks and Switzerland's UBS, they will try a hybrid approach as you can see there.
Deutsch in Germany is expecting employees back next week. Compare that with Silicon Valley, which now competes with banks to hire the same talent.
Twitter and Slack employees can go fully remote. Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook are going hybrid with generous working from home stints for
those who want it. And Amazon, you can see there, initially said it wanted everyone back after the summer, but changed its guidance last week to allow
two days per week at home.
Kate Lister is the President of Global Workplace Analytics and she is San Diego. Kate, there is so much for us to talk about. This is such a hot
topic, and I say, even with our team having a discussion about this story. But first of all, where do you stand, Kate, on the return to work? I mean,
do you back Gorman's sterns -- very stern comments?
KATE LISTER, PRESIDENT, GLOBAL WORKPLACE ANALYTICS: Certainly not. Eighty percent of the workforce says they want to work from home at least some of
the time. And a third say that they would quit if their employer didn't allow it. We're already seeing in our clients people quitting because the
organization hasn't declared what they're going to do.
SOARES: So, I suspect many companies will be afraid of this, of really their employees leaving if the company, financial company is not flexible
LISTER: Well, if they're not afraid, they should be. The quits rate just came out last week for April, and it is the highest it's been in a decade,
the percentage of people quitting their jobs. They are voting with their feet, if not their keyboards.
SOARES: So, from those people you've been talking to, what do they want to see? Do they want to see a hybrid? Do they want to have flexibility? What
are you hearing from not just employees, but also from companies?
LISTER: Yes. I did a presentation to a Board of Directors of a 65,000- person company this morning and this was the entire topic of conversation. What we're finding from the surveys is that about 20 percent -- 15 to 20
percent say they want to be permanently remote. About five to 10 percent say they want to be permanently in the office. And the balance want that
Managers are kind of leaning toward having people in the office three to four days a week. Employees are kind of leaning toward the opposite.
SOARES: So, any financial companies part of your discussion? Because it seems from what we've just financial outlined, financial companies are
going a very different way from the major tech companies. And I suspect there is no right or wrong answer here.
I mean, surely, this is about the culture they want to create.
LISTER: It may be about the culture they want to create. But I just don't know if it's going to be possible going forward. Not all of the best and
the brightest in the world want to live within commuting distance of a money center bank.
We had already seen over the last decade, it used to be you'd get out of college and you'd want to work for a money center bank or an investment
bank, and that has completely shifted. There's only maybe one or two in the top 25 organizations that college grads now want to go to work for.
So, I honestly think they've got a rude awakening coming.
SOARES: Well, it seems so, but if they're doing these polls and asking these questions, it doesn't seem that they are putting it into action.
Kate, how much really of their reasoning, for wanting people in the office is so they can say, you know, we have oversight?
LISTER: Yes, I mean, it's banking, the financial institutions have a very command and control culture. And historically, they have been the ones that
have been slowest to adopt flexible workplace strategies.
That mindset of, you know, my minions are here in the office and I can see them, the 18-hour days that they brag about where people come in very early
and leave very late. That must mean they're very busy. Well, Amazon's highest shopping time is during working hours. So, they may not be as busy
as you think doing the things that you want them to do.
The whole concept of working remotely is giving people autonomy, trusting them, giving them goals and measuring them by what they do, not by butts in
SOARES: Is there any evidence, though, Kate, that supports their call for employees to come back, that they're more efficient, that they work better
in a team rather than on Zoom? Is there any evidence there?
LISTER: There seriously isn't. Everything we've seen in the research prior to the pandemic and certainly during the pandemic has proven that the
question of productivity is off the table. People, the majority of people, 70 percent, 80 percent of employees and managers say that they are at least
as productive or more productive than they were in the office.
The big issue is interruptions. People are interrupted, you know, all the time at the office. And even with all of the cacophony going in from
working from home over the past year, this hasn't been usual work from home. But even with all of that, people say they're interrupted 35 minutes
a day less working at home than they were in the office.
SOARES: Yes. It is such a divided topic as well, not just in finance, but also here in the U.K., it is the topic du jour I can tell you that as well.
If you do hear from anyone working in the city, anyone working in New York City in banking who decides he wants to quit because of that lack of
flexibility, do let us know, Kate.
Kate Lister, the President of Global Workplace Analytics. Thanks very much, Kate, really appreciate it.
LISTER: Great. Thanks, Isa.
SOARES: Now, disappointing results from a new COVID vaccine trial sees CureVac's share price half in just a single session. The company says its
test subjects were exposed to unprecedented number of variants. We'll explain, next.
SOARES: Now, the German biotech firm CureVac taking a beating, really, on the NASDAQ over disappointing vaccine news. CureVac shares are down 40
percent on the announcement that its vaccine was just 47 percent effective at stopping symptomatic COVID-19. Now, you see just down 40.24 percent.
Now, the company says it is challenging to prove efficacy against what it calls this unprecedented broad diversity of variants. Elizabeth Cohen is
here with more.
And Elizabeth, 47 percent is the lowest efficacy we have seen. Do we know why the efficacy is so low? What may have affected it?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Isa, there could be a couple of reasons, and you just named one of them, which is the variant.
So, let's take a look at this vaccine and the trials and what it showed.
So, CureVac, it was developed in Germany and tested in 10 countries, that's a lot, and some of the other ones were tested in fewer countries for the
most part. Forty seven percent effective against symptomatic disease, in other words, COVID where people actually had symptoms. Now to answer that
question why, they had 147 cases of COVID erupted in this trial of tens of thousands of people.
Fifty seven percent of those were caused by variants of concern. We know that these variants do affect the vaccine somewhat. So, maybe it's the
variants that played a role here. It seems a little bit counterintuitive because we keep -- we are being told over and over again that Pfizer,
Moderna, AstraZeneca, that they did still perform well against the variants, why didn't this one perform very well against the variants?
Part of it might be its technology. It uses mRNA technology, which is the same as Pfizer and Moderna, but it does it in a different way. The mRNA in
Pfizer and Moderna are very, very similar. This one uses a sort of a different form of mRNA, of messenger RNA, if you will. So, that might be
part of the answer here.
But, again, disappointing results for this vaccine -- Isa.
SOARES: Yes, that was going to be my next question really, trying to understand if they're using the same kind of technology components as
Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, why are they getting such different results.
But you know, the German government, from what I believe, invested quite a substantial amount in CureVac. Do we know, Elizabeth whether they are still
backing this vaccine campaign despite these very clearly disappointing results?
COHEN: It'll be interesting to see what happens with that. It'll also be interesting to see what happens with manufacturing capacity. That's been a
real issue. Now, that we have several vaccines out there that work well, we can't quite manufacture them up to the numbers that we would like to
vaccinate the entire world.
Whatever manufacturing space was going to be used for this one, will it still be used for this one? Will this one even get approved? And if not,
can that manufacturing space be used for Pfizer, Moderna, or for other vaccines that have had higher success rates?
You know, it really is unclear. It's unclear what the future for this vaccine is. But, again, I want to make it clear. For Pfizer and Moderna,
for example, they were tested in the summer of 2020 when there were pretty much no variants. They were just tested against kind of the original
version of coronavirus. So, this one, CureVac being tested much more recently, it really had much more of a challenge to meet.
SOARES: Yes. And of course, it is below the World Health Organization's threshold of 50 percent. I think it's important to see where it goes from
here. Thanks very much. Elizabeth Cohen there for us. Appreciate it.
SOARES: Now, with COVID cases falling and the Olympics just five weeks away, Japan has announced plans to ease some of its COVID restrictions.
Starting on Sunday, nine prefectures will no longer be under a state of emergency. Instead, seven of them will move to quasi-emergency measures,
and the other two will lose their emergency declarations all together.
The Prime Minister is still urging caution, though. He is asking people to be safe and watch the Games from home. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YOSHIHIDE SUGA, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I would like to show the world that Japan can overcome a difficult time through people's
efforts and wisdom. For that, I think it is important to hold a safe and secure Tokyo Games, curb the spread of infection in Japan during the period
of the Games, and to prevent infection after the Games.
I would like to ask everyone to support the athletes at home by watching the Games on TV.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, the Prime Minister has also vowed to speed up vaccinations in places like Tokyo and Osaka. But most prefectures won't have the same
type of help from the Central Government. So, one company has decided to step up.
CNN's Selina Wang looks at how e-commerce giant, Rakuten, is working with the City of Kobe to ramp up its vaccine drive.
SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Pro-soccer players, online consultations, a speedy tech process. The CEO of e-commerce giant, Rakuten
thinks he has got the solution to speed up Japan's sluggish vaccine rollout.
HIROSHI MIKITANI, CEO, RAKUTEN: I think we are probably 3 to 5x more efficient than other vaccination centers. Hopefully, you know, that Kobe
will become the role model of entire Japan.
WANG (voice over): Rakuten which owns the Vissel Kobe soccer team is working with Kobe City to vaccinate up to 7,500 people a day at Noevir
Five weeks from the Games, less than six percent of Japan is fully vaccinated.
MIKITANI: I'm not really very supportive of hosting the global Olympic event, but if they are going to do it, then we need to really accelerate
the vaccinations as fast as possible.
WANG (voice over): In its first week, this center vaccinated more than 10,000. But, Mikitani is attempting something much bigger.
MIKITANI: I'm hoping that we can open more vaccine centers all over Japan. Let us do like, maybe 500,000 shots per day.
WANG (voice over): Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has pledged to accelerate Japan's rollout.
SUGA (through translator): From October to November of this year, I hope to finish vaccinating all the people who need and want to be vaccinated. I
want to realize this.
WANG (voice over): Vaccinations for the broader population start later this month at workplaces, including at big companies like Rakuten and
SoftBank, and at universities.
In this war room, Rakuten employees are brainstorming ideas to quicken the pace.
MIKITANI: If you look at the registration to actually getting vaccinated, we only take about four minutes. And we're trying to think how can we
reduce to three seconds? Five seconds? Ten seconds?
WANG (voice over): A major bottleneck in Japan's vaccine rollout is a lack of medical staff to administer the doses. But here, staff from local
universities are helping. And some pre-screenings are conducted online.
With Rakuten's help, Kobe aims to finish vaccinating those 65 and older by mid-July. That's ahead of the central government's schedule and before the
"I'm really relieved to be vaccinated here," she tells me. "I want to have a normal life again and be with people."
Last month, COVID-19 cases in Kobe were surging, and the city canceled its local marathon. Cases have been declining, but the city remains under a
state of emergency.
KIZO HISAMOTO, KOBE, JAPAN MAYOR (through translator): We are seeing more of the new strains circulating in the city. So, we cannot let our guard
down, and we have to encourage the citizens to continue taking all precautions.
WANG (voice over): Many medical experts continue to warn that the Games pose a risk to the Japanese population. The majority will still be
unvaccinated when the Games begin.
"I don't think the Olympics need to be held," he says. "There will be so many coming into Japan that will probably go out and could give us
infections." In the meantime, Kobe City, along with Rakuten, is racing to protect its residents.
Selina Wang, CNN, Tokyo.
SOARES: Still to come, a hot problem over soft drinks. Find out what UEFA is saying to Cristiano Ronaldo and others about hiding products from key
sponsors. Clare Sebastian has all the information for you.
SOARES: Hello, I'm Isa Soares. There is more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment when we will speak to an airline CEO whose business was affected by
a global web outage just a few hours ago.
And a message in a bottle. Not so fast says UEFA, threatening to fine players who tamper with sponsors' products at press conferences.
Before that, this is CNN and on this network, the facts always come first.
The U.S. Supreme Court has dismissed a challenge to the Affordable Care Act, leaving intact former President Barack Obama's signature healthcare
law. The decision safeguards health insurance for millions of Americans. Republican-led states and the former Trump administration had urged the
court to block the entire law.
Tennis champ, Rafael Nadal say he is pulling out of Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics. The 20-time Grand Slam winner says in a tweet that he is
listening to his body, noting there's only two weeks between the French Open, which just wrapped up and Wimbledon.
Nadal says the goal is to prolong his career and continue competing at the highest level.
China has launched three astronauts into space on Thursday. The Divine Vessel as it is called launched from China's Gobi Desert. The astronauts
are docked to the core module of the Heavenly Palace, China's space station that is still under construction and they will stay in orbit for three
Now, in England, the spread of the more infectious delta variant led authorities to delay the country's planned re-opening by four weeks. And
now officials are stepping up vaccination. Starting tomorrow, anyone 18 and over is eligible to get the shot.
Retail, meantime, is anxiously awaiting the re-opening, as you can imagine, the gradual easing of restrictions in April led to a rise in sales. The
British retail consortium said supermarkets in high street reported a 10 percent increase last month. That's compared to May 2019.
James Daunt is the CEO of Barnes & Noble and Waterstones and he joins me now.
James, great to have you on the show. Before we start talking about opening and COVID, I want to get your takes on our top story today, Morgan
Stanley's CEO's comments, regarding the return to office, his return to office plan, which he said, if you can go to a restaurant in New York City,
you can come into the office.
Where do you stand on this?
JAMES DAUNT, CEO, BARNES & NOBLE AND WATERSTONES: Well, from that perspective of a retailer, with plenty of stores in locations with office
workers, dependent upon office work, is obviously I welcome that greatly.
I think probably in the narrow sense of running my own company, I probably am not -- I'm towards the softer end of, I think we need to understand how
individuals like working, how teams interact best.
And that will vary very much from industry to industry and office to office. I wouldn't for a second presume to know how Morgan Stanley or
others of that ilk should best run their businesses.
SOARES: That's fantastic, so a hybrid of sorts. Thank you very much. Let's talk then about the U.K. We -- the prime minister has decided to delay the
next stage of opening. You've been there.
How difficult do you think it is for those businesses who have been planning to open and they are being told, hang in there a few more weeks?
DAUNT: It is really difficult. It doesn't impact us because we have our stores open again. But if you're in hospitality, pubs, restaurants and
things and you're gearing yourself up to really -- you've got the staff there, you've invested in all of the food and the other things that you
need to sell. And it's really tough. And we've been through a terrible year.
SOARES: It's been a tough year. Stores are open. I went past your store yesterday, it was great.
How has it been for business since lockdown lifted?
Are you seeing strong sales?
DAUNT: To be honest, as booksellers, we have had this silver lining of the fact that so many people have been reading through the lockdown periods and
the pandemic, generally.
And not just books, the other things we sell like educational toys, board games, puzzles, so we have actually, really -- particularly once we've had
our shops open again, found trade very buoyant, for which I am very grateful.
SOARES: That's fantastic.
What's your kind of strategy?
What's your long-term view here, James?
How have you had to adapt?
I'm keen to know how your U.S. market, how that has been.
DAUNT: Very different from the U.K. to the U.S. The U.S. obviously kept itself open almost entirely through this period. And therefore it's been
very much easier.
I think the bigger concern for us as physical retailers, we have an online site. And that's done extremely well. But we are -- our souls are embedded
in our retail shops, in the physical business.
And for that, obviously, we're now confronting the ever-increasing preponderance of online retailers; Amazon, in particular.
And how are we, not just as booksellers but how are our neighbors and fellow shopkeepers going to keep going when so many are finding it
impossible and difficult?
But I think right now we're feeling pretty confident. We've reopened; we've got our shops full of people. And, of course, if you're a retailer that has
stayed open, you are benefiting as well as fearful of the consequences of what's going on with your neighbors.
SOARES: Yes. And this brings me really to a point that I think touches many of the retailers in the U.K. and right around the world. We heard a
couple days ago, the G7 tax deal, that says multinational companies have to pay a minimum of at least 50 percent in each country they operate.
Where do you stand on this?
Do you think this finally is a level playing field?
DAUNT: It's certainly not a level playing field but it's a small step toward one. And I certainly believe, we all of us, whether individually or
as corporations and companies, we need to pay our fair share of tax.
And that isn't the case in many ways. And I think it is actually beholden upon our political masters to sort this out. It's a small step forward.
It's definitely a positive step forward but we do need a leveling playing field and we're not remotely close to getting there at the moment.
SOARES: Step in the right direction at least. James Daunt, thanks very much, James, great to see you.
DAUNT: Thank you.
SOARES: Now a preliminary report blames construction flaws for the collapse of a Mexico City rail line last month. Independent experts found
that some of the welding in the structure was insufficient.
SOARES: They noted that a few sections were even missing metal studs. At least 26 people died in the accident, 79 others were injured.
A conglomerate of one of the world's richest businessmen built part of the metro that collapsed. Let's get more details from CNN's Rafael Romo.
Rafael, this is really described as the Golden Line and it's one of the most expensive public works projects in Mexico.
So where did it go wrong?
Talk us through what the investigation found.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Yes, this investigation -- and we really need to say, Isa, that it is only a preliminary report and the
first of three -- has reached some very damning conclusions into what really happened.
You were mentioning the metal studs that connected the steel beams with the concrete slabs, on which the rails themselves rested. That was a very, very
bad problem to begin with. And this is only the beginning.
And it was very telling to some of us at the press conference yesterday that the mayor of Mexico City did not want to answer any questions. And the
reason is that there are questions for which they have no answer yet.
You have to remember, this is a line that was built a couple of administrations ago here in Mexico City, that was supposed to be the crown
jewel of that administration.
And the mayor at the time, who now is Mexico's foreign minister, the line when it was operating, had a ridership of 385,000 people -- 20 different
stations, spanning 25 kilometers, a little over 15 miles.
And it had to shut down twice a few years ago because there were issues already with that. So it is not a big surprise that they found those issues
to begin with.
Now there is going to be a couple of more reports this summer, one to be released in July and the final one in August. And in addition to this
independent investigation being conducted by a region (ph) firm, there are also two other probes, one by the Mexican College of Civil Engineers and,
of course, the Mexico City's attorney general's office.
So this is only the beginning but already the conclusions are very damning -- Isa.
SOARES: Yes, and damning not just for businesses but clearly also for a politician who has been cited as a likely candidate for the presidential
elections in 2024.
"The New York Times" basically saying that it's likely that it's due to poor construction that this happened by Carlos Lind's (ph) group,
What's his company saying?
How damaging is this for his company?
ROMO: Well, to begin, they have denied any wrongdoing. And also you mentioned the current Mexican foreign minister. He said, "He who owes
nothing fears nothing," meaning he has nothing to hide. But the reality is that there are many questions. He was forced to issue another statement
yesterday after the preliminary results were published.
And this is a case that strikes at the very center of Mexican politics. The current mayor of Mexico City, who is in charge of cleaning this up, is a
very close ally of the current president and also a presidential hopeful.
The foreign minister is also a presidential hopeful. And a lot of people here, when we talk to them, feel that they are responsible, even though, as
I said before, they have denied any wrongdoing -- Isa.
SOARES: Meanwhile, the families of the 26 people who died are waiting for answers desperately. Rafael Romo, thank you very much, really appreciate
Now the websites of banks, airlines, even the Hong Kong stock exchange were knocked offline by a major internet outage this morning. The problem was
traced to a delivery system run by Akamai Technologies, the second time in just 10 days that a delivery system has failed.
Some companies affected include Southwest Airlines, who said the pause did not impact flight operations. Also United Airlines and Virgin Australia,
the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac, The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group. Also as mentioned, the Hong Kong stock exchange and Frontier
Barry Biffle is the CEO of Frontier Airlines, joining us from Denver, Colorado.
Barry, thank you very much for joining us. Let's start with this global outage. There is no indication this is a hacking event.
But how much description did it cause?
Give us a sense of the picture.
BARRY BIFFLE, CEO, FRONTIER AIRLINES: Yes. So it didn't impact us materially at all. In fact, we saw a little bit of disturbance last night,
BIFFLE: But today we've seen no changes. And, in fact, bookings continue to surge, due to all the demand.
SOARES: It does, though, come after many of the world's top websites, including CNN, went offline briefly due to a problem with software.
How worried are you about the recurrence of these disruptions?
And are you changing at all the way your business operates?
BIFFLE: We're not changing the way we're operating. But obviously we see these things happen and we want to make sure that we serve our customers
and our operations. So we're evaluating our systems and any vulnerabilities that could be out there. But we're not making any changes as a result.
SOARES: Barry, let's talk bookings and the return to some sense of normalcy.
How is it looking now?
The U.S. is opening up and more people are vaccinated.
BIFFLE: It's looking better every week, pretty much since February. Every week, as more people got vaccinated and more people feel more confident,
they're leaving their homes, they are going out to travel.
Since Memorial Day, the industry is in kind of a 80 percent load factors and with the continued improvements in bookings, I expect we'll see 90
percent load factors during the 4th of July holiday week. So i think it's a great time to travel and everyone's excited to travel again.
SOARES: And it's great to get an optimistic view, given the climate we've been in. You have, though, been enticing people to take to the skies with
very low fares. Yet from what I gather, you still expect to be profitable in the second half.
How are you going to achieve this?
BIFFLE: Well, we achieve it by having really low costs and not just low fuel but low total costs. And by having the lowest cost, we're able to make
money with low fares.
We have some great fares out there for people. But I think my advice to everyone is, if you see something that you want to buy, you better buy it
because it's not going to matter what the price is soon, I think, for most flights. They're going to be sold out pretty soon for summer.
SOARES: Well, that's wonderful to hear.
Where are you in terms of business travelers?
Are you seeing a pickup here?
Do you think we'll ever see the numbers we had pre-pandemic levels?
BIFFLE: We're not really in the business travel segment, per se. American Airlines, United Airlines, those guys do a great job with the corporate
travel and it's not really our business. We carry a small percentage, less than 5 percent in normal times.
We've seen a modest uptick but it's not that material yet. But I do expect, like myself, I'm in the office today and we've completely reopened our
business. Most businesses across America should be open by Labor Day. And once everybody's -- I've joked, would you rather be in a cube or in the
And I believe people will be traveling just as soon as they're back in the office.
SOARES: Yes, people are really keen to start traveling again.
Now let me ask you this, Barry. A couple of days ago, the U.S. and the E.U. agreed to end their 17-year dispute over commercial aircraft subsidies for
Airbus and Boeing. You have an Airbus fleet. Give me a sense of what this breakthrough means to you.
BIFFLE: Well, I think it's exciting for our friends at Airbus but I think it's good for Boeing, too. It's just not good for the aviation community to
have these kinds of things hanging out there. So I think it's great that we can move forward with Europe and the United States.
SOARES: Barry Biffle, the CEO of Frontier Airlines, I wish you all the best. Thanks very much, Barry.
BIFFLE: Thanks for having us on.
SOARES: You are watching QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. Stay with us. Still ahead, plastic beasts and where to find them. The company using drone technology
to tackle the crisis of plastic pollution in the ocean. That is next.
SOARES: Tracking down plastic waste in the world's ocean poses a really vast challenge. By some estimates, 99 percent of it goes missing once it
enters the ocean, threatening wildlife as well as marine habitats. We meet the people using the latest tech to try to tackle that problem.
ELLIE MACKAY, ELLIPSIS EARTH (voice-over): Plastic as a material is actually amazing. It can be flexible, it can be see-through, it can be
colored. You can mold it into different shapes.
The issue with plastic is not the plastic itself; it's the mismanagement of its material. These are items that are designed to last for up to a
thousand years and we use them for a few seconds.
My name is Ellie Mackay. I'm the CEO and founder of Ellipsis Earth. We use computer software to map litter. The ocean is, unfortunately, the garbage
patch for the rest of the world, which 99 percent of all the plastic that we know enters the ocean goes missing.
And that to me is an incredible statistic that actually triggered me forming Ellipsis because I couldn't understand how we can solve the problem
if we don't even know where to look.
Drones are a game changer. They allow us to survey an entire stretch of coastline in a few minutes. So just this morning we have been able to
survey several miles of this U.K. coastline and our software has already identified over 800 different items of trash, the majority of those being
One of the places that we went to, when this problem really hit home for me, was the Galapagos archipelago, which is a collection of islands off the
coast of Ecuador. There are coastlines there that have not changed since Darwin set foot on those beaches all those years ago.
The only difference is, you are never more than 43 centimeters away from a piece of trash.
While it was really depressing to come back with data that showed thousands and thousands of trash items, we were able to turn that into something
hopeful because that data could be used as evidence for the need to come up with a solution.
And it meant that we were able to discuss with policymakers, along the South American coastline, to commit to reduce the river of plastic
pollution in their countries. Since we did the baseline survey, they have introduced a ban on takeaway containers across all of the islands as well
as plastic bags.
And they are looking at introducing potentially a plastics tax as well. So when we talk about plastic pollution, quite often we hear this word
microplastics, which is referring to plastic particles that are less than 5 millimeters in size.
They're very dangerous because they get everywhere. And they're easy to ingest for wildlife. What we're focusing on is tracking, mapping and
capturing macroplastics, because they will eventually break down into microplastics. So if you collect one plastic bottle, that's 25,000
microplastics potential pieces in the future.
MACKAY (voice-over): It's about getting our trash statistics down far enough that they can become manageable by local communities, making sure
that we contain, we reuse and we recycle as much of our trash as possible. And the data that we are collecting is giving us the power. It's giving us
the information that we need to do that.
SOARES: Of course, we will continue showcasing inspirational environmental stories like this as part of the initiative at CNN. And do let us know what
you're doing to answer the call with the #CallToEarth. Be back after a very short break.
SOARES: U.S. President Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are at the White House, creating a new federal holiday to commemorate the end of U.S. slavery.
Let's listen in.
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JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- who did so much to make this day possible.
I'm especially pleased that we showed the nation that we come together as Democrats and Republicans to commemorate this day with an overwhelming
bipartisan support of the Congress. I hope this is the beginning of a change in the way we deal with one another.
We're blessed to mark the day in the presence of Ms. Opal Lee. As my mother would say, God love her.
I had the honor of meeting her in Nevada more than a year ago. She told me she loved me and I believed it. I want to believe it.
You're incredible, a daughter of Texas, grandmother of the movement to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.
And Ms. Opal is, you won't believe it, she's 49 years old. Or 94 years old.
You are an incredible woman, Ms. Opal, you really are. As a child growing up in Texas, she and her family would celebrate Juneteenth. Juneteenth,
1939, when she was 12 years old, a white mob torched her family home. Such hate never stopped her any more than it stopped the vast majority of you
I'm looking at from this podium.
BIDEN: Over the course of decades, she's made it her mission to see that this day came. It was almost a singular mission. She's walked for miles and
miles, literally and figuratively, to bring attention to Juneteenth to make this day possible.
I ask once again, we all stand and give her a warm welcome.
As I said, for 36 years in the Senate, excuse me for a point of personal privilege. As I was walking down, I regret that my grandchildren aren't
here because this is a really, really, really important moment in our history.
By making Juneteenth a federal holiday, all Americans can feel the power of the day and learn from our history and celebrate the progress and grapple
with the distance we have come but the distance we have to travel to.
I said a few weeks ago, marking the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre, great nations don't ignore their most painful moments. Great
nations don't ignore their most painful moments. They don't ignore those moments in the past. They embrace them.
Great nations don't walk away. We come to terms with the mistakes we made. And remembering those moments, we begin to heal and grow stronger. The
truth is, it's not -- simply not enough just to commemorate Juneteenth.
After all, emancipation of enslaved Black Americans didn't mark the end of America's work to deliver on the promise of equality. It only marked the
beginning. To honor the true meaning of Juneteenth we have to continue toward that promise. We have not gotten there yet.
The vice president and I and our entire administration and all of you in this room are committed to doing just that.
That's why we launched an aggressive effort to combat racial discrimination in housing, finally address the cruel fact that a home owned to this day by
a Black American family is usually appraised at a lower rate to a similar home owned by a white family in a similar area.
That's why we committed in increasing Black home ownership, one of the biggest drivers of generational wealth. That's why we're making it possible
for more Black entrepreneurs to access capital. Their ideas are as good but they lack the capital to get their fair share of federal contracts. So they
need to build wealth.
That's why we're working to give each and every child 3 and 4 years of age not day care but school, in a school.
That's why we're unlocking the incredibly creative innovation of the history of our historical Black colleges and universities, providing them
with the resources for vested research centers and laboratories, to help HBCU graduates to prepare and compete for good-paying jobs in the future.
Folks, the promise of equality is not going to be fulfilled until we become real, it becomes real in our schools and on our main streets and in our
neighborhoods, our health care system and ensuring that equity is at the heart of our fight against the pandemic and the water that comes out of our
faucets and the air we breathe in our communities and our justice system.
We can fulfill the promise of America for all people, all of our people. And it's not going to be fulfilled so long as the sacred right to vote
remains under attack.
Restrictive law, threats of intimidation, voter purges and more -- an assault that offends the very democracy, our very democracy. We can't rest
until the promise of equality is fulfilled for every one of us in every corner of this nation. That to me is the meaning of Juneteenth. That's what
So let's make this -- do this very Juneteenth, tomorrow.