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Quest Means Business

Fed Chair Speaks On Capitol Hill; Chip Shortage Hits Consumer Electronic Prices; Bitcoin Faces Global Scrutiny; Google Advertising Antitrust Case; U.S. Seizes Dozens Of U.S. Web Domains Connected To Iran. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired June 22, 2021 - 15:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: The Dow is rising for a second day, adding to Monday's sizable gains. Let's show you the big board, as you can

see now, up two-tenths of a percent, 76 points. Those are the markets and these are the main event for you.

Fed Chair, Jay Powell speaks on Capitol Hill this hour trying really to soothe investors about concerns of inflation.

Bitcoin hits its lowest level in months after China clamps down on cryptocurrencies.

And dating app, Bumble gives its global workforce the week off to help ease pandemic burnout.

Live from London, it is Tuesday, the 22nd of June, I'm Isa Soares, and I, too, mean business.

Good evening, everyone. Tonight, Jay Powell speaks and Wall Street listens as it always does. The Chairman of the Federal Reserve is speaking to U.S.

lawmakers on Capitol Hill. You are looking at live pictures. Markets really lacking any sense of direction today as you can imagine are hanging on his

every word looking for signs.

The Dow has been down, then up, now it's just about, well, not really, but about two-tenths of a percent up as the inflation debate really reaches a

feverish pitch among economists. Chairman Powell says the fear of inflation is not a good enough reason to raise interest rates. Take a listen.


JEROME POWELL, U.S. FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIR: We will not raise interest rates preemptively because we think employment is too high, because we fear the

possible onset of inflation, instead, we will wait for actual evidence of actual inflation or other imbalances. So, that's the most important thing

that we can do.

I mean, I think the point is that there is a growing realization, really, across the political spectrum that we need to achieve more inclusive



SOARES: Now, language is crucial here, parsing Jay Powell's carefully chosen words are one of the few clues that we get about what the Fed

actually might do and today, he is once again saying the jump in inflation is transitory. That is the word.

The heads of the Federal Reserve banks are split on what to do about it. John Williams from the New York Fed says tapering is still quite a ways

off. The Dallas Fed, Robert Kaplan said the Fed should ease off the accelerator sooner rather than later. James Bullard from the St. Louis Fed

said it is now appropriate to start talking about tapering policies.

So, you can see the confusion and the different views on this. Paul La Monica is in New York for more. And Paul, I know you've been listening

attentively to Jay Powell. Has he said anything to you that has really stood out? Anything that can give a sense of the Fed strategy here?

PAUL LA MONICA, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: I think he is really trying to stick closely to the well-established playbook that he has already written and

provided to the markets, Isa. Clearly as we heard, the Fed Chairman talking about inflation being something that he views and others on the Central

Bank view is transitory. They're not overly concerned that inflation is going to run amok, and even if pressures start to build, they want to wait

to see them before they react.

They are not going to preemptively raise rates due to concerns about inflation that may not pan out. But I think the other word that really

struck me is you talked about, the income inequality, and the concerns about some people who aren't really making a big comeback economically, it

is an uneven recovery. That was the word that he used, "uneven."

And I think that hints to this notion the Fed does have to recognize that you can't just look at the stock market and say the economy is back because

the Dow is at a record high. It is much more nuanced than that obviously.

SOARES: Yes. Inclusive prosperity wasn't it, was really what he was referring to. On inflation, if you don't mind, Paul. He says -- and I've

got some of the early remarks, "As these transitory supply effects abate inflation is expected to drop back toward our longer run goal."

I mean, " ... transitory supply effects abate," does this market believe that this will abate? Does it believe it will work itself out? Because you

know, yesterday, Mnuchin, the former Treasury Secretary was basically saying that the markets are underestimating the inflation risk.

LA MONICA: Yes. That is, I think, the biggest question outstanding right now. He said, whether or not these inflation pressures are transitory or

are they more structural in nature, and the types of things that will lead to permanent increases in the rise of many consumer and business goods.


LA MONICA: Yes, supply chains have obviously been disrupted in a major way because of COVID-19. We're slowly getting back to normal there. The

question obviously though is, will any of these jumps in prices, because of what is happening in manufacturing factories abroad, will they be sticky?

And that is, I think, where Jerome Powell would rather err on the side of saying they are transitory until proven otherwise instead of preemptively

raising rates to fight an inflation threat that might not be something that will be long lasting.

Because the Fed doesn't want to raise rates and then wind up being accused of nipping this recovery in the bud because they were overaggressive.

SOARES: Okay, that's inflation. What about unemployment? Because it is still elevated. But he has been saying that this will improve, from what I

understand, as vaccinations rise. But we know the vaccination rates in the United States is slowing.

LA MONICA: Yes. The unemployment rate has gone down dramatically from the peaks during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, I don't think the Fed

is as concerned about the jobs side of the equation. The numbers are going to be bumping around, and a bit noisy. But the trend is clearly the Fed's

friend right now, the numbers are going in the right direction.

The problem though is it then, again feeds into inflation, especially if you have all of these labor shortages, are people going to be able to

demand and get higher wages? Wages are what typically drives a big part of inflation. It is not just commodity prices and what is happening in

manufacturing goods overseas. It is also about what people are getting in their paycheck.

They have more, they spend more. That leads to rising consumer prices which the Fed would be concerned about.

SOARES: Yes. I'm glad you brought that up because you know, some may say there are positives to this. Because, yesterday, if you were watching the

show, I spoke to Chip Rogers, who is the President and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association. And he told me, yes, labor shortage is one

of the biggest problems, but he also add that housekeepers' rates have gone up something like 25 percent as they try to draw workers back.

So, there is an upside, too, to this.

LA MONICA: Without question. No one, I think, in their right mind would deny that people who had not been getting a paycheck during this pandemic

or were getting underpaid, that getting compensated fairly for the work they're doing, that's a great thing.

It only becomes a problem if prices start to rise ahead of wage growth, then you wind up with the type of inflation that the Fed would be worried

about. But again, not to say that people getting a bigger paycheck in and of itself is a bad thing, it is of course, not. That's a great thing.

SOARES: Paul La Monica making sense of it all for us. Thanks very much, Paul.

Now, the global chip shortage is starting to affect the cost of consumer electronics like laptops, as well as printers, smartphones could be next.

The semiconductor industry said it sold a record of a hundred billion chips around the world in April. The surge in demand is contributing to, you

guessed it, inflation. What we were just talking about.

In the U.S., the price of computers and other electronics rose last month at the fastest pace in a decade. The Smart Payment Association warns the

chip shortage could limit the availability of payment cards themselves.

ARM Holdings supply chips to Apple among many other well-known names. CEO, Simon Segars joins us now.

Simon, great to have you on the show. I am just going to pick up on the inflation if you don't mind, given that we have got Jay Powell speaking

this hour and given that it is the topic du jour at the moment. When you see demand outstripping supply, talk to me about your business and how, if

you're facing those inflationary pressures that we have been talking about and hearing so much about.

SIMON SEGARS, CEO, ARM HOLDINGS: Well, clearly, demand is outstripping supply at the moment and we are seeing as a result, shortages in some of

the end products. And just because of the fundamental laws of economics, we are seeing an increase in the price of chips as they are put in to products

that people then go buy in the stores.

So, it is having an effect. You mentioned some of the statistics there. And it is going to take a while to resolve itself.

You know, what is driving this demand is many, many different markets, it is the kind of -- as we come out of pandemic and start going back to the

office, there is demand for new equipment, there is demand for equipment in the offices.

And also, there is a long-term demand as well. So, the supply side of the semiconductor industry, the foundries that build the chips have to be very

careful about the investments they make and ensure that they are bringing on capacity to deal with both the short term demands, but also the long

term demands.

SOARES: When do you think, Simon, that the chip shortage will abate? What is your vision? What is the target here, do you think?


SEGARS: Well, again, there are sort of two dimensions to this. There's the short term crunch that we have at the moment, and the foundries around the

world are working hard to put in extra capacity where they can. There is also various programs underway to bring on new fabs that will provide even

more capacity, but that is going to take some years.

But again, it is about the balance. There is the short term issue which people I talk to forecast the end of the year for things getting a little

easier, but then, there is the long term as well.

And there are so many factors driving long term demand for semiconductors. We are going to need that additional capacity as well as that short term

additional capacity.

SOARES: On the short term, let's start with that if you don't mind, Simon. Talk me through the steps that you are taking in the short term here to try

and alleviate this. I don't know if you can call it a crisis, but definitely the shortage.

SEGARS: Well, for ARM as a company, we don't actually manufacture silicon chips themselves. We create building blocks, IP - intellectual property as

we call it. We license to chip companies around the world who are then creating designs that they're having manufactured, usually through a third-

party specialist.

So, we sit in this supply chain. We talk all the time to our licensees who are creating demand and you know, what with see is pretty much every one of

our licensees can sell absolutely every chip that they can get their hands on right now.

So, across all the sectors, whether it is automotive, and there has been a lot of focus there; whether it is in personal computing devices, whether it

is in the network infrastructure, and datacenters really across the whole spectrum, there is an unprecedented demand which, as I said, is going to

take some time to resolve.

SOARES: You have been, I read, you know at ARM for 30 years. Did you envisage anything like this?

SEGARS: Absolutely not. I mean, when we started, I was lucky enough to join the company when there were only 15 other people in it. We have got well

over 6,000 now all around the world, and we're serving an industry that is innovating at an unbelievable pace. It has far exceeded our expectations.

And what is even more exciting is, what is to come? We are seeing growth driven by increased sophistication in networks. We're seeing the

digitization of pretty much every aspect of everyday life. We're seeing consumer products getting smarter and smarter all the time.

So, that's creating great demand for our products, it is creating great demand for our business, which is probably something that we wanted to come

on and talk about, which is why our future is so important to us and our combination with NVIDIA.

SOARES: Let's talk about your future. You are waiting for regulators to give the greenlight on your $40 billion tie up with NVIDIA. How hopeful are

you that that deal will be approved?

SEGARS: Absolutely. We're very confident that that deal is going to get approved, because again, when we look at the future of technology, the need

for advanced computing devices that are going to add more and more intelligence into all the products that we rely on in our everyday lives --

that demand is growing.

We need to be investing heavily in our business in order to meet that demand and meet the requirements of our licensees, the companies who want

to build chips on top of their very sophisticated processing elements that we build.

Our growth is going in so many dimensions. We need that capacity, that scale, and we believe this transaction is the best way to achieve that, and

that it is going to get approved.

SOARES: Simon Segars, thank you very much. Thanks very much for coming on the show. Appreciate it, Simon.

SEGARS: Thanks very much.

SOARES: Now, Bitcoin was trading below $30,000.00 today for the first time since January. The cryptocurrency has climbed back above that key

threshold. It is still down 50 percent since its April peak. The latest selloff follows renewed pressure on Chinese banks to crack down on


Well, China is by no means the only country changing its approach to cryptocurrencies. South Korea says crypto exchanges must register with its

Financial Services Commission by September. To do so, they'll have to do partner -- they have to partner with a domestic commercial bank. They will

then be subject to regulatory scrutiny.

Iran, meanwhile, has banned crypto mining for four months to prevent blackouts. The Iranian state media says police have seized 7,000 computer


In El Salvador, it is heading, well, the other direction. It has made Bitcoin a legal tender. Its President wants to offer renewable geothermal

energy to Bitcoin miners.

David Culver has more on how Beijing is influencing the crypto market.

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Isa, China's Central Bank is sending a clear message that it will not tolerate crypto trading. The move caused

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to plunge in trading.

On Monday, Bitcoin hit a two-week low before prices stabilized a bit on Tuesday, but it has lost roughly half of its value since it hit an all-time

high in April.


CULVER: Other cryptos were also caught up in Monday's big selloff. Cryptocurrencies have had a rough couple of months for a few reasons,

including concerns about the environmental impact of mining coins and increasing government scrutiny.

Here in China, officials have been signaling for months a more aggressive push to curtail use of such currencies. On Monday, the People's Bank of

China summoned Alipay, the widely popular online payments platform along with five big lenders and told them to quote, "comprehensively investigate

and identify cryptocurrency exchanges and dealers" so they could cut off any crypto trading.

The Central Bank said that cryptocurrency trading breed the risk of illegal cross border transfers of assets and money laundering. It reinforces just

how far this country is willing to go to restrict the usage of Bitcoin and other digital coins.

Over the weekend, Chinese state media reported that the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan ordered a halt to all crypto mining operations

and cut off the power supply to many mining facilities. The province is a major hub for crypto mining.

While China does not completely ban cryptos, regulators back in 2013 declared that Bitcoin was not a real currency and forbade financial and

payment institutions from transacting with it. The growing crackdown is also in part to boost China's state backed digital yuan initiative, which

authorities hope will be implemented so that they keep money flows in check here -- Isa.

SOARES: Thank you very much, David Culver.

And still ahead, the global vaccination rate for COVID hits a new milestone, but the W.H.O. warns too many countries are being left behind.

What the organization plans to do about it, next.


SOARES: Now, roughly 10 percent of the world is now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. But the latest data shows there is still a huge disparity

between the wealthy, as well as the poorer nations.

In North America, for example, 30 percent of the population is covered. But in the middle to low-income countries, the average you can see there is

much, much lower.

And then to make matters worse, the World Health Organization warns that many developing nations are simply just running out of the few vaccines

that they do have.

So, to try and really address this, South Africa's President says his country will work with the W.H.O. to host the continent's first COVID

vaccine production facility.

CNN's correspondent David McKenzie joins me now from Johannesburg.


SOARES: So, David, this is great news, really, a move to try and boost supply, but give us a sense of how soon these vaccines will be available?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is not going to be immediate, Isa. It is certainly a positive development for those who

have been looking to push the capabilities of vaccine production, not just for COVID-19, but for future pandemics and for other healthcare products in

the African continent, for the African continent.

What this essentially is, is it is a consortium of South African based biotechnology companies, linking up with universities here and possibly or

probably some key partners overseas that have been developing this messenger RNA technology which is famously behind the Pfizer and Moderna

COVID-19 vaccines that have been so successful.

Now, a looming question is still whether the intellectual property rights associated with said vaccines will in fact be waived by the W.T.O. Those

are ongoing negotiations. Both that waiver of the IP and the production facility that could start here in South Africa are many, many months away,


There is an option though of course, to produce and license mRNA vaccines so that is another option. But nothing soon, and we are dealing with a

pretty severe wave across the continent, South Africa included.

SOARES: So there are options, but where are we also with the COVAX initiative? Is that still one of these options that you have outlined

there, David?

CULVER: Well, in recent days there has been -- in recent days, there has some better news for COVAX and that the U.S. government is donating many

millions of excess vaccines, other countries and regions have pledged to do the same. It is all going to be too slow to impact some of the worst

effects of the virus that are happening right now.

You know, I've spoken to doctors, physicians over the last few days here in South Africa who say, particularly in this province, beds are at a

capacity, oxygen is in short supply. We may be looking at more severe lockdown measures here in South Africa. Countries like Namibia, Uganda,

Malawi, Kenya, to a certain extent all facing renewed surges in this virus.

You know, I spoke to the W.H.O. in a press conference yesterday. They said it is a moral catastrophe that these vaccine doses aren't being shared on a

larger scale. And as we've been talking about Isa, not just here in Sub Saharan Africa, but in parts of South America and Asia, you have the

prospect of older, vulnerable people unable to access vaccines while the young and healthy are getting them in parts of North America and Europe.

Unfortunately, that doesn't look like it will change in the short term though there is increasing pressure for countries to share vaccines so that

at least places like South Africa and parts of the continent will start getting over COVID-19 because it really feels like we are still very much

in the middle of this pandemic where I'm sitting right now -- Isa.

SOARES: Yes, absolutely. With new variants looming all the time. David McKenzie, thank you very much.

Now, Cuba has announced that had one of the homegrown vaccines appears to be highly effective against the coronavirus claiming it has 92 percent

efficacy rate. Scientists in Havana celebrated Monday's announcement. You can see them clapping, and they touted results as a vindication that Cuba

can successfully produce its own shots.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann is in Havana.

And Patrick, this is pretty impressive, this efficacy rate. How soon, how confident is Cuba that this will all be approved?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they will probably ask the body here that will allow them to use it on an emergency basis very soon, in the

next few days, certainly by the end of the month. We are expecting that approval will be granted because, of course, it is one part of the Cuban

government asking another part of the Cuban government for permission. They are very confident that these vaccines, they now have two of the first

vaccines that appears produced in Latin America that are effective against the coronavirus.

So, now the challenge, and there are many challenges that remain, Isa, is producing this vaccine as they had promised, vaccinate about 70 percent of

the island by September, and then hopefully the entire island by the end of the year.

We've seen record numbers of coronavirus, new coronavirus cases in the last few days. But we have also seen the number of cases in Havana, which is the

epicenter of the coronavirus, but also where they have been vaccinating the most, we've seen those numbers fall.


OPPMANN: So, there are really positive signs. It appears that Cuba's gamble here, a very big gamble, not to import vaccines from other countries has

paid off. But just getting syringes, they had to ask countries to donate syringes. There have been medicine shortages of every other kind here.

So, this is still a country with many resources, lacking under U.S. sanctions, but some very good news that is giving Cuban scientists a reason

to celebrate a little bit finally.

SOARES: Indeed, and it does make Cuba the first Latin American country to develop, Patrick, and manufacture its own vaccine against COVID-19. Now,

will it share with it the rest of the continent, which as you well know, is being battered by the pandemic? We're seeing the latest figures, not only

out of Brazil, but also out of Colombia, rising numbers.

OPPMANN: And neighbors like Haiti that really haven't even begun to vaccinate. So, of course, Cuba will not be able to meet that demand. It is

just too huge. They're hoping, as they've done for instance with Iran, to begin production in other countries of Cuban vaccines. That could be a way

forward and they will sell vaccines, they will share vaccines, they will vaccinate people who want to come to Cuba and receive a vaccination here.

Whether or not they can produce enough on their own remains to be seen. They are trying to increase that production. They have a long history here,

but of course, we've never seen the demand like the demand we are currently seeing around the world for coronavirus vaccines. So, Cuba on its own will

not be able to do it, but certainly, they have contributed in a major way here.

SOARES: Yes, it is a huge test for Cuba, too, at this time, too. Patrick Oppmann, great to see you, my friend.

Now, we are about to take a short break. And one of the hottest names in tech is taking a rather long one. Why Bumble has given its staff the week

off. Clare Sebastian explains next.




SOARES: Hello, I'm Isa Soares. There will be more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment when we'll discuss the landmark eve probe into whether Google's

online ad business has had an unfair advantage.

And Bumble gives its workers the week off to help ease burnout after a chaotic year. Before that, the news headlines for you this hour.


SOARES: Now the E.U. Is investigating whether Google's online ad business has an unfair advantage. Google made $147 billion in ad revenue last year.

E.U. anti-trust regulators are looking at whether the company distorts the market by keeping user data to itself.

Google said it plans to show the E.U. officials how its business model helps European companies and shoppers. Anna Stewart is on the story.

I'm sensing deja vu.

How many E.U. fines are there against Google?


SOARES: And how does this one differ really?

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is certainly not Google's first E.U.'s anti-trust rodeo. This comes after three mega multi-billion dollar

fines. We can take a look at them now. Together they add up to over $9 billion.

2017, $2.7 billion; that one was for favoring its own shopping results over results from rivals.

2018, a massive one, the biggest one, $5 billion. That was for its Android mobile operating service, which on fell it promoted its own apps. And then

the most recent one, which was involved with for blocking adverts from rival search engines.

This latest one, this one focuses on advertising and whether Google has abused its position then. It's interesting actually because it comes just

two weeks after France fined it for just that, abusing its dominant position in advertising.

Now the competition commission in margaret vestiture (ph) has said that Google is present at almost all levels of the supply chain. It both buys,

it sells adverts. It helps sell parties do both of those options. It also helps them manage adverts.

And the E.U. here is concerned that Google has made it harder for rivals to compete. There are a whole load of different components to this specific

probe. I'll only highlight a few.

One is whether or not Google restricts user data access to its rivals, making it unfairly competitive.

And the second, whether or not there is an issue around the fact that Google obliges third parties to use its tools and its services to sell or

manage ads on YouTube.

SOARES: These investigations, Anna, and correct me if I'm wrong, tend to last a long time.

So is there, from those you've been speaking, those experts, what is the timeline here?

And will the outcome crucially change anything?

STEWART: That is the critical question. If we look back in history to get a sense of the timeframe, that last fine in 2019, that took nearly nine years

from the start of that investigation. And you know, Isa, two years later, it is still under the appeals process.


STEWART: If this were to come to a fine, if the E.U. decides that Google has indeed abused its position here, well, actually, advertising revenue is

the biggest thing for Google. It makes up 80 (ph) percent of its revenue. So that fine could be huge.

But as you mentioned, you know, what is the point?

What does that actually do?

Does it make any difference at all?

Well, so far Google remains very much a dominant player in all of its services, including advertising. So that's certainly something that people

want to see. I have to say that the response from Google today, was they are ready to answer the questions and demonstrate the benefits of their

products to European businesses and consumers.

They're ready to engage with the E.U., as they have done many times over.

SOARES: Like you said, not their first rodeo. Anna Stewart there, thanks very much, Anna. Great to see you.

Now the dating app Bumble is giving all its worker bees really a break this week. The company has closed its offices as a thank-you to staff, with one

employee saying the CEO had picked up on a sense of collective burnout.

It's something in sharp focus during the work from Homira (ph). One study says more than a quarter of Americans never prioritize personal commitments

over work. More than half the managers also want to take -- want to start to take time off just to avoid burning out.

And more than a third of people say they would want a new job after the pandemic because of their work-life balance. Let's get more on this. Clare

Sebastian joins me now.

Hey, Clare, I can just imagine, if Richard was here, Richard Quest were here, he would be rolling his eyes and saying surely a week is not enough

to solve this problem.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I don't know, Isa, he would be right. It's not. But it is a start. And I think the point here is for

management at companies like Bumble and other companies because burnout of course is not limited to this one workplace, to show that they're listening

and they're aware.

One aspect that we see coming up in studies on this sort of work from home shift over the pandemic, is that management have been unaware of the

challenges that some of their staff are feeling simply because they haven't been able to see them.

So at Bumble said this is something for all their 700 plus employees. It is a chance for them to sort of rest and recover after 15 months of living

through a pandemic. And they say it is a thank you for their hard work and resilience.

And of course we know it has been a very busy time for Bumble in particular, they went public in February, which is no small undertaking.

They've seen really astronomic growth rates through the pandemic and the Q1 of this year. User growth 80s are up 30 percent. So a very busy time,

something that clearly they were welcome and something that this employee in that then deleted tweet called a big deal.

So for something that they're welcoming.

SOARES: But it is very different from some of the stories from some of the different interviews you've been hearing, Clare. You and I were talking

just last week about how the finance sector of Wall Street is going a very different way.

Do you think this is something that will catch on?

SEBASTIAN: Yes, I think companies are having to set up their store, Isa, along the lines of what they're going to do post pandemic.

Will there be a hybrid work strategy some days in the office, some not?

Will employees be able to choose or will they go the way of some of the Wall Street banks, the likes of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley and say,

look, we really think that everyone should be back in the office at least by Labor Day.

It's something that will determine ultimately you know, where some employees want to seek jobs. It's going to be a determining factor in this

labor market, along with wages and benefits. So I think this is a new era. Hybrid work is potentially here to stay.

SOARES: Clare Sebastian, thank you very much, Clare. Good to see you.


SOARES: And some breaking news for you. The U.S. government has seized dozens of U.S. web domains connected to Iran. The U.S. says they are linked

to disinformation efforts and Iran spheres Fars news agency reports the U.S. has blocked the website and news agencies, including state-run press


This comes just days after Ebrahim Raisi, was voted president-elect. We heard him today. Natasha Bertrand is in Washington.

Natasha, what more can you tell us about this?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Not much at this point, Isa. All we know is that the U.S. has seized these dozens of domains that

were owned by Iran and that part of the reason is because of these disinformation efforts they say these websites were carrying out.

We should note that this is not unprecedented, that, in 2020, the U.S. government did seize upwards of 90 domains out of Iran that they said were

being used by the IRGC similarly for disinformation efforts.

So what is notable about this, though, obviously, is that the United States is in the middle of round six of talks to reenter the nuclear deal with the

Iranians. So it is a pretty provocative act, especially as these talks proceed.

SOARES: Yes, especially given that the new president-elect was just speaking today, talking really about what his strategy is, what his foreign

policy will be. Talk to us about the timing of this also.

BERTRAND: Really interesting timing here. This was not really expected when press TV went down and had that seizure notice. It kind of came as a

surprise to everyone. A lot of people were wondering whether it was actually a hack.


BERTRAND: But we were told definitively by a national security official that this was a deliberate takedown by the U.S. government as a part of

this effort to take down these disinformation efforts globally.

The timing, obviously, coming, again, as the U.S. is negotiating these talks with the Iranians to reenter the nuclear deal after the new president

of Iran was just elected. So it is definitely going to be seen by the Iranians as a provocation.

And how the U.S. then explains this to the public remains to be seen. We're expecting statements to come out shortly.

SOARES: Right. And so far, nothing from the White House, nothing from the Biden administration. Of course, we will keep on top of that breaking news

story for you.

And that does it for us this hour. That's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'll be back at the top of the hour. We'll make a dash for the closing bell. Up

next meanwhile, "LIVING GOLF." Do stay right here with CNN.



SOARES: Hello, I'm Isa Soares. It is the dash, the closing bell, we're just two minutes away as the Fed chair testifies in Washington. It has really

been an up and down day for the Dow.

We are set to close off the highs of the day a moderate gain of about 1.5 percent. The SNP 500 and Nasdaq are also moving higher after announcing

last week that the Fed is talking about -- talking about -- easing monetary policy.

Jay Powell is now reassuring investors that rising interest rates are likely still a ways off. He said inflation is transitory -- that was the

word -- and the fear of inflation is not a good enough reason to taper the Fed's pandemic response.

Speaking earlier this hour, the CEO of U.K. chip giant Arm told me that the rising amount of computer chips makes him confident the U.K. will approve

his long -- his company's long-awaited merger when nan vivia (ph).


SIMON SEGARS, CEO, ARM: We're very confident that deal will get approved. Because again, when we look at the future of technology, the need for

advanced computing devices that will add more and more intelligence into all the products that we rely on in our everyday lives, that demand is


We need to be investing heavily in our business in order to meet the demand and meet the requirements of our licensees. The company is going to build

chips on top of the very sophisticated processing elements that we build.

And growth's going in so many dimensions we need that capacity, that scale. And we believe that this transaction is the best way to achieve that and

that it is going to get approved.


SOARES: And that is your dash to the bell. I'm Isa Soares in London. The closing bell is ringing soon. "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" starts right now.