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Quest Means Business

Global Regulators Push Back on Pfizer Booster Shot Calls; G20 Finance Ministers Meet to Discuss Global Tax Deal; At Least 78 People Now Confirmed Dead In Florida Collapse; Biden To Meet With German Chancellor Merkel Next Week. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired July 09, 2021 - 15:00:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS HOST: The end of the week. An hour to go of trading and Thursday's losses have been erased and then some more. We've

got records. There is as a record on the Dow, a comfortable one. It looks like the S&P will also go to a record, as indeed will the NASDAQ. The

triple stack showing good gains across the board.

There you see there, 14,697 -- yes, records.

The markets as they stand with an hour to go, and the main events of the day: Pfizer is locking horns with regulators across the world over whether

patients need a booster shot.

President Biden is taking aim at big tech, a new executive order.

And you thought you had big plans for the weekend. Sir Richard Branson is ready to go to space.

On a Friday, we are as always, live in New York. It is July the 9th. I'm Richard Quest and I mean business.

Good evening. The markets may be buoyant, but as the dangerous coronavirus variants spreads around the world, so things are looking far more serious.

Pfizer and regulators are publicly clashing over whether we will need booster shots.

Pfizer says there is evidence that immunity from its two-shot regime is waning, and it plans to ask regulators to sign off on a booster.

The U.S. F.D.A. - Food and Drug Administration - and the gold standard, the C.D.C. are skeptical. They have put out a joint statement, and the agencies

say fully vaccinated Americans do not need boosters at this time.

The statement says the U.S. is fortunate to have what it calls highly effective vaccines. It says the available vaccine protects against the

variants, including delta.

The former Surgeon General, Jerome Adams told us, he is worried, drug makers and regulators are sending mixed messages.


DR. JEROME ADAMS, FORMER U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: It is troubling that there is such a lack of coordination on communication between the companies and

the Federal government.

I'm absolutely concerned about the confusion. And again, I hope that they can get on the same page. One of the things we did last year, Dr. Fauci,

Dr. Collins, and myself, we met with the companies weekly to make sure we understood what they were saying and we could coordinate messaging, because

this whiplash really is troubling to the American people.


QUEST: It is not only a public health story. It has huge commercial implications for Pfizer. The company expects to bring in roughly $21

billion in revenue this year from its COVID vaccine. It is charging $19.50 per dose. Unlike some of the other drug makers, Pfizer rejected Federal

funding to develop its vaccines, so they've said they will price their vaccine based on circumstances of the pandemic.

As I say, $19.50 roughly per dose, which they say is the cost of the flu vaccine as well. Interestingly, it hasn't affected Pfizer's share price. It

is roughly where it was at the start of 2020. Although the PE ratio has doubled since this time last year as a result of more money coming in.

Elizabeth Cohen is at the CNN Center in Atlanta. Two distinct issues, I want to get to here. First of all, the mixed messaging, and secondly,

booster shots.

Mixed messaging, Pfizer is saying boosters will be necessary or very likely; C.D.C. and F.D.A. saying not so fast.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, the C.D.C. and the F.D.A., the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Food and Drug

Administration, very clear, not so fast.

So, Pfizer when they announced this, when they said, hey, we think immunity is waning and we are going to ask the F.D.A. for permission to put out this

third shot to be used as a booster, they didn't announce any new data, which is really strange. Pfizer is a pharmaceutical company. They live on

data. They are supposed to talk about data.

All they did was point to some Israeli numbers that came out earlier this week as sort of proof, as it were, some kind of evidence that the immunity

is waning. But what's really odd is that those numbers don't actually really show that.

Let's take a look at the Israeli numbers that came out a few days ago. So, the Israeli Ministry of Health said that the vaccine now, two doses of

Pfizer is 64 percent effective at preventing infection, which is lower than it used to be, and that's because of the delta variant and that's what they

sort of ascribed it to, and that it is 93 percent effective at preventing severe disease.


COHEN: That second one, Richard, that's what vaccines -- that's what you're looking for. You're looking for -- does the vaccine keep people out of the

hospital and out of the morgue? Ninety three percent effective. How in the world is that waning immunity?

So, a lot of questions as to why Pfizer is doing this now, and this speaking of communication and this speaks to the point that Dr. Adams made

earlier today. A third of America, a third of the United States has chosen not to get a COVID-19 shot, a third of this country.

It is plentiful, it is free, and they are not getting it.

So for Pfizer to say, oh, it is waning, then those people, it gives them even more reason to say no. So, that's another communications issue --


QUEST: Elizabeth, I just want to just touch on that point. Because all the deaths in many of the countries that have got high levels of vaccination,

the deaths are coming from those who are not vaccinated. Delta variant deaths are coming from non-vaccinated people.

If that is the case, and this will tie into what we're talking about next in terms of Africa. If that is the case, Elizabeth, those 30 percent are at

risk because the accepted view -- and correct me if I'm wrong, is that delta will become the dominant variant in the U.S.

COHEN: Oh, yes, the delta is quickly becoming the dominant variant. In fact, now it is over 50 percent. So, that is absolutely correct.

And so, that is obviously a huge issue. And so even this vaccine still does help against the delta variant. That is what we saw in the Israeli data,

delta is the dominant variant in Israel and still, the vaccine is working quite well. That's why there is this sort of you know, people are saying,

what is Pfizer doing here?

QUEST: Elizabeth, thank you. Elizabeth Cohen, have a good weekend.

COHEN: You, too.

QUEST: Now, to South Africa where vaccinations are lagging and a new wave of infections is taking a terrible toll.

The Mayor of Johannesburg has died in hospital because of COVID as the city is grappling with a deadly outbreak.

Mayor Geoff Makhubo died of COVID in a hospital as hospitals across South Africa's largest city are struggling with the surge. One medic told CNN, he

has had to turn away ambulances carrying COVID patients, and a third wave looks to be the largest.

Let's just pause for a second and let us just look at that graph or that chart.

You have the original in 2019, you have the new year into 2021. And you have this latest -- and by the way, this chart is replicated in Uganda and

many other countries in Africa. And because there is only one percent of the adult population fully vaccinated, fewer than half a million, this will

give you an idea of what I was just talking about with Elizabeth Cohen bearing in mind.

If delta is creating more cases and those who are suffering serious effects are those who are not vaccinated, you can see the calamity that Africa is


CNN has been granted exclusive access inside a hospital in Johannesburg. As our David McKenzie reports, some hospitals have been pushed to the breaking



DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They hope it would be better, hoped that COVID-19 had done its worst, but 16 months in,

and Mohammed Patel and his paramedic team are in a new more dangerous fight.

MCKENZIE (on camera): What has the delta variant done to COVID-19 here?

MOHAMMED PATEL, PARAMEDIC: It has caused a whole lot of chaos. There is a whole lot of patients that are suffering. The oxygen levels are dropping

drastically daily.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): South African scientists tracking delta, so it dominates new infections in just weeks. Patel takes us into a home south of

the city.

PATEL: Hello, good morning.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Where delta is tearing through families, ripping through the country's largely unvaccinated population, less than one

percent of South Africans have been fully vaccinated.

The 67-year-old patient has critically low oxygen levels.

PATEL: We are going to get you to a hospital.

These patients that are suffering at home because they are unable to get hospital beds. There is no spaces in hospitals. There is no ventilators

available. It is complete chaos

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The third wave has really been far more devastating and far more overwhelming.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): For months now, CNN has requested access to hospitals, but we were denied. So, the true impact of this brutal delta

wave has been largely hidden from view.

But CNN obtained this disturbing video from the emergency room at a Johannesburg hospital.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Patients are waiting. They are on stretchers. They are in cubicles. Doctors are overwhelmed. Nurses are overwhelmed.

MCKENZIE (on camera): Not enough beds, and what does that result in in these waiting areas of the hospital?


MCKENZIE (voice-over): The senior doctor wanted to speak out, reveal what they call "warzone" like conditions. We agreed to hide their identity,

because they were afraid of reprisals from the government.

In recent days, they said, the bodies couldn't be wrapped fast enough to make space for the sick.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are patients who are dying while they are waiting to be seen, while they are waiting to go to the ward, because the resources

are just being overwhelmed by the onslaught of patients.

MCKENZIE (on camera): And how does that make you feel?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A sense of helplessness, but then also, almost a blunting, a desensitization that we're doing everything we can, but it's

still not enough.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Patel's team is often diverted from hospitals with critically ill patients. They search for hours to find a bed.

So, a charity called Gift of the Givers constructed this 20-bed field clinic staffed with volunteer doctors and nurses in less than five days.

Every single bed could give a sick patient a chance.

David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.


QUEST: So that is obviously the most important task for us, the healthcare side. But now, of course, as we widen it out, and what this will mean for

the economies of the developing world, the new head of the O.E.C.D. says the outbreaks from new variants are the number one risk to economic growth

right now.

Mathias Cormann, who was of course, Australia's Finance Minister, spoke to me from the G-20 taking place in Venice. I asked the Secretary General if

vaccine inequality is now putting the global recovery at risk.


MATHIAS CORMANN, SECRETARY GENERAL, O.E.C.D.: Well, look, I mean, the global economic outlook has certainly improved significantly. But you're

right. I mean, the recovery is uneven, and there remain significant downside risks.

And I mean, the biggest risk is that we will have further outbreaks of the coronavirus, and in particular with variants that may be resistant to the

vaccines that we have currently available. So, economic policy priority number one, two and three, is to get as many people around the world

vaccinated as possible.

And there is a particular responsibility here for developed economies to do what needs to be done to ensure that people across developing economies are

vaccinated as well, there's no question.

QUEST: The problem is, even at the G7, they wanted a billion doses, they couldn't get it. The best guess says you need at least nine to 11 billion

doses for the rest of the world. I wonder, you're head of the organization that represents the wealthier countries, maybe not as much as say, the G7

or whatever, but you do represent the developed economies, and the reality is, they are not doing enough.

CORMANN: Well, we need to find ways to ramp up production and to improve the distribution. There's no question and I mean, this is not just a matter

of charity of the Netherlands on behalf of developed economies, it's actually also -- it's in everybody's self-interest, you know, when it comes

to protecting our health all around the world.

When it comes to ensuring that the economic recovery can be sustained, we need to get as many people around the world vaccinated as fast as possible

and before any more variants might be able to see us through the vaccines that are currently available.

QUEST: The global tax deal. It's very close. Bruno Le Maire says he thinks all the E.U. countries will sign on, but you're not there yet.

CORMANN: Well, 131 countries around the world have signed on to a deal that will make our tax system fairer, more equitable, and more effective and

which will provide much needed certainty and stability to our international tax arrangements.

I mean, that's 131 countries and jurisdictions representing 90 percent of world GDP and indeed, all G20 countries are part of the deal. So I mean,

that is a very significant milestone. And, you know, I'm very -- I am quietly optimistic about the way from here.

QUEST: If those like Ireland or Hungary decide not to join, does that cause a problem if they were to continue with their tax rates under 15 percent?

CORMANN: Well, look, I mean, at this stage, there is broad global consensus, as I say, 90 percent of global GDP, 131 countries and

jurisdictions that are supporting this international deal.

I mean, Ireland and Hungary remain engaged in the process that we continue to engage with them. And obviously, there is a deadline in October when we

want to have all of that and all of the practical details finalized. In the meantime, we'll continue to engage with those countries that are not yet

part of the arrangement.


QUEST: You've got the job. It is one of the great big jobs in global economics. What will you do? I mean, you'll obviously follow the same sort

of importance of the agenda. How do you think it will be different Cormann rather than Gurria?

CORMANN: Well, look, I mean, the O.E.C.D. is a great organization with 60- year history. In fact, it started as the Marshall Plan after the Second World War, it's an organization that brings together countries around a set

of shared values, commitment to democracy, human rights, the rule of law, market-based economic principles. And indeed, it has developed

methodologies of facilitating cooperation on the challenges of our time, policy development, policy, analysis, policy best practice.

And look, I mean, you know, my job will be to help bring the best out of these organizations so we can find the best possible solutions to the

challenges and issues that we face today.

QUEST: Your predecessor was never hesitant at breaking eggs to make the omelet. He would without doubt, tell people -- tell me on this show, when

countries were not doing enough, when he was disappointed, when he was frustrated. Or you know, he would cajole, he would bully, he would do all

of those things.

Now as a blunt, maybe not native, but as a blunt Australian, are you prepared to do the same? Will you use the bully pulpit when necessary?

CORMANN: Well, look, you know, everybody brings their own style, I certainly will say what I believe needs to be set in order to advance the

interests of O.E.C.D. members and the public interest as we see it, of the global community.


QUEST: The new Secretary General of the O.E.C.D., Mathias Cormann, who we hope we will hear much more from on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in the years


There are two billionaires who are fighting to make history in space. It looks like Sir Richard will beat Jeff Bezos in the billionaire space race,

but even so, one shouldn't diminish the achievement of both. In New Mexico, ahead of launch.

And Joe Biden takes aim of Big Tech and pharma -- Big Pharma -- a new executive order. We will go over to the White House.



QUEST: In the last hour, President Biden has moved to take Silicon Valley down a peg or two. Mr. Biden has signed an executive order that will

address a host of common complaints from consumers from data collection to competition rules, and the so-called right to repair your old devices.

The President said big corporations are too focused on growth at all costs.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What we've seen over the past few decades is less competition and more concentration that holds our

economy back. We see in Big Agriculture, in Big Tech, and Big Pharma, the list goes on. Rather than competing for consumers they are consuming their



QUEST: Jeff Zeleny is with us at the White House. Jeff, how much of today's executive order well thought through and well intentioned, but how much is

window dressing?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN U.S. CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, it remains to be seen how much of this actually will have an effect on

breaking up some of these monopolies, but there is no question, business groups are sharply opposed to this.

That gives you a sense, Richard, that they don't like the, you know, the potential enforcement actions here from really a sweeping executive order,

72 specific actions, everything as simple as now hearing aids can be sold over the counter to breaking up some big -- a variety of sectors of

different businesses from Big Farms and Big Ag to some food processing plants, and, of course, high tech jobs.

So look, the reality is some new laws would also have to be passed to really enforce some of this. But on the margins, at least, there would not

be the broad support from progressive groups and really fierce opposition from some business groups, if this was not enforceable in some respects.

But even the fact that the President is talking about, you know, a real need for competition, you know, in the business sector, certainly being

hailed by some consumer groups as a very good thing.

QUEST: President Biden spoke to President Putin today, now bearing in mind, all the hoopla over the Summit. Why would they choose -- why would he

choose to speak to him on a random Friday in July, even if it is about cybersecurity? What was the reason for today do you think?

ZELENY: Well, Richard, quite frankly, it's just the rising number of cyberattacks still happening. Of course, it was three weeks ago, a little

bit more than that when we were in Geneva, we saw President Biden say quite forcefully, he said there will be consequences, there will be action if

these cyberattacks continue.

Well, they have continued. So, there was a telephone call placed from here at the White House to the Kremlin, about an hour-long phone call or so to

really refocus the issue on this.

Unclear if anything will change because of this, but we asked the President about that call just a short time ago. Let's watch.


BIDEN: The United States expects when a ransomware operation is coming from his soil, even though it's not -- not -- sponsored by the state, expect

them to act if we give them enough information to act on who that is.

And secondly, that we've set up a means of communications now on a regular basis to be able to communicate to one another when each of us thinks some

things is happening in another country that affects the home country. And so it went well, I'm optimistic.

ZELENY: You said three weeks ago, there will be consequences. Will there be, sir?



ZELENY: So, the President there answering our question, saying yes, there would be consequences -- unclear what that actually means.

In Geneva, of course, a little over three weeks ago, he raised the idea of the U.S. perhaps engaging in some cyberattacks of its own in a retaliatory

function. You know, that's easier said than done. Perhaps the lawyers always have something to say about that.

But the reality is, another confrontational phone call leader to leader, we will see if anything actually comes of this, but it would seem to me,

Richard, that red line is getting closer and closer to being crossed.

QUEST: Jeff Zeleny, have a good weekend, sir. I appreciate it. Thank you.

Wall Street on its way to a huge rebound. Look at the numbers. The Dow is up more than 450 points, and I mean, look, look at that. It is up and it is

solid, no ifs or buts or rethinks or take them into profits or move around -- solid for a record close after more than 250 points down on Thursday.

All the major averages are on track for record closes a day after a selloff on recovery doubts. What the difference a day makes.

As the U.S. economy recovers, some companies are struggling to meet demand. Alaska Airlines, some of the luggage is getting the executive treatment,

literally, because of labor shortages. The airline is asking managers and executives up to vice presidents to load and unload check baggage at the

Seattle Airport.


QUEST: Airlines have been canceling flights and asking employees to work longer hours to meet rising post-pandemic demand.

Sara is with me, Sara Nelson, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants. Gosh, Sara, first of all, it's always good to talk to

you. Secondly, it is lovely to speak to you on the other side of the -- of you know, the worst of the pandemic, and at least we can talk about some

hopeful things for the future. So, that's a great bit of news.

Let's just deal with this. The situation now, for your members, as seems to me we are in for buoyant days ahead.

SARA NELSON, INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT, ASSOCIATION OF FLIGHT ATTENDANTS: So Richard, we talked about this early on. And first of all, yes, it's

wonderful to speak with you, too. I always miss it when it's been a while. So, good to be back with you.

But we really put together a plan that we talked about early on in the pandemic that was the payroll support program. And so it was a workers

first program for COVID relief in the U.S. It was the most transparent program in all of COVID relief. And what it said was that the airlines

would get grant money to support pay and benefits of workers.

They could not furlough anyone. They had to keep us getting our paychecks and our healthcare. That allowed us to continue to pay taxes and

participate in the system. But the other thing that we talked about was that it was very important to keep airline workers in our jobs, because

otherwise we lose our certifications, our safety certifications, our security clearance, and that all takes time to put back in place.

So, what you're seeing right now, with the airlines being stretched thin on staff would be much, much worse, if the payroll support program had not

been put in place by Congress. What you're seeing is a hangover of the lapse in funding from October 1st to the end of December last year. And so

this would be completely inoperable if we had not had that program in place.

QUEST: So, right, but we see such buoyant rebound in the domestic market. And your members are being recalled, flights are heading towards full,

international is a slightly different area. Do you feel more confident about the situation?

NELSON: Well, I'll tell you, we certainly have a global view as flight attendants, and it is good to be here on CNN International, because

aviation is an international business. And until we get international travel back, there is just no real road to recovery.

Business travel will not come back until we have that international travel. We won't be able to have the tourism exchange between countries and really

restart those economies.

So, we are really looking forward to restarting that. Now that is -- it's very important that we recognize we're on the better end of this pandemic,

but it's not over yet. And so we still have policies in place like everyone has to wear a mask in transportation because we cannot contribute to

continuing this pandemic.

QUEST: And I noticed one or two overseas airlines are opening up. I mean, Norwegian went and it did have its U.S. bases, as well, but they're all new

opportunities. Do you welcome those overseas airlines that choose to set up particularly new long haul, low cost carriers, U.S. bases?

NELSON: Well, I have a success story to tell you about actually. We had U.S. bases for Norwegian, as you noted. So, we represented the flight

attendants who were based in the U.S. flying for Norwegian and we had a big battle with them to organize first and then to negotiate a contract. And we

finally got that contract in place in March of 2020, just in time for the airline to shut down operations and then ultimately go out of business.

And so we have been negotiating a pre-hire agreement with a new airline that is starting up Norse Airways that's taking some of the planes from

Norwegian. And we have this pre-hire agreement that is phenomenal.

First of all, it's going to recall our former members who lost their jobs, so they'll have the first chance to get those jobs back. And they have the

chance once they get up and flying to vote in their union and then vote on a contract that we've already negotiated. That will only go into effect

once they ratify that.

But it's going to provide the highest starting pay for a flight attendant among any airline in the U.S. by a significant amount. So, those are great

opportunities for flight attendants going forward.

QUEST: And it is going to be interesting to see exactly how their model, bearing in mind, its predecessor of sorts.

Sara, good to see you. We will talk more as the year moves on to find out how things are going. Thank you.

NELSON: Thank you, Richard

QUEST: Sara Nelson. A brazen -- that's the only word -- assassination that has left Haiti reeling. The latest on the investigation as police find out

who killed the country's President.



QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. A lot more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in just a moment. Think of it as one small step for Sir Richard Branson (INAUDIBLE)

the billionaire space race. We're counting down to this week's -- weekend's launch and more productive workers with fewer hours on the job. One study

is making the case for a four-day work week.

This is CNN and here on this network the facts and the news always come first.

Officials in Florida have now confirmed the deaths of 78 people from last month's tower collapse. Authorities have identified most of the victims

that's still searching for 62 people. Engineers are studying the building's concrete to determine what caused the collapse.

The White House says it expects cyber security and Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to be on the agenda when President Biden meets with Angela Merkel,

the German Chancellor next week. The U.S. president says he opposes the $11 billion pipeline that would take Russian gas to Germany. He's caused a bad

deal for Europe.

The Taliban are pressing ahead with a lightning offensive in Afghanistan. They now claim control of 85 percent of the country. The militants over on

two-key border crossings today. And the hours after President Biden defended his troop withdrawal, saying America had achieved its goals.

The Acting Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is calling for an investigation into the controversial approval of the Alzheimer's

drug agile. It says an independent assessment should examine contacts between Biogen, the company that makes the drug and the FDA researchers

during the review process. Acknowledging that concerns over those contexts could undermine public trust.


QUEST: Police in Haiti say U.S. citizens and former Colombian soldiers are among those suspected in the murder of the president, Jovenel Moise. Police

say they have identified 28 suspects and detained 17 people since the attack. An intense manhunt is underway for the remaining.


QUEST (voice-over): This online video purportedly shows a shootout between security forces and the attackers. We've not been able to confirm the

authenticity. Haiti's bureau police chief tells Reuters three suspects were killed.


QUEST: Our correspondent is Matt Rivers. He's in Port-au-Prince and joins me now. Matt, can you hear me?


QUEST: So Matt, Matt Rivers. This is getting curiouser and curiouser. Foreign involvement, paid mercenaries, assassination of a president all

leading to one question, who's behind it?

RIVERS: And that is the question that unfortunately, I cannot answer for you because that is the question that the Haitian government either is

doesn't know or is unwilling to say. There's a ton of open-ended questions at this point. We know that there were 28 foreign nationals involved, 26 of

them, Richard, were Colombian, six of those Colombians with prior military training, two Haitian-Americans. And that's about where the facts stop.

Other than that, we don't know motive. We don't know financing. We don't know masterminds. We don't know how they made their way up this road here

behind me without getting stopped, at the bottom of this road heading into the presidential neighborhood. There's a police checkpoint, we saw it when

we came in. They got past that. Then there's another police checkpoint here in this building right here.

They got past that without shooting their way through. You can see no bullet holes on that building and come this way, David, please. If you

could come up here and show our viewers that parking lot down there right there, Richard, about 100 meters down the road, that is the parking lot

that is the entrance more or less to the presidential residence. They made it all the way in there where there were more security in there.

And yet, Richard, the only people that were injured in all of this, as far as we publicly know, are the president who ultimately lost his life and the

first lady who is fighting for hers in a Miami hospital. Haitian authorities have not talked about how that managed to happen. But all of

this is to say that this is a mystery of the highest degree and one that the Haitian authorities need to be held accountable.

QUEST: As that mystery moves forward, in the country in the city itself. All things come and I mean, look, they're always chaotic in Haiti. But is

there a feeling that institutions, police, presidential or prime ministerial now judicial are at least in control and working?

RIVERS: You know, I think that the government's legitimacy here in this country was tenuous at best before the assassination of the president. And

now things have only gotten worse. I think that a lot of people are requesting the government's official version of events. But that's not to

say that people are out in the streets. We've seen a lot of protests here recently, not so far. And I think it's because people are genuinely


They don't know exactly what's happening. There's still a manhunt underway for those eight suspects that are still missing at this point. And so, I

would call it home for now. I will call it a tense home however, Richard. And I think in the hours, the days and the week that is ahead we will see

what happens here, especially as different competing political factions try and put their grip on power here in Haiti. And we'll see how the people of

this country respond to that.

QUEST: Matt Rivers. Matt, thank you. Joining us from Port-au-Prince and will report more.

Virgin Galactic's chief executive Richard Branson i's hoping to go where no billionaire has gone before. His spaceflight on Sunday is nearly 20 years

in the making.



QUEST: The clock is counting in the hours and days before Sir Richard Branson blasts off to become one of the first billionaires to travel to

space. Virgin Galactic's rocket powered jet will launch from New Mexico this Sunday. Sir Richard will be accompanied by a group of pilots and

mission specialists. Nine days before Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos made his own trip to the space. CNN's Rachel Crane is with me. Rachel, right. Got a

lot of ground to cover literally and figuratively.

So, when -- let's get the big -- the big stuff out. Is it really a race? Did they bring this forward? Did Richard bring this forward because he

wanted to beat Bezos, do you think?

RACHEL CRANE, CNN SPACE AND SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a lot of speculation out there. And while optically it may look like that, Richard,

I had the opportunity to speak with Richard Branson just a few days ago, I asked him, you know, Richard, set the story straight for us. Did you change

your timeline here to beat Bezos? He maintains and his whole team maintains no, that this was not in an effort to beat Bezos to space.

They said that it was the result of a updated license to fly spaceflight participants from the FAA, in addition to what they said was a flawless

spaceflight just a few weeks ago. And their engineer was saying that all the -- everything had, you know, they checked every box, and they were

ready for Richard to fly. And Richard didn't want anybody else to be testing the astronauts experience before him.

That is his objective on this test flight. So he says, you know, it's just a coincidence. But, Richard, I'll leave it up to you if you want to buy

into that or not. But he has long said that this is not a race.

QUEST: So, that begs the question, what's the purpose of it? Now, space tourism is fine. I get it. I understand it. And I can see the significance

of Virgin orbit the, the putting of the satellites in, and I can certainly see the sort of thing that Elon Musk has done. I suppose it's absolutely

phenomenal. But this is just taking tourists, rich tourists into space, whether it's Bezos or Branson. So what is the purpose in doing it?

CRANE: That's a very good question, Richard. And, you know, both Bezos with Blue Origin and Richard Branson with Virgin Galactic, they maintain that

the goals of these company are to democratize space. You know, only around 500 people have ever traveled to space. And while yes, the price tag for

these trips is incredibly expensive. I mean, when we're talking Virgin Galactic, it's around 200,000 to $250,000 as a ticket right now to fly on

this system.

Now, as you know, one lucky winner, one lucky very wealthy winner paid $28 million to get in that space capsule with Jeff Bezos. But there's something

called the overview effect. This is what every astronaut speaks of. Any person who's ever gone to space talks about seeing the fragility of our

planet from above, it changes you. Fundamentally changes you and how you are as a person. How you see our earth without any boundaries.

And so, that's what they're really hoping here, you know, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos, both big climate activists. So they are hoping that these

space tourists will come back as stewards of planet Earth, Richard.


QUEST: If I was assuming which I'm not before you get excited at the idea. If I was to pick up the check for your ride on Galactic, would you go?

CRANE: In a heartbeat, Richard, whether it's you picking up the check, CNN picking up the check, some anonymous like space enthusiast who just wants

to make girls dreams come true. I would be on this system in a heartbeat. Same with New Shepard. Myself, I'm just a space enthusiast. I would love to

experience the thrill of weightlessness. And just have, you know, an incredible journey. Whichever system, I don't care, I would just love to

one day go to space, Richard, and I'm sure you would, too.

QUEST: I would. But I -- maybe I'm not quite as enthusiastic as Richard is. Or maybe, yes, I suppose I would look. From -- good -- you've asked me,

you've got me thinking there. Rachel, I know that whatever happens, you will be -- we will all be there wishing the best billionaires aside. And

I'm guessing, Bezos will be wishing the best for Branson. That moment when the thing lifts off, wouldn't you?

CRANE: Oh, absolutely. I mean, a win here for Virgin Galactic is a win for the entire industry, really. I mean, of course, there's some a competitive

spirit out there between the two companies. We've seen some shade being thrown on social media, Richard, about whether Virgin Galactic really makes

astronauts out of their space tours because they don't pass the Karman Line.

The Karman line is the internationally designated boundary of space which is 62 miles above Earth. New Shepard which is Blue Origin system, they do

in fact, go above that. Virgin Galactic though they only go about 50 miles above Earth. Now that is the U.S. demarcation of space recognized by NASA,

the Air Force. So here in the U.S., anybody who flies on Virgin Galactic, they in fact, will be designated astronauts. But a win here is a win for

the entire industry.

QUEST: Good to have you. Thank you. Marvel Cinematic Universe is back at the box office. Black Widow is debuting on Disney Plus today and it's a

watershed moment in the industry streaming and movies.



QUEST: TGIF. For many of us, there's a special feeling that Friday brings jubilation over the forthcoming weekend. And songwriters have written about

this for decades.



QUEST: It's Friday. And now some workers could be saying TGIT, it doesn't go at same ring, thank god it's Friday. If their boss is following example

for (INAUDIBLE) researchers found working fewer hours boosted productivity, lending more support to the four-day week. Clare Sebastian joins me. She's

working Friday. Although she's at home, I'm in the office. Clare, this is not new.

We've known for those companies that have let people choose their own amount of work and their own days of work. So what is -- what's -- what

does this add -- what does this add to our understanding?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. So, what this adds, Richard is supposedly a study on the kind of scale that we haven't

really seen before. This was -- it was conducted in Iceland over a period of four years. There were two different studies that encompass about 2-1/2

thousand people in about 100 workplaces. It was all public sector but a wide variety of different jobs from sort of the Internal Revenue Service,

Child Protective Services to a police station.

And even the Internal Medicine Department at a hospital. The idea was to discover whether it sort of increased flexibility and lower hours but the

same pay would actually improve both employee wellbeing and productivity in these workplaces. And the overwhelming view of this in the wake of these

studies is that it succeeded a lot of sort of anecdotal evidence, interviews with the -- with the participants show that they experienced

better well at work.

Life balance, they were able to do errands, they were able to do hobbies, it improved the quality in the home and took a more of a role in terms of

household chores and, you know, it improved productivity in some workplaces and was neutral in others. So overall, it is seen as positive and one of

the biggest that we've seen like this.

QUEST: Clare, we'll let you start your weekend early, well, on time. Well, now, it's a groundbreaking moment for Marvel and an even bigger one for the

streaming world.


SCARLETT JOHANSSON, AMERICAN ACTRESS: You don't know everything about me. I've lived a lot of lives before I was an Avenger. Before I got this


QUEST (voice-over): Black Widow comes out today on Disney Plus and in theaters across North America. It is by far the most high-profile movie to

enjoy and (INAUDIBLE) release. It's expected to rake in 80 million this weekend. A pandemic era record. Frank Pallotta is with me. The significance

in by reading on this, Frank, is that it gives us data. It gives us data that will allow us to understand this relationship between streaming and

movie first -- movie releases.

FRANK PALLOTTA, CNN MEDIA REPORTER: That's completely correct. So basically, studios are trying to figure out what the future model is for

releasing movies. Is it all streaming? Is it all theaters? Is it a hybrid of growth? It's really hard to figure out and smarter people than you or I

are trying to figure that out right now in Hollywood. But whatever that future is, it could start this weekend with Black Widow because it's not

just a huge moment for theaters. It's a huge moment for streaming as well.

QUEST: OK. So, if that is the case, what's -- what does is your gut tell you? Because our own WarnerMedia, parent company of this network decided to

blow up the whole system of theater release by doing simultaneously.

PALLOTTA: That's true. My gut feeling is I think it's going to be a hybrid of both. And we should mention that, you know, Warner Brothers has come out

and said that they were doing that this year, but they're probably going to go back to theaters soon as well. Maybe next year, they all kind of change

that up as well. I think it's a hybrid. I think a movie is going to open up especially a big movie like Black Widow that people want to see on the

biggest screen possible.

It's going to open up in theaters and a few weeks later, it's going to hit streaming. And I think that is the best way to make the most money for

these studios. Why cut off to one huge revenue stream. Box office still brings in potentially billions of dollars worldwide and streaming is still

growing. I think they want to get to a point where both can work with each other rather than against each other.

QUEST: So when Barry Diller says and he says it knowing it's going to be widely quoted, and I believe it's along the lines of the movie business is

dead. He's referring to widespread, you know, cinematic release. Is he right?

PALLOTTA: So, Barry Diller is much smarter than I. He ran Paramount for years.


PALLOTTA: I mean, he has a good point. What I read from Barry isn't that a story which he's quoted, which I think was NPR is he says the movie

business is dead. And it's all kind of built on algorithms now because it's like Amazon wants to sell you a toothbrush. So, it gives you a movie like

The Tomorrow War to bring you in. He might have a point that what we think of as cinema might be dead. But I don't believe that going to the movies is

going to die.

I think it's going to evolve. It's evolved through television and evolved through VHS, it involved through cable, and it will evolve through

streaming and the pandemic. What it'll evolve too is that -- is still yet to be seen. But like I said, we might have a good idea of it after this

weekend. Thanks to Black Widow.

QUEST: You'll talk about it with us next week. I hope when we have some data, and I wish you a good weekend between now and then.

On Wall Street, the last few moments of trading. The triple stack shows that we're all going to have record -- I forgot the bell. Can you believe

it? I didn't bring the bell up with me today. I'll tell you why I didn't bring the bell for you in a moment. Anyway, we are heading for major closes

bouncing back to finish the week. The Dow is up more than 400 on the day, strong gains. Look at that. The NASDAQ is now over 14,700.

And the Dow 30, I want to show you the winds and they are broad today with only two. On the frolics of their own, Merck and Salesforce just off a tad.

But Goldman -- I mean, look at this as a Goldman Morgan and Travelers Express. So, it's the financials that are really pulling the bus up the

hill. We'll have a profitable moment after the break.


QUEST: Tonight's profitable moment, and it's going to be a profitable day. If we look at the way the markets are trading. Records on the Dow, the

NASDAQ and the S&P 500. But I'm not with you next week. I'm going back on the travels. Quests World of Wonder is taking me to Spain flying tonight to

Madrid. And then on down to the Costa del Sol where we'll be next week. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS comes from Malaga next Thursday.

By the way, if you see me on the travels to stop wave and say hello. It'll be a good chance for us to see how this reopening is going. How the Delta

variant is changing. And also, how the U.K. now allowing U.K. residents to travel and come back without having to quarantine whether that makes a big

difference. I'm expecting it will. And that there will be a lot of people on and about the road. So, there's a lot happening.

And we will be covering it for you over the next week as we are on the road down in Spain. And of course, here with the markets. And that as they say

as QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight. I'm Richard quest in New York. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, there we go. We're using the

digital bell tonight because I left the real bell away. But the bell is now ringing, and I'll see you when I get back.