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Quest Means Business

Germany Puts COVID Restrictions on Unvaccinated; Israel's COVID Infection at Two-Month High; Leaders of U.S., Canada, and Mexico Meet at White House; Apple Up 2 Percent after Report on Electric Car Project; U.S. and China Discuss Release of Strategic Oil Reserves; Call to Earth: London's Regent's Canal; China Evades Questions on Whereabouts of Tennis Star Peng Shuai. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired November 18, 2021 - 15:00   ET



PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: The Dow is trying, very quickly here to try and come back from the triple-digit losses earlier in the session.

You see there, down about 35 points now. In fact though, it's been difficult to move the needle on any of the indices on this side of the

pond. Those are the markets, and these are the main events.

Germany puts major restrictions on the unvaccinated as Chancellor Angela Merkel warns of a dramatic threat from COVID.

The United States and China could be teaming up to help lower oil prices, and yet the rift continues. Joe Biden says the United States is considering

a diplomatic boycott of next year's Beijing Olympics.

Live from New York, it's Thursday, November the 18th. I'm Paula Newton, in for Richard Quest, and this is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

Tonight, Germany moves one step closer to a lockdown for the unvaccinated as Europe's largest economy sounds the alarm about the continent's COVID

surge. Now, the German Bundestag approved a measure allowing new restrictions like proof of vaccinations or a negative test to ride public

transit. Now, the rules allow let people to work from home where they can and restores the free COVID testing.

Now the Upper House debates the legislation tomorrow. Germany just reported its highest ever -- this was stunning to see -- it has its highest ever

single-day surge of COVID cases. Look at that spike on your right. Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel says the fourth wave is hitting that country with

full force.

Germany has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Western Europe, in fact. About a third of the country is not fully vaccinated, that puts it behind

Italy, the France, and the U.K. Austria's vaccination rate meantime is even lower, two million unvaccinated Austrians were ordered into lockdown

Monday. The Austrian Minister of Economic Affairs told Becky Anderson that the measures are not discriminatory.

Margarete Schrambock said they are about protecting lives and jobs.


MARGARETE SCHRAMBOCK, AUSTRIAN MINISTER OF ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: It is not about discriminating anybody. It's about helping those elderly people which

need to be protected. It's about those who cannot take a vaccination because of health reasons, and it is also about the future jobs of next

generations, and this is what we need to think about now.


NEWTON: European officials there getting a bit tougher. Melissa Bell joins us now from Paris.

We do begin with Germany though. Just stunned looking at the figures today. I mean, how far are officials willing to go in terms of further lockdowns

and restrictions, and I know something that has been so controversial in Germany are those vaccine mandates.

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Paula. And you mentioned a moment ago those measures that have been adopted by the three-

parties that are now negotiating to rule the former coalition in Germany, the Bundestag approving those measures that are applicable nationwide

basically forcing people in order to get on public transport, to get in to their workplaces either to have been vaccinated, to have a negative test,

or have proof that they have recently recovered.

But what has happened since then is Angela Merkel has met with the 16 premiers of the German region, the lander, to talk about what further

measures could be taken because of course, as ever, Paula, this doesn't strike in a uniform way. The country at large, as Germany, there are some

parts that are being hit harder than others.

So, as they came out of that meeting, what was announced is that they will be looking region by region and in those regions where the incident rate

gets too high, then they are going to ratchet up the measures even further, essentially and eventually should they get high enough and depending on

where they get high enough, making it impossible for people whole who have been unvaccinated to take part in any leisure or cultural activities.

That very much reflects what we've just been hearing from the Greek Prime Minister who has announced that had people who haven't been vaccinated will

no longer be able to go to gyms or to any leisure cultural activities at all.

So far, they have been able to go as long as they provided a COVID test, so again, really ratcheting up the pressure on those who haven't been

vaccinated, that they should get vaccinated. And I think it's is important to note that that isn't the only factor that is at play here. There is also

waning immunization rates here in Europe, it has been nearly a year since Europeans have been able to start getting vaccinated.

Those who did so early will be needing those boosters and that's part of the measures that we have seen several governments announce wider access to

the boosters, those third doses as Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland called them this week that now appear to be necessary.

And yet, the part played by the unvaccinated undoubtedly very significant. Again, according to the Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland speaking to CNN

only yesterday, 95 percent of the population there has been vaccinated and yet, those five percent who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated

represent, Paula 50 percent of people in ICU beds.


BELL: The Greek Prime Minister referring also to the trouble caused by those are not fully vaccinated saying that if Greece had had similar

vaccination rates to Portugal, there would be five times fewer intubations. It gives you an idea of the part that the unvaccinated are playing in this


In fact, the Greek Prime Minister describing this once again as the epidemic of the unvaccinated -- Paula.

NEWTON: And yet, it is the breakthrough cases that are so unnerving to so many. We have to make clear, right, Melissa, deaths and hospitalizations

are nowhere near where they have been, and yet when you look at the divergent strategies in Europe, is there a sense that these bespoke

strategies will help, especial to try to keep some semblance of a normal recovering economy throughout Europe?

BELL: I think, Paula, that is exactly the point. Gone are the days of blanket lockdowns now that we have vaccinations and all of the effects, as

you alluded to a moment ago, on European economies nearly two years into when the pandemic first hit this part of the world, it is much more

targeted action that governments are taking in order to allow their economies to try and stay open despite their close figures.

But on those point, there is, of course, the fact that those as, again, the Greek Prime Minister just pointed out who have been vaccinated can get

sick, but they tend less to arrive in hospital. Again, pointing the finger at those who haven't been vaccinated.

But I think, in the end, it is important also to go back to those World Health Organization figures. Speaking earlier this week, the organization

pointed out that when you look at death rates, COVID-19 related deaths, Europe is the only part of the world where they have been increasing.

Everywhere else, they have either been stable or decreasing.

A reminder that, although, of course, vaccination rates where they are good prevent severe forms of illness and ultimately can prevent death, in the

end, what we are talking about beyond the economy and beyond anything else is the fact people are dying from COVID-19 once again in Europe at a rate

much faster than anywhere else in the world -- Paula.

NEWTON: Which is so sobering to think about when you think we are almost a year out from having these vaccines.

Melissa, really appreciate, you know, that update of what's going on throughout Europe.

Now, while there is no serious rise of cases in Israel, another important number there is going up. Israel's infection rate known as the R factor is

at a two-month high represents the average number of people one COVID carrier infects.

If it's above one -- and you or close to one it means an outbreak is growing. Now, a reminder here for everyone, right, Israel led the world in

vaccinations, so it offers a window into what might happen elsewhere.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House medical adviser says Israeli data shows booster shots have helped reduce hospitalizations. Elizabeth Cohen joins us

now, and I'm really glad you're here to help us with what has been confusing data.

We were told that this pandemic was largely now one of the unvaccinated. We just heard from Melissa Bell in Paris about that as well, and yet recent

trends seem to be challenging that, and I know that it still holds true, right? If you're vaccinated you've got incredibly good protection against

this virus, but the numbers are creeping up.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. So, let me be clear. This is still largely a pandemic of the unvaccinated, and the

data I'm about to show you is going demonstrate that.

The vast majority of people in hospitals in various parts of the world are unvaccinated. However, what we're seeing is a very small number, but a

meaningful number of fully vaccinated people ending up in the hospital.

As you said, Israel led the way in the vaccine rollout early this year. It's also led the way in the booster rollout. So let's take a look at the

data that Anthony Fauci was referencing.

So if you take a look at the biggest bar on this graph, that is the number of unvaccinated people over age 60 who had severe COVID-19 and this data is

as of November 1. So you can see that more than half of the people who are severely with COVID in Israel are unvaccinated.

But now, the second number is those folks over age 60 who are fully vaccinated. They've got two doses of Pfizer, but they did not get a

booster, and then the tiny number next to it is the number of people who got three shots, who got the booster and ended up getting severely ill.

And as you can see the number of people who are fully vaccinated but didn't get a booster, that number is five times bigger than the number of people

who did get a booster. Still small numbers, but, still, you are taking a risk if you don't get a booster if you're over age 65.


COHEN: What Dr. Fauci is concerned about is that these numbers will also begin to play out for younger people -- Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, I think you know, Anthony Fauci's comments in the last few days stood out to a lot of people, right, him saying that, look, the

booster is no longer just an add-on or a luxury. It may be a necessity.

Again, the reason we talk about Israel is that they were some of the first and Pfizer has been doing a lot of evidence-based, you know, research there

in terms of what happens with these vaccinations and how effective they can be.

Elizabeth, I've heard many people talk now about whether or not we need to really think about getting a shot once a year or once every six months. Is

there any updated data on that?

COHEN: So, you know what? I think this is totally unclear. What I am hearing from lots of infectious disease experts is this does appear to be a

three-dose vaccine and any parent knows that's not unusual. There are several vaccines that are three doses.

You know, before the pandemic, before we were in sort of this pickle that we were in, scientists would have years and years, Paula, to figure out, is

it a two-dose vaccine? Is it a three-dose? They can do various studies. Should the doses be two months apart? Six months apart? They have lots of

time to figure this out.

We're figuring this out as we go along. That's very, very difficult to do and it may be that this is a three-dose vaccine.

Now, some people think it is a three-dose vaccine and you're going to need to get yearly boosters. Other people think it's a three-dose vaccine and

that's it. You'll be done.

We really don't know the answer to this because we are doing this as we go along. With other vaccines, you can have five years of studies to point to,

to say whether it's annual or not annual, two doses or three doses. We don't have that luxury right now.

NEWTON: And yet, as a told us so many times, Elizabeth. The data is clear. The vaccine, you need the vaccine if you want to get some of that immunity.

Elizabeth Cohen for us, appreciate that.

Now, for the first time since Donald Trump ditched their three-way Summit, North American leaders are huddling at the White House, and yes, you can

imagine, they have a lot to discuss.

Coming up later, the Chief Executive of Paytm explain why his company had such a disappointing stock market debut. Stay with us.



NEWTON: North America's three leaders are meeting together for the first time since 2016. U.S. President Joe Biden is hosting Canadian Prime

Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. They are reviving a forum scuttled by the Trump administration.

The trio, you can imagine, has a lot to talk about and that includes of course, the pandemic, climate change, migration -- that's a huge issue --

trade and the possible cancellation of a Canadian oil pipeline.

CNN's Matt Rivers is covering the story for us from Mexico City; Phil Mattingly is at the White House there. Phil, we're going to start with you.

This has been an incredibly busy week for the President. It's only Thursday. This should be a smooth meeting, right? These are two of

America's closest allies and yet, some very contentious issues on the table.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, look, if your bar is are things better with these three leaders than perhaps they have

been in the four years prior, then it's pretty low to some degree to exceed that. However, you're incredibly spot on in terms of the very serious

issues that all three leaders are going to have to try to figure out or at least try and map out some pathway forward on whether it is related on the

economic side of things.

Obviously, as you noted with the migration side of things, climate as well particularly between the U.S. and Mexico. You know, one of the most

interesting elements of the spray, as they call it, the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Biden in the Oval Office before they started

their bilateral discussions is the President was asked about a very significant issue based on what he is hoping to get passed in the United

States in the next couple of weeks, and that is his $2 trillion economic and climate package, which includes a tax incentive for individuals to

purchase electric vehicles made in the U.S., and that has drawn serious concerns both from Canadian officials and Mexican officials, not just

because they have concerns about obviously a very integrated automotive sector within North America, but also because they believe it may run afoul

of the revised North American Free Trade Agreement, also, potentially W.T.O. concerns as well.

The President said it was going to be something they discussed. The Prime Minister has made clear over the course of the last 24 hours he has

concerns with it so, yes, on that issue, supply chain issues as well. I think if there is going to be any takeaways coming out of this meeting, it

would be that there is an agreement from all three countries to work together on supply chain issues.

There are absolutely going to be vaccine sharing agreements that come out of this as well, but as you noted, there are a series of issues that don't

seem to have any clear resolution in the near term. Right now, I think the idea, and at least when you talk to administration officials, it is just to

start laying a groundwork to perhaps reach that point at some point in the future.

NEWTON: Yes, and a lot there to reach, I can tell you, speaking to Canadian business people, they are saying we want this to be a red line this, Buy

American, and on that, they will get support from Mexican counterparts.

Matt, I have to say though, there is a sense in Mexico that you could talk about these issues for a while. There are other issues that can't wait,

right -- border, migration. This is urgent. Do you believe that at this point the Biden administration is getting the message from Mexico loud and


MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think so, only because the Mexican government is going to push the leverage that they have. I

think you could argue, Paula, that this relationship specifically between the United States and Mexico is generally one-sided. When you're talking

about the leverage that the United States has over Mexico, specifically economically speaking.

However, the Mexican President goes to Washington right now with an enormous amount of leverage because essentially Mexico and its National

Guard here, which is tasked with carrying out immigration enforcement, they have been essentially been acting as a second Border Patrol for the United

States now going back to the Trump administration and currently right now during the Biden administration.

The Biden administration absolutely needs Mexico's help if they are going to continue to see numbers drop in terms of migrants coming to the U.S.

border like we've seen those numbers go down for a few months now, and Mexico knows that.

Mexico knows that it has that leverage over the Biden administration not only because it is a crisis that the administration has to deal with, but

also we can't escape the politics of all of this. We know that the Democrat situation in the United States is not looking great heading into next

year's midterms. It's been a disastrous summer and fall for the Biden administration on a number of different levels, and the immigration crisis

is certainly part of that.

So when it comes to things like the United States wants Mexico to move in a more green way in terms of its energy consumption here, its energy policy,

something that the Mexican administration has been loathed to do, are they going to push very hard? Are they going to create issues with Mexico when

it comes to drug cartels, when it comes to fentanyl crossing the border, when it comes to, you know, enacting those green energy forms that the

Biden administration wants Mexico to do at the risk of Mexico not cooperating on immigration.

So that is going to be a very fascinating thing to see, what, if anything, comes out of this meeting because frankly, the Mexicans have a lot of

leverage right now over their partners in the United States.

NEWTON: Absolutely. Before I let you guys go, I want to get your take on what Biden said during the meeting, that pool spray with Justin Trudeau

talking about the Beijing Games and whether or not he would entertain a diplomatic boycott.

Phil, what's your take on it?


MATTINGLY: You know, look, the President said today, it is something that is under consideration and we've heard that as well over the course of the

last several days. And I think when you talk to U.S. officials, they've made clear that if they do this, they do not want to do it in isolation and

to make very clear, it is not a full boycott of the Beijing Games, this does not apply to U.S. athletes.

But I think what the administration to my understanding is working through right now is whether or not they can do this with allies. They don't want

to do this just on their own, but it has made very clear over the course of the last couple of days and from the President himself today that not only

is it under consideration, there's every consideration that they are leaning in that direction right now, which would be a pretty big slap in

the face to President Xi Jinping given, I think, the luster that he wants to come from these Games, and also, given the fact that the President is

saying this just a couple of days after a highly anticipated three and a half hour virtual meeting with President Xi Ping.

So, very under consideration right now. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but certainly, the U.S. looking into it and likely leaning

towards it.

NEWTON: Yes, and to the point that they are leaning towards it, Matt, you know, before you were in Mexico City, were you in Beijing for several

years. They are going to try to get other countries, obviously the United States is, to try to back them on this whether it's Canada, Mexico or other

allies to say let's just boycott these Games diplomatically even if we send our athletes.

RIVERS: There is no question that the Chinese in all of these, you know, they are looking at this as a coming out party, even more so than back in

2008. China is a very different country than the last time they hosted the Olympics during the Summer Olympics back in 2008.

Now, they want to show off to the world how they have proceeded. They view themselves as an equal power to the United States. I was at some of those

Olympic venues where they have spent billions and billions of dollars building these venues that they want to show off and make no mistake, Xi

Jinping and the Chinese government, they are going to talk tough about this, they are going to do exactly what they said they were going to do,

whether the U.S. sends a diplomatic contingent, whether the Canadians, the British, the rest of U.S. allies send contingents.

But it will be a slap in the face like Phil said to the Chinese government. They wanted everybody there in the seats to see all their progress, all

their prowess on the world stage. It would sending a message from the United States to not send that diplomatic contingent even if it is not

going to dissuade Beijing from going ahead with what they are doing in their own country from a human rights perspective.

NEWTON: Yes, and they might have been able to not send them anyway just because of the pandemic, but to say it is a diplomatic boycott, clearly

sends the message the U.S. wants to send.

Guys, I want to point out, we are the original three amigos -- Canada, Mexico, the United States. We've got it all wrapped up. I appreciate both

of you weighing in on some important issues today.

Now, the number of U.S. troops based in Taiwan has doubled since last year. Taiwan is boosting its own defense capability to counter Chinese military

aggression, and the latest data from The Pentagon confirms what CNN reported here last week.

There are now a total of 39 U.S. troops stations on the island, highly significant. In 2020, that number was 18. Taiwan was a major topic in talks

between the leaders of China and the U.S. this week. You just heard Phil talking about the fact that President Biden was later saying that his U.S.

policy towards Taiwan had not changed.

Now, Taiwan has deployed a new advanced versions of its F-16 fighter jets as tensions remain high with Beijing. CNN's Will Ripley was there for the

ceremony and gives us an inside look.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A spectacle of military might here at the Chiayi Air Base on Taiwan's western post facing China. We flew

here by military plane from Taipei. It is about a 40-minute flight, and we're getting pretty unique access to Taiwan's newly upgraded fighter

fleet. These are F-16Vs.

Their older F-16s upgraded with new radar, new computer systems, kind of like upgrading your iPhone to the latest model. Taiwan is ordering a new

batch of brand new F-16Vs that are expected to arrive beginning in 2023.

Nonetheless, the reality is, Taiwan is facing a widening military gap with the Mainland. Even these highly sophisticated fighters, and they showed us

their top gun style moves. They would have a hard time competing in direct aerial combat with some of the fighter jets that the People's Liberation

Air Force has unveiled. And some of those fighter planes have been flying near Taiwan in record numbers including 150 in just five days at the

beginning of October.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen is here. She was waving to the troops, waving to the planes as they flew by and inspecting these new aircrafts and

even handing out pay bonuses to the pilots because one of the reason that Taiwan's military is having a hard time finding recruits is because the

salaries just aren't competitive when you compare them with civilian pilots.

You also have the Director of the de facto U.S. Embassy, the American Institute of Taiwan here showing that there is a U.S. presence, albeit not

an official diplomatic presence on the ground in Taiwan, but we know that there has been increasing military cooperation between the United States

and Taiwan.

Just over the last couple of years, hundreds of military exchanges have taken place with personnel from the United States coming here to train, the

Taiwanese military and also, Taiwanese personnel going in training in the United States as well.

All of this to try to guard against what many analysts see as an increasingly assertive Mainland with an increasingly powerful military, a

military that President Xi Jinping of China has said repeatedly could be used to retake this island, which it claims as its own territory by force

if necessary.

Will Ripley, CNN, at Chiayi Air Base, in Taiwan.



NEWTON: Coming up on QUEST MEN BUSINESS, oil prices are falling to their lowest levels in six weeks. We will look at the reasons why. Stay with us.


NEWTON: Hello, I'm Paula Newton and there is more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment when the U.S. is working with China to tap oil reserves and bring

down gas prices.

And shares in the Indian startup Paytm crashed as soon as they listed Thursday morning in Mumbai. Hear from the company's CEO.

Before that though, this is CNN and on this network the news always comes first.

Belarus has now cleared the makeshift migrant camps near a main checkpoint on the Polish border. Authorities moved remaining migrants to a nearby

warehouse where it has converted now into a processing center. A government spokesperson says 7,000 migrants remain in Belarus, including the 2,000

near that checkpoint.

Europe's top diplomat meantime says the migrant crisis on the borders of Belarus and Poland is, quote, a "hybrid attack" and a new kind of fighting.

Josep Borrell says Belarus is deliberately funneling migrants to its border to try and put pressure on the E.U. He told CNN the Belarusian government

was placing Europe in danger with its actions.


JOSEP BORRELL, HIGH REPRESENTATIVE OF THE E.U. FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Europe is facing a lot of dangers, classical dangers and more sophisticated

dangers or threats. Nowadays, everything is being weaponized and unhappily, we are looking at the situation where people -- poor people, the most

people in need in the world are being weaponized, being pushed against the border of our country.

This is what we all a hybrid pressure, hybrid attack.





JOSEP BORRELL, E.U. HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS & SECURITY POLICY: -- more sophisticated dangers or threats. Nowadays everything is

being weaponized and, unhappily, we are looking at the situation where people, poor people ,the most people in need in the world have been

weaponized, being pushed against the border of other country.

This is what we call a hybrid pressure, hybrid attack. They don't like very much the war terms but this is the new kind of fighting.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The U.S. might send some Afghan evacuees back to their native country. Sources tell CNN

the Biden administration is considering sending evacuees housed at an American military base in Kosovo back to Afghanistan if they don't clear

the intense vetting process needed to enter the United States.

Two men convicted of the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X were exonerated during a court hearing Thursday in New York. The Manhattan district

attorney and defense lawyers found evidence that the police and FBI withheld evidence during their trial.


NEWTON: Just under half an hour left in the trading day. Take a look at the markets to see how they are doing. A reminder that the Dow may be down

but it has recovered after being down more than 200 points. The Dow is now down a tenth of a percentage. You see there more now and the other major

averages are up slightly but let's consider them flat.

What's interesting here is that Apple is leading on the Dow. It's up more than 2 percent on a Bloomberg report that it's speeding up work on an

electric car. It's now reportedly refocusing its research on making it fully self-driving. You see Apple up almost 3 percent.

U.S. oil prices eased yesterday to their lowest level in six weeks, a little bit of relief as the massive rally began to lose some steam. As you

can see crude and Brent crude prices are higher now. But consumers finally saw some relief this week.

The selloff came after a new U.S. government report showed that oil inventories at a key hub are, in Cushing, Oklahoma, are rising and that is

for the first time in weeks. The U.S. is talking to China and other countries about the possibility of a joint release of oil reserves. This is

significant and it would have an even bigger impact on the markets.

Some oil producing countries like Angola are in no rush to boost their output. The center's finance minister addressed that with us earlier this

week -- listen.


VERA DAVES DE SOUSA, ANGOLAN FINANCE MINISTER: We believe on the gradual increase of production. Angola has a strategy, age-old (ph) carbon

strategy, that intends to motivate oil companies to do more investments, to take all advantage of marginal oil fields, to make sure that we are

producing as much as possible.

We're not able to yet to reach the quota that we have. So we are below that quota. So even when OPEC decides to increase the productions, we will

remain below that.


NEWTON: Regina Mayor is the global head of energy for KPMG.

And I'm happy to have you here on a day like today, when the energy markets continue to get more and more complicated. We saw that prices have eased in

the last few days.

But do you still see months of turmoil ahead for the energy markets?

OPEC and oil is just one component. There's a lot going on there right now.

REGINA MAYOR, KPMG: You're right, Paula. There's a number of different factors at play and I do see a rocky storm for the next several months. I

mean, conventional wisdom does not believe that supply and demand truly comes into balance until well into Q2 of next year.

And these ups and downs we will continue to experience. I'm grateful we've had a reprieve because WTI was almost at $85 per barrel and now it's down

at $78, so I think that takes some pressure off the current markets. But I don't think we've seen the worst of it before it gets better, because these

are very long-cycle investments.

NEWTON: Absolutely. One of the complaints has been that, of course, there, hasn't been that investment that there has needed to be. A lot of that has

to do with environmental concerns. We were talking earlier that the Biden administration, this is interesting, right?

Asked not just themselves to release some stockpiles and reserves but asked China, India, Japan to do the same in some kind of coordinated effort.

What's your read on what that would do to the market?

MAYOR: I think that would be a very positive short-term bump that could help ease the pain that we're experiencing over the next few months. We

need more supply to come into the system.


MAYOR: We have demand downsides that we're starting to see, restrictions of movement around COVID in some parts of the world and perhaps the demand

won't be as frothy.

And we're seeing some weather reports that are saying perhaps winter won't be as bad as we were projecting in October. But those are all the different

factors that folks are starting to think through.

We did have the Gulf of Mexico auction yesterday, with $191.7 million in bids and a very strong showing up of a lot of different oil companies. But

that will take a while for all of that investment to get invested in, come to the market, to create crude and natural gas.

NEWTON: I also want to take a moment to talk about natural gas. Earlier we had a decision in Germany to at least press pause on Nord Stream 2. This

real brings together so many issues, geopolitical and economic in Europe.

That, of course, affects markets around the globe.

Do you see the politics of this finally settling so that the markets themselves can get a look at the new normal?

MAYOR: Unfortunately, I don't see the politics themselves going away. I do think you're exactly right. If the markets could enable more efficient

activity, I don't think we would be seeing some of these challenging situations.

The Nord Stream 2 decision means we won't have another pipeline for gas coming into the European continent from Russia before the winter. For sure

it's delayed until March, meaning there will be continued strong demand for U.S. LNG cargos into asia and LNG will continue to have a lot of buy side


So, you know, if the weather models are not correct and we have a really severely cold winter across the world, we're going to continue to see very

volatile price spikes.

NEWTON: And a good thing to remind everyone, too, China is not growing the way it had been before. If demand in China was higher, I can only imagine

at what point we'd be in today. Really good to see you to weigh in on all of these markets. Appreciate it.

With backers from investors like Warren Buffett and Alibaba, Paytm is one of India's best funded startups. But it debuted with a flop, unfortunately.

The digital payments company started trading in Mumbai on Thursday. Its shared opening below the issue price of 2,100 rupees or roughly $28. There

down 27 percent. It finished the day at about 1,500 rupees.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma is the founder and CEO of Paytm. My colleague, Julia Chatterley, spoke to him earlier about the company's disappointing debut.


VIJAY SHEKHAR SHARMA, FOUNDER AND CEO, PAYTM: Valuation is something that I believe that many public market investors decided and we sort of got

subscribed of such also.

So I'd say that one of the things that we could have done better is that we would have announced a few more quarters of results; our execution plan

will bring comfort to a lot more people.

And I'd say that our story, which is a new story, new business model in this country. Our business model of let by payment, offering financial

services, is a new business model for many public market investors, need to be explained much better and numbers, which come in subsequent quarter,

will explain this much better.

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. So maybe it was a timing thing; just came to market perhaps a little bit early.


CHATTERLEY: One of the big questions -- and I think what didn't help here was Macquarie analysts -- they called you a cash burn machine with no clear

path to profitability. And I think this goes to the point that you made.

What is the path, Vijay?

What can you say to investors today about how long it's going to take for you to get to a point where you're breaking even and then we can talk about


Where's the break-even point?

How far out are we from that?

SHARMA: So one of the best things I can tell you about our business model is that our monetization journey literally started two years back. Before

that, we were definitely in large investment phase, where we were bringing in large number of customers and merchants and businesses on our platform

for payments, as you know.

And in the last two years, we were able to start to deliver different international services beyond just e-commerce. So I would say that we

quartered in beginning.

So I would say that it is very early days to say that we would not be profitable, because I think it's clear. I mean, when we are executing the

business, month on month and next additional quarters, our numbers and revenues will do the job of talking.


NEWTON: Up next, quantify (ph) pollution?

So get in the water and hop on your bike. Yes, that's true. That's what one young man in London is doing. We'll explain. Stay with us.





NEWTON: Now I know you've seen it for yourself, the world's waterways are, unfortunately, filling with plastic pollution. Now as part of last week's

Call to Earth Day, CNN's Anna Stewart headed to London's Regent's Canal to meet a man who is trying to turn the tide in his own particular way.



ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): London's waterways, a place where I love to spend my weekends paddle boarding. But despite the tranquil

surroundings, I'm never far from a piece of rubbish.

STEWART: I'm going to have to stop for this.

Today I'm joined by plastic cleanup campaigner Dhruv Boruah on his ingenious floating bike.

Oh, I've got a big one.



STEWART: It's smelly.

BORUAH: Thank you.

STEWART: Is the situation getting better or worse?

BORUAH: I think it's getting worse now and that has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic that made people use single use plastic more.

Yes, so I'm picking up this single-use PPE equipment, the mask. Since the pandemic, this is the next pandemic for the wildlife.

STEWART: Oh, I think that was a wet wipe?

Where does all this rubbish, if it is not picked up, where does it end up?

BORUAH: First of all, it breaks down into smaller pieces called microplastics. And then from the canal, it goes to the river and from the

river it goes to the ocean and from the ocean to the fish and back to us, you know, for dinner.

Actually, every week we're eating one credit card worth of microplastic every week.

STEWART: We're eating a credit card worth of plastic.

BORUAH: It's also in water bottles as well, and tap water, bottled water, everywhere.

By collecting the rubbish, it's not that I can clean the river or the canal but I can actually communicate to people.

Do you like the bike?

Tell them the dangers and ask them to go home and do something about it.

STEWART: And you've got another project coming up.

BORUAH: Yes, absolutely.

STEWART: What's next?

BORUAH: So we had to scale up. And time is running out. So we are building zero emission cargo submarines with the core mission of restoring the


We have microplastics filters in the submarines. As we deliver cargo on our submarine, we clean up microplastics.

STEWART: This is so exciting.

When can I see the submarine?

BORUAH: We're building the next 15-meter real scale vessel mid next year.

STEWART: How do fishing nets end up in here?


BORUAH: People are fishing as well here.

STEWART: You've been doing this a lot longer than I have.

How have I performed today?

BORUAH: You were on fire.


STEWART: I filled up your basket.

BORUAH: You helped fill another basket.

The dog's collecting rubbish.

STEWART: Hi. Thanks.

Can I have it?

Before I go, could I give this a go?

BORUAH: Yes, if you are (INAUDIBLE) let's do it. Be careful. Yes, that's it. Here we go.

Here we are.

STEWART: I'm ready to cycle on water.

BORUAH: You are ready.

STEWART: I'm cycling.

BORUAH: Yes, I think you got it now, fantastic, yes. Good job.


NEWTON: Much admiration there for our colleague, Anna Stewart, for doing a fabulous job. Appreciate that.

And we will continue showcasing inspirational environmental stories like the one you just saw as part of our initiative here at CNN. Now let us know

what you're doing to answer the call. The #CallToEarth.




NEWTON: There is growing concern in the tennis world about the whereabouts of Chinese player. Peng Shuai. A short time ago, the International Tennis

Federation said it has been in contact with the Chinese Tennis Association and is now hoping to get more information.

Now 23-time grand slam singles champion Serena Williams today tweeted her support for Peng and her family, saying she hopes she's found safe, adding,

"We must not stay silent."

The concern has been building since Chinese state media released a purported email from Peng. Critics have their doubts about its

authenticity. She has not been seen in public since she accused a former vice premier of coercing her into sex three years ago. CNN's Ivan Watson

has more details now.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The royalty of professional tennis expressing concern about the welfare of one

of their own.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Honestly, it is shocking that she is missing.

WATSON (voice-over): Warnings echoed by other champions, past and present.

"I hope Peng Shuai and her family are safe and OK," writes Naomi Osaka, adding, #whereispengshuai.

"I've known Peng since she was 14," writes Chris Evert. "Where is she?"

Peng Shuai, a Chinese tennis champion --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Peng Shuai moves into the quarterfinals --

WATSON (voice-over): -- hasn't been seen or heard from in weeks.


CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: This is really extraordinary; a top athlete, 35 years old, the name a lot of people know.


BRENNAN: Formerly number one ranked doubles player in the world, just goes missing, gone?

WATSON (voice-over): In early November Peng published this bombshell post on her Chinese social media account, an open letter to a former top

Communist leader named Zhang Gaoli, now aged 75, who Peng accuses of sexually assaulting her after the two had an affair.

"Why did you have to come back to me, take me to your home to force me to have sex with you?" the post reads.

"Yes, I did not have any evidence and it was simply impossible to have evidence."

CNN cannot independently confirm these allegations and we've reached out to Peng as well as Zhang and his wife through the Chinese government for

further comment with no results.

Shortly after the controversial post, Peng's online profile more or less disappeared.

WATSON: Until recently, Peng Shuai was one of the biggest tennis stars in China. But look what happens when you try to search for people with her

name in the Chinese internet.

You get the message, "No results found."

Censors have all but scrubbed this woman from the Chinese internet.

WATSON (voice-over): On Thursday, Chinese state media released this email, purportedly written by Peng to the head of the Women's Tennis Association.

It completely disavows the previous allegations of sexual assault, adding, "I'm not missing nor am I unsafe" and "I hope Chinese tennis will become

better and better."

WTA chairman Steve Simon responded in writing, saying, "The statement released today by Chinese state media concerning Peng Shuai only raises my

concerns as to her safety and whereabouts.

"I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received."

Unable to communicate directly with Peng, despite multiple attempts, he's calling for independent and verifiable proof that this Chinese tennis star

is safe -- Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


NEWTON: Don Riddell joins me now from "WORLD SPORT."

It's getting harder and harder for sport, amateur or professional, to reconcile its relationship with China. It's really putting organizations

like the WTA in a tough spot.

DON RIDDELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very tough spot but it was encouraging, a lot of people within professional sport, athletes, those who cover the

tour, I think they were very encouraged by the WTA's position yesterday.

The response to that email, which, of course, we all learned about because of Chinese state media, the response with the WTA was swift and, of course,

Ivan has just detailed in his report what they said.

The relationship with China and women's professional tennis is fascinating. And you wonder if all of that is now potentially at stake.

Just to give you an idea of some of the figures that are involved in here, we're talking about a 10-year deal to host the WTA finals, which is the

prestigious end-of-year event that. That contract was signed in 2018. It's worth $140 million, which is huge for tennis. It's huge for women's tennis.

That kind of money subsidizes a lot of the other events. The WTA is supposed to be in China 10 times for different tournaments next year. The

only reason they're not currently there now is because of the COVID-19 situation.

So one wonders if all that is now in jeopardy because the WTA has taken a very strong line on this and it will be fascinating to see where this goes


NEWTON: Yes, I mean, 10 events. I hadn't realize that that's what was on the schedule. You've covered a lot of this, these clashes, even more

recently with China and the NBA and Enes Kanter calling out China on human rights.

Is there anything to explain the difference in the way a lot of these organizations handle their relationship with China?

RIDDELL: Well, it's tough for them because they are in business, right?

I mean, they are in the business of making money. And the sums of money that I've just outlined -- and it's very similar with the NBA -- I mean,

that's a huge market for the NBA is China.

But you're now seeing it being kind of chipped away and chipped away. And so, for example, with the Enes Kanter situation, who is directly taking on

the leader of China, now that his team, the Boston Celtics, those games are not being screened in China as a result.

So all of this is hugely damaging for the business relationship and it's very, very difficult for the NBA or the WTA, because now they have to pick

a side. And all of this is playing out on the eve of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. We're now barely two months away from the start of those games.

And it's going to be really interesting to see what the athletes do about this now.


RIDDELL: We often talk about protests and boycott and will anybody do something on the podium at the Olympic Games?

I would argue or I would suggest that if ever there was a time for an athlete to want to protest at the Olympics or perhaps even boycott them

altogether, now is the time. We're talking about a fellow athlete, whose whereabouts are unknown and who would seem to be in a very, very precarious


I think we'll hear more from athletes in the coming days. You outlined the tweet from Serena Williams earlier today; Naomi Osaka spoke about this

yesterday. I think a lot more athletes are going to get involved in this situation now.

NEWTON: Yes and, first and foremost, we want to her back safe and sound. But Joe Biden saying he might initiate a diplomatic boycott of those games.

So much more to come, Don, appreciate it.

The closing bell is coming up. A final check of the numbers. Stay with us.




NEWTON: All right. A couple minutes left to trade on Wall Street. The Dow is headed for back-to-back losses. Not much there. I mean, it had been

triple digits there, a session low of more than 200 in the red.

Now as you can see, they are down about 75 points. Now the other major averages doing a bit better. They are reaching for record closes, believe

it or not, for the first time in 10 days.

This is the issue though. Look at that Nasdaq. There is no stopping the tech parade here. It is flirting with its first close above 16,000; in

fact, only 10 points away from that now. I want to take a look at the Dow 30 components.

Take a look. Cisco down more than 6 percent after a disappointing earnings report that missed revenue. The company says it is dealing, you said it,

supply pressures. And 3M and American Express near the bottom as well.

This is interesting. Apple is now leading on the Dow. It's up more than 3 percent after a Bloomberg report said that it is speeding up its electric

car research and development and perhaps going fully for that refocus on the full self-driving vehicle.

And that also saw other EV stocks down for much of the day. Home Depot, meantime, is also near the top. It's been up since earnings Tuesday showed

higher than expected sales.

Yes, even with all the supply chain worries, the company said it has received most of its goods this quarter and was absolutely managing just

fine with those supply chain logjams.

That is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for this Thursday. I'm Paula Newton in New York.