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Quest Means Business

5 Arrested After 27 Migrants Die In English Channel; UK Adds Six African Countries To Travel "Red List" Over New Variant; Inflation And Supply Chain Fears Hang Over Black Friday Shopping; China Wrestling To Control Peng Shuai Assault Narrative. Aired 4-4:45p ET

Aired November 25, 2021 - 16:00:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: Good evening. A special extended edition of QUEST MEANS BUSINESS tonight, it being Thanksgiving in the United States.

The fallout from the deadliest disaster in the English Channel for years has been continuing. A fifth person has now been arrested by the French

authorities in connection with the boat that sank in the English Channel. So far, we know at least 27 migrants on board died.

The victims include 17 men, seven women, one of whom is believed to be pregnant, and three young people who could be teenagers according to the

authorities in France.

The British Prime Minster Boris Johnson says he's sent a five-part plan to the French President Emmanuel Macron. He wants France to take back migrants

who cross the channel and calls it the single biggest step the two countries can take to break smugglers' business model.

France for its part has called an emergency meeting of immigration ministers in Calais on Sunday. The leaders of France, Belgium, Germany, the

Netherlands, and the UK will attend.

However, the British home secretary has warned that there's no quick fix for the problem.


PRITI PATEL, BRITISH HOME SECRETARY: What happened yesterday was a dreadful shock. It was not a surprise but it's also a reminder of how

vulnerable people are put at peril when in the hands of criminal gangs. There result also, madam deputy speaker, is no quick fix. This is about

addressing long-term poor factors, smashing the criminals that treat human beings as cargo and tackling supply chains. This requires coordinated

international effort and I have been in constant contact with my counterparts from France, Belgium, Italy, and Greece, to name just a few.


QUEST: Cyril Vanier is on the coast near Calais in France.

So, I hope you can hear me. And it's cold tonight there. I know the temperature has fallen dramatically. The water is deadly. Paint the scene.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Richard, we came here near this beach near Calais where we know there have been some migrant boat crossings

because we wanted to better understand the circumstances behind Wednesday's tragedy and those 27 bodies that were picked up from the water not far from

here, somewhere in the English Channel behind us.

So I want to show you something that I think tells a big part of this story. If our photographer is going to widen the lens, I don't know if you

can recognize what you're looking at, but what this is, Richard, is a migrant boat. This one clearly didn't make it across the channel. It was

either intercepted by local police or somehow not used.

And this gives you a sense, first of all, of what these boats are like. They're very long, longer than I expected, about 10 meters long. These are

inflatable dinghies, much like the one, the ill-fated boats that capsized on Wednesday. And they're cheap to buy. They're probably easy to make. This

is bottom of the boat. These wooden boards here. I wouldn't trust this to carry me over to the English Channel, but it shows the level of desperation

these people must have to trust their lives with this boat.

Now, this one has been slashed by law enforcement, Richard. I think you can see the big gash to make sure that this can't be used anymore. And it's not

the only one. Just along this little patch of coastline where we are, we've seen not one, not two, not three boats, Richard, but four.

QUEST: Now, so, taking what you've just told us, how realistic, then, is it for this accusation from the British MP for Dover who says that the

French -- and the British prime minster says the French must do more to patrol that 100, 120 kilometer coast?


Is it realistic to do more? On the last hour of the program, we heard the transport head for the region saying it's simply not possible.

VANIER: Yeah, it's a great question. I'm glad you asked it, because that has been my feeling here all day. We have seen police cars, by the way,

just behind this little hill. There were police cars all day. We came back this evening. There's another shift that is patrolling throughout the


So they're not doing nothing. There are constant patrols. They use thermal imagery, but we're talking about 200 kilometers of coastline, Richard. It's

not 5 kilometers. It's 20 kilometers. It's 120 kilometers that are near enough the English Channel that migrants could use those beaches as a

jumping off point.

How do you patrol 200 kilometers? You would need a lot more men than are currently being deployed and one of the local police officers I spoke to

this morning acknowledged that. He said, there aren't enough of us to patrol this entire stretch of coastline. It would mean, you know, doubling,

maybe tripling the amount of researchers that are devoted to this.

I don't know for one, Richard, whether that is doable, but certainly when you're here, you understand the scale of the challenge.

QUEST: Right. I also heard that those boats, flimsy as they are, some of them are actually manufactured specifically long for the purposes of this

trafficking. These are purpose-built vessels, in some cases, for this awful trade.

VANIER: Well, what the interior minister has told us, that often boats like these -- I don't know whether this was the case here -- but often

boats like these are bought in neighboring Germany, and that of the five traffickers that were arrested, five smugglers that were arrested

potentially in connection with Wednesday's fatal accident, one of them had German license plates.

This was a way for the interior minister to explain the point that France has been making, that this is really a wider problem. It's not just a

French problem, not just a British problem. It's a wider European problem. That is why they're seeking a joint solution.

You mentioned the meeting Sunday. The boats potentially coming from Germany, the migrants themselves being funneled through a route that

involves Belgium and the Netherlands. You see -- you start to see, Richard, the complexity of the problem here this evening.

QUEST: Cyril Vanier, grateful that you're with us tonight. It's late in Calais, it's cold, and I'm thanking you for your time. Thank you, sir.

Breaking news in the last few minutes, the British health minister says six African countries are to be added to the U.K.'s travel "Red List" as alarm

goes over new COVID variant that's been detected in the South Africa, Botswana, and then travel going to Hong Kong.

David McKenzie has this report.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The scientists were quick to announce the discovery of this variant because it has some worrying signs. They

believe it could possibly evade immunity from previous infection and may be more transmissible. But it's certainly too early to tell. The reason they

say that is because the large number of mutations on this particular variant -- more than 30 in the spike protein alone, which is a critical

area of a virus that affects its transmissibility and its effectiveness.

Now, it is early days. Currently, South Africa is in a relative lull of the pandemic, but numbers are increasing, and through genomic surveillance

they're seeing this particular variant is increasing within this province and other provinces of South Africa. So far, the variant has been

discovered here in South Africa. It's being seen in Botswana, and from a traveler, travelling from this region to Hong Kong, unclear whether it has

more widespread than that.

But there are many unknowns. Just how will previous infection protect you against this variant? Will the vaccines be affected? We don't know at this

point and they say it needs more, possibly week of scientific discovery to find those answers out.

They do stress, scientists, that vaccination is important and needs to be done rapidly to avoid any negative effects from this variant and others.

David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.


QUEST: The E.U. has proposed putting an expiration date on its COVID pass that's going to be used for travel. The new rules would see the pass expire

after nine months. It comes as COVID-19 cases are still breaking records in parts of Europe. You can see there on the graph. Governments are scrambling

with new restrictions.

CNN's Phil Black with more on the COVID surge hitting the continent.


PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Slovakia is the second European country after Austria to lock down nonessential activity in a desperate bid to keep

people apart and slow down transmission.


The neighboring Czech Republic is also increasing restrictions on social behavior as part of its newly declared state of emergency. While France is

hoping it can avoid similar move by strengthen strengthening its existing health pass system.

That's the document that French people need in order to live and mix publicly by showing they have either immunity or have recently recorded a

negative test. For the vaccinated, the pass must now also include a booster dose within two months of becoming eligible. And for people who choose to

remain unvaccinated, they must now record a negative test every 24 hours.

OLIVIER VERAN, FRENCH HEALTH MINISTER (through translator): We are making the choice to reconcile freedoms with responsibility, and today, we think

that we can still overcome this wave without resorting to the most restrictive measures if we fully use all the cards in our hand.

BLACK: Meanwhile, the European Union is recommending its vaccination certificate should expire nine months after people receive their initial

doses. The certificates allow people to travel around new countries.

DIDIER REYNDERS, EU COMMISSIONER FOR JUSTICE (through translator): Member states should accept vaccination certificates not exceeding nine months

since the first round of vaccination. Beyond nine months vaccination certificate will no longer be recognized in the absence of a booster dose.

BLACK: Germany has set a grim milestone, even as it repeatedly sets new record for daily case numbers. 100,000 people have now been killed in

Germany by the pandemic. .

ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): It is, of course, a very sad day when we have to record 100,000 people who have died of

coronavirus, and sadly, at the moment, we are seeing 300 more deaths a day being added to this figure.

BLACK: Europe's governments are reluctant to increase control over people's lives once again, but a director at the European Center for

Disease Prevention and Control says restrictions will be necessary this winter, at least until a much greater proportion of the population is

protected by vaccines.

Phil Black, CNN, London.


QUEST: Most of the big stores and shops in the United States have opted to stay closed for Thanksgiving today, as they did last year before the COVID

vaccine rollout. Now, when shoppers do get to hit the black Friday sales, they may find higher costs and emptier shelves.

Vanessa Yurkevich with more.


VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been a blockbuster season for retailers. Sales rose by 1.7 percent

just last month, beating expectations.

BILL BOLTZ, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF MERCHANDISING, LOWE'S: The consumer is shopping earlier, and they have been shopping earlier, and we

think that they'll continue that pattern throughout the holiday season.

YURKEVICH: The biggest shopping day of the year is still Black Friday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you so much.

YURKEVICH: But Lowe's has been running sales since October, trying to capitalize on the 46 percent of shoppers who plan to buy earlier than

normal this year.

KATHERINE CULLEN, SENIOR DIRECTOR, NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION: We're seeing consumers really move up their holiday shopping time line, not just

for this historical trend but also because of some concerns around supply chain disruptions and inventory issues.

YURKEVICH: And there's no indication 30-year record inflation is stopping shoppers from spending.

CULLEN: We are expecting for the overall holiday season retail will grow between 8.5 percent and 10.5 percent, which is certainly much higher growth

than the level of inflation.

YURKEVICH: And it's not just growth, but record spending, up to nearly $860 billion in the last two months of 2021. Two million more people are

expected to shop from Thanksgiving day through Cyber Monday this year compared to last.

BOLTZ: Those are trends we're certainly seeing as it relates to how the shopping patterns happen at Lowe's right now.

BRANDY DEIESO, OWNER, THE LITTLE APPLE: The total is $34.56 please.

YURKEVICH: But the surge in early holiday shopping is overwhelming some smaller retailers.

DEIESO: Having people come early was making me a little nervous.

YURKEVICH: Brandy Deieso, owner of The Little Apple in Philadelphia, says supply chain issues delayed key holiday merchandise.

DEIESO: Two of my large orders I ended up having to cancel.

YURKEVICH: And while she says she's had to raise prices to offset higher freight coast, she says shoppers are still buying and is expecting a larger

than normal crowd on Black Friday.

DEIESO: People are still coming to shop on Black Friday as well, which has been a new phenomenon. It just started in the last couple of years.

YURKEVICH: But there may be another phenomenon for early shopping and lots of it this holiday season.


YURKEVICH: Something that can't be defined by a number or economic indicator.

DEIESO: The holidays, of course, bring people together, and that's spirit that people are trying to capture.


And by coming out and shopping and buying gifts and things that are special and thinking of their loved ones, I think people have just been craving

that for so long, they're comfortable to finally do it again.

YURKEVICH: Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


QUEST: No breaks for Germany's climate agenda. They want millions more electric cars on the road. Volvo's chief technology officer will be with us

after the break.



QUEST: Breaking news to you bring to you this evening. The Russian state media is reporting at least 52 people have been killed in an accidental

coal mine in Siberia. Local officials say there's been an explosion after a methane leak. Six of the dead are believed to be the rescuers.

We'll have more details. And as we get them, we'll, of course, bring them to you. Fifty-two dead it's believed in this coal mine accident in Siberia.

Germany's next government is pushing ahead with its climate agenda. Reuters reporting that Berlin could fill its climate funds by more than $56

million. Putting at least 15 million electric cars on German roads by 2030. Olaf Scholz, who leans left, could be sworn in as chancellor in the first

week of December.

Volvo has already pledged to be fully electric by 2030. Lars Stenqvist is the company's chief technology officer. He joins me now.

Sir, it's good to see you. Thank you. I'm grateful.

These pledges that we see from different governments to basically phase out the internal combustion engine -- how realistic is it? Are we heading to a

situation where there will have to be some road back on this?

LARS STENQVIST, CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER, VOLVO: Well, for me it's obvious. You know, I'm the CTO of the Volvo Group. We are delivering the

heaviest stuff, busses, truck, and construction equipment. So, don't mix it with other Volvo company delivering passenger cars.

When it comes to trucks, busses, and construction equipment, I see that we have three technologies in parallel going forward. It will be better

electric vehicles, it will be fuel cell electric vehicles, then running on green hydrogen. But I am convinced there is also role for a combustion

engine when it comes to commercial vehicles. But then of course those combustion engines must run on renewable fuel.


So I'm a little surprise about discussions on banning the combustion engines completely, because I think there's a bit of a misunderstanding

between the heavy commercial vehicles and light passenger cars.

QUEST: I guess this is where the research and money you're putting into research pays dividends, isn't it, whether or not the larger construction

equipment and the trucks for which you're well known, whether or not their future -- you know, where do you see the sustainability argument coming

down in the future?

STENQVIST: Well, the sustainability argument is sort of driving most of our R&D efforts right now. We believe very much in the Paris agreement. We

are committed towards the Paris agreement. That means that we clearly see that we need to go to a decarbonized transport system on road and off-road.

If we are talking about 2050 with vehicles and machines operating on the road for at least ten years, then it means we have to deliver from 2050 and

onwards, and this is a clear demand from our customers.

QUEST: The customers are demanding it, and you have a will and a way in a sense, but in all industries, what I hear in the travel industry and

aviation, in heavy construction, I hear that what you really need is certainty of policy, certainty of policy from governments, and I don't just

mean in sustainable friendly countries like the Nordics or Scandinavians that because you're manufacturing and delivering globally, and you need to

have an element of certainty from government.

STENQVIST: Yeah, for me it's very clear that the vehicles as much will not be the bottleneck when it comes to rolling out decarbonized solutions for

road transport and for offroad applications. I think that it is more in the area of production of green electricity, green hydrogen and the

infrastructure. And you can say that's part of policy. It's part of our politicians' need to focus on to get this going. That is the risk, that is

potential bottleneck for this deployment across industries.

QUEST: Related to that, to that bottleneck, the supply chain issues that we have seen, are you seeing any easing up yet? Or perhaps the opposite,

sort of a hardening into a more permanence of supply chain difficulties. What are you seeing?

STENQVIST: I'm the chief technology officer of the Volvo Group, so I'm mainly focusing on what we have. Not only in today's situation, not in

tomorrow's. I'm more into the long-term perspective, and of course we are taking the supply situation with us when we are making decisions for long-

term as well, where to localize production, with who to work with, suppliers, et cetera. But I'm more into the long-term discussion.

QUEST: Good to see you, sir. Glad you joined us tonight. I appreciate it. Thank you.

Five Americans and a U.S. resident have been detained four years in Venezuela, convicted of corruption in a closed door trial. All of them

executives at Citgo, the U.S. subsidiary of Venezuela's state oil company. An investigation by CNN has established that the men known as the "Citgo

Six" were lured into going to the country and then tried in trumped up charges.

CNN's Isa Soares reports.


ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Carmen clings to a photo of her husband, Jorge Toledo.


SOARES: The same way she hangs on to his every word.

This voicemail the very first time the world is hearing from him.

VOICEMAIL FROM JORGE TOLEDO, CITGO EXECUTIVE (translated): I was allowed to make a phone call, a friend ceded his time and so I wanted to talk to

you a little bit.

SOARES: -- since he left on a business trip to Venezuela, yet to return.

TOLEDO: After four year, I think that, yes, that U.S. government has failed us.

SOARES: Jorge Toledo and his colleagues left Houston on November 19, 2017, called to a meeting to a meeting, Caracas, by CITGO's parent company,

PDVSA. As they gather in a conference room, Venezuela's feared military intelligence sweep in and arrest the five Americans and a U.S. resident.

General Manuel Christopher Figuera was a senior intelligence officer, very close to President Nicolas Maduro until he turned on him and fled to the

United States.


He says the CITGO 6 was set up.

CHRISTOPHER FIGUERA, FORMER HEAD OF VENEZUELAN INTELLIGENCE: It was a well-prepared trap to arrest them. There was no arrest warrant.

SOARES: Initially, the six were held at a prison controlled by the agency Figuera was part of. Now in the United States, he tells us he takes

responsibility for his actions.

FIGUERA: I feel responsible not just for them, but because I was part of that nefarious structure that today is destroying our country.

SOARES: Their families and lawyers tell us they have been kept in overcrowded cells, no windows and in the most unsanitary conditions. They

say they've had to buy everything from food to water, toothpaste, to even toilet paper. Have a listen to what Toledo asked for just a few weeks ago.

VOICEMAIL FROM JORGE TOLEDO, CITGO EXECUTIVE (translated): For the weekend, we will need a bar of soap to shower.

SOARES: Early this year, the CITGO 6 were moved to house arrest, only to be thrown back in prison in October hours after a Maduro ally was

extradited to the United States. Throughout, President Nicolas Maduro has accused them of theft and embezzlement, off taking kickbacks from an

illicit debt deal (ph).

NICOLAS MADURO, VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT (through translator): A few days ago, as head of state, I requested an urgent investigation, given the serious

claims that I was made aware of, of embezzlement of our company, CITGO, of a blatant and massive robbery at CITGO.

SOARES: The main accusations against the six said they had tried to renegotiate the CITGO debt without consulting with PDVSA or Maduro. The

military officer behind their arrest said in court the Venezuelan authorities had received information from its intelligence sources in the

U.S. but offered no proof.

CNN obtained documents showing that the board of CITGO's parent company, PDVSA, explicitly authorized negotiations. In addition, look closely, only

one of the six, Jose Pereira, was part of the conversations.

The deal, by the way, never went ahead and the company that was mediating the refinancing move, Mangore Sarl says no money was ever exchanged. Still,

they were convicted.

The arrests to the CITGO 6 took place after protesters began pouring onto the streets in 2017. Venezuela's once booming oil industry was on its

knees, the country under a mountain of debt. And sanctions imposed by President Trump crippled PDVSA's ability to move profits from CITGO back

into Venezuela.

As the flow of cash dried up, the regime's blame and fear strategy kicked in.

TAREK WILLIAM SAAB, VENEZUELAN ATTORNEY GENERAL: They're saying this is all part of the internal struggle. What internal struggle? This is

corruption, corruption of the most rotten kind.

SOARES: Former Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez ran PDVSA for a decade under Hugo Chavez.

RAFAEL RAMIREZ, FORMER VENEZUELAN OIL MINISTER (translated): What he cares about is being in control.

SOARES: Once an ally, he became a threat to Maduro's rise to power, and a potential challenger to the presidency when their leader and mentor, Hugo

Chavez, died suddenly in 2013. He fled into exile when he received word Maduro wanted to arrest him on corruption charges, charges he denies.

RAMIREZ (through translator): The arrest order and the way they were detained is an instruction by Maduro to spread terror, to generate fear.

SOARES: So, they were set up?

RAMIREZ: Yes, of course. This spread fear throughout PDVSA, throughout the country, a feeling of fear and terror with regards to the security forces

started to grow around the country.

SOARES: A fear that only increased with the purge of PDVSA employees, 15 arrested since 2017, according to Venezuelan NGO, Foro Penal.

BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: It seems that they have been used as -- you know, as bargaining chips.

SOARES: Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Bill Richardson is navigating this minefield in an effort to win the freedom of the CITGO 6. He tells me

what he believes Maduro's intentions are.

RICHARDSON: They don't want any further sanctions. They want sanctions lifted, but you know, the relationship has been so poor in the last four to

eight years, that I'm the one that's talking to the Venezuelans. The U.S. Government doesn't talk to them.

SOARES: Since he took office, President Biden has said little on Venezuela. Its policy, some say, is inexistent, a very different approach

to former President Trump.

For Carlos Anez and the families of the other five in Venezuela, the fight for justice has been lonely, with silence, they say, from the U.S.


CARLOS ANEZ, SON OF DETAINED CITGO EXECUTIVE JORGE TOLEDO: I always apologize to my dad for, you know, not having delivered, is how I feel. I

feel like I haven't delivered until he's home. And if he's not home, then I'm not applying the right kind of pressure or I'm not getting my mission



SOARES: A battle that will continue as long as the CITGO 6 is seen as a valuable bargaining chip for a regime that has few options left.

Isa Soares, CNN.


QUEST: In response to CNN, the U.S. State Department said it continues to seek the unconditional release of the Citgo Six and urges Maduro to allow

them to return to their families in the United States.

QUEST MEANS BUSINESS tonight, extended version. The IOC has been accused of sports washing when it posted videos of its video call with the tennis star

Peng Shuai. The committee defending the actions.


QUEST: As CNN continues to cover the story of the Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, our coverage is being censored in the China at every step of the

way. It's highly likely what I'm saying to you now isn't being seen in China. Peng disappeared from the public eye more than two weeks after she

alleged she was sexually assaulted by one of China's most senior communist leaders.

CNN's Will Ripley reports.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You can see that as soon as you started talking about this story, Erin, it went to color bars.

(voice-over): When China's communist rulers don't like the message --

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: This broadcast is not being aired in China. It's being censored.

RIPLEY: They silence the messenger.

They have an army of censors waiting to push that button.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: They don't want the people there to see it.

RIPLEY: CNN coverage of tennis star Peng Shuai blocked inside China.

JENNIFER HSU, RESEARCH FELLOW, LOWY INSTITUTE: It really tries to control the story. Control the narrative.

RIPLEY: Controlling the narrative means scrubbing social media.

Peng's explosive post on November 2nd, accusing a retired Chinese leader of sexual assault, erased within 30 minutes.

Look for the story on China's leading-search engine, you get this message - - sorry, no relevant results found.

The scandal so politically sensitive, a high-profile state propagandist referred to it on Twitter as the thing people talked about.

Inside China, state media staying silent. No mention in the mainland's TV or digital media. Outside, those news outlets eagerly tweeting updates and

images of Peng, in English, on a platform blocked in their own country. An irony not lost on millions following the story outside China, some even

mocking the state media tweets.

Peng is seen smiling but not talking at a tennis tournament, having dinner with friends, and a Chinese sports official who just so happens to mention

the exact date several times.

CNN has no way to independently verify these videos or this e-mail, supposedly from Peng to the head of the women's tennis association last

week claiming everything is fine. A computer cursor visible in this apparent screen shot.

The head of the WTA telling "OUTFRONT" he's not convinced.

STEVE SIMMON, WTA CHAIRMAN AND CEO: I'm just struggling to -- to agree to that. And -- and don't believe that's the truth at all.

RIPLEY: The WTA demanding direct, uncensored communication with Peng. The organization's repeated calls and messages to the tennis star, unanswered.

HSU: China is well-known for coercing statements to show that everything is fine.

RIPLEY: China's narrative bolstered by the International Olympic Committee. The IOC handed out this single image of a video call Sunday

along with a statement summarizing the call, claiming Peng is safe and well, totally ignoring her painfully detailed allegation of sexual assault.

With billions of dollars in ad revenue on the line, critics call the IOC complicit in China's apparent silencing of a three-time Olympian who many

fear is being held under duress, censored by China's authoritarian government, which blames hostile forces for politicizing the issue.

When CNN goes to the next story, our signal returns.

As China waits for the news cycle to move on, the pressure keeps growing. The world keeps demanding answers.

Will Ripley, CNN, Hong Kong.


QUEST: A top official from the International Olympic Committee says that tennis authorities haven't been paying attention in how to deal with China,

as well as explaining the IOC has been criticized for releasing images of a video call its president held last week with Peng Shuai. The Women's Tennis

Association said these pictures were not enough to alleviate their concerns.

Earlier, Dick Pound from the IOC told CNN nothing untoward seemed to be going on.


DICK POUND, SENIOR MEMBER, INTERNATIONAL OYMPIC COMMITTEE: Well, I think the idea was to be assured in so far as one can as IOC members and so

forth, including a Chinese female member, that she was healthy, not being confined and that she's happy enough to get together with the same folks

who are on the call later in Beijing. So I think if nothing else, you can have quite a lot of confidence that she'll be in good shape up to and

including Beijing. And I think that's what we're -- we were concerned about.

Now, ATP may have its own views, but I don't think they have been paying much attention to what's happened in basketball and football in threatening

Chinese with economic sanctions on this. It's not going to work, and part of the proof in the pudding is they were not able to get in touch with her,

and that's her support. Maybe she didn't like to attitude they were showing.


QUEST: Alex Thomas is with me.

Alex, I'll be honest, I was listening to there's to what Dick Pound is saying. I'm not sure what he said.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN WORLD SPORT: He is a senior member of the IOC. He's well respected for his fight against doping and has often gone against the IOC

hierarchy if he doesn't believe them. But you're right, Richard, that was a complete word salad strewn with errors and also contradictions as well.

Astonishing stuff.

QUEST: It begs the question -- all right, so, what would it take? We have had the statement. We have had to picture. We've seen her at a game.

What would it take to put the fears to rest?


THOMAS: It's not fears about her safety as much as not taking what she said in her social media post seriously. If this had happened in America or

the U.K., even if a governing body or government tried to cover up the allegation of sexual assault, there would be an outcry and authorities

would acknowledge that.

China is refusing to even go that far. They are trying to put their head in the sand and hope the world will follow and the International Olympic

Committee, based on what Dick Pound was saying to Christiane Amanpour earlier is trying to reinforce that message. He later in the interview, we

don't have a relationship with the Chinese government. We go to the local organizing committee as far as next step for Beijing Winter Olympics are


But nonetheless, they are toeing -- they're toeing China's party line rather than the WTA, which is trying to stand up for a woman who's got real

fears and allegation of sexual assault.

QUEST: Is the WTA in your view prepared to take the economic consequences of a breach with China?

THOMAS: Yeah, the CEO said as much, and I think they will. Dick Pound talked about the problems for soccer and football and the NBA when they've

taken on China, but actually he's wrong. Remember, the two NBA cases, when Daryl Morey, the Houston Rockets general manager, two years ago retweeted

something in solidarity with the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, China took NBA games off the TV, but not for have long, and that commercial

relationship still exists, even Enes Kanter recently again upping the ante, talking about the internment camps, or alleged internment camps for Uighur

Muslims in China as well.

So, you know, you can stick to your principles and your ethics and win against China. The WTA seems to be doing that. The IOC don't.

QUEST: Alex, always good to have you. I have no idea, frankly, whether our conversation will be seen in China. I'm guessing not, but others will tell

us in the fullness of time. Thank you.

And that is our extended QUEST MEANS BUSINESS tonight. I forgot the bell. Well, I guess if there's no trading. How about if I make the noise for you?

Anyway, we'll have a normal day trading on Wall Street -- that's not really normal since it's the day after Thanksgiving, but it's Black Friday, so

there'll be lost of bargains to talk about. Until then, whatever you're up to in the hours ahead -- dong! I hope it's profitable.