Return to Transcripts main page

Quest Means Business

Texas School Shooting; Major Averages Rise after Strong Retail Earnings; Leaders Offer Grim Outlook for Global Economy; Russia's War on Ukraine; Pfizer to Sell Drugs at No Profit to 45 Countries; Call to Earth: Iceland's Glaciers. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired May 26, 2022 - 15:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS HOST: It's nine o'clock in Davos, and there is a solid rebound underway for the markets. If you look at the Dow, Macy's,

the retailer's earnings are driving the optimism. We are up the best part of two percent, and what is interesting about that sea of green on the

market is it went up and it has stayed there. So the markets are in relatively better mood than we've seen in recent weeks.

The main events of the day to bring to your attention: Texas officials are showing the latest on the investigation into the deadly school shooting.

The school door was apparently unlocked.

The global economic outlook is growing darker. Julia Chatterley will shed some light into the darkness, a lesson from a week at Davos.

And the chief executive of Pfizer is working towards an annual COVID-19 vaccine.


ALBERT BOURLA, CEO, PFIZER: The virus is changing and this is our challenge, how to chase and be ahead of him rather than the virus being

ahead of us.


QUEST: We are live from Davos in Switzerland. The rain has stopped. It's actually been a delightful day today. It is Thursday. It's May the 26th.

I'm Richard Quest and yes, I mean business.

Good evening.

We begin, of course, in Texas with more details on Tuesday's school shooting. You'll know, of course that 19 children and two teachers were

murdered in the attack. Texas law enforcement are now saying that the gunman was in the school for about an hour. He was finally shot and killed

by a Border Patrol agent.

Now the gunman, the shooter was a local high school student. To the best of everyone's knowledge at the moment, there is no known criminal record or

mental illness. He only turned 18 last week, and the assault rifle that he bought, he bought legally.

In the last few moments, the authorities have given us an update on the events. The school doors were apparently unlocked and the gunman was able

to enter the school unimpeded.

We'll come to that in a moment.

The posted pictures of the guns days before the shooting. So he knew what guns he had and what he was going to do and part of the timeline, the

authorities are now working to put together to explain the events and such can be explained.

Let me show you what we know so far. At 11:15, the gunman shot his grandmother, then texted a friend and said he was going to shoot up an

elementary school. He then stole the grandmother's car, crashed it outside of Robb Elementary, and at 11:40, he entered the school and began firing.

Four minutes later, the police began to act. An hour later, the gunman was shot dead at the scene.

Adrienne Broaddus is with me to go through this timeline and what we have learned, and it seems from what I can see, the focus of attention is this

hour plus that he was in the school, what he was doing and at what point the murders took place, and if there was a delay in the police entering the


ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is the big question, one of the big questions: What happened during that lull? Could the tactical teams

have moved in to the building during that delay? We were unable to get any clear answers just moments ago during that news conference.

Another question that we've been asking over the last 48 hours, investigators initially said this 18-year-old shooter was barricaded inside

of the school. Well, how was he barricaded? Did he use a chair? Was the door locked? What happened?


BROADDUS: When we asked today our Shimon Prokupecz -- I'm sorry I mispronounced his last name -- followed up repeatedly asking the law

enforcement official updating us. How was he barricaded? He refused to answer. He said he would get back with us. So that is one of the main

questions remaining.

And as you can imagine, parents have answers, especially the families of the 19 children whose lives ended on that day. Those children -- those

students were supposed to be celebrating the last day of school today. This was supposed to be the start to their summer vacation, but it's not.

Instead, people have shown up here, about three minutes or so away from the school for relief. They've been here at the Town Square praying. There are

comfort dogs on site, therapy dogs providing emotional support for those who may need it. And we spoke with some of the folks who are not even

members of this community. Some traveled from the Carolinas, another travel from Illinois, to be here, to offer their support -- Richard.

QUEST: So the other interesting thing that people around the world will be interested in is this question of access to the school. Now, much is being

made that the doors were unlocked. Of course, in many parts of the world, it will be quite unusual to lock the school doors and at the same time, the

issue of whether there was an armed guard within the school.

Do we know any of these details yet?

BROADDUS: Well, we've heard from investigators that the 18-year-old shooter entered on the west side of the building, and that the door was unlocked.

There have been conflicting reports about the resource officer.

Earlier in the week, we heard that resource officer engaged with the 18- year-old shooter. Today, the law enforcement official updating us said that was inaccurate. But our initial report saying that the resource officer

engaged with the shooter, came from a spokesperson with the Department of Public Safety.

And you talked about other parts of the world where it's not uncommon for doors to remain unlocked. Well, here, I can tell you even when I was in

high school, our main entry door would be locked. I went to a high school in Michigan in the United States. And in order to enter the school, you had

to show ID, you had to be buzzed in, even when we go to pick up our children. If someone else is going to pick them up, we need to let school

administrators know. So it's not uncommon here -- Richard.

QUEST: Right. And indeed, many of those measures are in other parts of the world. Adrienne, thank you very much indeed, bringing us up to date.

Of course, in the United States, this atrocity has reignited the entire debate over gun control. Over the years, there's been a lot of talk and

very little action. And the reason, at the core of it all, is the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Let me read you what it says: "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms

shall not be infringed." And with that last bit, "Shall not be infringed," the constitutional right to have a gun was established. But the limits of

that constitutional right is what's been bedeviled the Courts ever since.

Other countries after mass shootings have taken swift action. Britain for example, after Dunblane banned most handguns. Australia after Tasmania

banned semi-automatic and pump-action firearms had an amnesty and took hundreds of thousands of guns out of circulation. New Zealand enacted

stricter rules on sales and ownerships.

In the U.S., so far with this latest murder -- mass murder -- the reaction has been one of hopelessness.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We must ask when in God's name, will we do what needs to be done if not completely stop,

fundamentally changed the amount of the carnage that goes on in this country?

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Why do you spend all this time running for the United States Senate? Why do you go through all the hassle of getting this

job of putting yourself in a position of authority? If your answer is that as this slaughter increases, as our kids run for their lives, we do


STEVE KERR, NBA COACH: When are we going to do something?



QUEST: Doug Heye is with me, the former Republican strategist in Washington, D.C. joins me now. Doug, look, the thing is, for the last X

number of years when there have been other mass shootings, everybody said, if you couldn't get gun reform after Sandy Hook, you're never going to get


And now we have Texas, which this -- and the one -- if I read the columnists and the opinion writers, they all say the same thing: It's

helpless. Nothing is going to change. The right -- there is no -- the gun lobby is too powerful to affect any form of meaningful change.

DOUG HEYE, FORMER RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, it obviously is very influential in Republican politics. I worked on Capitol Hill for the House

Majority Leader, for another Member of Congress and Senator and, you know, what we see is Republicans are very fearful to move anything that crosses

the NRA, not because of money, per se, Richard, as often gets reported, but because those voters are active Republican members, see them, hear from

them, those who show up and who vote in Republican primaries. So that's what they are responding to first and foremost.

But hopefully, we're seeing some good news on Capitol Hill today, or at least maybe the beginnings of it. There's a bipartisan group of senators

that are meeting today to start with, okay, we know what we disagree on, what can we start to agree on with Red Flag Laws being a potential thing?

Now, this could be false hope, we've had false hope before, but clearly, more people were starting to realize that we have to act on something.

QUEST: The idea that somehow there is a constitutional right to bear arms, which allow -- and of course, the debate then always becomes about, you

know, the machine guns, artillery and those sorts of things, but the idea, the rest of the world does not have this level of murder. And the only real

difference seems to be that the rest of the world doesn't have this right to bear arms, which seems to be so prevalent.

HEYE: Yes, look, it all goes back to that. And then obviously, Court decisions, whether those are on State Courts, Federal Appeals Courts, or

certainly on the Supreme Court that decide on that, and that is where Republicans are rock hard on this. They're not moving on anything unless

they feel that they would be able to do something that is very limited in scope, if they're willing to do that.

We've seen past incidences where it's worked. Senator Rick Scott of Florida was previously Governor, he moved some legislation and signed it into law

in Florida. We have different laws in different states, which affects things as well, you know, for instance, the concealed carry laws are very

different here in the District of Columbia, where I live where you practically can't get it, whereas in other states, you don't need a permit,

because you can do whatever you want.

QUEST: So Doug, let me put you in a position of just giving me a view that you might not agree with, or I probably don't agree with, but what --

because just to understand it, that's what I'm about, understanding it.

What is the answer from the gun lobby? What do they think should be done to prevent these sorts of incidents? What's their solution?

HEYE: Well, you know, I think you've identified part of the problem there is what we hear from them is not a whole lot. So, it'll obviously be very

interesting to see what is said in Houston this week with the unfortunate timing of their meeting, but what they've decided as an organization or

organizations is not to speak out on this.

And I can tell you as a Republican, you know, one of the real disappointments I had with Donald Trump's tenure was, you know, we talk

about QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, Donald Trump built himself as the greatest dealmaker that could ever be President and he refused to negotiate on

anything with guns or even immigration, where he would be allowed to by the Republican base to negotiate the deal on guns, immigration and other things

that a President Jeb Bush or a President Marco Rubio wouldn't have been allowed to.

It could have been a Nixon goes to China a moment that would have made Trump not just a good President, but potentially a great one. He never even

took that chance. I think that's one of the more frustrating things that a lot of Republicans like myself are scratching their heads at right now.

QUEST: Gosh, Doug, I'm so grateful we had you this evening on the program.

HEYE: Anytime, thank you.

QUEST: You put out some great perspective because I can tell you that people -- the rest of the world does, I mean just is bewildered by it -- a

horrifying issue.

HEYE: My niece and nephew are British, so I understand.

QUEST: Thank you, sir.

HEYE: Thank you.

QUEST: Thank you. Excellent. Thank you. We'll talk again.


It is the final day of Davos. After the break, will Julia Chatterley and I agree on anything of what happened here over the course of the week? I'm

not putting money on it.



QUEST: U.S. markets are higher on Tuesday -- so sorry, Tuesday -- Thursday, my days are all mixed up. That's what happens if you go to Davos, you'll

start to merge after a while.

The Dow -- look at the markets. The Dow is up a good solid 500 points. We are off the top of the days. The NASDAQ is up nearly 300 points as strong

retail earnings, which is not fully understandable bearing in mind the other retailers that have warned, but Macy's seem to think things were not


The Macy's shares are up 19 percent. It said investors -- they told investors customers are returning to stores despite inflation, and it

raised its profit despite inflation.

Here at Davos, leaders have been offering grim outlooks for what is likely to be happening. The issue, of course, is whether or not there will be a

recession and primarily when we say that, we mean in the United States. It's the old idea of can the Fed have a soft landing versus will they get a

soft landing?

Julia Chatterley and I've been asking the question to anybody who will listen.


HUSSAIN SAJWANI, CHAIRMAN, DAMAC: Yes, yes, I see a recession, especially in Europe. All the indicators are saying that. High inflation, high

interest rate and the war.

MANNY MACEDA, CEO, BAIN & CO.: It will self-correct, and we will go through it. Question is really when, not if, and that is -- I think that is that is

the question.

MIKAEL DAMBERG, SWEDISH FINANCE MINISTER: It is how we handle the crisis. And also, it depends on what Russia do in Ukraine, of course, that could

set up even a bigger fire in the global economy.

DAVID RUBENSTEIN, CO-FOUNDER, CARLYLE GROUP: It's a very serious economic problem. I want to make light of it. But I don't think today we are yet at

the point where we're having a recession or we're having a great recession.

KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA, MANAGING DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND: when we look into the last downgrade and what happened since, I wouldn't put it

out of question that there may be a further downgrade.


QUEST: So, is there going to be a recession? Julia is with me.

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR, FIRST MOVE: Can I just start by saying I completely disagree with what you were saying before. It's not

just about the United States. It is whole swathes of the world that we've got question marks over: Europe, energy security, China with the ongoing --


CHATTERLEY: Slowdown everywhere potentially.

QUEST: But the slowdown -- but the issue of whether there is going to be a recession, that's been very much on people's mind, and I don't think it

matters, frankly, because there is very little difference between growing this much and going down by this much. Did you enjoy this Davos?

CHATTERLEY: This has been my favorite Davos of all my -- it might be five or six now, my experiences. You do lose count and it does feel like Friday

from about Tuesday morning. So I agree with you on that point.

But I do feel like it was a streamlined one and everybody that came here had a purpose, had a message, be it about sustainability, be it about the

food crisis, so I did really enjoy it because I feel like for the first time ever, we're connecting the dots on all of these things.


CHATTERLEY: And actually, some people came with really poignant messages about spillover effects, short-term choices having long-term consequences.

QUEST: Now, you like your crypto, don't you?

CHATTERLEY: I'm interested in the concept and what it could mean in the future for inclusivity.

QUEST: I am delighted that there wasn't so much of all that up on the Promenade. I'm delighted that this was more -- there were fewer people

talking about more serious issues.

CHATTERLEY: Well, I think this -- you're get me going now.

QUEST: Go on. Wind her up.

CHATTERLEY: The future of inclusivity for digitization. Look what happened in COVID and the ramp up in digitization and what was needed? And the

underlying technology, crypto plays a part in that. Sideswipe that.

I agree with you, Richard.


CHATTERLEY: But, no, I am going -- the war in Ukraine is important. The spillover effects are huge. And actually, we're in a very important point

in time, in many ways, geopolitically, politically, short-term decisions having long-term consequences and that was the focus and it needed to be.

QUEST: Do you think, I mean, they never decided, there was never any result from Davos. But do you feel that people came away from here, better

understanding each other's positions and where we need to go.

For example, this issue of oil and the sanctions of oil with Germany, Olaf Scholz this morning tried to -- I mean, he spoke about it, but I'm not any

clearer that Viktor Orban is not going to mess the whole thing up.

CHATTERLEY: I think that everybody around the table here and obviously it was very your European-centric -- is a logistical issue, too -- recognizes

that the decisions that they're making and the sanctions that they're applying on Russia have spillover effects.

There is a war going on in Ukraine, but there are other wars going on in the world. Food security, climate, and we are going to make decisions based

on sanctions and the consequences that have longer term spillover effects, and we have to talk about all of these things.

And Kissinger, Henry Kissinger, for me, points something very important, which is part of the discussion behind the scenes, perhaps not in the


QUEST: Go on.

CHATTERLEY: We're making decisions on moral, ethical, and economic terms at this moment. If the global economy slows down, if people have a cost of

living crisis that accelerates, the challenges of all these things, put political pressure on leaders, perhaps there will be pressure on Ukraine to

say, do we have to concede some ground to stop the political pressure going on everywhere else?

And that doesn't take away from the humanitarian crisis. It just opens the problem. Go. Sorry. Please on your show, please speak.

QUEST: The former Prime Minister of Finland, Alex Stubb, said to me that that is exact exactly the fear he's got, from a different point of view,

because Henry Kissinger is more along the lines of the VW chair and CEO, and the German Ministers who have all said, there has to be a discussion,

there has to be -- but there are people here who say the price of a dictator only ever goes higher, and therefore you cannot -- and anyway,

what does victory look like in terms of, do you give up the Donbas? Do you give up Luhansk? Do you get back Crimea?

CHATTERLEY: Look at history. History is littered with examples of unfortunate compromise, and I think Alex is quite right. And again, as you

-- and we have been discussing, we're already talking about it, get through a summer, COVID pressures, maybe China reopens and suddenly all the demand

pressures that we haven't seen because they've been locked down accelerate.

My fear is that for political reasons, for feeding people's reasons, 830 million people going hungry tonight and that's accelerating. The pressure

to compromise will only grow.

QUEST: Julia Chatterley, I am grateful.

CHATTERLEY: Thank you, sir.

QUEST: Thank you very much, indeed.

CHATTERLEY: Can I -- I didn't get to the little picture. Oh, Richard, look, I even bought a pink pen to match and look, I brought my own because this

won't work. I want to use this.

QUEST: Fine, fine. So, the question of sun or snow?

CHATTERLEY: Snow. Here we go.

QUEST: Spring or snow? What would you prefer?

Oh, no.

CHATTERLEY: Yes. I mean, you because I knew you wouldn't. I love disagreeing with Richard.

QUEST: You completely --

CHATTERLEY: I defaced it as well. Look, I brought you a spare one, so you can hide what I did.

QUEST: Vandalism. Thank you, Julia Chatterley joining me there. Thank you.

CHATTERLEY: Thank you.

QUEST: You can go over there.


QUEST: As we continue tonight, U.S. GDP numbers -- U.S. GDP numbers have been worse than first thought. A reading down of one and a half percent,

which is lower than expected. Julia was talking to the Managing Director of the IMF, who says she expects further slowdowns.


GEORGIEVA: Because of tightening of financial conditions, because of dollar appreciation, it hits many countries a lot, and because of the slowdown in

China, that is affecting supply chains quite dramatically.

What we are mostly concerned is: Are we now stepping into a period of time of economic fragmentation? Are we going to see the consequences of this

period to be long lasting with trading blocs forming, possibly choice of reserve currencies that is more diversified? And would that mean that, yes,

the crisis is not so dramatic I, agree from 3.6, which is our projection down to minus territory, a long way to go, very unlikely we will have a

global recession. There will be recession, perhaps in a handful of countries, but are we going to be poorer in the future as a result of the

geo-economics of today?



QUEST: Adding to the concerns, of course is what's happening with China and the lockdowns. Now, there have been various monetary moves to try and help

stimulate the economy. But the Zero COVID Policy, the harsh lockdowns and higher unemployment, more than 100,000 officials attended by a video

conference for this emergency Cabinet meeting.

Victor Chu is with me. He is the Chairman of First Eastern Investment Group. Good to see you, sir.


QUEST: The big problem I have is, I don't understand how China continues with this lockdown policy, when it can see that the rest of the world is

pretty much back to normal. And we're all getting on with our things, and we're not all dying. How do they justify it?

CHU: Well, the Chinese government's legitimacy does not rely on a ballot box, it relies on his ability to save lives and protect its people. I think

the whole political philosophy is quite different from the West.

But I think eventually the East and the West will have to evolve into the middle. And you will see China progressively becoming more flexible,

provided omicron and other variants are under control. And Hong Kong is leading the way now. We're progressively relaxing every 20th day of the

month. There will be a review. And right now we are seven days, and there will be less return quarantine.

QUEST: I guess, the issue one sees when with Hong Kong. I mean, if the vaccination procedures had been strong and good, and the vaccines worked,

then they'd be in the same position as the rest of us.

CHU: Well, our difficulty, Richard, is that the elderly were quite reluctant to vaccinate. Ninety percent of the fatality are people over 70

who have not been vaccinated, but we're getting there. Today, 95 percent of Hong Kong's population had their first dose, 90 percent, a second dose,

we're getting there.

QUEST: Victor, do you think -- well, you don't obviously, the view -- there is a view, and I'd like to hear your thoughts on it, Hong Kong is finished.

Hong Kong is finished. The way China forced Hong Kong to do a lockdown because of the border there being important. The destruction of Cathay

Pacific, Hong Kong is over.

CHU: I think that's fundamentally misconceived, you should come and see it. You know, the rule of law is robust. The stability is -- before COVID, we

had one year of social disruption, and what we have to do better on the One Country Two Systems protocol, this is the Hong Kong model.

QUEST: But even allowing for that, is there still a -- is there still the oomph? Or is there now just a view because the international investors say

whenever Beijing wants to turn it off, it can do.

CHU: Well, net-net, the direct lines that has been drawn, you know that brings stability back. That would that will bring Hong Kong fundamentally

stronger and more stable in the long term, because the big question is to 2047. What happens to Hong Kong after the 50th year? We are now halfway

through. On first of July, we are celebrating the 25th anniversary.

Now that we have Hong Kong back in a stable phase, we can talk about the future.

QUEST: Right. But in terms of just enticing investors back to a market that has had such difficulties. How do you do that?

When you've got Singapore chomping at the bit for the business, everywhere from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, there are no shortage of places that will

take your money.

CHU: Well, I was with my Singaporean friend yesterday, right, and we both agreed that Hong Kong and Singapore will continue to prosper together. And

we were live there in Hong Kong before, you know, before 1997, we had that interview at the Regent Hotel, remember?

QUEST: Yes, I do.

CHU: And you know what happened you know, after 20 odd years. Hong Kong continue to thrive. Now, you must have heard of the GBA, the Greater Bay

Area next to Hong Kong. That is Silicon Valley and Wall Street combined. And we're at the early stages of launching that. That could be another new

era for Hong Kong to relaunch.

QUEST: And finally, how many Davos have you done?

CHU: Twenty eight.

QUEST: Oh my goodness, 28.

CHU: And this is the best.

QUEST: It is?

CHU: It is the best.

QUEST: It is the best.

CHU: And I agree with Julia.

QUEST: Oh, please.

CHU: The serious issues are being focused here.

QUEST: She is only saying what I've been saying all along -- come over here, sir. Come over here. Would you prefer Davos in the snow or Davos in

the spring?

CHU: Spring but without rain. I have to balance, Julia, right?

QUEST: Defacing. There is wanton vandalism going on here. Good to see you, sir.

CHU: Thank you so much, Richard.

QUEST: Thank you so much. In Hong Kong --

CHU: Come back soon.

QUEST: In Hong Kong, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS and we'll join you.

CHU: Thank you so much.

QUEST: You can show me around. Thank you very much indeed.

CHU: Thank you.

QUEST: As we continue tonight, Ukrainian President is blasting the former U.S. Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, his suggestion of peace with

Russia. Zelenskyy says, "No way." We're live tonight in Davos.

Good evening.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Serious issues are being focused --

QUEST: See, he's saying what I've been saying --


QUEST: Come over here, sir. Come over here.

Would you prefer Davos in the snow or Davos in the spring?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would -- spring, but without rain.



QUEST: Facing -- there's wanton vandalism going on here.

Good to see you, thank you so much, now in Hong Kong, come back soon. In Hong Kong, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS and we will join you --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you so much.

QUEST: -- thank you very much. Indeed

As we continue tonight, the Ukrainian president is blasting the former U.S. secretary of state, Henry Kissinger. His suggestion of peace with Russia,

Zelenskyy says no way. We're live tonight in Davos, good evening.




QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. We're bringing you more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS as we continue tonight.

The CEO of Pfizer Albert Bourla tells me the annual COVID vaccine, that could well become the norm.

And the results are in, Davos, snow or spring, we will show you what people think in a moment. That's after the news headlines. This is CNN and, here,

the news always comes first.


QUEST (voice-over): The U.N. Security Council will vote today on a U.S.- backed resolution to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea. This was prompted by recent North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile tests.

China, which has veto power on the council, has criticized the proposal.

Prosecutors in the U.K. have authorized sex assault charges against the actor, Kevin Spacey. The four counts stem from alleged incidents with three

different men, dating from 2005 to 2013.


QUEST (voice-over): During that time, Spacey was the artistic director of the London's Old Vic theater.

The actor Ray Liotta has died at the age of 67. He starred in Martin Scorsese's mob classic, "Goodfellas," as well as other films. His publicist

told CNN he died in the Dominican Republic, where he was working on a project. He is survived by his fiancee and daughter.


QUEST: The Russian offensive across Eastern Ukraine continues. But now there's an argument and a disagreement over what the future and what

victory and what a peace might look like. Ukrainian officials say they are outnumbered and outgunned, with Moscow sending more troops daily,

destroying Ukraine's defensive positions.

Meanwhile, President Zelenskyy rejects ceding territory. Henry Kissinger, the former U.S. secretary of state, spoke to Davos and said he drew new

boundaries in Donbas. President Zelenskyy shot back.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): No matter what the Russian state does, there is someone who says, let's take into

account its interests. This year in Davos, it was heard again, despite thousands of Russian missiles hitting Ukraine, despite tens of thousands of

Ukrainians being killed, despite Bucha and Mariupol, et cetera.

Despite the destroyed cities and despite the filtration camps built by the Russian state, in which they kill, torture, rape and humiliate, like on a

conveyor belt. Russia has done all of this in Europe. But still in Davos, for example, Mr. Kissinger emerges from the deep past and says that a piece

of Ukraine should be given to Russia.


QUEST: Now the Russian economy itself is starting to show the strains of the sanctions being leveled against it. The central bank has slashed

interest rates in a vain effort to get economic growth moving.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin has doubled the minimum wage. At the same time, his inflation is sitting at 17 percent and highly likely to go higher with

all these measures.

The central bank has protected the ruble's value since the start of the war. You can see there, the way that it has been brought back again. And it

has mostly recovered.

However, lower interest rates and higher inflation and the sanctions maintained, how much longer can the ruble maintain its value?

CNN's Clare Sebastian reports.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are two sides to the story of what's going on with Russia's economy right now. On the one hand, because

of the central bank's actions, there has not been a financial crisis. The ruble has made an extraordinary comeback from the record low in March to

close to a four-year high today.

There was no sustained run on the banks, so the bank felt it had wiggle room on Thursday to cut rates for a third time in two months to 11 percent,

not far off where they were when the war started. Financial stability risks decreased, (INAUDIBLE) and inflation is slowing.

So why couldn't they wait two weeks for the next regularly scheduled meeting?

Well, this is the other side of the story. One reason: because too strong a ruble actually makes Russia's exports less competitive, exports it is now

reliant upon to fund its war and prop up its economy, especially given half the central bank reserves are frozen by sanctions.

Secondly because the ruble is not the economy and the economy is facing mounting problems. Yes, its total energy exports have remained relatively

constant but it is cut off from key imports, which is having an major impact on industries. And it's in the midst of an exodus of Western

companies, some of them major employers.

Cutting rates in theory will help spur economic activity and it came alongside fiscal measures. On Wednesday, President Putin announced the

country's minimum wage and state pension would go up by 10 percent on June 1st to help people deal with inflation. That is currently at 17.5 percent.

More money means a lower chance of political dissent. As one expert noted to me, another rate cut also gives the Russian government a good news story

to distract from its economic decline -- Clare Sebastian, CNN, London.


QUEST: Now the issue, of course, is how quickly and if and when the E.U. will agree to sanctions against Russian oil. The price that will have to be

paid. I discussed it with the Luxembourg prime minister. I asked him about the E.U. position.

Can they get a deal?


XAVIER BETTEL, LUXEMBOURG PRIME MINISTER: We know that some countries are 100 percent dependent on Russian gas. So we need to be sure that we are

able to cover the needs of gas also for the next months and not just deciding like that.

So we shouldn't blame one country or another country just to say that it's Hungary or another one. I think that we had already big sanctions.


QUEST: On the economic front, how worried are you that things are going to get really bad?

Food insecurity will be much worse than anything we have seen before, inflation is high. Yes, the ECB can get rid of it and all of those sort of

things. But you know as well as I do, the medicine necessary will cause great hardship.

BETTEL: You know, it will be an economic consequence in Europe. We should not say that there are no consequences. There will be consequences.

But I'm even more afraid of what will happen maybe in Africa because if the price of food are going to raise, we have a few countries where the

political systems are more stable. And we should not forget that, for example, the Arabian spring happened because of food prices and getting up.


QUEST: Throughout all of this and all the discussion over Ukraine, China, et cetera, of course, COVID is still with us. Indeed if you look at the

numbers in the United States, the number of infections has risen by about 30-odd percent. The number of hospitalizations is up similarly. The number

of deaths is up by a much smaller amount.

But there are constant reminders that COVID has not gone away. The Pfizer chief executive, Albert Bourla, says that working on an annual COVID

vaccine is now a priority. The company has launched an accord for a healthier world.

The idea is to provide medicines to lower income and highly indebted countries on a not-for-profit basis. What was interesting, when it came to

discussing it, it is for all the medicines and all the pharmaceuticals that they provide, anywhere in the world in those relevant countries.

And I wanted to know, does all mean all?


ALBERT BOURLA, PFIZER CEO: What I hope will be, is an environment that we will have to use once a year, the vaccine. We are not there yet, because it

is technically very challenging. But we are working on something like that.

QUEST: I have had the number one, the number two and two boosters. But I am still at risk, correct?

BOURLA: Correct. Because the virus is changing. With the fourth one, you are very well protected against hospitalization, against the diseases and

very well protected against (INAUDIBLE).

But the virus is changing and this is our challenge, how to (INAUDIBLE) and be ahead of it rather than the virus being ahead of us.

QUEST: As a vaccine, how significant has it been to Pfizer?

I guess I am looking at it from a profitability point of view because just about everybody's had to have it in some shape or form.

But in terms of the bottom line, how successful is it?

BOURLA: It is the most successful accomplishment we have because there is nothing that has saved more lives in the world. And since the beginning of

the first (INAUDIBLE), not for Pfizer, for any company. And also I don't think there was another example of a product that produced so much economic

value to the world.

Only in the U.S., it's estimated six points DBT was gained because of the vaccines. Now in terms of profitability for Pfizer, among all our products,

I think this is the least profitable. It is (INAUDIBLE) 30 percent of our company. It's got high (INAUDIBLE) because, of course, we give it in all

the world in a tier pricing, low prices and high (INAUDIBLE) even lower in middle income countries and at cost in the low income countries.

QUEST: Which is a very interesting -- because this comes down to your announcement today. It is a very interesting economic view on this. The --

what it has shown is the inequality in the provision of vaccination and medicines in the world. And that is something that must be of concern.

BOURLA: (INAUDIBLE). In fact actually, we always knew that the usage of innovative medicines, medicines that are at the high end in countries that

are low income is very, very small. But also during the pandemic, we realized a very painful something different, that supply is not the only


For example, right now we have hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine. But it's given for free by the U.S. government. But has bought from us at

cost. And no one is absorbing (INAUDIBLE) right now, because the countries are not ready to absorb (INAUDIBLE) vaccination programs.

This is why, now that we announce this main accord, that we are going to provide all our medicines, not just vaccines, all our vaccines that are

patent protected to all low income countries and (INAUDIBLE) from low income countries (INAUDIBLE) at cost.

But it's not going to be enough. I know that it could be easy for us to wash our hands and say, we are giving the medicines. Now you find a way to

do it.


BOURLA: That's why from the five countries, from the 45, we selected five that we are working on the ground to make sure that we create the

conditions to use the drugs.

QUEST: Now when you say you are giving all, do you mean all?

Do you mean all in terms of, even the really expensive new stuff?

The personalized medicine stuff, the oncology stuff?

BOURLA: All means all and not only all but they are patent protected now. But all that will be discovered and developed in the future.

QUEST: With this appalling shooting that's taken place in the United States, in Texas, as the CEO of a large company -- and we now know that

CEOs are by far turning into moral barometers and compasses for social and important issues.

Do you see it as a necessity or that you will have to take a position on this, on guns in the United States?

BOURLA: I feel that there is an expectation for CEOs to take a position social issues. In our case, we realize that it is not possible to take a

position on everything. So we have a framework that dictates which are the issues that we are going to take publicly position and to stand for that

and which is not.

And this comes from our purpose. Our purpose as a company to is to have breakthroughs that change patients' lives. If everything that's happening

affects the ability of the patients to receive the breakthroughs or our ability to produce breakthroughs, we take a position.

In Pfizer, we take positions on multiple things (INAUDIBLE). For example, we have a gun free environment. You can't bring guns in our premises right

now or you cannot drive a corporate car with a gun.

QUEST: I'm sorry to be (INAUDIBLE).

Are you taking a position on gun control in the United States?

And if so, what is that position?

BOURLA: I don't think that Pfizer will go out and take a position about gun control, because this is not exactly related with human lives that's

affecting our mission. But clearly, myself, I believe that we should take serious measures about it.


QUEST: That's the chief executive.

As we continue tonight, from the mountains of Switzerland to the glaciers of Iceland. A "Call to Earth" in a moment.





QUEST: Global warming is causing Iceland's glaciers to melt and destroy at the fastest rate in more than 200 years. In doing so, we are getting a

glimpse of what life will be like as a result of climate change. Today on "Call to Earth," a team document a glacier's retreat and see unexpected




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): These are some of the glaciers of southern Iceland. Despite its name, only about 10 percent of the country's

land mass is actually covered by ice.

But since the year 2000, it is estimated that Iceland's glaciers have decreased in size by around 800 square kilometers. Some are retreating by

over 150 meters in a single year. Thorri Arnason, the director at the University of Iceland, has witnessed the retreat up close.

THORRI ARNASON, DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF ICELAND: About 14 years ago, I started to do repeat photography at one of the glaciers here. I went once a

months for eight years. It is like visiting an old friend. There is this sense of familiarity.

We have about 20 outlet glaciers that come down from the Vatnajokull (ph) ice cap. All of them have receded.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Arnason is part of a team documenting the glacier retreat oblang (ph) archive aerial photos with current-day drone

footage reveals the dramatic change in the landscape.

Rising global temperatures driven by rampant fossil fuel consumption have left some experts warning that the glaciers in Iceland are at risk of

disappearing entirely.

ARNASON: We need to tell people what the reality is. On the other hand, we do not want to frighten people, to immobilize them through anxiety.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Melting ice is the biggest contributor to sea level rise. But as most of the world is worried about flooding, here in

the top of Hop, climate change is causing the opposite problem.

ARNASON: As the glacier melts and the pressure of the ice cap becomes less and less, the fjords have become shallower.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): As Iceland's glaciers lose their weight, the land mass rises out of the water in a process known as isostatic



ARNASON (voice-over): So every three or four years, the land lifts up by an inch. Closer to the glacier, these effects become enhanced. So up by the

glacier margin, we're looking at up to an 1.5 inches per year.

There have been very noticeable changes, here, in this area. And one of them is all of these small islands that you can see in the fjords. These

were only visible during low tide.

But as the land has lifted up, these become more and more noticeable.

Nature here is very much alive. It's always generating new things. It's always destroying other things. But climate change speeds everything up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Arnasan and the team's next project is to use time-lapse photography to look into the future.

ARNASON (voice-over): We want to previsualize what our fastest receding glacier, Breidamerkurjokull, will look like 100 years from now, based on

worst case, business as usual and best case.

There is always a range of potential futures that is open to us. There is still a chance for the wounds to heal and for the glaciers to recover at

least to some extent. We have to make a conscious, informed decision about which future we choose.


QUEST: That is fascinating. As always, you know the usual, #CallToEarth. Tell me what you're up to.





QUEST: So the results are in: snow beats spring. More people prefer Davos in the snow than in the spring. Not a huge number but if you watch how they

justified it, snow is preferred.



QUEST: Which would you prefer?

Would you prefer Davis in the snow or in the spring?


QUEST: Smiley face for the snow, sun for the spring.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely the spring.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And let me tell you why.

Davos is basically -- in the winter it is busy anyway with the skiing. In this time (INAUDIBLE) have nothing. So if we leave the winter for the

skiers and don't bother them and make it hard for them, they can come (INAUDIBLE) in the spring.

QUEST: Where are you?

Very good. I am not going to tell you who has gone where because that could influence you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact is, when I see the weather, I see for the moment we are here. So (INAUDIBLE) it is no snow and it is not a blue sky.

So we are in the middle of --

QUEST: But how would you like it to be?

Back in January or in the spring?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is easier for to travel.

QUEST: Would you prefer the snow in January or the spring of May?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is not that much spring here, so I would just -- as you can see here.

QUEST: Snow is winning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The snow is winning. (INAUDIBLE) the snow.


QUEST: And a quick profitable thought before I leave. It does not really matter. We now know that we will be there in the snow in January. That is

my own personal preference. You have to imagine what it should be.

Davos has been better this year than it has been in many years for one simple reason: people came here prepared to discuss the really big issues.

And that is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight. I'm Richard Quest in Davos. Apologies to Lindsay. For whatever you are up to in the hours ahead, I hope

it is profitable, I will see you tomorrow in London.