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Quest Means Business

New Data Shows US Inflation Cooling Off; Tesla Slide Continues As Musk Vows Not To Sell Stock; Meta To Pay $725 Million Settlement Over Cambridge Analytica Leak; Putin Calls Ukraine Conflict A "War" Publicly For First Time; The U.S. Condemns North Korea Missiles Launches; Protests In Paris After Shooting At Kurdish Community Center. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired December 23, 2022 - 15:00:00   ET



ZAIN ASHER, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: A quiet day on the market, the night before Christmas Eve. Stocks have reversed earlier losses. They are up now,

up about 160 points. Those are the markets and these are the main events.

US consumers increased their spending last month as inflation cooled.

Four thousand flights are canceled in the US amid a winter bomb cyclone.

And parkour activists in Paris are helping turn out lights to save energy.

Coming to you live from New York. It is Friday, December 23rd, two days before Christmas.

I'm Zain Asher, in for Richard Quest, and I too, mean business.

All right, good evening.

After a year of rising prices and soaring energy bills, there are finally signs that peak inflation, maybe -- maybe -- behind us, at least in the

United States. Prices in the US rose five and a half percent in November, that's according to the PCE Index. That's one of the Fed's favorite ways to

gauge inflation, and it's the smallest rise since October of last year, it was more than six percent this past October.

This isn't a picture seen everywhere, though. We also had inflation numbers from Japan today and prices there are now rising at their fastest rate in

more than 40 years.

CNN's global economic analyst, Rana Foroohar is joining us live now.

So this sort of key inflation measurement, Rana, showing signs of slowing, showing signs of moderating, what should we be reading into this? Because

it just sort of seems like a very mixed bag when it comes to the broad economic picture here in the US?

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: Well, it does. And you could say the same thing globally.

You need to take the inflation number in the context of what else is happening in each country's economy, so just starting with the US. I think

it's probably fair to say that the Fed has done a lot of work and that we are going to see slowing inflation for the next few months, and it is

possible that we could have hit the peak.

I mean, you began to see that in November-December, and you also see signs of consumers being pretty resilient in the face of all this, which is great

news. That's exactly where the Fed wanted to end up in that kind of sweet spot where you get inflation under control, but you don't kill the economy.

Looking abroad, the picture is not quite as rosy. As you mentioned, Japan is seeing the highest levels of inflation in 41 years, and even though

they're not as high and the jump is not as big as some of the things we've seen elsewhere around the world, you know, this is coming in the face of a

huge bout of energy inflation, a weekend, so people that are really going to feel the pain, and in parts of Europe, too.

I would not want to be in the UK right now, and you know, not only because of the strikes, but because the inflationary picture there and Europe

again, you know, not looking quite as bad as it would have maybe a few months ago, but it depends on how the winter goes and what happens with the

war in Ukraine.

ASHER: Yes, when we put up the UK, you think about what is happening there, the cost of living price is so dire that nurses are apparently

having to resort to food banks. I mean, it's so expensive, and as you mentioned, they are striking taking -- go ahead, Rana.

FOROOHAR: Well, no, I you know, I'm glad that you brought that up, because, you know, this really raises I think, a moral question in some

ways that all advanced economies are going to grapple with.

Folks that we consider to be the essential workers of the last few years -- caregivers, teachers, their salaries simply cannot keep up with inflation.

I mean, most people can't, but you're really seeing middle class jobs now under pressure. And, you know, people are looking around and hearing

policymakers talk about wage inflation. And they're saying "What wage inflation?" Because if you look at the prices rising -- food, fuel housing

-- it dwarfs any kind of increases that we've seen in wages.

ASHER: I mean, yes, in the UK, it's just simply unacceptable. I love that you said it's really a moral issue when you think about the fact that, you

know, Border Patrol agents, ambulance workers taking to the streets and nurses, I mean, everybody who pretty much is in charge of the UK running is

complaining about the price increases that you know.

So when it comes to the US, though, looking ahead to next year, given that we are seeing this key inflation measure showing signs of slowing, showing

signs of moderating, I mean what are you expecting for next year especially when it comes to labor market?


FOROOHAR: Yes, so let's look at this through two lenses. First, the business lens, you're starting to see orders of durable goods slowing, that

is generally a sign when companies are pulling back, that's a sign that they think that there probably is a slowdown coming.

At the same time, the US consumer has been way more resilient than people would have thought, and that is part because you had that over $2 trillion

-- $2.2 trillion in additional savings, fiscal stimulus savings that was given to the US consumers, kind of gifted in the middle of the pandemic.

About $700 billion of that has been spent down, but still leaves a heck of a lot of money lying around on balance sheets.

So I suspect that you're going to see people not, you know, going out and spending wildly, but I think that the consumer is going to be resilient,

certainly for the first half of 2023. I think one of the big things that is going to, as you point out, the labor market is going to really matter is

how much are companies laying off, right?

We've already seen a big slowdown in the tech sector. We've seen big banks in the US announcing layoffs. Does that labor market picture spread? And do

you also start to see some of the investments that companies have made in things like automation, accent stripping software, you know, offshoring of

white collar jobs? Do you see that really start to impact the labor picture in the US?

ASHER: Yes, those are good questions. Rana Foroohar, live for us there. Thank you so much. Merry Christmas, by the way.

FOROOHAR: Thank you, Zain.

ASHER: All right, Tesla shares are heading for their worst in a month and now Elon Musk is promising not to sell any more stock. Tesla, let's take a

look here, is down yet again. Today, it is down more than 65 percent so far this year, including a fall of more than 30 percent just this month alone.

It has led to some of its major investors to complain that Musk's attentions are being spread too thinly.

Let's break all of this down with Paul La Monica. So Tesla hasn't had the best week to say the least, past six days they've been in the red. A lot of

people, a lot of investors are complaining that listen, he is being stretched too thin that his focus right now seems to be squarely on

Twitter, when it should be more on Tesla.

PAUL LA MONICA, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Yes, I think that is definitely part of it, Zain, because obviously, it does seem as if Elon Musk is all

Twitter all the time, but that being said, the fact that Musk has had many distractions isn't necessarily new when you consider that he has also had

SpaceX and the Boring Company and Neuralink.

There are always distractions for Elon Musk. I think part of the problem now is that it's not just that he is obsessed with Twitter, he might be

alienating people that would be potential buyers of these pricey electric cars that Tesla sells, because again, as we have pointed out on this show,

and I've mentioned to Richard and others before, Elon Musk isn't necessarily making friends with everyone right now on Twitter.

He is alienating a lot of people with his behavior, and these very strange tweets and polls, and a lot of it is just really perplexing. Most CEOs try

and be not controversial, he is trying to almost be as controversial as humanly possible.

ASHER: Yes, it does feel like he is going literally out of his way to be talked about to be controversial. Let's talk about what we're seeing in

terms of discounts for some of the cars, discounts -- $7,000.00 discounts on the Model 3, Model Y, a lot of people are concerned that perhaps these

discounts signal that the demand is slowing amid a slowing economy for electric cars, in particular.

LA MONICA: Yes. That is great point, Zain. I think that the fact that the Model 3 and the Model Y are already the "cheaper versions" of the Model S

and the Model X, that could be a sign of weakening demand that you need to entice buyers with these discounts.

And again, this might be an industry-wide problem as a lot of people worry about a recession to newer electric vehicle companies that are now public

as well, Rivian and Lucid, both of their stocks hit all-time lows today.

Granted, it's a brief trading history, but it just shows that this isn't only Tesla that is having a problem. Companies not run by Elon Musk are

hurting as well.

ASHER: How much are the short sellers enjoying all of this?

LA MONICA: I think it is safe to say that they are probably having a very Happy Christmas, if you will. They are really relishing in the fact that

Twitter seems to be showing why Musk needs to focus more on Tesla. Tesla imploding in real time and I think that that is something that short

sellers are very thrilled with.

The question becomes, is Tesla still a good short or is it finally bottoming out? Dan Ives a longtime bull, he cut his price target on the

stock today, but even with that, that price target is still about 40 percent higher than where Tesla currently is.


ASHER: All right, Paul La Monica, live for us there. Thank you so much.

All right, one of the few stocks to perform worse than Tesla this year is actually Meta. Now Facebook's parent company is making a huge payout to end

legal action over the Cambridge Analytica data leak.

It's a $725 million settlement as part of a class action lawsuit. The plaintiffs say that it is the most money ever paid in this kind of legal

action. The case dates back to four years ago, after millions of users had their data leaked to Cambridge Analytica.

Claire Duffy joins us live now from California. So, this is a huge payout, even for Meta, but the key here is that they're not technically admitting

to any wrongdoing. Just walk us through that.


So this is a really significant payout, $725 million, it may not hit Meta's bottom line, but it does get at just what a big deal this was, 87 million

users of Facebook had their data leaked to this data analytics company that was later disclosed to have been working with the Trump campaign.

And this was really sort of a turning point for Facebook, in terms of its reputation. It had been sort of a darling on Wall Street, on Capitol Hill

with users, and this was sort of a change in how people were thinking about the power of this company and this platform.

And so I think this settlement really sort of gets to the fact that Meta really wants to move on from this. The company has made changes to its

privacy practices and policies, and this is something that the company does not want hanging over its head anymore.

So as you say, Meta did not admit wrongdoing as part of this settlement, but the company sort of suggested in its statement today, it said, this

settlement is in the best interest of our community and our shareholders, and just sort of suggested that this is something that they're looking

forward to moving on from.

ASHER: And this comes not at the best of times for Meta. I mean, it was just a month ago where they had to lay off about 13 percent of their staff.

You've also got slowing growth in terms of revenue, fierce competition, a whole host of other issues, other sort of economic issues, generally

affecting tech stocks. But you know, Meta has had to deal with them, too.

DUFFY: That's exactly it. I think that's part of the reason this company wanted one of these things off of its plate now and decided to come to this

settlement. Now, the company is facing pressures, sort of from all sides, lots of economic sort of challenges to its core advertising business, and

at the same time, the company is spending billions of dollars to try to build out the Metaverse, which is still really sort of -- it is unclear

when that's going to come together and if it's something that users really want.

ASHER: All right, Clare Duffy live for us there, thank you so much.

Okay, an arctic blast is sweeping across much of the United States sending temperatures plummeting and causing Holiday travel chaos, that's next.


[15:15:40 ]

ASHER: A massive winter storm is battering much of the United States, pushing life threatening cold from the Great Lakes to the Mexican border

delivering damaging winds, heavy snow, and causing just like you'd expect, lots and lots of Holiday travel chaos.

More than 4,600 flights have been canceled across the country. That's just today alone by the way and the storm is disrupting last minute Holiday

deliveries to Amazon, the US Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, all warning everybody of delays, what is it now -- just two days before Christmas?

Omar Jimenez joins us live now. My good friend, Omar Jimenez, I should say joins us live now from Chicago's main airport. So Omar, I mean, this bad

weather couldn't have come at a worst time. When you think about it, this was supposed to be -- this was supposed to be the first sort of normal

Holiday in a post COVID world and people are getting anything, but normal.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They really aren't, and you know, this winter system came even to places who know how to deal with winter and

snow, but it came with such force and the temperatures got so cold and there are so many interconnected hubs across the country that you end up

with thousands of cancellations. We've seen over 4,500 across the US at this point, and over 5,000 delays and I want to show you a little bit of

the line that I'm at right now.

This line that I'm walking along isn't to get onto a flight, it's people trying to figure out where their luggage is or where they can find their

bags, because some folks stepped onto a plane or got close to getting on a plane, had their flights canceled, tried to get their bags and now don't

know where those bags actually are.

And we spoke to another traveler a little bit earlier today -- would-be traveler -- who they were trying to do a big Christmas trip all the way to

New Zealand, and they got broken up, cancelled at the last minute, and now they can't get out for a few days.

Listen to some of how they are feeling on this two days before Christmas.


ANTHONY SCHURZ, TRAVELER: We hopped on an earlier flight thinking that we were going to, you know, get in, and even though the pilot on the way out

was saying, you know, this is one of the last flights into Chicago from Austin.


SCHURZ: So we felt really lucky. And then, you know, came to find out that everything had gotten delayed. Now, we're going through LA, but I

think it's going to be fine.

HALEY: Yes. It has been changing by the minute.


JIMENEZ: And that's the thing, it has been changing by the minute for a lot of people, so they are just trying to pay attention to updates, trying

to stay on top of them as much as they can,. Because even when a flight gets canceled, it is not like they can jump on the next one to then head


Another woman we spoke to, she had her flight canceled just 30 minutes ago, the next chance she has to get on a flight to her destination is Sunday,

just because all of these delays have been piling up.

So you can see how this situation is really starting to snowball with this winter weather, no pun intended, but all of it of course coming in just

days before a Holiday where people really are just trying to get to loved ones.

ASHER: Omar, I love that, no pun intended, but pun intended.

JIMENEZ: Yes, a little bit.

ASHER: A little bit. The only place you can get hold of at this point in time is Sunday, which obviously that's no good. So what sort of advice are

airlines giving to passengers at this point?

JIMENEZ: Like at this point, they are telling people to stay as close to their devices and notification systems as possible as airlines are trying

to give out this real-time information that as that one passenger said, really is changing by the minute in some of these cases.

They are also just trying to ask people maybe to delay if you can your travel closer to the Holiday itself just because while driving would

typically be an alternative right now, the roads are so icy, the visibility is so low in some places that getting out on the road is difficult at the


It's really just become that the days before Christmas where the peak travel was expected, sort of came at the heart of the descending of this

winter system across the country. So at this point, it is trying to find alternatives, patience, then of course, be engaged with the process as

flight opportunities and delays could happen at a moment's notice as all of these people I think are finding out firsthand.


ASHER: Yes, so, it is such a difficult two days for a lot of people and really a perfect storm of events. That's my pun for you.

Omar Jimenez live for us there. Merry Christmas. Thank you so much.

All right, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey runs America's busiest container ports and the region's major airports, bridges, and tunnels as

well. Its Executive Director, Richard Cotton updated CNN's Rahel Solomon earlier on the impacts of the storm.


RICHARD COTTON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PORT AUTHORITY: We are seeing hundreds of cancellations, but largely due to destinations outside of New

York. So, the fact is that airports in the middle of the country have been closed due to the extreme storm conditions.

Our own weather here has been -- gusty winds have caused challenges, but big issues in terms of the travel this weekend is in the areas of the

country, which are being hit very, very hard by the store.

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS HOST: I want to get to the airport a bit because you say in November, airport passenger volume surpassed pre

pandemic 2019 levels. So is November a blip? Or do you think that we are now -- can we now say that we are post pandemic in terms of travel?

COTTON: Well, I think the travel is definitely hitting highs. We've seen this building over the entire course of the year 2022. So earlier in the

year, we had isolated Holiday weekends. There were days when we exceeded 2019 volumes. But November was really the first time that an entire month

was above 2019, and we are seeing that trend continue.

The fact is there is huge pent up travel demand. We think that our November numbers which, as you say exceeded 2019, that trend line is highly likely

to continue.


ASHER: The world's largest peer-to-peer car sharing platform is also seeing increasing travel demand post COVID. Turo says customers are now

booking longer Holidays thanks to the flexibility of hybrid work, and with gasoline prices still high, travelers are increasingly favoring electric


Albert Mangahas is Turo's Chief Data Officer, joins me live now from San Francisco.

Albert, thank you so much for being with us. So just walk us through the sorts of trends you're seeing this time of year and how that is affecting

demand on your platform.

ALBERT MANGAHAS, CHIEF DATA OFFICER, TURO: Yes, the Holiday season has been extremely busy and we are seeing that with the travelers who are

traveling not only longer trips, but more frequently with the flexibility of hybrid work.

And so, we're seeing a lot of guests flocking to Hawaii, California, Florida, Arizona, and for us at Turo, we are seeing that with some of the

top destinations for the Holiday season are looking like Orlando, Los Angeles, and the Hawaiian Islands, and so we are reminding everyone to --

especially for future trips on Turo, to make sure you book early in advance to make sure you get the best rates and the best selection.

ASHER: Are you seeing a difference in the types of cars that people are looking to rent at this point?

MANGAHAS: Yes, we are seeing a lot of adoption of electric vehicles as of late. It is something that we are really excited about in terms of our push

and support for sustainability here, but with gas prices going up, as you mentioned, you know, this is a great opportunity for travelers to consider

booking an electric vehicle to offset the cost of gas. And we've been fueling ecofriendly adventures for years now, and just last year, about 13

percent of our bookings were for trips on alternative energy vehicles, so it's really exciting to see that.

ASHER: Listen, there are lots and lots and lots of sort of car sharing, you know, peer-to-peer car rental companies, including Zipcar for New York

City where I'm based. So, what do you think makes Turo different for customers?

MANGAHAS: Yes, Turo is really unique because we are the largest car sharing marketplace. Guests can choose from an extraordinary selection of

over 1,400 makes and models. We have an unrivaled network of Turo hosts in over 10,000 cities in the US, Canada, UK, France and now, Australia. And

many Turo hosts actually offered deliveries so they can further expand the network and convenience and deliver the car directly to guests.

We also have a really easy to use hosting platform. So instead of having your own car sit idle 95 percent of the time, Turo's hosting platform

transforms your underutilized asset into an earnings engine, putting money back into those pockets.

So our mission is pretty simple, it is to put the world's 1.5 billion cars to better use.

ASHER: And for those who are sort of apprehensive about having their cars on a platform like this, I mean, you know, I'm sure there are certain --

there is a significant portion of the population including myself who would be a bit hesitant to put my car out there. What advice do you have?

MANGAHAS: Well, from, you know insurance and protection standpoint, we get this question a lot, but the one thing I'll say is that we've got you



MANGAHAS: So for hosting, you can be, you can rest assured we've got over about 750,000 of liability insurance. Plus, you can choose from an array of

different protection packages. We will include varying levels of reimbursements for physical damage to cover your car.

For travels, you can drive confidently with a variety of protection plans that include liability insurance and options to really limit your financial

responsibility in the event of a damage or an incident in the car.

ASHER: You touched on, you know, just how, you know, the sort of impact on the environment as a car company is important to you. I think you said

just over 10 percent of the cars on your platform are sort of green energy cars. How do you actively promote the use of sort of eco-friendly cars on

your platform?

MANGAHAS: Yes, there are a variety of things that we're doing here. So one of the things that we've been excited, and we've been doing for some

time now is, you know, continuing to, you know, be committed to this fight against climate change. And so, we've pledged to offset the hundred percent

of the estimated global carbon emissions based on the total number of miles driven on the Turo platform, as well as emissions from our global office


And we're hoping to do our part in making the transportation industry more sustainable, and the other part of that is offering a really a wide

selection of electric vehicles and alternative energy vehicles for guests to book, and this gives guests the opportunity to try before you buy.

Sometimes there is anxiety of buying an electric vehicle and Turo is a great place to actually try the vehicle and see what works for you and try

different types of electric vehicles, and so that's been great to actually see and actually have guests try the car and then end up buying the car and

then listing it on Turo themselves to help offset the cost of ownership.

ASHER: Well, that is fascinating. So like a very, very, very long, leisurely test drive is what you're getting from Turo.

MANGAHAS: Yes, exactly.

ASHER: Albert Mangahas, thank you so much for being with us.

In Paris, a gunman killed three people and injured several others. The attack took place at a Kurdish Cultural Center, sparking unrest. I'll bring

you the latest updates, next.



ASHER: Hello. Everyone. I'm Zain Asher, there's more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment when leaked estimates from China's top health officials so

massive number of COVID-19 infections.

And we'll look at the Parisian parkour athletes that are helping the city save energy. Before that though, this is CNN and, on this network, the news

always comes first.

Russian President Vladimir Putin describe the fighting in Ukraine as a war. While speaking to reporters Thursday. It is the first time he's publicly

used that word. He's actually been calling it a special military operation for the last 10 months.

Iran's most prominent Sunni cleric is urging sheikh leaders to stop executing protesters. A CNN investigation has found that 43 detained

protesters in Iran could be facing imminent execution.

Iranian authorities have been brutally cracking down on dissent since protests erupted in September, after a young woman died in police custody.

The United States is condemning North Korea's missile launches. It comes after Pyongyang launched two short-range ballistic missiles on Friday. They

landed in the water between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. That's according to South Korea. This marks the 36th day this year that North

Korea has launched at least one missile.

In Paris, three people were killed and one critically hurt by a gunman who attacked a Kurdish community center. Angry protesters surrounded the scene

afterwards. They ended up clashing with police who fired tear gas to hold the crowd back. Police have arrested the suspect. So, they say has a

history of violence with a racist nature.

CNN's Jim Bitterman is in Paris at the very latest. So, Jim, you and I were speaking earlier. It looks as though the protesters -- the process rather

have quelled, things have calmed down. But I understand you spoke to some people who are out in the streets. Why did they feel it was so important to

come out?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think this wasn't all of the war. Only Kurdish people were out there protesting

because a lot of the folks in the neighborhood are very suspicious of any kind of police activity. It's a very racially mixed neighborhood kind of a

tough neighborhood. And there's been trouble with police in the past. So, I think when they saw the police set up the court and around the crime scene,

they became agitated.

I don't know who fell through the first stone but in fact, there were exchanges of stones and other objects as well as tear gas. And after that

it kind of degenerated from there. It's kind of calmed down now. But here basically is how the day unfolded.


BANDERAS (voice over): Within minutes of the shooting at a Kurdish center, police had a suspect in custody. A witness described the scene.

ALI DILEK, WITNESS (through translator): They had arrested a guy an old man. Elderly tall, and that there were three wounded people in the room.

The guy continued to shoot but he couldn't shoot anymore, because there were no more bullets in his magazine.

BIITERMANN: When the French interior minister arrived, he seemed confident of the shooter's motive.

GERALD DARMANIN, INTERIOR MINISTER OF FRANCE (through translator): It is not certain that the killer who wanted to assassinate these people, and

there is little doubt that he wanted to assassinate people here in Paris was specifically targeting the Kurds. He was clearly targeting foreigners.

BIITERMANN: Within hours of the shooting, crowds gathered in a racially mixed and sometimes tense neighborhood where it occurred. Shouting

murderers, some in the crowd hurl objects at police and eventually at firefighters who were called to put out fires set by the protesters.

Police fired volleys of tear gas to disperse them.

BIITERMANN (on camera): What we know now about the government is that 69- yeart-old Frenchman who was only out of jail, got -- only got out of jail 11 days ago because he was being preventively held because of a similar

crime a year ago. Police are still investigating, but at the moment they think this is a crime of racist nature and not necessarily a terrorist


BIITERMANN (voice over): They are investigating a crime as murder and attempted murder. Officials at the center where the attacks occurred, said

those killed were activists and said that there would be a vigil to remind everyone of the plight of the Kurdish community. A reminder not needed in

this neighborhood.


BIITERMANN: And as I said, Zain, in fact, things have quieted down out there. There are still a number of Kurds out on the streets but nonetheless

the skirmishing with the police has stopped pretty much. Zain?


ASHER: All right. Jim Bittermann live for us there. Thank you so much.

New report say nearly 250 million people in China may have caught COVID-19 during the first 20 days on December. Both the Financial Times and

Bloomberg say that reporting is based on leaked notes from China's top health officials. China says there's only been a handful of COVID deaths

this month. That's according to them. Summaries you see the real number though is lightly around 5000 a day.

CNN's Selina Wang shows us some of the disturbing evidence.

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As crematoriums in China fill up the country shifts the way it counts COVID deaths. Its method of counting

deaths goes against the World Health Organization's guidelines and experts say it will severely under counted the COVID death toll. By China's count,

less than 10 people have died of COVID this month. It is a shockingly low number, especially considering how fast COVID is spreading in China and the

relatively low vaccination rate of the elderly.

But what we've witnessed on the ground in China at crematoriums and hospitals, it points to a very different situation.


WANG (voice over): The burning can't go fast enough.

WANG (on camera): The smoke behind me it's been billowing constantly from all the bodies that are burning and these crates over here they're all full

of yellow body bags.

WANG (voice over): Workers later open those metal containers here at a major Beijing crematorium, revealing groups of body bags as they load more

coffins in the freezing cold temperatures.

Crematoriums and major cities are swamped as COVID sweeps through the country. But China has only reported a small handful of COVID deaths since

reopening late last month.

WANG (on camera): I spoke to a man earlier who said that his close friend passed away from a fever, normally the hospital would hold the body but the

hospital told him that there were too many dead bodies. He said he's been waiting here for hours, and he still has no idea if his friend's body can

even get cremated today.

There is a long line of cars that snakes around this whole area waiting to get into that cremation area. I'm in the parking lot right now and it's

completely full of cars. I'm speaking here because there are many, many security guards patrolling this entire area.

WANG (voice over): Grieving family members clutch photos of the deceased, some tell us off camera they know that their loved ones died from COVID and

have waited for more than a day for cremation.

Busy shops nearby sell funerary items with paper money, clothes, houses, and animals used in burial traditions stream on the side of the road.

A woman who sells flowers says she's running out of stock. A man selling urns says business has jumped. Even the convenience store and the

crematorium grounds is getting busier. Normally you are so busy, right? I asked. The man nods and tells me that normally there's nobody here.

And it's not just in Beijing. Social media video shows crowded crematoriums and funeral homes around the country.

At this funeral home in Jinan, the man is saying it's going insane. Here it is packed with cars.

Vans carrying bodies stretch all the way into the distance in front of this crematorium in Szechuan (ph).

WANG (on camera): This is a COVID-designated hospital in Beijing. There's been a steady stream of elderly patients in wheelchairs being led into this

hospital. I spoke to a man who has been waiting outside for his elderly family member who he said is very sick with a high fever from COVID. But he

said this hospital, it's running out of bed space.

WANG (voice over): I asked the worker outside of this hospital. Did a lot of people die here? Yes. Every day, he response. I asked. Is it all because

of COVID? Yes, people with underlying conditions he says.

China is now going through the painful reopening the rest of the world has already gone through. But it's not sharing the same data. The government

now says it's narrowing the definition of COVID-19 deaths only to patients who died of respiratory failure directly caused by the virus. People who

spoke to at the crematorium may have said their loved ones died of COVID but their deaths and so many others won't be counted in the official tally.


WANG: One of the people I spoke to at the crematorium told me that the hospital where his friend passed away was too full to keep the body because

so many people had died there. He told me his friend's body was left on the hospital floor. The vaccination rate in China is still lagging for people

over 60 and only around 42 percent of those over 80 have received a booster shot.

And experts say that getting that third dose is necessary to get enough protection since China is using less effective vaccines compared to mRNA

ones used overseas. Hospitals, they are overwhelmed. Fever and cold medicine is running out. Health experts say China has not adequately

prepared for this reopening despite having years to do so while it was enforcing zero COVID.


Selina Wang CNN, Beijing.

ASHER: All right. Still to come here on QUEST MEANS BUSSINESS. We'll continue with a week of Kenyan conservation stories. This time heading to

the country's often overlooked coastline.


ASHER: Throughout this week, Call to Earth is highlighting the work that conservationists are doing in Kenya to protect and restore its diverse but

threatened ecosystems. Today guest editor Paula Kahumbu, the 2021 Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the year Year takes us to the country's

coastline. A small protected area has proven to be a hugely successful conservation model for all of East Africa to follow.


PAULA KAHUMBU, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, WILDLIFEDIRECT: The community inquiry to realize that their fishing success was declining. And so, they

got together created a no-take zone and it took on the same kind of structure as the forests. There are sacred forests all along the Kenyan

coast and they are controlled and managed and regulated by the elders. So, what they did was they said we'll have a sacred reef.

UNIDENTIFIED FEFMALE (voice over): In 2005, a one square kilometer area coral was set aside to be managed and protected by the local community. Now

the area's boundaries are patrolled by the very fishermen who used to rely on these waters and who now see the benefits of protecting them.

LEDAMA MASIDZA, ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAM MANAGER, OCEANS ALIVE TRUST: How it's policed, still touches on this traditional practice through appreciating

and recognizing the authority of the elders. That is the voice that governs this, you know, interaction. What it eventually led to was a massive

comeback in the fish by almost 400 percent fish biomass increase. A huge recovery in the seagrass by 17 percent recovery and 30 percent recovery in

the coral reefs and bringing back that color.


UNIDENTIFIED FEFMALE: That come back has partly been aided by the projects investment in coral gardening. Already more than 4000 coral colonies have

been planted in the century, many by this man. Katana Ngala, a fisherman turned coral gardener at the heart of the restoration project.

KATANA NGALA, CORAL RESTORATION TECHNICIAN, OCEANS ALIVE TRUST: I've seen fish coming back a lot, a lot, a lot. The time I was a fisherman, I was not

thinking coral is a very important thing to the sea. But the time I realized that the coral are very important in the sea, that the time also I

start concentrating to learn about coral, coral family and even species and the genus. And also, I chipped in to do the coral restoration because I

love it. Yes, I love it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEFMALE: The results are clear to see when compared to the neighboring reefs where fishing is still permitted. A mass of black spots,

sea urchins, a sign the coral is dying and fish have abandoned the reef.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The difference between inside the marine sanctuary and just outside at the stark contrast. The coral has lost its color. It's

broken off. It's not as vibrant. And without nature's natural regulators, the sea urchins start to -- start to take over. You know, they say the

grass is always greener on the other side, here it really is because just next is the marine sanctuary. And that's where we take the inspiration of

what each of these degraded ecosystems could become.

KAHUMBU: That little conservation area has become a model for community-led marine conservation all around East Africa. That's what excited me.


ASHER: And you can watch the special half hour program Call to Earth, Voice of the Wild airing this Saturday and Sunday, of course only on CNN. We'll

be right back after the short break.



ASHER: An artificial intelligence chatbot is making waves on social media for intensive humor and human-like conversations. Chat GPT already has more

than a million users and some are using the chat bot to do a lot more than tell a joke. It is capable of coding Web sites and writing essays pretty

much on any topic. Now experts are asking once again, how will A.I. impact our jobs? Tom Foreman takes a look.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Allowing cars to drive themselves, composing songs that mimic popular artists. And producing this

digital painting that took the top award at a Colorado art show. This is all the work of artificial intelligence. Computers that don't just do what

they're told, but in a sense, think, learn and create. And right now, Chat GPT is rattling the A.I. world.

Turning out stunningly humanoid writing just asked Douglas Rushkoff, a renowned author and professor of media culture.

DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF, MEDIA THEORIST: It is writing better than then most of my students write at this point, you know, in a college freshman. So, yes, I

am impressed with that.

FOREMAN: How does it work? Chat GPT has been filled in a sense with a massive amount of information. Imagine the biggest library you can then

programmed and trained by humans to process and spit it out in conversational phrases. So, ask for 1000 words on the early days of

automobiles and in seconds it responds. In the late 1800s and early 1900s automobiles were relatively primitive by today's standards and were

primarily used by wealthy individuals or businesses.

Ask it to write a sonnet in the style of Jerry Seinfeld. I'm just a stand- up comic telling jokes onstage. I make them laugh, and that's all I do. But sometimes life's a joke. It hits me low. And then I take the mic and say

who knew? It's not perfect. But it can debate compose essays, solve math problems.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that looks right.

FOREMAN: Write computer code, answer follow up questions even admit mistakes. And all that means Chat GPT or more advanced A.I. like it could

replace people in all sorts of positions.

RUSHKOFF: This could potentially save time and resources, but it could also lead to a loss of personal connections and a decline in the quality of

these types of interactions.

FOREMAN: We know that because everything Rushkoff said just there was written by Chat GPT. When asked about potential problems with itself.

RUSHKOFF: The answer it gave me about the dangers of GPT. That sounded like a pretty good television guest to me.


FOREMAN: Sometimes it makes mistakes and just gets things wrong and its knowledge so far only goes up to 2021. So, if you ask it's something from

six months ago, it has no idea what you're talking about. But as it continues to update and improve. This is very likely to change our world in

a very dramatic way. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

ASHER: As the threat of a fuel shortage hangs over Europe officials are pushing residents to cut back on energy use. One unexpected group has

decided to take matters into their own hands. When night falls, it's the parkour athletes of Paris who are working hard to dim the City of Lights.

CNN's Saskya Vandoorne reports.


SASKYA VANDOORNE, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER (voice over): Once a month, Kevin Ha and his friends take small steps to save energy in France through the

unusual sport of parkour.

By day you'll find them jumping, running, climbing and somersaulting over obstacles across Paris. So, they're by night using the wall run technique.

They turn off outdoor lights that have been left on.

KEVIN HAR, PARKOUR ATHLETE: Seeing those lights turned on all the night is such an absurdity in a world with limited resources. So, the best way to

save energy is actually to consume less.

VANDOORNE: The Lights Off movement started about two years ago went viral and has been spreading beyond Paris to cities including Marseille, Rennes,

Dijon, And Tour.

The group can get through 60 lights a night. They say they're just enforcing a long-forgotten law that stores should turn off window displays

between 1:00 and 6:00 a.m. or face a fine of up to $1,600.

HA: But the real question is what we can leave for the next generations. We can just send a larger message and tell them to be careful. We need

everyone to take part of the movement in order to have a real impact.

VANDOORNE: Their actions have also caught the public's imagination because Europe's energy crisis with the French government asking households and

businesses to make real changes this winter.


EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): Don't be afraid of the times we live in. They are tough. I don't know what will happen in

the next few weeks. So, we have to be prepared for anything. But we are a strong nation and we are here. But it is in this moment that the most

daring win.

VANDOORNE: Across Europe, Christmas lights will be dimmed this year to send a message of energy conservation and solidarity with the people already

feeling the pinch of high utility bills and inflation.

VANDOORNE (on camera): What people think of Christmas lights in Paris, they picture the (INAUDIBLE) but this year in a bid to save electricity, the

lights wrapped around 400 trees will be switched off two hours early.

DAN LERT, DEPUTY MAYOR OF PARIS (through translator): Our goal is to reduce energy consumption by 10 percent this winter. And we're going to take

several measures to achieve that. We are going to lower the temperature in our schools, our municipal facilities, our gymnasiums and our colleges by

one degree. We will also lower the temperature in our municipal swimming pools.

VANDOORNE (voice over): Despite these energy saving measures, the threat of blackouts loom as does the prospect that even the City of Light may have to

go dark.

Saskya Vandoorne, CNN, Paris.


ASHER: All right. There are just moments left to trade on Wall Street. We'll have the final numbers and the closing bell right after this.


ASHER: All right. We are in the final minutes of trading before Christmas. There was certainly no Santa Claus rally this year but the markets did see

some small gains today. Dow Jones is up about 170 points right now. As you have 100 gained around half of one percent. Energy stocks doing well there

due to a rise in oil prices. Chevron and Devon Energy up around more than two percent each.

The NASDAQ is flat, high for -- high inflation and the prospect of rising interest rates next year continue to sour the mood of investors. And

investors in Tesla don't have a whole lot to celebrate this year. The company's shares are down slightly today after Musk said he probably won't

sell any more of his stock until at least 2025. In the last 12 months, he's cashed in $39 billion worth of shares.

The car makers value is down 30 percent this month and more than 65 percent so far this year. Meta shares have dropped even further than Tesla's this

year. It is now paying $725 million to settle legal action over the Cambridge Analytica data leak. Million of users have their data leaked to

the British firm that worked with Trump in 2016.


All right. That is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'm Zain Asher. The closing bell is ringing on Wall Street. "THE LEAD" with Jake Taper starts right now.