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Quest Means Business
Opposition Parties Demand New Vote, Say Results Doctored; Ukraine: Situation In Bakhmut Extremely Difficult; Congress To Vote On Bill Making It Easier To Ban App In US.; U.K. Food Shortages; Venice Concerned About Rising Water; Hong Kong Ending Mask Mandate; World Of Wonder: Buenos Aires; Dash To The Bell. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired February 28, 2023 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, CNN HOST: It`s the final trading day of the month and the Dow look set to close off February down three percent, it is down 171 points,
just over half of one percent.
Those are the markets and these are the main events for you: Nigeria`s Electoral Commission stands by its work despite calls to cancel the
US lawmakers consider a bill that would make it easier to ban TikTok.
And Venice`s famous canals run dry, thanks to low tides and little snow in the Alps.
Live from London, it is Tuesday, February 28th. I am Isa Soares, in for Richard Quest, and I too mean business.
Good evening, everyone.
Tonight, Nigeria`s Electoral Commission is rejecting calls by opposition parties to schedule a new vote. Most parties say Saturday`s presidential
election was tainted by violence, rigging, as well as voter intimidation and they`ve lost faith in the process. Partial results give the lead to the
ruling party`s candidate Bola Tinubu. His party, the All Progressives Congress said on Monday the numbers don`t lie.
The Labour Party Chairman says otherwise. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIUS ABURE, NIGERIAN LABOUR PARTY CHAIRMAN: This election is not free, fair, and credible. It`s clear to all Nigerians that this election is
And therefore, if that is the wishes and aspirations of every Nigerian, and is the general opinion, the best thing to do is for us to correct it and
get it right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Let`s get more on all of this. Larry Madowo is in Lagos for us.
So Larry, three main opposition parties calling for a redo. What is the Electoral Commission saying? Will they call for fresh election?
LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Electoral Commission is saying no can do, Isa, that this election was perfectly fine, and it is misplaced for
these three political parties, the PDP that is the People`s Democratic Party, the other party that`s involved in this is the Labour Party, with
Peter Obi, and the ADC, they called for the resignation of the Chair of the Electoral Commission and somebody from outside the Commission to run this
fresh election, they want.
But this is the response from the Electoral Commission, I want to read a section of it for you now. They say that: "Results emanating from the
States points to a free, fair, and credible process. The 2023 General Election processes are in their final stages of completion. It is only fair
for aggrieved parties to allow the conclusion of the process and approach the Courts with the evidence to pursue their cases."
That is the same thing that the APC, the All Progressives Congress, that is the ruling party is saying. Their candidate, Bola Tinubu is leading among
the States that have so far been announced by INEC, the Electoral Commission.
I want to play for you some of that sound from the spokesperson,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DELE ALAKE, SPOKESPERSON, APC: They say that the PDP and Labour Party won, the election was free and free there, but where they lost, the
election was rigged there.
What kind of logic -- warped logic is that? What kind of reasoning? What kind of jaundiced perspective is that?
I know egocentrism and extreme selfishness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADOWO: And if this trend holds, then Bola Tinubu will be declared the next winner, and the next President of the Republic of Nigeria, and what is
also likely to happen is that the opposition parties and their supporters will contest that outcome in Court, but also possibly on the streets,
because there are Nigerians who feel disenfranchised who feel that there was a systematic attempt to suppress the vote and there is a collusion
between the Independent National Electoral Commission and the government.
And they will want to have their voices heard, because as some of them told me, they are tired and they are taking their country back, whatever it
takes. One man told me, "I`m fighting for my daughter. She must have a better country. She must go to better schools and I`m willing to do
whatever it takes to make sure that I can give her that" -- Isa.
SOARES: And we`ve been hearing that sentiment on our air pretty much throughout the day in the last few days, I should say, Larry. One lady I
heard saying on our air earlier today that Nigeria is at breaking point. Given you know what, you just outlined what we`re hearing on the streets as
well, will anyone accept the result?
You hinted there potentially we might be seeing protests, people coming out if they don`t accept the result.
MADOWO: Everything I`m hearing from the streets points to that. That`s when if Bola Tinubu is declared the next President of Nigeria. Those who
support the Labour Party, those who support the PDP will be so unhappy that they will want to declare their displeasure on the streets, because they
have felt that the combined impact of the voter intimidation and the violence and the stolen ballots and the places where poll officials did not
show up, was so extensive that it invalidates the entire election, and they feel that so because it`s not just a vote of saying that or the opposition,
but also some observer nations have raised concerns about the process and the transparency.
Because now, it is a groundswell of opposition and criticism of the election, that you can see why people who already felt a little unhappy can
say like, oh, everybody is saying it, so it must be true. And if Bola Tinubu wins, then they have to be out on the street saying no.
SOARES: Larry Madowo keeping a close eye on all the developments for us this hour in Lagos. Thanks very much, Larry.
Well, independent observers said Saturday`s election lacked transparency and fell short of reasonable expectations. Members of opposition parties
walked out of the National Coalition Center as results were being announced.
The Chairman of the electoral body said candidates with complaints should take them to Court. He said they will continue to announce results, despite
of course, the concerns that we`ve just been outlining -- that Larry has just outlined.
Sikiru Obarayese is a journalist with the "Nigerian Tribune" and he joins me now.
Sikiru, great to have you on the show.
Just clearly as Larry has just outlined for us, emotions are running high. Clearly, very tense right now, Nigeria. Give us a sense of how you`ve seen
this election play out.
SIKIRU OBARAYESE, JOURNALIST, "NIGERIAN TRIBUNE": Yes, good to have me here.
Yes, so far, I think this election to talk about some organizations from political party have been thwarting this process, especially all the major
opposition, the PDP, the Labour Party, the NNPP. So all of them, since from late yesterday, they said they don`t have a --
SOARES: Yes, you`re still with us, Sikiru. Keep going. Continue your thought.
OBARAYESE: Okay, so they are disappointed in it. All of them say they are disappointed in the process of these presidential election. Maybe, the
credibility from the INEC, they are saying that the INEC has not been transparent in the process.
According to even in European Union -- the EU released a statement yesterday saying they lack transparency -- the process of this election
More so that is the issues on this election. The first thing is we have some States Coalition Center who are declaring the election also. We cannot
rely on what is coming out from the National Coalition Center, which is in Abuja.
And there from what is happening now in the National Coalition Center, I think for now, we have only eight States to go to declare among the 36
states -- (AUDIO ISSUES).
SOARES: We seem to have -- your signal seems to be frozen. We`re going to try. Do we still have him?
Let me just ask my producer to see if we have him. We have an unfortunate - - we`re going to try and reconnect and come back. Unfortunately, signal is not great. But we`ll stay on top of this story for you as soon as we get
more details on the Nigerian election as these results keep coming in, of course, as we heard from Larry Madowo, we will bring it to you.
Now to Ukraine, soldiers so the situation in Bakhmut is increasingly difficult. One soldier told CNN, it is much worse than what has been
officially reported. Still, they are disputing Russian claims that Ukrainian forces have been cut off. They say they will defend the city as
long as possible.
Bakhmut has seen fierce fighting with grave casualties on both sides. Vladimir Putin speaking to the FSB admitted there had been Russian losses.
Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Unfortunately, there are losses in our ranks, the leadership of the FSB must do everything
to provide additional support to the families of our fallen comrades.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, despite that, Russian government video show advances on the ground.
Our Fred Pleitgen has more for you.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language.)
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Russian Defense Ministry video from the war in Ukraine showing Moscow`s
troops on the move, gaining ground,, eating back gives forces, but the reality at least in some cases seems different.
These soldiers say they were mobilized from Irkutsk in Siberia and they are refusing to fight.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language.)
PLEITGEN (voice over): "Due to the current state of affairs, we find ourselves in a desperate position as the Commanders do not care about our
lives," he says. And later ads, "We ask for help. We have nowhere else to turn."
The video was published as the Ukrainian say they`ve decimated Russian forces trying to assault Vuhledar in Eastern Ukraine, and after a public
spat between Yevgeny Prigozhin of the Wagner private military company and the Russian Defense Ministry over ammo supplies to Wagner mercenaries
Well, Prigozhin says the issue has been resolved. He took another swipe at the Defense Ministry.
(YEVGENY PRIGOZHIN speaking in foreign language.)
PLEITGEN (voice over): "A big number of former soldiers who are now part of Wagner came here because they were looking for more creative freedom,
since everyone understands the Army doesn`t always enable that.
When we asked Prigozhin whether ties with the Defense Ministry have been restored, a snarky answer.
"Guys, you`re CNN. Enemy spies. Have a conscience. How can I discuss military issues with you," he wrote on his social media channel.
Wagner`s forces say they`ve gained ground around Bakhmut this weekend. Russian state media released this drone footage of the utter destruction
there and the Ukrainians claimed Wagner`s losses are immense.
Former Putin adviser, Sergei Markoff tells me he doesn`t believe Prigozhin uses his forces as cannon fodder because he owns them.
SERGEI MARKOFF, FORMER PUTIN ADVISER: They have storming group, but Prigozhin according to my information, he try to preserve their life
because it`s their lives, his property, and he is a businessman.
PLEITGEN (on camera): Their lives are his property.
PLEITGEN (voice over): But while progress is hard to come by for his army, Russian President Vladimir Putin shows no signs of backing down,
instead proclaiming the Ukraine war to be a conflict with the West.
PUTIN (through translator): They have one goal, to break up the former Soviet Union and its main part, the Russian Federation. For what? To push
the remnants around and put them under their direct control.
SOARES: Fred Pleitgen reporting there.
In the last 24 hours, governments and institutions in the United States, EU, as well as Canada have ordered staff to wipe TikTok from their devices.
And in America, Congress will soon vote on a bill that will make it easier for Joe Biden to ban the Chinese-owned app right across the country.
That story for you, next.
SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.
Well, a bill that would make it easier for the Biden administration to ban TikTok in the United States is expected to advance in Congress today.
It comes as the White House orders all Federal agencies to delete the Chinese-owned app from government used devices within 30 days. The EU
Parliament announced a similar ban, if you remember today, as did Canada yesterday.
They are the latest efforts really to address security concerns around data gathered by TikTok.
Well, here is Beijing`s response to the US move. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAO NING, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY (through translator): I can`t believe that the United States as the world`s number one superpower is so afraid of
a mobile phone app popular amongst young people.
This shows a lack of confidence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: And Clare Duffy joins me now from New York.
So, Clare, how much support is there for this bill that the House is discussing? And could we be looking here at a complete ban?
CLARE DUFFY, CNN BUSINESS WRITER: Right, Isa. This bill, I think is still sort of a long way from becoming law, but we have seen a really significant
increase in concern amongst lawmakers about the influence that TikTok has and the amount of data that China could gather from US TikTok users through
its parent company ByteDance.
And so I do think this is a major concern for TikTok. The company has been working for the past two years to come up with a deal with the US
government that would allow it to continue operating in the US, to address some of these National Security concerns. And I think this sort of shows
just what a big challenge it is going to be to come to that agreement.
TikTok says that if the US were to ban the app, it would amount to censoring the more than 100 million American users. It says there is no
evidence that the app presents a risk. But again, I mean, I think this is a big hurdle for the company to overcome in terms of regaining lawmaker
SOARES: Meanwhile, we have the EU, the US, I believe, Canada as well telling employees to delete the app. How much impact really, Clare, will
this have? Will it make a dent at all on TikTok`s business here?
DUFFY: I`m not sure that these government bans of the app are going to have a really significant impact on the app. It`s not clear just how many
government phones had the app downloaded. You know, maybe there`s a social media app in some of these government -- a social media manager in some of
these government agencies that were using the app.
But I do think that again, this just sort of shows the risk to the broader TikTok usership, not only in the US, but around the world. If some of these
governments decide to move forward with these broader bans, it could have a huge impact. TikTok is one of the most popular apps among US mobile phone
users, especially the crucial teen and young person market, and so this is a big risk to the company`s business.
SOARES: How much of this, Clare, is surveillance concerns? I know you touched on that. How much is this competition concern? I`m thinking here of
Twitter, and Instagram, and the likes.
DUFFY: I think there is a bit of that sort of competition concern and just concern about what a significant impact this app has on American users
on young people and culture, but I think the larger part of the concern is this worry about the potential access of US user data in China.
US lawmakers were concerned that the Chinese government could pressure TikTok`s parent company, ByteDance to hand over user data, including IP
addresses, location, that sort of thing and use that for information, use it for disinformation, and so I think that`s the major concern.
There is no evidence that that`s been done before, but independent security experts have told CNN that it is possible.
SOARES: Yes, and it seems to be getting support at least from both sides of the aisle in the United States, which is saying something.
SOARES: Clare Duffy, really appreciate it. Absolutely. I appreciate it. Thanks, Clare.
Well, the US has also tried to counter China on semiconductors. The Biden administration has $39 billion on the table to boost domestic production,
but the grants and loans have some big strings attached.
Rahel Solomon is in New York with the details.
So, this is all about, Rahel, designed to kind of counter China and its dominance. So talk us about the string -- the so-called circle strings
RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Isa, as you said, this is look, a lot of money, but some would also say comes with a lot of strings.
So the first string is that companies that benefit from this type of funding may not expand their capacity in China for at least a decade. As
you said, this is all about reducing reliance on China, so it would be a bit counterproductive if some of these companies then expanded in China in
a decade. So that`s the first major string.
The second string is that companies that receive money will be prohibited from conducting joint research with a foreign entity of concern. That is a
National Security concerns. So the administration essentially trying to make sure that this does not become a National Security issue.
And then the third string, Isa, which is actually getting the most attention is that companies must agree -- that receive this type of
funding, that receive these grants -- must agree to share excess profits which also means no stock buybacks.
SOLOMON: President Biden has been very clear about how he feels about buybacks. Well, this is getting quite a bit of attention. And also these
companies must agree to expand childcare. Part of this, Isa, is a domestic concern, right?
We have record low unemployment here in the US, 3.4 percent, but we also have a supply problem. We don`t have enough workers.
In fact, Diane Swonk of the KPMG accounting firm, the Chief Economist of KPMG, pointing out that labor force participation among women is dead last
in the G20 nations. This is the top five. But you can see, you get the point here, right?
So she points out that lack of maternity leave and affordable childcare options are the main reasons. So, interesting, however, to see that type of
legislation included in this larger CHIPS Act.
But to your larger question, Isa, Will this be enough to boost production? I talked to one analyst who follows these types of Apple and tech companies
very closely. He said, look, it`s a great first step. It`s a decade late, and it`ll be like climbing an Everest uphill.
SOARES: Well, that says everything. I mean, I`m keen to know what you have heard from some of these companies? Would they -- are they prepared to
take a bite out of this? I mean, do they even have the workforce to actually take this on? I mean, the challenge is -- it is appealing, but
SOLOMON: It`s a great point, because you can make an economic case for both, right?
SOLOMON: I mean, you think about the challenges we had at the beginning of the pandemic with the supply chain, and how vulnerable we all realize we
are, right, in terms of geopolitically, in terms of geographically when things happen. And so there is an economic case for broadening your supply
On the other hand, it will be extremely expensive, and to your point, Isa, labor is just one part of it. As Dan Ives, that analyst told me before,
this is an infrastructure, these are supply chains, these are workers, highly sophisticated technical workers who have had decades of sort of
building up that infrastructure.
And he put it to me this way, he said, even for Apple -- Apple, of course, the main player here, right -- he said, for Apple to move five to seven
percent of its production out of China, it would take two years and cost them five to eight billion dollars.
So lots of factors here. On the one hand, there is an economic case for starting to perhaps move some of your supply chain back to the US or to
other parts of the world. On the other hand, it will be very expensive, and there are a lot of moving parts in terms of infrastructure that also have
to be considered.
SOARES: Very good point. The infrastructure, but also I found it interesting, the research part, which I`m sure some companies will not be
Rahel Solomon, really appreciate it. Thanks very much, Rahel.
Now to a mystery from the natural world.
New research is underway to discover the cause of so-called "zombie wildfires." They are blazes that mysteriously come roaring back to life.
CNN`s Allison Chinchar reports in the latest edition of "Transformers."
ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST (voice over): It`s summer in the remote boreal forests of Canada`s Northwest Territories. And Rebecca
Scholten, along with an international team of researchers is on the hunt for signs of a rare and destructive phenomenon.
REBECCA SCHOLTEN, VRIJE UNIVERSITEIT AMSTERDAM: So the first thing you notice when you get to a site that has had a zombie fire is that a lot of
these trees have fallen over and that is because of the underground burning that is happening.
CHINCHAR (voice over): In 2015, this region of boreal forest was the scene of an overwintering fire, also known as a zombie fire.
These are rare, so we don`t have any footage of them, but they can look just like these regular forest fires, except they`re back from the dead.
SCHOLTEN: So these are fires that are not extinguished at the end of the fire season, but instead they smolder deep into the organic soil layer and
when the snow comes, the snow kind of protects them from the adverse winter conditions and that makes it possible for them to smolder all throughout
And when the snow melts, and there`s dry fuels available again, these fires come up to the surface again and start a new flaming forest fire.
CHINCHAR (voice over): In 2021, Scholten published the first ever scientific study to detect zombie fires using satellites and reports from
local fire managers as part of her PhD.
For example, in the summer of 2015, a fire in Southwest Alaska blazed across 26 square miles. Winter came and snow covered the fire site, but the
following spring, the fire returned along the old burn scar, evidence Scholten says of a zombie fire.
By burning through the soil and the roots, zombie fires can be more damaging to the forest than regular fires, making it harder for them to
recover. But that`s not all, these boreal soils store huge amounts of carbon so burning them releases it as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
CHINCHAR (voice over): Zombie fires are rare, but Scholten found they are increasing due to climate change.
SCHOLTEN: So I think, zombie fire is a very good poster child for what is happening to Arctic wildfires in general. So we see fire regimes are
intensifying and this has very important impacts on the ecosystems that of course has an impact on our climate and that is why I think everyone in the
world should care about these fires.
SOARES: Indeed, well still come right here, the Canals of Venice have long drawn visitors from around the world. Now they`re running dry, the
Deputy Mayor of Venice is with me, next.
SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.
Now Rishi Sunak went to Northern Ireland today to promote his new trade deal with the EU. The British Prime Minister needs broad support in
Northern Ireland for the arrangement to work.
It aims to resolve post-Brexit questions about how to handle Customs there. It is a political gamble for Mr. Sunak who has been in office just for
months. He puts a positive spin though on Northern Ireland`s predicament.
Have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Northern Ireland is in the unbelievably special position, unique position in the entire world,
European continent in having privileged access not just to the UK home market, which is enormous, fifth biggest in the world, but also the
European Union single market. Nobody else has that. No one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Yes, unique position.
While the Prime Minister tries to sort out trade in Northern Ireland, British shoppers are having a hard time though finding common items like
tomatoes, cucumbers, as well as peppers. It has led to rationing, which could last for weeks to come.
I took a closer look at the story.
SOARES (voice over): Row upon row of empty baskets, empty shelves. A supply gap in fruit and veg has hit U.K. supermarkets. The shortages affecting
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I went for lunch and I could not find, like, tomatoes, cucumber or lettuce.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was quite annoying when you want to have a day in (ph) and you can`t actually get it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The fruits are (INAUDIBLE) they are gone. Nothing there.
SOARES (voice-over): To deal with the shortages, major British supermarkets are imposing limits on items like tomatoes, cucumbers and
peppers. The U.K.`s minister for the environment, food and rural affairs said the disruption should only last a few weeks and meanwhile, encouraged
people to eat more seasonally.
Let them eat turnips, she said.
THERESE COLLEY, BRITISH MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS: I`m conscious that consumers want year-round choice and that is what our
supermarkets and food and growers -- food producers and growers around the world are trying to satisfy.
SOARES (voice-over): Supermarkets are blaming the recent shortages on poor weather conditions in key growing regions. Britain produces a fraction of
the food it consumes, relying instead on overseas imports.
And key suppliers in southern Europe and North Africa, in particular Spain and Morocco, have seen harvests hit by extreme weather conditions.
While climate change plays a significant role in warmer than average temperatures, the government faces another inconvenient truth: Brexit, the
cause of widespread supply chain disruption.
LIZ WEBSTER, CHAIR, SAVE BRITISH FARMING: Because of the interruption with trade in Europe that underpin our food supply, it means that there`s less
food coming in from Europe; we`re producing less food. So basically, our food security is in real trouble.
SOARES (voice-over): Labor shortages due to a lack of migrant workers and soaring energy prices following Russia`s invasion of Ukraine have pushed
the gap even wider as farmers struggle with front end costs.
And those costs are passed on to the consumer, consumers already grappling with record high grocery prices and the worst cost of living crisis in
SOARES: Let`s not mention Brexit.
From the U.K., to Italy, the iconic canals of Venice are running low. A dry winter has left gondolas stuck in the mud as you can see. Some water taxes
are unable to operate. It is unusual for Venice, which is more often facing the threat of flooding. Environmental groups are raising the alarm. They
say another drought could be on the way.
Last summer, some parts of Italy saw their worst drought in 70 years. Simone Venturini is Venice`s deputy mayor; he joins me now live from Italy.
Thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us here. Look, for so many years we have seen, we`ve covered the flooding haven`t we in Venice.
This is now changing quite rapidly with your waterways. They are running dry.
How concerned are you that what you`ve been seeing by the trends here?
SIMONE VENTURINI, VENETIAN DEPUTY MAYOR ASSESSORE: Yes, thanks for having me. Low tide in Venice happened as high tide. So during the year, some days
we have a very low tide. In this case it`s just the combination of the astronomical tide, the high pressure and the wind from the north.
So nothing extraordinary, nothing to worry about. The real risk for Venice, of course, is the sea level rise. So this is the most important challenge
that Venice, all I think, the city on the coast needs to tackle. So just a normal situation, just a few days during the year. Nothing to worry about.
Of course, we are dealing with high tide situation in Venice. This is the most important challenge. But we have a big news. So right now, the MOSE
system is a big dam on the bottom of the sea. It protects Venice from the high tide, from the waves from the sea. It is working.
So after 20 years of construction, MOSE system works. And it is very important to the city because right now we are defended from the high tide
SOARES: We saw you talking about Venice but we saw pictures, I believe, I think it was this year, last year, no, early this year in the Alps with
less snow packing. So in terms of, you talked about what can be done from your perspective, the system you`ve got in place to control kind of the
high tides, what is your biggest concern now?
Is the expectation that we will see more droughts this year?
VENTURINI: Drought is a problem in the north in the city of Venice. Of course it is mostly in the mountain and in the plains and the pasture of
course. Venice is challenged. A long-term risk is due to the sea level rise.
VENTURINI: So this is the most important long term problem for the city, as for New York, for Miami, for London, for other cities in Italy. In the
short term, we are protected by the MOSE system of course. But in 100 years, nobody knows how high the sea will be. So this is the most important
challenge, of course.
SOARES: What else can be done?
You are talking about the dam system.
Is there anything that can be done and more --
SOARES: -- go ahead.
VENTURINI: Yes, we are constructing a system to make the floor of Venice higher. So St. Mark`s Square (ph), for example, is a very low floor. And
sometimes the water arise in St. Mark`s Square and the church of St. Mark Square.
St. Mark`s -- Basilica San Marco, of course. And it is very dangerous for the mosaics, for the stones, for the marbles because it is salted water. So
we are protecting the church, of course. And we are constructing a new floor on the square of San Marco that makes the floor higher so the water
cannot touch it.
SOARES: Wow. Despite the pictures that you have just painted, really, people continue to turn out, right?
Continues to attract so many visitors. The last time I believe you spoke to our show here on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, there was talk about a tourist tax.
What happened to that?
VENTURINI: Yes, everybody loves Venice. So we are attracting a lot of tourists. They most of it arrived in Venice with sentiment to (INAUDIBLE),
to love the city, to respect it. Some tourists arrive just to hit a run situation. They arrive and they left in three hours.
So they leave nothing to the city and they consume the city. So we are working, we are discussing with the city council right now to start a
booking system for a visit of the city. We have a small fee to pay if you are a big tourist.
SOARES: How much?
How much is that?
VENTURINI: -- the range would be from 3 -- from 3 to 10 euro, the range. It depends on the -- from the reservation in Expedia (ph). So the most
booking period will be, of course, higher. And in the lower season, it will be lower. So in February, November, it will be lower, of course.
SOARES: And you think that is enough incentive to deter visitors?
VENTURINI: No, it is just a small piece of a big plan to attract not only less tourists but a different kind of tourists. We want -- we are switching
from a quantity model, the more the merrier, in a quality model.
So we want a different kind of tourist, more respectful of the city, who can stay a bit more, maybe two nights, three nights, four nights, and enjoy
the city in the night, in the day, in the afternoon and discover the place in the city, where nobody goes.
So the unbeaten path. And we are working to instruct the tourists to discover and get lost in Venice is the most beautiful thing that can
happen. You get lost in Venice. I will advise everyone to get lost in Venice. Maybe in the evening.
So it is a big plan, with a lot of different pieces. Of course, the reservation, the booking system will be very big stones (ph) on this street
SOARES: That is a very good slogan. Get lost in Venice. I will keep that one. We really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us, thank you
very much, sir.
VENTURINI: Thanks for having me, thank you.
SOARES: Now remember masks?
A few parts of Europe, here in the U.K., all the U.S. mandatory mask wearing seems like a thing of the past. But Hong Kong is now ending its
COVID mask mandate, a restriction that has been in place from the start of the pandemic.
As of Wednesday, masks no longer will be required outdoors, indoors or even on public transport. Our Kristie Lu Stout has the story for you.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is one of the last places on the planet where you still have to wear a mask. But after almost three years of
both indoor and outdoor use in public, Hong Kong is finally dropping its mask mandate.
I still have to wear this today because the mandate is not fully scrapped until Wednesday, March 1st. Hong Kong`s top leader, John Lee, made the
announcement on Tuesday.
JOHN LEE, HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE: In order to give people a very clear message that Hong Kong is resuming normalcy,
LEE: I think this is the right time to make the decision.
STOUT (voice-over): For much of the past three years, Hong Kong and neighboring Macau both followed China`s strict zero-COVID policy. Macau
dropped its mask restriction on Monday.
According to Dr. Karen Grepin of the University of Hong Kong, face masks have played an important role in reducing community transmission in Hong
Kong but now that almost everyone is vaccinated and most people have also been infected, dropping the legal mandate is past due.
People can now do their own risk assessment to determine if they want to wear one or not.
STOUT: Hong Kong`s move to scrap masks comes after the government launched its "hello, Hong Kong" campaign to bring back tourists and international
visitors and business people. Starting Wednesday, they can breathe easy with the mask mandate effectively over -- Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.
SOARES: That is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, I`ll be back to the top of the hour as we make a dash for the closing bell. Up next, "QUEST`S WORLD OF WONDER."
That is for Richard.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST (voice-over): From the polo fields of Argentina, a game brought here by the British, to a very large clock tower in the heart
of BA, all evidence of Argentina`s European and specifically British past.
People from the U.K. came here to help develop the country. And those immigrants donated this mini Big Ben and it became known as the Torre de
los Ingleses. It`s the Tower of the English.
Those relations were destroyed in the early 1980s with the war in the South Atlantic. In 1982, I was 20 years old, a student finishing university. I
remember the war very clearly. The man I am about to meet was also 20 years old.
QUEST: But he was a conscript in the Argentine army. And he was being shipped off to what he calls the Malvinas.
MICHAEL SAVAGE, FORMER SOLDIER (voice-over): I had no practice, I had only one day rifle practice. And I never thought they would send me. So I told
my mum that morning, having breakfast, they`re not sending me, I`m not a soldier.
A week later, I was huddling in a peat bank at the foot of Mt. Longdon, one of the fiercest battles.
QUEST (voice-over): Michael Savage is proudly Argentinian. The product of Scottish and Irish grandparents, born here in Argentina, and one of whom
even fought for the British in World War II.
While I was safe and a student, Michael, untrained and ill supplied, was one of thousands of conscripts sent by Argentina`s then military government
to invade what I call the Falklands.
I remember the night the Sheffield was sunk.
SAVAGE: Ah, yes. That was shortly after the Belgrano was sunk.
QUEST: And --
SAVAGE: So it was like England 1, Argentina 1, like a football match.
QUEST (voice-over): I`m not here to rehash the war. I want to see it through Michael`s eyes. On opposite sides, I believe it will help me
understand why nearly every Argentine still has such an emotional connection to the islands; perhaps because of stories like his.
SAVAGE: We looked like prisoners of a concentration camp. I had lost 22 kilos and my friends more or less the same. We had one that died sleeping
one night of exposure.
QUEST: And once the fighting began ...
SAVAGE: Yes, I kept asking myself, what the hell am I doing here?
There should be a professional soldier here, not me.
QUEST (voice-over): Eventually, Michael was taken prisoner and then repatriated to Argentina aboard a British cruise ship. He remembers
translating for his troops and meeting a regiment of British paratroopers, who they had just fought against.
SAVAGE (voice-over): I thought there would be a fight on the ship but I was surprised by two or three paras talking with two or three of my fellow
conscripts. They talked about football. They talked about music -- the British bands, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Supertramp -- and they talked about
girls, conversations that a 20-year old have normally.
And that made me understand that wars are anonymous. When you engage into a face to face human exchange, the war would be impossible.
QUEST (voice-over): It is in that spirit that Michael and I visit the memorial to the 649 Argentinians who died fighting in the war. I pay my
respects to them and the 255 of my own country men, who perished on the fields of battle. No matter how many memorials are built here, how many
never agains are said, war it seems, won`t go away.
QUEST (voice-over): It is the other sound of Argentina, rivaling tango in the national psyche.
QUEST (voice-over): An hour out of the capital and I am amongst grazing cattle, where the famous beef is reared on the pampas grass plains.
EVA BOELCKE, OWNER, EL OMBU DE ARECO (voice-over): Well, my grandfather bought the farm in 1934.
QUEST (voice-over): 1934?
BOELCKE (voice-over): Yes. So since then, it`s in our family. And my father insist to keep it --
BOELCKE: And so why not?
We had to keep it.
QUEST (voice-over): Of course, Eva Boelcke kept El Ombu, as her ranch or estancia, as it`s called. Today, four generations on, there are now two
sources of income, those on four legs and, more profitably, those on two.
BOELCKE (voice-over): I like my cattle but the most important thing are you --
BOELCKE (voice-over): -- the tourists.
QUEST (voice-over): So the cattle and the guests.
BOELCKE (voice-over): Yes, yes.
QUEST (voice-over): The important paying guests, like me, come here to see a different way of ranching, one that is steeped in Argentinian tradition,
honed by the Spanish and indigenous gauchos, who tamed this land.
QUEST (voice-over): Eva`s son, Pablo, grew up on the farm. We are doing it his way, the gaucho way.
It is not a traditional saddle, is it?
PABLO VIAGGIO, EVA`S SON (voice-over): No, no.
QUEST (voice-over): What`s the difference?
VIAGGIO (voice-over): Yes, this is like a sofa, because really, when you have to work all day on a horse, it is very comfortable.
QUEST (voice-over): Hang on.
I will settle for merely staying on board.
So where is my trusty steed?
VIAGGIO (voice-over): I have a horse for you.
QUEST: This horse?
VIAGGIO: No, we have Rose.
VIAGGIO (voice-over): (Speaking Spanish).
This one is Ramon`s horse.
VIAGGIO (voice-over): This one is your horse, yes?
QUEST (voice-over): She is looking a little more traditional isn`t it.
VIAGGIO (voice-over): Yes, it is a different saddle we call it a mision (ph). It is very comfortable.
QUEST (voice-over): For beginners.
VIAGGIO (voice-over): Come on.
QUEST (voice-over): And we have gone back to exactly where we started.
QUEST (voice-over): Maybe it`s the cattle. Maybe it`s the horse. It could be my compadres. I am feeling gaucho. It is beautiful, absolutely glorious.
Forgive me. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS after all. So I appreciate that it was the gauchos that created the wealth that grew Buenos Aires and thus placing
Argentina amongst the wealthiest nations in the early 20th century.
My horse, Rosa, knows little and cares less of her grand economic place in history. I`m on a horse and I know who is in charge.
The horses here are pretty much encouraged only to walk and then gallop, usually in the wrong direction. You are not going home.
There you go, come on. Let`s go and get some cows.
Yeehaw! There we go.
QUEST: Look at that.
VIAGGIO (voice-over): Here in Argentina, like the ribs. If you do a barbecue here in Argentina, the people, they want this.
QUEST (voice-over): I am a true city dweller, sometimes squeamish about the fact that the cow I was wrangling yesterday is on the grill tomorrow.
I don`t want to start a worldwide debate but here is the beef. And is it the best in the world?
VIAGGIO (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) sausage, you have some blood sausage. We have the chicken here. If you go to any house here in Argentina, they are
going to have something small like this one but they will have this system, no.
You want to have friends and we want to be together, they call me and say, you want to hop on a saddle (ph) today?
A saddle means just come to my house or something like that. And we share the moment. Yes? That is very typical.
QUEST: I want steak, I want steak --
VIAGGIO: You have the steak.
VIAGGIO: You like that?
QUEST (voice-over): And so, to the test.
Does the best beef in the world come from Argentina?
Grass fed, lovingly raised, beautifully butchered, perfectly cooked. I don`t know whether the best comes from Argentina.
QUEST (voice-over): But it`s bloody good.
The estancia is a fundamental part of Argentinian history and life, maybe far removed from today`s living. But coming here has widened and deepened
my understanding of this tremendous country.
A trip to the estancia is the perfect way to end a visit to Buenos Aires. And so, to the word that describes all of this, I think it is invigorating.
To be sure, Argentina has its challenges. But there is a natural wealth and a human warmth that must be experienced.
So you will want to come here and be invigorated for yourself. Buenos Aires, no doubt part of our world of wonder.
SOARES: Hello, I`m Isa Soares. It is the dash to the closing bell and we just are about two minutes or so away. U.S. markets mixed really on the day
and set to close the month low. We have a look at the Dow, off 119 points, just over half a percent.
Not much, in terms of when we started the show almost an hour ago. It`s near, in fact, a session low. If we have a look really at the S&P and the
other stock markets, well, the S&P here, as you can see, down just 0.2 percent. The Dow, 1 percent.
Look at the Nasdaq, just practically flat in terms of how they fared for the month. It`s been a bit of a mixed picture. One down 1 percent, the
other about a percent higher. So very mixed picture, indeed, right across U.S. markets for the month of February.
One of the stories we`re covering on the show, Venice. Low tides and dry weather left the canals in Venice really without much water. The city`s
deputy mayor says rising sea levels are still the biggest issue going forward and not just for Venice. Have a listen to what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VENTURINI: Venice`s challenge a long term risk, is due to the sea level rise. So this is the most important long-term problem for the city, as for
New York, for Miami, for London, for other cities in Italy. In the short term, we are protected by the MOSE system, of course.
But in 100 years, nobody knows how high the sea will be. So this is the most important challenge, of course.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Simone Venturini speaking to me earlier.
Let`s have a quick look at the Dow components this Tuesday. JPMorgan, as you can see there, is on top, almost 1 percent high, just over 1 percent
high, as you can see there.