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Quest Means Business
Tragic Human Error Behind Greek Train Crash; Ruling Party's Bola Tinubu Wins Presidential Election; Default Daily Time Limit For Teens Introduced; Iranian Foreign Minister On Nuclear Deal; Putin Acknowledges "Losses In Our Ranks"; China And The Global Economy; One-Sixth Of Insulin Users Rationing Their Drug; FAA Nominee Grilled In Congress. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired March 01, 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 is a bad start to a new trading month. The major US indices are beginning March in the red as warning signals flash on the
market. As you can see here, the Dow just down 68 points, almost a quarter of percent lower. Yields as well, US yields not doing particularly great, a
higher four percent or so, the highest wise we've seen in fact, so far this year. We'll explain why.
In terms of news we are keeping an eye on tragic human error. The Greek Prime Minister reveals the cause of last night's deadly train crash. We
have the very latest.
And the "Godfather of Lagos" is declared the winner of Nigeria's pivotal presidential elections.
And still later, drug giant Eli Lilly cuts the price of life-saving insulin after huge pressure from the White House. The CEO speaks right here to CNN.
Live from London. It is Wednesday, March 1st. I am Isa Soares, in for Richard Quest, and I, too mean business.
Good evening, everyone.
Tonight, the Greek Prime Minister says tragic human error caused last night's horrific head-on train crash. At least 38 people were killed when a
freight train struck a passenger train near the City of Larissa.
Nearby security cameras captured the moment the trains collided. You can see the explosion that lasts for several seconds there. The country's
Transport Minister has resigned and the train station manager in Larissa has been arrested.
The passenger train was carrying more than 350 people. One person on board described the crash as 10 nightmarish seconds followed, of course by panic,
and then chaos.
Nada Bashir has more for you.
NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER (voice over): The aftermath of a horrifying late night crash. Heaps of debris and carriages scattered across train
tracks in Central Greece, after a passenger train carrying more than 350 people collided head-on with a freight train, killing dozens.
KYRIAKOS MITSOTAKIS, GREEK PRIME MINISTER (through translator): What we are experiencing today is very, very difficult as a country. We are talking
about an unspeakable tragedy.
Our thoughts today are first and foremost with the relatives of the victims.
BASHIR (voice over): The crash happened shortly before midnight, local time when the passenger train on its way from Athens to Thessaloniki,
changed lanes and switched to a cargo track before colliding with the freight train.
Firefighters worked through the night to find and identify victims.
Rescued passengers described the ordeal as a nightmare.
STERGIOS MINENIS, TRAIN COLLISION SURVIVOR (through translator): We heard a big bang. It was 10 nightmarish seconds. We were turning over in the
wagon and so we fell on our sides and until the commotion stopped. Then there was panic, cables everywhere. Fire -- the fire was immediate as we
were turning over, we were being burned.
BASHIR (voice over): More than 70 people were injured and are now being treated in the hospital. Most of the passengers were young the head of the
intensive care unit at a local hospital told state media.
Meanwhile, rescue workers continue the desperate search for more survivors.
MITSOTAKIS (through translator): One thing I can guarantee, we will find out the cause of this tragedy and do everything in our power to make sure
it never happens again.
BASHIR (voice over): Greece has declared a three-day mourning period. Flags flying at half-mast across the country to remember the crash victims.
Authorities say the death toll is still expected to rise.
Nada Bashir, CNN.
SOARES: When the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited the scene earlier, he called the incident "an unspeakable tragedy."
In his resignation speech, the Transport Minister said Greece's rail system is not up to 21st Century standard. He said the government had tried to
improve it, but failed to prevent last night's accident.
Eleni Giokos is following this from Dubai.
So Eleni, what does he mean it's not up to standards. What exactly have we seen in terms of the rail system that hasn't kept up with improvements like
everyone else like what we've seen in Europe? Talk us through the track record here.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Yes. Exactly, and the track record isn't great. In fact, recent safety record has been the worst in the EU
over the past decade. This is a well-known fact.
It has been flagged to authorities, it has been flagged over the past, according to my sources for the last 20 years that it desperately needed
modernization. The issues date back I have from the year 2000, then, of course, the global financial crisis caused major issues in terms of
Part of it was privatized Hellenic train is actually Italian-owned now and we know that they were the ones that were managing the train systems
We also heard from the Prime Minister, this was a grave human error. That's what it is pointing towards. We also understand that the state-owned
enterprise's CEOs have also just tendered their resignation.
And Isa, if you dig in further, it was lack of investments. Some people are questioning whether they were maintained well enough. But I think that, you
know, as we're starting to figure out the investigation and the questions that are coming in, how is it possible that two trains are on the same
track and a lot of the logistical issues that come with that, the train master has been taken into custody. He has been arrested. He has been
charged with causing mass deaths.
And then this train travels 15 kilometers at 166 kilometers per hour, and no one notices. There's no communication system that came into play, or a
safety system that was activated for any type of warning that this collision was going to happen and that is what is shocking Greece right
You've got young people that are victims of this, Isa. They were spending time over Carnival Weekend. It was Ash Monday. They were heading back to
their universities to Thessaloniki.
SOARES: Yes and this is a very popular route from what I understand also, Eleni. Do we know, Eleni, how long they were traveling on the same route
for? Do we have an idea?
I know we've got lots of questions at this moment. You talked about the maintenance of the railway, the financing here, but in terms of going --
just go back to basics. Do we know how long they've been on the same track? How long they were on the same track? Because you talked about
communication there or lack thereof?
GIOKOS: Yes, 15 kilometers and there was no warning or danger signals. And frankly, even experts -- I am listening to state TV, because I've been
monitoring local media. You know, experts are saying there was no real even GPS tracker on the systems and if there was, they obviously weren't in
working order, and that's what is creating just this somber mood in Greece. This is national tragedy that's playing out.
And I was just looking at what's happening around the hospital. The injured were so badly injured that there needs to be DNA testing for people to be
identified -- people, loved ones are going to social media posting pictures and photographs of mostly students looking for their loved ones.
People are still missing 350 passengers on board. We know that the death toll has now risen to 38. It is expected to rise even further.
Some of the imagery that we've seen, those two first carriages call to light the fire so intense, very difficult to put out. And we heard from
passengers that it felt absolutely horrifying to be in those carriages towards the end. And of course, those people were rescued, around 200, I
hear have gone into safety and many people are still injured affected by shrapnel.
So many questions are going to come up around this, Isa, and I think the investigation is going to be absolutely vital. And then importantly, the
investment into fixing this problem.
SOARES: Yes, and look, the picture you're painting is pretty dire and this is exactly what I've heard from Marissa Kourkorini in the last hour,
in fact, part of an NGO for the head of the Samaritan Rescue Group and she was talking about, you know, broken bones, because of the shrapnel, of
course, as well, but severe burns as well for many of the victims and the trauma, of course, that many of them are facing on the ground. Pretty,
But the rescue operations I've been told, continue.
I know, you're still on top of the story for us, Eleni. Thanks very much, appreciate it.
Now, one of Nigeria's main opposition parties says it will challenge the outcome of the presidential election. The ruling party's candidate, Bola
Tinubu has been declared the winner. A Labour Party spokesperson says it will fight the result in Court calling the vote rigged and stolen. The
President-elect was conciliatory in his victory speech. He said Nigeria must build together and put broken pieces together.
SOARES: Mr. Tinubu has been involved in Nigerian politics for decades. He was Governor of Lagos between 1999 and 2007. Since stepping down, he has
handpicked every one of his successors that's fed his reputation as a political godfather.
He is also enormously wealthy with financial interests in real estate, media,, and other sectors.
Our Larry Madowo is in Lagos.
So Larry, can he bring Nigeria together here? What has been the reaction to Tinubu's win?
LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He is going to try. He has acknowledged that there are many people that didn't vote for him or disappointed, but he
will be their President, too. And he's going to have to convince them because he only won with nine percent of eligible voters.
He won 36.6 percent of the vote, but that's only four percent of the total number of Nigerians. There's a big ask here.
Right now, two groups maintain that this election was free, credible, and fair. The people that conducted it and the people that won it. INEC, the
Independent National Electoral Commission and the APC that is Bola Tinubu's ruling party.
There is a non-exhaustive list of all the organizations that have criticized this election starting with voters, three main opposition
parties -- the PDP, the Labour Party, and the ADC, as well as several observer groups, including the European Union, the International Republican
Institute, the National Democratic Institute, and the Yiaga, the largest observer group.
We saw a stinging statement from the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room that called this not credible and this just keeps growing.
Even the Commonwealth, which was largely complimentary said there was room for improvement.
But first, here's a primer.
MADOWO (voice over): Bola Ahmed Tinubu officially named the next President of Nigeria. The godfather of Lagos, whose slogan was "It's my
turn," and now it is.
A controversial win after three main opposition parties disowned the election and demanded a fresh one. But just after 4:00 AM, the
MAHMOOD YAKUBU, CHAIRMAN, INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION: Tinubu, Bola Ahmed of the APC having satisfied the requirements of the law
is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected. Thank you.
MADOWO (voice over): With nearly 8.8 million votes, the ruling party got about 36.6 percent of the total. But a win is a win.
BOLA AHMED TINUBU, NIGERIAN PRESIDENT-ELECT: This is a serious mandate. I hereby accept it.
MADOWO (voice over): Tinubu says the Electoral Commission ran a credible election and any lapses were few and "immaterial" to affect the outcome.
But a group of 70 Nigerian civil society groups disagrees, saying the process was not credible.
ENE OBI, NIGERIA CIVIL SOCIETY SITUATION ROOM: Up to this moment, the INEC Chairman has not apologized to Nigerians. I mean, he owes Nigerians
MADOWO (on camera): With the election over, it is back to the daily inconveniences of life in Nigeria like this one. Queues outside ATMs that
have become commonplace after the redesign of the naira that led to this massive cash shortage.
This is why some people voted for change in the country. They wanted a Nigeria that works.
MADOWO (voice over): It was the first Nigerian election without an incumbent or former military leader running.
YEMI ADAMOLEKUN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: I think it was not the outcome Nigerians expected. It fell below expectations. INEC did not
communicate. INEC failed its own rules and its own promises.
Nigerians had high expectations that we would have a transparent process, plus, there was a lot of hope on technology.
MADOWO (voice over): But Tinubu supporters are ecstatic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even before, I have already dreamt that he is going to become a President and my dream come true.
MADOWO (voice over): If his win stands, Tinubu will take over in May.
MADOWO (on camera): Bola Tinubu and his party believe that he won fair and square and as they pointed out, it does it mean that only the places
where the Labour Party and the PDP won, those are free and fair election, and where they lost, it was not fair.
For instance, Bola Tinubu lost Lagos, he's the godfather of Lagos. And they say that points to a fair process. Otherwise, they would have rigged Lagos
And the other one is, even though the opposition, the PDP and the Labour Party and the ADC have claimed that this was doctored and manipulated, they
have not so far presented any evidence that might well show up in Court.
But there are many supporters, especially Peter Obi, who is beloved by the youth, who feel cheated in this election and they are waiting to hear from
him about what happens next, because they just can't imagine the man they saw the fresh start from Nigeria will not be the next President -- Isa.
SOARES: So they feel cheated. You know, you and I have talked about really the mood in the last couple of days. The questions over this
Do you think then that -- you said it was potentially going into Court? What is the mood on the ground? Are they going to take this at the word?
Are they going to challenge it? Are they going to take to the streets?
Just give us a sense. I know Nigerian people have so much on their plate already, so many challenges that you have been discussing in the last few
days, but just paint a picture of the mood this hour.
MADOWO: Deep disappointment to describe it in the shortest number of words possible. I didn't see any major celebrations today, but I didn't see
any major protests either. So I think there's a sense of wait and see here.
And like you mentioned, Nigerians have many problems right now. They've been hobbling from one crisis to the other. If it is not the fuel crisis,
now there is a cash shortage.
The naira shortage means that maybe the voters are depressed because some people just cannot travel to get to that where they're going. The Labour
Party says it will be contesting this election in Court. But the Nigerian Supreme Court has never overturned an election, and it doesn't have the
biggest confidence in the country.
People don't think that it is independent enough to overturn an election. So we'll see where that heads. I think this is really relying on what Atiku
Abubakar of the PDP and Peter Obi of the Labour Party tell their supporters how they move forward.
SOARES: Larry Madowo for us this hour in Lagos. Thanks very much, Larry. I appreciate it.
Now, if you think your teenager spends too much time on TikTok, or you yourself, well, TikTok agrees. The app is putting a new time limit on users
Claire Duffy unpacks that with us next, the TikTok Timeout, next.
SOARES: Welcome back.
TikTok says it wants teenagers to spend less time on its app. It is introducing a daily one hour time limit for users under 18. However, the
decision to stop scrolling will ultimately be up to each user. They can choose to override the time limit.
Millions of young users are on TikTok including more than two-thirds of American teens. The social media giant has faced massive scrutiny for its
impact on young people's mental health.
Clare Duffy joins me once again from New York.
So Clare, I mean, one of my colleagues was saying in a meeting today, an editorial meeting that, you know, an hour feels like 10 minutes to anyone
Just talk us through, you know why they've done this and whether that's going to make any difference to families, to parents, to people's mental
health here because they can ignore it. Right?
CLARE DUFFY, CNN BUSINESS WRITER: Right. That's right, Isa.
You know, this is an interesting move. It clearly is in response to these concerns from parents, from lawmakers, that teens can just get stuck in
this sort of endless scroll on TikTok that they can get led down problematic rabbit holes of content or that they stay up too late scrolling
on TikTok rather than going to bed.
And so you know, what's interesting about this is that there are a couple of caveats here. This is going to be a default setting so that users will -
- users under the age of 18 will face this one hour screen time limit, but they can enter a passcode to bypass that screen time limit. They can also
turn it off.
DUFFY: Although the company says that if they turn it off, they will when they reach 100 minutes of screen time, be prompted to set some kind of
limit. And so it's sort of unclear what kind of impact this is going to have truly for young users, whether most of these young users will just
bypass this limit.
And what's interesting about this is that, you know, it sort of runs counter to TikTok's business model. What TikTok really wants for its
business is for people to just keep scrolling as long as possible to view as many ads as possible.
So I think we're seeing the company try to walk the line here between its business interests, but also not upsetting parents and lawmakers who are
really concerned about the impact on youth mental health.
SOARES: You mentioned lawmakers. Let's talk about that. Because the US House Foreign Affairs Committee voted on Wednesday, pretty much along party
lines to give President Joe Biden the power here to ban TikTok.
What would this mean? Because I think you were telling me yesterday, a hundred million or so users. What will this mean? How realistic could this
possibly happen here -- Clare?
DUFFY: Right. This is a far way off. Still, this bill is moving out of Committee, but it still would require approval from the House and Senate.
But it would be a major step. There are more than 100 million American users of TikTok. This is one of the most popular apps not just among young
people, but among Americans broadly, and it would be a huge step for the American government to say, people can't use this app anymore. TikTok
likened it to censorship.
You know, it is, again, I think, unclear how far this is going to get, but I think it gives you a sense of just how much pressure this company is
facing from lawmakers.
American lawmakers in particular are concerned about the company's connections to China and the influence that the Chinese government could
have on its parent company, ByteDance, and so this company is facing hurdles on a number of fronts here.
SOARES: And very quickly, in terms of the hurdles, what has the company done to try and appease some of these concerns, not just -- we talked about
parents, I'm talking here lawmakers in terms of data here.
DUFFY: Right. The company has really tried to emphasize that it is sort of separate from China. It is separate from its parent company, ByteDance.
It has emphasized the fact that the TikTok CEO is based in Singapore.
But you know, the company -- this is the last thing that the company wants. The company has, for the last two years been working, negotiating with the
US government over a deal that would allow it to continue operating in the US, while addressing some of these National Security concerns. That's
really what it wants lawmakers to focus on.
And so I think just again, it sort of emphasizes what a big hurdle this company is going to face in terms of regaining trust.
SOARES: Clare Duffy, appreciate it. Thanks very much, Clare.
DUFFY: Thank you.
SOARES: Now all of this that Clare was just outlining there comes as Western governments tighten really controls around TikTok.
The US and EU are the latest countries to impose some kind of ban on the app. We've heard something in Canada, and they're barring it from being on
government devices, saying it's a security concern. You're seeing the whole list of countries there.
The TikTok CEO is set to appear before US Congress later this month. It comes as House Republicans, as Clare and I were discussing trying to
advance a bill that could allow President Biden to ban the app entirely.
Michael Sentonas is President of the cybersecurity firm, CrowdStrike. He joins me now from California.
Michael, great to have you on the show.
We'll talk about your report on global threats in just a moment. But first, I want to get your reaction if I could to what Clare and I were just
discussing there, to TikTok. Governments asking their employees to delete the app from the device.
In your view, Michael is TikTok a security threat?
MICHAEL SENTONAS, PRESIDENT, CROWDSTRIKE: Well, I think it's fair to say that anytime you're doing business with a company that's under substantial
influence of a foreign adversary, whether that's China, Russia, or its North Korea, you need to consider the security risks to government, the
security risks to corporations and general citizens.
So we know obviously, in this case here, China has been carrying out attacks for many years. And some of those attacks, what we saw in our
report, China nexus adversaries were the most active in 2022. They've targeted all global industries, all sectors all around the world.
So it's something that is fair for people to have a legitimate concern over.
SOARES: So for parents out there who are listening to this, or indeed users of TikTok. You know, what should they be doing? Should they be just,
you know, putting a pause on it? Should they be deleting it? Because as Clare was suggesting there, the data -- there are fears over the data that
has been collected and what is being done here? So is it a risk, in your opinion?
SENTONAS: Well, I certainly don't use it. My recommendation would be to people to think carefully about what they put on there, whether they need
to use it at all. Obviously, I understand it is a little bit harder when you may have kids that want to use it.
Certainly from a business perspective of any government, there is no need for this. So that's how I would be approaching it.
SOARES: And you heard Clare and I discussing that that House Republicans you know having advanced legislation here that will make it easy to ban
TikTok from the US.
SOARES: Should it be banned? Do you think we'll get to that point where it will be banned. And what would be the repercussions here you think?
SENTONAS: Well, look, I think it is certainly a challenging situation and I think that the government is going to take that decision, likely. There's
obviously going to be a lot of fallout to make a decision like that. But as I said, you know, if you are working with any company that can be under
substantial influence, there is a risk there and that risk has to be carefully considered, and a decision made accordingly.
SOARES: Let's talk about the global threats and from your report, I mean, we have seen Chinese espionage surging, as part of your report.
You're looking at some of the highlight China-nexus espionage surged, cyber impact of Ukraine war overhyped, the biggest increase in new adversaries,
increase in data theft and extortion.
Just talk to us, first of all, let's start with China and the war in Ukraine. I mean, just how exactly has this evolved?
SENTONAS: Well, we've seen this trend for quite some time. And in our Global Threat Report, what we saw was China linked adversaries were
incredibly active in 2022. They targeted 39 global industry sectors, 20 geo regions, and we think that trend will continue throughout 2023.
So every organization must remain vigilant against cyber threat, not only from China, but from any country. Russia was obviously a little bit
different. One of the things that we saw with Russia and groups linked to Russia before the kinetic aspect of the Russia-Ukraine war, we saw cyber
activity really scale up very, very quickly and it is something that, you know, we've seen throughout the course of 2022. We expect that will
continue throughout 2023 and we'll see a lot of these tactics employed during the year.
SOARES: And are these tactics, Michael, I mean, are they smarter? Are they more sophisticated here?
SENTONAS: Well, one of the interesting things for 2022, we saw a huge increase in targeted scope and relentless determination by a lot of these
adversaries, especially adversaries that are financially motivated.
And what's interesting about that is we saw ability to adapt, we saw splinter groups, we saw groups that had been shut down by law enforcement
regroup and flourish very, very quickly.
So certainly the skill level is very high, the motivation is very high. And unfortunately, adversaries today are making so much money, adversaries are
carrying out attacks, and they're doing it successfully. So this is something that is a -- it is a big wake-up call. People need to be aware,
and they need to be protecting themselves.
SOARES: On that point, I mean, a big wake-up call. Are you seeing more companies, more businesses kind of hardening their security posture given
exactly what you've just outlined, Michael?
SENTONAS: Well, the sad reality is, we see so many examples in the US and around the world where organizations continually are getting breached,
they're continually getting hit. You know, one issue remains with the sheer number of Microsoft vulnerabilities and there is systemic risk every month,
organizations around the world are patching relentlessly because adversaries are finding gaps in Microsoft.
The other thing, as I said that experience of the attackers, their capability continues to increase. If you're turning up as an organization
using legacy old data technology, you're not going to stand a chance, and that's the reality of what we're looking at here.
SOARES: Michael Sentonas, really fascinating discussion. We appreciate you coming on the show. Thanks, Michael.
Now, a window is still open to forge a new Iran Nuclear Deal. That is the message from the country's Foreign Minister in an exclusive interview with
CNN's Christian Amanpour. That is next.
SOARES: Hello, I'm Isa Soares. More QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment, where Iran's foreign minister speaks exclusively to our Christiane Amanpour
as an international watchdog warns that the country is coming closer to developing its own nuclear weapons.
And the CEO of a drug giant explains why his company decided to cut the price of lifesaving insulin.
Before, that the headlines this hour.
SOARES (voice-over): Israel's far-right finance minister says that the Palestinian town of Huwara in the West Bank, quote, "needs to be erased."
He spoke just days after settlers there went on a deadly rampage following the shooting of two Israelis.
The U.S. State Department calls the comments repugnant and an incitement to violence.
Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko met Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Beijing, to reaffirm their ties amid rising tensions with the West. The
summit comes as the U.S. warns China not to supply arms to Russia. China says it's promoting a political settlement to the war in Ukraine.
The U.S. attorney general was grilled about everything from the opioid epidemic to FBI investigations to Taylor Swift tickets. Merrick Garland was
testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
He refused to discuss investigations into how President Biden and former president Trump handled classified material.
Closing arguments have begun in South Carolina in the trial of a former lawyer accused of murdering his wife as well as his son. Alex Murdaugh
pleaded not guilty and chose to testify in his own defense.
He admitted to lying to investigators around his alibi but said he did not shoot his family.
U.S. intelligence says it cannot link cases of the mysterious Havana syndrome to a foreign adversary. It goes against the theory that the
syndrome, which first emerged in 2016, was the result of a targeted campaign against the U.S.
Symptoms include dizziness and headaches and cases were found in U.S. government officials abroad.
SOARES: Now Iran has enriched uranium to nearly 84 percent purity. That is according to a new report by the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog. Weapons grade is
around 90 percent. The report also found the country's stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent has grown rapidly in the latest quarter.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, will visit Iran on Friday to discuss the findings with Tehran.
Well, world powers failed last year to revive the Iran nuclear accord.
SOARES: The U.S. says it is not pushing for new talks, given Iran's recent crackdown on protesters as well as its sale of drones to Russia. An
exclusive interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Iran's foreign minister said a window is still open to reach a new deal. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No negotiations; do you have any hope that there will be a JCPOA, a new
nuclear deal, that is one part of the question.
The other part of the question is, how much are you enriching to?
There is one press report that says 84 percent.
Can you tell us?
HOSSEIN AMIR-ABDOLLAHIAN, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): With regards to JCPOA, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been and is the
most committed of all the parties involved in JCPOA negotiations.
The party that left the JCPOA was Trump and the United States. The United States should not adopt deceptive behavior and instead, should return to
JCPOA and adopt a constructive approach.
Under the new government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, we have decided to continue dialogue in order to return to JCPOA. We have had the very long
discussions in Vienna and the United States is accusing Iran.
It is saying that the Iranians don't have the necessary resolve. They said, we were at a stage of reaching an accord but it is the Iranians who are too
demanding. I will tell you explicitly, in the past few years, we saw that the U.S. officials were unable to make a decision because of their own
internal problems and the pressures they're under.
They are still unable to make a courageous decision to return to JCPOA. And of course, the Iranian parliament in the past few weeks, especially since
the riots and the U.S. interventions and interventions by three European countries in the peaceful demonstrations in Iran, have been putting a lot
of pressure on our government.
I was in parliament last week and they said, "Who do you want to make an agreement with?
"With the United States and three European countries that have been trying to change the system during the riots in the fall?
"Why are you negotiating with them?
"How can you trust them?"
Nevertheless, we are still on the path of dialogue. We have a roadmap with the IAEA. And on two occasions, Mr. Aparo, Mr. Grossi's deputy, came to
Iran in the past few weeks.
And we had constructive and productive negotiations.
And we have also invited Mr. Grossi to come and visit Iran soon. Therefore, our relationship with the IAEA is on its correct and natural path. And we
have said this to the U.S. side through mediators that we are on the path to reach an accord.
But if the Iranian parliament adopts a new law, then we will have to abide by the parliamentary act. So the window for an accord is still open. But
this window will not remain open forever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Christiane Amanpour speaking there to the Iranian foreign minister.
Well, Russia is trying to break Bakhmut into molecules, that is the message from the Ukrainian commander. The city has become a focal point of the war.
Russia stepped up its use of combat planes, as well as ground forces to target Ukraine's defenses.
There are around 4,500 civilians said to be still living there, including dozens of children. Kyiv says Moscow has deployed the most experienced
fighters from its private military company, the Wagner group, in its assault on Bakhmut. Our Fred Pleitgen shows us how the group is helping
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Russian warplanes bombing Bakhmut, this video posted on state media trying
to show the advances the Kremlin's forces are making.
On the ground, mercenaries of the Wagner private military company are leading the assault, the Ukrainian say. These Wagner foot soldiers saying
they're close to Bakhmut's city limits.
We're approaching Yahidne, he says, and Yahidne is the entrance into town. This district our platoon has taken without a single loss.
Ukraine says the situation is tough for their troops in Bakhmut but that they are clinging on.
While Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin is recruiting even more people in an ad with a top Russian propagandist. Sign up for PMC Wagner, he says, you'll
learn a man's work and we'll be in good shape for the upcoming World War III.
While progression claims he's gearing up for World War III, he's also involved in a social media standoff with the son-in-law of Russia's defense
minister Sergei Shoigu. After his son-in-law, Alexei Stolyarov allegedly liked an antiwar bloggers comment on social media which Stolyarov later
denied doing, Prigozhin taking aim.
We need to catch Stolyarov and bring him to me, he says. I will train him for six weeks since I am a Z-redneck myself, I will help him improve by
sending him to combat operations.
PLEITGEN: As the fighting in Ukraine rages on, Russia's president now acknowledges that operatives for the intelligence service the FSB are both
on the front lines and allegedly behind Ukrainian lines.
PUTIN (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.
PLEITGEN: With FSB boss Alexander Bortnikov on the stage, Putin also said Russian intelligence needs to up its game.
PUTIN (through translator): We need to beef up our counter intelligence in general, because Western special services have traditionally been very
active in relation to Russia. And now, they have put in additional personnel, technical and other resources against us. We need to respond
PLEITGEN: The Russian leader yet again casting this conflict as an existential battle for Russia against those allegedly plotting to destroy
it -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.
SOARES: One U.S. drug company is slashing its price for insulin by 70 percent. The CEO of Eli Lilly is on next to talk about why his company has
made that decision.
SOARES: Welcome, back everyone.
Inflation pressures are hitting three U.S. retailers, Kohl and Lowe posted a drop in sales in the last quarter. Abercrombie & Fitch is struggling with
higher cotton prices. Investors sending shares in all three down pretty significantly today. As you can see the lowest as more than 5.5 percent
It's been a rollercoaster ride for the Dow Jones. It's been, up and down, as you can see there, pretty much all day. Currently pretty flat. Nasdaq
and the S&P are in the red though, the Nasdaq probably worst out of the two.
We learned U.S. manufacturing contracted in February for a fourth straight month. Really a mixed bag, of course, as we start the month of March. It's
a very different story in China. A state survey says factory activity last month grew at the fastest pace in more than a decade.
Its manufacturing purchasing managers index rose to 52.6 in February from, as you can see there, 50.1 in January. Anything above 50, just so you know,
Meanwhile, in Germany, inflation came in hotter than expected.
SOARES: Consumer prices rose in February to 9.3 percent. That is year on year. That points potentially to more interest rate hikes from the European
Central Bank. Paul La Monica joins me from New York.
So Paul, energy prices have started to come down.
What exactly is behind this surge in German inflation here?
PAUL LA MONICA, CNNMONEY DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we have had some commodity prices come back up. As you mentioned, the strength in China's
economy, the rebound there definitely putting upward pressure on inflation.
It's leading to, you know, the expectation that the global economy might be in better shape than hoped for. So this is going to present some
challenges. We know the European Central Bank has indicated that they're going to keep raising interest rates to fight inflation.
They're going to raise rates later this month.
But will they have to raise rates even more times and at a pace and level that may not be something investors want to hear?
We're already grappling in the United States with concerns that the Federal Reserve isn't done raising rates aggressively, either.
SOARES: Yes, as you were talking, we're looking at global interest rates comparing the ECB to the Bank of England and the U.S. Federal Reserve. It
shows how aggressive the U.S. has been, the U.S. Federal Reserve has been.
But the inflation picture we're painting from Germany, we're seeing a very similar picture in terms of inflation from Spain and France, perhaps
suggesting to your point that the ECB hasn't done enough here.
LA MONICA: Yes, I think that is probably the consensus opinion right now. It's going to weigh, likely, on global stock prices for the foreseeable
There now is this mindset that the ECB is continuing to play catch-up. And if the Federal Reserve isn't done raising interest rates just yet, then the
ECB is likely even further away from a pause and potential rate cuts down the road, when the economy inevitably slows.
SOARES: On the flip side, I think China's factories had the best month in nearly 11 years. It seems manufacturing data is pretty strong after these
What does this mean for inflation?
LA MONICA: Yes, I think that, on the one hand, it's great news that China's economy is rebounding to the level that it is because Chinese
consumers were definitely helping to power economic growth for the United States and Europe, a voracious consumer appetite there.
That being said, anything that shows more strength in China just adds to the global inflation pressures. It'll likely lead to higher commodity
prices and central banks in the U.S. and Europe are going to have to combat that with even more rate hikes.
SOARES: Paul La Monica, great to see, you my friend, thank you very much.
U.S. drugmaker, Eli Lilly, is cutting the price of its insulin by 70 percent. It will cap costs at $35 a month. The U.S. has a history of high
insulin costs, you can see there. Before the pandemic, someone in the U.S. would pay almost 10 times. It would cost someone here in the U.K. millions
of Americans rely on insulin to survive.
Ahead, Eli Lilly spoke exclusively to "CNN THIS MORNING," Dave Ricks explaining why his company is making this move. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVE RICKS, CEO AND CHAIR, ELI LILLY & COMPANY: This is a culmination of about seven years of work we've been doing to reduce the price of our
insulins, launching our own -- a generic to our own best-selling brand.
But with a change last year in the Medicare Part D benefit, the senior benefit to $35.00, we think that should be the new standard in America. And
so, while we could wait for Congress to act or the health care system in general to apply that standard, we're just applying it ourselves.
Lilly's going to buy down all of our customers' out of pocket cost to $35.00 at the pharmacy counter automatically.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: OK, let's talk a little bit more when you said, buy down $35.00 cost at the counter automatically. So tell us more about --
LEMON: -- how this is going to work?
How does the insurance coverage factor in?
And could it drop the price even more?
RICKS: Well, the average price people pay for our insulin in our studies is about $21.00. So if that was your price before, there won't be an
But we've heard about in your reporting, about people who, unfortunately, can't afford their insulin or they're forced to ration it because of the
That's because of the growth and what we call high deductible plans or plans that people have to contribute out of pocket, early in the year, to
the full cost of their medical care, including insulin.
So in the case of Lilly insulin now, that they won't be subjected to those high deductible costs. They'll just pay $35.00 for about $1.20 a day when
they go to the pharmacy counter. No matter how much Lilly insulin they use.
LEMON: Yes, OK, good. I'm glad you mentioned how much Lilly insulin they use because I'm wondering how it's going to -- how many people it's really
going to affect.
LEMON: Because seven in 10 insulin users don't use your company's medicine. When you say the other manufacturers about their prices, in order
to bring it down for the majority of Americans, to really make a dent, it's going to have to be more than just Lilly.
RICKS: I'm glad you raised that point, Don, because it's, you know, we have a big complicated system. The other manufacturers will have to make
their own decisions, of course.
But we're calling today on our partners in the insurance industry, government policymakers, employers, who set the policy for their own
insurance, to match this new effort, to reduce the cost to no more than $35 a month for insulin for all Americans.
We're doing that for our products that's what we can affect. But we call on everyone, to meet us at this point and take this issue away from, you know,
a disease that's stressful and difficult to manage already, take away the affordability challenges.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: And when we return, another dangerous close call involving a commercial airliner on a U.S. runway. We will investigate how a flight in
Boston nearly ended in disaster. That is next.
SOARES: This just coming in to CNN. We have learned that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan, have been asked to vacate
Frogmore Cottage, the couple's official residence here in the U.K. Their spokesperson confirming the news to CNN.
The statement follows media reports here in the U.K., claiming the couple had been evicted. Buckingham Palace is not commenting. If you are just
joining us, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been requested to vacate from their Frogmore Cottage.
That is of course, the couple's official residence here in the U.K.
Now Joe Biden's nominee for FAA chief fielded questions during his confirmation hearing today. If confirmed, he will inherit the agency's
many, many challenges. Just yesterday, a jetBlue plane and a private jet almost collided at Boston's Logan airport.
It is the fifth such miss near so far this year. CNN's Pete Muntean has more.
PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is the latest incident of a near- collision at a major airport. Monday night, a JetBlue flight and a private Learjet nearly running into each other on crisscrossing runways at Boston
Logan International Airport.
DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: This was a mistake that was made by the pilot and it was caught by air traffic control, which is their job. So they
were able to catch it.
MUNTEAN: The Federal Aviation Administration says as JetBlue Flight 206 was coming in to land on runway four right, the Learjet took off from the
intersecting runway. Air traffic control recordings detail the pilot of the JetBlue flight being directed to abort its landing, the FAA classifying the
move as evasive action.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clear to land 4 right, JetBlue 206.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: JetBlue 206 go around.
206 fly runway heading, maintain 3,000.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Runway heading up to -- sorry, say again the altitude.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 3,000.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 3,000. JetBlue 206.
MUNTEAN: Worse yet, the FAA says the Learjet did not have takeoff clearance. Instead, the crew was told to line up and wait on the runway for
the landing JetBlue flight. The FAA says the Learjet pilot read back instructions clearly but began a takeoff roll instead. Air traffic control
brought the JetBlue flight back in for a landing all onboard unharmed.
ADAM JOHNSON, PASSENGER ON JETBLUE FLIGHT: The pilots did a really incredible job. We came in, it was a scary situation but it was very
smooth. Like it wasn't like it was a jolting experience. It wasn't a jerky experience. We just went back up into the air and came back around and
MUNTEAN: The incident is the fifth of the type this year following similar close calls at New York's JFK, Austin, Honolulu and Burbank.
Last month, the FAA's acting administrator told Congress that recent events remind us we must not being complacent and vowed a sweeping safety review.
JENNIFER HOMENDY, CHAIR, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: There is a lot of pressure right now on our airspace. And so we need to make sure that
our regulatory system is as safe as it can be, that the aviation system is safe as it can be.
SOARES: And tomorrow night a very special addition of QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. Richard will be back, posting the show live from Seoul, South
Korea. He will be joined by the prime minister of South Korea, as well as chairman of hype, the company behind K-pop sensation, BTS.
That is Thursday at 8 pm, here in London. That is 5 pm in Seoul. Let's hope Richard has no singing. And because Richard is not, here there are just
moments left to trade of Wall Street. We have the final numbers and the closing bell right after this.
SOARES: There are just moments left to trade on Wall Street. The Dow disappointingly is pretty flat as you can see there. It has been a bit of a
mixed picture, a mixed bag. You can see here all the red and the green.
In other major indices, we've seen the S&P also lower as well as the Nasdaq. If we look at the Dow industrials, Caterpillar there. Home Depot,
lower. And that does it for me for this hour. The closing bell is ringing, as you can hear. "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" starts right now.