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Quest Means Business
Airlines Sued Amsterdam Airport; Belarusian Nobel Laureate Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison; Leader of Wagner Group: Bakhmut All But Surrounded; German Chancellor Meeting President Biden at White House. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired March 03, 2023 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: An upbeat end to the week on Wall Street. Take a look here, the Dow is up. Let's see, almost 350 points.
Those are the markets, and these are the main events.
Fierce fighting in Eastern Ukraine as Russian forces attempt to encircle Bakhmut.
Amazon is pausing construction on its second headquarters.
And the overcrowding at Schiphol Airport becomes an issue for the Courts.
Coming to you live from New York, it is Friday, March 3rd, I'm Zain Asher, in for my colleague, Richard Quest and this is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
Tonight, Moscow is closer to its first major victory in six months as Russian forces attempt to tighten their grip on the City of Bakhmut. Last
night, Russian forces blew up a bridge along the last main supply route. The head of the Kremlin's private army, the Wagner Group says the city is
now all but surrounded.
Yevgeny Prigozhin posted this video on social media calling on Ukraine's President Zelenskyy to withdraw his troops. The Ukrainian Commander in
Bakhmut says his reconnaissance unit has already been told to go.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): In the middle of the night, the Madyar Birds Unit received a combat order to immediately leave Bakhmut for
a new place of combat operations. We are following the order.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: And the destroyed bridge, the destroyed supply bridge, I showed you a moment ago is marked on this map near the middle of the screen. The road
was being used to evacuate civilians from Bakhmut.
CNN's Alexander Marquardt filed this report from just a few miles away from there.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Things are looking rather grim for Ukrainian forces in and around the City of Bakhmut.
We were actually supposed to go with a team trying to evacuate civilians from Bakhmut earlier today. There are some four to five thousand civilians
who are under an evacuation order in the city, that mission getting called off because a bridge was bombed on a major artery on the way out of the
This bridge bombed according to a soldier in Bakhmut by a large Russian missile on the main supply route that Ukrainian forces are using to get to
and from the frontline. That supply route leaving the town of Chasiv Yar. We were just there on Thursday.
We saw all kinds of military vehicles bombing to and from the front, that is the only road that Ukrainian forces have left to get to the frontline.
Now, if they want to pull back or evacuate people or supply those troops, they're going to have to use dirt roads, cross muddy fields that is very
difficult, only certain types of vehicles can do it and they leave themselves extremely exposed.
Ukrainian forces are surrounded in Bakhmut on three sides, to the south, to the east, and to the north. They are being encircled by those Russian
forces. We did hear from the head of the Wagner Forces on the Russian side, they are the ones who have been leading that fight for Russia, the head of
Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, calling on President Zelenskyy to pull his troops out, saying that they are encircling the Ukrainian troops and that
will be complete in the next one or two days.
At the same time, we have seen the head of Ukrainian military forces in the eastern part of the country, visiting those troops in Bakhmut in the
frontline, a sign that Ukraine intends to keep fighting for the City of Bakhmut knowing that if it falls, it will be a major victory for the
Russian side after months of very bloody fighting and that Russia would try to use the city as a jumping off point to Drive Deeper Into Eastern
Alex Marquardt, CNN in Eastern Ukraine.
ASHER: Melissa Bell joins us live now from Kyiv.
So the Wagner Group, Melissa, saying that they have surrounded Bakhmut pretty much on all three sides. If the Russians are indeed successful here,
Melissa, how much more -- how much of a significant victory would it be for them?
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, of course it has become hugely symbolic because of the fight, Zain, that Ukrainian forces have decided to
put up over the course of the last few months.
This is a siege that has gone on now for seven months with those four-and- a-half thousand civilians left inside. You heard Alex Marquardt just there, they are essentially trapped. It is no longer possible for them to get out.
BELL: And that is particularly chilling, when you imagine the conditions in which they're living with no water, no supplies, no electricity, and have
been for some time. There are 48 children amongst them as well.
And I think one of the questions for the Ukrainian military will be once they've withdrawn, since what we're talking about is the time that it will
take for Bakhmut to fall, I don't think there's any question at this stage about whether it will given the numbers of far more experienced Wagner
mercenaries and regular forces that have been piled in; however fiercely the Ukrainians have tried to defend it over the course of the last few
Once that withdrawal has happened and the Russians have moved westwards as they've begun to and you heard Alex there a moment ago as well, inevitably
further westward, the question I think will be was the sacrifice worth it?
We don't know how many Ukrainian soldiers have lost their lives. We know that the battle has been extremely fierce. Now, on the positive side for
the Ukrainians, what it has done is focus so much of the attention, the firepower, the manpower of the Russian forces, that elsewhere along that
extremely long frontline, Ukrainian forces have been able to regroup. The question is when they'll launch their next counteroffensive and whether
they'll manage to do so as successfully as they did the last two, in August and September.
But it is a grim fate tonight that awaits Bakhmut. For the time being, Ukrainian soldiers say that they continue to defend it, Zain, and they will
do until they get the order to retreat.
ASHER: I mean, obviously, they are examining and looking at the sort of cost benefits in terms of continuing to hold the city and fight for it.
I mean, what are the benefits at this point, just given how close the Russians are to taking over. We know that the Russians, as I mentioned,
have surrounded the city on all sides, it looks all but lately that the city will indeed fall at some point in the near future.
BELL: I think it's allowed them to show their resolve. It's become, of course, a symbol now of Russian determination, but it is also an important
symbol of Ukrainian resilience and that is what it has become over the course of the last few months.
It has allowed them to gain time as they regrouped elsewhere, but it's also allowed them vis-a-vis their Western partners to show in a very graphic and
very important in the sense that the world's media has been watching this for some time battle. What they were lacking, what more they needed, to
show the desperation of their fight and that has allowed them as well to explain and argue for the extra ammunition, the extra backing, the extra
help. And of course, they've made even at the center of Bakhmut their arguments about the F-16 central.
Now, Washington has drawn the line at the F-16 fighter jets, but these are also important battles because they remind the outside world of what's
going on, on the ground, and the desperate fight for Ukraine to try and hold its own.
On the other hand, it is also genuinely about preventing Russian forces from moving further in and this is what one Ukrainian Commander said to us.
He said, look, if Bakhmut falls, they will move westward and westward and westward, and before you know it, they'll be back in Kyiv.
So on the ground, it is important that they put up the battle every step of the way. The question is what resources they have and how they distribute
them along that frontline. And of course, there are different assessments about whether or not Bakhmut should have been defended as fiercely as it
did. It has certainly attracted the world's attention to what was happening there. The high cost though, is likely to be paid by the civilians that are
left -- Zain.
ASHER: Melissa Bell live for us there, thank you so much.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is meeting President Biden at the White House. Support for Ukraine is at the top of the agenda. Here is what the
leaders had to say just a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You've driven historic changes at home and you know, increasing defense spending and diversifying away
from Russian energy sources, I know it has not been easy, very difficult for you.
Together, we work lockstep to supply critical security assistance to Ukraine.
OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN CHANCELLOR: This is a very, very important year because of the very dangerous threat piece that comes from Russia invading Ukraine,
and it's really important that we act together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: The US has also announced it will send rockets and ammunition to Ukraine as part of a new $400 million aid package.
Kevin Liptak joins us live now from the White House.
So Kevin, as you and I were talking about earlier, there has been so much money spent, billions of dollars in both lethal and non-lethal aid in terms
of helping Ukraine.
How do all sides -- how do our allies really sustain that level of military assistance over the long haul?
KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, that's the question that's being asked in this meeting as we speak, with the two leaders in the Oval
Office now. Really the question looming over these talks is how do you sustain support for Ukraine going forward as the war enters this new
LIPTAK: The leaders as we saw in the Oval Office really talking up both of their country's support for Ukraine, talking about how Germany had really
transformed its military and foreign policy over the last year.
But the question, of course, in Germany and in the United States is, how do these populations where fatigue is growing for this war, how do you
maintain that support? And that is something that these two leaders really did want to talk about, face-to-face, really get in the weeds of what the
next phase of this war will look like, and I think when you look at the atmospherics that are surrounding this meeting, there is no State Dinner,
there is no joint press conference, there was no sort of grand arrival ceremony.
This is a business-like meeting where business was going to be conducted, and that is the business that they wanted to talk about, which is what it
looks like going forward.
Of course, Chancellor Scholz has been discussing this idea of providing Ukraine with security guarantees. He has been talking about it with the
French President Emmanuel Macron, and the idea is really to bring these two sides to the negotiating table in a way that they really aren't now.
There is really no talk of a negotiated settlement at this point, and that is something that I think he will want to raise with President Biden who
has not necessarily weighed in on that idea yet, raising this idea with him sort of socializing it, coming to some sort of agreement about where they
think that that track of the war, the diplomatic track of the war should head.
But really, the question of how does this sustained support, particularly in the United States where there is growing concern about what the American
Congress will be willing to provide going ahead, that is something that I think is concerning for a lot of European leaders when they look at, you
know, people like President Trump or the other Republican candidates who are now getting into the race talking about how President Biden is not
paying enough attention to the issues at home. Will the American presidential election that's coming in two years and the Republican primary
that will precede it, will that sort of preface a change in the American approach to Ukraine, some of those dynamics are also at play in Europe.
So as this war enters a second year, that is something that both of these leaders will want to discuss, sort of come up with a plan to ensure that
the support for Ukraine will be sustained as it endures this very bitter fighting that they expect in the next couple of months -- Zain.
ASHER: Yes, and I mean, if a Republican President wins the White House, I mean, it's almost certain that things will change. The question is how
Kevin Liptak live for us there. Thank you so much.
Kyiv's Western allies are examining if some countries are helping Russia evade sanctions.
David O'Sullivan, the EU sanctions envoy says he is investigating big increases in trade between Moscow and several of its neighbors. The surge
in exports is raising concerns that sanction products are indeed getting into Russia.
Andy Hunder is the President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine. He joins us live now from London.
Andy, thank you so much for being with us.
So the US is warning of severe cost, severe cost for countries and companies that are helping Russia evade sanctions. What do those severe
costs actually look like?
ANDY HUNDER, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN UKRAINE: Well, Zain, I think that the message is that one year on that Kyiv stands,
Ukraine stands and business stands united with Ukraine.
We see that in our own members in Ukraine, 31 percent have had their company's plants and facilities damaged, 90 percent have had employees
killed, but 70 percent of the members are fully operational, and at 88 percent continue to pay for salaries.
And our message has been clear in that there is no future for transparent or ethical business in Russia. And I think, you know, the message that we
have been delivering is pretty much Ukraine is open for business and it continues to.
We've seen the companies that have closed in Russia and that are operating very successfully in Ukraine, we've seen the likes of McDonald's.
McDonald's served 13 million hamburgers since they reopened in September. We see many others and that they continue to operate.
So we see this quite phenomenal resilience on the battlefields where the Ukrainians, together with the support from the United States and from
Western Europe in terms of providing the arms, but I think also the resilience on the battlefield.
But I think, Zain, it is clearly, you know, that there is -- it is what is the right thing to do? We are saying to the companies there, how will
history judge us in terms of what is the right thing to do in terms of supporting a pariah regime and doing business in a pariah regime when so
many people are being killed during the war?
And I think this is a message that we are delivering to our members. We are speaking together with the US government with many -- with State
Department, with Commerce, and I think it's really a message clear that there is no future for business in Ukraine -- in Russia, sorry.
HUNDER: And I think it is really the future of business in Ukraine, the two messages that we are delivering. One is, Ukraine is open for business. It
is open for business today. And secondly, we are saying to these companies to be part of the biggest recovery, reconstruction of a nation in postwar
Europe since World War Two, and this is something massive, and that's what we are saying for the companies really to focus on.
ASHER: And in terms of reconstruction and recovery in Ukraine, obviously, you touched on something that really heartens me, which is just this idea
of just Ukraine's resiliency.
I mean, talk us through how much foreign investment has dwindled in Ukraine over the past year.
HUNDER: Well, Zain, we are seeing that GDP is down just over 30 percent, so one-third of the economy has shrunk and it is various sectors, but we are
seeing that some of the sectors -- one of the biggest sectors in Ukraine is agriculture and that the sunflower, the corn, the wheat -- that has
continued to be shipped out of three ports out of Ukraine, in Odesa, Chernomorsk and Pivdennyi. That continues.
We're seeing the technology sector, because many IT programmers, they are pretty much set at home and when there is a curfew, they continue to work
and we've seen even that sector picking up.
But you know, as I say, you know, 31 percent have had their companies, plants, and facilities damaged. We saw as the Russians came in through the
north, they tried to come into Kyiv. They didn't succeed.
But it's the companies like Coca-Cola, and they've -- the Coca-Cola facility, the Coca-Cola plant in Northern Kyiv, that has been rebuilt, it
continues to operate. And not only is the plant operating, but the company rebuilt, reconstructed a kindergarten and nursery for the local community.
So it is really sort of a business community coming together supporting the people of Ukraine and we have seen that some especially with President
Biden when he visited Kyiv last week, a year ago, sort of the American, the State Department saying, you know, people should leave Ukraine; now, we've
got the President Biden coming to Ukraine.
And so you know, it is -- Ukraine is open for business and we encourage companies to come to do business in Ukraine today. And secondly, to be
ready to be part of the largest reconstruction, recovery, modernization of a nation in Europe since World War Two.
ASHER: All right, Andy Hunder live for us there, thank you so much.
All right, still to come here on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. After a tough few months for tech, Amazon is pausing construction of its massive new
headquarters. We will explain why after the break.
ASHER: Amazon is pausing construction on some parts of its second headquarters in Virginia, Mets Park. The first phase of the new HQ is still
being built and is set to open in June. The second phase however, it's called PenPlace, that is what is being halted.
PenPlace is being halted. The company does plan to bring thousands of jobs to the new headquarters, but Amazon has of course, has not been immune to
the recent wave of layoffs in tech. Two months ago, it announced it was cutting 18,000 jobs.
Rahel Solomon joins us live now.
So Rahel, just walk us through why this delay is happening? Why is Amazon delaying the building of PenPlace here.
RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: So Zain, this is a massive undertaking for Amazon, right, expected to cost billions of dollars, but
also now, Amazon saying today that it expects to push out groundbreaking "out a bit" are the words used, but not exactly specifying what the new
So just to give you a sense of how vast the second phase was, Zain, PenPlace as you say, it would include 3.3 million square feet of office and
retail space, three 22-story buildings, 100,000 square feet of retail space, and more than two and a half acres of public space for international
viewers, all of this as HQ2 happening in Arlington, Virginia which is about five miles outside of the nation's capital of Washington, DC.
So Amazon has said that this announcement today does not have anything to do with those layoffs that you mentioned, Zain, But I do think it's
important to think about the context in which they are happening.
Amazon again announcing those 18,000 people being laid off, also coming of course in the midst of slowing consumer demand, and also coming as remote
work remains a force, perhaps to the frustration of many managers around the country and around the world. And again, the slowing consumer demand.
So you have companies like Amazon, suddenly trying to figure out how do they continue to grow, while demand is also slowing.
Andy Jassy, Zain during the last earnings call in February, February 2nd, saying on a call -- on the earnings call, "We're working really hard to
streamline our costs and trying to do so at the same time that we don't give up on the long-term strategic investments."
So Zain, after decades of these tech companies just growing, growing, growing, suddenly they have to think about the environment in which they're
in, and efficiency and costs, and that is what you're seeing here.
ASHER: And it's worth noting, it's not just Amazon, there are other companies, other tech companies that are halting real estate expansion
plans as well. Walk us through it.
SOLOMON: Yes, I mean, it's a great point, Zain.
So we know of at least Meta which is of course the parent company of Facebook; Microsoft, Salesforce, Snap, just to name a few. All of these
tech players have announced that they too are scaling back on real estate plans either completely shuttering some offices or pulling back plans to
expand, for some of those same reasons, right? Remote work being one reason, slowing consumer spending, but also a slowing advertising
You think about those comments that Satya Nadella of Microsoft made, I believe it was in Davos earlier this year, of normalizing demand, of
needing to become more efficient, thinking about how to become more lean.
So this is a situation and an environment certainly challenging not just for the Amazons of the world, but many tech players, and I would even argue
perhaps even outside of tech.
ASHER: All right, Rahel Solomon, live for us there. Thank you so much.
US markets are headed towards weekly gains. The Dow has been climbing through the afternoon, there it is already in the green there. A drop in
bond yields helped spark the rally. The other major indices is up as well.
Let's take a look here. The S&P 500 is up and so is the NASDAQ as well. Both the electric carmaker, Rivian, and Meta are helping drive those gains.
All right, some big breaking news into CNN.
Today, the CNN chapter of Paul La Monica's career draws to an end and we are all heartbroken.
Our markets guru has been with us, I did not know this, Paul, you've been at CNN for more than -- Ronan just told me this. My producer just told me
this today. You've been at CNN for more than two decades. Your first your first day was in 2001 -- September 2001.
PAUL LA MONICA, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Correct.
LA MONICA: I joined right after -- a couple of months after 9/11, it was November of 2001. I looked back, I did a story on oil back then. Oil was at
$18.00 a barrel.
ASHER: Incredible. I mean, you've covered some of the most -- it is not just business. I mean, obviously, you joined right after 9/11. So it's
everything from the financial crisis in 2008, the pandemic, I mean, you've really seen it all in two decades.
We love you Paul, right, we really love you.
LA MONICA: Thank you so much.
ASHER: And I'm going to get really emotional, because you weren't just part of the family, you know, you're part of the family. You're not just a hard
worker and super knowledgeable, all of that is important. But most importantly, you are a good person. You're a very kind natured human being.
Actually, I want to tell a very quick story. About 10 to 15 years ago, I was working at a local magazine here in New York, and I really wanted to be
a CNN reporter. And so I just thought to myself, my gosh, maybe if I can just make a connection and reach out randomly to somebody at CNN, maybe
they can offer me advice.
I decided to reach out to you because you were writing and I was in the magazine world and you wrote me back and you wrote me back a very, very
kind of on that note, when I finally got to CNN, Paul, that note meant so much to me, because I'm going to get emotional. Oh, my gosh.
LA MONICA: I'm going to cry. I really, really appreciate that.
ASHER: But you were just so kind. I just thought to myself, I thought that is so kind of him to say -- he doesn't know me from Adam. You've never met
me ever. And you sat and you took the time to give me wonderful career advice, and here I am, you know, 10 or so -- ten to fifteen years later,
here I am doing my dream job.
So thank you so much.
I wanted to ask you, in 20 years, just walk us through some of the biggest lessons, can you share with us your wisdom, Paul.
LA MONICA: Yes, I think Zain that -- I'm going to sound like the man who has a decent chunk of gray hair in his beard but ignore and avoid getting
caught up in all the fads, the meme stocks that might be all the rage now, everyone talking on Reddit, you know, using their Robinhood accounts to buy
GameStop and AMC.
I remember in the early 2000s, there wasn't Reddit yet and GameStop and AMC weren't fashionable companies. But you had people on the stock chat boards
of the day, Raging Bull and Yahoo Finance, investors were always looking for hot day trading opportunities that are incredibly risky.
They might be companies with no earnings whatsoever, very poor fundamentals, but they have a story, they have headlines because they have
a company that aggressively pumps out press releases, and that's not what you want.
You want blue chip companies. They don't have to be giants like Apple and Amazon, you can find smaller, attractively valued companies with solid
earnings as well and invest for the long haul. Don't get caught up in these fickle fads and do things that might be silly and lose your money. That
would be, I think, the thing that you know is still constant in 2023 the way it was in 2001 well before I started doing this, obviously.
ASHER: Twenty-two years of experience and wisdom right there.
So I'm going to miss you. The whole team is going to miss you, but of course, Richard is going to miss you as well. He really wanted to be here
to say goodbye, but he is actually in South Korea as you know. So he's not going to be here for your last day but he wants to --
LA MONICA: Did he BTS to sing me a song?
ASHER: He should have, right? He should have.
LA MONICA: I'm smooth like butter, I think. He is going to kill me, I am cringe right now.
ASHER: He actually left this -- he left this message for you, Paul. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS": Joining me now to discuss these market movements, Guru La Monica who will tell me --
what? Really? The Guru's gone.
LA MONICA: We've got the pride of Pittsburgh, Heinz Ketchup. What do you have that might go well with it?
QUEST: Heinz ketchup schmetzup. How about Hellman's real mayonnaise.
Paul, what can I say? After all the years and the magnificent broadcasting that we've done together.
Paul La Monica is here. Paul, don't let me stop you.
LA MONICA: I think I may stop myself.
QUEST: Somewhere in there, of course we've got a Bitcoin that we both own a little bit of.
I want to buy a Bitcoin, where do we get a Bitcoin?
LA MONICA: I have not bought a Bitcoin before.
QUEST: I think I understand it, do you?
LA MONICA: A little bit.
QUEST: It's been a real honor, a treat a pleasure and a privilege to work with you over the years.
And so as always, whatever you're up to in the years ahead, I know it will be profitable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: And actually Paul, there is one thing and your 22 years here at CNN, there's one thing that you never got to do that Richard never actually let
you do. And that is ring the bell. And guess what, Richard, not here. When the cat's away, so do the honors for us, Paul.
PAUL LA MONICA, CNN DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: Here we go. Yes, Richard never let me do this. And look, I've got a gigantic bell. It's almost like the
Liberty Bell in Philly.
ASHER: And as Richard would say --
LA MONICA: It is very loud.
ASHER: Whatever you do, we of course, hope it's profitable. Paul La Monica. As I said, we really love you. And I mean that from the bottom of my heart,
we absolutely love you. You are such a joy to work with. I've only been here for -- not only but I've known you for 10 plus years or so. But yes,
you were such a delight. And we wish you absolutely all the best. I'm going to be emotional. I think I could see you're getting emotional, too. Oh my
LA MONICA: I really appreciate this, Zain. You are a phenomenal reporter. And I wish you in so many hours here at CNN. And I and the entire
organization, of course, all the success that you rightfully deserve.
ASHER: Yes. Thank you. Thank you. OK. Paul La Monica. That was your very last hit on CNN. I can't wait to see what you end up doing next.
All right. More news after this short break. Still to come here on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. Alex Murdaugh was a prominent lawyer in South Carolina. Now
he's been sentenced for the murders of his wife and son. We'll talk about the dramatic conclusion. It's one of America's most watched cases, next.
ASHER: Hello, everyone. I'm Zain Asher. There's more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in the moment when we'll discuss the latest twist in Nigeria's cash crisis.
And airlines are suing Amsterdam Schiphol Airport for new flight cab so they caught unfair. Before that the headlines this hour.
Amidst court has sentenced Belarusian that Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Ales Bialiatski to 10 years in a maximum-security penal colony. Russian state
media says he was found guilty on smuggling charges.
The pro-democracy activists has documented human rights abuses in Belarus for decades. Critics say his sentencing is a shot.
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley told activists in her party today if you're tired of losing elections vote for me. The former
ambassador to the United Nations spoke at the Annual CPAC Conference in Maryland saying it's time to let a new generation lead.
Shares of Adani Group companies are up as much as 16 percent after getting a nearly $2 billion investment. GQG partners, a U.S. private equity firm,
the group lost over 100 billion in market value after short seller Hindenburg Research accused it of fraud. The group called the allegations
SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule safely docks at the International Space Station. The capsule was carrying two U.S. astronauts. The Russian cosmonauts and
the United Arab Emirates astronaut. They're on a six-month mission to carry out experiments and to take care of the station.
And an unprecedented snowstorm has blanketed parts of southern California. Emergency crews in San Bernardino County say they're out in full force
delivering food supplies and clearing roads for people stranded. California's governor has declared a state of emergency in 13 counties.
It was a swift conclusion to the murder trial gripping America. The disgraced lawyer Alex Murdaugh was sentenced to life in prison for the
murders of his wife and son. The jury reached their verdict after deliberating for actually less than three hours. CNN's Dianne Gallagher has
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Guilty verdict. Verdict guilty. Verdict guilty.
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Alex Murdaugh, a scion from a prominent local family of lawyers and solicitors found guilty of murdering
his wife, Maggie and son Paul after just three hours of jury deliberations.
CREIGTON WALKERS, LEAD PROSECUTOR: That doesn't matter who your family is. It doesn't matter how much money you have or people think you have. It
doesn't matter what you think how prominent you are. If you do wrong, if you break the law, if you murder, the justice will be done in South
GALLAGHER: The jury was seen with their heads down, never looking in Murdaugh's direction as the verdict was read. The prominent former
attorneys only living son Buster was present in the courtroom. While the guilty verdict was read. Appearing at times to wipe tears from his eyes.
After the guilty verdict came down the judge denied a motion from the defense asking for a mistrial and to set aside the verdict.
JUDGE CLIFTON NEWMAN, SOUTH CAROLINA CIRCUIT COURT: The evidence of guilt is overwhelming, and I deny the motion.
GALLAGHER: The case wrapped up earlier Thursday with the defense's closing arguments, attempting one last time to poke holes in the state's case.
JIM GRIFFIN, ALEX MURDAUGH'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Their theory is that he slaughtered his wife and son to distract from an impending financial
investigation. But he puts himself in the middle a murder investigation and he puts himself in the middle of the spotlight of a media firestorm.
GALLAGHER: And further slamming the investigation.
GRIFFIN: We believe that we've shown conclusively that SLED failed miserably in investigating this case.
GALLAGHER: The jury was un-swayed by this defense, favoring the prosecution's argument that Murdaugh was the only one with the motive,
means, and opportunity to kill his wife and son.
JOHN MEADORS, PROSECUTOR: He did it. Nobody else could have done it. Nobody else did do it.
GALLAGHER: Over the roughly six-week trial the prosecution presented its case featuring testimony from 61 witnesses with phone forensics and
extensive evidence of Murdaugh's financial misdeeds.
ALAN WILSON, SOUTH CAROLINA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Our criminal justice system worked tonight. It gave a voice to Maggie and Paul Murdaugh.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ASHER: Dianne Gallagher is in Walterboro, South Carolina where the sentencing took place. So, Dianne, I think the message here is really that
nobody is above the law. It doesn't matter how much money you have. Doesn't matter how prominent you are in terms of your family's power. Nobody is
above the law.
GALLAGHER: Zain, that is the message that was delivered yesterday and today. I think for people who are in this part of South Carolina, I think
they would like for that message to have happened without the murders of people that this is some kind of accountability that should have taken
place before it got to this point. Now. There were some absolutely stunning words from that Judge Clifton Newman to the defendant now convicted
murderer Alex Murdaugh.
He talked about their family's power. The fact that he had to remove a portrait of Alex Murdaugh's grandfather from the very courtroom where a
jury found him guilty of killing his wife and his son to make sure he could have a fair trial. He talked about the fact that the judge himself had had
Alex Murdaugh argue in front of him. And Zain, it's not over. He's been convicted of murder and his attorneys say they are going to appeal this and
that is their right.
But Alex Murdaugh has more than 90 additional charges related to stealing from clients and fraud, his own family and his former law firm that are
waiting for him that. The Attorney General told me today they do plan to steal address. He has many other alleged victims who still want their form
of justice here. And one last thing Zain, this all came down to a dog, believe it or not.
If their family dog Bubba had not had a chicken in his mouth, at the time that Paul Murdaugh was recording a video for his friend, Alex Murdaugh
called for Bubba to bring that chicken back to him and drop it. If that has never happened and Paul had not recorded that video that was found by the
U.S. Secret Service on his phone more than six months after he was murdered. According to one juror, he probably would not have been
It was his lie about his alibi, where he was the night of the murders, telling people he had not been there just minutes before Paul and Maggie
were murdered. That lies what sealed the deal for one of those jurors saying that they simply could not get past that.
ASHER: Just incredible, incredible. Dianne Gallagher live for us there. Thank you so much.
All right. Just into CNN, the White House physician says that U.S. President Joe Biden had basal cell carcinoma. A common kind of skin cancer
and a biopsy confirms that all cancerous tissue has been successfully removed. The doctor says a lesion was removed from Mr. Biden's chest last
month. He also says the President will continue to get surveillance but for now no further treatment is required.
All right. Still to come. Nigeria's plans to switch to a new currency caused chaos. Now the Supreme Court says that that plan was actually
ASHER: Nigeria Supreme Court says the country botched attempt to switch its banknotes was illegal.
A pressing deadline to retire the old currency led to chaos. People lined up for hours to get the new cash. Violent protests broke out in parts of
the country. 16 states sued over the timeline. Their lawsuit warned of a possible breakdown of law and order. Switching to the new look, currency
was meant to fight counterfeiting and cash hoarding. CNN's Stephanie Busari is in Lagos for us.
So, I mean, you would think that the Supreme Court's ruling here would bring relief to millions of people. However, you and I was speaking a few
hours ago, and you were saying to me that, you know, problems still remain. There are problems in terms of people still being able to get cash out of
the bank. Just walk us through that.
STEPHANIE BUSARI, CNN SENIOR AFRICA EDITOR: Sure, Zain. It just simply a logistics issue. Remember, people were told to deposit the old banknotes.
It was going to be worthless on February 11th. And that's just what they did. So now, not only do they not have the new Naira notes, they don't have
any old bank notes. They're still lining up. The lines are still there. And, you know, it should -- the ruling from the Supreme Court should bring
But it's just -- the impact has just not been felt yet, it might take a little while to do that. I was speaking to some people who -- some of whom
had been waiting for 12 hours, 12 whole hours. That's -- it's unimaginable to think that people are queuing for an entire day just to get their hands
on their own money. Take a listen, Zain, to what they had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, my family have been calling me since yesterday. Daddy, where is money? Because of money, I couldn't go home. I have to
start searching the World Bank from one bank to another everywhere is shut down. The World Banks are treating the masses is very, very bad. It's very,
very bad. It's not that we are begging the money. This is our own money. Our heart and money that were deposited in the bank and not the government.
And the banks are treating us like we are not in this country. Please, where -- I'm not happy. I'm not happy. I'm very, very angry.
BUSARI: Now Zain, the government says that this policy was introduced to curb illegal activities such as money laundering, corruption, and also to
stop rogue politicians from stockpiling cash to buy votes in the recently concluded elections. And they say that it's been a largely successful
policy. But it's the ordinary Nigerians like the man you just heard, who are feeling the brunt. I have been covering elections in the -- in the past
There's a sense of anger over the issues that were experienced with the elections, with the whole logistic issues and the votes, the question and
all the things that we've reported extensively on. And there's just a sense of anger in the country. And so many Nigerians telling me that they feel
like they are being pushed to breaking point.
ASHER: Gosh. The things that people there have to put up with. Stephanie Busari life for us. Thank you so much, my dear. Have a good weekend.
All right. Still to come here on Quest MEANS BUSINESS. The Dutch government is trying to limit the amount of flights out of Amsterdam's Schiphol
Airport. Now airlines are suing to try to stop the plan.
ASHER: A group of airlines is suing the Dutch government. They're hoping to overturn a plan to cap the number of flights at Schiphol Airport, saying it
would hurt them, the economy and travelers. The government lowered the cap in June of last year as Schiphol was struggling with operational problems.
The Dutch government responded to the suit in a statement to CNN saying stakeholders were invited to comment on the regulation and that they are
committed to reducing the number of flights.
Simon Calder is the travel correspondent at The Independent. He joins us live now. So, part of the issue in terms of why Schiphol Airport did this,
that limiting the number of flights is partly because of carbon emissions and also noise pollution. Before we get to the lawsuit, let's just talk
about how big of a problem that is in and around Amsterdam in and around Schiphol Airport.
SIMON CALDER, THE INDEPENDENT TRAVEL CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes, you need to know of course that Schiphol is a really significant European airport. It's
one of the big four alongside Paris, Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt, Heathrow, and also Istanbul's new airport. I think you would include in
that. So, considering the population of the Netherlands, it is incredibly busy. And of course, this is in a very crowded nation.
And really, wherever you are in this area south of the city of Amsterdam, close to the cities of Harlem and of Leiden, there is going to be noise
impact. Now they do what they can to mitigate it in terms of having aircraft approach from the sea, for example. But ultimately, the wind
decides what the flying patterns are going to be. And exactly as you say, this was nine months ago. And at the time, a number of big European
airports including Amsterdam, Schiphol, including Frankfurt, including London, Heathrow were having real problems with resources.
And so, you had a reduction in the number of flights. But everyone thought, oh, well, that's just a short-term thing. But then the Dutch government
comes along and says, yes, we are going to cut the theoretical maximum from 500,000 operations a year to 440,000. That's an eight percent drop because
we believe we've got to bear in mind, not just the local issues caused by noise, but also, of course, the global issues caused by aviation emissions.
ASHER: So, what are these caps in terms of just cutting flights by eight percent? What is that doing to airlines bottom lines?
CALDER: Well, it's -- if you are happened to be KLM, of course, and you've got 60 percent of the slots at your home base. This is very significant. It
means that your whole business model which is entirely involved flying people in from North America, from Asia, from other parts of Europe, and
connecting them through the very efficient, usually airport there. It just means that you are facing a really, really tough time.
KLM have been joined in this suit by their partners in the SkyTeam. Alliance and that's Delta. Also, by Tui. They are the biggest holiday
company, vacation company in Europe. They have lots of flights from there. EasyJet of the U.K. and also Corendon of Turkey. And they're going to the
court in Harlem, the city of Harlem is very close to the airport and saying this is simply -- we cannot work with that.
And at the same time, Zain, you've got the International Air Transport Association wading into this dispute and saying this is incompatible with
the rules of international aviation as laid down by the Chicago convention and also with European Union law on free and fair competition. So, there's
an awful lot of people in the aviation industry really hoping to get a win on this. Partly because they really care about them being able to operate
and maybe even expand to Amsterdam.
But also, they see this as possibly something which could be played out elsewhere in Europe.
ASHER: Simon Calder live for us there. Thank you so much.
Boeing shares are higher. The stock is now up more than two percent. Boeing just got a new order from Greater Bay Airlines. The Hong Kong carrier will
buy 15 Boeing 737s. It also made a commitment for 5787 Dreamliners. Greater Bay says those planes will support its plans to offer long haul
international flights. Long Haul travel was once defined by Boeing's 747. The last one recently rolled off the assembly line.
It was delivered to Atlas Air in a ceremony to mark the occasion. CNN spoke to the pilots who took the delivery of the plane. They talked about the
model's legacy and what it was like to fly the last one at the belt.
CAPTAIN TOM VIZE, 747 FLEET CAPTAIN, AIR ATLAS: It's emotional for me because the 23 years I've been on it, and she's kind of like my baby.
CAPTAIN JOE MSONE, 747 CAPTAIN, ATLAS AIR: It did bring the world together economically for operators and for the public for the traveling public. It
made travel accessible, and in an elegant way.
VIZE: Anyone who sees the 747 with the hump, they understand what kind of aircraft that is. But it'll be around for 20, 30, 40 years to go. There's
no other aircraft that has the nose loader capability that can carry that many passengers that are currently flying. So, it'll be around in -- of
course, for me the rest of my career and for careers to new pilots starting.
I walk up to it and it's just massive. You're going to taxi this thing around on the ground and then take it to the runway and close to a million
pounds taking off into the air. But she's such a gentle giant. The ease of flying, I think it's an envy for a lot of pilots to buy such a big
MASONE: It was pretty remarkable. The 747 is an icon of American ingenuity.
VIZE: Being honored to actually operate and fly the last 747 for delivery. That was truly emotional for me.
MASONE: (INAUDIBLE) now with all the people there in the water cannon salute. It was pretty exciting. During the drawing so to speak, we have
avionics on board and basically the company can text us and we got word that there was 30,000 people watch it on FlightAware then went to 40,000,
50,000. So, what -- we didn't really understand the gravity of it. Once we landed and started looking at social media, it was pretty amazing to see
the comments from around the world in different languages on how many people actually gravitated to this last flight.
VIZE: So, knowing that there's no more 747s ever produced, I think it leaves a hole in my heart. No more will be produced but yet these aircraft
will be there in the skies for many decades to go.
ASHER: Nice Piece. 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: And there are just moments left to trade on Wall Street. The Dow it's finishing the week strong. Let's take a look here. It's now up about
380 points. It opened higher, has been climbing most of the day as well. All three years indices are set for a winning week.
Let's look at the Dow individual components. Apple is on top. Up about three percent or so. Morgan Stanley thinks the stock has room to grow. And
Boeing is up 2.3 percent higher on U.K. orders.
And that is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'm Zain Asher in New York. The news continue right here on CNN.