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Quest Means Business

President Touts Economic Achievements; Top Central Bankers: More Tightening To Come; RBI Expands With New International Locations; Russian Strike On Kramatorsk; Belarus' European Neighbors On Edge With Wagner Troops Nearby; South Koreans Age One Year Overnight; World Of Wonder: Budapest; Dash To The Bell. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired June 28, 2023 - 15:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: There is an hour to go for trading on Wall Street, midweek session that is underway and the markets are giving

a verdict.

Well, they were up yesterday, it was solid, and now they're down, but not hugely.

It's a sort of, I think, just what is going on type of session, and we will talk about what's going on with the main events.

The US president makes his economic pitch to a skeptical nation. On this program, in a moment, the head of the White House Council of Economic

Advisers is here. We'll talk Bidenomics in a moment.

NATO is shoring up its eastern flank after the turmoil in Russia. You'll hear from the Lithuanian foreign minister on this program.

And the president of Restaurant Brand, Burger King and the like, the company's sandwich chain has chosen Switzerland its first part of an

international market and we'll assess inflation and labor costs, and how that is taking a bite out of profits.

We are live in New York, midweek, Wednesday, June 28th. I'm Richard Quest and yes, I mean business.

Good evening.

The word Bidenomics, it is an offensive word to Republicans, and is used as a term of abuse. But now, President Biden is embracing Bidenomics and using

it to his advantage to woo voters.

He was in Chicago where he defined his economic agenda as much by what it isn't and what it's not.

It's not Reaganomics, he said. Trickle down policies have failed America for decades, and his focus is on the middle class to produce results.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Bidenomics is about building an economy from the middle out and the bottom up, not the top down. And there

are three fundamental changes that we decided to make.

With the help Congressman, we have been able to do it. First, making smart investments in America; second, educating and empowering American workers

to grow the middle class; and third, promoting competition to lower cost to help small businesses.


QUEST: President Biden has reasons to be positive. The unemployment rate has been below four percent for the last year-and-a-half. It's a double-

edged sword, as we'll talk.

Annual inflation has fallen to four percent. It was twice that number a year ago, and at the same time, other side of the coin, 35 percent of

Americans approve of his handling of the economy and that numbers were polled this month by Reuters.

With me is Jared Bernstein, the chair of the US Council of Economic Advisers. He joins me from the White House.

Jared, it is good to see you. Jared, nice to have you on the program, as always, good to talk to you.

Your problem here is not really necessarily the economics, per se, but the perception that the president has presided over high inflation, slowing

economy, and the perception of a worsening economy.

JARED BERNSTEIN, CHAIR, US COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: Well, it's nice to be with you, too, Richard, let's at least start with the economics because

I think that is the foundation for, of course, what the president was talking about today.

As you've mentioned, Bidenomics, building the economy from the bottom up and the middle out, stark contrast to trickle down or top-down economics

where you give rich people tax cuts and hope against decades of evidence to the contrary, that it is somehow going to uplift the middle class. It

doesn't work that way.

Bidenomics in action through the pillars the president mentioned investing in America, empowering and educating workers, promoting more competition

truly is helping.

Now, you mentioned inflation. Inflation is down by more than half. It peaked at over nine percent about a year ago and it has fallen 11 months in

a row. That's certainly a strong trend in the right direction, but we have to do more to build on that success to get prices down lower to get

inflation down lower.

QUEST: Right.

BERNSTEIN: And by the way, one area where we can help there is pillar three of Bidenomics, more competition -- promoting more competition lower cost

for consumers.

QUEST: Do you -- of course, you will remind me as properly you will, that the Fed is responsible for monetary policy, but it is a legitimate question

to ask somebody in your position. Do you believe they need to push down to two percent if, as we will hear in a moment from Jay Powell speaking in

Europe, bearing in mind that that could slow the economy and by definition tip it into recession.


BERNSTEIN: Well, I know you think that is a legitimate question for me, but I'm going to push back on you because I think one of the best things we can

do and have done is continue to provide the Federal Reserve the independence that they need to function.

You know as well as I do that historically, economies across the globe had been brought to their knees when the independence of the Central Bank is

compromised. The prior administration was much less scrupulous about that than we are.

Now look, I think what matters here from our perspective is doing all we can to help lower costs.

I mentioned promoting more competition as pillar three of Bidenomics. Well, that does directly mean lowering costs. Lowering costs for prescription

drugs by allowing Medicare to compete.

You know, a lot of people went up against Big Pharma to win that fight, but President Biden won it. Lowering the cost of insulin, lowering the cost of

clean energy, getting rid of junk fees and overdraft fees. You know, these are the kinds of things that we can help do to complement the work of the


QUEST: What about on the larger scale in a sense of macro chips, the legislation necessary, the next round of legislation that will help protect

or at least help promote is a better way, US manufacturers, but at the same time, level the playing field against China.

How significant is the next steps for that?

BERNSTEIN: I think it is highly significant and it is a step that is ongoing. We are busy implementing the CHIPS and Science Act.

Now, you know, over President Biden's watch, almost 800,000 manufacturing jobs, but when it comes to CHIPS, the goal there is to stand up a domestic

semiconductor industry to add resilience to our supply chain that was clearly and very impactfully missing during the pandemic.

Now, not only is the public investment pillar one of Bidenomics, I told you about investing in America, it is crowding in private investment.

This is another way in which trickle down had it backwards. They thought if they did less public investment, they'd get more private investment. What

the president said today is they had that backwards. That is if we do smart public investment, we crowd in private investment, which we have done to

the tune of almost $500 billion in the manufacturing sector.

QUEST: Does Bidenomics inevitably involve higher taxes for the wealthier?

BERNSTEIN: Well, I'll tell you, it invokes higher taxes for those over $400,000.00.

So yes, for the wealthy is President Biden's tax agenda, which is very much part of Bidenomics, when it comes to financing these actions that we've

taken, like the Inflation Reduction Act, which more than pays for itself by injecting real fairness into the Tax Code, raising taxes on people, and the

millionaires and billionaires way at the top of the pay scale.

And by the way, blocking their ability, something we fought with Republicans on, blocking their ability to evade the taxes that they owe.

QUEST: So finally, Jay Powell speaking at the ECB Forum. You would have seen the comments, he says, when asked specifically on recession, he says

he still sees a slim path to a soft landing and I'm guessing that's the sort of phraseology that you can live with.

BERNSTEIN: For sure. I mean, I think one of the things that I've been focused on and I recently did a Twitter thread that you and your viewers

might enjoy @EconJared46, where I undertook this very question from the perspective of not looking around the corner, which of course Chair Powell

has to do, but talking about where we are right now.

I mean, I hear so many people talking about personal vibes or looking at whatever animal entrails they're looking at to declare recession. In fact,

a recession means something technical. It's a set of variables that the National Bureau of Economic Research designates, and if you look at those

variables, where they are in real time, they are all pretty clearly flashing non-recessionary.

So we have an economy that certainly doesn't look anything like it is in a recession, but more importantly, when you have a strong consumer, a strong

labor market, when you have Bidenomics, building an economy from the bottom up and the middle out, our investment agenda, empowering workers, promoting

competition, I like where that momentum can take us.

QUEST: Sir, it is good to see you. I'm grateful for your time. Thank you.

BERNSTEIN: Thank you, Richard.

QUEST: Jared Bernstein, the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Rahel is with me.

Now that you were listening closely to that Rahel, and certainly it was a full throated support, obviously, but there is another point of view, isn't


RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Richard, look. I think to be fair, the economy has certainly done better than most would have

expected. That said, we are not out of the woods, not yet. It is a long road to 2024. Of course, the presidential election and it is only June.


I think the biggest risk factor, of course, is the path to inflation. You just talked about US CPI, which we can pull up for you, but even if you

look at a different metric that the Fed prefers, the PCE, even inflation there is more than twice the Fed's target of two percent.

Chairman Powell saying in the most recent FOMC meeting that he doesn't expect -- the committee doesn't expect inflation to return to about two

percent until 2025.

And of course, the risk, Richard, is that the longer inflation, the longer prices remain elevated, the more significant perhaps the damage to consumer

spending, and in fact, some like Brian Moynihan, the CEO of Bank of America, Richard telling our colleague, Poppy Harlow, they're actually

starting to see it already. Take a listen.


BRIAN MOYNIHAN, CEO, BANK OF AMERICA: And that's going to be a little bit of a collision course. It is enough you start to see the aspects of a

slowdown come through. Our consumer spending shows it, you know, the behavior is slowing down, which is good and bad.

Good in that, that's what the Fed needs to see, inflation control; not so good, because it does mean we have a higher probability that mild recession

coming true.


SOLOMON: All right, so Richard, Brian Moynihan there talking about the economics, but let's talk about the politics of it all because, of course,

the longer inflation, the longer prices remain elevated, the longer perhaps Americans and voters feel pessimistic and sour about the state of the


So look, you certainly can't blame the administration for trying to get in front of the messaging here, but I think there are certainly challenges and

risks ahead.

QUEST: Rahel, thank you. Rahel Solomon, grateful.

Top central bankers have been singing from a very similar hymn sheet at the ECB Forum in Portugal. Core inflation isn't falling fast enough and labor

markets remain tight. It's the standard problem that they're all facing.

At the same time, consumption remains strong and there is more work to be done.

Now, just as moment ago, you heard Jared Bernstein and we were talking about the US Fed Chair Powell say, despite all of this, the infamous soft

landing is still possible.


JEROME POWELL, US FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: There seems to be a path still for labor market conditions to soften and for demand and supply to get back

into balance without the kind of large job losses that have happened in many prior cycles, and the reason for that is the level of job openings

that still exist in the labor market. So it is still set at 1.7 job openings for every person who counts as unemployed, that has been coming



QUEST: "There seems to be a path," those are key words, Anna Stewart.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: How narrow is that path, I wonder. He also said there is a significant probability that there will be a downturn as well.

He doesn't think that's the most likely case, and when he was talking actually about labor, he also said that he is not seeing enough in terms of

it coming down or softening in the labor market, when it comes to services and that is sort of a really key part of this sticky bit of core inflation.

Listen, all of the central bank governors, the Fed the ECB and the BoE, they were all asked the same questions: When is inflation going to hit two

percent? When will the rate hike cycle? And they all managed to dodge it beautifully saying they're looking for the evidence.

But from Powell, he said, well, policy is restrictive. It might not be restrictive enough, and it hasn't been restrictive for long enough. He says

just because they paused rate hikes in June, don't take your eye off the ball, it could happen two consecutive months again.

And he also says again, he doesn't expect inflation to reach two percent until 2025. So overall, I'd say it was pretty gloomy.

QUEST: All right, but slight difference, I mean, nuance between ECB and BoE arguably on the way they are looking at things with Governor Bailey taking

a slightly more strident view.

STEWART: Certainly, all of the big global economic shocks have been the same. They are all being felt slightly differently. You're seeing that more

and more and you're seeing that also in the monetary policy response.

But from Andrew Bailey, he really had to defend the decision this month to double down on a rate hike after many, many more rate hikes in the US or

the ECB, with a 50-basis point hike and this is what he had to say about it.


ANDREW BAILEY, GOVERNOR, BANK OF ENGLAND: When we looked at the data, because we too, are being driven by evidence at the moment, the cumulative

data both particularly on the labor market and on the inflation release we had, which to us show clear signs of persistence caused us to conclude that

we had to make really quite a strong move at that point. It was justified.

My own view on that was if we were really of the view that we were going to do 25 and then we were really sort of baked in front of the 25 based on the

evidence, we'd seen it was better to do the 50.


STEWART: Which is interesting because that right next to him was the ECB president, Christine Lagarde who continually does a 25-basis-point hike and

bakes in one for the next meeting. So clearly taking a very different decision there.

But the impact is different, and here in the UK, inflation is really sticky and it is much higher than the Eurozone or the Fed and surprisingly, the

economy is also very resilient and the same tight labor market that they all talk about -- Richard.


QUEST: Anna Stewart in London, I am very grateful. Thank you.

QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Rising food prices, that's inflation that they are all talking about and the challenge is for fast food restaurants at all

levels, not only on their input costs, but on the price that they can charge, and yet, RBI, Restaurant Brands International, it has a boring

name, but it's got some very interesting brands within it from new sandwich shops in Switzerland and Mexico and the company is present with us after

the break.


QUEST: A new report estimates that the global fast food industry will grow by seven percent this year and sell for more than $290 billion across 12

countries, the main 12 countries of the report.

RBI, Restaurant Brands International is the owner of Burger King, Tim Horton's, and other interesting names is capitalizing on the momentum. It

is the Firehouse Subs chain, and it is in Switzerland and in Mexico, and this is despite sticky global inflation.

David Shear is the president of RBI. He joins me from Mexico.

David, two very different markets, an extremely affluent, if you will, solid state, Switzerland and a Mexico that's far more volatile. Why go for

both extremes in a sense?

DAVID SHEAR, PRESIDENT, RESTAURANT BRAND INTERNATIONAL: Yes, that's a good question. Thanks for having me.

I think, the market has actually a lot more in common than you might think. These are markets that we know very well from our existing operations with

Burger King and Popeye's and Tim Horton's in Mexico. They're great QSR markets. They are markets that already have very well established sandwich

and subcategories.

I think that we also have good local partners in each of the markets, which makes a big difference for us. And at the end of the day, we've done a ton

of research in the last 18 months on both markets.

Firehouse resonates really well with consumers in both, and so we're excited to watch. You know, the response in Switzerland last week has been

really positive, and we are preparing for the launch in Mexico later this year, but it is really just a start for us.

You know, our ambition is to take our brands all over the world.

QUEST: So to the extent that input costs are higher, inflation, the food you're buying, the fuel that you need and obviously staff wage rises, but

also the difficulty of getting staff, having to pay more. Where are you finding the pressures at the moment?

SHEAR: Yes, I think that there is pressure across our business. There is cost inflation happening everywhere, like you were just referencing. The

consumer is also under a lot of pressure and we're seeing kind of increasingly price sensitive behavior in the last six months.


But at the same time, you know, we're seeing costs starting to temper and we think going into the back half of the year, they'll start improving a

bit, and we would still been able to grow our top line quite successfully.

So with Burger King, which is the biggest part of our international business, you know, in the first quarter, our same store sales grew by 12

percent, our system-wide sales by more than 19, so we are still being able to resonate with consumers, as long as we offer good value for money and a

great experience.

QUEST: So how do you cope with that? Because food inflation, we know has been extremely high. Do you take it on the chin within the margin, so that

you're basically going for growth of sales, you're going for market share, at some point you have to pass it on, and that is \when a consumer that's

already tight, gets into trouble.

SHEAR: Yes. This is something that we spend a lot of time focusing on. I think that at the end of the day, if we're not offering a good value for

money proposition to our guests, they're going to stop coming. There's lots of other places that they can go instead.

And so, I think it is a combination of both. You know, sometimes we have to pass some costs on to the consumer, but we try to do it in a way that is

going to ensure that they are still able to come in.

And you know, at the end of the day, we're here for the next 20, 30, 40 years to build these businesses, so the last thing that we want to do is

sacrifice long-term brand loyalty and traffic forcing short progression.

QUEST: Do you think you are -- well, I'll use two -- I'll give you two alternatives here. Are you recession-resistant or recession-proof?

SHEAR: That's a great question. I think that we've proven to be, I would say pretty recession proof to be honest with you, like QSR has been very

resilient. We've gone through a very challenging environment in the last three to four years. And what we've seen throughout is kind of continued

growth, right?

I think, I mentioned our Q1 numbers, those were comping over a very strong year last year as well and I think that, you know, at times like these,

when there is increasing price sensitivity with guests, you know, there's people that are trading down or trading out of our menu, but just as many

people that are trading down from casual dining into the QSR space, and that's why I think, you know, brands like ours have continued to succeed.

QUEST: And when you look to the future, so what is the one area that you're not in that you want to be in? What is the one product that you're not

making that you think, oh, I really -- we really have got to get into that.

Because I look at Chipotle and I look at all of these sort of -- these other brands, which have gone storming ahead and I wonder, well, your

Burger King is a traditional brand, a very tasty one as well and it has gone -- it has updated its menu, but what would you like to add?

SHEAR: Yes, you know, I think that when we look at our portfolio, we're very comfortable because we have -- we're in the top four categories of

global QSR -- burgers, chicken, coffee, bake shops, and sandwich and subs - - these are the largest categories, and we still have so much whitespace as is.

But we're always interested in opportunities as long as we can really make them into truly global players, and I think that what's been important to

us is making sure that we have the best products.

If you look at our portfolio, one thing they all have in common is they're the best products, truly differentiated, which we think can allow us to

kind of scale effectively around the world.

QUEST: David, just change the name of the company, Restaurant Brands International, you need something more exciting, more tasty.

SHEAR: Well, we save the excitement for the actual brands that consumers know and love. I think for the corporate holding company, it's fine to have

something a little more boring.

QUEST: Good to see you, sir. Thank you very much. Next time we meet, it will at one of your brands enjoying it. Thank you, sir.

Mention the Seychelles and immediately, the postcards suggest sunsets, pristine beaches, and honeymoon resorts. The oceans that sustain the island

nation, food supply and tourism industry, it is on our latest "Connecting Africa."

Eleni Giokos explores what we call there called the blue economy.


ELENI GIOKOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST (voice over): When you live on an island, the ocean can be something of an obsession. It's where life happens

for many people. It's a source of income.

The term blue economy was born from this. It's a concept where marine resources are used sustainably while also promoting economic growth.

I've come to meet the man who can help me make sense of it all.

GIOKOS (on camera): For someone like me seeing this beauty, I'm in absolute awe, but you're doing something really important, because many countries

that have resources, you know it's either oil or it's gold and there's so many other commodities but your major commodity is that.



GIOKOS: It is the ocean. That is your oil. You have to preserve it.

BARBE: Of course, we do.

GIOKOS: So, tell me about the blue economy and what you do.

BARBE: Okay, the blue economy is all about the sustainability use or the sustainability development of the ocean, which is how it was introduced in

the country, as a pathway towards the creation of jobs through the use of the ocean, the important of livelihood of our community through the use of

the ocean, in high consideration given to the world's preservation and conservation of the ocean.

So, this is what the blue economy is for us, it is a combination or an integration of the aspect of social development, economy development as

well as preservation of the ocean.

GIOKOS: So this is an important part of the economy, right? So you've got to make sure that it is sustainable and you've got to make it work. What is

the biggest challenge would you say in what you do in making sure that it is sustainable?

BARBE: The main challenge in Seychelles right now is somehow, it has to do with more capacity. We know we are a very small country and we are a

developing country and our workforce is, I would say, less than the world knew, and we are evolving and we are still developing.

So our main issue right now has to do with more capacity. We did not have all specialized skills that we require to push forward to specific

development in the country.

GIOKOS: You know, when I think of the Seychelles, I mean, this is an East African country, basically, right? It is an island on the East African

coast. It is part of COMESA. It has strong African ties as well.

When you look at how successful Seychelles has been in terms of tapping into the blue economy, what would you say the biggest lesson is for other

countries wanting to develop their blue economies.

BARBE: The biggest lessons is like you need to get your community involved in the development. Some people see development or strategy from a top-down

strategy and some see it from a bottom-up strategy, but I will say it's a combination.

You need to get your people in your community involved, because they are one of the main factors and the other one of the main beneficiaries of this

development. Once they understand the blue economy, they understand the contribution of the blue economy in their life, the contribution of the

ocean in their life, this is when they will participate actively in the development.


QUEST: Belarus has invited Wagner Group troops to stay a while within its borders and that is making people nervous in countries along those borders.

Lithuania's foreign minister is with me in just a moment.




QUEST: Russia's defense ministry is claiming that the missile strike on a Kramatorsk restaurant actually destroyed a military command post. We now

know 11 people were killed. That includes three teenage girls.

Ukrainian officials are calling it a deliberate attack on civilians and the authorities say they have detained the man who they claim scouted the

pizzeria and sent a video of it to Russia's armed forces.

European intelligence officials are telling us that Russian security forces and potentially the military might have had some prior knowledge of the

Wagner rebellion this weekend and could even have welcomed it.

As for Wagner itself, Belarus has issued an invitation to set up their tents. That's a prospect not welcomed by neighboring European countries.

Lithuania's minister of foreign affairs, Gabrielius Landsbergis, is with me.

Minister, good to see you. Look, I guess any greater form of instability is unwelcome. Now Wagner is in Belarus.

More mischief?

How would you react?

GABRIELIUS LANDSBERGIS, LITHUANIAN MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Well, it perfectly shows that what kind of neighbor we're living by. It's an

unstable, volatile country and countries because, both of them, both participants in the war against Ukraine, are neighbors, meaning Russia and


We have seen throughout the weekend what types of that volatility can show up. We have seen how fast a few brigades of mercenaries could move from

Ukraine almost 200 kilometers from Moscow itself. So it can give you an idea of how fast could they move, if they were willing so, through Russia,

through Belarus, closer to NATO borders.

QUEST: Right. But they can also just simply cause mayhem and mischief on your borders and a destabilizing effect within your borders.

LANDSBERGIS: Exactly. I mean, they can create all types of provocations; expect to have some sort of level of deniability, meaning that they have a

distance from any sort of government; expecting not to receive any reciprocal answer for their provocations.

We have to be very clear that we know who they are. We know their connection to the government. So the response would be to either

government, to Belarusian or Russian government.

QUEST: Two meetings. E.U. Council and NATO summit, in both of those meetings, there's going to be a greater push to advance Ukraine's

membership. Admittedly, there are numerous obstacles; probably too many to go through.

How do you advance the argument within both of those fora?

LANDSBERGIS: Well, we have been trying to argument even long before the war. Even since 2008, when the first mentioning of Ukraine being possibly a

member of NATO in political documents in Bucharest (ph).

But now I think what we see, even with the latest events, is a very clear reminder of what it means to live in the neighborhood of Russia.

That gray zone, such as Ukraine is currently, where there is some sort of an invitation since 2008 but not an actual membership, is a dangerous place

to be. And if we want Ukraine to win this war and actually be a safe, secure, democratic country with full territorial integrity, Ukraine has to

be invited.

Ukraine has to have the guarantees of Article 5 being able to defend itself and also what is very important, to offer security to other neighbors in

the eastern flank as well because we believe that Ukraine will be not just the recipient of security but also they can offer security --



LANDSBERGIS: -- as well.

QUEST: Right. But I look at the actions of your government, the purchases recently of missile defense systems for -- very recently -- for Ukraine.


QUEST: The provision of more -- and I look at what other countries are doing.

I mean, isn't it time to get honest about this?

De facto, NATO or the countries of the allies are prosecuting this war through Ukraine. It's turned into a de facto proxy war. You are buying the

weapons for them.

LANDSBERGIS: Look, I don't agree with this argument or that statement. I think that Ukraine has shown throughout the year that they've been able to

fight, to fight off and win a number of battles. They won the battle for Kyiv, for Kharkiv, for Kherson and now they're pushing even further.

And they're doing it at the cost of their lives and of their Ukrainian men and women. And yes, we provide them with armor; we provide them with tanks,

with whatever we have on our hands. But NATO is not fighting this war; Ukraine is fighting this war. And when the victory comes, it will be a

Ukrainian victory.

QUEST: And to those who would say -- because if this goes longer, then your own populace is going to raise questions -- to those who would take your

answer, Minister, and say, yes, you're right. Ukraine is doing the war but ... without the support and without the sophisticated armaments, they

wouldn't be successful.

LANDSBERGIS: I think that what needs to be said and the way, for example, the thing is seeing the war against Ukraine since last year in February

2024, is that if Putin was not stopped in Kyiv by Ukrainians, then not having any real weaponry provided to them by the West -- only after the

battle of Kyiv, the real weaponry we started to reach Ukraine -- we have all believed very clearly that Putin will march on.

And who knows where he will stop?

So that means that Ukraine currently is not fighting just for its sovereignty and territorial integrity. It's actually defending the -- it's

defending Europe and what we call the security architecture of the European continent.

And I would think that it even goes further beyond that because if we are able to support Ukraine until then, if Ukraine is able to secure that

victory, it shows to any other future potential aggressor, whoever he might find himself, is that the West or the global society is able to muster

enough strength to push back and to defend the current security architecture, the global security architecture, that makes us safe.

QUEST: Understood. Minister, thank you.

Before we go, who is that in the photograph over your right shoulder?

LANDSBERGIS: That's my youngest daughter.

QUEST: I thought it would be. Such a problem. We had to know who we were looking at besides the good minister himself.

LANDSBERGIS: Thank you so much.

QUEST: Minister, thank you, good to see you.

We continue QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. Thanks to a new law, South Koreans should have an easier time figuring out how old they are. You wouldn't have

thought it was that difficult. Well now, the country wants to do away with a confusing system, where age could be calculated in three different ways.

Now as regular viewers of this program, you'll remember, I turned 60 last year. There we are, celebrating with my husband, Chris, turning one of

those big round numbers, 60.

Anyway, it got me thinking. Once one passes the ages of legal significance -- 16, 18, 21 in the old days of age, pension at 60, does one's age on

paper have any real importance?

In South Korea, the answer is yes. Paula Hancocks explains why.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Asking someone in South Korea how old they are is a far more complicated question than you might think. You may

well get three different answers.

First of all, there is Korean age, where you are considered a year old on the day you're born. And you become a year older every January 1st.

Second, the calendar age: you take the current year, 2023, minus your birth year and that is your age.

Third, international age: this is the most countries use around the world, where you start at zero. And you become a year older on your first


South Korea has been using a mixture of all three systems for decades. That all changes today, making international age the standard. Most people woke

up this morning one or even two years younger.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I don't feel like my age changed overnight. But talking to my friends, we all felt good about getting


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): On the one hand, I feel good about being younger.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): And on the other hand, I'm wondering if this will make things more complicated on paper.


HANCOCKS: This change is to avoid the, quote, "unnecessary social and economic costs." The president has been pushing for this change and surveys

show that the majority of Koreans actually agree that there should be a standardization of age counting.

There are some exceptions, though. For example, going into elementary school, military conscription will still keep to the traditional system.

CHO HEE-KYOUNG, PROFESSOR OF LAW, HONGIK UNIVERSITY: So the change is symbolic because the things that matter to people, like when you can vote,

when you buy alcohol, when you can buy cigarettes, when you can watch N-17 movies, et cetera, they actually remain exactly the same.


HANCOCKS: It is a change that has been talked about for years and it is a change that could well confuse for years to come -- Paula Hancocks, CNN,



QUEST: Whatever the age, there are some people you just dare not ask what the age is, those of a certain age.

That's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, I'll have the dash for the closing bell. Next, together, let's go to Budapest, a World of Wonder.




QUEST (voice-over): Oh, look at that, what a view.

Funiculi, funicula ...

In this city, you are either on one side or the other. No, I'm not talking politics, which are always a bit stormy here, but rather on one side or the

other of the Danube River.


QUEST: I can never remember which side is Buda and which side is Pest. And no amount of talent in the castle on the hilly side is on one side and flat

on the other, what I can't remember is, is it the castle on the Pest side or the -- I don't know.


QUEST (voice-over): Whatever the side or indeed, the season, this city sparkles.

Oh, my goodness.

And with plenty of foods and so good they are bad.

I can't resist it, the chimney cake.


And it is calorie free?

No calories. No calories.

A local delicacy, if you will.

Oh, that is so good.

The change that has taken place in Budapest over the last 20 years I've been coming is quite extraordinary. Even in Communist times this was a city

that leaned to the West. But the fall of Communism led to changes everywhere.

For instance, the ruin bar district, where new life was breathed into old buildings, which took on a whole new persona.

Wow. Look at this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you see, so much color -- (INAUDIBLE) and everything. (INAUDIBLE).

QUEST (voice-over): Capitalism wasted a little time in recognizing the potential in these crumbling ruins.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These were flats before, you know, where you have a -- there is a door. It was a (INAUDIBLE) flat.

For Katinka Orosz, this transformation in Budapest isn't mere history from another era; this is her generation.

KATINKA OROSZ, BAR MANAGER: Many years ago this part of the city was very active and (INAUDIBLE) very hard economical --


QUEST: (INAUDIBLE). It was hard.

Why did these bars open to begin with?

OROSZ: It was like empty buildings here in the city. There was no money to invest or rebuild them. This was a good way to find out something from


QUEST: People wanted it to be different?

Was that true?

OROSZ: Yes, that's true because everybody wanted to be reborn.

QUEST (voice-over): Ruin pubs became symbolic of the times. And Szimpla Kert was the first. Of course, what started out as something avant-garde,

success has made mainstream.

Where are you taking me?

OROSZ: Our next step is through (INAUDIBLE), very nice (INAUDIBLE).

QUEST (voice-over): Katinka is very much part of the recent history here, acknowledging the dark, deep, awful past that one must never forget.

OROSZ: Here we are now in the village center of the Jewish district.

QUEST: So this was the ghetto in the 1940s, 1944-45?

OROSZ: Yes, yes. That is the heart of the city.

QUEST: Do you think so?

OROSZ: Yes. You see all around people everywhere, bars and shops and restaurants --

QUEST: Ah --


OROSZ: Welcome.

(Speaking foreign language).

QUEST: (Speaking foreign language).

OROSZ: Let's go.


OROSZ (voice-over): Here is the tree, what I saw, the big tree.

QUEST (voice-over): Yes, indeed. There is a tree in the bar. Its the avant- garde atmosphere.

That and a little "let loose, have fun" attitude.

QUEST (voice-over): No, wrong way. That's the wrong way, Richard. She is attacking.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): The vibe is fantastic.

QUEST (voice-over): Really?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Yes, yes.

QUEST: What do you like about it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): It's very alcoholic.

QUEST (voice-over): Have you been here before?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Yes. Three times.

QUEST (voice-over): Three times?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yesterday, the day before and the day before that.


QUEST (voice-over): It is quite headspinning to think about it, the wall coming down, the end of Communism, the changes that took place. But the

change, psychologically, philosophically has been unbelievable. It is extraordinary.

You choose your adjective by your generation. Budapest is in. It is hip. It's happening. Or, simply, it is cool. One of the great delights of being

in a city like Budapest is you just wander around the city. On a Saturday night, you can come across something tremendous like this.


QUEST (voice-over): What atmosphere.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Welcome to Sparky (ph).

QUEST (voice-over): Everybody is getting ready for a summer.

But who wants to wait until summer?




QUEST (voice-over): It is days like today when Budapest is at its absolute glorious best. And it is sobering to think that, not that long ago, this

city had a much different feel under Communist rule.

This building, for instance, 60 Andrassy Street, was the nerve center for a campaign of control and fear. The house of terror hits you in the face with

the reality only seconds after I enter.

The images of those persecuted in the name of ideology cover the atrium wall. Some imprisoned here were tortured and then sent to be executed. This

is the headquarters of the Hungarian Nazi party and later the Communist secret police. Now it is part of the country's commitment to, lest we


The museum straddles what they called the double occupation of Budapest and Hungary. First, the Nazis in the Second World War and then the Soviets in

the post-war years. The tank brings back the memory of what the Soviets used to quell the Hungarian uprising in 1956.

It was November that year when 12 days of protests ended with murderous Soviet force. Hungarians had been calling for more democratic politics. But

Soviet tanks crushed their rebellion. And when it was over, thousands of people were dead.

Stark, brutal and overwhelming, the museum is an immersive experience to say the least, blaring Communist radio adverts to the ears. Colorful

posters with looks idyllic. It was, of course, propaganda.

To anyone of a certain age, all of this is incredibly familiar. The propaganda messages of the Communist period, to try and convince the people

that this was the only way to live. It takes a particular state of mind and a slow ride to the hell that was in the basement.

The torture chamber sitting beneath sidewalks, various cells where Hungarians were held, interrogated, tortured and killed by fascists and

then Communist leaders.

So you are put in here and that is just about the limit of it, which, if you think about it, to spend hours and hours and days or whatever.


QUEST: Not being able to extend your body. Of course, I have got the advantage of the camera light. Now turn that out and then close the door...

QUEST (voice-over): Coming to terms with Budapest's history is not without challenge. To ignore it would be irresponsible. But addressing the wrongs

is a very delicate matter, even today.

Memento Park sits in the hills outside the city center. Within the park walls are more than 40 statues and monuments that were torn down or removed

when Communism fell.

I think the decision to put all of these statues in one place, Memento Park, is a very elegant solution to an age-old problem, how to preserve

something that is clearly part of the country's past but you no longer wish to celebrate but need to remember. And putting it here allows people to

come and learn.




QUEST: The dash to the closing bell, two minutes or so away. Jay Powell at the Fed says inflations won't likely to fall to 2 percent until 2025. And

the only way to get there is tighter monetary policy. And the investors seem to be coming to terms with, that the Dow is now off 111 points. Been

down all session.

Look at the triple stack and you see a similar sort of story except for the Nasdaq eking a small gain, very small though just on its own. A pair of

notable tech stocks, the U.S. is reportedly looking at new export controls on AI chip to China. And Nvidia specializes in those chips and the shares

are down accordingly again; not hugely.

Netflix is up more than 3 percent. One analyst says it could actually benefit from an extended writer's strike.

President Biden was in Chicago. He's talking about Bidenomics and (INAUDIBLE) this one shows most Americans are still dubious about his

economic policy. His economic adviser says Bidenomics is reshaping the country.


JARED BERNSTEIN, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: Bidenomics building the economy from the bottom and the middle, out in stark contrast

to trickle down or top down economics, where you give rich people tax cuts and hope against decades of evidence to the contrary, that it's somehow

going to uplift the middle class.

It doesn't work that way. Bidenomics in action through the pillars the president mentioned -- investing in America, empowering and educating

workers, promoting more competition -- truly is helping.


QUEST: That is your dash to the bell.