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Quest Means Business

Meta's Threads Earns 30 Million Users in Early Hours; Red-Hot Jobs Data Sends Stocks Sliding; Belarusian Leader Says Wagner Boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin In Russia; "Forever Chemicals" In 45 Percent Of U.S. Drinking Water; Yellen Arrives In Beijing, Seeking "Healthy" Competition; New Jersey Governor Threatens Action Against NYC Plan; Call To Earth: Bermuda; U.N. Summit Discusses "AI For Good". Aired 3-4p ET

Aired July 06, 2023 - 15:00   ET



PAULA NEWTON, CNN HOST: So not the best day on Wall Street. Having said that, we are off the lows there, down now better than 300 points. It comes

surprising to me because the job reading was hot.

Those are the markets and these are the main events: Thirty million people signed up for Threads, Mark Zuckerberg's new Twitter rival. That's just on

the first day.

The Belarusian president tells CNN, Yevgeny Prigozhin is now in St. Petersburg.

A new study reveal reveals just how pervasive forever chemicals are in drinking water.

Live from New York. It's Thursday, July 6th. I'm Paula Newton, in for Richard Quest and this is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

And good evening.

Tonight, Meta's new social media app posts a strong start as it seeks to take on Twitter, 30 million people have now signed up for Threads. That's

just in one day.

Users are able to post short messages. They can also reply and quote other Threads just like on Twitter and celebrities are already taking part.

Gordon Ramsay in his first post asked if this is where he could find the lamb sauce. That's jelly to you, sir.

And actor Chris Hemsworth seem to lament the existence of a new kind of funny platform. Kind of funny.

Clare Duffy is with me. I know you've been following all the jokes, and for some large media companies, this is no joke.

I mean, the uptake is certainly impressive, but I've got to ask you to what end? I mean, I was on it. It's a fairly simple product, right?

CLARE DUFFY, CNN BUSINESS WRITER: It's true. I mean, 30 million users signing up in the first less than a day is really stunning and you can see

why. You know, you can sign in through your Instagram, you can import over your following list. It is really simple to get started.

It looks like Twitter, so it feels familiar, and it's easy to use. And so you can see why so many people have jumped on this bandwagon. But Meta

executives have acknowledged that it is much easier to get people to sign up for a new platform when we're in this exciting launch phase than it is

to get people to stay there and continue engaging long term.

And they will have to add more functionality to this app. It is still missing a lot of the things that people really like about Twitter, like

direct messages and hashtags, trending topics. And so they'll have to add things to this app to get people to stay on there.

The other thing that I think they're going to have to do to really maintain this momentum is that make sure that Threads doesn't just start to have

some of the things that people don't like about Twitter, things like spam, harassment, misinformation. They are going to have to be intentional,

especially going into an election year about protecting users on this app if they want people to stay there.

NEWTON: Yes, that's such a good point. It's not just what they may add, or what the app might do for us in the future, but what it's not doing, right?

And I want to ask you, you know, a lot of the celebrities and everyone else is having a lot of fun on there today, but is there any sign that those

influencers from all walks of life will make the move to Threads?

DUFFY: Yes. I mean, we are starting to see a lot of brands, celebrities, journalists, politicians, and even influencers who are big on Instagram,

who I don't think had significant Twitter presences start to join this app. And I think that's one of the things that one of the advantages that

Instagram and that Meta really have.

Instagram has two billion daily active users globally, and so those people now can all really easily join this new app. And Mark Zuckerberg has said

he wants one billion daily active users on Threads. That's his goal, and it does seem attainable.

If he gets there, that is so much bigger than Twitter. Twitter currently has about 250 million daily active users and so this is a huge opportunity

for Meta. The question will be whether they can really capitalize on it.

NEWTON: Yes, we shall see. Stay tuned. It's giving a lot of people a lot of fun in the meantime.

Clare Duffy for us, appreciate it.

Now, as you were just saying, as Threads seeks enduring relevance, it is trying to do what many have failed to do over the years and even though

their popularity faded, many social media sites, yes, they are still recognizable.

MySpace was one of the first to attract a global audience. Vine, remember that, allowed users to post six second videos and was backed by Twitter.

Google+, that never really took off; and Friendster was a predecessor to Facebook, that yes, eventually shut down. Sorry, Zuck.

Now, as the Threads attract -- the Threads -- Threads -- Threads attract tens of millions of new use users, many are wondering whether it or Twitter

in fact, Twitter itself could join that social media Hall of Shame.


Roger McNamee was an early investor in Facebook. He's also now a co-founder at Elevation Partners, and he joins me now from San Francisco.

Come on, you've got to weigh in here.

Does this have a real shot at displacing Twitter? And if it does, does this mean that Elon Musk is the best thing that ever happened to Mark


ROGER MCNAMEE, EARLY INVESTOR IN FACEBOOK: Well, I don't know about the second question, but on the first one, there really is an opportunity

because Musk has done almost everything in his power to undermine what was the magic of Twitter.

So if you think about it, Twitter was really a place where politicians, celebrities, and journalists could gather with all of humanity to have

unfiltered conversations, where if you were just a basic citizen, you could post something, and quite possibly a journalist or politician or an

activist or a celebrity might see it and might act on it.

And there was a chemistry in there that was caught, lightning in a bottle, over a period of years and I think it is unbelievably difficult to

replicate that. And we've seen journalists are really desperate to have an alternative to Twitter.

So you saw them initially go to Mastodon, and then to Post News, and then to Bluesky, and now they're settling on Threads.

And I do believe that Meta has huge advantages. The enormous install base and the scale of Instagram made this much easier for them.

But I do think they have their work cut out for them. The product today is actually pretty poor. You can't do the really important things.

NEWTON: Yes. So Roger, we, journalists, I know we are a desperate lot. That's why I was going to say, I went on it today. It is actually quite

boring so far. Is there an idea that they may have as they continue to grow this, though, that would make it both successful and profitable, because

they might innovate something here, something that they would do that goes beyond what Twitter did originally.

MCNAMEE: I think that's really unlikely for a variety of reasons, but I do think that that doesn't mean they can't be successful economically.

I do think that the astonishing thing is, after all the harm, that Meta has created both with Instagram for young people, with Facebook relative to

elections, and relative to public health, it is astonishing to me how quickly people would embrace a new product from Meta.

And the reality of this thing is that people are desperate for the credibility that comes from being on these platforms and for the dopamine

hit that comes from people reacting favorably to your work.

And so I do think that they're going to get to build a large audience. The question is, can they create a community around it that really keeps

celebrities, politicians, and journalists engaged in the platform?

And I think that's going to prove to be very difficult and I think it's going to take a long time, but I would not rule it out and I think

investors are right to view this as the best opportunity available to Meta, the Metaverse has failed completely. Facebook as a platform is completely

mature in the core markets. Instagram is maturing. This just gives it an extra life, and we'll see what happens.

NEWTON: And yet you don't think that it's going to be able to do anything innovative in that space, so can it at least though perhaps be more

accountable? Have that moderation and have perhaps that protector in terms of not spreading disinformation, that people are still looking for, and

that Elon Musk really doesn't seem willing to provide.

MCNAMEE: Paula, let's be clear. The bar on here is so low relative to the moderation and we shouldn't get excited. I mean, remember, Meta announced

it was rolling back all the election disinformation policies it put in place in 2020. All the other platforms have followed suit.

These people are not even remotely interested in protecting democracy. They're not even remotely interested in protecting public health or public

safety. Why? Because they have no economic incentives to do that.

Shareholders reward them for generating earnings, not for protecting democracy, public health or public safety, and until that changes, we can't

expect their behavior to change.

So no, I do not think these guys will be even remotely constructive on this. Could they be better than Musk? Maybe, but I don't think that

matters. I don't think that's a distinction worth focusing on.

NEWTON: Yes. I laugh there because of all the studies that were done, everything that was disclosed, including in Senate and Congressional

hearings, you're still saying with candor, that look, don't expect anything from this crowd.

I'm going to put you on the spot, Roger, though. When it comes to Twitter, so we're speaking only of Twitter, Elon Musk, his great project here. Do

you think that it is risky here? That Twitter could go back into our Hall of Fame or quite frankly, Hall of Shame when it comes to social media

platforms that just blew it?


MCNAMEE: Well, I do think that he has blown it. But I think it's going to be harder to kill than it looks and the reason for that is that so many

people have built huge audiences there and are going to find it difficult to build a new audience of comparable size that has the same value on

Threads, just as they found it hard to do it on Mastodon and Post and Bluesky.

I just think people are going to stick around on Twitter, they may not use it as much and it is clearly not going to be as great a platform. I mean,

for breaking news, I think it has already failed catastrophically, but I do think that people will stay on the platform because they have such a huge

investment in it.

I think it's harder to kill these things now than it was back when Facebook was starting up.

NEWTON: It is so interesting, and we'll certainly see what Elon Musk's next move is because you know, he's got one in his back pocket.

Roger, thanks so much. Really appreciate it.

Now, US stocks are sliding as investors react to better than expected -- I know, again, jobs data. The US added nearly half a million private jobs in

June -- that's just extraordinary-- more than double what economists expected.

The private assessment comes from a day before the government will now release its jobs day, which is July 7, you remember, it is tomorrow, Jobs

Day Friday. Now, the numbers, obviously, the Fed watches all of them quite closely, and that I can assure you is an eye-popping number.

Now, top Fed official, Lorie Logan said they should immediately resume hiking rates and that the Fed should stick to signals that there will be at

least two more -- two more -- rate rises this year.

Matt Egan has been following all of this for us and a lot of suspense, obviously, for the markets leading up to tomorrow's jobs report.

What is the latest thinking though, given that, you know, this is a labor market that just won't quit?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: That's right, Paula. It won't quit. I think the thinking right now on Wall Street, unfortunately, is that good news is bad

news because the stronger the economic numbers are, the more that that is going to embolden the Federal Reserve to escalate its war on inflation and

that was very much the story today.

I mean, markets were modestly lower heading into the day, and then boom, we saw that ADP blockbuster jobs report come out. I mean, almost half a

million jobs added in a single month. That is more than twice what economists had been expecting.

And so the moment that that hit the tape, we saw stock futures go down sharply, and importantly, we also saw bond yields go up very sharply.'

And so the thinking is that tomorrow's jobs report, the far more important government jobs report is going to tell a similar story, in that it will be

a jobs market that appears to be defying gravity, right, more hiring, a lower unemployment rate, that is the expectation.

And if that goes as scripted, then that is going to just sort of cement the thinking on Wall Street that the Federal Reserve really is not done here.

At last check, there is a 92 percent chance being priced into the futures market that the Federal Reserve raises interest rates by a quarter of a

point later this month.

And Paula, given how strong these economic numbers are and given that inflation is still nowhere near back to that two percent goal, you've got

to wonder whether or not they will indeed raise interest rates, two, three who knows how many more times because clearly, the economy can handle it at

this point.

NEWTON: Yes, the economy can handle that, whether or not Wall Street can handle this is a different issue.

Obviously, we've been rocked by these geopolitical issues, though, in the markets in the last year-and-a-half and that brings us to the developments

with Russia today.

You know, the ruble fell to its lowest level in nearly two years. What's going on there?

EGAN: Well, Paula, there has been a lot of debate over just how much damage Western sanctions have done to Russia's economy and it is a bit of an open

question, because we can't really trust the official government numbers coming out of Moscow, of course.

But we have seen some new developments. You mentioned the ruble falling further against the US dollar. Also, Russia's own Ministry of Finance put

out new numbers showing that their budget deficit has climbed. It is already higher than it was all of last year.

Oil and gas revenues, down by 47 percent in the first half of this year versus last year. That is, yes, because prices are lower, but also because

of the G-7's price cap on Russian oil.

And I talked to former CIA director, David Petraeus, and he told me that right now, Putin faces a "very, very difficult situation." And he says that

now is precisely the time for the West to tighten the screws even further on Russia.

He told me he thinks that there needs to be even tougher sanctions on Russia, even tougher export controls, and remember, this war in Ukraine has

been going on for almost a year-and-a-half at this point.

And I asked Petraeus flat out, I said, when will it end? And he said to me, "It ends when Putin realizes that this is not sustainable, not just because

of the losses on the battlefield, but because of the damage it is doing in the Russian economy."


And so Petraeus thinks that the West needs to step up these sanctions, targeting the supply chains that really power Russia's economy and its war

machine, and if Petraeus gets his way, and others who are calling for tougher sanctions, you've got to wonder, Paula, whether or not the ruble

slips even further against the dollar, and whether or not even more pressure on the government revenue out of Moscow.

And at some point, the thinking, at least among the Western officials is that that will force Putin to change his strategy here and maybe even come

to the negotiating table with Ukraine.

NEWTON: We certainly haven't seen evidence of that so far, but point taken. Matt Egan for us, thanks so much. Really appreciate it.

And speaking of Russia, the mystery of the whereabouts of that Wagner boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin, all of that mystery now deepening. The world hasn't seen

him, remember, since he ended his mutiny, and reportedly headed for Belarus, but the Belarusian president says he's not there. We'll have the

details next.


NEWTON: So where in the world is the man who led a mutiny against Russia's president, Vladimir Putin nearly two weeks ago? That mystery deepening at

this hour.

Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko says Yevgeny Prigozhin is in fact in Russia, not Belarus. It now raises questions about the deal he

reportedly struck with the Wagner boss to stop his march on Moscow.

CNN's Matthew Chance is in Minsk for us with more.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Belarusian leader, Alexander Lukashenko invited us here to the Palace of

Independence, this marble-clad edifice in the center of Minsk -- it one of his presidential offices -- for a press conference, in what he said was a

conversation about all the dramatic events that have been unfolding over the past couple of weeks.

Of course, the main interest was the whereabouts of Wagner, the Russian mercenary group and its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin.

So I got a chance to ask Alexander Lukashenko what update he could give us about that mercenary group, that of course staged a military uprising in

Russia just last month.

CHANCE (During press conference): I wonder if you could provide us all with a bit of an update on the whereabouts of the Wagner leader, Yevgeny

Prigozhin? Is he in Belarus or not?


ALEXANDER LUKASHENKO, BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): In terms of Yevgeny Prigozhin, he is in St Petersburg or maybe this morning, he

would travel to Moscow or elsewhere, which is not in the territory of Belarus now.

CHANCE: So, stunning news there from Alexander Lukashenko. Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Wagner leader meant to be here is not here. His fighters are

not here either. He said the deal is still on the table is what he insisted, but it has not been finally agreed yet.

Meanwhile, in Russia on state television, we've been seeing these extraordinary images of what they say is Yevgeny Prigozhin's house or one

of his houses in St. Petersburg where police have raided and they have seized gold bars, cash, passport, some with false names with Yevgeny

Prigozhin's photographs and wigs, strangely, which could be obviously used as disguise, weapons as well.

And you know, it all implies that Russia is sort of moving to discredit the Wagner leader, possibly ahead of arrest, although that's not been confirmed


I spoke to the Kremlin earlier today and they said at the moment, they're not commenting on it. But clearly, the deal for Wagner and its leader to be

exiled in Belarus is at the least being renegotiated and that could end very badly indeed for us Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Matthew Chance, CNN, in Minsk, Belarus.


NEWTON: So as you just heard, Yevgeny Prigozhin maybe fast running out of friends. What the Kremlin said today is that they are not in fact tracking

his movements, and that may be cold comfort.

Part of Prigozhin's reasoning for his short-lived rebellion was Russia's insistence that Wagner fighters signed contracts with the country's defense


Today, President Lukashenko said he would impose a similar deal if Wagner troops were in fact to come to Belarus.

Ann Simmons is the Moscow bureau chief at "The Wall Street Journal," and she joins me now.

Really good to have you on this story. I mean, firstly, can you try and make sense of today's developments? Because it could imply two drastically

different scenarios, right? One, that Prigozhin is a marked man or is he a free man? Which is it?

ANN M. SIMMONS, MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Well, it's really an extraordinary turn of events. The very fact that President

Lukashenko came out and said that, you know, Prigozhin is not in Belarus., he is in Russia, was actually quite stunning for many people, because

Vladimir Putin had made clear that he thought that the actions undertaken a couple of weeks ago, this revolt, so to speak, this mutiny was actually

treacherous. It was a betrayal, he said.

He said it was a stab in the back not only to Russian troops, but also to the nation. So it's really the $6 million question right now, where is

Yevgeny Prigozhin?

And it really does kind of shine a light on the fact that there is a level of confusion right now in Russia, in the halls of the Kremlin, they are

trying to very much put a lid on this story, they want it to go away. So in that regard, they're not commenting, they're saying that, you know, what,

we're not tracking his movements, we don't care. It's not our desire. But that in itself speaks volumes.

NEWTON: Indeed, it does, and I want you to try and help us pull the curtain back on what this empire that Prigozhin had put together, what it means?

His power base certainly rested on vast sums of money that he accumulated in what was and perhaps in any way still is one of the most corrupt systems

in the world.

How did this function in the years prior? And what might it morph into now if Putin manages to co-opt it or even dismantle it?

SIMMONS: Well, you know that President Putin came out recently, and actually, for the very first time acknowledge that the Russian state was

actually a funding Wagner and funding Prigozhin.

The company, Wagner Company, as you know, they have mercenaries all over the world, in particular, on the African continent. There are also reports

that they have really big assets, in terms of gold and money all over the world, and certainly, it appears that President Putin has decided that if

Mr. Prigozhin still, indeed is running around Moscow or still wandering around Russia, that he is someone that he probably still needs around. So

this is a really incredible, really kind of stunning set of developments.

Going forward, what we are going to see is, we're going to see the Kremlin try to regain the narrative, try to show that President Putin is still in

charge, and that has definitely been the main course of action for them.

Over the last few days, you saw President Putin come out and speak to Asian leaders at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit, thanking them for

their support. Telling in them that Russians are still united, still consolidated and we're certainly going to hear very much that message, I

understand and I believe going forward.


NEWTON: And before I let you go, could you just describe for people, the insidious corruption that is still part and parcel of the system, and it

really is a system that the Kremlin is slave to still.

SIMMONS: Well, certainly there are reports that, you know, Russia is a very kind of corrupt system that the authorities have allowed this to continue

for years. It is very difficult to peel back the onion and really know the workings of this system, but certainly, there is a lot of what many

analysts have said is dirty money circulating in Russia.

Whether or not that is the case, the Kremlin certainly has denied such allegations. But whether or not that is the case, it certainly shows that

the kind of system that Yevgeny Prigozhin was involved in or still could be involved in is one that remains a mystery and one that maybe the Kremlin

doesn't want to be exposed too soon.

NEWTON: Yes, such a good point there as we await Yevgeny Prigozhin to actually surface somewhere in Russia or elsewhere.

Ann, thanks so much. Really appreciate it.

Now, a Ukrainian city far from the frontlines has become the target of a deadly Russian missile strike. Lviv has declared two days of mourning for

at least five people killed earlier today.

CNN's Ben Wedeman reports now from Ukraine.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Even away from the frontlines, nowhere in Ukraine is safe.

This is the aftermath of a Russian attack in the western city of Lviv. At least five people were killed and dozens injured when a cruise missile

struck a residential building overnight, Thursday.

Ages of the victims ranged from 21 to 95, including a World War Two survivor. Authorities are calling it the most devastating attack on

civilians in Lviv since the war began.

(VIRA LUBIN speaking in foreign language.)

WEDEMAN (voice over): "The Russian say that they are bombing military objects, but they hit a peaceful house. People were sleeping," says Lviv

resident, Vira Lubin (ph). "How could they do it? World, help us."

The nighttime attack smashed the roof and top floors of an apartment building and damaged several others.

Ukraine says the attack was carried out by a Russian KALIBR missile, a long range hypersonic missile that carries a payload of a thousand pounds of

high explosives. KALIBR missiles are extremely accurate and have been used frequently in Russian attacks on Ukraine.

Emergency workers and firefighters had been removing chunks of rubble from the blast site and have evacuated over 60 people so far.

Standing atop the damaged buildings, they continue to sift through the rubble for any sign of life or death.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs says as many as 10 bomb shelters were locked shut in Lviv when the attack happened. An investigation is ongoing

to understand why.

But considering the city's relative safety, the strike was probably a shock for many. In the early days of the war, the city served as a refuge for

tens of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing Russian attacks.

Given its proximity to the borders of Poland, a NATO member, many hoped they would be safer there. But as rescuers continued to clear the rubble

and repair the damage, it's clear no place here is beyond Russia's reach.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Eastern Ukraine.


NEWTON: Okay, coming up for us, New York City is finalizing a plan to fund public transit and reduce traffic.

New Jersey's governor, meantime, says he is lawyering up in response.




NEWTON (voice-over): Hello, I'm Paula Newton. Of course there's more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS at the, moment where in China U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet

Yellen is hoping to repair relations with Beijing.

And a U.S. major study found disturbing levels of forever chemicals in ordinary drinking water. Before that though, these are the headlines this



NEWTON (voice-over): Authorities have reported a drone attack targeting U.S. troops at the Asad base in Syria. No injuries have been reported so

far but damages are ongoing. There have been no one claiming responsibility for the, attack but conflict with Shia militias frequently occurs.

A U.N. peacekeeping force says its working with Israel and Lebanon to prevent further escalation after cross border, strikes Israel says it

struck Lebanese territory in response to an anti tank missile fired from Lebanon.

A Lebanese source says the missile landed in Israel and was likely fired by Palestinian militants.

Former president Trump's aide has pleaded not guilty to charges of obstruction of justice, concealment and the mishandling of classified

documents. He is codefendant in the case against the former president and last month he pleaded not guilty to storing classified records at his Mar-

a-Lago. Residence.

He previously served as a military valet, in the Trump. White House.

OceanGate will suspend its exploration and commercial operations, that's according to its website. The company owned the Titan submersible that

imploded during a voyage to the Titanic in the North Atlantic Ocean last month. All five people on board were killed, including OceanGate's CEO.


NEWTON: U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has started a high stakes visit to China and it comes amid an escalating tech battle between the two

superpowers. Anna Coren has our details.


ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. Treasury Secretary has arrived in Beijing, where she will continue attempts to improve U.S.-China

relations, which have been at an all-time low.

It follows U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken's visit just two weeks ago. Janet Yellen is expected to receive a warm welcome because of her

economic pragmatism. She wants to improve communications and lower the temperature between the world's two largest economies.

Beijing sees her as the voice of reason in the Biden administration, where she has pushed to maintain economic ties with China. She's argued against

tariffs and restrictions on investment in China and while giving testimony to Congress in April --


-- she warned that decoupling would be disastrous.

Her itinerary is yet public but she plans to meet with her Chinese counterpart and other high-ranking officials. But she's not expected to

meet with the Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Yellen's meeting will not be without tension.

The Treasury Secretary has spoken out against China's human rights record and believes American supply chains need to diversify away from China.

Yellen will try to convince Beijing that the U.S. is not trying to harm or contain the Chinese economy by blocking access to sensitive technology,

such as semiconductors, in the name of national security.

Beijing is not buying it. Just this week, China retaliated by announcing it would restrict the export of certain minerals critical for the production

of semiconductor chips, solar cells and other tech products.

A short time, ago we heard from China's commerce ministry, criticizing U.S. restrictions on chip exports to China saying, quote, "The U.S. approach not

only infringes on Chinese companies' legitimate rights but also undermines interests of many countries and regions and will hinder global technology

exchange and trade cooperation.

"This will eventually backfire against the U.S."

At the end of the day, the world's two largest economies are deeply entwined with $700 billion in trade between China and the U.S. each year.

The economic global uncertainty only adds to the importance of the relationship.

China is struggling to reboot its economy post COVID while the U.S. is trying to contain inflation and avoid recession. Economically, the U.S. and

China both need each other -- Anna Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.


NEWTON: OK, we are going to take a look at pictures from midtown Manhattan right, now and this is why. You can see that drivers are lining up to take

the Lincoln Tunnel to New Jersey. And for many of, them their journey is about to get a lot more expensive.

If it was not already, long New York's Metropolitan Transport Authority, MTA, is finalizing a plan for congestion pricing to reduce traffic. We hear

you, London. The tolls will apply to drivers in certain parts of Manhattan. It will be the first of its kind in the United States.

Similar measures of course, like I just said exist in London but also in Stockholm and Singapore. The governor of New Jersey says he is considering

legal action against the New York program. Governor Murphy says it discriminates against New Jersey commuters.

Nathaniel Meyersohn is following this.

This promises to be an epic. Battle but if the idea of, this how revolutionary is this for New York, not just New York but as the governor

points out, the whole tri-state area?

NATHANIEL MEYERSOHN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If you are driving downtown next, year expect to pay a toll in Lower Manhattan, the area below 60th Street.

This would be the first program of its kind in the United States, a landmark program.

Officials in New York are studying proposals, ranging from a tax of $9, up to $23 during the peak hours. Other cities in the U.S. are studying this

very closely to see how it plays out. In Los Angeles, they are very curious to see if this reduces congestion and perhaps we could see this spread

elsewhere in the U.S.

NEWTON: I know that it in places they do want a public transit revolution there and they need some of us to do.

What are the chances that this will actually work given where we may see some legal action?

And what are other cities that are around the world that have this takeaway when United States goes through this example?

MEYERSOHN: What we see benefits in London, other countries in Europe. New York City advocates are really hoping this reduces all of the gridlock in

that bumper to bumper traffic we're used to in Times Square.

Crucially the revenue from the congestion program is going to go toward funding public transit, the MTA in New York, subways and buses, which are

the key form of transportation.

More than 75 percent of trips downtown are through public transit but as we, know those public transit systems in New York are aging. They really

need investment, so this is going to be a crucial revenue source.

Advocates are also really hoping that it's going to open up the streets, add more bike lanes, some of the plazas, the outdoor dining plazas that we

saw during the pandemic. This really could revolutionize New York City, as well as other cities in the U.S.

NEWTON: Many people who commute in and out of New York, would say for that to happen, the MTA needs to up its. Game thank you for the update on. That


NEWTON: Coming up for, us we join conservationists trying to save one of the rarest lizards from extinction. That's next.




NEWTON: This Call to Earth takes us all the way to Bermuda. Our guest editor has worked with some of the largest and most ferocious reptiles on

the planet. Now we will see the work that's protecting one of the Earth's most secretive lizards from the threat of extinction.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): The Bermuda skink is one of the world's rarest and oldest elusive lizards. When Gerardo Garcia (ph) first saw the

species on at Chester Zoo, almost nothing was known about their biology, their habitat or even the difference between males and females.

The solution was to set up a big brother style camera system closely monitoring every movement of the skinks and breeding in Bermuda.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): When we were looking for these females, every single time we lift the rock, we see a female curling round of the

eggs. It has not been seen in the, wild.

These animals live in the limestone under the crevices. You don't see clutches of eggs. So only when you have animals here in a very intensive

care at the zoo, are we able to understand all these gaps of understanding of the biology of the species. This goes back to (INAUDIBLE) species back

in the wild in Bermuda.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Rats, cats and other invasive species have nearly wiped out this skink population on the mainland but on several

of the smaller satellite islands, a tiny population of around 1,500 individuals remain.

MARK OUTERBRIDGE, WILDLIFE ECOLOGIST (voice-over): There are hundreds of near shore islands that forms this satellite chain around the main islands.

They have become our life rafts for species that are becoming threatened in ways that we cannot control.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Gerardo (ph) and his colleague, Mark Outerbridge, are setting traps across the coastal harbor island with the

hope of verifying the size of the surviving skink population.

OUTERBRIDGE: What we aim to do is set the jar at a good 45 degree angle.


OUTERBRIDGE: So that when the skinks come to the edge and commit to going in, when the time comes for them to leave, they cannot get back out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): One hour, later and it's time to check on the traps.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): One there. (INAUDIBLE).

OUTERBRIDGE (voice-over): Oh, yes, we got one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): (Speaking foreign language).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Very nice.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Oh, it's a lovely one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): It's an adult.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): It is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): It has been six years.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is the last skink turban since six years, that's right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Six years and the population's still here. (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Right.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) tail, huh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): I know, there's no scarring.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No scarring, no bites, it looks like it's got all its fingers and toes. Should I get a total length?

OUTERBRIDGE: 21-zero there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): And he has no loss of, tail no mutilation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Over on Castle Island (ph), two more skinks including a juvenile, an encouraging sign that the colony is

continuing to reproduce.

OUTERBRIDGE: I do not think anybody can ever retire and feel like, I don't have to worry about these animals anymore. I think they are always going to

be fragile. It's just a degree of fragility.

I think as long as you can feel that you are a helpful, contributing factor to their slow progression away from the wall of extinction, maybe they are

just now near threatened. Well that's good enough, these creatures deserve to be here as much as we do.


NEWTON: Now to see more, of course, work on Bermuda tune into the full documentary, "CALL TO EARTH: THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION." It's airing this

weekend on CNN.




NEWTON: There's been a lot of talk about how AI could pose a threat to mankind. A U.N. summit in Geneva aims to prove the opposite. The AI for

Good Summit includes more than 3,000 tech executives, academics and international organizations.


NEWTON: And they are exploring the benefits of artificial intelligence. Now the summit is covering many potential uses for AI, including health

care, fighting climate change and bridging digital divides between rich and poor countries.

And attendees are also discussing the governance of AI and ensuring it is used responsibly. Amazon's chief technology officer is a key figure at the

summit. He says previous innovations have in fact transformed the world for the better. And he told our Julia Chatterley that new AI technology will in

fact do the same. Listen.


WERNER VOGELS, CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER, AMAZON: Artificial intelligence, as we call, it is a field of computer science. It has (INAUDIBLE) years

already, you know, things like natural language processing, text to speech, speech to text, translations, summarization. All of these kind of things,

video. And then analytics (INAUDIBLE), forecasting, all of these kind of areas of artificial intelligence are quite mature.

Now the recent launch of some of the newer AI technologies, like generative AI, extremes that we don't know exactly what role is going to play in the

future. They will definitely play a role in that.

But what I talk mostly about is the large number of companies in and around the world, have already been doing in using the current state of AI to

build and renovate. It's helping, for example, we are thinking about sort of, how do we make sure we can feed a global population across the world,

where protein is lacking.

And, where it's hard to actually grow rice for so many people. And, AI no natural language processing, (INAUDIBLE), things like that, play a very

crucial role in that for those companies.

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, I had on my show earlier today, the head of innovation at the World Food Programme. And they are doing an

astonishing amount of things to improve access to nutrition, all sorts of things, which I think we don't talk about enough when we talk about

artificial intelligence, at least for now.

You also discussed the importance of access to data. And actually, without smart, accurate, efficiently labeled, for example, data, the tools that we

have for artificial intelligence in many ways are worthless.

This is a key, fundamental part of the future uses of artificial intelligence. It's also the key to democratize access, I think, to that

data, to ensure that everybody benefits from this, not just a few.

VOGELS: Absolutely. (INAUDIBLE) when we are talking about using technology for good. Not just AI but technology for good. Data plays a crucial role in

that. I mean, all of the AI tools that we have developed in the past, let's say in the last 3-5 years, are useless if we do not have the data to

operate them.

And, if we look at the past, there are what was called structures. That means on the forehand we already knew what kinds of questions we wanted to

ask and then we started to collect that kind of data.

How computing, for example, has helped to make storage costs drive down tremendously. And search organizations can basically store all of the data

that they want at very low cost.


NEWTON: OK, forever chemicals are contaminating nearly half, half of the U.S. drinking water. A government study revealed the estimate and

speculates the true amount of polluted water is even higher.

The chemicals in question are PFAs. That, those are used in countless consumer products. Further research shows almost all rainfall on Earth

contains some levels of these chemicals. And that exceed the safety limits.

Now three U.S. chemical giants recently paid more than $1 billion to settle claims, that they knowingly contaminated water with PFAs. CNN health

reporter Jacqueline Howard has been following all of, this and examining the study force.

And of course, we've got a lot of questions, Jacqueline.

What are these chemicals, how can they impact our health?

And what kind of diseases and conditions are we talking about here?

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this report does raise a lot of questions. I will tell, you the chemicals we are talking about, like

you said, PFAs, They are polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances.

And these chemicals are called forever chemicals because, they break down very slowly. And, as you mentioned, they are found in many common items,

like non stick cooking pans, certain food containers.

And what happened here in the United States, researchers did analyze tap water samples for more than 700 sites across the country. These tap water

samples came from private wells, came from public sources.

And the researchers found, at least 75 percent of samples contained PFA chemicals. And, it turned out that urban areas were more likely to have tap

water with PFA chemicals than rural areas.


HOWARD: And, what we know about PFAs, we know that these chemicals are associated with certain cancers, with metabolic diseases. And there is

ongoing research looking into the public health implications.

And as you see on this map, these are the hotspots, where many of these tap water samples containing PFAs chemicals were found. So the takeaway here,

Paula, this new data really puts in perspective how prevalent PFAs chemicals are in our daily lives. Especially the prevalence here in the

United States.

NEWTON: Yes and no doubt we see the study from United States and international viewers will take note, right. There is that difference

between rural and urban.

Now I want to ask you, what can we do?

I mean, we've been taught tap is best.

Is it true that we should be into bottled water?

And what can we do to filter all these chemicals?

HOWARD: Well, it's interesting. PFAs chemicals have been found in bottled water. But what we can do to reduce our exposure at home, you can use a

carbon filter on your drinking water, on your tap water and make sure to change that filter regularly, of course.

And then, there is as I mentioned, ongoing research into this, public utilities and, here in the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency is

looking into ways that we can reduce our exposure to PFAs.

But the difficult thing with that is, because these chemicals break down very slowly, these efforts will take some time and take a lot of resources.

So that's one caveat here that this ongoing research will require a lot of patience.

NEWTON: Yes, absolutely. A really eye-opening study here, Jacqueline, thank so much for bringing it to us, appreciate it.

Now as always, there is just moments left for trade on Wall Street. We will bring you those closing. Numbers.




NEWTON: So, today's strong jobs report did send markets lower. Investors are worried that it might be more tightening ahead for the Fed. But I must

say, the Dow did claw some of those losses back. Something that's surprised me. Dow is down about 1 percent, Microsoft though, the only real winner in

those Dow components.

Microsoft, Morgan Stanley in fact, thinks AI will take its value above $3 trillion. We shall see.

Chevron though, as we can see, down sharply as well. Confidence in the sector is lower, as Exxon warns of a $4 billion earnings hit. Home Depot

also at the bottom.

That is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'm Paula Newton, the closing bell ringing as we speak on Wall Street. "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" starts right now.