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Quest Means Business
Unemployment Rate Hits 3.8 Percent As More Workers Seek Jobs; Adani Slams Soros-Funded Interests After Investigative Reporting; Ukrainian FM To CNN: We Are Moving Forward; "X" Says It May Collect Biometric Data; Presale Tickets For "Eras" Tour Move Break Sales Record; Man Jailed In Iran For Protesting Dies. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired September 01, 2023 - 15:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Well, the markets are giving off Friday vibes not a lot of action on Wall Street today. Let's take a look to
see how the Dow Jones is faring right now. We are in the green, up 80 points, that's a quarter of a percent. To the good, it is all about the
labor market. Well, those are the markets and these are the main events: The US labor market is cooling down and that's raising expectations that
interest rates could be on hold.
Typhoon Saola pummels Hong Kong.
And call it the summer of Swifties. The Eras Tour movie breaks pre-sales records at AMC Theaters.
Live from Dubai. It's Friday, the first of September. I'm Eleni Giokos, I'm in for Richard Quest, and this is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
A very good evening. Welcome to the show.
And tonight, the US jobs market is returning to Earth after a post-pandemic boom. Overall, the economy added 187,000 jobs in August. That's a healthy
numbers, slightly more than most economists expected, but it wasn't quite enough to keep up with the number of people entering or perhaps re-entering
As a result, the unemployment rate rose to 3.8 percent. President Joe Biden describing the trend as a good sign for the economy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: More than 700,000 people joined the labor force last month, which means the highest share of working age
Americans are in the workforce now than at any time in the past 20 years.
People are coming off the sidelines, getting back to their workplaces.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: All right, well, CNN economics commentator, Catherine Rampell is with me right now. Great to have you on the show.
Latest figures suggesting jobs market is cooling, but it is still strong and it is still above forecast, so take us through it.
CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN ECONOMICS AND POLITICS COMMENTATOR: Yes, this was generally a pretty good report. As you pointed out, these are not the same
gangbusters numbers we saw as the economy initially reopened, but those were never going to be sustainable.
This reflects a cooling labor market, but still a relatively strong labor market. So I think it's about what the Federal Reserve was looking for in
terms of labor demand coming back in line with labor supply, even if there, you know, are some notes of caution out there in the state of report and
GIOKOS: Yes, okay, so let's talk about the caution. The concern that we're seeing, and I want to talk about any hidden weaknesses that came out of
this report that perhaps is showing us that pressure could be rising.
RAMPELL: So I would mention a couple of different things, one of which is that the too good to be true numbers that we saw in the previous couple of
months were in fact too good to be true, they were revised downward. There are always revisions, but these ones were pretty substantial. Again, not so
much to worry about. These are still relatively steady numbers.
You know, we did see some declines in a couple of industries. Most of those examples were anticipated things like a major trucking industry went out of
business. Hollywood -- or much of Hollywood is on strike, and so you saw employment decline there.
There are other parts of the economy that actually, I think if you want to be worried, those are the things that would cause some worry, things like
delinquency rates rising, for example. But generally speaking, I think the economy has held up relatively well. And the question is, you know, have we
felt the full effect of, for example, the Federal Reserve's rate hikes? Is there more financial tightening that's kind of working its way through the
system that might displace some workers? We don't know. But for now, the numbers look pretty decent.
GIOKOS: Okay, so, you know, look, unemployment has risen. A lot of people still entering the labor market, which is good. So I want to talk about
what segment of the market is actually behind the strength that we are seeing right now.
RAMPELL: Sure. So if you look at the numbers, if you look at the fact that we've had this long run of job growth, longer than many people had
anticipated, it is primarily driven by two groups, one of whom is immigrants, and the other is women. And when I say immigrants, what I mean
is, we had a huge drop off in the foreign born -- in basically the foreign born labor force in the United States, initially around the pandemic,
because borders closed and lots of stringent immigration policies were put into place, much of that has normalized.
And in fact, if you look at the number of foreign-born workers in the United States, today, it's about 10 percent above where it was pre-
pandemic, whereas the native born labor force is relatively flat, and that's partly because native born Americans tend to be older, they're less
likely to be working, they're aging, et cetera. Immigrants tend to be a little bit young -- skew younger and are more likely to be of working age.
And as I said, the legal immigration system also has been somewhat repaired under Joe Biden. The other group that I think has been punching above its
weight is women, that if you look at what is called prime working age women, which is people aged 25 to 54.
So out of traditional college going years and before traditional retirement years, that's around a record high, both for labor force participation and
the share who are actually in jobs, which is remarkable for a number of reasons, including that, as viewers may recall, a couple of years ago,
there all of these fears that the so called she-session, would set working women back a generation.
The disruptions in childcare et cetera were going to disrupt women's careers as well. And instead, they seem to be kicking butt, at least in
terms of their ability to hang on to jobs and to contribute to their families.
GIOKOS: Yes, great news on that front. Catherine Rampell, great to see you. Thank you so much.
I want to turn your attention to this chart. Take a look. US labor force participation has increased over the past year, that could be a sign as
President Biden suggested that more people see this as a strong market for job seekers. It could also be that more people in the US are financially
Now Americans are saving less of their income. In June, the personal savings rate dipped to three-and-a-half percent, a fraction of what it was
during the pandemic. Now, in addition, some COVID era relief programs expire this fall. So that's imminent.
Mark Zandi is the chief economist at Moody's. He joins me now. So great to have you with us to unpack these numbers. Look, job growth clearly losing
momentum, core inflation sitting at 4.2 percent, but is it enough right now to stop the Fed in its tracks?
MARK ZANDI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY'S ANALYTICS: Yes, I think so.
You know, obviously, it is difficult to predict what the Fed is going to do, but my sense is that they have all the evidence they need to stop
increasing rates, at least at this point in time. So you mentioned the job market, job growth is slowing. That's consistent with a pause in increasing
Inflation is still high, but it is moderating here nicely, quickly moving in the right direction. All the trend lines look good getting inflation
back to the Federal Reserve's target. So another reason for the Fed to pause.
And then of course, there's the problems -- ongoing stresses in the banking system, you know, things are have stabilized there. But there's still a lot
of pressure given the interest rate hikes.
So you add it all up, I think it strongly argues for the Fed to pause its interest rate hikes and I suspect that's what they will do.
GIOKOS: Okay, so I want to talk about something we mentioned a short while ago. Savings rates dropping, I mean, compared to what we saw during the
pandemic, reality is people weren't spending because of the uncertainty and because of lockdowns.
So saving rates are sitting at relatively low levels relative to what we saw earlier. COVID era relief programs also coming to an end. Is this a
worrying sign for you in terms of the health of the American consumer right now?
ZANDI: No, I don't think so. I think what American consumers are doing are they're using the extra savings they built up during the pandemic. Now,
low-income households have largely blown through that extra savings, so they are under more financial stress, but middle income households, high
income households where the bulk of the spending is done, they still have a fair amount of cash sitting in their checking accounts.
And so what they're doing is they're using that extra cash to maintain their spending, keep the economy moving forward. And of course, that's
depressing the current saving right now. This can't continue forever. You know, at some point, the excess savings, the extra saving will be used up.
But at this point, up until this point, they still have that extra cash. And you know, they have done a marvelous job, consumers in aggregate, you
know I'm painting with a broad brush here across the board. They are calibrating their spending to, they're not spending with a band, and
they're not out, you know, hair on fire spending. They're spending just enough to keep the economy moving forward without generating inflationary
So, so far, so good. I think that the low saving rate is not a matter of concern.
GIOKOS: Look, I mean, a lot of people asking me if the two percent inflation target rates is even viable after a COVID world, but I want to
talk about -- I mean, we're seeing unemployment rising, right? But we are seeing people entering the jobs markets as well.
This notion of keeping rates higher for longer, but also trying to balance a potential soft landing, making sure that we don't see more pressure on
things like the banking system, which you mentioned, is the Fed in a position now to make sure that it stabilizes things, and watching this
closely enough to know went to pause, hike, and perhaps start cutting?
ZANDI: Well, I think so. I mean, I think they are threading the needle. You know, as you point out, they have to raise rates high enough, fast enough,
long enough to quell inflationary pressures, but not so high so fast so long that it undermines the economy, pushes us into a recession. So that's
a tricky balance, and of course, you could go back six, twelve, eighteen months ago, a lot of economists thought that that would end us in
recession, that they wouldn't be able to pull this off.
But at this point, increasingly, it feels like that they will be able to do it. They're getting some benefit from the fading inflation resulting from
the end of the pandemic and its impact on supply chains and labor markets, the impact of the Russian war on Ukraine on oil prices, that's all fading,
so that's helping out.
So, there is still a script to be written here and things could go wrong, but at this point, they feel -- the Fed feels like it's threading the
needle just right.
GIOKOS: Exactly. I mean, there are so many things that are out of their control, right, in terms of what we see on the global front.
Mark Zandi, great to have you with us. Thank you so very much for joining us today.
All right, so Indian billionaire, Gautam Andani's company is lashing out over an investigation that alleges secret offshore operations are used to
boost its share price. Adani accused Soros-funded interests of being behind the reporting from the OCCRP.
Now the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, the OCCRP says it gets four percent of its funding from Soros' Open Society Foundation. It is
also backed by the US State Department and British Foreign Office.
The research was shared with "The Guardian" and "The Financial Times," CNN has not reviewed the research directly. We do have Anna Stewart with us to
explain what is going on. Anna, great to see you. What is the substance of this investigation?
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: So the OCCRP have essentially been investigating some of these allegations that were made right at the
beginning of the year by Hindenburg Research, the US short seller which accused the Adani Group, this massive Indian company of stock market
manipulation and fraud.
In fact, they said that the founder of Adani was pulling off "the largest con in corporate history," their quote, not mine. You can see what that did
for the share price of this group over the year, it absolutely plummeted. You can see where the report came out and how the reaction was.
Now this week, the OCCRP claims to have unearthed documents which they have shared with "The Guardian" and "The FT" that are files from multiple tax
havens, bank records, and internal Adani group e-mails.
So they're saying that the documents and the evidence within those backs up some of these allegations of stock market manipulation and fraud and just
to use one of the examples that is in both "The FT" and "The Guardian," they say that they have tracked down essentially some of the people behind
the investment vehicles and offshore tax havens that were trading the Adani stock.
Both outlets report on to specific gentleman who were close associates of the Adani family, and they say that they controlled at least 13 percent of
the free float of three of the four Adani companies that were listed at the time.
Essentially what this boils down to is this idea that the Adani family indirectly and unknown to anyone had far more control over the Adani stock
price than would be allowed under Indian market regulations, under laws, and of course raises this big question about stock market manipulation.
GIOKOS: All right, so Anna, in terms of the research that has come to the fore now, how is the Adani Group responding?
STEWART: Yes, important to get their response, I think. So the Adani Group has said they categorically reject these recycled allegations.
You may remember their response earlier in the year to the allegations that first came out from Hindenburg where they said they were a lie, and they
also said they were an attack on India, and that brings us to the other really interesting part of the story is, what is the response from the
Indian market regulator and the government?
So SEBI the market regulator did launch an investigation into the Adani Group earlier this year it's ongoing.
We found out from Reuters this week. They believe that SEBI is nearing the end of its investigation, that they've told the Indian Supreme Court that
it should be wrapped up soon, so perhaps we'll hear from them.
The allegations today from "The Guardian," specifically using some of the documents that have been unearthed from the OCCRP are that the government
regulators, including SEBI were aware of stock market irregularities regarding Adani as far back as 2014.
We've had similar allegations before, the Adani Group have denied them. We haven't heard from them today. And then, Eleni, there's a big question
about a response from the Indian government.
Now, opposition lawmakers have really been pointing the finger at India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that he has been silent on this matter
and they blame favoritism because he is widely believed to be good friends with the founder of the Adani Group, something the ruling party denies, it
is something the Adani Group denies.
But I think until the market regulator wraps up this investigation, I don't think maybe we'll get much response from the government, but that's
certainly the next stage, I think, of the story.
GIOKOS: Anna Stewart, thank you so much.
Next up, Typhoon Saola lashed Hong Kong, which is under the highest alert possible, and it's not the only powerful storm in the region. Full details
coming up next.
GIOKOS: Welcome back.
Now Ukraine's Foreign Minister tells CNN that its counteroffensive is not failing, but moving forward. Ukrainian forces say they've penetrated
Russia's first line of strongholds in the Zaporizhzhia region that would bring them closer to the fortified trenches along the southern front.
We're also learning more about the surge in drone strikes on Russian soil. Kyiv says, this week's attack on an airbase near the Estonian border was
launched from inside of Russia.
When he sat down with Christiane Amanpour, Ukraine's Foreign Minister said it is vital to recognize the signs of progress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DMYTRO KULEBA, UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: If Ukraine was failing, I would probably be the first one to speak the truth. But we are not failing, we
are moving forward. We have liberated dozens of square kilometers of our lands through minefields with no air coverage.
How does it feel when you come back from your mission and you take back your phone you'll open it and you start reading all the smart people saying
how slow -- how slow you are and that you're not doing well enough.
You just lost two of your buddies, you were almost killed. You crawled one kilometer on your belly, demining the field, you sacrificed yourself. You
took the damn Russian trench in a fierce fight, and then you read someone saying, oh guys, you're too slow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: Well, this new wave of drone strikes against Russia marks a new phase in this war, and as Matthew Chance reports, it's one the Russian
government would rather see, rather it's people not see. Take a look at this.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Barely a night passes now, when Russians somewhere aren't shaken by powerful drone
attacks. This recent barrage hitting an airport in the city of Pskov, some 400 miles from the Ukrainian border.
Russian air defenses spread thinly, unleashes firepower but faced with a major upsurge in drone attacks, there were just too many targets to defend.
Russian officials say at least four military cargo planes used to transport troops and equipment to the war zone with damaged.
Footage of the burning aircrafts suggests destroyed a significant blow to Russian logistics.
On Russian state TV controlled by the Kremlin, the drone strikes are barely mentioned. Instead, the focus is on Russia hitting Ukraine and targets
being struck across the frontlines by Russian forces, but the Kremlin can't hide what's happening.
Russian civilians like these in the Briansk region are sharing videos online.
This family were congratulating their daughter on her birthday as the drone strike's thud close by. "Stop the music," she tells her mom. "That's the
fourth explosion," she says.
(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE speaking in foreign language.)
CHANCE (voice over): Security footage in Briansk near the Ukraine border, you can hear one of the drones before it hits. Russian officials vowed a
Moscow's revenge attacks are no match for carefully planned strikes on targets picked to cause maximum disruption.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language.)
CHANCE (voice over): And to force Russians to see their Ukraine war coming home.
Matthew Chance, CNN, London.
GIOKOS: Well in Hong Kong, Typhoon Saola is departing the city where flights have been canceled, trading was suspended, and daily activities
ground to a halt.
It is early morning there and it will likely be a very rough few hours ahead. Recent gusts have been blowing up to 140 kilometers an hour. That's
nearly 90 miles an hour.
For now, Hong Kong remains under the highest typhoon warning possible. It is a rare T10. Dozens of shelters have been opened and authorities say at
least three people have been injured.
Ivan Watson has more.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is Super Typhoon Saola, it is currently pounding Hong Kong.
It has been classified as a T10 storm. That's only the fourth time since the year 2000 that Hong Kong has seen a storm of this strength come
through. The authorities have issued a warning for people to take cover, stay away from windows.
And now as it skirts past this port city, we can see downed tree branches. We've seen some street signs come down. And right here where we are right
now, this is called Causeway Bay. So it's one of the busiest normally shopping districts in the city. And as you can see on a Friday night, there
are a handful of people walking around, but it's almost completely deserted.
Schools were closed, hundreds of flights canceled. And this storm is also impacting the broader Pearl Delta, a very densely populated area not far
from here and the city of Shenzhen with a population more than 13 million people. The airport was closed there on Friday and the authorities are
predicting a storm surge several meters above the usual high tide mark, which is approaching in the coming hour.
So, a very, very serious storm in a city that is no stranger to very powerful tropical typhoons.
Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.
GIOKOS: All right, Chad Myers is at the World Weather Center with the very latest. We just heard from Ivan Watson there, a T10 storm. It is very rare.
I want you to take me through what you're seeing right now.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, right now, the storm has moved away from Hong Kong. That's the good news. And the central core winds are really
moved away as well.
We're probably down to the biggest gusts I can find, somewhere around 100 to 120 kph and the storm has lost an awful, awful lot of intensity here,
because it's actually interacted with the landfall. And the landfall is what caused it to be less powerful, and that's certainly unfortunate.
But the next storm is on the heels of it, not going to land in the same place, but it is certainly going to be a significant storm for Taiwan. So
here it is, 215 kph. I'm sure it is much less than that right now, but the hurricane, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center will update that number in
about one hour, so we'll have an update as soon as that comes in.
There you go though, the storm has obviously lost, the eye intensity lost an awful lot of wind, but it is still raining in some spots. Look at these
wind gusts, 181 was the official highest gust.
Here is the radar where Hong Kong, way back here, we have now moved this well off toward the west, but the winds have shifted onshore. And so now
all of a sudden, you could still see that coastal flooding, the erosion and water pushed onto land. It is going to be a 75 kph storm in about 72 hours
just because it's interacting with drier air interacting with the land, and that's the reason why we're not going to see this getting any stronger.
So here it is. This one will get stronger though. Take a look at what's here. That is Taiwan. This is going to be a wind event, 160, I think
probably will be the highest gust.
But we have mountains here. This is a very topographical place and there's going to be significant rainfall and I'm talking about 500 millimeters in
But notice how large the white area is, how much rainfall is white, which is 500 or more that is going to have to run off. That's 18 inches of
rainfall that is going to come down in the next 48 hours or so. And that's going to run downhill cause mudslides, landslides, and all the like.
Most of it will be on the spine of the mountains here on the east side. A lot less population on that side than on the west side, but there is going
to be some significant damage when it comes to runoff, flash flooding, mudslides and the like for Taiwan for sure.
GIOKOS: Wow. All right, Chad Myers, thank you so much. Great to see you.
MYERS: Good to see you.
GIOKOS: Well, Donald Trump's election interference trial is set to be televised and we will tell you what the judge is allowing and why Trump is
trying to get the case moved. That's coming up next.
GIOKOS: Hello. I'm Eleni Giokos. And there's more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment when the social media site formerly known as Twitter says it may
collect biometric data from its users.
And Taylor Swift's Eras Tour just broke a new record, this time at the box office. Before that, the headlines this hour.
An Iranian man who was jailed for protesting last year has died after reportedly having a seizure. 31-year-old Javad Rouhi rookie was awaiting a
new trial after being accused of burning public property and the Koran. Human Rights Watch calls his death suspicious saying he had been tortured
after his arrest. His body was turned over to his family for burial after being sent to medical examiner.
News reports in Morocco Sale. Algerian officials shot and killed two men riding jet skis off the coast of Algeria. A family member who witnessed the
shooting says the two were on holiday at a resort in Morocco and had gotten lost. The border between Algeria and Morocco has been closed for decades.
Pope Francis is now in Mongolia. A largely Buddhist country. The Vatican hopes his visit will help improve difficult relations with China. The Pope
shook hands with Mongolian officials and Catholic leaders after arriving at the airport on Friday. His first event is set for Saturday.
So, we have new developments in the Spain Football scandal. The manager of the men's national team has apologized for applauding a defined speech made
by Luis Rubiales last week. In it, the now suspended Spanish football chief said he would not resign and attacked what he called fake feminism. It was
in reference to the ongoing backlash against his forcible kiss of Jennifer Hermoso at the head end of the Women's World Cup last month.
The Global Football Players Union has issued a statement in support of Hermoso saying, "We have had enough." Atika Shubert is in Madrid with more.
It feels like the walls are closing in on Spanish football, you know, leaders and it's just fascinating to see the backlash and the response,
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, there's been national outrage over this. And so, the fallout is touching not just Rubiales but
also those in the federation, but especially those men who applauded his defiant speech refusing to resign. However, it does seem that he survives
another day. And that's because just a little less than two hours ago, the independent sports tribunal ruled that he would open investigation at the
government's request to look -- to look at the be -- his behavior at the World Cup.
But only on the condition that these were -- these complaints such as the unwanted kiss and other complaints were, "serious offenses." Now, that's a
very important legal distinction, because the government can only interfere in Spain with these kinds of sports disputes, if these offenses are
considered very serious offenses or very grave offenses. So, the tribunal by saying listen, these are not as serious. These are not very serious.
These are simply serious offenses, basically has prevented the government from interfering in the case and prevented the government from suspending
Rubiales immediately. So, the only thing that the government can do at this point, according to the Minister for Culture and Sport, is urge the
Tribunal to suspend him immediately.
So that means it's all in limbo even though he's ineffective as the president, FIFA has already suspended him in terms of officially holding on
Luis Rubiales still remains, in effect the president of Spain's Football Federation despite the public pressure from the streets, Eleni.
GIOKOS: Yesh, exactly. The public pressure is what might move the needle it seems going forward. Atika Schubert. Great to have you with us. Thank you
Now to the U.S. state of Georgia. Judge has okayed the broadcast of Donald Trump's election interference case. The ruling will allow people to watch
court proceedings both online and on TV. That decision is subject to change. And it won't apply for any parts of the case that are moved to
federal courts. That's a critical detail as multiple defendants including Donald Trump are lobbying to get their cases moved to federal courts.
Oliver Darcy is in New York for us. Oliver, great to have you on the show. Just how significant is this decision to potentially have the trial being
OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: It's huge. It's going to be easily the most watched trial in history. And it's important that the public gets
to see exactly what's going on here. I mean, these are going obviously serious charges against the former president of the United States dealing
with the 2020 election. And so, live streaming this on YouTube, allowing that to be televised will allow the public to see the evidence that
prosecutors lay out against former President Donald Trump.
And I think that's going to help stem the flow of misinformation that might come from the courtroom. Of course, conspiracy theories, they thrive in the
void of information. And so, allowing the public to watch this in real time, allowing newsrooms to have access to video so they can do fact
checks, so they can dispel falsehoods. I think that's important. It's going to help clean the public discourse.
Because there's going to be a lot of inflame tensions around watching the former President Trump on trial. Let's hope that misinformation and that
sort of thing can be kept in check. And if video plays a role in that, which I think it will, I think that's important.
GIOKOS: So, do you think this is going to be in the benefit of Donald Trump to have this broadcast? Because you'll have to be very careful in terms of
what he says.
DARCY: Yes. I don't think he's -- this is going to be in his benefit. I know that there's some -- there's some people who think that maybe the high
drama would be helpful for him. But I think it's going to be difficult because he's going to be in a court of law where he's forced under oath to
tell the truth and where he's not running the show, a judge is running the show. It's a judge's courtroom. And so, he's going to be bound by rules.
He's going to be forced to tell the truth.
And I don't think those are -- that's the environment that Donald Trump thrives and Donald Trump thrives when he controls the cameras, when he
controls the narrative. Not when he's in someone else's court.
GIOKOS: Yes. Oliver Darcy, well said, thank you so very much. Now after the break, X is looking to collect data like fingerprints and face scans from
its users. And it says it's for security reasons. We'll be back right after this.
GIOKOS: Paris has officially ended its five-year affair with electric scooters. A law went into effect today after voters decided to ban shared
e-scooter rentals. The ban passed with nearly 90 percent of the votes. The turnout was very low. The referendum was held in April after hundreds of e-
scooter related accidents last year. And the scooters strewn across sidewalks threaten accessibility.
Paris is scheduled to hold the Paralympic Games in less than one year. And that's bringing increased focus on how accessible the host city actually
is. CNN's Jim Bittermann went around the city to investigate.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR EUROPEAN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): With less than a year to go before Paris hosts the next Paralympics, officials have
been showing off how much work has been done with President Emmanuel Macron having promised 1.5 billion euros.
To assure the accessibility of the competition to athletes, visitors and tourists. But accessible is a word scoffed at by some disabled like Franck
Maille. Go for a tour with Maille. A Paralympic medal winner himself on Paris' most accessible public transport systems and you see the problems
which face the 350,000 disabled visitors expected to attend next year's games. When Maille comes into the city for instance, he uses a renovated
train line equipped with elevators making it accessible but he points out not accessible without help.
And while there are elevators that are sometimes hard to find, or not functioning, as a disabled British visitor found out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of the lifts were broken. Every single one.
BITTERMANN (voiceover): And if the most modern subway line has problems, the 13 other older lines with a famous Paris Metro is simply impossible for
disabled users. While the Metro system is no doubt, the most efficient way to get around Paris, it was built more than a hundred years ago, and most
of the stations are like this one, not accessible to anyone who can't go up and downstairs.
The Metro system is gradually making improvements. Officials don't believe that more than 14 percent of it will be wheelchair accessible by 2024 in
the Olympic games. Just by comparison, Tokyo system was 90 percent accessible for the last Olympic games. Even the mayor of Paris admits there
ANNE HIDALGO, MAYOR OF PARIS (through translator): The Metro, which is very ancient cannot be made totally accessible.
BITTERMANN (voiceover): But the mayor quickly pivots to the brand-new tramways built a ground level, which shouldn't be a problem for those in
wheelchairs. And she points out the buses, which are being renovated and equipped with ramps, but the disabled who actually use the buses say, it's
not that simple.
FRANCK MAILLE, APF FRANCE HANDICAP (through translator): Because for example, sometimes the extendable ramp doesn't work or the drivers don't
know how to use them.
BITTERMANN (voiceover): While the mobility issue remains a priority, there are others, housing for instance, the tens of thousands of hotel rooms and
short-term apartment rentals in the city's historic buildings, only a tiny fraction are fully usable by people in wheelchairs. And there is the
further question of access to the bar of the bathrooms in small businesses. There are part of the Paris scene. Despite the challenges Maille is still a
big supporter of next year's games.
MAILLE (through translator): What I say to people is come, come to see Paris. That's clear, you know, but don't be surprised that Paris is not
more accessible. That it's not the best of the best because there's still so much work to be done.
BITTERMANN: Maille and other disability rights activists were hoping the games could transform, not just infrastructure, but also attitudes toward
the disabled. Yet with less than a year ago before the games they say that looks increasingly doubtful.
Jim Bittermann, CNN Paris.
GIOKOS: X formerly known as Twitter is looking to collect biometric data from users. The platform updated its policy so it could use such info which
typically includes things like fingerprints and facial scans. It says it's doing so to verify identities and increase user security.
The new policy notes that people have to consent to have this data collected. X also wants to know your employment history. The platform says
it will use that info to recommend jobs and help employers find candidates. Interesting. Clare Duffy is with me to explain a little bit more. I know
that, you know, X or Twitter has the sort of end game to become a mega app. But the question I have is how are they going to collect my biometric data?
They would basically have to work with things like Apple and other devices, essentially.
CLARE DUFFY, CNN BUSINESS WRITER: Yes. So, the company clarified for us what it means by that. X plans to give its premium subscribers the option
to submit a government ID and a selfie. And it will use the biometric data from those things to help pair accounts to real people. The company says
that this will help prevent impersonation and in general, keep the site more secure.
So as you said, this is something that users not only are going to have to opt into, but they're actually going to have to provide the company this
information in order for it to use their biometric data. The company also says it plans to collect as you said educational history, employment
history, and an effort to recommend job listings and to better target advertisements. And while again, this is all opt in for users for now.
I think it does, you know. And I also should say that a lot of these things are things that other social platforms also collect. But I do think this
gives us some interesting hints about Elon Musk's potential plans and possible features for this X everything app that she wants to create.
GIOKOS: OK. That's really interesting. But it has to be with consent. And you would have to submit this data on your own. What is the likelihood that
people would want to do this? And what benefit is it to the consumer? For X, it's pretty clear in terms of getting this kind of data.
DUFFY: Yes. I mean, I think for the consumer, I think X would say, you know, it can better target advertisements. It can point you to job
recommendations, it's got these services and these features that it wants to provide to users. In exchange for this kind of information when it comes
to biometric data. There have been a lot of concerns that there are lots of bots and scams on X on Twitter previously.
And so, X is saying that this is going to help it keep the platform more secure and help reduce some of that inauthentic activity. But I do think
this is a really good reminder for users just to be aware on all social platforms of the kinds of information that they're handing over to
platforms, and how that data might be used.
GIOKOS: Yes. That's really interesting. I mean, you're scaring me in so many ways right now. Because it comes down to trust in terms of, you know,
what the social media platforms are doing with your data. But I guess biometric data, for me takes it to a sort of different level and relative
to the kind of data that I'm willingly offering or willingly offering up right now.
DUFFY: Yes, it is a really good question. I mean, our biometric data is it's literally -- it's our face, it's our fingerprints, it feels so
personal to us. And so, I do think it's interesting that X is now planning to try to get users to hand over that information and consent to this. I
also think it's sort of interesting timing here, X didn't come out and say this was related. But this disclosure comes after the Digital Services Act.
The E.U.'s new law that applies to big tech companies went into effect last Friday. And one of the things that law requires is for big tech companies
to increase transparency about the kinds of data that they're collecting from users. So, I think this could be in part sort of related to that. The
company is trying to be transparent about what it plans to collect from users.
GIOKOS: Brilliant stuff. Thank you, Clare Duffy, much appreciate it. Well, it's been anything but a cool summer for Taylor Swift. The pop stars
concerts have been breaking records all season now her upcoming movie has done the same. We'll be right back after the short break.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're about to go on a little adventure together and that adventure is going to span --
GIOKOS: Taylor Swift dominated stages, the summer now she's smashing records at the box office. The Eras Tour concert movie sold $26 million in
pre-sale tickets on Thursday. According to AMC theaters, the most ever in a single day. Spider- Man: No Way Home held the previous record at $17
million. Taylor's -- Taylor Swift's movie pass that in just three hours. And deadline is reporting that including sales from Cinemark and Regal pre-
sales numbers are above $37 million.
These are big numbers. Anthony D'Alessandro is deadlines editor director and box office editor. He joins me now from Los Angeles. So great to have
you with us. Forget about, you know, creating blockbuster movies. All we need is Taylor Swift. This isn't the work of an antihero. She is shaking
things up. Take me through these numbers and whether, you know, we could have forecast this kind of incredible sales.
ANTHONY D'ALESSANDRO, BOX OFFICE EDITOR, DEADLINE: Well, it's something I mean, what a wonderful tale. Here you have a situation at the Fall Box
office. The actor strike is going on. Hollywood studios are moving. Movies off of the schedule like there's -- like this in day of film challengers,
in June part two and all of a sudden, you have this movie circuit that's on the brink of bankruptcy, AMC.
They surprise us. They make a deal with the Swift family for the Taylor Swift's New Eras concert film. They date it in the middle of October,
October 13th. 13 is her lucky number. And, you know, we're thinking, you know, I'm talking to sources yesterday, we're wondering, you know, what is
this -- what could this do? What could this possibly do? You know, other concert films recently, like even the Billy Eilish one live at O2, it's
like single digits.
It was nothing. They played for one night, they play for one weekend, pre sales on this explode. It was at 10 million yesterday, it grew to 37
million. You know, for all the circuits today. Now we're projecting the film is going to open to at least 70 million which is more than some of
these other concert films from Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber that they do in their whole lifetime.
It's just an amazing tale for the box office and just -- especially after Barbenheimer just reconfirms the whole communal experience of the box
office and theatrical.
GIOKOS: Yes. Who would have thought, right? COVID really made us lose hope in terms of what the future of theatres might be. But she's been able to
cause inflation will the fans have, you know, tremors because there's just so many fans. We've just -- I mean, frankly, just -- her impact is so
enormous. Could she help save ailing theaters? I mean, do you think that she's capable of doing this?
Because frankly, just -- even this model that hasn't been done before is pretty extraordinary.
D'ALESSANDRO: It is. It is. You know, they went direct -- apparently other studio's bid on this concert film, but the family wanted to deal with AMC
directly. Not only do they have direct, you know, there's some revenue share going on but they get to control the marketing.
I mean, Taylor Swift has like close to a half billion followers on social media. You know, do -- if you want to talk about the marketing campaign,
she put up like one post on social media on Instagram and on Twitter, and there's your marketing campaign. And so, you know, as far as saving it,
it's definitely going to fill the void at the Fall Box office. I mean, with some of these fall films moving off, you're looking at a loss of at least
something like $300 million, you know, with something like doom two off the schedule. Taylor Swift's here to save the day.
GIOKOS: Yes. I mean -- and look, Ticketmaster crashed because it was just, you know, just such demand for these tickets. So, there's a couple of
things I want to know. Have you bought a ticket? And secondly, I find it fascinating because so many people couldn't actually afford to go to an
actual show. So, they're going to the theater, but you can, you know, just be real with me. It's a safe space.
D'ALESSANDRO: No, I know, I know. Well, I will say I'm not a Swifty but I have, you know, jumped on the spin cycle to take it off. The, you know, a
couple of my co-workers were very lucky they got tickets immediately. But I've heard it's really hard to get them. And the other thing here is AMC
set up a separate web portal to accommodate business on this. To take care of business. They're adding show times, you know, in response to the Taylor
Swift concert film coming on the schedule, universal moved its reboot of Exorcist.
If they were going -- it was going to open on the same date as Taylor Swift. They're now going earlier.
GIOKOS: Yes. Got you. So, you're not one of the 53 percent of the U.S. adults that identify themselves as fans of Taylor. That's a pity. I wish
D'ALESSANDRO: Yes. I'm --
GIOKOS: -- fan would I understand. All right. Got You. Sir, great to have you with us. Thank you so much.
D'ALESSANDRO: Thank you.
GIOKOS: Well, there are moments left to trade on Wall Street. We'll have the final numbers and the closing bell right after this.
GIOKOS: No wild swings on Wall Street after today's jobs report. The Dow falling through the morning. It's managed to stay in the green though as
you can see up three-tenths of a percent. 119 points to the good.
Well, that is it for QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'm Eleni Giokos. The closing bell is ringing on Wall Street. And "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper is up next.
Have a fantastic weekend.