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Quest Means Business

Largest Antitrust Case In Decades Set To Begin; Company Unveils New Watch, iPhone At Event; Officials: Over 5,300 Presumed Dead In Libya Floods; Kim Jong-Un Arrives In Russia; Israel Supreme Court Hears Historic Case; Mt. Fuji World Heritage Site Status Under Threat; India On Pace To Double Foreign Tourism. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired September 12, 2023 - 15:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: The Tuesday session is grinding to a close. There is another hour of trading on Wall Street, but as you can see,

what a fascinating day lower, and then you have sort of a volcano in the middle or a mountain in the middle, and that evaporates by the time all is

said and done. We'll get to the reasons for that in just a moment.

The events that we're talking about, it is the United States versus Google. A landmark antitrust trial began today in Washington.

Time to buy a new iPhone charger. Apple's newest model features the lightning charger for the more widely used USB-C.

And in a marathon hearing, Israel's Supreme Court reviewing a controversial law that impacts its own powers.

Live from New York, Tuesday, September 12th. I'm Richard Quest. Yes, I mean business.

Good evening. We begin tonight with the biggest US antitrust case in decades, which is now underway. The Justice Department says the future of

the Internet is at stake.

Google is accused of stifling competition against its search engine, which the government says controls around 80 percent of the market. The complaint

alleges that Google undermines its rivals by making deals with smartphone makers and carriers.

Google says people use its search engine because it is the best one and they've made it perfectly easy and free to choose another.

Anna Stewart is with me.

We'll get to the issues in just a second, sort of the gravamen, if you will of the case. But the case itself, as someone who is old enough -- me, I'm

talking about not you -- to remember Microsoft, the DOJ versus Microsoft in the 1990s, which was seminal, and ended up as a damp squib at the end of

the century and MySpace and all those other cases. The significance of this, tell me.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: The significance of this one. I mean, if you read the DOJ's opening remarks, this is about the future of the internet.

But certainly, whether you agree with either side, Google is the dominant search engine, particularly in the United States, 90 percent of your

average search engine search is done with Google.

So if anything changes, as a result of this case, it will change how people access and use the internet. So there will be a fundamental shift, and also

will have a bearing on other big tech giants as well, who will be much more concerned I think about monopolies.

QUEST: Okay, the way this has all been done is essentially Google has these sweetheart deals with smartphone makers and computer makers, which says we

are the preferred, we are the one that's given most prominence, but people are quite free to change and clear away and go for something else.

STEWART: They are, and if you like the Google comment from a Google lawyer today in court was -- and if you don't know how to change the default

setting on your phone, which is easy to do, he said, you can search Google for the answer or you can go to YouTube, which is of course also owned by

Google for a helpful video on it.

Listen, this is interesting. The DOJ says that Google is paying $10 billion a year to Apple and other phone providers, browser developers like Mozilla

to make sure it's the default user. Is that illegal, though? And Google today says that they say Apple has repeatedly chosen them because it is the

best experience for users. They say people prefer it.

So at the heart of this case is, has this been done as a way for Google to stifle the competition? And is there a harm at the end of the day to the

user? Because the DOJ says anyone with a mobile device, with a computer has been harmed by this lack of competition.

QUEST: You know, I don't -- I'm not sure I've got a huge -- I don't know where I stand on this and it's not really up for me to stand on anywhere.

But I'm just doing a quick Google search, you know, on browsers that have been killed off.

And Bill Gates', IE, Internet Explorer killed off Netscape back in the day early days of the Internet; and now of course Chrome, I mean it sort of

soared off of Explorer and Microsoft even with all its resources hasn't managed to make huge inroads with Bing.


So I wonder if it's a plague on all your houses?

STEWART: Well, what I find interesting about this case is it's not just the search engine. Essentially, if you have dominance at the level that Google

does with your search engine, you're getting more user data and what does that do? That helps your search engine get even better.

So at what point do you say that the reason that a search engine might be better is because of the lack of competition and this feedback loop that

has been created.

QUEST: Anna Stewart, thank you.

Apple has announced a new watch and the phone at his highly anticipated event earlier. It said the watch will have a faster processing speed and a

better display, and an advanced chip, allowing features such as double tap, meaning you can tap two fingers together to do things like answering calls,

and playing music, you don't actually need to touch the screen.

It also allows the iPhone 15 and several variants of it. It's got a better camera, automatic portrait mode, a titanium case, meaning it's lighter and

stronger. The case takes apparently a long time to create and one of the most consequential features is the new charging port.

So now again, the you have the original, the long one. Apple is ditching its lightning port -- and I've got a lightning one here. Yes, something

that's lying on here. Here you are. Apple is ditching its lightning for the USB-C, which of course is already used on its own computers.

The EU has been pushing companies to standardize chargers so that users don't end up with random piles of different chargers like this. How many

have you got? So as the world is cutting down on e-waste, it is all very significant.

Clare Duffy is with me. Why was it such an uphill battle for Apple since it already uses the USB-C on its computers. Why makes so much fuss?

CLARE DUFFY, CNN BUSINESS WRITER: Yes, Apple for a long time really stood by the idea that it's lightning charger was better and faster and works

better than this USB-C cable, but I think this new EU rule requiring USB-C cables on all mobile devices by next year really pushed the company over

the edge.

But I think, Richard, to your point, I mean, looking at all those cables on your desk, I certainly can relate to that. This is going to be a huge

convenience for consumers. Consumers are now going to be able to charge their Mac, their iPad and their iPhone, let alone other devices from other

device makers, all with the same charging cable. And this comes as Apple is really trying to give consumers a reason to update.

The company posted falling sales in the last three consecutive quarters, and so this company needs to get people to want to buy new iPhones. But of

course, I think a new charging cable alone isn't going to get people to upgrade. So as you said, Apple rolled out a number of additional features

and new updates to the iPhone 15 lineup.

QUEST: And I seem to recall reading, I might be wrong, so please feel free to tell me I'm wrong that the Air Pod, will that still be lightning?

DUFFY: Well, you know, it's interesting, we were expecting an announcement of the new next generation Air Pods during this event and we didn't hear

that. And so I think that is one remaining question whether they will be rolling out new charging cables for the Air Pods given that they didn't

announce a new updated new next generation Air Pods, so I think that is sort of an open question here.

But I do think, this means that it's going to be much easier for consumers to charge all of their other devices using the same cable.

QUEST: But no big killer announcement?

DUFFY: Yes. You know, it's just interesting. This iPhone announcement and new iPhone updates over the last few years have been kind of boring. This

most exciting update in almost a decade is a new charging cable, which is kind of not a very sexy announcement, but --

QUEST: Have you ever lost a pair of Air Pods?

DUFFY: I have not actually. I've hung on to my one pair of Air Pods that I've had a long time.

QUEST: I think that's worthy of -- I need to find out how you did it. I lose mine all the time and then have to buy secondhand ones, the used ones.

Well. I'm impressed. Thank you. Lovely to see you. Thank you.

DUFFY: Nice to see you.

QUEST: It's CNN. Breaking news from Libya: Officials there now reporting a dramatic rise in the number of people who have died from catastrophic


More than 5,000 people are presumed to have died. The eastern city of Derna has seen the worst of the damage. More than 6,000 people are still missing

there alone.

Delivering aid could be complicated by the country's long running power struggle.

Ben is with me. He's in Rome and he is following events. He knows the area extremely well.

Ben, how on earth do you have a flooding situation where you've got weather forecasts et cetera, but the death toll is monstrous.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think, Richard, this is largely attributable to the fact that there is a wadi, a normally dry

river stream that runs through Derna, and two dams upstream.

But what happened was on Monday, the equivalent of eight months of rainfall fell in a single day, filled those dams. These dams weren't very well

maintained as a result of the political instability and chaos that Libya has seen since 2011. The dams broke.

Basically, it sent a tsunami of muddy water right through the city of more than 100,000 people, and what we heard from a spokesman from the Libyan

Army is that entire neighborhoods were washed out to sea, and certainly from the video, that does seem to be the case.

Now, the number there we're hearing now is 5,300 people presumed dead, according to the eastern government's Interior Ministry, but of course,

there are still thousands of people also missing.

So at best, this is a rough, preliminary death toll and we can be fairly confident unfortunately, that the death toll is certain to rise and rise

probably dramatically.

QUEST: I was listening carefully to what you were saying at the beginning of your answer where you talked about because of the political and economic

and military instability in the country, these dams haven't been maintained in that sense.

So are we in a situation where this should not have happened?

WEDEMAN: Well, let's keep in mind that this is really was -- this storm, Daniel was a freak storm. Libya has not sort of experienced a rainfall like

this in living memory. So it was exceptional.

Now if the dams had been well maintained, if perhaps the Libyan governments since there are two at least, were perhaps a little more attentive to

public welfare, as opposed to power and control of oil revenues, perhaps it would not have been so bad, but it's really a deadly combination of

nature's wrath at its worst and man's folly at its most extreme -- Richard.

QUEST: Ben Wedeman, I am very grateful for you, sir. Thank you.

Coming up, Morocco, is coming to terms and to grips with the extensive earthquake damage there. We're going to show you the places that were hit

the worst and as we put it into context, of What it means.



QUEST: The US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is calling for an impeachment inquiry into the president, Joe Biden. The speaker said he is directing

House Committees to look into whether Mr. Biden profited from his son's foreign business deals.

Republican lawmakers have yet to find the evidence the president did anything wrong, but McCarthy says the allegations warrant further


Now, McCarthy himself is under pressure from far-right lawmakers to go on the attack and he needs their support to hold on to his gavel.

Lauren Fox is in Washington.

Lauren, I already saw the White House's response which basically says this is politics at its lowest level, but it was an inevitability that the

Republicans in the House were going to try and stick it to the president.

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was expected later this week to make it clear to his conference

that he supported moving forward with an impeachment inquiry, but what was surprising is how quickly this all came together.

He announced that he was opening an impeachment inquiry led by those three committees that you mentioned around 11:00 AM today. That obviously is

coming the same day that the House of Representatives returns to Washington after a six-week recess.

In some ways, we expected that this would happen by the end of September, but this is happening very rapidly and it's not happening in a vacuum. The

House of Representatives has to fund the government by the end of the month. And so far they have a lot of divisions within the Republican

conference of how to actually move forward.

A lot of Republican senators that we've been speaking to over the last several hours since this impeachment inquiry was announced have argued that

perhaps opening the impeachment inquiry would give Kevin McCarthy a little bit more wiggle room on the spending fight with his right flank.

But just moments after Kevin McCarthy announced he was opening this inquiry, you saw conservatives like Matt Gaetz go to the House floor and

make the case that he was not going to support a clean spending bill, a short term spending bill, and that if Kevin McCarthy tried to bring one

full word to keep the government open, he was going to try and move to oust Kevin McCarthy.

So this just shows you that Kevin McCarthy has a lot on his plate right now when it comes to trying to continue to have the support of his right flank

while also doing the basic work of governing, which is to keep the government open after that September 30th deadline.

QUEST: It's politics as usual. It's messy, dirty, and nasty and you can see why a lot of Americans just simply say, a plague on all your houses.

FOX: Yes. You see a lot of Republicans and Democrats who have argued that, you know, basically funding the government is the most basic job there is

to do. You don't really get points for just doing your job.

But you know, there is really this dramatic split screen that is starting to play out between the House and the Senate. That's because the House is

still dealing with the impeachment inquiry. They are also going to have to figure out a way to move forward with government funding, but the Senate is

moving forward with funding the government on a bipartisan basis. They are taking the initial steps to move a series of spending bills that would

continue funding the government for a year, and they have Republican and Democratic support for that.

So it just shows you that there really are two different ways of governing right now happening in the US Congress. And I think that that is what House

Republicans and Democrats are, you know, sort of struggling to figure out a path forward on right now is that government funding question.

QUEST: Lauren, grateful for you. Thank you.

Rescue workers are scouring the rubble in Morocco's Atlas Mountains. The earthquake was last Friday, entire villages you know, reduced to nothing in

little time. In fact, to find survivors, they are still trying to literally get to some of those places where they were badly hit.

Sam Kiley has visited once such place.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is what remains of the village of Targat (ph). Now the municipality extends up into the hills

way up there, accessible only on foot. Here in the central area, there were 200 homes.


Now across the area, some 88 people were killed, many more of course injured, because at 11 o'clock on Friday night, this is what happened, and

it is similar scenes in every village on every hilltop in this region in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, it's as if giant running downhill has

stamped -- stamped out the life, crushed the futures of the inhabitants of these villages.

Now there is a whiff in the air, mercifully not of dead bodies, but of dead animals. And of course, it's the animals that represent for a farming

community like this, the incomes for the present, the pensions for the future, and indeed, any kind of hope for future education for the younger


Now, we've been talking to people here, and they insist some of them that they want to be able to rebuild, but from the government's perspective,

they're having to go right up into those mountains, into the much more further flung regions, using helicopters to drop aid, going out with

sniffer dogs to try to find out in these last few potential moments of finding survivors under this kind of rubble, trying to identify the

greatest need and that is going to be an ongoing and fraught activity.

And then of course, Morocco somehow is going to recover.

Sam Kiley, CNN, in Targat.


QUEST: What Sam just said there, Morocco has to recover is where we're going to take it next.

Because the earthquake's epicenter was close to some of the country's most important historical sites. And yes, that means tourism.

This is the 12th century Tinmal Mosque south of Marrakech, substantially destroyed by the quake, and many other places feeling the impact, including

the famous walls of Marrakech and major mosques; landmarks that draw in millions of tourists and critical revenue.

So it's the old argument, what do you do in this situation? Do you not go either because you're frightened or you don't want to get in the way? Do

you get a decent amount of time before you go back? Recognizing that's going to make a major difference to the economics of the place.

Vanessa Branson is the owner of the El Fenn Hotel, which suffered some damage from the earthquake. She's with me now from Marrakech.

First of all, I hope that your staff and all who work for you in Marrakech, Morocco were safe.

VANESSA BRANSON, OWNER OF THE EL FENN HOTEL: Yes, thank you, Richard, and thanks for having this opportunity to speak. We were blessed. And actually,

I'd like to make clear that Marrakech, most of Marrakech is in very good shape and we were very fortunate not to be in the epicenter.

We've had some very superficial damage to El Fenn, and all of our guests who were staying with us stayed on. And, you know, once they were reassured

that the building was safe and stayed for the duration of their trips.

QUEST: So let's talk about this trickiness of -- we saw it in Maui, didn't we, with the people sort of complaining that people were swimming off the

coast whilst bodies were still being recovered, and that is not a total analogy, but we always see this question with destinations of when is it

appropriate to rekindle the tourism spark or should it never be doused?

BRANSON: It's such a sensitive and complicated equation to make. I mean, the 80 percent of the people's livelihoods depend on tourism here and if

people stay away, you know then everybody suffers.

The terrible things, the terrible damage that the earthquake has inflicted on the people in the villages in the mountains is beyond our can and Sam

Kiley's description was extraordinary, and he is an amazing reporter, but these were quite --there are in the pockets of the Atlas that actually have

been untouched.

And four days on from the quake itself, the Berber people are quite an amazing people and they've organized themselves. There is, you know,

laughter and support and a great spirit up in the mountains, but the rebuild is going to be terrible. There has been terrible grief, but there's

also a lot of life going on there and a lot of positivity.


QUEST: If we take that idea, I guess, whilst you sort of deal with the crisis, and you want to keep tourism coming, it's a way in which your

company can marry the tourists who are coming and will have a good time with any help that the commercial sector can give in a country that,

frankly, has a very limited social safety as it was.

BRANSON: Yes, we are, every day taking trucks of aid up into the hills. We've galvanized every single bit of special connections that we've got. We

have relationships with some of the villagers.

Obviously, our staff here have relations up in the mountains and we are -- my sons have been going up on a daily basis, delivering help and aid and we

have an ongoing foundation that we're supporting that is going to be very central to hopefully, the rebuild. The rebuilding is going to take time and

the support needs to come on. It can't just stop, it has got to be continuous, you know.

QUEST: Can I just turn to a slightly different subject, again, within Morocco, but it's not just Morocco, it's elsewhere.

One of the things that we have discovered, post pandemic is that we really haven't made much changes when it comes to overcrowding and sustainable

tourism and the number of people turning up in some of the most popular destinations -- Prague, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Marrakech. Marrakech is one

of the most popular destinations, which I find a little depressing.

BRANSON: In what way do you find depressing --

QUEST: That we didn't take the opportunity to really look at ways to improve tourism and the availability of tourism.

BRANSON: From where I'm standing here, things are improving a lot. I mean, the transport systems are improving, the airports are improving. Just on

the ground, restaurants and hotels are improving. I'm seeing people's experience improving a lot.

I mean, obviously you're dealing with a with volumes of people, but again in Morocco, I can't emphasize enough how ingenious the people are here and

how accommodating and how -- just have positive feeling from here.

QUEST: Good to see you, Vanessa. Very grateful. Thank you very much. I'm looking forward -- I think we'll do -- at some point, we'll be in

Marrakech. I don't know when, but at some point, I feel a program coming from your hotel.

BRANSON: I would welcome that.

All the best. Thank you very much.

QUEST: I shall invite myself. Thank you. Right.

Breaking news: It's one of those sorts of days. More breaking news. The chief executive of BP has resigned. The company said Bernard Looney is

stepping down after he disclosed relationships with colleagues before taking the top job.

He became the CEO in 2020. He had vowed to make the company carbon neutral. BP says the company -- the chief financial officer, Murray Auchincloss will

act as interim CEO.

Kim Jong-un's visit to Russia is underway. The West is keeping a close eye on the meeting between him and Vladimir Putin.





QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. Together we have a lot more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. We will be in Israel, where the supreme court is holding a

hearing on the laws that curb its own powers.

And we will see how India's biggest hotel chain, Taj, how revenge travel is helping to drive expansion.

We will get to it all only after I've told you the news because this is CNN. And, here, the news always comes first.


QUEST (voice-over): U.S. police in Pennsylvania said that the convicted killer who escaped from prison is presumably armed with a stolen rifle. The

fugitive was spotted again on Monday night. The escape, almost two weeks ago, has prompted a massive manhunt involving hundreds of officers.

(INAUDIBLE) is thanking the Turkish government and hundreds of rescuers for saving his life. He was trapped inside Turkiye's third deepest cave for

more than one week after he became ill and too frail to make it out on his own. He's now undergoing tests in the hospital.

On the big island of Hawaii, the Kilauea volcano is erupting for the third time this year. However, park rangers of Volcanoes National Park Hawaii

have lowered the alert level to watch instead of warning. Officials say it doesn't currently pose a direct threat to community members.

The football season is over for the New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers. During Monday night's game, he suffered a complete tear of his

left Achilles tendon. The star quarterback was making his debut with the Jets after 18 seasons with the Green Bay Packers.


QUEST: Kim Jong-un's visit to Russia is officially underway. The Kremlin says the North Korean leader is to meet President Putin there in the next

few days. Kim has already met other Russian officials during these rare trips he's made abroad.

He arrives on an armored train, which is possibly headed to Vladivostok. That is where the last meeting between them was in 2019. The concern for

Western nations is that the two leaders could strike an arms deal to help Russia's war efforts in Ukraine. Paula Hancocks is following this story

from Seoul.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kim Jong-un has had his first interaction with Russian officials on his way to meet with Vladimir Putin.

Now we see footage of him getting off his armored train. This is on the Russian side of the border.

We understand that he met with the head of the ministry of natural resources.


HANCOCKS: Also going inside for a sitdown meeting with officials. That was earlier this Tuesday. He is heading north to go and meet with the Russian

president. Still there is no official location or timing on this meeting.

There is plenty of speculation that it could, in fact, be in a place called Vostochny, at a space launch center there. We do know from Russian state

media that Vladimir Putin himself has said that he will go to this area after the economic forum that he is attending in Vladivostok because he has

a personal agenda there.

So this is all speculation as to where exactly the two will meet. But they are expected to meet. One thing, it will have a military focus, a military

flavor to this meeting.

We have been told by Kremlin spokesperson through Russian state media Dmitry Peskov that it will be a full-blown visit with talks between two

delegations and touch upon, quote, "sensitive issues."

The key is who is involved in these discussions. We heard from the Kremlin that the Russian defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, will be in the talks with

Kim and with Putin. We know from footage as well that, within the Kim Jong- un delegation, there is a key military figure, Ri Pyong Chol.

He is considered the leader of the missile program in North Korea. He is sanctioned by the U.N. and U.S. and he is also involved in these


Even though we don't know the location and the timing, we can guess at the topic and it is what U.S. officials are saying, that there could be

potentially an arms deal between North Korea and Russia at the end of this meeting -- Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


QUEST: Israel's supreme court is holding hearings that will decide its own place in the country's judicial system. That's where we will be in a





QUEST: I told you it was a busy day.

Just in to us, Israel's supreme court has concluded its hearings on a law that would curb the court's own powers. This historic case is addressing a

key part of the Netanyahu government's judicial overhaul. The issue is whether the court itself --


QUEST: -- can nullify government decisions it considers unreasonable. The controversial law has triggered months of protests and has drawn the scorn

of former officials, like Avichal Mandelbilt, who served as Israel's attorney general until last year. He warned the law would leave the

government unchecked.


AVICHAL MANDELBILT, FORMER ISRAELI ATTORNEY GENERAL: Nevertheless, we are a very strong democracy. It's only because of supreme court and the attorney

general and their independence (ph). So if you take judicial judges and the rules there, the independence of our supreme court, then we have only one

institution, only the government.

Because of parliament Israeli (ph). So we don't -- so this is a --


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): And -- and --


QUEST: Now Hadas Gold has been following the marathon 13-hour court session. She's in Jerusalem for us tonight.

Not only is it a long session, the whole supreme court, the chief justice, she brought everybody in to hear this one. So I mean they either decide

that the law is valid and therefore our powers are curbed; the law is not valid, therefore our powers are not curbed, in which case there would be a

political or judicial crisis.

Or they foot it (ph).

Which is it?

HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, those are the options they have. There is a possibility that in a few weeks, there have been

reports of Benjamin Netanyahu wants to find a compromise on this entire judicial overhaul.

And that could potentially cause the supreme court to delay their decision in some way. But as it stands tonight, after 13.5 hours of this marathon

hearing in front of a never seen before in Israeli history 15 panel of supreme court justices listening to arguments on their own power, this will

move forward.

There are some details still, the defendants who are the government and the Israeli parliaments have 21 days to send in further comments in writing.

There's a deadline by January for the supreme court to issue their decisions.

But right now, Israel is being set up for potentially a clash of constitutional and judicial proportions Israel has never seen before.

The reason is because, if the supreme court justices rule that this law that took away some of the power to declare government actions

unreasonable, if they say this law should not stand, there is a real question about whether the Netanyahu government will even abide by the


And then there becomes the question of who do the authorities in Israel listen to?

I spoke recently to a former chief of intelligence from Massad, who said there would be a real question for the chief of police if it happens.

Do they answer to the minister of national security or do they listen to the supreme court?

QUEST: Now, if you were -- I know the protests have been noisy and there have been many of them. But put that to one side.

If you were to take a straw poll of the man and woman on the Tel Aviv omnibus, as they used to say, where is the majority on this one?

GOLD: It depends which part of Tel Aviv you're talking about. Tel Aviv tends to be more on the side of being against the judicial overhaul.

When you look at the polls themselves, there seems to be majority who is against this massive overhaul and would prefer a compromise of some sort.

But it seems as though the train has left the station right now. There are reports that Netanyahu wants a compromise.

We have to keep in mind the political realities he's dealing with in his own government. He has far right wing ministers, the justice minister;

these people, if they do not agree to sit with him in government, Benjamin Netanyahu is not in power anymore.

So he has to balance what they are demanding, what his supporters demand, and also the pressures he's facing not only from much of Israeli public,

the protesters on the street, the allies, and as we talked much about here, the economy in Israel.

We've seen the credit rating agencies giving warnings about Israel. We have seen the shekel weakening. Investments into startups here, in the tech

industry, have been suffering as a result of this overhaul.

There's still the big question about how much control does Benjamin Netanyahu really have over the government, as much as he says his hands are

on the wheel?

QUEST: Thank you, Hadas Gold in Jerusalem.

India is enjoying an influx of foreign tourists in 2023. The CEO of the country's largest hospitality group, Indian Hotels Company, is with me

next. And we will talk about how he is keeping up with demand.





QUEST: In Japan, another climbing season has come to an end on Mount Fuji in the post-COVID boom in travel took a spike with the number of visitors,

a problem familiar to us here on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

Overtourism, I was talking about it with Victoria -- I'm sorry, Vanessa, just a short while ago. Kristie Lu Stout focused on local efforts to

control the crowds and their impact on this UNESCO World Heritage Site.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Human traffic jams on sacred Mount Fuji.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very cold, just like a traffic jam.

STOUT (voice-over): An ambulance en route to an injured hiker, litter on the mountainside. It's a side to Japan's popular tourist site that's not in

the guidebooks. But for Mount Fuji ranger Miho Sakurai, it's just another day on the job.

MIHO SAKURAI, MOUNT FUJI RANGER (through translator): There are definitely too many people on Mount Fuji at the moment. The numbers are much higher

than before.

STOUT (voice-over): Famous for its snow capped volcano, Mount Fuji has inspired artists and been a pilgrimage site for centuries. Less than two

hours away from Tokyo, Japan's highest peak attracts visitors globally.

And in 2013 it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Overtourism has become a big problem.

This year, a post COVID tourism boom has brought thousands more hikers to Mount Fuji, according to a Yamanashi prefectural government official. The

environmental damage being done could cost Mount Fuji its heritage status, according to the local government.

MASATAKE IZUMI, YAMANASHI PREFECTURAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL (through translator): Fuji-san is screaming out in pain. We can't just wait for

improvement. We need to tackle overtourism now.

STOUT (voice-over): Volunteer take away tons of trash each year. Climbers are urged to donate $7 to help keep the mountain clean. But not everyone

pays up. And Sakurai says some behavior is even harder to control.

SAKURAI (through translator): People of all experience levels come here, including first timers. We want to prevent accidents, so we give them


STOUT (voice-over): The risk of altitude sickness and hypothermia has been increased by a trend called bullet climbing, where hikers begin their

ascent at night, pushing on until dawn, according to the Yamanashi tourism board.

According to the local government, they start their hike from a place called Fuji's fifth station, where the number of climbers arriving here

from Tokyo has more than doubled between 2012 and 2019.

The local government also says it wants to shift from quantity to quality tourism. It says replacing the main road to Fuji with a light rail system

would be a more sustainable solution.


SAKURAI (through translator): I'd be devastated if Mount Fuji's World Heritage status was taken away. I wanted to have that status forever. So

we'll do our best to keep it that way.

STOUT (voice-over): But with no easy fix in sight, Sakurai will keep doing her bit to protect the mountain she loves -- Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong



QUEST: India is seeing a massive increase in the number of tourists. C visas have helped push it up. The first half, the number of foreign

visitors more than doubled from lower levels due to the pandemic.

To keep the Indian Hotels Company going, it has added more than 50 properties to its portfolio. The iconic brand is Taj Hotels, opening its

100th location this spring -- that is in Mumbai.

The company doesn't plan on slowing down. The chief executive said he's expanding in Europe and Southeast Asia. Puneet Chhatwal is with me.

Sir, it is always good to see you. I am grateful. The expansion, traditionally, when I talk to Taj, the answer has always been, we do the

main international cities. But India is such a large market itself, there is plenty for us to start building at home.

Does that still hold true for you?

PUNEET CHHATWAL, CEO, INDIAN HOTELS COMPANY: Absolutely. Thank you for having me, Richard. India and the Indian subcontinent presents a very big

opportunity for us, especially now, with the kind of GDP growth India is witnessing, with the kind of new destinations the government is promoting.

With the kind of investment the government is putting into the infrastructure development, new airports and approximately 80 new airports

are being built and the source of the train stations.

All of this importance with medical tourism and wellness tourism, spiritual tourism, I think the Indian hospitality landscape is becoming very

interesting for our brands. And we've been experiencing a good level of growth.

QUEST: And what is interesting are the brands and you have lots of them like all hotel companies, different price points and service levels, a

whole variety. But the Taj is the big one, the famous one.

I've always wondered whether the Taj hotels and indeed the group internationally, punches its full weight outside of India. For example, you

have London, you have one in New York and you have the hotels.

But do you think you need to raise the profile of Taj?

CHHATWAL: Absolutely right, Richard. The opportunity is huge, it's not just the crown jewel of Indian Hotels Company but it is the crown jewel of

India. And that is why 2611 is always called the attack on Taj, that horrible act of terrorism.

Having said that, recently we signed a 250 total for the portfolio in Riyadh. We added two more signings in Dacha (ph) and Bangladesh. We will

soon make some announcements in the Western Hemisphere.

And we have been investing a lot of money in upgrading our current assets. That is what brings me to New York. We will do the same here. We will

ensure that it is positioned as an iconic asset for decades to come.

QUEST: It is a beautiful hotel, the Pierre, but I think you and I can both agree it probably -- it is time for a bit of a facelift to the grand old

place on Central Park. I'm sure that you will make a spectacular job at it.

I look at this question of where you open hotels, how you handle sustainability and overtourism. I was talking earlier on the program, we

seem to have missed the opportunity during pandemic to really give some more hard thought. So when we reopened there was not same -- you have

events now, it's like the bad old days.

CHHATWAL: I think it is fair to say that we have been very focused, not just us as a company, we are part of Tatar Group (ph). And Tatar Group's

(ph) commitment to community is unmatched in the world.

And we ourselves launched a very comprehensive ESG+ program called Partir (ph) last year. And we are already ahead of our goals. And these goals are

very ambitious. They are not just centered around our company. For example, we have committed to skill 100,000 youth (ph) in India --


CHHATWAL: -- by 2030, of which 25 percent have to be women. We do not need 100,000 employees. So I think all the focus on renewable energies, the

focus on recycling 100 percent on wastewater and preserving the cultural heritage, the adoption and embracing all the directives of the UNESCO


I think a lot of that work is being done. And it is not something new that we have started. It was always done. The focus is now taking it to the next


QUEST: And I'm grateful, sir, that you came to visit with us today. Thank you so much.

CHHATWAL: Thank you.

QUEST: The markets are set to close lower and the Dow's gains have been wiped out. Bizarre. Goldman is leading. The CEO said on Reuters it should

be a better year next year.

JPMorgan is up, solid day for banks. Chevron will close higher with oil reaching a 10-month high. It's a tough day for tech. Apple is at the

bottom. Unimpressed by what they announced in their various announcements today.

We'll have a Profitable Moment after the break.




QUEST: All right. So that is USB2 to USB-C. This is to lightning -- oh, that's a C. That's a regular one.

Look, this has been -- it's taking too long to sort it out. One of the problems has been Apple and Apple's insistence, pertinacious insistence

that the lightning connector gave better connectivity and greater whatever.

Well now, of course, they have had to bow to the E.U., which has said now, no, bollocks. You don't need to do that. We are insisting that you put in

the USB-C, which, of course, you are using anyway.

And now look, this isn't going to be a panacea for everything. There are still so many appliances that use the USB mini or whatever it's called.

You know what I mean. This little one.

And there will still be some with lightning but it does look as if the USB- C will be the dominant one in the future. And that will give us dropability. It will mean you'll be able to borrow your next door

neighbor's and it will certainly mean when you lose one, you'll be able to get a replacement pretty quickly, which I think is all a good way to end


And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight. I'm Richard Quest in New York. Whatever you are up to in the hours ahead, the Dow looks like it's down.