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Quest Means Business

NYCB Gets A Billion-Dollar Lifeline; Haley Suspends Candidacy, Sets Up Biden-Trump Rematch; State Department: US Will Continue To Hold Houthis Accountable; Russia Attacks Odessa During Zelenskyy And Greek PM Visit; Interview With Ukrainian Trade Representative Taras Kachka; Interview With Ethiopian Airline CEO Mesfin Tasew. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired March 06, 2024 - 15:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: There's an hour to go of trading on Wall Street, and if you look at the chart, you'll see the gains that were

really quite good over lunchtime have now all sort of evaporated, now just up 17 points. You get what I mean? How's that going to proceed over the

next hour? Who can tell, but the markets are what they are and the events, well, these are going to be affecting the markets.

Further turmoil in the US banking sector. The shares in the New York Community Bank have halted as it seeks a financial lifeline.

Nikki Haley bows out of the 2024 election race. She doesn't endorse Donald Trump.

And as Boeing production problems continue to mount, the Ethiopian Airlines chief executive on why he is buying up to 20 new large Boeing jets.

Live in New York, Wednesday, March the 6th, I'm Richard Quest and I mean business.

A good day to you.

We begin tonight with a billion dollar rescue of a New York bank and a warning from the Central Bank that the US sector might be vulnerable.

Shares in New York Community Bank are just barely ahead. They had fallen more than 40 percent this morning on the reports that the bank was seeking

a cash infusion. Trading was halted for volatility pending the news.

Now as you can see, the shares have come back, but that's because the exposure to commercial real estate has been a huge concern for both

investors and rating agencies.

The shares have come back because of the prospect of either government bailout, or other money coming into New York Community Bank or some form of

rescue that will protect savers.

At the same time, the Federal Reserve, the Central Bank, has warned that this problem days ago in its semiannual report to Congress. The Fed said ".

the quality of commercial real estate loans backed by office retail and multifamily buildings has continued to decline." It's ". the result of

lower demand for downtown real estate that has shifted towards telework."

And today, the Fed chair was on Capitol Hill discussing the report in detail, when he said the Fed is trying to help struggling regional lenders

with their balance sheets.


JEROME POWELL, US FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: We are working on a package of liquidity measures, which is directly -- which directly addresses the

Silicon Valley Bank situation.

We've also taken a lot of supervisory actions with other medium and small- sized banks that had a lot of uninsured deposits and a lot of real estate risk and things like that, so we've been doing quite a lot on the

supervisory section that doesn't require new rules.


QUEST: Matt Egan is with me. Was it a surprise that this New York Community Bank went bust?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Richard, this is not a surprise. This is the bank that has been in complete crisis and they really had to do something

dramatic to restore confidence.

The stock was down 80 percent just on the year. We saw them, they have to cut their dividend. They had a material weakness in their controls, the

management shakeup. Their debt was downgraded to junk.

So they needed to do something dramatic, and they did. This is a billion dollar lifeline and it is coming from some notable investors. Right? Steve

Mnuchin, the former Treasury secretary, he is leading this investment. He is taking a seat on the board. He says that this equity raise is going to

give the bank enough money to kind of weather the storm.

We also see that Joe Otting the former Comptroller of the Currency, a top Federal regulator, he is the new CEO. So this has been enough so far,

Richard to at least, ease some of these fears, because as you mentioned, the stock was down 40 percent before the news came out, and now it's kind

of flat.

QUEST: Right. But we don't really have a shotgun wedding here, do we? Nobody has been forced to buy it with federal guarantees or state


EGAN: That's right. I mean, right now what we have is the private sector coming to the rescue. We have investors looking around and saying we think

that there is enough value here, that enough has been done where we can put in a billion dollars, which is a lot of money because, Richard before this

stock was halted, the whole company was only worth $1.13 billion so this is a lot of money that's being injected here.


QUEST: What about insured versus uninsured deposits in the bank?

EGAN: Well, as always, the FDIC does back deposits, right? There is the insurance level where taxpayers are really funding that and depositors are

safe as long as they are below that insurance threshold. And right now, you know, there is no reason to be concerned about that. And we know, Richard,

that what happened last year, when we did see a number of major banks failed, we do know that the FDIC rescued all the insured depositors and all

the uninsured depositors, they were made whole, too, eventually as other banks stepped in.

So right now, we are seeing a private-sector-led rescue.

QUEST: I listened to what Powell said, Chair Powell said. I couldn't decide if he was worried or saying, well, we're watching. I couldn't -- when he

talks about vulnerability, is he saying there are cracks or well, we just need to watch it.

EGAN: Well, as you know, Richard, even if he is worried, he probably can't just come out and say that because that could be a self-fulfilling


I think that he sounded reasonably cautiously optimistic, let's say, right? He said it was a manageable problem. He understands why these commercial

real estate loans are under so much pressure. It is because as you mentioned, there's a lot of empty office buildings, a lot of empty

downtowns right now, and that means that yes, some of the landlords are going to go bust and some of the lenders that lend to these projects,

they're going to be in trouble, too.

But he said that the big banks, they really don't have a lot of exposure here. He said, it's really the smaller banks. He said, regulators are on

top of this. They want to make sure that the banks are raising the capital they need to meet these potential losses, and we are seeing that clearly

what's going on with NYCB today in the last few weeks shows that these commercial real estate problems, they're not over.

But what's interesting, Richard is, the stock market overall investors big picture, they're not freaking out here, right?

QUEST: No, no, no.

EGAN: The markets are near record highs and markets are taking all this so far in stride.

QUEST: And as you rightly point out, the fact that so -- a billion came in quite quickly means that they are bargain hunting.

Thank you, sir. I'm grateful to you. Thank you.

EGAN: Thanks, Richard.

QUEST: So, a presidential election rematch in the United States between Joe Biden and Donald Trump is just about a racing certainty as much as ever

there would be.

Nikki Haley, Donald Trump's last challenger, his Republican challenger's campaign suspended effectively handing him the party's nomination.

She announced her decision after Donald Trump's dominance showing in the Super Tuesday primary. Despite losing every -- almost every contest

yesterday, she said she had no regrets and she notably declined to endorse the former president.


NIKKI HALEY, FORMER GOVERNOR OF SOUTH CAROLINA: Our country is too precious to let our differences divide us. I have always been a conservative

Republican and always supported the Republican nominee, but on this question, as she did on so many others, Margaret Thatcher provided some

good advice, when she said: "Never just follow the crowd, always make up your own mind."

It is now up to Donald Trump to earn the votes of those in our party and beyond it who did not support him, and I hope he does that.


QUEST: Kylie Atwood is with me in Charleston, South Carolina. Interesting that Nikki Haley quoted Margaret Thatcher, because Margaret Thatcher who I

remember I covered, Margaret Thatcher also famously said the lady is not for turning, which begs the question, where does Nikki Haley go now? How

long can she stay on the side before she has to tell her supporters where she thinks they should vote?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a really good question and what she did today, when she announced that she was suspending

her presidential campaign was to attempt to hold on to some of her power, not to let it all go, because as you said she did not announce today that

she would be endorsing former President Trump.

She said in those remarks that you played that he would have to earn the support of her voters. We're going to have to watch and see how that plays

out. It is not entirely clear how Trump is going to court Nikki Haley voters, and granted they are not a massive portion of the Republican Party,

Nikki Haley was only able to accrue two wins during this presidential primary contests in Washington, DC and in Vermont.


But they are a substantial part of the electorate in some of these states, and so it is a part of the electorate that Donald Trump's team is going to

want to go after.

What we have seen from him, however, has been critical language when it comes to Nikki Haley supporters, particularly her donors, you know, saying

just last month that the folks who donated to Nikki Haley would be banned permanently from MAGA. So we'll have to watch and see how he tries to court

those folks in the coming weeks and months here.

But Nikki Haley for her part, trying to make it clear that she wants to be part of the conversation about the future of the Republican Party. Of

course, that party is Donald Trump's party right now, so we'll see how relevant her voice really is. But saying in that speech that she wants to

talk about things that are important to her like the US standing with its allies.

QUEST: Kylie with us. Thank you, Kylie Atwood in South Carolina.

Now the results from last night makes it clear why Nikki Haley suspended her campaign. Donald Trump won nearly just about every state. She was only

able to secure a victory in Vermont.

The former president had already won every contest before that, and if you look at the Super Tuesday results alone, he's pulled in nearly seven

million votes. Haley got a little more than two million.

The mathematics mean Haley received almost a quarter of the votes. Donald Trump might struggle to get them back in the general election, because 81

percent of Haley supporters, 81 percent in the swing state of North Carolina said they won't back Donald Trump in November. That is the number

one problem.

He may not have gotten Nikki Haley's endorsement. Now, he has the backing of the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who endorsed the former

president only moments after Haley withdrew. The support should come as no surprise as the presumptive Republican nominee, although they haven't

spoken since December of 2020.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Former President Trump's actions preceded the riot were a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty.

President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it.


QUEST: So Mia Love, how do you square that circle? He endorses Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, admittedly, he is out the door anyway at the end of

the year, but how do you square this circle, which so many Republicans are going to have to do now of a nominee de facto or nominee who they've

criticized for being an insurrectionist?

MIA LOVE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, how do we square this circle? I'm trying to figure out what you mean by that.

QUEST: Well, it is actually straightforward. I mean, you know, you've got now at a large number of people in the Republican Party who say they don't

support Donald Trump.

LOVE: Right.

QUEST: But because of the primary mathematics, he has become or will become the nominee. That is a problem for the Republican Party.

LOVE: Well, it's certainly a problem, right? Because I guess all Republicans didn't do what they actually protest to do, or are begging

other Americans to do. They didn't rally behind Nikki Haley. Nikki Haley had funds, she had -- she -- I mean, I was really rooting for her because

she looks more like what the Republican Party looks like and she doesn't insult people on a daily basis. So I just think --

QUEST: The way -- but --

LOVE: It is no surprise, right? It is no surprise -- go ahead.

QUEST: Where do voters -- where do people like you go now?

LOVE: I have promised myself and my friends and my former colleagues, I'm not going to abandon my party because the platforms -- the platform of the

Republican Party is dear to my heart.

You know, the decisions closer to the people are better decisions. They're more efficient that people have to, I believe in free markets. I believe in


So I think what's going to end up happening or what really should happen is Donald Trump really needs to instead of being who he is, embrace Nikki

Haley. If Donald Trump embraces Nikki Haley, I think most Republicans would be okay with that. He doesn't have a track record of forgiving people

who've run against him or said anything against him. I mean it's like one shot, you're out. That's it.

QUEST: Right.


LOVE: Donald Trump, if you do one thing, one strike, you're out.

QUEST: But then that does leave -- so it leaves people like Mitch McConnell, who called him an insurrectionist basically now having to look

like a hypocrite and then vote for him or endorse him. It leaves people like yourself that aren't very happy with the way he conducts himself or

indeed some of his policies, but really are left with very little wiggle room of where to go. And it leaves the Republican Party with an almost

impossible problem. Support him or lose the --

LOVE: Yes, this is a big problem for the Republican Party. I think Republicans really know this, and I get what you mean, how do we square

this, right?

It's a big issue and you need to see -- what we need to see in order to fix things is a complete gathering of people together.

QUEST: He is not --

LOVE: And Donald Trump needs to put people --

QUEST: Right.

LOVE: Embrace people that may have gone against him. He needs to do that. He has to put away his pride and really pull in all Republicans because

it's -- he has actually gone after people that should have helped him and he's gone after me, and instead of embracing my individual thought, he

didn't do that. He says, hey, Mia, love gave me no love. Right? Whatever that means.

QUEST: Okay, this is the toughest question I'm going to ask you today, though.

LOVE: Okay, go ahead.

QUEST: When push comes to shove, as we say in England, and when push comes to shove, and it is November, and he is the nominee, and he is the nominee,

will you vote for him?

LOVE: Not at this point. Nope. Not unless something changes. Unless there is a major a drastic change, or dramatic change. I've got to see some

humility. I've got to see a person who can at least take responsibility for the things that have happened.

The January 6th, I need somebody -- we need somebody who is more humble, who cares more about the American people. We need somebody --

I mean, there's one thing he has which we need and that is being tough on foreign policy, that's making sure that he's tough on people who want to

destroy America. I think he will be, but he has to -- he gets in his own way and he doesn't seem to want to stop.

QUEST: Can I just -- I've got one final, final question, if I may, Mia.

I can see in your face, I have -- I can see you, and I am not sure whether you can see me, but I can see in your face, in a sense, the pain and the

difficulty as you wrestle with this. And I'm sure in your private WhatsApps and in your emails to fellow Republicans, this is going backwards and


LOVE: It is, and you know, I don't think any American wants a Biden-Trump showdown. I just don't think they want to see that, because it's just -- we

have not picked the cream of the crop of any party, which is a shame. We have not picked the cream of the crop which is, when you're talking about

the leader of the United States of America, we should have the best and most qualified people and none of them are the cream of the crop.

QUEST: Thank you for joining us. I'm grateful.

LOVE: Thank you.

QUEST: We'll talk more as this process continues. I'm grateful. Thank you.

Now, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS tonight. Two crew members were reportedly killed by a Houthi missile attack on a commercial ship. It's believed to be the

first fatalities in a string of militant attacks on the world's busiest sea lane.




QUEST: A Houthi missile attack has killed at least two crew members on a commercial ship in the Gulf of Aden according to US officials.

Now, this is believed to be the first fatal attack on civilians in the Yemeni militants' ongoing wave of attacks. The Iran-backed Houthis say they

hit an American vessel.

The US Defense official says it's actually a Liberian-owned vessel after it was sold by its previous US owners, and it is flagged to Barbados.

Here is what the US State Department said only moments ago.


MATTHEW MILLER, US STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: I think that was sadly inevitable. The Houthis have continued to launch these reckless attacks

with no regard for the wellbeing of innocent civilians who are transiting through the Red Sea, and now they have, unfortunately, and tragically

killed innocent civilians.


QUEST: Natasha is with me, Natasha Bertrand at the Pentagon, it is good to see you.

I mean, what he was just saying there at the State Department, sadly inevitable. It was only a question of time. I mean, we had fires, we had

ships sinking, we had distress. It was surely just a question of time before tragically and appallingly, someone was killed.


The US and the UK in all of their strikes on Houthi targets inside Yemen, they have not been able to stop the Houthis because they still don't have a

great sense of just how much inventory the Houthis still have, how much weaponry and capability they've managed to degrade in all of their attacks

on the Houthis' infrastructure there.

And so the Houthis have vowed they are going to continue these attacks, and in recent days, they have launched ballistic missile after ballistic

missile at the ships transiting the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, as well as launching one way attack drones at these ships, which are, of course,

also very dangerous.

And so given the volume of these attacks, and the fact that the US has not been able to stop them, it was, according to many officials that we've

spoken to inevitable that at some point it was going to result in either serious injuries, or in today's instance, fatalities. Two crew members are

presumed dead now.

QUEST: Yes. So what is the answer here? And I realize it's not easy, or simple. What does the US and allies do now?

BERTRAND: Well, a lot of people here across the administration recognize that this is not going to be solved just through military action because as

I said, it is still unclear whether they can even fully degrade the Houthis' capabilities.

They have a lot of equipment, a lot of things stockpiled, including things that they have gotten from Iran and so this is going to require a

diplomatic solution as well and that is something that the administration has been working on with the Houthis trying to find some kind of compromise

here or some kind of way forward that would allow the Houthis to feel as though they have had some kind of victory here, perhaps having to do of

course, with the truce with the Saudis. That is one avenue here.

But interestingly, many officials also believe, that we've spoken to, that the Houthis might actually stop if the war in Gaza ends. They note that

during previous ceasefires between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, the Houthis did seem to halt their attacks.

And so one of the kind of Hail Marys here is to hope that if there is time, some kind of ceasefire that those attacks will cease. But of course, the US

isn't waiting around, they're still going to try to degrade as much of the Houthis' capabilities as they can in the meantime.

QUEST: Natasha, I'm grateful. Thank you very much at the Pentagon tonight.

Look, it's just plainly voyeuristic, but there is something delicious about watching people air their dirty linen in public and in this case it's

OpenAI, which is pushing back against claims of Elon Musk and they've used his own words against him.


So, remember, Tesla's CEO filed a lawsuit claiming OpenAI had abandoned its nonprofit mission. Well, now we've got the company's e-mails for when Musk

was one of its early investors. One suggests Musk agreeing the company should become for profit, saying OpenAI needs a dramatic change in


The OpenAI leaders including CEO, Sam Altman wrote up the blog post containing the e-mails and they said it's sad it's come to this.

Clare Duffy is in New York.

Clare, this is -- I don't know, I mean, it is sort of deliciously voyeuristic to read what Elon Musk was writing back in 2018, even as early

as 2015 to people.

What do you make of it?

CLARE DUFFY, CNN BUSINESS WRITER: Well, yes, Richard, it's funny because we talked about how the discovery in this case might be interesting, but it

turns out, we didn't even have to wait for the discovery in order to get some of this really interesting material.

OpenAI really coming out straight swinging strong against Elon Musk here. The company says it plans to move to dismiss all of his claims, and they

came with the receipts. OpenAI essentially has two arguments here. The first is that, well, they've realized early on that it was going to take a

lot of money to bring their AI ambitions to reality. They say that was why they needed to create this for profit arm, and this was something that Elon

Musk recognized they say at the time.

The second is that they're essentially saying that Elon Musk is salty here because he wanted to combine OpenAI with Tesla to create a competitor to

Google, and that he left the company when the other founders didn't agree to do that.

I want to read you from one of these other e-mails included in the blog post from Elon Musk to the OpenAI founders in 2018, where he says: "Tesla

is the only path that could even hope to hold a candle to Google." Today, of course, OpenAI is in fact a formidable opponent to Google, and OpenAI is

saying here that Elon Musk is jealous that he's no longer involved.

They want to read you just one other portion from this blog post, which just doesn't mince words, Richard, it says: "From OpenAI, we're sad that

it's come to this with someone whom we've deeply admired, someone who inspired us to aim higher, and then told us we would fail, started a

competitor, then sued us when we started making meaningful progress towards OpenAI's mission without him."

So that seems like it's going to be OpenAI's real argument here is that Elon Musk is just jealous now.

QUEST: You know, the thing I also found fascinating and you've covered this area day and night, is that back in 2015 and 2016, the likes of Musk and

Altman and Brockman, they realized how big AI was going to be, and they also realized the enormous sums of money.

While the rest of us we're all still sort of working out about the great financial crisis and we haven't even seen the pandemic, they're writing to

each other about AI and the billions it is going to take and how far ahead Google was.

DUFFY: Yes, it is pretty amazing to see just how quickly OpenAI has become this really leader in this space, when you know, just 10 years ago, I

suppose it was, they were worried that Google was going to be the leader in this space.

And so it really just shows you, I mean, Sam Altman really has been credited for being sort of the genius that not only created OpenAI,

realized what significant potential this technology had, but was able to make it a profitable business, make at least this arm of the company a

profitable business.

He raised the company's valuation in just the last few years from essentially worthless to now about $90 billion, which has allowed them to

become a leader in this AI arms race.

But it is fascinating to see just how behind maybe the rest of us were in thinking about the potential for this technology,

QUEST: Which is why they're worth $90 billion and I'm not.

Thank you. I'm grateful to you. Thank you.

As you and I continue tonight, a near miss for Ukraine's president, extraordinary, as a Russian missile strikes dangerously close to him. Oh,

and by the way, the Greek prime minister was also there. In a moment.



QUEST: Deadly Russian missile strike came dangerously close to Ukraine's president and the Greek prime minister. Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Prime

Minister Mitsotakis weren't injured in the attack which took place on Odessa. A source says the strike was only 500 meters away from the

presidential convoy. Ukrainian Navy says at least five people were killed, though.

Here's how both leaders reacted after the attack.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We saw the strike today. You can see who we are dealing with. They don't care where

they strike. I know that there are victims today. I don't know all the details yet, but I know that there are dead and wounded.

We need to defend ourselves first and foremost. The best way to do that is with an air defense system.

KYRIAKOS MITSOTAKIS, GREEK PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I think that for us this is the best, most vivid reminder that there is a real war

going on here. Every day there is a war which not only affects the front, the soldiers, but it affects our innocent fellow citizens.


QUEST: Fred is with me, Fred Pleitgen.

I mean, thank God. Well, dreadful and awful for those who were killed. And the leaders were not injured, but, I mean, the Greek prime minister is

right. This is a reminder this is a real war.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is -- yes, it's definitely a real war. And certainly Odessa is one of the main focal

points of that war, even though it's nowhere near the frontlines. And, you know, the area where all this took place, the port area of Odessa, I

actually was around there about a month ago and it certainly is the case. The Russians have been targeting that port a lot.

And that port actually, Richard, is still very important to keeping Ukraine alive economically to the extent that it can -- there's a lot of grain

exports that happened from that port. There's a small naval installation there as well, but the Ukrainians really don't have very much in the way of

a surface navy.


But this is definitely a stark reminder also to a key NATO and E.U. ally that, you know, all of this is definitely very real and very dangerous.

And, you know, when we're talking about the strike happening about 500 meters from where these leaders were, there are some large Russian cruise

missiles that actually have a margin of error of about 500 meters. This is one called the X-22 that can take out an aircraft carrier that, you know,

it has a pretty large margin of error.

The one used here appears to be more accurate, but it has a gigantic warhead and is very powerful. So Volodymyr Zelenskyy afterwards saying that

they not only felt the impact of the explosion, but they saw the missile as it was coming in, certainly goes to show how close a call this was --


QUEST: Fred, give me an assessment, please. I can't gauge at the moment where the strengths are. And I read some articles in some U.S. newspapers,

it sounds like Ukraine is not just -- is well and truly on the backfoot and could end up losing if they don't get the further out. But others say no,

it's much more of a stalemate between the two at the moment. Where do you judge it?

PLEITGEN: I would say that right now the initiative is definitely on the Russian side. The Russian side is gaining, but on the whole, I would also

still say and agree that it's probably by and large a stalemate. I think if we talk about Ukraine losing the war, you really have to define what

exactly one would mean by losing. Right now Ukraine is nowhere near losing large chunks of territory or even losing key cities.

They certainly are still holding the Russians up, but they certainly have some pretty big issues whether Ukrainians lack the manpower that they would

need on the frontlines and certainly lack the ammunition in many places that they would need there as well. The other big defining factors that the

Russians have learned to use their air force much more effectively have turned a lot of the regular bombs they have into guided glide bombs that

they can drop from a lot further away.

And the Ukrainians are having issues dealing with that, which is why they say they need Western warplanes to try and even the playing field there. So

right now the initiative definitely on the Russian side but strategically it certainly seems as though this is still very much a stalemate --


QUEST: I'm grateful. Thank you in Berlin tonight.

The reviling clashes between Polish farmers and police outside the country's parliament in Warsaw. They're protesting against, amongst other

things, the impact of cheap Ukrainian imports on their businesses. Ukrainian grain has been flooding the market. Police used tear gas and stun

grenades to disperse the crowds and dozens of protesters have been arrested. The farmers have been demonstrating since February.

With me now is Taras Kachka, the Ukrainian trade representative, and also deputy minister of the economy.

I'm grateful to you, sir. You're in Brussels tonight. I'm grateful that you're giving us time. I know that Ukraine is willing to carve out, if you

will, an exception so that it becomes easier for the E.U. and for yourselves on this because at the moment, this is a really serious economic

and commercial problem between the two countries.

TARAS KACHKA, UKRAINIAN TRADE REPRESENTATIVE: Yes, this is a problem, but not of economic nature, but rather of perception and prejudice nature

because in reality we do not export the grains to Poland since the April last year and since September last year we voluntary imposed the mechanism

that by ourselves we control that nothing goes to Poland when we are talking about corn or wheat or rapeseed or sunflower seeds.

So this is what we call carve-out or restrictions that might be necessary. We already reply them. And we are ready also to coordinate our activities

with Polish government because Polish farmers are protesting rather against the -- because they don't trust the government, previous government, and

that's why these issues are so politicized. So for us, it's important to ensure that there are no worries.

And at the same time, Poland exports to Ukraine the same amount of agricultural products. The same $1 billion. So that's why the protests on

border are actually damaging Polish economy and Polish agriculture more than Ukrainian one.

QUEST: Behind all of this, of course, though, is the unspoken which of course is your wish, your wish and others to actually stop Russian exports

of grain. But that of course will have a very serious effect on the European economy.

KACHKA: This is a one good discovery in our conversation with Polish government because we discovered that in reality Russian wheat on E.U.

market creates more problems for Polish farmers than Ukrainian wheat. So that's why now the demand of Polish government, and we said this demand

because we also require this, that we need to get out and squeeze Russian agricultural products from E.U. market.


Not only for political reasons, but also for the reason to defend the interests of E.U. farmers because if they have some problems on grain

markets, it is a Russian wheat, not Ukrainian one.

QUEST: How much of the Ukrainian economy would you say is functioning at the moment, bearing in mind the whole eastern side of the country, although

a lot of these is under war. It is a wartime economy, but you've still got a large parts of the West. There is still the agriculture. So how much of

the economy is functioning?

KACHKA: I think in terms of geography, everything that is under control of Ukrainian government is functioning. We have a lot of companies operating

in Kharkiv that is like 40 kilometers from Russian border and is under everyday shellings and we are talking about quite sophisticated factories

like pharmaceutical factories that are operating in Kharkiv. And we see as well agriculture is done so that the fields are sold and planted in Kherson

region and in Dnipro region.

So we have also the steel factories that are operating in Dnipro that is also (INAUDIBLE), very close to frontlines. So in terms of geography, our

economy operates everywhere and our sea trade is reopened and this was the video from Odessa that despite shellings the sea is open and it helps to

increase the export of agriculture, but also steel products. And we are expecting that container shipment will also resume that will help us to

export more value added goods.

But in terms of statistics, we lost more around 30 percent of our GDP in 2022 and recover at just 5 percent in 2023. But you know, for state in war

to become a 5 percent of GDP is something enormous and incredible. And we really appreciate all Ukrainian businesses and we really gained from

integration with the E.U. market. That's why we are so advocating for maintaining the full access to E.U. market because it is important for us,

for our recovery, and for getting really integration with Europe and grabbing all our efforts both in defense industry, and in agriculture as


QUEST: I'm grateful, sir. Thank you. In Brussels tonight.

KACHKA: Thank you.

QUEST: Mr. Minister, thank you.

QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. Kenyan students learn to coexist with lions, cheetahs, and rhinos. We'll have more as the world's only national park

within the capital city. And you'll see it coming up next.



QUEST: Nairobi in Kenya is the only capital city in the world with a national park at its center. There, lions, cheetahs and giraffes are free

to roam. I've visited it. It's extraordinary.

Today's "Call to Earth," the 2021 Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Earth, Paula Kahumbu takes us on a trip with her Wildlife Warriors. This is

a program that teaches students how to co-exist with their wild neighbors.


PAULA KAHUMBU, CEO, WILDLIFE DIRECT: Most of our children today are being raised in cities or in places where they have absolutely no access to

wildlife. So we bring them to the parks. We educate them about the foundations of conservation.

These amazing animals were here in the capital city, we have mega fauna. There isn't any other place like this in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: White rhino. 2,000 to 3,600 kilograms.

KAHUMBU: This is an outdoor classroom. Why wouldn't we want our children to fall in love with nature, especially at a time when Kenya is so severely

affected by climate change? We're losing our species, which is affecting our livelihoods and our life support systems. And we have pollution which

has just, you know, threatening everything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are in the road, in the homes with the olive baboons.

KAHUMBU: This is a great way to show children what it should look like so that they can go back and initiate projects to restore their habitats,

bring back the animals and this incredible beauty of nature that we have.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you need to use your voice as a Wildlife Warrior to protect these animals.

KAHUMBU: Those schools that we can bring into the national parks are just a handful because it's really expensive. We have to hire buses. But our own

field lab, which is the first children's conservation area in Africa.

You see the zebras?

Which is right next to the national park. Children can come by foot or by matatu or on a back of a motorbike, and thousands of children come there

every year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm the guide for bus number one.

KAHUMBU: In fact, the teachers tell us that children who are in our program do better in all classes. They are thinking about things. They have

critical thinking skills that they just have never had to deploy before because we ask them to be curious, to go out and look for things, discover

for themselves. It's really worth every dollar that we spend getting these children into nature. From what we're seeing in their behavior, in their

relationships with each other and in their performance in school.

I think children are an age group that are open, curious, interested and when they get their teeth into something, they get very excited and active.

They get their parents on board.

We've seen children reporting when animals are being poached. We've seen children taking initiatives at home recycling things.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: By reusing, reducing and recycling.

KAHUMBU: And parents are telling us that they're learning so much from their own children. They're actually asking for the content we're giving to

their children so that they can learn alongside them. So kids are a great way to access the whole population. We want children to feel pride, love

and curiosity so that they will remember this no matter where they go in their lives. They will remember this connection to nature.


QUEST: And there is more on "Call to Earth."



QUEST: The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has roundly criticized Boeing for not turning over key documents. They said they've been waiting

for months for details about who installed the door plug or any documentation at all during an Alaska flight earlier this year. You can see

the quote. However, now Boeing says that perhaps the whole thing is undocumented. If the door plug removal was undocumented, there will be no

documentation to share, which of course begs the question why there wasn't any documentation.

But even as this goes on, new plane orders are continuing to arrive. Ethiopian Airlines has agreed to buy up to 20 firms, eight 777-9s and then

the rest on options. The first order to take place at the end of next year.

Mesfin Tasew is the group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines with me now from Addis Ababa.

It is always good to see you, sir. I'm grateful that you're given us time. And, I mean, you've chosen to buy these planes. You obviously have

confidence in Boeing. My guess is you don't expect to get them on time.

MESFIN TASEW, GROUP CEO, ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES: Yes, Richard. We're very glad to order up to 20 777-9 airplanes, eight are firm, the other options, and

purchase righters. Ethiopian Airlines has been using Boeing airplanes since 1945 when we started flying, and we operated every aircraft model

manufactured by Boeing except the 747, and the Boeing airplanes are part of our growth. So we have enjoyed our relationship with Boeing and we expect

this new model of aircraft, the 777-9 to be reliable.

QUEST: Right. But did you have a moment of doubt bearing in mind that one of the MAX's that crashed was yours? And did you -- and there have been

continual issues and there are issues with the 78 with engines and with speed fasteners. And did you doubt and have to question whether actually

more 350s would have been better than 777s because you don't know when you're going to get them?

TASEW: You are right. The delivery or the entry into service of this aircraft to model has delayed successively. But also this is not the first

time to happen the 787 delivery was delayed by several years. But now the 787 has become a very reliable aircraft in our operation. So since recently

we see that manufacturers are having problems with new technology airplanes. They're having technology risks, but eventually, we believe that

things will improve.

QUEST: So the growth of Ethiopian, I mean, you are the largest on the continent, and you and I have discussed before any -- I mean, what Africa

needs is deregulation, open skies, and people being able to fly across the continent.


People like you should be able to set up subsidiaries elsewhere and fly across. But we are still so far away from anything like that.

TASEW: I agree with you, Richard. The African population is around 18 percent of the global population. But when it comes to air travel Africa's

traffic constitutes only 2 percent which indicates that air transport in Africa is still well, well below the global standard and there are several

factors that have contributed to this, and among them is that the African air transport is highly fragmented.

QUEST: Right. Yes.

TASEW: We have several but very, very small airlines in different parts of the continent. And they are not self-sufficient by their own. Most of the

major ones are government -- owned by the government and they have governance issues.

QUEST: All right.

TASEW: And another problem is the restriction of traffic. Many countries are not allowing other airlines to fly into their territories and the cost

of operation is very high due to monopolistic services, high taxes, high fuel price, and several other factors. In general --

QUEST: We will --


QUEST: We will talk about these when I see you and we can sit down face-to- face at (INAUDIBLE) later this year. I'm looking forward to it.

Thank you, Mesfin. Grateful for your joining us tonight. Thank you.

We will take a profitable moment after the break moment.


QUEST: Tonight's "Profitable Moment." I just love reading these e-mails between Elon Musk and Sam Altman. Why -- part of me says these should never

have been released. It's infantile, even though Musk has sued the correct place for these documents to be released is in discovery because otherwise

nobody is ever going to be honest in e-mails if they always fear that somebody else is going to release them. Litigation is now underway. These

documents would come out one way or the other.

And the other part of me, the journalist, says, yes, let's have a bit more of this. We can see exactly what they're all thinking in 2015, '16, '18 and

what's fascinating is that they all knew exactly how big AI was going to be and how expensive it was going to be, and how Google was the leader and how

they needed to put vast war chests together.

So on the one hand, I'm conflicted. I love reading them and at the same time I think maybe it shouldn't have just been released willy nilly. I

don't know which side is winning.

And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight. I'm Richard Quest in New York. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it is profitable. Closing

bell ringing on Wall Street. And there's the Dow. It's actually up 74 points.