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Quest Means Business

US Antitrust Suit Takes On Apple's iPhone Dominance; EU's Digital Services Act In Full Effect; Russia's War On Ukraine; Two More U.S. Chartered Evacuation Flights Leave Haiti Amid Gang Violence; Trump Faces Monday Deadline To Pay $464 Million Bond; Switzerland Becomes First Rich Economy To Cut Rates; EasyJet CEO On Avoiding Summer Travel Chaos. Aired 4- 5p ET

Aired March 21, 2024 - 16:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Closing bell ringing on Wall Street, will on the Dow is 40,000 or when will it hit 40,000, tantalizingly close

at the moment, hit the gavel, good sir. Hit the gavel and bring trading to an end.

Those are markets and these are the stories of the day that we are following. The United States government is suing Apple accusing the company

of building smartphone monopoly, stifling innovation, increasing costs.

Thierry Breton, the EU commissioner on the consensus in Europe to become self-sufficient in defense production faster together.

Also, you'll hear from the NATO secretary-general on his thoughts about that.

And New York attorney general starting to prepare to seize Trump assets. There is a Monday deadline in the civil fraud case. If you have half a

billion dollars you can hand over.

We are live again tonight in Brussels, it is Thursday, it is March 21st. I'm Richard Quest and in Brussels. I mean business.

One of what probably will be the most important antitrust cases was filed today. The US government is suing Apple. The DOJ is making a variety of

claims on antitrust monopoly about the computer and cellphone maker.

Apple shares are responding, down some four percent in a market that is otherwise being strong and bullish.

The DOJ's fundamental claim is that Apple unfairly and illegally locks in customers and consumers by building an ecosystem from which they either

can't or choose not to avoid.

It includes and excludes the messaging system. Green versus blue bubbles. The App Store and the ability to go to third parties, Apple Watches, and

how they will only work with, yes, Apple phones and digital wallets. If you don't use Apple Pay, you can't use a digital wallet on an iPhone.

iPhone's market share globally last year is 19 percent. Android may have a bigger operating system in terms of usage, it is the unified nature of the

iPhone and the iOS that they are looking at. The DOJ says 65 percent market share in the United States.

Now, one report suggests that 87 percent of Gen Zers use iPhones. Not surprising in that circumstance. The US Attorney General Merrick Garland

says this lack of competition is urging consumers.


MERRICK GARLAND, US ATTORNEY GENERAL: Apple has maintained monopoly power in the smartphone market not simply by staying ahead of the competition on

the merits, but by violating federal antitrust law.

For consumers, that has meant fewer choices, higher prices, and fees, lower-quality smartphones, apps, and accessories, and less innovation from

Apple and its competitors.

We allege that Apple has consolidated its monopoly power not by making its own products better, but by making other products worse.


QUEST: Now, the DOJ taking on Big Tech, perhaps is nothing new. You can go back to Microsoft. You look at Amazon, Google, and Meta. At some point,

they've all felt the wrath of the Department of Justice.

But arguably, Apple is the biggest most significant case in decades. Apple responded and using the word you can see why. "This lawsuit threatens who

we are and the principles that set Apple products apart in fiercely competitive markets."

Before we talk more, let's get the background. Brian Fung reports.

BRIAN FUNG, CNN TECHNOLOGY REPORTER: Richard, this is a hugely significant lawsuit. Justice Department officials are comparing it to the breakup of

Standard Oil and the old telephone monopoly of AT&T.

Now, the government isn't directly calling for a break-up of Apple, but they aren't ruling it out either. If DOJ gets its way, it could change how

millions of Americans interact with Apple products, that could include everything from how iPhones handle android messages to the apps you may see

on Apple's App Store.


It could affect whether you can do tap-to-pay mobile payments using digital wallets designed by other companies. Everything about Apple's walled-garden

ecosystem is on the table here, and even Apple says the suit, ". threatens who we are."

Meanwhile, this is another example of the Biden administration challenging the tech industry as part of a wider economic agenda. That agenda has

promised to restore competition to the marketplace and lower prices for consumers.

But recent court rulings have also found that Apple isn't a monopolist, which could be a big hurdle for the government --Richard.

QUEST: Tonight, I am here in Brussels and Brussels, and the Commission has sued all of these companies in some shape or form many times themselves,

but they've also had a different strategy in Europe.

They used to change the law, and once the law is changed, everybody has to fall in line.

For instance, the new Digital Services Act, the DSA, it took full effect last month. This gives a new framework for tech, for social media, and for

the way things run. You can see the way they changed the rules, for instance on iPhone chargers and how everybody now has to have USB-C.

Thierry Breton is the EU Commissioner for the Internal Market. He is a former media exec, former finance minister. He says that, yes, litigation

is all fair and good, but if you change the law, then everybody has to follow on, and the Digital Services Act is already working.


THIERRY BRETON, EU COMMISSIONER FOR INTERNAL MARKET: In the past two weeks, Richard, we have seen Apple moving much faster in the interest of others

that in the past 10 years. That's a fact.

We are just here again to give rules, to explain, and yes, we have also, like when you have any rules, we have also fines. If you don't fulfill your

obligations now to add benefit, to enjoy the biggest digital market of the free world, 450 million times two eyeballs here in Europe, we are very

happy that everyone could benefit from it, but we have rules. And if you don't fulfill these rules, yes, you will pay fine, or if you don't comply,

yes, we could propose a breakup.

But I hope we do not go here because we want everyone on one hand to benefit from our market and to fulfill our obligations.

QUEST: There is a view that Europe is anti-digital or anti-tech. The GDPR first of all, then the Digital Services Act, now the AI Act.

Admittedly, the commission on antitrust has gone very firmly against many of the major tech players and many of them say this environment in Europe

is not tech friendly.

BRETON: It is not true at all.

I am a former CEO, and I know exactly what I needed. I operated in many tech companies in a more than a hundred countries and I always say to my

team, we are here to respect, of course, the laws when we operate; but we need to have rules.

If you don't have rules, it's a far waste. You have class actions, At least here, come in Europe, there's light regulation, light rules. But we need to

have some rules in the digital space.

QUEST: The Artificial Intelligence Act, which has now passed Parliament, it is coming into force.


QUEST: How will it change the way we do business with AI?

BRETON: It took us five years. We worked in five years on this AI Act. It is a risk-based approach. In other words, we don't regulate technology, we

just regulate the services and there are services that we believe are at risk.

In other words, we want to give visibility and security for our fellow citizen when using AI.

QUEST: Who is stronger in terms of holding feet to the fire, the US or the EU?

BRETON: I don't think like this. I already think that today, we work extremely well and closely with many allies in what we call digital


We have in the UK, we have in the US. We have in Canada. We have with Korea. We have many, many partners and of course --

QUEST: But the two biggest are now, the EU and the US. The two largest players that have the most power to regulate, disrupt, or change.

BRETON: Personally, I really think that we should be closer and closer and closer with our US, France, and ally.


QUEST: Great interview.

That's Thierry Breton. You will hear more from him in a moment. Rana is with me. Rana is there.

Now, look Rana, this attack by the DOJ against Apple. I always think with these cases, how you start and how you've finished is very different. Apple

cannot be complacent that the DOJ wont force real change.


RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: Oh, a hundred percent. I mean, this case is the biggest thing we've seen in antitrust, and I would argue

on either side of the Atlantic, really since the 1990s, since the Microsoft case, and I think it is being brought for similar reasons because back

then, you were at a pivot point from desktop to mobile.

You're now at a platform pivot point for mobile to all kinds of things -- Neuralink, digital in cars, crypto platforms, financial platforms -- and I

think what DOJ is trying to do is create space for innovation to happen in these areas, and I think it makes a pretty strong case that Apple has done

some moat creating, a monopoly maintenance.

QUEST: Right, now but if we look at the, if you will, the great and the good of the DOJ cases and how they have progressed. Some of them have sort

of fallen apart, but many of those cases, the big ones that we talked about, whether it be IBM or Microsoft or Google, or all of them, they all

managed. I mean, well, I don't remember Standard Oil in 1906, but I do remember AT&T in 1982 and Microsoft.

But how much of this depends on an administration? So for instance, if a Trump administration comes in, would they continue it?

FOROOHAR: Really interesting question and that may start to get into issues that have to do with China. You would think that that's an unrelated topic,

but there is a big debate going on the US right now, Richard, about whether we should have national champions? Should we support Big Tech companies in

order to sort of duke it out in the war against China?

I don't think Apple would actually do well in that argument because frankly, where is Tim Cook today? He is in Shanghai talking to folks there

about how to the push Apple products, but I do think that Trump might be a little more open for reasons of national security to laying off of Apple.

On the other hand, the California tech, I don't know. You know, they're not super tight with the Trump administration. So, it could go either way.

QUEST: All right, Dow at 40,000, very close. It will happen, whether today or not today, whether next week or whenever. Is this a search for yield?

FOROOHAR: Oh my goodness.

QUEST: It shouldn't really be because interest rates are high, so what is driving the market, that would be such a bull market.

FOROOHAR: You know, there are two things driving the market. The first, we've talked about a gazillion times, which is the chance of lower interest

rates. Its looking like there is going to be three rate cuts this year. That's what the Fed is telling us.

But even if we had seen a little bit more less dovish approach, let's say from the Fed, I think that the story around AI has got people very hyped on

the markets in general and on the mag seven, mag five, whatever -- whichever stocks you think are the most important there. It is a very tiny

universe and a lot of investors are counting on the idea that AI is going to be a life-changing, world-changing story.

I am a little skeptical about that, Richard.

QUEST: Skepticism from Rana. Now, there's a thought for a cold winter's day.

Rana, grateful for you. Thank you very much as always.

When we come back, this is the secretary-general of NATO, Jen Stoltenberg. We will be talking help to Ukraine, what more needs to be done, and I guess

if the Americans don't get their act together, will Russia win?




QUEST: EU leaders, heads of government were in Brussels today for a council meeting and Ukraine was of course top of the agenda, how to give more aid.

The EU proposal is to use frozen Russian assets. They would ringfence their profits and give the proceeds to Kyiv. It should generate around $3 billion

a year.

For the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, he said use it for the military.


OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): The use of windfall profits from Russia's frozen assets is about the proceeds that can be used,

which no one is entitled to and can therefore be used by the European Union and in my view, they should first and foremost be used to acquire the

weapons and ammunition that Ukraine needs for its defense.


QUEST: Now, also, a NATO delegation, a military delegation visited Kyiv. Interesting, it is the first one since the invasion took place.

According to NATO officials, they are closer than ever to Ukraine and warned Ukraine against pessimism, which arguably is somewhat difficult.

Missiles have been barraged, fired at Kyiv. Now, Ukraine says it shot them all down, but it is the first attack on Kyiv in some six weeks.

With me is Jen Stoltenberg. He is the secretary general of NATO, and I am always delighted, sir, to talk to you. Thank you for taking the time.

This is the first military delegation to Kyiv. I would have thought you've had more there before now?

JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL: Well, we have political delegations in Kyiv. I've been there myself, but this is the first time our

military committee or the chairman of the military committee with his advisers visits Kyiv, and that's an expression that we are actually now

moving Ukraine closer to NATO membership and to work more closely on them also with military issues is part of that.

QUEST: Right, but when Putin for example says that essentially the US is at war with Russia and he also says NATO is at war with Russia, you reject


STOLTENBERG: Absolutely, because you have to remember this is a war of aggression by Russia. They attacked another country violating international

law, but according to international law, Ukraine has the right to self- defense, and what NATO is doing is helping Ukraine to uphold the right of self-defense.

QUEST: There are two aspects on it, and the first and arguably most important is you said, Ukraine cannot win. I am paraphrasing, sir, forgive

me -- Ukraine cannot wait without US military aid. That is not happening.

STOLTENBERG: Every day the US delays any decision on sustaining the military support has violent consequences on the battlefield. Ukraine

doesn't lack courage, they lack ammunition and therefore, it is urgent that the US is making a decision and again, step up the military support to


QUEST: Okay. So Jake Sullivan in Kyiv said today, he is confident that it will happen. You said to me in January at Davos, you are confident it was

going to happen. President von der Leyen said to me, she was confident -- when does your competence finally come to reality? It is not happening yet

and if we get to November, it may not happen.

STOLTENBERG: It is serious that the US Congress has not been able to make a decision to provide military support to Ukraine.


But the reason why I continue to believe it will happen is that there is a big majority in the US Congress for support to Ukraine, it is about turning

this majority into a vote and at some stage, I believed the US Congress will be able to do so.

QUEST: You know, the phrase at the US House, a day late and a dollar short. I mean, it might well happen and it might be too late. Russia is making

maybe not huge territorial gains, but their armaments, their military production machine is way ahead of what it was two years ago, correct?

STOLTENBERG: They have been able to ramp up their ammunition production. Their economy is on a war footing and that is the reason why NATO allies

are now also mobilizing much more production capacity because this is now a war of attrition and then production matters.

And of course, our economy is much bigger than Russia's economy, so if we have the political will, we can provide Ukraine with ammunition and the

weapons they need.

QUEST: What would you say to those US senators or congressmen who say yes, yes, we agree, we agree, but we want more money for the southern border

first. What would you say to them?

STOLTENBERG: It is in the US interest to ensure that --

QUEST: They know that.

STOLTENBERG: But I mean, then, I repeat the message that it will be not only a tragedy for Ukrainians if President Putin wins in Ukraine, it will

be dangerous for all of us.

This is something which is very closely watched in Beijing. What happens in Ukraine today can happen in Taiwan tomorrow. So if President Putin wins in

Ukraine, it will send the message also to President Xi that when they use military force, invade another country, they get what they want.

So this is not charity, this is an investment in US and NATO security to provide support to Ukraine.

QUEST: You have sat with, when he was president, President Trump. When you heard him say, I told Putin, take what you want if they don't pay their two

percent. Was there a shiver that went down your spine?

STOLTENBERG: Well, I worked with President Trump for four years. There are more US soldiers in Europe when he left the office than when he started his

tenure as president, and I expect the US to remain a staunch NATO ally, regardless of the outcome of the US elections, because it is the US

interest to have a strong NATO.

There is a strong bipartisan support for NATO in the US and lastly, the criticism from former President Trump has not mainly been against NATO, it

has been against NATO allies not spending enough on NATO and this is now changing. More and more NATO allies are spending at least two percent on

defense, so that's a big difference.

QUEST: You do know what my last question is going to be. Do you know what you're doing when you step down later this year?

STOLTENBERG: No, I really don't know what --

QUEST: But you will come and tell us when you do.


QUEST: I will take that to the bank. Secretary General, it is always good to see you, sir. I'm very grateful for your time and attention tonight.

Thank you very much.

STOLTENBERG: Thanks, Richard.

QUEST: Now on this question of military production, the EU has said it needs to produce more faster, better, and more armaments.

Thierry Breton, who has a strange title as the internal market commissioner, which doesn't do justice. The man has huge tracks under his

belt, which includes defense production.


BRETON: There is a very big consensus now here in Europe that we needed to take our destiny into our hands. In other words, we can do everything in

Europe in terms of the defense industry.

We can do hypersonic missiles, aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines -- everything, but the question is to do it faster and together. And this is

why we have decided to put some money together to enhance our defense industry capacity to make sure that on one hand, we will be able to provide

what we need.

We know that we are 23 member states, member of NATO, and we are to commit to go at two percent GDP. So now we are not to two percent, when will be at

two percent, it is an additional 140 billion that we will spend together.

QUEST: But what business is it of the EU in this respect? Surely this is a NATO matter, under national sovereignty matter. Why are you wanting to get


BRETON: But we are NATO. We are the biggest pillar of NATO. We are 23 member states, member of NATO, so we are NATO.

So the stronger we will be, the stronger will be NATO, of course. And the second point is that as you mentioned in your previous question,

absolutely, we need to make sure that we can increase drastically our capacity to produce also, what Ukraine is needing to fight back this

terrible aggression from Putin in Ukraine.

QUEST: In the US, there will be an election in November. And if one of the candidates wins, Donald Trump, you will find yourself in some very intense

pressure in terms of European defense spending, whether it be NATO or EU.


BRETON: But this being said, we cannot wait every four years the result of the elections of our allies to decide how we should be in defense.

So another decision that we have taken to continue to be a very strong ally, a very strong member, pillar within NATO, but also more and more,

again, depending on our ability to do what we have to do on our own.

QUEST: Are you one of the old war horses that is sounding the alarm?

BRETON: Well, we've rung the alarm. First, Putin, when he decided to invade Ukraine. But look, what happened? Could you imagine two years ago thinking

that Finland or Sweden, which were neutral countries, will join NATO? This is because of Putin.

QUEST: What sorts of increase in European defense spending do you look for?

BRETON: Well, first, again, as I said, increase our defense production capacity in all aspects. I spoke of course, of ammunitions, missiles, but

also artillery, but also tanks, but also aircraft. But everything because you know, we are spending today in Europe together, let us say 250 billion

euros per year, we will increase by one hundred forty, one hundred and fifty so it will be roughly 400 billion that we will spend. So that's a

significant amount of money.

QUEST: What more needs to be done?

BRETON: A lot, of course, and this is what is being discussed now today at this very time at the council. But you know, we already spent 26 billion

euros -- and it is more than in dollars of course, for military equipment and we will add an additional 21 billion. So in other words, already with

these two packages, its more than the United States spend to defend Ukraine in defense equipment.

So we are doing our part of the job and yes, we continue to increase our spending and look, when we speak about 50 billion euros, it is a lot of

money, of course. But regarding our budget, I mean, it is really not too much because we know very well that what happened in Ukraine is of course,

to protect Ukraine against this aggression, but we are protecting also our democracies, our values, and Europe.


QUEST: Thierry Breton, the Internal Markets Commissioner, who is also responsible for defense production.

QUEST MEANS BUSINESS tonight, coming live from brussels.

After the break, CNN takes a closer look at the work of the police in Haiti in the battle of the national police force, and how they are coping. They

are trying to keep the peace. Of course, the gangs are attacking around the clock.




QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. Together we have a lot more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS to get involved with.

Donald Trump and his properties could be sold but why won't anybody lend him the money or at least give him a bone so he didn't have to sell what he

may have?

EasyJet's chief executive is with us, avoiding the summer travel chaos. You'll hear from Johan Lundgren in just a moment. (INAUDIBLE) it all but

only after we've had the news headlines because this is CNN, and on this network, the news always comes first.

The CIA director Bill Burns is set to join talks for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza and the release more hostages. He's meeting in Qatar with his

counterparts from Israel and Egypt. The U.S. Secretary of State is also in the Middle East and says gaps are narrowing for a deal.

Hospital staff are being investigated over an alleged privacy breach involving the Princess of Wales. According to British media, three people

from the London clinic are now being questioned about trying to access the princess' medical records. King Charles was treated at the same hospital

but the suspected breach apparently did not involve his records.

The interpreter for Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani has been fired by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He's accused of stealing millions of dollars from the

baseball player to place gambling debts. The interpreter told ESPN Ohtani had no knowledge or involvement in any of the gambling activities.

The push to get people out of Haiti gets ever greater and more urgent. Two U.S. chartered helicopters left on Wednesday. Two more are expected to

leave today. It is literally a race for life in a sense, as the security situation gets ever worse. The European Union, the World Bank, the IMF,

United Nations all are taking staff out. The situation on the ground is volatile with the airport now closed and a critical port having been


CNN's David Culver has been out with the Haitian police and they went into gang-controlled parts of Port-au-Prince.


DAVID CULVER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here in Port-au-Prince there are no frontlines. The boundaries, they are blurred, and they are

constantly shifting. And when you're with Haiti's national police force, one that is facing struggle and setback and diminishing resources, you

realize just what they're up against and that is constant gang activity.

We're driving through areas that are highly contested between different gangs and the police, and they're trying to hold them back time after time.

And yet these attacks are constant and they come at all hours. The police often, especially with armored vehicles like this, are able to push them

back. The issue comes in holding that space and keeping it secure. They don't have enough resources to do that. Many of them have told us that's

where an international mission would help.

As of now, though, they have to go in, push back and then move on to other areas where gang activity has broken out.


It's incredible to be inside this tank of sorts and to realize just how much it has seen, evidence of that is along the windows. The glass

bulletproof in theory but certainly has taken a lot of beatings.

David Culver, CNN, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.


QUEST: Superb reporting from David Culver in Port-au-Prince.

In the United States, the state of Georgia, the Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, now she says she's pushing ahead with plans to put

Donald Trump on trial. This is the case about the November -- she'd like to put him on trial for the November election. According to multiple sources,

the trial could be as soon as this summer. This is the criminal case for the 2020 election subversion.

Now, flip gears and go to New York and the attorney general there has the first steps to seize Donald Trump's property assets. The golf courses, the

estate north of Manhattan, called Seven Springs, because Mr. Trump is running out of time. There is a Monday deadline to post the bond against

the $464 million judgment.

Basically, you've got two choices. You raise the cash and pay or you find an insurance company to guarantee the bond. If you don't do that, you could

lose your assets.

Edward Luce is the national editor of the "Financial Times," and he recently wrote the following. "It does not take great deductive skills to

see that Trump's financial quandary poses a national security risk. If insurance companies and friendly billionaires think he's too big of a

credit risk, who might help him out instead?"

Edward is with me now to talk about this.

When I read your article this morning, I thought, my gosh, he's really hit the nail on the head there because you basically questioned the legitimate

bond companies have basically said the reputational risk to lend to Donald Trump or even guarantee the bond is too great.

EDWARD LUCE, U.S. NATIONAL EDITOR, FINANCIAL TIMES: Yes, 30 of them, Richard, have turned him down now. So he's basically been round all the

houses. The fact that his assets are mostly illiquid, real estate, golf clubs, Trump Towers, et cetera, means that they're unattractive anyway.

That they want assets that are easy to sell, that are transparently priced and real estate doesn't qualify.

But over and above that you've got, you know, the huge sort of internal controversy that would be generated by underwriting a surety bond for Trump

of unprecedented level, $464 million is just a judgment, damages level that we don't really see.

QUEST: So your unspoken is really who will lend him the money and there of course if he does become next president people who might want a chip in the

game. President Putin, for example, or some others who might want to. You see this as a security risk.

LUCE: Yes. I mean, I think it would be virtually impossible to take out a loan from one of Putin's friends or somebody directly from Russia because

that would break the law. U.S. Treasury does sanction Russia but there are ways around that. There are special purpose vehicles. There are also legal

ways of borrowing from foreigners, say the Saudis. You know, they've dumped up the Saudi sovereign wealth fund $2 billion for the private equity group

that Jared Kushner set up, Trump's son-in-law set up after the election.

So the question is, what would that collateral be? And, you know, I guess it might be an implicit collateral there. That they wouldn't be stumping

his money for business reasons. They would be stumping this for future political benefit. So that is for sure a national security (INAUDIBLE).

QUEST: As this plays out, whether it be assets get sold or somebody finds the money down the back of the sofa, it doesn't seem to go to make much of

a difference to his electability. And as we know, a bankrupt can still become president of the United States. And he's been bankrupt many times


LUCE: Yes, he's been bankrupt six times and that didn't damage him in 2016 when he was first elected. He could of course go into Chapter 11. If he

can't raise the money before Monday, he could seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy.


But I think that the Trump world debates about that is that would be too damaging politically. In terms of the eyes of his base all of this fits the

theory that he is being persecuted and this is the deep state, you know, targeting Trump and punishing him for being Trump, and therefore doesn't

need to damage him at all. It could even help him with his die-hard supporters. I doubt it would help him with independents, though.

QUEST: Yes. It was fascinating article when I read it over breakfast. I'm grateful for you. Thank you very much, sir. Edward Luce of the "FT."

LUCE: Thank you.

QUEST: QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. Just ahead, the indigenous communities in the Andes and how the necessity of keeping trees growing more. It's all part of

that threatened forests.


QUEST: Welcome back. "Call to Earth." Now, I'm going to read this because if I get this thing wrong, the Polylepis Forest, hey, that's not easy to

say. The Polylepis Forest of the Andes Mountain, they are fragile, they are at high altitude, and they are essential for an ecosystem to survive.

They're threatened at the moment by climate change as indeed so much is. So these trees are critical to those who live there and the endangered


Now, part of Rolex's Perpetual Planet initiative is the preservation and conservation of the Polylepis Forest.

Constantino Aucca Chutas works with the indigenous communities to plant more and more trees.


CONSTANTINO AUCCA CHUTAS, PRESIDENT, ACCION ANDINA: My dream was to plant million of trees, and I'm not going to do it that alone. If I want to plant

a million trees, I need labor, people, and I started to think on the communities. Everybody united for one tree, this tree, the Polylepis tree.

And all together we are going to work reforesting and protecting all the main watersheds.

My name is Constantino Aucca Chutas, president of Accion Andina with a mission of protecting all these watersheds and the forest that is on the

highlands of the Andes.


We are in Abra Malaga, above 4,500 meters sea level. If you can see behind me all this forest, unique forest, Polylepis forest, this is highest forest

in the world. Most of the native forests they suffered a lot from many threats. We have annual fires, overgrazing, mining. It's the reason why

most of these species of polylepis are threatened. And the species that live inside of this forest are on the Red list of the conservation.

Last night has been raining heavily all night long. For people, probably it could be difficult, the activity that we are going to do today, planting

25,000 trees. No, no, no. Those mountains, those glaciers that are appearing in that direction, for me, it's the energy, it's the meaning why

I am doing this. We claim the mountains because for us the mountains are our protectors, our big brothers, and that provides me all the energy that

I needed to continue doing what I've been doing.

For the local, it's difficult, the life here. They walk minimum three hours. But I think that for the Highlanders, the weather conditions and the

other problems is not the issue. They know that they have to live in this condition because they belong to the mountains, you know?

(Through text translation) Please, keep working. The young have to be very involved. We're not doing this because it will give us money, but because

we need to secure the water.

We have over 10 million trees planted along the Andes, and for us, that is nothing yet. Imagine that. It's nothing, 10 million trees, because the

disease that it's suffering at the moment, the planet, is huge. It needs a big medicine, more trees, more managing of this ecosystem and protection.

Real and concrete action on the ground.

The moss is going to grow over the trees and also in the surface. Securing the water, stopping the erosion, producing land, giving a home for a unique

biodiversity, and for the people, help and hope.


QUEST: Fascinating story. And of course, there's more. Go to



QUEST: The parliament building here in Brussels. So there is one central bank that started cutting rates. It's the Swiss National Bank. It's a

surprise rate cut and it means that it's the first of the big central banks to cut since the inflation surged. The inflation is well and duly contained

in Switzerland at the moment.

The Bank of England held rates steady. There's still the forecast that there will be several rate cuts before the end of the year with the

governor saying the economy is going in the right direction.

CNN's Anna Stewart has the gist of the cuts.

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Richard, we had a Swiss surprise, Turkish turmoil, but a boring Bank of England. It's been an eventful day

for central banks.

The first shock came from the Swiss National Bank, which became the first big central bank to cut rates. President Thomas Jordan said the fight

against inflation has been effective. In Turkey, though, things moved in the opposite direction. The central bank unexpectedly raising rates to 50

percent up from 45 percent. The Turkish Central Bank has raised rates by 4,150 basis points since the summer when President Erdogan abandoned his

unconventional policy of cutting rates to fight inflation.

No shocks in London as the Bank of England left rates on hold. But there was one surprise for avid rate watchers. For the first time since September

2021, no one on the bank's rate setting committee voted to raise rates. Pressure is now building on the European Central Bank to break with

tradition and cut rates before the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Anna Stewart, CNN, London.

QUEST: I'm in Brussels. I was attending the A4E Conference yesterday. Airlines for Europe. A4E says that 90 percent of Europeans intend to fly at

some point before the end of the year. So it promises to be a bumper summer that might well rival and advance from 2019.

EasyJet's CEO Johan Lundgren says they've done a lot of work to ensure that the systems are in place and that this year will be better than last.


JOHAN LUNDGREN, CEO, EASYJET: I think it's fair to say that the last couple of years in the summer has been challenging and it's, you know, partly down

to inefficient use for the airspace. And we talked about it here at this free forum about the need to reform the airspace and the traffic control

situation. But the war in Ukraine has also meant that we have significantly less airspace available for us.

Having said that, though, all operators, whether that is airlines or airports, have done a lot of things to make sure that they can improve on

the situation that has been there for the last few years.

QUEST: But there's two distinct issues. The one is a shared capacity. I mean the number of flights increases over the summer. And the second is the

ability of air traffic control strikes in France to really screw everybody over.

LUNDGREN: Well, so if you're looking at the European network then, we predict that there will be a growth about 2 percent to 3 percent from

legacy airlines. We're going to grow more than anybody else at 8 percent. I think some of our low-cost airlines will sit around at 6 percent more. But

overall, consider 3 percent, 3.5 percent growth in there. But at the same time, you will see that almost, you know, there isn't an airline or an

airport or air traffic controllers who has also done a lot more to be more resilient.

So, you know, we have to wait and see, but certainly I think that the industry is better prepared but they will be additional capacity into the


QUEST: Now you're not affected by Boeing issues and the engine issue from Airbus doesn't affect you in the same way. So to some extent, you are in a

better position.

LUNDGREN: To some extent, we are in a better position.

QUEST: Yes. Michael has got Boeing issues. Joseph (INAUDIBLE) has got engine issues. What's your issue?

LUNDGREN: Look, there always going to be challenges out there, but you're right from that perspective that, you know, with Airbus' suppliers of the

aircraft and I think we, by the way, we're probably the only airline here in Europe who are getting all our aircraft orders here from Airbus in this

year on time, and we work with CFM that doesn't have the issues like that.


But, look, in all fairness, there is this, you know, constraint across the industry for the next probably three years as well. And I think that that

is on one hand unfortunate for those who suffers from that. I wouldn't rule out that there will be pressures along the system in the next coming years

as well that might have an effect also on ourselves, but currently definitely for this summer, we are in a pretty good place on that.

QUEST: Where are you going to grow? I mean, every time I look at the map of Europe and I see sort of X is opening a base here, X are -- or even just

running flights. Where is your growth potential?

LUNDGREN: Our strategy is crystal clear. It is to increase our presence at the primary airports. That's what we're focused on. It's the big, large

catchment area. That's where EasyJet has really its focus is. And we will continue to grow. We are opening up a new base in Alicante as an example.

We're opening up the full year-round base in Birmingham, and we're putting a lot of capacity also into our seasonal bases that can operate into the

primary airport, which is quite unique, you know, from some of the other jurisdictions out there. So we can better balance the seasonality on this.

QUEST: You've tinkered around with connectivity, with other airlines and hub-and-spoke type. You've dipped your toe in and you've come up with

various potential solutions. But none of them really go all the way do they?

LUNDGREN: We are a point-to-point airline. That is one of the, you know, huge, you know, benefits of this. Delivering amazing value to the primary

airport, flying direct. That is what it's going to be. Now, on the connectivity, there is and there might be an opportunity on that. But what

we need to do is to make sure that the technology, the solutions are checking in the bag from on the airport and go straight into the other

airport before that happens because that is not currently in play. Then I don't think you're going to see lots of volume in there. But we are a

point-to-point airline in the primary airport in Europe.


QUEST: Johan Lundgren there talking to me.

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

Must we go, and I'll see you in London tomorrow.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

This hour, a twist in the gambling scandal surrounding one of the highest paid athletes in the world. Shohei Ohtani, the Major League Baseball player

from Japan, his interpreter was just fired from the L.A. Dodgers for sports betting and what his attorneys reportedly are saying about the case that

raises questions about the actions of Ohtani himself.

Plus Manafort, Flynn, Lewandowsky and more, the former Trump aides who became household names for their troubles in 2016 or so, could they all be

making a comeback as key players for the Trump campaign now?

And leading this hour, breaking news. Police announcing moments ago they have caught an inmate with ties to a white supremacist group who escaped

from custody.

Let's get straight to CNN's Natasha Chen.

Natasha, big story. The inmate and the accomplice were on the run for a day and a half. They were thought to be dangerous. How were they caught?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And Jake, the police are still talking right now during a press conference so the information is just

coming in, but right around 2:00 p.m. local time and Mountain Time after a lengthy investigation the two suspects were taken into custody. Police say

there were short vehicle pursuits. There were no shots fired or extensive use of force in this operation when they took them in. And that is from the

police chief there.

As a reminder, this all started Wednesday morning at around 2:00 a.m.