AFTER THIS MORNING’S ATTACKS on the city of Brussels, and after the attacks were claimed by the Islamic State, there was some predictable nasty backlash on social media (and, through Donald Trump, on mainstream media) against Muslims. On Twitter, racists and Islamophobes began tweeting using the hashtag #StopIslam, and within a short period of time, it was listed under the trending hashtags on Twitter.
But, as the Washington Post pointed out, it was trending for the opposite reason you might expect: more people were pushing back against the hashtag than were in favor of it. The Post writes:
In fact, [#StopIslam’s] spread would appear to mirror a heartening phenomenon that researchers observed after the November terrorist attacks in Paris: Anti-Muslim rhetoric spikes disturbingly on social media after an attack, but the spike of anti-anti-Muslim rhetoric is even more dramatic.
Post reporter Caitlin Dewey points out that the main Tweet that kicked the trend off was by a right-wing troll in Spain, who used the hashtag (popular among America’s Tea Party) in conjunction with comments about Brussels. But the responses to this original Tweet were mostly negative, with social media users pointing out that there’s a huge difference between Islam and ISIS, and that westerners attacking Islam (whether it’s verbally or physically) only play into the hands of extremists like ISIS who are trying to provoke a culture war between Islam and the west when there are no reasons the two groups should be at odds.
It’s easy in times of tragedy to fixate on the nastiness it can bring out in people. This same thing happens every time there’s a major terrorist attack. But the great power of the internet is it allows us to compare the bigots and the racists against the kind and compassionate people of the world. And the numbers are clear: the good people are in the majority.
Via: The Washington Post
Usina Del Arte
Buenos Aires, Argentina
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Hola! (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you so much. Muchas gracias. (Applause.) Thank you so much. Buenos dias, Buenos Aires! Please have a seat. Well, thank you so much for the warm welcome that you’ve offered me, and Michelle, and Malia and Sasha and my mother-in-law -- (laughter) -- a very important person. And on behalf of the people of the United States, I want to thank you for your friendship and the strong bonds between our two peoples.
Celeste, thank you for the wonderful introduction. Please give Celeste a big round of applause. That's not easy to do. (Applause.) The work that she’s doing to prepare more of our young people -- and especially young women -- for the jobs of tomorrow is inspiring. I’m glad to hear that when Celeste visited the United States as part of the Young Leaders Initiative, she got to go to her first National Basketball Association game in Denver. I don't think Ginobili was playing, but I can confirm that he is not only a nice guy but also one of the best players in the world -- and a proud Argentinian. So he is a great champion. My Chicago Bulls have been losing and the Spurs have been winning, so I'm not that happy about that. (Laughter.)
I want to thank everybody at the Usina del Arte for hosting us today. And I want you to know that the reason I came here is, in part, because I wanted to come to Buenos Aires ever since I was a young person like you. I very much enjoyed Argentinian literature -- authors like Borges and Cortázar. And so I would read them and became fascinated with Buenos Aires. I said at my press conference today, the only problem was when I was reading, people were always drinking mate, and I didn’t know what that was. (Laughter.)
So I just had my first mate today. (Laughter and applause.) It was good. It was good. And my team, my staff thought I was very clear-headed at the press conference, and they said it must be the mate. So I'm going to try to take some back.
But I also wanted to bring my daughters here, so they could see the beauty and the vibrancy of this city. They’ve already met one famous Argentinean -- His Holiness Pope Francis. Now they want to meet Messi, but I could not arrange that. They will not get a chance to experience the Palermo at night. (Laughter.) They will have to come back on their own to do that -- not with their father. (Laughter.) And we're looking forward to visiting Bariloche tomorrow.
But also, whenever I travel, I always want to spend time with young people. Your generation has grown up in times of breathtaking change. In your lives, you’ve seen massive global declines in poverty and disease -- so there’s a lot of good news out there -- you’ve seen incredible strides for women’s rights and LGBT rights. You’ve mastered technology -- the world is connected now in ways that we couldn't imagine even 10, 20 years ago. But you’ve also seen unthinkable violence from terrorists who try to tear us apart -- whether at an airport in Brussels, as we just saw, or a Jewish center in Buenos Aires. And all of us -- Americans and Argentinians alike -- stand against the scourge of terrorism, and we stand with the people of Belgium during this time of enormous sorrow.
And yet, even though you’ve come of an age where change is happening so rapidly, your generation I think believes deeply that you can change this world for the better. You’re more interested in hard work -- the hard work of waging peace than the easy impulse towards conflict. You’re more interested in the hard work of building prosperity through entrepreneurship, instead of cronyism and corruption. You’re more eager for the progress that comes not from holding down people who are not like you, but lifting everybody up so that everybody has an opportunity, regardless of what they look like or how they pray or who they love. And that makes me hopeful. I'm always inspired by young people.
So I’m going to be speaking very briefly, because I want to mostly hear from you.
I am here because these past several years mark a new era of U.S. engagement in the region, in the Americas. We’re not just nations, but we’re also neighbors. Millions of people in the United States are bound to the Americas through ties of commerce and family. Thousands of Argentinians study in the United States every year. Hundreds of U.S. companies employ thousands of people here in Argentina. And we’re committed to expanding those ties of leadership and scholarship and trade.
And I’m here in Argentina because I’m impressed with many of the reforms that have been initiated by President Macri in recent weeks -- his effort to reconnect Argentina to the world community, and to lay the groundwork for a more sustainable and inclusive economy. He inherited a tough economic situation, just as I did when I first came into office. He’s working to make it better. And in fact, to show their confidence in this new direction, U.S. companies are announcing tens of millions of dollars in new investment in Argentina. And I’m launching a new dialogue to strengthen business ties between our countries.
So the United States welcomes Argentina’s leadership role not just in the region, but in the world. Because to solve today’s challenges, we have to be partners. Somos un equipo. I got to practice my Spanish. (Laughter.)
But it’s critical that we work together. And that's one of the reasons why the U.S. has started a new chapter with our relationship with Cuba. I was honored to be the first U.S. President to visit Cuba in almost 90 years. And we still have differences with the Cuban government, but what I said to President Castro is we can't be imprisoned by the past. When something doesn't work for 50 years, we have to try something new. And I believe that engagement and dialogue is more powerful than isolation, and that the changes that we're making can improve the lives of the Cuban people.
And all of the people of the Americas deserve the right to speak and gather freely, and access the world’s information, and participate in forums like this. And so we hope that that will happen in Cuba. We hope that will happen everywhere in the world. But ultimately, it’s going to be up to the Cuban people, just like it’s up to sovereign peoples everywhere to be able to find their own voice and create democracy and freedom. We can be partners in that, and we can help.
And this new beginning is going to be good, I think, for the entire hemisphere. Part of my goal is to move past the old debates that have defined this region, move forward in a way that benefits your generation. And unlike any other time in history, the technology at your disposal means that you don't have to settle for the world as it is, you can create the world as you want it to be. You already have the freedom to build a world in powerful and disruptive ways.
That's why we're going to spend a lot of time in the coming months in building more vibrant connections between young people. Five years ago I started an initiative called 100,000 Strong in the Americas. And by the end of this decade, we want 100,000 U.S. students studying in the Americas, and we want 100,000 students from the Americas studying in the United States.
And today I’m proud to announce that that effort is growing here in Argentina. Partners like INET and CAF Development Bank in Latin America have committed to increase student exchanges between our technical colleges. And I want to thank President Macri for committing to a thousand new exchanges.
And finally, last year I launched what we call the Young Leaders of the America Initiative. And we're seeking out the most innovative young entrepreneurs and civil society leaders, and giving them a chance to earn the training and the connections and the capital that you need to make a difference. So this year I’ll welcome the first full class of fellows to Washington. We're going to help them expand their commercial and social ventures by embedding them in U.S. businesses and incubators and nonprofits and universities. We're going to give U.S. participants the chance to continue their collaboration with you back in your home countries.
And that's how we want to empower all young people. That's how we want to empower young women like Celeste. It’s how we create a future where climate researchers in the Amazon collaborate with scientists in Alaska, where an idea in Buenos Aires can develop with an incubator in Boston. It’s how we can make sure that we create a future where any young person can choose a path that opens his or her opportunities beyond their neighborhood into the wider world.
It’s where a young person can learn skills in the state of West Virginia in the United States, and put them to work right here in Argentina. So, Gino Tubaro, who’s here today -- where’s Gino? Somewhere. (Applause.) There we go. All right, Gino. (Applause.)
So Gino is a great example. He was tinkering with 3D printing as a teenager when, through the U.S. Embassy, he participated in a National Youth Science Camp in West Virginia. Then he learned about the latest 3D printing technology. When he came home to Argentina, he co-founded a company that used these new skills to work. He received a request from a woman looking for a prosthetic hand for her young son, Felipe. And typically, those hands can costs tens of thousands of American dollars. Gino “printed” a new hand for Felipe for far less. Just a few weeks later, for the first time, Felipe could ride a bike, go fishing, do many of the things that normal children do. And since then, more than 1,000 Argentinians have signed up for Gino’s help.
So that’s what’s possible when we work together. That’s what’s possible when we invest in young people like all of you. So I am very proud to be here. I’m excited for your questions. I’m excited for our conversation. As you heard, my Spanish is not as good as it should be. But we have a translator here so you can ask questions in English or in Spanish, and I will answer them as best I can. And we have about an hour. Preguntenme. Let’s go. All right? (Applause.)
Who wants to go first? This young man right here. You. Introduce yourself, please.
Q Mr. President, I wanted to ask you the following question. We live in a world where cultures often clash instead of coexisting peacefully, where some believe their very survival depends on the eradication of others, where intolerance and violence have become a currency, and people are forced to abandon everything and flee their homes, a drama which I believe will characterize much of this century’s history.
My question is this: Do you think all of the different human cultures will eventually unify or converge on a unique and universal culture, something like -- perhaps something akin to the United Federation of Planets in TV series “Star Trek”? I do not seek a scientific answer, just the honest opinion of a man who, as President of one of the world’s leading countries, has been given a privileged point of view on that matter.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: That's an interesting question. Thank you.
I believe that under the surface all people are the same. Now part of that is my own heritage and my own background. My father was a black man from Africa. My mother was a white woman in the United States, whose ancestors had come from England and Scotland. My mother remarried, and then we moved to Indonesia. So I have a half-sister who is Asian. I have nieces who are half Chinese. And so in my own family, I’ve got the genetic strains of everybody. And it gives me confidence -- confidence that's been reinforced as President -- that people are all essentially the same. Similar hopes, similar dreams, similar strengths, similar weaknesses. But we're also all bound by history and culture and habits. And so conflicts arise, in part, because of some weaknesses in human nature. When we feel threatened, then we like to strike out against people who are not like us. When change is happening too quickly, and we try to hang on to those things that we think could give us a solid foundation. And sometimes the organizing principles are around issues like race, or religion. When there are times of scarcity, then people can turn on each other.
And so I don't underestimate the very real challenges that we continue to face, and I don't think it is inevitable that the world comes together in a common culture and common understanding. But overall, I am hopeful. And the reason I'm hopeful is, if you look at the trajectory of history, humanity has slowly improved. Not in a straight line -- sometimes you take two steps forward and then you take one step back.
But if anybody here was asked the question, what moment in human history would you want to be born, and you didn’t know ahead of time whether you were going to be born in the United States or in Namibia, you didn’t know ahead of time whether you were going to be male or female, born into a wealthy family or a poor family, so all you knew was what moment in history would give you the best chance for the best life, you would choose today. Because the world is wealthier than it's ever been. It is better educated than it's ever been. It is more tolerant of differences than it's ever been. It's more connected than it's ever been. It's healthier than it's ever been. We live longer than we ever have. We have better dental care than we ever have.
It used to be if you had a bad tooth, that was bad. You had a problem. Now you go see the dentist most of the time -- in many countries around the world. It's a small thing, but it's important. Penicillin. Books. Women are treated with more respect, on average, today -- even though we have a long way to go. People with sexual differences are treated with more respect.
And even violence -- because today we see terrorism and it's painful, and we're shocked and horrified by what happens -- and yet, if you look even in the 20th century, much less if you go back to the days of the conquistadores or Genghis Khan or slavery -- but even just in the 20th century, the world is far less violent today, on average, than it was 25, 50, 100 years ago.
So all of that makes me hopeful. But as I said, it's not inevitable. And I think one of the things that's important for bringing about further progress is that we listen to each other and we understand our differences. I don't think it's necessary for us to all speak one language, or all have the same foods, or all have the same customs. But I do believe that there are some universal principles that are important.
I believe that the most important principle is a very simple one that is at the heart of most of the world’s great religions, which is treat somebody the same way you’d want to be treated. And if you start with that basic premise, then we will continue to make progress.
But I also think that in order for us to make progress, we have to have that fellow feeling and we have to combine that with the use of our brains and reason, and our intellect. And what’s interesting now, everybody here has a phone -- everybody is looking all the time. And in some ways, that's actually isolating people sometimes more than it's bringing people together. And what I also notice is, because there’s so much information coming in, that sometimes people just surf the surface of information as opposed to analysis and understanding and study.
In America, sometimes in our politics you see sound bites -- what we call sound bites. I don't know the translation. But it's just the Twitter line without trying to figure out, okay, is this true or not? What are the facts? And when it comes to an issue like climate change, we have to have a maturity to say, okay, here’s what the science tells us -- the planet is getting warmer -- and even though it's not happening right now, and it's a beautiful day outside in Buenos Aires, we have to start working now, so that 20, 30, 50, 100 years from now we still have a beautiful planet to live on.
That requires not just a strong heart, but also using our heads. And if we do those two things, then I feel confident that we'll make progress. We'll still have problems, but that's what makes life interesting, is having a few problems.
I'm going to alternate between men and women, so that we make it fair. This young lady right there, since she’s standing right in the front.
Q I'm going to have a heart attack, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Oh, don't have a heart attack! That would be bad!
Q I'm a university professor. I teach American political communications. I have no answers, but I don't want to feel worse for my students. And I want to say that you are my hero, yes. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, thank you so much. I appreciate that. Thank you.
Since you didn’t have a question, I'll call on that young lady in the front, as well, just so that she -- that way I get a question. But that was very nice. Thank you.
Q Thank you. Mr. President, I'm a research scientist. I'm very proud to have you here in my country, really. And I’m thankful, too, because I was educated in your country during my postdoc in teaching research. So my question is related with that, with science, principally, because I feel like always art and science was like the fields where the human being have not limits. And I was wondering if you are not fine, if you are not really just doing more than collaboration between our countries -- and this is the most important thing in this area -- why not to do a stronger collaboration between your country and mine, like this idea between others that perhaps other people have? But I was organizing with a Professor David Kaplan in the United States, who was my mentor there, to have a representation here in Argentina from their laboratory of research.
I know that there are a lot of programs of collaboration, like Georgetown, to be done like I did. But I feel like stronger collaboration in this field must be another kind of thing -- not only to have knowledge, but to put in real -- like, for example, technologic transfer. But I feel like science, basic science is very, very important. When I've been there like a researcher, I feel like we can do more. So I want to know about that.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good. Well, President Macri and I spoke about this in our meeting. I think the possibilities of collaboration between Argentina and the United States in scientific fields as well as the cultural fields -- there’s a huge opportunity there. We can do much more than we've done so far. And you're right that it's not enough just to have student exchanges. There’s work that also has to be done together. And the more minds we have that work on it, the sooner we'll be able to solve problems.
I'll give you one specific example, and that is when it comes to diseases and medicine. Everybody here is familiar with the emerging problem of Zika throughout the Americas. It turns out the Zika is not a complicated virus. And I'm actually quite optimistic that we'll be able to find a diagnostic tool and a vaccine for Zika. But the reason in the past that it hasn’t been developed was because it was predominantly in small, poorer countries in isolated areas. There wasn’t a lot of money to be made selling drugs to solve this small problem. And so it didn’t get any attention.
Except now we live in this world where everybody travels, where everybody is mobile, and so there’s no such thing as a disease that's just isolated in one place, because if we don't cure that disease, if we don't identify it early enough, it will sweep the world. And oftentimes it will sweep very rapidly because there’s no immunity and people aren't accustomed to it.
And that's true -- we saw what happened with Ebola. Now were seeing it with Zika. And obviously the thing I'm most concerned about is if we end up seeing a flu, an airborne disease -- because we know that in the past, in 1918, with the Spanish Flu, millions of people around the world died -- it can go very fast.
So this is an example where our goal is to work with the Brazilians, with the Cubans, with the Argentinians, with everyone so that we are pooling our resources, solving the problem quickly, getting clinical trials done quickly, finding ways that are culturally appropriate to make sure that people get the medicines they need quickly. And if we use the old model where each country is doing its own thing and working with its own companies, and not worrying about what’s happening elsewhere, we're not going to solve it.
So I think the opportunities for collaboration are there. They are strong. We're going to be developing over the next several months, I hope, a plan for the kind of collaboration that you described. Now, it won't all change overnight, but we do think that we can make progress in this area. And this is the kind of thing that not only solves problems but it also breeds understanding. It creates -- it makes people simpatico -- right -- in a way that reduces the possibilities of conflict over time.
So it's an excellent question. Thank you.
All right. It's a gentleman’s turn. Let’s see, this gentleman right here in the sweater.
Q Hi. And welcome to Argentina, Mr. President. And first of all, I would like to say thank you for having us here. It's a pleasure and an honor. And thank you, and thanks, Argentina -- as a truly proud member of the gay community -- for fighting for our rights as humans, as we all are.
My question is, given the fact that, right in the world, most of the main causes of death -- such as heart disease or chronic lower respiratory disease, diabetes, or even clandestine abortion in Argentina -- can be prevented with proper health education, climate change policies, and of course medical research. So which ones do you think are, in these seven years now as President of the United States, your greatest achievements in terms of those issues?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, I had to start in the United States, because we were the only advanced nation on Earth that didn’t have a universal health care program, and so we had millions of people who did not have health care. So I had, as some of you know, a very big fight to establish a system -- that's not ideal because we had to modify it and adapt it to the existing system that we already had, but that has now provided 20 million people with health care that didn’t have it before.
So part of the answer is to make sure that people have access to basic care, particularly preventive care. Because so many of the diseases that occur around the world, we can prevent fairly cheaply, and once people are sick, then it's very expensive. So, in Africa, if we can get mosquito nets -- we know that a lot of disease and death is caused by mosquito-borne diseases. And we've pushed very hard, and we are now in a position where we could potentially, if not completely, eliminate and then shrink drastically the incidents of malaria around the world.
It's not that complicated. It's just a matter of organizing how we do it. And we know we've done it before because polio, for example, is an area where there's been enormous progress, and there's just a few pockets of polio left in the world. Small pox, same thing. So we know how to do this. It's a matter of global organization that's very important. So that's point number one.
Point number two. People's incomes have to be increased. Nothing kills you like poverty. And so you can't separate trying to make people healthier from giving them the ability to make enough money and have enough resources to support themselves and their families. One of the things that we've done, in addition to the global health initiatives that we've worked on, is programs like Feed the Future. And what we do is not give food
-- although we obviously are the biggest contributor of food around the world -- but what we do is we take small farmers and we say, what is it that you need to increase yields?
And in some cases, it may be something as simple as new seeds. In some cases, it may be something as simple as a small mechanized system so that they can process the seeds on sites. And just that small amount of processing allows them to sell it on the market more expensive because they don’t have to send it to a big grainery, and that person takes a cut of their income. And by getting a little bit more money, now maybe they can buy a small tractor in a cooperative.
And what we've been able to do is to see small landholders increase their incomes by five, seven, ten times. And suddenly, they become not just farmers but small business people, and they start hiring people. And it creates a new economy in those communities. And that's not just an economic program, it's also a health program -- because if they've got more money and now they've got a roof over their heads, and they can afford a mosquito net, and they're eating better so their body has greater immunity to diseases, there's enormous improvement generally.
Now, the good news -- remember I said this is why I'm optimistic -- if you look at the U.N. Millennium goals that were set 20 years ago, we did not achieve all the goals. But infant mortality has dropped dramatically during that period of time. The number of people who live in extreme poverty has dropped dramatically during this time. And so I was very glad that the U.N. came together this year around a new set of sustainable development goals. If we can do that, and we continue with the kinds of joint health care programs that I discussed, then I'm optimistic that we'll continue to see progress. Because most of the deaths that happen, they happen to infants with preventable diseases, they happen to mothers when they're giving birth, they occur because of diseases that could have been prevented with very little money and people having slightly higher incomes.
And so it's going to be up to young people like you, though, to continue to find new areas where we can make progress and make improvements. Good luck. (Applause.)
The young woman right there. Yes, right there.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good afternoon.
Q First of all, I want to thank your country and your administration for investing in women like me and others from around the world that use sports as a way of developing other women through the Global Sports Mentoring Program.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Excellent.
Q And then you mentioned two things during your speech before. One was that this is the generation that needs to make a change in the world -- and I honestly believe that. And then you also mentioned that we cannot expect to create those changes if we keep on doing the same things over and over for this amount of years. And in my opinion, when it comes to businesses, that's kind of the way things are working right now. And when it comes to social entrepreneurs like myself or social businesses, there are very few countries that have a framework to empower people and social entrepreneurs to create those kinds of businesses. So my question is, what would be your advice for social entrepreneurs to keep on doing this hard work? And what do you think is the responsibilities of government to change those rules so that social businesses can be the new kind of businesses in this world?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Before I answer your question, tell me a little bit -- tell me about your business. What is it -- tell me about the programs that you're doing.
Q Okay, so I run a nonprofit organization in Rosario, and we focus on creating social change by empowering youth living in poverty and by generating civic participation. By that, we also use innovative tools such as coding for kids, new type of businesses we develop -- we help them achieve and develop life skills. That's what we are doing right now.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: And how long has the program been going on?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Okay. Excellent. Well, I started in the nonprofit sector in community work, and so it's something that I care deeply about. Each country is different. In the United States, most social entrepreneurs are typically financed through the private sector. Essentially philanthropies, rich people, or businesses, they finance it. Other countries -- it will come through the government and the taxes that people pay.
But what we've learned is that for many of the social problems that we face, it has to be a combination of the private sector and the nonprofit sector and government working together to really make a difference. And what do I mean by that? So I'm sure if you go into a poor neighborhood in Argentina, just like a poor neighborhood in the United States, there are a lot of different kinds of problems. You have, first of all, economic issues because these communities don't have jobs, businesses have not invested in them, in some cases, it may be factories that used to be there moved away, and so the jobs that people used to have there no longer exist.
So part of the effort has to be how do we bring private-sector businesses and attract investment into those communities to create jobs. That's point number one. But the businesses may not come unless the government has built the infrastructure -- the roads or the Wi-Fi connections or what have you. So the government has to make an investment. And even if the businesses and the government are prepared to do what they need to do, the human capital -- the people -- they have to make sure that they're getting the education that they need, the training that they need.
In some cases, in the United States at least, if they're very poor communities, you have young people who have been in poor families for generations. So they may not even know what the inside of an office building looks like. They may never have experienced what it means to go to a job at a certain time and structure their day in an organized way. And that's where a nonprofit, a social entrepreneur, can come and say, we'll partner with young people and have a professional or an adult who is working with that person and showing them, this is what's possible for you. Opening their eyes to telling some young girl in a poor neighborhood, you can be a computer scientist and why don't you come with me, and this is what computers are, they're not that complicated, this is what coding means, and if you can do math, then you can start coding. And suddenly, just by them seeing the possibilities, that inspires their effort.
The point is, is that each of those pieces are important. I don't know enough about how social entrepreneurs and community organizations and nonprofits are financed here in Argentina to give you a good opinion. I could give you an opinion -- politicians always can give you opinions, but I can't give you a good opinion because I don't have enough information about what changes might be made to give an organization like yours more support.
But one of the things that's interesting that's happening in the United States is that you're starting to see organizations that are kind of a blend of for-profit and non-for-profit. So they might have a business component that, let's say, sells handcrafts and artwork that's made by a community for profit, but then the money goes into financing the social programs that help give people these opportunities. And how they're treated in terms of taxes and the corporate organization -- that's going to change by country. Each country is going to have a different model. But more and more, I believe that that's going to be the wave of the future if we want to make progress on these problems.
I guess to make a broader point, so often in the past there's been a sharp division between left and right, between capitalist and communist or socialist. And especially in the Americas, that's been a big debate, right? Oh, you know, you're a capitalist Yankee dog, and oh, you know, you're some crazy communist that's going to take away everybody's property. And I mean, those are interesting intellectual arguments, but I think for your generation, you should be practical and just choose from what works. You don't have to worry about whether it neatly fits into socialist theory or capitalist theory -- you should just decide what works.
And I said this to President Castro in Cuba. I said, look, you've made great progress in educating young people. Every child in Cuba gets a basic education -- that's a huge improvement from where it was. Medical care -- the life expectancy of Cubans is equivalent to the United States, despite it being a very poor country, because they have access to health care. That's a huge achievement. They should be congratulated. But you drive around Havana and you say this economy is not working. It looks like it did in the 1950s. And so you have to be practical in asking yourself how can you achieve the goals of equality and inclusion, but also recognize that the market system produces a lot of wealth and goods and services. And it also gives individuals freedom because they have initiative.
And so you don't have to be rigid in saying it’s either this or that, you can say -- depending on the problem you're trying to solve, depending on the social issues that you're trying to address what works. And I think that what you’ll find is that the most successful societies, the most successful economies are ones that are rooted in a market-based system, but also recognize that a market does not work by itself. It has to have a social and moral and ethical and community basis, and there has to be inclusion. Otherwise it’s not stable.
And it’s up to you -- whether you're in business or in academia or the nonprofit sector, whatever you're doing -- to create new forms that are adapted to the new conditions that we live in today. (Applause.)
Okay, let’s see. It’s a guy’s turn, a gentleman’s turn. Hold on a second. That guy right there, in the dark shirt. Yes, you. No, right there. Go ahead. You. Yes, I can hear you. Go ahead. Speak right into the microphone. You don't have a microphone. Where is the microphone? Here, it’s coming. But be careful. Don't fall over. It’s a little tight over there.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yes, I can hear you now.
Q Hello, Mr. President. I am a senior in high school. This fall I will be -- I will start studying international relations in American University at the School of International Service.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Excellent. We look forward to seeing you.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Make sure to bring a coat, though. It’s going to be cool during the winter.
Q My question to you is regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I am an Arab Israeli myself. And the reality is that with an increase of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, this is leading to more and more -- to having a binational state. Do you think that a binational state where there is an Israeli Prime Minister and a Palestinian President, or a Palestinian Prime Minister and an Israeli President is a possibility?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: No, it’s an interesting question. I was asked at the press conference to reflect on the seven and a half years where I’ve been President -- where I’ve been happy and feel that I’ve accomplished my goals, where I think I’ve been frustrated. And obviously the situation with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been an area where despite enormous efforts on my part -- and a lot of people’s parts -- we haven’t made the kind of progress that I wanted to see.
I continue to believe that the only way to resolve this issue is to have an Israeli predominantly Jewish state that is secure and safe, side by side with a sovereign and contiguous Palestinian state.
And the reason I say that is because I think the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state of their own and self-determination is too strong to be denied. And I also think that the Jewish people, given their history, have to feel that they have a state that they are secure with, and that they can preserve from aggression.
And so there has been talk about a one-state solution, or sort of divided government. It’s hard for me to envision that being stable. There’s such deep distrust between the two peoples right now. And the neighborhood is in such a mess that I continue to believe that a two-state solution is the best way.
Now, over time that could evolve. But initially, at least, I think the Palestinians have to feel like they have something of their own that they can say, this is ours and it expresses our deepest aspirations. And I think that the Jewish people have to feel safe.
Now, the problem is, is that history casts a heavy cloud on this. Each side only remembers its grief, and has a very difficult time -- has a very difficult time seeing the other side, the situation. And both of them have legitimate fears. And I will also say, though, that in some ways because Israeli society has been so successful economically, it has I think from a position of strength been less willing to make concessions. On the other hand, the Palestinians because of weakness have not had the political cohesion and organization to enter into negotiations and feel like they can get what they need. And so both side just go to separate corners. And we have worked and worked and worked.
And last year and the year before that, John Kerry -- that poor man, he was flying back and forth, and taking messages back and forth, and I was making phone calls. But ultimately we can't do it for them. And so the tragedy of the situation there is that until the populations of both peoples recognize the truth, which is they're going to be living together one way or another. And the question is: Are you going to be living together with checkpoints and people being stabbed and hatred? Or are you going to be living together in a way that creates opportunity and hope for children? Until they make that decision and that is reflected in the political leaders they elected, and the politics that they promote, there’s very little that we can do to force it to happen.
That doesn't mean we don't keep trying and trying to persuade and provide incentives. But ultimately, this is going to be something that those people have to decide on.
And here’s the last thing I will say, though, and I’ve said this to Prime Minister Netanyahu, and I’ve said this publicly. If you look at the demographics of the region and the West Bank and Gaza, and the Arab-Israeli population, it’s growing much faster than the Jewish population. If you don't find a way to resolve the conflict, then over time you're going to have to make a choice: Do we preserve this as a Jewish state, but it is now no longer a democracy? Because if it was, then the Jewish people would be a small minority. Or do you preserve its Jewish character, but now it is -- or do you preserve the democracy, but now it’s no longer a predominantly Jewish state? You're going to have to make a choice.
The only way to avoid that choice -- if you want to preserve it as a predominantly Jewish state and a democracy, then you have to give the Palestinian people and Arab people who are living in that community their own state in order to have self-determination. And I hope that that happens.
And even once I’m no longer President, I will continue to try to promote that peaceful dialogue. But I will be the first one to confess this is not something I was able to get done. And I’m not that hopeful that it’s going to happen in the next nine months. It’s been 60 years, it’s not going to happen in the next nine months. (Applause.)
All right, so I’m going to go back here in the shadows here. I didn't even see these folks back here. Yes, this gentleman in the t-shirt and the sunglasses. This side hasn’t gotten attention? Okay, you'll be nice.
Q (As interpreted.) The question is, taking into account that Donald Trump is one of the candidates in the Republican Party, why do you think that the people is supporting the policies that he supports? And do you think that he will reach the presidency?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: So the question was about the elections, the elections in the United States. Look, politics in the United States is complicated, just like every other country. You know something about this here in Argentina. Politics is complicated. But that's part of the problem with and the benefit of a democracy, which is, it's loud and it's noisy and complicated.
What you're seeing right now is, in part, that the Republican Party has moved to the right very strongly during the course of my presidency. Now, there are a lot of reasons for that. But that's just a fact. And I think that the Republican Party, because of their efforts to oppose me, found themselves taking positions that were further and further away from the mainstream. It was successful in some ways in getting congressional candidates elected, because during the elections the turnout is typically very low, and so the most passionate people vote. And in this new media age where people are getting their info, as I said before, in sound bites, and where they don’t necessarily get the same information, depending on whether they're on the left or on the right, they can decide, I'm only going to read the things I agree with already, as opposed to getting a broader opinion.
What happened was, is that it reinforced a politics that was based on what they oppose as opposed to what they were for. And primarily, they opposed me. And so that's what's happening inside of the Republican Party. Within the Democratic Party, which I think is not going through as big of a change, I do think that Mr. Sanders and Secretary Clinton are responding to a continued concern, which is the economy has recovered, it is much better than it was when I came into office, but the crisis that we went through in 2008-2009 has left a lot of people feeling more insecure. And so even though their lives are better now, they're worried how is it going to be in the future.
And they see some of the global trends that you probably see here in Argentina, which is globalization is disrupted, and the days are over where you get a job and you stay in it for 30 years or 40 years, and then you retire and you have a pension, and it's all simple. Now you might have a job for five years, and then the company closes and you've got to retrain, and you've got to go to another job, and you're trying to figure out how to save to pay for your child's education, while you're also trying to save for retirement.
So you're starting to see, I think, a more vocal discussion of changing some of the economic arrangements and institutional arrangements in the United States. And in that sense, this is the same debate that's taking place everywhere in the advanced economies. What you're seeing is more and more growth is going to just a few, and the poor may have improved a little bit, but the middle class starts to feel more insecure. And that creates a willingness to question some of the existing institutional arrangements.
So both on the left and the right, there are disruptions and people are asking more serious questions about the economy. It's just that it's a little more extreme in the Republican Party. But look, I am a Democratic President, so you should assume that my answer is a little biased. I will acknowledge that.
The good news is, though, that ultimately I have great trust and great faith in the American people. I think, ultimately, they will make a good decision in terms of the next President and the next administration. I also think that one of the great advantages of the United States system, even though it's very frustrating sometimes for the President, is that power is distributed across a lot of institutions. It's what we call separation of powers and decentralization. So it's not just that the President and Congress are separate centers of power, it's also true that you have state governments that are powerful. The private sector is powerful. And this makes it hard sometimes for America to change as rapidly as we need to, to respond to changed circumstances or problems because it's sort of like herding cats -- you're constantly trying to get everybody to work together and move in the same direction at the same time. And that's difficult.
The advantage is that even if we end up with somebody who I might not consider a great President, there is a limit to some of the damage that they can do because -- and I'm sure Republicans feel that about me -- they're glad that there's distribution of power because they imagine that I would have turned the United States into Cuba, I suppose. They tend to exaggerate little bit how I see the world.
But that's why I think that the United States has been stable as a democracy for a very long time. And that's why I think not only do I have confidence the American people will make a good choice, but we usually can recover from mistakes and typically we find leadership, and because it's a democracy, there are enough voices that lift up to correct those mistakes over time. (Applause.)
Last question? Okay. This young lady right here.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good afternoon.
Q I'm 16 years old. I was part of the Young Ambassadors Program 2015, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Thanks to that program, I had a chance to see the world from a different point of view by living with a host community in Missouri.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: In Missouri?
Q Yes, in Kansas City --
PRESIDENT OBAMA: What city -- what town were you in?
Q In April, in late summer.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Okay, where were you in Missouri?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yes, in Kansas City.
Q So that made me realize how different and similar are the cultures between Argentina and America. But at the same time, this program was given to us to make an impact in our community when we came back. And I was thinking, why sometimes it's so hard for nations to work together to invent a better world? Why sometimes it's hard for political leaders to get along if, after all, we are all humans, and we all have blood in our veins, and we all want the world to be a better place? But sometimes you see news, terrorific things, and you just think, why can't I be President to change that? So you are a President, and maybe you can answer me? (Laughter and applause.)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all -- so I'm just curious -- what was the thing that you thought was most different about the United States? What was the thing that surprised you or you said, well this is -- I did not expect this?
Q I'm real sorry the question -- the answer is not going to be a serious one, but toilets.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Were they better or worse?
Q They were better, but they were automatic, so it's, like, kind of scary to get in there. (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Oh, that's a good point. If you don't know what's happening, you jump up. (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, not everybody has automatic toilets, so this must have been a very nice --
Q If I'm serious, I think it's the way students, I had an opportunity to have some classes at the high school -- it was a public high school -- and how students see the world from a different perspective. Some didn't know what Argentina was, where it was, they would ask if we had Coca-Cola, if we had iPhones, if we had phones. And some others knew so much about Latin America. So it's like the U.S. is a big diverse country and it was so awesome, and it was different from here.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: That's interesting. Well, every country has strengths and weaknesses. I will say that an area where the United States -- I'd like us to do better is greater awareness of the world outside of the United States. (Applause.) And part of this is just history. America was so big and relatively protected from threats from other countries. And it was able to develop its own internal market, and so for a long time, in some ways, America didn't feel as if it needed to know what was really going on outside. It's part of the reason why we don't do as well on foreign languages compared to a lot of other countries with the kind of educational levels.
And this is something that I've said to the American people and through our Education Department -- we have to change how we approach the world, because the world has shrunk. And if we want to train young Americans to be able to compete, they have to know where Argentina is. They have to know how to speak Spanish or Chinese -- Mandarin. Or understand the cultures and customs of other peoples. Every young person does in order to live in this now global community.
A reason that Presidents can't just solve things right away is because every leader in every country is gathering and expressing a very particular set of interests and history and institutional arrangements. And those interests oftentimes constrain what a leader can do, even if he or she wants to do it.
So I was just mentioning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If a Palestinian leader like Abu Mazen, President Abbas, wants to make peace with the Israelis, he has to convince Palestinians that they should give up certain claims that they may have in a negotiation. But if he makes that commitment, then there may be a younger Palestinian politician who sees that as a weakness, and it will turn around and say, look, Abbas is selling us out, he's not looking out for the interests of the Palestinian people, he is being manipulated or taken by the Israelis.
And then if Netanyahu wants peace, he's got to make concessions to create a Palestinian state. But he has to get elected, and he's thinking to himself, if I make this concession, then somebody in my party, the Likud, may challenge me. And so what happens is, is that most politicians are constantly making decisions based on what they're hearing from their various constituencies. And their constituencies -- they want what they want. They don't want to compromise sometimes. They don't want to understand the nuances of things.
And then it turns out that in politics, sometimes making somebody afraid of somebody else or creating an enemy is more successful in stirring up passion than trying to say let's understand this other person or these other people. So there are leaders who I think do a better job of focusing on the common good, and there are other leaders who are very narrowly focused on just how do I stay in power. And ultimately, if you're lucky enough to live in a democracy, then part of making sure that your leaders can act well is the citizens, the constituency, have to also be well-informed and be willing to give him or her the room to do things that may not be convenient for you right now, but may actually be the right thing to do.
And one thing that Argentina and America share is we are democratic. And I always say to the people of the United States, the most important position in a democracy is not the office of the President. The most important office is the office of citizen, because if you have citizens who are informed and know about other countries, and recognize that if we provide foreign aid to some distant country in Africa, that ultimately may make us healthier. And if you have a citizenry that recognizes that even if I have to pay slightly more in taxes -- which nobody likes paying taxes -- but if I do, maybe I can provide that young child who lives in a poorer neighborhood an opportunity for a better life. And then because she has a job and a better life, she can pay taxes, and then everybody has more, and the society is better off.
If you don't have citizens like that, then you're going to get leaders who think very narrowly and you'll be disappointed. So the job -- one thing I always tell young people, don't just think that you elect somebody and then you expect them to solve all your problems and then you just sit back and complain when it doesn't happen. You have to work as a citizen also to provide the leaders the space and the direction to do the right thing. It's just as important for you to challenge ignorance or discrimination or people who are always thinking in terms of war -- it's just as important for you to do that as the President because I don't care how good the person, the leader you elect is, if the people want something different. In a democracy, at least, that's what's going to happen.
Now, the good news is I think all of you are up to the task, up to the job of being good citizens. And I look forward to the citizens of the United States and the citizens of Argentina continuing to create a better world together.
Thank you very much, everybody. (Applause.)
Quest On The Road Visits World's Economic Centers Of Hong Kong, New York, London
Aired December 31, 2009 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INT'L. ANCHOR, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Hello and welcome to a special on the road edition of QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. For those of you who have been watching closely throughout the year, you'll have known that I grabbed any opportunity I could to get out of the studio and see what was happening in the real economy.
So, let's start with the most ambitious trip of the year, Nylon (ph) Kong. One year on from the financial crisis, we took the show to the streets of the world's financial capitols, whether it was London, New York, or indeed, Hong Kong. It was more a case of Hong Nylon (ph) because we started in Hong Kong, where the harbor provides spectacular backdrop for a topsy-turvy week in business.
Japan crept out of recession, there was turmoil in the Chinese markets, and out and about on the streets I search for a tell tale economic indicator. I learned that noodles, that staple of the Hong Kong diet, is a good barometer of what is happening in the recession.
On to New York, now in New York, well, the sun was shining on Wall Street, and the U.S. markets as well. I received words of wisdom from a trading floor veteran. I got a feel for the pick at the New York Mercantile Exchange, where they live and they breathe commodities. After I had bitten a nice big chunk out of the Big Apple, it was time to cross another ocean. Remember, I had crossed the Pacific. Now, I was crossing the Atlantic, home and back to London, my week above the River Thames was not short of intrigue. For instance, eBay gave up Skype, and the thorny issue of Citi bonuses reared its ugly head once again.
BORIS JOHNSON, MAYOR OF LONDON: People who are going to receive this kind of remuneration, who are going to pay themselves these kinds of bonuses, when their banks have been supported by the taxpayer, they have got to have a sense of their commitment to wider society.
QUEST: When it came to broadcasting from Hong Kong, I was overlooking the Victoria Harbor, famous for its spectacular views.
QUEST: Land of the rising economy, Japan pulls itself out of recession.
QUEST: The harbor is home to most of the port facilities of Hong Kong. It is one of the busiest ports in the world. Out on the shipping lanes, however, the anchors were down, trade standing still.
QUEST (voice over): Hong Kong Harbor, a stretch of deep water that is offers safe haven for ships plying the Asian seaways. Today, though, many are here, sitting and waiting. The DD Master, for instance, a bulk carrier built in 1983. It arrived in Hong Kong around weeks ago. And like all the other ships in this channel it doesn't seem to have much to do.
Arthur Bowing is the managing director of the Hong Kong Ship Owners' Association.
ARTHUR BOWING, HONG KONG SHIP OWNERS' ASSOCIATION: We can see them on the Hong Kong radars and we can see that there is probably 80 to 90 ships out here on a daily basis. But we don't know if they are coming or going, or how long they might be here.
QUEST (On camera): OK, so why would it be better just to leave ships out here, doing nothing? Surely it must be extremely expensive?
BOWING: Because it is the least loss calculation. Your trying to calculate how little or how much you can loose by keeping it here or by trading the ship. And you might lose less by keeping the ship at anchor, than you would by trading it.
QUEST: Arthur is it likely that some of these ships will not sail again with cargo loads for some time?
BOWING: It is quite likely some of them will not sail again with any cargo loads for any amount of time. They could stay here for maybe a year, or two years, maybe even three years. And then be taken off to recycling yard.
QUEST: But you would agree with me, two years ago, they'd all be steaming around.
QUEST: And they'd all be around.
BOWING: The order books were huge.
BOWING: We were ordering ships like crazy, and we couldn't build enough ships to cope with the volume of trade. We don't see there are goods being shipped trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific. We don't see the stuff being moved to the Western consumer, who were the ones keeping up the markets before. We just don't see that happening in the volumes that we would really need, to continue.
QUEST: Most of us have been keeping a close eye on property prices throughout the financial crisis. In Hong Kong, they have been watching them for a very different reason. In August prices were almost back to where they were before the crisis began. Even at the luxury end, prices have bounced back in a spectacular fashion.
QUEST (voice over): The towers of Hong Kong, from the crowded blocks just feet from each other, to the high point of the luxury peaked district. After September last year, prices dropped by around 25 percent, across the board. Buying and selling slowed to a crawl. Now deals are being done again, and at the luxury end agents say prices are back to where they.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is actually, this apartment is actually on the market for sale at $8 million, U.S.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that is right.
QUEST (voice over): Two years ago, this two bed roomed apartment was sold for a similar amount. It is back on the market after a brief decline in value, the price, fully restored. It is not only apartments that are selling.
(On camera): So what have we go here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, Richard, this is a house. Normally, the house in Hong Kong would have more premium, so this house is worth about $40 million, U.S.
QUEST (voice over): The premium for a house with these sort of views is even greater and this house has many bedrooms.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is one of the bedrooms.
QUEST (On camera): So, this isn't a master bedroom?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not a master bedroom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not the master bedroom, yet. This is just the second bedroom, of (INAUDIBLE). This will be the third bedroom, here.
QUEST: Oh, the master bedroom?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, the third bedroom.
QUEST: Still not the master bedroom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here it is. You have the better room now, right?
QUEST: Yes, now you've got it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, you have a view. You got a view.
(voice over): There are terraces everywhere.
That is quite an exceptional room.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: $40 million, U.S.
QUEST: Rick is pretty confident he will sell it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nowadays we have 15 to 20 percent, you know, Mainland China, peoples, all want to enter into the peak.
QUEST: Coming up, Nylon (ph) Kong, onto New York. I find out what it was like to dive into the pits for a day, in the live of a New York market trader.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One who has a weak stomach does not do very well in this environment. You have got to be a little bit tough, if not, you are not going to last.
QUEST: Welcome back to Nylon (ph) Kong, where my voyage now took me to New York, the second leg of our quest to investigate signs of recovery one year on from the meltdown, which prolapsed the world's financial system.
Here I am, anchoring live from the financial center of New York, the heart of Wall Street.
QUEST: Welcome to QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, coming to you from Federal Hall, on Wall Street, just outside the New York Stock Exchange.
QUEST: If you want to know what is really going on in terms of the New York market, if you want to get a feel for the market, you have to go inside the buildings, which is where I found Teddy Weisberg, president of the Seaport Securities. Now, Teddy has spent four decades doing deals on the exchange.
TEDDY WEISBERG, PRESIDENT, SEAPORT SECURITIES: Wall Street it filled with cliches. You know if it was -we live in a world of cliches, but the one thing we know is that markets love to climb walls of worry and there is plenty of worry about still. I mean, you can make a better case for stocks going down than you can for them going up. But the good thing is there is nothing rational about stock markets.
QUEST: The fascinating thing is, whilst you and I are making cases for the stock market going down, it gone up a couple of hundred points.
WEISBERG: More than a couple of a hundred points, pretty dramatic. And even this weekend the financial press was filled with stories that basically were negative. You know, the market has gone too far, it is not sustainable, so forth and so on, and yet here we are on a Monday, we are up 65 points, having been up very strong on Friday.
QUEST: You'll be familiar with the idea that what we are seeing is potentially, and I use the word, 1929, 1930 - look at the face, look at the face. 1929, 1930 all over again, the strong rally which presages a very deep fall.
WEISBERG: Well, you know, and this is what makes it so difficult and so frustrating. Because you look at a market like we are having now and people tend to draw parallels with history. And people who ignore history are destined to relive history, as we all know. But the fact is that it is never quite the same. It really never is the same. And as I just said, you can make a better case, probably, for the stock market going down, than going up. But the fact is, at the moment the tape doesn't lie. And the tape, obviously, sees something out there that it likes and obviously, that is probably an improving economy, which will negate what the bears are saying.
QUEST: From the New York Stock Exchange, to the New York Merc, around the corner, both are as noisy as the other, perhaps the Merc has it when things get really busy. The prices of strategic commodities, bought and sold, change every minute of every day. As I found out, working in any of the trading pits, it is not for the faint hearted.
QUEST (on camera): It is 16, 17 minutes from now, when it opens, what will you be looking for?
RAY CARBON, PARAMOUNT OPTIONS: Today I'm going to concentrate on just putting out information, or we'll just listen to what the pit is talking about, what structures are out here. We put them out to customers and market them. And try to get response on orders.
QUEST (voice over): None of this has got anything to do -it seemingly with the real world. And yet, and yet, it has got everything to do with the real world.
CARBON: That's well put, I can't dispute that. It is a niche like any other business is, except this has repercussions for the real world.
All right. We are ready to rock here. And we go into the ring.
QUEST: So, why are they making so much noise.
CARBON: I have got to make my voice louder than yours, to get my information back to my pit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roy, Roy, what's the bid?
QUEST: How do you know the other person just heard you?
CARBON: We can understand each other, I made this market 30 bid at 40. 150 bid at 300. Because we all know the same hand language.
CARBON: So, I can communicate with someone across, everything I just said to you, I can do it with my hands. This is an Ach, Rue March, 65, 9 defense against 76 and a half.
QUEST: Do you need nerves of absolute steel, to go into that pit?
CARBON: One who has a weak stomach does not do very well in this environment. You have to be a little bit tough, if not, you are not going to last.
QUEST: Construction at the site of the World Trade Center, where the former twin towers stood, while construction is years behind schedule. It is being held up by a combination of design disputes, and complicated litigation. The man who actually has the job of rebuilding the towers is Larry Silverstein. The American billionaire and the real estate investor who owns the lease for the World Trade Center site. I was privileged enough to have a tour of the construction site.
QUEST: This is a rare chance to get inside the World Trade Center site, and now I can really find out the state of the development, for shire size and scale, of this operation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is hard to believe that it has been eight years and we are still at this stage. The last remnants of the actual site, is being town down right there. Tower three is right next to it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then in that corner, tower four is being built. This is all going to be covered in about three weeks, four weeks, with a new deck. This will be pretty much street level.
QUEST: (On camera): The World Trade Center site is relatively simple in concept, a 16-acre square with four sides that can clearly be seen. But that is when the difficulties begin. Because different parcels of the site are owned by different people and will be developed at different stages and speed. And the money to pay for it all is coming from different sources, which why the man I'm going to visit, up in the office there, Larry Silverstein, knows all about the problems.
LARRY SILVERSTEIN, WORLD TRADE CENTER PROJECT DEVELOPER: I am one of the frustrated people you are going to speak to. At 78 years of age, my frustration is total, because of anathis (ph), trying to get this place rebuilt since 9/11. What we are dealing with here, is a disaster, the project is totally at risk and is going at a snail's pace. The port has suggested completions that go way out into 2036, or whatever. It makes no sense to me at all.
Whatever the buildings finally look like, and I know to some extent, this happens in every major construction project, but there can't be two many that have as much World Trade Center, Tower II. It is not just a few papers it is pages of it. Just about every twist and turn from the insurance claim, to the who owns which bits, to who is going to develop which bits. Even now you are still in arbitration, over vast areas of this.
Well, in point of fact, we have finally gotten disgusted with the pace of activity, or inactivity. Port had certain obligations with respect to the delivery of infrastructure, so we could build our buildings. They didn't deliver the sites to us, which they were obligated to do. They start the infrastructure in a timely fashion. At the rate it is going it's not going to be done in a timely way.
QUEST: You are paying $10 million a month, in rent, for a property that you can't rent out yourself. And you are getting back in return, it seems bizarre.
SILVERSTEIN: $300,000 a day they are paying us, is to cover the rental that we have to pay them. It is just a wash, absolutely a wash. So there is no benefit to us whatsoever.
QUEST: Look at the detail on this. I mean, you can't even read what some of these are.
SILVERSTEIN: It was about six weeks before 9/11 we acquired the World Trade Center. And, of course, disaster followed thereafter. But nevertheless we faced the reality and the reality was we had an obligation under the documents we had signed, to rebuild, and even if anything would happen.
QUEST: Is this the most important project that you've been involved with?
SILVERSTEIN: Clearly. There is nothing that has captured the public's imagination and attention to the extent that rebuilding the Trade Center has. And to have this responsibility is enormous. And I feel it. That is why I'm pressing this as avidly as I am. To move this arbitration process forward, so if the decision can't be made as to who is right, who is wrong, ultimately, my hope and my prayer, is that in a time frame that gets there, between the 14, 15, and 16, so that in the six, seven years from today, at that point I'll be 85, 86, whatever, hopefully I'll be here and be able to enjoy the results of our efforts.
QUEST: If you ever have any doubt as to why you were doing what they are doing in there, that is what it is all about.
Will you make money on this project?
SILVERSTEIN: It is not a case of making money. Money has no relevance here. It is the recognition of the importance of rebuilding this thing. And getting on with it, and whether or not it makes money is really not an issue.
QUEST: A frank chat with Larry Silverstein, there. And when we return, bold words on Citi bonuses from the London Mayor Boris Johnson.
We also have plenty more from out travels in 2009. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS on the road.
QUEST: The third and final part of our Nylon (ph) Kong, Kong Nylon (ph), as we took to calling it, took me to London. The week was marked by a backlash over bankers' bonuses. It was an issue that continues to dominate news casts. The London Mayor Boris Johnson made his feelings quite clear on the matter when we met at city hall. Mayor Johnson also spoke about tough new European rules, which he said could weaken the city's financial heart, and more generally, about London's ability to ride out the financial crisis.
MAYOR BORIS JOHNSON, LONDON: On bonuses, you know, I think it unbelievable that a sector that has been, not just bailed out in some individual cases by the taxpayer, but propped up by the government, by government intervention, with taxpayers' money, is awarding itself this kind of money. I'm not pretending I can come out now with a solution for docking this cash, but I do think the people who are going to receive this kind of remuneration, who are going to pay themselves these kinds of bonuses, when their banks have been supported by the taxpayer, the have got to have a sense of their commitment to wider society.
QUEST: Their failure, in some senses, is to have that commitment and their ease with which they have moved back to a normal operation. Doesn't this give grist to the mill to those in Brussels that want to regulate them? These were, after all, industries that looked for every possible loophole to try and avoid regulation.
JOHNSON: I absolutely - right. And there is no question, at all, that the mood amongst the public, certainly the mood in Brussels, is that this is a very fantastic opportunity to --in Brussels, the mood is that this is a fantastic opportunity to regulate. And what they want to do is seize the crisis, to take from the top shelf, go where they have been gathering dust and several years, various plans, which are designed to fetter the Anglo-Saxon approach to finance.
QUEST: Is it likely that if these new regulations come in the business will go elsewhere? Because that is your argument, which some say, simply just doesn't hold water.
JOHNSON: Well, you know, you have 7,000 jobs in the hedge funds, a sector at least of 35,000 others associated with venture capital private equity, clearly there is a risk of emigration beyond the boundaries of the European Union. And that makes no sense at all. Why should we, in the European Union, be helping to support a directive that would basically favor other jurisdictions? Geneva, Asian economies? I do think that is a sensitive (ph) point. So my argument would be, yes, let's have regulation, but let's do it at a global level.
Because these guys, as you rightly say, these guys are global operators and we need a global solution.
QUEST: I've been to New York, where I have seen optimism. I've been to Hong Kong, where I've seen lots of -
JOHNSON: No, no, no, this is the home of optimism.
JOHNSON: The New York, the New York, are you saying they have a can do spirit over there.
JOHNSON: We thought it up first. Not only did we think up the language, but we put a copyright on that, but we have the sense of daring do, drive, initiative, dynamism, and general gung-ho-ery, that you would expect from the world's leading financial center. And this is always going to be one of the best places on earth, to efficiently to raise and allocate capital. For all the reasons I've given. We have the time zone. We have got the money (ph), we have the skills and we have a city that people have great talent and intelligence, want to come and live in.
I think in the long-term, of course, London will come through this, and come through it well.
QUEST: Following Nylon (ph) Kong, it wasn't long, before we embarked on our next trip. This time it was to Germany, ahead of the elections, and amid uncertainty over the future of the carmaker Opel. You'll remember, General Motors had initially said it was going to sell Opal, and then delayed the sale. Later in the year, GM said it was going to keep the car company, causing fury in Germany at the different decision making. Heidi Hetzer is one of the first female rally drivers and the owner of one of Berlin's biggest Opel dealers. Heidi joined me at my live location and I'd met me match.
QUEST (On camera): While we are talking about this car, we are going to show you some shots of this car. So, this car is 1911? That is its name? What sort of car is it?
HEIDI HETZER, OWNER, OPEL DEALERSHIP: It is a racing car. A private man had got that built, like the racing car of that time. So, he just wanted a car, but then not as a racing car that you can step in, that you have a trunk, that you -but it is no lights. It has no lights. So, it is a very unique car. There is not another one like it.
QUEST: And there is no -the wonderful thing about -come and join me over here, come and join me over here. Because I know anybody who is used to cars, but look at all the steering and the levers, and the -
HETZER: Now, look, what is very unusual is you give speed, with here.
HETZER: With the hand, not - there is nothing with the foot.
QUEST: Right, so we speed with that.
HETZER: We squeeze it, yeah.
QUEST: And that one, what does that one do?
HETZER: That one is for the compression.
HETZER: And here is the shifting.
QUEST: Yes? How do we switch it on?
QUEST: Oh, I'm not pushing. All right, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS is back in a moment. The German economy is on our agenda. Keep going. We'll be back I a moment, this is CNN, live in the German capital. Drive on!
QUEST: Hello. I'm Richard Quest. This is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS -- the special, on the road edition of the program.
My travels took me to many places -- India, the economic tiger, roaring through the global downturn as other economies have whimpered and rolled over.
QUEST MEANS BUSINESS went to India earlier in the year as foreign direct investment was soaring. Industrial production was growing -- growing so much, in fact, that Goldman Sachs estimated India's economy could be 40 times the size it is just by 2050.
With that in mind, it's no wonder people are calling it a powerhouse.
QUEST (voice-over): An economy on the march. For more than a decade, India has been one of those countries the rest of the world has looked to for growth, jobs and profits -- a developing nation finally realizing vast potential.
PARANJOY GUHA THAKURTA, ECONOMIST: And what happened in the early '90s, there was a period of de-bureaucratization, a faster integration of the Indian economy with the rest of the world, which was preceded by a major financial crisis, a foreign exchange crisis.
What happened is, from the early '90s all the way till about 2003 or 2004, there was, in a sense, a rightward shift to the polity, a more market-friendly approach towards the economy.
QUEST: Year after year, India achieved rates of growth envied by others, more than 9 percent in four successive years. Then the great recession arrived.
The economist, Ila Patnaik, dispels the myth that because India didn't fall into recession, the country hasn't been affected.
ILA PATNAIK, ECONOMIST: We were hit far more than we thought we would be. We thought we were a closed economy, and closed in many ways. We hadn't opened up our financial sector as much as other countries had. And we thought we were going to not be hit.
QUEST (voice-over): Within months, growth rates slowed to 5 and 6 percent. Impressive for mature economies like the U.S. and Europe, but not enough for India's economic transformation.
(on-camera): With an expanding middle class and a strong market economy, India knew it had to get the growth numbers back up again. So the Delhi government committed the equivalent of 10 percent of GDP to a stimulus package. The object -- get things moving.
(voice-over): The challenges are immense. Two-thirds of the population here still depend on agriculture for a living. This year's monsoon rains have been the worst since 1972. And rains, when they come, have caused terrible floods.
Rural India is facing hardships not seen for a quarter of a century.
PATNAIK: We have to move faster on some of the things that are wrong with us. Yes, we can be a very fast-growing economy.
In terms of our per capita GDP, we have a very long way to go. So, we get around $1,000 per capita GDP, which is very, very low. So, let's, you know, not get (INAUDIBLE) in by the hype.
QUEST: India shares many similarities with another country marching on to powerhouse status -- China, of course. And between them, these two countries are the fastest-growing in the world.
THAKURTA: The fact is, here is the world's most populace democracy, the world's largest democracy, growing -- growing at a time when, I dare say, most of the 192 countries on planet Earth, their economies are actually contracting or shrinking.
So, in a sense, India and China -- together accounting for 40 percent of the world's population -- are the two parts of the world which are growing. And I will perhaps not be exaggerating to say the sun rises in the east, and this part of the world is, to a great extent -- on this part of the world would depend the future of planet Earth.
QUEST: Neither India nor China can really grow while the U.S. consumer remains weakened.
QUEST (on camera): So, clear skies are forecast for India's growth prospects. Can we say the same for its airline industry? Carriers have been navigating high debt, falling demand and fierce competition.
That's not deterring Sanjay Aggarwal, the chief executive of SpiceJet, a no-frills airline, but with some important differences to the low-cost models we might see elsewhere.
As Sanjay told me, there are some things which just won't fly with Indian passengers.
SANJAY AGGARWAL, CEO, SPICEJET: When it comes to the product, I think the Indian consumer will expect to have it no-frills. They will be, I think, OK to pay for seat selection, pay for the baggage, pay for the food.
However, India is a hospitable country. They will still expect the employees to be friendly. There is a phrase in India, (INAUDIBLE), which means, "the guest is like a god."
So, I think offering just water or beverage, being courteous, being nice to the guests, I think that will always be expected, no matter what they pay for.
So, there was some debate. I don't know, one of these airlines, either Ryanair or easyJet, they were looking into charging for using the restroom.
AGGARWAL: Ryanair. I think that's pushing the limit. I think that's where the Indian consumer I know will draw the line and say, you know what? God (ph) bless (ph) their airline.
QUEST: The low-cost model, or the low fares model, in India, came about to rival the railways initially. Now it's an industry in its own right, and you're rivaling each other.
AGGARWAL: See, there is still a lot of migration that will happen from trains to air. There are about 10 million people who are still traveling by train every day. And all airlines combined are carrying about 150,000 passengers.
So, aviation will not only win few more customers over from railways, but aviation does -- what it does, it stimulates demand. Because a lot of trips that you wouldn't be able to do by train -- it takes a 20-hour journey out and back -- now, with air travel being affordable, being available, there will be more stimulation, more demand generated as a result.
QUEST: Sanjay Aggarwal, the chief executive of SpiceJet.
India's reserve bank has been buying gold, even as the price reached glittering heights. A moment to remind you of gold's golden years. Prices surged more than 34 percent in '09, and they've risen pretty much steadily ever since.
Back on January the 2nd, as many of you were nursing those hangovers, the metal was just under $900 an ounce. It fell later during the month. It had a bit of an up-and-down, rising in February, falling in April, and then hovering below $1,000 until mid-September -- the ups-and-downs of the market.
But gold marched upwards after that. And despite brief dips here and there, it hit an all-time high in November and December.
But in India, gold is more than just a commodity that investors trade and chatter about. It's part of the culture. It's loved.
Many people have made their livelihoods with gold. World at work -- met one of them.
SUMAN KHANNA, AMRAPALI: Amrapali went into business more than 30 years ago. It's -- I think maybe I've put it wrongly. It's not a business. It's a fashion. To see what jewelry is from all over the country. And then, gone into making it and selling it.
QUEST: But what is the passion particularly for gold?
KHANNA: Gold is precious jewelry, Richard. Look at -- some people think of it as an investment. And some people think of it for just the artistic, the intrinsic value of it, which cannot be put into words. It's poetry. Look at this piece. It can evoke just so many thoughts into your mind. It's a piece of art.
QUEST: Is there a trick, a knack, a skill in selling more expensive pieces of jewelry?
KHANNA: From my point of view, I would like to understand, if you are a customer, I would like to understand, who are you buying it for? What is the age group? Is the person -- I mean, is the occasion very important? Or is it just a gift, because you are traveling?
It's different for -- every customer has a different need their fulfilling when they walk in. And then, try and show you only those items which would be of interest to you. I have to understand the customer.
An Indian customer would maybe look at this bangle, which I personally feel is a beautiful piece. You know, it's got uncut diamonds, which we call "polki." It's got enamel. It's got the elephant.
But if I have a Western customer and I see that he's not looking more towards traditional Indian jewelry, I would show him this, which is a very universal gold. But he's buying gold, because India is known for its jewelry.
QUEST: So, what happens to Suman when you have to deal with this gold?
KHANNA: It's an inner joy, which comes out of just seeing the pleasure of being able to handle something so beautiful, and selling it to a customer who I know will enjoy wearing it. And at Amrapali we believe that there is a sleeping princess in every woman, and we want to awaken that princess and bring her out.
QUEST: There was one thing that was obvious during my trip to Delhi. Despite all the economic numbers on growth and foreign direct investment, the figures don't tell the full story. Because the backbone of India's industrial production is what's called the "informal" economy -- people who work without a regular paycheck, no benefits and, of course, pay no taxes.
Sara Sidner with that report.
SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL REPORTER, NEW DELHI, INDIA (voice- over): This is India at work. No store fronts. No paychecks. Just people beating out a living any way they can. You can get your clothes washed, get a haircut -- even rent an elephant, and much, much more -- right on the street.
Economists call this the "unorganized" sector. And get this -- it employs about 95 percent of India's work force.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not a sector where the systems are generating jobs. The people are themselves generating jobs.
SIDNER: Radha Kumari is a typical example. She started working before she could finish school to help support the family. She normally charges 50 cents to $1 per hand for the popular Indian artistry called "mehndi."
SIDNER (on camera): Do you make enough to support your family?
"Sometimes there's nothing," she says. "So, it definitely is not enough. But I have to make do with what I have, because there's nothing else I can do, no other source of income."
SIDNER (voice-over): On another street, another informal job. Squeamish customers need not shop here. Yes, these are roadside dentists - - minus the dental degrees.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can extract. I can fill up. I can fill (ph). I can make denture.
SIDNER: Raj Kishor (ph) says he learned his trade from a paramedical course, but didn't have the money to get a doctorate in dentistry or his own shop. He says he can make up to $20 a day.
While the unorganized sector employs the vast majority of people, economists and sociologists say it also comes with obvious downsides. The extremely low pay keeps millions of Indians impoverished.
SIDNER (on camera): And some say they're forced to pay bribes, because they're located on government property illegally and can be kicked off any time.
SIDNER (voice-over): Plus, workers often have no safety protection, don't follow environmental rules and have no real social security. However, the government passed a bill last year to provide a bit of financial help.
But without these jobs, most of India wouldn't have work. And economists say the informal work force has even helped keep the country out of recession.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bulk of the unorganized sector activity is internal, is in the services sector, which does not get hit by the global recession. And that's why this sector can continue to expand.
SIDNER: India needs the unorganized sector as much as any other to continue growing economically.
Sara Sidner, CNN, New Delhi.
QUEST: India's economy for you -- thriving, chaotic, growing. And colorful.
My next stop, we whiz around the globe to Africa, the largest and important economy of South Africa that's undergone significant changes. The view from Johannesburg when we come back.
PRAVIN GORDHAN: We have been prudent for many years, and we intend to continue to be so.
QUEST: Welcome back. In May, South Africa's parliament elected Jacob Zuma as president. In his inauguration speech, he pledged to protect jobs and tackle the economic crisis.
Investors had to get to grips with new appointments that would shape the future of Africa's largest economy. For instance, Pravin Gordhan was appointed South Africa's new finance minister, taking over from Trevor Manuel.
South Africa was facing its first recession in 17 years. And this was a good moment to take the economic temperature. So, we took QUEST MEANS BUSINESS and anchored the program from Johannesburg.
I interviewed Pravin Gordhan, his first as finance minister. And I asked him if he envisaged a significant change in policy.
PRAVIN GORDHAN, FINANCE MINISTER OF SOUTH AFRICA: No, all the policies that this government, or the previous government, has put in place will remain in place. And we'll make sure that there is policy continuity and there is policy consistency.
At the same time, two things are important. The one is that, in South Africa, we have a culture of debate, of engagement. And it's important that people who have different voices and different views need to be heard, on the one hand.
On the other hand, the global situation also keeps changing quite frequently. And we need to have a bit of agility in the way we approach things.
So, we'll try and manage those three to ensure overall continuity and certainty in the way we operate.
QUEST: You see, what I'm trying to understand here, Minister, is, what are you telegraphing in saying -- in saying that there will be debate, are you talking about, as I see in this morning's paper reports of inflation targeting may no longer be the call (ph).
Are you talking about a policy concerning the rand, that you're more open to a more flexible devaluation of the currency for export growth?
GORDHAN: So, to put it plain and simple, the current policy remains exactly as it is. That's what we're telegraphing.
But at the same time, we need to be mindful of the context around us. And if there is any changes, those changes will be consistent with the broad direction that my predecessors put in place.
QUEST: Anybody out there who may be thinking, Minister Gordhan's about to go on a spending spree. He's going to spend South Africa into -- he's going to buy his way out of the recession, and he's going to have deficits as for the eye to see for the future.
GORDHAN: I wish that magical wand was available, but it isn't. The reality is that we have limited fiscal space, if you like. We have limited fiscal resources. Tax revenues will be going down, as it is elsewhere in the world, and we will keep a tight hand on the spending side.
So, there's no recklessness, if you like, that you can expect from the South African government. We have been prudent for many years, and we intend to continue to be so.
QUEST: You've just heard from the man in charge of South Africa's purse strings.
But what do ordinary people on Johannesburg's streets think of their economic situation? Earlier this year, this was how they felt.
QUEST (voice-over): Rosebank Mall. Here, lunchtime delights are international in nature, all local in flavor. And even at the midday break, news of the government and its policies isn't far off.
This is a good time and a perfect place to gauge views.
QUEST (on camera): What do you think about the new cabinet?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's well constituted. As it has been said before, it is -- it has new blood, people with energy. And most people from the previous cabinet, like Manuel, are still part of the old (ph) economic plaster (ph).
QUEST: Are you optimistic about the economy of South Africa?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very much so. I am optimistic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have looked at the cabinet ministers, and I know that, as Africans, there's so much there (ph) (INAUDIBLE) to (ph), to (INAUDIBLE) our own people that were previously disadvantaged. So, yes. The government is doing quite well to achieve them.
QUEST: But the country is going into a recession, and things are going to get more difficult.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes. Sure. Yes, for sure.
And I'm not saying it's going to be easy. But, sure, we've got the right fundamentals economically. And I'm sure we'll do well.
QUEST (voice-over): Across at the cafe, there's less rushing, and lunch is more leisurely. And so are the economics.
QUEST (on camera): Are you worried about the next six months to a year with the recession?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not at all. I think, as Volken (ph) said earlier, I think if (ph) we (ph) drop (ph) bottom now, and I think if (ph) the (ph) (INAUDIBLE) are climbing up, I think people will start being more employed. But I think people will employ more carefully and make sure the quality of the people they employ are better as in the past.
QUEST: What about the new administration? What do you think? I mean, new finance minister.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are hopeful. That's all we can be. We are hopeful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's all it can be. That's boring.
QUEST: No, that's (INAUDIBLE) we (ph) think (ph) praise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We hold our breath in anticipation.
QUEST: Black or white, it doesn't matter. The people having lunch here at Rosebank in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg are at the upper end of South Africa's economic spectrum. For President Zuma, it's only by keeping these people on board that he can hope that South Africa's economy survives.
QUEST (voice-over): And that's the crucial point to realize about the Zuma administration. Everyone knows there will be change afoot. The question is how much the country can afford at the time of global recession.
QUEST (on camera): The views on the streets of Joburg. And frankly, talking to you on our travels is the best part of the trip. No matter how many economists and ministers we meet, we really always need to find out what's happening in the real economy.
For instance, when I went to India, it was haggling in the market that gave me a taste of what's taking place.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seventy-five.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seventy-five.
QUEST: As all business travelers know, being on the road is no excuse for not being suitably attired. Hong Kong is famous for its tailoring and for being able to knock up a suit in 24 hours.
So, when I was there, I took the chance to find out about the latest trends in men's fashions. It was all in the name of research.
QUEST: The three-button suit?
RAJA DASWANI, CEO, RAJA FASHIONS, HONG KONG: They're gone. They're history now. It's now two or one button.
QUEST: Is there such a thing as the classic suit?
DASWANI: The classic suit is the real -- real classic has never failed, has never -- is the two-button style with the side vents, one pleat, no turn-ups. That's the real, real classic.
QUEST: Is there much of a regional and cultural difference over different types of suits?
DASWANI: Oh, yes, definitely. Definitely. Cultural -- like, if you go down to India, there's the Indian collar. If you go to China, it's the Mao Tse-tung collar.
But, of course, with modern fashion, everyone wears suits bought in India and China, so the regular, modern suits are very popular in both those places. But also, the collars (ph) are different.
QUEST: The suit is sorted. Now I need a tie to top it.
While anchoring the show outside the New York Stock Exchange, I took the opportunity.
QUEST: Look at this. Sunglasses and Italian ties. Jason (ph) is here. I've always believed the best ties are the cheapest ones. They're (ph) hold (ph) -- they're (ph) not the best.
But this is a bargain, $6 each.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four for $20.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four for $20.
QUEST: Give me five for $20.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five -- well, it's a (INAUDIBLE). You know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: . I've got to see the cash, you know.
QUEST: Here's the cash. Here's the 20. It's my own $20 bill. I want.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an old 20, but go (ph) ahead (ph).
QUEST: All right. I want four ties that I can wear for the rest of this week on television.
QUEST: So, I have the suit from Hong Kong, the tie from New York. Now, in India, it was time to find something a little more casual. And needless to say, a lot of haggling was involved.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seventy-five.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What (ph) (INAUDIBLE)?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Short one (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seventy-five.
QUEST: Seventy-five. That's over a dollar.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dollar? Indian price.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seventy-five.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seventy-five.
Everything costs 75. And you never actually get the change.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two hundred.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One fifty.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's (INAUDIBLE).
QUEST: So, why am I -- why am I paying 150, and he's paying 100?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no. (INAUDIBLE).
QUEST: Hang on. Now the price is coming down. (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
QUEST: Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you.
QUEST: And that's it for this special program, "Quest on the Road."
I'm Richard Quest in London. Who knows where my travels will take me in 2010?
Certainly, wherever your travels take you, I do hope it's profitable.
Published On: December 31, 2020 01:11 PM NPT By: Reuters
LONDON, Dec 31: The United Kingdom exits the European Union’s orbit on Thursday, turning its back on a tempestuous 48-year liaison with the European project for an uncertain Brexit future that will shape the fortunes of its people for generations to come.
Brexit, in essence, takes place at the strike of midnight in Brussels, or 2300 London time (GMT), when the United Kingdom leaves de-facto membership that continued after it formally left the bloc on Jan. 31.
For five years, the frenzied gyrations of the Brexit crisis have dominated European affairs, haunted the sterling markets and tarnished the United Kingdom’s reputation as a confident pillar of Western economic and political stability.
Cast by supporters as the dawn of a newly independent “global Britain”, Brexit has weakened the bonds that bind together England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland into a $3 trillion economy.
“Brexit is not an end but a beginning,” Johnson, 56, told parliament just hours before it approved his EU trade deal. Grinning, he later quipped to reporters that he had read the deal he had signed.
Johnson said there would be no bonfire of regulation to build a “bargain basement Dickensian Britain” and assured Europe that the United Kingdom would remain the “quintessential European civilization”.
But the face of the Brexit campaign has been short on detail of what he wants to build with the United Kingdom’s new “independence” - or how to do it while borrowing record amounts to pay for the COVID-19 crisis.
In the June 23, 2016, referendum, 17.4 million voters, or 52 percent, backed Brexit while 16.1 million, or 48 percent, backed staying in the bloc. Few have changed their minds since. England and Wales voted out but Scotland and Northern Ireland voted in.
The referendum showed a United Kingdom divided about much more than the European Union, and has fuelled soul-searching about everything from secession and immigration to capitalism, empire and modern Britishness.
Leaving was once the far-fetched dream of a motley crew of “eurosceptics” on the fringes of British politics: the UK joined in 1973 as “the sick man of Europe” and two decades ago British leaders were arguing about whether to join the euro.
“The UK establishment had basically lost its mojo and we went into what was then the common market, really, for reasons of self-protection - we thought that was the best future for us, we couldn’t see another way forward,” Johnson said.
“We see a global future for ourselves,” said Johnson who won power in 2019 and, against the odds, clinched a Brexit divorce treaty and a trade deal, as well as the biggest Conservative majority since Margaret Thatcher, in the 2019 election.
For supporters, Brexit is an escape from a doomed German-dominated project that had fallen far behind the world’s leading powers of the United States and China.
Opponents say Brexit is a folly that will weaken the West, torpedo what is left of Britain’s global clout, undermine its economy and ultimately leave it a less cosmopolitan set of islands.
After the United Kingdom leaves the Single Market or the Customs Union on Thursday, there is almost certain to be some disruption at borders. More red tape means more cost for those importing and exporting goods across the EU-UK border.
Port of Dover expects volumes to drop off in early January. The most worrisome period, it says, will be in mid- to late January when volumes pick up again.
Walking away from almost half a century of membership means change to everything from pet passports and driving licence rules for the British in Europe to data rules.
Support for Scottish independence has risen, partly due to Brexit and partly due to COVID-19, threatening the 300-year-old political union between England and Scotland.
Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon has said an independence referendum should take place in the earlier part of the devolved parliament’s next term, which begins next year.
After clinching a Christmas Eve trade deal to smooth out the worst disruption, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen quoted both William Shakespeare and T.S. Eliot.
“Parting is such sweet sorrow,” she said. “What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
Is New York Prepared to Handle Ebola?, Video of Ottawa Shooting Emerges, Was Hatchet Attack on NYPD Islamic Extremism?
Aired October 24, 2014 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Breaking overnight: Ebola hits New York. A doctor returning from Africa tests positive but only after traveling throughout the city, even bowling. His fiancee now quarantined. Did he put others at risk?
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Also breaking, ax attack. A man suddenly strikes a group of NYPD officers with a hatchet. Two were injured. Why were they targeted? And police are investigating whether extremist views motivated that attack.
CUOMO: This as we get new video of the moments the Ottawa gunman carried out his attacks. CNN learning new details about the shooters and his ties to extremist groups.
Your NEW DAY STARTS right now.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY, with Chris Cuomo, Kate Boldaun, and Michaela Pereira.
CUOMO (on camera): Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It's Friday, October 24th, 6:00 in the East. Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota here and we have breaking news.
Overnight, new fears about the spread of Ebola as the disease reaches the most populated city in the United States. A New York City doctor, 33-year-old Craig Spencer. He's tested positive for Ebola after about a week since his return from West Africa. Now, he worked in West Africa for Doctors Without Borders. Right now, he's in a hospital isolation unit as officials trace his movements since he's been back.
Officials say he had no symptoms until Thursday, and that's when he was rushed to the hospital. Before that, however, he was out and about in the city, riding the subway, bowling. And other things that they're still trying to discover.
CAMEROTA: That is troubling to many New Yorkers, that he was out in the general public. Spencer's fiancee and two close friends who had close contact with him are now under quarantine and being monitored.
New York's mayor insists there is no cause for alarm. But the CDC has dispatched a go team to New York to help with the Ebola response. So our coverage begins with CNN's Poppy Harlow. She's at Bellevue Hospital where Dr. Spencer is being treated. What's the latest, Poppy?
POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Alisyn and Chris. We can tell you this is the designated hospital to deal with a situation just like this. At this hour, the 33-year-old doctor is being treated here. Two priorities -- save his life and contain this virus in New York City. New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo, saying the city is as ready as can be for this.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: We want to state at the outset, there is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed.
HARLOW (voice-over): This morning, the first positive case of Ebola hits New York City. 33-year-old Dr. Craig Spencer now in an isolation unit like this one, at Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital.
Dr. Spencer returned to New York after treating Ebola patients in Guinea last Friday, though doctors say he wasn't symptomatic until yesterday.
October 14th, Dr. Spencer flies from Guinea to Brussels, Belgium, arriving at New York's JFK Airport, showing no symptoms on his journey. On Tuesday, Spencer feels tired and fatigued. He was self- monitoring for symptoms, taking his temperature twice a day. But without fever, he goes out in public. Wednesday, he goes on a three- mile run, eats at a restaurant, and visits the popular park, the Highline. He then travels from Manhattan to Brooklyn on the subway. He later takes an Uber taxi to go bowling in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, at an alley called The Gutter, now closed until it can be sanitized.
Thursday morning, Spencer develops a fever and immediately contacts Doctors Without Borders, who calls the health department. That afternoon, he is rushed to Bellevue Hospital and put directly in isolation, later testing positive for Ebola.
Authorities reiterated Thursday that careful protocols were followed smoothly at every step, and for New Yorkers the risk is, quote, "close to nil."
DR. MARY FRANCES BASSETT, COMMISSIONER, NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH: He was not symptomatic at that time. He had no fever. And so he did not have a stage of disease that creates a risk of contagiousness on the subway.
HARLOW: The city now on heightened alert.
CUOMO: Coordinating and drilling from airports to transportation to subway stations, to ambulances to hospitals, so we are as ready as one could be.
HARLOW: Health officials note three people had contact with Spencer, two friends and his fiancee, all doing well but in quarantine.
HARLOW (on camera): And, guys, I can tell you that officials have ruled out the Uber cab driver as a contact. Therefore, that person is not in quarantine.
Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, where Dr. Spencer is employed, issued a statement last night calling him a committed and responsible physician, saying importantly that he has not been back to work, he has not treated any patient since returning from Guinea.
Importantly, his condition, what do we know at this hour? Really, the only word we've gotten is from New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, who said yesterday that he is in, quote, "good shape." We also heard from a doctor in the press conference last night, saying they are looking forward to a speedy recovery.
So our thoughts of course are with the 33-year-old doctor, who frankly, it's important to note in all of this, gave of himself to go to Guinea to help save lives for all of the people suffering there from Ebola. Chris?
CUOMO: Thanks, Poppy, strong points to finish on.
Let's bring Dr. Alexander van Tulleken in, he's CNN medical analyst and senior fellow at the Institute for International Humanitarian Affairs, and Dr. Kent Sepkowitz, he's infectious disease specialist and deputy physician-in-chief at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, also a "Daily Beast" contributor.
Gentlemen, thank you very much. So let's start with what matters most. From what we know, Doc, should he be OK?
DR. ALEXANDER VAN TULLEKEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: In terms of his survial from the disease, he's been exposed to a really dangerous disease, and all the questions of whether or not he's been responsible, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that he's now sitting, facing a really, really seriously -- we don't know how bad the prognosis is, but potentially, you know, 10, 15, 20 percent mortality for someone like him. So, yes, he's going to be very worried.
CUOMO: In your opinion, did he do the right thing here?
DR. KENT SEPKOWITZ, DEPUTY PHYSICIAN IN CHIEF, MEMORIAL SLOAN- KETTERING CANCER CENTER: Absolutely. I think that even though there's -- the story is quickly becoming how he had fun in New York City. We know from years now when Ebola is contagious and when it's not contagious, and I hope that the lessons learned from Dallas, where we had a guy living much sicker than Dr. Spencer, living with family for days, exposing them but not infecting them, I would hope that that observed, collectively observed fact would assuage some of the discomfort that people are having. He's put no one at risk at all other than his close contacts and now the health care workers at Bellevue.
CUOMO: Well, I want to talk about that, because that's hard for people to digest at some levels.
CUOMO: And the extreme of the position would be why don't you quarantine anyone who has been in contact with an Ebola patient just to be safe?
VAN TULLEKEN: So I think there's a very good answer to this, which is you're dealing with a cost-benefit analysis. And the cost of doing that is hard to see at the moment but it's massive. So MSF alone, Doctors Without Borders, has sent about 300 people overseas, so that's 300 health care workers coming back. We're talking about 18 years of man -- of work lost as a result of those people being quarantined.
The benefits, which as we say are probably close to zero, if not zero absolutely. So the benefit we get from doing that is very, very small and the cost is massive. Because t means that an organization like Doctors Without Borders, which is the only organization that's really been doing the bulk of work in this, will find it harder to recruit, harder to staff their programs.
CUOMO: From what you've heard so far from the authorities, do you think they know what they're doing here and they've handled this the right way?
SEPKOWITZ: Yes, I actually think New York looks very competent, very together. The way the ambulance went there, the ambulance workers were prepared, the hospital is prepared. Yes, I think they absolutely know what they're doing.
CUOMO: OK, so now let's get to what the big frustration is. It's frustrating for you guys to have to keep answering it but I have to tell you, everyone keeps asking this.
Either you have it or you don't. This Ebola seems to confuse that truism, OK? If I'm rubbing my nose and kind of sneezing and you ask me if I'm sick and I say yes, but I'm not contagious, we all know that that's one of the biggest lies that's told. But this Ebola, it seems like you're consistently giving what, to the uninitiated, is the mixed message. This guy's sick, we're trying to round up everybody he came near, but don't worry, you can't catch it.
VAN TULLEKEN: So the reason we do the contact tracing is because we want to know everything that happened to him, right? Maybe he cut himself on the subway. Maybe he was sick on the subway. Maybe there is some exposure that needs to be traced down. So you have to do the contact tracing. That's how Nigeria got on top of this disease. That's --
CUOMO: But you say you can't get it unless there's stuff all over you.
VAN TULLEKEN: If the story that we're hearing is true, and we have no reason to believe it's not, he didn't have a temperature. And therefore the virus might have been detectable in his blood, but it would have been at such low levels that he really is not at risk of spreading it on. I mean, I said last night on CNN and I'll say again, I would bowl at that alley today. He actually lives five blocks from my house. He drinks at the bar I drink at. I would happily go for drinks there tonight. I would not be worried about that.
CUOMO: Now, is this the statement of obviously someone who is almost an untreatable alcoholic? Or someone who is being reasonable about where the risk lies and where it doesn't?
SEPKOWITZ: Very reasonable. The risk has to be said to be zero.
CUOMO: Then why did they shut down the bowling alley?
VAN TULLEKEN: The city didn't do that.
SEPKOWITZ: So what we have is a real patient who has exposed a couple of people, his fiancee and a few others, to the possibility of contracting Ebola. And we have eight million worried people who feel somehow threatened by this.
One is quite rational, which is science-based, which is, yes, you can spread it to intimate contacts. The other is the cloud of excitement and panic that follows this around that is unrelated to science or reality.
CUOMO: So let's deal with what you say is the best idea of reality. People in New York City, they're waking up this morning. They're an edgy bunch. It's in a very dense city, OK? We already have our germophobia issues. How worried should you be on the subway? If you live around this area, now that it's here, will it spread much faster? What do you say?
VAN TULLEKEN: I would say, and this is the area I live in, I would not be worried about the spread at all. There are two different people who could be worrying. There are the people who live in the city, I would say they should not change their behavior. They should go and bowl at the alley to make sure it doesn't go under. We need people, we need bowling alleys not to close.
But the city officials do seem to be employing the appropriate level of worry. They want to make sure that every part of his story is accounted for and true. They want to make sure they know every single exposure. They want to make sure they've locked down the possibilities of it being transmitted as the level of virus in his blood increases. They seem to be worried, and I think it's right that they're worried. The rest of us -- business as usual.
CUOMO: All right, Dr. Van Tulleken, Dr. Sepkowitz, thank you very much for keeping an even keel on this. Because it is going to be very edgy around here for sure.
CAMEROTA: All right, Chris, as you know, this morning Ebola is not the only scare here in New York City. Take a look at this chilling surveillance video. It captures a man with a hatchet about to attack four police officers. The attacker was shot and killed after injuring two of those officers. Given the attack in Ottawa on Wednesday, there are fears that the New York attack was not a random crazy man on the street, but possibly another case of Islamic extremism.
Alexander Field has the latest on the dramatic attack. What do we know?
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, really a horrifying and a hideous attack. You see that man there holding that hatchet, it just really raises fear for a lot of people. Look, two officers bravely able to stop him by shooting him and killing him. Now there are a lot of questions about what motivated this attack.
FIELD (voice-over): This morning, law enforcement authorities on heightened alert after this terrifying ax attack in Queens yesterday. The assault, caught on camera. watch as the man rushes at four NYPD officers, a metal hatchet in hand. The suspect hitting one in the arm, striking another in the head, before two uninjured officers shoot and kill him.
Law enforcement officials say it appears the suspect was stalking the officers, hiding behind a bus shelter waiting to attack. The suspect identified as Zale Thompson. CNN now learning he has a criminal record in California and was discharged from the Navy for misconduct.
On a Facebook page bearing his name and location in Queens, the black and white profile photo shows an armed masked fighter, spear, sword and rifle at the ready, the cover photo, a quote from the Koran judging those who have wandered astray.
This brutal assault comes on the heels of heightened security across North America after radical jihadists recently threatened to attack military and police officers, and two attacks in Canada believed to be motivated by Islamic extremism. Authorities are investigating any possible links Thompson might have had to extremist groups.
BILL BRATTON, NYPD COMMISSIONER: There's nothing that we know as of this time that would indicate that were the case. I think the certainly the heightened concerns relative to that type of assault based on what's just happened in Canada.
FIELD: Both officers struck by Thompson's ax now recovering at Jamaica Hospital. An additional person, a 29-year-old bystander, was shot in the back during the scuffle. She was taken to the hospital, but her condition remains unknown.
FIELD (on camera): At this point, there's a lot we still do not know about Thompson. But the context here is important, given the recent call of ISIS to sympathizers in the west to perpetuate these attacks on uniformed people. Given the backdrop of the events of the last week in Canada, there is a lot that authorities feel they really do need to learn about Thompson now. CAMEROTA: Absolutely. I believe that the ISIS spokesman even
mentioned use an ax if you must. If you don't have access to a gun, use whatever you can. So of course they're looking at that.
Alexandra, thanks so much for all the information.
CUOMO: All right, so as police here in New York investigate the attacker's background, we're learning more about the gunman in Ottawa this morning and his links to Islamic extremism. Are there more of these one-off deranged men looking for some sense of warped meaning in their lives and how do we stop them?
Plus chilling new video of the moments he carried out the attack. NEW DAY returns for you in a moment.
CUOMO: OK, so Wednesday, it was Ottawa, right? On Thursday, it was New York City. So, now, we've had two attacks on western soil. The question is -- were both of them linked to Islamic extremism?
We have footage now surfacing of what appears to show the Ottawa shooter in the midst of his deadly rampage. Sources tell CNN the 32- year-old had social media links to jihadists in Canada, including one who went to fight in Syria. And as Canada mourned, a man in New York City attacked four NYPD officers, injuring two.
Now, his social media activity also draws questions about connections to radical Islam. So, is this a pattern? Or is this one fool following another? And if this is the ongoing threat, how can law enforcement keep it from becoming a trend?
We're going to cover this in a very full way here. Let's begin with CNN's Ana Cabrera live from Ottawa.
Ana, good morning. What do we know?
ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris.
We know this gunman came to Ottawa on October 2nd. Apparently, he wanted to get a passport. And his mother now revealing to authorities that he may have planned to go to Syria.
As investigators continue their probe into his background, we also have the new video to share this morning, of Wednesday's attack that began here, at Canada's National War Memorial.
CABRERA (voice-over): This surveillance video released by Canadian police Thursday gives a chilling play-by-play of the shooting rampage on Ottawa's Parliament Hill, the 32-year-old shooter, Michael Zehaf- Bibeau, is seen running from car after gunning down soldier Nathan Cirillo at the War Memorial. Spotting his gun, some bystanders run in fear, others rush to Cirillo's aid.
MARGARET LERHE, WITNESS: There are four or five people around this fallen soldier all working as a team.
CABRERA: Next, he hijacks a car, the driver seen running away. A different angle shows Bibeau running into a main parliament building with Canadian police giving chase. Inside parliament, shots fired.
CABRERA: Moments later, sergeant-at-arms, Kevin Vickers, shoots and kills the suspect on the scene.
As parliament reconvened Thursday, Vickers' bravery was honored by a standing ovation.
Now, authorities are learning more about a possible motive, looking into Zehaf-Bibeau's suspected ties to Islamic extremists in Canada via the Internet.
BOB PAULSON, RCMP COMMISSIONER: I think the passport figured prominently if his motives and I'm not inside his head, but I think it was central to what was driving him.
CABRERA: Authorities believe that prior to his attack, Zehaf-Bibeau had converted to Islam and say he was applying for a Canadian passport to travel to Syria. Those actions tipped off police to conduct a background check.
This man told CNN's Martin Savidge that he and Bibeau were staying at the Ottawa mission for homeless men and that he talked to him about travel plans.
BRIAN, WITNES: He wanted to go back to Libya apparently. I don't know if that's where he was from or if that's where he just wanted to go or -- to take part in whatever is going on over there.
CABRERA: In 2011, facing robbery charges, Zehaf-Bibeau underwent a psychiatric evaluation. In papers obtained by CNN, the doctor told the judge Zehaf-Bibeau was addicted to crack cocaine and that he wanted to go do jail to break the addiction, and as a sacrifice to pay for his mistakes.
CABRERA: Now, given Zehaf-Bibeau's criminal record including violence and drugs, authorities tell us he was on their radar.
But we also know he was never on the 90 or so names, a list of sorts that were considered high-risk threats. He wasn't on that list. Meantime, we know U.S. authorities are also investigating whether Zehaf-Bibeau had any communication with Islamic extremists inside the U.S. or suspected extremists in the U.S. We do know that he had traveled to the United States several times -- Chris.
CUOMO: All right. Ana, it is a dangerous combination -- people with a troubled past, desperate for meaning, and seeking it in the form of religion and violence. Thank you for the reporting.
We'll continue the conversation, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: And we see some pieces of that, Chris, with this New York City attack.
So, for more details on the attack on the NYPD, and the threat of similar attacks, let's bring in CNN's national security analyst, Juliette Kayyem. She's also the former assistant secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and Paul Cruickshank, CNN terrorism analyst.
Great to see both of you this morning.
I want to play a part of the disturbing surveillance camera. There was a camera on top of a building, as there are in New York, and you can see this man coming with a hatchet from around the corner, this is at 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon, the police were just posing for some pictures with some passersby and this is what happens.
Juliette, what do you see here?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, you know, I saw this for the first time on air last night. And I think the words "my God" came out of my mouth. Because there's a brazenness to it and even an intimacy, if that's the right word.
You know, a lot of terrorist attacks are, are big. Like 9/11 or there's something anonymous about them. This is you know, sort of -- you're, it could be anyone. You could be standing on that subway.
And that's been ISIS or those who might follow that kind of terrorism, that has been their ability to create more fear than, than their numbers, right? It's the long videos of a decapitation that we see coming of the Middle East or something like this. And this is someone who didn't care if he was caught or didn't care if he was identified.
And the biggest issue now is obviously force protection for our police officers and our military, because the word has gone out by ISIS or other groups, and there are people sitting, listening to them who may have you know, mental disorders, may be looking for a higher cause, who are going to focus on police or military at this stage.
CAMEROTA: And, of course, we don't know, Paul, if that's what happened. We don't know if he was taking his orders from ISIS.
Here's what precious little we do know about him. He had a Facebook page and this is according to his friends, this was really his Facebook page. This is legit. It shows an African-American Islamist warrior armed with a spear, a sword, and a rifle. Also, there's a quote from the Koran in Arabic, talking about judgment against those who have gone astray.
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, that's the first verse of the Koran that you see on his Facebook page. There's nothing definitively radical about his Facebook page. I think the NYPD is concerned that this could have some link to Islamic extremism. But we don't know that for sure yet.
But there's obviously a lot of concern because there have been two fatal Islamist terrorist attacks in Canada this week and ISIS itself have called for lone wolf attacks in the United States, including against police officers, including with knives. When I see these images, I recall the attack in London, in East London in 2013 when two radicalized British Nigerians killed a British soldier on the streets of London.
CAMEROTA: So, Paul, very quickly, how well authorities figure out? Given that scant information on his Facebook page, none of it screams anything imminent is going to happen, how will they figure out if he's connected to something bigger?
CRUICKSHANK: Well, they'll try and access his computer drives, his online history, has he got any contacts with Muslim extremists in the United States or around the world? Look at all of those kinds of things, interview people close to him to build up a profile picture of this guy.
CAMEROTA: Juliette, we also know that he had a criminal record in California. We don't know for what. Also, the Navy, had discharged him for disorderly conduct.
CRUICKSHANK: So, again he seems to be fitting that sort of profile of a wayward person, sort of on the margins of society, sporadically employed. And are these the people who are most susceptible?
CAMEROTA: It may be. I mean, there is a pattern emerging that's very different than the sort of traditional pattern of the disciplined, you know, sort of under the radar terrorist organization that has no -- you know, you can't, you don't know who they are because they're not committing crimes beforehand. So, you can't think of the 19 men on 9/11. All of them were you know, were never on anyone's radar screen.
The kind of terrorist or the kind of activity we're seeing now, I'll be careful with my language, is people who have run into the law for other reasons, been discharged from the military -- wayward may be the right word to use -- and then may get impassioned by some cause that gives them meaning. We don't know the last link.
But, I'll tell you in a week in which we've seen three incidences, it's got to be at the top of the mind of every investigator right now and it should be.
CAMEROTA: And, Paul, here's what you were referring to, the spokesperson for ISIS last month put out this directive to anyone, and let me read a portion of it for you.
If you are not able to find an IED or a bullet, then single out the disbelieving American, Frenchman or any of their allies, smash his head with a rock or slaughter him with a knife or run him over with your car.
And two of those things have happened in the past week, counting Canada, as well as, of course, the gun attack. So, it's hard not to draw the parallel, but it's impossible to know at this point if it is connected.
CRUICKSHANK: Well, that's absolutely right and this fatwa by the ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani a month ago really was a game- changer, because ISIS supporters in the West view ISIS leaders as the divinely ordained rulers of Muslims worldwide. So, when they put out statements like this, they carry out, even more impact than what bin Laden or Ayman Zawahiri or leaders of al Qaeda were putting out in years before. They make a very, very big impact.
So, there's a lot of concern. We could see more of this in the days and weeks ahead.
CAMEROTA: Very quickly, why do they carry more power than something that bin Laden would have put out?
CRUICKSHANK: Because they've declared themselves to be an Islamic State and an Islamic caliphate. And for their supporters back in the West, they really believe this. They believe that they are the justifiable rulers of Muslims worldwide, that they can issue fatwas.
These people are saying, it's your religious duty to launch attacks in the West. If you don't do that, you'll be punished. If you do do that, you'll be rewarded in the afterlife.
Paul Cruickshank, thanks so much for all that information. Juliette Kayyem, thanks for you analyst. Great to have both of you.
CUOMO: Well, I'll tell you, Alisyn, as if an axe-wielding maniac weren't enough to worry about, New York City's mayor is also trying to calm fears because the city's first case of Ebola has been confirmed. Did the patient put others at risk by eating out, going bowling, riding the subway, all before being hospitalized, of course? We're going to have medical experts weigh in on what the real risk to others is.