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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS

Obama visits Louisiana to show he's in charge of the oil slick disaster; Roller coaster month of May comes to an end on the down side for U.S. stocks

Aired May 28, 2010 - 14:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


MAX FOSTER, CNN INT'L. ANCHOR, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Good evening. President Obama is in Louisiana tonight, as attempts to plug a ruptured oil well on the seabed continues. BP says it spent close to $1 billion responding to the largest oil spill in U.S. history. And it could be another 48 hours before we know if it has managed to stop the leak.

The president arrived in the area just a few hours ago and he's been seeing for himself the harm the oil spill has already done. Mr. Obama is under enormous pressure over his handling of the crisis. Critics are seizing on the fact that it now 38 days since the initial explosion which a caused the leak.

Well, here is the scene offshore, a mile deep, in the Gulf of Mexico. Live pictures, huge quantities of mud are going into the well, to try and choke off that oil spill. It also tried so-called junk shots to try to block the gusher, adding materials like golf balls and scraps of tires and rope into the mud. BP succeeds stemming the flow it will try to seal the well with concrete. BP's Chief Executive Tony Hayward says it could be Sunday before we know the latest attempts have worked, though.

Dealing with the spill has cost BP $913 million so far. That works out at $24 million a day. It includes paying for the clean up, the efforts at containing the slick, and drilling of relief wells, and grants to the U.S. Gulf states. BP says there are unquantifiable costs that will make the eventual bill a good deal higher.

Our Correspondent Ed Henry is in Grand Isle, in Louisiana. He joins me now.

Ed, a big test for President Obama?

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No doubt, Max. You are absolutely right. President Obama is here, with me, on Grand Isle, in Louisiana. He is at the Coast Guard station getting some top-level briefings on the latest here on this so-called top kill procedure, for example. Where they are trying to pump in this mud, to try to finally seal off this well and stop the gushing oil. You no, BP had originally estimated that about 5,000 barrels a day was spewing out, but instead the government is now estimating it is 12,000 to 19,000 barrels at day. Gives you an idea of the magnitude of this environmental disaster, so it is a very important test for President Obama.

Here on Grand Isle, in just the next couple of moments we expect him to come out live and give the American people, people all around the world, an update on what he's being briefed about. About both the top kill procedure, but more broadly, the clean up efforts here. Earlier the president was touring nearby area, a beach, where he was basically trying to get a sense of what is going on, on the ground. I'll give you a quick idea of what we're seeing. Which is these little pellets, that they call tar balls. You can see them in my fingers. It is basically some of the crude oil mixed with sand. And when you smell it, it has the unmistakable smell of oil, and it rubs off on your fingers.

This is coming in, along with this little bottle of juice that washed ashore. You can see how dark and deep the oil has caked on there. Just imagine how much worse it is on some of the fish out here, turtles, other wildlife. And that is why environmentalists here in the region have been very frustrated, feeling that the federal government did not act quickly enough, let too much of this to BP. President Obama pushed back on that yesterday in a news conference. Back a the White House, we can expect him to do a little bit more of that when he speaks in a couple of moments, here in the Gulf Region. He's trying to make the case that from day one of this crisis he has made it a top priority. But a lot of frustration here in the region, not just from Republicans, who are his normal opponents, but some of his fellow Democrats, who feel that the federal government did not take a hands-on role early enough and that it might be too little, too late, at this point, in terms of the president finally pushing hard to get his done, Max.

FOSTER: Yes, he doesn't manage to convince the public of that. It is a big risk for him, isn't it? Because this is the sort of thing he is meant to be strong, on, right?

HENRY: Absolutely. There have been some public opinion polls here in the U.S. suggesting that the federal government, or a majority of the American people believe the federal government acted too slowly. And as a result, you're right, there have been some poll numbers on the president's approval ratings, showing them going in down, in part, because of the fallout from this crisis. What is so critical is, you'll remember what happened in the past administration, of a Republican, President George W. Bush, in this very region, with Hurricane Katrina, a slow federal government response. That was crippling to his presidency.

Some people now, here, not just random speculation, because I was just talking to a woman, here locally, here on the beach, a few moments ago, telling me that she believes this is Mr. Obama's Katrina. The president denied that yesterday back at the White House when he was asked about the analogy. But not-there are parallels not just the fact that it is the same region, here in Louisiana, but also what is at least perceived to be a slow response from the federal government. That is why the president is moving so aggressively now to push back on that perception, because if it takes hold, it could be very politically damaging here in the United States for the president, Max.

FOSTER: Ed, thanks so much for that. We will be bringing you the president's speech as soon as we get it there, from Louisiana, where Ed is.

Well, the BP spill is also putting serious pressure on all producers to clean up their act. But as Carol Costello reports the energy industry is also pushing back.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Disaster doesn't begin to describe this. And despite BP's efforts to fix what's wrong, in many people's minds it remains a villain, and so does the oil industry as a whole.

J. BENNETT JOHNSTON, OIL LOBBYIST: So many things wrong.

COSTELLO: No one knows that more than J. Bennett Johnston, former senator from Louisiana turned oil lobbyist.

(On camera): So you are an oil lobbyist from the State of Louisiana? You have the toughest job in the United States right now, don't you?

JOHNSTON: Probably-no, no, BP has the toughest job.

COSTELLO: You've got second toughest.

JOHNSTON: Tony Hayward has the toughest job.

COSTELLO: Now that you are witnessing all of this happening, and it is probably far from over, how do you lobby for the oil industry?

JOHNSTON: We've got to get away from the, "us versus them". Us being Americans versus BP, as if we need somehow, if we could punish BP everything would be all right.

COSTELLO: Johnston says anger at BP is effecting every company drilling in the Gulf, no matter their safety record.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As far as I'm concerned, BP is responsible for this horrific disaster.

COSTELLO: President Obama has ordered a halt to some new drilling in the deep waters of the Gulf, off the Virginia Coast, and Alaska, for six months. But companies operating wells in shallow waters, between 12 and 189 feet.

WILLIAM RICHEY, MCMORAN EXPLORATION: We chase natural gas. That is our game.

COSTELLO: Like McMoRan Oil & Gas, can continue pumping natural gas and oil. It is a relief for McMoRan, whose wells operated differently than those hundreds miles offshore, and consider themselves good citizens.

(On camera): I'm sure you hear what people say. That people in your business are greedy, they only care about profit, and what do you care if the environment is sullied.

Well, I tell you what, that perception is not accurate, because everybody in our business, we care greatly about what we do, about working safe. We want all these men and ladies on these rigs to home when they get off their hitch, to their families like we do every night.

COSTELLO (voice over): Richey, like Johnston, says they are appalled by the disaster. And by allegations of widespread corruption and lax over sight at Minerals Management Service; the government agency responsible for regulating offshore drilling.

COSTELLO: Did you know that kind of stuff was going on?

JOHNSTON: Of course not. No, I mean, look-

COSTELLO: Does it surprise you that, you know, that these MMS people were so cozy with oil industry representatives?

JOHNSTON: No, we did not know that. Understand, I haven't been back in the Senate since '96. I don't think that was at the heart of this accident, although we'll find that out, too. I think it was sloppy on behalf of the companies.

COSTELLO (voice over): Johnston says he is in favor of a presidential commission to look into allegations of corruption, but drilling, new drilling, should continue for the good of the American economy.

(On camera): Johnston says, like it or not, the oil industry is part of America. And most of those who work in the industry are loyal Americans. He says this disaster should not make the United States shy about offshore drilling. It is better than being totally dependent on foreign oil. Carroll Costello, CNN, Grand Isle, Louisiana.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: Well, still ahead, from Regent Street, in London, to the Ginza Din Tokyo. The Apple iPad has gone global. We'll have the latest on the big day, Steve Jobs and company, and why some believe Apple is loosing a bit of its shine.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(AUDIO GAP)

FOSTER: Steph, what is behind today's losses?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Max, we have a couple of things that are going on here, and adding to the losses here, as we get into the afternoon. The selling picked up in the past hour because of those Finch ratings agency downgrades that you were just talking about in relationship to Spain. That is adding to fears of a debt contagion spreading throughout Europe. Again, it is that same fear coming back.

And also a muted reading on consumer spending and discouraging news out of the manufacturing sector as well, all of that weighing on the market. Growth and personal incomes actually outpaced spending in April. And when you take a look at this all together, this factoring into our sadness here, manufacturing activity in the Midwestern United States. It was also something that we were keeping our eyes on because it slipped more than expected in May.

So, all these things factoring into the Dow right now, which is off 136 points, 10,122, there. Nasdaq is also off a 1.33 percent. So they are all, three of the major indices, off about 1.33 percent right now.

But should mention, Max, that while we are seeing some big losses trading overall today has been fairly light, because we are heading into a holiday weekend. All the U.S. financial markets will be closed on Monday because of Memorial Day, Max.

FOSTER: It has been quite a week for you reporting on the markets, there hasn't it. Quite a month for you, almost, we're at the end of the month.

(LAUGHTER)

FOSTER: How are you going to look back on it? It has been a crazy month, hasn't it?

ELAM: It's like, it was a roller coaster month. May was just whacky. And that is not a technical word, I know. But that really what it was like. We continue these losses through the end of the session today. If we do that, the Dow, in particular is going to be on track to claim some less desirous records. The blue chips are currently on pace to close out the month with their biggest monthly drop since February 2009, before the bull market run started, and the Dow could suffer its biggest May point drop, in history.

And the index had had its worse May percentage performance since 1962. Today's declines, they actually mark the fourth day of losses in the past five sessions. And again, Max, it is all about Europe; the fears about the debt crisis spreading has really had Wall Street on edge. Even upbeat ratings on both the economic and earnings front have done little to comfort investors. So, May's loss? Well, it snaps three months in a row, where we've actually seen gains. And it wipes out all of the gains so far this year. So, here everyone thought we were just going to recover and everything is going to be a straight line. People who thought that, they are getting a wake up call today.

FOSTER: You can never predict these things. Thanks so much.

ELAM: Thank you. Sure.

On that note about Europe, let's have a look at those markets. It has been a volatile week, of course-

ELAM: Thank you.

FOSTER: But they have emerged in better shape than when they went in. This is the weekly scorecards. All up over 2 percent, the main indices, picked up after losses on Tuesday. FTSE, the FTSE sank to eight-month lows on Tuesday. Growing debt crisis in Europe fears, feared, well, the fears around that really wiped off billions from all the global markets. Now today it is a mixed bag. Long weekends ahead for the U.K. and for the U.S. that kept things quite quiet. Markets had closed by the time Fitch cut its rating on Spain, by the way. Weak U.S. personal spending numbers did hit investors though. Continued contagion fears in Europe, really the main concern.

Now Prudential shares ended down over 1 percent, fighting to save that mega deal for AIA. PRU is trying to persuade AIG to drop the price of AIA from $35 billion. Some shareholders rebelling against what is actually a very costly deal, at least they say so.

Now the iPad frenzy is spreading. Apple's new computer went on sale today in nine countries across four continents, after America had the iPad to itself for nearly two months. Long lines of buyers formed outside stores in London, Paris, Frankfurt and Tokyo. Apple isn't saying how many iPads it expects to sell outside the U.S. But in the domestic market sales reached 1 million in the first month. Zain Verjee met some of the London Apple fans, who say the iPad is a must have.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN INT'L. CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Finally its here. Hundreds of people camped outside the Apple store here in London to get the iPad. They've been here for hours.

How long have you been here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Been around about 15, 16 hours now.

VERJEE: You are almost first in line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, but I'm fourth.

VERJEE: Are you excited?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, sort of, I've been here 12 hours.

VERJEE: But why do you want to buy this so badly?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, my son wants it. I, personally, don't particularly, but he does.

VERJEE: What about you guys? How long have you been here and what's the most exciting part of all this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've been here for about 16 hours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 16 hours, yes. It's been pretty-

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give or take.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's making computing fun again. You know, the touching phase, having it so close to you. It's personal computing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.

VERJEE: Will it be worth the wait?

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes.

VERJEE: I want to show you who we ran into here outside the apple store. The tallest married couple in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. And look what they have in their hands. Something that everyone here, wants to get their hands on.

The Apple Store is opened an hour earlier, just so that as many people can get it as possible.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: Everyone is there. Apple this week overtook Microsoft, meanwhile, to become the world's most valuable technology company. The latest evidence that is underdog image is a thing of the past. But now, that it is number one is Apple simply too big to be considered cool? Maggie Lake investigates.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MAGGIE LAKE, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: Apple profits are soaring. Its products are run away hits. So while some Apple watchers, like Comedy Central's Jon Stewart seem worried.

JON STEWART, THE DAILY SHOW: Apple you guys were the rebels, man, the underdogs. People believed in you. But now are you becoming The Man?

LAKE: In recent weeks Apple has been blasted for pursuing police action in the case of the not yet released new model iPhone, let by mistake at a bar and bought by a tech blog. CEO Steve Jobs has intensified his public spat with the Adobe, whose popular Flash technology Apple refuses to support on its mobile devices.

ELLEN DEGENERES, TALK SHOW HOST: Opps! I didn't mean to send that.

LAKE: Even TV's Ellen DeGeneres fell a foul with Apple.

DEGENERES: Oh, no.

LAKE: With her spoof of an iPhone ad. After Apple complained, she apologized.

DEGENERES: I just want to say that I'm sorry if I made it look like the iPhone is hard to use. LAKE: Perhaps most worrisome reports that federal anti-trust investigators are looking into whether Apple may have too tight controls over the booming market for phone apps. And music sales through its iTunes store. While Apple will not comment, some analysts play down the claims, saying Apple position in these markets is far from dominant. But, they note, the company is coming under growing scrutiny.

MICHAEL GARTENBERG, ALTIMETER GROUP: There is a certain degree of success that opens you up to a certain amount of criticism and not everyone is going to like what you're doing. And I think Apple's position has been the market will ultimately make this decision, whether we succeed or don't succeed.

LAKE: Indeed, customers outside a busy Apple store in Manhattan seem more concerned about products than bad press.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn't put me off. I've been with Apple since the `80s.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apple, still is not the kind of mega corporation, I feel, that all the PC players are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The products will maintain its call.

LAKE: But critics question how long that will last.

ADAM HANFT, MARKETING STRATEGIST: This is a company that is deeply, deeply concerned about keeping things inside, very, very security conscious. There is a big gap between a company that is unwilling to share what is going on inside with a company that wants to create this image of openness and a sense of rebel spirit.

LAKE: For the past few years Apple's business decisions have been right on the money. But the spotlight is on this wildly success as never before. Maggie Lake, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOSTER: Now top of the list for business cutbacks these days, travel. Up next the companies that are doing without luxury hotels and business class tickets and how the travel industry is coping with that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: As many sectors to the economy are scrambling through a door marked recovery spare a thought for the business travel industry. Just about every company is traveling cutting travel expenses. Then you have airline strikes and ash clouds to deal with as well. David Radcliff is the CEO of British Corporate Travel Company. Hogg Robinson, which this week reported a rise in annual profits, although revenues were down. Richard Quest asked him how he's making savings and about his forecast for business travelers.

DAVID RADCLIFF, CEO, HOGG ROBINSON GROUP: Cost saving was a large portion, but I prefer to think of it as restructuring our cost base to meet the new shape of income. Like every industry, you know, we face challenges in the most testing of conditions. So we reshape what we do and how we service our products.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Isn't that the same as cost cutting, and your partial way of saying it?

RADCLIFF: Well I guess, in part, it is yes. And we lost some good people. But at the same time we signed some very good new clients. A lot of which have yet to (AUDIO GAP)

QUEST: About downgrading, though aren't you, economy instead of business. You're talking about the return of the Saturday night, where it's applicable. You are talking about all these sort of things to save money.

RADCLIFF: Richard, how wrong you can be and how delightfully old fashioned around about to say that. And it's not a cut. (ph) No, today's world there is big rewards to be had for loyalty. And if you can deliver to a airline, to a hotel group, a commitment, loyalty that says, look, over the next year, over the next two years, over the next three years, we will be loyal to you, but in return we want certain benefits. Those deals are there to be had.

QUEST: If you take the U.K.'s governments early cut backs, one of the big cut back areas they talked about was travel.

RADCLIFF: Yes.

QUEST: I mean, they seemed to have come this party rather late, in terms of cutting back. Well, actually, I'm going to surprise you, because to be fair, no they haven't. We already services some very large government departments and the reason we were awarded the contract is that we are able to save them money. And, indeed, we have been saving them money.

QUEST: You have to save them more now.

RADCLIFF: Well, no let me tell you, I'm actually viewing this opportunistically because we know there are government departments out there that we don't service, that we can save them money.

QUEST: David, as we come to an end, what is the number one money saving tip that you can give my viewers traveling on business? Besides stay at home.

(LAUGHTER)

RADCLIFF: Make sure that you know what it is that you are prepared to commit to. So, can you book in advance? Are you prepared to travel down the back? Are you prepared to travel on a Wednesday, or whatever? Know exactly what it is you are prepared to commit to. And stay loyal, stay loyal to an airline, build up your points.

(END VIDEOTAPE)'

FOSTER: It's that time of year again, like it or loath it, musicians from 25 countries will sing for glory this Saturday. But victory in Euro Vision Song Contest comes with a large bill attached. That is next on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOSTER: Welcome back. I'm Max Foster in London. More QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in just a moment but first let's check on the main news headlines this hour.

(NEWSBREAK)

FOSTER: Now first it was the euro and now the Euro Vision Song Contest. The 54-year-old even is back on European TV screens this weekend, but it is having a few financial difficulties. Four competing nations have been forced to pull out because they can't afford to win. The country with the winning song automatically wins the right or the obligation to host next year's even. Andorra, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Montenegro have apparently told organizers they'd rather not take the risk. This year's host, Norway, says it spent $32 million to stage the show. They can't afford to do so again. Ingrid Del Tenre is the director general of the European Broadcasting Union, she joins me from Norway right now, where the event is taking place tomorrow, Ingrid.

You excited?

INGRID DEL TENRE, DIRECTOR GENERAL, EUROPEAN BROADCASTING UNION: Exactly. Yes, yes, exactly. I'm very excited. It will be a great event. Actually, the Norwegian television, public broadcaster has done a great job here.

FOSTER: And they've spent an enormous amount of money, haven't they? Is it very expensive for the country hosting it?

DEL TENRE: Yes, they've spent-yes, they spent a lot of money. Actually, they have of course, income as well. But I think the net cost for the Norwegian public broadcaster is around, well, roughly 20 million euro. That is for the Norwegian public broadcaster, but you have to know that we have another 40 broadcasters that are participating in this event. And for these other broadcasters that is very good value for the money they get, because they pay all in all, together, about 5 million, let's say, 3.5 billion euro. So, happy enough the Norwegians don't have to do that every year. So, next year it is somebody else doing it. Then the Norwegians gets very well-

FOSTER: They might do it, if they win.

DEL TENRE: Yes, they might do it. We don't know it yet. There are others that are actually-

(CROSS TALK)

FOSTER: Are they worried about that, though, having to host it again. Can they afford to host it again?

DEL TENRE: No, no. I think they are actually happy to do it. Because you know it puts right the spotlight on Norway, and they will be tomorrow, in 75 million households. Actually they are very proud because they could produce this. It is a showcase for the Norwegian public broadcaster. It is a showcase for the country. It shows its innovation, it shows its imagination, so actually they like to do it. But I could imagine that having to do it, next year, again, that really would be a tough -

(CROSS TALK)

FOSTER: I don't think Ireland was that chaffed, where they?

Just tell us about the countries that are struggling financially or have expressed to you a concern, financially. Which countries and for what reasons?

DEL TENRE: Well, for example, Hungary. And you have to know, it is every year you have countries that participate and maybe others that won't participate anymore. And this year, of course, the countries that are not participating. I would say it is not mainly an issue of the Euro Vision Song Contest. It is a general issue. It is about public service media in these kinds of countries. And it is about political reasons that actually makes the financing of the public service media so difficult for them. So it is not just a Euro Vision Song Contest issue. It is a political issue about importance and relevance of the public service broadcaster in their respective countries.

FOSTER: OK, so what would you do if someone-if a country wins tomorrow, and they say to you, on Sunday, we refuse to host the event next year? What would happen?

DEL TENRE: That would be very difficult. But, you know, the EU is based on a solidarity principle. We would find a solution. We would have to find and to think about it. At the moment it is-the participating broadcasters that pay, I would say, 3.5 million euro, the EU is paying another 5 mil-no, actually we will have other sponsors paying for the contest as well. Of course, we would then probably have to size down the event. I would be a completely different event, definitely.

FOSTER: Can I-

DEL TENRE: It would be tough, actually. Now, it wouldn't be the same. You know the Euro Vision Song Contest is taking place since 1956, it's the 55th year it is going on. And it has always worked out. So, it is one of the oldest shows that is taking place on the broadcast.

FOSTER: Just briefly, can we expect all that political voting, these block votes, are you going to clamp down on that? It does take a way the legitimacy of it, doesn't it?

DEL TENRE: Yes, we have very-yeah, we have very strong rules about it and actually it-we had problems, as you know, obviously last year. We have toughened the rules. We have, I think-I hope won't happen again.

FOSTER: OK. Ingrid, thank you so much for joining us and you are certainly going to have good day, at least tomorrow. So, thank you very much indeed for joining us.

DEL TENRE: Yes, thank you very much. Bye.

FOSTER: Now in a moment we'll be speaking live to Norway's entrant to this contest, tomorrow. We'll ask him if it is a prize that he really wants to win.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are just 24 hours away from the finals in the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest. As I mentioned before the break, financial worries have forced four nations to pull out.

But I'm joined now by Didrik Solli-Tangen.

He is the man who will be singing and representing Norway's entry in this year's contest.

Thank you so much for joining us.

I mean, what's the atmosphere like there, because it is a massive event, isn't it?

I think a billion people watch it, don't they?

DIDRIK SOLLI-TANGEN, NORWEGIAN EUROVISION CONTESTANT: It is -- it is amazing. It's -- it's such an experience for me, you know, to -- to be participating in this. And, yes, it's been like a giant -- you know, a giant party, you know, with a -- with an exam.

(LAUGHTER)

FOSTER: We were talking earlier, before the break, with one of the organizers about how, you know, some countries haven't got involved because they've got financial worries.

Is this -- is there any sort of sense of this in the building behind you or are they just getting on with it?

SOLLI-TANGEN: No, I don't think it's any signs of it. You know, the -- the -- everybody is having a good time and doing the best. So it's all good.

FOSTER: Are you sort of spying on the other contestants to try and work out what they're doing and try to get one over them?

SOLLI-TANGEN: Oh, no. Actually, I'm -- I'm just a -- just sitting in my wardrobe. It's a bit small, but, you know, just hanging around. Of course, I'm watching them. I'm watching their rehearsals and -- and picking up stuff, which I will maybe do myself. But, you know, it's -- I wouldn't call it spying, you know?

FOSTER: Are there any of those strange performances that we've expected from the past events?

There's been some pretty weird ones.

SOLLI-TANGEN: Yes.

FOSTER: From Scandinavia, I might add, some of them.

SOLLI-TANGEN: Yes, of course. Of course. It's always -- it's always funny -- funny. You know, not -- funny -- oh. Now I slipped on my head.

FOSTER: That's right. Don't worry.

SOLLI-TANGEN: It's -- yes, yes, it's always -- it's always funny, you know?

FOSTER: Yes. Yes. Of course.

And what does this mean for you?

Obviously, there's a huge exposure when you're actually going to be singing there, because so many people watch it.

Is this a big boost for your career or is it a bit of a poison chalice, in a way, as well?

SOLLI-TANGEN: Well, I'm actually studying to be an opera singer, so this is actually, you know, like a highway or you call it what you want for me. So I'm having a -- a lot of fun. And, of course it's serious. You know, it could be a big thing for my career future, but it's not -- you know, like...

(OFF CAMERA REMARKS)

FOSTER: Yes. It's going to be good.

SOLLI-TANGEN: Yes, it's just fun to be here.

FOSTER: You're just going to enjoy it?

SOLLI-TANGEN: Yes, it's going to be good.

FOSTER: OK, well, I have to ask you then to give us a bit -- a bit of your number, what you're going to be singing on the actual -- on the actual night.

Would you do that for us?

SOLLI-TANGEN: What -- what did you say?

FOSTER: If you could sing a bit of your song?

SOLLI-TANGEN: Yes, of course.

FOSTER: Go for it.

SOLLI-TANGEN: OK, I'll just take it...

FOSTER: Yes.

SOLLI-TANGEN: I'll take the chorus.

(MUSIC)

FOSTER: You're going to steal the show, Didrik.

Thank you so much for joining us on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS and good luck to tomorrow night.

SOLLI-TANGEN: Thank you.

Thank you.

FOSTER: Good stuff -- Guillermo, you're going to have to follow this. I don't know how you're going to do it.

Can you sing?

I know you can -- you're good with the your forecasts, so you can...

GUILLERMO ARDUINO, CNN METEOROLOGIST (singing): I am going...

FOSTER: Oh.

ARDUINO (singing) -- to sing.

FOSTER: Oh. You picked up the tune already.

(LAUGHTER)

FOSTER: It's a sure winner.

ARDUINO: Yes, but I'm not going to bring my heart to you -- or what was the last phrase he sang?

FOSTER: No. OK.

ARDUINO: I've got to think (INAUDIBLE).

FOSTER: I'm insulted.

ARDUINO: I don't want...

(LAUGHTER)

ARDUINO: I don't want any Facebook and Twitter comments about what I'm saying and my singing and my words.

FOSTER: Stick to the weather.

ARDUINO: Yes, let's do.

Do you want the weekend weather?

FOSTER: Yes, please.

ARDUINO: OK. I think that it's going to be a little bit breezy in London. I was concerned, though, about what's going on in the east. I'm talking about Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany, especially these last two countries.

We're going to show you video coming from here, from the border of Poland and Germany. You're going to see what's going on in there. It's bad floods. In Germany, people are getting ready for floods. The weather is not going to be good at all. The levels are very high. You see how it sandbags are already in place. They're getting ready for it because also, as temperatures go up and we have some snow melting and the levels of the rivers is going up. We have already 17 people dead with this last flood and rain event.

The situation is getting complicated, though the waters in Poland are receding. But we are going to see some more action in Germany.

To the south, the Balearics here and northern parts of Africa, Corsica, Sardinia and also in Cicely, we see some rain showers. But most of the action is going to be in the east again, especially here in Germany.

You see, look, it's the same area, the border between Poland and Germany. And then, toward the east, we have, also, remnants of the other system that is going to be bringing some severe weather.

Back to wind, England and Denmark and the Low Countries -- Northern Germany here, Schleswig-Holstein has actually some postings on warnings. Also, in the northern parts of Britain is where we see most of the bad weather. But two days from now, you see something is coming here. But the -- the good thing is that it's moving very quickly. When we get to the temps, we're going to see how bad or how good it's going to be.

But at airports, especially Dublin, London, Paris, maybe some Wednesday conditions. Vienna with some rain. Copenhagen, the same thing, and the winds. Milano winds with some thunder.

So a little bit cooler in the north here. You see Max to the south. Practically summer, I must say -- 27 in Madrid, 28 in Istanbul.

Have a nice weekend.

FOSTER: Guillermo, thank you so much.

ARDUINO: Thank you.

FOSTER: That is it for QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

I'm Max Foster in London.

END