CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

QUEST MEANS BUSINESS

Iceland's Economic Collapse; Oil Boom Town; Meet the Millennials;Overwhelming Victory for Putin in Russian Presidential Election Despite Fraud Claims; Protests in Moscow; Russian Markets Have "Relief Rally"; European Markets Mostly Down; Concerns Over Global Growth Drive US Markets Down; Jeffrey Sachs Launches Bid for World Bank Presidency; China Scales Back Growth Targets; Future Cities: Berlin Looking to Condense Three Airports Into One

Aired March 5, 2012 - 14:00   ET

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


RICHARD QUEST, HOST: Stock markets take comfort in Putin's reelection. The international monitors do not.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONINO PICULA, RUSSIAN ELECTION MONITOR, ORGANIZATION FOR SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE: The ultimate winner of the election was never in doubt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST: Charged with negligence, Iceland's former PM goes on trial over the financial crisis.

And launching his bid to run the World Bank. Economist Jeffrey Sachs tells me he should be its president.

I'm Richard Quest. We're starting a new week together and, as always, I mean business.

Good evening. We knew the results of Russia's presidential election before a single vote was cast, and international observers say the contest was clearly skewed in favor of the prime minister, Vladimir Putin.

The head of the monitoring mission summed it up with these words: "The point of an election is that the outcome should be uncertain. This was not the case in Russia."

Monitors say they saw ballot-stuffing and irregularities in a third of polling stations. Thousands of people have been protesting in Moscow, and more than a hundred today have been arrested across the country.

So, straight away to our correspondent, Jill Dougherty, who is in Moscow. One chooses one's words carefully, here, Jill, in asking the blunt question. But the blunt question needs to be asked. Was this a free and fair vote?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN WORLD AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Richard, that was exactly the question that came up at that briefing with the international observers from Europe, and they're not going there. They are not going to characterize it as free or fair.

That said, they said it wasn't fair. And what they're saying is, the system here is skewed in favor of Vladimir Putin, the person who already was president and is now prime minister.

And things like that include the media, and the way votes were counted, and all sorts of things that are called administrative resources that the government can bring out to help that person who is in charge.

So, not fair. There were a couple of innovations that were good. They had some monitors, cameras at these polling stations. But overall, no, it was not fair. They are saying.

QUEST: All right. Now, we need to bring ourselves up to date with the events of the last few hours. Protest rallies and arrests. Were these justifiable arrests in the -- in many people's minds? Or was this heavy- handed policing?

DOUGHERTY: Well, here's how it happened, Richard. They -- the city gave permission to the protesters, the opponents, to hold a demonstration in Pushkin Square. That demonstration was held and, apparently, it was over. That was the time it was allotted, and people -- some people did not want to leave.

And that is when -- these are the pictures that you see now -- where the police moved in pretty forcefully, and we have a team -- we had a team who just got back from there, and they said the police did use force to push people off the square.

Was that justified? I think you need a lawyer for that, Richard, in terms of whether they had the right to kick them off the square.

QUEST: All right.

DOUGHERTY: But they did use some force.

QUEST: We're a business program, here, so we deal with the rail politic. Putin is elected, he is the president, and we'll leave it others to debate whether it was a proper election. You and I, now, Jill, need to consider the economy and what his principle challenge is in the months ahead.

Because as oil prices and gas prices go up, that puts more money into the economy, but there's huge costs, still, to be borne.

DOUGHTERTY: Right. And they will get more money. If, let's say, there are sanctions against Iran, Russia can make out quite well because prices will go up and they will have more money in their coffers.

But one of the problems that Vladimir Putin has faced right from the beginning, and especially now, is diversifying this economy to move away from just oil and gas and those natural resources and to take advantage of what they have here, which is, as you know, a lot of brain power.

Russia should be using computers and using -- and creating program and creating all sorts of intellectual property itself, which it's not doing. It needs much more diversification.

QUEST: Last question, Jill, and probably the unfair one. Do you -- because you've been a Student of Russian affairs for many years. Do you get the feeling that tonight, Russia has got the president that they wanted?

DOUGHERTY: Well, I think you could say, if the vote is 64 percent, that there was -- and if you believe that, it is a pretty solid vote. I think that some Russians really still do want stability and security, and they voted for Vladimir Putin.

Now, there are -- there is a growing, sizable group of people out there who want something new. But who could they vote for? The opposition was not completely united, and they still don't have, really, a candidate who can pull the entire country together and get a whole lot of votes.

So, they have what they have. But I can tell you Richard, that the society is changing. People are participating more, and we'll have to see where that goes.

QUEST: Jill Dougherty, who is in Russia for us, tonight, in Moscow. Many thanks, Jill.

Now, we put it into the context of the markets for you, and if you join me over in the library, you'll see what sort of a day it was. The Russian stock market -- the main index, the MICEX and the RTS index, both gained more than one percent. They are trading at seven months high. If you take the RTS index, that over the course of the year, is up 21 percent.

Russia had been very badly beaten down in 2011 in the markets. It was one of the worst performing, along with India, of the emerging markets, particularly of the BRICs. Russia was beaten up badly.

And now, you see the RTS coming up very sharply on the grounds of the stability and the reform that comes from for Vladimir Putin. The ruble also gained against the dollar.

Elsewhere, though, the markets -- we had three down and one up of the major four. A lot of this had to do with China lowering the annual target growth to 7.5 percent, under 8 percent.

Now, traditionally, China has over-performed -- has under promised and over-performed. We'll be interested to see if that happens, but as long as China continues to say growth is on the lower end, that is going to be worrying for Europe and so forth.

Eurozone manufacturing activity contracted more than expected. BP was again in the London market.

And the US markets. The Dow, it cannot break and hold 13,000, which probably tells us something about the mood of investors in the Untied States, like what they see, but are not prepared to go the whole hog.

They're worried about slower growth and especially those higher oil prices. As a result, the NASDAQ also off the best part of one percent. Interesting start to the week, though, with the markets looking like that.

When we talk about "got a job, like a job," this is one of the best jobs in international economics, the presidency of the World Bank. You will know it is up for grabs. Bob Zoellick is stepping down. We'll meet one of the contenders, Jeffrey Sachs, after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: The first big name in the hat for the top job at the World Bank is Jeffrey Sachs, and he has officially launched his bid to replace President Robert Zoellick as president. He is a special advisor to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and Sachs is also the director of the Earth Institute at Columbia and a regular guest on this program.

He's got some major criticisms of how things are being run right now at the bank. Let's look at them.

(RINGS BELL)

QUEST: Firstly, he says the bank is adrift and has spread itself too thinly. He says it's time it stopped acting like just another bank and stood up for the poor and the hungry.

(RINGS BELL)

QUEST: Sachs says he'd be the first president not to come from Wall Street or Washington. I spoke to Professor Jeffrey Sachs earlier, and I asked him, the outsider status that he has, a hint -- a help or a hindrance?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFFREY SACHS, DIRECTOR, EARTH INSTITUTE: Richard, the World Bank is our world's leading institution to fight poverty yet, ironically, because it's called a bank, World Bank, it's been led by bankers overwhelmingly and mainly coming from Wall Street. And it's been led by politicians.

But it has not been led by experienced practitioners who know the world of development. I've been engaged in travels to more than 125 countries in the world. I've worked with heads of state all over the world for three decades.

The problems that we have are solvable. They're very serious. The children dying, we have massive numbers of people undernourished, chronically hungry. We have solutions, but they need, right now, a tremendous professional effort to scale up those solutions to reach people who need them.

And that's why I believe it's important to have a development practitioner, very experienced, in this position.

QUEST: You may have the development side under your belt, and no one would disagree. But what about the financial-ese, if you like? That relationship to banks, to the markets, to the -- where the World Bank does, of course, have to borrow much of its money?

SACHS: Well, I've been mobilizing billions of dollars in my capacity as one of the leaders of the millennium development goals for many, many years. I know the financial world very well. I've been very much engaged in it.

I've not been part of Wall Street, but I have been a development leader very much engaged with the world economy, with the world of finance, and with raising very large sums --

QUEST: OK --

SACHS: -- for development purposes.

QUEST: Right.

SACHS: For example, helping to establish the global fund to fight AIDS, TB, and malaria, which is one of the most powerful instruments --

(CROSSTALK)

QUEST: Let me just --

SACHS: -- that we have to bring down debts.

QUEST: Let me just say -- forgive me interrupting you on a Skype line. But are you an insider? The sort of person that the White House is going to give their stamp of approval to? Because if the old duopoly continues, as it probably well, it'll be an American and it's somebody the administration will have to approve of.

SACHS: I hope, Richard, that I'm a world candidate. I have support from all over the world, many, many governments that in recent days called me at the most senior levels, heads of state and finance ministers, to say that they really appreciate the idea of my leading the bank. I'm very gratified. That support from Latin America, from Africa, from South Asia, from East Asia, from the Middle East, all over the developing world.

And of course, I'm seeking very much the support of the United States and Europe, and I've been in touch with the White House and they know me very well, in any event. I'm pleased and proud that many of my students have played senior roles in this administration and in earlier ones. They know my track record --

QUEST: OK.

SACHS: -- and I'm hoping that I get the nod from them.

QUEST: Do you see? That's it, isn't it? Because no matter what anybody says, Christine Lagarde went to the Fund, the Americans are not going to give up the World Bank, at least not this time around. So, you've got the right passport. Now, you've just got to convince 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

SACHS: Well, I think that right now, the world is really engaged. They would like a World Bank president that is going to garner worldwide support and a lot of confidence.

I don't think the world would be too happy with an appointment of another banker, frankly, right now. I think the world is looking for somebody who can really help the bank to succeed in its mission of a world that is free of poverty.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

QUEST: Professor Jeffrey Sachs. And I assure you, as this competition heats up, we'll be following Jeffrey very closely, and also all the other candidates. And we'll be taking your views and thoughts in through it as well.

The World Bank's warning on Chinese growth seems to have been heard in Beijing. China has, I told you earlier in the program, cut the growth target to 7.5 percent for '12. It follows years of aiming for growth in 8 percent plus.

Last week, the World Bank told China that its growth was "unsustainable" and needs to reform or risk a crisis. It's a downbeat stout for the National People's Congress in Beijing. Stan Grant is our correspondent in China and has more from Tienanmen Square.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STAN GRANT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: China is going through a period of transition, a looming leadership change and economic uncertainty. Premier Wen Jiabao has made stability the key focus of his address to the National People's Congress, China's parliament.

With the economy slowing down and the gap between rich and poor widening, Premier Wen sees potential pitfalls, both at home and abroad.

WEN JIABAO, PREMIER OF CHINA (through translator): We are keenly aware that China still faces many difficulties and challenges in economic and social development. Internationally, the road to global economic recovery will be torturous. The global financial crisis is still evolving, and some countries will find it hard to ease the sovereign debt crisis anytime soon.

GRANT: He's forecasting slower growth over the next year, a target of 7.5 percent. China has aimed for 8 percent in recent years. Inflation remains critical, the Communist Party aiming to rein it in to around 4 percent. Prices, especially food, have remained stubbornly above government forecasts.

Premier Wen says China needs sustainable, quality growth with an emphasis on boosting domestic consumption. But he says he's in no doubt of the challenges ahead.

WEN (through translator): There are still some deficiencies and shortcomings in the government's work. Targets for conserving energy, reducing emissions, and controlling prices are not being met. Problems concerning land expropriation, housing demolition, workplace safety, food and drug safety, and income distribution are still very serious, and people are still very concerned about them.

GRANT: China has struggled with rising social unrest, especially in rural areas, over land seizures. The premier says the rights of farmers need to be strengthened and protected.

China is also raising eyebrows with its defense spending, its increasing military expenditure by over 11 percent in the next year. That lifts it to a total of $106 billion US. It makes it the second-biggest military spender in the world after the United States.

But some critics and analysts say that figure may potentially be much higher, with a lot of other spending hidden elsewhere in the budget. It also comes at a time that the United States is beefing up its presence in the region, and China is engaged in several maritime disputes with other countries in the Asia Pacific.

Stan Grant, CNN, Beijing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

QUEST: When we come back, so long Schonefeld. Berlin's biggest airport transfer is well underway. We'll take you inside the new Brandenburg gateway, which will replace the lot, in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: It is the capital of Germany, and today it is the economic capital of Europe. It is, of course, Berlin, and 24 million passengers each year fly to Berlin. At the moment, this is what they are greeted with. Tempelhof, which has been closed. Tegel, which is the main airport, and Schonefeld, which is the budget carrier airport on the far side.

So, Tempelhof, Tegel, Schonefeld. And yet, all three are now either closed or will soon be closed, because this is going to be the new airport that Berlin is welcoming in the months ahead. It is called Berlin Brandenburg. It has the three letters BER. And one day, this will greet you on arrival in the German capital.

It is a multibillion-dollar project. There's plenty of work to be done here and on the old airport. And tonight, as we begin our new series of Future Cities, we start in Berlin and the airport.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

QUEST (voice-over): Berlin is a city whose airports mirror its recent past. Two world wars, a giant wall, and three main airports. Now, three will become one, as a brand-new airport marks a new era in the German capital. Berlin's other gateways have hit bursting point.

QUEST (on camera): When Tegel opened, Berlin was a divided city. So, the airport was designed just for the western sector. Seven million passengers a year were supposed to come through this terminal. Last year, 17 million used Berlin Tegel.

QUEST (voice-over): The architecturally marvelous Tempelhof in the center of the city was shut in 2008, and Schonefeld, the hub for those budget airlines, will close when Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt, a blazing beacon for growth and prosperity, opens next-door.

RALF KUNKEL, BERLIN AIRPORTS: It is high time for the German capital to become an airport that really connects the city to the rest of the world. This airport marks that Berlin is back on the map.

QUEST (on camera): Looking around at all the mess, you'd be hard pushed to believe that this is going to be ready for an opening in June. But the experts tell me it's just cosmetic, and it'll only take a few weeks to spruce it up.

QUEST (voice-over): All glass, wood, and steel, Berlin Brandenburg symbolizes the city's ambitions. It's $3.5 billion message is clear: one airport, one city, we are unified.

The German firms GMP and JSK Architects are behind the design.

QUEST (on camera): Well, how important was it for you that the building lift the travelers' spirits?

HANS-JOACHIM PAAP, GMP ARCHITEKTEN: The passenger has to remember, "I'm in Berlin. I come to Berlin, I go to Berlin." This is one very important issue for all airports. You are part of a land, you're a part of a city. You will never forget it.

QUEST (voice-over): Philosophy aside, the next few weeks will be about practicalities. The testing, testing over, and testing again.

QUEST (on camera): There's one subject that sends fear into the hearts of those opening airports. It is baggage. And what happens on that fateful day when the first bags go on the conveyer belt and passengers and luggage, hopefully, are sent on their way. At the same time. See you later!

QUEST (voice-over): BER will be the code letters for the new airport. This may be Berlin's latest aviation treasure, but the city is determined to put its old airports to good use. There are proposals to turn Tegel into an eco-city.

QUEST (on camera): Come on, you're going to miss this place. This cute little airport!

OLIVER WAGNER, LUFTHANSA: I think many people will miss it because it's an airport of short distances and short ways. It's a fast airport. But if you want to have a capital airport, you just have to be a bit bigger and play the game.

QUEST (voice-over): Schonefeld, which was once the pride of East Berlin, will initially be designated for German government use. Tempelhof, in all its majesty, has already had its makeover, one that ensures its special past is not forgotten.

QUEST (on camera): Tempelhof has had an eclectic history to say the least. Orville Wright practiced on the air drone that was here. Hitler meddled with the designs of the buildings. And during the Cold War, Tempelhof was a lifeline for West Berlin. Lord Norman Foster described this design as the mother of all airports.

QUEST (voice-over): From planes to parties, Tempelhof is a shining model of how great buildings and space can grow up with a city and meld into its future. Like Berlin's new airport, this unique public park has found new uses. It all serves to illustrate the fundamental point: the freedom for which this city has fought so hard.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

QUEST: And if you believe that was me riding off into sunset, there's a bridge I could sell you over the River Thames. We will be in Berlin all this month, in the month of March, as part of Future Cities.

When we come back, another. Iceland's former leader is on trial, charged with neglect in the face of a financial free-for-all. We'll take a look at Iceland's economic calamity and how that could cost Geir Haarde his freedom.

(RINGS BELL)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest.

More QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment.

This is CNN. And on this network, it's the news which will always come first.

Iran's nuclear program is the big focus of today's talks between the Israeli prime minister and the U.S. president. And both sides say military action remains an option, but they would prefer a diplomatic solution. Benjamin Netanyahu insists Israel has the right to defend herself against Iranian threats.

The head of the UN's nuclear watchdog said Iran's failure to cooperate with inspectors at its Parchin site makes it impossible to know if Iran's program is for peaceful purposes.

Meanwhile, CNN has learned that Iran offered U.N. inspectors the chance to check out another key nuclear site, Marivan, but the IAEA team didn't have the proper equipment.

U.N. humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos, and Kofi Anan, will travel to Syria this week. Amos wants to talk about getting aid in and getting wounded Syrians out. Kofi Anan, of course, a former U.N. secretary general, is the point man for the U.N. and the Arab League on the crisis and will be working to negotiate an end to it.

Senator John McCain of the U.S. will call for air strikes on Syria any moment now in a speech to Congress. Senator McCain is expected to say that global -- the goal should be to establish and defend safe havens for delivering humanitarian military aid in Syria. When that happens, of course, we'll bring you how he describes the situation.

Police in Moscow have moved in to break up a protest against President-elect Vladimir Putin. There are reports that several opposition leaders are among 50 people arrested. Other Russians are also out in the streets rallying in favor of the long time leader. President Putin won by a huge margin, so he escapes a run-off -- President-elect Putin, I should be -- I'm being a little previous.

Iceland's former prime minister is on trial. He is accused of failing to protect his country's economy. Geir Haarde, seen here arriving in court today, is thought to be the first world leader to face charges relating to the crisis of 2008.

If found guilty of negligence, he could serve up to two years in prison.

CNN's Jim Boulden visited Iceland during the spectacular economic collapse.

And Jim is with me now.

JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Richard, you know, you just think back to the height of the economic crisis, at the time that Lehman Brothers was going under. One of the first countries to show how serious it was, was, of course, tiny Iceland. The country went from one of the world's richest to one with failed banks in need of a bailout.

The then prime minister, Geir Haarde, became the focus of anger and was forced out in 2009.

Now, as the crisis kicked off, Iceland's banks were found to have assets worth nine times the country's GDP. There was no way to cover those banks going bad. So the country's four major banks had to be rescued. All in-country savings were also guaranteed. And Icelanders had to decide whether to withdraw their savings, as some told me when I went to Reykjavik during the crisis.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's said. It really is. We're one of the greatest nations in the world, but we're becoming bankrupt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOULDEN: Still, like Ireland, Iceland has started to come out of the crisis earlier than, say, Greece. The IMF forecast growth of 2.5 percent for Iceland in 2012. And rating agency's Fitch raised long-term debt back to investment grade just last month -- Richard.

QUEST: Come on, shouldn't we feel a bit sorry for him, if he's the only one?

It's -- if this stands more -- sounds more like scapegoating than justice.

Or am I being unfair?

BOULDEN: I was talking to one of my favorite bloggers in Iceland today. He said, first of all, Iceland is very split about this. They're not calling for his blood, number one. Number two, it's very unlikely he will go to jail, because this is sort of like an impeachment process that politicians put other politicians through. So while it looks like he is the only one on trial, it's not like some of the bankers in Ireland or some of the moneymen in some of the other countries that have actually faced criminal charges that could go to prison.

QUEST: OK. And I -- IMF has a strong forecast of 2.5 percent for this year.

BOULDEN: Yes, but in the end, you've got to remember that in Iceland, it costs roughly around $30,000 U.S. for every Icelander, because it's such a small country. This crisis, they were hit very, very hard.

QUEST: A special day today.

BOULDEN: Oh.

QUEST: Happy birthday, Jim.

BOULDEN: Thank you.

QUEST: How old?

BOULDEN: How many more days until yours?

(LAUGHTER)

QUEST: You wound me. I know, you'll always be two years younger than me.

BOULDEN: Exactly.

QUEST: As he never tires of remembering.

Happy birthday anyway.

BOULDEN: Thank you, Richard.

QUEST: It will soon be his turn.

Coming up next, CNN's Election Express -- it's in Oklahoma to gauge the mood, where the waving wheat grows tall alongside fields of oil pumps. Ooh, very poetic tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: Ah, right. It is less than 24 hours until Super Tuesday and I've only got the little model of DC and an Election Express. It's a money box. How appropriate for us.

But the Election Express is powering its way through the Midwest and our Ali Velshi is on board, our chief business correspondent, all this week, looking at the make or break issues of middle America.

He is in Cushing, Oklahoma, where the oil boom has triggered another construction and shortage in housing -- Ali, good afternoon to you.

The view as seen from Cushing is what?

ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Well, it's a number of things. And let's start, because I think we've got some video. We went up in a helicopter to show you the storage of oil that takes place in Cushing.

This is the pipeline crossroads of America. So oil comes in here from all over the place.

As you know, there are thousands of miles of oil pipelines across America. And there are some 60 million barrels of oil stored here, more than three times the daily usage of the United States. So this is a depot for oil.

Now, as you know, Richard, if you trade oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange and you don't keep on trading it, you end up with that contract. When the contract expires, you take delivery of oil from Cushing, Oklahoma.

Now, lucky for you, there are all sorts of pipelines that go other places. You can buy the oil and get it shipped. But it's in tanks all over the place.

And in my hand, I have a bottle of this oil. Richard, you have to see this. This is a bottle of oil from Drumright, Oklahoma, all right. And it is from the Wheeler Number 1 well. Wheeler Well, which I can show you, because I've got pictures of that, as well, was the first well in the area. It was drilled on March 12, 1912. So almost exactly 100 years ago today.

And what happened is wells started to be dug around the area. And, as a result, they built roads and railroads, because they used to transport oil in barrels. And then, as you know, they stopped doing that. They started shipping oil in pipelines.

And that's why this is the pipeline capital of North America. This is where that Keystone XL extension was going to go, from Cushing to the Gulf of Mexico, so oil could be exported or sent to refineries. President Obama canceled that idea. People around here are burning mad about that. This is already a conservative state and it is a Super Tuesday state, Richard. They're going to go to the polls starting tomorrow morning here in -- in Cushing.

QUEST: Bearing in mind the Gulf and the relationship with Saudi Arabia and Iran, what is the one thing, Ali, that you would think, what is it, the one thing they want in Oklahoma from a -- from an -- from their next president?

VELSHI: Well, I'll tell you, they want a couple of things. They would like as much drilling as possible in the United States, because everything goes into a pipeline or very -- there is a very good chance that if it goes into a pipeline from a field or from a -- from a refinery to somewhere else, it goes through Cushing, Oklahoma. So they want a freer drilling policy.

As you know, drilling has increased in the United States over the last few years, but no thanks to the Obama administration. This was done by the Bush administration.

They also, Richard, like the Saudis, want oil to be high, but not so high that people stop using it. So they're a little concerned with this con -- continued increase in the price of crude oil. So that's what they're looking for.

All of the Republican candidates...

QUEST: All right.

VELSHI: -- are in favor of more drilling and the Keystone Pipeline. So as far as the primary goes, I don't think it makes too much difference who they vote for, although the polling indicates that the people in the primary are supporting Rick Santorum more than Mitt Romney in this town.

QUEST: Right. Now, Ali, I am, as we say good-bye to you today, we'll be following you all week. But we have a special interest in this program on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, because we know how dreadful it can be eating on the road.

So we are going to be concerned for your well being...

VELSHI: Yes?

QUEST: -- and making sure plenty of greens and fresh fruit, please.

VELSHI: Yes. Take -- take a look at the me from the side, because we want to make sure that I fit within the same line at the end of the week that I fit into right now. And I've got to say, the lines are pretty ample, as we speak.

I'm going to be trying to deal with mostly bananas and do -- bananas and yogurt for the rest of the week. I -- I almost slipped there and said donuts. But we're going to try and do bananas and yogurt.

QUEST: Right. We want -- we want Tweet pictures of your lunch -- breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Ali Velshi in the Midwest for us tonight.

Many thanks for that.

The weather forecast -- a bit of -- a bit odd at the moment, because it really can't decide where it's going at the moment.

Jennifer Delgado is at the World Weather Center for us.

JENNIFER DELGADO, ATS METEOROLOGIST: Hi there, Richard.

We are going to start off right now talking about Australia. And at this hour, more than 8,000 residents have been told to evacuate because of severe flooding across the region. We're talking down toward New South Wales.

Let's go to the video and give you an idea, Richard, this is a bad situation. They have been dealing with rain there over the last 10 days. Now you're seeing residents evacuating their belongings and sandbagging. And this is because we have several rivers that are at major flood level. And you can see for yourself, this is a dangerous situation there.

So I take you back over to our graphic here. We want to talk more and help you get a better eye to visualize what's been happening there. We're talking a year's worth of rain in some locations in just a matter of several days. Those totals have been incredible. And if you remember, of course, last year, parts of Queensland in New South Wales dealt with flooding there. And now, we're talking about another round coming just about a year and two months after the effects. Anywhere you're seeing in red, we're talking 300 to 400 millimeters of rainfall. But the good news is the weather is improving. We have this big ridge of high pressure and that is in place. And that's going to keep conditions nice and dry for areas, including parts of Victoria, as well as into Hobart.

But we do have a problem spot setting up toward areas, including Queensland, right along that coastline. Some locations have actually picked up about two days of rainfall. And it actually works out to be about a month's worth anywhere you're seeing in green. But it looks like that system will start to weaken as we go through the next couple of days. So we'll start to see some improvement there.

Through parts of Europe, we had some snow moving through parts of -- of the Netherlands. But since then we're just looking at some very light rainfall moving through parts of Europe. Radar nice and quiet. And it's going to stay that way as we go through the next couple of days. You can see for Eastern Europe, as well as Northern Europe, just a very weak low spinning right on top of Italy. And high temperatures for your Tuesday not looking bad -- nine for a high in Paris, eight for a high in London and nine in Glasgow and minus, four still below freezing, in parts of Ukraine.

Now, video coming out of the U.S. state of Kentucky. And we just have that live shot coming in from Ali Velshi. He's in the Midwest. Well, of course, we had those deadly tornadoes that pushed through. Eight tornadoes pushed through parts of Kentucky.

Now, Richard, to make matters worse, a snowstorm came through parts of Kentucky and now you're looking at the snow covering that debris left behind.

Talk about a bad situation there.

QUEST: Extraordinary, from tornadoes to snow...

DELGADO: Yes.

QUEST: -- and...

DELGADO: Pretty late, too.

QUEST: -- basically it's time for the -- and soon it will be the searing heat of the summer.

DELGADO: It will.

QUEST: All right. Many thanks.

Jennifer Delgado at the Weather Center.

DELGADO: Thank you.

QUEST: When we come back in a moment, we enter the age of the millenials, the up and coming upstarts that are already running things. They are our focus, the millennials after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: A new generation is rising and if you don't already know them, you soon will. That much I promise you. They are young. They are smart. And more than any other generation, determined to succeed.

They are called the millennials.

Each week on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, it is our new focus. It is our new series. We are going to show you what they can do and exactly who they are.

So we will be following a group of millennials. There is 22 -year-old Michael Burbach from New York, who's an assistant to a celebrity photographer and in millennial fashion, he is an aspiring actor.

From the U.S., down south to Santiago in Chile, David Lloyd. He's 27, already a managing director of his own company, but he wants more. In London, Joe Braidwood, 26 years old and a developer of award-winning apps. And in South Africa, our millennial is Millie Bongela, 26, as well, blogging about fashion.

These are the people, in the weeks ahead, that you will meet on this program as we follow them, their hopes, their dreams, their goals.

But first, we need to understand the mentality that makes this generation different -- different to all others before. It's time to meet the millennials.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

QUEST (voice-over): Flip-flops at work, Facebook breaks, free yoga on Fridays -- meet the millennials, a new breed of worker fresh out of college and already gunning for that corner office. You find them at this plugged in cafe in Washington, DC.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We really want to put our mark on the world in multiple ways.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

QUEST: Or nestling in this office building in New York.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We work to live and not the other way around.

QUEST: It soon becomes clear, the millennial mind set is different from any generation before.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sometimes people don't understand that like, you know, work is what you do and not necessarily who you are.

RYAN HEALY, BRAZENCARRERIST.COM: People in Generation Y have been told that they can be and they can do whatever they want to do since they were kids. The goal is to be happy, to find meaning and they're figuring that out as they go.

CHRISTINE HASSLER, MILLENNIAL COACH: Well, what do you think are the needs of millennials today that aren't being serviced?

QUEST: At an American Express sponsored workshop for millennials in New York, life coach Christine Hassler is advising them on how to manage their money. She is an expert on millennials. And Hassler says she's constantly surprised by their potential.

HASSLER: The way they think and the way they communicate is much different. They move at a much faster speed mentally than any other generation before.

They are amazing learners. Millennials can go in and learn anything very, very quick. Their brain is very adaptable. Change doesn't scare them as much as other generations, because they had to learn something new every day.

QUEST: So what makes them different?

Millennials are the first generation to have always had the Internet, which has transformed the way people network and socialize.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't live without my iPhone. I just -- I feel naked if I don't have it on me.

QUEST: This constant plugged in life has its drawbacks for these millennials.

HASSLER: They come in and they get this reputation of being entitled or being -- multi-tasking too much or not knowing how to communicate with older members of the generation -- with older generations, because they just rely on technology much more than a Gen Xer or a baby boomer would.

QUEST: At work, millennials are increasingly coveted as employees. More and more businesses want to tap into their expertise and drive.

MARIAN SALZMAN, CEO, EURO RSCG WORLDWIDE PR: They're the new marketplace. They're the new brains. They come with all the social media tools and tricks embedded in them as native.

QUEST: Still, these are challenging times. According to a recent United Nations report, some 75 million youths globally now find themselves without work. The numbers speak for themselves. It's helped fuel the Occupy Wall Street movement and similar gatherings around the world, which gives voice to the frustrations of the young.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you look at any group of people that are being discriminated against right now, I think youth and students are a big section of that. We take on mass amounts of student loans to go into what jobs?

QUEST: For a generation born with the idea that they could do it, the despair is real. It is extraordinary, the optimism that millennials can bring to the most challenging of situations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of the jobs that our parents' generation, you know, worked, won't exist anymore, but it's also exciting, because it means we get to invent new careers.

QUEST: True millennials are not revolutionists. They don't want to tear down the system. Oh, no. This generation just wants to run it.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

QUEST: Neil Howe is the historian, economist and demographer. He pretty much invented the term millennials in this book, "Millennials Rising".

And Neil joins me now from Washington.

Neil, we are going to be following these millennials, the ones we've chosen and more that will join.

What should we be looking for as we see them in their workplaces and their play?

NEIL HOWE, AUTHOR, "MILLENNIALS RISING": Well, Richard, as you already know, this is a special generation, right?

They've been told they are special. This is one of the big differences between the Xers, who came before them, grew up at a time when children were left alone and weren't cared for.

That all changed with millennials. And -- and that changes how businesses have to answer them. You can't any longer tell them to go into the corner and do Xeroxing for a year and pay your dues before you actually do something challenging or interesting.

QUEST: Right.

HOWE: And you have to harness that. You know, you have to tell them, you're special, we expect special things from you.

There are constructive ways to harness that.

QUEST: OK, but -- but...

HOWE: I think another...

QUEST: Let -- let...

HOWE: Yes?

QUEST: -- let me just jump in here.

So both -- not only do the millennials differ, but their employers have to respond differently, as you just said, and companies who want to sell to them, people who want to have them as consumers have to respond differently.

HOWE: Yes, they do. And across the board. I think another one big - - a big difference with millennials is that their ethic of teamwork, of community, they want to plug in with other people. They like to work collabordy -- collaboratively. This was the generation raised with -- with team teaching and team learning, with service learning and community service.

So that's important to...

QUEST: Right.

HOWE: -- to -- to remember, as well. And we see how that's changing technology. This is the generation that invented Facebook and -- and -- and social software sites. So they're always looking at other people's reactions to their actions.

QUEST: OK.

HOWE: They're -- they're -- the idea of you not being able to go to sleep without your -- without your smartphone, for example.

QUEST: Right. As we look at the millennials in the weeks and months ahead, over the next 12 months, is it fair to say that if we are in business, if we are employers, whichever way we look, they are the future and we have to understand what makes this animal different?

HOWE: Well, I -- I tell managers that all the time. Every year, there are three million to four million more of them coming into the workplace. And pretty soon, if you don't adapt to them, you'll be out of business. And -- and so far, you find all this resistance. You know, one -- one key trait that's different and I -- I often emphasize this to boomers, is this is a highly conventional generation.

QUEST: Right.

HOWE: You ask them how they want to -- what they want to become as they grow older, they say they want to be good neighbors, good citizens, they want to be well-rounded people. A record share say they want to get married and have kids. And their favorite activity is to spend time with their parents.

QUEST: All right.

HOWE: They're very close to their families. And -- and this is a big difference, because a lot of these kids are actually, in job interviews, coming to work, you know, coming to the interviews with their parents...

QUEST: OK, Neil...

HOWE: They're -- they -- they're talking with their parents during the work day. And, of course, the managers have to response to this...

QUEST: Neil --

HOWE: -- do I -- yes?

QUEST: So, we'll have to, unfortunately, leave it there. But you and I will talk more about this, the millennials rising, as we follow on.

Neil Howe joining us from -- from Washington.

The Millennials is our major feature that you will see on this program.

I'll have some thoughts on the millennials, in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: Tonight's Profitable Moment.

Earlier in the program, we introduced you to the millennials we'll be featuring, our new series. And to show you how important this is, the next generation, if you need proof of the kind of influence, there they are already. They are young, some might say precocious, in some cases, but they are the ones who have written the words tonight that I am speaking to it.

One of my team on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, they are the millennials who've written it.

Back to work, all of you.

Because when you bear in mind the roles that they play not only in bringing this program, but also the words being heard loud and clear and those of his contemporaries.

Over the weeks ahead, we are going to profile the young businessmen and women. And even as we start looking for millennials, we're looking for the next ones to feature on the program.

So, I need you to e-mail me at quest@CNN.com, quest@CNN.com, if you believe your story could be millennial. You could also just Tweet me at, @richardquest.

If you're a millennial or know someone that's between, say, 21 and 30, and you think you've got a millennial story, we want to hear from you. And who knows, that lot could all be in trouble.

And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight.

I'm Richard Quest in London.

Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I do hope it's profitable.

The news continues

END