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Freed Pussy Riot Member Calling for Sochi Games Boycott; Mikhail Khodorkovsky Speaks; Russia's Weak Economy; European Markets Up; Putin's Pardons; Apple Signs China Mobile Deal; Twitter Firestorm Costs PR Exec Her Job; Santa Claus Rally; Make, Create, Innovate: Energy Breakthrough

Aired December 23, 2013 - 16:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, HOST: Well, it's a Santa Claus rally. The Dow climbs to a new record high. It is the start of the holiday week. It is Monday, it is December the 23rd.

Tonight on the program, Putin, pardons, and Pussy Riot. We delve into the politics and economics behind it all.

We'll talk about Syria's lost generation and speak to the president of the US fund for UNICEF.

And how to lose a job in 140 characters. One PR exec tweeted herself out of a job.

I'm Richard Quest. It may be the holiday week, but of course, I mean business.

Good evening. A member of the Russian punk rock group Pussy Riot is now calling for a boycott of the Sochi Olympics. Nadia Tolokonnikova said her early release from prison is a publicity stunt by the Kremlin ahead of the Winter Games.

Her bandmate, Maria Alyokhina, was also freed on Monday. The move follows President Putin's pardon of the former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky last week. Our correspondent in Russia, in Siberia, to be precise, is Diana Magnay.


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Almost two years inside a penal colony where she said the women were treated like cattle, base slavery, her name, from President Putin's system. Now, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and her fellow activist, Maria Alyokhina, are both free, but they're still defiant. I asked Nadezhda why she thought she'd been released now.

NADEZHDA TOLOKONNIKOVA, PUSSY RIOT MEMBER (through translator): Putin understands his Olympics can be boycotted. He doesn't want this PR project of his to fail, because a lot of money has been stolen from the budget, which could have been used for better purposes. He needs some sort of political relief.

Among those in prison are people who are not forgotten by the world, and I'm very grateful to the world for not forgetting them. That's why it was possible for Putin to release people like me, Alyokhina, and Khodorkovsky, because we did not have a long time left to serve.

MAGNAY (on camera): But how do you feel now, seeing your husband? Have you seen your little girl again yet? How did freedom feel?

TOLOKONNIKOVA (through translator): I feel the need to work for our country and for my family and our daughter. I've been waiting for this freedom for so long, and I want to use this experience that I gained in prison.

MAGNAY: And Khodorkovsky said in his press conference that he wanted to be involved actively in trying to help prisoners, bring attention to the penal system, the same kind of thing as you now say you want to do. Can you imagine joining forces with Khodorkovsky? Is that something you might do?

TOLOKONNIKOVA (through translator): No doubt I'd be happy to do that. It would be a very productive relationship.

MAGNAY: And what about the boycott of the Olympics, the Sochi Olympics. Is it something you think people should do on ethical reasons?

TOLOKONNIKOVA (through translator): The political situation is sad at the moment, really sad. And the political regime in Russia is leading the country to a collapse. So, of course, if the Western countries would show the strong political, ethical position they will need to boycott the Games.

MAGNAY: And of course, many leaders already have, despite the flow of high-profile prisoners from Russia's jails.

Diana Magnay, CNN, Krasnoyarsk, Siberia.


QUEST: Mikhail Khodorkovsky says he does not want to be a symbol of a freer, fairer Russia, speaking to CNN's Christiane Amanpour from Berlin just days after leaving prison. And one of the questions she asked him, whether or not he forgives President Putin.

MIKHAIL KHODORKOVSKY, FREED KREMLIN CRITIC (through translator): I would say it in a slightly different way. I don't consider this to be rational behavior, and something which I do not consider to be rational is something that I can live with.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Will you go into politics? What is your plan for the future?

KHODORKOVSKY (through translator): I cannot say that I've exactly decided on my plans now. But what I've certainly decided for myself is that I do not want to be a symbol that Russia does not remain a political prison -- a political prisoner. I want to be a symbol of the efforts of society.


QUEST: Now, first Khodorkovsky, now Pussy Riot. The chairman of the International Affairs Committee in Russia's parliament says the release of these high-profile prisoners is one way of improving Russia's reputation.


ALEXEI PUSHKOV, CHAIRMAN OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE, STATE DUMA (through translator): In regard to the image of Russia and relations with our Western partners, I think it removes certain irritants in our relations. I don't think it will be a decisive factor, though, because those forces that promote confrontation with Russia, they will find other pretexts.


QUEST: Now, the pardons may remove what's being called "irritants," but it doesn't remove Russia's problems at home, and its problems of the stagnating economy, where the government has cut its growth forecast this year from 1.8 to 1.4 percent.

If you put that in perspective, Russia's deputy economy minister has described the last 12 months as those of missed opportunities. Alexei (sic) Klepach said investment was surprisingly weak.

As for the Russian stock market, well, if you bear in mind the Dow's up 20- odd percent and other markets are up equally strongly such, for example, as the German DAX, it has so far fallen 4.78 percent since the beginning of the year. The benchmark RTS fell for a third of one percent today. That's down on today's market.


QUEST: The euro markets and how they fared, let's take a look and see. This week will be a shortened weak as most of the markets shut on Wednesday and Thursday for Christmas. But a rather good rally in Germany and in London, perhaps on the back of the fact that Wall Street started out of the gate, and once you got going, there was no looking back.

When we come back, the numbers are simply staggering. Apple has a new distribution deal in China.


QUEST: Now, back to our top story tonight, of course, the release in Russia of the Pussy Riot band members coming on the back, of course, of the Khodorkovsky release earlier in the week. Joining me now on the line, on the phone, is Sergei Guriev, a visiting professor of economics at the science expo in Paris.

He left Moscow because he says he was afraid he would lose his freedom if he returned to Russia. In a blog and an article he makes it quite clear he was repeatedly questioned by Russian authorities concerning the original case against Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

It's fair to say then, sir, you obviously welcome the release of Khodorkovsky and the Pussy Riot band members. What's behind it? Is it just something as obvious as polishing up the image before the Olympics?

SERGEI GURIEV, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS (via telephone): Yes, I think this is the main reason. And of course I welcome the release of the political prisoners in Russia. This is a good signal that maybe the regime is changing.

Or, of course, it may be a temporary retreat before the Olympics, and then we'll have to see whether the situation changes again to the worse after the Olympics. But I guess it was strong pressure from Western governments, including most of all Germany --

QUEST: Right.

GURIEV: -- to ask Mr. Putin to release some important political prisoners. Before the Olympics in January also.

QUEST: One of the views has been that Putin is now so much master of all he surveys that frankly, in the case of Khodorkovsky, fine. Let him go. What's the man going to do, make trouble from outside the country? In case of all these other dissidents and objectionists, it doesn't matter. The man's in charge.

GURIEV: This is an argument which is used very much in Russian official media now, but it is not consistent with the evidence. And the evidence is first and foremost Mr. Khodorkovsky was not released in Russia, he was put on a plane to Germany, and that was one of the conditions, that he's outside of Russia, not in Russia.

But most importantly, Mr. Putin is not as strong as he used to be five years ago or, say, seven years ago when his popularity was high, Russian budget was in great shape, Russian economy was growing seven percent a year. No Russian economy is stagnating.

And even though oil prices are high, Russia doesn't have extra cash, and Mr. Putin's popularity is actually going down. So, it's not a sign of strength. It is definitely a sign of weakness.

QUEST: That sign of weakness, as you put it, where does it go from here? Because the Olympics will happen next February, and they'll be over and done with, and Russia's economic problem will continue. What do you believe the likes of Pussy Riot and Khodorkovsky and all the -- and people like yourself, Mr. Guriev, what can you now do to promote the change that you seek?

GURIEV: Well, it's not an easy question, and regime's like today's Russia's government never changing in very predictable ways. Many things can happen, maybe a peaceful transformation may be a divestiture of non- democratic institutions --

QUEST: Right.

GURIEV: -- maybe turbulent unrest. It's very hard to predict how this is going to change. But --


GURIEV: -- the main tool that people have is to speak out, and this is what people are doing. I should say that I am living in Paris. I'm not match for Mr. Khodorkovsky and the Nadia and Maria from Pussy Riot, who did such a brave thing.

QUEST: I just want to finally ask you, what would it take for you to return to Russia. I've read your article and your statement that basically you feared arrest or at least going in to be questioned about Khodorkovsky, the Yukos arrangement, and basically not leaving, being arrested while you were there. So would it take a statement from the president before you would go back?

GURIEV: Well, I think statements -- I've heard many statements from Russian presidents in many directions, so I think we need to judge by deeds rather than words. And the case which was used to harass me is still here, it's still continuing even though Mr. Putin said that this case is -- is not necessarily going anywhere.

But in Russia, everything can happen, and for now, it's too risky and too dangerous for me to cross the Russian border.

QUEST: Sergei Guriev, thank you for joining us on the line from Paris tonight. We wish you and your family, of course, a good holiday season.

GURIEV: Thank you very much, Richard. Thank you. A pleasure being with you.

QUEST: Good to talk to you. Now, just looking at something -- a piece of wire news that just -- Apple has risen 4 percent on the stock market, propelling the NASDAQ to a fresh 13-year high. Well, Apple has reached a deal with the world's largest mobile phone operator, and that's why the stock is up so sharply.

The deal is in the world's largest SmartPhone market, China. The agreement with China Mobile means Apple gets access to the company's 760 million subscribers. That number alone is more than twice the population of the United States. The shares are higher, as I've told you, 4 percent. That's a slightly earlier one, it's now up about 4 percent.

The chief exec of Apple is understandably delighted. He says the company's enormous respect for China Mobile and we are excited to be working together. China is an extremely important market for Apple.

The deal could transform Apple's fortunes in China, a country where it has been seriously lagging behind rivals, such as Samsung and Lenovo and Hui. Apple has a better record outside the country, according to IDC. The world's SmartPhone market is second to Samsung. There you've got Samsung, Apple, Hui, Lenovo, and LG.

Put it into context, though. Let's now talk about China. Shelly Palmer is the author of "Digital Wisdom, " joins me now from Vermont via Skype.

I'm guessing, Shelly, you're holiday season -- ah, there you are, sir. Your holiday season has begun. Thank you for doing duty and helping us understand what's going on. Shelly, how significant is this for Apple? Because it's a high, expensive product and Chinese have many options.

SHELLY PALMER, AUTHOR, "DIGITAL WISDOM": Well, OK, there's a couple things. It is expensive. This is huge for Apple, because it's the old aphorism, gee, if I could just sell one to everybody in China, there's 1.2 billion people. Well, in this case, there's 760 million subscribers, there's a lot of pent-up demand for i-products, i-devices in China, and iPhones specifically.


QUEST: But --

PALMER: You're going to know, by the way, really quickly --

QUEST: Right, but is it --

PALMER: -- because it's going on sale January 15th.

QUEST: Is it likely -- I'm just jumping in here. Is it likely that they would lower the price of the iPhone or the iPad, particularly the iPhone, to gain market share?

PALMER: It's interesting you mention that. My initial reaction was that they'd probably have to. But after thinking about how they're going to roll this out with China Mobile, I bet they don't have to. My suspicion is that as price sensitive as that market is, I was more interested in the fact that almost every phone in that marketplace has dual SIM cards and iPhones don't.

So we're going to see if people want this American product. I don't think we can underestimate or overestimate from where we sit. I think it's hard to tell how much pent-up demand there is for Americanized products. Every time a product ties someone in China to the United States, it has a built- in market.

So, let's see. This could be a very iconic move for the Chinese because for the first time, it will be mass available across pretty much the entire landscape there. So, I'm excited for it.

By the way, Apple's going to make a fortune here. There's no other way to look at this. This is great for Apple. This is a big market, it's a growth market, and as you know, the United States has been flat or declining for quite some time.

QUEST: And that is why we saw the stock up 4 percent. Shelly, you're looking very fetching, very fetching in the headphones and microphone, and it's good to see you as always. Have a great, peaceful holiday week. Many thanks.

PALMER: All the best to you, Richard, nice to see you.

QUEST: Always lovely to have Shelly on the program, one of our family of experts who really does help us understand what's happening in the social media and technology world.

Now, it -- we're going to stay with this, this is extraordinary. You'll have some thoughts on this @RichardQuest. It was a tweet that caused outrage and cost a PR executive, Justine Sacco, her job. A tweet she must dearly wish she hadn't sent. It's so easy to send in the heat of the moment, you just do this, this, this, send, and then it's all over.

The public relations worker with the billion-dollar media company IAC was fired after joking about AIDS on her Twitter profile. You know the story. Pamela Brown has the latest.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN US NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Social media is calling it the "tweet heard around the world." "Going to Africa, hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding, I'm white."

Now, three days after PR exec Justine Sacco sent out that tweet, she is out of a job and apologizing. On Sunday, Sacco issued this statement, saying, "Words cannot express how sorry I am and how necessary it is for me to apologize to the people of South Africa, who I have offended due to a needless and careless tweet. For being insensitive to this crisis, and to the millions of people living with the virus, I am ashamed."

Sacco was head of PR for IAC, the media company owned by Barry Diller, that operates websites like the Daily Beast, College Humor, and But on Saturday, the company said Sacco's no longer a good match, firing her.

The now former PR exec found herself the target of a social media mob on Friday, sending out that tweet right before logging offline while on her 12-hour flight from London to her native South Africa.

JOE CONCHA, COLLUMNIST MEDIALITE: Not only is this a publicist's worst nightmare, it's any public figure's worst nightmare. To send out a tweet - - it's kind of like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube. You can't take it back.

BROWN: Her Twitter page immediately filled with hateful comments. The hash tag #HasJustineLandedYet trending worldwide, one guy following the hash tag even awaiting her arrival at the Capetown airport. A trial by Twitter, as many are calling it.

According to her Linkedin page, Sacco was also formerly a publicist for the WWE. And on her now disabled Twitter page, she has a cache of vulgar now deleted tweets, like "I had a sex dream about an autistic kid last night," and "I can't be fired for things I say while intoxicated, right?" Leaving many to wonder how could a PR expert not know how to manage her own social media.

CONCHA: I don't think people like Justine realize the immediacy of Twitter. One tweet, one statement, is all it takes in the world of Twitter, in the world of social media, to cost somebody their career.

BROWN: Pamela Brown, CNN, New York.


QUEST: Shelly Palmer, I'm just tweeting as I'm talking to you, I'm just tweeting, "The tweet row is a warning to us all." But what is the warning?

PALMER: You know, Richard, you have to comport yourself like you are a star. You have to comport yourself like you are a member of a global community. And the idea that you can say certain things that are so incredibly hateful and hurtful -- look, we don't live in an un-politically correct world, we live in a more politically correct world.

And whether that's right or wrong, it's just what is. It cannot be said often enough, and people just, for whatever reason, these technologies are woven so deeply into the fabric of our lives that we forget that we're actually talking to everyone at every moment.

And so, Justine, look, she just either lost her senses or possibly never had them. Either way, she's gone. But the lesson here -- it's a teaching moment. She's gone. We shouldn't do that. You shouldn't do that. I shouldn't do that. No one should do that.

QUEST: I was about to say except in the privacy of your own home. But -- even there, you're shaking your head, because somebody may take a picture, as Prince Harry discovered when he was -- anyway. Look, we can't talk more about this. It is the number one talking point at the moment around the world. Shelly, have a lovely holiday, and we'll be back --

PALMER: You, too.

QUEST: -- with you in the new year. Zain Asher is at the New York Stock Exchange. Another day --


QUEST: -- another record.

ZAIN ASHER, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Richard. Yes, the 48th record close for the year. I've been talking to analysts who say that you know what? Now we have the perfect ingredients for a sustained rally.

You think about all the headwinds you've been seeing, they're all out of the way, pretty much. The Fed tapering, uncertainty, budget negotiation, we've got the strong jobs report, GDP. It looks like the Santa Claus rally is finally underway.

Now, in terms of the economic data we got today, consumer sentiment coming in at the best reading we've seen since July. So obviously, the better people feel about the economy because their 401K balance is high or whatever, the more likely they are to go out and spend, and obviously, it does have a positive impact on GDP.

Just quickly in terms of company news, Richard, Apple shares up about 4 percent on the back of that deal with China Mobile. And obviously, Facebook's first day on the S&P 500, validation that it is one of the most important companies in our country today. Richard?

QUEST: We thank you for that. Zain, have a good -- well, we've got tomorrow, of course, still. We've got a shortened day in the markets tomorrow. And indeed, tomorrow, of course, is when they do that bit of singing. On Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, they always sing.

In a moment, a bit of blue sea thinking. One inventor shows how he's making waves and creating clean, renewable energy. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.



QUEST: Make, Create, Innovate, and a British man has come up with a very new and novel way of creating power. I need you to think of it as a floating ocean snake which harnesses the tide. The machine essentially trolls the sea for power. Nick Glass traveled to a remote part of Scotland to meet the inventor.



NICK GLASS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wave power. In the story of renewable energy sources, it's never seriously been considered. But is that about to change? Here on the Orkney Islands of Scotland, they believe they're on the cusp of a breakthrough.

RICHARD YEMM, INVENTOR OF PELAMIS: We've invented the Pelamis wave energy converter, a system that takes the prodigious energy in ocean waves and converts it into clean, green, renewable electricity to power our economy.

GLASS (voice-over): Richard Yemm has spent the last 15 years researching wave power.

YEMM: There's a phenomenal energy resource in waves. If we could capture 0.1 percent of the energy in the oceans, it could power the world ten times over. So, the resource is enormous.

Pelamis is actually a biological name for a whole series of species of surface-swimming sea snake. And that's exactly how Pelamis works. It's a snake, articulated snake that floats on the surface of the ocean, and the waves running down its length cause it to wriggle and articulate, and we use that motion to capture energy from the wave and convert it into electricity.

GLASS: The Orkney Islands are the perfect place to locate Pelamis.

YEMM: It's at the receiving end of the North Atlantic, so it has some of the most aggressive wave conditions on the planet.

GLASS: Moored up, undergoing maintenance, the Pelamis machine looks like a floating leviathan, 180 meters long. Open the hatch and down we go into the belly of the beast.

GLASS (on camera): Cor! It's like going into a submarine, isn't it? So, can you explain it to me?

YEMM: This is how -- where we capture and generate electricity from the machine. So, there are three stages to that process. The first one is, we take the energy out of the wade with a large hydraulic cylinders resisting the motion in the joint.

So, these cylinders in this compartment that look a bit like torpedo tubes -- they're not. They're big, high-pressure accumulators. So we can push oil into them, which compresses gas to store energy before taking a steady stream of energy back to generate smooth electricity to the grid.

GLASS (voice-over): In 2004, Pelamis supplied power to the UK grid from offshore waves, a world first.

YEMM: I remember the very first kilowatt-hour extracted from the ocean and converted into electricity. It was the hardest one, but it's been the first of many, and it was a truly inspirational moment for myself, but also for the whole team.

GLASS: Commercial interests soon followed. Pelamis is working with three major European utility companies. Yemm's ambition is to establish a wave- powered form in the Sea of Orkney.

YEMM: We're working on our first array of machines in Scotland, here, which we hope to install in the next few years. I just put perhaps three or four machines, but working together in a little wave farm, which is a blueprint for commercial -- much bigger commercial projects in the future.

GLASS: And the rewards for those who push ahead with wave power, in Yemm's eyes, they could be lucrative.

YEMM: We are as big a resource globally as wind energy. The world's market for wave energy technology has been estimated to be in excess of a thousand billion pounds worth of equipment. It's huge.

GLASS: A century ago, the big industry in Orkney was fishing. Now, with inventions like Pelamis, they're trolling the sea for power.


QUEST: Make, Create, Innovate. And in a moment, a bitter winter lies ahead for millions of Syrian refugees still fleeing the violence. There's still nowhere near enough money to help them. We'll be speaking to the head of UNICEF in the US in a moment.


QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. There's more "Quest Means Business" in just a moment. This is CNN and on this network the news always comes first.

Fighting in South Sudan has ended its second week, leaving hundreds of people dead and even more people are now displaced. U.S. special envoy to South Sudan said on Monday the president of the country, Salva Kiir is ready to hold peace talks. About 150 Marines are being moved to the Horn of Africa (inaudible) into South Sudan to help evacuate Americans and bolster security at the U.S. Embassy.

Israel has freed a Palestinian prisoner who staged a nearly nine month hunger strike. Samer Issawi started the protest last year after he was rearrested for violating terms of his parole. He was first arrested in 2002, released in 2011 in a prisoner swap for a kidnapped Israeli soldier. Two jailed members of the Russian rock band Pussy Riot are now free after nearly two years in prison. They were released two months early as part of a sweeping amnesty measure passed by Russian lawmakers. One of the band is calling for a boycott of the Sochi Olympics.

Rights groups are calling a new anti-gay law passed by the Ugandan Parliament wildly discriminatory and abhorrent. But the country's minister of ethics and integrities told CNN Ugandans welcome the bill, saying homosexual acts are strange to the culture. The bill toughens jail time for homosexual acts. Violators could get life in prison.

The online betting company Paddy Power has withdrawn its connection to the former NBA star Dennis Rodman. The company cited changed circumstances following worldwide scrutiny over his links to North Korea. Rodman is now on his way back from the reclusive nation after training basketball players for an upcoming exhibition match.

A week of bombings in Aleppo has left as many as 500 people dead Drums filled with explosives known as bottle bombs were dropped from helicopters onto the northern Syrian city. An amateur video sent in to CNN shows the aftermath of one of these attacks. And according to the Syrian government, the operations were targeting terrorist groups. Aleppo has been the rebels' stronghold since the conflict began. The United Nations estimates that more than 100,000 people have been killed in Syria since 2011. Aleppo's escalation in the violence followed the U.N.'s latest request for funding. UNHCR has appealed for a record $6.5 billion in funding. The highest amount requested for a single humanitarian emergency, $4.2 billion of that, well, that's a 2/3rds will go to the countries hosting Syrian refugees - Lebanon for example - all the neighboring countries - Jordan and the like -- all the neighboring countries. The U.N. estimates 2.3 billion - million - people have fled Syria since the crisis began, around half of which are children.

Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and Iraq have all taken in refugees fleeing Syria. They're the host countries most in need of funding. And the U.N. estimates that a fifth of Lebanon's population are Syrian refugees, nearly 300,000 of which are school-age children. Mohammed Jamjoom reports.


MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You can hear the blasts, but these Syrian children, unfazed. As some ride bikes playfully past storefronts both shuttered and scarred, others calmly describe what they've seen. "Once I saw a head fly by," says one. "The first time we were afraid," says another boy. "Now we're used to it." Then a huge explosion nearby. They scramble to find safety. They were unharmed, at least not physically harmed. Later, one boy is asked if anyone taught him to dive to the ground the way he did. "No, all by myself," he states proudly. Like so many other Syrian children, they learn about life and death far too soon, and, all on their own.

Countless futures have been destroyed. The circumstances so dire, there are now well more than 1 million child refugees. It's why the U.N. is sounding the alarm, releasing a new report urging the world to act in order to save "traumatized, isolated and suffering Syrian children from catastrophe." Close to 400,000 of them now live in neighboring Lebanon, if you can call this living. Huddling into Bekaa Valley's makeshift camps, playing inside these half-filled schools, surviving wherever and however they can. The alienation and agony apparent.

You see they're suffering throughout the streets of the capital as well. I'm in the heart of Beirut's commercial district. In the past four blocks that I've walked, I've come across ten Syrian children all under the age of seen begging alongside their mothers. Then there are the children trying to support their families. Many shine shoes, several, like 12-year-old (Ali) sell tissues. He tells me his home in Idlib was destroyed, that he's been in Lebanon for all of three days, that he, his mother and sister have no other choice.

I ask if he can go to school here. "How am I going to go to school?" He shoots back. Later, with startling directness, he says, "I have to work. I have to make money. If I don't, how are we going to make it?" Life doesn't get much harsher, and it's clear devastation comes in many forms for what is rapidly becoming a lost generation. Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN Beirut.

QUEST: Caryl Stern is with us in New York. She's the president and CEO of the U.S. fund for UNICEF. She just returned from the Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan. Ms. Stern, this has been going on for years now and seemingly without end. What needs to happen?

CARYL STERN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, U.S. FUND FOR UNICEF: You know, I wish I had a perfect solution, but I do know that we have to make sure these children get an education, because if we don't this really will be the lost generation and it will just repeat itself. I have been in 40 countries on behalf of UNICEF and the National Committees of UNICEF and this by far is the largest humanitarian crisis of my generation and probably the most difficult one to see.

QUEST: And did the - and yet at the same time, I - there is refugee fatigue if you like. I'm not being unkind or cruel in saying that - you know what I mean. The rest of the world just looks and say, oh, people, they think oh not another crisis like this, what do you want us to do about it?

STERN: There is refugee fatigue. You know, I've repeatedly been asking where's the mountaintop, how loud do I yell? How far can I reach? Because trying to get people to hear - these are children - they're children like our own children - and they are living in horrific conditions. You know, I met one dad while I was there last week who told me the story of his family, and -

QUEST: Right.

STERN: It was just - you know, there but for the grace of God, go I, and I don't know how to tell that story loudly enough.

QUEST: OK, and the pictures we're looking of course are of that visit that you've just come back from. I've spoken - on this program - on "Quest Means Business," we've had the Jordanian finance minister, we've had various other ambassadors from neighboring countries. And they all say the same thing - they need more help. But at the same time, for example, if we just take Jordan and we take Lebanon - Lebanon particularly is determined that these refugee camps do not become permanent. It's between the rock and the hard place.

STERN: Well, and I will take Jordan because that is where I was there. The generosity, it's phenomenal. It's a country of 4 million that has accepted a million refugees.

QUEST: But they said. But they don't want a permanent - a permanent, if you like - population moving in there, but at the same time, what else do you do?

STERN: Well, but I think it's the responsibility now of the world, not just Jordan nor Lebanon to support these refugees, because they can't possibly. These countries can't - they have their own issues of poverty. I spoke with Jordanians who were - who do - resent on some levels that they're fearful that their own jobs will be subject to loss, that there'll be property lost, or education lost. Clearly, the refugees need to be assisted, and you know, if we don't do something to interrupt this cycle, if we don't educate these children, if we don't make sure that they're reached then all they will learn is the violence they've been subjected to.

QUEST: Caryl Stern, thank you very much indeed for joining us. It's an important story that we do. We need to talk about. Even at this moment of celebration, of festive times, there are many people of course as you rightly point out - who are in a very different and much worse situation. In a moment, three wise men and a very important birthday. It's a milestone for the U.S. Federal Reserve.


QUEST: Now, 100 years ago - excuse me - today -- 100 years ago today, the United States embarked on a bold experiment to rebuild its financial system. On December the 23rd, 1913, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and other dignitaries signed the Federal Reserve Act. Now, when they signed that Act, they created the first U.S. Central Bank. Until then, the United States was one of the few major powers without a central banking system. Sweden, by the way - the Riksbank was the first one. The newspapers if you look at it - "New era," says banks praising Federal Reserve. It was a new era where panics were in the words of the papers no longer to be feared and where boom and busts were supposed to be a thing of the past.

The original mandate of the Fed was to quote in their own words, ". . . to create and furnish an elastic currency . . . to establish a more effective supervision of banking in the United States . . .." And the first board was seated and probably these men knew the seriousness of they were about to do, and the sort of crises they may face, but they probably had very little idea of how long and how deep some of them could last. Think about it - there was the Great Depression, there was the runaway inflation of the 1970s, the Black Monday crash of 1987 and most recently, the Great Recession. And these three men looking - are being - witness to much of it. This was the gathering last week of the former Fed Chairs. You had Alan Greenspan on the right, Paul Volcker in the middle and of course far on the right is Ben Bernanke. In an historic first, they were joined by the next chair of the Fed who of course is Janet Yellen who will be the first woman to become the chairman or chairwoman of the Federal Reserve.

As they celebrated the Centennial, they talked about how they and the Fed had been tested in crisis times.

PAUL VOLCKER, FORMER FED CHAIRMAN: Started out for me with interest rates of 20 percent. We were preoccupied with inflation. Chairman Bernanke ready to leave office with interest rates at 0 percent. Many occasion he worries about deflation. The unprecedented 23 percent decline in the Dow Jones Industrial average that occurred on Black Monday October 19th, 1987 - the largest one-day drop ever. Today that market collapse is a distant memory of no ongoing interest because it had no visible lasting effect on the economy overall. But we did not know that at the time.

BEN BERNANKE, CHAIRMAN, U.S. FEDERAL RESERVE: The preservation of financial stability was consequently a principal goal of the creators of the new Central Bank. In response to the panic of 2008, the Federal Reserve has returned to its roots by restoring financial stability as a central objective alongside the traditional goals of monetary policy.

QUEST: Now joining us from Washington, D.C. is Neil Irwin, author of "The Alchemists Inside the Secret World of the Central Bankers." Neil, of all the institutions of government and policy, by far and away, central bankers have to keep that mystique, that sense of magic, that unknown going. Because let too much light in on their decisions, and their power dissipates.

NEIL IRWIN, AUTHOR OF "THE ALCHEMISTS INSIDE THE SECRET WORLD OF THE CENTRAL BANKERS": Right, that's the theory. I think what we've seen over the last few years is as these central bankers have executed programs and actions on a grand scale, deploying trillions of dollars and different forms of easing, you know, I think that really raises the bar for what kind of public accountability they need. And the fact that they like to work in private and kind of be the man behind the curtain, doesn't mean that in a democratic society we should be supportive of that or tolerate that fully.

QUEST: The Fed - if you had to grade it overall, how's it done?

IRWIN: Through the hundred years? I think they'd get a B-. I think they've had some long periods of prosperity the middle part of the 20th century of course. The great - the great boom of the 80s and 90s, but at the same time they've made three catastrophic errors that you described. The Great Depression owes a large - rather the Federal Reserve has a large part of the blame for that. The great inflation of the 1960s and 70s also could be laid at their shoulders. It's more ambiguous in the crisis of 2008. They had poor regulation the years before the crisis - that was a major contributing factor. Once the crisis arrived, they handled it quite skillfully.

QUEST: Right, but -

IRWIN: So overall a very mixed record.

QUEST: OK, but how much of the Great Depression and indeed the inflation of the 70s - how much of that can we say we just didn't have that level of understanding of economics and the way markets and economies work? Or am I trying to be way too charitable?

IRWIN: No, that's - look - it's - there's a lot we didn't understand - the world didn't understand in 1929. And it was the experience of the Great Depression that led to all the analysis, all the thinking that then Ben Bernanke could learn from when 2008 rolled around. And, look, you understand anybody in these historical situations - we have more perfect information with hindsight than they did in real time. At the same time, there's no reason that a stock market crash in 1929 should've caused the 25 percent decline in output over the next three years. We've seen stock market declines before and they didn't do that. The problem is that the central bankers of that time - the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, the other European central banks -

QUEST: Right.

IRWIN: -- they were too conservative, they were too (wetted) to the gold standard to have the flexibility to really backstop their financial systems and keep this from becoming a global catastrophe.

QUEST: Neil, good to talk to you Thank you very much. Happy birthday to the Fed.

IRWIN: (Inaudible) indeed. Thank you.

QUEST: (RINGS BELL). Here's to the next hundred years. You want to touch the bell, don't you?

SAMANTHA MOHR, METEOROLOGIST WITH CNN: Yes, I really did - how did you know? You read my mind.

QUEST: (Inaudible)

MOHR: (RINGS BELL) I'm sorry. It's the weather - it makes us do crazy things and it's pretty crazy today. Yes.

QUEST: Absolutely. Samantha, good to see you.

MOHR: Good to see you too, not so great for the folks trying to get out of town across much of the U.K.


MOHR: It's pretty rough here.

QUEST: Is it really bad?

MOHR: Yes, we have hurricane-force winds -


MOHR: -- and that's caused a lot of problems with the train - many cancellations have been - as far as train traffic as well as flight cancellations due to this very strong low. It's deepening as we speak. And look at some of these winds as we've already had. These are the gusts that we've had across much of the U.K. and France, and you're also looking at some incredible rainfall amounts too, and it's really just getting started here. And this is the first of many storms that's going to be moving through here. In fact, one towards the end of the week could be just as strong. Look at the gusts that we are seeing at the moment. So it is not a fit night for man nor beast across the region as this low continues to deepen here.

Just a quick word - to remember your pets - of course that one's well taken care of, obviously, dressed very warmly. But these winds are going to continue to pick up in the overnight hours here across much of the U.K. We see the system continuing to move to the east and they bring in those incredibly destructive winds. And many of the rail lines have been shut down because we have debris on the tracks. And they don't want them running out night until they've gone out and done and actual check of the debris that could be out there on the rail lines.

Look at some of the waves off the western coast of France as the - the water's just driven by the wind against the coast. So the winds will continue to wrap up overnight - or to ramp up overnight - and strengthen as we head into the early morning hours here. These are lines of constant pressure, a barometric pressure - the tighter they are the windier it is here. And then we have to be concerned about the next system that's going to be heading in.. This is the one that just wreaked havoc in the U.S., Richard.


MOHR: It's going to be moving in Thursday/Friday time (inaudible) boxing day into Friday we could have another round of very damaging storms.

QUEST: So, it doesn't lose power as it goes across the Atlantic?

MOHR: In fact it - it' weakening now, but it'll start to regain strength as we head into Wednesday/Thursday. It could be just as strong as this one.

QUEST: We'll talk about all that the next few days. Thank you very much.

MOHR: You bet.

QUEST: Thank you very much. Now, coming up after the break, talk about the partridge and the price tag. We'll be calculating the true cost of the 12 days of Christmas. We do it every year - I love it.


QUEST: Now to our review of the "PNC True Cost of Christmas" - the annual survey that says how much would it cost if you were to buy everything that is in the 12 days of Christmas. Well -

(MUSIC CLIP - "Five gold rings")

QUEST: If you were to buy everything, it would cost $27,393 - a rise of about 7 percent since the last year. And of course, the most expensive things - the things that have been rising the most - the nine ladies dancing. Up 20 percent over last year. The pipers playing, the drummers drumming - in fact, anything that involves employment - that's what sent up the bill. Shipping costs -

(MUSIC CLIP - "Five gold rings")

QUEST: -- if you bought it all online, it would cost an extra $12,300 for one simple reason -

(MUSIC CLIP - "And a partridge in a pear tree")

QUEST: It'll cost you over $120,000 if you were to buy the whole lot over the whole 12 days. We'll have a "Profitable Moment" after the break.


QUEST: Tonight's "Profitable Moment." There's one subject which everybody is talking about. It is of course the tweet heard around the world - Justine Sacco's tweet about AIDS South Africa and the tasteless and unfortunate comments that she sent out. Well, she's now lost her job and it's left many people wondering just what are the limits now in this new era of tweeting and social media.

I've got news for you - the rules have changed. Tweeting is not the same as sitting in the pub having a chat or a bar. It is not friends, it is not Seinfeld, it is not those comments that you think no one's going to hear. And whether you have got five followers, 50 followers or 5 million followers, what you tweet can and may be picked up by somebody, and before long, it is around the world before you can say "Oops". So, how do we handle it in the future? There really is just one simple rule - if in doubt, leave it out. Be prepared to justify any tweets, any Facebook message, any posts, pretty much anything online - be prepared to justify it to your maiden aunt never mind your boss.

And that's "Quest Means Business" for this Monday. I'm Richard Quest. Whatever you're up to over this holiday season, (RINGS BELL) relax and hope it's profitable.