Friday, January 9, 2009

60 Minutes E-mail Alert

Correspondent Steve Kroft has found yet another level to the havoc wreaked by Wall Street in these volatile economic times. The classic economic model of supply and demand governs the rise and fall of commodity prices and oil was no exception –  at least not until Wall Street began speculating in the oil futures market, according to people in the financial and oil communities. Prices experienced the widest swings in history, reaching a record $147 a barrel in the summer of 2008. This investigation sheds new light on the volatility of prices at the pump, heating oil at home and even airline prices. 


Watch a preview.


From the high price of oil we go to the highest ranking military officer in the U.S.: the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen. He’s the man who will advise Barack Obama as the control of government changes parties during wartime for the first time ever. 60 Minutes spent eight days with him for this profile reported by CBS News correspondent David Martin. Among the topics discussed is Afghanistan. The admiral says the U.S. is not winning the war there and troops could be doubled in the next 12 to 18 months. "I think the level of violence in 2008…the sophistication of the tactics of the insurgency surprised us all."


Our third story is a remarkable rags-to-riches story. Wyclef Jean spent the first nine years of his life in one of the bleakest countries on earth, Haiti. Then he immigrated to the U.S. where he became a rock star. But the millionaire celebrity never forgot his roots and has been offering his time and money for years to help his fellow countrymen, people often called the poorest in the Western Hemisphere. Jean calls his work a calling from God, but he knows it’s a daunting task to break through a wall of poverty so many have failed to breach. As he tells correspondent Scott Pelley on a visit to one of Haiti’s poorest slums, “What I plan to do is I'm going to make a serious dent. And I'm hoping that after I make this dent, those kids behind me could help break those walls."


These stories, and Andy Rooney's fireworks come early this year, on this Sunday's 60 Minutes, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.





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