1989: Tiananmen Square, Fall of the Berlin Wall
By Patrick Mondout
The student uprising in Tiananmen Square, the fall of the Berlin Wall
(and communism in general), and the Exxon oil spill in Alaska were the
major stories of 1989.
January 4: US Navy fighters shoot down two
Libyan fighters over the Mediterranean.
January 7: Japan's Emperor Hirohito dies. Crown Prince Akihito assumes
January 10: The first Cuban soldiers withdraw from Angola under the
terms of an agreement from December 1988.
January 11: The NCAA approves Proposition 42 banning scholarships to
entering freshmen who do not meet minimum academic requirements.
January 11: President Reagan delivers his farewell address to the
January 12: President-elect Bush completes appointments to his new
cabinet by naming William Bennett to the new post of Office of National
Drug Control Policy and by naming James Watkins as secretary of energy.
January 13: Subway
vigilante Bernhard H. Goetz is sentenced to one year in jail and fined
$5,000 for illegal gun possession.
January 16: A Hispanic policemen shot a black motorcyclist in Miami
sparking two nights of rioting.
January 20: George
Bush Sr. is inaugurated as the 41st President of the United States.
January 22: The San Francisco 49ers defeat the Cincinnati Bengals to
win Super Bowl XXIII.
January 23: An earthquake in the Soviet republic of Tajikistan leaves
more than 275 dead.
January 24: Convicted serial killer Ted Bundy is executed in Florida's
February 2: Last of the Soviet Union's forces leave Kabul, ending an
unsuccessful invasion begun nine years earlier.
February 7: Congress rejects a proposed 51% pay raise for itself,
federal judges, and other high-ranking officials.
February 10: Former Jesse Jackson Presidential Campaign Chairman Ron
Brown becomes the first African-American to lead a major U.S. political
party when he is named chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
February 14: Union Carbide settles with the government of India to the
tune of $470M for its role in the 1984 Bhopal tragedy.
February 14: Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa
calling for Salmon Rushdie’s death for the latter's writing of The
February 14: The Global Positioning System (GPS) is literally
launched when the first of 24 GPS satellites is rocketed into orbit.
February 15: Though troops have been gone for nearly two weeks, the
Soviet Union officially announces that all troops are out of Afghanistan.
February 16: Accident investigators announce Pan Am Flight 103 was
sabotaged by a bomb hidden inside a portable radio.
March 4: Warner Communications and Time announce plans to merge
March 23: A near-Earth orbit asteroid comes within 800,000 miles of
Earth (though it is not discovered until March 31).
March 24: The Exxon
oil tanker Valdez runs aground causing a major oil spill in
June 3: Massacre
in Tiananmen Square in Beijing happens in full view of the world with
television cameras rolling..
June 4: Solidarity, which had earlier been outlawed by the
communist leaders of Poland, wins the first free Polish election since
World War II.
August 20: Lyle and Erik Menendez murdered their wealthy parents
with shotguns hoping to get their inheritances early. They were convicted
of first-degree murder on March 20, 1996 and are serving life sentences.
September 16-22: Hurricane
Hugo in the Caribbean & Southeast U.S. leaves 504 dead.
November 7: The "Night Stalker" Richard Ramirez receives
a death sentence.
November 9: East Germany opens its side of the Berlin Wall allowing
its citizens to travel freely to the West for the first time in decades
since the early 1960s. Germans
begin tearing down the wall later that day.
November 30: The Red
Army assassinated Deutsche Bank Chairman Alfred Herrhausen in
December 25: Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena
are executed on television following a popular uprising.