1989 News and Interesting History Tidbits

Marchioness Disaster River Thames
The Thames pleasure cruiser Marchioness packed with young party goers collides with the Bowbelle dredger on the River Thames. The dredger Bowbelle ran into the Marchioness and due to the difference in sizes of the boats Bowbelle ( 2000 tons ), Marchioness ( 90 tons ) the pleasure cruiser was forced under the water by the larger boat and sank within a few seconds. The death toll of the disaster is put at more than 50 .

Exxon Valdez
The Exxon Valdez, a 987-foot oil tanker, ran aground on a reef and ripped holes in its hull, spilling crude oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound. The Tanker spilled over 200,000 Barrels of Oil or more than 11 million gallons of crude oil leaving a Five Mile Slick making it one of the largest and most devastating environmental disasters at sea.

After 3 months when environmentalists and biologists did a study it was found that nearly 250,000 seabirds,3,000 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, 250 bald eagles and up to 22 killer whales died as a result of the spill, and the fish stocks in the area were also devastated due to the oil .

The Brandenburg Gate Opened
The Brandenburg Gate has been opened for the first time in almost three decades. The West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl walked through to be greeted by Hans Modrow, the East German Prime Minister, and thousands of German people flooded through from either side of the city.
East Germany opened its borders today, allowing its citizens to freely cross into the West for the first time since the Berlin Wall was built in 1961. Some Germans used hammers to chip away at the Berlin Wall for keepsakes or in their own small way try to destroy the infamous symbol of East-West division.

Purley Train Crash
A train travelling from Horsham to London was hit from behind by another train going from Littlehampton to London at Purley in Surrey with six people dead and 80 injured.

Student Protest Tiananmen Square
100,000 students gather at Beijing's Tiananmen Square to commemorate Hu Yaobang the deposed reform-minded leader of the Chinese Communist Party and voice their discontent with China's authoritative communist government.

This was the beginning of the mass demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, Beijing prior to the Chinese Government declaring martial law in May of the same year which led to the June Massacres by Chinese troops killing hundreds of demonstrators and arresting thousands of protesters and other suspected dissidents.

Flag Burning
The United States Supreme Court ruled that flag burning as a form of political protest is an act of protected speech under the First Amendment to the Constitution.

The Savings and Loan Crisis
The Savings and Loan crisis which involved more than 500 savings and loan associations led President George Herbert Bush to consider a $150 billion bail out in an unprecedented piece of legislature. The Ways and Means Committee Chairperson, Dan Rostenkowski and his partners, were opposed to the bill. If the bill passed, $75 million a year would go to the Justice Department to be the watch dog for institutional fraud.

The reasons believed to cause the problems for the Savings and loan institutions included the issue of the new high-interest money-market funds, long term mortgages at low fixed interest rates ( Interest Rates Year End Federal Reserve 10.50% ) from our 1989 , and finally poor lending practices to to risky ventures.

France Celebrates Beginning of The French Revolution
Celebrations in France over the the 200th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille to release the prisoners and execute their jailers which was the beginning of the end of Ten years of bloody revolution, ending with the execution of King Louis XVI.

Operation Just Cause Panama
President George Bush launches Operation Just Cause and has sent US forces into the Central American country of Panama in a bid to oust dictator Manuel Noriega

The Simpsons
The Simpsons featuring the Simpson Family including Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie debuts on Fox on December 17th, 1989 as a half-hour prime time show. The Simpsons has become the longest-running American sitcom and the longest-running American animated program. The program had originally been created as a series of shorts for The Tracey Ullman Show with the first showing on April 19, 1987.

Rangoon Changed Its Name To Yangon
Rangoon, Burma Changed Its Name To Yangon Burma ( now called Union of Myanmar ) in 1989

Oliver North
Former White House aide Oliver North has been found guilty received a three-year suspended prison sentence and a $150,000 fine for three charges relating to illegal United States' support for the Contra rebels in Nicaragua in the mid-1980s.

Palestinian Uprising and Israeli Raids
Israeli soldiers carry out a series of raid on West Bank villages leaving many Palestinians dead, this is part of the continuing attempts to quell the Palestinian uprising.

Ayatollah Khomeini Dies
Ayatollah Khomeini who had led the 1979 revolution and overthrow of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Persia and became the country's Supreme Leader of the new Islamic Republic of Iran dies.

Time Inc. and Warner Merge
Time Inc. and Warner Communications Inc. announce plans to merge into the world's largest media and entertainment conglomerate

Soviet Union Parliamentary Elections
A high turnout of eighty Percent of Russian people vote in Soviet parliamentary elections with many non-communist members being elected. This is a continuing trend in the Soviet Union of openness, and transparency in the activities of all government institutions together with freedom of information "glasnost and perestroika" .

An important point to note is the percentage of voters in the Soviet Union who used their right to vote compared with other countries in the same decade.

Soviet Union 80 - 85 % of those who had the right to vote did so

U.S.A. Presidential Elections 1988 Closer to 50 % of those who had the right to vote did so

United Kingdom General Elections 1987 Closer to 75% of those who had the right to vote did so

I think the important thing about the percentage of people who waste the vote they have is why. Is it because of apathy or because they feel disenfranchised by US politics

S&H Green Stamps (also called Green Shield Stamps in England)
The demise of S&H Green Stamps (also called Green Shield Stamps in England). Customers would receive stamps at the checkout counter of supermarkets, department stores, and gas stations among other retailers, which could be redeemed for products in the catalog. The stamps heyday was in the 60's and 70's when retailers would often offer double and treble stamps as incentive to entice shoppers, but in the 80's as the recession hit the public were looking for discounts at the point of sale not through redemption of stamps and the cost of stamps to the retailers meant they did not have sufficient margins to offer the discounts at the same time as the S&H Green Stamps (also called Green Shield Stamps in England). I have included as 1989 but the demise was throughout the 80's.
Currently the company still operates as S&H Solutions and offers S&H Greenpoints, a digital version of Green Stamps, which can be earned online and in participating grocery locations.

The New Louvre Museum Entrance
The New Louvre Museum Entrance is completed in 1989 which is designed as a glass Pyramid

Hillsborough Stadium Disaster
The FA Cup semi-final between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England, turned to tragedy when at least 200 people were injured and 96 crushed to death, many of them teenagers and children.

The problems were caused by too many Liverpool fans being allowed in to the back of an already full stand at the Leppings Lane end of the ground, as more fans were allowed in those already there were pushed forward and crushed against the high, wired-topped safety fences.

US Withdraws From Beirut
Effort was made by the United States to encourage peace in Beirut, Lebanon. However, after 18 months, the U.S. had begun withdrawing their troops from this location. This was the day that the last of the United States troops were sent back home.

Solidarity Party Poland
Solidarity who are anti-communist party in Poland, looks set to claim success in the country's elections. Due to the conditions set by the controlling communist party in Poland the communists will still remain in control, as the opposition has been allowed to contest only one third of the seats.

Ex Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu
Ex Romanian president Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena have been shot by a firing squad after a secret military tribunal found them both guilty of genocide and other crimes against the state.

Custody of seven sperm embryos
April 22, 1989
Junior Lewis Davis Mary Sue Davis Divorce Case Heard, Decision about Embryos up in the Air

The case of Junior Lewis Davis and Mary Sue Davis divorce case was just heard. The decision regarding most of the assets had been made-who gets the house, the furniture and so on.

However, the courts still were in the process of deciding who should be awarded custody of seven sperm embryos. The father said he didn’t want to be the biological father of them and did not consider them “life”. The Tennessee Court of Appeals ( 9/14/90 )
Granted joint custody of seven frozen embryos to the divorced couple, overturning a landmark ruling that had granted custody to the ex-wife.

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