Top News Stories from 1989

World Events

World Statistics

Population: 4.378 billion
population by decade
Nobel Peace Prize: Dalai Lama (Tibet)
More World Statistics...
  • US planes shoot down two Libyan fighters over international waters in Mediterranean (Jan. 4).
  • Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini declares author Salman Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses offensive and sentences him to death (Feb. 14).
  • Tens of thousands of Chinese students take over Beijing's Tiananmen Square in rally for democracy (April 19 et seq.). More than one million in Beijing demonstrate for democracy; chaos spreads across nation (mid-May et seq.). Thousands killed in Tiananmen Square as Chinese leaders take hard line toward demonstrators (June 4 et seq.).
  • Mikhail S. Gorbachev named Soviet President (May 25).
  • P. W. Botha quits as South Africa's President (Aug. 14).
  • Deng Xiaoping resigns from China's leadership (Nov. 9).
  • After 28 years, Berlin Wall is open to West (Nov. 11).
  • Czech Parliament ends Communists' dominant role (Nov. 30).
  • Romanian uprising overthrows Communist government (Dec. 15 et seq.); President Ceausescu and wife executed (Dec. 25).
  • US troops invade Panama, seeking capture of General Manuel Noriega (Dec. 20).

U.S. Events

U.S. Statistics

President: George Bush
Vice President: J. Danforth Quayle
Population: 246,819,230
Life expectancy: 75.1 years
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000): 57.4
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 50.8
More U.S. Statistics...
  • A San Francisco Bay area earthquake measuring 7.1 in magnitude, killed 67 and injured over 3,000. Over 100,000 buildings damaged or destroyed. (Oct. 17)
  • George Herbert Walker Bush inaugurated as 41st US President (Jan. 20).
  • Ruptured tanker Exxon Valdez sends 11 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound (March 24).
  • US jury convicts Oliver North in Iran-Contra affair (May 4).
  • Army Gen. Colin R. Powell is first black Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff (Aug. 9).


US GDP (1998 dollars): $5,438.70 billion
Federal spending: $1143.17 billion
Federal debt $2868.0 billion
Median Household Income(current dollars): $28,906 billion
Consumer Price Index: $124
Unemployment: 5.3%
Cost of a first-class stamp: $0.25


Super Bowl
San Francisco d. Cincinnati
World Series
Oakland A's d. SF Giants
NBA Championship
Detroit Pistons d. LA Lakers
Stanley Cup
Calgary d. Montreal
Women: Steffi Graf d. M. Navratilova (6-2 6-7 6-1)
Men: Boris Becker d. S. Edberg (6-0 7-6 6-4)
Kentucky Derby Champion
Sunday Silence
NCAA Basketball Championship
Michigan d. Seton Hall
NCAA Football Champions
Miami-FL (11-1-0)


Entertainment Awards

Pulitzer Prizes
Fiction: Breathing Lessons, Anne Tyler
Music: Whispers Out of Time, Roger Reynolds
Drama: The Heidi Chronicles, Wendy Wasserstein
Academy Award, Best Picture: Rain Man, Mark Johnson, producer (United Artists)
Nobel Prize for Literature: Camilo José Cela (Spain)
Album of the Year: Faith, George Michael (Columbia/CBS)
Song of the Year: "Don't Worry Be Happy," Bobby McFerrin
Song of the Year: "Don't Worry Be Happy," Bobby McFerrin, songwriter
Miss America: Gretchen Elizabeth Carlson (MN)
More Entertainment Awards...


  • Salman Rushdie's novel Satanic Verses is published and sparks immediate controversy. Islamic militants put a price on his head.
  • America's beloved comedienne Lucille Ball dies at age 87.
  • Visionary Jaron Lanier coins the term virtual reality and produces the equipment to experience it.


  • Glory, Born on the Fourth of July, My Left Foot, Sex, Lies, and Videotape, Field of Dreams


  • Oscar Hijuelos, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love
  • Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day
  • Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club


Nobel Prizes in Science

Chemistry: Thomas R. Cech and Sidney Altman (both US), for their discovery, independently, that RNA could actively aid chemical reactions in the cells
Physics: Norman F. Ramsey (US), for work leading to development of the atomic clock, and Hans G. Dehmelt (US) and Wolfgang Paul (Germany), for developing methods to isolate atoms and subatomic particles
Physiology or Medicine: J. Michael Bishop and Harold E. Varmus (both US), for their unifying theory of cancer development
More Nobel Prizes in 1998...
  • Human gene transfer developed by Steven Rosenberg, R. Michael Blaese, and W. French Anderson (US). Background: genetic engineering
  • First World Wide Web server and browser developed by Tim Berners-Lee (England) while working at CERN.
  • Peter Deutsch of McGill University who devlops Archie, an archive of FTP sites, the first effort to index the Internet. Another indexing system, WAIS (Wide Area Information Server), is developed by Brewster Kahle of Thinking Machines Corp. Background: Computers and Internet
  • Voyager 2 speeds by Neptune after making startling discoveries about the planet and its moons (Aug. 29). Background: US Unstaffed Planetary and Lunar Programs


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