December 21, 1988. The day of a first. On this day, two Cosmonauts aboard the Space station MIR, along with a French Astronaut who showed up a few weeks earlier via another mission, finally landed on earth, after a record 366 days of living in a weightless environment aboard the MIR Space Station. Nervous moments at first, when a malfunction in a computer aboard the Soyuz re-entry capsule, forcing the Cosmonauts to continue orbiting the earth, while technicians on the ground attempted to send new commands to the Soyuz computer. The re-programming worked. The Soyuz missed its originally planned landing spot, but did get down safely.
Meanwhile, back on earth – from Washington, a federal audit found The Farmers Home Administration, which makes loans to struggling farmers, had piled up loses of at least $36 billion. The New York Times reported the study by the General Accounting Office concluded the agency would not be able to meet its outstanding debt obligation without borrowing more or soliciting Congressional appropriations. Fingers were pointing at the Reagan Administration for the foul-up. The previous year, Congress voted a $4 billion bailout for the other major Farm-lending agency, The Farm Credit System. The Government is also under pressure to bailout insolvent Savings and Loans to the tune of nearly $50 billion.
President-elect George H.W. Bush was filling cabinet posts. The latest was viewed as a controversial one – the appointment of Bush’s first Black cabinet member. Dr.Lewis Sullivan was chosen as Secretary of Health and Human Services, despite vocal opposition from some in the anti-abortion camp. Questions arose when Sullivan was quoted in an Atlanta newspaper article as supporting a woman’s right to choose an abortion. But Transition chief Craig Fuller said he didn’t believe the newspaper report was accurate. Fuller said Sullivan shared Bush’s opposition to abortion, and Mr. Bush was behind him.
And that’s just a little bit of what happened on this December 21, 1988 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.