February 1, 1989 – Nothing like a frigid blast of Arctic cold to put February in perspective. In this case, it turned the normally cold Fairbanks Alaska into a solid frozen wasteland, with temperatures plunging 50 degrees below zero. And if that wasn’t enough of a Winter message, the massive cold front was heading east and south, straight into the Plains states, with Montana bracing itself for what was promising to be the coldest February in a long time.
While weather was occupying thoughts and conversations, the Middle East was getting a surprise suggestion from Israel. Hardline Premier Itzahk Shamir unveiled a two-stage peace plan for the occupied territories. It called for Israeli withdrawal from population centers and a degree of Palestinian self-rule. Shamir said talks and the future status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip would take place five years after Palestinian self-rule, but he did not rule out handing back some of the territory seized in the 1967 war. Many expressed pessimism, saying the Shamir plan seemed doomed from the start. It contained many elements that seemed unacceptable to the Palestinians, not just the PLO but to a good many Palestinians in the West Bank. But many also felt the government was finally coming around to the realization that Israeli could not end the uprising simply with military pressure. And right on schedule, the PLO outright rejected the plan.
And vice-President Dan Quayle was off on a three-day visit to Latin-America, his first foreign assignment as vice-President and seen by staff members as the first sign of confidence President Bush had for Quayle. He was first set to go to Venezuela where he was selected to represent the U.S. in the inauguration of President Carlos Andres Perez. While in Venezuela, senior officials said Quayle was going to be a “cheerleader for democracy”. The vice-President was also slated to spend a day in El Salvador, which was slated to have a Presidential election in March.
And that’s a small sampling of what went on in the world, this February 1, 1989 as presented by The CBS World News Roundup.