February 2, 1989 – The Trail Points East – Search For Suspects In PanAm Bombing.
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News for this second day of February in 1989 had much to do with suspicions in the terrorist bombing of PanAm flight 103, which had blown up six weeks earlier over Lockerbie, Scotland. Although British and American investigators had yet to name suspects, it was looking more and more like the work of terrorists from Syria and Libya. Sources close to the International Terrorist Movement said they knew who the suspects were; the Popular Front for the Liberation Of Palestine, whose commander Ahmed Jibril was working for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, but was also a former Syrian officer. In Damascus, a spokesman for Jibril said his group was not involved and was claiming the Israelis did it. Britain’s Independent Radio News was reporting that the actual explosive was unwittingly placed on board by a CIA officer on his way back from Beirut. According to the report, terrorists somehow managed to smuggle the bomb into his luggage. But as of this day, no direct responsibility had been determined – just a lot of hard and curious glances. Suspicions with no suspects at the moment.
In other news – the condition of former Philippine President Marcos was worsening, with wife Imelda summoning vice-President Salvador Laurel to his bedside in Honolulu in order to pass messages to President Aquino and the Filipino people.
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill. President Bush was still in the grips of a cold and laryngitis as he was scheduled to hold talks with his first foreign visitor, Japanese Prime Minister Takeshta. The talks were to be expected to be low-key and friendly, since that style worked for President Reagan and former-Japanese Prime Minister Nakasone, and since Japan became the chief banker of the U.S. deficit, it was now a more equal relationship than in the past. And also since Takeshta was facing an insider stock-trading scandal within his own party back home and meeting with President Bush would give him a much-needed political boost.
Vice-President Dan Quayle was in Caracas on this day for the inauguration of Venezuelan President Perez and to meet with other Southern Hemisphere leaders. But while Quayle came with no new policy proposals, he was nonetheless grilled on what the Bush Administration was going to do about restructuring payments for the more than $400 billion in debt owed by Latin American countries. His meeting with Perez was, as Quayle termed it “a very frank and candid discussion about the debt”. Quayle also quipped that, since 70% of the people in Venezuela were under 30, he felt for the fist time “like an elder Statesman”.
Weather was still a hot topic around the U.S., with an Arctic Express barreling down on the upper midwest with 100 mph gusts and wind chills downwards to -75. The rest of the Lower 48 was expected to turn icy by the end of the day.
And that’s a small slice of news for this Groundhog Day, February 2nd in 1989 as reported on the CBS World News Roundup.