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Iraq sets the stage for the Gulf War by invading Kuwait. Boris Yeltsin takes center stage as Russia's new president. Legendary entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. dies of cancer. Late and over budget, the Hubble telescope hobbles into space.

  • Hubble telescope deploys
  • Yeltsin elected
  • Iraq invades Kuwait

  • Hubble telescope deploys -- April 25, 1990

    Seven years behind schedule and nearly $2 billion over budget, the $2.5 billion Hubble Space Telescope is deployed in space -- and it is problematic from the start. The primary mirror is flawed, blurring images and substantially reducing the telescope's ability to see distant stars or objects. The problem lens is later adjusted to improve image quality, but not before a special investigative panel criticizes NASA's handling of the project.

    Hubble released:
    704K QuickTime Movie (160x120) 1.5M QuickTime Movie (320x240)

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    Parliament elects Yeltsin president of Russia-- May 29, 1990

    Boris Yeltsin, a communist party maverick popular with ordinary Russians, wins election as president of the Russian Federation, overcoming a desperate attempt to stop him by Communist Party regulars. In winning the vote of the Russian parliament, he defeats Communist Mikhail Gorbachev's hand-picked candidate A.V. Vlasov. Yeltsin immediately irritates Gorbachev by calling for the Soviet Union to dissolve into a loose confederation of republics.

    Yeltsin takes over:
    1.5M QuickTime Movie (160x120) 3M QuickTime Movie (320x240)

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    Iraq invades Kuwait, sparking Persian Gulf War -- August 2, 1990

    Claiming it had been invited in to restore order following the overthrow of Kuwait's Sabah dynasty, Iraqi troops and tanks storm across the border into Kuwait and quickly seize control of the oil-rich desert kingdom. The bold strike stuns the rest of the world and gives Iraqi President Saddam Hussein control over 25 percent of the world's proven oil reserves. U.S. President Bush condemns the attack and leads an effort to defend Kuwait against the massive Iraqi force.

    The invasion:
    1.7M QuickTime Movie (160x120) 2.9M QuickTime Movie (320x240)

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