Today is Tuesday, Dec. 9, the 343rd day of 2014. There are 22 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 9, 1854, Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s famous poem, “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” was published in England.
On this date:
In 1608, English poet John Milton was born in London.
In 1911, an explosion inside the Cross Mountain coal mine near Briceville, Tennessee, killed 84 workers. (Five were rescued.)
In 1940, British troops opened their first major offensive in North Africa during World War II.
In 1942, the Aram Khachaturian ballet “Gayane,” featuring the surging “Sabre Dance,” was first performed by Russia’s Kirov Ballet.
In 1958, the anti-communist John Birch Society was formed in Indianapolis.
In 1962, the Petrified Forest in Arizona was designated a national park.
In 1965, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” the first animated special featuring characters from the “Peanuts” comic strip by Charles M. Schulz, was first broadcast by CBS-TV.
In 1971, Nobel Peace laureate Ralph Bunche died in New York.
In 1982, special Watergate prosecutor Leon Jaworski died at his Wimberley, Texas, ranch at age 77.
In 1984, the five-day-old hijacking of a Kuwaiti jetliner that claimed the lives of two Americans ended as Iranian security men seized control of the plane, which was parked at Tehran airport.
In 1987, the first Palestinian intefadeh, or uprising, began as riots broke out in Gaza and spread to the West Bank, triggering a strong Israeli response.
In 1992, Britain’s Prince Charles and Princess Diana announced their separation. (The couple’s divorce became final Aug. 28, 1996.)
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush ruled out raising taxes to finance a Social Security overhaul. President Bush announced he was keeping the heads of the Transportation, Interior, Housing and Labor departments. Canada’s Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage was constitutional.
Five years ago: Five young American Muslims were arrested in Pakistan over possible links to terrorism. Iran claimed that a newly-built U.N. station to detect nuclear explosions was built near its border to give the West a post to spy on the country. Former Costa Rican President Rodrigo Carazo Odio, 82, died in San Juan. Actor Gene Barry, 90, died in Woodland Hills, California.
One year ago: North Korea announced it had sacked leader Kim Jong Un’s uncle, Jang Song Thaek, long considered the country’s No. 2 power, for leading a “dissolute and depraved life” (Jang was reportedly executed three days later). Scientists revealed that NASA’s Curiosity rover had uncovered signs of an ancient freshwater lake on Mars. Retired managers Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox were unanimously elected to the baseball Hall of Fame by the expansion era committee. Actress Eleanor Parker, 91, who played a scheming baroness in “The Sound of Music,” died in Palm Springs, California.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Kirk Douglas is 98. Actor Dick Van Patten is 86. Actor-writer Buck Henry is 84. Actress Dame Judi Dench is 80. Actor Beau Bridges is 73. Jazz singer-musician Dan Hicks is 73. Football Hall-of-Famer Dick Butkus is 72. Actor Michael Nouri is 69. Former Sen. Thomas Daschle, D-S.D., is 67. World Golf Hall of Famer Tom Kite is 65. Singer Joan Armatrading is 64. Actor Michael Dorn is 62. Actor John Malkovich is 61. Country singer Sylvia is 58. Singer Donny Osmond is 57. Rock musician Nick Seymour (Crowded House) is 56. Comedian Mario Cantone is 55. Actor David Anthony Higgins is 53. Actor Joe Lando is 53. Actress Felicity Huffman is 52. Crown Princess Masako of Japan is 51. Country musician Jerry Hughes (Yankee Grey) is 49. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is 48. Rock singer-musician Thomas Flowers (Oleander) is 47. Rock musician Brian Bell (Weezer) is 46. Rock singer-musician Jakob Dylan (Wallflowers) is 45. Country musician Brian Hayes (Cole Deggs and the Lonesome) is 45. Actress Allison Smith is 45. Songwriter and former “American Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi is 44. Country singer David Kersh is 44. Actress Reiko (RAY’-koh) Aylesworth is 42. Rock musician Tre Cool (Green Day) is 42. Rapper Canibus is 40. Actor Kevin Daniels (TV: “Sirens”) is 38. Rock musician Eric Zamora (Save Ferris) is 38. Rock singer Imogen Heap is 37. Actor Jesse Metcalfe is 36. Actor Simon Helberg is 34. Actress Jolene Purdy is 31. Actor Joshua Sasse (TV: “Galavant”; “Rogue”) is 27. Olympic gold and silver medal gymnast McKayla Maroney is 19.
Thought for Today: “In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” — Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher (1844-1900).

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