Today is Wednesday, Dec. 9, the 343rd day of 2009. 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 1892, "Widowers' Houses," Bernard Shaw's first play, opened at the Royalty Theater in London.
In 1909, actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr. was born in New York.
In 1940, British troops opened their first major offensive in North Africa during World War II.
In 1941, China declared war on Japan, Germany and Italy.
In 1958, the anti-Communist John Birch Society was formed in Indianapolis.
In 1965, Nikolai V. Podgorny replaced Anastas I. Mikoyan as president of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet.
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: In Worcester, Mass., six firefighters who had died in a warehouse blaze were honored as fallen heroes by thousands of their brethren from around the world.
Five years ago: President George W. Bush ruled out raising taxes to finance a Social Security overhaul. 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.
One year ago: Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested after prosecutors said he was caught on wiretaps scheming to sell Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat for cash or a plum job for himself in the new administration. NBC announced that "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno would be moving to prime time.
Today's Birthdays: Actress Frances Reid is 95. Actor Kirk Douglas is 93. Actor Dick Van Patten is 81. Actor-writer Buck Henry is 79. Actress Dame Judi Dench is 75. Actor Beau Bridges is 68. Jazz singer-musician Dan Hicks is 68. Football Hall of Famer Dick Butkus is 67. Author Joe McGinniss is 67. Actor Michael Nouri is 64. Former Sen. Thomas Daschle, D-S.D., is 62. World Golf Hall of Famer Tom Kite is 60. Singer Joan Armatrading is 59. Actor Michael Dorn is 57. Actor John Malkovich is 56. Country singer Sylvia is 53. Singer Donny Osmond is 52. Rock musician Nick Seymour (Crowded House) is 51. Comedian Mario Cantone is 50. Actor David Anthony Higgins is 48. Actor Joe Lando is 48. Actress Felicity Huffman is 47. Crown Princess Masako of Japan is 46. Country musician Jerry Hughes (Yankee Grey) is 44. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is 43. Rock singer-musician Thomas Flowers (Oleander) is 42. Rock musician Brian Bell (Weezer) is 41. Rock singer-musician Jakob Dylan (Wallflowers) is 40. Country musician Brian Hayes (Cole Deggs and the Lonesome) is 40. Actress Allison Smith is 40. Songwriter and "American Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi is 39. Country singer David Kersh is 39. Rock musician Tre Cool (Green Day) is 37. Rapper Canibus is 35. Rock musician Eric Zamora (Save Ferris) is 33. Rock singer Imogen Heap is 32. Actor Jesse Metcalfe is 31. Actor Simon Helberg is 29.
Thought for Today: "All sins are attempts to fill voids." _ Simone Weil, French philosopher (1909-1943).