Chronology of news events in 2009

AP News
Posted: Dec 31, 2009 3:45 AM

Dec. 16

Time magazine names Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke its Person of the Year.

Dec. 18

U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen ends with modest accord denounced by smaller countries.

Sign bearing Nazi slogan "Work Sets You Free" is stolen from Auschwitz; three days later, Polish authorities recover sign in three pieces and arrest five people.

Over 2,000 people are trapped and Eurostar service is halted for three days after snow leads to failure of five trains inside Channel Tunnel.

U.S. regulators shutter seven banks, bringing year's total to 140.

Charles Gibson retires from ABC's "World News," passing anchor desk to Diane Sawyer.

Dec. 19

Snowstorm paralyzes much of eastern U.S. on last holiday shopping weekend.

Dec. 20

Tremors from Mayon volcano in Philippines prompt highest warning short of major eruption following week of fresh lava flows and evacuations of tens of thousands of people.

Actress Brittany Murphy, who starred in "Clueless" and "8 Mile," dies at age 32.

Dec. 21

Anthony Marshall, the 85-year-old son of late socialite Brooke Astor, is sentenced to prison for plundering her fortune.

Vote by lawmakers makes Mexico City first Latin American capital to legalize gay marriage.

Dec. 24

U.S. Senate passes health care legislation in chamber's first Christmas Eve vote since 1895.

New Jersey man reunites with 9-year-old son in Brazil following five-year custody battle.

Dec. 25

After a failed attempt to detonate explosives on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 as it landed in Detroit, the 23-year-old son of a prominent Nigerian banker is subdued by fellow passengers.

Dec. 27

Amid Iran's worst violence in three decades, security forces fire on Tehran protesters, killing at least eight, and launch new wave of arrests.

Led by "Avatar," estimated weekend box office of $278 million shatters record of roughly $253 million when "The Dark Knight" was released in July 2008.

Dec. 28

In Argentina, men turned away in Buenos Aires are wed in Ushuaia, the world's southernmost city, in Latin America's first gay marriage.