Today is Friday, Dec. 9, the 343rd day of 2011. There are 22 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 9, 1911, an explosion inside the Cross Mountain coal mine near Briceville, Tenn., killed 84 workers. (Five were rescued.)
On this date:
In 1608, English poet John Milton was born in London.
In 1854, Alfred, Lord Tennyson's famous poem, "The Charge of the Light Brigade," was published in England.
In 1911, Academy Award-winning actor Broderick Crawford ("All the King's Men") was born in Philadelphia.
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 1971, Nobel Peace laureate Ralph Bunche died in New York.
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 1990, Solidarity founder Lech Walesa (lek vah-WEN'-sah) won Poland's presidential runoff by a landslide.
Ten years ago: The United States disclosed the existence of a videotape in which Osama bin Laden said he was pleasantly surprised by the extent of damage from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The World Health Organization confirmed the outbreak of the deadly disease Ebola in Gabon (ga-BOHN').
Five years ago: Discovery lighted up the sky in the first nighttime space shuttle launch in four years. A fire broke out at a Moscow drug treatment hospital, killing 46 women trapped by barred windows and a locked gate. Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith won the Heisman Trophy. Singer Georgia Gibbs, who'd reached the top of the charts in the 1950s, died in New York City at age 87.
One year ago: In Britain's worst political violence in years, student protesters rained sticks and rocks on riot police, vandalized government buildings and attacked a car carrying Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, after lawmakers approved a controversial hike in university tuition fees. Actor Wesley Snipes began serving a three-year sentence at a federal prison in Pennsylvania for failure to file income tax returns. Florida's Clemency Board pardoned Jim Morrison on indecent exposure and profanity charges stemming from a Doors concert in 1969. John du Pont, the chemical fortune heir who killed Olympic gold medal wrestler David Schultz in 1996, died in prison at age 72.
Today's Birthdays: Actor Kirk Douglas is 95. Actor Dick Van Patten is 83. Actor-writer Buck Henry is 81. Actress Dame Judi Dench is 77. Actor Beau Bridges is 70. Jazz singer-musician Dan Hicks is 70. Football Hall-of-Famer Dick Butkus is 69. Author Joe McGinniss is 69. Actor Michael Nouri is 66. Former Sen. Thomas Daschle, D-S.D., is 64. World Golf Hall of Famer Tom Kite is 62. Singer Joan Armatrading is 61. Actor Michael Dorn is 59. Actor John Malkovich is 58. Country singer Sylvia is 55. Singer Donny Osmond is 54. Rock musician Nick Seymour (Crowded House) is 53. Comedian Mario Cantone is 52. Actor David Anthony Higgins is 50. Actor Joe Lando is 50. Actress Felicity Huffman is 49. Crown Princess Masako of Japan is 48. Country musician Jerry Hughes (Yankee Grey) is 46. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is 45. Rock singer-musician Thomas Flowers (Oleander) is 44. Rock musician Brian Bell (Weezer) is 43. Rock singer-musician Jakob Dylan (Wallflowers) is 42. Country musician Brian Hayes (Cole Deggs and the Lonesome) is 42. Actress Allison Smith is 42. Songwriter and former "American Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi (dee-oh-GWAHR'-dee) is 41. Country singer David Kersh is 41. Rock musician Tre Cool (Green Day) is 39. Rapper Canibus is 37. Rock musician Eric Zamora (Save Ferris) is 35. Rock singer Imogen Heap is 34. Actor Jesse Metcalfe is 33. Actor Simon Helberg is 31.
Thought for Today: "There are no warlike peoples _ just warlike leaders." _ Ralph Bunche, Nobel Peace laureate (1903-1971).
(Above Advance for Use Friday, Dec. 9)
Copyright 2011, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.