Today is Monday, Dec. 9, the 343rd day of 2019. There are 22 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 9, 1990, Solidarity founder Lech Walesa (lek vah-WEN’-sah) won Poland’s presidential runoff by a landslide.
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 1958, the anti-communist John Birch Society was formed in Indianapolis.
In 1960, the Domino’s Pizza chain had its beginnings as brothers Tom and James Monaghan started operating a pizzeria in Ypsilanti, Mich.
In 1962, the Petrified Forest in Arizona was designated a national park.
In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed a $2.3 billion seasonal loan-authorization that officials of New York City and State said would prevent a city default.
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 in Aug. 1996.)
In 2000, the U-S Supreme Court ordered a temporary halt in the Florida vote count on which Al Gore pinned his best hopes of winning the White House.
In 2013, scientists revealed that NASA’s Curiosity rover had uncovered signs of an ancient freshwater lake on Mars.
Ten 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.
Five years ago: U.S. Senate investigators concluded the United States had brutalized scores of terror suspects with interrogation tactics that turned secret CIA prisons into chambers of suffering and did nothing to make Americans safer after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Britain’s Prince William and his wife, Kate, paid a solemn, rain-drenched visit to the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum as they wrapped up their first visit to New York. Mary Ann Mobley Collins, 77, a former Miss America and actress, died in Beverly Hills, California.
One year ago: A massive storm brought snow, sleet and freezing rain across a wide swath of the South, cutting power to hundreds of thousands. Melvin Dummar, the former Utah gas station owner who claimed that billionaire Howard Hughes had left him $156 million for rescuing him on a desert road, died in Nevada at the age of 74; courts had determined that he lied, and that the will in which he was named as a beneficiary was a fake.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Kirk Douglas is 103. Actor-writer Buck Henry is 89. Actress Dame Judi Dench is 85. Actor Beau Bridges is 78. Football Hall of Famer Dick Butkus is 77. Comedian-songwriter Neil Innes is 75. Actor Michael Nouri is 74. Former Sen. Thomas Daschle, D-S.D., is 72. World Golf Hall of Famer Tom Kite is 70. Singer Joan Armatrading is 69. Actor Michael Dorn is 67. Actor John Malkovich is 66. Country singer Sylvia is 63. Singer Donny Osmond is 62. Rock musician Nick Seymour (Crowded House) is 61. Comedian Mario Cantone is 60. Actor David Anthony Higgins is 58. Actor Joe Lando is 58. Actress Felicity Huffman is 57. Empress Masako of Japan is 56. Country musician Jerry Hughes (Yankee Grey) is 54. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is 53. Rock singer-musician Thomas Flowers (Oleander) is 52. Rock musician Brian Bell (Weezer) is 51. Rock singer-musician Jakob Dylan (Wallflowers) is 50. TV personality-businessperson Lori Greiner (TV: “Shark Tank”) is 50. Country musician Brian Hayes (Cole Deggs and the Lonesome) is 50. Actress Allison Smith is 50. Songwriter and former “American Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi (dee-oh-GWAHR’-dee) is 49. Country singer David Kersh is 49. Actress Reiko (RAY’-koh) Aylesworth is 47. Rock musician Tre Cool (Green Day) is 47. Rapper Canibus is 45. Actor Kevin Daniels is 43. Actor-writer-director Mark Duplass is 43. Rock musician Eric Zamora (Save Ferris) is 43. Rock singer Imogen Heap is 42. Actor Jesse Metcalfe is 41. Actor Simon Helberg is 39. Actress Jolene Purdy is 36. Actor Joshua Sasse is 32. Actress Ashleigh Brewer is 29. Olympic gold and silver medal gymnast McKayla Maroney is 24.
Thought for Today: “The real question is not whether machines think but whether men do. The mystery which surrounds a thinking machine already surrounds a thinking man.” — B.F. Skinner, American behaviorist (1904-1990).