By The Associated Press
Today is Wednesday, Dec. 9, the 343rd day of 2015. There are 22 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlights in History:
On Dec. 9, 1965, Nikolai V. Podgorny replaced Anastas I. Mikoyan as chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, a job he would hold for almost 12 years. “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” the first animated TV special featuring characters from the “Peanuts” comic strip by Charles M. Schulz, was first broadcast on CBS. The James Bond film “Thunderball,” starring Sean Connery, had its world premiere in Tokyo.
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, an explosion inside the Cross Mountain coal mine near Briceville, Tennessee, killed 84 workers. (Five were rescued.)
In 1935, the Downtown Athletic Club of New York honored college football player Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago with the DAC Trophy, which later became known as the Heisman Trophy.
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 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 5-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.)
In 1995, Congressman Kweisi Mfume (kwah-EE’-see oom-FOO’-may) was chosen to become the new head of the NAACP.
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush, addressing a political fundraiser in Minnesota, said the United States would wage an unrelenting battle in Iraq to protect Americans at home. A congressional report said the federal government’s medical response to Hurricane Katrina was bungled by a lack of supplies and poor communication.
Five years 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 for 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.
One year 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.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Kirk Douglas is 99. Actor-writer Buck Henry is 85. Actress Dame Judi Dench is 81. Actor Beau Bridges is 74. Jazz singer-musician Dan Hicks is 74. Football Hall-of-Famer Dick Butkus is 73. Comedian-songwriter Neil Innes is 71. Actor Michael Nouri is 70. Former Sen. Thomas Daschle, D-S.D., is 68. World Golf Hall of Famer Tom Kite is 66. Singer Joan Armatrading is 65. Actor Michael Dorn is 63. Actor John Malkovich is 62. Country singer Sylvia is 59. Singer Donny Osmond is 58. Rock musician Nick Seymour (Crowded House) is 57. Comedian Mario Cantone is 56. Actor David Anthony Higgins is 54. Actor Joe Lando is 54. Actress Felicity Huffman is 53. Crown Princess Masako of Japan is 52. Country musician Jerry Hughes (Yankee Grey) is 50. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is 49. Rock singer-musician Thomas Flowers (Oleander) is 48. Rock musician Brian Bell (Weezer) is 47. Rock singer-musician Jakob Dylan (Wallflowers) is 46. Country musician Brian Hayes (Cole Deggs and the Lonesome) is 46. Actress Allison Smith is 46. Songwriter and former “American Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi (dee-oh-GWAHR’-dee) is 45. Country singer David Kersh is 45. Actress Reiko (RAY’-koh) Aylesworth is 43. Rock musician Tre Cool (Green Day) is 43. Rapper Canibus is 41. Actor Kevin Daniels (TV: “Sirens”) is 39. Actor/writer/director Mark Duplass is 39. Rock musician Eric Zamora (Save Ferris) is 39. Rock singer Imogen Heap is 38. Actor Jesse Metcalfe is 37. Actor Simon Helberg is 35. Actress Jolene Purdy is 32. Actor Joshua Sasse is 28. Olympic gold and silver medal gymnast McKayla Maroney is 20.
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).