Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 9, 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.
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, Tenn., killed 84 workers. (Five were rescued.)
In 1912, longtime House Speaker Thomas "Tip" O'Neill was born in Cambridge, Mass.
In 1940, British troops opened their first major offensive in North Africa during World War II.
In 1942, the Aram Khachaturian ballet "Gayane," featuring the surging "Sabre Dance," was first performed by Russia's Kirov Ballet.
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 1971, Nobel Peace laureate Ralph Bunche died in New York.
In 1982, special Watergate prosecutor Leon Jaworski died at his Wimberley, Texas, ranch at age 77.
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 1992, Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana announced their separation. (The couple's divorce became final Aug. 28, 1996.)
Ten years ago: The owners of a Rhode Island nightclub and the tour manager for the rock band Great White were indicted on charges related to a fire the previous February that killed 100 people. A suicide bomber killed five victims outside an exclusive Moscow hotel. Former Vice President Al Gore endorsed Howard Dean for the Democratic presidential nomination. Former Sen. Paul Simon, D-Ill., died in Springfield, Ill., at age 75.
Five years 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.(Blagojevich was convicted of wide-ranging corruption in 2011 and sentenced to 14 years in prison.) NBC announced that "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno would be moving to prime time.
One year ago: U.S. special forces rescued an American doctor captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan. A Navy SEAL, Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas D. Checque of Monroeville, Pa., was killed during the rescue of Dr. Dilip Joseph of Colorado Springs, Colo. Same-sex couples in Washington state began exchanging vows just after midnight under a new state law allowing gay marriage. Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera and six others were killed in a plane crash in northern Mexico.
Today's Birthdays: Actor Kirk Douglas is 97. Actor Dick Van Patten is 85. Actor-writer Buck Henry is 83. Actress Dame Judi Dench is 79. Actor Beau Bridges is 72. Jazz singer-musician Dan Hicks is 72. Football Hall-of-Famer Dick Butkus is 71. Author Joe McGinniss is 71. Actor Michael Nouri is 68. Former Sen. Thomas Daschle, D-S.D., is 66. World Golf Hall of Famer Tom Kite is 64. Singer Joan Armatrading is 63. Actor Michael Dorn is 61. Actor John Malkovich is 60. Country singer Sylvia is 57. Singer Donny Osmond is 56. Rock musician Nick Seymour (Crowded House) is 55. Comedian Mario Cantone is 54. Actor David Anthony Higgins is 52. Actor Joe Lando is 52. Actress Felicity Huffman is 51. Crown Princess Masako of Japan is 50. Country musician Jerry Hughes (Yankee Grey) is 48. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is 47. Rock singer-musician Thomas Flowers (Oleander) is 46. Rock musician Brian Bell (Weezer) is 45. Rock singer-musician Jakob Dylan (Wallflowers) is 44. Country musician Brian Hayes (Cole Deggs and the Lonesome) is 44. Actress Allison Smith is 44. Songwriter and former "American Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi is 43. Country singer David Kersh is 43. Actress Reiko Aylesworth is 41. Rock musician Tre Cool (Green Day) is 41. Rapper Canibus is 39. Rock musician Eric Zamora (Save Ferris) is 37. Rock singer Imogen Heap is 36. Actor Jesse Metcalfe is 35. Actor Simon Helberg is 33. Actress Jolene Purdy is 30. Olympic gold and silver medal gymnast McKayla Maroney is 18.
Thought for Today: "Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties." — John Milton, English poet (1608-1674).