Today in history

Today is Dec. 9, the 343rd day of 2018. There are 22 days left in the year.

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 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 1965, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” the first animated TV special featuring characters from the “Peanuts” comic strip by Charles M. Schulz, premiered on CBS.

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 1990, Solidarity founder Lech Walesa won Poland’s presidential runoff by a landslide.

In 1992, Britain’s Prince Charles and Princess Diana announced their separation. (The couple’s divorce became final in August 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.

Ten 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.

Five years ago: North Korea announced it had sacked leader Kim Jong Un’s uncle, Jang Song Thaek, long considered the country’s No. 2 power, for leading a “dissolute and depraved life” (Jang was reportedly executed three days later). Scientists revealed that NASA’s Curiosity rover had uncovered signs of an ancient freshwater lake on Mars. Retired managers Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox were unanimously elected to the baseball Hall of Fame by the expansion era committee. Actress Eleanor Parker, 91, who played a scheming baroness in “The Sound of Music,” died in Palm Springs, Calif.

One year ago: After more than three years of combat operations, Iraq announced that the fight against the Islamic State group was over, and that Iraq’s security forces had driven the extremists from all of the territory they once held.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Kirk Douglas is 102. Actor-writer Buck Henry is 88. Actress Dame Judi Dench is 84. Actor Beau Bridges is 77. Football Hall of Famer Dick Butkus is 76. Comedian-songwriter Neil Innes is 74. Actor Michael Nouri is 73. Former Sen. Thomas Daschle, D-S.D., is 71. Actor John Malkovich is 65. Country singer Sylvia is 62. Singer Donny Osmond is 61. Actor Joe Lando is 57. Actress Felicity Huffman is 56. Crown Princess Masako of Japan is 55. Country musician Jerry Hughes (Yankee Grey) is 53. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is 52. Rock singer-musician Thomas Flowers (Oleander) is 51. Rock musician Brian Bell (Weezer) is 50. TV personality-businessperson Lori Greiner (TV: “Shark Tank”) is 49. Country musician Brian Hayes (Cole Deggs and the Lonesome) is 49. Actress Reiko Aylesworth is 46. Rock musician Tre Cool (Green Day) is 46. Actor Simon Helberg is 38. Actor Joshua Sasse is 31. Actress Ashleigh Brewer is 28. Olympic gold and silver medal gymnast McKayla Maroney is 23.

Thought for Today: “In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” — Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher (1844-1900).

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