Today in History 12/9

Today is Sunday, Dec. 9, the 344rd day of 2012. There are 22 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History

On Dec. 9, 1942, the Aram Khachaturian ballet “Gayane,” featuring the surging “Sabre Dance,” was first performed by Russia’s Kirov Ballet.

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 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 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.)

Ten years ago

• President George W. Bush tapped railroad executive John W. Snow to be his new Treasury Secretary, three days after firing Paul O’Neill.

• Senate Republican leader Trent Lott apologized for remarks he’d made praising the 1948 presidential run of then-segregationist Strom Thurmond, saying, “A poor choice of words conveyed to some the impression that I embraced the discarded policies of the past.”

• United Airlines filed for bankruptcy protection after losing $4 billion in the previous two years. (United emerged from bankruptcy protection in 2006.)

Five years ago

• A young man once affiliated with a missionary school shot nine people at the school near Denver and a megachurch in Colorado Springs; four victims died and the gunman, Matthew Murray, killed himself.

• Pig farmer Robert “Willie” Pickton, accused of being Canada’s worst serial killer, was convicted of six counts of second-degree murder, which carried a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

• The first summit between Europe and Africa in seven years came to an acrimonious end in Lisbon, Portugal.

One year ago

• The European Union said 26 of its 27 member countries were open to joining a new treaty tying their finances together to solve the euro crisis; Britain remained opposed.

• A jury in New Haven, Conn., condemned Joshua Komisarjevsky to death for killing a woman and her two daughters during a night of terror in their suburban home. (The other defendant in the case, Steven Hayes, had also been condemned to death.)

• A fire at a hospital in Kolkata, India, claimed the lives of 93 people.

Today’s Birthdays: