On this day - December 9
Today is Friday, December 9, the 343rd day of 2011. There are 22 days left in the year.
Highlights in history on this date:
1625 - England and United Provinces agree to subsidize Denmark's King Christian IV in his campaign against Germany.
1793 - Noah Webster establishes New York City's first daily newspaper.
1884 - Ball-bearing roller skates are patented in the United States.
1905 - Separation of church and state in France is decreed.
1940 - British 8th Army opens offensive in North Africa in World War II.
1941 - China declares war on Japan, Germany and Italy.
1946 - Indian Constituent Assembly is boycotted by Muslim League.
1951 - The United States invokes its Trading with the Enemy Act to prevent Chinese people in the United States from sending money to Communist China under extortion threats.
1962 - Tanganyika becomes republic within British Commonwealth.
1967 - The United States withdraws the last of three C-130 transport planes it sent to Congo in July to help the Kinshasa government airlift troops to suppress a rebellion of white mercenaries and Katangese soldiers.
1972 - North Vietnam and Soviet Union conclude agreement for economic and military aid to Hanoi.
1975 - Death toll is put at 160 in two days as war rages between Muslims and Christians in Beirut, Lebanon.
1976 - UN General Assembly calls for Middle East peace conference in Geneva with Palestine Liberation Organisation taking part.
1982 - South African troops stage a pre-dawn raid on Maseru, the capital of Lesotho, in an effort to kill suspected members of the African National Congress, the black nationalist group banned by South Africa's apartheid government.
1987 - Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev meets with US President Ronald Reagan in Washington one day after the US-Soviet nuclear arms treaty is signed.
1988 - West Germans demand curbs on Nato military flights over their densely populated country.
1990 - Poles elect Solidarity labour union founder Lech Walesa president in free elections.
1991 - Mikhail Gorbachev calls new Commonwealth of Independent States "illegal and dangerous".
1992 - Prince Charles and Princess Diana of Britain announce they are separating but have no plans to divorce.
1993 - Fighting continues in Bosnian capital of Sarajevo as international mediators fail to revive negotiations.
1994 - After 25 years of violence, the Irish Republican Army sits down with British officials to talk peace; US President Bill Clinton fires Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders after learning she had told a conference that masturbation should be discussed in school as a part of human sexuality.
1995 - In India, 75 million children get polio vaccines in an attempt to eradicate the crippling disease.
1996 - Riot police chase protesting students through the streets of Rangoon, Burma, now known as Myanmar, and the military government closes universities.
1997 - Spain softens its long-standing claim on the British colony of Gibraltar, saying it can accept shared sovereignty.
1998 - British Home Secretary Jack Straw rules that Spain can start proceedings to extradite former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet. Chile withdraws its ambassador from Britain.
1999 - US Army private Calvin N Glover, convicted of bludgeoning fellow soldier Barry Winchell to death, is sentenced to life in prison. Prosecutors accused Glover of homophobia.
2000 - The United Nations' top anti-narcotics official says the Taliban government in Afghanistan is succeeding in slowing the cultivation of opium poppies for the first time since the radical Islamic movement seized power four years earlier.
2001 - The United States discloses a video in which Osama bin Laden says he was pleasantly surprised by the extent of damage from the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
2002 - The Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement sign a peace agreement to end the rebel group's 26-year-old separatist insurgency in Aceh province, which left as many as 30 000 people dead.
2003 - A female suicide bomber blows herself up outside the National Hotel across from Moscow's Red Square, killing five others and raising fears of a new wave of terror attacks in the heart of the Russian capital.
2004 - Canada's Supreme Court rules that gay marriage is constitutional, a landmark opinion allowing the federal government to call on Parliament to legalise same-sex unions nationwide.
2006 - A daylong artillery exchange between Sri Lanka's military and Tamil Tiger guerrillas in the island's east drives thousands of Sinhalese from their villages.
2007 - The world's top two polluters, the United States and China, say they are not ready to commit to mandatory caps on global-warming gases at the UN climate conference in Bali.
2008 - Masked youths and looters maraud through Greek cities for a fourth night in an explosion of rage triggered by the police shooting of a teenager that unleashed the most violent riots in a quarter century.
2009 - Iraq's Western-backed government - facing intense pressure to address security lapses after suicide bombings killed 127 people in the capital - orders a shake-up in the country's military leadership.
2010 - In Britain's worst political violence in years, furious student protesters rain sticks and rocks on riot police, vandalise government buildings and attack a car carrying Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, after lawmakers approved a controversial hike in university tuition fees.
John Milton, English poet (1608-1674); Karl Wilhelm Scheele, Swedish chemist (1742-1786); Claude-Louis Ertholle, French chemist (1748-1822); Kirk Douglas, US actor (1916--); Bob Hawke, former Australian prime minister (1929--); Judi Dench, British actress (1934--): Beau Bridges, US actor (1941--); John Malkovich, US actor (1953--).
Thought For Today:
The well of Providence is deep. It's the buckets we bring to it that are small - Mary Webb, Scottish religious leader (c 1881-1927).