Today is Wednesday, Dec. 9, the 344th day of 2020. There are 22 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 9, 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.

On this date:

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 1940, British troops opened their first major offensive in North Africa during World War II.

In 1965, the James Bond film “Thunderball,” starring Sean Connery, had its world premiere in Tokyo.

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 Aug. 1996.)

In 2001, the United States disclosed the existence of a videotape in which Osama bin Laden said he was pleasantly surprised by the extent of damage from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In 2013, scientists revealed that NASA’s Curiosity rover had uncovered signs of an ancient freshwater lake on Mars.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Dame Judi Dench is 86. Actor Beau Bridges is 79. Football Hall of Famer Dick Butkus is 78. World Golf Hall of Famer Tom Kite is 71. Singer Joan Armatrading is 70. Actor John Malkovich is 67. Singer Donny Osmond is 63. Actor Felicity Huffman is 58. TV personality-businessperson Lori Greiner (TV: “Shark Tank”) is 51. Actor Ashleigh Brewer is 30. Olympic gold and silver medal gymnast McKayla Maroney is 25.