Today is Monday, Dec. 19, the 353rd day of 2011. There are 12 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 19, 1843, "A Christmas Carol," by Charles Dickens, was first published in England.
On this date:
In 1777, Gen. George Washington led his army of about 11,000 men to Valley Forge, Pa., to camp for the winter.
In 1813, British forces captured Fort Niagara during the War of 1812.
In 1910, the artificial fiber rayon was first commercially produced by the American Viscose Co. of Marcus Hook, Pa.
In 1946, war broke out in Indochina as troops under Ho Chi Minh launched widespread attacks against the French.
In 1950, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower was named commander of the military forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
In 1961, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., 73, suffered a debilitating stroke while in Palm Beach, Fla.
In 1971, "A Clockwork Orange," Stanley Kubrick's controversial movie adaptation of the Anthony Burgess novel, had its world premiere in the U.S.
In 1984, a fire at the Wilberg Mine near Orangeville, Utah, killed 27 people. Britain and China signed an accord returning Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, 1997.
In 1986, Lawrence E. Walsh was appointed independent counsel to investigate the Iran-Contra affair.
In 1998, President Bill Clinton was impeached by the Republican-controlled House for perjury and obstruction of justice (he was later acquitted by the Senate).
Ten years ago: Argentina's president, Fernando de la Rua, decreed a state of siege as his country's economic crisis triggered violence. The fires that had burned beneath the ruins of the World Trade Center in New York City for the previous three months were declared extinguished except for a few scattered hot spots.
Five years ago: A Libyan court convicted five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor of deliberately infecting 400 children with HIV and sentenced them to death. (The six later had their death sentences commuted, and were transferred to Bulgaria, where they were pardoned and set free.)
One year ago: The body of an American tourist, Kristine Luken, 44, was found near a road outside Jerusalem. (A Palestinian man was later sentenced by an Israeli court to life in prison for stabbing Luken.) Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko won re-election. Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown as time expired in the Eagles' 38-31 comeback win at the New York Giants; it's the only game-winning punt-return touchdown as time expired in NFL history.
Today's Birthdays: Country singer Little Jimmy Dickens is 91. Composer-lyricist Robert Sherman ("Mary Poppins") is 86. Actress Cicely Tyson is 78. Rhythm-and-blues singer-musician Maurice White (Earth, Wind and Fire) is 70. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is 70. Actress Elaine Joyce is 68. Actor Tim Reid is 67. Paleontologist Richard E. Leakey is 67. Rock singer Alvin Lee (Ten Years After) is 67. Musician John McEuen is 66. Singer Janie Fricke is 64. Jazz musician Lenny White is 62. Actor Mike Lookinland is 51. Actress Jennifer Beals is 48. Actor Scott Cohen is 47. Actor Robert MacNaughton is 45. Magician Criss Angel is 44. Rock musician Klaus Eichstadt (Ugly Kid Joe) is 44. Rock musician Kevin Shepard is 43. Actress Kristy Swanson is 42. Model Tyson Beckford is 41. Actress Amy Locane is 40. Actress Rosa Blasi is 39. Actress Alyssa Milano is 39. Actor Jake Gyllenhaal is 31. Actress Marla Sokoloff is 31. Rapper Lady Sovereign is 26.
Thought for Today: "He that jokes confesses." -- Italian proverb.
Copyright 2011, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.