Today is Sunday, Dec. 30, the 364th day of 2001 with one to follow.
The moon is full.
The morning star is Jupiter.
The evening stars are Mars and Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Capricorn. They include British author Rudyard Kipling in 1865; Canadian economist and humorist Stephen Leacock in 1869; Japan's World War II Prime Minister Hideki Tojo in 1884; former Miss America Pageant master of ceremonies Bert Parks in 1914; rock 'n' roll pioneer Bo Diddley in 1928 (age 73); actors Jack Lord in 1930 and John Hillerman in 1932 (age 69); former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax and actor Russ Tamblyn, both in 1935 (age 66); actor Joseph Bologna in 1938 (age 63); two members of the pop group The Monkees, Mike Nesmith in 1942 (age 59) and Davy Jones in 1945 (age 56); "Today" co-host Matt Lauer in 1957 (age 44); actress Tracey Ullman in 1959 (age 42); and golfer Eldrick "Tiger" Woods in 1975 (age 26).
On this date in history:
In 1853, the United States bought 45,000 square miles of land along the Gila River from Mexico for $10 million. The area is now southern Arizona and New Mexico.
In 1862, the Union ironclad ship USS Monitor sank off Cape Hatteras, N.C., during a storm. 16 members of the crew were lost.
In 1903, flames swept the Iroquois Theater in Chicago, killing 602 people. The fire led to safety regulations for theaters around the world.
In 1922, at the first Soviet Congress, Russia, Ukraine and two other Soviet republics signed a treaty, creating the Soviet Union.
In 1972, President Nixon ordered a halt in the bombing of North Vietnam and announced that peace talks with the Hanoi government would resume in Paris in January.
In 1986, Exxon Corp. became the first major international oil company to withdraw from South Africa because of that nation's racial policies.
In 1990, European nations called for an emergency European Community summit to find a solution to the Persian Gulf crisis.
In 1991, a "seriously ill" Mother Teresa was hospitalized in La Jolla, Calif., with bacterial pneumonia and heart problems.
In 1992, Ling-Ling, the giant female panda who delighted visitors to Washington's National Zoo for more than two decades, died of heart failure.
In 1993, Israel and the Vatican signed an agreement to establish diplomatic relations.
In 1995, North Korea released a U.S. Army pilot whose helicopter had been shot down 13 days earlier over North Korean territory.
Also in 1995, Rep. Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., who was to be the next House Speaker, announced he would give up the $4.5 million advance from HarperCollins Publishing Inc., but would go ahead with the two books.
In 1999, a mentally ill man broke into George Harrison's mansion and attacked the former Beatle and his wife. Harrison suffered serious stab wounds but recovered.
A thought for the day: poet Robert Browning wrote, "'Tis not what man does that exalts him, but what man would do!"