Today is Saturday, Dec. 11, the 346th day of 2004 with 20 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus and Mars. The evening stars are Pluto, Uranus and Neptune.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include Scottish physicist and kaleidoscope inventor David Brewster in 1781; French composer Hector Berlioz in 1803; German pioneer bacteriologist Robert Koch in 1843; New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in 1882; Italian film producer Carlo Ponti in 1913 (age 91); Russian novelist Alexander Solzhenitsyn in 1918 (age 86); actress Rita Moreno (first performer to win an Oscar, Tony, Emmy and Grammy) in 1931 (age 73); singers David Gates in 1940 (age 64) and Brenda Lee in 1944 (age 60); actors Donna Mills in 1943 (age 61), Teri Garr in 1949 (age 55), and Ken Wahl in 1953 (age 51); and singer Jermaine Jackson in 1954 (age 50).
On this date in history:
In 1941, four days after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States.
In 1951, Joe DiMaggio announced his retirement from baseball.
In 1953, Alaska's first TV station signed on the air.
In 1972, Apollo XVII astronauts Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt landed on the moon for a three-day exploration.
In 1983, 30,000 women tried to rip down fences around a U.S. cruise missile base at Greenham Common, England.
In 1984, a nativity scene was displayed near the White House for the first time since courts ordered it removed in 1973.
In 1989, Bulgarian leader Peter Mladenov set a May 31 deadline for free elections in the Eastern European country. He also called for a constitution stripping the Communist Party of its guaranteed dominant role in Bulgaria.
In 1991, William Kennedy Smith was acquitted on rape charges by a jury that deliberated less than 77 minutes following a 10-day televised trial.
In 1992, the three major TV networks agreed on joint standards to limit entertainment violence by the start of the next fall's season.
In 1993, parliamentary elections were held in Russia.
Also in 1993, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle of the ruling center-left Coalition of Parties for Democracy won Chile's presidential election.
In 1994, up to 40,000 Russian troops invaded Chechnya, a semi-autonomous republic on Russia's border with Georgia, to put down a secessionist rebellion.
In 1995, two Japanese cult members admitted they had released the toxic sarin gas in Tokyo subway trains the previous March that killed 12 people.
In 1996, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's son, Uday, was shot and wounded.
In 1997, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled that Microsoft Corp. could not bundle Microsoft Internet Explorer with Windows 95.
In 1998, the International Olympic Committee began an internal investigation into rumors that bribes had been offered by cities seeking to be chosen as sites for the Olympic games.
In 2001, the U.S. filed its first charges in connection with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, accusing Zacarius Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan descent, of conspiring with others to carry out the assault.
In 2003, by this date, the flu had spread significantly over 24 states and demand was outdistancing the available supply of vaccine.
A thought for the day: Paul Valery said, "That which has always been accepted by everyone, everywhere, is almost certain to be false."