Today is Tuesday, Dec. 12, the 346th day of 2006 with 19 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Jupiter, Mercury, Saturn and Mars. The evening stars are Pluto, Venus, Uranus and Neptune.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include John Jay, first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1745; abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison in 1805; French novelist Gustave Flaubert in 1821; Norwegian painter Edvard Munch in 1863; actor Edward G. Robinson in 1893; singer/actor Frank Sinatra in 1915; TV game show host Bob Barker in 1923 (age 83); former New York Mayor Edward Koch in 1924 (age 82); singers Connie Francis in 1938 (age 68) and Dionne Warwick in 1940 (age 66); former Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby in 1952 (age 54); musician Sheila E in 1957 (age 49), former tennis player Tracy Austin in 1962 (age 44); and actress Mayim Bialik in 1975 (age 31).
On this date in history:
In 1870, Joseph Hayne Rainey of South Carolina was sworn in as the first black to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In 1901, Italian physicist and radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi sent the first radio transmission across the Atlantic Ocean.
In 1913, two years after it was stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris, Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece "The Mona Lisa" was recovered in a Florence, Italy, hotel room.
In 1917, the Rev. Edward J. Flanagan, a 31-year-old Irish priest, opened the doors to Boys Town, a home for troubled and neglected children in Omaha, Neb. He lived by the adage, "There is no such thing as a bad boy."
In 1937, Japanese planes bombed and sank the U.S. gunboat Panay in the Yangtze River north of Nanking, China. Japan later said it was a mistake.
In 1968, stage and screen actress Tallulah Bankhead died at the age of 65.
In 1981, martial law was imposed in Poland.
In 1985, the crash of an Arrow Air DC-8 military charter on takeoff from Gander, Newfoundland, killed all 256 aboard, including 248 U.S. soldiers.
In 1989, five Central American presidents, including Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega, called for an end to the rebel offensive against El Salvador's U.S.-backed government.
In 1990, 15 people were killed and more than 260 injured in a pileup on a foggy Tennessee highway.
In 1991, the Russian parliament ratified a commonwealth treaty linking the three strongest Soviet republics in the nation's most profound change since the 1917 revolution.
Also in 1991, North and South Korea concluded an historic agreement to reunify peacefully after 46 years of division and animosity.
In 1993, Russian voters approved a new constitution.
In 1996, a French gunman took 35 hostages in a Paris office. The standoff ended without injuries.
In 2002, North Korea announced it would reactivate a nuclear reactor idle since 1994.
Also in 2002, the European Union invited 10 nations, including Poland and Hungary, to join its ranks in 2004.
Also in 2003, armed men attacked military police near the Ivory Coast's national television station in Abidjan, leaving at least 19 people dead.
In 2004, the U.S. Defense Department reportedly held simulations to determine the effectiveness of an attack on Iran.
Also in 2004, seeking to head off a potential trade war with the United States and the European Union, China announced it would place tariffs on textile imports.
In 2005, Jibran Tueni, an anti-Syrian member of the Lebanese Parliament and head of a leading Lebanon newspaper, was assassinated when an explosion tore through his armored car outside Beirut.
A thought for the day: Leon Blum wrote, "I have often thought morality may perhaps consist solely in the courage of making a choice."