Today is Thursday, Dec. 28, the 362nd day of 2006 with three to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Mercury, Mars, Pluto, Jupiter and Saturn. The evening stars are Venus, Uranus and Neptune.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Capricorn. They include Woodrow Wilson, 28th president of the United States, in 1856; jazz pianist Earl "Fatha" Hines in 1905; actors Lew Ayres in 1908, Martin Milner in 1931 (age 76) and Maggie Smith in 1934 (age 72); rock musician Edgar Winter in 1946 (age 60); and actors Denzel Washington in 1954 (age 52) and Malcolm Gets in 1964 (age 42).
On this date in history:
In 1865, French film pioneers Auguste and Louis Lumiere showed the first commercial motion pictures at a Paris cafe.
In 1869, The Knights of Labor, a group of tailors in Philadelphia, staged the first Labor Day ceremonies in U.S. history.
In 1908, nearly 80,000 people were killed when an earthquake struck the ancient town of Messina, Sicily.
In 1945, the U.S. Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States.
In 1950, advancing Chinese troops crossed the 38th Parallel, dividing line between North and South Korea, to help the communist North Koreans fight U.S.-led U.N. forces.
In 1985, warring Lebanese Muslim and Christian leaders signed a peace agreement backed by Syria.
In 1991, a stampede at a New York charity basketball game killed eight people and injured three dozen more.
In 1992, in a violent day in Lima, Peru, car bombs exploded outside two embassies, police thwarted a bank raid and rebels launched a missile attack on a police station. Five people were killed, 24 injured.
In 1997, Hong Kong officials announced that all chickens in the territory would be killed in an attempt to eradicate carriers of the avian flu, which had killed several people.
In 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau announced a total of 281,421,906 people in the nation. The figure was a 13.2-percent increase in the last 10 years.
In 2001, U.S. President George W. Bush granted permanent normal trade status to China, reversing a 20-year policy.
In 2003, as aid poured in from scores of nations, including the United States, officials in Iran's ancient city of Bam said perhaps half the city's population of 80,000 were killed or injured in the earthquake that struck the area.
In 2004, at least 18 Iraqi policemen were reported killed by insurgents in several attacks on police stations.
Also in 2004, record numbers of Britons turned out with horses and hounds for a fox hunt on what could be Britain's last legal Boxing Day hunt with a hunting ban scheduled to go into effect in two months.
In 2005, many Sunni Arabs claimed voter fraud but U.N. observers said the Iraqi parliamentary elections were "transparent and credible."
A thought for the day: it was Benjamin Franklin who said, "It is hard for an empty sack to stand upright."