Today is Sunday, Dec. 31, the 366th and last day of 2006.
This is New Year's Eve.
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 French explorer Jacques Cartier in 1491; Charles Edward Stuart, Scotland's "Bonnie Prince Charlie," in 1720; French painter Henri Matisse in 1869; Gen. George Marshall, formulator of the Marshall Aid Plan for Europe following World War II, in 1880; songwriter Jule Styne ("Three Coins In the Fountain, "Let It Snow") in 1905; cowboy actor/singer Rex Allen in 1920; folk-blues singer Odetta (Holmes) in 1930 (age 76); actors Anthony Hopkins in 1937 (age 69), Sarah Miles in 1941 (age 65) and Ben Kingsley in 1943 (age 63); singer John Denver in 1943; fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg in 1945 (age 61); singer Donna Summer in 1948 (age 58); and actors Tim Matheson in 1947 (age 59), Bebe Neuwirth in 1958 (age 48) and Val Kilmer in 1959 (age 47).
On this date in history:
In 1879, Thomas Edison gave the first public demonstration of his incandescent lamp in Menlo Park, N.J.
In 1929, Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians' first New Year's Eve broadcast from the Roosevelt Grill in New York City was heard over the CBS network.
In 1970, six months after release of their "Let It Be" album, Paul McCartney filed suit in London seeking the legal dissolution of the Beatles' partnership.
In 1983, the court-ordered breakup of the American Telephone and Telegraph Co. took effect at midnight.
In 1984, the nation's first mandatory seat belt law went into effect in the state of New York at midnight.
In 1985, rock singer Rick Nelson, his fiancee and five band members were killed when a fire broke out on their chartered DC-3 in northeast Texas.
In 1994, Russian forces launched a full air and ground attack on Grozny, the capital city of the rebel republic of Chechnya.
In 1997, the Algerian government announced that more than 400 people had been massacred by Islamic extremists during the last nine days of December.
In 1998, the Dow Jones industrial average closed at 9,181.43, some 16 percent higher than the last trading day of 1997.
In 1999, Panama assumed full control of the Panama Canal.
In 2002, many Wall Street investors were happy to see an end to a year that was the worst for the blue-chip Dow Jones industrials since 1977.
In 2003, reversing the losing trend of the past three years, Wall Street reported large gains in all major indexes.
In 2004, at least 175 youths were reported killed in an overnight fire at a popular Buenos Aires nightclub. About 600 more were injured in a mad rush for the exits.
Also in 2004, a bus slammed into an oil tanker in Pakistan, killing at least 31 people and seriously injuring 11.
In 2005, at least 844 United States military personnel died in Iraq, a year-end U.S. government report said. Of that toll, 425 deaths were blamed on roadside bombs.
Also in 2005, a wintry storm pounded northern California, resulting in heavy flooding and mudslides.
A thought for the day: William Shakespeare wrote, "Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them."