The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. The evening stars are Venus, Mercury, Uranus and Neptune.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Capricorn. They include American statesman Alexander Hamilton, first secretary of the U.S. Treasury, in 1757; Ezra Cornell, founder of Western Union Telegraph company and Cornell University, in 1807; John MacDonald, first prime minister of Canada, in 1815; psychologist and philosopher William James in 1842; feminist lawyer Alice Paul in 1885; South African novelist Alan Paton ("Cry the Beloved Country") in 1903; actor Rod Taylor in 1930 (age 77); Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien in 1934 (age 73); and singers Naomi Judd in 1946 (age 61) and Mary J. Blige in 1971 (age 36).
On this date in history:
In 1785, the Continental Congress convened in New York City.
In 1861, Alabama seceded from the Union.
In 1935, U.S. aviator Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Pacific from Hawaii to California.
In 1964, U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry released a report saying smoking cigarettes is a definite "health hazard."
In 1984, the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated a $10 million award to the family of Oklahoma nuclear worker Karen Silkwood, who died in 1974.
In 1990, martial law, imposed during the June 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement, was lifted in Beijing.
In 1991, the U.S. Congress authorized the use of military force to oust Iraq from Kuwait.
In 1995, the U.S. State Department accused Russia of breaking an international agreement by making major troop movements into the rebel republic of Chechnya without providing notification.
Also in 1995, hockey team owners and players reached an agreement, salvaging the 1994-95 NHL season.
In 1996, the Japanese Diet elected Ryutaro Hashimoto, head of the Liberal Democratic Party, as the new premier.
In 2000, the British government declared Chile's Augusto Pinochet medically unfit to stand trial in Spain. The ruling cleared the way for the former dictator to avoid charges of crimes against humanity.
In 2001, the Federal Communications Commission approved the merger of American Online and Time Warner Inc., creating the world's largest media conglomerate.
Also in 2001, a yearlong investigation by the U.S. Army concluded that U.S. soldiers killed unarmed South Korean civilians in July 1950 during the Korean War.
In 2002, Ford announced it planned to lay off 35,000 employees, drop four car models and close four plants.
Also in 2002, Taliban and al-Qaida fighters captured in Afghanistan were flown to the U.S. Naval base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
And more from 2002, the father who killed another father after hockey practice in which their sons took part at a Reading, Mass., rink, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
In 2003, a few days before leaving office, Illinois Gov. George Ryan spared the lives of 171 death row inmates.
In 2004, with help from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Panama police arrested the suspected leader of one of Colombia's most powerful drug cartels.
Also in 2005, NASA scientists studying the tsunami-inducing Indonesia earthquake of Dec. 26 calculated it slightly changed Earth's shape and shifted the poles by about an inch.
In 2006, China confirmed a new outbreak of bird flu with the deaths of two more Chinese, bringing the number of avian influenza deaths there to five.
And India reported as many as 172 deaths have been blamed on a cold wave.
A thought for the day: William James said, "There is no worse lie than a truth misunderstood by those who hear it."