The moon is new. 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 Scottish engineer James Watt, inventor of the steam engine, in 1736; Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in 1807; American short story writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe in 1809; English metallurgist Henry Bessemer in 1813; French post-Impressionist painter Paul Cezanne in 1839; Ebony magazine founder John H. Johnson in 1918; former U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar in 1920 (age 87); actress Jean Stapleton in 1923 (age 84); actor Fritz Weaver in 1926 (age 81); television newscaster Robert MacNeil in 1931 (age 76); singer Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers in 1939 (age 68); actress Shelley Fabares in 1944 (age 63): singers Janis Joplin in 1943 and Dolly Parton in 1946 (age 61); and singer/actors Michael Crawford in 1942 (age 65) and Desi Arnaz Jr. in 1953 (age 54).
On this date in history:
In 1861, Georgia seceded from the Union.
In 1938, the Spanish Nationalist air force bombed Barcelona and Valencia, killing 700 civilians and wounding hundreds more.
In 1975, China published a new constitution that adopted the precepts and policies of Mao Zedong.
Also in 1993, as a TV crew filmed a graveside interview in North Lauderdale, Fla., the father of a teenage suicide victim suddenly shot and killed his ex-wife, whom he blamed for their daughter's death.
In 1995, Russian forces captured the presidential palace in the rebel republic of Chechnya.
In 1999, NATO warned Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic that he must honor the 1998 cease-fire negotiated with the rebels in Kosovo or face airstrikes.
In 2001, U.S. President Bill Clinton announced he had made a deal with the independent prosecutor that would prevent him from being indicted after he left office.
In 2003, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the Bush administration might allow Saddam Hussein to seek safe haven in another country as a way to avoid war.
In 2004, U.S. military authorities denied Afghan claims that a U.S. helicopter attack killed 11 civilians, including four children, saying instead that five Taliban fighters were the only fatalities.
In 2005, the Southeast Asian tsunami death toll was raised to 220,000, including more than 166,000 killed in Indonesia.
Also in 2005, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 16-2 to approve the nomination of Condoleezza Rice as secretary of State.
And, five suicide car bomb attacks killed 26 people in and around Baghdad, targeting local and foreign security forces.
In 2006, monitors for the Dec. 15 Iraq parliamentary elections validated the vote despite reports of "irregularities."
Also in 2006, a broadcast message, ostensibly from Osama bin Laden, issued another warning of future attacks on the United States but this time offered a possible "truce."
A thought for the day: In "As You Like It," William Shakespeare wrote:
"All the world's a stage,
"And all the men and women merely players.
"They have their exits and their entrances,
"And one man in his time plays many parts,
"His acts being seven ages."