This is New Year's Eve.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Jupiter, Mars and Saturn. The evening stars are Mercury, Neptune, Uranus and Venus.
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; U.S. Army Gen. George Marshall, formulator of the Marshall Aid Plan for Europe following World War II and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, 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; actors Anthony Hopkins in 1937 (age 76), Sarah Miles in 1941 (age 72) and Ben Kingsley in 1943 (age 70); Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Andy Summers (The Police) in 1942 (age 71); singer/songwriter John Denver and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Pete Quaife (The Kinks), both in 1943; fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg in 1946 (age 67); rock singer Burton Cummings in 1947 (age 66); Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Donna Summer in 1948; actors Tim Matheson in 1947 (age 66), Bebe Neuwirth in 1958 (age 55) and Val Kilmer in 1959 (age 54); writer Nicholas Sparks in 1965 (age 48); singer/dancer Psy, born Park Jae-sang, in 1977 (age 36); and Olympic gold medal winning gymnast Gabby Douglas in 1995 (age 18).
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 did their first New Year's Eve broadcast from the Roosevelt Grill in New York City.
In 1970, six months after release of the Beatles' "Let It Be" album, Paul McCartney filed suit in London seeking the legal dissolution of their partnership.
In 1983, the court-ordered breakup of the American Telephone and Telegraph Co. took effect.
In 1985, rock singer Rick Nelson, his fiancee and five band members died when a fire broke out aboard their chartered DC-3 aircraft in northeastern 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 1999, Panama assumed full control of the Panama Canal.
In 2004, at least 175 youths were reported killed in a fire at a Buenos Aires nightclub. About 600 more were injured in a rush for exits.
In 2006, Romania and Bulgaria joined the European Union putting the number of countries to 27 and the number of citizens to 489 million.
In 2009, year-end statistics reported 149 U.S. military fatalities in Iraq for an overall toll of 4,370 troop deaths since the war began in 2003. In Afghanistan, the death count was 317 in 2009 for a cumulative total of 947.
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."
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