Today is Tuesday, Dec. 28, the 363rd day of 2004 with three to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mercury, Pluto, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus and Mars. The evening stars are 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 73) and Maggie Smith in 1934 (age 70); rock musician Edgar Winter in 1946 (age 58); and actors Denzel Washington in 1954 (age 50) and Malcolm Gets in 1964 (age 40).
On this date in history:
In 1732, the Pennsylvania Gazette carried the first known advertisement for the first issue of "Poor Richard's Almanack" by Richard Saunders (Benjamin Franklin).
In 1865, French film pioneers Auguste and Louis Lumiere showed the first commercial motion pictures at a Paris café.
In 1869, The Knights of Labor, a group of tailors in Philadelphia, held the first Labor Day ceremonies in American history.
In 1908, nearly 80,000 people were killed when an earthquake struck the ancient town of Messina, Sicily.
In 1945, 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 United Nations forces.
In 1985, warring Lebanese Moslem 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, 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, leaving a total of five dead and 24 injured.
In 1997, officials in Hong Kong 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, 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.
A thought for the day: it was Benjamin Franklin who said, "It is hard for an empty sack to stand upright."