Today is Thursday, Dec. 11, the 346th day of 2008 with 20 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Saturn and Mars. The evening stars are Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include Scottish physicist and kaleidoscope inventor David Brewster in 1781; French composer Hector Berlioz in 1803; German pioneer bacteriologist Robert Koch in 1843; New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in 1882; Italian film producer Carlo Ponti in 1912; Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in 1918; actress Rita Moreno (first performer to win an Oscar, Tony, Emmy and Grammy) in 1931 (age 77); singers David Gates in 1940 (age 68) and Brenda Lee in 1944 (age 64); actors Donna Mills in 1940 (age 68), Teri Garr in 1944 (age 64) and singer Jermaine Jackson in 1954 (age 54).
On this date in history:
In 1941, four days after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States.
In 1951, Joe DiMaggio announced his retirement from baseball.
In 1953, Alaska's first TV station signed on the air.
In 1983, 30,000 women tried to rip down fences around a U.S. cruise missile base at Greenham Common, England.
In 1984, a nativity scene was displayed near the White House for the first time since courts ordered it removed in 1973.
In 1989, Bulgarian leader Peter Mladenov set a May 31 deadline for free elections and called for a constitution that did not guarantee the Communist party a dominant role in the Eastern European country.
In 1993, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle of the ruling center-left Coalition of Parties for Democracy won Chile's presidential election.
In 1994, up to 40,000 Russian troops invaded Chechnya, a semi-autonomous republic on Russia's border with Georgia, to put down a secessionist rebellion.
In 1995, two Japanese cult members admitted they had released the toxic sarin gas in Tokyo subway trains the previous March that killed 12 people.
In 1998, the International Olympic Committee began an internal investigation into rumors that bribes had been offered by cities seeking to be chosen as sites for the Olympic Games.
In 2001, the United States filed its first charges in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, accusing Zacarias Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan descent, of conspiring with others to carry out the assault.
In 2004, Vienna doctors treating the mystery illness of Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko determined he was poisoned by dioxin while campaigning for president.
In 2006, news reports said the Taliban, al-Qaida and other Islamists were consolidating and rebuilding unchecked in remote northern Pakistan.
Also in 2006, Jewish groups worldwide expressed anger as Iran opened a two-day conference in Tehran to determine if the Holocaust is reality or myth.
In 2007, as many as 26 people were reported killed in two suicide attacks near U.N. offices and government buildings in Algiers.
Also in 2007, weather watches and warnings were up in numerous northern and eastern U.S. states as a severe winter storm that has killed at least 17 people moved east.
A thought for the day: Paul Valery said, "That which has always been accepted by everyone, everywhere, is almost certain to be false."