Today is Saturday, Dec. 10, the 344th day of 2011 with 21 to follow.
The moon is full. The morning stars are Neptune, Uranus, Jupiter and Venus. Evening stars are Mercury, Saturn and Mars.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, founder of the first free school for the deaf, in 1787; poet Emily Dickinson in 1830; librarian Melvil Dewey, inventor of the Dewey decimal book classification system, in 1851; actor Una Merkel in 1903; TV newscaster Chet Huntley in 1911; actors Dorothy Lamour in 1914, Harold Gould in 1923, Dan Blocker in 1928, Tommy Kirk in 1941 and Susan Dey in 1952 (age 59); actor/director Kenneth Branagh in 1960 (age 51); singer/actor Nia Peeples in 1961 (age 50); musician Med White in 1974 (age 37); and actor Raven-Symone in 1985 (age 26).
On this date in history:
In 1817, Mississippi joined the United States as the 20th state.
In 1869, the Territory of Wyoming granted women the right to vote.
In 1898, Spain signed a treaty officially ending the Spanish-American War. It gave Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines to the United States.
In 1901, the Nobel prizes were first awarded in Oslo, Norway, and Stockholm, Sweden.
In 1906, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt became the first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1936, Britain's King Edward VIII abdicated to marry American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson. His brother succeeded to the throne as King George VI.
In 1941, Japanese troops landed on northern Luzon in the Philippines in the early days of World War II.
In 1950, U.S. diplomat Ralph Joseph Bunche received the Nobel Peace Prize for his peace mediation during the first Arab-Israeli war. He was the first African-American to win the award.
In 1984, the National Science Foundation reported the discovery of the first planet outside the solar system, orbiting a star 21 million light-years from Earth.
In 1990, the communists won a major victory in the first postwar multi-party elections in the Yugoslavian republics of Serbia and Montenegro.
In 1997, the Swiss high court ruled that $100 million of the money that had been salted away in banks by former dictator Ferdinand Marcos would be returned to the Philippines government.
In 2002, the Roman Catholic diocese of Manchester, N.H., admitted responsibility for failing to protect children from abusive priests.
In 2004, an Italian court cleared Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of corruption charges.
In 2005, more than 100 people were killed when a passenger plane crashed in the southern Nigerian city of Port Harcourt.
Also in 2005, Richard Pryor, who pushed the envelope on racial themes and vulgarity with standup and movie comedy, died of cardiac arrest. He was 65.
In 2006, Gen. Augusto Pinochet, the former president of Chile who seized power in a bloody 1973 coup and ruled the nation for 17 years, died at the age of 91.
In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court granted federal judges new flexibility in criminal sentencing with a ruling that those judges should have broad discretion in imposing reasonable sentencing with the right to disagree with federal guidelines.
Also in 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin endorsed Dmitri Medvedev, a first deputy prime minister and chairman of the Russian gas monopoly, as his successor in the 2008 presidential election. Medvedev said he would name Putin as prime minister if elected.
And, novelist, Pulitzer Prize winner and new-journalism pioneer Norman Mailer, author of "The Naked and the Dead," died in New York City of acute kidney failure at 84.
In 2008, the U.S. Congress considered a $14 billion rescue package for Detroit automakers General Motors and Chrysler who said they could not survive until the end of 2008 without financial help. But, while the House of Representatives approved the measure, 237-170, the Senate couldn't muster enough support and the measure died.
In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama defended ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in a speech in Oslo, Norway, where he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize.
Also in 2009, a special South Carolina House committee voted to censure, but not impeach, embattled Gov. Mark Sanford for bringing "ridicule, dishonor, disgrace and shame" on the state in a scandal centered on an extramarital affair.
In 2010, Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, represented by a portrait and an empty chair, was honored during the Nobel ceremony in Oslo, Norway. Liu was in a northeastern China prison serving an 11-year sentence for subversion and his family was forbidden from attending.
Also in 2010, trying to stop leaks, U.S. military officials banned troops from using CDs, DVDs, thumb drives and any other form of removable media or risk a court-martial.
A thought for the day: Marcel Proust said, "Only through art can we get outside of ourselves and know another's view of the universe."