Today is Sunday, Dec. 11, the 346th day of 2011 with 20 to follow.
The moon is waning. 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 U.S. statesman George Mason in 1725; 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; football Hall of Fame member Doc Blanchard in 1924; actor Rita Moreno (first performer to win an Oscar, Tony, Emmy and Grammy) in 1931 (age 80); singers David Gates in 1940 (age 71) and Brenda Lee in 1944 (age 69); actors Donna Mills in 1940 (age 71), Teri Garr in 1947 (age 64) and Bess Armstrong in 1953 (age 58); singer Jermaine Jackson in 1954 (age 57); and actors Mo'Nique in 1967 (age 44) and Mos Def in 1973 (age 38).
On this date in history:
In 1789, the North Carolina legislature chartered the University of North Carolina.
In 1816, Indiana joined the United States as its 19th state.
In 1941, four days after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States.
In 1946, UNICEF was established.
In 1951, Joe DiMaggio announced his retirement from baseball.
In 1953, Alaska's first TV station signed on the air.
In 1972, Apollo 17 landed on the moon; the last Apollo mission to the moon.
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 didn't 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 released the toxic sarin gas in Tokyo subway trains the previous March that killed 12 people.
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.
Also in 2001, China joined the World Trade Organization.
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, 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.
In 2008, Bernard Madoff, an investment manager, was charged with defrauding clients of as much as $50 billion in what may be the largest swindle in Wall Street history. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission officials said he ran a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.
Also in 2008, nearly 50 people were killed in the bombing at a restaurant in northern Iraq where Kurdish leaders and members of the Sunni Awakening Councils met to discuss ways to reduce tension in Kirkuk between Arabs and Kurds.
In 2009, Tiger Woods, acknowledging the pain his "infidelity" caused others, announced he was taking an "indefinite break" from pro golf to focus on his family.
Also in 2009, Pope Benedict XVI met with leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland and promised to investigate decades of sexual abuse of children.
In 2010, Mark Madoff, the 46-year-old eldest son of convicted multibillion-dollar Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff, hanged himself in his New York apartment on the second anniversary of his father's arrest, police said.
A thought for the day: Paul Valery said, "That which has always been accepted by everyone, everywhere, is almost certain to be false."