Today is Wednesday, Jan. 18, the 18th day of 2012 with 348 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mercury, Mars and Saturn, the evening stars Venus, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Capricorn. They include French philosopher Montesquieu in 1689; English physician Peter Roget, who compiled "Roget's Thesaurus," in 1779; American orator and statesman Daniel Webster in 1782; English author A.A. (Alan Alexander) Milne, who wrote "Winnie the Pooh," in 1882; comedian Oliver Hardy of the Laurel and Hardy movie team, in 1892; actors Cary Grant in 1904 and Danny Kaye in 1913; American inventor Ray Dolby and filmmaker John Boorman, both in 1933 (age 79); former Northern Ireland politician and Nobel Peace Prize laureate John Hume in 1937 (age 75); former baseball star Curt Flood in 1938; singers David Ruffin and Bobby Goldsboro (age 71), both in 1941; and actor Kevin Costner in 1955 (age 57).
On this date in history:
In 1778, James Cook became the first European to reach the Hawaiian Islands. He called them the "Sandwich Islands."
In 1871, William of Prussia was declared the first German emperor.
In 1943, Moscow announced the 16-month Nazi siege of Leningrad had been lifted.
In 1968, the United States and Soviet Union agreed on a draft of a nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
In 1983, The International Olympic Committee restored Jim Thorpe's Olympic medals to his family. They had been rescinded for Thorpe's having played professional baseball. He won gold medals in 1912 in the pentathlon and decathlon.
In 1990, Washington Mayor Marion Barry was arrested in an FBI sting at a downtown hotel and charged with buying and smoking crack cocaine.
In 1994, Iran-Contra independent counsel Lawrence Walsh issued his final report on the scandal. He blasted former U.S. President George H.W. Bush for his Christmas Eve 1992 pardons of six Iran-Contra defendants.
In 1995, officials in Paris announced the discovery of a magnificent display of Paleolithic cave art in southern France.
In 1996, Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley, filed for divorce from Michael Jackson after 20 months of marriage, citing irreconcilable differences.
In 1997, Norwegian Borge Ousland completed a 1,675-mile trek across Antarctica, the first time anyone traversed the continent alone.
In 2004, at least 23 people were reported killed when a car bomb exploded in Baghdad.
In 2006, bodies of 36 Iraqis were found in mass graves in two towns north of Baghdad. Officials said many of the victims were police recruits.
In 2007, Venezuelan lawmakers voted to allow President Hugo Chavez to rule by decree for 18 months.
In 2008, U.S. President George W. Bush urged passage of a $145 billion stimulus package to provide tax relief for individuals and businesses to boost a sagging U.S. economy.
Also in 2008, after major presidential primary tests in Iowa and New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton led Barack Obama in the Democratic race and Mike Huckbee and John McCain shared wins among the Republicans.
In 2009, the three-week assault by Israel on Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip came to an end with a truce. The offensive was aimed at stopping Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.
In 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama earned a 57 percent job approval rating for his first year in office, a rating pulled down by negative responses over the last six months, a Gallup poll indicated.
Also in 2010, the man who shot and wounded Pope John Paul II in 1981 was released from a Turkish prison after 29 years behind bars.
In 2011, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden vest in a group of police recruits in Tikrit, Iraq, killing at least 60 people and wounding 150 others.
Also in 2011, former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier; who recently returned to Port-au-Prince from exile, was charged with corruption and embezzlement.
A thought for the day: It was Jeff Pesis who defined hardware as "the parts of a computer that can be kicked."