Today is Wednesday, Sept. 12, the 256th day of 2012 with 110 to follow.
The moon is waning. Morning stars are Venus, Jupiter and Uranus. Evening stars are Mercury, Neptune, Saturn and Mars.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Virgo. They include British explorer Henry Hudson in 1575; Richard Gatling, inventor of the Gatling gun, in 1818; newspaperman Charles Dudley Warner in 1829; critic H.L. Mencken in 1880; French entertainer Maurice Chevalier in 1888; publisher Alfred A. Knopf in 1892; French Nobel chemistry prize laureate Irene Joliot-Curie in 1897; comedian Ben Blue in 1901; bandleader Shep Fields in 1910; U.S. Olympic track star Jesse Owens in 1913; singer/bandleader Eddy Howard in 1914; singer Ella Mae Morse in 1924; British actor Ian Holm and American country music singer George Jones, both in 1931 (age 81); circus animal trainer Gunther Gebel-Williams in 1934; actor Linda Gray in 1940 (age 72); singers Maria Muldaur in 1943 (age 69) and Barry White in 1944; actors Peter Scolari in 1955 (age 57), Rachel Ward in 1957 (age 55) and Darren E. Burrows in 1966 (age 46); singer Ruben Studdard in 1978 (age 34); and singer-actors Jennifer Hudson in 1981 (age 31) and Emmy Rossum in 1986 (age 26).
On this date in history:
In 1609, Henry Hudson discovered what is now known as the Hudson River.
In 1940, near Montignac, France, a collection of prehistoric cave paintings, believed to be 15,000-17,000 years old, were discovered by four teenagers who stumbled upon the ancient artwork after following their dog down a narrow entrance into a cavern.
In 1953, six months after the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev succeeded him with his election as first secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
In 1958, Little Rock High School in Arkansas was ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court to admit black students.
In 1969, heavy bombing of Vietnam resumed under orders from U.S. President Richard Nixon.
In 1974, military officers deposed Emperor Haile Selassie from the Ethiopian throne he had occupied for more than half a century.
In 1977, Steven Biko, leader of South Africa's "Black Consciousness Movement," died of severe head trauma on the stone floor of a prison cell in Pretoria. Six days earlier, he had suffered a major blow to his skull during a police interrogation.
In 1990, the four victorious allies of World War II and the two Germanys formally ended the war, signing a treaty that cleared way for a united Germany on Oct. 3.
In 1992, Endeavor rocketed into orbit on NASA's 50th shuttle flight; a $140 million Japanese-sponsored science mission featuring married astronauts and a menagerie of fish, frogs and other critters.
Also in 1992, actor Anthony Perkins, best known for his role of Norman Bates in "Psycho," died from complications of AIDS. He was 60.
In 1994, a pilot crashed his small plane on the White House lawn, killing himself and creating an alarm over presidential security.
In 1999, North Korea agreed to stop testing its long-range ballistic missiles. In response, the United States eased sanctions against Pyongyang.
In 2001, the day after the terrorist attacks, as around-the-clock workers continued to search for survivors in the World Trade Center wreckage, U.S. President George W. Bush was given the go-ahead by a supportive Congress to use all "necessary and appropriate force" needed against those responsible.
In 2002, U.S. President George W. Bush told the U.N. General Assembly he would work with the U.N. Security Council to meet the challenge from Iraq but said the world must move decisively to deal with the threat from Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
In 2004, Iran announced it planned to start processing 37 tons of uranium yellowcake, which Western intelligence officials estimated could be used to build five nuclear bombs.
In 2005, the last of the Israeli troops left the Gaza Strip as planned and the Palestinians immediately reclaimed the area Israel had controlled since the 1967 war.
In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI, in his first papal trip to his native Bavaria, in Germany, angered Muslims in a speech with a 14th-century quote criticizing Islam, leading to church bombings and other protests. The pope apologized for any offense caused, saying the words didn't reflect his own views.
Also in 2006, four family members were convicted in an Indian court of taking part in 1993 terror bombings in Mumbai that killed 257 people.
In 2007, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe resigned after just one year in office amid a series of financial scandals.
Also in 2007, Russia announced the successful test of a non-nuclear bomb that is reportedly as devastating as an atomic weapon.
In 2008, Twenty-five people were killed and more than 130 injured when a commuter train ran through a stop signal near Chatsworth, Calif., and slammed into an oncoming freight train. Federal officials confirmed the commuter engineer, who was killed, had been using his cellphone for text messaging shortly before the crash.
In 2009, thousands of anti-tax protesters gathered at the U.S. Capitol in the largest anti-government demonstration since U.S. President Barack Obama took office, final stop for the Tea Party Express on a 30-city rally.
In 2010, U.S. hiker Sarah Shourd, imprisoned in Iran on charges of espionage for more than a year after she and two male companions were accused of illegally crossing into Iranian territory, was released on $500,000 bail. The men, one of whom was her fiance, remained in prison.
Also in 2010, top bank regulators around the world agreed on new rules to protect the global investment industry, including a tripling of the amount of capital banks hold in reserve.
In 2011, a leaking gasoline pipeline exploded into flames in a densely populated slum in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, engulfing a large crowd of onlookers in an inferno so fierce some bodies were reduced to ashes. Officials said more than 100 people died and about that many were hospitalized with burns. Police said the pipeline may have been punctured in an effort to steal fuel and touched off by a discarded cigarette.
A thought for the day: Henry David Thoreau suggested that charity was valued too highly, adding, "and it is our selfishness which overrates it."