Today is Wednesday, Dec. 11, the 345th day of 2013 with 20 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Jupiter, Mars, Mercury and Saturn. The evening stars are Neptune, Uranus and Venus.
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 82); singers David Gates in 1940 (age 73) and Brenda Lee in 1944 (age 69); actors Donna Mills in 1940 (age 73), Teri Garr in 1944 (age 69) and Bess Armstrong in 1953 (age 60); Rock and Roll Hall of Famer member Jermaine Jackson in 1954 (age 59); and actors Mo'Nique in 1967 (age 46) and Mos Def in 1973 (age 40).
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. It was the last Apollo lunar landing.
In 1984, a nativity scene was displayed near the White House for the first time since courts ordered it removed in 1973.
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 toxic sarin gas in Tokyo subway trains that killed 12 people in March.
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 with 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 was reality or myth.
In 2008, Bernard Madoff, an investment manager, was charged with defrauding clients of up to $50 billion in what may have been the largest swindle in Wall Street history. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission officials said he ran a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.
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.
In 2010, police said 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.
In 2012, Maria Miller, Britain's culture secretary, said a bill allowing same-sex marriage would be introduced in Parliament because "if a couple wish to show their love and commitment to each other, the state should not stand in their way." Legislation allowing gays to marry was later approved for England and Wales, with their first same-sex marriages expected in 2014.
A thought for the day: "You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." -- Mahatma Gandhi