Today is Thursday, Dec. 8, the 343rd day of 2016 with 23 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Jupiter and Saturn. The evening stars are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Neptune, and Uranus.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include Mary Queen of Scots in 1542; Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin, in 1765; General Motors founder William Durant and French movie pioneer Georges Melies, both in 1861; Finnish composer Jean Sibelius in 1865; Mexican muralist Diego Rivera in 1886; humorist and artist James Thurber in 1894; actor Lee J. Cobb in 1911; entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. in 1925; actor Maximilian Schell in 1930 (age 86); comedian Flip Wilson in 1933; actors David Carradine in 1936 and James MacArthur in 1937; Irish flutist James Galway in 1939 (age 77); Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members Jim Morrison in 1943 and Gregg Allman in 1947 (age 69); writer Bill Bryson in 1951 (age 65); actors Kim Basinger in 1953 (age 63) and Teri Hatcher in 1964 (age 52); political commentator Ann Coulter in 1961 (age 55); Irish singer/songwriter Sinead O'Connor in 1966 (age 50); actor Dominic Monaghan in 1976 (age 40); and rap artist Nicki Minaj in 1982 (age 34).
On this date in history:
In 1886, delegates from 25 unions founded the American Federation of Labor, forerunner of the modern AFL-CIO, in Columbus, Ohio.
In 1941, President Roosevelt asked Congress to declare that "a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire" as a result of Japan's "unprovoked and dastardly attack."
In 1949, the Chinese Nationalist government, defeated by the Communists, retreated from the mainland to the island of Taiwan.
In 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist when the republics of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine signed an agreement creating the Commonwealth of Independent States.
In 1993, U.S. President Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), stating that free trade would lead to worldwide growth, equality, preservation of the environment and peace.
In 1997, Jenny Shipley was sworn in as the first woman prime minister of New Zealand.
In 2004, the International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) reported it was selling its personal computer business to Chinese rival Lenovo Group for $1.25 billion in cash and stock.
In 2005, a Southwest Airlines jetliner overshot a runway at Chicago's Midway International Airport in a snowstorm, crashing through a fence into a city street. A 6-year-old boy in a car hit by the plane was killed and at least 11 people were hurt.
In 2007, Afghanistan was in official mourning after a suicide bombing at a school in the north killed at least 52 people and injured 102 others. The dead included 18 children.
In 2008, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States and four co-defendants told a military judge at Guantanamo Bay that they wanted to confess to all charges of murder and war crimes.
In 2009, in what Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called "cowardly terrorist attacks, a series of apparently coordinated car bombings in Baghdad killed 127 people, wounded more than 450 and destroyed some government buildings.
In 2010, a prison fire south of Santiago, Chile, that apparently broke out after a fight between inmates killed at least 81 people and injured a dozen others.
In 2013, leaders of Afghanistan and Iran announced a "long-term friendship" agreement between the countries.
A thought for the day: "The serious problems facing the world ... will only be solved if women have a seat at the table and are listened to as to what is required. These issues will never be solved until women are able to use their full potential on behalf of themselves, their families and their global and local communities. -- Jenny Shipley