Today is Wednesday, Dec. 6, the 340th day of 2017 with 25 to follow.
The moon is waning. The morning stars are Jupiter, Mars and Venus. The evening stars are Mercury, and Uranus.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include England's King Henry VI in 1421; lyricist Ira Gershwin in 1896; bank robber Lester "Baby Face" Nelson in 1908; jazz pianist Dave Brubeck in 1920; football Hall of Fame member Otto Graham in 1921; actor James Naughton in 1945 (age 71); actor JoBeth Williams in 1948 (age 69); actor Tom Hulce in 1953 (age 64); comedian Steven Wright in 1955 (age 62); actor Janine Turner in 1962 (age 55); actor Janine Turner in 1962 (age 55); director and screenwriter Judd Apatow in 1967 (age 50); Ryan White, U.S. HIV/AIDS activist, in 1971; Heisman Trophy-winning NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel in 1992 (age 25); actor Stefanie Scott in 1996 (age 21).
On this date in history:
In 1768, Encyclopedia Britannica was first published.
In 1865, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, abolishing slavery in the United States.
In 1877, The Washington Post published its first edition.
In 1907, in West Virginia's Marion County, an explosion in a network of mines owned by the Fairmont Coal Co. in Monongah killed 361 coal miners. It was the worst mining disaster in U.S. history.
In 1917, more than 1,900 people died in an explosion when a Belgian relief ship and a French munitions vessel collided in the harbor at Halifax, Nova Scotia.
In 1922, the Irish Free State, forerunner of the modern Republic of Ireland, was officially proclaimed.
In 1933, following the repeal of Prohibition, Americans crowded into liquor stores, bars and cafes to buy their first legal alcoholic beverages in 13 years.
In 1941, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent a message to Japanese Emperor Hirohito expressing hope that gathering war clouds would be dispelled. Japan attacked Pearl Harbor the next day.
In 1973, Gerald Ford was confirmed as vice president under Richard Nixon, replacing Spiro Agnew, who had resigned in the face of income tax-evasion charges.
In 1975, the U.S. Senate authorized a $2.3 billion emergency loan to save New York City from bankruptcy.
In 1995, Michael Jackson was hospitalized after collapsing on stage while rehearsing for an HBO special. Paramedics said he had low blood pressure.
In 1997, the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia's Far East was hit by a fierce earthquake, measuring 8.5 to 9 in magnitude, but there were no reported deaths in the sparsely populated region.
In 2005, an Iranian military aircraft hit a 10-story residential building in Tehran and exploded shortly after takeoff, killing at least 128 people.
In 2006, Robert Gates was confirmed as the secretary of defense by the U.S. Senate on a 95-2 vote.
In 2010, Julian Assange, the Australian-born co-founder of WikiLeaks, the whistle-blower website that published thousands of secret U.S. government documents, was arrested in Britain on a Swedish warrant accusing him of sexual assault.
In 2012, U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., announced he would leave the Senate to head the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
A thought for the day: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Houghwout Jackson wrote, "The day that this country ceases to be free for irreligion, it will cease to be free for religion."