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Today is Monday, Nov. 26, the 331st day of 2012 with 35 to follow.

The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Mercury, Venus, Saturn and Jupiter. Evening stars included Neptune, Uranus and Mars.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include German composer Johannes Bach in 1604; English clergyman and college benefactor John Harvard in 1607; English poet William Cowper in 1731; surgeon and women’s rights leader Mary Walker Edwards in 1832; gambler, frontier lawman and sports writer William "Bat" Masterson in 1853; air conditioning engineer Willis Carrier in 1876; baseball Hall of Fame member Lefty Gomez in 1908; French playwright Eugene Ionesco in 1909; TV journalist Eric Sevareid in 1912; science fiction writer Frederik Pohl in 1919 (age 93); cartoonist Charles Schulz ("Peanuts") in 1922; Argentine pacifist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel in 1931 (age 81); singer Robert Goulet in 1933; impressionist Rich Little in 1938 (age 74); and singer Tina Turner in 1939 (age 73); pop singer Jean Terrell in 1944 (age 68); rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame member John McVie in 1945 (age 67); and football Hall of Fame member Art Shell in 1946 (age 66).

On this date in history:

In 1789, U.S. President George Washington declared Nov. 26, 1789, to be Thanksgiving Day. It was the first U.S. holiday by presidential proclamation.

In 1832, the first streetcar railway in America started public service in New York City from City Hall to 14th Street. The car was pulled by a horse and the fare was 12 1/2 cents.

In 1842, the University of Notre Dame was founded in South Bend, Ind.

In 1922, In Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, British archaeologists Howard Carter and George Carnarvon became the first humans to enter King Tutankhamen’s treasure-laden tomb in more than 3,000 years.

In 1940, German Nazis forced 500,000 Jews in Warsaw to live in a ghetto surrounded by an 8-foot concrete wall.

In 1941, U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull submitted U.S. proposals to the Japanese peace envoys in Washington.

In 1956, bandleader Tommy Dorsey died at age 51. His records sold more than 110 million copies.

In 1965, France launched a satellite into space, becoming the world’s third space power after the United States and the Soviet Union.

In 1984, the United States and Iraq restored diplomatic relations, ending a 17-year break.

In 1992, the United States offered to send up to 20,000 U.S. ground troops to civil war-torn Somalia as part of a U.N. force to get relief supplies to the starving populace.

In 1997, the price of gold in New York City fell to $298 per ounce, the lowest level in 12 years.

In 2001, a three-day Afghanistan prison revolt claimed the life of a CIA operative, Johnny Michael Spann, 32, a former U.S. Marine captain and the first U.S. combat casualty of the war.

In 2003, the U.N. nuclear watchdog passed a resolution condemning Iran’s nuclear program but stopped short of recommending sanctions.

In 2004, a man broke into a high school dormitory in central China and killed eight students with a knife as they were sleeping. The killer got away.

In 2005, police officials said at least 30 people were killed and injured in a series of bombings and armed attacks in Iraq.

Also in 2005, a 67-year-old textile tycoon in India, Vijaypat Singhania, set a world’s altitude record of 69,852 feet in a hot air balloon over Mumbai.

In 2006, Russia’s state-run arms exporter denied Russian news agency reports it had begun delivering Tor-M1 anti-aircraft missiles to Iran.

In 2007, riots broke out in suburban Paris after two teenagers on a stolen motorcycle were killed when they hit a police car.

In 2008, militants launched a series of coordinated attacks on Mumbai landmarks and commercial hubs popular with foreign tourists, killing at least 173 people and wounding about 300 more.

In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama announced a 10-year, nationwide effort to move U.S. students to the head of the global class in science and math achievement.

Also in 2009, Saudi Arabia’s heaviest rain in years left about 100 people dead, officials said, lashing Jeddah and the adjacent holy places of Mina, Muzdalifah and Arafath and interrupting the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

In 2010, a long-running undercover FBI operation foiled an alleged attempt to bomb a popular Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Ore. A 19-year-old Somali immigrant was arrested.

Also in 2010, 66 percent of U.S. voters polled in a national survey said the country was headed in the wrong direction.

In 2011, Ali Abdullah Saleh, president of violence-wracked Yemen for 33 years, obeyed an earlier agreement and stepped down, the fourth Arab leader swept away by protests in the year.

A thought for the day: Richard Bentley said, "It is a maxim with me that no man was ever written out of reputation but by himself."

Today is Tuesday, Nov. 27, the 332nd day of 2012 with 34 to follow.

The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Mercury, Venus, Saturn and Jupiter.

Evening stars included Neptune, Uranus and Mars.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include Anders Celsius, Swedish astronomer and inventor of the centigrade thermometer, in 1701; American historian Charles Beard and Israeli statesman Chaim Weizmann, both in 1874; producer David Merrick in 1911; entertainer "Buffalo Bob" Smith ("The Howdy Dowdy Show") in 1917; writer Gail Sheehy in 1937 (age 75); actor and martial arts star Bruce Lee in 1940; singer Eddie Rabbitt in 1941; rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix in 1942 and Olympic gold medal winning sprinter Henry Carr, also in 1942 (age 70); Caroline Kennedy, daughter of President John F. Kennedy, in 1957 (age 55); actors James Avery in 1948 (age 64), Curtis Armstrong in 1953 (age 59), Fisher Stevens in 1963 (age 49), Robin Givens in 1964 (age 48) and Jaleel White in 1976 (age 36); film director Kathryn Bigelow in 1951 (age 61); and Bill Nye "The Science Guy," in 1955 (age 57).

On this date in history:

In 1759, town officials in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, evicted the Rev. Francis Gastrell from William Shakespeare’s home after he cut down a 150-year-old tree that had been planted by the writer.

In 1901, the U.S. War Department authorized creation of the Army War College to instruct commissioned officers. It was built in Leavenworth, Kan.

In 1924, the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade takes place n New York

In 1940, two months after Gen. Ion Antonescu seized power in Romania and forced King Carol II to abdicate more than 60 aides of the exiled king, including Nicolae Iorga, a former minister and acclaimed historian, were executed.

In 1970, a man with a knife attempted to injure Pope Paul VI at Manila Airport in the Philippines.

In 1989, University of Chicago doctors implanted part of a woman’s liver in her 21-month-old daughter in the nation’s first living donor liver transplant.

Also in 1989, Virginia certified Douglas Wilder as the nation’s first elected black governor by a margin of 0.38 percent of the vote.

In 1990, British treasury chief John Major was elected Conservative Party leader, succeeding Margaret Thatcher as prime minister.

In 1994, Bosnian Serbs took 150 U.N. peacekeepers hostage to prevent NATO airstrikes.

In 2003, U.S. President George W. Bush swooped into Iraq under the cover of darkness in a surprise visit to U.S. forces in Baghdad to help serve Thanksgiving dinner.

In 2005, earthquakes struck China and Iran. At least 17 people died in the quake that rattled eastern China and at least 10 were killed when another tremor hit southern Iran.

In 2006, while deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein awaited court-ordered execution on his earlier mass murder conviction, Baghdad prosecutors resumed his second trial in which he and six others were charged with crimes against humanity in the deaths of as many as 180,000 Kurds in 1987-88.

In 2008, authorities say fires and explosions rocked Mumbai 24 hours after coordinated terrorist assaults struck India’s largest city. Gunfire and explosions were reported at the Oberoi and Taj Mahal hotels and a Jewish center.

Also in 2008, Edna Scott Parker, said to be the oldest person in the world, died at age 115 in Indiana.

In 2009, the International Atomic Energy Agency passed a resolution denouncing Iran for building a secret uranium enrichment site. The IAEA, on a 25-3 vote with six members abstaining and China and Russia supporting passage, also demanded the project be halted immediately.

In 2010, South Korea and the United States shrugged off North Korean warnings and started four days of naval exercises in the Yellow Sea. North Korea, which shelled a South island a few days earlier in an effort to head off the exercises, warned the drills would move the area closer to "the brink of war."

In 2011, pro-Shiite militants raided a town in northern Yemen, killing at least 24 Sunni Muslims the same day the country got a new interim prime minister. Mohammed Basindwa was named on an interim basis to put together a reconciliation government.

A thought for the day: King Louis XVIII of France had a favorite saying, "Punctuality is the politeness of kings."

This is Wednesday, Nov. 28, the 333rd day of 2011 with 33 to follow.

The moon is full. The morning stars are Mercury, Venus, Saturn and Jupiter.

Evening stars included Neptune, Uranus and Mars.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include English writer John Bunyan in 1628; English poet William Blake in 1757; John Hyatt, inventor of celluloid, in 1837; architect Henry Bacon, designer of the Lincoln Memorial, in 1866; Motown Records founder Berry Gordy in 1929 (age 83); actor Hope Lange in 1933;

singer/composer Randy Newman in 1943 (age 69); ballet dancer Alexander Godunov and band leader Paul Shaffer (age 63), both in 1949; actors Ed Harris in 1950 (age 62), S. Epatha Merkerson (TV’s "Law and Order") in 1952 (age 60) and Judd Nelson in 1959 (age 53); and comedian Jon Stewart in 1962 (age 50).

On this date in history:

In 1520, Ferdinand Magellan entered the Pacific Ocean on his way around the world. He was the first European to sail the Pacific from the east.

In 1919, Virginia-born Nancy Astor became the first woman member of the British Parliament.

In 1925, "The Grand Ole Opry," the famed country music show, made its radio debut.

In 1942, a fire at the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston killed 491 people. Most victims suffocated or were trampled to death.

In 1958, the United States fired an intercontinental ballistic missile at full range for the first time.

In 1963, Cape Canaveral, the space center in Florida, was renamed Cape Kennedy to honor the assassinated president. Area residents later voted to revert to the original name.

In 1989, Czechoslovakian Premier Ladislav Adamec agreed to a coalition government. The next day, the Czech Parliament revoked the Communist Party’s monopoly.

In 1992, a fire destroyed parts of the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, threatening the famous Lipizzaner stallions.

In 1993, Carlos Roberto Reina was elected president of Honduras.

In 1994, serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and a second inmate were beaten to death by another prisoner at the Columbia Correctional Center in Portage, Wis.

In 2002, an explosion hit an Israeli-owned hotel near Mombasa, Kenya, killing at least 15 people and two missiles were fired at a departing Israeli passenger plane.

In 2003, an estimated 182 people were killed when two crowded ferries collided during a storm in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In 2004, a gas explosion in a central China mine killed a reported 166 people. About 123 miners escaped.

In 2005, at least 150 miners were killed in a northeast China coal mine explosion. Seventy-one were reported missing.

Also in 2005, U.S. Rep. Randall "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., pleaded guilty to tax evasion and conspiracy charges involving bribes from military contractors.

In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI flew to Ankara, Turkey, amid heavy security to mend religious fences and establish a dialogue with Muslims. Some 250,000 Muslims demonstrated against the papal visit over remarks Benedict made in September perceived as offensive to Islam.

Also in 2006, leftist candidate Rafael Correa was declared winner of the Ecuadorian presidential election.

In 2007, a U.S. airstrike in eastern Afghanistan killed 22 Afghan civilian road construction workers. The men, working on a U.S. military contract, died as they slept in tents in a remote mountainous area.

In 2008, at least 400 people were killed and hundreds more wounded in clashes in Nigeria between Muslims and Christians over local elections.

Also in 2008, the assault on Mumbai ended after three violent days of shooting and bombings by a team of militants. The death toll stood at 173 with about 300 injured. The only attacker captured alive said he belonged to a militant group in Pakistan.

In 2009, golf superstar Tiger Woods was treated and released at a hospital after his car slammed into a fire hydrant and a tree near his home in suburban Orlando, Fla. Police said Woods was unconscious and they were told his wife smashed a window with a golf club to pull him from the car.

Also in 2009, a terrorist bomb planted on train tracks between Moscow and St. Petersburg derailed Russia’s high-speed Nevsky Express, killing at least 27 people and injuring close to 100.

In 2010, reaction around the world was swift and mostly negative to a new batch of more than 200,000 confidential U.S. diplomatic documents published on the WikiLeaks whistle-blower Web site. U.S. officials denounced the release, which included many items classified as secret, and branded them a threat to global security.

Also in 2010, the first round of Haiti’s elections was so chaotic 12 of the 19 presidential candidates, alleging voter fraud, demanded it be canceled, reports said. Former first lady Mirlande Manigat and Jude Celestine, favorite of outgoing President Rene Preval, finished 1-2 to qualify for a January runoff but the omission of popular singer Michel (Sweet Micky) Martelly touched off angry demonstrations.

In 2011, the congressional supercommittee’s failure to come to grips with the federal debt led Fitch Ratings to put the U.S. credit rating on a negative outlook, meaning there was a better than 50-50 chance the rating could be downgraded within two years.

Also in 2011, Iran’s Parliament voted to downgrade diplomatic ties with Britain in angry response to added sanctions by Western nations.

A thought for the day: Thomas Carlyle said, "Speech is of time, silence is of eternity."

Today is Thursday, Nov. 29, the 334th day of 2012 with 32 to follow.

The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mercury, Venus, Saturn and Jupiter. Evening stars included Neptune, Uranus and Mars.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include Austrian physicist Christian Doppler in 1803; author Louisa May Alcott in 1832; Chinese Empress Dowager Tz’u Hsi in 1835; English electrical engineer Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), who devised the radio tube-diode, in 1849; film choreographer Busby Berkeley in 1895; Irish novelist C.S. Lewis in 1898; sports broadcasting legend Vin Scully in 1927 (age 85); former French President Jacques Chirac in 1932 (age 80); British blues musician John Mayall in 1933 (age 79); actor Diane Ladd in 1935 (age 77); rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame member Denny Doherty and musician/composer Chuck Mangione (age 72), both in 1940; comedians Garry Shandling in 1949 (age 63) and Howie Mandel in 1955 (age 57); filmmaker Joel Coen in 1954 (age 58); Janet Napolitano. U.S. secretary of Homeland Security, in 1957 (age 55); Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 1959 (age 53); actors Cathy Moriarty in 1960 (age 52), Kim Delaney and Tom Sizemore, but in 1961 (age 51), Andrew McCarthy in 1962 (age 50) and Don Cheadle in 1964 (age 48); and record-setting relief pitch Mariano Rivera in 1969 (age 43).

On this date in history:

In 1877, Thomas Edison demonstrated his invention, a hand-cranked phonograph that recorded sound on grooved metal cylinders. Edison shouted verses of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" into the machine which played back his voice.

In 1890, the first Army-Navy football game was played with Navy winning 24-0.

In 1929, U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Richard Byrd and three crewmen became the first people to fly over the South Pole.

In 1947, despite strong Arab opposition, the United Nations voted for the partition of Palestine and the creation of the independent Jewish state of Israel.

In 1963, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson appointed the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of U.S. President John Kennedy.

In 1986, movie icon Cary Grant died of a stroke at the age of 82.

In 1988, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev told a landmark Supreme Soviet session that the country’s system of government needed radical change.

In 1989, Romanian Olympic gymnastic hero Nadia Comaneci fled to Hungary. She eventually reached the United States.

In 1990, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution authorizing "all necessary means," including military force, against Iraq if it didn’t withdraw from Kuwait by Jan. 15, 1991.

In 1991, a dust storm in Coalinga, Calif., triggered a massive pileup by more than 250 vehicles on Interstate 5, killing 15 people and injuring more than 100.

In 1992, blacks killed four whites and wounded 17 more at a South African golf club. The attack was thought to be the first by blacks against white civilians since the 1990 legalization of anti-apartheid groups.

In 1994, voters in Norway rejected a proposal to join the European Union.

In 2001, George Harrison, lead guitarist of the Beatles, died of cancer. He was 58.

In 2003, Iraqi insurgents killed seven members of Spain’s National Intelligence Center and two Japanese diplomats in a series of attacks apparently aimed at non-American foreigners.

Also in 2003, plans by Britain, France and Germany to give the European Union a military planning arm, independent of NATO, won backing from the rest of the bloc.

In 2005, Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals reported 1,086 bodies were recovered in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

In 2007, an Islamic court found a British teacher working in Sudan guilty of inciting religious hatred by allowing her class of 7-year-olds to name a Teddy bear "Mohammed." Gillian Gibbons, 54, was sentenced to 15 days in prison and deportation while street mobs demanded her execution.

In 2008, the United Nations said a cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe killed more than 400 people with almost 10,000 cases reported.

In 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama, saying the federal government must tighten its belt, proposed a two-year pay freeze on civilian federal employees.

In 2011, Michael Jackson’s personal physician was sentenced to four years in prison for his role in the pop star’s 2009 death. Dr. Conrad Murray, a Texas cardiologist, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

Also in 2011, AMR Corp., the parent of American Airlines and American Eagle, said the carriers will keep flying despite declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

A thought for the day: Helmuth von Moltke wrote, "A war, even the most victorious, is a national misfortune."

Today is Friday, Nov. 30, the 335th day of 2012 with 31 to follow.

The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mercury, Venus, Saturn and Jupiter.

Evening stars included Neptune, Uranus and Mars.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio in 1508; Irish satirist Jonathan Swift in 1667; novelist Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) in 1835; film director Gordon Parks in 1912; British statesman Winston Churchill in 1874; actors Efrem Zimbalist Jr. in 1918 (age 94) and Virginia Mayo in 1920; Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress, and comedian Allan Sherman, both in 1924; actors Richard Crenna in 1926 and Robert Guillaume in 1927 (age 85); producer/TV music show host Dick Clark in 1929; Watergate figure G. Gordon Liddy in 1930 (age 82); 1960s radical Abbie Hoffman in 1936; filmmaker Ridley Scott in 1937 (age 75); playwright David Mamet in 1947 (age 64); singer/actor Mandy Patinkin in 1952 (age 60); singer June Pointer in 1953 (age 50); rock singer Billy Idol in 1955 (age 57); historian Michael Beschloss in 1955 (age 57); Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson in 1962 (age 50); actor Ben Stiller in 1965 (age 47); and singer Clay Aiken in 1978 (age 34).

On this date in history:

In 1731, a series of earthquakes struck China. More than 100,000 people died.

In 1782, preliminary peace articles formally ending the American Revolutionary War were signed in Paris.

In 1913, Charles Chaplin made his screen debut in Mack Sennett’s short film "Making a Living."

In 1939, the Russo-Finnish War started after the Soviet Union failed to obtain territorial concessions from Finland.

In 1975, Israel pulled its forces out of a 93-mile-long corridor along the Gulf of Suez as part of an interim peace agreement with Egypt.

In 1988, the Soviet Union stopped jamming broadcasts of Radio Free Europe for the first time in 30 years.

In 1989, rebels launched a fifth major coup attempt against Philippine President Corazon Aquino.

Also in 1989, Czechoslovakia announced an end to travel restrictions and said it planned to dismantle some of the fortifications along the Austrian border.

In 2003, the World Health Organization unveiled a historic plan to treat 3 million impoverished AIDS sufferers by the end of 2005.

In 2004, flash floods and landslides killed more than 300 people in the storm-swept Philippines.

In 2004 entertainment, Ken Jennings lost on the game show "Jeopardy!" after winning 74 games and $2.5 million.

In 2005, the world’s first partial-face transplant was conducted in France where a woman was given a new nose, lips and chin following a brutal dog bite.

In 2006, the international committee of the Red Cross said civilians were dying in the Iraq war at an average of more than 100 a day.

In 2007, an AtlasJet Airlines plane traveling from Istanbul, to Isparta, Turkey, crashed near the Isparta airport, killing all 56 people on board.

Also in 2007, police arrested a man who claimed to have a bomb and took several people hostage at the presidential campaign office of Hillary Clinton in Rochester, N.H. No one was injured in the almost six-hour ordeal.

In 2008, officials said the owners of a Ukrainian arms ship hijacked off Somalia more than two months previously agreed to pirates’ $20 million ransom demand.

In 2010, a second U.S. district judge ruled the mandate to buy health insurance, a key provision in new federal healthcare reform legislation, is constitutional.

Also in 2010, Mexico is quickly becoming the world’s leading source of the illicit drug methamphetamine, U.S. law enforcement officials report.

In 2011, Wall Street closed November with a surge as the Dow Jones industrial average turned in its biggest one-day gain in 32 months — 490.06 points — triggered by coordinated efforts of the U.S. Federal Reserve and five other banks to add liquidity to financial markets and ease the strain imposed by the ongoing debt crisis in Europe.

Also in 2011, a record seizure of more than 32 tons of marijuana was found in a 625-yard tunnel linking warehouses in Mexico and California. U.S. authorities said the elaborate tunnel was equipped with an elevator and an electric rail system.

A thought for the day: Irish satirist Jonathan Swift wrote: "I never saw, heard, nor read that the clergy were beloved in any nation where Christianity was the religion of the country. Nothing can render them popular but some degree of persecution."

This is Saturday, Dec. 1, the 336th day of 2012 with 30 to follow.

The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mercury, Venus, Saturn and Jupiter.

Evening stars included Neptune, Uranus and Mars.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include French wax figure sculptor Marie Tussaud in 1761; detective novelist Rex Stout in 1886; former United Mine Workers president W.A. "Tony" Boyle in 1904; baseball Hall of Fame member Walter Alston in 1911; singer/actor Mary Martin in 1913; soul singer Lou Rawls in 1933; comedian/filmmaker Woody Allen in 1935 (age 77); golf Hall of Famer Lee Trevino in 1939 (age 73); comedian Richard Pryor in 1940; rock n’ roll Hall of Fame member John Densmore (The Doors) in 1944 (age 68); singer/actor Bette Midler in 1945 (age 67); actor Treat Williams in 1951 (age 61); model Carol Alt in 1960 (age 52); comedian Sarah Silverman in 1970 (age 42); Matthew Shepard, murder victim killed because he was gay in 1976; sandwich shop spokesman Jared Fogle in 1977 (age 35).

On this date in history:

In 1891, the game of basketball was invented when James Naismith, a physical education teacher at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, Mass., put peach baskets at the opposite ends of the gym and gave students soccer balls to toss into them.

In 1903, the world’s first drive-in gasoline station opened for business in Pittsburgh.

In 1917, the Rev. Edward Flanagan founded Boys Town near Omaha.

In 1943, ending a "Big Three" meeting in Tehran, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Russian Premier Josef Stalin pledged a concerted effort to defeat Nazi Germany.

In 1953, the first Playboy magazine was published. Marilyn Monroe was on the cover.

In 1955, Rosa Parks, a black woman, was arrested in Montgomery, Ala., for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a city bus, signaling, along with its resulting bus boycott and related events, the birth of the modern civil rights movement.

In 1988, Benazir Bhutto appointed prime minister of Pakistan, a post she held un August 1990 and again from October 1993-November 1996.

In 2004, one dozen people were killed in a prison riot and shootouts in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, during a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

In 2005, same-sex marriage became legal in South Africa when the country’s Constitutional Court ruled that laws banning it were unconstitutional.

In 2006, U.S. President George W. Bush proclaimed Dec. 1 World AIDS Day and urged all Americans to join in the fight against the disease.

Also in 2006, the British government decided on a near total indoor public smoking ban in England. Only private homes and hotel rooms were exempt.

In 2007, a methane gas explosion injured 52 miners at the underground Ukraine coal mine where 101 miners died in a blast two weeks earlier.

In 2008, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 680 points after the National Bureau of Economic Research announced that the United States has been in recession since December 2007 and the release of a report indicating that U.S. manufacturing hit a 26-year low.

Also in 2008, President-elect Barack Obama introduced Hillary Clinton, his chief rival in the Democratic presidential race, as his choice for secretary of state. He also said he wanted to retain Robert Gates as secretary of defense.

In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama announced he was sending an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, raising the number of military personnel there to 100,000. His plan called also for troop removal to begin in July 2011.

In 2010, the Obama administration announced that it would extend the moratorium on offshore drilling off the Eastern Gulf Coast and along the Atlantic Coast until stricter environmental and safety regulations were implemented.

Also in 2010, the United Nations projected 3.1 percent economic growth worldwide in 2011 and a 3.5 percent rise in 2012. The report said that wasn’t enough to solve the jobs problem which saw at least 30 million jobs evaporate from 2007-09.

In 2011, Iceland became the first Western European country to recognize a Palestinian sovereign state. In its resolution, the Icelandic Parliament voted to specifically recognize the pre-1967 borders of the West Bank and Gaza, The Palestinian Authority has asked the United Nations for full statehood recognition.

A thought for the day: it was Ezra Pound who said, "Literature is news that stays news."

Today is Sunday, Dec. 2, the 337th day of 2012 with 29 to follow.

The moon is waning. The morning stars are Mercury, Venus, Saturn and Jupiter. Evening stars included Neptune, Uranus and Mars.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include French painter Georges-Pierre Seurat in 1859; circus co-founder Charles Ringling in 1863; engineer Peter Carl Goldmark, the inventor of the long-playing record, in 1906; composer/lyricist Adolph Green in 1914; opera singer Maria Callas in 1923; former Secretary of State Alexander Haig Jr. in 1924; actor Julie Harris in 1925 (age 87); former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III in 1931 (age 81); U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), D-Nev., in 1939 (age 73); artist and dog photographer William Wegman in 1943 (age 69); actor Cathy Lee Crosby in 1944 (age 68); fashion designer Gianni Versace in 1946; figure skater Randy Gardner in 1958 (age 54); writer Ann Patchett in 1963 (age 49); actor Lucy Liu in 1968 (age 44); tennis player Monica Seles in 1973 (age 39); singer-songwriter Nelly Furtado in 1978 (age 34); and pop singer Britney Spears in 1981 (age 31).

On this date in history:

In 1804, Napoleon crowned himself emperor of France.

In 1823, during his annual address to the U.S. Congress, President James Monroe proclaimed a new U.S. foreign policy initiative that became known as the "Monroe Doctrine."

In 1859, abolitionist John Brown was hanged for his raid on the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, W.Va.

In 1927, the Model A Ford was introduced as the successor to the Model T. The price of a Model A roadster was $395.

In 1942, the Atomic Age was born when scientists demonstrated the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction at a laboratory below the stands at the University of Chicago football stadium.

In 1954, the U.S. Senate voted 65 to 22 to condemn Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R-Wis., for conduct unbecoming a senator. The condemnation, which was equivalent to a censure, related to McCarthy’s controversial investigation of allegedly suspected communists in the U.S. government, military and civilian society.

In 1961, Fidel Castro disclosed he was a communist, acknowledging he concealed the fact until he solidified his hold on Cuba.

In 1982, retired dentist Barney Clark, 62, became the first person to receive a permanent artificial heart. He survived 112 days.

In 1990, Aaron Copland, the dean of American music, died at age 90; and actor Bob Cummings died at age 80.

In 1993, Colombian drug trafficker Pablo Escobar was killed in a shoot-out with police and soldiers in the Colombian city of Medellin.

In 2001, U.S. forces in Afghanistan captured John Walker Lindh, 20, a U.S. citizen from San Anselmo, Calif., found fighting with the Taliban.

Also in 2001, Enron, the giant Houston energy trading company, its stock nearly worthless, became the largest firm to file for bankruptcy.

In 2004, John Danforth, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, resigned.

In 2006, at least 32 people died and 16 were injured when a 150-year-old pedestrian bridge collapsed onto a passenger train near Bhagalpur, India.

Also in 2006, three Baghdad car bombs, detonated in quick succession, killed at least 51 people, many shopping at a food market in a Shiite neighborhood.

In 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s party dominated parliamentary elections. Putin, who couldn’t seek another consecutive term, named his successor and became prime minister.

In 2010, the U.S. Congress approved a national child nutrition bill expanding the scope of the current school lunch program and implementing improvements to the overall health of available foods to help reduce childhood hunger and obesity.

Also in 2010, South Korea military officials say they believe North Korea suffered "many casualties" in Seoul’s bombardment response to the North’s shelling of a South island.

In 2011, U.S. unemployment declined to 8.6 percent in November, its lowest level in two and a half years. Employers added 120,000 jobs during the month.

Also in 2011, people in southern Yemen blamed forces loyal to the outgoing president for shelling that killed a dozen civilians and wounded 45 this week.

A thought for the day: Casey Stengel once remarked, "There comes a time in every man’s life and I’ve had many of them."

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