December 23, 2015 - 3:30 AM EST
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The Almanac

Today is Wednesday, Dec. 23, the 357th day of 2015 with eight to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Capricorn. They include Egyptologist Jean Francois Champollion, who deciphered the Rosetta Stone, in 1790; Mormon church founder Joseph Smith in 1805; poet Harriet Monroe, founder of Poetry magazine, in 1860; New York restaurateur Vincent Sardi Sr. in 1885; actor James Gregory in 1911; former West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt in 1918 (age 96); basketball Hall of Fame member Bob Kurland in 1924; actor Harry Guardino in 1925; bowling Hall of Fame member Dick Weber in 1929; Japanese Emperor Akihito in 1933 (age 82); football Hall of Fame member Paul Hornung in 1935 (age 80); Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Jorma Kaukonen in 1940 (age 75); singer-songwriter Tim Hardin in 1941; actor/comedian Harry Shearer in 1943 (age 72); marathon runner Bill Rodgers in 1947 (age 68); football Hall of Fame member Jack Ham in 1948 (age 67); political commentator William Kristol in 1952 (age 63); actors Susan Lucci in 1946 (age 69) and Corey Haim in 1971; and rock musician Eddie Vedder in 1964 (age 51). On this date in history:

In 1620, construction began on the first permanent European settlement in New England. It was one week after the Mayflower arrived at Plymouth Harbor in present-day Massachusetts.

In 1783, Gen. George Washington resigned his commission with the U.S. Army and retired to Mount Vernon, Va. (He became the new nation's first president in 1789.)

In 1913, the U.S. Federal Reserve System was established.

In 1928, the National Broadcasting Co. established a permanent U.S. coast-to-coast radio hookup.

In 1947, the transistor was invented, leading to a revolution in communications and electronics.

In 1948, former Prime Minister Hideki Tojo and six other Japanese war leaders were hanged in Tokyo under sentence of the Allied War Crimes Commission.

In 1973, the shah of Iran announced that the petroleum-exporting states of the Persian Gulf would double the price of their crude oil.

In 1987, Dick Rutan and Jeana Yaeger landed the experimental aircraft Voyager at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., completing a record nine-day, 25,012-mile global flight without refueling.

In 1995, fire engulfed a tent set up for a school ceremony in Mandi Dabwali, India, killing more than 500 people.

In 2003, the first case of mad cow disease was reported in the United States when a Holstein in Washington state tested positive for the ailment.

In 2004, China reported its Bohai Bay Basin in the north may contain 20.5 billion tons of offshore oil reserves.

In 2008, officials in Guinea's army announced the country's government had been dissolved and the constitution suspended after the death of President Lansana Conte, who had ruled the African nation for 24 years.

In 2009, Mexico City voters approved a sweeping gay rights measure allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children.

In 2013, two members of the Pussy Riot punk band, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda lokonnikova, were released from prison in Russia in an amnesty program. They had served most of their two-year sentences after being convicted of hooliganism for participating in a performance critical of President Vladimir Putin.

A thought for the day: I don't think the human race will survive the next thousand years unless we spread into space. -- Stephen Hawking

Source: United Press International (December 23, 2015 - 3:30 AM EST)

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