There are 10 days left in the year.
Winter will arrive at 7:04 a.m. Eastern time.
The Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah, begins at sunset.
Today's Highlight in History:
- On Dec. 21, 1620, Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower went ashore for the first time at present-day Plymouth, Mass.
On this date:
- In 1804, British statesman Benjamin Disraeli was born in London.
- In 1937, the first feature-length animated cartoon in Technicolor, Walt Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," had its world premiere in Los Angeles.
- In 1940, author F. Scott Fitzgerald died in Hollywood, Calif., at age 44.
- In 1945, Gen. George S. Patton died in Heidelberg, Germany, of injuries from a car accident.
- In 1948, the state of Eire, or Ireland, passed an act declaring itself a republic.
- In 1958, Charles de Gaulle was elected to a seven-year term as the first president of the Fifth Republic of France.
- In 1968, Apollo 8 was launched on a mission to orbit the moon.
- In 1971, the U.N. Security Council chose Kurt Waldheim to succeed U Thant as Secretary-General.
- In 1976, the Liberian-registered tanker Argo Merchant broke apart near Nantucket Island, off Massachusetts, almost a week after running aground, spilling 7 1/2 million gallons of oil into the North Atlantic.
- In 1988, 270 people were killed when a terrorist bomb exploded aboard a Pam Am Boeing 747 over Lockerbie, Scotland, sending wreckage crashing to the ground.
Ten years ago:
- Israel's parliament voted overwhelmingly for early elections, signaling the demise of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ailing hard-line government.
- A Chinese court sentenced two dissidents (Xu Wenli, Wang Youcai) to long prison terms for trying to organize an opposition party. (Xu was released in December 2002; Wang, in March 2004.)
Five years ago:
- The government raised the national threat level to orange, indicating a high risk of terrorist attack. (It was lowered back to yellow on Jan. 9, 2004.)
- More than 150 people were killed in mudslides in the Philippines.
- Soviet diplomat Oleg Troyanovsky died at age 84.
One year ago:
- A suicide attacker detonated a bomb at a mosque outside the home of Pakistan's former interior minister, killing at least 50 people.
- Country singer Freddie Hart is 82.
- Actor Ed Nelson is 80.
- Talk show host Phil Donahue is 73.
- Movie director John Avildsen is 73.
- Actress Jane Fonda is 71.
- Actor Larry Bryggman is 70.
- Singer Carla Thomas is 66.
- Musician Albert Lee is 65.
- Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas is 64.
- Actor Samuel L. Jackson is 60.
- Movie producer Jeffrey Katzenberg is 58.
- Singer Betty Wright is 55.
- Tennis Hall-of-Famer Chris Evert is 54.
- Actress Jane Kaczmarek is 53.
- Country singer Lee Roy Parnell is 52.
- Entertainer Jim Rose is 52.
- Actor-comedian Ray Romano is 51.
- Country singer Christy Forester (The Forester Sisters) is 46.
- Rock musician Murph (The Lemonheads; Dinosaur Jr.) is 44.
- Actor-comedian Andy Dick is 43.
- Rock musician Gabrielle Glaser is 43.
- Actor Kiefer Sutherland is 42.
- Actress Karri Turner is 42.
- Actress Khrystyne Haje is 40.
- Country singer Brad Warren (The Warren Brothers) is 40.
- Actress Julie Delpy is 39.
- Country singer-musician Rhean Boyer (Carolina Rain) is 38.
- Contemporary Christian singer Natalie Grant is 37.
- Actor Glenn Fitzgerald is 37.
- Singer-musician Brett Scallions is 37.
- Rock singer Lukas Rossi (Rock Star Supernova) is 32.
- Country singer Luke Stricklin is 26.
Thought for Today:
"Many human beings say that they enjoy the winter, but what they really enjoy is feeling proof against it."
Richard Adams, English author.
"Let's all be careful out there!"