TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1816, Indiana was admitted as the 19th U.S. state.
In 1941, the United States declared war on Germany and Italy, hours after those nations had declared war on the U.S.
In 1946, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was established.
In 1972, the lunar module for Apollo 17, the final manned mission of the Apollo space program, touched down on the moon.
In 2008, investment banker Bernie Madoff was arrested for perpetrating one of the largest Ponzi-scheme frauds in U.S. history.
TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: Hector Berlioz (1803-1869), composer; Fiorello La Guardia (1882-1947), New York City mayor; Alexandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008), novelist/dissident; Rita Moreno (1931- ), actress; John Kerry (1943- ), U.S. secretary of state; Teri Garr (1944- ), actress; Mo'Nique (1967- ), actress; Mos Def (1973- ), actor/rapper; Hailee Steinfeld, (1996- ), actress.
TODAY'S FACT: Apollo 17, which set records for the longest lunar surface exploration and the most lunar material collected, remains the most recent manned lunar mission.
TODAY'S SPORTS: In 1981, Muhammad Ali fought in his final boxing match, losing a unanimous decision to Trevor Berbick.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny." -- Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, "The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956"
TODAY'S NUMBER: $17.3 billion -- total (in principal) lost by clients in Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme. $48 billion more was lost in fictitious profits.
TODAY'S MOON: Between new moon (Dec. 7) and first quarter moon (Dec. 15).