TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1639, Jeremiah Horrocks observed the first recorded transit of Venus, which occurs when Venus passes directly between the sun and the Earth.
In 1881, the first edition of the Los Angeles Times was published.
In 1945, the Senate formally approved United States participation in the United Nations by a vote of 65-7.
In 1991, Pan American World Airways (commonly known as Pan Am), went bankrupt and ceased operations.
In 1992, President George H.W. Bush ordered 28,000 U.S. troops to Somalia.
TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), essayist/historian; Samuel Butler (1835-1902), author; Lillian Russell (1861-1922), actress; Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926), poet; Francisco Franco (1892-1975), Spanish dictator; Wink Martindale (1933- ), game show host; Jeff Bridges (1949- ), actor; Marisa Tomei (1964- ), actress; Fred Armisen (1966- ), actor/comedian; Jay-Z (1969- ), rapper/entrepreneur; Tyra Banks (1973- ) model/TV personality; Joe Thomas (1984- ), football player.
TODAY'S FACT: The United States embassy in Mogadishu, Somalia, evacuated in January 1991 due to increasing violence in the Somali civil war, has never been reopened.
TODAY'S SPORTS: In 1997, Golden State Warriors star Latrell Sprewell was suspended by the NBA for one year after choking the team's coach, P.J. Carlesimo, during a practice on Dec. 1, 1997.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on." -- Samuel Butler
TODYA'S NUMBER: 2,454 -- days American journalist Terry Anderson was held hostage in Lebanon. Anderson was abducted on March 16, 1985, and was the last American hostage to be released, on this day in 1991.
TODAY'S MOON: Between first quarter moon (Dec. 3) and full moon (Dec. 11).