updated 12/7/2005 10:03:47 AM ET 2005-12-07T15:03:47

Today is Wednesday, December seventh, the 341st day of 2005. There are 24 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:
On December seventh, 1941, Japanese forces attacked American and British territories and possessions in the Pacific, including the home base of the U-S Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

On this date:
In 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the U-S Constitution.

In 1796, electors chose John Adams to be the second president of the United States.

In 1836, Martin Van Buren was elected the eighth president of the United States.

In 1946, fire broke out at the Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta; the blaze killed 119 people, including hotel founder W. Frank Winecoff.

In 1972, America's last moon mission to date was launched as Apollo 17 blasted off from Cape Canaveral.

In 1972, Imelda Marcos, wife of Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos, was stabbed and seriously wounded by an assailant who was then shot dead by her bodyguards.

In 1983, in Madrid, Spain, an Aviaco D-C-nine collided on a runway with an Iberia Air Lines Boeing 727 that was accelerating for takeoff, killing all 42 people aboard the D-C-nine and 51 aboard the Iberia jet.

In 1985, retired Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart died in Hanover, New Hampshire, at age 70.

In 1987, 43 people were killed in the crash of a Pacific Southwest Airlines jetliner in California after a gunman apparently opened fire on a fellow passenger and the two pilots.

In 1988, a major earthquake in the Soviet Union devastated northern Armenia; official estimates put the death toll at 25-thousand.

Ten years ago: Under Republican pressure, President Clinton reluctantly presented a seven-year balanced-budget plan that was quickly criticized by G-O-P lawmakers. Two black people, Jackie Burden and Michael James, were shot to death in Fayetteville, North Carolina; two soldiers from Fort Bragg were later convicted of first-degree murder in a case that prompted national attention about racism in the military. A 746-pound probe from the Galileo spacecraft hurtled into Jupiter's atmosphere, sending back data to the mothership before it was presumably destroyed.

Five years ago: Al Gore's lawyer, David Boies, pleaded with the Florida Supreme Court to order vote recounts and revive Gore's presidential campaign. Republican attorneys called George W. Bush the certified, rightful victor.

One year ago: Hamid Karzai (HAH'-mihd KAHR'-zeye) was sworn in as Afghanistan's first popularly elected president. The House of Representatives passed an intelligence network overhaul measure, 336-to-75. Amway co-founder Jay Van Andel died in Ada, Michigan, at age 80. Singer Jerry Scoggins, who performed "The Ballad of Jed Clampett," the theme song to "The Beverly Hillbillies," died at age 93.

Today's Birthdays: Actor Eli Wallach is 90. Bluegrass singer Bobby Osborne is 74. Actress Ellen Burstyn is 73. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (Republican, Mississippi) is 68. A-B-C News anchorwoman Carole Simpson is 65. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Johnny Bench is 58. Country singer Gary Morris is 57. Singer-songwriter Tom Waits is 56. Senator Susan M. Collins (Republican, Maine) is 53. Actress Priscilla Barnes is 50. Basketball Hall-of-Famer Larry Bird is 49. Former "Tonight Show" announcer Edd (cq) Hall is 47. Rock musician Tim Butler (The Psychedelic Furs) is 47. Actor C. Thomas Howell is 39. Pop singer Nicole Appleton (All Saints) is 30. Rapper Kon Artis (D12) is 29. Actress Shiri Appleby is 27. Singer Aaron Carter is 18.

Thought for Today: "What man strives to preserve, in preserving himself, is something which he has never been at any particular moment." — George Santayana, Spanish-American philosopher (1863-1952).

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