Today is Sunday, Dec. 30, the 364th day of 2018 with one to follow.

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

Those born on this date are under the sign of Capricorn. They include British author Rudyard Kipling in 1865; Japan's World War II Prime Minister Hideki Tojo in 1884; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Bo Diddley in 1928; actor/dancer Russ Tamblyn in 1934 (age 84); actor Joseph Bologna in 1934; baseball Hall of Fame member Sandy Koufax in 1935 (age 83); folk singer Noel Paul Stookey in 1937 (age 81); television director James Burrows in 1940 (age 78); Monkees member Mike Nesmith in 1942 (age 76); Monkees member Davy Jones in 1945; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Patti Smith in 1946 (age 72); rock musician/producer Jeff Lynne in 1947 (age 71); television personality Meredith Vieira in 1953 (age 65); former Today host Matt Lauer in 1957 (age 61); actor Tracey Ullman in 1959 (age 59); political commentator Sean Hannity in 1961 (age 57); golfer Tiger Woods in 1975 (age 43); singer/actor Tyrese Gibson in 1978 (age 40); actor Eliza Dushku in 1980 (age 38); actor Kristin Kreuk in 1982 (age 36); basketball star LeBron James in 1984 (age 34); singer Ellie Goulding in 1986 (age 32).


On this date in history:

In 1853, the United States bought 45,000 square miles of land along the Gila River from Mexico for $10 million. The area is now southern Arizona and New Mexico.

In 1862, the Union ironclad ship USS Monitor sank off Cape Hatteras, N.C., during a storm. Sixteen members of the crew were lost.

In 1903, flames swept the Iroquois Theater in Chicago, killing 602 people. The fire led to safety regulations for theaters around the world.

In 1916, Grigori Rasputin, a self-fashioned Russian holy man, was killed by Russian nobles eager to end his influence over the royal family.

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In 1922, at the first Soviet Congress, Russia, Ukraine and two other Soviet republics signed a treaty creating the Soviet Union.

In 1958, revolutionaries under the command of Ernesto "Che" Guevara battled with government troops loyal to Cuban President Fulgencio Batista for control of the city of Santa Clara. Within 12 hours of the rebel victory, Batista had fled the country, with control of the country passing to Fidel Castro.

In 1965, Ferdinand Marcos was inaugurated as president of the Philippines.

In 1972, U.S. President Richard Nixon ordered a halt in the bombing of North Vietnam and announced that peace talks with the Hanoi government would resume in Paris in January.

In 1979, Broadway composer Richard Rodgers died in New York City at age 77. He first collaborated with lyricist Lorenz Hart and later with Oscar Hammerstein II for a string of memorable musicals, including Oklahoma, South Pacific and Sound of Music.

In 1986, Exxon Corp. became the first major international oil company to withdraw from South Africa because of that country's racial policies.

In 1992, Ling-Ling, a giant female panda who delighted visitors to Washington's National Zoo for more than two decades, died of heart failure.

In 1994, John Salvi III, an anti-abortion activist, went on a shooting spree at two abortion clinics in Brookline, Mass. He killed two workers and injured five others. Police captured him the next day.

In 2004, Artie Shaw, clarinet virtuoso and leader of one of the biggest of the Swing Era big bands, died at age 94.

In 2006, former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who had been convicted of the 1982 massacre of 148 Shiite men and boys, was executed by hanging in Baghdad.

In 2009, a suicide bomber, identified as a Jordanian informant, killed at least eight U.S. civilians, all but one of them CIA agents, at a base in Afghanistan.

In 2012, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was hospitalized because of a blood clot, the State Department said. The clot, or thrombus, was discovered during a routine MRI while Clinton recuperated from a recent concussion.

In 2013, four NFL coaches were fired on the league's so-called Black Monday: Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins, Leslie Fraiser of the Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay's Greg Chiano and Jim Schwartz of the Detroit Lions. Cleveland's Rob Chudzinski had been let go the day before.

In 2016, Indians deposited their last 500- and 1,000-rupee notes into the bank. The government withdrew the currency values in order to crack down on black market and counterfeit currency.

A thought for the day: "A child born to a black mother in a state like Mississippi has exactly the same rights as a white baby born to the wealthiest person in the United States. It's not true, but I challenge anyone to say it is not a goal worth working for." -- Thurgood Marshall