Today is the 355th day of 2012 and the 90th day of autumn.
TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1803, the territory covered by the Louisiana Purchase was formally transferred to the United States from France.
In 1860, South Carolina seceded from the United States.
In 1941, with his army under pressure on the Russian front, Adolf Hitler ordered "no retreat."
In 1989, the United States invaded Panama to overthrow dictator Manuel Noriega in Operation Just Cause.
TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: Harvey Firestone (1868-1938), business magnate; Branch Rickey (1881-1965), baseball executive; Irene Dunne (1898-1990), actress; Dick Wolf (1946- ), TV producer; Alan Parsons (1948- ), musician; Billy Bragg (1957- ), singer/songwriter; David Cook (1982- ), singer; David Wright (1982- ), baseball player; Jonah Hill (1983- ), actor.
TODAY'S SPORTS: In 1946, boxer Sugar Ray Robinson won the welterweight crown by a unanimous decision over Tommy Bell.
TODAY'S FACT: The United States turned over all parts of the Panama Canal, including its supporting areas and military bases, to Panama on Dec. 31, 1999.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "Fighting, to me, seems barbaric. I really don't like it. I enjoy outthinking another man and outmaneuvering him, but I still don't like to fight." -- Sugar Ray Robinson
TODAY'S NUMBER: 1.5 million -- estimated number of U.S. students in grades K-12 who are home-schooled.
TODAY'S MOON: First quarter moon (Dec. 20).