Today is Saturday, Dec. 4, the 339th day of 2004. There are 27 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Dec. 4, 1783, Gen. George Washington bade farewell to his officers at Fraunces Tavern in New York.

On this date:

In 1816, James Monroe of Virginia was elected the fifth president of the United States.

In 1875, William Marcy Tweed, the "Boss" of New York City's Tammany Hall political organization, escaped from jail and fled the country.

In 1918, President Wilson set sail for France to attend the Versailles Peace Conference.

In 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the dismantling of the Works Progress Administration, which had been created to provide jobs during the Depression.

In 1942, U.S. bombers struck the Italian mainland for the first time in World War II.

In 1945, the Senate approved U.S. participation in the United Nations.

In 1965, the United States launched Gemini 7 with Air Force Lt. Col. Frank Borman and Navy Cmdr. James A. Lovell aboard.

In 1978, San Francisco got its first female mayor as City Supervisor Dianne Feinstein was named to replace the assassinated George Moscone.

In 1984, a five-day hijack drama began as four armed men seized a Kuwaiti airliner en route to Pakistan and forced it to land in Tehran, where the hijackers killed American passenger Charles Hegna.

In 1993, authorities found the body of 12-year-old kidnap victim Polly Klaas in a wooded area of Cloverdale, Calif.

Ten years ago: Bosnian Serbs released 53 out of some 400 U.N. peacekeepers they were holding as insurance against further NATO airstrikes.

Five years ago: NASA scientists continued to wait in vain for a signal from the Mars Polar Lander, raising questions about the whereabouts of NASA's $165 million probe. (It is believed the spacecraft was destroyed after it plunged toward the Red Planet.)

One year ago: President Bush scrapped import tariffs he'd imposed earlier to help the battered U.S. steel industry. Baltimore-based federal prosecutor Jonathan P. Luna was found dead behind the parking lot of a well-drilling company in Lancaster County, Pa.

Today's Birthdays: Actress-singer Deanna Durbin is 83. Game show host Wink Martindale is 70. Actor-producer Max Baer Jr. is 67. Actress Gemma Jones is 62. Rock musician Bob Mosley (Moby Grape) is 62. Singer-musician Chris Hillman is 60. Rock singer Southside Johnny Lyon is 56. Actor Jeff Bridges is 55. Rock musician Gary Rossington (Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Rossington Collins Band) is 53. Actress Patricia Wettig is 53. Jazz singer Cassandra Wilson is 49. Country musician Brian Prout (Diamond Rio) is 49. Rock musician Bob Griffin (The BoDeans) is 45. Rock singer Vinnie Dombroski (Sponge) is 42. Actress Marisa Tomei is 40. Actress Chelsea Noble is 40. Rapper Jay-Z is 35. Actress-model Tyra Banks is 31. Country singer Lila McCann is 23. Actress Lindsay Felton is 20. Actor Orlando Brown is 17.

Thought for Today: "A man is known by the silence he keeps." - Oliver Herford, American author (1863-1935).