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Births: Adam Smith, political economist, 1723; Sir Robert Mayer, musical philanthropist, 1879; Igor Fedorovich Stravinsky, composer, 1882; John Maynard Keynes, first Baron Keynes, economist, 1883; Dame Ivy Compton- Burnett, novelist, 1884; Federico Garca Lorca, poet and playwright, 1898; Barbara Goolden, novelist, 1900; Gilbert Charles Harding, television personality, 1907.

Deaths: St Boniface, apostle of Germany, murdered 755; Orlando Gibbons, composer and organist, 1625; Stephen Crane, novelist and poet, 1900; O. Henry (William Sydney Porter), short-story writer, 1910; Henri Gaudier- Brzeska, sculptor, 1915; Horatio Herbert, first Earl Kitchener of Khartoum, field marshal, lost at sea in HMS Hampshire 1916; Georges-Leon Jules-Marie Feydeau, playwright, 1921.

On this day: the hot-air balloon was first demonstrated by the Montgolfier brothers, 1783; Louis Bonaparte became King of Holland, 1806; a republican insurrection took place in Paris, 1832; Ramsay MacDonald formed a minority Labour government in Britain, 1929; the Allied Control Commission assumed authority over Germany, 1945; George Catlett Marshall, US Secretary of State, outlined his Plan to assist Europe, 1947; the Six Day War between the Arab states and Israel broke out, 1967; Robert Francis Kennedy, US senator, was shot by an assassin, dying 25 hours later, 1968; after being closed from the time of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the Suez Canal was opened to all but Israeli shipping, 1975; Britain's first referendum was held - it resulted in a two-to-one majority in favour of staying in the Common Market, 1975Mikhail Gorbachev received the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize, 1991.

Today is the Feast Day of St Boniface of Mainz or Crediton, St Dorotheus of Tyre, St Sanctius or Sancho and St Tudno.


Births: Diego Rodrguez da Silva y Velzquez, painter, baptised 1599; Pierre Corneille, playwright, 1606; Aleksander Sergeyevich Pushkin, poet, novelist and playwright, 1799; William Ralph Inge, theologian, 1860; Sir Henry John Newbolt, poet, 1862; Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Antarctic explorer, 1868; Alexandra (Aleksandra Fyodorovna), Empress of Russia, consort of Nicholas II, 1872; Thomas Mann, novelist, 1875; Sir Leslie Patrick Abercrombie, town planner and architect, 1879; Sukarno (Kusnasosro), Indonesian leader, 1901; Robert Cedric Sherriff, playwright and novelist, 1896; Aram Ilich Khatchaturian, composer, 1903; Sir Isaiah Berlin, philosopher and historian, 1909.

Deaths: Jeremy Bentham, philosopher and jurist, 1832; Count Camillo Benso di Cavour, statesman, 1861; George Grossmith the Younger, actor and writer, 1935; Louis Chevrolet, automobile racer and designer, 1941; James Evershed Agate, writer and journalist, 1947; Louis Lumiere, motion- picture pioneer, 1948; Carl Gustav Jung, psychiatrist, 1961; Robert Francis Kennedy, statesman, assassinated 1968; Jean Paul Getty, oil magnate, 1976; William (Bill) Voce, cricketer, 1984.

On this day: the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, was opened, 1683; Finland declared war on the Soviet Union, 1919; the Allied invasion of Normandy took place - D-Day, 1944; Princess Margaret married Anthony Armstrong- Jones in Westminster Abbey, 1960; Croatia and Slovenia declared themselves to be "independent and sovereign" republics, 1991.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Ceratius or Cerase, St Claud of Besancon, St Eustorgius II of Milan, St Gudwal or Gurval, St Jarlath, St Norbert and St Philip the Deacon.