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TODAY: Births: Claude-Achille Debussy, composer, 1862; Dorothy Parker (Rothschild), humorist and writer, 1893; Leni (Helene Bertha Amalie) Riefenstahl, actress, film producer and photographer, 1902.

Deaths: Richard III, King of England, killed at Bosworth Field 1485; Jean-Honore Fragonard, painter, 1806; Warren Hastings, first governor-general of India, 1818; Franz Joseph Gall, founder of phrenology, 1828; "Lord" John Sanger, circus entrepreneur, 1889; Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne Cecil, third Marquess of Salisbury, statesman, 1903; Michael Collins, Irish nationalist leader, killed in ambush 1922; Sir Oliver Joseph Lodge, physicist, 1940; Michael (Mikhail Mikhailovich) Fokine, dancer and choreographer, 1942; Roger Martin du Gard, novelist and playwright, 1958; William Richard Morris, first Viscount Nuffield, motor manufacturer, 1963; Jomo Kenyatta (Kamau), Kenyan leader, 1978; James Thomas Farrell, novelist, 1979.

On this day: Sierra Leone was first settled by the British as a haven for former slaves, 1788; the International Red Cross organisation was founded, 1864; Korea was annexed by Japan, 1910; the first regular BBC television service began, 1932; following a change in the licensing laws, public houses in England and Wales were allowed to stay open all day, 1988.

Today is the Feast Day of St Andrew of Fiesole, St John Kemble, St Sigfrid of Wearmouth, St Symphorian and St Timothy.

TOMORROW: Births: William Ernest Henley, poet and critic, 1849; Edgar Lee Masters, poet and novelist, 1869; Ernst Krenek, composer, 1900; Leonard Constant Lambert, composer and critic, 1905; Gene Kelly (Eugene Curran Kelly), dancer and singer, 1912.

Deaths: Sir William Wallace, Scottish patriot, executed 1305; Philip Henry Gosse, naturalist, 1888; Oscar Hammerstein II, lyricist, 1960; Lancelot Thomas Hogben, scientific writer, 1975.

On this day: Hong Kong was taken by the British, 1839; the Albert Bridge across the Thames at Chelsea was opened, 1873; the Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact was signed, 1939; the Battle of Stalingrad began, 1942; the World Council of Churches was founded, 1948.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of Saints Asterius and Claudius, St Eugene or Eoghan of Ardstraw, St Philip Benizi, St Rose of Lima and St Tydfil.