Birthdays

Mr Alan Alda, actor, 62; Mr Bobby Ball, comedian, 54; Mr Mikhail Baryshnikov, dancer, 50; Mr Acker Bilk, jazz clarinettist, 68; Miss Enid Castle, former Principal, Cheltenham Ladies' College, 62; Sir Oliver Chesterton, chartered surveyor, 85; Mr James Cran MP, 54; Ms Janet Dean MP, 48; Mr John Edmonds, general secretary, GMB, 54; Mr Michael Falcon, former chairman, Norwich Union Insurance, 70; Mr Glyn Ford, MEP, 48; Sir Anthony Garner, parliamentary and public affairs consultant, 71; Miss Frances Gumley, television and radio producer and broadcaster, 43; Mr John Hughes, former Principal, Ruskin College, Oxford, 71; Mr Bill Jordan, General Secretary, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, 62; Sir Timothy Kitson, chairman, Provident Financial plc, and former MP, 67; Professor David Lodge, writer, and Honorary Professor of Literature, Birmingham University, 63; The Rev David Morris, MEP, 68; Mr Dan Norris MP, 37; Mr Claes Oldenburg, pop artist, 69; Mr Gordon Prentice MP, 47; Mr Nick Raynsford MP, Minister for London and Construction, 53; Maj-Gen Martin Sinnatt, former senior executive and secretary, Kennel Club, 70; Sir Trevor Skeet, former MP, 80; Mr Ian Sloane, ambassador to Mongolia, 60; Professor John Tavener, composer, 54; The Rev Barrington White, former Principal, Regent's Park College, Oxford, 64; The Right Rev James Whyte, former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, 78; Lord Windlesham, Principal, Brasenose College, Oxford, 66; Robert Wyatt, rock musician, 53.

Anniversaries

Births: Colette (Gabrielle Sidonie Colette), writer, 1873; Paul Jackson Pollock, abstract artist, 1912. Deaths: Charlemagne, Frankish emperor, 814; King Henry VIII, 1547; Sir Francis Drake, sailor, at sea 1596; William Butler Yeats, poet and playwright, 1939; Herbert Ernest Bates, novelist, 1974. On this day: the US space shuttle Challenger exploded moments after take-off, killing six astronauts and a woman teacher, 1986; the Independent on Sunday was first published, 1990. Today is the Feast Day of St Amadeus of Lausanne, St Paulinus of Aquileia, St Peter Nolasco, St Peter Thomas and St Thomas Aquinas. Today is also the first day of the Chinese Year of the Tiger.

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