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Births: Pope Sixtus V, 1520, Maximilien de Bethune, Duc de Sully, statesman, 1560; William Drummond of Hawthornden, poet, 1585; Sir William Hamilton, husband of Emma Hamilton, 1730; John Clarke (Whitfield), organist and composer, 1770; Heinrich (H arry) Heine, poet and journalist, 1797; The Rev Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, biographer, 1815; Ernst Werner von Siemens, inventor, 1816; Edwin George Monk, organist and musical director, 1819; Sir Joseph Noel Paton, painter, 1821; Franz von Lenbach, painter,

1836; Lucien-Germain Guitry, actor, 1860; Talcott Parsons, sociologist, 1902; Balthazar Johannes Vorster, South African nationalist, 1915.

Deaths: Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon), Jewish philosopher, 1204; Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, 1250; Donatello (Donato de Betto Bardi), sculptor, 1466; Manoel I, King of Portugal, 1521; Niccolo Fontana Tartaglia, mathematician, 1557; Konrad von Gesner, physician and naturalist, 1565; Francois Viete de la Bigotiere, advocate and mathematician, 1603; Anthony Collins, philosopher and writer, 1729; The Rev John Strype, historian, 1737; Christian Furchtegott Gellert, poet and writer of fables, 1783; Dr Samuel Johnson, lexicographer, 1784; William Calcraft, shoemaker and hangman, 1879; Samuel Gompers, labour leader, 1924; Wassily Kandinsky, abstract painter, 1944; Robert John Strutt, fourth Baron Rayleigh, physicist, 1947; "Grandma M oses" (Mrs Thomas Salmon Moses - Anna Mary Robertson), primitive painter, aged 101, 1961; Henry Green (Henry Vincent Yorke), novelist, 1973; Mary Renault (Mary Challans), novelist, 1983.

On this day: the first assembly of the Council of Trent opened, 1545; Sir Francis Drake left Plymouth on his voyage around the world, 1577; New Zealand was discovered by Abel Janszoon Tasman, 1642; Madrid fell to Napoleon's forces, 1808; Basutoland became a native state under British protection, 1843; the Confederate forces under Robert E. Lee were victorious at the Battle of Fredericksburg, 1862; in the United States, Italo Marcioni patented the first ice-cream cone, 1903; a treaty guaranteeing

the independence of Ethiopia was signed between France, Great Britain and Italy, 1906; the P&O vessel Delhi was lost off the Moroccan coast, but passengers and crew were saved, 1911; Dr Lee De Forest demonstrated the first sound-on-film movie in the United States, 1923; Nanking, China, was taken by Japanese troops, 1937; the Battle of the River Plate was fought, 1939; South Africa refused to place South West Africa under the trusteeship of the United Nations, 1950; a spell of extreme cold weather killedover 200 people in the United States, 1960; Malta was proclaimed a republic, 1974.

Today is the Feast Day of St Aubert of Cambrai, St Eustratius of Sebastea, St Judocus or Josse, St Lucy and St Othilia or Odilia.