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Births: Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, 1342; Moliere (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin), baptised 1622; Louis de Rouvroy, Duc de Saint-Simon, writer, 1675; Jean-Francois Lesueur, composer, 1763; Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski, general and statesman, 1770; Thomas Crofton Croker, folklorist, 1798; Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, social reformer, 1809; Jean-Baptiste Faure, baritone, 1830; Lewis Madison Terman, psychologist, 1877; Ion Antonescu, Romanian leader, 1882; Mazo de la Roche, novelist, 1885; David Ivor Novello (Davies), actor, composer and director, 1893; Abd el-Aziz IV ibn Saud, King of Saudi Arabia, 1902; Aristotle Onassis, shipowner, 1906; Edward Teller, physicist, 1908; Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egyptian leader, 1918; Martin Luther King, civil-rights leader, 1929.

Deaths: Servius Sulpicius Galba, Roman emperor, assassinated 69; Fra Paolo Sarpi, historian, 1623; Emma, Lady Hamilton (Lyon), mistress to Lord Nelson, 1815; Frances Anne (Fanny) Kemble, actress, 1893; Mathew B. Brady, Civil War photographer, 1896; Henry du Pre Labouchere, journalist and Liberal leader, 1912; Jack (Weldon Leo) Teagarden, jazz musician, vocalist and bandleader, 1964; Daisy (Margaret Mary Julia) Ashford (Mrs James Devlin), author of The Young Visiters, 1972; Sammy Cahn (Samuel Cohen), lyricist, 1993.

On this day: the British Museum opened in London, 1759; Lettres de cachet (orders from the King) were abolished in France, 1790; following a severe London frost, more than 40 people died when ice on the Regent's Park lake gave way, 1867; the Dover-Folkestone railway tunnel collapsed, following heavy rains, 1877; women were able to take degrees at London University for the first time, 1878; Joseph Caillaux, former French prime minister, was arrested for treason, 1918; Arthur Griffith was elected president of the Irish Free State after the resignation of Eamon de Valera, 1922; in the Soviet Union, Grigori Zinoviev and other leaders were convicted of treason and imprisoned, 1935; after a battle lasting 27 hours, Communist forces occupied Tientsin, China, 1949; the Aswan High Dam in Egypt was officially opened, 1971; Queen Margrethe II acceded to the throne of Denmark, 1972; Mrs Golda Meir was the first Israeli head of state to be received by the Pope, 1973.

Today is the Feast Day of St Bonitus or Bonet, St Ceolwulf, St Isidore of Alexandria, St Ita, St John Calybites and St Macarius the Elder.


Births: Henry King, poet and prelate, baptised 1592; Richard Savage, poet, 1697; Niccolo Piccinni, opera composer, 1728; Francois-Joseph Talma, actor-manager, 1763; Karl August Krebs, composer, 1804; Franz Brentano, philosopher, 1838; Andre Michelin, tyre-maker, 1853; General Sir Ian Standish Monteith Hamilton, commander at Gallipoli, 1853; Edward Gordon Craig, theatre designer, 1872; Joan Rosita Forbes, traveller and writer, 1890; Karl Freund, photographer, 1890; Fulgencio Batista y Zaldivar, dictator of Cuba, 1901; Ethel Merman (Zimmerman), singer and actress, 1909.

Deaths: Edmund Spenser, poet, 1599; General Sir John Moore, died of wounds at Corunna, 1809; Amilcare Ponchielli, composer, 1886; Clement-Philibert-Leo Delibes, composer, 1891; Arnold Bocklin, painter, 1901; Marshall Field, department-store owner, 1906; Carole Lombard (Jane Alice Peters), actress, killed in an air crash 1942; Arturo Toscanini, conductor, 1957.

On this day: Ivan the Terrible, first Russian Tsar, crowned, 1547; Brazil became an Empire under John, Prince Regent of Portugal, 1816; the British expedition led by Ernest Shackleton reached the South Magnetic Pole, 1909; in the United States, the 18th Amendment was ratified, prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages, 1920; the first meeting of the Council of the League of Nations was held in Paris, 1920; the BBC publication the Listener was first issued, 1929; Colonel Muammar Gaddafi became the prime minister of Libya, 1970; after a rule of 37 years, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi left Iran with his family, 1979; the Gulf war started with the launch of Operation Storm, when allied air attacks were made on Iraq and occupied Kuwait, 1991.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Berard and Others, St Fursey, St Henry of Cocket, St Honoratus of Arles, St Marcellus I, Pope and St Priscilla.