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Births: Hermann Samuel Reimarus, theologian and philosopher, 1694; Carl Friedrich Abel, composer, 1723; Franz Abt, composer and conductor, 1819; William Hale White ('Mark Rutherford'), novelist, 1831; John Nevil Maskelyne, stage magician, 1839; Teresa Carreno, pianist, 1853; Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini, composer, 1858; Edwin Arlington Robinson, poet, 1869; Edgard (Edgar Victor Achille-Charles) Varese, composer, 1883; Pierre Brasseur (Pierre-Albert Espinasse), actor, 1905.

Deaths: Aulus Vitellius, Roman emperor, beheaded AD69; Francois Clouet (Janet), miniature painter, 1572; Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino), painter, 1666; Michel Baron (Michel Boyron), actor and playwright, 1729; James Harris, grammarian, 1780; Sir Philip Francis, civil servant and author, 1818; The Rev Martin Joseph Routh, scholar, 1854; George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), novelist, 1880; Dwight Lyman Moody, evangelist, 1899; Baron Richard von Krafft-Ebing, psychiatrist, 1902; Nathanael West (Nathan Wallenstein Weinstein), novelist, 1940; Franz Boas, anthropologist, 1942; Helen Beatrix Potter, author and artist, 1943; Harry Langdon, silent film comedian, 1944; Richard Frederick Dimbleby, television commentator, 1965; Josef von Sternberg, film director, 1969; Darryl Francis Zanuck, film producer, 1979; David Penhaligon MP, killed in a car accident 1986; Lord (Ted) Willis, playwright, politician and author, 1992.

On this day: the Gregorian calendar was introduced into Germany and Switzerland, 1583; James Stuart, the Old Pretender, landed at Peterhead, 1715; the first pantomime in England was staged at the Lincoln's Inn Theatre, 1716; Beethoven's 5th and 6th (Pastoral) symphonies were first played in Vienna, 1808; Savannah, Georgia, was occupied by General Sherman, commanding the Unionist forces, 1864; Alfred Dreyfus was convicted and sentenced to imprisonment on Devil's Island, 1895; the Ministry of Pensions was first set up, 1916; in Java, the Merapi volcano erupted, causing over 700 deaths, 1930; the withdrawal of British and French forces from Port Said was completed, 1956; Southern Rhodesia left the Commonwealth, 1966; Kurt Waldheim was elected Secretary-General of the United Nations, 1971; a violent earthquake in Guinea resulted in over 400 deaths, 1983; a Pan American jumbo jet crashed on to the town of Lockerbie in Scotland, killing all 259 passengers and crew, and 11 people on the ground, 1988.

Today is the Feast Day of St Chaeremon and Others, St Flavian of Tuscany, St Ischyrion and St Zeno.