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Births: Johannes Kepler, astronomer, 1571; Sir George Cayley, aeronautics pioneer, 1773; Louis Pasteur, chemist and bacteriologist, 1822; Carl Zuckmayer, playwright, 1896; Marlene Dietrich (Maria Magdalena Dietrich), actress, 1901; Oscar Levant, popular composer and pianist, 1906.

Deaths: Pierre de Ronsard, poet, 1585; Charles Lamb, author and essayist, 1834; William Archer, dramatic critic and playwright, 1924; Max Beckmann, expressionist painter, 1950; Howard Hoagland (Hoagy) Carmichael, composer, singer and pianist, 1981.

On this day: Holland was invaded by the French, 1794; in the Soviet Union, Leon Trotsky was expelled from the Communist Party, 1927; the International Monetary Fund was set up in Washington, 1945; Spain became a democracy after 40 years of dictatorship, 1978; President Hafizullah Amin of Afghanistan was overthrown after a Russian-sponsored coup d'etat, 1979.

Today is the Feast Day of St Fabiola, St John the Evangelist, St Nicarete and Saints Theodore and Theophanes Graptoi.