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Births: Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, composer, 1710; Jakob Ludwig Karl Grimm, philologist and folklorist, 1785; Henry George Bohn, publisher and bookseller, 1796; Louis Braille, deviser of a blind alphabet, 1809; Sir Isaac Pitman, publisher and inventor of Pitman's shorthand, 1813; Sterling Holloway, film actor and comedian, 1905; William Bendix, actor, 1906; Jan Lenica, film animator, 1928.

Deaths: Charlotte Lennox (Ramsay), novelist and poet, 1804; Henri Bergson, philosopher, 1941; Ralph Vaughan Williams, composer, 1958; Albert Camus, novelist and playwright, killed 1960; Thomas Stearns Eliot, poet and critic, 1965; Donald Malcolm Campbell, land and water record- breaker, killed 1967; Said Hammani, representative of the PLO, assassinated 1978; Joy- Friederike Victoria Adamson, naturalist and writer, 1980; Christopher William Bradshaw Isherwood, writer, 1986.

On this day: Columbus sailed from America back to Spain in the Nina, 1493; King Charles I attempted to arrest five MPs, 1642; Donizetti's opera Don Pasquale was first performed, Paris 1843; all members of the crew of the Rhyl lifeboat were lost while attempting to save the schooner Temperance, 1847; the Fabian Society was founded, 1884; the first appendicitis operation was performed, 1885; Utah became the 45th of the United States, 1896; in India, the National Congress was declared illegal, and Mahatma Gandhi was arrested, 1932; Burma became an independent republic, 1948; a strike of barbers' assistants in Copenhagen ended after 33 years, 1961; Pope Paul VI began a tour of the Holy Land, 1964; Rose Heilbron became the first woman to sit as a judge at the Old Bailey, London 1972.

Today is the Feast Day of St Elizabeth Bayley Seton, St Gregory of Langres, St Pharaildis, St Rigobert of Rheims and St Roger of Ellant.