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Births: Richard Savage, poet, 1697; Niccolo Piccinni, composer, 1728; Willoughby Bertie, fourth Earl of Abingdon, music patron and composer, 1740; Francois-Joseph Talma, actor-manager, 1763; Andre Michelin, tyre maker, 1853; General Sir Ian Standi sh Monteith Hamilton, commander at Gallipoli, 1853; Edward Gordon Craig, theatre designer, 1872; Robert William Service, writer and poet, 1874; Joan Rosita Forbes, traveller and writer, 1890; Karl Freund, cinema photographer, 1890; Eric Liddell, athlete and missionary, 1902; Ethel Merman (Zimmerman), singer and actress, 1909.

Deaths: Edmund Spenser, poet, 1599; 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 anair crash, 1942; Arturo Toscanini, conductor, 1957; Robert Jemison Van de Graaff, nuclear physicist, 1967.

On this day: Ivan the Terrible, first Russian Tsar, was 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, which prohibited 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 published, 1929; Col 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 Desert Storm, when allied air attacks were made on Iraq and occupied Kuwait, 1991.

Today 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.