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TODAY: Births: Anne Bront, novelist ("Acton Bell"), 1820; Arturo Toscanini, conductor, 1867; Bla Bartk, composer, 1881. Deaths: Nicholas Hawksmoor, architect, 1836; Achille-Claude Debussy, composer, 1918; Alan John Percivale Taylor, historian, 1990. On this day: the British parliament abolished the slave trade, 1807; the Italians invaded Abyssinia, 1895; Hamlet became the first British film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture, 1949; the European Community was established, 1957. Today is Lady Day (Feast of the Annunciation) and the Feast Day of St Alfwold, St Barontius, St Dismas, the Good Thief, St Hermenland, St Lucy Filippini and St Margaret Clitherow.

TOMORROW: Births: Alfred Edward Housman, poet, 1859; "Chico" Leonard Marx, comedian, 1887. Deaths: Sir John Vanbrugh, playwright and architect, 1726; Ludwig van Beethoven, composer, 1827; Cecil John Rhodes, statesman, 1902; Sarah Bernhardt, actress, 1923; David Lloyd George, first Earl Lloyd- George of Dwyfor, statesman, 1945; Sir Nol Peirce Coward, playwright, 1973. On this day: driving tests were introduced in Britain, 1934; women were allowed on the floor of the London Stock Exchange for the first time, 1973. Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Basil the Younger, St Braulio, St Castulus of Rome, St Felix of Trier, St Ludger and St Macartan.