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TODAY: Births: Nostradamus (Michel de Nostredame) astrologer and prophet, 1503; Tycho Brahe, astronomer and mathematician, 1546; George VI, King, 1895; Paul Eluard (Eugene Grindel), poet, 1895. Deaths: Thomas Rymer, archaeologist, 1713; George Washington, first US president, 1799; John Claudius Loudon, botanical writer, 1843; Albert, Prince Consort, 1861; Maurice Baring, novelist, playwright and poet, 1945; Stanley, first Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, statesman, 1947; Sir Stanley Spencer, painter, 1959; Andrei Dimitrievich Sakharov, scientist, 1989. On this day: Max Planck put forward his quantum theory, 1901; Germany put her first U-boat into service, 1906; Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole, 1911; Crete was formally annexed to Greece, 1913; women in Britain voted for the first time at the General Election, 1918; Archbishop Makarios became the first president of the Republic of Cyprus, 1959. Today is the Feast Day of Saints Fingar or Gwinnear and Phiala, St John of the Cross, St Nicasius of Rheims, St Spiridion and St Venantius Fortunatus.

TOMORROW: Births: Charles Cowden Clarke, Shakespearean scholar, 1787; Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, engineer, 1832; Jean Paul Getty, multi-millionaire, 1892. Deaths: Jan Vermeer (Jan van der Meer van Delft), painter, 1675; Isaak Walton, author of The Compleat Angler, 1683; Thomas Wright "Fats" Waller, jazz pianist, 1943; Walter Elias Disney, cartoonist and creator of "Mickey Mouse", 1966. On this day: the Battle of Verdun ended, with 700,000 dead (338,000 German, 364,000 Allied soldiers), 1916; the premiere of the film Gone With the Wind took plac, 1939; in Israel, Adolf Eichmann was found guilty of crimes as against the Jewish people, 1961; John Paul Getty III was released by kidnappers who had cut off his ear, 1973. Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Mary di Rosa, St Nino, St Paul of Latros and St Valerian.