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TODAY: Births: William Heinemann, publisher, 1863; Bertrand Arthur William Russell, third Earl Russell, philosopher, 1872; Frank Capra, writer and film director, 1897; Fred Perry, tennis-player, businessman and broadcaster, 1909. Deaths: Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, playwright, 1799; Sir Oswald Walters Brierly, marine painter, 1817; Gustav Mahler, composer, 1911. On this day: Montreal (Ville Marie) in Canada was founded, 1642; Napoleon was proclaimed Emperor of France, 1804; in Washington State, United States, Mount St Helens erupted in a power blast 500 times more powerful than the Hiroshima atom bomb, 1980. Today is the Feast Day of St Elgiva, St Eric, king of Sweden, St Felix of Cantalicio, St John I, pope, St Potamon and Saints Theodotus and Thecusa.

TOMORROW: Births: Dame Nellie Melba (nee Helen Porter Mitchell), singer, 1861; Ho Chi-Minh, Vietnamese leader, 1890. Deaths: Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII, executed, 1536; Frederic Ogden Nash, humorist, 1971; Sir John Betjeman, Poet Laureate, 1984. On this day: the Spanish Armada set sail from Lisbon, 1588; after friction between British trawlers and Icelandic gunboats, Britain sent Royal Navy frigates inside the Icelandic 50-mile limit, 1973. Today is the Feast Day of Saints Calocerus and Parthenius, St Crispin of Viterbo, St Dunstan, St Ivo of Kermartin, St Peter Morrone and St Pudens. Today is the beginning of the Muslim year AH 1417.