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TODAY: Births: Thomas Jefferson, third US President, 1743; Frank Winfield Woolworth, chain-store pioneer, 1852. Deaths: Jean de La Fontaine, poet and writer of fables, 1695; James Buchanan Brady ("Diamond Jim"), financier, 1917. On this day: the Royal Military Academy was established at Woolwich, 1741; The Messiah by George Frederick Handel, was first performed, Dublin 1742. Today is Maundy Thursday and the Feast Day of Saints Agathonice, Carpus, and Papylus, St Guinoch, St Hermenegild, St Martin I, pope and St Martius or Mars. Today is the beginning of the Sikh New Year.

TOMORROW: Births: Arnold Joseph Toynbee, historian, 1889; Francois Duvalier, Haitian dictator ("Papa Doc"), 1907. Deaths: Thomas Otway, playwright, 1685; George Frederick Handel, composer, violinist and organist, 1759; Simone de Beauvoir, writer, 1986; Leslie Charteris, novelist and creator of "The Saint", 1993. On this day: Abraham Lincoln, 16th US President, was shot by the assassin John Wilkes Booth, 1865; the first quintuplets in Scotland were born, to Mrs Linda Bostock, of Armadale, West Lothian, 1972. Today is Easter Day in the Greek Orthodox Church and the Feast Day of Saints Antony, John and Eustace, St Ardalion, St Benezet, St Bernard of Tiron or Abbeville, St Caradoc, St John of Vilna, St Lambert of Lyons, Saints Tiburtius, Valerius and Maximus and The Martyrs of Lithuania.