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The Independent Online

TODAY: Births: Joseph Rudyard Kipling, author and poet, 1865; Simon Guggenheim, senator and philanthropist, 1867; Stephen Butler Leacock, humorous author and economist, 1869; Leslie Poles Hartley, novelist, 1895; Sir Carol Reed, film director, 1906. Deaths: Robert Boyle, chemist, 1691; Alfred North Whitehead, mathematician, 1947; Maurice Denton Welch, novelist and artist, 1948. On this day: Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance had its first performance, Paignton 1879; King Michael of Romania abdicated, 1947; France transferred sovereignty to Vietnam, 1949; Karol Wojtyla became Archbishop of Krakow, Poland, 1963. Today is the Feast Day of St Anysia, St Anysius, St Egwin and St Sabinus of Spoleto.

TOMORROW: Births: Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender, 1720; Henri- Emile Benoit Matisse, painter, 1869; Jule Styne (Julius Kerwin Stein), songwriter and composer, 1905. Deaths: John Wycliffe, Protestant reformer, 1384; John Flamsteed, first Astronomer Royal, 1719; Gustave Courbet, painter, 1877; Sir Malcolm Campbell, speedster on land and water, 1948; Canon Lewis John Collins, peace campaigner, 1982; Rick Nelson, pop singer, killed 1985; Sam Spiegel, film producer, 1985. On this day: a window tax was imposed in England, 1695; Thomas Alva Edison demonstrated his lamp, 1879; prohibition came into force in Canada, 1917; the chimes of Big Ben were first broadcast, 1923; the first successful shortwave radio programme was received in Britain from KDKA Pittsburgh, 1923; the British army abandoned the use of the lance, except for ceremonial use, 1927; fire-watching became compulsory in Britain, 1940; the Home Guard was disbanded, 1945; the farthing ceased to be legal currency, 1960; the Central African Federation (Rhodesia and Nyasaland) was dissolved, 1963. Tomorrow is Hogmanay in Scotland and the Feast Day of St Columba of Sens, St John-Francis Regis, St Melania the Younger and St Silvester I, pope.