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KISS, KISS: Judas betrayed Jesus in Gethsemane with a kiss; Nelson asked Hardy for one after being fatally wounded at the Battle of Trafalgar; Rodin carved the very romantic Baiser but told a would-be model that her white flesh reminded him of tur bot ona fishmonger's slab; Alfred Wolfram kissed 8,001 people in eight hours in Minnesota in 1990; John Barrymore kissed 127 times as the lead in Don Juan (1926); India's first screen kiss was in 1977 when Shashi Kapoor kissed Zeenat Aman; the longest s creenkiss lasted 3 min 5 sec in You're in the Army Now (1940); "a kiss on the hand may be quite continental, but diamonds are a girl's best friend"; Inuits rub noses, but a mwah, mwah without exchange of bodily fluids is preferred in Islington; Nicky Ki ss hooked for Wigan; a Wigan/ Liverpool/ Glasgow kiss does your head in; kissing the Blarney stone induces the gift of the gab; fairy-tale frogs may turn out to be princes; princes in Klosters may turn out to be ordinary.

TODAY is the feast day of Saint Severinus of Noricum who preached the gospel in Austria in the 5th century. He predicted that the vice-ridden inhabitants would be punished and shortly after the area was overrun by Huns. Impressed by this prescience the people of Faviana called on him to help them during a famine. His prayers melted the ice on the Danube, and despatched a plague of locusts. He frequently cured the sick and mitigated or averted public calamities. However, his prayers for his dear friend, Bonosus, who suffered from sore eyes, remained unanswered. His lifestyle was austere: he went barefoot, even on ice, and entertained kings and princes in a cell so low that none could stand upright.

8 January, 1642: Galileo Galilei (above) died, aged 77, on his estate at Arcetri near Florence, after eight years under house arrest there. A mathematician and experimental physicist, his great contribution to science was to gather the proof of the Copernican theory that the Earth revolved around the Sun. This he did by the pioneering use of telescopes. The Catholic Church thought his views more dangerous "than Luther and Calvin put together", and he was tried as a heretic, convicted on evidence now thought to have been fabricated. Galileo's studies of motion paved the way for much of Newton's work, but the story that he experimented by dropping weights off the Leaning Tower of Pisa is a myth.