TOO BASIC: basic industries (coal, steel, shipbuilding); basic wage (European Union proposals for); basic necessities (work, housing, heating); Basic Instinct (1992 sex-murder thriller); Basic English (850 most commonly used words).
TODAY is the feast day of Saint Marciana, virgin and martyr of Mauritania. She refused to denounce her Christianity and was subjected to a public attempt at gang rape by gladiators. Miraculously, she remained a virgin, and one of the gladiators converted to Christianity in response. She fared worse in the amphitheatre at Caesarea, where a wild bull and a leopard tore her to pieces.
9 January, 1799: Pitt the Younger introduced income tax at two shillings per pound to fund the Army.
1816: Sir Humphry Davy's safety lamp first used in a coal mine.
1848: Death aged 97 of Caroline Lucretia Herschel (above), astronomer and sister of the more famous William, whom she worked with when George III appointed him as his private astronomer. She executed many of his calculations and discovered eight comets and several nebulae. In 1798 she produced a star catalogue listing 560 omissions in the Royal Society's catalogue. In 1828 she received the Astronomical Society's gold medal.
1878: Death of Victor Emmanuel, first King of Italy.
1969: First trial flight of Concorde at Bristol.
BIRTHDAYS: Graham Fletcher, showjumper, 43; Susannah York, actress, 52; Joan Baez, singer, 53; Richard Nixon, 81.
DEATHS: Zviad Gamsakhurdia, aged 54, former president of Georgia; Virginia Kelley, Bill Clinton's mother, aged 70; Tip O'Neill, speaker of the House of Representatives.Reuse content