On this day: Islamabad Marriott hotel suicide bomb

EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries

20 September

1440: Eton College was founded.

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1746: Prince Charles Edward Stuart sailed to safety in France, aboard the French ship L’Heureux after the failed Jacobite Rising.

1870: National unification of Italy was achieved.

1917: The first RSPCA animal clinic was opened in Liverpool.

1932: Mahatma Gandhi began fast in prison to protest against treatment of India’s untouchables. Four days later, his demand that they be given representation were met.

1946: The first Cannes film festival opened.

1962: Mississippi governor Ross Bennett, defying American court order, refused to let a black student enrol at state university. Ten days later, civil rights activist James Meredith, accompanied by 750 federal marshals, enrolled. Two died in ensuing riots.

1963: American president John F Kennedy went before United Nations General Assembly and proposed joint US-Soviet expedition to the Moon.

1973: More than 30,000 people packed into the Astrodome at Houston, Texas, to see a “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, a man 26 years her senior. She trounced him.

1977: Vietnam was admitted to United Nations.

1989: In Brussels, the European Community announced it would prosecute Britain over polluted drinking water.

1990: Acid rain in Britain was said to be the worst in Europe. The Lake District had the worst levels, in some areas having doubled since 1979. The Department of the Environment said there was no cause for alarm.

1991: The Archbishop of Canterbury blamed social deprivation for riots on Tyneside, and criticised the government’s education policy.

1995: A European court ruled football transfer fees were illegal.

2001: MSPs voted by a majority of 50 to ban fox-hunting, hare-coursing and badger-baiting in Scotland.

2008: Harry Potter author JK Rowling donated £1 million to the Labour Party. Ms Rowling said she was motivated by its record on child poverty.

2008: A suicide bomb attack at the Islamabad Marriott hotel left 54 dead and 266 injured. Pakistan Islamist group, Fidayeen-e-Islam, claimed responsibility.


Sophia Loren, actress, 80; Gary Cole, actor, 58; Nuno Bettencourt, Portuguese rock musician (Extreme), 48; Alannah Currie, New Zealand singer (former member of the Thomson Twins), 57; Victoria Dillard, actress, 45; Caroline Flint, Labour MP, 53; John Harle, saxophonist and composer, 58; Kristen Johnston, actress, 47; Henrik Larsson MBE, Swedish footballer, 43; Professor Peter Radford, British Olympic athlete, 75; José Rivero, Spanish golfer, 59; Juan Pablo Montoya, racing driver, 39.


Births: 1839 Admiral Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy; 1842 Sir James Dewar, (born Kincardine-on-Forth) inventor of the vacuum flask; 1885 Jelly Roll Morton, jazz pianist and composer; 1902 Florence Margaret (“Stevie Smith”), poet; 1914 Kenneth More, actor; 1926 Fred Winter, jockey and trainer.

Deaths: 1863 Jacob Grimm, philologist and collector of folk tales with his young brother Wilhelm; 1944 Guy Gibson, VC, (leader of Dambusters attack on Eder and Mohne dams); 1957 Jean Sibelius, composer; 1991 Tom Anderson, Shetland traditional fiddler; 2005 Simon Wiesenthal KBE, Nazi hunter.