EVENTS, birthdays, anniversaries
1801: Cleopatra’s Needles rediscovered in Alexandria. One was moved to Thames Embankment in 1878, the other to Central Park, New York, in 1880.
1801: France and Spain issued ultimatum to Portugal to break allegiance to Britain.
1848: Greenwich Mean Time was adopted in Scotland.
1856: The Victoria Cross was instituted. The first medals were made of metal from guns captured from the Russians in the Crimean war.
1916: Germans staged first Zeppelin raid on Paris.
1942: Desert Island Discs, devised and presented by Roy Plomley, started on Radio 4. Actor Vic Oliver was his first guest. Roy Plomley died after presenting 1,791 programmes of what is still the longest-running radio series.
1947: United States abandoned its mediation role in China.
1949: Britain granted de facto recognition to new state of Israel.
1950: First series of riots occurred in Johannesburg, provoked by South Africa’s racial policy.
1963: Britain was refused entry to European Common Market by France’s veto.
1964: Panama complained to Organisation of American States (OAS) about alleged United States aggression.
1985: Oxford University dons refused to grant Margaret Thatcher an honorary degree.
1990: Ousted East German Communist Party leader Erich Honecker arrested and ordered to stand trial for high treason.
1991: South African political rivals Mengosuthu Buthelezi and Nelson Mandela met for first time in 30 years and called jointly for ceasefire in feud between ANC and Inkatha loyalists.
1992: Boris Yeltsin announced further far-reaching cuts in Russia’s nuclear arsenal.
1996: La Fenice, Venice’s opera house, was destroyed by fire.
2001: Thousands of student protesters in Indonesia stormed parliament and demanded that president Abdurrahman Wahid resign due to alleged involvement in corruption scandals.
2002: In his State of the Union Address, president George W Bush described “regimes that sponsor terror” as an “Axis of Evil”, in which he included Iraq, Iran and North Korea.
2010: Former prime minister Tony Blair told the Chilcot inquiry, the public inquiry into the UK’s role in the Iraq War, that he had no regrets about supporting the United States in toppling Saddam Hussein.
2012: Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Stephen Hester decided not to accept the £963,000 shares-only bonus payment on offer to him due to “enormous political and media pressure”.
Births: 1737 Thomas Paine, social and political philosopher, author (The Rights of Man); 1817 John Callcott Horsley, artist who designed first commercial Christmas cards; 1843 William McKinley, 25th United States president; 1850 Sir Ebeneezer Howard, originator of Garden City movement; 1860 Anton Chekhov, Russian short-story writer and playwright; 1862 Frederick Delius, composer; 1867 Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, Spanish novelist (The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse); 1879 WC Fields (born William Claude Dukenfield), American comedy film actor; 1915 Victor Mature, American film actor; 1918 John Forsythe, American actor; 1933 Sacha Distel, singer.
Deaths: 1820 King George III; 1837 Alexander Pushkin, novelist, poet and playwright; 1928 Earl Haig, army commander and founder of British Legion; 1939 WB Yeats, poet and playwright; 1963 Robert Frost, poet; 1964 Alan Ladd, film actor; 1980 Jimmy “Schnozzle” Durante, comedian and vaudeville performer; 2015 Colleen McCullough, Australian author (The Thorn Birds); 2015 Rod McKuen, American poet and singer; 2015 Kel Nagle, Australian golfer.