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On this day: August 3

Today’s birthdays

Tony Bennett, singer, 94

Steven Berkoff, actor, director and writer, 83

Martin Sheen, actor, 80

John Landis, film-maker, 70

Ossie Ardiles, former footballer and manager, 68

James Hetfield, singer/guitarist (Metallica), 57

Evangeline Lilly (pictured), actress, 41

Karlie Kloss, Victoria’s Secret model, 28

It happened today…

1492: Christopher Columbus left Andalucia, Spain, on his first voyage to America. He was actually searching for a land called India

1778: La Scala Opera House in Milan was opened

1829: The cornet was first used in an orchestra, in a performance of Rossini’s William Tell in Paris

1887: The soldier poet Rupert Brooke was born in Rugby. His early death on active service during World War I made him a famous figure but he never heard a shot fired in anger — he died from a mosquito bite and sunstroke

1914: The first ship passed through the Panama Canal

1916: Sir Roger Casement, Irish nationalist, was hanged in London for treason because of his attempts to induce Germany to support Irish independence

1926: Electric traffic lights were installed at Piccadilly Circus, the first in Britain

1955: Samuel Beckett’s now-acknowledged classic Waiting For Godot was performed for the first time in London at the Arts Theatre. The performance was punctuated throughout with the clatter of seats as half the audience walked out

1966: American comedian Lenny Bruce (pictured) was found dead from a drugs overdose

1977: Tandy Corporation released the TRS-80, one of the first personal computers available to the consumer market

2004: The pedestal of the Statue of Liberty reopened after being closed for nearly three years following 9/11

2005: President of Mauritania Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed Taya was overthrown in a military coup

2010: Riots were triggered in Karachi, Pakistan, after a senior politician was assassinated, leaving 45 people dead and more than 100 others injured

2019: An earthquake struck off Indonesia’s Java island, leaving four people dead and damaging more than 200 homes

Quote of the day

‘When people are divided, the only solution is agreement’ — Former SDLP leader and Nobel peace prize winner John Hume (pictured), who has died aged 83

Thought for the day

‘Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something’ — Athenian philosopher Plato