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On this day: February 24

Today’s birthdays

Phil Knight, co-founder of Nike, 82

Denis Law, commentator/former footballer, 80

Paul Jones, blues singer/broadcaster, 78

John Stapleton, journalist/TV presenter, 74

Dennis Waterman, actor, 72

Alain Prost, racing driver, 65

Erna Solberg, prime minister of Norway, 59

Billy Zane (pictured), actor/director, 54

Lleyton Hewitt, former tennis player, 39

Ramona Marquez, Outnumbered actress, 19

It happened today…

1582: Pope Gregory XIII announced the new Gregorian calendar, replacing the Julian calendar. It was not adopted by Britain until 1752, when a ‘loss’ of 11 days had to be made up.

1825: Thomas Bowdler, who took out the ‘naughty bits’ in Shakespeare’s work, died. He gave the English language the word ‘bowdlerise’.

1848: France became a republic for the second time, following the abdication of King Louis Philippe.

1887: The first two cities to be linked by telephone were Paris and Brussels.

1905: The Simplon Tunnel through the Alps, 12.3 miles long, was completed.

1920: American-born Nancy Astor (above) became the first woman to speak in the Commons following her election as an MP two months earlier.

1923: The Flying Scotsman locomotive began hauling scheduled services between London and Scotland.

1932: Malcolm Campbell in Bluebird beat his own land speed record at Daytona Beach, Florida, US, by reaching 253.96mph.

1938: A nylon toothbrush, the first commercial nylon product, went on sale in New Jersey, US.

1991: In their first parliamentary elections under a genuine multi-party system, voters in Lithuania rejected communist rule.

Quote of the day

‘She has made me braver. She has made me stand up for myself more’ — Sporty Spice Melanie Chisholm (pictured) on her daughter Scarlett

Thought for the day

‘The sound of a kiss is not so loud as that of a cannon, but its echo lasts a great deal longer — Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr, American doctor