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On this day: January 12

Today’s birthdays

Des O’Connor, singer/presenter, 86

Michael Aspel, TV presenter, 85

Howard Stern, radio DJ, 64

Mel C, singer, 44

Gemma Arterton (pictured), actress, 32

Pixie Lott, singer, 27

Zayn Malik, singer, 24

It happened today…

1866: The Royal Aeronautical Society was founded.

1879: The British-Zulu War began.

1948: The London Co-op opened the first supermarket in Britain at Manor Park.

1959: Henry Cooper became the British and European heavyweight boxing champion when he defeated Brian London on points.

1960: Nevil Shute, popular author, notably of A Town Like Alice, died in Melbourne, Australia, where he had emigrated in 1950.

1970: Nigeria’s civil war ended when the Biafran army surrendered.

1976: Dame Agatha Christie, the world’s most successful detective story writer, died aged 85.

1982: Mark Thatcher disappeared in the Sahara while on the Paris-Dakar rally. He was later spotted by a search plane and rescued.

1990: The break-up of the USSR began as the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania prepared for secession.

Quote of the day

‘Oprah Winfrey showed what a presidential candidate should talk like, what language and passion and principle they should have, what rhetoric can rouse in people and how important it is to people to feel that and get that encouragement. That’s the voice of a leader. Whether she’s leading us to the candidate we need or whether she is the candidate, she sets the bar pretty high’ — US actress Meryl Streep, backing the TV star as a future US president

Thought for the day

‘We are all work in progress’ — Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson