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On this day: March 2

Today’s birthdays

Mikhail Gorbachev, former Soviet Union president, 89

John Irving, novelist, 78

Harry Redknapp, former football manager, 73

JPR Williams, former rugby player, 71

John Altman, actor, 68

Ian Woosnam, golfer, 62

Jon Bon Jovi, actor/rock singer, 58

Daniel Craig, actor, 52

Chris Martin, Coldplay singer, 43

Rebel Wilson (pictured), actress, 40

Bryce Dallas Howard, actress, 39

James Arthur, singer, 32

Cailee Rae, singer, 20

It happened today…

1791: The optical telegraph (semaphore machine) was unveiled in Paris.

1836: Texas was proclaimed a republic, independent of Mexico.

1882: Robert MacLean tried unsuccessfully to assassinate Queen Victoria at Windsor.

1930: Novelist DH Lawrence died in France of tuberculosis.

1949: The first round-the-world non-stop flight was completed by Captain James Gallagher and his 13-man USAF crew. It took 94 hours.

1958: A British team led by Vivian Fuchs completed the first crossing of the Antarctic, covering 2,158 miles in 99 days.

1969: The French-built supersonic airliner Concorde (above) made its maiden flight from Toulouse, France.

1970: Southern Rhodesia broke away from Britain and became a republic under Ian Smith.

1986: The Queen signed the Australia Bill in Canberra, formally severing Australian constitutional ties with Britain.

1988: A political party was born when the Liberals merged with the Social Democrats to form the Social and Liberal Democrats.

1995: Financial dealer Nick Leeson, whose multi-million-pound dealings on the derivatives market in Singapore bankrupted Barings Bank, was arrested in Germany.

Quote of the day

‘Welcome to the magical bump gang!’ — Pregnant MP Siobhan Baillie on Carrie Symonds (pictured) expecting a baby with fiance Boris Johnson.

Thought for the day

‘It appears to be a law that you cannot have a deep sympathy with both man and nature’ — American philosopher Henry David Thoreau