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On this day: March 28

Today’s birthdays

Michael Parkinson (pictured), journalist and TV personality, 84

Mario Vargas Llosa, novelist, 83

Neil Kinnock, former Labour Party leader, 77

Mike Newell, film director, 77

Richard Stilgoe, TV presenter, songwriter, lyricist and musician, 76

Dianne Wiest, actress, 71

Lord (John) Alderdice, politician, 64

Chris Barrie, actor, 59

Nasser Hussain, former cricketer, 51

Julia Stiles, actress, 38

It happened today…

1800: The Irish parliament passed the Act of Union with England.

1854: The Crimean War began after the United Kingdom and France declared war on Russia.

1868: The 7th Earl of Cardigan, who led the Charge of the Light Brigade to disaster at Balaclava in the Crimean War, died. He is now best remembered for the woollen garment named after him.

1890:Paul Whiteman, American jazz bandleader, was born in Denver, Colorado.

1920: Douglas Elton Ullman wed Gladys Smith in Hollywood. The couple were better known as screen stars Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford (pictured) and their marriage was described as ‘Hollywood’s first royal wedding’.

1930: Turkey’s capital city Constantinople changed its name to Istanbul.

1939: Madrid surrendered to Franco to end the Spanish Civil War.

1942: British commandos destroyed the U-boat base at Saint-Nazaire in France.

1964: The pirate station Radio Caroline began transmitting from a ship in the North Sea.

1965: Nearly 25,000 people joined Dr Martin Luther King on the steps of the state capital of Montgomery, Alabama, to highlight black grievances.

1979: There was a radiation leak alert at Three Mile Island nuclear station, near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, when the atomic core began to melt down.

1991: A jury returned a verdict of accidental death at the end of an inquest into the deaths of 96 Liverpool football fans who died in the Hillsborough stadium disaster in Sheffield in 1989. In December 2012, the High Court quashed the original verdicts and ordered fresh inquests.

Quote of the day

‘I get very annoyed when people think I’m nice or diffident or a polite English gentleman. I’m a nasty piece of work, and people should know that’ — Actor Hugh Grant (pictured)

Thought for the day

‘Happiness does not depend on outward things but on the way we see them’ — Writer Leo Tolstoy