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On this day: May 20

Today’s birthdays

Lynn Davies, Olympic gold medallist, 77

Keith Fletcher, cricket coach, 75

Cher (pictured), singer and actress, 73

Greg Dyke, former BBC director general, 72

Annabel Giles, TV presenter, actress and author, 60

Nick Heyward, singer, 58

Owen Teale, actor, 58

Louis Theroux, broadcaster, 49

It happened today…

1498:Vasco da Gamaarrived at Calicut, southern India, after discovering a route via the tip of southern Africa.

1506:Christopher Columbus, Genoese explorer, died in Valladolid, Spain.

1799:Honore de Balzac, French novelist, who produced 85 novels in 20 years, was born at Tours.

1840:York Minster was badly damaged by fire.

1867: The foundation stone of the Royal Albert Hall was laid.

1903:Kew Bridge over the River Thames was opened by Edward VII. Its real name is Edward VII Bridge.

1932:Amelia Earhart (above) became the first woman to make a solo air crossing of the Atlantic.

1941:Germany began an aerial invasion of Crete.

1956:America dropped its first hydrogen bomb over Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.

1991: In the USSR, the government passed a new law allowing Soviet citizens to leave the country of their own free will.

Quote of the day

‘Cheer up Michael Rice, we may have come last but we were still better than Madonna’ — TV’s Piers Morgan on the UK’s Eurovision entrant (pictured)

Thought for the day

‘I don’t know much about art, but I know what I hate’ — Broadcaster Richard Madeley