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On this day: Month 31

Today’s birthdays

Harvey Keitel, actor, 80

Stevie Wonder (pictured), singer, 69

Selina Scott, former TV presenter/newsreader, 68

Richard Madeley, TV presenter/columnist, 63

Samantha Morton, actress, 42

Robert Pattinson, actor, 32

It happened today…

1607: Captain John Smith landed on the Virginia coast and started the first permanent English settlement in the New World – Jamestown.

1830: The republic of Ecuador was created.

1835: Death of architect John Nash, who planned Regent’s Park and Trafalgar Square.

1846: The United States declared war on Mexico.

1940:Winston Churchill says ‘I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat’ in his first speech as Prime Minister to the House of Commons.

1943: German and Italian forces in Africa surrendered.

1961: Death of Gary Cooper, American actor who was twice an Oscar winner.

1981: Pope John Paul II survived an assassination attempt in St Peter’s Square in Rome.

1989: Around 2,000 students begin hunger strike in Tiananmen Square, China.

Quote of the day

‘There’s something about a lot of males in a confined space… a certain level of situational homosexuality… which I think is relatively common, definitely in prison and to an extent in all-male boarding schools, and a Darwinian atmosphere’ — Film-maker Louis Theroux (pictured)

Thought for the day

‘It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt’ — Mark Twain