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On this day: October 18

Today’s birthdays

Barry Gifford, novelist, 73

Martina Navratilova (pictured), former tennis player, 63

Jean-Claude Van Damme, actor/director, 59

Wynton Marsalis, jazz trumpeter/composer, 58

Michael Stich, former tennis player, 51

Robbie Savage, former footballer/pundit, 45

Zac Efron, actor, 32

It happened today…

1405: Pope Pius II was born. Pope Gregory XII also died on this day in 1417, as did Pope Pius III, in 1503.

1826: The last state lottery was held in Britain.

1910: The trial of Dr Crippen began at the Old Bailey.

1922: The British Broadcasting Company was officially formed.

1926: Bing Crosby (above) made his first commercial recording, I’ve Got The Girl.

1961: Henri Matisse’s Le Bateau went on show in the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Some 46 days later it was spotted that it was hanging upside down.

1967: The Soviet Union successfully sent a space probe into the atmosphere of the planet Venus for the first time.

1977: German troops stormed a hijacked Lufthansa airliner in Mogadishu, Somalia, killing three Palestinian terrorists and freeing all hostages.

Quote of the day

‘Writing songs is strange, because it never happens exactly the same way. But sometimes it happens in a way that feels like this weird haunting that you can’t explain’ — Singer Taylor Swift (pictured)

Thought for the day

‘To be free is to have achieved your life’ — Playwright Tennessee Williams