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24th November

1859 Charles Darwin's controversial Origin of Species was published.

1864 * Henri de Tolouse-Lautrec, French painter and lithographer.

1868 * Scott Joplin, pianist and composer.

1939 Imperial Airways and British Airways merged to form BOAC.

1942 * Billy Connolly, Scottish stand-up comedian and actor.

1955 * Ian Botham, English cricketer and one of the best all-rounders.

1963 Lee Harvey Oswald was shot dead by Jack Ruby at the Dallas Police Headquarters.

1968 Communist Party rule in Czechoslovakia finally ended.

1985 The hijacking of an Egypt Air passenger jet ended when at least 50 passengers and up to six hijackers died after the plane was stormed by Egyptian commandoes.

1989 The entire leadership of the Communist Party in Czechoslovakia resigned after admitting to underestimating the force of the pro-democracy movement.

1991 Freddie Mercury lead singer for rock group Queen, died aged 45, just one day after he publicly announced he was HIV positive.

1998 Under new proposals hereditary peers are to lose their right to sit and vote in the UK Parliament's upper chamber.

2005 Round-the-clock drinking in England and Wales is now a reality as new licensing laws allow pubs open 24 hours.

xxxx * = Date of birth

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