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This day in history

Thursday, April 4, is the 94th day of 2013. There are 271 days left in the year.

Today’s birthdays: Poet Maya Angelou is 85. Recording executive Clive Davis is 81. Bandleader Hugh Masekela is 74. Author Kitty Kelley is 71. Actor Craig T. Nelson is 69. Actress Christine Lahti is 63. Writer-producer David E. Kelley is 57. Actor Hugo Weaving is 53. Actor David Cross is 49. Actor Robert Downey Jr. is 48. Actor Barry Pepper is 43. Singer Jill Scott is 41. Magician David Blaine is 40. Actress Natasha Lyonne is 34.

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In 1818, Congress decided the flag of the United States would consist of 13 red and white stripes and 20 stars, with a new star to be added for every new state of the Union.

In 1841, William Henry Harrison succumbed to pneumonia one month after his inaugural, becoming the first US president to die in office.

In 1912, China proclaimed a republic in Tibet, a move fiercely opposed by Tibetans.

In 1949, 12 nations, including the US, signed the North Atlantic Treaty in Washington, D.C.

In 1968, Martin Luther King Jr., 39, was shot to death as he stood on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. (James Earl Ray pleaded guilty to assassinating King, then spent the rest of his life saying he’d been the victim of a setup.)

In 1973, the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center were dedicated. (They were destroyed in the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001.)

In 1983, the space shuttle Challenger roared into orbit on its maiden voyage. (It was destroyed in the disaster of January 1986.)

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