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This day in history

Saturday, April 6, is the 96th day of 2013. There are 269 days left in the year.

Today’s birthdays: Nobel Prize-winning scientist James D. Watson is 85. Composer-conductor Andre Previn is 84. Country singer Merle Haggard is 76. Actor Billy Dee Williams is 76. Actor Roy Thinnes is 75. Director Barry Levinson is 71. Actor John Ratzenberger is 66. Actress Marilu Henner is 61. Rock musician Warren Haynes is 53. Rock singer-musician Frank Black is 48. Actor Paul Rudd is 44. Actor Zach Braff is 38.

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In 1830, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was organized by Joseph Smith in Fayette, N.Y.

In 1862, the Civil War Battle of Shiloh began in Tennessee as Confederate forces launched a surprise attack against Union troops, who beat back the Confederates the next day.

In 1896, the first modern Olympic Games formally opened in Athens.

In 1909, American explorers Robert E. Peary and Matthew A. Henson and four Inuits became the first men to reach the North Pole.

In 1917, Congress approved a declaration of war against Germany.

In 1973, NASA launched Pioneer 11, which flew by Jupiter and Saturn. Ron Blomberg of the Yankees became Major League Baseball’s first designated hitter as he faced Luis Tiant of the Red Sox at Fenway. (Blomberg was walked with the bases loaded; the Sox won the game, 15-5.)

In 1998, country singer Tammy Wynette died at her Nashville home at age 55.

In 2012, a Navy F18 Hornet jet whose pilots were forced to eject crashed in a spectacular fireball into a big apartment complex in Virginia Beach, Va., scattering plane parts and wiping out some 40 units, but killing no one.

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