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Today in history: January 13

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Friday, Jan. 13, the 13th day of 2006. There are 352 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Jan. 13, 1794, President Washington approved a measure adding two stars and two stripes to the American flag, following the admission of Vermont and Kentucky to the union. (The number of stripes was later reduced to the original 13.)

On this date:
In 1864, composer Stephen Foster died in New York.

In 1893, Britain’s Independent Labor Party (a precursor to the current Labor Party) held its first meeting.

In 1898, Emile Zola’s famous defense of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, “J’accuse,” was published in Paris.

In 1941, novelist James Joyce died in Zurich, Switzerland.

In 1962, comedian Ernie Kovacs died in a car crash in west Los Angeles.

In 1966, Robert C. Weaver became the first black Cabinet member as he was appointed Secretary of Housing and Urban Development by President Johnson.

In 1976, Sarah Caldwell became the first woman to conduct at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House as she led a performance of “La Traviata.”

In 1978, former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey died in Waverly, Minn., at age 66.

In 1982, an Air Florida 737 crashed into Washington D.C.’s 14th Street Bridge after takeoff and fell into the Potomac River, killing 78 people.

In 1990, L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia became the nation’s first elected black governor as he took the oath of office in Richmond.

Ten years ago: President Clinton paid a front-line visit to American forces in Bosnia, praising the troops as “warriors for peace.” Nine Republican presidential hopefuls debated in Des Moines, Iowa, where front-runner Bob Dole and flat-tax champion Steve Forbes found themselves facing repeated, bristling criticism.

Five years ago: An earthquake measuring magnitude 7.6 struck El Salvador; more than 840 people were killed.

One year ago: Major League Baseball adopted a tougher steroid-testing program that suspended first-time offenders for ten days and randomly tested players year-round.

Today’s Birthdays: Country singer Liz Anderson is 76. Actress Frances Sternhagen is 76. Actor-director Charles Nelson Reilly is 75. Comedian Rip Taylor is 72. Actor Billy Gray is 68. Actor Richard Moll is 63. Rock musician Trevor Rabin is 52. Rhythm-and-blues musician Fred White is 51. Actor Kevin Anderson is 46. Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus is 45. Rock singer Graham “Suggs” McPherson (Madness) is 45. Country singer Trace Adkins is 44. Actress Penelope Ann Miller is 42. Actor Patrick Dempsey is 40. Actress Traci Bingham is 38. Actor Keith Coogan is 36. Actress Nicole Eggert is 34. Actor Orlando Bloom is 29.

Thought for Today: “The whole secret of life is to be interested in one thing profoundly and in a thousand things well.” -- Horace Walpole, Fourth Earl of Orford, English author (1717-1797).