Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Saturday, Oct. 31, the 304th day of 2015. There are 61 days left in the year. This is Halloween. A reminder: Daylight saving time ends Sunday at 2 a.m. local time. Clocks go back one hour.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Oct. 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Palace church, marking the start of the Protestant Reformation in Germany.

On this date:

In 1795, English poet John Keats was born in London.

In 1864, Nevada became the 36th state as President Abraham Lincoln signed a proclamation.

In 1887, Nationalist Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek was born in Zhejiang Province.

In 1926, magician Harry Houdini died in Detroit of gangrene and peritonitis resulting from a ruptured appendix.

In 1941, the Navy destroyer USS Reuben James was torpedoed by a German U-boat off Iceland with the loss of some 100 lives, even though the United States had not yet entered World War II. Work was completed on the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota, begun in 1927.

In 1955, Britain’s Princess Margaret ended weeks of speculation by announcing she would not marry Royal Air Force Group Captain Peter Townsend.

In 1961, the body of Josef Stalin was removed from Lenin’s Tomb as part of the Soviet Union’s “de-Stalinization” drive.

In 1964, Theodore C. Freeman, 34, became the first member of NASA’s astronaut corps to die when his T-38 jet crashed while approaching Ellington Air Force Base in Houston.

In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered a halt to all U.S. bombing of North Vietnam, saying he hoped for fruitful peace negotiations.

In 1984, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two Sikh (seek) security guards.

In 1994, a Chicago-bound American Eagle ATR-72 crashed in northern Indiana, killing all 68 people aboard.

In 1999, EgyptAir Flight 990, bound from New York to Cairo, crashed off the Massachusetts coast, killing all 217 people aboard.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush nominated Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Civil rights icon Rosa Parks was honored during a memorial service in Washington, D.C.

Five years ago: A former teenage al-Qaida fighter, Omar Khadr, was sentenced by a military judge at Guantanamo to eight more years in custody under the terms of a plea agreement. Theodore C. Sorensen, President John F. Kennedy’s aide and speechwriter, died in New York at age 82. The San Francisco Giants beat the Texas Rangers 4-0 in Game 4 of the World Series, taking a 3-1 edge. Kim Clijsters beat top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki to win the season-ending WTA Championships in Qatar, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3. Tiger Woods lost golf’s No. 1 ranking after 281 consecutive weeks to England’s Lee Westwood.

One year ago: Commercial space tourism suffered a huge setback when a prototype passenger rocket, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, exploded during a test flight, scattering debris over the Mojave Desert and killing one pilot while seriously injuring the other.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Lee Grant is 90. Former astronaut Michael Collins is 85. Former CBS anchorman Dan Rather is 84. Folk singer Tom Paxton is 78. Actor Ron Rifkin is 77. Actress Sally Kirkland is 74. Actor David Ogden Stiers is 73. Actor Brian Doyle-Murray is 70. Actor Stephen Rea is 69. Olympic gold medal long-distance runner Frank Shorter is 68. Actress Deidre Hall is 68. Talk show host Jane Pauley is 65. Actor Brian Stokes Mitchell is 58. Movie director Peter Jackson is 54. Rock musician Larry Mullen is 54. Actor Dermot Mulroney is 52. Rock musician Mikkey Dee (Motorhead) is 52. Rock singer-musician Johnny Marr is 52. Actor Rob Schneider is 51. Country singer Darryl Worley is 51. Actor-comedian Mike O’Malley is 50. Rap musician Adrock is 49. Songwriter Adam Schlesinger (SHLES’-in-jer) is 48. Rap performer Vanilla Ice (aka Rob Van Winkle) is 47. Rock singer Linn Berggren (Ace of Base) is 45. Reality TV host Troy Hartman is 44. Gospel singer Smokie Norful is 42. Actress Piper Perabo (PEER’-uh-boh) is 39. Actor Brian Hallisay is 37. Actress Samaire (SAH’-mee-rah) Armstrong is 35. Folk-rock musician Tay Strathairn (Dawes) is 35. Actor Eddie Kaye Thomas is 35. Rock musician Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance) is 34. Actor Scott Clifton is 31. Actress Vanessa Marano is 23. Actress Holly Taylor (TV: “The Americans”) is 18. Actress-singer Willow Smith is 15.

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