Today in History – Monday, Oct. 31, 2016


Today is Monday, Oct. 31, the 305th day of 2016. There are 61 days left in the year. This is Halloween.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Oct. 31, 1926, magician Harry Houdini died in Detroit of peritonitis resulting from a ruptured appendix.

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On this date:

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

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 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 1956, Navy Rear Adm. George J. Dufek and six others became the first air travelers to set foot at the South Pole.

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 1996, a Brazilian Fokker-100 jetliner crashed in Sao Paulo, killing all 96 people on board and three on the ground.

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

Ten years ago: A fire at a residential hotel in Reno, Nev., killed 12 people. (A hotel resident who set the fire was sentenced to 12 consecutive life terms.) Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (NOO’-ree ahl-MAHL’-ih-kee) ordered the lifting of joint U.S.-Iraqi military checkpoints around the Shiite militant stronghold of Sadr City and other parts of Baghdad. P.W. Botha, South Africa’s apartheid-era president, died on the southern Cape coast at age 90.

Five years ago: Palestinians won their greatest international endorsement yet with full membership in UNESCO, but the move prompted the U.S. to cut off payments to the Paris-based cultural agency. The United Nations estimated that the world’s population had surpassed 7 billion.

One year ago: A Russian passenger airliner crashed in a remote part of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula 23 minutes after taking off from a popular Red Sea resort, killing all 224 people on board. Four people were killed, including the gunman, following a shooting rampage in Colorado Springs that ended in a gunbattle between police and the shooter. The Kansas City Royals rallied for three runs in the eighth inning and beat the New York Mets 5-3 for a 3-1 lead in the World Series.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Lee Grant is 91. Former astronaut Michael Collins is 86. Former CBS anchorman Dan Rather is 85. Folk singer Tom Paxton is 79. Actor Ron Rifkin is 78. Actress Sally Kirkland is 75. Actor David Ogden Stiers is 74. Actor Brian Doyle-Murray is 71. Actor Stephen Rea is 70. Olympic gold medal long-distance runner Frank Shorter is 69. Actress Deidre Hall is 69. Talk show host Jane Pauley is 66. Actor Brian Stokes Mitchell is 59. Movie director Peter Jackson is 55. Rock musician Larry Mullen is 55. Actor Dermot Mulroney is 53. Rock musician Mikkey Dee (Motorhead) is 53. Rock singer-musician Johnny Marr is 53. Actor Rob Schneider is 52. Country singer Darryl Worley is 52. Actor-comedian Mike O’Malley is 51. Rap musician Adrock is 50. Songwriter Adam Schlesinger (SHLES’-in-jer) is 49. Rap performer Vanilla Ice (aka Rob Van Winkle) is 49. Rock singer Linn Berggren (Ace of Base) is 46. Reality TV host Troy Hartman is 45. Gospel singer Smokie Norful is 43. Actress Piper Perabo (PEER’-uh-boh) is 40. Actor Brian Hallisay is 38. Actress Samaire (SAH’-mee-rah) Armstrong is 36. Folk-rock musician Tay Strathairn (Dawes) is 36. Actor Eddie Kaye Thomas is 36. Rock musician Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance) is 35. Actor Justin Chatwin (TV: “American Gothic”) is 34. Actor Scott Clifton is 32. Actress Vanessa Marano is 24. Actress Holly Taylor is 19. Actress-singer Willow Smith is 16.

Thought for Today: “Moral indignation is in most cases two percent moral, forty-eight percent indignation, and fifty percent envy.” — Vittorio De Sica, Italian movie director (1901-1974).

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