Today is Thursday, Oct. 31, the 304th day of 2013. There are 61 days left in the year.
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.
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 1938, the day after his “War of the Worlds” broadcast had panicked radio listeners, Orson Welles expressed “deep regret” but also bewilderment that anyone had thought the simulated Martian invasion was real.
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 1959, a former U.S. Marine showed up at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to declare he was renouncing his American citizenship so he could live in the Soviet Union. His name: Lee Harvey Oswald.
In 1961, the body of Josef Stalin was removed from Lenin’s Tomb as part of the Soviet Union’s “de-Stalinization” drive.
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 security guards.
In 1992, Pope John Paul II formally proclaimed that the Roman Catholic Church had erred in condemning the astronomer Galileo for holding that the Earth was not the center of the universe.
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.
In 2001, New York hospital worker Kathy T. Nguyen died of inhalation anthrax, the fourth person to die in a spreading wave of bioterrorism.
Ten years ago: A man angry at a lawyer over the handling of his trust fund was captured on videotape shooting and wounding the attorney by crews covering actor Robert Blake’s murder case in Van Nuys, Calif. (The shooter, William Strier, was later convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to life in prison plus 25 years.) Teen surfing star Bethany Hamilton lost her left arm in a shark attack off Kauai, Hawaii. Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was sworn in as Malaysian prime minister, ending Mahathir Mohamad’s 22-year reign.
Five years ago: President George W. Bush signed an executive order restoring the Libyan government’s immunity from terror-related lawsuits and dismissing pending compensation cases. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Studs Terkel died in Chicago at age 96.
One year ago: President Barack Obama joined Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for a tour of damage along the New Jersey coast from Superstorm Sandy; Christie said he “can’t thank the president enough” for his concern and compassion. Wall Street was back in business after a two-day shutdown caused by the storm; stocks finished mixed. With New York’s subways shut down, parts of the city were paralyzed by traffic gridlock; New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that limited subway service would resume the next day. National Guard troops delivered meals and other supplies and evacuated stranded residents in Hoboken, N.J., amid complaints that relief efforts had been slow.