Today in History: Oct. 31

Today is Tuesday, Oct. 31, the 304th day of 2017. There are 61 days left in the year. This is Halloween.

Today’s highlight: On Oct. 31, 1517, Martin Luther sent his 95 Theses denouncing what he saw as the abuses of the Catholic Church, especially the sale of indulgences, to the Archbishop of Mainz, Germany (by some accounts, Luther also posted the Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg), marking the start of the Protestant Reformation.

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 1926, magician Harry Houdini died in Detroit of 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 1956, Navy Rear Adm. George J. Dufek and six others became the first air travelers to set foot at the South Pole.

In 1967, Nguyen Van Thieu (nwen van too) took the oath of office as the first president of South Vietnam’s second republic.

In 1975, the Queen single “Bohemian Rhapsody” was released in the United Kingdom by EMI Records.

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 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: Three lead defendants in the 2004 Madrid train bombings were found guilty of mass murder and other charges, but four other top suspects were convicted on lesser charges and an accused ringleader was completely acquitted in the attacks that killed 191 people. Gold traded above $800 an ounce for the first time since 1980.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama joined New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for a tour of damage along the Jersey coast from Superstorm Sandy; Wall Street was back in business after a two-day shutdown caused by the storm (stocks finished mixed).

One year ago: Pope Francis marked the upcoming 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation by traveling to secular Sweden, where he encouraged Catholics and Lutherans to forgive the “errors” of the past and forge greater unity, including sharing in the Eucharist.

Today’s birthdays: Actress Lee Grant is 92. Former astronaut Michael Collins is 87. Former CBS anchorman Dan Rather is 86. Folk singer Tom Paxton is 80. Actor Ron Rifkin is 79. Actress Sally Kirkland is 76. Actor David Ogden Stiers is 75. Actor Brian Doyle-Murray is 72. Actor Stephen Rea is 71. Olympic gold medal long-distance runner Frank Shorter is 70. Actress Deidre Hall is 70. TV show host Jane Pauley is 67. Actor Brian Stokes Mitchell is 60. Movie director Peter Jackson is 56. Rock musician Larry Mullen is 56. Actor Dermot Mulroney is 54. Rock musician Mikkey Dee is 54. Rock singer-musician Johnny Marr is 54. Actor Rob Schneider is 53. Country singer Darryl Worley is 53. Actor-comedian Mike O’Malley is 52. Rap musician Adrock is 51. Songwriter Adam Schlesinger is 50. Rap performer Vanilla Ice (aka Rob Van Winkle) is 50. Rock singer Linn Berggren (Ace of Base) is 47. Reality TV host Troy Hartman is 46. Gospel singer Smokie Norful is 44. Actress Piper Perabo is 41. Actor Brian Hallisay is 39. Actress Samaire Armstrong is 37. Folk-rock musician Tay Strathairn (Dawes) is 37. Actor Eddie Kaye Thomas is 37. Rock musician Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance) is 36. Actor Justin Chatwin is 35. Actor Scott Clifton is 33. Actress Vanessa Marano is 25. Actress Holly Taylor is 20. Actress-singer Willow Smith is 17.

Thought for today: “There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.” — Andre Gide, French author and critic (1869-1951).

Associated Press

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