Today in History

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Today is Wednesday, Oct. 31, the 304th day of 2018. There are 61 days left in the year. This is Halloween.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Oct. 31, 1984, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two Sikh (seek) security guards.

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On this date:

In 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.

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

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 1998, a genetic study was released suggesting President Thomas Jefferson did in fact father at least one child by his slave Sally Hemings.

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 (nwen) died of inhalation anthrax, the fourth person to perish in a spreading wave of bioterrorism.

Ten 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.

Five years ago: The Federal Aviation Administration issued new guidelines allowing airline passengers to keep their electronic devices turned on throughout the entire flight, but not to talk on their cellphones. A federal appeals court ruled that most of Texas’ tough new abortion restrictions could take effect immediately.

One year ago: Eight people were killed when a man drove a truck along a bike path in New York City in an attack that authorities immediately labeled terrorism; the driver, identified by authorities as Uzbek immigrant Sayfullo Saipov, was shot and wounded by police. (His trial is scheduled for October, 2019.) Netflix said it was suspending production on “House of Cards” following sexual harassment allegations against its star, Kevin Spacey. (Spacey would later be fired from the show, and production resumed without him.) Wendy Williams passed out during a live broadcast of her syndicated chat show; she’d been wearing a Statue of Liberty Halloween costume and told the audience minutes later that she’d become overheated in it.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Lee Grant is 93. Former astronaut Michael Collins is 88. Former CBS anchorman Dan Rather is 87. Folk singer Tom Paxton is 81. Actor Ron Rifkin is 80. Actress Sally Kirkland is 77. Actor Brian Doyle-Murray is 73. Actor Stephen Rea is 72. Olympic gold medal long-distance runner Frank Shorter is 71. Actress Deidre Hall is 71. TV show host Jane Pauley is 68. Actor Brian Stokes Mitchell is 61. Movie director Peter Jackson is 57. Rock musician Larry Mullen is 57. Actor Dermot Mulroney is 55. Rock musician Mikkey Dee is 55. Rock singer-musician Johnny Marr is 55. Actor Rob Schneider is 54. Country singer Darryl Worley is 54. Actor-comedian Mike O’Malley is 53. Rap musician Adrock is 52. Songwriter Adam Schlesinger (SHLES’-in-jer) is 51. Rap performer Vanilla Ice (aka Rob Van Winkle) is 51. Rock singer Linn Berggren (Ace of Base) is 48. Reality TV host Troy Hartman is 47. Gospel singer Smokie Norful is 45. Actress Piper Perabo (PEER’-uh-boh) is 42. Actor Brian Hallisay is 40. Actress Samaire (SAH’-mee-rah) Armstrong is 38. Folk-rock musician Tay Strathairn (Dawes) is 38. Actor Eddie Kaye Thomas is 38. Rock musician Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance) is 37. Actor Justin Chatwin is 36. Actor Scott Clifton is 34. Actress Vanessa Marano is 26. Actress Holly Taylor is 21. Actress-singer Willow Smith is 18.