Today is Wednesday, Oct. 31, the 305th day of 2012. There are 61 days left in the year. This is Halloween.
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.
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 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 (seek) 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.
Ten years ago: Authorities charged the two Washington sniper suspects with murder in a Louisiana attack that came just two days after a similar slaying in Alabama. An earthquake toppled a school in San Giuliano Di Puglia (sahn ZHOO'-lee-ah-noh dee POOL'-yah), Italy, killing 27 children and a teacher.
Five 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.
One year 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 marked the world's population surpassing 7 billion.
Today's Birthdays: Actress Lee Grant is 85. Former astronaut Michael Collins is 82. Former CBS anchorman Dan Rather is 81. Folk singer Tom Paxton is 75. Actor Ron Rifkin is 73. Actress Sally Kirkland is 71. Actor David Ogden Stiers is 70. Actor Brian Doyle-Murray is 67. Actor Stephen Rea is 66. Olympic gold medal long-distance runner Frank Shorter is 65. Actress Deidre Hall is 64. Talk show host Jane Pauley is 62. Actor Brian Stokes Mitchell is 55. Movie director Peter Jackson is 51. Rock musician Larry Mullen is 51. Actor Dermot Mulroney is 49. Rock musician Mikkey Dee (Motorhead) is 49. Rock singer-musician Johnny Marr is 49. Actor Rob Schneider is 48. Country singer Darryl Worley is 48. Actor-comedian Mike O'Malley is 47. Rap musician Adrock is 46. Songwriter Adam Schlesinger (SHLES'-in-jer) is 45. Rap performer Vanilla Ice (aka Rob Van Winkle) is 44. Rock singer Linn Berggren (Ace of Base) is 42. Reality TV host Troy Hartman is 41. Gospel singer Smokie Norful is 39. Actress Piper Perabo (PEER'-uh-boh) is 36. Actor Brian Hallisay is 34. Actor Eddie Kaye Thomas is 32. Rock musician Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance) is 31. Actor Scott Clifton is 28. Actress-singer Willow Smith is 12.
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).
(Above Advance for Use Wednesday, Oct. 31)
Copyright 2012, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.