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Friday, October 31, 2008


Today is Friday, Oct. 31, the 305th day of 2008.
There are 61 days left in the year.
This is Halloween.

Today's Highlight in History:

  • On Oct. 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Palace church, marking the start of the Protestant Reformation in Germany.

On this date:

  • In 1864, Nevada became the 36th state.
  • 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.
  • In 1967, Nguyen Van Thieu took the oath of office as the first president of South Vietnam's second republic.
  • In 1968, President 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 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 genetic study was released suggesting President Thomas Jefferson did in fact father at least one child by his slave Sally Hemings.
  • Iraq announced it would cut off all dealings with U.N. weapons inspectors, a move condemned by the Security Council.

Five 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.

One year 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.

Today's Birthdays:
Former Attorney General Griffin Bell is 90.
  • Author Dick Francis is 88.
  • Former Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk is 86.
  • Actress Lee Grant is 81.
  • Movie critic Andrew Sarris is 80.
  • Former astronaut Michael Collins is 78.
  • Former CBS anchorman Dan Rather is 77.
  • Folk singer Tom Paxton is 71.
  • Actor Ron Rifkin is 69.
  • Actor David Ogden Stiers is 66.
  • Actor Stephen Rea is 62.
  • Actress Deidre Hall is 60.
  • Talk show host Jane Pauley is 58.
  • Actor Brian Stokes Mitchell is 50.
  • Movie director Peter Jackson is 47.
  • Rock musician Larry Mullen is 47.
  • Actor Dermot Mulroney is 45.
  • Rock musician Mikkey Dee (Motorhead) is 45.
  • Rock singer-musician Johnny Marr is 45.
  • Actor Rob Schneider is 44.
  • Country singer Darryl Worley is 44.
  • Actor-comedian Mike O'Malley is 43.
  • Rap musician Adrock is 42.
  • Songwriter Adam Schlesinger is 41.
  • Rap performer Vanilla Ice (aka Rob Van Winkle) is 40.
  • Rock singer Linn Berggren (Ace of Base) is 38.
  • Actress Piper Perabo is 32.
  • Actor Eddie Kaye Thomas is 28.
  • Rock musician Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance) is 27.

Thought for Today:
"An old error is always more popular than a new truth."
German proverb.

"Let's all be careful out there!"