Today in History….October 31

On this date in history:

In 1517, Martin  Luther began the Protestant Reformation by nailing a proclamation to the  door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany.

In 1864, Nevada was admitted to the United States as the 36th state.

In 1926, magician, illusionist and escape artist Harry Houdini died of peritonitis in a Detroit hospital following a blow to the abdomen.

In 1931, with the Great Depression in full swing, the U.S. Treasury  Department announced that 827 banks had failed during the previous two months.

In 1941, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota — consisting  of the sculpted heads of U.S. Presidents George Washington, Thomas  Jefferson, Abraham  Lincoln and Teddy  Roosevelt — was completed.

In 1968, U.S. President Lyndon  Johnson announced a halt to the bombing of North Vietnam.

In 1984, Indian Prime Minister Indira  Gandhi was assassinated by Sikh guards. Her son, Rajiv, succeeded her.

In 1985, salvage divers located the remains of the booty-laden pirate ship  Whydah, which sank Feb. 17, 1717, off Cape Cod, Mass.

In 1992, more than 300 people were killed in renewed fighting as Angola slid  back into civil war.

In 2001, U.S.-led forces resumed airstrikes in Afghanistan, hitting  Taliban positions in the northern part of the country and outside the capital,  Kabul. The Taliban said 1,500 people were killed.

In 2004, Iranian lawmakers chanted, “Death to America!” after a unanimous  vote to allow their government to resume uranium enrichment activities.

In 2005, Samuel  Alito, a 55-year-old conservative federal appeals judge, was nominated by  U.S. President George W. Bush to the U.S. Supreme Court to succeed  Sandra Day O’Connor.

In 2008, U.S. Army Gen. David  Petraeus took over as head of the Central Command, in charge of military  operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iran and other countries.

In 2010, Brazilians elected Dilma  Rousseff as their first woman president. The former energy minister and  choice of outgoing President Luiz  Inacio Lula da  Silva defeated Jose  Serra in a runoff with 56 percent of the vote.

In 2011, UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural  Organization, approved the Palestinians’ bid for full membership in the United  Nations by a 107-14 vote despite a United States threat to cut off funding. The  U.N. Security Council put off a final vote on the matter.

In 2012, the Syrian Network for Human Rights in London said 421 people,  including 39 children, died during a four-day United Nations-backed truce in  Syria.

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