You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Today in History, October 31

AAP logoAAP 30/10/2016

Highlights in history on this date:

1517 - Martin Luther nails 95 theses on the door at Wittenberg Palace church, marking beginning of the Reformation in Germany.

1731 - Expulsion of Protestants from Salzburg, Austria, begins.

1848 - Austria's Prince Alfred Windischgratz takes Vienna.

1854 - Six of eight members of the legislative council of Van Diemen's Land resign.

1888 - John Boyd Dunlop patents his pneumatic bicycle tyre.

1914 - Russian troops under General Russki push the Germans under Hindenburg back to their original positions, ending the battle of the Vistula River.

1917 - The 4th Light Horse Brigade makes a bold charge through the Turkish lines at Beersheba. Among those killed is a famous Australian cricketer, fast bowler Albert "Tibby" Cotter.

1918 - Hungarian Premier Count Tisza is assassinated.

1925 - Reza Khan usurps Persian throne; Greek army invades Bulgaria.

1926 - Magician Harry Houdini dies in Detroit of gangrene and peritonitis resulting from a ruptured appendix.

1929 - Voluntary system replaces compulsory military training in Australia.

1932 - Greek Premier Eleutherios Venizelos resigns.

1940 - Battle of Britain in World War II is officially designated to have ended.

1941 - US Navy destroyer Reuben James is torpedoed by a German U-boat off Iceland with the loss of 115 lives, although the US was still neutral.

1955 - Britain's Princess Margaret ends weeks of speculation by announcing she will not marry Royal Air Force Group Captain Peter Townsend.

1956 - British and French bomb Egyptian airfields in Suez War; US Rear Admiral GJ Dufek becomes the first person to land a plane at the South Pole.

1961 - A cloud of radioactive debris moves across central Siberia after Soviets explode what is called the biggest man-made nuclear bomb; Russia's de-Stalinisation program reaches a climax when his body is removed from the mausoleum in Red Square and reburied.

1962 - India's Defence Minister Krishna Menon resigns; UN General Assembly asks Britain to suspend enforcement of new constitution in southern Rhodesia.

1963 - Britain suspends aid to Indonesia.

1967 - Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Thieu takes oath of office as first president of South Vietnam's second republic.

1968 - Ramon Navarro, Mexican film actor and romantic lead in silent films, is found murdered; US President Lyndon Johnson orders a halt to all US bombing of North Vietnam, saying he hopes for fruitful peace negotiations.

1973 - United States ends worldwide military alert called during hostilities in Middle East.

1974 - Britain, France and the US veto a motion at the UN to expel South Africa.

1979 - Some 75 people are killed when a DC-10 crashes after landing on the wrong runway at Mexico City's airport.

1983 - Death toll increases to more than 1100 in earthquake that ravaged eastern Turkey the previous day.

1984 - India's Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is shot and mortally wounded by her Sikh bodyguards in reprisal for the Indian army attack on a Sikh shrine four months earlier.

1986 - US Secretary of State George Shultz accuses Soviet Union of what he calls brutal and profoundly repressive treatment of its people.

1987 - Iran says it is ready to co-operate on implementing UN Security Council's ceasefire resolution.

1988 - Former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos pleads not guilty in New York to racketeering charges.

1989 - Bombs explode in the San Salvador offices of two organisations the rightist Salvadoran government considers guerrilla fronts, killing eight people.

1991 - Zambia holds its first multi-party elections, with independence leader and first president Kenneth Kaunda defeated by Frederick Chiluba.

1992 - Announcement that five American nuns in Liberia have been shot to death near the capital Monrovia. The killings are blamed on rebels loyal to Charles Taylor.

1993 - Pledging not to resort to force, Russian President Boris Yeltsin's government instead blasts high-decibel rock and rap music at defiant hardliners barricaded inside parliament; death of US actor River Phoenix in Los Angeles at age 23.

1994 - Government forces hand Serbs their worst defeat in two-and-a-half years of war; British art historian Sir John Pope-Hennessy, one of the world's leading authorities on Italian Renaissance work, dies.

1995 - A bomb attack on offices of the main anti-government group in northern Iraq kills at least 22 people; A Nigerian military-appointed court sentences Ogoni minority rights leader Ken Saro-Wiwa and three others to death.

1996 - A Brazilian jetliner crashes into a residential neighbourhood in Sao Paulo shortly after takeoff, killing all 96 people on board and five on the ground; Marcel Carne, French film director, dies.

1997 - The parliament in Russia approves an international treaty banning chemical weapons; British au pair Louise Woodward receives a mandatory life sentence for the second-degree murder of eight-month-old Matthew Eappen. She is later set free when the verdict is reduced to manslaughter.

1998 - Iraq announces that it will no longer allow UN weapons inspectors to work in the country; Russia approves an economic recovery plan which had already been rejected by the International Monetary Fund for shifting away from free markets.

1999 - An EgyptAir Boeing 767 goes down in the Atlantic Ocean off the Massachusetts state island of Nantucket on a flight from New York to Cairo with 217 people on board.

2000 - A Russian rocket carrying the first residents of the international space station blasts off from Kazakstan.

2001 - A New York hospital worker with a mysterious case of inhalation anthrax dies, the nation's fourth fatality in a month of bioterrorism.

2002 - An earthquake strikes the village of San Giuliano di Puglia in the Apennine mountains 225km southeast of Rome, killing 26 children and one teacher in an elementary school that collapsed.

2003 - Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad resigns after 22 years as Malaysia's leader. His hand-picked successor, Abdullah Badawi, is sworn in that day in a ceremony at the royal palace in Kuala Lumpur.

2004 - Caravans carrying activists travelling from as far as Canada arrive in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, to demand authorities find the culprits behind a string of unsolved killings committed against women since 1993 in this rough border city.

2005 - The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously in favour of a tough resolution demanding Syria co-operate with a UN probe into the assassination earlier in the year of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, or face possible punitive measures.

2006 - British lawmakers narrowly reject a proposal for an immediate inquiry into the role of Prime Minister Tony Blair's government in the Iraq conflict; P W Botha, the face of white South Africa as president at the height of the anti-apartheid struggle, dies aged 90.

2007 - Three lead defendants in the 2004 Madrid train bombings are found guilty of mass murder and other charges in a Spanish court, but four other top suspects are convicted on lesser charges and an accused ringleader is completely acquitted.

2008 - Former Federal Court judge Marcus Einfeld pleads guilty to knowingly making a false statement on oath and to making a false statement with intent to pervert the course of justice. In March he was sentenced to a maximum of three years in jail.

2009 - President Hamid Karzai's challenger plans to call for a boycott of next weekend's runoff election in an attempt to force the vote's postponement until spring, his campaign manager said - a move that would dim US hopes for a stable Afghan government for months.

2010 - A former teenage al-Qaeda fighter is sentenced to eight more years in custody under the terms of a plea agreement unsealed after a military sentencing jury said Canadian-born Omar Khadr should serve 40 years for war crimes in Afghanistan.

2011 - Palestine wins its greatest international endorsement yet, full membership in UNESCO, but the move will cost the agency one-fifth of its funding as the US suspends its contribution in protest.

2012 - Australian-born human rights activist Peter Tatchell is arrested after he tries to reach the car of Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during a London visit; the United States says it will push for a major shakeup in Syria's opposition leadership so that it better represents those dying on the front line, can rally wider support and resist attempts by extremists to hijack the revolution against the Assad regime.

2013 - The Australian Electoral Commission says 1375 votes are lost for WA Sentate re-count.

2014 - The council assisting the trade union royal commission clears former prime minister Julia Gillard of any crime, but criticises her conduct as a lawyer back in the 1990s.

2015 - All Blacks beat Wallabies 34-17 at Twickenham to win third Rugby World Cup title.

Today's Birthdays:

Jan Vermeer, Dutch artist (1632-1675); John Keats, British poet (1795-1821); Chiang Kai-shek, President of Nationalist China (1887-1975); Les Darcy, Australian boxer (1895-1917); Norodom Sihanouk, Cambodian king (1922-2012); Barbara Bel Geddes, US actress (1922-2005); Eddie Charlton, Australian snooker champion (1929-2004); Michael Landon, US actor (1937-1990); Jane Pauley, US television anchorwoman (1950-); John Candy, US actor (1950-1994); Peter Jackson, NZ film director (1961-); Rob Schneider, US actor-comedian (1963-); Johnny Marr, British musician (1963-); Vanilla Ice, US rapper (1967-); Linn Berggren, Swedish rock singer (Ace of Base) (1970-); Christie Hayes, Australian actress (1986-).

Thought for Today:

An old error is always more popular than a new truth - German proverb.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon