Today is Friday, Oct. 31, the 304th day of 2003 with 61 to follow.
This is Halloween.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Jupiter and Saturn. The evening stars are Mercury, Mars, Venus, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Scorpio. They include Dutch painter Jan Vermeer in 1632; English poet John Keats in 1795; Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low in 1860; Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek, the first leader of Nationalist China, in 1887; actress/singer Ethel Waters in 1900; actresses Dale Evans in 1912 and Barbara Bel Geddes in 1922 (age 81); astronaut Michael Collins in 1931 (age 72); TV news anchorman Dan Rather in 1931 (age 72); actor/producer Michael Landon in 1936; folk singer/songwriter Tom Paxton in 1937 (age 66); actors David Ogden Stiers in 1942 (age 61) and Stephen Rea in 1943 (age 60); violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman in 1945 (age 58); actress Deidre Hall in 1948 (age 55); comic actor John Candy in 1950; broadcaster Jane Pauley also in 1950 (age 53); comic actor Rob Schneider in 1963 (age 40); and rapper Vanilla Ice in 1967 (age 36).
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 Union 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 past two months.
In 1941, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial -- consisting of the sculpted heads of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt -- was completed.
In 1968, President Johnson announced a halt to the bombing of North Vietnam.
In 1984, India's 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 1988, former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos pleaded innocent to charges that she and her husband, deposed President Ferdinand Marcos, embezzled more than $100 million from the Philippine government.
In 1990, Egypt rebuffed a call by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev for a peaceful settlement to the Gulf crisis, but a key Soviet diplomat said his government had not ruled out military force.
In 1992, more than 300 people were killed in renewed fighting as Angola slid back into civil war.
In 1993, voters in Peru narrowly approved a new constitution, increasing the power of the presidency.
In 1994, a twin-engine commuter plane crashed into a soybean field 30 miles south of Gary, Ind. All 68 persons aboard were killed.
In 2001 U.S.-led forces resumed air strikes in Afghanistan, hitting Taliban positions in the northern part of the country and targets outside the capital, Kabul. The Taliban clamed 1,500 people killed in the attacks.
In 2002, police said ballistics tests linked the Washington, D.C., sniper suspects to a Sept. 23 slaying of a woman during a Baton Rouge, La., robbery.
Also in 2002, Andrew Fastow, former Enron chief financial officer, was indicted on 78 counts of wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy in the collapse of the Houston energy trading company.
A thought for the day: English poet John Keats wrote, "If I should die...I have left no immortal work behind me -- nothing to make my friends proud of my memory -- but I have loved the principle of beauty in all things, and if I had had time I would have made myself remembered."