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Today in History

Today in History

Today is Wednesday, Nov. 18, the 323rd day of 2020. There are 43 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Nov. 18, 1978, U.S. Rep. Leo J. Ryan, D-Calif., and four others were killed in Jonestown, Guyana, by members of the Peoples Temple; the killings were followed by a night of mass murder and suicide by more than 900 cult members.

On this date:

In 1883, the United States and Canada adopted a system of Standard Time zones.

In 1916, the World War I Battle of the Somme pitting British and French forces against German troops ended inconclusively after 4 1/2 months of bloodshed.

In 1928, Walt Disney’s first sound-synchronized animated cartoon, “Steamboat Willie” starring Mickey Mouse, premiered in New York.

In 1963, the Bell System introduced the first commercial touch-tone telephone system in Carnegie and Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

In 1966, U.S. Roman Catholic bishops did away with the rule against eating meat on Fridays outside of Lent.

In 1985, the comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes,” created by Bill Watterson, was first published. (The strip ran for 10 years.)

In 1987, the congressional Iran-Contra committees issued their final report, saying President Ronald Reagan bore “ultimate responsibility” for wrongdoing by his aides. A fire at London King’s Cross railway station claimed 31 lives.

In 1991, Shiite (SHEE’-eyet) Muslim kidnappers in Lebanon freed Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite and Thomas Sutherland, the American dean of agriculture at the American University of Beirut.

In 1999, 12 people were killed when a bonfire under construction at Texas A-and-M University collapsed. A jury in Jasper, Texas, convicted Shawn Allen Berry of murder for his role in the dragging death of James Byrd Jr., but spared him the death penalty.

In 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled 4-to-3 that the state constitution guaranteed gay couples the right to marry.

In 2004, Britain outlawed fox hunting in England and Wales.

In 2009, two days before turning 92, Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., set a record for longest-serving lawmaker in congressional history at 56 years, 320 days. (That record was broken in 2013 by U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich.)

Ten years ago: President Barack Obama rallied former diplomatic and military chiefs from both parties to pressure reluctant Republican senators into ratifying a nuclear weapons deal with Russia. (The Senate ratified the treaty the following month.) General Motors stock resumed trading on Wall Street, signaling the rebirth of an American corporate icon that had collapsed into bankruptcy and was rescued with a $50 billion infusion from taxpayers. Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners was chosen as the AL Cy Young Award winner.

Five years ago: The Islamic State group announced that it had killed a Norwegian man and a Chinese man after earlier demanding ransoms for the two. Raphael Holiday was executed by the state of Texas; he’d been convicted of setting a fire that killed his 18-month-old daughter and her two young half-sisters at an East Texas home in Sept. 2000. Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs aced out Dodgers stars Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw for the NL Cy Young Award while Houston lefty Dallas Keuchel won the AL honor.

One year ago: The Trump administration said it no longer considered Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be a violation of international law; the position marked a reversal of four decades of American policy, and undermined efforts by the Palestinians to gain statehood. China said a 55-year-old man had been diagnosed with bubonic plague after killing and eating a wild rabbit; two other plague cases had already been discovered in the capital Beijing. Beauty company Coty said it was buying a 51 percent share of reality TV star Kylie Jenner’s beauty business in a deal that valued her company at about $1.2 billion.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Brenda Vaccaro is 81. Author-poet Margaret Atwood is 81. Actor Linda Evans is 78. Actor Susan Sullivan is 78. Country singer Jacky Ward is 74. Actor Jameson Parker is 73. Actor-singer Andrea Marcovicci is 72. Rock musician Herman Rarebell is 71. Singer Graham Parker is 70. Actor Delroy Lindo is 68. Comedian Kevin Nealon is 67. Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon is 64. Actor Oscar Nunez is 62. Actor Elizabeth Perkins is 60. Singer Kim Wilde is 60. Actor Tim Guinee is 58. Rock musician Kirk Hammett (Metallica) is 58. Rock singer Tim DeLaughter (dee-LAW’-ter) is 55. Actor Romany Malco is 52. Actor Owen Wilson is 52. Actor Dan Bakkedahl is 52. Singer Duncan Sheik is 51. Actor Mike Epps is 50. Actor Peta Wilson is 50. Actor Chloe Sevigny (SEH’-ven-ee) is 46. Country singer Jessi Alexander is 44. Actor Steven Pasquale is 44. Rock musician Alberto Bof (Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real) is 43. Rapper Fabolous is 43. Actor-director Nate Parker is 41. Rapper Mike Jones is 40. Actor Mekia Cox is 39. Actor-comedian Nasim Pedrad (nah-SEEM’ peh-DRAHD’) is 39. Actor Allison Tolman is 39. Actor Christina Vidal is 39. Actor Damon Wayans Jr. is 38. Country singer TJ Osborne (Brothers Osborne) is 36. Fashion designer Christian Siriano is 35. Actor Nathan Kress is 28.

By The Associated Press

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