Today in History


Today in History

Today is Friday, Nov. 18, the 323rd day of 2016. There are 43 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Nov. 18, 1966, U.S. Roman Catholic bishops issued a Pastoral Statement on Penance and Abstinence, which did away with the rule against eating meat on Fridays outside of Lent.

On this date:

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

In 1886, the 21st president of the United States, Chester A. Arthur, died in New York.

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 1936, Germany and Italy recognized the Spanish government of Francisco Franco.

In 1942, “The Skin of Our Teeth,” Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning allegory about the history of humankind, opened on Broadway.

In 1959, “Ben-Hur,” the Biblical-era spectacle starring Charlton Heston, had its world premiere in New York.

In 1976, Spain’s parliament approved a bill to establish a democracy after 37 years of dictatorship.

In 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.

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 1996, onetime CIA station chief Harold J. Nicholson was charged with selling top secrets to the Russians for more than $120,000. (Nicholson later pleaded guilty to espionage and was sentenced to 23 and 1/2 years in prison; he was spared a life sentence for cooperating with investigators.)

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush, in Hanoi for a summit of Pacific Rim countries, lined up support for pressuring long-defiant North Korea to prove it was serious about dismantling its nuclear weapons program. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes exchanged wedding vows in a glowing 15th-century castle in the medieval lakeside town of Bracciano, Italy. (The couple divorced in 2012.)

Five years ago: In an incident that prompted national outrage, campus police at the University of California, Davis used pepper-spray on nonviolent Occupy protesters (the school later agreed to pay $1 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the demonstrators). Self-help author James Arthur Ray was sentenced to two years in prison for leading an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony that was supposed to offer spiritual enlightenment but instead resulted in three deaths. Syria agreed in principle to allow dozens of Arab observers into the country to oversee a peace plan.

One year 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 for 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.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Brenda Vaccaro is 77. Author-poet Margaret Atwood is 77. Actress Linda Evans is 74. Actress Susan Sullivan is 74. Country singer Jacky Ward is 70. Actor Jameson Parker is 69. Actress-singer Andrea Marcovicci is 68. Rock musician Herman Rarebell is 67. Singer Graham Parker is 66. Actor Delroy Lindo is 64. Comedian Kevin Nealon is 63. Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon is 60. Actor Oscar Nunez is 58. Actress Elizabeth Perkins is 56. Singer Kim Wilde is 56. Rock musician Kirk Hammett (Metallica) is 54. Rock singer Tim DeLaughter (dee-LAW’-ter) is 51. Actor Romany Malco is 48. Actor Owen Wilson is 48. Actor Dan Bakkedahl is 48. Singer Duncan Sheik is 47. Actor Mike Epps is 46. Actress Peta Wilson is 46. Actress Chloe Sevigny (SEH’-ven-ee) is 42. Country singer Jessi Alexander is 40. Actor Steven Pasquale is 40. Rapper Fabolous is 39. Actor/director Nate Parker is 37. Rapper Mike Jones is 36. Actress Mekia Cox (TV: “Secrets and Lies”) is 35. Actress/comedian Nasim Pedrad is 35. Actress Allison Tolman is 35. Actor Damon Wayans Jr. is 34. Country singer TJ Osborne (Brothers Osborne) is 32. Actor Nathan Kress is 24.

Thought for Today: “It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.” — William G. McAdoo, American government official (1863-1941).

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