Today in History

Today is Monday, Nov. 18, the 322nd day of 2019. There are 43 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Nov. 18, 1987, the congressional Iran-Contra committees issued their final report, saying President Ronald Reagan bore "ultimate responsibility" for wrongdoing by his aides.

On this date:

In 1865, Mark Twain's first literary success, the original version of his short story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," was first published in the New York Saturday Press under the title "Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog."

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

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

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, 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.

Ten years ago: President Barack Obama visited the Great Wall of China, which he described as "magical," before heading to Seoul, South Korea, for the final stop of his eight-day Asia tour. 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.)

Five years ago: Several feet of lake-effect snow paralyzed the Buffalo, New York, area on a wintry day when temperatures fell to freezing or below in all 50 states. Israel vowed harsh retaliation for a Palestinian attack on a synagogue in Jerusalem that left five people dead.

One year ago: Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson conceded his bitterly-close re-election bid to Republican Rick Scott, after a bruising recount left Nelson thousands of votes short of the outgoing governor. Finland's president said he wasn't sure where President Donald Trump got the idea that raking was part of Finland's routine for managing its forests; Trump had told reporters a day earlier that wildfires weren't a problem in Finland because crews "spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning" forest floors. For the first time since 1996, Army made it into the Associated Press Top 25 college football poll, achieving a No. 23 ranking.

Today's Birthdays: Actress Brenda Vaccaro is 80. Author-poet Margaret Atwood is 80. Actress Linda Evans is 77. Actress Susan Sullivan is 77. Country singer Jacky Ward is 73. Actor Jameson Parker is 72. Actress-singer Andrea Marcovicci is 71. Rock musician Herman Rarebell is 70. Singer Graham Parker is 69. Actor Delroy Lindo is 67. Comedian Kevin Nealon is 66. Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon is 63. Actor Oscar Nunez is 61. Actress Elizabeth Perkins is 59. Singer Kim Wilde is 59. Actor Tim Guinee is 57. Rock musician Kirk Hammett (Metallica) is 57. Rock singer Tim DeLaughter (dee-LAW'-ter) is 54. Actor Romany Malco is 51. Actor Owen Wilson is 51. Actor Dan Bakkedahl is 51. Singer Duncan Sheik is 50. Actor Mike Epps is 49. Actress Peta Wilson is 49. Actress Chloe Sevigny (SEH'-ven-ee) is 45. Country singer Jessi Alexander is 43. Actor Steven Pasquale is 43. Rock musician Alberto Bof (Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real) is 42. Rapper Fabolous is 42. Actor-director Nate Parker is 40. Rapper Mike Jones is 39. Actress Mekia Cox is 38. Actress-comedian Nasim Pedrad (nah-SEEM' peh-DRAHD') is 38. Actress Allison Tolman is 38. Actress Christina Vidal is 38. Actor Damon Wayans Jr. is 37. Country singer TJ Osborne (Brothers Osborne) is 35. Fashion designer Christian Siriano is 34. Actor Nathan Kress is 27.

Thought for Today: "Few people can see genius in someone who has offended them." — Robertson Davies, Canadian author (1913-1995).

Copyright 2019, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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