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Today in History: Nov. 18

Here's a look at what has happened on this date in history.

Today is Sunday, Nov. 18, the 322nd day of 2018.

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

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

In 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.

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

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 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: Detroit’s Big Three automakers pleaded with Congress for a $25 billion lifeline, warning of a national economic catastrophe should they collapse. Belgium-based InBev SA formed the world’s largest brewer with its $52 billion takeover of U.S.-based Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. Boston’s Dustin Pedroia won the American League MVP award, becoming the first second baseman to earn the honor in nearly a half-century.

Five years ago: Toronto’s city council voted to strip scandal-plagued Mayor Rob Ford of many of his powers following a heated debate in which he knocked over a city councilor. NASA’s robotic explorer, Maven, rocketed toward Mars on a quest to unravel the ancient mystery of the red planet’s radical climate change.

One year ago: Large crowds of demonstrators turned Zimbabwe’s capital into a carnival ground, showing disdain for President Robert Mugabe and urging him to quit immediately; Mugabe was now powerless and had been placed under house arrest by the military command. After heading Northern Ireland’s Sinn Fein party for more than 30 years, Gerry Adams announced that he was stepping down; he’d been known around the world as the face of the Irish republican movement as it shifted from violence to peace.

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© 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.