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Today in History

Today is Saturday, Nov. 18, the 322nd day of 2017. There are 43 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Nov. 18, 1942, “The Skin of Our Teeth,” Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning allegory about the history of humankind, opened on Broadway.

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 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 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 2000, actors Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones were married in an extravagant wedding at The Plaza hotel in New York City.

Ten years ago: Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s (pur-VEHZ’ moo-SHAH’-ruhvz) government dismissed a last-ditch U.S. call to end emergency rule, a day after a visit by Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte (neh-groh-PAHN’-tee). A methane blast ripped through a coal mine in eastern Ukraine, killing 101 miners. Chris Daughtry’s band won favorite pop-rock album for “Daughtry,” as well as breakthrough artist and adult contemporary artist at the American Music Awards. MTV Arabia, an Arab version of the pop-culture channel, began broadcasting.

Five years ago: In the deadliest single attack in Israel’s offensive against Islamic militants, 12 people were killed when an Israeli missile ripped through a two-story home in a residential area of Gaza City. Justin Bieber dominated the American Music Awards in Los Angeles, winning three trophies, including artist of the year.

One year ago: President-elect Donald Trump signaled a sharp policy shift to the right by picking Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general, Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo to head the CIA and Michael Flynn as his national security adviser.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Brenda Vaccaro is 78. Author-poet Margaret Atwood is 78. Actress Linda Evans is 75. Actress Susan Sullivan is 75. Country singer Jacky Ward is 71. Actor Jameson Parker is 70. Actress-singer Andrea Marcovicci is 69. Rock musician Herman Rarebell is 68. Singer Graham Parker is 67. Actor Delroy Lindo is 65. Comedian Kevin Nealon is 64. Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon is 61. Actor Oscar Nunez is 59. Actress Elizabeth Perkins is 57. Singer Kim Wilde is 57. Rock musician Kirk Hammett (Metallica) is 55. Rock singer Tim DeLaughter (dee-LAW’-ter) is 52. Actor Romany Malco is 49. Actor Owen Wilson is 49. Actor Dan Bakkedahl is 49. Singer Duncan Sheik is 48. Actor Mike Epps is 47. Actress Peta Wilson is 47. Actress Chloe Sevigny (SEH’-ven-ee) is 43. Country singer Jessi Alexander is 41. Actor Steven Pasquale is 41. Rock musician Alberto Bof (Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real) is 40. Rapper Fabolous is 40. Actor-director Nate Parker is 38. Rapper Mike Jones is 37. Actress Mekia Cox is 36. Actress-comedian Nasim Pedrad is 36. Actress Allison Tolman is 36. Actor Damon Wayans Jr. is 35. Country singer TJ Osborne (Brothers Osborne) is 33. Actor Nathan Kress is 25.

Thought for Today: “If an historian were to relate truthfully all the crimes, weaknesses and disorders of mankind, his readers would take his work for satire rather than for history.” — Pierre Bayle (bayl), French philosopher and critic (born this date in 1647, died 1706).