By The Associated Press
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.