Today in History: November 18

Mickey and Minnie Mouse lead a group of 4000 children from 116 cities down Main Street USA during Mickey Mouse’s 60th birthday party at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida on Nov. 18, 1988. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)
Mickey and Minnie Mouse lead a group of 4000 children from 116 cities down Main Street USA during Mickey Mouse’s 60th birthday party at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida on Nov. 18, 1988. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

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 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.)

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