November 18, more than 900 die at Jonestown


Today is Saturday, Nov. 18, the 322nd day of 2023. There are 43 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Nov. 18, 1978, U.S. Rep. Leo J. Ryan of California and four others were killed on an airstrip in Jonestown, Guyana, by members of the Peoples Temple; the killings were followed by a night of mass murder and suicide resulting in the deaths of more than 900 cult members.

On this date:

In 1883, the United States and Canada adopted a system of standard time zones.

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

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

In 1966, U.S. Roman Catholic bishops 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.

In 1987, the congressional Iran-Contra committees issued their final report, saying President Ronald Reagan bore “ultimate responsibility” for wrongdoing by his aides.

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 1999, 12 people were killed when a bonfire under construction at Texas A&M University collapsed.

In 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the state constitution guaranteed gay couples the right to marry.

In 2005, eight months after Robert Blake was acquitted of murdering his wife at a criminal trial, a civil jury decided the actor was behind the slaying and ordered him to pay Bonny Lee Bakley’s children $30 million.

In 2020, President Donald Trump filed for a recount of Wisconsin’s two largest Democratic counties, paying the required $3 million cost and alleging that they were the sites of the “worst irregularities” although no evidence of illegal activity had been presented. (The recounts resulted in a slightly larger lead for Democrat Joe Biden.)

In 2012, 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.

In 2021, more than half a century after the assassination of Malcolm X, two of his convicted killers were exonerated; a New York judge dismissed the convictions of Muhammad Aziz and the late Khalil Islam after prosecutors and the men’s lawyers said a renewed investigation had found new evidence that undermined the case against them.

In 2022, Attorney General Merrick Garland named a special counsel to oversee the Justice Department’s investigation into the presence of classified documents at former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate, into key aspects of a separate probe involving the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and efforts to undo the 2020 election.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Brenda Vaccaro is 84. Author-poet Margaret Atwood is 84. Actor Linda Evans is 81. Actor Susan Sullivan is 81. Country singer Jacky Ward is 77. Actor Jameson Parker is 76. Actor-singer Andrea Marcovicci is 75. Rock musician Herman Rarebell is 74. Singer Graham Parker is 73. Actor Delroy Lindo is 71. Comedian Kevin Nealon is 70. Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon is 67. Actor Oscar Nunez is 65. Actor Elizabeth Perkins is 63. Singer Kim Wilde is 63. Actor Tim Guinee is 61. Rock musician Kirk Hammett (Metallica) is 61. Rock singer Tim DeLaughter (dee-LAW’-ter) is 58. Author and lecturer Brené Brown is 58. Actor Romany Malco is 55. Actor Owen Wilson is 55. Actor Dan Bakkedahl is 55. Singer Duncan Sheik is 54. Actor Mike Epps is 53. Actor Peta Wilson is 53. Actor Chloe Sevigny (SEH’-ven-ee) is 49. Country singer Jessi Alexander is 47. Actor Steven Pasquale is 47. Rapper Fabolous is 46. Actor-director Nate Parker is 44. Rapper Mike Jones is 43. Actor Mekia Cox is 42. Actor-comedian Nasim Pedrad (nah-SEEM’ peh-DRAHD’) is 42. Actor Allison Tolman is 42. Actor Christina Vidal is 42. Actor Damon Wayans Jr. is 41. Country singer TJ Osborne (Brothers Osborne) is 39. U.S. Olympic track star Allyson Felix is 38. Fashion designer Christian Siriano is 38. Actor Nathan Kress is 31.

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