Today in History: November 18, deaths at Jonestown

Nov 17, 2022, 10:00 PM | Updated: 10:09 pm

Today in History

Today is Friday, Nov. 18, the 322nd day of 2022. 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. (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 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.

In 2005, eight months after Robert Blake was acquitted at a criminal trial of murdering his wife, 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.)

Ten 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.

Five years 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.

One year ago: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation requiring private businesses in the state to let workers opt out of coronavirus vaccine mandates. 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. Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani was unanimously voted American League MVP for a hitting and pitching season not seen since Babe Ruth, and Bryce Harper earned the National League honor for the second time.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Brenda Vaccaro is 83. Author-poet Margaret Atwood is 83. Actor Linda Evans is 80. Actor Susan Sullivan is 80. Country singer Jacky Ward is 76. Actor Jameson Parker is 75. Actor-singer Andrea Marcovicci is 74. Rock musician Herman Rarebell is 73. Singer Graham Parker is 72. Actor Delroy Lindo is 70. Comedian Kevin Nealon is 69. Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon is 66. Actor Oscar Nunez is 64. Actor Elizabeth Perkins is 62. Singer Kim Wilde is 62. Actor Tim Guinee is 60. Rock musician Kirk Hammett (Metallica) is 60. Rock singer Tim DeLaughter (dee-LAW’-ter) is 57. Author and lecturer Brené Brown is 57. Actor Romany Malco is 54. Actor Owen Wilson is 54. Actor Dan Bakkedahl is 54. Singer Duncan Sheik is 53. Actor Mike Epps is 52. Actor Peta Wilson is 52. Actor Chloe Sevigny (SEH’-ven-ee) is 48. Country singer Jessi Alexander is 46. Actor Steven Pasquale is 46. Rapper Fabolous is 45. Actor-director Nate Parker is 43. Rapper Mike Jones is 42. Actor Mekia Cox is 41. Actor-comedian Nasim Pedrad (nah-SEEM’ peh-DRAHD’) is 41. Actor Allison Tolman is 41. Actor Christina Vidal is 41. Actor Damon Wayans Jr. is 40. Country singer TJ Osborne (Brothers Osborne) is 38. U.S. Olympic track star Allyson Felix is 37. Fashion designer Christian Siriano is 37. Actor Nathan Kress is 30.

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Today in History: November 18, deaths at Jonestown