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Today in History - Wednesday Edition

Today is Wednesday, Nov. 18, the 322nd day of 2015. There are 43 days left in the year.

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    Mark Twain

    Today's Highlight in History:

    On Nov. 18, 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."

    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 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 1964, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover described civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. as "the most notorious liar in the country" for allegedly accusing FBI agents in Georgia of failing to act on complaints filed by blacks; King denied making such a claim.

    In 1965, Henry A. Wallace, who had served as vice president during President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third term of office, died in Danbury, Connecticut, at age 77.

    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 1985, the comic strip "Calvin and Hobbes," created by Bill Watterson, was first published. (The strip ran for 10 years.)

    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. American author and composer Paul Bowles died in Morocco at age 88.

    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: The Republican-controlled House spurned a call for an immediate pullout of troops from Iraq in a 403-3 vote hastily arranged by the GOP that Democrats denounced as politically motivated. Suicide bombers killed more than 50 worshippers at a pair of Shiite mosques in Iraq. 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. Tropical Storm Gamma formed off the coast of Central America. Character actor Harold J. Stone, 92, died in Woodland Hills, California.

    Five years ago: President Barack Obama rallied former diplomatic and military chiefs from both parties to pressure reluctant Republican senators into ratifying a nuclear weapons deal with Russia. (The Senate ratified the treaty the following month.) General Motors stock resumed trading on Wall Street, signaling the rebirth of an American corporate icon that had collapsed into bankruptcy and was rescued with a $50 billion infusion from taxpayers. Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners was chosen the AL Cy Young Award winner.

    One year ago: Several feet of lake-effect snow paralyzed the Buffalo, New York, area on a wintry day when temperatures fell to freezing or below in all 50 states. Israel vowed harsh retaliation for a Palestinian attack on a synagogue in Jerusalem that left five people dead.

    Today's Birthdays: Actress Brenda Vaccaro is 76. Author-poet Margaret Atwood is 76. Actress Linda Evans is 73. Actress Susan Sullivan is 73. Country singer Jacky Ward is 69. Actor Jameson Parker is 68. Actress-singer Andrea Marcovicci is 67. Rock musician Herman Rarebell is 66. Singer Graham Parker is 65. Actor Delroy Lindo is 63. Comedian Kevin Nealon is 62. Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon is 59. Actor Oscar Nunez is 57. Actress Elizabeth Perkins is 55. Singer Kim Wilde is 55. Rock musician Kirk Hammett (Metallica) is 53. Rock singer Tim DeLaughter is 50. Actor Romany Malco is 47. Actor Owen Wilson is 47. Actor Dan Bakkedahl is 47. Singer Duncan Sheik is 46. Actor Mike Epps is 45. Actress Peta Wilson is 45. Actress Chloe Sevigny is 41. Country singer Jessi Alexander is 39. Actor Steven Pasquale is 39. Rapper Fabolous is 38. Actor Nate Parker is 36. Rapper Mike Jones is 35. Actress/comedian Nasim Pedrad is 34. Actress Allison Tolman (TV: "Fargo") is 34. Actor Damon Wayans Jr. is 33. Actor Nathan Kress is 23.

    Thought for Today: "Few people can see genius in someone who has offended them." — Robertson Davies, Canadian author (1913-1995).