Today is Sunday, November 18, the 323rd day of 2012. There are 43 days left in the year.
Highlights in history on this date:
1626 - St. Peter's Basilica in Rome is consecrated by Pope Urban VIII.
1666 - French capture Antigua, West Indies, from the British.
1820 - U.S. Navy Captain Nathaniel Palmer discovers the frozen continent of Antarctica.
1830 - National Congress in Belgium decrees independence.
1883 - The United States and Canada adopt a system of Standard Time zones.
1903 - United States and Panama sign treaty granting the U.S. rights to build the Panama Canal.
1905 - Japan declares protectorate over Korea.
1910 - The Mexican Revolution breaks out, lasting 10 years and killing more than one million people.
1928 - Mickey Mouse makes his debut in the United States, in the first successful sound-synchronized cartoon, "Steamboat Willie."
1936 - Germany and Italy recognize General Francisco Franco's government in Spain.
1941 - British troops launch attack in West African desert in World War II.
1958 - King Mohammed V calls for the "total and unconditional" withdrawal of U.S. military bases, French and Spanish troops from Moroccan territory saying their presence is a menace to Morocco's independence.
1966 - U.S. Roman Catholic bishops do away with the rule against eating meat on Fridays.
1970 - China names an ambassador to the Soviet Union, restoring top-level diplomatic relations for the first time in four years; West Germany and Poland agree to restore relations, ending 31 years of enmity.
1976 - Spain's parliament approves a bill to establish a democracy after 37 years of dictatorship.
1977 - Egyptian embassy in Athens is stormed by Palestinian students, and an embassy in Beirut comes under rocket attack as protests spread over Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's plan to visit Israel.
1978 - A total of 912 people die in Jonestown, Guyana, after Peoples Temple cult leader Jim Jones convinces most followers to kill themselves by drinking cyanide-laced punch. Others are shot to death or forcibly poisoned.
1987 - Lawyers group reports systematic genocide, torture and use of chemical weapons by Soviet and allied troops in Afghanistan.
1988 - U.S. President Ronald Reagan signs legislation creating a Cabinet-level drug czar and providing the death penalty for drug traffickers who kill.
1989 - At least 800 people are left dead after a week of fighting in El Salvador. A third of the capital's one million people are trapped without food or water during rebel siege.
1991 - British hostage Terry Waite and American Thomas Sutherland are freed by Shiite Muslim kidnappers in Beirut.
1993 - Nigeria's new military ruler, General Sani Abacha, dissolves all democratic institutions.
1994 - Palestinian authority police open fire at protesters for the first time, killing 12 and wounding more than 200 in Gaza.
1995 - Hong Kong businesswoman Alexandra Manley becomes princess of Denmark in a glittering wedding to Prince Joachim, second in line to the throne.
1996 - Russia's new space probe to Mars fails shortly after blastoff and comes crashing back into the Pacific Ocean near Easter Island.
1997 - A 75-year-old woman in Riga, Latvia, becomes the first to receive compensation from Switzerland for her suffering during World War II.
1999 - Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia sign a deal to build a US$2.4 billion pipeline that would move oil from the Caspian Sea to international markets without going through Russia or Iran.
2000 - Leaders of Japan's governing party reach a last-minute compromise to avert the removal of Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori in a no-confidence vote.
2001 - A Spanish investigative judge charges eight men with belonging to the al-Qaida terror network.
2004 - Israeli troops mistake three Egyptian police officers for Palestinian militants and shoot them dead along Gaza's border with Egypt, increasing tensions between the two neighbors.
2005 - Two bombs are found planted at branches of a Spanish-owned bank on the outskirts of Mexico City, the latest in a series of attacks against foreign financial institutions in the area in recent years.
2006 - Relief teams traveling by donkey arrive in a mountainous province of western Afghanistan where flash floods killed at least 53 people and left dozens missing.
2007 - A methane blast rips through a coal mine in eastern Ukraine, killing at least 70 miners.
2008 - Belgium-based InBev SA forms the world's largest brewer with its euro41 billion ($52 billion) takeover of U.S.-based Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc.
2009 - Guards aboard the Maersk Alabama use guns and a sound blaster to repel the second pirate attack in seven months on the U.S. vessel at a time when ships off the Horn of Africa are increasingly hiring armed security teams to thwart hijackings.
2010 — The near-acquittal of the first Guantanamo detainee tried in a U.S. court reignites the debate over whether to bring terrorism suspects to justice in the civilian legal system.
2011 — Tens of thousands of Islamists and young activists mass in Tahrir Square, confronting Egypt's ruling military council with the largest crowd in months to protest the generals' attempt to give themselves special powers over a future elected government.
William Hogarth, British artist (1697-1764); Carl Maria von Weber, German composer (1786-1826); Louis Daguerre, French photographic pioneer (1787-1851); W.S. Gilbert, British playwright (1836-1911); Ignace Jan Paderewski, musician and first prime minister of Poland (1860-1941); Amelita Galli-Curci, Italian opera star (1890-1963); Peta Wilson, Australian actress (1970--); Owen Wilson, U.S. actor (1968--); Chloe Sevigny, U.S. actress (1974--).
Thought For Today:
"'It can't happen here' is number one on the list of famous last words" — David Crosby, rock singer-musician.