Today in History: April 2, Pope John Paul II dies

Today in History

Today is Sunday, April 2, the 92nd day of 2023. There are 273 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 2, 2005, Pope John Paul II died in his Vatican apartment at age 84.

On this date:

In 1792, Congress passed the Coinage Act, which authorized establishment of the U.S. Mint.

In 1865, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and most of his Cabinet fled the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, because of advancing Union forces.

In 1912, the just-completed RMS Titanic left Belfast to begin its sea trials eight days before the start of its ill-fated maiden voyage.

In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to declare war against Germany, saying, “The world must be made safe for democracy.” (Congress declared war four days later.)

In 1982, several thousand troops from Argentina seized the disputed Falkland Islands, located in the south Atlantic, from Britain. (Britain seized the islands back the following June.)

In 1986, four American passengers, including an 8-month-old girl, her mother and her grandmother, were killed when a terrorist bomb exploded aboard a TWA jetliner en route from Rome to Athens, Greece.

In 1992, mob boss John Gotti was convicted in New York of murder and racketeering; he was later sentenced to life, and died in prison.

In 1995, after a work stoppage lasting nearly eight months, baseball owners accepted the players’ union offer to play without a contract.

In 2002, Israel seized control of Bethlehem; Palestinian gunmen forced their way into the Church of the Nativity, the traditional birthplace of Jesus, where they began a 39-day standoff.

In 2003, during the Iraq War, American forces fought their way to within sight of the Baghdad skyline.

In 2007, in its first case on climate change, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, ruled 5-4 that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases were air pollutants under the Clean Air Act.

In 2020, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide passed the 1 million mark, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Ten years ago: North Korea said it would restart its long-shuttered plutonium reactor and increase production of nuclear weapons material in what outsiders saw as its latest attempt to extract U.S. concessions by raising fears of war. Pope Francis prayed before the tomb of Pope John Paul II on the eighth anniversary of his death. Irish character actor Milo O’Shea, 86, died in New York.

Five years ago: Anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who’d been married for nearly 38 years to Nelson Mandela, died in a Johannesburg hospital at the age of 81. Thousands of Oklahoma teachers began two weeks of walkouts and descended on the state Capitol to demand more education funding. Ethan Couch, who as a 16-year-old driver drunkenly struck and killed four pedestrians but dodged prison after suggesting at his trial that his irresponsibility was a result of an entitled upbringing, went free after serving almost two years in a Texas jail on a probation violation. Villanova beat Michigan to capture its second NCAA college basketball championship in three years.

One year ago: Ukrainian troops moved cautiously to retake territory north of the country’s capital, using cables to pull the bodies of civilians off the streets in at least one town out of fear that Russian forces may have set booby traps before leaving. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned residents that departing Russian troops were creating a “catastrophic” situation for civilians. Retiring Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski coached his final game, a loss to archrivals North Carolina in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament in New Orleans. Patrick Demarchelier, a French-born photographer known for his high fashion images top models and celebrities including Princess Diana, died at age 78.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Sharon Acker is 88. Actor Dame Penelope Keith is 83. Actor Linda Hunt is 78. Singer Emmylou Harris is 76. Actor Sam Anderson is 76. Social critic and author Camille Paglia is 76. Actor Pamela Reed is 74. Rock musician Dave Robinson (The Cars) is 74. Country singer Buddy Jewell is 62. Actor Christopher Meloni is 62. Singer Keren Woodward (Bananarama) is 62. Country singer Billy Dean is 61. Actor Clark Gregg is 61. Actor Jana Marie Hupp is 59. Rock musician Greg Camp is 56. Actor Roselyn Sanchez is 50. Country singer Jill King is 48. Actor Pedro Pascal is 48. Actor Adam Rodriguez is 48. Actor Michael Fassbender is 46. Actor Jaime Ray Newman is 45. Rock musician Jesse Carmichael (Maroon 5) is 44. Actor Bethany Joy Lenz is 42. Singer Lee Dewyze (TV: “American Idol”) is 37. Country singer Chris Janson is 37. Actor Drew Van Acker is 37. Actor Briga Heelan (TV: “Great News”) is 36. Actor Jesse Plemons is 35. Singer Aaron Kelly (TV: “American Idol”) is 30.