Today in History: April 2, Pope John Paul II Dies at 84

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On April 2, 2005, John Paul II, the Polish pope born Karol Józef Wojtyła, who became one of the most influential leaders of the 20th and early 21st centuries while working to build a moral foundation in the modern world and playing a crucial role in overthrowing communism, 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; the remaining 110 passengers survived.

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.

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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 2012, a gunman killed seven people at Oikos University, a Christian school in Oakland, California. (The shooter, One Goh, died in 2019 while serving a life prison sentence.)

In 2013, 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.

In 2017, Coach Dawn Staley and South Carolina won their first women’s NCAA championship with a 67-55 victory over Mississippi State.

In 2018, anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who’d been married for nearly 38 years to Nelson Mandela, died in a Johannesburg hospital at age 81.

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

In 2021, rapper DMX was rushed from his home to a suburban New York hospital after going into cardiac arrest; he died a week later.

 

AP

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