Today is Wednesday, April 2, the 92nd day of 2014. There are 273 days left in the year.
On April 2, 1914, British actor Sir Alec Guinness, whose roles in a 66-year career ranged from Hamlet to Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Star Wars,” was born in London.
On this date:
In 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon and his expedition landed in present-day Florida. (Some historians say the landing actually occurred the next day, on April 3.)
In 1792, Congress passed the Coinage Act, which authorized establishment of the U.S. Mint.
In 1863, during the Civil War, the Richmond Bread Riot erupted in the Confederate capital as a mob outraged over food shortages and rising prices attacked and looted stores.
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 1932, aviator Charles A. Lindbergh and John F. Condon went to a cemetery in The Bronx, N.Y., where Condon turned over $50,000 to a man in exchange for Lindbergh’s kidnapped son. (The child, who was not returned, was found dead the following month.)
In 1942, Glenn Miller and his orchestra recorded “American Patrol” at the RCA Victor studios in Hollywood.
In 1956, the soap operas “As the World Turns” and “The Edge of Night” premiered on CBS-TV.
In 1968, the science-fiction film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, had its world premiere in Washington, D.C.
In 1974, French President Georges Pompidou, 62, died in Paris.
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 1994, former actress and consumer reporter Betty Furness died in New York at age 78.
In 2005, Pope John Paul II died in his Vatican apartment at age 84.
Ten years ago: A judge in New York declared a mistrial in the grand-larceny case against two former Tyco executives after a juror apparently received an intimidating letter and phone call for supposedly siding with the defense. (Former CEO L. Dennis Kozlowski and CFO Mark H. Swartz were convicted in a retrial of looting Tyco of more than $600 million in corporate bonuses and loans; each was sentenced to 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison. Both were paroled in Jan. 2014.) Flags of seven new NATO members from former communist Europe rose at alliance headquarters in Brussels for the first time, marking the biggest expansion in NATO’s 55-year history.
Five years ago: Leaders of the world’s rich and major developing countries met at an emergency G-20 economic summit in London; afterward, President Barack Obama hailed agreements they had reached as a “turning point in our pursuit of global economic recovery,” but cautioned, “there are no guarantees.” The House and Senate passed companion budget plans, giving President Obama and his allies on Capitol Hill a key victory. A 19-count federal racketeering indictment was returned against former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich; the ousted Democrat denied doing anything illegal. Penn State beat Baylor 69-63 to win the NIT title.
One year 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 the beloved pontiff’s death. Irish character actor Milo O’Shea, 86, died in New York.