Today is Wednesday, August 20, the 232nd day of 2014. There are 133 days left in the year.

Highlights in history on this date:

1741 - Danish explorer Vitus Bering, on a mission sponsored by Russia, discovers Alaska.

1831 - French army enters Belgium, forcing Dutch forces to withdraw.

1866 - U.S. President Andrew Johnson formally declares the American Civil War over, even though fighting had stopped months earlier.

1908 - Belgium's King Leopold II hands over the Congo, until then his personal possession, to the Belgian government.

1914 - German forces occupy Brussels during World War I.

1918 - Britain opens its offensive on the Western front during World War I.

1940 - Exiled Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky is attacked near Mexico City by a Spanish Communist with an ice pick. He dies the next day.

1946 - Allied Control Commission dissolves Wehrmacht — the army — in Germany.

1953 - France deposes Sultan of Morocco; the Soviet Union publicly acknowledges it tested a hydrogen bomb.

1955 - Hundreds of people are killed in anti-French rioting in Morocco and Algeria.

1964 - U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs a $1 billion anti-poverty measure.

1968 - Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact nations invade Czechoslovakia to crush Alexander Dubcek's liberal regime.

1971 - Leaders of Libya, Egypt and Syria sign constitution binding their countries in Federation of Arab Republics.

1975 - U.S. spaceship bound for planet Mars is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

1976 - South Africa announces new concession, giving urban blacks full title to the land on which they live.

1977 - NASA launches the Voyager Two space probe.

1980 - The U.N. Security Council approves a resolution urging all nations not to recognize Israel's recent declaration that all Jerusalem was its undivided and eternal capital. The United States abstains in the vote.

1987 - Treasure hunters salvaging objects from doomed luxury liner Titanic scoop up satchel containing a fortune in jewels.

1988 - After battlefield setbacks, Iran accepts a U.N. resolution on the Iran-Iraq war, ending the fighting after eight years.

1990 - Convicts from Siberian labor camp overpower guards aboard Aeroflot passenger flight, hijack plane to Pakistan and seek political asylum.

1991 - Three people are killed in Moscow, Russia, when coup opponents trap a military vehicle beneath an underpass and soldiers inside open fire.

1992 - Dozens of people are killed and more than 7,000 buildings wrecked by a strong earthquake in Kyrgyzstan.

1993 - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe threatens to expel white landowners who object to government efforts to expropriate their property.

1996 - Russian troops fight to encircle Grozny, moving up reinforcements as thousands of refugees flee the Chechen capital.

1997 - Responding to an appeal by the embattled Bosnian Serb president, NATO-led troops seal buildings and seize truckloads of weapons from police loyal to war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic.

1998 - The U.S. launches missile attacks against alleged al-Qaida terrorist camps in Afghanistan and a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan in retaliation for attacks earlier in the year on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

2000 - East Timorese freedom fighter Jose Alexandre Gusmao surrenders command of his guerrilla army, strengthening his credentials as a civilian politician.

2003 - One protester is shot dead and five others injured in violent clashes with the police in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The protesters were demonstrating against endemic power outages around the country.

2004 - Suspected communist guerrillas shoot a policeman and set off two bombs in Katmandu while keeping up a blockade that has isolated the capital to press demands for the release of rebels held by Nepal's government.

2005 - A bomb detonated by remote control in Russia's southern region kills at least three police officers on patrol in Dagestan amid continuing fears about spreading violence.

2006 - Nepal's government reverses decision to raise gasoline, diesel and cooking fuel prices after thousands of protesters clash with police, block traffic and vandalize government vehicles.

2007 - Afghan police rescue Christina Meier, a pregnant German aid worker who was snatched while dining with her husband at a restaurant in the capital, and arrest four members of a criminal gang that was demanding $1 million ransom.

2008 - A Spanish jetliner crashes during takeoff at Madrid's Barajas International Airport, killing 154 people.

2009 - The U.S. government branch that keeps world weather records says July is the hottest the world's oceans have been in almost 130 years of record-keeping. The average water temperature worldwide was 62.6 degrees, (17 Celsius).

2010 - Iranian and Russian nuclear technicians make final preparations to start up Iran's first reactor after years of delays, an operation that will mark a milestone in what Tehran considers its right to produce nuclear energy.

2011 - A freak thunderstorm forces Pope Benedict XVI to cut short his speech to an estimated million young pilgrims gathered for the church's world youth festival, giving the outdoor prayer vigil at a Madrid airfield a dramatic climax.

2012 - Government forces pummel the battered city of Aleppo with airstrikes and tanks and shell parts of Damascus and southern Syria , killing at least 100 people during a major Muslim holiday.

2013 — A court in Pakistan indicted former present and army chief Perez Musharraf on murder charges stemming from the assassination of ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, a ruling that tests the military's aura of inviolability.

Today's Birthdays:

Joens Jacob Berzelius, Swedish chemist (1779-1848); Emily Bronte, British author (1818-1848); Benjamin Harrison, U.S. president (1883-1901); Raymond Poincare, French president (1860-1934); Isaac Hayes, U.S. singer (1942-2008); Rajiv Gandhi, Indian prime minister (1944-1991). Andrew Garfield, U.S. actor (1983--)

Thought For Today:

If a thing is absolutely true, how can it not also be a lie? An absolute must contain its opposite — Charlotte Painter, American writer and educator (1926--).