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August 20

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

1914 German forces occupy Brussels during the First World War.

1915 Italy declares war on Turkey.

1922 The first Women’s Olympic Games are held in Paris.

1938 Lou Gehrig hits his 23rd career grand slam – a record that stood for 75 years until it was broken by Alex Rodriguez.

1940 Exiled Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky is attacked in Mexico. He dies the next day.

1942 A team of chemists led by American Glenn T. Seaborg isolates a visible amount of plutonium for the first time.

1949 Hungary adopts a Soviet-style constitution and is renamed the Hungarian People’s Republic.

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

1962 The NS Savannah, the world’s first nuclear-powered civilian ship, embarks on its maiden voyage.

1968 Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact nations invade Czechoslovakia.

1971 Heavy rains flood the Red River delta in Vietnam, killing at least 100,000 people.

1974 US President Gerald Ford, assumes office after Richard Nixon’s resignation.

1977 Nasa launches the Voyager Two space probe.

1979 Indian Prime Minister Charan Singh resigns after just 24 days in power.

1985 Sikh political leader Harchand Singh Longowal is assassinated.

1988 A UN brokered ceasefire in the nearly eight-year-old Gulf war begins in Iran and Iraq.

1989 The pleasure boat Marchioness sinks on the River Thames following a collision, killing 51 people.

1991 The Republic of Estonia declares independence from the Soviet Union.

1993 Russia’s information minister Mikhail Fedotov resigns over new press law.

1998 US forces attack alleged terrorist camps in Afghanistan and a chemical plant in Sudan.

2001 A toy car explodes in northern Spain, killing a woman and blinding her 16-month-old grandson in a blast.

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

2012 Ethiopia’s long-time ruler Meles Zenawi dies of an undisclosed illness, at age of 57.

2014 World renowned Yoga guru B.K.S. Iyengar dies at a private hospital in Pune, India, at the age of 96.





More than 300 killed in Indian train collision

1995 - At least 300 people were killed when a passenger express rammed into a stationary train in northern India and the toll was expected to mount. An estimated 400 others were injured in the accident, blamed on human error, near the Ferozabad railway station about 40km of Agra. A railway spokesman in New Delhi put the toll at 216 and the number of injured at 235. “It is one of the worst accidents in recent times,” he said. The spokesman said no foreigners appeared to have died so far, adding that none of the trains serviced Agra, a popular tourist spot. The New Delhi-bound Purshottam Express rammed into the Kalindi Express - also running to Delhi from Orissa - which had halted outside the station after running over some stray cattle that damaged its brakes. The Purshottam Express, which had been travelling at 70km an hour, is cleared by mistake to run on the same track as the Kalindi Express. About 2,300 people were on both trains.