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Today in History

Today is Saturday, May 22, the 142nd day of 2010. There are 223 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On May 22, 1960, an earthquake of magnitude 9.5, the strongest on record, struck southern Chile. According to the U.S. Geological Survey website, the quake claimed approximately 1,655 lives, injured 3,000 people, left 2 million homeless and caused $550 million worth of damage.

On this date:

In 1860, the United States and Japan exchanged ratifications of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce during a ceremony in Washington.

In 1885, French author Victor Hugo died in Paris at age 83.

In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appeared before Congress to explain his decision to veto a bill that would have allowed World War I veterans to cash in bonus certificates before their 1945 due date.

In 1939, the foreign ministers of Germany and Italy, Joachim von Ribbentrop and Galeazzo Ciano, signed a "Pact of Steel" committing the two countries to a military alliance.

In 1947, the Truman Doctrine was enacted as Congress appropriated military and economic aid for Greece and Turkey.

In 1968, the nuclear-powered submarine USS Scorpion, with 99 men aboard, sank in the Atlantic Ocean. (The remains of the sub were later found on the ocean floor 400 miles southwest of the Azores.)

In 1969, the lunar module of Apollo 10, with Thomas P. Stafford and Eugene Cernan aboard, flew to within nine miles of the moon's surface in a dress rehearsal for the first lunar landing.

In 1972, President Richard Nixon began a visit to the Soviet Union, during which he and Kremlin leaders signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. The island nation of Ceylon became the republic of Sri Lanka.

In 1985, U.S. sailor Michael L. Walker was arrested aboard the aircraft carrier Nimitz, two days after his father, John A. Walker Jr., was apprehended; both were later convicted of spying for the Soviet Union. (Michael Walker served 15 years in prison and was released in 2000.)

In 1990, after years of conflict, pro-Western North Yemen and pro-Soviet South Yemen merged to form a single nation, the Republic of Yemen. Boxer Rocky Graziano died in New York at age 71.

Ten years ago: The Supreme Court struck down, 5-4, a federal law that shielded children from sex-oriented cable TV channels. A committee of the Arkansas Supreme Court recommended that President Bill Clinton be disbarred for giving false testimony about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case. (Clinton later agreed to give up his Arkansas law license for five years.)

Five years ago: First lady Laura Bush was heckled by protesters — Israelis as well as Palestinians — during a visit to holy sites in Jerusalem. Three Romanian journalists and their Iraqi-American guide were freed after nearly two months in captivity in Iraq. Voice actor Thurl Ravenscroft, who supplied Tony the Tiger's "They're grrrrreat!" for more than 50 years, died in Fullerton, Calif. at age 91.

One year ago: President Barack Obama promised graduating midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy that, as their commander in chief, he would only send them "into harm's way when it is absolutely necessary." Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Lebanon to reinforce U.S. support for the government ahead of key parliamentary elections.

Today's Birthdays: Movie reviewer Judith Crist is 88. Singer Charles Aznavour is 86. Actor Michael Constantine is 83. Conductor Peter Nero is 76. Actor-director Richard Benjamin is 72. Actor Frank Converse is 72. Actor Michael Sarrazin is 70. Former CNN anchor Bernard Shaw is 70. Actress Barbara Parkins is 68. Songwriter Bernie Taupin is 60. Actor-producer Al Corley is 54. Singer Morrissey is 51. Actress Ann Cusack is 49. Country musician Dana Williams (Diamond Rio) is 49. Rock musician Jesse Valenzuela is 48. Rhythm-and-blues singer Johnny Gill (New Edition) is 44. Rock musician Dan Roberts (Crash Test Dummies) is 43. Actress Brooke Smith is 43. Model Naomi Campbell is 40. Actress Anna Belknap is 38. Actress Alison Eastwood is 38. Singer Donell Jones is 37. Actress A.J. Langer is 36. Olympic gold-medal speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno is 28.

Thought for Today: "Tact is, after all, a kind of mind-reading." — Sarah Orne Jewett, American author (1849-1909).

(Above Advance for Use Saturday, May 22)

Copyright 2010, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.