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News you might have missed: Morning links for Tuesday, May 29

Spellers Nihar Saireddy Janga (left) of Austin, Texas and Jairam Jagadeesh Hathwar (right) of Painted Post, New York, hold a trophy after the finals of the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Maryland. Both spellers were declared co-champions. This year's annual spelling competition begins Tuesday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Scripps National Spelling Bee begins today (Reuters)

Ready to feel lugubrious as linguistically prolific preteens spell discomfitingly perplexing words with equanimity? There are 470,000 entries in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary, and any of them could be thrown at the grade school children competing in this year's Bee. More than 500 contestants from the U.S. and eight other nations will compete for bragging rights and a $40,000 prize. The winning word last year? Marocain, a type of fabric. Before the winner got to that final word, last year's champ had to master “zeaxanthin,” “brabancon,” and “sceloporus”

Two cops, one civilian killed in terror attack in Belgium (ABC News)

A terror suspect in Belgium stabbed two policewomen, stole their guns, and shot them with their own guns. The suspect then opened fire on a car, killing the driver, before fleeing to a school and taking a woman hostage. Police later shot and killed the suspect, and rescued the hostage. The Belgian federal prosecutor's office told ABC News earlier that there were “elements that make us believe that it was a terror attack.”

President George H.W. Bush is still being treated after being hospitalized on Sunday (USA Today)

Former President George H.W. Bush was hospitalized Sunday after reportedly suffering from low blood pressure and fatigue. This was the first time that the 93-year-old had missed the Kennebunkport Memorial Day parade in decades. On NBC's "Today," Jenna Bush Hager reported that her grandfather was “doing OK.”

Two local journalists killed while covering a storm (WYFF-TV)

WYFF-TV anchor Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer were killed when a tree fell on their car. The two men were covering severe rain in North Carolina at the time. Tryon Fire Chief Geoffrey Tennant said that the tree's root system failed after the ground became saturated with rain water. Tennant said that he had just been interviewed by McCormick and Smeltzer 10 minutes before he was notified about the crash. “We had talked a little bit about how he wanted us to stay safe,” Tennant said, “and I wanted him to stay safe and, of course, 10 or 15 minutes later we got the call and it was him and his photographer.”

U.S. Geological Survey advises against cooking marshmallows over volcanic vents (Time)

As Hawaii's Kilauea volcano continues to erupt, Hawaiians are looking for ways to make lemonade out of the situation. Unfortunately for those hoping to sit around volcanic vents roasting marshmallows and singing campfire songs, the U.S. Geological Survey had to inform the world about the science of chemical reactions and toxic fumes. In response to a question on Twitter, the USGS tweeted: "Erm...we're going to have to say no, that's not safe. (Please don't try!) If the vent is emitting a lot of SO2 or H2S, they would taste BAD. And if you add sulfuric acid (in vog, for example) to sugar, you get a pretty spectacular reaction."

Want coffee this afternoon? Better find somewhere other than Starbucks (Business Insider)

Some 8,000 Starbucks locations are shutting down around 2 p.m. Tuesday, and will remain closed until Wednesday morning at their usual opening time. Starbucks will do this to "conduct racial-bias education geared toward preventing discrimination in our stores.” The training was ordered after a video went viral of two black men being arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia, allegedly after using the restroom without purchasing drinks. After the incident, Starbucks also changed its official policy to allow people to use the restroom without making a purchase.

How many people died from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico? A Harvard study says a lot more than we thought (Washington Post)

While official estimates put the death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico at 64, a new Harvard study suggests that the number could be as high as 4,645 — more than 72 times as many people. The new study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, argued that the impact from a lack of resources following the hurricane damage lead to the greater number of deaths. For this study, researchers surveyed around 3,300 households, chosen at random, and compared that data to the average, yearly death rate on the island.

A veteran finally finished high school — more than 70 years after quitting to fight in World War II (The Independent)

Robert Lockhard finally graduated from Circleville High School in Ohio as part of the class of 2018. He was originally supposed to graduate in 1944 but dropped out to join the Air Corps 354th Infantry 89th Division, with which he took part in the D-Day invasion. “It means everything to me. Everything,” he said to a local CNN affiliate. “All these years man, I thought about this.” Congratulations, Robert!

Hero teacher who prevented another school massacre speaks out, says he had no other choice but to act (ABC News)

When a student showed up in his classroom with a gun, science teacher Jason Seaman tackled him to the ground, even though he was wounded in the process. “I deeply care for my students and their well-being, so that's why I did what I did that day,” Seaman said during a news conference Monday morning. He said that his actions “were the only acceptable actions I could have done given the circumstances.” One student was also shot during the attack, and was listed in critical condition on Friday.

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