Nation

Faces of the National Spelling Bee: Snigdha Nandipati spells “guetapens” FTW

Faces of the National Spelling Bee: Snigdha Nandipati spells “guetapens” FTW

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FINAL UPDATE: 14-year-old Snigdha Nandipati from San Diego, California correctly spells the french word “guetapens” to win the 85th Scripps National Spelling Bee Championship.
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For most of us growing up, our dreams of spelling glory are dashed right in the classroom, never making it out to regional competitions and state-wide spelling bees. And no matter how many games of Words with Friends some of us play, we’ll still never be spelling gurus like the 278 kids from around the country who are invited each year to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Once again, with excitement and curiosity, we look forward to watching this year’s crop of young spellers battle it out. Wednesday’s preliminaries are sure to not disappoint with a mix of newbies, three of last year’s finalists — Nabeel Rahman, Arvind Mahankali and Samuel Estep, and the youngest speller to ever compete, Lori Anne Madison, who is only 6-years-old. Only 50 competitors will go on to tomorrow’s semifinals.

In preparation of Thursday night’s finals, let’s take a look at the thoughts, yawns and reactions on the bright faces from today’s preliminaries, along with those of previous national contestants. We’ve also included the winning words and their definitions from 2000-2011.
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Remembering the Fallen: Scenes from the Memorial Day weekend

Remembering the Fallen: Scenes from the Memorial Day weekend

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For many, Memorial Day marks a day of remembrance, honoring military men and women who died while serving their country. It has been celebrated since the end of the Civil War. Here are scenes from around the country of Americans remembering the fallen.

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SpaceX: To infinity and beyond, or at least the International Space Station for now

SpaceX: To infinity and beyond, or at least the International Space Station for now

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UPDATE: Today at 9:56 a.m. eastern time, the SpaceX Dragon capsule was grabbed by a robotic arm from the International Space Station about 250 miles above northwest Australia. The Dragon is carrying 1,200 pounds of cargo for the Space Station crew including food, clothing and science experiments, one of which originated from Maryland’s own Paul Warren, an 11th-grader at Henry E. Lackey High School in Indian Head.

Led by CEO, and PayPal founder, Elon Musk, SpaceX is now the first private company to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station. With its successful launch on Tuesday and subsequent docking later today, the Falcon 9/Dragon capsule has ushered in a new era in space travel now that NASA has retired its fleet of space shuttles.
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A Parade of Ships sails into New York City for the 25th annual Fleet Week

A Parade of Ships sails into New York City for the 25th annual Fleet Week

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Festivities for the 25th annual Fleet Week celebration kicked off in New York Harbor yesterday, May 23, 2012. Fleet week began in 1984 to celebrate the U.S. Navy and Marines Corps with a week of ship visitations and military demonstrations. A military flyover on Memorial Day completes the celebration to honor those killed while serving in the military.

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Sunday’s solar eclipse burned, burned, burned, like a ring of fire

Sunday’s solar eclipse burned, burned, burned, like a ring of fire

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The western region of the United States and other countries along the Pacific rim caught a glimpse of the first solar eclipse of the year on Sunday. While, 2011 saw a handful of partial solar eclipses, spectators got to see what’s called an annular eclipse, or a so-called “ring of fire.” This occurs when the moon, appearing slightly smaller than the sun, passes before it to create an annulus, or ring, in the sky.

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Mother’s Day, the celebrity way

Mother’s Day, the celebrity way

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As we approach Mother’s Day weekend, I’ve compiled a collection of women whose motherhood has become a part of their celebrity, in addition to those who have become celebrities because they are mothers. This is by no means a definitive list of celebrity moms but merely an observation of motherhood and fame as seen through the collective eye of American pop culture.
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Death of Osama bin Laden, one year later

Death of Osama bin Laden, one year later

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It appears that Osama bin Laden may have been frustrated with the incompetence of regional jihadi affiliates of the al-Qaida organization and his lack of control over their public actions, according to a new report from the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.

The report released Thursday assesses 17 declassified documents that were captured during the 2011 Abbottabad raid that killed bin Laden. It also shows, for the first time, the internal struggles of the al-Qaida organization and the lack of control its highest leader had over the expansion of the organization.

In his address to the nation confirming bin Laden’s death, almost a decade after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Barack Obama called it the “most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al-Qaida.”
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