Moving on. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki resigned today amid the ongoing scandal involving wait times and quality of care at the hospitals and clinics that serve the nation’s veterans. Both Republicans and Democrats had called for Shinseki’s resignation for days, but the retired four-star general said he would not leave until President Barack Obama asked him to. That evidently happened this morning in a meeting at the White House. Afterward, Obama told reporters he accepted Shinseki’s resignation “with regret” but agreed it was time for new leadership at the VA: “We don’t have time for distractions.” Earlier today, Shinseki said he had initiated a process to remove leaders at the VA hospital in Phoenix at the center of the scandal.
The word is, winners. The Scripps National Spelling Bee crowned two champions last night, the first time the competition has ended in a tie in 52 years. Officials declared Sriram Hathwar of Painted Post, N.Y., and Ansun Sujoe of Fort Worth, Texas, joint winners after neither boy spelled a word wrong in the final leg of the competition after a dozen rounds. Before their riveting duel, both boys missed a word in the same round, but neither stumbled after that. Some of the words they had to spell to get to the trophy included skandhas, hyblaean, feijoada, augenphilologie, sdrucciola, holluschick, thyemelici, paixtle, encaenia, and terreplein. They’re both smarter than my spell check, which doesn’t recognize any of these words.
Missing. Another team of European election monitors has gone missing in eastern Ukraine, fueling fears for their safety. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said it lost contact with a five-member team in the Luhansk region on Thursday. Another team of four disappeared on Monday in the Donetsk region. They are being held by pro-Russian separatists who claim Sunday’s presidential election was a sham. Separatists declared Luhansk and Donetsk “sovereign” after a landslide vote for self-rule during a May 11 referendum. After at first showing reluctance to engage the separatists militarily, the government in Kiev has stepped up operations, escalating tension in the regions.
Dress code. Officials at a Utah high school are unapologetic about altering photos of students they say violated the dress code when they had their yearbook photos taken. Students didn’t find out about the doctored photos until they got their yearbooks this week. The printed versions of the photos included raised necklines and added sleeves. When students and parents complained that only some photos were altered, school officials apologized … for failing to catch all of the violators. “We only apologize in the sense that we want to be more consistent with what we’re trying to do in that sense we can help kids better prepare for their future by knowing how to dress appropriately for things,” Superintendent Terry E. Shoemaker said.