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Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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With Hurricane Maria still smashing up Puerto Rico, the economic costs of this year's hurricane season continue to grow by the minute. It will take a while for economists to tally it all up.

But this much already is clear: The recent enormous storms have taken a toll on the housing industry.

Three separate industry reports, issued over the past three days, have all shown that rough weather in the South and wildfires in the West have been creating problems for this key economic sector.

A Neglected Family Of Killer Viruses

Sep 20, 2017

We think of HIV, TB and malaria as some of the deadliest infectious diseases on earth. And the death tolls bear that out.

But there's a family of viruses that is in the same league: hepatitis viruses.

There are five of them. Their alphabet soup of names tells us the order in which they were discovered: hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. According to a new report from the Global Burden of Disease, the viruses kill 1.34 million people a year.

Early Wednesday, Spanish police raided government offices in Catalonia and detained at least a dozen separatist leaders — just 10 days before a planned referendum vote on Catalonian independence.

Catalonia, a region in northeast Spain, has its own language and culture. Separatists have long advocated for independence; a vote in 2014 overwhelmingly supported splitting away from Spain, although turnout was low.

Madrid did not recognize that vote, calling it illegal — and considers the upcoming referendum, slated for Oct. 1, to be equally unconstitutional.

Updated at 7:45 p.m. ET

As the morning sun rose over the cities of Central Mexico on Wednesday, where city blocks had lain neatly arranged, there was now a mess of rubble and stunned residents, watching as thousands of earthquake volunteers and rescue workers dug through scattered stones searching for signs of life.

The 7.1 magnitude quake struck Tuesday in Puebla state, some 75 miles from Mexico City, but it devastated a vast expanse of the country. Mexican authorities put the death toll at 230.

A dispute over a $75 speeding ticket has climbed through the levels of Iowa's court system, reaching the lofty heights of the Iowa Supreme Court for oral arguments.

Marla Leaf got a speeding ticket because a camera allegedly caught her driving 68 mph in a 55-mph zone on an interstate freeway through the city of Cedar Rapids in February 2015.

Syrian government troops and allied militias are locked in a race against rebels backed by the United States for control of Deir ez-Zor, an oil-rich province that will give whoever governs it greater influence in the country's wider civil war.

Government soldiers and supporting militias have now crossed the Euphrates River, which had served as an informal dividing line between them and the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as they waged separate offensives against ISIS in the area.

How 3 Rickshaws Won A Million Dollar Prize

Sep 20, 2017

On a stage at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, the young executives of six start-up companies made their final, feverish bids to win the coveted Hult Prize. Each had formed and launched business ideas over the last year that would try to solve this year's Hult Prize challenge – improving the well-being of at least one million refugees over the next five years.

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