Merrit Kennedy | WYPR

Merrit Kennedy

Updated at 7:30 p.m. ET

Hurricane Maria is barreling toward the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico as a "potentially catastrophic" Category 5 hurricane and is forecast to hit those islands on Wednesday.

On the island of Dominica, which was raked by the storm late Monday, the prime minister says that "initial reports are of widespread devastation. So far, we have lost all what money can buy and replace."

Advisories issued by the National Hurricane Center carry increasingly ominous warnings.

Iraqi authorities have moved a group of more than 1,300 foreign women and children — the family members of suspected ISIS fighters — and a refugee agency is raising the alarm about their precarious situation and the specter of retribution.

"The families had been held in a camp in Kurdish-controlled territory while Iraq figures out what to do with them," NPR's Jane Arraf reports.

There's good news on three primary U.S. economic benchmarks: the poverty rate, income level and number of people covered by health insurance.

New figures released by the Census Bureau Tuesday show median household income in 2016 was $59,039 — more than 3 percent higher than in 2015.

And because last year also saw income growth, "these are two consecutive years of strong income gains," the Census Bureau's Trudi Renwick told reporters.

Crowds poured into the streets in major cities across France to protest changes that President Emmanuel Macron wants to make to the country's labor code, waving flares and brandishing signs with sarcastic slogans such as "slackers of all nations unite."

The show of opposition, led by the far-left union CGT, is seen as the first major test for the recently elected leader.

Pollinators such as bees play a key part of producing the beans that go into your morning cup of coffee.

In fact, they are responsible for about 20 to 25 percent of coffee production by increasing the plants' yield, Taylor Ricketts, the director of the University of Vermont's Gund Institute for Environment, tells The Two-Way. Bees actually increase the quality of the beans by making their size more uniform.

It sounds like a bit of a head-scratcher: Department store giant Nordstrom says its new concept store won't actually have any clothing in stock.

Instead, Nordstrom Local will focus on free consultations with personal stylists, who will advise customers and then have the merchandise brought in. People can also get manicures and curbside pickup.

Prospective customers will be able to make appointments "online, over the phone or in-person," the retailer says.

A Florida state attorney gained national attention when she announced last March that her office would no longer seek the death penalty, setting up a months-long legal battle with Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

That's a battle State Attorney Aramis Ayala of Orlando has now lost, following a decision Thursday from the Supreme Court of Florida that the governor does have the authority to reassign first-degree-murder cases to a different prosecutor.

Updated 10:10 p.m. ET

A Utah nurse and her attorney have released video footage showing an officer roughly arresting her at University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City. They say it amounts to assault.

The video shows an officer aggressively handcuffing nurse Alex Wubbels after she refuses to allow him to draw blood from an unconscious patient.

At a time when the Great Barrier Reef and other coral reefs are facing unprecedented destruction, researchers in Australia have found a small ray of hope for the fish that make the reefs their home.

Fish are more resilient to the effects of ocean acidification than scientists had previously thought, according to research published Thursday in Scientific Reports.

What should you do when confronted by a floating raft of thousands of fire ants?

Among the many scenes of devastation coming out of areas flooded by Tropical Storm Harvey, images of floating rafts of these ants have gone viral on social media.

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