Camila Domonoske

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.

Sophia Spencer, 8, loves bugs — especially grasshoppers. She's an expert on insects, and likes to give her littlest friends an occasional ride on her shoulder.

That used to earn her mockery from her peers. But now it's earned her a massive outpouring of support — and a byline in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America.

Everything changed after Sophia's mom, Nicole Spencer, reached out to scientists for support last year.

Rolling Stone magazine is facing a defamation suit — again — as a federal appeals court ruled that three former University of Virginia students have a plausible case that they were personally implicated in a now-retracted story about an alleged gang rape.

The lawsuit began more than two years ago but was dismissed by a district court. Now the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has said the case should move forward, at least in part.

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Retirees across the country had no idea what happened to their second homes in Florida. Some have gone to Florida to find out for themselves, as NPR's Camila Domonoske reports from Fort Myers.

(SOUNDBITE OF RAKING LEAVES)

It's hot and dim inside this Comfort Inn just off the interstate in Fort Myers, Fla. The power has been off for two days, ever since the heart of Hurricane Irma passed right over the city.

But Dorothea Brown seems right at ease as she flips through a newspaper in the lobby.

In fact, she says the hotel is her "second home when we have to evacuate." Brown lives at a mobile home and RV park right along the Orange River, so evacuations are a part of life. She and her family and her neighbors have a routine.

"Every time there's a storm, we come here," she says.

Stephen Ward arrived at the Germain Arena in Estero, Fla., at 4 in the morning on Saturday as Hurricane Irma was making its approach.

On Monday morning, after the storm had passed, the elderly Fort Myers resident was unhappily looking out over the parking lot at the arena where some 5,000 people had sought shelter.

"I have to get home and see if I still have a house," he said. But the lot was covered in water, spilling from a nearby pond and rising over the hubcaps of the smaller cars. And both roads out of the parking lot were underwater, too.

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As Hurricane Irma traveled up the Florida coast, it traveled over Fort Myers. That's a city about two hours south of Tampa. In nearby Bonita Springs, Melinda Jarbo (ph) described to us galloping, wet, wet wind.

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

As Hurricane Irma takes aim at Florida's west coast, some residents are tracking its trajectory from safer cities hours away from the projected path. Some are listening to the winds from shelters not far from their homes. But others are riding it out right underneath the storm.

The state of Florida ordered more than 6.5 million residents to evacuate large swaths of the southern part of the state and the Keys, underscoring Irma's enormous size and its deadly force, which already tore apart several Caribbean islands.

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