Courtesy of Dr. John Worth

September 19, 1559: A Hurricane That Changed History

During the evening of Tuesday, September 19, 1559, some 458 years ago, strong winds from the north heralded the arrival of a great hurricane in Pensacola Bay. The storm was not the first to assail the bay, nor would it be the last, but the 1559 hurricane did manage to change the course of human history by destroying a fleet of Spanish colonial ships riding at anchor off the newly-founded settlement called Santa María de Ochuse. Five weeks earlier, on August 14-15, the fleet of 12 ships...

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The Federal Reserve on Wednesday said it will hold short-term interest rates steady for the time being. But the central bank said that in October it will begin to unwind the extraordinary stimulus it used to battle the Great Recession.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said the process will be gradual. But over the long run, the plan will put upward pressure on consumer interest rates, including for car loans and mortgages.

Montana has been ravaged by wildfires this season, and a new report out Wednesday examining climate change finds the new normal for Montana will be hot and dry summers.

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.

Fall is when the publishing industry gets serious, when it leaves beach books in the sand and turns to weightier topics. And what could be weightier than the greatest question of all: the meaning of life. Two new books — one a novel; one a (sort of) memoir — tackle that ultimate question through experimental forms of writing.

I know, I know: "Experimental writing" is surely one of the least enticing literary terms. But don't be put off, because both of these odd new books offer something special, something that more "broken in" forms of writing can't provide.

On television, Jerry Seinfeld has not only been astoundingly successful, he's also been amazingly consistent in pursuing and presenting his particular comic vision. He doesn't do big shows or specials about grand ideas and giant themes. He does narrowly focused TV programs about specific concepts — then, within those narrow confines, he finds humor, honesty and sometimes even art.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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.

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel thwacked the latest Republican health care proposal Tuesday night after one of the senators sponsoring the bill invoked Kimmel's name.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., touted Tuesday on Capitol Hill that his plan passes the "Jimmy Kimmel test."

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