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Stories You Might Have Missed This Week

A powerful storm ravages a U.S. commonwealth, Starbucks opens a deaf-friendly store, and a court protects a shy, vulnerable species.
Beverage cups featuring the logo of Starbucks Coffee are seen in the new flagship store on 42nd Street August 5, 2003 in New York City. The Seattle-based coffee company has emerged as the largest food chain in the Manhattan borough of New York with 150 outlets.

This week at Pacific Standard, we brought you stories on how redistricting in Michigan has disenfranchised voters, why milk is being called a white supremacist symbol, and what happens at Sing Sing when inmates learn to compose music.

But it's been a busy news week on all fronts, and our small newsroom can't cover everything. Here are a few more stories we've been following this week.

The Worst Storm to Hit Anywhere in the United States Since 1935 Devastated the Northern Mariana Islands

Super Typhoon Yutu ravaged the American commonwealth on Thursday, the Washington Post reports. With winds of 180 miles per hour, the storm left behind "extensive damage to critical infrastructure," according to a Facebook update from the governor's office. Yutu hasn't garnered much attention in the mainland United States compared to recent hurricanes Michael and Florence, but it's the strongest storm to hit anywhere in the world so far this year. Though the full extent of the damage is still being assessed, buildings were flattened, and many power poles and transformers were downed. As one resident told the Post, anything in the storm's path that wasn't made of concrete is likely gone.

Starbucks Opens Its First Sign Language Store

The coffee chain opened its first "signing" store this week in Washington, D.C., the Associated Press reports. The store is close to Gallaudet University, the only university in the world where all programs are specifically designed to accommodate deaf or hard of hearing students.

In a statement, National Association of the Deaf Chief Executive Officer Howard Rosenblum called the signing store "an innovative approach to incorporating Deaf Culture that will increase employment opportunities as well as accessibility for Deaf and hard of hearing people, while at the same time educating and enlightening society."

A Court Struck Down the Trump Administration's Effort to Lift a Ban on Seafood That's Caught by a Process Dangerous to Vaquitas

The United States Court of International Trade on Monday denied the Trump administration's request to lift a ban on seafood imported from Mexico. The denial was meant to protect the vaquita, an endangered species of porpoise, the Hill reports. Vaquitas, the smallest porpoise species, can be killed by gillnets, a type of fishing net commonly used in Mexico. Though the administration argued the ban would be detrimental to trade relations, the judge concluded that the vaquita's welfare was more important than the potential damage to U.S.-Mexico relations.

Pacific Standard reported on the plight of the adorable and secretive vaquita in June: "Cross Flipper with a very shy panda and you've bred a vaquita," writer Ben Goldfarb wrote of the creatures. There are believed to be fewer than 30 of them left in the wild.