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Spain was preparing to impose direct rule over semi-autonomous Catalonia after the region's leader Carles Puigdemont declined to categorically renounce an independence referendum, the prime minister's office announced Thursday.

Spain's government said it would hold a special Cabinet meeting and "approve the measures that will be sent to the Senate to protect the general interest of all Spaniards."

Editor's note: This story contains graphic language.

As women around the world tell their stories of sexual harassment and assault using the phrase "#MeToo," one prominent voice added her own harrowing account.

Four American soldiers were killed in action in Niger this month.

Their deaths made a few headlines at the time. But this week they are in the news again, with far more prominence, because of a bitter political debate over presidential condolence calls.

The sudden prominence of the soldiers' deaths — but in a way that highlights political tension and factual disputes, rather than honoring of sacrifice — has left some military advocates struggling for words and striving to redirect attention back to the original loss.

If there's one thing President Trump's critics want from him, and he refuses to give up, it's his tax returns.

The returns didn't come up during Wednesday's hearing in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan. But the hearing was the first step in a process that could loosen Trump's grip on them.

If the next step goes the plaintiffs' way, the case could make the president's tax returns surface.

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

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

For more on President Trump's role in all of this, NPR's Geoff Bennett joins us now from the White House. Hi, Geoff.

GEOFF BENNETT, BYLINE: Hey, Ari.

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