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OSLO, Norway — The Taliban and western diplomats have began their first official talks in Europe since they took over control of Afghanistan in August.

The closed-door meetings were taking place at a hotel in the snow-capped mountains above the Norwegian capital. Taliban representatives will be certain to press their demand that nearly $10 billion frozen by the United States and other Western countries be released as Afghanistan faces a precarious humanitarian situation.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

Martand Bhatt's parents weren't sure he needed immediate medical care when the energetic toddler burned his hand on the kitchen stove one April morning.

Dhaval Bhatt, Martand's father, said he'd been warned about hospital emergency rooms after he arrived in the U.S. from his native India.

"People always told me to avoid the ER in America unless you are really dying," said Bhatt, a research scientist and pharmacologist at Washington University in St. Louis.

SAN FRANCISCO — Pacific Gas & Electric is poised to emerge from five years of criminal probation, despite worries that nation's largest utility remains too dangerous to trust after years of devastation from wildfires ignited by its outdated equipment and neglectful management.

The probation, set to expire at midnight Tuesday, was supposed to rehabilitate PG&E after its 2016 conviction for six felony crimes from a 2010 explosion triggered by its natural gas lines that blew up a San Bruno neighborhood and killed eight people.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The United Arab Emirates intercepted two ballistic missiles claimed by Yemen's Houthi rebels over the skies of Abu Dhabi early Monday, authorities said, the second attack in a week that targeted the Emirati capital.

The missile fire further escalates tensions across the Persian Gulf, which previously had seen a series of assaults near — but never indisputably on — Emirati soil amid Yemen's yearslong war and the collapse of Iran's nuclear deal with world powers.

TOKYO — French fashion designer Manfred Thierry Mugler, whose dramatic designs were worn by celebrities like Madonna, Lady Gaga and Cardi B, has died. He was 73.

He died Sunday, his official Instagram account said. "May his soul Rest In Peace," it said in a post that was all black with no image. It did not give a cause of death.

Mugler, who launched his brand in 1973, became known for his architectural style, defined by broad shoulders and a tiny waist. The use of plastic-like futuristic fabric in his sculpted clothing became a trademark.


This is the time of year when a lot of people say they're going to focus on their finances, so we want to talk about so-called ethical investing. That's a way to put your money where your morals are, and it's taken off. A 2020 report found that one-third of all U.S. assets are now invested in companies that say they're operating in an ethical and environmentally sustainable way. But how do you know if your money is making the impact you really want? From NPR's Life Kit, Lauren Migaki breaks down how ethical investing works and if it might be right for you.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit


Updated January 23, 2022 at 8:38 PM ET

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Four people were killed and one was wounded when multiple shooters opened fire at a house party near Los Angeles early Sunday, authorities said.

Police responded around 1:30 a.m. to reports of shots fired at a home in the city of Inglewood, Mayor James Butts told reporters.

The Los Angeles Unified School District is prohibiting students from wearing only cloth face masks on campus as the country grapples with a continued surge of COVID-19 infections driven by the omicron variant.

The district announced updated guidance on Friday requiring students to wear "well-fitting, non-cloth masks with a nose wire" both indoors and outdoors. Employees will have to wear surgical grade masks or higher.

Students and employees will be able to get masks from the district if they need them.

The Russian government is rejecting a British report alleging that it has a leader in mind for installation after a potential invasion of Ukraine.

TACOMA, Wash. — Don Wilson, co-founder and rhythm guitarist of the instrumental guitar band The Ventures, has died.

He was 88.

Wilson died Saturday in Tacoma of natural causes, surrounded by his four children, The News Tribune reported.

The band's hits included "Walk, Don't Run," and the theme song for "Hawaii Five-O." They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

Updated January 23, 2022 at 12:41 PM ET

The situation along the Russia-Ukraine border remains tense, as Russia has amassed an estimated 100,000 troops just across the divide while Ukraine's outnumbered military prepares to defend itself against a possible invasion.

Several U.S. presidents have been known for their love of reading history, especially biographies and most especially biographies of former presidents.

If President Biden did not have this White House habit yet, now would be a good time to pick it up.

How do you bring aid to a disaster-struck nation when you don't want to let any outsiders in?

That's the pandemic dilemma faced by Tonga following the eruption of a massive underwater volcano on Jan. 15. International aid is on the way, but efforts are hamstrung by the desire to keep the coronavirus out of the remote Pacific island nation, which consists of some 170 islands, many uninhabited, and has a population of about 100,000.

After a shaky December, when as many as half of Broadway's shows were shut down because of breakthrough COVID cases, things are on a more even keel; there were no canceled performances on Broadway last week. But the winter doldrums have hit – with temperatures and tourism plummeting, fewer people are seeing shows. The most recent box office figures show roughly two-thirds of seats filled, many at a heavy discount.

Cases of COVID-19 on college campuses are on the rise across the country. In the first week of spring semester, the University of Georgia reported nearly 1,000 positive cases, more than any week so far in the pandemic. At Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, the last 7 days saw 1,196 confirmed cases.

How much should you trust the results of a rapid antigen test? That's a question many people are asking these days amid recent research and anecdotes suggesting these tests may be less sensitive to omicron. Researchers are working fast to figure out what's going on and how to improve the tests.

Introducing the amazing spring-loaded larva.

There's a new move in gymnastics unlike any that's come before.

As her political career unfurled on the national scene in 2008, Sarah Palin, then the governor of Alaska and Republican nominee for vice president, frequently criticized what she called the "lamestream media," saying it was unfair to her and took pains to cast her in the worst possible light.