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The latest news from around the world from NPR and its team of reporters

At a ski resort in northern Italy's Susa Valley, outside Turin, children scoot their way onto the bunny slopes as others make snow angels.

But deeper in these woods, not far from the border with France, a dangerous and sometimes deadly scene unfolds.

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(SOUNDBITE OF FIREWORKS, CHEERING)

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(SOUNDBITE OF SOLAR HEAVY'S "CATCHING COMETS")

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When Scott Carney first saw the photo of a nearly naked man sitting comfortably on a glacier in the frigid cold, he was skeptical.

The man — Wim Hof — is a Dutch athlete who claims to control his body temperature in extreme cold through sheer force of will. Exercising in the cold, Hof argues, makes people healthier.

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New Year's Eve parties have kicked off around the world, including the famous gathering in New York's Times Square.

Hundreds of thousands of revelers are expected to gather there to watch the ball drop and ring in 2019 — and this year, according to the organizers, it's covered in 2,688 Waterford crystal triangles.

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Defense Secretary James Mattis released a farewell message to all employees on Monday, in the waning hours of his job as Pentagon chief.

"I am confident that each of you remains undistracted from our sworn mission to support and defend the Constitution while protecting our way of life," he wrote.

He said that the Pentagon is at its best "when the times are most difficult," and told them to "keep the faith in our country and hold fast, alongside our allies, aligned against our foes."

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