Snapshot - A Hindu holy man stands in a tent during the annual Magh Mela festival at Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganges and Yamuna, in Allahabad, India. Hundreds of thousands of Hindu pilgrims take dips at the spot, some hoping to wash away sins and others to secure "a fine spouse" during the month-long festival AP/Rajesh Kumar Singh

Fears that Brazilian mudslide death toll could top 1,000

At least 207 people are missing after Brazil's worst landslides in decades, as the death toll from the disaster in a scenic mountain region rose steadily to 727.

The list of missing people released by Rio de Janeiro state officials suggests the final death toll could be close to 1,000.

In the worst-affected towns of Teresopolis and Nova Friburgo the number of missing is at least 300. Many are assumed to be buried under avalanches of mud that destroyed hundreds of homes.

Christchurch, New Zealand was rocked by a flurry of tremors after residents were woken by a 5.1 magnitude earthquake, followed by aftershocks of 3.9, 3.2, 3.4, 4 and 3.2. Residents were warned that aftershocks would come every four to six weeks for up to a year after the 7.1-magnitude quake that hit the city on 4 September.

A 7.2 earthquake caused minimal damage in Pakistan, alleviating major concerns for a nation still recovering from last summer's massive flooding.

The quake had its epicentre in a sparsely populated area 45km west of Dalbandin in Balochistan.

Two women died of heart attacks in Quetta after the tremor, which was felt in India and as far away as Dubai, prompting initial fears that Pakistan had yet another calamity on its hands.

Volcano Mount Etna in Sicily has come back to life with a brief eruption that sent lava down its slopes and a cloud of ash into the sky, forcing the overnight closure of a nearby airport. The eruption lasted two hours.

While constantly active, Mount Etna has seen little activity in the past year. It is the largest active volcano in Europe.

Go figure

10 warmest years have all been since 1998 2010 was the warmest since records began in 1850

9% fall in recorded music sales last year: some 19 out of 20 tracks downloaded from the Internet were illegal

916ml size of the new 'Trente' cup in Starbucks. It will contain more liquid than an average human stomach

On this day in 1900

British Kop a beating from the Boers at Spion

The Battle of Spion Kop was a notable skirmish in the Second Boer War, fought at the Tugela river about 20 miles from Ladysmith in Natal. That town was besieged and British forces were on their way to try to oust the occupying Boers.

General Louis Botha's men were outnumbered, but were well armed and entrenched. The main British force was led by Sir Charles Warren, who as commissioner of the Metropolitan Police had led the Jack the Ripper murder hunt.

Spion Kop was the largest hill in the region, at over 1,400 feet, at the centre of the Boer line. Warren sent a force to secure the Kop at night, and in thick mist. They did so at bayonet point, but when dawn came they realised they had claimed a smaller rise, while the Boers were higher up on three sides. It was a shooting gallery, with dozens of British troops hit, followed by the bombardment of their position and an infantry charge. After two days of fighting, both sides planned to retreat but the British did so first. The Boers lost 68 men, the British 243. The Boers were too weakened to follow up their success and Ladysmith was relieved four weeks later. Interestingly, two major figures of the 20th century were there that day:a British journalist called Winston Churchill and a stretcher-bearer in the Indian Ambulance Corps called Mahatma Gandhi. The battle is remembered in the name of a steep bank in dozens of football grounds such as Elland Road, Windsor Park and, most famously, Anfield.

The Battle of Spion Kop began 111 years ago, on this day.

The week in laughs

Dick Cheney predicts that President Obama will only last one term. This from the same guy that predicted weapons of mass destruction in Iraq

(David Letterman)

Arnold Schwarzenegger said being governor of California cost him at least $200m in lost movie roles. Movie-goers everywhere said, 'Totally worth it'

(Conan O'Brien)

We had a national tragedy last week, and the President of the United States and Sarah Palin both made speeches on the same day. Obama came out against lunatics with guns, she gave the rebuttal

(Bill Maher)

Gary Glitter has put in a bid to buy Aston Villa football club since he heard their strikers are Young, Bent and possibly Keane

(Trib Sport)

News hound - What it says in the international press

Ottawa Citizen - Fake cops invaded Toronto household

Three men invaded a home near Toronto dressed as police officers. The incident started at 12:30am. The suspects drove a car with a red flashing light and siren, and said they had a search warrant. Once inside, they locked all six people in the basement.

Jamaica Bleaner - Phone jammer foiled by 'unscrupulous' jailers

Lt Col Sean Prendergast says his department faces serious challenges in monitoring the flow of cell phones into prisons. Millions have been spent installing phone jammers but efforts are being undermined by unscrupulous staff and the ineffectiveness of the jammers.

Honolull Weekly - Hawaii elephants in 'antiquated' area

A non-profit animal welfare organization has ranked the Honolulu Zoo third-worst in the nation for elephants.

"Everything about the zoo's antiquated elephant exhibit is wrong. It crams two of the world's largest land mammals into a mere 6,000 sq ft…"

New Zimbabwe - 'Goblins' kill judge as he sentences rustlers

A magistrate sent a cattle thief to jail for 27 years then dropped dead. In Chipinge, famed for its witch doctors, Samuel Zuze's death in court has elicited one explanation: witchcraft. Locals were in no doubt: the magistrate had been attacked by 'goblins'.

Checking out - The people we said goodbye to last week

Sargent Shriver, 95, American public servant, diplomat and activist, US vice-presidential candidate (1972), Alzheimer's disease

Nat Lofthouse, 85, Bolton and England footballer

Susannah York, 72, English actress (They Shoot Horses, Don't They?; Superman), bone marrow cancer

Australian rock musicians Steve Prest­wich, 56, (Cold Chisel, Little River Band), brain tumour; and Harvey James, 58, (Sherbet), lung cancer

Don Kirshner, 76, USpop mogul known as 'The Man With The Golden Ear'; manager of The Monkees

Emanuele Gerada. 90, Maltese cleric, Papal Nuncio to Ireland 1989-95