More than 250 missing in Sri Lanka after deadly mudslide



At least 10 people are dead and more than 250 are missing in central Sri Lanka after a mudslide triggered by monsoon rains buried scores of workers’ houses at a tea plantation on Wednesday.

The military mobilized troops to help with the rescue operation as rain still fell in the island nation’s central hills. Earth covered some of the destroyed homes to the roof, and water gushing down hillsides indicated more slides were possible.

The mudslide struck at around 7:30 a.m. and wiped out 120 workers’ homes at the Meeriabedda tea plantation in Badulla district, 135 miles east of the capital, Colombo, said Lal Sarath Kumara, an official from the Disaster Management Center. Read more…

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Zambian President Michael Sata dies in London



LONDON — Zambian President Michael Sata, a longtime opposition leader who rose to power in 2011, has died after an illness in London.

Sata died shortly after 11 p.m. on Tuesday at London’s King Edward VII hospital, where he was being treated, Zambian Cabinet secretary Roland Msiska said in a statement. The president had credited his move into politics to time he had spent in London during the 1960s.

The president’s death comes just days after Zambia celebrated the 50th anniversary of independence from the UK.

Zambia’s Cabinet held a meeting to discuss a political transition, which would include elections within 90 days in the southern African region. Defence Minister Edgar Lungu was appointed acting president when Sata traveled to London earlier this month. The vice president is Guy Scott, a white Zambian whose appointment in 2011 caused a stir in Zambia. Read more…

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Australian Government reaches deal to enact Direct Action climate policy



SYDNEY — The Abbott government reached an agreement on Wednesday with the Palmer United Party and other crossbench senators that will see the implementation of its Direct Action climate policy.

The government’s flagship environmental policy is expected to cost $2.5 billion over the next four years. Under the scheme, polluters will be paid grants as an incentive to reduce carbon emissions

“Two big things occur,” Environment Minister Greg Hunt told the media in Canberra. “One, we protect existing projects. Two, we provide opportunities for farmers and small businesses to improve their soil, to reduce emissions, for Australians to participate in energy efficiency on a grand scale.” Read more…

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20 seemingly useless life skills you should still learn



Sometimes the best lessons in life are not the ones you learn in school.

A seemingly useless or time-saving trick can somehow become useful when the right moment comes along. Even if you aren’t MacGuyver or James Bond, you could still benefit from picking up a talent or two — besides learning the guitar or speaking Spanish.

You never know when a random skill will come in handy. Being a savant definitely has its perks. Read more…

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The unofficial Halloween candy exchange rate



By the end of October, you’ll likely have more candy hidden in your desk drawer than you care to admit

You’ve been wolfing down Halloween candy since the beginning of the month, and some of you will nibble away your stash until February when you finally decide to throw the rest away.

It’s inevitable that you’ll find yourself stuck with handfuls of your least-favorite candy (looking at you, Tootsie Rolls), but there are plenty of fair trades to be made. Let this unofficial guide to worthwhile candy trades guide you to a more favorable trick-or-treat stash Read more…

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8 free emoji apps beyond what’s pre-loaded in your phone



Move over, standard emoji keyboard — smartphone users have many more options.

If you’re tired of expressing yourself with the same old emoji, it’s time to check out what else is out there. From 3D-animated emoticons to emoji text, there are several new and creative ways for you to get your message across

We’ve rounded up eight free specialty emoji apps that will take your conversations to the next level

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments. Read more…

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Timelapse makes London commute appear relaxing



LONDON — There’s something quite hypnotising about watching trains snake across London Bridge during rush hour from the perspective of Europe’s tallest building

National Rail filmed this timelapse in September from The Shard, capturing the city’s bustling morning rush hour at the UK’s fourth busiest station, London Bridge, which brings 50 million passengers into the capital each year

Watch 200 trains pass over the bridge in just 90 seconds as cranes above work on the station’s redevelopment – it’s the least chaotic way to experience the city’s hectic morning commute! Read more…

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11 eye-popping bars from around the world



It’s time to ditch your local dive bar

All over the world, people are knocking back shots and cocktails in unique bars with crazy themes and decor

In Sweden, libation lovers can head to the famous Icebar, a locale carved completely out of ice and snow. Patrons in Iceland can visit the Northern Lights Bar, a gorgeously modern spot with floor to ceiling windows, perfect for viewing the astral phenomena it’s named after. Pop over to England and check out Mr. Fogg’s, a deliriously kooky bar inspired by the Victorian era. Sport your monocle and prepare to call everyone “old chap” upon entering

From bizarre themes to lush interior design, here are 11 unbelievable bars all over the world Read more…

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New trailer shows us what the Avengers do to pass the time



It’s a Sunday night, you’re one of the Avengers, hanging out with your crew, and you’re bored. What do you do? Well, you try to lift Mjölnir, the hammer of Thor, of course!

You can see whether anyone actually succeeded (apart from Thor) by checking out the latest, extended trailer for the Avengers: Age of Ultron, above.

The “lift the hammer and become a god” game is how it starts; the rest of the trailer is pretty much the same as the one that leaked a week ago, showing the Avengers at their lowest moment while the world collapses around them. That trailer was supposed to debut Tuesday, but after the leak, Marvel decided to treat us with an extended version instead Read more…

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Drone used to capture whale’s blow off the coast of Australia



SYDNEY — An Australian researcher is using inexpensive drones to discover why the health of whales, off the coast of Australia, is deteriorating

Griffith University researcher Dr Jan-Olaf Meynecke told Mashable collecting bacteria, and at a later stage, DNA from viruses, will help to establish a baseline understanding of respiratory infections in the humpback whales.

“Similar to humans whales can get a flu or cold. They are signs of a weak immune system and can tell us a great story about whale health,” he said.

The using of drones for the study has allowed for the capturing of some amazing footage of the humpback breathing. Read more…

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