News Duccini, right, at the 75th anniversary celebrations of 'The Wizard of Oz'

Ruth Duccini was the last of the original female Munchkins from The Wizard of Oz. Uncredited, Duccini, who was four feet tall, played one of 124 Munchkin townspeople in the 1939 classic. There is now only one surviving Munchkin, Jerry Maren.

Ice forms on the shore of the East River due to unusually low temperatures caused by a polar vortex in New York

Polar vortex: frost throwers, freezing urine, cracking trampolines

All 50 US states are below freezing as the polar vortex sworls around North America, shattering temperature records and causing a collective shudder across the continent.

US braced for record low temperatures as 'polar vortex' brings minus -51C wind chill

Extreme forecast in America with -31 Celsius in Fargo, North Dakota, -35 C in International Falls, Minnesota, and -26 C in Indianapolis and Chicago

Sex doesn't sell? This study into women's response to raunchy advertising starts wrong and gets worse

The conclusion that women use sex as a bargaining tool is wildly outdated

Serge Vorobyov said he used his last $1000 to fund the stunt

Man throws $1000 over shoppers to spread holiday cheer, gets arrested by police

Serge Vorobyov threw the cash from the top floor of a US mall on Black Friday as a choir sang ‘Let it Snow’

Happiness can be bought, apparently, but only to a point

Experts confirm that money does buy happiness – but only up to £22,100

It is widely accepted that money can’t buy you love. Now a new study has found that it can buy you happiness – but only up to a point.

Veteran Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel, right, shone on his comeback game

American Football: Peterson helps Minnesota Vikings paint Wembley purple in win over Pittsburgh Steelers

Adopted home side for the week get off the mark with thrilling win in first of two London games this season

Kenya Shopping mall attack: ‘Deadly pipeline’ of US men leaving for Somalia to join al-Shabaab

Since 2007, 22 young men have left Minnesota, as well as two women

Nina Davuluri - the first Miss America winner from Indian background - dismisses barrage of racist abuse

Just minutes after the result racist comments began to appear on social networking sites

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by United Airlines

United Airlines sells 'free' $0 tickets on their website

Customers wait to find out if the airline will honour the purchased tickets after a glitch on their site

Last Night's Viewing: The Men Who Made Us Thin, BBC2 The Field of Blood, BBC1

In 1943, Louis Dublin, the chief actuary for US insurance giants Metropolitan Life, published a series of charts that changed the world. Dublin used data from four million policyholders to ascertain the optimal weight for long life. Overnight, more than half the population of America was reclassified as overweight. The Men Who Made Us Thin, Jacques Peretti's engaging follow-up to last year's The Man Who Made Us Fat, was full of such stories about the arbitrary nature of weight and the weight-loss industry.

Pirsig: A survival guide for the soul

Invisible Ink: No 173 - Robert M Pirsig

In the roll-call of student summer reading certain volumes stand out, including Desmond Morris's body language phenomenon The Naked Ape and Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull. To those can be added a volume by Robert M Pirsig that snuggled its way into every hitchhiker's hand-crocheted body satchel. Unlike Bach, whose books were like being hit with a wiffle bat full of pot-pourri, Pirsig is the real deal. Born in 1928, this precocious university student was eventually expelled for studying too hard, after growing bewildered by the choice of multiple hypotheses in his chosen field, biochemistry. Overwhelmed by the limitations of science, he tackled Eastern philosophy instead, spending time in India before returning to a US college.

Walking while I work has been a big step forward

Yes, the head of an august science institution and senior BBC science journalist have almost fallen off it. Yes, it does tend to raise eyebrows when people see it in my office. But it is gratifying to hear that my treadmill desk is not only helping me to keep trim but also reducing my risk of diabetes.

Max Kampelman addresses a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing

Max M Kampelman: Diplomat who negotiated with the Soviet Union on nuclear arms reduction

He worked for Republicans and Democrats at the same time – a situation now unthinkable

The Saturday Quiz

1. Which philosopher (1889-1951) said: "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent"?

Unilever sells Skippy peanut butter brand for $700m

Hormel Foods has agreed to acquire the US peanut butter brand Skippy from Anglo–Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever for $700m in cash, in an attempt to capitalise on rising overseas demand for the spread.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system