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.

Hormel snaps up Skippy from Unilever

Hormel Foods has agreed to acquire the United States peanut butter brand Skippy from Unilever, the consumer goods giant, for $700m (£430m) cash, in an attempt to capitalise on rising demand for the spread overseas.

Page 3 Profile: Jesse Jackson Jr, US politician

Has the apple fallen far from the tree?

Same-sex marriage and the legalisation of soft drugs were political hot potatoes

Votes on gay marriage and marijuana cement another kind of change

Liberal states support plans to recognise same-sex unions and recreational drug use

US Election Diary: Pill-popping to overcome election fatigue

The Tampa rally over yesterday, reporters travelling with Governor Romney were herded on to the candidate's plane. But if they were frazzled by more than a year on the trail, there was help from top Romney aide Stuart Stephens, who handed out packets of pills. "David Cameron asked me to give you this," he said, spotting the man from The Independent. The six little capsules were nothing more than vitamins, he assured me. Duly ingested.

Cold Specks, Union Chapel, London

When Al Spx sings away from the mic, her earthy vocal carries through the airy nave, proving this a fine match of venue and performer: a cavernous church, with its hard, cramped pews, and the stark spirituality of this Canadian singer/songwriter.

Court blocks Shawn Sullivan's US extradition

US government attempts to extradite from Britain a man accused of child sex crimes were blocked by the High Court today.

Extradition judges condemn US order

Senior judges are seeking assurances from the US government that a man facing extradition accused of child sex crimes will not be placed on a controversial sex offenders treatment programme.

Rick Santorum was far more convincing during his short speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference than his rival Mitt Romney

Rupert Cornwell: The Romney dog-food brand still isn't selling

Out of America: The Republican frontrunner can't seem to win over the party faithful

Tippi Hedren

Tippi Hedren - Hitchcock's caged bird

Tippi Hedren's career was destroyed by the British director's obsession. Yet there was an upside, she tells Geoffrey Macnab

As of today, Mr Santorum has won four states in this marathon against three for Mr Romney, thus completely upending the assumptions of where it was headed

Santorum hat-trick derails Romney hopes

A stunning mutiny by evangelical and conservative Republicans punctured the tyres of the supposed frontrunner Mitt Romney in last night’s trio of nomination contests and instead gave a sudden and barely expected jolt of adrenalin to the staunch social conservative in the race, Rick Santorum.

James in concert with the Roots Band at The House of Blues in Boston in 2008; she made most of her money from live performances

Etta James: Acclaimed soul singer who fought to overcome her personal demons

If Etta James's life had not been weighed down with personal problems, mostly bad management, ghastly lovers, obesity, incarceration and heroin addiction, she would have been acclaimed as a remarkable female soul singer alongside Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone and Tina Turner. Her fans know how good she is but the general public in the UK only know her for her Top 10 single, the gritty and sensuous "I Just Want To Make Love To You", recorded in 1960 but a hit through a TV ad in 1996.

Mega bites: Amanda Hocking sells on average 9,000 e-books a day

Who wants to be a Kindle millionaire?

This week an unknown US author, Amanda Hocking, joins an elite literary club alongside just 11 others – including Stieg Larsson, James Patterson and Nora Roberts – by racking up her millionth Kindle sale. Unknown is, of course, a relative term in this case (no one can shift that many books by remaining anonymous) but Hocking is unusual because she has sold all of her books via Amazon's electronic Kindle reader. Entirely self-published, her first physical book does not reach traditional bookshops until January.

Mega bites: Amanda Hocking sells on average 9,000 e-books a day

Want to be a Kindle millionaire? Write novels about trolls

A self-publishing fantasy writer has become an e-book phenomenon

Stand-in twin denied prize after miracle hockey shot

A boy who hit an ice hockey puck into a tiny hole from the rink's centre line 27 metres away has been denied $50,000 prize money, because his identical 11-year-old twin brother bought the ticket that allowed him to take the shot.

Leading article: Underwhelming in Iowa

What could be worse than the further reaches of the congressional Republican Party bringing the United States to within hours of default? Answer (for now): the prospect of the arch-conservative Republican representative from Minnesota, Michele Bachmann, winning her party's nomination to run for president. Worse even than Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor and running mate in 2008 of the defeated John McCain? Quite probably – because she comes across as a more competent politician. She cannot be dismissed so easily as a Tea Party movement "flake".

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War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

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If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?