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.

Minnesota Orchestra/ Vanska, Barbican Hall, London

Osmo Vanska is clearly a very good thing for Minnesota.

A Town Called Immaculate, By Peter Anthony

Recalling the icy landscapes of Fargo and Affliction, Peter Anthony's debut delivers all the pay offs of a cinematic chiller. Set in Immaculate, a small Minnesota farming community, the township is knee-deep in roadside shrines and creepy garden-front Madonnas – reminders of its immigrant past. It's Christmas Eve, and the town is hunkering down in readiness for a serious blizzard.

Trail Of The Unexpected: Super shopper

Take a stroll in Minnesota's magnificent mall

Behavioural problems: are drugs really the answer?

For almost every behavioural issue, these days there's a medicine to treat it

Surrounded, Tommy Flynn's, London

Vaxjo, Surrounded's small home town in southern Sweden, is twinned with Duluth, Minnesota, the birthplace of Bob Dylan and slap-bang next to the headwaters of the Mississippi river and the start of the iconic Highway 61. It's an interesting detail to savour while taking in a band who so elegantly and confidently channel a very 21st-century take on Americana.

Album: Tapes 'n' Tapes

Sometimes, it's hard to see what all the fuss is about when an unknown band suddenly becomes flavour of the month. Take Minnesota's Tapes 'n Tapes, whose 2006 debut The Loon drew unaccountably rave reviews for its routine alt.rock exercises.

All of Minnesota's a stage (if you're a smoker)

It's a long way from Broadway but Minnesota has become a hotbed of amateur theatre this winter, with new and assuredly amateurish productions popping up in bars and taverns up and down the state.

Richey reveals his suicidal thoughts after death row

Kenny Richey, who was released last week after spending 21 years on death row in the US, has said he has considered suicide more often since returning home to Edinburgh than he did during his time in jail.

Football: Why does it affect men differently to women?

Why do sane, sensible men become tribal and boorish as soon as the World Cup kicks off? And why aren't women affected in the same way?

Nationality row clouds Chelsea's Kalou deal

The transfer of Salomon Kalou to Chelsea, which was completed yesterday, looked to have concluded one of the modern game's more shameless morality tales, but there may be a further chapter. This could result in Kalou being loaned out rather than replacing, or partnering, his Ivory Coast compatriot Didier Drogba.

The Heart of America - American icon - The Greyhound bus

The slogan reads: "Travel throughout North America with safety, dignity and convenience". Greyhound still sends off more than 20,000 buses every day. The Dog got its start in 1914 in Hibbing, Minnesota, transporting iron miners. Its big break was the film It Happened One Night (1934), in which Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert rode a Greyhound overnight to Florida. The Dog has been a national institution ever since. The rise of the low-cost airlines has hit the very long-distance services, yet Greyhound still has a seamless network of transport covering much of the country. You'll see a different US, one that only rarely makes the American news, the one where almost all Americans live. That's my country, and once you get the knack of navigating it, it's not such a bad place after all.
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital