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.

American Football: Smith puts Falcons in free-fall

THE BEST of the National Football League continued to fall on Monday when the Dallas Cowboys sent the Atlanta Falcons, last season's Super Bowl finalists, tumbling to a 24-7 defeat in Texas.

Travel: Won't you take me to Funkytown?

Matthew Brace visits Minneapolis, the city that is tipped to become America's next music capital

Drug-resistant 'superbug' kills 4

A SUPERBUG resistant to antibiotics - which up to now has been confined to hospitals - has escaped into the population, resulting in the deaths of four children, an official report reveals.

Obituary: Barbara Raskin

DOUBT MUST be cast upon the notion of a global village when it turns out that copies of Barbara Raskin's 1987 best-selling novel Hot Flashes have gone to ground. Out of print here and in the United States, and apparently ditched by much of the public-library system, Hot Flashes none-the-less remains well worth the hunt.

Perot in fight for control of Reform Party

THE REFORM Party of the United States, founded by Ross Perot, the Texan billionaire, faces what is billed by outsiders as a `defining moment' at its annual convention this weekend, when it sets out to plan its strategy for the next presidential election.

Words: pork-barrel, adj. and n.

THE BELGIANS must lament that, despite the Common Market's federal aspirations, it lacks a pork-barrel system. Not in the OED, this is a fund which legislators draw upon to finance local matters, such as highways or even problems in the food-chain. Its origins are obscure, perhaps derived from feeding slaves with barrels of salt-pork and hence has connotations of dodgy practice, of buttering up voters.

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Ice skating: ISU to review pairs judging

CONTROVERSY HAS always been a part of the sport of figure skating and this year's World Championships in Helsinki have sparked one.

Serendipity: Hitting on the right note

SOME PEOPLE view serendipity as a form of divine intervention, a notion that is supported by the story of Art Fry, who worked for 3M in St Paul, Minnesota. Fry sang in the choir of his local Presbyterian church, where he was in the habit of slipping scraps of paper into his choir book so that he could find the next hymn more quickly. One Sunday in 1974, a paper marker fell from his book, and he found himself in the embarrassing position of not being ready to sing.

King's cancer treated

KING HUSSEIN of Jordan completed a bone marrow transplant in the United States yesterday to treat a relapse of cancer, but will be monitored closely for two weeks, said Jordan's envoy to the US, Marwan Muashe, last night.

American Football: Atlanta stun Vikings to reach Super Bowl

THE ATLANTA Falcons last night produced a stunning performance in the final of the National Football Conference to defeat the pre-match favourites, the Minnesota Vikings, 30-27, with a field goal deep into overtime. The result means that the Falcons will advance to the Super Bowl for the first time in their history.

American football: Rampant Vikings

THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS became the highest-scoring team in NFL history on Saturday. They needed 12 points to break the single-season scoring record held by the 1983 Washington Redskins and their 26-12 defeat of the Tennessee Oilers in Nashville took them to 556 points.

Shout lines

Shout lines

Shockwaves as `The Body' becomes Minnesota governor

FORGET ABOUT Democrats and Republicans. Forget about the new seat numbers in the Senate and the House of Representatives. Forget even about President Bill Clinton and his prospects for surviving impeachment. The real story of the 1998 elections is Jesse "The Body" Ventura and his astonishing victory in Minnesota.

Obituary: E. G. Marshall

ONE OF America's finest character actors, E. G. Marshall will be remembered by television viewers of the Sixties for his Emmy Award- winning role as half of a father-son team of lawyers in the superior crime series The Defenders.
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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
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Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
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Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
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Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
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Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
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Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
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X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'