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.

Golf: McKay in the hunt for crock of gold

Scotland's Mhairi McKay is four shots off the lead after a first- round three-under-par 69 at the LPGA Rainbow Classic in Minnesota. The American Michelle Estill, who has not won since 1991, closed with three birdies for a 65 and she is one shot clear of Canada's Nancy Harvey. Suzanne Strudwick, the second Briton in the event, is still in contention after a 70. Vijay Singh, who put two tee shots into water, birdied seven holes to extend his lead in the weather-interrupted second round of the Sprint International at Castle Rock, Colorado. Singh had 27 points under the modified Stableford scoring system used in this event, giving him a four- point lead over Steve Flesch. Tiger Woods, who made 14 points in the opening round, struggled early on with a double-bogey and then had four bogeys, but rallied with five birdies to finish at 17.

Golf: Curtis Cup goes back to America

GREAT BRITAIN and Ireland lost their grip on the Curtis Cup after the United States of America wrestled it away with a powerful performance at the Minikahda Club in Minnesota.

Tornado wrecks town

A TORNADO has virtually wiped out a small town in the American state of South Dakota, killing six people.

Shootings baffle father of accused

THE DISTRAUGHT father of one of the two boys accused of firing on classmates outside their school in Jonesboro last Tuesday, Arkansas, said yesterday that he was as perplexed as anyone about what happened and that the boy was sorry.

Monday's tickets

As part of the year-long "Inventing America" season, the Minnesota Orchestra performs at the Barbican on Wednesday 18 February. Eugene Ormandy, Antal Dorati and Sir Neville Mariner have all held the post of music director with the orchestra, but this year witnesses its first European tour. The orchestra's programme will include Samuel Barber's lyrical first symphony, Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola in E flat, Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra and the UK premier of Pulitzer Prize-winner Dominick Argento's Reverie.

American Football: Marino plays through pain to down Jets

Miami's Dan Marino climbed off the treatment table to lead the Dolphins to a 24-17 win over the New York Jets and leave them level with the Jets and New England at the top of the AFC East. Marino, doubtful for the game with a sprained ankle, completed 18 out of 29 passes for 186 yards, including a 23-year touchdown pass to Brett Perriman.

Auditor under fire over insurer

Investors are poised to bring a class action against leading international auditors, Moores Rowland International, and two British businessmen behind Equisure, the troubled reinsurance company, following allegations of fraud and deception.

Leading article: Simon Calder

This week, the governor of California announced he had bought 600 army-surplus M16 automatic weapons for the Los Angeles police. The move will not necessarily make British travellers feel more secure about visiting the place. Yet more alarming, a story in the Los Angeles Times suggests that security at the city's international airport is less than perfect.

Huckleberry Finn meets Rastafarian Bob

Mississippi Journey: PART ONE

Obituary: Carl Jacobi

Carl Jacobi was a journalist, weird-fiction and adventure-story writer, and one of the last surviving pulp-fictioneers to have contributed regularly to the legendary American horror magazine Weird Tales during its "glory days" (the 1920s and 1930s).

Nameless angel helps Dakota rise above the floods

There is nothing like a flood to bring out the American community spirit. We saw it in 1993 when the Mississippi drowned swathes of the Midwest and we witnessed it again this month as the Red River ran riot in North Dakota - legions of citizens pitching in to save homes and neighbourhoods.

Obituary: Lew Ayres

As the young German conscript who becomes a resigned pacifist in Lewis Milestone's brilliant anti-war film All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), Lew Ayres created an indelible portrait of disillusioned youth.

Basketball: Rodman suspended

Dennis Rodman was suspended by the Chicago Bulls for two games without pay for using bad language in criticising National Basketball Association officials in a television interview after Sunday's game at Toronto Raptors.

BAT memo 'discussed revealing health risks'

An American subsidiary of British American Tobacco discussed coming clean to the public about the health risks of smoking as a market strategy, according a 16-year-old internal company memo. Fear of lawsuits apparently quashed the proposal, writes David Usborne.

Bordering on the vacant

Fargo, Joel Coen: The Coens' 'Fargo' disregards thriller conventions an d exhibits the brothers' sophistication. So why can't they empathise with their human creations?
Career Services

Day In a Page

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
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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