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.

Declining sperm theory out for the count

Claims that men are suffering from a mysterious decline in their sperm counts that could eventually imperil the future of the human race are being dramatically challenged by scientists in the United States.

Letter: Hustler Fats

From Mr George R. Crisp

Legend of the pool table dies at 82

Nashville (Reuter) - The legendary pool player Minnesota Fats, made famous by Jackie Gleason's portrayal in the film The Hustler, died yesterday at his home in Nashville, Tennessee, from heart failure.

US ejects unruly passengers after jet fracas

DAVID USBORNE

OBITUARY : Maxene Andrews

"We wanted to sing like trumpets," said Maxene, one third of the immortal Andrews Sisters. "Bugles" would have been a more appropriate analogy; during the Second World War millions of fighting men were cheered by their brassy vocals. The most popular, most durable singing group of all time, Patty, Maxene and LaVerne were later decorated by the US government for their wartime morale-building.

'Vikings beat Columbus to discover US'

TOMORROW Americans will be enjoying their annual Columbus Day public holiday but a professor has poured cold water on celebrations by coming up with new evidence that the Vikings beat the Italian navigator across the Atlantic, and deep into what is now the United States, by more than a century.

Escapes inspire the 'supermax' jail

Ministers studied American technology after service blamed for 'disaster waiting to happen'. Heather Mills reports

Fancy a jar of pickled weirdness?

Kinky rats, bleeding nuns and a bigfoot turd ... Jim White witnesses some weird objects in a Croydon library

Sex, Marriage and the American Woman

Assembly Rooms (Venue 3), 54 George St (0131-226 2428) 10.30pm; to 2 Sept

BOOK REVIEW / Witch doctor of Charlie Company

IN THE LAKE OF THE WOODS by Tim O'Brien, Flamingo pounds 5.99

Malcolm X's kin on charges

Minneapolis - A daughter of Malcolm X was charged yesterday with trying to hire a hitman to kill her assassinated father's rival, Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader. A federal grand jury indicted Qubilah Shabazz, 34, on charges of using t he telephone and crossing state lines in the course of trying to hire someone to kill Mr Farrakhan, said US Attorney David Lillehaug.

Boxing: Eubank sheds sock at weigh-in

CHRIS EUBANK had to remove one of his thick woollen socks to make the weight for tonight's World Boxing Organisation super- middleweight title defence against Dan Schommer in Sun City, South Aftrica.

Travel: The Mall shopaholics the merrier: Simon Calder checks out the checkouts at America's biggest shopping centre

You wouldn't come here for a holiday. From outside it looks like the antithesis of a tourist attraction: a concrete megalith girdled in high-density car parks, amid bleak Nineties suburban despondency.

REVIEWS / Ageing terms of endearment: Adam Mars-Jones on Grumpy Old Men, which reunites the film comedy double-act of Lemmon and Matthau. Plus round-up

The equation of human ages with seasons is a durable one, and accounts for the icebound Minnesota setting of the unambitious new comedy vehicle for Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, Grumpy Old Men. The two main characters are locked in mutual antagonism: they flail ineffectually at each other every time they meet (and they live next door to each other, so meetings are frequent), but we soon get the message that they're only swinging their arms to keep the blood moving, as a way of staying warm. Their interminable ritual insults ('Moron', 'Putz') are only endearments in disguise.

Taking the plunge

Using a toilet plunger to revive people who suffer cardiac arrest may be more effective than cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), according to a study in St Paul, Minnesota, Reuter reports from Chicago.
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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
South Africa
Spain
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Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
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