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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Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

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The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

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Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
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Children's books are too white, says Laureate

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Blackest is the new black

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Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

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Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

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Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

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