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
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us