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From drunken nights out with a llama to testicle-eating fishes, it’s a mixed bag of stories you’ve been sharing on social media in 2013.

Among the top twenty Independent articles you’ve been tweeting and posting on Facebook this year, there are serious reports, ferocious comment pieces, astounding research and a fair few articles that pay tribute to the adage ‘the truth is stranger than fiction.’

Saudi Arabia man arrested for giving out free hugs

A man who decided to offer ‘free hugs’ in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh has been arrested by the state’s religious police.

Bose: 'I never went into business to make money'

Amar Bose: Pioneer of high-end audio technology

By his own account, Amar Bose was an inventor first, a teacher second and a businessman third. But the company he created not only revolutionised audio technology but made his surname alone a shorthand for high-end sound systems around the world.

Saudi women, forbidden to drive, board a taxi in Riyadh

The new suffragettes: Wajeha al-Huwaidar - A driving force on the long road towards equality

In Saudi Arabia, the right to drive has become a symbol of a wider fight for women’s freedom, a leading campaigner tells Catrina Stewart

British boy, aged 1, taken to morgue in body-bag by mistake - after surviving crash that killed family in Saudi Arabia

It was only when the bodies were being put into temporary storage units at a hospital that Eisa moved and workers realised he was still alive

My Brother the Islamist: Richard Dart's extremist beliefs laid bare in TV documentary

Richard Dart's extremist beliefs were laid bare in a television documentary made by his step-brother.

The Hajj is a particular target for fraudsters because of the costs and complexity involved

Holiday scams leave British travellers £1.5m out of pocket

Rising problem of online fraud sees thousands of tourists paying for fake hotels, flights and trips

Photos taken by activists in Saudi Arabia showing the destruction of the Grand Mosque

The photos Saudi Arabia doesn't want seen – and proof Islam's most holy relics are being demolished in Mecca

Archaeologists fear billion-pound development has led to destruction of key historical sites

18 killed in Iraq attacks during Eid al-Adha holiday

A bombing near a playground and other insurgent attacks killed 18 people including several children in Iraq today, challenging government efforts to promote a sense of stability by preventing attacks during a major Muslim holiday.

Forget sun and sand — search for your spirit

The combined spending of British travellers seeking a religious holiday abroad has topped £2.2bn, new research reveals today.

Robert Epstein: Rant & Rave (19/08/12)

Rant

Iran and Saudi Arabia tensions threaten to erupt after Saudi authorities execute four Iranians for drug trafficking

Simmering tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia are threatening to erupt into a full-blown diplomatic showdown after Saudi authorities executed at least four Iranians for drug trafficking.

Ten people killed as plane crashes into bus in Ghana

Ten people have died after a cargo plane attempting to land in the Ghanaian capital Accra crashed into a bus near the airport.

Harry Kewell is congratulated by team-mates after scoring Australia's second goal in Melbourne

Saudis knocked out by Kewell and Brosque

Australia scored three goals in four minutes in the second half to beat Saudi Arabia 4-2 yesterday, dashing the Saudis' hopes of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Princess Basma Bint Saud Bin Abdul Azizat her London home

The Acton princess calling for reform in Saudi Arabia

Royal runs campaign for change in her homeland from a suburb in west London

Australian man sentenced to 500 lashes

An Australian man has been sentenced to 500 lashes and a year in a Saudi Arabian jail after being convicted of blasphemy.

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
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people
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Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
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Astronauts could be kept asleep for days or even weeks
scienceScientists are looking for a way to keep astronauts in a sleeplike state for days or weeks
Sport
Fabian Delph celebrates his goal
footballChristian Benteke and Fabian Delph turn semi-final after Liverpool goal
Life and Style
Model wears: top £29.50, leggings £25, jacket £29.50, bag £25, all marksandspencer.com
fashion
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The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own