News

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.

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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
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?