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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.

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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 15 May 2015
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most