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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
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
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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