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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: Driving a 'threat to virgin brides'

If Saudi women are allowed to drive, it will lead to them having premarital sex, a report to a high-level advisory group claims, according to a rights activist.

'I never hated Mark. My religion teaches that forgiveness is always better than vengeance'

Rais Bhuiyan is campaigning for clemency for the man who shot him at point-blank range in a drug-fuelled, post-9/11 hate crime in Texas. Jerome Taylor reports on his extraordinary magnanimity

Women defy Saudi Arabia's driving ban

Activists urging women in Saudi Arabia to defy a ban on driving say some have taken to the road in a planned challenge against the restrictions.

Azerbaijan admits censorship at Biennale

The work of one of Azerbaijan's leading artists, at the centre of an embarrassing dispute at the prestigious Venice Art Biennale, has been removed from the festival after the country's President apparently intervened to say the works were distasteful.

Venetian mask: Azerbaijan censors its own Biennale entry

The Azerbaijan government has staged a literal cover-up at this year's Venice Biennale, the world's most high-profile showcase of contemporary art, by hiding the work of one of its own artists beneath a piece of cloth.

No release for Saudi woman driver

A Saudi woman detained for defying the ultra-conservative kingdom's ban on female drivers will be held in detention for at least 10 more days, a lawyer and rights activist said yesterday.

Yasmin Alibbai-Brown: Sixteen reasons why I object to this dangerous cover-up

A dress code for Muslim women when in public institutions would free up our faith from the grip of fanatics and reintegrate us into our country

Boyd Tonkin: Reality intrudes at the Arabic Booker prize

The week in books

Saudi foreign minister warns against protests

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said today that dialogue — not protests — is the way to bring reform and warned that the oil-rich nation will take strong action if activists take to the streets.

Will Saudi be the next to rise up?

It is strange to read in the news that the Saudi monarchy has "banned" demonstrations; as if such demonstrations were allowed in the first place.

Joseph Conrad's Malaysia: Cruise exotic cross-currents of food and culture

My purest Joseph Conrad moment in Malaysia came after a dawn flight from the island of Penang down the coast of the peninsula to Kuala Lumpur. Half-awake, I stumbled into the KL arrivals hall to find it a sea of white robes. The crowd trailed cardboard monoliths of baggage tied in string: they were hajjis, just returned from Mecca.

Why did a trusted bodyguard turn fanatical assassin?

By murdering the politician he was supposed to protect, Mumtaz Qadri has become a hero for Islamists
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General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions