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.’

Hindu holy man reveals truth of terror attacks blamed on Muslims

India is being forced to confront disturbing evidence that increasingly suggests a secret Hindu terror network may have been responsible for a wave of deadly attacks previously blamed on radical Muslims.

Mary Ann Sieghart: There are lessons for us from Arizona

People can read whatever biased trash they like but at least there is a corrective when they watch or listen to the news

Faithful gather around for key ritual of the Haj

Tens of thousands of Muslim pilgrims move around the Kaaba, the black cube that sits within the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, during this year's Haj.

Old foes, nasty news, John Major Syndrome, and an arresting outfit

<b>David Randall</b>: The two Yemeni parcel bombs discovered on planes 10 days ago carried not only the addresses of Chicago synagogues but also, above them, a pair of intriguing names.

48 Hours In: Mumbai

Autumn is the ideal time to visit India&rsquo;s most cosmopolitan city &ndash; with plenty to nourish the body and soul

Nicholas Lezard: How not to greet a little green man

I would not necessarily assume that the first human being an alien will want to speak to is an astrophysicist

From floods to fasting: How Pakistan&rsquo;s recent natural disaster cast its shadow over Ramadan

As Ramadan drew to a close, the photographer Alixandra Fazzina, who witnessed the devastation of Pakistan first-hand, examined how Muslim celebrations were affected in both the flood-hit land and among the community in the UK

Silver spoon successes: The intellectual, affluent and well-connected new generation of Young British Artists

Today's Young British Artists are well-connected, appear in Tatler and are mostly Oxbridge-educated &ndash; a far cry from the rough edges of Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst.

Reality show concludes hunt for 'ultimate young imam'

An Islamic reality TV show that made its contestants counsel promiscuous teenagers and bury corpses has named a mosque prayer leader as Malaysia's top role model for young Muslims.

Indonesia's Muslims miss Mecca (by about 1,500 miles)

For more than 200 million Muslims in Indonesia, Mecca just moved. Instead of facing Islam's most holy city, a clerical error of astronomoical proportions has seen the faithful directing their prayers towards Kenya and southern Somalia.

Christina Patterson: Moderate Islam must find its voice

Religion is here to stay. Dawkins can rant till the sacred cows come home, but people have always yearned for the transcendent, and always will

Michael McCarthy: Why the blackthorn is a herald of spring

Some signs of spring are particularly moving because they have remained free from the clutches of cliché. I yield to no-one in my appreciation of primroses and cowslips, even of municipal daffodils, God bless them in their regimented beds, but there is another mark of the shift in the seasons which stirs something deeper in me, and that is the blossoming of the blackthorn.

TV psychic will not be beheaded for 'witchcraft', lawyer says

A Lebanese television psychic who was condemned to death for witchcraft by a Saudi court while visiting the country will not be beheaded, his lawyer said yesterday. May al-Khansa said that the Saudi ambassador in Beirut informed the Lebanese justice minister, Ibrahim Najjar, that the execution of Ali Sibat would not take place.

Treasures make pilgrimage for Hajj exhibition

British Museum to show artefacts from holiest Muslim sites

Family pleads for return of father sentenced to death for witchcraft

Lebanese pilgrim, arrested and convicted in Saudi Arabia on sorcery charges for his role in a TV show, due to be executed on Thursday
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Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas