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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The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003