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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.’

Calendar filling fast as card firms tap new vein of cash

It's 12 May - does that ring a bell? It doesn't? How could you forget that today is Happy Nurses' Day?

Saddam tests US resolve on no-fly zone

Iraq yesterday tested the ban on flights over the southern half of the country by sending helicopters into the no-fly zone to pick up 1,000 Iraqi pilgrims returning from the haj, the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Saudis clear debris of Mecca's hellish pilgrimage inferno pilgrimage inferno deckys

Saudi Arabian authorities in Mecca were yesterday trying to identify the bodies of 217 Muslim pilgrims burned to death in the fire which engulfed their tent city as they attended the Hajj pilgrimage.

Forces accused of condoning racist abuse Racist abuse still entrenched in the forces challenged over pervasive racism

The Armed Forces still have a "pervasive, long running and deeply entrenched problem of racism", according to an independent survey published yesterday.

Why fine titles make exceedingly fine writers

The Agreeable World of Wallace Arnold

One candle in the heart of darkness

The Mufti of Banja Luka lives on among those who killed his people. He tells Robert Fisk (left) why he is ready to forgive

Saudis behead four Nigerians

Four Nigerian men were beheaded in Mecca for robbing a gold store, the Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Islamic tiger stalks Indonesia's old guard

Attacks on Christian churches suggest the era of tolerance is ending, reports Richard Lloyd Parry from Surabaya

Obituary: Ella Collins

Ella Collins was the half-sister and guardian and in later life a trusted adviser of the black Muslim and radical leader Malcolm X. After his assassination in 1965 she took over the group he founded, the Organisation of Afro-American Unity, but later converted to orthodox Islam.

Travellers' sales

Shop abroad for the exotic look, says Alexandra Campbell

Letter: Prophetic calls for ritual sacrifice

Sir: Contrary to the assertion of P J Stewart (Letters, 3 May), there is plenty of "theological justification" for Muslims to sacrifice sheep at the time of the haj, whether in Mecca or elsewhere.

Family moved to be safer

Nabatiyeh - Hassan al-Abed moved his wife, new-born daughter, Noor, and their six other children to a safer house at this front-line south Lebanon village on Wednesday before setting off on the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.

`We called the lamps Ayatollahs: the lighting director looked like one'

Charlie Paton is developing a greenhouse that desalinates sea water, but he got his start inventing a robotic lighting system for plays, television and rock concerts, which he sold in 1987 for pounds 1m

Keep God out of the classrooms

Nearer and nearer draws the time when Muslim parents will have the same rights to send their children to state schools of their own religious persuasion. This week, the Funding Agency for Schools inspected the Islamia School in north London, and 20 others are going through the process this year. For how much longer can the agency refuse state status? It seems to be fast running out of excuses. Islamia and several others top their local league tables, so they pass at least a narrowly defined quality threshold, one of the criteria for gaining state funding. With a waiting list of a thousand, it can hardly be argued that there is insufficient "demand". Eventually, a high proportion of Britain's 400,000 Muslim children could end up isolated in sectarian schools.
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The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
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Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
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The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
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Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
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Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
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Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
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Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
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Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
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Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?