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.’

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.
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home