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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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Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen