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Lough Derg: the spirit of a holy place

IMAGE Wednesday, 04 April 2012
A small island in a lake called Lough Derg is one of the most famous of Ireland's places of pilgrimage. About 35,000 pilgrims come to it each year intent on doing penance for their sins or seeking divine intervention in their lives. Read More...

Nantes-Brest Canal, Brittany's popular leisure waterway

IMAGE Friday, 07 October 2011
The Nantes-Brest Canal is a 364 km long waterway connecting the city of Brest, on the west of Brittany, to the city of Nantes in the south east. Read More...

The shrine of the Cailleach at Glen Lyon

IMAGE Wednesday, 07 September 2011
Each year, in one of the most remote areas of Scotland, a family of stones are brought out of the house in the spring and returned to the house for the winter. The tradition stretches back thousands of years and the site is believed to be the only surviving shrine to the Celtic goddess Cailleach. Read More...

Newport Celtic Festival and Highland Games, Oregon

IMAGE Tuesday, 17 May 2011
A cultural celebration of the seven Celtic nations, the new festival on the Oregon coast features Celtic music, dance, food, drink, crafts, vendors, kids events, family histories and Highland Games. Read More...

World's largest tidal power project

IMAGE Thursday, 07 April 2011
The world's largest tidal stream energy array will be built in the Sound of Islay on Scotland's west coast. Read More...

Wales' new devolution settlement

IMAGE Thursday, 03 March 2011
Following the 'Yes' victory in the 3 March 2011 Referendum, Wales will now be able to pass its own laws in twenty policy fields. Read More...

The Giant's Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

IMAGE Thursday, 03 March 2011
The Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland has an unparalleled display of polygonal columns of basalt rock resulting from a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. Read More...

Galicia's longest serving president dies at 89

Manuel Fraga, president of Galicia between 1990-2005, died on 15 January 2012 of respiratory problems.

Manuel Fraga, president of Galicia between 1990-2005, died on 15 January 2012 of respiratory problems.

One of the most important and yet controversial politicians in modern Spain, Mr Fraga was the last surviving minister from General Francisco Franco's dictatorship.

Born into a working-class catholic family in rural Galicia in 1922, Mr Fraga began his political career in 1945 and became Franco's youngest minister in 1962.

As a minister of dictator Franco, Mr Fraga cultivated his image as a reformer while defending the regime's actions, including the torture and execution of political opponents.

In the post-Franco years, he made an opportunistic transformation by moving towards a modern conservative position and becoming one of the co-authors of the 1978 Constitution for the new democratic Spain.

Founder of right-of-centre parties Alianza Popular and Partido Popular, he repeatedly failed to win an election until in 1986 he set his sights on Galician politics.

After gaining the support of Galicia's centre-right barons and only facing a divided opposition, Mr Fraga won four elections in a row and remained Galician president for 15 years until he lost the 2005 election.

While his supporters hail him as a statesman who transformed Galicia and built much of its modern infrastructure, his critics point out that he failed to lift the country out of poverty and instituted a political culture based on clan politics and corruption.

A state funeral was held at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, where politicians and public figures from Galicia and Spain paid tribute to the late president.

The controversial politician, who always refused to apologise for his part in a dictatorship which killed thousands of supporters of Galician home rule, was buried with a Galician flag in Perbes, a small coastal village where he owned a holiday home.

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