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Tropical island nation off the southeast coast of [[India]].

Population about 19 million. Strong central government.

Since independence (from the BritishEmpire in 1948), struggles between the majority Sinhala-speaking Buddhists and the minority Tamils (mostly Hindu) have been a regular feature of Sri Lanka's political life. Since 1983 there has been on-and-off civil war, mostly between the government and the LTTE -- the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.