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Sri Lanka Facts
• Introduction
• People
• Government
• Communications
• Transportation
• Military
• Transnational Issues

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Introduction Sri Lanka
Background:
The Sinhalese arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century B.C. probably from northern India. Buddhism was introduced beginning in about the mid-third century B.C., and a great civilization developed at the cities of Anuradhapura (kingdom from circa 200 B.C. to circa A.D. 1000) and Polonnaruwa (from about 1070 to 1200). In the 14th century, a south Indian dynasty seized power in the north and established a Tamil kingdom. Occupied by the Portuguese in the 16th century and by the Dutch in the 17th century, the island was ceded to the British in 1796, became a crown colony in 1802, and was united under British rule by 1815. As Ceylon, it became independent in 1948; its name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972. Tensions between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil separatists erupted into war in 1983. Tens of thousands have died in the ethnic conflict that continues to fester. After two decades of fighting, the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) formalized a cease-fire in February 2002 with Norway brokering peace negotiations. Violence between the LTTE and government forces intensified in 2006, but neither side has formally withdrawn from the cease-fire.
People Sri Lanka
Population:
20,926,315
note: since the outbreak of hostilities between the government and armed Tamil separatists in the mid-1980s, several hundred thousand Tamil civilians have fled the island and more than 200,000 Tamils have sought refuge in the West (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 24.3% (male 2,596,295/female 2,495,949)
15-64 years: 67.9% (male 6,947,310/female 7,259,271)
65 years and over: 7.8% (male 765,507/female 861,983) (2007 est.)
Median age:
total: 30 years
male: 29.2 years
female: 31 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.982% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:
17 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:
6.01 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:
-1.16 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.957 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.888 male(s)/female
total population: 0.971 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 19.45 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 21.2 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 17.63 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.8 years
male: 72.81 years
female: 76.88 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.05 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
3,500 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
noun: Sri Lankan(s)
adjective: Sri Lankan
Ethnic groups:
Sinhalese 73.8%, Sri Lankan Moors 7.2%, Indian Tamil 4.6%, Sri Lankan Tamil 3.9%, other 0.5%, unspecified 10% (2001 census provisional data)
Religions:
Buddhist 69.1%, Muslim 7.6%, Hindu 7.1%, Christian 6.2%, unspecified 10% (2001 census provisional data)
Languages:
Sinhala (official and national language) 74%, Tamil (national language) 18%, other 8%
note: English is commonly used in government and is spoken competently by about 10% of the population
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92.3%
male: 94.8%
female: 90% (2003 est.)
Government Sri Lanka
Country name:
conventional long form: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
conventional short form: Sri Lanka
local long form: Shri Lamka Prajatantrika Samajaya di Janarajaya/Ilankai Jananayaka Choshalichak Kutiyarachu
local short form: Shri Lamka/Ilankai
former: Serendib, Ceylon
Government type:
republic
Capital:
name: Colombo
geographic coordinates: 6 56 N, 79 51 E
time difference: UTC+5.5 (10.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
note: Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (legislative capital)
Administrative divisions:
8 provinces; Central, North Central, North Eastern, North Western, Sabaragamuwa, Southern, Uva, Western
note: in October 2006, the Sri Lankan Supreme Court ruled voided a presidential directive merging the North and Eastern Provinces; many have defended the merger as a prerequisite for a negotiated settlement to the ethnic conflict; a parliamentary decision on the issue is pending
Independence:
4 February 1948 (from UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 4 February (1948)
Constitution:
adopted 16 August 1978, certified 31 August 1978
Legal system:
a highly complex mixture of English common law, Roman-Dutch, Islamic, Sinhalese, and customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Mahinda RAJAPAKSA (since 19 November 2005); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government; Ratnasiri WICKREMANAYAKE (since 21 November 2005) holds the largely ceremonial title of prime minister
head of government: President Mahinda RAJAPAKSA (since 19 November 2005)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president in consultation with the prime minister
elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 17 November 2005 (next to be held in 2011)
election results: Mahinda RAJAPAKSA elected president; percent of vote - Mahinda RAJAPAKSA 50.3%, Ranil WICKREMESINGHE 48.4%, other 1.3%
Legislative branch:
unicameral Parliament (225 seats; members elected by popular vote on the basis of a modified proportional representation system by district to serve six-year terms)
elections: last held on 2 April 2004 (next to be held by 2010)
election results: percent of vote by party or electoral alliance - SLFP and JVP (no longer in formal UPFA alliance) 45.6%, UNP 37.8%, TNA 6.8%, JHU 6%, SLMC 2%, UPF 0.5%, EPDP 0.3%, other 1%; seats by party - UNP 68, SLFP 57, JVP 39, TNA 22, CWC 8, JHU 7, SLMC 6, SLMC dissidents 4, Communist Party 2, JHU dissidents 2, LSSP 2, MEP 2, NUA 2, UPF 2, EPDP 1, UNP dissident 1
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court; Court of Appeals; judges for both courts are appointed by the president
Political parties and leaders:
All Ceylon Tamil Congress or ACTC [A. VINAYAKAMOORTHY]; Ceylon Workers Congress or CWC [Arumugam THONDAMAN]; Communist Party or CP [D. GUNASEKERA]; Democratic United National (Lalith) Front or DUNLF [T.N.S. NANAYAKKARA]; Eelam People's Democratic Party or EPDP [Douglas DEVANANDA]; Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front or EPRLF [Suresh PREMACHANDRAN]; Janatha Vimukthi Perumuna or JVP [Somawansa AMARASINGHE]; Lanka Sama Samaja Party or LSSP [Tissa VITHARANA]; Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (People's United Front) or MEP [D. GUNAWARDENE]; National Heritage Party or JHU [Ellawala METHANANDA]; National Unity Alliance or NUA [Ferial ASHRAFF]; People's Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam or PLOTE [D. SIDHARTHAN]; Sri Lanka Freedom Party or SLFP [Mahinda RAJAPAKSA]; Sri Lanka Muslim Congress or SLMC [Rauff HAKEEM]; Sri Lanka Progressive Front or SLPF [P. Nelson PERERA]; Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization or TELO [Selvam ADAIKALANATHAN]; Tamil National Alliance or TNA [R. SAMPANTHAN]; Tamil United Liberation Front or TULF [V. ANANDASANGAREE]; United National Party or UNP [Ranil WICKREMASINGHE]; Up-country People's Front or UPF [P. CHANDRASEKARAN]; several ethnic Tamil and Muslim parties, represented in either Parliament or provincial councils
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Buddhist clergy; labor unions; Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or LTTE [Velupillai PRABHAKARAN](insurgent group fighting for a separate state); radical chauvinist Sinhalese groups such as the National Movement Against Terrorism; Sinhalese Buddhist lay groups; Tamil Eela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal, TMVP or "Karuna group" [Vinayagamurthi MURALITHARAN] (paramilitary breakaway from LTTE and fighting against LTTE)
International organization participation:
AsDB, BIMSTEC, C, CP, FAO, G-15, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, MONUC, NAM, OAS (observer), OPCW, PCA, SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIS, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Bernard GOONETILLEKE
chancery: 2148 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 483-4025 (through 4028)
FAX: [1] (202) 232-7181
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
consulate(s): New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Robert O. BLAKE, Jr.
embassy: 210 Galle Road, Colombo 3
mailing address: P. O. Box 106, Colombo
telephone: [94] (11) 249-8500
FAX: [94] (11) 243-7345
Flag description:
yellow with two panels; the smaller hoist-side panel has two equal vertical bands of green (hoist side) and orange; the other panel is a large dark red rectangle with a yellow lion holding a sword, and there is a yellow bo leaf in each corner; the yellow field appears as a border around the entire flag and extends between the two panels
Communications Sri Lanka
Telephones - main lines in use:
1.51 million (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
4.284 million (2006)
Telephone system:
general assessment: telephone services have improved significantly and are available in most parts of the country
domestic: national trunk network consists mostly of digital microwave radio relay; fiber-optic links now in use in Colombo area and 2 fixed wireless local loops have been installed; competition is strong in mobile cellular systems and mobile cellular subscribership is increasing; telephone density remains low (2006)
international: country code - 94; submarine cables to Indonesia, Djibouti, India and Maldives; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
34 (station types NA) (2006)
Radios:
3.85 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
14 (2006)
Televisions:
1.53 million (1997)
Internet country code:
.lk
Internet hosts:
6,526 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
5 (2000)
Internet users:
280,000 (2005)
Transportation Sri Lanka
Airports:
16 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 14
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 7 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2006)
Railways:
total: 1,449 km
broad gauge: 1,449 km 1.676-m gauge (2005)
Roadways:
total: 97,287 km
paved: 78,802 km
unpaved: 18,485 km (2003)
Waterways:
160 km (primarily on rivers in southwest) (2005)
Merchant marine:
total: 22 ships (1000 GRT or over) 144,066 GRT/196,418 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 17, container 2, petroleum tanker 2
foreign-owned: 7 (Germany 5, UAE 2)
registered in other countries: 5 (Panama 5) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Colombo, Galle
Military Sri Lanka
Military branches:
Sri Lankan Army, Sri Lankan Navy, Sri Lankan Air Force (2006)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 4,933,217
females age 18-49: 5,153,597 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 3,789,627
females age 18-49: 4,281,043 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 174,049
females age 18-49: 167,201 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$606.2 million (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
3.3% (2006 est.)
Transnational Issues Sri Lanka
Disputes - international:
none
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
IDPs: 500,000-600,000 (both Tamils and non-Tamils displaced due to long-term Tamil conflict renewed in 2006) (2006)

This page was last updated on 17 April, 2007


 

Source: CIA World Factbook










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