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Sri Lankan violence brings a nationwide emergency

A state of emergency throughout Sri Lanka was imposed as troops were called out to quell violence between the majority Sinhalese community and the minority Tamils, a government spokesman said.

Opposition leaders, whose Tamil United Liberation Front is demanding a separate state for the island's 1.4 million Tamils, said four members of the minority community were killed and heavy property damage was caused in the violence.

Although no specific country was named, government officials said there was evidence of a "foreign hand" behind the violence, the second flare-up since communal violence erupted last June in the northern district of Jaffna.

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