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Encyclopedia > United National Party
United National Party
Image:UNP logo 1.jpg
Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe
Founded September 6, 1946
Headquarters Sirikotha, Kotte
Political ideology Centre-Right, democratic socialist
International affiliation International Democrat Union
Website

The United National Party, often referred to as the UNP Sinhalese: එක්සත් ජාතික පක්ෂය (pronounced Eksath Jathika Pakshaya), Tamil: ஐக்கிய தேசியக் கட்சி), is a leading political party in Sri Lanka. It currently is the main opposition party in Sri Lanka and is headed by Ranil Wickremesinghe. The UNP is considered to have right-leaning, business friendly policies. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Ranil Wickremesinghe was Prime Minister of Sri Lanka during 1993-1994, and 2001-2004 Ranil Shriyan Wickremasinghe (born March 24, 1949) is a popular Sri Lankan politician. ... September 6 is the 249th day of the year (250th in leap years). ... 1946 (MCMXLVI) was a common year starting on Tuesday. ... The centre-right is a political term commonly used to describe or denote political parties or organisations (such as think tanks) that stretch from the centre to the right on the left-right spectrum, excluding extreme right wing beliefs such as fascism. ... Democratic socialism is a political movement propagating the ideals of socialism within the framework of a parliamentary democracy. ... The International Democrat Union (IDU) is an international grouping of conservative and Christian democratic political parties. ... Sinhala (also referred to as Sinhalese; earlier referred to as Singhalese) is the mother tongue of the Sinhalese, the largest ethnic group of Sri Lanka. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Political parties Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      A political party is a political organization that seeks to attain political power within a government, usually by participating in electoral campaigns. ... Ranil Wickremesinghe was Prime Minister of Sri Lanka during 1993-1994, and 2001-2004 Ranil Shriyan Wickremasinghe (born March 24, 1949) is a popular Sri Lankan politician. ...


At the last legislative elections in Sri Lanka, held on 2 April 2004, the UNP was the leading member of the coalition United National Front, which won 37.8% of the popular vote and 82 out of 225 seats in Parliament. It came in second to the United People's Freedom Alliance, a left-leaning coalition, which won 45.60% of the vote. The Front previously held a majority in parliament from December 2001 until April 2004, when it had 109 seats, with Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister. The UNP had previously been the governing party or in the governing coalition from 1947 to 1956, from 1965 to 1970 and from 1977 to 1994. In total, the UNP governed Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon) for 33 of 57 years of its independent history. The UNP also had control of the executive presidency from its formation in 1978 to 1994. A legislature is a governmental deliberative body with the power to adopt laws. ... Legislative elections were held in Sri Lanka on 2 April 2004. ... April 2 is the 92nd day of the year (93rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 273 days remaining. ... 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The United National Front is a alliance in Sri Lanka, formed by the United National Party and the Ceylon Workers Congress. ... UPFA election symbol The United Peoples Freedom Alliance is a political alliance in Sri Lanka. ... 2001 (MMI) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A prime minister is the very most senior minister of a cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. ... 1947 (MCMXLVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1947 calendar). ... 1956 (MCMLVI) was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 1965 (MCMLXV) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1965 calendar). ... 1970 (MCMLXX) was a common year starting on Thursday. ... For the album by Ash, see 1977 (album). ... 1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated as the International Year of the Family and the International Year of the Sport and the Olympic Ideal by United Nations. ... The President of Sri Lanka is the head of state and dominant political figure in Sri Lanka. ... 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... 1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated as the International Year of the Family and the International Year of the Sport and the Olympic Ideal by United Nations. ...


The UNP is a democratic socialist party, although it is generally seen as more conservative than the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, favouring a more neo-liberal market-oriented economy. The UNP is comparatively to the right and is part of the International Democrat Union. Conservatism is a relativistic term used to describe political philosophies that favor traditional values, where tradition refers to religious, cultural, or nationally defined beliefs and customs. ... The Sri Lanka Freedom Party is one of the major political parties in Sri Lanka. ... The term neoliberalism is used to describe a political-economic philosophy that had major implications for government policies beginning in the 1970s – and increasingly prominent since 1980 – that de-emphasizes or rejects positive government intervention in the economy, focusing instead on achieving progress and even social justice by... The International Democrat Union (IDU) is an international grouping of conservative and Christian democratic political parties. ...


History

The UNP was founded on 6 September 1946 by amalgamating three right-leaning pro-dominion parties from the majority Sinhalese community and minority Tamil and Muslim communities. It was founded by Don Stephen Senanayake, who was in the forefront in the struggle for independence from the United Kingdom, having resigned from the Ceylon National Congress because he disagreed with its revised aim of 'the achieving of freedom' from the British Empire.[1]. The UNP represented the business community and the landed gentry. However, Senanayake also adopted populist policies that made the party accepted in the grassroots level. September 6 is the 249th day of the year (250th in leap years). ... 1946 (MCMXLVI) was a common year starting on Tuesday. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Languages Tamil Religions Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Jainism Related ethnic groups Dravidian people Brahui people Kannadigas Malayalis Tamils Telugus Tuluvas Gonds The Tamil people are an ethnic group from the Indian subcontinent with a recorded history going back more than two millennia. ... A Muslim (Arabic: مسلم, Turkish: Müslüman, Persian and Urdu: مسلمان, Bosnian: Musliman) is an adherent of Islam. ... D.S. Senanayake Don Stephen Senanayake (October 20, 1884–22 March 1952) was an independence activist who formed the Sri Lankan United National Party. ... The British Empire in 1897, marked in pink, the traditional colour for Imperial British dominions on maps. ...


The UNP campaigned in the 1947 general election on a platform of dominion under the United Kingdom and protecting the traditional way of life and Buddhism, the religion followed by the majority of the people, from alleged communist threats from the left-wing opposition parties (the Lanka Sama Samaja Party and the Communist Party of Ceylon). The UNP failed to win ana working majority and cobbled together a coalition with Sinhalese and Tamil elements. Ceylon became a dominion in 1948, with D.S. Senanayake as the first prime minister. He followed a pro-West, anti-Communist foreign policy much to the ire of the Soviet Union. The commanders of the armed forces were all British officers and Britain retained military bases in the country. 1947 (MCMXLVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1947 calendar). ... A dominion, often Dominion, is the territory or the authority of a dominus (a lord or master). ... The Lanka Sama Samaja Party (literally Ceylon Equal Society Party, in Sinhala: ලංකා සම සමාජ පක්ෂය, in Tamil: லங்கா சமசமாஜக் கட்சி) is a trotskyist political party in Sri Lanka. ... CPSL May Day poster in Kandy CPSL Kandy provincial election candidate, CYF President Raja Uswetakeiyyawa Communist Youth Federation The Communist Party of Sri Lanka is a communist political party in Sri Lanka. ... A coalition is an alliance among entities, during which they cooperate in joint action, each in their own self-interest. ... 1948 (MCMXLVIII) was a leap year starting on Thursday (the link is to a full 1948 calendar). ...

Sri Lanka

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
Sri Lanka
Image File history File links COA_of_Sri_Lanka. ... Politics of Sri Lanka takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Sri Lanka is both head of state and head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. ...



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The new government proceeded to disenfranchise the plantation workers of Indian descent, the Indian Tamils, using the Citizenship Act of 1948 and the Parliamentary Elections Amendment Act of 1949. These measures were intended primarily to undermine the Left electorally.[2] Flag of the President of Sri Lanka // List of presidents The following is a list of Sri Lankan Presidents. ... Percy Mahendra Mahinda Rajapaksa (born November 18, 1945) is the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and a Sri Lankan politician. ... The following is a list of Sri Lankan Prime Ministers: Don Stephen Senanayake (February 4, 1948 - March 26, 1952) Dudley Shelton Senanayake (March 26, 1952 - October 12, 1953) John Lionel Kotalawela (October 12, 1953 - April 12, 1956) Solomon Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike (April 12, 1956 - September 26, 1959) Wijeyananda Dahanayake (September... Ratnasiri Wickremanayake (born on May 5, 1933) is the 14th Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and a veteran politician. ... The Parliament of Sri Lanka is a Unicameral 225-member legislature elected by universal suffrage and proportional representation for a six-year term. ... Hon. ... This article lists political parties in Sri Lanka. ... During the Donoughmore period of political experimentation (1931-48), several Sri Lanka leftist parties were formed. ... Politics of Sri Lanka Categories: Election related stubs | Elections in Sri Lanka ... Sri Lanka is divided into eight provinces for the purposes of local governance. ... Below the provinces Sri Lanka is divided into 25 administrative districts. ... Combatants Military of Sri Lanka Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam Commanders Junius Richard Jayawardene (1983-89) Ranasinghe Premadasa (1989-93) Dingiri Banda Wijetunge (1993-94) Chandrika Kumaratunga (1994-2005) Mahinda Rajapaksa (2005-present) Velupillai Prabhakaran Strength 111,000[1] 11,000[2] The Sri Lankan civil war is an ongoing... Sri Lanka traditionally follows a nonaligned foreign policy but has been seeking closer relations with the United States since December 1977. ... Information on politics by country is available for every country, including both de jure and de facto independent states, inhabited dependent territories, as well as areas of special sovereignty. ... 1948 (MCMXLVIII) was a leap year starting on Thursday (the link is to a full 1948 calendar). ... 1949 (MCMXLIX) was a common year starting on Saturday (the link is to a full 1949 calendar). ...


In 1952 Prime Minister Senanayake died from a riding accident and his son Dudley became Prime Minister. This irked long standing UNP stalwart S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, a Buddhist nationalist leader known for his cente-left views. Bandaranaike quit the party to found the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) as a balancing force between the UNP and Marxist parties. By this time there was growing disaffection with the UNP particularly because of its support of minority religious groups, most notably Catholics, to the consternation of the predominantly Buddhist Sinhalese. Bandaranaike was able to take advantage and lead the SLFP to victory in the 1956 elections. Soon afterwards he passed the controversial Sinhala Only Act, which led to communal clashes in 1958. An attempt at a language compromise with the Tamil Federal Party was thwarted when the UNP organised a 'March on Kandy'. Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike (1899-1959) was Prime Minister (1956-59) of Ceylon (later Sri Lanka). ... The Sri Lanka Freedom Party is one of the major political parties in Sri Lanka. ... 1956 (MCMLVI) was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Sinhala Only Act was a law passed in the Sri Lankan parliament in 1956. ... Year 1958 (MCMLVIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


In 1962 the UNP was accused of instigating a failed coup d'état carried out by right wing elements in the army with civilian collaborators like Douglas Liyanage. The UNP again came to power in 1965 under Dudley Senanayake, but it lost in a 1970 landslide to the SLFP, which had formed an electoral alliance with Marxist parties known as the United Front. 1962 (MCMLXII) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1962 calendar). ... 1965 (MCMLXV) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1965 calendar). ... 1970 (MCMLXX) was a common year starting on Thursday. ...


A bitter leadership battle soon developed between Dudley Senanayake and the more conservative J. R. Jayewardene, a strong supporter of free market policies and a pro-American foreign policy. For the latter, he was called “Yankee Dickey.” After Dudley’s death in 1973, Jayewardene became leader of the UNP and started reorganizing the party at the grass roots level. Junius Richard Jayewardene (September 17, 1906 November 1, 1996) was a Sri Lankan politician. ... 1973 (MCMLXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday. ...


General disaffection with the economic policies of the United Front coalition and its brutal crackdown against a 1971 Maoist insurrection by the JVP brought the UNP to power in 1977. The party won an unprecedented five-sixths of the seats in parliament - one of the most lopsided victories ever in a democratic election and out of proportion to the actual number of votes it received. Jayewardene opened up the economy and revolutionized the entire outlook of the country. He introduced a new constitution (which incidentally first called the country a 'Democratic Socialist' republic) which made the presidency an executive post with sweeping powers, and shifted from the premiership to the presidency in 1978. In 1979, President Jayawardene introduced the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act to quell a low-key armed insurrection in the Northern Province by separatist Tamil rebels. 1971 (MCMLXXI) was a common year starting on Friday. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... For the album by Ash, see 1977 (album). ... 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... For the song by the Smashing Pumpkins, see 1979 (song). ...


On the economic front, free-market policies initially destroyed the nascent electronic and motor spares industries, as well as the long-established tea macinery industry, leading to the loss of about 100,000 manufacturing jobs. Free-trade zones were established in order to generate employment, but unemployment was primarily reduced by sending menial workers to the Middle East. The government undertook massive development work to promote hydroelectricity and agriculture. However, rising unprecedented inflation generally made public frustrated with the government, leading to a series of Opposition-led strikes, culminating in a General strike in 1980 which was crushed by the police and armed members of the UNP’s trade union wing. In 1982 the government held a referendum to extend parliament's life amid widespread vote-rigging and voter intimidation. Meanwhile, separatist Tamil rebels in the north and eastern provinces were leading an insurgency for a separate state for Tamils. In July 1983, members of the government organised a pogrom against Tamils in all parts of the country after a rebel attack in Jaffna which killed 13 soldiers of Rajarata Rifles. The government used the riots as an excuse to ban several opposition parties including the Communist Party of Sri Lanka, the Nava Sama Samaja Party and the Marxist nationalist JVP which had heavy influence on university campuses. (see Black July) A map showing countries commonly considered to be part of the Middle East The Middle East is a region comprising the lands around the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea, a territory that extends from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. ... A general strike is a strike action by an entire labour force in a city, region or country. ... 1980 (MCMLXXX) was a leap year starting on Tuesday. ... 1982 (MCMLXXXII) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Pogrom (from Russian: ; from громить IPA: - to wreak havoc, to demolish violently) is a form of riot directed against a particular group, whether ethnic, religious or other, and characterized by destruction of their homes, businesses and religious centers. ... Jaffna District. ... CPSL May Day poster in Kandy CPSL Kandy provincial election candidate, CYF President Raja Uswetakeiyyawa Communist Youth Federation The Communist Party of Sri Lanka is a communist political party in Sri Lanka. ... The Nava Sama Samaja Pakshaya (New Social Equality Party) is a Trotskyist political party in Sri Lanka. ... JVP may stand for: Jugular venous pressure: An important marker ellicited during clinical examination to assess right heart function. ... Representation of a university class, 1350s. ... Location of Sri Lanka Black July is the commonly used name of the pogroms starting in Sri Lanka on July 23, 1983. ...


The Tamil rebel groups were allegedly trained and armed by India, angry with Jayewardene's pro-American policy. The JVP began an intense attack on government forces in hope of a socialist revolution, but this turned out to be an utter failure. The government allegedly used death squads to crush the insurrection. In the due process over 40,000 civilians were “disappeared” by the armed forces and death squads and many torture chambers sprung up to interrogate JVP activists. Many abducted youth were summarily executed. The intensive offensive crushed the rebels. JVP leader Rohana Wijeweera was captured and later executed by the armed forces in custody. Meanwhile Jayewardene signed an Indo-Sri Lankan pact with Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, which later resulted in Gandhi's assassination. Rohana Wijeweera (born 14 July 1943 - died 13 November 1989) was the leader of the JVP, a prominent follower of Che Guevara and Sri Lankan revolutionary whose communist views of spreading wealth to the poorer classes earned him great popularity. ... Rājiv Ratna GāndhÄ« (DevanāgarÄ«: राजीव रत्न गान्धी, IPA: ) (August 20, 1944 – May 21, 1991), the eldest son of Indira and Feroze Gandhi, was the 9th Prime Minister of India (and the 3rd from the Gandhi family) from his mothers death on 31 October 1984 until his resignation on December...


Jayewardene retired in 1988 and was succeeded by Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa, a populist leader from the lower class known for his anti-Indian sentiment. He initiated many housing projects and poverty alleviation programs that made him popular among grassroots level. In 1993 Premadasa was assassinated by separatist LTTE suicide cadres while proceeding in a May Day rally. By this time the people were longing for a change due to allegations of inefficiency and corruption against the UNP government. In the 1994 election, the SLFP gained control of parliament after 17 years of unbroken UNP rule. While in opposition many of UNP stalwarts were killed by an LTTE suicide terrorist attack during an election rally which saw the assassination of Gamini Dissanayake, the UNP's presidential candidate. This paved the way for an easy victory for Chandrika Kumaratunga of the SLFP. Party leadership passed to Jayewardene's nephew, Ranil Wickremasinghe, a relatively young politician with pro-west views and penchant for neo-liberal economic policies. 1988 (MCMLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... May Day is May 1, and refers to any of several holidays celebrated on this day. ... 1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated as the International Year of the Family and the International Year of the Sport and the Olympic Ideal by United Nations. ... Lionel Gamini Dissanayake (March 20, 1942 - October 24, 1994) was a prominent Sri Lankan politician and a former Presidential candidate. ... Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga (born June 29, 1945) was the 5th President of Sri Lanka and 4th Executive President of Sri Lanka (November 12, 1994 - November 19, 2005). ...


By 2001 country was facing the worst economic downturn since independence, with rising inflation and an acute power crisis. The GDP was shrinking by 2.5%. The SLFP government fell on a no-confidence motion by the opposition, which prompted President Kumaratunga to call for early elections. Wickaramasinghe managed to secure the support of former government big wigs most notabaly former Kumaratunga confidants, Prof. G.L. Peris, and S.B. Dissanayake who would later become important members in the party. The UNP easily came to power in the 2001 election in a platform of peace with LTTE and economic resurgence, and won all but one district in the country. Wickremasinghe became the Prime Minister for the second time following the election and began a "coperative" government with President Kumaratunga. Within two months into his premiership Wickramasinghe signed a pivotal ceasefire agreement with the LTTE. The agreement was followed by intense peace negotiations towards a final solution to the ethnic conflict. 2001 (MMI) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 2001 (MMI) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


The UNP government maintained strict fiscal discipline and market-friendly policies, which led to a resurgence in the economy leading to large scale investments and rapid economic growth. The government created key economic institutions such as the Board of Investment, the Ministry for Small and Rural Enterprises, and the Information Communication Technology Agency. All this led to unprecedented economic growth reaching almost 6% at the end of 2003; inflation too was at an all time low of less than 2%. Many local and foreign experts believed that Sri Lanka at current pace would reach double digit economic growth within a few years. 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Unfortunately for Wickramasinghe and the UNP government, constant cease-fire breaches by the LTTE, including the constant stream of assassinations of military spies paved the way for nationalistic factions such as the JVP and its other cover organizations such as the Patriotic National Movement (Deesha Hithaishi Jathika Viyaparaya) to organize protests. They tried to convince the public that Wickramasinghe was giving too much away to the LTTE. Hardline Sinhalese Buddhist organizations such as the Sihala Urumaya (Sinhalese Heritage) criticized the government on the same lines and also for allegedly pandering to western evangelistic Christian organizations and thereby encouraging proselytizing and endangering Buddhism. The Sihala Urumaya would later rename themselves as Jathika Hela Urumaya (National Sinhalese Heritage) and put forward Buddhist Monks to contest in elections. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The Jathika Hela Urumaya (often approximated in English as National Heritage Party) is a political party in Sri Lanka which is led by Buddhist monks. ...


In late 2003 the President took over the National Lotteries Board. The UNP blocked this move by surrounding the government press so that the gazette could not be printed. As a retaliatory move the President then took over the ministries of Mass Communications, Defence, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, while Prime Minister Wickramasinghe was in visiting George W. Bush in Washington DC. Kumaratunga and her confidants launched a massive media attack on their nominal partners, branding Wickramasinghe as a traitor and accusing the UNP government of "selling" national heritage sites to foreigners.


Current Situation

Early in 2004, the SLFP and JVP formed the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), signalling the beginning of the end for the UNP government. In February 2004, within 24 hours of a well rehearsed speech for national unity, Kumaratunga dissolved parliament. UPFA election symbol The United Peoples Freedom Alliance is a political alliance in Sri Lanka. ... 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


In the subsequent election on 2 April 2004, the UNP was defeated by the UPFA. Wickramasinghe remained as leader of the UNP. Legislative elections were held in Sri Lanka on 2 April 2004. ...


In the presidential election of 17 November, its candidate, Ranil Wickremesinghe, came second with 48.43% of the vote. So it resulted in a defeat and a win for the UPFA candidate Mahinda Rajapakse. It is widely believed that if not for the boycott of the polls in the North and parts of the East, allegedly due to LTTE intimidation, Wickramsinghe would have won. It has been apparent however that Ranil Wickramasinghe, although winning the support of the minority communities (Tamils and Muslims); he was unable to gain the trust of the bulk of the majority Sinhalese community. Presidential elections in Sri Lanka were held on 17 November 2005. ... 17 November is also the name of a Marxist group in Greece, coinciding with the anniversary of the Athens Polytechnic uprising. ... Ranil Wickremesinghe was Prime Minister of Sri Lanka during 1993-1994, and 2001-2004 Ranil Shriyan Wickremasinghe (born March 24, 1949) is a popular Sri Lankan politician. ... Mahinda Rajapaksa Mahinda Rajapaksa (born November 18, 1945), Sri Lankan politician, became Prime Minister of Sri Lanka on April 6, 2004, following the victory of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance in the April 2, 2004 Sri Lankan legislative elections. ...


Presently Wickramasinghe faces significant pressure to step down as the Leader of the UNP.


In early 2007, 18 senior members of the UNP joined President Mahinda Rajapakse's ruling coalition. All of them were given ministerial positions. This resulted in a state of political unrest, as the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the President and the UNP leader in late 2006 was read as no longer valid. This incident, generally recorded in the press as 'crossovers', also resulted in a state where a number of senior government ministers expressed concern over the 'jumbo cabinet' of ministers. On Friday 09th February 2007, the president sacked three ministers for their remarks against the new political configuration.


 
 

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