Bus blast hits central Sri Lanka

At least 20 people are reported to have been killed in the attack.

    The blast comes after escalating violence in
    the island state over the past fortnight [AFP]


    Caught in the middle

    Police cordoned off the site and an investigation was under way, a police officer said.


    Comment from the Tamil Tigers could not immediately be gained.


    The officer said initial reports suggested that the explosion may have come from inside the bus when it was parked at the Dambulla bus station, a key transit point for people travelling in the region.


    Religious pilgrimage


    Reuters news agency reported that the bus was carrying Buddhist pilgrims to Anuradhapura, where a festival was being held. The bus had stopped in Dambulla to pick up more passengers.


    The day before the blast the military had attacked Tamil bunkers along the northern front lines. The ensuing battle ended with 10 Tamil fighters and two soldiers dead.


    The attack came as Sri Lanka stepped up security ahead of Monday's celebrations to mark the country's 60th anniversary of independence from Britain.


    The Tamil Tigers are fighting for a separate homeland for minority Tamils in the north and east of the island.


    Clashes between them and government troops have escalated since a six-year truce was scrapped on January 16.


    The two-decade conflict has killed an estimated 70,000 people.

    SOURCE: Agencies


     How Britain Destroyed the Palestinian Homeland

    How Britain Destroyed the Palestinian Homeland

    Ninety-nine years since Balfour's "promise", Palestinians insist that their rights in Palestine cannot be dismissed.

    Afghan asylum seekers resort to sex work in Athens

    Afghan asylum seekers resort to sex work in Athens

    In the rundown Pedion Areos Park, older men walk slowly by young asylum seekers before agreeing on a price for sex.

    Profile: Osama bin Laden

    Profile: Osama bin Laden

    The story of a most-wanted fugitive and billionaire.