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Dollar drought leaves Sri Lanka groping in the dark

Oil in short supply, basic necessities grow scarce as foreign reserves dwindle

COLOMBO -- As Sri Lanka's dollar scarcity worsens, a fresh crop of unusual signs has surfaced about spreading shortages of basic goods. "Candles not available due to gas shortage" was one. It was placed at St. Anthony's church, located in a mixed commercial and residential quarter of Colombo.

The significance of the announcement was not lost on regular worshippers. "Lighting candles is very much part of one's worship in this church," said a disappointed mother of two following her visit to the church this week. "I have been visiting this church for over 25 years -- never have they not had candles!"

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