Monday, May 2, 2011

After Osama Bin Laden, is the world a safer place?

Declarations of outright victory in the 'war on terror' may be premature

The killing of Osama Bin Laden provided a moment of catharsis that had eluded America for a decade. Flag-draped crowds spontaneously gathered outside the White House and at Ground Zero in Manhattan, singing the national anthem. On television, Peter Bergen, an expert onal-Qaida and one of few people in the field to have actually met its leader, declared: "Killing bin Laden is the end of the war on terror."

The mood this morning is likely to be more sober, as Americans cast their minds back on past premature declarations of victory, in Afghanistan at the end of 2001 and at George W Bush's infamous"Mission Accomplished" triumphalism over Iraq in 2003.

The struggle against terrorism does not give itself easily to neat beginnings and endings. In one sense, the "war on terror" ended in March 2009 when the incoming Obama administration decided it was a counter-productive phrase in the first place, bringing America's enemies together rather than dividing them.

After being driven from Afghanistan in 2001, al-Qaida's response was to transform itself into a far looser global network that would be harder to destroy. In its most dilute form, al-Qaida is little more than a franchise that alienated groups around the world can sign up for, exchanging formal oaths of allegiance for the dread that the name inspires in their enemies.

The most likely short-term impact of Bin Laden's death is an increase in al-Qaida attacks around the world, as the martyr effect kicks in and these disparate groups carry out attacks to ensure that the killing of their spiritual leader does not go unavenged. If they fail to do so, their supporters and enemies alike could rightly question whether they are still in business at all.

The biggest question is: how long will Bin Laden's martyrdom last? Will it flame out and die in a blaze of small attacks or will it feed on itself and create a new generation of committed jihadists?

Bin Laden's end comes at a time when al-Qaida's influence is on the wane in the Arab and wider Islamic world. It has been conspicuous by its absence in the Arab Spring. To most of the revolutionaries in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, Bin Laden was irrelevant. But the Arab revolt is still in its early stages and its outcome is unclear. It is still possible that disillusion, protracted violence and the failure of the Nato intervention in Libya could create an opportunity for jihadists.
If and when that moment comes, much will depend on whether the martyrdom of Bin Laden is a more powerful factor than the absence of any plausible successor. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the aged, mumbling Egyptian doctor who has fulfilled the role of deputy since he brought his Egyptian Islamic Jihad into the al-Qaida fold in 1998, has none of Bin Laden's charisma. The group's Libyan ideologue, Abu Yahya al-Libi, also lacks the stature and respect necessary to take up the mantle.

The most likely outcome is fragmentation, with the possible rise of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) as the leading 'brand' leader. The Yemeni-based group showed its ingenuity last November by smuggling pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) bombs inside printer cartridges onto FedEx and UPS planes flying to the West.

AQAP's strategy is to attempt frequent small attacks, to inflict a death by "a thousand cuts" on its western enemies. But Yemen is a narrow base to operate from and easier to isolate.

What does seem probable is that al-Qaida is today less able to mount a spectacular mass-casualty attack on the West, because it has lost Bin Laden's grand ambitions and the necessary cohesion he instilled. Furthermore, as it now appears he was living in a well-guarded compound in the heart of Pakistan and not in a cave in the remote tribal areas, he may well have been playing more of an operational role than many observers had thought possible.
But while the threat of a devastating attack on the West, possibly involving a new weapon like a "dirty" radiological bomb, has almost certainly receded, there remains the constant menace of the bomb in a cafe, as in Marrakech last week, or once more on a plane. That threat may never go away.

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Efforts to eliminate terror havens must not be let down:India

New Delhi, May 2: Terming al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden's killing as the "victorious milestone" in the global war against terrorism, India today said the world "must not let down" its united effort to eliminate the safe havens that have been provided to terrorists in its neighbourhood.

President Barack Obama of the US has just announced that his government has conducted a successful operation that has resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden deep inside Pakistan.

"This operation brings to closure an almost decade-long search for the head of the al Qaeda," External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said in a statement.

Noting the development as a "historic" and "victorious milestone", the minister said, "Over the years, thousands of innocent lives of men, women and children have been tragically lost at the hands of terrorist groups."

Asserting that the struggle must continue "unabated", Krishna said, "The world must not let down its united effort to overcome terrorism and eliminate the safe havens and sanctuaries that have been provided to terrorists in our own neighbourhood." 


President Obama speaks on death of Osama bin Laden

Washington, May 2: President of the United States Barack Obama, on 0030 hours of May 02 (IST) addressed the citizens of his nation and informed about the killing of Osama bin Laden by the US Army. Here is the complete text of his speech:

Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who's responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children.

It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory. Hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky.

The Twin Towers collapsing to the ground. Black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon. The wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.

And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table.

Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child's embrace.

Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.

On September 11th, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other and our love of community and country.

On that day, no matter where we came from, what god we prayed to or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family. We were also united in our resolve, to protect our nation and to -- to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice.

We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda, an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe. And so we went to war against al Qaeda, to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.

Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we've made great strides in that effort. We've disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense.

In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.

Yet, Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world.

And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda. Even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle and defeat his network.

Then last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain. And it took many months to run this thread to ground.

I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside Pakistan.

And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.

Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abad Abad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties.

After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.

For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda's leader and symbol and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies.

The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat al Qaeda.

And his death does not mark the end of our effort. There's no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad.

As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. I've made clear just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11 that our war is not against Islam. Bin laden was not a Muslim leader. He was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries including our own.

So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity. Over the years, I've repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was. That is what we've done.

But it's important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding. Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people.

Tonight I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates.

The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly 10 years of service, struggle and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war.

These efforts weigh on me every time I, as commander in chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one or look into the eyes of a service member who's been gravely wounded.

So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are.

And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda's terror, justice has been done.

Tonight we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who've worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work nor know their names, but tonight they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice.

We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day.

Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11, that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores.

And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today's achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.

The cause of securing our country is not complete, but tonight we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history. Whether it's the pursuit of prosperity for our people or the struggle for equality for all our citizens, our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.

Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are, one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

Courtesy:OneIndia News


New Delhi May 1

By K.M.Shareef

Popular Front of India units across the nation starts its two months long, “School Chalo
“Go to School” Campaign from now in order to ensure that all boys and girls go to school
from primary to secondary levels. During the months of May and June,  the
school admission period in most of the states, Popular Front cadres, and units will be engaged in
field work for taking all children of their localities to school.

Various programmes like poster publicity, household student search surveys, assistance
in enrolling children in school and readmission of drop outs, distribution of school
kits, scholarship schemes and parent awareness classes will be undertaken at the local
level. The project will be more concentrated in educationally backward areas. The state
committees of of the organisation will identify certain villages for continuous follow
up works to develop them as “Sarva Shiksha Gram”. In order to ensure that poor and
meritorious students are not dropped out from school, local sponsors will be asked
to “Adopt a Child” till the end of his/her education.

Though the Right to Education Act has made education of every child between 6 and
14 a fundamental right, it still remain as yet another unfulfilled promise. Instead of
depending on the bureaucracy alone, both the central and state governments should
support the efforts of voluntary organizations in order to fulfill this constitutional

Popular Front calls upon the minority organizations and leaders to ensure that nobody is
left out from school in their localities. Popular Front has been undertaking School Chalo
project during school admission period since the last few years and our humble grass
root level efforts have produced tangible results. We request all well wishers, social
activists, local community leaders and philanthropists to extend cooperation to this timely

Trump Evokes Negative Reaction From Americans


Sixty-four percent of Americans say they would definitely not vote for Donald Trump for president in 2012, a significantly higher level of negativity than they express about Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney.

April 27, 2011

Osama bin Laden is dead and US has body, AP says


Osama bin Laden is dead and US has body, AP says

Los Angeles Times | May 1, 2011 | 7:58 p.m.

Osama bin Laden is dead and US has body, says person familiar with developments, according to the Associated Press.

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Indian Americans alarmed at Gujarat Lawsuit's developments


Sunday May 1, 2011

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC -, an advocacy group dedicated to safeguard India's pluralist and tolerant ethos, has expressed deep concern at the reported withdrawal of security for IPS Officer Sanjay Bhatt, and at the prejudiced role played by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) team appointed by the Honorable Supreme Court.

Mr. Sanjay Bhatt, IPS, DIG SRPF Training College, Junagadh, had filed affidavit(s) regarding the SIT's investigation of Ms. Zakia Jafri's case against Mr. Narendra Modi and other officials. Mr. Bhatt's affidavit reportedly contains vital evidence that incriminates Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra  Modi.

Mr. Bhatt's testimony regarding Mr. Modi's instructions to allow anti-Muslim violence to continue unabated, has already been adequately corroborated. Mr. Modi and his associates had claimed that Mr. Bhatt was not present during the February 27, 2002, meeting. However, Mr. Bhatt's driver has already confirmed that he had driven Mr. Bhatt to the meeting with Mr. Modi, and had waited for him till the meeting ended.

Further, Director General of Police R.B. Sreekumar, IPS (Retd), in his deposition before the State Government's Nanavati commission, had also filed affidavit(s) stating that Mr. Modi had clearly instructed the anti-Muslim violence to continue.

Earlier, Mr. Haren Pandya, a former State Minister, had submitted similar information to the Citizens Tribunal headed by Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Haren Pandya was assassinated. 

"Mr. Sanjay Bhatt's reported statements have been more than corroborated by three different people - a Director General of Police, a former State Minister, and his official
government driver. Further, there is clear, present, and imminent danger to Mr. Sanjay Bhatt's life, and to the lives of his family members," said Shaheen Khateeb, President, IAMC.

Therefore, the Indian American Muslim Council urges the honorable Supreme Court to immediately offer ample and effective security to Mr. Sanjay Bhatt, and his family members. We also request that the Honorable Supreme Court look closely at the reported nefarious role played by the SIT team investigating this case, and take meaningful measures to ensure that justice prevails in Ms. Zakia Jafri's case.

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HYD 146/8
Chennai Super Kings won by 19 runs

Point Tally

IPL 4: Taylor helps Rajasthan Royals go top

Updated on Sunday, May 01, 2011, 20:16
Jaipur: Ross Taylor smashed a quickfire unbeaten 47 as Rajasthan Royals thumped Pune Warriors by six wickets in a thrilling encounter to jump to the top of the table in Indian Premier League on Sunday.

Taylor, who was dropped when on 31, smashed four boundaries and two sixes in his 35-ball unbeaten knock and shared 52 runs with Ajinkya Rahane (15 not out) for the unseparated fifth wicket to chase down the target of 144 with three balls to spare.

At one stage, it looked like Pune would snap their five-match losing streak with the asking rate rising near 11 by the 16th over but Taylor and Rahane kept their nerves as Rajasthan reached 144 for four in 19.3 overs in the match that went down the wire.

With the victory, Rajasthan Royals have won 15 of their 19 matches they had played at Sawai Man Singh Stadium in the IPL so far.

They are now on top of IPL table with 11 points from nine matches ahead of Kolkata Knight Riders (10 points from eight matches) and Mumbai Indians (10 from seven).

For Pune, who dropped three catches in the match, leg-spinner Rahul Sharma took three for 13 while Alfonso Thomas got one wicket. Left-arm spinner Murali Kartik went wicketless for 41 runs from his four overs.

Chasing 144 for a win, the RR openers Shane Watson (12) and Rahul Dravid (18) did not contribute much and that gave Pune a chance before Taylor and Rahane took the game away.

Pune started their bowling with Kartik and he could have achieved success in his fourth ball itself but Manish Pandey failed to hold onto a difficult catch and Watson survived.

Watson did not, however, stay long as he was out in the fifth over with Thomas finding his edge with an outswinger for Robin Uthappa to take the catch behind the stumps. Dravid, who hit two flourishing fours early on, later struggled and was dropped by Harpreet Singh in sixth over.
But the blunder did not cost Rajasthan Royals dear as Dravid was out in the eighth over with the addition of just four runs to his individual score. The former India captain was caught and bowled by Rahul Sharma in a soft dismissal.

RR lost their third wicket in the 11th over in the form of Johan Botha (12) but they were still on course at 59/3. Taylor and Ashok Maneria (29) had some lusty hits mainly off Kartik but the asking rate rose to more than 10 by the end of the 15th over.

The explosive New Zealander then changed the complexion of the game with a flurry of big hits though he was lucky to have survived as Nathan McCullum dropped him when on 31. Taylor took 16 runs from Kartik in the 16th over with the help of two fours and a six and the asking rate dropped down nine per over.
Rajasthan required 19 from the last two overs but Taylor hit a huge six in the penultimate over to take the game away from Pune. Taylor`s younger partner Rahane hit the winning run, a single, to take RR to their third win on the trot.

Courtesy: zeenews n PTI

Search on for Arunachal CM, satellite images offer no clue

Updated on Monday, May 02, 2011, 00:43

Itanagar: The helicopter carrying Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu remained untraced for the second day on Sunday even as search operations on the ground by army and paramilitary personnel in both India and Bhutan continued without much success. 

"So far there are no clues or reports of the missing helicopter although we are leaving no stone unturned in our effort in locating the chopper," central minister V Narayanasamy told journalists after a meeting of the crisis management team with the entire state cabinet and top civil and police officials. 

Narayanasamy and another central minister, Mukul Wasnik, arrived in Itanagar on Sunday afternoon on the express orders of the prime minister to oversee and monitor the search operations. 

"Bad weather hampered aerial surveys. We were in constant touch with the Bhutan government and are trying to locate exactly where the helicopter could have landed," the minister said. 

The Pawan Hans AS350 B-3 helicopter carrying the chief minister and four others went missing after it took off from Tawang at 9.50 am on Saturday. The last radio contact with the ground was about 20 to 20 minutes after take-off as it flew over the Sela Pass along the Chinese border perched at an altitude of 13,700 feet. 

The Indian Air Force on Sunday morning began search operations to locate the missing helicopter, even as Indian and Bhutanese soldiers too launched a massive operation to track down the chopper. 

An MI-17 and two Cheetah helicopters were pressed into service on Sunday morning, but the search was abandoned due to bad weather. 

"Search operations would continue Monday subject to the weather conditions," Ranjeeb Sahoo, spokesperson of the Eastern Air Command of the Indian Air Force based in Meghalaya state capital Shillong said. 

"Two satellites from the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) had taken images but the images were hazy due to bad weather. By midnight we expect a detailed report from the ISRO," senior Arunachal Pradesh minister Jarbom Gamling said. 

Meanwhile, two Sukhoi-30 aircraft from a base in Bareilly completed aerial mapping over Arunachal Pradesh in an attempt to get definite clues about the missing helicopter. 

"The two Sukhoi's completed aerial mapping and have since landed in their base. The images would be analysed and then we expect something concrete maybe by tomorrow," Likha Saaya, a ruling Congress party MLA, said. 

A sense of despondency prevails in Arunachal Pradesh. 

"We are hoping against hope now to get some news about the helicopter and its occupants. There are prayers being held in all the Buddhist monasteries for some good news," Congress MLA from Tawang Tsewang Dhondup told said. 

Yeshmi Lamu, the lone woman occupant in the helicopter is the younger sister of Dhondhup. 

"She was in the helicopter with the chief minister for a medical checkup in Itanagar." 

"Everybody is praying for the chief minister and the other four people. We also want a clarification from the governor for making such an irresponsible statement yesterday about the safe landing of the helicopter," Baman Felix, a civil rights leader in Arunachal Pradesh said. 

The helicopter in question, the AS350 B-3, is a single-engine chopper. In case of an engine failure, there are very slim chances of the helicopter making a safe landing. 

The incident comes just days after another Pawan Hans helicopter crashed in Tawang April 19, killing 17 people and injuring six.

The Pawan Hans Helicopter Services Limited (PHHL) has been operating five helicopters across Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura and daily Guwahati-Tawang services for the past nine years. It is one of the major lifelines of landlocked Arunachal Pradesh.

Arunachal has witnessed a large number of air crashes. In November 1997, the then minister of state for defence NVN Somu, Major General Ramesh Nagpal and two others died when their Cheetah helicopter hit a 1,300 feet peak, 40 kilometers from Tawang.

In May 2001, Arunachal Pradesh Education Minister Dera Natung and five others were killed when their Pawan Hans aircraft crashed near Tawang because of poor visibility.

In 2009, an IAF AN-32 aircraft crashed at Mechunka killing all 13 defence personnel on board. Eleven Air Force personnel and an Army Lieutenant Colonel were killed when an Air Force MI-17 helicopter crashed near the China frontier on November 19, last year a minute after take-off.

Khandu, who had served in the intelligence wing of the Indian Army, was sworn on April 9, 2007 as the fifth chief minister of the state, replacing Gegong Apang. 


CMC doc wins Gates research Grant:Deccan Chronicle:Chennai 2 May


A doctor attached to Christian Medical College (CMC) hospital in Vellore has been awarded grant worth `44.38 lakh by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to carry out a research on eradication of Polio. He is the only doctor from India to win the award.

Associate Professor of Community Medicine of CMC Hospital Dr Jacob John has been selected fromover 2,500 proposals from around 100 countries, while two other doctors from abroad have also bagged the grant to carry out innovative research to improve the immunity of vaccine against Polio and maternal health.

Expressing happiness for being selected for the award to carry out the research, Dr Jacob John said, “I am honoured to have received this prestigious grant. Polio is a highly contagious and often deadly infection. If I can contribute in any way to preventing this, I will be very satisfied.

“ “My research will be focusing on new strategy to eradicate polio and what needs to done for that. The new strategy is such as giving injectable polio vaccine to children, who already received oral polio vaccine,“ Dr John told this newspaper. He is also the principle investigator of this research.

Dr Nicholas Grassly of Imperial College in London, who is another recipient of this award, would partner him in the research. However, he would work on other organism which would be effective in eradicating polio. The entire research would be carried out in CMC Hospital here.

Dr. Gagandeep Kang, Dr Jayaprakash Muliyil and Dr Asha Abrahim of CMC Hospital would be roped into the research.

“We will start the research after getting permission from the ethics committee of CMC hospital. It will take a year-and-an half to complete the research,” said Dr John.

AIEEE held after 3-hr delay; AFMC exam rescheduled

Updated on Monday, May 02, 2011, 00:24

New Delhi: The start of a national-level examination taken by 12 lakh students to determine entry to engineering colleges across the country was delayed by nearly three hours after the paper was allegedly leaked in Uttar Pradesh and sold for Rs 6 lakh each. 

"Fresh set of questions were distributed to the students and the exam was delayed by three hours," Cnetral Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE) chairman Vineet Joshi said. 

"When we got to know (about the leak) in the morning, our aim was to do it without causing much inconvenience to most of the children. First was to ensure the exam takes place as early as possible and that we have been able to do," he said. 

As per the original schedule, the first paper was to begin at 9.30 am and the second at 2 pm. 

The CBSE, the nodal agency for conducting the exam, postponed the first part to 12 noon and the second part to 4.00 pm. 

Following the delay, the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) entrance exam that was also scheduled for Sunday at 2.30 pm, was shifted to 4.30 pm.
 "We have notified the centres all over the country. Students who want to appear for the AFMC exam today, can appear for the B. Arch exam later May 8," Joshi said. 

The first exam was for engineering students while the second was for architecture course. 

The May 8 exam will be held at the same centres and the same admit card will be valid, he added. 

"We have notified the centres all over the country. If they have the capacity to accommodate students, they can conduct both exams today. If not, they can choose to hold the AIEEE exam on May 8 at 9.30 am," he added. 

The exam was delayed after the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force informed the CBSE about a question paper leak in the state, he said. 

Senior Superintendent of Police Vijay Prakash said they received a copy of the question paper Saturday night. 

"We faxed the paper to the CBSE chairman and it was confirmed this morning (Sunday) that the paper was the original one," Prakash said. 

Students and parents meanwhile suffered as the papers were delayed. 

"We had just started writing the exam when the invigilator told us to return the sheets. We were both surprised and disappointment as were not aware about the reasons. This confusion will certainly affect our performance," Swati Sehgal, an engineering aspirant in Chandigarh, told IANS. 

The announcement of taking the exam later for those appearing for AFMC meanwhile gave some relief to many. 

"I also had to appear for AFMC exam, so I was tense that I will miss one of the two, but I am happy that now I can give the AIEEE on May 8," Rashi Jain, a student from Delhi said. 

Meanwhile, at one centre in Delhi, mild force had to be used to control the agitated parents and students. 

A large number of students had gathered outside Kendriya Vidyalaya-II on Swarna Jayanti Marg, but were not allowed to enter the premises after the authorities decided to postpone the exam by a few hours. 

"No one was injured in the incident," a senior police official said. 

Over 12 lakh students across the country are appearing for around 26,816 engineering and architecture seats at different colleges. 


Saudi princess speaks out in support of lifting the country's ban on women drivers Read more:

Last updated at 1:24 PM on 9th February 2009


The wife of one of Saudi Arabia’s richest men says she is ready to get behind the wheel as soon as the ban on women drivers is lifted.

Princess Amira al-Taweel, who is married to global tycoon Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, told the Saudi daily Al-Watan that she already drives when she travels abroad.

'Certainly I'm ready to drive a car,' said Amira, whose husband is a nephew of Saudi King Abdallah and is ranked as the world's 13th-richest person by Forbes magazine.

Women in Saudi Arabia are currently banned from driving because of the risk of creating 'sinful temptation'

Women in Saudi Arabia are currently banned from driving because of the risk of creating 'sinful temptation'

'I have an international driver's license, and I drive a car in all the countries I travel to.'
Women in Saudi Arabia have not been permitted to drive since the establishment of the state in 1932, but the government is set to lift its ban and issue a decree by the end of the year.

However if the ban is lifted, there are likely to be hurdles such as obtaining licences and insurance which must also be overcome.

Princess al-Taweel said: 'I prefer driving a car with my sister or friend next to me instead of being with a driver who is not (related to me).’
The prohibition forces families to hire live-in drivers, and those who cannot afford the $300-$400 a month for a driver must rely on male relatives to drive them to work, school, shopping or the doctor.

But change will be difficult in this ultraconservative society, where many believe that women at the wheel create situations for sinful temptation.

They argue that women drivers will be free to leave home alone, will unduly expose their eyes while driving and will interact with male strangers, such as traffic police and mechanics.

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