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Chinese and South Korean students face fallout from suspicions of SAT cheating

BEIJING — The announcement by administrators of the SAT college entrance test that scores are being withheld for students from China and South Korea who took the exam this month has infuriated many and raised anxiety about what for a number of them is a high-stakes college application process.

The Educational Testing Service, the company that administers the test worldwide, said Wednesday that it was withholding the scores of those who took the test on Oct. 11, at least temporarily, because of suspicions of cheating “based on specific, reliable information.” The company referred in a statement to “organizations that seek to illegally obtain test materials for their own profit, to the ultimate detriment of all students.

The announcement about the withholding of scores came just days before deadlines for early application for many colleges and universities in the United States. Some students in China and South Korea complained that the move was too broad, and that the administrators should be taking action against only those students suspected of cheating.

“I’m very anxious and angry,” said Wei Jialiang, 18, a senior at Miyun High School, in a Beijing suburb. “Why the Chinese? If there were cheaters, just single out them; don’t drag us all into the mess. Every exam has cheaters, and it’s not like that it happens only in Asia.”

“Right now, I really don’t know what to do,” he added. “After all, I took the exam and paid the fee. It’s your duty to inform me of the score. It’s the College Board’s responsibility to root out leaks and cheats, not that of the students.”

The College Board, a nonprofit organization, creates the SAT and contracts with the Educational Testing Service to provide testing security and administration overseas.

The Educational Testing Service said it hoped to complete an investigation and release valid scores by mid-November, in time for many schools to take them into account in deciding on early admissions.

—Edward Wong and Richard Pérez-peña, The New York Times

US drone strike kills 6 in Pakistani tribal areas

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A U.S. drone strike killed at least six militants early Thursday in the South Waziristan tribal region of Pakistan, a senior Pakistani security official said.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said four of the dead were foreign militants, two from Saudi Arabia, one from Yemen and one from Sudan. The drone’s missiles struck a private residence near a school in the village of Nargasi, the official said.

The drone program is operated by the CIA, and the strike, which is reported to be the 16th such attack on Pakistani soil this year, brought fresh protests from the Pakistani government as being a violation of its sovereignty.

“The government of Pakistan is itself taking decisive action against terrorist elements and therefore believes that such strikes are unnecessary and need to be stopped,” said Tasnim Aslam, the spokeswoman for the Pakistani Foreign Ministry.

Aslam was referring to the ongoing military offensive against militants in the North Waziristan tribal region, near where the drone strike hit on Thursday. Of the reported drone strikes this year, two have been in South Waziristan, and the remaining 14 have been in North Waziristan.

—Ismail Khan, The New York Times

Israel reopens contested holy site in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM — Under heavy pressure and the threat of new Israeli-Palestinian strife, Israel announced Thursday that it would reopen a contested holy site in the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday morning, a day after closing it for the first time in years.

The site, which Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims the Noble Sanctuary, has become an increasingly combustible flash point in the underlying Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The decision to close the site, a step that a Palestinian spokesman had denounced as “a declaration of war,” came after Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man suspected of involvement in an assassination attempt on a leading agitator for more Jewish access to the site. The closing prevented Muslims from worshipping at Al Aksa mosque, one of the three holiest sites in Islam.

Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for the Israeli police, said the site would be “fully functional and back to normal” on Friday. But he said that men under the age of 50 would not be allowed to enter.

Police initially indicated that the site would reopen Thursday evening, but then said that information was incorrect. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel condemned the shooting of the Jewish activist, Yehuda Glick, as “an act of terrorism,” and accused Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, of inciting violence. He pointed to a recent speech in which the Palestinian Authority president called on his people to defend the mosque compound from Jewish encroachment “by all means.”

“I have ordered significant reinforcements, so that we can maintain both security in Jerusalem and the status quo in the holy places,” Netanyahu said after an emergency consultation with senior security officials.

Israeli counterterrorism forces said they killed the Palestinian man suspected of shooting Glick while they were attempting to arrest the man Thursday. The official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, identified the man who was killed as Mu’atez Hijazi. He was said to be in his early 30s.

A spokeswoman for the Shaare Zedek Medical Center, the Jerusalem hospital where Glick was taken, said Thursday that he had suffered four gunshot wounds to the chest, neck, stomach and arm and that his condition was stable but still very serious.

—Isabel Kershner and Jodi Rudoren, The New York Times