March 1—Top news at 1 pm

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BJP womens wing leader held in child trafficking case

BJP women's wing leader Juhi Chowdhury was arrested from Batasia area close to the Indo-Nepal border last night by the CID for her alleged involvement in the Jalpaiguri child trafficking case. Four persons have been arrested so far for their alleged involvement in the case involving the trafficking of at least 17 children. The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officials said Chowdhury was being brought to Jalpaiguri for further interrogation and would be produced before a district today. West Bengal BJP President Dilip Ghosh has said that the party is looking into the allegations against Chowdhury and would take action if she is found guilty.

SC refuses urgent hearing on plea for police reforms, says "nobody listens to our orders"

The Supreme Court today refused to accord urgent hearing on a PIL seeking reforms in police force across the country. "Sorry. Declined," a bench comprising Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justices DY Chandrachud and SK Kaul said when Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, lawyer and Delhi BJP spokesperson, sought urgent hearing of the PIL. "Police reforms are going on and on. Nobody listens to our orders," the bench said. Upadhyay, in his plea, has sought directions to states and the Centre to implement massive reforms in the police force including a fixed tenure for senior officers.

Schools reopen in Kashmir after months

Schools in Kashmir division and other areas falling under the winter zone in Jammu region reopened today after remaining closed for months. Schools in the Valley were closed due to repeated disruptions in the academic calendar due to the unrest and the subsequent winter break. Despite fresh rainfall, which brought down the temperatures, children dressed in their uniforms made their way to schools to resume the learning process which was severely affected by the unrest last year. "The schools have reopened as per schedule today. We hope that the situation in the Valley remains peaceful now, so that the students' valuable academic time is not lost again," an official of the Education Department said. However, the schools in some of the snow-bound areas of north Kashmir including Gurez, Machhil, Tangdhar and Keran will remain closed till March 12 in view of apprehensions of avalanches and landslides, the official said. The schools in these areas will reopen on March 13.

Trump softens stand on immigration, favours merit-based system
US President Donald Trump today called for adopting a merit-based immigration system that could benefit high-tech professionals from countries like India, modifying his hard-line campaign rhetoric with a promise to revive the 'American spirit'. Trump, during his first address to Congress, noted that "nations around the world, like Canada, Australia and many others have a merit-based immigration system". He said that such a system will save countless dollars and raise workers' wages. "Switching away from this current system of lower-skilled immigration, and instead adopting a merit-based system, will have many benefits: it will save countless dollars, raise workers' wages, and help struggling families, including immigrant families, enter the middle class," Trump said in a State of the Union-style address that lasted for an hour.

NHRC notices to Karnataka, Maharashtra governments over hysterectomy procedures

The National Human Rights Commission has issued notices to Chief Secretaries of the governments of Karnataka and Maharashtra over reports of hysterectomy procedures being performed on unsuspecting women in the two states. The Commission today said it has taken suo motu cognisance of a media report that an unusual large number of hysterectomy procedures have been performed to remove uterus from unsuspecting women in Kalburgi district of Karnataka allegedly for commercial reasons as there were no medical justifications behind them. The victims' lives were put at stake as they suffered many complications after the surgery, the NHRC said in a statement. "Reportedly, Umarga area in Osmanabad district of Maharashtra has also emerged as a 'hysterectomy hub' and they are getting patients from border villages of Kalburgi district of Karnataka. The Commission has sought detailed reports in the matter in four weeks.

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