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Miss Teen USA axes ‘outdated’ bikini competition with sportswear

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NEW YORK — One of America’s top beauty pageants has axed its swimsuit competition — ditching bikinis for sportswear in a bid to fend off years of complaints that parading in a bikini is sexist and demeaning.

Reactions have been mixed, with some praising the announcement as a step forward, and others noting that both swimwear and sportswear competitions judge competitors on their physical appearance.

Miss Teen USA — open to women aged 14 to 19 — said on its website, “In a society that increasingly prioritises feminism and equality, watching women parade across a stage in bikinis can feel outdated”.

The Miss Universe Organisation, which operates the pageant, said from now on contestants would be judged on athletic wear, in addition to the evening wear and personality competitions.

“Miss Teen USA’s transition to athletic wear reads as less exploitative and more focused on the importance of physical fitness for its younger participants,” it said.

The reform was welcomed by reigning Miss Teen USA Katherine Haik, who called it, “a great way to celebrate the active lives that so many young women lead and set a strong example for our peers”.

The 2016 Miss Teen USA pageant, to be broadcast online, will be held in Las Vegas on July 30.

Each year, a woman from each of the 50 states and one from Washington DC compete for the crown.

Miss Universe was for years owned by billionaire Republican White House candidate Donald Trump. He sold it last year to a talent-management group.

AFP

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2 Nepalis in Lhasa jail for smuggling gold

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RASUWA — Two Nepali youths are reported to be in a jail in Lhasa of China, on the charge of their involvement in gold smuggling.

Gyal Dorje Tamang of Gosaikunda Rural Municipality-5 in Rasuwa and Bikash Waiba of Hakubesi of Aamachhodongmo Rural Municipality were detained in Chinese territory by the customs department informers of the Tibet government around a month ago as they were about to enter Nepal on a truck bearing the Nepali number plate.

The Chinese side confiscated nine pieces of precious yellow metal from the two, Rasuwa District Police Office quoted the Nepal Consulate General Office in Lhasa as saying.

According to Rasuwa DPO’s Inspector of Police Dhruba Silwal, further details regarding the case are awaited.

It may be noted that the Chinese side has already started implementing the proposal floated by the Nepali side during the past border-security meetings to increase its surveillance in such illegal affairs bearing in mind increasing smuggling of gold into Nepali territory via China, as Silwal said.

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