Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje announced a ₹ 8,000-crore loan waiver for farmers, ₹ 650 crore tax relief and ₹ 44,135 crore expenditure on social and community schemes in the budget for 2018-19 presented in the assembly on Monday.The state government has tried to touch every section of society including women, young, students, farmers and sectors like infrastructure, medical and healthcare, industries, education and others, the chief minister said.Ms. Raje, who also holds the finance portfolio, presented the budget for 2018-19 which envisage total outlay of ₹ 1,07,865.40 crore on schemes and projects.A major share of the proposed outlay, 40.92 per cent, amounting to ₹ 44,135.20 crore has been allocated to social and community services schemes as the state goes to polls this year. Power sector got 25.08 per cent while and rural development sector 13.42 per cent of the planned outlay.The chief minister announced one-time crop loan waiver up to ₹ 50,000 for small and marginal farmers, exemption of ‘lagan’ on land (land revenue) and constitution of Rajasthan state Farmers Debt Relief Commission for settlement of crop loans on merit basis.The loan waiver would cost ₹ 8,000 crore to the exchequer.The estimated fiscal deficit for 2018-19 is ₹ 28,011.21 crore, which is 2.98 per cent of GSDP while estimated total revenue receipt for 2018-19 is ₹ 1,51,663.50 crore.The budget has the estimated revenue deficit of ₹ 5,454.85 crore without the effect of UDAY scheme and ₹ 17,454.85 crore with the effect of UDAY scheme.After presenting the budget, Ms. Raje told reporters that the budget is well within the limits of the fiscal responsibility and budget management act.“We have tried to touch every sector and section of society and have tried to make best use of the public money to support those deprived,” Ms. Raje said.In tax proposals, Ms. Raje announced to set up a traders welfare board with initial corpus of ₹ 10 crore for speedy disposal of problems related to dealers, their social security and insurance needs etc., 50 per cent exemption in stamp duty for the establishment of IT, entertainment and tourism sector units, increase of ten per cent in SGST based investment subsidy from 30 per cent to 40 per cent.To promote agro-based industries and services, the maximum limit of interest subsidy in a year increased from ₹ 5 lakh to ₹ 7.5 lakh per year.Ms. Raje also announced 10 per cent reduction in existing rates of stamp duty on agriculture, residential and commercial land with effect from February 13, 2018, no increase in valuation of agriculture, residential and commercial land by the DLC in the year 2018-19.Ms. Raje in her budget speech informed the house that 1.81 lakh new taxpayers have been registered under the GST and the tax base of the state has increased by more than 35 per cent as compared to the VAT regime.She also said that GST rates of commodities like marble and granite, gems and jewellery, handicraft, textile, hotel, tourism were reduced by the GST council due to efforts by the state government.
The US levies an inheritance tax or estate tax at the time of inheritance. However, such tax is leviable only if the transferor is a citizen, resident or a green card holder of the US. In a situation where the US citizen inherits property from a person who is not a US citizen, resident or a green card holder and also the property is not located in the US, it will not levy taxes on such inheritance.Read it at Live Mint Related Items
Two women – journalist Kavitha Jagdal and social activist Rehana Fathima – managed to reach the main temple premises on Thursday. More than 100 policemen protected them from stone-throwing protesters as they walked the last 5km (3-mile) stretch to the temple.Read it at BBC Related Items
AFP official booed out of forum Read Next Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics PLAY LIST 00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Even the local newspaper, Caller Times, has given Ancajas prominence over Gonzalez and Ramirez, who totes a fearsome record of 36-0 with 24 knockouts.Ahmed is also unbeaten (22-0-1, 17 knockouts) and, just like Ancajas and Gonzalez, is strutting his stuff in the US for the first time.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe third man in the ring for Ancajas-Gonzalez will be Puerto Rican Rafael Ramos with Joel Elizondo (San Antonio), Fernando Villareal (Oakhill, California) and Lisa Giampa (Las Vegas) as judges.The eight-bout fight card is a joint undertaking of ESPN, ESPN Deportes and Top Rank of Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s longtime promoter. 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Arum sees greatness in Ancajas Jerwin Ancajas confidently mounts the weighing scale as MP promotions’ Joe Ramos, left, and Sean Gibbons look on. Roy Luarca/INQUIRERCorpus Christi, Texas—The Jerwin Ancajas-Israel Gonzales title duel was supposed to be the co-feature of the World Boxing Organization middleweight crown showdown between Mexican Gilberto Ramirez and Ghanaian challenger Habib Ahmed.Owing to the Ancajas’ hype as the next Manny Pacquiao, however, the International Boxing Federation junior bantamweight title fight has gained more attention in this coastal city, the eighth largest in this massive state next only to Alaska in size.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises LATEST STORIES MOST READ View comments
Jemele HillESPN personality Jemele Hill is a proud Michigan State alum, and she let Michigan fans know this during a two-minute segment on her show His and Hers. Hill used the time to call out Wolverine supporters who had been talking smack after the hiring of Jim Harbaugh and the team’s 5-1 start before Saturday’s stunning loss to the Spartans.Michigan State basketball head coach Tom Izzo was obviously impressed by Hill, and he expressed his feelings when speaking with the media today.Tom Izzo: “Jemele Hill should run for president. She was awesome.” @jemelehill— Joe Rexrode (@joerexrode) October 20, 2015If Hill did run, it would be interesting to see how well she’d fare in the state of Michigan.
New Delhi: Taking cognizance of Unnao rape victim’s letter to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, the Supreme Court on Wednesday sought a report from its secretary-general as to why it had not been brought to his notice.In her letter to the CJI, the 19-year-old woman had expressed apprehension of threat to her life. “Unfortunately, the letter is yet to see the light of the day and yet the newspapers flashed it as if I have read the letter,” Justice Gogoi said. “We will do something about this highly volatile situation,” the bench added. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsCuriously, the court that was supposed to be designated for the Unnao cases in Lucknow has disappeared from official records. The Central Bureau of Investigation had filed two chargesheet; one against MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar for the teenager’s rape and one against his brother for the murder of the rape victim’s father, who was allegedly killed in custody. The CBI had filed the chargesheet in Special Court, CBI court number 4 in Lucknow in July last year, of which the court had taken cognizance. However, Judge Vatsal Srivastava of the same court was transferred out on April 15 and the court itself has seemingly disappeared from the list of Special CBI courts on the Allahabad High Court website, leaving no designated court for the Unnao cases. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from ThursdayMoreover, the Allahabad High Court had in May this year stopped monitoring the case, based on incorrect information that CBI’s probe had been completed and that trial was underway; when in fact, the court where the chargesheet was filed did not even exist at the time. The observations came when senior advocate V Giri, who is assisting the court in the suo motu case on an alarming rise in child rapes, sought urgent hearing of the Unnao rape case. The apex also asked the Uttar Pradesh authorities to file a status report by Thursday on the accident of the Unnao rape case victim. It listed the matter for hearing on Thursday. The 19-year-old woman, who was allegedly raped two years ago by BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar at his residence in Unnao, was critically injured in a car crash on Sunday. A car in which the Unnao rape survivor, her family and lawyer were travelling was hit by an over-speeding truck in Raebareli on Sunday, killing two members, leaving her and the advocate critically injured. The truck’s number plates were blackened. Meanwhile, taking over the accident investigation, the CBI has booked Uttar Pradesh MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and nine others on murder charges. A team from the agency reached the accident site in the Gurubakshganj area of Uttar Pradesh’s Raebareli district, to start the probe. Sources in the know said that investigators held discussions with forensic experts and also met some eyewitnesses to the accident. Since last July, the rape victim and her family had lodged at least 25 complaints with the Unnao police authorities against Sengar and his men for threatening and trying to intimidate them so that they would not appear as witnesses in CBI’s cases against Sengar. However, the Unnao SP said that he did not get time to study all of them as he was posted here just five months ago. See inside
APTN National NewsPremiers and territorial leaders agree there is a need for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.But many in British Columbia are saying there is still unfinished business there from a provincial inquiry that concluded last December.APTN’s Tina House has the story.
SAN FRANCISCO — A U.S. judge overseeing a criminal case against Pacific Gas & Electric Co. asked the utility Tuesday to explain any role it may have played in a massive wildfire that destroyed a Northern California town and killed nearly 90 people.Judge William Alsup in San Francisco directed PG&E in a court filing to respond to a series of questions about power line safety and wildfires. He is overseeing a jury verdict and sentence against PG&E after a natural gas pipeline explosion killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes in the San Francisco Bay Area eight years ago.Investigators have not determined the cause of the wildfire that began Nov. 8 and tore through the town of Paradise, destroying nearly 14,000 homes and killing at least 88 people. Speculation, however, has centred on PG&E, which reported an outage around the time and place the fire ignited.Another transmission line also malfunctioned a short time later, possibly sparking a second fire.In Tuesday’s filing, Alsup said he wants to know whether any requirements in the sentence handed down last year for the 2010 pipeline blast in San Bruno “might be implicated” if the reckless operation or maintenance of PG&E power lines ignited a wildfire. He noted that the sentence required PG&E not to engage in any additional crimes.Another judge had ordered the utility to pay a $3 million fine and run television commercials publicizing its pipeline safety convictions. He also ordered an independent monitor to oversee the safety of its gas pipeline system and put the company on probation for five years.PG&E spokeswoman Erin Garvey said the utility was aware of Alsup’s notice and was reviewing it.“We continue to focus on assessing infrastructure, safely restoring power where possible and helping our customers recover and rebuild,” she said.Alsup also asked what requirements of the sentence might be affected by any “inaccurate, slow, or failed reporting of information about any wildfire by PG&E” and what steps the independent monitor has taken to improve the utility’s safety and reporting on power lines and wildfires.The judge asked for “an accurate and complete statement” of any role PG&E may have played in the Northern California fire and all other wildfires in California since its sentencing.Alsup’s questions also were directed to the U.S. attorney’s office, which prosecuted PG&E for the San Bruno blast, and the monitor overseeing its gas pipeline safety.Several fire victims have sued the company, blaming its equipment for the blaze.Sudhin Thanawala, The Associated Press
VANCOUVER, B.C. – A conservation group is suing the British Columbia government for deciding two oilpatch dams are exempt from environmental rules.The B.C. Sierra Club says foreign-owned Progress Energy built the dams in the province’s north without environmental assessments.The club alleges the government then retroactively exempted them from needing the reviews. It alleges the government’s own staff have said the dams, which are used to store water for fracking operations, clearly meet the criteria for assessments.The Sierra Club also claims the government doesn’t have the power to exempt dams from review after they’ve been built.Even if it did, the club alleges the province didn’t have enough information to make a proper decision.The government has not immediately responded to a request for comment.Research has suggested that British Columbia has dozens of unlicensed and unreviewed dams built to service fracking operations.(THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Algiers – Sahrawis living in the Algeria-based Tindouf camps “should be free to advocate options other than independence for the Western Sahara without any imposed restrictions by the Polisario leaders,” said Saturday Human Right Watch (HRW). “The Polisario Front should ensure that camp residents are free to challenge its policies and leadership and advocate options other than independence for the Western Sahara”, said HRW, calling on the leaders of the separatist movement to “end military court jurisdiction over civilians and eradicate all vestiges of slavery”. The international human rights watchdog recalled the case of the former Polisario leader Mustapha Salma Ould who was detained in the camps after voicing support to the Moroccan autonomy plan in the Sahara. “In 2010, the Polisario detained one camp resident for more than two months after he spoke in support of Moroccan rule” while on a visit to the Sahara, pointed out HWR, noting that the front then “sent him across the border to Mauritania and barred him from returning to the refugee camps in Algeria, where his family lives.
A passenger was arrested at the Bandaranaike International Airport with foreign currency hidden in his underwear.The 55 year old Sri Lankan, a gem businessman from Galle, was arrested by the customs staff at the departure lounge this morning with Euro 38,530 valued at Rs. 6,121,224.00 concealed in his underwear. He had attempted to smuggle the currency out to Singapore when he was arrested.Following inquiries conducted by the Deputy Director of Customs at the Airport, Anura Walawage, the foreign currency was forfeited and a penalty of Rs. 100,000.00 was imposed on the passenger. (Colombo Gazette)
Developmental psychologist Caitlin Mahy is studying the differences between four and five-year-olds, and how they think and respond to different situations.Most four-year-olds in Ontario will be starting a journey that hopefully will continue for many years to come: full-time school.All-day junior kindergarten is still relatively new, a concept that Brock developmental psychologist Caitlin Mahy says has many benefits but also needs careful practice. Traditionally, children began their schooling with kindergarten at the age of five years.At the core of Mahy’s research observations is that one year makes a monumental difference.“There’s this huge transition between four-year-olds and five-year-olds in things like memory, social understanding, and self-regulation,” says Mahy. “Four-year-olds are going to struggle with a lot of skills that five-year-olds aren’t going to struggle with.”And that is something teachers and parents, who might be tempted to view all kindergarteners as being similar, need to understand and adjust for, she says.“We’re putting these children in kindergarten for a full day and we expect them to understand other peoples’ minds and remember to do things on their own,” explains Mahy. “Yet they’re really going to struggle with these abilities, especially compared to five-year-olds, who at least have some of those basic skills.”The assistant professor in the Department of Psychology identifies three basic areas in which four-year-olds are different than their senior kindergarten peers.One is “false belief” understanding, where a person is able to recognize that other people can have beliefs about the world that are different than his or her own.Mahy refers to a laboratory test for children called the Sally Anne task. The researcher tells the child about a character who puts a marble in a basket and then goes away. Another character comes in, moves the marble from the basket to the box, and then leaves.The researcher then asks the child the key question: When the first character comes back, where will that character look for the marble?“What we found is that a lot of four-year-olds, when asked where will she look, will say, ‘In the box,’ because that’s where the marble is,” explains Mahy. “Four-year-olds have trouble understanding that the first character holds a false belief about where the marble is.“By the age of five, most children know that the marble is in the box, but also that the first character will think that the marble is in the basket because she didn’t see the movement of the marble from the basket to the box take place.”Mahy gives another example of a child who loves cookies and has a friend who loves broccoli. It will be hard for the four-year-old to understand that the friend loves something different than his or her own preference, cookies.A second area of difference between four- and five-year-olds is in self-regulation, where a person is able to control his or her responses to stress, emotional expression, and other behaviours.“In the classroom, this may look like, ‘sit in a circle, don’t yell out an answer, wait your turn,’ all these kinds of rules that involve children controlling their own impulses. That’s a big challenge for four-year-olds,” says Mahy. “Five-year-olds haven’t fully mastered that by any means, but they are so much better at it.”Thirdly is the issue of “prospective memory,” or remembering to carry out what you had earlier planned to do, such as pick up a bag of milk on your way home from work.This ability is often over-estimated in younger children, says Mahy. She refers to a friend whose four-year-old son was expected to hand in a notebook to his junior kindergarten teacher at the beginning of the day and collect the book from the teacher at the end of the day.Not surprisingly, the teacher seldom received the book. “For teachers, it may be a lack of awareness of the limitations of four-year-olds because teachers are used to dealing with five-year-olds,” says Mahy. “I think there’s an assumption that four and five year olds are all kindergarteners, they’re all similar, but really, in their cognitive abilities, they’re different.”And four-year-olds have a hard time following through on rules, despite the fact that they know the rules, says Mahy. They also may need more time to transition from recess to the classroom, as they are slower to inhibit behaviours, such as running or playing, that were appropriate on the schoolyard, she says.Mahy urges teachers and parents to understand that four-year-olds are not going to be at the same level as five-year-olds and that there’s huge individual differences between children of the same age group.She describes a number of strategies that help four-year-olds to practice certain skills. One is the game Simon Says, where children are instructed to pat their head, touch their toes or perform other tasks only when the leader says “Simon Says” or do nothing if the leader fails to say “Simon Says” before the command.Another is to post prominent visual cues to remind children to do certain things, such as a big sign or a brightly coloured bottle in the bathroom to remind children to wash their hands. “Be patient, take time to explain things, explain what you wanted them to do versus what they did, model the behaviour you want to see,” says Mahy.September 2015 marks the second year of full-day kindergarten, which Ontario’s Ministry of Education describes as being the “next step in our plan to help our kids get a better education in kindergarten through Grade 3,” says the ministry’s website.“It helps kids get the best possible start. We’re helping make things better for students from their first day of school to their last – and every day in between.”Then-education minister Kathleen Wynne (now Ontario’s premier) introduced a bill in 2009 establishing full-day kindergarten, with a five-year rollout plan.Dr. Caitlin Mahy is looking for children ages 3 to 7 to participate in research studies on children’s development. Learn more about getting involved. Read more about Dr. Mahy’s research.To hear about the current research studies, contact: email@example.com or 905-688-5550 x6089
GUELPH, Ont. — A new University of Guelph study says the wage gap has closed between women and men with newly earned PhDs.The study, which focuses on gender equity in the labour market, found that both male and female doctoral graduates earn about $70,000 annually during the first three years after convocation.Prof. David Walters says this is the first time that he has seen “no discrepancy in earnings” between men and women in Canada.The authors attribute the equal incomes to strong collective agreements and proactive labour policies in the sectors PhD graduates gravitate toward, such as academia and government.Published Monday in the journal Higher Education Policy, the study analyzed data from Statistics Canada’s sweeping 2013 National Graduates Survey, which surveyed trades, college and university graduates three years after graduation — before factors such as maternity leave start to influence results.However, the study also shows that the lower the level of education, the bigger the gender pay gap, and that on average only PhD graduates achieved income equity.The gap is greatest among employees in the trades, where on average women earn $32,500 and men earn $40,500 — 25 per cent more.Lead author Anthony Jehn says men tend to go into higher-paying trades, such as pipefitting or plumbing, whereas women lean more toward hairdressing or cosmetology.More than one-third of all male graduates majored in the more lucrative fields of math, engineering or computer science, versus five per cent for women, helping explain the income disparity among bachelor’s and master’s degree holders.Jehn says a “culture of gender inequality” in some male-dominated fields discourages women from entering. His findings show that greater pay equity exists for those who can afford to invest in education, a problem he says compounds class divisions along gendered lines.The Canadian Press
The Big Ten’s “Honoring Legends, Building Leaders” Mobile Tour has arrived at Ohio State, and it brought a coveted piece of hardware along for the ride. The tour will make a stop at every Big Ten University up until the Dec. 3 Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium. Its first stop at OSU was at Wednesday’s men’s soccer game at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Fans had a chance to pose with the Stagg-Paterno Championship Trophy, which will be presented to the conference champion. The trophy is named for Amos Alonzo Stagg, who coached at the turn of the 20th century and invented many maneuvers seen in modern football, as well as Penn State head coach Joe Paterno, the active and all-time wins leader in NCAA football bowl subdivision history. Buckeye Nation will have additional chances see the trophy in-person this week. The tour will make a stop at the RPAC tomorrow from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., before its Friday stop at the Schottenstein Center from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The tour’s final stop on Saturday will last from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. between Ohio Stadium and St. John Arena. Nora Skotko, a third-year in social work, said she saw the trophy as she arrived for Wednesday’s men’s soccer game. “It doesn’t grab your attention,” Skotko said. Still, Skotko said she thought it would be “cool” for students and alumni to see the trophy while it is on campus. The Buckeyes will host Colorado Saturday at ‘the Shoe at 3:30 p.m.
Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#TurksandCaicos, December 27, 2017 – Grand Turk – Christmas season is a time of remembering those whom we have lost … and one way that a Turks and Caicos culinary pioneer – Smokey – was remembered by his son, who continues the legacy was with a two day Lobster Fiesta. Chef Nik in part one of the event hosted a cooking competition, the Chop Off Cook Off.North Caicos, Middle Caicos, South Caicos and Grand Turk were all represented by seasoned chefs from these islands…in the end, it was the Grand Turk competitor who chopped her way into the hearts of the tasting judges; Renarda Williams won a cash prize from Global Capital and a car from another sponsor of the Chop Off Cook Off, Connolly Kia Motors.“Renarda it’s a pleasure for me to present to you on behalf of Kia International this car, and to tell you that we are very proud that you are going to be an ambassador for Kia Motors. I want to encourage you to be the best that you can be, and I would also encourage you to take Culinary Arts a little bit further, I think that’s your dream.” (Josephine Connolly)“I would like to say a huge thank you first of all to Chef Nik because he is a huge supporter of my business and my passion for cooking. Also Kia Motors, I have a brand new spanking car, these are the keys, it’s for real, I am the new ambassador for Kia Motors and I would like to say a huge thank you. This is the first brand new car I have ever had and trust me, I am happy, happy.” (Renarda Williams)It was the second year for the Chop Off Cook Off held at Chef Nik’s Crackpot Kitchen restaurant in Ports of Call, Grace Bay, Provo.#MagneticMediaNews#GrandTurkChefgetsnewcar#ConnollyMotorsgiveschefnewcar Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:#ConnollyMotorsgiveschefnewcar, #GrandTurkChefgetsnewcar, #magneticmedianews
More ballots were counted Wednesday, but they did not change the results of Tuesday’s special election, in which the Washougal School District passed two levies. Woodland’s levy also appears to be passing.However, Mount Pleasant School District voters defeated its maintenance and operations levy, 52 no votes to 40 yes votes. In each of the four levies, a simple majority was needed to pass.In Mount Pleasant, the levy would have raised property taxes to $3.85 per $1,000 of assessed property value in 2015 before dropping to $3.78 in 2016. The current levy rate is $2.44 per $1,000 of assessed home value.Voters in Washougal approved a maintenance and operations levy by a vote of 59 percent to 41 percent. Washougal voters also approved a technology levy by a vote of 63 percent to 37 percent. The technology levy will be used to expand a pilot program that puts tablet computers into the hands of students.Washougal’s technology levy will raise property taxes to 37 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value in 2015. That rate drops to 35 cents in 2016 and 34 cents in 2017. The district’s existing technology levy is 13 cents per $1,000 of assessed home value.
The expansion comes two months after Quartz, another fast-growing Atlantic Media brand, announced it would be adding more than 20 staffers. And things appear to be going well for the company’s flagship brand as well. Atlantic Media self-reported that ad, newsstand and events revenue were all up at least 25 percent through the first half of 2014. Atlantic Media’s newest venture, Defense One, is hitting 600,000 unique visitors a month, has attracted 63,000 subscribers and supports 22 ad clients just a year after its launch-numbers good enough to justify another big investment in the brand. A general manager, associate publisher and events directors are included in the business hires, while three beat reporters and two contributors make up the editorial additions. “This investment in Defense One reflects the incredible success the brand has had in just one year and will expand the ways in which we advance the national conversation around the future of defense and national security,” Hartman says in a statement. Part of Atlantic Media’s b2b division, the National Journal Group, Defense One is adding 11 new staffers across its business and editorial units.
.Make-up artist Solongo Batsukh braves Mongolia’s below-freezing temperatures in just a skimpy black dress and light pastel pink coat — the country’s trailblazing transgender beauty queen wants to look good in any weather.”I don’t like to look puffy,” the 25-year-old said as she drove to a beauty salon that hired her to promote its products and services via Facebook live videos.It’s with this typical bluntness, confidence and attitude that taboo-breaking Batsukh strutted into the country’s first ever Miss Universe Mongolia competition in October.Though she fell short of representing her country at the Miss Universe contest in Thailand on December 17, her participation shed another light onto a group living on the edges of a deeply patriarchal country with conservative views about sexual orientation.Had she won, she would have joined Miss Spain’s Angela Ponce as the first transgender contestants in Miss Universe’s 66-year history.”I wanted to inspire as many women as possible,” Batsukh told AFP.”But I’m still proud that I got the chance to compete in this contest, and the ‘Solongo’ I created was a true winner in my heart,” she said.Her participation didn’t please everyone, dredging up negative reactions on social media.”The world would have a negative image of our country if a man represents us while there are thousands of beautiful and real women in our country,” one person wrote on the Facebook page of Miss Universe Mongolia.’Correct misunderstandings’But Batsukh isn’t deterred by such abuse.Born Bilguun Batsukh, she grew up as a boy in the semi-arid central province of Dundgovi.She couldn’t pinpoint her gender identity until she learned about different gender orientations as a university student in her early 20s.It was when she started working as a programme officer at Youth for Health, a non-governmental organisation that provides safe-sex education for LGBT people, that she realised she was a woman born in a man’s body.She started wearing wigs, putting on dresses and taking hormone therapy.Batsukh is among the few LGBT people who have dared to come out in Mongolia, where some 80 percent of the community remain in the closet, according to a UN survey.”It is extremely difficult for transgender people to be employed,” said Baldangombo Altangerel, legal programme manager at the LGBT Centre.A video of a young transgender woman who had repeatedly been beaten in the streets went viral in Mongolia last year, highlighting the prejudices LGBT people face.Batsukh wants to dispel the image that transgender women can only be sex workers or strippers living on the fringes of society.She flaunts her wealth, regularly travels abroad and is a celebrity in her country of three million people.Batsukh found fame in 2014, when she represented Mongolia in Miss International Queen, finishing in the top 10 of the international transgender beauty pageant organised in Thailand.She pursued a modelling career and became a make-up artist.”I had to reveal myself (as transgender) so I could correct the misunderstandings in society. If we keep hidden, society will keep on hating us. They don’t know us,” she said.Batsukh has used her public image to speak up on television and social media, fighting against perceptions that transgender people are suffering from mental illness.But she has tough words for Mongolia’s transgender community, too, complaining that they should focus on working rather than talking about human rights.”Instead of saying ‘we’re human like everyone else’, we need to prove ourselves through our actions. Just show others that we’re making a living like ordinary people,” she said.’Her goals inspire me’Batsukh is seizing on the popularity of her Facebook page, which has more than 120,000 “likes”, to create a reality show featuring women seeking a makeover.The beauty queen will help the women lose weight, change hairstyles and apply make-up.Sarangoo Sukhbaatar, 25, who works in a cashmere company and was among 25 women competing to be among the five participants, said she trusted in Batsukh’s ability and skills to transform her looks.”Solongo truly understands what women feel,” said Sukhbaatar, who started following Batsukh on social media two years ago.”Her goals and patience inspire me,” she said. “If a man can be beautiful like her, women can be much more beautiful than we are today.”