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Miss Venezuela crowned Miss Universe 2008
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Miss Venezuela Dayana Mendoza, an interior designer, was named Miss Universe 2008 on Monday, after outperforming and outsmarting 14 other young women in the final round of the 57th pageant held in Vietnam's central Nha Trang city.

Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza of Venezuela takes part in the swimwear show in Nha Trang in Nha Trang July 2, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)

Mendoza, 22, said she likes design, photography, advertising and wave surfing. The Venezuelan girl with the height of 1.78 meters can speak Spanish, Italian and English.

Miss Universe 2007 Riyo Mori handed over the crown worth 120, 000 U.S. dollars to Mendoza, who will continue Mori's work of traveling around the world to promote education and HIV/AIDS research.

The first runner-up is Miss Columbia Taliana Vargas (20 years old, 1.78 meters in height), the second Miss Dominica Marianne Cruz (23 years old, 1.81 meters), the third Miss Russian Vera Krasova (20 years old, 1.77 meters), and the fourth Miss Mexico Elisa Najera (21 years old, 1.83 meters). Miss Universe Vietnam, singer Nguyen Thuy Lam, was among Top 15.

The 15 contestants, selected from 80 candidates worldwide, competed for the Miss Universe in a grand show, which was live televised to 170 countries and regions, with exciting performances of the beautiful women in swimsuits and evening gowns, and their quick responses to the judges' questions.

Before appearing on the stage, the candidates, including the 15 finalists actively participated in social activities, especially charity works, in some Vietnamese localities.

(Xinhua News Agency July 14, 2008)

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