Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Venezuelan Mendoza crowned '08 Miss Universe

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Venezuelan Mendoza crowned '08 Miss Universe

Monday, Jul 14, 2008 10:4AM UTC

By Adrees Latif

NHA TRANG CITY, Vietnam (Reuters) - Miss Venezuela, Dayana Mendoza, was crowned Miss Universe 2008 in Vietnam's resort city of Nha Trang on Monday.

The 22-year-old brunette was given her crown, made of white and yellow gold and precious stones, by last year's winner, Riyo Mori of Japan, at the pageant finale watched by nearly a billion television viewers worldwide.

"I am excited. I cried a lot. I am really glad I made it," Mendoza, the 57th winner of the title, later told reporters.

The professional model has said her "express kidnapping" in Venezuela a year and a half ago taught her to remain calm in stressful situations.

"It is something that happens in my country and that's why I want to raise my voice and say violence is not the answer," she said when asked about the incident.

Mendoza, an aspiring interior designer, was among four finalists from Latin America, including first runner-up Taliana Vargas, 20, from Colombia.

The rest of the top five were from the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Russia.

This year's event went more smoothly than the 2007 pageant in Mexico, which was marked by protests, a banned dress and the withdrawal of Miss Sweden after critics at home complained the contest degraded women.

However, misfortune befell Miss USA for a second straight year. During the evening gown parade, Crystle Stewart of Texas slipped on the runway. She finished in the top 10.

A year ago in Mexico, Rachel Smith also lost her footing and landed on her bottom. She finished fifth.

The annual Miss Universe pageant -- which tries to present itself as something more meaningful than a swimwear parade -- was first held in Long Beach, California, in 1952.

The event was taken over in 1996 by U.S. real estate mogul Donald Trump.

Communist-led Vietnam spent nearly $20 million (10.1 million pounds) on the event, including $7 million on a new resort and convention centre to host the pageant, in a bid to promote tourism to the Southeast Asian nation.

After celebrating at home with her family, Mendoza will spend her year-long reign travelling the world to speak out on humanitarian issues.

"I think I will jump on my family and they will jump on me. I want to have my mum's food," she said.

(Writing by Nguyen Nhat Lam; editing by Darren Schuettler)

Jolie doctor admits to pre-birth pressure

This article was sent to you from Reuters Mobile Site to get news and information on the go. To access Reuters on your mobile phone, go to:

Jolie doctor admits to pre-birth pressure

Monday, Jul 14, 2008 10:36AM UTC

By Ben Gruber

NICE, France (Reuters) - The doctor who delivered Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's twins over the weekend has admitted to feeling the pressure of dealing with one of the world's most famous couples.

Oscar-winning actress Jolie gave birth to son Knox Leon and daughter Vivienne Marcheline by caesarean section at the Lenval hospital in the southern French city of Nice late on Saturday.

"For sure," Michel Sussmann said, when asked on Europe 1 radio whether he was nervous before the operation.

"It wasn't pressure on a medical level, because I have been practising for a certain number of years, but it's true that there was pressure due to the couple's fame.

"I was assisted by a team that was totally competent, so things happened as I wanted them to happen -- simply and efficiently."

Dozens of reporters, cameramen and photographers have been camped outside the Lenval hospital on the glamorous Promenade des Anglais waterfront to report on the birth.

Several U.S. networks added to their ranks on Monday in preparation for a news conference scheduled for Tuesday and the couple's departure either by road or by air.

Nice Matin newspaper, which broke the news of the birth on Sunday, dedicated several pages to the event in its Monday edition and featured a photograph of Pitt and Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi signing the birth certificates.

Pitt, 44, was at 33-year-old Jolie's side for the birth.

Vivienne Marcheline weighed 2.27 kg (5 lbs) and Knox Leon weighed 2.28 kg. Marcheline was the first name of Jolie's mother, also an actress, who died of cancer last year.


Sussmann said Pitt was "perfectly calm" during the operation and that the couple were "an exemplary father and mother.

"People of great simplicity, of great kindness since she is a patient who was totally obedient, very calm, very kind," he added.

Jolie's stay at Lenval hospital was far from ordinary, however. She arrived in late June by helicopter from the Provence villa where she and Pitt had been staying with their four other children -- Maddox, Pax, Zahara and Shiloh.

And according to sources at the hospital, the fifth floor of the building was sealed off for the couple and their entourage.

Nice Matin has reported that the couple sold exclusive rights to the first photographs of the twins to an unnamed U.S. magazine for $11 million (5.5 million pounds) and would give the money to charity.

Jolie and Pitt came to a similar arrangement with People magazine in 2006, when it reportedly paid $4.1 million for North American rights to the pictures. Experts estimated worldwide rights to those images were worth $5-7 million.

(Additional reporting by Francois Murphy in Paris, writing by Mike Collett-White in London, editing by Paul Casciato)

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