New Miss Universe crowned
Russia's loss was Panama's gain as the country celebrated the crowning of Justine Pasek as Miss Universe.
Pasek, originally the contest's first runner-up, replaced Russia's Oxana Fedorova.
The Miss Universe Organisation fired Fedorova because the 24-year-old law student was too busy to keep up with her travel duties. Fedorova said she gave up the title.
Pasek's crowning had a special meaning for Panama, which will be the site of next year's contest. Pasek is the first woman from Panama to be crowned Miss Universe.
"Justine's crowning gives us a lot of support, and generates positive news about our country, which is what we want from this contest," said Gabriel Noriega, director of the commission which is organising next year's event.
President Mireya Moscoso congratulated Pasek, a 23-year-old environmental engineering student.
"If Panama was better known before for its canal, it will now be known for its beautiful women", she said.
Tuesday 24th September 2002
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