Latin beauty has world at her feet after contest win

NHA TRANG, Vietnam - Miss Venezuela was crowned Miss Universe 2008 yesterday in a contest marked by the spectacle of Miss US falling down during the evening gown competition for the second year in a row.

Dayana Mendoza, the new Miss Universe, was once kidnapped in her homeland and says the experience taught her to remain poised under pressure.

She took advantage of the occasion to call for global peace.

"I want to raise my voice and tell the world that violence is not the answer," she said.

Mendoza, 22, is a 178cm green-eyed beauty who enjoys languages and photography.

Miss Colombia was second. - Sapa-AP