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 Thursday, May 26 2005 @ 02:28 PM EDT

Miss Vietnam is not Miss Vietnam

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Miss Universe 2005A week before Miss Vietnam was set to stride across the stage in the Miss Universe pageant, officials in her country said she hadn't earned the sash.

Pageant organizers say Pham Thu Hang, 22, can compete in the May 31 competition in Bangkok, Thailand, but Vietnamese officials said the real Miss Vietnam, Nguyen Thi Huyen, 19, is studying in the United Kingdom and that Miss Pham merely won a local contest.


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Miss Universe beauties flock to Thai islands

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Miss Universe 2005Miss Universe beauties flock to Thai islands Friday, 20 May, Miss Universe contestants descended on the resort islands of Phuket and Phi Phi to check in on post-tsunami reconstruction and remind the world that Thai tourism is back in business.

While some of the 81 contestants vying for the crown held by current Miss Universe Jennifer Hawkins snorkeled along Thailand's southern coast, others visited a hospital that cared for victims of December's disaster and observed Patong beach's new tsunami warning system.


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Miss Universe comes under fire from senators

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Miss Universe 2005Thailandís hosting of this yearís Miss Universe contest yesterday received a fierce attack from leading members of the Senate who warned that Thailandís unique cultural heritage was being eroded by a desire for internationalism.

Despite Thailandís love affair with the beauty pageant, holding the Miss Universe contest in the kingdom was always going to be a contentious issue, and the condemnation from senators including Mr. Suradech Yasawat, the chair of the Senate tourism committee, was almost inevitable.


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Miss Universe expected to earn Thailand 3.2 billion Baht

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Miss Universe 2005For the women who have come to Bangkok from around the world to compete for the title of Miss Universe, the reward is global fame.

But for Thailand, the competition represents a chance to earn the nation an estimated 3.2 billion Baht.

Speaking to reporters after leading 17 Miss Universe contestants to conduct a photo session with Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra at the Government House last week, Tourism and Sports Minister Somsak Thepsuthin said that hosting the competition was extremely lucrative for Thailand, as it had spent only 265 million Baht on helping organize the event, but would earn around 3.2 billion Baht.


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Miss Universe contestants walked around the cityís ancient grand palace

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Miss Universe 2005Bangkok was gripped by Miss Universe fever on Friday as more than 80 beauty contestants took to the streets in a traffic-stopping parade around the city's ancient grand palace.


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Miss Universe contestants elephant ride

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Miss Universe 2005Miss Universe contestants go for a ride on elephants at an elephant shelter in Ayutthaya yesterday.


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Miss Universe Thailand 2005

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Miss Universe 2005Contestants to the "Miss Universe 2005" beauty pageant visited the Grand Palace in Bangkok


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