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Tuesday, 24-may-1988, AP: A 19 year old student from Thailand who studied in Pasadena and Los Angeles was crowned Miss Universe of 1988 in a flashy competition in Taiwan this morning. Porntip Nakhirunkanok, a black haired Bangkok resident, won $250,000 in cash and prizes, including a Maserati sports car and mink coat. She wiped away tears of joy and joined her hands together in a Thai sign of thanks after winning.
The first runner up was Miss Korea Yunjung Chang. She was followed by Miss Mexico Amanda Olivares, Miss Japan Mizuho Sakaguchi and Miss Hong Kong Pauline Yeung. Miss USA Courtney Gibbs, of Fort Worth, Texas, was among the 10 semi finalists.
Nakhirunkanok attended Pasadena City College and UCLA. She said during the program that she owed her English speaking ability to Big Bird of the popular ''Sesame Street'' children's program.
Organizers of the 37th Miss Universe pageant estimated 600 million people worldwide watched the televised competition, in which 66 contestants vied for the title held by the 1987 Miss Universe, Cecilia Bolocco of Chile. The program was filmed at 9 a.m. Tuesday (5 p.m. PDT Monday) from a 9,000 seat sports stadium outside Taipei so U.S. viewers could watch during prime time Monday evening. Missing from this year's festivities was longtime host Bob Barker, who resigned after last year's competition in Singapore to protest the use of furs. He was replaced by television personality Alan Thicke.

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