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Russian cop loses the Universe

Los Angeles, Sept. 24 (Reuters): Miss Universe pageant officials have “fired” the reigning Miss Universe, Russian cop Oxana Fedorova, and replaced her with Miss Panama, the runner-up, a spokeswoman for the pageant said today.

The raven-haired Fedorova, who delighted Russians when she was portrayed there as a sharp-shooting St Petersburg police lieutenant in addition to being a beauty queen and post-graduate university student with a law degree, has returned home, the spokeswoman said.

Fedorova, who was chosen over 74 other candidates at the pageant in May, will be replaced by “crowd favourite” Justine Pasek of Panama, the spokeswoman said.

It marked the first time in the pageant’s 52-year history that a Miss Universe has been stripped of her title, and Fedorova had been the first Miss Russia to win the crown.

Organisers of the pageant, which is co-owned by New York real estate mogul Donald Trump, scheduled a press conference in New York to announce the switch. The spokeswoman declined to elaborate on the reasons for the change but a source close to the matter said that the green-eyed Fedorova had failed to carry out the responsibilities of Miss Universe.

“Basically, she was fired for not fulfilling her duties,” the source said. “It’s just like if you have a job to do. If you don’t do your job you can get fired.”

The source declined to comment on a report in the New York Post that officials were concerned that Fedorova might have “secretly” married her boyfriend, in violation of pageant rules, and could even be pregnant.

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