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Vincent Yu, Associated Press
Miss USA Crystle Stewart trips during the Miss Universe pageant in Nha Trang, Vietnam, today.

Vietnam: Miss USA stumbles

NHA TRANG — Miss Venezuela was crowned Miss Universe 2008 early today in a contest marked by the spectacle of Miss USA falling down during the evening gown competition for the second year in a row.

An elated Dayana Mendoza received the crown from her predecessor, Riyo Mori of Japan. Miss Venezuela, 22, was once kidnapped in her homeland and says the experience taught her to remain poised under pressure.

Crystle Stewart of Texas was the second Miss USA in a row to fall down during the Miss Universe pageant. She tripped on the train of her bejeweled evening gown as she made her entrance.

During the 2007 Miss Universe contest in Mexico City, Miss USA Rachel Smith also tumbled during the evening-gown competition.

Bermuda: Bertha threatens

HAMILTON — Tropical Storm Bertha kicked up deadly surf as far away as New Jersey on Sunday and threatened to lash Bermuda with rain and high winds in the next 24 hours.

The storm apparently played a role in the deaths of three swimmers along the New Jersey coast, where the U.S. National Weather Service said Bertha created tricky waves and currents.

Business owners in this British Atlantic territory said they planned to send workers home by noon Monday as a preventive measure, while residents began taping windows and securing boats.

Iran: U.S. office welcome?

TEHRAN — Iranian state TV is quoting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying Iran would welcome the idea of setting up a U.S. diplomatic office in Tehran.

Sunday's report quotes the Iranian leader as saying he would consider an American request to set up an interests section in Iran. He says he "welcomes any move to expand ties."

But Ahmadinejad says his government hasn't received any official request for such an office.

Iran has operated an interests section in Washington for years. But the U.S. hasn't had any diplomatic presence in Tehran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and hostage-taking at the U.S. Embassy there.

Philippines: Quake rocks isles

MANILA — A strong earthquake rocked a group of islands between the northern Philippines and Taiwan, causing aftershocks but no reports of damage or casualties.

The U.S. Geological Survey said Sunday night's undersea quake in the Luzon Strait, centered about 70 miles northwest of Basco town in Batanes islands, registered 6.1. It was followed by a 4.6-magnitude aftershock.

Turkey: Attack suspect charged

ISTANBUL — Authorities arrested and charged a man Sunday for his alleged involvement in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Istanbul, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported.

The man, identified only as Dursun P., was being held on a charge of membership in a terror organization, the agency said.

It was not immediately clear what role he is alleged to have played in the July 9 attack, in which gunmen opened fire on police guarding the consulate building, killing three officers. Three attackers also died in a shootout with police.