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Power outage plunges most of Venezuela into darkness

By Diego Ore and Andrew Cawthorne CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's second massive power outage of the year plunged much of the nation into darkness on Monday night, prompting renewed talk of sabotage from President Nicolas Maduro's government and cries of incompetence from its foes. Power went off in Caracas and other cities around the country soon after 8 p.m. local time (0030 GMT), to the intense annoyance of residents and commuters.

Violence intrudes on Venezuelan election campaign

Caracas, Nov 27 (EFE).- An opposition city council candidate was gunned down in the western state of Zulia hours before the bodyguard of a ruling-party mayoral hopeful was slain here Wednesday ahead of Venezuela's Dec. 8 municipal elections. Jose Chirinos, who sought a seat on the council in Baralt, Zulia, was shot Tuesday night by two assailants on a motorcycle as he left a radio station after an interview, the MUD opposition alliance said. A radio host and a young woman were wounded in the attack, but are listed in stable condition at a nearby hospital, MUD said.

Venezuela opposition leader says his vehicle was attacked

Caracas, Nov 26 (EFE).- Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles said it was only the intervention of a group of motorcyclists that prevented unidentified assailants from setting fire to his vehicle in the western city of Maracay. "They tried to set fire to our vehicle when we were going to Maracay!" the governor of Miranda state said on Twitter. Defeated in last April's presidential elections, Capriles heads the electoral campaign for candidates of the MUD opposition alliance in the Dec. 8 municipal elections.

Capriles dares Maduro to jail him, calls supporters into the streets

Caracas, Nov 23 (EFE).- Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles dared President Nicolas Maduro to imprison him and not his supporters, after confirming that one of them was arrested Friday night under orders of the chief executive, whom he called a coward. "Come after me because here I am. I've told you more than once: You want to put me in jail? Go ahead!," he said in his challenge to Maduro during a speech in Caracas on a day of street protests against the president.

Venezuela arrests looters, store bosses in 'economic war'

By Andrew Cawthorne CARACAS (Reuters) - President Nicolas Maduro's government announced arrests of both store managers and looters on Sunday as part of what it calls an "economic war" in Venezuela between the socialist state and unscrupulous businessmen. In a major pre-Christmas campaign reminiscent of the late President Hugo Chavez's dramatic style, Maduro has sent soldiers to "occupy" one chain of electronics stores and inspectors into scores of others to check for price-gouging.

Brief unity in Venezuela over Miss Universe win

CARACAS (Reuters) - Squabbling bitterly every day over politics and economics, Venezuelans of all creeds could at least unite briefly on Saturday to hail their latest beauty queen. Maria Gabriela Isler's victory at the 2013 Miss Universe contest in Moscow won praise from heads of both political camps. "Her triumph is Venezuela's triumph. May God bless her always," socialist President Nicolas Maduro tweeted in a respite from tirades against the right-wing "bourgeoisie."

Venezuelan opposition leader urges pope to ease dialogue

Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles asked Pope Francis on Wednesday for his assistance in facilitating political dialogue in the face of "threats and blackmail" from President Nicolas Maduro's regime. "I came to ask the pope that the Church, which has a great power to mobilise in my country, promote dialogue," Capriles told journalists after his audience with Francis in the Vatican.

Venezuelan president slams Twitter anew

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro Saturday argued that Latin America needs to be "liberated" from Twitter after he charged the US-based company of attacking 6,600 accounts including his own. "We must achieve independence, and we have to think about deep and radical ways we can free ourselves from multinational corporations (like Twitter) that control social media," Maduro said at a meeting of his ministers.

Venezuela quits regional rights bodies it calls U.S. pawns

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela withdrew on Tuesday from the Organization of American States' (OAS) human-rights bodies, which it has denounced as pawns of U.S. foreign policy that have been antagonistic to the South American nation's socialist government for years. Venezuela's formal exit from the OAS's rights court and commission, a move it announced 12 months ago, came a day after opposition leader Henrique Capriles sent documents to the OAS accusing President Nicolas Maduro of cheating him of the country's April 14 election.

Venezuelan opposition leader Capriles denies he's gay

Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who is single, says he is not gay and wants to have children one day, despite ruling party supporters' claims otherwise. Supporters of late president Hugo Chavez, who won October elections against Capriles and died in March, have long used gay slurs against the Miranda state governor as part of political attacks. "I am not offended at all and if I were gay, I would say, 'what's the problem?'" Capriles told CNN's Spanish-language sister network CNN en Espanol on Sunday.
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