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By Gareth Jones and Alissa de Carbonnel KIEV (Reuters) - Anti-government protesters toppled a statue of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin in Ukraine's capital and attacked it with hammers on Sunday in a symbolic challenge to President Viktor Yanukovich and his plans for closer ties with Russia. The gesture rejecting Moscow's historic influence over Ukraine came after opposition leaders told hundreds of thousands of demonstrators on Kiev's Independence Square to keep up pressure on Yanukovich to sack his government.
By Brian Ellsworth CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro pledged to deepen his "economic offensive" to force businesses to cut prices after his ruling Socialist Party won most votes in Sunday's municipal elections. A partial count showed government allies won 49 percent of the votes in 337 mayoral races, compared to 42 percent for the opposition coalition, derailing efforts by Maduro's critics to turn the vote into a plebiscite on his government and the legacy of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez. We're going in with guns blazing, keep an eye out." Maduro's personal approval rate jumped sharply after the economic measures that won over consumers weary of the country's 54 percent annual inflation, which Maduro blames on an "economic war" he says is financed by political adversaries.