Obama says military action in Syria would be "limited"

President Barack Obama said he has not made a final decision on whether to proceed with what would be a "limited narrow act" to punish the Syrian government for its alleged use of chemical weapons against rebels.

"We're not considering any open ended commitment. We're not considering any boots on the ground approach," he told reporters after a White House meeting with Baltic leaders.

The president's remarks followed the release of an unclassified summary of the U.S. government's appraisal of the Aug. 21 incident in the suburbs of Damascus.

"The United States Government assesses with high confidence that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs on August 21, 2013. We further assess that the regime used a nerve agent in the attack," the White House document says.


Santos to seek pact with Colombia's farm sector

President Juan Manuel Santos vowed to seek an accord with Colombia's beleaguered agricultural sector, hailing the decision by protesting farmers to lift the roadblocks that have hampered transportation in the Andean nation for the last 12 days.

"We will work to construct a grand national pact for agriculture and rural development and we will include all interested parties in that process," the president said in a televised address from his office.

Santos, flanked by leaders of major business and trade associations, said his commitment to pursuing such a pact was the product of a "long and constructive" meeting with representatives of all sectors of the Colombian economy.

"We have to convert this situation we have experienced in these recent days into a great opportunity and once and for all give the country a clear signal about future intentions in the matter of agricultural development," the president said.


Mexico links captured drug boss to 350 murders

A suspected Sinaloa cartel boss arrested this week is suspected in the deaths of more than 350 people, Mexican federal security spokesman Eduardo Sanchez said.

Mario Nuñez Meza, alias "M10," is a suspect in at least 30 separate investigations and faces decades in prison if convicted, Sanchez told a press conference.

Nuñez Meza "is probably responsible for the homicide of more than 350 people found in 23 clandestine graves in the (northwestern) state of Durango," Sanchez said.

The suspect is also connected to the slayings of two federal agents in Durango and to the murders of three investigators working for the Chihuahua state Attorney General's Office, the spokesman said.


Irish poet Seamus Heaney dies at 74

Irish Nobel prize-winning poet and playwright Seamus Heaney died at a hospital in Dublin after a brief illness, relatives said. He was 74.

Heaney, who was born on April 3, 1939, into a Catholic family in Northern Ireland, had "recently suffered from ill health," the BBC reported.

Regarded as Ireland's greatest poet since William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Heaney published his first poetry collection, "Death of a Naturalist," in 1966. He also wrote several plays including "The Cure at Troy: A Version of Sophocles' 'Philoctetes'" and "The Burial at Thebes," published in 1990 and 2004, respectively.

On Oct. 5, 1995, the Swedish Academy awarded Heaney the Nobel Prize in literature in recognition of his "works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past."


America Movil threatens to withdraw KPN takeover bid

Mexico-based telecommunications giant America Movil warned that it would withdraw its takeover bid for Dutch telecoms group KPN if an independent foundation linked to that company persisted in blocking the deal.

"If the foundation maintains its current position and seeks to prevent the bid from prospering ... America Movil would be prepared to withdraw it," the company controlled by Mexican multi-billionaire Carlos Slim said in a statement.

America Movil said it had "taken note" of the foundation's use of an option to acquire nearly 50 percent of the Dutch telecom's issued and voting stock.

As a result of the move, the foundation can block America Movil's bid to acquire the 70.23 percent in KPN it does not already own for some 7.2 billion euros (roughly $9.6 billion).


Britain's Cameron assures Gibraltar of continuing support

Britain will continue backing Gibraltar amid a border spat with Spain and cares "deeply" about the people of the British Overseas Territory, Prime Minister David Cameron said here in talks with the top Gibraltarian elected official.

Cameron received Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo at the British leader's official 10 Downing Street residence.

The European Commission plans an investigation in response to complaints about hours-long waits at the Spain-Gibraltar border since Madrid imposed new checks. A separate EC probe requested by Spain will look into the use of concrete blocks to create an artificial reef off the British Crown Colony sitting at the tip of the Iberian peninsula.

"Britain will always stand up for Gibraltar," Cameron told Picardo. "We will always stand up for the interests of the people who live in Gibraltar."