U.S. Senate panel backs authorization for strikes in Syria

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a bill that would authorize President Barack Obama to order attacks on Syria to punish Damascus for its alleged use of chemical weapons against rebels.

The measure, which passed the committee by a vote of 10-7 with one abstention, is likely to be considered by the full Senate next week.

The text that won approval places a 60-day limit on military action - extendable by 30 days absent congressional objections - and bars the deployment of ground forces for combat.

At the insistence of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the committee added a non-binding statement to the effect that Washington seeks to alter the momentum of the Syrian conflict to foster a negotiated settlement conducive to the establishment of democracy.


Man who supported Chile's 1973 coup calls Pinochet a traitor

A prominent backer of the 1973 military coup against President Salvador Allende said Gen. Augusto Pinochet betrayed those who supported the putsch out of patriotic sentiments.

Roberto Thieme, a founder of the nationalist Homeland and Freedom movement, known as the PyL, spoke out a week before the 40th anniversary of Allende's bloody ouster in an interview with Radio Cooperativa.

Besides blasting Pinochet, who died in 2006, Thieme accused members of Chile's incumbent right-wing government of having reaped financial rewards for collaborating with the 1973-1990 dictatorship.

The military junta that took power in September 1973 after ejecting Allende - who took his own life as troops stormed the presidential palace - promised to institute a rotating presidency, according to Thieme. But Pinochet broke that promise and ruled as an autocrat, the PyL leader said.


Gasquet upsets Ferrer to reach U.S. Open semis

Frenchman Richard Gasquet squandered a two-set lead but managed to right the ship in time to upset No. 4 seed David Ferrer of Spain 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3 and advance to the U.S. Open semifinals for the first time.

The eighth-seeded Frenchman will take on another Spaniard - either world No. 2 Rafael Nadal or 19th-seeded Tommy Robredo - in Saturday's semifinals.

Gasquet, who was a rival of Nadal's in the juniors more than a decade ago, has never defeated the Spaniard in their 10 previous matches on the ATP Tour.


Chinese president calls for Web "propaganda war," daily says

Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered the Communist Party's propaganda department to launch a battle to impose its positions on the Web and "seize the ground of new media," the South China Morning Post said.

Xi gave a speech last month to the party's propaganda chiefs, although only in recent days have some of the more contentious remarks contained in that address come to light, the Hong Kong daily said.

"The most impressive (point) is that Xi said the Communist Party should be combative, instead of being passive, and it should wage a war to win over public opinion," a source who participated in internal briefings on the speech told the daily.

"Xi also ordered the propaganda apparatus to form a strong Internet army to seize the ground of new media," that source said.


Spanish organization for the blind wins Prince of Asturias Concord Prize

The Spanish National Organization for the Blind, or ONCE, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary, won Spain's prestigious Prince of Asturias Concord Prize.

ONCE won the prize because of the "extraordinary work" it has done in helping achieve "the social integration of millions of disabled people," the jury said.

The Asturias prizes, which Spain's Crown Prince Felipe will hand out later this year in the city of Oviedo, are regarded as the Ibero-American world's equivalent of the Nobels.


Gov't: Juarez cartel boss behind "good part" of violence in northern Mexico

Alberto Carrillo Fuentes, the brother of the leader of Mexico's Juarez drug cartel, was behind much of the violence in the states of Chihuahua and Sinaloa, federal security spokesman Eduardo Sanchez said.

The 46-year-old Carrillo Fuentes was arrested last Saturday during an operation in Bucerias, a beach town in the western state of Nayarit.

"The investigations conducted show that a good part of the violence generated in the states of Chihuahua and Sinaloa is linked to the activities of this individual," Sanchez said.

Alberto Carrillo Fuentes is the brother of Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, the top leader of the Juarez cartel, and Amado Carrillo Fuentes, who founded the criminal organization in 1993.