WORLD BRIEFS: Libya: NATO hits missile launchers

Libya: NATO hits missile launchers

TRIPOLI, Libya — NATO warplanes on Saturday struck a missile launching position that Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi’s forces used to target the civilians in western Libya, the alliance said in a statement.

Government troops used the missile site outside the rebel-held port city of Misrata to fire indiscriminately on civilians in the area, NATO said.

Since the uprising against Gadhafi’s 42-year rule broke out in February, armed rebels saying they seek democracy have seized much of the country’s east, where they’ve set up an administration in the city of Benghazi. They also control much of the western Nafusa mountains and Misrata, Libya’s third largest city.

Panetta: US near defeating al-Qaida

KABUL, Afghanistan — Al-Qaida’s defeat is ‘‘within reach,’’ U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Saturday during his first visit to Afghanistan as Pentagon chief. He said eliminating as few as 10 of the group’s top figures could cripple its ability to strike the West.

Panetta’s assessment could stoke the debate in Washington over how soon to pull the U.S. military from the land where Osama bin Laden’s network launched the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, against the United States. Some question why a continued military commitment is necessary if al-Qaida’s end is in sight, given that it was the reason the U.S. began the war.

Although not as specific as Panetta about what it will take to break al-Qaida, the top American commander in Afghanistan said in a separate interview that he agrees the group is on the ropes.

Brazilian boy seems to attract metal objects

SAO PAULO — An 11-year-old boy in Brazil’s northeastern city of Mossoro is drawing attention with his purportedly magnet-like qualities.

The Globo TV network has broadcast images of Paulo David Amorim demonstrating how forks, knives, scissors, cooking pans, cameras and other metal objects seem drawn to his body and remain stuck on his chest, stomach and back.

The boy’s father tells Globo that he decided to test his son after learning of a boy in Croatia with a similar ability. Junior Amorim said he was surprised to find ‘‘a fork and knife stuck to his body.’’