Iran develops advanced nuclear centrifuge

VIENNA, Austria

Iran’s nuclear project has developed its own version of an advanced centrifuge to churn out enriched uranium much faster than its previous machines, diplomats and experts said yesterday.

They said that few of the IR-2 centrifuges were operating and that testing appeared to be in an early phase, with the new machines rotating without processing any uranium gas.

More significant, the officials said, is the fact that Iran appears to have used know-how and equipment bought on the nuclear black market in combination with domestic ingenuity to overcome daunting technical difficulties and create highly advanced centrifuges.

WASHINGTON

Romney exits GOP race, McCain looks to unite party

John McCain sought to mend his tattered relationship with conservatives and unify a splintered GOP as he all but clinched the party’s presidential nomination yesterday. Mitt Romney, his former chief rival, dropped out, and a parade of prominent Republicans swung behind the Arizona senator.

“We’re continuing campaigning and not taking anything for granted,” McCain said in an Associated Press interview, still reluctant to call himself anything more than the front-runner. “I certainly think that we have enhanced our chances.”

Only Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul remained in what has been a crowded and wide-open nomination fight for the past year. Both have narrow voting constituencies and are far behind in the hunt for delegates to the GOP’s nominating convention this summer.

NEW YORK

Stocks inch up after three days of losses

Wall Street finished moderately higher in fitful trading yesterday as investors, still nervous about the economy, decided to buy back into a stock market pummeled by three straight days of losses.

With the market having largely priced in the possibility of a recession, many believe there are plenty of valuable stocks at cheap prices. Before yesterday, the Dow Jones industrial average had fallen this week by 543 points, or 4.26 percent, giving up all of last week’s sharp gains.

Though the market ended up rising yesterday, trading was extremely fickle due to a batch of gloomy data that included declining January sales at major retailers, a drop in December sales of pending homes, and a disappointing outlook from Internet networking supplier Cisco Systems Inc.

WASHINGTON

Waterboarding debate flares

A debate over waterboarding flared yesterday on Capitol Hill, with the CIA director raising doubts about whether it’s currently legal and the attorney general refusing to investigate U.S. interrogators who have used the technique on terror detainees.

Vice President Dick Cheney, meanwhile, said “it’s a good thing” that top al-Qaida leaders who underwent the harsh interrogation tactic in 2002 and 2003 were forced to give up information that helped protect the country.

“It’s a good thing we had them in custody, and it’s a good thing we found out what they knew,” Cheney told the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.

– Compiled from

Daily wire reports

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