- - Monday, November 29, 2010


Computer worm affected centrifuges

TEHRAN | Iran’s president has confirmed for the first time that a computer worm affected centrifuges in the country’s uranium-enrichment program.

Iran previously denied that the Stuxnet worm, which experts say is calibrated to destroy centrifuges, had caused any damage, saying they had uncovered it before it could have any effect.

But President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said it “managed to create problems for a limited number of our centrifuges.” Speaking to a press conference Monday, he said the problems had been resolved.

Earlier in November, U.N. inspectors found Iran’s enrichment program temporarily shut down, according to a recent report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog. The extent and cause of the shutdown were not known, but speculation fell on Stuxnet.


U.N. eyeing sanctions against Pyongyang

UNITED NATIONS | The U.N. Security Council is studying how to respond to revelations about a new uranium-enrichment plant in North Korea as well as the country’s shelling of a populated island in neighboring South Korea, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said Monday.

Ms. Rice spoke after the powerful 15-member group held routine consultations on U.N. sanctions against communist-led North Korea. The U.S. is one of the council’s five permanent, and most powerful, members.

She said the council’s concerns about North Korea’s nuclear activities have been heightened by its attack last week on Yeonpyeong, an island under U.N. command administered by South Korea. Two South Korean marines and two civilians were killed in the shelling.

Ms. Rice said the U.S. and other council members were holding consultations with China, another permanent member of the council, and other countries in the region.


Bailout boosts banks, inflames taxpayers

DUBLIN | Ireland’s international bailout boosted its bank stocks Monday but outraged many hard-pressed taxpayers, who questioned why the government’s pension reserves must be ravaged as part of a deal that burdens the whole country with the mistakes of a rich elite.

Shares in Ireland’s banks rose sharply as markets were encouraged by the bailout’s immediate focus on injecting 10 billion euro ($13 billion) into the cash-strapped lenders out of a total 67.5 billion euro ($89 billion) in loans.

But the Irish were shocked by a key condition for the rescue - that the government use 17.5 billion euro ($22.9 billion) of its own cash and pension reserves to shore up its public finances, which have been overwhelmed by recession and the exceptional costs of a runaway bank-bailout effort.


Electrician reveals Picasso trove

PARIS | Pablo Picasso never stopped creating, leaving thousands of drawings, paintings and sculptures that lure crowds to museums and mansions worldwide. Now, a retired electrician says that 271 of the master’s creations have been sitting in his garage for decades.

Picasso’s heirs are claiming theft, the art world is savoring what appears to be an authentic find, and the workman, who installed burglar alarms for Picasso, is defending what he calls a gift from the most renowned artist of the 20th century.

Picasso’s son and other heirs were approached by electrician Pierre Le Guennec to authenticate the undocumented art from Picasso’s signature cubist period.

Instead, they filed a suit for illegal possession of the works - all but alleging theft by a man not known to be among the artist’s friends.

Police raided the electrician’s French Riviera home last month, questioned him and his wife, and confiscated the disputed artworks.

The pieces, which include lithographs, portraits, a watercolor and sketches, were created between 1900 and 1932, an intensely creative period for Picasso after he moved from Barcelona to Paris.

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