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First, NOBR was never standard, but a damn' good tag.
In CSS you have white-space: nowrap, but that only applies to block level elements. For inline elements (text level) they think & n b s p ; is sufficient. It's not!
What if you have something like 123-123-123-123? The browser thinks it's OK to break the line at a hyphen. Nice. Do you want to put & n b s p ; around all hyphens? No. Different kinds of code that is mixed with ordinary text also become a mess.
If you don't want to start a new block, break the line before and after the nobreaking text, there is no standard way to do it. Soon browsers will stop to support <NOBR> and then there will be no way at all to do it.
Sometimes w3c sucks big time.