World and Nation

Shorts (left)

After storms kill hundreds, south tries to regroup

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A day after enduring a terrifying bombardment of storms that killed hundreds across the South and spawned tornadoes that razed neighborhoods and even entire towns, people from Texas to Virginia to Georgia searched through rubble for survivors Thursday and tried to reclaim their own lives.

At least 291 people across six states died in the storms, with more than half — 204 people — in Alabama. This college town, the home of the University of Alabama, has in some places been shorn to the slab and accounts for at least 36 of those deaths.

Thousands have been injured, and untold more have been left homeless, hauling their belongings in garbage bags or rooting through disgorged piles of wood and siding to find anything salvageable.

—Campbell Robertson and Kim Severson, The New York Times

Move to CIA puts Petraeus in conflict with Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The appointment of Gen. David H. Petraeus as director of the Central Intelligence Agency puts him more squarely than ever in conflict with Pakistan, whose military leadership does not regard him as a friend and where he will now have direct control over the armed drone campaign that the Pakistani military says it wants stopped.

Pakistani and American officials said that Petraeus’ selection could further inflame relations between the two nations, which are already at one of their lowest points, with recriminations over myriad issues aired publicly like never before.

The usually secretive leader of the Pakistani army, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, has made little secret of his distaste for Petraeus, calling him a political general. Petraeus has privately expressed outrage at what American officials say is the Pakistani main spy agency’s most blatant support yet for fighters based in Pakistan who are carrying out attacks against American troops in Afghanistan.

Officials on both sides say they expect the two nations’ relationship to become increasingly adversarial as they maneuver the endgame in Afghanistan, where Pakistan and the United States have deep and conflicting security interests.

Repairing the frayed ties between the CIA and Pakistan’s primary spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, will be difficult, American officials say. “In its current form, the relationship is almost unworkable,” said Dennis C. Blair, a former American director of national intelligence. “There has to be a major restructuring. The ISI jams the CIA all it wants and pays no penalties.”

—Jane Perlez and Eric Schmitt, The New York Times

PC sales off, games unit buoys Microsoft earnings

SAN FRANCISCO — Microsoft, once the dominant technology company, saw revenue from its core operating system software slip in the first three months of the year as consumers begin to shift to buying tablet computers that do not run on Microsoft software.

While Microsoft reported Thursday that its fiscal third-quarter profits were up 31 percent, revenue from the division that includes the Windows operating system fell 4 percent, to $4.45 billion.

The fall was due in part to an overall decline in PC sales worldwide of about 3.2 percent. Analysts have partially blamed the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, a big market for computers.

But the sales of tablet computers, like the iPad, were another major factor and that could become a persistent problem for Microsoft. The category of the tablet computer created by Apple and its iPad is expanding quickly. Apple has sold 19.5 million iPads, and all the big PC makers and cellphone makers are making tablets.

—Verne G. Kopytoff, The New York Times