MODERATE CLERIC WINS IRAN'S PRESIDENTIAL VOTE
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Moderate cleric Hasan Rowhani was declared the winner of Iran's presidential vote on Saturday after gaining support among many reform-minded Iranians looking to claw back a bit of ground after years of crackdowns and now resets the country's political order.
The stunning surge behind Rowhani, a former nuclear negotiator, was seen by his supports as a rebuke of uncompromising policies that have left Iran increasingly isolated and under biting sanctions from the West over Tehran's nuclear program. It also demonstrated the strength of opposition sentiment even in a system that is largely organized against it.
The ruling clerics barred from the race reform candidates seen as too prominent, allowing a list of hopefuls who were mainly staunch loyalists of the supreme leader and the Islamic establishment. But the opposition settled on the 64-year-old Rowhani as the least objectionable of the bunch, making him a de facto reform candidate with backers inspired by his message of outreach rather than confrontation.
Celebrations broke out across Tehran and other cities. Thousands of Rowhani supporters took to the streets leading to his campaign headquarters in Tehran before the final results were announced despite a statement from Rowhani urging his supporters to avoid street gatherings. There were no immediate reports of unrest or attempts by security forces to rein in the crowds - another sign of the sweeping scope of Rowhani's victory with more than three times as many votes as his nearest rival.
But the numbers don't translate directly into power in Iran's Islamic system. The ruling clerics and their protectors, the Revolutionary Guard, maintain control over all key decisions such as nuclear efforts, the military and foreign affairs.
What Rowhani's victory means, however, is that reformists and liberals will likely regain a greater voice and clout to try to shape the views of the theocracy, which cannot easily ignore the decisive outcome of Friday's election to success the combative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He was barred from seeking a third consecutive run.
SECRET TO PRISM PROGRAM: EVEN BIGGER DATA SEIZURE
WASHINGTON (AP) -- In the months and early years after 9/11, FBI agents began showing up at Microsoft Corp. more frequently than before, armed with court orders demanding information on customers.
Around the world, government spies and eavesdroppers were tracking the email and Internet addresses used by suspected terrorists. Often, those trails led to the world's largest software company and, at the time, largest email provider.
The agents wanted email archives, account information, practically everything, and quickly. Engineers compiled the data, sometimes by hand, and delivered it to the government.
Often there was no easy way to tell if the information belonged to foreigners or Americans. So much data was changing hands that one former Microsoft employee recalls that the engineers were anxious about whether the company should cooperate.
Inside Microsoft, some called it "Hoovering" - not after the vacuum cleaner, but after J. Edgar Hoover, the first FBI director, who gathered dirt on countless Americans.
This frenetic, manual process was the forerunner to Prism, the recently revealed highly classified National Security Agency program that seizes records from Internet companies. As laws changed and technology improved, the government and industry moved toward a streamlined, electronic process, which required less time from the companies and provided the government data in a more standard format.
The revelation of Prism this month by the Washington Post and Guardian newspapers has touched off the latest round in a decade-long debate over what limits to impose on government eavesdropping, which the Obama administration says is essential to keep the nation safe.
CLIMATE TALK SHIFTS FROM CURBING CO2 TO ADAPTING
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Efforts to curb global warming have quietly shifted as greenhouse gases inexorably rise.
The conversation is no longer solely about how to save the planet by cutting carbon emissions. It's becoming more about how to save ourselves from the warming planet's wild weather.
It was Mayor Michael Bloomberg's announcement last week of an ambitious plan to stave off New York City's rising seas with flood gates, levees and more that brought this transition into full focus.
After years of losing the fight against rising global emissions of heat-trapping gases, governments around the world are emphasizing what a U.N. Foundation scientific report calls "managing the unavoidable."
It's called adaptation and it's about as sexy but as necessary as insurance, experts say.
It's also a message that once was taboo among climate activists such as former Vice President Al Gore.
In his 1992 book "Earth in the Balance," Gore compared talk of adapting to climate change to laziness that would distract from necessary efforts.
But in his 2013 book "The Future," Gore writes bluntly: "I was wrong." He talks about how coping with rising seas and temperatures is just as important as trying to prevent global warming by cutting emissions.
Like Gore, governmental officials across the globe aren't saying everyone should just give up on efforts to reduce pollution. They're saying that as they work on curbing carbon, they also have to deal with a reality that's already here.
"Whether you believe climate change is real or not is beside the point," New York's Bloomberg said in announcing his $20 billion adaptation plans. "The bottom line is: We can't run the risk."
On Monday, more than three dozen other municipal officials from across the country will go public with a nationwide effort to make their cities more resilient to natural disasters and the effects of man-made global warming.