CAPTION By Associated Press, RIYADH, Saudi Arabia President Barack Obama paid a visit Friday to the desert oasis of wary ally King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, hoping to reassure the aging monarch who is nervously watching Washingtons negotiations with Iran and other U.S. policy in the Middle East. Obamas Marine One helicopter kicked up clouds of sand in his arrival at the kings desert camp outside the capital of Riyadh for a meeting and dinner with Abdullah. The president walked through a row of military guards to an ornate room featuring a massive crystal chandelier and took a seat next to the 89-year-old king, who was breathing with the help of an oxygen tank. From Afghanistan to the Great Wall of China, here are five incredible videos from around the world this week. More world coverage Kevin Sieff and Sayed Salahuddin Attack, preceded by a car bomb blast, comes just over a week before Afghan presidential election.
. Vatican City (AFP) - US President Barack Obama held a historic first meeting with Pope Francis on Thursday to discuss a shared agenda of fighting global inequality despite wide differences over issues like gay rights and contraception. Obama told Francis he was a "great admirer" at the start of their Obama student loan forgiveness talks at the Vatican, which political observers said could be a bid to boost the US president's support at home among Catholic voters. The closed-door talks between the first African-American US president and the first pope from Latin America lasted around 50 minutes -- slightly longer than papal meetings with other world leaders. The White House said Obama had been hoping to speak to Francis about their "shared commitment to fighting growing inequality" as well as the Middle East peace process, the environment and immigration reform.
However, the Vatican left out any reference to inequality issues in its description of the meeting. In a written statement, church officials instead said discussions among not only the pope and president but also their top aides centered on questions of particular relevance for the church leaders in the U.S., making veiled references both to abortion and a contraception mandate in Obama's health care law, which is under review by the Supreme Court. For Obama, the meeting with the pope marked a departure from the intense focus on the situation in Ukraine, which dominated his first three days in Europe. The president's motorcade snaked through the narrow streets of Rome Thursday morning, passing thick crowds near the entrance to the Vatican. Obama and members of his delegation were joined by Vatican officials for a slow processional through the frescoed Clementine Hall, where Swiss Guards stood watch in their brightly colored uniforms designed by Michelangelo. Obama and Francis, two of the world's most recognizable men, both appeared nervous as they shook hands before entering the Papal Library.
and European companies that do business with Russia in the connected global economy. He hinted at the potential difficulty in getting agreement with European allies on tougher measures. Possible expanded sanctions "Hopefully we can design sanctions that minimize the impact on American companies or Italian companies and maximize the impact on Russian entities," Obama said, later adding: "Hopefully we don't have to use them." "We're continually hopeful Russia walks through the door of diplomacy and works with all of us to try to resolve this issue in a peaceful way," he said. Obama was much more expansive on efforts to help Ukraine, calling the IMF loan agreement announced Thursday "a major step forward" that required political courage because of required reforms aimed at ending a culture of corruption in the nation's governance and economy. "It's a concrete signal of how the world is united with Ukraine as it makes tough choices at a difficult time," Obama said.
"His job is a little more elevated. We're down on the ground dealing with the often profane, and he's dealing with higher powers," he said. As he left, he asked for the pope's blessing. "My family has to be with me on this journey. They've been very strong," Obama told Francis.