World Bulletin/News Desk
A photograph of U.S. President Barack Obama holding a baseball bat while talking on the phone to Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was intended to show their close relationship, a White House spokeswoman said, after the photo caused a stir in Turkey.
The two leaders spoke on Monday to discuss the crisis in Syria, after which the photograph of Obama seated at his desk, talking on the phone while holding a bat autographed by black-American baseball great Hank Aaron, was released by the White House.
"The photo reveals from whom our Prime Minister receives orders to rule the country," Metin Lutfi Baydar, a lawmaker with Turkey's main opposition party the Republican People's Party (CHP), said in a statement.
CHP vice president Umut Oran asked through parliament if Erdogan had seen the picture and if he would take action against "an implicit insult to Turkey and its citizens".
Some newspapers took a more lighthearted view, with columnist Ahmet Hakan of Hurriyet writing: "We need to do something - retaliation seems to be the most reasonable method."
"Our prime minister needs to hold something in his hand as he's calling Obama," he added, suggesting as possible candidates a slipper, a belt or a rolling pin.
White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a written statement on Friday that her department had seen the commentary and speculation about the photo in the Turkish media.
"We released the photo with only one purpose in mind, to highlight the President's continuing close relationship with Prime Minister Erdogan and draw attention to the important conversation they had about the worsening situation in Syria," she said.
"The President values his friendship and close partnership with Prime Minister Erdogan on a range of important issues on which the United States cooperates with Turkey," she added.
90 percent of the party's 6,250 members had backed al-Bashir's bid in the next presidential elections
Tunisia's first democratic legislative elections since its independence from France in 1956 has begun.
The ministry said the Gaza Strip had nothing to do with events unfolding in Egypt, apparently in reference to a deadly attack in Egypt's Sinai
The death of the first case of Ebola in Mali made Algerian authorities realize that the virus was getting closer to Algeria's southern border
Voting started on a cold but sunny morning in Kiev in the first parliamentary election since street protests n the capital last winter forced Moscow-backed leader Viktor Yanukovich to flee
Flooding was knee-deep in the streets, and the water penetrated houses and shops.
Bahah said he would assign Houthis, who have been controlling the Yemeni capital since September 21, the petroleum, electricity, insurance, higher education, culture and justice portfolios
Groups of Taliban militants storm police checkpoints; leaving 19 Taliban dead and seven in local police.
Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman, a conservative pro-Taliban Deobandi cleric and head of Jamiat Ulema Islam -- one the country’s two mainstream religious parties -- narrowly escaped an attack.
Tunisians are expected to cast ballots in the elections inside Tunisia on Sunday. Around 5.2 million Tunisians, including 360,000 living outside the country, have the right to vote in the elections
Soldiers exchanged heavy fire with the militants, whose exact affiliation was unclear, and had surrounded them by midday, security sources said
A Kurdish intelligence officer in Zumar said peshmerga forces had advanced from five directions in the early morning after coalition air strikes on ISIL positions
458 candidates, including 97 women, find their way to provincial council seats; IEC Chairman blames delay in announcing results to technical problems
The United Nations General Assembly adopts resolution granting observer status to the Developing-Eight, or D-8.
The Palestinian youths pelted Israeli troops with stones and empty bottles, but the troops responded by firing teargas and birdshot, wounding ten Palestinians and making dozens of others experience temporary asphyxiation
More than 36 million citizens are set to vote and choose among 29 political parties in Sunday's early general election.