News in Brief

Bush Muses on Medvedev

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President George W. Bush said Thursday that he did not know much about Dmitry Medvedev, who is expected to coast to victory in Sunday's presidential election.

Bush also said it would be interesting to see who represents Russia -- presumably either Medvedev or his mentor, President Vladimir Putin -- at the Group of Eight meeting later this year in Japan.

"As you know, Putin's a straightforward, pretty tough character when it comes to his interests -- well so am I," Bush told a news conference. "We still have got a cordial enough relationship to be able to deal with common threats and opportunities, and that's going to be important for the next [U.S.] president to maintain." (AP)

U.S. Pressed on Litvinenko

LONDON -- Alex Goldfarb, a friend of poisoned former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko, has asked the U.S. Energy Department to reveal what he says it knows about the origin of the radioactive polonium that killed Litvinenko.

Goldfarb said he had filed the freedom of information request in a bid to prove the polonium was produced in Russia and support the allegation that Russian authorities were behind Litvinenko's death, something Moscow emphatically denies. (Reuters)

Court Ruling Over Ransom

GENEVA -- Doctors Without Borders said it had won a second legal victory against the Dutch government over a $1.5 million ransom to rescue aid worker Arjan Erkel in Dagestan in 2004.

The aid group said Wednesday that a Geneva court had rejected the Dutch government's appeal to recover $1.2 million. Doctors Without Borders denies that it agreed to pay back the government. It says the court also ordered the Dutch government to pay the group for the $350,000 it put up to free Erkel, a Dutch citizen who worked for the organization. (AP)