The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) may invest $250 million in development of railroads in Russia in 2002, Railroad Minister Nikolai Aksyonenko said at a news briefing after a meeting of the Russian government today. According to him, the World Bank has also showed a readiness to make investments in railways next year. At the same time the minister underlined that Russian banks are also ready to invest, "but they have high interest rates and short-term (loans)." In total, the Railroad Ministry plans to receive 37 billion rubles (about $1.2 billion) in borrowed funds next year, Aksyonenko stated. First of all, this program will deal with loans, mutual projects with energy companies, and investments in housing construction, the minister pointed out. According to him, the total volume of the Railroad Ministry's investment program for 2002 is 161 billion rubles (about $5.4 billion), of which 110 billion rubles (about $3.7 billion) are to be received through amortization funds, and 13 billion rubles (about $434.3 million) will be taken from the net profit. According to Aksyonenko, the Railroad Ministry plans to derive the balance-sheet profit of 35-36 billion rubles (about $1.2 billion) in 2001.
An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building