Africa: The Indian government is donating US$500m towards the US$1·5bn Project Africarail scheme to extend a railway from Benin northwards to Niger, and to link Togo's railways to Burkina Faso.

France: The Pays de la Loire region has allocated €66m in its 2006 budget to fund the acquisition of 11 ZGC four-car EMUs for SNCF TER services. Seven double-deck EMUs are to be ordered for the Saint-Nazaire - Angers corridor.

Japan: Moody's Investors Service has assigned its Aa2 rating to JR Central's ¥20bn senior unsecured bonds due in 2016, reflecting solid cash flow from the Tokaido Shinkansen, a favourable regulatory environment and substantial debt payment requirements. An A3 rating has been assigned to ¥20bn bonds issued by Keihin Electric Express Railway.

Russia: RZD is to spend 13bn roubles in 2006 to raise capacity on the Trans-Baikal route to China from 19 to 32 daily train pairs. The line from Karymskoye to the border at Zabaykal'sk will be modernised, and 12 bridges and 92 km of track rebuilt.

South Africa: In his 2006 budget speech Finance Minister Trevor Manuel allocated R1·6bn for passenger services over the next three years. Projects include refurbishment of 500 Sarcc suburban coaches, station CCTV and signalling upgrades; the Gautrain project will be funded separately.

Venezuela: IAFE President Ángel García has confirmed that the government is to provide US$82m for the construction of the Maracaibo - Carora route. Preliminary works for the Maracaibo - Encontrados - La Fría route are expected to start in the second half of 2006.