CPSI NewsWire brings you market updates on Mongolia, compiled by CPS International, a Mongolian marketing arm of CPS Securities, a Perth, Western Australia based stockbroking and corporate advisory firm, specialising in capital raising for mining and junior stocks.
Temasek takes 5.5% stake in Ivanhoe Mines
June 12 (Financial Times) Temasek has taken a 5.5 per cent stake in Ivanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN, NYSE:IVN) of Canada, making the Singapore state investment agency the latest investor to gain exposure to Mongolia as it expands its natural resources portfolio.
Temasek confirmed that it had submitted a filing to US regulators that it now owned 40.85m shares in Ivanhoe, which would be valued at about $425m, based on Monday's closing share price.
Ivanhoe controls a 66 per cent stake in Mongolia's massive Oyu Tolgoi mine with the country's government holding the remainder. The mine, which is still under development, is expected to be one of the world's biggest new sources of copper and gold, and is near Mongolia's border with China, the world's largest consumer of copper.
Ivanhoe is itself controlled by London-listed miner Rio Tinto, which in December won a battle for control of the Vancouver-based group after an independent arbitrator ruled against Ivanhoe's efforts to prevent Rio from increasing its stake.
Mongolia, whose economy grew 17 per cent last year and which sits atop vast deposits of copper and coal, has become a leading destination for investment by global mining companies such as Rio Tinto, Peabody and Shenhua.
Legislation currently restricts foreign ownership of "strategic industries", including mining, in deals worth more than $75m to 49 per cent unless approved by parliament. However, Tsakhia Elbegdorj, the country's president, has said the government is willing to reopen negotiations after this month's parliamentary elections.
According to Ivanhoe, independent estimates indicate that the Oyu Tolgoi field contains approximately 41bn pounds of copper and 21m ounces of gold in measured and indicated resources.
Construction on the first phase of the complex, which is expected to begin commercial production next year, was four-fifths complete by April with backers of the project estimated to have committed $4.6bn in capital investment so far.
Rio Tinto has estimated that the complex could add a third to Mongolia's GDP, employ up to 13,000 people, and emerge as a top five copper producer once it reaches full production.
The mining group, which in January increased its holding in Ivanhoe to 51 per cent, agreed in April to underwrite a $1.8bn sale of equity by the Toronto-listed company in a deal which was seen as tightening Rio's control of the Oyu Tolgoi project and clearing the way for an eventual takeover of Ivanhoe.
Temasek already owns a range of energy and natural resources assets and in April joined with RRJ Capital, a private equity group owned by Malaysian businessman Richard Ong, to buy a stake in Kunlun Energy, a PetroChina unit.
Last month, it teamed up with RRJ again to invest $468m in Houston-based liquefied natural gas company Cheniere Energy, which is set to become a large exporter of LNG from the US.
Temasek was one of four companies to have invested in May a total of $1.13bn in Venari Resources, an oil exploration company operating in the Gulf of Mexico. The others were Warburg Pincus, Kelso & Company and The Jordan Company.
In South Africa, Temasek has an investment through Canada-listed Platmin, in which it invested $100m in March. It also has an interest in , a Chilean miner.
Temasek takes 5.5 pct stake in Ivanhoe Mines – Reuters, June 11
Ivanhoe sets price for rights offering, down from price announced in April
VANCOUVER, June 8 (The Canadian Press) - Ivanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN) has cut the price for a US$1.8-billion rights offering that it plans to help fund the construction of its Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia.
The offering will allow shareholders to buy additional shares at a subscription price of US$7 or C$7.17 per share, down from an initial price of US$8.34 when the financing deal was first announced in April.
Under the deal, each Ivanhoe Mines shareholder will receive one transferable right for each share of common stock they owned as of June 19. Every 20 rights will entitle the holder to buy seven shares at the offer price.
Roughly 260 million shares are expected to be issued under the rights offering, about 35 per cent of Ivanhoe's current outstanding shares.
Rio Tinto, Ivanhoe's controlling shareholder, has committed to take up all of its shares available and agreed to a standby commitment for any not acquired by the company's other shareholders.
Ivanhoe shares, which closed at C$13.49 on the Toronto Stock Exchange when the financing agreement was first announced in April, have fallen significantly.
On Wednesday, Ivanhoe shares were up 15 cents at C$10.77.
Rio Tinto owns a 51 per cent stake in Ivanhoe, which in turn owns two-thirds of the Oyu Tolgoi project. The Mongolian government owns the remaining third.
Oyu Tolgoi is expected to produce 1.2 billion pounds of copper and 650,000 ounces of gold per year in the first decade of operation.
In addition to Oyu Tolgoi, Ivanhoe Mines owns 50 per cent of Altynalmas Gold, which holds the Kyzyl gold project. It also has ownership of a division in Australia that is focused on the Mount Isa-Cloncurry and Tennant Creek districts.
Trading in Ivanhoe Mines Rights Begins June 14, 2012
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - June 13, 2012) - Ivanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN)(NYSE:IVN)(NASDAQ:IVN) announced today that rights to be issued under the company's previously announced rights offering will begin trading on a 'when issued' basis on Thursday, June 14, 2012, on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and on the NASDAQ Stock Market. The 'when issued' trading will allow trading of the rights before they are formally issued and the resulting conditional transactions are settled after the rights have been issued to shareholders.
On the TSX, the Ivanhoe rights will trade under the symbol IVN.RT.
On the NYSE, the Ivanhoe rights will trade under the symbol IVN RT WI (the symbol was previously reported as IVN.WIRT) until June 27, 2012, following which they will trade under the symbol IVN RT.
On NASDAQ, the Ivanhoe rights will trade under the symbol IVN.V until June 27, 2012, following which they will trade under the symbol IVN.R.
Details of the rights offering are contained in the final prospectus dated June 7, 2012, which is available on SEDAR and EDGAR. The rights offering was summarized in a news release issued by Ivanhoe Mines on June 8, 2012.
Key terms contained in the final prospectus for the rights offering include:
· Each Ivanhoe Mines shareholder will receive one transferable right for each share of common stock owned as of June 19, 2012, the record date for the rights offering.
· Every 20 rights will entitle the holder to purchase seven (7) common shares of Ivanhoe Mines.
· Each holder may choose a subscription price of either US$7.00 per share or CDN$7.17 per share. The US and Canadian subscription prices represent a discount of approximately 32% to the closing prices of US$10.31 on the NYSE and CDN$10.62 on the TSX on June 7, 2012.
· Approximately 260 million common shares are expected to be issued under the rights offering, which would represent approximately 35% of Ivanhoe's current outstanding shares.
· A rights-offering prospectus and rights certificate will be mailed to each shareholder of record on June 27, 2012, subject to applicable law.
· The rights offering will be open for exercise for 21 days from the date of mailing to shareholders and will expire at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) on July 19, 2012.
· Trading of the rights on the TSX will stop at noon (EST) on July 19, 2012. On the NYSE and NASDAQ, trading of the rights will stop at the close of trading on July 18, 2012.
· Shareholders who do not wish to exercise their rights to buy new common shares under the offering will have the option of selling the rights that they receive from Ivanhoe Mines through the TSX, the NYSE or NASDAQ.
· Shareholders who do not exercise all of their rights will have their present ownership interests in Ivanhoe Mines reduced, as a percentage of the total outstanding common shares, as a result of the rights offering.
Rio Tinto has committed to take up its full basic subscription privilege under the rights offering with respect to its 51% shareholding in Ivanhoe, subject to certain conditions. Rio Tinto will also provide a standby commitment for the full amount of the US$1.8 billion rights offering, subject to certain conditions including the price of Ivanhoe's common shares on the NYSE not falling below the subscription price at any time on or after the fifth business day before the expiry of the rights. Under the standby commitment, Rio Tinto is required to acquire any Ivanhoe common shares not taken up under the rights offering.
Persons trading in the "when issued" market should be aware that the acquisition and beneficial ownership reporting rules under Canadian securities laws will apply to purchases of "when issued" rights of Ivanhoe Mines; U.S. beneficial ownership reporting rules also will apply.
This news release does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction.
Citi cuts Mongolian Mining Target Price to HK$8 from HK$9.25, Maintains BUY
June 12 (ET Net) Citigroup lowered its target price for Mongolian Mining (00975) to HK$8 from HK$9.25, and maintained its "buy" rating.
The research house trimmed its estimates on lower assumptions for pricing and other variables. But at 6.4x 2013 earnings, it believes the shares look reasonably priced for longer-term investors.
Citi continues to see asset value which could be further enhanced with the recently approved rail link to China.
NAR: SUSPENSION OF TRADING
June 13 -- At the request of North Asia Resources Holdings Limited (the "Company") (HK:61), trading in the shares of the Company will be suspended with effect from 9:00 a.m. on 13 June 2012 pending the release of an announcement in relation to, among other things, a very substantial acquisition and a very substantial disposal of the Company, which are price sensitive in nature.
Altan Rio Intersects High Grade Gold at the Khavchuu Project, Northern Mongolia
VANCOUVER, June 13, 2012 /CNW/ - Altan Rio Minerals Limited, TSX.V: AMO ("Altan Rio" or the "Company") today announces results of the inaugural (Phase 1) drilling campaign at the 100% owned Khavchuu gold exploration project ("G") covering 71.4 km2 in northern Mongolia (Figure 1). These initial results are promising with down-hole gold and arsenic anomalies intersected over a substantial 4 x 6 km area, including a high grade intersection in hole KH-05 at 11.49 g/t gold within Boroo-type host rocks and alteration.
· Seven wide-spaced reconnaissance core holes for 1,902.2 m were completed from March to May
· Five of the seven holes intersected significant gold and/or arsenic anomalies, the main geochemical indicators for orogenic gold deposits in the Boroo region
· Hole KH-05 intersected high grade gold (11.49 g/t over 1 m) in a structurally complicated area on the edge of a large Boroo Complex granitoid
· Holes KH-01 and KH-03 intersected low angle structures that contained Boroo complex granitoids with similar alteration over intervals as broad as 80 meters, with locally anomalous gold
Evan Jones, Altan Rio's President and CEO, remarked: "I am pleased to share with our investors this discovery of high grade gold mineralization in a Boroo-style geological setting with potential large tonnage possibilities. Our exploration team has successfully demonstrated its ability to target and explore the large Khavchuu gold system, only 10 km from Centerra Gold's Boroo mine and mill complex. We are encouraged by these results and plan to advance the gold discovery with a focused exploration campaign."
PHASE I DRILL RESULTS
Overall the results were surprisingly positive for a first-pass reconnaissance drill campaign consisting of seven drill holes over such a large area. Low angle structures were identified, similar to those that host mineralization at the nearby Boroo and satellite deposits. The presence of anomalous gold and elevated arsenic is promising as it could represent the distal portions of economic mineralization, perhaps several hundred meters away.
The high grade gold discovered in KH-05 is of particular importance as it represents a single mineralized hole in a very large area of anomalous geochemistry and geophysics with the IP anomaly broadening and increasing in amplitude to the north (see Figure 2). This new gold discovery zone is an exciting development, and certainly adds to the prospectivity of the Khavchuu project. Given its strategic location, being in close proximity to Centerra's Boroo mill complex, follow-up drilling is certainly warranted.
Table 1. Summary of Khavchuu drill program and gold and arsenic assay results
Gold Intercept (≥0.1 g/t)
No significant results
No significant results
* Intercept width shown is thought to represent an approximate true width, but true width could be up to 50% less depending on the angle of the structure and the angle of the drill hole.
§ Assays by Stewart Group (part of ALS) and Actlabs.
FOLLOW-UP EXPLORATION PLANS
The Company believes the results of our Phase I drill program are very encouraging and is therefore planning follow-up exploration to advance the discovery. Detailed geophysics are planned to delineate zones of higher IP chargeability within the structures confirmed by drilling, with additional soil geochemical surveys planned as well. Drilling will then be targeted to further test zones of known mineralization and the most promising geophysical anomalies.
Stewart Group (part of ALS Minerals), Ulaanbaatar, and Actlabs Asia, Ulaanbaatar, prepared the drill-core samples, produced the sample pulps and performed all gold and arsenic assays. Gold was analyzed by fire assay. Arsenic was analyzed using aqua regia digestion and ICP measurement. The Company maintains a QA-QC program regarding the preparation, shipping, and checking of all samples, including the use of certified standard reference materials and blanks, as well as field and pulp duplicates.
Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. Publishes May 2012 Monthly Letter to Shareholders
Ulaanbaatar, MONGOLIA, Jun 13, 2012 /FSC/-- Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. (YAK - CNSX) is pleased to announce the release of its May 2012 letter to shareholders.
May 2012 Shareholder Letter
To the Shareholders of Mongolia Growth Group Ltd.,
May saw us continue our property acquisitions. These were primarily centered on completing a number of redevelopment packages. That said, we are currently doing due diligence on a number of more sizable transactions, however there isn't much certainty yet on any of them being consummated.
Over the past few weeks, I have received a number of questions about our recently announced sale of Mandal shares to UMC. The first thing to really understand is that we are in a country, Mongolia, with a very short history of extensive insurance underwriting. There are actuarial tables, but they are not precise, especially when covering low probability events. Insurance is all about taking on unknown risks. Companies can be successful for years, and then lose a fortune on one bad policy. Allowing our partners to invest their capital in Mandal will hopefully help to reduce those risks as they will be even more attuned to the possible risks in the policies that they write.
The other thing to consider is that as our company grows, it seems almost inevitable that property will continue to become a larger percentage of the company's assets. This is a natural result of the much larger size of the property market when compared to the insurance market in Mongolia. While insurance is a very attractive industry to be in, we see property as a sector that we can deploy substantially more capital into and do it at very high returns on capital. As Jordan and I focus more of our energies on property, it seems only fair for our partners at UMC to have a bigger stake in the business that they're more focused on.
On a final note, in March of this year, we launched our first sizable capital project where we added a fifth floor to an existing office building. The genesis of this fifth floor was that we needed to replace a roof, but as we looked at the numbers, we realized that for only a little more than twice the cost of a new roof, we could also add an additional floor (and then put a new roof above it). Clearly, the decision was an obvious one for us. Based on current rental rates, we are anticipating a payback on our construction cost of somewhere between two and three years. This is substantially preferable to a negligible payback on a new roof.
Our policy has always been to use top-quality materials and techniques when we do renovations. We have also implemented this policy in more sizable capital expenditures as well. We used light-weight, durable materials and all work was done to Western Standards by a well-respected Mongolian construction firm. In addition, we followed all rules and regulations as approved by the Ulaanbaatar City inspector's office in regards to engineering. Attached is a link to a video of the construction process from start to finish. I hope you enjoy the progress as much as we enjoyed adding a fifth floor. http://youtu.be/5G5mMlFdhZA
Chairman & CEO
Mongolia Growth Group Ltd.
Wesfarmers exploring coal investment in Mongolia
June 14 (The Australian) WESFARMERS is confident China's demand for Australian resources will remain strong, predicting the nation's economy will double in size in the next decade, underpinning the company's coal business.
The company has also been exploring investment in Mongolia, where the world's largest untapped coal deposits lie, but chief executive Richard Goyder said while it was unlikely the group would make an investment there alone, it could be open to being part of consortium.
"We are interested in what it means for global markets," Mr Goyder told The Australian in Beijing yesterday.
"We are a big exporter of coal, but while we export very little into China, it sets the market for both thermal and metallurgical coal."
Asked whether the company would invest in Mongolia, he hesitated, then said: "It would have to stack up and I think it's less likely, frankly, that we would be an on-the-ground investor.
"We would have a higher cost of capital than other people, so for no other reason than financially others would get involved earlier than we would."
But he did not rule out joining a consortium.
"I haven't been up there, but we have had a number of people up there recently," he said. "We need to understand it from a supply point of view."
The Wesfarmers board is on a week-long visit to Australia's biggest export market.
The general view is that Chinese markets will soak up the supply from Mongolia for some time and the landlocked country still faces major infrastructure and logistical challenges. The Mongolian government has dithered on building railways into China, as a great deal of mistrust still exists in the relationship with its neighbour.
China had its lowest growth in almost three years, of 8.1 per cent, in the first quarter, a figure widely believed to be artificially inflated by the government.
Mr Goyder said even lower growth in China was coming off a high economic base.
"If you compound it for the next 10 years, you have an economy double the size compound for the next 20 years and you have an economy four times the size," he said. "And if it's only 3 1/2 times, it doesn't matter.
Wesfarmers chairman Bob Every said that, from the board's perspective, "I don't think you can have any Australian business that can't want to learn more about China". He said: "From our strategic planning session we agreed that we would come up here.
"Not that you can become an expert in a week, but we just wanted to get a better feel of what was going on, particularly what the future might hold. We have come to learn and observe."
The board members caught the fast train from Shanghai to Beijing on Tuesday afternoon.
"It's mind-boggling for an Australian," Mr Every said.
"We saw that enormous infrastructure and came from a city with the entire population of Australia. You get on infrastructure that was built in a year by 160,000 people at any one time, then you look out the window and you see it all. You have the peasant farmers on their one-acre lots with very little mechanisation living a low-quality life.
"Then you come into the outskirts of cities, where you see a forest of high-rise buildings as the urbanisation continues."
MSE: WEEKLY REVIEW JUNE 04-08, 2012
June 11 (Montsame) In the week of June 04-08, 2012, Mongolian Stock Exchange (MSE) has held 5 trading sessions, through which a total of 24.4 million shares of 68 JSC's worth 12.3 billion MNT were traded.
The Top 20 index reached at 18,852.47 points, compared with the previous week showed a decrease of 647.97 points or 3.3 percent. This was due to decrease of Tavan Tolgoi (12.1%), Talkh Chikher (7.7%), Mogoin Gol (5.6%), Sharyn Gol (3.7%), Aduunchuluun (3.1%), Baganuur (2.1%), Mongolia Development Resources (2.0%), Shivee Ovoo (1.8%), Mongol Shiltgeen (1.6%), Gobi (1.1%), Remicon (0.5%) which were included in the index basket.
The total market capitalization decreased by 65.9 billion MNT or 3.6% percent and stood at 1 trillion and 764.9 billion MNT.
The most stocks prices rose were Mongolyn Gegee (100.8%), Solongo Express (52.0%) and Darkhan Guril Tejeel (32.2%). The most stocks prices fell were Undraga Umnugovi (14.1%), Darkhan Khuns (14.0%) and Tavan Tolgoi (12.1%).
Out of 68 stocks that were traded 32 stocks' prices rose, 22 stocks' prices fell and 14 were unchanged.
The most actively traded stocks by number of shares traded were Genco Tour Bureau (10.4 million), Khukh Gan (5.2 million), Mongolia Development Resources (3.4 million), Mongol Shiltgeen (2.9 million) and BDSec (1.1 million).
The most actively traded stocks by value of trading were BDSec (3.7 billion MNT), Mongolia Development Resources (3.3 billion MNT), Mongol Shiltgeen (2.6 billion MNT), Khukh Gan (984.6 million MNT) and Genco Tour Bureau (960.6 million MNT).
OVER US$8 MILLION WORTH OF SHARES TRADED ON MSE
12 June 2012 (BDSec) - While the major averages ended essentially flat, five stocks gained for every three that fell on the Mongolian Stock Exchange. E-Trans Logistics (ETR) gained 3.2% after data released from the National Statistics Office (NSO). According to the NSO report, carried freight of railway transport has increased 18.9% year-over-year, as of first five months of the year.
Direct reduced iron manufacturer Khukh Gan (HGN) strengthened 2.5% to close at MNT 205. The largest local bakery products maker Talkh Chikher (TCK) advanced 2.1% to MNT 12,500. Eermel (EER) closed at MNT 3,000, sliding more than 12%. 90% state-owned coal miner Shivee Ovoo (SHV) gave up 8.8% to close at MNT 7,300. State Department Store (UID) tumbled 4% to sit at MNT 450.
Local News in Brief
- Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings has taken a 5.5 percent stake in Canada's Ivanhoe Mines valued at $426 million, increasing its bet on resources firms. Temasek owned 40.855 million shares of the Vancouver-based firm, the Singapore investor said in a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on June 8.
- Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi stocks are being distributed among the Mongolian people: 20% will to the public or 1,072 stocks to every Mongolian citizen while 10% of Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi stocks will be sold to private enterprises at MNT 933 each. Currently, 1.5 million citizens have requested to sell their stocks for cash, the Ministry of Social Welfare and Labor (MSFL) reports.
MONGOLIA MARKET ADVANCES, TAVANTOLGOI UP 3.2 PERCENT
13 June 2012 (BDSec) – Stocks closed higher on Wednesday with BDS index up 0.74% and MSE Top 20 up 0.06%. Olloo jumped 6.7% to close at MNT 160. One of the longest serving and biggest hotel, Bayangol Hotel (BNG) gained 3.9% to finish at MNT 40,000. Tavantolgoi (TTL), one of the largest producer and exporter of coking coal in the country, rose 3.2% to MNT 9,700.
Local coal miners Mogoin Gol (BDL) and Aduunchuluun (ADL) lost 5.9% and 4.3%, respectively. E-Trans Logistics (ETR) dropped 3.1% to MNT 126. Medallian and jewelry manufacturer Zoos Goyol (ZOO) plunged 2.4% to close at MNT 830.
According to the latest report from the National Statistical Office of Mongolia, in the first five months of the year, exports increased 8% while imports grew 25%, compared to same period of the previous year.
Local News in Brief
• According to a report of the Bank of Mongolia, money supply (broad money or M2) at the end of May 2012, reached MNT 6729.6 billion, increasing by MNT 366.7 billion or 5.8 per cent against the previous month, and increasing by MNT 1300.7 billion or 24.0 per cent against the previous year.
At the end of May 2012, currency issued in circulation reached MNT 782.9 billion, increasing by MNT 74.0 billion or 10.4 per cent against the previous month, and increasing by MNT 158.1 billion or 25.3 per cent compared to same period of the previous year.
Loans outstanding at the end of May, amounted to MNT 6121.2 billion, went up by MNT 185.2 billion or 3.1 per cent against the previous month, and went up by MNT 1874.4 billion or 44.1 per cent against the previous year. Principals in arrears at the end of May reached MNT 60.1 billion, decreasing by MNT 11.1 billion or 15.6 per cent against the previous month, decreasing by MNT 15.7 billion or 20.7 per cent against the previous year. At the end of May, the non-performing loans over the bank system reached MNT 315.7 billion, showing decreases of MNT 0.9 billion or 0.3 per cent against the previous month, of MNT 81.9 billion or 20.6 per cent against the previous year. In May of this year, 11.3 million shares costing MNT 4.7 billion were traded in 23 trading days. Source: Montsame
• As informed the General Election Committee total 544 candidates from 11 political parties and two coalition running for June 28 parliamentary election. 354 of them running in 26 election constituencies by majoriatan method and 190 candidates running by proportional method by list suggested of political parties. 26 independent candidates running by majoriatan constituencies.
There are 174 female candidates. Eldest candidate's age is 70 while youngest candidate at age 26. By the Election law the General Election Committee will announce full list of candidates name tomorrow by June 14. Source: news.mn
ELDERS AND DISABLED CAN EXCHANGE THEIR CASH FOR SHARES
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, June 14 /MONTSAME/ Those elders and disabled people who have taken MNT 1 million instead of receiving 1,072 stocks of the "Erdenes Tavantolgoi" LLC have become able to return back the cash, exchanging for the stocks. If he/she is willing to do so, the person should address a social worker of the belonged soum or khoroo (smallest administrative unit in Ulaanbaatar city).
A decision concerning the issue was made by a regular cabinet meeting held on Wednesday, approving the regulation on coordinating the procedure of trading the Erdenes TT's shares to national entities, allocating the shares to each citizen and selling the shares owned by citizens to the government.
The Minister of Social Welfare and Labor T.Gandi has been obliged to make a list of names of those who want to return back the cash, exchanging it for the shares in June 25 and to submit it to the Securities Cleaning Settlement and Central Depository House LLC.
As of May 29, one million, 532 thousand and 853 citizens have put forward their requests to sell the shares to the government. Also, there are many people who do not have knowledge about stocks and faced too short period to submit the requests. Some people have started to make requests to take the shares instead of money.
Moreover, elders, the disabled and students are able to deliver their requests to exchange their cash for the shares because this year's budget had necessary capital.
Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi Stocks in Full Swing: Basic Stock Market Knowledge Needed
June 11 (UB Post) Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi stocks are being distributed among the Mongolian people: 20% will to the public or 1,072 stocks to every Mongolian citizen while 10% of Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi stocks will be sold to private enterprises at MNT 933 each. Currently, 1.5 million citizens have requested to sell their stocks for cash, the Ministry of Social Welfare and Labor (MSFL) reports.
D. Gereltuya, a strategy implementation management specialist at the MSFL said, "It is not possible to take additional registration for cash requests; the due date has already passed which was May 20th. It means they have no choice but claim ownership of their 1,072 stocks. There are also many people who would like to get their stocks back. We are preparing to introduce this topic to the Parliament and are expecting a favorable decision. Concerned administrative bodies are developing the stock sale policies and conditions for private companies."
It was previously reported that the list of companies eligible to purchase Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi stocks was created by the General Department of Taxation (GDT). It was decided that the companies would purchase stocks sold by citizens.
Generally, people have a general lack of knowledge in the stock market. As reported by a specialist from the GDT S. Tuul, registration and requests of sale of stocks are often delayed because the forms are incorrectly filled out.
"If one wants to receive cash instead of stocks, they do not need to create the MNT 5,000 account. If they would like to keep their stocks, then the account is required. Also, they do not need this account if they simply want to check their stocks. In rural areas of Mongolia, there were reports of brokers and stock market financial organizations illegally taxing and imposing fees on citizens, claiming that an account is necessary for all stock transactions. These incidents have been acknowledged by the Financial Regulatory Committee. People may check on how many stocks they have by simply submitting their citizenship ID number to our website," said Gandulam, the President of Central Reserve of Bonds and Stocks and Transactions
Anyone who has received MNT 1 million will not receive Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi stocks, and students who have had their tuition fees paid will have their eligible stocks reduced accordingly.
Mongolia on track to supply Asia with coal
June 14 (The Australian) MONGOLIA is looming as a serious competitor for Australian mineral exports to northern Asia.
Already the landlocked north Asian state supplies 44 per cent of the coking coal imported by China, compared with Australia's 22 per cent market share.
But there is also the looming threat that a new railway could mean Mongolian coal can be supplied more cheaply and quickly to our large markets in Japan and South Korea.
It takes a bulk carrier up to 17 days to haul coal from Newcastle to a South Korean port. Once a proposed new Mongolian rail line is built it will take just three days to transport coal to ports in Siberia and just a few days sailing across the Sea of Japan.
Everybody, it seems, wants a piece of the Mongolian resources action. The latest mover is Singapore state investment agency Temasek, which has taken a 5.5 per cent stake in Canada's Ivanhoe Mines, 66 per cent owner of the huge Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine. Just weeks earlier, the Steel Authority of India inked a deal to gain access to coking coal and iron ore projects in Mongolia.
Standard Chartered says China is likely to seek increasing supplies of coking coal from its northern neighbour given its prices are cheaper (by about $US25 a tonne) than from the seaborne trade.
We've been overtaken by Indonesia as the largest supplier of thermal coals to China. Indonesia has used its closer proximity to Chinese ports to account for 35 per cent of China's thermal imports, leaving Australia in second place. Mongolia is coming up fast, with Standard Chartered expecting almost all of Mongolia's thermal coal output to be transported by rail to Chinese power stations.
But the biggest of all the projects is the plan to build a 1100km railway from the Tavan Tolgoi deposit in the southern Gobi desert to the Siberian coast to access the Japanese and South Korean markets. This deposit contains six billion tonnes of coal, 1.6bn tonnes of which are high-calorie coking coal.
Meanwhile, an Australian company, Aspire Mining, which claims to have the third largest coking coal resource in Mongolia, is to benefit from the new 406km Erdenet-Moron railway, which will carry the coal to the main trans-Mongolia line.
The top 10 deposits in Mongolia are said to have a combined minerals value of $US2.75 trillion.
But even smaller projects have been of interest in the big foreign players. The Japanese, for example, have been very active in trying to nail down rare earths projects in the country.
BACK in Japan, meanwhile, there has been a lot of effort to lessen the demand of industries for expensive raw materials.
With the closure of all the country's nuclear reactors, Japanese companies are firing ahead with plans for alternatives to buying more imported liquefied natural gas and coal to provide electricity.
The Nikkei news service reports that Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp is getting into the solar power business. It plans to build what are being called megasolar farms on idle sites and sell the output to utilities.
The initial six plants, to be completed by January, will have a combined generating capacity of 11 megawatts.
Altogether, about 40 large companies have announced plans to generate electricity.
Kyocera, the diversified giant making products from document imaging equipment to cutting tools, is involved in building a 70MW solar plant in Kagoshima prefecture while train operator Kintetsu (which also runs shipping companies and sells real estate) is building a 20MW solar plant on idle land along one of its railway lines. Mitsui Chemicals is also getting into solar generation while convenience store giant Lawson will have solar panels on 1000 of its stores by February.
On the metals side, the advanced materials section of Tohoku University has come up with a lithium-ion battery (used in hybrid and electric vehicles) that has dispensed with nickel and cobalt, making them a good deal cheaper to manufacture.
Japanese companies have been mounting a massive effort to reduce the reliance on rare earths. Hitachi has just unveiled an electric motor containing no rare earths and Mitsubishi is aiming to produce hybrid cars that no longer rely heavily on several rare earth metals.
Red hot futures
WHILE we're all down in the mouth on everything from copper to oil, India's National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange is a place you can still get a bit of action.
Chilli futures prices hit their daily upper limit this week on strong export demand, traders were scooping up oilseed and soy oil contracts due to a shortage of soybeans while barley prices jumped 2 per cent on Tuesday thanks to strong demand from breweries and cattle feed makers.
Things weren't quite so rosy for turmeric and pepper sellers, with futures slumping on weak demand.
Still, you can't win 'em all.
Khan Bank Adds USD 94 million to its Funding and Capital Base through Syndicated Loan Facilities
June 7 (Khan Bank) Khan Bank announces the addition of USD 94 million (equivalent MNT 123 billion) of syndicated loans to its funding and capital base. FMO (the Netherlands Development Finance Company) arranged the financing, which is being provided by FMO and three other European development finance institutions to Khan Bank based on its financial strength, growth prospects, and continued strong commitment to its customers. This transaction represents the first, large syndicated financing for a Mongolian bank.
The syndication includes USD 62 million in senior five year debt to support its SME and corporate lending, and USD 32 million in five year subordinated debt, which will be added to the Bank's Tier 2 capital. As mandated lead arranger and agent, FMO is providing USD 25.0 million; DEG USD 24 million, and BIO USD 20.0 million. EBRD is providing USD 25 million under a parallel loan agreement.
Khan Bank has a long term standing relationship with FMO and EBRD. Their strong support has enabled Khan Bank's strong position in the SME sector and continued commitment towards customers which is vital for the growth of the Mongolian economy.
FMO's Chief Investment Officer Jurgen Rigterink said: "FMO is proud to have arranged this groundbreaking loan facility for Khan Bank. This long-term commitment is a boost for Mongolian economy and a clear vote of confidence for the Mongolian financial sector in general."
Khan Bank's Acting CEO, Norihiko Kato said "Khan Bank is committed to the effective execution of this funding. This is a genuine landmark transaction in Mongolia, and especially for Khan Bank.] We thank FMO for the syndication. We are also pleased to be continuing our strong long term relationship with the EBRD and beginning new relationships with DEG and BIO."
Khan Bank, with 500 branches and 260 ATMs connected with 100% real time network across all of Mongolia with more than 4000 employees, is the leading bank of Mongolia, providing comprehensive financial and banking services to its customers.
Cube Capital eyes Asia frontier for RE fund debut (Mongolia, Myanmar, Vietnam)
June 11 (PERE) The London and Hong Kong-based hedge fund manager is planning to wrap a $150m real estate opportunity fund around a strategy to unlock opportunistic returns from development and distressed real estate in Myanmar, Mongolia and Vietnam.
Cube Capital, the London and Hong Kong-based hedge fund manager, has drawn up plans for its first private equity real estate fund with a focus on investing opportunistically in Myanmar, Mongolia and Vietnam.
The firm announced today it is plotting to raise $150 million for its Cube Asia Frontier Fund (CAFF), a vehicle planned to last up to eight years through which it hopes to generate a 25 percent-plus IRR from its investments.
Cube's plans present something of an evolution for the firm which has built up assets under management of approximately $1.3 billion predominantly from investments via its multi and single manager hedge funds. Its real estate holdings are comparatively smaller with projects under management valued at $250 million. These investments were accumulated through club deals and co-investments.
Given the size of CAFF and Cube's frontier markets investing strategy, the firm is not thought to be targeting capital from large institutional investors but smaller groups such as fund of funds and family offices. Most of these are expected to come from Europe and the Middle East.
Describing the three countries as having "inefficient frontier markets", Cube said the equity from CAFF would be invested in development and distressed situations which it said were "abundant".
Cube said the countries offered strong growth potential on the back of favourable political changes, liberalisation, favourable regional demographics and a lack of a developed credit markets. That said, despite limited available credit, Cube itself is only planning to use "limited leverage" for its investments, a spokeswoman told PERE.
The firm added that, when it deemed circumstances to be advantageous, it would extend its frontier market investing strategy into other markets.
Thomas Holland, Cube's head of Asia and chief investment officer for the fund said the firm was close to closing on one of the fund's first investments. He said: "Our philosophy is to seek uncrowded investment opportunities, and we are confident that exploiting these still insufficiently explored markets will generate attractive returns. It will also make us one of the first entrants into nascent real estate investment markets such as Myanmar."
Mongol Bank Sold $30m in Auction Thursday at ₮1,321.53
June 14, 2012 (Mongol Bank) At today's forex auction, the BoM sells USD 30 million at closing rate of MNT 1321.53 as received the bids to buy USD. However, the BoM did not intervene in the CNY/MNT exchange rate market and commercial banks bids to buy chinese yuans were rejected.
MINISTRY OF FINANCE REPORTS
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, June 6 /MONTSAME/ The average economic growth will increase to at least 15 per cent in the next year thanks to increasing of the mining sector, its influence to other spheres, new job places, good conditions for foreign investments and a rise of the animal husbandry sector.
The forecast on the economic growth and budget has been done by the Ministry of Finance. It is also expected that extraction works of gold, copper and silver at the Oyutolgoi mine will begin from 2013.
Due to an expansion of the economic growth which started from 2010 and increasing of loans of entities, the inflation rate has reached above ten per cent, for instance it reached 15.3 per cent by first three months of this year. It is projected that the inflation rate will be 13.1 per cent by the next year in connection with a continuation of the economic growth, and it is considered that the inflation rate is possible to be declined to under ten per cent by 2012-2015 if the cabinet policy and actions do not support the demand.
now that's value: three-step value chain designed by citi helps mongolians to cut pollution
June 8 (global envision) A collaborative carbon credit financing chain is enabling residents of Ulaanbaatar, one of the world's most polluted cities, to make energy-efficiency improvements in their own homes.
It's a three-step process designed by Citi, Microenergy Credits and Mongolia's XacBank. XacBank provides microloans for households to purchase energy-efficient stoves or home insulation products. This will save energy, which Xacbank customers can resell to Citi using the Microenergy Credits platform. Citi is committed to purchasing 1.17 million tonnes of carbon credits over the next seven years. This can only be good news for Ulaanbaatar residents, who will be able to use the loans to improve their lives, save money and further reduce their carbon emissions.
Bob Annibale, Global Director of Citi Microfinance and Community Development explains that the program:
"…connects and values energy saved at the household level with global emission reduction targets and markets…It is a great example of using creative microfinancing to address client and community needs, and a model that can be applied in other initiatives and countries."
Editors note: Mercy Corps co-founded the microfinance bank, Xacbank in 2001. The bank aims to contribute to sustainable development in Mongolia through its triple bottom line focus on "planet, people and profit".
A step forward or a step back? New approval requirements on telecoms foreign investment in Mongolia
June 7 (Herbert Smith LLP) Mongolia's parliament has recently adopted a new foreign investment law requiring foreign operators and investors to obtain approval from the Mongolian government and, in some cases, from parliament for their investments in certain strategic sectors, including media and telecoms.
On 17 May 2012, the Mongolian Parliament approved a draft law entitled "Regulation of Foreign Investment in Business Entities Operating in Sectors of Strategic Importance" which, according to media reports, became law on 28 May 2012.
The new investment law complements the existing foreign investment law enacted in 1993, which permits foreigners to take majority and even full ownership of any Mongolian company or investment without having to obtain prior government approval. Indeed, Mongolia's largest mobile operator, Mobicom, is majority owned by Japan's Sumitomo and KDDI.
Scope of the new investment law
The new investment law itself does not expressly define which media and telecoms companies or businesses (e.g. telecom infrastructure) are regarded as being of strategic importance.
Notwithstanding this ambiguity, it appears that the main effect is that consent from the Mongolian government must be obtained before investments in media and telecoms and the other strategic sectors can be completed. Certain shareholder agreements also appear to be caught if these give de facto control to a foreign investor.
The approval requirements of the new investment law do not appear to apply retroactively and will therefore seemingly only affect transactions concluded after the law comes into force, leaving existing investments intact. Importantly, investments made pursuant to international treaties are unaffected.
In addition, the new investment law also creates new notification requirements. These new notification requirements appear to apply to both current and future foreign investors who are shareholders in companies in strategic sectors in Mongolia, and require the Mongolian entity concerned to make the notification.
The new consent and notification requirements appear to be as follows:
Type of investor
Consent or notification required
Foreign state owned enterprise (including those in any form of partnership with private investors)
Consent from the Mongolian government
Application to be made within 30 days of entering into the transaction
Processing of application may take up to 90 days
Decision to be notified within 5 days
Foreign private investor
· Acquiring 33.33% or more of the shares of a company operating in any of the strategic sectors; or
· Concluding an agreement which gives a foreign investor the right to veto key strategic decisions or exercise strategic management of such company; or
· Dilution of any existing shareholdings in such company
Consent from the Mongolian government
Application to be made within 30 days of entering into the transaction
Processing of application may take up to 90 days
Decision to be notified within 5 days.
Acquiring more than 49% of the shares of a company operating in a strategic sector and the transaction is worth more than 100 billion togrogs (roughly US $76 million)
Consent from the State Great Hural (Mongolian parliament) on recommendation of the Mongolian government
Application to be made within 30 days of entering into the transaction
No set timeframe for the processing of application
Future foreign private investor
Acquiring 5% to 33% of the shares of a company operating in a strategic sector
Notification to FIFTA on the acquisition and on any agreements permitting dilution of other shareholders
Notification to be made within 30 days of entering into the transaction
Existing foreign private and foreign state investors
Owning 5% or more of the shares of a company operating in any of the strategic sectors
Notification to FIFTA
Notification to be made within 180 days of the effective date of the new investment law
Mechanism for obtaining Mongolian governmental consent
The new investment law requires the affected Mongolian entity to be the one to notify the Mongolian Foreign Investment and Foreign Trade Agency ("FIFTA"). This notification is required within 30 days of entering into a transaction. FIFTA has 45 days to submit its proposal to the government on whether to grant consent to the transaction, and the government then has a further 45 days to decide. FIFTA shall notify the applicant within 5 days upon receiving the decision from the government.
Factors to be considered by FIFTA when making its recommendation to the government include:
· national security;
· whether the applicant (i.e. the Mongolian entity) complies with local law;
· effects on competition;
· effects on Mongolian taxation revenue; and
· whether there is any other "negative effect".
The government is not allowed to reject any application on grounds not specified in the new investment law. Hopefully, the new regulations will clarify how much weight each factor will have in any decisions made by the Mongolian government.
Consequence of non-compliance
Transactions completed without approval will be invalid. The Mongolian government will also apparently have the power to shut down the offending Mongolian entity.
Much about the new investment law is currently uncertain. For example:
· it is not clear if existing foreign investors who wish to increase their shareholding to above 49% require parliamentary approval; and
· it is also uncertain if FIFTA has the ability to refuse to make a recommendation to the government, or whether the government itself is bound to agree with any proposal made by FIFTA. Finally, it is not certain whether a transaction in breach of the new investment law would result in expropriation of the assets by the Mongolian government.
The new investment law requires the Mongolian government to approve a detailed procedure on how applications for consent will be administered. There is no timeframe for publishing the application procedure, but hopefully any such procedure would clarify some or all of the questions above.
In the meantime, foreign private investors will have to consider the new approval and notification requirements as part of the structuring of any future Mongolian transaction. It seems that any transaction involving a foreign state or state owned entity will automatically require approval, regardless of whether it is in a strategic sector.
Existing foreign investors with shareholdings 5% or more in a Mongolian telecoms or media company should also consider taking local advice on whether they are required to notify FIFTA of their shareholding within 180 days of the effective date of the new investment law.
IFC invests in first Sino-Mongolian microfinance project
June 7 (The Asset) IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is making a 10 million Chinese renminbi (USD1.6 million) equity investment in Urumqi Tianrong Microcredit Company to help establish the first Sino-Mongolian microfinance project in China. The project will expand access to finance for small businesses in China's less-developed region of Xinjiang and support economic cooperation in Central Asia.
Urumqi Tianrong is a joint venture of Mongolia-based TenGer Financial Group (TFG), IFC, and three other investors from China and Mongolia. TFG's flagship subsidiary XacBank is a leading micro, small and medium enterprises finance provider in Mongolia and a globally recognized microfinance bank. IFC has been a long-term partner of TFG and XacBank since 1999, and holds a 13.5 percent stake in the group.
"Under the partnership with IFC, TFG has built up a sound business and a team of experienced professionals in the microfinance space," said Bold Magvan, CEO of TFG. "Now we would like to replicate this model and share our lessons in other markets in the region, starting in Xinjiang."
With IFC's investment and technical advice, Tianrong is expected to open its first branch this fall and provide loans worth more than USD200 million to around 15,000 small businesses in the next couple of years.
"IFC has been actively working with clients and partners to promote sustainable South-South development through joint investment and knowledge-sharing," said IFC's director for East Asia and the Pacific Sérgio Pimenta, who is in Beijing for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization gathering. "This project can serve as an example of regional economic collaboration. It will not only support the economic development of China's westernmost region, but also help a leading Mongolian financial institution grow into a regional player."
According to China's National Bureau of the Statistics, Xinjiang has among the lowest per capita GDP in the country. Xinjiang is also China's largest region and borders several Central Asian states including Mongolia and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation members Russia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic, and Kazakhstan.
The Speaker receives Marubeni delegation
June 13 (news.mn) The Speaker of the Parliament D.Demberel has received today Japanese delegation headed by Fumiya Kokubu, vice president of Marubeni Corporation. The delegation introduced ongoing process of Japanese-Mongolian joint refinery in Darkhan-Uul province.
The Marubeni Corporation has interest on Mongolian market and expanding their activities in Mongolia. Therefore established Strategic Committee on cooperation with Mongolia. The committee focusing on investment and provide equipment to Mongolia said Mr. Fumiya Kokubu. "Particularly Marubeni interested on investment to the infrastructure sector such as transport, communication, aviation and mining" added Kokubu.
The Speaker D.Demberel said Mongolia is going to implement major projects and Mongolians always welcomed Japanese high technology. "I'm glad that Japanese companies expressed their willing on investment to infrastructure sector. To develop mining sector Mongolia needed to improve infrastructure. I'm also satisfied with Japanese-Mongolian refinery project. Mongolian economy growth required increase fuel supply" said D.Demberel.
Mongolian Airlines to Add Tokyo Flights on Top of MIAT
June 13 (InfoMongolia.com) The "Mongolian Airlines Group" LLC is scheduling to conduct direct flights to Tokyo, Japan from July 14, 2012. The company will conduct direct flights to the Haneda airport of Tokyo three times a week on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.
Flight timetable by local time
Ulaanbaatar - Haneda 09:00pm - 02:00am
Haneda - Ulaanbaatar 03:00am - 08:00am
Besides the "Mongolian Airlines Group" LLC, the MIAT airlines also announced that in the summer of 2012 they are to increase the number of their flights to Japan. Starting form July 01, 2012, the MIAT is scheduling to conduct flights to Narita airport of Tokyo 5 times a week excluding Thursday and Friday. The flight ticket for the newly added dates of Tuesdays and Sundays will be sold on discounted prices, said officials.
Local dealer paves the way for roads in Mongolia
June 14 (MHW Magazine) The Powerscreen dealer for Mongolia, Wagner Asia Equipment LLC, held an official launch event in Ulaanbaatar showcasing solutions for the Mongolian Road and Construction Industry in May 2012. The two day event included seminars, discussion groups and a working demonstration of Powerscreen® equipment and other product lines offered by Wagner Asia.
Allen Smith, Powerscreen Mining Development Manager, said, "2012 is a crucial time for Mongolia as the country now needs to build large tunnels, bridges and construct more than 6,000 kms of highways and road network nationally. Wagner Asia Equipment LLC is strongly supporting the strategic goals of the Government of Mongolia and the Ministry of Roads and Transportation."
Bolor Bayaraa, Sales Director of Wagner Asia, explains, "Demonstrating our complete solution for the roads, mining and construction sector in Mongolia shows how Wagner Asia is prepared to meet current and future market requirements. The event was an ideal time to officially launch Powerscreen products in Mongolia and we have already received a lot of interest following the equipment showcase."
At the event, Smith presented at a seminar on "Mobile Crushing and Screening Solutions", which was attended by government ministers, construction experts and professionals from across Mongolia. Smith demonstrated the importance of selecting high quality crushing and screening equipment for road construction and having reliable customer support from a strong local dealer.
Day two of the event provided an opportunity for invited guests to see a demonstration of how the Powerscreen XA400S, 1000 Maxtrak and Chieftain 1700, in combination with equipment from other OEMs, could be used to create 100m of road in just 40 minutes.
Prospero Foundation Supports a Shoemaker in Mongolia
The Prospero Foundation, founded by Ulrik DeBo of Debondo Capital, is proud to announce that a micro-loan donation has been made to a shoemaker in Harhorin, Mongolia.
Bach, Switzerland (PRWEB) June 14, 2012
The Prospero Foundation, founded by Ulrik DeBo of Debondo Capital, is proud to announce that a micro-loan donation has been made to a shoemaker in Harhorin, Mongolia.
Tsendjav, 55 years old, lives with her husband and one daughter in Harhorin, the ancient capital city of the Mongolian Empire. She and her family live in a ger (a traditional Mongolian nomadic tent). Her daughter helps during the summer months, when she is not at university.
The couple started the business in 2000. Since then she has built a stable operation, attributing her success to her excellent sewing. Over many years, she has gained both experience and a wide customer base.
By receiving a loan provided by the Prospero Foundation and delivered though Xac Bank, Tsendjav was able to purchase the leather, fabric, heels, and glue necessary for her to increase her production capabilities, grow her small business, and ultimately improve conditions for herself and her family.
About Micro-lending with The Prospero Foundation
Through partnerships with local lending institutions, the Prospero Foundation contributes capital for the purpose of small business loans to these micro-entrepreneurs in developing nations. Through these partnerships, the Foundation helps small business people such as farmers, shopkeepers, and artisans build their businesses and in turn stimulate economic development in their communities.
About The Prospero Foundation
The Prospero Foundation is a private, international charitable foundation founded by Ulrik DeBo. Mr. DeBo, a lifelong entrepreneur, whose upbringing and eventual success in the finance industry, through his company DeBondo Capital Ltd, gave him the relevant experience and insight required.
The foundation is run by a global network of entrepreneurs, who raise funds privately amongst their business contacts, and choose to invest them using a 'pay-it-forward' philosophy to focus on charitable projects that promise to perpetuate a chain reaction of positive growth opportunities for individuals and local communities for generations to come.
It is a foundation that empowers citizens to help themselves and those around them.
For additional information, please visit http://www.prosperofoundation.org
Video: WHAT NOW UB? AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT THE CURRENT STATE OF MONGOLIA'S INFRASTRUCTURE.
June 12 (M.A.D.) THIS VIDEO IS AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT THE CURRENT STATE OF THE ROAD, SEWER, WATER AND ELECTRICAL INFRASTRUCTURE SUPPORTING ULAANBAATAR AND WHAT PROVISIONS ARE BEING MADE TOWARDS ITS DEVELOPMENT.
ULAANBAATAR IS SUFFERING FROM UNPRECEDENTED LEVELS OF IMMIGRATION COUPLED WITH CONSIDERABLE INCREASES IN DISPOSABLE INCOME OF ITS POPULATION, LEADING TO HIGHER STRAIN ON THE CURRENT INFRASTRUCTURE AS EVERYONE BUYS CARS AND NEW ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT, PLACING EVER INCREASING DEMANDS ON THE LITTLE INFRASTRUCTURE THAT STILL FUNCTIONS WITHIN ULAANBAATAR.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Mongolian state has lacked the financial capacity as well as the political will and know-how to improve the infrastructure situation is leading Ulaanbaatar to a crisis point with no real solution in sight.
Ulaanbaatar City With Lowest Living Costs For Foreigner
ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia, June 14 (Bernama) -- Ulaanbaatar, with its lowest living costs has been selected as the most favourable and pleasant city for foreigners, who came here for tourism and business tour, according to the international research organisation "ECA international" based in Hong Kong and London.
Though labour evaluation is relative lower in Mongolia, the country has ranked before Vietnam and Eritrea, an average amount of month salary of which does not reached US$200, Mongolian news agency, Montsame, reported.
Construction of Sun Bridge will be complete by November
June 14 (news.mn) Construction work of Sun bridge in west cross of Ulaanbaatar in 85 percent of completion. The bridge constructed by the Japanese Government assistance. The construction will complete by November 15 this year.
The bridge in 262 meter long and 19 meter high with four line will reduce traffic flow of Ulaanbaatar city. Experts said 30 thousand car per day will cross the bridge.
THE SOWING WORKS TO BE COMPLETED THIS WEEK NATIONWIDE
June 14 (InfoMongolia.com) The sowing work that started on May 08, 2012, is in its final stages nationwide.
According to the official sources, the sowing of wheat and potatoes has been already completed, where other vegetables' plants are to be complete within this week.
In this year of 2012, Mongolia has planted wheat on 304.6 thousand hectares, potatoes on 15 thousand hectares, other vegetables on 8,000 thousand hectares, and nutrition and technical crop on 18 thousand hectares of land respectively.
U.S. and Mongolia Experts Meet to Further Geographic Information System Knowledge and Capacity
Ulaanbaatar, May 31 (US Embassy in Mongolia) Whether it is quickly rising waters, freezing temperatures, or the shaking of the ground, the intensity and frequency of disasters is increasing. This holds true throughout the world, and Mongolia is no exception. The number and strength of events has been gradually escalating, increasing the threat to life and property. A tool being used to better understand these changes and support disaster managers, scientists and decision-makers is Geographic Information Systems (GIS). In its most simple form, GIS is a computer based application that utilizes location information to enhance decision-making. A more detailed description of a GIS is a system of hardware, software, data, processes, people, organizations, and institutional arrangements for collecting, storing, analyzing, and disseminating geospatial information about areas of the Earth. Its use before, during, and after an emergency can greatly enhance the government's ability to respond more efficiently during and after an emergency.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) brought three GIS Specialists to Ulaanbaatar from May 28-31, 2012 to share geospatial knowledge, skills, data, and software with a variety of Mongolian government institutions. Representatives from the Mongolian Armed Forces, Border Forces, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Ulaanbaatar City, and the Weather Forecast Institute worked side-by-side to enhance GIS capacity and response to a variety of hazards that Mongolia faces. Special emphasis was placed on the analytical capability of GIS to derive quick and accurate results that can be visualized on a map. "Having an opportunity to learn the skills featured in this workshop will help me in my everyday job. GIS can assist in so many ways, and I am thankful for the opportunity to learn more about the technology and its use in emergency management," stated Ms. S. Tumurchudur from the Mongolian Water Authority.
Over the course of three days, participants in the GIS Workshop got to exercise software and skills, process and analyze various types of remotely-sensed data, and learn how to use predictive disaster models. The workshop also featured Global Positioning System (GPS) topics, and how GPS data can be used in a GIS in real-time. "The United States uses GIS resources to support emergency management at all levels of government. Having the opportunity to share best practices, lessons learned, data, and software with our Mongolian friends has been a truly rewarding experience," stated Mr. Doug Swanson, Geographer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
GIS subject matter experts hope to meet again next year and discuss more advanced topics related to emergency situations, land-use planning, and water resources.
Social Insurance Payers Increases 13.5% Year on Year
June 13 (news.mn) Number of people who pay social insurance in increased said official from The General Authority of Social Insurance. According the The General Authority of Social Insurance by May, 2012, 555 thousand people paid their social insurance. 197 thousand of them state workers, and 358 thousand belongs to private sector.
It means number of people who paid social insurance increased by 13,5 percent compared May, 2011. "Mongolians now understood to pay social insurance it means doing investment for their future life" said official.
GEC sets maximum expenditure of candidates and parties
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, June 14 /MONTSAME/ On Thursday, the General Election Commission (GEC) set the maximum size of expenditures to be spent by candidates nominated from the political parties, coalitions or from the constituencies. The maximum expenditures are set in different sizes depend on populations and areas of the constituencies.
A candidate at one constituency is allowed to use money of MNT 154.8 - 1,133.8 million, and a political party or coalition--money of up to MNT 9063,7 million for the expenditures in the parliamentary election.
The same day, the GEC officially introduced 544 candidates who are running in the parliamentary election.
544 candidates running for June 28 election
June 13 (news.mn) As informed the General Election Committee total 544 candidates from 11 political parties and two coalition running for June 28 parliamentary election. 354 of them running in 26 election constituencies by majoriatan method and 190 candidates running by proportional method by list suggested of political parties. 26 independent candidates running by majoriatan constituencies.
There are 174 female candidates. Eldest candidate's age is 70 while youngest candidate at age 26.
By the Election law the General Election Committee will announce full list of candidates name tomorrow by June 14.
DP in Majority in San Francisco 65 Voters' Exit Poll
June 13 (news.mn) Mongolians who lives in San Francisco, USA participated to the election which held on June 10, successfully. Total 108 Mongolians registered to the General Consulate in San Francisco, but 65 voted on June 10.
During the voting day conduced an Exit Poll. As informed 50 people expressed they willing to share their choose. According the law Mongolians in abroad to vote only for political parties not for individual candidate. As result 29 people (58%) voted for Democratic Party, 10 (20%) for Mongolian People's Party, 7 (14%) for Civil Will-Green Party and 4 (8%) voted for Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party.
Mongolia's Ex-Leader Says Election Decision 'Illegal'
June 12 (Agence France-Presse) Mongolia's former leader Nambar Enkhbayar said Tuesday a decision barring him from running in upcoming elections was "illegal", as his corruption trial was postponed for the third time.
Enkhbayar — who had planned to run in parliamentary polls on June 28 before being barred from doing so last week — faces five counts of graft dating back to his time as prime minister and president of the impoverished country.
But on Tuesday his first hearing was postponed for the third time after he complained of not having enough time to go over the case files and because his lawyer had left the city.
"The election committee denied my application to be a candidate. That was illegal so I gave a letter to the Constitutional Court to reconsider my candidacy for the election," he told reporters outside court in Ulan Bator.
Mongolia's Constitutional Court is an entity that settles legal disputes.
The country's election committee last week denied Enkhbayar's application to run in the polls on the grounds that he did not meet the necessary qualifications to become a candidate.
The former president — who is head of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party — was rejected based on an election law that states that a candidate must display proper experience, education and commitment to the country.
He had been attempting a political comeback three years after losing a presidential election to current incumbent Tsakhia Elbegdorj.
But he was arrested in April at the order of the nation's corruption watchdog in a dawn raid on his house.
His trial has already been postponed twice, and on Tuesday the head judge said it would be rescheduled again to June 21.
Enkhbayar argued that his lawyer was not present, explaining that she is a candidate for the upcoming election and is currently campaigning in Gobi-Altai province, around 900 kilometers (560 miles) west of Ulan Bator. (Mogi: Dismissal of the predecessor was 2nd time the hearing was postponed)
But the judge responded that the trial would go ahead on June 21 with or without the lawyer.
GEC Suspends Enkhbayar as Registered Candidate – UB Post, June 8
Mongolia ex-president nixed from upcoming election - AP, June 7
Mongolia bars former president from poll – Financial Times, June 7
Mongolia Ex-President To Appeal Being Barred From Next Election – Bloomberg, June 7
Graft charges bar Mongolia ex-president from polls – Reuters, June 7
Mongolia bars ex-president from parliamentary elections – Xinhua, June 8
Myths vs. Facts: the Arrest of Former President Enkhbayar
June 11 (news.mn) --
Myth: Former President Enkhbayar was taken in the middle of the night, by surprise, and arrested by policemen who did not read him his rights.
- Fact: Between 8 and 9pm on April 12, 2012, IAAC officials went to Mr. Enkhbayar's home to arrest him, but were prevented from entering by his bodyguards. Officials chose to resume the arrest the next morning. Enkhbayar called supporting politicians and members of the news media to come to his home overnight. At 6am on April 13, 2012, IAAC officials and plainclothes law enforcement officers returned to Enkhbayar's home, presented their credentials, indicated that they have a court order, and arrested him, carrying him out after he refused to walk out himself. This is filmed by the media and witnessed by many supporters. IAAC officials were unable to read the Sukhbaatar District Court judge's order to Enkhbayar, as is standard procedure during an arrest, because his bodyguards prevented a peaceable arrest. Instead, the order and a detailed listing of the charges against him were presented to him and his lawyers later that day.
Myth: He was "tortured in the most inhumane ways" and denied basic human rights during his detainment, including the right to access legal counsel, family visits, and medical care.
- Fact: Video shows that he spent his detainment in a five-room suite that included a private kitchen with a personal chef, a private bathroom, and private medical facilities. A separate video shows him being examined by a doctor and freely meeting with his wife and son during his detainment.
- Fact: After his arrest, Enkhbayar was immediately allowed access to his attorneys on the day of his arrest, and had continuous access during the entirety of his detention. He met with his attorneys 31 times while in detention.
- Fact: The Tuv Province correctional facility doctor examined Enkhbayar upon arrival, and found him to be in no pain, and having no wounds or injuries. Doctors continued to monitor his health at minimum twice daily for the remainder of his detention. J. Byambadorj, head of the National Human Rights Commission, visited Enkhbayar in jail to observe the conditions and meet with him to ensure that he is being treated properly.
Myth: As a result of the alleged abuse he endured during his detainment, Enkhbayar was bedridden.
- Fact: Video shows that he was not bedridden. To the contrary, he was healthy and moved around easily, laughing and joking with family and friends.
Myth: The charges against Enkhbayar are baseless and politically motivated.
- Fact: Charges of corruption against Enkhbayar have been well documented by the Mongolian and Western press long before the Elbegdorj administration took office. There may be as many as X charges filed against him. He has been given every opportunity to defend himself against these charges and complete access to legal counsel.
· New York Times – Thousands of Mongolians Protest Corruption (January 2006)
· UB Post (Mongolian) – Officials Reveal Income (March 2008)
· UB Post (Mongolian) – MP Calls Mongolian President a Bandit and a Cheat, Apologizes (Aug. 2007)
· Sydney Morning Herald – Mongolia: Best Since Genghis (August 2007)
· Sitting member of his own party calls him "a bandit and a swindler, and corrupt":
"About 1000 workers are engaged just in preliminary drilling. The mooted $US2.7 billion mine construction bill is almost twice as large as this year"s national government budget.
'If the agreement is delayed, if it is not discussed in the current [parliamentary] session, many workers would lose their jobs,' wrote Albanese.
Soon afterwards Enkhbayar received another letter, this time from a member of his own Mongolian People"s Revolutionary Party.
U Khurelsukh, who is also one of Enkhbayar"s ministers, apologised for calling the president 'a bandit and a swindler, and corrupt', explaining he had merely been repeating what others had widely and repeatedly said.
As well as fending off corruption scandals and overtures from multinational companies, Enkhbayar has been busy drawing down an unconditional $US300 million ($350 million) loan personally presented by China"s President Hu Jintao. The money, equivalent to one-fifth of this year"s budget, has been allocated to a hydro-power project in the country"s north - with no transparent environmental or financial assessment."
Myth: President Elbegdorj orchestrated the arrest of former President Enkhbayar just before the upcoming elections to hurt Enkhbayar's political prospects.
- Fact: The investigation was conducted and arrest ordered by the independent IAAC which answers to a Parliament that is controlled the current President's political rivals.
- Fact: Beginning in May 18, 2011, the IAAC summoned Enkhbayar 10 times for questioning, and each time Enkhbayar resisted the summons, having his bodyguards or other staff turn away IAAC investigators.
- Fact: The current chair was appointed by the former President.
Myth: Enkhbayar suffered a brutal detention alone on "made-up charges."
- Fact: Video captured Enkhbayar being coached on how to give the appearance of being in a weaker state, and shows him lashing out, threatening and being verbally abusive to security personnel.
- Fact: The charges are independently well documented and predate the current administration.
MONGOLIAN PRESIDENT URGES GLOBAL SUPPORT FOR ANTI- CORRUPTION EFFORTS
Trial of former president helps move democracy forward with transparency and rule of law
ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA, June 8 (The Office of the President) – From the Office of the President of Mongolia: Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj today called on the United Nations, European Union, United States and its other global allies to support Mongolia's efforts to clamp down on public corruption. Earlier this spring, following widespread public reports of misdeeds, Mongolia's Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC) called for the arrest of former Mongolian president Nambaryn Enkhbayar after the former official refused to receive subpoenas which detailed numerous corruption-related violations of the Mongolian Criminal Code.
Since the IAAC's first subpoenas were issued to Mr. Enkhbayar over one year ago, in May of 2011, the IAAC initiated 27 separate investigations, ranging from embezzlement to extortion and bribery; of these ongoing investigations, the IAAC has initially charged Mr. Enkhbayar with five offenses. President Elbegdorj urges the country's democratic allies to recognize the need for due process of law in Mongolia while an open judicial process moves forward on the charges.
Since his April 13th arrest, Mr. Enkhbayar has had unfettered access to legal counsel as well as both domestic and international news media. He has been treated with respect and accorded his full human rights and protections afforded to any criminal defendant under Mongolia's Constitution. Now out on bail, Mr. Enkhbayar's trial is set to begin on June 12.
The independent General Election Commission of Mongolia (GEC) ruled on June 6, after an 8-1 vote, that Mr. Enkhbayar was ineligible to run for a seat in Parliament due to the pending criminal allegations against him. The GEC is an autonomous body with a head appointed and members approved by the Parliament.
Much of the international coverage of this case has been wildly inaccurate, distorted by a sophisticated public relations campaign on Mr. Enkhbayar's behalf. In fact, Mr. Enkhbayar has been treated with great respect and personal dignity. To counter erroneous reporting of the facts relating to the investigation, arrest, and charges against him by Mr. Enkhbayar and his supporters, Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj today issued the following statement:
"My first decree as the President of Mongolia was to call for promoting and enhancing civic education to affirm democracy, freedom and human rights as fundamental values of the Mongolian people. I have also acted to effectively end Mongolia's use of the death penalty, and late last year our government was recognized by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for our civil rights commitments. This spring marked the 25th anniversary of open Mongolia-U.S. relations and a shared belief in a commitment to the rule of law, governing transparency, and the sanctity of human rights. As with the support that our American allies have provided Mongolia in deepening the roots of democracy, it is our hope that the U.S. as well as our European allies will acknowledge and support Mongolia's work to end the scourge of corruption that otherwise will hinder the progress of our democratic system."
"Mongolia's growth into a mature democracy requires continued work to eliminate the scourge of corruption that plagues too many of the world's developing countries. Mr. Enkhbayar's case is one of nearly 20 high profile corruption cases. Freedom and corruption cannot co-exist together. And freedom, human rights, rule of law are non-negotiable, as is the fight against corruption. The law should apply equally with no preferential treatment for anyone. It is a core principle of democracy that no one is above the law, and that includes everyone from high government officials to ordinary citizens," said President Elgebdorj.
"I urge citizens of democratic nations around the world to follow the trial carefully, consider the facts as they are presented, and avoid rushing to judgment until the evidence against Mr. Enkhbayar has been publicly laid out in a court of law. As Mongolia continues her progression into a modern, democratic society, we will need the support of our allies and the democratic world. It is crucial that Mongolia's allies pay close attention to the facts revealed during the trial of Mr. Enkhbayar."
"On June 28, Mongolians throughout the country will exercise their democratic rights to cast their ballots for their choice to represent them in parliament. We invite the world to witness our unyielding commitment to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law by coming to Mongolia to enjoy unrestricted access to observe our electoral process."
"Whether Mongolia shall prevail as a free, open beacon of human rights, or whether she shall fall into injustice and corruption is an issue of pivotal significance at this juncture of Mongolia's development," concluded President Elbegdorj.
Mongolia's anti-corruption entity, the Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC), was established in 2006 during the presidency of Mr. Enkhbayar, and is headed by a former police officer. Today, the IAAC stands to ensure transparency and accountability in government, and advance the goals of the U.N. Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). The Authority has a chairman and deputy appointed by the Parliament, which is controlled by the Mongolian People's Party (MPP), which Mr. Enkhbayar previously led.
Ms. SODONTOGOS Erdenetsogt, Advisor to the President for International Public Affairs
Mobile: +976 99091137, Email: email@example.com
Mongolia Leader Defends Action Against Predecessor
June 12 (WSJ) Mongolia's president said efforts to prosecute his predecessor for alleged graft are not politically motivated and instead are part of a "hard fight" against corruption aimed at making the north Asian nation more attractive to investors.
In a telephone interview Tuesday, President Tsakhia Elbegdorj also said his country will remain a "beacon of freedom in our region" that welcomes foreign investment, despite a law passed last month capping future foreign participation in some industries, as well as international criticism of the case against his predecessor and rival on the eve of a crucial parliamentary election.
Mr. Elbegdorj said the prosecution of the corruption case against former President Enkhbayar Nambar predates this month's election by a year, and is part of a broad attempt to reduce malfeasance in the government.
"This is not a political case, this is a criminal case," the president said.
The June 28 parliamentary vote will provide the victors with sway over policies at the heart of Mongolia's sizzling, mine-focused, foreign-investment-driven economy. Mr. Enkhbayar had hoped to run in the vote, but last week he was deemed ineligible to stand for one of the 76 parliament seats because of the probe.
International mining and other companies pumped $4.6 billion into Mongolia last year, more than half the size of the economy, which itself is on track for a second straight year of above-17% growth, according to figures from the International Monetary Fund.
But analysts say corruption is a threat for Mongolia, especially as they see policy-making grow increasingly nationalistic. A law passed last month, for instance, is designed to limit foreign investment by requiring special approvals for majority stakes in sectors including resources, finance, telecommunications and media.
Mr. Elbegdorj suggested the investment caps in the investment law will be felt mostly by government-backed companies, such as those based in China, and that the policy has broad support. "If they come to Mongolia, if they would like to buy some shares, there are some limits. For other foreign investments or other sectors, there is a big open door," he said.
The president said he worries the corruption case against his predecessor is beginning to damage Mongolia's "high image" as a nation that shares values with the U.S. "All our international allies actually encouraged us to fight corruption. Fighting corruption is tough," he said.
Yet, he said international opinion about the case has been shaped too much by Mr. Enkhbayar's media-savvy family and the accused's "sideshow in order to avoid justice." Last month, a hunger strike by Mr. Enkhbayar to protest his prosecution prompted widespread international expressions of concern about Mongolian democracy from the U.S. and others.
The president added, "I actually urge the world community to follow the trial carefully and consider facts that are laid out and avoid rushing to judgment until the evidence is publicly presented in a court of law."
He said Mr. Enkhbayar's case has been pursued for about a year and should have been concluded long ago, but that the former president refused to cooperate with investigators. He said it is one of about 20 major cases now being prosecuted.
Mr. Enkhbayar denies allegations he profited in office and says his arrest in April and the relatively limited scope of charges against him suggest prosecutors found little problematic from his years as president, prime minister and speaker of the parliament. His trial was postponed for a third time on Tuesday and is scheduled to resume next week.
Mr. Enkhbayar remains a popular figure in Mongolia. Winning a parliament seat would likely have made him a powerful broker in any governing coalition, and a contender in next year's presidential election. A seat also would have provided immunity from prosecution.
Outsiders say whatever the facts are about Mr. Enkhbayar's actions, they are critical of the process.
"You can't build an anticorruption process on a bunch of politically driven and flawed steps," said Mark C. Minton, who served as U.S. ambassador to Mongolia from 2006 to 2009. "The way they handle this case is important. It's an indicator of how they will proceed."
President Elbegdorj Ups the Ante
June 9 (Forbes) The international coverage of former president Nambar Enkhbayar's treatment by the current government and the General Election Committee of Mongolia has clearly rattled President Elbegdorj. He has issued a series of comments defending the government's actions and reaffirming not only the charges logged against Enkhbayar, but also imploring Mongolia's democratic allies to recognize the he is supporting due process of law in Mongolia.
President Elbegdorj's comments are defensive, to say the least. His purported commitment to rule of law, governing transparency and the sanctity of human rights has been directly challenged by Enkhbayar's imprisonment and subsequent treatment by the government. It is not often that Amnesty International takes up a case that does not reflect a legitimate abuse of human rights and, as you will recall, they issued a public statement in early May calling on Mongolia to respect Enkhbayar's human rights. Amnesty International's exact words were that Enkhbayar's detention "appears to be arbitrary" – an important signal that Enkhbayar has not been treated fairly throughout this process.
If President Elbegdorj is so concerned about his, and Mongolia's, reputation as a free, democratic society then it is in his best interest to let Enkhbayar and his son stand in the upcoming elections. While he is correct that corruption plagues far too many of the world's developing countries, he has inaccurately placed the blame on Enkhbayar.
It is clear that international support for Enkhbayar and, most importantly, for democracy in Mongolia is affecting the administration. It is therefore crucial that we continue in this effort and work to ensure that Enkhbayar is allowed to participate in the parliamentary elections on June 28th.
A Deeper Look At President Elbegdorj's Statement
June 9 (Forbes) Earlier today I posted an article on President Elbegdorj's comments vis-à-vis Nambar Enkhbayar's trial and emphasized the importance of the international community's role in pressuring the Mongolian government to let Enkhbayar and his son stand in the upcoming elections.
There are three further points that I would like to raise about Elbegdorj's statement which demonstrate that his comments are not only inaccurate, but selective and hugely misleading.
President Elbegdorj's statement makes much of the alleged independence of the Electoral Committee that rejected both Enkhbayar and his son's candidacy. It does not mention that the cause of the decision of the Electoral Committee was pressure from the Prosecutor, who is a government appointee, and by the Court itself which is charged with trying Enkhbayar. The final decision came as a result of "clarifications" from both these two bodies – a clear breach of the principle of separation of powers and the presumption of innocence.
The statement says that the cause of Enkhbayar not being able to stand in the upcoming elections is "due to the pending criminal allegations against him." What Elbegdorj fails to mention is that neither the Constitution nor the law bar people that are standing trial from contesting elections as long as they have not yet been convicted. With Enkhbayar's trial not set to start until next week, it is likely that there will not be a resolution before the June 28thelection, not to mention the presumption of innocence.
And as to the statement that Enkhbayar has had unfettered access to lawyers, Enkhbayar has still not received all the evidence against him which he is entitled to see. None of these documents were delivered to him before the end of May and between May 31st and June 3rd he was delivered 30 (out of 50) bundles of evidence.
When considering the above information, it is quite clear that Enkhbayar's corruption trial and subsequent ban from standing in the parliamentary election is politically motivated. As the most significant political challenge to President Elbegdorj, he has every reason to want to keep Enkhbayar in the courtroom and off the ballot.
Statement from IAAC
Ulaanbaatar, June 6 (Independent Authority Against Corruption) --
On December 12, 2010 resident of Chingeltei district, 6th khoroo, former director of "Urgoo Hotel" LLC, J.Enkhjargal, made an appeal to the Police. Investigation was made based on the appeal where Criminal Case number 21047331 was established on December 21, 2010, following Article 150.3. of the Criminal Code.
Also, Case number 21147024 was established on January 20, 2011, based on the offense of violating others' right to own through fraudulent means and the appeal made by L.Selenge made on "Ulaanbaatar Times" newspaper regarding illegal privatization of publically owned industrial ground, following Article 148.4 of the Criminal Code.
The above cases were integrated in Criminal Case number 21147024, and jurisdiction was established under the Investigation department of the Independent Authority against Corruption and Economic Crime Investigation Department of the State Investigation Authority on November 9, 2011 by the Resolution of the State General Prosecutor on the grounds of conducting investigation and establishing regulation jurisdiction. Accordingly, a joint investigation team was appointed which investigated the case and on April 26, 2012 N.Enkhbayar was accused with charges as stated in Articles 150.3 and 263.2 of the Criminal Code.
On October 19, 2011 N.Enkhbayar was issued subpoena as stated in Article 150.3 of the Criminal Code on the grounds of existing evidence for accusation of criminal charge as stated in Article 35.1.5 of the Criminal Procedure Law. However, he was informed of the type of crime he is accused of, but failed to testify during investigation, as did his attorneys.
During the investigation, N.Enkhbayar was called for testimony several times as stated in Article 143 of the Criminal Procedure Law of Mongolia, however without any justifiable excuse he didn't come to testify. For instance, the subpoena was issued directly to him twice and on June 9, 2011 he signed as a proof of receiving the subpoena, and on November 23, 2011, he refused to sign. Also he was called for testimony through the Governor of his residential Khoroo, but still failed to testify. N.Enkhbayar and his family members of legal age refused to accept the subpoena delivered in person.
After the investigation process and result thereof, as well as evidence documents were submitted to the concerning prosecutor and the Court for review as stated by the law, Order number 119/c of Sukhbaatar District Court Judge on April 12, 2012 was made, allowing detention of the suspect. During the process of fulfilling what's stated in the said order, N.Enkhbayar resisted the process and went under the protection of his political party members and followers.
Furthermore, suspect N.Enkhbayar locked himself in his residence, located inside the gate of the Academy of Management in 11th Khoroo of Khan-Uul District. His party members and followers prevented our staff from entering into the building, as a result, arrest and detention was made impossible.
Even though the relevant decision was informed to him and asked him to show respect for the law, he informed in person not to follow the order.
On April 26, 2012 N.Enkhbayar was called at the testimony office for the purpose of informing him of his charge as a suspect, as stated in Articles 150.3 and 263.2 of the Criminal Code. However, he didn't come out of his residence, moreover, he refused to listen to the Resolution which charged him as suspect, or the explanation of his rights as a suspect and he also refused to sign his refusal to sign on the criminal procedure record.
The investigation of the criminal case involving N.Enkhbayar was completed and the case was transferred to the Capital City Prosecutor's Office on May 7, 2012.
WORKING GROUP OF
INVESTIGATION DEPARTMENT OF
THE INDEPENDENT AUTHORITY AGAINST CORRUPTION
Senior police officials sentenced
June 8 (news.mn) The trial of four senior police officials held in a courtroom of detention 461 midnight on June 7.
The court sentenced to former Chief of General Police Office, major general, Ch.Amarbold, the head of the Patrol Department, colonel Sh.Batsukh 6.6 years, to the Metropolitan Police Authority, Mr. O.Zorigt 5.6 years, to the the head of the Public Discipline Department, lieutenant colonel, G.Ganbaatar two years in prison.
They had been accused for abuse of power and giving order to fire during July 1 incidents in 2008. But the court showed the mercy Ch.Amarbold, Sh.Batsukh by sentencing them to just 3.6 years, to O.Zorigt 2.6 years. And according to a law of mercy G.Ganbaatar get off with no sentence. An attorney for major general, Ch.Amarbold said that he will appeal.
Activists might be sentenced up to 10 years
June 7 (news.mn) Head of the Movement United for Rivers and Lakes Ts.Munkhbayar (Mogi: winner of 2007 Goldman Environmental Prize) , Ongi River Movement`s N.Tumurbaatar, S.Sambuu-Yondon, Khuder gol movement`s N.Bayaraa`s trial began in Songino-Khairkhan district court today.
But the trial put back because one of the defendants N.Tumurbaatar had surgery. N.Tumurbaatar went into surgery after he was stabbed in the abdomen on May 16. Even the surgery completed successfully, it was necessary to have surgery again last week.
They are accused of willfully destroying the property of another by shooting machinery belonging to Puraam, Centerra Gold mining companies operating in Tunkhel village of Selenge province on Sep 2 in 2009. According to Article 153.2 of Criminal law criminal proceedings started on the case. Primary court which held April 16 in 2011 sent back the case file to investigation. If the court proves they are guilty, they will be sentenced up to 5-10 years in prison or forced to do public services or fined.
2770 Overseas Mongolians Vote for the Parliamentary Election
June 12 (news.mn) Mongolians who lives and studied abroad voted for election last Sunday. According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry 2770 Mongolians voted. The General Election committee said total 130 thousand Mongolians currently lives and studied abroad.
By the new Election law Mongolians first time vote for the election in abroad. But they to vote only for political parties not for individual candidate.
A sealed voting list to deliver to the General Election Committee before the June 28.
R.Burmaa: We cannot simply count on the belief that the law is good and the public servants would take care of the election
June 11 (news.mn) An interview with the Head of the Center for Voters' Education, Mrs. R.Burmaa
The Center of the Voters' Education touches on subjects relating to election fraud. What's your take on the new Election law?
Several renewals have been made in the new law. It's plausible that the regulation of responsibility has been improved through this law. For instance, in the previous elections, voters' name lists would be tampered with, but specific regulation is put to use in this regard in the new law. I should probably state an example of how the voters' names were meddled with in the past. In 2004, the Parliamentary as well as Citizens' Representative Hural elections were held only 4 months apart. However, over 130,000 names of individuals who participated in the election were missing in the list. By looking at this, the Parliament added that many voters' name. on the other hand, over 130,000 names were eliminated in the provincial election. Number discrepancy increased to amount 236,000. In this regard, we conducted a research on citizens' registration and information. For instance, only 1/3 of the names registered at Selenge province were real individuals.
Where/which authority compiled the list of voters? Is there a way to re-check recount the names in the list?
The voters list is provided/compiled together by the provincial/capital city Governor's office, National Statistical Bureau and Citizens' Registration and Information Center. The list provided by these 3 organizations show a discrepancy ranging from 100,000-220,000. Let me give you a specific number. A re-check was conducted in 2007 in Selenge, which included 92057 individuals, of which 30021 showed violation. 11983 had address violation, 347 didn't have national ID document, 22376 didn't officially get themselves transferred, and 3236 were dead but wasn't eliminated from the voters list. Also, in the capital city, a re-check involving 850,405 individuals was conducted. 73603 of them had ID document violation, 25274 had address violation, 3289 didn't have any ID to provide, 17519 didn't get themselves transferred and imprecise address 34962, double registration 7659, 1047 dead but didn't get eliminated from the voters list. What can be concluded from this is that the election was fraud, using so many names.
What is the number of votes concerning win vs. loss?
In the 2000 election in Selenge Province, winners had only 54 votes more than the losing side. I mentioned before that there was 3236 non-eliminated dead. Thus, the main factor influencing election results is the faulty list compiled. In the capital city, the difference is even lower. For instance in the 2008 election, Khan-Uul had 5, Chingeltei 152, Bayangol 122, Bayanzurkh 470 votes diference. Due to such a little difference, civil society members established a NGO geared at monitoring the election, named, "Civil society for fair election" network. Voters' Education center also cooperated with it. One of the network members, Philantrophy Dvelopment venter monitored Bayanzurkh district starting in May27, 2008. In other words, the organization re-checked the 47354 names provided by the General Election Committee. Result of the checking showed 17266 of the names weren't even registered at the voters list. They also found out fraud on creating nonexistent streets, buildings. Even one household was recorded as having 18 members living together. When they go to the location, there's no one there. Officially registered voters amounted to a mere 15411. What can be concluded from here is that the real number of voters is 1/3 of the names provided in the list.
Was this fraud and discrepancy in numbers reported at the time to the appropriate organization?
In 2008, we informed the General Election Committee. But the committee didn't fix the problem, in fact it made it even worse.
How did it make the situation worse?
Official letter was provided to the media from the General Election Committee stating that voters not included in the voters list can give a vote. Because of that, over 48,000 individuals were added in half a day at the capital city, Erdenet as well as Darkhan cities. Due to this unorganized situation, citizens used fraudulent stickers and gave votes at several different places. In Sukhbaatar district, Citizens' Registration and Information center staff themselves were caught using fake stickers on people's national ID. What is witnessed here is that the political power holding organization used the public servants and conspired with the General Election Committee and held seriously fraudulent election. 48,000 is enough to meddle the election result. At the time, the General Election Committee was called at court, which was proven guilty after 1 year. Actually re-election should have been held in Chingeltei district and other districts where fraudulent election was held. But since the court decision was made 1 year after the incident and since Members of the Parliament had already sworn to office, the case was dismissed. The Mongolian People's Party awarded the Head of the General Election Committee with a title as CEO of "Erdenet" Mining Corporation, instead of penalizing him.
The leverage for conducting fair election was electronic ID. However, it got to be not able to be used right before the election?
The Election Law states that the voters list is verified to be accurate and that only the Citizens' Registration and Information center would compile and provide the voters list. In order to do so, all citizens were rte-registered through a new registration process. Official photo, finger print, signature and residential address were recorded and verified. And the law states that the votes should be made using a smart ID using the information saved electronically. Unfortunately, the Minister of Justice & Internal Affairs, Mr. Ts. Nyamdorj, used excuses which prevented the use of electronic ID's in this election. However, holding a fair election is still possible if we follow the law, double check the voters with their finger print, and have third party monitoring team. In other words, because a pre-prepared third party monitoring group would be working, it prevents changes in the voters list. If a change is made, the offender shall be held responsible as it is considered a criminal offense. Besides this, there used to be such a violation where the votes were transferred from one person's name to another's. Because of this, the election result was changed depending not on the people's actual vote, but on the preferences of the vote counters.
In this election, voters' votes will be counted using an automatic machine. You were in the working group which would test the machine.
The machine is independent of human interference and gives out the vote result in a matter of minutes. Previously, vote counting was done at night, now it will be conducted in the day time where monitoring team is watching. There were a few flaws in testing the machine however. If a mark is made on the voting sheet, the machine doesn't recognize it. Fraud seekers could mark the sheets so that those votes wouldn't count. The law states invalidation of the vote if extra markes are made on the voting sheet. Therefore, it's important to warn the citizens not to make such marks on the sheet. In order to regulate the situation, the General Election Committee made faulty regulation, which states that the voting sheets shall be checked for extra marks after the voters have made their votes. This would result in an obvious disclosure of the votes. Therefore, I hope the General Election Committee will withdraw this regulation.
The new law will hold citizens responsible. What's your take on this?
Before, voters only had the right, now they have responsibility as well. it's a very good regulation. For example, if a party member attempts to obtain votes in an illegal manner and the offense is witnessed by a citizen, he/she will be rewarded for informing of the offense, by providing the proof to the General Election Committee, which then will provide the citizen ten times the amount promised by the offender. But voters must be sure not to blame an innocent person. Therefore, we're appealing to hold a fair election with the help of the citizens. Also, the opportunity for NGO's to partake in and monitor the election for the first time. Also, due power/right was granted to pre-trained staff who'd work at the election posts. Citizens must not sell their votes. If such an attempt is observed, the offender will be arrested for 7-14 days. During the previous elections, political parties distribute news via the media blaming with contempt each other. This is also regulated by the new law.
So, are you saying if the law is implemented properly, the election will be held fairly?
Yes. But we cannot simply count on the belief that the law is good and the public servants would take care of the election. Democracy is defined not by the virtue of the people, but by that of good mechanism. In other words, monitoring must be very well conducted both inside and outside. In the capital city, there's a high probability that many public servants are reliant on the same political party. Some even are used to meddling with the votes to have their party win the election because it's that party which appointed them at their job. First of all, they will be excluded from public service and second, they will be penalized for committing a criminal offense. The voters and citizens also need to be alert on such account.
Cockpit4u gets Mongolian training approval
June 12 (Cockpit4u ) As first non-Mongolian type rating training organisation Cockpit4u Aviation Service has been approved by the Civil Aviation Authority of Mongolia (CAAM).
With this new TRTO authorization in place, Cockpit4u can now deliver approved Type Rating Training and Train-the-Trainer program´s leading to the issue of a CAAM Type Rating and Type Rating Trainer approval.
Dennis Pilz, CEO with Cockpit4u comments: "We are very pleased to have worked closely with CAAM and MIAT Mongolian Airlines to successfully secure this TRTO approval in Mongolia and we look forward to continue supporting the airline in the provision of high quality airline pilot training on Boeing 737 in the future". With this milestone Cockpit4u continues the growth strategy in Asia.
Cockpit4u is a leading provider of training services to the aviation industry and is set to become the most comprehensive and independent training organization for airlines and individual pilots. Its services cover the complete spectrum from Type Rating, SFI/TRI training and a wide range of airline related cockpit crew training on Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier aircrafts.
Cooperation with Mongolia to get a boost
June 8 (China Daily) China expects to strengthen tangible cooperation with Mongolia in various fields including mineral resources exploitation and financing, President Hu Jintao said on Thursday.
Hu made the remarks during talks with visiting Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj, who was in the Chinese capital to attend the SCO summit.
Rich in coal, gold and copper, Mongolia, with a population of less than 3 million, has ridden a mineral boom that is expected to more than double its GDP within a decade.
Hu told Elbegdorj that he hopes both countries will elevate their cooperation while "promoting the triad of cooperation on mineral resources exploitation, infrastructure construction and financing".
Hu also noted that trade between the two neighbors rose sharply after Beijing and Ulan Bator established a strategic partnership last year.
China is now Mongolia's largest trading partner and its largest source of foreign investment.
Bilateral trade stood above $6.3 billion in 2011, an increase of 84.3 percent compared with the previous year.
Mongolian exports to China reached $4.37 billion, accounting for 91.3 percent of Mongolia's overall export volume, according to Mongolian official figures. The exports to China mainly include coal, copper ore, iron ore and crude oil.
To further develop the ties, "politically, the two countries should continue deepening mutual trust and grasp the overall direction of the ties from a strategic height and a long-term angle", Hu said.
Beijing appreciates Ulan Bator's attitude of putting relations with China as one of the priorities of its foreign policies, the Chinese president said.
Elbegdorj said the strategic partnership has served as a "milestone" while his country is committed to friendly cooperation with China for the long run.
He also congratulated Beijing on successfully completing its term as the SCO's rotating presidency from 2011 to 2012 and said Mongolia is happy for the development of the organization.
Mongolia, with India, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, is an observer state in the SCO.
A spokesperson for the Mongolian president said in Beijing on Thursday that Ulan Bator also expects to learn from Beijing's experience in desertification prevention and control.
Many measures that China has taken on sand control have proven effective, and the green coverage area continues to expand, the spokesperson said.
Mongolia is eager to introduce its neighbor's experience to its Gobi Desert area, according to the official.
Elbegdorj, noted for delivering on promises to put the environment at the forefront of policies, is among the six winners of the United Nations' Champions of the Earth 2012 award.
The Mongolian president said his formative years as a Mongolian herdsman living close to nature helped shape his sustainable outlook.
China, Mongolia provide each other development chances: Hu – Xinhua, June 7
Chinese vice premier meets Mongolian president – Xinhua, June 7
Mongolia, China hold conference to promote bilateral economic cooperation
ULAN BATOR, June 8 (Xinhua) -- A China-Mongolia economic and trade conference opened here Friday to promote bilateral economic cooperation.
The event, jointly organized by the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and China's Inner Mongolia International Trade Promotion Association, was aimed at providing a platform for cooperation between Chinese and Mongolian enterprises.
Present at the gathering were representatives from dozens of large state-owned companies from Inner Mongolia, including Baotou Iron and Steel Group Company and Inner Mongolia Electric Power Group, which introduced their development plans and the programs they intended to implement in cooperation with Mongolian enterprises.
China-Mongolia trade amounted to 6.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2011, accounting for 56 percent of Mongolia's total foreign trade.
Mongolia's Khaan Quest 2012
June 6 (The Diplomat) This summer, Mongolia will host a number of countries for its annual gathering devoted to strengthening international cooperation and interoperability on peacekeeping initiatives abroad. The exercises, labelled "Khaan Quest," have been held every year since 2003, and were initially started to bolster a regional approach to counterterrorism.
Last summer, the Mongolian Armed Forces (MAF) and the U.S. Pacific Command conducted a significant joint-training exercise during the gathering. However, the guest list has grown dramatically over the years, and no longer is a cluster of the G-8 and its regional allies. Khaan Quest has organically evolved into a defense gathering between Asia and the West rather than merely "Mongolia and friends." This year, the exercise will see representatives from China and India as well as a host of developing nations such as Vietnam and Cambodia.
Sino-Mongolian relations have improved under the tenure of Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj's both economically and politically. Despite this, defense and security cooperation with China is still a sensitive issue for Mongolia, which appeals to nationalist political bluster. China's participation in Khaan Quest and its annual defense consultations with Ulan Bator are upending these sentiments. China recognizes Mongolia's increased engagement with the U.S. and NATO, and is anxious to act as hedge and second avenue for the Mongolian government.
India has also taken a great interest in improving its strategic hand with Mongolia. The fundamentals of this relationship are rooted in India's desire to access Mongolia's rich mineral wealth. Mongolia, in turn, is interested in tapping into India's large market share. Bolstering these shared interests is the strategic imperative for both to manage China's regional pre-eminence. India and Mongolia have committed to sending to military representatives to each other's country to learn best practices on counterterrorism and peacekeeping.
However, while Khaan Quest is becoming more infused with Asian powers, it remains a stage for Mongolia to display its strategic relationship with the United States and NATO. Earlier this year, NATO approved an Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme with Mongolia marking the formalization of a relationship that has blossomed within the past decade. Cooperation between the two is expected to focus on building up the capacity of the MAF as well as improving interoperability with NATO troops. Mongolia has been steadily improving its ties with NATO through its commitment of troops during the Kosovo conflict and its current efforts in Afghanistan. There more than 100 MAF currently serving in Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force. Mongolia also committed troops to the NATO mission in Kosovo from 2005 to 2007.
Mongolia #9 in A.T. Kearney Global Retail Development Index
Botswana (#20) Enters the GRDI Ranking for the First Time Signaling Regional Growth and the Future of Africa as a Significant Consumer Market; As Major Developing Countries Become More Competitive, Smaller Countries That Deliver New Growth Opportunities Rise in the Rankings -- Georgia (#6), Oman (#8), Mongolia (#9), and Azerbaijan (#17)
CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - Jun 11, 2012) - Today A.T. Kearney's Global Consumer Institute released the 2012 Global Retail Development Index (GRDI), a ranking of the top 30 developing countries for global retail expansion. Brazil is #1 for the second year in a row driven by a growing middle class economy, high consumption rates, a large, urban population, and reduced political and financial risk. In addition, Brazil's relatively young population and high per capita spending in the apparel and luxury sectors make this country a top destination for specialty retailers.
Mongolia: a thriving economy. Mongolia enters the GRDI for the first time, landing in 9th place overall. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that Mongolia's economy will grow 14 percent yearly through 2016, behind a thriving mining industry and China's increased demand for coal. Despite a relatively small GDP and retail market, Mongolia's tremendous growth potential and democracy present an opportunity for retailers seeking a steady base of wealthy customers and a stable political environment.
Although the population is small, wealth is concentrated. Luxury retail is rising with numerous companies developing a presence there, and boutique hotels, restaurants, and pubs expanding to Ulan Bator, as it becomes a modern city. LVMH was the first luxury brand to open an outlet in Mongolia (2009), and it was soon followed by Zegna, Hugo Boss, Cartier, L'Occitane, and Dunhill, among others. Burberry is planning to open its second store in Mongolia in a new Shangri-La Hotel complex.
Much of the population is slowly moving out of poverty and entering the ranks of lower-middle-income earners. Mongolian consumers are following Western trends gathered from fashion magazines and the Internet. As the population becomes more urban, more people are buying Western goods and shopping in modern retail formats.
To read the full 2012 GRDI Report, please go to www.grdi.atkearney.com
Mongolia Investment Congress 2012 & Clean Coal Asia Summit 2012
June 11 (EcoSeed.org) --
Event Name: Mongolia Investment Congress 2012 & Clean Coal Asia Summit 2012
Event Date: Dec. 10-13, 2012
Location: Shanghai, China
Organizer: INBC Global
Contact Name: Vicky Poh
Tel: +86 21 31750649
Fax: :+ 86 21 31750647
The Mongolia Investment Congress is China's only conference to focus on the investment, business, and finance opportunities this emerging market has to offer. Meet investors, governments, frontier funds, regulators, and many more key players at China's only Mongolian Investment Conference.
The Clean Coal Asia Summit 2012 serve as the information and networking platform for commercializing clean coal technologies in Asia and the world. We will address the most crucial issues that will determine your performance objectives in China and in the world and we strongly believe this conference will generate some valuable advices to assist you to gauge the pulse of this ever-changing industry and grasping the latest and most advanced clean coal technologies
· China's government policies in the clean energy of China's 12th five year plan(2011-2015)
· Disclose Innovation and new projects in coal gasification & Liquefaction arena
· Unfold the potential of Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) from practical experience
· Meet key coal producers and coal polygeneration companies from China, Mongolia, India
· Opportunities in Mongolia, challenges for foreign investors in Mongolia coal utilization project
Prolonged Hours for Venues During Euro 2012
June 11 (UB Post) It seems Ulaanbaatar's streets won't sleep this summer as the UEFA European Football Championships and the London Olympics 2012 are coinciding this year. Soccer fans hurry to see the matches after work with friends and cold beers.
The UEFA EURO 2012 games started last Friday night, according to the Mongolia's time zone.
Mongolian television channels, TV9 and ETV, have official rights to broadcast live the UEFA tournaments. As Mongolia has 5-7 hours of time difference from European countries, we confront difficulties to view television broadcasts and sport competitions in public places. According to resolution 8 of January 27th, in 2012 food and grocery trading stores are determined to work between 08:00am-12:00am, restaurants will operate 07:00am-12:00am, bars and pubs 03:00pm-12:00am and cafes between 10:00am-10:00pm.
However, the government has supported a proposal to let public places extend their hours during the UEFA Championship and due to tourism's high-season.
The opening ceremony of the UEFA Championship 2012 was broadcasted in APU Company's Niislel Fan Camp or Niislel Asar, located on the north of the Bogd Khan Museum. The event was attended by sports and music industry celebrities and well known political figures. Prime Minister S.Batbold, Z.Enkhbold and D.Ochirbat so on attended. Prior to the start of the match, Haranga band singer Kh.Lhagvasuren, singer T.Delgermurun, and rock alternative band, Lemons, performed along with other well known singers and dancers.
Moreover, Coca Cola Asar or the Coca Cola Tent located next to the Grand Irish Pub, Green Garden and Chinggis Palace in Khan Bogd Resort will work prolonged hours and will present the UEFA Championship.
On the Edge of Existence
June 8 (Mongolian Economy) Revisions to the Law on Corporate Governance have company leaders panicking. It has created certain anticipations for all involved. Officials and members of the business community familiar with the law have only good things to say about the amendments. They say it would benefit the economy, and incur financial development and inter communication. Now it is time to look at its implementation. Some might be surprised at how a law could be introduced so easily. Well, this is the advantage of this particular law.
Shareholding companies are obligated to organise shareholders meeting before May 1 and notify the State Property Commission and the Financial Regulatory Commission. However, this part of the law has been neglected by companies. For example, over 130 companies have not submitted information about their activities and location. But the revised law is a strong tool to use against careless directors who do not release their dividends, financial reports or call shareholders meeting.
The revision aims to protect the rights of shareholders and hold board members to their responsibilities. Shareholders meetings allow shareholders to know what activities the company is involved in and what their money is being spent on, as well whether shareholders will receive dividends. Thus, companies must arrange their shareholders' meeting before June 1 and send a report on it to the stock exchange, Financial Regulatory Commission and State Property Commission.
The topics of discussion and results of the meeting, which were previously unclear, are clearly outlined by this legislation. It states that companies have to choose their board members, and plan and budget a year in advance. Companies also have to go through an approval process for their plan as laid out by the amendments. In addition, the annual report has to be discussed by board members. Releasing audit reports and dividends to shareholders must be released as well. If not, it is something that should be addressed by this legislation as well.
A board of directors is responsible for a company's further development and maintaining transparency. However, until now board members functioned only as irresponsible managers. The old law required boards of nine members. To fill those empty seats, directors appointed relatives, spouses, and children who did not understand their role as a director. It was unlikely that any company overseen by such a body could ever be successful. The amendments have since made the function of the board more clear.
One-third of a board must be independent. A board is responsible for contracting out and analysing independent studies. Directors now also must answer to three mechanisms for monitoring that they cannot escape. Furthermore, it is not up to directors to decide who should be appointed to any position, but rather it is up to a subcommittee.
Companies have two more obligations to hold to: Its regulations must be adjusted so they meet the requirements of the new law; and they must be registered at the National Registration Authority by July 1. It would be difficult to accomplish all this while neglecting responsibilities. It has been over five months since the law was ratified, giving firms plenty of time to correct their mistakes. However, neglect can bring trouble. If a board fails to meet its obligations, members could face a fine of up to 20 times the lowest month's wage.
As of May 20, the Financial Regulatory Commission received reports from 140 companies of a total 200 registered companies. According to the law, the future doesn't look very bright for the remaining 60 companies. Officials have said that some of these 60 companies have announced their shareholders' meeting for mid May. The law requires that they be punished for the delay. However, the Financial Regulatory Commission has forgiven them and given them a chance to become more familiar with the new legislation instead. But a law is the law. Stubborn directors should not be tapped on the wrist simply because it is new.
Last year research from the National Statistical Office revealed that around 330 companies of a total 65,000 enterprisers have shareholding status. Twenty of those 330 companies are state-owned, and it is common for them to skip their investors' meeting.
Another problem is that most shareholding companies have become a family business. As D. Ganbayar, director of the National Committee of Company Governance, said, they make decisions in their own favour and ignore the interests of the shareholders. Meanwhile, minority shareholders do not have protections for their rights. In effect, they blindly allow the majority to act as it will.
State-owned shareholding companies are constantly criticised when it comes to tenders. Ganbayar said that the criticism is because companies have weak governance and an ineffective system for monitoring.
The Сaptivating Power
Enforcing the Law on Corporate Governance means improving the governance system. There could be directors who don't even understand what company governance even means. But there are companies that understand this term well, especially within the banking and financial sectors. Firms operating within this sectors have been governing with great effect, said J. Unenbat, the head of the National Committee of Corporate Governance, during the Mongolian Corporate Governance V forum held on May 9.
"Companies can gather wealth only by following the law", he said. "Corporate governance allows for this environment to exist and protect the rights of shareholders".
"Used wisely, corporate governance is a magnet for money", said M. Bold, chief executive officer of Tenger Solutions.
Newcom Group's chief executive, B. Byambasaikhan echoed that thought: "Good company governance means high responsibility and greater competitiveness".
Remicon is one good example of a company that uses strong governance. It has released shares worth MNT 2 million on both domestic and international markets while generating profits of MNT 14 billion in just three years.
"90 percent of all sectors operating within Mongolia's economy haven't yet entered the financial market", said the director of managing board of Mongolian Stock Exchange, B. Bold said. "Thus, companies have many possibilities for increasing their capital. However, the Mongolian private sector is rather new, so it needs to improve its corporate governance".
It is no secret that foreign companies and corporations have laid their eyes on Mongolia's rapidly growing economy. As the chief executive officer of the Mongolian Banks Committee, L. Tur-Od, advised, Mongolian companies have to improve their governance in order to compete with their foreign competitors. By doing so they can also increase their capital and economic output. It is high time that Mongolian companies stop acting selfishly and start investing in Mongolia by improving their corporate governance.
Oyu Tolgoi: Ticket to Development
June 8 (Mongolian Economy) Last year Mongolia's gross domestic product rose by 17.6 percent (Mogi: think it was actually 17.3%), running ahead of other developing countries in growth in just one year. Its stiff economic growth became a part of history. The Mongolian government that once sought out loans is now close to earning the status of a creditor. Even economic growth seems a common thing for Mongolians.
"Having a small economy, a capable financial sector and limited domestic savings, Mongolia needs to provide sustainable economic development by increasing its foreign investment and export resources", once said economist B. Natsagdorj.
His proposed method became reality with the Oyu Tolgoi project. When the coalition government had control of Parliament, the Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement was signed and sent on the path to the marketplace. Now it has begun to share its gains with Mongolians. The success does not end there. Have you noticed any changes since the ratification of project's investment agreement? Take a closer look at this success.
1. The Oyu Tolgoi investment agreement is beneficial to Mongolians, said Cameron McRae, chief executive officer of the Oyu Tolgoi mining firm. The stripping process is nearing its end at the open- pit mines in Khanbogd, Umnugobi Aimag, and the grinding mill is ready for commissioning. Ore will be extracted from the open mine beginning in August. Construction to an ore processing plant is 85 percent complete.
The factory was originally planned to be built within 33 months, but it will be completed in just 27 months. This time-saving action brings profits from the project closer to Mongolians. "To complete a huge construction work in just 27 months is a world record", said Cameron McRae.
2. In all social and economic sectors, the Oyu Tolgoi project is creating results. One example is the education sector. The mining company invested MNT 168 billion into an educational project to build three vocational training centres and renovate four more in seven chosen areas. In addition, in cooperation with Mongolia's ministries 1,200 tutors will be trained. Scholarships to 200 students at national universities and 30 student scholarships at international universities will be granted.
3. Ore exploitation will start in August. By 2012 the enrichment factory will be commissioned and operating at full capacity by the end of 2012. At the beginning of next year, concentrated gold and copper will be delivered to customers. This is the guideline to how the open pit mine will operate.
The mine has the capacity to extract 100 thousand tonnes. The ore will be extracted from the underground mine by the end of 2016. An estimated 20,000 tonnes a day of ore will be produced in its first year of commissioning. In later years, the underground mine is expected to produce up to 95 tonnes of ore a day, or up to three times more ores than the open pit mine.
4. The Oyu Tolgoi project began in April 2010. At that time USD 1 billion was invested and investment has grown to USD 6 billion. For expansion, construction of processing and enriching factory beginning next year will require an additional USD 4 billion, said Cameron McRae. He also noted that Oyu Tolgoi would become the third biggest gold and copper mine in the world after its completion. Currently, an estimated 10 thousand Mongolian employers are working on its construction.
5. Although Oyu Tolgoi has not yet started production, by the end of the year it will have paid USD 700 million in taxes to the Mongolian government. By 2017, that investment will have reached USD 10 billion. Following investment growth, the sum from taxes will also increase.
Oyu Tolgoi has paid MNT 250.9 billion already in taxes and fees. If the Oyu Tolgoi project had not been implemented, Mongolia's economic growth would have only reached 7 percent from 2013 to 2020. However, with the project's realisation the economy is expected to expand by an average 12.7 percent.
6. The Mongolian government possess 34 percent of the company, but it will receive 55 percent of its total profit. In 2013, the project will deliver USD 1 billion in taxes. This sum is expected to double in three years. The Mongolian government would receive USD 15 billion in taxes after five years.
At present, Oyu Tolgoi is paying royalties, added-value taxes and custom fees. In addition, it would be responsible for 50 percent of Mongolian exports. Furthermore, the government will be allotted 71 percent of cash flow, according to the cash flow method introduced by the International Monetary Fund (This excludes the incomes from initial profits, with consideration to minimum profits).
7. The International Copper Association predicted that market copper demand would increase by 40 percent, or 27 million tonnes, by 2020. The International Energy Association said that China would build up to 5 million new buildings and construction projects in the next five years. It is an advantageous market opportunity for Mongolians.
"It's important that the Oyu Tolgoi project is close to big markets such as China and India", said McRae.
8. Oyu Tolgoi has purchased MNT 1.7 trillion worth of products and services from local suppliers. Currently, over 1,000 local companies operate as suppliers to Oyu Tolgoi. Every day, MNT 10.4 billion is spent on project construction.
The Vice President of the Barilga Corporation, Sh. Erdenebat said "It is an honour to be one of Oyu Tolgoi's suppliers. Our business has expanded".
Furthermore, the company released credits worth MNT 1.5 billion through Khan and Golomt Banks to support small business enterprisers in Umnugobi Aimag. It is high time to appraise all these economic successes. It is unacceptable to blacken all the accomplishments and profits we had until now. Each and every growth effort is a ticket development.
THE NUCLEAR ENERGY AUTHORITY DENIES "NUCLEAR WASTE IS TO BE DUMPED IN MONGOLIA"
June 14 (InfoMongolia.com) In connection with the spreading of a rumor and misinformation that "Nuclear waste from foreign countries is to be dumped in the Mongolian territory" though several media, the Cabinet of Ministers' got familiarized with the activities been carried out by the Nuclear Energy Authority of Mongolia at the meeting that took place on June 13, 2012 .
The Cabinet laid duties upon the Mongolian Nuclear Energy Authority to release an official statement and organize effective and well timed action to provide civilians with accurate information on government policy on radioactive minerals exploration, usage of nuclear energy and activities been implemented and carried out.
"A rumor on nuclear waste dumping in Mongolia is truly baseless, thus it shall not be politicized", said the Prime Minister S.Batbold during the meeting.
Following the given duties, the authorities of the Nuclear Energy Authority called a press conference today on June 14, 2012,
where they have appealed the public and media not to leak inaccurate information, no to do brainwashing and mislead public thoughts as Mongolia declared itself to be the nuclear waste free country on its constitution.
Can Nuclear Energy Solve Energy Shortage?
June 13 (Mongolian Economy) The use of the nuclear energy in the field of medicine, agriculture, industry and energy sector has become popular globally. The researchers remind that it brings high economic profit.
Mongolian Economy enquired Academician S. Enkhbat about the current use of the nuclear energy, its global trend, and possibilities to use the nuclear energy in Mongolia.
In your opinion, why it is necessary to use the nuclear energy in Mongolia?
First of all, our country has a big reserve of the uranium, which is the fuel of the nuclear power stations. Also the energy use is being drastically increased according to the population growth and economic development. However, our power stations lack in capacity to supply all this tremendous needs. Due to our study, starting from this year, the capacity of the power stations will be reduced on energy supply. This means the shortage of the energy in the Central Heating System. Thus, Mongolia is faced with the issue to use the nuclear energy in order to develop the clean energy system in the future. The nuclear energy plays a significant role by its safe operation, modern technology, and cheaper price. Mongolia has approved the Nuclear Energy Programme in 2008, and started its implementation. The programme consists of three phases. Within its framework, the Surveys about building a nuclear energy stations were conducted. Also the calculation of the technical economic dates for the "Smart" reactor was done. Now the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy, Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism of Mongolia, General Intelligence Agency, Centers for Technology and Nuclear Study Institution are working on this project. In general, worldwide is accepted that the use of the nuclear energy is a solution for the energy shortage.
Which results have you gained from the project of building the Nuclear Power Station?
Based on the energy policy and planned energy consumption, we have prepared the calculation of the volume of the energy supply, needs, export possibility, and the percentage of the nuclear energy of Mongolia up to the year 2035. Moreover, we have selected the three potential location places for building the large Nuclear Power Stations. The places are: Bayantal in Gobi-Sumber province, Bayanjargalan in Tuv Aimag, and the territory of Darkhan Soum in Khentii Aimag. The smaller Nuclear Power Stations are planned to be built in the vicinity of Taishir hydropower station in Gob-Altai Aimag, to supply the Western regions with electricity.
Can uranium reserves of Mongolia fully supply the power stations to be built in the future?
The reviewed reserves of the uranium in Mongolia is 74 thousand tonnes, with a hypothesis of 1.5 million tones. Mongolia will explore the uranium located at Gurvan Bulag, Dornod, Khairkhan, Kharaat, Dulaan Uul within the coming three years.
Mongolia: Herders Caught Between Cashmere and Climate Change
June 6 (Eurasianet.org) Batogoo Dorj is a nomad in southern Mongolia's Bayankhongor Region who makes his living raising cashmere goats. Each spring, Dorj can shear about 300 grams of the valuable, downy wool from each of his 350 goats. Those voracious and sharp-hoofed animals are contributing to the desertification and climate change that is reducing Mongolia's available grazing land. Yet for Dorj and thousands like him in Mongolia, short-term necessity is eclipsing long-term sustainability.
Cashmere wool is one of Mongolia's most prized animal-product exports. The second-largest cashmere producer (after China), Mongolia accounts for 28 percent of the world's total supply, according to the Mongol Cashmere Association. The wool brings around $180 million annually into the country. For the 36 percent of Mongols who still adhere to a nomadic lifestyle, cashmere is often an integral part of their livelihood.
"Eighty percent of our income is from cashmere. It's the money we earn now [in the spring] that we rely on for the entire year -- to send our kids to school, to stock food, repair things," says Dorj.
It wasn't always so. The reliance on cashmere is a market-driven phenomenon that first gained momentum after communism's collapse in 1991. Cut off from milk and meat buyers in the former Soviet Union, the herders turned to raising cashmere as one of the only profitable activities available. And without collective farms to manage the animals, individuals began keeping larger flocks, causing the goat population to swell from 5 million in 1990 to almost 20 million by 2009, according to government statistics.
Goats now comprise almost half of Mongolia's total livestock population, and the population explosion has caused environmental stress, evidenced by overgrazing, pastureland degradation and desertification. At the same time, volatile international cashmere prices have pushed many herders to keep larger flocks as a hedge against falling prices. This year, prices dropped 29 percent to 50,000 tugriks (about $37) per kilo. "It's very hard to plan for the year ahead because the prices are always changing. So many herders keep more animals as insurance against fluctuating market prices," says Dorj.
Changing weather patterns are also prompting herders to keep larger flocks. A severe winter, known as a dzud
, in 2009-2010 led to the deaths of over 9 million animals.
Overall, though, temperatures seem to be rising steadily. In 2009, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) declared that annual average temperatures in Mongolia have risen by 2.1 degrees Celsius over the last 70 years. The agency also reported a 30 percent decline in surface water over the past 15 years, adding that 90 percent of Mongolia is at risk of becoming desert. (Currently around 17 percent of the country's landmass is desert.)
While the UNEP is calling for efforts to balance the number of livestock with pasture capacity, many herders balk at the proposition. "Everything is dictated by the market. With cashmere prices falling this year and growing inflation in the country, it's difficult to convince herders to decrease their number of animals, especially goats," said Battur Jigjiddorj, an epidemiologist with the Bayankhongor State Veterinary Support Services who advises herders in the region.
María Fernández-Giménez, a rangeland specialist and associate professor at Colorado State University who has been observing environmental trends in Bayankhongor since 1994, believes that if there is a demonstrated market for "sustainable cashmere," herders might change their practices. She envisions herders breeding fewer, but higher-quality goats and participating in monitoring to certify their products as organic and fair-trade, which would fetch a higher price for the wool.
"Since the last dzud more herders are talking about the need to increase the quality of their animals rather than increase the quantity," says Fernández-Giménez. The challenge for herders is a lack of access to quality breeding stock. Moreover, they would need to find a market for the finer wool.
Dorj said he's ready to make the trade, but the final decision comes down to money: "It's only if herders can earn a decent livelihood that they can start thinking about the environment."
June 11 (Mongolia Today Blog) Dalaibuyan BYAMBAJAV. Graduate School of Letters, Hokkaido University, 2012. "Mobilizing against Dispossession : Gold Mining and a Local Resistance Movement in Mongolia" Journal of the Center for Northern Humanities, 5: 13-32.
Civil society scholars and practitioners have long been curious about the mechanisms that enable ordinary people to take collective action in conditions that normally would present little opportunity of emergence and sustenance, be it local or global. It was the same kind of intellectual curiosity that led this research to examine a local resistance movement in rural Mongolia, which emerged in response to the threats imposed by gold mining.
With its coverage of extensive surface and expansion into new territories, gold mining activities across the Mongolian countryside since the late 1990s have presented a significant challenge to the livelihood of Mongolian herders. Mining expansion has threatened the environmental, material, and cultural bases of the livelihood of herders (Tumenbayar 2002; High 2008; Dierkes, in press). Local herders in Mongolia, whose living environment has been affected by mining activities, have rarely complied with such disturbances without opposition. Local resistance movements emerged in response to mining-related environmental problems and livelihood risks since the early 2000s in Mongolia presented in part a societal defensive reaction to the destructive mining activities.
However, the majority of the local resistance movements have not been able to produce sustained collective action or community-based struggles. Even though, both academic and popular writing about mining, mobile pastoralism, and environmental management in Mongolia have discussed the role of local resistance movements, there is a lack of understanding of the actual staging ground of local collective action. What are the contradictory trends that facilitate or undermine local resistance movements? What forms of organization and collective action repertoires are available to local citizens in Mongolia?
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The Demon of Deforestation
June 11 (UB Post) According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, only 7% of Mongolia is forested. Between 1990 and 2000 Mongolia lost an average of 81,900 hectares or 0.65% of its forest per year. Between 2000 and 2010, Mongolia lost 13.1% of its forest, or around 1,638,000 hectares. (Mongabay.com)
Deforestation is one of the biggest problems facing our world today. However, it is not the first time our world has faced this colossal problem. According to one of the oldest and longest myths in the world, the Gesar myth, it has happened before. The Mongolian version of the Gesar myth teaches that in ancient times there was an epic battle between the tenger, or sky gods. At the end of the war, the god Khormasta (Master-Over-Evil) destroyed his enemy, the god Ataa Ulaan (Red-Envy), by cutting him into nine pieces. The head of Red-Envy became the demonic dragon, Araatan Chutgur (Beastly Demon), which tried to devour the sun and moon. The neck of Red-Envy became the demon Gal-Nurma-Khan (King of Fire and Ash). The right arm of Red-Envy became the beast Orgoli (Deforestation). The right arm of Red-Envy, when it fell to earth, landed in Mongolia. It was a gargantuan beast which devoured all the trees. That is why Mongolia has so few trees to this day. On and on the myth goes, but we shall stop there, because this article is about deforestation.
Nowadays, it appears that the demon of deforestation has spread out all over the world. Not only are trees disappearing in Mongolia, but in every country in the world. We often hear about the world's rain forests disappearing, either to produce lumber or to make way for farm land. Yet, for the first time in recorded history, we have reports that we are losing trees for reasons not yet fully understood. They are not dying from forest fires. They are not dying from being chopped down. They are dying on their feet, just dying for no apparent reason.
Jim Robins, in his book, The Man Who Planted Trees, wrote about a man named David Milarch, who is cloning the "champion trees of the world" and planting them all around the USA. So far, he and his helpers have planted 20,000 baby trees around the USA. The reason for this project is because millions of trees have died from the Mexican border all the way up into Canada. They suspect that the causes may include climate change, insects, and disease. The climate these days is hotter and drier in America. This means that insect populations and bacterial infections are on the rise.
For all animals on this planet, this presents a colossal problem, because trees use carbon-dioxide. When the trees are gone, the amount of carbon-dioxide in the air increases. This causes atmospheric warming. It's a vicious cycle, and it's only getting worse.
Linda Moulton Howe reported in May of 2012 on Coast to Coast AM radio broadcast that this phenomenon has reached epidemic proportions. Some trees are on the verge of extinction, like the oldest trees on the planet: the bristlecone pine trees. "Either humans are going to finally 'get it' and they're going to move forward trying to support life on this earth, …or we're going to sink into our own destruction," said Linda Moulton Howe.
Many countries around the world have an arbor day, when people are supposed to get out and plant trees, but from my experience, very few people actually participate in such activities.
On the other hand, Mongolia recently has instituted two, not one, two national tree-planting days: one on the second Saturday of May and one on the second Saturday of October. Mongolia may be the model for the world with its "One tree for every person" movement. The idea has caught on quickly. Many school children around the country are organised each year to plant trees. For instance, this year, Orchlon grade 6 and grade 7 students went to Zunkharaa, Mongolia to plant trees. A hundred students planted hundreds of trees over a five-day period in May 2012. Such efforts are laudable. However is it enough? Will it save the planet? Will it save us?
According to the Gesar Myth, the sky gods held a council to decide what should be done about all the problems on Earth caused by the war of the gods. The chief of all the gods, Etsege Malaan (All-caring Father), told Master-Over-Evil that since he had caused all the problems, he must fix them. He must go down, incarnate into a human body, and fix all the problems that he had caused on Earth. Just then, Master-Over-Evil's second son, Bukhe Biligte Baatar (All-Gifted Hero), stood up and pleaded with the gods to send him instead, for it would be better if his father remained as leader of his family in the sky. The gods all agreed and All-Caring Father acquiesced. So, it was that All-Gifted Hero was born of a virgin princess. His Earthly name came to be Gesar, and he became King. To make a very long story short, King Gesar was a benevolent king, who saved all humanity from the mess that his father had created when he chopped Red-Envy into nine pieces.
This time, however, things are different. We humans have created this problem ourselves. Perhaps, therefore, it is of no use to expect the gods to save us from our own problems. Linda Moulton Howe is convinced the lack of living trees is now a global problem, not just a Mongolian problem or an Amazon rain-forest problem. People all over the world need to get into the act before it's too late. We need to plant trees, and lots of them, all over the world. The simple fact is that trees keep our planet from overheating. They prevent erosion. They provide habitats for thousands of endemic species which could go extinct without the trees. They give us oxygen to breathe. Tree hugging is not the answer to the problem. Planting trees is the answer.
Investors wary of polls
June 11 (Oman Daily Observer) MONGOLIA'S mining boom has transformed the former Soviet state into one of the world's hottest economies, but an uncertain political outlook before parliamentary polls is making foreign investors wary.
With huge untapped reserves of natural resources in the form of coal, copper and gold, and economic growth of 17 per cent last year, Mongolia has become a major draw for foreign investment.
But most of Mongolia's 2.7 million people remain desperately poor, despite the expensive cars that now crowd the streets of the capital, Ulan Bator, where property prices are rising by 25 to 30 per cent a year. The government now faces mounting pressure to grab a larger stake of the resources ahead of parliamentary polls on June 28, and investors have placed new projects and deals on the back burner as they await the result.
A new law that requires parliamentary approval for mining contracts for all foreign investments worth more than $76 million has added to the uncertain conditions for overseas companies seeking to work in Mongolia.
But the Foreign Investment Law (FIL) has not been tested yet, and foreign miners are eager to see how it might affect business arrangements.
"The laws here are still forming, so for now, Mongolia is on watch mode," Sardor Koshnazarov, head of research for Eurasia Capital, said at a recent coal mining conference in Ulan Bator.
"After elections we should have more clarity on laws and the FIL. If more transparent rules are in place, and if laws are perceived as being open to foreign investment, then overseas corporations will look at Mongolia again."
The government, led by the Mongolian People's Party (MPP), is slightly behind in the latest polls to the Democratic Party — both support the FIL — and the vote promises to be close.
The victors will inherit a government that is seeing increased revenues from mining and foreign investment and will need to steer the country through a critical period when its biggest ever infrastructure projects come online.
The landlocked country wedged between China and Russia peacefully shook off communist rule in 1990, and the first democratic elections were held in 1992, but the MPP has remained in control for most of that time.
The new government will also need to juggle an increasingly complex geopolitical role as Mongolia's regional neighbours and allies in Europe and the United States vie for a slice of its resources.
Last year, Mongolia overtook Australia as the leading supplier of coal (Mogi: coking coal) to its resource-hungry neighbour China.
The government has opened up the country's resources to outside investors in the hope of pulling thousands out of poverty, and the international mining industry has poured money in.
Foreign direct investment quadrupled last year to nearly $5 billion, according to government data, encouraged by liberal foreign ownership laws.
The country now accounts for around 40 per cent of China's coal imports and its exports of the commodity have risen from four million tonnes in 2008 to a forecast 28 million tonnes this year.
Early Ideas and Reflections on the Atmosphere Surrounding the 2012 Elections
June 11 (Mongolia Today Blog, University of BC) I have been in Ulaanbaatar for about 3 weeks now and from some informal conversations with teachers, past advisors, and friends I have come up with some general, almost anecdotal, observations. While these are not through in depth study or surveys, I have relied on several Mongolian-language news articles in addition to other more casual conversations.
1. The Mongolian People's Party is in a bit of an identity crisis. The change in name from the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (Монгол Ардын Хувсгалт Нам) to the Mongolian Peoples Party (Монгол Ардын Нам) is just one example of how the MPP is increasingly torn between tradition and reform. Just after the official candidates were announced, but before they were required to register in their respective voting districts, PM Batbold wished his party good luck, stressing two things in particular. Firstly, that this is a party with certain traditions and that they would stand by those traditions. Secondly, that despite this strong connection to heritage and tradition, the MPP was also a new party with new ideas and new policies to put forward.
I can't help but recall the old nickname that the MPP had, back when it was still the MPRP: Ах Нам (The Big-Brother Party). (Mogi: I think it was actually Mах Нам) This was the traditional party that led Mongolia for over 60 years, this age and experience made them not only trustworthy but inherently respectable as the elders of the nation. Today's MPP has to appeal to two very different electorates: the older supporters who will stand by their party based on tradition and perhaps some idealized, nostalgic memory of the old-communist system; and, Mongolia's younger voters, who are going to look for a fresh political agenda to support their interests. It seems to me that these two groups have interests that are not easy to effectively co-address. Still, the MPP recognizes that it must begin to appeal to the new demographic reality of the country. Another side of this uncomfortable position between tradition and reform is apparent in the creation of a new political party, using the MPP's old name: The Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, originally lead by Enkhbayar, but now focusing on some other, less scandalized politicians in coalition with the Mongolian National Democratic Party (МYАН: Монгол Үндесний Арчилсан Нам). Indeed, the MPRP-MCDP coalition's slogan, Шударга ес (with possible translations being justice, fairness, and loyalty), challenges the MPP's claim to tradition.
As a more general note, I will say that in the center of the city the MPP seems to dominate the skyline, with far more campaign posters, billboards, and banners; however, as you leave the center of the city, they are casually overtaken by the DP. One Mongolian friend mentioned that this was because the center of the city has historically been strongly democratic and the periphery more MPP-leaning, so the more materials the weaker the party is in that section of town. This is a casual observation, but useful when trying to get a more general feel of the election.
2. Support for Enkhbayar in Ulaanbaatar is limited, despite disproportionate international concern. I have yet to talk to a single Mongolian, who is unhappy with the arrest of N. Enkhbayar. While it is imperative that we wait until the results of a fair trial to make the final judgment, no one I have talked to so far thinks he is innocent. Indeed, politicians as rich as Enkhbayar and his family rarely are very clean. However due to an excellently managed and funded PR campaign (Хар PR, depending on who you talk to) Enkhbayar has managed to convince an international audience that his arrest is completely politically motivated and that it is a sign of the crumbling of Mongolian democracy. I argue otherwise. Instead, I say that the ability to pass an Anti-Corruption Law and organize an Anti-Corruption Agency capable of going after the usually untouchable ex-politicians is a sign that Mongolia's democracy has never been so strong. The trial will ultimately be conducted according to nation-wide standards in line with the legal code of the country. In this way, I find this issue to be ultimately up to the Mongolian people and am disturbed by the international press and Senator Dianne Feinstein's support for such an unpopular politician.
3. Ultimately, elections everywhere are about legitimacy. Mongolia's political legitimacy will be largely based on how the government manages Mongolia's unprecedented growth and whether everyone will be able to enjoy the benefits of this growth. In reality, any government, whether democracy, or autocracy, or authoritarian must be able to deliver "the goods". China's Communist Party's legitimacy is wrapped up in its ability to develop and lead the country; Putin's support network is based on a huge increase in the quality of life across Russia and simply being better than his predecessor, Yeltsin.
Yet, democracies have the additional concern of making sure that they can address almost every concern their constituency might have. Keeping this in mind, Mongolian political legitimacy will be based not only on developing the country, but also whether or not the government can manage the growth in a way that benefits as many Mongolian's as possible. In the city elections, for example, major voter concerns are going to be air quality, the beautification of the city, traffic/infrastructure, and the ger districts. In the national elections, more general concerns will probably dominate the political agenda, with mining policy a likely key factor. A look at the main political slogans also revels some interesting insights. Both main parties are using a slogan that revels that they see their own legitimacy being tied to the quality of life of its population. The Democratic Party's Хүн шиг амьдаръя, Улс шиг хөгжье (Live like a person, Develop like a country) and the MPP's Эх орондоо сайхан амьдарцгаая, are very similar. The campaign might come down to which party is seen as more capable of spreading the country's new found wealth across the populace.
4. This election still has some logistical concerns to overcome and the combination with city elections might prove problematic. The decision to combine the City of Ulaanbaatar elections with the national Ikh Khural elections remains unclear to me at this time. I am not sure exactly how this is suppose to simplify or improve the electoral process at all, indeed, it seems an unnecessary complication. Additionally, I wonder if it doesn't complicate the campaigning process. For example, the current mayor of UB is quite popular, even with voters that are do not usually support his MPP party. One has to wonder if this might affect swing voters' decisions on whether to offer more support to MPP outside of the city elections, in a show of support for Munkhbayar. It will be interesting to see how it ultimately plays out. Continuing concerns about voter registration and the disbursement of new ID-cards also complicate the process.
Bumpy Roads, but Heading in the Right Direction
June 10 (Mongolia Today Blog, University of BC) Elections not only determine the fate of governments, but they are also potential milestones in democratic development. With the closing of election registration on June 6, 2012, the campaign for the Mongolian national parliament (Улсын Их Хурал) opens officially. Because of the arrest of N Enkhbayar, former prime minister, chairman of the Ikh Khural and president, a number of observers (Jonathan Manthorpe in the Vancouver Sun, Morris Rossabi in East Asia Forum), have voiced pessimism about the fate of Mongolian democracy. To the contrary, the upcoming election promises to be more carefully organized and transparent, and public discussions of corruption may well strengthen democracy further.
For years, most Mongolians have assumed that their political leaders are corrupt. This has been reflected in anecdotal discussions as well as in survey data and the resulting low ranking in Transparency International ratings. This perception of endemic corruption has cast a dark cloud over Mongolia's potential for economic and political development. Yet, corruption has not been a serious topic of public discussions or election campaigns in the past.
The arrest of Enkhbayar and several provincial governors this Spring not only hints at the manipulation of public perceptions by all actors involved, but makes corruption one of the main issues on which this election will turn. The veracity of particular allegations against individuals will have to be determined by the courts. In the meantime, the General Election Commission has rejected Enkhbayar's nomination as a candidate. But the mere fact of public attention to corruption increases the potential for more transparent governance and provides a deterrent.
Mongolian election laws assign significant authority over the organization of the election to the General Election Commission. The Commission has adopted electronic voting, and has been much stricter in its enforcement of registration requirements for voters as well as candidates, and has placed a new emphasis on conflict-of-interest concerns.
Canadian company Dominion Voting Systems is providing electronic voting machines to be used in the election. 1,839,984 eligible voters will receive biometric identification cards that will be used to verify their residence. (Mogi: new IDs were issued only to those who lost their IDs, due to issues with contractor) The two large, two smaller, and several minor political parties contesting in the election have been required to submit their platforms and to nominate candidates for new proportional representation party lists and majoritarian electoral ridings.
In addition to a 20% female candidate requirement, candidates cannot be active public servants. Candidates also have to comply with stricter conflict-of-interest declarations that include information on family members and business interests. Three current MPs from different parties had thus been initially rejected by the Electoral Commission because of irregularities in their income reports.
The separation between elected officials and public servants has been enforced on the basis of recent legislative changes.
The Election Commission is implementing some innovations such as the opportunities for Mongolians living abroad to vote, though this has been hampered by a requirement for in-person appearances at embassies abroad limiting the number of voters to 2,500 out of over 105,000 Mongolians living abroad. For the first time, not just international organizations, but domestic civil society is also being invited to monitor the election, partly in a bid to stave off the political violence that followed the 2008 parliamentary election.
The road to a further institutionalization of democracy and thus a stable political context for economic development is a bumpy one for Mongolia. With limited policy-making capacity, the government is called upon to address numerous challenges. However, democratic legitimacy may be the firmest ground for that road to be built on and the preparations for the upcoming election are pointing in the right direction.
Mongolia: corruption arrests and new investment laws as elections loom
Authors: Julian Dierkes, UBC and Bill Rafoss, University of Saskatchewan
June 8 (East Asia Forum) Politics is heating up in Mongolia as the country moves toward a parliamentary election scheduled for 28 June 2012.
In April, former president Nambaryn Enkhbayar, the current leader of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP), was arrested on corruption charges. He was subsequently released on bail after prominent members of the international community, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, intervened. The MPRP, along with eleven other political parties and two coalitions, are vying for control of the Ulsyn Ikh Khural, Mongolia's parliament. In related developments, Mongolia has unveiled new foreign investment laws that will undoubtedly become a central topic in the election campaign.
Enkhbayar was arrested due to his refusal to participate in an investigation into corruption during his time in office, which ended in 2009. While in detention, he went on a hunger strike, which his supporters say became life-threatening. But after Enkhbayar was released on bail, recordings emerged that showed clearly that his arrest was not a surprise at all, and that he was quite healthy during a relatively comfortable detention period. Perhaps some of the prominent North Americans that campaigned on his behalf, like US Senator Dianne Feinstein and Pulitzer-prize winning author Nicholas Kristof, were taken in by letters from Enkhbayar's family and supporters spuriously comparing the plight of the Mongolian politician with Ukraine's Yulia Tymoshenko. Enkhbayar's trial on three corruption charges was set to begin 24 May, but has now been postponed.
The MPRP had been so negatively affected by the persistent corruption allegations that last year party members under the leadership of current Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold dropped the 'Revolutionary' from their party name and became the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) instead. In response, Enkhbayar re-registered the former party name and rallied his supporters. His arrest may cause him — or may have been designed — to attain an aura of martyrdom, especially among voters in rural Mongolia. Fearing a split vote, the MPP has signed a formal coalition agreement with the MPRP to stop their main rivals (Mogi: this is not true), the Democratic Party, from taking control of the parliament — a very concrete possibility since the Democratic Party won the presidency in 2009 under Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj. A showdown is in the making.
Two further issues will influence the election outcome. First, Mongolia amended its election laws last December to ensure proportionality and gender equality in the election campaign. This has given smaller parties, like the Civil Will–Green Party, new hopes of an electoral breakthrough and has presented a challenge to incumbents as they jockey for a high position on the party list. Second, the extent to which Mongolians should benefit from recent mineral development in the country continues to be a central issue.
A new foreign investment law identifies various 'strategic' sectors, including mining. The law establishes a maximum ownership threshold of 49 per cent for deals with transaction volumes over 100 billion tugriks (US$76 million). Investment valued over that sum will be subject to review by the government. The law has a much lower threshold for foreign investment by state-owned entities.
It is no coincidence that this law was introduced less than three weeks before the election campaign officially began on 7 June. The new law tightens Mongolia's very liberal foreign-investment laws (established in the 1990s on advice from international organisations such as the World Bank), which were designed to encourage just such mineral development. But some Mongolian politicians believe the incentives have served their purpose and are no longer needed, given the attractiveness of Mongolia as a mineral exploration and production location. Others believe that a higher royalty structure will help pull many Mongolians out of poverty.
These political developments have made Mongolia the subject of significant international attention, especially given its strategic location between China and Russia. The 2012 election promises to be an exciting race, from start to finish.
Julian Dierkes is Associate Professor at the Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia.
Bill Rafoss is a Sessional Instructor at the University of Saskatchewan.
Picking the Best: Flaws in Mongolian Voters
June 8 (UB Post) Being elected in an administrative position is a long and difficult task. Being charismatic, energetic, convincing and having a great smile are among the most basic requirements. Although this could be a bit pessimistic, some even say being a good liar is one of the biggest requirements to becoming a competitive candidate in an election.
In Mongolia, there are further requirements for an official. For example, having absolutely no Chinese blood or having an excess amount of campaign financing to 'advertise' themselves in the midst of the politically and socially under-educated Mongolian people. In Mongolian democracy, the psychology of the voters plays a very important role while running for an official position. It is held within the very understanding and comprehension of politics and society by the people.
The politicians themselves know what the majority of the people want. The fact that political promises are cash handouts rather than women's rights or the actual enforcing of the 'long-named' law illustrates the short-termed desires of the voters. In a way, we can see that the majority of the voters would like to receive cash handouts to spend until the next handout (contributing to the unemployment rate) instead of ensuring the safety, prosperity and wealth of future Mongolian generations.
Granted, the two parties currently in charge of the Mongolian Government are fulfilling their promises for the Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi stocks and cash handouts. No doubt the handouts stimulate the economy but also increase or keep the unemployment rate in the same state because people can in fact live on the monthly donations. This would discourage them from seeking jobs as the Government is paying them monthly cash for being Mongolian.
The lack of knowledge and skill in choosing a leader in a democratic environment could be chalked up to the youth the democracy of Mongolia. Since it is difficult to know the intentions of the politicians beyond the promises that are rarely kept, there are other ways the public can be taken advantage of by recognizing the fact that politicians themselves are also as inexperienced as the voters.
The tradeoff is that there are ways voters can take advantage of young politicians. Live TV broadcasts for example, can be very effective in showing who is who. This method was colorfully illustrated in the 2009 Presidential election, where Ts. Elbegdorj brutally took over and publicly - if I may say so - humiliated N. Enkhbayar during a discussion. This live TV broadcast proved that Mongolian politicians are in fact a bit inexperienced, and N. Enkhbayar's preparation was obviously unsatisfactory. Whereas in more democratically developed countries, live TV shows involving a politician turn often more into a battle between attacking and defending very vague, indirect and generally ineffective discussions between hosts and politicians. This overall benefits the politician and not the people wanting to know more about the politician.
So to show more of the politician to the Mongolian people with basic political and social knowledge, a live TV discussion for presidential runner ups is definitely a must in the next Presidential election and between the parliament candidates as well.
I will not say we have made wrong choices before, but Mongolian voters definitely need to consider several more factors and keep in mind the future of Mongolia when voting. If you care about your country, look further into and consider your candidate more carefully, based on not just their campaign ads, ethnicity, local background, rumors and published books, but research into them yourselves; the future of Mongolia is in our hands, not the Government's.
Development as Creativity, Courage and Tradeoffs
By Paul Sullivan, Georgetown University
June 12 (UB Post) There is a famous Victorian Era poem written by William Ernest Henley. The last two lines of the last stanza are these:
"I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul"
Mongolians can be the masters of their fates and the captains of their souls in the development of their country.
I heard much during my time in Mongolia about how much influence some countries and neighbors have on the country. I also heard much about the influence certain major corporations have on the country.
However, Mongolia is the country of the Mongolians.
India, Brazil, many African states, even the countries of the former Ottoman Empire, and China were subject to extractive colonialism by great powers of the past.
The same was the case for the United States. Until the US gained independence in the late 18th century the British taxed their tea, quartered soldiers in citizen's houses without asking, took lands, and took some young men into the military in less than voluntary circumstances. The British also cut much of the trade of the then colonies with much of the rest of the world. They also took some of the best natural resources at much lower than international prices at times.
India was under the increasing control of the East India Company from the early 17th century until just after the Sepoy Rebellion in 1867. It was a corporation, a joint stock company, for most of its existence. It was set up to exploit the resources of India for the UK, but mostly for the very wealthy stockholders of the company. After 1868, the British Crown took over control of India, but the purposes still remained. India was a colony of the Empire. The Indians gained independence in 1947.
Brazil was mostly a Portuguese colony from 1500 to about 1815, when it became part of The Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. Most Brazilians speak Portuguese and have Portuguese names. Brazil was also an extractive colony for the Portuguese even when it was the seat of the Kingdom. The Brazilians gained independence in 1822.
Many African states were for a good part of their modern histories colonies of the European states, such as France, England, Germany, Spain and Portugal. Many of them got their independence in the 1960s to the 1980s. Egypt got its sort-of independence in 1922, but real independence after the rise of Nasser and the Egyptian Revolution of 1952. South Africa got independence from Britain in 1931, but from apartheid in 1994.
There are some fascinating stories of development and de-development related to these and other former colonies or those who were under the thumb of greater powers, but not exactly colonies. Some of these countries developed in very creative ways.
The story of the development of the then poor, uneducated, mostly agricultural, United States is just plain fascinating. It involved invention, innovation the development of a massive educational and technical base, some wars, expansion of territory, a certain degree of exploitation in some areas, and a lot of very difficult decisions and hard work.
It was a complex, sometimes violent, and a sometimes baffling ride to the richest country on earth from one of the poorest and least developed. Without some seriously creative thinking, such development would never have happened and the United States could have remained a small, poor country and maybe even recolonized for its vast natural resources and strategic position.
Brazil really only got on some proper tracks to development in recent decades. They too took new pathways that required statesmen and stateswomen, not just politicians, to make the hard decisions. There were also some significant changes imposed on economic laws, investment laws, education and more.
India struggled and stagnated in the time of the "License Raj" at a low growth level and a very slow increase in the development of its people until it started to apply the creativity that was always there. India still has a long way to go to get its political and economic acts together. However, the difference between the India of the time I was writing my Ph.D. on it in the 1980s and today is vast. There are still many poor people. There is still vast inequality. There is still famine and disease. However, India has come a very long way by making the hard decisions.
Many African countries held themselves back by conflict, war, corruption, and the "Big Man" method of leadership. Often these countries went from colonies to dictatorships. The dictatorships may have done more harm to these economies and their peoples then even the colonists did in some circumstances. Sadly, very few countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have made the creative leaps with lots of hard work and tough decisions that they need to move forward.
North Africa is in a state of revolutionary ferment in many countries and increasing political tensions in others. One can hope that out of the Arab Spring the creative ideas of real leaders will start to work, but right now I am not holding my breath on that one.
China took a very different route. It has been successful in many ways. China's economic development program since the time of Deng Xiaopeng has brought hundreds of millions out of poverty. Its leadership has made some very difficult decisions. The increase in the wealth and income, on average, in the country has been astonishing since I started to think seriously about China in the 1980s. China has some political, social, environmental and other issues to cope with if it is to continue on this rigorous path of change. Creativity at a different level will be required.
In all of the cases of successful economic and human development, there was serious courage involved in making the tough decisions and weighing the ethics, morality, politics, economics and more of such decisions.
No country has been perfect with this. Learning by doing and learning from mistakes along the way has often been the method of development. Accepting that there were mistakes and doing something about them takes real courage.
There have been tough decisions along the way, such as how much private sector to develop compared to the public sector, how much inequality to allow, and how much foreign investment to allow compared to domestic investment. Then there were the tough questions of how to tax companies and people, how to educate people, how to train people, how to trade off infrastructure development with other investments and so many more very tough decisions.
The tradeoffs are well beyond deciding between socialism, capitalism, communism or the many "third ways". The new ways to development discovered by many are more pragmatic and practical than ideological. Ideology does not put food on the table.
None of this is simple.
To do development right you need good leaders with skills to lead their constituents and the entire country to a better future. It will take creativity and courage – and the abilities of many to take hard, honest looks at the millions of tradeoffs that will be required.
It also takes a country to be a master of its fate and a captain of its soul.
Mongolia has a chance to do that.
A final note to readers:
Could readers, especially the Mongolian ones, of my column please send me questions about economic development, natural resources management and security, international trade and such issues so I can try to make this column more interactive and useful for you? Some companies and people investing in Mongolia also might want to send questions. I could answer some of these questions in my future columns.
The Mongolian Public Service
June 9 (Mongolia Today Blog, University of BC) The Mongolian public service has been criticized by political parties, businesses, and the public for being ineffective, unaccountable, and nontransparent. There are some signs of improvement, but discussions often lead to suspicions of superficiality and conspiracy. What's wrong with the Mongolian Public Service? Why do people express doubts in reform efforts?
The authority of the General Election Commission has increased than previous elections, and made decisions strictly under the revised election law and new conflict of interest law. Now the election will be organized at all levels by public servants as opposed to a mix of party officials and public servants, especially in the counting of votes. Candidates must prove their resignation from the public service six months prior to election, if they have served in the government, as well as disclose their political and business involvements in the last ten years. The courts and the police has to provide clearances. Political parties are required to explain the sources of their funding, but only for the year prior to the election.
The Mongolian Civil Service Commission seems to increase autonomy and to emphasize transparency and merit-based hiring in contrast to its heavily politicized past. These are all good developments. Mongolia has improved its law, regulations, and standards concerning the public service for several times. On paper, Mongolia now has an ideal legislative framework. However, there are three specific spoilers – political parties, business entrepreneurs, and local lobbying – that delaying 'tipping points' for enforcement of this fine legal framework.
When either of the two major political parties has achieved a parliamentary majority (DP in 1996, MPRP in 2000), each attempted to assert their influence at all level of central and provincial governments. The politicized hiring and firing devastated transitional bureaucratic institutions. Political parties even managed to take over key ministries and agencies in charge of privatization, foreign assistance, tenders, mining as well as state-owned enterprises (Erdenet copper plant, railway, airlines). Later, this party-led competition spread into judicial and law enforcement agencies – perhaps either to provide safe havens or marginalize political opponents. Today, political parties need to eliminate their postings of party-affiliated officials in the public service. And, public servants either at national government or local offices at the provinces and counties need to demonstrate their non-partisanship.
The second spoiler are business entrepreneurs. Similarly to many other post-communist states, Mongolia produced winners and losers first, from privatization, second, government tenders, and then mining projects. To gain power and authority (to protect their business interests or accumulate resources), numerous business entrepreneurs have joined political parties or run independently to the parliamentary election as well as local elections. Even today, a clear half of the candidates of any party have business entrepreneurs' backgrounds or some connections with business. The new law on conflict of interests and attempts of the anti-corruption agency discourage many to openly express their business interests, but still could not prevent them from being offered public service positions.
Finally, local lobbying groups have a very negative impact on public services. The lobbying groups, often called 'nutagyin zuvlul' (Local Homeland Councils), now play a detrimental role in parliamentary as well as local elections. Local Homeland Councils were created in the early 1990s to maintain rural and urban links and to generate supports for provinces and counties. Each council consists of and is run by influential and famous people who originated from that locality. Although their main goal is to generate support at the government and capital regions for their local provinces and counties, they are gateways for politicians and business people enter into national and local politics and business. All 21 provinces have their own lobbying councils. Negatively, these lobbying groups attempt to support their natives to gain higher positions in the government services.
To enforce Mongolia's fine public service laws and standards, influences of political parties, business entrepreneurs, and local lobbying groups must be eradicated. This needs strong political will from each party by removing party-affiliated personnel first, from the judiciary, law enforcement and auditing agencies, then, ministries and agencies, and finally, from the state-owned enterprises. Otherwise, laws will remain on the paper and parties will use the state institutions for revenge, intimidation, and opportunities, surely in rotations.
Yep, tyrannosaur is definitely from Mongolia, experts find
NEW YORK, June 11 (LiveScience) — A dinosaur skeleton auctioned in May had been taken out of Mongolia, most likely within the past 10 years, American and Mongolian paleontologists have concluded, which would mean the specimen was removed illegally.
"We have pulled a lot of them out of the ground and seen a lot of others come out of the ground, and in our professional opinion it is from Mongolia," said Mark Norell, a paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History who began working in the Central Asian country in 1990.
Norell and fellow investigator Philip Currie, a paleontologist at the University of Alberta, first announced their findings to reporters on Wednesday. Two Mongolian paleontologists also assessed the fossils and came to the same conclusion.
It is not yet clear how this conclusion will affect the sale of the specimen, the 75 percent complete skeleton of a type of tyrannosaur called Tarbosaurus that was sold May 20 to an anonymous bidder for $1.1 million on condition that the sale receive court approval.
"I have no doubt that the Tarbasaurus bataar will be returned to Mongolia," said Puntsag Tsagaan, senior adviser to Mongolian President Elbegdorj Tsakhia, following the investigators' conclusions.
The return of the specimen, which is an Asian relative of the North American Tyrannosaurus rex, not only would be a sign of good relations between the United States and Mongolia, but would send a strong message to the "bad guys, those who illegally excavate fossils and sell them on the black market," Tsagaan said. Under Mongolian law, dinosaur fossils excavated within the country's borders are state property.
Heritage Auctions, which handled the sale, has cooperated with the Mongolian investigation into its origins. On Wednesday, the auction house gave paleontologists and representatives of the Mongolian government access to the facility in the borough of Queens where the Tarbosaurus was being stored. [Up For Auction: A Natural History Gallery]
Jim Halperin, co-chairman and co-founder of Heritage Auctions, said in a statement, "It would be premature for us to comment on a paleontological opinion we have neither seen nor had time to study.
"Heritage will continue to assist the ongoing efforts to achieve a fair and amicable resolution," he added.
The whitish to beige color of the fossils and 12 specific characteristics of the bones made it clear they belonged to a Mongolian Tarbosaurus, said Tsogbaatar Khishigijav, head of the Paleontological Laboratory and Museum at the Mongolian Academy of Sciences.
The skeleton's identity seemed to ascertain its origin; Tarbosaurus bataar remains have been found only in the Nemegt Formation in Mongolia's portion of the Gobi Desert.
Not only did the characteristic light color of the bones point to a Mongolian origin, so did the reddish material in their cracks and fissures, material from their excavation site, said Currie, a paleontologist who studies Tarbosaurus and other tyrannosaurs.
The Tarbosaurus' stubby arm length was among the characteristics that made its identify clear, Currie said.
"The arms of Tyrannosaurus rex are famous because they are short," he said. "In Tarbosaurus they are much shorter." [Tyrannosaur vs. Tarbosaur: What's the Difference?]
The conclusion did not come as a surprise; Currie and Norell were among the paleontologists who previously voiced support for the Mongolian claim that the bones had been smuggled out of the country.
The poaching of fossils in Mongolia has intensified over the years, paleontologists say.
Based on his examination of the bones and his own experience in Mongolia, Currie said he believes the specimen was the subject of two rounds of poaching.
Unskilled poachers often will take the teeth and the claws off a specimen, leaving or destroying the rest, he said. This Tarbosaurus is missing most of its claws and teeth.
The rest of the specimen was removed by excavators with more skill, but even so, the job was not well done, Currie said.
"There is a lot of restoration done on the bones to make them look good, but when you look closely at it you can see there is a lot of plaster restoration towards the ends of the bone, a lot of the processes (protrusions) are broken or chipped off and gone," Currie said.
Mongolia's first priority is to get the Tarbosaurus fossils returned; then it will address the problem in general, said Tsagaan said – possibly through domestic legislation or use of its own agencies and cooperation with other nations.
Other paleontologists have been following this dinosaur's American adventure.
"I think it's good for this case to come up because one of the things that happens, a lot of fossils are being brought into this country and sold in this country and there is not too much awareness of fossil collecting laws in other countries," said Kirk Johnson, chief curator and vice president for research and collections at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. "Mongolia owns all its fossils, not like the U.S.," where people can dig up fossils on their private land and own them.
"The fact it is here means a law was broken," Johnson told LiveScience.
"Tyrannosaurus Bataar": legalized Mongolian corruption – Jargal de Facto via UB Post, June 12
It's time to stop the legal sale of illegally exported fossils – The Guardian, June 7
Beckley native assisting with fossil lawsuit – Register-Herald, June 7
Mongolia to export 150 saker falcons this year
ULAN BATOR, June 6 (Xinhua) -- The Mongolian government decided at a cabinet meeting here Wednesday to export 150 valuable saker falcons in 2012
According to a government statement, Mongolia had exported 2,700 saker falcons from 2000 to 2010 and sales in the past five years had earned the country 11 million U.S. dollars.
The saker falcon is classified as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, with a 2010 estimate putting the number at 6,800 in Mongolia.
Mongolia began exporting limited numbers in 1994, mainly to Gulf Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar.
Every year, falconers from the Gulf countries come to Mongolia to catch the falcons. Local people and environmentalists often complain the exports are reducing the number of the falcons in Mongolia.
Saker falcons are most favored by Arab falconers as raptors.
CHINGGIS KHAAN'S BIRTHDAY WILL BE NAMED " DAY OF MONGOL PRIDE"
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, June 6 /MONTSAME/ On June 5, the Cabinet meeting has decided to celebrate Chinggis khaan's 850th birthday on December 22 of 2012 in accordance with decree of the President of Mongolia.
This day will be named as "Day of Mongolians' Pride". The Prime Minister will head a organizing commission for Great Khaan's birthday celebration and required resources will be granted by the government's reserve fund.
Chinggis Khaan was born on the first day of the first month of winter 1162 or in the year of water horse of third sexagenarian cycle of lunar calendar. The President of Mongolia officially proclaimed this date by his decree, basing on a proposal submitted by the Mongolian Academy of Sciences.
UNESCO Registers Traditional Limbe For Intangible Cultural Heritage
June 12 (UB Post) UNESCO's fourth session of the General Assembly of the States Parties to the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage took place from June 4-8 in Paris. During this session, the Secretary General of the Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO, G.Jargalsaikhan, received a certificate of validation for the registeration of a long song technique in the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. The 'folk long song performance technique of Limbe performances - circular breathing' (Limbe is a side-blown flute of hardwood or bamboo) is now a protected heritage.
The original copy of the certificate was set to be kept at the National History Museum's affiliate State History Museum and the ceremony to hand the certificate took place on June 11 in the concert hall of the Mongolian National Song and Dance Ensemble. In the ceremony, Limbe performers who inherited this circular breathing technique presented their performance.
The circular breathing technique, which is a way to produce continuous tone without interruption, has formed through centuries of experience and a culture of playing the Limbe of Mongolian nomads. Skilled Limbe performers are able to blow constantly for 20-30 minutes. However, the use of this unique performance is becoming very rare, with only fourteen individual Limbe practitioners remaining in Mongolia. In fact Mongolia first proposed 'Folk long song performance technique of Limbe performances - circular breathing' to be registered on the List of Intangible Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding on the sixth meeting of UNESCO, held In Bali, Indonesia last year. Mongolia enrolled in the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2005 and since 2008 nine intangible cultural heritages of Mongolia; Mongolian Tuuli or Epic, bii biyelgee (traditional dance), traditional music of Tsuur, Mongolian folk long song, Morin Khuur, Mongolian Naadam, Khuumii (throat singing), eagle hunting, and the unique technique of Limbe performance are now registered in UNESCO. Also, the historical theatrical performance named the 'Secret history of Mongolian costumes' of the 'Mongol Costumes' center was organized during this session and the performances which express the historical culture of Mongolian traditional costumes were very well received by the participants.
Mongolian Rights Obtained for National Geographic Magazines
June 13 (news.mn) The National Geographic Society has awarded "Irmuun" publishing company of Mongolia a right to publish Mongolian version of National Geographic Kids, National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler.
First issue of magazin will launch next October. Mongolian journalists and photographer will work for Mongolian version of National Geographic Kids, National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler.
"Many things changed in Mongolia. Mongolian economy is growing. Mongolian mining sector is developing. I see a good opportunity in Mongolia. We can produce articles on Mongolian mining, on Mongolian nature and how to protect environment' said Terry Adamson, executive vice president for the National Geographic Society, who visit to Mongolia.
Mongolian Film First On Cannes Film Festival Screen
June 12 (UB Post) The 65th Cannes International Film Festival which takes place annually in Cannes, France, was held from May 16 to May 27 this year. In the festival, which ranks after the Oscar Academy Awards in reputation and range, the best works and artists participate and it is even said that it is the "place where real talent gathers together".
During the festival events that allows and supports artists and filmmaker to present their work to the participants and to collaborate are organised. This year at the festival 150 films were qualified to be screened and met the Cannes Festival qualification criteria, with Mongolian film 'Bogd Khan' of 'Deed Gegeen' Pictures being one of them. The film was screened at the movie hall of the Hotel Gray D'Albion in Cannes and the skill of actors and actresses and the film was well-received by the audience. Director of 'Bogd Khan' film and Head of Mongolian National Movie Academy B.Tsogtbayar answered few questions.
-What criteria did you have to meet to get your film shown in the Cannes Film Festival?
-Yes, there were certain qualifications required from the film to be shown in this world acknowledged international film festival. We sent our request last year. The organisation committee decide whether to give the right after checking the film thoroughly. This year over 150 films were shown in 20 movie theatres. Also being allowed to show your film also allows you to watch every movie, participating the festival. I watched many films from countries such as the USA, Russia, England, Japan, Poland and Cuba and learned where the world films level is now. Also we participated in the opening and red carpet ceremony of Russian film 'Tumany'. People don't have knowledge of Mongolia and films of Mongolia. But we still showed our film at the world film festival.
-I heard that you have received requests to sell the film?
-After the film was screened, production studios and television studio from the USA, India, South Korea, and France requested to buy it. Also we received several invitations to attend international film festivals. I have spoken to some of them made oral agreement.
-What are your thoughts on attending the Cannes festival where the best filmmakers gather together?
-I saw how the world film industry approaches things and what people are interested in. There is a space for Asian lifestyle and culture in the developed European film industry. I also realised that the skills of our actors and actresses, quality of cinematography and directing won't be rejected there. We can make films which have the potential to compete on an international level. The only thing is that we are left behind by the technology and foreign relations. If we could take advanced of modern technology and develop relations with other countries, Mongolian films would soon be on the world stage.
The screenplay of the 'Bogd Khan' film was written by State Prized writer D.Batbayar, Z.Gankhuyag worked as director of photography and O.Nyamdavaa worked as the art director. Two-time State Prized composer State Honored Actor N.Jantsannorov composed the original score for the film. Young actor Ch.Bold stared for the role of Bogd Khan in this film along with Sh.Chimedtseye (mother), B.Batsumiya (Queen Dondogdulam) and Tserenbold (Da Lama Tserenchimed).
"Mogi" Munkhdul Badral
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