Monday, May 27, 2013

[New Securities Law taking effect Jan. 1, Mongolia, Germany transport ministries sign MOU, and Dinosaur Museum-designate still in legal limbo]

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Mogi: a political mistake by MPP I'd say, just when elections are near. Expect DP to play on this.

Trial over Lenin Museum postponed again by MPP till May 31

May 24 ( The trial over the ownership of the Lenin Museum was scheduled to be held in Chingeltei District Court at 2:00 pm Thursday but was postponed until May 31th

The trial was postponed because the Chief of the Secretariat of the Mongolian People`s Party (MPP) representing the defendant, Sh.Radnaased, failed to arrive at the trial due to duties regarding the election campaign. 

This is the third time the trial over the controversial debate of the Lenin Museum ownership has been postponed. The Government made the decision to turn the old museum dedicated to Russian communist revolutionist Lenin into a dinosaur museum. The museum was built between 1974-1980 on the order of the Minister of Culture using state budget finance. 

But MPP, the former ruling party, claims it holds the ownership of the museum.  

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Ulaanbaatar, May 24 /MONTSAME/ A dinosaur park will be established in Dundgobi province. 

It was said by B.Narankhuu MP during his first meeting with inhabitants of Mandalgobi city of this aimag. 

He said that this decision has been made by the Government, a construction will start next year's spring. 

The German company will erect the park complex in beautiful natural resort "Sum Khokh Burd". 

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Overseas Market

Is Mongolia the Next Big Growth Market?

May 24 (Bloomberg) -- James Passin, principal at Firebrand Management, discusses foreign direct investment in Mongolia and how easy it is for retail investors to get involved in the local stock market. He speaks on Bloomberg Television's "Market Makers."

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Local Market

Mogi: at least we can trust Michael Kohn not to lump ETT and this law together. This law is one of many things that will need to happen for ETT to list.

Mongolia Passes Securities Law That Paves Way for Dual Listings

May 24 (Bloomberg) The Mongolian Parliament passed a securities law that removes a ban on trading of foreign shares, paving the way for local listings by overseas companies.

The new law was passed today by a vote of 36 to 12, Cabinet Secretary Chimed Saikhanbileg said in a mobile-phone text message. It will take effect on Jan. 1.

More than three dozen companies with Mongolian assets are now traded abroad. The new law will encourage those companies and others to list on the Mongolian Stock Exchange and could boost the value of shares traded on the bourse by $30 billion to $40 billion in five years, Khangai Altai, the exchange's chief executive officer, said by e-mail today.

Mongolia's benchmark MSE Top 20 Index (MSETOP) surged 140 percent in 2010. It rose another 42 percent in 2011 before tumbling 19 percent last year. This year it's declined 22 percent.

Only about 30 percent of the shares on the exchange are actively traded, Altai said.

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Mongolia passes new securities law, paves way for giant mine IPOReuters, May 24 (Mogi: a lot more needs to be done and to have happened to have "paved" the way for TT IPO)

New securities law in Mongolia cleans path for Tavan Tolgoi, May 24 (Mogi: this is what's wrong with journalism, always gotta throw in something, even if it's totally unrelated, to make the story catch people's attention, almost ashamed to be even posting this article. 90% of the article just talks about ETT, not the law and what it could for Mongolia's capital market. is not good for Mongolia)


Mogi: the final passed version of the law has not been officially published yet. Sources tell me it should happen this week and we can also expect law firms to help understand it better soon.


May 24 (BDSec) On May 24, 2013, the Mongolian Parliament approved the newly drafted securities markets law which contains numerous positive changes that would allow the Mongolian capital market to fulfill its much anticipated potentials.

Originally introduced in 1996, the current securities market law hadn't been updated since 2002 and criticized for being too narrow in terms of helping the market grow.

The new law will be effective next year or starting January 1st, 2014.

Most importantly, the law includes regulations regarding T+3 settlements, combined with custodian services. Branches of foreign custodian banks which have officially registered in Mongolia can now act as custodians, which will likely to serve as a catalyst for most of foreign institutional investors who are willing to invest in Mongolia.

The law is also important for allowing dual-listing activities for the first time. This will likely to pave the way for sizeable mining projects in the country such as Oyu Tolgoi (OT) or Turquoise Hill (TRQ) and Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi (ETT) to be listed on the local stock exchange. Moreover, brand new regulations on depository receipts will help foreign and locally listed companies to raise capital in easier ways.

We will take a closer look at the new law and issue more detailed review soon.

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NatSec Daily MSE Update: Top 20 +0.35%, Turnover 14.5 Million

May 23 (National Securities) The MST Top 20 index increased +0.35% to 13,856.68 points, as investors aggressively bought major  companies, Jenco Tour Bureau (JTB), APU (APU) and Bayangol Hotel (BNG) which collectively traded 12.6m MNT or 86.8% of the total amount of 14.5m MNT traded today.

A total of 20 companies were traded, of which 12 were A-Board 'standard companies': 5 companies went up, 5 were un-changed and 2 went down. Today's top 3 most actively companies experienced a fall in price. APU fell 1.19%  on 3.8 million MNT, RMC fell 1.69% and traded 3.7 million MNT value.  Bayangol traded at 5 million volume but was stable at 50,000₮.

Please click here to see the detailed news

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Limping Economy: The Need to Develop the Capital Market – Part II

May 26 (Jargalsaikhan Dambadarjaa via UB Post) In my previous article, I pointed out that there is a surplus of capital on one side of the river and a lack of capital on the other side. If we manage to create financial infrastructure that will serve as a bridge connecting the two sides of the river, we will be able to fix our limping economy and experience rapid development.

Then what environment needs to be formed in order to develop the capital market?

Necessary conditions

A market not only needs products, but also subjects of the economy who are willing to sell and buy those products. Securities serve the role of products in a capital market. These may include all types of stock (common, preferred, and so on), debt securities (bonds, mortgages and savings certificates), and their derivatives.

Securities markets can be divided into two groups: primary and secondary. The primary market refers to the market where securities are created, whereas the secondary market is the market where previously issued securities are bought and sold. The revenue generated by selling securities in the primary market goes to the company that issued those securities, while the same revenue in the secondary market goes to the seller.

Buyers and sellers of securities include individuals, companies and investment funds. The biggest players in the securities market are public and private pension funds, insurance companies and joint funds. The organizations that link the buyers with the sellers are called broker-dealers.

Securities can be traded online or on a stock exchange. The infrastructure of the Mongolian Stock Exchange is technically on par with the London Stock Exchange. However, when it comes to over-the-counter (OTC) trading, which includes online transactions, Mongolia needs to be cautious about its security issues.

The capital market allows huge transactions to take place in a very short amount of time. Therefore, it goes without saying that there should be laws that fully regulate the activities of entities within the market.

Sufficient conditions

An essential part of keeping the capital market efficient is the prevention of insider trading. Insider trading is the trading of a company's stock by individuals who secretly use non-public information to gain profits. The Mongolian Association of Securities Dealers proposed including clauses regulating insider trading, and its penalty, in the draft securities law. However, there have been complaints that the proposal was discarded when the draft law was developed.

For example, the Financial Regulatory Committee issued a resolution to split one Tavan Tolgoi company stock into 100 units on June 30, 2011. Nevertheless, even after this resolution was issued, a whole day was spent trading the stock at its former unit. On that day, five times as many transactions as that of a normal day took place when news of splitting the stock spread. The Financial Regulatory Committee denied the existence of a "secret trader" who knew that the price of stock would rapidly go up when it was split. It is said that the "secret trader", who exploited non-public information, gained a profit of 70 percent.

For starters, the capital market will be able to attract capital when its tax environment is the same as that of the money market. However, Mongolia does not impose tax on bank savings, but is still imposing tax on dividends that may or may not be collected. This is one of the reasons why the capital market is not thriving in our country. Furthermore, it is not the best idea to collect tax from capital gains while ignoring the lost shares of an investment portfolio.

The capital market can only operate normally when information regarding stocks is disseminated to everyone at the same time. Also, all information related to a shareholding company has to be accurate, and in order to ensure that, there should be third-party supervision that approves the accuracy of provided information. In addition, shareholding companies must produce their financial reports regularly, and the reports should be approved by a signature from the CEO or the board director. These conditions, as well as the other similar prerequisites, have to be formed in order to provide sufficient conditions for the capital market to develop.

Benefits of a capital market

Capital market development will bring about a greater amount of money in circulation and an expansion of the economy. It will also allow companies to improve their governance and raise money from the capital market. When that happens, companies will no longer be required to acquire loans, which will reduce interest rates on bank loans. Furthermore, infrastructure investments can be made as long-term capital is raised.

On top of that, the capital market plays a significant role in equally distributing the benefits of economic growth. Therefore, development of the capital market will reduce the inequality that is strongly emerging in our society today.

Mongolia is a country that benefitted from the socialist experiment, as many great changes occurred in education, health and hygiene. Our country is ranked very well in terms of literacy and the youth comprises 75 percent of our population. Therefore, we can develop our capital market a lot faster than other developing countries. Let us have our younger generation understand the stock market fully, and seize the opportunity to buy and sell shares of any company in the world using only a mobile phone.

If a high school teacher from California is able to buy Oyu Tolgoi shares through his pension fund, then how come Mongolians cannot do the same? A person who owns shares has capital, and a person who owns capital has a sense of responsibility.

If we manage to properly develop our capital market, it will serve as a shortcut to development. Mongolia can become the first country to fully realize that and rapidly develop by making the best of technological advances.

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BoM issues 1-week bills

May 24 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 106.5 billion at a weighted interest rate of 11.50 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

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Balance of Payment for First Quarter of 2013: FDI Fell 31%

May 24 (Bank of Mongolia) Quarterly Balance of Payment (BOP) report alters from the preliminary BOP report of the first three months as it is executed using (i) the data provided by the enterprises as of end of the quarter; (ii) updated data as of end of the quarter which is used on the provisional BOP report of the first three months; and (iii) amendment of the information which were not covered yet.

The execution of BOP for Q1 of 2013 produced covering the data from the report of enterprises, international trade, state budget, the information from the banking system and the balance at the foreign accounts of the Mongolian enterprises.

Main indicators:

      Current account deficit stands at US$ 771.1 million which is decrease of US$ 3.2 million from the previous year. Of which (i) deficit of international trade account of goods fell by 39 percent to US$ 235.3 million; (ii) trade of services deficit increased by 37 percent to US$ 396.4 million; (iii) deficit of income account reduced by 7 percent to US$ 166.6 million; and (iv) current transfer declined by 65 percent to US$ 27.1 million.

      Balance of capital and financial accounts showed surplus of US$ 475.3 million which is decrease of 74 percent or US$ 1387.6 million from the previous year. This is due to 31 percent decline of foreign direct investment from abroad to Mongolia, equaling to US$ 935.2 million, a share of portfolio investment decreased by 99 percent or US$ 574.3 million and US$ 400.6 million increase of other investments compared to a year prior.

Detailed information:

Balance of Payment for First Quarter of 2013

External sector statistics

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Ulaanbaatar, May 24 /MONTSAME/ Prices of all types of fuels will be reduced by 50 per cent off from the next month. (Mogi: What? 50%?!?!)

The Prime Minister said it Thursday at a meeting with the media. He also noted that the cabinet made last year a decision to do a policy regulation on quality of universities and institutes preparing teachers.

In order to increase the supply of apartments, MNT 380 billion has been allotted from the capital of "Chingis" bonds for supporting construction companies, the Premier said.

The "11 11" center, created at the cabinet for reforms, has been highly appreciated by international experts, for example, a government of Malaysia has expressed a willingness to get au fait with this center, N.Altankhuyag said.

The PM pointed out that the very first competition of launching CanSat has taken place in frames of the purpose to launch a satellite of renaissance and communication, and experts are being prepared.

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Cooler Investment Climate in Mongolia for this Summer. Why?

May 23 (Frontier Securities) There are many reasons NOT to invest Mongolia. Investors have been particularly concerned about Foreign Investment law, New Mining law and the attitude of New Government to Foreign investors as a whole. But, recently, Government has started to realize the problem and they might take measures to facilitate foreign investors to invest in Mongolia in a future. That is why we have revised down our economic forecast for this year to 6% and yet, increased the risk weight of Mongolia recently. Good news could be the launch of the New Investment Law, New Securities Law and the approval of the Government on project financing for Oyu Tolgoi etc. We believe achieving these are not that easy (especially the agreement on OT), but, these could all happen by the end of this year (Hopefully!).

However, with all these, will the "Blue Sky" come back to the investment climate in Mongolia?

In fact, we feel more positive on the policies but we are more concerned about external factors recently. 

Followings are concerns and questions about external factors.

1.    What are the outlook for major commodities that are important for Mongolia?

2.    What are the economic outlook of neighboring countries and other important nations for Mongolia ?

3.    Which Resource Rich Country is doing relatively well recently in the world and why?

In conclusion, we will explain about implications to investors in Mongolia.

Download full report in PDF format: Cooler Investment Climate in Mongolia for this Summer. Why? May 23. 2013

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Energy Mongolia-2013 International conference and exhibition

May 24 ( The "Energy Mongolia-2013" conference will begin at Diamond Hall of Blue Sky Tower while an exhibition in Misheel Expo Center today, May 24th. 

The Ministry of Energy is organizing the conference and exhibition along with the Mongolian Energy Development Center

The goal of the conference is to attract national and foreign investors to ongoing and specific energy projects, to present eco-friendly advanced technology and services and to share information. 

Mongolia's fast growing economy and growing energy demands need to be supported by authorizing energy development policy and by launching huge projects and programs in the energy sector. 

Several large projects are lined up to be launched. Currently the V Power Plant, Amgalan-15 Power Plant with a capacity of 300 MW and a Power Plant with capacity of 450 MW based on the Tavantolgoi coal deposits are to be built. 

The priority of the energy sector of Mongolia is to share experiences from the international energy sector during such a conference. 

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Campaign positions of Presidential candidates

May 24 (UB Post) --

The 2013 Presidential Election season has officially started and the candidates received their mandates to run in the upcoming election. Accordingly, the candidates have launched their respective election campaigns. What do these candidates promise if one of them becomes the President of Mongolia?

Ts.Elbegdorj: I will continue what I have started

Democratic Party candidate Ts.Elbegdorj has an advantage over the other two candidates given that he has had experience ruling the country in the last four years.  After receiving the mandate, he headed to Dornod Province and decided to start his campaign there. He is running in the 2013 Presidential Election with the slogan "Let's serve for Mongolia."

Regarding his plans and intentions in the next four years as president, he said, "We have denied each other's operations enough because of political reasons. Now it is time for Mongolians to unite and work together. Today, Mongolia is exporting its oil and receiving it back as fuel. Let's produce fuel, processing oil here in the future. Let's provide the entire country with electricity. Let's resolve the railway issue as soon as possible. Let's revive manufacturers and process mining and turn agricultural products into final commodities. We should work hard to accomplish these. We should unite. Let's not be divided because of political reasons. We are one country and we are in one team. I will continue to keep my promise. Let's unite and create, work together. I will start my election campaign in Dornod."

Bat-Erdene: I will function with preference to unity  

Candidate from Mongolian People's Party B.Bat-Erdene has launched the election campaign officially at the Central Cultural Palace on Tuesday. Opening his election campaign ceremony, he said, "I will compete fairly with pure thoughts, following my principles strictly. We have things to fix and correct as soon as possible. The political parties' interests are becoming the barrier in the improvement of our nation. The gap between the poor and rich is increasing and the national treasure (Mogi: he means mineral resources) benefits only the minority. The biggest boiling issue is corruption. I will combat corruption no matter the political party, relatives, and friends. I will combat that corruption, taking off its entire roots. Today, the political environment is decayed. Thus, I will start operating from its top." After the ceremony,  he headed to Khentii Province, where he has been elected three times before in the Parliament.

N.Udval: I will demolish the five dangers

N.Udval, the candidate from the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, will run in the Presidential Election introducing her action policy of "Five Policy – Five Missions." According to the local media, her policy targets the five main dangers that threaten Mongolia, such as on national security, national unity, national independence, the safety of a Mongolian person, and justice. Thus, she has suggested solutions to these five threats.

"Firstly, a Mongolian person should become the core of state policy. Gold, coal, copper, and molybdenum is not the Mongolian treasure. A Mongolian person is the priceless treasure of the State of Mongolia.  Thus, I will focus on the security of Mongolians in the first place. Secondly, I will pay attention to national unity. Thirdly, I will strengthen national security. I will strive to establish justice. Also, I will run in the upcoming election pursuing a policy to fortify the country's independence by economic method", informed N.Udval in her statement.

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Book: National Security Council of Mongolia- Promoting Civil-Military Relations

March 21, 2012 (Khasbazaryn Boldbat) Since the end of the Cold War, Mongolia has enjoyed a new security environment that offers both a genuine opportunity to determine its national security and unavoidable uncertainties that accompany all transitions to democracy. Entering the new environment, the nation faced an urgent necessity to form new policies to meet those uncertainties and establish adequate institutions to implement them. Mongolia, as most small nations with greater vulnerability, sees its security in the greater view of emphasizing its survival in all dimensions with the physical endurance of not being invaded by a military force on the one hand, and survival of its ethnical identity from being assimilated by outnumbered neighbors on the other. Such a broad definition of national security requires participation of all elements of the society in the security process, thus an adequate system able to manage such broad involvement becomes vital. Mongolia has successfully managed to establish a relatively efficient and complex system for national security management. The NSC is the only state institution responsible for the coordination of the nation's effort to ensure its security. However, despite the clear definition of the legal status of the National Security Council provided by legal acts, there is a persistent incorrect popular feeling that the National Security Council is a presidential institution and that the President enjoys the prerogative of orchestrating the nation's effort to ensure its security. This thesis argues coordinative functions will be more efficient if the NSC will properly maintain its independent, non-attached status, and its immediate supportive institutions, the Executive Secretary and the Office, serve as non-partisan, independent, and purely professional units devoted to serving only the interests of national security.

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Golomt Bank owners are under fierce dispute

May 23 ( Since almost a year ago, there were rumors were haunting media that Golomt Bank owners were going to split. Such rumors were extinguished instantly or removed immediately after the broke-out. from media. Recently, Foreign Minister and MP L.Bold (@boldlu), one of the major shareholders of Golomt Bank, revealed his frustration through his twitter account, publishing his lawyer's letter to the President of Mongol Bank (Mogi: I think even the Mongol Bank prefers to be called Bank of Mongolia), which clearly describes the situation at Golomt Bank and some other images of demolished office room of his representative at the bank's office.

The letter said that the bank failed to hold annual shareholders' meeting and under such case, according to the provision 59.4 of the Company Law of Mongolia "Shareholders' Meeting shall be held within 4 months after the financial year closes. If it fails the Board of Directors' responsibility ends except summoning the Shareholder's meeting." Lawyer of Bold requested Mr. Zoljargal, President of Mongolbank to use forceful measures such as "to suspend or dismiss the executive power of the bank", in accordance with the provision 43 of the Banking Law of Mongolia.

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Frontier's 7th Annual Conference: Invest Mongolia 2013

May 26 (ABN Newswire) Invest Mongolia is the longest running and the most comprehensive forum on investing in Mongolia on September 3rd – 4th 2013, in Ulaanbaatar. The conference serves foreign investors, Mongolian government, SOEs and private companies. It facilitates foreign investments in Mongolia by giving investors insight into what investment opportunities exist, while streamlining the capital raising process by connecting service providers to Mongolian companies looking to raise capital internationally.

Location: Ulaanbaatar

Start Date: Tuesday, September 03, 2013
End Date: Wednesday, September 04, 2013

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Austria to Lend a Hand in the Mounting renewable energy source

May 24 ( M. Sonompil, the minister of Energy, is going to visit Austria at the invitation of its Federal Minister of Economy, Family, and Youth, Reinhold Mitterlehner.

The counterparts organized a meeting yesterday to have a word about the economy and the energy sector of Mongolia, majorly on the issue of renewable energy. In the course of the meeting Minister Mitterlehner, talked about the ongoing situations of Austrian economy and they also stressed on the willingness of the country to develop two country's friendship by encouraging collaborated cooperation and by the initiation of other economy-oriented projects.

Minister M. Sonompil, who is also the Chairman of the Mongolia-Austria Intergovernmental Commission, communicated Mongolia's interest for the Austrian government to think again on its verdict to grant Mongolia 40 million EUR in soft loan.

This was discussed in the 4th intergovernmental commission meeting held in year 2010. He also mentioned that at that time, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), was marked for making an investment in the projects and programs in health, energy, and infrastructure with that loan amount.

He also proposed about the launch of a project to develop a power plant using the hi-tech and advance Austrian technology.

The Austrian Minister honored the proposal and stressed that both the sides should grant proper amount of attention to the expenditure of the soft loan for gaining maximum benefits from same.

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May 24 (InfoMongolia) At the invitation of Federal Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs Peter Ramsauer, Minister for Road and Transportation of Mongolia Amarjargal GANSUKH has attended the International Transport Forum 2013 being organized in Leipzig, Germany on May 22-24, 2013.

The Forum is organized under Funding Transport theme, where numeral topics were discussed including Innovative Transport Funding, Taking Stock of Public-Private Partnerships, Attracting Private Finance and Ensuring Predictable Funding, Linking Networks: Funding Cross-Border Transport as well as Global Fuel Economy Trends.

In the frames of attending the Forum, Minister A.Gansukh met with his counterpart Mr. Peter Ramsauer and held bilateral talks with CEO of Deutsche Bahn AG Rudiger Grube, where parties signed on newly established Memorandum of Cooperation between the two Ministries on May 23, 2013.

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Interview with Maria Leissner, Secretary-General of Community of Democracies

May 22 (Mongolian Economy) Maria Leissner was elected Secretary General in April, 2012, being the first Secretary General of the Community of Democracies. Prior to that, she was Sweden's ambassador-at-large for democracy, and led the Community's Working Group on Governance that proposed its recent reforms.

How would you explain democracy in a very simple way?

The simplest way to explain democracy is being able to change the government through voting, without violence. Democracy is a possibility to have a new government if you didn't like the old one. In some countries, even though elections are being held often, the choices of the majority are not fulfilled. In that case there is no democracy.

If you don't like the people who govern you then you should be able to throw them out through your ballot paper.  

What criteria does the Community of Democracies ask countries to fulfill for membership? What are the main guidelines?

First of all, we require the countries to be true democracies, not just using the word democracy. The countries should have all of the things that belong to democracy such as a free and independent press, a multi-party system and freedom of expression, of course.

Secondly, for the meetings of the Community of the Democracies, we invite a very large group. We also invite countries that know they have a lot do to before they become full democracies. But for the governing council, we include countries that have said that democracy is a part of their foreign policy and they want to cooperate with other countries, pushing for democratic issues and supporting others. In short, we require a commitment in order to have countries in the governing council of the Community.  

Mongolia is said to have a young but strong democracy. What is your opinion on that assumption?

I won't make any evaluations or judgments. I am from Sweden, myself. And when I look at my country, there is still so much to do. In Sweden certain situations, such as issues about the minorities or churches, being more dominant than the other is still upsetting to see. These kinds of issues are the ones that you constantly need to keep reforming.

My view on democracy is that the journey never ends. Sometimes there are uneven problems to be fixed. I assume being such a new democracy, Mongolia has so much on its to-do list than other countries with ripe experience of democracy. However, it is important to keep moving and to have a culture of democracies where healthy debates and criticism are accepted. However, sticking to the rules of the game is important so that power is not abused.

I must say that I am very impressed by Mongolia and its development towards democracy. Yet, the country has still a long way to go.  

The empowerment of women and involving youth as well as having civil society establish a true democracy is something that has been discussed here quite a lot. Do you believe these ingredients are present in Mongolia?

I believe very much in the young generation. I think that in the entire world, including Mongolia, young people will not accept not being a part of a society. They have access to the media. They know their rights and know their rights to ask such standards. For that reason I trust the young generation; that they will continue to make changes.

Now, when it comes to women, I am more concerned. Not only in Mongolia, but generally. They are not at all represented in a democratic way. They are being excluded. Men are very often being elected and given more opportunities to positions only because they are male.  

Sometimes it is necessary to have laws to increase women's involvement and representation in politics as well as in the society. An informal agreement is an alternative too. In some countries, for example, in Sweden, where I have experience from, an agreement within my party is we shall have no less than 40 percent of each gender represented in parliament and in other positions. Other countries have chosen to go for quotas.

I think that Mongolia would need to do either one of these two to increase the number of women, not only in parliament but also in other prominent positions in society. I would say in Europe so many countries still do not have women representation in politics, so this is a global problem.  

How would you forecast the democratic future of Mongolia? Do you think Mongolia would be able to set a great example of a true democracy?

As Mr. Tsagaan, the chief of the President's Office, mentioned in his presentation during one of the plenary sessions, Mongolia has a rich experience of democratic transition.

I think this is what we need to offer from the Community of Democracies to new countries such as Myanmar. They need to listen to how other countries went through transitions, what problems they encountered and what mistakes they should try not to repeat. This is perhaps the most valuable thing that Mongolia can share with the rest of the world. 

The next country set to host the ministerial forum is El Salvador. How does the Community choose the organising country? What impression has Mongolia given you and the Community after hosting this year?

We try to have a regional rotation. Then, also, it is the countries that are interested. It is a competition, an election on which country wants to take this on.  

Then we have a few to choose from and we select the one that we think would be best suited for leading the ministerial forum.

In this sense, Mongolia had a couple of things that were important to being selected. First, Mongolia has a strong interest in democracy, in its foreign policy. It restored democracy in an excellent way, so it was natural for Mongolia. And its interest showed its qualities in leading the Community of Democracies. Also, I think that Mongolia is the only country in the world that has added development goal number nine [of the Millennium Development Goals] to its development goals, which is democracy. It is also a good example of democratic leadership.

Now we will turn to El Salvador, which has quite recently gone through a transition. And it is very committed to democracy. So I believe that there will be an equal amount of engagement from El Salvador during the next two years, which we had from Mongolia.  

What are some of your concluding thoughts on Mongolia's contribution to the Community of Democracies and its hosting for this year's forum?

I am very happy and pleased by how the forum has processed. The stay was a possibility for an exchange of experiences between societies and ministers. It gave what we have wanted to do; a possibility for all the different actors, not just governmental representatives, in the democracy to be able to meet.

The point is to find a piece of the puzzle called democracy. I am particularly pleased that the architecture of this event was designed to meet all the above.  

Last but not least, how would you encourage Mongolian citizens, women and young people to actively involve themselves in democracy?

Don't expect others to ask to dance. Take the initiative. Power is never handed out by those who sit on it. Power is to be taken. Democracy is reached by fighting with political instruments such as debating, arguing and pushing towards a goal. Take your space.

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Social, Environmental and Other

Yokozuna Hakuho wins 25th title to tie Asashoryu record

May 26 (The Asahi Shimbun) Yokozuna Hakuho drove out Mongolian compatriot Harumafuji on the closing day of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on May 26 to capture his 25th Emperor's Cup and complete the 15-day competition with his second-consecutive perfect record.

In the match before at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan, ozeki challenger Kisenosato hit the dirt for the second time, making Hakuho's final win anticlimactic.

The victory brings Hakuho to a tie with former yokozuna Asashoryu, another Mongolian, who garnered 25 titles before his retirement ushered in the age of Hakuho as the dominant man in the sumo ring. Hakuho has now won 30 bouts in a row, and after dispatching Harumafuji (11-4), he vowed to keep his streak going when sumo's best return to the ring in Nagoya two months from now.

"I'm very happy to win in Tokyo for the first time in two years," Hakuho said. "Kisenosato had a good record and that pushed me to work harder. I am hoping for his continued success."

Unbeaten and tied with Hakuho until the 14th day, Kisenosato was crushed down to the dirt by fellow ozeki Kotoshogiku to finish his tournament with a loss. Kisenosato's defeat made Hakuho's final bout a formality as far as the title was concerned, since with two losses, Kisenosato could no longer hope for a comeback shot in a tie-breaker. Kotoshogiku had an 11-4 record.

"To be honest, seeing him lose took some pressure off me," Hakuho said.

Even so, Kisenosato demonstrated some very impressive sumo over the past 15 days.

Had he won the championship he would have been the first Japanese wrestler to achieve that honor in seven years, so he has a lot of hope resting on his shoulders in the months ahead. But with two losses and no title--he has never won a championship--talk of him becoming a yokozuna is premature. To get the final promotion, wrestlers generally need to win two tournaments in a row, and that is an extremely rare and difficult task.

In another ozeki duel, Bulgaria's Kotooshu won his eighth match and will continue to fight at that rank. He defeated Mongolia's Kakuryu, who had been a contender until Hakuho took him down on the 12th day. He lost every one of his bouts after that, and finishes with a 10-5 record.

Sekiwake Goeido slapped down No. 8 maegashira Tokitenku (10-5) for his seventh win. The sekiwake regular and ozeki hopeful was clearly off his form this tournament, and his losing record could actually send him down a notch come July. He is nevertheless one of the most promising wrestlers in the top rungs and--barring any big injuries--has a lot of room to grow.

Okinoumi, a new addition at komusubi this tournament, closed out with a win, throwing down fellow komusubi Tochiozan, but he had a disastrous debut and is heading back down into the rank and file. He had only four wins, while Tochiozan had six.

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World's Best Ecolodges: Three Camel Lodge, Mongolia

(National Geographic) At the edge of a volcanic outcrop providing bright morning vistas across Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park, Three Camel's 50 gers (yurts) appear more like a herders' village than a lodge (above). "Our approach has always been to embrace the culture," says owner Jalsa Urubshurow. "Local artisans crafted the roof of the main building without using a single nail, according to the tenets of Mongolian Buddhist architecture." The lodge funds a range of conservation efforts, including replanting more than 6,000 native trees and shrubs to help prevent desertification. Hiking, exploring paleontology sites, and bird-watching fill the days; later the chef's open kitchen offers cozy meals such as steamed meat dumplings while the sun gives way to night skies brimming with stars. 50 rooms; from $350, including full board.

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