Tuesday, August 27, 2013

[CHP5 tender awarded to GDF/Sojitz/POSCO/Newcom consortium, FRC delists 57 stocks from MSE, and BoM 1-weeks drop to ₮855B from ₮1.07T]

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Overseas Market

Wolf Petroleum Director Jason Peterson Adds Stake On-Market

August 27 (Cover Mongolia) Change of Director's Interest Notice released today revealed Wolf Petroleum Limited (ASX:WOF) Non-Executive Director Jason Peterson acquired 700,000 shares on August 22 for A$32,050.20, or 4.5786 cents per share on average, bringing his total shares in control to 11,985,000 shares or 4.58% of total shares.

Link to notice



August 26 -- Xanadu Mines Ltd (ASX: XAM – "Xanadu") is pleased to announce the board has confirmed George Lloyd's appointment as Chief Executive Officer following the successful completion of his probationary period and has appointed him as Managing Director.

Mr Lloyd will also be invited to participate in the company's short-term and long-term incentive plans. The details of Mr Lloyd's remuneration package, including proposed incentives, will be disclosed to shareholders at the annual general meeting.

Link to release

Initial Director's Interest Notice (Mogi: nil at the moment)


MRC: Interim Update

August 26 -- Following the Interim Update dated 30 July 2013, the Board of Directors of Mongolian Resource Corporation (ASX:MUB, "MRC") wishes to provide information to the market on its ongoing efforts to stabilize and strategically develop the Company for profitable growth.

On Friday, 23 August 2013, the Board of Directors sent notarized Resolutions with apostilles by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to MRC's Mongolian counsel for registration with the Mongolian government. Specifically, the following documents were provided:

(1)  MRC Wholly Owned Subsidiary MRCMGL LLC

a)    Shareholder Resolution;

b)    Power of Attorney ("POA") granting MRC Board Member Joseph C Sponholz a power of attorney to act on behalf of MRCMGL;

c)    POA granting our counsel authority to obtain information regarding MRCMGL, obtain a new FIRRD and SRO Certificate for MRCMGL and register changes to the corporate information regarding MRCMGL;

1.    2) MRC Majority Owned Subsidiary Gunbileg Gold

a)    Shareholder Resolution;

b)    POA granting MRC Board Member Joseph C Sponholz a power of attorney to act on behalf of Gunbileg Gold;

c)    POA granting our lawyers authority to obtain information regarding MRCMGL, obtain a new FIRRD and SRO Certificate for MRCMGL and register changes to the corporate information regarding Gunbileg Gold;

2.    3) MRC Wholly Owned Subsidiary Gunbileg Trade

a)    Shareholder Resolution;

b)    POA granting MRC Board Member Joseph C Sponholz a power of attorney to act on behalf of Gunbileg Trade;

c)    POA granting our lawyers authority to obtain information regarding MRCMGL, obtain a new FIRRD and SRO Certificate for MRCMGL and register changes to the corporate information regarding Gunbileg Trade.

The Board has been advised that once registered with the Mongolian Government, these Resolutions and POA's will allow it to gather information on the Mongolian assets, including the tenements and mining licenses related to both the Sujigtei and Blue Eyes mines.

Link to release


Mogi: posted the press release in last newswire but finally someone writes about it

Khan Resources says arbitration hearings set for November

JOHANNESBURG, August 26 ( – The International Arbitration Tribunal has set aside five days for its hearings into the $326-million Khan Resources' arbitration case against the government of Mongolia in November.

The uranium project developer said in a statement on Friday that the November 11 to 15 hearings would focus on the merits and damages of the case, which it filed with the tribunal in December 2012.

Last year, the United Nations tribunal ruled in Khan's favour on matters of jurisdiction and dismissed all Mongolia's objections to the continuance of the suit.

The exploration and development company is claiming that Mongolia, in concert with a Russian partner, took actions in 2009 that amounted to the illegal expropriation of its mining and exploration permits at the Dornod uranium deposit in the north-east of the country.

Meanwhile, Khan said that its net loss for the nine months ended June 30 narrowed 82.6% year-on-year from $19.08-million to $3.31-million.

The firm reported a negative cash flow of $2.87-million for the nine months ended June, with cash and cash equivalents of $1.81-million on June 30, compared to $5.24-million the previous year.

Link to article

Link to KRI release


Khan Resources not to go to Canadian Supreme court in ARMZ litigation

MOSCOW, August 26 (RAPSI) - Khan Resources Inc. (Khan) has decided not to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada a lower-court decision to dismiss its efforts to validate, substitute, or dispense with service of its claim against Russian uranium producer Atomredmetzoloto (ARMZ), according to a statement released by Khan Friday.

According to the lower-court decision, which was rendered by the Court of Appeal for Ontario in April, Khan had sought to initiate proceedings against ARMZ in Canada, claiming that they had endeavored to serve ARMZ with process, but the Russian government had refused service.

Rather than appealing in Russia, Khan had moved to dispense with or validate service in a Canadian court. Initially the motion was allowed, but the Superior Court then set aside the order allowing it. Kahn then turned to the Court of Appeal, hoping it would set aside the Superior Court's decision. 

The Court of Appeals then agreed that the Superior Court had held correctly. 

In its statement Friday, Khan explained: "On April 2, 2013 the Court of Appeal for Ontario dismissed Khan's appeal to validate, substitute or dispense with service of Khan's Statement of Claim against ARMZ, its Russian partner in Mongolia. ARMZ had avoided service of the Statement of Claim as the Russian Ministry of Justice had invoked Section 13 of the Hague Convention which allowed Russia to refuse to serve ARMZ as a matter of Russian sovereignty or security. Khan has decided not to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court of Canada."

Meanwhile, Khan's arbitration against the Mongolian government remains underway. 

According to that claim, "A submission on the merits and damages arising from the Mongolian Governments expropriatory and unlawful treatment of Khan was filed with an International Arbitration Tribunal by the Company on December 7, 2012."

A formal hearing is set for the case from November 11 through 15.

According to its website, Khan and its prececessors have been active in the development of Mongolia's Dornod uranium property since 1995. The website claims, "in 2010, the Government of Mongolia refused to reissue to Khan the required licenses for the Dornod property which effectively resulted in 100% expropriation of the asset without any compensation. As a result of these actions, Khan has launched a US$326 million international arbitration action against Mongolia for the illegal expropriation of its asset in January, 2011. The international arbitration action is currently in process. Khan is well funded and will continue with this legal action to recover value for its shareholders from this illegal expropriation."

Link to article


Mogi: waste of time reading it really, just wanted to save you time, but if you want to, well, go ahead

Are China and this Copper Mine a Match Made in Heaven?

by John McKenna

August 26 (The Motley Fool) Deep in the middle of the Gobi Desert, there is a city like many others. There are restaurants, houses, citizens, basketball courts, and enough jobs to go around. It's a civilization in the most unlikely of places, but there's money to be made here in the form of copper.

Welcome to Oyu Tolgoi, Rio Tinto's (NYSE: RIO) newest copper mine, now ready for action and ready to sell to the No. 1 copper consumer: China.

China needs copper, and badly

In 2011, China was a consumer of nearly 8 million metric tons of copper, accounting for 40% of the world's total. This copper is used in everything from electronics to infrastructure. The trend began in 2002, when China supplanted the US as the world's largest copper consumer, despite having a very limited supply of copper ore.

Therefore, China has had to buy scrap copper and build smelting facilities to make it usable. With China's economic growth slowing, it will need copper for transportation and infrastructure reforms to stabilize economic growth, which combine for 62% of China's copper usage. By 2014, it is expected that China will consume nearly 84% of the world's copper, at 9 million metric tons, indicating that copper should see increased demand.

These developments make Rio Tinto's Mongolia mine all the more lucrative. China imported 7% of its copper from Mongolia in 2012, when Oyu Tolgoi was just starting up. By having a mine like that on their doorstep, it would decrease China's reliance on copper from Latin America, particularly Chile.

Mongolian copper's best customer

Whichever operator is closer to China in terms of mining production will stand to benefit the most from China's surging production, and the best situated company is Rio Tinto. This quarter was very significant because the Oyu Tolgoi mine sent its first shipment of copper to China. This output helped push Rio Tinto's mined copper output up by 10% year over year, a significant improvement.

The mine was an expensive proposition, costing $6.2 billion over three years, but according to analysts, it will produce over 450,000 tons of copper annually, valued at $1.4 billion a year at spot price. Rio Tinto owns a 46% stake in the mine, which at full capacity will increase Mongolia's GDP by 30%. The total costs increased unexpectedly to $10 billion, though it should be profitable by 2021, assuming a current copper spot price of roughly $3/pound and continuing demand from China.

Will Chilean copper lose market share?

With this new mine set to make big profits for Rio Tinto, it allows the company to be more competitive against fellow copper big-shot BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP) , which has a 57.5% stake in the Escondida mine in Chile, the world's largest copper mine. This grants access to a mine that produces 152,000 tons of copper per day, valued at $474 million, dwarfing Oyu Tolgoi. However, unlike Rio Tinto, BHP does not have a significant investment in Asian copper mines, even though it has the inside track at Escondida to fill the western hemisphere's copper needs. If China does become more reliant on copper, BHP might need to consider investing in Mongolia.

Freeport likes Asia as well

One option for BHP to tap into China's growing appetite is to look toward Indonesia, where Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE: FCX) collected 158 million tons of copper for sale last quarter. Freeport's net income for the quarter was down $300 million year over year to $482 million, largely due to $5.5 billion in capital expenditures, which shows that the company is looking to bulk up its copper capacity as well as an expansion into Indonesia. The company was able to sell 951 million pounds of copper this quarter, with 158 million coming from Indonesia.

Still, Freeport got 315 million pounds out of competitive South America, thanks in large part to a 51% stake in the El Abru mine in Chile. While it is a tremendous advantage to be in Chile to mine copper, it is an incredibly competitive area, and like BHP-owned Escondida, it is far from China, where the biggest customers of copper will be found for the foreseeable future.

Copper diversity helps Rio Tinto

Looking at these copper companies, it seems evident that Rio Tinto is the more diverse company in terms of holdings and competitive positioning. With Oyu Tolgoi now able to ship copper to China, it gives the Chinese the ability to buy more copper from their northern neighbor and wind down more expensive imports from Latin America. Of course, this doesn't mean that Chile will become a wasteland. China gets over 74% of its copper from Latin America, and unlike manufactured goods, copper producing countries are a product of geography and geology as much as having a strong pro-mining business climate. However, as a percentage, China's reliance on that region will decline as Asian mines churn out more copper.

Striking gold with copper

For long-term investment, Rio Tinto and Freeport would be the best options, but Rio Tinto has a better future in the works. While Freeport reported a stronger profit margin, Rio Tinto is so far the only private company with access to the growing Mongolian copper market and has started shipments to copper-hungry China.

Rio Tinto has the advantage in affordability and value, with a P/E of 8 and a P/B ratio of 1.8, reflecting current profitability problems and positive future outlook, compared to Freeport's P/E of 9 and P/B of 1.4. This makes Rio Tinto  a more affordable buy, as investors see value in their Mongolian investments paying off in the long run, as they should barring any unforeseen Chinese crash.

With China needing more and more copper, Rio Tinto will have an advantage in terms of being in Mongolia as well as controlled interests in Latin America, while Freeport has Indonesia and Latin America. Given the trends, Rio Tinto will make a profit in the future if Oyu Tolgoi is the money maker everyone expects it to be, and investors will see the company in the black in the years to come, while Freeport's growth will be more level. 

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Local Market

NatSec MSE Trading News: Top 20 -0.26%, Turnover 197.3 Million

August 26 (National Securities) The MSE TOP-20 Index dropped -0.26% to 13,771.56.

1,289,336 shares in 13 JSC's with a value of 197.3m MNT were traded but almost all of today's trades were in a single company, Khukh Gan (HGN). 1,285,289 shares traded with a combined value of 187.4m MNT. It's price went up +4.17% to 145.84 MNT. This volume presented 99.6% of entire days trading volume and this trading amount was 94.9% of whole trading value. The company market capitalization is 14.7 billion MNT. The company first listed on July 2008.

The top gainer was Gutal (GTL), which makes boots. The stock soared +14.96% to 7,875 MNT. Out of 13 companies, 4 were up and 3 were down and 6 were stable.

Please click here to see the detailed news

Link to update


FRC Delists Suspended 57 Companies from MSE

August 26 (MSE) Financial Regulatory Commission has set up a working group with representation of delegates from Mongolian Stock Exchange and Securities Clearing House and Central Depository on February 21st, 2013. The purpose of the Working group was to make a proposal regarding resolving the issue of companies which have been suspended from trading by the FRC resolution 77 of year 2008.

As a result, Financial Regulatory Commission decided to delist the shares of 57 companies, that have failed to fulfill their obligation repeatedly such as have not announced and held their shareholders general meeting, have not submitted their financial reports and other required documents on reporting time and operationally deficient, from the Mongolian Stock Exchange securities listing.

Financial Regulatory Commission approved the decision to delist the companies in its meeting of 14 August 2013 based on relative laws and regulations and the Working's group report. 
By FRC's resolution no.278 the 57 delisted companies are obliged to convene their shareholders meeting and decide either to reorganize or liquidate the company and afterwards submit the decision along with the request of delisting from FRC securities listing before 1 December 2013.  

Please click here to view resolution no.:278 of FRC.

JSC that delisted from securities listing by the resolution no.:278 of FRC: 

No.    Company name
1       "Agro-Amgalan" 
2       "Аrdiin zorig" 
3       "Bayanmod uul" 
4       "Bat hiits"
5       "Bayanduhum"
6       "tsagaanchuluut"
7       "Del bayanbulagг"
8       "Selenge gur.tej" 
9       "Noyon shand" 
10     "Orkhon"  
11     "Zaluuchuud" 
12     "Khangai"  
13     "Khujirt Urguu" 
14     "Shar Khooloi" 
15     "Erdeneolgoi tuv" 
16     "Urgun jim" 
17     "Mandal"  
18     "Zoos trade" 
19     "Shakhait khairhan" 
20     "Bayankhongor geo" 
21     "Sainshand"  
22     "Uvs" 
23     "Jargalant-centre" 
24     "Bayanbulag-Selenge" 
25     "Merei" 
26     "Buyantbulag" 
27     "Selenge hurd " 
28     "Ij buren" 
29     "Ikh daats" 
30     "Teever tsagaannuur
31     "Avtoteever-27" 
32     "Avtodaats"
33     "Uvckhiits"
34     "Jonshit teever"
35     "Тuruun" ХК
36     "Mongol ed impex" 
37     "Khalkh buudai"
38     "Atar tuv"
39     "Khangain tsaram"
40     "Gun galuut"
41     "Us-Аrkhangai"
42     "Ugtaal tuv"
43     "Takhilgat"
44     "Shine-Urguu"
45     "Nalaikh-Urguu"
46     "Bayankhaan"
47     "Jimst"
48     "Govi shand" 
49     "Tsagaannuur"
50     "Altan useg"
51     "Khuns-tuv"
52     "Аltanduulga"
53     "Undram"
54     "Zuunkharaa-Urguu"
55     "Chandgana"
56     "Asgat" 
57     "Bayanbadrakh"

Link to release

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Mogi: total outstanding 1 week bills dropped to 855.1 billion from Friday's 1.067 trillion

BoM issues 1-week bills

August 26 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 283.5 billion at a weighted interest rate of 10.5 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


De Facto: Unsettled at the Top

By Jargalsaikhan Dambadarjaa

August 21 (UB Post) Although a whole new generation has emerged since Mongolia's separation from socialism, there are people who still believe that government is in charge of everything. This deep-seated belief has been influenced greatly by election promises at all levels, and is the outcome of what government and politicians have been doing: A politician once said that a lie told often enough becomes the truth. 

Government invading boundaries

Government involvement in the economy keeps expanding. Almost half of our economy now belongs to the government and half of the public budget goes towards administrative costs. Bigger government is resulting in lower efficiency and greater budget deficit is invading the private sector. Not only is government spending currently financed by taxes, but the government receives 10 percent tax from every single thing you buy.

The term "strategic deposit" was invented and introduced by the mining sector. Afterwards, the government established 10 state-owned companies (each with the word "erdenes" in the name) to own from 34 to 50 percent of mining companies that intended to extract mineral resources. But all mineral resources belong to the people, regardless of whether the companies are state-owned or not. Also, it seems like they failed to realize that being shareholders of a company includes the responsibility to make a certain amount of investment. Not having any capital to do so, the government acquired foreign loans and fell into huge debt. 

The government wasted an unnecessary amount of time – the whole summer – to appoint presidents of public universities. It is such a pathetic scene that government officials are becoming political over these decisions and trying to have their associates and relatives appointed to these positions. The government even decides on the headmasters of high schools. (The British practice of managing educational institutions can be seen in the documentary "Making of Ladies and Gentlemen" on

In the market economy, prices are set by supply and demand. However, the government today is playing a big role in setting prices and is implementing many programs aimed at it. Even though their intentions are good, it is not efficient enough in the long term and the general level of prices has increased due to artificially caused market disruptions. 

What caused the current situation? 

Mongolians still do not fully understand the true nature of government. A belief that the government has to decide every single thing that concerns the life of its citizens has not diminished. As the government grows, individuals have less say in the decisions that shape their lives. A greater number of people now think that they cannot live without the government. 

The government first has to collect or borrow before they can distribute something for free. There is no such thing as a free lunch, but there are people who believe there is. Mongolians, especially, are undoubtedly convinced that education and medical services are provided for free. Citizens demand that these kinds of free services be of decent quality. But, there is neither a teacher nor a doctor who works without pay. 

There are many political party members who take advantage of this widespread belief and get themselves appointed to government positions by making promises that give the impression that "everything is free". After being appointed, they enjoy their authority, go on trips abroad and fulfill their personal interests. Subsequently, they blame everything on systemic flaws and walk away like nothing happened. 

Due to instability in the business environment, those who are in the private sector tend to enter politics to protect their businesses. What they attempt to do is to have their business involved in government procurement. It has become the norm that anyone can be appointed to any position, as well as have rumors about them stopped, if they make big enough donations to political parties. 

Company operations can now only be successful with government support, and business management is being carried out from the parliament hall, a minister's office or both. Furthermore, businesses now have their own media and are using them to influence public opinion and silence the voices of those who oppose them


In order to have the government involved in everything and make every decision, Mongolia tends to employ the practice of changing its government. However, the current economic problem is not going to be solved no matter what type of government comes next. The only way out is to change the basic principles of governance. 

First of all, the legislative and executive branches of our government must be separated. Cabinet members, with the exception of the prime minister, do not need to be members of parliament at the same time. We should follow the principle of appointing technocrats from relevant professional areas to the position of minister

Social care system needs a change

People who are free and independent do not ask their government to fund all their endeavors. The government is not a magical box where a person can get everything needed free of charge. On the contrary, the government has a small but fundamental duty to protect freedom and property, and to ensure peace and security. As long as its operations stay out of individual lives and provide equal opportunities to every citizen, the country can develop and flourish. 

The government should support those who truly need help in meeting their basic needs. However, they should allow the public to take part in politics aside from government involvement. For example, non-governmental organizations and individuals deliver faster results with more efficient methods than the government does when assisting herders suffering from droughts and zud, a state of animal famine caused by a long and hard winter. Schools and hospitals contributing efforts towards social services should be freed from taxation. 

The time and conditions for changing laws regarding the mining industry have now arrived.  Instead of "strategic deposit", we could use the term "strategic minerals", which can include uranium, rare earth elements, and spar. Also, the government should stop owning shares in mining companies and creating unnecessary debt burdens

Major projects would have been implemented efficiently if the government had set operational and environmental standards, ensured compliance and imposed penalties in cases of violations. Furthermore, royalties and taxes collected from mining companies should have been spent on improving education and offering good paying jobs to citizens (Mogi: hopefully a mistranslation, but the government should not be thought of as a job creator, but a facilitator for the private sector to create jobs). The "long-titled laws" that have not been executed properly for many years need to be sorted and finalized for good. 

In the education sector, public universities should take the form of independent, shareholding companies, where their presidents are elected by an executive council and contracts are established. The same approach should be used in high schools as well, so that labor contracts can be signed and a headmaster's performance is constantly reviewed by an executive council. It would also reduce government expenditures spent on review and monitoring educational institutions. 

Every social service, except law enforcement and the fire department, could be provided by the private sector. City management as well as local administration should first set specific standards for all provided services and frequently monitor if they are being followed by contracted companies. Contracting other compatible companies in case of violations would encourage higher quality at lower costs. 

Price control policies from the government should be restricted since prices should be determined solely by supply and demand, and their relationship with the market. Even if there is a sudden hike in prices, suppliers eventually have to reduce their prices as soon as new competitors emerge. 

The Democratic Party, which won the previous parliamentary election and established its government, must not let the budget deficit exceed two percent of the economy in 2013

All in all, we have to realize that a government capable of supporting its people with funds from others is big enough to take away freedom and possessions one day as well. Government is a powerful force that can destroy everything in a second. Therefore, citizens have a duty to keep the government under control and closely watch every step it takes.

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POSCO to Build "Coal-to-Liquid" Plant in Mongolia

August 26 (POSCO) POSCO will kick off a "coal-to-liquid" business in Mongolia in partnership with a local company there. The steel company said on August 25 that it has joined hands with MCS Group, one of Mongolia's largest private companies, to build a clean energy plant, named Baganuur Energy Corp., in the Baganuur district of Ulaanbaatar at the cost of US$2 billion.

CTL refers to converting coal to liquids by a hydrogenation process and then extracting dimethyl ether, which is cheaper than liquefied petroleum gas and produces less carbon dioxide. It has emerged as a new alternative to oil and other fossil fuels. POSCO said the joint venture plans to produce 100,000 tons of dimethyl ether and 450,000 tons of diesel oil per year.

Won Kang-hee, POSCO's head of Mongolian unit, said, "Given Mongolia's oil consumption is forecast to rise to 3.5 million tons by 2020 from last year's 800,000 tons, we are optimistic about our business prospect. Once the CTL plant is up and running, Mongolia will become a bridgehead for us to expand toward the world in the new energy resource area."

Link to release


Kasikorn Securities: Bumrungrad Hospital - Outperform

Acquisition of two hospitals under study. Outperform

August 26 (The Nation) --

Bumrungrad Hospital Plc (BH)


- According to local newspaper reports today, BH's management is considering spending Bt5bn to acquire sizable stakes in a hospital in Phitsanulok (Thailand) and one in Mongolia. Our view on this is mixed. We are positive location-wise on Phitsanulok but still uncertain on the Mongolian hospital. We maintain our OP rating based on its existing projects.


- In talks and feasibility studies underway. Mr. Chai Sophonpanich, BH's chairman, said that both deals are in talks and under a feasibility study. The deals are expected to be finalized by the end of this year and financing will come from cash from the sale of its Bangkok Chain Hospital (BCH TB, Bt7.20, Neutral, TP: Bt8.00) stake and a recent issue of debentures worth Bt5bn.

- Acquisition plan in Phitsanulok. BH is in talks for a 51percent stake in a private hospital in Phitsanulok in lower northern Thailand. The deal is expected to be worth Bt2-3bn. We do not know the size of the hospital.

- Acquisition plan in Mongolia. BH plans to conduct a feasibility study for a more than 50percent stake in a Mongolian hospital and expects to pay Bt2bn. It said that Mongolian patients account for a big portion of the company's total patient base and so the acquisition would add value to the company.

Earnings and target price revision

- No change

Price catalyst

- 12-month price target: Bt93.00 based on a DCF methodology.

- Catalyst: High seasonality in Q3 and M&A announcement

Action and recommendation

- Our view on the potential acquisition announcement is mixed. We are positive on the Phitsanulok hospital as we expect BH would benefit from the low hospital supply and high demand there. However, the initial indicator of an investment cost of Bt2-3bn seems expensive for a 51percent stake in an upcountry hospital. Expanding in Thailand's provinces is also a deviation from BH's current market positioning.

- On the Mongolia hospital, we still doubt that it can derive synergy with BH's existing hospitals. However, if BH acquires a good asset at a reasonable price, it would be positive in our view. 

- For financing, if BH uses debt to finance the entire Bt5bn acquisition cost, net debt to equity will increase to 45% in 2013E (vs. -13% previously).

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Mongolia Selects GDF Suez-led Group to Build 450MW Power Plant

By Michael Kohn

August 26 (Bloomberg) GDF Suez SA (GSZ) led a group selected to build a $1.2 billion coal-fired power plant in Ulaanbaatar, as Mongolia seeks to ease pressure on the capital's Soviet-era power infrastructure.

GDFSojitz Corp. (2768), Posco (005490) Energy Corp. and Mongolia's Newcom Group, today signed a memorandum of understanding at Mongolia's energy ministry to build a combined heat and power plant, Energy Minister Mishig Sonompil told reporters.

Ulaanbaatar's population doubled over the past 15 years to 1.2 million people and the infrastructure is unable to cope with demands in winter, when temperatures can drop to minus 30 Fahrenheit. Half the population live in unplanned districts, whose reliance on raw coal in winter contributed to the World Health Organization naming Ulaanbaatar as the world's second-most polluted city in 2011.

The GDF Suez group beat a bid from a partnership that included Samsung C&T Corp. (000830)and Korea Southern Power Co. Delays in selecting a winner have stretched more than year as the government changed the proposed location of the plant, now slated to be built 15km east of downtown Ulaanbaatar.

The memorandum allows the group to begin talks with the government on project agreements, Newcom Chief Executive Officer Baatar Unenbat said. The proposed 25-year reference tariff for electricity from the plant is 63.1 tugrik a kilowatt hour, Unenbat said. Commissioning of the plant is expected by 2017, he added.

Link to article


Huge sum of money found in fire wreckage at Narantuul Market

August 26 ( The grocery section at Narantuul market, also known as the Black market, caught fire on Friday August 23rd, causing a large amount of damage to over 300 shops. 

Ulaanbaatar City Mayor E.Bat-Uul issued an instruction to establish a working group to deal with the current situation. 

The working group is headed by the Bayanzurkh District Governor D.Purevdavaa and includes the head of the Metropolitan Police Department, the head of the Traffic Police, 1st and 2nd Division of the District Police Department, the Bayanzurkh District Emergency Management Office and the head of the Bayanzurkh District Specialized Inspection Office. They are working hard to control the situation. 

Over these days the Metropolitan Police Department, Bayanzurkh Police Department, Public Discipline Department, Criminal Police Department and State Investigation Department and Forensic Medicine will collaborate to prevent crimes and chaos from breaking out at the site in Narantuul Market.

Police who are working at the scene found 40 thousand US dollars partially destroyed in the fire and 6 million MNT in cash on the first floor of the wreckage. In the basement 395 kg of frozen beef and mutton were also found. It is unknown where the money belongs.

Police are conducting an investigation and questioning testimonies about the fire. The fire brigade received the first call around 6:22am on Friday and the fire crew arrived in 7 minutes, putting out the fire at 11.30 am.

Over 320 staff of the City Emergency Management Office, Fire Brigades 10, 14, 18, 63 and 34 and the City Lifeguard Department worked for 72 hours at the scene without a break. The City Emergency Management Office separated the rest of the market from the damaged grocery section with a water curtain. The neighboring vendors properties and goods in containers were saved by their quick action. 

The destroyed grocery section had been in service since 1999. It was found that the building was not up to standards and was not approved by the State Commission. 

The rest of the market was re-opened on Sunday to customers. 

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Mogi: Plasma technology cooperation? Really? Someone must be very nostalgic of days as a student in Minsk

Belarus, Mongolia to conclude agreement on cooperation in science and technology

MINSK, 26 August (BelTA) - Belarus and Mongolia are planning to conclude an agreement on cooperation in science and technology. The document will be signed by representatives of the State Committee on Science and Technology of Belarus and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of Mongolia during Belarus' national expo in Mongolia on 5-8 September, BelTA learned from Yuri Lukashevich, Assistant to the Chairman of the State Committee on Science and Technology of Belarus.

"Long-term cooperation in science and technology will be developed between scientific, research-and-production organizations and enterprises of the two countries as well as between the Belarusian national foundation for fundamental research and the scientific and technological foundation of Mongolia," said Yuri Lukashevich

The priority areas of cooperation of Belarus and Mongolia in the field of science and technology will be plasma technology, engineering (devices and instruments), industrial technology, micro-electronics, information technology, nanotechnology, research in medicine and veterinary science, renewable energy, geological studies and economic research. The parties also intend to provide mutual assistance in the implementation of innovative projects.

Belarus and Mongolia will set up a joint commission on cooperation to coordinate the cooperation within the framework of the agreement.

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Belarus development bank signs first contract to grant export loan to BelAz Mongolia JV

MINSK, 26 August (BelTA) – The Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus has signed the first contract on issuing an export loan as part of Belarus President Decree No. 534 of 25 August 2006. The decree stipulates measures to build up the export of commodities and services, DBRB representatives told BelTA.

The contract envisages granting an export loan for deals with OAO BelAZ – Managing Company of BelAZ Holding. The contract has been signed between the Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus (DBRB) and the Belarusian-Mongolian joint venture United Belaz Machinery, which is an official representative of BelAZ in Mongolia.

The signed contract is another step taken to rack up the export of Belarusian machines, said the source.

Mongolia is rich in subsurface resources. It has deposits of copper, gold, molybdenum, tin, wolframium and other metals. As the local mining industry grows larger, the interest of local companies in Belarusian mining machines grows stronger.

The United Belaz Machinery has been set up to promote BelAZ products in Mongolia. There are plans to commission a new service center that will meet the latest technical standards and will be located in immediate proximity to Mongolia's capital city Ulaanbaatar. Plans have been made to set up auxiliary technical centers of the company at premises of the mining companies that operate BelAZ vehicles and plan to purchase more of them.

OAO Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus was created in 2011 by the relevant presidential decree. The Bank is designed to focus on financing government programs and socially important investment projects. The founders are the Council of Ministers and the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus. Sergei Rumas is the Chairman of the Board of the Development Bank while Prime Minister of Belarus Mikhail Myasnikovich is the Chairman of the Supervisory Board.

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Social, Environmental and Other

TIM: This Is Mongolia

Circle of Blue's senior editor defines Mongolia and reports on the development of a two-lane highway through the rural countryside.

ULAN BATOR, Mongolia, August 26 (Circle of Blue) – Paved roads are still a rarity in this country, which is larger than Alaska and where 1.2 million people – 40 percent of the resident population – earn their keep herding livestock.

The country is all grass and trees in the north, less grass and more sand in the south. Traveling overland between this capital of 1.3 million people and the dusty towns of the South Gobi is a 700-kilometer trip. It takes 15 hours. Four hundred kilometers are on hard-packed dirt roads. Closer to the capital, the informal dirt rights of way expand to encompass multiple paths that climb and descend high ridges.

The multi-tracking, caused by drivers seeking less muddy and more passable routes following rain, form braids that are unique in the world. They also ruin tens of thousands of hectares of grassland.

The Mongolian government expresses strong intent to build paved highways. Mongolia's prime minister this month complained to the news media that highway construction is proceeding too slowly. But the pace of road building in a developing nation with a $10 billion economy is slow. The national statistics office reports that in the decade from 2000 to 2010, construction crews built 1,100 kilometers of paved highway, or an average of 110 kilometers annually.

At the moment, a good deal of Mongolia's road building energy is pouring into the country's southern region to link the capital and the coal and hard rocking mining districts to China. During my trip to report on water supply, herding, and mining in the South Gobi, we used the portions of the new road that were open, speeding along an empty highway at near 80 miles per hour.

By late next year, the entire two-lane highway will be finished and open. In my mind there are many ways to think about that day. The trip south will be faster and easier. The highway will end the multi-tracking, and prompt the recovery of damaged grasslands and desert. In a nation beset by alcoholism, the paved road also will encourage higher driving speeds and many more traffic accidents and deaths (Mogi: hmmm, not sure how to respond to this except HUH?).

But the paved road means that visitors will not be able experience the overland route the way we did — with a Mongolian driver watching every hole and bump, and slipping past the big ones. With camels kneeling and grazing by the roadside. With the need to stop every two hours to loosen road-tossed muscles and joints. We moved at a speed slow enough to see the tops of desert grasses. We were aware that there was some peril from a tire blowout or engine failure in the pitch black of a desert night far from the nearest town. It could be hours, maybe a day, before another vehicle passed.

The overland route was an adventure, the closest thing to a stagecoach trip that still exists on the planet. Mongolia's modernization is visible in the paved roads gradually replacing dirt multi-tracks. It's visible in blistering bad traffic jams and skycranes atop high-rise office towers in Ulan Bator, in photovoltaic panels and satellite dishes outside Gobi gers, in westerners venturing across the wild landscape to race on horses, mountain bikes, and fossil-fueled vehicles. TIM: This is Mongolia.

Other Thoughts on Mongolia    

No Beggars

In the five days that I spent in Ulan Bator, I saw one panhandler. He was aged, sitting on Peace Street, the city's most important commercial boulevard; a small bucket rested on the ground between his knees. I've spent time in big cities on four continents. Rich ones like New York and Sydney, Paris and Shanghai. Poor ones like Manila and Detroit. I've never been in a big city with fewer beggars. Begging is an act of capitulation, a public display of need and vulnerability. None of those are contained in the Mongolian spirit, drawn from the toughness of a land that broils in summer, freezes hard in winter, and earns much of its wealth milking camels and shearing sheep. Mongols are givers — gifts of food and drink to strangers they meet for the first time, and generous helpings of their time and intelligence. TIM: Mongols aren't takers.

No Water

The Gobi Desert, which encompasses all of southern Mongolia and almost all of northern China, is the second largest desert in the world, exceeded only by the Sahara. It feels like that, too. Heading south out of Ulan Bator, the worn highway bridges the Tuul River and then crosses no other river or stream for hundreds and hundreds of kilometers. Eighty percent of Mongolia's water is underground and a good bit of it is too saline for human consumption without treatment. Just 20 percent of the country's water is in lakes and rivers, and almost all of that is in Mongolia's north, close to the border with Russia's Siberian wilderness. The only running surface water I saw in the Gobi occurred in a spring in Khan Bogh (Mogi: Khanbogd), a Gobi mining and herding town near the Chinese border. It flowed from the wind-rounded boulders of a high ridge, tumbled down through a narrow valley of grass and sand, and poured out into pools so clear and welcoming it was evident why people had settled there. A herd of horses, led by a black stallion with a long and shaggy mane, loped off the desert range, settled into a single file, and nervously navigated the knee-high boulders along the spring's edge. The mares stood in a circle around the stallion, taking their drinks only after he'd taken his. The colts drank last, nose deep in the water, sucking fast because the stallion was already on the move back to the range.

Livestock Everywhere

The world is terribly concerned at the moment about the effects of coal and hard rock mining on the Mongolian landscape and the centuries old culture of nomadic herding. Nomadic herding, though, appears very healthy. The Mongolian livestock herd numbers 40 million animals, according to government figures, or 13 times more than the human population. The expanding herds of cattle, horses, sheep, goats, and camels graze, and overgraze, a natural banquet of grass. From north to south, as the land gets progressively dryer the herds change – from cattle, to sheep and goats, to horses, and camels. The latter are a delight to the eye of a westerner. They pad across the desert on soft feet. They gather in tight groups to rest. Silent and patient, they wait for herders to pour water into metal troughs, then nose each other aside to take a drink. On the way north back to Ulan Bator we crossed the path of a rare white camel, a female, resting in the road's cool dirt. I slowly approached her with my camera, clucking and chirping at her. She watched me, then lifted her head and seemed to brighten her smile. Behind her the other adult camels watched the session with traces of irony mixed with jealousy. Very plainly, I wasn't the first foreigner who'd taken this beauty's portrait.

Food Not Found In My Grocery

In a desert ger not far from the Mongolia/China border I tasted camel's milk for the first time. It was thin, cloudy, and carried the scent of the animal that produced it. It also was the first of a short list of exotic animal foods that I allowed to part my lips. In Mongolia, where the diet is heavy in animal fat and protein and food grains, there's no end to such fare. Fruits and vegetables are not emphasized. Adult Mongolians, as a result, tend to be rounded at the shoulders and hips, and amply stocked in the breast and belly. Most restaurant menus are not translated into English, which makes ordering without assistance precarious. Sheep's head is a popular item. Brains also are regular fair. Horse meat is a staple. My favorite dish was almost anything with vegetables mixed with lamb and rice. And Mongolia's Altan Gobi beer is very good.

Brutal Traffic, Terrible Air Pollution, A Capital Wreck

Ulan Bator, from the looks of it, is challenging Beijing, Xian, and Urumqi, China for worst air pollution in Asia. The city of 1.3 million residents is almost twice as big as it was a decade ago. It sits in a valley, surrounded by high mountain ridges, and prone to air inversions. Big coal-fired electrical generating stations pour coal-ash, dust, and toxic pollutants into the atmosphere. With more residents, and more wealth generation, has come more car and truck ownership. But the surge in vehicles is stranded on the city's under-sized roads and boulevards. Ulan Bator, very clearly, did not require the builders of its high rise residential and office towers to pay any sort of development fee to support infrastructure expansion and modernization. There's no subway. Buses are mired in traffic. Cars and trucks inch along on rutted roads. The city is tattered and dusty on dry days. After heavy rains it's a wreck. Ponds form in undrained low spots. Mud pours onto roads, and makes sidewalks slippery and so messy store owners and hotels place big mats at their doorways to wipe soles clean.

Enforcing Rules

Western environmental organizations and some Mongolian NGOs worry about industrial modernization and the capacity of the government to establish and enforce rules to protect the land and water. Their doubts are justified. Mongolia, though, certainly knows how to quickly write regulations and enforce them. Not long before we arrived, Ulan Bator's new mayor had pushed through regulations designed to help move traffic by reducing the number of vehicles on the road. The strategy is based on license plate numbers. Vehicles with 1 on the plate are prohibited from driving on Monday, 2 on Tuesday, and so on. Violators are issued a warning the first time they are caught, a ticket the second time, and their license plates and vehicles are seized for the third violation. The day before I left I watched the city's traffic police enforce the rule with steadfast determination. (See pix below) They set up a watch station in front of the State Department Store in one of the city's busiest shopping areas and they impounded one vehicle after another. It was a lesson in Mongolia's capacity to be tough with individuals. It's not as clear whether authorities can muster the same enthusiasm for enforcing environmental safeguards.

Western Adventure Land

To most Americans Mongolia is a metaphor for 'the ends of the earth," a destination as far from Lake Street and as remote from the corner store as possible and stilll be on the planet. In many ways, Mongolia really is that place, and for that reason encourages people to travel here in pursuit of wild ass adventure — great mountain treks, harrowing bicycle races, river and overland touring that tests stamina and the outer limits of personal safety. On my way out of Ulan Bator I encountered two American adventurers who'd just completed once-in-a-lifetime events in Mongolia.

The first is Devan Horn, a 20-year-old Texan and student at Sam Houston State University, and an endurance equestrian rider. She'd just crossed the finish line first in the 1,000-kilometer Mongol Derby, the longest horse race in the world. The course starts in the mountains west of Ulan Bator and rolls across steppes and through valleys, crossing terrain so wild that Devan encountered a wolf at one point. Thirty riders from North America, Europe, and as far as South Africa started the derby. Fourteen finished. Racing 120 kilometers a day in the first phase, and 160 kilometers a day over the second phase, Devan took 6.5 days to complete the course, finishing an hour ahead of the nearest rider. But that wasn't sufficient to win. Devan lost the race because of a time violation prompted by a race rule that requires her mount's heart rate to slow to 64 beats per minute within an hour of stopping. Her horse's heart beat was 70 at the appointed hour, the result of her charging riding and a lingering equine cold. It cost Devan a two-hour time penalty and the victory. She was disappointed, of course, but also thrilled with what she'd just done — galloping across a landscape that has few equals on the planet. She'd completed the race on August 13, days before most of the other riders crossed the finish line, and hung around to cheer her competitors. "Mostly, we've just been partying," she told me.

The second big trekker is Sean Mathewson, a Californian, Stanford alum, and a graduate student in business at Northwestern University. Sean and three American buddies spent six weeks driving overland in a Daihatsu Terios 4X4, essentially a grossly underpowered SUV that served as their entry in the 10,000-mile plus Mongol Rally from London to Ulan Bator. The idea is to raise money for charity, principally by auctioning the vehicle at the race's end. Vehicles are required to have an engine no larger than 1.2 liters. In broad stroke, the "Yurts, Not Cubicles" team followed the basic route of the Mongol tribesman in the 12th and 13th centuries who headed west off the Asian steppe to conquer and settle what we now know as central Asia and eastern Europe. The team survived multiple flats, equipment breakdowns, and various hassles at former Soviet-bloc border crossings. The team also got the name of the round, canvas and felt Mongol nomadic home wrong — ger, fellas, not yurt. Otherwise, they amassed a candy bowl of stories about people and towns and foreign lands that won't ever be emptied.

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Miss Mongolia beauty contest starts today

August 26 ( Miss Mongolia, the beauty contest to select the most beautiful woman to represent Mongolia in the Miss World contest, will begin in Ulaanbaatar today, August 26th. 

The contest will be held at the Mongolian National Broadcaster station. Over 70 women from Ulaanbaatar, Darkhan and Erdenet city and provinces across Mongolia were registered for the contest. The beauty contest Miss Mongolia has been organized for 10 years since 2004. 

The third time organizer, Mongolian National Broadcaster, and Miss Mongolia Association are jointly organizing the contest this year. 

Winners of the Miss Mongolia beauty contest are awarded an invitation to represent Mongolia in international "Miss" contests. 

The first place winner is crowned the official Miss Mongolia and granted the invitation to be the representative in the "Miss International 2013", to be held in Okinawa, Japan. The taker of second place in the Miss Mongolia contest will be awarded an invitation to participate in the "Miss World Tourism" 2013 in Equatorial Guinea. The third place winner will go to the World "Miss University 2013" in Seoul in South Korea. 

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Mongolia and South Korea new members in World Minigolf Federation

August 19 (Minigolfnews) On Sunday the WMF Delegates conference was held in Bad Munder, Germany. 18 member nations and the full WMF Board was present. 

Among the motions that was passed was as usual many small improvements and corrections in the rules in the TC-area but also a change of the statues regarding the transferring of marketing rights from members to WMF at International Championships. 

In the elections the new board looks like follows: 

President: Dr. Gerhard Zimmermann, Germany
Secretary General: Hans Bergström, Sweden
Finance Manager: Peter Joost Middag, The Netherlands
Sport Director: Pasi Aho, Finland
Media Manager: Evgeny Kaplun, Russia 

South Korea and Mongolia was approved as new members in the WMF. 

Also the current members in India and China was repulsed due to unpaid fees and poor contact and new organisations representing these two countries was elected as members. 

The financial result of the WMF was 2011 -23.445 Euro and for 2012 +277 Euro. 

The suggested budget for 2014 are 0 and 2015 are -7000 Euro. This was approved. 

The suggestion from the WMF board to raise the membership fee was approved after a change for the nations with less than 100 active players. 

Full minutes will be published within the following weeks. 

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13th-Century Mongolian Warrior Found in Siberia

MOSCOW, August 23 (RIA Novosti) – Coal company workers in Eastern Siberia have uncovered the final resting place of a 13th-century Mongolian warrior while digging near the city of Irkutsk, the Russian Interior Ministry's local branch said Friday.

Upon hearing that a skeleton had been discovered on his company's property, the director of Yevrougol ("Euro Coal") called police, who came to the scene and determined that the remains should be viewed by officials from the service for the preservation of cultural heritage.

Archaeologists believe that the uncovered "skull, bones and ammunition belong to a Mongolian warrior dating back to the 13th century," police said in a statement.

Eight flat metal pieces resembling arrow heads, a fragment of a stirrup and leather items were discovered around the bones, the statement said.

At its peak around 1270, the Mongol Empire was the largest contiguous empire to ever appear in human history. Similar graves also have been discovered in Eastern Siberia.

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Crying over Mongolian spilt milk

August 19 (Hürriyet Daily News and Economic Review) Stuck in mud! It's raining heavily. Early August in Mongolia feels like early autumn already. We, as the last few ones remaining in the bus, figure out that little hope is left of reaching a warm bed in the ger camp waiting for us. I think "No crying over milk spilt! There is nothing to do... We're here for the night…" 

Strangely that fits to my state of mind. From the very beginning of our journey I cannot get rid of the thoughts that have been captivating me. Caught in this strange voyage, I also feel so badly entangled in my own life. May this is the first moment I begin to enjoy our Trans-Siberian-Mongolian track, finally taking an adventurous course. As we're prepared to spend the night in the bus, a last rescue team arrives to fetch us to our camp. After a strenuous struggle through the muddy terrain, we reach our destination almost past midnight. To my surprise there is a hot meal waiting for us. A bowl of meaty noodle soup is heartwarming. I thoroughly savor my cabbage salad with a few shots of crystal pure Mongolian vodka. I cannot be happier to crawl into the bed to spend my first night in a Mongolian ger. The following days of our trip, there will be more and more ger nights, more vodka and lots more spilt milk!

Spilling or sprinkling milk droplets onto things, people or animals, or tossing a spoonful up in the air is a daily ritual in Mongolian life. Milk is sacred and holds a special place in the pastoral belief system. The livelihood of a nomad herder family practically depends on it. Milk must be the sole iconic food item in Mongolia. Along with meat, it is the source of sustenance in Mongolian existence. However, it also holds a particular significance as Tsagaan Idee, simply translated as "White Food". Whiteness stands for purity, innocence, honesty, as well as representing a high social status, nobility and respect. White is associated with women and light, and considered as the mother of all colors. Milk is life, and offering milk back to nature will bring prosperity and abundance. 

Milk in Mongolia comes from all five important animals usually essential for a complete herd: Horse, camel, sheep, goat, yak and/or cow. All milk types are used in cookery, and in making various preserved dairy products like aaruul/dried curd, eezgii/dried milk chunks and byaslag/cheese. Interestingly milk is seldom consumed raw, but often fermented to tarag/yogurt, or airag, famous fermented milk drink similar to kummis. Later, I'll be astonished to read in a medical report that a great percentage of Mongolians can be lactose intolerant; according to a survey among 198 Mongols from Inner Mongolia, there were 174 lactose malabsorbers (87.9%). However, all Mongolians love to have a sip of their milk, and one popular way to enjoy it is in Mongolian tea. The Mongolian term for milk tea, süütei tsai sounds almost same in Turkish, sütlü çay. Through my first cup of süütei tsai, I'm astonished to find süü and süt are two words related in Mongolian and Turkish languages. The strong green tea with salty warm milk can taste strange to many, but it pleasantly embraces my palate. 

When you enter a ger there is often milk simmering on the central stove, and immediately on the left-hand side of the entrance there is mare's milk fermenting in a barrel, eventually turning into the ubiquitous airag. It is customary for anybody entering the ger, to give a good beating to the barrel. The games played in long nights often contains a punishment of thousands of beatings toiled over the airag barrel. High in protein, mare's milk is also high in milk sugar lactose, so for many it is strongly laxative, and can only be consumed if fermented. Fermentation turns milk sugars into alcohol, thus airag is slightly fizzy in the mouth, reminiscent of sourish ayran, the savory yogurt drink in Turkish cuisine. It is an acquired to taste for most travelers, but not to this group of Turks who were brought up with ayran made with soured yogurt in their childhood. 

The more I learn about milk in Mongolia, the more I keep remembering about the wonderful presentation of food and travel writer/researcher Sharon Hudgins on Tsatsal, ceremonial wooden milk spoons. Her talk at Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery earlier this year was impeccable, giving a great insight on Mongolian rural life. Sharon has a small collection of those milk spoons, and she has generously shared all her knowledge with me before starting my trip. The spoons are long spatula like utensils, used solely for rituals, never for stirring or cooking milk. They're often engraved with symbolic figures and the flat spatula-like spoon-part always bears three-by-three nine indentations, representing 9, the sacred and auspicious number to Mongolians. I desperately look for a nice Tsatsal for Sharon in the little shops and souvenir stalls we visit. Finally, a shy modest one smiles at me in a museum shop, one with a sun-rise pattern. That must be the one for her!

I feel happy imbibing on airag on my last night in a ger, with the help of fermented milk intoxication, I dream of clouds in my sleep. In my idyllic dream, I walk three times around an Ovoo, the Shaman shrine, and throw an unlocked chain onto the sky-high pile of sacrificial objects. I finally toss a spoonful of milk high up towards the clouds, and a drop each on my back and to both my sides. 

I make three wishes, one for my daughter, one for our future life together, and one for myself, and repeat to myself:

No more crying over spilt milk! 

It will bring luck...

Recipe of the Week: Boortsog is a fried dough often eaten as a sweet snack dipped in tea. Dissolve 75 g sugar and a good pinch of salt in 200 ml of boiled water, and mix with 75 g butter. Work all into a smooth dough with 500 g flour. Let the dough rest for an hour. Knead again and divide into fist sized pieces, roll out to 1 cm thickness. Cut into finger sized strips, rounds or lozenges. Deep fry in hot oil.

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