Thursday, January 23, 2014

[Altan Nar discovery "one of best" since OT, 31 thousand residents enjoying 8% mortgages, and Munkhbayar sentenced to 22 years]

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

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Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original


Overseas Market

Announcement made after Wednesday close of trading. ERD closed -6.9% to C$0.135 on low volume

Erdene's Altan Nar Trenching Intersects Multiple High Grade Gold and Base Metals Zones/Includes 7m of 20g/t Gold, 138g/t Silver, 17% Lead and 5% Zinc

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - Jan. 22, 2014) - Erdene Resource Development Corp. (TSX:ERD) ("Erdene" or the "Company"), is pleased to report it has received final assay results for its Q4 2013 trenching program at the Company's 100% owned Altan Nar gold-polymetallic project in southwest Mongolia.

Highlights - Q4 Trenching Program - Phase III Results

·         Union North results confirm minimum 150m strike, open in both directions and centered on high grade mineralized shoots with up to 19m of 8.9 g/t gold, 66 g/t silver, 7.7% lead and 2.5% zinc including 7m of 20.2 g/t gold, 138 g/t silver, 17% lead and 5% zinc

·         ANT-24 (Union South) returns 10m of 4.5 g/t gold, 9 g/t silver, and 2.2% lead opening up >500m of strike length between the Union North and South Zones

·         Riverside results indicate intensifying mineralization in north with 14m of 1.4 g/t gold and potentially forming a structural intersection with Union North

·         Altan Nar now hosts five large, distinct, well mineralized structures in Union North & South, Discovery Zone, Riverside, Maggie, Northbow and Southbow, with multiple areas requiring additional exploration [see November 18 and December 10, 2013 releases]

"We are extremely pleased with the results generated from this program. We have discovered multiple new zones, broad areas of mineralization, confirmed that the potential for new discoveries extends over the 5.5 kilometre strike length, and have identified high-grade mineralized shoots," said Peter Akerley, President and CEO of Erdene. "There is little question that Altan Nar not only has the potential for multiple, bulk mineable open pits with high grade shoots, but now represents one of the most significant metal discoveries in Mongolia since Oyu Tolgoi in the mid-1990's. We will now accelerate our efforts for the 2014 exploration season and move this very exciting project towards early development."

Link to release


KCC closed +10% to 5.5c, +175% YTD. MATD +106% YTD.

Kincora Copper sees tide turning in Mongolia

January 22 (Proactive Investors) Kincora Copper's (CVE:KCC) rising share price suggests the market may be latching on to a potential shift in sentiment towards Mongolia.

The company behind Bronze Fox, a copper project just down the road from Rio Tinto's giant Oyu Tolgoi mine, looks to have come a long way in the space of just two months.

In November, 106 exploration licences, including two of Kincora's, were revoked following a criminal investigation into former government officials accused of illegally issuing the permits.

The move dealt investor confidence a blow, raising questions about Mongolia as a foreign investment hub, but crucially it left Bronze Fox, its flagship project, intact.

Encouraging comments from Mongolian officials, however, suggest a resolution to the licence dispute may be just round the corner. It is expected companies who were stripped of their assets will be able to reapply for them once a decision is reached.

The company has seen its share price double so far this year to five cents, helped by such comments and prospective new mining laws this year, suggesting faith in the Kincora story is returning.

While its share price has been on the rise, the market capitalisation is still less than C$10 million, leaving plenty of work to be done to convince punters Mongolia is a viable investment region and Kincora is the company to invest in.

In a recent interview with 'Emerging Frontiers', an investment website focused on emerging markets such as Mongolia, Kincora's chief executive Sam Spring said he believes Kincora is trading at around a 60% discount to its Mongolian peers.

"There is an argument, due to the age, level of activity and results to date at the Bronze Fox licence, that Kincora should trade at a premium," he added.

In its latest exploration update, the firm said it expects to have generated targets for potential drilling at Bronze Fox shortly.

Recent results from two independent consultants have been particularly encouraging, it told investors.

"When we last issued options to management and the board we had no hesitation in our view that 'par' was 10.5c, the last private placement price and well above the price at the time, and that no one internally should be rewarded/in-the-money until that floor was reached.

"That said, the share price is still a reasonable way away from that price but I know a few retail shareholders see that as an important level/signal and this is obviously something we as a company want to get back to sooner rather than later but for the right sustainable reasons."

On the recent buying activity, Spring said: "To the best of my knowledge it would appear that in the last couple of weeks there has been both an element of new retail investors active in the market (helped by EBRD's [European Bank for Reconstruction and Development] funding agreement for up to $10m with Altan Rio, another Mongolian copper exploration play) and some averaging down in existing shareholders' entry price."

Rio Tinto's giant Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project is also emerging from the extensive wrangles with the government that have dogged its development so far and is ramping up to full production – expected to be 160,000 tonnes of copper a day.

Talks over stage 2 financing are ongoing, but the initial signs are good, Spring argues.

Stage 2 financing for Oyu Tolgoi is "the largest and most needed catalyst" for a pick-up in foreign investment, according to Spring. Not only would it recapture the market's attention, but it would prove the government is learning from its recent mistakes, he explains.

Springs says a Chinese buyout, a new discovery or the resolution of the revoked mining licences would also renew interest in the region.

"Those that have experienced previous similar cycles in Mongolia often comment that they see the current environment as entering a good opportunity given most asset valuations are cheap, even on a risk adjusted basis, relative to other markets."

Kincora is not the only resources firm to have benefited from the apparent shift in sentiment.

AIM-listed Petro Matad (LON:MATD), which is on the hunt for oil in Mongolia, is among London's top performing stocks so far in 2014 as rumours of a farm-in deal with a Chinese state-owned group simmer.

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Local Market

MSE News for January 22: Top 20 +1.58%, Turnover 11.9 Million

Ulaanbaatar, January 22 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades held Wednesday, a total of 18 thousand and 284 shares of 21 JSCs were traded costing MNT 11 million 905 thousand and 234.25.

"Remikon"  /12 thousand and 870 units/, "State Department Store"  /1,736 units/, "Nako tulsh"  /1,000 units/, "Hermes center" /940 units/ and "Baganuur" /408 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Remikon"  (MNT two million 4000 thousand and 212), "Sharyn gol" (MNT one million 996 thousand and 140), "Baganuur" (MNT one million 754 and 400), "Shivee ovoo" (MNT one million 398 thousand and 950) and "Tavantolgoi" (MNT one million 155 thousand and 125).

The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 579 billion 207 million 625 thousand and 047. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,378.81, increasing by MNT 239.77 or 1.58% against the previous day.

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BoM MNT Rates: January 22 Close





































January MNT Chart:

Link to rates


8% Mortgage Program Update: ₮482.4 Billion Refinanced, ₮805.1 Billion Newly Issued, Total 1.29 Trillion

January 22 (Cover Mongolia) As of January 22, 482.4 billion (₮472.6 billion as of January 15) existing mortgages of 17,056 citizens (16,889 as of January 15) were refinanced at 8% out of 844.1 billion (793.4 billion as of January 15) worth requests.

Also, 805.1 billion (₮762 billion as of January 15) new mortgages of 14,031 citizens (13,215 citizens as of January 15) were issued at new rates out of 881 billion (₮815.2 billion as of January 15) worth requests.

Link to release (in Mongolian)


Mogi: 2012 report being published in 2014?

Bank of Mongolia Annual Report 2012

January 22 --

Link to report (in Mongolian)


GoM Treasury Auction: 40 Billion 12-Week Bills Sold at 9.21%

January 22 (Bank of Mongolia) Regular auction for 12 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 40.0 billion MNT and each unit was worth 1 million MNT. Face value of 40.0 billion /out of 67.0 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold to the banks at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 9.21%.

Link to release


BoM issues 288.7 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding down 4.5% to 1.02 trillion

January 22 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 288.7 billion at a weighted interest rate of 10.5 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


Mongolia Minerals Law Changes May Lead to Lifting of License Ban

By Michael Kohn

January 22 (Bloomberg) Changes being considered to Mongolia's minerals law are expected to pave the way to the end of a three and a half year moratorium on new exploration licenses, according to an official from the Ministry of Mining.

Amendments to the 2006 law under review include creating a National Geological Survey and forming a Policy Council to oversee legal changes in the mining sector, said Otgochuluu Chuluuntseren, director general of the department of strategic policy and planning at the ministry and part of the group framing the changes. The amendments haven't been made public and should be sent to the government next week for approval, before going to parliament, he said.

The amended law would build on a minerals policy adopted by Mongolia's parliament on Jan. 16 that seeks to limit the state's role in mining and create stability in the industry, Otgochuluu said. The nation is trying to win back investors after direct foreign investment slumped 50 percent in the 11 months through November and amid a protracted battle with its biggest investor Rio Tinto Group.

"The main message is that we are giving more advantages to the private sector," he said in a Jan. 20 interview in Ulaanbaatar. "If there is too much state involvement it's not good. Last year was the best lesson."

In addition to the Policy Council, which would include domestic and foreign investors, the proposed amendments also include clarifying defined geological exploration boundaries and so-called "strategic deposits," he said.

'Strategic Deposits'

"We will increase the level of the economic impact to be recognized as a strategic deposit," Otgochuluu said. "It is not our objective to increase the number of strategic deposits."

The government is planning to rescind a ban on the sale of exploration licenses that began in June 2010 once the amendments are in place (Mogi: not the sale but the issuance of new exploration licenses. Existing licenses can still be freely bought/sold, with less hassle now with the new investment law, evidenced by FeOre's sale), said Otgochuluu. That may stoke new investment as exploration companies seek to stake claims, he said.

Passage of the amendments may also trigger a resolution to last year's cancellation of 106 mining licenses, Otgochuluu said. Should the changes be approved, the former license holders will be able to apply to regain their permits and each will be considered on a case-by-case basis, he said.

"The minerals sector is the main engine to reach prosperity, but we have some disadvantages, such as extreme weather conditions," he said. "So our laws should be more liberal to stay competitive. Amendments will improve the investment climate."

Link to article


China proposes building oil pipeline from Mongolia

January 21 ( It has been nearly a decade since Mongolia has become an oil exporting country. Most of the oil exploration has been performed in Central and Eastern regions of the country. After the discovery of Tamsag basin when the Chinese companies Petro China Dachin Tamsag and Donshen spent USD1.5 billion in exploring and developing the reserve the companies expressed their disappoint of the volume of the reserve. However, since 1996 these companies exported 800,000 barrels of oil through roadway causing a significant amount of damage in the local environment. Last year, the court ruled that Petro Dachin Tamsag is a subject to a penalty of MNT1.3 billion which is approximately USD1 million at the time.

Also, last year Mongolian government entered into a swap agreement with the Chinese side to import 10,000 tons of petroleum every month. It has been a first step to try to decrease the complete dependency from Russia. This is the first agreement by Chinese side to export petroleum after China became a net oil importer since 1993. Mongolia imports 1.1 million tons of petroleum annually and expected to reach 1.3 million by 2016. The growing oil demand and the rational need of decreasing oil dependency from Russia, it was logical that Mongolia would invest in building oil refineries and coal liquefaction plants.

Mongolian authorities have issued 1292 operation and 1763 exploration licenses in the mining industry. It comprises 9.7% of overall privately permitted fields. There are 16 companies operating in 20 fields under Profit Sharing Agreement with the government. Mongolia produced 13.9 million barrel or 1.8 million ton of oil and exported 13.3 million barrel.

However, in opposition to this Chinese oil producers have proposed to build oil pipes from Mongolia to China. It has been said that the main reason is the increasing oil production in Tamsag basin and also logistic costs. The authorities are yet to respond to the request and thorough research is being performed by the Petroleum Authority of Mongolia.

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Mogi: didn't follow the trial but did the prosecutors actually manage to prove the bombs or "bombs" were Munkhbayar's doing? I highly doubt that it was. Carrying an unlicensed loaded rifle even in the city should be a punishable offense, let alone carry it inside the government house compound, but 22 years for accidentally firing a shot? Never do I wanna be caught in a court in Mongolia (knock wood).

Environmental activist, Goldman Environmental Prize winner Ts.Munkhbayar receives 21.6 year sentence

January 22 ( Environmental activist, the head of the Gal Undesten movement, Ts.Munkhbayar, and six others have been sentenced by the primary criminal court at Detention Center 461 on Tuesday. The environmental activists were charged by the prosecutors for placing bombs in several places near Government House, opening fire against civil servants and attempting to threaten civilians

The incident occurred on Monday, September 2013, when environmental activist and head of the Gal Undesten movement Ts.Munkhbayar and another 10 people coordinated protests outside Government House. While Parliament was discussing the amendment into the law the group initiated a bomb scare and fired a shot opposing the amendment of the law to ban mineral exploration and exploitation in river and forest basins (Mogi: accidentally fired a shot!)

The-two day long trial finally reached a decision last night and sentenced Ts.Munkhbayar, G.Boldbaatar, D.Tumurbaatar, and J.Ganbold each to a 21.6 year jail term and 2 years to M.Munkhbold. Two other suspects; O.Sambuuyondon and B.Gantulga were acquitted

The coordinator of the United Movement of Mongolian Rivers and Lakes (UMMRL), Tserenkhand, commented; "Prosecutors have charged activists Ts.Munkhbayar and the others to a 22 year jail term. The Primary criminal court in Districts sentenced the accused to a 21.6 year jail term, reducing the time because of the time they served during the investigation. Four attorneys defended the eight suspects. We don't agree with the court's decision. So we will approach the court of appeals." 

Link to article


Parliament Working Groups Set Up to Draft Bills on Land and Livestock Insurance

Ulaanbaatar, January 22 (MONTSAME) At its meeting on Wednesday, the parliamentary Standing committee on environment, food and agriculture made a decision to set up two working groups.

The first one will have a responsibility for formulating a draft package law on lands. It will be chaired by B.Garamgaibaatar MP and will consist of MPs, representing party factions at parliament.

The second group is to prepare a bill on index-based insurance of livestock and other draft laws, for   parliament discussions. It will be headed by A.Bakei MP. 

Link to article


Mogi: wow, seems like a lot of money for one aimag. But then again, it IS Minister Battulga's aimag after all. Most of it coming from the state budget

Bayankhongor Aimag Budgets 18.1 Billion for Infrastructure Projects

Ulaanbaatar, January 22 (MONTSAME) A sum of 18.1 billion togrog has been budgeted for 51 projects that will be implemented in Bayankhongor province this year.

Out of them, 12.5 billion will be covered from the state budget for 23 projects and measures, and 5.5 billion--by the locality's Development Fund for 28 projects.

Last year, 32.2 billion togrog went for 54 projects realization in the aimag, for example, 20 billion were spent for creating first ever there complex and comprehensive centers in Bayanlig and Buutsagaan soums, for buildings in bagas /baga--the smallest administrative unit in countryside/ and for auto road reconstruction.

Link to article


Customs Officers Now Equipped with Sabre 5000 Handheld Trace Detectors

January 22 ( According to announcement made by Customs General Administration on January 21, 2014, the organ started to supply its offices with latest Ion Mobility Spectrometry (IMS) technology - the SABRE 5000 handheld trace detector devices that aims to detect and identify over 40 threat substances in approximately 20 seconds.

By using Smiths Detection SABRE 5000, officials deem Explosives threats such as RDX, PETN, TNT, Semtex, TATP, NG, Ammonium Nitrate, H2O2 and others; Drugs such as Cocaine, Heroin, THC, Methamphetamine and others; Toxic industrial chemicals such as Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN), Phosgene, SO, NH and others; Chemical warfare agents such as Nerve and blister agents such as Tabun, Sarin, Soman, Cyclosarin, Agent VX and Vx would be detected within seconds and helpful greatly in their daily operations.

The SABRE 5000 is capable of analyzing either trace particle or vapor samples. The operator can select the best analysis method for the suspected threat to yield the most accurate analysis results. Switching between sampling modes takes seconds.

This technology has been proven at military bases, border crossings, airports and other critical security checkpoints around the world.

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State Bar of California to Conduct Three-Day Seminar in Ulaanbaatar

January 22 ( Upon the invitation of Mongolian Bar Association, representatives of the State Bar of California, United States are conducting a working visit to Mongolia on January 25-31, 2014.

The delegates are led by Executive Director of the Association, Joe Dunn and members Howard Miller and Thomas Litton, in the scope of the visit, they would get familiarized with Mongolian Bar Association, Supreme Court and General Prosecutor's Office of Mongolia.

Also, delegates will be received by the Minister of Justice Kh.Temuujin and give lectures at the School of Law, National University of Mongolia, moreover, conduct a three-day seminar in Ulaanbaatar for Mongolian lawyers.

Link to article


Mongolian Company Produces Small-Scale Electric Car for Garden Use

Ulaanbaatar, January 22 (MONTSAME) The "Tsakhilgaan teever" (Electric transport) company has produced a small-scale electric garden car.

A ceremony of launching a production took place Wednesday at the company's building.

The company's manager said the "J-800 EV" car is operated by electricity and it can be used on ground areas such as gardens or horse race arena. The technical specifications show that the car uses 12 accumulators. With seats for 12 passengers, the car's maximum speed is up to 20 km/h. After having been charged for 8-10 hours, the car can cover 80-100 km.

First five cars have been produced with a financing from the City's Administration in future, they will be produced by orders. 

Link to article


British firm gets involved in Mongolia's 'cold war'

January 22 ( A North East architecture firm is helping to tackle Mongolia's 'cold war' after completing designs for a major housing development in the country's capital.

Gateshead's Gradon Architecture has submitted design proposals for 50 energy-efficient homes in Ulan Bator - a city regarded as the second most polluted on the planet, according to the World Health Organisation.

Working with a local developer, the designs could form a blueprint for replacing Soviet-era homes across the city and will help to protect residents against deadly minus 30 temperatures.

The three and four-storey townhouses, located in the Nukht Valley district of the city, will incorporate a number of sustainable features to reduce heat loss and keep families warm.

Due for approval from the country's Department of Construction and Planning, the development will include photovoltaic panels, solar hot water heating, together with insulation that exceeds British building regulation standards.

Chris Allan, associate architect at Gradon Architecture, said: "Many buildings in Ulan Bator date back to the Soviet era. This means that many people are living in poor quality accommodation, which lacks even basic polystyrene insulation as well as double glazing. In one of the coldest and heavily polluted cities in the world, this is having a real impact - especially on public health.

"We believe that designing modern, sustainable homes for the future can truly improve people's lives. Therefore by raising the standards of energy-efficiency as part of this scheme, we hope to create a blueprint for the way both executive and affordable homes will be built in the city going forward.

"The government has made a real commitment to creating better homes for everyone across the city, including those people living in the 'Ger-Districts'. Master-planning is now underway for the city. If our proposals can deliver an exemplar project from which future developments can draw from, we believe thousands of families will benefit from improved living standards in the future."

Gradon Architecture has delivered a range of international design projects in countries such as Australia, China, and Kazakhstan.

To support the needs of an increasingly suburban area in the Nukht Valley, the practice has also put forward its plans for a new community leisure facility. The building will comprise of a shopping mall, business hub, bowling alley, gymnasium, swimming pool and a sport and leisure club.

Once plans have been approved construction work will begin onsite in summer 2014.

Link to article


KFC Ran a Facebook Campaign in Mongolia, and it Rocked!

January (Circus Social) Mongolia is home to close to 2.8 million people (Mogi: over 2.9 now), out of which a third are nomadic. Apart from being the homeland of the notorious Genghis Khan and a common place to find dinosaur remains – Mongolia isn't a country that much of the world talks about. After all, only 16.4% of the population uses the internet (Mogi: hmmm, seems a bit low to be true).

The most popular Facebook page in Mongolia (GEEKS) has a little over 200,000 fans (Mogi: wonder how to get these rankings). That strange sound you hear is the social media strategists of the world snorting. 200,000 fans? That's it? Yes guys, that's it!

Yet, when KFC launched a Facebook campaign in Mongolia with Circus Social, it worked magically well and reaped amazing rewards.

The Motive:

KFC Mongolia were looking to drive awareness around the launch of the Hot and Spicy Cob and Strips. The idea was to generate some buzz around a new product that was soon to be launched in Mongolia, a nice spicy meal perfect to have during the freezing winters Mongolia experiences. After all, they do experience -40 C at times in the country!

The Theme:

"What keeps you warm in the middle of Mongolia's winter?" – the idea was to create a fun campaign around the Mongolian winter and how fans keep themselves warm. KFC decided to go with a photo contest that would ask for submissions around fans demonstrating the fun ways in which they keep themselves warm. Sounds simple enough – but we did so much more.

The Facebook Campaign and App:

(Picture: The Facebook Campaign Landing Page)

The entire Facebook campaign was simple. KFC were offering close to $350 worth of prizes to be given out for participation in the contest. All participants had to do was submit a photograph of themselves (humorous, preferably) – of showing the way they beat the frigid Mongolian cold.

The app was branded so that the landing page (pictured above) had all the necessary ingredients:

·         The branding for the new products

·         Information and guidelines around the contest

·         The theme of the application

·         The prizes going to be given out

Just that easy.

(Picture: The Photo Submission Page)

After entering the app, the users were taken to the submission page. Pardon the Mongolian script – it was made for residents of Mongolia after all. Here, fans had the option of entering their details along with a photograph that they could pick from either their Facebook albums or upload directly from their computers. Their photograph would then be uploaded into the app and displayed inside the fiery KFC flames border our amazing designer created.

Fans had the option of rotating or resizing the image as well, to get the right parts to show up in the frame!

(Picture: Photo Contest Submission Page [With Effects])

We added in little icons and stickers that fans could add to their photograph to make them a little more humorous. After the fans were happy with the photo they were about to submit with or without the effects, they could go ahead and submit their submission! The Facebook app then created a database entry in the backend for the Administrator to see, so that submissions weren't visible to other entrants (just in case they wanted to copy the concept and make it a little better).

That was how the app worked! Fairly straightforward and simple with the twist of stickers and icons. So how well did it too?

The Results:

Pretty well, we'd say. And we're trying to be modest, of course.

·         The App saw over 300+ entrants take part in the contest – some people submitting more than just one submission.

·         Before the contest started, KFC Mongolia's Facebook page had close to 32,000 fans. Post the contest, they had 52,000. That's a 20,000 fan increase!

·         The Facebook campaign was covered in a popular Mongolian magazine as well.

·         With 52,000 fans – KFC Mongolia is in the Top 20 Facebook pages by size in Mongolia.

If you'd like to create a contest yourself, using one of our templates which you can customize – head over to our Plug and Play platform and create your own!

We specialize in creating amazing custom Facebook campaigns – just like we did for KFC Mongolia. Are you looking to launch a similar campaign for your brand? Get in touch with us! Send us an e-mail at info[at], or just give us a call at +65 6417 3053. If you'd like to create a contest yourself, using one of our templates which you can customize – head over to our Plug and Play platform and create your own!

Link to post


Mogi: hmmm, now what can we do with this newfound opportunity?

Bank of Azerbaijan can now transfer money to Vietnam, Czech Republic and Mongolia via Zolotaya Korona

Baku, Fineko/ "Zolotaya Korona – money transfers" Service and the Bank of Azerbaijan OJSC expand their cooperation.

According to the Service, starting from January 5, 2014 the clients of the Bank got a chance to transfer money using "Zolotaya Korona" in three new directions: Vietnam, Czech Republic and Mongolia.

The service of instant money transfers "Zolotaya korona" is provided by 17 branches of the Bank of Azerbaijan in Baku, Sumgait, Ganja, Ujary, Zardab, Lenkoran, Guba and Nakhchivan.

"Our Bank together with "Zolotaya Korona" offers easily accessible, secure and high quality money transfer service of the international level to our clients. The Service constantly improves its offers, taking into account growing needs of customers. Thanks to development of new directions our clients will be able to realize their financial needs to a larger extent", - said the leading specialist of the Bank of Azerbaijan Fidan Atayeva.

The tariff for "Zolotaya Korona" money transfers to Czech Republic and Mongolia is 1% from the transferred amount. The tariff for money transfer to Vietnam depends on the amount to be transferred.

Link to article


Mogi: cheers to Oli

The Buzz About Myanmar's Future Prosperity With Oliver Belfitt-Nash

By Jon Springer

January 21 (Forbes Asia) Oliver Belfitt-Nash provides candid free news and analysis on the countries where he resides. In his previous job at Monet Capital in Mongolia, he was an early voice in making investors aware that the market would be receding in 2011 and 2012. He now works for Ronoc – an Irish firm focused on emerging market advisory services and investment – at their Myanmar office. In Myanmar since January 2013, Mr. Belfitt-Nash agreed to give an interview reviewing Myanmar's 2013 and looking forward to what investors can expect from 2014.

Jon Springer: What would be the big story from Myanmar in 2013 from an investor perspective?

Oliver Belfitt-NashI started my news wire service since I arrived in January 2013 in Myanmar and it was quite a year. The beginning of the year, everything was beginning to open. The sanctions lifted on the banks and it was a huge story. The EU sanctions against Myanmar were lifted a little later.

Link to full article


Opportunistic Private Equity, Leopard Capital In Asia's Frontier Markets

By Jon Springer

January 19 (Forbes Asia) Ken Stevens has been working in market research and investments for 23 years in Southeast Asia. Previously head of research and an investment banker at CLSA Securities in Thailand, he cofounded Leopard Capital in 2007 to be a premier global private equity company in frontier markets. He has a range of expertise in financial management, project design, service businesses and property construction and management.

In this interview we focus on Leopard's strategy for identifying quality private equity investment environments, and investment opportunities in private equity and real estate assets in emerging Asia. We also discuss themes to watch in Asia's growth story going forward. Countries specifically addressed in particular questions include Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mongolia, Vietnam and Bangladesh.

Jon Springer: Leopard Capital is often early or first-movers investing in private equity in the countries where you work. How do you identify countries to start working in and what sectors you go into?

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Ulaanbaatar City Municipality And The Asia Foundation Launch "Manaikhoroo" Community Mapping Website

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, January 21, 2014 – (The Asia Foundation) — The Ulaanbaatar City Municipality and The Asia Foundation today launched the online community website as an interactive resource for citizens and city officials. The website, developed as part of the community mapping project implemented by the Ulaanbaatar City Municipality and The Asia Foundation, maps basic public services in 87 khoroos covering all ger districts. The "manai khoroo" website which translates as "my khoroo," is an online portal where citizens can find information and download maps on 11 different indicators about the accessibility and availability of public services.

As part of the joint collaboration between the Ulaanbaatar City Municipality and The Asia Foundation, the community mapping initiative was conducted from June 2013 to October 2013 and covers 87 khoroos in the ger districts. The online community mapping project generated data in six key sectors: water, health, education, public transport, solid waste management, and vulnerability and safety.

One of the main features of the website is the Google Maps interface with which users can interact and display the indicators in various ways as selected by the user. For example, a user can choose to display the indicators such as illegal dump sites and areas vulnerable to flooding in order to draw a correlation between the two issues.

The website has been made possible through the support of The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Australian Government. Read more about The Asia Foundation and its work in Mongolia.

Link to release


Customs, VAT Exemption Bill for Power Plant #4 Expansion Passes at Committee

Ulaanbaatar, January 22 (MONTSAME)A meeting of the Standing Committee on budget discussed Tuesday afternoon a draft law on Customs and VAT exemption.

Energy Minister M.Sonompil MP said the draft foresees tax (customs and VAT) freeing for imports of equipment and tools needed for capacity expansion project of the Power Plant 4, a state-owned company.

The Minister advises a technical opening to cover an increasing energy consumption of the capital city in a short time and at relatively less costs. The project is expected to cost USD 70 million, and to recover it within 4.5-7.8 years.

At the meeting, the Committee agreed to discuss the issue at a parliamentary session. 

Link to article


International Standard Hospital to Be Built at University of Health Sciences with JICA Assistance

Ulaanbaatar, January 22 (MONTSAME) A chief advisor to the Prime Minister and board head of the Mongolian University of Health Sciences S.Lambaa Tuesday received a delegation of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in the State House.

The sides shared views on a design of a new hospital that will be established in the city's Bayanzurkh district at the university. It will be fully equipped with the latest facilities.

The JICA delegation said they will work out the design in a short time and will present it to the Japanese government.

The sides also emphasized that the hospital will become the very first one at university and will contribute to refining a system of preparing Mongolian medical doctors.     

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Mogi: looks like Kazakhstan is doing a global campaign to reach its target, and probably had every ambassador in the world do a press conference. Good example of how ambassadors should be used.

Kazakhstan Seeks to Broaden Cooperation with Mongolia in Goal to Become Top 30 Developed Nation

January 22 ( Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Mongolia Kalybek Ibragimovich Koblandin for the first time since his appointment held a press conference on January 22, 2014.

In his statement, Ambassador K.I.Koblandin briefed about the country's President N.A.Nazarbayev address to its nation regarding the Development Program to implement until 2050 and he further introduced that in the scope of strategic development program until 2050, Kazakhstan aims to become one of the 30 developing nations of the world. In order to reach the goal, the country strives to increase foreign investment up to 30%, export to 70% and GDP per capita 4.5 times or current 13,000 USD to 60,000 USD, in addition, to raise salaries for servants in education, health and social sectors.

Moreover, Kazakhstan seeks to broaden cooperation with Mongolia in agricultural, industrial, animal husbandry and agronomy fields, and within this year the Governments of Kazakhstan and Mongolia are planning to conduct intergovernmental meeting in Ulaanbaatar, says Ambassador K.I.Koblandin.

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Social, Environmental and Other

Mongolia, home to 80% of the world's rock paintings, pushes forward cultural heritage protection bill

Ulaanbaatar, January 22 (MONTSAME) A meeting of the Standing committee on budget backed Tuesday afternoon a budget proposal for a draft law on cultural heritage protection.

Introducing the draft, the Culture Minister Ts.Oyungerel MP highlighted an urgent need for full protection, restoration and monitoring of cultural heritages of the country that homes 80% percent of rock painting heritages of the world.

After privatization of a responsible authority twenty years ago, restoration jobs of rock paintings has not been done properly, leaving them unprotected to rain, ground waters, sun and wind, said the Minister. She also urged better legal environments and organizational reforms in order to deter ongoing theft and transnational crimes related with cultural heritages.

The draft advises establishment of two independent entities responsible for protection of national heritages. A cultural heritage authority will employ 200 contracted workers, while 115 employees will be provided with permanent jobs at a state-owned restoration shop.

The Committee backed the draft and agreed to submit their evaluation assessment on budget issues of the draft to the Standing committee on social policy, education, culture and sciences in separate.

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Three more schools to be renovated by Japanese aid

Ulaanbaatar, January 22 (MONTSAME) The Japanese Ambassador to Mongolia Mr Takenori Shimizu Wednesday approved three school projects to be implemented here under a Japanese financing.

The three new adds to the existing 15 projects, implemented here under "Grassroots– Human Security Grant Aid" program by the Government of Japan, includes project on capital repairs in a school and a kindergarten in Orkhon soum and a school in Songinokhairkhan district of Ulaanbaatar.

Signing the project agreement, the Ambassador Shimizu expressed a satisfaction with providing Mongolian children with proper learning environment under the Grassroots program of Japan.

The Japanese Government offers a financial assistance program for development projects designed to meet the diverse needs of developing countries. Known as "Grant Assistance for Grassroots Projects (GGP)", this scheme supports projects proposed by various bodies such as non-governmental organizations and local government authorities. The GGP program has acquired an excellent reputation because it provides flexible and timely support to development projects at the grassroots level.

The GGP program provides non-refundable financial assistance to non-governmental organizations, hospitals, primary schools, research institutes and other non-profit associations, to help implement their development projects.

The availability of GGP funding in each eligible country provides Japanese Official Development Assistance with a new means of cooperation that has a direct impact on the well-being of grassroots communities.

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SUMO/ Hakuho disposes of Kotooshu in a hurry to stay perfect on Day 11 with Kakuryu remaining 1 behind

January 22 (The Asahi Shimbun) Yokozuna Hakuho moved one bout closer to what looks almost like an inevitable title at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament on Jan. 22, bringing his record up to a perfect 11 with only compatriot Kakuryu posing a challenge, with one loss.

Hakuho swiftly got inside sekiwake Kotooshu's defenses for a belthold that pretty much wrapped up the match at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan arena. Though the Bulgarian struggled to ward him off, the yokozuna focused on lifting him and throwing him down, although the final throw was academic, as Kotooshu was already out of the ring.

Kotooshu, who until recently was an ozeki, is 6-5.

Kakuryu, meanwhile, claimed his 10th win with thrusts that overwhelmed No. 4 maegashira Takekaze. The Mongolian ozeki had a decent face-off despite being caught at a bit of an angle and then launched three thrusts to the chest that had Takekaze reeling. Takekaze is now 5-6.

Barring an unexpected meltdown, Hakuho is in a very good position to take top honors on Jan. 26.

With rival yokozuna Harumafuji--the defending champion from December--out with an injury, Kakuryu has been Hakuho's biggest concern. Kakuryu is not known as a closer, however, and has never made it to the end in first place. Hakuho, on the other hand, has 27 championships and is treading on very familiar territory as he leads the way.

Fighting with his right shoulder and both of his knees heavily taped, Kotoshogiku grappled and then wiggled his way to victory over No. 5 maegashira Shohozan, who at 8-3 has generally been performing well but had no attack against the desperate ozeki. Kotoshogiku now needs only one more win to secure his ozeki status for March.

Struggling Kisenosato took a hard hit to the chin as sekiwake Goeido bashed him at the face-off. The ozeki held firm and unleashed a series of thrusts that quickly put him in charge of the bout until Goeido had to step out backward to keep from falling. Kisenosato looked calm and collected throughout even though this has been a very disappointing competition for him, with his hopes of promotion falling to the wayside as he collected four losses.

Goeido is still in the red, with a 5-6 record.

Komusubi Tochiozan suffered his fourth loss, this time to the veteran No. 5 maegashira Kyokutenho (5-6), of Mongolia.

Among the other contenders, upcoming No. 10 maegashira Endo threw down No. 12 maegashira Gagamaru to stay in the title hunt at 9-2.

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Mongolia collected 387 medals at international competitions in 2013

Ulaanbaatar, January 22 (MONTSAME) In the year 2013, Mongolian athletes grabbed 77 gold, 118 silver and 192 bronze medals at World and continental championships and other international tournaments.

It was reported during an exhibition of the sport sector on Wednesday. Co-organized by the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism and Sport Training Center, the event attracted federations of some 30 sports.

According to the report, Mongolia hosted last year nine international tournaments, bringing together 873 athletes from foreign countries, and earned 780 million togrog from these competitions.

The Minister of Culture, Sport and Tourism Ts.Oyungerel addressed the opening of the exhibition, saying that the event aims to openly report on expenditure of budget. "Last year, 10 billion togrog was budgeted for sports. Three billion was spent for prizes for athletes, the rest was used for financing national selected teams, organizing scientific conferences, trainings, and hosting international competitions," she said.

The government cannot fully sponsor all international tournaments in Mongolia, but sports federations have been highly appreciated by international and Asian federations for successfully organizing international tournaments. "There were no arguments among judges, a safety of  athletes was ensured well, not mentioning other positive sides," the Minister underlined.   

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