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Monday, January 27, 2014
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
Mongolia's biggest coal event coming in February
January 26 (UB Post) The fourth international Coal Mongolia conference will be held on February 20 and 21 at the SS Club.
Coal Mongolia has been expanding rapidly every year. The primary objectives of the event are to bring international investors into the Mongolian coal sector; to introduce the most advanced, environmentally friendly technologies in the coal mining sector; and to create mutually beneficial partnerships that will strengthen Mongolia's competitiveness in the Asian region.
The conference offers unrivaled insight into Mongolia's coal industry. The conference speakers include key officials in the coal sector, neighboring country representatives and coal companies in Mongolia.
Last year's conference highlighted the need for rail transportation and coal refineries to advance Mongolia's coal output and increase competitiveness. Mongolia's neighbors, Russia and China, and its "third" neighbors Japan, Canada, and the USA declared their readiness to work with Mongolia in coal trade and development.
Main topics on the agenda for this year are government policy on coal mining and marketing, international partnership and trade, coal market outlooks and Mongolia's competitiveness, energy and infrastructure, and investment projects and new technology.
Mongolia has inferred reserves of coal totaling 173.3 billion tons, of which 21.5 billion ton reserves are validated through prospecting and detailed exploration.
The most notable coalfields currently producing include the west and east tsankhi (blocks) of the TavanTolgoi deposit. With the start of production at west tsankhi in 2013, the mine reported an annual production of 1.9 mtpa and 1.1 mtpa in exports, as well as operating profits of 100 million USD in the reporting year. East tsankhi produced 5 mtpa, of which 820 thousand tons were exported.
Analysts predict that the aggregate production from both the west and east tsankhi can exceed 10 mtpa in 2014. At such levels of production, state-owned Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi JSC which manages the mine will be able to retire its debts incurred with Chalco, according to official statements from the company's management.
MSE News for January 24: Top 20 +0.55%, Turnover ₮22.9 Million
Ulaanbaatar (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades held Friday, a total of 97 thousand and 373 shares of 19 JSCs were traded costing MNT 21 million 872 thousand and 894.67.
"Genco tour bureau" /62 thousand and 985 units/, "Khovsgol geology" /11 thousand and 900 units/, "Remikon" /10 thousand and 700 units/, "Khokh gan" 4,647 units/ and "Nako tulsh" /4,000 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Tavantolgoi" (MNT seven million 814 thousand and 100), "Genco tour bureau" (MNT five million 594 thousand and 483), "Remikon" (MNT one million 644 and 700), "Shivee ovoo" (MNT one million 633 thousand and 300) and "Khovsgol geology" (MNT one million and 547 thousand).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 584 billion 878 million 575 thousand and 288. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,480.41, increasing by MNT 84.27 or 0.55% against the previous day.
BoM MNT Rates: January 24 Close
January MNT Chart:
Mongolia Foreign Investment Falls 48% in 2013: Central Bank
By Michael Kohn
Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Foreign direct investment declined to $2.294b last year vs. $4.407b y/y earlier, Bank of Mongolia says on its website.
* Dec. FDI fell to $196.6m vs. $225.1 y/y: bank
* FDI in Dec. was highest one-month total since May 2013:bank
* Current account deficit fell 4% in 2013 to $3.2b: bank
* Dec. current account deficit was $202.9m vs. $340m y/y:bank
* Data is preliminary: bank
Mogi: CORRECTION: base royalty is lowered to 2.5% and eliminates the additional progressive royalty scheme
Mongolia reduces gold royalty to boost gold reserves
ULAN BATOR, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia will cut the gold mining tax to reduce illegal gold mining and smuggling and to boost state control of gold trade.
According to a revision of the minerals law passed by parliament on Friday, the gold mining tax is reduced from 10 percent to 2.5 percent for gold mining companies that sell their mined gold to the central bank or its accredited commercial banks. (Mogi: this
Meanwhile, the royalty rate was eliminated for gold mining operations.
The revision, which is valid for five years, is boycotted by the opposition Mongolian People's Party.
With the measures, tax revenue will drop, but currency reserves of the central bank will increase.
"We estimated that revenue in tax will go down by 40 million to 50 million U.S. dollars, while currency reserves in the bank will increase by 1.7 billion to 2 billion U.S. dollars," said Mining Minister Gankhuyag Davaajav.
"When the tax rate drops, the gold trade amount will increase and it will boost money flow into the economy," he said.
Mongolia to Raise ₮600 Billion in Treasury Auctions in Q1
January 25 (Cover Mongolia) --
12 week bills - ₮240 billion
28 week bills - ₮160 billion
52 week bills - ₮60 billion
3 year bills - ₮70 billion
5 year bills - ₮60 billion
10 year bills - ₮10 billion
Elbegdorj Submits Bill on Establishing a Sovereign Wealth Fund to Save for the Future
January 24 (UB Post) In order to create benefits from natural and mineral resource profits for future generations, the President of Mongolia initiated a draft bill on the future inheritance, or Treasury Fund. The draft bill initiated by the President was discussed in the President's Civil Hall.
Opening the consultation, advisor to the President, L.Dashdorj emphasized the lack of a clear system and policy to leave significant income and revenue from natural treasures and mineral resources for the next generation, and the importance of accumulating wealth for the long-term and nurturing it.
If 500 million USD were accumulated in the Treasury Fund annually, a total of 230 billion USD would be gathered after 50 years. The draft bill is also believed to include policy that supports Mongolbank's currency reserves. The bill opens up the possibility of protection from losses caused by declining trade and complex losses in the budget over 20 years through the Treasury Fund.
According to the draft bill, the accumulation of the Treasury Fund will begin in 2016. In 2025, up to 25 percent of the accumulation will be spent on education. The returns from the Treasury Fund will begin to be spent in 2050, which means the right to spend it will be given to future generations.
The consultation was hosted by Civil Participation and Economic advisor to the President, L.Dashdorj, and was attended by the staff of the Finance Ministry and scholars and teachers from the National University of Mongolia, the Institute of Finance and Economy and the Academy of Management.
Mogi: elevating Ministry of Economic Development to a super ministry. Scary, but necessary?
Development Planning in Mongolia: Failure and Potential
by Dr. Jeffrey Reeves
January 21 (Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies) More than twenty years into its transition from socialism to democratic capitalism, Mongolia is a country marred by contradictions. While a few Mongolians have become extremely wealthy due to the country's nascent mining industry, many more remain stuck in poverty and have experienced a relative decline in their living standards since socialism. In contrast to the new luxury housing and commercial developments in the capital city, Ulaanbaatar, large swaths of the country remain cut off from basic amenities such as sewage and electricity. As options for private education and healthcare have increased for those individuals with means, the quality of the country's public schools and hospitals are worsening. And while the number of restaurants and cafes in Ulaanbaatar has exploded in recent years, inflation and stagnant wages for most Mongolians means they cannot afford to frequent them.
Over the past two decades, some analysts have argued that these inconsistencies within Mongolia's social and economic development were simply growing pains; a price the country must pay for transition. Hesitant to criticize the newly democratized state, many argued that Mongolia needed more time to work through the many kinks that were inevitably a part of its transition. Nearly a quarter century since it adopted Washington Consensus-type institutions, such logic, however, is outdated at best, condescending at worse. It is increasingly clear for many Mongolians and Western experts—many of whom were the staunchest proponents of democratic reform—that the economic and social issues Mongolia faces are not the inevitable costs of transition. They are, rather, the result of the state's inability to engage in long-term development planning and its resulting knee-jerk approach to governance.
Three conditions have contributed to short-term development planning in Mongolia. The first is the lack of continuity in policy and personnel between the different parties. Since the early 1990s, Mongolia's government has experienced constant turnover in party control of the state's government and Parliament, vacillating between the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) and the Democratic Party in their various forms and coalitions. With each change in power, the new majority party would seek to undo the previous government's policies—including contractual agreements—, advance their own policies, and replace personnel throughout the government with their own party-affiliated staff. Just as the party in power seemed to solidify its control, a new election would change the political landscape and upend all progress. With such turnover, long-turn planning was impossible.
The second condition is the lack of coordination between Ministries as to a national strategy for development planning. While development planning was ostensibly under the Ministry of Finance through 2009, it was not able to achieve unification in action between the various ministries. Rather, the Ministries of Education, of Urban Development, of Environment, of Health, of Labor, and Social Welfare, among others, launched their own development schemes that both overlapped and contradicted with one another's plans. The result was a cacophony of narrowly defined activity outside a coordinated mandate.
The third condition—and perhaps the most discussed within Western media—is corruption among Mongolia's politicians, which manifests itself in two distinct ways. The first-type corruption is the linkage between Mongolian politics and business. This type of corruption undermines development planning as politicians advance their own interest over those of society and businessmen bribe politicians to act on their behalf. While recent legislation aimed at limiting the conflict of interests between politicians and businessmen seeks to break this cycle, the relations between the two groups is a defining factor on Mongolia's political system since transition. The second-type corruption—used here in a wider application of the concept—is the misallocation of state funds for political gain. The most salient example of this activity is the MPRP's use the country's Human Development Fund for cash handouts prior to the 2008 and 2012 elections. Heavily criticized within Mongolia, these cash transfers came at the cost of state investment in institutions such as education and infrastructure.
In a positive development, Mongolia's current government and Parliament, controlled by the Democratic Party and Democratic Party-led coalition, respectively, seem to understand the need to deal with these constraints and the importance of long-term planning. Since winning majority in Parliament in 2012 and control of the Presidency in 2013, the Democratic Party-led government has undertaken four major initiatives that could prove extremely consequential for Mongolia's governance and long-term economic development in passed and successfully implemented. While still in the beginning phases, these developments are worth noting for their forward thinking and the concrete effect they could have on Mongolia's future.
The new government's first important initiative in support of development planning was the creation of the Ministry of Economic Development (MoED) in 2012. Parliament accomplished this by elevating the already existing National Development Innovation Committee, which had replaced the Ministry of Finance as the lead organization for planning in 2009, to the ministerial level and providing it with the planning mandate. Parliament's aim in establishing the MoED was to provide a single Ministry responsible for planning and coordinating development activities: a sort of super ministry. While MoED does not yet have this central role, it began drafting legislation immediately after its formation that would provide it with authority to shape aspects of other Ministries' development planning agendas. If properly implemented this legislation, the Development Planning Law (DPL), has the potential to be the most significant piece of domestic legislation since Mongolia's transition in the early 1990s, according to Mongolians in both government and civil society tasked with its development. The DPL is the government's second ongoing initiative focused on development planning.
In its final preparatory phases and with a delivery date for the Mongolian cabinet in March 2014, the DPL seeks to make a number of important changes in how the Mongolian government approaches economic management and development. First, the DPL would provide the MoED with an overall supervisory role in all activity related to economic development. Rather than have all sector policies come from the respective Ministries, the MoED would coordinate the state's planning across all sectors and then delegate implementation responsibility to the relevant Ministry. Through centralization, the Mongolian government would be able to establish a national development strategy without overlap and redundancies between ministries. This development would remove what many in Mongolian policy development now see as the country's greatest bottle-neck toward development.
Second, the DPL would require the government to prepare three development strategies: one long-term (15-20 years), one medium-term (5-10 years), and one short-term (annually). These strategies would shape the MoED's long-range activities and restrict subsequent governments from dramatically changing Mongolia's development trajectory. If passed, the legislation would ensure continuity between different governments and Parliaments, thereby removing one of the major obstacles Mongolia faced in the past toward development planning.
Third, the DPL would establish a clear process between national and local governments for coordination of economic development. This is an important component of DPL as the current government is also working to decentralize economic development (a process detailed in greater extent later).
Fourth, the DPL would, in theory, reduce the scope for government corruption as it would establish a more transparent, accountable system for planning and implementation. It would do so by replacing the multiple, overlapping economic development efforts between ministries—which provide greater opportunity for misallocation of funding—with a more centralized mechanism operating across a more established hierarchy.
The government's third initiative with regard to development planning is the establishment of a new Public Investment Program (PIP). The PIP, which has already passed through the Cabinet and is currently under discussion in Parliament, would establish target areas for government investment in four-year cycles. The PIP would require the government to identify areas it will support in line with the medium-term planning and to allocate funds for its priorities within the budget. While it has wide support within Parliament, the PIP is dependent (in its current form) on Parliament first passing the DPL.
The fourth, and final, initiative is the current government's establishment of the Local Development Fund. Established as part of the 2012 budget, the Local Development Fund seeks to provide local governments and local people's groups (Huurals) with resources to address what they identify are their most pressing development needs. The fund is part of the current government's attempt to decentralize aspects of the country's development planning. As stated above, the DPL would provide a framework for cooperation between national and local governments and measures designed to increase local governments' capacities to deal with development funding and project implementation.
While the DPL's supporters are confident it will pass Parliament sometime in summer 2014 (indeed, Parliament specifically called for legislation on development planning in a 10 January 2014 session), its passage is far from assured. The Law's supporters have identified three serious potential obstacles that they argue must be overcome.
The first obstacle is lack of support from opposition parties or even parties within the existing ruling coalition for the DPL. As the DPL includes provisions aimed at ensuring continuity between successive governments, the party in power at the time of its passing would essential have a mandate to establish a policy legacy. Any party outside power at the time of the DPL's passing would see its ability to shape future policies curtailed and, therefore, be hesitant to support such legislation. Such opposition has undone attempts in past governments to form similar legislation and will require sustained lobbying from outside interests groups to overcome.
The second obstacle toward passage of the DPL is potential push back from the Ministry of Finance. While stripped of its planning mandate in 2009, the Ministry of Finance is struggling to regain control over development planning. The Ministry remains powerful and influential and is therefore, unlikely to support legislation that weakness it position further. While a less serious obstacle than opposition parties, the Ministry of Finance could complicate the DPL's passage or weaken the overall legislation.
The third and final obstacle is opposition from the Cabinet to the DPL's elevation of the Ministry of Economic Development into a super ministry. As it now stands, the DPL would place all responsibility for sector development under the MoED, which would in turn pass its development priorities to the respective ministries. This process would limit flexibility among ministries to establish their own development agendas and is an essential component of consolidating planning at the national level. As Ministries now have control over their own development plans, the Cabinet is likely to object to legislation that strips them of their current powers.
Despite these obstacles, it is in the Mongolian people's best interest that Parliament push forward with the DPL. While the Mongolian people had little taste for central planning in the early days of the country's economic reform as they sought a clear break with the country's socialist past, there is now widespread consensus among Mongolians that the country needs to have far-sighted, more coordinated national planning. Twenty-five years of little or no development planning has left Mongolia reeling under the weight of its economic growth in terms of negative social, economic, and environmental outcomes. For Mongolia's political system to rise to the occasion of Mongolia's current challenges, the Mongolian Parliament must pass the DPL.
Mongolian president sets new reform goals
TERRENCE EDWARDS, Contributing writer
ULAN BATOR, January 23 (Nikkei Review) -- Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj can rightfully boast that he has persuaded parliament to take a more welcoming stance toward foreign investment, but he is aiming for even more.
Elbegdorj, who was re-elected last June to a second four-year term, addressed businesspeople in Ulan Bator last month and sketched out plans for 13 new bills. He used the slogan, "From big government to smart government."
"After three years when I leave, they will talk about my legacy," Elbegdorj said. "Investors want direct answers to how safe, how secure their investments are."
The proposed laws would impose greater fiscal discipline on government borrowing, enhance transparency at "all levels of government," limit the kinds of investments the government can make, and reform property and contract rights.
Adapting to change
Bayanjargal Byambasaikhan, chairman of the Business Council of Mongolia and managing partner of the financial advisory company NovaTerra, sees the reform of land ownership rules as most critical.
"What we have is a law written 10 to 15 years ago when the economy and businesses were small and people didn't know much about international standards," said Byambasaikhan, who was at the president's address. "Now we need rules in line with international project finance standards."
Elbegdorj's plans may be too ambitious given the country's political structure, a hybrid of presidential and prime ministerial systems, even though both are led by the Democratic Party.
"Thirteen (bills) is too many, I think," said Luvsandendev Sumati, head of the Sant Maral Foundation, a nonprofit polling agency, pointing to discord both within the ruling party and with its coalition partners, especially the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, and the tendency of lawmakers to stake out populist positions.
Elbegdorj summoned parliament for an emergency session last September after the tugrik, Mongolia's currency, fell 7% against the U.S. dollar in a month amid a worrisome decline in foreign investment and a jump in the projected budget deficit.
Legislators endorsed a new foreign investment law that removed a restriction, imposed in 2012, requiring government approval for foreign private companies' investments in "strategic sectors," including mining, the main engine of the country's economic growth. Another new law, which takes effect this month, eliminates preferences for local securities investors (Mogi: wouldn't say it was designed to be preferable but that is was just very outdated). A separate measure establishes a framework for custodial banks and nominee shareholding to facilitate foreign institutional investment (Mogi: was introduced by the same Securities Market Law). However, the legislature rejected some government proposals on budget issues.
The change in tone by the legislature toward foreign investors, after a few years of belligerence that helped delay the opening of Rio Tinto's $6.5 billion Oyu Tolgoi copper mine and other projects, appears to be having some impact. Last month, the state-owned Development Bank of Mongolia sold 30 billion yen ($287 million) of 10-year samurai bonds with a coupon of just 1.52% with the help of a guarantee from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.
Analysts differ on whether economic growth is slowing or accelerating. The Economist Intelligence Unit has projected that Mongolia will be the second-fastest growing economy in the world this year, behind South Sudan, with gross domestic product rising 15.3% thanks to the first full year of operations of Oyu Tolgoi. However, Ulan Bator-based Mandal Asset Management believes growth will slow to 10% from an estimated 12% last year.
Elbegdorj and officials from the Mongolian Stock Exchange have been touring foreign financial centers to promote investment. They hope the recent reforms can help drive a rebound in foreign inflows. Foreign direct investment into the country last year declined 36.6% to $2.43 billion, according to an estimate by Mandal (Mogi: Bank of Mongolia said 50% drop in FDI in 2013, and the tugrik is now around 20% weaker than a year ago.
Earthworks: Stand up for jailed Goldman Prize winner Munkhbayar, human rights and environment in Mongolia
An environmental champion
In 2009, Mongolian activist and Goldman Environmental Prize winner Tsetsegee Munkhbayar successfully convinced Parliament to pass long overdue protection of Mongolia's precious water resources from mining's impacts.
The mining industry fights back
In response to Munkhbayar's success, the mining industry is pressing the Mongolian Government to cancel the implementation of this law in exchange for increased gold production.
Sent to prison for 21 years for protecting the environment
Fighting to protect the law, Munkhbayar was protesting outside Parliament when he was arrested for possession of a weapon. Unfortunately, he was just sentenced to 21 years in prison, as were two of his colleagues.
And while he is sent to prison, the law he fought to protect is in greater danger than ever.
The next few weeks are crucial to convincing the Mongolian Parliament not to weaken the law and to take measures to implement it properly.
TAKE ACTION: Urge the Mongolian Parliament to condemn this travesty of justice. Urge them to protect livelihoods and clean water in Mongolia now and for future generations!
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Anti-Corruption Law Amended to Have IAAC Branches in All Aimags
Ulaanbaatar, January 24 (MONTSAME) A parliamentary session Friday approved a draft bill foreseeing some amendments in the existing anti-corruption law.
According to the amended law on anti-corruption, branches of the Anti-corruption Authority will be founded in provinces, and the Authority will be re-structured as a General Authority for Anti-corruption.
These changes follow a common practice that an agency responsible for fighting against corruption usually contains a public inspection council and represents itself with smaller units in provincial level.
The bill comes into effect since the date it gets approved.
Premier's 30 Minutes: ₮9.8 Trillion Worth Proposals Received, Ready to Spend ₮1 Trillion
Ulaanbaatar, January 24 (MONTSAME) The Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag briefed on a course of production supporting project openly announced by the cabinet for reforms, at the "Premier's 30 minutes" weekly meeting on Thursday.
Emphasizing an importance of carrying out the project selection, the Premier said his cabinet received so far 1,151 projects. "Out of them, 381 projects have a price offer of below MNT 500 million, 728 projects--MNT 500 million to MNT 50 billion, and 30 projects--above MNT 50 billion. The 'cheapest' project costs 8.2 million, the 'most expensive'--650 billion togrog," the Premier said. The government is ready to spend one trillion for the projects of industry, and total investment price offers for the projects have reached 9.8 trillion.
If to classify the projects, 899 support the import substitution industry, 77 projects back export, the rest do not belong to any directions, relating to construction, mining, agriculture and industrial sectors, the Premier said. The working group will provide people with relevant information on the course of the selection, he added.
The Premier said the governmental goal called "Let us make in homeland" focuses on stabilizing currency rates which affect prices of consumer goods.
Regarding the "Samurai" bonds, issued by the Mongolia-Japan intergovernmental agreement, an executive director of the Development Bank of Mongolia (DBM) N.Monkhbat said JPY 24.3 billion has been transferred to the DBM account out of JPY 30 billion of the bonds with a ten-year term and 1.52% interest, and JPY 5.7 billion of this has been paid for the guarantee commission issued by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). "Comparing to other financial sources, the Samurai bonds' interest fee is less as to pay only USD 4.4 million per year and the principal money of JPY 30 billion will be paid after ten year altogether," he said.
The Premier also talked about reducing of smoke in the city and construction of apartments.
Ulaan Submits Bill on SME Corporate Income Tax Relief
Ulaanbaatar, January 24 (MONTSAME) Finance Minister Ch.Ulaan Friday submitted an amendment draft bill on entity income tax to parliament Speaker Z.Enkhbold.
The bill advises the second stage reforms in tax environment to support doing business, and returning of 90% of income tax payment to taxpayers who generated sales income less than 1.5 billion togrog, except for those engaged in mining, minerals, oil import and export, cellular services, alcoholic beverages and tobacco.
The amendments follow a goal to bring the public and private partnership into a newer level and to build up a business-friendly environment, stated in the first chapter themed "Mongolian with a job and income" of the 2012-2015 action plans of the government.
President Submits Bill on Limiting Scope, Creation of SOEs
Ulaanbaatar, January 24 (MONTSAME) On Thursday, an advisor to the President on human rights and legal policy Ch.Onorbayar submitted to the Speaker a draft law on restricting state-run business activities.
The bill has been worked out by the President after he was advised by the National Security Council (NSC) on providing the government with a general management in order to limit state-owned business activities, in accordance with a recommendation on realizing the "From big state to smart state" initiative.
In recent years, the policy of any economic sector tends to be realized by creating and establishing many state-owned institutions, companies and entities without a proper feasibility over them. It contradicts the main purpose of the national economy and triggers a conflict of interest due to a state person's right to carry out business and to regulate it at the business level. In view of this, the bill aims to decrease the negative effects by correctly determining a range of state ownership, its limit, mechanism and methods, Onorbayar said.
The bill also aims to stop establishing any state-owned enterprises until a good mechanism appears to run the state-ownership, Mr Onorbayar emphasized. He also submitted a parliamentary resolution on taking some measures for adopting the law, he added.
New IFC Program Helps Mongolia's XacBank Expand Lending for Women-Led Businesses
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, January 23, 2014 — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, signed an advisory agreement with one of Mongolia's largest banks, XacBank, to expand financing to more small and medium enterprises, especially those run by women entrepreneurs.
The Mongolian bank becomes the second lender to join IFC's Women in Business Program for East Asia and the Pacific, launched last year to help commercial banks provide more and better financial and business development services to small and medium women businesses.
Women run or partly own more than half of Mongolia's companies, but women-owned businesses are still underrepresented on the loan portfolios of banks. Women entrepreneurs have repeatedly identified insufficient access to finance and business development services as major constraints to growing their businesses.
"Innovation is critical for XacBank's future growth," said XacBank Chief Executive Officer Bat-Ochir Dugersuren. "We are committed to partnering with IFC to make new ventures that enhance our competitiveness."
IFC will help XacBank explore new financing opportunities for small and medium enterprises, develop a strategy for targeting the women's market, and improve risk management. In particular, IFC will help XacBank introduce innovative customer management practices to enhance the lender's ability to understand, target, and retain small-business clients.
"Women are critical to economic growth and development in Mongolia," said Hyun-Chan Cho, IFC's Country Manager for China, Mongolia, and Korea. "We can help XacBank respond to their business needs in a commercially and socially sustainable way."
The IFC Women in Business program aims to reach more than 10,000 women-owned small and medium enterprises and disburse around $200 million in loans by June 2017. Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. from the Philippines is the first bank to join the program.
FM Submits Transparency Agreement with U.S. for Parliament Approval
Ulaanbaatar, January 24 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Bold Friday submitted to the Speaker of parliament a draft law on ratifying an agreement between Mongolia and the USA on ensuring transparency in international trade and investments.
The agreement's main purposes are to exchange information on current and draft laws on trade and investment issues and to ensure the transparency in the business.
The draft initiator said that introducing the US experience in transparency of trade and investments will help attract to Mongolia an interest of the US and other developed countries' investments and will create good opportunities for the Mongolian investors and businessmen to obtain necessary information.
Soyombo Vodka Enters U.S. Market
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (January 23, 2014) – The APU Company, Mongolia's first national beverage company since 1924, announces the arrival of Soyombo Vodka, produced, distilled, bottled and enjoyed by millions in its homeland. Soyombo, the number one selling super-premium vodka in Mongolia, can be found currently in five major US markets: California, New Hampshire, New Jersey, upstate New York and Ohio; as well as at online spirits retail site Caskers.com; and in Canada. This is the brand's first expansion outside of Mongolia and into the US, Canada, UK, Russia, Korea, Macao and Travel Retail. Soyombo Super Premium Mongolian Vodka retails for a suggested price of $29.99 (40% ABV; 750ml).
In the US, Soyombo is managed by a team of spirits industry veterans led by Arthur Shapiro, Managing Director Americas; Jett Yang in Mongolia as Managing Director Global Exports; and James Espey in the UK, as Senior Advisor UK. Shapiro has hired a staff of Soyombo regional managers and has secured distribution in California (via MHW, Ltd), New Hampshire (Martignetti), New Jersey (Fedway), upstate New York, (Opici) and Ohio (Heidelberg) as well as via Caskers.com, an online craft spirits retailer; and in Alberta, Canada (River Valley Beverage).
Soyombo executives have plans to introduce the brand via a range of brand-building activities that include: advertising, social media, experiential marketing and public relations (pr handled by Savona Communications).
Arthur Shapiro, APU Company Managing Director Americas, says of Soyombo's introduction, "We are excited and prepared to launch Soyombo in the US. As one of the most popular vodkas in its homeland, we thought it high time to introduce this exquisite hand-made vodka for serious aficionados who appreciate taste. We have put in place a team of professionals in the US to help us build a strong business in our current markets. In 2014 we expect to move into a few more but we plan to build this brand on quality of relationships, not quantity."
Purev Batsaikhan, APU Company Chairman says, "Over the years, we have crafted our vodkas with the utmost care, highest quality ingredients and state of the art advanced beverage production. The timing is now right for us to bring our vodka portfolio to the wider world with the support of an experienced international team."
Soyombo Vodka's Mongolian provenance is unquestionable and quite unique: it is distilled on the site of the last Emperor's palace, the Bogd Khan's Winter Palace located in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. It is a little known fact that Mongolians are the true vanguards of vodka distillation. History points to Persians inventing distillation in the 11th century which was spread by the Mongolian ruler Chinnggis Khan in the 13th century to the territories he conquered as he extended the Silk Road.
Soyombo is crafted in small batches and is made with the finest organic wheat from the Selenge Province on the Mongolian Steppes and the purest water that flows from the sacred Bogd Khan Mountains which were formed more than 800,000 years ago. It is distilled six times with the purest Alpha-Grade Spirit which is produced by a distillation process one step higher/longer than the standard process used by most Western distillers. The spirit is then delicately filtered over the course of five days through charcoal, quartz, diamonds and silver – a step that is commonly done over the course of hours by many other vodka distillers. The result? An exquisite vodka with an elegant velvety creaminess that is perfection when sipped chilled and neat or used as the featured spirit in classic or modern cocktails.
Soyombo Vodka is contained in a smoky gray, square bottle designed in-house at APU under close supervision by Mr. Batsaikhan, APU Chairman, and is produced by Stolzle Flaconnage, a British glass maker founded in 1871. The bottle features the beautiful and symbolic Soyombo logo which contains six figures: fire, the sun and the moon, two triangles, two horizontal rectangles, two vertical rectangles and the yin-yang. The Soyombo Vodka website –www.mongolianvodkas.com – is very consumer friendly and offers the interpretation of these symbols as well as six specially created Soyombo cocktail recipes with accompanying video so users can easily recreate the cocktails at home.
To enjoy Soyombo in the traditional Mongolian Drinking Ritual, you offer vodka in a silver bowl with your right hand. Then you dip your ring finger into the liquid and flick the finger to the past behind you, the present above you and the future in front of you.
Distinct anise seed and fresh bread, hint of croissant and dark chocolate.
Elegant, medium-bodied mouth-feel. Creaminess soon opens up with growing anise seed and light-to-medium sweetness with a hint of underlying dryness. A hint of citrus and bread notes follow and then becomes slightly "fuller" on the palate.
Dryness leads and grows followed by a hint of sweetness, anise seed, a hint of pepper. Soyombo was launched in Mongolia in 2007 and achieved instant popularity among vodka connoisseurs. It has since been awarded numerous international accolades including: Gold Medal at 2012 World Spirits Awards; Superior Taste Award 2012 from International Taste & Quality Institute; Gold Medal at 2011 Vodka Masters; and The Grand Gold Medal for Taste at 2008 Mondee Selection.
Soyombo Vodka is produced by The APU Company, the first national brand of Mongolia since 1924. Synonymous in Mongolia with supreme quality and with access to the highest quality ingredients, wheat, water and minerals from the vast natural landscape, APU has developed a strong portfolio of national brands and is the biggest and most technologically advanced beverage producer of Mongolia. It is situated on the site of the last Emperor's palace, the Bogd Khan's Winter Palace located in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. It is imported to the US by MHW, Ltd in Manhasset, NY. For more information about Soyombo Vodka, please visit www.mongolianvodkas.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/soyombovodka, on Twitter at @SoyomboVodka.
Mongolian National Lottery Expands Distribution of Agency Agreements to Retail Agents
January 25, 2014 (PRWEB) Mongolian National Lottery (MNL), owned by license holder BizINVIN LLC and operated by Modern Capital Vest LLC, subsidiaries of Singapore based Monvest Group Pte. Ltd. (Monvest), launches the distribution of agency agreements to small, large businesses and marks the next phase of expansion in Mongolia.
Lottery outlets are previously deployed in the popular supermarkets like - Nomin supermarkets, Minii supermarkets and shopping malls that gained the popularity over the past 2 years. Feedback shows that most consumers prefer shorter distance to the convenient stores just few steps away from their apartment due to the cold weather here which is -20 degree or lower. Working with agents/retailers is the fastest way to fulfill an area without lottery terminal and achieve significant boost in sales once operation commenced.
Monvest plans to roll-out 50 agency agreements to retailers for the first half of the year which will dramatically increase the number of sales points and maximize exposure throughout Ulaan Bataar. Applicants will be interviewed and evaluated in terms of location, customer traffic flow and population in that specific area to ensure the ability to generate sufficient financial return for MNL. Implementing a commission based program for agents allows MNL to deploy agent terminals in any possible stores nearer to consumers, accelerate in ticket sales and also provide incremental profits in retail turnover for the retail agents.
In Singapore, approximately over 200 lottery retail agents e.g 7eleven, Cheers, NTUC are all concentrated in just a small island and some outlets can be seen within 100metres distance from each other. Result shows that lottery retail agents over the world benefited from the commission paid and also increasing customers patronizing their stores.
With the aid of lottery agents, lower operation expenses can be expected.
Salkhit Wind Farm Documentary Opening Video
4th Miner & Supplier 2014 conference and exhibition on March 13-14
January 24 (ubpost.mongolnews.mn) The Ministry of Economic Development and Mongolian Mining Exchange are jointly organizing the 4th conference and exhibition about mining procurement, Miner & Supplier 2014 on March 13 and 14.
The event has been supported and contributed to by mining companies and governmental organizations since its inception. "Year by year, its result and benefits are increasing. In the meeting this year, we have planned to discuss governmental policy on mining procurement, difficulties of supplier companies, and policy on advanced technologies and supplement for bigger mining companies," said the organizers.
Miner & Supplier is the largest event to be held in the sector of Mongolian mining supply, and executive officers, supply managers, financial directors and engineers have great expectations for its influence on the goods and service research that is broadly familiar within the sector.
This year's event will be organized under the slogan "Let's move to a new stage of development!" where mining companies will share their experiences, introduce advanced techniques, technology and management, according to the organizers. "Upon your participation at our meeting and exhibitions, you will be provided with the chance to share your experiences, conclude your achievements and successes, introduce advanced technique, technology and management, determine your resources and chances, properly adjust your supply, and establish relationships with new customers," the organizers announced.
World Tourism Organization to Conduct Two-Day Seminar in Ulaanbaatar
January 24 (infomongolia.com) Upon the invitation of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Mongolia, Professor Yoshiaki Hompo at Tokyo Metropolitan University and member of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics is conducting a two-day seminar on "Renewed Version of Mongolia's Law on Tourism".
The event will take place at Blue Sky Tower, Ulaanbaatar on January 24-25, where the speaker will also introduce the law on Japanese tourism and share his experience how it was first ratified, what difficulties were faced and what were to foresee.
During the seminar, Prof. Yoshiaki Hompo will present his analyses on Tourism Law of Mongolia considering how to eliminate duplications, gaps and controversies in the law. Moreover, he will propose his suggestions such as allowing to conduct tourism activities under special permits and to legalize the process by authorization of relevant state body, besides to create an actual informational data and based on this data formulate a specific instructions to main tourist regions reflecting waste issues, regulations for campers and developing local brand names as well.
In addition, to clarify rights and responsibilities of tour operators and travel agencies, and make it separate between hotel, tourist camp, ger camp and hostel. Also, travel-guides should be trained and recognized under different types of certifications, and put into service different classes of tourist service standards.
As of today, there 156 countries are listed as Member States of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Mongolia became a member of the UNWTO in 1990.
N. Gantumur: Redevelopment of Ulaanbaatar and the first metro in Mongolia are on their way
January 24 (UB Post) The Deputy Head of Roads, Transportation and Infrastructure Department of the Office of the Ulaanbaatar Governor, N.Gantumur, gave an interview about the construction of residential districts and the metro project.
-So far, how is the progress of the ger district redevelopment project?
-Providing comfortable homes for ger district became the main objective of 2012. This plan has commenced into its second year under the auspices of the Chairman of the City Council. The project was very efficient last year and currently, 20 locations for the housing projects have been selected. 12 locations were selected for redevelopment in the first phase, and additional locations were selected for the second phase. These include: 5th khoroo of Songinokhairkhan District, Tolgoit, Denjiin Myanga and Amgalan.
-Is there any location where the construction has already started? When will the constructions be completed?
-The first of the apartments will be ready by autumn. The construction has already started in Khailaast, as well as the residential areas around 12th khoroo of Amagalan District and University of Law Enforcement. The ground works of the housings around building material shops in Zuun Ail have finished. They will be completed within the year.
The construction work of Heera Construction is progressing smoothly. Not only has the foundations been laid but also the first two floors are finished in six places in total.
-What will be the price of apartments per square meter?
-The ger district residents who vacated their homes for the housing project will reside in the first set of apartments and the rest will be sold to private companies. Apartments will be sold for the current market value. The government doesn't have the right to exact prices. Furthermore, our national companies need to participate actively on this housing project, or our nation will lose all profit and possession to foreign construction companies. This increases the risk of losing the economic stability in the country.
This is the era where those with money can buy their needs and state their thoughts. Hence, we need to primarily involve national companies in this project and support them. What we need today is to build more factories for building materials and utilize it efficiently with the help of the government.
-When will the construction for the City Hall begin?
-The blueprints and plans are being made. The latest presidential degree stated that the Khangarid Palace will be privatized and rented to state agencies. Therefore, this project needs to be hastened.
-Isn't it illegal to demand it for rent after privatizing it? Can't the government utilize it under its ownership?
-This way is more profitable. If it's under state ownership, it's not profitable at all.
-When will Khangarid Palace be privatized?
-It will be auctioned soon. The profit will be used for the City Hall which will be built in Building Material Center in 21th khoroo. It is expected to be ready by 2015.
-Will auto markets be relocated out of the city?
-Rather than relocating small auto markets, we would like to build large auto sales and service centers on the outskirts of the city to meet standards. For starters, orders to construct large auto markets off city boundaries were given by the Mayor. Currently, relocation of 7,000 open parking lots and 22 open auto market centers to location on the outskirts of the city are in progress.
For the second phase, 14 auto market centers will be built on the outskirts of the city. They will all become international trade centers for companies to market and promote their cars in trade fairs as all brand cars are imported to Mongolia. Furthermore, sales of car parts will be organized in 130 hectares of area. The city's traffic congestion rate is expected to drop by around 40 percentage as there will not be any auto markets in the city.
Every type of products and sales need to be centralised in the sales and service centers. If there are many sections such as food services at the auto center, people will no longer need to crowd the city. For instance, if they sell products necessary for Tsagaan Sar, people from the provincial areas will not have to come all the way to Ulaanbaatar for the holiday preparation, which increases traffic rate.
20 trucks, full of dairy products from Chuluut soum of Arkhangai Province were transported to the city. It will be much better if we can sell those dairy products at a market located at Checkpoint 22. Approximately 10 trade fairs for only dairy products for Tsagaan Sar are being organised in the city, which contributes to traffic rates immensely. Hence, food products that meet the standards will be transported to Checkpoint 22.
-Don't you think that it's difficult for city residents to travel to these centers located on the outskirst of the city?
-More public transportation routes will be created. Approximately, 14 thousand open car parks will be relocated before Naadam. We are planning to start trade fairs in 14 locations after Naadam and build auto parts markets next year. Therefore, there will not be any traffic issues.
There is a streetscape showing Ulaanbaatar's expansion in the western region around Songinokhairkhan District. Not only the City Hall but also market centers will be built in Songinokhairkhan.
-Will big markets such as Narantuul be relocated?
-It will go by the law. It is not right to talk about relocation and demolishing as there are thousands of lives and money behind these issues. Hence, there will be many adversities.
We're planning to build an additional four large shopping centers next to Narantuul Market and spread retailers there. Also a residential district for 5,000 households will be built there, which will commence in spring. The general layouts have already been made, and all that's left is the final approval. It's better to have a comfortable accommodation and shopping center that meet the resident's needs instead of Narantuul Market.
-The Governor of Ulaanbaatar stopped some 80 unauthorised constructions. Are there any companies that are still continuing their operations?
-We checked all unauthorized buildings and eradicated all violations. Nevertheless, I'm in charge of infrastructure so I'm not completely sure on the matter. The Urban Planning Department is in charge of construction work. However, the above stated buildings have no infrastructural issues.
Overall, we authorize the construction of buildings that are up to 16-stories tall. As for those with more than 16 floors, they are authorised by the ministry, not by the Urban Planning, Information and Research Center. The city should actually be in charge of constructions regardless of its number of floors.
-There are talks of demolishing the buildings in Tourist Streets. What's the verdict on the matter?
-There is some lawsuits. The city proposed to demolish and rearrange the building. However, many of the residents have already invested and reconstructed the building. These residents are demanding that the city payback their money if the buildings are to be demolished. The city on the other hand, can't meet their demands, therefore, this issue can only be resolved after providing their money.
-How is the metro project advancing?
-The construction will begin in 2016. We will take a 1.5 billion USD loan to build the metro project. The Japanese government already agreed to issue 600 million USD, and 700 million USD will be from other foreign sources, and the rest, 200 million USD will be lent from the private sector. The government will allocate three billion MNT from the state budget for the metro project this year. This fund will be used for geological research and detailed assessments, and construction of factories that will produce material for the project. All financial issues will be settled by 2016 and the construction will begin in 2016, and it be completed by 2020.
A 16.6 km long track will be built, of which, 6.6 km will run underground. The underground track will begin from Pharmacy-25 to the Eastern Intersection.
-The city population is increasing rapidly. What is the current city population?
-Approximately 300 thousand new residents have just settled. The population increases every year.
Private bus companies raise adult fares to 500 MNT ahead of state-run
January 24 (UB Post) After the recent strikes of Autobus-1 state-owned bus company and several private companies, the Union of Big Bus Operators (UBBO) has announced that bus transportation fares would be raised to 500 MNT on Wednesday. However, administrators of the Ulaanbaatar City Transportation Authority (UCTA) met delegates of the union and requested that they postpone the increase until after Tsagaan Sar, which the union declined.
Autobus-1 is waiting for approval of the official decision to increase their fares, and their buses are still charging 400 MNT from passengers. The private companies moved ahead with the fare increase on Wednesday.
Currently, over 210,000 citizens, including the elderly, the disabled, police and students, are exempt from paying bus fares as the government compensates bus companies for their transportation costs. The state provided 53 billion MNT in compensation to 23 companies last year.
This year, the same amount of compensation is being allocated from the 2014 state budget, calculating fares at 400 MNT for each passenger. But bus operator companies are refusing to take the compensation unless the amount is revised and calculated with the newly increased fare.
J.Damdinsuren, vice director of UBBO, noted that no government organization is willing to solve this issue. "The government says public transportation is a matter of municipal administration, while the government is in charge of all budget issues for the transportation sector. Public transportation ticket prices have been shifted into a free structure so that there is no specific administrative body in charge of setting the ticket price. So this is our only chance to increase the ticket price. Though UCTA ought to manage this issue, its contract with bus operator companies is now expired. This is the time for us to tackle our problem and raise bus fares. If we think of the public and postpone the increase, we will not be able to receive the additional 14 to 15 billion MNT compensation calculated for 500 MNT fares from the 2014 budget. Therefore, we have no other option but to increase the price if we want to have appropriate compensation based on the revised bus fare when the 2014 budget is approved in February."
Here comes the Ulaanbaatar Winter Festival
Ulaanbaatar, January 24 (MONTSAME) The Ulaanbaatar Winter Festival 2014 is planned to run near the Zaisan Memorial in southern Ulaanbaatar on February 2.
The festival on the southern bank of Tuul River intends to become a city's tourist attraction event similar to the Ice and Snow Festival of Chinese Harbin.
Festival program includes ice sports events such as anklebone shooting, dog sledding, figure skating, archery, winter cycling as well as art performances.
Mogi: guess our embassies were not doing their jobs well that we needed a socialist era organization to do our "people diplomacy". The president Zagdjav is a former MP from MPP. But, to be fair, I've no idea what this NGO is for.
Peace and Friendship Organization of Mongolia Opens Permanent Representative Offices in Brussels and Singapore
January 24 (infomongolia.com) On January 23, 2014, the Peace and Friendship Organization of Mongolia (PFOM) announced that the Organization's Permanent Representative Office opened in Brussels, the Kingdom of Belgium and Mr. Bayanjav BAASANJAV, a citizen of Austria, is appointed as the Permanent Representative of the PFOM to the Kingdom of Belgium.
Following the decision, President of the PFOM D.Zagdjav said, "The Organization's Permanent Office shall work to broaden partnership with state and public organizations of the European Union countries, besides to assist Mongolian nationals residing in those states and we glad to confer the first envoy B.Baasanjav with "Peace Missioner" title and certificate.
Moreover, we bestowed Honorary Consul of Mongolia, Adolf Goer with a "Friendship" medal, who contributed greatly in Mongolia-Austria relationship and he is currently assisting on projects to reduce air pollution, waste management improvement and recycling plant in Mongolia".
It was also announced that the PFOM Permanent Representative Office was established in the Republic of Singapore and Mr. Khurts BAYASGALAN, a citizen of Singapore, is appointed as the Permanent Representative of the PFOM to Singapore.
On March 14, 2013, Mongolian Union for Peace and Friendship changed its organizational status into the Peace and Friendship Organization of Mongolia.
Kuwaiti Prime Minister receives official invitation to Mongolia
KUWAIT, Jan 26 (KUNA) -- His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah received on Sunday Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to Kuwait Sodnom Ekhbat (Mogi: Enkhbat).
The diplomat handed to His Highness the Premier an official invitation to visit Mongolia to further bolster the bilateral ties between both countries.
The meeting was attended by by Diwan Undersecretary of His Highness the Prime Minister, Sheikha E'timad Khaled Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
The Role of Peacekeeping in Mongolia's Military Strategy: A New Paradigm for Security
January 2014 (The National Bureau of Asian Research) --
This article examines the military component of Mongolia's security strategy and argues that the Mongolian Armed Forces (MAF) have redefined their objectives and identity by creating a modern military centered on peacekeeping and global peace-support operations.
Mongolia is developing a unique military strategy that attempts to balance conventional and peacekeeping capabilities. Having moved away from its previous security arrangements with Russia, Mongolia now pursues a foreign policy that will facilitate global engagement while allowing the country to maintain its sovereignty, national identity, and diplomatic freedom of maneuver through a "third neighbor" policy. This policy seeks to expand ties with other democratic nations in order to both counterbalance Russian and Chinese influence and increase Mongolia's international profile. A relic of the Cold War, the MAF has discarded all but a few vestiges of its former makeup and embraced a new structure, doctrine, mission, and identity to complement this new foreign policy direction. The MAF has thus become a vital instrument supporting the third-neighbor policy by transforming itself into a modern military force focused on peacekeeping and global engagement.
• Mongolia's peacekeeping deployment to South Sudan in 2012, its largest to date, has put the MAF on the global stage as a reputable and capable force that has built a capacity for diverse mission sets within the spectrum of peace-support operations. This capability will give the U.S. a reliable partner for future peace-related support operations.
• Mongolia's participation in NATO's Partnership for Peace program has signaled the MAF's desire and readiness to push beyond UN-sponsored peace-support operations, thereby providing the U.S. and regional states additional opportunities to improve interoperability.
• Mongolia's increased foreign military relations have complemented the country's third-neighbor policy, despite pressure from both China and Russia. The U.S. should capitalize on this window of opportunity to enhance Mongolia's peacekeeping capacity.
On a chilly early morning in June 2012, a group of Mongolian soldiers rolled onto Ulaanbaatar international airport's parking apron. Waiting there was a United Nations–contracted IL-76 cargo aircraft, preparing to transport the soldiers to the Unity region of South Sudan in Africa. The region is considered one of the most violent and dangerous areas along South Sudan's northern border with the Republic of Sudan. The soldiers were members of one of Mongolia's elite units trained specifically for peace-support operations, and deployment of the unit marked the largest peacekeeping mission in the country's history. This event established a high-water mark for the Mongolian Armed Forces (MAF) as they celebrated their tenth anniversary of supporting UN peacekeeping operations. Further, the unit's deployment constituted a truly remarkable achievement for a nation that just 25 years earlier had discarded 67 years of Communist rule and international isolation in favor of democracy and global integration.
Mongolia sits landlocked between two world powers, the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China (PRC). Over the last quarter century, the country has abandoned its former alliance with Russia and managed to create a thriving democratic society and growing economy, despite its relatively small population of approximately 2.7 million people. In contrast with other satellite states of the former Soviet Union, Mongolia concurrently instituted a democratic political system, a market-driven economy, and a foreign policy based on balancing relations with Russia and China while expanding relations with the West. Mongolia is now pursuing a foreign policy that will facilitate global engagement, allow the nation to maintain its sovereignty, and provide diplomatic freedom of maneuver through a "third neighbor" policy. 
The MAF is reshaping itself to complement this balanced approach to foreign policy and has become a vital instrument in Mongolia's global engagement. A relic of the Cold War with strong institutional attachments to Russia, the MAF discarded all but a few vestiges of its former makeup and has embraced a new structure, doctrine, mission, and perhaps most important, an identity centered on peacekeeping. Since 2002, Mongolia has significantly increased its participation in globally diverse UN-sponsored peacekeeping operations. Although only comprising approximately 8,000 soldiers, the MAF now contributes the second-largest number of troops from Northeast and Central Asia.  Mongolian forces have also participated in multiple rotations supporting U.S.-led coalition operations in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003. Despite pressure from both China and Russia, Mongolia has expanded its participation in global multilateral security organizations and partnerships, such as by joining the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), partnering with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and chairing the Community of Democracies.
This article will focus on the military component of Mongolia's global-engagement strategy and argue that the MAF has redefined its security objectives and identity. By creating a modern military force centered on peacekeeping and global peace-support operations, Mongolia has reinforced its sovereignty and independence despite the country's geopolitical constraints. The article is divided into the following sections:
• pp. 131-34 consider Mongolia's historical dependence on Russia for security and examine its sudden political transformation after the former Soviet Union's disintegration and withdrawal from Mongolia.
• pp. 135-36 describe Mongolia's third-neighbor policy and significant military reforms and modernization programs as the country attempts to become globally engaged with UN-sponsored peacekeeping operations. The section argues that the MAF, with support from the United States, has chosen a path of reform centered on improving its capabilities for peace-support operations.
• pp. 137-39 examine U.S. policy toward Mongolia's defense reforms and argue that U.S. military aid has significantly improved the MAF's capabilities. The expansion of foreign military engagement is not only supporting Mongolia's third-neighbor policy but has also enhanced the country's sovereignty and sense of national identity, while improving regional security.
• pp. 139-41 discuss the course that Mongolia has set toward military modernization and force transformation and assess the challenges the MAF faces in balancing conventional and peacekeeping responsibilities.
• pp. 141-44 examine China's and Russia's reactions to Mongolia's global military engagement. Mongolia has expanded not only its military programs but also its strategic partnerships with other nations as well as with multinational security organizations.
• pp. 144-46 describe Mongolia's challenges in balancing its military transformation and modernization programs and analyze how the MAF has become an instrument of foreign policy.
President Participates in Discussion on Water Issue at WEF
Ulaanbaatar, January 24 (MONTSAME) The President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj Thursday delivered speech at a discussion themed "Guideway to water security: Progressive change in ensuring security for future of water" at the 44th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.
Water is a source of all lives, the President said and pointed out that Mongolia always back entities that adhere to a water saving principle or a policy. He reminded that he had expressed his country's position towards water at the 2010's WEF and had agreed to cooperate with the WEF in this matter, and added that Mongolia launched last year water research works.
Mongolia is now facing serious problems with water management and urbanization due to mining sector's boost and economic growth, so Mongolia has been closely cooperating with the WEF in water issues last four years, "and we intend to have a water management for the mining exploration and exploitation", Mr Elbegdorj said. In the water development matters Mongolia also wants to collaborate with the UN, he said.
Despite many challenges in political and economic spheres, water issues is still a priority, "so we must seek a general solution, and water security is a matter of the earth security", he stressed.
The discussion brought together political and economic figures from the USA, UK, Switzerland, and other twenty countries; also Ms Helen Clark, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); Dr Ursula Schaefer-Preuss, the Executive Secretary of the Global Water Partnership (GWP).
According to a survey report by the GWP, water issue is considered as one of the five urgent problems in the world.
Foreign Policy Roundup #13: January 12-26, 2014
By Brandon Miliate
January 26 (Mongolia Focus) The FPR is back for 2014. Get the highlights of Mongolian foreign policy news from Mongolian-language news sources. Highlights of this week include President Elbegdorj's trip to Liechtenstein, and Minister L. Bold's official visit to Urumchi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous District.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, L. Bold, on the official invitation of the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ban Yi. During the visit, L. Bold also made an official visit to to discuss cross border trade and cooperation.
President Elbegdorj traveled to Liechtenstein, to participate in a meeting of the . While at the forum, he met behind the scenes with the PM of Japan, and gave a speech on with the president of the Republic of Guinea.
Unhealthy health insurance system
By Jargalsaikhan Dambadarjaa
January 26 (UB Post) The health insurance law is currently being discussed by the parliament and is going to be amended for the tenth time since the democratic revolution. The age that we are living in requires this law to be seen with respect to not only current health financing but also the expected sweeping reforms of the Mongolian health care system that have already failed.
Mongolians today are frustrated by limited access to healthcare and the low quality of health insurance and services. Sick people who are in the depths of despair face death if they do not have money. The richer patients travel abroad to receive expensive medical treatments. This situation has been observed for a long time now.
People are now more prone to developing various kinds of diseases including cancer and tend to spend all their money on receiving medical treatment. Many people are facing poverty because of sickness or disease. Mongolians have been losing their faith in the low quality medical services that are provided at high costs by hospitals. The more able people have been travelling to affordable hospitals for prevention and early diagnosis.
In 2013, Mongolia spent three percent of its GDP on the health care industry. For a country with a per capita income lower than the international average, the three percent of GDP that we currently spend on health care is regarded as low when compared to the five percent recommended by the World Health Organization. However, this estimate does not take into account the money expended on buying medicine and dozens of millions of USD paid to foreign hospitals by Mongolian citizens.
The health industry has three major components: health care providers (hospitals), their financing, and health policy and management. As the health insurance law is currently being discussed, let us analyze the financing of Mongolia's health care industry and have a closer look at some ideas proposed to improve it.
On an international level, health care financing consists of five sources: taxes, social health insurance, private healthcare insurance, out-of-pocket expenditures and external aid. In 2011, two-thirds of public health financing was comprised of public funds, 20 percent by the Health Insurance Fund and the rest by out-of-pocket expenditure. In order to estimate a total for annual health care costs, private health care financing (by the private sector) and the amount of money paid to foreign hospitals by Mongolian citizens should be taken into account. If calculated in this method, we will see that Mongolia's annual health care expenditure is actually higher than five percent of the GDP.
The public budget provides financing for the inputs necessary for the functioning of health service providers. In other words, operational cost of hospitals, including the wages of workers, heat and power are covered by the public budget. This mechanism is called "input-based financing," which comprises 80 percent of Mongolia's health care financing. The input-based financing has no effect on efficiency or quality of service. Regardless of the quality of service provided, hospitals will still get the financing. Since the input-based financing has no effect on efficiency or service quality, hospitals are financed regardless of the quality of the service they deliver. Therefore, there has not been a single case where a hospital went bankrupt since the shift to a free-market economy.
The other mechanism of financing is the money paid by the Health Insurance Fund for health services provided to people who are insured. The fund makes the payment on behalf of the insured and it is regarded as "results-based financing" or "output-based financing." Every working person is required by the law to pay four percent of his/her monthly salary (two percent paid by the employee and the other two percent paid by the employer) to this fund. Although these people from the formal sector comprise only 28 percent of the total people who have health insurance, they make up 86 percent of total revenue received by the Health Insurance Fund. On the other hand, people from the informal sector, which could also be identified as players from the grey economy, make voluntary payments (6,500 MNT a month) as a mere formality and it comprises only five percent of the fund's total revenue. The rest, which is less than ten percent, is provided by the public budget.
A monthly 680 MNT, which means only 8,000 MNT (approximately 5 USD) a year, is transferred to the Health Insurance Fund for elders, children, soldiers, people with disabilities and pregnant women. Yet our politicians claim that 80 percent of our population is covered by health insurance. In reality, it means that people who receive a salary are paying for the insurance of two people other than themselves. It shows that Mongolia's health care market is not selective. The third way of financing is the out-of-pocket expenditures of patients. A survey carried out by the World Health Organization states that out-of-pocket expenditures comprised 41.4 percent of total health care expenditure in 2010. When compared to other countries, the percentage was too high. The reason for the high out-of-pocket expenditures increasing every year is associated with the fact that expensive medical drugs and payments for diagnostic tests are no longer covered by health insurance. Furthermore, lower levels have been set for the amount of compensation one can receive from the Health Insurance Fund.
People who work for the formal sector make up most of the total social insurance revenue, but they cannot recieve health services when they need to. Also, having been misdiagnosed, they spend days going to different hospitals and end up frustrated with the pills and medications that were supplied and sold by the prescribing doctors. Therefore, we demand that the government bring about a substantial improvement to its health insurance services.
The main issue regarding health insurance today is the inadequate results despite the enormous financing, low quality of health services and counterfeit medications being widely sold while the price of medications keep going up.
WHERE SHOULD WE MAKE CHANGES?
The Health Insurance Fund has to be an independent institution that is not governed by any ministry. Ministers must not decide who manages the fund. The most senior management of the fund should be a National Social Health Insurance Council that purchases health services on behalf of people who have insurance and provides scrutiny over the prices and quality of those services.
Currently, the activities of the Health Insurance Fund are combined with other funds (pension, social care and benefits, occupational disease and unemployment insurances are all combined) and they are governed by the Ministry of Human Development and Social Welfare. That is why it has become impossible to focus the fund's activities on a single issue, and maintain control over or improve the quality of health services.
Prices and standards of health services are currently set by the Ministry of Health, which is the health care provider itself. Therefore, there is no way to measure, assess and promote the results of the expenditure from the public budget or the health insurance, which is the reason for the health industry's failure.
A National Center for Research and Development of Health and Social Care could be established and operated independently from the state. This center could have branches in every aimag (province) and town so that it could be a crucial instrument in assessing and monitoring the performance of Mongolia's health industry. The local branches can collect necessary information, carry out various research projects, set the market prices for health services including medications, and produce statistics that could improve the system.
An institution that has a similar function as the proposed center currently exists and is called the Department of Health, which is an implementing agency of the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar. Nevertheless, the name of this institution and its status were changed 12 times with the amendments to the law on health insurance. As a result, the department doesn't even know their core function.
The operational cost of the health insurance fund is currently set at three percent of the total fund. The new law is going to increase it to five percent. However, the most important thing is the transparency of expenditure reports and results. There should be independent auditing in order to make it transparent to the public, track where the funds are kept and at what interest rate, and determine how efficient the fund's operations are.
If we establish the previously mentioned national center, there will no longer be a never-ending quarrel between ministries about who should manage the fund and its expenditure. Also, it will make the ever-growing structure of ministries more compact and allow professional workforce to be transferred to the proposed center. The center can publish monthly newsletters to be delivered to the government and the people. These newsletters could provide information about how to prevent common illnesses, services offered by hospitals and updates on renewed equipment in health institutions.
It is obviously not possible to cover every single issue faced by Mongolia's health industry in a single article. The purpose of this article lies in proposing some ideas on how a smart government can and should protect the most valuable belonging of its citizens – their health.
Remembering the tragic MI-8 crashes
January 24 (UB Post) Since, 2000 four accidents involving MI-8 helicopters have occurred in Mongolia. On January 14, 2001, the first fatal crash of an MI-8 occurred in Malchin soum of Uvs Province.
An MI-8 helicopter carrying Mongolian government officials, United Nations staff, journalists and the flight crew on their way to assess damages and disaster due to winter drought in Uvs Province crashed tragically. They had planned to return to Ulaanbaatar after a day, but they never returned. They were on an official humanitarian mission to determine how the world could help the many Mongolians affected by the dzud of 2001.
The crew departed from Ulaangom on the morning of January 14 and tried to land on the winter grazing land of herder Zandan, which was located at the base of Bayankhairkhan Mountain, 2,275 meters above sea level, and 15 kilometers southeast of Malchin soum, Uvs Province.
Unfortunately, because of limited visibility, the pilot lost sight of his planned landing, which led to a crash landing. Nine people tragically lost their lives: Shagdar Otgonbileg, Member of Parliament of Mongolia; Sabine Metzner-Strack from Germany, United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team leader and head of the Asia & Pacific Desk Disaster Response Branch in OCHA; Gerard Le Claire from Jersey, United Kingdom, UNDAC team member and Director of Environmental Services of the States of Jersey Planning & Environmental Department; Matthew Girvin from the United States of America, Program Officer of the UNICEF office in Mongolia; Batchuluun Bayarmaa from Mongolia, Program Officer of the UNFPA office in Mongolia; Tsevegmid Batzorig, photographer from Mongolia's Gamma Agency; Takahiro Kato, reporter for NHK Japan; Minoru Masaki, cameraman for NHK Japan; and Dashdavaa Otgon, the helicopter's technician.
Only memorial sculptures are left to remember them. On July 21, a 2.5 meter marble sculpture was built close to the accident site. The sculpture is carved with the words "On January 14, 2001 humanitarian mission people were lost. They won't ever be forgotten." The names of deceased are also on the sculpture. The Bayarmaa Foundation, named after B.Bayarmaa, was established and a monument dedicated to Sh.Otgonbileg was built in Erdenet City.
The friends and family of Gerard Le Claire, established the Gerard Le Claire Environmental Trust. The tragic accident, which took the lives of nine, caused damages totaling 373.5 billion MNT.
On February 27, 2007, an MI-8 helicopter owned by Military Unit no. 303 of the Mongolian Armed Forces, which carried MP Ts. Bataa, crashed in Bornuur soum, Tuv aimag – almost 100 kilometers northwest of Ulaanbaatar. According to media reports, the information obtained from the black box indicates that no one was to be blamed for the incident, and that the crash was caused by bad weather conditions. It has since been determined, however, that Bataa diverted from the initial itinerary to hunt a fox. Bataa's decision was approved by Minister of Defense M. Sonompil. The Government has not stated its position regarding the incident and it is not clear whether anyone will ever be held accountable for the crash. Fortunately, there were no casualties. The accident destroyed the Mongolian Ministry of Defense's only MI-8 helicopter.
Another 2007 crash was a deep tragedy for Mongolian people. On July 14, 2007, a Russian-made MI-8 helicopter on a firefighting mission crashed in northern Mongolia, killing 15 people and critically injuring four of the eight survivors.
The helicopter crashed into a forest glade on and split in two on impact.
Search and rescue operations were hampered by rain and fog, delaying first confirmation of the crash for three days. The survivors, between the ages of 20 and 59, suffered burns, broken bones and exposure. They had to walk several kilometers to reach a rescue helicopter, which had been unable to get closer to the crash site. The injured arrived in Ulaanbaatar for treatment two days later. Relatives of the passengers complained that the helicopter had been ordered to fly in bad weather, allegations that the government denied.
Mogi: the horizontal Square Script created by Zanabazar, who also invented the Soyombo Script. Not be confused with original vertical Square Script, invented in 13th century for Khubilai Khaan by a Tibetan lama.
Proposal to Encode the Zanabazar Square Script in ISO/IEC 10646
Anshuman Pandey, Department of History, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A. email@example.com
January 22, 2014 (Unicode.org) --
This is a proposal to encode the Zanabazar Square script in the Universal Character Set (ISO/IEC 10646). It supersedes the following documents:
• N3956 L2/10-411 "Preliminary Proposal to Encode the Xawtaa Dorboljin Script in ISO/IEC 10646"
• N4041 L2/11-162 "Preliminary Proposal to Encode the Mongolian Square Script in ISO/IEC 10646"
• N4160 L2/11-379 "Revised Preliminary Proposal to Encode the Mongolian Square Script"
• N4413 L2/13-068 "Proposal to Encode the Mongolian Square Script in ISO/IEC 10646"
• N4471 L2/13-198 "Revised Proposal to Encode the Mongolian Square Script in ISO/IEC 10646"
The 'Zanabazar Square' script was previously referred to as the 'Mongolian Square' script (see section 3.1). Other changes introduced after N4471 L2/13-198 include: the replacement of the generic 'subjoiner' with a VIRAMA character for representing conjunct stacks (see sections 4.8 and 4.10); new names for several characters (see section 3.3); new head marks and ornaments (see section 4.11); the reordering of characters within the block; and the reallocation of the script block to a new range within the Supplementary Multilingual Plane (SMP). These changes are based upon feedback from experts.
The Zanabazar Square font used here is based upon the font developed by Oliver Corff in November 2001 for his "Xäwtää Dörböljin for LATEX 2"" package. The proposal author has made several modifications to Corff's original font, including changes to the original glyphs and the addition of new glyphs.
The Zanabazar Square Script is a syllabic alphabet based upon Tibetan and inspired by the Brahmi model. It was used for writing Mongolian, Sanskrit, and Tibetan. The script was invented by Zanabazar (1635–1723), one of the most important Buddhist leaders in Mongolia, who also developed the Soyombo script. The precise date is unknown, but it is believed that its creation preceded that of Soyombo. Named after its creator, the Zanabazar Square script bears similarities to Tibetan and Phags-pa (see tables 7–9). It is actively studied by scholars and academic works on the script continue to be published (see Shagdarsürüng (2001); Ragchaa (2005); Bareja-Starzyńska and Ragchaa (2012)).
The king of camel lot
A program to preserve a rare breed of camels has its roots in Australia.
January 25 (The Sydney Morning Herald) John Hare, 78, might seem a tad old as a matchmaker for the younger generation, but his latest success has him positively beaming.
Naran, a feisty stud with a mane of fawn locks, has no fewer than four ''very attractive females'' willingly following him to the most desolate ends of the earth.
Naran, it should be noted, is a camel.
But he is not just any camel. He is a rare wild camel, now roaming Mongolia, and Hare, who is visiting Australia, is head of the Britain-based Wild Camel Protection Foundation and a champion of the critically endangered species.
Fewer than 1000 wild two-humped camels survive, making them among the most precariously perched of large mammals in a global race against extinction.
Wild camels are distinct from the double-humped (Bactrian) camels of Central Asia or the single-humped (Dromedary) camels of Africa and the Middle East, later introduced to Australia's outback.
For more than a century, scientists suspected wild camels with their flat heads and small humps were a unique species, but this was only confirmed in 2008 through DNA testing at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, courtesy of hair, bone and skin samples collected by the foundation.
The discovery focused attention on their plight. Or, as Hare expresses it: ''That put us on the map, because a new species doesn't occur every day.''
With money from Australian Peter Hall, the executive director of Hunter Hall International. Hare established a breeding centre in Mongolia in 2004.
As reward for this generosity, Hall can claim the distinction of having the world's only wild camel breeding centre named after him, if indeed that is the sort of thing international fund managers crave. Hall continues to support the foundation's work.
In September 2013, eight-year-old Naran and another male named John (Hare disavows any prior knowledge of the bestowing of his name) became the breeding centre's first wild camels to be released, into a desert sanctuary in Mongolia.
It is one of two sanctuaries the foundation oversees, the other being in China's part of the Gobi Desert. That area, known as Lop Nur, is among the most inhospitable places on earth: summer temperatures can top 55 degrees; winter temperatures can plunge to minus 40. The Lop Nur sanctuary is nearly twice the size of Tasmania and devoid of fresh water.
''This remarkable wild camel lives on salt water with a higher content of salt than sea water,'' Hare says of the 600-strong population in China.
Lop Nur is also the site for China's nuclear weapons tests. One might have thought the camels would have been bombed out of existence, but no.
''It has survived 43 atmospheric tests, of which half were more powerful than the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima at the end of the Second World War,'' Hare says. ''What an animal!''
His enthusiasm is infectious. While being interviewed, hardly a person passes within earshot who can resist peering around the corner. "You're raising camels? Wow."
Hare, whose first job was as Britain's last recruit into the colonial service in northern Nigeria where he served as a magistrate, talked his way past the Chinese bureaucracy in 1985 to visit the Lop Nur nuclear testing grounds to conduct research on wild camels.
''For 45 years, no foreigner was allowed to go in there,'' he says with a smile.
The foundation's fund-raising website (wildcamels.com) also shows Hare's ability to tap into England's aristocracy for what would seem an unlikely alliance with an animal renowned for tramping through dust, biting inattentive passers-by and expelling prolific, voluble, malodorous farts.
The charity's life patron is chimpanzee researcher Dame Jane Goodall. Other patrons hold what seem anachronistic titles: the Marchioness of Bute, the Countess of Chichester (a trustee of London's Royal Opera House who owns two Bactrian camels), and the Dowager Marchioness of Reading.
And they twist arms. ''The old aristocracy, they might not have any power now - not real power - but boy, they've got influence,'' Hare says.
The breeding centre incurs some hefty expenses. While Hare and a trustee, Queensland-born environmental lawyer Kathryn Rae, work for free, the centre racks up $2500 a month in expenses caring for the 28 camels there now.
Simply feeding the animals through the harsh Mongolian winter swallows a further $12,000 each September and involves delivering hay from across 1500 kilometres of dirt track.
But for Naran, whose sophisticated big-city ways are proving irresistible to the local girls, the free meals are over. Now it's time to get to business, and mating season is under way.
Asked if he feels like a proud father when he gets news via Naran's tracking collar or from the heat-activated camera that recently captured a family photo of Naran and his harem at a watering hole, John Hare laughs a laugh that verges on a vicarious conquest. "I'm not a father yet," he protests. "I've only got a girlfriend."
But it's only a matter of time. Charm runs in the family.
SUMO/ Hakuho wins tie-breaker, 28th career title on Day 15
Hakuho lived up to his status as grand champion of the sport by demolishing the ozeki in their second go. The yokozuna completed the 15 days of competition with 14 wins plus the tie-breaker victory.
In their first match of the day, Kakuryu slammed into Hakuho at the start and beautifully worked his way through the yokozuna's defenses, going hard for the belt and lifting Hakuho off-balance so that he could be driven into a retreat out of the ring.
It was Kakuryu's bout from the outset, and the ozeki appeared the far superior wrestler—which, of course, is rarely the case when Hakuho climbs into the ring.
Kakuryu's win ended Hakuho's chances of finishing yet another tournament with a perfect record.
But defeating Hakuho twice is no easy task.
In the tie-breaker, Hakuho was much better, getting his own belt-hold attack going and using it to disarm Kakuryu shortly after the face-off. Within seconds, Kakuryu was tumbling out.
"I really wanted this championship no matter what," Hakuho said. "I'm very happy. ... It will be my last title as a 28 year old."
Because of his solid results, Kakuryu could be up for promotion himself if he wins the tournament in March with 13 or more victories, or displays otherwise outstanding skills.
Pre-tournament sensation Kisenosato had to pull out of his bout against fellow ozeki Kotoshogiku because of the injury to his right big toe he suffered on Jan. 24.
The withdrawal was announced just minutes before the two were supposed to pair off, to the great disappointment of the final day crowd at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan arena. With the default loss, Kisenosato finishes with a losing record and will be in danger of demotion if he performs poorly again next time out.
Kisenosato's showing was a big letdown to the fans who had hoped he would show his true colors and possibly even earn the nod for promotion to sumo's highest rank, which has not seen a Japanese-born wrestler for ages.
Kotoshogiku closes at 9-6, meaning he will remain an ozeki.
Sekiwake Goeido, who has been at this rank for 11 tournaments, came out too fast in his first attempt at fellow sekiwake Kotooshu, the former ozeki. But he was smart and tricky the second time out and sent the injury-prone Bulgarian staggering over the edge. They both go home with 8-7 records.
Komusubi Tochiozan pulled No. 6 maegashira Tamawashi (8-7) down by the neck and shoulder for his 11th win. The bout completes a tournament that started with three consecutive losses but gained a lot of steam for Tochiozan.
Top maegashira Toyonoshima won his eighth bout and will probably be returning to komusubi status next time out. He defeated Okinoumi, a No. 5 maegashira.
US Basketball Player Wants Mongolian Citizenship to Play for National Team
Ulaanbaatar, January 24 (MONTSAME) Fred Woods, who plays for Dornod Tanan Garid basketball team, wants a citizenship of Mongolia to play in the national team.
The US-origin player said he is ready to decline his US citizenship if needed. The National basketball association informs that the national team, which represents Mongolia in international competitions, includes Mongolian citizens only.
General Secretary of the Association S.Tulga expressed a gratitude for Woods' request and noted that, when he is included, the team "might become one of Asia's top teams".
Fred Woods (26) was named the best defensive player of the year, when his team DornodTananGarid won the Mongolian Basketball Championship in 2013.
Mongol Advocate to Monitor ETV's Live Broadcasting of FIFA World Cup 2014 for Compliance
January 24 (infomongolia.com) In coming June, the FIFA World Cup 2014 will be commenced in Brazil and it was previously reported that ETV HD television will bring the biggest football celebration to its fans as an official broadcaster.
So on January 23, the television authorities have signed an agreement of cooperation with "Mongol Advocate" Law Firm, where the latter part to assist with all appropriate legal services on the agreement implementation issues established between ETV, representing Mongolia and the FIFA, general organizer.
The Executive Director of the law firm B.Munkhbat said, "The ETV is recognized as an official broadcaster and it is a matter of reputation and responsibility to follow the agreement requirements. In this regard, we would like to inform that all websites, newspapers, magazines or televisions wishing to transmit the FIFA World Cup 2014 should ask for permission from ETV and on behalf of the television, our firm is authorized to represent the ETV HD television on setting up contracts".
Photo News: Mongolia Sends Off Its Two Athletes to Sochi
January 24 (infomongolia.com) A send-off ceremony for Mongolian Team to participate in the XXII Olympic Winter Games to take place in Sochi, the Russian Federation was held today in the Mongolian National Olympic Committee (MNOC), Ulaanbaatar on January 24, 2014.
The Team will be led by President of Mongolian Ski Federation, MP Ts.Davaasuren and comprised of two athletes B.Byambadorj (Cross-Country, Men's 15 km Classic) and Ch.Otgontsetseg (Cross-Country, Ladies' 10 km Classic) under coach D.Battulga.
At the ceremony, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ts.Oyungerel, MNOC President D.Zagdsuren, member of International Olympic Committee Sh.Magvan, designer Ariunaa Suri and other officials were present.
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