Tuesday, March 4, 2014

[MGG enters "next phase" of growth, GoM adjusts IMF facility, MNT at "natural correction" stage, and wolf hunting ban extended]

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

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Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original


Overseas Market

YAK closed +12.11% to C$2.13, MNGGF closed

Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. Announces the Appointment of Paul Byrne as CEO to Lead Next Phase of the Company's Growth

THUNDER BAY, CANADA, March 3, 2014 /FSC/ - Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. (YAK - TSXV)("MGG") or ("the Company") today announced that Paul Byrne has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer ("CEO") of Mongolia Growth Group. Harris Kupperman will remain actively involved in the oversight of the company, as he transitions into the newly created role of Executive Chairman. 

Mr. Byrne has nearly three decades of experience with real estate developments and investment portfolios, various consortia and joint venture projects, combined with organizational leadership experience at the highest levels of market leading property companies in both the private and the public sectors. 

Most recently, Mr. Byrne served as a Board Member and Chief Executive Officer of Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) Properties, headquartered in Dubai, a US$6 billion property company with developments and property assets in 10 countries. The MAF portfolio includes; 4 million square meters of land for mixed use developments, 11 hotels and resorts, 16 major shopping malls including the iconic "Mall of the Emirates" with its famous indoor ski slope and a subsidiary in the property funds management business. While at MAF, Mr. Byrne led the organizational expansion plan to develop 10 retail malls, 8 hotels / resorts and 6 major mixed-use developments, across several of the company's operating regions, most of them emerging markets. 

"While in Dubai and the MENA Region, I witnessed how the resource wealth of the Gulf created robust and sustainable consumer spending. In addition, I observed, how being a pioneer in high quality retail and commercial properties allowed MAF to unlock pent-up consumer spending in previously untapped markets. It seems inevitable that Mongolia will witness a confluence of these two trends. I am keen to use my emerging markets experience from much larger companies, together with my capital raising experience to ensure that MGG can substantially leverage the coming wave of growth in Mongolia," said Paul Byrne, the newly appointed CEO of MGG. "I have spent this past quarter in Mongolia as a corporate and property advisor to MGG and believe that the existing property assets and developments, management team and public company structure are the ideal platform for building a leading and dominant commercial property company in Mongolia." 

Upon being appointed as CEO, Mr. Byrne has agreed to make a CDN $250,000 investment in the shares of the Company (125,000 shares at a price of CDN $2.00) in a private placement. In addition, the Board of Directors of MGG has agreed to grant Mr. Byrne 531,000 5-year stock options with an exercise price of CDN $1.90 as part of his annual compensation

"When we first established MGG, we always envisioned that one day, we would progress to a point where someone like Paul could see the potential of our company and want to lead it as we embark on the second phase of significant growth," said Harris Kupperman, newly appointed Executive Chairman. "I intend to remain actively involved in MGG and work in parallel with Paul on company business development initiatives." 

"I see Mongolia Growth Group as a highly effective and leveraged way of gaining exposure to the rapid growth of the Mongolian economy," said Mr. Byrne. "I believe in the future growth of the Company and have asked that the majority of my annual compensation be in the form of long-dated stock options. In addition, I have made a significant equity investment in MGG, as I believe that senior leadership should always own shares in any enterprise that they are operating for shareholders." 

Mr. Byrne's specific expertise includes; establishing new businesses, creating company vision and strategy, organizational restructuring, property acquisitions and development, infrastructure development, private and public partnerships, major joint ventures, town planning and sites master planning, marketing, leasing, design and construction, investment management, asset and facility management, capital markets and funding, recruitment of leadership and management teams. This expertise has been leveraged across; major mixed-use development projects, regional retail malls, office towers, hotels and resorts, residential apartment towers, master planned community estates and infrastructure projects, including new airports and associated rail. 

Mr. Byrne has held various leadership positions with some of the world's highest profile property organizations and will be instrumental in leading MGG on the next phase of its significantly scaled growth. 

Mr. Byrne spent eight years leading all commercial real estate development activities at the new Hong Kong International Airport, which include 35 commercial projects, totaling approximately US$3.2 billion. Projects covered areas including retail, new office towers, hotels, aviation properties, buildings and facilities. 

As Client Representative for the New York Port Authority in planning the redevelopment of the new World Trade Center and Rail Terminal hub, a world renowned mixed-use real estate development (approximately US$12 billion). 

As a Board Member and President / Chief Operating Officer of Red Mountain Retail Group, a real estate investment and development company across the United States, where Mr. Byrne restructured the company to lower costs and increase functional efficiency. Simultaneously, he refocused the company on growth markets in the U.S., while disposing of non-core assets in less attractive markets that were not relevant to the group's new vision and strategy. In addition, Mr. Byrne was instrumental in capital raising initiatives that resulted in the company growing from 75 to 105 properties and from US$1.25 billion to nearly US$3 billion in total assets. 

Over the course of Paul's career, he has successfully overseen initiatives that have raised approximately US$10 billion in combined debt and equity

The Private Placement is considered to be a "related party transaction" as defined under Multilateral Instrument 61-101 - Protection of Minority Security Holders in Special Transactions ("MI 61-101"). The Private Placement is exempt from the formal valuation requirement and minority shareholder approval requirements of MI 61-101 as neither the fair market value of the securities to be distributed in the Private Placement nor the consideration to be received for those securities, insofar as the Private Placement involves Mr. Byrne, exceeds 25% of the Corporation's market capitalization. 

A material change report is being filed on SEDAR concurrently with this press release as it is desirable to have the share subscription completed concurrently with the announcement and appointment of Mr. Byrne as CEO. The Corporation did not file a material change report more than 21 days before the closing of the Private Placement, as details of the Private Placement were not settled until shortly before the closing of the Private Placement and the Corporation wished to complete the Private Placement on an expedited basis for sound business reasons. 

For more information about Mongolia Growth Group, please visit the Company's website at

Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. is a publicly traded and leading property investment and development company in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. MGG owns an extensive property portfolio, in diversified segments of the property market, with an emphasis on institutional-grade commercial assets. 

MGG undertakes its own property acquisitions, develops brownfield land assets and repositions outdated properties, relying on in-house services for all facets of both the investment portfolio and development side of the business. In addition, MGG acts as a full-service third party provider for institutional clients and tailors transactions covering acquisition-to-suit, build-to-suit, as well as refurbish-to-suit, for property owners and major tenants. 

Link to release


Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. Announces Issuance of Employee Stock Options

THUNDER BAY, Ontario, March 03, 2014 /FSC/ - Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. (YAK - TSX Venture),("MGG" or the "Company") announces that 936,000 5-year stock options to purchase shares of MGG at a price of $1.90 per share have been issued to salaried employees of MGG and its wholly owned Mongolian subsidiary pursuant to the Company's stock option plan. 

192,000 5-year stock options to purchase shares of MGG at a price of $1.90 per share have been issued to 4 Board members of MGG as part of their annual director compensation. 

35,000 3-year consultant stock options have been issued to 1 consultant based in North America at a price of $1.90 per share

These options have been issued in order to retain and motivate new and existing employees, consultants and directors of the Company. These option grants include the previously disclosed grant of 531,000 options to Paul Byrne, the Company's new Chief Executive Officer. 

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Local Market

MSE Weekly Review, February 24-28: Top 20 -3.81%, Turnover 1.29 Billion, Bayangol 1.08 Billion

Ulaanbaatar, March 3 (MONTSAME) Five stock trades were held at Mongolia's Stock Exchange February 24-28, 2014.

In overall, 462 thousand and 111 shares were sold of 50 joint-stock companies totaling MNT one billion 291 million 702 thousand and 972.96.

"Remikon" /305 thousand and 857 units/, "State Department Store" /65 thousand and 014 units/, "Bayangol hotel" /23 thousand and 367 units/, "Hermes center" /16 thousand and 639 units/ and "Khokh gan" /7,631 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Bayangol hotel" (MNT one billion 076 million 274 thousand and 700), "Remikon" (MNT 46 million 397 thousand and 147), "State Department Store" /MNT 37 million 649 thousand and 950.00/, "APU" /MNT 30 million 423 thousand and 915.00/ and "Material impex" (MNT 17 million 735 thousand and 400).

Link to article

MSE Weekly Report


MSE News for March 3: Top 20 -0.93%, Turnover 23.64 Million

Ulaanbaatar, March 3 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades held Monday, a total of 46 thousand and 429 shares of 26 JSCs were traded costing MNT 23 million 644 thousand and 052.00.

"Hermes center" /30 thousand and 931 units/, "Olloo"  /10 thousand units/, "Remikon" /1,412 units/, "Tavantolgoi" /1,190 units/ and "Genco tour bureau" /627 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Tavantolgoi" (MNT six million 041 thousand and 160), "Hermes center" (MNT four million 639 thousand and 650), "Tav" (MNT two million and 799 thousand), "Gobi" (MNT two million 204 thousand and 200) and "Sharyn gol" (MNT one million 607 thousand and 400).

The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 642 billion 783 million 963 thousand and 645. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 16,321.47, decreasing by MNT 152.62 or 0.93% against the previous day.

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BoM MNT Rates: March 3 Close





































February MNT Chart:


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BoM issues 254 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding -7.7% to 992.8 billion

March 3 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 254 billion at a weighted interest rate of 10.5 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


Mongolia to increase its credit facility with IMF to $72.3 million from $51.1 million

Ulaanbaatar, March 3 (MONTSAME) On Friday, the cabinet meeting approved a list of international joint peacekeeping operations exercises, and contingents of the Mongolian Armed Forces to participate in peacekeeping operations in 2014.

Money of MNT 17 billion will be allotted from the state budget for techniques and materials for international joint training and exercises, and foreign visits of military servicemen.

- The cabinet accepted an amendment to the general agreement on the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and then decided to submit to parliament a bill on ratifying it. In accordance with the general agreement, the special drawing rights' size for Mongolia is augmented to USD 72.3 million from USD 51.1 million.

- In accordance with a cabinet decision, a special license for alcoholic beverage owned by the Dornogobi aimag-based "Business Shand" LLC was annulled at own request.       

Link to article



March 3 (Independent Mongolian Metals & Mining Research) --


·            After reaching historic lows on February 27,2014 with official reference rate hitting 1787, and asks in FX market dipping to 1795, Mongolian tugrug returned suddenly to 1750s level after the nation's central bank governor said that 1700 is "proper, balanced rate" and assured to keep the rate "stable"  .

·            Bank of Mongolia(BoM) said it "will accept exchange rate environment that will positively correct foreign trade, encourage domestic production and exports and make imports level proper , other than that we will not make attempts to defend rate for certain level"

o    "From 2011-2013 we had current account deficit of US$2B which was recouped by FDI. However, FDI last year declined by 55% or by US$2.4B and exports revenues declined by US$0.8B, this total loss of US$3.2B is main and fundamental reason for depreciation of MNT"

o    "There cannot be sustainable development by making FX flows unstable and closing and clogging channels for FX to come into the economy; less FX , worse capacity to get FX, the weaker the economic immunity"

o    "BoM participated constantly in FX market since external economic environment deteriorated and that affected negatively economy through current account balance and financial account; but this is not to change exchange rate what is compliant with economic fundamentals, but it is aimed to soften volatility, moreover, there is seasonal effect as in Q1 there is relatively small FX inflows and demand for FX is high"

o    "since fundamental correction has been made there are expectation for positive changes in 2014, the policy rate is same; long term investment environment has been established, as well as to support gold extraction and there are positive change in FX inflows and gold reserves

o    FX inflows increased 23% and FX outflows declined by 2%

o    FDI increased by 31% including 35% in mining sector and 20 in non-minerals sector

o    gold sales to BoM increased  2 times year on year

o    there are positive expectation for world economic activity, reserves are stable at 2.2- 2.4 billion and we have 10B RMB swap line, plus we encourage banks to attracted long term FX funding by waiving mandatory reserve requirement for those"


·         In December 2013, IMF welcomed Mongolia's  "steps, particularly in the areas of fiscal and exchange rate policies to address rising domestic demand and balance of payments pressures"  noting that   "to help relieve the balance of payment pressures, the Bank of Mongolia has allowed more exchange rate flexibility"

·         Earlier, in 2012 the Bank of Mongolia shared IMF staff's views that the "flexible exchange rate continues to be well suited for Mongolia and that it, along with the substantially higher international reserves, would provide a critical buffer to a global shock. "

·         "The flexible exchange rate regime has been working well and continues to be well suited for the Mongolian economy. It will help control inflation, provide a shock absorber against external shocks, and facilitate the real exchange rate changes that are likely to take place over the medium term with the rapid growth in the mineral sector. The flexible exchange rate and the fact that international reserves are now at record highs will make the economy more resilient to a global commodity shock."

·         According to World Bank at that time, "the current depreciation of the togrog should not be used to abandon the flexible exchange rate. The flexible exchange rate is the single most important policy difference between today and the last crisis. Targeting or controlling the exchange rate, as was the case in 2008, would greatly increase the risk of a speculative attack as reserves are run down to defend the exchange rate. "

·         "Exchange rate flexibility will reduce the risk of one-way speculative bets on the currency and allow the economy to better absorb external shocks such as commodity price shocks without transmitting these directly to budgetary and export revenues as in the previous bust in 2008. More significantly, it will help the economy adjust through movements in the nominal exchange rate rather than through sharp cuts in domestic wages, employment and prices that hurt the real incomes and profits of workers and businesses. Finally, exchange rate flexibility is desirable in that it will reduce incentives for the private sector or banks for taking on unhedged risk. " 


·         Positive. We welcome explicit reiteration of flexible exchange regime by the Bank of Mongolia despite the Bank somehow forgetting to mention its MNT2.7T(~US$1.5B USD) stimulus into the economy, which we believe is the other major fundamental reason for MNT depreciation

·         We interpret the Bank's Governor's comments on 1700 that authorities politically want the exchange general depreciation(or appreciation) trend to be as smooth and slow as possible( for example as in 2004-2008) , so that economy and voters can adjust to it

·         Market itself has fascinating sharp but absolutely necessary fundamental correction(~30% depreciation y-o-y) to the whole Mongolian economy, with no need for BoM to devalue the currency as in Kazakhstan recently

·         This indeed "corrects" foreign trade, "encourages domestic production and exports and make imports level proper". Unfortunately, much of exports of the country are mineral exports that don't require significant investment inputs denominated in MNT, however, miners still do have significant operating expenditures in MNT(salaries and wages, taxes and fees, etc), therefore the MNT depreciation appears to be beneficial to issuers of global Metals & Mining equities with significant operations in Mongolia such as TRQ, CG, etc. since their revenues are usually in USD and would appear to have favorable impact on valuation of their equities 

·         In gold case, it is double favorable situation for Mongolian gold miners as gold is bought in MNT by the Bank of Mongolia

o    by charging 2.5% gold royalty

o    Yet price being world market price

·         We believe that gold amendment is favorable for the gold industry structure as well as economies of scale and potentiality of gold smelting, theoretically one significant bridging factor between Mongolian authorities and OT investors.  Clearly, this is long overdue step for the country that almost wiped out the industry from record production of close to 20 tons per year by WPT of 68% not so long time ago

·         Long overdue partnership of the authorities, central bank, commercial bank and gold miners

·         Increased credibility of the industry among the public and even some political muscle

·         Despite initial short term complication over BoM having to print more MNT to buy the gold and gold miners converting the MNT to USD safety i.e contributing to MNT depreciation, in the long run if the economy will improve , and the more gold miners will be confident in MNT,  more stabilized will be MNT, which in a sense would be backed up by/pegged to gold reserves

·         We believe that MNT depreciation is one direct economic effect that Mongolian voters experience from spectacular collapse of FDI and decreasing exports and therefore it is positive development as voters will realize necessity for more FDI and increased mineral exports and that resource nationalism/populism is costly for them. We note that IMF has forecasted FDI to further shrink to US$1.2B in 2014

·         Ultimately, voters sentiment drives political decisions of  Mongolian authorities and thus increasing public dissatisfaction with state of the economy and exchange rate could make the Mongolian authorities more decisive in tacking the major FDI issues and more weaker MNT get, more dissatisfied the voters will be and the sooner resolution will be reached, the better

·         Since OT is the benchmark for FDI in Mongolia , MNT depreciation adds urgency into resolving OT and other major FDI issues such Centerra/Gatsuurt , Minerals Law/106/Standard Bank/Khan, etc issues

·         Moreover, the Bank of Mongolia explicitly spoke against "making FX flows unstable and closing and clogging channels for FX to come into the economy"

·         Going forward, future USDMNT rate will depends much on whether and how major factors such as current OT PF impasse, production issues at Stage 1, unresolved structural issues in coal sector will be resolved as well as whether current expansionary macro-policy stance will be tightened 

·         Finally, recent event in Russia/Ukraine and China/Urumqi indicate evolving geopolitical environment that surrounds Mongolia. While Mongolia should prioritize reviving its friendly relations with its eternal neighbors of Russia and China, Mongolia should boost its efforts of managing and diversifying various potential risk such as  sources of gasoline and fuel and transportation routes/entry/exit ports/railroad gages/ etc. At the same time, this highlights geopolitical dimension of urgency to necessity of resolution of OT Stage 2 in line with Mongolia's third neighbour policy towards increased investment from the West.

About Independent Mongolian Metals and Mining Research 

Ulaanbaatar-based Independent Mongolian Metals and Mining Research, is a third party subscription-based qualitative and quantitative research and analytics vendor that covers Mongolia-related asset classes, primarily global Metals & Mining equities of issuers with significant operations in Mongolia, Mongolia-related fixed income/money market instruments, currencies and commodities, and specializes in monitoring the country's political risk in pursuit of delivering superior information and analysis to its clients.

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Government to Renew Its Policy on Medicine

Ulaanbaatar, March 3 (MONTSAME) A Cabinet meeting last Friday discussed a draft resolution on Government medicine policies.

Recent studies have revealed a need for rational governmental policies on medicine and proper regulations on procurement procedures of drugs and medical equipment. The surveys also pointed out a need for enhanced public-awareness actions on the matter.

Thus, the Government for Reforms has been renewing its documents regulating drug and medicine distribution in the nation to set new international-level standards. These documents aim at provision of safe, high quality and reasonably priced pharmaceutical drugs to people.

At the meeting, Cabinet agreed to submit the resolution to the State Great Khural (parliament).

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Ulaanbaatar Hosts International Railway Cooperation Meeting on "Transit Mongolia"

Ulaanbaatar, March 3 (MONTSAME) A regular meeting of the Organization for Co-operation between Railways (OSJD) will be held at Blue Sky hotel in central Ulaanbaatar Monday.

This time, the meeting will run under a theme of 'Transit Mongolia' to discuss transit transportation matter between member countries.

Being organized by the Transportation Ministry of Mongolia and Ulaanbaatar Railways, the meeting is expected to gather representatives of transportation ministries, agencies and railway authorities of member countries of Mongolia, Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Vietnam and South Korea.

OSJD is an international organization established at the Railway Ministers Conference in Sofia, Republic of Bulgaria, by the ministers, responsible for the railway transport on 28 June 1956.

Main objectives of OSJD include development of international freight and passenger traffic, creation of common railway transport environment in the Eurasian region, higher competitiveness and an increase in transcontinental railway routes as well as promotion of technological progress and technical-scientific cooperation in the field of railway transport.

At present the cooperation within OSJD is implemented at two levels: intergovernmental and at the level of railways.

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Darkhan Receives Hungarian Construction Sector Delegation

Ulaanbaatar, March 3 (MONTSAME) The administration of northern Darkhan-Uul province last Thursday received Hungarian construction sector leaders in Darkhan city, the third biggest of the country.

Led by Ch.Tsendsuren, a head of the Citizens Representatives Khural of the province, a team of local administrative officials held an official meeting with the Hungarian delegation that included Mr Misarushka, a CEO of "Misarush" construction company, Mr Liptay Istafan, CEO of "Slaush" company and Mr Lastford Pitri, director and investor of "Construction" company. At the meeting, the sides discussed development projects of the province.

Mr Misarushka said that Darkhan city has established sisterhood relations with Hungarian Vesprim. "This time, we are visiting Mongolia to study economic conditions, possibilities to make investment to the country," he said and noted the fact that "Klaster", a business association was established during the Mongolian-Hungarian business forum which ran in Hungary in January.

After this, the delegates visited the state-owned Darkhan metallurgy plant, local brick and food factories.

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Mongolia Adds Winter Sports House to List of Open Concession Projects

Ulaanbaatar, March 3 (MONTSAME) The cabinet meeting on Friday decided to implement a project on building a winter sports house.

This project will be added to a list of works to be realized through concession contracts with the state properties, which was approved by the cabinet on September 6, 2013. An obligation was given to the Minister of Economic Development to run a tender for the concession project.

It is projected that having a winter sports house will bring many benefits to the country to develop winter sports, especially, speed skating, short-track speed skating, ice hockey and curling that are very popular among Mongolian youths, and to have international joint training.

Mongolia has been participating in Winter Olympic Games since 1964, but no Mongolian athlete has won a medal yet due to lack of material base and techniques. The new sport house is expected to significantly contribute to developing winter sports in Mongolia.

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Public Safety Surveillance System with VIVOTEK Network Cameras Improves Lives of Citizens in Arvaikheer City, Mongolia

March 3 (VIVOTEK) --


Arvaikheer City is a provincial capital situated in the centre of Mongolia. Foothills that flank the city regulate temperature for the most part – a luxury most of Mongolia is forced to live without – but a biting wind and overall harsh environment still pervades the region. Even with a natural protective barrier and moderate average temperatures, the city still experiences extremes; with lows that at times dip to a frigid -39°C with wind chill, as well as highs of over 33°C. The city has seen a slow but steady growth in population over the last few years, and the government responded by putting forth an initiative to equip Arvaihkeer with a new public safety surveillance system. VIVOTEK, working together with the local distributor ITZONE LLC, answered the call by outfitting many of the streets and public areas of Arvaihkeer with a strong line of security cameras perfectly fitted for the job.

Link to release


Mongol TV shows unreliability of Mongolian press

A few months ago, a hoax by the recently launched news broadcaster Mongol TV revealed how unreliable some outlets can be. Anyone interested in doing business in the country would do well to make a note of this.

March 3 (Global Risk Insights) Landlocked between Russia and China, Mongolia has over the latest decades experienced one of the world's greatest mining booms. The Gobi desert holds promises of vast amounts of coal, copper and gold. Rio Tinto and Centerra Gold are two of the major foreign players at the scene.

The Mongolian press, however, is not as well-developed as the mining industry. Mongol TV, therefore, wanted to highlight some of its problems. To show just how easily the country's press could be manipulated, they planted a fake story.

Paying a few hundred dollars each to major news outlets, Mongol TV's man got them all to cover McDonald's' expansion into Mongolia. It was seemingly a good business story for a country experiencing rapid growth. The only problem was that McDonald's was nowhere near such an expansion.

With a well-known corporation like McDonald's, it should have been easy for journalists to verify or refute the story. A simple phone call to their headquarters would have done the trick. But that did not happen, and the story spread – first through Mongolian media and then over the internet. The next day Mongol TV revealed the hoax and put the country's other media outlets to shame. So ashamed were some, in fact, that hate mail started pouring in.

But they were also faced with a question: how could this have happened so easily?

Insufficient editorial oversight and lack of fact-checks are big problems in Mongolia, claims Davaasuren Bat-oktyabri from C1 Television – a channel that was not tricked. It seems that the Mongolian media is not professional enough when faced with the tactics of professional communications advisers and worse. Mongol TV showed how straightforwardly politicians and companies can buy press coverage in Mongolia.

Bat-oktyabri says low wages among journalists is part of the explanation for this. When faced with extra money for doing a story they did not even have to research themselves, the journalists made the easy choice. And there was no one there in the news room to stop them.

Reporters Without Borders rank Mongolia as 88th out of 180 countries on their newly released Press Freedom Index for 2014. That is ten places higher than last year, but also fifteen places lower than ten years ago. Rarely discussed in depth by Reporters Without Borders, Mongolia seems to hover fairly stably around the mid-table range of their annual indexes.

Other countries in the region – like Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Russia or China – clearly have bigger problems with censorship and lack of independent journalism. For Mongolia, the Freedom of Information Act of 2011 secures every citizens right to seek information from the government. Where the country's problems lie is instead with the lack of a proper media infrastructure.

Sly communications advisers can therefore expect to find a receptive market for dirty PR-tactics in Mongolia. Those on the receiving end of the information flow, however, are unfortunately forced to double-check any input from the Mongolian press. For the sake of information reliability, we can only hope that Mongol TV's stunt was a wake-up call for some media houses.

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Mogi: happy to see reports finally coming out from Bloomberg TV Mongolia to the international network

Video Report: Car Restrictions Enforced in Mongolia

Mar. 3 (Bloomberg) –- Bloomberg's Duuya Baatar reports on what Mongolia is doing to cut down on the number of cars on the roads which has doubled in three years. She speaks on Bloomberg Television's "Asia Edge."

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World's Coldest Capital Seeks Very Warm ShoesBloomberg TV, February 18: "The company behind global footwear brands Hush Puppies and Cat reports earnings today. Wolverine Worldwide has a presence in 200 countries, including Mongolia. Bloomberg TV Mongolia's Duuya Baatar looks at Wolverine's strategy in a cold climate."

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Transportation Minister Visiting Belarus

Ulaanbaatar, March 3 (MONTSAME) A Mongolian delegation led by A.Gansukh, Minister of Road and Transportation is paying a visit to the Republic of Belarus at invitation of his counterpart Mr A.A Sivak

Mr Gansukh will make a negotiation on transport cooperation with Mr Sivak, before establishing a memorandum of cooperation on the matter between the two ministries.

During his stay in Belarus, Mr Gansukh will visit the Operation Control Center of Belarusian Railway. The sides will run collaboration in frames of inter-governmental agreement on international auto transport relations.

The visit will end on March 7.

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GTI and GIZ signed agreement to extend cooperation

Beijing, February 26 (GTI) Greater Tumen Initiative (GTI) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) regional economic cooperation and integration (RCI) programme agreed to extend the Framework Cooperation Agreement signed in January 2012 until June 2015. The objective of GIZ-RCI programme is to contribute to the improvement of core processes of regional economic cooperation and integration.  

GIZ has been a long supporter and a strong strategic partner in GTI activities in many ways highlighted, for example, by the joint Multi-destination tourism (MDT) report last year. Now both parties are jointly carrying out the second round of GTI transport corridors research projects on developing the funding scheme for constructing large infrastructure projects as well as upgrading software-wise policies to facilitate cross-border transport cooperation. The extension is expected to upgrade the cooperative relationship between the two organizations and help to promote the regional cooperation in Northeast Asia region. 

Link to release


Mogi: I'm sure the ambassador was also gauging Mongolia's position on Ukraine

Minister Discusses Defense Ties with US Ambassador

Ulaanbaatar, March 3 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Defense D.Bat-Erdene Monday received Ms Piper Anne Wind Campbell, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the USA to Mongolia.

Expressing a satisfaction with meeting with the US Ambassador, the Minister hopes that the Mongolia-US relations and cooperation including the bilateral collaboration in the defense field will widen. He expressed thanks to the US side for the support in all sides for Mongolia that is actively participating in peacekeeping operations and is ensuring the regional and international security.

In turn, Ms Campbell thanked the Minister for an audience, and said she is confident that the bilateral cooperation in the defense and Armed Forces will expand in future.

The dignitaries also shared views on a present situation of the Mongolia-US ties in the defense sector and further development.

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Social, Environmental and Other

Hunting for Fox, Corsac, Tarbagan and Wolf Banned for another Three Years

March 3 ( On February 25, 2014, the Ministry of Nature, Environment and Green Development issued a Decree to temporary ban of hunting some species of animal and forbidding of preparation of raw materials for medical and export purposes.

According to wildlife census, the number of 'yellow' fox (vulpes vulpes), vulpes corsac and tarbagan marmot (marmota sibirica) has been decreasing in recent years.

These animals prevent of growing pasture pest rodents, thus in order to keep natural balances, authorities extended the period of ban for hunting these animals for another 3 years.

Moreover, the number of steppe wolves (canis lupus lupus) in Khentii, Dornod and Sukhbaatar Aimags has been decreasing due to pouching, hence officials also extended the period of prohibition for hunt of wolf for 3 years. During this period Aimag Governors are obliged to take necessary measures on regional management to grow animal population.

The other prohibition for medical and export purposes is Baragshun or Shilajit, a thick, sticky tar-like substance found in Altai Mountains, which was first identified of not enough resources in 2009 study. The Baragshun formation is processed for hundreds of years and because of its fewer resources and in order to preserve, officials forbid to collect for industrial purposes and export as raw materials for 5 years. Entities had been issued licenses for Baragshun export but yet exported are permitted to export before May 01, 2014.

In 2012-2013, Mongolia exported 30 tons of picked up naturally fallen roe deer's horns, mostly collected in Uvs and Zavkhan Aimags. However, it allows collecting and selling fallen horns between March 20 and June 10 every year, but upcoming summer expects to be very dry and in order to prevent wildfire, officials temporary annulled the above period.

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Hunting ban on wildlife, March 3


Students gain new perspective through study abroad

March 3 ( According to students and teachers from Upper Midwest schools, a lot can be gained from taking students to other areas of the world to learn from foreign ag producers and industry leaders.

Serving in Mongolia

A few Montana State University students of environmental science take a trip each year with emeritus professor of Soil Science Cliff Montagne to live and work with Mongolian ag producers.

Montagne says the trip serves as a two-way educational opportunity for the students and the Mongolians they work with.

The schools send professionals and students of business, health and environment to learn from Mongolian natives, as well as share their expertise.

Montagne says Montana and Mongolia share attributes that make the connection profitable for everyone involved, including climate, topography and some major ag industries such as cattle.

"Though the cultures of Mongolia and the U.S.A. differ greatly, we face many of the same issues in agriculture — from challenges in distribution, to variability in climate," Rebecca Kurnick, a student participant in 2012, says. "Understanding this has given me a unique perspective in weeding through and approaching small agriculture."

Montagne says despite the similarities, recognizing Mongolia's distinct culture is essential to a successful exchange of ideas.

Another former participant, Kaelin Kiesel-Germann, says she carries the lessons she learned in Mongolia with her still. And, although she has lost touch with the people she met there, she thinks of them often.

The cost of the trip is $3,900 and does not include airfare.

Applications are open to university students, as well as community professionals who might be able to contribute to the work done in Mongolia.

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Alvaro Laiz Photographs the Transgender Community in Mongolia

March 3 ( In Mongolia, transgender people face extreme violence and discrimination, much of which goes unreported because the law does not protect them. Out of fear, many stay in the closet. Photographer Álvaro Laiz spent three and a half months in 2011 photographing male-to-female transgender people in Mongolia to explore notions of identity in a place where they are forced to hide who they are. "They cannot express themselves normally except in certain places. Your life becomes a scenario in which you are pretending to be someone else. Your job, your relatives become part of this performance, and little space is left to act as you would really want to be. It is insane," he said via email.

Since 2008, Laiz's work has focused on marginalized and repressed groups, including HIV orphans in Uganda and ex–child soldiers from Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army. Laiz arrived in Mongolia by chance but quickly became interested in how LGBT Mongolians fare in a society that leaves almost no room for sexual or gender diversity. "I'm not a war photographer, so I have a limited experience in terms of ethnic violence or open conflicts. But what I can tell you is that this kind of repression is as cruel as the ones that arise during conflict," Laiz said.

After doing research through NGOs and other organizations, Laiz located several subjects who gave him access to their lives. Some worked in nightclubs or as prostitutes and could only reveal their identities in those realms. Others were ballet dancers, social workers, tour guides, and teachers who presented as men in their work environments. Laiz also photographed his subjects in traditional Mongolian queen costumes as part of a more lyrical, less documentary-style aspect of his project. "I wanted to show how they are, but also how they see themselves. Identity isn't a one-way concept but a fluent mixture of influences, both internal and external, which forms the way we face the world," Laiz said.

There are signs that conditions may improve for transgender Mongolians. In 2009, the first LGBT rights organization in the country, Mongolia LGBT Centre, was finally registered as an NGO. Last year, Mongolia celebrated its first Pride Week. "One bright side is that the Mongolian society is young and we believe that we can change the attitude of the public slowly through educating the younger generation about human rights principles, democratic values and tolerant, forgiving human nature," the organization's executive director, Otgonbaatar Tsedendemberel, told Gay Star News.

Many of Laiz's subjects have left Mongolia for nearby countries where transgender people can live in more safety and freedom. But Laiz believes that things may be changing for the better in Mongolia. He's hopeful that his photographs are part of the force that may one day make the country hospitable for transgender people. "What I wanted to do was to take the viewer to a place far away from prejudice," Laiz said. "The viewer must understand that these people are nothing but human beings who are trying to live their lives. There is nothing wrong with it."

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