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Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
VKA last traded 4.2c on April 22
Viking Ashanti wins control of Auminco Mines
The takeover offer period will be extended by 14 days to Friday, 23 May 2014.
Auminco holds the Berkh Uul project that is located in northern Mongolia next to a rail link that connects with Russian markets, and provides quick access to domestic power plants and industrial users at Darkhan and Ulaanbaatar.
It has JORC resources of 38.3 million tonnes of high quality, open pittable unwashed bituminous coal.
Successful production at Berkh Uul would provide significant cash flows to develop the remainder of the combined group's portfolio as well seek out further production and near term production opportunities
Under the terms of the offer, which was launched earlier this year, accepting Auminco shareholders will receive 60.6 Viking Shares and 20.2 Viking Options for every 100 Auminco Shares held.
Auminco shareholders will emerge with a 47% stake in Viking, and play a major role in the evolution of Viking as a participant in the Mongolian thermal and coking coal markets.
AMO last traded 4c on Monday
Altan Rio settles C$1.4 million debt with shares, paving way for EBRD placement
VANCOUVER, April 28, 2014 /CNW/ - Altan Rio Minerals Limited ("Altan Rio" or the "Company," TSX.V: AMO) announces that it has now closed the debt settlement originally announced February 20, 2014. Pursuant to the settlement, the Company has issued a total of 20,346,555 common shares to settle debt in the total sum of $1,424,258.90 at a deemed price of $0.07 per share. Debt in the sum of $5,000 that was originally contemplated in the February 20, 2014 news release was not settled for shares, resulting in a net reduction of 71,428 shares from the number originally announced. The 20,346,555 shares so issued are subject to a hold period of four months plus a day, expiring August 29, 2014.
Evan Jones, a director, the President and CEO, and a greater than 10% shareholder of the Company, participated in the debt settlement by settling debt in the amount of $21,450.07 in respect of which he received 306,429 common shares of the Company. 0809979 B.C. Ltd. ("BC Ltd.") a private company under the control and direction of Mr. Jones and wholly owned by a trust of which Mr. Jones is a beneficiary, participated in the debt settlement by settling debt in the amount of $717,996.41 in respect of which it received 10,257,091 common shares of the Company. As Mr. Jones owned 15,539,819 common shares of the Company prior to the debt settlement, representing approximately 29.82% of the then issued and outstanding shares, Mr. Jones now has ownership or control or direction over a total of 26,103,339 common shares, representing approximately 36.03% of the issued and outstanding common shares of the Company.
Kelly Cluer, a director of the Company, also participated in the debt settlement by settling debt in the total amount of$26,812.50 in respect of which he received a total of 383,035 common shares of the Company. As Mr. Cluer owned 1,890,146 common shares of the Company prior to the debt settlement, representing approximately 3.63% of the then issued shares, his total shareholding in the Company is now 2,273,181 common shares, representing approximately 3.14% of the issued and outstanding common shares of the Company.
Completion of the debt settlement transaction was a pre-condition to the Company's previously announced private placement of common shares with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development ("EBRD"), originally announced January 8 and February 20, 2014. Now that the debt settlement transaction has been completed, the Company anticipates that, subject to receipt of final approval from the TSX Venture Exchange and completion of other standard closing conditions, the private placement with EBRD will close in the first half of May, 2014. Under the private placement, EBRD will purchase 16,666,600 common shares of the Company at $0.06 per share.
AMENDMENT TO PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED STOCK OPTIONS
On February 20, 2014, the Company announced the granting of stock options on 1,420,000 common shares of the Company to directors, officers, employees and consultants, exercisable for five years at an exercise price of $0.10 per share. The number of shares on which options have been granted has been amended to 1,450,000 shares and the exercise price of the options has been amended to $0.12 per share. Certain of the options, granted to key management and personnel, will be subject to vesting provisions over the next two years, tied to certain key performance indicators relative to exploration of the Company's key Mongolian properties.
YAK closed -0.36% to C$2.78, +44.8% in last 3 months
Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. Publishes March 2014 Monthly Letter to Shareholders
Thunder Bay, Ontario, April 29 (FSCwire) - Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. (YAK – TSXV), a real estate investment and development company participating in the dynamic growth of the Mongolian economy via ownership of institutional-quality commercial property assets in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia is pleased to announce the release of its March 2014 Shareholder Letter.
March 2014 Shareholder Letter
To the Shareholders of Mongolia Growth Group Ltd.,
In March 2014, MGG's core commercial property portfolio* experienced a same-store rental increase of 34.2% relative to March 2013 on properties owned 12 months or longer as measured in local currency (Mongolian Togrog). Total billed revenue for March 2014 was 267.4 million Mongolian Togrog as compared to 205.9 million Mongolian Togrog in March of 2013 or a 29.8% increase.** The occupancy rate for the core portfolio in March of 2014 was 91.7%, including an occupancy rate of 97.5% for core retail properties and an occupancy rate of 80.6% for core office properties.
Investment Portfolio, Operations Update, 2014 Mongolia Investor Trip & Investor Road Show Presentation
During the month of March, we continued with our plan to shift MGG's asset mix away from smaller properties that cost more to maintain and manage, and towards larger institutional-quality assets that are easier to scale as we build MGG into a leading real estate company. During March we disposed of 1 property. Over the course of the first three months of 2014, we have disposed of a total of 6 properties and received commitments to sell an additional 2 properties.
During March we began an initial analysis of our corporate structure in Mongolia with the goal of achieving efficiencies in that structure. As part of this process we have created MGG Properties LLC, which will serve as the future management company for our property assets. Shifting all expenses to this management company will reduce costs and improve operating efficiency by consolidating most costs into one operating subsidiary. In addition to reducing costs and increasing operating efficiency, having a single management company will increase the attractiveness of our business when we begin to aggressively attract third party asset management contracts in the future. We anticipate that this restructuring will be substantially completed by the third quarter of 2014, leading to reduced operating expenses, particularly in professional fees.
2014 Mongolia Investor Trip
At MGG, we are very proud of the progress we have made over the past three years. As you are likely aware, it's one thing to read company filings and attend a corporate presentation—it's quite different to actually travel to Mongolia, meet our employees and see our assets in person. Most importantly, you'll see a country that has become quite special to me. Since starting this company, we have had dozens of visitors and I hope that you will come and join us in Mongolia this year during our scheduled investor trip from August 29th to 31st.
Investor Road Show Presentation
MGG has now posted its corporate presentation from the investor road show on its website. You can view the presentation by clicking the following link.
Mongolian Economic Update
During 2013, Mongolia's GDP was 11.7%.
Since our previous update to you:
· Mongolia's exports in the first three months of the year increased to US $986.9 million compared to US $809.1 million in 2013
· A consortium of three Mongolian mining companies and Shenhua Group Corp of China will jointly construct a US $200 million railroad across the Mongolian-Chinese border. When completed, the railroad will reduce the transport cost of coal by approximately $8 per ton, substantially increasing the competitiveness of Mongolian coal.
· Mongolia's central bank said it will extend a bilateral local currency-swap line with the People's Bank of China for three years and double its size to 20 billion Yuan.
· A concession agreement has been signed to build a highway connecting China and Russia through the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. The road will be approximately 1,000 km long and create construction jobs for 5,500 to 7,000 people during the construction period.
· The Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism has opened a website www.travel2mongolia.com to provide international organizations, individuals and tourists with general news about Mongolia. Tourism is a rapidly growing industry in Mongolia and helps to diversify the economy away from the mining industry.
We look forward to updating you again on our progress and new developments in the Mongolian economy next month.
Cash at end of Q A$1.5 million. XAM closed -0.1c to 4.5c Tuesday
Xanadu Mines: Quarterly Activities Report
April 29, Xanadu Mines Ltd. (ASX:XAM) --
· Xanadu reaches two significant milestones in the implementation of its copper strategy
- US$14 million Kharmagtai copper-gold project acquisition announced
- Oyut Ulaan copper-gold project acquisition completed
· Xanadu is prepared to commence drilling at Kharmagtai in early June
· Over US$10 million of new funding to complete the Kharmagtai acquisition and commence drilling
· Xanadu's geologists identify numerous distinct, untested apophyses that represent walk-up drill targets
· Xanadu continues to reduce operating costs and allocate capital to value-adding exploration activities
Link to report (includes cashflow report)
Cash at end of Q A$4.6m. AKM last traded Monday 4c
Aspire Mining Quarterly Report for Period Ending 31 March, 2014
April 29, Aspire Mining Ltd. (ASX:AKM) --
· Ovoot Coking Coal Project recognised by Mongolian Government as a key supplier for the Sainshand Industrial Park:
o Non-binding MOU signed to supply Ovoot Project coking coal to Mongolia's largest industrial development complex;
o Requires construction of Erdenet – Ovoot Project railway to facilitate future coal supply.
· US$1.3bn Non-Binding Expressions of Interest to Fund Northern Rail Line Received:
o Indicates broad interest from several parties including Noble Group;
o Definitive financing discussions to be progressed upon grant of rail concession.
· Working Group established with UBTZ (Mongolian Government owned rail operator) to:
o Identify appropriate tie-in between the Northern Rail Line and the existing Trans-Mongolian Railway;
o Capacity coordination between Northern Rail Line and the Trans-Mongolian Railway.
· Preliminary modelling of rail alignments further west of the Ovoot Coking Coal Project:
o Has identified a potentially viable and cost efficient rail path connecting rail between Russia and Mongolia;
o The Northern Rail Line could become part of a significant link between Russia and China through Mongolia.
· Adequate Power Supply identified for Ovoot Coking Coal Project:
o Letter of Intent signed with nearby Zavkhan Power Plant.
DRG closed flat at 2.3c Tuesday on very low volume
Draig Resources: QUARTERLY REPORT FOR THE PERIOD ENDED 31 MARCH 2014
April 29, Draig Resources Ltd. (ASX:DRG) --
· Four exploration licences held, with one relinquished during April 2014;
· Expenses continue to be closely monitored; and
· Cash balance of $2.601 million at the end of the quarter.
1878 closed flat at HK$4.69, SGQ +3.23% to C$0.64 Tuesday
SouthGobi Resources to Announce First Quarter 2014 Financial Results on May 12, 2014
Conference call to discuss results
HONG KONG, CHINA--(Marketwired - April 29, 2014) - The board of directors of SouthGobi Resources Ltd. (TSX:SGQ)(HKSE:1878) (the "Company") will meet on Monday, May 12, 2014 to consider and approve the first quarter 2014 financial results of the Company and its subsidiaries. These financial results will be released before TSX market open.
The Company will host a conference call and audio webcast to discuss first quarter 2014 financial results and provide an update on the Company's operations. Date and time of the call for various regions will be as follows:
· Monday, May 12, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. EST / 4:00 p.m. PST
· Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 7:00 a.m. Hong Kong Time
HAR last traded 8c Monday
Haranga Resources: Notice of Annual General Meeting, 30 May 2014
April 29, Haranga Resources Ltd. (ASX:HAR) --
Formerly Mongolia Investment Group Ltd.
Peace Map Holding Annual Report 2013
April 29, Peace Map Holding Ltd. (HKEx:402) --
Impairment Loss of Mining Licences
For the nine months ended 31 December 2013, the Group recorded impairment loss of mining licences of approximately HK$173.4 million from continuing operations, representing an increase of 13.42% as compared to the year ended 31 March 2013. The impairment loss was due to revision of expected selling price of coal according to market condition and the additional risk resulting from the recent developments in law and regulations in Mongolia.
22. Mining Licenses
Licences represent the carrying amounts of four mining rights in respect of a coal mine located in Tugrug Valley within the administrative unit of Bayan Soum of Tur Aimag in Mongolia covering area of 1,114 hectares in aggregate.
Pursuant to the Mineral Law of Mongolia which was adopted in 2006, mining licence is granted for an initial period of 30 years and holder of a mining licence may apply for an extension of such licence for two successive periods of 20 years each.
Uncertainty relating to implementation of laws and regulations affecting the position of the mining licences
Currently there are two separate sources of restrictions on mineral exploration and mining activities around water areas in Mongolia which affect the mining and exploration business of the Group:
MSE News, April 29: Top 20 +0.7%, Turnover ₮17 Million
Ulaanbaatar, April 29 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades held Tuesday, a total of 23 thousand and 329 shares of 18 JSCs were traded costing MNT 17 million 037 thousand and 299.50.
"Remikon" /7,339 units/, "Khokh gan" /4,055 units/, "Merex" /3,500 units/, "Genco tour bureau" /3,112 units/ and "Hermes center" /3,100 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Gutal" (MNT seven million and 202 thousand), "Bayangol hotel" (MNT two million and 808 thousand), "Tavantolgoi" (MNT one million 774 thousand and 500), "Remikon" (MNT one million 101 thousand and 570) and "Gobi" (MNT 892 thousand and 720).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 619 billion 813 million 531 thousand and 759. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,795.83, increasing by MNT 110.22 or 0.70% against the previous day.
206 MSE Stocks File 2013 Results, 14 Declare ₮10 Billion Dividends with APU Distributing ₮6.7 Billion
April 29 (MSE) As of 25 April 2014, 53 joint stock companies were discussed about dividend of 2013 in their Board of Directors meeting, resulting 14 of them declared to distribute dividend total of MNT10,019,221,608.00 to their shareholders.
Financial statements of MSE listed 206 joint stock companies were posted on www.mse.mn.
Click here to view brief financial statements of 2013.
Previous record low before current streak was 1,787.59, February 27, 2014
BoM MNT Rates: April 29 Close
April MNT Chart:
BoM FX auction: US$24 million sold at ₮1,797, CNY20.5 million at ₮287.5, $47.25 million MNT swap offers accepted
April 29 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on April 29th, 2014 the BOM has received from local commercial banks bid offer of USD and CNY. The BOM has sold 24.0 million USD as closing rate of MNT 1797.00 and 20.5 million CNY as closing rate of 287.50.
On April 29th, 2014, The BOM has received MNT Swap agreement offer in equivalent to 47.25 million USD from local commercial banks and accepted the offer.
8% Mortgage Program Update: ₮518.7 Billion Refinanced, ₮1.03 Trillion Newly Issued
April 29 (Cover Mongolia) As of April 28, ₮518.7 billion (₮518.5 billion as of April 22) existing mortgages of 18,166 citizens (18,162 as of April 22) were refinanced at 8% out of ₮846.3 billion (₮845.9 billion as of April 22) worth requests.
Also, ₮1,025.8 billion (₮1023.7 billion as of April 22) new mortgages of 18,339 citizens (18,300 citizens as of April 22) were issued at new rates out of ₮1 trillion (₮1 trillion as of April 22) worth requests.
Link to release (in Mongolian)
Mongolia downgrade weighs on 'Genghis bond'
April 29 (fastFT) Mongolia has been downgraded by Standard & Poor's, further dimming the allure of one of the more eye-catching bond market debutantes of the emerging markets debt boom.
The US rating agency cut Mongolia's credit rating by one notch to B+, deep in junk territory and just three notches above grades that are sometimes called "extremely speculative". In the statement S&P's said:
Mongolia's external risk is high. We project the country's external financial needs to be about 119% of the sum of current account receipts and usable reserves on average over 2014-2016. Mongolia's volatile terms of trade add another layer of external risk to this country, where minerals dominate exports.
In 2012 Mongolia issued its first Eurobond - dubbed a "Genghis bond" by wags - raising a whopping $1.5bn for 10 years at below Spain's borrowing costs at the time. The country has been rescued by the International Monetary Fund five times in the past two decades or so, but investors still placed $15bn of orders – equal to 150 per cent of its annual economic output.
However, since then investors have become more discerning on emerging market bonds, and Mongolia in particular. The yield of the international bond maturing in 2022 has climbed from 5.62 per cent last May to 7.55 per cent today.
Economic growth is strong and government debts relatively weak, but Mongolia's macroeconomic vulnerabilities – particularly its dependence on foreign finance – are significant, and government policy has been erratic.
Last year the authorities cancelled 106 mining licenses, and is still locked in a dispute with Rio Tinto over the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, one of the biggest projects in the country's history.
Still, one big international investor has kept faith with Mongolia. Franklin Templeton funds - mostly controlled by Michael Hasenstab - own over 14 per cent of the "Genghis bond" according to the most recent filings.
S&P: Long-Term Rating On Mongolia Lowered To 'B+' On Weaker External And Debt Profiles; Outlook Stable - Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, April 29
Mongolia Will Propose Gambling on Horse Racing to Tap China (2)
By Michael Kohn
April 29 (Bloomberg) Mongolia's government will propose laws to set up a professional horse-racing league and legalize betting to compete for the Chinese gambling market.
Mogi: LOOOOOL! HK responds! Maybe Mike can do a follow up on Mongolia's response to this response?
Hey Mongolia: get your own jockeys
Plan to set up racing there came as little surprise - but if they are going to do it, they need to do it without borrowing Hong Kong riders
April 30 (South China Morning Post) The story on Tuesday that Mongolia - actual Mongolia, not the Inner one of Hohhot fame - was preparing to legalise gambling on horse racing came as no real surprise, but some of the concepts in the story did.
As we approach the Asian Racing Conference in Hong Kong next week, this is a reminder of the Istanbul conference in 2012, where it was revealed that Mongolia had approached the Asian Racing Federation for assistance in setting up racing.
Not the horse racing of its traditions - dozens of 10-year-old kids riding ponies across the countryside for 15 kilometres (no dream job being a steward there, we'd wager) - but something the rest of the world would recognise: on a track and designed as a sport as well as a betting medium. Like here.
Mongolia has hit on the lack of legal horse racing betting in neighbouring China as its sure-win road to "market share" (whatever that is), to diversifying its economy at a moment in time when mining ain't what it used to be. To supplying pent-up demand in the way that gambling money leaks across mainland borders into Hong Kong racing, Macau casinos and even a burgeoning Vietnamese gambling industry.
And it has already got itself dressed and ready by copying the Hong Kong racing rules - nothing wrong with that and, in the era of attempted harmonisation of rules, probably encouraged.
All in all, not a bad plan, till we got to the part about Mongolia asking to use Hong Kong horses and jockeys. (Obviously, they were watching Chengdu, with the Dubai horses and jockeys).
Now that's crossing a line. Mongolia, we need to talk.
You came to us for help, so we gave you the couch, some advice and let you copy our homework, but, dammit, now you're borrowing the car, raiding the fridge and sleeping with our girlfriend. Get your own horses and jockeys - how hard can it be?
Our close second favourite line in the story was that, when the gambling bill is passed, it would be the first time Mongolia had allowed gambling since three politicians were convicted in 1999 over rigging the tender for a casino licence.
Great stuff, and you can see why they're keen to put another toe in the pool - but come on guys, if you want to do it, do it properly. There are no shortcuts to getting it right, only to messing it up.
Hong Kong Jockey Club says no plan to be part of Mongolia racing, betting
Chief rejects any role for HKJC in new market and is opposed to local horses competing there
April 30 (South China Morning Post) The Hong Kong Jockey Club has "no intention of becoming directly involved" in Mongolia's plans to set up a professional horse racing league and legalise betting.
HKJC chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges yesterday played down a report quoting a Mongolian government minister as saying the nation wanted to establish a "jockey club operation".
"It is very good that another associate member of the Asian Racing Federation is considering developing horse racing," Engelbrecht-Bresges said. "The ARF will offer its help but the HKJC has no intention of becoming directly involved.
"I can say categorically there has been no contact with the HKJC from Mongolia regarding Hong Kong horses racing there, but we will have a chance to talk at the Asian Racing Conference [in Hong Kong] next week."
Oyungerel Tsedevdamba, the minister for culture, sport and tourism, said, according to a Bloomberg report: "Our priority is to make the legal environment for a jockey club operation so that we can have a market share" of the Asian gambling business.
Oyungerel added that she hoped to submit a draft to parliament within three months. "Our law is heavily based on Hong Kong Jockey Club rules."
Oyungerel said one law would legalise online gambling and lotteries. Another would allow horse race betting and jockey clubs.
Oyungerel said Ulan Bator was keen to use Hong Kong jockeys and horses in the off-season, adding that more than 50 trainers from Mongolia would visit Hong Kong to study the business.
Engelbrecht-Bresges said: "Horses racing in Hong Kong are the property of their owners, not the HKJC … and it would be up to the owner to weigh the value of the proposition of racing in Mongolia instead.
"As a club, we would prefer horses not go to race in Mongolia as we maintain a horse population sufficient for our industry and participation elsewhere would place a strain on our horse population."
Wagering on horse races might give Mongolia access to the Chinese gambling market that has made Macau the world's biggest gambling hub.
Mongolia wants to build a racetrack near the site where it is building a new airport, 54 kilometres south of the capital.
Oyungerel represented a district of Ulan Bator that was home to many young jockeys, she said. "I see their future in the horse business and I would like to provide a viable business for today's horse boys."
Where Is Mongolia's Bond Money?
April 30 (UB Post) The number of people is growing who are seeking truthful answers to the question of whether the Chinggis bond money and money of the lately released Samurai bond has left, or not. This search might be causing serious trouble for N.Altankhuyag's cabinet. The present Government could give the impression to the public that it created a pleasant economic environment, by releasing the bond in a foreign market, however only after a year the government received criticism that it deteriorated the country's economy. Economists have been warning since last autumn that Mongolia is facing an economic crisis. Although the Government of Mongolia, who had ignored the warning, recently agreed that the situation in Mongolia critical. Accordingly, with the launch of the Spring Session, the Speaker of the Parliament has developed a draft regulation for measures to be taken to intensify the economy, and it is being discussed in the Government and Parliament.
At the same time, ministers and some authorities are making complaints that the government is not spending and devoting the bond money on the planned projects and activities.
Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag once said at the Parliamentary meeting of December 7, 2012 "The bond money spending should be transparent to the public. Its spending will be open not only to parliamentarians, but to the public as well" according to official protocol.
However, the authorities did not keep this promise; they didn't reveal to the public the facts on how the bond money was spent and what amount of money is left, and this information was not even released to parliamentarians. Mongolia is paying 273 million MNT a day since December 2012 for the interest of the Chinggis Bond. By the beginning of 2014, Mongolia has paid back 108 billion MNT, money equivalent to building 325 kindergartens and 108 schools on only the interest.
The following are speeches by officials regarding the bond spending.
Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag
A bond of a total of 1.5 billion USD was issued and 700 million USD of it has been spent so far. The decision has been made to spend around 500 million on certain items of that remaining 800 million USD. We are planning to spend the remaining 300 million USD in promoting and supporting the production and industry sector, however the final decision has not been made.
From speech of the Prime Minister during weekly meeting "30 minutes with the Premier"… 2013-09-26
Minister for Economic Development N.Batbayar
Half of the bond money has not been spent. It was transferred to the Development banks in a foreign currency, but now it is in Mongolian tugriks.
Statement made during Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economy… 2014-04-23
Minister for Road and Transportation A.Gansukh
The construction of a 267 kilometers railway on the route for Tavantolgoi-Gashuunsukhait is at 70 percent. The Government decided in March 2013 to finance it with 400 million USD from the Chinggis bond.
As of today, the work of 173 million USD has been completed. The financing of the next 200 million USD is being waited for. But the Economic Development Ministry and Development Bank said they ran out of money.
"Unuudur" Daily Newspaper… 2014-04-04
Chairman of Standing Committee on Economy B.Garamgaibaatar
All money of the bond has been shared out to various projects. The relevant ministries still haven't delivered proper projects on what the bond money will be spent on. The bond or the loan is not just simply handed over or distributed. One should meet certain demands and requirements to get the loan. Ministries promised to reach the demands; however they still haven't delivered a project that meets the demands.
I don't know what how much money is left from the bond money. What I know is, capital remained from the bond has been transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture and Industry to support light industry.
"Political overview" newspaper… 2013-08-27
Deputy Minister of Economic Development O.Chuluunbat
Interest on the Chinggis bond has been lowered. Ten years of it is at around 80 percent and five years at 90 percent. We won't buy the Mongolian bond as a warning has been made that has poor trust. Governments of all countries issued their bonds in the world market.
The Government evaluations of a bond becomes the main indicator on how trustworthy a partner is in terms of business, economy and politics. Any investor sees our bond evaluations besides checking ratings in Moody's and Standard & Poor's before entering Mongolia.
Daily Newspaper 2014-01-31
CEO, Development Bank of Mongolia N.Munkhbat
The unspent remainder of the Chinggis bond is 1.4 trillion MNT. The decision was made to issue financing of 200 million USD from the Chinggis bond and 55 million USD from its own source of the Development bank for the new railway project, and financing is being made as planned.
We haven't stop or frozen the financing and so far we have issued 164.2 million USD for railway projects from the designated 200 million USD of the Chinggis bond. The performance of the total projects is at 24 percent and dam construction work is at 70 percent.
Informal meeting 2014-04-21
Capital City Governor E.Bat-Uul
The Chinggis bond is not the money of N.Batbayar, it is public property. He has no rights to freeze the financing of certain projects. Implementing Street projects in provinces has no benefits. The project initially was developed to be carried out only in Ulaanbaatar.
Informal meeting 2014-04-09
From an official letter to Parliamentarians sent by Capital City authorities…
…It is time to do construction, which will change the lives, convenience and future of city dwellers and write a new city history. Investment projects should be prioritized in terms of significance and the investments to inevitable constructions such as the 22 kilometers road of Biocombinat, highway to airport, Yarmag bridge etc. should not be stopped. In recent days some ministers started mentioning about stopping financing of apartment construction and some works under the Street project…
The Real Economic Situation
April 29 (Mongolian Economy) Politicians have repeatedly stated that the economy was not in crisis and that livelihoods were still safe. Many people in Mongolia have not felt the same way, however.
"It has been a while since the number of customers declined after the traditional celebration of Tsagaan Sar," said G. Anar a garment seller at Narantuul Market at 12:00 on a Tuesday in April. "These days are really something. I've never seen customers be so rare."
People do not have as much to spend as they used to, she said. And the lack of business was having its own toll on those who work at the market.
"After some months, we won't be able to pay for the lease, and we have no other option than to take out a loan," said Ts. Bayandalai, another salesperson at Narantuul who pays up to MNT 70,000 a month for her space at the market. "I am worried about how we can sustain our livelihood for the future."
Anar and Bayandalai are just two of the 5,000 booth operators leasing space at Narantuul, in addition to the 200 pushing carts at the market. Their revenues have fallen from between MNT 15,000 and MNT 20,000 a day to MNT 5,000 and MNT 10,000 because of the decline in the number of customers. And their stories are not so unique.
The situation is better in the parking lot outside the market, where salespeople sell small goods to incoming travellers. Continued transit in and through the city have sustained sales, they say, as Narantuul is still the destination where many vans and trucks drop off passengers.
"Our revenue has not dropped from MNT 200,000 a day as the prices of our products are from MNT 20 to MNT 30, which is cheaper compared to Narantuul," said Kh. Khulan, who sells food outside the market.
But deliveries to the market are falling too. According to Mendbayar, a truck driver who travels 800 kilometres to Ulaanbaatar from Zavkhan Aimag, he is making half as many deliveries as he did a year ago, travelling once a month rather than twice a month as he used to.
"It has turned difficult to find customers and I ask my relatives if they have any goods to be transported," he said.
Bumbugur market was nearly empty the same day on April 1, just a few hours after arriving at Narantuul. Bumbugur's more central location should make it a more popular destination, but the depreciation against the Chinese yuan has made clothes and home appliances too costly for customers here too. Those who sell home appliances there said that compared with year-long daily income of MNT 150,000 to MNT 200,000, today they are lucky to get MNT 100,000.
"We used to import goods from China two times a month. But now we do it only once a month and sometimes we do not do it at all," said R. Buyan, who sells home appliances at the market.
Wholesale meat market Khuchit Shonkhor – popular because of the relatively cheaper price for meat and the variety of options – is also seeing goods growing more expensive. Meat prices have seen up to an additional MNT 2,000 a kilogram from the month before.
Herders were asking for more money for their meat, said salespeople, which was being passed on to the customers. Fodder prices have risen alongside the price of flour in Mongolia. Herders have grown frustrated with the jump in prices, just as their livestock are beginning to breed.
Although the government claimed enough wheat was produced in Mongolia last year to meet domestic demand, Mongolia still had to import 100,000 tonnes of wheat last September to prevent any change in price. It was for nought, however, as the prices for wheat and fodder grew anyway. A package of fodder has doubled in price to MNT 10,000 from previous months.
Taxes at the Border
The same situation was seen at the Bars market. Bars is a popular market for the sale of imported fruits and vegetables. Salespersons here, too, are suffering from fluctuations in the exchange rate, but also because of added tax at the border.
The prices of fruits and vegetables increased from MNT 10,000 to MNT 25,000 per box from last year. For example, the price of a box of bell peppers has grown from MNT 28,000 last year to up to MNT 48,000 this year.
Mongolia's customs since last February have enforced a new standard so that the taxes match exactly with Chinese customs. The prices of fruits in China are still the same as that of last year, but because the tugrug has depreciated and customs taxes have grown, fruit stands have had to raise their prices.
According to B. Baigalmaa, a leaseholder at Bars market, the 5 percent customs tax, 10 percent value-added tax and 20 percent increase in the prices of fruits because of the exchange rate depreciation are making it impossible to maintain cheap prices for produce.
"The customs tax is being raised much higher," she said – 80 percent from before the changes in customs were implemented.
"Politicians are trying to cover the loss of export revenue by increasing import tax. It would obviously lead to the increase in the prices of imported goods. Poverty is expanding because citizens' wages are not increasing."
Across town at Zuun Ail, the arrival of spring is expected to place greater demand on construction materials. It is another market being ravaged by the exchange rate. The price for cement mix, for example, had grown from about MNT 8,000 a packet to MNT 12,000 this year.
The greater expenses for construction materials and tools have put many construction projects on hold.
Most of the merchants that operate at Zuun Ail said they use bank loans to fund purchases to stock their shelves. They pay back those loans after they have started selling their goods, but the delays to construction projects will make it harder to repay those loans this year.
The operators at Zuun Ail said business had never before been so slow during spring, and many blamed policy makers.
"There are a number of citizens like us who do not ask the government for money and pay our taxes. We are sustaining our lives on our own," said O. Saran, a merchant at Zuun Ail. "Under the names of monitoring and checking, customs officers are searching us thoroughly at border point to impose more tax on our imported goods because they think that the current amount of customs tax is insufficient."
These testimonials are just a few examples of how small business is suffering. Many small business operators suggested that elected officials come and visit these local shops to see the truth of the economy. That might be a bitter pill to swallow.
DP CAUCUS FAILS BY ONE VOTE TO MAKE "DOUBLE DEEL" BILL EFFECTIVE FROM 2016
April 29 (Independent Mongolian Metals & Mining Research) Despite DP Caucus Leader stressing today that the Caucus has reached united position on landmark " double deel" issue to apply the bill from 2016 and also keep the Justice Minister on separate issue, the ruling party Caucus has failed to vote in 2016 application today at the meeting of State Structure Standing Committee of Mongolian Parliament by two thirds as required (12 from 17), 11 members of the committee from 17 voting members have supported falling short of 1 vote
· Mongolian media reported that 18 members participated in the meeting of 19-member committee and MP G.Uyanga (JC) has abstained from voting as she views the issue conflicts with the Constitution
· Same dissident DP Members R.Burmaa and J.Batzandan and JC MP L.Tsog again voted against the 2016 application along with 3 MPP MP-s.
· DP members lashed out at the dissident two and MP S.Bayartsogt called for the President to veto the bill.
· The bill has been passed to final reading to the floor of the Parliament by united session, two thirds of Parliament are required again to vote in 2016 application, if Parliament approves the bill with 2014 application, only President can make a complete or partial veto. The Parliament can override the veto with two thirds vote and DP holds much more than one third of seats in the Parliament
S&P lowered today long-term sovereign rating on Mongolia to 'B+' from 'BB- on "weaker external and debt profiles" with "stable outlook"
BoM rep today in interview to media explained that
· USDMNT rate reaching 1800 is related to seasonal increase in import and exporters not yet getting full payments for their exports
· As a result of various major measures such as banks bringing in foreign capital, foreign banks proving financing for gold companies as others FX inflows are expected to improve as 2014 progresses
Link to Parliament statement: http://open.parliament.mn/content/3778.htm
Link to media reports:
Link to DP Caucus briefing: http://politics.news.mn/content/177406.shtml
Link interview of BoM rep: http://economy.news.mn/content/177484.shtml
Democrats See No 'Need' to Dismiss Justice Minister
Ulaanbaatar, April 29 (MONTSAME) The parliamentary caucus of the Democratic Party convened on Monday afternoon to discuss a dismiss proposal for Justice Minister Kh.Temuujin.
At the meeting that lasted until 11 pm that day, members agreed on a need of retaining Kh.Temuujin in his current ministerial office. The meeting also reached an agreement on effective dates for separate draft laws to amend the law on Government and the law on State Great Khural (parliament). The caucus members then agreed to set the effective date of a draft law to eliminate office duplications in parliament and government cabinet as June 1 of 2016.
Sentence for Mongolian Goldman Prize Winner and other green activists reduced by 65 years
April 28 (Rivers without Boundaries) Goldman Environmental Prize winner Munkhbayar, who in January 2014 was sentenced to almost 22 years in jail, as well as four of his friends from the Gal Undesten Movement, won significant reductions in their sentences in the City Court of Ulan Baatar. They were protecting the law prohibiting mining in sensitive areas from being abolished. See THE SHORT HISTORY OF THE LAW WITH LONG NAME. Goldman Environmental Prize winner of 2014 Suren Gazaryan believes that the Munkhbayar's case demonstrates wider tendency of increased persecution of environmental activists.
On April 08, 2014, an appellate court hearing was held at the Capital City Court for members of the "Gal Undesten" movement led by Ts.Munkhbayar. In September 2013, Ts.Munkhbayar participated in a demonstration at the Mongolian Parliament with firearms and hand grenades demanding that Mongolia NOT amend the Law on Prohibiting the Mineral Exploration and Extraction Near Water Sources, Protected Areas and Forests (nicknamed the "Law with Long Name" ) .
At the first District-level trial in January 2914, the movement leaders Ts.Munkhbayar, G.Boldbaatar, D.Tumurbaatar and J.Ganbold, who had been imprisoned for 6 months already, were found guilty and each received sentences of an additional 21 years and 6 months, while Munkhbold, a person who supplied arms, received a 2-year sentence. Other protestors O.Sambuu-Yondon and B.Gantulga were found innocent. Cumulatively, the activists' sentences add up to 90 years in prison for environmental protesting – in what appears to be a world record of injustice.
Leading Mongolian lawyers discredit the sentence given to Munkhbayar. Mongolian society and organizations throughout the world were absolutely stunned by this cruel decision and many organizations and networks such as Earthworks, Rivers without Boundaries Coalition, and the Goldman Environmental Foundation demanded justice for the activists. Moreover, in advance of the appellate proceedings, on April 1, the activists' relatives promised to hold a hunger strike on the steps of Supreme Court of Mongolia if the unjust sentences were not reversed.
At the April appellate trial, the jury decided to reduce the terms of imprisonment for each protestor. Ts.Munkhbayar's sentence was reduced to 7 years, G.Boldbaatar's to 6 years and 1 month, D.Tumurbaatar's to 10 years and 6 months, J.Ganbold's to 1 year, and M.Munkhbold's to 1 year. The findings that the other two protestors (O.Sambuu-Yondon and B.Gantulga) were innocent remained unchanged. Thus, the cumulative sentences now amount to 25 years in jail. The activists still have the right to appeal to the Supreme Court of Mongolia.
The appellate court's three-fold reduction in the activists' terms of imprisonment demonstrates the gross injustice of the initial sentencing, and that the judicial authority clearly sees the political nature of this prosecution. Additionally, the appellate court acknowledged demands for a public and fair trial and permitted greater access to the proceedings.
As internationally acclaimed environmentalist and 2008 Goldman Prize winner Marina Rikhvanova explained, the "next step is for the Mongolian authorities to drop the charges of 'terrorism and banditry,' which are wholly unjustified, and to investigate the politically motivated prosecution of this and other lawsuits against members of Mongolia's civil society movement."
2014 Goldman Prize winner Suren Gazaryan stresses that "Munkhbayar is not the only case of such persecution." Several weeks ago, a friend and colleague of Gazaryan, Evgeny Vitishko, was jailed for three years on charges of severely damaging property by graffiti at the residence of Tkachov, the province's governor. "We have to undertake preventative measures to be able to achieve sustainable support for groups in the region," Gazaryan said.
In order to explain the non-violent nature and goals of the protests, the United Movement of Mongolian Rivers and Lakes issued a special statement
More information on the subject:
Icynene Broadens Regional Reach with New Management and New Mongolia Distributor
New Asia-Pacific President and Sales and Marketing Manager join Icynene and welcome new Mongolian distributor
Mississauga, ON (PRWEB) April 29, 2014 -- Global spray foam manufacturer, Icynene is pleased to announce the expansion of its Tokyo-based Asia-Pacific operations as it welcomes a new management team and a new Mongolian distributor, Noyonkhurd LLC.
Eric De Groot joins Icynene Asia-Pacific as President and is joined by Keishi Noro as Sales and Marketing Manager for the region. Both Mr. De Groot and Mr. Noro will be responsible for driving brand recognition and increasing market share and sales within the region.
The Asia-Pacific team welcomed new Icynene distributor, Noyonkhurd LLC recently. The Ulaanbaatar-based distributor is set to rapidly grow the spray foam insulation category in Mongolia, which itself has seen vast growth recently.
"The Asia-Pacific region is one of our largest and most diverse markets and we are pleased to have two highly experienced individuals join our growing team. Both Mr. De Groot and Mr. Noro will help us surge ahead in terms of growth and brand recognition within the Asia-Pacific region. We've already seen this with the addition of Noyonkhurd LLC in Mongolia who has made significant advancements in growing the spray foam category in that country," said Mr. Howard Deck, President and CEO of Icynene.
Icynene entered the Asia-Pacific market in 1998 and has expanded to include Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand and Kyrgyzstan. Since 1998, Icynene grown to become the third most recognized spray foam insulation brand in Japan.
Khan Bank Launches Nationwide Bancassurance Campaign
April 29 (Khan Bank) Having introduced the Bancassurance service for the first time in Mongolia, Khan Bank has, for some time, been delivering six main insurance products through its extensive banking network across the country, enabling its customers to insure themselves against potential risks.
In line with this service, the bank has launched a two month Bancassurance campaign through its 524 branches to promote the benefits of insurance and reward customers for signing up to the Bancassurance service.
Through collaboration with a range of Mongolian insurance companies, Khan Bank offers six different varieties of insurance–including property insurance, installed or uninstalled equipment insurance, vehicle insurance and truck insurance–within the campaign which will run until 30th June.
In order to receive the insurance service, the customer only needs to provide their personal identification and a certificate of property ownership. If applying for additional driver car insurance, the driving license of the extra driver is also required. The campaign will announce 409 lucky winners - who will be rewarded with prizes including a one year petrol gift card, countryside trips, car wash rewards, car seats covers and much more. Furthermore, 20 more customers will be rewarded with a gift from Khan Bank.
Khan Bank invites you to receive insurance services in a convenient way and have the opportunity to become one of the 409 lucky winners. Through purchasing these services you can insure yourself against potential risks.
Choose your insurance type. We will take care of the rest.
Oyu Tolgoi LLC: Best suppliers win the Gobi Gem awards
- Oyu Tolgoi LLC been recognising and celebrating the success of its best Mongolian suppliers -
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, April 29, 2014 -- Oyu Tolgoi LLC today recognised and celebrated the success of its best Mongolian suppliers. The fifth Gobi Gem - Supplier Recognition Awards ceremony took place at the National Opera and Ballet Theatre in Ulaanbaatar with nine companies named as Oyu Tolgoi's best suppliers.
Last year, Oyu Tolgoi commenced shipments of copper concentrate, establishing a new brand of Mongolian mining product and becoming a leading national operating business. This success is rightly shared with Oyu Tolgoi's suppliers, some of whom have been working on the project us for nine years.
In 2013, Oyu Tolgoi LLC spent US$538.1 million on procurement in Mongolia which constitutes almost 76 per cent of total procurement. We are proud that our national suppliers have created a total of 35,000 jobs. Last year, we worked with a total of 949 national suppliers.
During the supplier recognition ceremony, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Oyu Tolgoi LLC G.Batsukh said: "All of you have every right to feel proud since in addition to suppliying goods and services you have learned and introduced to Mongolia the very best of international standards of quality, safety and labour relations. This is one example of the real benefits of working with Oyu Tolgoi and the benefits of living in Mongolia, learning in Mongolia and creating value in Mongolia."
Mr. Tumen-Ayush, CEO of Khasu Megawatt, the winner of the Grand Prix award said: "Our company started as an energy company and our operations tended to be seasonal in nature. After we started working with Oyu Tolgoi, we switched to permanent operations. Our hard-working staff have been meeting international standards of performance which in my view helped form a long-term relationship with Oyu Tolgoi. Also, through Oyu Tolgoi, we worked with a sewing company, Gobi Uran Shaglaa LLC from Umnugovi aimag to order work uniforms for our employees at the mine site. In future, we plan to use them for uniforms for our employees working in other industries as well. I think it is right for Mongolian companies to support each other."
The Gobi Gem awards celebrate the success of suppliers in the following nine categories.
Best supplier for safety performance - Bambai LLC,
Best new supplier– Khangurd LLC,
Best supplier (Khanbogd) – Uguumuur Gaviluud,
Best new supplier (Umnugobi) – Buyant Galba LLC,
Best supplier (Umnugobi) – Goviin Anir LLC,
Best supplier for employee development performance – Major Drilling LLC,
Best supplier for social responsibility performance – Mekhlopat LLC,
Best supplier for supply chain improvement - SLS Bearings LLC.
The Grand Prix award was won by Khasu Megawatt LLC.
Japan Transport Minister Satisfied with Progress at New Ulaanbaatar Airport Construction
Ulaanbaatar, April 29 (MONTSAME) A Japanese delegation led by Transport Minister Mr Akihiro Ota visited last Sunday an international ariport that has been under construction in Khoshigt valley (Mogi: Khushig Valley not Khushigt or Khoshigt) in central Tov province.
Seeing the ongoing project to build up an international airport, Mr Ota expressed a satisfaction with project realization that is significantly ahead of its schedule and is expected to be completed by December 2016.
The New Ulaanbaatar International Airport or the Khoshigt Valley Airport is a new international airport presently under construction in 52 km from Ulaanbaatar city center in Sergelen sum, Tov Province. It will serve Ulaanbaatar and its metropolitan area.
The airport is designed with the capacity of up to three million passengers per year, and has ability and space for a possible future expansion of up to twelve million passengers yearly. It will also be equipped with 24 hour all-weather air traffic control system.
In May 2008, a ¥28.8 billion (US$385 million) 40-year soft loan agreement at 0.2% interest was signed between the Government of Mongolia and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation to build a new international airport.
Mongolia Attends SCO Meeting of Observers
Ulaanbaatar, April 29 (MONTSAME) Representing Mongolia, Director of the Neighbour Countries' Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs T.Togsbilguun took part in the meeting of National Coordinators of SCO Member States with Authorized Representatives of SCO observer states held April 26 in Beijing, China.
During the meeting, the SCO expressed a willingness to activate cooperation with its observer states, and then exchanged views on expanding the multilateral cooperation in various spheres.
The meeting was chaired by D.F.Mezentsev, the SCO Secretary-General, and it was attended by A.A. Pirov, deputy director of Executive Committee of the SCO Regional Counter-Terrorist Structure.
FM L.Bold to Pay Official Visit to Estonia on April 30
Ulaanbaatar, April 29 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Bold is planning to start an official visit to the Republic of Estonia at an invitation of his Estonian counterpart Mr Urmas Paet on April 30.
By this visit, the sides are intending to intensify friendly relations and cooperation between Mongolia and Estonia, to make high level dialogues periodically, to get familiar with structure of "e-governance", to study shale producing experience of Estonia, to talk about mutually concerned matters, to run fruitful collaboration in trade and economy spheres.
Furthermore, an inter-governmental agreement to waive visas between Mongolia and Estonia for E-diplomatic passport holders will be inked by the sides during the visit.
During these days on April 28-29, the FM L.Bold is participating in the 4th annual conference Freedom Online Coalition in Tallinn.
Mongolia to Chair 5th "Online Freedom" Conference in 2014
April 29 (infomongolia.com) Mongolian delegates led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Luvsanvandan BOLD are participating in the 4th "Online Freedom" conference themed "Free and Secure Internet for All" and organized by the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) in Tallinn, the Republic of Estonia on April 28-29, 2014.
At the Conference over 400 representatives from 64 nations are taking in part, of which 23 member-states' Foreign Ministers and Ministers of Informational Technology along with over 180 delegates from civil society and business delegations are present.
The opening remarks were presented by dignitaries including the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Presidents of Estonia and Georgia, and Senate Speaker of Kenya.
Following the first day of conference, the FOC members unanimously adopted a set of "Recommendations for Freedom Online", also referred to as the "Tallinn Agenda" that includes tasks to carry out next year and works and tendencies must be under consideration, besides the Principality of Moldavia and Japan became a new member-states.
Moreover, the Freedom Online Coalition member countries unanimously agreed electing Mongolia to chair the Coalition in 2014, where President of Estonia, Foreign Ministers of Canada, the Netherlands and Sweden pledged to support Mongolia to host the 5th Conference in Ulaanbaatar during their presentations on the first day.
The Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) is an intergovernmental coalition committed to advancing Internet freedom worldwide in free expression, association, assembly and privacy online. In its founding document, the "Hague Declaration", the FOC declared that the same rights apply online as well as offline.
Therefore, FOC member states are committed to working together diplomatically to voice concern over measures to restrict Internet freedom and support those individuals whose human rights online are curtailed. Since its inception in 2011 in The Hague, the Netherlands, the coalition has grown from 15 to 25 member countries including the newly accredited Moldavia and Japan.
On April 30, 2014, Foreign Minister of Mongolia L.Bold will have official talks with his counterpart of hosting nation Mr. Urmas Paet. During the meeting, parties are scheduled to discuss and sign the intergovernmental agreement on reciprocal visa liberalization for holders of diplomatic e-passports between the nationals of the two countries.
National Security Councils of Mongolia, Japan to Establish Permanent Ties
Ulaanbaatar, April 29 (MONTSAME) In frames of a visit to Japan, the secretary-general of the National Security Council of Mongolia Ts.Enkhtuvshin met last week with his counterpart of Japan Shotaro Yachi in Tokyo.
During the meeting, the NSC leaders agreed to establish permanent ties between the NSCs.
The Japanese government set up its NSC in November of 2013 with a key responsibility to manage the national security policy, and has decided to collaborate with Mongolia in security matters.
Premier Requests Prompt Increase in Currency Swaps from China's Finance Minister
Ulaanbaatar, April 29 (MONTSAME) The Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag met Tuesday with China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei, who is paying an working visit to Mongolia at an invitation of his counterpart of Mongolia Ch.Ulaan.
At the beginning of the meeting, PM Altankhuyag expressed a satisfaction with joint major-scale projects that had launched after his visit to China in 2013, and said he was pleased with several pacts of cooperation that had been concluded during Mr Jiwei's visit to the country.
In turn, Minister Lou Jiwei expressed an appreciation for Mr Altankhuyag's support for initiation of the Asian Infrastructural Investment Bank in Ulaanbaatar.
Aware of the exceptional importance of infrastructure development in a landlocked country, the Government of Mongolia decided to join as a founder to the initiation of China to found the bank, the Prime Minister noted. A swap contract between the two countries came to end in last month, and the Mongolian part has a willingness to extend the contract with increased cash flows, said Mr Altankhuyag, and asked the Finance Minister of China to support a prompt solution of the issue.
At the meeting the parties also talked about financial and economic actions of the two Governments. The Prime Minister of Mongolia explained '100 day to intensify the economic' measures of his Government, which aim at enhanced cooperation with other countries and increased attraction of investments to Mongolia, thus improving government budget incomes.
In turn, the Finance Minister of China briefed on proven-successfully measures of the Chinese Government, in which it has trimmed spending of its all ministries, as well as has decreased taxation to save 100 billion Chinese Yuan last year.
UK Foreign Office Updates Mongolia Travel Advice
· Still current at: 29 April 2014
· Updated: 28 April 2014
· Latest update: Summary – updated visitor statistics
Mongolia takes border security very seriously and foreign nationals are not routinely permitted access to border areas. The authorities can regard zones of up to 100km inside the border as a border area. If you wish to travel in these areas, you must get permission from the State Frontier Guard Authority. Only a few specified land border crossings are open to foreigners. See Border crossings.
There is a low threat from terrorism. See Terrorism.
Avoid going out on foot alone at night. Foreigners stand out and can be targeted for attack because of their comparative wealth. See Crime.
Over 11,200 British nationals visited Mongolia in 2013. Most visits are trouble-free.
Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.
Mongolia is relatively safe, but violent muggings and attacks do occur. Petty crime is common in Ulaanbaatar, particularly in markets or other crowded public places. Watch out for pickpockets. Be wary of large groups of street children and teenagers, who sometimes harass pedestrians for money when entering and leaving vehicles, pubs and restaurants. Keep passports, money and other valuables in a safe place.
Report any theft to the Pick-pocketing Department of the Police: telephone +976-93022480; the police can provide a letter for insurance purposes.
In an emergency call the police on 102 or +976 102 from an international mobile phone. There should be someone available on this number who can speak to you in English.
MONGOLIA AT NEW JERSEY FOLK FESTIVAL
April 29 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia)
The program of this year's event provided for the activities for the promotion of Mongolian culture including the construction of a Mongolian ger /felt tent of nomads/ and national cuisine show which were co-staged with the Kalmyk community in New Jersey.
Ambassador B.Altangerel thanked organizers of the festival for their efforts in promoting the Mongolian culture. He was awarded certificate of Guest of Honor.
Furthermore, Ambassador B.Altangerel met Vice President of International and Global Affairs of Rutgers University Joanna Regulska. The sides agreed to seek cooperation opportunities.
Children in Mongolia can now lodge complaints with the UN as GoM signs UNCRC Third Optional Protocol
ULAANBAATAR, 23 April 2014 (UNICEF) – At this year's first regular meeting, Mongolia's Child Rights Group, comprised of UNICEF, World Vision Mongolia, Save the Children and other organisations1, expressed their appreciation to the Government of Mongolia for signing the Third Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and their confidence that the Government will make efforts to ratify this important legal instrument.
The Third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on a Communications Procedure entered into force on 14 April 2014, after the required 10 countries ratified it. In countries where the new protocol has been ratified, children and their representatives can submit their complaints about violations of children's rights to the expert Committee on the Rights of the Child, if they have exhausted all legal avenues in the country.
Mongolia, one of the first countries to sign and ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child in July 1990 and signed the Third Optional Protocol in October 2013. It has ratified its previous two optional protocols on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and on the involvement of children in Armed Conflict in 2003 and 2004 respectively.
"The new optional protocol gives children a legal voice, opening a new era for children's rights as we mark the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in November this year," said the members of the Child Rights Group.
Under the Third Optional Protocol, the state parties have an obligation to make complaint mechanisms accessible for all children, with special efforts directed at those most vulnerable to rights violations, especially excluded and marginalised children, such as children with disabilities, indigenous and minority children.
The Group drew particular attention to the millions of children who are silent and invisible victims of violence and abuse across the globe. In the context of Mongolia, despite all the achievements, issues of violence against children still remain. While acknowledging the achievements of the Government of Mongolia, the Child Rights Group recognized that much work remains to be done, as children's rights continue to be violated on a daily basis, including through violence, exploitation and abuse.
The Child Rights Group expressed their readiness to support the Government of Mongolia to accelerate the process towards the ratification of the Optional Protocol hoping that this new Optional Protocol will soon reach universal ratification. This will ensure that Mongolia complies with their obligations and face any scrutiny concerning individual allegations of child rights violations that may emerge.
To learn more about how to submit a complaint, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/TBPetitions/Pages/IndividualCommunications.aspx#OPIC
To learn more about the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRC/Pages/CRCIndex.aspx
Child-friendly publication on the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Complaints Procedure: http://srsg.violenceagainstchildren.org/sites/default/files/cropped_images/RaisingUnderstanding_OCPC.pdf
1 Adventist Development and Relief Agency, Norwegian Lutheran Mission, and Caritas Czech
NHRC's B.Bataa: Assaults and psychological damage caused by hate crimes should face more severe punishment
April 30 (UB Post) The following is an interview with B.Bataa, Head of the Complaints and Inquiry Division of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), about moves to criminalize hate crimes in Mongolia
We're interested in knowing about the hate crime legislation in Mongolia, and how important it is to Mongolian society and protecting human rights.
International organizations have asked us to include hate-motivated acts as actual crimes under Mongolia's Criminal Code. Mongolia is currently formulating a draft to revise the code. However, hate-motivated acts are not being included in it as a crime category. The NHRC has been demanding to include them as such. The draft includes revision of the Anti-Discrimination Law, but in our view, the law provisions are too broad – too many acts might run the risk of being seen as crime.
I understand that there has been some cases where violence occurred due to hate crimes in Mongolia. I'm curious about which particular cases started this process and raised the need for a legislation against hate crimes.
There have been several cases connected to discrimination that are based on hate, specifically towards gay people. Their right to live and live freely were violated as they were targeted due to their sexual orientation. For instance, in some cases, perpetrators who committed murder were convicted under current legal penalties.
However, those acts where perpetrators pressure, threaten and interfere with daily lives of people out of hatred for their sexual orientation, gender and any other factors are not, under current provisions, legally punishable under the Criminal Code. That is why we proposed to include provisions to criminalize hate crime, largely at the request of international human rights organizations.
How many hate crime related complaints has the NHRC received?
Not many. Several LGBT people contacted our commission and complained that they are having a hard time living and working as others do, simply because others discriminate against them, or defamed them due to their sexual orientation.
In other cases, some HIV positive people complained that they have faced numerous work-related problems. For instance, they commonly have no other choice but to give up their jobs as it is hard to continue their employment whilst being discriminated against.
When was the draft written and at what stage is the law at currently?
Anti-discrimination provisions are included to some extent in the laws of every sector. For instance, under labor and family laws. The NHRC continues to advocate for the inclusion of hate-motivated acts as actual crimes under law because at present, only those cases that caused physical damage to the victim are seen as crimes. In such cases, perpetrators are convicted only because physical assault is prohibited under law, and seen as an act against basic human rights.
In cases of hate-motivated physical assaults, psychological damage is also common. These affects should be noted as crimes in the new Criminal Code. The severity of punishment for hate-motivated crimes should be stipulated under specific and relevant legislation.
In our view, physical assaults, psychological impacts and murders that are specifically hate-motivated have to face more severe punishments. Their motivation is special and not like that of any other similar crimes. This is the view of the NHRC.
The draft has already been prepared and we have now submitted it to the government. We hope that the government will pass it on to the spring session of Parliament.
What are the recommendations of the NHRC in terms of the types of punishment? For instance, detention length that should be imposed on hate crimes?
The NHRC is in no position to recommend specific punishments for hate crimes. How the perpetrators should be punished must be decided according to legal policies of the state.
There have been suggestions that some politicians wish to re-include defamation in this revision of the Crime Prevention law. Does the NHRC support this move?
Defamation is included in the Criminal Code of Mongolia. The Crime Prevention Law itself does not have specifications to be applied for specific cases, for instance, in cases of defamation. This law focuses on what should be done to prevent all types of crimes and who or which organizations shall be responsible for the implementation of the measures for prevention in general. In other words, this law is a procedure-based law.
For example, if robbery takes place more often at certain locations, the organization in charge will conduct research about the cause of robbery. In that case, poor lighting systems might be identified as the reason those areas are regularly targeted. As a result, more streetlights will prove a valuable solution for future crime prevention – this is how the Crime Prevention law is applied.
Yet it proves very difficult to specify what should be done and by whom to prevent each type of crime under the law.
How much support and opposition has the hate crime legislation received in the parliament's spring session?
The spring session discusses draft bills that have been approved in the previous session. We are not certain whether the revised draft has been passed onto to the spring session. If it was, it will be discussed according to that schedule.
Do you expect that it will pass with full support or will there be some opposition?
We hope it will be passed. Those who hold power in the government are the majority, the Mongolian Democratic Party (MDP). This party hasn't been the majority for a long time, so we can see that the MDP is in a rush to make changes. The draft might pass just like many other drafts which were passed in parliamentary fall session last year. But we can't tell for sure.
The current Criminal Code describes even minor violations as crimes of discrimination, as its legislative reach is too broad. As a result, we all run a very high risk of being connected to discrimination-oriented crimes. Crime legislations must be very specific. Penalties should be impose only after a thorough study on who the legislation applies to, the motivation that led to the crime and how bad the crime's damage was and etc.
As a lawyer, I think the discrimination acts as outlined in the revised Criminal Code should be divided into two parts. Those cases that saw minor damage and consequences, and those more serious cases involving greater damage – and specific purpose or motivation – should be judged by the Criminal Code.
As it stands, if the revised code is passed, too many people might be considered to have taken part in discrimination.
The NHRC previously proposed this division in the discrimination law – we submitted this to the government via the Ministry of Justice, but it was denied. The ministry will review drafts of the Violation Law following the revision of the Criminal Code. It is possible that the Violation Law may also prove too broad in its reach.
When the laws are too broad, too many citizens might be called as suspects, which in return might violate their human rights.
Are there any specifically contentious groups that might cause debates over the Hate Crime Law – some who believe it unnecessary, as defamation and insult laws have already cover these issues? What would you say to convince someone that Mongolia needs something as dramatic as a Hate Crime Law in order to protect people's rights?
If both the Violation Law and Criminal Code drafts were formulated with consistency prior to submission, I would've said you can't either discriminate or hate other people for their difference. It is common sense that the world has acknowledged. People who hurt other people either physically or mentally, or by interfering with their freedom, should see their efforts penalized as crimes and face legal penalties.
The NHRC is a third party that proposes its ideas on legislations to the government. Ministries in turn submit drafts and formulate legislation. If it was the NHRC who submitted the revised draft, we would've divided the code into two parts, as mentioned earlier.
I'm also curious about the nature of the complaints that the NHRC regularly receives, since you're the Head of Complaints and Inquiry Division.
The highest number of complaints we receive are connected to the current procedure of criminal interrogation and punitive actions. For instance, citizens who are imprisoned or being interrogated when called as suspects. They often contact us to complain about police procedure.
Labor rights complaints would be second, followed by complaints regarding state services.
Our final question would be in terms of the future plans for Mongolia's government to move towards more human rights legislations. Do you think that it is likely that Mongolia will make positive moves in the next three to five years, or do you think that this process is perhaps too slow for the Mongolian people?
We might generally divide these into two areas – political and civil rights, as well as social and economic rights.
Both implementation and enforcement of social and economic rights in Mongolia is very slow. These rights are connected to our daily lives, and how we should be able to live a healthy life in our society. We should be able to independently develop and be free with options and opportunities.
In contrast, civil and political rights brings with it obligations and forces citizens to act in order to ensure their own freedom of expression.
I feel that the primary reason that social and economic rights in Mongolia are slowly implemented is perhaps due to budget issues. Therefore, we believe that there is a need to closely look at whether the budgets are properly spent or not. However, the NHRC is lacking power to monitor the budget spending alone.
If monitoring is carried out to ensure the state budget is being properly used for ensuring social and economic rights of the people of Mongolia, it will sure be an interesting piece.
When it comes to civil and political rights, approximately 80 percent of implementation of the rights has to do with legislation and 20 percent with budget. It is the other way in economic and social rights. This might help explain why progress is slow in the area of social and economic rights. For instance, it is doubtful whether it was more important to spend the state budget, built with taxpayers' money, to reform police uniform which were all made in Turkey – or, instead, to improve institutions that provide basic social and economic rights for citizens, such as hospitals and schools.
Also, we are not sure how much the remaining uniforms that were saved apart from the ones the police wore previously cost in total.
Mongolia has both transparency and anti-corruption laws in place. Do you feel that these are well-implemented, enough to ensure that budget spending is adequately monitored?
I think one of the problems is that Mongolian people's education. For example, we both enjoy full rights to ask the Minister of Justice how much the ministry spent on the new police uniforms, for example, and how much money is being wasted now that the old uniforms have been done away with. But the question, is how many people will go there to ask this question in reality? Transparency issues have a lot to do with citizens' education and awareness, in my view.
All Mongolian citizens have the right to ask and obtain information from organizations, according to the Media Transparency Law of Mongolia. If any organization refuses to answer, citizens can contact the NHRC and report that such an organization is evading my freedom of information.
Apart from education, I believe Mongolian people's traditional attitude is connected to poor implementation of transparency and anti-corruption laws. Many Mongolians do not regularly think critically, while some others try to stay away from bad consequences that might flow from their free expression and demands for information.
Nine Mongolian Massey health graduates celebrate in Ulaanbaatar
April 30 (Massey University) Nine new Massey graduates of a unique World Bank-funded health programme were celebrated at an event held in Mongolia last month.
The Mongolian graduates are the latest to complete the groundbreaking One Health programme that integrates veterinary and medical specialist topics in a single curriculum as a measure against pandemics.
Three completed a Master of Veterinary Medicine (Biosecurity) degree, four with a Master of Public Health (Biosecurity), and two completed Postgraduate Certificates in Science.
The programme was delivered over a year in New Zealand and Mongolia.
To be selected for the programmes, students needed to have either medical or veterinary qualifications and be working in specialist human and/or animal health roles within government agencies in one of the Asian countries that took part.
One Health programme director Associate Professor Eric Neumann says the programme addressed key strategic priorities to respond to avian influenza, brucellosis and other serious animal health diseases affecting humans.
Dr Neumann says the programme in Mongolia mirrored the success in other Asian countries. Teaching was delivered to allow the students to take advantage of a world-leading education programme while still fulfilling their roles as key operational public and animal health officials.
The delivery model included a customised mix of four months face-to-face on-site teaching in New Zealand and the remaining study conducted via closely supervised Massey online learning.
The Master of Public Health (Biosecurity) graduates are:
· Dolgorkhand Adyadorj, epidemiology department chief, Mongolia National Centre for Infectious Diseases with natural foci.
· Narangarav Tsegeen, epidemiologist, department of infectious diseases and surveillance research, Mongolia National Centre for Communicable Disease.
· Enkhtuya Munkhbat, food safety inspector trainer, Mongolian Food Safety and Nutrition Society.
· Sarantsetseg Amarsanaa, epidemiologist, Gurval Gal Hospital in Mongolia.
The Master of Veterinary Medicine (Biosecurity) graduates are:
· Bayartungalag Bold, information officer, Mongolia Department of Veterinary and Animal Breeding.
· Onolbaatar Bayambaa, project officer, National Emergency Management Agency, Mongolia
· Amarsanaa Lkhavgasuren, Brucellosis control specialist, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation Office, Mongolia
The Postgraduate Certificate in Science graduates are:
· Dashzeveg Bold, veterinary virologist, State Central Veterinary Laboratory, Mongolia.
· Burentugs Sayakhuu, state veterinary inspector, Mongolia.
Other members of the Massey delegation included One Health project manager Lachlan McIntyre, Professor Emeritus Roger Morris, the initiator of the One Health programme.
The celebration in Mongolia followed a celebration in Beijing earlier in March for nine Chinese graduates of the same programme.
Hobby School Seeks Primary School English Math Teacher
Fields of Expertise: Elementary ,
Details: The Hobby School is looking for candidates to fill in the position of Primary School English Mathematics.
Hobby School was the first private school established in Mongolia in 1994. The main advantage of our school is that our students learn English from the first grade and advance to learn AP Mathematics, History, Literature, Geography, Social Studies and so on, furthermore we prepare our students to take the SAT and TOEFL tests. This is why our expat teachers play a crucial role. As a result, our graduates traditionally get the highest scores on the General Admission Examinations administered for higher educational institutions in Mongolia and also do well on other standardized tests. Many of them apply for and are accepted (mostly with scholarships) to many different colleges and universities abroad, such as in USA and Japan.
We are looking for teachers who are ready and willing to work in a new and challenging environment.
• Native speaker;
• Four-year bachelor's degree (min.);
• Teacher's certificate;
• Two years of full-time teaching experience;
• A two year commitment;
Along with the requirements above, the assets would be:
• Experience in working with foreign students;
• Capability to coach the school's debate and public speakers teams.
The Hobby school promotes high standards in all areas, and is incredibly proud of its achievements. You will have the opportunity to work alongside many teachers who are hard-working, dedicated and passionate - qualities that the successful candidate will need to bring with them to our community.
Kakuryu takes center stage as the late-bloomer creates sumo history
April 30 (The Yomiuri Shimbun) The year 2001 can be considered a special year for sumo fans, especially those in Mongolia. It was that year that three future yokozuna from the north-central Asian nation all made their debuts.
In 2007, Hakuho became the first of the three to assume the sumo's top rank, with Harumafuji following five years later. Better late than never, the third of the trio, Kakuryu, finally made the grade this year and will make his yokozuna debut at the upcoming Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.
It will be the first time in sumo history that there will be three foreign-born yokozuna competing at the same time.
Interest is high as to whether the late-bloomer can outshine his senior compatriots and grab the hearts of sumo fans when the action gets underway May 11 at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.
The career of the 28-year-old Kakuryu was never smooth. Compared with Hakuho and Harumafuji, expectations were not high. The fathers of other two were stars of Mongolian-style wrestling, while Kakuryu's father is a university professor.
Stablemaster Izutsu has confessed that when he met Kakuryu for the first time, he thought of making the skinny Mongolian boy a tokoyama—the specialist who styles the wrestlers' hair into topknots—instead of a wrestler.
After long years of hard work and effort to gain weight, Kakuryu finally reached the makuuchi top division in 2006. By that time, Hakuho was already entrenched as an ozeki, and Harumafuji had made it as high as komusubi, the fourth-highest rank.
Kakuryu is known for his honest and calm demeanor, as well as his enthusiastic efforts in studying the techniques of other wrestlers. "He is clever and studies other sumo wrestlers well," said Ryohei Miyata, a member of the Yokozuna Deliberation Council.
However, Akira Okamoto, another member of the council, worries that such characteristics may backfire on the new yokozuna. "I'm afraid he may face troubles when he thinks about sumo too much, or when he loses his rhythm," Okamoto said.
Kakuryu's strength, and weakness
Hakuho has won the 28 Emperor's Cups with his incredibly consistent performance. Harumafuji is a relative lightweight, but compensates for the handicap with his powerful pushing and thrusting technique. Kakuryu needs to hone skills that he can use to his advantage against the others.
Kakuryu has sophisticated techniques and performs best when he is locked up in mutual belt-holds with his opponent. He has shown himself most vulnerable when his opponent shows more power.
A good example came on the third day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in March, when Kakuryu suffered his only loss en route to the title that clinched his promotion to the top rank. Taking on No. 2 maegashira Okinoumi, he yielded to his opponent's pressure and drew back, trying to pull Okinoumi down. It is a habit Kakuryu shows when he loses momentum, and Okinoumi seized the opportunity to push out Kakuryu.
"I want him [Kakuryu] to be more aggressive in stepping forward. He also needs to have more powerful thrusts," Izutsu said.
Kakuryu seems to be well aware of his weakness. When the rankings for the summer tournament were announced Thursday, he said: "I want to increase the number of bouts in which I push out the opponent in one breath after the tachiai."
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