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Monday, April 28, 2014
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
MONGOLIAN PRESIDENT: WE DON'T WANT TO BE INSULTED, OT SHOULD STOP DAMAGING MONGOLIA'S REPUTATION ABROAD
April 26 (Independent Mongolian Metals & Mining Research) In a two hour interview to major Mongolian TV station UBS this morning, the country's Head of State has powerfully warned that Mongolian state is sticking to the Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement "rock solid", "there is nothing stopping "the company, it should "stop damaging Mongolia's reputation abroad" because of its "internal difficulties" and should focus instead on implementing the agreement and "few sensible things" Mongolia wants from the company such, as for example, supplying conc to copper smelter, using Mongolian railroad to be built and using power produced by TPP to be built . He also praised former CEO of OT Cameron McRae for staying in Mongolia and understanding finally Mongolian culture and mentality such as that Mongolia " does not want to be insulted" and acknowledging "past mistakes".
· The Head of State also reiterated that he will veto "double deel" bill if the date will different from 2016 as he proposed, which he defended as necessary for transition and preparation and ruled out retracting the bill. According to Mongolian Constitution, Presidential veto can be overridden with two thirds of the Parliament.
· He spoke prominently regarding accountability , responsibility, resignation as "political culture" and also said "some ministers need to resign" because they "damage Mongolia's reputation abroad". Also, he suggested that Ministry of Economic Development should be dismantled and Prime Minister should be in charge of Economic Development directly.
· The President also said he will defend Justice Minister from forced resignation saying that "mistakes happen" and "Temuujin is capable of learning a lesson"
Link to the President's interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6k18TCCELU&list=UUWP5QwG2MYj0GFQI6OvWzuw
Mongolian Mining JV with Shenhua Group credit positive says Moody's
[ET Net News Agency, 14 April 2014] Moody's Investors Service said Mongolian Mining Corporation's (MMC, Caa2 negative)(00975) joint venture with Shenhua Group is credit positive for MMC because the cross-border railway will lower coal transportation costs with little investment.
Last Tuesday, MMC announced that it will establish a joint venture with Shenhua Group to build a cross-border railway to transport coal to China from Mongolia.
With MMC currently using trucks to transport coal to China, transportation costs accounted for 26.7% of its costs of goods sold and 22% of its revenue in 2013, said the credit rating agency.
MMC will hold 17% of the equity in the consortium, while Shenhua will hold 49% and Mongolian companies Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi JSC will each hold 17%. Seventy percent of funding for the Sino-Mongolian Border Crossing Railway will be from loans that Shenhua will be responsible for obtaining.
MMC's investment in the consortium will be smaller than if it financed all of the railway construction itself, which will alleviate pressure on MMC's liquidity and allow it to better manage a challenging operating climate, said Moody's.
Firebird Global Master Fund Reports Transactions in Khot Infrastructure
CAYMAN ISLANDS, April 9 (Khot Infrastructure) — Firebird Global Master Fund, Ltd. ("FGMF") announces that (i) it transferred to its parent company, Firebird Global Master Fund Holdings, Ltd. ("FGMF Holdings"), all of the securities it held in the share capital of Khot Infrastructure Holdings, Ltd. (CSE: KOT) (the "Issuer"), namely 530,747 common shares and (ii) Firebird Global Master Fund II, Ltd. ("FGMFII"), a joint actor of FGMF, transferred to its parent company, Firebird Global Master Fund II Holdings, Ltd. ("FGMF II Holdings"), all of the securities it held in the share capital of the Issuer, namely 461,392 common shares.
Furthermore, (i) Passin Management Limited Partnership ("Passin LP"), a joint actor of FGMF, acquired 126,250 common shares in the share capital of the Issuer, (ii) Sawikin Family 2011 LLC ("Sawikin LLC"), a joint actor of FGMF, acquired 500,000 common shares of the Issuer, (iii) James Passin, a joint actor of FGMF, was granted 500,000 options to acquire the same number of common shares in the share capital of the Issuer and (iv) Firebird New Mongolia Fund, L.P. ("FNMF"), a joint actor of FGMF, received an additional 5,363,636 common shares in the shares capital of the Issuer.
The aggregate number of securities of the Issuer currently held by FGMF Holdings and its joint actors, namely FGMFII Holdings, FNMF, James Passin, Passin LP, Sawikin LLC, Firebird Mongolia Fund, Ltd. ("FMF") and Harvey Sawikin, is 33,669,605 common shares and 500,000 options to acquire the same number of common shares in the share capital of the Issuer. Out of the 33,669,605 common shares and 500,000 options (i) 530,747 common shares are held by FGMF Holdings, (ii) 461,392 common shares are held by FGMF II Holdings, (iii) 15,187,580 common shares are held by FMF, (iv) 14,863,636 common shares are held by FNMF, (v) 1,000,000 common shares and 500,000 options are held by James Passin, (vi) 1,000,000 common shares are held by Harvey Sawikin, (vii) 126,250 common shares are held by Passin LP and (viii) 500,000 common shares are held by Sawikin LLC. FGMF and FGMFII no longer hold any securities of the Issuer.
The 33,669,605 common shares held by FGMF Holdings and its joint actors represent approximately 52.32% of the outstanding common shares of the Issuer.
In addition, assuming the exercise by James Passin of the above-mentioned options to acquire additional common shares of the Issuer, the total securityholding of FGMF Holdings and its joint actors in the share capital of the Issuer would be 34,169,605 common shares, representing approximately 52.69% of the outstanding common shares of the Issuer, including the common shares deemed to be acquired pursuant to the exercise of such options.
The securities transferred by the FGMF and FGMFII to FGMF Holdings and FGMF II Holdings, respectively, were transferred at their then fair market value.
The 126,250 common shares acquired by Passin LP and 500,000 common shares acquired by Sawikin LLC were acquired by way of a private placement offering at a price of $0.20 per share.
The 500,000 options to acquire the same number of common shares in the share capital of the Issuer granted to James Passin are exercisable until December 7, 2016, at an exercise price of $0.25 per share.
The 5,363,636 common shares received by FNMF were issued in exchange for a 100% interest in Great Hoard Holdings SARL, a Luxembourg entity that holds a 75% of the share capital of Ashid Munkhiin Zam LLC, acquired by the Issuer through its wholly owned subsidiary, Jucca Holdings Ltd.
The securities transferred by the FGMF and FGMFII to FGMF Holdings and FGMF II Holdings, respectively, were transferred in the context of a reorganization.
The other transactions were carried out by FGMF Holdings' joint actors for the purpose of maintaining their controlling interest in the Issuer. FGMF Holdings and its joint actors may, from time to time, acquire additional securities of the Issuer, may continue to hold their present position or may dispose of their securities.
No other joint actor of FGMF Holdings currently holds any securities of the Issuer.
This press release is being issued in order to comply with the disclosure requirements under applicable securities legislation. This press release is not an admission that an entity named in the press release owns or controls any described securities or is a joint actor with anyone else.
FeOre Shareholders Approve Sale of Mongolia Assets & Share Buyback at Special General Meeting
April 25 -- Please find attached a copy of the results of voting from the FeOre Limited (ASX: FEO) Special General Meeting held in Hong Kong today.
All resolutions put to the meeting were carried. The voting is summarised In the attached table.
1. Approval of Sale of Topone Star Investments Limited
The instructions given to validly appointed proxies in respect or the resolution were as follows:
2. Equal Access Share Buy Back
The instructions given to validly appointed proxies In respect of the resolution were as follows:
The motion was passed by way of poll as an ordinary resolution.
FeOre Obtains Extension to Bondholders' Letter of Waiver to 12 May
April 25 -- Reference is made to the Company's announcement dated 22 January 2014 regarding the sale of Topone Star Investment Limited (the "22 January 2014 Announcement") and the update announcement dated 27 March 2014 (the "27 March 2014 Announcement"). All capita lised terms used in this announcement shall have the same meaning as described in the 22 January 2014 Announcement and the 27 March 2014 Announcement unless otherwise defined.
FeOre Limited (ASX: FEO) advises that the Company has obtained an extension to the Letter of Waiver, whereby the timing of the Company's undertaking to complete the repurchase of the Convertible Bonds has been extended to take place on or before 12 May 2014 (or such other date as the parties agree);
Viking Ashanti Quarterly Report: Expects to Complete Merger with Auminco Mines Within May
April 24, Viking Ashanti Ltd. (ASX:VKA) --
During the three months to 31 March, 2014, Perth-based Viking Ashanti completed due diligence on unlisted Sydney based emerging coal producer, Auminco Mines Limited (Auminco) and subsequently announced on 21 March, 2014, that it would proceed with an off market takeover of Auminco. The Company expects to complete the merger within the next month. A JORC (2012) resource estimate was completed by Auminco during the quarter on its Berk Uul bituminous coal project in Mongolia. No field activity was undertaken during the period on Viking Ashanti's Ghanaian gold projects.
2302 +34.7% YTD
CNNC International Annual Report 2013: Uranium Exploration Work Completed in Mongolia
April 25, CNNC International Ltd. (HKEx:2302) --
During the Year, as a result of the tremendous effort made by the Group to develop the uranium products trading business, the revenue of the Group has reached a record high, and the Group has become a major force in the international uranium products trading market. The Group has also continued to develop the two uranium mining projects.
All the exploration works of the Mongolian uranium project have been completed. In accordance with the terms for the application of the mining license, the Group has set up a professional team to assess the feasibility study report of the project and has also made full preparation for the pre-mining works. After the trial production of the Niger uranium project in 2011 and 2012, full production was launched in the Year. However, the production was halted temporarily for improvement works and now has been resumed. During the Year, the Company redeemed the entire principal amount of HK$414,000,000 of the convertible note issued in 2010 to its parent company. After the redemption, the Group is currently free of any debt.
The Group will continue to develop its uranium product trading business and secure sale orders for the coming years, with a view to generate stable income for the Group and make full preparation for investing in uranium resources projects. As the current market price of uranium products is still at a low level, it will be beneficial to the long term investment of the Group. The Group will identify quality projects of uranium resources and uranium resources related business in the market to expand its business.
The Group will continue its development of the two projects in Mongolia and Niger. For the project in Mongolia, the Company will follow the laws and policies of Mongolia to set up a joint venture with Mongolian companies to jointly develop the uranium resources project in Mongolia. Following the latest rationalization of production lines, the project in Niger has its production efficiency increased and its process improved, and has begun to bring its costs under control.
The construction of underground mine of the project in Niger will speed up, so as to make the best use of the resources reserve of the project.
North Asia Resources Annual Report 2013: Disposed All Mongolia Assets in 2013
April 25, North Asia Resources Holding Ltd. (HKEx:61) --
2013 marked an important year for North Asia Resources Holdings Limited (the "Company", together with its subsidiaries as the "Group").
During the second half of 2012, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company entered into an acquisition agreement for the purchase of certain coal mines in Shanxi Province, the People's Republic of China ("PRC") from City Bloom Limited ("City Bloom") at an aggregate consideration of HK$4,662 million. Contemporaneous with the signing of the acquisition agreement, the Company also entered into a disposal agreement with Mountain Sky Resources (Mongolia) Limited (MSM, a connected party of the Company) for the disposal of the Company's iron mining, coal trading and logistics businesses at a consideration of HK$600 million. To facilitate the payment of consideration for the disposal agreement, MSM and City Bloom also entered into an agreement in relation to the sale of MSM's shares and convertible preference shares contemporaneously with the entering into of the acquisition agreement and the disposal agreement (the "Mountain Sky Agreement").
Dadizi Yuan LLC*, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Group, holds mining and exploration licenses in respect of two alluvial gold mines located in Khar Yamaat, Khongor and Sharin Gol Soum of Darkhan Uul aimag, Mongolia.
As reported in our 2012 Annual Report, the gold mining at Khar Yammat site was suspended since the end of 2010 due to the severe inclement winter conditions. Political uncertainties surrounding the Mongolian elections and the aftermath have extended the suspension of operation during the year under review. As the business still in the early stages, there are a lot of uncertainties involved in the development and require further investment of capital. As a result, the Group had disposed of the gold business on 23 October 2013 in order to better utilize the resources of the Group on the coal mining business.
Updates to legal proceedings
As detailed in the Company's announcements each dated 27 August 2012 and 8 October 2012, and the Company's 2012 Annual Report, the Directors were notified that Mountain Sky Resources Holdings Limited (the "Claimant") on 21 August 2012 had filed a claim (the "Claim") in the High Court of Justice of the British Virgin Islands. The Claim is against Mountain Sky Resources (Mongolia) Limited ("MSM"), Ultra Asset International Limited ("Ultra Asset"), the Company and Guang Cheng Group Limited ("Guang Cheng") which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company (together, the "Defendants"). At that time, MSM is owned as to the majority by Ultra Asset and the Claimant is a minority shareholder. Please refer to the announcement of the Company dated 27 August 2012 for further details of the Proceedings.
As disclosed in the announcement made by the Company dated 2 October 2013, the Claimant and the Defendants entered into a deed of settlement (the "Deed of Settlement") in full and final settlement of
As at 31 December 2013
As at 31 December 2012
MSE News for April 25: Top 20 +1.65%, Turnover ₮624.7 Million (MDR Block Trade ₮600 Million)
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ At the Stock Exchange trades held Friday, a total of one million 113 thousand and 594 shares of 23 JSCs were traded costing MNT 624 million 697 thousand and 124.69.
"Mongolia development" /one million units/, "Remikon" /89 thousand and 443 units/, "Merex" /11 thousand and 039 units/, "E-trans logistics" /3,413 units/ and "Genco tour bureau" /2,197 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Mongolia development" (MNT 600 million), "Remikon" (MNT 13 million 415 thousand and 370), "UB hotel" (MNT five million), "Merex" (MNT one million 218 thousand and 246) and "BDSec" (MNT one million 086 thousand and 500).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 618 billion 311 million 980 thousand and 480. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,753.62, increasing by MNT 255.19 or 1.65% against the previous day.
Another historic low, previous to previous low v. USD was 1,787.59, February 27, 2014
BoM MNT Rates: April 25 Close
April MNT Chart:
BoM issues ₮420.3 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding +3.2% to ₮1.36 trillion
April 25 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 420.3 billion at a weighted interest rate of 10.5 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
The Sales Managers' Index – Mongolia, April 2014:
Tugrik worries affect future Business Confidence
· Prices Charged reflect on-going inflationary pressures
· Staffing levels remain stable
· Monthly sales continue to decline
The Mongolia Sales Managers' Index brings together the collective wisdom of Sales Managers throughout Mongolia to produce the earliest source of understanding about what's really happening in one of the most dynamic countries in the world.
The Headline Index is designed to reflect overall economic growth, bringing together the average movement of Confidence, Market Expansion, Product Sales, Prices Charged and the Staffing Indices. The April Headline Index value of 48.0 indicates that the economy continues to contract at an increasing rate.
Sales Managers have told World Economics that key sectors in the economy such as mining are frequently forced to reduce output and staffing levels during the winter months. They report that this is continuing to have a negative impact on economic development.
The Business Confidence Index measures how Sales Managers' expect the economy as a whole to perform over the coming months and provides a valuable sentiment insight as confidence has a knock on effect for jobs and sales growth.
Business Confidence among Sales Managers remain low, falling to 47.1 in April from 48.7 in March.
The Market Growth Index reflects the growth of the general marketplace in panellists' own industry sectors. The Index registered 44.6 in April. This represents the fifth consecutive month of decline and the third month under 50.
The Product Sales Index reflects the sales of individual companies rather than the wider economy.
The Index increased marginally to 37.3 in April from 37.0 in March, suggesting sales continue to fall at a rapid pace. Panellists have attributed this to the sharp depreciation of the Tugrik against the US Dollar, which is pushing up prices of imported goods, especially from China and Russia.
The Prices Charged Index has fallen for the fifth consecutive month, registering 59.8 in April. The Index shows rapidly increasing prices, which indicate that Sales Managers are still passing on large price increases to business and consumers albeit at a slightly slower rate.
Panellists noted that the continued devaluation of the Tugrik against the dollar and the high costs of imported goods (particularly food and building materials) are still the main cause of price rises.
The Staffing Index reflects the number of staff taken on compared to the same period last year. The Index fell to 51.1 in April from 52.3 in March, indicating that Sales Managers are still expanding their payrolls although at a slow pace.
Panel Manager Ganaa Badgamgarav commented on the release:
"Panelists have explained that extreme weather conditions have eased this month although worries about further devaluation of the Tugrik against the dollar continues to undermine Business Confidence. However, Sales Managers hope to see major improvements for investment and economic development in the coming months as sales will start to pick up."
The Sixth Round of Negotiations for the Japan-Mongolia Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)
April 26 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan) --
1. The Sixth Round of the Negotiations for the Japan-Mongolia Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was held from April 22 to 26, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan.
2. The Japanese delegation was led by Mr. Seiji Kihara, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the Mongolian delegation was led by Mr. Ochirbat Chuluunbat, Deputy Minister for Economic Development of Mongolia. Experts from relevant ministries and agencies of both sides participated in the meetings.
3. In this round, progress has been achieved through negotiations in areas including General Provisions & Final Provisions, Trade in Goods, Investment, Trade in Services, Intellectual Property, E-commerce, Rules of Origin, Customs Procedures, Competition, Cooperation, Dispute Settlement, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).
4. The schedule of next round will be arranged through diplomatic channels.
Impact on Savings from Tugrik Depreciation
by Brian White, April 27 (The Mongolist) This week the Tugrik (MNT) reached 1,800 per US dollar (USD) at some local banks. It was an unwelcome milestone. As the currency depreciates, people who have debts denominated in USD, have assets denominated in MNT, or purchase goods and services from abroad are effectively made poorer if they also earn their incomes in MNT. It is with this notion in mind that I recently set out to assess a specific impact the depreciation of the Tugrik has had on ordinary people, namely declining values in MNT denominated savings.
The Bank of Mongolia publishes monetary data from the banking sector each month,1 and this data includes cash savings held at financial institutions in both MNT and foreign currencies. From these publications I compiled data on total savings denominated in MNT back to January 2011 for both business and individual accounts. The Tugrik began its record breaking slide a few months after the current "Reform Government" under Prime Minister Altankhuyag was formed. As such, I decided to use August 2012 as the baseline for my analysis. I asked two questions:
1. What if the exchange rate had remained fixed (i.e. stable) from September 2012 to the present, how much would the nominal value of savings per month be worth in USD?
2. What if the total amount of nominal savings in September 2012 were carried forward unchanged to the present, how much would those savings be worth in USD each month given the depreciation of the Tugrik?
Let's start with the first question. August 2012 ended with an official exchange rate at MNT1,382 to USD1 according to the Bank of Mongolia data. The graph below shows the nominal value of savings in MNT from 2011 through February 2014 represented by bars. Two additional lines are plotted showing the relative value in USD of those savings totals based on the official Bank of Mongolia exchange rate at the end of each month. From September 2012 onward one line plots the relative USD value with the exchange rate fixed at the August 2012 rate (black), and the other line plots the relative USD value based on the official market exchange rate at the end of each month (yellow). The variance between the two lines reaches USD752 million by the end of February 2014. In other words, the total value of savings was approximately USD750 million less than if the exchange rate had remained stable at MNT1,382 to USD1 over the 18 month period.
This conclusion ignores the possibility that the nominal MNT savings rate may have gotten a significant boost from the depreciation. For example, if a sizeable portion of the local workforce has their salaries denominated in USD but receive their salaries exchange rate adjusted into MNT when they are paid, then the nominal savings rate might have gotten a bump and accentuated the difference between the two trend lines. This possibility and others (e.g. the influence of interest rates or inflation) are ignored for simplicity's sake because the aim is to get a sense of magnitude rather than precision.
Answering the second question from above provides another way to look at the problem without worrying about influences on the nominal savings rate. The graph below again shows the nominal savings value in MNT for each month represented by bars, but this time it is fixed from September 2012 onward. The plotted lines show the declining value of savings in USD (yellow) against the fixed baseline value (black). The yellow line shows what the savings value carried forward each month was worth in USD as the Tugrik depreciated. By February 2014 the difference between the baseline and calculated value was USD452 million.
The graph below further shows the differences in actual and calculated savings values under both the scenarios above. It shows once again that depending on how you measure, by February 2014 approximately USD450 million to USD750 million in savings value relative to the US dollar had been wiped out by the Tugrik's depreciation. That's a lot of value for an economy the size of Mongolia's. It works out to about USD130 to USD250 for every man, woman, and child.
Of course, not everyone has cash savings or even bank accounts, but it does give a sense of the real impact the depreciation has had. Other areas of the economy have also taken similar hits. Each day that the government fails to reverse the trend with sustainable economic policies costs real value in the lives of ordinary people.
1. All data from the Bank of Mongolia monthly "Monetary Review" at http://www.mongolbank.mn.
Mongolia's Battle With The Forces Of Globalisation
April 22 (Journeyman Pictures) Mongolia is powering into huge economic growth. However with this tide shift comes great concerns over identity and wealth inequality, as many Mongolians are left behind.
For downloads and more information visit: http://www.journeyman.tv/?lid=67098&a
"There used to only be bread and salt on our stalls. The transition has been very quick", explains Dagvadorj, one of Mongolia's richest businessmen. Of 3 million Mongolians, half live in the capital; there has been a rural exodus since a new consumerist way of life has emerged. While many have prospered as Mongolia grows rich, from globalisation, and inward investment; wealth inequality is exponent "with one third under the poverty level". A tale of two Mongolia's is emerging. As economist Danbadarjaa (Mogi: Jargalsaikhan "De Facto" Dambadarjaa) claims: "prosperity is not felt by every family". As Mongolia races forwards, for the "nomads crammed into the yurt slums that surround Ulan-Bator, poverty and alcoholism are rife" Tuul Saruula, claims. A fashion designer she signifies the new rich Mongolia. But as Mongolia develops, huge challenges remain.
MONGOLIAN "DOUBLE DEEL" DRAMA: FEMALE DISSIDENT MP HAS BEEN EXPELLED FROM DP, PORTALS REPORT
April 27 (Independent Mongolian Metals & Mining Research) Major Mongolian portals report that MP R.Burmaa, who voted along with other 3 DP MP-s against DP Caucus on " double deel" issue has been expelled from the party by decision of Supervision Council of the DP . It is reported that she was singled out from other three MP-s due to coming into Parliament by DP party list ( she was No 7 in the list) in contrast to others who came in by district vote.
No confirmation on official DP websites is available at this point.
Political interest to remove Justice Minister Kh.Temuujin
April 27 (business-mongolia.com) Since the establishment of the new government, the Government for Change, one of the most active ministry was the Justice Ministry and its Minister, MP Kh.Temuujin. He was infamous of getting into debate and quarrels with former Minister of Justice Ts.Nyamdorj in the previous parliamentary period. It is believed that main dispute between two are more fundamental than simple difference of party membership. Kh.Temuujin is a Democratic party member and Ts.Nyamdorj is a member of People's Party or "ex-communist" party.
After his appointment as a Minister of Justice in 2012, he had the full-backing of President, Prime Minister and the Speaker of SGK to implement the reform in legal structures of Criminal law and other related laws. He viewed that the previous law is outdated, harsh and limits a court process in terms of defendant and advocates. He also argued that too much formal and informal force was given into hands of police chiefs and prosecutor's offices making them vulnerable on taking bribes and using their power to prosecute, accuse anyone and put in prison without trial. He ambitiously started executing the reform plan. His plan also included re-organizing of police force in the country.
The new re-organization process involved re-appointing number of position which included the Chief of National Police Agency B.Bilegt. However, he wasn't officially re-appointment until today which is for about 5 months. It fuelled the resentment against the re-organization of the police force in the country. From last month, news was spreading over the news that Kh.Temuujin had an "affair" with a lady and the lady was in prison due to use of drugs. It has also been said that his decision to re-locate the building of a newly built military hospital caused a damage of an expensive medical equipment. The Legal Standing Committee convened 2 days ago to vote out Kh.Temuujin as a Minister of Justice. It was rumoured on the local press that the criminal evidences have been presented in the meeting.
A day ago, President of Mongolia expressed his concern on stability of the current reform process and insisted that he should not resign. He praised him of having his own stance and independent views and he promised that he will not give up on the reform process. Kh.Temuujin expressed his views on the current matter on Twitter saying that "Legal sector reform has become a fight against political interests and groups, white collar criminals that robbed banks, and law officers that are involved with criminals. If they think that they can privatize the legal sector just like they did with the state property, political parties, and ministries – I say NO to them. I am not going to resign as your wish. I will stand against despite your accusations and insults. If you want, reveal yourselves in public and push your buttons". A Facebook page was created supporting Kh.Temuujin titled "We are with Temuujin" yesterday and as of today it has over 5000 likes.
After the Standing Committee's decision, State Great Khural will decide on whether remove Kh.Temuujin from Minister post or not by a majority vote.
MP D.Battsogt: 'Justice' Coalition was pressured into taking a break in accordance with the 'Double Deel' Law
April 27 (UB Post) The following is an interview with MP D.Battsogt who has announced his withdrawal from the "Justice" Coalition of MPRP and MNDP in Parliament.
What are your reasons for withdrawing from the "Justice" Coalition in Parliament?
Until I made my decision to withdraw, I honored the decisions of the "Justice" Coalition of MPRP and MNDP, established after the 2012 Parliamentary Elections. As decisions are made by the majority of votes after openly discussing issues, submitting to principles is a matter of legitimacy. I will not hide the fact that there were disagreements between members' views and opinions and times when people were judgmental to ministers, who are working in the government in accordance to the quotas of the coalition, and the House of Altankhuyag. Since the "Justice" Coalition was established with the DP, I worked with the thoughts to make the work of this government as stable as possible and to see the results. It became difficult to reconcile with some unjust decisions and so, I have decided to withdraw.
Is your decision connected to the Strategic Partnership Agreement to be established between DP and MPRP?
I guess there's no need to hide. There were disagreements in the coalition while discussing the draft of the "Double Deel" law. The President submitted this draft law currently implemented by Parliament. Since the first discussion session, our coalition members came to an agreement to strip ministers of their positions. We were firm on this decision and DP in Parliament took a break in accordance with the law. This lasted for more than 60 days from the end of the Autumn Session until the opening of the Spring Session of Parliament. As the Spring Session began, the break of the DP ended and the "Justice" Coalition took a break. Our coalition received pressure to take a break in accordance with this law. It's alright to take a break once for a coalition who is working together in the ruling the government in respect of each other's influence. However, as soon as the break ended, the coalition was requested to take another three-day break. I understood this as a request made by the government and the Prime Minister. Even ministers working in the government and with MPRP started to pressure us and under no other circumstances, we agreed.
There are many issues that need to be discussed by Parliament starting from the measurements that need to be taken to overcome economic difficulties and issues. There's no need to give repeated breaks, force the society into confusion and halt Parliament with a law that's already become clear. I shared this point of view to the coalition and handed in my letter of resignation to withdraw due to our collision of views.
Is the Democratic Party pressuring the "Justice" coalition in Parliament to take a break in accordance with the "Double Deel" draft law connected with the agreement to be established between DP and MPRP which was publicized by the media?
The initial agreement of the members of the "Justice" Coalition to strip ministers of their positions changed at the beginning of the Spring Session into supporting the coalition's views. Only members working in the government disagreed. A talk to summarize and unite ideas and views of the coalition members started. Even the head of the coalition said that we would work well together. There were always disagreements. They shouldn't be giving such influence to MPs who have sworn to make decisions based on their own convictions, honor the interests of the citizens and work righteously. Hence, I told them that I can't work with them and would withdraw from the coalition. I got the withdrawal officially approved.
Before the Strategy Partnership Agreement between the two parties was publicized by the media, I received a notification that a session with this topic was to be held. I didn't believe it at first.
Seeing that the agreement was done separately from MNDP which is co-ruling the government, was it necessary to be a secret from you?
Probably. In any case, drafts rumored several days earlier have found their way onto paper and are being transferred into bills.
Although ministers aren't expressing their thoughts about the "Double Deel" law, they are searching for ways to keep their position. DP is threatening to dismiss MPs who support the draft law, to begin implementation from July 1, 2014. Did the coalition receive this sort of pressure?
I'm thankful to DP members who supported the "Double Deel" draft law for conveying their convictions. Disregarding MP's convictions and thoughts, accusing them of betrayal and threatening to dismiss them is a controversial issue. Parliaments of generations of the last 20 years had defined that it's wrong to be working as both an MP and a member of the government but weren't successful in resolving it. The President brought it up and submitted this matter which became an expectation of the citizens and a demand of the society. Currently, Parliament is discussing it. If Parliament is the organization that approves the law, they should first show a good example themselves.
If they truly see the law as a violation of the Constitutional Law, they can get the Constitutional Court to make the decision.
Instead of establishing a secret contract and obstructing the law in Parliament to find ways to save the government, couldn't the members of the government and DP just have gone to the Constitutional Court saying that the law submitted by the President is in violation of the Constitutional law?
Supporting and approving this law doesn't mean that we want to have ministers humiliated and dismissed. If they truly have worked diligently to help the economy and if it brought prosperity, they can defend themselves. However, the state economy is in crisis with the MNT exchange rate decreasing by 30 percent and now, the citizens don't have any money. While the situation is worsening, ministers shouldn't be defending themselves. It's not wrong to invoke responsibility with ministers who didn't work efficiently. Keeping the wrong things in the name of keeping the government stable doesn't bring good results.
A year ago when someone held up a minister to dismiss, I used to tell them that we should have him working instead. At the time, the results of their works hadn't been shown. Now it's different. The deadline for results has expired. Now, we can only state unprogressive matters honestly.
It's a fact that MPs influence and get influenced by one another in actions to resign from the government. Furthermore, there are suspicions that MPs are bribed during draft law discussions and get money for supporting particular laws. Is it true?
I don't know. I've never received money from anyone when laws were approved. I can't deny that there are MPs with all sorts of interests. Among MPs, there are many wanting to make decisions for the sake of the country and its development. There are also those who serve fractions or groups and distort decisions for their benefits. I don't think MPs get money to approve laws. Overall, we have come to a time when we need to think about the reputation of MPs and this institution named Parliament.
As soon as your withdrawal from the "Justice" Coalition was announced, news of you entering DP or MPP was spread. Did you choose the party you're entering or did you get proposals from these parties?
I only announced that I withdrew from the "Justice" Coalition, not from MNDP. Some media reports wrote that I am following the "Shonkhor" fraction, entering DP, or I am to enter MPP following after S.Byambatsogt etc. Somebody is spreading these rumors because they'll gain something from it. Truthfully, I haven't even thought about entering a party. Some friends have told me to enter their party as a joke. I didn't interpret it as an official invitation.
If DP or MPP asked you to leave your party and enter theirs, what choice would you make?
I'm thinking of becoming a free MP who makes decisions independently, supporting the issues I want to support and disagreeing with those I disagree with.
How did the Head of the "Justice" Coalition and the Party Chairman receive your decision to withdraw from the coalition?
After I made my decision, I didn't meet the Party Chairman. So I don't know his thoughts. Before I officially handed in my letter of resignation, the head of the coalition seemed to have thought that I was approaching the matter emotionally. Since I handed in my resignation, we haven't met.
From an MP who withdrew from the coalition, will you be asked to give up your position as the Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Policy? Are you prepared?
I heard that the members of MPRP talked about taking away my position as the Chairman of the Standing Committee. When the coalition was established, the MPRP and MNDP agreed that the two will manage the two Standing Committees of Parliament; therefore, this issue will be decided by MNDP. If they ask me to give up my position as the Chairman of the Standing Committee, I have no reason to decline. I will give up my work.
Mining Ministry to oversee development of Asgat silver mine
April 27 (UB Post) During last week's regular cabinet meeting, the Ministry of Mining was made responsible for the development of the Asgat silver mine.
Minister of Mining D.Gankhuyag was instructed to oversee the pre-feasibility studies at the mine and provide evaluations, professional and technical support, and make related contracts.
The State Property Committee instructed Mongolrostsvetmet Ltd, which operated the mine, to provide the evaluations and assessments of all previous studies and research at the mine.
According to a letter addressed to the Ministry of Mining from Mongolrostsetmet, Asgat mine doesn't have enough cash reserves to put the mine back into circulation. The letter explained that in the second quarter of 2013, the mine stopped mining crystals (Mogi: fluorspar) as their main buyers in Russia stopped purchasing, China's transportation costs and tax rates have increased, gold deposits at the mine were depleted, and some of the deposits were restricted under law as they are located in state protected areas.
Therefore the company said that it has no available financing for analysis of samples, and feasibility studies, and requested that a government group be appointed to oversee the matters.
In 2007, the Mongolian Parliament included Asgat silver mine as a strategically significant mines.
Since the mine's geological and exploration work was conducted through state funding, the state is entitled to up to 50 percent of the mine in accordance with the Law on Mineral Resource.
Related ministries and government organizations agreed at the meeting that the development of Asgat silver mine will "help Mongolia overcome its current difficult economic hardships" and provide a new export commodity type, which in turn will help improve Mongolia's foreign currency reserve.
Mongolia's urbanization: Interview with Odcon Holding's L. Munkhbat
April 2014 (Wordfolio) Economic development has led to rapid growth of the real estate sector, particularly residential as more and more Mongolians find themselves in a position to buy their own homes. Established in 1991, Odcon is one of leading construction companies in Mongolia. Mr L. Munkhbat, Executive Director of Odcon, speaks to Untied World about the development of the construction sector, his company and its commitment to employee development and welfare
Odcon holding has been fundamental part of Mongolia's business landscape since 1937. Please comment on the evolution of Mongolia's business climate and what needs to be done, both by public institutions and private companies to increase the nation's competitiveness?
L. Munkhbat: Well it was a state owned entity called Common Trust. But 2001 was the year where Odcon was established first as a new company. It was one of 8 companies borne from the Trust. Now aside from personal efforts public/state intervention is vital to allocate profits earned from mineral resources to the in-need social sectors.
Unfortunately, public institutions and the government need to brighten their sights. The government must try to form a new management style. When you look at private and public companies you will see totally different pictures. The best example is the Power station built by MSC within a short period of time. The government is now struggling with the power station No.5 project in Ulaanbaatar city for many years. The government should leave more space for private companies.
It is a golden moment for Mongolia's real estate sector. The market is highly focused on Ulaanbaatar, which is under pressure due to a speedy rate of urbanization: supply constraints due to capacity, weather, geography and capital. Please share your thoughts regarding the major challenges that the construction sector is currently facing and how Mongolia is going to avoid the construction bubble.
The years between 1960 and 1990 were years of great urbanization and construction – years of rapid growth. But everything was state owned and allocated. In 2000 however, privatization started, but very rashly and maybe not well organized. Now even the ministry of urban development can manage the price boom; they have no control over it. In fact private investors are the ones who set prices, which means construction companies, have a limited role in setting prices.
The residential sector is likely to be under the most pressure to grow at the fastest possible rate. Per capita GDP is forecast to triple by 2016 what will increase the housing demand. What is your view on the government's strategy to meet the housing demand and how are private companies upgrading their capacity to meet market growth expectations.
An average family can't afford pricy resident apartments on the market today. The government is obliged to provide affordable but quality residential buildings to those people. It should always seek potential and possibilities to make it affordable by cooperating with private sectors. Long term, maybe 20 years, and low interest loan or mortgage should be finally available to those who in needs. Moreover as I stated, residential buildings can be well less pricy.
Ulaanbaatar is home to around 1.3 million of Mongolia's 2.8m people as of late 2013. Please share Odcon Holding's vision towards the sustainable construction development of Ulaanbaatar and its contribution to the responsible urban development of the city.
The construction sector should take steps towards international standards. We don't want just a building, but an energy-saving, eco-friendly, healthy and stylish building. Our role towards reaching these goals would be by providing products to the Mongolian construction market and provide the best service. Of course we want educated and trained engineers and workers. I think we need to develop Ulaanbaatar as an urban complex with several satellite cities since we cannot extend it as we want. We need to promote migrants to live in those small cities through better infrastructure and special tax policy etc. A population of 1.3 million people is too much for one city like Ulaanbaatar.
How important is it to decrease the costs of material and machinery while upgrading the quality of construction in accordance with international standards?
Of course it is important. The Mongolian construction market is too dependent on import materials. If the price goes high, the property price will go up and this is a problem we have today. So, as many other private companies would agree, we must produce raw materials using our domestic resources. Yet, we must be aware that we can't produce everything, we will always be dependent on import products. But remember, we can always choose our partners. Better cooperation brings better technology. We should invest in the education of a young work force. Let them learn from others. Institutional cooperation is equally important.
NAMBC 2014 AGM Held in Ottawa, April 22-23
Ulaanbaatar, April 25 (MONTSAME) The 24th meeting of the North America-Mongolia Business Council was held on April 22-23 in Ottawa, Canada with participation of O.Erdenebulgan, the Mongolia's Vice Minister of Mining; Susan Gregson, the Canada's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development; and Brian Ervine, an official from the Canada's Ministry.
It also brought together about 50 business delegates and state servants from Mongolia, USA and Canada.
Mr Erdenebulgan delivered a key speech at the meeting, introducing a reform policy by the Mongolia's cabinet for reforms and its actions. He talked about reforms in the mining sector, a new policy on foreign investment and sustainable environment for them as well.
A former Ambassador of the USA to Mongolia Ms Pamela J. H. Slutz gave a report concerning a present economic development of Mongolia; and a former Ambassador of Canada to Mongolia Ms Anna Biolik reported about the Mongolia-Canada relations and cooperation.
The participants delivered reports and exchanged views on the commercial and economic cooperation between Mongolia and North America, investment opportunities and exploitation of mining and mineral resources.
Following the meeting, the Vice Minister Mr Erdenebulgan; and an executive director of the SECOR consulting firm Vindu Harris signed a cooperation memorandum between the Mongolian Mining Ministry and the SECOR. (Mogi: Montsame apparently mistook CESO, a Canadian volunteer-based development organization with SECOR, according to Canadian Embassy's Maxim)
In accordance with the document, the parties will collaborate in supporting a sustainable development of the mining sector, improving professional skills of mining experts and sharing experience.
Talkh Chikher JSC Takes Top Brand at Annual National Top Brands of Mongolia Awards
April 25 (infomongolia.com) Each year the World Intellectual Property Day marks on April 26th and in the scope of the day, Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) in collaboration with Intellectual Property Office of Mongolia have organized the National Top Brand event in the MNCCI Exhibition Hall on April 23, 2014.
The event has been organized since 2003 to promote national manufacturers and support its services, besides it is aimed to bring the services close to customers.
According to public opinion poll, national entrepreneurs have competed in 14 nominations and winners of National Top Brand 2013 are as selected following.
2013 National Top Brands of Mongolia
1. Flour and Bread - Ta Chi (Talkh Chikher JSC)
2. Milk and Dairy Products - "Zuv" cream drink (Milko LLC)
3. Meat and Meat Products - "Nuudel" (Makh Impex JSC)
4. Green Brand - "Ikh Taiga" (Khuvsgul Ikh Taiga LLC)
5. Best Packaging and Packed Brand - "Khujirt" water (Gem Khujirt LLC)
6. Leather Products - Only One Collection (Zuvkhun Gants LLC)
7. Wool and Cashmere Products - "Mongol Nekhmel" (Mongol Nekhmel LLC)
8. Trade and Service - "Orgil" Trade Center (Circle LLC)
9. Mass Media - "Family Radio" (FM 104.5)
10. Communications - G Mobile (G Mobile LLC)
11. New Brand - "Sun Rice" (MJ Partners LLC)
12. Import Substitution Brand - "Ariun" (Khugjil Trade LLC)
13. Best Service - "Nomin" (Nomin Holding LLC)
14. Top Brand - Talkh Chikher JSC
Mongolia delegation visits Canadian cities to study traffic control, city planning
Ulaanbaatar, April 25 (MONTSAME) A Mongolian delegation led by a chief of a working group on reducing traffic N.Gantomor are visiting Canadian cities of Calgary and Vancouver these days.
In Canada, the delegation will be guided around the city and introduced city planning, road technologies, land management, waste treatment and activities of housing corporations.
The Mongolian delegation visited infrastructures of Calgary city n the province of Alberta that s situated at the confluence of the Bow River and the Elbow River in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately 80 km (50 mi) east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies.
The visit of the working group representatives to Canada will continue until April 30.
Mongolian tour of Calgary
Thu, Apr 24 (Global News) A foreign delegation is currently touring city infrastructure sites. Their city has roughly the same climate, population, and similar problems. What might be surprising is the name of our unofficial twin city. Doug Vaessen explains.
Japan transport minister to visit Mongolia, S. Korea from Sat.
April 25 (Kyodo) Transport minister Akihiro Ota said Friday he will visit Mongolia and South Korea from Saturday to next Wednesday.
The land, infrastructure, transport and tourism minister told a press conference he will inspect a construction site for a new airport in Mongolia and hold talks with senior government officials in South Korea on tourism promotion.
Although Japan and South Korea have not held summit talks due to tensions over a territorial dispute and differing views on history, Ota said there have been signs recently indicating improvement in relations.
"I'd like to push the trend further" through the visit, Ota said.
FM L.Bold to Visit Belarus, May 2
Ulaanbaatar, April 25 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia L.Bold is expected to pay a working visit to Belarus on May 2, reported on belta.by official website April 24.
While in Belarus the FM L.Bold will meet with representatives of the Belarus government, the Foreign Ministry, the Industry Ministry, and the Agriculture and Food Ministry. The sides will discuss prospects of advancing relations between Mongolia and Belarus, possible avenues of bilateral cooperation in politics, trade, economy, science, and humanitarian affairs as well as topical items on the international agenda.
How can Mongolia lead on the edge of Asia?
April 3 (Australian National University) Mongolian Foreign Minister Luvsanvandan Bold and distinguished academic experts launch the latest issue of the East Asia Forum Quarterly, 'On the edge in Asia'.
The panel discusses Mongolia's development and how it can build on recent successes in domestic politics, economics and its international affairs.
In recent years Mongolia has become one of the most rapidly expanding economies in the world, driven by the mining industry. Yet the Mongolian economy faces serious challenges to reach its full potential and take advantage of the mining boom's opportunities. A similar story plays out in Mongolia's foreign policy, which has been extraordinarily successful under the 'third neighbour' policy. Reinforced by the country's democratisation and the promise of mineral resources, this foreign policy has helped Mongolia claim much more attention on the global stage than one might expect from a vast country of only three million inhabitants. Despite this success, Mongolian policymakers will have to reconsider their focus on political relations in order to help Mongolia grow further and into a more diversified future.
This public forum is presented by the East Asian Bureau of Economic Research at Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
Foreign Policy Roundup #16: April 14-27, 2014
April 27 (Mongolia Focus) After a bit of a hiatus, Foreign Policy Roundup is back, and I am expecting to restart bi-monthly postings from here on out. Highlights for this week include the Myanmar delegation's visit to Mongolia and Saudi Arabia's decision to open an embassy in Ulaanbaatar.
After arriving in Ulaanbaatar on April 12, the director of the Myanmar Parliament was received by Z. Enkhbold, his counterpart in the Mongolian Parliament. Mongolia and Myanmar established diplomatic relations in 1956, but this is the first state visit by an acting head of Parliament. During his official visit, Tura U Shwe visited the Mongolian Election Commission. This year Myanmar is the chair of ASEAN. See my previous article on the potential of Myanmar-Mongolian relations, here.
Mongolia's ambassador to South Korea participated in the 2014 Trilateral Summit held in Seoul, between China, Japan, and South Korea.
Member of Parliament and Director of the Mongolian Legal Commision, Sh. Tuvdendorj, received South Korean economic representatives. During the representatives' visit they announced out plans to expand technological cooperation and establishing a continent-wide railway network.
Mongolia and Thailand held a consultation meeting, during which they discussed cooperation in tourism, education, and general political/economic affairs.
Mongolian MP, R. Amarjargal, participated in the Institute Fund Summit 2014 Asia event in Hong Kong. During his address, he said that Mongolia welcomes investment, making specific reference to the new investment law.
Mongolia's newly appointed ambassador to Croatia presented his credentials to the country's president, Ivo Yosipovich. Mongolia has managed to maintain good relations with many of the Balkan states as a result of its previous relations with communist Yugoslavia.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, L. Bold, met with the French Ambassador to Mongolia. France and Mongolia have expanded political and economic relations in recent years, increasing cooperation in such sectors as tourism and education.
L. Bold made an official visit to Saudi Arabia, where he met with his counterpart in the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This was the first such meeting between these two countries. During the visit, Saudi Arabia announced that it would be opening an embassy in Ulaanbaatar.
Mongolia was elected to become a member of 2 UNESCO divisions: Population and Development; and Women's Issues.
For previous postings, please CLICK HERE.
Moscow Takes Ukraine, Beijing Takes Mongolia?
by Gary Sands, April 25 (Foreign Policy Association Blogs) --
Tensions escalated in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, as Ukrainian forces killed up to five pro-Moscow separatist rebels, and Russia launched army drills near the border in response, raising fears its troops would invade. The Ukrainian action took place to recapture territory from the rebels, who have seized swaths of eastern Ukraine since April 6 and proclaimed an independent "People's Republic of Donetsk," and marks the first time Kiev's troops have used lethal force against the rebels.
The events are being closely followed by nations around the world, with many leaders denouncing Russia's actions to change the status quo. International sanctions have been imposed on Russia, and on Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that unless Moscow takes immediate steps to de-escalate the situation, Washington will impose additional sanctions. Moreover, fears are growing Russia will not be content solely with changing the borders of Ukraine but will look farther afield. NATO's top military commander argues Moscow may target other Russian-speaking regions, notably another ex-Soviet republic, Moldova, and Transnistria, a breakaway state that declared independence from Moldova in 1990. Though Moscow's ambassador to the European Union, Vladimir Chizhov, denied Russia has "expansionist views," should Moscow continue to annex territory, it could set a very bad precedent for how other nations might act in future.
One nation that may be watching the events in Ukraine more closely than others is China. China has several active border disputes with its neighbors, including arguments over territorial waters in the East and South China Seas. So far Beijing has acted in a pesky but restrained fashion, establishing an air defense zone that wasn't taken too seriously, sending military ships into disputed waters in a show of force or as a blockade, and using water hoses to fire on fishing boats from neighboring countries.
Beijing's reaction to the Ukraine crisis so far has been confusing and muted. When the U.N. Security Council called an emergency vote just prior to the referendum in Crimea, Beijing abstained from voting, falling back on its policy of non-interference and choosing not to antagonize its only ally on the Council. Reactions to Beijing's abstention by the Chinese active on Weibo and WeChat, two of China's microblogging platforms, was immediate and spirited. In Beijing's refusal to condemn the referendum, Chinese netizens pointed to the hypocrisy of Beijing's foreign policy, given its expected divergent reaction should the populations of Taiwan, Tibet or Xinjiang choose to hold a referendum on independence. As expected, the matter is no longer being discussed on Weibo, after all comments linking the Crimean referendum with Xinjiang, Taiwan or Tibetan independence were deleted.
Much foreign policy punditry has already focused on the above-mentioned territories and their quest for independence. But now that Putin has opened up Pandora's Box, what if China decided to annex territory it had long lost? Mongolia is one such large area of territory, ruled by the Manchurians during the Qing Dynasty. Following the collapse of the Qing Dynasty, the Mongols established the Temporary Government of Khalkha in November 1911, and in December, Mongolia declared independence from the Qing Dynasty, ending 220 years of Manchurian rule. Eventually Mongolia came under Soviet influence, becoming a Soviet satellite newly proclaimed as the Mongolian People's Republic in 1924. When the Soviet Union threatened to further seize parts of Inner Mongolia from China in 1945, China chose to set aside its claims and back a referendum on Outer Mongolia's independence. The referendum, which took place in October 1945, resulted in 100 percent of the electorate voting for independence.
How would Beijing go about the annexation of Mongolia? President Xi Jinping would likely begin by sending welcoming signals to Ulaanbaatar that should Mongolia chose to hold a referendum on rejoining China, he would support the outcome. (Mogi: and why would Mongolia ever decide to hold such a referendum?) Prior to the referendum, Chinese troops would amass near the border of Mongolia and Inner Mongolia, awaiting further orders in case the Chinese population needs to be protected. International condemnation would surely follow, although given Beijing's greater economic power, and Russia's current status as one of the most hated nations, the penalties would likely be less harsh. Beijing would draw the wrath of Moscow, but Moscow would face territorial battles on two fronts simultaneously.
Of course, the above scenario is fanciful, given the ethnic makeup of most Mongolians and their fierce nationalism in opposition to the rule of Beijing. Ethnic Mongols account for about 95 percent of the population and consist of Khalkha and other groups – all speaking some dialect of the Mongol language, and support for a referendum along Putin's model would fail miserably. Further, the Mongolians have a strong sense of nationhood and have fiercely opposed recent land grabs by Chinese companies. Yet Putin's strategy of annexation might make more sense in areas where a Chinese-speaking minority find themselves under oppressive foreign rule. Other than Mongolia, China currently claims territory administered by Russia, India, Japan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Myanmar and Bhutan, as well as numerous islands in the East and South China Seas claimed by Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Brunei.
Given the possibility that Putin's expansionist policy should expand, U.S. President Barack Obama and European leaders should continue to pressure Moscow to restrain its aggression, and further press Beijing to condemn the Crimea referendum and to give assurance it will stand behind its policy of "peaceful rise." While Beijing may never condemn the actions of its sole ally on the U.N. Security Council, Beijing will need to give the international community reassurances that what Putin has engineered in the Crimea will not now be regarded as fair play and copied by Beijing in order to assert any one of its disputed territorial claims in the region.
National database on living standards presented to Government
April 27 (UB Post) The Minister for Population Development and Social Protection S.Erdene introduced the results of a study conducted to determine the living standards of households to the members of the Government. S.Erdene gave the responsibility to the relevant ministers to use the data collected in the result in developing policies.
The survey was conducted in November and December of 2013 and covered 86 percent of Mongolian households. The data of 714 thousand households were arranged by the living standards and were added to a joint database of households.
Other non-governmental organizations are also able to use the database in relevant services.
Presently, the Ministry of Population Development and Social Protection is working to deliver services to 87 thousand citizens of 15,131 households, who are in urgent demand of social welfare support assistance and food allowance.
This database can be used for implementing any state activities related to population, in correctly choosing appropriate citizens and target households who are in need of state services and assistance, and for introducing and implementing new types of service.
With the completion of the survey, the conditions have been created to strengthen cooperation and the connections of state organizations, which will deliver state services to citizens speedily, sufficiently and rationally.
Mongolia to Host AFC President's Cup 2014 Group Stage Matches
Ulaanbaatar, April 27 /MONTSAME/ At its meeting on Saturday, the cabinet decided to allot money of 250 million togrog for hosting games of one group of the "AFC PRESIDENT'S CUP-2014" that will take place on June 1-10, 2014. (Mogi: games will be held May 1-5)
Mongolia has been awarded a right to host the international football competition thanks to having a new football pitch with 5,000 seats. This pitch was built last year within a project implemented by the FIFA.
The Mongolia's "Erchim" club has been qualified to participate in the AFC President's Cup-2014 after winning the Mongolia's Premier League. The Mongolian club will face its opponents of the Philippines and Sri Lanka at the group stage games in Mongolia.
AFC President's Cup is an annual international association football competition between domestic clubs sides run by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). The 2014 AFC President's Cup will be the 10th, and the last edition of the AFC President's Cup, a football competition organized by the AFC for clubs from "emerging countries" in Asia.
This year's tournament will run among teams of Mongolia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Taiwan, North Korea, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.
Mongolia and Sustainability topic of Lunch Hour Lecture at Colorado State University, April 29
FORT COLLINS, April 25 (Colorado State University) - Chuluun Togtokh, Ph.D., science advisor to the Mongolian Minister of Environment and Green Development and science director of the Institute for Sustainable Development at the National University of Mongolia, will deliver a free, public lecture April 29, noon-1 p.m., in the Grey Rock Room of the Colorado State University Lory Student Center.
Chuluun has spent the semester as a Visiting Fellow for CSU's School of Global Environmental Sustainability. He will talk about "Concepts of Sustainable Development: Mongolia and Globally."
While making the successful transition to democracy and market economy since 1990, Mongolia laid down the foundations for prosperity. However, that transition also brought with it increased poverty and environmental degradation.
Committed to reversing this trend, the Mongolian government has set a goal to become a green civilization — meeting the needs of the present while safeguarding the planet's resources.
In this lunch-hour lecture, Chuluun will discuss what green development looks like in Mongolia and the introduction of his Global Sustainability Index (GSI) tool for providing synergy in the post-2015 development agenda.
While at CSU, Chuluun has worked closely with researchers in the Natural Resource Ecology Lab in the Warner College of Natural Resources. He will also be part of the Managing the Planet panel on Future Earth set for April 30 at 5:30 at Avogadro's Number in Fort Collins.
For more information about this lecture or the Managing the Planet panel, go to the SoGES website www.sustainability.colostate.edu.
USAID Partners with World Vision to Reduce the Impact of Disasters on People in Western Mongolia
Ulaanbaatar, April 25, 2014 (U.S. Embassy) – USAID will partner with World Vision Mongolia to reduce the impact of natural disasters on people in Western Mongolia. The target areas for this project are Bayan Ulgii; Khovd and Uvs - the three western-most aimags (provinces) in Mongolia.
The target areas are at heightened risk of disaster due to their isolation, the absence of infrastructure, and their distance from major urban areas. The centers of each of these provinces are more than 1,400 km from Ulaanbaatar. There are no railways and most roads consist of dirt tracks across the desert or steppe.
The nation regularly experiences various types of disasters, including dzud, flooding, earthquake, fire, and wind-, snow-, and dust storms.
The Western Mongolia Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) project has been developed to support the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), provincial emergency management staff and communities to more effectively assess risks and to develop appropriate preparation and response plans.
The project will also help to strengthen government DRR policies and resources to support remote aimags and to prepare people for key disasters. World Vision will also work with the Ministry of Education and Science on the development of educational materials on disaster preparedness and to develop a standard DRR curriculum for households and schools.
Funding for this 12-month project totals $275,000 USD with World Vision Mongolia contributing $25,000.
Minnesota Man Teaching Science & Wrestling in Mongolia
April 24 (Cadillac News) LeRoy native Craig Draper-Johnson wasn't comfortable simply being comfortable, so he decided to add some challenges to his life.
Draper-Johnson, 25, graduated from Pine River High School in 2006 and in 2011 earned a degree in elementary education with a science specialty from Southwest Minnesota State University.
After he received his degree, Draper-Johnson began looking for a job that would allow him to teach and coach wrestling, a sport that has been one of his biggest passions since high school.
For the next few years, he taught high school students and coached wrestling in Minnesota.
Before too long, however, his mind began to wander.
"I had moved from small town, to small town, to small town, and wanted something new," Draper-Johnson wrote in an email to the Cadillac News.
"Both schools I was at in Minnesota were and still could be great fits for me to settle down in, teaching and coaching until I retire (ultimately what I believe I will end up doing). I just wasn't ready to settle down at 25."
Thus began Draper-Johnson's efforts to completely change the surroundings of his life.
"I applied all over the world through a few (websites) dedicated to bringing teachers and international schools in contact with one another," he said. "I avoided places in Europe and North America, because I felt like adjusting to those places would be too easy, and wouldn't be the challenge/change I was looking for."
Eventually, the American School of Ulaanbaatar, located in the largest city in the Asian country of Mongolia, expressed interest in hiring Draper-Johnson as an elementary science teacher. Administrators also wanted him to start a program for wrestling, which is a very popular sport in Mongolia.
"After a little research, I decided Mongolia would be more than enough of a challenge, and so far I've been right," Draper-Johnson said. "This year has been very interesting, stressful, enjoyable, and rewarding."
How is Mongolia different than America?
Being from a small town, Draper-Johnson is used to saying "hello" to complete strangers, which is a custom in many places in America.
He said strangers in Mongolia, however, are not very friendly at first glance. "Most Mongolians come off very cold or distant until you get to know them," he said. "After I've gotten to know some Mongolians, both in and out of school, they are incredibly nice. They take pride in being very hospitable, especially during Tsagaan Tsar, their new years celebration. It stems from when Mongolians were very nomadic, and this was their time to travel and see their relatives that they rarely saw."
Draper-Johnson said another one of the main differences between America and Mongolia is the traffic.
Because there are too many cars in Ulaanbaatar, only certain license numbers can drive on certain days — a measure to cut down on traffic volume.
"It doesn't help everyone drives as if they were riding horses in the countryside, going wherever they feel, whenever they feel, especially if there is an opening," Draper-Johnson said.
In terms of how Mongolians perceive Americans, Draper-Johnson said most are very welcoming, although among a small number of men, animosity exists toward the idea of an American man dating a Mongolian woman.
"Mongolian men dating foreign women is fine," he said. "The thought process is that to be a Mongolian, it is passed down from the father. But people with this thought are few and far between and often drunk. I've been on a handful of dates and never had a problem. Acquaintances have though."
As for similarities between American and Mongolian culture, Draper-Johnson said students from both countries are in many ways identical.
"The students at ASU are well behaved and respectful," he said. "In general, there are very few problems with behavior issues. It has been interesting to me how similar students are here to students in the states. They still play on their phones, they still forgot their homework, they are still kids just the same as kids anywhere else. Worried about Facebook, twitter, boyfriends and girlfriends...etc."
Mongolia rests between Russian and China on the map — a relatively stable area with little chance for terrorism or kidnappings, Draper-Johnson said.
"The further you get from the city center, you don't go to pubs or night clubs," he said. "There is also a 'black market' where they sell odds and ends. It's basically a big flea market, but pickpocketting can be an issue there. Other than that, I haven't had much trouble at all."
Economy-wise, Draper-Johnson said he sees a lot of very poor people and a lot of very rich people, but not many in between.
During his time in Mongolia, some of Draper-Johnson's proudest moments outside the classroom have come on the wrestling mat, where he had the opportunity to compete with some of the best grapplers in the country.
"I am hoping to watch and possibly compete in Naadam, which is a large festival in the summer," he said.
After he finishes a two year contract teaching in Mongolia, Draper-Johnson said he plans to look for more international teaching jobs.
"I want to see a few more places, possibly Southeast Asia, South America, or possibly Europe," he said. "We'll see. Sooner or later, I'll return to either Michigan or Minnesota to teach and coach wrestling."
CD Johnson ends up in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia - Cross-Counties Connect, March 31, 2014
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