Friday, May 9, 2014

[GoM instructed to speed up OT, Rio "keen to proceed" with underground, MNT continues record, and MAK awards FLSmidth 3rd conctract]

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Friday, May 9, 2014

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Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original


Overseas Market

Mogi: will report further when English coverage pops up

Economic Stimulus Bill Passed, Instructs GoM to Show Policy Support & Speed Up OT Underground Development

May 9 (Cover Mongolia) Yesterday, during State Great Khural (SGK) full session, the government proposed draft SGK resolution on "Certain Measures to Stimulate the Economy".

Final version included a clause where it instructs GoM to "speed up development of Oyu Tolgoi underground mine and show policy support to the implementation of this project".

Link to SGK press release

Link to final version of resolution introduced

Link to article


Rio Tinto AGM – Address by the chief executive

Melbourne, May 8 (Rio Tinto) --

And we have significant options for growth in our Copper business. We remain keen to proceed with the underground development of the OT mine in Mongolia. All shareholders continue to discuss the best pathway forward for progressing the second phase of construction.

Link to release


TRQ closed +1.31% to US$3.87

BMO Capital Markets Raises Turquoise Hill Resources Price Target to C$5.50 from C$4.25

May 7 (Analyst Ratings Network) BMO Capital Markets increased their price target on shares of Turquoise Hill Resources (TSE:TRQ) from C$4.25 to C$5.50 in a research note issued on Wednesday, Analyst Ratings News reports. The firm currently has an "outperform" rating on the stock. BMO Capital Markets' target price would indicate a potential upside of 30.02% from the company's current price.

Turquoise Hill Resources (TSE:TRQ) traded down 2.60% during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $4.12. The stock had a trading volume of 313,663 shares. Turquoise Hill Resources has a 52-week low of $3.20 and a 52-week high of $7.82. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $3.95 and a 200-day moving average of $4.04.

A number of other analysts have also recently weighed in on TRQ. Analysts at CIBC reiterated a "sector perform" rating on shares of Turquoise Hill Resources in a research note on Thursday, March 27th. Analysts at TD Securities cut their price target on shares of Turquoise Hill Resources from C$4.50 to C$4.25 in a research note on Tuesday, February 18th. They now have a "hold" rating on the stock. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company's stock. The stock currently has an average rating of "Hold" and a consensus target price of C$5.44.

Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd., formerly Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., is an international mineral exploration and development company.

Link to article


Petro Matad confirms oil prospect from Block IV, V seismic

May 7 (Proactive Investors) Petro Matad (LON:MATD) told investors that seismic shot last year has identified a new prospect in Block IV which would have possible recoverable reserves between 60 to 100mln barrels of oil.

A total of 65 kilometres of seismic was shot in Block IV, over a thrusted anticlinal feature in the western part of the block.

Analysis of the data confirmed the sizeable feature as well as a smaller, well imaged prospect with about 6mln barrels.

Elsewhere, 155 kilometres of seismic was shot on Block V

One prospect area within Block V was subsequently deemed high risk, whilst in another area two new prospects were identified, each estimated in the range of 22 to 24mln barrels of oil.

The company believes these two prospects represent excellent candidates for testing, to assess the potential reservoir quality and source potential.

It also highlighted that these are the only drillable prospects identified in this frontier area of Central to Western Mongolia, where there have been no explorations and only limited seismic.

Petro Matad said it is confident there are many other similar areas and prospects within its acreage, though its limited seismic coverage is insufficient to confirm such expectations currently.

It is now considering alternative methods to explore the area, airborne full tensor gravity gradiometry (FTG) which has been used successful in areas of Africa.

At the same time Petro Matad continues an ongoing farm-out process

The company said today that its participation in a recent industry conference generated renewed interest in the asset from a number of companies – and discussions continue. Some parties have shown a high level of interest, though to-date no agreements have been reached, it added.

"Although there can be no guarantee that a farm-out deal will be forthcoming, the board believes that these actions display significant confidence in the Company's prospects and its future," the company said in a statement.

To preserve cash in the meantime Petro Matad is taking a number of actions, including paying certain employees in shares rather than cash.

Petro Matad said it had US$2.35mln of cash at the end of March, and that is currently sufficient to maintain its status as a going concern.

Link to article

Link to MATD release


Aspire Mining announces resignation of non-executive director Andrew Edwards

May 8 (Proactive Investors) Aspire Mining (ASX: AKM) has advised of the resignation of Andrew Edwards as a non-executive director of the company, to pursue his many other interests.

Aspire said that there is currently no intention to replace Edwards on the board.

Link to article

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Local Market

MSE News for May 7: Top 20 +1.51%, Turnover 23.9 Million

Ulaanbaatar, May 7 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades held Wednesday, a total of 86 thousand and 755 shares of 21 JSCs were traded costing MNT 23 million 852 thousand and 100.00.

"Bayanbogd" /75 thousand and 109 units/, "Genco tour bureau" /6,000 units/, "Mongol shevro" /2,350 units/, "Khokh gan" /1,000 units/ and "Gutal" /850 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Gutal" (MNT nine million 423 thousand and 750), "Mongol shevro" (MNT five million and 056 thousand), "Darkhan nekhii" (MNT two million and 625 thousand), "UB-BUK" (MNT one million 474 thousand and 200) and "UB hotel" (MNT 910 thousand).

The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 591 billion 990 million 261 thousand and 606. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,646.23, increasing by MNT 223.27 or 1.51% against the previous day.

Link to article


MSE News for May 8: Top 20 -0.93%, Turnover 8.6 Million

Ulaanbaatar, May 8 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades held Thursday, a total of 9,755 shares of 24 JSCs were traded costing MNT eight million 563 thousand and 904.50.

"Merex" /4,012 units/, "Genco tour bureau" /2,761 units/, "Boonii khudaldaa" /740 units/, "Mongol savkhi" /400 units/ and "Makh impex" /312 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Tavantolgoi" (MNT one million 041 thousand and 290), "Talkh chikher" (MNT 945 thousand and 480), "UB-BUK" (MNT 945 thousand), "Makh impex" (MNT 925 thousand and 420) and "Shivee ovoo" (MNT 750 thousand and 125).

The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 590 billion 863 million 952 thousand and 243. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,500.67, decreasing by MNT 145.56 or 0.93% against the previous day.

Link to article

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BoM MNT Rates: May 8 Close





































May MNT Chart:


Link to rates


BoM FX auction: US$31.5 million sold at 1,805.2, CNY101 million at 288.53, $111 million MNT bids, $20 million USD swap asks accepted

May 8 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on May 8th, 2014 the BOM has received from local commercial banks bid offer of 62.8 million USD and 101.0 million CNY. The BOM has sold 31.5 million USD as closing rate of MNT 1805.20 and 101.0 million CNY as closing rate of MNT 288.53.

On May 8th, 2014, The BOM has received MNT Swap agreement bid offer in equivalent to 111.0 million USD and USD swap agreement ask offer of 20.0 million USD from local commercial banks and accepted all offer.

See also:

·          FX Auction Statistics

Link to release


BoM issues 269.7 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding -1.32% to 1.12 trillion

May 7 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 269.7 billion at a weighted interest rate of 10.5 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


GoM Treasury Auction: 20 Billion 28-Week Bills Sold at Discount, Average Yield 9.36%, with 43 Billion Bids

May 7 (Bank of Mongolia) Regular auction for 28 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 20.0 billion MNT and each unit was worth 1 million MNT. Face value of 20.0 billion /out of 43.0 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold to the banks at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 9.36%.

Please find expanded information from Table.

Information of Government securities auction

Announced amount /by MNT/


Received amount /by MNT


Sold amount /by MNT/


Weighted average yield


Maximum yield of fulfilled bids


Minimum yield of fulfilled bids


Link to release


GoM Bond Auction: 10 Billion 5-Year Bills Sold at Premium, Average Yield 13.84%, with ₮10 Billion Bids

May 7 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 5 years maturity Government Bond was announced at face value of 10 billion MNT and each unit was worth 1 million MNT. Face value of 10.0 billion /out of 10.0 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold to the banks at premium price and with weighted average yield of 13.84%.

Please find expanded information from Table.

Information of Government securities auction

Announced amount /by MNT/


Received amount /by MNT


Sold amount /by MNT/


Weighted average yield




Frequency of coupon payment

Semi annual

Maximum yield of fulfilled bids


Minimum yield of fulfilled bids


Link to release

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MPP took a 5-day break on the issue and thus the issue was postponed

Parliament Discusses Justice Minister Temuujin's Dismissal Behind Closed Doors

Ulaanbaatar, May 8 (MONTSAME) A parliamentary meeting on Thursday is discussing a proposed dismissal of Justice Minister Kh.Temuujin behind closed doors.

As issues regarding the dismissal of the Minister include matters related with the State secrets, the parliamentary meeting has been carried out in a closed mode with a participation of Prosecutor-General of Mongolia D.Dorligjav.

Earlier, on April 7, O.Baasankhuu MP submitted a request of the dismissal of Justice Minister Kh.Temuujin on several alleged grounds including increased crimes nationwide since the latter took the current office.

The Standing Committee on Justice began to discuss the issue on April 14 at a closed meeting to leave it for the next meeting on April 24. A majority of committee members present backed on April 24 a proposal to discuss the matter at a parliamentary session which was expected to take place that Friday and was postponed to today's meeting.

Link to article


Standing Committee backs Minerals Law amendment, delays changes to list of Strategic Deposits

May 8 ( The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economy discussed the bill to revive the economy and carried over the discussion to the plenary session on Wednesday`s meeting. The Committee also backed the decision to discuss amendments into the Minerals law of Mongolia. The bill is aimed at developing long term sustainability in the mining industry, which is a great contributor to manufacturing, FDI, export and state and local budget income say the bill inventors.  

The next issue discussed at the Standing Committee meeting was the Appendix of Parliamentary resolution No.27 to include certain deposits into the list of Strategically Significant Mineral Deposits of Mongolia. The Appendix will allow the Government to work determining the exact boundaries of the strategic mines to conduct multiprocessing in the deposits. There are 15 deposits already accepted as strategically important deposits.

However, most of the Standing Committee members said the draft needs to be reviewed again so the appendix was delayed.

The deposits that are to be added to the list of Strategically Significant Mineral Deposits of Mongolia are as follows:



Thermal coal

Khovd, Darvi

Government determines the exact boundaries of the mine



Brown coal

Tuv, Bayan

Government determines the exact boundaries of the mine




Selenge, Mandal

Government determines the exact boundaries of the mine


Mushgia khudag

Rare earth element

Umnugovi, Mandal-ovoo

Government determines the exact boundaries of the mine


Lugiin gol

Rare earth element

Dornogovi, Khatanbulag

Government determines the exact boundaries of the mine



Rare earth element

Umnugovi, Tsogt-ovoo, Khankhongor

Government determines the exact boundaries of the mine



Rare earth element

Khovd, Myangad

 Government determines the exact boundaries of the mine

Link to article


Standing Committee Backs Amendments Minerals LawMontsame, May 8

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FLSmidth receives US$43 million order for Tsagaan Suvarga Copper-Molybdenum Concentrator, third from MAK

May 7 (FLSmidth) FLSmidth has received orders worth approximately USD 43m (approximately DKK 231m) from the Mongolian company, Mongolyn Alt (MAK) Group, to supply engineering, procurement and site construction services for the Tsagaan Suvarga copper-molybdenum concentrator project. This greenfield plant, with a capacity of 40,000 tonnes per day of ore, will be located in the central part of the proven Oyu Tolgoi south Gobi porphyry copper belt in southeast Mongolia.

FLSmidth is currently supplying all the main process technology for the project under a separate, previously-awarded contract announced in 2011 (see Company Announcement No. 34-2011, 23 December 2011).

MAK is the third largest company in Mongolia with diverse business activities, including coal and gold mining operations. This will be the Group's first copper concentrator. In February 2012, FLSmidth was awarded an order from MAK for supply of a greenfield cement plant (see Company Announcement No. 06-2012, 9 February 2012).   

"We are very happy to receive this third major order from MAK for their Tsagaan Suvarga copper-molybdenum concentrator project. It confirms our strategy of working closer with our customers, providing the support and services they need as a key to developing long-term partnerships," President of the Mineral Processing Division Peter Flanagan comments.

The order will be booked by the Mineral Processing Division and contribute beneficially to FLSmidth's earnings until mid 2017.

Link to release


Erdenet copper concs spot TC/RCs surge from Jinchuan outage, higher rail fees, competition from OT

May 8 (Metal Bulletin) Spot treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs) for Erdenet copper concentrates from Mongolia surged to over $150 per tonne and 15 cents per lb this week, fuelled by the outage at Jinchuan's smelter, higher rail fees and competition from Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia.

Spot TC/RCs for Erdenet were around $115/11.5 in the week before Jinchuan declared force majeure on copper concentrates delivery on March 19, market sources said. "Jinchuan cancelled some Erdenet copper concentrates under their long term contract, which forced those parcels on to the spot market," one smelter source told Metal Bulletin. Jinchuan was forced to cut copper production in Gansu province after an equipment failure. The equipment "still needs a couple of months to...

Link to article


National IT Park reopens as 'Mongol Tolgoi-Silicon House' complex to bring hi-tech developments

May 8 (UB Post) The National Information Technology Park (NITP) reopened on Thursday as the "Mongol Tolgoi-Silicon House" complex, which aims to develop greater awareness and knowledge of the latest technology.

The complex is comprised of hi-tech laboratories, a library and educational center for the youth and research facilities to experiment with new information technology-based ideas. The complex organizers hope it will be the base for future Mongolian national brands.

Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag held his regular "30 Minutes with the Prime Minister" meeting at the newly opened complex. He also officiated at the launch and highlighted, "NITP reopens today as Mongol Tolgoi-Silicon House complex to showcase Mongol brains and intellect to the world, and raise competency and competitiveness of Mongolians."

"Now is the time to talk and rely on the third tolgoi (brain), apart from Oyu Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi mines," he added.

Chief of the Information Technology, Post and Telecommunications Agency Ts.Jadambaa also noted during the launch, "We are working to create jobs with high pay and produce domestically made world-standard E-products. Now that the 'Silicon House' project has successfully launched, Mongolians will be able to work on their new ideas and trials of new products at the complex."

During the launch, State-prized Scientist N.Natsagnyam introduced the program he invented which is planned to monitor power plants.

Similar programs are worth 600 million MNT in the global market, but he is building the program at a cost of 150 million MNT.

Artists who are making 3D animations at the order of the Ministry of Education and Science also introduced their projects. These sort of computer graphic designs, animations, videos, TV programs, paintings and music can all be produced in the computer laboratory at the complex.

"I hope that the Silicon House will act as leverage to accelerate information technology development, and a center to join all related organizations in one place," said the director of Mongol Tolgoi-Silicon House, Ts.Tuvshintur.

Link to article


Mongolia-Italy Business Summit to Take Place in Ulaanbaatar on June 19-21

May 8 ( On May 06, 2014, the Embassy of Mongolia to the Italian Republic hosted a business meeting in Milan city for representatives of Italian companies and firms, which are interested in establishing business contacts with Mongolia.

At the meeting, over 50 companies' representatives have attended, where Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the Italian Republic with residency in Rome, Mr. Shijeekhuu ODONBAATAR made a briefing on Mongolia's current socio-economic situation, investment opportunities and legal environment.

During the meeting, representatives of Italian biggest entities and organizations including "Expo 2015", "Fiera di Milano", Bennet and Roncato have forwarded its interests seeking opportunities to enter Mongolian market.

Also, comprehensive information was also provided on Mongolia-Italy Business Summit to be organized in Ulaanbaatar to which the participants are invited to take part, which is scheduled on June 19-21, 2014.

Link to article


Mongolian Embassy Runs Meeting with Italian Business DelegatesMontsame, May 8


Will Mongolia resume issuing exploration licenses?

May 7 ( Last week, a proposal was made by the Minister of Mining D.Gankhuyag on amending the Minerals Law of Mongolia. If approved by the SGK, the amendment will resume the issuance of exploration licenses that has been prohibited by the law from 2010. Also, the "law with a long name" (Law on the Prohibition of Minerals Exploration in Water Basins and Forested Areas) enabled the government to cancel over 200 licenses. However, the Mining Minister advocated the new amendment that the areas would not be overlapped and those licenses would not be renewed. Instead, it will allow further exploration in many different areas in the country that will increase reserves and deposits that will lead to more economic benefit. The Minister believes that it will attract more investors and side businesses that follow mining industry will also boost the other sectors.

Actually, this rhetoric has been around for so many years that it stopped convincing the public nor the investors. Industry specialists know that volatility is a dagger with sharp edges on both sides. Moreover, the coal market that our latest boom has been enjoying is in the decline. Commodity prices have been falling due to global decrease in demand followed by the recession and nobody wants to expand their investment in these uncertain times. Obviously, it is an opportunity to prepare weaker law requirement for investors in an desperate attempt to attract them. However, the it will prove how unstable the country is in terms of legal environment.

The number of licenses from 2010 to 2014 has decreased from 4137 to 2868. From 2005-2010 the licenses covered 46% of the entire Mongolian territory. Now it is only 7.6%. It is a positive result in social and economic sense. Although the licensed territory has decreased, the remaining licenses drove the country to boost its GDP for the last few years. We are not going to mine half of our country out. It is absurd. Instead, we shall improve the management side of the revenues that is to be created in the future from mining activities.

When the momentum came to us, we failed to build our railways, build refining factories, implementing major projects such as power plants. A Minister that is resigning Kh.Battulga, who argued that building Chinese standard gauges would threaten the countries security has failed to build a single km railway in the north of the country. He had held up the project that has been proposed by Energy Resource Inc. to build the railway to Gashuun Sukhait-Gants Mod port with its own resources. Last month, Mongolian and Chinese companies signed deal with a Chinese company owning 49% of the railway. This is geopolitical and economic disaster and result of a misguided policy.

Opening up the licenses issuance would not boost the economy, it will worsen the social and moral achievement we had as a country. We need stable and sound policies. Not the policies that fluctuates along with commodity prices. SGK is yet to approve the amendment, however, in desperation of DP's attempt to revive the economy, it might get approved. We will update our readers in due course.

Link to article


2014 Development Projects: New thermal power plants and improvements in soums

May 9 (UB Post) The following is an introduction to major development projects for 2014. They will be financed with project investment, foreign investment and bond sources.

One trillion MNT to support domestic industries

This year, the Mongolian government is to support import-substituting industries with one trillion MNT. In other words, 2014, the Year of the Wood Horse, will become a year of industrialization. The government has finished reviewing projects for domestic products to be manufactured and financed by the one trillion MNT. The project will support some 800 import-substituting businesses out of 1,151 that applied for the program. Starting this year, Mongolia is aspiring to become a producing country, instead of an importing country.

Apartments for 1,000 families to be built in all provinces

A large project for infrastructure in the building and rural development sector will be implemented this year. Apart from the new soum project for 16 soums of 16 provinces, an apartment program in each province to house 1,000 families will be implemented. The work is concentrated on building private apartments.

Apartments will be built in Tsengel soum of Bayan Ulgii Province, Khishig-Undur soum of Bulgan Province, Tseel soum of Gobi-Altai Province, Khalkhgol soum of Dornod Province, Tselmen soum of Zavkhan Province, Shaamar soum of Selenge Province, Mankhan soum of Khovd Province and Ikh Uul soum of Khuvsgul Province.

Thermal power plants to be built in eight provinces

A major project will begin for the energy sector. Infrastructure development and the construction of new thermal power plants and thermal lines will soon begin. In total, 160 billion MNT is planned for this. Bayankhongor, Zavkhan, Uvurkhangai, Tuv, Arkhangai, Gobi-Altai, Dundgobi and Khentii provinces are included in the project.

21 kindergartens established at the state level

This year, a new development project for the education sector, with estimated costs of 61.96 billion MNT will commence. Notably, construction work for 21 kindergartens will begin and be commissioned. Furthermore, seven new schools will be established at the state level. Three will be established in Ulaanbaatar and the rest in rural settlements.

16 soums of 16 provinces to be renovated

A major development project is commencing in 2014, establishing modern standard soums with wastewater treatment plants for households and institutions in 16 soums of 16 provinces. Eighty billion MNT was approved from the budget and five billion MNT will be spent on each soum. Apart from Bayankhongor, Gobisumber, Darkhan-Uul and Orkhon provinces, one soum from the remaining 16 provinces will be selected for renovation.

Dornod, Khuvsgul and Umnugovi provinces to be connected to the capital

By the end of 2016, all provinces will be connected through roads to Ulaanbaatar. In 2013, Bayankhongor, Dornogobi and Dundgobi provinces were connected to Ulaanbaatar with paved roads.

This year, Dornod, Khuvsgul and Umnugovi provinces will be connected. Associated funds will not be provided from the budget, but with funding from Chinggis Bond. Although the road work for these three provinces started last year, it was halted due to contentions with contractor companies. The work will continue in spring.

Link to article


Wolf of Wall Street Jordan Belfort Visiting Mongolia on James Passin Invitation

May 8 ( A well-known American motivational speaker and former stockbroker, Jordan Ross Belfort, 52, will be visiting Mongolia upon the invitation of James Passin, Chairman of Khot Infrastructure Holdings, Ltd and CBM Company to share his experience with Mongolian businessmen and preliminary Mr. Jordan Belfort will arrive in Ulaanbaatar on June 06, 2014.

Mr. Jordan Belfort recounted his life in his memoir, The Wolf of Wall Street, and a film of the same name was created in 2013 based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, in which J.Belfort was portrayed by Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio. 

He was convicted of fraud crimes related to stock market manipulation and running a penny stock boiler room, for which he spent 22 months in prison.

On June 06, 2014, Jordan Belfort will meet Mongolian businessmen, politicians and economists at the Blue Sky Tower in Ulaanbaatar and will have discussions on the topics such as an art of persuade, how to trade a penny-cost value, key elements of the internal activation, how to increase career, how to create a long-term wealth, how to re-activate Mongolian stock market, secrets of how to raise money from liquidity low capital, how to trade Mongolian raw materials to foreign investors, how to avoid alcohol and drug dangers, and funny stories at Wall Street careers as well.

Link to article


Famous "Wolf of Wall Street" to Visit MongoliaMontsame, May 8

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General Agency for Specialized Inspection issues warning to Narantuul market over sale of illegal products

May 8 ( Health and Safeguarding specialists and Environment and Tourism specialists from the General Agency for Specialized Inspection conducted an inspection of Narantuul "black" market this week and issued a warning to the owners of the market.  The inspection revealed that illegal prescription drugs, illegal animal products including fur, pelts, feathers and traps, bullets, and hunting tools, as well as rare herbs are being traded at the Narantuul market.

The General Agency for Specialized Inspection has thus issued a warning to the owners of the biggest market in Ulaanbaatar city to halt the trade of illegal items, to strengthen regulatory approaches, to keep the associated regulations and legislations, and improve its staff's knowledge regarding the legislation and regulations.

Link to article


Combatting counterfeit medicine: Interview with GASI Director D. Batmunkh

May 9 (UB Post) The following is an interview with the Director of the State Specialized Inspection Agency (GASI), D.Batmunkh, about current issues.

Food safety is the most pressing issue of Mongolian residents today. Does the GASI inspect all imported food products?

The law on food safety has been implemented for a year. Previously, anyone was able to import food products but now, this issue has been dealt with. Producers and traders have transferred to integrated regulations. Individuals aren't able to sell anymore. Producers have also introduced a hygiene standard system with high requirements. This is a huge change for food safety. The GASI established a registration program for producers, retailer and supplier companies. The state transformed their external monitoring on food safety to electronic form, meaning that now we have a program for this.

With this program, when there are epidemics of acute poisoning or infectious diseases from food, we'll be able to swiftly carry out the first step of the law on food safety which is to find the cause.

There has been criticism about imported fruits, vegetable and noodles not meeting health and safety standards. The GASI announces that they've detected nothing harmful. Residents believe that your organization is under the influence of importing companies. Can you comment on the issue?

Obviously, we'll focus on the information being published and take circumstantial measures. However, we give priority to our own scheduled inspection and prevention work. Just recently, there were scandals saying that they've detected pesticides which are harmful to the human body and cause cancer. According to reports, this wasn't a research done by state accredited laboratory of official inspection organization that has rights to inspect. It was a research work for training students. There are three mechanisms of inspection: reconnaissance, tests and evaluations. Through tests and inspections, we got evidence that the level of pesticides weren't harmful so without wasting time, we announced the results to prevent public panic.

Does Mongolia have a sufficient amount of modern laboratories and technology for inspecting imported food products as soon as they enter the border?

Last year, the government approved the National Reference Laboratory and at state level, we have an integrated laboratory system. Presently, 12 border points, 21 provinces and two districts of Ulaanbaatar are included in the state integrated system of food and drug laboratory. Currently, permanent small laboratories for chemical and bacteriological inspection are working at 12 border points. Now we're fully capable of testing the safety of food products on the spot.

Mongolia's medicine market has grown out of control and illicit drug use is increasing. What are you doing to address this issue?

In collaboration with legal organizations, we're combating counterfeit medicines imported from China that are not registered by the Drug Registration of Mongolia. For example, with Ulaanbaatar Specialized Inspection Agency and Bayanzurkh District, we conduction inspections to stop sales of abortion pills from China. Some traders may think they've gotten away safely from the first round but this inspection will be carried out long-term. The second round will be organized with the police, Governor's Office of Bayanzurkh District and the administration of Narantuul Trade Center.

Counterfeit medicines are mainly sold in Narantuul. We reminded the administration of Narantuul Trade Center that they're further activities will be halted if they are unable to stop sales of counterfeit medicines.

In a single inspection, how much unregistered medicine did you confiscate? How much of it was sold to residents of Ulaanbaatar?

To our special hotline 1286, we receive many complaints and information about issues regarding medicines, food products, food manufacturers and organizations. Pursuant to the reports, we organize inspections quickly, take relevant measures and notify back.

We were able to confiscate around 10 to 20 abortion pills from each trader as they are sold by individuals in small quantity. Large amounts are usually hidden in other's container or homes. We're aiming to work with the police to inspect homes and wipe out the core of this dirty business. We started integrated inspections for counterfeit medicines, medical services, pharmacy and the medicinal industry and drug supplier organizations.

As of now, list of unregistered drugs in the Drug Registration of Mongolia hasn't been finalized yet.

On drug manufacturer's activities, what sorts of regulations do you do?  Have drug suppliers and manufacturers accustomed to standards for operation?

There is a serious problem. They're trying to dodge some ethanol inspections. Drug manufacturers import chemicals for drugs and medical products. Recently, large amount of ethanol was imported.

Some organizations use it for syringes, equipment sterilization and disinfection. The use of ethanol and alcoholic products has increased this year and reached from eight to ten tons. We're doing inspections to determine the cause. Ethanol is sold in small bottles for 200 to 800 MNT. Some alcohol addicts buy and use them so we're also paying special attention to ethanol sales. Safe operation inspections are absolutely necessary as they give negative effects to health, long-term diseases and even endangers one's life. When the results are out, we're planning to have the General Inspector make reviews and formal measures, give it to drug traders and service providers, and monitor their implementation.

As the construction sector growth and real estate demand increases but their quality worsens. Objects fall from construction sites often and passersby are harmed. How will you manage these operational incompetency issues?

At state level, the GASI announced a one-month campaign for improving labor safety of all construction related sectors including mining, housing constructions, roads and bridges that have high risk of industrial accidents. We're working to provide labor safety, prevent industrial accidents. This campaign will be done in the future so calculations and plans for further work are being developed. We began work for complying technical safety standards by organizing a trade fair for clothes, technologies, equipment, training and advertisement for providing labor safety. The GASI must not only monitor and investigate companies that contribute to the state budget revenue and economic development but also give advice, help and support. We started to monitor regulations on labor safety provision and contract developed between employers and contractors. We also give them professional and methodological advice on ensuring enough money on labor safety.

We've only began new assistance services through the recent implementation of Government Resolution No. 311 of 2013 about establishing an integrated system for the GASI internal control. With this, we'll make progress in public-private partnership as well as cooperation on preventing accidents. We're already seeing results especially from rapidly developing mining and construction sectors.

After spending millions of MNT to move into a new apartment, many people soon find out the bad quality of the buildings and malfunction of water and heating systems. Even if they issue complaints, the issue doesn't get resolved. Who should be monitoring this?

Sometimes I wonder whether some contractors have any humanity and consciousness to commission safe buildings from which residents will not receive any loss. As individuals, I don't think it's necessary to spend so much money and time just to deceive one another and lose reputation. Buildings should be built with raw materials and products that are capable of at least withstanding earthquakes or any other dangers. Two years have passed since the agency stopped participating in construction projects and state projects. This work was handed over to the Authority for General Planning of Ulaanbaatar, Ministry of Construction and Urban Development, Mongolian Trade Unions Federation and Mongolian Employers' Federation. These organizations are responsible for monitoring quality and standards as well as ensuring public-private cooperation and partnerships. The GASI only monitors the implementation process.

Partnerships between organizations for construction projects and commissioning is important for ensuring quality, standards and safety of buildings. We'll be able to provide conditions where residents do not face any economic loss only by raising issues from all sides, setting requirements and by regulating.

Apart from quality, standards and safety of buildings, construction site size is very important. If organizations for giving approval for blueprints, technical conditions, constructions sites and commissioning are able to make construction companies work according to standards and regulations, we will not have future accidents or economic losses. At the capital city level, many buildings are built every year. The number of our inspectors is insufficient for monitoring all of them. It's impossible to have an inspector for each construction sites and trade enterprises. To prevent accidents and economic losses, concerned organizations and external monitoring organizations must come to an understanding.

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JICA to Provide Financial Assistance in Building Hospital for Health Sciences University

May 8 ( With financial assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Health Sciences University of Mongolia (HSUM) is set to build a 150-bed hospital next to the university.

The hospital of the Health Sciences University of Mongolia (HSUM) is planned to be built at Botanic Garden. Once the hospital opens its door, health care professionals will provide all kinds of higher levels of care, including services such as neurosurgery, women`s health, neonatal, pediatric and surgery.

The hospital is expected to be a health service provider to citizens of Bayanzurkh district and a base for resident specialists' specialized health.

In the scope of the cooperation project JICA and the Health Sciences University Mongolia signed a draft project design for the hospital.

The construction for the hospital will begin this year. According to the plan, the construction project will become operational in two years. 

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Health University to Have Affiliated HospitalMontsame, May 8


Asia Foundation: Participatory Urban Planning Takes Hold in Mongolia

May 7 (The Asia Foundation) Mongolia's economic boom, coupled with harsh winters that have killed off cattle and traditional livelihoods, have made the country's rural, pastoralist lifestyle less attractive and economically viable. As rural residents flood to the capital, Ulaanbaatar, in search of work, city residents now account for one-half of Mongolia's total population, up from one-quarter only 25 years ago.

But 60 percent of those city residents live in the ger districts that surround the capital, without access to basic services such as electricity and water. Given this rapid growth, the government has not been able to develop adequate planning for the soaring ger developments. However, potential solutions have come in from unlikely places – most recently from Solo, Indonesia.

In March 2013, a Mongolian delegation made up of Ulaanbaatar City Municipality staff, including the head of the governor's office and 10 newly established ger area unit heads, visited Solo in Central Java to learn from an innovative community mapping initiative, pioneered in 2009 by local NGO Yayasan Kota Kita (YKK). For the first time, the mapping project enables citizens to interact in participatory planning, budgeting, and urban development decisions in this city of over 500,000.

Although the two cities appear to be very different, Solo and Ulaanbaatar share similarities, including rapid population growth. In both places, governance has traditionally been top-down, and collecting accurate social and welfare data has historically not been a priority. Both cities also share similarities in their local administrative structure – Indonesia has a RT (neighborhood association) system that is based on 30-50 households that act as community leaders at the lowest level in the administrative system. Ulaanbaatar has khoroos, under which there are community leaders similar to RT leaders who are involved in decision-making at the local level. Both local governments have recognized the need to gather data at the local level, and traditional methods of data collection have proven unreliable and lacking in the detail and nuance needed to accurately reflect local needs. These local administrative structures prove ideal for community-based problem solving through the generation of crowd-sourced information.

An advantage of this bottom-up community mapping approach is that it is able to generate a high degree of accuracy about the location of specific infrastructure facilities, which can be identified on city maps. Previously, information was not available at the lowest levels, so nuances around pockets of poverty and lack of services could not be identified.

Important to both cities is the need to identify community solutions that stem from a lack of government capacity, and the need for citizens and community organizations to engage in discussions to find effective mechanisms for infrastructure maintenance. The information generated for the maps helps bring people together to discuss how best to share their resources.

This was the basis of the community mapping database project in Solo. The maps and "mini atlases" available on the website, Solo Kota Kita, profile information about every neighborhood in Solo. The data collected are linked to the local budget process (musrembang), which informs a series of maps that show services such as the provision of schools and health clinics graphically. These tools are used to understand the urban issues facing residents related to education, poverty, and health, and have helped the local government prioritize spending and development priorities as patterns emerge in the incidence and correlation of deprivation and social problems.

Solo's mapping tool as a way of dealing with urban planning problems has been particularly useful for Ulaanbaatar's ger districts. Following the study tour in 2013, the City Municipality requested a similar mapping project for the ger districts. After an intensive data collection and mapping process in 87 neighborhoods, the Manaikhoroo Community Mapping website launched in January 2014, with information on 11 indicators concerning accessibility and availability of public services, including street lighting, illegal garbage dumping, and crime hotspots, via downloadable maps.

Mr. Gerelchuluun, head of the city's Governor's Office, said that this more transparent approach has allowed the city to more effectively monitor and evaluate the performance of city officials in providing services and making improvements. The city is now introducing a plan by which the best performing local district head will receive a bonus equivalent to one year of their salary.

By focusing on local service provision and facilities, elected officials are held accountable in a way that elections do not provide for, so the system also supports more informed political decision-making. In Ulaanbaatar, the mapping project has enabled the mayor to engage citizens in community meetings in all 87 ger areas, with over 300,000 people participating in city budget discussions.

In February 2014, a second delegation from Mongolia, this time including representatives of the Ulaanbaatar's District Governments and the City Municipality, visited Solo to learn more about participatory budgeting and planning policies, how urban redevelopment and planning processes can spur economic development, and how community savings schemes such as revolving funds can support community-level development and employment. If applied in Ulaanbaatar, these could make an important contribution to the lives of some of its most vulnerable residents living in the ger districts.

Jeremy Gross previously served as The Asia Foundation's election program manager in Indonesia, and currently works as occasional consultant for the Foundation. He can be reached at The views and opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and not necessarily those of The Asia Foundation.

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Fifth International Ulaanbaatar Marathon to Take Place on June 7

May 8 ( In order to develop race sport and promote the capital city of Mongolia to the world, the International Ulaanbaatar Marathon has been organized annually as customary on the first Saturday in June.

This year's fifth international event is scheduled to take place on June 07, 2014, besides the day coincides with "No Vehicle Day" and welcomes the 375th anniversary of the founding of Ulaanbaatar city that marks in 2014.

Currently, over 25 thousands runners are estimated to take part and open to all as from local and foreign participants including students from high schools and higher institutions, amateurs and athletes.

Preliminary, the 2014 International Marathon will be organized in four categories including Classic Marathon for 42,190 m, Half Marathon for 21,095 m, Amateurs for 4,000 m and 8,000 m distances.

Winners of Half Marathon will be awarded with monetary prizes.

I - 2,500 USD

ll - 2,200 USD

lll - 1,800 USD

lV - 200 USD

V - 180 USD

Vl - 160 USD

Winners of Classic Marathon

I - 5,000 USD

ll - 4,000 USD

lll - 3,000 USD

lV - 300 USD

V - 250 USD

Vl - 200 USD

The Fifth International Ulaanbaatar Marathon will start from Chinggis Square through Chinggis Avenue West - Bumbugur - Sansar Tunnel - East 4-Road Intersection and back to finish line at Chinggis Square. Classic Marathon participants will run 5 laps.

Last year, the world record holder, a runner from Kenya, Patrick Makau Musyoki, attended the award presenting ceremony for Fourth Ulaanbaatar Marathon, where Mongolian Merit Athlete Bat-Ochir SER-OD finished first the Classic distance of the 2013 International Ulaanbaatar Marathon.

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Mongolia and Myanmar hold first consultative meeting of Foreign Ministries

May 8 (UB Post) The first consultative meeting between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia and Myanmar, co-chaired by director of the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Department of Asia-Pacific countries Ch.Bayarmonkh and U San Lwin, director-general of the Political Department of the Myanmar's Foreign Ministry, was held Tuesday in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, where the parties discussed the Mongolia-Myanmar relations and cooperation and integration of the Asia-Pacific region.

The sides emphasized the significance of the state visit of the Mongolian President to Myanmar in 2013, as well as the official visit of Shwe Mann, the Speaker of Myanmar and Speaker of the Burmese House of Representatives, for launching bilateral relations and cooperation, and also agreed to exchange experience in the proper exploitation of mineral resources, to cooperate in the tourism sector and to bring other projects into effect accordingly.

Also, the two ministries agreed on carrying out short-term training for Myanmar state servants on democracy, open society, innovations in state services and the judicial system, and adaptation to a multi-party system. They reached a decision to exchange officials of their election committees and parliamentary delegates regarding the issues of constitutional and election law.

Chairing ASEAN in 2014, the Burmese side pledged to invite Mongolia's Foreign Minister to participate as a special guest in the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting to be held in August of this year, and to attempt to positively address the official request of Mongolia to host the "ASEAN+1" unofficial meeting by consulting with ASEAN members. The Burmese officials also offered support for Mongolia to become a partner of the ASEAN Dialogue and a member of the East Asia Summit.

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Parliamentarians Meet Visiting South African Ambassador on 20th Anniversary of Ties

Ulaanbaatar, May 8 (MONTSAME) Head of the Mongolia-South Africa inter-parliamentary group S.Odontuya; and member of this group G.Batkhuu Wednesday received a delegation headed by Mr Bheki Winston Joshua Langa, the Concurrent Non-Resident Ambassador of South Africa to Mongolia.

Beginning the meeting, Odontuya MP thanked the Ambassador for visiting Mongolia in times of the 20th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic relations, and expressed a willingness to enhance the Mongolia-South Africa inter-parliamentary relations and cooperation with political talks and mutual visits.

The parliamentarian noted that the Mongolia-South Africa inter-parliamentary group has been set up recently, and its main function is to establish direct ties between parliaments of the countries. She also pointed out Mongolia is paying attention to attracting foreign investments while parliament is discussing the mineral law.

In turn, Mr Langa emphasized that the anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic relations is coincided with the National Freedom Day of South Africa, and then reported that elections of both parliament and President are running these days in his country. Saying that the Mongolia-South Africa relations and cooperation have been intensively developing, Mr Langa emphasized the countries are possible to cooperate in the mining sector and exchange experiences.

Expressing a satisfaction with meeting with the South African Ambassador, G.Batkhuu MP said Mongolia wants to learn experience of South Africa in the mining field, and hopes that the countries will collaborate in legislative matters for the sectors and introducing the best experiences.

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Emir of Kuwait Meets Senior Mongolian Official

Kuwait, May 07 (QNA) - Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah met here Wednesday with Mongolian Minister for Population Development Sodnomzundui Erdene , who is currently visiting Kuwait. 

During the meeting, they discussed cooperation relations between Kuwait and Mongolia and ways of enhancing them.

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Minister S. Erdene meets with Speaker of Kuwaiti National Assembly

Ulaanbaatar, May 8 (MONTSAME) During his visit to Kuwait, the Minister of Population Development and Social Protection and a head of Mongolia and Kuwait parliamentary faction S.Erdene met with Mr Marzouq Al-Ghanim, the Speaker of the Kuwaiti National Assembly on Tuesday.

At the meeting, Mr Marzouq Al-Ghanim thanked Mongolian delegation for their visit at an invitation of the National Assembly and underlined that relations between Mongolia and Kuwait have been expanding year to year then highly spoke about a big contribution of inter-parliamentary relations between the two countries. He also expressed a confidence that the visit will bring cooperation to newer level.

In turn, Minister S.Erdene also appreciated the Kuwait side for the friendly reception and highlighted bilateral cooperation opportunities not only in politics and economy but also in other spheres.

Moreover, S.Erdene said to draw a special attention on further bilateral relations as a head of the parliamentary faction and conveyed a greeting to Mr Marzouq Al-Ghanim from Z.Enkhbold, the speaker of the State Great Khural /parliament/.   

Present at the meeting was Su.Batbold, a member of Mongolia and Kuwait parliamentary faction.

Mongolia and Kuwait established diplomatic ties in June 17, 1975.

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Nuclear Energy Agency Head Attends IAEA Regional Meeting in Austria

Ulaanbaatar, May 8 (MONTSAME) Head of the Nuclear Energy Agency of Mongolia (NEA) N.Tegshbayar and chief of the NEA Foreign Relations and Public Cooperation Section N.Tamir have taken part in a regional meeting of the Technical Cooperation national coordinators of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Held on May 5-8 in Vienna, Austria, the regional meeting brought together leaders of nuclear energy bodies of Asia-Pacific countries.

The participants discussed ways of upgrading projects being implemented by the member states, strengthening the regional cooperation in fortifying the radiation safety infrastructure and seeking ways of developing human resources at the nuclear medical sphere. Furthermore, they focused on enhancing national infrastructure for nuclear radiation safety, rendering support to the members within the cooperation, peaceful exploitation of nuclear energy and intensifying activities by using successful experience and opportunities.

Mongolia has launched to use nuclear technology for medicine, foods, agriculture, geology and mining sectors in frames of the IAEA Technical Cooperation. For instance, the 1st Central Clinical Hospital's Nuclear Diagnosis Sector has received a SPECT gamma camera within the Technical Cooperation Programme. Related experts have been trained for three years as well.     

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Mongolist Yu.N.Kruchkin Awarded Polar Star Order by President Elbegdorj

Ulaanbaatar, May 8 (MONTSAME) Pursuant to a decree of the President Ts.Elbegdorj, the Polar Star Order has been awarded to a Russian scholar and Mongolist Yu.N.Kruchkin for his long-year contributions to developing the friendly relations and cooperation between Mongolia and Russia.

On Thursday, head of the Presidential Office P.Tsagaan granted the Order to Mr Kruchkin.

During the ceremony, P.Tsagaan congratulated Mr Kruchkin on receiving the state prize for his big contributions to developing the bilateral ties as well as Mongol studies, refining studies of Mongolian history and culture and preparing trained staffers.

Saying that the state prize is awarded to him on eve of the 69th Victory Anniversary of the Great Patriotic War, P.Tsagaan noted Mongolia contributed to the victory, and greeted Mr Kruchkin on this day.       

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Foreign Minister Receives U.S. Ambassador & Peace Corps Country Director

Ulaanbaatar, May 8 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Bold Thursday received in the State House Ms Piper Anne Wind Campbell, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the USA to Mongolia; and Ms Darlene Grant, a country director of the US Peace Corps for Mongolia.

The Foreign Minister emphasized voluntaries at the US Peace Corps have been playing a vital role in the Mongolia-USA relations, especially in the inter-citizen ties, and then said Mongolia aspires to continue the collaboration with the Peace Corps.

Peace Corps voluntaries are appointed to work in Mongolia with a two-year term, but they usually prolong their term by one year because of being attracted to Mongolia, its people and lifestyle, Ms Grant said.

The Peace Corps has been carrying out its activities in Mongolia since 1991, and some 1,000 voluntaries have worked in Mongolia so far. It implements four main programmes on English language training, public-based health, economic development and youths and children-local development.

As of present, 109 voluntaries are working in all provinces of Mongolia. Over 90 voluntaries will arrive here in this year.

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Social, Environmental and Other

Mongolians paid 12.5 billion for medical treatment between 2009-2011 says South Korean Health Ministry

Ulaanbaatar, May 8 (MONTSAME) Mongolian people paid KRW 7.8 billion or MNT 12.5 billion for medical treatment services in South Korea between 2009 and 2011 according to statistics by the country's Ministry of Health and Welfare.

The number of Mongolia to have the medical service in South Korea was 850 in 2009, 1,860--in 2010 and 3,226--in 2011, the statistics say. The figure also rose up for the years 2012 and 2013, and detailed information will be released soon, the South Korea's Ministry said.

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Ex–ONE world champ Banario to face Mongolian fighter Narantungalag

May 7 (Baguio Midland Courier) Former ONE Fighting Championship featherweight world champion Honorio "The Rock" Banario is set to redeem himself when he faces a tough Mongolian fighter on May 30.

ONE FC, the biggest MMA promotions in Asia, announced Banario will face Narantungalag Jadambaa in ONE FC 16: Honor and Glory set at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

The 24-year-old Banario from the famed Team Lakay will enter the ONE FC cage almost five months after his devastating knockout loss to Japanese Koji Oishi in ONE FC 13 on Dec. 6, 2013.

The Dec. 6 fight was a rematch between Banario and Oishi, who grabbed the ONE FC featherweight world title from the former during their first match in ONE FC 9 on May 3, 2013.

Banario has learned a lot from the two consecutive losses and vowed to come back as a stronger and better fighter, as he hopes to improve his current mixed martial arts records of eight wins and three losses.

His opponent, Narantungalag, will make his ONE FC debut after he became MMA pro fighter in 2004.

He also suffered two successive defeats in 2004 and 2006 but he scored eight straight impressive victories from 2007 to 2012 in various MMA promotions.

The 37-year-old Mongolian fighter suffered his third defeat in his latest fight due to ankle injury in April 2013. He never fought since until he signed up for ONE FC.

"Considered the best mixed martial artist to emerge from Mongolia, Narantungalag channels the iconic Mongolian warrior spirit when he competes, and will now get a step up in competition and bring that energy to our promotion," ONE FC said in a statement.

ONE FC 16 will be headlined by top welterweight prospects Ben Askren and Bakhtiyar Abbasov.

"After months of anticipation, ONE FC will return to Singapore with another explosive night of world-class mixed martial arts action," said ONE FC top honcho Victor Cui.

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Second Group of Mongolian Children to Take Part in Michael Jordan Flight School Summer Camp

May 8 ( The winner of 2013-2014 Super League of Mongolian National Basketball Association, the "SBL Khasyn Khuleguud" signed a contract with Michael Jordan Flight School to send 20 youngsters from Mongolia taking part in the 2014 Summer Basketball Camp training in Santa Barbara, California on August 06-10, 2014.

The document was co-signed by "SBL Khasyn Khuleguud" Club Director Odonbaatar BAYARTSOGT and Michael Jordan Flight School Director Mark Raveling on May 06, 2014.

According to Agreement Letter, the School offers 10% discount to Mongolian group of children interested to attend and this is the second opportunity for Mongolian youths to take part in this camp, where children from all over the world have been gathering and during the program Michael Jordan himself visits the children and gives them valuable instructions and advice.

Last year, "SBL Khasyn Khuleguud" sent 10 children between the ages 9-18 to attend the 10-day summer camp in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles cities, USA.

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Mongolian circus artiste makes it to Mollywood

May 8 (The Times of India) After winning both National and State awards for his debut venture, North 24 Kaatham, filmmaker Anil Radhakrishnan Menon is ready with his next outing.

Titled Sapthama Sree Thaskaraha, the movie will see actors Prithviraj, Asif Ali, Sreenath Bhasi, Nedumudi Venu, Nyla Usha along with a Mongolian circus artiste, Flower Battsetseg, play pivotal roles. "The film will be a satire, with a lot of scope for humour. There is no slapstick comedy used here, and it will be different from my first outing," says Anil.

Interestingly, the director spotted Flower at a circus event that took place at Thalassery. "She is from Mongolia and is married to a Manipuri guy. I was on the lookout for a suitable character for my film for long. I happened to take my son for the circus and there I saw her performing an act. She has the kind of grace and perfection that I was looking for the character in my film," says the director. So, how will she deliver her dialogues in Malayalam? "She doesn't have any dialogues. I am sure through sign languages I will be able to make her act in my film, which is going on floors later this month at Ottapalam," says Anil.

The director is tight-lipped about the role of other actors. "All the actors are normal human beings who do something extraordinary in the film," is all he is willing to reveal at the moment.

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Boy from Mongolia wins FIA Young Artists Contest

May 9 (UB Post) Mongolian boy O.Dulguun won a gold medal at the 2014 FIA Young Artists Contest themed "Flying to Save Lives."

Youngsters from China, Japan, Mongolia, Nepal, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the USA are among the winners of the 2014 Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FAI) Young Artists' Contest. The event awards FAI medals and diplomas to artists in three age categories from six to 17 years old.

O.Dulguun won the contest in the intermediate category (ages 10 to 13), followed by Anastasiya Novikova from Russia and K.C. Bibeen from Nepal.

The competition was fierce, not only because of the quality of the artworks, but also due to the significant rise in participation. The number of FAI member countries taking part in the contest soared from 14 in 2013 to 21 in 2014 with the involvement of Bulgaria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Finland, India, Italy, Japan, Libya, Lithuania, Mongolia, Nepal, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and USA.

"We are delighted that this year's theme, 'Flying to Save Lives,' was so inspirational. The paintings are of excellent quality and we are honored to award medals and diplomas to such talented youngsters," FIA Young Artists Contest coordinator Suzie Gebb stated.

"21 FAI members participated in this year's contest, some of them from Turkey, Switzerland and the USA having received between 5,000 and 10,000 entries. We also noticed with pleasure that many new countries such as Egypt, Libya and Mongolia joined the contest for the first time. We also received entries from Sri Lanka which sadly could not be taken into account as the contest is reserved for FAI members, but hopefully this country will join the FAI and participate next year."

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Hyogo Framework Agreement helps Mongolia reduce disaster deaths

Ulaanbaatar, May 8 (UNISDR) – Mongolia's Deputy Prime Minister Dendev Terbishdagva today identified the pressing need to address escalating direct losses from disasters as vital to his country's ambitions for sustainable development.

"Since implementing the Hyogo Framework for Action there has been some success in reducing the mortality rate from disasters but a new approach has to be considered because of the increasing economic and ecological losses we are experiencing," Deputy Prime Minister Terbishdagva said.

"Within the Hyogo Framework the main principle is clear: if you invest one dollar on prevention ahead of disasters it is worth ten dollars after a disaster. Prevention is very important."

Mr. Terbishdagva outlined Mongolia's progress over the past decade: the amalgamation of disparate departments into one National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), which reports directly to him, and a commitment to treat disaster risk reduction as a development issue.

"We have continued to reform the legal environment aimed at mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into our development policies," the Deputy Prime Minister said. As part of this process, the Government is tabling updated disaster protection and fire safety laws for consideration by parliament.

"The world has identified the next ten years as crucial for international development and disaster risk frameworks and we are determined to adapt and mainstream these policies within our own national frameworks."

Mr. Terbishdagva identified local capacity as a key constraint but said NEMA and government ministries were focusing their efforts on this area. To mark NEMA's 10th anniversary in June, the government is commissioning a television series to highlight how community capacity and responsibility prevents and reduces disaster risk.

He called on the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) to expand its partnership with Mongolia to help bridge this gap in local capacity.

The Head of UNISDR in Asia Pacific, Ms Feng Min Kan, pledged support and praised the "paradigm shift" in thinking and action: "Through such strong leadership and vision Mongolia is not just focusing on disaster response but is striving to achieve disaster risk sensitive development to protect its economic growth."

Deputy Prime Minister Terbishdagva's focus on disaster losses echoes UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's warning at the launch of the 2013 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction that "economic losses from disasters are out of control".

Mongolia's population of 2.8 million people is spread over a vast territory of 1,564,116 sq kms, two and a half times the size of France. About 40 percent live in the capital Ulan Bataar which continues to absorb a huge influx of migrants from the countryside. In so doing the city is grappling to address the principal drivers of disaster risk: including the need for stronger and enforceable urban planning, poverty reduction and environmental protection.

Mongolia experiences many recurrent, localized disasters as well as occasional severe disasters – mainly dzud (harsh winters that also hit animal food supplies), drought, steppe forest fires, settlement fires and animal disease – all of which the country's herder populations are particularly vulnerable to. City inhabitants also suffer from severe winter air pollution.

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