Please click Display Images or Download Pictures to properly view this newswire
Monday, June 23, 2014
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
OPP closed +0.78% to 7.94p
Brooks Macdonald Calls For Origo Partners To Sell Off Assets
LONDON, June 20 (Alliance News) - Brooks Macdonald Group PLC Friday called for China-focused private equity investor Origo Partners PLC to sell its assets over time and return the proceeds to investors, as it also hit back in the two companies' dispute over the terms of convertible, zero dividend preference shares issued by Origo in March 2011.
In a statement, Brooks Macdonald said that it has "significant concerns" regarding the corporate governance, performance, investment strategy and prospects of Origo. It said its call for Origo to sell off its assets in an orderly manner to return capital to shareholders is "unrelated" to the dispute over the convertible zero dividend preference shares.
In a later response, Friday, Origo said that it "has in fact been engaged in a detailed consultation with some of its shareholders, alongside its advisers Smith & Williamson, and Brooks MacDonald and its advisers, Cantor Fitzgerald" over the asset sale proposals made by Brooks Macdonald for "some time."
"That consultation has indicated that the company's key shareholders are supportive of certain measures aimed at facilitating the realisation of assets and the distribution of capital to shareholders," Origo said in its statement, adding that the proposals broadly follow on from its own strategic review announced last August. Under that review, Origo said it has been focused on cutting costs, making no new investments and "creating asset realisations at the right time and right value for shareholders."
Earlier this week, Origo said its net asset value fell to USD135.0 million, from USD171.5 million, over the course of 2013, hit by flat or declining commodity prices and political instability in Mongolia. This was followed by a further decline to USD115.8 million in the three months ended March 31.
"Based on discussions that Brooks Macdonald's financial adviser, Cantor Fitzgerald Europe, had with investors representing a significant proportion of Origo's share capital, Brooks Macdonald believes that other Origo shareholders share many of its concerns," Brooks Macdonald said.
Based on those discussions, Brooks Macdonald said that it has made a number of proposals that it thinks will benefit Origo shareholders as a whole, including the orderly realisation of its assets and a number of board changes to secure a more rigorous approach to corporate governance.
Brooks Macdonald also proposed the extension of the convertible, zero dividend preference shares by up to a year if it helps the sale of its assets. In addition, it proposed a "simple and transparent" basis for how capital returns are made to ordinary shareholders and the holders of the convertible, zero dividend preference shares, as opposed to requiring the holders of the latter to be repaid in full before any capital is return to ordinary shareholders.
Origo had said in February that Brooks Macdonald had raised a complaint over the terms of the convertible, zero-dividend preference shares. At the time, Origo said that any legal proceedings by Brooks Macdonald would be unlikely to succeed.
Brooks Macdonald, which holds both convertible zero dividend preference shares and ordinary shares in Origo, said it has been trying to engage with the private equity investor to resolve the dispute since 2013.
The convertible preference shares were acquired by Brooks Macdonald following its acquisition of Spearpoint Ltd, now known as Brooks Macdonald Asset Management (International) Ltd, in November 2012.
Brooks Macdonald said that the way certain terms in documents related to the matter were detailed by Origoon February 7 "gives investors an inaccurate understanding of [the] nature of that document." The two companies are in dispute about whether the convertibles should be converted into shares or if their holders should have the option of whether they can be redeemed instead in the case of a change of control in Origo.
As part of its proposals for the future of Origo, Brooks Macdonald said that it wants to resolve the dispute over the lack of a put option by removing the conversion provisions of the financial instruments subject to dispute.
Origo said it intends to continue working to reach an amicable resolution to the dispute with Brooks MacDonald over the terms of the convertible zero dividend preference shares.
Brooks Macdonald shares were Friday quoted up 2.9% at 1,534.00 pence, while Origo shares were trading down by 0.3% at 7.85 pence.
SGQ closed -5.71% to C$0.66, Friday
Hong Kong Takeovers Code to Apply to SouthGobi Resources
HONG KONG, CHINA--(Marketwired - June 20, 2014) - Prior to the listing of the securities of SouthGobi Resources Ltd. (TSX:SGQ)(HKSE:1878) (the "Company") on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited in 2010, the Company applied to Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission (the "SFC") for, and was granted, a ruling that the Company is not a public company in Hong Kong for the purposes of the Codes on Takeovers and Mergers and Share Repurchases in Hong Kong (the "Takeovers Code"). Consequently the Takeovers Code has not applied to the Company since the time of its Hong Kong listing.
The Company recently made an application to the SFC for a confirmation of the SFC's prior ruling that the Company is not a public company in Hong Kong for the purposes of the Takeovers Code. The Company made this application so it could assess, with a greater degree of certainty, its options for sourcing the additional financing it requires to continue operating and meet its obligations. See the Company's announcement regarding its first quarter 2014 financial and operating results dated 12 May 2014 for further details regarding the Company's financial position and liquidity.
The Takeovers and Mergers Panel of the SFC ("Takeovers Panel") determined on Thursday, 19 June, 2014 that the Company should be considered a public company in Hong Kong for the purposes of the Takeovers Code. The Takeovers Code will now apply to the Company. The Takeovers Panel will release its written decision on this matter in due course.
The Company has been and continues to be subject to Canadian provincial securities laws, including those governing takeovers, mergers and share repurchases. Certain transactions that would otherwise be exempt under Canadian law from the requirement to make a formal offer to all shareholders may now trigger mandatory offer obligations under the Takeovers Code.
June 20 (MIBG) Recent talks and improvements in relation to Mongolia's foreign investment policy have exhibited a positive outlook on the future of the country's economy. Companies such as Noble Group Ltd (SGX:N21), who have invested in a major segment of the South Gobi, continue to display the belief that long-term payoffs will result from increased participation in the sector.
Noble is a world leader in the supply-chain management of agriculture, energy, metals and minerals. The company is headquartered in Hong Kong and listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange. Noble Group prides itself on its ability to link countries with low production costs, to global demand-orientated markets. Noble Group was listed 76th in the 2013 Fortune 500.
In a joint venture with Noble Group, Aspire Mining Ltd (ASX:AKM) has elected to buy out Xanadu Mines Ltd's (ASX:XAM) 50% stake in the Nuurstei Coking Coal Project, of which Noble owns half. In addition to its potential, the project is also an advantageous acquisition for Aspire due to its close proximity to another Aspire project: the Ovoot Coking Coal Project. This strategic procurement will provide a synergistic relationship between the two.
In order to improve transportation in the Region, Noble is slated to partially finance a railway that will connect the coal projects to the main railway going to both Russia and China. Government assistance, however, is essential to the progress of this development. Noble has also acquired access to a Russian port, which could allow seaborne transport, expanding the possible field of export for Mongolian commodities.
Along with Aspire Mining's venture, Noble Group has also linked itself to other major projects in the South Gobi Region. In efforts to raise capital for exploration, Xanadu Mines Ltd has taken on a US $4.0 million financing agreement with Noble. This funding is expected to progress the exploration of the Kharmatgai Copper-Gold Project along with other exploration projects in the region. Noble and Xanadu's coking coal joint venture Ekhgoviin Chuluu LLC own the Javkhlant exploration project also located in South Gobi, closer to the Chinese border.
In other efforts, Noble has also helped finance a 98km haulage road from Terra Energy's developing Baruun Noyon Uul Mine, providing access to the Mongolian/Chinese border at Ceke. In 2012, Noble entered the agreement with Terra for the marketing of the coal mined at this project. Guildford Coal Ltd (ASX:GUF), Terra's parent company, is indebted to Noble with two contracts valued at approximately US $20 million, as per the original agreement.
Noble Group's interest in coal and copper mining in the South Gobi Region has presented prosperous outcomes for the companies involved. Noble has pushed the improvement of transportation in the region and has funded many projects to progress the production of coal in Mongolia. Initiatives such as this are the movements that create stimulus for the country's economy.
Noble has strategically positioned itself as a principle contributor to the production of coal and copper in South Gobi. Through further investment in the region, Noble is demonstrating the value of long-term investment presently available. By connecting to other projects in the region, Noble can further provide better transportation and economies of scale through operations and processing that will support the production of copper and coal.
Investors such as Noble Group display the potential prowess of the mining industry in Mongolia. The company has become a progressive demonstration of the benefit of long-term investment as the success they achieve validates the potential of the country's main industry. Moreover, the success of this company and its recent developments will encourage other foreign entities to invest: boosting the mining industry and the economy. This foreign investment is needed to produce better transportation for export and other enhancements of efficient-industry practices that the government itself is not capable of independently financing.
ERD closed +9.38% to C$0.175 Friday
Erdene Provides Highlights of AGM and Project Updates
HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - June 19, 2014) - Erdene Resource Development Corp. (TSX:ERD) ("Erdene" or "Company"), is pleased to provide an update on activities as presented (copy available on the Company's website here) at the Company's Annual and Special Meeting of Shareholders ("AGM") held on June 17th, 2014 in Halifax, Nova Scotia and to announce its shareholders voted in favor of all items of business brought before them.
"During one of the most challenging times in decades for financing in the junior mining sector, our Company has made a significant new high-grade gold and base metal discovery, partnered with a major mining company on our copper exploration efforts, restructured and streamlined our Company, and secured funding in multiple financings while maintaining a relatively tight share structure," said Peter Akerley, President and CEO. "I would like to thank our excellent technical and administrative teams for their dedication, our directors for their guidance and our shareholders for their support. There are multiple indications of an improving environment in our sector and I am very excited that, from a project and corporate perspective, Erdene is very well positioned moving forward which will bring benefits to all of our stakeholders."
Highlights of AGM
· Q2 drilling at the Company's 100% owned Altan Nar gold project returned the best drill intersection to date; 19 m of 5.8 g/t gold, including 5 m of 17.7 g/t gold
· Trenching at Altan Nar over the Union North target, 1.2 km north of the high-grade drill intersection, returned the best trench intersection to date; 19 m of 8.9 g/t gold, including 7 m of 20.2 g/t gold
· The 2013-2014 results provide support for a delineation drilling program at Altan Nar planned for the third quarter
· The near-surface high-grade Altan Nar system is open in all directions, including at depth, and remains relatively untested over its 5.6 km strike length
· The Khuvyn Khar copper exploration program (Teck Alliance) identified multiple copper porphyry style mineralization targets now subject to follow-up exploration
· Company directors were re-elected with greater than 99% of shareholder vote
· The Company exceeded its targeted 43% reduction in 2013 general and administrative costs by achieving a 53% reduction from the prior year
· Erdene raised $3.72 million of equity between December 2012 and May 2014 at a weighted average share price of $0.16
· Teck is Erdene's largest shareholder by virtue of participation in three financings since April 2013 totaling $1.5 million
· During the past 12 months Mongolia has made, and continues to focus on, significant legislative improvements for the mining and financing sectors
Results of AGM
Appointment of Board and Executive
At the AGM, shareholders voted in favor of Erdene management's nominees to the board of directors, with details of the vote as follows:
Following the AGM, Erdene's board of directors confirmed the re-appointment of its executive officers, namely: President and Chief Executive Officer - Peter Akerley; Vice President Asia - Chris Cowan; Vice President Business Strategy and Chief Financial Officer - Ken MacDonald; and Corporate Secretary - Suzan Frazer. The board also elected Mr. Philip Webster, an independent director, as chairman of the board.
KPMG LLP has been re-appointed Auditor of the Company to hold office until the next AGM or until its successor is duly appointed.
Shareholder Rights Plan Affirmed
At the AGM, shareholders also affirmed the continuance and amendment and restatement of the shareholder rights plan ("Rights Plan") that had been approved by shareholders at the annual shareholders meetings in May 2008 and June 2011. The Rights Plan was adopted by Erdene's board of directors to ensure the fair treatment of shareholders in connection with any takeover offer for the Corporation. Under the rules of the Toronto Stock Exchange the shareholders of Erdene must affirm the Rights Plan every three years.
Mongolia Project Update
During the second quarter, the Company reported its best results to date from drilling at the Altan Nar (Golden Sun) project in southwestMongolia. These included the highest grade gold interval drilled at Altan Nar with 17.7 g/t gold over 5 m, within 19 m of 5.8 g/t gold, 37 g/t silver and 2.49% combined lead and zinc, intersected in the Discovery Zone ("DZ"), and up to 24 m exceeding 2 g/t gold at the Union North target, located over one kilometer north of the DZ. Click here to read the Company's press release that presents the DZ results, and here to read the Company's press release that presents the Union North results. These near-surface mineralized zones have also been exposed at surface through trenching. The DZ strike length was extended to 450 m and is still open to the northeast and at depth where drilling returned 6 m of 4.8 g/t gold at 235 m. Union North has been tested over a 150 m strike length through trenching and drilling and remains open in all directions.
During the second quarter the Company also completed an expanded surface exploration program, an induced polarization ("IP") geophysical survey, close-spaced infill geochemical soil sampling, and rock chip sampling. Results from this program support the continued expansion of the gold-polymetallic mineralization within the 5.6 km by 1.5 km target area at Altan Nar and has resulted in improved definition of 12 highly prospective targets. Two of these targets, the DZ and Union North, have been shown to host significant near-surface mineralization while the remaining ten targets are relatively un-tested by trenching and drilling. These zones have the potential to significantly expand the areas of known gold-polymetallic mineralization at Altan Nar with further exploration. The Erdene technical group is currently compiling, reviewing and interpreting results of the second quarter 2014 program which will be incorporated in the design of the next exploration phase to commence in the third quarter. Exploration, including delineation and exploration drilling, trenching and expanded geotechnical surveys is expected to continue at Altan Nar during the remainder of 2014 with the goal of establishing a maiden National Instrument 43-101 compliant resource and the identification of further gold, silver, lead and zinc mineralization amenable to open pit development.
Khuvyn Khar Copper Porphyry Project
The 2014 exploration program at the Company's Khuvyn Khar copper project, located 40 km east of the Altan Nar project, has included field evaluation of the seven porphyry copper drill targets identified during the 2013 program and geophysical characterization studies of drill core to provide further definition and confidence in the modelling of potential mineralization at Khuvyn Khar. Geochemical rock chip sampling, vein density mapping, and geophysical modeling completed during the second quarter has resulted in the identification of new, partially buried targets in the western and central portion of the Khuvyn Khar target area. Plans are now being developed for additional work for the remainder of 2014. The ongoing exploration program continues to confirm the potential for copper-rich porphyry style mineralization within the Khuvyn Khar target area. This conclusion is supported by high-grade copper-silver mineralization intersected by Erdene in previous drilling (34 m of 1.34% copper and 9.24 g/t silver).
The Company continues to evaluate metal opportunities throughout Mongolia, through both the Teck Alliance and independently, but has largely concentrated in the southwest and predominantly on gold and base metals. This includes the Company's 100% owned Altan Arrow license, located 15 km southeast of the Altan Nar project, where recent trenching confirmed the presence of high-grade gold, with 6 m of 4.5 g/t gold (including 1 m of 16.7 g/t gold) and 1 m of 31.4 g/t gold within epithermal quartz veins and the potential for broader mineralized zones.
Zuun Mod Molybdenum Resource
The Company controls a very large, NI 43-101 compliant molybdenum and copper resource in southwestern Mongolia. Although molybdenum prices have been under downward pressure in recent years, the improving global economy and ongoing shift in China from infrastructure industrialization to urbanization/modernization has resulted in increasing demand for stainless steel of which molybdenum is the third most widely used alloying element. Molybdenum has one of the highest melting temperatures of all the elements, yet unlike most other high-melting point metals, its density is only 25% greater than iron's. Its coefficient of thermal expansion is the lowest of the engineering materials, while its thermal conductivity exceeds all but a handful of elements. As such, it is being used in many key areas in the urbanization and modernization area including high strength steels allowing for weight reduction in automobiles, piping for the oil and gas industry, desalination and sepercritical power plants and in many everyday uses in residential and industrial construction. This increasing demand, in the face of recent production decreases globally, has resulted in a rebounding price for molybdenum in recent months with between 30% and 50% increases over the low price reached in 2012. The Zuun Mod project, based on its location relative to the China market, it's proximity to infrastructure, its very large resource, and its potential for further exploration success represents an exceptional development opportunity as the Molybdenum markets rebound.
In April 2013 the Company formed an Alliance with Teck Resources Ltd. ("Teck") under which Teck would subscribe for up to $3 million of the Company's equity through subscriptions or 19.9% of the outstanding shares of Erdene, whichever occurs first. Share purchases are priced at the then current market plus 10%. Teck has participated in three subscriptions totaling $1.5M invested to date and currently owns 12.2% of the outstanding shares of Erdene. Erdene is committing 85% of the proceeds of the Teck private placements to exploration work to be directed by a technical committee, with the remaining 15% to be used for general corporate purposes. Once Erdene has spent the proceeds from the Teck financings on the initial program, Teck will have the option to acquire up to a 75% interest in designated projects through a two-stage option process by funding exploration expenditures of up to $10 million on the Company's Khuvyn Khar project and up to $5 million on each of the other existing or acquired projects (excluding Altan Nar and Zuun Mod) so designated within the Trans Altai project area of southwest Mongolia. Projects are currently underway in the Trans Altai area on regional properties and the Khuvyn Khar copper project.
In an effort to improve the investment climate for foreign investors, the Mongolian government in October 2013 passed, with 83% parliamentary approval, a new Foreign Investment Law that eases restrictions on foreign investors and offers long-term tax stabilization contracts. In January 2014, the Mongolian government announced the passing of an amendment to the Minerals Law that reduced the royalty for gold from 10% to 2.5% under the condition that producers sell their output to the Mongolian central bank. In addition to these positive legislative changes, it is anticipated that Phase II funding for Rio Tinto's Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project will be approved in 2014, allowing it to advance to underground development. It is expected that the approval of the underground phase of this world-class project will be a positive stimulus for the mineral exploration and mining sector in Mongolia.
Significant Cost-Saving Initiatives
During the AGM, the Company presented details of significant cost-saving initiatives undertaken during the past year. At the 2013 AGM, the cost-saving target presented was a minimum 43% reduction in G&A during fiscal 2013. That target was exceeded with cash administration costs decreasing by $771,220, or 53%, compared to the prior year. This significant cost saving is evidence of management's continued focus on the reduction of overhead and administrative expenses and the increase of equity-based compensation in lieu of cash. In 2013, administrative expenses totaled $939,455 (including $225,626 in non-cash stock based compensation), compared to $1,678,298 in 2012 (including $186,559 in non-cash stock based compensation).
Following the AGM, the Company's board granted an aggregate of 1,090,000 incentive stock options to an aggregate of 21 directors, officers and employees of and consultants to the Company. The options are exercisable for 5 years at an exercise price of $0.16.
PCY closed flat at C$0.045 Friday
Prophecy Coal Announces Results of AGM
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - June 19, 2014) - Prophecy Coal Corp. ("Prophecy" or the "Company") (TSX:PCY)(OTCQX:PRPCF)(FRANKFURT:1P2) is pleased to announce that all proposed resolutions were approved at the Company's Annual General Meeting of shareholders held on June 19, 2014 in Vancouver, British Columbia (the "Meeting"). The number of directors was set at five and all director nominees, as listed in the Management Information Circular dated May 1, 2014 (the "Information Circular"), were elected as directors of the Company at the Meeting to serve until the next annual general meeting. According to the proxies received and voted at the Meeting, the results were as follows:
1. There were 15,086,068 non-votes reported by the Scrutineer of the Meeting in respect of the above motion.
2. The percentages reported in this news release are calculated on the votes cast in person and by proxy at the Meeting which total 28,360,402 with respect to the above motion.
Davidson & Company LLP, Chartered Accountants have been appointed as auditors of the Company for the ensuing year and the directors have been authorized to fix their remuneration.
Ordinary resolutions of the disinterested shareholders of the Company were approved with respect to the: (i) adoption of a Share-Based Compensation Plan; (ii) the issuance of up to 2,541,065 debt settlement units to some of the Company's directors, officers, employees and consultants at a price of $0.075 per debt settlement unit; and (iii) the re-pricing of 3,250,000 incentive stock options exercisable at $0.065 granted to directors and officers of the Company, as previously announced by the Company on May 2, 2014.
An ordinary resolution of shareholders of the Company was approved with respect to amendments to the Articles of the Company to add advance notice provisions (the "Advance Notice Provisions").
A copy of the Company's amended Articles of incorporation containing the Advance Notice Provisions is available under the Company's profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and for viewing by shareholders at the registered and records office of the Company during regular business hours Monday through Friday.
Voting results for all resolutions noted above are reported in the Report on Voting Results as filed on SEDAR on June 19, 2014.
AKM closed flat at A$0.038 Wednesday
Aspire Mining Investor Presentation, Coaltrans World Anthracite Conference, St. Petersburg, June 2014: Establishing New Infrastructure to Support Mine Development
June 18, Aspire Mining Ltd. (ASX:AKM) --
PML last traded A$0.021 Monday
Parmelia Resources: Non-Renounceable Rights Issue Prospectus
June 18, Parmelia Resources Ltd. (ASX:PML) -- For a non-renounceable rights issue of one (1) New Option for every two (2) Shares held, at an issue price of $0.005 per New Option, to raise approximately $166,896 before costs (Rights Issue).
And for an issue of up to 5,000,000 New Options to Consultants in consideration for services rendered to the Company by the Consultants (Consultants Issue).
Each New Option is exercisable at $0.05 on or before 5.00pm (WST) on 30 May 2017.
MSE News, June 18: Top 20 -0.26% to 15,126.28, Turnover ₮32.5 Million
Ulaanbaatar, June 18 /MONTSAME/ At the Stock Exchange trades held Wednesday, a total of 12 thousand and 379 shares of eight JSCs were traded costing MNT 32 million 529 thousand and 912.50.
"Berkh Uul" /9,785 units/, "Remikon" /2,164 units/, "State Department Store" /149 units/, "Merex" /133 units/ and "APU" /100 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Berkh Uul" (MNT 31 million and 312 thousand), "UB-BUK" (MNT 360 thousand), "APU" (MNT 357 thousand and 500), "Remikon" (MNT 326 thousand and 764) and "Eermel" (MNT 79 thousand and 762).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 532 billion 153 million 892 thousand and 839. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,126.28, decreasing by MNT 39.41 or 0.26% against the previous day.
MSE News, June 19: Top 20 +1.13% to 15,296.70, Turnover ₮11.4 Million
Ulaanbaatar, June 19 /MONTSAME/ At the Stock Exchange trades held Thursday, a total of 2,904 shares of 22 JSCs were traded costing MNT 11 million 384 thousand and 213.72.
"Khokh gan" /1,171 units/, "APU" /601 units/, "Aduunchuluun" /240 units/, "E-trans logistics" /200 units/ and "Genco tour bureau" /200 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"UB hotel" (MNT six million and 160 thousand), "APU" (MNT two million 138 thousand and 550), "UB-BUK" (MNT one million), "Darkhan nekhii" (MNT 546 thousand) and "Aduunchuluun" (MNT 432 thousand).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 549 billion 845 million 118 thousand and 874. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,296.70, increasing by MNT 170.42 or 1.13% against the previous day.
MSE News, June 20: Top 20 +0.81% to 15,420.95, Turnover ₮327.7 Million
Ulaanbaatar, June 20 /MONTSAME/ At the Stock Exchange trades held Friday, a total of 74 thousand and 628 shares of 27 JSCs were traded costing MNT 327 million 729 thousand and 743.10.
"Mongol nekhmel" /70 thousand and 773 units/, "Genco tour bureau" /1,821 units/, "APU" /1,005 units/, "State Department Store" /384 units/ and "Shivee ovoo" /240 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Mongol nekhmel" (MNT 318 million 832 thousand and 365), "APU" (MNT three million 618 thousand and 250), "UB hotel" (MNT one million and 508 thousand), "Shivee ovoo" (MNT one million and 272 thousand) and "Suu" (MNT 515 thousand).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 555 billion 835 million 859 thousand and 328. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,420.95, increasing by MNT 124.25 or 0.81% against the previous day.
MSE Weekly Review, June 16-20: Top 20 +1.68%, Turnover ₮404.2 Million
Ulaanbaatar, June 22 (MONTSAME) Five stock trades were held at Mongolia's Stock Exchange June 16-20, 2014.
In overall, 126 thousand and 286 shares were sold of 43 joint-stock companies totaling MNT 404 million 159 thousand and 455.32.
"Mongol nekhmel" /70 thousand and 776 units/, "Hermes center" /16 thousand units/, "Berkh uul" /9,794 units/, "Remikon" /7,229 units/ and "Khokh gan" /6,376 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Mongol nekhmel" (MNT 318 million 848 thousand and 265), "Berkh uul" (MNT 31 million 340 thousand and 800), "APU" /MNT 14 million 984 thousand and 170/, "UB hotel" /MNT seven million and 668 thousand/ and "UB-BUK" (MNT five million and 783 thousand).
Tegsh JSC Delisting Request Accepted
June 16 (MSE) According to Financial Regulatory Commission's Resolution No:172 of 21th May 2014, provisions No:58, 59.1 of the Mongolian Stock Exchange Listing Rules and "Tegsh" JSC's request No:14/14 of 26th May 2014 to change its organization into Limited Liability Company, the total of 156,857 shares of "Tegsh" JSC delisted from the Mongolian Stock Exchange securities list.
FRC permission required for local brokerages to trade securities in foreign markets
June 19 (UB Post) Starting this year, the newly updated financial market law takes effect and the Financial Regulatory Commission (FRC) made a statement about trading securities in foreign financial markets. The FRC made a statement to brokerage firms, that based on legislative decree No.36.36 of the financial market law, purchasing and brokering securities in foreign financial markets must be done with the FRC's permission. The FRC issued resolution No.198 and made an amendment to the regulation, to conduct monitoring of operations aimed precisely at regulating securities dealing in foreign financial markets.
The FRC stated that to purchase or broker securities, one has to meet the requirements and conditions of the regulation, send mandatory materials along with an application to the FRC, and obtain permission. According to the amendment to the regulation, purchasing or brokering securities in foreign financial markets without the FRC's permission will result in fines in accordance with the law.
BoM MNT Rates: Friday, June 20 Close
June MNT vs USD, CNY Chart:
BoM FX auction: US$7.5 million sold at ₮1824, CNY43 million at ₮293, accepts $40 million MNT bid, $25 million USD ask swap offers
June 19 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on June 19th, 2014 the BOM has received bid offer of USD and CNY from local commercial banks. The BOM has sold 7.5 million USD as closing rate of MNT 1824.00 and 43.0 million CNY as closing rate of MNT 293.00.
On June 19th, 2014, The BOM has received MNT Swap agreement bid offer in equivalent to 40.0 million USD and USD Swap agreement ask offer of 25.0 million USD from local commercial banks and accepted all offer.
BoM issues ₮196.2 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding +17.1% to ₮675.5 billion
June 18 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 196.2 billion at a weighted interest rate of 10.5 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
BoM issues ₮259 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding +42.3% to 960.9 billion
June 20 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 259 billion at a weighted interest rate of 10.5 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
GoM Treasury Auction: Announced ₮20 Billion 52-Week Bills Sold at Discount, Average Yield 9.494%, with ₮53.5 Billion Bids
June 18 (Bank of Mongolia) Regular auction for 52 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 20.0 billion MNT, each unit worth 1 million MNT. Face value of 20.0 billion /out of 53.5 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 9.494%.
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
GoM Bond Auction: ₮10 Billion 3-Year Bills Sold at Premium, Average Yield 11.535%, with ₮33.5 Billion Bids
June 18 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 3 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 33.5 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold to the banks at premium price and with weighted average yield of 11.535%.
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
Maximum yield of fulfilled bids
Minimum yield of fulfilled bids
Mogi: sorry it took a while to post this.
Mongolia Passes Green Policy to Spur Eco-Friendly Practices
By Michael Kohn
June 13 (Bloomberg) -- Parliament approves Green Development Policy to improve environmental standards in energy, mining, construction, transportation and other sectors, Batkhand Osormaa, head of press and public relations dept of the State Great Hural, says by phone.
* Policy calls for 20% of energy production to be sourced from renewables, including hydropower, Oyun Sanjaasuren, Minister for Environment & Green Development, says by phone
* 46 of 57 members who voted in Parliament today approved policy
* Policy approved until 2030
* Govt. procurement to include more eco-friendly products, such as hybrid cars, energy efficient light bulbs and heating systems: Oyun
* Building sector to increase eco-friendly standards in construction, especially in public invested companies such as schools and hospitals: Oyun
* Tax incentives to be offered to cos. that use eco-friendly technology or produce eco-friendly products: Oyun
* More revenues from natural resources use to be given to local communities with caveat that half of revenues be spent on land rehabilitation and environmental protection: Oyun
* Reducing air pollution in Ulaanbaatar a top priority; incentives to be given for use of cleaner fuels: Oyun
The key to overcoming this economic crisis
June 19 (UB Post) The "Citizen's Participation and Best Agency" competition was hosted by Eagle News, News Agency, and Morning Newspaper, from April 1 through June 10. Pictures of chairpeople from the winning agencies are now all over social media. Each certificate for "The Best Agency" came with an award of 10 to 15 million MNT. In order to recognize the best businesses, an estimated 90-135 million MNT in taxpayer money was spent. Taxpaying entities and enterprises work so hard to create new jobs for people and dedicate months of labor to paying their taxes. Can anyone measure how much effort that truly is?
Money which is earned easily is worthless. Likewise, those who are employed under the name of the state and earn their salary thanks to taxpayers thought they could buy a reputation as "the best".
After this selection of businesses, the Mongolian government and Mongolian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) organized awards for the "Top 150 Enterprises of Mongolia". There was no prize money involved and it was unnecessary to give millions of MNT to MCCI to be the best. The only one and worthy requirement for selection was to have contributed to society. Does the enterprise contribute to the state budget? How many new jobs have they created? How well do they implement their social responsibility and pay their taxes?
This is the real competition between the nation's top enterprises and representative of a reputation that matters. If an enterprise earns the honor, it becomes famous and can promote their company proudly, anytime and anywhere.
The reason for this is that the top 150 enterprises compose 77 percent of the Mongolian gross domestic product (GDP) and the taxes they have paid over the last five years totals 2.2 trillion MNT, which is 31.4 percent of the state budget in 2013. The list of companies includes MCS LLC, gold miner MAK, Newcom LLC, Bodi Group, and Monpolyment Group.
The above mentioned 2.2 trillion MNT is equal to 12.5 years of wages for 27.2 general education school teachers and the cost of 500 beds for 53 hospitals.
For paying so much in taxes, implementing their social responsibility, and contributing to the Mongolian economy, they deserve such fame. We accept that these companies are the nation's best enterprises, selected from 77 thousand companies active in Mongolia.
But it is still unclear how these selections and awards benefit them and the public? The Government and the Prime Minister attended the ceremony for the selection of the nation's top 150, which was hosted for the 13th year, and said very warm and encouraging words. Can these speeches be of any actual help to them?
Why do we select the best? It is not to give them certificates and praise them. As I see it, it is placing more trust in them and announcing that they are state partners. Especially when looking at data from the last five years:
MCS LLC, which has been selected as one of the nation's top enterprises for the last 13 years, contributed 888.8 trillion MNT to the state budget, MAK contributed 358 trillion, and Newcom Group 196.5 trillion. During the planned economy, only a few state companies used to contribute to the state budget. In order to implement their plans they used to compete with each other and were appraised by state. But now, the company with the best management earns the most income.
These companies have carried economic risk on their back and reached success through their own efforts for the last 20 years. They have proven themselves to the public since they could make big investments with their own capital and develop their products into national brands. They have faced recognition and criticism. We complain that few companies are doing projects. Looking back, the activities these companies have engaged in are now becoming Mongolia's calling card around the world.
It is a bit difficult for companies to operate when the economy is so bad. Most companies are trimming their expenses, according to the reduction of jobs. But at times like this, the top companies are still creating opportunities for employment. Also, they are trying to implement big projects and programs worth billions. These are very brave steps which are only conducted by big and top ranking companies. Looking past an economic crisis and towards future possibilities is a great skill of the world's best businessmen. This shows that our companies have started developing such skills too. They are striving to implement big projects: producing coal and liquefying it; starting a housing material industrial complex, building the 5th Thermal Power Plant, and building the Altanbulag-Zamiin-Uud highway. If the government supports and truly and trusts them, we have the chance to turn crisis into possibility.
The government is taking further steps to enhance the state's poorer companies by cooperating with the private sector. For instance, the ferrous metal factory in Darkhan, and the reopened cement and lime factory in Khutul soum. If the state continues to support them and provide an environment conducive to production, our talented businesspeople will have the capacity and resources they need for success. Cooperating with the private sector is the best method the state can choose during this economic crisis.
Economic leaders, such as the U.S., France and Germany, believed in and supported their companies so they could overcome the economic crisis of 2008 with low risk. Our national companies will be the key to overcoming this situation and the nation's productivity shows us this chance.
Source: Unuudur http://mongolnews.mn/p/52815
Mogi: here's the Genco video that stirred all this: [100 чухал сэдэв] - Тусгаар тогтнол
June 23 (Independent Mongolian Metals & Mining Research) --
HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK
· This week Mongolian Parliament will consider whether to debate a bill that proposes narrow gauge for TT-Gashuunsukhait, Sainshand – Zamyn Uud and Khuut-Bichigt rail road routes in case of railroad agreement with People's Republic of China.
· MP Kh.Battulga (DP), also known as "Genco", whose net worth is estimated by "Hero" Journal in 2013 at US$1.2B , was found by Sant Maral April 2014 sample poll of 1200 respondents to be top 4th politician in Mongolia with 13.6% of support
· MP Kh.Battulga announced publicly on June 13 that he " transfers to position of opposition, generally speaking" and funded (5.5) massive and sophisticated PR campaign in progress against the gauge and exporting mining products without processing in proposed Sainshand industrial hub with central theme of anti-Chinese sentiment as well as anti-government/Mongolian mining elite criticism
· The campaign appears to be popular and to have went viral in Mongolian social media space due to possibly receptive youth
· On June 19, Mongolian PM announced retraction of bill on land due to fierce viral campaign against the bill on social media and death threat texts to Chairman of Economic Commitee featuring anti-Chinese sentiment and accusing GoM that it proposes to sell the land to foreigners . In Mongolian political culture, bills approved around Naadam are traditionally viewed with some suspicion as a collusion for hasty approval of bills when everyone is having summer holidays.
· Recently there has been significant criticism of the Bank of China in Mongolian media and social space. On June 16 Cover Mongolia reported that Tuushin , major freight forwarding and logistics firm, has signed US$25M loan with Bank of China's Tokyo branch, " the first loan from the bank to a Mongolian company". 
 INFLUENTIAL "GENCO" TO " TRANSFER TO POSITION OF OPPOSITION", IMM&MR, June 13,2014
(5.5) http://turmunkh.niitlelch.mn/content/6184.shtml#.U6RUWmz_lxM.facebook" "Захиалгат" нэвтрүүлэг буюу жантай ганд унах хүсэл"
 "Chairman of Economic Committee MP B.Garamgaibaatar said he received numerous death threats by texts because of bill on land, including derogatory expression for Chinese person", IMM&MR, June 19,2014
 "+SPRING SESSION +100 DAYS +OT DEADLINE - WORLD CUP– NAADAM- SUMMER HOLIDAYS-SUSPICIONS?" IMM&MR, June 19,2014
 Mon, Jun 16, 2014 , Cover Mongolia , "Kincora attracts potential partner, Silicat trades ₮3B, BOC signs $25m loan to Tuushin, and Mongolia frees visas for 42 countries"
Standing Committee rejects dismissal of Economic Minister, moves issue to plenary session
June 18 (news.mn) During Tuesday`s Standing Committee meeting on the economy, the resignation of the Minister of Economic Development was discussed. The resignation was not accepted by a majority vote.
Only one MP out of 14 who attended the Standing Committee meeting voted in favour of the resignation of the Minister of Economic Development, N.Batbayar. The remaining 14 MPs rejected the resignation. Therefore the issue of the resignation of the Minister of Economic Development is to be submitted to a Parliamentary plenary session meeting.
MP and head of the MPP caucus, S.Byambatsogt, stated the justification for the resignation of the Economic Development Minister, saying that "the economic conditions are getting worse, and the number of wage-earners and salaried employees is decreasing. Investment is frozen, and dozens of organisations are close down. Besides, the Economic Development Minister violated the Law on Sustainable Budget." This statement was submitted by 26 MPs of from the minority caucus.
There has been no query or suggestion for the Economic Development Minister N.Batbayar.
Speaker postpones discussion of Economic Minister's resignation until next week
June 20 (news.mn) During Thursday`s plenary session meeting of Parliament, the resignation of Economic Development Minister N.Batbayar was scheduled to be discussed, however it was delayed until next week on the decision of Speaker Z.Enkhbold.
The MPP caucus submitted a request for the resignation of the Economic Development N.Batbayar, blaming the Minister for the flagging economy. This is the third time that Parliament has delayed discussion of the issue.
Many people are suspicious about why the Speaker has decided to delay the issue. There is speculation that the ruling party is trying to sweep the matter under the carpet, and let N.Batbayar remain in the post. Speaker Z.Enkhbold has not released a comment about his decision to delay the discussion.
MP B.Bat-Erdene: Citizens do not support reviving granting of licenses
June 19 (UB Post) Member of Parliament B.Bat-Erdene, who sent President Ts.Elbegdorj recommendations to discuss the issue of granting minerals exploration and exploitation licenses through the National Safety Council and draft amendments made to the Minerals Law through the Civil Hall, made a statement on Saturday.
In his statement, he highlighted that because of the Minerals Law passed in 1997, mineral exploration licenses were recklessly granted and 49 percent of Mongolian territory had been licensed, and Mongolian citizens abundantly bore its negative effects and repercussions. Fortunately, during the four years when the granting of licenses had been terminated, as initiated by President Ts.Elbegdorj, the size of licensed areas decreased 7.6 percent and the number of licenses was halved.
B.Bat-Erdene stated, "Firstly, the government's proposed draft bill to make amendments to the Minerals Law from April 30th is primarily intended to revive the granting of minerals licenses. Secondly, the granting of the licenses does not involve the participation and control of policy by citizens, local governing bodies, or state administrative organizations. Thirdly, the draft bill conflicts significantly with the action policy of the 2012 election campaign of the Justice Coalition government, which consists of the DP and MPRP-MNDP. In other words, the authorities' words and work are diverging.
"Fourthly, plans are being made to identify the mines included in the 'Law on Prohibition of Minerals Exploitation and Exploration Near Water Sources, Protected Areas and Forests' as strategic mines, and allow mineral exploitation in national parks and borders. I hope the government and parliament will consider the fact that through my meeting with citizens from every corner of Mongolia, no one proposed the reviving of minerals exploration licenses."
He also opposed discussing a policy of vital importance during a time when the public's attention is diminished due to an approaching national festival.
He stated, "The current economic recession is the result of erroneous policy by the current government, neglecting warnings of an opposing party that represents 40 percent of citizens. But, government is reviving the granting of minerals licenses in the disguise of economic recession, and authorities, along with foreigners, are willing to seize mines. We ought not to go along with it. Doing so sounds like if it benefits us today, what happens to our descendants, environment, and nation doesn't matter, even if it brings the end of an era.
"Any nation considers its treasure as an investment. We've many examples, such as Erdenet Mining Cooperation. Thus, reviving the granting of exploitation licenses and harming the environment shouldn't be our highest priority. So we should discuss the draft bill to make amendments to the Minerals Law through a public forum, and the National Safety Council should consult on whether further licenses should be granted."
B.Bat-Erdene also asked parliament members who own exploitation licenses to comply with the Conflict of Interest Law and not to vote when the State Great Khural discusses and holds a vote on the draft bill to make amendments to the Minerals Law, according to Unuudur Daily Newspaper.
Mogi: the bill was withdrawn by GoM for further review
MP B.Garamgaibaatar: Group of people are working against ratification of the Law on Land
June 19 (UB Post) Member of Parliament, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Economy, and leader of the working group on the land law, B.Garamgaibaatar spoke to Udriin Sonin (Daily Newspaper) regarding the issues around the renewed version of the Law on Land under discussion.
For exactly how many years is land is allowed to be owned according to the law? For instance, the opposition claims that the law includes a provision to permit foreigners to own land for 100 years?
It is clearly stated in the land law under discussion that foreign citizens and entities will be allowed only to use the land. Otherwise, there is no any sentence in the law that says foreigners will be allowed to own the land.
According to the law, foreigners are allowed to make contracts or agreements only for a designated use. The use includes two designations, use for agriculture and others. In terms of grasslands, a separate law should be created. Thus, relevant organizations withdrew the part of the law related to grasslands. Therefore, there are no issues of letting grassland fall under ownership.
A demonstration is going to be organized against this draft bill. Did demonstration organizers explain why they are protesting the draft law?
I have a certain position as I am the leader of the working group on the law. The draft bill on land is in its first stage of discussion. The Parliament reached a decision to submit the draft bill for further discussion. We thought it was better to explain all the provisions of the law after discussion by the standing committee and parliamentary session. However, some people are playing political games in the middle of it. I can directly name those people.
Who are some of these people?
The gatherings and demonstrations are being hold by NGOs. I know that parliamentary members S.Ganbaatar and B.Bat-Edene are directly involved. Also, some members of the Mongolian People's Party are involved as well. Member Yo.Otgonbayar announced it on his Twitter page. I see the draft law under discussion is being perverted under the influence of such people.
What do they want the law to be like?
I don't know what to do. Minister B.Bat-Erdene is in our working group. Representing the independent candidates, Kh.Bolorchuluun is working in the group. The Mongolian People's Party (MPP) appointed the working group and elected parliamentarian J.Enkhbayar as head of the group. The MPP has stated that they will submit their decision after discussing it with the all members of the party faction in the Parliament.
We are still waiting for the party's decision. The Democratic Party hasn't reached a decision either, which proves that they have conflicts within the party faction. There are conflicted issues in the Justice Coalition as well. There will be no problems once the political party groups in the Parliament submit their final decisions.
Although, they are spreading a false message to the public that authorities are going to adopt the law, seizing the moment of the Naadam Festival.
People are misunderstanding the meaning of two words, to "own" and to "lease" the land. Or are some people just intentionally perverting the meaning? Can you please provide a specific explanation?
The previous land law and current draft bill both include the phrase "to own". In compliance with the Constitution of Mongolia and Civil Law, a Mongolian citizen is allowed to freely own land once. The range of territory for ownership is 0.07 hectares in Ulaanbaatar, and 0.5 hectares for every citizen in the countryside. I understand that it is the right of the citizen on how to use the land they own.
Recently the terms have been changed to allow ownership for family use. In the draft bill under current discussion the term "use" means only a citizen of Mongolia is allowed to use the land. It states that if a citizen buys land to use, he or she can use it only for housing purposes. Citizens who pay to own land have the right to run any operation they choose on the land they own. Official organizations and foreign citizens are not allowed to own the land.
When will the law on land be adopted?
As a Member of Parliament and head of the working group on the law, I officially state that there are no controversial provisions in the law on land, like the rumor being spread. The law can be adopted, it includes very specific provisions. The law under discussion makes clear many unclear and broad things stated in the previous law.
There's nothing wrong in the draft bill. At the discussion level, some people are working against adoption, as they have personal interests and want to include things in the law that are beneficial to them.
Exactly what improvements are in this draft bill, different from the previous law on land?
The highlight of the law is that it clearly states who is allowed to own, lease and use land. In order to allow land use a broker should be established in accordance with the current law in force. However, brokerage still hasn't developed, and that's why people have poor knowledge of the law on land.
Source: Vip76 http://vip76.mn/content/25497
Tax Revenue Falls Short 10.7% from 2013 Budget
Ulaanbaatar, June 19 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Finance Ch.Ulaan MP Wednesday submitted to the Speaker Z.Enkhbold the 2013 budget performance of Mongolia.
The balanced revenue and aid result of Mongolia's master budget reached 5,940.1 billion togrog, showing a performance of 92.8% or 459.5 billion. The 2013 budget revenue performance showed an increase of 1,076.9 billion togrog or 22.1% against the year of 2012.
The previous year, 46.9 billion togrog were placed in the fund for stabilization in accordance with the law on budgetary stability. The tax-revenue performance reached 5,072.8 billion togrog, showing a performance of 89.3%. The underperformance of 607.3 billion directly affected a cut of the master budget revenue for 2013.
The performance of non-tax revenue reached 863.9 billion togrog, over fulfilled by 120.4% or 146.5 billion. It was mainly due to increases in revenues from interests and fines (MNT 70.6 billion), from oil (MNT 25.9 billion), and from own revenues of budgetary organizations.
In terms of classifying types of revenues, the performance of state budgetary revenue showed 88.0%, the local budgetary revenue--100.6%, revenue of human development fund--99%, and revenue of social insurance fund--103.5%.
Who is this "Economic Transparency" law for?
June 19 (Mongolian Economy) The Mongolian government is currently discussing a new law of economic transparency that has been submitted for review this week. This law explains the necessity of promoting companies which have come close to shutting down by allowing them tax forgiveness.
Part of this law outlines the favor of big authorities. A company or individual who has not declared social insurance tax or other mandatory taxes may be forgiven once. White-collar businesses can also be excused after they hide the status of their income or capital. Although this tax forgiveness law is designed to promote transparency, it benefits only the interest of upper-class individuals.
Those who register their property or other belongings under another name and reveal this act within a period of six months are allowed a pardon and will face no punishment. Parliament member, S. Byambatsogt, argues that this law breaks the loyalty of the constitution and that members will not vote for this law, which forgives people who are corrupt or made money illegally. This law is damaging and unfair to those who conduct business in an ethical and legal manner.
This law is not directed towards the general population. Instead, the law aims to help the few wealthy people who have carried out unlawful activities. The fear that remains behind this law is that it has the potential to boost the concept that people do not have to work within a legal framework. Rather, they can continue performing prohibited acts without receiving punishment.
Another section of the law outlines that hidden capital or income that is revealed allows the enterprise who declared this information to be free from criminal investigation. Any information that is related to income declaration between January 1, 2006 and January 1, 2014 will be deleted.
This kind of situation is not unfamiliar to the world. Many economies resort to forgiveness laws when the economy shows signs of decline. One example is Germany. The main idea is that if you reveal hidden capital or income, the businesses responsible are required to pay the taxes they were supposed to pay, however they would be exempt from criminal investigation. For Mongolia, this means that people who work in a legal manner do not receive any sort of promotion. Rather, it means that those who work within an illegal framework are pardoned.
In addition, if any media organization or journalist publishes information regarding hidden capital or income of corporations, they are subject to pay fines. An individual would be required to pay 5 million MNT, whereas media organizations would be required to pay a staggering 50 million MNT.
It is important to note that this law has a minimal chance of being passed. Many parliament members and the general population are not in favor of the outlines presented in this law.
OSCE: Presidential Election of 2013 was Exemplary
Ulaanbaatar, June 18 (MONTSAME) The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has released a final report on the review of the 2013 Presidential election of Mongolia.
Paying a visit here, the OSCE authorities presented the report to administrative officials of the General Election Commission (GEC) on Tuesday and exchanged views with them on relevant matters.
Present at the meeting were Mr Janez Lenarcic, a director of the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights; Ms Audrey Glover, a head of the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission; Ch.Sodnomtseren, a chairman of the GEC; and others.
The OSCE leaders emphasized that the last year's Presidential election of Mongolia attracted a great attention of many countries, and said the OSCE focused attention on a voting process. Mr Lenarcic highlighted that this election was very competitive, ensuring people's right to vote. The GEC well organized the election, he added.
The 2013 Presidential election was observed at a national level by 20 thousand foreign delegates and media organizations. The voting was carried out by electronic devices, and ballot papers were counted both by the machine and by hands.
Emphasizing a utilization of electronic devices, the OSCE said these machines operated normally even in the most remote places of the country.
Then the OSCE authorities asked the GEC about some matters. First, the criteria of selecting observers were not clear and transparent. To this, the GEC head admitted that the observers were selected after a few weeks training before the election, now, the GEC will prepare observers by involving them in a special seminar. The media people will be considered as important observers, so they will also be involved in a seminar-training, Mr Sodnomtseren said and expressed a willingness to take advice and experience from the OSCE.
Other matter are about a prompt delivering of the election results to the public through E-devices, positions of monitoring cameras in the voting rooms, and an ownership of the E-devices, the guests said. The GEC should make sure that such devices are not a property of any political forces, the OSCE authorities said.
In Mongolia, Perception of Corruption as Most Critical Problem Drops
June 18 (The Asia Foundation) Last week, The Asia Foundation, the Sant Maral Foundation, and Mercy Corps Mongolia released the fourth semi-annual corruption survey, revealing citizens' perception of corruption in one of the fastest growing economies in the world. As in the three earlier surveys, corruption was named the third most critical problem, and over 8 percent of respondents believed corruption to be the most critical problem in the country.
Conducted in March 2014, the Survey on the Perceptions and Knowledge of Corruption (SPEAK) surveyed 1,360 households in seven districts in Ulaanbaatar across 21 soums in six aimags. This is the 12th edition of the survey using the same methodology; the first was implemented in 2006. While perception surveys run the risk of presenting what might seem like conflicting interpretations, a comparative analysis of data over time presents undeniable trends for policymakers. With the current economic downturn, it is timely, especially for a government that has prioritized anti-corruption efforts, to review what Mongolian citizens have to say about the levels of corruption, and the efforts of the government and institutions to fight corruption, and the overall impact on their lives at this juncture.
(In 2014, only 8 percent corruption as the most critical issue, ranking third behind unemployment and inflation, respectively.)
In 2006, the first year that SPEAK was conducted, corruption ranked as the second most critical issue, with 29 percent of respondents citing it as the most critical issue. In 2014, only 8 percent cited it as the most critical issue, although it still ranks third behind unemployment and inflation, respectively. The lowest percentage point reached for corruption as an important problem was in April 2011 when only 5 percent of respondents cited it as so (interestingly the same year Mongolia's global corruption perceptions ranking in Transparency International's annual Corruption Index fell to 120th, perhaps the lowest ever in recent memory) and after that it more or less stabilized at and around 8 percent. The other issues that show uptick, albeit by slim margins, since 2012 are national economy, living standards, bureaucracy, and low income. With growing concerns over the double-digit inflation rate of late, it's not surprising that twice as many respondents rated inflation as a critical problem than in November 2012. But to understand more about the state of corruption in Mongolia, we need to isolate corruption for a closer scrutiny.
Three considerations are critical in combatting corruption: the legal environment, the institutions that are expected to implement the laws, and the culture. The number of respondents in this survey who thought the legal environment is not satisfactory is about 80 percent. We can argue that this might have something to do with either "not knowing anything about the laws" or "a general dissatisfaction about the levels of corruption." In both cases, this lack of understanding or discontent is because the fight against corruption largely depends on awareness about the laws as well as people's participation (reporting incidences of corruption, for example) which cannot happen when there is a general dissatisfaction over effectiveness of laws. However, the good news is the perception about the legislative environment has improved when compared to 2006 when it was 89 percent.
Institutions form an important focal point for the public's attention on this issue. The performance of the Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC) is key to its success because it plays a central role in coordinating many corruption-related laws. Although a relatively new institution, the respondents' perceptions of the IAAC's impartiality and performance rating are improving: In March 2010, only 7.8 percent of respondents evaluated the IAAC positively, but in November 2012, that number had nearly doubled to 15.6 percent, and in March 2014, favorable evaluations had reached 22.6 percent. Respondents' expectation for unjust treatment from the judiciary and other law enforcement agencies is about 70 percent. While this number reflects a great need for improvement in this area, both have shown improvements, albeit small, since March 2010 (from 77 and 74 percent, respectively).
Culture plays an important part in any reform efforts, and there are a very few signs of a decline in cultural tolerance to corruption, which is still very high in Mongolia. Nearly 34 percent of respondents still agree that some levels of corruption should be acceptable. There are no fundamental shifts in attitudes since 2006 (decline by two percentage points in eight years). Similarly, nearly 23 percent of respondents would still pay if they are asked for a bribe (same figure in 2014), and only 13 percent will report (declined by 8 percentage points). The good news is if compared with data over time there are small improvements. But there is a little doubt that the current levels of "acceptance to corruption" is very high, and must be tackled through well targeted education programs, public discussions, appropriate training to media, and re-evaluating the ethical contents of education curriculum.
According to respondents, the impacts of corruption on family, politics, and businesses, although show declining trends, are still significant. If the real progress of anti-corruption efforts is to be seen in the reduction in the corruption levels, there is a real reason to be proud in terms of levels of petty corruption. There is a sharp decline in the reported incidence of bribes at the household level, declining from its highest point at 28 percent in September 2006 to 8 percent in 2014. Undeniably, this is important progress. However, it still makes sense to inquire further to the extent to which the result reflects reduction of incidence or a fear of legal sanctions.
HBDO affirms Mongolia risk rating at 'aCa'; Outlook Positive– EOL® Synthetic Rating Index
June 20 (HBDO) Mongolia rated at 'aCa'/ Investment grade; Outlook Positive. It means, for each EOL indicators, Mongolia gets : 'a' (High Quality Grade) on quality of Entrepreneurship, 'C' (Currently Vulnerable) on ease of conducting Operations, 'a' (High Quality Grade) on quality of the Legal and regulatory framework. The last quarterly maintenance confirms an outlook positive.
Bill Submitted on Ensuring Implementation of State Railway Policy
Ulaanbaatar, June 18 (MONTSAME) The Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag Wednesday submitted to the Speaker Z.Enkhbold a draft resolution of parliament on some measures for ensuring an implementation of the state policy on railway transportation.
The draft has a clause on augmenting a number of railway ports near the Mongolia-China border by establishing an intergovernmental agreement with China, and of seaports in China to be utilized by Mongolia. It also says about making a long-time agreement with China on the railway transit transportation terms through Chinese territory.
Mongolia, GDF Suez-led Group Sign 450MW Power Plant Agreement
By Michael Kohn
June 20 (Bloomberg News) A GDF Suez SA-led group signed a concession agreement today with the Mongolian government to build a $1.2 billion power plant in Ulaanbaatar.
POSCO Energy consortium wins 1.5 tln won deal in Mongolia – Yonhap News, June 23
The first Mongolia Business Summit kicks off with the signing of US$1.3 billion power deal
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, June 20, 2014 (Mongolia Economic Forum) -- The first Mongolia Business Summit opened in Ikh Tenger, Ulaanbaatar on 19 June 2014. Over 400 participants are attending the 3-day event focusing on investment deals in Mongolia. The Mongolia Economic Forum, supported by Mongolian business community, is organizing the Summit together with the Business Council of Mongolia, and the CEO Club.
Prime Minister Noroviin Altankhuyag opened the Summit and informed the participants that all Government decisions will be required to meet one key indicator – "How does this support private business?". As part of the "100 day economic transformation program", the cabinet is meeting twice a week to make decisions on reforms to support business growth and to attract foreign investment. The Prime Minister also highlighted that the Government is focusing on four key areas: Rule of Law, Stability, Predictability of the legal and regulatory environment, and business growth.
President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj has addressed the Summit on the second day. He highlighted capable citizen, profitable business and smart government as three pillars of growth. Government's role will be to enable private business to grow. President Elbegdorj is pushing for several key reforms under his smart government initiative, including the judicial reforms to support property rights and business growth.
"The business community is eager to engage and transform the investment climate. This Summit brings together the private business, which produces 80% of the economy together with the Government that is expected to bring on key economic reforms. This is a new and effective platform for foreign and Mongolian businesses to showcase their deals" says Bayanjargal Byambasaikhan, Managing Partner of NovaTerra, and chair of the Summit.
18 investment projects were presented in sectors such as mining, infrastructure, construction, finance and industrial processing. Prime Minister brought 5 members of his cabinet to the Summit. The Government also laid out its new investment policy, legal reforms, as well as the streamlined immigration rules.
The highlight of day 2, was the signing of a concession agreement between the Government and international energy consortium for the CHP5 project, a US$1.3billion, 450MW combined heat and power plant project in Ulaanbaatar. France's GDF Suez, Japan's Sojitz, Korea's Posco Energy will be each investing over $100 million to finance this first ever large scale PPP transaction in Mongolia. A consortium of international financial institutions and commercial banks will be providing debt financing.
With the view of bringing investors closer to the businesses, on the third day of the Summit, site tours will be organized to major development projects such as Oyu Tolgoi (copper) and Tavan Tolgoi (coal), APU (dairy and beverages), Gobi (cashmere) manufacturing facilities, and MAK (cement) project.
The Mongolia Business Summit will play a significant role in improving investor sentiment and providing first-hand information about realities on the ground and business opportunities in Mongolia. The event will be organized annually in Ulaanbaatar.
Mongolia Business Summit 2014 Highlights from Day 1
By E. Zorigt
June 20 (Mongolian Economy) The Mongolian Business Summit 2014 entered its second day today with parliament members, governors, and the president in attendance in addition to foreign investors. Government members opened the event announcing discussions related to government involvement in the business world. As a part of the 100 Day Stimulus Plan the event's main purpose was to listen to business representatives who discussed the biggest barriers holding back foreign investment and how to solve these issues.
300 people attended the event, many of whom were foreign investors hailing from 20 different countries. Ts. Elbegdorj, the President of Mongolia, said that private businesspeople are the main initiators of transactions. The private sector right now is like an orphan, a child raised by its stepfather's hand, who has stayed by the government's side even during hard times. On the other hand, politicians, who once wielded many promises, remain silent during these times of hardship. Thus, it is imperative to promote the private sector.
The event initiated a law that defined government participation in business. The government should pay if they want to be involved in the business world. It is prohibited for them to steal businesses under the state name. Representatives urged the private sector to become an initiator. The government should only offer their involvement, not instigate any actions. Many representatives stated that private businesses know the responsibility of handling the business world while the government has high operating costs and has a tendency to slip money. After the president's speech, a new discussion was launched called "Invest Mongolia."
The Cabinet Secretary, C. Saikhanbileg, the Prime Minister, C. Batbold, and the head of Mongolian Financial Market Association, L. Byambaa were the main speakers. C. Saikhanbileg introduced the plans that will be made throughout the 100 days of the plan and presents findings every Monday. As part of the plan, 23 law projects have been submitted to parliament for review. Of these 23 projects, 11 of them are related to tax issues. These tax changes were made in hopes of promoting the private sector.
L. Byambaa discussed the non-mining sectors – agriculture, food, real estate and tourism. She said that many projects are related to tourism; however this sector has halted due to a lack of investment. This is an attractive sector that should be revitalized because it has potential to bring in foreign investors. In order to ensure the sustainable growth of Mongolia, stable investment and the development of the financial market is necessary.
Representatives and the president also announced that Mongolians can't build an economy based on the banking sector in terms of financing. What needs to be done is the revitalization of the Mongolia Stock Exchange and state-owned companies should be made public in order to expand the Mongolian economy. Two main ideas were presented throughout the event. The first idea is that the Mongolian government is ready to promote foreign investment and the second idea is that the government is officially announcing that it is taking its hands out of the private sector, allowing businesses to remain the sole initiators of the business world.
Selected Investors Briefed on Tavan Tolgoi Power Plant Project
Ulaanbaatar, June 20 (MONTSAME) A project implementing unit for the Tavan Tolgoi Power Plant, together with representatives of MCS Holding LLC and Oyu Tolgoi met Thursday with investors.
During the meeting, a "Trade Commitment" was presented, which include ten documents on issues such as energy sale and purchase, coal supply, and investments. It has been regarded as the key document to help raise investments from international markets.
Project unit director M.Enkhsaikhan noted a hope that the successful implementation of this mega project will pave the way for subsequent mega projects in Mongolia.
Globally operating companies such as 'GDF Suez and Posco Energy' consortium of France and S.Korea, 'Kansai Electric Power' and Marubeni Corporation' of Japan, and Daewoo Engineering and Construction of S.Korea have been selected as investors to the project.
"Made in Germany" Exhibition & Business Forum, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
June 18 (Mongolian Economy) Today marked the last day of a three day discussion and exhibition held in Mongolia with German companies. Stefan Hanselmann, Director of Integrated Mineral Resource Initiative in Ulaanbaatar, opened German-Mongolian Business Day 2014, also called Made in Germany. This is the third time this event has been hosted. Hanselmann says that Mongolia has the potential to develop at the same rate as Dubai and Qatar.
The event aimed to improve cooperation and collaboration between Germany and Mongolia as Mongolian businesses learned from German experiences. Over 30 companies from Germany participated in the program, whose standards are well known to the world.
Gerhard Wackenhut, the Managing Director of CLEOS LLC, said that even though Mongolia is in recession, it is obvious that for an economy with such a small population, it can fall easily. On the other side, it has its advantage. With an economy of a small population, it can revive faster than others. Mongolia is a risky market, but if you manage this much capacity in a risky environment, there will be big opportunities.
Currently, trade between both nations stands at 270.6 million USD. The main imports Mongolia brings in from Germany include technology, equipment, and cars. On the other hand, the main exports to Germany include raw materials from animals and rare earth minerals. This year also marks the 40th year of diplomatic relations between the two countries who have established a development cooperation of 20 years. The German government has supplied Mongolia with 280 million Euros in soft loans and grants.
The 30 plus companies that arrived in Mongolia to participate in the event belong to three main sectors – engineering processing, infrastructure energy, and corporate management and business services. Other sectors include IT and renewable energy. Germany considers itself to be a non-mining country, thus its main interests in cooperating with Mongolia revolve around infrastructure, water management, renewable energy, and IT.
German products that are imported to Mongolia, however, are expensive. The reasons for the high prices are contributed to the fact that these products are better, but there are also logistical problems. The custom taxes at the border of Mongolia are quite high, forcing prices of German products to go up. In a detailed comparison with China, German products are about 20-30% more expensive than imported Chinese products.
Mongolia secures growth with cement production hike
June 20 (Oxford Business Group) New production capacity in Mongolia's cement industry is set to meet rising demand as advanced technology is replacing old equipment, moving towards self-sufficiency in one of the key materials in the construction trade.
In May, Mongolia began production at the country's largest cement plant, a 1m-tonne-capacity facility in the Khutul district of Selenge Province. The plant was refurbished over a one-and-a-half year period, replacing outdated technology from an inactive Soviet-era cement factory with a modern dry process system.
Located 250 km to the north of Ulaanbaatar, output from the plant will be equal to around 50% of annual cement consumption. By using the dry process, which does not have water added to the ground up materials during production – unlike in most older plants – it will require less power to fire its kilns and cause less pollution.
Prior to the Khutul plant coming back on line, Mongolia's cement production was around 240,000 tonnes per year, well short of the 2m tonnes poured in 2013. The shortfall in production has traditionally been met by imports, mostly from China, though demands from that country's domestic market have at times put constraints on sales to its neighbour, limiting construction sector growth in Mongolia.
More capacity in the project pipeline
At the end of April, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced it would provide a $65m loan for Mongolian firm Senj Sant to fund the construction, commissioning and operation of a high-tech dry process cement plant. The loan was part of an extended financial package agreed in May 2013, which included a $20m equity investment in Senj Sant, whose parent company is the Monpolymet Group.
Phil Bennett, first vice-president of the ERBD, said the project represented another step towards the diversification of Mongolia's economy. "It directly supports and nurtures the development of the private sector in a relatively underdeveloped industry in Mongolia," he said.
The new plant, located in the Dornogobi Province in southern Mongolia, is forecast to add 1m tonnes of production capacity to the cement industry, with much of its output to be directed towards supplying cement and raw materials to major mining projects in the region.
Demand for cement, along with other building materials, is set to rise sharply in the coming years as both the public and private sectors roll out extensive construction projects. With a boom in the mining sector in particular, the demand for cement to build infrastructure both at mines and for transport links will climb.
At the same time state-backed projects in infrastructure, housing and utilities will also draw heavily on domestic production and imports. This demand could cause some bottlenecks in the supply pipeline, pushing up prices if the flow of materials cannot be maintained at a level equal to the construction sector's requirements.
The increased demand for cement is also boosting other sectors, notably the mining industry that provides a ready market for raw materials used in the production process as well as for coal to fire kilns. In early May, international mining firm Viking Ashanti announced its Mongolian subsidiary Auminco Mines had been in discussions with local cement manufacturers to supply their coal needs from Auminco's Berkh Bituminous Coal Project in northern Mongolia.
Apart from the Senj Sant project, there are at least two other cement plants in the works with the Mongonyn Alt Group and Germes Gakhiur building new production facilities, both expected to be completed and begin production some time in 2015.
With the additional production these plants offer, Mongolia is expected to come close to cement self-sufficiency. This could still be tested by rising demand from both the public and private sector, with some estimates putting requirements at up to 3m tonnes a year by 2015.
Dutch Firms Aid Mongolian Tanneries With Sustainable Production
June 19 (Apparel Magazine) MVO Nederland and various Dutch companies from the leather industry, including Stahl, have entered into a partnership to support tanneries in Mongolia with making their production process sustainable. These companies are going to assist in setting up a sustainable tannery in Mongolia, as well as the production locations for shoes, bags and clothes. This was announced by the companies involved during a congress for the Dutch leather sector, held under the theme of sustainable leather production.
Dutch businesses stimulates sustainability
The chemical company Stahl from Waalwijk, market leader in leather processing products like dyes and coatings, started creating closer ties with the tannery sector in Mongolia in 2013, in a collaboration with the Mongolian government and tanneries. The aim was to make the local production process more sustainable and improve the quality of the leather. Working together with MVO Nederland, a joint venture was set up to establish the first sustainable tannery in Mongolia.
The tannery will use new technologies and products where needed, which are less harmful to the environment. At the same time the employment conditions will be assessed and improved. The partnership also aims to encourage other tanneries in Mongolia to follow this sustainable example. In order to achieve that, the Dutch companies will provide advice, schooling and technical support and assist in selling the Mongolian products in the Netherlands.
The tanneries will become certified, whereby they will be able to carry a Mongolian sustainability label. That label will make future consumers aware that the leather shoes, bags or jackets have been made by the most sustainable route possible in the Mongolian highlands.
The Mongolian leather sector has barely developed since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The tanneries operate under the authority of Chinese traders. The tanneries use Chinese chemicals, which do not meet the international safety and environmental standards. Although the tanneries have always been willing to change the situation, they did not have the power to do so. Now that the Mongolian economy is growing and the government is stimulating 'green developments', opportunities have opened for tanneries to make their production process sustainable and improve the quality of the leather. This will also enable them to supply customers outside of China.
Ground-breakers in the leather sector
The conference 'Grensverleggers in de leersector' (Ground-breakers in the leather sector) in Utrecht was the first time that the entire Dutch leather sector – from skin traders to chemical suppliers and brands to retailers – was brought together to discuss projects for making the leather sector sustainable. MVO Nederland is implementing a programme to promote sustainable business in developing countries. The leather sector is one of the first to combine forces to initiate sustainable change.
Besides Stahl, the following Dutch companies are involved in the initiative: Macintosh Retail Group, known for the retail formulas Manfield, Scapino and Dolcis; OAT Shoes that brings fully degradable shoes onto the market; the sustainable bag label MYOMY; Donders' DNR brand that makes sustainable leather jackets and the clothing brand Traced Good that's strives for transparency in the chain.
MIAT Launches Twice-Weekly Ulaanbaatar-Frankfurt Direct Flights
Present at the ceremony were Samu Dusdieker, an attache of Germany's Embassy in Mongolia on economic affairs, and other officials. Having underlined an importance of opening of the direct flight, Mr Dusdieker hoped it will increase a flow of European tourists to Mongolia and make easier for Mongolians to go to the USA, "in other words, it will be a new gate between Asia and Europe".
He also said that through the flights, moderate economic ties between Mongolia and Germany will be forwarded.
The Mongolians used to reach the city via Moscow, Berlin, Seoul or Beijing. By the approved schedule of the MIAT, the flight from UB to Frankfurt will be performed every Thursday and Sunday, whereas the flight from Frankfurt to UB--every Wednesday and Saturday on Boeing 767 300ER. The flight takes eight hours 30 minutes, said executive director of the MIAT G.Jargalsaikhan.
The MIAT intends to start direct flights to the USA and other countries in 2-3 years, the flight to Frankfurt is a beginning of this plan, he said. For the time being, the MIAT is flying to Beijing, Erlian, Sanya (China), Hong Kong, Tokyo, Osaka (Japan), S.Korean Seoul, Singapore, Bangkok, Hanoi and Dubai (charter flights), also to Moscow, Berlin and Frankfurt, on Boeing 737 800 and Boeing 767 300ER.
Bill on Enabling Number Portability Submitted to Parliament
Ulaanbaatar, June 18 (MONTSAME) The Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag submitted Wednesday a draft law to amend the law on telecommunications to the parliament Speaker Z.Enkhbold.
In developing this draft, the Telecommunication Regulatory Committee studied chances to introduce in Mongolia the number portability services.
Licenses for carrying out telecommunications operations, services and manufacture have been issued to mobile operators for the purposes of maintaining the safety, efficiency and quality of telecommunications services, controlling the protection of privacy of correspondence since 1995, and thus far operators such as Mobicom Corporation LLC, Skytel LLC, Unitel LLC, and G-Mobile have been granted such licenses.
Altanbulag free trade zone to improve cross border trade with official launch on June 24
June 19 (UB Post) The official launch of Altanbulag free trade zone (FTZ) in Selenge Province is set to take place on June 24. The FTZ aims to improve cross border trade to diversify the Mongolian economy.
A talk of establishing the FTZ in Mongolia has been under discussion for almost over a decade.
Related officials are organizing Altanbulag Expo at the zone on June 22 to celebrate the launch which will start its 24/7 operation.
Altanbulag FTZ will be a direct link to Russian markets preparation works are currently proceeding. In the first stage, construction materials and auto parts will be the focus of trades. Accordingly, a designated trade center will be built at the zone.
Land permits for businesses in Altanbulag have been allowed by the state in order to take full benefit of the border trade zone, reported the director of Altanbulag FTZ Ch.Chimedsuren. Those with permits will be allowed to construct buildings, as well as open trade and service businesses.
State officials are hoping that support for construction material and car parts trade will improve trade circulation, and reduce and stabilize housing prices, as well as car prices.
Altanbulag FTZ working group said that the zone will offer favorable taxes in order to attract entrepreneurs and enhance operations of the FTZ. In detail, entrepreneurs will be exempt from customs tax, VAT, and import tax.
Mongolians can purchase construction goods worth three million MNT without any tax from Altanbulag. According to officials, this is expected to reduce prices of construction material and goods.
Currently, Altanbulag FTZ covers approximately 500 hectares of land, but it is planned to expand to a town which is home to 15,000 to 20,000 people in the future.
A proposal to build a 25 kilometer road from Altanbulag FTZ to Sukhbaatar Station, thermal power plant, residential areas, hotel complexes and recycling plants is already under discussion.
The FTZ officials said that since the zone is located very near the Russian border, and residents of nearby cities in Russia can freely trade at the market. The officials highlighted that Russian businesses and individuals have much higher purchasing capacity than Mongolian, and will have access to Mongolian trade with the help of Altanbulag FTZ.
O.Ganbat: Customs officers will be reshuffled every two years
June 19 (UB Post) The following is an interview with O.Ganbat, Head of the General Customs Office of Mongolia, about timely issues in the sector.
Last year, customs administrations and officers were reshuffled. What is the result of this work?
Last year, we did major innovations which the Customs Office has never done before and administrations and officers of customs were reshuffled in accordance to the law. We see this as a big step for ensuring the implementation of customs legislations. Reshuffling officers who worked in the same place for many years and commissioning them to other places is not an easy work. Despite all the gossip and complaints from many people, customs activities seem to function well.
For instance, if customs officers work in one place for a long time, their kinship and network become firmer and enables all sorts of fraud and illegal activities. We made this conclusion because we noticed that after the reshuffling operation implementation, many businessmen, entities and organizations started talking about how customs tax increased, meaning that they used to pay less tax. In other words, people didn't pay the amount of tax they're obliged to by taking advantage of their trade network. Although state turnover decreased and we're facing economic decline and crisis, last year's customs tax collection increased from 40 to 50 billion MNT compared to previous years'. Many people think that it's the result of the reshuffling of customs officers. In fact, this isn't true. It's connected to exchange rate fluctuations. As of May, 52.2 billion MNT was accumulated for the state budget. We concluded that it's best to reshuffle officers frequently, maybe every two years.
Even with the reshuffling of administrations and officers, customs officers of Zamiin-Uud border port had the most bureaucracy. Will you comment on this?
Traders and entrepreneurs of foreign businesses who are used to the old ways must have criticized in this manner when their habitual way of doing things changed. Administrations working in Zamiin-Uud border port are all highly experienced in managing since they worked for many years at customs. I'm confident that they wouldn't do immoral things. However, traders and businessmen who've been doing things in one manner may disapprove of the new administration's criterion.
The economy stumbled and the exchange rate of USD rose, causing drastic reduction in government turnover. How has this impacted large border ports?
Majority of Mongolian importation goes through Zamiin-Uud and Ulaanbaatar ports. From their situation, we can see the overall state of ports. For example, Zamiin-Uud port turnover decreased by 12 percent compared to the same period of last year. The amount of minerals from Gashuunsukhait and Shiveekhuren isn't very satisfactory. According to statistics, Shiveekhuren exports 300 to 350 trucks of coal from ÌÀÊ, and some 1,300 to 1,350 trucks of coal from Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi are exported through Gashuunsukhait port. The government set the target to export 30 million tons of coal this year. No matter how many measures the government takes to increase coal exports, due to inadequate capacity of other countries to import and sell coal, Mongolian export level isn't increasing to desired levels. As of June 5, Mongolia imported 2.2 billion USD worth of products. If you compare this to June 2013, the index decreased by 12.7 percent which is equivalent to 316 million USD. Although this index may seem as if it decreased when calculated in USD, when converted to MNT, it actually increased by 342 billion MNT. This is related to the exchange rate difference.
The Customs Office makes up 20 to 30 percent of the state budget revenue. What's the state of customs revenue and clearance?
I don't think of the Customs Office as an implementing agency. Our main objective is to collect taxes from equipment and products that come in and out of the country's border and transfer it to the state budget. Yet, they order us to accumulate a specific amount of money which is considerably higher. This isn't the objective of the 21st century Customs Office.
We're working to facilitate and encourage trade. If we're to fulfill this plan demanded by the government, we'll have to do the same thing we did in the 1970s and 1980s which is to forcefully open and check every luggage and demand tax from everything we find. The Customs Office shouldn't have these sorts of operations. We need to provide the people with fast services, away from property inspections. This will minimize time and cost, and hasten economic circulation. As trade turnover gains momentum, businesses will increase investment. When their fund increase, improve sales and get more income, we can provide for the state budget through taxation. This is how we should support Mongolia's economy. We're planning to provide 1.9 trillion MNT for the state budget. As of June 5, we've accumulated 625 billion MNT, which is around 40 billion MNT more than last year's June. It's obvious that the state will have plans but it's unnecessary to increase the amount each year.
During crisis, the customs tax plan can drop because the government supports businesses and industries through tax plans when facing economic crisis. The government supports industries by exempting them from customs duties and VAT. This is a countermeasure for recovering the economy by increasing GDP. Even now, the government is applying this measure. For instance, just recently, the parliament approved a law to exempt taxes from equipment and spare parts for small and medium-sized industries from, give two-year extensions as well as two year installations to pay for customs duties and VAT on equipment and construction sets used for implementing big projects. This is an opportunity given by the government in times of crisis as well as a mechanism for recovering the economic and supporting businesses.
Lately, many historical monuments, gold, jewels and rare wildlife raw materials are smuggled through the border. How is the General Customs Office combating this?
During the first five months of 2014, 1,329 cases of customs violation were discovered. Last year, 990 violations were discovered. This 34 percent increase in detection is one of the results of reshuffling customs officers. The Customs Office isn't the only organization that inspects prohibited and restricted goods for importation and exportation. All law enforcement agencies are involved. Compared to historical artifacts, there were more violations of smuggling precious stones. This year, only one historical artifact was confiscated. On March 3, a large amount of religious items were discovered from two train passengers at Zamiin-Uud border port. We also received a tip off that stones with red markings are being imported in large amounts from Umnugobi Province. It's uncertain whether this stone is valuable or not. The laboratory tests indicated that it wasn't a precious stone. However, this sort of stone is sold at high price in China so we believe it is the same type of stone. There's information that some men dug up a large field as large as a sports hall in Umnugobi Province and are illegally mining this stone. There were also many cases of garnet and chalcedony smuggling at Russian-Mongolian border. Lately, young people seem to be trying to make profit from transporting precious stones from Umnugobi Province to Dornogobi Province.
Until recently, you've been working at southern borders. What was your duty there?
The government established a working group for trade facilitation and customs infrastructure development issues. Under the orders of Ch.Saikhanbileg, cabinet secretary, this working group came under the management of law enforcement agencies. In cooperation with the border administration and the Chamber of Commerce of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, we were introduced to both countries' border activities. During this period, we worked on reducing border development and operation related issues and to increase trade. We resolved many issues. For example, inspectors disappeared twice aday to rest and during lunch break at Gashuunsukhait. We stopped this as it held up exportation. When there's four inspection areas at both exits and entrances, three of them were closed for no reason and only one was operating. Now, all of them are functioning properly.
We resolved Chinese workers' visas and issues related to road expansion for importation and exportation. We were also introduced to the new border point in Tsagaan Del Uul. Both sides agreed that it should be built with finances from the Chinese government through a concession contracts.
Third country cars can now enter Inner Mongolia through Zamiin-Uud. In other words, residents of Mongolia can go to Erenhot with their own cars. They will also establish a trade center for local residents around the border. We discussed and agreed on management structure for this, other inspection agencies and related regulation issues. Some aspects will be decided during the official visit of the Chairman of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Party Committee to Mongolia in late June. Furthermore, issues in need of significant investments will be decided during the official visit of President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping for a bilateral discussion between the two governments in October.
Regulations for Foreign Licensed Individuals to Practice Law in Mongolia
ORDER OF THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE OF MONGOLIA
Re: Adoption of the Regulation
According to the provision 36.11 of the Article 36 of the Law on Legal status of the Lawyer and sections 3 and 4 of the Article 29 of the Law on Partnership respectively, it shall be ORDERED:
1. to adopt the "Regulation for an individual licensed to conduct the professional activities of a lawyer in a foreign jurisdiction to conduct the professional activities of a lawyer in Mongolia individually or by establishing a Limited Liability Partnership with Foreign Investment" as attached.
2. Prior to the enforcement of the Regulation adopted by the attachment of this Order, to set the term for the registration of the foreign citizens or legal entities with foreign investment that have been practicing law in Mongolia and their reorganization in accordance with the Regulation until April 15th, 2014.
3. To instruct the State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice /Bayartsetseg.J/ to supervise the enforcement of this Order.
/signed by/ TEMUUJIN. KH
REGULATIONS FOR AN INDIVIDUAL LICENSED TO PRACTICE LAW IN FOREIGN JURISDICTION TO PRACTICE LAW IN MONGOLIA INDIVIDUALLY OR BY ESTABLISHING LIMITED LIABILITY PARTNERSHIP
One. General provisions
1.1. These regulations shall govern the relations with respect to practicing law in Mongolia by the Mongolian citizen, foreign citizen or a stateless person who are licensed to practice law in foreign jurisdictions (hereinafter referred to as the "Foreign Lawyer") individually or by establishing a legal entity.
Two. Forms of carrying out professional conduct by the Foreign Lawyer
2.1 Foreign Lawyer shall practice law in Mongolia by the following forms:
2.1.1 rendering legal assistance individually;
2.1.2 establishing limited liability partnership with foreign investment (hereinafter referred to as the "FILLP");
2.1.3 cooperating with the Mongolian-licensed lawyer or advocacy partnership on a contractual basis.
Three. Types of professional activities of a Foreign Lawyer
Mongolia-China Tourism Business Meeting Held in Ulaanbaatar
Ulaanbaatar, June 20 (MONTSAME) A Mongolia-China tourism sector's joint meeting ran Wednesday in Ulaanbaatar with participation of some 80 tour operators, air transportation and tourism companies of Mongolia and China.
The participants presented their products and services, discussed ways of attracting tourists to Mongolia, who are traveling further to the biggest cities of China, and noted an importance joint advertisements and programmes.
According to 2013 statistics, a half of foreign tourists in Mongolia did not target Mongolia, for 34% of them were going to China, 12.7%--to Russia and 7.8%--to South Korea. A survey of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) says, 53% of total tourists around the world chose air transport, 40%--auto transport, and the rest--railways.
In a scope of the "Friendly Ulaanbaatar" goal, our city is attaching a great importance to expanding of the tourism ties with those cities connected to us by direct flights and to boosting of business tourism.
Mongolia and Poland to Broaden Ties in Trade, Economy and Businesses
June 18 (infomongolia.com) The First Intergovernmental Commission Meeting between Mongolia and the Republic of Poland is scheduled to take place in Ulaanbaatar on June 24, 2014.
The Meeting is aimed to deepen bilateral relations in trade, economy and business partnerships, moreover Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) in collaboration with the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency is organizing Mongolia-Poland Business Forum.
The Polish business delegates will be representing from sectors of mining facilities & equipment manufacturing, road transportation, construction manufacturing, telecommunications, agriculture & food production facilities, environment, energy, light industry as well as companies in consulting services for all kinds.
The Business Forum will be commenced at the Corporate Hotel next to the MNCCI at 10:00 am on June 23, 2014.
Polish Companies to participate are:
1. NARANTAL Global Sp. z o.o. - Mining consulting
2. Inspektor BHP Sp. z o.o. - Safety clothing and personal protective equipment (protective gloves, boots)
3. KOPEX S.A. - Mining facilities and equipment
4. SKYBONE Sp. z o.o. - Milk and meat products, vegetable oils, fruits, vegetables, and grain processing technology
5. TINES Capital Group - Rail, subway and tramway track manufacturer and complex technology, industry, infrastructure construction, chemical materials such as clay, putty, and paint and insulation system
6. Softnet Group Sp. z o.o. - Telecommunications operators
7. GEO Sp. z o.o. - Legal and accounting services, and veterinary advice as well as construction, agriculture and animal husbandry consulting
8. Przedsiebiorstwo Produkcji - Prefabricated buildings (modular construction) industry
9. URSUS S.A. - Agricultural machinery, large manufacturer of tractors
10. FAMUR S. A. - Underground mining machinery and equipment manufacturer
11. COLIAN Sp. z o.o. - Candy, food spices, dried fruits, beverages, logistics
12. VIEWPOINT Group - Consultations in public relations and management with the external environment
13. IMPRESSION Sp. z o.o. - Road construction
14. EKOLOG Sp. z o.o. - Environmental protection and renewable energy sectors
15. MSX Resources S.A. - Exploration-mining industry
16. HORUS-ENERGIA Sp. z o.o. - Diesel, gas and biogas-powered electric generators
17. Dom Inwestycyjny Investors S.A. - Investment banking
18. Lactima - Food, variety sorts of cheese, butter, margarine
19. Ignapol - Men and women cloth and leather garments manufacturer
20. Biuro Technologiczno-Marketingowe - Production technology, machinery and equipment, food
21. Stowarzyszenie Energii Odnawialnej - Renewable energy
22. GEOD - Drilling machinery and equipment
23. AGH - Mining-Metallurgical Academy
Unpermitted Buildings Along the Tuul River
Construction companies are using tractors to cut down trees and burning bushes and greenery in the area. These activities are polluting the primary fresh water resource of the city, since apartments near the river are sold easily.
Even if the public criticizes officials who issue permits to build near the Tuul River, nothing comes from it. Around 50 percent of Mongolia's population lives in Ulaanbaatar.
The Tuul River is considered to be the most highly polluted river in Mongolia. An initial discussion on rehabilitating the Tuul River was held this year. The project is expected to be financed by the Tuul River Basin Authority, Asian Development Bank and Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction.
The Ministry of Nature and Green Development hosted the Tuul Forum with Water Resource 2030 Group and a council for the river basin was established. If the project is implemented and its activities intensify, the pollution in the area will be managed, but there are still some worrisome issues such as large scale construction. For instance, we have reported that new buildings are being constructed on the northwest side of the Mongolian State University of Agriculture within 50 meters of the Tuul River, which is a special protected area that does not allow construction.
The construction of Mudi Residence of MUDI LLC is progressing intensively. Although MUDI said that Niislel Urgoo Company is constructing the building, in reality, it was Khishig Khangai Company, when we arrived at the site.
Purchase orders for the buildings have already been made and is expected to commence this September.
Although Khishig Khangai said the apartments are connected to water and sanitary systems, they had clearly dug a well.
One of the workers at site said, "It was really hard to drill the well and it is quite deep." In order to get the permission to drill the well, entities have to estimate the water reserve and receive approval from the city water authority, Mongol Us. Then they have to drill down to the approved level.
When asked about their approval from Mongol Us, they said the they did not even make a request. It is obvious that these companies have violated several laws on water use. The company also plans to build a swimming pool. Are they planning to drain the residents' water supply to the pool and dump the waste into Tuul River?
On the east side of Mudi Residence, a housing project for 24 families was delayed due to financial issues. When asked about the contractor of the project from locals, we received reports that Cassandra Mongolia LLC is undertaking the project. The Ulaanbaatar City Land Management Authority said that they didn't issue the permit and that the company bought the land from households that used to reside at the bank of the river before the Law on National Special Protected Area was passed. The company also did not get permission from the Ulaanbaatar City General Planning Authority.
The following is an interview with Ts.Sosorburam, director of Mongol Us, about Tuul River bank construction permits.
Many buildings are being built on the bank of Tuul River. Aren't they violating the law?
According to the law, the buildings must be built 50 meters away from the river. But buildings that are being built now are within the protection zone of the city. Building in a national park or special protected zones are violations of the law. It has been a long time since we have transitioned into free-market economy. The free-market economy protects individuals' property and violators are using it as a shield. We always face problems like whether we should tear down the unauthorized buildings or keep approve them. In my opinion, legal and inspection organizations should make brave steps. There is no use in fining construction companies. It will be a lesson for other companies if we demolish unauthorized buildings, and companies will start building in accordance to the law.
Will building near the river pollute the city's fresh water supply?
Even if we connect the buildings to central water and sanitary systems, the river will be polluted by industrial activity.
How do you issue permission to drill a well?
We make evaluations on whether drilling wells are consistent with the law. Water reserves must be evaluated and approved.
What kind of measures do you take if an unauthorized well is drilled?
If it is more than 100 cubic meters, we inspect, make evaluations and take measures according to the law.
The following is a short interview with G.Dolgorsuren, chief of the Tuul River Basin Authority, about construction issues around Tuul River.
Construction companies are operating next to the notice board stating, "Special Protected Area of Tuul River 50 meter". What kind of measures are you taking?
The authorized agency which should take measures is the State Specialized Inspection Agency. We don't have the rights of inspectors. When we make a request to inspect an unauthorized building, the State Specialized Inspection Agency says, "We don't make inspection on demand." Constructions are executed seasonally. When a planned inspection is organized at the end of the year, construction companies aren't working anymore. We deliver official demands. If they won't reply, we will go to the court. Therefore, some companies comply to the demand but others release their dogs and do not even permit us to enter their fences.
Do construction companies usually have land ownership certificates and approvals for construction?
They have their permissions. At that time, we tell them that they will suffer losses if they build in the area as they are outside of the dam's flood protection. Some of them say, "When will the flood come?" and go on building.
How frequently does Tuul River flood?
It is estimated that the river floods once every 100 years. In 1966, Tuul River flood reached Tourist Street. For the last two years, Tuul River's flow has decrease. During years with high flow, we can expect a flood. From ancient times, Mongolians used to forbid speaking ill of the low flow rate.
The companies and officials who did illegal things will try to avoid their responsibility when property is lost and people's lives are endangered.
The Law on Water states that the special protection zone is within 50 meters of the river.
Source: Unuudur newspaper
Ulaanbaatar increases water tariffs for the first time in nine years
June 19 (UB Post) The city's water tariff has been increased to 0.48 MNT, up from 0.32 MNT per liter, to reduce the deficit of the Water Supply and Sewage Authority of Ulaanbaatar (USUG). The change came after a joint decision of USUG and the Agency for Fair Competition and Consumer Rights (AFCCR) made last week.
The raising of the tariff applies to all households residing in apartments, and businesses in Ulaanbaatar, Nalaikh District, Baganuur District and Tuv Province.
The water tariff hasn't been raised at all in the past nine years, which officials say has held back development in the sector and affected water quality.
The raised tariff will be used for ensuring maintenance and the proper functioning of water distribution equipment and lines.
USUG has pledged to strictly monitor spending and the service quality of water distribution agencies as the tariff has been raised.
June 20 (infomongolia.com) In order to improve the appearance of the capital city and to create a comfortable living environment for the citizens of Ulaanbaatar City, the Mayor's Office in collaboration with the City's Transportation and Road Authorities and the Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia have been implementing a program to build public transport stops under general standards.
In the scope of the program, which is being carried out under cooperation agreement between above bodies, an advice and support is provided by a French Corporation, "JCDecaux" Group known for its bus-stop advertising systems, billboards, public bicycle rental systems and street furniture.
The new bus-stops will be erected in some 200 locations featuring city map and waiting areas for vehicles, taxis, metro, and bike parking. Also, equipped with information boards, double the Say-ray water resistant, power-efficient LED lighting. Audio devices to information for people with disabilities. This device operates a solar battery transmit sounds within a radius of 5 meters. Moreover, people waiting for the bus will be enabled to access a free internet Wi-Fi for 20 minutes.
It plans to install 69 bus-stops this year, whereas 31 will go into service before the Naadam Festival and the rest within August
Bus Stops to Be Equipped with Internet – Montsame, June 20
Working Hours of Major Commercial and Trade Centers to Change to Ease Traffic
June 19 (infomongolia.com) In compliance with the public request, Mayor of the Capital City issued a Resolution No. A/505 on June 17, 2014 to make changes in the working hours of some trading centers, markets and service centers locate along the major roads in the territory of Ulaanbaatar.
According to amendments, operators performing services will follow the new regulation and it is deemed to reduce the traffic loads and stabilize the traffic flow on the roads of Ulaanbaatar, which is effective from July 01, 2014.
Ulaanbaatar to register, educate, socialize the homeless
June 19 (UB Post) The Mayor of Ulaanbaatar made a pronouncement about arrangements for the city's homeless. According to the pronouncement, homeless people in UB will be registered, educated about social welfare policy and services, provided with psychological counseling, informed about education and health services, given professional orientations, and assisted with job placement and socialization.
The pronouncement is being implemented by the Operational Strategy and Restructuring Program working group organized by the Life Skills vocational center at the Ulaanbaatar Governor's Office. Deputy Ts.Buyandalai was promoted to lead the working group.
Registration and research of the data collected will start on June 9 and continue to July 9. While the Head of Life Skills, Ts.Iniyakhuu, is cooperating on the project to include all the city's homeless people in the research, the police department and Ulaanbaatar Social Welfare and Services Department will also be responsible for including all homeless residents in the research.
The city's Media and Public Relations Department reported that the project requires 68,825,000 MNT and the Office of Finance and the Treasury Department responded, saying it will be provided from the 2014 planned state budget for the socialization of the homeless.
One of three planned in UB ger areas, 'Princess Lake' park to open in July
June 19 (UB Post) Three parks are currently under construction in Ulaanbaatar ger areas. City officials said that Gunjiin Nuur (Lake of the Princess) park will open in July.
The park is located in the 8th khoroo of Songinokhairkhan District, covering 2.2 hectares of land with distinct land formation. Its artificial lake will have a system that will maintain water levels regardless of evaporation or rain.
The city budget has allocated 441 million MNT for the construction, which is currently at 50 percent completion. If finances are issued as planned, the park will open this summer, reported the project executor.
Deputy Ulaanbaatar Mayor in charge of ecology and green development T.Bat-Erdene reported, "The National Garden was a very significant and massive project and lots of developments have been made there in the past two years. Though Ulaanbaatar residents have a favorable place to spend their free time now, the National Garden is not enough space for 1.3 million residents. Therefore, we are accelerating our work to build more small parks around the city."
He also highlighted, "Our next big project with the same goal will be Tasgan Ovoo Park. Required fund for the project will be provided from the city budget and the World Bank's Clean Air Initiative."
Some 1.7 hectares of land will be designed into a park. The park's blueprint and operation plan has been prepared already and construction will begin in July. The construction deadline is September this year.
The Office of the Ulaanbaatar City Governor is paving streets with gravel and stones to reduce loose dust in the city and has planned to build 11 parks in the city at 7.1 hectares of land as part of its green area development project.
The city has budgeted 265 million MNT for gravel paving, lawn planting and playground upgrade projects in streets this year. The projects are at 95 percent completion and will be completed before July, according to city officials.
June 19 (UB Post) Five "eco-friendly" mini-buses are set to transport visitors from the parking lot of Khui Doloon Khudag horse racing field to the tracks during this year's Naadam Festival.
The mini-buses were manufactured by Tsakhilgaan Teever state-owned company to be used during special occasions through the order of the Office of the Ulaanbaatar City Governor last year.
The eco-bus J-800 EV requires eight to ten hours to gain a full charge and has a capacity for 12 passengers. It is 4.6 meters long, 1.45 meters wide and two meters tall.
In addition, officials reported that Mongol Naadam Complex state-owned organization, which will be responsible for the maintenance of constructions and race field in Khui Doloon Khudag, will open its office on July 5.
When the office opens, the organization will work throughout the year to plan other events besides Naadam, such as winter sports events.
3D pictures decorate Ulaanbaatar
June 19 (UB Pot) Students and teachers of the School of Fine Arts of the Mongolian State University of Culture and Arts are drawing 3D pictures on sidewalk in Ulaanbaatar with support from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Teacher at the School of Fine Arts N.Tsegmid and student B.Janjivdorj drew a flowing river on the sidewalk in front of the National Agency for Meteorology, Hydrology and Environmental Monitoring. The 3D pictures have a variety of themes but mainly focus on nature, portraying wild animals such as bears and beautiful scenery such as a flowing river.
Korea to send troops to Khaan Quest peacekeeping drill in Mongolia
June 18 (Yonhap) South Korea will dispatch troops to an annual multinational peacekeeping exercise set to kick off in Mongolia this week, the Marine Corps here said Wednesday.
Some 34 South Korean Marines as well as eight service members of the Army, Navy and Air Force will participate in the Khan Quest exercise in the landlocked country. The exercise is set for June 20 to July 1.
During the drill, the troops are scheduled to practice how to carry out operations in conflict areas, provide humanitarian aid and perform their duty of supporting those facing calamities, the Marine Corps said.
The field training and command post exercises are to take place in realistic settings, it noted.
Mongolia has held Khan Quest every year since 2003, with the help of the U.S. Pacific Command. This year, about 1,200 troops from 21 countries, including the United States, China, and Indonesia, will join the drill, according to the Marine Corps.
"We will master combat techniques to carry out our duties in any part of the world via this joint drill with the multinational forces," said Ham Young-du, a lieutenant colonel who leads the team.
South Korea sent working-level officers as observers to the exercises in Mongolia from 2006 to 2008 and became a full participant in 2009.
Mongolia, France Sign First Defense Cooperation Agreement
June 19 (infomongolia.com) The Deputy Minister for Defense of Mongolia A.Battur has conducted a working visit to the French Republic on June 12-13, 2014 and has witnessed the largest in the world International Land and Air-land Defense and Security Exhibition, which is being organized in Paris on June 16-20, 2014.
During his visit to France, Deputy Minister A.Battur held a meeting with the Junior Minister for Veterans at the French Ministry of Defense Kader Arif to discuss bilateral defense relations and implementation of cooperation and exchanged views on the prospects of bilateral partnership in defense sector and at the end of the meeting parties signed a technical agreement of cooperation.
This agreement between Mongolia and France becomes the first document based upon bilateral relations and partnership in defense sectors.
Berlin holds horse race to celebrate 40th anniversary of ties with Mongolia
June 19 (UB Post) On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of relations between Mongolia and Germany, a horse racing event took place in honor of Mongolia at Hoppengarten racetrack in Berlin, Germany, on June 15.
President of the Federation of Mongolian Horse Racing Sport and Trainers, Minister of Defense and Member of Parliament D.Bat-Erdene represented the Mongolian government and gave an opening speech at the event. Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Bold, the Minister of Justice and other representatives also attended the event.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Germany Ts.Bolor shared her thoughts on the relations between Mongolia and Germany and reported on projects that are being implemented during the anniversary.
During the event, Mongolian folk band Domog performed Mongolian traditional music. The race was broadcast by Berlin TV, Bloomberg TV Mongolia, Rennbahn TV, and other media.
Justice Minister on Visit to Germany to Share Views on Legal Reform
Ulaanbaatar, June 18 (MONTSAME) Justice Minister Kh.Temuujin has been paying a visit to Germany since Monday.
During the stay there, Mr Temuujin met with Dr Gunter Krings, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior, and with Mr Jorg Ziercke, president of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. Mr Temuujin spoke about legal and structural reforms in law enforcement system of Mongolia, and shared views with them on relationship and cooperation between law enforcement agencies of the two countries.
He noted a need of training for the staffers at the newly-established and changing organizations of Mongolia, including the Criminal Investigation Bureau, the Taikhar (Marshall) Service, the Police Authority and Immigration Agency.
The sides also shared opinions on experience-learning and staff-exchange on combating newly appearing crimes in Mongolia such as illegal drug sale, terrorism and cybercrimes.
The Justice Minister met Wednesday with Christian Lange, permanent State Secretary for Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, to share views on boosting collaboration between the two ministries. He also visited a prison in Berlin to see bailiff activities there.
Chairwoman of Russian Federal Assembly Upper House to Pay Official Visit to Mongolia
June 20 (infomongolia.com) At the invitation of Speaker of the State Great Khural (Parliament) Mr. Zandaakhuu ENKHBOLD, the Chairperson of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, Mrs. Valentina Ivanovna Matviyenko is conducting an official visit to Mongolia on June 22-23, 2014.
During her stay in Mongolia, Head of the Federation Council V.I.Matviyenko will have bilateral talks with the Speaker Z.Enkhbold and sign a Memorandum of Understanding as well as to pay a courtesy call on the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj, Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag and Deputy Chairman of the Parliament, Head of Mongolian People's Party (MPP) M.Enkhbold respectively.
The Chairperson V.I.Matviyenko will be accompanied with Deputy Chairman of the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Ilyas Magomed-Salamovich Makhanov, who is a Head of Inter-Parliamentary Group with the State Great Khural, as well as First Deputy-Chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation Vladimir Michailovich Dzhabarov and other members of the Assembly.
The Speaker Z.Enkhbold and other officials will welcome the guests at the Chinggis Square, Ulaanbaatar on Monday, June 23 at 09:05 am.
Mongolia, Russia Reach Consensus on Finalizing Agreements on Reciprocal Travel Condition and Readmission
June 20 (infomongolia.com) The Foreign Ministries of Mongolia and the Russian Federation held the VIII Consular Consultation in Ulaanbaatar on June 19, 2014.
In the morning, the two sides reached consensus finalizing the Intergovernmental Agreement on "Reciprocal travel conditions between the citizens of Mongolia and the Russian Federation" as well as an Intergovernmental Agreement on Readmission between parties and in the scope of the latter document negotiation, Mongolia conferred an executive protocol on the procedure of its implementation to Russian side.
This Agreement regulates the issues of cooperation between the two sides in the transfer by the competent bodies of the states of individuals who entered or are in the territory of the requesting country in violation of immigration laws.
The VIII Mongolia-Russia Consular Consultation was chaired by Director of the Department of Law and Treaty, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, A.Tumur representing Mongolian Government and the other part by Deputy Director of the Consular Department at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs A.L.Prosvirkin.
In the afternoon meeting, co-chaired by Director of the Consular Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia Sh.Sukhbaatar and Deputy Director of the Consular Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation A.L.Prosvirkin, parties reviewed the implementation of actions following up the previous meeting and reached agreements on expanding consular ties, facilitating travel conditions for citizens, sharing information on citizens living in respective countries, studying insurance issues related to Russian citizens residing in Mongolia, and strengthening consular representation.
The same day, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs D.Gankhuyag received the Russian delegation led by Deputy Director A.L.Prosvirkin. At the meeting, sides were satisfied with the establishment of intergovernmental agreements on travel condition and on readmission and issues concerning the protection of interests of Mongolian and Russian citizens living in respective countries.
Mongolia-Russia Consultative Meeting Held – Montsame, June 20
UN Assistant Secretary-General completes Mongolia visit
June 20 (news.mn) Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Xu Haoliang, made an official visit to Mongolia between June 16th and 20th.
During the visit Mr Xu Haoliang met the Speaker of Mongolian Parliament Z.Enkhbold and Prime Minister of Mongolia N.Altankhuyag respectively.
Mr Xu also met Foreign Affairs Minister L.Bold, the Minister of Economic Development N.Batbayar and the Minister of Environment and Green Development S.Oyun for talks over future bilateral relations and views on opportunities for cooperation.
Mr Xu attended a national discussion on the subject of "Enhancing the role of the private sector in sustainable development", and a development discussion that was held on the topic of "The Future We Want", launched by UNDP from 2012.
Mr. Xu then paid a working visit to Dundgovi aimag where he observed the projects "Strengthening Capacity of Local Self-Governance Body" and "Water Supply Improvement" in Gurvansaikhan sum.
A donors meeting on water supply issues was also conducted by the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development and UNDP in Gurvansaikhan sum during Mr Xu's visit.
At the meeting Mr Xu expressed his appreciation of the bilateral relations between Mongolia and the UN and noted Mongolia`s having a 9th MDG on 'Strengthening Human Rights and Fostering Democratic Governance' that emphasizes democratic governance and human rights as necessary conditions for the achievement of all the MDGs. Mr Xu then stated that the UNDP will keep a close relationship with Mongolia as a partner, not a donor, for development programs as Mongolia is experiencing rapid economic growth.
UN Assistance Secretary-General Visits Mongolia – Montsame, June 20
Minister S. Oyun Nominated to Chair 2014 UN Environment Assembly
Ulaanbaatar, June 19 (MONTSAME) Environment and Green Development Minister S.Oyun has been nominated for the chair of the United Nations Environment Assembly.
Ms Oyun has been invited to the First United Nations Environment Assembly that is to take place in Nairobi, Kenya on June 23-27, with over 1,200 participants, 170 national delegations and 40 events.
The first session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) of the UN Environment Program will convene at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi with more than 1,200 participants, including Environment Ministers, Government delegates and representatives of major groups and stakeholders.
The overarching theme of the first session is "Sustainable Development Goals and the Post-2015 Development Agenda, including sustainable consumption and production", which is designed to inform ongoing discussions on the formulation of a set of targets and indicators that would succeed the Millennium Development Goals.
Ministers will also discuss the illegal trade in wildlife, an issue that is generating increasing global attention due to its adverse impact on biodiversity. Other issues range from environmental rule of law to UNEP program of work and budget.
UNEA is a result of the call made by world leaders at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in Brazil in June of 2012, to strengthen and upgrade UNEP as the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda and by establishing universal membership in its Governing Council.
First Int'l Conference Concludes on UB Dialogue on Northeast Asian Security
Ulaanbaatar, June 19 (MONTSAME) An international conference of the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asian security took place June 17-18 in Ulaanbaatar.
Co-organized by Mongolia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Institute of Strategic Studies (ISS), the conference aimed to propagandize and explain the Mongolian President's initiative on Ulaanbaatar Dialogue for Northeast Asian security to scholars and researchers. They were received by the President Ts.Elbegdorj.
A member of the policy council at the Institute of Strategic Studies M.Batchimeg MP made the opening remarks at the conference addressing some 100 experts from Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, China, Russia, Japan, the USA, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK. After this the gathered exchanged views on a present situation in Northeast Asia, its security risks, proposals and initiatives on contributing to ensuring of regional security and peace, also matters related to economy and environment and strengthening peace and stability in the region.
Considering that this conference was a well-timed action, the participants decided to run it every year.
President of Dankook University awarded Polar Star for contribution to Mongol Studies
June 18 (news.mn) On the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Mongol Studies faculty at the Dankook University in South Korea, the President of the university, Ho-sung Chang, was awarded with the highest state honor, Altangadas, in accordance with a decree by the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj by Deputy Speaker R.Gonchigdorj on June 16th. The award was given for his efforts and contribution to the development of Mongol studies and for providing Mongol Studies scholars.
At the ceremony, held at the Embassy of South Korea to Mongolia, Dr. Ho-sung Chang expressed gratitude for receiving the highest state honor Altangadas and pledged to extend faculty training and activities in Mongol Studies and increase curriculum programs and to co-operate with Mongolian institutes.
For the event, representatives of the Embassy of South Korea to Mongolia, teachers and fellows from Dankook University, as well as Mongolian teachers who work for the University and the head of the Korean Association for Mongolian Studies were invited.
The Mongol Studies Faculty at Dankook University was found in 1993. Over the past years, over 230 graduates have graduated from the University in Mongolian language, history, culture and various research topics. Now there is even a Mongolian Studies Center run at the University.
Mongolia Signs Agreement with U.S. Government on Repatriating Dinosaur Fossils
June 20 (infomongolia.com) Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the United States of America Mr. Bulgaa ALTANGEREL signed an intergovernmental agreement between the Government of Mongolia and the United States in Washington D.C. on June 19, 2014.
On behalf of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a special representative of the International Operations at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Lucy Escamilla co-signed the document, where Head of Consular Section at the Embassy, Counsellor B.Munkhjargal and officer from Cultural Property, Art & Antiquities Investigations, Deborah Hardos were present.
In the scope of the Agreement, it states to officially repatriate some dinosaur fossils that were proved to have been smuggled from the territory of Mongolia and currently been transferred as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's property. The official repatriation ceremony anticipates to take place in the beginning of July 2014.
Dinosaur Repatriation Agreement Signed – Montsame, June 20
Alaska–Mongolia Ties Blossoming Thanks to Military Cooperation
by MENDEE JARGALSAIKHAN
June 17 (Asia Matters for America, East West Center) In 2011, the Alaska National Guard (AKNG) devised a colorful ribbon to present to its soldiers in recognition of their contributions to strengthening the partnership between Mongolia and the State of Alaska. To earn the State Partnership Program (SPP) Ribbon, the recipient must either have deployed to Mongolia or served with Mongolians in another country.
The Mongolia-Alaska SPP was launched in 2003, when the AKNG agreed to share its expertise in peace support operations, disaster management, and military reserves with the Mongolian military. Within a short period of time, the partnership grew immensely, including the embedding of two Alaskan guardsmen—an officer and senior non-commissioned officer—with each Mongolian contingent that served in Iraq (nine rotations from 2003 to 2008) and then in Afghanistan from 2009. As deployments with Western forces were new for the Mongolian military, the embedded Alaskan guardsmen played a significant role not only in facilitating tactical interoperability but also contributing knowledge-sharing and building partnerships between the two militaries. These joint deployments further increased the Alaskan Guards' participation in the annual peacekeeping exercise, Khaan Quest, as well as a disaster relief exercise, Gobi Wolf, in Mongolia, while also inviting Mongolians to participate in Alaskan National Guard exercises and training. In 2007, for example, over 80 Alaskan guards participated in the Khaan Quest exercise alongside 1,000 troops from a dozen other countries, including Mongolia.
The Alaska National Guard-Mongolia partnership also yields results in non-military areas. Alaska has hosted high-level political visits, shared its experience of redistributing natural resource revenues to citizens through the Alaska Permanent Fund, established a Sister City Partnership, and hosted business community exchanges. As a result of the sister city partnership between Fairbanks and the Mongolian copper mining city of Erdenet, academic exchanges and the number of Mongolian students coming to Alaska have increased significantly. Alaskan senator Lisa Murkowski ensured that the US-Mongolia partnership was honored with a resolution on its 20th anniversary in 2007.
Because members of the AKNG are also civilians with expertise in other areas, the partnership has expanded quickly – from the frontlines in Iraq and Afghanistan to schools and cities in Mongolia and Alaska. AKNG doctors have helped their Mongolian counterparts by showing them remotely located Alaskan civilian hospitals and clinics, as many communities in Mongolia are also very distant from major infrastructure. Alaskan police officers who serve in the AKNG have also set up new cooperative programs between civilian law enforcement agencies in Mongolia. This dual nature of Alaskan guard members has played a key role in strengthening the partnership between Mongolia and the State of Alaska. The many shared characteristics between Mongolia and Alaska, such as geographic and population sizes, landscape, and climate, have helped the citizens of both places to relate to each other, and the Alaska-Mongolia relationship has flourished as a result.
Mendee Jargalsaikhan is a Visiting Fellow at the East-West Center in Washington and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of British Columbia.
Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress
Mongolia: Issues for Congress
By Susan V. Lawrence, Specialist in Asian Affairs
June 17, 2014 (Congressional Research Service) --
Mongolia is a sparsely populated young democracy in a remote part of Asia, sandwiched between two powerful large neighbors, China and Russia. It made its transition to democracy and free market reforms peacefully in 1990, after nearly 70 years as a Soviet satellite state. A quarter of a century later, the predominantly Tibetan Buddhist nation remains the only formerly Communist Asian nation to have embraced democracy. Congress has shown a strong interest in Mongolia since 1990, funding assistance programs, approving the transfer of excess defense articles, ratifying a bilateral investment treaty, passing legislation to extend permanent normal trade relations, and passing seven resolutions commending Mongolia's progress and supporting strong U.S.-Mongolia relations.
Congressional interest is Mongolia has focused on the country's story of democratic development. Since passing a democratic constitution in 1992, Mongolia has held six direct presidential elections and six direct parliamentary elections. The State Department considers Mongolia's most recent elections to have been generally "free and fair" and said that in 2013, Mongolia "generally respected" freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and association. It raised concerns, however, about corruption and lack of transparency in government affairs.
On the economic front, Mongolia's mineral wealth, including significant reserves of coal, copper, gold, and uranium, offers investment opportunities for American companies. Foreign investors and the U.S. government have criticized Mongolia's unpredictable investment climate, however.
In the fall of 2013, Mongolia passed a new investment law and, after years of negotiations, signed a transparency agreement with the United States. Both developments served to reassure investors, although the Mongolian parliament has yet to ratify the transparency agreement.
Mongolia was among the first nations to join the coalition for the Iraq War and its troops have been deployed in Afghanistan since 2003. It is also an active contributor of troops to United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and, with the United States, hosts an annual multinational peacekeeping exercise in Mongolia known as Khaan Quest.
Mongolia is an active participant in many international organizations, in which it often supports U.S. positions. It has also been an active member of international groupings dedicated to promoting democracy, including the Community of Democracies, for which it held the rotating chairmanship from 2011 to 2013. In the summer of 2014, Mongolia is scheduled to take over the rotating chairmanship of the Freedom Online Coalition, which describes itself as "an inter-governmental coalition committed to advancing Internet freedom—free expression, association, assembly, and privacy online—worldwide." Mongolia is also in the process of joining the Open Government Partnership, a White House-backed multilateral initiative.
Mongolia seeks to maintain "balanced relations" with its two immediate neighbors, China and Russia. China has emerged as Mongolia's largest trading partner and foreign investor. Russia is Mongolia's largest source of energy products. Mongolia has diplomatic relations with both North and South Korea and has sought to play a role in reducing tensions on the Korean Peninsula. To ensure its continued independence and sovereignty, Mongolia has also prioritized the development of relations with so-called "third neighbors," countries that do not border Mongolia, but have close ties to Mongolia. That list includes the United States. In 1992, Mongolia declared itself a single-state nuclear-weapons-free zone; in 2012, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council each pledged to respect the designation.
Overview .......................................................................................................................................... 1
Democratic Development ................................................................................................................ 2
Challenges to Democracy and Human Rights ........................................................................... 2
The Corruption Case Against Former President Enkhbayar ...................................................... 3
Institutions and Electoral Procedures ........................................................................................ 4
Election Outcomes ..................................................................................................................... 5
Economic Issues .............................................................................................................................. 6
Investment Climate .................................................................................................................... 8
2013 Investment Law .......................................................................................................... 8
U.S.-Mongolia Transparency Agreement ............................................................................ 9
Flagship Mining Projects ......................................................................................................... 10
Oyu Tolgoi Copper and Gold Deposit ............................................................................... 10
Tavan Tolgoi Coal Deposit ................................................................................................ 10
Military Engagement ..................................................................................................................... 11
Contributions to the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq .................................................................. 11
Contributions to United Nations Peacekeeping Operations .................................................... 12
Foreign Policy ................................................................................................................................ 13
Participation in International Organizations ............................................................................ 14
Participation in International Democracy Promotion Initiatives ............................................. 15
Relations with the United States .............................................................................................. 15
High-level Visits ................................................................................................................ 16
Major Bilateral Agreements .............................................................................................. 17
U.S. Assistance to Mongolia ............................................................................................. 18
Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact ................................................................... 19
Select U.S. Government Programs in Mongolia ............................................................... 19
Relations with Russia .............................................................................................................. 20
Relations with China ............................................................................................................... 21
Ties to Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lama........................................................................ 21
Relations with Japan ................................................................................................................ 22
Relations with the Koreas ........................................................................................................ 23
Nuclear-Weapons-Free Status.................................................................................................. 24
Chinese Foreign Minister to Visit Mongolia June 24-26
Ulaanbaatar, June 19 (MONTSAME) Invited by the Foreign Minister L.Bold, his counterpart of China Mr Wang Yi will pay an official visit to Mongolia on June 24-26.
Wang Yi formerly served as China's Vice Foreign Minister, Ambassador to Japan, and Director of the Taiwan Affairs Office. As of March 2013, he is the Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China.
Wang was born in 1953 in Beijing. After graduating from high school in September of 1969, he was sent to Northeast China. He subsequently served in the Northeast Construction Army Corps in Heilongjiang Province for eight years. In December of 1977, Wang returned to Beijing, and in the same year was enrolled in the department of Asian and African Languages of Beijing International Studies University (BISU). He studied the Japanese language at the institution, graduating in February 1982 with a Bachelor's degree. Wang has been a member of the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in session between 2007 and 2012 and the current 18th Central Committee in session between 2012 and 2017.
Signing Ceremony for the Implementation of Four Grassroots Human Security Grant Aid Projects
June 19 (UNFPA) On the 19th of June, H.E. Mr. Takenori Shimizu, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Mongolia, signed the document with regard to the implementation, under the Japanese Government's Grassroots Human Security Grant Aid , for "The Project for Repairing the Hospital in Santmargaz Som of Zavkhan Aimag", "The Project for Repairing the School of Batsumber Soum in Tuv Aimag", "The Project for Repairing the School Dormitory in Zuunkhangai Som of Uvs Aimag" and "The Project for Repairing the General Health Center in Sukhbaatar District of Ulaanbaatar City ."
The amount of the grant aid of the above 4 projects totals USD361,675 (MNT654,630,000). In this financial year, 7 projects, including the above 4, have already been approved under the Grassroots Human Security Grant Aid towards Mongolia. The amount of the grant aid provided totals USD631,370 (MNT1,136,030,000).
The Government of Japan aims to cooperate for the solution of various issues in Mongolia as well as contribute to the development of Mongolia, by continuously utilizing the Grassroots Human Security Grant Aid. The Government of Japan considers the educational and social issues the local Mongolian communities face and promptly responds to the actual needs.
 The Grassroots Human Security Grant Aid was introduced by the Government of Japan in 1989. The grant aid is provided mainly by the Japanese diplomatic missions towards the projects which will benefit the grassroots level, implemented by local governments, educational and health agencies, etc. in the developing countries.
 Under the "The Project for Repairing the General Health Center in Sukhbaatar District of Ulaanbaatar City", protection shelter of the One Stop Service Center for the victims of domestic violence located at the Health Center will also be renovated. This One Stop Service Center for victims of domestic violence was established with the support from UNFPA.
Mongolia and Japan: Beyond Power Politics?
By Oka Hiroki
For a country that barely registered on Japan's radar 25 years ago, Mongolia has been receiving a lot of attention of late, not only as the birthplace of all three reigning sumō grand champions but also as the broker of a potential breakthrough in Japan–North Korea relations. Historian Oka Hiroki puts Mongolia's evolving relationship with Japan and other regional powers in historical perspective.
June 20 (Nippon.com) For some reason the Mongols always seem to catch the Japanese by surprise. From the Japanese viewpoint, the thirteenth-century Mongol invasion materialized out of thin air, as did the more recent "invasion" of talented sumō wrestlers from Mongolia. Many here were equally surprised to learn that Mongolia had acted as an intermediary between Tokyo and Pyongyang regarding the abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s.
The emergence of Mongolia as a possible mediator in East Asia is one reason why the Japanese government has begun to place more importance on relations with that nation. But the driving factor behind this rapidly evolving relationship may not be Mongolia's potential value to Japan so much as Japan's potential value to Mongolia.
National security is by definition a matter of survival, the issue of paramount concern to every state. For Mongolia, the fundamental question has always been how to survive as a small, resource-poor nation (current population 2.7 million) sandwiched between two powerful giants, China and Russia. Ever since Outer Mongolia declared its independence from China over 100 years ago, Mongols have relied almost exclusively on one basic strategy, that of turning regional rivalries between much larger powers to their own advantage. At one time, Japan was one of the key players in this regional drama, vying directly with China and Russia for control of the area encompassing modern Mongolia. Then came World War II, the Cold War, and the collapse of the Soviet Union. How has Mongolia adapted to these events, and how does Japan fit into its security strategy today?
Overview: Mongolia Between Two Powers
The Mongols' basic survival strategy came into play as early as 1911, when the nation took advantage of China's Xinhai Revolution to declare its independence under Bogd Gegeen Khan, the head of Tibetan Buddhism in Mongolia. Tapping into Czarist Russia's imperialist ambitions, the government of Bogd Khan secured a promise of Russian assistance in exchange for commercial privileges in a bilateral treaty signed in 1912.
After the 1917 Russian Revolution, Mongolia was occupied by Chinese forces seeking to regain lost territory and Russian White Guard forces fighting the Bolsheviks. The newly formed Mongolian People's Party secured the backing of the Soviet government, and in 1921 the Mongolian People's Army and the Soviet Red Army defeated the Chinese and White Russian forces. In July 1921, a socialist state was established with Bogd Khan as head of state, though invested with limited powers. With the death of Bogd Khan in 1924, the country was renamed the Mongolian People's Republic by the Great Khural (national assembly) and became a satellite state of the Soviet Union.
The Republic of China recognized the Mongolian People's Republic as an independent state in 1946, after World War II. Following the defeat of the Kuomintang and the birth of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Beijing and Moscow embarked on a brief honeymoon, with the result that Mongolia enjoyed friendly ties with China during the 1950s. But relations between China and Mongolia deteriorated as tensions between the two communist giants mounted. The Mongolian People's Republic gained admission to the United Nations as an independent state in 1961, though it remained a satellite state of the Soviet Union until 1990.
The High Cost of Russian Protection
On the face of it, the Mongols enjoyed some measure of success in their attempts to use great-power rivalries to further the cause of independence, but the costs of this strategy were high.
Between 1907 and 1917, Russia and Japan signed four secret conventions in which they delineated the Russian and Japanese spheres of influence in East Asia. As part of this process, Russia recognized Japan's special interests in Inner Mongolia in return for Tokyo's promise to respect Russian interests in Outer Mongolia—China's name for the remote Mongol-inhabited Chinese territories ranging north from the Gobi Desert. Having thus secured its own economic interests in Outer Mongolia, Russia had little to gain from Mongolian independence. Hoping to avoid conflict with China and Japan even while consolidating its own interests in Outer Mongolia, it refused to support unification of Inner and Outer Mongolia, and it forced Outer Mongolia to acknowledge Chinese suzerainty.
This policy continued under the early Soviet government. Then, having helped Mongolia eject the Chinese, the Soviet Union used the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (as it was renamed in 1924) to export its communist revolution. In the 1930s, Stalinist purges carried out under Mongolia's Moscow-controlled one-party dictatorship resulted in the execution of tens of thousands, many on charges of spying for the Japanese.
The Price of Japanese Support
In Inner Mongolia, a frontier region of China that had never been fully integrated into the Chinese empire, Mongol separatists followed a similar strategy as they sought to turn the ambitions of Imperial Japan to their own pan-Mongolian ends. Ultimately, they, too, were to pay a heavy price for nominal independence under the protection of a major power.
Babuujab, a native of eastern Inner Mongolia who rose to the position of military commander under Bogd Khan's regime, enlisted Japan's cooperation in the fight for Inner Mongolian autonomy after the governments of Russia, China, and Mongolia rejected the unification of Inner and Outer Mongolia in the 1915 Treaty of Kyakhta. This was the start of what came to be known as the second Mongolian independence movement.
In 1925, under the First United Front of the Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China, separatists in Inner Mongolia launched a revolt with the support of the Comintern and the Mongolian People's Republic. Although styled a revolution, the rebellion was oriented more to ethnic self-determination than to social transformation. When Japan's Kwantung Army invaded northeastern China in 1931 in a series of events known as the Manchurian Incident, some of the Inner Mongolian rebels allied themselves with the Japanese against the Chinese army. Once again, the aim was to harness Japanese power to gain Mongolian independence. The Inner Mongolian best known for his efforts to secure autonomy through collaboration with the Japanese was Prince Demchugdongrub, regarded by most historians as a puppet of Imperial Japan.
The Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo, founded in Manchuria in 1932, encompassed the eastern section of Inner Mongolia, an area the Japanese designated the Hsing'an (Xing'an) autonomous Mongol province. In 1936, with the backing of Manchukuo and Japan, Prince Demchugdongrub declared the independence of the remaining Mongol territories to the west, assuming leadership of the Mengjiang United Autonomous Government. Unfortunately, Mengjiang was never truly autonomous, let alone independent, and even the limited autonomy it enjoyed ended with Japan's defeat in World War II. Immediately after the war, regional leaders made a bid for unification with Outer Mongolia, but their hopes were quickly dashed. Even while designating Inner Mongolia an autonomous region, the Chinese government launched a brutal crackdown against the leaders of the separatist movement.
Notwithstanding the high price the Mongols paid for the assistance of major powers like Russia and Japan, it could be argued that their efforts bore fruit in the eventual emergence of a truly independent Mongol state, present-day Mongolia—so renamed in 1992, after the nation abandoned the Soviet model and adopted a multiparty presidential system. Because of this achievement, histories of Mongolia continue to treat the early leaders of the Mongol separatist movement as national heroes. Among those still honored is Khorloogiin Choibalsan, the Stalinist leader who oversaw the killing of thousands of Mongolian citizens in the purges of the 1930s and 1940s. To this day a statue of Choibalsan guards the entrance to the National University of Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar— not far from the National Library, where an image of Stalin stood until it was finally toppled in 1990.
Abridged Chronology of Modern Mongolia
Xinhai Revolution topples Qing dynasty; (Outer) Mongolia separates from China, establishes autonomous government
Mongolian government renounces autonomy; occupied by Chinese forces
People's government established in Outer Mongolia with Buddhist monarch Bogd Khan as head of state; independence declared (Mongolian Revolution)
Death of Bogd Khan; Mongolia declared a people's republic
Mongolian People's Republic admitted to United Nations
Mongolia and Japan establish diplomatic relations
Multiparty system instituted; socialism effectively abolished
Constitution comes into effect; name changed from Mongolian People's Republic to Mongolia
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan.
The basic geopolitical conditions of Mongolia's existence have not changed; it remains a small nation sandwiched between two giants, Russia and China. Today it enjoys friendly relations with China as well as Russia and pursues omnidirectional diplomacy, but it is searching for other powerful partners to enhance its security situation. The top candidates for this role are the United States and Japan. In a recent conversation with the author, a member of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences summed up the situation as follows: "Mongolia is looking to the United States for military security and to Japan for economic security."
Of course, in today's post-imperialist world, Mongolia needs to offer new inducements for cooperation by highlighting its unique assets. Something that has come up time and again in my discussions with Mongolian scholars is the notion that Mongolia is uniquely positioned to act as an intermediary between Japan and Russia, given its long acquaintance with Russia and its understanding of Russian character. If we apply the same reasoning to North Korea, we begin to understand how Mongolia came to play the role of mediator in recent talks between Tokyo and Pyongyang concerning the abduction issue.
In the past, when the Mongols turned to Japan in their quest for independence or autonomy, there was always a mismatch between the two countries' expectations of one another. To the Japanese, Mongolia was a country incapable of functioning independently, and so-called Mongolian independence was a sham, the product of self-interested Russian/Soviet machinations. Japan, following suit, treated Mongolia as a tool for advancing its own interests.
After a period of indifference, the Japanese have come to see Mongolia's unique potential value as a mediator—aiding in the resolution of disputes with North Korea and other countries in the region—not to mention a supplier of natural gas and other resources. The question now is whether they can recognize and appreciate the kind of shared values that go deeper than immediate self-interest.
About Oka Hiroki
Professor of Asian history (specializing in Mongol history), Center for Northeast Asian Studies, Tōhoku University. Received his doctorate from Waseda University in 2005. Has taught Asian history at Tōhoku Gakuin University and Tōhoku University Graduate School of International Cultural Studies. Author of Shindai Mongoru meiki seido no kenkyū (The Mongol League-Banner System of the Qing Dynasty) and other works.
Cops in Altantuya case face death or freedom, as apex court decides on acquittal
June 22 (Malaysian Insider) The Federal Court will determine which judgment from two separate courts is more credible when it hears Putrajaya's appeal tomorrow against the acquittal of two policemen for the 2006 murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu (pic).
Criminal lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad said prosecutors will defend the judgment of the High Court which found Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azahar Umar guilty of the crime and sentenced them to death.
Lawyers for the policemen, on the other hand, would impress upon the court that the three-man Court of Appeal bench was correct to free them after allowing their appeal and overturning the conviction, he said.
"It boils down to the five-man Federal Court bench determining which judgment was sound in law in deciding whether the policemen shall remain free or are guilty of the murder," he told The Malaysian Insider.
Amer said it was trite law that an appellate court would be reluctant to interfere with the findings of the trial court where the single judge was trier of fact and law.
"The appellate court would hesitate to reverse a ruling unless it was so compelling that the trial judge had wrongly applied the law to the facts of the case," he added.
The appeal has been fixed for three days.
The prosecution said in its petition of appeal that the conviction was safe even without the testimony of prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's aide-de-camp, DSP Musa Safri.
It said that there was no necessity to put Musa on the stand as he was only a peripheral figure in the case.
The Court of Appeal had ruled on August 23, 2013 that the prosecution's failure to call Musa had weakened Putrajaya's case against the two cops.
The policemen, formerly with the Special Action Unit (UTK), had been found guilty of murdering Altantuya in 2006.
Abdul Razak Baginda, who was Altantuya's lover, was acquitted by the High Court in 2009 of a charge of abetment without his defence being called.
The prosecution did not appeal his acquittal.
It emerged during the trial that Razak, a confidante of Najib, enlisted Musa's help as he could not tolerate the harassment from Altantuya.
The appeals court in its judgment said the circumstantial evidence presented by the prosecution was insufficient to fit the ingredient of the murder charge.
Who's who in the Altantuya murder case
A Mongolian national, she was murdered and C4 explosives were used to dispose of her remains in a deserted area in Shah Alam on October 19, 2006.
The 28-year-old translator had come to Kuala Lumpur to look for Abdul Razak Baginda, a former political analyst who had confessed in an affidavit that Altantuya was his lover.
Altantuya, who was last seen outside Razak's house in Damansara, arrived in a taxi but was allegedly taken away by chief inspector Azilah Hadri in a car.
Abdul Razak Baginda
A close associate of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the 50-year-old former political analyst became prominent in 2006 when he was charged with abetting the murder of Altantuya. He was acquitted in 2008 without his defence being called.
Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azahar Umar
Both were police commandos attached to the Bukit Aman Special Action Squad and were in Najib's security detail.
They were jointly charged with the murder of Altantuya. They were convicted by the High Court in Shah Alam in 2009 and sentenced to death.
They appealed against their conviction and the Court of Appeal freed them after setting aside the conviction and sentence. The prosecution appealed to the Federal Court.
Azilah, 38, was introduced to Razak by Musa Safri but never knew Altantuya, while Sirul, 42, never knew Razak Baginda nor Altantuya.
Datuk Wong Kian Keong
Wong was Razak Baginda's defence counsel. He was a government lawyer before joining private practice.
Recently, Wong received a Datukship and on Friday was appointed a Judicial Commissioner.
A former policeman, Balasubramaniam, or P.I. Bala as he was popularly referred to, was the prosecution's crown witness in the murder trial as he had served as a security officer to Razak Baginda.
Razak Baginda hired Bala to keep Altantuya away from his office, where she was said to be harassing him. Bala was also asked to stop her from going to Razak's home.
Bala died of a heart attack on March 15 last year, just weeks after returning from forced exile in India.
On July 3, 2008, Bala implicated Najib and several others in Altantuya's murder in a statutory declaration (SD).
However, he retracted the first SD by attesting to a second SD the following day, in which he claimed the first was done under duress.
His widow and children have now filed a civil suit against nine people, including Najib, over their forced exile.
DSP Musa Safri
He was an aide to Najib, when the latter was deputy prime minister.
The Court of Appeal, in allowing the appeal of Azilah and Sirul against their conviction, said the prosecution's case was weakened by its failure not to call Musa as a witness.
However, Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail has maintained that Musa's testimony had no relevance as the whole narrative of the prosecution's case unfolded during the trial.
The late Karpal Singh held a watching brief for Dr Setev Shaariibuu, the father of Altantuya at the trial.
Karpal attempted to call Najib as a witness and recall Bala for further examination to introduce fresh evidence during the trial.
However, trial judge Datuk Mohd Zaki Mohd Yassin dismissed the application as in a criminal trial only the prosecution can decide who it intends to put on the witness stand.
Karpal died in a road mishap along the North-South Expressway on April 17 while on his way to Penang.
Dr Setev Shaariibuu
Altantuya's father is former lecturer in Mongolia. He attended court proceedings regularly and occasionally held press conferences, pleading that a fair trial be conducted for the truth of his daughter's murder to be unearthed.
He alleged in one such press conference on April 10, 2012, that his daughter "came to Malaysia to work and specifically to meet Najib".
Setev filed a RM100-million civil suit against Razak Baginda, Azilah, Sirul and the Malaysian government in June 2007. – June 22, 2014.
After close proximity arrest, Altantuya murder suspect in hot water for punching cop – The Malaysian Insider, June 22
Representatives of Southeast Asian Nations on Learning Journey in Mongolia
June 20 (infomongolia.com) Eleven Asian delegates representing Bhutan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India and Nepal are visiting Mongolia to learn and exchange experiences on civic engagement and decentralization, which is conducted on June 15-21, 2014.
The "learning journey" is hosted by the Office of the President of Mongolia and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and facilitated by the Local Governance Initiative and Network in Asia (LOGIN).
LOGIN is a South and East Asian multi-stakeholder network aiming to aid reform agendas that work in favour of greater decentralization and strengthened role of local governments through the exchange of knowledge among members on good practices, relevant experiences and lessons learnt. The network seeks to promote accountable, transparent and inclusive decentralized governance in Asia, allowing greater involvement of citizens in leading and managing local development.
One of the key activities of LOGIN is "structured learning visits" (learning journeys), where members learn from each other's experiences and share best practices on specific topics. The topic of the current learning journey in Mongolia, which is a member of LOGIN, is civic engagement for better local service delivery.
In this regard, Mongolia's current endeavours in promoting greater decentralization and promotion of civic engagement in local decision making have much to offer for LOGIN members. They present an opportunity to experience, learn and share about how sub-national governments are being encouraged to observe and foster inclusive democratic processes and provide services responding to citizens' needs.
During her stay in Ulaanbaatar, LOGIN learning journey facilitator and team leader Preeta Lall commented, "The first thing that captured our interests to come to Mongolia is the conviction of the Government in the way they are rolling out the reform process. Therefore, there are mostly government representatives in our group. We are deeply interested by the change that is being affected through the Budget Law of 2011. Through that, a lot of changes have taken place in Mongolia".
NUM law graduates save party money and rally law firms to donate to National Cancer Center
June 18 (news.mn) Over 120 graduates from the School of Law, National University of Mongolia, are looking donate to the Department of Radiotherapy of the National Cancer Center of Mongolia on June 18th by saving money from the party they would usually throw in 2014.
These graduates received support from other law firms and collected 9.3 million MNT, that can be used to buy a defibrillator for the Department of Radiotherapy of the National Cancer Center.
The ceremony for the donation of the heart therapeutic defibrillator to the Department of Radiotherapy at the National Cancer Center is happening tody, June 18th.
There will also be a book donation that aims to create a library for children at the National Cancer Center.
Mongolia parliament discussing education reform to shape the '21st Century Mongolian'
Ulaanbaatar, June 20 (MONTSAME) The parliamentary Standing committee on social policy, education, culture and science Friday organized a discussion themed "Developmental ways and solutions for higher and vocational education" in the State House.
This discussion ran in conjunction with formulating the state policy on education. A chairman of working group to draw up the policy Ya.Sodbaatar addressed the gathered, stressing that the state policy on education, passed in 1995, must be updated to refine a quality and content of education and to get a clause on ensuring trained staffers with job places at the market. "This document must determine the Mongolian of the 21st century and form a competitiveness of Mongolia at the educational sector," he said.
A head of the Strategy, Policy and Planning Department of the Ministry of Education and Science B.Nasanbayar gave a report titled "State policy on education and reforms", underlining that Mongolia is putting the educational sector in one of the social priorities. After this, an advisor to the project on reforms for higher education R.Bat-Erdene delivered "Tendency and prospect of higher education" report to highlight a comparative study of educational tendencies of foreign countries and their training programmes.
The discussion attracted D.Battsogt, a head of the Standing committee on social policy, education, culture and science; A.Bakei, a head of the Standing committee on state structure; L.Gantomor, the Minister of Education and Science; Yo.Otgonbayar, S.Odontuya, L.Erdenechimeg; D.Lundeejantsan MPs; directors of universities, institutes and vocational training centers.
Suicide attempt at Supreme Court after property decision
June 18 (news.mn) A desperate woman attempted to commit suicide at the Supreme Court after she heard the court's decision regarding a property case on Tuesday June 17th.
According to unconfirmed sources, the woman claimed she was homeless as a result of a one-sided prosecutor`s office and court decision.
The woman appealed to the Supreme Court on Tuesday to resolve the argument about apartment ownership, however she lost the battle.
Chingeltei District Police Department has arrested the woman.
Mongolia plans anti-discrimination laws
By Lisa Gardner
Mongolia's government plans new hate crimes legislation in response to attacks on homosexuals and foreigners.
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, June 22 (Al Jazeera) The government here has embarked on a series of sweeping reforms to the country's legal system, including provisions that aim to prevent crimes of hate, bigotry and discrimination.
Hate crime has emerged as a serious issue in Mongolia, rising to international prominence in 2011 when nationalist groups - many of whom draw from neo-Nazi ideology - were found responsible for numerous attacks against the country's Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) population, and foreign migrant communities.
Though reliable statistics are hard to come by, rights groups say vicious attacks continue to mar Mongolia's human rights record.
On April 10, three foreign men were physically attacked by a neo-Nazi group at a rock concert in Ulaanbaatar, the capital. In February, a homosexual man who later died was sexually assaulted by homophobic nationalists: police first refused to register his case, because male-to-male rape is not considered a crime under domestic law.
A civil rights advocate, who asked not to be named, described the event as a hate crime. "We are not sure whether later [the victim] was murdered - or whether he killed himself," he says.
The legal reform proposals, announced in May, include a review of anti-discrimination provisions in the country's criminal code. Civil rights groups are calling for the inclusion of hate-based motivation as an aggravating factor in criminal sentencing.
"Hate-motivated acts need to be included as a crime category," says Bataa Bayaraa, head of the Mongolian National Human Rights Commission's Complaints and Inquiry Division. "That's why we proposed to include provisions … [for] those acts where perpetrators pressure, threaten and interfere with the daily lives of people out of hatred."
It comes as Mongolia's Justice Minister Kh Temuujin, who has faced a series of recent scandals, embarks upon an expansive legal-reform agenda.
At present, no measures exist to further penalise perpetrators for suspected bias-motivated violence, nor are law enforcement agencies required to outline suspected intent.
It is not yet clear what these draft measures would deploy as additional penalties for those found guilty of hate-motivated acts. As currently drafted, the law would require training of law enforcement agencies to recognise and report cases of suspected hate-based acts. This, say advocates, will prove vital in gathering reliable records.
In late May, the ministry of justice, responsible for submission of the draft to parliament, removed hate-oriented provisions, replacing these with generalised references to "discrimination".
Some argue this may lead to broader, unintended implications. "They had intended to draft hate crimes into law," explains Anaraa Nyamdorj, executive director of the country's LGBT Centre.
"Instead they've codified discrimination, drafting it in such a way - so broad - that it will be very difficult to bring down to an implementation level. It means that Mongolia could very well be one of the first countries in the world to criminalise the very concept of discrimination almost entirely."
The initial draft, produced by a working group made up of rights groups and justice ministry officials in January this year, had included specific provisions for crimes of "hate bias".
Provisions would, in a similarly unprecedented move, establish penalties and reparations that would recognise psychological, as well as physical, damage caused by such crimes.
Discrimination in Mongolia
"Anti-discrimination provisions are included to some extent in the laws of every sector; for instance, under labour and family laws," explains Bayaraa, himself a member of the working group.
The National Human Rights Commission lent its support to the inclusion of hate-based provisions in light of numerous complaints it received, which found that, in such circumstances, "motivations are special and not like that of any other similar crimes", says Bayaraa.
Many had hoped that the country's anti-discrimination laws would be extended to include restrictions on offending, insulting or humiliating people because of their sexual orientation.
As it stands, the far-reaching law risks being perceived as a threat to free speech.
"It runs the risk of being seen in a negative light - people can't even say what they want to because then it will be considered discrimination," Anaraa says. "Then if it's discrimination, it's a crime, so I can't even fully express myself."
Discrimination, seen as a possible precursor to hate crimes, remains prominent in Mongolia. The National Human Rights Commission said in 2012, almost 80 percent of people surveyed who identified themselves as LGBT had experienced some form of human rights abuse in the previous three-year period. Almost three-quarters had considered suicide one or more times, "due to society's intolerance and failure to understand them", the commission reported.
In September 2009, for example, three transgendered women were kidnapped at one of the city's most vibrant promenades, in broad daylight, by a local hyper-nationalist group. In a 2011 documentary titled Lies of Liberty, one of the victims said they were driven to a cemetery on the city's outskirts. "Nine men were there and were beating us in different ways," she explains.
The film outlines how the women were also sexually assaulted before being forced to conduct sexual acts on the perpetrators. The women say they were targeted because of their sexual orientation, with the men describing the vicious assaults as a "warning to their kind", one victim says.
Politics of justice
The country's legal reform agenda is further complicated by recent efforts to remove the minister of justice over allegations of drug-use and salacious behaviour. In early May, local MPs lodged parliamentary petitions calling for his removal. Temuujin has denied the claims and so far kept his job.
Temuujin enjoys broad, continued support among the country's civil society groups. Many fear legal reforms would be indefinitely postponed if he was ousted.
"Temuujin is a young politician, and one who is trying to transform the law," says Altanchimeg Delegchoimbol, head of UNAIDS Mongolia. "Mongolia's parliament is filled with many long-standing lawyers, who feel that the original criminal code - the one that they drafted - is the best. As a result, the criminal code of Mongolia has always been a law that is extremely difficult to amend."
Bayaraa says the draft law, though likely to face substantive amendments throughout the course of parliamentary sessions, is likely to be passed.
Others have expressed uncertainty as to whether hate-crimes legislation should be a priority, given its provisions serve for the protection of minorities.
Yet for some, the changes cannot come soon enough.
"An issue like this can no longer be ignored," says Anaraa of the LGBT Centre. "We cannot wait for these constitutional amendments to be passed. We need to take whatever we can ... and run with it. Right now, lives are being affected irreversibly."
Google cameras spotted filming in Mongolia
By James Watkins
June 19 (UB Post) On Thursday, June 12th, Google Street View Cameras were spotted filming at the Chinggis Khan Equestrian Statue at Tsonjin Boldog by UB Post staff.
This implies that certain monuments and cultural sites around Mongolia will soon be viewable through the Google Street View platform, although it is unclear whether or not this marks the start of extensive Street View coverage of roadways in the country.
Google Street View is a feature of Google Maps and Google Earth that allows users to see 360-degree panoramic views at any point along covered roads, as if they were there themselves. These images are typically filmed by specially adapted Street View Cars, which have driven down well over eight million kilometers of roads worldwide to give comprehensive coverage of 48 countries, with official or unofficial reports of filming taking place in a further 16 countries.
More recently, Google has started to send smaller vehicles, such as tricycles, snowmobiles, and trolleys to places inaccessible by cars, as well as the backpack-held "Street View Trekker" camera. The Trekker equipment spotted in Mongolia features nine directional cameras on an antenna to capture fully panoramic images. Google has recently made the Street View Trekker equipment available for tourist boards, non-profit institutions, universities, research organizations, or other third parties, to rent to collect images on Google's behalf; it is not clear whether the activity in Mongolia is a centrally-run Google project or being orchestrated by a third party.
Google Street View coverage is being extended to various monuments and cultural sites around the world as part of the Google Cultural Institute project. One hundred and sixty-six "World Wonders" are currently featured as part of this project, from France's Eiffel Tower to the canals of Venice, including 56 sites in Asian countries, including Japan, Cambodia, and India. The appearance of Google cameras at the Chinggis Khan Equestrian Statue suggests that Mongolia might soon join this list.
Although Google has yet to comment or officially confirm that cameras are operational in Mongolia, in addition to our sighting of a Street View Trekker, a Twitter user also posted a photo of the Trekker being used to film at the 13th Century National Park.
Currently, normal photographs—sourced by Google from a third party website—of a number of important locations in Mongolia, such as Sukhbaatar Square, can be viewed via the Street View service, however specially-filmed Street View photography is panoramic and interactive. It is unclear how long it will take for these images currently being recorded in Mongolia to be published online.
The news of Google Trekkers filming Mongolian cultural sites comes roughly six months after the Mongolian language was included as part of the Google Translate service. This breakthrough was announced at the November 2011 visit to Mongolia by the Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, during which he met with the then-Prime Minister, Sukhbaataryn Batbold. It was reported that the extension of permissions of Street View cameras was discussed at that 2011 meeting, as well as Mongolian proposals to establish a Google Data Center in Ulaanbaatar, however there are currently no indications that this latter proposal is being followed through with.
90% of soums connected to high speed optic cables
Ulaanbaatar, June 19 (MONTSAME) The "Prime Minister's 30 minutes" weekly meeting was held Thursday with an online meeting to accept the use of the Internet service in remote soums.
In frames of the "Reforms and renovation of IT and communications" project, about 9,000 km high-speed optic cables and transmission stations were installed in 150 soums, which means that 90% of all soums of Mongolia have got provided with the high speed Internet and online services.
During the meeting, the Premier N.Altankhuyag met online with civil delegates of Bayankhongor aimag's Jargalant, Bayan-Olgii's Tsagaannuur, Sukhbaatar's Tumentsogt, Omnogobi's Khurmen and Bulgan's Teshig soums and congratulated them on getting the Internet.
Opportunities have increased thus to run for most remote places online trainings and meetings and to make diagnosis, the PM noted.
Russia and Mongolia to strengthen cooperation in preventing and fighting natural fires in border areas
June 17 (EMERCOM of Russia) Russia and Mongolia are going to strengthen cooperation in the area of preventing and fighting natural fires in border areas. The agreement was reached today in Ulan-Bator during the meeting of representatives of the Federal Forestry Agency, the Emergencies Ministry's Main Office for the Trans-Baikal Territory, Mongolian State Emergency Situations Agency and Ministry of Nature, Environment and Green Development. The main subject on the agenda was prevention of and protection against forest and wild fires in the border areas of Russia and Mongolia.
During the meeting Alexey Zverev, Head of the Civil Defense Directorate of the Emergencies Ministry's Main Office for the Trans-Baikal Territory discussed with the representatives of provinces Dornod and Khentiy bordering the Trans-Baikal Territory information of the sides in case of forest and wild fires on the border. The parties specified the procedure for the drills with border fire crews of the Trans-Baikal Territory Main Office and Mongolian State Emergency Situations Agency on simplified passing the state border.
The meeting also heard reports on organization of activities to prevent and fight wild fires in border areas of the Trans-Baikal Territory, the Republic of Buryatia, Tuva and Mongolian provinces Selenge, Bulgan, Dornod and Khentiy.
The parties decided to make amendments to the draft Russian-Mongolian Intergovernmental Agreement on protection against forest fires signed in 1995.
Global Peace Index 2014: Mongolia – Improves 25 Spots to #41 Most Peaceful Nation in the World
June 19 (infomongolia.com) On June 18, 2014, the Institute for Economics and Peace in association with the Economist Intelligence Unit has released the annual Global Peace Index for 2014 measuring peace in 162 countries according to 22 indicators that gauge the absence of violence or the fear of violence.
This is the 8th edition has been produced that analyses the state of peace around the world. It identifies the most and least peaceful countries, trends in violence and conflict, and calculates the economic impact of violence. This year the report includes a section on countries at risk of becoming less peaceful in the new two years.
The 2014 Global Peace Index shows a continuation of the seven year trend for declining levels of peace globally.
- Since 2008, 51 countries have improved while 111 countries have deteriorated in peace
- The world has become 4% less peaceful since 2008
- Europe remains the most peaceful region, with 14 of the top 20 most peaceful countries
- Syria has replaced Afghanistan at the bottom of the index, with its Global Peace Index score falling 84% since 2008
- Georgia showed the largest improvement in peace levels
- The total economic impact of containing violence is estimated to be US$9.46 trillion in 2012
The top three most peaceful countries are Iceland, Denmark and Austria. Small and stable democracies make up the top ten most peaceful countries. New Zealand, Canada and Japan are the only non-European countries in the top ten.
The three least peaceful countries are South Sudan, Afghanistan and Syria. Levels of peace in South Sudan deteriorated the most since 2013, falling 16 places from last year.
The economic impact of containing and dealing with the consequences of global violence last year was estimated to be US$9.8 trillion. This is equivalent to 11.3% of global GDP – twice the combined GDP of African countries.
This years' Global Peace Index includes a new statistical modelling risk tool which identifies countries at risk of descending into violence and unrest in the next two years. The new methodology analyses a data set stretching back to 1996, and compares countries with the performance of states with similar institutional characteristics.
The ten countries most likely to deteriorate in peace in the next two years are Zambia, Haiti, Argentina, Chad, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nepal, Burundi, Georgia, Liberia and Qatar.
Mongolia is ranked at the 41st place out of 162 states surveyed with a score of 1.778, which is decreased by 0.17 compare to 2013 Index and Mongolia's ranking in the 2014 GPI improved by 25 places. The score change was primarily affected by a lower level of organized conflict, as well as political instability and political terror. In all three cases, these were brought down to scores of 1-2, close to the lowest possible.
Over the past year, the country has benefited from general political stability, aided by the re-election of Tsakhia ELBEGDORJ of the Democratic Party in June 2013. Externally, although an increase in military spending and nuclear and heavy weapons capabilities eroded the score, the continues to benefit from a highly pragmatic foreign policy with its much larger neighbors, Russia and China, while also strengthening relations with regional powers such as Japan, South Korea and also with the US.
Despite this, the country remains at risk of political turbulence, while high inflation and nationalist sentiment over the presence of foreign mining firms keep the door open to potential unrest.
June 18 (news.mn) The Golden Reel International Film Festival, taking place in Ulaanbaatar on June 21st, has received 33 entries of short films so far. The "Underground Film Festival Mongolia" has been was organized once before in 2013, and is now being held as an international film festival.
The judges panel for the festival include Busan International Film Festival 2013 winner and Mongolian director, S.Byamba, co-founder of the art film NGO Golden Reel, film director Sh.Ikhbayar, art director Yo.Dalkh-Ochir, writer and poet G.Ayurzana, and Editor of Goodali journal, A.Amarmend.
During the Golden Reel International Film Festival the organizers will promote the local film industry as well as screening foreign underground, avant-garde films to Mongolian audiences with the official rights. The festival will also show Mongolian film makers` and the art-film NGO film makers` short films.
The opening of the Golden Reel International Film Festival will be held at the Student Theatre at the Mongolian University of Arts and Culture at 11.00 pm on Saturday, June 21st.
Herbie's Great Adventure: NUM Dendroecological Fieldweek
Kristen de Graauw and Cari Leland
June 20 (Mongolian Climate, Ecology & Culture Blog) Cari and Kristen here, checking in from Mongolia. This year we were invited to be instructors for the Third National Dendroecological Fieldweek, May 23-29 in Udleg, Mongolia. We arrived to Ulaanbaatar on May 20th so we were fortunate enough to have a few days to recover from some pretty terrible jetlag before beginning the fieldweek marathon. Anyone who has ever attended a fieldweek anywhere in the world knows how challenging (and rewarding!) these events can be. Our first few days of the fieldweek were spent at the NUM (National University of Mongolia) research station near Udleg, a few hours north of UB. We were so happy to see the beautiful countryside for a few days. We got to ride there in this awesome Russian vehicle, which Cari nicknamed Herbie.
A precarious life in Mongolia's north
By Anna Kaminski
June 10 (BBC Travel) We had been riding nonstop for five hours, our mounts alternately cantering through meadows and picking their way through evergreen forest. The land became increasingly bare and mountainous, a forbidding landscape under a leaden sky. On the final descent into the valley we dismounted; easier than inching downhill along the treacherous, muddy slope. I was exhausted.
In the valley we saw a couple of dozen tepees in two clusters, the rising smoke announcing human presence. We were greeted by scores of barking dogs; unlike typical Mongolian strays, these were well-fed Husky-like hunting animals.
(Clusters of tepees in the Tsaatan camp. (Anna Kaminski))
My guide, Mishig, and I were ushered into a tepee by an ancient-looking woman wearing a traditional Mongolian deel (kaftan), her weathered face and few remaining teeth telling of a lifetime of hard living. A cauldron of water was boiling and the woman's daughter made milky tea. I opted to camp next to her tepee. A curious and begrimed little girl attached herself to me, looking up expectantly as I prepared my rehydrated mash and peas. She opened her mouth like a little bird; I spoon-fed her, feeling maternal.
We were visiting the Tsaatan, a tiny, marginalised community of around 500 people who live in the mountains and taiga (swampy coniferous forest) along the Russian border, just north of Mongolia's Lake Khuvsgul. These reindeer herders are a nomadic tribe, moving from pasture to pasture every five weeks or so in search of lichen that's essential to the wellbeing of their reindeer. Originally from Russia's Tuva region and speaking both Mongolian and Tuvan, the process of forced collectivisation during decades of Communism cost the Tsaatan most of their reindeer, and these days their existence is a very precarious one. There are only around 15 to 20 animals left per family, and they supplement their livelihood by fishing, hunting elk and gathering wild berries and potatoes.
(Tsaatan girl rounding up her family's reindeer, including one of the bull males. (Anna Kaminski))
I was introduced to Zaya, an English-speaking member of the community, who expertly kneaded dough while chatting to me.
"January to March is the hungriest time for us. To make dumplings for the Tsaagan Sar (White Moon) festival in February we gather the last of our flour and as for the filling, we hope that one of the men has managed to hunt down an elk," Zaya said.
"Do you eat your reindeer?" I asked.
"Very, very rarely, as we have so few; we need them for the milk and as pack animals."
These days, the Tsaatan no longer dress in reindeer hides and their tepees are covered with waterproof canvas, but their animals still take care of most their needs.
I followed as Zaya headed across the clearing with a tin pail in her hand. She tied her reindeer's front legs to stop it from running off and squatted down, milking the animal with quick, practised squeezes. "Reindeer produce only around 300ml per session. We milk them twice a day." This small amount of milk is then converted into a dry, crumbly, slightly salty cheese. "This is a dying practise, even among the reindeer people. We've had some Sámi visitors [from Finland] taking photos to show their grandparents, as they don't milk reindeer anymore."
(Tsaatan tepee and solar panel. (Anna Kaminski))
The affection that the Tsaatan feel for their animals is evident, and the community suffers when any of them are killed. "Last week we lost two young reindeer to wolves," Zaya told me. As we talked, a reindeer poked its head into the opening of the tepee. "That's Britney Spears; she's here for her salt lick." Zaya explained that deer seek out salty mineral deposits to satisfy a craving for nutrients that aren't found in the grass and lichen they eat. She poured some salt in my hand so that I could feed the members of Led Zeppelin, her other five reindeer. They were very tame and followed me around, pushing their warm muzzles into my hand and peering curiously into my tent.
I asked Zaya about the large cloth bundle that was hanging in the back of her tepee – whether they stored herbs or food in it. She explained that it was a sacred bundle and an intrinsic part of Shamanist rituals that play an important part in Tsaatan lives.
"We bring it out on good days, burn juniper under it as offering in the mornings, and never point our feet at it," she said. The community has its own shaman, who fulfils a spiritual role as well as that of a healer. "Spirits choose those who become shamans; if you deny your calling, you can become seriously ill."
Visitors to the community are a sore point. For years Mongolian- and foreigner-run tour companies, mostly based in Ulaanbaatar, have been bringing expeditions here without any consideration of, or benefit to, the Tsaatan. In 2006 the Tsaatan Community and Visitors' Centre (TCVC) was established in the nearest town of Tsagaannuur with the aim of putting the Tsaatan in charge of visits to their community. For a short time it appeared to have worked, but Zaya said that it's now back to the status quo, with most companies conducting their tours with utter disregard for the Tsaatan.
(Tsaatan handicrafts, including carved antlers, reindeer skin pouches, soapstone carvings and leatherwork. (Anna Kaminski))
"We are happy to have guests as long as they are truly interested in interacting with us and learning about our way of life. We get many tourists who come here without an interpreter, drop trash, wash their dishes in our drinking water and just take photos of us, making us feel as if we're in a zoo," she said.
"How would the Tsaatan want the visits to be conducted?" I asked
"Visitors should give us advance warning, like any regular guests. It's best to bring an interpreter so that they can actually talk to us. Contribute to the community by staying in guest tepees, or purchase handicrafts we make. Also, it's very important that visitors come on horses that we provide through the TCVC; we've had some horses who'd never seen reindeer; one of them freaked out and crippled our reindeer so then she had to be put down."
In spite of the hardships and the prejudice, the Tsaatan way of life attracts outsiders. A Frenchwoman comes here every summer to visit the sons she had with a Tsaatan man, and Zaya herself is a Mongolian who grew up in Colorado and has been living with the Tsaatan for the past six years.
"Why do you stay?" I asked.
"For love," she said simply, taking in the tepee she shares with her husband, and the reindeer peering in.
I understood what she meant.
Mongolian Death Worm: Elusive Legend of the Gobi Desert
By Benjamin Radford, Live Science Contributor
June 21 (LiveScience) It sounds like a fantastic, lethal creature that might be found in a 1950s pulp science-fiction novel (or sci-fi television movie), but some people believe that a large, deadly worm-like creature called the Mongolian Death Worm exists in the Gobi desert.
According to British biologist Karl Shuker in his book "The Unexplained: An Illustrated Guide to the World's Paranormal Mysteries" (2002, Metro Books) "One of the world's most sensational creatures may be concealed amid the sands of the southern Gobi desert. ... It is said to resemble a large fat worm, up to 1 meter (3 feet) long and dark red in color, with spike-like projections at both ends. It spends much of its time hidden beneath the desert sands, but whenever one is spotted lying on the surface it is scrupulously avoided by the locals."
According to legend, the dreaded Mongolian Death Worm — which local people call olgoi-khorkhoi or loosely translated, "large intestine worm" — has lived up to its name. It can kill in several fearsome ways, including spitting a stream of corrosive venom that is lethal to anything it hits, and if that doesn't do the trick it is said to be able to electrocute its victims from a distance. Rarely seen and never photographed, it was mentioned in a 1926 book by paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews, who didn't believe in the animal's existence but noted that stories of it circulated in Mongolia.
Seeking the death worm
Despite — or perhaps because of — the creature's fearsome name (they don't call it the Mongolian Happiness Worm, after all) many intrepid explorers have set out into the Gobi desert seeking the beast. Numerous organized expeditions and searches have been made over the years, by both independent researchers and in conjunction with television shows. Despite extensive searches, eyewitness interviews, and even setting traps for the beast, all have come back empty-handed.
Many of those who believe in the creature acknowledge that there is no hard evidence of its existence, but instead believe that legends and stories of them must have some basis in historical truth. The descriptions (mostly second- and third-hand stories) from different places and times are too similar, they believe, to be anything but independent eyewitness reports.
From a folkloric perspective, however, this is simply a sign that legends and stories of the Death Worm have spread throughout the region, as commonly happens through trade and travel. Many people around the world can offer very similar descriptions of dragons, leprechauns, mermaids, and other fantastic (presumably non-existent) creatures — not from personal experience but from hearing about them from others.
So is there a real animal behind the stories and legends? It seems doubtful. Compared to the North American Bigfoot or the Himalayan Yeti — for which there are dozens or hundreds of alleged footprints, photographs, for example — there is virtually no evidence of its existence.
Consider also that no live or dead ones have been found. Every other creature known to exist has left behind a dead body or skeleton. In fact, the Gobi would likely preserve carcasses of the animal, due to the relative lack of predators and hot desert winds that slow decomposition. Inhabitants of the Gobi are aware of the global interest in their mystery monster, as well as offers of rich rewards for one of the creatures, live or dead, and if one was found it would surely come to light.
Legends and evidence
A zoological perspective may help us sort fact from fiction in the legend of the Mongolian Death Worm. First of all, we should not be misled by the "worm" in its name; that's an English translation. The creature — if it exists in the inhospitable Gobi desert — could not be a soft, fleshy worm; instead, it is likely a type of snake or legless lizard. This also means it would be a vertebrate animal with a spine that would presumably be found by searchers.
A variety of explanations have been offered for the animal, including perhaps a misidentified or new species of snake. The consensus among researchers such as Shuker and author Richard Freeman is that the Mongolian Death Worm likely does not exist, and the belief is instead based upon sightings of either a type of limbless reptile known as worm lizard (which resembles a large worm, burrows underground and can reach several feet in length), or a type of sand boa snake.
Of course, not all the characteristics of the worm lizard or sand boa are a perfect match for the Death Worm: for example terrestrial snakes can't deliver lethal electric shocks (the way that electric eels — which are actually fish, not eels — for example, can). For that matter, several venomous snakes (primarily cobras and vipers) can spit poison, which, although not acidic, can certainly cause harm and blindness. Yet these reputed characteristics are based not on hard data but myths and stories (some accounts of the Death Worm even claim that its venomous spittle can corrode metal instantly, which is physically impossible). With allowances made for the exaggeration found in rumor, legend, and folklore, the worm lizard or a sand snake seem likely candidates.
It is of course possible that the Mongolian Death Worms exist (of course there would have to be more than one of them to sustain what biologists call a breeding population, likely tens or hundreds of thousands of them). Perhaps next week, next month, or next year such a bizarre creature will be found and examined by scientists. Until then it seems likely that Roy Chapman Andrews's assessment nearly a century ago was correct: the creature is merely legend.
Benjamin Radford, M.Ed., is deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine and author of seven books including Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore and Lake Monster Mysteries: Investigating the World's Most Elusive Creatures. His website is www.BenjaminRadford.com.
Our continuing fascination with the Mongolian death worm – Digital Journal, June 21
Mongolian contortionist sisters on 'America's Got Talent' Sunday night
By Briana Erickson
June 21 (Ocala.com) Erdenesuvd Ganbaatar says her first instinct as a child was to entertain. She could move her body in ways that nobody else could.
As a 6-year-old living in Mongolia, her first audience was her family. After dinner they would gather around the TV, and she would dance.
"Every time I did the weird positions, my parents would always clap," she said, laughing.
Her younger sister, Buyonkhishig, started at age 6, and she performed in Japan at age 12. Their father was amazed.
"He thought, 'My kids could be in the entertaining business,' " Erdenesuvd recalled.
These two onetime Mongolian children are now 32 and 26 and living in Dunnellon. Tonight, they will appear as a sister duo on NBC's "America's Got Talent" for a chance to perform at the famed Radio City Music Hall and to win a $1 million prize.
Erdenesuvd said she started out when her father had been concerned about her back because she was not walking straight. It turned out she was just the most flexible girl in her rhythmic gymnastics class, she now says.
At 10, she was taken to the circus to train and learn serious contortionist moves.
When she was 12, she performed in Moscow at her first contortionist performance.
"I loved it in the beginning," she said.
Brought to the United States in 2002 after being contacted by an agent, the two sisters were hired by Universoul Circus to perform with the South African Contortionist Lunga.
"It was our first time performing together," Buyonkhishig said.
They toured the United States for three years before settling in Florida to work together for Cirque Dreams.
After watching singer Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. go from humming tunes while washing cars to winning "America's Got Talent" in 2011, the duo thought, "we could do that, too," Buyonkhishig said. "We decided why not be a part of it? It's really fun to watch."
They auditioned in Tampa for the upcoming season of the show.
Their performances range from five to 10 minutes on stage, with a lot of conditioning beforehand. They jump rope. They do yoga and pilates. They stretch.
"Then we give ourselves a high five together and go on stage," Erdenesuvd said.
Erdenesuvd will do hand-stands on her sister's hip while she balances. She will carry her sister on her neck as she contorts. They talk to each other with their eyes, Erdenesuvd said.
"We learn not to drop each other. We have to trust," Erdenesuvd said.
Buyonkhishig said the two have learned to support and appreciate each other — and to appreciate and support family.
For several years starting in 2002, the duo would visit their home in Mongolia for Christmas. However, due to paperwork and documentation issues, the two haven't been able to visit since 2005.
"We have been waiting," Erdenesuvd said. "My sister got her green card, and I am going to be a citizen soon."
They will be visiting Mongolia in August — going home to their mother and 93-year-old grandmother. Their father has since died.
But, for now they are preparing for their next performance in Miami on July 18 and enjoying everything North Central Florida has to offer.
Today they will be inviting their friends over to watch them on "America's Got Talent."
The sisters hope to inspire youngsters through their performance.
"Be active with your first instinct," Erdenesuvd said is what she hopes they impart to young people.
It was her first instinct to perform by dancing around the TV in her home in Mongolia, and now she will be seen on TV performing with her sister in America.
"I love working with her. That's what I love most," Erdenesuvd said. "I get to love my sister more than ever."
Ulaanbaatar, June 20 (MONSTAME) Mongolian ballet dancer O.Gantsooj is participating in the USA International Ballet Competition (IBC), taking place at Jackson, US on June 14-29.
Partnered by Ch.Ganchimeg from the Mongolian Opera and Ballet Theater, the Mongolian soloist is competing against some ninety ballet dancers from twenty countries in this prestigious event.
O.Gantsooj has successfully performed at the first round of classic ballet competition to advance into the second round of modern ballet as one of twenty senior males. The second round is scheduled for June 20-22. The two-week competition will conclude on June 29, with Encore Gala – Reprise of medalist performances.
The USA IBC is a two-week, "Olympic-style" competition where tomorrow's stars vie for gold, silver and bronze medals; cash awards; company contracts; and scholarships. The event is designated as the official international ballet competition in the United States by a Joint Resolution of Congress. Presented under the auspices of the International Dance Committee, International Theatre Institute of UNESCO, the USA IBC is held every four years in Jackson, Miss., in the tradition of sister competitions in Varna, Bulgaria, and Moscow, Russia.
Meet the Genghis McKhans.. three Scots wrestlers who are taking on the Mongolians at their national sport
BROTHERS Robert and Jamie MacDonald and their pal David Scott will travel 5000 miles to battle with some of the world's top grapplers on their home ground.
June 22 (Daily Record) THREE wrestlers face the challenge of a lifetime by taking on some of Mongolia's best grapplers in their own backyard.
The intrepid Scots will travel 5000 miles to the eastern state, where wrestling is the national sport.
It was invented there more than 5000 years ago and fabled leader Genghis Khan used it to keep his mighty army – the famous Mongol hordes – fit.
Now the Mongolians have given a special invite to airline pilot Jamie MacDonald, 41, his photographer brother Robert, 36, and businessman David Scott, 40, from Clarkston, Glasgow, to take on their best.
Mongolia is the top wrestling nation in the world and won a string of gold wrestling and judo medals at the last two Olympics.
Dubbed the Genghis McKhans, the three amateur wrestlers are to challenge the Mongolians at their own unique form of wrestling.
They have been invited to the remote town of Bulgan in August where Mongolia's best wrestlers will gather for their national competition. It is the first time outsiders have been invited.
But the Scots will not be wearing the traditional and distinctive Mongolian wrestling garb, which includes a jacket, small briefs and leather boots. Instead, they will compete in their kilts.
David, who also runs an adventure holiday firm, said: "It is a real honour to be invited. Mongolia is to wrestling what Brazil is to football.
"The Mongolians are great admirers of the wrestling style used in Highland Games, which is different from Mongolian.
"In Mongolia, wrestlers are major celebrities. They are treated like rock stars.
"The men are more than 20st and very powerful. We are all around 16st and it will be an almost impossible task to beat them but we will do our best."
David has been visiting Mongolia for more than 10 years on trade and cultural missions and was recently appointed an honorary consul for Scotland.
One of his adventure holidays involves a trip across the Gobi desert. He added: "Mongolia is a little-known country but there are great trading opportunities here for Scottish businesses. They are very friendly people."
Room #5, Coffice Hub, 5th Floor, Time Center
21 Baga Toiruu Street, Sukhbaatar District 8
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 15160
P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.