Tuesday, July 1, 2014

[MATD searching for partners, GoM proposes SME tax relief, case filed against TV producer, and 4 business schools accredited overseas]

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

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Overseas Market

Petro Matad Loss Narrows But Search For Farm-Out Partners Goes On

LONDON, June 30 (Alliance News) - Petro Matad Ltd (AIM:MATD) Monday said its pretax loss narrowed in 2013, as expenses fell at the company, but it continues to struggle in its search for development partners for its operations in Mongolia.

The oil exploration company, with operations in central Mongolia, said its pretax loss narrowed to USD7.5 million from USD12.2 million the previous year.

The company, which is yet to produce any revenue, said the reduction in losses resulted from reductions in its employee benefits expenses and in exploration expenditure.

Petro Matad opened up a range of major fundraising and farm-out initiatives during 2013 in order to develop its exploration assets in Mongolia, but found that investors were unsure about its assets in the country and so not enough funding was raised to develop the sites significantly.

The company said its search for a partner has been frustrating as many have concerns over the investment climate and geology of Mongolia. It carried out a range of new tests on its assets towards the end of 2013 and into 2014 to help improve its prospective opportunities.

Petro Matad said the process has rekindled interest in possible partners at the site but no agreements have yet been reached and finalising a farmout agreement could yet take some time.

Petro Matad shares were down 9.6% to 2.60 pence, putting it among the top AIM All-Share fallers on Monday.

Link to article

Link to MATD release


Origo: Announcement Re further complaint from Brooks Macdonald Group plc 

June 30, Origo Parners PLC (AIM:OPP) -- On 7 February 2014, the Company made an announcement (the "February Announcement") in respect of a complaint raised by Brooks MacDonald regarding the terms of 60 million convertible zero dividend preference shares (the "CPS") issued on 8 March 2011 at a price of US$1.00 per share (the "First Complaint"). The February Announcement noted that Brooks Macdonald had indicated that it may commence legal proceedings if the terms of the CPS were not amended but, that on the basis of legal advice received, the Company considered that such a legal claim would be unlikely to succeed.  

On 20 June 2014, a subsidiary of Brooks Macdonald, Brooks MacDonald Asset Management (International) Limited ("BAMA"), released an announcement entitled "Dispute with Origo Partners PLC" (the "BAMA Announcement") which, amongst other things, stated that BAMA would rigorously protect its clients' interests in relation to the dispute and outlined certain proposals relating to the strategy and governance of the Company. Later that day, the Company released an announcement (the "Company's 20 June Announcement"), which confirmed that the Company had in fact already engaged in a detailed consultation with certain of its shareholders, in conjunction with Brooks MacDonald, regarding Brooks MacDonald's proposals.  The Company's 20 June Announcement explained that it is in the process of finalising a set of detailed proposals aimed at facilitating the realisation of assets and the distribution of capital which will be put to shareholders for approval.    

To date, no legal proceedings have been commenced  by Brooks MacDonald in relation to the First Complaint, although Brooks MacDonald has not withdrawn its threat to bring such legal proceedings.  

However, Brooks MacDonald, through its lawyers in the Isle of Man (where the Company is incorporated), has raised a further complaint (the "Second Complaint").  Brooks MacDonald asserts that the resolution passed on 8 March 2011 ("March 2011 Resolution") to amend the Company's Articles to reflect the creation of the CPSs was not validly passed.  This assertion rests on an argument that  a "75% Resolution" (as defined in the Articles), which is required in order to amend the Company's Articles, requires a majority of holders of 75% of all issued and outstanding shares to have voted in favour of it rather than a majority of 75% of votes cast.  Brooks MacDonald, therefore, contends that if the March 2011 Resolution was not validly passed it would have a legal claim for the return from the Company of the consideration paid for the purchase of the CPSs.      

The Company is firmly of the view that there is no substance to the Second Complaint, and that the March 2011 Resolution was validly passed. The Company has taken legal advice which supports this position.  

The Second Complaint was not referred to in the BAMA Announcement nor has Brooks MacDonald commenced legal proceedings in respect of the complaint.   However, Brooks MacDonald has refused the Company's direct request to withdraw the Second Complaint.   In these circumstances,  the Company proposes to act promptly to remove any possible doubt that its Articles operate on any basis other than that on which the Company and its shareholders have proceeded to date.  Therefore, the Company has issued an application in the Isle of Man Court for a declaration that the Articles bear the meaning propounded by the Company.  The Company is seeking to have this application dealt with on an expedited basis in order to remove any uncertainty as to the operation of its Articles as quickly as possible.   

The Company remains committed to attempting to work with Brooks Macdonald to achieve a mutually acceptable resolution to both the First Complaint and the Second Complaint.  Further announcements with regards to this matter will be made in due course, as appropriate. 

Link to release


Erdene AGM Presentation: Advancing the Altan Nar Gold Project and Partnering with Teck on Copper Exploration

June 17, Erdene Resource Development Corp. (TSX:ERD) --

Link to preso


Voyager Resources: Management Changes

July 1, Voyager Resources Ltd. (ASX:VOR) -- The Company wishes to advise that Mr Joe Burke has ceased in his role as Chief Executive Officer of the Company. The Board would like to record its appreciation for the contribution Mr Burke has made to the Company and wishes him every success in the future.  

The Company also wishes to advise that Mr Scott Funston has ceased in his role as Company Secretary of the Company.  

The Company is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Jonathan Hart as the Company Secretary of Voyager. Mr Hart is a lawyer who has previously worked at Perth based law firm, Steinepreis Paganin. Mr Hart's experience includes due diligence investigations, general corporate and commercial drafting, public and private mergers and acquisitions, general corporate advice in relation to capital raisings, Corporations Act and ASX compliance. Mr Hart has a bachelor of laws and commerce from Murdoch University in Western Australia. Mr Hart is Company Secretary of Paradigm Metals Limited, Black Star Petroleum Limited, Wolf Petroleum Limited and Caravel Energy Limited.

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Local Market

MSE News for June 30: Top 20 +0.59% to 15,488.8, Turnover 11.1 Million

Ulaanbaatar, June 30 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades held Monday, a total of 11 thousand and 225 shares of 20 JSCs were traded costing MNT 11 million 145 thousand and 435.00.

"Khokh gan" /3,730 units/, "Remikon" /2,010 units/, "Hermes center" /1,900 units/, "Genco tour bureau" /1,297 units/ and "Aduunchuluun" /876 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Atar-Orgoo" (MNT two million and 730 thousand), "Aduun chuluun" (MNT one million 718 thousand and 743), "APU" (MNT one million 624 thousand and 720), "Talkh chikher" (MNT one million and 393 thousand) and "UB-BUK" (MNT 960 thousand).

The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 572 billion 314 million 198 thousand and 347. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,488.80, increasing by MNT 90.48 or 0.59% against the previous day.

Link to article


APS Issues "Hold" Recommendation on Shivee Ovoo JSC

June 30 (Asia Pacific Securities) --

Executive Summary      

Shivee-Ovoo ("SHV") is a state owned coal mining company that has incorporated on September 12, 1995 as a joint stock company. Shivee-Ovoo is located at Govisumber province and the largest brown coal deposit of the Mongolia, which has 2.7 billion tonnes of resources.

Total spanning 774.1 km2; the mine is one of the best strategically important mineral deposits of Mongolia, and currently supplies up to 30 percent of the country's coal consumption. There are 8 levels for this deposit and the company is operating only on the first and second levels.

The coal of this deposit is classified as "B-2" brown coal and the inherent moisture is 42.6% and the energy is 3076.0 kcal/kg. It means that in order to bring better result, they mix it with higher quality coal or dry it. The major consumer is the 4th thermal plant of Ulaanbaatar city.


According to the charter of the firm, 90% ownership of the company kept with a state, and remaining 10% has started to trade on September 1995 at Mongolian Stock Exchange. Today there are 2 large-block shareholders, who own 98.2% of the company, and 1.8% belongs to 1621 individual shareholders.

State Property Committee – 90% or 12,077,191 shares

Up to 8.2% held by Firebird Global Master Fund Holdings.

Financial Review

At the end of 2013, "SHV"'s revenue reached MNT 31.6 billion, which was a 29.3 increase from previous year. However, cost of goods sold and operating expenses were higher than the revenue resulting in negative net profit. Thus all the important financial ratios were negative.

One big reason behind this big loss is, world coal price is depreciating. Specially Shivee Ovoo produces thermal coal which is losing its statues for coking coal.

Business Development

Last year the company has made developments on the quality of the products, and finished the construction of the drying plant which helps to reduce comparatively, and the productivity of energy can be increased.

This year the State Property Agency proposed privatising the mine and it's currently waiting for the approval from State Great Khural (the parliament). Company will issue additional share and reduce the state ownership not lower than 51%.

If the company successfully issue additional shares and raise the fund, they will invest 40.6 billion tugrik's on product research and development. Furthermore, regarding to the 5th power plant's construction, the mining expansion is certain. But APS believes that 5th power plant won't start it operating until three to five years.

Share Price Performance

Shivee-Ovoo is a component of the MSE's benchmark Top-20 index. The historical minimum price of the stock was MNT 1550 and the maximum was MNT 62,355, which was recorded on February 24, 2011. The 52 week range standard deviation of the stock is 821.47.

Dispute With "Shine Shivee Ovoo" LLC

There has been strong dispute since 2011 around the ownership of the deposit and its land. Currently there are three mining companies that have special licenses and operating on the area; "Erdenes MGL" LLC owns 4,293 hectare (14.86%), "Shivee-Ovoo" JSC operates only on 91 hectares (0.31%), and "Shine Shivee Ovoo" LLC has the ownership of 24,500 hectares (84.83%). Officially "SHV" should have total ownership, yet Shine Shivee Ovoo has received most special license from the state in an unusual way. Erdenes MGL is another state owned company and two state owned companies have created a partnership. 

Now Shivee-Ovoo and Shine Shivee Ovoo have legal dispute and this case hasn't been solved yet and we believe this will take longer than some analysts are expecting.

APS Recommendation

Asia Pacific Securities currently rates "SHV" as "HOLD". Even though the company has made business development plans and increased its productivity last year, their future is in questionable situation. Their deposit ownership is very limited, and the stock has concentrated few shareholders too much. Furthermore, the financial health doesn't look very good too as most ratios are negative making it impossible to value the company.

If they can reclaim the most special licenses back and successfully raise required fund by additional share issuance, the value of the company certainly will increase enormously. But we cannot predict when it'll happen.

We value "SHV"'s per share at MNT 5,365.49, and the valuation is based on WACC of 9.91%, 7.45% of terminal growth rate, and regression analysis correlation of 0.177 suggesting that the share price isn't correlated with the MSE top 20 Index.

Link to note    


INVESTIGATION: North Korea makes moves toward oil exploration

Mongolian company HBOil has announced that it will analyse geological data in a new office in Pyongyang

By Leo Byrne

June 30 (NKNews) A Mongolian oil company with ties to North Korea is planning to entice foreign investors in the country's energy sector by showing them geological data which could indicate the presence of oil and gas resources.

The move could mark the first step towards opening up the DPRK to onshore oil exploration and comes amid declining relations with China, it's primary fuel supplier.

While there have been some modest attempts to explore North Korea's onshore potential in the past, very little is currently known about the DPRK's geology and potential oil and gas reserves.

To address this, HBOil JSC (HBO) is planning on opening what is known in the industry as a data room – a place where interested parties can inspect geological information on underground structures that could indicate the presence of oil and gas fields.

With the DPRK government and military entirely dependent on Chinese and Russian fuel imports, domestic oil and gas production could afford Pyongyang a greater measure of independence from Beijing and Moscow.

Currently, the DPRK lacks a domestic oil industry, meaning that oil and gas exploration could prove difficult even with foreign capital and expertise. Finding oil and gas fields often involves a multi-pronged effort with seismic, drilling and other service companies cooperating.

Since crude oil needs to be refined once extracted, it remains unclear what companies operating in North Korea would do should they discover oil. The DPRK has two ageing refineries in Seungri and Bongwha, but both need upgrading.

This is where it HBO comes in, via their buyout of Ninox Hydrocarbons last year. HBO, a Mongolian company, has set its sights on tapping into onshore oil basins in the DPRK. The purchase made HBO the owners of a joint venture with the Korea Oil Exploration Corp (KOEC), North Korea's state run oil company.

HBO's attempts to make inroads into North Korea's undeveloped oil and gas sector have led it to investing in projects that could give it access to downstream oil and gas production and upstream refinery capacity in the coming years. The first stage, however, is to assess geological data that will tell interested companies where to begin their exploration.


"The reason people have data rooms is because they're trying to persuade another company to spend money in their block, on their well. They are looking for investment. In order for companies to make decisions about that investment, they need to see the data," Alistair Fraser, EGI Chair in Petroleum Geoscience at Imperial College London told NK News.

Throughout the process, interested oil and gas companies can see the data, though normally under strict conditions with regards how the data is handled. 

"The rules are, you're selling something. So this is your shop. You set up a conference rooms so you can analyse digital data … Each company signs a confidentiality agreement, which says they do not disclose in any way any of the data they have seen. They don't take copies of it or for use it for anything other than to assess the value of the opportunity," Fraser added.

Assuming that the data is promising, oil companies are usually invited to bid for exploration rights on blocks of the acreage. According to their website, HBO's onshore interests lie south of Pyongyang in the Zaeryong Basin.

(North Korea's Zaeryong Basin. Picture via

"Historically DPRK consists of seven under-explored geological basins, with 3 basins proven to have working petroleum systems. 22 wells have been drilled and the majority encountered hydrocarbons with same swell on test production at 75 barrels of oil per day at light sweet crude oil. Furthermore one trillion cubic feet of natural gas was discovered in 2002," the DPRK projects section of HBO's website reads.

NK News has learned that the data room will be working on digitising data from the 1960s through to more recent 3D seismic data. HBO will then aim to use the data to attract international bids on onshore oil and gas blocks on behalf of KOECII, an international subsidiary of North Korea's state run oil company.

The statement also says a British geologist, Quentin Rigby, has been hired as the "exploration & Development Consultant to assist its DPRK business unit".

Rigby has not responded to requests for comment, though his role will likely help bring the presentation of the data in-line with oil and gas industry norms.

"They will not sell something that is not presented to industry standards. They don't make the rules here. They do when it comes when to deciding who gets the acreage. But there's a way of doing this. If you're selling a car you give it a damn good polish before you sell it," said Fraser, who set up similar data rooms in Vietnam in the early nineties.

However, it is not clear how easy it will be to lure foreign oil and gas companies to the DPRK. Trying to operate in the DPRK's shifting business sands is risky at the best of times, even without the added weight of the geopolitical complications that can accompany oil and gas production.

"Any input for this oil and gas exploration, development, and upgrading the refineries in the DPRK will be seen as softening the current sanction scheme against (it)," Dr Keun Wook Paik, associate fellow on energy, environment and resources at London's Chatham House, told NK News.

"It can deliver a wrong signal to the money chasers and the U.S., Korean and Chinese authorities will be determined to stop the large scale capital injection to DPRK under the current situation," Paik added.

Despite this, Mongolian investment bank and HBO underwriters BDSec did their best in an October report on the DPRK  to dispel potential investor fears. The report calls that KOEC's management "highly intelligent and dynamic, as well as enthusiastic and appreciative of the investment HBO has made and shall make into the country."

The report goes onto claim that DPRK officials have assured the company that they "are open for business" and encouraged them to "please move forward ASAP".

Meanwhile, a recent warming in North Korean–Russian relations could pave the way for Russian oil and gas majors such as Gazprom and Rosneft to bid on the DPRK's onshore blocks. Gazprom has already expressed an interest in developing a gas pipeline project connecting South Korea to Russia through the DPRK. When asked about further potential North Korean interests however, a spokesperson for the company declined to comment.


HBO and potential investors in the DPRK's energy sector will have plenty of past lessons to learn from moving forward. North Korea has been attempting to enlist foreign help in extracting underground resources since the 1970s.

The most recent example involved London based Aminex in 2004. The Irish-Anglo oil minnow made headlines in 2004 when it inked a 20-year deal to analyse geological data and attract foreign investment in exchange for future production and royalties off the DPRK's west coast.

At the time, the Observer reported that the company had signed a deal 'in secret' in Pyongyang in the summer of 2004.

The project seemed to suffer numerous holds ups and delays and five years after signing the deal Aminex had yet to begin any exploratory work or move any assets into the DPRK. Although Aminex said it was conducting some analysis of seismic data, its investment in North Korea was minimal. After spending $8.5 million in a failed well in Tanzania, Aminex's CEO Bryan Hall told the Financial Times that the company would not spend that "that kind of money" in North Korea.

In 2010, the London company sold a 50% stake in Korex, the subsidiary that held its interests in the DPRK.

"As the DPRK's exploration and production business in West Korea Bay was effectively blocked by the MOU between DPRK deputy premier Doochul Roh and China's deputy Premier Zeng Paiyan in late 2005, there was nothing Aminex could do and it had to pull out of DPRK," A North Korea energy expert told NK News under the condition of anonymity.

Two years later in 2012, Aminex announced that it no longer intended to participate in its North Korean concession. The company declined to comment on why no progress was made, though it did release a statement citing "volatile and unpredictable politics of the area".

The company's annual reports from 2005 through to 2009 all contain a section on North Korea, with each report acknowledging the difficulty of making progress in the region.

Nonetheless, HBO's progress has been relatively rapid when compared to that of Aminex. In September 2013 the Mongolian company announced that it had already raised five million U.S. dollars for its DPRK projects.

HBO might also benefit from the warmer political climate between Mongolia and North Korea. In October 2013 the Mongolian President visited the DPRK and signed three cooperation agreements geared towards "creating a legal environment favorable for finance and investment according to domestic law and regulations and the internationally recognized principles and norms", the Korean Central News Agency reported at the time.

Since then, the NK News KCNA Watch tool reveals that there have been numerous meetings between North Korean officials and their Mongolian counterparts. The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on April 2, to set up "the DPRK-Mongolia friendship joint company between the DPRK and Mongolian governments".

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BoM MNT Rates: Monday, June 30 Close





































June MNT vs USD, CNY Chart:


Link to rates


BoM issues 344.1 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding -1.6% to 655.3 billion

June 30 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 344.1 billion at a weighted interest rate of 10.5 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


BoM Fiscal Stability Report, May 2014

June 30 (Bank of Mongolia) --

Link to report (in Mongolian)


Bank of Mongolia signs letter of cooperation with Financial Services Agency of Japan

June 30 (Bank of Mongolia) Mr. N.Zoljargal, Governor of the Bank of Mongolia and Mr. R. Hatanaka, Commissioner of the Financial Services Agency of Japan exchanged letters of cooperation on the sharing of their experience and expertise on June 25, 2014.

In view of the growing globalization of the world's financial markets, this exchange of letters intends to strengthen cooperation between both Authorities in order to promote the development of sound financial regulatory mechanisms and financial markets.

Based on this exchange of letters, the Authorities intend to exchange their experience and expertise in order to develop legal and regulatory frameworks and financial markets in both countries.

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June 30 (IMM&MR) Criminal case filed against management of "Hero Entertainment" production company which produced program "100 important topics" which was broadcasted by TV-s

Intelligence agency to investigate potential charges of activities "containing goal  of sabotaging and breaking up national unity", " inciting animosity by nationality, origin, language and religious views"

Earlier, largest daily "Udriin Sonin" called the program" fascist and racist" for its anti-Chinese sentiment based on suspicions of ethic origins of some MP-s

Mongolian authorities including President and Government  criticised the program saying "dividing citizens is unacceptable"

The Government warned that "decisive measures are to be taken"

In recent interview, MP Kh.Battulga , also known as "Genco", has said he wrote the script for the program and did not pay TV-s to broadcast the program


Х.Баттулга гишүүний нэвтрүүлгийг шалгаж байна-


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July 1 (IMM&MR) In March 2013, ex-Prime Minister S. Bayar, "Father" of the Coalition Government of 2008-2012, commented on evolving Mongolian political situation

·         "Mongolian politics and media are in pains of growth. There is absolutely no balance of rights and responsibilities. It's like a child learning to walk and speak. Sometimes it's standing on its own, sometimes it is walking on all four. Perhaps eventually it will find balance and settle down. The universe eventually settles down. But I might not see it.

·         I am gone from politics for good

·         I am regretful beyond words that a Coalition Government did not continue and principle of resolving major issues in a Coalition has been abandoned. Mongolia had great opportunity. We still have opportunity to boost our position using favorable external environment. This opportunity can be implemented only if at least two major parties have equal participation. A single party cannot resolve major development and security issues on its own. There is no such thing as resolving issues on one's own that were hard to be resolved even in the Coalition.

·         There are still now dirty tendencies of empty politicization, mentality of " war-like pump up" cheap populism to show "great love" for motherland that will not raise Mongolia but will have her lie down, not to unite but to disconnect her.

·         The Coalition Government managed to accomplish OT IA. It has and is giving its results to Mongolia. Record economic growth of the last 2 years is nothing else but a result of the Coalition Government. If macro economical indicators were kept stable like that for at least 5 years it would have undoubtedly favorably impacted lives of the citizens.

·         People of Mongolia were supportive of the Coalition Government. No one won in 2012 elections. Does not it mean that voters want Coalition? Desires of voters were disregarded. Again valuable time will be lost in empty politicization. Development of the world will not wait for us. Again, Mongolia has lost, submitted to mentality of politicization and cheap populism.

·         It appears that new Reform Government has taken off in wrong way. The Government can be named anyway. Idea behind name of the Reform Government can be right. But what is to be reformed? One will fail if one will attempt to reform everything in sight. Besides, perhaps reforms that are not superficial but fundamental are needed. Indeed, reform of mentality is needed. It is needed to quit "war" mentality, looking at each other from "trenches".  Polarization by the parties should be left in the past.

·         Our parties have not matured in many ways, their deeds and words differ. We had transition for 20 years. If things go on like they do now, the transition will continue for longer than another 20 years.

·         With attitude " I will reform everything from inside out. Meanwhile, you hang out somewhere else", one will fail. Only in a coalition, one will succeed with major reform on a scale of the society. There is no other way. 

·         I made the political decision on the OT IA. It has and is giving benefits to Mongolia without a penny from the state and before a ounce of copper and gold has been exported. I am not against improving the IA but I am careful of not getting blind while trying to remove a particle from the eye.              

·         Society might start doubts whether fight against corruption is not politically motivated. If it is, the fight will fail and might have long term detrimental effects. Fight against corruption should be truly based on rule of law and justice.

·         Does the victory mean "winner gets all and do as one please" or winner gets a priority right to choose and implement most beneficial option to the society? There are many issues here whether the party should focus in internal fighting or maximizing opportunity for the development of the society?"

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Social Insurance Amendment to Emphasize Rights of Insured

Ulaanbaatar, June 29 (MONTSAME) The regular cabinet meeting on Saturday decided to submit to parliament a new wording of law on official rules for health insurance.

In general, the new wording focuses on rights and protection of the insured and puts main principles of the health insurance as the basis of insurance actions.

In 2013, 97% of our population was covered by the health insurance. Since its adoption in 1993, the law on health insurance has been amended nine times and was redrafted in 2002. These amendments focused on tackling matters of that time but did not consider a forming of and strengthening the insurance organizations which protect rights of the insured, did not determine differences in duties and directions of the sides and so on.

Link to article


President introduces "Smart Government" bills slated for autumn session to MPs

Ulaanbaatar, June 30 (MONTSAME) The President Ts.Elbegdorj Monday introduced to parliamentarians and the media some draft laws being formulated in frames of the "Smart Government" initiative.

These drafts are on imposing responsibilities upon elected or appointed high level officials, on public hearing, on "glass" account and on general law on administration. The leader of Mongolia spoke about them to members of the factions of the Democratic Party, Mongolian People's Party (MPP), "Justice"  coalition (Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party and Mongolian National Democratic Party). These bills are expected to be passed by next autumn session of parliament, and it is important to form the smart government, he said. These laws will ensure a transparency of budget, let realize a system of responsibility, make the state servants more responsible, and will provide people with necessary information, he hoped.

The bill on public hearing says about seven basic kinds of hearings focused on legislative process, general monitoring, budget monitoring, appointments, investigation, administrative norms, planning and locality, ensuring of a civil participation in the state management, the President said.

The draft law on imposing responsibilities upon elected or appointed high officials designs legal basis and rules for dismissing and recalling such servants, as well as their responsibilities.

Mongolia still do not have any laws on regulating general matters within specialized laws for state actions, so the draft on General law on administration has been worked out, he said.

With a purpose of the fruitful exploitation of budgetary capitals, the bill on "glass" account has clauses on forming a system that makes decisions and activities of the budget management more transparent, on monitoring actions of administrative bodies and officials by delivering open information to the public.

The President said he will play a key role in passing these drafts during parliamentary session.

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Cabinet Approves Phase I Signing of ADB Ger Areas Development Loan

June 30 ( At the Cabinet meeting held on Saturday, June 28, the following resolutions were issued:

-       The Sixth Intergovernmental Commission Meeting between Mongolia and the Republic of Kazakhstan on Trade, Economy, Science, Technical and Cultural Cooperation was organized in Ulaanbaatar on May 26-27, 2014. The Meeting summary was revised and Minister of Population Development and Social Protection S.Erdene is obliged to approve and monitor the plan to adhere on measures at the Meeting discussed.

-       Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier will be conducting an official visit to Mongolia on July 06-07, 2014. In the frameworks, Mongolia's policy to adhere was revised and agreed to submit to the Prime Minister of Mongolia for approval.

-       Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, L.Bold will be conducting an official visit to the Kingdom of Spain on July 01-02, 2014 and to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg on July 03, 2014 respectively. In the frameworks, Mongolia's policy to adhere was revised and agreed to submit to the Prime Minister of Mongolia for approval.

-       In order to ensure proper operation of Selenge Aimag's local government bodies, it was resolved to allocate to Selenge Aimag Governing Administration a 528.7 million MNT (Tugrug) loan from State Fund in terms repayment and entrusted by Minister of Finance Ch.Ulaan.

-       Minister of Economic Development N.Batbayar is entrusted to sign the first phase of Loan Agreement on "Ger Areas Development and Investment Support Program" between the Government of Mongolia and the Asia Development Bank.

Link to article


Cabinet meeting in briefMontsame, June 29


Mongolia ranked 129th least stable out of 178 in Fragile States Index 2014

Ulaanbaatar, June 30 (MONTSAME) Mongolia has been included in a "less stable states" category of the Fragile States Index (FSI), recently published by the Fund for Peace, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit, non-governmental research and educational institution.

Focusing on the indicators of risk and is based on thousands of articles and reports that are processed by a relevant software from electronically available sources, FSI divides a total of 178 countries into ten groups from "very sustainable" to "very high alert".

The "very sustainable" group includes only Finland, who remarkably low 18.7 points (the lower the better) to lead all the countries involved, while five African countries such as South Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic, Congo (D.R.) and Sudan are named "very high alert".

With a moderate 58.1 point, Mongolia has been placed 129th among 178 to be included in the "less stable" group, along with Montenegro, Greece, Bulgaria, Kuwait and Romania.

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If Passed, 45.3% of Corporate Taxpayers Eligible for 90% Corporate Income Tax Refund

June 30 ( At the Cabinet meeting held on June 28, 2014, amendments to the draft bill on Corporate Income Tax Law were revised and agreed to submit to the State Great Khural (Parliament).

In the frameworks of the second phase on tax reform to support businesses, Government resolves to refund 90% of corporate income tax paid to the state budget, whose annual sales income is no more than 1.5 billion MNT and these businesses are other than mining, minerals, petroleum products, import of petroleum, export of crude oil, mobile operator services, alcohol, tobacco, and bank & financial sectors.

In the scope of refunding the 90% of corporate income tax to SMEs, taxpayers would be eligible to re-invest with this fund and buy new equipment, and will be able to expand its operations. Enterprises who meet the following requirements concurrently, the refund will be granted without delay and not monitored.

1. Be engaged in activities not prohibited by law

2. Income sales volume in particular tax year is up to 1.5 billion MNT

3. Tax report is delivered on time

4. All taxes are paid

If the amendments are approved by the Parliament, 45.3% of all taxpayers or 40,232 enterprises will be eligible to return their 90% of paid corporate income tax.

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Absolute Portfolio Management's Vision Microfinance Funds Loan $9.4m to Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in Armenia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Mongolia, Peru, Sri Lanka, Tanzania

June 30 (MicroCapital) Absolute Portfolio Management (APM), an arm of Austria-based asset group C-Quadrat, recently informed MicroCapital that it has distributed credits worth approximately USD 9.4 million through its two Vision Microfinance funds to unspecified microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Armenia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Mongolia, Peru, Sri Lanka and Tanzania. A total of USD 2 million was loaned to an unnamed MFI based in the Sri Lankan city of Rajagiriya that was established in 2008 with the aim of supporting sustainable development and providing financial services in rural areas.

As of June 2014, APM reported that its Vision Microfinance Dual Return Funds held combined assets of USD 323 million. The two funds are Dual Return Fund-Vision Microfinance and Dual Return Fund-Vision Microfinance Local Currency.

About Absolute Portfolio Management (APM)

Absolute Portfolio Management GmbH (APM) is an Austria-based asset management company that offers investment and advisory services in microfinance and other sectors. The firm's Dual Return – Vision Microfinance and Dual Return Fund – Vision Microfinance Local Currency were created in 2006 and report total assets of USD 323 million under management, as of June 2014. APM is a unit of Austrian Fund Group C-Quadrat.

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Mongolia Trade Office Established in Hong Kong by Founders of Mongolia Club

June 30 ( Trade Office of Mongolia that aims to encourage trade between Mongolia and Hong Kong, support members promoting opportunities in the market of Mongolia, Hong Kong, China and Eastern Asia and strength bilateral economic relations opens in Hong Kong.

The Trade Office of Mongolia was officially registered in the country by founders of Hong Kong based Mongolia Club, Henry Lee, attorney Victor Young, and the first Consul General of Mongolia to Hong Kong Ya.Ariunbold during President Ts.Elbedgdorj's visit to Hong Kong to attend "The World in 2014" international economic event in November 2013.

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Mongolian commerce chamber established in Hong KongMontsame, June 30


Mongolia-Czech business meeting in Prague focuses on construction ties

Ulaanbaatar, June 30 (MONTSAME) A Mongolia-Czech business meeting was held June 26 in Prague, the Czech Republic.

It was co-organized by the Embassy of Mongolia in the Czech Republic, the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Mongolia, the Czech-based branch of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the "New Delger" LLC and Mongolia's National Association of Construction (MNAC).

Aims were pursued to expand the bilateral ties and cooperation in the construction sector, set up direct ties between Mongolian and Czech businessmen, attract the Czech investments.

During the meeting, the MNAC spoke about projects and policies being implemented in the construction sphere, the Czech side presented their services and products. Moreover, the two sides exchanged views on widening the commercial and economic relations and cooperation in the construction sector.

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Success without truth and integrity isn't success: Interview with Jordan Belfort

June 30 (Mongolian Economy) The uncontrollable use of drugs, money, power and his very own sales technique led fraudster Jordan Belfort's life to spiral out of control. Having served 22 months in jail for securities fraud between 2004 and 2006, the so-called "Wolf of Wall Street" now uses this same sales technique – dubbed Straight Line – to turn his life around.

Jordan made millions in the 1990s through his investment company Stratton Oakmont, but at the expense of his investors. The 51-year-old admits the 2013 Oscar-nominated Martin Scorcese film based on his memoir gives a fair representation of his once life of excess. In an opening quote in the film, Jordan's character, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, lets viewers in on just how much money he was dealing with:

"The year I turned 26 I made USD 49 million, which really pissed me off because it was three shy of a million a week."

Driving helicopters drunk, taping money on women to smuggle through Switzerland and the excessive drug use – it's all true. Now sober, he likens himself to a benevolent wolf, much kinder and gentler.

Jordan recently visited Mongolia on his world tour, which was well attended by  politicians and business people (at USD 150 a ticket) to discuss the art of persuasion and how Mongolia should sell its story. 

-       What contributed to your successes and failures?

-       At the heart of my success was a system that I've been using for many, many years. It started when I was eight years old, believe it or not, by putting in different puzzle pieces together for entrepreneurship. When I was 24 years old, I hit on this idea and invented a system on training salespeople. That came to be known as the straight-line. It was incredibly easy to learn, very powerful.

It turned average people into world-class closers. That was behind the massive success of my firm and ultimately, I lost my ethical leg. Behind the disaster, I grew too fast. I should have slowed down the growth. Once I had the ability to train all these people, I needed to slow down and wait for my investment bank activities to catch up to my sales activities.

On top of that, as the years went on, I started using that same system straight-line in other aspects of business from marketing, to entrepreneurship, to operations. It's really that idea that there are certain elements that line up in success that you need to essentially apply to every business that you go into and every job that you have. That's what's been behind my success.

The failure in my younger days is really based on instant gratification. I went too fast, and not slowing down and understanding at the highest level what business really is. It is about monetizing value.

Unless you can give value, you can't keep selling and selling because you're a great salesperson. You have to be selling something that's actually helping people and making money.

-       Looking back, what was your greatest regret?

-       My biggest regret was that when I figured out the system for training salespeople, was to not slow down the growth of my company long enough to allow investment banking to find better companies to focus on compliance. I just grew so fast that it spiraled out of control. That was definitely the big mistake.

-       When conducting business, is there a certain point that people can cross and partake in unethical activities?

-       My belief is that there is always this line of morality and ethics. Most people who were raised right by their parents know what it is. They get that uncomfortable feeling in their stomach when they're about to cross over it and the reason that some people cross over it is because they start rationalising.They start telling themselves stories that it's not so bad. They say that they can do it this one time, but the truth is that it is not a recipe for long-term success. Once you take the first step over the line, the line of morality moves. Each time you cross it, it moves further and further. Before you know it, you're starting to do things you thought you'd never do. It seems okay.

-       Are there any warning signs of fraudulent activity that businesspeople should be aware of?

-       Well, clearly anytime when someone offers you an opportunity that seems like it's too good to be true, it usually is. It almost always is. That's one aspect. Secondly – I call this the gut check – if it doesn't feel right in your gut, it is probably not right. In that case consult a lawyer, consult an expert that knows the industry. Don't just gloss over it and say that I'll do it just this one time. The warning signs are typically there.

-       How can Mongolian businesspeople learn from your mistakes? In what ways can the Mongolian Stock Exchange improve?

-       The biggest lesson in my life is, number one, the power and sales of influence. I really think that Mongolia needs to address the issue that they are not able to tell their story in the right way. That's a huge issue. From failures, you usually have your crash and your boom-and-bust here and there. Things get ahead of themselves and people speculate too much. In my life, I allowed my business to run ahead of myself essentially.

-       What do you think of the Mongolian stock market?

-       I think that the problems in the Mongolia stock market right now are not so solely based on the Mongolian stock market. You're still in the wake of the crash that happened here when the government changed the laws and foreign investors pulled out. Then the London Stock Exchange came in and changed some settlement rules. There are some rules in there that need to be addressed. More than anything, there has to be a fundamental shift in philosophy of the average Mongolian citizen about what it means to be successful. You have to have some belief in your own economy and your own stock market. Without that it is very difficult to succeed.

-       What is your life goal now?

-       I'm one of those fortunate people. I love what I do. I love speaking and going out and mentoring and training people. I had some goals and I pretty much hit all those goals. Now, the vision for my future – what I really see myself doing – is really going around the world for the next three to five years and sharing the system I've created with a lot of people and focusing on charity work. I also want to take more time off with family. I was very fortunate. I was given a second chance and a lot of people don't get a second chance. I'm grateful for that. It's almost like a rebirth for me. I got this chance to really do what I was put on this Earth to do. Everyone has their natural talents. Everyone has their short-comings. My greatest talent is going out there and mentoring and teaching people and motivating people. That's what I'm doing now and I love doing it.

-       As you said earlier, Mongolia needs an icebreaker to start the economy again. What kind of icebreakers?

-       A catalyst. For example, it might be some minerals –  that's going to be so outlandishly great that one of the big companies is going to come in and the story is going be told to outsiders and that will start the charging. That's one possibility. Another possibility is that it could happen from within when people here start telling the story and start attracting capital. So it could come intrinsically or extrinsically, but it's going to come.

-       Right now Mongolia is trying hard to attract investors back. They're participating in many meetings and investment summits. Do you think this is the right way? What other methods can we use?

-       Absolutely. I think that it's the right thing to do. One of the most important things you want to do is to be bringing in joint ventures with big foreign companies. You want to make it easy for foreigners to invest capital in Mongolia and to also make sure that they are not just raping and pillaging the countryside. You want to make sure that the deal works for both sides. Given what Mongolia has in the ground here and the resource spectrum it has, eventually it's going to happen. You're making a lot of progress, more than you realise. It takes time until the catalyst actually hits. You're making progress right now by doing what you're doing.

-       Investors see opportunity, potential, and long-term benefits, but when you come across obstacles such as the inability to predict governmental action, how can we sell our country without being guinea pigs to outside investors?

-       You want to make sure the deal is sustainable for both sides. You don't want people coming in and tearing up the countryside. It is like the issue in China and Zambia where the Zambians were getting upset because they thought the Chinese were coming in there. They didn't have a long-term horizon that was going to empower Zambians. They were coming and stripping the natural resources and leaving. You don't want that situation, right?

There is a happy medium in terms of legislation. What scares companies is not empowering the people. They don't want to have 68 percent taxes. They don't want to all of a sudden have profit taxes. I think it's very easy for the government to come up with a framework by which big companies and outside investors will feel comfortable to invest here and the Mongolian populace will be protected. I don't think it's a difficult balance to strike nor do I think these big companies want to rape the countryside. What they don't want is these huge swings in taxes.

You will attract outside investment especially with the entire infrastructure and plays with China right now that brings rail into the country, which allows some of the bulk resources such as iron ore and coking coal to turn the iron ore into beneficiaries. You have so much going for you right now. But again, what typically happens is not just in country stories – but in every individual story – you have some place where you want to get a vision for your future and you're working very hard to get there, but you're not making progress. You're not seeing the result, but you actually are making progress. It's just that the progress is invisible. It takes time until it breaks through and you see the fruits of your labour.

I wouldn't worry so much about the outcome right now. If you do the right thing and make the right moves and the government stands behind you, foreign investment will come back. Whether it comes back in six months, a year, or three years, it's going to come back. It's just a matter of time.

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FM Bold to Visit Spain, Luxembourg July 1-3 & German FM Visiting Mongolia July 6-7

Ulaanbaatar, June 29 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia L.Bold will pay official visits to the Kingdom of Spain and to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg on July 1-3.

In addition, the Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany Mr Frank-Walter Steinmeier will pay an official visit to Mongolia this July 6-7.

The cabinet meeting on Saturday discussed draft directives for the Mongolian side and decided to have them got approved by Prime Minister.

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Czech lower house delegates visit Mongolia

June 30 ( Czech delegates lead by of Secretary General of Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, Petr Kynstetr are visiting Mongolia between June 29th and July 2nd.

In the scope of the visit, Secretary General of Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, Petr Kynstetr will meet Secretary General of the Cabinet Secretariat for State Great Khural, B.Boldbaatar and sign cooperation agreement and MoU.

And Speaker of State Great Khural, Z.Enkhbold will meet Czech delegates lead by of Secretary General of Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, Petr Kynstetr.

During the visit, Czech delegates will visit to Gobi Cashmere, Gandantegchinlen and the National museum of Mongolian history.

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Czech parliament's lower house delegation visitingMontsame, June 30


UNEA President S.Oyun meets with UN Secretary-General

Ulaanbaatar, June 30 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Environment and Green Development and the president of the first United Nations Environment Assembly Ms S.Oyun met last Friday with Mr Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General in Nairobi, Kenya.

Ms Oyun conveyed to the UN Secretary-General greetings from Mongolia's President and invited him to Mongolia. Then she said Mr Ts.Elbegdorj plans to take part in the Climate Summit which will run at the Union Nations headquarters in New York on September 23, and introduced to Mr Ban governmental policy and ongoing measures concerning environment and green development. Mongolia is attaching a great importance to the Sustainable Development Goals and the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and it has organized national discussions together with the UNDP, she said.

UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States Mr G.C.Acharya greatly supported Mongolia in hosting a high-level meeting on landlocked developing countries this month in Ulaanbaatar, she noted. Mongolia is focusing on starting of actions of the International Think-Tank for Landlocked Developing Countries, she said. 

The same day, Ms Oyun met delegates of Japan, the USA, the UAE, China, Iran, South Korea and Indonesia to share views with them on the cooperation issues.      

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Australia Future Unlimited: Education Fair Mongolia 2014, Ulaanbaatar, 19-20 September

(AusTrade) Now in its third year, the Australia Future Unlimited: Education Fair Mongolia 2014 (AFUEF Mongolia 2014) is considered a vital education event for institutions interested in this emerging market.

In 2014 the fair will provide Australian education providers an opportunity to raise awareness of their institution's profile in Mongolia, and demonstrate the quality and innovation of the Australian education sector.

At the 2013 fair, 18 Australian institutions participated and there were more than 2000 visitors.

For event program details, costs and market insights, refer to the event brochure.

Link to release


FSO Mongolia Travel Advice Update: All British Passport Holders Exempt from Visas

June 30 (Foreign Office) --

Entry requirements


On 26 June 2014, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that all British passport holders can visit Mongolia for tourist or business purposes without visa for 30 days. This arrangement is valid until 31 December 2015.

If you do not hold a Mongolian registration card you must carry your passport at all times - a photocopy is not sufficient. Failure to carry your passport may lead to a fine. Keep a copy of the bio data page in your passport and your Mongolian border immigration stamp separately in a safe place.

British passport holders need visas to enter China and Russia. Unless you are a permanent residents, British passport holders can only apply for a Russian transit visa from within Mongolia. Make sure you have all the visas you need for your onward travel before entering Mongolia, including any that may be required for transit.

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Mongolia Hosts Exercise Khaan Quest 2014

The exercise involves over 1,000 troops with 23 nations observing or participating in the drill.

July 1 (The Diplomat) Last week, roughly 1,000 troops from 23 countries began a peacekeeping drill, Exercise Khaan Quest 2014, designed to boost military-to-military interoperability in Mongolia, southwest of Ulanbataar. The exercise is partly focused on peacekeeping operations and also includes a combined training component between U.S. Army Pacific, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific and the Mongolian Armed Forces. It is hosted annually by Mongolia, which has been gradually deepening its security relationship with the United States and is actively pursuing a greater role in the international affairs of Northeast Asia. The exercise will conclude on July 1.

According to a U.S. Army press release, Maj. Gen. B. Bayarmagnai, deputy chief of General Staff, Mongolian Armed Forces, B. Bat-Erdene, member of parliament and Minister of Defense of Mongolia, and Maj. Gen. Thomas H. Katkus, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard, addressed the troops at an opening ceremony on June 24.

Bayarmagnai noted that the exercise "has significant importance that enables opportunity for international peacekeepers to share their knowledge and experience in peacekeeping operations, execution techniques, learned lessons, and real-life practices among the Soldiers."

This year's exercise is the twelfth annual iteration and consists of four components: "Command Post Exercise, Field Training Exercise, Engineering Civil Action Program projects and a Cooperative Health Exchange."

"Training together and sharing our cultures, capabilities, and tactics creates a more robust network of peacekeeping forces capable of responding to the most challenging situations," noted Katkus. He additionally noted the value of Khaan Quest in deepening military-to-military relations between participants from the 23 countries participating in this year's iteration: "In addition to improving the capabilities of the military forces present, Khaan Quest also strengthens personal relationships in both military and civilian sectors."

U.S. personnel comprised 300 out of the over 1,000 total participating troops in this year's Khaan Quest exercise. The other nations participating in or observing this year's  exercise are "Australia, Bangladesh, Belarus, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Poland, Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Kingdom."

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Social, Environmental and Other

Japan, ADB Announce ¥1.8 Billion Fund to Promote Low-Carbon Technologies in Developing Countries (including Mongolia)

(Japan Minister of Environment Nobuteru Ishihara and President Nakao.)

TOKYO, JAPAN, June 24  — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced today the establishment of a new trust fund to support the adoption of advanced low-carbon technologies in its developing member countries (DMCs), with a grant of ¥1.8 billion (about $17.65 million) from the Government of Japan.

The Minister of the Environment of Japan Nobuteru Ishihara and ADB President Takehiko Nakao today signed a Letter of Intent for Cooperation on Environmental Issues, which will include cooperation for effective implementation of the Japan Fund for the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JFJCM).

"The establishment of the JFJCM is a timely step to help meet the demands of the Asia and Pacific region for sustainable low-carbon infrastructure," Mr. Nakao said at the signing ceremony. "The fund will provide grant finance to reduce the cost of advanced low-carbon technologies, such as those related to waste-to-energy schemes and smart grids, which often have initial high investment costs and long cost recovery periods."

Due to rapid economic growth, the region has become a major source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with the region's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions accounting for 43% of the world's CO2 emissions in 2010. This share could rise to 50% of world CO2 emissions by 2035. The region's developing countries need considerable investments to make the transition to a low-carbon development path.

Many advanced low-carbon technologies face significant barriers to adoption such as high up-front costs and perceived risk that the technology will not perform to expectations. The JFJCM will offer up-front grant financing and technical assistance to address these barriers.

With the establishment of the JFJCM, ADB is the first multilateral development bank to have a trust fund for supporting GHG reduction projects under the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM).

The JCM is a bilateral carbon market mechanism between the Government of Japan and developing countries to promote GHG emissions reduction projects. It complements multilateral carbon market schemes, such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and follows a similar approach to the CDM for financing and accounting of verified GHG emissions reductions.

The eligible countries of the JFJCM are DMCs of ADB that have signed memoranda of understanding for the JCM with the Government of Japan. To date, eight DMCs are eligible—Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Maldives, Mongolia, Palau, and Viet Nam—and the list of eligible DMCs is expected to expand.

The JFJCM will help finance the adoption of advanced low-carbon technologies that are proven but not yet widely used in developing countries, including smart grids, waste-to-energy schemes, and energy efficiency measures in facilities such as water supply and sanitation plants, transport systems, and buildings.

Under the Letter of Intent, ADB and the Ministry of the Environment will also deepen their collaboration in fields such as air quality management, strengthening enforcement of environment laws, and responding to climate change.

Link to release


Four Mongolian higher education institutes receives international accreditation

Ulaanbaatar, June 30 (MONTSAME) Four institutes have recently been accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

Those are the Computer Science and Management School of Mongolia's University of Sciences and Technology, Etugen Institute, Mandakh Burtgel Institute and San Institute. Those were included in a list of 22 colleges and universities in four countries, to which ACBSP granted initial accreditation or reaffirmation of accreditation on June 29 in Chicago, USA.

"These campuses have shown their commitment to teaching excellence and to the process of quality improvement by participating in the accreditation process. The initial accreditation and reaffirmation of accreditation granted to these institutions demonstrates their commitment to provide the highest quality business education for their students," said Steve Parscale, ACBSP director of accreditation.

The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) is a leading specialized accreditation association for business education supporting, celebrating, and rewarding teaching excellence. The association embraces the virtues of teaching excellence and emphasizes to students that it is essential to learn how to learn.

ACBSP accredits business, accounting, and business-related programs at the associate, baccalaureate, master, and doctorate degree levels worldwide. Recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) in 2001 and again in 2011, ACBSP was the first to offer specialized business accreditation at all degree levels.

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10 Tips for Visiting Mongolia

By Nomin Dari, Founder,

June 27 (Huffington Post) For my 23rd birthday, I was lucky to be able to take a trip to the pristine Khuvsgul Lake in Mongolia. Khuvsgul Lake is the second largest freshwater lake in the world, the next best thing to Lake Baikal in Siberia. Khuvsgul is 700km north of Ulaanbaatar. To visit, one can opt for a two-day drive or a short 1.5-hour flight.

For those of you interested in traveling to Mongolia, the sights are plenty. In the south is the incredible Gobi desert home to the double humped camels. In the west are the majestic Altai Mountains, where the Kazakh eagle hunters reside. In the east lies the steppe of Mongolia with vast untouched rolling hills for miles on end. Finally, the north is home to the majestic Khuvsgul Lake and the Tsaatan reindeer herders of Mongolia. The time to visit Mongolia is anytime, but be warned, the winter is fierce and the capital city is intolerable during the winter due to air pollution. The less time you spend in the capital city, the happier you will probably be.

The allure of Mongolia for many is the vast emptiness of the land dotted with what remains one the few true nomadic people of the world. In the emptiness, nomadic families live quietly in gers dotting the land with their animals grazing freely. For those confused, a ger is pronounced "gher" and refers to a portable dwelling used by Central Asian nomads. If you can't imagine it, watch this video to see a it being built. 

I cannot stress how incredibly powerful it is to see such places of pristine natural wildlife. Some do say, Mongolia is the "last frontier."

When you do visit Mongolia, here are 10 tips to make the most out of your time in Mongolia:

1.    Trust your driver. Although there are no maps/gps/road signs/roads available, rest assured, Mongolian drivers are incredibly skilled at navigating. Let yourself go in the incredible scenery and lose any worry about how and where you might be lost. However, if you feel the driver is speeding, do not hesitate to ask to slow down.

2.    MST: Mongolian Standard Time. Synonymous to "Island Time". People are much less aware of time here and locals have a very relaxed attitude about it. If you need something urgently, be sure to stress a little otherwise whatever you need could be a few more minutes/hours than expected. Just a note, if your driver says your destination is just over that next hill, be dubious but forgiving.

3.    Hang out and play with the local kids! Mongolian children are extremely friendly and so darn cute. They are most famous for their big rosy red cheeks, covering much of their face. If you would like to take pictures, it is polite to ask the family first.

4.    Visit a nomadic family. If you have the opportunity, or pass a ger on your way, be sure to make a stop. Mongolians enjoy visitors and are happy to share a few minutes of their time with the weary wanderer. It is customary that any visitor who visits a ger is offered a seat and some milk tea. It is polite to take a sip at minimum. Gift giving is customary for visitors, so if you do intend to visit a nomadic family, bring with you a small gift. My advice would be to bring them something they don't have such as a frisbee, puzzles, but candies and small toys are just as fine.

5.    Long (bumpy) car rides: Be prepared for some epic long car rides in some old school rides (russian vans and jeeps). Most of these vans have stereo systems that work with CASSETTE tapes. If you've got some old favorites lying around the house, bring them with you on your travels. Otherwise, charge your mp3 or bring portable speakers. Lastly, if you get car-sick, bring meds. Side note: Our crew for my birthday trip brought portable speakers and they were literally a BLAST. Listening to Johnny Cash under the summer solstice moon with a bon-fire was ideal.

6.    Free love! The French hippies, the Israeli solo traveler, the re-pat traveling the homeland... You will be most likely surprised and bewildered by how far some have come to see Mongolia, and how long some have been traveling here. Be friendly and you can make some long-lasting friends.

7.    Quality camera: As fun as disposable cameras are and as easy to use your phone camera is, if you really want to capture the EPICNESS of this country, bring with you a decent camera. I promise you, it is worth it. Plus, you can make your friends even MORE jealous of your epic adventures.

8.    Shower? In your dreams. Dry shampoo I hear is the new rage, if you are fussy, bring a bottle of that. In some luxury ger camps, you will find some solar and heated showers. Otherwise, let your hair loose, mount that horse, and ride away into the oblivion that is not having any mirrors around. Oh, and bring wetwipes... Once out of the city, its out-houses only or natures doorstep.

9.    Ger tourist camps: are plentiful in the most popular destinations and I recommend even just a night. Even if you are camping with your own tent, be sure to fandangle your way into at least 1 night in a ger. The sound of rain pitter-pattering whilst in your ger is incredibly serene. Just a note, if you think the ger is small and you are curious about where the nomads put all of their belongings, one hint are the rungs of the ger on the top. Small necessities such as toothbrushes and towels are stuck in the top. By the way, the mile high club is overrated... how many people are in the "dare in the ger" club?

10. LOOT: Make sure you make room for some hefty loot. My advice on le cashmere: shop till ya drop. I understand if you visit during the summer, it is difficult shopping for cashmere in the heat, but I guarantee you, you won't find anything softer than camel hair, or those warm warm cashmere blankets and sweaters anywhere else.

To note: There are many unmentioned things in this article like Mongolian traditional music, yummy mutton, the how-to on how to hold a baby goat properly, the crazy black market in UB and the probabilities of finding a dinosaur or dinosaur egg during your trip. I couldn't fit all of the fun into this list, so watch out for the next one. In the meantime, if you've got comments and suggestions, please contribute below.

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(Amur falcon colony in Doyang, Golaghat-Wokha border, Nagaland)

June 29 (Eurasia Review) The migration route of the Amur falcon, probably the longest bird migration from Mongolia to Africa via Assam and Nagaland, has been confirmed recently.

It was confirmed earlier that these birds migrate from Siberia, Mongolia and North of China. But their route via Assam and Nagaland and return journey was not confirmed until recently.

The two birds – Naga and Pangti – which were also fitted with similar devices have already returned to Mongolia from South Africa where they had gone from Nagaland in November along with flocks of birds they were travelling with and have reached their roosting sites in Mongolia.

The initiative to satellite track these migratory raptors was taken jointly by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Ministry of Environment & Forest (Government of India) and Wildlife Institute of India (Dehradun) and Forest Department of Nagaland. It may be recalled that in November 2013, local communities in Nagaland embarked on the biggest conservation movement by satellite tagging of Amur Falcons by international scientists who declared Doyang as one of the biggest congregation of Amur Falcons (nearly one million) roosting there. The scientists declared Nagaland as the falcon capital of the world.

On November 7, 2013, the birds were satellite tagged and released.

One of the three birds fitted with satellite-tracking devices in Nagaland last year, has either died or the tracking device has fallen off the bird. The tracking device fitted to the bird named Wokha had been sending signals from an area near Phuthanditjhaba in the Free State Province of South Africa constantly since a month now. This is something unusual and we firmly believe that the bird is either dead
or the device fell off. Naga, a male, and Wokha and Pangti, two females were named after Nagaland, Wokha district and Pangti village and were fitted with the satellite devices on November 7.

They left Nagaland a few days later to South Africa and finally reached South Africa on January 9 this year after crossing difficult journey over Arabian Sea. The Amur Falcons spent their winter in South Africa.

While starting their journey back home, the Amur Falcon named Naga was the first one to lead the journey and has reached Gujarat coast after taking different route during its backward journey.

The device has an small antenna and a solar panel which were fitted to the back of the birds. It weighs about 5 gram and hampers nothing to the birds movement. The cost of each device is about 7 lakh. Naga
and Pangti has taken a different route while returning from South Africa and had entered the Indian Subcontinent through the Gujrat coast. The two birds – Naga and Pangti flew over Gujrat, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Meghalaya and Manipur and avoided the Bay of Bangal while returning to Mongolia.

Moreover, twenty eight other Amur falcons were also fitted with leg bands or rings for proper study of these migratory species, which travel about 22,000 km every year from Mongolia to Africa via Assam and Nagaland. It was in 2010 that 10 Amur falcons were fitted with satellite-tracking devices in South Africa by a group of scientists led by Bern-Ulrich Meyburg of Germany. However, only one bird returned to Newcastle in South Africa after completing the migration route.

Amur falcons raptors with pigeon looks are said to have one of the longest migratory routes. These birds travel from Siberia, Mongolia and North China to Africa via India where they rest at Doyang in
Nagaland and at Nellie in Assam. They feed on insects during the day and the rest on trees and electric wires in Assam and Nagaland. They spend about one month in Assam and Nagaland every autumn to gain fitness for their onward journey to Africa over the Arabian Sea.

Until 2012, the Doyang roosting site was dubbed the killing fields of falcons. They were killed in large numbers by villagers. After initiatives taken by forest departments and NGOs including Wildflowers (a conservation group of CCER) in Assam, not a single bird was killed in 2013-14. The state also made international headlines with the conservation achievement and the authorities and the Pangti villagers of the state were praised for their effort.

After reaching South Africa, Naga and Pangti have taken different routes during their return journey flying over Somalia Crossing Arabian sea Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Meghalaya, Manipur, entered Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, China now reached inner Mongolia. The birds are expected to visit Assam and Nagaland roosting site next October.

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One Steppe Ahead: Trekking Into The Unknown Mongolia

Editor's Note: We're excited to welcome Nick and Dariece, famously known on the Web as "Goats on the Road." Their pieces will appear periodically on TravelPulse as they tackle new adventures around the world.

June 12 (TravelPulse) Our bags already felt heavy, the straps sinking deep into the muscles of our shoulders. We both smiled as we looked around at the gorgeous scenery that surrounded us. Misty raindrops fell from the dark clouds above and found a home on our faces before trickling down our cheeks, leaving a cool wake behind them.

Ahead of us, we saw mile after mile of green rolling hills. Our epic 125 kilometer trek had only just begun, and we were excited for the challenge that was waiting for us over each grassy dune.

My wife and I had been planning this independent journey for months. We had scanned thousands of kilometers of the Mongolian steppe from space, using Google Maps, and we eventually settled on this route along the Chulut River.

The journey would take us from a small village in central Mongolia, all the way up to the town of Tariat, near the great Terkhin-Tsagaan Nuur Lake in the Khangai Mountains. We had somehow managed to pack cooking supplies, food, clothing, a tent, sleeping bags, a map and a compass into our small travel backpacks. We figured the trek would take us eight days and we had planned the trip down to the last detail. What we hadn't planned for was the rain.

Already, after just one day of trekking, our feet were tired and our bodies were wet, despite our rain gear. We set up our first campsite in the middle of nowhere and proudly stood by our tent after it was fully pitched. We stared out 360 degrees around us and saw gers (yurts) scattered over the green grasslands. The Chulut River split through the Earth and marked our trail. The smell of wet grass and the smoky aroma of burning wood filled the cool evening air.

Our stomachs growled and churned and we knew it was time to eat. We lit our small cooking stove and began to boil water for dinner. As the steaming liquid started to bubble, we heard the rumble of a motorbike coming towards us. We stood up and peered over our tent and saw a family of 4 riding in our direction. It was a father and 3 boys and they came bearing gifts. The youngest boy was on the very back of the bike and had a bundle of firewood caught in his grasp. As his father's motorcycle came to a halt beside us, the boy dropped the load with a sigh, relieved to free his arms from the weight.

The man and his three sons spoke no English, but they smiled as they got off of the motorcycle and silently lit our campfire for us. After their work was complete, they each ceremoniously shook my hand and bid us farewell.

This was the type of silent conversation and generous support that we would come to expect on our journey into the Mongolian Steppe.

As the days passed, we found ourselves getting further from the city lights and closer to nature and the unique community of nomadic Mongolia. Every night when we stopped to set up camp in a different part of the steppe, a new family would come to greet us.

Only once did the visitor speak English, but every time there seemed to be a connection and a respect for what we were doing. Mongolians live and die by the land and although they seemed confused that we didn't have a horse, they admired our spirit and our obvious appreciation for their wild outdoors. We would try to explain our journey with hand motions and what little Mongolian language we had picked up and they would always smile and congratulate us with a handshake or a pat on the back.

In the late afternoons I would set up my fly rod and head to the river banks to try my luck at fishing. These waters are famous for Taimen, the world's largest freshwater trout. With each flick of the rod, my line rolled over the water and landed quietly on the surface.

The cool raindrops continued to wet my face and the views all around me were spectacular. Spears of sunlight split the dark clouds and radiated whatever part of the steppe they touched, while the river rolled past with a trickling melody that would almost put me to sleep. The silence was only broken when a fish would take my fly and start my reel screaming. If the fish landed was large enough, it would be dinner that night.

Fly fishing was a great way to connect with the local nomads on our trek. Most of them had seen some sort of fishing before, but the strange reel, thick line and odd casting technique was always new to them. On one particular afternoon, a local herder was so curious about this new style of fishing that I decided I would teach him to fly fish. He took me to his favourite fishing spot and together we took turns casting the line onto the water. When I was the only one to come out with a fish, he seemed frustrated with himself and he wanted to try more. I'm sure if I had left him with my gear, he would be an expert fly fisherman by now!

Each evening, as the sun set over the steppe, it illuminated the clear parts of the sky and painted our views with brilliant pinks, oranges and yellows. Luckily during the trek, the rain would usually let off just in time to treat us to a beautiful sunset. At around 11:00 at night, when the light from the sun was finally gone, the pitch black sky was sprinkled with a thousand glimmering specks. The stars on the steppe were some of the brightest we've ever seen and every night we would light a camp fire and gaze up at them while cuddling together for warmth.

As we neared the end of our journey, our feet were becoming blistered and our clothes stunk from the constant damp. Shortly after each rain, hundreds of thousands of flies would come out from their hiding spots and follow us around in buzzing black clouds. Luckily they would always give up after about an hour and we'd again be free of the annoying pests.

No matter how many bugs found us, how wet we became, or how sore our feet were, we never lost sight of the amazing journey we were on.

We met countless families and we were always invited into their round, felt homes. They showed us how to churn milk into butter, how to skin a goat and how to live off of the land. Compared to families where we come from, these nomads had very little, and yet they were some of the wealthiest people we had ever met because they had everything they needed.

They spent every waking moment with the people they love and their hard work gave them something to be proud of. They loved to show us how many animals they have, how strong they are and how masterful they had become on the back of their horses.

Mongolians are proud, happy and free.

After eight days of trekking deep into the unknown Mongolia, we could finally see our end destination. Terkhin Tsagaan Lake glimmered in the distance like an oasis. It seemed to take forever to reach the lake after we had originally spotted it, but it was a relief to finally step foot on its shores. At last we could rest our feet and our aching muscles. We were able to dry out in a yurt made for tourists, complete with a warm stove, a soft bed and a hot shower!

Through all of the challenges that we faced on our epic eight-day trek into the Mongolian steppe, what stood out for us most was the people. The connections we felt with the local nomads and the respect we found for their way of life will stay with us forever and hopefully we made an impression on them as well. Who knows, maybe my fly fishing friend has bought his own rod and is now hunting for the illusive Taimen somewhere along the Chulut River.

One thing is for sure, this journey will stay with us for the rest of our lives and we will never forget the kind, knowledgable and loving families that we met along the way. Happiness comes in many forms, and on the steppe we were reminded that you need to spend time doing what you love, while being surrounded by the people you love. Looking back at our adventure now, we realize that we found out a lot about ourselves on this journey, and we're happy to say that like the Mongolian nomads, we continue to live a life of freedom, travel & adventure.

For more information on this amazing country, check out our Independent Guide to Trekking in Mongolia and our Backpacking Guide to Mongolia.

Nick and Dariece are the nomadic couple behind Goats On The Road, a website designed to help others live a financially sustainable, location independent lifestyle. Masters at making money abroad and travelling forever, they've been on the road for over 4 years and have travelled to some of the least visited places on Earth, finding adventure wherever they go. Check them out and follow them onTwitter, Facebook and YouTube.

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VIDEO: Racist attack against Mongolian Spaniard on Barcelona Metro

UPDATED: Police have arrested a man who beat up a young Spaniard born in Mongolia on Barcelona's underground railway system after a video of the incident posted on YouTube went viral.

June 30 (The Local) The video, shot late on Saturday night, shows a blond man standing over a young Asian man on a Barcelona metro train.

The agressor, whose face is pixellated, can be seen leaning towards his victim. He then throws several punches before shocked bystanders drag him away.

The video was first posted on a Twitter account — now taken down — containing Nazi imagery and the slogan "Always a patriot, white Europe", the Spain edition of the Huffington Post reported on Sunday.

The owner of that account tweeted he had not carried out the attack, but had merely filmed it with his mobile phone.

"The Chinese guy insulted us and the Russian (attacker) made him shut up," the Twitter user wrote.

"@6sonya said that he (the victim) said to us we weren't Chinese and was giving us filthy looks," another tweet read.     

The video was reposted on YouTube on Sunday and had already racked up nearly 400,000 views as of 11am on Monday.

A politician with Catalonia's left-wing CUP party, David Fernàndez, responded by calling on people to help identify the attacker:

Barcelona Metropolitian Transport says tthe incident was not reported to security staff at the time, but provided video footage of the incident to police.

On Monday afternoon, the region's Mossos d'Esquadra police force said they had identifed and arrested the attacker, according to La Vanguardia. They plan to give a press conference at 5pm with more details.

Various left-wing groups have also posted images of the man they say is the attacker on social media sites including Twitter.

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Room #5, Coffice Hub, 5th Floor, Time Center
21 Baga Toiruu Street, Sukhbaatar District 8
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 15160
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