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Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
Rio and Mongolia close the gap in copper dispute
By James Wilson
September 22 (FT) The Rio Tinto-controlled company behind the Oyu Tolgoi copper project on Monday concluded a feasibility study for a $5bn expansion and welcomed a tax cut offered by local authorities, in signs of a possible end to a long dispute between Mongolia and the miner.
Rio controls Turquoise Hill Resources, which owns 66 per cent of the project known as OT. Rio has started to export copper to China from OT but has put development of a second, more important, phase on hold. Several deadlines to agree project finance for construction have been postponed.
The mine, which has already cost more than $6bn, is expected to be one of the biggest copper producers in the world and to last for decades, and also has significant amounts of gold and silver. But Rio's refusal to countenance the go-ahead for the second phase until disagreements with Mongolia have been ironed out shows how miners are reluctant to give ground on what they see as unwarranted demands from host governments – so-called "resource nationalism".
Mongolia, meanwhile, has said it wants to go ahead as soon as possible with the OT expansion. The country, which owns the remaining 44 per cent of OT and for which the project could represent about one-third of gross domestic product, has been struggling to maintain confidence in its finances, with reserves and foreign direct investment falling.
One issue between Rio, its partners and Mongolia has been a tax demand. Turquoise Hill said on Monday the amount requested had been cut from $127m to $30m, but that other issues needed to be solved.
"While this significant reduction is welcome, there are aspects of the ruling that require further clarification. Oyu Tolgoi … will continue to work with the Mongolian Tax Authority," the Canadian company said.
Turquoise Hill also on Monday published a feasibility study for the mine's second phase, showing that estimated remaining construction costs of $4.9bn were broadly in line with an estimate of $5.1bn in 2013, although $500m has been spent since then.
The feasibility study – an essential part of working out whether a mine makes economic sense – has been a missing piece of the puzzle that had to be solved before both Mongolia and Rio make a commitment to the OT second phase.
Tony Robson, analyst at BMO Capital Markets, said: "Politics is more important to the [Turquoise Hill] share price than numbers. Today's news suggests a growing rapport between Rio Tinto/Turquoise Hill and the government."
However, the Turquoise Hill study showed a $1.5bn cut in the net present value of the OT expansion project because of more cautious assumptions about the performance of the mining method to be used, as well as an $800m cut in NPV because of its delay. That is in line with a warning from Rio this year that it could face an $800m impairment to this year's results because of the OT delays.
Oyu Tolgoi Finalizes Underground Feasibility Study – Turquoise Hill Resources, September 22
Turquoise Hill Provides Update on Mongolian Tax Authority Ruling and Tailings Thickener Rake Repair – Turquoise Hill Resources, September 22
Entree Gold Provides Oyu Tolgoi Feasibility Study Update – Entrée Gold, September 22
Turquoise Hill Completes Mongolian Mine Feasibility Study – Bloomberg, September 22
Rio Tinto Raises Cost Of Oyu Tolgoi Underground Mine Expansion – WSJ, September 22
Turquoise Hill says dispute resolution reduces taxes payable by 76% - Proactive Investors, September 22
Prophecy Coal Announces Approval for the General Development of the Mongolian-Russian Zeltura Border Port
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Sept. 19, 2014) - Prophecy Coal Corp. ("Prophecy" or the "Company") (TSX:PCY) (OTCQX:PRPCF) (FRANKFURT:1P2) is pleased to announce the approval of the Company's General Development Plan (the "GDP") for the Zeltura border port in Selenge province, Mongolia.
Based on Article 17.4.5 of the Mongolian Border Control and Ports of Entry and Customs Law, Provision No. 4.8 of the Border Ports National Council of Mongolia (the "BPNC") Charter and the decision of the 2nd meeting of the BPNC and with the purpose of implementing the 2012-2016 Government Action Plan, Resolution #01 was made on August 26, 2014 by the BPNC to:
1. approve the GDP for the Zeltura border port in Selenge province, Mongolia; and
2. instruct the Ports General Authority to take measures immediately to implement the GDP.
Given the approval of the GDP by the BPNC, the Company anticipates approval from the Mongolian Ministry of Road and Transportation for the Road Feasibility study previously submitted to it for the construction of a 17km road to connect the Ulaan Ovoo mine to the Zeltura border. Prophecy is also working with the Mongolian Customs General Administration for the establishment of a customs inspection and clearance area at its Ulaan Ovoo mine. The Company's goal is to see the Zeltura border opened, and to transport its first shipment of coal through it, this year.
Ulaan Ovoo Sales in Russia
In 2014, the Company sold and successfully delivered coal shipments from Sukhbaatar rail siding to a number of Russian customers. Realized sale prices for coal with GCV of 4,500kcal/kg to 5,000kcal/kg with low ash (less than 10%) and low sulphur (less than 1%) ranged from 1,800-2,400 roubles per tonne (US $50-$65 per tonne). Sale prices are also dependent on the point of delivery in Russia. In just a few months, Prophecy and Ulaan Ovoo coal have earned a good reputation in the Russian Buryat region for supplier reliability and coal product quality.
The Russian market remains a prime focus for Ulaan Ovoo's management, who remain confident about the prospect of increasing both the quantity of Russian sales and number of Russian customers over time. The opening of the Zeltura border is expected to significantly reduce transportation costs and thus, increase the Company's sales margins and competitiveness in Russia.
Petro Matad: Interim Results
LONDON, 22 September 2014 -- Petro Matad Limited, the AIM quoted Mongolian oil explorer, is pleased to announce its unaudited interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2014
The Group posted a loss of USD 2.00 million for the six-month period ended 30 June 2014, which compares to a loss of USD 3.65 million for the comparable period in 2013. The reduced loss in 2014 reflects lower activity levels and reduced staff numbers compared to 2013.
Petro Matad would also like to take this opportunity to provide an update on recent events in Mongolia. The new Petroleum Law passed the Mongolian Parliament in 2014 and came into force as from 29 July 2014 when it was published in the State Information magazine. An Oil Conference was held in Ulaanbaatar on 10 and 11 September 2014 at which the Mongolian Government and the Petroleum Authority of Mongolia gave a number of talks explaining the implications of the new Law. The conference also had a number of talks and discussion groups on future oil exploration opportunities in Mongolia. Details of the conference can be found at http://www.oilmongolia.com/about_the_conference.
The most significant impact of this newly approved Petroleum Law for Petro Matad is that it extends the initial licence term for exploration acreage from five (5) years to eight (8) years for licences signed prior to the new Law coming into effect. It also allows the Government administrative body to further extend the licences two more times for up to two (2) years each. As a result of this, the initial exploration licence period for Petro Matad's Blocks IV and V is now eight (8) years to 29 July 2017.
The main activities during the first half of 2014 were field studies, ongoing prospect generation and supporting the ongoing farmout effort. The most recent operational update was issued on 7 May 2014 and is posted on the Company's website. Following is a link to this update.
Haranga Resources Investor Presentation: From Successful Exploration to Developing a Mine
14th China Int'l Steel & Raw Materials Conference 2014 in Dalian, China
September 22, Haranga Resources Ltd. (ASX:HAR) --
The Company's Selenge Iron Ore Project in Mongolia holds the largest internationally recognized JORC Code Compliant Resource of 254Mt (Measured and Indicated)
• Equates to approx. 20% of the total registered iron ore resources in the country
• Further potential exploration upside
The Project is ideally located in Mongolia
• Right geological settings & structural zone
• Availability to key infrastructure such as Railroad, Electricity and Water supply
• Existing iron ore producing mines in close proximity with track record in exporting to China
The Company is transitioning into a Development stage from successful Exploration phase
• The Pre-Mining Agreement ("PMA") with the Mineral Resource Authority of Mongolia is signed
• The Metallurgical test work is currently underway; the preliminary DTR with progressive grind test results demonstrates a high quality iron ore concentrate is achievable as a final saleable product
• A further study for a start up mine operation to achieve early production and cash flow is in progress
Mogi: Hotel Mongolia controlling stake sold to Bars Group from Ajnai Corp., I believe
MSE Weekly Review, September 15-19: Top 20 +1.3%, Turnover ₮1.94 Billion
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, September 22 (MONTSAME) Five stock trades were held at Mongolia's Stock Exchange September 15-19 of 2014. In overall, three million 405 thousand and 005 shares were sold of 41 joint-stock companies totalling MNT one billion 938 million 574 thousand and 894.70.
"Mongol shiltgeen" /three million and 323 thousand units/, "Hermes center" /45 thousand and 111 units/, "Remikon" /11 thousand and 713 units/, "Sor" /4,645 units/ and "Mongolia Telecom" /3,189 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value--"Mongol shiltgeen" (MNT one billion 854 million and 234 thousand), "Gobi" (MNT 16 million 473 thousand and 800), "Tavantolgoi" /MNT 14 million 931 thousand and 275/, "Sor" /MNT 11 million 289 thousand and 240/ and "Hermes center" (MNT seven million 343 thousand and 503).
MSE News for September 22: Top 20 -0.13% to 15,933.79, Turnover ₮49.5 Million
Ulaanbaatar, September 22 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Monday, a total of 68 thousand and 112 shares of 17 JSCs were traded costing MNT 49 million 478 thousand and 541.00.
"Buudain tsatsal" /58 thousand and 037 units/, "APU" /4,015 units/, "Tavantolgoi" /2,997/, "Genco tour bureau" /1,300 units/ and "Mongol shiltgeen" /600 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Tavantolgoi" (MNT 15 million 584 thousand and 500), "APU" (MNT 14 million 855 thousand and 500), "Darkhan nekhii" (MNT eight million 443 thousand and 500), "Buudain tsatsal" (MNT five million 803 thousand and 700) and "Talkh chikher" (MNT two million and 820 thousand).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 600 billion 522 million 064 thousand and 400. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,933.79, decreasing 20.05 units or 0.13% against the previous day.
FMG Mongolia Fund: August +1.46%, YTD -10.19%
FTSE Keeps Mongolia on Frontier Market Watch List for Another Review in 2015
September 19 (MSE) Chris Woods, Governance and Policy Director of FTSE Group, a world-leader in the provision of global index and analytical solutions, sent official letter to Mongolian Stock Exchange JSC on Sep 17, 2014.
In this letter, on Sep 12 2014, the FTSE Governance Board has ratified that Mongolia should remain on the FTSE Watch List and be reviewed again for possible inclusion as Frontier Market at the next review in September 2015.
Also he stated that he thanks for our continued engagement and cooperation.
Ps: FTSE Group, based in Great Britain capital London, is a leading index provider in the world which calculates over 120,000 end-of-day and real time indices covering more than 80 countries.
FTSE drops Argentina from frontier index, demotes Morocco – Reuters, September 22
Early morning USD rates: Khan (Non-Cash Buy ₮1,830 Sell ₮1,842), TDB (Non-Cash Buy ₮1,830 Sell ₮1,841), Golomt (Non-Cash Buy ₮1,831 Sell ₮1,843), XacBank (Non-Cash Buy ₮1,830 Sell ₮1,843), State Bank (Non-Cash Buy ₮1,827 Sell ₮1,842)
BoM MNT Rates: Monday, September 22 Close
September MNT vs USD, CNY Chart:
BoM issues ₮104 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding +0.97% to ₮416.7 billion
September 22 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 104 billion at a weighted interest rate of 12.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
Public Discussion Held on Draft Law on Sovereign Wealth Fund
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, September 18 (MONTSAME) At the initiative of President of Mongolia, a discussion on Draft Law on Wealth Fund or Future Legacy Fund was held at the Citizen's Chamber in the Government Palace on September 18.
Citizen Participation and Economic Policy Advisor to the President L.Dashdorj noted: "Last week Government of Mongolia has approved the Draft Law on Wealth Fund or Future Legacy Fund initiated by the President of Mongolia. Wealth Fund or Future Legacy Fund is one of the main parts of the Smart Government's policy. The current economic model of Mongolia does not meet modern world's need. In terms of the indicators such as money supply, budget expenditure and import, the higher the money supply from the central bank and state budget expenditure, the faster increases demand. The import increases due to high demand and that is the model of Mongolian economy. By approving the Law on Wealth Fund or Future Legacy Fund Mongolia will make big steps to improving its law regulations in the economy".
After, economists, experts, scientists, journalists and representatives from civil society who gathered in the Citizen's Chamber discussed and exchanged views on the Draft Law on Wealth Fund or Future Legacy Fund.
Mongolia Asks World Bank's Involvement in "Steppe Road" Project
September 18 (infomongolia.com) On September 18, 2014, Minister of Economic Development N.Batbayar received in his office the World Bank's new Country Director for China, Mongolia and South Korea based in Beijing, Mr. Bert Hofman and accompanying former Director Mr. Klaus Roland and recently appointed Country Representative of the World Bank Mr. James Anderson.
Mr. Klaus Roland had been serving as the Country Director for China, Mongolia and South Korea since 2010 and before handing over his duties for Mongolia, he summarized up to date reports of cooperation between Government and the World Bank and introduced the newly appointed envoy.
At the beginning of meeting, Minister N.Batbayar briefed about the soft loan projects to implement under World Bank's finance such as "E-Health", "Smart Government", "Reform in Educational Sector", and "Sustainable Livelihood III" Project. Moreover, Minister introduced the "Steppe Road" project, which was supported to co-implement during the recent visits of the heads of state of the PR of China and the Russian Federation to Mongolia.
Furthermore, Minister N.Batbayar requested the World Bank's participation in the latter project that divides in five sectors of railway, auto road, and lines for oil, natural gas and energy.
In response, new Director Bert Hofman noted that the Government's intensive work to implement such big project namely "Steppe Road" is commendable for Mongolia's economic development and on behalf of the World Bank, he will collaborate in his full capacity to implement the project.
The World Bank has been one of the biggest supporters and assistant organizations in Mongolia's economy since 1990 and provided a total of over 560 million USD soft loan and grant aid to date.
Minister of Economic Development Meets WB Country Director – Montsame, September 18
Preparations commence to launch privatization of MIAT
September 19 (news.mn) The issue of privatization of MIAT might become more challenging topic rather than government's restructure. Some independent parliament members are already started the preparation of the privatization. There is some sources have informed that some members of the majority group in the Parliament candidates to compete among independent members for the privatization as well through their trusted person whom will be appointed inside of MIAT.
However, MIAT is the biggest within all airline companies, its economical efficiency has been poor for the past years. Also the company management is too much dependent from political influences. There is a unwritten law that MIAT should be managed by trusted person from leading political party in the Parliament. There are rumors, that two years ago, the leading power let MIAT issues to the hand of independent members of the parliament. Since that MP Davaasuren's became a strong player in this field. It remains uncertain, if past two years played an important influence to independents members, whether they are figured out the possibility to run this field more profitable.
Although, Parliament hasn't ratified the decision about MIAT privatization yet and financial report of MIAT still remains uncompleted at the State Property Committee, the marathon within PMs in the parliament to prepare for privatization procedures has already started in a full speed and this fact is attracting the curiosity.
Government carrying out the policy to privatize until 49% of MIAT's share. Therefore, in the draft of the Parliament decree about main directions of privatization and reforms of State owned assets, the MIAT was included in the list of companies to be privatized in 2014-2016.
Public has 2 different opinion about the privatization of the sate properties. While one side of the public supports the Government resolution, considering that State should be freed from some part of its' duties, the other side of it criticizes that it will such action will make state assets valueless, especially just in the moment when procurement of the brand new craft had been performed form Government bond.
MIAT bought new airplane from USA about a year ago. The total cost was 114 million dollar and was completely covered from financed by Government bond. MIAT carrying out the duty to reimburse this cost within the period of 10 years. It is too early, to accept that this investment has been "let in the wind" (wasted).
Now, let us to present the full list of companies to be privatized in accordance with the draft of the Parliament decree about main directions of privatization and reforms of State owned assets to be carried out from 2014 to 2016. It consist of two types of privatization: "Complete privatization of State asset" and "Decrease of State share"
List of companies for complete privatization:
1. "Erdenet-Bulgan energy network" and "Baganuur, South-Eastern region energy network". The purpose of privatization is to expand company, renew technology and equipment, cut the costs, maintain reliability of service. Open tender will be used to privatize this state asset and national nominees will be allowed for bidding;
2. "Tsagaan Shonkhor" (White Falcon), state owned factory, will be privatized by open tender;
3. "Orgil Rashaan Suvilal" (Orgil Sanatorium Resort), a state owned share-holding company, will be privatized by open tender under the condition that it will not be allowed to change current business operations.
4. "University of Movie Art" LLC will be privatized by open tender in case if private shareholders refuses to buy the Government shares of this company;
5. "Auto Impex" company's shares will be sold at Stock Exchange in case if private shareholders refuses to buy the Government shares of this company;
6. "Khutul Cement and Lime Factory", a state owned share-holding company's will be sold at Stock Exchange;
7. "Monsam" LLC, share owned by state will be privatized by open tender;
8. "Road Equipment Rental", share owned by state will be privatized by open tender;
9. Union of Corporation of traditional medical science, technology, manufacturing, Erchim corporation, Armono corporation and Agriculture technique, science, technology, manufacturing will be privatized by closed tender based on intellectual property valuation and under the condition that it will not be allowed to change current operations. Only scientist and researchers in the field will be allowed to attend in this tender.
Companies, where the government shares will be decreased:
1. "Mongolian Stock Exchange", a state owned share-holding company, will be restructured as minimum of 34% of total shares are under government and up to 66% of total shares will be offered to strategical and financial investors by several phases. The shares will be sold open at Mongolian Stock Exchange and other international stock exchanges with good reputation;
2. "Agriculture foundation", a state owned factory, will be gone as company structure. The minimum of 34% of the company will be under government and up to 66% of company will be privatized by several phases;
3. "Agriculture Exchange" LLC will be changed as share-holding company. The minimum of 34% of the company will be under government and up to 66% of company will be privatized by several phases at Mongolian Stock Exchange;
4. "Mongol Post", a state owned share-holding company, will issue additional shares equivalent to its 34% of current total shares and will sell them at Mongolia Stock Exchange;
5. "MIAT" (Mongolia Airlines), a state owned share-holding company. The minimum of 51% of the company will be under government and up to 49% of company will be privatized by open tender;
6. "Telecom Mongolia" a state owned share-holding company, will issue additional shares under the condition that government shares have to be 34% as minimum.
7. "Mongolia Netcom" a state owned limited liability company's minimum of 34% will remain under government and up to 66% will be privatized by several phases to other companies which have similar business operations;
8. "Shivee-Ovoo" share-holding company's up to 20% of government shares will be sold at national and international stock exchanges with good reputation;
9. "Baganuur" share-holding company will issue additional shares under the condition that protect government's share as minimum of 51% and the shares will be sold at Mongolian Stock Exchange;
Mongolia's MIAT in bid to lure international partners
September 22 (ch-aviation) MIAT - Mongolian Airlines (OM, Ulaanbaatar) has opened the door to international cooperation amid a general downturn in the Mongolian economy. Requesting proposals from interested parties, the Mongolian national carrier said it had already crafted its own mid-term business plan covering the period 2015 to 2017.
"Therefore, MIAT Mongolian Airline is cordially inviting all interested parties to support and participate in the development of the mid-term Business Plan utilizing its own financial resources," it said.
On September 3, Aeroflot (SU, Moscow Sheremetyevo) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with MIAT pledging its cooperation and support for the airline following talks between Russia's Vladimir Putin and his Mongolian counterpart, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj. It is unknown as to what extent the cooperation will encompass.
Private operator Eznis Airways (EF, Ulaanbaatar) was forced to indefinitely suspend its own operations in May this year also citing harsh market conditions.
Ratings agency Fitch warned in July this year that one of Mongolia's most significant challenges in raising economic activity (and improving external finances) has been the slowdown in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) since the end of construction for the first phase of the multi-billion dollar Oyu Tolgoi copper mine. However, the resumption of works under the project's second phase is expected to provide a significant boost to foreign-capital inflows and broader economic activity.
Link to MIAT press release, September 17
MED partners with JICA to develop state-private sector partnership policy
By B. Mendbayar
September 18 (UB Post) The Ministry of Economic Development organized the "Mongolian State-Private Sector Partnership, Today and Future" conference in association with a team of experts from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), on September 16.
Principles of state-private partnership and the Law on Concession were introduced at the conference. Over 50 delegates from the Ministry of Economic Development, private sector, and JICA attended the conference.
Below are opinions from Chief of Innovation at the State-Private Partnership Department of the Economic Development Ministry S.Bekhbat and CEO of NTB LLC S.Sainbayar.
S.Bekhbat: Six projects are being implemented under concession agreements.
The conference was attended mainly by private sector entrepreneurs. Information about concession agreements ought to be imparted not only to the state, but also companies executing projects. This conference was significant for discussing international and domestic experiences. Currently, six projects are being implemented under concession agreement. The Law on Concession was approved in 2010. Therefore, projects are being carried out in the framework of a law that has been in effect for four years. We have learned certain lessons and warnings throughout these years. So, improving the legal environment and working on implementation mechanisms and methods are crucial. Prior to the introduction of concessions, projects were funded by the state budget. But now, companies carry out projects with their own funds. Once projects are implemented, companies have two alternatives to see return on their investments: either payment from the state budget or by charging consumers with fees. This year, the participating companies were invited to the conference. In general, more so than state companies, the increased capacity of private sector companies positively affects the economy.
B.Sainbayar: The first project under a concession agreement has been successfully implemented.
RDCC LLC is the owner of a concession on construction of the Nariin Sukhait – Shivee Khuren road designed for heavy haul trucks. Our company is working as the general executor. The road has been worked on for three years and will open on September 27. The validity term of the road is 15 years.
This project is the first project successfully implemented under concession agreement in Mongolia.
Implementing a project with state budget funds poses considerable difficulty for the budget itself.
Concession agreements may have become an internationally adopted method of implementing projects because of this. We built a 43.2 kilometer long, 12.4 meter wide and 24 cm thick cement-paved road with a reinforced embankment of 25 cm thick cement for heavy haul trucks. A total of 110 billion MNT was invested in the construction work. This investment was funded by Monnis Group and SouthGobi Sands LLC. Obviously, the investors would earn back their investment from fees on coal transportation, but coal transportation rates were high at the time the concession agreement was established. For instance, over 1,000 vehicles a day used to pass through the southern border at the time. But now, the number has decreased to 200. So, circumstances became totally different from how we estimated. Accordingly, if circumstances stay constant, the investors can earn back their initial investment. So, we are waiting for an increase in coal transportation. This is a risk a project carried out under concession agreement faces.
2007 UBTZ Parallel Railway Feasibility Study Must Be Updated - Minister
By N. Khaliun
Ulaanbaatar, September 22 (MONTSAME) At the cabinet meeting on Thurday, the Minister of Roads and Transportation A.Gansukh said the feasibility study project on construction of a second (parallel) railway line of Ulaanbaatar Railway (UBZD) "do not fit the current state and development trends of transport and logistics network, they must be profoundly updated".
The feasibility studies were developed in 2006-2007 by the Chinese first Institute for the study and design of Railways. The cabinet decided to urgently start the renovation of the feasibility studies.
As known, the agreement on outlining a strategic partnership for the modernization and development of Ulaanbaatar Railway (UBZD) was signed between the Ministry of Roads and Transport of Mongolia and the Russian Railways on this September 3 during the working visit of the Russian President Putin to Mongolia. The parties agreed to build electrified parallel branches in Sukhbaatar--Sainshand--Zamiin-Uud direction with a capacity of 100 million tons of cargo. The main goal of the agreement is the strategic development of JSC "UBZD" to ensure growth in the export and transit of goods and to strengthen its role in the Eurasian transport and logistics system. The agreement also reflects the interest of parties to work with China to build up traffic from Russia to China in the opposite direction using UBZD, which includes the development of competitive tariffs and technological conditions for such shipments.
Fake diploma holders infiltrate civil service
September 18 (UB Post) Making and using fake diplomas has become popular in Mongolia. Would you believe that holders of these fake diplomas have been recruited for civil service? It's an unfortunate recent development and the people who generate fake diplomas always seem to escape responsibility.
Based on information discovered by Unuudur, it is clear that more than one fake diploma holder works at the Independent Authority for Corruption (IAAC) and the General Council of Courts (GCC), which are authorities with some of the greatest responsibility in the state.
The IAAC aims to fight corruption and work towards the improvement and development of public and private services. Having an inspector with a falsified diploma negatively impacts the credibility of this organization.
In the scope of legal reforms, the Investigation Department under the State General Prosecutor's Office was disbanded and inspection work was transferred to the IAAC and GCC. Some employees of the Investigation Department became prosecutors and investigators. Investigator Sodbayar Battur was included among them.
B.Sodbayar worked as a software engineer and internal officer at the General Authority for Executing Court Decisions.
The State Specialized Inspection Authority's inspections in 2009 and 2010 revealed that Sodbayar used a fake diploma to be recruited for his position. An official document signed by N.Gansukh, specialist of the State Specialized Inspection Authority, mentioned him clearly.
The official document noted, "According to the invitation of the General Police Department and the General Authority for Executing Court Decisions, during the inspection of education certificates of civil servants, employee of the General Authority for Executing Court Decisions B.Sodbayar's diploma from Mongolian University of Science and Technology was determined to be a fake diploma. The relevant materials were transmitted to the IAAC. Interestingly, he was also registered in the database as having graduated from the Law School at National University of Mongolia in 1998."
Even though his case was transferred to the Police Department of Chingeltei District, he used his real diploma from National University of Mongolia and transferred to the Investigation Department under the State General Prosecutor's Office. Thus, the window for pursuing the case closed and he escaped criminal liability.
Being an investigator is a highly responsible job which greatly impacts people's lives, determining whether or not people under investigation are guilty or not and studying official documents in detail.
How could lawyers and investigators make fake documents and be recruited by a state organization?
If they generate fake documents, how can they be qualified to investigate the work of others?
A similar incident has recently occurred at the General Council of the Court.
The council was established recently and many new officials were recruited. But one civil servant in a high position at the Council is believed to have used a fake diploma. It seems the council is suppressing this case to protect their name. Anyhow, it still remains suspicious.
How many skillful and talented people with potential could be put to work, instead of fake diploma holders, to improve the state's development?
How much money have taxpayers spent paying for the salaries of these frauds?
Many people, including our country itself, are suffering a loss because Mongolia does not have a legal environment that provides the opportunity for these financial losses to be recovered.
Mongolia attends WorldSkills General Assembly as 69th member
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, September 17 (MONTSAME) Mongolia has become the 69th member of the WolrdSkills General Assembly.
At the event, which is running in Lucerne of Swiss Confederation, Mongolia is represented by the Minister of labor Ya.Sanjmyatav, a director of Management Department for Policy Implementation on Professional Training of the Ministry M.Jadamba, and the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Switzerland B.Purevdorj.
During the GA, Mongolia's membership in the WorldSkills International was assured and a right was issued to participate in the 44th World Skills Olympics, which will be held in San Paolo of Brazil in 2015. The Assembly is discussing the rules and regulations of this tournament, making introduction on new member-countries, advertizing an importance and trends of the tournament, and is to present the requirements for its host country. In the World Skills Olympics, participation is expected of some 1,000 youngsters from 72 countries in 46 professional categories, Mongolia is preparing its people to compete in nine categories.
Tribute Paid to Ya. Tsedenbal Who Ruled Mongolia for 44 Years
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, September 17 (MONTSAME) The related bodies and organizations marked September 17 a 98th birthday of Tsedenbal Yumjaa, a former political figure and leader of Mongolia who ruled our socialist country for more than 40 years.
Present at the statue to Tsedenbal in Ulaanbaatar were representatives of Mongolian People's Party, Ubs province, where he was born, his brother and sister, and his granddaughter Anastasia Tsedenbal. Secretary-general of MPP J.Munkhbat said that Yu.Tsedenbal "was a deputy-director of referendum commission in 1945, he assured Mongolia's independence on international level, had the UN accept Mongolia as its member". "His merits are successful determination of border agreements with China in 1963 and with the USSR in 1977, his leadership was great in times of great construction such as cultivation of virgin lands, people full literacy, health". "The historic pride that Mongolia had been acknowledged by the UNESCO as the first country in Asia to reach a total literacy is also thanks to his efforts".
Speeches were also given by Ph.D S.Galsan, Tsedenbal Academy, and Ch.Ulaan,l the Minister of finance.
Anastasia said she was born after Tsedenbal's "retirement from the office of secretary-general of the MPRP in 1984", thus she remembers him as an ordinary, caring grandfather. Anastasia thanked Mongolian government "for respecting Tsedenbal".
The 100th anniversary of Tsedenbal in 2016 will be marked, said the MPP official.
South Korea seeks to adopt Mongolia's experience in electronic voting
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, September 22 (MONTSAME) A chairman of Mongolia's General Electoral Committee (GEC) Ch.Sodnomtseren has met with a head of the Global Electoral Organization and the National Electoral Committee of Republic of Korea Lee In-Bok.
The latter said Mongolia organized an electronic election before S.Korea did and said that they want to introduce Mongolia's practices in exploiting the electronic machines in elections. He also stressed that the GEC successfully gained trust of voters and parliament.
Then the sides shared information on activities and structures of the two organizations and discussed opportunities of collaboration. Mr Sodnomtseren thanked ROK's National Electoral Committee for cooperation through observation, trainings, experience exchange and technical assistance.
A note of understanding between the electoral committees was inked. The document marks understanding between the two committees on electoral system, electronic elections, voters' education, on professional exchange of staffs, and on organizing joint researches, trainings and seminars.
Sainshand Wind Farm shortlists three turbine producers
September 18 (news.mn) A tender bid for an executor company of the 50 megawatt Sainshand Wind Farm has moved into its final stage, says the project unit.
For the final stage of the bidding for the Sainshand Wind Farm, General Electric (U.S.), Siemens (Germany), and Vestas (Denmark) consortiums have been selected.
Any of these consortiums will be able to provide widely used turbines to the wind farms.
The results of the open bidding will be announced in early October.
The project unit plans to launch the final construction and installation of Sainshand Wind Farm in 2015 and make it operational by 2016.
Thirty percent of 120 million MNT (Mogi: $120 million) required to fund Sainshand Wind Farm will come from stockholder investment and the other 70 percent will come from loans from banks and financial institutions.
One of the main investors in Sainshand Wind Farm, Ferrostaal, has provided the required investment.
In the scope of the project's implementation, studies have been arranged, but more detailed and comprehensive studies will also be conducted in the future.
The project unit believes that construction and installation of the wind farm will be seasonal, but the project can be implemented quickly due to resolved infrastructure issues, and geographically favorable conditions.
Ferrostaal Short-Lists Turbine Producers for Gobi Wind Farm
By Michael Kohn
Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Ferrostaal Industrial Projects GmbH, a German industrial services company, has short-listed General Electric Co., Siemens AG and Vestas Wind Systems A/S to supply wind turbines for its Sainshand Wind Farm Project in Mongolia, Oliver Schnorr, Director of Sainshand Wind Park LLC, said today by phone.
* Final bidder to be selected in October: Schnorr
Note: Ferrostaal to build 52-megawatt wind farm in Sainshand at a cost of $120m.
Oil & Oil Shale Mongolia 2014 Presentations Available for Download
ILO offers help in improving entrepreneurial skills of Mongolian SMEs
By Ch. Khaliun
September 18 (UB Post) Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag called on representatives led by the Regional Director of the International Labour Organization (ILO) for Asia and the Pacific region, Yoshiteru Uramoto, and exchanged views on opportunities to implement projects in Mongolia.
The ILO officials expressed that they can contribute to improving the entrepreneurial skills of Mongolian SMEs, and regulating employer and employee relations. They mentioned the possibility of implementing projects in sectors like Mongolian cashmere and leather processing, agricultural food products processing and tourism.
During the ILO's summit organized in Geneva, Switzerland, in June, N.Altankhuyag attended the introductory meeting for developing the skills required for diversification of competitive and responsible industry, economy and trade, and discussed involving Mongolia in those programs.
The Office of the Media and Public Relations reports that PM N.Altankhuyag said that implementing projects on developing SMEs will be important for diversifying the economy, and Mongolia will support the ILO's initiatives and cooperate with trade unions and employer organizations to encourage participation in Mongolia.
Mogi: too much "experience" in rescuing I'm sure
Nalaikh Mine Rescue Team Takes 5th Place at Int'l Competition
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, September 17 (MONTSAME) Nalaikh mine's Rescue team of the Ministry of Mining has taken 5th place at the ninth International Mine Rescue Competition which took place in Katowice of Poland on September 6-13.
It is the second time Mongolia partakes in these events.
Mongolia has also become the third--among 23 teams from 14 countries--in the category of mechanic engineering.
International Mines Rescue Body Conference was held simultaneously with the competition to discuss ways of improving a structures and system of mine rescue departments, contemporary approaches and technologies of immediate emergency help in times of landslides in the depth, dust and gas explosions and de-aerations, says Ts.Janchiv, the Mine Rescue advisor and state Honored miner.
UB launches unprecedented program with WHO to safeguard drinking water sources
By M. Zoljargal
September 18 (UB Post) Ulaanbaatar City administrators put together the first-ever program on protecting drinking water for the Mongolian population, with the assistance of the World Health Organization (WHO).
WHO estimates that 74 possible risks face the nation's drinking water sources and raised 168 solutions which have been included in the program.
The completed program was supported by Ulaanbaatar City Council's (UCC) Commission for Environment and Ecology and it will be discussed in the regular meeting of the UCC next Monday.
If approved, households and businesses located near drinking-water sources (artesian wells and rivers) will be relocated with the cooperation of land management authorities; bacteria research will be conducted at several locations; solid waste disposal sites will be eradicated; and leather and cashmere factories, which are common sources of river pollution, will be relocated to the outskirts of the city as part of the program.
Approximately 1.2 million people live in the Tuul River basin area, where 170 artesian wells are located, while over 20,000 factories and businesses are operating along the river. Farms covering 400 hectares of land constantly take water from the Tuul for their irrigation systems, in addition to river water used for 330,000 livestock and three thermal power plants.
Ulaanbaatar residents use 150,000 to 160,000 cubic meters of drinking water per day, while offices use another daily 150,000 cubic meters of water from central water distribution lines. All the drinking water is taken from public and private wells in ger areas, according to the Office of the Ulaanbaatar City Governor.
Yet, water demands are increasing day by day, in relation to flourishing industries and a rising population in the city, while the safety of the 170 primary wells remains questionable due to widespread illegal construction and gravel mining, and general human interference.
A lack of water treatment plants, increasing outdoor toilets and the open disposal of greywater are all affecting not only water sources, but also soil pollution. The polluted soil runs into the Tuul River during heavy rain and pollutes the water, according to many years of study, reported the program coordinators.
Both the organizers and WHO aim to minimize pollution and prevent threats facing drinking water sources as soon as possible.
Ulaanbaatar forecasts 2.5% GDP increase from tourism by 2030
By M. Zoljargal
September 18 (UB Post) Five percent of state budget to be used for entertainment and sports events
"Friendly Ulaanbaatar" project's consultation took place on Wednesday, which is expected to elevate tourism in Mongolia and increase Mongolia's GDP in the long-term.
During the event, Ulaanbaatar City Governor E.Bat-Uul highlighted, "Ulaanbaatar city will be able to receive two million tourists per year by 2020 and five million tourists by 2030, if the Friendly Ulaanbaatar program is properly coordinated."
Mongolia's GDP is expected to see a 2.5 percent increase if five million tourists visit Ulaanbaatar and spend approximately five billion MNT per year by 2030, according to the governor.
Another objective of the program is to issue five percent of the state budget, approximately 35 billion MNT, for arts, cultural and sports facilities, and events in order to attract more tourists.
One billion MNT was dedicated for such events from the state budget before 2012.
"The Mongolian economy is in a critical condition due to poor tourism development in our country. In 2013, around 1,600,000 people went abroad from Mongolia, while only 410,000 tourists and officials visited Mongolia in total. It means we are losing economic resources to other countries. Friendly Ulaanbaatar program is designed to bring tourism in Mongolia to a new stage of development in general," explained Governor E.Bat-Uul.
The organizers called on tour agencies, as well as sports and entertainment-based organizations to improve and form closer cooperation in order to bring out the best possible results of the program.
The program was based on development programs for Ulaanbaatar through 2020 and 2030, which were approved by Parliament.
The Ulaanbaatar City Tourism Department and Department of Arts and Culture organized the consultation, which was attended by more than 600 city officials, tourism businesses and NGOs.
Minister of Culture, Sport and Tourism (MCST) Ts.Oyungerel, State Secretary General of the MCST P.Altangerel, Deputy Governor in charge of social development Ts.Enkhtsengel and Ulaanbaatar City General Manager B.Badral attended the consultation and delivered speeches.
The Ulaanbaatar City Council will discuss the program on September 22, during its regular meeting, and will deliver its views and suggestions to the coordinators.
Another UB driver's license suspended after destroying public property
September 17 (news.mn) Last week, Metropolitan Traffic Police suspended a driver's license for two years after parking on a flowerbed in Ulaanbaatar. A second driver is now facing the same penalty after parking his car on public lawn after failing to find a parking spot.
The driver of the Land Cruiser complained to the authorities that he parked the car on the city's grass because he could not find a parking spot, and hesitated to comply with the traffic police officers' decision.
Social media users react promptly with objections to the actions taken by these drivers and demand that more violations of this nature be investigated.
Truck permits for UB now issued by TUTS e-machines
September 22 (news.mn) A new regulation on permits for truck cargo services has been passed. The new regulation will be effective by Monday, September 29th.
The regulation outlines that permits for truck cargo services will be issued through the state's TUTS e-machines.
Truck drivers should get permits for В, С, or СЕ categories to drive in the city.
The TUTS e-machines will now issue the permits. Permit fees will depend on the category of the truck and will range from 10,000 to 20,000 MNT.
Foreign Ministry Officials Garner US Support for 2015 Freedom Online Conference in Ulaanbaatar
September 22 (infomongolia.com) In April 2014, Mongolian delegates led by Foreign Minister L.Bold have attended at the IV Freedom Online Conference (FOC) held in Tallinn, Estonia, and during the Conference, the FOC member countries unanimously agreed electing Mongolia to chair the Coalition in 2015 and the V Freedom Online Conference will be organized in Ulaanbaatar in May 2015.
The Freedom Online Conference is a dialog forum that aims to deepen the discussions on how freedom of expression on the Internet is helping to promote social, cultural and economic development worldwide and in this scope, as part of preparations for the V Freedom Online Conference Ulaanbaatar, Mongolian delegates from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are conducting a working visit to the United States meeting with leading internet-related global companies' representatives starting from September 17th and currently Ambassador-at-Large S.Badral and advisor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs O.Mashbat are working in New York, USA.
Meeting with Google Company representatives
Ambassador-at-Large, Mr. S.Badral and advisor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. O.Mashbat had a meeting with Global Head of Free Expression and International Relations at Google, Mr. Ross LaJeunesse in Washington, D.C. on September 18, 2014.
At the meeting, the latter said the Google Company has been promoting online freedom initiative by the Government of Mongolia and stressed that Mongolia has been setting an example to other countries by developing democracy. In this regard, the Google Company is highly interested in taking active part in Freedom Online Coalition Ministerial Conference to be hosted in Mongolia in May 2015.
Meeting with Facebook and Linkedin representatives
Meeting with Facebook and Linkedin representatives Ambassador-at-Large S.Badral met with Facebook Company Vice President, Mr. M.Levin and LinkedIn Company Vice President, Mr. Pablo Chavez on September 17, 2014.
The Ambassador-at-Large talked about the Mongolia's chairmanship of Online Freedom Coalition and shared views on possibilities for the cooperation in the IT sector and promotion of values of democracy and online freedom. Mr. Levin and Mr. Chavez thanked for inviting to the Ministerial and proposing to arrange special company events during the upcoming conference.
Meeting with Mozilla representatives
Ambassador-at-Large S.Badral and advisor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs O.Mashbat held a meeting with Mozilla Company senior policy engineer, Mr. Chris Riley on September 18, 2014.
Mr. Badral invited the Mozilla Company representatives to take part in the Freedom Online Coalition Ministerial Conference. Mr. Chris Riley accepted the invitation and said that the company is interested in promoting the cheapest in the world smart phones during the event.
Meeting with U.S. State Department representatives
Ambassador-at-Large S.Badral and advisor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs O.Mashbat had a meeting with Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the U.S. Department of State, Mr. Scott Busby and U.S. Department of State Coordinator for Cyber Issues, Mr. Christopher Painter.
The sides shared views on cooperation opportunities during the Mongolia's chairmanship of Freedom Online Coalition. The American side expressed its readiness to provide a support in the organization of the Ministerial Conference.
The same day, Mr. Badral and Mr. Mashbat had a meeting with Deputy Chief of the FCC's International Bureau, Ms. Nese Guendelsberger and senior advisor and Acting Director of the Office of Policy and Outreach at the U.S. State Department's Bureau of International Information Programs, Ms. Susan Ritchie. The sides talked about their participation in the 5th International Conference on ICT Convergence to take place in Busan, the Republic of Korea in October 2014 and shared views on possibilities for the cooperation in the IT sphere.
Meeting with Twitter and Microsoft Company representatives
On September 19, 2014, Ambassador-at-Large S.Badral and advisor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs O.Mashbat had a meeting with Twitter Company's Vice President of Global Public Policy Mr. Colin Crowell and the Senior Director, Trade Policy & Strategy, Microsoft Corporation, Mr. Dorothy Dwoskin in Washington D.C., United States.
During the meeting, parties shared views on cooperation opportunities during the Mongolia's chairmanship of the V Freedom Online Coalition in Ulaanbaatar and welcomed the latter parts to take part in, who are warmly accepted the invitation to copromote the values of democracy, internet freedom and IT.
Key N. Korean diplomat meets with Mongolian foreign minister
BEIJING, Sept. 19 (Yonhap) -- A key North Korean party official, who oversees Pyongyang's foreign policy, visited Ulan Bator Friday and held talks with Mongolia's foreign minister, Mongolia's foreign ministry said.
Kang Sok-ju, the secretary handling international relations at the North's ruling Workers' Party, was on the final leg of his five-nation tour that had taken him to Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and Italy.
In Ulan Bator, the 75-year-old Kang met with Mongolian Foreign Minister Luvsanvandan Bold and paid courtesy calls on Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj and Prime Minister Altankhuyag Norov, the Mongolian foreign ministry said in a statement posted on its website.
The two-sentence statement gave no further details, including the topics.
Kang's rare overseas trip suggested that North Korea may take a more proactive diplomacy, but South Korean officials described it as an attempt to break its isolation.
Kang, the key architect of North Korea's nuclear diplomacy, brokered a nuclear deal in Geneva with the United States in 1994.
China, Mongolia, Russia, South Korea establish bank association to serve Northeast Asia
September 19 (China Daily) A multilateral export-import bank association that aims to serve the economic needs of Northeast Asia and relieve capital shortages, especially in the Greater Tumen Initiative, was officially launched on Thursday in the Yanbian Korea autonomous prefecture in Jilin province.
The NEA EXIM Banks Association was established among export-import and equivalent development banks of China, Mongolia, Russia and south Korea, the four member countries of the GTI, with communication and administrative support from the GTI Secretariat.
"One of its main functions is to encourage the private sector to consolidate resources for infrastructure and development projects. We hope that the current stage of partnership among GTI member countries and other relevant international agencies and financial institutions may be further enhanced through more creative and collaborative financial channels," said Wang Weina, director of the GTI Secretariat.
"The infrastructure of the GTI and the entire NEA is very poor and capital shortage has long been greatly restrained the development of the GTI. Infrastructure construction and attracting investment are top priorities of its agenda, and the association will open a new vista to the GTI and is being established right on time," said Wang Shouwen, China's assistant minister of commerce, at theinaugural meeting.
"I suggest all the member governments can improve their investment mechanisms and create a fair, transparent and highly efficient system to attract more investors," he said.
The inaugural meeting was a result of many multilateral discussions and two working level meetings since a memorandum of understanding for the association was signed in 2012.
Chen Chao, deputy GTI national coordinator, further explained the necessity of the association.
"Many local governments within the region reported that they have many large and good projects related to infrastructure, such as gateways for the construction of roads and sea routes to connect the member countries, while short of investment," Chen said.
"To make the best use of capital from the association, we will invite local and central governments of the member countries to establish a project database to clarify the projects within the GTI with specific introduction, investment needed and practical reports," Chen said.
The bank association will select the projects with the most potential and high return on investment. We hope to build the bank association to be a platform to integrate investment through all the channels," he added.
The establishment of the association was supported by the member governments.
"It's an urgent task and we believe the association will definitely help relieve capital shortages. We will explore more projects under the framework and will work out more policy proposals," said Pavel Korolev, deputy minister of economic development for Russia.
Korolev also proposed two Russian projects, a port and a power station that "need a large amount of investment" to come under the association's framework. "The putting into use of the two projects will benefit all the member countries of the GTI, and I hope the association may be interested in them," he said.
Jin Seoung-ho, director general of the Ministry of Strategy and Finance of South Korea said the establishment of the association is a big achievement.
"We hope the association can achieve the desired affect," he added.
Li Lijun, deputy general manager of the International Business Department of EXIM Bank of China also called for the establishment of a supervisory mechanism.
South Korea, China, Mongolia, Russia vow to develop tourist site near Tumen river
BEIJING, Sept. 22 (Yonhap) -- Officials from South Korea, China, Mongolia and Russia have agreed to develop a "world-class" travel destination near a North Korean river that forms the border with China and Russia, China's state media reported Monday.
The agreement was reached last Friday at a meeting of tourism officials from the four nations in northeast China's Hunchun city in Jilin province, as part of the Greater Tumen Initiative supported by the United Nations Development Program, the China Daily reported, citing a Chinese official.
The North's 512-kilometer-long Tumen River serves as the boundary between China and Russia.
Zhao Xiaojun, director of the Jilin Provincial Tourism Administration, told the newspaper that the four nations could learn "cross-border tourism experiences" from the European Union and North America to build tourist sites at the Tumen River Delta.
"The area will become a borderless tourism demonstration pilot connected by highways, railways, aviation networks and land-ocean routes with support of China, Mongolia, Russia, the ROK (South Korea), the DPRK (North Korea) and Japan," the report said.
"Steppes of New Silk Road" to boost partnership between two aimags of China and Mongolia
September 17 (infomongolia.com) Mongolia and the People's Republic of China are celebrating the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and the 20th anniversary of the Treaty on Friendly Relations and Cooperation between the two countries in 2014.
In the frameworks many events are being organized in political, economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres and in the scope of the partnership programs, governing administrations of Xilingol (Xilinguole) Aimag of Inner Mongolia, China and Sukhbaatar Aimag of Mongolia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in June 2014.
Under the MoU, the two organs are organizing a joint exhibition and fair trade namely "Steppes of the New Silk Road" that aims to broaden collaboration in Baruun Urt, Sukhbaatar Aimag on September 18-22, 2014.
The exhibition and trade is focused to promote consumer goods, advanced technology and equipment of China as well as to exchange experiences and boost partnership between the Xilingol and Sukhbaatar Aimags, where over 20 entities from guest participants are to attend.
China, Russia Mull Mongolia Gas Route Amid Ukraine Crisis
by Michael Lelyveld
September 22 (Radio Free Asia) The conflict in Ukraine has driven Russia and China to consider energy options that appeared far-fetched only a few months ago.
Russia's rift with the European Union has raised risks for Moscow in its main energy export market, spurring efforts to forge closer ties with China as an alternate revenue source.
The result is a push for pipeline projects that have languished for years.
Just four months after signing a U.S. $400-billion (2.4- trillion yuan) deal to supply gas to China through a 4,000- kilometer (2,485-mile) East Siberian pipeline, Russia is promoting plans for a second line from the west that officials say could be agreed upon soon.
At a ceremony marking the start of the eastern pipeline project in the Russian city of Yakutia on Sept. 1, President Vladimir Putin and Alexei Miller, CEO of state-owned Gazprom, voiced their readiness to develop the western route to Xinjiang, known as the Altai pipeline.
"If Gazprom works closely with CNPC (China National Petroleum Corp.)--and Gazprom is ready to do this--then we will be able to sign a contract during the meeting between our heads of state in the month of November," Miller said, according to Interfax.
Putin said the western project could be carried out "even more quickly" than the one in the east, while Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli noted that the route could tap more gas reserves from West Siberian fields.
Russia already faces a formidable task to build the eastern line, known as the Power of Siberia, by 2019. The estimated cost for construction on Russian territory is U.S. $21 billion (128 billion yuan).
Since 2006, Russia has tried repeatedly to persuade China that the western route should come first, since East Siberian resources have yet to be developed.
China has resisted until now because its major markets are in the east, while Xinjiang is already well-supplied with import pipelines from Central Asia and its own gas.
But the Ukraine crisis and China's gas needs may have changed the calculations, giving the western route more appeal.
The threat of increasing sanctions has motivated Russia to renew its bid for a western pipeline deal as a source of financing from China.
China may also be showing more interest because the National Energy Administration (NEA) recently cut its forecast of gas production from shale formations in 2020 by more than half, making it harder to reach supply targets.
Under previous agreements, the eastern line would deliver 38 billion cubic meters (1.3 trillion cubic feet) of gas to China annually, while the western route would carry 30 billion cubic meters (1 trillion cubic feet) per year.
Last week at a meeting with Putin in Moscow, Miller raised the prospect of supplying higher volumes on the western route, saying that "the possibility of sending 60 billion-100 billion cubic meters (2.1trillion-3.5 trillion cubic feet) of gas is being considered," Interfax reported.
China and Russia are also considering a shift in the western route to cross Mongolia, which could overcome a major problem with the Altai plan.
Russia's Altai region offers only a narrow corridor on China's border of some 50 kilometers (31 miles) at high altitudes of the Ukok Plateau, an area designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and conservation area.
Moscow has never been clear about how to address the limits on construction there.
In recent weeks, both Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin have visited Ulan Bator to meet with Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj. Xi's visit to Mongolia was the first by a Chinese president in 11 years.
In a joint declaration on Aug. 21, China supported Mongolia's call for a trilateral meeting with Russia, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
The first such meeting, which could be a prelude to a pipeline deal, took place on Sept. 11 at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan.
During a press conference with Putin on Sept. 3, Elbegdorj promoted "the advantages of building a gas pipeline across our country's territory," citing factors including "security, convenient short route and steppe conditions," Interfax said.
While the Ukraine crisis appears to have pushed the issue to the fore, the Mongolia route has been under discussion since last fall, Russian Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi said.
Mongolia is likely to be in competition with Kazakhstan, which has also offered its territory as an alternative to the Altai route, although the country already carries three strands of China's Central Asia Gas Pipeline (CAGP) system from Turkmenistan.
With either choice, Russia and China would have to weigh the risks of an additional border crossing, a problem that is already on Moscow's mind because of its troubled history of gas transit to Europe through Ukraine.
"A mediator in transit creates additional problems," said senior analyst Alexander Kornilov at Russia's Alfa-Bank, cited by the Kremlin's RIA Novosti news service. "In any case, I would warn against additional mediators," he said.
From Beijing's standpoint, a Mongolia line may also raise trust issues, in part because of history dating back to the Mongol invasion of China and dynasties starting in the 13th century. In the modern era, Mongolia gained independence from China in 1911.
In recent years, Mongolia has leaned toward Russia, relying on imports of Russian fuel, although over half of its foreign trade is with China, reaching $6 billion last year, according to Xinhua. Trade with Russia amounted to $1.6 billion, Germany's Deutsche Welle said.
Mongolian attitudes toward China and its drive for resources are variously described as "wary" or distrustful.
A summary of bilateral relations by the official English-language China Daily in 2010 described ties as "normalized" after a period of "ups and downs."
During his visit, Xi sought to open a new chapter in relations, offering financing and access to Chinese ports for the landlocked country, which is facing a slowdown in investment and economic growth.
"Welcome aboard China's train of development!" Xi told Mongolian lawmakers.
But prospects for a pipeline may remain problematic.
Russia last shipped small volumes of crude oil to China through Mongolia over a secondary rail route in 2007 after lengthy tariff negotiations, only to find China reluctant to rely on the transited supplies.
Mikkal Herberg, energy security research director for the Seattle-based National Bureau of Asian Research, said China's security concerns with cross-border transit seem to have eased since then because the country has developed multiple import sources and routes.
"From the Chinese perspective, they're feeling much more secure about the diversification of their gas pipeline routes and supplies, so it may mean that they might feel more comfortable about a Mongolian line," Herberg said.
Herberg noted that one of Beijing's biggest concerns with Russia's push for the western line first was that it would have allowed Gazprom to play demand in Europe against China to drive up gas prices, since both would be fed by the same resource base.
Now that China has a commitment for an eastern line from separate resources in Siberia, the threat of competition for supplies on the western route is less of a worry, he said.
Herberg argued that Putin has made major miscalculations in the Ukraine conflict, underestimating the cost of western sanctions to Russia's economy and its ability to develop energy resources in exchange for small or short-term gains.
"I call this picking up nickels in front of the steam roller," he said.
As sanctions curb western financing, Moscow has become increasingly reliant on deals with China after years of restricting its investment in the Russian energy sector.
On Sept. 1, Putin stunned observers by publicly offering China a stake in state-owned Rosneft's Vankor oilfield, long considered the jewel in the company's crown and a main source of high-quality crude.
"They're putting themselves in the position where they have to sell the family silver," said Herberg.
"They've thrown themselves into the arms of the Chinese and the tender mercies of the Chinese," he said.
Defense Minister of Turkey to Conduct Official Visit to Mongolia This Week
September 22 (infomongolia.com) Delegates from the Ministry of National Defense of the Republic of Turkey headed by Minister Ismet Yılmaz are paying an official visit to Mongolia on September 25-26, 2014.
The visit will be conducted in the frameworks of marking the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries and during the visit not only issues regarding bilateral defense sectors' cooperation, but also other spheres will be discussed including issues of regional and international concerns.
In the scope of this official visit, National Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz will be holding a meeting with his counterpart of Mongolia, Minister D.Bat-Erdene, where parties are expected to ink on some documents and make a joint statement to reporters.
Also, Turkish Minister Ismet Yilmaz will be meeting Mongolian peacekeepers who successfully fulfilled their duties in Iraq, Afghanistan and other UN mandates, besides he will be received by the Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag to exchange views on bilateral relations and cooperation.
Moreover, the Turkish delegation plans to visit historical sites of Khushuu Tsaidam Memorial Complex in Arkhangai Aimag, Tonyukuk monuments in Nalaikh district of UB as well as Chinggis Khaan statue at Tsonjin Boldog in Tuv Aimag.
Honorary Consuls of Mongolia Convene in Ulaanbaatar
September 17 (infomongolia.com) The Ninth Consultative Meeting of the Honorary Consuls of Mongolia is being organized at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar on September 17-18, 2014.
The biennial meeting discusses guidelines for actions for the next two years, certain issues concerning the implementation of the Government Program, provides work instructions and presents newly enacted laws of Mongolia. The meeting is resulted in issuing a protocol on agenda to be implemented.
On September 17, the members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Security and Foreign Policy have received the Honorary Consuls in the Government House and on the following day, the latter will have a meeting to be hosted by Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry in cooperation with the Invest Mongolia Agency.
The first ever Honorary Consul of Mongolia was assigned in 1992. Today, 72 nationals of 44 countries work as Honorary Consuls of Mongolia, reports the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Honorary Consuls of Mongolia Gather Here – Montsame, September 17
Appreciating the Work of the Canadian Embassy
By Julian Dierkes
September 18 (Mongolia Focus) I am not even Canadian, and I don't work for the Canadian or for the Mongolian government for that matter, though they are obviously important interlocutors for me given my interest in economic, political, and social development in Mongolia.
Yet, in the 12 years that I've worked as an academic focused on Japan and Mongolia in Canada, I have come to appreciate interactions with Canadian diplomats very much. In my previous experience, I found German diplomats to be largely uninterested in the work of German country experts (like me), although I am beginning to revise that impression through some interactions with the German embassy and foreign ministry recently. The US always offers such a large field of academics that contacts with the State Department are also relatively limited. Relations with Japanese diplomats posted to Vancouver have always been very good and the interactions with the Japanese embassy in Ulaanbaatar have also been interesting, but largely focused on information exchange and knowledge of each other's activities.
By contrast, I have found Canada's diplomatic missions to be very open to discussions about in-country developments and to an exchange of views.
The Canadian Embassy in Ulaanbaatar
The Canadian embassy to Ulaanbaatar has been a particular pleasure to work with. Set up under Ambassador Anna Biolik in 2009, the embassy has established itself as one of the most active players on the Ulaanbaatar diplomatic circuit under Ambassador Greg Goldhawk over the past four years in tandem with the efforts of Maxim Berdichevsky as Counsellor at the embassy.
In my interactions with Canadian diplomats I have come across different types as to their preferred interactions with academics. There are officials who are very academic in their own outlook and interest in countries, i.e. they seek out analytical views of developments to compare with their own. There are some officials who are somewhat indifferent to academic interests, sometimes paired with a strong focus on economic and business relations. And there are a few officials who have a somewhat conflicted relationship with academics for whatever reason.
For the past four years, Amb Goldhawk and Maxim Berdichevsky have not really fit into any of these categories, but instead have been active, supportive and welcoming in all interactions I've had with them on Canada-Mongolia relations, despite the constraints (not just budget) that they've been operating under.
It has been a particular pleasure to work with them and to be able to establish a relationship where I have been able to share my views on Mongolia, to have these taken seriously, and to know that they are being taken into account in the formulation of policy in some small way. Amb Goldhawk and Maxim have also been terrific discussion partners as they have kept such a sharp eye on events in Mongolia and their observations have thus often had a significant impact on my own understanding.
Obvious Achievements of the Embassy
Over the past several years there have been notable achievements for the embassy.
The most obvious and concrete change was obviously the move to the permanent location in Central Tower. The offices there are attractive, er, centrally located, and seem to be working out well as far as an outsider can tell.
The other outwardly visible achievements were the multiple visits by officials in both directions as well as the ramping up of a bilateral aid program for Mongolia.
Some of the most notable visits:
Mongolia -> Canada
· Prime Minister, S Batbold (Oct 2010)
· Speaker of the Ikh Khural, Z Enkhbold (March 2013)
Canada -> Mongolia
· Minister of Development, Bev Oda (Aug 2011)
· State visit by Governor General David Johnston (Oct 2013)
· Foreign Minister, John Baird (July 2014)
While the embassy building and official visits are easily seen from the outside, the substantive work of the embassy may sometimes be less immediately visible. In the case of the Canadian mission in Ulaanbaatar there are a number of areas of particular activism on the part of the embassy.
Education and especially higher education is of obvious interest to me as a university professor. Here, the first-ever Canadian education fair in Mongolia in October 2013 was a real milestone. The general push to let Mongolians know about education opportunities in Canada is surely also linked to the over 30 Mongolian students we now have at UBC.
International agreements are another obvious marker in bilateral relations and discussions around a FIPA have been on-and-off since PM Batbold's visit to Ottawa and his initial request for the opening of trade negotiations to which the FIPA is seen as a first step. Currently, the FIPA discussions seem to have gathered some momentum again, no doubt in part through the persistence of the embassy in Ulaanbaatar, but also at DFATD headquarters and the very engaged Mongolia desk there, I imagine.
While the Canadian embassy is a small mission, I have heard much about its activities from Mongolian interlocutors. This is in part due to the Mongolian recognition of Canada as a 3rd neighbour with particular expertise in resource issues, but surely also due to the active advocacy by the embassy on issues like the ongoing development of mining regulation where Canada clearly is an advocacy leader in Ulaanbaatar.
Amb Goldhawk and Maxim's tenure also coincide with a push onto social media by Canadian missions. Maxim has been very active in this regard on Twitter. But the embassy also has a presence on Twitter and Facebook now.
The Future of the Canadian Embassy
While Amb Goldhawk and Maxim have left Ulaanbaatar, I have not seen an announcement of a new ambassador. Obviously, I hope that this appointment will be announced soon and that relations with the embassy will be as productive and enjoyable in the future as they've been in the recent past.
Amb Goldhawk is now head of office in Canada's High Commission Trade Office in Johannesburg with responsibility for Canada's commercial interests across Sub-Saharan Africa. Maxim Berdichevsky has returned to DFATD headquarters as a Deputy Director involved in investment treaties negotiation. I wish them all the best in their new postings!
Mongolia Expresses Support to Iraq in Efforts to Eliminate Terrorist Group ISIL
September 17 (infomongolia.com) On September 17, 2014, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia released a statement regarding current situation in Iraq, which is posing a serious threat to international peace and security.
Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia Mongolia, as a country which attaches importance to peace and security in the Middle East, firmly believes that the operation perpetrated and serious threats caused by the terrorist group named the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) should be immediately stopped. In this regard, Mongolia welcomes the outcome of the International Conference on Peace and Security in Iraq held in Paris, France on September 15, 2014.
Mongolia calls for the international community to take resolute actions and resolve this issue comprehensively in compliance with the UN Charter and the UN Security Council Resolutions on the fight against global terrorism through rigorous discussions with no delay at this UN General Assembly.
Mongolia has been consistently supporting joint efforts of the international community against global terrorism and will continue to stand for this cause.
MFA: Mongolia against Actions of ISIL – Montsame, September 17
UN Peacekeeper: I got to understand what homeland is, after going to South Sudan
September 18 (UB Post) Thousands of Sudan citizens are fleeing from home due to an ongoing conflict in South Sudan, between forces of the government and oppositions. The South Sudanese Civil War began on the evening of December 15, 2013.
Some 51 Mongolian peace keepers departed to South Sudan as part of the third shift of Mongolian troop for the UN peacekeeping mission, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
Below is an interview with one of the brave Mongolian peacekeepers, Auto base doctor of the General Police Department of Mongolia and Police Captain P.Tsagaannokhoi about his mission and other related issues. He delivered three babies during his peacekeeping mission.
What was going through your mind at the war zone?
We need to be proud of having been born in this beautiful land and country. I got to understand the values of a homeland after going to South Sudan. I instinctively thought about how wonderful and amazing Mongolia is as a country and was proud of my homeland and parents. I walked with pride of being a Mongolian. Sudanese people are born to a much more difficult environment and condition with poor livelihood and high probability of diseases and infection. When there was a conflict, local people desperately sought our help. Before returning, we took 47,000 people under our protection. Our battalion exerted a lot of hard work and effort to protect those people.
It must've been difficult to endure Sudan's heat for nine months while carrying heavy weapons. How did you protect yourself from tropical diseases?
To protect ourselves from communicable and non-communicable diseases that we may get infected with in Sudan, peacekeepers were vaccinated, which prevent five different types of diseases, before departing to South Sudan. The Mongolian troop consisted of 51 members. Misleading information about our troops getting infected with Ebola virus disease (EVD) was spread around. There isn't a single officer who was infected with EVD among our peacekeepers. South Sudan is a humid, land-locked country located in West Africa. EVD breaks out in East African countries which are open to the ocean.
Generally, our troops quickly adapted to operations and the time difference, and completed our tasks well. Thinking and adapting skills of Mongolians were proven to be exceptional during the mission. Our third shift, led by Colonel B.Erdenebat, returned to Mongolia after successfully completing our mission.
How many of the 51 peacekeepers were for medical support service?
The medical support team had 25 people. Mongolian peacekeepers were allocated to four different bases and fulfilled our duties separately. Our tasks were different too. A doctor must be loyal to their oaths and be thorough and careful whenever providing first aid. Despite the fact that the situation worsened during our mission in Sudan, the medical team was unwearied and successfully fulfilled our duties.
You're a doctor but worked as the head nurse at the base. Are nurses permitted to fulfill a doctor's duty in Sudan?
[Medical troops] go as remote patrollers. Nurses are given a doctor's authorities during a patrol. A doctor or a nurse must be part of a patrol team. Our longest journey, 800 km over muddy and dusty road, took seven to eight days. On this occasion, a doctor is responsible for 20 to 30 people, and during this period, the doctor has to make the bravest decisions and be very responsible. I worked as a doctor for over 80 of this sort of journey. The Mongolian UN missionaries and peacekeepers assisted local residents without delay with medical support services.
Drinking water and food are distributed to refugees. In what sort of conditions do refugees live in? Is the food enough to subdue hunger?
Special force assigned by the UN distributes food to refugees and Mongolian soldiers have to ensure their safety. Food is distributed by kg to refugees at camp and ink is applied on their finger. People who received food can't get more. It seemed that they give a week's worth of food on each distribution.
Have you thought of wanting to help out somebody? Was there any shocking or unthinkable event?
Soon after we arrived in South Sudan, the situation worsened. When the medical team arrived at the second check point to provide medical service to the injured, something very shocking that we've never seen before in Mongolia was awaiting us. I felt uneasy while sewing wounds and treating people who were shot in the head and leg, or injured their joints and organs.
Prior on our journey to the check point, the Local People's Liberation Army soldiers incurred mines ID (radio-controlled improvised explosive device (RCIED)) and was caught in an explosion. We provided first aid to 12 survivors of the explosion and sent them to the next level hospital. There were many sudden attacks that don't happen in Mongolia. At the beginning, I was very frightened but soon I realized it was our mission and worked hard to gift these people with faith and confidence to live and give the opportunity to live since I'm a doctor.
Can you tell us about your family?
I have five siblings. One of my older sisters is in Ulaanbaatar and my older brother, other older sister and younger sibling is living in the countryside. I have two sons and a daughter. The eldest recently entered elementary school.
Were you able to help out with your son's school preparations?
I managed to do so on August 30 and 31.
Do you wish to raise one of your sons as a soldier?
No. I will make them complete their military services but I won't ask them to be a soldier.
Although you have experience delivering babies, was it difficult to deliver a baby in field conditions?
I graduated from the Medical Science University of Gobi-Altai Province as a doctor and worked in my home town, Tsetseg soum of Khovd Province, from 2008 to 2010. I delivered the first baby [during the peacekeeping mission] at 1 a.m. on December 22, 2013, at the refugee camp. At the time, doctors at the IDT base (refugee camp) were given orders to go on patrol due to insufficient manpower. During the patrol, I helped a pregnant woman deliver her baby in a difficult condition at the patrol site.
The baby and mother were healthy and fine. The second baby was delivered in January at Khubilai base and the third baby in July. The three babies are growing healthily at the IDT base with their mothers sand family members under the protection and security of our soldiers.
Were the babies of healthy weights?
They were fully developed newborns. They weighed around 2,900 g. A newborn over 2,800 g is considered fully developed. Their general body condition is good. One of the mothers had her baby at the age of 16 and the other two were 19 and 21 years old.
The mothers are very young. At what age are people considered adults in South Sudan?
I'm not sure. They seem to give birth from the age of 14 and 15.
Did you name the babies?
I named only one of them. One of the three bases where Mongolian battalion serves is Arvai base in Pariang County, South Sudan. Since the baby was born during a war, I named him Arvaibaatar ("baatar" is a hero or a warrior in Mongolian).
The parents seem to face difficulty in pronouncing as the name is long. I'm sure they'll give a different name.
Is there a citizen registration service at the refugee camp?
Do you have any messages you wish to pass onto future peacekeepers?
Since Mongolian soldiers' skills have reached global levels, all workers and officers of the Mongolian Armed Forces and other national security organizations should participate in peacekeeping missions. I think it's best to test yourself at least once at something. I'd like to express my gratitude to the General Police Department, Auto Base superiors and all the staff for supporting the Mongolian 51 troops and other military officers that took part in the peacekeeping operation. Please remember that Mongolian police officers are recognized globally.
President of Mongolia Attending 69th Session of UN General Assembly
September 22 (infomongolia.com) On September 20, 2014, President of Mongolia Tsakhia ELBEGDORJ left the country to attend the 69th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) taking place in New York, United States.
During the session, the Mongolian leader will participate in the Climate Summit, 29th session on Population and Development, high-level plenary meeting on Indigenous Peoples and other international meeting and events. Furthermore, the President of Mongolia plans to hold bilateral meetings with heads of state and international organizations.
On September 19, the General Assembly adopted the work programme and agenda for its 69th session, which contained 172 items, and endorsed the recommendation that UNGA General Debate would be held on September 24-27 and from September 29 to October 01, 2014.
Among the topics to be considered in the current Assembly session were several new ones, including: follow-up to the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development; no placement of weapons in outer space; cooperation between the United Nations and the Commonwealth of Independent States; and the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. It was also decided that items on observer status for the Developing Eight Countries Organization
for Economic Cooperation and for the Pacific Community would be included in the work programme.
President attends the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly – news.mn, September 22
Mongolia at 35th General Assembly of ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, September 22 (MONTSAME) Parliamentarians Ts.Tsomon and J.Batzandan took part in the 35th General Assembly of the ASEAN's Inter-parliamentary Assembly on September 15-19 in Vientiane, Laos.
Mongolia was invited by Ms Pany Yathotou, a president of the National Assembly of Laos. The Mongolian MPs met with Ms Yathotou to give her a letter from Z.Enkhbold, the Chairman of the State Great Khural (parliament), and thank for inviting to this assembly. They also expressed a willingness of Mongolia to become an observer of the AIPA General Assembly.
In response, Ms Yathotou said she will convey this request to Malaysia, who will receive the AIPA presidency.
After this, our delegation met with Mr Ronald Kiandee, a Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Mr Giorgidi B.Aggabao, a Deputy Speaker of the Philippines House of Representatives, to tell them that Mongolia wants to become the observer of the AIPA General Assembly and to share views on the bilateral inter-parliamentary cooperation.
Other meetings were held with representatives of the ASEAN, Russia and Myanmar.
Japanese Honored with Highest Awards for Contribution to Mongolia-Japan Relations
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, September 22 (MONTSAME) On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of cultural ties between Mongolia and Japan, several Japanese have been given Mongolia's high awards.
On September 19, the Mongolian Embassy to Japan awarded them by a decree of the President Ts.Elbegdorj. The "Polar Star" order went to minister of health and labor Ya.Shiozaki, a chairman of parliamentary group to promote Mongolia-Japan's relations M.Hayashi, an advisor and head of general council T.Nikai, the Foreign Minister Sh.Sugiyama, a head of "Shitsuke no Kai" community N.Ito, a former minister of foreign affairs R.Kato, a head of "AMDA" NGO Sh.Suganami, an advisor to the "Public Diplomat's Community" P.Gyalpo, a head of "Miyagi-Friendship with Mongolia" community T.Kanno, and a to a head of "Blue Sky" friendship community Sh.Uchida.
The "Friendship" medals were bestowed upon Sh.Amemiya, a director of "AsiaTech" Co.Ltd, K.Maruoka, an officer of "Toshiba Solutions" corporation, and T.Kunikumo, an advisor to the scholarship programme of Asahi newspaper.
Developing Education Through Public Private Partnerships
By B. Uuriintuya
September 22 (Mongolian Economy) Public Private Partnership (PPP) in education has been growing rapidly the last two decades. Although the term is not new, its scope has been recently gathering attention in low- and middle-income countries.
Traditional schooling is largely provided and financed by governments. However, due to unmet demand for education coupled with shrinking government budgets in the public sector, many parts of the world are developing innovative partnerships with the private sector, says the World Bank.
As for Mongolia, the education sector has experienced poor recent development. In fact, standards and recruitment are falling lower with each passing year. The government is not able to subsidise the sector with the money needed to meet growing demands and needs. For this reason, the government of Mongolia is focused on finding alternatives for financial resources in the education sector. According to officials, one alternative could be Public Private Partnership.
According to official numbers, children aged 0-19 years old comprise about 37.7 percent of Mongolia's total population. Besides the growing demand for schools, most existing school buildings are nearing the end of their usage period. In some cases, children are taught in non-school buildings, because there are insufficient schools.
Parliament's proposal on improving provisions states that about MNT 829.5 billion is needed to build 686 new schools, kindergartens, sport halls, and dormitories to accommodate196,300 children by 2015. Unfortunately, the government cannot achieve such a lofty goal in such a short time. Many experts working in the field say the government must rely on other domestic resources, such as the private sector, to meet the high demand. However, they also acknowledge the fact that Mongolia lacks experience and practice in PPP.
UNESCO reported in its 'Education for all—Global Monitoring Report 2013-14' that the world's top donors are likely to reduce their financial support to the education sector globally. Thus, for countries like Mongolia, the importance of a partnership between the government and the private sector could ease the pressure on financing and developing education. "PPP is not wholly new in Mongolia. But now that there is a policy concerning the partnership, its implementation will proceed according to higher standards," said D.Bailikhuu, Project Advisor to the Asian Development Bank. He added, "There is no specific standard on PPP. However, the implementation should fit certain peculiarities. And regulations should go on as stated in the agreements."
Often governments lack the money, the capacity, or the latest technologies that the private sector has. On the other hand, private sector participants are often uncertain about the legal environment they are working in. So, the right cooperation between the two could bring about great results, explained D.Bailikhuu.
PPP in education is based on three main services: infrastructural, support, and educational. Infrastructural provisions include private sector construction, ownership, and operation of facilities, which the government then uses to run a school through a long-term agreement that can often span up to 30 years. With support services, the private sector provides certain basic amenities in the school—like school meals, IT facilities, laboratories, gyms, transportation services, and so on—for which the government pays. Educational services deliver both infrastructural and support services at once. In this case, the whole school is run by a private sector associate.
In Mongolia, private sector participation does not exceed granting scholarships or opening new laboratories for schools, explained M.Enkhee, Officer of the Department of Strategic Policy and Planning. She continued, "There are various forms of participation of the private sector. For example, subsidised loans on importing equipment with the purpose to use in schools is a form of PPP." She also added, the State could not afford to finance all the demands coming from the education sector. Thus, partnering with the private sector could improve the deteriorating condition of public education.
At the moment, the one and only progressing work in this field is a building project of 72 schools and kindergartens regulated by a Consortium Agreement. The Ministry of Economic Development is in charge of the project. With the private sector introducing the latest experiences, and a public sector that fully understands the necessity of mutual cooperation, the future holds bright opportunities for Mongolian children and citizens, explained both D.Bailikhuu and M.Enkhee.
Mongolia's Poorest Turn Garbage into Gold
Products made from collected garbage provide a new source of livelihood for many in the "ger districts" (urban outskirts) of Mongolia's capital city, Ulaanbaatar.
By Jonathan Rozen
ULAANBAATAR, Sep 22 2014 (IPS) - Ulziikhutag Jigjid, 49, is a member of a 10-person group in the Khan-Uul district on the outskirts of Mongolia's capital Ulaanbaatar, which is producing brooms, chairs, containers, and other handmade products from discarded soda and juice containers.
"In the early morning we collect raw materials from the street, and then we spend the morning making products," Jigjid told IPS. At four o'clock in the evening, she heads off to her regular job at a meat company.
The creation of her group's business, and others like it, are part of an initiative called Turning Garbage Into Gold (TG2G), developed and supported by Tehnoj, an Ulaanbaatar-based non-governmental organisation.
Founded in 2007, this organisation supports the creation of small businesses based on the sale of handcrafted products.
Defining itself as a "business incubator centre" for small and medium-sized businesses, Tehnoj estimates that it has organised trainings for approximately 30,000 people across Mongolia, through various projects.
The TG2G project is currently operational in three of Ulaanbaatar's outer districts: Khan-Uul, Chingeltei and Songino Khairkhan, and includes 20 production groups of around five to six people each.
"The goal of this project is to recycle products and reduce unemployment," Galindev Galaariidii, director of Tehnoj, told IPS.
The NGO receives its funding from the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP)'s Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific Innovation Fund, a new U.N. initiative to support innovative programmes that "provide the creative space and discretionary resources to prototype innovative solutions and experiment with new ways of working to tackle complex development challenges outside the traditional business cycle," Thomas Eriksson, UNDP's deputy resident representative in Mongolia, explained to IPS.
The Innovation Fund is currently supporting the creation of programmes in 32 countries and helps promote environmental sustainability and inclusive economic and social development, key components of the U.N.'s post-2015 development agenda.
Waste management and pollution are major problems in Mongolia, especially in the urban outskirts. With extremely limited infrastructure and a general lack of governmental resources, Galaariidii explains that 90 percent of garbage from these areas ends up on the street.
"Ulaanbaatar produces about 1,100 tons of solid waste every day… This poses health risks to the population of the city and causes environmental damages," said Eriksson.
According to UNDP, over 10,000 households move to Ulaanbaatar every year. "Unfortunately, the migrant population [find it difficult to gain employment] and obtain access to already strained social services," Eriksson continued.
The TG2G programme aims to mitigate the waste management issues while also tackling social inequalities by empowering the less fortunate members of some of Mongolia's poorest communities.
According to World Bank data for 2012-2013, Mongolia's poverty rate stood at 27.4 percent of its population of 2.9 million people.
Finding jobs in the landlocked country, comprised of some 1.6 million square km, of which only 0.8 percent is arable land, is no easy task. While the mining sector has led rapid economic growth over the last decade, with growth touching 16 percent in the first quarter of 2012, not everyone has benefitted. In fact, the unemployment rate in 2012 was roughly 11 percent.
"We target Ulaanbaatar's poorest areas with high unemployment," Galaariidii explained to IPS. "We focus on two main groups: women [often mothers of disabled children], and the unemployed."
The programme currently focuses on training groups in the creation of six main products: brooms, chairs, foot covers (often used for walking in temples or schools), picnic mats, waterproof gur (yurt) insulation sheets and containers of all sizes.
But new product designs are constantly being created. Oven mitts, bags, hats and aprons are just a few of the new forms of merchandise being developed.
"Our technology design is improving day by day," said Galaariidii. For example, where zippers once secured the fabric covers of chairs, now elastic rings are used.
Presently, city cleaning teams are testing products with the potential for a government contract, and soda-bottle-broom orders are already coming in from hairdressers in Ulaanbaatar.
Communities involved in the TG2G programme seem to have a fresh sense optimism about the future.
Unrolling a large hand-drawn poster, Jigjid and two other group members – Baguraa Adiyabazar, 54, and Baasanjav Jamsranjav, 37 – explained how they plan to use the funds they earn from selling their products.
They want to build a kindergarten school, achieve full employment in their area, build a chicken farm, expand their ability to grow their own food and increase the availability of cars. There are even plans to allot a certain amount of the money towards a savings account, which can then be used to make small loans within the community.
"We plan to have more registration for the projects and more training programmes," Jigjid explained. "[Eventually] we want to replace products that are imported from other countries."
Beyond the material level, the programme is also having a positive impact on the mentality of the community.
"We have a mission to become more creative," Jigjid continued. "Now as a group we have a goal."
Next year Jigjid will retire from her job with the meat company and focus on building their product development into a successful business.
"I will have something to do," she said happily. "I can see my future is secure."
WHO Presents Mongolia Recommendations on Hepatitis Epidemic
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, September 22 (MONTSAME) The World Health Organization (WHO) representatives gave September 19 to our Ministry of Health recommendations on hepatitis treatment.
It has become an outcome of their meeting on September 12 at which the WHO officials promised J.Amarsanaa, the vice minister of health, to issue some recommendation to the national programme on treatment of hepatitis C initiated by the Ministry.
The vice minister thanked them for the recommendations and said the document will be accomplished.
Mogi: hope the movie makes its way here in Mongolia before it gets pirated
Charity champ Christina Noble's humility as film based on her life opens
Despite throwing a lifeline to vulnerable youngsters in Vietnam and Mongolia, Christina Noble insists she is no hero
She rose from the depths of poverty, despair and abuse to set up a foundation that has helped hundreds of thousands of impoverished street children.
But despite throwing a lifeline to vulnerable youngsters in Vietnam and Mongolia,Christina Noble insists she is no hero.
As the film Noble – based on the charity worker's extraordinary story – opens in cinemas around the country this weekend, Christina's hope is that the awareness created will raise cash to come to the rescue of even more desperate children.
The grandmother-of-five told the Irish Sunday Mirror: "This is not about me it's about the kids.. that's all I care about."
Hundreds of Irish stars flocked to the premiere of the Stephen Bradley movie in Dublin last week and Christina admitted the occasion felt almost surreal.
She said watching the film stirred up a lot of memories, especially of the children the Noble Foundation has supported over the years.
Christina revealed: "That's what I was thinking about during the movie.
"Some of it brought back real memories of the kids. What came into my head was how they are today.
"Some are married with families, went to university, got great jobs and have great lives. They know we are there and they come back and let us know how they are doing."
The humanitarian, who has dedicated the past 25 years of her life towards easing the suffering of children, is adamant that every youngster should be entitled to a safe and happy childhood.
By the time she was 30, Christina had survived a sequence of tragedies and personal horror stories that would break most people.
Her father, a chronic alcoholic, left the children after their mother died when Christina
She was on the streets caring for her siblings before they were picked up and sent to different orphanages.
Christina left her children's institution when she 16.
Homeless and alone she ended up on the streets where she was horrifically gang-raped, became pregnant and was forced to give her son up for adoption.
But far from letting her harrowing upbringing defeat her, she went on to establish the Christina Noble Foundation.
After having dreams about needy children during the Vietnam War, she has helped
and empowered the poorest of the poor by improving access to education, medical care, vocational training and safe homes.
Christina, who went on to have three more children, admitted it took years for her to agree to a film about her life.
After a lot of soul-searching she made up her mind to go ahead.
She added: "I said to myself, 'Christina, you have done OK. Horrible things have happened but you have done OK.
"'You fight hard for your kids and you couldn't have done a better thing with your life. Yes, I will do it.'"
She had one request of director Stephen Bradley, whose actress wife Deirdre O'Kane plays the adult campaigner in the movie.
Christina explained: "I didn't want to be a hero. I asked him not to make me like that.
"They were kind in the film because I am a lot tougher.
"With the kids I am like putty in their hands but when I am up against politicians or people who hurt children, there is no stopping me."
Local airports adding handicapped access as part of Mongolia goal
September 22 (news.mn) Parking spots for disabled people have been established at local airports in Dornod, Khovd, Umnugovi and Bayan-Ulgii provinces.
The Mongolian Civil Aviation Authority has launched the construction of accessible entry and exit ways, and will create clear indicators for the reserved parking spots at each airport.
The Mongolian Civil Aviation Authority has also developed guidance for delivering services to meet the standard requirements of passengers with disabilities from entry to boarding.
U.S. Embassy hosting "Inclusive Education in USA" digital video conference series
September 19 (US Embassy) The U.S. Embassy is hosting Digital Video Conference (DVC) series about "Inclusive Education in USA" with Mongolian disability NGOs and parents of the children with disabilities.
On September 11, 2014 at the program room of the American corner in Ulaanbaatar, the first DVC was held with theme "Concept of Inclusive Education and an Inclusive Society" to about 50 people from disability and civil society NGOs, and the parents. Ms. Allison De Franco, Director of International Human Rights & Disability Inclusive Development of Blue Law International, shared about related legal issues and her experiences about general awareness disability inclusiveness, and answered questions.
Participants get new ideas and learned working experiences from the Ms. Allyson and they were very glad participated in this DVC.
Health Minister reviews Swiss project on preventive diagnosis of infant hip joint hypogenesis
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, September 18 (MONTSAME) Minister of Health N.Udval received Thursday Swiss pediatricians Raul Schmidt and Thomas Bauman. The sides discussed the results of Mongolia-Swiss joint project called "Preventive treatment and earlier diagnosis of hip joint hypogenesis of infants".
The project launched in 2008 at the National Health Center for Mother and Infant (NHCMI).
In the first stage of the project, the center was provided with ultra-sound apparatuses, medical utilities and equipment, and trainings were held for the medical staff in 2010-2011. Also 8544 infants born at the center, had the chance to have ultra-sound examinations of hip joints, within one or two days after their births. The pediatricians of the maternity center have been executing the examination and sending the examination results to the Swiss doctors for reaffirmation, and collaborated throughout the diagnostic processes.
Currently seven aimags (provinces) of Mongolia's western region are considered as targeted areas of the project, some 200 pediatricians and 20 consulting doctors have been trained in a scope of the project, and the hospitals of the aimags have been facilitated with required equipment.
The results of the project's first stage show that the hip-joint hypogenesis among infants is not a rare phenomenon in Mongolia. And the infant disorders can now be diagnosed by the trained pediatricians of maternal centers.
The second stage of the project launched in 2014 when the Ministry of Health adopted "Nation-wide programme of Infant Examination" to be realized in first, second and third maternal centers of Ulaanbaatar, and in all 21 aimags.
The pediatricians from Switzerland have visited Bayankhongor aimag, and have held trainings for the doctors and organized facilitation for the maternal center. It is necessary to develop assessment mechanisms for the project implementation and attempts to hold trainings in other aimags where the project actions could not reach, they noted.
The Health Minister thanked the doctors for the project they started, which have expanded into a nation-wide programme, added that infant examination programme will be kept in the "Earlier diagnosis of infectious diseases programme" to run in 2015, with the Government funding.
In recognition of their valuable contribution to health of Mongolia, especially in health of infants, Dr. Schmidt and Dr. Bauman have received the medals of honor from the Ministry.
OT: South Gobi students presented with scholarship certificates
- 30 students will receive scholarships for the next academic year –
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia – September 17 (Oyu Tolgoi) Oyu Tolgoi's Gobi scholarship programme saw 30 more students enroll for the academic year last Saturday. This is the tenth year that the programme has helped students with tuition fees and the cost of study.
The scholarships support the South Gobi aimag's development by providing scholarships for capable students studying those professions needed in the region. In return for an investment from Oyu Tolgoi in all costs of study, students, who must have a minimum GPA of 3.2 or higher, are expected to return to work in their homeland after graduation.
The Gobi scholarship programme is run in cooperation with the aimag governor's office and a management team comprised of representatives of civil society organisations. A total of 242 students from the aimag have benefited from the Gobi scholarships over the years, with most returning to work in their homeland after graduation.
Two students each from Bayandalai, Tsogttsetsii, Noyon and Mandal-Ovoo soums qualified for this year's scholarship programme, along with one student each from Bayan-Ovoo, Nomgon, Gurvantes, Bulgan and Tsogt- Ovoo soums. A further 15 students from Dalanzadgad also received their certificates.
Park Ridge native brings music to Mongolia's orphans
September 19 (Park Ridge Herald-Advocate) A desire to bring more music to people halfway around the world sent a Park Ridge native to the streets of a Mongolian city this past summer.
Eric Hollander joined a classmate from the Boston Conservatory in applying for a grant that sent the pair to the city of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to teach orphaned children about music and how to play the violin. During the month-long trip, they also organized a string ensemble of young adults to perform in public places around Mongolia's largest city of 1.3 million.
"I was really impressed with how well-received we were with that," Hollander, a 2010 Maine South High School graduate, said of the public performances. "You see people playing music in public spaces in cities in the U.S. and it's so common that no one pays attention to it. But there, when we just went out in the street, it was something you never see. There's never music going on in public spaces. It's not a necessary thing, it hasn't worked its way into the culture yet, but it was extremely popular and as soon as we got out there we had a large crowd."
Hollander's quest to bring music to the youth of Mongolia began with classmate Gereltuya Tumurbaatar, a native of Mongolia who was studying violin at the Boston Conservatory. The two submitted a grant proposal to the Davis Foundation Project for Peace entitled "Breaking the Silence: Fostering the Artistic Potential of Ulaanbaatar's At-Risk Orphans."
Citing a large number of orphaned youth in the city and a growing population of people under 30, Hollander and Tumurbaatar sought to introduce music education to children who might not otherwise have access to it. They used a portion of the $10,000 in grant money they received to buy violins for children at two orphanages, instruments that will remain with them and allow them to receive additional lessons from other visiting educators.
Hollander and Tumurbaatar worked closely with 11 children from the two orphanages, teaching them the basics of the violin and how to read music. The project became known as the UB Project, in recognition of the city of Ulaanbaatar.
"The kids were so eager to learn," Hollander recalled. "And they kept their enthusiasm up the whole time."
The children learned Mongolian songs that they knew from nursery rhymes, Hollander said, while they were also taught Western tunes like "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "Row, Row, Row Your Boat."
"I think we inspired them to at least think outside the box," he said of the students. "I don't think our goal was to make them musicians or get them to pursue music for the rest of their lives, but it was to show them they could do something both fun, rewarding and tangibly advantageous — that they could get something real out of it."
The adult ensemble, consisting of 10 musicians, including Hollander, was a spin-off group from the orphanage project. The performers, who had already studied music — some at universities aboard — performed pieces by Western composers, but also rearrangements of traditional Mongolian songs, which required Hollander to learn the songs just by hearing them.
"Since I was 13 I've been playing traditional Irish-Celtic music and it's similar in that you learn everything by ear," he said. "It's a very social thing and you get better at it through time and it gets easy to pick up tunes by ear. I was comfortable doing that."
The musicians played entirely string instruments, including violin, viola, cello and bass. By the end of the month-long project, the performances had garnered attention from local television news and radio and, Hollander believes, "raised significant awareness throughout the city" of the UB Project and its goal to foster increased music education and appreciation. Other individuals are reportedly interested in continuing Hollander and Tumurbaatar's work.
"Nothing big or long-term has latched on yet, but I think it's a matter of time," Hollander said. "I think a lot of people are interested."
Hollander's own love of music began at the age of four when he first picked up the viola and studied during private lessons. He later joined ensembles at Washington Elementary School and Lincoln Middle School before performing with the Academy of Irish Music. At Maine South, he joined the orchestra, crediting director Rebecca Oppenheim with keeping the musicians busy with new projects, despite complaints from some students about the workload.
"For someone like me it was always great because it gave me a lot of changes to perform and so serious projects," Hollander said. "It was a really good program."
Tales on Horseback takes reading on the road
By Michelle Borok
September 18 (UB Post) A donated city bus from Belgium is finding a second life in Mongolia
Thanks to Go Help UK, a 1981 Jonckheere Eagle diesel city bus has been refurbished as Tales on Horseback, a traveling library and educational resource center hitting the road on September 20, National Book Day.
While Mongolia claims one the highest nationwide literacy rates of the Asia-Pacific region's rapidly developing nations (more than 97 percent), easy access to education and reading materials and a growing digital divide are trials still facing urban and rural communities. Go Help UK's representative office in Mongolia, led by Director O.Tseveendavaa, is launching their innovative mobile library project on National Book Day to address these challenges.
"MNS5742 standards approved in 2007, 'Requirements for the library environment', states that a public library should be established per 100,000 residents in each city and district. In Ulaanbaatar, there are 22 public and university libraries and information centers. However, only eight of them are operating steadily and accessible to the public. In 2012, the population of Ulaanbaatar was reported to be 1,227,000. From the standards mentioned before, we can see that number of libraries in Ulaanbaatar is not sufficient and most of them are located centrally," said Indra Ganzorig, Go Help UK's Education Project Coordinator, when asked why UB needs a mobile library.
Tales on Horseback will be more than a place to find books in parts of the city where quality reading material is scarce. M.Tsolmon from Karandash Co., Ltd, an interior design company based in Ulaanbaatar, designed an interior that includes computer work stations, shelves for reading and listening materials, and a reading area. Equipped with WiFi, the library will be a traveling education resource center for children and adults. There are plans to offer computer and personal development training sessions and workshops in the rear of the bus, where presentations can be conducted with an on-board projector.
The launch of Tales on Horseback will take place outside the National Amusement Park this Saturday and open with a book fair, raffle, and book swap. Mongolian author of more than 70 children's books, J.Dashdondog will give a speech at the opening.
J.Dashdondog was the original inspiration for Tales on Horseback. The project derived its name from one of the author's collections of nomadic folktales, published in Mongolian and English. J.Dashdondog began his own traveling library project more than twenty years ago, carrying books he's written by horse, camel, cart and van to children in remote ger encampments, far from libraries and schools. Go Help UK has helped publish a few of J.Dashdondog's books and has supported the expansion of his project. They are now working with him on publishing one of his latest children's stories about humanitarian work.
The organization commissioned artwork by Martin Hsu for the exterior of the bus, which was brought to Mongolia by Team Desertlions in the 2012 Mongolia Charity Rally. The original artwork Hsu created for Tales on Horseback was donated to Go Help UK, and plays an important role in the identity of the project.
Taiwanese-American artist Martin Hsu built his career doing character design for major U.S. animation studios like Disney and Nickelodeon, illustrating children's books, creating award winning designer vinyl toys, and showing his artwork in galleries across the U.S. and Asia.
Hsu came across a photo circulating on the social media site Tumblr, of J.Dashdondog with his library loaded on the back of a camel, and shared it on Facebook. Many months later, through his network of fans and friends, Indra Ganzorig reached out to him to create artwork for Tales on Horseback.
Hsu approached the mobile library commission with the same passion and creativity he's applied to all of his professional projects.
"I treated this project as an animated series, where I get to design all-new characters who are empowered by books. I created a family of four, inspired by Mongolian horses. These characters have distinct personalities and are the symbols of this special project. I also had the pleasure of introducing a personal creation into this world: Dragon Boy. As a mystic creature, Dragon Boy serves as the carrier of books and messenger of fun! He leads our characters on flying books into a world of knowledge and imagination. Sky is the limit!"
Go Help has been working in Mongolia since 2009, running a number of health and education projects in and around Ulaanbaatar and offering academic scholarships to a handful of Mongolian university students. Go Help's community health projects include ambulance donations to rural hospitals and health centers, and a recent partnership with Medics to Mongolia, a UK charity that sends current medical students on medical elective programs across Mongolia.
In addition to preparing for the launch of Tales on Horseback, Indra Ganzorig has been working hard on the Nalaikh district's Book House, a free library service that also offers English and IT lessons to area children and their parents.
Tales on Horseback is not receiving any state support and has been made possible entirely by donations, Go Help funding, and with support from different Mongolian publishing companies, including Empathy Press and Blue Strawberry LLC. The library will be staffed by Go Help staff and volunteers during its trial run.
This Saturday Tales on Horseback will be making a tour of UB. After the opening ceremony at the National Amusement Park, it will journey to stops in Zaisan and in front of the State Circus. Its regular route after National Book Day will take the library to Nalaikh, Terelj, southwest of the airport past Bio Kombinat, and to the outlying khoroos and districts of Ulaanbaatar.
To follow Tales on Horseback on its journey, or to find out how you can support Go Help and its community projects, visit facebook.com/GoHelpMongolia.
The agenda of the Tales on Horseback Takes Reading on the Road can be seen on page 8.
Mogi: a bit disturbing
Preserving Mongolian throat singing
At 7 am daily, lawyer Kui Jiliang puts on his designer suit to head to work in downtown Beijing. But before that, for about 15 minutes, he practices khoomei, an ancient throat-singing technique of the ethnic Mongolians and Tuvans, in which the vocalist is able to sing in two voices simultaneously.
After lunch, he also practices for a while in a corner of his office.
The 53-year-old attended a series of training classes organized by the Beijing Exchange Center of the Odsuren School of Khoomei Art in the city's 798 art zone earlier this month.
He describes the sounds of khoomei as both mysterious and touching, and says that he became obsessed with the art about five years ago when he first heard it on TV. Since then, he had been looking for khoomei lessons and performances in Beijing. Like Kui, many from China's different ethnic groups are drawn to khoomei.
But because the art form largely caters to a minority taste, Kui couldn't find any training classes until the school he attends was launched earlier this year.
"It's a rare chance to undergo professional khoomei training in Beijing. When I got the news, I applied to the class immediately," says Kui, who's a Beijing native. "It was very hard to produce the sounds. When I finally had my voice quivering and droning in the right way, I was excited."
His excitement was shared by Tian Huilan, a 50-year-old Beijing-based soprano from China Coal Mine Art Troupe, who also attended the classes. Tian first listened to khoomei from a tape of Sainkho Namtchylak, a famous singer from the Tuva Republic in the Russian Federation, and was captivated by it.
"Since the skill was taught only to male students, female performers were almost unheard of in olden times. But now a few outstanding female khoomei singers can be seen on the international stage," Tian says.
It has been quite a challenge for her to learn khoomei as throat singing breaks all the rules she has learned as a soprano.
"It's more difficult for women than men to perform the singing style, because their vocal cords are different," she says. "But the training was rewarding since it has opened my vocal range and helped me gain much strength while singing and breathing."
Naranbadrakh, a well-known khoomei singer from Mongolia, who conducted the classes, performed in a concert in Beijing on Sept 21. He has made many khoomei presentations in China since 1997 but taught here the first time this month. Five other Mongolian khoomei singers, including Battumur and Altantug, also participated in the concert titled Call of Mongolia.
The origins of khoomei are uncertain. According to Naranbadrakh, it is believed to have originated from herders' imitations of animal sounds and was later incorporated into religious rituals.
"The core of khoomei is not just to show off the skill onstage, but to feel the power of the ancient art and acquire peacefulness at heart. I think the students have gained their own understanding of the art," says Naranbadrakh, 36, who lives in Ulan Bator, Mongolia's capital.
Despite his childhood dream of becoming a professional wrestler, he started learning khoomei in 1994 from Odsuren, a Mongolian master of the form.
Odsuren also introduced the throat-singing tradition to his country's university syllabus and has taught the skill to more than 1,000 Chinese students since he first visited China in 1993.
"Khoomei is closely connected with nature and the Mongolian language. Like Peking Opera and Italian opera, despite the cultural and linguistic differences, khoomei can be enjoyed by the world's audiences," Odsuren had said in an earlier interview.
In 2011, Temur, a famous Chinese khoomei vocalist, invited Odsuren, 73, to launch the Odsuren Khoomei School in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region's capital, Hohhot. Hundreds of students from around the world have since received khoomei training there.
Tekexi, who is the younger brother of Temur, is a khoomei promoter at the Beijing Exchange Center of the Odsuren School of Khoomei Art. Besides offering training and staging performances, the center also plans to teach traditional Mongolian instruments and language.
Naranbadrakh points out that khoomei, along with its long-drawn songs and the use of matouqin, a traditional string instrument, is highly regarded in Mongolia. Khoomei is not only a national treasure protected by the government but also an art form appreciated by young Mongolians, he says.
"Khoomei has been incorporated into many musical genres such as pop, rock and rap. But the study of khoomei should be serious and solid," says Naranbadrakh, who has also introduced some pop into his old art form.
"Though most Mongolians now live in urban areas, we bear our roots in mind. We have the responsibility to take this art to more people."
The race of a lifetime at the Mongolia Bike Challenge
By Lee Rodgers
September 19 (VeloNews) It's hard to know where to begin when trying to describe something that is, essentially, indescribable. But that is exactly what riding a mountain bike over 900 kilometers (560 miles), while climbing over 14,000 meters (45,900 feet), in seven days in Mongolia is — indescribable.
Three Naadam wrestlers fail drug tests
September 18 (news.mn) Wrestlers annually take drug tests before the wrestling competition of the national celebration of Naadam. The test samples taken from wrestlers who were selected for the final rounds of Naadam national wrestling were sent to the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Doping Control Center.
The drug test results arrived last week and revealed that three wrestlers who were granted state titles had used drugs.
The Mongolian National Wrestling Federation has yet to see the final results of the drug tests.
During this year's Naadam, held on the occasion of the 2,223rd anniversary of the founding of the first Mongolian State, the 808th anniversary of the Great Mongol Empire and the 93rd anniversary of the Mongolian People's Revolution, eight young wrestlers were granted new titles, including State Lion (Ulsiin Arslan), State Garuda (Ulsiin Garid), State Hawk (UIsiin Hartsaga) and State Falcon (Ulsiin Nachin).
The Mongolian National Wrestling Federation will announce the names of the three newly honored wrestlers who were found to have used drugs after it receives the final test results.
Five questions with four-time world sumo champion Byamba
September 18 (Orange County Register) Mongolian-born sumo wrestler Byambajav Ulambayar became the highest-ranked wrestler on his team at age 18. He spent his childhood practicing several styles of martial arts and is a four-time sumo world champion.
Byamba competed in the U.S. Sumo Open the past seven years and won a gold medal each year. He will compete in the Open again Saturday.
USA Sumo founder Andrew Freund provided translation for this interview.
Q: At what age did you know you wanted to be a sumo wrestler?
A: I started Mongolian wrestling at age 9 and did very well. By the age of 15, I was already the national junior champion in three sports – Mongolian wrestling, sambo and judo. I didn't know anything about sumo, but at that time, a famous Japanese grand sumo champion visited Mongolia to recruit new talent. He held tryouts and picked one guy, me, to join his pro sumo team. So I flew to Japan as a young teenager, without knowing the language, the cuisine, the culture or anything about sumo! It was quite an experience to spend five years in Japanese professional sumo, and to do well there!
Q: What does your diet consist of and how many calories do you eat a day?
A: My traditional pro sumo diet revolves around "chanko-nabe" (sumo stew). It's very healthy and chock-full of nutritious vegetables, meat and fish. Sumo wrestlers eat large portions of the stew, topped off with bowls of rice to keep on the weight. I don't know my exact caloric intake, but at my weight of 350 pounds, I probably consume about double what a normal person eats. In Japan, they measured our body fat percentage. When I was 330 pounds, my body fat percentage was 11 percent, so the healthy sumo diet keeps us fit and builds muscle, actually, not fat.
Q: What does your training regimen look like?
A: In pro sumo, I used to train at least six days a week, year-round. We would wake up at dawn and train for about five hours straight every morning on an empty stomach. Then, we'd have a big lunch and take a nap. I did more training on my own, including with weights, in the afternoon. Then, we had a big dinner and slept early.
Today, living in Los Angeles, I don't have all the pro sumo resources, so I only train with others in sumo once or twice a week. However, I do all the basic warm-ups on my own regularly to keep in shape. I also continue to do weight training, jogging, swimming, play basketball and more.
Q: What makes for a good match?
A: If both competitors are skilled, they will smash together at a high velocity and use their momentum to try to topple the opponent or knock him off balance. Sumo is not just about weight alone. There are lots of dynamic techniques. Speed and flexibility are also very important.
Q: What are important attributes for a wrestler to have?
A: Most importantly, sumo wrestlers need a strong desire to defeat the opponent. Sumo training builds up strength, balance, quickness and agility. So the most important qualities are focus and desire to train hard.
Sumo Wrestlers Gear Up For The U.S. Open – Neon Tommy, September 17
AFC President's Cup: FC Erchim 0-1 Sheikh Russel KCL
Colombo, September 20 (AFC) A second-half header from Kinglsey Chigozie was enough to give Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra Limited all three points in the AFC President's Cup opener, in a hard-fought 1-0 win over FC Erichim of Mongolia at a scorching Sugathadasa Stadium on Saturday.
Although Sheikh Russel were pegged back for long spells in the first half of the Group B opener, Nigerian forward Chigozie (pictured) rose highest on 65 minutes to head home and give the tournament debutants all three points in Colombo.
While FC Erchim had arguably edged the first half, they faded badly in the second period and now must re-group for Monday's meeting with DPR Korea's Rimyongsu Club.
"I am not satisfied with the performance despite the win but that's maybe because of the hot weather it was difficult to play to their full potential," said Sheikh Russel coach Sheikh Mohammad Zakaria, with the Bangladeshi side now due for a three day rest period before continuing their campaign against Rimyongsu on Wednesday.
"I told the players at half-time not to worry about the goalless score line and to play their normal game and the goal would come.
"I am convinced, though, that my team will be able to raise their game for the subsequent fixtures and I am pleased we have begun the tournament with a win."
In a fast opening to the tie, Sheikh Russel forward Jahid Ameli had sounded an early warning of his goal threat after only two minutes with a free kick curled narrowly over from 20 yards out.
And just eight minutes later the same player had the ball in the net, but Ameli had strayed offside before turning in Anower Hossain's cross at the back post.
Thereafter, though, it was Erchim who looked the more convincing going forward with 18-year-old playmaker Tuguldur Munkh-erdene behind much of their good work.
Ostensibly playing as a left-winger, Munkh-erdene cut into the middle at regular intervals, and it was the teenager's dancing feet with eight minutes remaining till the break that gave Erchim their best chance of the half.
First bamboozling his marker on the halfway line, Munkh-erdene then slipped a delicate through ball into the 16-yard area, where Sundorj Janchiv was inches away from connecting until Sheikh Russel custodian Mamun Khan intercepted with a sliding feet-first block.
At half-time, Sheikh Russel coach Zakaria had clearly seen enough and brought on Mohammed Morad to take over the right flank of his backline and quell the dangerous Munkh-erdene.
And the tactical switch paid dividends as the tricky number 10's influence waned considerably following the re-start as Sheikh Russel wrested momentum back and took the lead shortly after the hour mark.
A clumsy challenge by Davaajav Battur on Ameli on the left edge of the penalty area was clinically punished as Mithun Chowdhury's resulting free-kick found the towering form of Chigozie at the back post, and the striker powered his header down past goalkeeper Ariunbold Batsaikhan.
Erchim tried to restore parity but with Munkh-erdene now a shadow of his first-half self the Mongolian club struggled to break down the Sheikh Russel backline.
In fact, their best chance was to come deep into added time from the foot of Bojan Petric as the FC Erchim defender turned Gal-erdene Soyol-erdene's right-wing cross narrowly past his own near-post.
"I think the 1-0 score line does not reflect the true nature of the game because it was very equal between the two sides," said FC Erchim coach Vojislav Bralusic.
"Although yesterday in the press conference I said the weather wouldn't be a problem, but the reality is the heat was a major factor for us.
"In the second half my players really faded and unfortunately they lost concentration on the free kick – when you do that, you get punished."
September 22 (news.mn) The final competition of the Miss World Mongolia 2014 national beauty contest was held at the State Academic Drama Theatre. Twenty-three year-old T.Battsetseg was crowned "Miss World Mongolia 2014" to represent Mongolia at the 63rd Miss World pageant being held in London in November.
Miss World Mongolia 2014 has been organized as a reality show for the past three months.
T.Battsetseg has previously been recognized as a top Asian model, Miss Manchuria, and she took second place in Miss Mongolia 2010. She is now a teacher art Shileml Zagvar fashion agency.
A model from Mongol Model Agency, J.Enerel, took second place in Miss World Mongolia 2014, and D.Dolgion took third place.
Mongolian to Attend "Miss World 2014" – Montsame, September 22
6th Floor, NTN Tower
Baga Toiruu, Chingeltei District 1
Ulaanbaatar 15170, Mongolia
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