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Friday, October 24, 2014
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NUR HOLDINGS acquires Mongolia coal logistics biz for HK$150M
October 22 (AAStocks) NUR HOLDINGS (00254.HK) announced the acquisition of 90% indirect equity interest in Takhidagkhairkhan Limited Liability Company with Foreign Investment, which is principally engaged in the logistic and storage management of coal in Mongolia. The consideration was reduced from the previous $290 million to $150 million, comprising cash of $75 million and the issue of $75 million six-month 6% promissory notes. The guaranteed profit for 2015 shall be not less than $36.3 million.
Mongolia Mineral Council Approves Reestimated OT Reserves
Ulaanbaatar, October 23 (MONTSAME) Oyu Tolgoi LLC recently has re-fixed the reserves of its group deposits, and approved it by the Professional Council of Minerals based on the results of explorations conducted in 2009-2014 on Oyu Tolgoi group deposits: Oyut, Heruga and Hugo North.
According to the document, the geological reserves at the group deposits of Oyu Tolgoi were estimated at 6.5 billion tons of ore, containing 44 million 495 thousand tons of copper, 1.9 thousand tons of gold and 205 thousand tons of molybdenum. The efficient (also known as exploitable riches) reserves have been estimated at only 3.4 billion tons, according to the 2010 feasibility study of Oyu Tolgoi LLC.
As of the preliminary economic study basing on the new estimation of reserves, the net value of the project amounts to USD 6.1 billion, and the coverage of the first-round investment is estimated to be nine years, presented the company to the Minerals' Council. the study is based on the assumption of copper price - 3.08 US dollars per pound, gold price – 1274 US dollars per ounce, silver price – 21.46 US dollars per ounce and molybdenum price – 12.42 US dollars per pound.
Mogi: complaining OT pays less tax while derailing its development
Erdenet will pay ₮447.5 billion in taxes compared to ₮324.3 billion for OT
October 23 (business-mongolia.com) According to the statement by Ministry of Finance, Erdenet JSC, the oldest Mongolia-Russian joint copper-mine will pay MNT447.5 billion in taxes. In the other hand, a mine that has more sales and production – Oyu Tolgoi LLC – will pay MNT324.3 billion.
The reason, according to the ministry, is due to the tax stability clauses and being not liable for progressive royalty as stated in the Investment Agreement.
Also, the state budget will receive MNT98 billion in the form of dividend from its interests in partially state-owned companies. Out of this, Erdenet JSC will pay MNT70 billion, and majority-state owned companies will contribute MNT336 billion.
Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. August 2014 Monthly Letter to Shareholders
Toronto, Ontario, October 23 (FSCwire) - Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. (YAK – TSXV and MNGGF – USA), a real estate investment and development company benefiting from the dynamic growth of the Mongolian economy via ownership of institutional-quality commercial property assets in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia is pleased to announce the release of its August 2014 Shareholders Letter.
August 2014 Shareholders Letter
To the Shareholders of Mongolia Growth Group Ltd.,
CEO Assumes The Monthly Letter: You will notice a somewhat different style to these Letters from here on and soon you will notice a regularity with their availability. Our goal is to provide you with more-timely and on-the-ground information and an overall easier read to follow our progress on the Investment Portfolio side of MGG and also the Real Estate Development side of MGG. This Letter will provide you updates on our performance and activities in Mongolia that relate to your investment and I thank you for your continued support during so many changes in the world economy.
In August 2014, MGG's core commercial property portfolio* experienced a same-store rental increase of 28.6% relative to August 2013 on properties owned 12 months or longer, as measured in local currency (Mongolian Togrog).
Total billed revenue for August 2014 was 241.3 million Mongolian Togrog, as compared to 217.4 million Mongolian Togrog in August of 2013 or a 10.9% increase.**
The occupancy rate for the core Investment Portfolio in August of 2014 was 94.7% including an occupancy rate of 94.0% for core retail properties and an occupancy rate of 95.2% for core office properties.
MGG Ulaanbaatar Business Activities Update
Key Areas of Strategy
· Organizational restructuring for future strategy has been completed.
· We are now Leveraging our revenue creation functions such as Leasing, plus the value-creation function of real estate development to generate higher returns.
· Revenues are being maximized from existing portfolio properties and the real estate developments that are underway.
· We are keep operating costs to a very commercial minimum, while juggling new costs associated with expansion that bring higher returns.
· All these improvements are accelerating our road to profitability.
The Real Estate Investment Portfolio
· The portfolio focus is set with commercial real estate only (mostly retail with limited office) mainly in the downtown area, with consistent institutional grade and bankable assets.
· We currently own an extensive Portfolio of 57 Properties and we remain on course with disposing of several of these to solidify our portfolio with consistent optimal rising revenue.
· From these sales, we are recycling this financial capital into our real estate developments and renovations, as management believes we receive better returns currently from this part of the business.
Real Estate Developments
· Currently we are actively re-developing our flagship retail project, Tuguldur Center, right in the heart of the downtown area. The project has multiple progressive sequential stages and we are currently undertaking Stage 1, which is due for completion the first week of November, 2014.
· We believe this will be an enormously successful development project and our annual gross leasing revenues are a very impressive forecast. This forecast will be replaced with the actual Leases in early November, 2014. Assuming we progress with Stage 2, these premium leasing revenues would be similar for this key precinct in downtown.
· In the Investment Portfolio, all retail properties are virtually fully leased.
· We have 4 spaces vacant in our office portfolio, which we are now actively marketing and we expect to have leased shortly.
· For our flagship major redevelopment project, Tuguldur Center, the leasing team has produced impressive results and we now have a large part Pre-Leased for Stage 1. After construction is complete in early November 2014, we will hand over to the Tenants to occupy, with revenue commencing nearly immediately thereafter.
· As we have previously reported, we are strategically realigning our Investment Portfolio with the goal of primarily downtown. We are progressively disposing of properties that either don't quite align with our new downtown strategy or are not really investment grade. Our intent is to gradually sell several more properties and recycle this capital into the Tuguldur Development Project.
· Since our Land Bank is significant, we have strategically targeted which geographic areas will be our focus over the next 5 years and have assigned resources going forward. Additional land banks outside of this focus are now being progressively sold.
Real Estate Acquisitions
· We are not currently pursuing any acquisitions. Our focus is optimizing our existing properties.
· The interest rates in Mongolia are rising, therefore we are currently reviewing financial strategic advantages of whether to pay down our loan obligations.
A Note from the CEO
· We are considering the potential to outsource some low level high head count support functions within MGG to create more efficiency and make the organization leaner, which will clear the focus for revenue creation and value creation.
· We are currently looking at elevating our expertise capability going forward with people who can immediately increase our revenue creation, and also value creation in the profitable real estate developments area.
· We will begin considering how we widen our profile in Asia for Investors and potential Joint Venture Partners in our larger real estate developments in downtown.
MGG Office Report
· MGG is proud to announce that it has published its second quarterly property report. This quarter's report covers the office sector in central Ulaanbaatar. MGG intends to continue publishing quarterly reports on the property market in Mongolia.
· To access MGG's first office report, please go to the following link; http://mongoliagrowthgroup.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/Q2-2014-MGG-Property-Report–-Office.pdf
Mongolian Economic Update
Since our previous update to you:
· SouthGobi Resources has completed a paved coal haulage road from the Oyu Tolgoi mine to the Chinese Border with a capacity in excess of 20mn t/yr. (Marketwired)
· Mongolia's exports of copper concentrate rose to 703,900t worth USD $1.2 billion in the first 7 months of 2014, compared to 332,200t worth USD $470.4 million in 2013. (Bloomberg)
· World Bank lowers Mongolia 2014 GDP forecast from 9.5% to 6.3%
· Mongolian Airlines LLC (MIAT) launched its first flight to Singapore and signaled its intention to extend its East-West route network.
So, we have many internal positives to report and we are confident that the external forces that we must deal with are aligning themselves to our advantage. We look forward to updating you again and more consistently on our progress and new developments in the Mongolian economy next month and moving forward.
Paul J. Byrne
Chief Executive Officer
Mongolia Growth Group Ltd.
MGG: Central Ulaanbaatar Office Report, Q2 2014
October 2014 (Mongolia Growth Group) --
Over the past few years, while the Mongolian economy expanded at high speed, the Ulaanbaatar office market was frantic to match the pace of growth. Today, investors await the Government's next moves, as an over-supply of brand new offices looms.
After Mongolia's transition to a market economy in 1990, Ulaanbaatar started its gradual transformation from a Soviet capital to a modern city. New apartments and office buildings sprouted among old Soviet construction. Today the current office stock in the city core is estimated to be around 435,000 sqm. Of this, approximately 18,000 sqm is provided by pre-1990 Soviet era buildings, all the rest having been built after 1990, and most after 2000.
As of today, new construction of 150,000 sqm equal to one third of the current stock is nearly complete and ready to open within this year. These are projects started around 2011 when the Mongolian economy came into the limelight, attracting more FDI in one year than the previous ten years combined and posting 17.5% GDP growth.
Falling FDI combined with depressed demand in the commodities sector moderated growth in 2013, but expansionary policies from the Government maintained GDP growth in the double digits.
As weakness in the economy started showing through in 2014, the Government responded with additional stimulus. Efforts to win back investors' confidence continue, however, much will depend on Oyu Tolgoi's progress. Financing of the underground mine at the giant project is approaching its September 30 deadline. For investors, whether Mongolia succeeds in settling the underground mine agreement with Oyu Tolgoi will be an important indicator of the Government's trustworthiness.
On the upside, recent visits from the premiers of Mongolia's two neighbors, China and Russia, is expected to have positive effects on the economy. If the state of the economy turns sour, this will leave the office market in a difficult condition. If things go well, the higher grade offices will likely perform well, although it will be hard for the market to absorb any more additional supply than what is already online or in-progress.
Map of Central Ulaanbaatar
The central square of Ulaanbaatar has always been the epicenter of the country, with cultural and administrative landmarks neighboring the parliament house. What was a cultural center in the Soviet era, directly in the south, has in the last few years been transformed into the Central Business District (hereinafter CBD) of Ulaanbaatar. Here the gigantic project that has pulled the Mongolian economy onto the fast track, Oyu Tolgoi, resides in the Monnis Tower, right next to the National Library. The modern landmarks of Mongolia and premier office centers, Blue Sky Tower and Central Tower, stand 200m away along Peace Avenue. As the office market looks set to expand at least by three quarters in the next 2-3 years, most of the new developments concentrate around the CBD.
Cash at end of quarter A$264K. WOF closed +6.25% Thursday to A$0.051
Wolf Petroleum Quarterly Activities Report
October 23 -- Mongolian oil explorer Wolf Petroleum (ASX:WOF) is pleased to release the quarterly activities report.
SB BLOCK FARM OUT PROCESS
The Company has continued in its efforts to finalise a farm out agreement on its 100% owned SB Block.
FULLY UNDERWRITTEN RIGHTS ISSUE
The Company is raising $1.5 million before costs through a fully underwritten rights issue to shareholders.
Farm out process
Wolf Petroleum is continuing in its efforts to finalise a farm out agreement on its 100% owned SB Block. The completion of a farm out on the SB Block will have a significant impact on the Company's future development and value creation for shareholders.
SB Block Overview
SB Block is one of the premier oil blocks in Mongolia where ground geological and geophysical programs have identified the largest sub basin Toson Tolgoi with an area covering over 3,500 square kilometres.
The Company acquired 450 kilometres of 2D seismic data on SB block and identified drill ready targets with an estimated 460 million to 2.2 billion barrels of oil resources.
In addition, geochemical analysis have identified high quality light oil microseeps within seismic shot hole samples.
SB block is currently under discussion with potential strategic partners on farm out deals and is planning to commence drilling programs.
Fully Underwritten Rights Issue
On 17 October 2014 the Company announced it had reached an agreement with CPS Capital Group Pty Ltd to fully underwrite a rights issue to shareholders on a 1 for 8.7 basis at an issue price of $0.05 per share (approximately 30 million shares) with a free attaching WOFOA option to raise $1,500,000 before costs.
The Company is issuing approximately 30,000,000 fully underwritten WOF shares at $0.05 with free WOFOA option attached. (263.9 million shares outstanding)
The proceeds of the offer will be used to meet financial obligations of production sharing contract and focus on farming out SB block.
This offer will allow the Company to continue its negotiations with potential strategic partners and provides shareholders an opportunity to maintain their exposure to the significant upside presented by the Company's petroleum assets in Mongolia.
Funds raised under the rights issue will be used to meet existing financial obligations under production sharing contract with the Government of Mongolia and to focus on closing the farm out process on SB Block.
Khan Investment Management September Update: Khan Mongolia Equity Fund -7.28%
October 22 (Khan Investment Management) September performance for the Khan Mongolia Equity Fund (KMEF) was -7.28%. Following two months of double-digit positive performance, the portfolio was negatively impacted over the month by a sell-off of international listed mining juniors within the portfolio, largely in line with the mining and resource sector. The fund remains +10.00% year to date.
Although September passed without full resolution of outstanding issues between the Government of Mongolia (GOM) and Rio Tinto (Rio) regarding the second phase development of the world renowned Oyu Tolgoi (OT) project, several sources close to the negotiations have informed us that they are confident the project will be signed off before year end. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said it has already granted an extension for its financing commitment, and we believe that most, if not all, of the 15 lenders within the financing syndicate for the USD 5.4 billion Phase Two expansion will follow suit.
The impact that this investment will have on Mongolia's USD 11.5 billion economy cannot be understated. The multiplier effect through OT's supply chain to the economy at large represents a massive boost to economic activity and will ultimately drive additional investment into key infrastructure development.
Mongolia's Fall Parliament Session started on October 1 with an immediate action plan to decrease the number of Ministries from 16 to 13. Several ministries are being restructured to create greater efficiency by alleviating duplication of responsibilities and reducing bureaucracy. We see this maneuvering by the Prime Minister as a positive step towards creating clarity and consistency of responsibilities and perceive the reorganization as positive; providing economic savings, increased transparency and decreased bureaucracy.
Following the recent amendments to the Mining Law, regulations on issuing new mining exploration licenses have now been clarified. A new system that will use state of the art technology to receive applications and issue licenses has been adopted in order to improve efficiency and provide transparency. Although initially delayed due to technical issues, it is expected that new licenses will begin to be issued before month end. As previously noted, the "best in class" amendments to the Mining Law (including extension of exploration licenses to 12 years) coupled with last year's progressive Investment Law, now make Mongolia one of the most attractive destinations for mineral exploration in the world. The mineral exploration and extraction sector clearly remains one of the key drivers of Mongolian growth. The opportunity to undertake new exploration within the resource rich country is bound to deliver some impressive results including the possible discovery of further mega-deposits such as OT and Tavan Tolgoi.
Sub-custody services are now being introduced by Mongolia's two largest banks, Golomt Bank and Trade & Development Bank (TDB). The system is in the process of testing and is expected to be offered to investors by year end. International investors will soon be able to freely trade securities on the Mongolian Stock Exchange (MSE), which recently extended their partnership with the London Stock Exchange for a further 3 years, using their global custodian via sub-custody and clearing with either Golomt or TDB. We strongly believe that this opening up of Mongolia's capital market will drive investment and liquidity into the nascent exchange where many companies continue to trade at low price-earnings and price-book ratios when compared to their emerging market peers.
A further indicator of strengthening bilateral ties, Russia and China have announced that the two countries are considering building a high-speed rail line thousands of kilometres from Moscow to Beijing. According to the Beijing Times, the project would cost more than USD 230 billion and be over 7,000 kilometres long. The proposed rail line will traverse Mongolia and will apparently cut the journey time from six days to two. Furthermore, Mongolia and Russia have officially agreed to cooperate to construct a highway that would connect Russia and China through Mongolian territory. The memorandum of cooperation was reached at the 18th meeting of Mongolia-Russia intergovernmental commission (13 – 15 October), which was focused on bilateral trade and economic cooperation. The highway is expected to run from Mongolia's northern border district of Altanbulag through the capital of Ulan Bator to the country's southern border town of Zamyn-Uud. The projects are expected to drive further foreign direct investment (FDI) and boost infrastructure construction throughout the country.
The Khan Mongolia Equity Fund performance for month of September was -7.28%.
The Net Asset Value as at 30 September 2014 was USD 31.12.
Factsheets outlining monthly performance and commentary can be downloaded by registered users of the Khan Investment Management website – www.Khan-Management.com
After positive performance for two consecutive months, the Khan Mongolia Equity Fund retreated 7.28% in September. Of the 16 positions in the portfolio 5 gained, 10 declined and 1 remained unchanged.
Mongolian Mining Corporation (976:HK – "MMC") rallied 42.62% from the beginning of September to close the month at HKD 0.87. Turquoise Hill Resources Limited (TRQ:US) gained 11.24% to USD 3.76 on expectations of OT progress, although has now fallen to early September lows. Xanadu Mines Ltd (XAM:AU) was sold off 21.88% to AUD 0.125 and Kincora Copper Ltd (KCC:CN) lost 33% from CAD 0.06 to CAD 0.04.
Given MMC's recent price performance, now up 90% from lows of HKD 0.48 in June, we expect MMC to potentially consider a rights issue, which we believe many shareholders would participate in. This would clearly have a positive impact on the company's 8.875%, MAR'17 bond which last traded at USD 62.54 and has a current yield-to-maturity of just over 30%.
Erdene Resource Development Corp (ERD:CN) announced last week that it plans to raise CAD 1.61 million by way of a non-brokered private placement in order for the Company to carry out a resource drilling program on its 100% owned, highly prospective Altan Nar gold project. The objective is to establish an initial, independently verified, near surface, open pit mineable resource estimate by March 2015. The placement is expected to close on or before October 31, 2014. The KMEF is invested in ERD and participated in the Company's last two private placements (NOV'13 – CAD 0.07, MAY'14 – CAD 0.16). The KMEF will participate in the Company's recently announced (OCT'14) private placement at CAD 0.14. Erdene's President and CEO, Mr Peter Akerley, recently visited Singapore and Hong Kong to meet with prospective investors. We are confident that the placement will be fully subscribed and are happy to see the company funded to meet their objectives of delivering an independently verified resource estimate by Q1 2015.
Guildford Coal Limited (GUF:AU) announced that shipment of the second trial batch of coal (14,300t) from the Baruun Noyon Uul (BNU) has commenced. Testing of this batch of coal is due to be completed by month end and the company expects that testing will confirm even more favourable results than the first trial batch as coal has been taken direct from the mine rather than the long term mine stockpile. Guildford is intending to ramp up production in the coming months, with preparation for mining to be conducted throughout November and full-scale production targeted in early 2015. Production is expected to be cash flow positive in 2015, with a targeted margin (per ROM tonne) of AUD 9-14, which takes into account the impact of the recent announcement by the Chinese Government re-instating coal import tax of 3% on coking coal imports. We continue to believe that the fundamentals that make Mongolia a natural coking coal supplier to China remain the same.
Khan Investment Management Ltd. (Khan) is pleased to announce that it, together with its partner Asia Capital & Advisors Pte. Ltd., has secured funding commitments for Xanadu Mines Ltd. (XAM:AU - "Xanadu") of AUD13.6 Million (USD 12 Million) by way of a private placement. Whilst the placement is subject to shareholder approval at the company's annual general meeting, we are pleased to have been able to raise significant funding commitments for Xanadu to potentially be in a position to advance its highly prospective copper-gold "Kharmagtai" project.
The amount of this funding is sizeable in the context of current market conditions and shows Khan's continued commitment to investing in Mongolia.
Whilst the international media was quick to criticize another missed deadline for OT, it is clearly in the interests of both the GOM and Rio to resolve outstanding issues and proceed with the USD 5.4 billion Phase Two development as soon as possible. Based on our discussions with sources involved in the ongoing negotiations we remain very confident of a green light before year end, which we believe will act as the most significant catalyst for a revaluation of Mongolian assets across the board and drive the next wave of FDI into the country.
The strong fundamentals underpinning Mongolian growth that we and others have so often pointed out remain firmly in place. Mongolia's resources will not disappear. Mongolia will remain the neighbour of China – already the world's second largest economy. Mongolia will play an increasing role connecting China and Russia, and Asia to Europe.
"The most common cause of low prices is pessimism – sometimes pervasive, sometimes specific to a company or industry. We want to do business in such an environment, not because we like pessimism but because we like the prices it produces." -Warren Buffett
Rio Tinto extends the tenure of senior executive team
23 October 2014 (Rio Tinto) The Rio Tinto board has extended the tenure of chief executive Sam Walsh and chief financial officer Chris Lynch, providing a strong endorsement of their leadership, the Group's strategy and its focus on driving shareholder value.
Rio Tinto chairman Jan du Plessis said "For quite some time, Sam has made no secret of the fact that he loves his job and would like to continue well beyond next year. Given his performance and his enthusiasm to continue in the role, the decision to extend his tenure has been an easy one for the board. In addition, over the past 18 months, Chris has played a crucial role working with Sam and I am therefore pleased that we have agreed with both of them to replace their fixed term retirement dates with long-term, open-ended commitments to the company.
"Since their appointments early last year, Sam and Chris have led a transformation of the business and established a track record of delivering on their promises. Rio Tinto has increased cash flows from operations, achieved significant operating cash cost improvements, reduced net debt and refocused capital expenditure on projects with the most compelling returns.
"In September, the board met for our annual strategy review session and it is clear we are on a path to generate significant long-term value for shareholders. The board believes Sam and Chris are the best team to lead us into the next phase of the delivery of our strategy."
Sam Walsh said "I am very pleased to continue as chief executive of this great business with our world-class people and assets. I will be ensuring my executive team and our 60,000-plus employees around the world all remain focussed on continuing to deliver outstanding performance for all of our shareholders, driven by improved safety and productivity, value-enhancing growth and disciplined capital allocation."
Chris Lynch said "There is no doubt we have made some great progress but we all appreciate the job is far from complete. There will be no complacency as we pursue value and I am looking forward to continuing to work with Sam and the team to further enhance the performance of the business."
Notes to editors
Mr Walsh and Mr Lynch will transfer to open-ended contracts after Rio Tinto's annual general meetings in 2015. Mr Walsh's initial contract was due to end on 31 December 2015 with a break clause from 31 October 2014 and Mr Lynch's initial contract was due to end on 28 February 2017. They will both move to a rolling contract with no end date and a 12-month notice period. To remain compliant with Rio Tinto's Remuneration Policy agreed by shareholders at the 2014 annual general meetings, the changes to their respective contract terms will require shareholder approval at the 2015 annual general meetings. Subject to shareholder approval, their revised contract terms will come into effect immediately thereafter. Both Mr Walsh's and Mr Lynch's remuneration will remain unchanged.
MSE News for October 22: Top 20 -0.15% to 15,627.40, Turnover ₮20.4 Million
Ulaanbaatar, October 22 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Wednesday, a total of 18 thousand and 289 shares of nine JSCs were traded costing MNT 20 million 377 thousand and 404.00.
"E-trans logistics" /15 thousand units/, "Tavantolgoi" /2,353 units/, "Mongol shiltgeen" /520 units/, "Talkh chikher" /113 units/ and "Gobi" /110 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Tavantolgoi" (MNT 11 million and 765 thousand), "Bayangol hotel" (MNT two million and 460 thousand), "Talkh chikher" (MNT two million and 260 thousand), "E-trans logistics" (MNT one million 350 thousand and 024) and "Gobi" (MNT 880 thousand).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 568 billion 008 million 534 thousand and 361. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,627.40, decreasing 23.63 units or 0.15% against the previous day.
MSE News for October 23: Top 20 -0.32% to 15,576.95, Turnover ₮14 Million
Ulaanbaatar, October 2 /MONTSAME/ At the Stock Exchange trades on Thursday, a total of 1,047 shares of six JSCs were traded costing MNT 14 million 040 thousand and 200.00.
"Talkh chikher" /470 units/, "Gobi" /205 units/, "Tavantolgoi" /155 units/, "Darkhan nekhii" /95 units/ and "Kasu-mandal" /77 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Talkh chikher" (MNT nine million and 400 thousand), "Darkhan nekhii" (MNT one million 757 thousand and 500), "Gobi" (MNT one million and 640 thousand), "Tavantolgoi" (MNT 760 thousand and 500) and "Khasu-mandal" (MNT 315 thousand and 700).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 562 billion 742 million 014 thousand and 361. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,576.95, decreasing 50.45 units or 0.32% against the previous day.
₮100 Billion Government Securities Registered for Trade on MSE, Accepting Bids from 29 October
October 23 (MSE) According to the Financial Regulatory Committee Resolution No. 389 dated 21 October 2014 and Chief Executive Officer's Order No.169 of the MSE dated 23 October 2014, will be traded Mongolian Government Securities with the value of MNT100 billion through the Mongolian Stock Exchange .
In accordance with the terms and conditions provided by the Ministry of Finance, Government Securities with a nominal value of MNT100,000 has been offered to the public weekly. Interest rate of the securities will be determined in accordance with auction results of Central Bank basis sold State Government Securitie's weighted average interest rate's volume.
The government issues a risk-free, tax-free, short-term securities in order to support the capital market and it's participants that will be traded on the primary and secondary markets to the public. Maturity date would be 3, 6 months and 1 year.
Trading orders of Government will be collected through the MSE member brokers starting on 29 October 2014 and the first day of trading would commence on 4 November 2014.
Ulaanbaatar Hotel Delists from MSE
October 23 (MSE) Based on resolution No.:104 of Financial Regulatory Committee dated on 22 October 2014, total 335,297 shares with nominal value of MNT100 per share of "Ulaanbaatar Hotel"JSC has been delisted.
FRC Delists 10,113 Khyalganat Shares, Halts Trading
October 23 (MSE) Based on resolution No.:355 of Financial Regulatory Committee, dated on 2014, total 10,113 shares with nominal value of MNT100 per share of "Khyalganat"JSC delisted and halted from MSE listing.
BoM MNT Rates: Thursday, October 23 Close
October MNT vs USD, CNY Chart:
Mongol Bank predicts 3.6% growth this year
October 22 (Mongolian Economy) According the Central Bank of Mongolia, 2014 is to show a mere 3.6 percent GDP growth for Mongolia. Foreign Direct Investment dropped by 70 percent, while the coal market has showed little sign of recovery. This has slowed economic growth for Mongolia. The cost of coal is down to a mere USD 30 per tonne. Meanwhile, financing for the underground mine at Oyu Tolgoi has been delayed. 2015 may see only 6.1 percent growth, according to predictions found in Mongolia's 2015 monetary policy outline.
According to the Development Bank of Mongolia, growth would reach 7.5 percent this year; the World Bank estimated the economy to grow by 6.3 percent. Their projections are twice as optimistic as Mongol Bank's.
Mongolia must resume its mega projects in order ensure a return to significant growth. The Oyu Tolgoi project is one of Mongolia's great hopes. The other is the Tavan Tolgoi project. Last year, the country's economy grew by 11.6 percent. After a dip this year to single digits, a revitalisation of the mega projects may bring growth back to double digits.
BoM FX auction: CNY37m sold at ₮302.89, accepts US$102m MNT, $3.5m USD, CNY5.5m CNY swap offers
October 23 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on October 23rd, 2014 the BOM has received bid offer of 19.5 million USD as closing rate of MNT 1852.70-1853.60 and 96.0 million CNY as closing rate of MNT 302.51-303.15 from local commercial banks. The BOM has sold 37.0 million CNY as closing rate of MNT 302.89.
On October 23rd, 2014, The BOM has received MNT Swap agreement ask offer in equivalent to 102.0 million USD and bid offer in equivalent to 3.5 million USD and CNY SWAP agreement offer of 5.5 million CNY from local commercial banks and accepted all offer.
BoM issues ₮183.9 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding +14.8% to ₮463.8 billion
October 22 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 183.9 billion at a weighted interest rate of 12.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
Mongol Bank governor introduces bill on 2015 monetary policy
By Ch. Khaliun
October 23 (UB Post) On Wednesday, state monetary policy for 2015 was discussed during the meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Economy.
Beginning the meeting, the president of Mongol Bank gave a speech, introducing the details on the external and internal environment for implementing monetary policy, policy implemented from 2013 to 2014 and its results, and introducing a draft on basic directives of monetary policy for 2015.
In the past five financial quarters, the terms for foreign trade have significantly declined as well as foreign direct investment, which resulted in a 6.1 trillion MNT lack of estimated financial resources in 2013.
During 2013 and 2014 Mongol Bank and its Monetary Policy Council implemented many programs and projects in an effort to stabilize the economy, mitigating the problem of the balance of payments, supporting balanced economic growth, and protecting the economic sector from further risk.
Mongol Bank believes that improving the external flow of currency, will significantly decrease the prices of imported goods and the prices of some domestic products, which will decrease inflation by seven percent and help the economy become more stable.
The policy is focused on fostering the increased savings of the middle class. The number of households with savings has grown to 61,000, two times the number recorded last year.
Proponents of the 2015 policy say that the increase of middle class savings will be an important factor in the steady mid to long term economic growth.
Because foreign direct investment has not recovered as hoped, the balance of payments pressure is not disappearing, which influences slow economic growth, high inflation, the slowdown of credit approval, and a lack of resources in the economic and financial sectors, according to Mongol Bank.
The monetary policy for 2015 intends to provide external economic balance, keeping inflation at a low and stable level, strengthen economic stabilization, and create an environment for balanced and sustainable medium to long term economic growth.
Another important issue discussed during the meeting was the urgent creation and implementation of the government's comprehensive external debt service plan.
This will provide the opportunity to appropriately plan estimated sources of foreign debt repayment, funding the state budget in relevance with other economic policies.
Meeting attendees also noted that the economy should not be too dependent on the significantly fluctuating mining sector.
Around 90 percent of the Mongolian economy has been dependent on the minerals sector for many years, and it has negatively influenced the nation's economic competitiveness, poor savings, created negative attention in foreign markets, and weakened economic immunity.
The current economic crisis is also tied to mining, so decreasing the nation's dependence on mining and diversifying economic structure are the main challenges facing the Mongolian economy.
The Standing Committee on Economy decided to discuss 2015′s monetary policy during the Parliament's plenary session.
Ukraine crisis sparks renewed Russian interest in aging Trans-Mongolian Railway
By Terrence Edwards in Ulaanbaatar
October 22 (bne) The Trans-Mongolian Railway badly needs an overhaul if it is to operate as an effective trade route between Russia and China. That could finally happen now both of Mongolia's powerful neighbours have good reasons for doing so, which would have the added effect of opening up more of Mongolia's vast mineral wealth to foreign investors.
The Trans-Mongolian Railway is 1,800 kilometres of 1950s-era track bisecting the landlocked country between China and Russia. It is slow and can only haul a little over 20m tonnes of cargo across the country a year. The direct route across Mongolia also fails to reach the valuable mineral deposits that are peppered throughout the country.
Russia is a 50% partner with Mongolia of Ulaanbaatar Railways, which owns and maintains the rail route. But Russia has shown little interest in the joint venture in the years since it cut Mongolia loose when the Soviet Union broke apart. But now Russia's disputes with the West have put Mongolia in an enviable position to facilitate trade between Russia and China as well as step up its own trade in goods such as meat products.
Now Russia has promised to help Mongolia upgrade the Trans-Mongolian's rail capacity to 100m tonnes a year by 2020 as part of Moscow's "pivot" towards Asia. "Developing the railway network will help Mongolia to open up rich but for now hard-to-access deposits, and make broader and more effective use of its potential as a transit country," Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a visit to Mongolia in September.
Mongolia's upgrade and expansion of its railway network has been a slow-going process, which has affected the development of the country as a whole. Bottlenecks in delivering coal to China for example, has limited the growth of the coal mining industry. The metals and mining consultancy CRU Group, in a report released in October, notes that shortcomings in Mongolia's rail infrastructure were a part of wider logistical issues of "paramount importance" if the country is to ever see worthwhile returns from its still-infant mining industry.
Giving mines rail access to deliver minerals such as coal and iron ore to China would cut transport costs in half, argues the report. That counts even more these days given the tough market for coal and China's push to wean itself off the black stuff in an effort to clean up the polluted skies above cities such as Beijing.
Gateway to Russia
Interest from Moscow in Mongolia's rail has also pushed the country to prioritise Sydney-listed Aspire Mining's Northern Railways project. The project has been added to a list of projects the country is actively seeking private partners to realise, according to a statement from the junior miner on October 13.
Aspire Mining's subsidiary Northern Railways was established in 2010 to build 547km of tracks west from Erdenet in northern Mongolia to the Nuurstei and Ovoot deposits. The final stop would be the Arts Suuri border point in northwest Mongolia, which also serves as a gateway to the Tuva Republic of Russia.
Aspire hopes to negotiate a "build-operate-transfer" contract with Mongolia through Northern Railways, under which it would manage the line for at least 20 years, says David Paull, Aspire Mining's managing director. "We did it because we knew we had a large discovery," says Paull about Ovoot, which is currently the country's second largest known coal deposit. Its coal is "a bulk commodity some distance from existing rail. Even though coal prices were high at the time, to be an efficient supplier we needed rail brought to the deposit." Mongolia would probably own at least 51% of the rail line under the partnership, Paull adds.
Exports to Russia from Mongolia have never meant much, especially compared with resource-hungry China. But Yondon Manalaibayar, Mongolia's state secretary for rail and transport, points out that if the Northern Railways line could be extended even further north into Russia, to the city of Kyzyl, as Mongolia hopes, it would link up to Russia's wider rail network. "Russia and China are looking for 2.5-times expansion of trade," says Manlaibayar. "We want to facilitate all this trade. We [Mongolia and Aspire] have mutual interests."
Wrestling for dominance
China also stands to benefit from an overhaul of the Trans-Mongolian Railway. Mines linked to the Trans-Mongolian will also now have access to overseas markets such as Japan or South Korea because China has permission from Mongolia to deliver up to 30m tonnes of freight a year to eight additional sea ports.
Up until now, Mongolia has only had access to the Tianjin port, but it has never been much of a launch pad for its minerals, aside from a small trickle of copper from Mongolia's Erdenet copper mine, says Manlaibayar. "Tianjin is only a container site, but what Mongolia really needs is what's called break bulk shipping" for the overseas transport of many tonnes of minerals, he says.
However, one condition that Russia might impose on Mongolia if it is going to help finance renovations to the Trans-Mongolian Railway is the abandoning of any plans to build a Chinese-gauge railine in Mongolia.
Russia has enjoyed strategic control over the Trans-Mongolian since it helped put it into commission in the 1950s and Moscow is keen to protect that. Local Mongolian newspaper Udriin Sonin reported in September that the president of Russian Railways, Vladimir Ivanovich Yakunin, wrote directly to Mongolia's prime minister to try to discourage construction of a Chinese gauge rail. "To create a railway with narrow gauge is the wrong decision," Yakunin wrote, adding that the Trans-Mongolian "represents Russian interests as much as Mongolia's in terms of the railway."
Russia uses a slightly wider gauge of 1,520 mm compared with China's 1,435 mm, which is also the international standard. Those who favour the Chinese gauge argue on the grounds of the economic cost of moving the coal from one wide gauge carriage to one with the narrower gauge when the train enters China. But opponents lean on Mongolia's historical misgivings towards China and its favouritism to Russia. The physical difference may be about the size of a credit card, but its political size in Mongolia is measureless.
Inclusive Economic Growth
By Jargalsaikhan Dambadarjaa
October 23 (Mongolian Economy) We Mongolians have translated the phrase "inclusive economic growth" to mean accessible, wide, involved, and inclusive economic growth, and make use of it when discussing economic and social government policies. As it means the equal opportunity for representatives from all levels of society to participate in economic growth it is more appropriate to call it inclusive economic growth.
Equal opportunity first and foremost means equal opportunities for market entry, use of resources, and the same business environment. Inclusive growth means finding jobs to increase the incomes of poor and low-income citizens and as such is a relatively long term concept.
Stable economic growth requires inclusive growth. Inclusive economic growth is not an easy process because economic growth sometimes brings negative side effects such as corruption and significant differences in income. Mongolia currently is a clear example of this. Our amazing economic growth of 17% in 2011 was enough to astound the world but the livings standards of the citizens did not rise accordingly. The percentage of people living on less than $1.25 is 27%, having dropped only 2% since 2000. Even though the economy is almost fully dependent on the mining, price, and sales of mineral resources only 5% of the work force is employed in that sector. Roughly half the population of working age is unemployed and the gap between the rich and poor is steadily increasing. Ulaanbaatar is home the more than half the nation's population and yet 60% of its residents do not have access to basic sanitation. And because the economy is "tripping" with stalled mining growth, increased inflation, and a devalued currency the ranks of the poor are looking to expand once again.
The gap between rich and poor is usually high for countries in the process of switching to democracy and a market economy but it is assumed that it will decrease with economic growth. Nobel Prize winning economist Kuznets said in 1955 that this gap provided the rich with the opportunity to amass enough wealth and expand their businesses and through this investment the economy would grow. President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim recently announced that poor citizens must have an opportunity to share in the economic benefits. Only by sharing in these benefits will the living standards of all levels of society go up not just those of the poorest citizens (40% of the population) or certain wealthy citizens. Sharing in economic benefits means increasing the incomes of the poor, creating jobs, as well as providing access to education, food, water, and medical services.
The main issue is in how. The answer provided by the World Bank states that this is possible by increasing human capital, establishing a good social benefits structure, creating jobs, rewarding private enterprise, as well as creating and following stable financial and environmental policies.
The answer from the European Development Bank can be seen from the conclusions of the "Transition Report 2013". It says that for countries switching to democracy and a market economy to reach the living standards of Western Europe the effectiveness of the reforms needs to be increased, in order to do this they need to enter into international integration, development domestic leadership, start a wider movement for fair and democratic society. The result of this study done in many different countries shows that the effectiveness of the transition is directly dependent upon the level of democracy, human capital development, and economic participation.
In any case, researchers in development organizations agree that in order to provide inclusive economic growth there are four factors that must occur simultaneously: accelerate political and economic reforms, strengthen the reforms of political and economic institutions, invest in human capital, and provide equal opportunities for economic participation in all levels of society.
Of these factors, in Mongolia the most challenging one, which is lagging behind the others, is the performance ability of state run organizations. The root of most development issues lies in the fact that the political parties that win elections though corruption and rise to political power are not able to manage other affairs quite so well. Mongolia is in dire need of a wide, public movement to fight corruption, and hold accountable those parties responsible for the abuse of public funds for their own benefits.
For inclusive growth Mongolia needs to support private enterprise, and put a stop to the multiple government subsidies and price ceilings, and implement a fair, simple and predictable economic and legal environment. Inclusive growth will be present in Mongolia when everybody has an equal rights and opportunities to receive education, run a business in line with personal aspirations, as well as work hard and amass wealth.
Only at that time will President Ts. Elbegdorj's words to stop the "government skimming all the cream and citizens to fighting over the remains" from his "To an Intelligent State" talk come true. It is right that every citizen should participate in economic growth.
DP, MPRP leaders make joint statement, says cooperation deal needs to be ratified
October 22 (news.mn) Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag and former President N.Enkhbayar made a joint statement at a press conference on the controversial cooperation agreement between their political parties at the Government House today.
The cooperation agreement between the DP and MPRP, signed by DP leader Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag and MPRP leader and former President N.Enkhbayar on October 18th, has been hotly debated in political circles and led to numerous speculations and accusations.
Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag stated, "There has been much talk over the DP and MPRP cooperation agreement over the past two or three days. In particular, there is much misguided thought about articles and the cooperation agreement among DP members. Some even misunderstand and have misconceived the articles of the agreement. Therefore, we have decided to make a joint statement about the agreement to provide unification and internal understanding within the party. So we, the MPRP leader and I, are to announce three things.
"First of all, the cooperation agreement should be valid when it is reviewed by the parties' executive committees.
"Secondly, we agree to create a task force regarding amendments and corrections to the agreement, as both of the parties do not have the same ideas about the agreement.
"Third, we agree to have the agreement reviewed by the executive committees of the two parties after a task force works on details of the agreement and the parties have the same notion about the agreement.
"In conclusion, rumors are likely to be spread about the agreement, as the agreement was signed between two individuals, not between two parties. There was also the release of a fake contract that counterfeited our signatures. Thus, we will approach legislative officials for verification, as rumors and lies have crossed the line."
Premier and MPRP Chairman Explain Cooperate Treaty – Montsame, October 22
Ulaanbaatar DP voices objection to cooperation agreement signed by DP and MPRP
October 22 (UB Post) Chairman of the City Democratic Party and Mayor E.Bat-Uul, Chairman of the City Council D.Battulga and DP Secretary P.Nurzed have voiced their objection to the new cooperation treaty signed between PM N.Altankhuyag and Chairman of the MPRP N.Enkhbayar.
E.Bat-Uul said, "This agreement is illegal. The DP's Executive Board of the National Coordinating Committee (NCC) did not hold a meeting. The City's DP Committee doesn't agree with the decision. We will hold a meeting regarding this issue and submit the illegal treaty to the court. The main danger is that it states that the agreement becomes valid upon its signing. I'm concerned about that. In order to establish that kind of treaty they have to discuss it with the Chairman of the City's DP. No one talked to me.
"To keep his power, the Chairman of DP, N.Altankhuyag, is doing many shameless things… In order to keep his position, N.Altankhuyag has sacrificed seven ministers. Now he makes the DP a political victim. N.Altankhuyag, without any discussion with members of the DP, has established the agreement; he doesn't have such a right. Provisions 3, 9, and 14 of the agreement will cause serious damage to our party.
"In their statement, they noted that they can conclude the agreement as a political negotiation with the MPRP. The agreement violates the party's rules and signing the treaty secretly isn't an ethical decision, it is a conspiratorial act.
"According to the basic regulations of the DP, to establish any agreement with other political parties or coalitions, the chairman is tasked with discussing things with the NCC. The right to make a decision lies only with the NCC, not N.Altankhuyag.
"Establishing a cooperation agreement with strict provisions, valid until 2024, with a person known as 'the grandfather of corruption' is purposely violating the party's rules, prejudicing the trust of its members and supporters, ignoring the party's value, and an absolutely irresponsible decision according to the City's DP.
"The agreement states that in the parliament's regular elections in 2016 and 2020, the DP will partner with the MPRP. Moreover, it contains provisions with hidden meanings, such as the sides 'negotiating' candidates, which has maximized party members' frustration and eroding public confidence in our party.
"It also says that the two parties will support nominated candidates for personnel in the city and rural areas. The City's DP strictly reminds its leader that this provision won't work in the city.
"Therefore, we demand that the NCC cancel the violent agreement, which is contrary to the party's internal unity and to the interests of its members, and call to accountability the person who has established the agreement."
Mogi: one of the hurdles to OT project financing
Bill Submitted on Ratifying Updated MIGA Convention
Ulaanbaatar, October 22 (MONTSAME) The state Minister and MP Ch.Saikhanbileg presented Wednesday a draft law on accepting and ratifying the amendments to the Convention on Establishing the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency to the Speaker of parliament Z.Enkhbold.
Mongolia signed this Convention on June 14 of 1991 and declared its membership to the Agency by parliament's ratification of the convention on July 23 of 1998.
MIGA is a member organization of the World Bank and issues non-financial risks guarantees for investments toward developing countries. The non-financial risks include: non-sustainability of political and social states, properties alienation, breach of agreements, risks of foreign exchanges etc.
Cabinet Nominates Justice Coalition Faction Leader as Roads, Transportation, Construction and Urban Development Minister
Ulaanbaatar, October 22 (MONTSAME) A head of the Cabinet Secretariat for Government Ch.Saikhanbileg Wednesday submitted to the Speaker Z.Enkhbold a proposal on appointing Mr N.Battsereg MP, a head of the "Justice" coalition's faction, as the Minister of Road, Transportation, Construction and Urban Development.
MIBG: The Political Circus Is Back in Town
October 23 (MIBG) Market expectations were high following the September address by Prime Minister (PM) Altankhuyag. Promises of restructuring and a concerted effort towards resolving outstanding Oyu Tolgoi disputes were all but guaranteed. The outlook was strengthening as Parliament aimed to cut costs, increase efficiency and get the largest investment project in the nation's history back on track.
We believe that efforts on all fronts have been evident from the PM's Office. However, the Mongolian political circus is set to take center stage once again. With seven Ministers facing resignation through the Government restructuring (Mogi: all seven have been dismissed), demands for the PM's resignation were swift. On the 17th of October, 26 Members of Parliament (Mogi: 28) submitted a proposal officially demanding that Altankhuyag steps down.
This is not the first time that Altankhuyag's tenure has been threatened. However, the participation of several members brings into question the stability of the current ruling coalition. Among the 27 members (Mogi: again, 28) were Batzandan, a member of the Democratic Party (DP) and Tsog, a member of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP). Together, the DP and MPRP form the current ruling coalition. Their participation in these demands suggests that the coalition is more fragmented than previously thought, making it more difficult for the Government to realize it's ambitions for the rest of the year.
We have always regarded PM Altankhuyag as a strong mediator between the interests of multiple political forces. However, this skill may be the catalyst for his downfall. Following the demand from the 27 Members of Parliament for Altankhuyag to resign, he signed a 10-year cooperation agreement with the leader of the MPRP, Mr. Enkhbayar. Enkhbayar is the former President who served a jail sentence in the run up to the 2012 elections on charges for corruption. He was later pardoned. Many members of the DP, including the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar City Mr.Bat-Uul have publicly expressed their discontent with Altankhuyag's signing of the agreement. Many of those opposed to the agreement have stated that the signing was in fact illegal, citing DP regulations, which stipulate that any long-term political partnership agreement needs to receive approval from the National Consultative Committee (NCC). Altankhuyag did not receive such approval from the NCC before signing.
We believe Altankhuyag's latest decision to align with the MPRP is a desperate move to keep the current Government in power. However, with negative sentiment surrounding his leadership growing stronger by the day, we believe his time in office is coming to an end. Altankhuyag's own misstep may have provided the needed push for factions controlled by Mr. Enkhbold (Speaker of Parliament) or Mr. Battulga (Member of Parliament, Former Minister for Industry and Agriculture) to push Altankhuyag out the door. This would allow one of these two factions to seize control of the DP and of Parliament, delivering another shake up to Mongolia's already fragile political landscape.
Mogi: when you set the currency exchange rate blatantly low, you are bound to exceed the allotted budget, especially when your job is to talk to foreign nations.
State officials are exceeding their overseas travel budget
October 23 (UB Post) The Mongolian National Audit Office examined state budget spending in 2013. The examination showed that state officials were exceeding the budget amount to be spent on international assignments.
The Democratic Party took most the seats during the last election and established its government. At that time, the Prime Minister said that he would work with his Cabinet members six days a week; if there was anyone who couldn't tolerate this work load, then they could leave. He also criticized previous governments that passed "corrupt" budgets.
But, in reality, his government was no different.
To clarify, most of the Members of Cabinet exceeded their budgets for international assignments, and Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Bold topped the list.
He overspent the budget by 558 million MNT, which was set at nearly 2.79 billion MNT. (See Table 1.)
The ministry explained this issue and said that the overspending of the budget was because of transportation costs for 40 diplomatic representatives, referring to the account of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Whether this explanation was true or not, it calmed down taxpayers.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs mostly uses foreign currency to cover transportation costs instead of Mongolian currency. They suggest that they estimated that one USD was equivalent to 1,336 MNT at the time of budget planning, which may have also led to the shortage of funds.
Other ministers exceeded their budgets by 17 million to 93 million MNT.
But not all of the MPs blew through their budgets. Some people, including the PM, conserved their budgets, which is really good news. (See Table 2.)
The head of Parliament talked about prohibiting ministers from going on more than two foreign assignments a year. But Table 1 shows that some ministers' are exceeding these limitations.
Mid-level officials of the State are playing with state funds more than our ministers.
To point out a recent example, there are several officials in the Civil Aviation Authority who always had international assignments, including B.Gan-Ochir, an administration head, and L.Nergui, a head of the finance and economics department.
They both participated in a two-week conference in France and Italy this February, and recently went to a meeting in Taiwan. At present, they are about to go to Korea, the U.S., and Canada to visit Mongolian students who are studying there.
Also, the senior deputy director of the Civil Aviation Authority, S.Enkh-Amgalan, visited the U.S. and Canada several times at the beginning of this month. But he was recently relieved from his job, which could be seen as a kind of measurement against budget abuses.
In addition to this, the members of the City Representatives Khural went to Brazil to study political experiences, at the same time as the FIFA World Cup. They also had fun with state funds, but due to pressure from oppositional forces, they were required to compensate their expenditures.
At the decision of the Orkhon Province Governor, two department officials went to the USA with an expert and police officer to study experiences in law enforcement. It is interesting, because everyone knows there is a big difference in administration, lifestyle, development, public mindset, and weather between Mongolia and the USA.
It would be a very long list if we mentioned every example of state funds being wasted by public officials as if it were their own money. So, where is the implementation of the law that limits and enforces the conservation of the budget?
Source: Undesnii Shuudan
Wrestling With a Mining Slump, Mongolia Plans for Its Next Boom
By Andrew Bauer
October 22 (National Resource Governance Institute) Four years ago, Mongolia's vast mineral wealth prompted some to call it the "Saudi Arabia of Central Asia". Today, the country is struggling with declining mineral revenues and inflation. In Mongolia natural resource revenue volatility is not an academic notion—it has led to real hardship for families and fear about the future.
Mongolia has enjoyed a decade of rapid economic growth fueled by large mining investments. Yet over the past two years, falling commodity prices, conflicts with local communities, and systematic cost overruns have squeezed the mining industry globally. In Mongolia, after cresting in 2011 and 2012, foreign direct investment fell by almost half in 2013, while falling demand from China all but halted coal exports. Now, a wave of uncertainty is sweeping the country like a chilly wind across the steppes.
"People in rural areas [outside of mining communities] are not suffering as much from the downturn, because they are reliant on meat or cashmere," says parliamentary researcher Altan-Och Genden. "But government officers and the people in the urban areas feel the consequences," he adds, noting that private enterprises are also suffering negative impacts. (Mogi: also? Oh please, the only ones really suffering are those in the private sector, if public workers are suffering it's because of less bribes)
Those whose livelihoods depend on mining have also been hit hard. Approximately 14,600 people were employed at Oyu Tolgoi, the massive copper mine bordering the Gobi Desert, during the first phase of development. As development of the mine has slowed, employment has shrunk to fewer than 7,000 people.
"With commodity prices down, former mine workers can't find other well-paying mining jobs," says Bayarsaikhan Namsrai, Mongolia's Publish What You Pay coordinator. "So they must now take less money. In the soums [municipalities], shops are bringing in less revenue."
Even the casual visitor can see the effects of the downturn in the capital. The skyline is dotted with high-rise cement skeletons, mostly hotels and office buildings where construction stopped once demand dried up. The local currency, the tugrug, has also depreciated significantly over the last year and a half. As a result, food, clothing and construction materials—mostly Chinese imports—now cost much more.
The Mongolian government faces tough choices
With copper prices expected to rebound by 2016, the current slump should be temporary. Economic theory suggests that in an uncertain environment, the best possible response to a temporary negative revenue shock is for the government to sustain or even increase spending, which is exactly what Mongolia's government has done.
Unfortunately that level of spending is unsustainable over the long term. The fiscal deficit, including off-budget items like the national development bank, exceeds 12 percent of GDP. Public debt is growing quickly, breaking Mongolia's own fiscal rules. The IMF is already pressuring the government and the central bank to tighten both fiscal and monetary policies.
In the short-term, the government can cut spending, or it can raise the debt ceiling and borrow until mining investment rebounds. The ministry of finance tried to raise the ceiling last year and was blocked by parliament. It may try again. Alternatively, the central bank can accept a Chinese bailout and pump money into the economy by purchasing assets or taking on projects normally administered by the government, like subsidizing residential mortgages. A ready patron for this mineral-rich country, the People's Bank of China recently provided a $3.25 billion line of credit to the Mongolian central bank.
None of these options is ideal. Cuts in spending would weaken growth, cause unemployment and potentially harm the country's long-term prospects. Debt increases could eventually lead to higher interest rates and a debt crisis. A Chinese bailout would result in further dependence for a government already squeezed geographically and politically by two superpowers.
Authorities consider the mineral-dependent economy
Mongolian policymakers are fast learning that managing an oil- or mineral-rich economy is quite different than managing an economy as though it were based on services or manufacturing. Had the government followed a fiscal rule that smoothed expenditures and required saving windfall revenues in a stabilization fund, Mongolia's outlook would be much rosier today. Instead, it spent much of these revenues on petroleum reserves, which depreciate quickly, and on agricultural reserves and cash handouts.
"[Poorer] people depended on the cash transfers," says PWYP's Bayarsaikhan Namsrai, speaking of the 21,000 tugrug, or $14, per person per month payments that ended in 2012. "It raised many expectations. For these families, it's hard to adjust. Since the cash transfer was stopped, local governments have been filled with applications for social benefit support."
Altan-Och Genden blames the relatively new challenge of managing large mineral revenues. "The key point is that Mongolia is a large country with a small population," he says. "Mineral revenues are huge on a per person basis and as a percentage of GDP. Mongolians have no experience in managing, spending or using such big amounts of money."
He also points to the country's nomadic lifestyle, which he says has made adjusting to an advanced market economy challenging. "Development is seen as a shift from a nomadic lifestyle to a settled lifestyle," he says. "Peoples' mentality is mainly nomadic, so in Mongolia it's a new challenge to innovate. But we want to use international best practices."
Plans for a new sovereign wealth fund take shape
Many believe that one of these "best practices" is to create a new sovereign wealth fund. In a draft bill, the president has called for a corporation that would save more than 20 percent of mineral revenues in any given year for the benefit of future generations. This "Future Heritage Fund" would absorb an existing (and significantly indebted) fund for cash transfers.
There is great debate about whether this fund would be appropriate in Mongolia. Some ask why the government should invest revenues in foreign assets, as sovereign wealth funds do, when spending on well-trained teachers and infrastructure is urgently needed?
"Some money needs to be saved so that future generations can benefit from these finite resources," says Borgil Surenkuu, an advisor to the working group drafting the sovereign wealth fund law. "Also, the government has limited absorptive capacity to spend. If it spends too much too quickly, the money will be wasted or cause inflation."
Another question concerns interest rates. Should the government invest mineral revenues in foreign assets when the returns are likely to range from 3 to 6 percent and the government is borrowing at 5 to 8 percent? Ghana faces this exact challenge at the moment. A sovereign wealth fund may only make sense if the economy improves and sovereign bond yields come down.
Like many in the government, Altan-Och Genden is a proponent of a fund: "I've made some studies about the challenges of managing mineral revenues for Mongolia. A sovereign wealth fund is the only solution to these challenges."
Parliamentary staff prepare for debate
The sovereign wealth fund legislation could be tabled in parliament within the year. In preparation for this and other debates, more than 30 parliamentary staff attended a training with the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) to learn how to manage the nation's mineral windfalls. They also studied existing mineral contracts to project future mineral revenues, which is key to assessing how much Mongolia should save in the proposed sovereign wealth fund.
After the training, participants like Altan-Och Genden expressed their readiness to engage in the policy-making process. "Now that the draft law on the Future Heritage Fund has been submitted, we will give our inputs into the draft law process," he said.
Going forward, internal political pressures—along with pressures from mining companies, foreign governments and international institutions—may induce the government to quickly cut spending, consume mineral revenues rather than invest them, or establish laws that are not suited to a mineral-dependent country. Yet Mongolia has transformed many of its mistakes—and those of other countries— into lessons. There is good reason to believe that the next revenue windfall will be better managed than the last.
Andrew Bauer is an economic analyst at NRGI.
Recently Mongolian parliamentarians visited Western Canada to learn about mining booms and busts. Two of them spoke with NRGI about what they learned. Read more »
Minegolia: The Resource Curse
Can Mongolia achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth?
BY SULEMAN KHAN
October 22 (Berkeley Political Review) In 2011, a sparsely populated Central-East Asian nation rose to international prominence as the fastest growing economy in the world, with a monumental 17% growth rate in GDP. Yet, in as little as three years, growth in Mongolia has come crashing down to 5.3% amidst growing economic uncertainty and increasing inequality. What was behind this tremendous growth, and does Mongolia have what it takes to be an important contributor to the global economy while balancing the needs of its citizens?
Mongolia's development potential from mining still remains enormous in spite of Dutch Disease, with particular emphasis being placed on two massive projects in the Gobi Desert: the Oyu Tolgoi (OT) copper/gold deposit, and Tavan Tolgoi (TT), a high-grade coal formation. The OT mine, owned mostly by the Anglo-Australian firm Rio Tinto, is expected to reach full capacity by 2018 with copper ore output potentially composing 3% of total world output, and revenue from the mine expected to represent as much as 34% of Mongolian GDP by then. Additionally, the TT mine is believed to contain the world's largest undeveloped high-grade coal deposit, and only in the past year has the Mongolian government awarded a contract for the development of the mine.
Macmahon raises possibility of legal fight with Erdenes TT
October 24 (The West Australian) Macmahon Holdings has raised the possibility of legal action against a Mongolian coal miner over a disputed contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The company said there was no certainty that talks with state-owned Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi could resolve the standoff.
Macamahon made the comments after announcing that a standstill agreement with ETT had been extended for another two weeks.
A Mongolian subsidiary of the contractor and ETT are attempting to renegotiate the contract.
"At this point there is no certainty that these efforts will result in an agreed outcome," Macmahon said.
"However, for the time being, the judgment of the company is that further discussions should occur before other options such as international arbitration are pursued.
"If it is ultimately necessary to terminate the contract with ETT, Macmahon's Mongolian subsidiary will promptly commence alternative processes to enforce its contractual entitlements against ETT.
By the end of August, the WA company had unpaid progress claims of about $US30 million ($34 million). Macmahon said ETT was obliged to buy $US48 million in project equipment if the contract was terminated.
The Tavan Tolgoi project was forecast to contribute about $100 million to Macmahon's revenue this financial year. The work was scheduled to run until 2017.
Macmahon's share price was down 0.1 cents to 9.8 cents at 9.38am.
Bumpy Roads for Tourism
By Terrence Edwards
October 23 (Mongolian Economy) Mongolia is seen by locals as a remote paradise full of splendors that only the motherland can provide. It's a country rich with culture that its children are proud to share. Too bad that negligence from government keeps the industry a blip on the economic charts.
Sustainable tourism provides jobs in local communities and encourages more spending there. It's also an economic incentive to help preserve cherished vanishing cultures, such as Mongolia's nomadic traditions. Conversely, mining tends to benefit only a small portion of a population. Too much reliance on resources typically results in appreciations of the local currency and deteriorating competitiveness in all other sectors – a phenomenon known as "Dutch" disease.
By most accounts, tourism in Mongolia has been a drag in 2014. Government figures have shown that the number of people entering on tourist visas was about 8.5 percent less in the first seven months of 2014 than last year. That total number of visitors during the 2014 period was 210,587.
However, because many people enter the country to look for work or other reasons unrelated to tourisms, that figure alone is unreliable. Financial reports from the publically traded Genco Tour Bureau show earnings were down 22% for the first half of the year. Tsedevdamba Oyungerel, Mongolia's Minister of Tourism, Sport and Culture, confirms that tourism is down from past years, saying "July was quite a successful month. But only July. June wasn't successful and August was not good either."
The services found in Mongolian tourism leave most travelers wanting more. A lack of roads makes travel overly long and sometimes perilous at night when there is little-to-no visibility. Although the government plans to have paved roads built between the capital and every province next year, there still won't always be routes between provinces.
"The quality of roads is really bad—its bumpy with many potholes. Really government should do something about the roads," said Unbrakh Tsetsenbileg, a sales manager who has also worked as a tour guide during her four years at Juulchin World Tours.
Air travel is also unreliable at best, she said. It is common to book flights weeks in advance, only to learn the day of your flight that it has been cancelled.
Oyungerel and Tsetsenbileg both think tourist companies must find ways to intrigue more potential travellers through marketing and promotion. That's why the Tourism Ministry has spent most of this year's budget on its partnership with the ITB Berlin trade show to help build up a network with travel companies around the world.
But actions like last year's attempt by the Ulaanbaatar Citizens' Council to ban the use of foreign languages on signs outside buildings are hurting the industry. Oyungerel said she took a loud stand against the movement that arose because locals felt their capital looked too much like "a foreign country." Her argument that the signs were helpful to foreign guests prevailed.
One of the country's largest tourism draws, the Mongol Rally, fared less well amid similar hostility, however. The event's organiser, The Adventurist, will for the first time since launching the driving marathon 10 years ago end it at a new location, according to event manager Katy Willings. 2015's brave motorists will travel 10,000 miles from Britain across Europe and Eurasia to finish at the capital of another Mongol nation, Ulan Ude in Russia's Buryatia Republic.
Once a significant source of revenue for the government, this year will also be the first time rally cars will be shipped out of Mongolia back to Europe, rather than donated or sold. "New policy: no car left behind. We're never going to import another car to Mongolia," said Willings.
Local newspapers decried the Mongol Rally as a public nuisance and an excuse for super-charged young foreign travelers to leave junked cars in the developing country. To the contrary, Willings says the cars are all refurbished and must pass inspection before being sold or donated. Proceeds from sales that exceeded The Adventurist's own expenses were donated to charity, said Willings.
Strained relations with the Mongolian government made organizing the event more trouble than it was worth, she said, so participants will not even have to drive through Mongolia anymore to finish. For Mongolia, that means no customs duty, VAT, excise tax, and sales tax on hundreds of cars. Worse still are the lost dollars that would have been spent by the rallyers in Mongolia during their travels.
Rolling the dice on casinos
Oyungerel at the Tourism Ministry is now hoping to legalise gambling to create new attractions for the country. She says she expects to see parliament vote on a law that would allow for a horse racing track. She is also preparing a second bill that would allow for a casino.
"The legalization of gambling, if done in a responsible way, would be a major positive for Mongolia's economic growth and create an industry that is larger than the current mining based economy," said Harris Kupperman, chairman of the real estate development firm Mongolia Growth Group. "With over one billion potential customers in China alone, the legalisation of gambling would allow Mongolia's tourist sector to mirror Macao's growth over the past decade."
And The Adventurist, which encourages its clients to get "lost and in trouble," hasn't abandoned Mongolia either. It will continue to host the Mongol Derby in Mongolia – a 1,000 kilometer horse race that replicates the journey of the postal riders that delivered messages for the 13th Century Mongol Empire. The event employs herders to provide the horses for the race. Mongolia's horse culture also lends more affection to the event for Mongolians, said Willings.
But the real challenge Oyungerel and tour groups will have to manage will be improving the industry without wiping away the rugged veneer that makes Mongolia such a special place to visit in the first place. "There is a beauty about that," says Oyungerel, about the uncertainty in Mongolia that all at once is a cause for frustration and awe for visitors. "Those who travel to Mongolia should expect some spontaneity. If they live by a set schedule they should come to Mongolia and leave behind their schedule for some days."
Golomt Bank Appoints Antonio López Abelló as Independent Director
Ulaanbaatar, October 21 (Golomt Bank) The Board of Governors of Golomt Bank LLC ("Golomt Bank") today announced the appointment of Mr. Antonio López Abelló as an Independent Governor, effective immediately. Mr. López Abelló's appointment, expands the Board of Governors of Golomt Bank to six directors, two of them independent.
Mr. López Abelló's appointment was formalized following the approval by the Bank of Mongolia, Mongolia's central bank.
Mr. López Abelló is a career banker with two decades of experience with leading investment banks in Singapore and London. At present, Mr. López Abelló is the managing partner of Turms Advisors LLP, a Singapore-based investment banking firm, which specializes in providing financial advice to corporations, institutional investors and high net worth individuals focused on Southeast Asia & Mongolia. Prior to founding Turms Advisors in 2009, Mr. López Abelló held senior roles in fixed-income and equity structuring at Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and Paribas.
Mr. López Abelló is in possession of a Law degree from the University of Barcelona (Spain) and an MBA from IESE Business School. He is a qualified lawyer (Barcelona Bar) and a certified financial analyst (CEFFAS).
Mongolia to increase meat exports to Russia 10-fold to 100,000 tons
October 23 (news.mn) Mongolia is ready to increase beef export to Russia by up to 10 times, making plans to export nearly 110 thousand tons.
Currently, the country provides 10 to 11 thousand tons of beef to Russia per year.
If Mongolia can provide this amount of beef, it would be the of Russia's main beef providers. Mongolia exported such amounts of meat to Russia in the past, but exports were halted following a ban in response to the spread of infectious animal disease in Mongolia in 2010.
Russia believes that Mongolia's meat product exports will fill in the gap for high cost meat exports from Brazil and South America. If Mongolia can provide 100,000 tons of meat to Russia, it would make up almost 15 to 20 percent of Russia's meat imports.
Latin American countries currently dominate 80 percent of Russia's meat market.
ADB Team Works on Project Site for Western Regional Road Corridor Development
October 22 (infomongolia.com) On October 21, 2014, the Bayan-Ulgii Aimag Governor Kh.Darmyen welcomed the team of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) headed by Alternate Director responsible for Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, and Thailand, Mrs. Khin Khin Lwin, the ADB Country Director Mr. Robert Schoellhammer and other delegates to introduce the provincial development strategy.
In June 2014, Government of Mongolia and the ADB have resolved to finance the second phase of the "Western Regional Road Corridor Development Investment Program" and under this agreement, the ADB delegates arrived on the site to get acquainted with the project to carry out.
Under the resolved investment of 125 million USD, a total of 189.7 km paved road will be constructed in routes of Ulgii-Khovd and Tsagaannuur-Ulaanbaishint, of which 103.9 km road from Khovd, the center of Khovd Aimag to Khashaat Davaa, 60 km road from Khashaat Davaa to Tolbo Sum of Bayan-Ulgii Aimag, 25.8 km road from Tsagaannuur village of Nogoonnuur Sum (Bayan-Ulgii Aimag) to Ulaanbaishint border port in Tsagaannuur Sum of Bayan-Ulgii Aimag will be accomplished by December 2016 with proposed physical completion and the Project is expected to be finished by December 2018.
Moreover, the Project comprises of three bridges and 14.9 km of urban roads rehabilitated in Khovd and Ulgii towns. The project objective is to provide more accessible and efficient transport infrastructure within the Western region of Mongolia connecting neighboring countries.
ADB Provides Mongolia with Full Body Scanners to Manufacture Better-Fitting Clothes
October 23 (UB Post) A comprehensive 3D body scanning technology has been delivered to the Clothing Research Center at the Mongolian University of Science and Technology (MUST). The comprehensive technology was ordered by the Ministry of Industry and Agriculture and funded by the Asian Development Bank.
The Asian Development Bank provided Mongolia with three types of body scanners, which can be used for wide range of purposes, including clothing production, medical treatment, and archeological purposes.
With this technology, Mongolia will be able to create a national database for full body, arm and leg measurements of Mongolians. Categories for Mongolians' body, arm and leg lengths and shapes will be developed. A national standard of body shape of Mongolians will be established, experts said.
Body measurements of Mongolians were taken in 1985 for manufacturing clothes, according to senior instructor of the Textile Department at the MUST S.Tsetsgee. Mongolians' body shape changed considerably since then. The 3D measurement is useful for clothing industries for knowing whom they'll be making clothes for.
Lately, many people have complained about student uniforms not fitting children. This equipment will provide manufacturers with the necessary information. From 3D scan survey results, clothes manufacturers will find out which clothing sizes should be primarily manufactured. Statistics indicate that 80 percent of readymade clothes are imported from China.
MUST teachers received training in South Korea for developing the 3D full body measurements. "Special clothing will be worn during the scanning. Disposable clothing is used in [South] Korea. It takes 30 minutes to scan a person," clarified S.Tsetsgee.
She also mentioned that there are financial difficulties for conducting these scans in Mongolia. Some people will definitely question as to why they must get scanned. In South Korea, to develop a national standard, people receive 50,000 KRW for contributing and giving data about their body measurements. South Korea mainly scans groups that are willing to form campaigns such as students and soldiers to cut down on scanning expenses. People of specific age groups, suitable for representing the population, are included in sample surveys.
Department Head of the School of Industrial Technology and Design at the MUST D.Tumenbold provided extensive information about how 3D measurements are used in life.
He explained that "3D scanners provide 3D images, which is input into computers, and used for conducting all types of measurement. A full body scan is beneficial for manufacturing clothes of appropriate sizes. Measurements will also be used for producing furniture such as chairs, tables and closets, as well as other articles used by people."
D.Tumenbold was excited about the possibility of producing comfortable horse saddles with data acquired from surveys.
When asked about other usages of 3D survey, he replied, "A database can be created with the comprehensive 3D body scanners. The equipment can be useful for industries and robot technologies. The collected measurement data will be practical for manufacturing prosthetic arms and legs. This sort of technology is necessary for sports. When playing golf, the strongest player doesn't hit the ball farthest. Hitting from the right spot from the right angle with the right power is the key. The 3D data is used for teaching golf. Everyone has a different body build and depending on their build, suitable angles differ. After people get scanned with the same scanners, coaches give advice on techniques. These measurements can also be applied in medical science. Computed tomography (CT) technology is used for replacing backbones. CT provides 3D scans. If there's a mistake, healthy bones will grow and grind against artificial bones."
He informed that it's possible for people to save their measurement data on file and order custom-made clothing from abroad. Consumers will not have to go through the trouble of personally travelling to foreign countries to give body measurement. Apparently, custom tailors can send videos and show their clients how their new designs would look on customers using 3D models.
According to D.Tumenbold, people were asked to stand on a 3D foot scanner, which determined which leg was under more pressure, during a fall exhibition in South Korea. People who got scanned received custom-made in soles, which is useful for correcting their incorrect posture and stride while increasing their balance. There are people who hobble but if their insoles are adjusted, they can walk properly. D.Tumenbold emphasized irregular walking is harmful to internal organs.
The 3D full body scanning technology is efficient for preserving cultural heritage. News of smuggled dinosaur fossil and people being suspicious about some dinosaur fossil's authenticity has increased. If a database is consisted with a 3D scanner, Mongolia will easily determine whether certain dinosaur fossils belong to Mongolia.
D.Tumenbold also talked about the 3D scan's significance for archeology.
"The U.S. research team was able to compromise a virtual autopsy of Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun via x-ray, without dissembling his mummified body. This method is widely used for archeological studies and forensics. Directions and where bullets can be detected from bodies via 3D scans."
Mongolia will soon begin 3D body scan surveys and develop a national standard, breaking away from the ancient standard. The 3D body scanner will provide an incredible database for researchers who conduct studies related to people. For now, Mongolia is working towards creating its own body measurement.
Source: Daily News
Mongolia concludes nationwide harvesting season
Ulaanbaatar, October 22 (MONTSAME) Harvesting works finished nationwide on Tuesday, and it was attended by 1,250 servicemen and some 800 students.
By a preliminary result of the harvesting, the country has harvested 419.7 thousand tons of grain from 310.2 thousand hectares areas, of which 465 thousand tons of wheat; 161.0 thousand tons of potatoes from 13.3 thousand hectares; and 102.5 thousand tons of vegetables from 8.3 thousand hectares.
42.3 thousand tons of grain has been reserved for the next year's planting. Moreover, 28.5 thousand tons of grain has been given to the fund for supporting land farming, and some 250 thousand tons--to flour factories.
For the time being, the wheat sale is continuing.
Over 100 National Manufacturers to Join 2014 UB City Big Sale Day
October 22 (infomongolia.com) The October 29th of 2014 is the 375th anniversary of the Capital City and in the scope of the Day, the Mayor's Office is organizing several events such as a parade involving thousands attendees and on this day the City Big Sale will be organized at Chinggis Square.
On this City Big Sale Day, over 100 national manufacturers and entities will be presenting their products and goods at 20-50% discounts. For instances, "Darkhan Nekhii" (leather & sheepskin) and "Buyan" (wool & cashmere) companies are pledged to introduce their products under 50% of sale along with other companies like "Best Shoes" and "Exclusive" (clothes sewing). Moreover, companies in food industries like "Sayan-Uul", "Talkh Chikher", "Uguuj Chikher Boov", "Trans Trade", "Makh Impex", "Ochir Daginas", "MCS Coca Cola", "Teso", "Suu" and "Altan Taria" will be also celebrating the Day with civilians.
Also, this big sale day will be held in each districts of UB:
- In Khan-Uul District will take place at "Yarmag" trade center, which locates in 5th Khoroo
- Sukhbaatar District, B.Tserendorj Street, 4th Khoroo
- Songinokhairkhan District, "Tsambagarav" trade center, 14th Khoroo
- Bayangol District, B.Enebish Avenue, 15th Khoroo and "Smart" trade center, 19th Khoroo
- Chingeltei District, Independence Palace, 5th Khoroo
- Bayanzurkh District, K.Zhukov Square, 4th Khoroo
Moreover, Tengis and Urgoo cinemas will display all movies at 50% of discounts on this day and the city museums will be opened with free entrances and the city public transportation will also serve at half-price ticket.
Russia's Angara Airlines Conducts Its First International Flight to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
October 22 (infomongolia.com) According to announcement of Angara Airlines, a Russian air carrier that conducts domestic flights all around Irkutsk region and other destinations of Siberian Federal District, the company was authorized to perform its first international flight to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
The first Irkutsk-Ulaanbaatar-Irkutsk flight was made on October 20, 2014 with its newly obtained AN-148-100 aircraft and the Angara Airlines intends to be a competent air carrier between the two cities and stabilize its flights from November of this year.
Nevertheless, the new route is opened timely in the scope of effectiveness of the Intergovernmental Agreement on reciprocal visa-free travel between citizens of Russia and Mongolia, which enters into force from November 14, 2014.
Ulaanbaatar doubles Bayankhoshuu road capacity
By M. Zoljargal
October 22 (UB Post) The 4.6 km road spanning between Khuvisgalchdiin Gudamj (Revolutionists' Street) and Bayankhoshuu Intersection has reopened with doubled traffic lanes at the cost of 7.5 billion MNT.
The road previously had a seven meter wide traffic lanes, while sidewalks were 1.5 meter on both sides. The upgrade expanded the traffic lane to 14 meters and sidewalks to 3.5 meters which doubles the previous width.
New streetlights, water drainage system with twin pipes, as well as a road surface drainage pump have been set up at the road.
The Ulaanbaatar City Auto Road Fund issued the required budget and the construction launched on May 9 this year. The road opened ten days ahead of its schedule on Monday.
The project coordinators expect that the upgraded road's traffic flow will speed up by up to 50 percent. They also hope that the road will improve the area's facade and the convenience of the neighborhood residents.
Ulaanbaatar Governor E.Bat-Uul said during the opening, "We have set to launch the construction of the new building for the city administrations in Bayankhoshuu area next spring with the help of the Asian Development Bank."
He added that the city administrations hope to make this suburban area would become one of the city centers with the upgraded road and centralized administrations offices.
UB struggles to relocate auto market as vendors continue strike
October 22 (UB Post) Nine big auto markets and 34 selling points occupy 27 hectares of land in Ulaanbaatar. The auto market center was first established on the outskirts of the city, but when the city expanded, the area became a central area of the city and started negatively impacting the residents' health and the environment.
To manage this issue, the Ulaanbaatar City Administrations decided to move auto markets to the suburbs and construct a new auto market center. City authorities hoped that this work will reduce traffic congestion and decline air pollution and soil contamination, but it faced protests from Da Khuree auto market renters.
At the beginning of this month, the renters at Da Khuree went on a strike in relation to the State Specialized Inspection Authority's resolution to shut down the auto market's operation in relation to the relocation plan.
The auto market complex will be built past the 22nd Auto checkpoint in the 32th khoroo of Songinokhairkhan District, on a 130 hectare land. The complex will be built in five years and in its first stage, 14 thousand car park will be rented to vendors and entities, and the income from the rent will be used for the complex's further development.
The City Council decided to prohibit the auto market's operation in the open area of the city on October 1 and delivered a notice to automobile dealers.
But the new auto market complex wasn't launched on the scheduled and it caused misunderstandings among automobile dealers.
The owners of Da Khuree auto market allegedly told it's renters that the market will not move if the new auto complex isn't ready by 2015.
Land ownership rights of Da Khuree Trade extended
When Mongolia transferred to the free market economy, Da Khuree was established as the first auto market in Mongolia. In accordance with the government's resolution in 1998, the market was privatized. Da Khuree extended its land ownership several times and at the regulation of the City Governor, 3.6 hectares of land was issued to Da Khuree.
After several extensions, Da Khuree owned 6.5 hectares land for commercial purposes.
The company owners informed its ownership extension to renters and established one year contracts with renters.
The new auto complex's construction is currently at 60 to 80 percent completion. The first two fields are planned to launch on November 1. The parking areas were sold to over 200 buyers so far.
The City Council banned open sales operations of auto markets in the city which was met with protests from renters.
Most of the renters at Da Khuree are not sure about moving to the new complex as the small car sales areas cost four million MNT and the larger ones cost nine million MNT. For the renters who sell few cars or spare parts, it will be hard to rent the area with the current tariff.
The renters feel that the new auto market location is not suitable as the area is cold, and said that moving auto markets will not decrease city traffic congestion, which is the original goal of the whole project. Currently, over 5,000 people conduct permanent operations at Da Khuree.
To clarify some issues regarding auto market management, we spoke to the Chairman of the Trade Union B.Enkhbaatar who is protecting renters' interest.
The resolution to build a new auto market complex was issued and auto markets have to be moved. What is the position of the renters of Da Khuree market on this issue?
Our dealers will become victims if the auto market moves. Over 80 percent of the renters live in Bayanzurkh District, where Da Khuree auto market is located. It will be tough for them to go to their jobs every morning. They might have troubles such as getting their children from kindergartens and schools. Over 5,000 people rent car trade fields and have built their lives here, and 2,000 of them are members of our union. We are working to let them stay.
What do you think of the resolution to ban open area operations?
Where will they work if auto markets are moved? It is still unclear how this new auto complex will be built. As a result, many people might lose their jobs.
What do you think Da Khuree owners want?
Of course, the company wants to stay here. I think that we can still stay here and people who live in the east side of the city can visit our auto market, even when the new complex is operational.
Ulaanbaatar police uses parade of wrecked cars to raise public road safety
By M. Zoljargal
October 23 (UB Post) Police in Ulaanbaatar led a parade of emergency vehicles, hearses, and trucks loaded with cars destroyed in traffic accidents down Peace Avenue on Wednesday, to remind the public of the consequences of careless driving.
The cars were involved in accidents resulting from text messaging while driving, driving in oncoming traffic lanes, and driving while intoxicated. The organizers hoped to let the public understand what careless driving can lead to, including asset damage and death.
"We tried to show people how residents are having their lives and assets ruined in traffic accidents. It is almost impossible to prevent such accidents by just reporting statistics. The accident rate is still rising despite our many efforts. That is why we are visually 'teaching' the public why they shouldn't ignore traffic regulations," said E.Enkhbold, official of the Prevention Division at the Ulaanbaatar City Traffic Police Department.
The line of cars set off from the Officer's Palace at 10:00 a.m. and drove down Peace Avenue to its final destination at Dragon Center.
A photo exhibition displaying the most harrowing traffic accidents which occurred in October of this year was also opened at Dragon Center.
More than 500 volunteer students followed the parade and handed out materials about traffic regulations, while, traffic accident victims were present to voice their regrets and warn others about repeating their mistakes.
The Ministry of Justice, General Police Department, and Traffic Police Department worked together on this effort to minimize traffic accidents, and as part of their recent decision to observe October 22 as a Day Dedicated to Traffic Accident Victims.
Over 100 policemen donated blood this week for the victims of traffic accidents as part of the remembrance day.
Over the past 15 years, there were 5,047 traffic related fatalities, and 12,000 more individuals became physically disabled from injuries suffered in traffic accidents, according to an unofficial report by Unuudur.
Program to Celebrate 375th Anniversary of Ulaanbaatar City
October 23 (infomongolia.com) In the frameworks of celebrating the 375th anniversary of founding the Capital City - Ulaanbaatar, the Mayor's Office published a Program of events to be organized until October 29, 2014.
Program to Celebrate the 375th Anniversary of Ulaanbaatar City
Program for the 375th anniversary of Ulaanbaatar – news.mn, October 23
Mogi: not a very nice thing to do when no major country has done so
Mongolia Issues Temporary Visa Ban for Citizens of Ebola-Struck Countries
Ulaanbaatar, October 22 (MONTSAME) Department for Citizenship and Migration informed on October 22 that it will not issue any visas and personal invitations to Mongolia for uncertain period of time for the applicants from the Ebola-struck regions.
Ebola virus, the sanguinolent high fever contagious disease, started breaking out in Western African countries--Sierra Leon, Liberia, Nigeria and Guinea, has now officially reached the USA, Spain and Senegal.
The department, in frames of its guidelines to check all passengers and vehicles crossing the borders, advises not to travel to the countries that have reported Ebola outbreaks and not to send invitations to those who live in such regions.
Mongolia and New Zealand to mark 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations
Ulaanbaatar, October 22 (MONTSAME) The Concurrent Non-Resident Ambassador of Mongolia to New Zealand Mr Bold has given a lecture themed "Foreign Policy of Mongolia: Opportunities and Challenges" at the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs Wellington branch as well as in Hamilton branch at the University of Waikato. Presentation was attended with great interests from Kiwis, as this was the first-ever presentation by the Mongolian Ambassador to the New Zealand audience about Mongolia's foreign policy.
Ambassador Mr Bold congratulated the Foreign Minister Murray McCully on the New Zealand's election to the United Nations Security Council for the 2015-2016 term. Mongolia has supported New Zealand's candidacy for the election from the beginning.
Mr Bold also extended the letter of congratulations by the Mongolia's Prime Minister and Foreign Minister to their New Zealand counterparts on the re-appointment after the general election. His Excellency also met Ms Helene Quilter,Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Ms Annelies McClure, Chief Executive of the Overseas Investment Committee, Ms Andrea Smith, Deputy Secretary, Ms Clare Fearnley, Director-General of the North Asia Division from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade respectively and Mr Adrian Orr, CEO of the New Zealand Super Fund during his recent stay in New Zealand. Ambassador had fruitful discussions with the official representatives how to enhance the bilateral relations. 2015 will see the 40th anniversary of the diplomatic relations establishment between Mongolia and New Zealand. Around 500 kiwis visit Mongolia every year. Mongolia imported 16 million USD valued milk powder from New Zealand-based Fonterra in 2013.
Retired diplomat said US push for Fowle's release from North Korea also involved Sweden, Japan, China, Mongolia
WASHINGTON, October 22 (AP) — North Korea's release of an Ohio man this week was a surprise to a retired American ambassador who negotiated with Pyongyang for Jeffrey Fowle's freedom.
Tony Hall, a former diplomat and congressman from Ohio, said on Wednesday the U.S. push for Fowle's release also included efforts from Sweden, China, Japan and Mongolia.
Hall said he spoke with Pyongyang's ambassador to the United Nations three times and described conversations with high-ranking officials in North Korea whom he would not name.
Hall called Fowle's release a major step for North Korea, which he said may be trying to open relations with the U.S.
He did not know in advance that Fowle was to be freed and was not involved in talks to free two other Americans detained in North Korea.
Seoul invites N. Korea, US, China, Japan, Russia, Mongolia to forum on peace in Northeast Asia
SEOUL, Oct. 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has sent an invitation to North Korea for its October forum aimed at implementing President Park Geun-hye's policy for promoting peace in Northeast Asia, government officials said Thursday.
Seoul plans to hold a meeting of government and private experts to exchange views on such issues as energy security, nuclear safety and cyberspace, the main agenda items to be dealt with at the "Northeast Asia Peace Cooperation Initiative (NAPCI)," from Oct. 28 to 30, they noted.
The vision calls for countries in the region to build trust through nonpolitical cooperation in areas before coping with political and security matters.
"Seoul has invited North Korea to the forum," Noh Kwang-il, a spokesman at Seoul's foreign ministry, told a regular press briefing. South Korea has conveyed its invitation to Pyongyang via the North's mission to the United Nations in New York.
Seoul's government said that it has invited officials from the United States, China, Japan, Russia, Mongolia and others. But the North, which is critical of the NAPCI, has not responded to Seoul's invitation, the ministry said.
Sydney Seiler, new U.S. special envoy for the six-party nuclear talks, will attend the conference, it said.
The participants for the forum also include Lakhdar Brahimi, former U.N.-Arab League special envoy to Syria, and Alexander Vershbow, deputy secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
"As the forum is mainly supposed to deal with non-political issues, to my knowledge, there may be no discussions about the six-party talks. But a possibility of such discussions cannot be excluded," he added.
Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se has said that Northeast Asia lacks a multilateral cooperative mechanism, adding that the NAPCI could be a "suitable and tailored" approach to promoting cooperation in the region.
China, Mongolia Parliaments to Sign Cooperation Deal on Speaker Enkhbold's Visit
Ulaanbaatar, October 23 (MONTSAME) The Speaker of parliament Z.Enkhbold will leave for China on October 27 to pay an official visit to the country.
In frames of the forthcoming visit, the Speaker will sign a document on strengthening the permanent cooperation between the legislative bodies to the countries. Cooperation contracts between the governmental organizations and entities will be inked as well.
The Speaker has underlined an importance of quick and effective works of the cabinet for realizing agreements which were signed between the countries during high-level visits.
2014 Tumen River Forum Hosts Women's Sub-Forum
October 23 (Women of China) The 2014 Tumen River Forum featured a sub-forum on women's reproduction, health and rights at Yanbian University (Jilin Province) on October 11.
Nearly 300 experts and scholars from domestic universities, research institutions in South Korea, Japan, Russia, Mongolia, Germany and other countries and regions attended the forum. They exchanged views and ideas on reproductive rights and the health of women, women's reproductive health and disease prevention, and the construction of women's studies disciplines.
Conference: Peace Studies in XXI Century and Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, October 24
October 23 (infomongolia.com) The First International Scientific Conference themed "Peace Studies in the XXI Century and Mongolia" will be organized in Ulaanbaatar at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Economic Cooperation on October 24, 2014.
The event is being organized welcoming celebration of the 70th Anniversary of UNESCO in 2014 and the World Science Day for Peace and Development (November 10).
This International Conference will be focused on current studies of International Peace as well as roles and participations of the international organizations such as the United Nations, state and peace in Northeast Asia, and Mongolia's current status and development in peace research.
At the Conference scholars and experts from Northeast Asia Regional Peace Building Institute (Japan), National University of Buryatia (Russia), Canadian Mennonite University (Canada), Northeast Asia Regional Peace Building Institute (South Korea), Liaoning University (China) and Mongolian representatives of Academy of Sciences, Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO, Ministry of Defense, Institute for Strategic Studies, and National University of Mongolia will be attending and the opening remarks will be presented by Resident Representative of the UNDP in Mongolia Mrs. Sezin Sinanoglu.
"Peace Studies in XXI Century and Mongolia" Conference Approaches – Montsame, October 23
UNMISS Commander D.Bayarsaikhan: Though I was forced into military school, I'm pleased with my fate
October 22 (UB Post) A Mongolian commander was recently selected to command the northern region of South Sudan for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) for the first time.
Head of the Strategy Policy and Planning Department of the Ministry of Defense of Mongolia, Brigadier General D.Bayarsaikhan will be leading a battalion with over 5,000 soldiers and military officers of five countries.
Before departing to the warzone in South Sudan, Brigadier General D.Bayarsaikhan gave an interview.
Congratulation on being selected as a regional commander for the UNMISS. What sorts of hurdled did you overcome to get to this position?
Thank you. I'm glad that I reached every general's dream. I was proud of myself for passing the test. I participated in the interview for choosing regional commanders last August. The main criterion was English language skills. It was important to be able to communicate well with high English language proficiency with international soldiers. The examiners must have considered my previous experience in peacekeeping missions. The UN Department for Peacekeeping Operations notified that I met the requirement for the position of regional commander on September 26.
You will be departing to a warzone from a peaceful country. Mentally, how prepared are you?
A military officer must be prepared for any situation. I participated in international military training courses several times. There probably will not be any issues as war and peacekeeping operations are planned the same way. The main issue I'm worried about is that the infrastructure in South Sudan is problematic and challenging. Infrastructure issues cause problems for rear and food supply. Rear supply is brought with helicopters. Two helicopters were destroyed because some good-for-nothings shot them.
As a regional commander, will you be working to give more opportunities to Mongolian soldiers?
Apart from Mongolian military officers, I will be commanding over 5,000 officers from India, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Rwanda. In a headquarter with ten members, there can't be five Mongolians together. Soldiers from other countries must also be given opportunities. Nevertheless, I do want to grant more working places to Mongolian officers.
In peacekeeping operations, how do Mongolian soldiers differ from others? Is there any specific characteristics?
Mongolian soldiers are enduring and obedient but very timid. They don't express their thoughts and are reserved. After operations, soldiers from India and other countries take photographs and spread it on the internet but Mongolian soldiers don't make any fuss or take photos. Commanders who've led the mission compliment and give good assessments to us. Despite working in difficult conditions, our soldiers do not get discouraged.
Where were you born and how did your military career start?
Posted by Nishant Nair, Street View Program Manager, Google Asia Pacific
October 22 (Google Asia-Pacific Blog) Centuries after the reign of Genghis Khan, Mongolia's nomadic lifestyle and rugged terrain fill the imagination of many travelers seeking their next adventure...our Street View cars included.
In Ulaanbaatar today, we kicked off collection of imagery at a ceremony with the city's mayor. A pick-up truck equipped with Google Trekker will explore the streets of the capital before heading to the steppe to bring imagery of Mongolia's vast and beautiful landscapes to people around the globe.
For those of you who can't wait, we've already added panoramic Street View imagery of a few sites around the capital, including the 13th Century Complex, Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue and Genghis Khan Square.
We're also working with the National Museum of Mongolia, the Bogd Khaan Palace and the Zanazabar Museum of Fine Arts to put their exhibits onto the Google Cultural Institute. Very soon, more people from around the world will be able to admire and learn more about Mongolia's rich cultural heritage with the click of a mouse.
Travel Through Ulaanbaatar from the Comfort of Your Phone
October 23 (UB Post) In relation to the "Smart Ulaanbaatar" project, Mongolia is cooperating with Google to be included in their Google Maps, Google Street View, Google Culture Institute and Google Art Project in Mongolia. The Google Street View Project for Ulaanbaatar has started two years ago to enable everyone see streets of Ulaanbaatar and even natural landscapes using Google.
Head of the Ulaanbaatar City Information Technology Agency B.Bat-Ulzii gave an interview to Daily news about the project.
Could you give us a brief explanation about using Google Street View on Ulaanbaatar and how people can visit museums, restaurants and other places in the city using the internet?
Ulaanbaatar Governor E.Bat-Uul started this project by requesting to implement the Google projects in Mongolia two years ago. Google Street View simply means the appearance of the streets. In other word, anyone from anywhere can visit over 4,000 cities in 60 countries around the world thanks to the special feature of Google. Pedestrians, cars, buildings and everything will be seen as two dimensional pictures. Also, some museums and public places will be available. It will feel like visiting the places physically.
Will this project only be implemented in Ulaanbaatar?
No, the project covers the entire territory of Mongolia. In order to carry out this project, the special equipment of Google have to be installed in the area to capture the images for the project. For example, specialists took picture of Ulaanbaatar last June and after that they spent two to three months to process the pictures.
Of course, the camera they used was not a simple one. They used specially-equipped cameras for the images.
They took picture of the surroundings using cameras that rotate 360 degrees, but small apparatuses were used to take pictures of Tsonjin Boldog and the other museum's pictures. In the future, Google specialists will not only work in the city, but also in rural areas. The specialists are able to travel around Mongolia at the end of next year.
You have mentioned that Google Street View project will be beneficial to the tourism sector and economic development. Could you expand on this?
Mongolia became the 61st country that officially joined Google Street View. We are implementing this project ahead of our two neighbors because the capturing work in Russia is incomplete and China banned this project.
I am sure that the project will bring significant improvement in the tourism industry.
Tourists visit Google Street View before travelling to a country. Some surveys show tourists choose their travel by just visiting Google Street View first.
When Mongolia sent an official request to Google, Susan Point, the Asian director of Google said, "I used to think that Mongolia was the same as China, where the communist governance exists and does not permit revealing of information."
This project features many advantages in tourism security and business development. If we chose to, we can ask Google to give us comprehensive information about reconnaissance. Consequently, we can know when, where and who visited Mongolia's famous landscapes and Ulaanbaatar streets using the internet.
What about the other Google projects?
Google Culture Institute and Google Art Project are on their initial stages.
How are the projects funded?
Google invested in the projects. In other word, the state or the capital city fund did not invest anything to implement these projects.
How often will the database be updated?
The picture information will be updated every season. If it is necessary, the information can be updated at shorter intervals. But collecting image information and sending them to Google to be processed takes two to three months.
Is it harmful to the privacy of individuals since Google Street View captures everything in the street?
People don't have to worry about this because the program has a feature that blurs license plate numbers and faces automatically.
Source: Daily News
Google Software Engineer B.Battulga: Mongolians possesses strengths of both Asians and Europeans
October 23 (UB Post) The following is an interview with senior software engineer at Google B.Battulga, highlighting Mongolia's IT sector, during a short return to Mongolia to organize a meeting with Google Development Group (GDG).
Last week, he organized the meeting where over 100 people attended. Most of the attendees were Mongolian IT amateurs who spoke with B.Battulga's colleagues from Google about their work.
It was reported that you came to Mongolia to introduce GDG. Can you tell us more about this?
GDG, abbreviation for Google Developers Group, is a gathering for software developers who aren't related to Google. Basically, it's a meeting with young people interested in technology. Google supports GDG by some sort of means such as organizing meetings and helping with code inputs. Currently, there are 5,000 software developers in the world. GDG Ulaanbaatar Group was unofficially established two years ago in Ulaanbaatar. This time, we're working to officially register software developers who joined two years ago.
What did you accomplish through the meeting?
I met with people who will be organizing GDG meetings in the future and people who are interested in GDG. We discussed about some of the issues Mongolian software engineers are facing and ways to resolve them.
Why is joining GDG beneficial for young Mongolian IT specialists?
Despite all of them being based in Mongolia, communication between Mongolian IT developers is very poor. These young people will be able to frequently meet up and resolve even small issues by joining GDG. I consider this as an advantage.
Can you share why you decided to work for Google?
When I had just graduated from university, Google was selected as the most desirable company to work for in both America and South Korea for a couple of years. My initial application and examination was for Google. To attract software engineers, the company visits schools and teaches students about how to fill out application forms for jobs at Google. I found out it was possible to enter by taking examinations when they visited my school.
Google has many departments. Which department do you work at and what does your work consist of?
I work at the search engine system sector. I used to work in the search engine system's web ranking, where I developed algorithms for ranking the first ten websites that would come out through the search engine. I also worked on search engines that show all sorts of information in summarized form. At the moment, I'm working on a program that predicts user's next action and provides services accordingly. I worked at Google's Seoul Office but I recently started working for a different section within the search engine system and had to transfer to the U.S. Office.
How many employees does Google have and how many of them are software engineers?
I'm not sure about the total number of employees. There are probably some ten thousands of employees but almost half of them are software engineers.
What is your rank among software engineers?
I guess a bit higher than the middle rank.
Is there any other Mongolians working at Google?
Apart from me, there aren't any full-time Mongolian engineers. There were several students who worked for short periods of time.
What is the main criterion for getting promoted at Google?
People vying for promotions are tested twice a year. This examination is taken by selected engineers and committee, not by directors. The examination board checks on people who submitted requests for a promotion and decides who to promote. The main criterion evaluates their leadership, how much they've contributed to the company, and how useful their product is to consumers.
In a previous interview, you briefly mentioned that software engineers in your company are unique from other company workers. Can you clarify on this?
Other companies have many procedures and stages such as planning and designing when producing products. It can be said that our company doesn't have so many procedures. Engineers work on every stage and procedure from production to distribution to consumers.
Can you tell us about opportunities on getting employed at Google? Can Mongolians aspiring to work for Google give the examinations directly?
First, they have to write out their profile and strong points and send it to the company. If they pass, they must give an interview via phone call. If they also pass this stage, they can come to the company and take an exam. It's possible to give the exam from Mongolia. Students of the National University of Mongolia and the Mongolian University of Science and Technology were informed about this.
How connected are you with fellow Mongolians working in major IT companies such as Apple and Samsung?
I keep in touch with them. Though we don't meet often, whenever we meet, we discuss about various topics including Mongolian IT development, difficulties [Mongolian] companies are facing, and opportunities for improving Mongolia's IT sector. I think cooperating and communicating with Mongolians working abroad is an opportunity to mutually help each other and share information.
What would it take to improve Mongolia's IT sector?
At the moment, it's impossible to say. Mongolia has the key foundation for developing its IT sector. Generally, there isn't an obstacle preventing IT sector from developing.
Since you work with the best young people from all countries, you must notice their strengths and weaknesses. Compared to foreigners, what are the strengths of Mongolians?
Europeans focus on individual capabilities so it's common for individuals to be skilled. Asians are superior with their team work skills. Mongolians, on the other hand, are different from both Europeans and Asians. What I mean to say is that it seems Mongolians possess both of these strengths.
At Google, software engineers of which nation are more skilled?
Overall, it's hard to find competent software engineers. For instance, when I was working in South Korea, we had to do many interviews to find good software engineers. Even though the population is almost 50 million, it was difficult. Excellent IT companies are being established in America because the ones considered as the best from billions of people in China and India are moving to America. Software engineers of these two countries are followed by European software engineers. The best IT companies are situated in America because the best people selected from three billion people are gathered there.
It seems that we aren't aware of how influential the mobile revolution is to our lives. How long do you think the mobile revolution will go on?
Any type of change flows fastest in its initial stage. The change will not stop and as it gradually evolves, it will no longer affect people's lives. I'd like to mention that the mobile revolution is currently in its middle stage of transition. The transition will probably begin to slow down in pace after some time.
Although it's commendable that Mongolian language was put to Google Translate, it is inadequate. In the future, will it be upgraded and improved?
It probably will be. Google Translate will have to expand its information data somehow to improve languages included in the program. The quality will improve if more input data is inserted.
Thank you for speaking to us. Will you be coming to Mongolia for GDG meetings in the future?
Generally, I do have plans to do so. I want to cooperate on especially working closely and supporting students and IT developers.
Source: Undesnii Shuudan
Cinematographer D.Angarag co-producing Hollywood movie "Precious"
By B. Baatar
October 23 (UB Post) Mongolian cinematographer D.Angarag announced that he will produce a movie called "Precious" with Hollywood artists.
Hollywood artists and D.Angarag met and discussed his movie on October 21. Hollywood cinematographer Peter Gray and writer Dianna Ismail are set to come to Mongolia with D.Angarag in November.
D.Angarag has previously worked on famous Mongolia movies such as "Minii Khursh Chutgur" (My Neighbor is a Devil), "Bodliin Khulgaich" (Thief of the Mind), "Dev" and "Anu Khatan" (Queen Anu).
The cinematographer was also involved in a professional cinematographer's training by invitation of the American Society of Cinematographers this month.
President Elbegdorj Meets Reps of MIT, Pledges Support for Partnerships with Mongolian Universities
Ulaanbaatar, October 22 (MONTSAME) The leader of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj Tuesday received a delegation headed by a director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for external relations affairs.
The MIT delegation is visiting us at invitation of the Ministry of Education and Science in order to get acquainted with activities of our higher education organizations.
At the meeting, Mr Elbegdorj said that Mongolia gives an importance to the partnership between the MIT and Mongolian universities, "this partnership will be fully supported by the President and Government of Mongolia. And I believe that this will give certain impetus to the development of our country".
Then he expressed a hope that this partnership, based on the education and sciences field, "will be the basis for bringing into Mongolia the world class education and that Mongolia will be an education hub in the region by expanding such partnership". Mongolian education sector will make good progress by attracting internationally recognized scientists and teachers, he added.
"By cooperating with the MIT, Mongolian universities will be able to provide the top education programs of the world. The President's decree to grant our Government scholarships for students who have been selected by the world top 100 ranked universities is closely related with the current event,' he said.
OT's Kern von Hagen, D.Orgilmaa awarded education sector awards for Dalanzadgad Polytechnic College
October 23 (Oyu Tolgoi) On 14 October, Oyu Tolgoi commissioned the Polytechnic College school building and dormitory in Dalanzadgad, South Gobi. This facility for 180 engineering and trade students includes a new classroom building and a dormitory for 108 students, as well as a power substation. Oyu Tolgoi spent US$3.5 million on this project. During the handover ceremony, the company's Senior training manager Kern von Hagen was awarded with the Mongolian Senior Teachers Association award - Order of "Teacher's Merit" and Training department superintendent D.Orgilmaa was awarded with honorary title "Honorary education sector service worker." They were awarded these honours in recognition of their valuable contribution to development and reform of Mongolian education sector.
Hundreds of clay sculptures created by Zanabazar discovered
October 22 (news.mn) Researchers discovered hundreds of rare clay sculptures of Buddhist gods, crafted with the delicacy of Undur Gegeen Zanabazar, during a salvage excavation at the remains of Saridag Temple in Erdene soum in Tuv Province.
The Institute of History of Mongolian Academy of Sciences conducted the salvage excavation at Saridag Temple in collaboration with the Bogd Khan Palace Museum and Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism, from August to September.
Publicly known as Sairdag Temple, its official name is Ribogejailin Temple, and Mongolia's first Bogd Zanabazar built it on his own.
Undur Gegeen Zanabazar was isolated there for 30 years, from his twenties to fifties.
The newly discovered clay sculptures by Undur Gegeen Zanabazar were debuted to the public today at 8:00 a.m. at Bogd Khan Palace Museum, in the presence of researchers of the Institute of History of Mongolian Academy of Sciences and officials from the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism.
Bigger Than A T. Rex, With A Duck's Bill, Huge Arms And A Hump
by CHRISTOPHER JOYCE
The mystery began in 1965, when fossil hunters found a pair of 6-foot-long, heavily clawed arm bones in Mongolia's Gobi desert. Nobody had seen anything like them before. Now, scientists say, they've got the rest of the beast ... and dinosaur textbooks may need to be rewritten.
Those two giant arm bones have long amazed researchers. Some suspected the whole beast, which died about 70 million years ago, could have been more than 100 feet long. But the arms were all they had to go on. Paleontologists, including Philip Currie of the University of Alberta, dreamed of finding the rest. "We've worked in the Gobi for a long time," he says, "and we were always looking for another one or any indication that there was another one."
Giant — meaning as big as Tyrannosaurus rex. The duck-billed dinosaur was 35 feet long and bulky (more than 6 tons). It walked upright on long legs, with those 6-foot-long arms out in front. It had a 3-foot-long head and a sail-like ridge along its curved back. And that big bill was toothless.
Paleontologist Tom Holtz, at the University of Maryland, remembers textbooks that showed those giant arms from 1965. He says scientists at the time had no clue to the animal's actual shape.
Goofy dinosaur blends Barney and Jar Jar Binks – AP, October 22
Mystery of dinosaur with giant arms solved after Mongolia find – BBC, October 23
The beast with the behemoth arms: A dinosaur mystery is solved – Reuters, October 23
Humongous, toothless wonder of a dinosaur unveiled (+video) – Christian Science Monitor, October 22
US repatriates 22 smuggled dinosaur fossils to Mongolia
By M. Zoljargal
October 23 (UB Post) Twenty-two smuggled dinosaur fossils have been returned to in Ulaanbaatar on Wednesday, after an almost a two-month journey from New York City.
An official ceremony was held to mark the fossils' return at Tuushin LLC's monitoring field where several state officials and delegates of co-organizer companies attended.
The government of the United States repatriated the 22 fossils to Mongolian officials in New York on July 14.
Smuggling cases of dinosaur fossils have gained the public's attention and works to return smuggled historical heritages have been intensified since a smuggled Tyrannosaurus Bataar fossil was returned to Mongolia last year, after it was nearly illegally auctioned off or more than a million USD in the United States.
"We are witnessing a historic day that is welcoming back 22 dinosaur fossils that have been smuggled away. The decision to return the fossils was made almost a year ago, but we had to pass all the legal procedures and government protocols. We signed the sea transport contract and now we are receiving the fossils," said Minister of Culture, Sport and Tourism Ts.Oyungerel.
The Minister also expressed her gratitude for the companies that cooperated in repatriating and transporting the fossils.
The project group comprised of officials of the Reform in Paleontology and Archaeology Museum of the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism, Tuushin LLC, Bodi Insurance, Ulaanbaatar Metropolitan Police Department, Capital City Customs Office and Central Dinosaur Museum.
Mongolia continues Incheon 2014 Asian Para Games with 4 medals
By B. Baatar
October 22 (UB Post) On the first day of the Incheon 2014 Asian Para Games, Mongolian shooter Z.Ganbaatar won a bronze medal in the men's 50m-pistol event, scoring 162.9 points.
Iranian and Chinese athletes captured gold and silver medals in the men's 50 m-pistol.
Mongolian judoka B.Uugankhuu scraped a silver medal in the men's 60 kg contest on October 20, Day 2 to of the Incheon Para Games. He defeated opponents from Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Iran in the preliminary and semi-final.
At the final match, he lost to Uzbekistan judoka and defeated South Korean and Chinese athletes.
On the same day, A.Munkhbat won bronze in the men's 66 kg judo event and B.Bolortungalag took bronze in the women's 48 kg contest.
Mongolia has sent a team of 61 athletes to the Asian Para Games who are competing in nine categories.
The Incheon Asia Para Games will end on October 24.
Menlowe Ballet's fall season highlighted by Michael Lowe cultural ballet resulting from Mongolia visit
October 21 (InMenlo) Menlowe Ballet's fall season at the Menlo-Atherton Performing Arts Center features contemporary, classical and cultural ballets including the world premiere of Artistic Director Michael Lowe's Legend of the Seven Suns, which brings to life a traditional Mongolian folktale. Also included are Dennis Nahat's In Concert and Lowe's Plague. Performances are Saturday, Nov. 8 at 2:00 and 8:00 pm; Sunday, Nov. 9 at 2:00 pm; and Saturday, Nov. 15 at 2:00 and 8:00 pm. Tickets range from $28 to $49 and can be purchased online or by calling (800) 595-4849.
Lowe traveled to Mongolia to research his new cultural ballet. The ballet's characters include gods, mortals, a menagerie of engaging animals, and Mongolia's vast, rugged landscape. "Mongolia has a rich heritage of tales related to humans and their relationship to the natural world," he said. "These stories give me the fuel I needed to tell a great fable through dance."
Lowe spent part of his time "on the land" with the Terlij Villagers (top photo). The second half of the trip was spent in Ulaanbaatar with the Director of the Great Khan Theater, D. Dashlkhagva (pictured with Lowe right), and his dancers teaching Lowe traditional Mongolian steps.
Lowe reflected on his experience:"… I had chosen to embark on a strenuous tour that would take me out of Mongolia's capital city into rugged, remote terrain where I would experience the tastes, sounds, smells, and realities of the nomadic way of life which was to be the setting for my new ballet.
"As the only senior amidst a group of adventurous, brave, twenty-somethings, I slept for a week bundled against bitter cold in a tent-like ger, with no shower or running water, and only a river to bathe in; chopped wood to keep a fire burning through the night; subsisted on meat from a freshly slaughtered goat; traversed hours by foot up a vertical mountain; travelled elsewhere by oxcart; rode wild, just-tamed horses; and survived a terrifying, yet exhilarating trip, carrying all of my gear on the back of a local's motorcycle as he precariously navigated rivers and rutted muddy roads in order to get me back to the city.
"Upon returning home, I began planning how I might make this fable come alive through dance. The night before the first day of rehearsals were to begin with my company, I noticed a feeling of trepidation within me similar to what I had felt prior to leaving on my trip. Upon reflection, I realized that this anxiety is present in me each time I embark on a new choreographic project.
"Walking in to face a studio full of expectant dancers who are all looking to me to give them steps and characters to inhabit is a daunting experience. As a choreographer, I don't go into every rehearsal knowing exactly what I'm going to do. The act of creating art often involves intense preparation paired with a willingness to allow spontaneous ideas to take form. The important thing is to take the initial step and begin the journey into that very process. For me, it's always been that first step through the studio door onto the dance floor, or off of the airplane onto foreign ground, that has allowed the magic to begin."
Based in Menlo Park, Menlowe Ballet is a professional ballet company dedicated to bringing dance to audiences in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founded in 2011, the company performs works ranging from cultural to contemporary, while honoring the tradition of classical ballet. In addition to its artistic mission, Menlowe Ballet provides performing opportunities to aspiring students from its official school, the Menlo Park Academy of Dance.
Strong to the Finish Trailer: Running 1,500 Miles Across Mongolia for Ulaanbaatar's Orphans
October 3 (Brain Farm) The inspiring true story of one man's 1,500 mile run across Mongolia to raise awareness for the country's homeless children.
A feature documentary by Emmy Award-winning Brain Farm, this ﬁlm follows the triumphs and heartbreaks of 40-year-old Brian Hunter and his young family as he attempts this audacious border-to-border crossing, the equivalent of running nearly 60 marathons in 60 days. More than a colossal feat of endurance, Brian's run is all about heart and selflessness. Upon learning about the masses of homeless and orphaned children living in dumps of the frigid city of Ulaanbaatar (UB), Brian feels the deep yearning to help. Abandoned by his father as a young boy and stricken with Polio he knows something of the pain they feel. How can he help? Brian decides to use his love for running to put the global spotlight on the human crisis happening on the other side of the planet. Its a heartfelt story of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to effect change on the earth.
Where are the men?
October 22 (UB Post) They can be found nowhere on the campuses, service shops, and in the education and healthcare fields, or press and media organizations. A few of them can be seen at Narantuul Market. Where are they?
The population of Mongolia is 2.9 million, of which 1.4 million are men. According to this ratio, there is no big difference between gender relations. Unfortunately, in high school, with the exception of physical education, almost all other subjects are taught by female teachers. In the field of healthcare, men are very rarely found. According to the latest statistics, in healthcare organizations 36,000 of 45,000 workers are women.
Last year, 174,000 students graduated from local universities, and over 100,000 graduates were women. A total of 21,000 people earned master's and doctoral degrees, one third of whom were men. It is an increased number of men who sought higher education compared to previous years. In high school, the ratio between female and male students has almost no gap. But what is the problem behind men becoming less likely to earn degrees in the future: Mongolians say that for men it is not that necessary to pursue education because they can handle life, no matter what. This may be one reason. On the other hand, the reason may be the laziness and the lack of hardworking character among men.
Nowadays, about 100,000 Mongolians work and live in foreign countries, more than half of them are men. Most of them live and work in South Korea, where 30,000 Mongolians work and live. In the USA there are about 20,000, and in the Czech Republic there are about 5,000 Mongols. Among the people who go to foreign countries, only one or two out of 20 Mongols are women. Dedicating their youth, labor and their education to foreigners, there are still people who come back home with nothing.
So, some men go to foreign countries, but where are the others? Hard to say, but many are in prison. There are 22,000 people who committed crimes, and 19,000 were men, mostly between the ages of 18 to 29. At the moment, there are 25 prisons. Since crime is rising instead of decreasing, we may need more prisons.
There are 81,000 moms who raise their children by themselves. Where did these fathers go? It is very sad that many of them left their wives and children. A girl from Bayankhongor aimag wrote, "I don't want to be with my father. I study in fifth grade. I would like to tell my dad, please do not drink alcohol. If you stop, mom and I would feel good. To drink without working will not lead to good things. My mom does everything by herself." How many other kids want their fathers to come back home?
Family expert and Dr. T.Namjil said that by conducting research on family issues it has been shown that men tend to be discriminated against in the family because of the idea that fathers are the only ones who earn money. Fathers who work in foreign countries and are not able to be with their children can become distant from their families. In a survey of 200 general education school students, 69 percent answered "a father must have time to play with his kids", and 84.5 percent said, "a father must take care of his children and play his role in raising kids".
At this point, what kids really want from their father looks really simple. Walking on the streets of Ulaanbaatar, we become familiar with people who look "bad" and "poor". These men must begin to live differently.
There are 1.2 million people who are between the ages of 20 to 44, and 625,000 of them are men. Last year, a survey showed that 42.7 thousand men were unemployed. Some of them are drunk in the streets and some of them have nothing to do. Where are the real Mongol men?
Of course, there are numbers of men who have made the country famous, such as athletes, peacekeepers, soldiers, scientists, doctors and politicians, of whom we will always be proud. A Mongolian saying suggests, "For the woman is the husband; for the family is the father; for the country, the men are the most important people of the nation." Where are the men who will lead the country, as well as their lives?
Being LGBT in Asia: Mongolia Country Report
October 22 (UNDP) This report reviews the legal and social environment faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Mongolia. It is a product of the Mongolia National LGBT Community Dialogue held on 20–21 March 2014 in Ulaanbaatar as well as a desk review and interviews conducted by the report writers. The National Dialogue brought together a total of 140 participants including LGBT community members and activists, representatives of civil society organizations, human rights experts, UN agencies, the Government of Mongolia and development partners.
The Mongolia National Dialogue upon which the report is based was organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The work is a product of a broader initiative entitled 'Being LGBT in Asia: A Participatory Review and Analysis of the Legal and Social Environment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Persons and Civil Society.' Launched on Human Rights Day, 10 December 2012, 'Being LGBT in Asia' is a first-of-its-kind Asia-wide learning effort undertaken with Asian grassroots LGBT organizations and community leaders alongside UNDP and USAID. With a focus on eight priority countries – Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam – the effort examines LGBT lived experiences from a development and rights perspective.
'Being LGBT in Asia' has a number of objectives. It encourages networking between LGBT people across the region, building a knowledge baseline and developing an understanding of the capacity of LGBT organizations to engage in policy dialogue and community mobilization. Through this work, 'Being LGBT in Asia' promotes understanding of the inherent human rights of LGBT people and a regional understanding of the stigma and discrimination they face. It also outlines steps toward LGBT-inclusive development work for UNDP and the UN system; USAID and the US Government; and other development partners through research like this report and other social and multimedia products. Finally, the initiative highlights the views generated by LGBT participants at community dialogues, linking stakeholders who are working to enhance LGBT human rights across Asia.
British father died on motorcycle holiday in Mongolia after he crashed his bike and tour guides took nine hours to get him to hospital
· Andrew Grennan, 43, from Walsall, crashed his Yamaha after hitting pothole
· He was taken 37 miles to a village and then a town hospital at an average speed of just 4mph
· Medics considered an air evacuation but scan showed a ruptured spleen
· Mr Grennan failed to regain consciousness and died day after the accident
October 22 (Daily Mail) A father-of-three died when it took tour guides more than nine hours to get him to hospital after a motorbike crash in Mongolia, an inquest heard.
Andrew Grennan, 43, suffered horrendous internal injuries after his Yamaha hit a pothole during a motorcycle holiday on June 7 this year.
An inquest was told that Mr Grennan, a gas engineer from Walsall, was taken the 37 miles to a village and then to a town hospital at an average speed of just 4mph along the edge of the Gobi.
Dr Caroline Taylor, who was providing back-up medical assistance, said she believed that Mr Grennan had a number of fractures and, because of his low blood pressure, an internal injury.
On arrival at hospital at Altai at about 5pm, an air medical evacuation was considered but a CT scan revealed that he had a ruptured spleen and he was rushed into surgery to stem the bleeding.
During the operation doctors discovered a staggering six pints of blood had collected in his abdomen.
Tragically, the 'competent' motorcyclist failed to regain consciousness and was pronounced dead the following morning.
Birmingham Coroner's Court heard today the motorcycle tour was organised by Nick Sanders Expeditions.
Nick Sanders is a record-breaking motorcyclist and author who has travelled the world on his bike seven times.
Mr Sanders, who has been organising trips since 1999, said 'These challenges are difficult. We were in the middle of the Gobi desert. There is only so much that anybody can do. The best thing to be is self-sufficient, which we were.'
Stephen James was one of a group of 18 who had been part of the eight-week trip.
On the morning of June 7 he had left their camp, heading towards Altai and shortly afterwards had been passed by the father-of-three who he described as a competent rider.
'About 20 or 30 seconds later he hit a pothole. He lost the front, there was just dust and sand.'
He said he found Mr Grennan lying in the recovery position next to his bike, which was a write-off.
Coroner Elisabeth Bussey-Jones said 'It is clear that one of the significant factors was the remote location and the incredible difficulty of getting medical help.'
She also said bosses should consider what could have been done better and how best to protect tourists travelling with them.
She concluded that Mr Grennan died from a road traffic collision.
After the hearing Mr Grennan's widow Claire, 40, criticised expedition bosses for showing 'no sense of urgency' to get her husband potentially lifesaving treatment.
Mrs Grennan – who is bringing up the couple's three children alone in Aldridge, Walsall, West Mids – said: 'Andrew absolutely loved his motorbike and he was really looking forward to this trip to Mongolia.
'He was very much a family man, very hard working and never complained about anything.
'Our family has been left heartbroken by losing Andrew in such tragic circumstances.
'As the extent of his injuries were horrific, we are desperate to find out why there was no sense of urgency to get him to hospital for potentially lifesaving treatment.
'We would like to thank the Coroner for looking into the accident for us and hope that with the help of our team at Irwin Mitchell we will be able to find answers to all of our questions.'
Mr Grennan's sister Joanne Burford said 'Although the inquest answered some questions it has brought up other questions which were not answered.
'Why did they stop at a village where they knew there were not going to be any medical facilities?
'There were no satellite phones available.'
Lesley Edwards, a specialist international personal injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, who represented the family, added: 'This has been an incredibly difficult time for the family who have understandably been devastated by their loss.
Aldridge man died on adventure bike trip in Mongolia after hitting pothole – Birmingham Mail, October 22
Mongolian Bankhar Project
Coordinator: Bruce Elfstrom MS (Nomadic Guardian's Foundation), Douglas Lally (Scientific Field Coordinator),
Scientific Team: Carol Beuchat PhD (Institute of Canine Biology, and UC Berkeley), Sundev Gombobaatar PhD (Univ of Mongolia), Pieter Oliehoek PhD (Institute of Canine Biology), Adam Boyko PhD (Cornell Univ), Bridgett VonHoldt PhD (Princeton Univ).
For hundreds of years, Mongolia's nomadic herders have relied on a native dog, the Bankhar, to protect their livestock from predation by the Mongolian gray wolf and snow leopard. This ancient and effective way of guarding livestock was lost during the Soviet occupation. Since then, the nomads have turned by necessity to shooting and poisoning potential predators, which are now threatened by diminishing numbers.
Bruce has seen firsthand the devastation to the lives of a Nomadic family should a wolf or leopard take some of their stock. "...I was amazed, one evening a family lost 7 colt horses...". In 2004, with his partners in Mongolia, Bruce launched The Nomadic Guardian's Foundation with the goal of returning the Bankhar dog to its , saving both the dogs and the wolves from extinction in an ecologically sound way. This is a Mongolian solution to a Mongolian problem based on ancient Mongolian tradition.
Bruce's team will be making a trip to Ulaanbaatar in February 2014 with the following goals:
· locating Bankhar that are still being used as working dogs;
· gathering blood samples for molecular genetics;
· inspecting kennels at Hustai National Park for possible use;
· establishing breeding pairs in residence with sheep under the guidance of Dr Sundev Gombobaatar (Univ. of Mongolia).
From his trips to Mongolia over the years leading overland expeditions with his company, Overland Experts, Bruce has established relationships with many people and organizations that are coming together to help with the project. Bruce is committed to learning as much about the history and genetics of this rare breed as possible and is partnering with the Institute of Canine Biology to facilitate those efforts.
If you've never seen one of these dogs - or even if you have - check these out –
· Some wonderful photos
· Great video (check out the whelping box!)
· More vintage video
· Bankhar at a Mongolian dog show
· Stunning photography of Mongolia
· More gorgeous photography from one of project leader Bruce Elfstrom's trips to Mongolia
6th Floor, NTN Tower
Baga Toiruu, Chingeltei District 1
Ulaanbaatar 15170, Mongolia
P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.