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Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
MMC opens trading -15.66% today
MMC, Shenhua, Sumitomo Group to Develop Mongolia Coal Mine
By Michael Kohn
December 23 (Bloomberg) A group comprising Energy Resources LLC, China Shenhua Energy Co. and Sumitomo Corp. (8053) won the right to develop one of Mongolia's largest metallurgical-coal deposits, beating a bid from U.S. mining company Peabody Energy Corp.
TRQ closed +0.35% to US$2.87
Mitsubishi seeks long-term deal with Oyu Tolgoi, buys copper concentrate on trial
TOKYO, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Japan's Mitsubishi Materials Corp and Mitsui & Co have bought 5,000 tonnes of copper concentrates from Mongolia's Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, operated by Rio Tinto, on a trial basis, in an effort to diversify their procurement sources.
"We purchase over 60 percent of copper concentrates from Chile and Peru and we want to lower the degree of dependence on South America," Tatsuya Inoue, general manager of the raw materials department at Mitsubishi Materials, told Reuters on Monday.
Mitsubishi Materials procures about 1 million tonnes of copper concentrates a year, 60-70 percent of which comes from Chile and Peru.
The first shipment from Oyu Tolgoi, transported by rail in Mongolia and Russia to Vladivostok port, then by sea to a Japanese port, arrived at Naoshima Smelter and Refinery of Mitsubishi Materials early this month, Inoue said.
It takes about 25 days to carry the raw material from Oyu Tolgoi, which is located in Mongolia's vast and remote southern Gobi region, to Vladivostok by railroad, and five more days by ship to a Japanese port, compared with 30-40 days from a port in South America, Inoue said.
"We have not made any decisions on contract, but we intend to talk with the producer about a long-term contract as early as early next year," Inoue said, without elaborating further.
Vancouver-based Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd owns 66 percent, and the Mongolian government 34 percent, of Oyu Tolgoi, which is one of the world's biggest copper and gold mines. The mine is operated by Rio Tinto, which owns a majority stake in Turquoise Hill.
The first open-pit phase of the project went into operation in July 2013, and the mine produced 76,700 tonnes of copper concentrate by the end of that year, but the second phase, which involves underground expansion of the mine, has faced delays.
Mitsubishi Materials Seeks Copper Contract From Oyu Tolgoi Mine – Bloomberg, December 22
AKM last traded A$0.031 Friday, -44.64% YTD
Aspire Mining's shares are getting snapped up, by its directors
December 22 (Proactive Investors) Aspire Mining (ASX:AKM) shares have been getting snapped up recently by Hong Kong based investors, along with directors of the company.
Aspire directors are aligning themselves with the success of the company, and combined have increased their stake to over 15% on an undiluted basis (32% fully diluted).
This includes David Paull, managing director for Aspire, who acquired 8,000,000 million shares for a consideration of $206,000 in an off-market trade.
Aspire is an emerging coking coal developer and is well placed to benefit from Mongolia's changing infrastructure landscape.
The company is the largest licence holder in Selenge Basin – the largest of Mongolia's coking coal basins with the 255 million tonne Ovoot Coking Coal Deposit - which is the second largest coking coal reserve in Mongolia.
Ovoot is close to China, the worlds' largest steel industry, and is located only 300 kilometres from Russia's 20Bt Ulug Khem Coal Basin.
The planned upgrade of Trans Mongolian Railway will allow capacity for Ovoot coking coal and Southern Siberian coals to travel south to China at first quartile landed cash costs.
There is also rail growth that could unlock the Selenge and Ulug Khem Basin potential.
Paull's total interests in the company
- David Paull: 1,000,000 Performance Rights.
- 2Rs Pty Ltd 1,986,792 Ordinary Shares, 943,396 Class A Options, 20,000,000 Performance Options.
- Red Island Resources Limited 8,100,000 Ordinary Shares, 49,000,000 Class A Options, 49,000,000 Performance Options.
YAK closed -2.27% to C$0.86 Monday, MNGGF -3.98% to US$0.759
Mongolia Growth Group Announces Grand Opening Of Tuguldur Center
Toronto, Ontario (FSCwire) - Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. (YAK - TSXV and MNGGF - USA) ("MGG") or ("the Company") a commercial real estate investment and development company participating in the dynamic growth of the Mongolian economy is proud to announce that the Tuguldur Center had its grand opening celebration on Friday December 19th.
This grand opening is the culmination of over a year of effort from all departments at the company, including acquisitions, accounting, development, leasing and property management. MGG successfully identified the distressed opportunity, arranged for bank debt, undertook extensive renovations, leased out the property and turned it over to property management.
The property is now 99% leased and the bank debt has been fully retired through the sale of non-core assets including the accelerated payment of all amounts owed to MGG from the sale of Mandal Daatgal, MGG's former insurance subsidiary.
"I want to thank everyone who was involved in making Tuguldur such a success for MGG," said Harris Kupperman, Chairman and CEO of MGG. "Through everyone's hard work, the property is almost entirely leased at targeted rates. Beginning in December 2014, Tuguldur will become a substantial contributor to our overall revenue."
"Based on the success that we have had with Tuguldur Stage I, MGG is actively pushing forward on plans for Tuguldur Stage II. We have a waiting list of prospective tenants looking for additional space and feel confident that we can transition these inquiries into tenants when stage II is completed."
XAM closed +4.76% to A$0.11 on the announcement
KHARMAGTAI EXPLORATION UPDATE: High-grade zones grow & drilling at Pigeon confirms new porphyry centre
- Supplementary 5 hole drilling program at Kharmagtai extends the centres of known high-grade mineralization and confirms a new porphyry centre.
- Drilling continues to increase scale and potential of this large copper-gold system with multiple near-surface, gold rich centres, including AltanTolgoi and Zesen Uul.
- KHDDH359 in the northern part of Altan Tolgoi intersected 315.7m @ 0.47% Cu & 0.37g/t Au (0.70% CuEq) from 0.3m, including 160m @ 0.65% Cu & 0.56g/t Au (1.00% CuEq) from 14m.
- KHDDH358 in the eastern part of Altan Tolgoi intersected 102m @0.56% Cu & 0.62g/t Au (0.91% CuEq) from 540m in the Tourmaline breccia.
- New porphyry centre identified with two holes intersecting low density stockwork mineralisation at Pigeon, approximately 2 kilometres east of Tsagaan Sudal.
- $A13.6 million placement completed and Rights Issue underway to support Xanadu's planned Kharmagtai drilling program and multi-disciplinary studies to deliver a maiden resource early next year, and to further investigate the exciting Oyut Ulan property.
December 22 -- Xanadu Mines Ltd (ASX: XAM – "Xanadu") is pleased to present the recent supplementary program drill results. The drill hole details are set out in Table 1 and the assays are summarized in Table 2. A plan and cross-sections are included in Figures 1 to 5 with photographs of representative core samples from KHDDH359 presented in Figures 6 and 7.
The supplementary drill program at Kharmagtai has delivered results consistent with a large copper-gold system with a multiple near-surface, gold-rich centres including Altan Tolgoi, Zesen Uul and Tsagaan Sudal.
The Kharmagtai project is one of the most advanced copper-gold projects in northern Asia and recent work continues to increase the size and grade of the project. All four prospects remain open, including the tourmaline breccia mineralisation to the east of Altan Tolgoi which appears to be part of a much larger system extending for several kilometres in an east-west direction.
The porphyry mineralisation intersected in the recent drilling at the Pigeon prospect has demonstrated the excellent potential for the discovery of additional shallow porphyry centres under shallow sand cover.
RECENT DRILLING RESULTS:
GUF closed -2.7% to A$0.036 Monday, -56.63% YTD
Guildford Coal: Baruun Noyon Uul Mine Second Trial Coal Test Results
December 22 -- Guildford Coal Limited (Guildford or the Company) (ASX: GUF) is pleased to provide an update on the positive progress made in December 2014 at the Baruun Noyon Uul (BNU) Mine in the South Gobi.
BNU Mine in Production
Production at the BNU Mine has recommenced. The photo below shows the CAT 6030 Excavator in operation. It is anticipated that a 15,000t coal sale contract will be signed this week and pending customs approval the shipment should begin later in the week.
Blasting has also commenced with the first confined shot fired in the BNU pit occurring on the 20th of December which will improve equipment productivity and performance. The excellent project safety record of the BNU Mine has been maintained with no safety incidents reported to date.
CSR Results from Bulk Coal Washing Trials
On 27 November 2014, Guildford announced the washing and laboratory testing results from the second trial batch of coal (14,300t) from the BNU Mine. The Company has now received the preliminary results on the Coke Strength after Reaction (CSR) tests which are reported to be in the range of 50 to 61 to date, which is considered high. A coal which, when coked, achieves a high CSR value is highly regarded in the market, primarily because this test relates to blast furnace performance, particularly fuel rate and permeability of the burden.
The target specification of the primary product from BNU is for a low ash premium quality hard coking coal with low sulphur and the following key parameters; Ash 8%, VM25%, G 80, Y17, CSR 50+, S <0.7, TM 8% which is highly desirable amongst Chinese steel makers.
Recent washability test work has also demonstrated that a higher quality product can be produced with only minor loss in yield. Further testing and market studies will be undertaken to evaluate the value / cost benefit of this higher quality product in the available market. This evaluation will also focus on determining the final target specification to optimise project value considering all costs from mine to customer.
Float and Sink test work conducted prior to the washing trials consistently demonstrated that very high yields are possible when washing the BNU coal. Furthermore the BNU coal has successfully exported a portion of the total trial batch that can bypass the wash plant and be sold directly to the end users without washing.
Mogi: another casualty
Newera acquires high-grade zinc development project in Chihuahua, Mexico.
December 22 -- Newera Resources Limited (ASX: NRU, NURO) is pleased to announce the acquisition of a high-grade zinc development project in Chihuahua, Northern Mexico.
Investor Presentation – Newera Resources, December 22
Haranga Resources: Fully Underwritten Non-Renounceable Entitlement Issue
Prophecy Coal Shareholders Approve Name Change to Prophecy Development
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Dec. 22, 2014) - Prophecy Coal Corp. ("Prophecy" or the "Company") (TSX:PCY)(OTCQX:PRPCF)(FRANKFURT:1P2) is pleased to announce that the shareholders of the Company approved the proposed Name Change resolution at the Company's Special Meeting of shareholders held on December 19, 2014 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Voting results for resolution noted above have been reported in the Report on Voting Results as filed on SEDAR on December 19, 2014.
9% Yields With TDBM's Very Short 10-Month Yankee Bonds, Matures September 2015
· Profits have increased eight-fold since 2009.
· With GDP growth for 2014 expected to be approximately 7%, Mongolia remains one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
· Mongolia's largest and oldest bank.
December 22 (Seeking Alpha) This week, we take our third look at Yankee bonds from the Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia (TDBM). Since 2009, this issuer has not only become the dominant market presence within its national banking industry, but its profits have increased eight-fold. Since reviewing TDBM in May 2013 and again in September 2013, it has continued to increase its market share in the Mongolian banking industry claiming 38.3% corporate lending and 51.9% trade financing market shares. These bonds have a short 10-month maturity, maturing in October 2015, with an excellent yield of over 9%. Mongolia's economy continues to grow at a healthy rate. With GDP growth for 2014 expected to be approximately 7%, it remains one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. This is due in large part to Mongolia's rich and largely untapped mineral resources.
This exceptional growth, coupled with TDBM's solid market share, has attracted international interest including a partnership with Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS). Additionally, TDBM continues to expand, opening its first international branch in Tokyo, Japan earlier this year. We believe the addition of these TDBM bonds to a balanced income portfolio offers solid cash flow and lowers overall portfolio risk through diversification in the global debt and currency markets, and we are adding these bonds to our fixed income portfolios, FX1 and FX2.
Mongolia, whose economy has traditionally been dependent on herding and agriculture, has recently experienced staggering, rapid growth due to the large amount of identified, but mostly untapped mineral resources. With double-digit GDP growth the past four years, Mongolia is solidly moving towards a more industrialized economy. A major contributor to this growth is the massive $6.2 billion Oyu Tolgoi (OT) copper and gold mine. With phase one completed and phase two slated to begin construction, the Oyu Tolgoi project will produce more than 300,000 tons of copper concentrate a year once construction is fully completed. It is expected to boost Mongolia's economy by a third by 2020.
Two other favorable developments we feel favor the continued growth of the Mongolian economy are the repeal of the SEFIL legislation and changes to Mongolia's 2006 Minerals Law. The Strategic Entities Foreign Investment Law (SEFIL) was an effort to protect the country's strategic sectors in minerals, infrastructure, telecommunications, media and defense. SEFIL's effect on foreign direct investment (FDI) was dismal with FDI decreasing by 47% between January and August of 2013. To minimize further economic damage, Mongolian parliament passed the new Investment Law in October 2013, effectively voiding SEFIL. Secondly, in July 2014, Mongolia's parliament amended the Minerals Law to increase Mongolia's area available to mining and exploration from 8% to 20%, as well as lift a 2010 ban on new licenses. These moves should renew foreign direct investment and encourage additional mining activity.
Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia (TDBM)
Banking is essential to a growing economy. Trade and Development Bank (TDBM), with claimed market shares of 38.3% in corporate lending and 51.9% in trade financing, is Mongolia's largest and oldest bank. Established in 1990, it provides banking products and services throughout the country with a network of 51 branches. Banking services provided include large corporate and retail lending, trade finance, remittance, cash management, treasury, foreign exchange and investment banking. TDBM acts as a primary lender to most of Mongolian leading corporations as well as foreign corporations and foreign representative offices across all major industrial and commercial sectors. Leveraging this preeminent position and its long-standing customer relationships, the Bank has consolidated its market-leading position in the handling of international trade finance and remittance, with access to credit lines from major international lenders and correspondent banking relationships with over 150 international financial institutions. As an example of its continued growth, TDB successfully opened its first international office in Tokyo, Japan in July 2014.
As a testimony to TDBM's dominant market position within one of the world's growing economies, Goldman Sachs acquired a 4.8% stake in TDBM in February 2012. In a statement, TDB commented that "Goldman Sachs' global expertise and financial strength will help us grow further and enhance our offering." According to sources, the Goldman Sachs investment was kept below 4.99 percent because buying a higher stake would have triggered increased requirements under US legislation.
TDBM has also earned many distinguished awards from the international banking community. "Global Banking and Finance Review Awards" most recently recognized Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia as the 2014 Award Winner of the "Best Commercial Bank Mongolia."
TDBM is Profitable with Solid Ratios
For the nine months ending 9/30/2014, TDB's net profits were MNT 76.1 billion as compared to MNT 71.2 billion for the same time period in 2013. This represents a gain of almost 7%. For the past five years, TDBM has shown outstanding growth in its annual profits.
Tier 1 capital ratio has continued to recover from a five-year low of 8.18% in 2011, to 9.97% in 2012 and 11.62% in 2013. As of 9/30/2014, TDBM's Tier 1 capital ratio is 11.96%. The capital adequacy ratio has remained strong at 15.12% for 2012 and 15.07% for 2013, and 15.31% as of 9/30/2014. TDBM's total assets increased from MNT 2,700 billion in 2012 to MNT 5,124 billion in 2013. Assets as of September 30, 2014, are MNT 5,223 billion. Moody's gives TDBM a rating of B3.
Moody's states that the probability of systemic (government) support for TDBM is high, given the bank's large market presence in Mongolia. This translates to a virtual "backstop" for TDB in the event of a financial crisis. TDBM's own senior unsecured debt rating is B3, which is the similar to the Mongolian government. Moody's rating of B3 (stable) is underpinned by TDBM's good franchise value and expertise in corporate banking in Mongolia. TDBM serves approximately 400 major Mongolian corporations in almost all major business sectors. An upgrade of the sovereign rating could be positive for the banks ratings, especially if it can maintain its currently healthy asset quality, capital, and profitability metrics throughout the economic cycle.
The yield indicated for this issue is over 9%, with a very short maturity of only ten months. Given that domestic one-year treasury bonds currently yield less than 1%, this bond is extremely attractive given the risks outlined below.
The default risk is Trade and Development Bank's inability to perform. TDBM's growth has been and remains strong. Also, with TDB's dominant market share, it is highly unlikely that the Mongolian government would not assist the Bank in the event of a financial crisis.
Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO), the majority owner of the Oyu Tolgoi mine, has been involved in a stand-off with the Mongolian government over cost overruns and tax issues that have stalled phase two development at the mine. Mongolia's Parliament has just appointed a new Prime Minister and Rio Tinto is hopeful that an agreement can be reached with the new government that will enable development to continue.
Geopolitical risks are also present and difficult to predict. The full recovery of foreign direct investment since the repeal of SEFIL has yet to be realized. The crucial step of commencing development on phase two of the Oyu Tolgoi mine would provide a significant boost to foreign capital inflows and broader economic activity. Additionally, China, Mongolia's most significant export destination, has struggled with its own economic slowdown and falling commodity/mineral prices. However, Mongolia has recently been working closely with Japan on proposed investment and infrastructure projects. These projects would help Mongolia continue its journey toward a more industrialized economy.
These bonds have similar duration and/or risks to other emerging market bonds denominated in US dollars that we have reviewed, such as 12.25% Transener Sinking Bonds, 8% Ceagro Agricola Yankee Bonds, or 7.7% Mongolian Mining Corporation Bonds.
Summary and Conclusion
Although the economic growth in Mongolia has slowed recently, its growth is still at least double that of most of the industrialized economies of the world. Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia has performed well in the past five years. It remains the dominant player in Mongolian banking, the "go-to" financial institution for many of the country's largest companies, as well as for many international companies coming to do business in Mongolia. Its partnership with global finance giant Goldman Sachs brings a world of global connections within many different industries. We believe the over 9% yield with a short 10-month maturity represents excellent return given the risks we've identified. With a solid growth history the last five years, TDBM is well positioned to profit from a growing Mongolian economy.
Issuer: Trade & Development Bank of Mongolia (TDBM)
Yield to Maturity: ~9.17%
Disclosure: Durig Capital and certain clients may have positions in TDBM 2015 bonds.
MSE News for December 22: Top 20 -1.55% to 14,475.20, Turnover 25.2 Million
Ulaanbaatar, December 22 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Monday, a total of 12 thousand and 038 thousand units of 19 JSCs were traded costing MNT 25 million 202 thousand and 082.
"APU" /5,000 thousand units/, "Moninjbar" /4,990 units/, "State Department Store" /1,296 units/, "Baganuur" /225 units/ and "Makh impex" /127 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "APU" (MNT 18 million 755 thousand and 045), "Moninjbar" (MNT one million 048 thousand and 900), "Material impex" (MNT 992 thousand), "Bayangol hotel" (MNT 975 thousand) and "State Department Store" (MNT 727 thousand and 887).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 406 billion 514 million 359 thousand and 083. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 14,475.20, decreasing 228.24 units or 1.55% against the previous day.
BoM MNT Rates: Monday, December 22 Close
December MNT vs USD, CNY Chart:
BoM issues ₮106.5 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding +79.6% to ₮213.2 billion
December 22 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 106.5 billion at a weighted interest rate of 12.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
BoM issues ₮34 billion 4-week bills at 12.49%, total outstanding ₮34 billion
December 22 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 4 week bills worth MNT 34 billion at a weighted interest rate of 12.49 percent per annum. /For previous auctions click here/
New Justice Minister requests IAAC to inspect former Justice Minister
Ulaanbaatar, Dec 22 (GoGo Mongolia) Justice Minister D.Dorligjav sent request to Independent Agency Against Corruption (IAAC) to investigate on Kh.Temuujin, former Justice Minister, on corruption today.
Earlier after his appointment to the new post D.Dorligjav openly stated at the State Great Khural that all the allegations against him were fabricated by Kh.Temuujin with the help of his relative, who works in media and had said that he is to sue him in near future.
It seems, he is keeping his words and as a result he sent request to IAAC against Kh.Temuujin.
Mongolia Declares December 29, January 2 as Holidays
Dec 22, Ulaanbaatar (GoGo Mongolia) Cabinet decided to make Friday January 2nd to non-working day as it falls just after the Jan 1st.
Moreover, next Monday December 29th will be non-working day, as it commemorates the 103th anniversary of establishing Republic of Mongolia and freeing it from the Manchu oppression in 1911.
As the January 2nd falls on Friday, cabinet shifted the working day to Saturday 10th and decided to make this day a non-working day. The decision to be finalized during the regular session of the Cabinet today.
Head of Fair Competition Agency Resigns Over Unwillingness to Work with Deputy PM
December 22 (news.mn) Head of the Authority for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection O.Magnai held a press conference about his resignation today, December 22nd.
O.Magnai stated, "I no longer want to work with a government that ignored democratic values and bargained the appointments of deputy ministers. I do not want to work with new Deputy Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh."
O.Magnai explained the reasoning for his decision: "First of all, the new government has been formed against democratic values, without opposition. The society we try to build should have a government whose opposition monitors it. That some parties allied with the government based on ministerial post bargaining shows conspiracy at the highest level. This is against my beliefs and principles. Secondly, I do not want to work with Deputy Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh. Our values, principles, and morals are not shared. A fake democracy that will cause more damage and harm to society is a reality now."
Working Group on Energy Sector Deregulation Meets on Delayed Implementation
December 17 (GoGo Mongolia) Working group on Energy Sector Deregulation met yesterday and discussed the issues and solutions on State Great Khural issued Resolution No.72 on Deregulation of the Energy Sector, which dates back to December 2010.
Ts.Bayarbaatar, Head of the Policy Implementation Department at Ministry of Energy reported on the works done in regards with the implementation of the Resolution No.72.
A.Tleikhan, Great Khural Working Group leader, D.Zorigt, Minister of Energy, D.Dorjpurev, Deputy Minister of Energy, S.Otgonbayar, Head of the Energy Regulation Committee, O.Magnai, Head of Fair Competition and Consumer Protection Agency have discussed on the possible issues related with the implementation of the Deregulation of Energy Sector in Mongolia.
Resolution No.72 on Deregulation of the Energy sector should have come into effect January 2014, but due to economic situation the implementation was postponed. Starting July 2014 the prices on energy were increased by stages to help the crawling sector with beating the losses. Working group emphasized the importance of cooperation of the suppliers through increasing the efficiency and decreasing the costs, which might be the best way to start the deregulation process in the sector.
New Energy Minister to Focus on Freeing Tariffs, Meets Industry Leaders
Ulaanbaatar, December 17 (GoGo Mongolia) On December 16, D.Zorigt, Minister of Energy met with the directors and CEOs of the sector businesses. At the beginning of the meeting the Minister has emphasized that he will continue the policies and directions adopted by State Great Khural and previous Government and that extra focus will be on the freeing the tariffs, increasing the profitability and tightening the responsibilities in the sector.
Participants of the meeting reported on the current financial and conomic situation of the sector and introduced their suggestions on measures to be taken. Besides that, representatives of the sector have requested the Minister to advance the policy on shifting to the market mode as soon as possible.
Minister D.Zorigt stressed out the importance of Energy Sector and rated it as strategic, therefore mentioning the need for sustainable cooperation and development of the sector.
Asia Foundation Co-Hosts 2nd Annual Workshop on Fostering Civic Engagement
Ulaanbaatar, December 22 (MONTSAME) The Office of the President of Mongolia and The Asia Foundation have co-hosted the second annual national workshop of the Fostering Civic Engagement at the Sub-national Level (FOCE) project, funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
It ran at the President's Citizen Hall on December 20. The workshop brought together 90 national and local government actors, civil society stakeholders, and locals from the FOCE pilot sites in 17 soums. The discussions focused on sharing experiences in increasing citizens' participation at the local level.
Mr. L.Dashdorj, an advisor to the President for Economic Policy and Citizens Engagement, noted: "Given the passing of the 2015 State Budget by parliament last week, this conference is timely to ensure that planning for the prioritization of local development funds include considerable input from citizens".
The goal of the program is to increase the transparency and accountability of local governments and to contribute to more responsive local government policy-making and service provision for citizens, supporting the President's agenda for direct democracy and fiscal decentralization. Local governments are being supported to increase civic participation in decision-making through small grants and technical assistance. This has helped establish fully-equipped Citizen Halls in all sites and supported a regular agenda of public consultations. On the citizens' side, training and support have been provided so that citizens understand better the role and responsibility of local government, how to advocate for their interests, and how to demand better services.
The workshop will allow stakeholders to share experiences and learning on participatory practices in the Mongolian context. Representatives from the pilot sites shared their own experiences on social accountability and the use of citizens score card measurement processes, how to effectively disseminate information to citizens living in remote locations, addressing issues of women's under representation in local authorities, and strategies to reach underserved communities including the youth, persons with disabilities and unemployed, reports the Asia Foundation.
Justice Coalition Appeals for State Organizations to Scrap New Year Parties
Ulaanbaatar, December 22 (MONTSAME) "In difficult times of the national economy, it is not good for state organizations to celebrate New Year spending the budget money, and our faction intends to appeal to all related bodies, said N.Battsereg, the head of the "Justice" coalition's faction in parliament on Monday.
After this, the faction's regular meeting focused on two key bills--on public hearing, submitted by the President to parliament, and on Lombard banking service, presented by G.Uyanga MP. The gathered received a report on the draft on public hearing from Ch.Onorbayar, an advisor to the President on legal police, and considered as necessity to back this bill and to convey some proposals to the initiator.
The bill on giving loans by Lombard banking was also backed by the faction. "In times of the economic hardship people need cash through lombard services, so this draft is a well-timed one considering a need in regulating of the related relations and in prevent people's interests," the faction members said.
De Facto: Ministry of Health, AND Sports?
By Jargalsaikhan Dambadarjaa
December 22 (GoGo Mongolia) Ch.Saikhanbileg's government has created a Ministry of Health and Sports and appointed G.Shiilegdamba, the general secretary of Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MRPP), as its minister. Regardless of the minister's political party affiliation, Mongolians expect him to set aside his personal interests and fully fulfill his duties and responsibilities so that the outcome benefits every family. If sports are to be linked to another area, health would be the most rational. That is why many other countries have the same ministry.
The ministry, which integrated health and sports for the first time in our history, is expected to define its mission and strategic objectives in accordance with the law of Mongolia on the legal status of ministries, and commence their work as soon as having their operational plans and budgets approved. Let us hope that they already have a mission and a plan to be pursued in the health area for it has a long history, but does not boast good outcomes.
This ministry would not have needed to conduct too many activities aimed at health if Mongolians had the opportunity to do sports without depending on seasonal conditions and embedded active exercise into our lifestyle. Unfortunately, there is still a long way before Mongolians adopted such behavior to the same extent as developed countries.
WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY IS IT TO STAY HEALTHY?
To start with, maintaining physical and mental health is your own responsibility. If everyone is aware of how to protect them from health risks and have an active lifestyle, it has a wide range of benefits. A survey says that 9 out of 10 deceased adults in Mongolia lost their lives to incommunicable diseases and accidents. It is like a silent plague. It can be said that the causes of the plague are excessive use of tobacco and alcohol, unhealthy diet, and lack of exercise. According to a study completed by the World Health Organization, Mongolia is one of the ten countries that use the greatest amount of tobacco. It also states that one out of four Mongolians up to 20 years old regularly smokes and three out of four people have used alcohol.
Half of our population do not exercise routinely, but consume only half the amount of fruits and vegetable recommended by the World Health Organization, and excessively use salt and animal fat in their diet. As a result, 40 percent of total population with an age of 15-64 are obese while half of the younger people are not able to meet the physical requirements for army enlistment. Young people who are 25-29 years old comprise the largest percentage in the total number of people who have been in an accident. Men have been injured in an accident 2.2 times more than women did. This is how the people descending from the brave conqueror Chinggis and his men look like today.
WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENT DOING?
The government is increasing its investment into physical health and sports every year. Mongolia currently has 485 high school gymnasiums, 11 sports halls, 539 outdoor training grounds, 25 stadiums, 311 naadam grounds, 5 ski resorts and 85 fitness centers. There are a total of 1,534 trainers, 62 full-time fitness practitioners, and 728 non-full-time practitioners working in those facilities. In the last two years, Ulaanbaatar's three districts and several aimags built new sports halls where as Khentii and Khovd aimags constructed a center for water sports. On top of that, a new sports complex was built in Buyant-Ukhaa with 160 million yuan (30 million USD), which was an aid from China.
Despite the new sports facilities, only one-third of our total population exercise regularly and 6.7 percent do sports. Sixty percent of our population live in urban settlements and 70 percent is comprised by people under 35 years old. If Mongolia's total volume of water in swimming pools is compared to the population, the volume of pool water per person equals the volume of a matchbox. Ulaanbaatar has 90 percent of fitness centers/gyms in Mongolia and they charge a monthly fee of more than 200,000 tugrugs. Such fees cost more than half of monthly income of most people, which puts a limitation on those who want to do exercise. The availability of sports centers in Mongolia is significantly lower than that of other developing countries.
The World health Organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. One of the biggest health factors is insufficient exercise. Exercising reduces risks of major health problems such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
WHAT MUST BE DONE?
The government should develop a policy on physical health and sports, pass it as a law, set out clear objectives tied with timelines, measure their implementation, and ensure effective collaboration between relevant parties.
Organizations need to encourage their employees to do more exercise and exclude relevant costs from taxes. It is time to have the social insurance fund to support public health organizations that implement health objectives to promote regular exercise.
It would be a good step to accept the proposal to establish a fund to support public health. The fund would be financed by certain percentages of different taxes and fees such as import tax related to alcohol, tobacco, and medications, penalty fees for breaking laws related to public health and sports, or business permits for sports lotteries or betting games. Furthermore, it would be fair if a certain percentage of prizes and high salaries given to those who became world champions or Olympic champions to go into this fund. Some countries give money to young people who are coming to a gym to exercise rather than charge fees.
There is a big opportunity for Mongolia to develop winter sports, especially alpine skiing and ski marathon. The Sky Resorts example shows us that there is a great possibility for us to build an ice-skating resort along with hotels, restaurants, and saunas, and use it as a golf resort in the summer to attract both domestic and foreign clients. No one is stopping us to seize this opportunity in aimags located in Khangai region and develop tourism. It should be noted that people in Northeast Asia are holding their money in their hands ready to go there.
May the new ministry make substantial contributions to creating a healthy lifestyle that people want to do regular exercise and sports, and have the required conditions to do so.
Turkish Firms Ready to Invest $100 Million in Mongolia's Greenhouse Cultivation
December 22 (infomongolia.com) On December 19, 2014, Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mrs. Radnaa BURMAA received in her office the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Turkey to Mongolia, Mr. Murat Karagoz.
During the meeting, Minister R.Burmaa noted, "A planned introductory tour-meeting with purposes to seek cooperation possibilities in Mongolia's food and agricultural sphere was postponed, and therefore the partnership in this sector and other potential areas are intended to move forward and implement in the near future. Also, we would like to extend our gratitude to the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) for successful implementing and financing the project to acclimatize 20 heads of reindeer from Tyva Republic in Khuvsgul Aimag. Moreover, we would like to note that the Turkish side expressed its interest to invest 100 million USD in developing Mongolia's greenhouse cultivation".
In response, Ambassador M.Karagoz said, "Nevertheless, the above mentioned tour-meeting was postponed, but we are ready to collaborate with newly appointed Minister for Food and Agriculture to boost cooperation".
The meeting was concluded reaching consensus on arranging meeting between the Ministry, Embassy and TIKA as well as to develop further cooperation tasks and plans. Also, parties ensured to collaborate on implementing projects and programs through conducting trainings and introducing technology into Mongolia under TIKA as well as to negotiate a date of Mongolian delegation's visit to Turkey.
Moreover, Minister R.Burmaa requested the Ambassador to convey greetings and invitation to Minister of Food, Agriculture and Livestock of Turkey, Mehmet Mehdi Eker to visit Mongolia in 2015.
Minister of Food and Agriculture Receives Ambassador of Turkey – Montsame, December 21
Mongolia-Czech Business Forum to Take Place in Prague, January 18-20
December 22 (infomongolia.com) Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry in association with Mongolia Invest Agency and the Embassy of Mongolia in Prague, Czech Republic are organizing Mongolia-Czech Business Forum in Prague on January 18-20, 2015.
In the frameworks of Mongolia-Czech Business Forum, issues of main sectors in bilateral trade and investment will be considered and provided with opportunities to host one-to-one meeting between entrepreneurs as well as round-table meeting and familiarize with Czech industries on the site.
Mongolia-Czech Business Forum Approaches – Montsame, December 22
Gov't Offers Unfinished Yarmag Maternity Hospital to Private Sector
December 22 (GoGo Mongolia) Fourth Maternity Hospital building was started back in 2011 at Yarmag area, but never succeeded to finish.
The new maternity hospital was provisioned to serve 300 mothers at once. Construction works were stopped due to the lack of the funds. It needs funding of another MNT 20 billion for infrastructure works and finishing the construction works and state budget has no means to fund it currently. Cabinet, especially PM Ch.Saikhanbileg, is taking charge of this distressed construction and to offer it to the private sectors on a concession agreement basis, therefore allowing private sectors to run the hospital as per their management and utilize the building per its purpose.
Moreover, as we have previously reported building of former Road and Transportation Ministry is to be transformed into Children's Hospital and the hospital building that was turned into office by Kh.Temuujin, former Justice Minister, is to be reviewed to transform it back to hospital, as Ch.Saikhanbileg ordered current Minister of Justice to do the reviews on this matter.
Currently, with the spark of respiratory diseases among children and increased birth rate, hospitals are serving the patients in the hallways and floors. Seems like new cabinet is addressing the urgent matters first.
National Manufacture Shopping Center Opens Today
Ulaanbaatar, Dec 22 (GoGo Mongolia) With the initiative of the Ministry of Industry, Nar-Mon LLC and National Manufacturers Association the National Manufacture Shopping center to be opened today at Night Market at 12PM.
This center is to support the national manufacturers and will display variety of the products manufactured domestically at the reasonable prices. As of today over 50 entities have set up their booths.
As Mongolian products have huge demand from Russian customers, arrangements were made for them to have quick and easy access too.
Ulaanbaatar Mayor Concludes San Francisco Visit with Stops at City Hall, Stanford
Ulaanbaatar, December 22 (MONTSAME) Ulaanbaatar Municipality delegation led by the Mayor E.Bat-Uul visited San Francisco of the USA on December 19 and then left the city December 20 to visit Auburn of the state of Georgia.
In San Francisco, the delegation visited City Municipality to meet leaders of several Departments. Ms Una Fannon, the director for International Business Development, spoke how the city became a leading innovative city through promoting new initiatives in biotechnology and IT with economic and taxation policies and implementing enormous projects on establishing technology parks. After this the two sides discussed development policies of Ulaanbaatar and San Francisco and joint frameworks to be implemented. Ulaanbaatar is to expand its cooperation with San Francisco, and the policies for promoting economic innovations and establishing technological parks are to be practiced in our city. Another leg of the visit was a meeting with professors James Fishkin and Alice Siu from the Department of Communications of the Stanford University. The Mayor discussed with them a current status of the democracy in Mongolia and shared opinions on improving citizens' participation in the decision-making of local administrations and on Deliberative Democracy. The professors of the Stanford University, who are studying the Deliberative Democracy in Asia, agreed to cooperate in introducing this type of democracy in Mongolia.
The same day, the Mayor visited the Consulate of Mongolia to San Francisco to meet the Mongolians who live in this city. Mr Bat-Uul highlighted the works the UB city Municipality is running to improve the infrastructure, to strengthen good governance, and to fight against corruption. He also expressed opinions on how to improve the involvement of Mongolians abroad in making Ulaanbaatar a city of global standards. Present at this meeting were representatives of the Bay Area Mongolians, the Union of Mongolian Women, the Union of Mongolian Students, The Association of Shagai Shooting, "I am Mongolian" school at the "Ger" children's center in Oakland.
Ulaanbaatar City to Establish Economic Development Corporation
December 17 (GoGo Mongolia) Ulaanbaatar city works have been divided into Governor's Office and UB city Mayor Office. Mayor's office is in charge of the utilization and operations, while Governor's office is in charge of Governance and the implementation of the Laws and Regulations approved by State Great Khural and Government of Mongolia.
Even though Mongolia has shifted to market economy, the city of Ulaanbaatar was still managed in old soviet manner. In veiw of this, City Offcials decided it is time to establish Economic Development Corporation to advance city development and accumulation of the funds.
Last July City Council approved this change and within the scope of this resolution have merged some of the agencies and organizations. The Economic Development Corporation is to be operational starting next year.
Former Mining Minister D.Gankhuyag to Chair Mongolia-Japan Parliamentary Group
December 22 (infomongolia.com) Following a recent decision issued by Deputy Speaker of the State Great Khural (Parliament) R.Gonchigdorj, concurrent Head of Parliamentary Group; a member of Parliament Mr. Davaajav GANKHUYAG is appointed as the Chairman of Mongolia-Japan Parliamentary Group at the Parliament.
Former Mining Minister, MP D.Gankhuyag used to chair the Group in 2004-2008 and 2008-2011 and since the 2012 Parliamentary elections, the Mongolia-Japan Parliamentary Group has been chaired by D.Erdenebat.
However, the MP D.Erdenebat is appointed as Minister for Industry of new Coalition Government, the Deputy Speaker promoted MP D.Gankhuyag to chair the Group.
Parliamentarian D.Gankhuayg graduated from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies in 1985 and Kyoto Institute of Technology in 1989 as chemical technology engineer. He has started his career as technologist and engineer at "Gobi" Company and later served as President of "Bridge" Group in 1993-2004. Since 2004, D.Gankhuyag has been a member of the State Great Khural and Minister of Mining in 2012-2014.
D.Gankhuyag MP to Chair Mongolia-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group – Montsame, December 22
D.Gankhuyag appointed head of the Mongolia-Japan parliamentary group – news.mn, December 22
General Prosecutor's Offices of Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia Signed MoU
Bishkek, December 22 (AKIpress) - Decree of the Government signed on December 18, 2014 approved a draft memorandum of understanding between the General Prosecutor's Office of Kyrgyzstan and the General Prosecutor's Office of Mongolia.
The Prosecutor's Offices of Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia have signed the document in order to strengthen cooperation and friendly relations.
Within their means and in accordance with the legislation of their states, the sides aim to cooperate in order to achieve mutual development.
International cooperation will be promoted through joint seminars, training programs and mutual visits.
Development Dialogue 10: Women's Political Empowerment in Mongolia
· Organizing agency: UNDP and National Committee on Gender Equality
· When: 09:00-13:00 PM, 23 December, 2014
· Venue: Chinggis Khaan Hotel, Ulaanbaatar
Women's political participation is a fundamental prerequisite for gender equality and imperative for achieving inclusive, equitable and sustainable development. Studies show that higher numbers of women in the parliament contribute to stronger commitment to social justice and gender equality. Yet, women still remain sidelined from the key governing bodies that determine the political and legislative priorities.
In Mongolia, women's representation in the parliament increased to 14.5 percent as a result of the 2012 general elections. However, Mongolia still ranks below the world average of 21.9 percent. Especially, in the coming 2016 elections, there is no guarantee that this number will remain the same or increase. There is a momentum to bring the topic of women's political participation to upfront, since the Parliament of Mongolia is debating electoral, political party and political finance reforms.
For this purpose, the Dialogue will provide a platform for various stakeholders including the Parliamentarians members, Government officials, Political Parties, academia, international and civil society organizations and the media to exchange views on the most urgent issues and solutions for gender-responsive political reforms and strategies for advancing the gender equality agenda for the 2016 elections.
Issues for Discussion
The Dialogue is expected to raise a number of questions relevant for identifying appropriate approaches for gender-equitable political environment and promoting women's participation in Mongolia:
· What are the challenges that women face in political participation?
· What is the current status of the amended draft of the Law on General Election and Law on Political Party in relation to women's equal participation? How should the Laws address promoting gender-equitable elections and political parties?
· How will the Political Parties work as the enabler and promoter of gender equality rather than barriers? For that purpose, what should be the roles of women's groups in the political parties?
· How to partner with male MPs as well as men in public to promote gender equality in political arena?
· How to raise public awareness and gain public support on women's political representation?
This Dialogue will be organized with presentations on the key issues and then followed by panel discussion and open exchange of views among participants. The first part will discuss challenges faced by women when participating in elections and political processes. In the second part, Members of Parliament will present their point of views and status on the process of amending the laws on elections, political parties. As well as the role of women's wings of political parties and male champions. The participants will be invited to provide their perspectives and views.
Will Mongolia Have the Courage to Scrap the Russian Alphabet?
By Paul Goble
Staunton, December 18 (The Interpreter) – Mongols live in three states, Mongolia, Buryatia within the borders of the Russian Federation, and Inner Mongolia within the borders of the Peoples Republic of China. They share many things in common including their language, but they are divided by alphabets imposed by outsiders.
The Buryats are currently compelled to use a Cyrillic alphabet as a result of a 2002 Russian law. The people of Inner Mongolia use the traditional Mongol alphabet which is written vertically. But the people of Mongolia are caught not only between those two scripts but also between them and the possible introduction of a Latin-based script as well.
Because alphabets can divide otherwise common linguistic communities and thus change the pattern of influence from the outside in a region, the question of alphabet reform in Mongolia not only reflects changes in the balance between Russia and China but also the possibility of the growth of a pan-Mongol identity challenging both Moscow and Beijing.
In an article for the Asia-Russia Daily portal, Yikiyasu Arai, a correspondent for Japan's JB Press, explores the complicated history of alphabets among the Mongols and pointedly asks "will Mongolia have the courage to scrap the Russian alphabet?.
The traditional Mongolian script was introduced in the 12th to the 14th centuries by the Uyghurs, who drew on Arabic script as their model but wrote it vertically rather than horizontally. Some explain this by reference to the fact that it was easier for Mongol horsemen to read a vertical text, but others say this is the result of Chinese influence.
This script won out over the block alphabet from Tibet which was introduced by the Buddhist monk Pagba-Lama in large measure because the latter was both more complicated to write and did not have letters for all the sounds in the Mongol language, Yikiyasu Arai says.
The traditional script lasted until the 1921 revolution and the establishment of communist power in 1924. Under the influence of the Soviet Union whose leaders believed that Latin script could help "backward" peoples overcome their illiteracy functional and political faster than any other, Ulan Bator was pushed into adopting a Latin script.
The Latin script gradually replaced the traditional one, although the latter was still taught because so much of Mongolia's literary heritage was written in it. Then, in 1941, Moscow decided that Mongolia should go over to a script based on the Russian Cyrillic in order to be more tightly integrated with the communist world.
(Some activists in Inner Mongolia pushed for the adoption of the Mongolian script after the communists took power in China, but they were suppressed as relations between Moscow and Beijing worsened in the late 1950s and 1960s.)
With the weakening and then collapse of the Soviet Union, some in Mongolia began to press for dropping Cyrillic and going back either to the traditional script or to a Latin-based one. For many Mongols, the traditional script became a symbol of their national tradition, and beginning in 1992, Mongol schools began to teach the first classes in it.
But because Ulan Bator did not have the funds to pay for new textbooks and because the traditional script did not allow for the expression of certain scientific formulas, Mongolian school children after being exposed to the traditional script in the first two grades have been forced to shift back to the Cyrillic beginning in grade three.
The alphabet struggles are likely to continue, Yikiyasu Arai says, because the various scripts "mark out a definite cultural circle and sometimes a religious sphere of influence as well. In some cases," he concludes, "scripts disappear with the collapse of empires and the destruction of their spheres of influence."
That is what makes this issue so important not only in Mongolia but for Mongols in China and Russia and for those two countries more generally.
ITB Berlin: The Festival of a Thousand Camels
Mongolia – Official Partner Country of ITB Berlin 2015, www.mongolia.travel
The Festival of a Thousand Camels and other events surrounding the two-humped wonder of the Gobi
December 18 (ITB Berlin) Surreal images of two-humped Bactrian camels have long captured the hearts of travellers around the world. These camels are essential to the nomadic herders of the Mongolian Gobi desert, home to two-humped Bactrian camels and their wild relatives.
Camel herders say the camel is the jewel of the Gobi Desert and point out their unique character: "Camels can't stand a violent man", "Camels know the man who cares", "If you want a calm camel then treat it with care and passion", "Physical strength is not needed for herding camels". The gentle spirit of the camel and the bond with men are portrayed beautifully in the documentary "The Story of the Weeping Camel" released in 2003.
Over the past twelve years the number of camels in Mongolia has been in steady decline. Camel herders, non-governmental organisations, and local administrations are joining efforts to protect and preserve the Bactrian camel population. Camel festivals aim to educate the public by providing first-hand experience and creating opportunities to interact with herders and share experiences.
Camel events open with Camel Polo organised by the Umnugobi Province, home to 86% of the camel population of Mongolia, at the end of the winter months of the lunar calendar. This is followed by the famous "A Thousand Camel" festival organised annually in March by a local non-governmental organisation in Umnugobi Province. It offers visitors a rare opportunity to interact with and learn first-hand about these amazing animals and camel herders' nomadic lifestyle. A stream of events – camel racing, camel polo, cultural performances and camel wool clothing – keeps the hosts and visitors entertained, creating one big nomadic community around camels.
In November, the "Great Gobi Camel Festival" held in Gobi-Altai Province rounds off the year-long events. At the festival camel herders share their experiences and best practices and present their unique camel traditions and handmade camel wool products. It serves as an open platform for camel herders to have their say.
The festivals, together with stays at local herders' homes and visits to significant palaeontological and cultural sites in the Gobi Desert, create the most cherished memories of a lifetime. Tourists who attend the festivals not only have a great time interacting with beautiful two-humped Bactrian camels and their owners, but also help to protect and preserve the camel population.
Nine sets of nine days of Mongolian winter begins
December 22 (news.mn) Mongolians traditionally classify the winter season into nine sets of nine days in order to interpret forecasts from ancient times.
Today nine sets of nine days starts according to the Mongolian lunar calendar, on December 22nd. Even before the founding of the National Agency for Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment Monitoring in Mongolia, Mongolians used the physics of the freezing point to measure winter cold, which lasts for 81 days, or nine sets of nine days of winter.
Each set of nine days has its own behavior of weather conditions progressing from the winter solstice (around December 22) through to the Lunar New Year and the first days of spring. The description for each set of the nine days is much talked about among Mongolians.
The day when the first set of nine days is marked begins with the shortest day and longest night of the year. However, the nine sets of nine days begins today, with a temperature high of -6 C and low of -20 C.
Nine sets of nine days:
What happens during the first set of nine days? 12/22-12/30
Homemade Mongolian milk vodka freezes
What happens during the second set of nine days? 12/31-I/8
What happens during the third set of nine days? I/9-I/17
Horns of three-year-old oxen freeze
What happens during the fourth set of nine days? I/18-I/26
Horns of four-year-old oxen freeze
What happens during the fifth set of nine days? I/27-2/4
Rice will not congeal
What happens during the sixth set of nine days? 2/5-2/13
Road gets black under the snow
What happens during the seventh set of nine days? 2/14-2/22
What happens during the eighth set of nine days? 2/23-3/2
Ground becomes muddy
What happens during the ninth set of nine days? 3/3-3/12
Warm days come in
Altai Construction Awards Newly Crowned World Wrestling Champion with Apartment
Ulaanbaatar, December 22 (MONTSAME) A World champion for freestyle wrestling S.Tserenchimed has received a two-room apartment for her successes.
The apartment's key was granted by Kh.Bat-Erdene, a vice president of Mongolia's Freestyle Wrestling Federation and director of the "Altai Construction" company, during the federation's New Year celebration on Sunday.
Bronze medalists of the 2014 Wrestling World Championships O.Burmaa, G.Mandakhnaran and E.Nyam-Ochir were given cash prize of MNT 2 million each. Moreover, it was announced that E.Bekhbayar IMS will compete on behalf of the "Altai Construction" company from next year. For his training, ten million Togrog was given to Bekhbayar's coach A.Enkhee, the State Honored Sportsman and teacher of the "Ireedui" complex school.
The head of the Freestyle Wrestling Federation D.Dagvadorj also gave money prizes to wrestlers who won medals at international competitions in 2014.
Mongolian Team Heads for 2015 Dakar Rally
Ulaanbaatar, December 22 (MONTSAME) The National team of rallying pilots headed to South America on December 21 to compete in the Dakar Challenge which will run there January 3-17.
The Mongolians will take part in the "car" class (a category of cars weigh less than 3,500 tons) for the first time. Our team consists of 25 people among whom are a pilot of the car-no.431 N.Lhamaa IMS, co-pilots O.Byambadelger IMS and B.Surendorj, also a mechanic B.Batbold, a Master of Sports. The car-no.413 will be driven by a pilot O.Byambatsogt IMS and a co-pilot D.Jargalsaikhan.
Other pilots will participate in the "motorbikes", "quads" and "trucks" categories.
Mongolian Reaches Antarctica in Joint Bulgarian Research Team
Ulaanbaatar, December 22 (MONTSAME) A technological engineer of the hydrology section at the Department of Hydrology and Metrology Mr Kh.Purevdagva reports that he reached Livingston Island.
He has reached the island together with Bulgarian counterparts. When they got to the place, a camp was covered by two-meter thick snow, "we had to clean the place, then I started observation and research works after having installed all measurement tools and facilities in five spots".
For the time being, a temperature of Livingston Island is not stable with a constant wind.
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