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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

[MNT hits new low; FX reserves fall; MPP opposes debt ceiling increase; EBRD lends Toyota dealer; and Bat-Uul fights to keep his 6 deputies]

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

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Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original

 

Overseas Market

MMC closed -1.47% to HK$0.335 Monday, rights shares commenced trading December 30

Mongolia Seeks to Conclude TT Talks Before Lunar New Year

Ulaanbaatar, January 5 (MONTSAME) Negotiations between the working group of Tavan Tolgoi bid and a bid winning consortium China Shenhua Energy company-Sumitomo Corporation-Energy Resource LLC began on January 5 as agreed.

The sides are to conclude the negotiations and to present their outcomes to the cabinet and parliament before the Lunar New Year, which falls on February 19 this year. The working group will file a detailed agreement together with the investors, determine the works to be conducted in a scope on the investment, define the involvement of the Mongolian side and responsibilities of the investors, estimate the commercial prices of products, and settle taxes and royalties. 

Link to article

 

Erdenes TT to double coal exports in 2015 to 11 Million Tons

January 6 (news.mn) In 2015, Erdenes Tavantolgoi plans to exploit 11 million tons of coal, twice as much as it exported in 2014.

Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi exported 5.7 million tons of coal in 2014, 2.9 times more than it did in 2013.

It also expects its coal export volume to increase. The company exported 2.3 million tons of coal in 2012, 1.6 million tons in 2013, and 5.7 million tons in 2014.

Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi led national coal export companies with its export volume in 2014. It supplied 10 percent of China's coal imports in 2014.

Link to article

Related:

Erdenes TT Leads Mongolian Coal ExportsMontsame, January 6

 

WOF closed flat at A$0.045 Monday

Wolf Petroleum Appoints Daniel Crennan as Independent Director

January 5 -- Wolf Petroleum Limited (Wolf, ASX:WOF) is very pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Daniel Crennan as an independent non executive Director of the Company.

Mr Crennan is a Barrister who practices primarily in Melbourne and Perth. His areas of expertise include Corporations Law, Commercial Law, Trade Practices and Intellectual Property. He has studied aspects of International Law at Leiden University, the Netherlands and has worked in London and the Hague. Mr Crennan has made submissions to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties on behalf of the Law Council of Australia. In addition to his legal studies, He completed tertiary studies in Earth Science, Chemistry, Mathematics and Engineering.

Link to release

 

Prophecy Coal Announces Change of Name to Prophecy Development from January 7

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Jan. 5, 2015) - Prophecy Coal Corp. ("Prophecy" or the "Company") (TSX:PCY)(OTCQX:PRPCF)(FRANKFURT:1P2) announces today that it has changed its name to "Prophecy Development Corp."

The Company's shareholders approved the name change at the Company's special meeting held on December 19, 2014. All materials necessary to effect the name change have been filed with the Toronto Stock Exchange ("TSX") and, subject to final TSX approval, it is anticipated that the Company's common shares will commence trading on the TSX under its new name on January 7, 2015. The CUSIP number for the Company's common shares will also change on that date to 74347D108. The Company's trading symbols will remain the same.

Link to release

 

Conditions Met for Sale of Winsway-Marubeni's Majority Stake in Grande Cache Coal

December 30 (AAStocks) UP ENERGY DEV (00307.HK) announced that the conditions for the sale and purchase agreement have been reached before the long stop date in December in relation to the acquisition of 82.74% equity in GCC and GCC LP from Marubeni and WINSWAY (01733.HK).  Application for trade resumption has been applied this morning.

Marubeni, Winsway and GCC confirmed that additional capital is needed for the continuous operation of GCC Group. Up Energy Development agreed to provide additional funding for GCC and GCC LP under the Amended and Restated Bridge Loan Agreement.

As of the date of the announcement, a principal amount of US$10 million has been provided to GCC LP under Amended and Restated Bridge Loan Agreement.

GCC operates a metallurgical coal mine in Alberta, Canada for the production of hard coking coal. 

Link to article

Link to Winsway release

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Local Market

MSE News for January 5: Top 20 -0.59% to 14,766.05, Turnover 68.5 Million

Ulaanbaatar, January 5 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Monday, a total of 595 thousand and 423 units of 14 JSCs were traded costing MNT 68 million 500 thousand and 512.

"Merex" /586 thousand and 700 units/, "Khokh gan" /4,700 units/, "APU" /1,600 units/, "State Department Store" /1,196 units/ and "Makh impex" /680 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Merex" (MNT 56 million 656 thousand and 892), "APU" (MNT six million 001 thousand and 600), "Makh impex" (MNT two million 515 thousand and 775), "Talkh chikher" (MNT one million 239 thousand and 500) and "State Department Store" (MNT 685 thousand and 892).

The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 429 billion 324 million 439 thousand and 995. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 14,766.05, decreasing 88.19 units or 0.59% against the previous day.

Link to article

 

MSE News for January 6: Top 20 -1.01% to 14,616.43, Turnover 42.1 Million

Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Tuesday, a total of 24 thousand and 009 units of 27 JSCs were traded costing MNT 42 million 123 thousand and 154.

"Merex" /10 thousand and 360 units/, "Hermes center" /9,600 units/, "State Department Store" /747 units/, "Material impex" /566 units/ and "Mongol savkhi" /392 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Suu" (MNT 14 million and 100 thousand), "Material impex" (MNT eight million 434 thousand and 060), "Darkhan nekhii" (MNT five million 897 thousand and 500), "Bayangol hotel" (MNT four million and 290 thousand) and "UB-BUK" (MNT two million and 142 thousand).

The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 411 billion 215 million 315 thousand and 671. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 14,616.43, decreasing 149.62 units or 1.01% against the previous day.

Link to article

 

MSE Offers 62.4 Billion 52-Week Treasury Bills at 16.625%

January 5 (MSE) --

1.    The issuer's name: Mongolian Ministry of Finance

2.    The purpose of the issuance of bond: Fund management of State treasure 

3.    Offering scope of securities: Offering to the public

4.    Type of securities: Government securities

5.    Face value: 100,000 MNT

6.    Discounted price:                                        

7.    Total amounts issued: 624,461.0 Units 

8.    Securities performance

*Coupon of Government Securities will be determined within 365 days.

9.    Rate of interest: interest rate of the Government Securities, which will be issued weekly, will be based on auction results of Central Bank basis State Government Securities weighted average interest rate. If the Central Bank's weekly trading cancelled, the interest rate will be set based on the previous trading of Government Securities weighted average interest rate.

10.  Order deadline: The Mongolian Stock Exchange will take orders 6 days and the trading will close on the 6th day at 14.00 PM and information on total orders will be delivered to the securities issuer. 

11.  Trading period: Total registered orders distribution of MSE trading system will be determined based on the Ministry of Finance votes.

Link to release

 

Sharyn Gol to Commission 600Ktspa Coal-Washing Plant Within Q1

Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) "Sharyn Gol" JSC intends to commission a 600 thousand TPA (tons per year) coal-washing plant within the first quarter of 2015, the "Today" newspaper reported Tuesday.

This plant has been built on the funding of six billion USD loan provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) (Mogi: must be mistaking it for the $10m financing EBRD provided in January 2014), the equipment procurement has been executed by Parnaby Cyclones International Co.Ltd., of the UK.

The plant creates 24 workplaces. "Sharyn Gol" JSC exploits coal for domestic power use, and is commissioning the coal-washing plant with intent to commercialize its products into international market. According to the director in charge of the company's business development and investment B.Otgonzul, the company is to export its products when it starts to operate on regular basis and global prices of coal are stabilized. "Initially, the plant will supply coal to the domestic cement producing plants that consume higher-quality coal. So far, Japan, S.Korea, Turkey and Russia submitted their interests to purchase coal. The exports are likely to commence in 2016-2017," she said.

Link to article

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Economy

Early morning bank rates: Khan (Buy 1,900 Sell 1,908), TDB (Buy 1,890 Sell 1,908), Golomt (Buy 1,896 Sell 1,908), XacBank (Buy 1,892 Sell 1,910), State Bank (Buy 1,890 Sell 1,909)

BoM MNT Rates: Tuesday, January 6 Close

 

 

1/6

1/5

12/31

12/30

12/26

12/25

12/24

12/23

12/22

USD

1,902.52

1,892.91

1,888.44

1,885.60

1,884.33

1,881.02

1,881.48

1,878.16

1,869.98

EUR

2,271.99

2,263.35

2,295.40

2,293.36

2,300.11

2,299.83

2,293.90

2,296.14

2,294.09

CNY

306.25

304.46

304.59

303.57

303.57

303.55

302.57

301.84

300.68

GBP

2,897.73

2,895.02

2,938.98

2,927.58

2,932.02

2,924.70

2,923.91

2,926.74

2,928.39

RUB

30.96

32.11

33.97

33.25

36.19

35.73

34.70

34.04

33.10

January MNT vs USD, CNY Chart:

 

Link to rates

 

BoM FX auction: US$12m, CNY60m sold, accepts $19m MNT swap offers

January 6 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on January 06th, 2015 the BOM has received bid offer of USD and CNY from local commercial banks. The BOM has sold 12.0 million USD and 60.0 million CNY.

On January 06th, 2015, The BOM has received MNT Swap agreement bid offer in equivalent to 19.0 million USD from local commercial banks and accepted the offer.

See also:

·         FX Auction Statistics

Link to release

 

Mongolia FX Reserves Fall 41.5% Y/Y to $1.35b at end-Nov

By Michael Kohn

January 5 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia's forex reserves fall 3.29% m/m, according to data on the Bank of Mongolia website.

* FX reserves fall 39.85% YTD: central bank data

* Link to historical data on reserves: http://www.mongolbank.mn/eng/dbgrossreserves.aspx

(BFW)

 

Bank of Mongolia Bought 13 Tons of Gold in 2014, Sold 11 Tons

Ulaanbaatar, January 5 (MONTSAME) The Bank of Mongolia (BoM) acquired 13 tons of gold in 2014, indicates an increase of twice against 2013.

The BoM accumulated 25 tons of gold from citizens and enterprises in 2005, and it sharply declined to six tons in 2006. Since that year, the accumulation gradually decreased, until 2013. Thanks to reducing the 10 percent royalty to 2.5%, the gold size in the BoM rose again.

The BoM augmented the exchange reserves by exporting some 11 tons of gold in 2014. Moreover, the revenue fulfillment of budget increased because of declining the tax imposed upon gold.

By the master budget of 2015 it is assumed that the country will export 31.3 tons of gold, but it is expected to decrease to 29.5 tons by a clarification of the 2015 budget, the Ministry of Finance reported.

Link to article

 

BoM issues 165 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding -56% to 361.5 billion

January 5 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 165 billion at a weighted interest rate of 12.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release

 

New Finance Minister, FRC Chairwoman Officially Appointed to Financial Stability Council

January 6 (GoGo Mongolia) The Financial Stability Council is comprised of the Governor of the Central Bank of Mongolia (BoM), Minister of Finance (MoF) and the Head of Financial Regulatory Committee (FRC).

As the two of the members have been changed the council is now includes N.Zoljargal, Governor of BoM, J.Erdenebat, Minister of Finance and Z.Narantuya, Head of FRC.

The Financial Stability Council was established by joint decree dated May 9, 2007 by the Central Bank of Mongolia (BoM), Ministry of Finance (MoF) and the Financial Regulatory Committee (FRC). The primary objectives of the Council include:

·         Safeguarding the financial stability of the markets

·         Determining any kind of financial risks

·         Managing the financial risks within the current laws and regulations.

The Council is the first ever body of this nature established in Mongolia. Its Steering Committee consists of the Governor of the Central Bank, the Minister of Finance, and the Chairman of the Financial Regulatory Committee.

There is a research unit responsible for studying the solvency related issues in banking and non-bank financial institutions sectors, securities and insurance markets. The research unit regularly discloses its findings to the general public to help individuals and entities make rational financial decisions.

The Financial Stability Council has been set up in line with international best practices and is keen to co-operate with other international financial and standardization institutions. In order to boost the competitiveness of the Mongolian banking and financial sectors in the international markets, the FSC has been introducing best practices in banking, financing, accounting and auditing.

Reports on balance sheets and other documents analyzing financial institutions is released in the form of a Financial Stability Report every 6 months.

Link to article

 

MPP: Government Debt at 55% of GDP is Violation of Law, Opposes Raising Debt Ceiling

Ulaanbaatar, Jan 6 (GoGo Mongolia) MPP group at State Great Khural made official announcement on the Budget 2015 Law discussions.

Although Government for Solution submitted the draft on Budget 2015 Law, there are apparently many issues that DP and MPP have differing stances.

MPP was against rasing the debt ceiling that was first things proposed by the Government for Solution. PM Ch,Saikhanbileg had drafted the change in debt ceiling to be raised to 70% of the GDP. MPP announced today that they are not supporting such proposal at all.

In 2013 Mongolian GDP was MNT 19,1 trillion, implying that the government debt is around MNT 10 trillion.

MP S.Byambatsogt emphasized that previous cabinet raised the debt ceiling to 55 percent jumping over lawful 40 percent. As he sees, Mongolia should not only seek and rely on more loans, but seek other financial sources such as attracting foreign investments and increasing revenues from exports. MPP stated that bond debt is the easiest of the possible ways to finance and is not supporting it in order to prevent the citizents from the debt burden.

To the reporter's question whether the MPP is being aware of the possible risks by not supporting the increase of the debt ceiling, MP S.Byambatsogt replied with: "One should come with the debt payment methods first. It will become a burden for our next generation if the state keeps borrowing without any proper plans. As of the bigger projects there are funds available from the Chinggis Bond."

MP B.Choijilsuren added that current leaders have annulled the Chalco deal to sell coking coal for USD 70 per tons, claiming that the market prices at that time were USD 80 per ton, which is now being traded at USD 224-36 per ton (Mogi: must be a mistake here), reminding that are risks associated with rushed borrowings.

Also MPP members have reminded of the agreement made with DP before entering the Government for Solutions, that cabinet will not attempt to raise the debt ceiling. Reporters were quick to note that current Minister of Finance J.Erdenebat is member of MPP, to which MP S.Byambatsogt replied: "Government works as cabinet and one minister is just one part of it." 

Cuts on children welfare money totals to MNT 95 billion

Moreover MP S.Byambatsogt hit hard on the proposed cut in the children welfare (MNY 20,000), as this act will be discriminatory towards children and it should not be discussed lightly (Mogi: political hypocrisy, against raising debt ceiling but still wants to give rich kids money). Cuts total up to MNT 95 billion from MNT 240 billion budgeted.

While he supported that student stipends (MNT 70,000) to be issued on a merit base and he also stated that MPP is against reducing the subsidies for mothers (MNT100,000-200,000 one time per annum) with four or more children, as there are over 200,000 mothers and 90 percent of them are  under age of 55.

New taxes were introduced in the Budget for 2015, which are:

·         Capital tax

·         Vehicle tax

·         Cattle tax

·         Real Estate tax.

The draft law provisions residents owning 3 and more real estate properties are to be taxed with 3%, not current 2% under the local governing entities. Residents with 1-2 real estate properties are to be exempt from taxes.

Vehicle tax is to be doubled and the rights are transferred to the local governments as well as the cattle taxes, which are calculated to be around MNT 1000 per cattle. The later was opposed by the MPP harshly.

Capital city taxes are to be around 0-1 percent of the total amount of purchases. This for instance translates into increase of prices for single bread, having in background taxes added for the grain, processing at the mills and bakeries.

Moreover, lack of the specifics on spending of those accumulated funds have been hit with harsh critics, adding up to the stress of inflating the prices. MPP also mentioned that government haven't given any specifics of how much funds to be accumulated through those new taxes.

Also MPP sees the GDP growth provisioned at 7.1 percent as way too optimistic. According to MPP GDP growth for 2014 was at 6 % and will remain the same in 2015 as well.

The opposition does not welcome the increased tax policy as it is not the best way to support already crawling private sector, while suggesting to increase taxes on luxury items, alcoholic beverages and vehicles with more than 3000cc.

Link to article

 

National Trilateral Collective Bargaining for 2015-2016 Begins

Ulaanbaatar, Jan 6 (GoGo Mongolia) Trilateral Labor and Social Negotiations for the year 2015-2016 to start today at Ministry of the Labor.

Trilateral negotiations started in 1999 and been held annually covering the following issues

·         Optimize labor and social welfare legal framework and wage structure

·         Increase the employment rate

·         Keep the jobs

·         Improve labor safety and health environment

·         Discuss the four chapters on developing the social partnership.

The opening ceremony for the negotiations is scheduled for 3PM today at Ministry of Labor.

Link to article

 

Mongolian Trade Union Seeks at Least 60% Increase in Wages

Ulaanbaatar, Jan 6 (GoGo Mongolia) Trilateral Labor and Social Negotiations for the year 2015-2016 to start today at Ministry of the Labor, in view of this event Mongolian Workers Federation called on press conference three hours before the negotiations.

Kh.Amgalanbaatar, President of the Mongolian Workers Federation (MWF) introduced the four main issues to be discussed at the trilateral negotiations.

1.    Establish joint working group with the MWF increasing the MWF involvement in combating the economic downturn. 

2.    Issues under constant eye of the public are the wages and social welfare, in this regard, MWF proposes increase in wage and social welfare by not less than 60%.

3.    Keep the jobs and optimize the state policy on wages and salary.

4.    Optimize labor and social welfare legal framework and wage structure.

Moreover, MWF demands to establish permanent monitoring structure to jointly supervise the national assessment of the wages and salaries, in order to prevent possible salary cuts and defaults. 

Reportedly 2013-2014 Trilateral Agreement implementation was at 81 percent, where issues related to economy and finances weren't solved at all. In case the government fails to come to an agreement, the Federation is to withdraw from their previous agreement and to act on behalf of many thousand workers and to conduct campaigns against the government with appeals to court and the recent protest of scientists and researchers shows how the situation is escalating.

The Trilateral Negotiations to begin at 3PM today at the Ministry of Labor.

Link to article

 

Finance Minister: Pensions and wages won't increase in 2015

January 7 (UB Post) Minister of Finance J.Erdenebat spoke to News.mn, and said that it is impossible to increase pensions and wages in 2015. The previous cabinet reported that the 500 billion MNT for increasing wages and pensions was cut due to budget-saving amendments.

The Minister said, "The economy has expanded, we don't have the ability to increase the budget. We can't finance additional expenses, so it's impossible to increase wages and pensions until the economy has recovered."

J.Erdenebat also said that the budget's revenue and expenses are both being reduced by 905 billion MNT following amendments to the 2015 budget. The Mongolian People's Party (MPP) and the Democratic Party (DP) agreed to not increase national debt when they established a coalition government, and now the law on budget sustainability is being amended, which means that the nation's debt will reach 70 percent of GDP.

The Finance Minister explained, "When the two parties were establishing a coalition government, the total amount of national debt was 49 percent of GDP. When I became finance minister, it was 53 percent of GDP, and currently the debt is 55.2 percent of GDP."

J.Erdenebat said that the Cabinet decided to increase the debt ceiling to 70 percent of GDP, because short term commercial loans make up the largest percentage of debt structure, and added that it will be difficult to finance big projects through short term loans.

"The Cabinet decided to issue a loan guarantee to entrepreneurs under the Parliament's control, to support economic expansion policy and business, if the debt ceiling was increased. But the final decision will be made after a discussion with the parties and coalitions in the Parliament," said the Finance Minister.

"The debt ceiling and budget deficit have already exceeded their limits in accordance with the law. Currently, the deficit is at 3.4 percent, but if we add bonds out of the budget and the financial investments of the price stabilizing program, the budget deficit will reach nine percent," said the Minister.

The Minister added that the foreign financial organizations and countries have suggested taking long term concessional loans with up to two percent interest over 20 years.

"If we want to expand the economy, we have to use long term concessional loans, because it might take a long time until the projects financed by short term, high interest loans will benefit the economy. This year we planned to provide project financing of 400 billion MNT from the state budget, but the debt service payments have reached 700 billion MNT, so we need to change debt structure and change the short term commercial loans into long term concessional loans, but the parties will decide this issue," said Erdenebat.

In order to amend the law on budget sustainability, two-thirds of MPs have to vote in support of the change, but according to some sources, the majority does not support amending the law.

The Finance Minister said, "The law on sustainability has to be amended, we will just have to decide if it should be amended as it is now – namely, having a debt ceiling of 55 percent and budget deficit of five percent, or to increase the debt ceiling. But we have no other choice than amending the law. If we don't amend the law, all submitted projects will violate the law."

Link to article

 

Glass Account: Probing the state's coffers

January 7 (UB Post) The Glass Account Law, initiated by President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj, has been active since the beginning of the new year. All ministries and agencies have to report their glass account information through their own official websites, in accordance with the law.

Most ministries are now ready to begin publicly reporting their financial decisions and stances on the disbursement and spending of fiscal funds. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the Ministry of Mining, the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development, the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of Human Development and Social Welfare, Ministry of Roads and Transportation, and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism have all updated their websites with a "Transparency" section, while the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science have launched "Glass Account" sections. The newly founded Ministry of Industry hasn't launched a ministry website yet and will have to hasten this work to avoid being in violation of the law.

The new sections will provide updates on decisions related to human resources, procurement, and fiscal funds, immediately after they have been made. It's also possible to see some project plans for 2015. For example, you will find a list of events, construction plans, and investment plans that will be financed in 2015 by Development Bank, under repayment terms from the budget, and ministerial budget executions made in 2014.

The Ministry of Energy disclosed and publicized their most detailed recurring expenditure report among all ministries. Their 2014 report states that the ministry spent 675,000 MNT on publishing invitations for an energy sector forum, 2,372,000 MNT on government funded competitions, 5 million MNT on purchasing a one-year license for Kaspersky Antivirus software, 49,000 MNT on purchasing computer mice for their Monitoring, Evaluation and Internal Auditing Department, and 1,200,000 MNT on getting a credential produced, along with other expenses. Anyone who visits the website of the Ministry of Energy will also get to see which organization's accounts these recurring expenditures were transferred to.

With these new transparent glass account systems, anyone interested can now monitor how much money ministries and agencies are spending on disbursement, which company has made the most from supplying agencies with their products and services, and find out if those products and services could have been provided at a more affordable price. They can even broach the topic of why a large sum of money has been spent on a single employee's tuition fees.

Enforcing the Glass Account Law has presented media organizations with new topics for inquiry and leads. State agencies have also started reporting their 2014 expenses on their transparency and glass account pages. For instance, the Authority for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection has disclosed that it spent 5,882,940 MNT on domestic business travel, 33,842,203 MNT on international business travel, and 4,423,384 MNT on receiving foreign guests and representatives. The Procurement Agency published that it spent 147 million MNT on buying cars, 97 million MNT on computer equipment and parts, and 156 million MNT on furniture.

The transparency reports of most state-owned and parastatal organizations, as well as state-owned industries, have become available too. MIAT Mongolian Airlines, randomly chosen as an example, has revealed its 2014 expenditures. The company reports that it spent 94 million MNT on sheep carcasses and beef rounds, 31 million MNT on bottled water, 818 million MNT on wine, and 106 million MNT on paper cups. It also reported spending 28 million MNT on paper, and provided detailed information about contacting three companies for procurement; one of them didn't offer prices, and another company was disqualified because of its poor paper quality.

A new website, shilendans.gov.mn, has been launched to provide information about the glass accounts of all government organizations. Overall, fiscal investment has reached 1.9 billion MNT and integrated recurrent expenditure has reached 5.5 billion MNT. On this website, sections have been created to share information about the income and expenditure transactions of government organizations valued at more than five to ten million MNT, large transactions made by state-owned legal entities, tender evaluation processes, the government's domestic and foreign debt, and how donations and aid were spent. Inputting data is all that's left for this website.

This wonderful website will expose all the financial decisions and other crucial information about ministries to the public and be updated regularly. Everyone can start monitoring and probing government spending once the ministries and agencies update their data.

Source: http://economy.news.mn/content/200162.shtml

Link to article

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Politics & Legal

President Will Address Parliamentary Session This Week

Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) The leader of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj will address a plenary meeting of the parliamentary session this week, said the head of the Presidential Office P.Tsagaan Tuesday.

A provision 3 of Article 33 of the Constitution stipulates that the President may attend the sessions of parliament at his own discretion and submit proposals concerning vital issues of domestic and foreign policies. In accordance with the Presidential full powers, Mr Elbegdorj will deliver a message to the MPs, P.Tsagaan said.

Link to article

 

Minister Burmaa resigns as MP, TDB's Medree in line take to seat

January 5 (news.mn) MP and Minister of Food and Agriculture R.Burmaa has resigned from her position as parliamentarian.

She made the request just before the new year, but the DP did not comment on the issue.

She explained her resignation, stating,  "I made the decision as I expressed my support for the 'double deel' bill submitted by President Ts.Elbegdorj, and decided so as I am a member of the government."

R.Burmaa was nominated from a party list during the 2012 election and elected MP.

In the case that the State Great Khural and DP accept her request, the next nominee on the party list will take her seat in parliament.

B.Medree, CEO of Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia is next in line to take the seat.

A DP caucus meeting was scheduled at 1:00 p.m. today, but delayed due to poor attendance. The meeting delay may be explained by the resignation of R.Burmaa.

Link to article

Related:

R.Burmaa MP Wants to Resign from Her SeatMontsame, January 5

 

Speaker Z.Enkhbold denies resignation of MP R.Burmaa

Ulaanbaatar, Jan 5 (GoGo Mongolia) reports on resignation of MP and Minister of Food and Agriculture R.Burmaa sparked earlier today.

Speaker Z.Enkhbold came up with a tweet recently officially denying such rumors.

His tweet reads: "MP R.Burmaa never submitted any requests for resignation. If she did, I am the first one to receive the resignation request."

Link to article

 

Justice Coalition Caucus Backs Proposed Cuts to 2015 Budget

Ulaanbaatar, January 5 (MONTSAME) A regular meeting of the "Justice" coalition's faction on Monday discussed a clarification of the 2015 budget.

The faction's head N.Battsereg said they fully support the clarification. "Concrete research and survey are required for the budget, for example, it is time to consider judges' too high salaries and to arrange the allowance for state servants, which equals money of 36 months," he noted.

The faction discussed issues of focusing the children's allowance on a targeted group as well as requirements of classifying urban, local families and their livelihood. The amendments to some taxes by the government were considered as well.

The faction also reported that it nominated O.Baasankhuu for a post of head of the Standing committee on petitions.

Link to article

 

Female MPs oppose ending monthly allowance for children

January 5 (news.mn) PM Ch.Saikhanbileg announced in December that the government would review the monthly allowance program for children, as there is a need to change social welfare policies in order to endure economic distress.

The government announced that it would end the monthly distribution of 20,000 MNT to children between the ages of 0-18 if their parents' monthly income is more than 1,000,000 MNT, making an amendment to the law.

But female MPs in parliament oppose the decision. The female parliamentarians also objected to discrimination in ending the annual subsidies for women with four or more living children.

Women with four or more living children are eligible for the the Order of Maternal Glory, Second Class, and receive a medal and an annual subsidy.  Those with more than six children receive the Order of Maternal Glory, First Class, and an annual cash subsidy.

The MPs delivered a petition on the issue, which is seen discriminate against mothers and children, to PM Ch.Saikhanbileg.

Link to article

 

345 civil service jobs cut at state, city, and province level

January 5 (news.mn) Nearly 350 deputies and advisors are jobless now, in the first days of the new year.

The budget law for 2015 specifies that there should be an elimination of redundant positions for deputies and adjunct advisors in state agencies, local government, and city administration.

Following the budget law, all six deputy mayors of Ulaanbaatar were dismissed in December. The budget law allows the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar to have two deputy mayors, but all were dismissed.

The change to the budget law enables a reduction in current expenses of 2,960.4 million MNT by eliminating positions for deputies and advisors in state budget funded agencies and city and local government.

Every province, soum, and district government is now permitted to have a deputy, and Ulaanbaatar city administration is allowed two deputies but no advisor.

State agencies and all levels of state funded administrative and civil service departments will start the new year with only one deputy or vice chairman, but no advisors.

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Standing Committee on State Structure Appoints Sub-Committees Members

Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) The parliamentary Standing committee on state structure ran Tuesday its this year's first meeting to discuss matters on sub-committees compositions' changes and other issues.

The committee had received from factions proposals concerning these changes in three out of four sub-committees. By the law, a number of the sub-committees' members must not exceed a two third of the related Standing committee, and all sub-committees, except on ethics and on the immunity for MPs, can accept members only from the relevant Standing committees.

A majority of the Standing committee backed to remove J.Batzandan, R.Burmaa and B.Narankhuu from the sub-committees on the list of voters and on registration monitoring, and to enroll N.Batbayar, S.Bayartsogt, S.Batbold, O.Sodbileg and N.Enkhbold into these sub-committees.

The committee decided to free J.Batzandan, D.Bayartsogt and D.Bat-Erdene from the sub-committees on local governance, and to enroll in it S.Batbold, O.Sodbileg and N.Enkhbold. R.Burmaa and D.Erdenebat will be freed from the sub-committee on ethics, and S.Batbold, N.Enkhbold and D.Sarangerel MPs will replace them.

The same day, the Standing committee decided to set up a working group responsible for controlling the implementation of a law on Public Radio and Television and of a recommendation given by the Standing committee, and for drawing up amendment to the law on Public Radio and Television.

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Otgonbayar (MPP) to Chair Sub-Committee on Human Rights

Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) At its meeting on Tuesday, the parliamentary Standing committee on justice discussed a matter on selecting a head of the sub-committee on human rights.

For this post, Yo.Otgonbayar MP was nominated from the Mongolian People's Party's (MPP) faction, and Ts.Oyunbaatar MP--from the "Justice" coalition's faction. Profiles of these nominees were introduced by S.Byambatsogt and N.Battsereg. It was followed by speeches given by Ts.Oyunbaatar, B.Bat-Erdene and O.Enkhtuvshin.

By a poll of the Standing committee's members, Mr Otgonbayar was elected the head of the parliamentary sub-committee on human rights, with 70% votes.

Then the committee ran a final discussion of a draft new wording of the law on state registration of legal subjects.  

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Mogi: guessing she didn't have much of a place in the new DP regime

DP Secretary-General Appointed Head of National Broadcaster

January 5 (infomongolia.com) On January 05, 2015, the National Council of Mongolian National Broadcaster (MNB, officially Mongolian National Public Radio and Television), the only state-funded television channel of Mongolia, held its leadership meeting and unanimously agreed to appoint the new MNB Director General as Ms. Tsagaan OYUNDARI.

Newly appointed Ts.Oyundari had been working as the Director of Mongolian National Public Television from March 2009 to May 2012, and becomes the MNB Director General succeeding Mr. Myanganbuu NARANBAATAR, who has served in this post for the consecutive 9 years to date.

Prior to this post, MNB Director General Ts.Oyundari has been serving as the Secretary General of Democratic Party and due to rules; she gave up her post of DP Secretary General.

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Related:

National Public TV and Radio Receives New DirectorMontsame, January 5

New chairwoman appointed to MNBnews.mn, January 5

 

Justice Ministry's J.Bayarsetseg invited to Davos for second time

January 6 (GoGo Mongolia) J.Bayarsetseg, State Secretary at Ministry of Justice is invited to World Economic Forum for the second time.

She had been selected as one of the Young Leaders in 2013 and was invited to the forum last year, and to take part in the forum this year as well.

World Economic Forum 2015 to be held during January 19-24 in Davos, Switzerland.

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Mongolia to Offer Online Registration for Birth Certificates

January 5 (news.mn) The General Authority for State Registration is to offer online services that allow users register the birth of a child and order a birth certificate as part of the launch of their online registration system.

If parents of a newborn are unable to go to the registration office, an online application for a birth certificate with the General Authority for State Registration can be checked and registered by an officer and a birth certificate will be delivered Mongol Post.

The online birth registration service is expected to have many benefits.

In the case that a Mongolian national living abroad is unable to go to a Mongolian diplomatic or consular representative office, he or she can log on to the official web page of the General Authority for State Registration to register the birth of a child and order a birth certificate.

All citizens have the right to have their birth registered whether or not they were born on Mongolian soil.

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Mogi: governments appointing university management, … The uni calls itself National University of Mongolia.

Education Minister Appoints R.Bat-Erdene as Rector of Mongolian State University

Ulaanbaatar, January 5 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Education, Culture and Science L.Gantomor has issued an order to appoint R.Bat-Erdene as the rector of the Mongolian State University (MSU).

Mr Bat-Erdene replaced A.Galtbayar who resigned from the post due to health matters. Before the appointment, Bat-Erdene worked as the State Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences and as a head of the Higher Education Department of the Ministry.

The Ministry's authorities consider that the new rector is able to reform the higher education, together with the Minister.

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Research institutions oppose integration with universities

January 7 (UB Post) Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg announced that he would disband some scientific institutions and transfer others to operate under universities, in relation to state budget cuts. In particular, state budget funding for this sector tends to be low, and scholars and researchers at the Mongolian Academy of Sciences protested the PM's decision on December 30, at Chinggis Square.

The protestors held posters saying: "The government doesn't have the right to ruin science," "Stop denying scholars," "How will these parliamentarians be accountable to the world's scholars, when they are hurting Mongolian science?," "Solve this issue from a scientists' perspective," "Stop playing with science – the key to Mongolian development," "Prime Minister, don't repeat your mistakes," "Scientists are not the reason for the economic crisis," "Children are the pride of families and scholars are the pride of a nation," "Science is the foundation of an independent country," "Demolish the Government for Solutions," and "A very small amount of money is budgeted to science, but its creativity is limitless."

During their demonstration, representatives of the protesters delivered a statement to the PM. In this statement they mentioned that the state's attempts to confuse the public are out of control. They accused some people of having conflicting interests and making very superficial evaluations of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences.

They also noted, "Minister of Education and Science L.Gantumur is going to cut the budget that was dedicated only to the science sector. Mongolian science is not developing very effectively. Under the name of joining science institutions and universities, Mongolian science academies and institutions will be closed soon. This change will be a setback for future generations of Mongolians and their intellectual capacity – for decades and decades. We all see that poorly educated officials are influencing some ministers to make money from using the buildings and lands of research institutions."

There are 20 institutions under the Mongolian Academy of Sciences and two laboratories, four institutions under the Mongolian State University of Agriculture, five institutions at the Mongolian University of Science and Technology, and two institutions at the Ministry of Health and Sports. There were 70 research institutes in 1997 and the institutes were combined following government regulations.

The head of the Confederation of Trade Unions at the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, P.Bayar, is opposed to combining institutions or dissolving them. Before, the Institute of Economics and Mathematics, Institute of Law, and the Institute of Market Study were integrated with universities, but experts there are not able to conduct surveys now.

The Confederation of Trade Unions at the Mongolian Academy of Sciences is an organization authorized to protect the welfare of its employees, as well as their rights and interest. The confederation receives 26 billion MNT, equivalent to 0.17 percent of GDP. According to a 1998 clause in the law, science academy workers must receive funds equal to 1.5 percent of GDP. Since 1998, at most they have received funds equal to 0.3 percent of GDP. Experts and researches say they have been tolerating this inequality and continuing their work.

P.Bayar explained, "The state might issue funding for us in 2015, but if we integrate with universities, the state will not pass a budget for us in 2016. It is impossible for the education sector, which receives its funding from student tuition fees to finance our sector. Moreover, 1,000 staff from the Academy of Sciences face losing their jobs. We hope that this issue will be resolved in our favor."

Source: Daily news

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Trash Bag Handout Cost Doubled to 6.7 Billion Amid Budget Cuts

January 4 (UB Post) Issues about the city's green trash bags are raised annually. Once again, the public has begun their argument about trash bag issues with the Ulaanbaatar City Administration, as the government almost doubles the 2015 budget for trash bags.

The government has been advising the whole nation to tighten their belts and cut down on costs during the current economic crisis. After saving some hundreds of thousands of MNT by laying-off civil servants and reducing some officials' wages, the government has hastily approved 6.7 billion MNT for "Asia's White Diva" plastic bags in the 2015 state budget. The government started a savings regime for the budget, yet they were so extravagant with the budget for trash bags. They know that it takes several hundreds of years for nature to absorb plastic and still invested billions for producing more trash.

Occasionally, people would ring door bells and distribute the city's trash bags. Now, they don't. We have to get them ourselves from the Home Owners' Association. Going to the association to get trash bags isn't a big deal for most residents, as they were never distributed to some areas in the city such as ger districts. The issue with these green bags is their poor quality. Considering the budget, the bags should be sturdy, resistant, and well manufactured so that they don't rip easily. Even before they are filled with trash, the bags rip and scatter trash everywhere. Some residents in the ger district complained that the plastic bags were made for only apartment residents, as they are unsuitable for throwing out ashes and other waste from gers.

Spending large sums of money on plastic bags is absolutely unnecessary. With or without these bags, residents are fully capable of finding ways to throw out their trash. A whole stack of bags, sold for only 1,000 to 2,000 MNT and which are much sturdier than the green trash bags, would cost the state less than 6.7 billion MNT. The only thing the "Asia's White Diva" plastic bags can do is keep the color of trash bags consistent.

According to the Ulaanbaatar City Administration, out of over 14 billion MNT reserved for trash bags, five billion MNT was spent this year and 6.7 billion MNT has been planned for next year. No matter how extravagant and wasteful the administration is, spending 6.7 billion MNT is just too much. Instead, they could spend this money on establishing new hospitals, schools, and kindergartens, which are more urgently needed and sustainable for society. However, they chose differently. Trash has been increased under the name of these trash bags.

The distribution of trash bags is progress, as stated by the Ulaanbaatar City Administration. They say that the trash that once piled up outside fences now has bags for collection. In this manner, the administration is promoting themselves and their work, yet most residents don't know where these "Asia's White Diva" plastic bags are distributed from or how much is collected for them each month. This project shouldn't be praised as advancement and innovation in waste management. In addition, it's rumored that more colorful trash bags will be produced and more state funds and financing are required for them. Honestly, even if the budget is increased and the color is changed, a trash bag is still a trash bag. Rumor has it that then the number of trash bag manufacturers will increase as the budget increases. Anyone would agree that the number of trash bag consumers would decline rather than increase.

Here are some of the complaints from city residents about the green trash bags:

Only 15 bags are distributed every month. They are insufficient and very fragile. In the winter, they rip easily. It's impossible to put ashes or cinder in them. Households in ger districts have all sorts of waste and thin plastic bags can't contain them. Plastic bags aren't good for the environment and yet, hundreds of plastic bags are being distributed and making more trash. Simply put, it's a forced business. It's better if households manage their own trash bags.

It seems that most residents aren't interested in using these flimsy bags. The residents are more interested in finding out why the city administrators hope to continue manufacturing them and changing their color.

Source: Uls Turiin Toim

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Mongolia Celebrating 23rd Anniversary of Democratic Constitution on January 13

Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) The 23rd anniversary of the current Constitution of Mongolia will be celebrated on January 13, and a programme has been already adopted to mark it. 

By the programme, a national championship for amateur chess players will take place on January 10 in the State House. On January 12, a ceremony will run to place the original copy of the Constitution in the Museum of Mongolian Statehood, then an opening of E-trip to the State House is expected.

Prize named after B.Chimid will be granted in the State House. Then wreaths will be laid to the Monument of Chingis Khaan, and a tournament of national wrestling will run.

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Mongolia's Unexpected 2014

Author: Julian Dierkes, UBC

January 7 (East Asia Forum) It was meant to be a relatively quiet year for Mongolia. There were no parliamentary or presidential elections and most observers expected that some of the economic troubles Mongolia has been facing would be resolved. But the year brought foreign policy turmoil and a continuing economic crisis, and is now ending amidst domestic political chaos.

In February, at the Sochi Winter Olympics, Mongolia occupied the spot of most-supported team on the official website for several days due to concerted efforts to use a certain hashtag referring to the Mongolian team. It is unclear whether Mongolia's two athletes, both cross-country skiers, were particularly buoyed by this support, but they both finished their races in a respectable manner.

In March Mongolia's Foreign Minister Lusanvandan Bold travelled to Australia for a series of events that included the announcement of a five-year, AUS$25 million aid program targeting vocational education and other areas related to the mining sector.

But in late March, Mongolia's neighbourhood and foreign relations was transformed very suddenly. Shortly after the hoopla of the Sochi Games, Russia annexed Crimea and began making noises about the Ukraine. Initially it appeared that the only impact on Mongolia would be a brief debate about whether there were any parallels between the Ukraine and Mongolia. The answer seemed to be 'not really', largely due to the absence of a Russian diaspora.

Yet as OECD countries began to ostracise Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russia's leader began looking for other friends and customers for the country's resources. This search quickly led him to China and Putin has been tilting towards Asia ever since. From his attendance at the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia meeting in Shanghai in May, to interactions with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting in Dushanbe in September, to the APEC summit near Beijing in November, Putin has been eager to build business ties with China.

With Putin cosying up to the Chinese government, Mongolia is in danger of being squeezed between its two powerful neighbours. So far, these neighbours have largely showered Mongolia with gifts, particularly at state visits by Xi in August and Putin in September.

But 'suggestions' by China and Russia on Mongolian foreign policy initiatives indicate that Mongolia's future manoeuvring may be curtailed by this kind of embrace. While little is to be gained for Mongolia from a customs union with Russia, this suggestion accompanied Putin on his visit. In turn, Xi seemed to trade his invitation of President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj to the APEC summit and potential APEC membership in exchange for the expectation that Mongolia would join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Throughout 2014, Mongolia continued to slide deeper into an economic crisis that was only temporarily alleviated by debt-financed investments in construction and populist measures like a mortgage subsidy. The tugrik has lost about a fifth of its value against the US dollar. Debt continues to mount. And Rio Tinto — the Australian mining giant — seems to be in no particular hurry to take on the US$5 billion investment needed for further construction on the Oyu Tolgoi project.

While the Mongolian government has signalled its agreement to a feasibility study of the second construction phase for the project, there has been noise about the investment agreement and 34 per cent stake held by the Mongolian government. The global mining industry is also struggling. But without the economic boost that this giant project would provide, there is relatively little hope for the economy to recover the world-leading growth rates that prevailed just a few years ago.

Finally, the year ended on a note of political chaos. Just as the economic crisis had largely been created by short-sighted policy decisions, so the government of Prime Minister Norovyn Altankhuyag fell over political games more than policy differences. Altankhuyag lost a vote of no-confidence in early-November with eight members of his own Democratic Party (DP) voting against him and seven others abstaining.

After some to-and-fro between the DP caucus in parliament — and the election of the speaker, Zandaakhuugiin Enkhbold, as DP party leader — Chimed Saikhanbileg was elected prime minister on 21 November and has assembled a 'super coalition' with all parties in the Great State Khural (Mongolia's unicameral parliament).

Saikhanbileg will enjoy a brief honeymoon but there is work to be done. With 73 of 76 parliamentarians supporting the super coalition, urgent policy decisions on fiscal, economic, and mining matters could be taken by the new government. But continuities between the new cabinet and previous governments make this far from certain.

Julian Dierkes is an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia's Institute of Asian Research. He writes on Mongolian affairs at his blog, Mongolia Focus, and on Twitter.

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INS Article 6: Private sector recovery –new paradigms needed

January 6 (Institute for National Strategy of Mongolia) "Vertrouwen komt te voet en vertrekt te paard."  This is a famous Dutch proverb translated as "Trust comes on foot and leaves on horseback." However, in the current context of the Mongolian investment climate this could be reworded as  – "investors come on foot and leave on horseback".

Investment, both foreign and domestic, is fundamentally built on trust.

In just a few short years since the boom times of 2009-2011 Mongolia has gone from being an international "investment show case" to a "basket case". Investors and financiers are extremely cautious and most have lost interest.

The new Minister for Special Projects, M. Enkhsaikhan, sums it up "…while the US led economic sanctions is causing the Ruble to depreciate, our self-imposed economic sanctions is doing the same to the Tugrik"

New Prime Minister Saikhanbileg has been equally blunt…

·         .. let us temporarily forget next years election, … let us quit doing patriotism and populism on who loves the people more. Let us discuss issues with common sense and without emotion.

·         .. it is time for absolutely required decisions, if the situation continues as is, I will have to admit the possibility of a country level default.

·         … we are facing a 2008-09 balance of payments crisis, which if extended could become even worse

·         …we now see that we do not have the correct policy, investment, skilled labour and equipment, no matter how many resources we have we will continue to just sit on them.

·         .. in just 3 years investment has collapsed 7.5 times and if we keep making hostile policies that force others to flee we will become "Robinsons left on an isolated island".

The purpose of this article is not to discuss measures to regain macroeconomic stability, or the negative impacts of a global slowdown in commodity markets. The Prime Minister has already indicated a willingness to quickly identify the problems and put in place necessary measures.  However, we offer insights into how the new government might create a more welcoming and enticing environment for both domestic and foreign investment. Without this investment Mongolia's crisis situation will not be resolved.

From Marx to market – and the keys to recovery

Since transition from a centrally planned economy to a market economy, private sector led investment has played a very significant role in driving Mongolian economic growth. The private sector now accounts for 85% percent of total employment and the vast majority of Government revenue through VAT, income taxes, royalties and charges.

Despite this move from government to private sector activity the investors have experienced a thrilling and traumatic ride – especially over the past 9 years. Investors have now fled, and the economic situation will not rectify itself. The wounds have been self inflicted and leaders must administer the medicine for Mongolia to recover.

The keys to recovery are

·         recognize past mistakes, then

·         resolve outstanding issues, and then

·         put in place effective mechanisms to foster future growth and prosperity.

A combination of policy missteps and investment disputes are at the core of Mongolia's current economic problems. Key policy missteps include:

·         The Windfall Profits Tax Law (WPT) of 2006

·         The Law on Prohibiting Mineral Exploration and Extraction Near Water Sources, Protected Areas and Forests (the Long Named Law) of 2010

·         The Progressive Royalty Law of 2011

·         The Strategic Entities Foreign Investment Law (SEFIL) of 2012

In the mid 2000's Mongolia was fast becoming a major destination for mineral exploration by both foreign and domestic exploration and mining companies. However the WPT on gold and copper decimated the junior exploration sector.  The juniors abandoned Mongolia and took their exploration funds elsewhere.  Grass roots exploration expenditure on gold and copper all but evaporated.  As a result the Mongolian economy lost thousands of exploration related jobs, both directly from exploration companies shedding staff, and also indirectly through loss of income by service sector companies such as hotels, laboratories, drilling, transportation and logistics companies. This situation continued until the WPT was repealed.

Unfortunately not many of those junior exploration companies have returned.  And they were right, as the Government introduced new sliding scale royalties at punitively high rates which once again discouraged new explorers.  The new royalty system and government setting of reference prices has contributed to the contraction of the fledgling coal industry, almost to the point of bankruptcy.

SEFIL placed limitations on investment by foreign entities into a number of "strategic" sectors in the Mongolian economy, immediately halting investment in new projects.  In order to give effect to the Law the Government needed to put in place the institutional framework to enable companies to apply for and be granted approvals to invest.  This never happened and companies were left without investment opportunities and took their projects and funds elsewhere in the world to more friendly countries.

Investment disputes have compounded the policy missteps.

Investors have lost trust in Mongolia's willingness to guarantee the sanctity of contracts, and in particular protect thesecurity of property rights related to mineral developments.

An exploration or mining license, and the investment agreements which support these licenses, constitute fundamental property rights.  Investment decisions are made by investors based on the rights conferred by the license and the provisions of those agreements or contracts.  Any time the government or its agencies act to arbitrarily change the terms of a license or move to re-negotiate an investment agreement constitutes a breach of trust and calls into question the reliability of the Government as a partner in development.

Recent examples of breaches of property rights by the Government both within and outside the mining industry include the following:

·         Renegotiation of the Boroo Gold Stability Agreement;

·         Nationalization of the Khan Resource Uranium licenses;

·         Nationalization of the Energy Resources Rail Concession to construct the Tavan Tolgoi to Gashuun Sukhait Railway;

·         Seizure and cancellation (still without compensation) of hundreds of mining and exploration licenses under the Long Named Law;

·         Seizure of 106 Exploration Licenses;

·         Renegotiation of the Oyu Tolgoi Shareholders Agreement and repeated attempts to force a renegotiation of the Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement;

There are a number of contracts which have been the subject of protracted disputes, both in Mongolia and at international arbitration. Some relate to cases where State Owned Enterprises have failed to make deliveries or payments under contracts resulting in disputes.  These disputes include:

·         Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement Dispute

·         Disputes with investors over the 106 Exploration Licenses annulled by the courts

·         Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi (ETT) dispute with Chalco over the Coal offtake agreement

·         Dispute by McMahon Mining Contractors against ETT for non-payment of invoices

·         Failure to honor the payment terms of the PPA with the Salkhit Wind Farm

·         Failure of MTZ to meet payments to Samsung C&T for construction of the UHG-Gashuun Sukhait Railway development

Especially frightening to investors is the cancellation of exit visas for expatriate staff, contractors and consultants from a number of foreign companies, in cases where no criminal charges have been laid. These has been reported in the international media as a failure by Mongolia to honor human rights and freedom of movement.

Learn new paradigms

Most importantly "trust needs to be rebuilt". This will not occur through fancy PR programs or recent fixes to negative legislation. The private sector is not the enemy of Mongolia or Mongolians – rather it is the engine room that every government, in every country, relies upon.

New ways of solving the old problems are required. New ways of thinking about how to build Mongolia into a greater country are urgently needed.

Quickly resolve disputes and protect against making the same mistakes again

Fixing the old fights comes first. This must be done urgently as a slow resolution will hold back the rebuilding of Mongolia's credibility as a safe location for investment.

Some of these disputes may be painful and costly to resolve in the short term, but in the longer term will result in renewed investment and broader economic growth. Resolution of the other disputes will cost Mongolia nothing, but a few leaders will need to swallow pride. The national good must come before their personal pride or self-belief in the righteousness of their position.

Government also needs to make a paradigm shift in the way it negotiates future agreements that it is a party to.  To date Government has been unwilling to seek international legal advice to assist in the preparation of major agreements. While costly, it will give government more confidence that it has entered into appropriate long-term agreements.

Another critical issue with investment agreements is the need to put them beyond the reach of partisan politics.  International investors and banks will not invest where it believes it is common practice for a new government to undo or renegotiate everything done by the previous government.

Change the role of the State

Effective governments in modern market economies see themselves as facilitators of private sector development within a guiding regulatory framework.  The recent approach in many government agencies in Mongolia appears to be that of agate-keeper rather than facilitator of safe and efficient development.  An example is the excessive numbers of permits required for simple and often non-essential tasks. This creates opportunities for bureaucrats to become gate-keepers and block major developments over minor technicalities. In the most recent "Doing Business Survey" by the IFC Mongolia scores very poorly (at 107th in the world) compared to its peers on the issue of getting permits.

Developing major projects requires a great deal of coordination and cooperation between the project developer and the various levels of Government. Many other countries provide specific assistance to developers to navigate through the development process in order to speed up project developments and bring forward the economic benefits of the project.  One such example is the Queensland Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning in Australia.  Their mission statement is below:

…(we) exists to deliver Queensland's economic prosperity by championing the interests of business and industry. We achieve this by driving business and economic growth, leading infrastructure policy and planning for the state, reforming Queensland's planning system, and assessing, approving, facilitating and delivering major projects.

Other developing countries such as Papua New Guinea, which has a mining industry many times the size of Mongolia, now have government institutional arrangements where dedicated Project Coordinators guide and assist project developers through the development process to facilitate investment in a timely manner.

Mongolia not only needs similar "co-ordination agencies" to facilitate growth but also a change in mindset generally across government to promote development rather than be a gate-keeper.

The Government is the prime developer of economic policy.  Economic policy needs to be developed with the objective of facilitating broad based economic growth and opportunity rather than for partisan interests. The close relationship between business and politics in Mongolia has from time to time resulted in decisions which favour particular business interests rather than economic efficiency or quite simply block economic development.  Policy must be focused on economic outcomes not partisan interests if growth is to be optimized.

Leverage the private sector for infrastructure development

It is right and proper for Governments to ensure that appropriate regulations and standards are met by the developers of any major project. However government has pressed for full, or majority, ownership of major infrastructure developments when it has no capacity to deliver them, either from a financial and technical capacity standpoint.

Examples include the Energy Resources Rail project from UHG to Gashuun Sukhait.  This project was fully funded by the private sector and was under construction and due for completion in 2015 when it was halted, with the State taking ownership of the project. Since then it has re-commenced development only to be halted again due to lack of financial resources.  It will not be delivered in 2015 contributing to ongoing high costs for coal exporters with a corresponding loss of economic growth.

Similar examples exist in the energy sector where private sector developers have been ready to construct major power plants but are unable to get necessary government approvals or power offtake agreements.  At the same time the IFC doing business report ranks Mongolia extremely poorly at 162nd in the world for access to electricity, well below most African countries.  These are cases where Government officials have stood in the way, preventing economic growth and delivery of essential services.

Build a more effective dialogue with business

Government and business need to work together to promote prosperity.  One way to build this relationship is to create an effective forum for engagement between them.  Many countries have developed structured consultation mechanisms where Government and the business community come together with the express purpose of identifying and resolving impediments to business.  In this way those items which most directly impact on growth can be resolved at the earliest possible opportunity.  Mongolia has well developed private sector associations that are well placed to provide knowledgeable senior business leaders to engage with government.

Conclusions

The most important thing the new government can do in the short term is to resolve existing disputes quickly so that the negative media messaging about Mongolia stops and more positive news will be heard.

The longer term objective should be to create a paradigm shift in the way Government views and interact with the private sector.  The shift from being a gate-keeper to a facilitator of private sector development is essential

Building effective and timely consultation mechanisms between business and Government will also assist the government to prioritise policy actions and to remove the impediments to business, creating new and enhanced opportunities for growth.

Authorship note. This article has been co-authored by a group of senior business leaders within Mongolia. INS has facilitated the process.

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Business

EBRD provides tugrik loan worth €10 million to Mongolian car dealer

Local currency loan to Tavan Bogd Group for repair centre 

January 5 (EBRD) The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is continuing to develop local currency financing in Mongolia by providing a loan in tugrik to a Toyota car dealer, Tavan Bogd LLC. 

The company is part of Tavan Bogd Group, a long-standing EBRD client with interests in fast-moving consumer goods, cashmere manufacturing, financial services and trade. 

The EBRD loan of 23.4 billion tugrik (€10 million equivalent) will help the company finance the construction of a state-of-the-art Toyota repair and maintenance centre, expand its new car distribution and sales business, and improve energy efficiency. 

The project will also benefit from grant financing of €42,000 for an energy efficiency audit provided by the government of Japan. Further grant financing is available for energy efficiency improvements. 

Ts. Baatarsaikhan, General Director of Tavan Bogd Group, said: "This is another example of the good cooperation between the EBRD and our Group. We can always rely on the EBRD to understand our business requirements and provide us with the support we need.

"With this transaction, the EBRD continues to support Mongolia's private sector. Demand for new cars keeps increasing and Tavan Bogd's new repair and maintenance centre will serve the country's growing middle class," said EBRD Director for Central Asia, Masaru Honma. 

To date, the EBRD has invested over US$ 1 billion into the Mongolian economy. The EBRD is currently the largest foreign investor in Mongolia. Nearly all EBRD-financed projects support private sector companies and banks.

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Darkhan Metallurgy Commissions Iron Ore Wet Concentrate Plant

Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) "Darkhan Metallurgy Plant" state-owned company has commissioned its wet-concentrate plant.

The largest-in-Mongolia plant is capable of processing one million tons of iron ore per year, with a use of wet magnetic separators. The commissioning of the plant has taken a place in a scope of the intention of the company to become a "metallurgical complex".

The general parameters of the plant, the iron contents are estimated to be above 64 percent, and metallurgic demand at 700 thousand tons of iron concentrate. The new plant provides 120 new workplaces. Processed wet-concentrate will act as raw material for instantly dried iron ore production. The preliminary feasibility study was developed on technologies of "Outotec" of Finland and "Kobe Steel" of Japan. The project has been executed by metallurgy giant "Hatch" Ltd. of Canada.

An advantage of the plant, built with a globally approved Geomembrane technology, is that it recycles water with more than 70 percent efficiency.

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Mongol TV Signs Downton Abbey, Mr Selfridge, Good Wife, Hawaii Five-O, The Blacklist, Scandal, 87th Academy Awards

January 5 (TBI Magazine) ITV's British period dramas Downton Abbey and Mr Selfridge are headed into Mongolia following deals secured by a local broadcaster.

Mongol TV has bought Downton (pictured) from NBCUniversal International Television Distribution and Mr Selfridge from ITV Studios Global Entertainment.

The channel, which has been a consistent buyer of Western scripted content after overhauling its programming strategy in 2013, has also renewed a batch of studio dramas.

These are The Good Wife and Hawaii Five-O from CBS Studios International, NBCUI's The Blacklist and Disney Media Distribution-sold Scandal.

Furthermore, Mongol TV has also bought the 87th Academy Awards from DMD. The event will broadcast live on 22 February.

"Mongol TV has been consistently top in ratings in Mongolia by providing our audiences with the best quality programming from around the world," said Nomin Chinbat, CEO of Mongol TV. "We are fortunate that CBS, ITV, NBC, Fox, Disney and Sony provide us with their best shows for our territory and appreciate our ongoing partnerships with them."

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Mongolia - where it's normal for the boss to be a woman

In her third dispatch from Ulan Bator, Tanja Smith suggests one way UK construction firms could learn from their Mongolian counterparts

By Tanja Smith, Gradon Architecture

December 29 (Building Design) Inspiring women to pursue a career in architecture or construction is something I'm passionate about. At my practice, Gradon Architecture, 40% of the team are women. This is far from the norm and something we are proud of. As a representative for NAWIC in the North East (National Association for Women in Construction), it is incredibly important to me that the gender balance is addressed and we are working hard to raise awareness.

The lack of leading female figures in UK architecture is well-documented. At the last count women represented only 1 in 7 architects nationally.  This inequality certainly isn't limited to our profession. It is well known that in the western world women are ill represented in the boardroom and, while there are initiatives in place to rectify this, we still have some way to go. In Mongolia, however, especially in Ulan Bator where I'm currently based, I've been pleasantly surprised by the number of women working in construction.

In the numerous meetings I've attended in my two months here, women have been well represented. They're not only present, they're working at high levels. It is refreshing to see women representing sizeable construction firms and developers in senior capacities.

What's even better is that it's pretty much the norm here. Nobody bats an eyelid at women taking leadership roles in what we would usually consider a male-dominated industry. Everyone just gets on with their work and gender doesn't come into it.

According to a recent World Economic Forum 2014 report, Mongolia ranks among the most supportive countries for women in the workplace in Asia. In my experiences so far, this has certainly rung true. The term "womenomics" is a bit of a buzzword here and across Asia. What's different from the UK is that female success here isn't confined to academic achievement – it translates to real influence in the corporate hierarchy.

From what I've seen, the number of women sitting at the top table in construction in Mongolia has surpassed what the UK has been able to achieve so far.

As much as I've been delighted by the presence of these high-flying women, I haven't been able to fathom why the culture here is so different. Despite numerous conversations on the topic with locals and expatriates alike, I still can't pinpoint what Mongolia is doing different to the UK to address gender equality.

Theories include that Mongolia is historically a matriarchal state: women have not been far from the battlefields since the Great Khan era and have been very much included in everything ever since. Another suggestion is that once the Russians left the country in 1989, the men lost their way a little and it was left up to the women to step up to the plate and keep things moving.

Whatever the truth of the theories, the reality is in Mongolia women and the boardroom are not strangers – and that is fantastic.

I'm hoping my move to Mongolia will show young women at home that interesting career opportunities do exist within the construction industry and they shouldn't be scared to put themselves forward. If my work inspires any women to progress their careers in construction, I would be delighted.

As the former UK minister for women and equalities, Maria Miller, said: "It makes clear economic sense for women to be able to rise to the top. Good progress is being made in Britain through a cultural shift that promotes on merit, not through the mandatory quotas advocated by others. Women don't need special treatment they just need a modernised workplace that gives them a level playing field."

This is exactly what they have in Mongolia – and I'm proud that at Gradon we are also ahead of the game.

I'm back in the UK for the festive season where the "warmth" of home is a welcome relief from Mongolia's temperatures  of -20 degrees. But my Mongolia journey is by no means over – I'll be back in January, heading up a team for our next big step in the country.

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Minister to "Surround" Zavkhan's Otgontenger Mountain with Tourism

Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) On the first weekend of 2015, the Minister of Environment, Green development and Tourism D.Oyunkhorol visited Zavkhan aimag, where she was born and was elected to parliament for three times.  The first leg of the visit was Otgon soum, located in front of the Otgontenger mountain.

It was apparent that the area around this state-worshiped mountain has degraded due to foreign and local tourists who want to reach the mountain's peak. At the same tome, no tourist-targeted activities are conducted and no fees are collected from the visitors, in order to preserve the landmark. Seeing this, D.Oyunkhorol promised to take decisive measures for developing a decent infrastructure around the mountain and for improving the conservation of the environment. She said she will realize it with a supports of international projects and programs which are aimed at conserving the pristine nature of Mongolia. and appealed to the locality to actively participate in these works.

The Otgontenger mountain--known as the "White Mountain" and elevated 4,021 meters above the sea level--has been worshiped by the nation since 1779, being idolized from the times of Mongolian introduction of Buddhism as the reincarnation of "Ochirvaani" god. Bogdkhaan held worshiping ceremony every year since 1911, while in 1992, the mountain became to be ceremonially worshiped every four years, in accordance with a state decree.

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Chamber of Commerce Announces Top Entrepreneurs of 2014, Grand Prix Goes to NVTs

January 5 (infomongolia.com) On December 27, 2014, Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) successfully organized the "Entrepreneur 2014", the 18th Top Entrepreneur Award Ceremony to bestow leading entities and businessmen, who have made an enormous contribution to the social and economic developments of the country.

As customary, the Top 10 Corporate Awards were named, where the Grand Prix went to NVTs LLC, besides the Top Entrepreneur Awards were granted in 28 categories and the Greenpreneur nomination was co-organized with the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism of Mongolia.

TOP CORPORATE AWARDS 2014:

1. Grand Prix - NVTs LLC

2. Erdenet Factory LLC

3. Bishrelt Holding LLC

4. Max Group LLC

5. APU LLC

6. Nomin Construction Development LLC

7. VitaFit Group

8. TESO LLC

9. Energy Resources LLC

10. MobiCom Corporation

"Golden Cup" Award by the Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry

- Nomin Holding

TOP ENTERPRENEUR AWARDS 2014:

1. Top Investor - "Erin International" LLC, Executive Director Ya.Erkhembayar

2. Top Supplier of Local SMEs - Mongolian Credit Guarantee Fund NGO, Executive Director Sh.Altankhuyag

3. Top National Manufacturer - "Uguuj - Sweet & Biscuit" LLC, General Director S.Tumengerel

4. Top Manufacturer to Replace Import Product - "Mongol Alt Tos" LLC, General Director G.Ganbold

5. Top Exporter - "Khanbogd Cashmere" LLC, General Director Ch.Gantsetseg

6. Top Importer - "Naran Foods" LLC, Executive Director L.Munkhsaikhan

7. Top Innovation, Advanced Technology and Know-How Introducer - "Bayangol Hospital" LLC, Executive Director S.Buyant

8. Top Good Governance Implementer - Golomt Bank, Executive Director G.Ganbold

9. Social Responsibility Implementer

- Khan Bank, Executive Director Norihito Kato

- "Khatan Suljee" LLC, General Director B.Badamkhand

10. Top Small Business Entrepreneur - "Khainag Tolgoi" Cooperative, Director G.Gereltsetseg

11. Top Entrepreneur in Logistics - "Terra Express" LLC, General Director Sh.Altanbagana

12. Top Entrepreneur in Energy - "Altai Trest" LLC, Executive Director S.Bayanchuluun

13. Top Entrepreneur in Tourism - "Bayangol" Hotel, Executive Director Kh.Tsendbayar

14. Top Entrepreneur in Audit - "BDO" Audit, General Director G.Bayanmunkh

15. Top Entrepreneur in Securities - "BDSec" LLC, Executive Director D.Dayanbilguun

16. Top Entrepreneur in Banking - Khas Bank (Xac Bank), Executive Director D.Bat-Ochir

17. Top Entrepreneur in Education - "Grand Max" LLC, Director Ts.Bolormaa

18. Top Entrepreneur in Insurance - "Tenger Daatgal" LLC, General Director A.Batzorig

19. Top Entrepreneur in Mass Media - Mass Agency Group, Board Director Ch.Davaabayar

20. Top Entrepreneur in Properties - "Master Property" LLC, General Director Ts.Dashtseren

21. Top Entrepreneur in Construction - "Central Asian Cement" LLC, General Director B.Tsendsuren

22. Top Entrepreneur in Food - "Suu" JSC, Executive Director B.Gantulga

23. Top Entrepreneur in Health

- "CIT" LLC, General Director B.Gerelmaa

- "Mongol Em-Impex Concern" LLC, Executive Director B.Bolormaa

24. Top Entrepreneur in Auto - "Tenuun Ogoo" LLC, General Director A.Gankhuyag

25. Top Entrepreneur in Mining - "Mining National Miner" LLC, Director Sh.Lkhamsuren

26. Top Entrepreneur in Non-Banking Financial Institution (NFBI) - "Chono Finance" NFBI, Director General L.Nyamsuren

27. Top Entrepreneur in Leasing - "Khas Leasing" LLC, Director G.Tsevegjav

28. Top Entrepreneur in Manufacture Factor - "Darkhan" Metallurgical Plant, Executive Director D.Batjavkhlan

TOP GREENPRENEUR 2014

1. Best Environment Friendly Green Technology Introducer - Mongolian National Waste & Recycling Association, President D.Byambasaikhan

2. Best Water Save Technology Introducer - Prestige Group, General Director J.Dalai

3. Best Productivity Management Introducer - "Khatan Suikh ImpEx" LLC, Executive Director A.Boldbaatar

4. Best Investor in Environment - "Monpolymet" LLC, General Director B.Enkhtuya

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Khan Bank Named Best Corporate Social Responsibility Entrepreneur of 2014

January 6 (Khan Bank) On December 27, 2014, Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) organized the 18th Award Ceremony for Top Entrepreneur of the Year to bestow leading entities and businessmen who have made an enormous contribution to the social and economic developments of the country.

Within the framework of "Enterpreneur-2014", Khan Bank was awarded Best Entrepreneur – Best Corporate Social Responsibility Implementer for the sixth time. 

Embracing principles of corporate social responsibility in its business and activities, Khan Bank established Khan Bank Foundation for the first time in banking sector to make considerable contributions to the economic and social development of Mongolia. Khan Bank Foundation administers funding support to programs aimed at educational and cultural advancement, assisting disadvantaged groups of society, community development and environmental protection. Since its establishment, Khan Bank Foundation invested MNT 2.5 billion for over 250 projects.

Projects including "National Campaign for Anti-Cancer", "Khan Bank Scholarship program" and "Khan Bank Forest" which are organized by Khan Bank Foundation are known widely and highly expected by the society.

Khan Bank welcomed New Year with more inspiration to foster positive and meaningful changes to people's lives. The Bank named as the "Best Bank in Mongolia" by Euromoney for the 7th time, proving itself as the leading bank in Mongolia not only with strong financial performance, but also with its Corporate Social Responsibility.

Khan Bank would like to thank all partner organizations for their cooperation and dedication of implementing CSR and is looking forward to 2015 with more anticipation and optimism for brighter future.

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Goyo Designer Wins KNITWEAR Fashion SHOW-2014

January 4 (UB Post) The Mongolian Wool and Cashmere Association (MWCA) has held the KNITWEAR Fashion SHOW-2014.

The fashion show was organized within a project to support businesses ran by women, build their production capacity, and to promote their products to international markets. The project is aimed at selecting the best outfit of the best designers, promote Mongolian designers' products, expand cooperation between manufacturers and fashion institutes, and support the skills and dreams of young designers.

Out of 21 designers selected from cashmere industries and companies and seven students from fashion institutes designer and vocational colleges, the first prize for professional designers was awarded to L.Amarjargal of Goyo brand, who won an internship at one of the world's best design institutes – London Design School. Designer Ch.Chuluuntsetseg of Gobi brand came in second place, followed by designer Ch.Altantsetseg of Buyan LLC.

Out of students, S.Tsetsegdari of Citi Institute was selected as the best designer. G.Saruul and B.Odmaa from the School of Industrial Technology and Design of the Mongolian University of Science and Technology came in second and third places respectively.

The special prize of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation was given to "Yak knitwear product" by designer M.Oyunbileg from Ayas Cashmere LLC. She received a certificate and cash prize.

The MWCA expands its foreign relations by supporting national fashion industries and by partaking in international exhibitions and fairs including, Sourcing at Magic International Fair in Las Vegas, International Fashion Fair in Tokyo, Cashmere World in Hong Kong, and various international exhibitions in France. The MWCA was able to boost total sales and export of cashmere products by up to 20 percent by promoting Mongolian cashmere products at fashion events in New York and Milan in September 2014.

The MWCA studied Ethiopia's practice for introducing its national products at international markets and is collaborating in developing new products by blending Mongolian cashmere with African hand-made cotton as well as Thai silk.

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TALK WITH ME with Allyson Seaborn: Jim Dwyer, Executive Director, Business Council of Mongolia

January 4 (Star TV) --

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Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar Mayor threatens lawsuit to save his deputies from budget cuts

January 6 (news.mn) Following the 2015 budget law passed by parliament, four out of six deputies mayors of Ulaanbaatar will be dismissed.

But Ulaanbaatar City Administration held a meeting and decided it stands in opposition to dismissing its deputy mayors and advisors. Opposing the call for cutting positions, the Ulaanbaatar City Mayor is to file suit in court.

Just before the new year, Ulaanbaatar's Deputy Mayor in Charge of Financial and Economic Affairs N.Bataa announced that a suit would be filed with the Constitutional Court against the decision to cut positions in city government.

In the framework of the 2015 budget law, 345 positions will be eliminated from state, capital, and provincial government in order to save 2,960.4 million MNT. The 2015 budget law outlines that governors of provinces, sums, and districts should have only one deputy and no advisor. But it allows Ulaanbaatar City Administration to have two deputies.

Ulaanbaatar Mayor E.Bat-Uul submitted a resolution that city deputy mayors will be paid through projects and programs and not through the state budget.

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Ulaanbaatar to Develop Detailed Designs of City-Funded Building, Road Projects

Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) The Deputy Mayor responsible for Finance and Economics N.Bataa issued Tuesday a direction on organizing a development of detailed designs of the city's new buildings and roads.

The direction confirms adopting of the detailed designs of building and roads to be completed in the course of 2013-2015 on the funding of Ulaanbaatar budget, also a development of the partial layouts of Nalaikh district technological park to be financed from the fund for feasibility studies, and general layouts, detailed designs of three, 2.8 and 2.5-kilometer roads to be run in Bayanzurkh district, and detailed designs of the sewage canals around the "UB Town" and "Wizard Town" of Khan-Uul district. The finance and state fund division was obligated to provide the investments, the Ulaanbaatar Department of Investments--to run Principal's assessments over the general implementation of engineering and sewage works, The Ulaanbaatar Department for General Planning--to monitor the implementation of the partial layouts, the Road Department--to monitor the implementation of road constructions, and the Ulaanbaatar Department for Properties--to register the properties established by the investments and to run Principal's assessments over the ownership and use of those properties.

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Buyant Ukhaa-2 affordable housing project now available to the public

January 6 (news.mn) The Apartment Financing Corporation has announced that is now allowing the private sector to purchase apartments from the Buyant Ukhaa-2 housing project, which will be operational this year.

Opening the reasonably priced apartments to the public is taking place as it may be a source of funding to build the state's next affordable housing project.

Although the price of the apartments in Buyant Ukhaa-2 will be lower than current real estate market rates, they will be a bit higher than the price per square meter for apartments in the Buyant Ukhaa-1 housing project. The per square meter price of apartments in Buyant Ukhaa-1 housing project was 1,280 million MNT.

Potential buyers of apartments in Buyant Ukhaa-1 failed to meet mortgage loan requirements, which caused trouble in funding future projects, thus impacting the Apartment Financing Corporation's recent decision.

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Livestock in UB Rises 17.1% Over 2013 to 385.4 Thousand Heads

Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) The number of livestock in the capital city reached 385 thousand 364 heads in 2014, increasing 17.1% against 2013.

This was became clear thanks to the livestock and pets census. The number of sheep reached 158 thousand 853, cattle--76 thousand 570, horse--33 thousand 864, goat--115 thousand 923, and camel--154.

Baganuur district counted the largest number of livestock, whereas Bayangol district--the smallest number.  

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Diplomacy

Russia Plans 48-Hour High Speed Moscow-Beijing Train, Around Mongolia

December 31 (Business Insider) Russia plans to build a new high speed railway, with trains that would speed from Moscow to Beijing in just 48 hours.

At the moment, it takes about seven days to commute between the two cities and the route requires changes. 

According to Romanian website Glasul, the Kremlin has awarded the project to China Railway High-speed (CRH), a subsidiary of the state-controlled China Railway (CR), which is working in a joint-venture with the local firm Uralvagonzavod.

CR is famous in the train industry for operating the world's only magnetic levitation train in an urban area, the Shangai monorail.

Previously, Russia had commissioned a French firm, Alstom, for the first work on the rail line between Moscow and Kazan.

Alstom is one of the leading high speed train manufacturers in the world: in 2007 they set up a new record for conventional-wheeled high speed trains, speeding up at 574 km/h (357 mph). It also operates the urban tram line in Nottingham.

But since France did not deliver its order of Mistral ships in late November this year, it appears the Russian government took it personally and decided to switch that branch of the construction of the high speed railway to CRH, which is now in charge of the whole line, from Moscow to Beijing.

Here is a map showing the different branches:

The Moscow-to-Beijing direct route will measure about 7,000 km (4,340 miles), effectively three times further than the longest high speed railway in the world, the Beijing to Guangzhou train, which is also operated by CRH (in red, above). 

Glasul reports that the new railway is a top priority for both the Chinese and Russian governments, having been discussed directly by the prime ministers of the two countries, Dmitri Medvedev and Li Keqiang, in recent bilateral meetings.

Glasul writes that other supporters include the German automobile corporations, Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes, which are all more than keen to speed up the shipping of their vehicles from China to Europe.

The new route will probably replace the mighty Trans-Siberian railway, connecting St. Petersburg to Vladivostok (the blue line in the map above). 

Firstly, the old route doesn't go through Kazan, a city that in recent years has become more and more central to the Russian economy.

Secondly, and more importantly, it takes about 15 days to travel the Trans-Siberian route from start to finish, which compared to 48 hours for the new line, sounds like a heck of a long time.

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Thirteen Receive Japanese Engineering Scholarships in Goal to Train Thousand

Ulaanbaatar, January 5 (MONTSAME) Those, who will study in Japan in a scope of the "Engineering and Technology Higher Education" project, received on January 5 certificates from the Minister of Education, Culture and Sciences L.Gantomor.

They are six engineering students and seven teachers and researchers of the Mongolian University of Science and Technology (MUST).

The project intends to train a thousand Mongolian engineers on the easy-term loans provided by this Ministry and the Government of Japan, with aims to prepare highly skilled professionals engineering and technology, to improve a competitiveness of our engineering education, to strengthen the human resources, and to renew the educational environment and quality.

The teachers and researchers are leaving Mongolia to attend trainings for master and doctor's degrees and non-degree programs, while the engineering students will directly enter Kosen schools of Japanese government training centres. The Kosen school established at the MUST runs its trainings with 46 students so far.

The receivers of the scholarship for master, doctor's degree and non-degree programs have been selected in accordance with the criteria designated by the Japanese Universities and JICA and priority fields of study at the Mongolian State University and at the MUST and Japanese and English language skills.

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Social, Environmental & Other

Mongolia Expects Its 3rd Millionth Citizen This Month

January 6 (infomongolia.com) The people of Mongolia are expecting its third millionth citizen in January of 2015 and the National Statistical Office of Mongolia revealed the total population census as of December 31, 2014.

According to statistics, the total population reached 2,995,949 people as of December 31, 2014 and this number increased by 2.2% or 65,672 babies newly born compare to same period of previous year.

Moreover, a total of 82,839 babies were born in 2014, of which 1,124 babies were born overseas, that shows highest number in Mongolia's statistical record. The highest numbers were registered in 1988 with 75,832 newborns and in 2013 with 79,780 newborn babies respectively.

It is estimated only 4,051 newborn babies to reach the total population of Mongolia with its three million people since December 31, 2014.

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Mongolia Learns from Indonesia's Disaster Risk Management Experience

(Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery) Since the 2004 tsunami that ravaged its northwest coast ten years ago, Indonesia has made several strides in mainstreaming disaster risk management (DRM) in its policies and development processes, positioning itself as a model that other vulnerable countries in the region can learn from. Recognizing the value of Indonesia's growing experience, officials from Mongolia's National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) recently visited its Disaster Management Agency, Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB)—as well as regional and provincial counterparts and civil society representatives—to learn about the post-Aceh experience in moving from a fragmented disaster response paradigm to a comprehensive, government-wide DRM framework. 

This knowledge exchange was conducted under the auspices the DRM Program in Mongolia, which aims to enhance the Government of Mongolia's capacity to mitigate and manage the impacts of natural disasters. The program, supported by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, focuses on strengthening NEMA's coordination capabilities. The study tour provided an opportunity for NEMA to learn first-hand about Indonesia's experience in overhauling its disaster management laws and institutional framework. Core among Indonesia's signature legislative and institutional DRM reforms were:

·         A law on disaster management which marked a shift away from disaster response toward comprehensive risk management, reduction, rehabilitation and reconstruction;

·         A Presidential Decree creating a national agency for DRM; and

·         Mainstreaming disaster management in development planning.

"Aceh was pivotal for Indonesia – the nation undertook not only a rebuilding of infrastructure and private dwellings, but a complete overhaul of the legislative and institutional framework in order to achieve the disaster management, recovery and resilience necessary to protect the Indonesian people and ensure a safe future for the generations ahead," said Mr.Badral Tuvshin, Deputy Chief, NEMA. "Similarly, NEMA is committed to elevating the discussion of DRM within Mongolia to help protect our people and economy from the inevitability of future disasters."

Over the course of a week, Mongolian officials engaged in discussions with a range of agencies and community-based organizations across Indonesia which are working on DRM issues:

·         In West-Sentul, Java, the officials toured the BNPB's new National Training Centre.

·         In Jakarta, officials met with key representatives of Indonesia's Badan Perencanaan Pembangunan Nasional—National Planning Agency—(BAPPENAS) to discuss rules governing Indonesia's budgeting and financing of the nations' permanent DRM framework.

·         In Yogyakarta, officials engaged with a panel from the local DRM platform, Badan Penanggulangan Bencana  Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta (Yogyakarta Special Region Disaster Management Agency, BPBD), discussing its role vis-à-vis regional and national DRM agencies as well as its response to the Mount Merapi's 2010 eruption. 

The Mongolian delegates were greatly impressed by the spirit of the Indonesian people and culture of community-based volunteerism, also known as "Gotong Royong," a cornerstone of the country's resilience in the face of ongoing hazards.  They had the opportunity to discuss with village elders in remote communities about what living with and preparing for natural hazards means to them.

"It's as much our responsibility as that of the government in Jakarta, to ensure we understand the risks we face and prepare accordingly" said a full-time female volunteer who helps educate her neighbors about safe evacuation routes.   

This knowledge exchange visit also offered valuable insights that will aid NEMA's ongoing efforts to mainstream DRM into its national framework. Acknowledging the contributions of countries like Indonesia in formulating proactive approaches to natural disasters, through such initiatives GFDRR will continue to support Government of Mongolia as it shifts away from reactive disaster response to a more pre-disaster risk management and resilience-building approach. 

Link to release

 

Digital climate database created with Korean assistance

January 4 (UB Post) The archive of the National Agency for Meteorology, Hydrology, and Environmental Monitoring has recently been digitized as part of a project funded by grant aid from Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

A total of 3.7 million pages of paper documentation of past reports on weather and climate in Mongolia have been digitized for input into a central database, and a specific folder of frequently used reports will be created for easy access by the public and weather officials.

The database provides a secure archive of past reports and will be accessible to a wider range of users, as the project is being set up with high-speed internet access at the agency.

The KOICA project is focused on bringing modern technology to the agency in order to secure valuable reports and improve the agency's performance. Korea's Jaeyoung Solutec Co., Ltd, Pukyong National University, and Mongolian Internet service provider CitiNet worked together to execute the project.

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Interview: His Holiness Dalai Lama XIV (in English) Part II

January 4 (Jargal De Facto) --

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Former PM Altankhuyag's "My Country Like A Mosaic" English Photobook Becomes Bestseller

Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) This book of photographs, compiled and authored by the former Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag, has become one of the highest-grossing books, shortly after it was released in the bookstores a week ago.

This book is considered as the first step of many frameworks to be conducted for advertizing Mongolia to the West, having included scenic photographs of pristine landscapes, wild animals, birds, livelihoods, special features of Mongolians, and of snow-clad mountains.

Mr Altankhuyag also marketed his book "Towards the Summit" in 2013 to the Western countries. The book was published by Von Goethe Holding Co.Ltd. of Germany, one of the "Top 5" publishing companies in Europe.

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Photo Book: Altai Mountains of Mongolia

by David Baxendale

Book Type: Large Landscape Lustre Photographic Hardback 34 pages

Tags: altai, mountains, mongolia, nomads, nomad, shaman, eagle, hunter, remote, Photography

Book Description: A photo essay of an expedition to the remote Altai Mountains of western Mongolia, close to the Chinese border to live among, and photograph the ethnic nomadic groups living there, accompanied by some of the fixers and crew from BBC's Human Planet documentary series.

Link to book

 

Boston Ballet's D.Altankhuyag: Over 400 people worked on 'The Nutcracker' production in Mongolia

January 7 (UB Post) Ulaanbaatar residents were able to enjoy "The Nutcracker" ballet at the end of 2014, which was very well-received. State Honored Artist and Second Soloist of Boston Ballet D.Altankhuyag, revised the production of the ballet himself and danced as the Nutcracker.

The ballet was first staged in Mongolia in 1982 at the State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet. This time the performance was unique as world class costumes, stage decorations, and crafts specifically made by the production and wardrobe staff of Boston Ballet were brought to the Mongolian stage.

The following is an interview with D.Altankhuyag, the man who put together "The Nutcracker", whose staging in Mongolia saw sold out seats for seven days, about the ballet and his work.  

The audience could see how actively involved you were in developing ballet in Mongolia, even though your professional work is based in a foreign country. Can you talk more about it?

I am one of the first professional ballet dancers trained in Mongolia. I studied at the Music and Dance College from 1993 to 2000, and graduated as a ballet dancer. Although my group had 24 students initially, only 15 graduated. Now five to six of them are actively dancing. Ballet is a costly art and I am very glad that the state is paying special attention to developing classical arts and ballet in Mongolia. Not many countries are supporting classical arts like our home country at this time and this is why I believe it is a perfect time to widen the range of classical arts audiences, as well as train and guide young dancers.

"The Nutcracker" showed that Mongolian audiences are getting more interested in ballet. Do you agree?

Definitely. The theater was full of audience. "The Nutcracker" is one of the three ballet scores composed by Tchaikovsky and the ballet is performed throughout all continents, especially before the New Year.

However, half a decade has passed since classical arts were introduced to Mongolia and it is doubtful whether all children in Mongolia know about "The Nutcracker". Only a few out of about 200 children who danced in the ballet knew about "The Nutcracker". Knowledge about ballet and the world classics help children obtain high artistic and aesthetic senses. Thankfully, more children are picking up the habit of watching "The Nutcracker" before New Year celebrations.

I am sure all the stage decorations and ballet costumes for "The Nutcracker" cost a fortune to bring them to Mongolia. Can you tell us about them?

We have brought them from Boston Ballet in five shipping containers with 40-tons of capacity each. Twelve ballet dancers from Japan performed in "The Nutcracker" through my invitation, while the Mongolian team consisted of over 400 staff, including ballet dancers, musicians, stage lighting technicians and back-stage organizers of the State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet.

Competition in the Mongolian classical arts industry needs to be heightened. We have tried our best to stage a world class performance for Mongolian audiences. The arts industry must be always a step ahead of the society and art stages must be the best of all. That is why fashion designers should be challenging themselves in producing classical arts costumes, same as painters who can also work on painting stages. It is not easy of course, but this is how they can develop themselves and the industry more. I wish many local arts organizations see this necessity.

The Mongolian Ballet Development Foundation was responsible for organizing the revision works of the production. I also appreciate support of the Ulaanbaatar City Mayor's Office and Ministry of Education and Science. It would have been impossible to stage the ballet without our collaboration. We rehearsed non-stop before all seven performance to show the best possible performance.

How much did "The Nutcracker" make in revenue?

We didn't plan to earn profit from the performances from the start. A total of 150,000 USD was spent for the ballet's costumes and stage decorations, while shippings cost 40,000 USD, plus we paid 41 million MNT to the Mongolian Customs Service to receive the shippings. It is impossible to meet this high expense with the income from only seven performances. Ticket sales couldn't obviously repay the expense, but it was helpful of course. The ticket prices ranged from 20,000 to 100,000 MNT.

There were many people who couldn't afford the tickets even if they wanted to watch "The Nutcracker". But the value of the ballet should be set high in order to stage the best possible performances. Therefore, we conducted a program which enabled children from low-income families to watch "The Nutcracker" free of charge. Yokozuna D.Dagvadorj bought tickets for the children and we are sure that the ballet left very fond memories for the young audience to remember in the future. We hope that they will look forward to watching "The Nutcracker" before every New Year, wearing the best outfit they have.

Just as classical arts influence children in a very positive way, we are sure that it will impact the society and the development of Mongolia. Classical arts should be accessible to more people in the society.

You said over 200 children danced in "The Nutcracker". How many of them do you believe will choose to become professional ballet dancers?

They were students from schools located in both the city center and in the outskirts of the city. They were all very interested and enthusiastic about having a part in "The Nutcracker". Only few of them will enter the world of professional ballet. But people shouldn't limit their career within only one major, but challenge themselves in two to three fields.

Ballet seems like an art that requires only the perfect. What is your opinion?

Each performance can reach the audience to the fullest only when complete with excellent skills of dancers, costumes, stage decorations, sounding, music and lighting. Ballet doesn't leave same impression when you watch it on TV. Ballet is an art that attracts you more as you watch it live. As for requiring the perfect, an idea of perfection is a relative issue.

How did ballet influence you?

As an artist, I am an emotional person. I work in a very joyful environment where I see and feel only the bright and beautiful things. Perhaps that means I might not be witnessing too much of the darker sides and hardships of life. Ballet forms a beautiful environment, but it embodies very simple and free air too. It is simple, yet an elegant art.

I heard people saying that you were listed as one of the best eight ballet dancers in the world. Can you tell us about this?

One of the founding fathers of modern ballet and a celebrated choreographer, Roland Petit, toured the world and performed his finest ballet performances. I was lucky to be named as one of the eight dancers he chose for his ballet as guest artists in several of his projects as part of the tour.  I travelled to many places through the tour with him. The talk that calls me as one of the eight best ballet dancers comes from this tour.

Performing arts, especially the ballet industry, is believed to be very disciplined and difficult. What do you think about it?

It is described as such not because it is very difficult, but because it requires a very strict discipline. Dancers have to master an excellent technique in order to avoid injuries, as well as be skilled to clearly convey the choreographer's idea to the audience.

When do ballet dancers normally retire? 

Opera singers' voice gets stronger as time goes by, while ballet gets harder as you age. All muscles of the body actively work when ballet dancing and your muscles weaken over time. We are the same as athletes. Until 40, dancers can perform without a problem and injuries heal quickly. Many still dance after turning 40, but the average age for retirement for ballet dancers is 40. They follow their other passions and careers from then on.

You invite world famous dancers to Mongolia and dance together with them for local audiences. But there must be things that they are not content with when they visit Mongolia. How do you feel about it?

Though the state is supporting ballet, several things remain in critical condition. The stage of the State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet is so small that a good ballet dancer might go to the other end of the stage in one big leap. Foreign dancers comment on the stage's size when they visit. We dancers don't have any other choice but to cope with it. But we have to change this fact soon. If we want to properly develop ballet in Mongolia, a big stage is what we need first. There is no stage big enough for a rehearsal of 180 children at the same time. The children had to rehearse on the stage with different schedules and it was hard for us. I apologized to their parents. But I believe this problem will soon be addressed.

How long are you planning to stay at Boston Ballet?

I' m not sure. I came here in mid-November. It was very hard to acquire the permission of leave from the company. But I managed to get it as "The Nutcracker" was a project we have been talking about for two years and we purchased the ballet's costumes from Boston Ballet. Otherwise, I couldn't have been excused from work that easily. Boston Ballet staged over 40 ballet performances in total during my stay in Mongolia, while I performed only seven concerts here. But I think the rehearsal and preparation for the seven performances almost equaled to that of 70 concerts.

You have two daughters. Do they go to ballet school?

My daughters study at Boston Ballet dance programs. It is important for them to be in an artistic environment more than becoming professional ballet dancers. The programs offer aesthetically and intellectually educational classes which are suitable for children. I have a very positive view about the classes.

You always perform on the stage. But how does it feel when you watch concerts sitting among the audience?

I watched the last performance of "The Nutcracker" on an audience seat. I go to many different concerts in other countries. Sitting among the audience seems very nice to me. I can be carefree and calm there.

I heard that you danced in "The Nutcracker" about 250 times before. Is that true?

It is more than 250 times. This number was counted on average since I joined Boston Ballet in 2008. The number would be even higher if I include the times I danced in "The Nutcracker" in Mongolia, Europe and Japan since 2000. 

Source: Gogo.mn

Link to interview

 

Opera House January Program

January 5 (infomongolia.com) Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet (SATOB) released the 2015 January Program starting with "Rigoletto" opera by Giuseppe Verdi produced by Yo.Tserendolgor.

The January's debut is the "Emperor Waltz" (Champagne) ballet by Johann Strauss and opera singers from South Korea are to stage a joint gala concert.

SATOB 2015 January Program

"Rigoletto" opera by Giuseppe Verdi

Saturday, January 03, 05:00 pm

"Lama's Tears" opera by Kh.Bilegjargal

Sunday, January 04, 05:00 pm

"Don Quixote" Ballet by L.Minkus

Friday, January 10, 05:00 pm

"Don Quixote" Ballet by L.Minkus

Sunday, January 11, 05:00 pm

Mongolia-South Korea joint gala concert

Thursday, January 15, 07:00 pm

"La Traviata" opera by Giuseppe Verdi

Saturday, January 17, 05:00 pm

"The Girl with Enamel Eyes" or "Coppelia" ballet by Leo Delibes

Sunday, January 18, 05:00 pm

"Emperor Waltz" (Champagne) ballet by Johann Strauss

Saturday, January 24, 05:00 pm

"Emperor Waltz" (Champagne) ballet by Johann Strauss

Sunday, January 25, 05:00 pm

"La Boheme" opera by Giacomo Puccini

Saturday, January 31, 05:00 pm

Link to article

 

Drama Theatre January Program

January 5 (infomongolia.com) The State Academic Drama Theatre released the January Program commencing with "An Innocent Convict" drama play by A.Ochirbat, produced by E.Yondonsharav and concluding with "Temuujin" children play by B.Tsognemekh, produced by N.Naranbaatar.

Drama Theatre 2015 January Program

"An Innocent Convict" drama play

By A.Ochirbat, produced by E.Yondonsharav

Monday, January 05, 07:00 pm

Friday, January 23, 07:00 pm

Saturday, January 24, 07:00 pm

Sunday, January 25, 07:00 pm

"Nora" classic drama play

By Henrik Johan Ibsen, produced by E.Yondonsharav

Wednesday, January 07, 03:00 pm

"State with no Stamp" play

By B.Lkhagvasuren, produced by Ch.Naidandorj

Sunday, January 18, 06:00 pm

Friday, January 30, 07:00 pm

"Temuujin" children play

By B.Tsognemekh, produced by N.Naranbaatar

Friday, January 31, 11:00 am

"The Son of the Sky" historical play

By B.Tsognemekh, produced by N.Naranbaatar

Saturday, January 17, 06:00 pm

Friday, January 31, 06:00 pm

Link to article

Related:

Theatre of Drama Releases January ProgrammeMontsame, January 5

 

First Ever Dorje Shugden Graphic Novel in Mongolian

July 29 (Dorje Shugden) DorjeShugden.com proudly presents the first ever graphic novel on Dorje Shugden's life in Mongolian. This graphic novel was produced with the motivation of bringing Dorje Shugden all over the world. So that the blessings of his life story may pervade and touch lives everywhere. We at this website are committed to this goal.

This graphic novel is available to you ENTIRELY FOR FREE. We only request that you in your compassion bring the practice of this Protector, and share this graphic novel with others. Download, email or print – here are some ways you can spread the world's first Dorje Shugden graphic novel:

·         Gift it to your teacher

·         Print copies for your friends

·         Introduce it to your Dharma centre

·         Teach it in a Dharma class

·         Donate copies to your local library

·         Analyse it in a world religions class

·         Get your favourite bookshop to stock it

·         Send copies to your neighbours

·         Translate it and email it to your friends abroad

·         Link it on your website

·         Share it on Facebook or Twitter

·         Read it with your kids

We hope that this graphic novel which comes from over one year of effort, resources and hard work of our team, will benefit many. May the lineage of Lama Tsongkapa invite everyone onto the practice of impermanence, Bodhicitta, and Emptiness.

The DorjeShugden.com Team

Download the entire book in PDF format: High Resolution (450 MB) or Low Resolution (45 MB)

Link to release

 

Kakuryu announces engagement to Mongolian Munkhzaya

TOKYO, Jan. 6 (Kyodo) Mongolian-born yokozuna Kakuryu on Tuesday announced his engagement to countrywoman Dashnyam Munkhzaya.

The 29-year-old Kakuryu, who was promoted to sumo's highest rank last May, said the couple is planning the birth of their first child in May. No dates have been set for a wedding ceremony or reception.

"She is extremely cheerful. She is a person who gives me vitality," said Kakuryu at a press conference at his Izutsu stable in Tokyo's Sumida Ward.

Link to article

 

Olympic Silver Medalist N.Tugstsogt Enters World of Pro Boxing

Ulaanbaatar, January 6 (MONTSAME) A State Honored Sportsman, silver medalist of Olympic Games and World Championships N.Togstsogt has started his career of the professional boxing.

The boxer reported his decision on his facebook page, posting a professional boxing card on it. Togstsogt has said that he wants to compete at the professional boxing arena.

According to some sources, Togstsogt has been invited by a team of a famous promoter Bob Arum, the president of the "Top Rank" company of professional fighting. He has not officially declared to the Mongolia's Olympic Boxing Federation his entering into the professional boxing yet.

Born in 1992, Togstsogt Nyambayar won a silver medal in the 2009 World Amateur Boxing Championships held in Milan, Italy and also captured a silver medal in the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games in the men's flyweight category.

Link to article

 

Mongolians in Dakar Rally

January 5 (GoGo Mongolia) Dakar Rally 2015 is open. This competition is take place during January 5-17 in Argentina, Chile and Bolivia.

This year for Mongolians is a milestone as Mongolian team to enter race in car category. Mongolian racers will jointly race at car category with team of Hungary, 5 Mongolians and 4 Hungarians.

#431 pilot N.Lkhamaa, International Master

#431 coordinator U.Byambadelger, International Master

#431 coordinator B.Surendorj, Sports Master

#355 coordinator D.Jargalsaikhan

#413 coordinator U.Byambatsogt, International Master

Ch.Anar and D.Boldbaatar, International Master are to compete at Bike race category.

Link to article

 

Mongolia to Take Part in World Snow Day Celebrations on January 18

Ulaanbaatar, January 5 (MONTSAME) Mongolia will take part in the World Snow Day (WSD) festival that will run January 18 throughout the world.

This Day will be organized together with 38 countries such as China and Armenia. Mongolia intends to arrange a two-day event including ski training for children and a ski race.

The WSD is the second phase of the "Bring Children to the Snow" campaign. World Snow Day looks beyond the FIS membership to the wider snow sports community. It seeks to motivate children aged 4-14 by encouraging all stakeholders to celebrate all related to snow things around the world simultaneously. World Snow Day is not a one-off event but is planned to be staged annually for years to come.

Link to article

 

Sukhbaatar Aimag's Baruun-Urt Opens Hockey Pitch

Ulaanbaatar, January 5 (MONTSAME) An ice-hockey pitch has been commissioned in Baruun-Urt city, the center of Sukhbaatar aimag, in frames of the implementation of "Olympic Complex" project.

Hockey field is being constructed by "Tom Noyod" LLC, at initiative of the vice head of Mongolian Hockey Union B.Javkhlan and a head of the Hockey Association of Sukhbaatar aimag D.Khosbayar. The construction of the Olympic Complex is supported by many companies such as "Baga Olgii", "BBService", "Chulant" LLCs, "Golomt" bank branch, Sukhbaatar's Emergency Department, and "Sukhbaatar Forestation" public-service company. 

Link to article

 

Orkhon Hosting Mongolian Open Int'l Ice Skating Tournament, February 17-23

Ulaanbaatar, January 5 (MONTSAME) An international ice-skating tournament--"Mongolian Open 2015"--will be held February 17-23 in Orkhon, attracting distinguished athletes from some ten countries.

The cabinet decided to organize a total of 14 international tournaments in Mongolia in 2015 with an aim to advertise Mongolia to the world. It is considered to be of high importance for the national team to get rights to take part the winter Olympics and to have joint trainings with high-class athletes.

In accordance with the technical rules of the International Skating Union, the participants will be classified in age groups A (Open age), B (Medium age) and C (Juniors), and will compete in women 500m, 1000m, 1500m and 3000m, in men 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 3000m, and 5000 meters' categories.

Prior to these events, the state championship of ice skating will run at the Central stadium on January 16-18.

Link to article

 

Mongolian Olympic Committee Highlights Best Athletes of 2014

January 4 (UB Post) The Mongolian National Olympic Committee hosted the annual Burte Chono Awards and named the top athletes of the year 2014 on December 26, after receiving votes from sports journalists.

Freestyle wrestler S.Tserenchimed was awarded the "Best of the Best Female Athletes" prize, while judoka M.Urantsetseg and wrestlers of the Women's National Judo Team were granted the "Best Female Athletes" award.

The "Best of the Best Male Athletes" award went to judoka G.Boldbaatar, while the "Best Male Athlete" awards were granted to freestyle wrestler G.Mandakhnaran and boxer D.Otgondalai.

Freestyle wrestling coach Ts.Khosbayar won the "Coach of the Year" award. Judo coach D.Battulga and freestyle wrestling coach Ts.Tsogtbayar were named "Best Coaches."

S.Tserenchimed, G.Boldbaatar and Ts.Khosbayar were all bestowed the State Honor a day before the Burte Chono Awards, on December 25.

The "Team of the Year" award went to the Men's National Basketball Team, trained by O.Bayartsogt.

The "Young Athlete of the Year" prize went to promising judoka U.Duurenbayar, while B.Tumurbaatar won the "Referee of the Year" award. A total of 18 athletes were nominated for the awards.

About 100 members of the Association of Mongolian Sports Journalists voted for three nominees each, prior to the award ceremony.

The following are names of the other award winners:

Olympic Hall of the Year: Moscow Olympic Hall at School No.84

Olympic Board of the Year: Athens Olympic Board in Umnugovi Province

Olympic Official of the Year: Kh.Zorigtbaatar

Best Secretary General of Sports Committees: Ch.Davaadorj

Best Director of Sports Committees: D.Enkhbat

Sports Committees of the Year: Mongolian Judo Association, Mongolian Freestyle Wrestling Association, and Mongolian Olympic Boxing Federation

Link to article

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