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Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
Turquoise Hill says Mongolia mine concentrator output restored
Jan 19 (Reuters) - Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd said on Monday the concentrator at the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in Mongolia has resumed full production following a fire in December.
Releasing its 2014 production figures, the company, which owns some 66 percent of Oyu Tolgoi, also said it had produced 148,400 tonnes of copper and 589,000 ounces of gold in concentrates last year - in line with company forecasts.
Turquoise Hill, which is majority-owned by mining giant Rio Tinto , said repairs from the fire at the concentrator, a part of the milling process that produces a concentrate of valuable metals, were completed on Jan. 2.
Rio is the operator of Oyu Tolgoi.
In 2015, the mine is expected to produce 175,000 to 195,000 tonnes of copper and 600,000 to 700,000 ounces of gold in concentrates, Turquoise Hill said, repeating forecasts it gave last month.
Turquoise Hill output at higher end of target – MINING.com, January 19
TD Securities Upgrades Turquoise Hill Resources to Speculative Buy
January 20 (Analyst Ratings Network) Turquoise Hill Resources (TSE:TRQ) was upgraded by analysts at TD Securities from a "hold" rating to a "speculative buy" rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday. The firm currently has a C$4.50 target price on the stock, up from their previous target price of C$4.25. TD Securities' price objective would suggest a potential upside of 35.95% from the company's current price.
Shares of Turquoise Hill Resources (TSE:TRQ) traded up 3.32% on Tuesday, hitting $3.42. The stock had a trading volume of 412,945 shares. Turquoise Hill Resources has a 1-year low of $3.17 and a 1-year high of $4.82. The stock's 50-day moving average is $3.4 and its 200-day moving average is $3.75. The company has a market cap of $6.882 billion and a P/E ratio of 25.46.
Turquoise Hill Resources (TSE:TRQ) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, November 11th. The company reported $0.02 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $0.04 by $0.02.
Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd., formerly Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. is an international mineral exploration and development company. The Company's principal mineral resource property is the Oyu Tolgoi Project, located in Mongolia. The Company also has two subsidiaries, through which it holds interests in coal resource properties in Mongolia and molybdenum, rhenium, copper, gold and uranium resource properties in Australia.
Rio Tinto keeps ramping up iron ore production even as prices slump
January 20 (ABC) Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto has again increased its iron ore output, even as prices plunged during 2014.
The miner increased iron ore shipments by 13 per cent in the December quarter compared with the same period last year, and shipped off 17 per cent more ore in 2014 than over the previous year.
That is even as spot prices for the steel making commodity slumped from as $US135 per dry metric tonne in January 2014 to around $US70 by year end in the major Chinese port of Qingdao.
Rio Tinto said it achieved an average price of $US84.30 per wet metric tonne, which would imply a dry price higher than that.
In total, Rio shipped 82.2 million tonnes of iron ore last quarter, and 302.6 million tonnes over the whole of 2014.
The company's iron ore production was also up 12 per cent over the quarter and 11 per cent over the year, with numbers slightly under what the company shipped.
The vast bulk of that ore came from Western Australia's Pilbara, with production of 280.6 million tonnes, of which Rio's share was 231.5 million while the rest was owned by its joint venture partners.
The expansion of production is set to continue this year, with Rio saying that infrastructure for its upgrade to 360 million tonnes per annum capacity is 80 per cent complete, and that it expects to extract 330 million tonnes of ore from the Pilbara this year.
While increasing the output of one key steel making ingredient, Rio simultaneously cut back on the production of another.
Hard coking coal output slumped 31 per cent in the final quarter, and was down 9 per cent over the year.
Thermal coal, used to fuel power stations, also saw output slide 16 per cent in the quarter and 6 per cent over the year, but Rio Tinto said it was 15 per cent higher when the Clermont mine (which was divested during the year) is excluded.
Mined copper production was up 4 per cent for the year as the company's Oyu Tolgoi mega-mine in Mongolia ramped up, but it was down 23 per cent over the year.
Aluminium production was down just 1 per cent over the year and the quarter, with bauxite production also lower.
Rio Tinto shares were down 1.1 per cent by 10:20am (AEDT), slightly eclipsing a fall for its main rival BHP Billiton.
Minister Enkhsaikhan Gives Status Report on TT Negotiations
Ulaanbaatar, January 20 (MONTSAME) Minister of Mongolia M.Enkhsaikhan gave the cabinet a status report of the negotiations between Tavan Tolgoi working group and the selected strategic investors on January 19.
The investor--China Shenhua Energy, Sumitomo Corporation and Energy Resource LLC consortium-- outlined in their investment proposal an agreement with the conditions to make investments with overall value of four billion US dollars, to commission on their expense a construction of railroad connecting the deposit to Gashuunsukhait borderport, to transfer 51 percent of this construction to the Government, to build a coal processing plant with annual capacity of 30 million tons, and to allow USD 150 million in advance to the Government on repayment condition.
The negotiations with the investor are continuing, the sides have agreed to pursue a strategy to reach a mutually beneficial solution, which includes a negotiation based on mutual trust, a discussion on every concerned matter respectively, creative initiatives and approaches to settle such matters, reported M.Enkhsaikhan. The cabinet obligated him to regularly report the processes of these negotiations.
Mr Enkhsaikhan also gave information about the international market of coking coal. For instance, he said China is developing a program solely on building a railroad for coal transport. This program is being undertaken in cooperation with Shenhua Energy.
In order to satisfy the global standards, Mongolia should expect larger production, larger transport, and broader commercialization, said the Minister. To facilitate this, Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit and railway projects should be developed comprehensively. As a result of commitments to the larger transport capacity, Mongolian coal will be able to get its own place on the global market. Supplying the world's major coal consumers and steel plants through entering the Chinese railway network, and commercializing the coal on third markets through reaching the key maritime ports are required in order to achieve broader marketing.
Lippo Group Picks Up Haranga Rights Issue Shortfall, Raises A$1.44 Million in Total
January 20 -- Haranga Resources Limited (HAR) is pleased to advise that its fully underwritten non-renounceable rights issue of 1 new share for every 3.26 shares held, at an issue price of $0.018 per share (Rights Issue) closed on 12 January 2015.
In accordance with Appendix 7A of the ASX Listing Rules, HAR advises that it received valid acceptances for 33,815,943 new shares with a shortfall of 46,429,883 shares.
The Rights Issue is fully underwritten by Golden Rain Holdings Limited (Golden Rain) who has placed the shortfall.
On completion of the Rights Issue, the total funds raised was approximately $1,444,424 before costs.
Prophecy Announces Approval of Zeltura Road Feasibility Study
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Jan. 20, 2015) - Prophecy Development Corp. ("Prophecy" or the "Company") (TSX:PCY)(OTCQX:PRPCF)(FRANKFURT:1P2) is pleased to announce the approval, via Resolution No. 16, of the Ministry of Roads and Transportation of Mongolia for the Road Feasibility study previously submitted by the Company for the construction of a 17km road to connect Prophecy's Ulaan Ovoo mine to the Zeltura Russian border.
In September 2014, the Border Ports National Council of Mongolia approved, via Resolution No. 01, the General Development Plan for the Zeltura border port in Selenge province, Mongolia.
The Company intends to work with the Mongolian Customs General Administration for the establishment of a customs inspection and clearance area at its Ulaan Ovoo mine for possible future coal shipment to Russia through the Zeltura border.
Wise Owl Initiating Coverage: Guildford Coal – Valuation A$0.058, Last Price A$0.033
Quality and Quantity
January 19 (Wise Owl) --
Overview: Guildford Coal Ltd ("Guildford", "the Company") is an Australian mining company with a diversified portfolio of coal assets in Mongolia and Queensland. Its current focus is the South Gobi Project, which hosts Measured, Indicated and Inferred coal resources totaling 68Million tonnes (Mt), and pre production construction is complete.
The Company's broader coal resource portfolio totals 289Mt in Mongolia and 2,128Mt in Australia.
Centerra Gold 2014 Fourth Quarter and Year-End Results Conference Call and Webcast
TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - January 20, 2015) - Centerra Gold Inc. (TSX: CG) will host a conference call and webcast of its 2014 fourth quarter and year-end financial and operating results at 11:00AM Eastern Time on Friday, February 20, 2015. The results are scheduled to be released after the market closes on Thursday, February 19, 2015.
· North American participants should dial the toll-free number 1-800-954-1053.
· International participants may access the call at +1 212-231-2910.
· The conference call will also be broadcast live by Thomson Reuters and can be accessed at Centerra Gold's website at www.centerragold.com.
An audio recording of the call will be available approximately two hours after the call via telephone until midnight Eastern Time on Friday, February 27, 2015. The recording can be accessed by calling (416) 626-4100 or (800) 558-5253 and using the passcode 21759156. In addition the webcast will be archived on Centerra Gold's website www.centerragold.com.
BMO Lowers Centerra Gold Rating to "Market Perform," Target Price to C$7.00, 3.09% Upside
January 20 (Analyst Ratings Network) Centerra Gold (TSE:CG) was downgraded by investment analysts at BMO Capital Markets from an "outperform" rating to a "market perform" rating in a note issued to investors on Monday. They currently have a C$7.00 price objective on the stock, down from their previous price objective of C$7.50. BMO Capital Markets' target price would indicate a potential upside of 3.09% from the stock's previous close.
Centerra Gold (TSE:CG) opened at 6.79 on Monday. Centerra Gold has a 52-week low of $3.16 and a 52-week high of $7.07. The stock's 50-day moving average is $5.93 and its 200-day moving average is $5.80. The company has a market cap of $1.605 billion and a P/E ratio of 20.06.
CG has been the subject of a number of other recent research reports. Analysts at Scotiabank lowered their price target on shares of Centerra Gold from C$7.50 to C$7.00 and set a "sector perform" rating on the stock in a research note on Friday. Analysts at CIBC raised their price target on shares of Centerra Gold from C$6.00 to C$7.00 and gave the company a "sector perform" rating in a research note on Thursday, January 15th. Analysts at RBC Capital raised their price target on shares of Centerra Gold from C$6.00 to C$6.50 and gave the company a "sector perform" rating in a research note on Thursday, January 8th. Finally, analysts at HSBC reiterated an "overweight" rating on shares of Centerra Gold in a research note on Monday, October 27th. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of "Hold" and a consensus target price of C$6.78.
Centerra Gold Inc (TSE:CG) is a gold mining company. The Company is engaged in the production of gold and related activities, including exploration, development, mining and processing in the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Turkey, China and the Russian Federation.
MSE News for January 19: Top 20 -0.03% to 14,603.99, Turnover ₮14.7 Million, T-Bills ₮50 Million
Ulaanbaatar, January 19 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Monday, a total of 14 thousand and 962 units of 16 JSCs were traded costing MNT 64 million 703 thousand and 746.
"Binse" /11,835 units/, "State Department Store" /1,344 units/, "Hermes Center" /600 units/, "Genco tour bureau" /122 units/ and "Gutal" /100 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Binse" (MNT nine million 349 thousand and 650), "Darkhan Nehii" (MNT one million and 576 thousand), "Gutal" (MNT 960 thousand), "Material impex" (MNT 854 thousand) and "State Department Store" (MNT 739 thousand and 200).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 412 billion 750 million 981 thousand and 835. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 14,603.99, decreasing 4.26 units or 0.03% against the previous day.
MSE News for January 20: Top 20 -1.21% to 14,426.63, Turnover ₮12.8 Million, T-Bills ₮304.3 Million
Ulaanbaatar, January 20 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Tuesday, a total of 8,343 units of 22 JSCs were traded costing MNT 317 million 137 thousand and 783.
"State Department Store" /2,650 units/, "Gutal" /650 units/, "Arig gal" /500 units/, "Sor" /350 units/ and "APU" /223 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Gutal" (MNT six million and 175 thousand), "State Department Store" (MNT one million 496 thousand and 320), "Arig gal" (MNT one million and 175 thousand), "APU" (MNT 825 thousand and 756) and "Ulaanbaatar khivs" (MNT 740 thousand).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 398 billion 346 million 368 thousand and 646. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 14,426.63, decreasing 177.36 units or 1.21% against the previous day.
BDSec Dominates as MSE Successfully Trades ₮304.3 Million 28-Week T-Bills
January 20 (MSE) On 20 January 2015, 28 weeks Government retail bonds worth MNT304.3 million with 15.292% annual interest rate traded successfully on primary market at Mongolian Stock Exchange.
Bellow member brokerage companies participated in the bond trading as follows:
Finance Minister Opens Secondary Market Trading of Government Securities on MSE
January 20 (MSE) On 19 January 2015, Erdenebat.J, Finance minister of Mongolia, rang the opening bell of 4896th securities trading and acquainted with operation of Mongolian Stock Exchange. On this day, which coincidences with 24th anniversary of Mongolian stock market, secondary market trading of government securities launched officially.
By launching secondary market trading of government securities, liquidity and assess will be increased, and possibilities of buying government securities on daily basis, settlement and buying back of government securities before its maturity date will be feasible.
Therefore, benchmark and yield curve of Mongolian capital market will be settled in competitive real situation, and new data which shows economic trend will be established.
MSE Extends Strategic Partnership with LSE for Three More Years
January 20 (news.mn) An agreement established between the Mongolian Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange is being extended by three more years without any allocation of additional expenses from the state budget. The two sides will continue to cooperate at a strategic partnership level.
Activity of the Mongolian Stock Exchange market has been revived since November of last year, and the daily average transaction of monthly trading has reached 700 million MNT. In comparison with June 2014, this amount reflects a five times increase.
The Mongolian Stock Exchange is welcoming the 24th anniversary of its founding with the good news that the faith of international investors is being revived, which analysts believe will result in a revitalization of the Mongolian capital market.
Issuing of the new government's first bonds will be launched by Minister of Finance J. Erdenebat. This will be the second trading of Mongolian government bonds in the secondary market in accordance with internationally accepted principles.
FMG Mongolia Fund lost 16.9% in the 4th Quarter
January 19 (FMG Funds) Sentiment for Mongolian assets remained negative on global headwinds and lower commodity prices. The offshore listed Mongolian mining companies lead the way down and the MSE Top 20 index lost 6% while the Mongolian currency continued to lose ground, down 2.7% over the quarter. The economy performed better than expected with GDP growth of 9% on the back of strong growth in the agricultural sector (+15.4%) and the industrial and construction sectors (+15.3%).
Winds of political change swept through the country as Mongolian Prime Minister Altankhuyag Norov lost a no-confidence vote over his handling of the economy and stepped down along with the rest of his cabinet. Altankhuyag has faced mounting pressure from the public and lawmakers in both parties as GDP growth has dwindled from a high of 17% in 2011. A new PM, Saikhanbileg Chimed, was shortly after appointed who formed a coalition government with the opposing Mongolian People's Party.
He pointed to the importance of resolving a dispute with the country's biggest foreign investor, Rio Tinto Group, over developing the Oyu Tolgoi - one of the world's largest copper and gold mines. When a final deal is struck, the Fund should benefit hugely as sentiment to Mongolian assets will dramatically improve and our core holding in Turquoise Hill Resources, the operator of the Ouy Tolgoi mine, will rerate upwards.
Mongolia increases debt ceiling to 58.3% of GDP
ULAN BATOR, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Mongolian Parliament on Tuesday revised law to increase the debt-GDP ratio in response to the economic crisis.
With about 2.36 billion U.S. dollars of foreign debt, the Parliament approved that the amount of total debt would be 58.3 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). The previous law sets the debt ceiling at 40 percent of GDP.
Now Mongolia's foreign reserves are falling as its mineral export value dropped due to lower commodity prices in the world market. More than 90 percent of Mongolian exports consist of coal, copper and other minerals.
Analysts warn that Mongolia may default in April 2017 unless it borrows again.
Draft Amendment to Law on Budget Stability Adopted – InfoMongolia, January 20
BoM MNT Rates: Tuesday, January 20 Close
Mogi: a new record vs USD
1-Year MNT vs USD, CNY Chart: (Mogi: BoM has updated its chart to interactive, not too bad)
BoM FX auction: US$8m sold at ₮1,942.11, CNY71.5m at ₮312.05, accepts $35m USD, $0.8m MNT swap offers
January 20 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on January 20th, 2015 the BOM has received bid offer of 34.8 million USD as closing rate of MNT 1936.91-1942.50 and 79.5 million CNY as closing rate of MNT 311.55-312.65 from local commercial banks. The BOM has sold 8.0 million USD as closing rate of MNT 1942.11 and 71.5 million CNY as closing rate of MNT 312.05.
On January 20th, 2015, The BOM has received USD Swap agreement ask offer of 35.0 million USD and MNT Swap agreement bid offer in equivalent to 0.8 million USD from local commercial banks and accepted all offer.
Mogi: guess the new rates are not helping with demand for 1-week bills
BoM issues ₮40.7 billion 1-week bills at 13%, total outstanding -19.8% to ₮310.4 billion
January 19 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 40.7 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
BoM issues ₮36 billion 4-week bills at 13.5%, total outstanding ₮36 billion
January 19 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 4 week bills worth MNT 36 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.50 percent per annum. /For previous auctions click here/
Mongolia's Trade Review 2014: Trade Surplus $537.9 Million, Export +35.3%, Import -17.6%
January 19 (Bank of Mongolia) --
Total trade turnover: $11,011.2 millions
As of Dec 2014 the total cumulative trade turnover increased by 3.6% (USD 384.3 millions) from that of the previous year and reached USD 11,011.2 millions. The increase in the trade turnover was due to the increase in exports by USD 1,505.5 millions.
The structure of the trade flows with the neighboring trade partners is as following: (i) trade with PRC: 61.8% or USD 6,799.9 millions and (ii) trade with Russia: 14.6% or USD 1,610.9 millions. The trade volume between Mongolia and China increased by 23.9% and the trade volume between Mongolia while Russia decreased by 0.8%.
Trade balance: $537.9 million
As of Dec 2014, the cumulative trade balance improved by 125.8% (USD 2,626.7 millions) from that of the previous year and reached USD 537.9 millions. During the reporting period the total exports increased by 35.3% from that of the previous year, imports decreased by 17.6% from that of the previous year, thus the trade balance improved by USD 2,626.7 millions.
The value of the three-month moving average of the difference of annual growth rates of exports and imports has been decreasing recent years (Picture 1 shows that the annual growth rates of ex-ports and imports have been declining since October 2011). But since the beginning of 2014, it has been increasing.
Trade balance of paid trade flows: $857.8 million
The state of the trade balance of paid trade flows is one of the main variables that determines the pressure on the domestic foreign exchange market.
As of Dec 2014, the trade balance of paid trade flows reached USD 857.8 millions. During the reporting period, paid imports decreased by 17.9%, and paid exports increased by 34.1% from that of previous year.
Terms of trade: 1.588 (test estimation)
As of Dec 2014, terms of trade index (2012 base year) increased by 7.9% from that of the previous year and reached 1.588.
This increase in the terms of trade is mainly attributed to the de-crease in import prices of fuels, machinery, building materials and increase in export price of copper concentrate.
Composition: 89% + 11%
The share of mineral exports in total exports increased by 0.4 points from that of the previous year and reached 89%.
Exports of coal, copper concentrate, iron ore and concentrate and crude oil have a weight of nearly 78% of total exports and 88% of mining exports.
In addition, these 4 products' share in the mining exports in-creased by 2.1 points from that of the previous year, share in the total exports increased by 2.2 points.
Mongolian export increased by 35.3% from that of the previous year, which was mainly affected by increase in mineral exports. Exports of copper concentrate and crude oil increased by 171% and 23%, respectively, which accounted for 46% in growth of min-ing export. On the other hand, coking coal and iron ore export decreased by nearly 24%, 32% respectively, which accounted for 13% decrease in the growth of mining export.
As of Dec 2014, Mongolian export increased by 1,505.5 million USD from that of the previous year. It is affected by the increase of export commodities' quantities (USD 1,401.4 millions) and in-crease in export commodities' prices (USD 104.1 millions) .
Because of the increase in crude oil and copper concentrate quan-tities, mining export increased by 1,225 millions USD. On the other hand, because of decrease in prices of coal, iron ore and de-crease in quantities of iron ore, zinc ore mining export declined by 583 million USD.
Cashmere, cashmere products and other exports increased by 40.8 and 112.4 million USD respectively.
World market prices for primary commodities
As of Dec 31 2014, gold price reached 1,184.4 USD, decreased by 1.4% from that of the previous year and by 1.5% from that of the last month.
As of Dec 31 2014, copper and iron ore prices reached 6,368.0 and 69.0 USD, decreased by 0.7%, 1.4% from that of the previous month respectively.
Composition: 26% + 40% + 22%
As of Dec 2014, 26% of total imports were consumer goods, 40% were capital goods and 22% were fuels.
Share of the capital goods in total imports decreased by 4% from that of the previous year while the share of fuels stood at the same level.
Mongolian imports decreased by 17.6% from that of the previous year. Main contributors of this decrease were capital goods de-crease, which equals to 11% of the total decrease, and oil imports which equals to 4% of the total decrease.
Capital goods and fuels imports decreased by 26% (726 millions USD) and 18% (255 millions USD) respectively. Thus total import decreased from that of the previous year.
Consumer goods import decreased by 10% (147 millions USD) from that of the previous year. Main contributors of this decrease were durables goods, in particular decrease in passenger car imports.
Capital goods import decreased by 26% (726 millions USD) which was mainly contributed by 38% decrease in machinery, equipment and supplies (697 million USD). On the other hand, import of construction materials stood at the same level.
Intermediate goods and industrial materials import decreased by 1% (4 millions USD).
Fuels import decreased by 18% (255 millions USD). The border price of oil has been decreasing slightly since the end of 2013 (Figure 8). In parallel with global oil market price, it declined sharply in last 3 months, reaching the lowest level since 2010.
Import of the consumer goods
The growth of consumer goods import, calculated by 3 month moving average method, is constantly declining. /Figure 7/.
Even though the import growth of non-durable consumer goods was relatively stable, that of durable consumer goods was declin-ing by the bigger phase.
Trilateral Collective Bargaining Agreement Signed Between State, Employers and Union
Ulaanbaatar, January 19 (MONTSAME) A state accord on labour and social agreement was signed last Friday by the government, Mongolia's Trade Unions (MTU) and Mongolia's Union of Employers (MUE).
A press conference about this was called last Friday by S.Chinzorig, the Minister of Labour; Kh.Amgalanbaatar, the MTU president; Kh.Ganbaatar, the MUE vice-president; and B.Lhagvajav, the president of the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI).
It was said that the parties had discussed 70 proposals and divided them into 53 clauses in six chapters in the accord. They had considered as necessity to maintain principles such as consulting common matters of the social welfare and labour for the population and the labour relations in the 2015-2016 national trilateral accord; not causing a pressure on the state budget in times of economic difficulties; maintaining job places rather than augmenting salaries, allowance and pensions of state servants; and utilizing other financial and economic measures in order to save the population's revenues.
The MTU demand about a 60% pay rise for state servants was solved by a way of adding MNT 90 billion for the expenses of salaries and social insurance incentives, and MNT 13 billion--for increasing pensions. All this will be reflected in the 2015 budget clarification, said S.Chinzorig, the Minister of Labour.
This year's trilateral accord was a special action because the parties established a cooperation memorandum which aims to save jobs by maintaining a stability, to prevent a decline in population's incomes by supporting the employment, and to ensure a participation of the social agreement's sides in overcoming the current economic difficulties in a short time.
Researcher fined, charged with defamation for criticising Mongolian minister on Twitter
Critics through twitter criminalized for the second time and imposed high amount of fine
January 20 (Globe International Center) The former minister of Road and Transportation, Mr. A. Gansukh, has filed a criminal lawsuit against Mr. L. Davaapil for defaming him through social media. A first instance court hearing was held in December 2014 during which the accused was ordered to pay a 9.7 mln. MNT (approx. US$5,200) fine in compensation, in accordance with the Criminal Code, provision 111.2; the amount is 51 times higher than the minimum wage.
Davaapil became the second person in Mongolia to be found guilty of defamation through the use of social media following a complaint also filed by A. Gansukh. In 2014 a Mongolian court sentenced Mr. Ts. Bat to prison for defaming the former minister through social media. A criminal libel conviction of a blogger in Mongolia is unacceptable, stated the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media in August 2014.
In October, A. Gansukh stated in an interview that the government had saved 3.6 billion MNT during MIAT, a Mongolian airlines reform process. He tweeted about this and attached the interview. Davaapil then asked him through Twitter "For how much money did you make an agreement with Samsung for the construction of a 1 km railroad. That money you swindled in the result of the agreement is much more than the saved money you mentioned." A. Gansukh did not respond to the allegation. But he stated that he approached the Independent Authority against Corruption.
During the court hearing, Davaapil explained he is writing a Masters thesis at Sydney University on the theme of railroad investment and is currently conducting research on this issue. He is a member of the Association of Railroad Engineers. The association is critical about the construction of new railroads in Mongolia and has released about 17 publications on the issue.
Globe International Center (GIC) reminds the former minister that deciding defamation cases in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Code is consistent with democratic principles and international standards ratified by Mongolia.
Defamation charges in free expression cases and against critics are not only a breach of the right to freedom of expression - they can also result in the silencing of critics and the strangling of public voices and thus have a chilling effect on free speech. GIC calls on politicians and high officials to be more tolerant and open to criticism.
In 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Committee recommended that the Mongolian government decriminalize defamation. This year, Mongolia is expected to provide a report on the implementation of this recommendation.
Jigjid Reports on State-Funded Geological Survey, SPC Chairman Replaced - Cabinet Meeting in Brief
Ulaanbaatar, January 20 (MONTSAME) Matters which the cabinet resolved on its meeting Tuesday included the lessening of vacant advisors to the Prime Minister from seven to four. This was in frames of the direction to refine compositions and structures of state bodies, to eliminate duplications of responsibilities, and decreasing the vacancies of advisors who are paid under the State Budget.
- Draft concepts of renewed version of law on State Service, a draft law on Salary, Benefit, Aid and Social Security of State Servants, and of a draft law on Performance and Productivity of State Bodies was discussed and approved. A head of the Cabinet Secretariat S.Bayartsogt was obligated to prepare the above drafts for a review by the cabinet.
- The Minister of Mining R.Jigjid presented to the Cabinet the results of geological researches funded by the State Budget and further activities to be conducted in the mining sector. After this, Mr Jigjid was obligated to prepare an issue of forming a National Geological Office, in light of freeing the general exploration areas from State Special Use and their geological landscape design with graduated scale of 1:50000, of determining the geographic coordinates of the researched areas for exploration, and of refining of the composition and management of geological sphere.
- The cabinet resolved to withdraw the draft law on State and Local Financed Purchasing of Products and Services, initiated and submitted to parliament last May.
- A draft law on Development and Submission of Draft Regulations and Law Implementations and draft amendments to other laws regarding the new draft law are to be submitted to parliament after reflecting the comments made by the Cabinet members.
- Added in the List of Special Objects under Police Protection were the building of Mongolian National Public Television and Radio, Studio of the Television and Radio, and the broadcasting facility in Khonkhor.
- Mr D.Tsogtbaatar was freed from the position of a director of the Committee of State Property, and was replaced by Ts.Nanzaddorj.
Prime Minister Reduces Number of Advisors to Four, Saving ₮140 Million Annually
January 20 (news.mn) According to yesterday's government session, it has been decided that the number of Advisors to the Prime Minister will be reduced.
Within efforts to reduce the expenses of the state budget, the elimination of the duplication of duties, a reduction of the number of advisors receiving salaries from the state budget, and revisions to state structure, it is has been decided to cut the number of advisors to the Prime Minister to four.
The measure is expected to save 140 million MNT per year.
Mogi: recognize the new amb. to Singapore? Hint: George
Mongolia Appoints New Ambassadors to Australia, Cuba, Egypt, Lao, Poland, Singapore, Thailand and UN
January 20 (infomongolia.com) The regular Cabinet meeting of the Government was held on Monday, January 19 and one of the issues resolved was a new nomination of Mongolia's envoys to foreign states and United Nations.
Accordingly, it was introduced to promote the following individuals and submit the names to the President of Mongolia for an approval.
Mr. Lodoidamba GALBADRAKH as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the Lao People's Democratic Republic , succeeding Ambassador Mr. T.Janabazar,
Mr. Tumur LKHAGVADORJ as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the Republic of Singapore, succeeding Ambassador B.Delgermaa,
Mr. Tsedendamba BATBAYAR as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the Republic of Cuba, succeeding Ambassador O.Davaasambuu,
Mr. Gonchig GANBOLD as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the Republic of India, succeeding Ambassador S.Bayaraa,
Mr. Chuluun BAYARMUNKH as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the Arab Republic of Egypt, succeeding Ambassador B.Odonjil,
Mr. Batlai CHULUUNKHUU as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the Commonwealth of Australia, succeeding Ambassador R.Bold,
Mr. Nemekh BATAA as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the Republic of Poland , succeeding Ambassador A.Ganbaatar,
Mr. Tumurkhuleg TUGSBILGUUN as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the Kingdom of Thailand, succeeding Ambassador Ch.Battumur,
Mr. Sukhee SUKHBOLD as the Permanent Representative of Mongolia to the United Nations, succeeding Ambassador O.Och.
Cabinet Wants to Nominate Ambassadors – Montsame, January 20
Appointment of Ambassadors to foreign countries being submitted for approval – news.mn, January 20
Bills Submitted to Mongolia Parliament on Joining 88th, 181st ILO Conventions
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, January 20 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Labour S.Chinzorig MP Tuesday submitted to the Parliament Speaker Z.Enkhbold draft laws on joining the 88th Convention on employment service of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the 181st ILO Convention on private employment agencies.
Adopted on July 9 of 1948 in San Francisco at the 31st ILC session, the ILO 88th Convention on employment service (CO88) reflects matters on national state bodies on employment, their functions, job place criteria for the officials concerning employment services and the criteria on stability and professional skills. It also reflects clauses on drawing up, implementing and monitoring a state policy on employment, creating a proper form of social partnership, ensuring the private sector's participation in employment services and developing fruitful collaboration between the state and private sector.
The ILO 181st Convention on private employment agencies convention (C181) was adopted on June 19 of 1997 in Geneva, Switzerland at the 85th ILC session. It reflects a condition of private organizations of employment services and norms of protecting the interest of clients.
ILO Briefs Standing Comm. Chair on Technical Assistance Projects
Ulaanbaatar, January 20 (MONTSAME) Head of the parliamentary Standing committee on social policy, education, culture and science D.Battsogt Tuesday received officials of the Ministry of Labour and the International Labour Organization (ILO).
Present at the meeting were Tim de Meyer, director of the ILO bureaus in charge of Mongolia and China's affairs; David Tajman, Mooney Prudence Judit, international consultants to the ILO; J.Batkhuyag, the Vice Minister of Labour; and other officials.
Mr Meyer said that the ILO is rendering technical assistance to Mongolia for an alteration of the labour law from 2010 in accordance with official request from the Ministry of Labour. The ILO has fully supported the reforming of the law with participation of the Labour Ministry, the Mongolian Trade Unions (MTU) and Mongolia's Union of Employers (MUE). Now, the ILO is giving advice and recommendations to Mongolia about being open to countries, harmonizing the labour environment with the market condition, ensuring essential rights at job places for employees, he said.
Mentioning that a process of the law's alteration has been continuing for a long time, the Vice Minister Batkhuyag said the Ministry is working out relevant bill in accordance with the related documents, hoping that the Standing committee will back it.
Mr Battsogt thanked the ILO for the technical assistance and said the Standing committee is ready to back the draft law if it is submitted to parliament.
Mongolia Cabinet Submits Bill on Alcohol Control to Fight Alcoholism
Ulaanbaatar, January 20 (MONTSAME) The government Tuesday submitted to parliament a bill on control over alcoholic beverages.
The bill has been submitted in frames of the President's appeal on combating alcoholism, running works of determining factors of affects on the gene pool of Mongolians, and taking necessary measures in accordance with the 2009-2013 policy and action programme of the President.
Elbegdorj: Four Key Themes for Mongolia's Future
By Elbegdorj Tsakhia, President of Mongolia
January 20 (WEF Agenda) The history of my country, Mongolia, has been similar to our terrain – highs as monumental as our mountains, and flatter periods not too different from our rolling plateaus. This is what one would expect from a country with such a long and rich past. But today I can say that we are ready to scale new heights.
Armed with the recommendations from the Forum's Scenarios for Mongolia project, we have been carrying out bold reforms. So what are they? I would loosely divide them into four areas: stability, transparency, collaboration and diversification.
In this year's Global Competitiveness Report, policy instability was ranked as the fourth biggest barrier to doing business; government instability was ranked second. It is clear from these findings that one of the main ways to attract foreign investment is to provide a stable environment for companies. Businesses want predictable and non-discriminatory regulations, and they want to do away with unnecessary administrative bottlenecks.
It is this type of stable environment that we have been seeking to create for investors through our reforms.
Each year, the World Bank publishes its Doing Business report, which measures business regulations and how they are enforced. This year's report identified transparency as one of the most important factors for those looking to invest in a country: "An institutional environment characterized by openness and transparency is of central importance." Transparency is something that we have been taking very seriously in Mongolia.
Around a year ago, we launched a "smart government" initiative aimed at improving the quality of governance and public administration, and making it easier for those wanting to invest in our country. As part of this initiative, we adopted a budget transparency law – we call it the glass account law. Under this law, public officials must make their expenditure public within seven days of making the spending decision. It invites greater responsibility and openness.
Another example of how we are trying to increase transparency in decision-making is our moratorium on the creation of new state enterprises and limits on government commercial activities. One-third of existing permits and licenses have been eliminated, one-third of them were shifted to private institutions and professional organizations, and the remaining one-third will be made available online.
According to the Forum's research, "Mongolia's future depends on engagement with its neighbours." We are well aware that in a globalized world, no country can succeed in isolation. This is why we have also been actively developing international relations with our neighbouring countries and beyond.
The recently concluded transparency agreement with the United States is one example of this, as is the accord to sign an economic partnership agreement with Japan.
On top of that, in 2014, we held the first ever tri-partite summit with our two immediate neighbours, Russia and China. The summit, which focused on how we can resolve many important economic issues, was an opportunity to boost our relations with these two important countries. It will also lay the groundwork for developing trade relations with our third neighbours.
Thanks to our wealth of natural resources and our young and educated population, Mongolia has huge potential. Over the past few years, we have been one of the fastest growing economies in the world. We have the 10th largest reserves of gold, copper and coal. We have more than 51 million livestock and are the second biggest supplier of raw cashmere. We have great opportunities for cooperation in the field of geology, mining, renewable energy, agriculture and tourism.
But as the World Economic Forum noted in their Scenarios for Mongolia report, turning all this potential into reality depends on diversification. We agree. That's why in 2014 we considerably shifted our inbound investment to non-mining industries such as agri-business, healthcare, manufacturing and tourism. We've also diversified in terms of the geographical sources of inbound investment, which now includes South Asia, North-East Asia and the EU on top of our traditional investors from North America and Australia.
This year we plan to carry on with this process of diversification, with an emphasis on manufacturing, and will continue to encourage all types of investment – from portfolio investment to project financing – as well as honouring public-private partnerships.
All of these reforms are aimed at making Mongolia a country more appealing to investors. Investing in a country takes substantial effort from businesses, and they calculate their risks prudently. Risks associated with confidence, rule of law and the political situation of a host country are of major concern.
We are a democratic country that respects freedom, human rights, the rule of law, accountability and openness. The reforms we have put in place are aimed at securing and reinforcing these traits and sending out a clear message to the international community: "Mongolia is open for business."
Windows of Opportunity – The Transformation of State Media to Public Service Media in Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Moldova and Serbia
Jan Lublinski, Erik Albrecht, Petra Berner, Laura Schneider, Merjam Wakili & Jackie Wilson | PDF-Fulltext
Abstract: The transformation of state media to public service media (PSM) is one of the most ambitious endeavors in the field of media development. Not many efforts to free the national media from government control have succeeded in the past decades. In this paper the comparatively promising cases of Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Moldova and Serbia are discussed. The PSM in these countries all have a new legal basis, including a public service remit and a relatively independent governing body in which civil society is represented. The services delivered to the public by these media are analyzed according to a number of societal functions which are assembled under two general headings: "creating a public sphere" and "supporting integration". Based on this analysis, a differentiation between "PSM in initial transformation" and "PSM in advanced transformation" is suggested. In all cases studied, different actors successfully used windows of opportunity: general political agendas to reform the media, a specific engagement from the management as well as support from the population and civil society. Media development actors here helped to advance the processes of change in different ways. Recommendations for future media development include strategic planning, inclusion of local actors, the pooling of legal expertise as well as structured processes of organizational development and capacity building.
Case Study Mongolia: MNB
The media landscape of Mongolia, one of the largest and at the same time least densely populated countries in the world, is characterized by large disparities between the capital Ulan Bator and the rural provinces. With the adoption of the new Law on Public Radio and Television in 2005, the former National Public Television and National Public Radio, which used to be state-run and mouthpieces of the Soviet system, were formally transformed into the public service broadcaster Mongolian National Broadcaster (MNB). MNB consists of two nationwide TV channels and four radio channels. In 2011, MNB television's second national channel was established, which broadcasts in minority languages. MNB radio also has a nationwide channel for minorities as well as a youth-oriented and overseas station. Despite MNB's diverse programming, the focus on the capital remains high. MNB only has a few correspondents in the countryside and there are not enough regional programs about the issues of the rural population.
The legal framework for MNB is generally evaluated positively; the Law on Public Radio and Television assigns MNB a clear public service remit. It stipulates that the broadcaster is a non-profit legal entity, which "serves only for public interests, holds responsibility before them, and carries out its operation under the public control". However, experts argue that amendments are needed with regard to the regulations on financing, advertising and the nomination of members of the National Council (NC), MNB's governing body. Its lack of independence and transparency with regard to the nomination process are among the biggest challenges that MNB faces. Although the law prohibits nominating politicians and other officials, the influence of politics within the NC is obvious.
Another problem for MNB is its financing; officially, the broadcaster has three main sources of funding: direct government subsidies, license fees and advertising or sponsorship. In reality, MNB is heavily dependent on direct state subsidies, because due to the small Mongolian population and the fact that a high percentage still live a nomadic lifestyle, the income through license fees is too low. Further, commercial advertising is completely forbidden by the law, which results in MNB's dependence on paid-for programs.
Although MNB has an online presence and broadcasts – its youth programming, for example – via the internet as well, the broadcaster is not known for being innovative. Digitalization was planned for 2014, but neither a realistic strategy nor financial security exist. Young viewers in particular perceive the broadcaster's programming as rather old-fashioned.4
In general the quality of the news is not perceived as very high, not only because of paid-for news items but also due to a general lack of professional skills. Most programming is focused on the capital, very little regional information is given.
In nine years of transformation, MNB has nevertheless made significant achievements. A decisive factor for this was the continuous and long-term collaboration with Radio Sweden and SIDA, which concentrated on capacity building. Today, numerous MNB journalists have reached a basic level of professionalism, though further knowledge especially at the management level is needed. Moreover, MNB does not have proper newsroom guidelines or an ethics code yet. Overall, despite the remaining problems, MNB has a good reputation among Mongolian citizens and is still the broadcaster with the best ratings (Press Institute 2013a).
Mongolia puts wheat import on hold until domestic quality is verified
January 20 (news.mn) The Prime Minister has received proposals submitted by flour industry representatives and ordered the establishment of a working group to determine the gluten content of unsold domestic wheat and to find out whether these flours meet standards for production.
The Executive Director of the Farmer and Flour Association, Ch.Enkhbayar, said that although this year's harvest was generous, the quality of flour does not meet standards. He said that domestic factories can produce high quality flour if domestic wheat is mixed with imported Russian wheat with a higher gluten content.
However, President of the Farmer and Flour Association L.Tsandeleg said that there is no need to import additional wheat since there is approximately 40,000 tons of wheat in the inventory of member organizations of the Farmer and Flour Association, 32,000 tons in the Cultivation Promotion Fund, and 72,000 tons of wheat nationwide
Permits for importing 20,000 tons of wheat not only closed the sale of wheat for farmers in 2014, but also closed cultivation conditions in 2015.
The working group will consist of delegates from the State Specialized Agency of Mongolia and the Farmer and Flour Association of Mongolia.
Mogi: interesting. how much of will be through Mongolia though?
Russia and China Launch Railway Postal Service via Trans-Siberian
January 19 (The Moscow Times) Packages can now travel from Beijing to Moscow by rail following the launch of the first Russia-China railroad delivery service, the logistics branch of Russian Railways announced Monday.
"Up to the present, international mail was delivered to Russia by air and by road only," Russian Railways Logistics said in a statement. The service was organized on behalf of state postal service Russian Post.
Mail will be shipped along the century-old Trans-Siberian Railway, the longest railway line in the world, which runs from Moscow to Russia's Far East and then on via connecting branches to China, Mongolia and North Korea.
The very first package shipped from China arrived in Moscow last Thursday, the statement said. The service could ultimately transport more than 50,000 tons of mail a year, a spokesman for Russian Railways Logistics told the TASS news agency.
The service follows from a strategic cooperation agreement signed by Russian Railways and Chinese Railways on May 20, 2014 — one of a raft of agreements closed between Moscow and Beijing in a landmark push toward tighter economic ties.
Moving packages by railroad will lower transportation costs and allow cargo to be delivered door to door in the same container, eliminating excess operations, the statement said.
The two state railway lines have also pledged to increase cargo traffic by reducing delivery times, improving infrastructure and streamlining transportation and border crossing procedures.
Mongolia to participate in ITB Berlin tourism expo as single partner country
January 19 (news.mn) The international tourism exhibition ITB Berlin 2015 is going to be organized in Berlin, Germany, from March 3-8.
ITB is the biggest annual event in the international tourism sector. More than 10,000 companies from 180 countries participate in this event, advertising their products and services, and almost 100,000 people visiting the event to see the exhibitors.
About 60,000 tourists and more than 8,000 journalists and media outlets are expected to attend ITB this year.
Mongolia is partnering with ITB Berlin this year, and has participated in the exhibition each year since 2000. In 2015 Mongolia is going to participate in ITB with a featured status, as it's single partner country.
The featured status allows Mongolia to be introduced to the world from this important stage, and offers a chance to participate in international and national business and social events. It is a unique chance to attract a larger number of tourists to Mongolia.
Featured status at ITB Berlin 2015 as the official partner country gives Mongolia a chance to organize and engage in the following activities:
- the official opening ceremony of the exhibition for more than 178,000 attendees
- organizing a meeting, gala concert, and reception introducing Mongolian culture and tradition to more than 3,600 international VIP guests.
- establish strategic partnerships with international tourism associations and other professional associations
- participate in industry meetings and cultural events
- disseminate published materials and catalogs about Mongolia
As an exhibitor, on behalf of the Mongolian government, the Ministry of Nature and Environment, more than Mongolian 18 tour operators, and the Ulaanbaatar City Tourism Board will participate in the exhibition.
More than 50 businesses from the domestic tourism sector will participate as attendees.
Cable subscriptions increase 29.8% in 2014 to 360.9 thousand
Ulaanbaatar, January 19 (MONTSAME) Last year, the revenue of post and communication services reached MNT 740.3 billion, increasing 109.2 billion or 17.3% against 2013.
A number of telephone lines stood at 226.4 thousand in 2014, showing a 16.0 thousand or 7.6% increase against 2013. This happened due to increase in a number of the users of the IPTV service providers.
A number of mobile phone users (at a duplicated counting) reached 3.6 million in 2014, while a number of cable television users--360.9 thousand. Compared to the previous year, the mobile phone users went up 18.5 thousand or 0.5%, of cable TV watchers--by 83.0 thousand or 29.8%.
National Renewable Energy Forum, January 23, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Ulaanbaatar, January 20 (MONTSAME) The national forum on Renewable Energy will take place on January 23 at Corporate Convention Center, for purposes of refining the business environment for those who run business in renewable energy sphere and of increasing the green energy consumption in Mongolia.
This forum will address pressing issues in the sphere and further required measures. The Ministry of Energy and the National Center for Renewable Energy will be cooperating with the organizers.
The participants are supposed to determine the activities to be conducted in 2015-2016 regarding renewable energy matters and to submit those to the Government for reflection in its action plans.
Justice Coalition backs EPA with Japan
Ulaanbaatar, January 19 (MONTSAME) At its regular meeting on Monday, the "Justice" coalition's faction at parliament discussed and then backed two issues--a bill on development policy and planning, and a matter on establishing an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Japan.
Mongolia approved several long- and middle-term policy on the developmental issues in the last 25 years, but their realization has not been successful because changes are made in it every time when the cabinet changes. The above draft on the development policy, being discussed at parliament, stipulates that works reflected in the bill will be realized no matter which political party or coalition win parliamentary election. However, the faction considers as necessity to refine this document, so it has set up a working group led by Ch.Ulaan MP.
The coalition also backed an establishment of the EPA with Japan. The information about it was given by O.Chuluunbat, an advisor to the PM.
Mogi: Gobi Coal & Energy?
B.C. Securities Commission Alleges Alberta Man Defrauded Two Investors Over Mongolia Coal Mine
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Jan. 19, 2015) - The Executive Director of the British Columbia Securities Commission has issued a notice of hearing alleging that an Alberta man and a numbered company that he controls defrauded two investors.
The notice alleges that Robert James Maddigan, an engineer residing in Alberta, committed fraud by failing to deliver shares or return the money of two investors who had purchased shares in a coal company from his numbered company.
Maddigan is the sole director and officer of 0902395 B.C. Ltd. The company was a consultant to a coal company for the acquisition of a coal mine in Mongolia. In return, the coal company agreed to issue some of its shares to 0902395.
BCSC staff contends that in 2011, 0902395 sold the shares before it had received them from the coal company. It entered into agreements with 34 investors, under which the investors provided total proceeds of $880,000 to 0902395.
In 2012, 0902395 received nine million shares from the coal company and, in 2013, transferred the shares to some of the investors. However, staff alleges that certain investors, including a business associate and a friend of Maddigan, received more shares than they had paid for, while others received none.
Two investors Maddigan did not know - who paid $30,000 and US$12,500 for a total of 425,000 shares - received nothing. Maddigan, through his lawyer, told BCSC staff that he would repay these two investors in cash. He has not done so.
These allegations have not been proven. Counsel for the Executive Director will apply to set dates for a hearing into the allegations before a panel of commissioners on February 3, 2015 at 9:00am.
You may view the notice of hearing on our website, www.bcsc.bc.ca, by typing Robert James Maddigan, 0902395 B.C Ltd., or 2014 BCSECCOM 498 in the search box. Information about disciplinary proceedings can be found in the Enforcement section of the BCSC website.
Please visit the Canadian Securities Administrators' Disciplined Persons List for information relating to persons disciplined by provincial securities regulators, the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA).
Mogi: got Allysoned
Talk With Me: Munkhdul "Mogi" Badral, Cover Mongolia
January 18 (Star TV Mongolia) --
First Smart Collection Point Launched in UB to Improve Waste Collection And Recycling
January 20 (infomongolia.com) The Ulaanbaatar City Municipality, the Governor's Office of Chingeltei District, The Asia Foundation, and the 16th Khoroo of the District launched the first of two smart collection points to improve waste collection and recycling on January 19, 2015.
The first smart collection point located in the 16th Khoroo of Chingeltei District is established as a part of a Model Khoroo Solid Waste Management pilot initiative under the Improving Urban Services in the Ger Areas of Ulaanbaatar City project.
The project is implemented jointly by the Ulaanbaatar City Municipality and The Asia Foundation, funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs of Australia.
Ulaanbaatar is one of the fastest growing metropolitan cities and more than half ofUlaanbaatar's residents live in Ger districts, many of whom do not have access to basic public services such as water supply, sewerage systems, waste management systems and central heating. This user-friendly smart collection point will provide Ger district residents in areas inaccessible to garbage collection vehicles with improved collection services, support waste sorting and recycling activities, and reduce illegal garbage dumping in public spaces. Local residents will now also have convenient access to 24-hour waste disposal, including an onsite waste recycling collection center which will purchase recycling materials from residents.
The Model Khoroo Solid Waste Management initiative aims to improve waste management in 6 Khoroos in the 6 central districts to enhance the living environment of Ger area residents and resolve waste related issues. The initiative aims to implement effective Ger area solid waste management at the khoroo level and strengthen effective cooperation between Ger district residents, city municipality authorities, and solid waste collection companies. Implementing innovative waste management practices in the Model Khoroos will inform sustainable and comprehensive Ger area policy level changes. Within the framework of this project, the second smart collection point is planned for the 13th Khoroo of Khan-Uul District.
Under the Project, the Asia Foundation has cooperated with Ulaanbaatar City to improve the accessibility and availability of public services to Ger district residents through the Improving Urban Services in the Ger Areas of Ulaanbaatar City project since December 2012. Under this partnership, the Foundation has successfully managed and implemented community mapping in 87 Khoroos in ger districts with the help of citizen participation though a joint effort by the Mayor's Office.
First Smart Collection Point Launched in District – Montsame, January 20
Shanghai Construction to Build Central Sports Palace in Ulaanbaatar Replacing Old
January 19 (infomongolia.com) On January 16, 2015, the Deputy Minister of Health and Sports T.Boldbaatar established a Memorandum of Understanding with representatives of "Shanghai Construction" Company to construct a new Central Sports Palace in Ulaanbaatar.
The "Shanghai Construction" is a Chinese company that earlier executed the Buyant Ukhaa Sports Complex in Yarmag area of UB and the new Palace will be constructed on the site, where the current Central Sports Palace locates to be demolished soon, which was built with assistance of the People's Republic of China back in 1958.
The current Sports Palace features the total area of 8,165 square meters accommodating a single sporting arena with a seating capacity of approximately one thousand viewers and 7 equipped gyms for judo, freestyle wrestling, boxing, power lifting and gymnastic trainings as well as including other spaces for office rooms. Annually it hosts about 140 national, international and regional tournaments. Moreover, it is a venue for sports high school along with Mongolian Judo, Wrestling, Boxing, Gymnastics and Powerlifting Federations as well as Students' Sports Association, Paralympic Committee and other non-governmental organizations.
The venue is almost 60 years old, thus, the Agency for Specialized Inspection issued a notice twice prohibiting to conduct any activities, but with a lack of space, the national teams have been training there to date.
The new Palace of Sports will be a home of sporting arena with a seating capacity of 2,500 people with an additional 1,000-seat hall including a 50m swimming pool and over 30 gyms for trainings. Moreover, it plans to accommodate a hospital for athletes, laboratory, sports school, office rooms and a hotel, but when to start is not revealed yet.
Central House of Sports to be renovated – Montsame, January 19
Prague, January 18 (Czech News Agency) President of Mongolia Tsakhia Elbegdorj arrived in Prague by a regular EuroCity train from Berlin for a three-day official visit before 19:30 today and he was welcomed by representatives of the Presidential Office, the Foreign Ministry and the Mongolian embassy at the main station.
Elbegdorj travelled in a first-class car, placed behind the engined, that was designated for him. The train stopped on the first platform and his car was exactly opposite the government lounge.
After the arrival, Elbegdorj was welcomed by Presidential Office protocol section head Jindrich Forejt aboard the train.
A red carpet was spread out on the platform where Presidential Office head Vratislav Mynar and the president´s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek met Elbegdorj. Then the delegation went to the government lounge that was protected by soldiers from the Prague Castle Guard.
Foreign representatives usually fly to the Czech Republic and an official welcome ceremony takes place at the government airport terminal.
Last time, a foreign head of state arrived in Prague by train for an official visit some 30 years ago.
Elbegdorj will meet his Czech counterpart Milos Zeman, PM Bohuslav Sobotka and the heads of the lower and upper houses of parliament. They will probably discuss economic affairs and water resources.
On Tuesday, Elbegdorj is to visit Charles University (UK) in Prague and meet students of the Mongolian studies.
Elbegdorj is accompanied by a large delegation, including Mongolian Foreign Minister Lundeg Purevsuren. Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Tlapa will meet the delegation on behalf of the Foreign Ministry.
Zeman and Mongolian president discuss economic cooperation
Prague, January 19 (Czech News Agency) - Czech President Milos Zeman and his Mongolian counterpart Tsakhia Elbegdorj discussed today promotion of their countries´ economic cooperation, Zeman told journalists adding that he handed Elbegdorj a list of 40 firms interested in interesting (Mogi: investing I'm sure) in Mongolia.
Zeman said Czech firms could mainly participate in the construction of railways and energy projects and in the mining of raw materials.
Elbegdorj today started the official part of his visit to the Czech Republic where he arrived by train from Germany last night. He will also have meetings with other top politicians, including Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka.
Zeman and Elbegdorj first had a private meeting, later they were joined by a Mongolian delegation, representatives from Prague Castle, the presidential seat, and the Czech Foreign Ministry.
Elbegdorj invited Zeman to a visit to Mongolia. Zeman said the date will be set through diplomatic channels.
He said he will take along a delegation of businesspeople as usual.
Zeman said Elbegdorj promised to include cooperation with Czech buisnesspeople in his country´s prepared action economic plan.
"Mongolia's state guarantee for the Czech investments would be an advantage," Zeman said.
President of Mongolia on an official visit to the Czech Republic – news.mn, January 19
President of Mongolia Pays State Visit to Czech Republic – InfoMongolia, January 20
Czech, Mongolia Presidents Hold Joint Press Conference in Prague
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, January 20 (MONTSAME) The President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj and the President of Czech Republic Milos Zeman called a press conference January 19 after their official meeting.
"We had an interesting discussion. It is right to mention that the former Czechoslovakia was the biggest partner to Mongolia after the Soviet Union. However, the history cannot repeat itself because we cannot possibly remove China from Mongolia's market," said Mr Zeman.
With Mr Elbegdorj he mainly discussed a restoration of the cooperation in trade and economy, he went on. "The major interest in Mongolia lays in its mining sector, where over 80 Czech companies operate. I presented to Mr Ts.Elbegdorj a list of other 40 companies that are interested in operating in Mongolia," he said.
Mongolia's democracy is highly recognized in the Czech Republic, "I am happy that six democratic elections have run in Mongolia, and that the current President has been elected twice," he noted. The Mongolian leader Ts.Elbegdorj said he is glad to visit the Czech Republic. Our two countries have common values and traditional friendly relations, "2015 is the 65th anniversary of our diplomatic relations, and Mongolia and the Czech Republic do not have any controversial issues, are full of pleasant opportunities to expand the relations," said Mr Elbegdorj.
"Our businessmen who are accompanying me will be able to establish ties with the Czech counterparts at a business forum," he also noted. Not only the economic cooperation, but also ties and understanding between the two peoples are important, for example, "many Mongolians are working in this country". "We also discussed an agreement on cooperation in social and educational spheres, this door is open wide," he said.
Our President also informed that he would visit the Charles University on January 20, one of the pillars of Mongol studies. He said that the military forces of Mongolia and the Czech Republic have served shoulder-to-shoulder in several peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan.
"Mongolia celebrates the 25th anniversary of its very first democratic election this year. On this special occasion, I have invited Mr Milos Zeman to visit our country on a state visit. I am happy that he accepted my invitation," he said.
After this, a reporter asked the Czech President to share his country's practices on attracting investors, mentioning that this country has drawn investments of USD 144 billion within a year. The reporter also commented that investment is what Mongolia needs at the moment.
Mr Zeman answered that, although he is not entitled to advice Mongolia, he would say that the Czech Republic has offered tax reliefs to foreign investors since 1998. "This has continued for almost a decade. Our commitment to increasing of the investments is still underway, focusing lately on the value-added industries," he said.
A reporter asked the Presidents if they had discussed any particular project or program. The Czech journalist asked if Mongolia can contribute to the improved relations between the Czech Republic and China.
Mr Elbegdorj said their meeting did not address any particular program or project, and that the presentation of 40 companies' list expresses Mr Zeman's significant interest in cooperation with our country, and that he will put his efforts to study the opportunities and intensify the cooperation. He also promised to pursue a matter of the Czech companies operating in Mongolia, during a development of the plan of follow-up actions to this visit.
"Mongolia's door is always open to foreign investors, particularly, that come from a Third neighbor, because such investments will yield the economy and help balance the investments to Mongolia. Our country has no controversy with its two neighbors. The last year's visits of the leaders of Russia and China have brought abundance of progress," he said.
A Mongolian reporter said the Czech Republic accordingly receives 10 million tourists, which equals to its own population. The reporter asked how this country advertises itself and what national brands they use. "What do You expect from a state visit paid nine years after a visit of a head of State of the Czech Republic to Mongolia?"
Replying, Mr Zeman said,"Our beautiful women and men, and historic landmarks and buildings."
Mr Elbegdorj said that many Czech professionals had worked in Mongolia, in fact, the professionals who discovered the riches of our Erdenet deposit were the Czech nationals. "We have well based relations thanks to the Czech's assistance in construction of Mongolia's major factories and plants". He also said he expects the bilateral relations to expand in variety of spheres and that the Czech businessmen can also visit us with their President.
"I am willing to travel to Mongolia with the business representatives because I consider the basis of diplomatic relations is the economy. In a scope of my visit, I would like to discuss the opportunities of investment, cooperation in mining and railway constructions, and geological explorations, as well as other matters," said the Czech President.
Mongolia President Meets President of Czech Senate in Prague
Ulaanbaatar, January 20 (MONTSAME) With a state visit to the Czech Republic, the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj Monday received Mr Milan Stech, the president of the Czech Senate (upper house of parliament), in Prague.
Mr Stech spoke about the Senate of the Czech Republic, after which the Mongolian leader thanked him for the warm audience and noted that the 65th anniversary of the Mongolia-Czech diplomatic relations is marked this year. He also said that former Czechoslovakia used to be a second largest investor of Mongolia before 1990, "and it shows how wide our relations are".
He also said that the bilateral cooperation is possible to expand in many spheres such as economy, education, mining and infrastructure.
Supporting the views of the President about the bilateral ties and cooperation, Mr Stech emphasized that Mongolia is one of the best partners of the Czech Republic, and that his country successfully overcame the transition period of 1989 as the country developed an industrial sector by attracting foreign investments.
Some biggest Czech companies want to export their products and to open their representatives in many countries including Mongolia, he went on. "We consider that Mongolia has nice conditions for investors, and it may give impetus to the bilateral cooperation which may be determined by the private sector in the future."
The Senate president said the inter-parliamentary ties can expand and noted that mutual visits have been regularized in recent years at parliamentary level. His country will pay a special attention to the collaboration in service, education and health sectors, he said.
Mongolia will host the 2016 ASEM Summit as well as a meeting of MPs, Mr Elbegdorj said. Mongolia is focusing on tourism and environment sectors, he noted and emphasized that a project has been successful realized on acclimatizing wild horses (takhi) within the cooperation. "The number of the wild horses has been rising, reaching some 100 heads. Khustain Nuruu, a main land for these animals, is definitely a favourite place for tourists," Mr Elbegdorj said.
The visiting group has the private sector's delegates, and a Mongolia-Czech business forum will run Tuesday.
President of Czech Senate Pays Courtesy Call on President of Mongolia – InfoMongolia, January 20
Mongolian Ambassador Addresses "Development Goals Beyond 2015" Intergov't Dialogue
Ulaanbaatar, January 20 (MONTSAME) The permanent representative of Mongolia to the UN Mr O.Och addressed the first meeting of the Intergovernmental Dialogue to discuss the Development Goals beyond 2015 to express Mongolia's position.
Mr Och emphasized that these goals must be based on the lessons and achievements obtained by the implementation of Millenium Development Goals. He noted that the MDGs have been of high importance in defining a scope of international cooperation for development.
The unique needs of landlocked countries should be reflected in this important document, he stressed. Mr Och also noted that Mongolia has initiated the UN resolution on Partnership for Development, and expressed a hope that this Partnership which has one billion members will be a key partner in developing these goals.
Pope Francis Sends Prayers as He Flies Over Mongolia
Ulaanbaatar, January 20 (MONTSAME) His Holiness Pope Francis has sent a greeting to the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj through an airline communication while he was flying over Mongolian territories during a trip from the Philippines. In his greeting, His Holiness said he had sent praying to the President and Mongolian people, and wished the best for a development and peace of Mongolia.
Mongolia to build secondary schools with Chinese grant
ULAN BATOR, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia will build 21 secondary schools with a Chinese grant of 300 million yuan (50 million U.S. dollars), local reports said Tuesday.
The new schools, built with one model design, would help reduce burdens on existing schools, where students are studying in three shifts, and upgrade old school buildings.
In the 2014-2015 school year, there are 22 schools that have three shifts in Mongolia, 21 of which are located in Ulan Bator. Also, 26 secondary schools in the country need to be upgraded.
Mongolia has dire needs for new school and kindergarten buildings. Many of the existing buildings are old and can't accommodate increasing number of students.
ACMS: This Month in Mongolian Studies, January 2015
January 19 (American Center for Mongolian Studies) --
In this Issue:
- ACMS 2015 Fellowships
- Upcoming ACMS Sponsored Programs and Events
- New Books Acquired for the ACMS Library
- Calls for Papers, Conferences and Workshops
- Research Fellowships, Scholarships and Grants
- Other News and Events
- Recent Publications
JICA project to improve post-graduate training for doctors in Mongolia
Ulaanbaatar, January 19 (MONTSAME) A project will be co-implemented by Mongolia's Ministry of Health and Sport and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to improve post-graduate training for medical doctors working at the first and secondary levels.
A related meeting protocol of mutual understanding was signed Friday by D.Atarmaa, the Vice Minister of Health and Sport, and by Sawada Hiromi, the deputy permanent representative of the JICA to Mongolia. Mongolia actively cooperates with the government of Japan, especially with the JICA in the health sector. The JICA has been implementing projects and programmes on renovating medical equipment and facilities in hospitals, on preparing their operators, and on repair. Moreover, the sides had decided to establish a hospital at the National University of Medical Sciences within a non-refundable aid from Japan's government.
SUPPORT AIR AMBULANCE BY RIDING THROUGH MONGOLIA
January 14 (Island Echo) The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA) are calling upon horse riders and travel enthusiasts to help raise funds by joining a team of riders to trek across Mongolia on horseback this Autumn.
The intrepid team will take part in a unique challenge to ride 160km in six days, though landscapes largely un-visited by other tourists. The trek will take place from 10th-20th September this year and the charity has already been inundated with enquiries from the horse riding community.
Horse riding accidents account for 16% of all HIOWAA call outs. Former patient Laura Newnham, who was rescued by the Air Ambulance following a riding accident in the New Forest commented:
"Since my accident I have come to realise that the Air Ambulance provides a vital service – particularly to the horse riding community. Horse riding accidents often happen in remote or isolated areas that would be inaccessible by a land ambulance. I donate and will always be grateful to Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance for rescuing me. It's a day I will never forget, but without the Air Ambulance things could have been very different."
Community and Corporate fundraiser June Leatheam, who has herself ridden across Mongolia, and will be co-ordinating the trip for HIOWAA, commented:
"The challenge provides the ideal opportunity for anyone who enjoys horse riding. You don't need to be an expert rider, but you need to have the basic skills, and you need to be comfortable riding reasonably long distances every day".
Anyone interested in joining the trek should contact June on 02380 333377 or by email at email@example.com for further information.
See Mongolia on horseback for air ambulance cause – The Portsmouth News, January 13
Scottish FA Sends David Gillies to Mongolia to Teach Coach Education
January 20 (Scottish FA) This week marks another new destination in the reach of the Scottish FA's Football Development Department as Donald Gillies, Business and Development Manager, travels to Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar.
Donald, who is responsible for furthering relationships internationally through the Scottish FA's highly-respected football development experience, departs from Scotland tomorrow to deliver coach education that will hopefully pave the way for the further development of the sport in the country.
Last September he was approached by Martin Myers of Adventure Kicks, a football development and tourism company operating in Mongolia, about potentially supporting the Mongolians in coach education and player development. ??
David Scott, the Honorary Consul for Mongolia in Scotland, also attended the meeting and conveyed the passion and love of the game in the country but also the difficulties they face.
Temperatures can reach 40c in the summer and as low -40c in the winter, meaning that there is not much time for the 11-a-side season, forcing many fixtures to be played indoors. Martin and David explained the need for support and invited Donald to visit Mongolia to begin discussions on how to help.
Donald said: "It was not the first place that I thought I would be travelling to that is for sure, but Martin and David - along with Scotland and Rangers legend Willie Henderson - really conveyed their enthusiasm and thirst for football knowledge.
"I am looking forward to getting onto the pitch and seeing how we can help."
Donald will meet with the Mongolian Football Federation and Premier League to discuss how the Scottish FA can help grow the game and provide them with the lasting tools to progress.
The visit to Mongolia follows on from the Scottish FA's presence at the NAASC Convention in Philadelphia earlier in January, in which Jim Fleeting and Donald Park delivered practical sessions featuring content from a range of Scottish FA coach education courses, and meet a cohort of Scottish coaches currently plying their trade in North America.
Mongolian Car Team Finishes Dakar Rally in First Outing, Bikes Finish 45th, 77th
January 19 (infomongolia.com) On January 18, 2015, the 2015 Dakar Rally, the 36th edition was successfully concluded in South America, which was the seventh successive year that the event was held.
The event started in Buenos Aires, Argentina on January 04, and then ran through Argentina, Chile and Bolivia, before returning to Buenos Aires on January 17 after 13 stages of competition, for a total distance of 9,000 km.
At this year's rally, Mongolian racers have participated for the first time in the car category as a team of Hungary-Mongolia namely Uniqa Sandlander with its three Toyota Land Cruiser-200 SUVs, whereas two vehicles left the competition due to damages and the third crew comprised of N.Lkhamaa, U.Byambadelger and B.Surendorj under Toyota No.431 came in the finishing line out of 143 cars that was a big achievement for Mongolia to finish the Dakar.
In the bike category, a total of 168 participants have competed and from Mongolia D.Boldbaatar and Ch.Anar finished the total distance arriving at the 45th and 77th places respectively.
As of 2015 Dakar Rally overall results, Marc Coma (Spain) won a fifth title in the motorcycle category for KTM, while Rafal Sonik (Poland) secured a maiden quads crown aboard his Yamaha. Nasser Al-Attiyah (Qatar) took his second title for the X-Raid Mini squad in the car category, while Ayrat Mardeev (Russia) continued Kamaz's winning streak - a third successive win in the Dakar Rally - in the truck category, with his maiden success.
In his interview prior the rally, N.Lkhamaa commented, "I had dreamt of doing the Dakar for the last fifteen years and finally I had the opportunity to do it in 2013. Everything was great. I also have very good memories about last year's Dakar: beautiful places, friendly people and mostly, I made nice friends, especially the people from the Sandlander team. I had decided not to participate in 2015, but I got an invitation from the Sandlander team to come and drive a car, which made me very happy. It will be the first time a Mongolian will do the Dakar in a car. The people in Mongolia are very happy about this news and I will try my best in 2015. I also have experience in car races. I often participate in races either on bikes or in cars in Mongolia. You can't race alone in a car, it's a team effort. I would like to help my team and do my best to make it to the finish of the race".
Mongolian Art and Culture in London: Oxford International Art Fair | 6 – 8 February 2015 | Press Release
Oxford Town Hall, Oxford, 6th to 8th February 2015
January 18 (Mongolian Art and Culture in London) Mongolian Art and Culture is delighted to represent Mongolian and International artists at the Oxford International Art Fair 2015 between Friday 6th, Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th February 2015, which will take place at the beautiful Oxford Town Hall, a jewel at the heart of the historic city of Oxford.
We represent diverse range of artworks by selected Mongolian, Swiss and Dutch artists, who are known to the UK art market since 2009. Our latest exhibition was at Asia House in London last September. Our artists use various types of medium including oil, acrylic, earth and ink paints on canvas, rice paper and silk.
The following artists will be represented by us and displayed at this Fair: Sendem Choijamts – Otgonbayar Tod – Elbegzaya Khaltar – Sarankhukhuu Lkhagvasuren – Hasar Lkhagvasuren – Batbileg Darjaa – Nurmaajav Tuvdendorj – Rene Polak, Holland – Eve Otto, Switzerland – Yo- Xarek Wolter, Switzerland.
We thank you the Mongolian Embassy in the UK, Azaa Studio and Talbot Lodge B&B in Oxfordshire and our artists, friends and families for their cooperation and great support. Entry to the fair is FREE all weekend, with tickets to the VIP preview on Friday costing just £10 including a glass of Catalan Cava, live music and the chance to meet some of the artists on show.
Please come and visit us at Stand 12 in the Old Library of the Exhibition Hall.
Press Release from the organisers:
"Bringing the best selected artworks to Oxford by emerging artists from around the world for everyone to enjoy. Giving Art Collectors and Art Enthusiast a once in a lifetime opportunity to buy directly from the artist that has travelled all the way to Oxford. Contemporary and modern work from more than 150 artists from some 30 countries around the world will be displayed in this magnificent Victorian building, which will be packed with paintings, sculptures, photography, prints and illustrations. There will also be live painting and interactive sessions, with plenty to divert everyone from art connoisseurs to novices."
Catalogue of the Fair is now online: http://issuu.com/globalartagency/docs/oiaf_2015_catalogue/1
Link to purchase VIP Vernissage Tickets for your contacts: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/oxford-international-art-fair-private-view-vernissage-tickets-11057913517
Link to book Sat & Sun FREE Tickets for your contacts: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/oxford-international-art-fair-sat-sun-tickets-tickets-11056842313
Link to Mongolian Art and Culture Press Release: https://mongolianartlondon.wordpress.com/
Facebook Event: (Invite friends, contacts): https://www.facebook.com/events/682031208579802/
S.Turburam Performing Solo Paper Cuts Exhibition in California
January 19 (infomongolia.com) A solo exhibition of paper cuts by Sandagdorj TURBURAM is announced to be displayed at the "Lacis" museum in Berkeley city of California, USA from February 06 until August 01, 2015.
S.Turburam will be performing his exhibition themed "Paper-Iron-Passion" featuring main characters of Mongolian folk tales and wonders of the world fantasy using papers, scissors and staples.
Moreover, he will be also displaying the war armors, helmets and swords of Mongolian warriors of medieval ages.
2015 "Mongol Bankhar" Dog Show Selects Best Mongolian Bankhars
January 20 (infomongolia.com) It was reported that the "Arslan" Kynological Club to organize the "Mongol Bankhar 2015" Dog Show at the hippodrome in Yarmag area , Ulaanbaatar on January 17, 2015.
The event was organized to select and bestow Bankhars in four categories and the best breeds were selected as follows:
1. Tallest bankhar - "Garid" bankhar with withers height of 74 cm owned by Undralsaikhan
2. Heaviest bankhar - "Khasar" bankhar with total weight of 69 kg owned by Sanchir
3. Most hairy bankhar - "Sek" bankhar owned by Dashtsogt
4. Bankhar with heaviest bones - "Khasar" bankhar with chest girth of 100 cm owned by Sanchir
MP Enkh-Amgalan calls for registering Khuvsgul Lake as World Heritage
January 19 (news.mn) Since 2011, MP L.Enkh-Amgalan has initiated a project called "Khukh Suvd" to register the lake as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to develop tourism at Khuvsgul Lake with the participation of local residents, to clean up the lake, and to remove submerged vehicles from its waters.
Within the framework of the project, a joint expedition of scientists from Japan, Canada, and the USA has been established. According to their studies, more than 70 vehicles are underwater in Khuvsgul Lake.
Over the last five years, fuel tankers from NIK and Shunkhlai have sunk into Khuvsgul Lake. For the first stage of the lake's clean-up project, it has been decided that the fuel tankers should first be removed.
The process of removing the fuel tankers will be carried out in co-operation with Japanese, Canadian, and American scientists. Each fuel tanker has the capacity to carry 80 tons of fuel, along with trailers carrying 160 tons of fuel.
Removal of the fuel tankers will help protect the lake from pollution.
Run from Sunrise 2 Sunset in Mongolia, August 5
January 19 (Asia Trail Master) Who has not yet heard of the Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset race in the remote west of the mythical country and the Hovsgol National Park to be precise. For 17 years this classic 100km trail race has been a dream for many a runner around the world. We are therefore delighted to announce that Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset is a new entry in the inaugural Asia Trail Master series. ATMS points can be scored on 5 August, but most of all participation means supporting the National Park and the Mongolian running scene, which remains in an early stage of development.
Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset (MS2S) is a non-profit race and all profits go to and are managed by ecoLeap foundation, registered in Switzerland. MS2S was first held in 1999 and the race fist project was to raise money to buy a garbage truck to help with the waste management in the park. The funds from the race continue to support keeping Hovsgol National Park as beautiful and pristine as we found it in 1999.
The race starts at sunrise (4 a.m.) and ends at sunset (10 p.m.). This timeframe allows most runners to finish the distance, despite a significant altitude gain of over 3000m on the century run. Apart from the long 100km trail, less ambitious runners can also opt for a 42km marathon distance. Given the remoteness and lack of transportation options, the race is part of a one-week tour package in the Park, where participants will get a true feel of ethnic Mongolian life. All details can be read on the very good event website, where you can also register for the event.
Moving On - A Hike in Western Mongolia
from Just Greg, January 11
A short film using some video and time lapse taken while hiking in the western state of Hovd, Mongolia.
I spent a few days in this area, walking from hill to hill and across the steppe. It was all quite spectacular and well fitting to this rather inspiring song.
The hiking shots were done by pressing record on the camera, then walking off into the distance before turning right and walking through the shots. The slow panning was done in editing.
I did the time lapse by just sitting as still as possible. Which wasn't easy in the biting cold wind!
The footage and time lapse was all shot with a Canon 7D.
The song 'I Give Up' by Elijah Bossenbroek has been used with kind permission from the artist. It comes from his beautiful album Carpe Lumen. And it's well worth buying.
Paul Krugman: Mongols of the Sea (Amateur Historical Speculation)
January 18 (New York Times) Still in Delhi, where I've been mostly spending my time in rooms full of people talking economics. But I did get out a bit to see some sights, and found myself thinking about history. And I thought I'd inflict some amateur big-think historical speculation on my readers.
The starting point, for me, is realizing just how big the Mughal Empire was. (I know, ignorant Westerner.) In the 16th and 17th centuries it was far more populous than any state in Europe, in fact comparable to the whole of Western Europe if not more – and this was an era when per capita incomes were fairly similar everywhere, so the Mughal economy would have dwarfed any European economy too.
But was the Mughal state sui generis? Not really. It flourished in an era of "gunpowder empires", large states where the strength of the central government rested on siege artillery and professional pike-and-musket infantry. The term is usually applied primarily to the three giant Islamic states – the Ottomans, the Safavids, and the Mughals. But as I understand it, the whole arc from Ming/Qing China to Habsburg Spain basically fits the model; and were the Bourbons really that different?
In this world the states of northwestern Europe that ended up looming so large in world history look trivial – and still look trivial in population and economic weight as late as the early 18th century. What's more, they didn't have any visible advantage in military technology until much later.
But surely this, too, is a simplistic picture. For even in the heyday of the gunpowder empires, the far Western states of Europe dominated the world's oceans. Not the Mediterranean, where the Habsburgs and the Ottomans were relatively even at least until Lepanto, but in the open ocean, where galleys never had a chance and it was sail-and-cannon all the way, the Atlantic fringe took control very early. Why?
OK, a weird analogy: think about the long military dominance of steppe nomads.
Mughal comes, of course, from Mongol – and Genghis Khan was only one of a series of conquerors who emerged from the steppes and overran vast civilizations, even though the population of the steppes must always have been tiny compared with that of the regions the nomads conquered. Why were the nomads so formidable?
Well, they were horse archers, who for a long time were the most terrifyingly effective warriors there were. But everyone knew about bows and arrows, probably even compound bows, and everyone knew what skilled bowmen on horses could do. The problem for civilized lands, surely, was finding military recruits with the needed skills. To be a really good archer you had to start very young – England gave up on longbows, not because muskets were better, but because archery as a popular pastime faded out and it was much easier to train a peasant to shoot a musket. The same is true for horse riding. And the combination must be really tough.
However, the conditions of nomad existence meant that there were relatively speaking a lot of men with the needed skills. So steppe nomads dominated in war because of the skills they developed when not at war.
Now think about sail-and-cannon naval warfare. The gunpowder empires knew all about cannon. But my guess – I'm sure there are real historians out there who can correct me if I'm wrong – is that western Europe, because of its geography and lifestyle, had a disproportionately large number of skilled open-sea sailors. Very few of these sailors would have been engaged in warfare in normal times, or even during wars; mostly they would have been prosaically transporting bulk items, especially herring and later cod. But can't we argue that they provided a base of skills that gave the Atlantic fringe a big military advantage at sea?
Obviously I like this hypothesis for several reasons. It's the kind of thing that satisfied my frustrated ambitions to be one of Isaac Asimov's psychohistorians; I think the analogy between, say, the Dutch Republic and Genghis Khan is pretty cool; and so is the notion that European dominance ultimately rested on the herring trade.
Of course, there's a strong possibility that this is either (a) obviously wrong for some reason (b) a hypothesis thoroughly discussed by some eminent historian I just happen to have missed, or (c) both.
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