Please click Display Images or Download Pictures to properly view this newswire
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
Tian Poh Places 9 Million Shares at 18 Cents Raising A$1.62 Million
February 16 -- On 16 February 2015, Tian Poh Resources Limited (the 'Company') placed 9,000,000 ordinary shares at 18 cents per share to sophisticated and professional investors pursuant to a private placement. Each new share has a free option with an exercise price of 20 cents and expiry date of 16 February 2016. Gross proceeds raised were $1,620,000.
Aspire Mining: Northern Railways Achieves Important Rail Milestones
· Aspire's Mongolian rail infrastructure subsidiary Northern Railways, has received a General Environmental Impact Assessment from the Ministry of Environment for the Erdenet – Ovoot section of the Erdenet – Arts Suuri railway. This approval sets the terms of reference for a Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment.
· Northern Railways has also had the Erdenet to Ovoot Railway Pre-feasibility Study and alignment examined by the Science, Technical Advisory Council which advises the Mongolian Ministry of Roads and Transportation. The Advisory Council supports the Erdenet – Ovoot railway PFS and its alignment, and has made its recommendation to the Ministry.
February 17 -- Aspire Mining Limited (ASX: AKM, the "Company" or "Aspire") is pleased to announce that its Mongolian rail infrastructure subsidiary, Northern Railways LLC ("Northern Railways"), has received two important signoffs from the Mongolian Government necessary to progress Rail Concession negotiations with the Mongolian Government.
The first is a General Environmental Impact Assessment ("GEIA") approved by the Ministry of Environment. This is a high level assessment that shows that the rail path chosen has been assessed and that a Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment ("DEIA") can now be prepared. The issuance of the GEIA is important for making an application for a Rail Concession. The assessment also includes supporting correspondence for the Erdenet – Ovoot railway from the Provinces through which the alignment passes.
The second signoff was received from the Science, Technical Advisory Council ("Advisory Council") which advises the Ministry of Roads and Transportation. The Advisory Council assessed the proposed alignment path along with the pre-feasibility studies supporting this alignment and have agreed to provide in principle support for these studies and the selected alignment.
Northern Railways has also recently received a further batch of 1:5,000 scale maps which form the basis of desk top engineering studies. Northern Railways is now in possession of maps covering a 3km wide corridor for the first 435 kilometers of the 547 kilometer alignment. The final 112 kilometers of maps are due to be received by Northern Railways by the end of February.
Aspire's Managing Director, Mr David Paull, said "Achieving both of these milestones are important in the path along which we are travelling to see the Erdenet – Ovoot railway come to fruition. We are now working closely with our advisers and potential funding partners so that we can put a strong case to the Government of Mongolia for a Concession to be issued to Northern Railways".
Xanadu: Kharmagtai Deferred Consideration Payment Date Extended by Eight Months to 31 July 2016
February 17 -- Xanadu Mines Ltd (ASX: XAM – "Xanadu") is pleased to announce that the repayment date of the "Deferred Consideration" for the Kharmagtai project has been extended by eight months to 31 July 2016.
Xanadu and its joint venture company, Mongol Metals LLC, entered an agreement with Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd ("TRQ") to acquire a 90 per cent interest in the advanced Kharmagtai copper-gold project located in the South Gobi region of Mongolia in early 2014. Mongol Metals LLC agreed to pay initial consideration of US$4.0 million, with US$10.0 million of Deferred Consideration to be payed over 18 months from completion (total consideration of US$14.0 million). Xanadu guaranteed the Deferred Consideration in favour of TRQ. The Kharmagtai acquisition was approved by Shareholders at the Company's May 2014 Extraordinary General Meeting.
The remaining balance of the Deferred Consideration is US$4.1 million. All other terms and conditions of the agreement with TRQ remain unchanged, including Xanadu's obligation to pay 50% of net proceeds from any equity capital raised or asset sales towards the Deferred Consideration.
Sino Construction: None of Offer Conditions Met for Guildford Takeover Bid
February 17 --
MSE News for February 16: Top 20 +0.56% to 13,983.25, Turnover ₮12.1 Million
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, February 16 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Monday, a total of 2,365 units of 14 JSCs were traded costing MNT 12 million 144 thousand and 596.25.
"Gobi" /900 units/, "Arig gal" /376 units/, "APU" /350 units/, "Mongol savkhi" /193 units/ and "Khasu mandal" /144 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Gobi" (MNT six million and 660 thousand), "APU" (MNT one million 269 thousand and 500), "Material impex" (MNT one million and +036 thousand), "UB-BUK" (MNT 895 thousand) and "Arig gal" (MNT 883 thousand and 600).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 374 billion 845 million 708 thousand and 258. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 13,983.25, increasing 0.56% and the all index of MSE was 995.24, increasing 0.28% against the previous day.
BoM MNT Rates: Monday, February 16 Close
MNT vs USD, CNY 3-Month Chart:
BoM issues ₮41 billion 1-week bills at 13%, total outstanding +9.7% to ₮238.6 billion
February 16 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 41 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
Baabar: "Are We a Home of Robbers or a Game of Foreigners?!"
NOTE: This is an unofficial translation of an article published on Ikon.mn by Baabar, ex-Minister of Finance of Mongolia, and one of the most influencial blogger in Mongolia.
February 11 (Source: Ikon.mn, M.A.D.) Three former employees of the foreign-invested "Southgobi" company were sentenced to prison in Mongolian court for tax evasion. One of them was a U.S. citizen and the other two were citizens of the Philippines.
They were arrested by the IAAC, an organization responsible for investigating and halting corruption-related offenses in state institutions, and then the cases were transferred to court. The word corruption includes crimes related to the state, and, if it is outside the state, it should be considered a simple bribe and investigated by the police. In this case, if the Tax Authority detected any violation, the case should have been examined by external experts and then transferred to the prosecutor or to the police. Instead, the Ministry of Finance acted as an "expert" and made a conclusion themselves. The court denied an expert conclusion, yet, when the Ministry of Finance proposed that same conclusion, the court deemed it relevant and sentenced the defendants. According to Southgobi, the expert conclusion that was denied by the court was an audit made by an independent and reputable international tax expert. Since Southgobi is a foreign-invested company, this case will inevitably become an international issue. Therefore, the conclusion by a prominent auditing firm should be respected, and, if not, it should be decided by an international arbitration court. Unfortunately, that did not happen. Even worse, the procedure dictates that an external expert must examine the validity of the tax inspector's conclusion, but in this case, the experts did additional inspection themselves and aggravated the conclusion.
What happened next was that the prosecutor suggested the court should impose a fine on the defendants on behalf of the state, but, the next day, to everyone's surprise, the prosecutor added imprisonment to his charge. The law dictates that a prosecutor must announce the suggested sentence in advance so that the attorney and defendants will have a chance to defend themselves accordingly. It is obvious that a fine and imprisonment sentences will be defended differently, but Mongolian prosecutors have been using this surprise technique for many years. Even worse, the defendants were just employees of Southgobi. If the company avoided paying taxes, the company itself and the owner should carry the responsibility, not the employees. If an employee of a company commits murder, he should receive the penalty, not the company; if the company commits tax evasion, the company is responsible for the violation, not an employee. It is that obvious. And doesn't this kind of court procedure sound too familiar to us?
The U.S. citizen in this case has been living in Mongolia for 11 years with his Mongolian wife and children. He was employed by Boroo Gold, and, once that project ended, he started working for Southgobi. The two Filipino men have been working in Mongolia for three years in the mining sector and they were supporting their families back home by remitting their salaries. Since they were first accused of a crime three years ago they have been banned from leaving the country. During that time the father and uncle of one of the men passed away and currently, his mother is very sick. Despite pleading for permission to attend his father's funeral, his request was denied. The in-laws of the other Filipino man have both passed away, too. There is a humane international practice that allows the accused to post bail under these circumstances and leave the country, especially when they are not even tried at the court and convicted.
So you are saying our revenue was equal to Mongolia's entire GDP and we hid it?
Concerning the claim that Southgobi evaded taxes for their USD 6.2 billion revenue, the defendants had asked an interesting question: "So you are saying our revenue was equal to Mongolia's entire GDP and we hid it?" I guess the tax inspectors mistakenly made a conclusion on the entire GDP. Southgobi mine has 400 million tons of coal reserve, which means it is a mid or lower-mid sized mine in Mongolia. Second, it seems like the inspectors got involved in this because of the decreasing value of our currency. MNT decreased by two times against USD from 1200, which seems to have "proved" their crime since the company makes all transactions in USD. If that is the case, shouldn't the Mongol Bank be responsible for this?
Now, let's make some possible hypotheses on why such blatant accusations and wrongful charges might have been made:
1. This might be a license war. Southgobi has been involved in an illegal license case for the past few years. In the past decade, many gangs that rob real and potential foreign investors have sprung out, and they have become pretty adept at it. The most known case involves a Japanese real estate investor who got imprisoned because of a sudden appearance of drugs in his hotel room. Robbing Chinese small investors became even rampant. Investors get arrested suddenly and locked in prison till they are on the verge of admitting a crime, and then their innocence is "found out." Those innocent investors will be kicked out of the country with a black stamp on Mongolian visa forbidding them from returning to the country. This happened even to a big Korean investor. Obviously, there is an adept network that does these things. To get what they want, many state institutions get involved in this network. In general, one of the biggest sources of corruption in Mongolia originates from the practice of intentionally trying cases at a criminal court, while the cases should have been tried in civilian court.
2. The founder of the Southgobi Sands LLC is stock exchange speculator Friedland. He launched an IPO by borrowing USD 500 million from China. Later on, he raised the value of his stocks to USD 4 billion by announcing the 9 licenses that he obtained. He was the biggest shareholder of OT, and when he sold his stocks to Rio, he pressured them to buy Southgobi along with those stocks. When Rio opened the basket after buying Southgobi, all the eggs were rotten. Rio did an internal examination within Southgobi and found out the employees have been embezzling and giving bribes. The Australian citizen Sarah Armstrong was banned from leaving Mongolia and Andrew escaped to Hong Kong and tarnished Mongolia during a press conference. Later on, the head of the responsible Mongolian agency was sent to prison. In the meantime, Southgobi stocks fell to USD 200 million, which is not even half of the initially offered value. For some reason this case has been going on for almost three years, and the core of the problem might lie here.
3. The third hypothesis is that it could all be orchestrated by a foreign country or a foreign group. It could even be a geopolitical game of a powerful country. We have been shouting about "third neighbor" for over 25 years, but we haven't moved a step away from our two neighbors. In this case, it is not pleasant thing to attract large-scale investment from a distant neighbor. The demonstrations in Mongolia are always against our third neighbor investors, yet never against our two neighbors. Even the demonstrations against Chinese workers are always against the ones that are employed by third neighbor companies. Our northern neighbor Russia controls the biggest strategic assets, such as Erdenet, railroad, and MonRosTsvetMet and Mongolia is completely dependent on their energy and oil products. Our southern neighbor China has completely monopolized Mongolia's foreign trade and directly and indirectly owns 70% of all the resource licenses. Russia pushing out Western investors from Mongolia has become a known fact. After a decade of significant investment in uranium mining, a Canadian company Khan Resources was kicked out due to the pressure from Russia. There is currently an international arbitration case against the Government of Mongolia and the amount of damages sought by Khan is USD 350 million. French state company Areva has been pressured to leave Mongolia for many years and the person who is openly financing it is a Japanese citizen of Korean origin and the money is transferred from Germany. Of course, Japan, Korea, and Germany have nothing to do with this. Since the stupid one is obviously us, not our two neighbors, we end up doing the dirty work. The local "distributors" are high-ranking officials who work in the name of the state, and the ones who extort money and rob assets are the vultures that feast on spoils. One such example is the recent tomb issue surrounding the Gachuurt mine. Those vultures can't even properly pronounce archeology and paleontology. They don't even know where their drink money is coming from. I guess they are not the ones to blame.
4. The most common robbery in Mongolia is extortion by an individual or a group. To mention just one example, a tax inspector was arrested for extorting in the name of the state, and made MNT 17 billion in 5 years. There are thousands of state officials who are doing this kind of thing everyday. For example, state officials have been gaining for some time from "benevolent" dispute resolutions by intentionally filing a complaint on behalf of a random citizen against any administrative court decision. But I guess this model did not work for Southgobi. The reason is that the amount of the fine is astronomical, and the parties that are involved are court, prosecutor, tax authority, customs authority, and IAAC, which leads to a logical conclusion that the operation was conducted under someone influential.
But, whatever the reason is, Mongolian court did not follow the procedure and this fact alone would kill Mongolia. Most probably after a long fight, the three defendants will be released and expelled from Mongolia with a black stamp on their passport. They will tell a dramatic story on international news agencies and media as if they were hostages that have been released from Sudan, Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, and the Islamic State. An image of them crying, suffering, and reuniting with their wife and children will be broadcast around the world. The whole world will feel sorry for them and hate Mongolia. To make a counter PR, we do not have powerful media let alone a dog that would bark on behalf of us.
Forget about the support for investment that Saikhanbileg got from the people. The issue will be discussed on the floor of the U.S. Congress, and looks like the hundreds of million dollars that the MCC has promised will be canceled. Forget about mayor Bat-Uul, who announced Ulaanbaatar as a friendly city. Three Mongolians recently murdered two Chinese workers and robbed them and a group of patriots beat and robbed Vietnamese workers. The cases like these are increasing every year. Apparently, the most positive things heard at the Mongolian Investment Summit in Hong Kong was the news that the Government of Mongolia has been ousted. When a former wealthy investor to Mongolia was asked whether she would return to Mongolia now that the new Investment Law is in place, her response was "I am ready to invest anywhere in the world, except Mongolia." Last year, when our Minister of Mining attended a mining conference in Toronto, the local newspaper bestowed on him a nice nickname: "dickhead." Coal has already become ash, gold prices keep falling, and the price of copper has already fallen down to USD 5,000, and will most likely reach USD 4,000.
I recently read a post by a Russian blogger. A foreign man was walking down the street of Moscow and was smiling to passers-by just as a civilized person would do. Depressed Russians who were affected by the sanctions thought he was mocking them and a gang beat him. I guess man becomes more violent when he suffers. Compared to them, our country is a free and pluralistic country. They are following and supporting their President by cursing at foreigners. But we cannot be like that. We cannot all be silent and do nothing about this unfair court decision as if we approve of it. To prove that we are free and pluralistic country, at least one or two people must criticize this court decision. Only that way our country's reputation will be flawed less, if not saved. This article is written for that purpose.
Kapla and Mongolia: Whose game is this case that violated human rights?
By G. Zandanshatar, Former member of the Parliament and Former minister of Foreign Affairs
February 16 (via FreeJustinKapla.com) Lately, websites have been screaming aloud about human rights and freedom are being violated in Mongolia for both foreign and local people and especially those who run businesses are under constant fear.
It is almost right to say that the present day Mongolia has turned into the real nightmare to foreign investors. There is no wonder if some cases turn into sensational event regardless of whether the doer was guilty or not and especially when the case involves politicians or businessmen, it continues until they get down on their knees for their "supposedly" committed crimes.
What they say about reputation in old Mongolian tradition, "Break my bone instead of my reputation" also have been forgotten. There have been many cases of invading and insulting people's reputation since 2005. The system, which above cases are not solved by the related laws and procedures but by the incomplete and unethical ways, have polluted the society of Mongolia, and it doesn't stop there. It is expanding its influences further out and creating a huge obstacle to our economy's development and growth. It is unfortunate that the authorities are stirring up this situation even more, instead of understanding and taking actions on it.
One of the classic examples is the court verdict to the managements of "SouthGobi Resource", which has been an international sensational news lately. If it is true that they really evaded tax payments, they should get punished according to the laws and procedures in Mongolia. No one would argue with that. But this case makes everyone doubt because it is very unclear that what kind of reasons are hiding behind. The ex-managers of "SouthGobi Sands Resource" have been sentenced to long-term imprisonments by the criminal court, which makes everyone, foreign and domestic, worried. Foreign experts, especially, the US embassy views this case that it has violated the human rights, and also this case has been sensational news on US medias and newspapers.
Fortune.com reports "The court process and many violations in the trial of the case in this young democratic country, where its future of economy is clouded because of the curse of wealth, are creating fears among people", and Forbes and Bloomberg Business posted "Turning tax related case into the criminal case will negatively affect the reputation of Mongolia and will create situation, in which the foreign investors and companies' management are afraid of signing on the documents in Mongolia". Mining.com made a big announcement with the title "The court decision gets the chill on back of the mining business owners". They specified that if the court decision stays the same, "SouthGobi" company will be bankrupted.
This is a small part of many posts that were posted in US media, regarding the court sentences of US citizen, Justin Kapla and Philippine citizens, Hilarion V. Cajucom JR and Cristobal G. David.
If we briefly take a look at this world-wide sensational case: "Three ex-employees of foreign invested company "SouthGobi" were sentenced to imprisonment. Originally, if the taxation department detects any related violation, they have the independent experts prepare reports and statements on it and have the prosecutors and police oversee the case. But, the Ministry of Finance made reports on behalf of themselves.
In addition, they conducted additional inspections to make exaggerated reports instead of the independent experts preparing their own reports after analyzing the tax investigator's report for its legitimacy. As the foreign invested company, "SouthGobi" had an international audit organization inspected and prepared reports; however, it was ignored by the Mongolian court.
Furthermore, the prosecutor sentenced them to pay only penalty a day before the trial, but added imprisonment to her sentences on the next day. What attracted our attention the most was that the case was defined as criminal case, not civil case, and officials from the taxation department were not present in the trial. In addition, the case was returned back to the investigators twice due to insufficient evidences.
Justin Kapla had worked in the mining company "SouthGobi" for only 6 months when this tax evasion issue had been going on for 5 years at the time. It is not very understandable that exactly what kind of laws and rules are served in Mongolia. Obviously, we know that the telephone justice dominates in our country.
But in the end, convicted three foreign citizens were the hired employees of "SouthGobi". It would seem very unfair to anyone that in fact, the company or its owner should be responsible for this tax evasion issue, if it's true and proven, instead of sentencing its ex-employees, who worked there for only 6 months to 1 year. They are in the prison of foreign country for evading tax payment of USD 6.8 billion today. The question they asked in the trial "Did we really make money that is equal to the amount of GDP of Mongolia and hide it?" which sounds like desperate person's words, but on the other hand, it highlights the irresponsibility of our country's courts and monitoring organisations.
Also, the announcement, in which the authorities of Mongolia defrauded the amount of money that is equal to 7.6% of Mongolian GDP and compared it the situation where if US politicians defrauded the same amount of money from their country, each politician would have USD 2.2 billion.
US citizen, Justin Kapla, has made complaints to the Human Rights Committee of United Nations for now. He's been reminding constantly that this irresponsible court decision will negatively affect foreign investments to Mongolia. If this kind of news and announcements keep spreading further on international media, the reputation of Mongolian courts will be infringed badly and fears will be created among people who trust in Mongolia.
Only a few years ago, there was case, in which, Japanese investor was sentenced to imprisonment for drug abuse and was released after having many issues solved. First, the court had been playing around with investors of Republic of China, Korea, and Japan, then as the mining industry grew bigger; it started harassing other foreign big investors. It is not secret that cases of robbing, threatening, and slandering small Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese investors for false charges are happening nowadays.
Private and public properties are sacred in the country where the market economy is declared. The government or some fraction on behalf of the governments are invading private and public properties and taking it for themselves. It is very poisonous and unfortunate chain of events. It sure is creating understandings for the domestic and foreign investors about that their investments are not guaranteed in this country.
We all know well that not only foreigners, but also our own people who are struggling to make living, are being called "criminals" nation-wide when their accused crime in the name of "bribery and corruption" is still unproven and under investigation. But we don't know that how many father's sons and mother's daughters' reputations, works, and lives are being played around by this shadow of repression of the modern days. Arresting, prisoning, and punishing the wealth creators have become the sorrow of our society. This issue has brought many criticisms from law makers as well. Particularly, during an interview Mongol television and News.mn, the Member of Parliament, U. Enkhtuvshin said "Rich mining business owners are the intentional main targets. They bury the reputation of the individual, his/her family and business through paid media tools. After that, they sentence him/her to imprisonment. The public is brain-washed by the media and think that "Oh as expected, this guy has been sentenced for his "you know!!!" crime". This kind of situation has turned to standard event in our society. For example, someone was asked "give me MNT 100 million and I will sort out your case". Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lu. Bold once said "Who would want to go to the country where its authorities take away investors' passports, bans them from traveling, and arrest them for investigation after desperately calling them to come in? Country of Mongolia has turned into country of prison".
In fact, the time has come for us to understand that the current economic difficulties are based on the crisis of politics and its structure. Whose game is it, squeezing the foreign investors out, when the whole world is announcing that Mongolia is going to be bankrupt from its debt crisis? Whose strategy is it?
For the full article in its native tongue (Mongolian) visit: http://www.today.mn/p/3275
Day 819: Mongolia's Mining Squabbles Squander Sovereignty And Gift China Power
By Jon Springer
February 16 (Forbes) Since August 2011, a swathe of Mongolia's politicians have committed themselves to a series of public squabbles with international mining companies operating in Mongolia. These politically staged disputes are ultimately diminishing a century of work by Mongolia's politicians to be independent of China. The politicians behind these schemes seem unable to comprehend the knock-on effects of their grandstanding that renders their country more beholden to China with each passing month of their maneuvers.
While many mining companies have been impacted with 106 mining licenses at one point suspended, this article will focus on a particular circle of companies. This group of companies matters because of their importance to Mongolia's international image and the tangle of relationships between them that leads to knock-on effects to all companies in the circle when one is impacted. Those in Mongolia's politics that have undermined these companies have failed to understand that their undermining of these companies has in turn made them susceptible to takeover by progressively larger international companies with whom the Mongolian government has exponentially less negotiating leverage. The companies are:
· SouthGobi Resources, a coal mining company.
· The Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine that according to a deal signed in 2009 that came into effect in 2010 is 34% owned by the government of Mongolia and 66% privately owned.
· Turquoise Hill Resources which was formerly known as Ivanhoe Mines until 2012, the owner of the 66% share of Oyu Tolgoi.
· Ivanhoe/Turquoise Hill importantly also owned a 58% majority stake in SouthGobi in 2012.
· Rio Tinto, an international mining conglomerate that accumulated a majority ownership of Ivanhoe Mines in 2012, pushed out the former CEO and changed the company name to Turquoise Hill to denote new management.
· Glencore, another international mining conglomerate that has been viewed as prospectively buying Rio Tinto.
JMSC alumnus helps form journalism ethics body in Mongolia
February 13 (Journalism and Media Studies Centre, University of HK) Learning about the importance of media ethics and accurate reporting while at the JMSC has inspired TV producer and JMSC graduate Lhagva Erdene to help establish a media ethics council in Mongolia.
Mogi: the real threat here is Mongolia not being dependent on Russia for electricity any more, hydro power plants are essential to do so, no matter, as I understand, how many coal plants we build.
Petition Filed Against World Bank-Backed Hydro Power Plant Projects in Mongolia
February 13 (Greenpeace Russia) Today, people living in the basin of the Selenga river in Russia and Mongolia, together with a number of environmental NGOs, filed a petition at the World Bank Inspection Panel demanding that the feasibility studies of dangerous hydro-electric power plants (HPP) projects must be postponed.
Citizens in both countries as well as environmental organizations are seriously worried by the Mongolian government's extensive plans under to build in the Selenga River basin several hydroelectric power plants with the interbasin water transfer systems. Their prior concerns are the Shuren HPP, the dam on the Orkhon river which will be used to transfer water to the Gobi Desert, as well as the dams on the rivers Egiin Gol (Eg river), Tuul and Delgermörön.
These plans are extremely dangerous not only for the ecosystem of the Selenga, the largest river in Mongolia and Buryatia, but also for Lake Baikal, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Selenga is Lake Baikal's main tributary. Inevitably, the lake's fauna will be badly affected, the hydrological regime and the climate will change, and regional seismicity may raise.
The World Bank and MINIS divisions involved in the projects in Mongolia ignore and underestimate possible consequences of the construction of new dams, the petition says. At the same time, they violate the regulations of project planning established by the World Bank itself.
In fact, WB approves the Mongolian government's controversial plan to build big HPPs, which are unprofitable and pose social and environmental risks for Mongolia. At the same time, the Bank goes against its own policy on the access to information, project implementation control and on the measures of environmental and social protection.
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has already twice appealed to Mongolia emphasizing that the country has to observe international regulations. Specifically, the World Heritage Convention requires that the states parties undertake not to take any deliberate measures which might damage directly or indirectly the national heritage situated on the territory of other states parties to the Convention.
The World Heritage Committee's request to invite the reactive monitoring mission of IUCN and Russian experts has not been honored in time and thus prevented WHC from providing input into decision-making regarding the dam projects.
At the same time, the Mongolian President initiated in 2014 the Steppe Road project to create an exports route from Russia to China throughout Mongolia's territory. The project includes high-voltage electric trasmission lines (ETL). Besides, the Mongolian part of the Gobi Desert has huge potential for the development of solar and wind power production, which can be successfully used together with the international ETLs. The proposed ETLs will transmit the energy from the existing Russian power plants which could compensate irregularities of the power produced from renewable sources in the Gobi (see the Energy Charter). Therefore, Mongolia has already formulated a very promising alternative to the construction of its own HPPs.
The coalition of NGOs believes that the construction of large and medium HPPs in the Selenga basin involves inadmissible risks while having clear socially and environmentally appropriate alternatives.
The nature protection organizations and Russian authorities have repeatedly expressed their serious concerns about these projects, however there was no appropriate reaction from the Mongolian authorities and they went ahead into the next round of planning, despite their promise to hold bilateral consultations with Russia. This planning completely excludes Russian stakeholders including potentially affected local communities.
The projects that are criticized by environmentalists will have cause grave environmental, social and economical consequences both for Russia and for Mongolia. The projects must be stopped at least until the time when it will be properly discussed by all key stakeholders in Mongolia and Russia, all the alternatives will be considered in an unbiased way, and the cumulative impact of all the planned dams on the ecosystems of the Selenga River and Lake Baikal will be duly assessed by independent experts.
Mining sector calls for separation from politics, populism
February 16 (news.mn) The public forum Mining Sector 2025-II was organized today at the Government House. More than 300 representatives from ministries, agencies, and professional unions in mining participated in the forum's discussions.
The forum was sponsored by Altan Dornod Mongolia.
The discussion consisted of two main parts: "The impact of the mining sector on Mongolian society and the economy" and "Competitiveness of the mining sector".
The most popular topics of discussion were the competitiveness of the mining sector and the difficulties and problems the industry faces.
Professor at National University of Mongolia Dr. Ch.Khashchuluun and Head of the Mining Club M.Dagva also gave presentations at the forum.
Forum participants mentioned that although Mongolia has quite vast reserves of mineral recourses, according to indicators for exportation and competiveness, it is not listed at the top of international mining industry achievers.
The participants mentioned that the mining sector should be separated from politics, otherwise it is not possible to launch big projects and talk for many years has suggested that the mining sector will lead the country to development. The industry representatives say that now is the time to move forward large strategic projects in order to develop the country.
President Awards State Gereges to Gatsuurt Group, CHP4, Khutul Cement for Industry Leadership
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, February 16 (MONTSAME) President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj awarded the outstanding creation or work that became a role model in social, economic and intellectual sectors of Mongolia with the "National Development Award – the State Gerege". The following top three creations were awarded including: creation of Gatsuurt Company and its technology innovation in the agricultural sector; 123 megawatt of expansion project in the Fourth Thermal Power plant and technology innovation of "Khutul" cement plant.
The creation of Gatsuurt Company was awarded with the "National Development Award – the State Gerege" for its significant contribution to the country's livestock farming and agricultural sectors and bringing the national production to a new stage of development, adopting modern technologies.
The 123 megawatt of expansion project in the Fourth Thermal Power plant was awarded for its contribution to the national energy sector, by increasing electric energy and thermal production and decreasing coal consumption.
The creation of "Khutul" cement plant was awarded for its contribution to the national industry and construction sector, adopting efficient technology and meeting domestic demand of cement products.
PM visits local businesses in Umnugovi
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, February 16 (MONTSAME) The Prime Minister got au fait with activities of "Onod Ovlokh" LLC on Ferbruary 15. The company supplies bottled water named "Dalanbulag" to those operating in Omnogovi aimag such as Oyu Tolgoi LLC, Hunnu Resources, Khishig Arvin Industrial and Terra Energy LLC, also to tourist camps and local inhabitants.
It was founded in 2008 with five employees, has now created 19 jobs for the locals. The company's two-story office with 520 square meters has to be extended in order to increase the production, the company managers said. To this a Minister of Industry said credits can be allocated from the Fund for Promoting Small and Medium Enterprises for these businesses that already have their demands in their local markets.
After this, the PM together with the Minister of Industry D.Erdenebat and Minister of Road and Transport N.Tomorkhuu visited a shopping center of "Erkhet Bayan Tulga" LLC. This company has commissioned the building of the shopping center by taking a loan of two billion Togrog from a commercial bank in 2014. However, a number of salesmen to lease the spaces is very low, said a director of the company Ts.Batbayar.
The PM congratulated the leaders of the company for being able to provide workplaces for the local businesses and said he is confident that the number of lessees will increase once the major projects of the State are forwarded.
Mongolia ready to participate in ITB Berlin as sole partner country
February 16 (gogo.mn) Mongolia is participating as partner at the ITB Berlin The World's Leading Trade Show during March 3-8. Tourism and Future NGO prepared Mongolia Magazine in English, German and French languages that give interesting articles on Mongolian history, nature, traditions, livelihood and development. The magazine is to be distributed during the ITB Berlin trade fair.
The Mongolia magazine comprises quality articles selected with the help of the specialists to convey most up-to-date and correct information about Mongolia.
Tri-lingual magazine Mongolia has been published 40000 copies and soon its Russian, Japanese and Chinese versions to be released.
Online version of the magazine can be viewed through the Facebook page of the Tourism and Future NGO.
Journal about Mongolia in English, French and German published for ITB Berlin – news.mn, February 16
Mongolia brings nomad chic to New York Fashion Week debut
February 16 (AFP) A Mongolian "It girl" brought the warrior princess into the modern age in a New York Fashion Week debut collection inspired by her homeland.
Bayarmaa Bayarkhuu presented the modern, entrepreneurial woman with nomadic-chic for autumn/winter 2015 in an assortment of tunic dresses, luxurious fur coats and cashmere jumpsuits in bold colours.
The show opened with haunting strains of a live-performance of traditional Mongolian string music before segueing into techno pop belted out by a singer in a silver sequined jacket and shades.
The music set the scene for a collection that bound old and new, creating a look that was part nomadic and part space-age, where models wore elaborate head dresses, dangly earrings and leather tasselled skirts.
There were sparkly cashmere jumpsuits, capes and dresses cut out to expose bare shoulders and a casual urban look of leggings paired with T-shirts.
The nomad theme was accentuated by mimicking the harness of a horse on transparent, plastic overlaid with bridle-style meshing.
Jackets were lined with Mongolian lamb fur and finished with traditional Chinese-style fastenings in a collection that emphasised turquoise, amethyst, sapphire and emerald.
Bayarkhuu got a packed, moneyed crowd for her fashion week debut, but applause was slightly muted and she made a quick, slightly bashful lap around the catwalk at the end.
Born in Ulan Bator, Bayarkhuu describes herself as "one of the very first It girls" who has lived and travelled around Asia, America and Europe.
With a degree in business and finance, she ran her father's company with her two siblings while working as a stylist and designer.
She is creative director of Mongol, her decade-old fashion house, which specialises in women's ready-to-wear, wedding dresses and outerwear.
No License Plate Restrictions During Tsagaan Sar, February 19-22
By D. Tuguldur
February 16 (gogo.mn) During the preparations for Tsagaan Sar /Mongolian Lunar New Year/, Metropolitan Traffic Police Department sent warnings to the public.
The Metropolitan Traffic Police Department extended hours of work to ensure public safety, to prevent from potential accidents and to control street, traffic and movement during Tsagaan Sar.
On February 18 license plate limitations will be in effect, while on February 19, 20, 21, 22 no limitations are imposed. In other hand, the limitation for the weekends had ended after February 14th and 15th.
Mongolia Speaker talks amending agreements on major JVs with Russian counterpart
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, February 16 (MONTSAME) The Chairman of the State Great Khural (parliament) Mr Z.Enkhbold and the visiting Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation Mr S.Naryshkin ran Monday negotiations at the State House on Monday.
Z.Enkhbold thanked Mr Naryshkin for visiting Mongolia and introduced to him the MPs present.
In response, the State Duma Chairman Naryshkin thanked the Speaker for a warm audience and introduced to him officials accompanying him. Noting that his visit is running on the eve of the Lunar New Year, he greeted the Mongolians on this celebration. He also expressed a hope that his visit will significantly contribute to the expansion of both Mongolia-Russia friendly relations and cooperation and the inter-parliamentarian ties.
To this Mr Enkhbold said that a deepening of the traditional and good-neighborhood relations and cooperation with the Russian Federation "is a priority of Mongolia's foreign policy", noting that a frequency of mutual high level visits has increased. He underlined an importance of the working visit of the Russian President Vladimir Putin paid to Mongolia last year and of a meeting of the two Presidents in Shanghai of China. He added that the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj is expected to visit Russia this May.
During the working visit of the Russian President our countries agreed to establish a middle-term programme on developing the strategic partnership. Such ties have been established with China and Japan, "it is important to have this programme with Russia, so I hope that the two sides will approve the programme in a near future as agreed," Mr Enkhbold said.
He went that several mutual visits have been implemented thanks to an intensive development of the relations between the two parliaments, for example, the Chairwoman of the Federal Council of the Russian Federation V.I.Matvienko visited Mongolia in June of 2014, and a delegation headed by Mr L.Tsog, a Vice Speaker of parliament, has visited Russia. Having underlined that Mr Naryshkin's visit will open a new chapter in the bilateral relations, he talked about active works of the Mongolia-Russia inter-parliamentary group which has 17 members including a Vice Speaker.
In turn, Mr Naryshkin said our countries have ancient friendly relations and that Russian considers Mongolia as its good strategic partners, and added that Russia wants to forward the bilateral ties and cooperation in all levels on a mutually beneficial principle.
He emphasized that the legislative bodies of the two countries can collaborate within the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Appreciating the chairmanship of Mongolia for the OSCE Forum, Mr Naryshkin said the Russian side will take part in the OSCE forum that will run this September in Ulaanbaatar.
Then the dignitaries touched upon ways of boosting the cooperation in politics, trade, economy, culture, sciences, education and of collaborating near borders.
Mr Enkhbold said he is worried about stagnation in the commercial and economic ties, and underlined an importance of the inter-parliamentary ties in intensifying the ties.
Three joint ventures are the pillars of the Mongolia-Russia cooperation in the trade and economic fields, Enkhbold noted and said that a matter is being discussed to amend the intergovernmental agreements on actions of the "Erdenet" Mining Corporation and "Mongolrostsvetmet" LLC. "Our parliament intends to resolve this matter," he added.
Another important issue is having the State Duma ratified a document on tackling the debt issue of 'Mongolrostsvetmet' JSV--the intergovernmental agreement on Mongolia's financial responsibilities to Russia. The two countries signed this document in 2010, it has been approved by the Mongolian government, but the Russian side has not fulfilled its obligations, Mr Enkhbold pointed and requested the Russian side to focus on this issue.
He also expressed a willingness to cooperate with Russia in running through Mongolian territories auto and railroads, oil, natural gas and energy pipelines which will connect Russia and China, and hoped that the State Duma Chairman will consider this issue. Mongolia also wants to augment a quote of Mongolian students to study in Russia with governmental scholarships, to cooperate with Russian universities and institutes in researches and to implement joint projects.
Mr Naryshkin said he has the same position over the bilateral trade and economic cooperation and emphasized an importance of an cooperation in fully exploiting all opportunities of the economic ties. Russia highly values the Mongolian government's attention to developing of Russian language and culture in Mongolia, Mr Naryshkin said Russia decided to increase by 25% the number of Mongolian students in Russian universities and institutes in 2014-2015. The he invited our Speaker to Russia.
Present at the negotiations were R.Gonchigdorj and L.Tsog, Vice Speakers; N.Battsereg, D.Khayankhyarvaa, D.Arvin, G.Bayarsaikhan, O.Sodbileg MPs; B.Boldbaatar, the Secretary-General of the Parliamentary Office; N.Oyundari, the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs; and other officials.
State Duma Chairman Conveys Putin's Greetings to Mongolia President – MONTSAME, February 16
Russian top lawmaker, Mongolian president vow to strengthen ties – Xinhua, February 17
PM meets Speaker of Russian Duma – MONTSAME, February 16
State Duma Chairman Lays Wreaths to Statue of Marshal G.K.Zhukov - MONTSAME, February 16
Russia, Mongolia to hold annual military drills in Siberia this summer
The maneuvers are planned to involve about 500 troops from a unit in the Russian Eastern Military District located in the Republic of Buryatia and up to 350 servicemen of the Mongolian armed forces
MOSCOW, February 16. /TASS/. Russian-Mongolian military drills dubbed Selenga-2015 will be held at the Tsugol training range in the Trans-Baikal Territory in East Siberia in the last ten days of August, Eastern Military District spokesman, Col. Alexander Gordeyev said on Monday.
The decision was made at the first round of consultations on maneuver planning, he said. During the drills, a joint grouping of forces will practice ant-terrorist measures, the spokesman added.
"The maneuvers are planned to involve about 500 troops from a unit in the Russian Eastern Military District located in the Republic of Buryatia and up to 350 servicemen of the Mongolian armed forces" the spokesman said.
The drills' active stage envisages using a considerable number of aircraft, in particular, Mil Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters, Mi-8 AMTSh military and transport helicopters and Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot ground attack aircraft, the spokesman said.
The second round of consultations will be held in April in Ulan Bator, the spokesman said.
Russia and Mongolia have been holding Selenga joint military drills annually since 2008. The latest two drills were held at the Doityn Shar Uul and the Munk Khet firing ranges in Mongolia.
Mongolia welcomes results of Minsk summit
By B. Khuder
Ulaanbaatar, February 15 (MONTSAME) Mongolia welcomes the results of the summit on the ceasefire in Ukraine, which took place February 11-12 in Minsk of Belarus, with a participation of the leaders of the Russian Federation, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of France and of Ukraine. It was said in a statement of Mongolia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday.
Mongolia appreciates efforts of these countries for resolving the crisis in a peaceful way in eastern regions of Ukraine. Mongolia has been adhering to a position on fulfilling the goal for restoring the peace and stabilizing the situation in Ukraine through political talks. Thus it is vital for the summit's parties to realize clauses and promises reflected in the Minsk protocol and memorandum.
The realization of the documents is also important for easing the tensions, carrying arms away and setting up the troop-free zone in eastern part of Ukraine, it says. Mongolia is really confident that peace, stability and cooperation will strengthen within the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and in other regions, the statement says.
Mongolia joins Conventions against Enforced Disappearance and Torture
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, February 16 (MONTSAME) The permanent representative of Mongolia to the United Nations Mr O.Och presented February 12 to the UN Office of Legal Affairs the President's Confirmation Letter of Credence on the Ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICCPED) and of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT).
Mongolian parliament officially ratified the ICCPED on October 9 and the additional protocol of the UN Convention against Torture on December 11. In accordance with the Conventions, the implementation and full observance of the duties of the country before the Conventions must start in 30 days after submitting the confirmation letters of credence on ratification.
Through submitting the confirmation letter of credence, Mongolia becomes the 45th country to ratify and join the ICCPED adopted in 2006 and the 77th country to ratify the additional protocol adopted in 2002 to the Convention against Torture, which was developed and adopted by the UN General Assembly of 1984.
Mongolia - OPCAT Situation – Association for the Prevention of Torture
Park cites Mongolia, Myanmar, Cuba in urging N.K. to open up
February 16 (The Korea Herald) President Park Geun-hye on Monday urged North Korea to open up to the world and engage in dialogue with South Korea to improve the lives of its impoverished people.
At a national meeting on unification, Park stressed that her doctrine of "trustpolitik" and other visions for unification were meant to bring North Korea forward and encourage it to become a responsible member of international society, not to further isolate it.
Listing countries including Mongolia, Myanmar, and Cuba, Park urged North Korea not to turn away from the wave of change that other countries have recently embraced for improved lives of their people.
"Countries like Mongolia, Vietnam and Myanmar are on track for development and growth after they pursued reform and opened their doors," Park said at the presidential preparation committee for the unification of two Koreas.
"North Korea should take the path to reform and dialogue as soon as possible by accepting the wave of change, not ignoring it," she said.
South Korean president also quoted a recent remark by former president of Mongolia and urged North Korea to learn from the central Asian country's experience.
In a recent interview with local media, Punsalmaagiin Ochirbat, who ruled Mongolia from 1990 to 1997, said that security came from a strong economy, not nuclear programs, urging North Korea to adopt change if it wants to feed its people.
She also mentioned a recent move by the United States and Cuba to establish diplomatic ties and end decades of estrangement.
The president also asked the panel to prepare a road map to seek support and investment from neighboring countries for her vision of unified Koreas.
"Many countries and global firms are making massive investments in infrastructure projects in developing countries," she said.
"We have to come up with measures to attract both public and private funds from around the world to the Korean Peninsula, and make sure that the investment becomes seed money for global growth."
The remarks came amid escalating tension following Pyongyang's intensified threat against Seoul over leaflets decrying the regime and its planned joint military drills with Washington.
Park criticized the North for its continuation of threats, despite the South Korean government's offer of high-level talks. North Korea has remained silent on the offer of ministerial talks to discuss such bilateral issues.
Park urges N. Korea to embrace reform, dialogue – Yonhap News, February 16
2015 Tsagaan Sar hits Mongolia's wallet hard
By G. Orkhon
February 16 (Mongolian Economy) With two days remaining until the Lunar New Year holiday, the entire country is busy underway in preparation. Yet as the price of holiday goods remains high, and the rough economy continues to limit the spending of everyday citizens, buyers and sellers alike are finding this year to be hard-hitting on the budget.
In the countryside, the price of goods such as vodka and sweets are more expensive than the price of those same goods in the city. For example, Alpen Gold chocolate costs MNT 2,000 in the village markets of Durvuljin soum, Zavkhan aimag, 1,200 km from the capital; a bar of the same chocolate in Ulaanbaatar costs MNT 1,500 to MNT 1,600 in markets, and MNT 1,700 to MNT 1,800 in supermarkets. Dairy farmers meanwhile are shelling out MNT 20,000 to have a bottle of vodka for their holiday tables. Herder Gereltuya said she spent MNT 200,000 more than last year for holiday preparations.
Ulaanbaatar is likewise busy, with grocery stores stocked and bustling, longer lines, and increased traffic. Store salesmen note, however, that purchasing this year is quite a bit lower than last year.
The prices of flour, dairy products and vegetables remain stable at the moment. But the price of meat—especially traditional holiday mutton and "Uuts" —has risen. / A sheep back and tail that serves as the main centerpiece in every household/ costs around MNT 150,000 to MNT 500,000, depending on size. Merchants report that the price has risen by MNT 10,000 to MNT 20,000 in the span of a week. Per kilogram, mutton costs around MNT 4,700 to MNT 5,000, while goat meat is around MNT 3,700—price increases of about MNT 200 to MNT 300 since the beginning of the month.
One of the most important traditions of Lunar New Year is the giving of gifts to guests. The government has asked citizens to buy national goods for gifts, and is supporting the initiative by promoting a Lunar New Year expo in districts throughout the city. Domestic participants of the expo sell their products at wholesale price. Private merchants such as B.Chinbat, a participant of the Chinggis Square expo, notes that holiday vending is much weaker than expected. The poor condition of the economy has been a heavy blow for retailers, he says, as the economic crisis has affected poor and mid-level families.
Traditional national costumes, customarily worn during the holiday, have also seen cuts, as expensive silk becomes less popular in favor of cheaper materials. Tailors sew the traditional khalkh-collar female costumes for MNT 60,000 to MNT 70,000, with the cost of materials an additional MNT 120,000 to MNT 160,000. High quality traditional costumes for men cost around MNT 500,000 to MNT 800,000.
Because of the poor economy, many are celebrating Lunar New Year in cooperation with their relatives, as they forego gift-giving so that older folks don't have to take out pension loans in order to afford presents, or pawn their jewelry for quick cash. Yet even with higher prices and less purchasing power, people from the countryside to the city are preparing for the holiday to the best of their ability, respecting the national tradition.
KOICA, Germany help Mongolia prep for skills Olympics
February 10 (Korea.net) Korea and Germany have agreed to cooperate to help Mongolia participate in the upcoming 2015 WorldSkills Competition, a series of construction- and design-related games.
The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and its German counterpart, the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit), signed a joint agreement to provide vocational training to Mongolian entrants, on January 28.
As the Mongolian government asked for Korea's assistance in helping it participate in the WorldSkills Competition, KOICA and the GIZ will offer special training to the skilled Mongolian workers and designers who will take part in the competition. The training will take place in a timely manner so that the country can participate in the 2015 WorldSkills Competition to be held in São Paulo between August 11 and 16. This will be the first such event to be taken part in by Mongolia.
"Mongolia became a member of the WorldSkills Competition in 2014 with assistance from KOICA and the GIZ," said Mongolian Minister of Labor Sodnom Chinzorig. "I am very glad that Mongolian workers will receive special training in June and will participate in the WorldSkills Competition in August for the first time."
"KOICA and the GIZ will help Mongolia improve its capacity to participate in the WorldSkills Competition," said a KOICA official. "We will cooperate so that it will raise awareness of vocational training in Mongolia and help Mongolian workers gain competitiveness at an international level."
Competition Seeks Proposals for "Cool School" Capable of Withstanding Extreme Mongolian Climate
Building Trust has launched their sixth international design competition: Cool School. Seeking an innovative school design proposal that can withstand the extreme Mongolian climate, the competition is challenging architects, designers and engineers to envision a solution which has the chance to shape the future of school buildings across cold regions globally. Contestants should consider environmental conditions, materials, space, comfort, accessibility, adaptability and aesthetics. Building Trust will work alongside competition partners, World Vision, local government and the school community in Khovd, Mongolia to build the winning school design. More information about the competition, here.
PM hands confirmation certificate to Mongolia's three millionth citizen
By B. Amarsaikhan
Ulaanbaatar, February 16 (MONTSAME) On the sidelines of his visit to Omnogovi aimag, the Prime Minister visited on Saturday home of the three-millionth citizen Kh.Mongoljin, paid respect to her family and handed a certificate as the head of the National Council for Children.
"I am very happy to hand the certificate to the baby girl Kh.Mongoljin, she is receiving it on behalf of her 200 age mates born on the same day," he said and wished Mongoljin to grow up healthy and to become good and educated citizen.
The PM was accompanied by the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs N.Oyundari, the chairman of the National Statistics Office S.Mendsaikhan and other officials.
Lakes on Mongolian Plateau shrink significantly: study
WASHINGTON, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- Lakes on the Mongolian Plateau, composed mainly of Inner Mongolia in China and the Republic of Mongolia, have been experiencing remarkable shrinkage over the past three decades due to intensive human activities and climate changes, a study by Chinese researchers suggested Monday.
Lakes are widely distributed on the 2.75-million-sq-km Mongolian Plateau and are critical to sustain the 28 million people on the region, according to the study published in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In the study, researchers from Peking University and Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) established a database of lakes for the entire plateau using images of the U.S. Landsat satellites from the 1970s to 2000s, combined with ground-based censuses to explore the lake changes and the associated driving factors.
The researchers found the number of lakes has declined rapidly between the 1980s and 2010, with a greater decline in China's Inner Mongolia than in Mongolia.
"The plateau had a total of 785 lakes with a water surface area greater than 1 sq km in the late 1980s, including 427 lakes in Inner Mongolia and 358 lakes in Mongolia, but the number has decreased to 577 around 2010, with the disappearance of 145 lakes in Inner Mongolia and 63 lakes in Mongolia," lead author Jingyun Fang, professor of Peking University, told Xinhua.
"Accompanying the decrease in the number of lakes, a rapid shrinkage of lake surface area has also occurred, especially in Inner Mongolia: the total water surface area of the lakes decreased from 4,160 sq km in the late 1980s to 2,901 sq km around 2010," said Fang, also director of the Institute of Botany at the CAS.
Statistical analyses suggested that in Mongolia precipitation was the dominant driver for the lake changes, and that in Inner Mongolia coal mining was most important in its grassland area and irrigation was the leading factor in its cultivated area, Fang said.
He warned that the deterioration of lakes is expected to continue in the following decades unless the region has more rainfall as well as effective control measures over the increasing exploitation of underground mineral and groundwater resources.
"Although both governments (China and Mongolia) have made efforts to prevent ecological degradation, such as controlling grazing, returning farmland to grassland, and recharging some lakes through water diversion projects, more effective action is urgently required to save these valuable lakes," the researchers wrote in their paper.
"Without it, the lake-loss-induced damages to the natural systems, nomadic culture, and plateau civilization will be disastrous," they warned.
Mogi: guess we're just bunch of drunks according to this
People of Mongolia find life without alcohol and hope for the future
By Caroline Anderson
Editor's Note: Lucy Station* and her husband, Peter,* hit the steppe running. They arrived in Mongolia in March and are already involved in a program that provides coats, boots, gloves and vitamins to families in need. The International Mission Board workers invest time in after-school programs to keep youth from the vodka bottle. The Stations partner with Mongolians in an alcohol awareness program and also help host anti-abortion and abstinence workshops.
Station juggles all of these ministry endeavors on top of taking 18 hours of Mongolian language classes a week. Her weeks are busy — whether it's alcohol awareness programs, providing coats or providing safe houses for abused women — but Lucy Station wouldn't have it any other way.
A future without alcohol
MONGOLIA, February 10 (East Asian Peoples)—Alcoholism intoxicates more than the drinker in this north-central Asian country— its effects seep into society.
Lucy Station is working to lessen and eventually eliminate these effects. In a 2010 study, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported 59.1 percent of the population indicated they engage in heavy episodic drinking.
The Stations participate in a training that assists, educates and paints a picture of what life could look like for Mongolians if alcoholism wasn't a problem. Local partners and the Stations talk about how alcoholism affects entire families.
Since alcoholism is a problem, Lucy estimates that a large chunk of a Mongolian family's meager budgets go toward vodka. Because of this, they can't afford coats, boots or school uniforms for their children. Groceries take second priority and children have to scrounge for food.
Coats, boots and vitamins
The "Coats and Boots" program provides the much-needed apparel for people living in poor gher, communities in their city. Ghers are Mongolian tents. Lucy says they go door to door and allow families to try on coats and boots donated by Southern Baptist churches in the U.S. They're able to share their faith and pass out JESUS films during these visits.
On many of their visits, the Stations also give children's vitamins to families. These are a hot item and largely unavailable in Mongolia. Many children in these communities are nutrient deprived, Lucy points out.
Shelter from the storm
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) reported that 72 percent of violent crimes in Mongolia are the result of alcohol. Domestic abuse is also a common problem.
Lucy shares that some Mongolian women have come to her asking for help from abusive husbands. More often than not, the husbands are drunk when they beat their wives.
The Stations are checking in to providing shelters in communities where women can come for respite from abusive husbands.
The couple provide after-school programs —dance classes, guitar lessons and after-school tutoring — to keep youth from resorting to alcohol as a pastime.
Forty youth attended a training the Stations recently hosted. They talked about abstaining from alcohol and were able to share the gospel. There were 25 youth interested in learning more about God because of the training.
Anti-abortion and abstinence training are another arena where Lucy invests her time teaching that life begins at conception. She reveals that babies are sometimes abandoned if families can't take care of them.
She teaches about the value of life and other options mothers have. With a teenage audience, Lucy encourages abstinence until marriage.
Whether it's through coats, vitamins or trainings, Lucy seeks to make His name known in Mongolia. She prays more Mongolians will not only choose a life without alcohol but that they'll also choose a life of hope and faith.
Station has formed deep relationships with Mongolian women and they wrestle through tough issues like infertility. To read more, click here.
Infertility and adoption: Missourians connect deeply in Mongolia - By Caroline Anderson, IMB East Asian Peoples, February 10
Former Buddhist conveys cross' message to Mongolians - By Caroline Anderson, IMB East Asian Peoples, February 10
THE GOLDEN EAGLE FESTIVAL IN MONGOLIA
(jebiga.com) If you enjoy traveling and experiencing new and exciting things, then the Golden Eagle Festival in Bayan-Ölgii Province, Mongolia is something you cannot miss. This festival incorporates a competition between the best eagle hunters the Kazakh have to offer. If you happen to be a bird enthusiast, all the more reason to come to Mongolia during this festival.
If you decide to undertake this breath-taking journey, the first thing that you will be amazed by is the natural beauty of this region: forested valleys, clear alpine lakes, vast meadows filled with beautiful flowers and snowcapped peaks. This area is largely untouched by the outside world. Why largely? Because as the winter hunting season nears, Kazakh hunters from all over this province gather to celebrate this long-lasting tradition and demonstrate their hunting skills.
The main attraction of this festival are the Golden Eagles, known as Berkut, and the competition eagle hunters enter with them. The hunters, dressed in full eagle hunting regalia and mounted on decorated horses, and their birds compete in catching small animals such as foxes and hares. Prizes are awarded for speed, agility and accuracy. The main prizes are: Best Turned Out Eagle and Owner, Best Eagle at Hunting Prey and Best Eagle at Locating Its Owner from a Distance.
This hunting ceremony is held 4 km from Ölgii, the capital city of the province, and reaches the edges of the mountains. There are also other ceremonial activities such as: an opening ceremony in Ölgii, parades, cultural exhibitions, demonstrations of traditional handcrafts and many more, all of which are held to honor the hunters and their eagles. This amazing event is always held during the first weekend in October.
This festival is organized by the Kazakh community and the Berkut Association, a community-based conservation organization. This association makes sure that the tradition is preserved and that the proceedings of the ticket sales, which cost $30 per person for the two day duration of the festival, are used so that the festival can be held next year and the golden eagle remains protected. So take a journey to Mongolia and witness sights and events you cannot see every day. watch video below
6th Floor, NTN Tower
Baga Toiruu, Chingeltei District 1
Ulaanbaatar 15170, Mongolia
P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.