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Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
1878 closed +0.67% to HK$7.53 on Monday, SGQ +3.64% to C$1.14
SouthGobi's CEO Enkh-Amgalan Steps Down Amid Ownership Shake-Up
By Michael Kohn
March 16 (Bloomberg) -- SouthGobi Resources Ltd. said its chief executive officer has resigned, signaling further change for a company that has spent much of the past two years battling low coal prices and claims of tax evasion by Mongolian authorities.
Enkh-Amgalan Sengee is leaving the company after only three months in charge to pursue other opportunities (Mogi: but was CEO of the Mongolian subsidiary for 2 years prior to that I believe), according to a statement by SouthGobi today. Executive director Ted Chan, appointed to the role earlier this month, will assume the duties of CEO until further notice.
The Hong Kong-listed coal miner is appealing a court fine of 35 billion tugrik ($18 million), related to a case that also saw three former employees jailed for tax evasion and then released earlier this year by presidential pardon.
In February, Vancouver-based Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd., a unit of Rio Tinto Group, agreed to sell its remaining 22 percent in SouthGobi to Novel Sunrise Investments Ltd., a deal which involved a cash injection by Novel for working capital. SouthGobi's stock is up 96 percent this month including a 2.3 percent gain today, trading at HK$7.65 as of 11:23 a.m.
"Obviously the new owners have a differing view of the company's future and outlook than its previous owner," Bilguun Ankhbayar, CEO of Mongolia Investment Banking Group LLC., said by e-mail.
SouthGobi has $5.8 million in cash, according to a March 3 statement, and is able to operate until the end of the month following Novel's funding. Still, there is no assurance it can continue as a going concern, it said in the statement.
China Wish Acquires 9.55% Stake in SouthGobi at HK$2.873/Share
March 16 (Cover Mongolia) A Disclosure of Interests notice announced today reveals SouthGobi Resources had gained a new substantial shareholder in China Wish Limited (registered address Flat 2601, 26/F, Paul Y Centre, 51 Hung To Road, Kwun Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong).
China Wish acquired 20,880,663 shares or 9.55% stake in SouthGobi via an off-market transaction at HK$2.873 a share, become a substantial holder in the company on February 12. Nature of the transaction was categorized as "Surrender of rights to shares".
NUR: Change of Independent Non-Executive Director
March 16, National United Resources Holdings Limited (HKEx:254) --
The Board announces the following changes of the Company with effect from 16 March 2015:
1. the resignation of Mr. Chow Hiu Tung as an independent non-executive Director and he ceased to be the chairperson and a member of each of the Audit Committee and the Remuneration Committee, and a member of the Nomination Committee; and
2. the appointment of Mr. Lai Ho Man, Dickson as an independent non-executive Director and the chairperson and a member of each of the Audit Committee and the Remuneration Committee, and a member of the Nomination Committee.
LIST OF DIRECTORS AND THEIR ROLES AND FUNCTIONS – NUR, March 16
MATD closed +23.53% to 5.25p, intra-day high 6.75p, volume 1.9m (30 day average 119.7K)
Petro Matad Says In Advanced Talks With Farm-Out Partner, As Shares Rise
LONDON, March 16 (Alliance News) - Petro Matad Ltd on Monday noted a rise in its share price and said it is in advanced talks with a potential farm-out partner.
Shares in the company were up 26% to 5.37 pence on Monday early afternoon. Its shares are up more than a third in the past seven days and have more than doubled in value in the year to date.
The Mongolia-focused oil explorer said it is in advanced discussions with an unnamed international oil company regarding a possible farm-out of a proportion of its assets.
It said the final terms of the deal have not been agreed and said there is no guarantee that any deal will be concluded.
PCY closed flat at C$0.055
Prophecy Reports Progress on Chandgana Mine Mouth Power Plant Project in Mongolia
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - March 16, 2015) - Prophecy Development Corp. ("Prophecy") (TSX:PCY)(OTCQX:PRPCF)(FRANKFURT:1P2) is pleased to announce the following update on its flagship Chandgana Mine Mouth Power Plant Project in central Mongolia.
Prophecy Power Generation LLC ("PPG"), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Prophecy, is developing the Chandgana coal-fired power plant project ("Chandgana Power Plant") which includes the construction of a 600 MW (4X150 MW) coal-fired mine-mouth power plant in two phases. The proposed power plant will be located next to the Chandgana Tal coal deposit, on which Chandgana Coal LLC ("Chandgana Coal") (another wholly-owned subsidiary of Prophecy) has mining licenses covering the deposit. The Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment ("DEIA") for the Chandgana Power Plant was approved in November 2010 and a construction license was granted in November 2011 to PPG. In March 2013, Prophecy secured a land use permit covering 532.4 hectares of land to be used for Prophecy's proposed Chandgana Power Plant from the Murum soum government.
In June 2013, PPG signed a 25-year Coal Supply Agreement ("CSA") with Chandgana Coal. Under the CSA, Chandgana Coal will supply 3.6 million tonnes of coal annually to the Chandgana Power Plant at a price of USD$17.70 per tonne for a period of 25 years.
In July 2013, PPG submitted a concession application to the Ministry of Economic Development ("MoED"). The signing of the Concession Agreement ("CA") for the Chandgana Power Plant is important since the scope of the CA includes government guarantee of the proposed Chandgana Power Plant's revenue, a key requirement for international project financing.
Project Development from 2014:
In February 2014, the Chandgana Power Plant was approved by the Mongolian Government under amendment to Resolution #317 to be included in the list of concession projects. Prophecy met numerous times with the MoED in 2014 to discuss the Chandgana Power Plant CA, with the issue centered on whether a public tender is required or whether the project can be qualified under the direct negotiation frame work given that PPG is already in possession of several unique non-transferrable essential elements to the project such as construction license and land use rights. In June 2014, the MoED made a public tender of projects from the approved list of concession projects, including the Chandgana Power Plant, on the condition that should another bidder besides PPG win the bid, that the winning bidder will reimburse PPG for its past incurred expenses related to the Chandgana Power Plant development. The Chandgana Power Plant tender concluded in September 2014, with no winning bid because no bidder submitted the required USD$1.6 million dollar bank guarantee. In October 2014, PPG received an official invitation letter (#7/2055) from the MoED to directly negotiate the conditions of the Chandgana Power Plant CA on an exclusive basis under the Mongolian Concession Law Article 15. Upon request by the MoED, PPG submitted a full set of revised agreements (key ones including: a Feasibility Study, Concession Agreement ("Revised CA"), Power Purchase Agreement ("PPA"), Tariff Proposal, Coal Supply Agreement, EPC Proposal, EPC contract, Bank Term Sheet, Equity Investor MOUs, Land Use Permit) totaling well over 1,000 pages for review.
In December 2014, with a new Mongolian Government in place, the Concession department was transferred from the MoED to the Ministry of Industry ("MoI"). In late January 2015, PPG representatives met with the Minister of Industry, who committed to fast-track a list of advanced and qualified concession projects to signing of concession agreements, including one for the Chandgana Power Plant, in the coming Spring session.
In February 2015, PPG was notified that a working group was appointed to work on the power concession projects. PPG looks forward to working closely with the working group to fast-track negotiations and signing of a concession agreement.
Pre-Mobilization, EPC Tender, Bank and Equity Financing:
In the news release dated November 14, 2012, Prophecy announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") with the overseas investment subsidiary of the world's largest coal-fired power generation group ("Strategic Partner") to jointly develop the Chandgana Power Plant. The MOU set out the proposed terms of cooperation and the timeline for implementation of an investment transaction between the Strategic Partner and Prophecy.
The Strategic Partner has, since signing the MOU, set up an office in Mongolia and stayed commercially active in the country. The President and Vice-President of the Strategic Partner visited Mongolia in 2013 and 2014, toured the Chandgana site and discussed the project with the Mongolian Minister and Vice-Ministers of both Energy and Economic Development. Prophecy received a letter from the Strategic Partner in July 2014, reaffirming its strong interest in investing and co-developing the Chandgana Power Plant with Prophecy. PPG is in close communication and looks forward to collaborating with the Strategic Partner during the concession agreement discussions with the working group.
Consolidation with Cosmo Coal LLC:
Following the news release dated August 18, 2014, the consolidation between Chandgana Coal and Cosmo Coal LLC ("Cosmo") has been delayed due to internal restructuring of Cosmo. Both parties continue their dialog on the consolidation. The binding consolidation agreement has a deadline of August 18, 2015.
Benefits of Chandgana Mine Mouth Power Plant Project:
Wolf Petroleum: Half-Year Financial Report, December 31
March 16, Wolf Petroleum Ltd. (ASX:WOF) --
The loss after tax for the half year ended 31 December 2014 was $789,369 (2013: $1,
REVIEW OF OPERATIONS
Sukhbaatar Block (100%) - 23,047km2
The Sukhbaatar (SB) Block is the Company's flagship project and one of the first identified petroleum blocks in Mongolia. Ground geological and geophysical programs on the Block have identified the large sub-basins, Toson Tolgoi and Talbulag, with an area covering over 3,500 square kilometres. The Company holds a Production Sharing Contract (PSC) with the Government of Mongolia to explore and produce oil for over 35 years in relation to the SB Block.
The Company has previously completed the acquisition of 450km of 2D seismic on the highly prospective Toson Tolgoi and Talbulag basins on the SB Block. Seismic interpretation has identified a large scale number of structural and stratigraphic traps with the potential for significant oil reservoirs.
An Independent resource assessment completed on the SB Block has estimated a substantial oil resource with the potentially recoverable oil on seven drill ready targets having a low estimate of 460 million barrels of oil and a high estimate of 2.2 billion barrels of oil (refer to ASX announcement 'Oil Resources Estimates Increased' released on 5 May 2014 for further details in relation to the determination of the estimated resources values). These results are compelling evidence of the significant potential of the Toson Tolgoi and Talbulag basins.
The Company is currently focused on farming out the SB block to potential strategic partners and the discussions are ongoing with a number of groups.
Baruun Urt Block (100%) - 10,287km2
The Baruun Urt (BU) Block is located in a region with proven and producing petroleum systems and is adjoining the Company's SB Block. The block is proximal to Petro China's multi-billion barrel oil fields in Mongolia.
Previously, the Company completed ground geological and geophysical programmes and acquired 330 km's of 2D seismic data focusing on six sub basins identified. The seismic interpretation revealed 22 lead targets and prospective resources are being estimated.
During the half-year the Company has prepared work reports and submitted to Petroleum Authority of Mongolia working towards signing a Production Sharing Contract.
Jinst Block (100%) - 41,000km2
The Jinst Block is the largest petroleum exploration block in Mongolia and is proximal to one of the largest oil producing basins in China.
Previously, the Company completed the largest ground geological and geophysical programmes in Mongolia and identified twelve sub basins.
During the half-year the Company completed remote sensing programmes focusing on two priority target basins with over 1,500 sq.km and the results will be announced this quarter.
During the half-year the Company successfully completed a rights issue through the allotment of 30,328,434 shares, each with a free attaching WOFOA option, pursuant to the non-renounceable entitlement issue offered under the Prospectus dated 28 October 2014. The completed issue resulted in the raising of a total of $1,516,423 before costs. The Company also completed a successful placement of 5,040,000 shares, on the same terms as the rights issue, to sophisticated and professional client of CPS Capital Group Pty Ltd to raise $252,000.
Mr. Daniel Crennan joined the Board as Non-Executive Director on 5 January 2015.
Mr Daniel Grennan joined the Board as a Non-Executive Director subsequent to half-year end on 5 January 2015.
There have been no other significant events subsequent to the half-year to the date of this report.
AKM closed -7.14% to A$0.026 Monday
Aspire Mining: Interim Financial Report
March 16, Aspire Mining Ltd. (ASX:AKM) --
The loss of the Group for the half-year after income tax was $11,889,533 (2013: $681,828). The 2014 result is impacted by a $10.2 million write-down of the evaluation expenditure incurred on Northern Railways.
Review of Operations
Aspire Mining Limited (ASX: AKM, "Aspire" or the "Company") is focussed on the exploration and development of metallurgical coal assets in Mongolia. The Company is the largest coal tenement holder in the expansive Orkhon-Selenge Coal Basin in northern Mongolia. Aspire currently owns a 100% interest in the large scale, world class Ovoot Coking Coal Project ("Ovoot"), the second largest coking coal project by reported reserves in Mongolia, and a 100% interest in the Jilchigbulag Coal Project ("Jilchigbulag"). Through its 50% ownership in the Ekhgoviin Chuluu Joint Venture ("ECJV"), Aspire also holds an interest in the Nuurstei Coking Coal Project ("Nuurstei").
Northern Railways LLC ("Northern Railways") is Aspire's wholly owned Mongolian rail infrastructure subsidiary responsible for activities associated with the commercialisation and future development of the 547km Erdenet – Ovoot railway in northern Mongolia. The Erdenet – Ovoot railway is a Mongolian Government supported priority rail project representing the first phase of an important rail system which will link to Russia's Siberia and provide accessibility for coal and other exports from northern Mongolia and Russia. Singapore listed Noble Group have an option to earn a 10% interest in Northern Railways.
Ekhgoviin Chuluu Joint Venture (50%)
Ovoot Coking Coal Project (100%)
Rail Infrastructure Investment – Northern Railways LLC (90%*)
During the period, the Company successfully raised $2.3 million before fees from a placement to sophisticated investors and from the exercise of options.
The Company also appointed Argonaut Securities as its corporate advisor in relation to debt and equity financing options for Northern Railways.
Capital and Cash at Bank
The Company had 703,463,306 fully paid ordinary shares on issue at the end of the half-year (30 June 2014: 658,247,056 fully paid ordinary shares).
Cash and cash equivalents held by the consolidated entity at the end of the half-year was $1,917,738 (30 June 2014: $3,543,945).
MSE News for March 16: Top 20 -1.27% to 13,640.79, Turnover ₮52.9 Million
Ulaanbaatar, March 16 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Monday, a total of 52 thousand and 508 units of 26 JSCs were traded costing MNT 52 million 916 thousand and 490.84.
"Jinst-Uvs" /45 thousand and 028 units/, "Genco tour bureau" /4,754 units/, "State Department Store" /597 units/, "APU" /392 units/ and "Hai Bi Oil" /334 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Jinst-Uvs" (MNT 43 million 914 thousand and 908), "Gobi" (MNT one million 808 thousand and 500), "Bayangol hotel" (MNT one million and 696 thousand), "APU" (MNT one million 393 thousand and 380) and "Atar-Orgoo" (MNT 680 thousand).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 359 billion 686 million 761 thousand and 123. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 13,640.79, decreasing 1.27% and the all index of MSE was 979.96, decreasing 0.74% against the previous day.
Foreign Investor Trading Up 28% on MSE
March 17 (MSE) As of first two months of 2015, Mongolian Stock Exchange's securities trading value of foreign investors reached to MNT583 million, and it was increased by 28 percent compared to the same period of last year. Investors from USA, Great Britain, China, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia have been repeatedly participated in total of 319 securities trading.
MSE Board Postpones CEO Decision Indefinitely, Angar Continues as Acting CEO
March 16 (MSE) Regarding to some news on media, we are informing the following adjustments. Nomination of MSE's Chief executive officer from Ministry of Finance, which owns Mongolian Stock Exchange" JSC, was delivered to MSE's board of directors.
According to the Company Law of Mongolia, Board of Directors has an authority to elect and approve chief executive officer. Even though, final decision has not been made in last Board of Directors meeting which held on 6 March 2015 and the meeting has been postponed for undefined time, and the acting CEO of MSE is still in charge of MSE.
BDSec Market Watch Episode 28, March 16
March 16 (BDSec) --
BoM MNT Rates: Monday, March 16 Close
MNT vs USD, CNY in last 1 year:
BoM issues ₮43 billion 1-week bills at 13%, total outstanding +3.5% to ₮224.9 billion
March 16 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 43 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
President Appoints GWU Graduate as His Green Development Policy Advisor
Ulaanbaatar, March 16 (MONTSAME) O.Chuluunbileg was appointed a Living Environment and Green Development Policy advisor to the President on Monday 16. He is a political manager and a historian.
Mr Chuluunbileg satisfied a master's degree in history at the Mongolian State University. He is a retired officer and is a postgraduate at the George Washington University of the USA majoring in political management. He has worked at the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences, J Entertainment, UBS Music Studio, Incubator Mongolia, MRO, Nancy Boxcore and IC companies. He has worked as an assistant to an MP in 2008-2010, and as a Secretary of the Democratic Party in 2010-2015.
INS Interview with Byambasaikhan, CEO of Erdenes Mongol
March 16 (Institute for National Strategy of Mongolia) There are not many examples globally where governments have successfully led "non-service related" businesses profitably and are "leaders in class". In the mining sector the keys to success are to have a high quality orebody and world class management approaches, which implies a world class team.
In practice this means to be highly safe, to design your business processes to keep unit operating costs at low levels, to deliver capital projects on time and to budget and to achieve the fair market price for your product.
Investors and financiers look for these attributes from those company's seeking to raise finance. They also look very closely at the shareholders, their motivations and the support of the government for business and the judicial system that presides over the borrower.
Mr. Byambasaikhan faces challenges both inside his holding company and with his shareholders. Gaining alignment as to the changes required and the rewards that may follow will be his immediate challenge.
Byambasaikhan is the CEO of Erdenes Mongol LLC, the nation's largest investment holding company that is comprised of Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi JSC, Oyu Tolgoi LLC, Erdenet Mining Corporation, Shivee Ovoo JSC, and Baganuur JSC. He also chairs the Business Council of Mongolia which represents 260 active companies.
*What is the key difference in your new role from previous roles?
I am now in charge of a portfolio of companies in which the GoM is a shareholder. For SOEs, there are different sets of legislation and rules, which means that I can't manage Erdenes MGL like a business. These companies currently are not making money for shareholders.
*What is your vison for EMGL?
To transform its value for the shareholders–make it cash positive and leverage the value to help and grow the Mongolian economy. First, we need to make these companies healthier and start contributing to the investment vehicle, so there's a turnaround, and then implement a growth strategy. And then this Mongolian Investment Company will be able to look at making a contribution to the economy on an ongoing basis.
*What are your short term plans for EMGL?
To understand the performance of the businesses and areas for improvement, which include transparency, quality of governance, and best business practices.
*What are the problems you need to overcome?
There are problems at 2 levels:
1. Government involvement in business and the negative international perception of this.
2. Raising money and attracting talent to turn these businesses around.
*You have said Mongolians consider themselves poor. Why is this?
This is a prevailing mindset in Mongolia. I disagree with this. You have people who own their homes, own their own cars, and still think they are poor.
Most never think about mortgaging their home to get more value from such an existing asset. Or the land where the ger areas are located: each family is given a plot of land which can be turned into a mortgageable asset. And the government thinks the same. Then you have Erdenet, Baganuur, Shivee Ovoo, Tavan Tolgoi… all these assets, if properly managed and valued, are worth a lot!
So one reason is tradition – people use their assets but are not leveraging those assets. The legal system also hasn't supported this practice.
*Is government a good manager of business?
Government's job is to ensure that proper economic policy is made, and to ensure rule of law for all, not to manage business. It is poor at raising investment capital, poor at shareholder relations, poor at project delivery and at profit generation.
*So why are you taking this job on? Are you doomed to fail?
A lot of people tell me that. Yes, it is a difficult job, and the past approaches must be changed. The past can't be the future. I will fail if I do not work according to international standards. Literally, I would be wasting my time if I continue to follow the old patterns that have been used up to this point.
*Are there examples of large successful businesses being established in Mongolia?
The correct [better] question is: are there Mongolian businesses being run according to international best practices? The answer is "yes." but those businesses are not in the majority.
We need to transform all of our locally based businesses into ventures run according to international standards and world best practices.
*What are the Mongolia "positives" that you want to build on?
Our laws are not bad for running a business, and a number of laws have been improved lately. The important thing is that people need the right attitude, transparency, etc. There are challenges but I am in a position where I can be a positive influence.
Whatever way you measure it, Mongolia is still a democracy. Yes, there are many problems, but still I would much rather be in here than Kazakhstan, for example, where the economy is 20 times larger than Mongolia's current economy. The freedom that I get here is something that people take for granted. Mongolians have property and opportunity, but we take it for granted.
There are concerns regarding government interference in business, the way the judicial system works, and penalizing the business leaders. International business and lenders want to see the rule of law and the sanctity of the contract prevail in Mongolia.
*What are the long term objectives for EMGL?
My main objective is to turn these assets into more profitable and valuable businesses. We need to make them more profitable, expand them, get the earnings, and use them for other purposes. This means to restructure and reform these companies and raise money.
*Can you do it faster than a Temasek?
There are three things that I can do to make this journey shorter:
· Temasek took 40 years, but Mongol Temasek could do it in 10 years thanks to experience, and technology.
· Proven business model and world-defined standards – the Temasek model is proven.
· Qualified HR base – We live in an international world. Countries that are highly successful capture an international perspective by leveraging the best people from wherever in the world. We are behind in Mongolia so we need to take shortcuts wherever we can. That means leveraging technology, relationships, etc.
What you are doing is basically applying already existing principles and standards into very fertile ground. It took certain economies and countries 30-40 years to transform to this level. We could take great strides over the next 10 years. We have already had property ownership rights for 25 years. Now let us take it to another level.
*What changes do you need from GoM?
Not so much changes in the law, but it is important to have a fair judicial system which protects businesses and helps make them competitive.
Government should help business not hinder. A government-owned business is no different than any other business. The government is just a shareholder. The business needs to be profitable and bring value to its shareholders. Governments don't have the right to run the businesses badly. Private companies, and all companies for that matter, have to be well-run to survive.
Political stability and a stable business climate is also very important.
Mongolia International Travel Mart 2015, March 21-22, Misheel Expo
Prepared by Zola, Managing partner of Selena Travel for GoGo Travel, www.selenatravel.com
March 16 (gogo.mn) Mongolia International Travel Mart 2015 is to take place on 21-22 March at Misheel Expo Centre (this weekend). ITM is co-organised by the Ministry of Nature, Green Development and Tourism, and Mongolian Tourism Association annually.
ITM is the largest travel market in Mongolia allowing tourism & travel industry businesses an opportunity to advertise themselves, and gathers the industry stake holders for 2 days. It is said that most accommodation service providers in Mongolia sign their contracts with travel agencies and tour operators during the 2 day event. This year, about 130 travel service providers are exhibiting at ITM.
In the last few years, provinces are exhibiting actively at ITB facilitated by the local governors' offices and their tourism departments. Important tourism destinations in Mongolia such as Uvurkhangai, South Gobi, Huvsgul, Tuv, Khentii and Bulgan provinces will be showcasing their offers at ITM 2015. This year's partner province is Arkhangai, which is famous for beautiful landscape such as the Khorgo-Terkh national park, Tsenkher Hot springs, and the Lake Ugii.
Moreover, ITM is open to public, and everyone wishing to look for their next Mongolia holiday destination as well as overseas holidays (several outbound tour operators are exhibiting with their own booths) may come and meet travel experts for ideas and booking services. Therefore, those working and living in Mongolia such as staff of foreign embassies in Mongolia and foreign investment companies love visiting ITM at Misheel Expo.
Visitors will enjoy traditional Mongolian music performances, fashion shows and lucky draws during ITM 2015. And the best booth design award will be handed to a company with the best booth (voted by visitors) at the end of the event.
Please contact Mongolian Tourism Association at 976-11-327820 or email@example.com for more info.
UNWTO Ulysses Prize Laureate Prof. Kaye Chon to Promote New Wave of Hospitality and Tourism Education in UB
March 16 (infomongolia.com) In the frameworks of implementation the "Friendly Ulaanbaatar" Program, Ulaanbaatar City Tourism Board has been carrying out a series of training to enhance quality and skills of the staff affiliated tourism service providers in Mongolia.
Few days ago, "Developing Knowledge and Skills of Restaurant Manager" training and "Training for Travel Guide and Manager" were successfully organized in collaboration with Guide Training Center NGO and Mongolian Restaurant Association.
So in upcoming month, organizers are planning to host trainings for restaurant waitress/waiter and city tour guide-interpreter and in cooperation with the Mongolian Restaurant Association and Mongolian Hotel Association, the 2011 UNWTO Ulysses Prize laureate, Dean and Chair Professor of the School of Hotel and Tourism Management at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Professor Kaye Chon will be giving a two-day seminar on government and public services, culture, tourism and hospitality management in Ulaanbaatar on April 02- 03, 2015.
Foreign Ministry Hosts "Mongolia's Cultural Heritage–Foreign Advertisement" Discussion
Ulaanbaatar, March 16 (MONTSAME) At the initiative of the Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Purevsuren, the Ministry hosted a policy discussion themed "Mongolia's Cultural Heritage–Foreign Advertisement" at its Agreement Hall on March 13.
The discussion was divided into two sections-- Policy on Culture and Foreign Advertisement, and was led by the officials of the Department for Foreign Advertisement and Information of the Ministry, the Department of Culture Policy Management, the Center of Cultural Heritage at the University of Arts and Culture, and the Institute of History and Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences.
Mr Purevsuren said in the opening remarks that an important concept "Soft power" was coined, thus, a policy on Foreign Advertisement should be developed in order to combine the efforts of the frameworks conducted towards the make of a positive conception about Mongolia in international sphere, establishing an image and national brands and advertizing the cultural heritages to the world. Besides the above-mentioned officials, present were the leaders and representatives of the Mongolian National Commission of the UNESCO, Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the International Union of Mongol Studies, Mongolia's Peace and Friendship Organization, Mongolian National Museum, the Museum of Natural History, Bogdkhaan's Palace Museum, Monastery Museum of Choijin Lama, Museum of Fine Arts in the name of G.Zanabazar, Chingis Khaan University and "Mongolian Knowledge" academy.
This discussion was the first one of series planned bythe Department for ForeignAdvertisement and Information of the Ministry.
Jackson Cox Elected Chairman of Asia Pacific Council of AmChams
SINGAPORE, March 16 (AmCham Mongolia) – The Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce (APCAC) has elected Jackson Cox as its new Chairman. Mr. Cox is based in Ulaanbaatar and is the Chief Executive Officer of Woodmont International and is the Founder and Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Mongolia.
Mongolia Speaker Starts Official Visit to Germany in Hannover with CeBIT
March 16 (infomongolia.com) Upon an invitation of the President of the Bundestag, Professor Norbert Lammert, Mongolian Parliamentary delegates led by Speaker of the State Great Khural (Parliament) Zandaakhuu ENKHBOLD are conducting an official visit to the Federal Republic of Germany on March 14-18, 2015.
The Speaker Z.Enkhbold is accompanied with Chairman of Mongolia-Germany Parliamentary Group at the State Great Khural MP L.Bold, MP L.Erdenechimeg, MP U.Enkhtuvshin, MP Ts.Nyamdorj, MP Z.Bayanselenge and other officials.
On March 15, 2015, the delegates were welcomed by the Lord Mayor of the City of Hannover, Stefan Schostok and during the meeting, Speaker Z.Enkhbold noted that he and his delegates were glad to start their official visit with Hannover city, where the world's largest and most international computer expo CeBIT commences.
In his remarks, Speaker of Mongolian Parliament said, "At the recently organized ITB Berlin-2015 event, Mongolia for the first time successfully participated as an official partner country, which resulted to broaden bilateral relations in particular in tourism sector. Some Aimags of Mongolia have been partnering with Bavaria and Hessen States of Germany by establishing agreements of cooperation and furthermore, parties intend to develop provincial active collaboration".
On the same day, Speaker Z.Enkhbold was received by the Minister President or Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, Stephan Weil and during the meeting, Speaker underlined, "The Federal Republic of Germany is a main partner country of Mongolia in Europe and as a milestone of growing comprehensive partnership in many sectors, the two countries' cooperation has not only been developing since Mongolia's transition to a democratic society, but also it is a fact that the ties were actively grown in 1920s when first Mongolians abroad were trained in higher education in Germany".
The first day official visit to Germany was concluded by attending in the opening of CeBIT 2015 fair trade, where Speaker of the Parliament Z.Enkhbold was invited to participate as a Guest of Honor.
The CeBIT 2015, Center for Office Automation, Information Technology and Telecommunication, is an annual big industry trade show held every year inaugurated in 1970, where this year the People's Republic of China is participating as Partner Country for CeBIT 2015 and IT leading companies from over 100 countries have been attending and the event was opened by Lord Mayor of the City of Hannover, Stefan Schostok; President of the German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media, Prof. Dieter Kempf; Founder and Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group, Jack Ma; Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Angela Merkel; Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China, Ma Kai, and Federal Minister of Education and Research, Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka.
During the biggest IT event, Speaker Z.Enkhbold held a brief meeting with the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Angela Merkel.
Speaker Z.Enkhbold visits Germany – Montsame, March 16
Agriculture Ministry signs MOU with Japan's Hokkaido Prefecture
Ulaanbaatar, March 16 (MONTSAME) Mongolia's Ministry of Food and Agriculture will cooperate with Hokkaido Prefecture of Japan in the food and agricultural spheres.
A related memorandum of mutual understanding was signed on Monday. This document opens opportunities to exchange experiences in technologies, which meet Mongolia's weather conditions, and to launch collaboration with the Prefecture in the private sector.
A basis of the cooperation with Hokkaido was laid after signing a middle-term programme of the Mongolia-Japan Strategic Partnership during a visit of the Mongolian PM to Japan in 2013.
Vice FM attends 59th Session of UN Commission on Women's Status
Ulaanbaatar, March 16 (MONTSAME) Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs N.Oyundari is participating in the 59th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).
The action is running March 9-20 at the Economic and Social Council headquarters in New York. On March 9 she attended a Ministerial roundtable meeting on "Investing in gender equality and the empowerment of women" and gave a speech. She informed the gathered about the measures taken by the Mongolian Government on the women's issues and a gender-sensitive budget. During the 20 years of implementation of the Beijing Declaration, she said, many plans and programs have been realized taking women and other marginalized groups as their targets. However, some programs could not achieve the desired outcomes due to insufficient funding, "our next goal has become increasing the budget and investment for the actions of gender equality and women's empowerment," she noted.
Oyundari also held meetings with Mr Edmond Mulet, the UN Assistant Secretary General for the Peacekeeping Operations, and with Ms Heidi Schroderus Fox, the director of the UN Office for Landlocked and Small-Island Countries. At the first meeting, Oyundari spoke about a participation of the Mongolian Armed Forces in the peacekeeping operations and said the senior military persons from Mongolia have been promoted to executive positions. With Ms Schroderus-Fox Oyundari shared views on promoting the activities of the International Think-Tank for the Landlocked Developing Countries headquartered in Ulaanbaatar and its cooperation with the UN.
Diplomatic Access: Mongolian Ambassador to the U.S.
Mongolian Ambassador to the U.S. Altangerel Bulgaa discusses Mongolia's vision for Asia.
March 16 (The Diplomat) For spring 2015, The Diplomat presents "Diplomatic Access," a series of exclusive interviews with ambassadors from the Asia-Pacific region. By talking to these diplomats, we'll give readers a sense of each country's perspective on various regional economic and security trends — from TPP to the Silk Road Economic Belt; from the South China Sea disputes to the Islamic State. Check out the whole series to date here.
In our first interview, His Excellency Altangerel Bulgaa, Ambassador of Mongolia to the U.S., gives The Diplomat an overview of Mongolia's vision for and role in the Asia-Pacific.
The Diplomat: From Mongolia's perspective, what are the biggest threats to regional security?
Amb. Altangerel: The Northeast Asian region is special in many ways. It is a region where the Cold war legacies still remain, where there is the dilemma of divided states, nuclear issues, and a number of territorial disputes. In addition to these underlying security issues, the presence of violent extremism, terrorism, environmental degradation, poverty, widening inequality gap, and rapid urbanization are becoming real challenges to the region's lasting stability. These are real issues that if not addressed in a timely manner could pose a real threat to the region.
How can these threats be addressed?
These threats are all manageable. To manage them we need confidence-building and transparency. We need to stick to the standing international norms and means in dealing with issues. Open and inclusive dialogues must replace forceful actions. Ways to resolve them should be discussed at every level: government, international organization, NGO and academic. The Ulaanbaatar Dialogue is a form of this attempt.
What role will the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue play in Mongolia's vision for regional security cooperation?
President Ts.Elbegdorj initiated the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue. It is a regional confidence building measure that promotes an open platform for regional and non-regional countries to exchange views and communicate on issues relating to Northeast Asia security, cooperation, and peace.
Since the launch of the initiative, Mongolia has organized a series of events, such as the Northeast Asian Women Parliamentarians meeting in 2013 and the Forum of the Northeast Asian City Mayors in 2014.
The track-two International Conference on the Northeast Asian Security, held in June 2014, was attended by scholars and academics from many countries including Mongolia, DPRK, Republic of Korea, China, Russia, Japan, U.S., the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom. Participants discussed various issues of regional security including the Korean Peninsula issue. This conference received a very positive feedback.
How will Mongolia contribute to resolving regional issues, including the standoff over North Korea's nuclear program?
Mongolia has maintained friendly and close relations with the countries in the Northeast Asian region including the two Koreas. Mongolia and North Korea, other than realizing high level visits, engage in educational and academic, artistic and athletic exchanges among our scholars, students and youth. There are no border disputes or unsettled issues of any kind, neither with Russia nor with China, the only two neighbors of Mongolia. We enjoy a nuclear-free status, which is formally recognized by the five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council. We hope these circumstances can offer a leverage in resolving the regional issues.
As we all know, the Korean Peninsula denuclearization is the most challenging issue in the region. Mongolia advocates and supports the principles of denuclearization and non-proliferation. These principles have been reflected not only in Mongolia's foreign policy priorities but in its national legislation. In 1992, Mongolia became the first country in the world to unilaterally proclaim its territory as a nuclear-weapon-free zone. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council pledged in a joint declaration to respect Mongolia's nuclear free status in 2012.
Mongolia has consistently supported the six-party talks and every effort toward a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. Mongolia is optimistic that re-starting the six-party talks will contribute significantly to the regional security.
In the past three years, Mongolia has hosted visits from the U.S. Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense. How are Mongolia-U.S. relations progressing under President Obama's "rebalance to Asia" strategy?
Indeed, high profile visits as well as side meetings at the highest level are frequent between our two countries. Today Mongolia and the United States enjoy sound political and economic relations. Mongolia considers the United States as its most important "third neighbor." Both countries work toward developing cooperation on the principles of a comprehensive partnership that is based on our common values and shared strategic interests. The U.S. has always extended enduring and unwavering support toward Mongolia in every aspect and for that we are grateful.
We are committed to addressing our shared economic, security and development interests through multilateral institutions in the Asia-Pacific. We stand united in our efforts to protect and promote freedom, democracy, and human rights worldwide. Our troops serve side-by-side in Iraq, and now in Afghanistan. Our peacekeepers are deployed together in conflict prone African countries.
Mongolia and the U.S. signed Trade and Investment Framework Agreement in 2004 and the Transparency Agreement between our countries was ratified by the Mongolian Parliament in 2014. Given this legal foundation, there is a real chance to enhance our trade and economic cooperation with the U.S. and to bring more U.S. investment into Mongolia.
As of today, the U.S. is our fourth largest trading partner with a half billion USD in total trade turnover. However, with a direct investment amount of $300 million, it is only the eighth largest investor in Mongolia. This number needs to be increased.
This brings us to the extent that Mongolia is already an active part to the pivot strategy.
In this regard, expressing interest and joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement could be a good opportunity for Mongolia to enhance its trade and economic relations with the U.S.
What goals does Mongolia have for trilateral talks with Russia and China?
Our foreign policy priorities are to maintain friendly and balanced relations with our neighbors, China and Russia; to expand our partnership through our "third neighbor" policy; to work closely with the countries of the Asia Pacific region, and to play an active role in the international arena.
Mongolia maintains a historic, traditional, comprehensive and at the same time a strategic relation with Russia and China.
Last year President Ts. Elbegdorj proposed the first ever trilateral summit between Mongolia, Russia and China, and it was held in 2014 on sidelines of the 14th Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Dushanbe.
Both countries are the largest trading partners of Mongolia. In the modern world, Mongolia sees its landlocked location between Russia and China as an opportunity to link them. Also the geographic proximity provides good opportunity for Mongolian products and services to access their markets.
What is the outlook for Mongolia's bid to join APEC? What would being added to the APEC bloc mean for Mongolia economically?
Being an Asia-Pacific country with a growing economy, Mongolia has an enduring aspiration to become a member of APEC. As a premier forum for facilitating economic cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific, APEC's impact is huge on the Mongolian economy. Let me quote a few numbers for a better picture. The APEC economies account for 90 percent of Mongolia's foreign trade turnover; China, Canada and Russia make up 96.4 percent of Mongolia's exports; Russia, China, U.S., Japan and the ROK account for 76.8 percent of Mongolia's imports. Our neighbors (China and Russia) are the only gateway to sea. The APEC economies also dominate FDI inflows to Mongolia: China, Singapore, Canada, ROK, the U.S, Russia, Hong Kong, Australia, and Japan are among our top 12 investment partners.
Membership in APEC would provide an excellent opportunity to expand and diversify our trade and investment through removing tariff and non-tariff barriers. For the APEC family, it would be expanded by a country with democratic governance, growing economy, rich natural resources, and a strategic location.
National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia joins ICC
March 16 (news.mn) The conference of the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions (ICC) was held in Geneva, Switzerland, last week. Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission J.Byambadorj and Referent U.Undrakh participated in the conference.
During the conference, Mongolia was selected to become the newest member of the ICC.
The ICC promotes the role of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) not only within the United Nations and with states and other international agencies, but it also promotes and strengthens NHRIs to be in accordance with the Paris Principles and provides leadership in the promotion and protection of human rights.
80% of medicine sold in Mongolia imported
March 16 (gogo.mn) Improving Transparency in Pharmacy training is being held among the health care professionals by the Ministry of Health and Sports.
Training aims at improving the good governance approach and information, development of transparency of the medicine regulation and supply management system through discussions and support the development of the healthy competition on the market.
Ministry of Health and Sports has renewed the list of medicine, developed strategy to accustom proper antibiotics use in treatment, prevention of tolerance of viruses and bacteria, ensure the medicine control.
Medicine market in Mongolia is 100 percent supplied by the private entities and 80 percent of the total medicine demand is supplied with imported medicine. There are over 190 entities, which supply medical equipment, 33 pharmaceutical entities and 1300 pharmacies.
Mongolian language and script tests to precede university admission exams under new law
March 16 (gogo.mn) General admissions exam registrations are in process. It has started on February 9th and will proceed until April 20th. While the Mongolian language and script exam registrations were closed as of March 9th. We have clarified some issues from M.Boldsaikhan, Senior Specialist at Education Evaluation Center.
-Does everyone who applies to universities have to pass the Mongolian Language and Script test?
-Yes. According to the Government resolution of last year every applicant for higher education is entitled to pass the Mongolian Language and Script exam. The minimum qualifying points for this test is 400 and enables the applicant to apply to universities. This exam will start nationwide on March 21st.
In view of those regulations, exam committee has been established of specialists to work in rural areas. If one cannot pass the exam the re-take will be on March 25th.
-How many applicants have registered for the Mongolian exams?
-25,813 have registered to have the exam.
-How many students are graduating secondary schools this year?
-This year compared to previous year there are 19,293 students. On top of that there are 6,520 from last year as well.
-How many applicants have registered for the general entrance exam?
-Over 8000 have applied. Currently most of the graduating students are focused more on the Mongolian Language and Script exams. After the results of the qualifying exams registration for the general entrance exams might activate, as those exams are scheduled to start from June 15th.
Olympic silver medalist Tugstsogt scores first round knockout in pro debut
By U. Badamtsetseg
March 16 (gogo.mn) 2012 Olympic Silver medalist N.Tugstsogt debuted his first professional fight in US on March 13th.
His first opponent was Gabriel Braxton, US.
N.Tugstsogt scored a first round knockout in his professional debut, overwhelming Gabriel Braxton in 47 seconds.
His component Gabriel Braxton is 30 years old and that was 11th fight in his professional career.
N.Tugstsogt, who goes by the thoughtfully shorter nickname, "King Tug," has started his professional career successfully.
N.Tugstsogt victorious in first round of his professional boxing debut – news.mn, March 16
Team Mongolia wins over Macao in Asian Hockey Challenge Cup
March 16 (gogo.mn) Challenge Cup games organized by the Asian Hockey Association has started in Taiwan on March 14th.
First match for our team was the team Macao yesterday. During the first 2nd and 8th minutes the team leader N.Mishigsuren scored goals and put the Mongolian team ahead.
At the end of the first half team Mongolia earned 4 points, while ending the match with team Macao with 8:1 points.
Today team Mongolia will play against team of United Arab Emirates.
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