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Monday, March 30, 2015
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
UPDATE 1-Rio Tinto CEO says Nov plan to restart Oyu Tolgoi was "best and final offer"
* Rio in talks with Mongolia on "detail" of Oyu Tolgoi restart
* Financing for second phase needs renegotiating
* Timing for completion of second phase still unclear (Adds detail of financing issue, quotes)
By Terrence Edwards
ULAN BATOR, March 28 (Reuters) - Proposals made to the Mongolian government by global mining giant Rio Tinto last November to restart the long-delayed Oyu Tolgoi copper mine were the firm's "best and final offer" and won't be changed, Rio's chief executive said.
Rio submitted the proposals to resolve some outstanding issues, including a $127 million tax claim that has already been cut to $30 million as well as the approval of a $4 billion project financing package to pay for phase-two construction.
"This is the best and final offer and we believe this a very reasonable approach to resolving the outstanding issues," said Sam Walsh in an interview with Reuters on Saturday ahead of a visit to the mine.
"Clearly, in terms of reaching a final conclusion there's a lot of detail that needs to be resolved, so negotiations were continuing last week," he said, adding that Rio was "not looking for special treatment" but wanted more certainty and clarity from Mongolia. (Mogi: I think it does want special treatment)
Walsh said the firm would be willing to go to international arbitration to resolve the tax dispute, but said it was not expected to affect current phase-one production at the mine.
Rio Tinto's Turquoise Hill Resources owns 66 percent of the $6.5 billion Oyu Tolgoi, with the Mongolian government holding the remainder. Rio is also in charge of running and developing the project, which is located in the Gobi desert close to Mongolia's border with China.
The first, open-cut phase of the mine is already in operation. Turquoise Hill reported $1.6 billion in revenue for 2014 from the sale of 733,700 tonnes of concentrate from the mine.
Walsh said financing for the second phase of the project, which will extend the mine underground, will have to be renegotiated, especially in light of volatile copper prices.
"There have been a number of lenders who rolled over their offers. Once we've resolved all of the negotiations, we need to go back to lenders to confirm the availability of the funding," he said.
He didn't have a specific timeframe for when the second phase could finally begin operations, saying Rio would first have to finalise negotiations with the government and also remobilise its workforce.
"There are a lot of moving parts there that would need to be taken into account before you can specify when it would start," he said.
Rio's Walsh Says Oyu Tolgoi Talks Down to Deal Breaker Issues
By Michael Kohn
March 29 (Bloomberg) -- Rio Tinto Group, the world's second-largest mining company, is locked in talks with Mongolia over developing the second stage of the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine, saying only a few matters remain on the table.
Oyu Tolgoi celebrates major milestone of one million tonnes of copper concentrate shipped with official site ceremony
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, March 29 (Oyu Tolgoi LLC) – The Government of Mongolia and Rio Tinto today formally celebrated the major milestone of Oyu Tolgoi LLC shipping one million tonnes of copper concentrate.
An official ceremony of celebration was held at the mine site in the South Gobi desert, attended by the Minister of Mining, R Jigjid, the Chief Executive of Rio Tinto, Sam Walsh, and Rio Tinto's Chief Executive of Copper & Coal, Jean-Sébastien Jacques.
Oyu Tolgoi LLC, Mongolia's largest copper and gold mine, has already unlocked tremendous value for the country in the form of investment inflows, job creation, and the introduction of international safety, technical, environmental, managerial, procurement and accounting standards.
Since 2010, more than US$6.4 billion has been invested in the operation and approximately US$1.3 billion has been paid in taxes, royalties and other fees to the Government of Mongolia. In 2014 alone, US$300 million was spent on procurement with Mongolian companies and US$7.8 million invested in education, training, and sustainable development projects.
Rio Tinto CEO Sam Walsh said, "It is wonderful to see the Oyu Tolgoi open-cut operation first-hand, and witness what is, by any standard, an extraordinary achievement by the national Mongolian workforce. To reach one million tonnes of copper concentrate shipped, in less than two years of operation, is a major milestone for such a young business and something we are tremendously proud to be a part of".
Mongolia's Minister of Mining, R. Jigjid, said, "Oyu Tolgoi is a great national asset. Today's ceremony is testament to the hard and impressive work of the employees, 95 per cent of whom are Mongolian nationals. I am confident that Oyu Tolgoi will continue to go from strength-to-strength, and make a significant net contribution to Mongolia's social and economic fabric for many years to come. I send my heartfelt – and sincere – congratulations to the management and employees on this wonderful achievement".
Batsukh Galsan, Oyu Tolgoi LLC's Chairman of the Board of Directors said, "It is a great honour to host Minister Jigjid and Rio Tinto's chief executive, Sam Walsh, at our world class mining operation. This significant milestone allows us to showcase the quality of the operation and its workforce, and provides a strong platform to realise further efficiencies and prepare for future growth."
Speaking on the milestone, Andrew Woodley, CEO of Oyu Tolgoi said: "This achievement clearly demonstrates our commitment to deliver a safe, globally competitive copper business that contributes to the prosperity of Mongolia. We are very pleased and grateful to have Minister Jigjid and the Government of Mongolia celebrate this important event with us."
MSE Trading Report, March 27: Top 20 +0.23% to 13,159.42, Turnover ₮89.95 Million
MSE Weekly Trading: MSE ALL +0.31% to 960.32, Stocks ₮751.1 Million, T-Bills ₮31.6 Billion
MONGOL MAKH EXPO
MOST ACTIVE BROKERAGE COMPANIES
Government retail bonds trading:
316,204 Government retail bonds worth of MNT31,620,400,000.00 were traded through one trading session.
MOST ACTIVE BROKERAGE COMPANIES IN GOVERNMENT SECURITIES TRADING
As of 27 March 2015, market capitalization was MNT 1,326,759,411,150.02 which indicated increase of 1.44%, and MSE ALL index reached 960.32 units which indicated increase 0.31% from previous week.
MSE to Trade Long-Term Government Bonds from April 7
March 27 (MSE) MSE will trade long term government bonds Ministry of Finance made a decision to trade shot-term government bonds through MSE to the public on November, 2014 in order to develop the capital market and promote the public awareness.
MSE traded bonds worth of 150 billion MNT for the past 5 months, 200 new domestic and foreign investors were added to the stock market and it's a clear sign that the policy objectives were proper. Thus, Ministry of Finance made a decision to trade long term government bonds with maturity of 3 and 5 years through MSE from April 7, 2015. Further studies have been conducted about the possibilities of introducing long term bonds, which are protected from competitive mode and inflation to domestic stock market.
BoM MNT Rates: Friday, March 27 Close
MNT vs USD, CNY in last 1 year:
BoM issues ₮150.7 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding +10.2% to ₮266.4 billion
March 27 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 150.7 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
Main food prices increase 6.6% from February
By B. Chimeg
March 26 (gogo.mn) Prices for main food items have increased by 6.6% compared with the previous month and 1.3% compared with the previous week.
Average prices for meat:
· Prices for mutton with bones have increased by 19.5%
· Prices for beef with bones have increased by 4%
· Prices for beef have increased by 1.1%
· Prices for goat meat have increased by 22.0%
· Prices for horse meat have increased by 3.0% compared with the previous month.
Besides, prices for mutton with bones have increased by 10.6%, prices for beef with bones have increased by 0.9%, prices for goat meat have increased by 9.1%, prices for beef and horse meat were stable compared with the previous week.
An average prices for mutton with bones is at MNT 7335, beef with bones is at MNT 7865, beef is at MNT 9520, horse meat is at MNT 5600 while goat meat is at MNT 6000.
Prices for flour:
· prices for pack of high-quality flour have increased by 1.9%
· prices for sack of first grade flour have increased by 0.5%
· prices for sack of second-grade flour have increased by 0.6% compared with the previous month.
Compared with the previous week, prices for flour were stable.
Prices for potato and vegetables: Compared with previous month, prices for potato have increased by 8.3%, prices for carrot have increased by 12.2%, prices for cabbage have increased by 14.4%, while prices for turnip have decreased by 2.1% and prices for onion were stable.
Prices for potato and vegetables were stable compared with the previous week.
Mining's declining contribution to Mongolia's budget
March 27 (Mongolian Economy) At Mineral Resources 2025, an annual open forum organized by the Ministry of Mining to discuss the latest issues in the mining sector, speakers and attendees alike spoke of the need to address the sector's role in Mongolia's mineral-dependent economy. While copper concentrate from a working section of Oyu Tolgoi mine contributed a positive but over-sized portion to Mongolia's exports and economic growth in 2014, the poorly performing economy remains troubling. Coal sector revenue is decreasing year by year, while the mining sector at large has the highest non-performing loan rate out of any other sector in the country. Forum participants speculated that the coal sector will constitute a remarkably low 16 percent of mining sector revenue in 2015.
The forum featured several topics, most prominently a discussion entitled 'Social and Economic Impacts of the Mining Sector', which emphasized the negative consequences of export and price decline for Mongolia and other countries. Although the mining sector is not the booming economic contributor it was only a few years ago, the importance of the mining sector remains high. Mongolia's GDP grew over 7 percent in 2014, largely because of mining sector growth, even though investments dropped dramatically during the year due to the country's uncertain foreign investment environment.
Those at the forum agreed that Mongolia's megaprojects, several of which are in the negotiating stage, must see progress in order to become the major economic contributors Mongolia needs. The Ministry of Finance reported that foreign direct investment performance has declined to USD 644.3 million, a more than three-fold plunge since 2013. The main factors contributing to the decrease are Oyu Tolgoi's expansion investment deadlock between the government and Rio Tinto, and the Tavan Tolgoi-Gashuun Sukhait railway, which remains unconstructed.
According to available data on foreign trade released by the central bank, eight of 2014's nine leading export products were mining-related (the outlier was cashmere). The figures reveal Mongolia's increasing dependence on mineral exports, especially dangerous due to the downward trend of prices in today's global commodity market. Mining revenue was only able to reach MNT 874 billion in 2010 because of the sharp rise of mineral resource prices on the world market. In the same year, the mining sector made up 28 percent of total state budget revenue, the highest percentage in the last five years.
During Mineral Resources 2025, the director of the macroeconomic policy department of the Ministry of Finance G.Batkhurel said that today's mining sector revenue has continuously declined, accounting for only 18 percent of budget revenue in 2014.
For 2015, mining sector income is expected to decrease to MNT 852 billion, and estimated to account for only 13 percent of budget revenue, chiefly because of the declining prices of coal, copper, and iron ore. Thus, it will be the lowest revenue rate in the last five years. Copper sector revenue has constituted 40 percent to 60 percent of total mining sector revenue for the past several years. Experts stressed that the copper sector will constitute 60 percent of total mining revenue in 2015 due to the falling prices of other mining products and Oyu Tolgoi's production increase.
Mogi: This one didn't make it on the website, folks are indeed losing interest in Mongolia
Mongolia in Talks to Settle Khan Resources $103 Million Dispute
By Michael Kohn
March 27 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia and Khan Resources Inc. are in talks to settle a dispute over the cancellation of uranium mining licenses that led to an arbitration court ruling the Canadian company is owed $103 million.
"An initial meeting with representatives of the Government of Mongolia to discuss settlement issues has been completed," according to a statement released by Khan yesterday. "The meeting was productive and both parties agreed to try to reach an amicable settlement."
Mongolia Prime Minister Saikhanbileg Chimed said economic growth was his number one priority when he took office in November. He vowed to resolve a series of high profile disputes with overseas companies that have contributed to a slump in investment and put a drag on the economy. The Asian Development Bank has forecast a 3 percent expansion this year from 7.8 percent in 2014.
The award to Toronto-based Khan will reach $103.8 million on March 31 and is accruing at a rate of 2.546 percent per day, or $6,485, according to the statement. The next meeting with Mongolia's government will be April 20, it added.
"The Company is pleased with the goodwill demonstrated by the Government representatives during this first meeting. We look forward to progressing the matter further at our next meeting," Khan President and CEO Grant Edey said in the statement.
Bayartsetseg Jigmiddash, Mongolia's State Secretary for the Ministry of Justice, was unavailable to comment and didn't respond to an e-mail inquiry.
Khan received the award from an international arbitration tribunal under the United Nations Commission on International Trade, the company said in a statement on March 2.
"I am pleased the government is not taking this lightly, as statements made by officials right after the arbitration award suggested at the time," Munkhdul Badral, head of market intelligence firm Cover Mongolia, said by e-mail today.
"Hopefully investors will see this as another sign of goodwill from the government, when it reaches an amicable decision with Khan Resources, that it is indeed trying to amend for past mistakes," Munkhdul added.
Mongolia has made progress on resolving another dispute that involves the canceling of 106 mining licenses. One of the highest profile investors caught up in the case, Canada's Kincora Copper Ltd., announced earlier this month its licenses had been returned with a full 12-year term.
Dale Choi: Chalco's $898 million would have went into our country's development
By D. Oyunchimeg
March 25 (UB Post) The following is an interview with Mongolian Metals & Mining analyst Ch.Erdenedalai, commonly known as Dale Choi.
Founder of Independent Mongolian Metals & Mining Research, Choi has a master's degree in financial economics from City University of London.
We heard that you analyze and research the capital market? Can you tell us about your work?
I produce and sell analysis and research on public companies listed on international stock exchanges. I operate independently as a third party. This means I am neither on the "sell side", such as brokers, nor on the "buy side", such as investment funds. As such, I provide independent opinion on buying and selling shares. As a financial analyst, I aim to tell the real market numbers and facts.
Lately, foreign investment has been deteriorating in Mongolia. How are Mongolian companies listed on international stock exchanges doing?
The deterioration of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Mongolia is directly reflected and closely related to the performance of companies operating in Mongolia that are listed on international exchanges. Specifically, one can say that their stock prices are a market barometer for the investment condition of Mongolia. The deterioration is reflected in collapse of prices of stocks of these companies. I want to illustrate the relationship between the collapse in FDI and stock price, on the shocking example of one company.
The company is called South Gobi Resources. In the beginning, it was operating very successfully and now it is in a very difficult condition. When the company released its IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2010, it valued itself at 17 CAD per share, or 2.73 billion CAD in total, and raised 459 million CAD. Foreign institutional investors were optimistic about the future of Mongolia's mining and expected it to grow. South Gobi exported four million tons of coal to China in 2011 and Mongolia was the leading coal supplier of China, even ahead of Australia. However, since the last election cycle, and because of regrettable coincidences, today's tragic situation has been realized.
Are you saying that the collapse of this company was caused by Mongolia's regulations and laws?
Of course there should not be an overstatement blaming everything on Mongolia. Factors such as the collapse of the coal market and decline in coal price affected the company. However, the biggest factors were laws and regulations. Shareholder of the company, Turquoise Hill Resources, announced a financial agreement that it will sell 56 percent of the company to China's Chalco company before the 2012 elections. At that time, populists have treated the issue emotionally, and this led to the initiation and approval of a law to limit foreign investment. At that time, Turquoise Hill Resources owned 56 percent of South Gobi and valued each share at 8.48 CAD to raise 898 million CAD from the sale. In other words, the buyer and seller both valued the company at 1.54 billion CAD. Now in 2015, Turquoise Hill Resources is selling its last remaining shares in the company to a Chinese company at 0.35 CAD per share, making the value of the whole company 77 million CAD, to raise 17 million CAD. In short, South Gobi, which was worth 1.54 billion CAD in 2012, is now worth 77 million, or there is 95 percent destruction in shareholder value. The wealth of investors, who invested in Mongolia, dropped by 95 percent. This closely resembles the fall in FDI from 4.45 billion USD in 2012 to 506 million USD in 2014, or by 89 percent.
How dire is a fall from 898 million CAD to 17 million CAD?
What matters most for Mongolia is how 898 million CAD would have been spent. Turquoise Hill Resources was to use the capital from the transaction on productive development of Oyu Tolgoi. This money would have ended up in the pockets of our country, reason being that majority of the workforce in the construction of Oyu Tolgoi are Mongolian workers and national enterprises. Yet our authorities have prohibited this and have hurt the economy badly.
Controversy surrounding South Gobi hasn't stopped. There have been mentions of inaccurate reporting of financial statements, money laundering and corruption. Are there any analysis by foreigners about the financial statement of the company?
Of course, there are. As financial analysts, we are required to make analysis of financial statements, which are validated by auditing. One can say that the foundation of financial analysis are audited financial statements. South Gobi is listed on two reputable international exchanges. Therefore, there is no possibility at all to prepare a false financial statement, evade taxes and give bribes.
The flow of money and capital of companies listed in the capital market is transparent because they can raise funds only by having excellent corporate governance. As a financial analyst, I understand that there can be no such things at South Gobi. Of course, I am not an auditor so I am not the person to directly determine and make conclusions.
How much are the shares of South Gobi worth now?
Shares of South Gobi have declined all the way down to 34 cents per share. However, curiously last month, share prices rose to 1.06 CAD per share. As I understand, the market has optimistic expectations for the company's business. Currently the company has a total of 219 million shares outstanding and market capitalization of 235 million CAD.
A criminal case has been filed based on the conclusion of Mongolian experts that claim that South Gobi evaded 35 billion MNT (approximately 17.5 million USD) in taxes. The company doesn't agree.
The criminal case is based on tax conflict. Actually in our tax law procedure, the process to resolve tax disputes is clearly instructed. In other words, there must be a legal process. Yet not only me, but many people are shocked that the dispute has become a criminal case. According to our country's law, a criminal case can be filed on tax issues if it is proven that taxes due were intentionally concealed or the evading taxpayer has fled from justice and caused large losses. Yet South Gobi is listed on two reputable international stock exchanges, the company's office and mine are operating in our country. I am skeptical about the filing of the criminal case when the company's employees are working regularly within the country. As I understand it, there is a breach in the law and due processes. The way I see it, if the court decision is against the company, the company will be in a very bad shape.
If the company is found guilty of tax evasion, what kind issues will arise in the domestic business environment?
The company itself has reported that it might go bankrupt. At the same time, foreign investors are likely to view that Mongolian authorities bankrupted the company. This is a very risky issue. In general, top western investors are selling everything almost for free and leaving our country. We are throwing away capital that investors have brought us. In a sense, we are falling deeper and deeper into a hole that we are digging ourselves. Therefore, one can see how uncertain the future of our mining sector and economy has become.
How would you solve this problem?
As I am a bystander and observer, it is not proper for me to directly instruct. However, from a financial analyst's point of view, if this case can be resolved according to the law, it will be very important positive message to foreign investors.
Vice Speaker gives update on proposed election reform to political parties with no parliament seats
Ulaanbaatar, March 25 (MONTSAME) A vice speaker of parliament L.Tsog received the representatives of political parties who have no seats at parliament on March 25 to give information on the intended amendments to the laws on election and political parties.
His recommendation for the amendments to the Constitution offer a changing of parliament into classic form, discharging presidential election by people, and forming two chambers of parliament, informed Mr Tsog.
He also said he intends to submit his suggestion for the amendments to the Law on Political parties, concerning the membership and financing of parties.
Mongolian Journalists to Unite for 11th ASEM Summit in Ulaanbaatar
March 26 (infomongolia.com) During the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting in Milan, Italy, in October 2014, Mongolia was authorized to host the 11th ASEM Summit in Ulaanbaatar in 2016. The heads of state and government of 53 different countries are anticipated to gather in Ulaanbaatar and Mongolia will be at the center of the world's attention attracting the global media.
Mongolia is giving great importance to organizing this remarkable event and from today press and media organizations have started to cooperate and team up with each other to organize the 11th ASEM Summit in Ulaanbaatar.
On March 25, 2015, a press conference was called by the National Council to organize the ASEM Summit at the Citizen's Chamber. The press conference attracted almost all the representatives of press and media in Mongolia including Department of Public Relations and Information of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mongolian Journalists' Union (MJU), Mongolian National Broadcaster (MNB), MONTSAME Agency, Daily Newspapers' Association, Association of Websites, Mongolian Television Channels' Union, Mongol Mass Media LLC, journalists accompanied President at the ASEM Summit and other officials.
At the press conference, journalists discussed the organizational issues of the Summit and agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding under the motto "Let's Unite for ASEM".
Mongolian journalists team up to organize ASEM Summit – Montsame, March 26
40 Journalists Attending Annual Shareholders Meeting of Erdenet Mining Corp
March 27 (gogo.mn) Journalists team of 40 personnel, involving journalists from the television stations, daily newspapers and news websites, is working at Erdenet city for the Annual Shareholders meeting of the Erdenet Mining Corporation.
The first site journalists to visit is the Erdenet Medical diagnosis and treatment center.
Orkhon Aimag Plans for Life Without Erdenet Mining Corp.
- Our journalist B.Erdenechimeg is reporting from Erdenet city -
March 27 (gogo.mn) Orkhon aimag Governor's Office has established MOU with the Erdenet Mining Corporation between 2013 and 2017.
In the scope of this MOU both sides conduct joint annual planning and this year's agreement signing was attended by S.Dangaasuren, Governor of Orkhon aimag and Ts.Davaatseren, CEO of Erdenet Mining Corp.
The main part of the MOU is the Exit Management, as the Erdenet Mining Corp. is to close in 30 years from now. And the management and the aimag governor's office is concerned over the economic situation of Erdenet city with 95 thousand residents.
The Exit Management is being developed by Orkhon aimag Governor's Office, Erdenet Mining Corp and German government team.
Last year Orkhon aimag implemented policy to develop industries and is planning to become the Industrial Hub of the country in the future.
Last year the Orkhon aimag succeeded with commencement of the several factories to replace the imports, such as mask, iron processing, construction materials and nano textile production.
Not Everyone Using Paved Road to Transport Coal from Tavan Tolgoi Basin
Ulaanbaatar, March 27 (MONTSAME) On the sidelines of his working visit to the Gobi region, the Deputy PM U.Khurelsukh visited Tsogttsetsii soum of Omnogovi aimag, where Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi JSC and Energy Resource LLC operate.
Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi is operating the minor Tavan Tolgoi deposit's part of Tsankhi, while Energy Resource's operations are at the coking coal deposit--Ukhaa Khudag. The companies transport the extracted coal by trucks, which have been debated for many years as a main factor that is destroying the fragile soil of the Gobi and affecting the environment. Energy Resource LLC has built on its own expense a paved road connecting Ukhaa Khudag with Gashuunsukhait border checkpoint. The road was purchased by the Government last year. However, the road has low competitiveness due to varying transport tariffs, said executive director of the locality-owned Tavan Tolgoi company Mr R.Seddorj.
Tavan Tolgoi's locality-owned and state owned companies pay 1.25 USD per ton, while Energy Resource pays 0.75 USD, for the road reaching Gashuunsukhait. Because of the higher payment, the other two companies still prefer dirt road transport. The paved road charges 60 thousand Togrog for each unloaded trucks.
About this, a director of Tavan Tolgoi–Gashuunsukhait road said that Erdenes MGL had resolved to accumulate the remaining amount of payment for the road through transport tariffs. The remaining amount is 18 million US dollars, he added.
The Deputy PM said the transport tariff issue must be settled, so that is will no longer affect the environment. He promised the Government's attention on eliminating the threat to the Gobi's ecosystem.
Deputy Premier Works in Dundgovi Aimag
Ulaanbaatar, March 27 (MONTSAME) The Deputy Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh is visiting Dundgovi aimag. On March 26 he legged the locality's authorities for emergency management, specialized inspections, standardization and metrology, and for procurement.
He was welcomed by the staff of the Division for Emergency Management, named last year as the Best Division of the aimag. Delivery of young livestock has been completed in some soums, said the aimag's governor D.Od-Erdene, the aimag's center has been connected to Ulaanbaatar with hard-surface road, "which provides small and medium enterprise to develop in a more rapid pace", he added.
The main direction of development of the province is considered to be its tourism rather than mining operations, he said and noted that the administration is focusing on improving the infrastructure around the main tourist attractions such as the Rocks of Great Land and Tsagaansuvarga, and on the standards of the tourist camps. The Governor said 4.5 billion Togrog were allocated to the Development Fund of the aimag, the money will be distributed to soums for works such as building public restrooms for the tourist camps and for a project on a dairy farm with 300 cows.
The Deputy PM U.Khurelsukh said the emergency sector's importance is becoming greater as the number of natural calamities and accidents increases. Upon legging the Procurement Department, he instructed the staff to conduct their activities in more transparent and justified manners.
Ch.Saikhanbileg: Management not politics should navigate universities and hospitals
By E. Oyundari
March 26 (UB Post) Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg met with Minister of Education, Culture and Sciences L.Gantumur and Minister of Sports and Health G.Shiilegdamba in the weekly governmental meeting "Hours of Resolution", held on Wednesday, to give them directions in their sectors.
"There is a morbid phenomenon that ministers, appointed as a result of political elections, change the directors of schools, universities and hospitals," mentioned Ch.Saikhanbileg, beginning the meeting and noting that it is time for a change.
"It is a great wrong that politics appoints hospital directors. A university is not a political organization. There is no university or hospital that belongs to a certain political party. There are only public universities and public hospitals.
"Universities and hospitals are service organizations. One does not study at a university or get treated in a hospital according to his or her political views and political party affiliation. Politics are irrelevant in treating and educating someone. Politics should take place far away from hospitals and universities. If the heads of these professional service organizations become politicized, their services will be politicized accordingly," Ch.Saikhanbileg added, emphasizing that it is time to end the system that encourages competition among parties for appointments and promotions.
A working group has been assembled to make amendments to the Law on Health. There are plans to give central clinics the same status as state owned public hospitals. State owned public hospitals will have a managing board with nine members. The board will elect its executive director and the management team of the hospital, Minister G.Shiilegdamba announced. With the implementation of these new rules, the head of hospital will report their work to the managing board, not the sector's minister.
A council of higher education, formed by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences, will be formed with 30 members who have taught in the sector for many years or who have had experience running a university. The council will select the heads of public schools and universities and the appointment of heads will be made with participation of the public, said Minister L.Gantumur.
Management privatization of public hospitals to become reality
March 26 (UB Post) The health sector has seen a decline in the last twenty years. Under the central government, health policy and the medical services of public hospitals have hit an all-time low, while doctors fail to fulfill their oaths for the sake of money.
The way out of this situation is privatization. Sixteen years ago the State Department Store was privatized. When the subject was first brought up, everyone, including the parliament, discussed it, deeming it impossible. Now, the store is flourishing in front of our eyes, whereas state funded organizations are still "shabby" because of deficient funds. This applies to state owned hospitals.
Two years ago the government cut back on funds for the health sector, because of so-called economic hardships. In 2014 the government pruned 100 million to 180 million MNT from the sector's budget, while this year the second and third level hospitals saw a hefty 10 percent cut from their budgets. A sector that was barely making ends meet is now forced to crawl on its knees thanks to the decisions of the government. Everyone in the health sector is complaining about the current budget, with funds sufficient for only six months of operation.
Quality free service from state hospitals no longer exists. For example, when a patient with high blood pressure and food poisoning turned to state hospitals for treatment, the doctors replied, "Bring your medicine yourself. We don't have spare medicine lying around". A friend of mine, who underwent gallstone removal surgery, said that he had to buy medications for the procedure that cost more than 100,000MNT. Cases like these make it clear for the need to change the status of state hospitals. When doing so, it is best to hand over the management of the hospital to a reliable body, instead of allowing for 100 percent privatization.
The Health Center of Bayanzurkh District was privatized 10 years ago, and citizens claim the quality of the hospital is superior to others. Recently, the Sukhbaatar District Polyclinic was privatized under a management contract and was renamed Sukhbaatar Polyclinic. Director of the City Health Department Sh.Enkhbat stated, "It doesn't matter whether the ownership of hospitals is state or private. If things don't work out, the state can simply take it back. The ownership of Sukhbaatar Polyclinic will be private. Apart from the Bayanzurkh and Sukhbaatar district hospitals, the polyclinics of other districts will not be privatized in the next decade. District hospitals are public property and must offer the closest, cheapest health services to citizens. Family clinics are a different matter. The Health Law states that family clinics are private institutions operating under a government organization, but currently the line is unclear. Next year, family clinics will start being privatized, according to international examples."
Some hospital administrators are supporting the privatization, which they believe will "freshen up" the health sector. Recently, officials are discussing the separation of hospitals from the government into an organization with individual status. Minister of Health G.Shiilegdamba spent his entire first advisors' meeting discussing this issue. His advisors also supported privatization, especially the privatization of management at third level hospitals: the three State Hospitals, the National Center for Communicable Diseases, and the National Cancer Center.
Citizens are concerned that privatization of the biggest hospitals will turn the health industry into nothing more than a for-profit company. Yet the government is required to care for its citizens according to the Constitution. The answer to this dilemma is that there are many types of privatization. The currently discussed plan is considered to be the best. The hospitals will not be fully privatized and would remain the property of the state. The role of the government is that of providing legal freedom to the hospitals. The Board of Directors, made up of external sources instead of ministers, should have the power to choose the hospital's directors and doctors. Sector officials agree that in order to efficiently use the budget and make doctors work creatively, management privatization is the best way. If we don't turn our hospitals into for-profit organizations, we should at least let them be run like a business, since the private sector makes up 80 percent of Mongolia's GDP.
Rome wasn't built in a day. Likewise, this process is expected to take a long time. In order to privatize the large public hospitals, changes must be made to the Health Law, as well as other laws; starting with the Budget Law, which states," All organizations funded from the state budget shall be under state authority. Thus, they shall be nonprofit." Changing every relevant law would be time consuming, thus the draft for a health care and services law has been proposed to Parliament by MP S.Odontuya and her team, while consultations for the proposal were held nationwide on March 17. The proposal takes into account the legal framework of budget expenditure, transparency, a hospital's board (which should include scientists and members of the general public), and who will appoint the director of a hospital. Financing for hospitals should be acquired through a contract between the directors of the hospital and the Health Insurance Agency.
The proposal, consisting of six acts and 65 articles, will oversee health services concerning organization, administration, and funding, while also including proposals to make changes to existing laws. If the proposed draft is accepted, international standard health service and treatment will be available locally to anyone who has health insurance, regardless of registration. An information pool will be made available to healthcare providers through individually customized cards.
The proposal could help reduce health issues caused by poverty, while making a significant contribution to economic growth. If reform in the health sector is to be expected, the current structure, status, and administration of hospitals should be changed, transitioning to a client-centered, professional industry.
Industry Minister calls for taking politics out of business
March 27 (news.mn) Minister of Industry D.Erdenebat participated in the "Minister's Time" broadcast aired each Monday and gave information regarding industrial sector projects, further work required, and future plans for the rector sector.
During the broadcast the Minister stressed that even today, imports prevail in Mongolia and the country is still dependent on foreign countries.
He pointed out that Mongolia spends 383 million USD on products from abroad. As reported by the Ministry of Industry, Mongolia spends 1.7 million USD on imported dairy products and 19 million USD on powdered milk annually
The nation's exports are valued at 5.7 billion USD, of which 81.8 percent (4.7 billion USD) is from the export of raw materials from the mining sector.
The Minister of Industry stressed that export of industrial products is not taking place. "In this case, there is no guarantee that the currency exchange rate will be stable and living conditions of the population will be improved further, citing that the main reason for this is unstable policy in the industrial sector.
He added that Mongolians continue the import of products which can produced domestically. "For instance, we are importing vegetable oil for 25 million USD, sugar for 24 million USD, white rice for 14 million USD, flour for 7 million USD, fruit for 6 million USD, and vegetables for 10 million USD. That means that we are spending 110 million USD for the import of food products."
As stressed by Minister D.Erdenebat, "This figure proves that we set policy dependent on foreign policy. We need to evaluate economic policy based on these figures instead of politicizing them, otherwise, these figures will not improve.
"There shouldn't be politics in the economy; the economy requires only actual numbers or figures."
The true cost of legislating
March 26 (UB Post) According to a 2008 resolution from the State Great Khural on its law formulation project, 10 million MNT is allocated to each member of Parliament each year to develop new legislation. Five million MNT is allotted to members for business trips, which are supposed to provide an opportunity for them to share experiences and learn from developed countries in the fields of law and regulation. A total of 15 million MNT has been included in the state budget for members to spend every year for the last seven years.
Typically, nearly 100 million MNT is included in the state budget every year for each member, which is meant to cover the expenses mentioned above, wages, transportation, cell phone costs, appointments, advertisements, books and publishing, and assistant salaries. After last year, the budget was nearly doubled, increasing by 90 million MNT.
To formulate a law, members of the State Great Khural spend around one billion 140 million MNT per year, which can be added up to four billion 560 million MNT during their time in office. Since 2008, a total of 31 billion 920 million MNT has been spent on law formulation projects.
Mongolia is a country with a judicial state which regulates social relations through laws and regulations. Only law must rule the country. Unfortunately, the phrase, "Mongolian law lasts only three days," still applies. Lawmakers are facing headaches; either the products they are producing are ineffective, or the observers are being inattentive.
Not only MPs initiate and formulate laws. According to the constitution, the President and the government also have special rights to initiate a law and present it to Parliament. There is an office of the president, the ministries, and the justice department which must support the President and the government in terms of drafting laws. But when the 76 members of the State Great Khural start to formulate a law, employees of the judicial research department and the justice service of the Office of the President aren't able to work with all members. Initiating laws are thought to be the major role of MPs. That's why the state approves a budget for the members, to support their work.
Not every MP is a lawyer. They even differ in their educational background. Also, they often have personal interests and demands when formulating laws which involve and regulate social relations in different sectors. Therefore, they turn to teams of professional lawyers, bureaus, and even individuals, to develop draft laws, and at the end, they name themselves as authors.
According to data from glass account reporting of the State Great Khural's office, from the budget for legislation, MPs S.Ganbaatar and D.Otgonbaatar withdrew nine million MNT each, and member D.Ganbat withdrew 10 million MNT this February, transferring it to a non-governmental organization called Oyuni Innovats, in order to get legal advice and make an agreement on cooperation.
The expenses for consultation from an individual and a bureau is quite different. It depends on whether or not the draft law process demands research and observation, and it depends on the status of the agent.
Skillful parliamentarians criticize the efficiency, content, and ideology of laws. Moreover, the script, composition, structure, and sequence of laws, which are the rudimentary requirements, don't fulfill international standards.
As a result of inadequate financial calculations and poor estimates, the situation often arises where certain changes or additions must be included in a law after it has been approved. For instance, the "Long Named Law", which was initiated by MPs B.Bat-Erdene and G.Bayarsaikhan, is still facing debate and delays. Alcoholics are glad that the law on making hospitals sobering-up facilities, instead of jails, was approved. The law on establishing the court was not in line with some clauses of the Constitution. As a result, the law was invalidated.
Sadly, there are many examples like this. Therefore, the Government of Mongolia presented a draft law called, "Law About the Law," which covers regulations on the law formulation process. It has been submitted to the State Great Khural and discussion of it has begun.
When a law is presented, it doesn't matter who or what organization formulated it, but the capability of the Parliament to properly evaluate it matters.
It is time for the members to analyze their work in the field of creating a legal environment at such great financial expense. All members are responsible for this issue.
Source: Unudur Sonin
MP D.Ganbat: Currency rate will tell if the government is doing well
March 23 (UB Post) This is an interview with Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Standing Committee on Legal Affairs D.Ganbat (DP), about recent political events and issues.
During parliamentary recess, what kind of projects have you completed?
I met with people in our district. Livestock are delivering their offspring in provincial areas, so workload has been heightened. Meetings and conferences were organized among residents regarding passed laws and various issues. We also exchanged views on the pros and cons, as well as problems with projects of Parliament. The parliamentary spring session will soon begin. I introduced and promoted draft laws to be discussed during spring session.
How are the livelihoods of residents? What do they consider important and what are their demands?
A winter with favorable weather conditions is coming to an end. The whole nation is facing an economic crisis. Although this isn't as evident in rural areas, the prices of products have risen. This is heavily impacting people's livelihoods and we can observe that people are struggling to live, even with payday loans and other types of loans. This shows that the economic crisis has spread throughout Mongolia. Residents demanded to get answers for overcoming the economic crisis. They also inquired about issues related to large deposits, that have become the main engine of Mongolia's economy.
Not long ago, the two major parties announced to ensure political and economic stability by establishing the new "Government for Solution". Yet some members of the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) reported that they will leave the government. Could this become a foundation for instability in the government once again?
The train has departed already. Not even three months have passed since the two parties started cooperating. So we can't mess with the public. We shouldn't be acting as if we're playing games with the government. We must never forget that the public evaluates everything. It was proclaimed that the establishment of a coalition government was for the sake of the public. At the time, the Mongolian economy worsened badly and prices of geology and mining products in the global market declined by three folds. While explaining that it was for the public, the decision to co-establish the government was made at the MPP's conference. The MPP first introduced a program to execute 70 projects, and had it approved. Evaluations and assessment on the implementation of this program is necessary. The program's outcomes should be evaluated in short intervals. We could probably see the outcome by comparing currency exchange rates before and after the formation of the government.
How wise was the decision of the two parties to cooperate?
Like I just said, the result of their decision can be seen from the currency exchange rate. Outcomes are reflected in these sorts of statistics. It's also time for the public to make evaluations. It's unnecessary to be deceitful. Also, they shouldn't have an eye on the profit. The program has been approved so the government should work consistently with the program. If the work that they are doing is effective and giving off results, it should be shown to the public. In this case, the indication of effective work will show through the stability of the currency exchange rate. How is the livelihood of the public today? The amount of food that housewives can afford will show how efficiently and productively the government is working. Since they've already promised results through cooperation, they shouldn't put the blame on their cooperation. Importantly, results are becoming visible in front of our eyes. The two main political forces should unite and determine prospective work to get positive outcomes.
Almost 100 days have passed since the government, led by Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg, joined hands with the MPP. From your perspective, how do you view the government?
Former governments have set a trend of evaluating their work on the 100th day of formation. Following this example, the current government will probably assess its work soon too. When the spring session begins, the government will likely report on its work and have it assessed. As I travelled around provincial areas, I heard people praising, as well as speculating on the works of the government. During this period, the discussion about the MPP leaving or entering the government is all an attempt to have their own way. The MPP has been saying that they'll rescue the public from poverty and the nation from economic crisis since 2000. However, Mongolia has been defeated by poverty and the government did not overcome the economic crisis. Even now, they're saying tons of other things. Instead of empty words, they should show things through their work.
The Democratic Party (DP) is facing internal conflicts because of its own factions. From one side, this may seem like a conflict within the party, but from another side, this portrays a bad image of the government and is even destroying Mongolia's economy. You were able to form your own faction within the DP. Can you comment on this?
There are strong points in the DP, as well as weaknesses. We faced what we needed to face, transferred to a free market economy, and spent many years as a democracy. The advantage of democracy is connected to being able to fix errors and shortcomings. In other words, transparency sheds light onto hidden issues, making it possible to correct it. Everything has errors. Whether errors are fixed or not is the name of the game. If the DP is correcting its mistakes and errors, we can say that the party is functioning and democracy is prevailing in Mongolia.
Do you mean to say that the internal conflict within the DP isn't an issue?
It is an issue. Specifically, whether the DP is able to fix and eliminate its errors is the issue. This should be used for evaluation. The DP has problems and errors. If the DP truly upholds the ideals of democracy in Mongolia, the party should correct its errors. If they're unable to do so, the public should consider that the party is a pretentious, fake democracy.
You make various reports on factions established by fellow party members. You said that you have different views from the DP and that you'll "invigorate and sober up" the party. Has the DP really rotten to its core?
It's useless to criticize what people say. Life will eventually show. It's right to address errors and shortcomings in a pluralistic manner.
What is your position regarding roles of MPs? There have been reports about low attendance of MPs at sessions and cases of drinking at state offices. Will they continue to avoid accountability?
This is wrong. Many things are causing frustration in society, such as silencing someone who's speaking out through modern technologies, and shifting the angle of things to show a different aspect. The public assesses Parliament. Only a year is left [until elections]. The public will determine who worked well and elect the next members. It's clear what kind of evaluation people will give to someone who's been only looking out for their own interests and wasting time. There are much more important things than this.
Source: Uls Turiin Toim
Foreign Ministry Conducting Annual Audit of Embassy in Beijing
March 27 (news.mn) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs carries out regular and unscheduled audit inspections each year of all diplomatic representative agencies and offices.
An internal auditing group established according to Order A/47 of the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently conducted an inspection of the Consular Department of the Embassy of Mongolia in Beijing.
Financial violations and other irregularities were reported in the conclusion of the working group.
These violations were found to be against the law and reflected a poor attitude of accountability, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to recall consular officers and several employees from the embassy in Beijing.
President's Office and JCI Mongolia sign MOU on sustainable, long-term cooperation
Ulaanbaatar, March 26 (MONTSAME) The Presidential Office and the JCI Mongolia's national organization will launch sustainable and long-term cooperation.
A memorandum of mutual understanding on it was signed Thursday by B.Nergui, a deputy head of the Presidential Office, and by G.Bayarkhuu, the national president of the JCI Mongolia organization for 2015.
In accordance with the document, the JCI Mongolia will implement projects called "Positive mind" and "Smiling Mongolia". To be realized for five years, the "Positive mind" aims to create training standards on topics of human behavior, good education and social life for adolescents and graduate students of secondary schools. The "Smiling Mongolia" has an objective to form a culture of living socially and not breaching other people's living norms. Within this project, the organization will join the "Friendly Ulaanbaatar" measure.
Open discussion held on domestic violence bill
By E. Oyundari
March 25 (UB Post) The Civil Hall of the Office of the President held an open discussion on Monday on the draft law to combat domestic violence, attended by representatives of the justice system, organizations working on human rights and domestic violence issues, as well as members of women's NGOs to share their views.
President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj announced at a meeting with representatives of women's NGOs on International Women's Day, March 8, that he would be submitting a draft law to combat domestic violence to the Parliament and it would be discussed in the spring parliamentary session.
Opening the discussion, Human Rights and Legal Policy Advisor to the President of Mongolia Ch.Unurbayar said, "Any draft law, initiated by the President is discussed at the Civil Hall with the participation of civic representatives and staff of organizations related to the issue prior to submission to Parliament for further discussion. The President promised on March 8, 2015, to submit a draft law against domestic violence in the near future. The Office of the President worked on the draft bill for the last two years, in cooperation with the Justice Ministry."
Afterwards, senior specialist of the Legal Innovation Policy at the Justice Ministry G.Oyunbold introduced the draft law. He said, "The measures to combat domestic violence have been legalized and in force for the 11th year. The administrative law includes a part about 'hooliganism'. Around 70,000 cases of violence are resolved under that law annually. Some of them take place within families. A person who is violent and intoxicated is detained. However, the violence continues when they are released from jail. According to the current system, such violence occurring in the home should be resolved under administrative law, not the law to combat domestic violence.
"Some 23,000 to 26,000 cases of violence have been recorded in the last decade, making the crime rate look stable. However, domestic violence is hidden behind the term 'administrative conflict'. Domestic violence leads to murder and the loss of human lives. Approximately 300 people are murdered by someone's hands annually in Mongolia. Most of the incidents were committed in the home, due to the progression of domestic violence. We should prevent this. The draft law to combat domestic violence should be renewed and modified with new, fresh views and policies.
"Domestic violence is considered a crime all around the world. It is time to renew the law. We should conduct training on preventing domestic violence. Many countries run training on anger management. This can be implemented through NGOs. The draft law on domestic violence is not a family law, it is focused on regulating relations between people who commit family violence and people who are exposed to domestic abuse and violence."
Stating that laws to combat domestic violence were not well coordinated with other laws previously, and that violent cases were resolved in accordance with civil procedure in a violation of human rights, G.Oyunbold added that in compliance with the new law, serious crimes related to domestic violence will be considered a criminal offense.
According to Director of the National Center Against Violence D.Enkhjargal, a person living with domestic violence is inflicted with physical injuries and suffers mentally, as well as having to spend over 400,000 MNT for forensics and other services. One out of five divorces in Mongolia is related to domestic violence. Annually, around 20 people are killed by domestic violence in Mongolia. As of today, 38 women are serving terms in jail, because they killed in self-defense as a victim of domestic violence.
Hydro Power, FTZs, Railway: 20 Years of Talk, No Results
Trans. by B.DULGUUN
March 26 (UB Post) Many things can be done in 20 years, yet Mongolia still hasn't created solutions for development plans that were first initiated 20 years ago. Will these development plans continue to wait for resolution or can they move forward from the discussion stage?
Hydroelectric power plants
Mongolia has constantly faced shortages of electricity. Currently, 11 small-sized and two medium-scale hydroelectric power plants operate in Mongolia, but their actual production is very poor. After looking for ways to resolve electricity shortage problems and poor production, Mongolia decided it would build a hydroelectric power plant on the Eg River in Khuvsgul and Bulgan provinces, but the project has only been discussed for 24 years. Mongolia continues to import energy from Russia and China annually for 30 million USD.
The total cost of electricity imported from Russia from 1977 to now equals 311 million USD (451 billion MNT). Had this large sum of currency been circulated domestically, who knows what Mongolia could have accomplished in that time. In addition, the price of energy supplied by Russia increases every year. This year, the price rose to 195 MNT per kW, and Mongolia will face a deficit of 13 billion MNT next year to cover the cost. It's clear that the price of energy will continue to rise, so the government should hurry up in the construction of hydroelectric power plants as well as the other 11 power plants being discussed.
The planned hydroelectric power plant on Eg River has the projected capacity to generate 606 million kWh of electricity annually, and will result in the creation of a 5.7 billion cubic meter freshwater pool. The feasibility study for the project has been completed and the plant will cost an estimated 827 million USD. Former MP D.Odkhuu is the current project manager and has reported that the river is undergoing water and fish population surveys, as well as archaeological studies.
Presumably, Mongolia's central energy system will see great improvement and the national energy supply will become much smoother once the power plant becomes operational. Most importantly, experts estimate that the hydroelectric plant will enable Mongolia to reduce its energy dependency on imports by developing its own energy sources. Mongolia can benefit considerably if only the project can progress.
Free trade zones
Exactly 20 years ago, in 1995, the parliament approved the establishment of economic free trade zones under Resolution No.87. Later, the law on economic zones for the Altanbulag Free Trade Zone was approved in 2002, and laws for the Zamiin-Uud Free Trade Zone and Tsagaannuur Free Trade Zone were approved in 2003. If work had progressed efficiently, as predicted at the time, Mongolia would've established free trade zones at the north and south borders and they would be circulating millions of USD. However, the only free trade zone now open is the Altanbulag Free Trade Zone.
As of November 2014, over 130 foreign and domestic businesses have established investment agreements and own land in the Altanbulag Free Trade Zone. So far, only 21 of these businesses have started doing business there. According to a resolution of the previous government issued in June, the Altanbulag Free Trade Zone should have officially transferred to a permanent system by now.
The primary work planned for the Altanbulag Free Trade Zone is the construction of a 25 km railway from Sukhbaatar soum, the center of Selenge Province, to the free trade zone. Building this railway would be very beneficial for Mongolia, as products from Manchuria could be transported through the Altanbulag Free Trade Zone and all the way to the Dubna Special Economic Zone in Moscow.
According to local news, the railway was going to receive investment from Poland's Tines Capital Group. Administrators of the free trade zone have highlighted that they hope to establish a concessional agreement with the investors by the end of 2015.
Other countries have already established free trade and economic zones and are gaining more and more profit. Some countries that transferred to a market economy system from a socialist society around the same time as Mongolia are among the countries actively operating free trade zones. Currently, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus, Costa Rica, Moldova, Ecuador, and Latvia are operating free trade zones.
Rent per square meter in Pakistan and Turkey's free trade zones cost 2 USD, and in the United Arab Emirates, one square meter costs 7.6 USD. Rent per square meter in China's free trade zone has reached 25 USD. Rent in the Altanbulag Free Trade Zone costs 0.20 to 0.27 USD per square meter. Despite this cheap price, foreigners are not interested in renting space there.
Mongolia built a 1,110 km railway some 60 years ago. Since then, the railway hasn't been expanded at all, if we don't include short railway extensions constructed and paid for by mining companies.
Constructing a railway isn't a major project that can't be completed in 20 years. Even so, Mongolian decision makers keep arguing over small matters, such as the material for the railway, its width and gauge size, and so on.
Mongolian railway companies developed the New Railway Project, but so far, locals have yet to see a new railway track.
Besides these incomplete projects, there are many more projects that need to be pulled out of the discussion stage and made into actual work. These include the unresolved Tavan Tolgoi and Fifth Power Station projects.
Women's participation in politics is low finds nationwide survey
March 28 (news.mn) The Democratic Women's Federation introduced the results of the survey" Living Standards of Women in Society". The survey was carried out among 15,000 women from nine districts of the capital city and 21 provinces of Mongolia during the course of a year.
According to the general results of the survey, the current living standards of women in society instead averaged 2.1 on a 10 point scale.
Out of every three women surveyed one had become a victim of discrimination, one in ten had become a victim of violence, and according to the results the participation of women in politics was an average of 2.1points, and social status was measured at 1.4.
The first stage of discussions of the survey was carried out by the leadership of the Mongolian People's Party, and a second stage of discussion was held among non-governmental organizations carrying activity for women.
The third stage of discussions was carried out among scientists today. More than 50 representatives from the Female Scientists Federation and Federation participated in the meeting.
President of the Federation of Social Democratic Women Ts.Tsogzolmaa stressed, "We are organizing this discussion in order to clarify opinions regarding the survey and to conduct a review." She noted, "In the future we will work to reflect women's issues in state policy based on the results of the survey."
Investing in Mongolia: Focus of New York Conference
March 26 (Mongolian Economy) Golomt Securities LLC and the New York Society of Security Analysts will co-host the 'Investing in Mongolia' conference in New York City on April 9, 2015. Mongolian Economy magazine spoke with Executive Director of Golomt Securities LLC E.Amarbayasgalan about the upcoming meeting and its highlights.
-What is the 'Investing in Mongolia' conference?
-We're co-hosting this summit with the New York Society of Security Analysts for the third consecutive year. Briefly, the purpose of the summit is to promote Mongolian companies to the world, and to raise investment for them. This is a huge opportunity to attract investment into Mongolia. Permanent Representative of Mongolia to the United Nations O.Och, CEO of the Mongolian Stock Exchange D.Angar, and CEO of Erdenes Mongol LLC B.Byambasaikan are attending the summit. Each participating company presents a 30 minute presentation and then answers questions from the investors and analysts in attendance. Mongolia's investment and business environment will be discussed at the end of the summit.
-How many Mongolian companies and foreign delegates participate in the summit?
-Around ten Mongolian companies participate each year. Currently, eight companies are registered for this year's summit. Mining, petroleum, construction, real estate, financial services, construction materials, food manufacturing and importer enterprises are involved. Members of the New York Society of Security Analysts are participating on the investor's side. Nearly 200 people gathered last year.
-Which companies operating in Mongolia actually trade securities on the New York Stock Exchange?
-The biggest is Turquoise Hill Resources (NYSE: TRQ)—the Oyu Tolgoi shares. However, US investors can buy shares of companies that are not listed on the New York Stock Exchange, but who operate in Mongolia and trade on other stock exchanges. Companies such as Sharyn Gol JSC, which trades on the Mongolian Stock Exchange, Khot Infrastructure Holdings, which trades on the Canadian Securities Exchange, and Mongolia Growth Group, which trades on the TSX Venture Exchange, are to participate in this year's summit.
-How do you view the future of US investment in Mongolia? In what sectors are investors more likely to invest?
-The US has a huge market; plus, the world's largest stock exchange is there. Americans are very cautious before entering any markets. Their investors require good governance and transparency. If we can meet their requirements, we have a large opportunity for US investment. Obviously, there will be more investment headed to the mining sector. But in addition, there are opportunities for US investment in Mongolian tourism, food and agricultural—especially in the agriculture and farming sectors.
Local currency lending proves popular as EBRD president visits Mongolia client
By Ch. Khaliun
March 26 (UB Post) While the MNT exchange rate is weakening, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has made a popular decision to start a loan program based on domestic currency.
Analysts say the program will be important for attracting investment to Mongolia, increasing the amounts of loans issued, ensuring the sustainability of the nation's financial system, developing the capital market, and supporting national currency.
The EBRD began with an investment in TESO Corporation. On March 23, President of the EBRD Suma Chakrabarti paid a one-day visit to Mongolia, becoming acquainted with TESO's operations.
TESO Corporation took out loans from the EBRD for technical upgrades and to build a new factory to produce import-replacement products.
During his visit to TESO Corporation, Suma praised the development of their operations in a short time, and applauded TESO's focus on improving its production, service, as well as financial management. He told journalists, "We want to help boost growth in Mongolia. We look forward to working with the government on steps to improve the investment climate and the diversification of the economy. We would like to see Mongolia once more leading the world in economic growth, just as it did a few years ago."
Upgrades to the production of TESO's Ice Mark line of products has commenced, and equipment from Romania is being installed. The company will start production with its new technology in 2015. A large project to build food storage facilities that meet food safety standards is now also underway for TESO's seven factories.
Head of the Board of TESO O.Damjin said, "Our company successfully took out loans from the EBRD. This is a great example of Mongolian entrepreneurs being valued at the international level, and it is an honor for us. With the loans, our company is aiming to build a factory that can produce import-replacement products, and this is a big responsibility for us."
During his visit to Mongolia, Chakrabarti also called on President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj, discussing multilateral issues, and held a meeting with authorities of Mongol Bank.
Mongolian Coal Export Prices Rise in February
March 27 (news.mn) The export of coked coal to China decreased over the last seven months but has shown an increased level in February of this year and the amount of coked coal supplied to China from Mongolia has tripled.
As reported by the General Customs Authority of China in February of last year, China has imported 3.96 million tons of coked coal.
However, this amount has been increased by 12 percent in comparison with the same period of last year, but when looked at month-by-month it has decreased only by 1.3 percent.
In comparison with January 2015, this amount decreased by eight percent.
However, in the case of Mongolia, as of February, the actual amount of export decreased by volume, the total export amount decreased by 3.4 percent and was valued at 42.9 million USD. The price for one ton of coked coal increased by 12.5 percent.
As reported by the Mining Authority of Mongolia, the majority of export came from Erdenes Taval Tolgoi and MAK.
Expo Mongolia looks to attract foreign trade to multiple sectors
By M. Zoljargal
March 25 (UB Post) Expo Mongolia 2015 launched at Buyant Ukhaa Sports Palace on Monday, bringing together 80 companies from different nations and many more foreign guests interested in collaborating in mining and other sectors of industry in Mongolia.
The trade fair is taking place following Future Mongolia 2013 and 2014. This year, German businesses attended in larger numbers than other guest nations, standing out on the exhibit floor and unveiling their expertise, particularly in the mining sector. In addition to technology on display for mining extraction, exhibitor booths displayed eco-friendly solutions for both mining and construction.
Minister of Mongolia Ch.Enkhsaikhan officiated at the opening of Expo Mongolia and expressed his hope to improve declining foreign trade in Mongolia. He noted that many companies will hold discussions to conclude contracts that will benefit both themselves and Mongolia.
He highlighted that Mongolia stood at 70 out of 189 economies in the world in the "Doing Business 2015 Report" published by the World Bank, and that hopefully more business partnerships will be initiated in the country following the fair.
The exhibit is taking place under the theme "Building Mongolia's Future", and a number of embassies and heads of government and non-governmental organizations were present at the opening to show their support for the aim of the event.
Ambassador of Germany to Mongolia Gerhard Thiedemann, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Mongolia Ivana Grollova, the State Secretary General of the Ministry of Energy of Mongolia, and other officials were there to deliver short speeches at the event and participated in cutting the ribbon to open Expo Mongolia.
Companies from Mongolia, Germany, Russia, the Czech Republic, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Russia, and Singapore are participating in the event, which will wrap up today at 3:00 p.m., after three successful days.
Eleven organizations from Mongolia participated in the expo. The National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, German Mongolian Institute for Resources and Technology, Business Council of Mongolia, SRP Engineer Consulting Mongolia, Forbes Mongolia, and The UB Post were among them, offering their services and products.
Visitors and participating officials were able to take part in numerous presentations from both organizers and businesses. The fair participants not only provided information to guests, but exchanged views and introductions.
Today, eight presentations will be offered on topics such as "Current situation of the Roads and Transportation industry and partnerships opportunities" and "Encouraging businesses by providing loan guarantees".
Expo Mongolia is being organized by JV Consult Mongolia LLC, JV Consult Messe Management, and planet fair Group. They have promised to hold Expo Mongolia annually in upcoming years.
Mongolian Companies Seek Partners in Poland
March 26 (Mongolian Economy) The 'Made in Poland - Cooperation Opportunities for Mongolian Companies' economic conference organised by the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Poland was jam-packed with representatives from Mongolian companies looking for investors and investment opportunities. More than 100 companies arrived to participate in the all-day March 23rd event, despite only 50 registering in advance, causing a slight panic for the organisers as there weren't enough seats in the conference hall. Guest didn't mind, however, with many standing in the aisles during the four hours of presentations on the Polish market. Chairman and CEO of the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry B.Lkhagvajav said the conference's popularity is a sure indication that Mongolia's businessmen are thinking big and seeking investment in new places.
Twenty delegates representing the Polish Ministry of Economy, entities engaged in the food and mining sectors, and universities participated in the conference. The first speaker, deputy director of the support instruments department for the Ministry of the Economy Ewa Swedrowska-Dziankowska, welcomed the guests, stating: "Even though our two countries reside far from each other, many things are connecting us within economic cooperation. The economic growth of our two countries is binding us. "Poland is one of the leading economies in the world, and has proposed to increase development for trade and cooperation with 11 countries. B.Lkhagvajav expressed gratitude on behalf of all the businesses in Mongolia for making it one of the 11.
The Polish Ministry of Economy expressed its interest in buying food products and supplying mining and agricultural equipment. Ministry representatives stated that "although there is no official Polish Embassy in Mongolia, the Polish Ambassador in Beijing is focused on the development of economic relations between our two countries."Ewa Swedrowska-Dziankowska mentioned that the right legal and regulatory environment for entrepreneurs in the two countries exists, but the current volume of trade is unsatisfactory.
Delegates of the Polish Ministry of Economy mentioned that Polish exports increased 5.3 percent from 2013 to 2014; now the conditions are right to foster development for small- and medium-sized industries. Light industry accounts for 18 percent of the total economy of Poland, ranking fifth among EU countries. Polish agriculture occupies a leading position in the world, as it's one of the biggest meat, milk, cereal, rice, and fruit producers and exporters. In addition, Poland domestically manufactures agricultural equipment, with more than 1,000 factories currently operating in this sector. The Polish delegates expressed their interest to offer and trade their equipment and heavy machinery with Mongolia.
Poland's large mining sector to cooperate with Mongolia
The second round of the conference was dedicated to the mining sector's current situation and opportunities for cooperation. Poland's underground mining development ranks high in the world, and the country has been manufacturing heavy machinery and equipment in recent years .Poland is one of the leading countries in refined copper, lignite and coal production. It produces 63 million tonnes of lignite and 670,000 tonnes of copper per year. Most of Poland's manufacturing depends on coal. Poland emphasizes the correct processing of coal today, as the entire world prefers green energy over carbon energy resources. Both Mongolia and Poland have considerable natural resource deposits, a shared feature that can help bridge cooperation. Poland produces over 460 kinds of raw materials, which it supplies to the international market, while 130,000 people work in its mining sector. Professor of Krakow University of Science and Technology Piotr Chaya said the sustainable growth of Poland's mining industry is related to the good preparation of its future professionals.
Poland interested in cooperation in mining and food production – UB Post, March 25
Mogi: glad countries have stopped banning the entire country over an isolated outbreak
Belarus bans livestock imports from Mongolia's Khovd Province
MINSK, 28 March (BelTA) – Belarus banned livestock imports from Khovd Province of Mongolia due to a foot-and-mouth disease starting from 25 March, BelTA learned from the Veterinary and Food Control Department of the Agriculture and Food Ministry.
"The World Organization for Animal Health reported on the case of foot-and-mouth disease in Khovd Province of Mongolia," the department said.
In this regard the Veterinary and Food Control Department of the Belarusian Agriculture and Food Ministry has introduced temporary restrictions on the import of susceptible cattle, meat products and other raw materials made from these animals, hides, hoofs, horns, raw casings, sheepskin, wool, goat hair, bull and sheep sperm, cattle fetuses, milk and dairy products, meat of wild ruminant, solid-hoofed, small non-ruminant cloven-hoofed animals, hunting trophies, plant and animal fodder and feed supplements, fodder and supplements for cats and dogs made from the raw materials produced in Khovd Province, used equipment for the slaughter and butchering of cattle.
All previous permissions for the import of abovementioned products are abolished.
Foot-and-mouth disease is an infectious disease that affects animals and rarely humans. The virus causes a high fever for two or three days, followed by blisters inside the mouth and on the feet.
Nurturing change in the Mongolian food service industry
By Michelle Borok
March 25 (UB Post) On March 14 and 15, Junior Chamber International (JCI) Mongolia members gathered in Darkhan-Uul for JCI Mongolia's 13th Presidential Academy, an annual conference intensely focused on leadership to develop the nation's movers and shakers. One of those members was CEO of Syracusae, LLC, known best for the popular UB restaurants Rosewood Coffeehouse and Rosewood Kitchen and Enoteca (with a third location in the works), B.Enkhzaya.
She extended her time in Darkhan for the JCI gathering to continue the weekend's theme of creating positive change in the world around her and the industry she has helped to transform in only a few short years. Following the Presidential Academy, she was joined by her partner, Chef Cliffe Arrand, and they dropped in at Darkhan's state-run Vocational Education Training Center to spend time with the students enrolled in programs focused on the service sector.
Not long after Forbes Mongolia named her one of the country's 25 most influential women in business, Forbes selected B.Enkhzaya as one the nation's top "30 Under 30″ in business. She was also featured in Cosmopolitan Mongolia just before the new year. Beyond the glossy magazine pages, her customers know her well from making rounds in the dining room during a busy lunch hour or dinner service at her restaurants, making sure tables are happy, taken care of, and that the front of the house is running as smoothly as Chef Arrand's kitchen.
Enkhzaya has been steadily gaining recognition for her achievements as a business leader in Ulaanbaatar, but the praise she has received can also be credited to her work ethic, creative vision, standards for service, and perhaps most importantly to her, the work she does outside of her restaurants as a mentor.
Her public service work began early, when she was still in high school in the U.S., as a Kiwanis Club president, a Habitat for Humanity volunteer, and volunteering in a Society for the Protection of Animals (SPCA) animal shelter. Her work now is focused on membership in organizations like JCI, and in mentoring young people through Youth Business International, guiding the next generation of business leaders – not much younger than Enkhzaya – towards building sustainable businesses in Mongolia.
She has been an active member of JCI since 2013. On her JCI visit to Darkhan, she said, "The JCI Presidential Academy is a 48 hour intensive leadership conference held every year and gives me the chance to learn and grow as a leader." Members of the academy from Ulaanbaatar were paired with members from Darkhan. Enkhzaya's partner for the weekend was a young man working in management at Darkhan's railway station.
Prior to starting her trip with JCI, she made arrangements to finish the weekend visit to Darkhan with a day spent at the province's Vocational Education Training Center. The school is publicly funded and offers two to three year programs designed to provide young people with skills for stable employment. The students range in age, from 15 to 19, and short-term career development programs are also available for adult students.
Students at the school can choose from programs like food service, hairdressing, welding, tiling, brick laying, auto repair, plumbing, wood working, and electrical wiring and repair. Upon successful completion of their programs, students receive a high school equivalency diploma and professional certification.
The school opened in 1984 and has around 800 students enrolled this year. The school is a popular and practical option for many students from the surrounding countryside, ger areas, and those living in local orphanages.
The government's monthly 70,000 MNT stipend for students covers the cost of tuition, and also covers dormitory housing for 150 students, but not much more. Books, supplies, equipment for training, staff and teacher salaries, and food costs are covered sparingly by the state budget. Some materials have been donated to the school over the years in foreign cooperation projects, and a group of women volunteers from Ulaanbaatar visited in early March to donate supplies for the school's hairdressing program, but the majority of classrooms and training workshops are lacking in supplies and equipment to be shared by classes of 30. Limited resources also mean limited exploration in industry innovations.
Enkhzaya began the day in the school's chilly lecture hall. Her public speaking style is calm, assured, clear and soft-spoken, and she warmed up the audience of 85 students from the food service and hairdressing program – plus their program's directors, with her sincerity, talking about the most critical points in the path to success in her career. She shared what drives her and Chef Arrand, personally and professionally.
Reflecting on her visit, Enkzaya told The UB Post, "I was blown away by the enthusiasm and eagerness to learn coming from the students. My intent was not to shower them with technical knowledge or know-how, but rather to inspire them with my story of growth. My goal for the visit was to stoke the fires of passion within the students and evoke a feeling of pride for their profession. If even one child sees their service job as a profession and makes it their hobby, so that it doesn't feel like work but rather like fun, I have accomplished my goal."
Following her presentation, Enkhzaya translated a cooking demonstration given by Cliffe Arrand, introduced to the aspiring young chefs as he is addressed by staff in the Rosewood restaurants, as "Chef Cliffe".
Arrand had prepared a demonstration in preparing a simple but vibrant salad, and a more refined yet accessible chicken dish than is usually offered in Western cooking courses in Mongolia. He chose fresh ingredients for the salad that were new to many, if not all, of the students in attendance, but it opened them up to a new way of thinking about fresh salads and experimenting with new flavors.
His demonstration of the chicken dish wasn't nearly as foreign, but Arrand showed the students standard Western techniques in the use and handling of ingredients, and how a chef might think differently about their tools and raw materials.
The students were transfixed, eyes darting back and forth from the prep table Arrand worked at to Enkhzaya, who stood beside him describing every step of his process and translating Chef Cliffe's insight from decades of professional experience.
Like the youngest of the students he shared his skill and food wisdom with that afternoon, Arrand began his entry into the restaurant business at a very early age. His excitement about his profession and his sincere desire to share what he had learned over time made the language barrier in the food service classroom and kitchens obsolete. It was a rare and valuable experience for everyone involved.
Enkhzaya and Cliffe are continuing their work with public and private Mongolian vocational education programs in Ulaanbaatar, with plans to revisit Darkhan, and possibly spreading their passion and knowledge to other provinces.
The power couple are planning to travel to Sao Paulo, Brazil, this summer for the WorldSkills competition, accompanying Mongolian vocational education students competing in a number of different categories and representing the best of the new generation of Mongolia's industry professionals.
On his experience with the students of Darkhan's Vocational Education Training Center, Arrand said, "I feel that every chef and hospitality professional has had a great mentor in their past. I hope that we can inspire and share our knowledge with the next generation of Mongolian hospitality professionals. Being able to meet such a great group of kids, and sharing the passion and inspiration that the great chefs I have worked for have taught me is rewarding and fulfilling, and I hope that one day we will be able to help build a better Mongolian industry, one kid at a time."
Young Tourism Professionals of Mongolia Compete at 3rd Annual Meet
March 26 (gogo.mn) Young Tourism Pro or YTP is an annual competition among 3rd year students majoring in tourism management or English. The students' competition was initiated and organised by Selena Travel - one of leading travel companies of Mongolia. Final stage of YTP 2015 was held on 21 March and the winners were announced. The winning team consisted of B. Erdenebulgan (Mongolian National University), G. Nyamjargal (National University of Mongolia), and N. Dashbaljinnyamaa (Ikh Zasag International University). And the best individual contestant was B. Erdenebulgan (Mongolian National University) based on his scores from all 3 stages of the competition. This year's best teacher was N. Enkhmagnai of Mongolian National University. All winners were given monetary reward, and credentials.
This year's YTP agenda was "Tourists satisfaction in Mongolia and how to positively affect it". About 100 students of 9 universities applied for YTP 2015, and 30 of those were chosen to compete at the 1st stage on 07 March (tasks were English language test, and case studies related to tourism management). The second stage followed a week later among 16 contestants, who later were eliminated to 12 based on their knowledge on tourism studies and team work skills. The 12 finalists were further divided into 4 teams and were given the task to study about "Negative impressions of tourist visiting Mongolia and how to improve" and prepare a presentation on this. Most teams recognised that some services in Mongolia such as poor facilities at tourist Ger camps, unfriendly staff in restaurants and bumpy roads leave the majority of negative impressions on foreign tourists visiting Mongolia. They analysed travellers reviews on online travel platforms such as TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet Forum etc., and also interviewed numerous Mongolian travel companies besides studying good practices from international travel companies.
University teachers are happy to prepare their students for YTP every year, and say that YTP motivates tourism students greatly and some students even plan to compete at YTP from their freshmen year. Moreover, YTP judges are carefully chosen based on their experience and expertise in tourism industry, and are usually tourism business people to provide neutrality for fair judging. The judges emphasized that this year's contestants were excellent with good level of English and decent knowledge on tourism management.
Selena Travel initiated the competition in 2008 among tourism students to contribute to the development of human resources of Mongolian tourism industry. YTP is the stepping stone for many young tourism professionals of Mongolia as each year YTP winners and successful contestants are offered full-time or half-time jobs by prestigious tour operators, hotels are tourist camps, internship and also an opportunity to make contacts in the industry.
Prepared by Zola, Managing partner of Selena Travel for GoGo Travel. © All rights reserved 2015.
EPA with Japan: Opportunities and Challenges
March 26 (gogo.mn) Start of the 2015 was significant with the signing of an EPA with Japan. Our researchers have conducted assessments few years ago and concluded that economic partnerships should be established with at least six countries including USA, Russian Federation, China and others, having Japan first in mind.
EPA with Japan has been followed with somewhat wrong assumption that Mongolia will export with tax exemptions.
Up until recently, 57 percent of the total exports to Japan have been tax exempt, while only 10.9 percent were falling under tax policy. It means we had good opportunities even before the EPA. Moreover, under EPA Mongolia has not opened its doors wide open to Japan as well. For instance, according to A.Ariunaa, Deputy Director of Economic Partnership Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, only new cars with less environmental impact are tax-exempt.
After three years of negotiations Mongolia was able to significantly reduce the import taxes on the textile products to Japan, which includes carpets and wool garments.
Before jumping to the EPA in detail let's see the figures of Mongolia and Japan trade in comparison to China and Russia.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT AND ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT?
If the trade agreement regulates the products transfer, the EPA regulates wide variety of issues related with expansive measures.
EPA differs depending on countries involved in the partnership. For instance, Japan has agreement to contract nurses from Philippines and therefore EPA added the chapter on the individual relocation. While EPA with Mongolia states the issues related with visa to Japan in view of the long-term partnership with the potential investor.
MAIN PRINCIPLES OF THE AGREEMENT
Member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are entitled to sign EPAs freely. Mongolia was the only country that was not enjoying its rights in this regard, as EPA usually has more favorable conditions in comparison with the WTO.
EPA requires both sides to give tax exemptions of not less than 90 percent of the majority trade for the term of not less than 10 years. Majority means not less than 90 percent.
WILL EPA WITH JAPAN REVAMP THE INVESTMENTS?
Most important section of the EPA is the chapter on Investments, which aims to improve the legal environment for the investors at both ends. The signing of the EPA will annul the previous investment agreement signed in 2001, which was criticized for causing misunderstandings.
In coming two years it is expected that investments will increase to USD 400 million. Experiences of other countries, for instance Philippines, show that in two years time the investment flow increased, while the investment to Singapore increased by 60 percent and Mexico has witnessed tripled increased in the foreign investments.
Currently Japan is the fourth biggest investor in Mongolia with 550 entities operating in Mongolia since 1990 in banking, tourism, trade, food and light industry. 550 entities are the 91 percent of the total foreign entities with activities in Mongolia.
Mongolia have established bilateral investment agreements with 42 countries and managed to attract investments and funds from 39 of them, indicating the importance of such agreements as the 82 percent of the total investment comes from those countries.
WHICH CUSTOMS TARIFFS WILL BE DECREASED?
With the EPA our side is to reduce tariffs by 96 percent, while Japanese side to reduce 100 percent, with differentiation based on the products.
A products customs tariffs will be annulled.
B products customs tariffs will be reduced in accordance with levels B3, B5 and B7.
S products customs tariffs will remain unchanged.
C products customs tariffs will be regulated through special negotiations.
STATE BUDGET INCOME TO DECREASE BY USD 9.8 MLN IN THE FIRST YEAR OF THE AGREEMENT
According to the international standards our EPA with Japan requires both sides to give tax exemptions of not less than 90 percent of the majority trade for the term of not less than 10 years. Majority means not less than 90 percent.
· Mongolia to reduce the import taxes for 5700 types of product for Japan
· Japan to reduce the import taxes for 9300 types of products for Mongolia.
Before this we have been doing trades with Japan as depicted in the following figure.
Kondo Kazumasa, First Secretary at the Japan Embassy in Mongolia concluded the EPA results as cooperation to compensate each other. What benefits we can gain if we use our opportunity well?
· Mongolian products will enter Japanese market with favorable conditions
· Japanese technological advancements to enter Mongolian market, opening up prospects for new product manufacturing opportunities
· Increase of the competitive advantage of Mongolian companies
· Decrease in consumer price
At macro level
· Development of the rational economic structure
· Increase in the FDI
POSSIBLE DOWN SIDES OF THE EPA
One of the issues that we haven't yet touched up until now is the possible down sides of the EPA with Japan. As everything has two sides to it, we have to be prepared. According to N.Otgonsaikhan, Lecturer at NUM, following negative impacts might raise.
· As we are reducing the customs taxes for the majority of the imports from Japan it implies the decline in the state budget incomes as well. According to the working group estimates budget income will decrease by USD 9.8 million in the year. But as the FDI is expected to increase it is possible to compensate for the losses in the budget income.
· Domestic production decline in the sectors with less competitive advantage, leading to the increase in the unemployment. Therefore the EPA provisions the regulations on protecting the domestic production in the FDI section, which highlights 18 sectors from Mongolian side and 22 sectors from the Japanese side. Although, it does not mean that no investments will be done in those sectors, just additional documentation will be required to operate.
· Administrative costs will increase, as the additional work regarding the documentation verification on the products from Japan needs to be conducted at the customs.
Anyway, many opportunities are opening up for the Mongolian entrepreneurs and the first results are already can be seen as SUU JSC is to export its butter to Japan.
Japan is very keen on importing agricultural products, which adhere to the health and safety requirements.
Maine's got faster Internet than Mongolia, but not many other places, study finds
March 25 (#Maine) Using the results of Akamai Technologies' new State of the Internet report, the Washington Post today mapped out the states based on relative Internet speeds, with Maine's average peak speeds of 40.4 megabits-per-second down at No. 40 among the 50 states and Washington, D.C.
City Council contests AFCCP decision, to continue wheel-locking
- Wheel locking is not to be stopped. –
March 26 (gogo.mn) Yesterday, T.Ayursaikhan, Head of Fair Competition and Consumer Protection Agency informed that the residents who were charged with MNT 70.000-80.000 for car towing before 20th of November, 2014 are able to make complaints and file for money return.
City council, City Governor's Office and General Police Authority who were submitted "Regulation on using wheel lock" gave explanation. They informed that the "Regulation on car towing" is legal.
B.Altansoyombo, Head of Organization Department of City council: Fair Competition and Consumer Protection Agency have no right to revoke City Council order.
"Competition and Consumer Protection Agency sent official letter to stop that illegal activity. As we study on that issue, I officially inform that car towing and car locking is not illegal activity."
"City Council is responsible for ensuring regulation and discipline. "Regulation on car towing" is legal based order and high level organization or the Administrative Court have right to revoke this order" said Head of Legal Department of City Governor's Office, S.Otgongerel.
Head of General Police Authority, colonel Ch.Jargalsaikhan: Putting interest of people who are violating the law before public interest.
Currently, 480 thousand vehicle are involving in traffic. Traffic jam and accident became the facing issue of Ulaanbaatar. Before saying any order as illegal, one have to review carefully. Even, it is prohibited to stop, 1 to 2% of residents are parking. Very small percentage of total 480 thousand vehicles are being towed. Thus, whose interest is important? Protecting interest of people who are violating traffic regulation is wrong. Residents want to stop people who are violating traffic regulation.
Fair Competition and Consumer Protection Agency has attitude to stop wheel locking activity. However, B.Altansoyombo, Head of Organization Deaprtment of City council said that wheel locking activity is not to be stopped.
UB signs cooperation agreement with Novosibirsk
Ulaanbaatar, March 25 (MONTSAME) Deputy Mayor of Ulaanbaatar city in charge of ecology and green development affairs T.Bat-Erdene Wednesday received a delegation headed by A.N.Lulko, head of the Industry and New Technological Department of Russian Novosibirsk city.
At the meeting, the sides exchanged views on developing the collaboration between Ulaanbaatar and Novosibirsk cities, boosting camps f wooden buildings within a re-planning of ger areas, and cooperating in science and technological spheres. After this meeting, the sides launched the bilateral collaboration by signing a memorandum of on collaboration development after signing the cooperation memorandum.
PHOTOS: First Rain of 2015 Quickly Turns Into Snow
March 27 (gogo.mn) First rain of the spring was showering in the morning and it took no time to turn into snow. Rain is the most awaited in spring in Ulaanbaatar, as Mongolian spring usually comes with dust storms. Seems every UBier is happy to walk in the streets.
Mongolia and Eurasian Economic Commission to Sign Cooperation Agreement
March 27 (news.mn) Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia L.Purevsuren received representatives of the Eurasian Economic Commission headed by Tatiana Valovaya at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today.
Ambassadors of the embassies of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and representatives of other countries met at the ministry.
During the meeting, they agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding of cooperation between the Government of Mongolia and the Eurasian Economic Commission
The sides expressed their willingness to work together to study the facilitation of customs clearance, to create a favorable environment to increase foreign trade, to create a mechanism to discuss developing and expanding economic cooperation and trade between Mongolia and member countries of the Eurasian Economic Commission.
Foreign Minister meets EEC Board member – Montsame, March 26
Agriculture Minister meets EEC's Valovaya on exporting meat to Eurasian countries
Ulaanbaatar, March 26 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Food and Agriculture R.Burmaa MP Thursday met Ms T.D.Valovaya, a member of the Board and Minister of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) in charge of Technical Regulations.
The latter said the EEC is proposing launching cooperation by establishing a cooperation memorandum, its draft will be delivered by diplomatic line in near future. "We can tackle problems of veterinary and quarantine in exporting agricultural products to the Eurasian market, holding joint roundtable meetings together with Mongolia's Ministry of Food and Agriculture with a participation of related organizations, entities and authorities. By doing so, a number of Mongolian companies with permission of exporting meat and products to Eurasian countries will rise," she underlined.
The Minister backed these ideas and asked her to pay attention to abolishing tariff and non-tariff obstacles and making guarantee for meat of Mongolian livestock by a technical group from countries of the EEC. She also asked the EEC's side to give Mongolia technical assistance for introducing standards of the EEC and to focus on passing of our export and import products through territories of Eurasian countries without any barriers.
China, Mongolia meet on cross-border trade zone
HOHHOT, March 27 (Xinhua) -- China and Mongolia have agreed to dedicate nine square km on either side of their border to a joint economic zone, in their first meeting on the issue.
The two sides met in Erenhot of north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on Thursday to discuss a zone comprising land in Erenhot and Zamyn-Uud across the border.
They will meet again in April, said Cao Hongying, deputy head of the foreign investment department of the Ministry of Commerce, on Friday.
The agreement over land allocation follows an August meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Mongolian counterpart Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj in which Xi stressed the importance of the zone and called for a separate free trade treaty to be signed as early as possible.
China and Mongolia share a border stretching 4,710 km. Erenhot, which sits on the route of the China-Mongolia-Russia railway, is the border's most significant customs checkpoint, accounting for 70 percent of trade between the two countries.
In June, China's cabinet approved the city to pilot preferential policies in finance, taxation, investment and industry to deepen cooperation between China and Mongolia.
Luo Qing, mayor of Erenhot, said on Friday that the zone will consolidate the city's role in trade and tourism, and contribute to Inner Mongolia's opening up.
Foreign Minister of Mongolia to Pay Official Visit to China on April 1-3
March 27 (infomongolia.com) On April 01-03, 2015, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia Mr. Lundeg PUREVSUREN will be paying an official visit to the People's Republic of China upon an invitation of his counterpart Mr. Wang Yi.
Prior to this visit, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Mongolia N.Oyundari had attended the Second Tripartite Meeting between the Russian Federation, People's Republic of China and Mongolia, which was run at Deputy Foreign Minister-level in Beijing on March 23, 2015.
The Second Tripartite Meeting was chaired by Deputy Foreign Ministers of the three states, Mr. Igor Vladimirovich Morgulov, Mr. Cheng Guoping and Mrs. Navaan-Yunden OYUNDARI.
During the meeting, parties underlined to develop and broaden trilateral partnership in trade, economy, infrastructure and humanity spheres, as well as exchanged views on documents to sign between the three parties during the high-level meeting to be organized in Ufa, Russia in July 2015.
Also, the three Deputy Foreign Ministers were received by Minister for Foreign Affairs of the PR of China, Wang Yi, where sides reviewed the Second Tripartite Meeting implications and further measures to implement.
Moreover, the sides agreed to host the Third Tripartite Meeting at Deputy Foreign Minister-level within the second quarter of 2015 in Moscow, Russia.
Mongolia Denies China Request to Increase Number of Workforce
March 27 (infomongolia.com) On March 26, 2015, the Minister for Labor of Mongolia, Mr. Sodnom CHINZORIG received in his office the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China to Mongolia, Mr. Wang Xiaolong.
At the beginning of meeting, Ambassador W.Xialong emphasized that in the frameworks of comprehensive strategic partnership established, the two countries should realize the issues negotiated, in particularly, to implement some projects, grant aids and loan programs that would positively impact to the bilateral economic relations.
In this regard, Ambassador pointed out that if the sides to stimulate issue on workforce exchanges it would also helpful to the current facing economic crisis and requested to pay a particular attention to involve more proficient workers from China and further to increase numbers in joint big projects agreed to implement between the two Governments.
In turn, Labor Minister S.Chinzorig affirmed that Mongolia cannot increase the number of workforce from China at present moment when the country faces with ailing economy, reduced foreign direct investment and with rising number of domestic unemployment.
Therefore, Mongolia will adhere a policy to import only qualified workers from China, who are accredited and certified by the Ministry of Education of the PR of China and in this case, foreign professional workers will be accompanied by Mongolian workers to train them and further plans are to reduce number of foreign workforce. Moreover, the system to exchange workforces between China and Mongolia should be entirely changed and in this term, the Ministry of Labor of Mongolia is ready to collaborate with the China's Embassy in Ulaanbaatar, adds the Minister S.Chinzorig concluding the meeting.
Mongolia and Republic of Korea Conclude First Joint Intergov Committee Meeting
March 27 (infomongolia.com) On March 25-26, 2015, the First Joint Committee Meeting between Mongolia and the Republic of Korea (ROK) took place in Ulaanbaatar chaired by Minister of Roads and Transportation Mr. Namkhai TUMURKHUU representing Mongolian side and the other part by Second Vice Foreign Minister Mr. Cho Tae-yul.
Following the Meeting, Minister N.Tumurkhuu stated, "The bilateral relations between our two countries have been advanced in mining and infrastructure fields. Mongolia has established a Free Trade Agreement with the Government of Japan and plans to arrange such deal with other countries including the ROK, Russian Federation, Belarus and Kazakhstan. During the First Mongolia-ROK Joint Committee Meeting, parties agreed to stimulate and stabilize intergovernmental activities and during the upcoming South Korean Prime Minister's visit to Mongolia, it anticipates to discuss on lifting visa requirements for Mongolian travelers to the country. Moreover, outlook for further cooperation will be determined at the next meetings".
In his turn, Second Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul said, "General issues of partnership were broadly discussed at this meeting. The Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea anticipates paying an official visit to Mongolia in 2015. Moreover, the President of Mongolia will be also to conduct a visit to Korea in the end of this year and the issues to negotiate during these two visits will be considered at the next Joint Committee Meetings".
The intergovernmental consultative meeting took place was aimed as the two countries need to expand their bilateral relations, focused on economic cooperation, trade and the dispatch of workers, to cover a wider range of areas, including politics, economy, society, and culture.
The meeting was as an important foundation for further deepening and expanding cooperation between the ROK and Mongolia, which have maintained the comprehensive partnership in a variety of areas, including economy, development, people-to-people exchange, society, culture and international cooperation.
The two sides explored ways to pursue mutually-beneficial development through Korean companies' transfer of advanced technologies and experiences, including joint projects in developing abundant energy resources in Mongolia.
Furthermore, the ROK side sought consensus on the ROK's "Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative" and "Eurasia Initiative" with Mongolia, a key geopolitical player in Northeast Asia.
Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of S. Korea visits – Montsame, March 27
In boost to East Asia policy, Modi to tour China, Mongolia, S Korea
March 28 (Hindustan Times) After his foray into the US, Australia, Europe and Indian Ocean countries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set his sights on the strategically-important East Asia region, dominated by China, which is also a geopolitical rival to India.
Modi will undertake a three-nation tour of China, Mongolia and South Korea from May 14 to 19. According to officials, the visit is aimed at giving a boost to the East Asia policy, aligning it with Make in India initiatives and bringing momentum to the country's foreign policy in the strategically significant region.
In Beijing, where Modi is set to arrive to a rousing welcome, the focus will be on boundary issues. Both countries have an unsettled boundary of 3,488 km that often acts as an irritant to the ties.
The thrust will be on resolving the boundary question at an early date, rather than sticking to the familiar template of maintaining peace and tranquility along the border as the sole task, officials told HT.
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which is seen as a counter to the US, Japan dominated Asian Development Bank, is likely to announce funding for infrastructure projects in India during the visit of PM Modi. He had played a leading role in India becoming a founding member of the bank.
"The bank will bring investment into the region while maintaining supplementary relationships with existing multilateral development banks," said an official.
His visit to South Korea has a definite Make in India angle to it. India is keen on getting investment and going for joint manufacturing in areas where South Korea has a technological edge.
In the manufacturing sector, South Korean companies including Samsung, LG and Hyundai that have strong presence in India. "Infrastructure is another area, where South Korea is keen to invest," said a source.
Mongolia and India are keen to move forward on the MoU for Uranium supply that the two countries had entered in 2009. Mongolia is keen on Indian helping the country in cyber security. Help in border patrolling is another area where the two countries will be stepping up the ties.
Speaker receives Ambassador of India on 60th anniversary of ties
Ulaanbaatar, March 27 (MONTSAME) The Chairman of the State Great Khural (parliament) Z.Enkhbold Thursday received Mr Somnath Ghosh, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of India to Mongolia.
Thanking the Speaker for receiving him, the Ambassador expressed a willingness to strengthen the Mongolia-India cooperation and to forward the multilateral ties.
In response, the Speaker expressed a satisfaction with the 60th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic relations between our countries, and emphasized that the government of Mongolia considers India as its one of the "Third neighbors" and as a main partner in Asia. He underlined an importance of forwarding a volume of the bilateral relations.
Present at the meeting were also D.Demberel MP, a head of the Mongolia-India inter-parliamentary group at parliament, and other officials.
MP D.Demberel (MPP) receives Ambassador Somnath Ghosh – GoGo Mongolia, March 26
D.Demberel MP meets Ambassador of India – Montsame, March 26
Z.Enkhbold congratulates new Ambassador of Canada on appointment
Ulaanbaatar, March 26 (MONTSAME) Speaker of parliament Z.Enkhbold Thursday received Mr Eelco Jager, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Canada to Mongolia.
The Speaker started the meeting, congratulating Mr Jager on being appointed the new Ambassador of Canada to Mongolia, and underlined that the Mongolia-Canada relations and cooperation have been expanding recent years, and that investment and trade are important sectors of the ties.
Mr Enkhbold expressed a satisfaction with restoring a working group meeting for discussing an agreement on supporting Mongolia-Canada investments and on mutually protecting investments. He also emphasized that the two countries can widen the cooperation in spheres of wooden constructions, agriculture, education, infrastructure, health and winter sports apart from the mining sector.
Thanking the Speaker for the audience, Mr Jager said he will make efforts to widen the Mongolia-Canada relations and cooperation and will activate the cooperation in the mining, agriculture and other areas.
Mr Eelco Jager was appointed the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Canada to Mongolia on March 11 of 2015.
Vice Agriculture Minister receives Lithuanian agribusiness delegates
Ulaanbaatar, March 26 (MONTSAME) Vice Minister of Food and Agriculture B.Batzorig Thursday received a delegation headed by Mr Arunas Martinkevichius, director-general of the Lithuania's "SBA" concern.
Comprised Mr Konstantin Kozonis, a director of the concern's business development division; and Mr Ionas Bobrovichius, a delegate of the Peugeot branch in Lithuania, the Lithuanian delegation is visiting Mongolia for the first time with aims to get familiarized with policies, programmes and projects of the Mongolia's government, the related Ministry and specialized organizations, to study an opportunity of making investments and to exchange views and experiences.
The Vice Minister briefed about the state policy on agriculture, ongoing projects and programmes, and then emphasized the Lithuanian concern is possible to make investments to the agricultural sector and collaborate in it.
Appointment of Italy's First Honorary Consul in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
The Embassy of Italy to China and Mongolia is pleased to announce the appointment of Italy's first Honorary Consul in Ulaanbaatar, competent for the whole Mongolia, Mr. Alfredo Savino.
Mr. Savino has been an active member of the Italian community in Ulaanbaatar for many years, having unofficially served as consular focal point for more than 3 years before being appointed Honoray Consul. He is also professor of Italian language and culture at the Mongolian National University.
On March 17th, on the occasion of Ambassador of Italy's visit to Ulaanbaatar, a ceremony was held at the Best Western Tuushin Hotel to celebrate the positive development for Italian-Mongolian relations.
The Ambassador of Italy to China and Mongolia, Alberto Bradanini, said: "Given the current lack of a diplomatic mission, the Honorary Consul plays a critical role for Italy in Mongolia, helping to provide essential consular services to Italian citizens and to deliver our trade, investment, tourism and cultural messages to the Mongolian interlocutors and friends. Mr. Savino's appointment enhances this network and we are delighted to have him formally in our team."
On his appointment, Mr. Savino said: "It is a great honour to have the opportunity to connect Italy, where I was born, and Mongolia, where I have lived for the past 6 years. Both Countries have incredible natural beauties and a great history behind, and I want to think myself as a heir of the first Italian missionaries that travelled through these lands, thereby creating the first interactions between our two Countries."
Mr. Savino is a native of Milan, in Northern Italy. He first arrived in Mongolia in 2008 and have lived in UB for more than 6 years.
Here his contact information:
Honorary Consul of Italy
Bogd ar 15/a Bair 12 toot Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Cell: +976 95868948
Mon-Wed-Fri from 15.00 to 19.00
Upon request, it is possible to schedule appointments at a different time.
Ambassador Murat Karagoz: A lot of emphasis is being given to low income developing countries like Mongolia at G20
By B. Enkhtsetseg
March 25 (Mongolian Economy) With Turkey holding the current chairmanship of the G20, the next summit of the world's 20 largest economic powers will be held in the Mediterranean city of Antalya, in November 2015. Turkey is the 17th largest economy in the world. Throughout the year, Turkey, will host various meetings with the other member countries. The G20 economies represent 85 percent of the world's total economy, 75 percent of global trade, and two-thirds of the world's population. We spoke with Murat Karagцz, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Turkey to Mongolia, about Turkey's leadership in G20 and its main emphases throughout its 2015 chairmanship.
What is G20?
This is basically, quite a large group, quite an effective group, but we cannot still say it is representative enough of the entire world. But still, Turkey is one of them. As you know, Turkey is the 17th largest economy in the world, and sixth largest economy in Europe, so therefore we volunteered to assume the chairmanship. It was decided, and known throughout the year we will be functioning as the chair of G20. In this respect, there will be many ministerial meetings, including G20 finance ministers, G20 labor ministers, G20 trade and energy ministers, and we are also contemplating to organise some additional meetings throughout the year—like foreign ministers, like agricultural ministers. So like the previous chairs, there will be also some additional countries who will be joining in some of the meetings, to continue the pattern which already started before, we will also include Spain, Singapore, and the ASEAN term President, which is nowadays Malaysia, and the African Union term president which is Zimbabwe, and then NEPAD—a new structure for the newly developing countries of Africa—which is lead now by Senegal. And then as a country we will be also inviting Azerbaijan, as a very effective economy in the Caucasus, and also in the help in the energy corridor for hydrocarbon resources through Turkey to Europe.
What are the benefits of chairing G20?
Of course the main focus of G20 is to have sustainable growth in the world, to support in particular on an infrastructure basis the global development of countries—giving assistance on bringing solutions to the world trade system, support SMEs and other issues globally which effect the economy and trade in a general sense. In 2015, G20 will focus its efforts on ensuring inclusive and robust growth through collective action. This can be formulated, according to our chairmanship, in three I's: inclusiveness, implementation, and investment for growth. We will be supporting all these activities within the group and through our global partners.
After the summit meetings, how do member countries implement or enforce the agreed upon initiatives in a practical way?
First of all, G20 is composed of the 20 largest economies all over the world. They are powerful countries in terms of economy, and they are spread throughout various continents. So when the leaders of these countries get together, they of course issue a big declaration, a public declaration, and they address various issues—not only the economy, on some global issues as well. For instance, one of the core issues that they addressed was the Ebola crisis that was spread out all over the world through Africa—so these are the international, common challenges of humanity, that they do address. All of these countries have various capabilities and competitive advantages. This is basically a consensus based body, so all the countries take the decisions on a consensus-base. So the group functions simultaneously throughout the year with meetings, and will implement the decisions and the commitments that were taken. Hundreds of commitments were taken throughout the previous years, so the important thing is to implement all these things. So therefore throughout the year, in our presidency, we will be focusing more on two things, actually, in addition to the eleven clusters that are being discussed. These clusters are growth, investment, financial regulation, international tax issues, international financial architecture, financing of climate change, energy diversification, international trade, employment, capacity increase in the fight against corruption. The last cluster is development. With debt—I guess debt concerns very much Mongolia—the G20 countries aim at increasing the participation of low income developing countries to the global economy and supporting their level of development.
What are the most concerning cluster issues for Turkey in its presidency?
What we are doing, Turkey, as term president, is fully implementing the decisions and commitments that were taken already under these clusters. Plus we will give emphasis on two important issues that crosscut these eleven clusters. Number one is to strengthen the perspective of the G20 towards Low income developing countries. We would like to have more interaction with LIDC economies. The second crosscut emphasis that Turkey will be giving is toward strengthening SMEs, small- and medium-enterprises, to integrate them into the global economy. Turkey is a very good example in this respect. When we entered into the free market economy in early 1980, since then we've encouraged a lot of SMEs. And I just saw on television Prime Minister Davutoglu just declared new measures to encourage more Turkish SMEs, and more activity, because they are the driving force of the economy mainly in developing countries. We wish to strengthen the key role of SMEs in global infrastructure and investment. We would like to diversify their financial options. And this is important—we wish to increase their access to global value chains, through railway, transport mechanisms, etc. We wish to strengthen the SMEs in developing countries in various ways.
How will the G20 go about strengthening its interaction with the LIDCs? Developing countries are increasingly accumulating more of the global political and economic share. How does the G20 interpret this trend?
The aim is to try to integrate them more into the global economy, to try to increase their share of the global economy; to focus more on infrastructure deficit—which is very much relevant to Mongolia, for instance; to include them into the global financial system through various mechanisms; to encourage them to have stronger administrative capacity; to encourage their access to energy; to have a more balanced international trade system; to have more agricultural products traded in a more effective way; to alleviate negative consequences of climate change; and to encourage the private sector. So inevitably, they will be taking in the concerns of the LIDCs. This interaction with the G20, with the rest of the world, and in particular with the LIDCs is inevitable. Of course there are various mechanisms to interact with them, and it is not only the leaders but also many ministers according to their subject area. They meet together and they discuss their issues; including but limited to finance, labour, energy, foreign relations, agriculture, tourism, etc.
Many G20 economies are experiencing troublingly low levels of economic growth. Are they trying to increase the shares of LIDCs to share the risk? When major economies near or reach a crisis, they tend to drag down other smaller economies with them. How is the G20 looking to avoid future crises?
There is a global interdependence all over the world, in economic terms. You cannot isolate a country with its own economy. They are doomed to cooperate with neighboring countries, with regional schemes, with international schemes. So of course a global crisis affects every country. Recently it affected very much Europe—although it started in 2008 and 2009 in the United States. It was a financial crisis, but very quickly it turned out to be a global financial and economic crisis. It unfortunately hit Europe, where Turkey is part of it as well. But when it comes to individual economies, Turkey has been the least affected from the international economy. But of course many other developments affect international developments. Turkey, for instance, is surrounded by hotspots, in particular in the Middle East. You know what's going on in Iraq and Syria—they were among our top largest trade partners, once. So therefore, it affects us as well. In the Caucasus, there are some hotspots which affect Turkey as well—the Ukraine crisis. Therefore, it is important to have this body, the G20, as a regulator, where the top representatives of the economy get together and discuss what needs to be done, and then what affects most of the economies.
How do the outcomes of G20 summits benefit in particular low income developing countries like Mongolia?
During Turkey's presidency, we will be giving these three I's an emphasis, which is inclusive, implementation, and investment for growth. For inclusiveness, we try to reach out to as many countries as possible, and the largest group is LIDCs, and Mongolia is part of that. Implementation refers to the commitments which were taken by the G20 countries throughout the years. Investment for growth is the main idea, main aim—to grow GDP by 2.5 percent by 2015. From that perspective, Turkey emphasized two priorities. One of them is to strengthen the perspective of the G20 towards LIDCs—more interaction with G20 countries in general. As a term president, with Turkey in particular, of Mongolia, will be of benefit to Mongolia, from that perspective. The second crosscut issue is the strengthening of SMEs to integrate them into the global economy. Mongolia has an important portion of SMEs, because besides mining there are some other sectors: agriculture, animal husbandry, tourism, manufacturing—and to this manufacturing sector belongs leather processing, dairy products, meat products, etc. All those groups, in my judgment, to a great extent, belong to SMEs. So the SMEs of Mongolia could benefit from this focus of G20. The more they learn what G20 is—about their working schemes—the more it will be better for them to reach out to international markets to develop their skills, to improve their capacity. From that perspective, the most important part for Mongolia is the SMEs part, where Turkey will be giving a special emphasis.
Mongolia offers workers for Tokyo's preparation for 2020 Summer Olympics
March 27 (news.mn) Today Minister of Labor S.Chinzorig received Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Mongolia Takenori Shimizu to study the possibility of increasing the number of Mongolian employees working in Japan.
In September 2013, Japan officially received the authority to organize the 32nd Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
Japan is considering the possibility of hiring manpower from other countries to prepare for the Olympic games.
During the meeting with the Ambassador, Minister S.Chinzorig proposed the inclusion of Mongolia in the countries sending manpower. The Minister stressed that Mongolia has sent a large number of workers to Korea with employment contracts.
The Minister noted that Mongolian workers are more interested in going to Japan because of their working conditions and social guarantees.
"We are interested in sending a number of trainees. We are also interested in shortening the term of training and studying the possibility of giving employment status to trainees."
He continued and asked, "Is it possible to establish a quota for the number of trainees to be sent from Mongolia, because we are sending trainees to 180 hours of Japanese language training before sending them to Japan. For instance, at least 50 people may be registered in the training and only four to five people may be hired."
"If there is an initial quota we will conduct registration according to this number. Another important thing which should be changed is the current system of receiving trainees."
At the end of the meeting, the Minister asked the Ambassador to share his proposals with the relevant officials and share their reply.
Japanese Ambassador shows his 'archive' of Mongolian envelopes
March 26 (UB Post) Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Mongolia Takenori Shimizu once said, "We are able to know art, culture, foreign relations, history and the traditiond of countries through their postage stamps and envelopes. "
Takenori Shimizu, appointed as Ambassador of Japan to Mongolia in 1977, has been a long-time member of the Federation of Mongolian Philatelists and says he has expanded his friendships through the federation. He has been interested in postage stamps since childhood. He has an enormous collection of postage stamps narrating the history of Mongolia, with Russian-issued stamps dating as far back as 1860, and from 1924, when Mongolia published its first postage stamp. But he doesn't collect only stamps, he also collected envelopes sent from Mongolia, most of them purchased in overseas auctions.
The oldest envelope in his collection is from 1886. A branch of the Russian Post in Mongolia sent it to him. He once had an envelope from the 1870s, but says he gave it to a friend. Vintage envelopes from Russia have become very valuable to collectors.
Every envelope tells a story
Foreigners, especially Chinese collectors, are interested in vintage Mongolian envelopes at auctions. Most of the envelopes sent from Mongolia were for letters to China sent between the late 1800s and the early 1900s.
Chinese nationals in Mongolia used Mongolian envelopes stuck with Mongolian postage stamps to send letters to their home country. The envelopes now sought after by collectors in China tell the stories of two countries' pasts.
"I think, I am one of the few diplomats who have seen the socialism, democracy, and development of Mongolia," Ambassador Shimizu said. That's why he collected envelopes featuring many periods in Mongolia.
Ten years ago he published the book "Collecting Old Mongolian Postage Stamps", which included photographs of envelopes and postage stamps from 1860 to 1954. Recently, he published the book "Mongolian Illustrated Postal Covers", featuring envelopes from 1955 to 1990. Postal envelopes have been released widely since 1955, but there was no official list of postal envelopes released. It was difficult for envelope collectors, and that's why Shimizu wrote the book.
Simple things also have value
The Ambassador also collects Mongolian traditional paintings and coins once used as currency. After he first arrived in Mongolia, in the late 1970s, he met famous Mongolian painters N.Tsultem and U.Yadamsuren, stirring his interest in Mongolian paintings.
Some of the coins in his collection date back to the Mongol Empire, but he says the expense of collecting ancient coins is cost prohibitive, which is why his collection of coins is small.
He also has postal envelopes in his collection which are not related to Mongolia, including illustrated postal envelopes used during Christmas in Japan. Japanese give each other very ornate and well-designed postal envelopes during Christmas. The Ambassador believed the envelopes were too precious to throw away and started collecting them.
Dreams are also simple
When Shimizu was asked, "What would you like to do in the future?" he replied, "I will still have an interest in my collection."
He also has a dream of building a house in Oita, Japan, where he was born, and decorating that house with his collection when he leaves Mongolia. Perhaps that house will someday become a destination for visitors to learn about Mongolia and its friendly Japanese Ambassador.
Mongolia President sends letters of condolences to Germany, French, Spain leaders
Ulaanbaatar, March 26 (MONTSAME) The President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj has letters on extending condolences to Mr Joachim Gauck, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG); Ms Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of the FRG; and His Majesty Felipe VI of Spain, the King of Spain, over the crash of flight of 4U 9525 of the Germanwings airlines.
On behalf of himself and Mongolians, Mr Elbegdorj extended his deepest condolences to families of the people who died during the crash, people of Germany and Spain, on the tragedy.
Japanese-Managed Erdenet Hospital to Open Next Month
March 27 (gogo.mn) - Our journalist B.Erdenechimeg is reporting from Erdenet city -
Journalists team of 40 personnel, involving journalists from the television stations, daily newspapers and news websites, is working at Erdenet city and journalists visited at Erdenet medical hospital.
Construction of the Erdenet medical hospital, which has Japan management has started since 2008 and now is ready to commence.
Modern equipment of diagnostic imaging and laboratory diagnosis have been installed. Total investment for the construction was worth USD 50 million (MNT 100 billion). USD 20 million was invested to medical equipment.
Cardiovascular, digestive, liver and gallbladder problems and diseases are common in Erdenet city. Therefore, diagnosis of those diseases will be advanced to new level.
In other words, result of examination is able to be sent to cooperating Japanese specialist.
Erdenet medical hospital was constructed under Japanese standard. Thus, all patients will be connected to the oxygen breathing apparatus as to all rooms of the hospital were connected to the gas system. If patient is low on oxygen, all rooms are able to supply with oxygen.
3D and 4D medical apparatus were purchased from Hitachi brand and Hitachi corporation is responsible for repairing and operation.
Hospital with 120 beds is able to serve not only Erdented and Darkhan cities, but also residents of Khangai region.
At first stage, it will diagnose 200 patients a day and it could diagnose 500 patients, if starts to run at full capacity. The hospital is to commence in April.
Bird diverting technology to save hundreds, millions of MNT worth falcons every year
March 25 (UB Post) Activists of the Wildlife Science and Conservation Center of Mongolia's (WSCCM) displayed over 100 dead Saker falcons that were electrocuted at a press conference to illustrate the need for bird diverting technology at power lines.
The WSCCM has been coordinating a project to protect birds of prey since 2010. The center said that the main reason for high death rate of birds of prey was electrocution at power lines, rather than natural causes. In January this year, Bayankhongor Province residents told the UB Post that power lines were the main cause of death of endangered birds.
The project set up bird diverting devices at power lines in Sukhbaatar Province with cooperation of the eastern regional power network branch.
The WSCCM studied the number of birds dying from electrocution by landing on or coming in contact with the 54 kilometers long and 15 KW power line stretching from Uulbayan to Munkhkhaan soums in Sukhbaatar Province.
Ornithologist of the WSCCM, B.Nyambayar, gave an interview about the study results and their project to protect birds of prey to Unuudur newspaper.
What is the purpose of this unconventional press conference? What message to you hope to convey?
Our research found bodies of some 300 Saker falcons along the power 54 km power line last year. Other species of birds of prey were also found dead below the power line. We have brought the dead birds today to leave a solid impact on the public and raise awareness of the current alarming condition, rather than just giving vague information about electrocuted birds.
Mongolia is home to 44 species of birds of prey and we saw the deaths of 20 species of birds. The reason we're concentrating on Saker falcon is because it was named as the National Bird of Mongolia [in 2009]. A few years ago, unfortunate news about smuggling of Saker falcon to Arabia was popular in local media. Lawfully, each Saker falcon are sold at over 20 million MNT to other countries. Now, hundreds of them are dying, which is a big waste.
In 2013, we counted 201 electrocuted birds of prey, while the number rose to 214 in 2014. More than 50 were Saker falcons.
We heard that your team set up nests to protect Saker falcons? Can you tell us more about this?
Yes, we have set up 5,000 falcon nests in central and eastern provinces, throughout 20 soums where nesting of Saker falcons is rare.
In 2011, 200 pairs of Saker falcons nested in them, while the number spiked to 574 pairs by 2013. On average, three to four chicks are born in each nest and leave their nests once they are mature. Over 2,000 falcon chicks matured in the nests we set up. But years of effort will become worthless if Saker falcons die out like this in the future.
Does the WSCCM give guidance or instructions to energy companies setting up power lines?
Although these companies set up bird diverting technologies, they are not very effective. They install spikes on power lines, but birds find a way to sit on the spaces between the spikes and get electrocuted. We have set up go-round mirrors, rubber protection and other diverting items on power lines. Go-round devices are easily broken, so spikes need to be set up effectively.
A Saker falcon was valued at 16 million MNT through a government decree in 2011. The Ministry of Energy promised it will not permit construction of 15 KW power lines in the future, and what remains for us is to make the already set up 15 KW power lines safe for birds. Bird diverting methods should be used at 65 more power lines nationwide, which will require two billion MNT. But in turn, the investment will help save hundreds of Saker falcons which are worth far more.
What are you going to do with the bodies of the Saker falcons?
We are researchers, so we check if the bodies have diseases, and if none are found, we preserve them until people request to use them for display at museums or for other workshops.
Two Mongolian Universities Confer Honorary Doctorate Degrees to Dalai Lama
March 25 (Voice of America) On the concluding day of the international conference on "Science, Ethics, and Education" organized by the University of Delhi, the Dalai Lama was conferred two Honorary Doctorate Degrees, one by the Institute of Physics and Technology, Mongolian Academy of Science and another by the University of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia on March 25, 2015.
Professor Khavtgai Namsrai representing the Mongolian Academy of Science and Professor Yanjinsuren Sodnomdorj for University of Ulaanbaatar presented the honorary doctorate degrees.
"I have received many degrees from so many academic institutions, but it holds a special meaning to receive one from Mongolia," said the Dalai Lama during the acceptance address. He further explained that Mongolia and Tibet shares over a thousand year old connection, with the Dalai Lamas always holding a special relation with Mongolia since the time of Sonam Gyatso, the third Dalai Lama of Tibet.
Link to article (includes audio)
MetaStory: Creators of Netflix's Marco Polo Visit Mongolia
Writer, Director and Producer attends VIP screening of first two episodes, researches casting opportunity for Season 2
Ulaanbaatar, March 26, 2015 (MetaStory NGO) : Creators of Netflix's Marco Polo, a show Mongolians know well through actor Amarsaikhan B, arrived in Ulaanbaatar on March 24th to conduct casting and script research. On March 26th, creator-writer John Fusco, director Dan Minahan and producer Richard Sharkey attended a VIP Screening of the first two hour episodes in Hunnu mall. Prominent figures from the government, business, entertainment and arts attended the screening and listened to creator John Fusco's vision of Marco Polo started when he visited Mongolia in 2002.
The event started with red carpet entrance with important business and entertainment figures walking in. Before the screening, there was a speech by Tumurbaatar Ya, Deputy Minister of Education, Culture and Sciences, Bat-Uul E, Mayor of UB and John Fusco, the creator-writer of the series.
"I am proud that Mongolia's story is being told by a global media channel with millions of audience," remarked Mayor Bat-Uul, "as this will greatly boost our tourism." He said he was also glad that this spring was full of Hollywood visits, as the creators of Wolf Totem had visited UB last month.
John Fusco recounted his travel by Mongolia with then-guide Byambadorj A, who later became his cultural advisor when the show took on. He said he honored his friendship by naming one of his main characters after "Byambaa".
Marco Polo, a 13th century Mongolian Chinese historical adventure series, which cast Actor Amaraa for Ariq Boke's role in Season 1, piqued interest of Mongolians since it premiered last December on Netflix, an on-demand Internet streaming media company, which is unavailable in Mongolia.
John Fusco is well known for writing Hidalgo, Young Guns, the Forbidden Kingdom and several other Native American oriented films. He wrote the screenplay of Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron in 2002, which was nominated for Oscar. Dan Minahan is known for directing several episodes of Six Feet Under, True Blood, Deadwood and Game of Thrones. He has been directing in TV for over 10 years. Richard Sharkey is known for working as Production Manager in The Fifth Estate, Brothers Bloom and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. He has been in the filmmaking industry for 25 years and is known for working as Location Manager in Lord of the Rings trilogy, Star Wars: Episode I and Tomorrow Never Dies.
The creators are producing the Season 2 of the series, with shooting in Hungary, Malaysia and New Zealand, and casting about 60 Mongolians for supporting roles, background players, stunts and interns for the Hungary Unit, which starts this July for 17 weeks.
Actor "Amaraa", who was organizing the event said, "Marco Polo team is giving a big opportunity to Mongolians. I have been part of their team and met many famous and acclaimed Hollywood artists."
The supporting roles will require delivering English and Mongolian lines and bringing depth and context of Mongolian character to the show. The background players should be skillful of horse riding, archery, butchery, singing, playing traditional musical instruments, wrestling and making traditional handicraft. The supporting roles are in the process of being recruited and will be hired with all of their costs covered whereas the background players and interns will have wages and portion of their expenses covered, and the remainder has to be fundraised from Mongolia.
Narantsogt B, Chairman of MetaStory NGO, which received the rights to screen the episodes, said, "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Netflix is a modern powerhouse and Marco Polo is a story deeply rooted in 13th century Mongolia. The creators truly care about illuminating and showcasing our history, especially with previously unknown angle of Mongolians being the rulers of Yuan Empire. We should partner with the Marco Polo team, work with them and learn from them as much as possible. The benefits that come from this, tourism and cultural awareness-wise, are more important than anything we've ever seen here in Mongolia."
Khasvuu Plaza, 14210
Photos: Netflix Original Series Marco Polo Screens in Mongolia
March 27 (gogo.mn) Yesterday, "Marco Polo" original series produced by Netflix, officially premiered in Mongolia at Khunnu cinema.
Writer John Fusco, general director Daniel Minahan and other foreign delegates as well as Mongolian cultural figures and celebrities have participated in the premier of "Marco Polo" original series in Mongolia.
State Honored Actor B.Amarsaikhan played role of Arigbukhi (Ariq Boke) in the series which premiered at AMC Loews in Broadway, NYC in last December.
We are delivering you the photo moments of official premier of "Marco Polo" original series in Mongolia.
Speaker receives creators of Marco Polo TV series
Ulaanbaatar, March 26 (MONTSAME) The Chairman of the State Great Khural (parliament) Z.Enkhbold Thursday received members of the "Marco Polo" film project, which is being produced by the "Weinstein" company.
Having thanked the Speaker for the audience, the guests briefed about the "Marco Polo" film project, "it has been based on historical facts of Mongolia of 13-14th centuries, and will be delivered through the Germany's Netflix company network. The film also tells about adventure of Marco Polo in Mongolia, and aims to describe Mongolian history, lifestyle and culture of that time."
They said a preparation has been ensured for shooting a second part of the project, "it will be dedicated to the history of Mongolian Emperors, clashes for the state authority and conflicts. We need to use historical and cultural sources of Mongolia," and asked the Speaker to support this project.
In response, the Speaker said he will study the request and discuss it with related bodies.
Present at the meeting were John Fusco, a director of the "Marco Polo" film; Daniel Minahan, Richard Sharkey, producers; M.Orgil, a producer in charge of actions in Mongolia for the film; Ts.Oyundari, general-director of the Mongolian National Radio and Television; and other officials.
Khusugtun Gives Asia's Got Talent Judge Anggun the Chills
March 27 (The Jakarta Post) Those are among the acts that can be found in the latest talent competition, Asia's Got Talent.
The show is the 63rd adaptation of the Got Talent format, a global phenomenon conceived by British reality TV celebrity and music producer Simon Cowell, and has been aired in 186 countries.
In the first season of Asia's Got Talent, which has its world premiere on March 12 and is aired by AXN, 199 hopefuls from 15 countries across the continent are competing in the hope of becoming the next global star.
All they have to do is captivate the audience and the panel of judges – consisting of Grammy winning music producer David Foster, former Spice Girl Melanie C, Taiwanese-American pop idol Vanness Wu and Indonesian rock icon Anggun C. Sasmi.
Anggun, who previously appeared as a judge in talent variety shows Indonesia's Got Talent and X-Factor Indonesia, said she was thrilled to see various kinds of talent in the show — from musicians and dancers to comedians and acrobats.
"There were performers from Mongolia. I have never been there. Their performance somehow took my imagination to that country. I imagined I was horse riding there. That gave me a chill," she said during a press conference in Jakarta.
Nisvanis announces annual Nis Nis Fest 2015 on April 9
March 26 (UB Post) Mongolian rock band Nisvanis organizes the Nis Nis Fest every year on April 9. The Nis Nis Fest 2015 will take place at the Northland Function House in Khan-Uul District at 7:00 p.m.
Mongolian live music bands Metronom, The Lemons, Tiger Fish, Khos Sukh, Mohanic, Aravt, Rec On, Growl of Clown, Silent Scream and Purgatory Destroyers will participate in this year's event.
Nisvanis is one of the first rock bands of Mongolia and was established in 1996.
Nisvanis said it will feature 11 new songs, as well as some old pieces that are included in their new album at the event.
Below is a brief interview with front-man of Nisvanis L.Enkh-Amgalan, more commonly known as Amgaa.
Will your band perform new songs included in your new album?
Yes. You can say that Nisvanis will be reborn. It will be our fourth album since, "Oxygen" was released in 1999, "Saaral Ue" in 2002 and "Flying saucer" in 2006. We will perform 11 new songs and some old pieces.
When will the new album be available for purchase? What is the name of the album?
It will be released at the beginning of May. I am worried about revealing the name because it has an unethical name that I can't say through public media.
Why did you name it in this manner if you are afraid to say it?
The new album includes some hard songs. The meaning of the songs are connection to the name of the album. Modernist poet B.Galsansukh and I wrote the lyrics for the songs. Listeners will understand why I chose to name the album this way.
State Opera & Ballet House April Program
March 27 (infomongolia.com) Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet (SATOB) releases the 2015 April Program commencing with the "Khukhuu Namjil" opera by L.Murdorj.
The "Khukhuu Namjil" opera was first staged in 1961 choreographed by People's Artist Ts.Namsraijav, produced by Cultural Merit Artist D.Lkhasuren and Ts.Dorjpalam as General Art Director.
In 2014, the opera was renewed by general conductor N.Tuulaikhuu, choreographer A.Dashpeljee and art director G.Ganbaatar.
SATOB 2015 April Program
"Khukhuu Namjil" opera by L.Murdorj on Saturday, April 04 at 05:00 pm
"Giselle" ballet by A.Adam on Sunday, April 05 at 05:00 pm
"Khukhuu Namjil" opera by L.Murdorj on Saturday, April 11 at 05:00 pm
"Francesca da Rimini" symphonic poem by P.I.Tchaikovsky on Sunday, April 12 at 05:00 pm
"Heaven is Here" a neoclassical ballet by Hugo Viera on Saturday, April 18 at 05:00 pm
"Aida" opera by Giuseppe Verdi on Sunday, April 19 at 05:00 pm
"Shariljin Dundakh Tsetseg" (Flowers in the Hogweed) ballet by E.Choidog on Saturday, April 25 at 05:00 pm
"Ballet Night" on Sunday, April 26 at 05:00 pm
XII Saint Muse Festival Announced on May 17-23
By B. Tungalag
March 26 (UB Post) The 12th Saint Muse Academy Awards is scheduled to take place from May 17 to 23. The Saint Muse Festival is the biggest performing arts event that aims to select the best theatrical arts in Mongolia and elsewhere.
A total of 47 theatrical works from Ulaanbaatar, provinces and abroad have been submitted to compete in the Saint Muse.
Judges of the event will divide submissions into four categories; children's play, monodrama, drama, and musical, to select the best works.
President of the International Theater Institute (ITI) in Mongolia and artist of the Mongolian State Academic Drama Theater S.Sarantuya and People's Artist N.Suvd attended the 34th ITI World Congress, which took place in Yerevan, Armenia from November 17 to 22.
President of the ITI S.Sarantuya founded the Saint Muse international festival and registered it as an official international festival.
Author of "I am Edith Piaf" monodrama Nina Mazur will judge the festival and give advice on how to write a monodrama.
In addition, judges from German, Russia and Kosovo have been included in the judging panel.
Artists from Switzerland, China, Uganda, Estonia, Kosovo and South Korea will attend this year's Saint Muse.
Video News: The Story of Weeping Camel or Coaxing Ritual for Baby Camels Applies for UNESCO's Need if Urgent Safeguarding List
March 25 (infomongolia.com) Mongolia sent a "Coaxing Ritual for Baby Camels" under the Nomination File No.01061 for inscription in Need of Urgent Safeguarding List 2015, UNESCO, which will be reviewed in upcoming June and to announce its final decisions during the 10th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage to be held in Windhoek, Namibia between November 30 and December 04, 2015.
Mongols have a variety of rituals relating to husbandry in traditional Mongolian society. One of them is the Traditional Coaxing Ritual or "Ингэнд Ботго Авахуулах" in Mongolian language or commonly known as "Khuuslukh" ritual that expresses the peculiar relationship between a man and animal.
This is a chanting ritual for a new-born baby animal and its mother. To chant is to stimulate, through the use of special words and melody, the adopting of a baby animal to a mother. There are different gestures, melodies and chanting techniques for the livestock in Mongolia. Coaxing (Khuuslukh) a camel is a ritual for a mother, who rejects her baby; or for adopting an orphan baby to another female, who has lost her baby, because only a suckling mother will have milk in harsh spring time.
The ritual comes under the domain of "social practices, rituals and festive events" and in cases, where there is participation in the ritual by a singer and a musician, usually who plays a Morin Khuur (two-string horse-head fiddle) instrument.
Also, the ritual can be performed with other musical instruments such as Limbe (side-blown flute), Tsuur (traditional musical instrument) or Khuumii (throat singing). Moreover, an interesting practice was said when an old woman tried the coaxing ritual by playing a musical record from her cell phone holding near the mother camel's ear.
The Southern Gobi herders have rich experience of herding camels, because of natural environment of the local area. The coaxing ritual, which is nearly on the verge of extinction, became one of the important elements of Mongolian folk knowledge and ritual. The performance of the ritual continues for a few hours at early morning or at twilight and requires a high skill of handling camels and a singing talent or skill for playing on a musical instrument such as the Morin Khuur or flute.
A Morin Khuur player usually plays elements of Central and Western Mongolian ethnic's traditional melody ('Tatlaga' in Mongolian) and whilst a singer sings "Khuus" or 'lullaby' for both mother and baby camels. The Khuus is a gentle sound/word produced by a singer when a mother camel is being coaxed into accepting a rejected or an orphan calf, and the ritual considered ended successfully if the mother camel breaks into tears.
The performance of the coaxing ritual happens not often, because Bactrian camels give birth usually to just one calf in March or in April, after a gestation period of 13 to 14 months. Also, the rejection of a calf by its mother happens rarely.
The "Coaxing Ritual for Baby Camels" to register as the Best Safeguarding Practices was first initiated by an aesthetician Sonom-Ish YUNDENBAT in 2011 and was sent by Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO in 2014. A working group chaired by Associate Professor PhD Yundenbat BOLDBAATAR at the Mongolian University of Science and Technology has successfully completed all necessary documents for the Mongolian unique ritual to inscribe in Need of Urgent List for 2015.
There are not any special works for coaxing rituals, except for a few documentary films including the documentary film "Eej Aya" (Melody of Mother) 1985 and the "Ingen Egshig" (Melody of the Mother-Camel) 1986 by J.Badraa, D.Khishigt, B.Donrov - both editions well-suited for an academic as well as a broader audience.
"The Story of the Weeping Camel", 2003, a documentary film by Davaa BYAMBASUREN and Luigi Falorni is about a family of camel herders, who are faced with a challenge - one of their camels has rejected its new-born colt. They decide to perform the traditional "Khuus or Khoos Ritual" to help unite the mother and child. The film played important role for spreading a message about the coaxing ritual in Mongolia through the world.
The below introductory video from the "The Story of the Weeping Camel" film is edited by Ine Braat, a citizen of the Netherlands, who kindly shared and allowed to post on www.InfoMongolia.com.
AFC U-23 CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS: CHINA 5-0 MONGOLIA
Vientiane, March 27 (AFC): Substitute Chen Hao scored a double as China defeated Mongolia 5-0 in their AFC U-23 Championship 2016 qualifying campaign opener at the National Sports Complex Stadium in Laos on Friday.
AFC U-23 CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS: MONGOLIA 0-7 LAOS
Vientiane, March 30 (AFC): Hosts Laos are set to play a crunch game against China after downing Mongolia 7-0 in their AFC U-23 Championship 2016 Group J qualifying tie at the National Sports Complex Stadium on Sunday.
The Laotians were ahead 2-0 at the break before adding five more goals after the interval to place themselves second in standings below China who had earlier defeated Singapore 5-0.
Khonesavanh Sihavong (32") and Sitthideth Khanthavong (45") were all on target in the first period. The second half kicked into action and Khanthavong completed his double on 60 minutes before Tiny Boumalay (63"), Phoutthasay Khochalern (68"), Armisay Kettavong (84") and Soukchinda Natphasouk (87") added to the tally.
The decider between David Booth's Laos and China will take place on Tuesday with Singapore and Mongolia playing for pride on the same day.
Ten group winners and five best second-placed teams from all groups will join hosts Qatar at the AFC U-23 Championship 2016, with January's 16-team competition also serving as Asia's qualifying tournament for the Olympic Games in Rio.
Mongolia's First Pro Footballer A.Murun on New Career in Serbia
March 25 (gogo.mn) Murun Altankhuyag, his continuous dream and unstoppable effort led him to become the first Mongolian professional football player.
He started his international career by signing his first professional contract with Thailand team.
Currently, he signed professional contract with Serbia to open another gate to his international career.
We are delivering you the interview with A.Murun, who is heading to Serbia, today, and we wish him success to his sports career.
How did you spend your childhood?
There are five people in my family and I am the middle child. I was born in 21st of September, 1989. I spent my childhood at Baga Toirog. I used to play football wherever there was football field, outside the house and school field. When I was in second grade, my family moved to Damba where I played football more. My football career started when I entered 5th school.
At first, my parents weren't liking the idea of me playing football at all. Finally, they began to support me 100% as they could not stop my dream. My father watches every match of mine and my younger brother`s too. My younger brother was playing for Selenge Press team and he left his football career after having family.
5th school is famous for their famous football players, right?
It can be said that 5th school is almost professional football school. They have been preparing many best players and teams until today. Every boy who studies at 5th school becomes close to football. I have to mention coach Sharkhuu, who helped many children to love the sport and succeed at football. Moreover, I have learnt many techniques and skills from coach D.Battur from Od club.
You might get dirty playing all day at dust field as there were no artificial turf or football green field that time?
Indeed, I used to play football in the dust field.
When Colonel, D.Murun during his campaign for elections to Parliament, established dedicatory football field with goal and line.
During that time, Ulaanbaatar did not have field with artificial turf and even the National Football Team came to train.
I became football fan by watching Lumbengarav, Davaa-Ochir and Gerelt-Od who were players for National Team of Mongolia.
Especially, player Lumbee inspired me. I had thought:"I want to play like him. I will definetely become football player like him".
Therefore, I trained for football and started to participate in School Championship Tournament and other tournaments. I was excited to be called for the best team of my school. Sharkhuu coach was training us after our classes. I used to go home after playing football, even if I hadn't any training sessions.
How was your first tournament? Did you sit on the bench?
The first game we lost, even thou I was playing in starting lineup. However, our team won all championships later. I won my first gold medal when I was 14 years old and I first awarded from national tournament with bronze medal. Besides, becoming the best striker by scoring highest number of goals at Nukhurlul tournament was the first too. All of my first awards and medals are valuable to me and it inspired me a lot.
When did you play for National Team of Mongolia?
In 2005, I was playing for Junior National Team when I was 15 years old. I went to North Korea and played as striker. Next year, I played against South Korea and I scored a goal. I scored a goal at the match against Hong Kong and I think that was the best performance of me. I was called for National Team of Mongolia when I was sixteen. I was excited that I was called by head coach I.Otgonbayar.
You were not only called for National Team of Mongolia as the youngest, but also you had opportunity to play with your idol, Lumbengarav Donorov. How was your impression?
I am proud of Lumbee and my respect grew more when I started to play with him. I have learnt many things from him including player skill, experience and personal character. The best players have always been in the generations of Mongolian National Football Team. I admire Buman-Uchral and Lumbengarav as the best leading players of Mongolia and Garidmagnai from our generation.
You won Macao with 3:1 score at the qualifier match for the FIFA in 2009, which was held in Ulaanbaatar. Specifically, captain D.Lumbemgarav started offense and you successfully finished it and scored for the first goal?
Yes, I scored the first goal in 55th minute of the match.
How would you conclude match against East Timor? Are you satisfied with your performance?
The most fascinating thing for the football player is to play for their National Team. For me, I arrived from Serbia and trained for seven days. We jointly trained with East Timor for two days.
Players of our national team are young. Most of them are playing for the national team for the first time. Thus, they have been overwhelmed. However, our players did their best. Due to short period training, I felt misunderstanding was the main drawback for our team. I want to say thank you to all supporters and football fans. Forgive me, if I could not play as much as you have expected me to perform.
How much pressure you felt as people had entrusted to you and estimated you as the "secret weapon" against East Timor?
Of course, I felt disappointment after the match. I thought that if I scored at least one goal in front of the supporters. As I am an athlete, the most important thing was the feeling that I lost in front of the Mongolian supporters. After the match, Jiigee coach told me: "You guys played with your heart and tried your best." Besides, my friends showed me emotional support to me. Our national team has no right to play for international match in several years and it was difficult to players, especially who played for the National team for many years.
You were studying in the U.S. while playing for the league during the summer. What profession were you majoring in U.S.?
I played for Selenge Press team of 5th school and was awarded as the best player when I participated in "Duulian 2020" tournament. At that time, the best player was promised to study in U.S., but it did not happen.
They just could not let me go to study in U.S. I have waited for a year and attended to Ulaanbaatar University. Then, my family supported me to go to U.S. I was learning English, going to the university besides my work. If I had free time, I played football with my friends or training at the fitness club.
Then you left your university to be examined by Thailand league?
Yes, I was afraid when heading to Thailand due to doing risky step. It was challenging to me to leave my university that I have been studying for three years. At that time, I was living in San Francisco and I was working in order to earn for living. Thus, I wasn't trained so well. I was playing football with my friends if I had free time.
I lost large amounts of liquid by sweating, which caused muscle spasms and leg tendon and I did not pass for the first team when I arrived in Thailand. It was very hard to me to cope with it. Then, I continued my training and had the opportunity to play for another team.
How was the salary of Thailand league?
As professional league athlete, I was paid salary, training salary and bonus. It depends on the league rank and team.
Your official manager is Mr.Takashi Morimoto. How did you meet him?
Mr. Takashi was present at Mongolian football league match. I first met him in 2001 and I approached him saying: "I want to play abroad. Can you send my video to foreign team?" Mr.Takashi helped me and sent my video to many foreign teams. I waited response for a while, finally, Thailand team contacted me. I appreciate him on helping me to accomplish my dream. He helped me to contact with Thailand league and beared my expenses for travel and accommodation. In addition, he helped me to play for European country. I want to express my appreciation to Balkhaa, CEO of UBS TV, Akira san for their support to me.
Why did you choose Serbia from European countries?
Although I have received invitation to play for Croatia, visa was not issued due to property verification and insurance when I was in Serbia. Then I signed one-year contract with Machava team, which ranks 12th to 13th in Serbian league. They transferred Nigerian player except me.
By playing for Serbia league, I was able to be noticed by Manchester city scout and Italian Serie A league scouts. If I try my best for the play, I will open my gate to play for European biggest team.
Do you have a girlfriend?
Yes, I have. We first met a year ago and have been in relationship for three months. She supports me a lot.
What football team do you support?
What is your favorite position? Defender or striker?
I like to play as midfielder. Midfielder has ability to play from distance. Striker plays closely to goalkeeper keeping me from playing from the distance as i prefer to play.
How about wing?
I love playing in left wing. My main position is left wing midfielder.
Thank you for taking time for the interview besides your busy schedule. I wish you to achieve your dream?
Thank you and all people who support me. I want to say that I will try my best to fulfill your hopes.
Global Warming Is Study Topic as Mongolian Schoolgirls Meet With Philadelphia Counterparts
PHILADELPHIA, March 27 (CBS) — A reception was held today for a group of students from the other side of the planet, visiting Philadelphia to study the effects of global warming, through a partnership between the Academy of Natural Sciences and the National Museum of Mongolia.
Head of Weather Forecasting J.Tsogt: I disagree with traditional meteorological principles
March 26 (UB Post) The World Meteorological Day was observed on March 23, which commemorates the entry into force in 1950 of the convention that created the World Meteorological Organization in 1950. On this special day, the Head of the Weather Forecasting Section of the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Monitoring (IHMEM) of Mongolia, J.Tsogt, was interviewed about his career as a meteorologist.
Happy World Meteorological Day! Shall we begin the interview by clarifying how much workforce is required for weather forecasting?
A lot of people have to work hard to make weather forecasts. For instance, a meteorologist will have to collect quantitative data from 1,500 to 1,600 stations to predict the next day's weather forecast as well as make a five-day weather forecast. Later, they'll have to process and analyze the data.
Mongolia has 1,500 weather stations, where 135 people work at. Some people think meteorologists sit around monitoring screens and equipment. It's not like that. Weather forecasting is a very responsible job. Operations continue for an entire 24 hours. There are also people who think meteorology organizations do nothing but make weather forecasts. In fact, many different experts work at these organizations. For example, a water expert, meteorologists, and a person in charge of environmental affairs and so on. The IHMEM functions thanks to the efforts of all these people.
How many years have you been working at the IHMEM?
This is my 38th year working at the IHMEM. There used to be a Department of Meteorology at the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics of the National University of Mongolia. I graduated from that class in 1977, and I've been working at this organization since then. During this time, I've mainly focused on weather forecasting.
Did you start off your career from your current position as the head of the Weather Forecasting Section?
The organization was named the Institute of Water, Meteorology and Research when I had just graduated from university. There was a weather forecasting division and I was employed there as an engineer that makes short-term forecasts. The section head was a man named E.Naidan. I worked for nearly a month as an intern under the guidance of D.Myagmardorj, an excellent engineer of the section with plenty of experience. Later, I began working independently. I worked as the senior engineer of the Weather Forecasting Bureau of Khentii Province from 1983 to 1984, and became the senior engineer at my current workplace in 1985. I was promoted to section head of the Weather Forecasting Section in 2005, to the Deputy Director of Service in 2009, and then returned to being the sector head until March 1, 2014, when I became the head of the Weather Forecasting Section due to changes in organizational structure.
When you had just joined the Weather Forecasting Section, did you consider working for a different section?
Now that I think about it, I never thought of that. At the time, working in the city was quite difficult. Not to mention, I had already started my own family then. Wherever I was given an assignment, I accepted it no matter what. Obviously, a new engineer would lack experience and not know a lot of things. Nowadays, forecast weather maps can be developed with computers. When I first got employed, I had to draw those sorts of maps and graphs with my hands. Senior engineers would check and redevelop the materials I finished. Because of pencil leads, desks and even clothes would get dirty. I used to wear sleeve protectors to keep my sleeves and clothes clean and forget to take them off after work. As soon as I realized I still had my sleeve protectors on, I would get embarrassed and quickly take it off.
People in Mongolia used to say meteorologists are the biggest liars. Now that technologies have advanced, have forecast become more accurate and consistent?
Comparing that time with present day is like comparing day and night. If it took 45 minutes for weather forecasting before, now it can be completed in five minutes. I contemplated a bit and realized that there's nothing more useful than analyzing your own mistakes. Repetitive analysis and persistent work have helped me improve my work quality afterwards.
Was it difficult to work as a meteorological engineer?
There were times when it was extremely hard. No matter how depressed I was, I never thought of quitting my job. You could probably imagine how I felt, especially when lightning strikes with heavy rainfall after it's been forecasted that there'll be no precipitation, or when calm weather has been reported and windy weather kicks up dust. There were times when I accurately forecasted natural disasters, notified residents in time, and received a lot of motivation and encouragement from it.
Was it your own decision to become a meteorologist?
Yes, it was my decision. Neither of my parents has ever told me to become a meteorologist. I finished School No.2. An exhibit on geography was organized in grade 10. I made a tool that measured thickness for the exhibition, which most likely directed and brought up my aspiration towards my current occupation.
How much was your first salary?
Salary for engineers used to be 650 MNT a month. I received 325 MNT for my first pay. An additional 300 MNT was given to everyone who joined the organizations immediately after graduating school so I received 625 MNT in total. I remember not spending it on anything and giving it straight to my parents. Still, they returned it saying that it'll be useful to me later. I don't know why, but I felt like I must give my pay to my parents.
How dedicated were you in your career?
I might have been a maniac. In general, people born before the year 1990 were workaholics. They actively participated in community work, too. They were the first ones to partake in party and union work, as well as other works to develop labor principles and regulations. I even checked on people on night duty in the morning. A lad named J.Batbayar told me that I was extremely terrifying and that he used to come up with practice questions and answered just in case I questioned him about various things in the morning after his nightshift.
Were you very strict?
I'm a man of few words, but said what I had to. At the time, I never thought I was scolding anyone. But it seems that I used to frighten people.
Have you ever forecast the weather by looking at the sky?
I don't agree with that. I'm an expert on meteorology. So I consider traditional meteorology principles to be nonsense. There are people who do weather forecasting like that. Yet, those people aren't criticized for being wrong.
What is your biggest concern?
A strong storm took the lives of 43 people and 800 livestock in eastern provinces from April 18 to 20, 1980. Later, another strong storm occurred in eastern provinces from May 26 to 27, 2008. Fifty-two people lost their lives and over 240 livestock died. Meteorology organizations had warned about these conditions three days in advance. It's good that residents are warned about these disasters, but people should take them seriously. On the other hand, the person who forecast it suffers greatly. They think about it for several days. Their heart sinks when they hear about the casualties of extreme weather disasters.
Also, I've been working at a government organization for over 30 years. I'll soon retire. Sometimes I think that I should be legally given the status of a civil service employee. I don't think that meteorologists are considered civil servants. I'm very concerned about this. Teachers and doctors are the first ones to be put in this category, and they should be. Meteorologists are also people serving the public on behalf of the state. There seems to be a one-time grant aid equal to the wage of several years to civil servants who lost their life while on duty. Even in the Law on Disaster Protection, it states that the salary of people who do restoration work will be increased by several folds. Yet the Law on Disaster Protection and Public Service Act don't apply to meteorologists. Furthermore, there is the Law on Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring. Even this law doesn't have any specifications about social security for meteorologists. The government should take note of this.
There's nothing to it: Yadaad baikh yu baisan yum
By Mishell Hernandez
March 26 (UB Post) "Through others, we become ourselves." –Lev S. Vygotsky
Unless I make a grammatical mistake or don't catch a cultural reference, Mongolian people usually assume I'm full Mongolian, born and raised. But when they ask me where in Mongolia I'm from, which school I attended, or who my parents are, I go through the awkward process of correcting their assumptions.
I have never really lived in Mongolia, I went to school in the United States, and my father is Mexican. It's the truth, what else could I possibly say? I grew up in Washington, D.C. most of my life, and lived in Mexico before that. Before settling in Mexico, I ping ponged between Mexico, Russia and Mongolia. These constant moves left me feeling connected to each culture, but none of these sojourns were long enough to constitute citizenship in the traditional sense.
When Mongolians first learn about my mix, Mexican-Mongolian, most want to know how I feel about Mongolia; essentially, if I love Mongolia or not. For them, it's probably to gauge whether I'm "still" one of them, to then measure how far our relationship will go based on what we have in common. I see them trying to figure me out, to size me up. Some from good spirited curiosity, and others with distrust. I'm grateful for this "quizzing" process, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't tire me. Sometimes I just want to feel normal, you know, but it's the price for being a little different in a changing society.
Sometime in 2011, I began to yearn for Mongolia like never before. Through new Mongolian friendships formed in the suburbs of D.C., I quickly realized I didn't know hip vocabulary words, or how to write properly, not to mention that my reading comprehension was terrible. I didn't know good songs, or poetry, or customs. I also saw that I would never truly understand my mother and surpass the cultural divide in our relationship if I didn't first understand where and what she came from. My ignorance nauseated me.
When I finally booked a plane ticket to Ulaanbaatar for the upcoming year, my friends and family could not understand where the sudden decision came from. Maybe they thought a half Mexican raised in the Western world could not possibly care about Mongolia enough to visit, but perhaps this was precisely why I sought it out. I was ready to face the things I'd turned away from.
Ironically, once there, the only time my mix didn't really perplex any Mongolian person was when I was in the countryside, in the great khuduu. The country folk were simply happy to have me, for me to help out around the ger, and give them something to laugh about. They found anecdotes about my "broken Mongolian" particularly amusing. I noticed they didn't have a hidden agenda to push me to be a more authentic "Mongolian" as I had experienced from others in the city.
I'd thought that, if anything, the country folk – the real traditional Mongolians still living in gers and herding animals – would be the first to want to influence my identity, but it was not so. Their interaction with me was genuine. They were kind, funny, and treated me like family. They couldn't care less about my race, or where I'd grown up. With the country people, my biracialism was not a mistake to be corrected. With them, I could breathe easily.
In the quiet evenings in the khuduu, looking into the steppes with a piece of aaruul in my mouth, I could actually for the first time say I loved this Mongolia. My long established negative views of Mongolians were being challenged, and for lack of a better word, my brief stay in the country was precious because of it.
The negative views had developed since childhood, from what I'd seen firsthand in Mongolian society. As a little girl, I used to associate fights, the stench of vodka, piercing words, the burning sting of quick judgment, and intense arguments, with Mongolians. Seeing a Mongolian man wasted on alcohol still makes me uneasy. My heart begins to palpitate. My chest begins to feel heavy and constricted. My voice shakes, and I can't speak. I find myself expecting aggressive behavior and verbal abuse while already planning my exit.
Even now, my first instinct is to flee if I find myself anywhere near such things. It's just my phobia; don't judge me for it, dear reader. My mother understands this about me, which is perhaps why she never forced me to embrace a culture that left me wounded, bitter, and scared. It would explain why, out of all people, my mother was the most surprised I chose to visit Mongolia.
I eventually learned to disassociate the vices of rage, alcoholism, and hateful speech from a Mongolian context. Perhaps the will to disassociate came from a personal decision to not live in bitterness, disliking half of who I was with the same closed mindedness I condemned in others. After all, these were human vices, not Mongolian vices. Plus, my new Mongolian-American friends had been nothing but kind to me. So now, anytime someone – Mongolian or not – gives me a reason to reciprocate hate and feel anguish, it's less about fear and more about avoiding that kind of brute energy, which is surely present in all cultures in some form.
I understand now that I was merely introduced to unpleasant things through this cultural lens; the "Mongolian" lens. Maybe this is why I have a special place in my heart for this half of my heritage. Mongolia didn't sugarcoat the ugly things for me. The scars left during my childhood taught me invaluable lessons I'm not sure I would have learned anywhere else.
With that said, I have pride for Mongolia, too. I can't flaunt knowledge of every detail of Mongolian history, or recite poetry by Yavuuhuulan, Choinom, and Dashbalbar on demand, but my experience of what it means to be Mongolian is unique and I share it with you now.
"Mishell, what does it mean to be Mongolian?" someone asked me recently.
Here is my answer: To have shar is a trait I've always found distinctly Mongolian. I could best describe it as a fiery unwillingness to lose, a determination to conquer anything and anyone to get the grand prize. Shar is a double-edged sword, however. While having a healthy amount of shar can propel us forward, too much of it can mark our demise. A life lived with too much shar would be a miserable competition with everything and everyone, ultimately robbing us of joy. This is not the kind of shar I am referring to. I mean shar as the fire that helps challenge your worst enemy: yourself.
When I'm kicked down, it's shar that wills me to get back up. When I do wrong, it's shar that wills me to right it. When my losses challenge my self-esteem, it's shar that asks me to stay positive and thrive. I believe all people are completely powerless against at least one thing, and we are already done for if we do not possess the fire to roar back. This concept of shar, this fiery determination for victory, is very Mongolian to me.
Fearlessness is another quality I find quite Mongolian, stemming from the belief that the determined Mongolian can handle any challenge. Maybe I got this understanding from watching my mother jump into situations that did not grant her, or me, any guarantees. Going to Mexico by herself was inarguably brave. She made a life of her own, learned Spanish with a pocket dictionary, and made friends who still care about her today. We lived in a cozy apartment in Mexico City, she worked a nine to five job, and I attended a private school. She made an unknown territory her friend. Her long-term fearlessness outdid her short-term doubts and fears, and if that's not Mongolian, then I don't know what is.
Lastly, I've also observed the expression "yadaad baikh yu baisan yum" to be distinctly Mongolian. I could roughly interpret this phrase to mean "there's nothing to it", in a can-do attitude. It can be said nicely, and it can also be said in a tone that belittles a person, but the way I know the phrase is to encourage and to challenge someone or one's self. Its Spanish equivalent is "si se puede", it's possible, yet the two phrases are vastly different in their approach – at least to me. The former challenges unapologetically, the latter reassures with kindness. One is hard, one is soft. I say both "si se puede" and "yadaad baikh yu baisan yum" to motivate myself to get something done.
When my mom went to Mexico by herself, without any knowledge of Spanish, or knowing what she was getting herself into, I can only imagine she thought to herself, "yadaad baikh yu baisan yum." When she felt alienated in a country not her own and went door to door looking for a job, I imagine she whispered to herself, "yadaad baikh yu baisan yum."
Having finally made a comfortable life for us in Mexico, my mother's ambitions caused her to embark on yet another strenuous journey of re-acclimating and learning a new language, this time to the United States. I imagine her looking at the lengthy immigration process, and saying once again, with quiet conviction, "yadaad baikh yu baisan yum." And like so, I've heard this somewhat arrogant little phrase over and over again, getting us through hoops and hurdles big and small.
"Eej neekh ongiroo shdee," (Mom, you're so arrogant) I tease her from time to time, and she'll laugh boisterously, freely.
"Gekhdee zugeer ee, bi eejteigee adilkhan neg ongiroo yum baigaa" (But it's okay, I'm arrogant like you) I say. She knows I don't mean it in a bad way. I like the word "ongiroo", because I believe that not being ongiroo enough can weaken us, while being too ongiroo can help others bury us. Being the right amount of ongiroo is healthy; helping us to overcome obstacles with confidence.
You see, my mother was never Mongolian to me because of her blood, or her language. My upbringing did not allow me to measure her Mongolian-ness by whether she knew all her yos zanshil (cultural customs), or if she owned a deel, or if she was well versed in Mongolian history. While I admit those are important, her Mongolian-ness, in my eyes, was more to do with her drive and how it affected our life path.
I see these traits within myself now. Here in Australia. I am far away from everything I grew up around. I think about how little my hands have done for anyone and I am overwhelmed by how much more I have to do. Looking within, I also have my own demons to fight. During these fits, I suddenly remember to ask myself: Yadaad baikh yu baisan yum? Nothing. Yadaad baikh yum alga.
Then my shar begins to seethe. I do not want the world to defeat me because it knows my weaknesses. I will not succumb to my own insecurities, much less anyone else's. It's when this ongiroo fearlessness ignites that I get through the days with enough confidence that life will be okay – great, even. Amusingly, it seems to me that these kinds of empowering realizations can only be known through the same blunt and brute forces that fueled them in the first place.
I confess, my relationship with Mongolia is not perfect, and neither is it a peaceful one in my mind, but it is raw, personal, and real, and I respect it as such. There's a million ways I could answer the question, "Mishell, what does it mean to be Mongolian?" My answer today is that to be Mongolian means to be headstrong, determined, and able. And though I realize these are human virtues and not Mongolian virtues, it's enough for me to know I was taught them the Mongolian way.
Mishell Hernandez is a writer born in Moscow, raised in Mexico, Mongolia, and the United States, and currently living in Australia. She writes about her life, travels and self-discovery on her blog, Mishell's WordPress.
Former Peace Corps speaks in UB about her bike travels through Europe and Asia
By E. Khishigjargal
March 26 (UB Post) Former Peace Corps volunteer Jenna Lee Thompson gave a speech at the American Corner in Ulaanbaatar about her bike trip around the world on Tuesday.
Thompson, who is from a small town in South Carolina, spent seven months cycling alone through Asia and Europe, with "four bags and a bicycle", as she puts it in her blog.
The trip, which started from Thailand, took her through the mighty mountains of Tibet, vast landscapes of China, deserts and lakes of Mongolia, Russia and Europe and ended in London, England.
When asked about the reason for undertaking the trip, she replied, "I felt so much freedom during a week-long trip in Thailand that I wanted to experience more of it. I wanted to challenge myself and to see if I can do it."
While many dangers could be involved with a woman traveling alone, Thompson stated that she had little trouble during her trip due to the kindness and hospitality of locals.
"I think most times people felt sorry for me when they learned I was alone. A Mongolian man even gave me a full liter of homemade vodka in case I was afraid at night," she said.
Thompson had some trouble when cycling through the Gobi desert. "I was constantly worried about finding water," Thompson said. "I'm not sure I would ride through the desert again." Also, she had to replace the tires of her second-hand bike several times.
During her journey through Mongolia, Thompson picked up a few tricks for traveling through the vast landscapes. "The best way is to find your way is to follow the power lines, which are guaranteed to take you to a city," Thompson shared.
Thompson had little trouble communicating with locals, expertly using sign language, and communicating through English teachers.
"Whenever I went to a town, someone would get the English teacher, so there was no problem," she claimed.
After her long trip, Thompson said she felt more confident in herself. "I became sure that it is possible for someone like me to make such a trip," said Thompson. She currently doesn't have many plans for more travel.
Thompson currently works as an English language teacher and plans to go to Sukhbaatar and Khentii Provinces over the weekend for English language workshops.
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