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Monday, May 25, 2015

[Brokers upgrade TRQ; MNT continues rally; Denzen detained; and US-Mongolia restart TIFA talks]

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Monday, May 25, 2015

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Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original

 

Overseas Market

TRQ closed -0.45% Friday to US$4.41, EGI -6.28% to US$0.40

Mongolia to be transformed by giant Rio Tinto copper mine

Land of Genghis Khan to become global copper superpower after mega deal to build giant underground Oyu Tolgoi mine

May 23 (The Telegraph) On the face of it, Mongolia – a landlocked and wild land – hasn't changed much since Genghis Khan and his Golden Horde pillaged their way across Asia in the 13th century. The country's population is still predominantly made up of nomadic herders living in yurts and drinking airag – fermented mare's milk.

But this is all about to change after an agreement was reached between the government and Rio Tinto last week to develop one of the world's largest copper and gold mines at Oyu Tolgoi, which literally means Turquoise Hill. The development of the mine is expected to trigger a rush to exploit $1 trillion (£638bn) worth of mineral resources that are thought to exist in the country and drag its mainly agrarian society into the modern age.

Signs of this transformation are already apparent on the streets of the capital Ulan Bator where around 40pc of the country's 2.8m population now live. Skyscrapers and new office developments across the city are confronting signs of the impending change that the arrival of the mining industry will bring. Oyu Tolgoi is at the forefront of this new era, which according to the Chimediin Saikhanbileg, the prime minister, will "benefit Mongolian citizens for generations to come".

Developing the major next phase of the mine not only signals a new era of modernity for Mongolia but an important turning point for the global mining industry, which has been focused squarely on retrenchment over the past two years as the so called commodities "super cycle" ran out of momentum. Oyu Tolgoi marks the first new major project to move forward in the current cycle and could see other major miners begin to once again look at developing new capacity, especially in copper.

However, reaching a final deal to develop the underground mine, which contains 80pc of Oyu Tolgoi's monetary value has been a rocky road for both sides. The Anglo-Australian mining company shut down initial underground operations at Oyu Tolgoi amid a dispute over the terms of the project with the previous government.

This had a devastating affect on Mongolia's economy, which was already becoming dependent on revenue from the project's above-ground operations. Starved of hard currency, the government was forced to turn to China to fund its budget.

Moody's Investors Service warns that Mongolia's economy is fragile. According to its 'External Vulnerability Indicator' – which measures the adequacy of reserves relative to external debt payments in the next 12 months – Mongolia stands at 230pc in 2015; significantly above the 100pc threshold that indicates fragility in the balance of payments.

Mr Saikhanbileg, who is known as a moderniser, wants to turn this around but faces opposition from parties who are concerned that Mongolia will lose its identity and ultimately become entirely dependent on the mining industry. He even conducted his own referendum by sending a text message to all Mongolians that own a mobile phones asking them whether the country should open up to mining investment. About 56pc of people who responded said yes they wanted investment in mining to lift the country out of poverty.

Many Mongolians still live as nomads

The US-educated prime minister has even talked of his vision of using some of the proceeds from mining to establish a Mongolian sovereign wealth fund that will ensure that the country's commodities boom isn't wasted. Mongolian sovereign bonds rallied on news of the Oyu Tolgoi deal with Fitch, which rates the country B+, saying the deal would have "potentially transformative consequences".

"It is such a big project for Mongolia so there was lots of anxiety and questions," Jean-Sébastien Jacques, chief executive of Rio Tinto's copper and coal division said. Mr Jacques is understood to have personally ironed out the fine details of the deal with Mr Saikhanbileg in the kitchen of his home in London. According to the company, the personal relationship which both men struck up played an important part in moving the deal forward.

"There was a change of government a few years ago and one of the agendas at that time was to change the deal and change the agreement. It took us a long time to explain the deal to them and to change this but we got there in the end," said Mr Jacques.

The Mongolian government holds a 34pc stake in the Oyu Tolgoi mine with Rio Tinto acting as the project's operator. Its subsidiary Turquoise Hill Resources owns the remaining 66pc. Rio owns a 51pc stake in Turquoise Hill.

By the time it reaches its full potential by the end of the decade, Oyu Tolgoi will be producing enough copper and gold to account for between 30pc and 40pc of Mongolia's projected gross domestic product. Production at the smaller above-ground open mine, which started operating in 2013, is expected to reach 195,000 tonnes of copper and up to 700,000 ounces of gold in concentrates in this year.

But the real value in the project is hidden deep underground and Rio Tintowill have to excavate around 200 kilometres of tunnels, which is expected to take around five years to complete, before the mine can achieve its full potential. This phase of the project is expected to cost around $6bn to develop and Rio Tinto will finance around $4bn of this figure through a syndicate of banks.

The majority of the mine's copper production will ultimately head to China where demand for the metal is expected to rise significantly over the next decade. However, amid a deep downturn in the mining sector when shareholders are demanding that companies cut back on capital expenditure and refrain from making bold bets on new mining projects, Rio Tinto is still shouldering a big risk in Mongolia. According to Mr Jacques, this bet will pay off long term.

"Oyu Tolgoi is a large low-cost 'tier-1' asset so it doesn't matter where you are in the cycle you are going to make money from it for shareholders. To build the mine it will take several years so if you take a medium and long-term view on copper and everyone agrees that in a few years down the road there should be a shortage and therefore one should expect the price of copper to recover significantly. So we're trying to bring online the underground at a point in time when the market recovers in a significant way," said Mr Jacques.

Oyu Tolgoi will need 200 kilometres of tunnels

Nevertheless, progressing with the gigantic project is a contrarian move by Rio Tinto. Capital expenditure among the world's top 10 mining companies is expected to fall to around $64bn this year, down from almost $80.1bn two years ago when the industry really started to wake up to the scale of the slowdown in commodities demand, especially in Asia. New projects, either brownfield or new, have been off the agenda for most boards.

Copper prices have fluctuated wildly this year but ultimately the metal is viewed as one of the best commodities to invest in by the large mining groups. Last week prices climbed briefly above $6,300 per tonne for the first time in 2015 after encountering a tough start to the year. Miners are bullish about the metal's prospects mainly due to the dramatic increase in renewable energy projects such as wind farms and the growth of electric cars.

The metal is one of the few major industrial commodities where supply is tight. International Copper Study Group figures show that the global copper market fell into a deficit of 475,000 tonnes last year, 200,000 tonnes higher than 2013. Driven by China, global copper demand increased by 8pc year-on-year.

Wind turbines need vast amounts of copper

According to Wood Mackenzie, wind turbines contain up to 3.6 tonnes of copper per megawatt of power they produce. Oyu Tolgoi will go along way to meeting the world's future demand of copper. Rio Tinto estimates that the mine holds 3.8bn tonnes of proven copper, mostly underground and a further 3.9m ounces of gold.

"Demand for copper will come from energy which Oyu Tolgoi can fill. The demand for energy efficiency across the globe is very important and this is one of the key drivers for the price," said Mr Jacques.

For Mongolia the project is also vital if the country is to avoid the stress of a future balance of payments crisis and provide opportunities for its growing urbanised population who are flocking to the capital Ulan Bator from the interior. After years of deadlock Mr Saikhanbileg believes that the next phase of Oyu Tolgoi will mean that "Mongolia is back to business".

Link to article

 

Turquoise Hill Resources Price Target Raised to C$5.75 at Scotiabank 

May 21 (Analyst Ratings Network) Analysts at Scotiabank hoisted their target price on shares of Turquoise Hill Resources (TSE:TRQ) from C$5.00 to C$5.75 in a research report issued to clients and investors on Thursday. The firm currently has a "sector perform" rating on the stock. Scotiabank's price objective suggests a potential upside of 4.74% from the stock's previous close.

Shares of Turquoise Hill Resources (TSE:TRQ) opened at 5.49 on Thursday. Turquoise Hill Resources has a 1-year low of $3.17 and a 1-year high of $5.80. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $4. and a 200-day moving average of $4.. The company has a market cap of $11.05 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 343.12.

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Analysts at TD Securities raised their price target on shares of Turquoise Hill Resources from C$5.00 to C$5.50 and gave the company a "hold" rating in a research note on Wednesday. Separately, analysts at CIBC lowered their price target on shares of Turquoise Hill Resources from C$4.50 to C$4.00 and set a "sector perform" rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, March 25th.

Link to article

 

TD Securities Boosts Turquoise Hill Resources Price Target to C$5.50

May 21 (Analyst Ratings Network) Research analysts at TD Securities raised their target price on shares of Turquoise Hill Resources (TSE:TRQ) from C$5.00 to C$5.50 in a report released on Wednesday. The firm currently has a "hold" rating on the stock.

Link to release

 

Turquoise Hill Resources Upgraded to Neutral at Bank of America

May 21 (Analyst Ratings Network) Turquoise Hill Resources (NYSE:TRQ) was upgraded by equities researchers at Bank of America to a "neutral" rating in a research report issued on Thursday.

Shares of Turquoise Hill Resources (NYSE:TRQ) opened at 4.50 on Thursday. Turquoise Hill Resources has a 52-week low of $2.65 and a 52-week high of $4.74. The stock's 50-day moving average is $4. and its 200-day moving average is $3.. The company has a market cap of $9.06 billion and a P/E ratio of 281.25.

Link to article

 

Saikhanbileg: OT underground development plan to be made public on zasag.mn

May 22 (gogo.mn) PM Ch.Saikhanbileg has concluded his official visit to UEA and came back to Mongolia yesterday evening. During the press conference held at the Chinggis Khaan International Airport PM has emphasized that his visit had many positive outcomes, of which the first is the signing of the OT underground development and financing plan in Dubai. The negotiations took place in Ulaanbaatar, Umnugobi aimag, Singapore, London and were concluded in Dubai.

Further, PM have made clarifications that the PM was not the person to sign the agreement, as it was publicizied through the media and said that the representatives of the management of Erdenes Oyu Tolgoi, Turquiose HIll, Rio Tinto and Oyu Tolgoi have signed the agreement and emphasized that now the OT project is not dependent on the politics anymore and is in the hands of the companies involved. Head of the cabinet have announced that the OT project should become one of the leading projects like Erdenet.

During the negotiations both sides have focused on the development of the underground phase of OT and no suggestions to make amendments to the Agreement signed in 2009 were proposed. Another noteworthy news was the decrease in the management costs from 6 percent to 3 percent as both sides came to an agreement.

Moreover, PM mentioned that Mongolian side was enabled to monitor all the costs associated with the OT mine. Underground development agreement states that Mongolia is entitled to 54,9 percent of the yield and provisions no tax disputes. Prime Minister also announced that OT underground development plan agreement to be made public through www.zasag.mn.

PM continued: "After the announcement of the signing of the PT underground agreement many positive impacts have already been seen in the valuations of the Government bonds and bonds issued by Development Bank of Mongolia and Trade and Development Bank, which leads to improved country rating. Project that has been stalled for the last two years has moved and this is the result that GoM was seeking, now we have to put an end to the personal political ambitions and start to do the real work. As OT has moved the next step will be Tavantolgoi."

Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg also briefed on the outcomes of his visit to UEA.

Prime Minister of Mongolia Ch.Saikhanbileg met with Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and emir of Dubai at his palace during the official visit to UAE.

PM Ch.Saikhanbileg has emphasized that the current visit has opened up many opportunities such as establishment of the wealth funds to support the development in Mongolia and cooperation of the business sector representatives of both countries. Moreover, PM Ch.Saikhanbileg proposed on possible investments in industrial sector, infrastructure development and energy sectors and requested to review the cooperation opportunities as well.

PMs have discussed on the possible direct flights from UB to Dubai, agreements on investment protection and double taxation. Another agreement was on establishing the embassies in both countries.

During the meeting with Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi and Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan bin Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan the sides have agreed on cooperation in strengthening the police forces and defense trainings, while the business sector representatives and the Chamber members have expressed their interest in visiting Mongolia.

Further PM Ch.Saikhanbileg mentioned the recent investment flow secured with the visit of Indian Prime Minister Modi, which is the USD 1 billion credit line and added that additional investment sources of USD 6 billion is secured with the signing of the OT underground phase agreement.

While the visit to UEA was concluded with signing of a MOU with CIB Financial Group to establish investment fund in Mongolia to support the development projects in Mongolia. The MOU was signed by Kh.Gantsogt, Secretary General of the Ministry of Finance. PM noted that when Mongolians unite good news are following each other and this is the great example of how Public and Private Partnership can be beneficial for the country's development.

Link to article

Related:

PM:"OT Settled, Now It Is Time to Forward Tavan Tolgoi Project"Montsame, May 22

 

PCY closed +14.29% Friday to C$0.04

Prophecy Received Approximately C$2.34 Million From Equipment Sales

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - May 22, 2015) - Prophecy Development Corp. ("Prophecy" or the "Company") (TSX:PCY)(OTCQX:PRPCF)(FRANKFURT:1P2) announces further to its news release dated May 14, 2015 that Prophecy, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Red Hill Mongolia LLC, has closed the sale of substantially all of its mining and transportation equipment from the Company's Ulaan Ovoo mine and received a total of MNT 3,707,542,000 (equivalent to approximately $2,340,000) (the "Proceeds") based on today's exchange rate of $1 to MNT 1,584. The buyer chose not to purchase a few pieces of equipment which accounts for the slight difference of approximately $60,000 between the Proceeds and the original contract value announced.

The Company received consent for the sale of the equipment from its creditor, Linx Partners Ltd. ("Linx") which holds a general security interest over the Company's assets (including those held by subsidiaries). In consideration, John Lee, the beneficial owner of Linx, who is also a director and officer of the Company, received 12 million share purchase warrants of the Company exercisable at $0.05 per Common share for a period of 5 years from the date of issuance.

The Proceeds will be used to repay the Company's existing loan from the Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia and to advance the Company's Chandgana Mine Mouth Power Plant and Pulacayo Silver-Zinc-Lead Projects.

All currencies are expressed in Canadian dollars unless stated otherwise.

Link to release

 

KRI closed -3.33% Friday to C$0.435

Khan Files Second Quarter 2015 Financial Results

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 22, 2015) - Khan Resources Inc. (CSE:KRI) ("Khan" or "the Company") announced today that it has filed its financial statements and management's discussion and analysis for the six months ended March 31, 2015 on SEDAR and has posted these documents to its website www.khanresources.com.

Significant Events and Current Status

Chairman Jim Doak - The Company is greatly saddened by the loss of James B.C. Doak, Chairman of the Board of Directors. Jim died suddenly of natural causes, on April 23, 2015, while on business in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. He had travelled to Mongolia with Grant Edey, President and CEO to negotiate the collection of the award made by the international arbitration tribunal (see below). Jim made an immense contribution to the Company since he became Chairman in 2006. Jim's leadership and support for a remedy to the clear violation of Khan's rights by the Government of Mongolia was boundless. The Company will continue to realize on his vision.

International arbitration award - On March 2, 2015 the international arbitration tribunal rendered an award to Khan as compensation for the Government of Mongolia's actions in relation to the cancellation of Khan's uranium licenses in 2009. As of the date of the approval of this MD&A, May 21, 2015, the award aggregates to approximately $104 million (US) with interest currently accruing at a rate of 2.55 % or $6,500 per day. In Canadian dollars at May 20, the value of the total award was $127 million.

Cash - The Company has announced that that it intends to raise approximately $2 million in a non-brokered private placement by issuing approximately 5 million common shares of the Company at a price of $0.40 per common share. The offering is expected to close in May 2015. The proceeds of the offering will be used to advance proceedings to enforce the collection of the arbitration award. Cash balances are also being supplemented by the exercise of outstanding options and by the sale of investments.

Investments - At March 31, 2015, the Company held 8.4 million common shares of Macusani Yellowcake Inc. ("Macusani") with a fair value of $464,328. During the latest quarter the Company sold 6 million Macusani shares for proceeds of $208,500. The Company's remaining holdings represent 3.2% of the 262.9 million Macusani outstanding common shares.

The following table summarizes financial results of the Company for the six months ended March 31, 2015 and 2014.

In thousands of dollars


2015


2014

Change
%

Net loss from continuing operations

Three months ended March 31

(1,275

)

(765

)

-66.7

%

Six months ended March 31

(1,721

)

(1,851

)

7.0

%

Net loss from discontinued operations

Three months ended March 31

-

(30

)

100.0

%

Six months ended March 31

(8

)

3

366.7

%

Basic and diluted earnings per share ($)

Three months ended March 31

(0.02

)

(0.01

)

-100.0

%

Six months ended March 31

(0.02

)

(0.02

)

0.0

%

Cash flow

Six months ended March 31

117

(1,566

)

107.5

%

Cash and cash equivalents

As at March 31

469

665

-29.5

%

Working Capital

As at March 31

692

1,242

-44.3

Link to release

 

CG closed +1.47% Friday to C$7.59

Mongolians Protest Centerra Gold Mine

The controversial Canadian company seems set to replicate its Kyrgyzstan experience in Mongolia.

By Ryskeldi Satke

May 22 (The Diplomat) Centerra Gold's Gatsuurt project is about a two-hour drive north from Mongolia's capital Ulaanbaatar, in the sparsely populated Selenge province. The area is home to springs that are tributaries of the Selenge river, which flows into the Russian lake Baikal. The province boasts some beautiful scenery: forests, farmland and pasture.

As we drive into the Mandal district township of 25,000 or so residents, my first impression is that this small provincial city was much like any other quiet settlement. But appearances can be deceiving. Meetings with families, activists, NGOs, and local authorities over the next two days reveal grave concerns among locals over the projected impact of the Gatsuurt open pit mine. Certainly, it was clear that Mongolian activists are viewing this issue as a threat to the local way of life, aside from the public dispute with Centerra over the right to access and worship Mount Noyon, a sacred place in Mongolian culture and history which, according to local accounts, has been fenced off on legal grounds shrouded in ambiguity.

In 2013, the Canadian government recommended that Centerra engage more effectively with local communities after complaints by a coalition of Mongolian and Canadian NGO's over the Toronto-based miner's alleged misconduct in Mongolia. However, Centerra's record in the province and nationwide remains controversial, given a lack of communication, allegations of corruption directed at Mandal district authorities, and reports of harassment of community activists by the Mongolian police.

According to Chimedregzen, leader of the Save Mount Noyon Movement, "Boroo gold mine came into place when the socialist system collapsed. No one was aware of the mining impact then, it was a wake up call. Mount Noyon feeds eight small rivers in the area and contamination of this water resource will have an impact on Baikal lake across the states. There are 360 medicinal herbs at Mount Noyon and in the surrounding territory. The crops, pastures and soil will be affected by mining blasts. Mandal population is against the Gatsuurt mine."

Chimedregzen claims that the local government and MPs have ignored the issue, despite the filing of 14 public complaints and petitions and the collection of 160,000 signatures opposed to the mine. Indeed, one of the major concerns raised in Mandal district, during meetings by the Mongolian NGO's and local environmental activists about levels of arsenic in ground wells and surface waters in this region, has been substantiated by a 2014 environmental study. A team of Mongolian and German researchers investigated the incidence of arsenic in ground, surface, waste and drinking water in Northern Mongolia, concluding that concentrations of arsenic in the tailing ponds (Boroo and Gatsuurt mines) could contaminate the environment in the coming years. To be clear, Gatsuurt was mined before Centerra arrived on the scene. The previous miner's tailing pond is a reminder of the potential impact.

A few miles from the gated Gatsuurt gold mine, local herder Lkhaijav and his family are grappling with the effects of the mining. Lkhaijav and his wife said that drinking water is not the same anymore and it has contributed to a growing number of illnesses among local residents in recent years. Lkaijav's child had hepatitis last year, although the source of the illness was unclear. Perhaps the most visible effect of the mining is evident in the skin discoloration of locals, who in fact insist that their livestock was suffering the most from the contaminated water, and animals were being born with deformations. The herder said the local government had ignored the complaints and grievances.

Instead, authorities harass the environmental activists and locals opposing the Gatsuurt operations. Meanwhile, local residents are claiming corruption in the Mandal district administration, which reportedly is in close contact with Centerra Gold. The Canadian mining company provides financial resources to the local administration for use as a development fund. The fund lacks oversight, residents say. Local communities believe that Centerra is failing to communicate with the local population and as a result the company's efforts to promote social benefits from the mining project have created public mistrust rather than approval, further dividing the community. Locals living near the mine stressed that Centerra's social projects (a dairy shop that has since ceased operation and a health facility for seniors) have benefited only the relatives of the governor of the Mandal district (who, incidentally, was formerly an environmental officer in the same district). Following a public campaign in 2013 organized by the Mongolian United Movement of Rivers and Lakes, this year once again locals are petitioning against the Gatsuurt project. Centerra Gold representatives declined to meet with our team in Ulaanbaatar, or to discuss public concerns emanating from the Gatsuurt mine.

Kumtor Redux

Essentially, Centerra's conduct in Mongolia resembles its two decades in Kyrgyzstan. The Kumtor mining project there has accounted for 80 percent of Centerra's profits. In both cases, Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan, the impact of mining on local communities is triggering mass discontent against the company, even as Centerra denies the negative social impact. I have co-authored series of investigative reports on Centerra Gold's links to the corruption and bribery of former Kyrgyz government officials, even as the Canadian company undertakes the latest contentious restructuring of the Kumtor mine, its third in the last decade. The reports have looked at the company's environmental record with the Kumtor project and its unwillingness to take responsibility for destroying the Davydov and Lysyi glaciers in the Kyrgyz Republic. Centerra Gold has blamed global warming for the accelerated melting of the Kumtor ice sheet, even as it has excavated glaciers an average 30 meters per year since 1998 (compared with a climate change effect on nearby glaciers of 10 meters over the same period) and dumping waste rock on the mine premises.

Local Kyrgyz communities are also now facing the prospect of the toxic tailing dam at Kumtor contaminating not only the local water resources but the regional trans-national river Syr Darya, which flows into Uzbekistan. And just as in Mongolia, Centerra Gold operations have caused mass protests and social unrest in the Kyrgyz Republic, which led to allegations of torture during sweeping arrests of Kyrgyz environmental activists and local residents in October 2013. The Canadian mining company denies any involvement in wrongdoing in Kyrgyzstan, insisting that it strictly follows domestic laws and international standards. Despite the denials, Centerra's impact (direct or indirect) on social processes and political developments in both Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia is very real.

Ryskeldi Satke is a contributing writer with research institutions and news organizations in Central Asia, Turkey and the US. Contact e-mail: rsatke at gmail.com. Special thanks to Fidanka Bacheva McGrath, CEE Bankwatch, Sukhgerel Dugersuren, founder of OT Watch, Aldraa with No Nukes Asia, Solongo Zorigt with Rivers Without Boundaries, and Baatarkhuyag, leader of the Fire Nation coalition.

Link to article

 

TPO last traded A$0.21 March 20

Tian Poh Shareholders Approve Acquisition of Zuun Mod Mo-Cu Project from Erdene

AGM 2014 Results

May 22, Tian Poh Resources Ltd. (ASX:TPO) --

Link to release

 

XAM closed -4.76% Friday to A$0.10

Xanadu Mines Presentation: Driving Ahead In a Copper Hotspot

Asia Mining Congress Singapore, May 2015

May 25, Xanadu Mines Ltd. (ASX:XAM) --

Link to preso

 

FMG Mongolia Fund Jumps 10.5% in April

Year

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Year

2015

-6.07%

0.50%

-2.97%

10.46%

1.17%

2014

-3.70%

2.12%

-5.27%

0.00%

-5.96%

-1.27%

2.36%

1.46%

6.19%

-8.16%

-4.44%

-5.31%

-20.74%

2013

-1.33%

-5.38%

-8.27%

-7.46%

-3.96%

-3.17%

-4.42%

-6.68%

-3.12%

3.22%

-4.40%

3.65%

-34.86%

2012

0.00%

-0.20%

-0.30%

-3.23%

-2.40%

-2.77%

2.63%

-8.13%

-2.56%

-4.66%

-3.26%

7.38%

-17.10%

Link to release

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Local Market

MSE Weekly Review: Top 20 -1.1% to 12,629.57, T-Bills ₮25 Billion, Stocks ₮46.7 Million

Ulaanbaatar, May 22 (MONTSAME) Five stock trades were held at Mongolia's Stock Exchange on May 18-22, 2015. In overall, 305 thousand and 427 units of 44 JSCs were traded costing MNT 25 billion 060 million 732 thousand and 846.90.

"Merex" /30 thousand units/, "Hermes center" /5,625 units/, "APU" /4,070 units/, "Gobi" /1,093 units/ and "Khokh gan" /760 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "APU" (MNT 13 million 847 thousand and 350), "Gobi" (MNT eight million 394 thousand and 845), "Darkhan nekhii" (MNT four million 420 thousand and 600), "Bayangol hotel" (MNT three million and 640 thousand) and "Merex" (MNT two million and 610 thousand).

The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 246 billion 791 million 487 thousand and 484. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 12,629.57 and the all index of MSE was 925.99.

Link to article

Link to MSE report

 

54.7B 52-Week at 15.75%, 9.9B 3-Year at 16.875% Government Notes on Offer at MSE, Closing 5/26

May 20 (MSE) --

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

2.    The purpose of the issuance of bond: State treasury cash management 

3.    Offering scope of securities: Offering to the public

4.    Type of securities: Government securities

5.    Face value: MNT 100,000 

6.    Discounted price: -

7.    Total amounts issued: 547,627 Units 

8.    Short-term securities performance:

 Government Securities name 

 Amount /units/

Value /billion MNT/ 

 Maturity /week/

Form of Interest payment

Interest rate (percent) 

 Starting date of the order

Closing date of the trading 

 ЗГХБ-Б-52-308

547,631

54.7

52

Monthly

15.75%

2015.05.20

2015.05.26

9.    Long-Term securities performance:  

 Government Securities name 

 Amount /units/

Value /billion MNT/ 

 Maturity /year/

Form of Interest payment

Interest rate (percent) 

 Starting date of the order

Closing date of the trading 

 ЗГЭБ-У-156-309

 99,766

 9.9

 3

Semi-annually

16.875%

2015.05.20

2015.05.26 

10.  Coupon payment of long-term government retail bonds will be paid on 2015.08.15, 2016.02.15, 2016.08.15, 2017.02.15, 2017.08.15, 2018.02.15, 2018.05.12.

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

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

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

Link to release

 

BDSec: Gobi Cashmere – BUY, Target Price ₮11,247, Upside 49.1%

Gobi Cashmere (GOV) - MSE's Best Company of 2014

Closing price (MNT): 7,615

Rating: BUY

Target price (MNT): 11,247

Forecast dividend yield: 1.4%

Potential return: 49.1%

May 20 (BDSec) Cashmere is the second largest hard currency-earning export of Mongolia after mining products making the country the second largest producer of cashmere behind China with about 6,700 tonnes of raw cashmere per year or 40% of the world market. However, Mongolia is using only 10% of potential capacity in cashmere industry. Government of Mongolia has pledged to support non-mining sectors, specifically cashmere industry, in all ways as Mongolia is seeking to diversify its economy, now heavily reliant on mining.

With the recently signed Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Japan, we should soon start seeing increase in cashmere export to Japan.

Gobi's sales are growing each year to a new record high for the last 6 years. In 2014, Gobi proved it could keep the growth going, with sales and earnings growing 35% and 48%, respectively, which made Gobi to be the most profitable MSE-listed company in 2014 with net profit of MNT 10.5 billion (~US$ 5.6m).

Mongolian Stock Exchange named Gobi as the "Best MSE-listed Company of 2014" based on measures such as daily turnover, mar­ket capitalization, continuous profitable business, transparency and corporate governance.

Gobi Cashmere has 48 shops, including 10 new openings in 2014 and 2 new openings in 2015 so far, over 20 cities in 12 different countries. Since exports represent 40% of Gobi's sales, the declining currency has had a positive impact on their results, while about half of Gobi's domes­tic sales are foreign tourist oriented. We expect their exports to increase more than 20% this year.

While Mongolian cashmere is competing with Chinese cashmere on exports, China itself is a huge opportunity for Mongolian cashmere for its proximity and growing domestic market. The Company started opening franchise shops in China's cities beginning last year.

At MNT 7,615, the Company is just trading at a multiple of 5.7 times earnings and the Company looks capable of keeping its earnings growth at 20-30 percent for years to come. The Company's market val­ue as at MNT 59.4 billion or US$ 30.6 million. We believe the stock has been undervalued for a long time. For a mature company like Gobi with annual sales of US$ 33.9M, earnings of US$ 5.4M, market share of 40% in Mongolia, franchise shops in more than 20 cities in 12 countries around the world, continuous +20% annual growth rate, we think it is pretty low. With capacity utilization of 67%, the Company has a space to grow. The company has been paying annual dividends (~10% payout) to shareholders every year since 2010. We believe Gobi Cashmere is one of the best picks out there on MSE.

Cashmere as largest cash-earning industry outside mining

Cashmere is the second largest hard currency-earning export of Mongolia after mining products making the country the second largest producer of cashmere behind China with about 6,700 tonnes of raw cashmere per year or 40% of the world market.

But out of this 6,700 tonnes of cashmere, only over 10 percent goes into further processes and becomes end-products such as coats, jackets, sweaters, pants, hats, scarves etc, and the rest are exported after first process. Mongolia is selling only about 1.2 million units of cashmere knitwear (40% goes to export) per year, while world's largest cashmere producer Erdos Group in Inner Mongolia alone has production capacity of over 10 million units. Gobi Cashmere has production capacity of over 700 thousand units and it made about 470 thousand units last year, which takes up 40 percent of market share in Mongolia. Number of its shoppers are growing as they offer a wide range of styles, quality, designs and prices.

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Economy

Bank rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy 1,921 Sell 1,937), Khan (Buy 1,921 Sell 1,936), Golomt (Buy 1,920 Sell 1,937), XacBank (Buy 1,922 Sell 1,936), State Bank (Buy 1,918 Sell 1,936)

BoM MNT Rates: Friday, May 22 Close

 

 

5/22

5/21

5/20

5/19

5/18

5/15

5/14

5/13

5/12

5/11

USD

1,935.23

1,936.77

1,939.09

1,940.60

1,940.73

1,943.19

1,943.88

1,944.13

1,944.13

1,945.45

EUR

2,158.65

2,150.59

2,148.80

2,193.56

2,216.70

2,216.21

2,217.58

2,173.34

2,173.34

2,176.76

CNY

312.21

312.27

312.49

312.77

312.80

313.10

313.52

313.10

313.10

313.32

GBP

3,034.34

3,007.03

3,002.87

3,040.05

3,049.08

3,065.67

3,063.94

3,027.98

3,027.98

3,002.41

RUB

38.72

38.62

39.04

39.26

39.44

38.89

38.68

37.90

37.90

38.11

MNT vs USD (blue), CNY (red) in last 1 year:

Link to rates

 

Mogi: money, money, money!

BoM issues 804.5 billion 1-week bills at 13%, total outstanding +374% to ₮934 billion

May 22 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 804.5 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release

 

Mortgages and risk in the construction industry

May 21 (Mongolian Economy) Any economics 101 textbook will tell you that prices increase when quantity demanded is higher than quantity supplied. As if the invisible hand were trying to teach us a lesson, housing prices in Mongolia have risen for the past two years.

The Bank of Mongolia granted MNT 800 billion to construction companies to stabilise prices by increasing the housing supply. In addition, MNT two billion was issued to finance mortgage loans.

As a result, 30 thousand residential apartments went into operation in the last two years and 25 thousand more are expected to be completed in 2015.

In the past, residential apartments for 55 thousand households were constructed in a span of 10 years, but construction companies have already started projects to do the same thing in only three years.

Can all these be sold?

If the amount of buyers does not decrease from last year, MNT one trillion in mortgage loans will be sought by people wanting to buy a home, and residential apartments for 12,500 households valued at MNT 1.4 trillion in total will be sold to their owners.

Aside from that, if we consider that 2,100 apartments larger than 80 square metres which were not covered by the eight percent mortgage loans will now be covered, that means a total of 14,600 of the 25,000 will be sold; 10,400 apartments will remain unsold. So, will construction companies drop prices to sell more, or will they halt construction? No doubt tough challenges lie ahead for them.

If 1,669 civil servants are laid off and cannot afford to pay the mortgage and sell their apartments, the situation will worsen and housing prices will fall. If housing prices decrease significantly, the value of the real estate used as collateral will depreciate and the banking sector will be at risk. Likewise, the value of people's assets which were obtained at high prices will also decrease.

Both banks and people will carry risk of losses if housing prices will decline drastically.

Banks' collateral value will fall if housing prices decrease, and they will sell the assets of debtors who are unable to pay the loans at lower prices. Thus, banks would stand to lose and would not be interesting in reducing the down payment.

At the end of 2014, 7.4 percent of banks' loans to the construction sector are past due and non-performing. This figure reached 35 percent during the previous crisis. There's the risk that MNT 575 billion in bank loans will not be paid on time, or even default if this history repeats. Therefore, banks will not give loans for incomplete apartments and we can't fault them for not wanting to.

Investments in the construction sector made it seem as though investments in this sector will have a relatively high return than other sectors because of the housing boom. This may have reduced the amount of investment in other sectors, affecting their growth, and in turn may have caused declines in housing sales.

Public debt has grown faster than savings making, making people net borrowers

Public debt has grown faster than savings for the past two years. The above graphic shows that people have become net borrowers.

Public savings had exceeded public debt by MNT 1.3 trillion in 2012, and people were financing private sector from this; however, savings was lower than debt by MNT two trillion in 2014.

People deposit the remainder of their paycheque after consumption, and this in turn is loaned to entrepreneurs. This causes increases investment and is the foundation of a well-functioning economy. Thus, the possibility to support growth through savings vanishes as the people become net borrowers.

It is becoming more important to incentivise public savings than supporting public lending, because savings will translate to loans for entrepreneurs, becoming investment to support economic difficulties.

Situations that are forming:

1.    Declines in housing sales and the construction sector's inability to continue production puts the banks at risk

2.    A sharp decline in housing prices will put people and banks at risk

3.    Increasing demand for housing by reducing down payments will put banks at risk

4.    Granting loans in order to complete incomplete constructions will put banks at risk.

5.    Increasing loan amounts for housing will have a negative impact on investment in other sectors. Therefore, increasing real income, meaning boosting employment and keeping inflation below nominal wage growth, is the only risk-free choice. Unfortunately, this process is complex and requires time.

6.    Issuing government guarantees on certain amounts on housing loan down payments solves the problem in the short run, but the mortgage growth itself carries risks.

Mortgage loan crises, such as the US subprime mortgage crises sparked in 2007 has led to the following conclusions:

1.    As the mortgage loans increase, real estate price bubbles are created and threatens financial stability.

2.    Increases in mortgage loans help to predict financial crises more than growths in other types of loans.

3.    Mortgage loan crises have deeper effects and require longer time frames to get out, because public savings become loans to entrepreneurs and support investment that helps overcome the crisis. However, if the amount of mortgage loans is high, it further exacerbates the problem.

Source: Mongolian Economic Analysis and Research Center NGO aims to ensure a flow of high quality news and information about the Mongolian economy to the public and deliver analyses and research about future economic prospects and its impact on business to decision makers, entrepreneurs and investors. The goal is to help individuals and entities make the correct financial decisions; provide an opportunity to monitor policy makers' decisions; and contribute to the sustainable development of Mongolia.

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Oyu Tolgoi deal is a win for Mongolia but no game-changer for 2015

Terrence Edwards in Ulaanbaatar

May 19 (bne) Mongolia's prime minister has triumphed with a landmark agreement to expand the giant Oyu Tolgoi copper mine that will help fulfill his promise to use the mining sector as a catalyst to lift Mongolia's weak economy. But the benefits may not come soon enough to make a definitive impact this year.

Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg received lukewarm backing from voters in a text referendum in February to push through planned expansion projects for the country's largest mines, as a means of getting the economy moving again amid falling foreign investment and a soft commodities market. Analysts say the premier has until Mongolia's traditional summer festival in July, called Naadam, to settle affairs before politicians will be too focused on pandering to the nationalist segments of the electorate to allow any possibly controversial mining agreements to be signed. 

Mongolian officials on May 18 finally inked an agreement to expand the Oyu Tolgoi mine with representatives of its joint venture partner, global miner Rio Tinto, after nearly two years of wrangling. "Mongolia is now well positioned to attract and welcome new flows of foreign capital into its economy," read a press release from the Mongolia government under the header, "Mongolia is Open for Business".

Rio Tinto owns 66% of the mine indirectly through majority-owned Turquoise Hill Resources. The Mongolian government owns the remaining 34%.

The agreement signals that both parties are ready to move forward with the launch of construction of an underground mining complex for Oyu Tolgoi, which could extend the mine's life by more than three decades. It also settles the question of $30mn in tax arrears the government claims Rio owes. "Oyu tolgoi will pay a quantum of $30mn," Rio's copper chief, Jean-Sébastien Jacques, told bne IntelliNews over the phone.

Jacques lauded Mongolia's government for helping to reach an amicable conclusion. "I think what we've done today is taken good and proper steps," he says, while noting that "no change whatsoever" was made to the original investment agreement signed in 2009, which some critics of Rio had been calling for.

No change overnight

Andrew Fennell, an analyst at Fitch Ratings, says the deal will put Mongolia on the road toward economic stability. "We believe this deal will provide relief to many of Mongolia's key credit weaknesses, principally its strained external liquidity and mounting refinancing risks," he says. In past notes Fitch has observed that Oyu Tolgoi could deliver some sorely needed foreign investment, while encouraging investors to look again at the opportunities in the country's mining sector.

But any effect won't be instantaneous. The Oyu Tolgoi mining unit must still submit a feasibility study for the project – last estimated to cost $5.4bn – to a Mongolian panel for approval. It will also have to return to lenders such as the World Bank's lending arm, the International Finance Corporation, to renegotiate terms for a $4bn project financing package that expired last year while the dispute was ongoing.

The Asian Development Bank has projected just 3% GDP growth for Mongolia this year, and it doesn't believe Oyu Tolgoi can change that, according to its outlook for 2015. Instead, it predicts that consensus on the mine could lift growth to 5% in 2016.

While 5% growth in GDP is considered a lot for a developed country's large economy, for Mongolia's relatively minescule economy of about $12bn it leaves plenty of missed potential. It's also a far cry from growth during the boom years in 2011 and 2012 of 17.5% and 12.3%, respectively.

Victory for the premier

While it may not mean any immediate relief for the economy, the deal is a feather in the cap for the relatively new prime minister. Saikhanbileg's appointment in November followed the forced exit of Norov Altankhuyag, who lost a confidence vote in the parliament because he was seen as ineffective in stopping the economic deterioration.

It also may build some momentum for other mining projects in the pipeline before the coalition government inevitably fractures again. Lawmakers will likely begin fighting amongst themselves again this fall to capture the public's attention in the lead-up to 2016 parliamentary elections.

The Tavan Tolgoi coking coal mine is the next main project to attend to. A deal for a management takeover of the state-owned mining unit that holds the licenses to the country's largest coking coal resources was put on ice by the legislature the same day that a signing ceremony was expected. Parliament Speaker Zandaakhuu Enkhbold took on the government plan directly by calling it a violation of Mongolian law, even though he belongs to the same party as Saikhanbileg. He demanded a parliamentary review of the proposed deal. China's Shenhua Energy and Japan's Sumitomo have partnered with Hong Kong-listed Mongolian Mining Corporation for the proposed takeover and have been asked to invest as much as $4bn into expanding the mine.

Another potential money-spinner is the Gatsuurt gold project owned by Canada's Centerra Gold. Although the mine has reserves of 1.1mn ounces of gold contained in ore, it has been heavily criticized by local and international groups who say it threatens sites where graves and artefacts from the ancient Hunnu Empire of the Mongols have been found. Centerra, for its part, argues that the grave sites are 7km away from the mining site and has promised to respect those areas. "If successful, Gatsuurt project would be flagship transaction advancing foreign direct investment," reads a January note from Independent Mongolian Metals and Mining Research.

Although it may be too late to turn the economy around this year, with Oyu Tolgoi and perhaps some other mining projects due to restart, Prime Minister Saikhanbileg has set the stage for a stronger economy in the crucial election year of 2016.

Link to article

 

Policy Adjustment Measures and Recovery of FDI Needed to Restore Resiliency of Mongolian Economy – World Bank

Ulaanbaatar, May 15, 2015 (World Bank)—Mongolia's current account has improved in the first three months of 2015 due to sharp declines in imports, yet further dampening of FDI continued to strain the balance of payments, according the Mongolia Monthly Economic Brief, released today by the World Bank.

"The improved current account reflects declining global oil prices and weakening import demands amidst a slowing economy. Yet, sharp declines in imports also largely reflect continued declines in foreign direct investment, which in turn adversely affected the balance of payments," said Taehyun Lee, World Bank Senior Economist. "External accounts would likely stay under pressure should foreign direct investment remain weak in the remainder of the year," he added.

The Economic Brief also noted that the tighter monetary and fiscal policies helped improve the current account balance in recent months. The report underscored underscored the importance of ensuring credibility of such policy measures with proper implementation in order to bring the Mongolian economy back on a sustainable growth path.

Mongolia Economic Briefs will provide just-in-time analyses of key monthly economic developments, with a monthly focus on newly released economic reports and policies.

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Mongolia's economy through economists' eyes

May 21 (UB Post) Representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), Ministry of Finance and Mongol Bank made a report on the nation's current economic condition, possible risks and opportunities from their point of view.

Permanent representative of IMF to Mongolia Neil Saker: There are some positive results in the macro-economic regulations

Currently, we can't say that Mongolia is facing an economic recession. It is true that there were some difficulties in recent years. Foreign economy and market environment are not pleasant for the country. Everyone knows that there was a sharp decrease in copper and coal prices. Moreover, foreign direct investment (FDI) has drastically dropped. All these factors had very negative influence on the nation's economic condition. Last year, increase in state budget expenditure impacted the balance of payments. But now I think that the policy environment has improved from before.

Policy makers understood the economic condition very well, and they are implementing an integrated plan for a wide-range of macro changes. Fully fulfilling the plan will definitely improve the situation in the next few years. FDI, which has a crucial role in the economy, is almost frozen. This also slows down the economic growth. Generally, main economic drivers are slowing. Inflation is also expected to decrease. I recommend drawing FDI by advancing the investment environment. The government of Mongolia also understands this issue.

We can say that there are some positive results in the macro-economic regulation. Currency demand has also decreased. In other word, there will be less pressure on exchange rates and foreign currency reserves.

In the last few months, exchange rate was comparatively stable. Starting investments of the mega projects, improving the investment environment, and continuous implementation of the integrated plan for macroeconomics will bring positive results in the nation's economy. It will also bring FDI to Mongolia, and create sustainable and healthy economic condition.

Head of the Economic Policy Department of the Ministry of Finance, G.Batkhurel: Finance Ministry looks to ways to compensate budget deficit

Mongolia's economic growth has been slowing down since 2014. FDI has drastically decreased, slowing down the economy. During this time, the cabinet decided to work on a plan to prevent potential crisis and overcome economic difficulties. The plan was approved by Parliament, and approval of the plan opened up possibilities for overcoming the crisis. Even though only few months have passed since the plan was put into action, there are already some positive results. For example, in the first quarter of 2015, foreign trade income had increased, reaching 370 million USD. This result positively influenced the balance of payments. Also MNT exchange rate has stabilized, slightly strengthening its value.

Although our ministry faced some challenges, on the other side we see them as possibilities. We improved budget structure with a more realistic plan for the budget expenditure. Budget revenue assumptions are also "down to earth".

Even today, prices of some raw materials have not recovered well to fully generate budget revenues in the foreign market. But amending the budget and decreasing its expenditure will bring positive effects in the total budget balance. Every year, the state budget is approved to be equal to certain amount of the nominal price to GDP. Regarding this year, the budget was approved equal to five percent of GDP. This erases problems in financing the budget deficit. Currently, Mongolia is doing this by trading government bonds in the domestic market, but this solution is comparatively high in cost.

Therefore, this solution will not benefit the private sector. In other words, commercial banks will have to purchase government bonds instead of issuing loans. Loans are investment for the private sector. This is not a good solution, so the Finance Ministry is aiming to change this structure. In the first quarter of 2015, government bonds worth only 30 billion MNT were traded domestically. This figure is low compared to the budget deficit. Even though financing the budget deficit is challenging, we are comparing many financing possibilities. Currently, issues on amending the 2015 budget is under discussion. We are studying the experiences of other countries on improving the budget deficit and budget balance.

Permanent Representative of WB to Mongolia James Anderson: Sharp drop in investment was a big challenge for Mongolia

Sudden decrease of FDI was a big challenge for sure. The government had to work in a condition where economic growth, import, and FDI have all decreased. The most important thing is to focus on steps and take measures to ensure the nation's economic growth.

The New Government for Solutions was established five or six month ago, but they started talking honestly and openly about difficulties. They recognized previous decisions that impacted the sudden decrease of FDI, and started taking measures to improve the investment environment and fix prior mistakes.

I think that the new government is implementing sustainable laws on budget, reducing budget expenditure and generating real assessments on the current situation. Therefore, the objectives are more based on reality and achievable. But now the most vital thing is to implement the plan in real life. Some objectives are already being implemented, while others are to be implemented soon. It is important to plan things based on real calculations of revenue.

The macroeconomic management issue can't be considered finished. This issue will also arise in the future. Especially for Mongolia, where the economy is greatly dependent on the natural resource sector, the macroeconomy is crucial.

As for the investment environment, I think that the government started giving positive signals to foreign and domestic markets. The cabinet recognized that prior decisions impacted the weakening trust of investors, and commenced real steps for advancing the current condition.

It is obvious that Mongolia wants to fix mistakes from the previous decisions, but it can be explained from many sides.

Firstly, state officials are pursuing short-term profits, and rushing too much to establish big agreements and negotiations. But this is not the main point. The most crucial thing is to create a condition for drawing long-term investment. Mongolia needs time for creating trust, recover confidence, and impress foreigners.

Advisor to the Governor of Mongol Bank S.Bold: Economic condition is stable and positive

Reviewing the macroeconomic and monetary policies that have been implemented in the last two years will show that these measures were taken to prevent potential crisis in the nation's economy in 2013. In a country where structure has problems, that is reliant on few sectors and lack a diversified economy, implementing measures to address these issues was needed. The response measure is choosing a policy on stabilizing the nation's economy.

The pressure on the income of the public was mitigated. Therefore, we prevented creating unstable conditions in the finance sector, namely prevented losing bank liquidity and capital adequacy ratio. We commenced a long-term sustainable saving policy.

While reviewing the macroeconomic indicators of the first four months of 2015, it shows positive results and principal changes.

There have been great changes in the foreign trade balance and current balance of payments. This result is expected to be maintained in the future. It means that the economy will still grow, even though FDI has stopped. Inflation is expected to decrease to the targeted level.

Foreign currency reserves are also stable and able to supply import demands for six months. Last month, the currency exchange market was stable without any interference from Mongol Bank. We overcame the most difficult period, and the basic condition for a healthy and sustainable growth has been created.

We could say that the long-term economic trends of Mongolia are positive, but we will face short-term challenges. In a challenging situation like this, FDI will not improve. We should use other resources, ways and methods to stimulate economic growth. In particular, portfolio and other investments. By doing this, we will be able to maintain a balanced economic growth in the short term. Of course, at the same time we have to keep taking measures to bring FDI. FDI will boost the nation's economy for sure.

Source: News.mn

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Politics & Legal

IAAC Detains Former Erdenes TT Chairman G.Denzen

May 22 (gogo.mn) Yesterday, former Deputy Head of Cabinet Secretariat of Government of Mongolia G.Denzen was kept in detention.

He had just arrived from Germany and Independent Authority against Corruption of Mongolia (IAAC) called him to give testimony and directly kept him in detention.

He was accused of illegaly providing MNT 17 billion bid to his wife`s company named "Gobi Power" when he was leading BoD of "Erdenes-Tavan Tolgoi" JCS.

According to the sources, he was forbidden to meet with his lawyer.

Link to article

 

Parliament Session Agenda for May 21

May 21 (gogo.mn) Plenary session is scheduled for today. 

1. State Budget 2016 announcement and draft law on State Budget 2017-2018 forecasts and approval of Debt Management 2016-2018 Strategy.

2. Amendments to the Budget Stability Law

- Introduction by MP L.Erdenechimeg

3. Draft Laws on Budget Adjustments and Human Development Fund

- Introduction by MP D.Gankhuyag

4. Draft Law on Custom Tax Exemption

- Introduction by MP B.Bolor

5. Draft Amendments to the Law on Pension Insurance Funds

- Introduction by MP Ts.Oyungerel

6. Draft Law on Taxes and other related draft laws

- Introduction by Minister of Finance J.Erdenebat

- Introduction by MP D.Demberel

7.  Conclusion of Constitutional Court

- Introduction by member of the Constitutional Court D.Solongo

- Introduction by MP Sh.Tuvdendorj

8. Regulation on drafting project of legislation, submitting and implementation of legislation

- Introduction by MP Ts.Nyamdorj

9. Draft Law on the Criminal Case Investigation

- Introduction by Minister of Justice D.Dorligjav

- Introduction by MP B.Choijilsuren

10. Law on Police and other related draft laws

- Introduction by Minister of Justice D.Dorligjav

- Introduction by MP D.Dorligjav

11. Law on Prosecutor`s Office and other related draft laws

- Introduction by Minister of Justice D.Dorligjav

- Introduction by MP Ts.Oyunbaatar

12. Amendments to Property Mortgage Law 

- Introduction by Minister of Justice D.Dorligjav

- Introduction by MP L.Bold

13. Draft Law on Children`s Protection and other related laws

- Introduction by Minister of Population Development and Social Welfare S.Erdene

- Introduction by MP S.Odontuya

14. Draft Law on Children`s Right and other related laws

- Introduction by Minister of Population Development and Social Welfare S.Erdene

- Introduction by MP D.Sarangerel

15. Draft Resolution of the State Great Hural on  "Approval of State Energy Policy"

- Introduction by Minister of Mining R.Jigjid

- Introduction by MP A.Tleikhan

Link to article

 

Parliament Session Agenda for May 22

May 22 (gogo.mn) Plenary session is scheduled for today.

At 09AM:

1. Approval of 2016-2018 Debt Management Strategy 

- Introduction by MP L.Erdenechimeg

2. Draft Law on Children`s Protection and other relevant laws

- Introduction by Minister of Population Development and Social Welfare S.Erdene

- Introduction by MP S.Odontuya

3. Draft Law on Children`s Right and other relevant laws

- Introduction by Minister of Population Development and Social Welfare S.Erdene

- Introduction by MP D.Sarangerel

4. Draft Resolution of the State Great Hural on  "Approval of State Energy Policy"

- Introduction by Minister of Energy D.Zorigt

- Introduction by MP A.Tleikhan

5. Amendments to Property Mortgage Law 

- Introduction by Minister of Justice D.Dorligjav

- Introduction by MP L.Bold

6. Draft Law on the Criminal Case Investigation

- Introduction by Minister of Justice D.Dorligjav

- Introduction by MP B.Choijilsuren

7. Law on Police and other related draft laws

- Introduction by Minister of Justice D.Dorligjav

- Introduction by MP Sh.Tuvdendorj

8. Law on Prosecutor`s Office and other related draft laws

- Introduction by Minister of Justice D.Dorligjav

- Introduction by MP Ts.Oyunbaatar

Link to article

 

Mongolia to Exempt Austrian Credit Products from Customs

Ulaanbaatar, May 21 (MONTSAME) The plenary meeting of the State Great Khural on Thursday ran the first reading of the draft law on Customs Tax Exemption and adopted it.

Accordingly, the products that are to be imported in a scope of the easy-term credit allowed by Austrian government will be exempted from customs taxes. The Australian government's easy-term credit of EUR 40 million will be dedicated to the development in water distribution in localities, healthcare and social security sectors.

In specific, such projects will be implemented as on renovating medical equipment of the National Oncology Center, the National Health Center for Mother and Children, and on renovating equipment and building capacity of the First State Central Hospital, also a project on equipment-renovation and capacity-building of a hospital of state special servants, a project on introducing a technology to renovate fresh and sewage waters tubes without excavation, and a project on improving the capability of fire-fighting technical equipment of the emergency departments.

Link to article

 

Draft Amendment Submitted to Support Renewable Energy Development

Ulaanbaatar, May 21 (MONTSAME) Parliamentarians A.Tleikhan, D.Sarangerel, Ts.Bayarsaikhan and D.Sumyabazar Thursday submitted to parliament a draft amendment to the law on renewable energy.

They say the current law on renewable energy must be urgently amended in connection with a decrease in cost of renewable energy. The amendment lays down fixing of a maximum size of tariff and setting the tariff in accordance with terms of repayment of investments.

The draft amendment has been formulated to create a legal environment focused on attracting both domestic and foreign investments that boost the renewable energy sector, they add.

The draft has new terms "gas" and "network of gas supplying accordance with classification and standards of business actions approved by the UN. The understanding of energy has involved a "gas" term as well. 

Link to article

 

Policy Series: A Typical Quick Solution – 'Let's Change It' Syndrome (III)

By Mendee Jargalsaikhan

May 22 (Mongolia Focus) In retrospect, the most common methods for dealing with policy failures have been first to blame each other – politicians, parties, factions, and civil society activists in addition to geopolitics and global economy and second to change policies without asking the hard questions. These questions would be why is there a need to change; what part of the policy is working or not working; why did it fail; what would be the short, medium, and long term impacts of a policy change; what are the optimal, win-win options; and what would be the most agreeable implementation for all stakeholders. I call this blaming and uncritical policy change a 'let's change it' syndrome that increases mistrust among all actors, including the policy makers, and promotes into 'vicious cycle' of cheating and competition to change the bargaining dynamics.

So, why do policymakers in Mongolia prefer the 'let's change it' attitude? It seems to be structural. The current political settings are so much dependent on the four-year electoral cycle – since all key policymakers and enforcers – president, parliament members, prime minister, cabinet members, governors, and local assembly members – are changed every four years. Their time horizons are short and competition for being re-elected are costly. That means they need to blame their opponents as soon as possible in order to gain the power and authority to maintain their own patron-client networks. Instead of calculating the long-term benefits of stable policies, they prefer to change the rules of the game (i.e., the laws and regulations) to create a favorable operating environment while blaming their opponents for any policy failures. As a result, we witness sudden policy changes immediately after changes in the political landscape. Like other parliamentary democracies, the political landscape of Mongolia is changed not only after presidential, parliamentary and local elections, but also by the cabinet changes (e.g., non-confidence voting results). Because the policymaking institutions and process are heavily dominated by these political actors with short-time horizons, the policymaking in Mongolia becomes unstable, unpredictable, non-inclusive (divisive) and non-transparent.   In an ideal country, where policies are stable, predictable, inclusive, and transparent, policy changes are incremental, continual build on the achievements of previous policies, and increase the certainty for all stakeholders. But, in Mongolia, it is the opposite – politicians want to change it without substantial studies and discussions while their blame game usually ends up in conspiracy theories.

Mining policy faces the exact same challenges. Also, important to note, natural resources aggregate competitions among politicians, parties, and factions for a few reasons. First, natural resources, especially gold and coal, offer opportunities for a quick accumulation of wealth without much investment and technology; therefore, the majority want to exploit this 'window of opportunity' that combines a weak regulatory framework and demands of the Chinese market. Second, competition among foreign and domestic investors generate 'rents' for politicians, parties, and factions in return for political support (e.g., bidding, investment agreement, licenses, and tax loopholes). Third, major long-term investment deals will provide multiple benefits for politicians, parties, and factions (ranging from personal, factional, and to political prestige). Therefore, the mining sector not only becomes the target of political competition, but also suffers from effects of the 'let's change it' syndrome when policymakers change laws and re-structure the policy-implementing and enforcing units

The first way the mining sector suffers is that politicians are strong inclinations to change laws and rules. The principal mining policy (i.e., the Minerals Law) has had two major revisions since 1997 and is waiting for the next major one.   At the same time, this law has been amended and revised multiple times, especially from 2009 annually. Some changes are understandable because of the passages of new laws like the Uranium Law and Law with the Long Name in 2009. But policymakers are still unable to produce substantial studies and reports on implementations of their previous legislation and potential implications of the proposed changes for the public. A few examples of failed mining policies also illustrate that policymakers are not so concerned with the quality of policies or the policymaking process; therefore, laws and rules are vulnerable to changes of the political landscape and power differentials of politicians, parties, and factions.

The other suffering of the mining policy results from the reshuffling and restructuring of the governmental units – ministries and agencies in charge of the coordination, implementation, and enforcement of mining policies. Despite the simple existence of ideal laws to insulate the government bureaucracy and bureaucrats from political, economic, and societal pressures, politicians, parties, and factions compete for having control over ministries and agencies. In other words, they neglect the existing laws and regulations pertaining to the government and public service. Politicians, parties, and factions first restructure and reshuffle ministries and agencies to accommodate their private, fractionalized interests and second appoint party-affiliated individuals to senior, mid-level and junior positions of the ministry, agency, and provincial (аймаг, сум) bureaucracy. As a result, party-affiliated officials aim to benefit within the four-year, or even shorter, election cycle. Consequently, these frequent structural and personnel changes complicate the policy coordination, implementation, and enforcement functions of those ministries and agencies. Thus contributes to mining policy failures – without giving a chance for any policy to be implemented. The key mining ministry and agency (i.e., the Mineral Resource Authority) and other relevant ministries and agencies in charge of the environmental protection, finance, taxation, inspection, and law-enforcement are all affected by the changes of the political landscape.

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Hanns Seidel Conference Held on Rule of Law

Ulaanbaatar, May 22 (MONTSAME) International theory-practice conference themed "State of Law—Supreme Goal" was held Friday at the State House in frames of the 20th anniversary of the official cooperation between the government of Mongolia and the Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) in the administrative and legal spheres.

Head of the Constitutional Court of Mongolia J.Amarsanaa chaired the conference co-organized by the parliamentary Standing committee on justice, Ministry of Justice and HSF. An advisor to the President of Mongolia on human rights and legal policy Ch.Onorbayar sounded the President's greetings to the participants. Following it, greetings were made by D.Ganbat, head of the Standing committee on justice, and D.Dorligjav, the Minister of Justice.

Mr Ganbaatar said the HSF implemented many fruitful projects and programs since starting of its 20-year cooperation, for example, it gave a big support for establishing the court of administrative cases and for formulating a draft law on adjudication of administrative cases. In addition, the HSF contributed to working out new laws on crime and criminal procedure in 2002, he added.

Other greetings and speeches were given by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Germany to Mongolia Mr Gerhard Thiedemann and HSF's chairwoman Ms Ursula Mannle.

The conference is continuing in halls of the State House with sub-meetings about administrative and criminal laws.

Following the conference, a ceremony will take place to sign an agreement on carrying on the Mongolia-HSF cooperation. It will be inked by D.Dorligjav, the Minister of Justice, and by Ms Ursula Mannle, the HSF chairwoman. 

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Mongolia's Innovation Setback

May 22 (Mongolian Economy) There were 30 sessions at last month's Mongolian Economic Forum, covering a wide range of topics pertinent to the country.

There were a number of well attended sessions, including "Innovation is a Solution," which revealed a community with a thirst for entrepreneurship and innovation that is stifled by an inadequate Innovation Law.

Four years ago, the Innovation Law was first developed to put into practice the knowledge offered by Mongolian scientists and foster their global recognition. This law is seemingly still in the draft phase. Meanwhile some of the regulations that would be required to enforce the Innovation Law simply do not exist.

"Some 10 regulations need to be released for the enforcement of the Innovation Law," said B. Lkhagvadorj, officer at the Ministry of Education and Science.

Three key regulations are awaiting approval, said Lkhagvadorj, which would provide the solution to several issues, such as the foundation of the Innovation Council and tax exemption for start-ups.

The Innovation Fund was supposed to be established under the Innovation Council by the government, according to the law, but no such council has been formed. Another issue is the absence of regulations for the enforcement of the Innovation Law. The law has a number of clauses supporting innovative business requiring the development of the Fund and Council.

"Mongolia never used to manufacture vegetable oil, but now it is being manufactured by our company," said D. Ganbold, chief executive at Mongol Altan Khos. "Our production is considered to be innovative in the food sector of Mongolia. Unfortunately, there is still no clear response from officials at the Ministry of Economic Development because they are divided into two groups as they are arguing with each other about whether our production was innovative."

Lots of Ideas, but No Money

Entrepreneurial dreams can often translate into profitable businesses. Innovative ideas, if they are good, will be financially rewarded. Some entrepreneurs who attended the innovation session were saying that they did not have the financial backing for their ideas. For example, research and development company Monchemo initiated a few projects such as the "Horse" project, a device that extracts calcium from horse bones. These projects have not gone ahead due to a lack of funding.

"Good innovation cannot survive in the market if financial issues have not been tackled. So, the government needs to focus on funding the innovation projects that will raise its reputation globally," said M. Ariunaa, general director at Monchemo.

During the session, some manufacturers faced comments suggesting that they should not wait for money to come from the government. Those who criticised them said that the manufacturers should expose themselves to the capital market to attract investment. Some domestic manufacturers are not interested in sourcing their own funding as they lack knowledge of the market.

Some believe the only hope for innovation is the government.

"Socks and gloves manufacturers are funded by the proceeds of bonds under the name of contributing manufacturers to replace imported goods," said Ariunna, "but we cannot be supported by the government even though we manufacture innovative products.

If there was an innovation-minded person in a working group that selected the projects to be funded from the proceeds through tender, Mongolians' dreams could come true in the future."

A huge sum of money is needed to fund innovation in various sectors. But if done so, comapnies could profit by providing Mongolian consumers with high-quality goods that outperform imports.

"As rapidly as Mongolia's economy develops, mining-led domestic sectors are purchasing large volumes of goods from abroad.

So, it can be said that some 30 percent of total purchases should be made in terms of offset. This will create a condition that will bring industry and service to the country, which would be equivalent to 30 percent of total purchases", said D. Nergui, director at the School of Economics and Business Management at the Mongolian National University.

The Path to Opportunity

"Mongolians have the opportunity of being recognised globally. Why would we not conquer the global market through the production of our own chip design," said Ts. Natsagnyam, a state prize winner and young engineer and the session's chair.

Mongolian scientists unanimously agreed at the forum that Mongolia could development computer chips using local expertise and raw materials. One question brought up was whether the current market system somehow actually suppresses innovative businesses in Mongolia. According to Natsagnyam, Mongolia will have to make the best of the domestic markets first if it hopes to move forward to foreign capital markets.

The innovation session revealed that there is a thirst for entrepreneurship but some would rather remove competitors rather than directly compete with them. Finding a balance between government support – perhaps in the form of subsidies or tax breaks – may be what the country's budding innovators need to release their product to market. But firstly, finalising the Innovation Law may help the industry gain some momentum.

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Mogi: genocide? What genocide?

Foreign Mining, State Corruption and Human Rights in Mongolia

Goldman Prizewinner Gets 21 Years for Resistance to Genocide

By Keith Harmon Snow

May 22 (Global Research) Packed with distortions and outright lies, Mongolia's privatized former state media called them the 'enemies of Mongolia'.  On 16 September 2013, the leaders of Mongolia's Fire Nation (Gal Undesten in Mongolian), an environment and human rights coalition, organized a mass protest in front of the Mongolian Parliament.  Decades of grassroots organizing to establish environmental protections were at risk: on September 16 the Great State Khural (State Parliament) gathered with intentions to dismantle the so-called 'Law With A Long Name' (LLN).

Adopted by parliament in 2009, after more than a decade of grassroots organizing and public pressure, the 'Law to Prohibit Mineral Exploration and Mining Operations at the Headwaters of Rivers, Protected Zones of Water Reservoirs and Forested Areas' is the only significant Mongolian law protecting nomadic herders' traditional lands and watersheds from further radioactive and chemical contamination, diversions of rivers and land-grabbing.  With mining companies ignoring the law, destroying pastureland and watersheds, and no government enforcement, the livelihoods and culture of indigenous Mongolian herders are rapidly disappearing.  These are the same mining corporations responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity in Africa and Latin America and everywhere we find them.

Symbolically armed with hunting rifles and antiquated weapons, the most courageous leaders of the grassroots Fire Nation sought to draw attention to corruption and collusion between government and foreign mining corporations.  They are fighting to save their culture and people and their very way of life.

In a statement read on the steps of Parliament prior to the arrests, Ts. Munkhbayar called for urgent and serious action to protect the Law with a Long Name (LLN).  The People began with cooperative meetings, he said, engaging government officials and agencies, and the People won the passage of the Law with a Long Name, but there was no enforcement, and corporations were getting away with egregious wrongs.  So then the People came with petitions.  When petitions didn't work they threw rocks at Parliament.  Then they fired their rifles on machines that were ripping up their precious pasturelands.  They symbolically shot arrows at Parliament from their herder's bows.  Nothing moved the government to protect the People and the land.  Now they had come with weapons.  They never intended to hurt anyone, and they never hurt anyone.

These are herders who employ a wide range of methods and tactics, including environmental education, public theater, monitoring of pollution, restoration of ecosystems, alliances with government, campaigns in the legislature.  They have also fired on foreign mining equipment and occupied illegal mining sites.  Many of their actions have been symbolic, born out of integrity and the spirit of civil disobedience.

"On the morning of September 16, delegates representing 11 non-government organizations protested outside the Government Palace against proposed amendments to the [LLN]," wrote M. Zoljargal for Rivers Without Boundaries, a coalition of NGOs working to protect Eurasian watersheds.  "The reason for the protest was to prevent the approval of the amendment, as the 2009 law hasn't been implemented or enforced in its current form.  Many protected lands have been mined despite the law meant to preserve the integrity of Mongolia's environment.  The protestors were there to stop the amendment, fearing that once the law is amended, permit termination and state protection might become impossible."  [1]

Mongolian civil society leaders declare that state agents framed Munkhbayar and the other protestors.  Four of the ten protestors arrested on 16 September 2013 were released; six were detained on the charge "group attempt to severely threaten well-being of society".  Defense lawyers argued that there was no victim in the case but they were prohibited from mounting a substantial defense.  Many key facts were ignored and evidence was suppressed and sidelined.  There is substantial evidence that Mongolian government agents used 'dirty tricks' typical of thugs, terrorist organizations and state security agents (e.g. C.I.A., Stasi, MI-6, SAVAK, F.B.I., etc.), dirty tricks and thuggery which bears the signature of the Mongolian state security apparatus.

On 21 January 2014, the six civil society leaders were sentenced to prison.  Defendants J. Ganbold, G. Boldbaatar, D. Tumurbaatar, S. Dashtseren and Ts. Munkhbayar received 21 years and six months (reduced from 22 years and six months for time served since 16 September 2013).  The sixth man, M. Munkhbold was sentenced to two years for supplying weapons.  When the verdict and sentences were delivered in court, the wife of J. Ganbold (suffering from ovarian cancer) fainted; others shouted and cried.

The six men, all 50-60 years of age, were interrogated under harsh conditions in state detention cells.  One of the six, J. Ganbold, is reportedly in danger of losing his hand after police removed a cast and refused him medical treatment.  When Mr. Ganbold's wife pled with the court for her husband to receive treatment, the chief investigator derided her, declaring that her husband and the others deserved to suffer, implying they are traitors of the state.

Most of these leaders have previously been arrested in the long struggle to defend Mongolia from the hydra of Western industries of exploitation: mining, 'development', 'nature conservation', and foreign 'aid' and 'charity'.

HIS NAME IS MUNKHBAYAR AND HE IS NO TERRORIST

In early September 2010, a small band of citizens fired their hunting rifles on gold mining equipment owned by two foreign mining firms operating illegally in northern Mongolia.  The gang of four — Ts. Munkhbayar, G. Bayaraa, D. Tumurbaatar and O. Sambuu-Yondon — all hailed from the United Movement of Mongolian Rivers and Lakes (UMMRL), a consortium of Mongolian groups organized to fight extractive companies that have invaded the fledgling 'democracy'.

A key leader and long-time organizer of the Mongolian resistance movement, Ts. Munkhbayar is a 2007 winner of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize — the 'Green Nobel' — awarded annually to people taking fearless stands around the globe in defense of the earth and it's indigenous peoples.  Three years after winning the award — and a whole lot more illegal mining and pollution later — Munkhbayar's little gang of four and their militant actions against the capitalist invasion remained in complete media whiteout in the Western press.

UMMRL was formed in 2009 after its predecessor, the Mongolian Nature Protection Coalition (MNPC), dissolved.  Tsetsegee Munkhbayar and his colleagues were pivotal to the creation of both MNPC and UMMRL, and on 2 July 2010 they founded the Fire Nation, a large umbrella organization uniting many NGOs.

After winning the Goldman prize, activist Ts. Munkhbayar was widely celebrated by Western institutions and the English-speaking press for his peaceful and collaborative achievements in uniting nomads and organizing people and protecting Mongolia's environment.  He was a national hero, standing up for ordinary people and basic human rights, a former herder turned national spokesman who rose out of the backward and repressive social milieu of communism in collapse.  Munkhbayar was rewarded for speaking up — an action unheard of in Mongolian society — in the former Soviet-run communist republic turned 'emerging democracy'.

Increasingly frustrated by a stodgy bureaucracy and massive state corruption, betrayed by Western conservation and development organizations, faced with mounting losses and accelerated destruction of their culture and environment, Ts. Munkhbayar and comrades became increasingly aggressive in organizing resistance.

The more they stood up for the rights of Mongolia and its people, the more they were shunned or ignored by their former sponsors.  For Ts. Munkhbayar, this meant that the Goldman Fund distanced themselves from him, and the Asia Foundation, whose officials had lobbied the Goldman Fund on his behalf, labeled him a 'terrorist'.  [2]

In June 2011 Ts. Munkhbayar and colleagues were imprisoned for 'organizing public meetings and demonstrations without official permission'.  The men went on hunger strikes in prison: some were taken to hospital and force fed by the security agents after their health acutely deteriorated.

THE GREEN TERROR

Tsetsegee Munkhbayar and his colleagues have the right to protect their culture, the right to protect themselves, and the right to protect their people… And yet Westerners regard with shock and displeasure the actions of Tsetsegee Munkhbayar and friends, who had the audacity to show up at the Mongolian Parliament with weapons in their hands.

"Not for me that armed protest, that is violence," I can hear the Westerner saying, "and I am an adherent of non-violence, of Satyagraha, I believe peace is the way."

But inside themselves (ourselves), it is really an internalized terror that the Westerner has to deal with, a terror that someone somewhere might come forth and confront them (us) and all of their (our) privileges and affluence and righteousness and decadence and non-violent violence, and our higher moral values…

Someone like Tsetsegee Munkhbayar, who is willing to stand up and fight for the survival of an entire people, his people, to fight for his way of life, and to protect and honor the sacred Mongol land by giving his own life.  ~

A former genocide investigator for the United Nations, keith harmon snow is the 2009 Regent's Lecturer in Law & Society at the University of California Santa Barbara, and a participant at the 65th Annual Conference on World Affairs.  In September and October 2008, keith traveled by mountain bicycle across central and northern Mongolia, east to west, and then back across southern Mongolia, west to east.  He stayed with nomads in traditional gers, or slept in a tent in remote areas, all along the way.

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UAE's CI Bank to Set Up $1 Billion Mongolia Fund

Ulaanbaatar, May 21 (MONTSAME) A memorandum on cooperation between the government of Mongolia and the CI Bank was inked Wednesday by Mr Kh.Gantsogt, the State Secretary of Mongolia's Ministry of Finance, and by authorities of the bank.

It happened on fields of the working visit of Mongolian PM to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The memorandum lays down that the sides will create an investment fund of USD one billion for financing the biggest projects on great construction in Mongolia. The CI Bank--a joint group of the UAE's financial institutions--said it is ready to purchase bonds if they will be issued by the Mongolian government.

The investment fund to be established in Mongolia aims to back companies, enterprises and the private sector, involved in the great construction. "Mongolia really needs such a fund," noted Gantsogt. 

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Mongolia to export one million livestock to UAE

May 21 (UB Post) During his visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on May 19 and 20, Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg attended the Mongolia-Emirates business forum of investors at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the UAE. At the forum, it was agreed that Mongolia would export one million livestock for meat to the UAE.

Premier Ch.Saikhanbileg also met Sultan Bin Halifa Bin Zaed Al-Nahyan, son and advisor of the UAE's President and member of the Investment Council, Saif Bin Zaed Al-Nahyan, the UAE Deputy Premier, and the Minister of Internal Affairs. Deputy Premier of the UAE and Ch.Saikhanbileg discussed the training of Mongolian police forces.

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates welcomed Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg and expressed hopes that his visit to the UAE would contribute in furthering ties between the two countries, enhance economic cooperation and build mutually beneficial partnerships.

They discussed potentials for investment, and commercial and tourism cooperation between the two countries. Ch.Saikhanbileg informed that Mongolia has introduced new legislation to promote and attract investments in the mineral, tourism, and agricultural sectors.

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Farmers receive agricultural equipment from China under concessional loans

May 21 (UB Post) On Wednesday, farmers received agricultural equipment through concessional loans from the government of China.

In 2012, Mongolia and China established an agreement for the distribution of necessary equipment in Mongolian agricultural sector, including tractors and grain harvesters to the farmers through concessional loans.

In the first phase of the agreement, 132 tractors, 90 trailers, and 48 grain harvesters have been made ready for distribution. On Wednesday, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Crop Promotion Fund delivered eight tractors to agricultural entities.

The distribution of the equipment is expected to increase the sector's production capacity by five percent and tractive power equipment by eight percent.

Entities interested in purchasing agricultural equipment from the Chinese government will have to pay 20 percent down payment and the remainder payment can be made through a two percent annual interest loan for five years.

Agricultural officials believe that the implementation of the project will contribute in stabilizing the agricultural sector, and improve technique and technology of farmers.

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Govt support sought to open Hollywood standard multiplex cinema, film school

May 21 (UB Post) Minister of Education, Culture and Science L.Gantumur received Hollywood representatives to discuss the establishment of a multiplex cinema standard on Wednesday.

Head of Culture Policy Management Department for the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science D.Gantumur, director and producer of Cinemagic Entertainment and contract agent of Hollywood Film Academy Bradley Hong, founder of ESPN, ABC, CBC and TS Turner Sport channels and Olympic coordinating producer Michael Pearl, fight choreographer and stunt actor Eric Chan, head of the Inner Mongolia Film Association Ning Chai, and head of Mongolian Film Council D.Nyamdorj attended the meeting.

Hollywood Film School Mongolia LLC invited the representatives to visit Mongolia.

Hollywood Film School Mongolia LLC is aiming to establish a Hollywood standard multiplex cinema, school and film support foundation in Mongolia and requested government support from Minister L.Gantumur during the meeting.

At the end of the meeting, L.Gantumur said, "I am happy that you visited Mongolia. I want to express my delight that will open a Hollywood school in Mongolia. The government will support the establishment of a Hollywood standard multiplex cinema and school. We need to draft a law on film."

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Experience New, Unique Technologies at ICT EXPO 2015

May 22 (gogo.mn) Annual event to display the information technology development of Mongolia ICT Expo 2015 started from yesterday and GoGo News Agency is to provide live broadcast from the 5 day event from the start till the end.

The exhibition is open to public until May 25.

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David Holliday: Expo guests will experience the newest 4G LTE

May 21 (gogo.mn) The biggest information and technology event in Mongolia ICT Expo 2015 is to start at 12PM today at Misheel Expo Center. We are delivering the interview with  David Holliday, CEO of Mobicom Corp., which is the general sponsor of the event.

What is the significance of the ICT EXPO?

Every year the ICT EXPO gathers all major players working in the ICT sector to share and exchange ideas. 

This is the 9th year the EXPO has been organized - And, it is a special year as the EXPO coincides with the 150 year anniversary of the International Telecommunications Unions (ITU) that marked the birth of the sector.  

MobiCom is honored and pleased to be the main sponsor of this year's event.  This year, we are assembling the greatest IT and digital minds in Mongolia for 5 days of inquiry and exploration of the cutting-edge information and communication technologies that connect families and friends across the country, and around the globe.  Visitors will see and experience a variety of ICT solutions that help businesses and entertainment companies achieve greater levels of efficiency and competitiveness.  

What makes this year different for visitors to the EXPO?

The EXPO will showcase information and communications technologies that can accelerate development, that can take business to the next level, and that making life easier and more enjoyable.

Expo 2015 will be the biggest event of its kind, and will showcase Mongolian and global ingenuity and creativity in ICT.

Our lineup of special events, includes star performances, TEDx talk featuring Mongolians working in Global ICT companies around the world, e-sport competitions and a Start-Up Weekend that will cultivate budding entrepreneurs who are shaping and defining Mongolia's marketplace.  We'll also reveal several first-time WOW! technologies  ….and I encourage you to attend to see these first hand! 

What products and services will Mobicom present this year?

For the first time in Mongolia, Expo guests will experience the newest 4G LTE and other new mobile technologies. 4G LTE means faster downloads with higher resolution pictures, movies, music and video chats without delay or the other digital drama that can affect 3G. 

The ICT EXPO 2015 is about the capacity of human ingenuity to conceive and utilize new technologies that accelerate development.  Join us for the opportunity to explore all that is possible with the newest in 4G LTE and other technologies.

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ICT EXPO 2015 Day Two: Startup Weekend

May 22 (gogo.mn) Annual event to display the information technology development of Mongolia ICT Expo 2015 started from yesterday and GoGo News Agency is to provide live broadcast from the 5 day event from the start till the end.

Software developers are paricipating in Startup Weekend International competition and guideline for the competition is being introduced.

Participants of the competition spend three days at Tedy center on brainstorming, developing ideas and modelling the businesses. Branch specialist to provide tarining to participants on how to present their projects to the judges.

The contestant teams present only one project.

Participants of the Start Up Weekend will not only draft project but also experience in startup business.

For detailed information about the competition, click here.

Skytel LLC announced its official cooperation with Warner Bros. Therefore, they are able to deliver high quality video clips to their customers.

During the expo, participating ICT companis are introducing their activities and Skytel LLC is greeting with flashmob.

ICT Expo 2015 is being organized for its second day at Misheel Expo Center.

Soon, lecture to introduce a bried history of ICT will be given to the expo participants at the meeting hall of Misheel Expo.

The expo will provide special program for students who are the future of Mongolia.

Mongolian leading information communication and technology companies became an official business partner of Kaspersky.

Therefore, they owned right to sell over 20 kinds of Kaspersky`s business solution products. The certification was received by Director of Corporate Business Division at Mobicom Corporation Ts.Ganzorig and handed by Kaspersky's Asia Pacific managing director.

Certificate Awarding Ceremony was participated by the directors of the Mongolian leading information communication and technology companies. 

We are delivering the ICT Expo 2015 agenda for the day two. 

Startup Weekend International competition to support and develop the private sector will start today. 

Agenda for DAY 2 at the ICT Expo 2015 will continue with the introductions of:

11.00-12.00 – ITZone LLC
12.00-12.30 - Vetexmon LLC
12.30-13.30 – Skytel LLC
13.30-14.00 – Interactive BI LLC
15.00-16.00 – Sansar Cable LLC
16.00-17.00 – Softline Asia LLC
17.00-17.30 – Monde LLC 

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CEO of Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell on ICT Development in Mongolia

May 22 (gogo.mn) Annual event to display the information technology development of Mongolia ICT Expo 2015 started from yesterday and GoGo News Agency is to provide live broadcast from the 5 day event from the start till the end.

We interviewed with CEO of Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell Mr. Luis Martinez on information technology and communication development in Mongolia.

For the full interview please see the video below.

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Increased Investment In Science Can Transform Mongolia's Agricultural Sector – World Bank

ULAANBAATAR, May 8, 2015 (WorldBank)—The Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the World Bank released a comprehensive review of Mongolia's agriculture sector today at a joint workshop on "State Policy on Food and Agriculture" .

The review identifies ways to transform the agriculture sector from low-input subsistence herding to a highly productive sector capable of supplying external markets with quality wool, meat, and milk products. 

"Mongolia's path to transforming the agriculture sector lies in making a sustained investment in science and technology to address productivity gaps, diversify agricultural produce from wool to quality meat and milk products for export," said Charles Annor-Frempong, Senior Rural Development Specialist at the World Bank and task team Leader for the review.

The science agenda can also address the sustainability of Mongolia's natural resource base, including soils, water, pasture and climate change. Increasing levels of production without putting in place adequate natural resource management systems would endanger the country's already fragile resource base and the future of its agriculture sector. 

The review examines key constraints in the sector including inadequate government budgetary support and interventions, subsidies, lack of institutional support for extension and research, and underdeveloped external markets.

"The agriculture sector in Mongolia plays an important role in the economy. We hope that this comprehensive sector review will help the government of Mongolia focus its long-term agricultural development and strategically identify domestic and export markets," said James Anderson, the World Bank Country Manager for Mongolia.

The sector review is comprised of a synthesis report Agricultural Transformation in Mongolia: The Path Forward, along with four separate companion reports:

·         Improving Public Expenditure in Mongolia: Empirical Evidence of the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Agricultural Public Expenditures in Mongolia;

·         Estimation and Analysis of Agricultural Subsidies;

·         Agricultural Productivity and Marketing

·         Agricultural Risk Assessment.

These reports were made possible through the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Link to release

 

Deputy Agriculture Minister back from Huh Hot visit

May 22 (gogo.mn) Working group led by B.Batzorig, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture visited Huh Hot of Inner Mongolia to expand the cooperation with Chinese side in agricultural sector, advance the ties to new level and seek the opportunities to export beef and lamb meat, wheat and oil crops to Chinese market.

During the State Visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2014 the proposal on exporting agricultural products to Chinese market without taxes and quota has been supported.

On the first of the visit Deputy Minister B.Batzorig held meeting with Mr Buren, Head of the Agricultural Chamber to exchange views on easing the trade of agricultural products for both sides and expansion of the cooperation.

Inner Mongolia has the populaiton of 28 million, has 100 million cattle which poses great potential for Mongolia to put the renewable resources into economic circulation.

During the meeting with Deputy Leader of Inner Mongolia Deputy Minister B.Batzorig proposed on possible cooperation on exports of agricultural products, adopting farming techniues of Inner Mongolia, introducing technical advancements, training of the skilled human resources, diagnosis and research of the veterinary diseases and training of the experts in China. 

Mongolian proposal was well received and the Deputy Leader has confirmed that Inner Mongolia will support those initiatives in all possible ways.

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B.Gan-Ochir: Creative industry development has become the global choice

May 21 (UB Post) Creative industry, which includes the film, TV and music sectors, has become the center of global attention as it expands its scope annually without being affected by economic crises.

Presently, the only institute in Mongolia working towards developing creative industry is the Mongolian State University of Culture and Arts. This university was the first to realize the significance of this sector and is aspiring towards adjusting to global trends and running a curriculum for training future producers of art and culture. The university organized the first International Forum for Creative Industry in Mongolia from May 20 to 21, 2015.

Secretary-General of the Mongolian Economic Forum B.Gan-Ochir was interviewed about how the creative industry can be introduced to Mongolia's arts and culture sector.

Not many are familiar with the creative industry. Can you explain what it is? 

I think it's best to start from its history. The creative industry is a sector that grabbed interests of many countries after Asia's economic crisis in 1999 and the world economic crisis in 2008. For instance, South Korea understood the significance of the creative sector extremely well after Asia's economic crisis and began investing into the sector. Now, Korea has produced many creative industry products such as films, kimchi, k-pop, as well as "Gangnam Style" song. After the 2008 world economic crisis, the UN and International Monetary Fund began developing a document to specifically study the creative industry because it was the only sector unaffected by the economic crisis.

In 2010, scientists who had studied this sector received Nobel Prizes in Economics. They studied about the economic choices connected to individual's personality and attitude. When studying if people are able to choose the best product with the best quality and low prize, it was concluded that two out of three people are unable to do so. In other words, people prefer shirts from a brand name when making a choice between two shirts with exactly the same material, design and quality. People have a "need" to be respected and valued by others while getting self-satisfaction. Industries that "play" based on this "need" are referred as a creative industry.

What creates a creative industry?

I believe that creative industry doesn't necessary have to be a big sector and starts from small things. For example, if an individual is able to be productive with his or her life, a spark for creative industry will be alighted. I've talked about four factors that create the creative industry in a recent lecture. The creative industry is creating new jobs and creating wealth by combining skill, talent, information and knowledge. If one of these four is missing, it isn't a creative industry. If a person doesn't have a natural talent, it means that he or she is working mechanically. Your talent develops into a skill. A true creative industry will be created if you can combine that skill with knowledge and information. This has become a choice without any other alternative on a global scale. 

Wouldn't you need money as well? Mongolians often say that they're unable to do something because of financial issues. Or are people without any money able to think more creatively than those with money?

Harvard University defined that a work must include seven things if it truly is creative. Firstly, a rule that nobody must know applies to the creative industry. For example, the person who specified that straight, tight pants will become the fashion trend next autumn is unknown but everyone follows this trend. Second is the principle for crafting. An individual must dedicate his whole heart to whatever they're creating even if they get low wages. Third is the unlimited principle. If a truly creative product is produced, it will be turned into so many more products. For example, a good poem will become a song, a play and a film. There's also a rule that the art must be long-lasting. The copyright issue has to be discussed to talk about a product being long-lasting.

Things without a copyright are never valuable. For example, a poem written by a friend of mine became a song named "Alsad Suugaa Eej Mini" that was sang by State Honored Singer Javkhlan and later by Inner-Mongolian boy, Uudam. Now, it has spread across China. If my friend was in a country that prioritizes copyrights, he would've received money whenever that song was sang or put as a ringtone on a phone.

The USA, England and France are leading the creative industry. England made a study on which sectors of its Ministries of Culture, Sports and Tourism are developing as a creative industry. Apparently, England profits a lot by running tons of creative industries in over 10 sectors, including advertisement, handicrafts, gardening, fashion, music, film, computer games and antiques. One in every 12 projects done by England comes out of the creative industry. 

Which sectors in Mongolia have potential to be developed into a creative industry? Wouldn't our work start from firstly determining these sectors?

Indeed. These sectors were determined at the International Forum for Creative Industry. Currently, film arts and antique artifacts can be developed as creative industries. The film industry has been rapidly developing in recent years in Mongolia. Foreigners have begun recognizing skills of Mongolian actors and producers. This is a huge opportunity. It's also clear that people will be attracted to Mongolia's historical and cultural artifacts and tangible and intangible heritages. Mongolia's creative industry will develop exceptionally if we combine arts and culture with tourism.

Let's take America as an example. A survey shows that 78 percent of domestic and foreign tourists in the USA spend money to spectacle products of arts and culture, and antique artifacts. So Mongolia has massive potential. Our closest example is Mongolian Khusugtun band, which amazed thousands of Asian viewers. Mongolia's long-singing, morin khuur, khuumii, bie bielgee dance, melodies of Jantsannorov and so much more are remarkable things that can't be found anywhere else or ever be recreated. Others have shown us that Mongolia can make documentary films based on Mongolian's nomadic way of life and beautiful nature. I've heard from many foreigners that they come to see the correlation of nature and nomadic lifestyle in Mongolia. We can show this correlation and promote Mongolia through National Geography Channel. Mongolia can establish an ever-lasting creative industry if we develop it by using our ready resources and opportunities that have been passed onto us for several thousand years. 

Does Mongolia have any good experience in developing a creative industry? 

Of course we do. At a recently held lecture, large businesses led by MSD and Jenko Groups that are aiming to improve the creative industry gave speeches. Sky Resort, VIVA City and Univision are creative industries founded by MCS Group. MP Kh.Battulga talked about Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex and Ikh Maidar and Shine Sum Projects, which are included in the creative industry. In fact, the same applies to businesses since they focus on improving product designs and quality and try to make it more accessible and satisfactory as they become more successful.

Many people are going to the newly launched Khunnu Mall. Mongolians are searching for more comfortable places. People have stopped going to diners in rural areas just to fill their stomach. They've began looking at many things including interior designs, background music, and portion of dishes. 

Will it take long for Mongolia to develop the creative industry? When will Mongolia become able to circulate our arts and culture into the economy like England, America and South Korea? 

The 21st century is proclaimed as a systemic century, meaning that highly developed countries will advance even further than us in every aspect. The creative industry is essential for developing countries like Mongolia to compete with developed countries. My time wouldn't be sufficient if I had to learn everything that others know and even exceed their knowledge. Therefore, Mongolia should think about what its uniqueness is and how different it is from other countries and use that uniqueness to our advantage. This way, we can compete with those large countries.

For example, Mongolia has Khusugtun band. This is Mongolia's creative industry. We have to think about the strategy we're going to use to take the band to a global level. At the moment, the phrase "creative industry" may sound very new and unfamiliar, just like how democracy was in the 1970s and internet was in the 1990s. However, this is reality. Soon, the creative industry will have become the most vital part for Mongolia's survival.

Source: Unuudur

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Speaker Meets Sony Music, Universal Music Representatives

Ulaanbaatar, May 22 (MONTSAME) The Speaker of parliament Z.Enkhbold Friday received Ms Arina Dmitrieva, a managing director at the Sony Music Entertainment for a regional affairs, and Mr Sergei Yelfimov, first deputy director of the Universal Music Group for the Mongolian affairs.

The visitors thanked the Speaker for receiving them and shared views with him on Mongolia's legal environment for rights of intellectual properties and copyrights.

Mr Enkhbold said that, in recent years Mongolian music groups have been playing national music and singing songs in modern styles, and that they have a great opportunity to penetrate into the world's market. "In a sphere of cinema a copyright infringement is not spread widely here, but it is difficult to control this kind of problem in music industry," he noted. 

Considered as the second largest company in the world's music industry, the Sony Music Entertainment is an associated company of Japan's Sony Corporation. The Sony Music Entertainment and the Universal Music Group keep and protect copyrights of world's hundreds of singers and groups. Recently, these companies have officially started to deliver their intellectual capitals in Mongolia together with the "Khuur Music Group" LLC.

Present at the meeting was Ts.Buyantogtokh, an advisor to the Speaker on social policy. 

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Design Students Hold Spring Fashion Week

May 22 (gogo.mn) Participated by students of design universities in order to contribute development of the design and fashion sector of Mongolia, "Spring Fashion 2015" was held during May 18-21 at Mongolian Trade Unions Cultural Center.

Participating students presented their designs at the fashion show. 

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Designer D.Otgonjargal: Any woman will be satisfied with my dresses

May 21 (gogo.mn) Designer D.Otgonjargal participated at "Asia Festival 2015" which was hosted in Korea and won the prestigious prize of "Asian Top Designer". This year, Asian Top Designer nomination was added to "Asian festival-2015" which is considered as the biggest festival in Asia. 

She represented Mongolia with her haute couture collection. We interviewed with her on "Asian festival-2015" and fashion world in Korea.

-Congratulations to you on successful participation in "Asian Festival 2015". More into details of the festival?

-Thank you. "Asian festival" is the largest fashion festival in Asia. The Top Models selected from "BBQ" contest which hosted in Mongolia in June are sent to compete at "Asia Model Awards" in Korea. Mongolian models have been participating in "Asia Model Awards" starting four to five years ago. This largest contest has nominations for the best design, beauty, make-up and new face.

Top designer nomination was held for the first time this year. I haven't collected any information and I had no idea if I were to receive award. It was all of a sudden. 

-How many designers from other countries have competed along with you? Mongolian Models participated in "Asia Model Awards" too and how about them?

-This year top five models of "BBQ" contest have participated in "Asia Model Awards" in Korea. Five to six models from each of the participating 20 countries have competed at "Asia Model Awards" and the festival lasted for four days.

"New face model contest" was held on the first day, "K model contest" was held on the second day, "Asian beauty festival" was held on the third day and "Asian star model festival" was held on the final day, which was more significant and had broader range than others. "Asian star" is awarded to not only models, but also singers, actors/actresses, and artists who played a significant role in interchange and harmony of Asian models. Previously, designer Jimmy Choo and Anna Sui have won the prize.

Our models N.Anu and T.Enkhtuvshin were awarded with Model Star Prize, which is awarded to models who showed their performance most frequently in major fashion shows, clothes photo shots, magazines, TV advertisements and video advertisements in Asia. Every participating country at this festival is awarded for their top male and female models.

- Is there any Mongolian model who won Best Model Prize from Asia Model Awards? 

- Many Mongolian models won this title, before. For instance, E.Enkhbold won Best Model Prize in 2011 and D.Bayartogtoh won New Model Prize. Our models who won the prize are very modest and they do not try to make people understand the value of their prizes.

Two designers from each country compete at the festival and over 70 designers from 20 countries have competed, this year. Me and designer from "Gobi" company represented Mongolia. Designer of "Gobi" created casual designs, while I created haute couture collection.

-More into details of your collections?

-I competed with my haute couture collection which was displayed at my fashion show on December 5th in Mongolia. 

-Did you go to the festival with your husband?

-My husband E.Enkhbold is one of the organizers of BBQ contest and he selected me and designer of Gobi to compete for the festival. He said that it is better to choose the designers after making selection.

-How about the judges?

-There were many judges at the festival including the President of Korean Model Academy and model specialists from the Philippines and Thailand. 

-What made Mongolian designs unique at the festival compared with other countries? 

-I have participated in the biggest to smallest competitions and fashion shows. Generally, Mongolians are unique and I think Mongolians are open minded. Korean designs seemed simple, minimalist and futurist. Most of international designers brought their national costumes. National costumes do not attract people, unless it is extremely fancy. I think, people have been satisfied with my collection, because it was haute couture.

-How do you define your own designs?

-My designs are feminine. I aim to create images with romantic style and to point out the physical characteristics of women in order to make them to look more beautiful and X-shaped and attract any one.

-How do you assess other designers? 

-I liked Korean designers. Koreans put all their efforts and time when they started to do anything new. Even, I felt it at the show. We stayed there from 08AM until 02PM. Koreans do everything with their heart and they have never fudged. They were lined up before my fashion show and even though I was busy, I had a chance to touch the material of every design. However, material structure and properties could be clearly noticable. For example, fashion designers of Indonesia and Thailand played with the texture. They created their designs with an expensive material or handmade silk worth of MNT 80-90 thousand for per meter that we can not often afford.

I was sighing seeing those materials. Indian designs were created with gold threads and silk, which seemed like a carving. I thought that "wish I had such materials", because I liked their materials more than their designs.

-How did the foreign designers evaluated yours?

-I was busy preparing for the show during the first two days. Meanwhile, I managed to see all materials of Indian designers.  Indian designs are haute couture too.

Organizers scheduled my show at the very end and I was happy with that decision, because the opening and final of the show are always the best moments. However, schedule was changed and Indian show was scheduled for the final and my show was scheduled in the middle. Indian designs were nice, but their materials were the nicest of all.

Indian designer is familiar in India compared to me. Designers in Mongolia are poor, do not earn much money or either do any profit.

We do not know the contents of this festival very well, our judgment is not good and I had no information whether I was going to participate. Other countries have prepared well for the festival and I think the awards event is the prestigious one in the industry.

-You stayed in Korea for several days. Did you research on experience related to your profession?

-Festival lasted for five days. I could not go outside, because I was extremely busy. I worked from the morning till evening. After the festival, I stayed for five more days in Korea to do research on sewing factory and fabric stores.

-Was it more developed  compared to Mongolian?

-Fashion in Mongolia is developing, but in the end, we have design industry not so well developed. Plus, there is no support from the Government. We go to all fabric shops in Mongolia in search for materials, but we can not find the desired ones. Finding material is the most difficult issue in Mongolia.

However, fabric store in Korea is five storey and very large, while decoration material store is like two large department stores and sell everything there.

-How about the price?

-Prices are affordable. There is no cotton worth MNT 1500 in Mongolia, while Korea sells cotton worth KRW 1500. When they export to Mongolia, prices for this cotton reach MNT 3000, but it is cheaper compared with their salary. They manufacture everything including yarn, fabric and stickers. If we create one design, we purchase everything including stickers, fabric, sewing machine and irons from abroad. Therefore, creating design is quite difficult for Mongols and the final design released as expensive and people do not understand and can not afford them.

Koreans have many advantages, but I wondered why they do not create nice designs. The disadvantage of the Koreans is they think inside the box as they are raised with well-mannered and dictatorial behavior. Compared with Koreans, Mongolians are open minded and have ability to think freely. Moreover, Mongolians think freely when they creating design. Koreans are really hard-working people who work from morning till evening.

-You said Koreans manufacture everything by themselves.  What did you like the most?

-I was impressed by that very large decoration store and every salesperson is producing decorations by themselves. They are working very hard and everyone became a producer.

We are able to produce by ourselves rather than buying things from abroad. Many designers have graduated in Mongolia, while most of them are unemployed. Mongolia can develop rapidly, if people do what they really can and start to produce the littlest things.

Fashion in Korea has developed rapidly over the last two years. Development of Mongolia and Korea is consideres as young compared to Italy, France and Japan. Mongolians need to produce at least the mosaics. Why not glass industry produces mosaic?  Price for glass mosaic is at least MNT 500. Sometimes, we buy 100 mosaic for one dress. People do not understand it and they say your dresses are expensive.

-Will you participate in fashion shows abroad?

-I will not participate so far. I might participate if I am proposed. I have not received any proposals for fashion show, so far.

-You have participated in New York Fashion Show?

-New York Fashion Show ranks lower compared with Mercedes Benz fashion show. I have won at "Modart" contest and was awarded with prize to compete at Haute Couture fashion show. My designs were dedicated to casual use. I was proud of myself when I saw the designs of other designers. My designs appealed to many there. While I was participating in Asia Festival in Korea, Korean people were bashful and they would never say "How wonderful". But in USA, people expressed their thoughts freely by saying "very nice designs".

-When are you planning to organize your fashion show?

-I have planned to organize my fashion show before the Naadam Festval. However, I do not like to speak in detail before doing it. I will give you more information on this after everything is ready. Anyway, I planned to create designs with Mongolian national taste. 

-What are you working oncurrently?

-Currently, I started to receive orders from the customers. Generally, our capacity is not very large. Also, I am conducting research on my fashion show which is to be organized in summer.

Thank you. Good luck to you.

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Ulaanbaatar

UB Mayor Meets ADB Rep on Bus Rapid Transit Project

Ulaanbaatar, May 22 (MONTSAME) The Mayor of Ulaanbaatar city E.Bat-Uul Thursday received Mr Robert Schoellhammer, the Permanent Representative of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to Mongolia.

They exchanged views on technical issues of the Bus rapid transit (BRT) project on developing public transport of our capital city. The guest said he is glad to receive directions on technical matters and general policy of the project. He pointed out that the ADB will implement this project, coordinating it with the rep-planning of ger areas and land replacement, and gave the Mayor graphics of the next-stage works.

In response, Mr Bat-Uul thanked the ADB for co-implementing the project that aims to resolve the public transport matter of Ulaanbaatar, and said he believes this project will significantly contribute to UB's public transport development.

"We intend to introduce trolleybuses accorded with electric lines to be constructed with the ADB's project," Bat-Uul said. The UB city will ensure an exploitation process and electricity safety, he added.

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Bill Presented on Ratifying Additional JICA Credit for New Airport

Ulaanbaatar, May 22 (MONTSAME) Chairman of State Great Khural Z.Enkhbold May 22 received from the Minister of Finance J.Erdenebat MP a bill on ratifying the additional credit agreement for the development of the New Ulaanbaatar International Airport (NUBIA).

A Credit Agreement was signed on May 1 of 2008 by the Government of Mongolia and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on providing credit of 28.8 billion JPY for the NUBIA construction project. The agreement was ratified on May 29 of the same year by the State Great Khural.

The two sides reached a deal to conclude the construction agreement within an expenditure of 49.5 billion JPY, however, the agreement could not be signed because the costs have exceeded the planned expenditure. Therefore, an issue of taking additional credit was discussed and then approved at the cabinet meeting March 30 of 2013, and was discussed by parliamentary affiliated Standing committee. In order to designate the amount of additional credit, the JICA working group worked in Mongolia in July and December last year, said the bill initiator. The group decided that the additional credit will be 36.8 billion JPY, submitting it to the Government of Japan. "It is on a decision-making phase," he added.

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Video: Smog and ash fill the sky of Mongolia's capital

May 15 (LA Times) Coal-fired power plants, motor vehicles and coal-heated yurts contribute to Ulan Bator's air pollution.

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Diplomacy

United States and Mongolia Hold Economic Discussions in Support of Trade and Investment Cooperation

20 May (U.S. Embassy) This week, senior U.S. and Mongolian government representatives held a series of discussions that reaffirmed the mutual commitment to expanding trade and economic cooperation between the United States and Mongolia.  On May 18, Ambassador Robert W. Holleyman II, Deputy United States Trade Representative, served as the U.S. side's chair for the U.S.-Mongolia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) meeting.  On May 19, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Kurt Tong of the U.S. State Department's Economic Bureau led the U.S. delegation to the inaugural U.S.-Mongolia Economic Policy Dialogue (EPD).

The TIFA meeting was the first one held by the United States and Mongolia since the two sides began negotiating Agreement on Transparency in Matters Related to International Trade and Investment in 2009.  The United States welcomed the December 2014 ratification of the bilateral Transparency Agreement by Mongolia's Parliament, and the two sides also explored various ways in which to advance trade and investment relations between the United States and Mongolia.  This year's TIFA meeting was chaired at the Deputy U.S. Trade Representative level for the first time.  Ambassador Holleyman commented: "I was pleased to meet with my Mongolian counterparts for the 2015 TIFA. With work underway to implement the U.S.-Mongolia Transparency Agreement, this was the right time to kick off a new round of engagement.  Our Talks establish a new opportunity to build investor confidence and strengthen trade and investment ties between our two countries."

The EPD is a strategic policy-level dialogue to exchange views on a broad range of bilateral, regional and global economic issues that reflect mutual interests. During the EPD, the U.S. and Mongolian delegations discussed regional economic integration, investment in infrastructure, and bilateral cooperation on energy, climate, and civil aviation.  Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Tong characterized the talks as useful to understand the main economic issues of the day and to advance American and Mongolian mutual strategic understanding.

For the U.S. Embassy press release about the TIFA talks, please see: http://mongolia.usembassy.gov/pr_051715.html

For the Joint Statement from U.S.-Mongolia TIFA Talks, please see: http://mongolia.usembassy.gov/pr_051815.html

For Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Kurt Tong's interviews with Bloomberg TV, please see:  ---LINK forthcoming---

For Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Kurt Tong's interviews with Eagle News, please see: ---LINK forthcoming---

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Chairman of Foreign Policy Standing Comm. Invited to Russia

Ulaanbaatar, May 22 (MONSTAME) Head of the Standing committee on security and foreign policy J.Enkhbayar MP received May 21 the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Mongolia Iskander K.Azizov. The latter gave the MP an invitation from K.I.Kosachev, the head of the Foreign policy committee in the Federation Council of the Russian Federal Assembly.

"Mr Kosachev invites You to Moscow so as to share experiences with the Mongolian parliament in order to sustain inter-parliamentary cooperation of the two countries," said the Ambassador. He also said  Russia is interested in expanding not only political but also economic cooperation with Mongolia.

In response, Mr Enkhbayar said the recent visit of Mongolian President to Moscow for attending the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory gave an impetus to strengthening of the friendly relations between Mongolia and Russia.

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Myanmar officials attend training at Ulaanbaatar

May 21 (infomongolia.com) The International Cooperation Fund of Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has conducted training themed "Mongolian Democracy and its Transition to Market Economy" to senior officials from the Republic of Union of Myanmar on May, 19-20, 2015.

During the event, UB officials introduced the general development plan of the city and its some programs to visiting officials. Furthermore, the general development plan of Ulaanbaatar city until 2020 as well as the future development direction of the city until 2030 were introduced. According to the plan, UB officials to upgrade its urban planning, administration and make it safer healthy city with a new improved administration. Thus, make UB one of the main tourism centers of Asia. Mongolian government, Ulaanbaatar city and private sectors will finance the development project, 16 billion US dollars is planned for the program implementation. With the aid of foreign partners like Jica (Japanese International Cooperation Agency), a metro project was developed to reduce the city traffic jam issues. In the framework of Japanese concessional loan, UB plan to expand its international airport and build a new 5th power plant to support its growing need. Also, Myanmar trainees shared ideas about current projects like Friendly Ulaanbaatar, Smart Ulaanbaatar and City Housing and Transportation Development Program.

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President Elbegdorj Begins Working Visit to Japan

May 22 (news.mn) President of Mongolia H.E Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj has arrived today in Tokyo, Japan for a Working Visit. During the welcoming ceremony at the Prime minister's residence, the Japanese honor guards have performed the state hymns of Mongolia and Japan.

At the welcoming ceremony, from Mongolian side Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Purevsuren, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to Japan S.Khurelbaatar, Member of Parliament, Minister of Mongolia and the Head of Cabinet Secretariat S.Bayartsogt, and from Japanese side Deputy Head of Cabinet Secretariat K.Kato, Vice Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Norihiko Ishiguro, Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs Tatsuo Yamasaki and other officials were present.

President Elbegdorj and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held official talks before hosting the press for briefing.

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Japan to issue multiple entry visa to Mongolians, frees visas for diplomatic passports

May 21 (UB Post) President Ts.Elbegdorj, who is currently on a state visit to Japan, held official talks with the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe on Wednesday. At the press conference after the official talks, the Japanese Premier informed that Mongolians with diplomatic passport will be exempt from visas, and multiple entry visas for ordinary passport bearers will be issued.

Abe also informed that Japan invited 200 Mongolian children and youngsters this year through the youth cooperation of Northeast Asia. Japan hosted 300 children and youth from Mongolia last year. Japan will expand such exchanges, promote Mongolia's effort to accelerate its economic growth by sending experts and professionals to Japan, noted Shinzo Abe.

President Ts.Elbedorj commented that this is his seventh meeting with Prime Minister Abe since 2013, and underlined its significance in the development of Japan-Mongolia relations.

"In recent years, Mongolia and Japan have achieved the closest partnership in the Northeast Asian region," stated the President Ts.Elbedorj and emphasized that "Erch Initiative" by Shinzo Abe played a decisive role in intensifying the bilateral relations in such a short period.

"Mongolians are delighted that the two governments formed the Economic Partnership Agreement," he stressed.

Praising Japan's path as a peace-loving nation after WW II, Ts.Elbedorj commended Abe's policy of proactive contribution to peace and said it plays a major role in promoting regional peace and stability.

Abe expressed gratitude and pledged further efforts under his policy to contribute to peace and stability in the region and the world. Abe also referred to the signing of an economic partnership agreement between Japan and Mongolia in February. He said he hopes the agreement will help expand and develop economic ties between their countries.

Ts.Elbegdorj noted that Mongolia and Japan have become the friendliest nations in Northeast Asia and added that the economic pact is a symbol of bilateral relations at their peak. The two leaders agreed to strengthen economic cooperation and work to quickly bring the agreement into force.
During his visit to Japan, President Ts.Elbegdorj delivered a speech at the The Future of Asia International Conference on May 21.

World's top politicians and notable social figures attend the conference, which is annually organized by Nihon Keizai Shimbun Inc. Attendees of recent year's conferences included United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Chairperson and General Secretary of the National League for Democracy of

Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi and other high-level officials.This year, President Ts.Elbegdorj was invited to the annual Future of Asia conference as chief guest.

The President's visit attaches great significance to enhancing bilateral strategic partnership, maintaining frequency of high-level visits, as well as exchanging views on the issues of mutual and international relations.

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Mongolia's Elbegdorj proposes mini UN, Forum of Asia

TOKYO, May 21 (Nikkei Asian Review) -- Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj on Thursday proposed a new dialogue platform, the Forum of Asia, he called it, to build mutual trust, promote stronger ties and boost regional integration.

He called the 21st century "an Asian century," saying Asian countries are rapidly expanding their global presence. To foster the region's success and overcome economic challenges, Elbegdorj stressed that his proposed platform should focus on "security, rule of law, the environment as well as social and economic areas." More importantly, he added, "it should promote [the] equal representation of interests of all sovereign nations in Asia, be [they] small or big," and assure its members' independence, integrity and development models.

In an interview with the Nikkei Asian Review after the speech, the president said "it will be like a small United Nations in Asia, but with equal rights."

In his speech, Elbegdorj said that China's growing power in the region is sparking concern, but he welcomes the development opportunities that the world's second largest economy is offering to its neighbors. "I believe a more open and developed China will bring more opportunities for [its] neighboring countries and the world," he said.

It has been 25 years since Mongolia's democratic revolution. The economy now shows robust growth. Elbegdorj's priority, he said, is "to maintain high growth rates and diversify the economy." He said he will focus more on agriculture and tourism, while "effectively" allocating revenue from the country's rich veins of mineral resources to spending initiatives, investments and savings.

The country has one of the lowest tax rates in the Asia-Pacific region, something it is counting on to bring in further foreign investment. In addition, it has recently revised an investment law, and passed investment fund and securities market laws, the president noted.

Elbegdorj also spoke about the Japan-Mongolia Economic Partnership Agreement, which was signed in February and is Mongolia's first EPA. "It marks a milestone achievement in the history of the country's economic diplomacy," he said. The president added that he foresees the agreement becoming "an essential instrument to increase the flows of bilateral trade and investment from Japan."

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President of Mongolia Delivers Remarks at 21st International Conference on the Future of Asia

The 21st International Conference on the Future of Asia
Asia Beyond 2015: The Quest for Lasting Peace and Prosperity

Keynote Speech by H.E. Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, President of Mongolia

Imperial Hotel
Tokyo, Japan 
May 21, 2015 

Excellencies, 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On the Nikkei Conference

-       It is my honour to be here today with the distinguished Leaders from Asia. I would like to thank the Nikkei and Japan Center of Economic Research for this splendid opportunity to meet with you.
As we all know, Nikkei started the Conference in 1995, with prominent Asian leaders including the late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, one of the greatest thinkers of our time.

-       It is worth to note that the Nikkei conference has truly become an imperative platform to discuss regional developments in Asia while promoting mutual understanding, common security and shared values.

-       The theme of the 21st International Conference on the Future of Asia "Asia Beyond 2015: The Quest for Lasting Peace and Prosperity" is indeed a very timely topic for all of us.
While undergoing various political and economic challenges, Asia experienced remarkable economic growth during the last twenty years. It also went through and learned its lessons from Asian financial crisis and recent global financial crisis.

-       The 21st century is regarded as the Asian century. Asia's presence and role in global affairs has grown beyond expectations and it is predicted to further heighten. I believe that building mutual trust, promoting stronger ties and regional integration among all nations of Asia will enhance prospects for Asia's success.

-       Strengthening multilateral collaboration among Asian countries will fortify the foundation of prosperity of nations of Asia as a whole. This will also bring long-lasting peace and prosperity to the world.

On Mongolia

-       This year marks historical anniversaries for many nations. Among them is Mongolia, celebrating the 25th anniversary of its democratic revolution.

-       Mongolia is a country of rich and ancient heritage, unique culture and astounding natural beauty. It is a land of free and brave, peace-loving and hard-working people. The policies of the Mongolian Statehood have centuries-long traditions.

-       Mongols had built the largest land empire in the history of the mankind. In the Great Mongol Empire, Mongols governed by a written law called the "Ikh Zasag" or "The Great Order". Then, as now, Mongols promoted free trade, religious tolerance, diversity and ran open foreign policy. The Empire actively engaged with nations near and far in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. It was an era when the Mongols strove to establish a new world order - justice, peace and cooperation in their relations with other states and peoples.

-       Through periods of prosperity and decadence, ruling and being ruled, Mongolia entered the world of the 20th century. Modern Mongolia restored its freedom and true independence at the dawn of the 20th century.

-       These were turbulent times around the world, and in early 1920s Mongolia took on communism which reigned the country for 7 decades.

-       Twenty-five years ago Mongolia stood at the crossroad to either gain our freedom or remain locked behind the stone wall. Mongolians thus joined the universal struggle for freedom, justice, human rights and individual liberties. Mongolian democratic changes did not break a single window, and not a single drop of blood was shed.

-       Many still believe that conducting political and economic reforms at the same time is not an Asian way. But this is a fairy-tale. We broke that old stereotype by reforming our political, economic and social systems concurrently since 1990.

-       Mongolia has become a vibrant democracy and a dynamic market economy. The private sector, which barely produced even less than 5% of GDP twenty years ago, today has become the driving force of the economy yielding more than 80% of our GDP.

On investment

-       Mongolia supports foreign investment in all sectors of the economy. It has one of the lowest tax rates in the Asia-Pacific region. The revised Mongolian Investment law dramatically improved the investment landscape in Mongolia. We also passed a new Investment Fund Law and revised our Security Market Law.

-       Our priority now is to maintain high growth rates and diversify the economy that would boost value-added production locally. This is potentially within our reach as we have started major infrastructure and industrial development programs while continuing our mining projects.

-       Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the People of Mongolia, I would like to express gratitude to the Government of Japan and other nations around the world for supporting Mongolia's transition to democracy and market economy, laying the foundations for sustained development of my country.

Challenges we face

Economy

Politics

Sharing our experience

Mongolia and Regional cooperation (APEC, ASEAN, and ERIA)

Japan – Mongolia EPA

China – Mongolia relations

Mongolia and Northeast Asia

On some of the challenges and opportunities of our Age

"The Forum of Asia" Initiative

Conclusion

-       Mongolia will maintain its position as the "democratic anchor of the east". We will stand for justice, peace, democracy, shared values, and prosperity for all. I am confident that if we all stand for the hope and divine aspirations of others together we will make our own aspirations more secure.

-       The 21st century is going to be an Asian century and the future of Asia looks promising for all of us. What we want is that the 21st century be a century in which universal values could reign, cooperation and conciliation could rule. We shall always strive for more openness, more innovation and more collaboration which will certainly lead the nations of Asia to lasting peace, harmony and regional cooperation.

-       Let's all work together to make the world a better place.    

Link to speech

Related:

Mongolian Leader Proposes Creating "Forum of Asia"Montsame, May 22

President of Mongolia Delivers Keynote Speech at the 21st International Conference on the Future of Asianews.mn, May 22

 

Modi's Mongolia visit more about leverage over China: Experts

New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Mongolia was aimed more at gaining some psychological leverage over China than about building trade and economic ties, according to experts.

India's former ambassador Phunchok Stobdan told IANS that the visit was "more of a strategic step". S. Kalyanaraman, also an expert on the region, said it was about "making our presence felt in the region".

Modi left for China on May 14 and spent the next three days visiting Beijing and Shanghai. He became the first Indian prime minister to visit Mongolia on May 17. He was in South Korea on May 18 and 19.

During his Mongolia visit, he announced a $1 billion Line of Credit to Mongolia for its infrastructure projects and inked agreements in the field of culture, air services and cyber security training among others.

Stobdan said the import of uranium or copper or natural resources was not a driving factor in building ties with Mongolia.

"India can get uranium from anywhere," said Stobdan, now a senior fellow with Delhi-based think tank Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).

"Trade is not the issue here as the transportation cost would be too high. Everything will have to pass through China that will impose a lot of restrictions."

Total bilateral trade between India and Mongolia was $17.4 million in 2010 which rose to $35 million in 2013, according to official figures.

On the other hand, the CIA fact-sheet says Mongolia's trade with China represents more than half of its total external trade. China receives more than 90 percent of Mongolia's exports and is its largest supplier.

Stobdan argued: "Mongolia is a listening post for us. It is similar to why China keeps Pakistan close.

"China has not been able to reconcile with the fact that Mongolia is not a part of it. We could not ensure Tibet's independence but we want Mongolia's independence."

He said China's idea was to make Mongolia so dependent on it economically that "its independence becomes irrelevant".

He also points to India's shared history with Mongolia, something which is affirmed by K. Warikoo, a professor at the Centre for Inner Asian Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) here.

Warikoo told IANS: "We share deep historical-cultural ties and we need to take this to the next level."

He said Modi's announcement "demonstrates the actual implementation of the new government's Act East Policy".

According to him, Mongolia had a rich treasure of ancient Indian classical Sanskrit and Buddhist manuscripts preserved in its libraries and monasteries.

"It is time for India to get these digitalised and make them available to larger scholars in India."

According to immigration authorities, there are around 200 registered Indians in Mongolia.

Warikoo said India also needs "to put its act together" to gain access to Mongolia's rich natural resources, including uranium, which are currently exploited by China.

But Kalyanaraman, also a senior fellow at IDSA, argued that China had a natural advantage in trading with Mongolia as India's reach would be very limited.

Sandwiched between Russia and China, Kalyanaraman argues, Mongolia cannot really come to Indian aid. "It is a scuttle game. It is useful to have Mongolia on our side," Kalyanaraman told IANS.

Spread over an area of 1,565,000 sq km, Mongolia is sparsely populated with only around three million people. At four people per square mile, it is the least densely populated country.

Kalyanaraman said Modi's visit was about having "some psychological leverage over China".

He added that it worked from Mongolia's point of view too as that country was looking for partners who can help it to be independent.

Link to article

 

India and Mongolia – a partnership to rise

By Tridivesh Singh Maini, Senior Research Associate with The Jindal School of International Affairs, Sonepat

May 22 (Russian International Affairs Council) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given high priority to foreign policy over the past 12 months. Even those crititcally tuned to Minister Modi as a politician acknowledge he has made a relatively smooth transition from the position of Chief Minister to Prime Minister. Some say that his performance in the domain of foreign policy has exceeded his achievements in the domestic sphere. Apart from his focus on building economic ties and the usage of soft power, Modi makes a special emphasis on certain countries which are strategically important but have not been accorded the sort of priority they deserve, especially in terms of high political visits.

Vivid examples of this are Modi's visits to countries like Fiji - home to a large Indian population. During his recent visit to China, Modi visited South Korea and Mongolia. In fact he is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Mongolia. He even made a speech addressing the Mongolian Parliament. India's strategic and economic relationship with Mongolia has been growing over the years. India happened to be the first country outside the Soviet Bloc to establish diplomatic relations with Mongolia in 1955, supporting its membership in the United Nations as well as in the Non-Aligned Movement. Before Modi's visit there have been a number of ministerial meetings between national representatives (e.g. in 2011 when former Indian President Pratibha Patil came to Mongolia).

Economically the relationship has been growing but not without a dip. Bilateral trade between both countries reached $50 bln falling to $24 bln. This is far below potential bilateral trade between China and Mongolia estimated at $8 bln. Though recently skepticism in India vis-à-vis Chinese economic influence in Mongolia has been going up, Mongolia is nevertheless seeking to foster strong ties with countries like Russia and Japan.

Strategically, the fact that the Indian PM's visit to Mongolia followed the Chinese one is a clear indicator that while endeavoring to strengthen bilateral relations with China India will not shy away from engaging aggressively with China's neighbors, just as China does with India's neighbors, most notably Pakistan. The Indian PM categorically mentioned that India seeks to bring strategic cooperation with Mongolia to the next level. Some of the steps taken in this context were India's offer to set up a National Cyber Security Centre, widen cooperation between the National Security Councils, and work closer in the area of defense cooperation and in the Civil Nuclear Sector. Agreements were also signed in surveillance and policing areas. The Indian PM also mentioned the importance of Mongolia for India in the context of its Act East Policy. In a joint press conference with his Mongolian counterpart Chimed Saikhanbileg Modi stated, "Today, Mongolia is also an integral part of India's Act East Policy," adding that "The destinies of India and Mongolia are closely linked with the future of the Asia Pacific. We can work together to help advance peace, stability and prosperity in this region."

India also announced that $1 bln of financial assistance to Mongolia will be transferred for infrastructural development. Even though India cannot match China in cheque book diplomacy, this is a solid contribution. Over the past decade, India has sent a clear message that New Dehli is willing to provide financial assistance without stringent conditions imposed by China, and with the intention of carrying out long term projects in development of infrastructure. India also decided to set up more ITEC Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Centers in Mongolia, increasing the number from 150 to 200. India shall also provide assistance in dairy farming.

Modi was also keen on demonstrating soft power tools on the visit. At a banquet hosted in his honor the Indian PM flagged the historical linkages between both countries. "Ours is a relationship that is not measured on the scale of commerce or driven by competition against others. It is a relationship of immeasurable positive energy that comes from our spiritual links and shared ideals." Countries are linked by the historical figure of Genghis Khan and Buddhism. Modi's gifts to his hosts clearly reiterated this point. The Indian PM presented Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj with a specially commissioned reproduction of a rare 13th century manuscript on the Mongolian history from the Rampur Raza Library in Rampur, India. While Buddhist links between both countries are centuries old, in 1990 India sent a monk-ambassador Kushak Bakula from Ladakh to Mongolia. He helped to spread Buddhism by setting up a school. The Indian PM visited the Gandan Tegchilen Monastery in Ulan Bator and presented a sapling of the revered Bodhi tree to the chief abbot of the Monastery. Modi attaches great importance to Buddhism as a possible binder between countries in South Asia and South East Asia. The Indian PM also attended the Mini Nadaam festival.

In conclusion, Modi's visit to Mongolia may not have brought anything big for the imminent future but the right message has been sent. The fact that Mongolia has close ties with Russia - an old Indian ally - is also significant. Both countries can explore areas where they can work jointly for helping Mongolia economically. Mongolia is not only important for India's Act East Policy but also as partner in the Central Asia who will be working closely with New Dehli alongside Russia and Japan. This will be a solid political and economic leverage for restraining Chinese influence in the region.

Link to article

 

Young Asian Minds Gather in Mongolia for Support of Youth

May 22 (Mongolian Economy) The 13th Asian Youth Council General Assembly is being held on May 18-21. The event was organized by the Mongolian Youth Federation in conjunction with the Mongolian government and the Asian Youth Council (AYC) under the theme "One Asia."

Over 600 representatives from all corners of Asia, and some even from beyond, gathered in Ulaanbaatar to hold conferences regarding the topics Education, Employment, Health and Gender, Youth's Role in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Youth Policies and Programmes. Mr. Munkhbat Ayush, President of the Mongolian Youth Federation and a Vice President in the World Assembly of Youth (WAY), led his counterpart guests in the opening ceremony at Chinggis Square concluding with a human word formation of "One Asia." The World Assembly of Youth is an international coordinating body of national youth organisations. Founded in 1949, it works in close cooperation with and holds consultative status at multiple UN bodies.

Panellists in each of the five meetings gave presentations and held group discussions on recommendations put forth by the panellists. For example, it was said that there is a weak link between education and employment. A student graduates high school or university, and there is a lack of support and resources to smoothly transition an individual from the classroom to the workplace. It was recommended that governments and organisations prioritise public-private partnerships in order to "institutionalise work experience, internships and career counselling so as to ensure that young people are better connected with labour market demands and obtain practical relevant skills to industry."

In the Youth's Role in the SDGs conference, experts emphasised that we must incentivise the youth's participation in politics.

There are roughly 1.8 billion under-25s in the world. In developing countries especially, the percentage of people under 25 tend to be higher, even as has as 67 percent of the population in Afghanistan. That figure stands at about 47 percent for Mongolia. "If the youth are not interested [in politics], it's a problem," said Beniam Gebrezghi, Programme Specialist at the UNDP Regional Hub in Bangkok. However he made sure to point out that viewing the youth as a homogenous political is not correct. Some are more educated; some are religious while others are not; some are wealthier than others. He added, "Thinking that youth are one group is a fallacy; I'm sorry." Across the board, youth are less interested in politics. They have lower rates of affiliation with political parties or NGOs; however, they are more active in protests, online activity and other less formal politics.

The Millennium Development Goals end this year. Although good progress has been made in the eight categories of focus, there is still a long way to go. The Sustainable Development Goals are to become the successor in regards to the global post-2015 development agenda. The SDGs are comprised of 17 proposed goals, 169 targets and 304 indicators.

There was certainly no shortage of media personnel and flashes from cameras. It felt as though there simply was not enough time and not enough foreign delegates and attendees to satisfy all the reporters. There was also no shortage of pleasantries and flattering statements about Mongolia and the organisers from the foreign guests.

When asked what the most important issue is regarding implementation of policies, Preye Jerome Ketebu-Brown, a Vice President of WAY, said: "The most important issue is financing. We can have lots of great ideas and words said, but without the financing, that's all they are." It was a common motif in all the discussions.

Link to article

 

Mongolian and British Armies Clash in Friendly Battle on Polo Pitch

Ulaanbaatar, May 21 (MONTSAME) The British Army's polo team engaged with its Mongolian counterpart in a fierce but friendly polo tournament at an army base in Khentii aimag last weekend, reported the British Embassy in Ulaanbaatar on Thursday.

Armed only with the traditional ball and sticks, a thrilling display of tactics and horsemanship skills by both sides ended in a narrow win by the British team in the eastern Mongolia province where Chingis Khaan was born. But the Mongolian Army will have a chance to even the score when it visits the UK's Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst for a return match in July.

Polo is thought to have been invented by the horse-loving Mongolians, but the modern international form of the game is played by rules developed by the British. 

Mongolia's Minister for Foreign Affairs Purevsuren awarded the prizes together with Vice Minister of Defence Battur and Andrew Allen, Charge D'Affaires at the British Embassy, who said:"The British Army polo team came to Mongolia for a week to train our Mongolian Army friends in the European version of this ancient game. While the resulting sport was great to see and while new bonds were formed between our militaries, I see this as part of our joint efforts to develop a broader  and deeper relationship between our countries, going beyond  trade and investment and into defence and security, culture, education and tourism.  We look forward to the return match at Sandhurst, and to returning Mongolia's warm and generous hospitality."  

Link to article

 

Mongolian Diplomats Begin Series of Trainings as Part of ASEM Preparations

Ulaanbaatar, May 22 (MONTSAME) Dedicated to this theme training ran May 18-22 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The lessons were given by Andrew Wilson, a scholar and researcher on working out reports at specialized organizations of the United Nations, and by Anthony James Corballis, an instructor on arts of relations and professor at the British SOAS university. 

This is one part of series of trainings organized for promoting professionals skills of diplomats, in frames of a preparation for the 11th ASEM Summit (2016 in Ulaanbaatar).

The training mainly focused on increasing the skills of writing reports and delivering speeches.  

Link to article

 

Training Held on Ensuring Hotel Safety for ASEM Summit

Ulaanbaatar, May 22 (MONTSAME) With an aim to ensure the safety of tourists, the Tourism Department of Ulaanbaatar and Mongolia's Union of Hotels Thursday co-organized regular training themed "Safety, protection of hotels and management of risk management" at the Ulaanbaatar hotel.

This training has involved staffers of those hotels that will receive international delegates who will take part in the 2016 ASEM Summit. A previous training ran in 2014 at the "Corporate" and "Convention center" hotels under a title "Prevention of accidents caused by disasters, dangerous phenomena and techniques".  

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Social, Environmental & Other

ADB Case Study: A Teaching and Learning Revolution in Mongolia

Project Result / Case Study | 21 May 2015

ADB support has boosted school enrollment, trained teachers, and made Mongolia's education system more responsive to the needs of business and industry.

More than 240,000 students and 21,900 teachers benefit from education project in Mongolia.

May 21 (ADB) Udelgarav Demberel became a teacher 40 years ago because she loved children and wanted to help them realize their dreams and succeed in life.

It has not always been easy. When she started teaching chemistry at the Ireedui Complex School in the Songinokhairkhan district of Ulaanbaatar in 1997, the only teaching aids she had were a blackboard and chalk. The school had no equipment or materials for chemistry experiments.

All that changed in 2007 under the ADB-financed Third Education Development Project. The Ireedui Complex School received new equipment and facilities, including a chemistry lab; an information and communication technology center; and an e-library. The teachers were trained in new national education standards and curriculum and started using curriculum guides.

"Our teaching-learning activities are now laboratory-based," Udelgarav says. "Students can do experiments, and students [who are being trained to become teachers] come to the school to practice teaching in the lab."

Outdated education program

In the early 1990s, after subsidies from the former Soviet Union ended and the country began its transition to a market economy, Mongolia's educators struggled to sustain achievements made in the 1980s. Educational spending and quality declined. Buildings and facilities fell into disrepair, and many schools closed. By 1996, enrollment had fallen to 94% at primary level (compared with 100% in 1986) and to 63% in secondary schools (compared with the 1986 rate of 87%).

Schools had stuck with central-planning-era curriculums that seldom gave students the knowledge or skills they needed to find work in the new market economy. Teachers lacked appropriate knowledge and used outdated techniques. Those qualified left teaching for more attractive jobs in the expanding private sector. Making matters worse, the education system had not embraced modern learning methods.

Poverty was widespread. At the start of the 21st century, more than one-third of Mongolians earned less than $0.75 a day. "High unemployment and underemployment caused by a mismatch between available skills and what the labor market needs have been a key cause of poverty," says Bandii Radnaa, a project coordinator at the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science.

Instituting reforms, upgrading resources

ADB has been the largest external supporter of Mongolia's education sector. By 2006, two ADB education development projects had helped reverse declining enrollment and improved the quality of education. Both had the assistance of other development partners, including the Government of Japan and the Nordic Development Fund.

ADB worked closely with the Mongolian government under the Third Education Development Project, approved in 2006, to accelerate the pace of change. Financed by a $13 million ADB loan and government funding of $3.38 million, it extended basic mandatory primary education from 10 to 12 years. It focused on developing a national curriculum and new education standards to make the education system more responsive to the needs of business and industry.

By the end of the project in 2012, the new national curriculum framework and updated education standards were in place, new textbooks had been written, and more than 3,000 teachers had been trained.

The project provided 68 model primary and secondary schools with teaching and learning materials, information and communication technology equipment and software, and school furniture. These schools served as models in particular subjects, shared their expertise and experience, and provided support for others.

At the same time, six model technical and vocational education and training (TVET) schools were renovated and received new teaching and learning materials. "The trust and public image of TVET schools was boosted with the provision of teacher training, teaching-learning materials, and equipment," says Ulziimend Ganbold, a Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science senior specialist who worked as a TVET expert on the project.

More opportunities for the youth

In all, more than 240,000 students and 21,900 teachers benefited from the project. The upswing in gross enrollment continued during the implementation period. In the 2010-2011 school year, it reached 99% at primary level and 94% in secondary schools.

Employment opportunities are now growing for young people. In 2013, 60% of the graduates from the Vocational Training and Production Center in Sainshand, for example, found work within 6 months of finishing school.

The students who have already come through Mongolia's steadily improving education system may be in the best position to appreciate the benefits of the project.

"I'm proud of it. It gave us opportunities," says Nyambayar Sambalkhundev, who graduated from the Ireedui Complex School in 2012 and is studying Mining Machinery at the National University of Mongolia.

Link to release

 

Mongolia to Improve Role of Science and Innovation in Economic Growth

Ulaanbaatar, May 21 (MONTSAME) One of the highlights of this academic year is the implementation of "Pre-School Education Core Program" that aims at improving kindergarten education system concerning every child's development equally, said the Minister of Education, Culture and Sciences L.Gantomor while attending the "Hour of Minister" weekly meeting on Thursday.

He said a base kindergarten  for the program has been opened in every aimag and the city's district. The trial pre-school education programs will continue in certain regions, the official study program for pre-school education will be completely renovated in 2016-2017 academic year, he said.

Thanks to the core program, he added, a participation of children in the education processes have increased from 15 to 70 percent, children have come to assess themselves with some help and advice from teachers. The Ministry is working to create a system where children practice scientific projects in person in order to obtain scientific knowledge, he said. In frames of the objective, over 200 laboratories were given to the schools in the past few years, the utilization and benefits of those labs are satisfactory, added Mr Gantomor.

Another highlight is the fact that 200 Mongolian students received invitations to study in 100 internationally-recognized institutes. "This manifests Mongolian youth's potential to study in the best universities of the world," he noted.

In frames of the innovation policy, Mongolian can, by implementing a plan on commercializing the achieved knowledge, facilitate economic environment where new knowledge and inimitable creations are produced and studied, the Minister went on. A regulation on establishing a company subsidiary to academic institute has been adopted. "The regulation coming into force, we expect to improve the role of sciences and innovation in the economic growth through laying the foundation of high tech industry and expanding the mutually-beneficial cooperation between the scientific industries," Mr Gantomor concluded.

Link to article

 

Minister Seeks Turkish Assistance in Preserving Turkic Graves

Ulaanbaatar, May 21 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Education, Culture and Sciences L.Gantomor Wednesday received Mr Murat Karagoz, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Turkey to Mongolia, and Mr Ekrem Kalan, permanent representative of the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) to Mongolia.

The Minister proposed collaborating in saving the graves of Shoroonbumbagar located in Bulgan aimag's Bayannuur soum because it is related to ancient Turkic people. In response, the Turkish side said it will study this suggestion and will give a response in near future.

The Minister thanked Turkey for training many Mongolian students in Turkish universities and institutes with governmental scholarships thanks to expansion of the bilateral cooperation in the education and cultural sectors. He also expressed a willingness to activate joint geological activities focused on Turkish history and cultural researches in Mongolia, and to take historical findings under protection with participation of the TIKA and other Turkish organizations. 

Link to article

 

Mongolia a living laboratory for cancer study

May 23 (The Chaffee County Times) I'm passing on some interesting information – food for thought – that I received by email this month.

At the last health talk I covered some traditional diets of our healthy ancestors and how they had an extremely rare incidence of cancer as compared to our modern diet. These cultures are now gone.

There still exists today a country whose diet is significantly different than our modern diet.

It is Mongolia. They have retained a lot of their traditional diet, but not all of it.

The Independent Republic of Mongolia is a living laboratory for the study of cancer incidence and mortality.

Mongolians basically subsist on red meat and dairy, including meat from cows, horses, camels, yaks, sheep, goats and sometimes game. Their national drink, airag (also known as kumis, similar to kefir), is fermented mare's milk.

If foods of animal origin were intrinsically harmful to humans, then one would expect Mongolians to get eight-to-10 times as much cancer as the industrially advanced countries.

Instead, Mongolia's age-adjusted breast cancer incidence rate is 8.0 per 100,000. Contrast this to the Japanese rate of 42.7, the European rate of 66.6 and the North American rate of 76.7 per 100,000.

In other words, America's rate is more than eight times that of Mongolia.

Breast cancer mortality follows a similar trend.

The Mongolian BC death rate is 3.4 per 100,000, while the Japanese rate is 9.2, the European is 16.9, and the North American is 14.8 per 100,000. Thus the BC death rate in Europe or America is about four times that of Mongolia, according to a 2012 study.

"Mongolia's low breast cancer incidence is of particular interest because of their unusual diet … compared with other Asian countries," wrote Dr. Rebecca Troisi and her NIH and her NIH colleagues.

I could go on, and it is one of very many examples that shows that what we've come to accept as fact about nutrition and health is completely wrong.

This is the purpose of the health talks I do to shed some light on the subject of health.

Link to article

 

Mongolia-Korea Green Wall Joint Project to Plant 800 More Trees in Gobi

Ulaanbaatar, May 21 (MONTSAME) Ten members of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea and the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism of Mongolia and MPs are planting trees in Omnogovi aimag, while getting acquainted with Mongolia-S-Korea joint "Green Wall" project. They intend to plant 800 elms in the Gobi.

The members of the S-Korean National Assembly has founded a community named "People who plant trees" as they are greatly concerned about the global climate change and want to join the combat against desertification in North-East Asia and to replant forests. They are planting trees there in frames of the above project, for the third time this year.

Present at this year's action were 100 visitors, including the S.Korean Ambassador to Mongolia Oh Song, the National Assembly member Yi Wong Ug, the director-general of the "Green Wall" project Choi Sung Chong, Mongolian MP O.Baasankhuu, a chief officer at the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism Ts.Chuluunbaatar, a chairman of the Omnogovi Citizens' Representatives Khural L.Batchuluun, a head of Omnogovi Environment and Tourism Department D.Dendevsamba.

The "Green Wall" project is being implemented on S.Korea's funding in Dalanzadgad and Bulgan soums of the aimag, in Lun and Bayantsagaan soums of Tov aimag. Through the project, the governments of the two countries want to reduce a reach of yellow storms, fight desertification, minimize its damages by creating a line of forests in 3 thous. hectares and organizing joint trainings to prepare environmental experts.

Link to article

 

Waterloo, Wisconsin resident headed to Mongolia with Peace Corps

WATERLOO, May 21 (Watertown Daily Times) -- Eric Koester, 21, of Waterloo, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Mongolia May 29 to begin training as a youth development and community services volunteer.

Koester will live and work at the community level and make a difference working with school social workers, teachers and community members to facilitate positive youth development and promote youth participation in camps, clubs and English classes.

"The ability to help others on a large scale attracted me to join the Peace Corps," Koester said.

Koester, the son of Michael and Nina Koester of Waterloo, graduated from Lakeside Lutheran High School in Lake Mills, in 2011. At Lakeside, he participated in football, track and basketball. He earned a bachelor's degree in sports management and fitness management in 2015 from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha, where he was a student assistant coach and orientation leader.

"The different leadership opportunities that I have been able to be a part of have prepared me for Peace Corps service," he said.

During the first three months of his service, Koester will live with a host family in Mongolia to learn the local language and integrate into the local culture. After acquiring the language and cultural skills that will help him make a lasting difference, Koester will be sworn into service and assigned to a community in Mongolia where he will serve for two years.

Koester will work in cooperation with the local people and partner organizations on sustainable, community-based development projects that improve the lives of people in Mongolia and help Koester develop leadership, technical and cross-cultural skills that will give him a competitive edge when he returns home.

Peace Corps volunteers return from service as global citizens well-positioned for professional opportunities in today's global job market.

"I hope to be able to have a great deal of experience in critical thinking and problem solving," Koester said. "I also wish to have a great understanding of living and working with people of all different races, cultures and backgrounds."

Koester joins the 187 Wisconsin residents currently serving in the Peace Corps. More than 5,942 Wisconsin residents have served as volunteers since the agency was created in 1961.

There are 132 volunteers in Mongolia working with their communities on projects in English education, youth development and health.

During their service in Mongolia, volunteers learn to speak local languages, including Mongolian and Kazakh. More than 1,145 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Mongolia since the program was established in 1991.

Link to article

 

Moray man carries friendship gift from Lossie to Mongolia

May 22 (Inside Moray) FOOTBALLERS IN MONGOLIA will be sporting the colours of Highland League side Lossiemouth FC thanks to a generous gesture by club chairman Royce Clark.

Lossie shirts will now be sported by players in the Bayan-Olgii province of Mongolia after they were gifted to the local football federation by Mr Clark through his friend, former Moray Council employee Alastair Mitchell.

A former youth team coach at Lossiemouth, Alastair mentioned how much a set of football shirts would be appreciated by young players in Mongolia and Mr Clark was more than happy to oblige.

He said: "I was delighted to help Alastair when he told me about his work in Mongolia – this is a great way of ensuring that shirts owned by the club but no longer required are used in a positive way.

"I've told Alastair than next time he is home we'll sort out another set of shirts for him to take back with him, it's the least we can do for a guy who is carrying out such fantastic work where it is needed most."

After handing over the shirts in Mongolia Mr Mitchell said: "The youth team will be playing in a nationwide football competition soon and we were interviewed by the local television station as part of their send off."

Mr Mitchell's work in Mongolia has been recorded through an online blog 'Letter from Mongolia'.

Link to article

 

Mongolia, Japan and Russia at the double as World Judo Masters opens

May 23 (Inside the Games) Mongolia, Japan and Russia won two titles apiece as the World Judo Masters opened in Rabat, with under 60 kilograms star Naohisa Takato producing the most eye-catching performance of the day.

The 21-year-old Japanese star, who followed gold at the 2013 World Championships in Rio de Janeiro with bronze at last year's event in Chelyabinsk, won an entertaining final with world bronze medallist Orkhan Safarov of Azerbaijan, triumphing courtesy of having conceded just one penalty point in comparison with his opponent's two. 

Uzbekistan's Sharafuddin Lutfillaev and Mongolian world number one Boldbaatar Ganbat of Mongolia claimed the two bronze medals. 

A second Japanese gold was won by under 63kg female fighter Miku Tashiro who, in the absence of French world number one Clarise Agbegenou, dominated nonetheless against her European opponents, scoring an early yuko against Austria's Kathrin Unterwurzacher before immobilising her with an ippon in the last 10 seconds. 

It marked arguably the biggest success of 21-year-old Tashiro's career so far, following on from a World Championship bronze last year and gold at the inaugural Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing. 

Japanese fighters did not have it all their own way in the Moroccan capital, with Mongolia showing their traditional prowess in the lighter events and Russia demonstrating how they have one of the strongest all round squads in the world. 

World number one and reigning Asian Games champion Urantsetseg Munkhbat tasted victory in the under 48kg division, getting the better of Argentina's third ranked Paula Pareto in the final with an armlock for ippon within the first minute of their final bout. 

A second Mongol title came in the under 57kg event, where Asian Games bronze medallist Sumiya Dorjsuren, a three-time reigning world champion in sambo, overcame Helene Receveaux of France in the final as Japan's Nae Udaka and Romania's Corina Caprioriu each won battles for bronze.

Natalia Kuziutina in the women's under 52kg event and Denis Iartcev at under 73kg were the two Russian champions on the first of two days of action in the Palace of Sport, beating Japan's Yuki Hashimoto and Georgia's Nugzari Tatalashvili in their respective finals.

The only athlete to break the Mongol-Russian-Japanese dominance was Ukraine's Georgii Zantaraia, who beat Belorussian opponent Dzmitry Shershan in the under 66kg final. 

Action is due to continue tomorrow with the remaining seven divisions, at under 70kg, under 78kg and over 78kg for women and at under 81, under 91kg and under 100kg and over 100kg for men.

Watch the latest action on Judo TV here.

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Sekiwake Terunofuji wins title after fellow Mongolian Hakuho stumbles

May 24 (Kyodo) Sekiwake Terunofuji defeated Aoiyama and captured his first career title at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday, thanks in part to a late meltdown by yokozuna and fellow Mongolian Hakuho.

With the 23-year-old Terunofuji having taken care of his Bulgarian opponent to score a 12th win, all the pressure was on joint overnight leader and all-time record title-holder Hakuho in the final bout of the 15-day meet against yokozuna rival Harumafuji.

But Hakuho (11-4), seeking his seventh straight title, choked yet again and suffered his third defeat in four matches as Harumafuji came back from the brink, leaping at his opponent and turning the tables to barge him out and hand Terunofuji the title.

"After I won my match, I wanted (Harumafuji) to win and (if it had gone to a playoff) I was waiting and ready to fight and win my next bout. I was almost in tears (when Harumafuji won)," said Terunofuji.

"When I was 15 years old I watched sumo (in Mongolia) and wanted to become a sumo wrestler and so came to Japan. It was a dream of mine to win the championship. To actually win it is (also) like a dream."

Terunofuji's championship has all but earned his promotion to the sport's second-highest rank of ozeki with Japan Sumo Association chairman Kitanoumi saying he would give it the green light.

"My goal for this year was to become an ozeki and I think I was able to get close to that and I will keep trying hard from here onward," said Terunofuji.

The sekiwake had seized a share of the lead with Hakuho at 11-3 on Saturday after the yokozuna was stunned by ozeki and nemesis Kisenosato, a defeat that also threw a championship lifeline to six other wrestlers one win back including Kisenosato and Harumafuji (11-4).

Terunofuji showed nerves of steel in his bout, soaking up Aoiyama's attack and surging forward to send the No. 6 maegashira packing to a sixth defeat.

"Obviously I was feeling nervous but overcame that and tried to change my attitude and was able to fight with determination," said Terunofuji.

That victory wiped out Kisenosato's hopes of a first Emperor's Cup, but he still put his heart and soul into his all-ozeki match against Kotoshogiku and deservedly closed with an 11th win.

For the third basho in a row, Terunofuji was awarded the Fighting Spirit prize, one of three prizes given to makuuchi wrestlers by the JSA on the final day of a grand tournament.

At March's spring meet in Osaka, the sekiwake also won the Outstanding Performance prize.

Yoshikaze, a 14th-ranked maegashira, saw his outside chances of a championship end early after being shoved out to a fifth defeat by sixth-ranked Georgian Gagamaru (7-8) before the other lower-ranked title hopefuls all choked.

Tenth-ranked Ikioi (10-5) was next to exit the race when he was bundled off the ring by top-ranked maegashira Takarafuji (9-6).

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Why the Mongols were the greatest empire in world history

This answer by History buff Balaji Viswanathan originally appeared on Quora as an answer to the question: What was the greatest empire in world history?

May 17 (Business Insider) The Mongols would be my top choice. They have done some extraordinary things that have never been done before and never been done since. Within decades they built a random region literally in the middle of nowhere to become an invincible superpower. Would you be surprised if I told you that they were also great engineers and extremely good learners who changed world more than any other superpower?

I see many people having highly outdated stereotypes of Mongols. We often see a straw-man view of Mongols: guys on horses with bows and arrows. What would you say if someone in the year 2700 described the British Empire merely as guys carrying muskets and the Union Jack and wearing red coats? Or the Arab Empire as guys with swords on horses chanting Allah? Or the U.S. as a superpower dropping nuclear bombs while watching Adam Sandler movies?

There was far more to the Arabs, British, and Americans than the straw-man description above. Same for the Mongols. If you are curious, read on.

Military prowess of the Mongols

Unlike Hitler, Napoleon, and so many others, the Mongols had little problem running over Russia. They say you never invade Russia in winter. Mongols actually loved invading that time, as their horses could run over the frozen rivers without the need for bridges. While Afghans might have resisted Americans, Soviets, and the British, they had no clue of what hit them during the time of Mongols.

China was never ruled by outside powers until then. The Arab Empire was at its glorious heights with Baghdad being the world's greatest city. Until the Mongols, of course. Indians barely avoided being run over by Genghis Khan's hordes due to a strong leader. Later, even India was partly defeated.

The Teutonic crusader knights had no answer to the Mongols, nor did the various tribes of Southeast Asia. It didn't matter whether you were a super-advanced civilization at the apex or totally nomadic—you lost to the Mongols.

The Mongols could run over the brutally cold lands of Siberia and the brutally hot lands of Arabia. They didn't care if they were running into the empty grasslands of the Steppes or the deep tropical jungles of Burma. They could run the paddy fields of China and also run through Himalayas as though it was some irrelevant hill. They could as easily mount the horses as easily as they could launch naval attacks. It is as though geography is some irrelevant detail that they didn't bother about.

If the enemies packed themselves solidly in a phalanx, Mongols would decimate them with arrows. If the enemies spread thinly, Mongols would chase them with lancers. They would also easily overcome enemy archers, cavalry, and swordsmen. In short, there was not a single technology nor strategy nor weapon that could hold against the Mongols.

They were the ultimate superpower the world has seen.

Not just a brute force, but a colossal empire

In talking about Mongols, many have an outdated, often-racist picture of some crude, murderous "barbarians" who got lucky. Only in the recent times have the historians unearthed some fascinating things about them and are giving them their due respect. Let's face it: There is not a single superpower or major empire that has less blood on its hands.

The Mongols actually built a very professional force that was open-minded and highly innovative. They were master engineers who used every technology known to man, while their competitors were lax and obstinate. They kept a diverse governance and learned from every avenue possible.

A lot of world's technology growth (including the dissipation of gunpowder, paper, and the printing press to much of Europe) happened as a direct result of their conquests. In short, they helped greatly shape the world we live in.

In their forces, a Christian, Muslim, Confucian, Buddhist all were treated the same, and they were not stuck much in ideologies. In that sense, they were far superior to every European colonial power.

They were extremely innovative and played on key weaknesses of the opponents. They would bring European/Middle East trebuchets to fight the Chinese, and to fight the Middle East they would bring the Chinese siege crossbows and gunpowder. If they didn't get stone for trebuchets, they would cut huge trees and soak the logs in water to act as rocks.

The other views of Mongols:

Genghis Khan brought the writing system to Mongolia that is still used by many Mongolians. The Mongol empire spared teachers of taxation and led to the great spread of printing all over East Asia. They also helped the rise of an educated class in Korea.

Mongols built a spectacular international postal system through a big chunk of Eurasia called the Yam (route) whose efficiency was not matched for the next five centuries.

They started creating standardized bank notes and paper currencies centuries before Europe created its own.

Under Mongols there was a fantastic "free trade area" that connected most of the known world. Trade flourished as merchants traveled without worrying about raids. Economy prospered. It is in this time that Marco Polo and other Europeans could visit Asia.

In an era of religious fighting, the Mongols built a religious tolerance that spanned almost all religions they knew—Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Confucianism.

Chinese sciences, astronomy, medicine, engineering, and mathematics exploded in the Mongol era, as the Khans understood the value of sciences. Some great scientists in this era include Guo Shoujing and Zhu Shijie. Mongols also produced a highly accurate calendar.

Art and theater flourished in the Yuan era of China. They introduced a variety of European advancements in glass and musical instruments in China.

Mongols had a constant thirst for knowledge and were very quick learners. They also spread whatever they learn from various cultures. This caused an explosion of ideas. Europe rose to its age of exploration within a century of the contact with the Mongols.

Like all great empires of the world, they had a lot of blood in their hands. However, their contributions to human existence through the explosion of ideas in sciences, art, and trade have shaped our history more than any other superpower.

Read the original article on Quora. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and get insider knowledge.

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