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Thursday, June 10, 2015
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
Aspire raises A$4.4m for coal studies
PERTH, June 10 (miningweekly.com) – Coal developer Aspire Mining has raised A$4.39-million through a share placement to fund exploration work at its Nuurstei and Ovoot coking coal projects, and to negotiate a rail agreement in Mongolia.
The share placement, which was launched in April this year, was priced at 2c a share, with a one-for-two free attaching option at an exercise price of 3c each, over a two-year term.
MD David Paull told shareholders that the company was encouraged by the strong support from existing and new shareholders during the capital raise.
"The company looks forward to commencing its exploration programme at Nuurstei in 2015 and continuing to make good progress on the development of rail infrastructure in northern Mongolia, which will benefit both the company's Ovoot and Nuurstei coking coal projects," Paull said.
The Mongolian government recently approved a new national rail policy, which included the extension of a rail from Erdenet to Aspire's Ovoot coking coal project, and on to the Russian border at Arts Suuri.
The new rail line was considered an important link between Russia, Mongolia, and through the Trans-Mongolian Railway, to China. The $144-million Ovoot project would have an initial production of five-million tonnes a year, with first production targeted for 2017.
Tian Poh: Extension of Option to Acquire 51% Interest in Zuun Mod Mo-Cu Project from Erdene
June 8 --
• On 15 February 2015, Tan Poh Resources Limited (ASX: TPO) announced it had secured an exclusive option until 11 June 2015 to acquire 51% of the Zuun Mod Molybdenum-Copper deposit (the Project) from Erdene Resource Development Corp. (TSX: ERD).
• Completion of the transaction is subject to TPO obtaining shareholder approval and TPO and ERD obtaining regulatory approvals. TPO obtained shareholder approval on 22 May 2015.
• TPO is continuing with due diligence on the Project and the parties have agreed to extend the option for TPO to acquire the Project for 30 days, to 11 July 2015.
Erdene Provides Highlights of AGM and Project Updates
HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - June 9, 2015) - Erdene Resource Development Corp. (TSX:ERD) ("Erdene" or "Company"), is pleased to provide an update on activities as presented at the Company's Annual and Special Meeting of Shareholders ("AGM") held on June 4, 2015 in Halifax, Nova Scotia and to announce its shareholders voted in favor of all items of business brought before them. A copy of the AGM presentation is available on the Company's website here.
Results of AGM
Appointment of Board and Executive
At the AGM, shareholders voted in favor of Erdene management's nominees to the board of directors, with details of the vote as follows:
Following the AGM, Erdene's board of directors appointed its executive officers for the coming year, namely: President and Chief Executive Officer - Peter Akerley; Chairman of the Board - Chris Cowan; Vice President and Chief Financial Officer - Ken MacDonald; and Corporate Secretary - Suzan Frazer.
KPMG LLP was re-appointed Auditor of the Company to hold office until the next AGM or until its successor is duly appointed.
Amendment to Deferred Stock Unit Plan
At the AGM, shareholders approved a resolution amending the Deferred Stock Unit ("DSU") Plan, put in place in October 2012, to increase the maximum number of common shares reserved for issuance under the DSU Plan from 2,500,000 to 5,000,000. The purpose of the DSU Plan is to assist the Company in attracting and retaining talented employees and directors and to promote a greater alignment of interests between the directors, employees and shareholders.
Significant Reduction in Overhead Costs
During the AGM, the Company presented details of ongoing cost-saving initiatives. Over the past year, management continued to aggressively reduce overhead costs while continuing to advance its flagship Altan Nar gold-polymetallic project. Corporate and administration costs were approximately $729,000 in 2014, down from $939,000 in 2013 and $1,678,000 in 2012; a 57% decrease in the past two years.
On June 4, 2015, Erdene closed the first tranche of $1.15 million of an oversubscribed private placement, and announced the amount of the financing had been increased to $1.5 million. The final tranche is expected to close by mid-June, 2015. Including the recent financing, the Company has been successful in securing funding, in challenging market conditions, totaling approximately $4.0 million during the last 14 months, through the completion of private placements and the exercise of options and warrants.
Mongolia Project Update
Altan Nar Gold-Polymetallic Project
The 2014 and Q1 2015 exploration program on the Altan Nar gold-polymetallic project ("Altan Nar") resulted in the establishment of an initial resource ("Mineral Resource") for the two most advanced prospects, Discovery Zone and Union North, and established sixteen additional mineralized target areas within the overall 5.6 km long mineralized trend. An independent National Instrument 43-101 technical report outlining the resource estimate was prepared by RungePincockMinarco ("RPM"), dated March 24, 2015, and is available on SEDAR ("Resource Report"). The Mineral Resource consists of 147,000 ounces ("oz") gold equivalent ("AuEq") averaging 2.5 g/t AuEq in the Indicated category, and 102,000 oz AuEq averaging 2.1 g/t AuEq in the Inferred category, at a 1.0 g/t AuEq cut-off, within 1.8 million tonnes ("Mt") Indicated and 1.5 Mt Inferred, respectively. Approximately 90% of the Mineral Resource identified to date is within 150 m of surface. The potential for increasing the Mineral Resource is considered by RPM to be good, with the Discovery Zone and Union North open along strike and at depth, and multiple priority targets throughout the remaining 16 target areas.
With an initial NI 43-101 compliant mineral resource established, the Company's current work plan at Altan Nar includes process test work, as well as evaluations of the mining, engineering, transportation, and marketing options. This work is expected to consider options for expedited development including evaluating the concept of producing a potentially high value gold, silver, lead and zinc concentrate(s) to be sold into China (rail link 175 km to the south of Altan Nar) for final processing. As stated in the Resource Report, this option has the potential to enable relatively low capital and operating costs during start up and for the generation of early cash flow. Simultaneously, in the first half of 2015, Erdene intends to complete additional evaluation of the remaining target areas to assist in determining the high priority areas for defining additional near-surface resources at Altan Nar. Drilling is scheduled to commence during Q3-2015.
Alliance with Teck Resources
In 2013, Erdene entered into an agreement with Teck Resources Limited ("Teck"), to fund and explore the Company's mineral tenements and to evaluate new mineral tenements for acquisition in the prospective Trans Altay region of southwest Mongolia. On April 27, 2015, Erdene closed a private placement with Teck Resources Ltd. ("Teck") fulfilling Teck's annual equity investment obligation. Teck has the option to acquire additional shares of the Company until it has invested at least $3 million or has acquired 19.9% of the outstanding shares of the Company, whichever occurs first. Teck has participated in four Erdene private placements since the alliance was formed for a total of $2.0 million, taking its ownership in Erdene to 15.1%.
In 2014, Erdene continued to evaluate opportunities through its alliance with Teck, focused on regional exploration for base and precious metal targets in southwest Mongolia's emerging Tian Shan copper-gold belt. The exploration program identified prospects that have been recommended for acquisition. Subsequent to year-end, the Mongolian mineral license staking system re-opened after a 5-year hiatus with designated areas in the western half of Mongolia available for staking. Since the opening of the licensing system, Erdene has been successful in securing two exploration licenses. The Erdene-Teck exploration program is ongoing and has been designed to be a multi-year program. This program is being fully funded by Teck under the Erdene/Teck alliance agreement.
Agreement with Tian Poh Resources
On February 12, 2015, Erdene announced that it had granted Tian Poh Resources Limited ("Tian Poh"), a period of exclusivity to exercise an option to acquire an interest in Erdene's Zuun Mod molybdenum-copper project ("Zuun Mod") in southwest Mongolia. Tian Poh is continuing with due diligence on Zuun Mod and has been granted a 30-day extension by Erdene, to July 11, 2015, to exercise its option to acquire Zuun Mod.
Tian Poh can acquire and retain a 51% interest in Zuun Mod for US$4.8 million in cash and equity in Tian Poh, and by meeting certain work commitments (the "Transaction"). If Tian Poh exercises its option and meets milestones to retain its 51% interest (details provided in the Company's February 12, 2015 press release; click here), it will have the right to increase its interest to up to 100% through additional cash and/or equity payments. Erdene will retain a 1% net smelter return royalty, which will be subject to certain buy-down provisions. The Transaction is subject to approval from the Toronto Stock Exchange, the Australian Stock Exchange and Tian Poh's shareholders.
As consideration for the exclusivity period, Erdene received a non-refundable deposit of US$50,000 paid on signing. Additionally, US$200,000 was paid on signing pursuant to a non- interest bearing debenture ("Debenture") issued by Erdene. If Tian Poh does not elect to exercise its option by July 9, 2015, the principal amount of the Debenture will be converted into common shares of Erdene at CDN$0.14/share. If Tian Poh exercises its option, the Debenture will be deemed to be redeemed and the funds applied to the amount due on closing, which is expected to be on or about July 11, 2015.
Khuvyn Khar Copper-Silver Porphyry Project
The Transaction with Tian Poh outlined above includes the Company's Khuvyn Khar copper-silver porphyry project ("Khuvyn Khar"), located on the same mining license that hosts the Zuun Mod deposit, 2.2 km to the southeast. In 2014, work on the Khuvyn Khar project area included rock chip sampling, geophysical modeling, detailed vein and alteration mapping of high priority areas and a 1,532 m trenching program designed to identify the geology, alteration and mineralization in area of poor outcrop exposure located within high priority target areas. The data collected from this exploration work has provided further definition and confidence in the modelling of a potential copper porphyry target at Khuvyn Khar. The 2014 work program culminated in the identification of new, partially buried high priority drill targets in the north-central Khuvyn Khar area as well as a new target in the western portion of the Khuvyn Khar property. Exploration at Khuvyn Khar continues to confirm the potential for copper-rich porphyry style mineralization, a conclusion supported by high-grade copper-silver mineralization intersected by Erdene in previous drilling (34 m of 1.34% copper and 9.24 g/t silver).
On May 18, 2015, Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd., Rio Tinto Group, and the Government of Mongolia, announced an agreement that sets out the basis for the second phase of development of the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project, one of the world's largest new copper-gold mines. Erdene's executive management believes this a very significant milestone for Mongolia and all stakeholders involved in its mining industry. The agreement is expected to provide a pathway for an additional US$4 billion in financing to advance the project to the underground development phase to access the deposit's highest grade copper-gold ore zones. More importantly, this achievement signals that the Government of Mongolia ("GoM") is supportive of the mining industry and the foreign investment required to bring mineral deposits to production. This agreement is the most recent of a number of actions taken by the GoM in support of the mining industry over the past 24 months including favorable legislative changes and a re-opening of the mineral licensing system within which Erdene is actively participating. The Oyu Tolgoi project, which was discovered in the mid 1990's and produced 589,000 ounces of gold and 148,400 tonnes of copper last year, in only its 2nd year of production, is a reflection of the mineral potential hosted in the Tian Shan trend located across the under-explored Gobi desert region of Mongolia.
Oyu Tolgoi pays $30 million tax under UDP agreement
June 9 (news.mn) Although the surveyor of taxes demanded USD 130 million, Oyu-Tolgoi refused to agree to amount stated. For this reason, both sides have been debated the issue for a long time. Under the "Consultation to Resolve the Tax Debate" the amount has reduced to USD 30 million. Therefore, during the preparation of the contract for the Oyu Tolgoi Underground Mine (Phase 2) in Dubai, the revised tax amount was accepted; last week, Oyu-Tolgoi paid their USD 30 million tax debts to Mongolian State Budget.
MEC: Notification of Board Meeting on 22 June to Approve Final Results
June 9 -- The board of directors (the "Board") of Mongolia Energy Corporation Limited (the "Company") announces that a meeting of the Board of the Company will be held on Monday, 22 June 2015 for the purpose of, among others, approving the announcement of the final results of the Company and its subsidiaries for the year ended 31 March 2015 for publication and considering the payment of final dividend, if any.
XAM closed -9.09% to A$0.10
Xanadu Mines receives Buy recommendation from Bell Potter, increased upside case valuation
June 9 (Proactive Investors) Xanadu Mines (ASX:XAM) remains the subject of a Buy recommendation with a valuation of $0.19 from Sydney-based broker Bell Potter Securities.
The broker's upside case valuation is increased by 16% to $0.52 per share.
This is based on an assumption that current drilling will increase the higher grade component of the resource at the Kharmagtai copper-gold project in Mongolia.
Shares in the company last traded at $0.10.
The following is an extract from the report.
Drilling underway to lift gold-rich porphyry copper resource
XAM is now well funded to carry out an accelerated program of extensional and exploration drilling at its two advanced gold-rich porphyry copper projects in the renowned South Gobi porphyry region of Mongolia – at Kharmagtai and Oyut Ulaan.
Under the expert direction of recently appointed CEO, Dr Andrew Stewart, XAM has recently begun a major drilling program at Kharmagtai to expand the significant initial resource there.
That drilling follows the recent limited but very successful drilling at Oyut Ulaan, where detailed geophysics continues to identify multiple new targets.
Mongolia back as a mining investment destination of choice
The recent agreement between the Mongolian Government and Rio Tinto regarding financial arrangements for Rio Tinto's huge investment (circa US$6B) in the underground component of the fabulous Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine is recognition that Mongolia is serious about being a pro-mining and development jurisdiction.
The new Prime Minister in Mongolia recognises that the previous prolonged "brawl" over the financial arrangements for Oyu Tolgoi was incredibly damaging to the country, which is well endowed with minerals that are much desired by neighbouring China and other growth economies in Asia, and that development of them is vital for Mongolia to achieve its objectives of a strongly growing and vibrant economy.
On a recent site visit to XAM's attractive porphyry copper-gold projects, we saw first-hand evidence of the pro-development attitude in the country and we now regard Mongolia as a mining and development destination of choice.
Maiden Resource a solid starting point as drilling continues
XAM's current multi rig drilling program at Kharmagtai is targeting shallow higher grade copper-gold mineralisation.
This drilling will test high grade extensions to mineralisation defined by previous exploration and new areas adjacent to it.
The Maiden JORC compliant Resource of 203Mt averaging 0.34% copper and 0.33g/t gold (0.50% copper equivalent) includes a higher grade core containing an Indicated and Inferred Resource of 56Mt averaging 0.47% copper and 0.59g/t gold (0.76% copper equivalent).
We strongly believe there is considerable scope for XAM to increase the size of the higher grade copper-gold resource at Kharmagtai to between at least 100Mt to 200Mt averaging 0.6% to 0.9% copper equivalent.
Investment thesis: Speculative Buy, Valuation $0.19/share
XAM's strong technical and corporate management has recapitalised and repositioned the company over the past two years.
XAM is now finally able to fund meaningful programs of drilling and associated exploration on its advanced, world class gold-rich porphyry copper project at Kharmagtai as well as doing very value-adding exploration at its Oyut Ulaan Project, where there is growing evidence of the presence of a major mineralised porphyry system with similar geological features to Kharmagtai.
We have reviewed our equity diluted valuations of XAM to incorporate lower copper price forecasts, lower capital and operating costs, the higher share price and positive recent exploration results.
Our base case valuation is retained at $0.19 while our upside case valuation is increased by 16% to $0.52 per share.
Accordingly we retain our Buy recommendation with Speculative risk.
MMC: Grant of Options to CEO & Employees
June 10 -- The board (the "Board") of directors (the "Directors") of Mongolian Mining Corporation (the "Company") hereby announces that on 10 June 2015, the Company has granted to certain eligible participants (the "Grantees"), subject to acceptance by the Grantees, a total of 154,750,000 share options (the "Share Options") under the share option scheme adopted by the Company on 17 September 2010.
Details of the Share Options granted are as follows:
Date of Grant:
10 June 2015 (the "Date of Grant")
HK$0.445Note to subscribe for one ordinary share of nominal value of US$0.01 each in the share capital of the Company (the "Share")
Closing price of the Shares on the Date of Grant:
HK$0.445 per Share
Number of Share Options granted:
154,750,000 Share Options (each share option shall entitle the holder of the share option to subscribe for one Share)
Validity period of Share Options:
In respect of each Grantee, the Share Options granted shall be exercisable during the relevant periods set out below subject to vesting scale in four (4) tranches:
(i) The first 25% tranche of the Share Options shall be exercisable from 10 June 2015 to 10 June 2020;
(ii) the second 25% tranche of the Share Options shall be exercisable from 10 June 2016 to 10 June 2020;
(iii) the third 25% tranche of the Share Options shall be exercisable from 10 June 2017 to 10 June 2020; and
(iv) the fourth 25% tranche of the Share Options shall be exercisable from 10 June 2018 to 10 June 2020.
The Share Options shall lapse at the end of five (5) years after the Date of Grant.
Note: The exercise price is the highest of (i) the closing price of HK$0.445 per Share as stated in the daily quotations sheet issued by The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited on the Date of Grant; (ii) the average closing price of HK$0.444 per Share as stated in the daily quotations sheet issued by The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited for the five business days immediately preceding the Date of Grant; and (iii) the nominal value of the Share.
The Share Options were granted to an executive Director/Chief Executive Officer ("CEO") and other employees of the Company, details of which are as follows:
Number of Share Options
Dr. Battsengel Gotov
Executive Director and CEO
Save as disclosed in this announcement, none of the Grantees is a Director, chief executive or substantial shareholder of the Company, nor an associate (as defined in the Listing Rules) of any of them.
The granting of the Share Options to Dr. Battsengel Gotov, executive Director and CEO, was approved by all independent non-executive Directors in accordance with Rule 17.04(1) of the Listing Rules.
Origo Partners: Announcement re Isle of Man Court Proceedings
June 10 -- As announced by Origo on 30 June 2014, Brooks MacDonald Group plc ("Brooks MacDonald"), through its lawyers in the Isle of Man, had raised a complaint asserting that the resolution passed on 8 March 2011 (the "March 2011 Resolution") to amend the Company's articles of association (the "Articles") to reflect the creation of 60 million convertible zero dividend preference shares (the "CPSs") was not validly passed. This assertion rests on an argument that a "75% Resolution" (as defined in the Articles), which is required in order to amend the Company's Articles, requires a majority of holders of 75% of all issued and outstanding shares to have voted in favour of it rather than a majority of 75% of votes cast. Brooks MacDonald, therefore, contended that if the March 2011 Resolution was not validly passed it would have a legal claim for the return from the Company of the consideration paid for the purchase of the CPSs.
The Company went on to confirm, in that same announcement, that it had issued an application in the Isle of Man Court for a declaration that the Company's Articles bear the meaning propounded by the Company (the "Declaratory Proceedings").
Following the final hearing in the Declaratory Proceedings yesterday, judgement has been reserved. Further announcements with regards to this matter will be made in due course, as appropriate.
MSE News for June 9: Top 20 +2.18% to 13,985.54, Turnover ₮459.9 Million Stocks, ₮13.9 Billion T-Bills
Ulaanbaatar, June 9 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Tuesday, a total of 403 thousand and 390 units of 31 JSCs were traded costing MNT 14 billion 340 million 312 thousand and 785.00.
"BDSec" /237 thousand and 292 units/, "APU" /4,040 units/, "State Department Store" /2,745 units/, "Tavantolgoi" /2,038 units/ and "Genco tour bureau" /1,639 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "BDSec" (MNT 415 million 280 thousand and 500), "APU" (MNT 14 million 138 thousand and 400), "Tavantolgoi" (MNT seven million 954 thousand and 435), "Bayangol hotel" (MNT five million and 010 thousand), "Darkhan nekhii" (MNT four million and 998 thousand).
The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 336 billion 367 million 369 thousand and 785. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 13,985.54, increasing 2.18% and the all index of MSE was 974.62, increasing 1.34% against the previous day.
₮15 Billion 28-Week T-Bills with 15.02% Interest Issued via MSE
June 9 (MSE) On 9 June 2015, 28 weeks 150,000 Government retail bonds worth MNT15.0 billion with 15.02% annual interest rate traded successfully on primary market at Mongolian Stock Exchange.
Bellow member brokerage companies participated in the bond trading as follows:
Daewoo Securities Mongolia
MSE: Notice of Maturity for ₮2.5 Billion 28-Week T-Bills on 9 June
June 9 (MSE) Maturity of 28 weeks 24,961 Government securities issued on 2014.11.25, with 16.30% annual interest, will be expired on 2015.06.09, and principle payment will be made on 2015.06.09.
Mogi: 7 month (+1 week) high vs USD
BoM MNT Rates: Wednesday, June 10 Close
MNT vs USD (blue), CNY (red) in last 1 year:
BoM FX auction: US$11m bought at ₮1,870, accepts ₮37.3m MNT swap offers
June 9 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on June 9th, 2015 the BOM has received selling bid offers of USD 11.0 million in a rate between MNT 1868.70-1870.00 and buying bid offers of USD 1.0 million in a rate with MNT 1869.05. The BOM has bought USD 11.0 million in a rate with MNT 1870.0.
On June 9th, 2015, The BOM has received MNT Swap agreement bid offer equivalent to USD 49.3 million from local commercial banks and the BOM has accepted the offer of USD 37.3.
BoM issues ₮158 billion 1-week bills at 13%, total outstanding +2.45% to ₮1.29 trillion
June 10 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 158 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
Parliament Session Agenda for June 9: Standing Committee Meetings
June 9 (gogo.mn) Standing Committee meetings are scheduled for today.
1. Economic Standing Committee meeting at 9AM at Hall A:
· Draft of the State Great Khural Resolution on Gatsuurt Deposit State Ownership;
· Draft of the State Great Khural Resolution on Approval of the Main Economic Development Directions in 2016;
· Draft of the State Great Khural Resolution on State Policy on Energy ;
· Draft Law on Amendments on Energy Law;
· Related law drafts on amendments on Renewable Energy.
2. Legal Standing Committee meeting at 9AM at Hall B:
· Draft Law on amendments to the Law against Alcoholism;
· Draft law on General Administrative Code and other related laws;
· Draft law on amendments to the Immovable Property Collateral;
· Comments on Results of the Constitutional Council on dispute over alleged violation of Constitutional Law by some provisions of Law on Legal Rights of the Lawyers and Administrative Code.
3. Human Rights Standing Committee meeting at Hall B:
· Draft law of the Criminal Code.
4. Budget Standing Committee meeting at 2PM at Hall A:
· Draft law on amendments to Government Special Funds;
· Draft law on Future Funds;
· Draft law on Capital city Taxes.
Parliament Session Agenda for June 10: Standing Committee Meetings
June 10 (gogo.mn) Standing Committee Meetings are scheduled for today.
1. Application Standing Committee meeting at 09AM at A Hall.
· Discuss on application from citizens on ger area redevelopment project
2. Security and Foreign policy Standing Committee meeting at 02PM at A Hall.
· Draft Resolution of State Great Khural on Approval of State Military Policy
· Draft Resolution of State Great Khural on Renewing the Mongolia`s Nuclear-Weapon-Free Status
Mogi: clever way to show Gatsuurt is not located in the sacred areas of Noyon Uul
Cabinet Approves Taking Noyon Mountain into State Protection
Ulaanbaatar, June 9 (MONTSAME) The cabinet at its regular meeting on Monday approved a draft resolution developed by G.Bayarsaikhan MP on taking some lands under state special protection. The resolution concerns taking the Noyon Mountain, located in Mandal soum of Selenge aimag, under special protection as a landmark.
It was considered suitable to have the affiliated state authority to ascertain the boundaries of proposed areas before submitting the draft to parliament.
Adopting the resolution is of great importance in terms of preserving the capacity of the forests around the mountain of absorbing the greenhouse gas and air pollution, and their oxygen reserve. Most significantly, it will help conserve the Hun noblemen' tombs and other historic evidences that prove the existence of the Hun Empire on the Mongolian territory. If the resolution is adopted, additional two preservationists will be appointed to the site.
Parliament working group to check translation of draft TT agreement
June 9 (infomongolia.com) Working group of the State Great Khural (parliament) in charge of making conclusions on developing investment and other related projects regarding Tavan Tolgoi deposit has met to discuss progress of the work today on June 9, 2015. Government has introduced the English translation of investment and other related projects of Tavan Tolgoi deposit to the working group on June 5.
After investigation, working group has decided to pass the documents to Ministry of Foreign Affairs for official translation because of many odds found between original and translated documents.
Further, contracts for establishing joint company of Energy Resources LLC and China Shenhua Energy Company and shifting authority between Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi JSC and Energy Resources LLC are waiting for investigation.
Budget Standing Committee takes up Future Heritage Fund bill
June 10 (infomongolia.com) The State Budget Standing Committee of the State Great Khural (parliament) had session at 2:40 pm on June 9 with 52.6% attendance to discuss three issues.
First, the session had first discussion on the draft amendments to law on state special fund of Mongolia. Parliament member Ch.Khurelbaatar, the head of working group in charge of the draft amendments, has made a presentation on preparation of law amendment and some of its functions such as to keep the stabilization fund assets in financial instrument less than the average deposit rate of commercial banks of the current year and financial reports regarding government and fund assets to be included into consolidated financial statement and introduced. The State Budget Standing Committee has decided to submit the draft amendments to the State Great Khural (parliament) for further discussion.
Second, the committee had first discussion on draft law on Future Heritage Fund submitted by Mongolian President Ts.Elbegdorj. After presentation on preparation of draft law of working group, the committee discussed each 70 proposals with members of working group and law initiators. After that, the draft law proposed by President Ts.Elbegdorj will be discussed on plenary session.
At the end of session, the committee has discussed the draft law on Ulaanbaatar city tax. It was discussed by the committee before but was rejected for further discussion because of odds in the draft. This time, there were no questions and comments from committee members although there were three more proposals with odds during the discussion. After that, it was decided to be discussed at plenary session.
Agriculture Minister Submits Bills on State Policy on Food & Agriculture, Organic Foods
Ulaanbaatar, June 10 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Food and Agriculture R.Burmaa MP Wednesday submitted to parliament a draft resolution on state policy on food and agriculture, and a bill on organic foods.
The Minister said the draft resolution of parliament on state policy on food and agriculture has been formulated to harmonize it with the Constitution of Mongolia, the law on the State Great Khural (parliament), the on law on rule of working out laws and parliamentary decisions, and other related laws. Mongolia has not created a legal environment yet for the organic agricultural goods, the industry of processed foods and for registering these products. It is considered that Mongolia needs legal regulations for creating common criteria for the organic food producers and traders and for supporting them. Such legal environment will promote people's willingness to live in countryside, strengthen consumers' trust, create a guarantee system of export and import organic foods, and will augment revenue and profits of organic food producers.
Standing Committee on Petitions to hold open hearing on Dubai OT deal
June 9 (infomongolia.com) MP O.Baasankhuu, the Chairman of Petitionary Standing Committee has made a statement to journalists on June 9, 2015. On May 2015, The Petitionary Standing Committee (PSC) has received 322 applications from citizens.
Its 22 or 6.8% suggestions from citizens, 40 or 12.4% complaints from citizens, 222 or 68.9% domestic issues and 35 or 10.9% have been on other matters.
196 applications were addressed to Speaker and members of the State Great Khural (parliament) and 126 to the Petitionary Standing Committee. On May 05, 114 of total applications submitted to the committee was resolved. Its 72 or 63.2% was resolved directly and 42 or 36.8% through organizations related to applications.
During press conference, Mr. O.Baasankhuu told reporters that PSC plans to organize open hearing regarding contract signed at Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the request of "Justice" coalition group in the parliament. Also, a working group established by the committee to resolve petitions from citizens related to oil production companies will work on-site on June 11- 14.
Further, PSC has contacted organizations related with PetroChina Daqing Tamsag Company that operates in Mongolia 23 years to check large number of complaints submitted by citizens regarding the company. According to received documents, the company has a number of serious violations.
At the end, Mr O.Baasankhuu noted that the committee is studying the applications regarding the Noyon Mountain of Mandal sum of Selenge aimag and lower interest rate of pension loan to resolve.
2015 is an employer's market says Adrienne Youngman of Mongolia Talent Network
By B. Enkhtsetseg
June 9 (Mongolian Economy) Adrienne Youngman is a Cambridge graduate who previously worked in Strategy and Brand Consulting in London and then held management positions in Diageo plc (the largest global spirits producer). In 2011, she and her husband moved to Mongolia and founded the leading recruitment business in the country, Mongolia Talent Network. The company is now expanding internationally under The Shackleton Group. They are coming up on their four-year anniversary.
Was it hard to start a company in Mongolia?
No, actually. We have done comparisons with other markets, and I've got to say that the process here was very good. It was very straightforward and there are a range of great companies that provide the service. The process was generally transparent, clear and quick. I think as long as you follow the system and take legal advice where it's not clear, things work well – in many ways better than lots of the markets we have looked at since. We've just finished incorporating a company in Singapore, and that has taken much longer. Mongolia was a great place to set up, particularly in 2011.
As you mentioned, 2011 was a great year. There were a number of people coming to Mongolia to do something big. You started your business successfully, and it was also good timing. Now it's 2015, and times have changed. It's slowed down. How's business now?
The economy has been slowing for some time but it wasn't until recently that we started to feel it. Initially, while some companies were making redundancies (layoffs), others saw a great opportunity to recruit core talent for senior positions. As lower market can be a great time to find rare talent so we did a lot of work at the executive end, where our company focuses.
However, the last six to nine months have felt slower again. Possibly the people who maintained optimism about a return to 2011 growth rates started to lose that. I feel like that the job market dropped again from autumn of last year.
When we arrived in 2011 this was a job-seekers' market. Bright talent had their pick of opportunities. Good employees were able to fast track progression and even leapfrog levels of advancement. The opportunities were phenomenal.
It has increasingly become an employer's market. Employers now have their pick of talent. There are more people who are either out of work or looking for a move. It's a difficult market for many employees and worse for job seekers.
What I observe right now in this employer's market is that people don't really like to move. Some people may think if they leave their job and move to another, and they don't like it, they will not be able to move again, because there aren't many opportunities. Are they right?
I would say there are fewer opportunities now than in 2011, but I wouldn't say that the trend you are describing is 100% negative. One of the challenges we saw in 2011 was that people were distracted by the opportunity– the grass is always greener. So, you had a lot of jumpy CVs, and that's not good for a company or an individual's career development. It's not bad if people are thinking more carefully before making a move. My guidance from the UK was always that you should do a job for a minimum of two years. You don't move within two years – eighteen months absolute minimum.
Do you think the employment market will see some good opportunities following the TT and OT projects? If this happens, what kinds of jobs will be most needed in the market?
You will probably see people with mining engineering, mining consulting, or geology come through very quickly. But fast on the heels of that, you will see the professional positions – the legal, the HR, the finance, the administrative. There will be demand across the segments. The question is, what other filter do you apply? I've always been a big believer in focused qualifications and focused experience. The employees who are generally offered the best salaries and opportunities are those in short supply and high demand. Now that OT has resumed, then people who speak fluent English will have an advantage. If this turns into a market where Chinese investors are more of a driver, then Chinese will become more important. Regardless of what the relevant language is, having an engineering degree or a law degree would be good. A lot of Mongolians take very general studies – business management or administration. Very few do the more focused qualifications, and therefore, those people are in shorter supply.
I saw the data points for 2013; less than 2 percent of the population did a mining-related degree in an economy that is (or will be) driven by mining. The majority chose subjects like business administration, management or finance. I think it's because there's a perception that those kinds of studies will open up immediate management positions or will be 'sexier,' whereas I know that some of the best-paid people in this market are technical professionals such as engineers and lawyers.
Hiring foreigners becomes a controversial topic as big projects kicks in. How do your clients (employers) approach local and foreign employees?
Our clients prefer to hire locals, for so many reasons. If there are genuinely too few of a particular qualification here, or there are none, then there is a need to bring in people from abroad. However, the first priority is to find the talent locally, and that's part of the reason why our company exists. If the talent can't be found locally, in order to develop it, it needs to be brought in through expats. I know that's difficult, and people have mixed feelings about it. I understand that, but I do also believe that it is required for the talent to develop locally.
I remember watching China about ten years ago; I was looking at job opportunities and was told at the time that simply being a foreigner could open up great jobs. Just five years later it changed. I think China was very clever in its use of international talent. The agenda was clear – the talent was there to train, develop and then move on. By the time I looked at it again, the local talent had stepped up. They had benefitted from all the international experience, managers, and specialists. They had taken everything they could from them, and they didn't need them anymore. Therefore, the companies, whether international or local, just didn't need foreign talent. I would like to see Mongolia do that rather than getting distracted.
Hiring a local would also be cheaper, if you think about having to bring the foreigner, paying the expenses, and giving the higher salary, wouldn't it?
The way I see it is you've got different labour markets, and every labour market has different dynamics. There are tonnes that are much cheaper than Mongolia as well. However, because of the nature of the work here, the required talent is often in mining markets like Australia. Places with a relatively high cost of living, relatively high salaries, and in order to attract that talent, the packages need to be attractive relative to what they could earn at home. Nobody is going to leave home for less than they can make there. So, the salaries are commensurate with local salaries in their country of origin, meaning that they are high relative to Mongolian wages. You are not comparing like-with-like though.
Do you have any employment surveys updated; what jobs are needed in this market, and what are the average salaries, or the highest and lowest ones?
The highest earners are generally those with strong specific technical skills and high quality experience that have consistent demand – generally these people are rare talents (low supply) but needed (high demand).
· The top industry in terms of salary is legal – this includes a number of law firms and salaries are particularly good at the higher experience levels. There is demand for these services across industries and company types, and therefore qualified employees are in demand. However, professionals with high calibre experience are in relatively short supply. Law firms typically take the best of the entry level talent and pay accordingly. On the other end many of the most experienced and qualified establish their own firms.
· Specialist consultancy then comes in next, driven by individuals with strong technical and management experience and qualifications (note: not just qualifications, this group typically has both, and if anything, experience appears to be more of a driver) – typically smaller firms but with strong expertise. Again, these people are in demand and in short supply. Given that OT is about to take off again, this will only get starker in the near term.
· After that you typically have the companies that support the mining industry- mining contractors, consultants and equipment suppliers, typically supporting very specific sections of the mining industry and process, and therefore again, specific skills that are in demand but short supply. Again, now that OT has come back on line, this will only get starker in the near term.
· Mining companies then come in 5th place – I suspect these are lower than the companies that support them because they are such large organisations and have a wide range of experience level and business functions. At the top end where there are high levels of skill and experience, they pay some of the best salaries but, as the business is much broader, the average is lower.
Banking & Finance overall comes in only at number 9 in the top 10.Again, this is a very broad area covering everything from entry level positions with the retail banks to highly specialised positions in banking and investment. Where there are specific skills and experience, the salaries are strong, but the overall average is lower, probably because there is a better supply of professionals who graduate in finance or have followed finance careers. They are in demand but there is also strong supply.
Top10 Industries by Average Salary –/chart/
Being that you update your numbers every three months, have you been noticing any changes?
Historically, there have been high levels of pay increase – double-digit salary rises year-on-year – up until last year. Last year, I would say it was around a 5-10 percent increase depending on the company and with increases far more selectively awarded. When companies are missing plans or even making losses, they can't put the same pay raises through.
What are some of the unique features of the Mongolian labour market? What are some of the disadvantages of this labour market in running a business?
The Mongolian talent pool is highly educated. I've seen more qualifications on CVs in Mongolia than I've seen anywhere else. People are very keen on learning, development, and very driven in terms of progression. I think there's a lot to recommend the Mongolian labour market. The biggest downside is that it is not that big. You've got a working population of just over one million people which, in the scheme of what this economy could become, is not huge.
As a person who bridges the two sides, employee and employer, how do you define this? How do you think the best employer should be?
Based on the information we received out of our research, what people really value is (1) leadership and vision, having a sense that your company has a plan and a direction, being able to be proud of where you're working; (2) having a good manager who understands you and works well with you, who empowers but also coaches; (3) training and development; and (4) progression and advancement. Those four factors were quite interlinked and came out really strongly across the board. So, I would say companies: that have a good training and development programme; where there's a good management and coaching culture; and that have a clear leadership and direction. Those are the ones that have the highest levels of engagement.
You did a survey on the highest-paying jobs which we published on our website. How did you do this survey? What's the goal of the survey?
That was out of the salary survey. The goal is transparency. It is important to understand what a fair wage is. If you're not on a wage, what do you need to do? Do you need to look at options? Do you need to talk to your boss? A lot of companies don't know themselves what a fair salary is. So, it's informing them as much as it's informing employees. It's an area that generates a lot of anxiety. You do derive your sense of value from how much value other people place on your, particularly in the workplace. It impacts your feeling of value. It changes your ability to live well or not. And it's one of the least transparent areas of the Mongolian market, which feels wrong. It is in the interest of any good employer and any job seeker to know where they stand.
Do you see any language needs other than only English? Do you foresee any growth in demand for other languages?
Historically, English was the one with the clearest demand, because it's a good second language for most countries. I would say in the last couple of years, Chinese has increased in importance. A lot of people have asked for English and Chinese and a couple have asked for Chinese-only. We do see demand for languages like Japanese or Korean. We've got a French client that tends to like people who speak some French. There are German companies here that I'm sure are impressed by people who have studied in Germany. Mongolians are a very international people; they tend to go around the world and study in lots of different places, and there are lots of international companies here that would value that.
What is your advice to young Mongolians who are seeking ways to improve their skills and experience efficiently?
I personally believe that sometimes the focus on academics is to the detriment to the focus on experience. People underestimate the value of experience in role – getting a foot in the door at whatever level, just learning the job and the industry and building your skills in the workplace. You don't get a diploma for it at the end, but the experience you gain is every bit as valuable. I think people sometimes underestimate that and are more focused on academics to the detriment of experience. I've seen people go straight from Bachelor's to Master's, whereas even just a couple of years in the workplace gives you a much better idea of what you want to study, what direction you would want to take your career in and where you would be best off investing that investment if you choose to make it. When this market was the way it was in 2011, you would progress faster, being in a role, being trusted and getting promoted, and then taking that time out to go study and come back. It depends on various factors but we would urge people not to jump into it. Consider all options.
Inner Mongolia businesses pledge $417 million investment to Mongolia
June 10 (Mongolian Economy) An entrepreneurial forum between Mongolia and China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region was held in Ulaanbaatar. During the two-day forum, 19 agreements and memorandum of understandings were signed, and as a result USD 417 million in investments will make its way to Mongolia.
Aside from the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, business representatives from five Chinese provinces participated in the forum. A total of 245 representatives attended the forum. They have expressed their interest in cooperation in many sectors, including mining, agriculture, education, tourism, e-commerce and green technology, the food industry and others.
Out of approximately11 thousand investors who invested Mongolia, around 6,500 are Chinese investors, making up roughly one third of the total foreign investment. "Inner Mongolia played a big role in getting China to invest in our country. They have connected the Mongolian market with Chinese investors," said B.Purevdorj, the head of the Citizenship and Migration General Authority.
Forum participants said that it is possible to enter the huge Chinese and potentially the world market by strengthening the relations of Mongolian and Inner Mongolian investors and entrepreneurs, who have a long history of good cooperation.
KFC opens first ever drive-thru in Mongolia
KFC Mongolia owned by Tavan Bogd Group, today introduced the first-of-its kind and the only Drive Thru experience in Ulaanbaatar at the newly opened KFC Peace Avenue branch
ULAANBAATAR, 29 May (KFC Mongolia) – Exactly 2 years after opening the first KFC restaurant in Ulaanbaatar on May 29th, 2013 and having served almost 3 million customers - KFC Mongolia is opening its sixth and the very first Drive Thru in Mongolia.
Today, Piper Anne Wind Campbell, US Ambassador to Mongolia, Bayangol District Governor D. Orosoo, Ajay Kumar, Restaurant Excellence Manager of KFC, and D. Hulan, CEO of Tavan Bogd Foods LLC cut the ribbon on the first KFC Driver Thru in Mongolia.
The special lane for Drive Thru is located near the entrance where customers can order their KFC food and beverages and collect their orders in the comfort of their car's seat.
The building houses both KFC and Pizza Hut brands enclosing in between, children's playground and Eye click interactive games, giving families with children a truly unique experience over a great meal.
To mark its opening, grandiose drum show by the Japanese Taiko drummers and motorbike stunts performed at the Grand Opening ceremony.
Driving red Mustang, Ambassador Campbell and CEO Hulan, were the first two customers who ordered through the Drive Thru announcing its opening.
D. Hulan, CEO of Tavan Bogd Foods LLC, in an interview said "Exactly two years ago when we opened our first KFC store, we promised to deliver the first ever Drive Thru experience in Mongolia! I am now glad to announce that we have managed to keep that promise!"
The benefit of the Drive Thru, she said "is convenience for customers to take away and less waiting period. Also having both KFC and Pizza Hut brands together gives even more options to our customers, you can take-away, dine-in or even get it delivered to your home."
When asked about the reason to have a store catered only to suit a left hand side wheel cars, she said, "It will be a challenge but as Mongolian road and traffic regulations are all based on the left hand wheel cars we should do the same".
She revealed, "We are working to introduce another two new KFC stores and they will be located at Zaisan and 1st micro-district, both to open within 2015."
She added, "We are also looking to open more KFC stores at other parts of UB however, the important factor is finding a suitable location."
Open from 10am until 11pm daily, the KFC Drive Thru located at Peace Avenue (near formally known 25th pharmacy), will offer a limited menu to allow a quick service. However, the dine-in and takeaways from inside the store will offer the full menu.
The public is welcome to visit the first-ever Drive Thru in Mongolia.
Hard work might create another Google, but from Mongolia
June 9 (gogo.mn) Mongol Mind is a great thing. Mongolians are getting known for their capacity and are being recognized by the leading companies in the world.
Last month during the ICT Expo 2015 TEDxUlaanbaatarSalon organized series of talks featuring Ch.Battugs who worked in Microsoft and Salesfore.com, N.Nandinbold who works at Samsung Electronics and B.Gabit who have had his start-up company Infinite Solutions in Silicon Valley.
Among them the interesting speech was given by N.Baasandorj on BIG DATA, who works in IBM.
According to him there are many solutions to the problems that humans face currently using the analysis of the data that is being generated today.
The closest example could be curing of a disease or an illness based on computer analysis that human cannot process by himself, but is able to do with the help of the technology. Moreover, simple solutions can be provided at bettering the traffic jam and air pollution issues in Ulaanbaatar.
You left Mongolian back in 2010 and are back only after few years. Probably many things have changed. What are the good and bad changes according to you?
- I'm doing a very short visit. I cannot really define what is good and bad in the development that is happening here. There are many new buildings and the traffic has increased.
But the intersections have improved a lot and there is not much traffic at intersections. It can be felt that younger generation is developing.
How did you join IBM?
- In 2013 another Mongolian working in IBM have approached me and suggested me to apply there. He said that they needed system admin and this close to me as I had the experience in the information security and was also looking for a job.
I passed interviews with human resources and three technical level interviews and after joined the company in July of 2013.
How the interview went at IBM?
- I have had plenty of interview experience with small and big companies by that time. Also I already had two job offers.
I had human resources trainings experience as well and plus the 15 years of work experience with Mobicom.
What other technology companies have you applied to aside from IBM?
- To name a big one is AT&T. But I have been applying to even the Microcenter shop for a sales assistant. It was my first time when I have understood that I was over-qualifying for that kind of job.
They did not need software engineer, IT auditor and information security specialist as a sales assistant. That was a huge mistake.
Probably I have lost many chances with those kinds of mistakes and I couldn't even get the sales assistant job. Since that time I have been looking for how to write resume. That gave me the skills what to put on my resume in order to adhere to employers requirements.
You have started your career with Mobicom?
- I joined Mobicom in June of 1999. My first job was the Mobicom website. Soon after the first internet division was formed with only two people.
After we have established the Information Automatization Department to enhance the internal capacities of Mobicom and I was working there as a manager.
You said that with you were working in Internet Division just in time when internet was just introduced in Mongolia?
- In 1996 DATACOM was established and they were the first internet providers in Mongolia. At that time websites were written on Notepad using HTML, Perl codes. Soon enough we had Homepage and Dreamweaver.
To think of it now, may be the working on Notepad to develop a website helped me to understand it. Nowadays the codes are written on Microsoft Word.
Was there enough human resources available at that time?
- If I am correct Mongolian Universities started offering programs since 1990 in this field and by 1995 and 1996 number of graduates have increased in IT.
Most of the graduates at that time needed additional training and coaching.
How come you have ended up in USA? You had nice work in Mobicom and you are to be considered as one of the pioneers of IT sector in Mongolia?
- My spouse won Green Card and we decided to move to the States. It was a big risk for me to leave my career in Mongolia and head towards the Land of Freedom.
What were you doing at first after arrival in the States?
- At first I continued working for Mobicom on as part-time during the night hours as Information Security specialist. I also attended ESL courses for 8 months and started the Master's Degree, but dropped out and started doing other job.
I have been doing many things aside my ESL classes: dishwasher, delivery and so on.
How did it feel to land there on washing the dishes from the IT specialist here?
- It didn't feel good. Due to lack of language skills I had to do part time jobs. It required time for me to find good job there.
I was doing mistakes simply on writing my resume and CV. But I managed to learn from my mistakes and join the IBM.
IT sector is developing rapidly and many are studying and pursuing careers as well. What will be your advice for them?
- One can be able to study anything and anywhere. The most important thing is the attitude. One should love what he or she is doing. Your job must become your hobby and with right attitude one can succeed.
It is not necessary to study abroad at those well-known universities. One can graduate from university here in Mongolia, but the success is evident with right attitude and hard work only. This is what one should understand.
Just to think of it, there was no other search engine other than Yahoo. No one ever thought of a possibility that another search engine will be introduced. But then we have seen how two guys came up with Google.
Today when we turn to internet to search for something we go to Google. This is the biggest example of what opportunities lie out there for everyone. Innovation can be done in any sector. One needs to be persistent and work hard towards their aspirations. At the end we might be witnessing another Google created by Mongolians.
Have your job become your hobby?
- Indeed. From the very first class in university I was in love with my profession. I could spend long hours at computer laboratory at school. By the way, we used IBM computers at that time.
We were wondering what company is IBM and guessing it should be a huge company. I even had a thought if I had a chance to work at IBM when I was a student. During my time at Mobicom when we were establishing the Automatization Department one interesting thing happened.
I was assigned to develop the internal website for the company. But many will agree that programmers aren't always great at designing. At that time I looked on IBM website and developed my design.
It seems like you have started your whole career with something related with IBM?
- Yes it did. But it is not just the coincidence. IBM itself a huge company with history of more than 100 years and is leading in the technology sector worldwide.
The company has created many things for the humanity. For instance, computers, cash registers, bar codes, hard disks, floppy disks, the things that led to the advancement of the current technology.
Have you been thinking becoming an expert in technology from the early years?
- I finished secondary school in 1990 in Tuv aimag and i majored in math. Most of my father's friends were computer teachers. They would come often tell interesting things and advised I should study computer technology and software.
And here I am today. In 1994 I graduated Mongolian University of Education with major in Mathematics and Informatics Teacher and Programmer. While working at Mobicom I have gone trainings in USA, Japan, Korea and Singapore.
At TEDxUlaanbaatar Salon you have touched issues of BIG DATA?
- First of all BIG DATA means a lot of data. The important thing here is not the creation of that huge data, it is about using, organizing and analyzing it in the way it is beneficial fo the businesses or the development and having economic impact.
In the recent years information is increasing with the speed of a light. My main point was if we are wasting all that without proper utilization. We need to analyze it and use for our development.
How we can utilize BIG DATA in our country in which sectors specifically?
- Latest trend is the Smart City concept. We can use BIG DATA in reducing the traffic, air and water pollution.
It can be used in medicine to find cure against cancer as well. It can be applied anywhere. Even in ads as the social media such as Facebook and Twitter have become very close.
Targeted ad is developing rapidly. Suppose you searched for an item with Google and next time you open your Facebook information on stores selling the item would appear in your news feed.
What is required in order to use the BIG DATA?
- Do we have the storage for that data, do we have technology to process all that data? We need to answer these questions first and then think about how much we have advanced in analyzing the data.
But we can utilize technology and approach which have already penetrated by the big companies. Still we need to think of the storage first.
Let's get back to IBM. In 1997 Deep Blue won Kasparov and in 2001 Watson answered all the questions at the Jeopardy. This defines IBM as the leader in the cognitive computing. More on that?
- Generally speaking it has been 30-40 years since the development of the artificial intelligence. This has become the basis for the current Cognitive computing.
Experts are also recognizing it is the next stage in the computing. Watson can collect and analyze huge amount of data that any one human can ever do. But it needs time for Watson to get more advanced. My stance is although we name it artificial intelligence, computers can never operate like human brain.
There is no need to be scared if the AI will be the end of the humanity, computers are not alive like animals or humans.
But Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking are all talking about it. Could Watson in 50 or 60 years become an AI?
- I personally think that it is impossible to create something that thinks like a human. First of all, human brain is unique like the finger prints, it is unique with every cell.
Secondly, everything moving on earth has its soul. Computers don't have soul, that is why it is impossible create intelligence artificially.
Watson does what human can't. Can't he think like a human?
- Watson does what human is incapable of, but according to the algorithms written by a human. It can collect and analyze huge data, but it doesn't mean it can think.
Can IBM create AI?
- I am a programmer. I have been working in this field for the last 20 years. I don't believe AI can be created. Human brain has endless possibilities, but we can never get into its depths, we are far from its horizons. But still IBM is ahead of every other.
Today we all have smart phones. Many say that with the advancement of the technology human is becoming dumber and the devices smarter?
- Again I think that word SMART has been brought into technology field with altered meaning. Smart here means optimized for the ease of the use. It helps us to save time and do number of difficult tasks with ease. But it does not mean that the device is smart by itself. This is technology that helps us to use things that were time consuming and complicated without those devices.
Of course, there are negative sides to it. For instance, how many people now can to simple math in their mind. It is easier to get your phone, touch some buttons and here you go, you have an answer.
The development of the cognitive computing is more closer to what we define as smart. For example, the thermostat Nest that Google has acquired. This device controls the home climate in accordance with the user preferences by analyzing user's behavior.
It regulates the heat depending on whether the home owner is at home or not and in accordance with the weather outside. This is defined as smart.
It seems like the world is shrinking with the advancement of the information technology?
- This is relevant to the network. 100 years ago human established the possibilities to connect through wires. After that human created internet, which kicked the rapid technological advancement.
This is not about the size. It is matter of time and many say that world has become flat. We know of the things happened several thousand miles away.
It is interesting to hear your view about god and religion, because you have worked in information technology for so many years?
- You can say I don't believe in religion. But I worship the nature. It is more of a positive thinking and right attitude.
What is your favorite movie?
- When I was younger I was more into action movies. While now I am more into documentaries about nature, animals and science. Last movie I saw was a documentary on how a monkey is igniting a fire, was very interesting movie by the way.
Can that monkey evolve into human?
- Some believe that human was evolved from monkey, while others believe that god created humans. But yet nothing is proven.
To which side do you belong?
- I personally think that humanity derived from the totally different civilization. For instance, Mongolians have very rich traditions and culture. Every tradition has very deep meaning.
Another example, we extend our ancestry to 9 generations and Mongolians do not marry within the 9 generations. How could our ancestors know about those kinds of things? It is very interesting. If we see from the genetics side let's count from our parents' generation.
First generation of their kids will inherit 50 percent from mother and 50 percent from father. Next generation will inherit 25 percent and going down the 9th generation the probability shrinks to 0,1953125 percent shortening the relevance to minimum. Meaning the person is no longer belongs to the genetic.
Do you believe in aliens?
- I believe in their existence. May be we cannot detect them because of our technological boundaries. Moreover our senses have limited abilities.
This can be explained by the sounds humans cannot hear while other animals can hear. It would be senseless to say that there is no whale in the ocean while you can scoop the water from that same ocean.
Thank you for your time during your short and busy visit.
- Thank you.
Central Water Treatment Facility to Stop for Repairs on June 15-17 but Will Not Dump Sewage in Tuul
June 9 (news.mn) General Manager and Head of the City Authority B.Badral informed – The Central Water Purification Facility will stop working for 48 hours from 15th June to be repaired. The repairs will not cut tap water or release sewage into the River Tuul.
Also, Mr. Badral asked people not to panic, since every year the Central Water Purification Facility stops work for repairs. The government is appealing to citizens to use less water and confirms that tap water will not cut off.
Mogi: Amgalan is not a power plant, but a thermal plant, only providing hot water and heating
Amgalan Thermal Station to Heat Eastern Part of UB from Winter
Ulaanbaatar, June 9 (MONTSAME) Necessary amount of money will be given through the Development Bank of Mongolia (DBM) for starting the new "Amgalan" power station in frames of the 2015-2016 winter preparation with an aim to provide an increasing consumption of electricity in Ulaanbaatar.
Obligations were given at the cabinet meeting on Monday to J.Erdenebat, the Minister of Finance, and to D.Zorigt, the Minister of Energy. The money will be repaid after the 2015 budget law is amended. For the time being, 92 percent of the construction and assembling of the power station have been done, which means that the object may come in to force this August 15. This power station is supposed to provide buildings and apartments in the eastern part of the capital city with electricity and heating.
The woks left are to execute railway repairs, to transport coal and to run water and electricity testing, as well as to solve salaries matters.
By feasibility study, two furnaces will operate at their highest capability in order to ensure a reliable provision of electricity. The station's first testing and stoking up of the furnaces will be done from August 15 to September 15.
4460 housing complex financing approved from China ExIm loan
June 9 (gogo.mn) During Cabinet meeting held yesterday the Government approved Development Bank to finance the Ger Area Redevelopment at the 7th khoroo housing complex G with the loans from the Chinese Exim Bank through the State Housing Corporation.
The resolution monitoring was ordered to be conducted by Minister of Finance J.Erdenebat and Minister of Construction and Urban Development D.Tsogtbayar.
During the high level state visit of Xi Jinping to Mongolia last year executives of Exim Bank of China have signed the loan agreement to provide funds for the Ger Area Redevelopment at the 7th khoroo housing complex G.
In accordance with the above mentioned loan agreement State Housing Corporation and the Beijing Uni Construction Group have signed an agreement to develop Ger Area Redevelopment at the 7th khoroo housing complex G in three stages on January 7th of 2015. Total cost of the project is USD 221.447.5 thousand and 85 percent of it agreed to be issued through Development Bank of Mongolia and 15 percent through the State Housing Corporation.
The implementation of the project will ensure the housing for the 4460 households and add the supply of the housing to the market.
District-Turned-City, Nalaikh to Elect Its Mayor on June 14
Ulaanbaatar, June 10 (MONTSAME) An election has been scheduled this June 14 to select a governor of Nalaikh city in accordance with resolutions of the Council of Ulaanbaatar on establishing a satellite city of UB and on organizing the election of Nalaikh governor.
A 11-member committee has been set up to run the election by resolution of the UB Council, sub-committees have been created in Nalaikh city's several khoroos (smallest administrative unit in UB). Eight people have been running for this post, some 20 thousand people have got registered to vote. The voting will last from 7.00 am to 10.00 pm this June 14.
Asia Foundation to assist UB city with developing strategy on green development
June 10 (gogo.mn) City Government and the Asia Foundation have signed Memorandum of Understanding on December 15, 2014 in San Francisco, USA.
Within this framework, City Governor Office and The Asia Foundation of USA signed Memorandum of Cooperation on developing strategic plan of green development in UB city.
Ecology and Green Development Deputy to Governor T.Bat-Erdene from City Governor's Office and Country Representative in Mongolia Ms. Lindberg from the Asia Foundation have participated in the signing ceremony.
In scope of the memorandum three directions will be implemented:
· Development of the Strategic Plan of Green Development in UB city
· Implementation of projects and programs to support green development
· Northeast Asian cities Mayors' Forum in Ulaanbaatar in September 2015 under the theme of "Urban Green Development"
UB City to Cooperate with Asia Foundation in Green Development – Montsame, June 10
Over 40 bands to perform at Playtime 2015
June 9 (gogo.mn) In scope of "Friendly Ulaanbaatar" program, "Playtime 2015" Live Music Festival is to be held during June 27th and 28th at Mongol Shiltgeen which is located in Gachuurt.
This live music festival which is been organized for its 14th year, aims to develop modern music of Ulaanbaatar city, live music lovers to enjoy their free time in fresh air during the summer in an environmentally friendly way and to improve music education of youth by introducing new and the best bands of Mongolia and abroad. Moreover, it is going to be organized under slogan "Garbage Free Mongolia" and "Friendly Ulaanbaatar".
This year, Pains of Being Pure at Heart from USA, SSIGHBORGGG from USA, Yusun Erdene from Inner Mongolia, Gong Myong from South Korea, Liberation will perform at the festival by the invitation and over 40 bands, singers and DJ`s will perform from Mongolia including Niciton, Nisvanis, The Lemons, Mohanik, The Colors and Rec On.
Mongolian and foreign live music bands will be introduced on three stages. In addition, "Replay" artistic program will be implemented which is to call for youth to reduce waste during the festival and contribute to establishing friendly relations.
Tickets for the festival are MNT 30.000 for one-day pass and MNT 50.000 for two-day pass. You are able to buy the tickets from all branches of HiFi and Orange records and if you buy tickets from 1900-1950, it will offer you free delivery. Moreover, tickets are on sale at www.hi-fi.mn.
Playtime-2015 presents forty bands – news.mn, June 9
This Summer's Big Events in Ulaanbaatar
June 9 (news.mn) Last autumn the City Representative Council approved the program for "Ulaanbaatar Welcomes You". This took place at a regular meeting on 22nd September 2014.
Under this program, the Council is working on three phases; firstly, to increase tourism revenue to the city by up to 20%, secondly, to increase the number of tourism and hotel staff by 35000, and, thirdly to increase the number of tourists by 2 million in 2020; and 5 million in 2030.
This summer's programme for introducing Mongolian art and culture contains a lot of new tourism oriented events:
5th June "Vienna Night" - on Chinggis Square
6th June "Ulaanbaatar Marathon" – on Chinggis Square
27th June "UB Dance Festival" – on Chinggis Square
27th-28th June "Play Time" live music festival –in Mongol Shiltgeen, Gachuurt Village
4th July "Best of Classic" classic night – on Chinggis Square
5th July "Jazz of the Great Steppe" international jazz festival- in the street of Tserendorj
6th-9th July Competition of professional Morin-Khuur (horse head fiddle) players – at the University of Culture and Art
10th July "The Great Labors of Ulaanbaatar " musical
10th July "Mongolian Naadam with Deel" – on Chinggis Square
10th July "Uchirtai Gurvan Tolgoi" opera – on Chinggis Square
11th July "Sacred Spring" ethno-ballet
11th July "Ulaanbaatar Night" – on Chinggis Square
12th July "Silence White" DJ show– in Children Park
12th July "Mongolian Dance Festival" – in Drama Theatre
12th July "Colors of Mongolia" honorary concert
13th July International Festival of Morin-Khuur (horse head fiddle) – on Chinggis Square
1st August International Food Day – in the Children's Park
7th August "Glory Hall" rock pop concert– on Chinggis Square
8th August "Danshig Naadam Khuree Tsam" Culture Event of Zanabazar–in Khui Doloon Khudag
8th-9th August "Ulaanbaatar Food" festival– in Viva City
Photo News: Car Free Day in Ulaanbaatar
June 9 (infomongolia.com) Mongolia celebrates "Car Free Day" on Saturday of first week of June each year to promote sports and healthy life. On this day, Mongolian Traffic Police Department restricts vehicle movement in certain areas in the city to enable citizens to do sports.
This year, "Young Women for Change" non-government organization has held a peaceful demonstration "Stroller Parade - 2015" demanding right for healthy safe life for families of Mongolia.
Also, Mongolian Youth Federation and Young Bicyclists' Club of Mongolia jointly organized bicycle parade which received huge appreciation from residents of Ulaanbaatar and organizers stated that about 1500-200 bicyclists took part in the event this year.
Photo: Somewhere in UB
June 10 (gogo.mn) Foreign countries have many fascinating places for photography including the tallest glass buildings to old European buildings.
Have you ever wondered where should I find the perfect places for photography in UB?
Stunning photos can be taken at anywhere and we are delivering you the example photos of this idea.
B.Munkhtulga who has given an interview to our "Hobby" sector before, has taken those photos with his smartphone iPhone 6. /For his interview, click here please./ He posts his photos and videos to his Instagram account known as Tulguush
European Parliament Pledges Assistance to Mongolia in Organizing ASEM 11
Ulaanbaatar, June 10 (MONTSAME) The President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj and Mr Martin Schulz called June 9 a press-conference after the Mongolian leader had addressed the plenary sitting of the European Parliament.
The President of the European Parliament Mr Schulz said,"Mr President! Ladies and Gentlemen! I would like to officially say once again 'Welcome to the European Parliament'. Your Excellency, Mister President, gave a wonderful speech that moved all members of the European Parliament."
Mr Elbegdorj had appealed for mutual trust, cooperation, fight for our values, and for protecting democracy, he said, "we realize that Mongolia is aspired to create an open society based on historic values and traditions, pursuing the modern achievements of political strategy". He thanked our President for coming forward to appeal for the cooperation in protecting "our shared values".
Mr Schulz also promised a support from the EP for Mongolia's organizing the ASEM Summit in Ulaanbaatar in 2016, noting that the ASEM is the initiative to consolidate the cooperation between Asia and Europe, and that "we are at a turning point to make important decisions for our future generations". He mentioned that the UN Climate Change Conference will take place in Paris this December.
He expressed a satisfaction with the speech "by a leader of a democratic country called Mongolia" at the European Parliament, which represents the 507 million citizens of 28 states of the European Union". "Your speech gave a confidence to deepening of the cooperation of Mongolia and the EU," he added.
In response, the Mongolian leader Ts.Elbegdorj thanked Mr Schulz and said it was an honor for him to address the European Parliament sitting. "With an unbelievable number of members--751 parliamentarians from 28 states--the European Parliament has become the largest-ever representative of the democratic governance". "I am delighted to have a chance to express the achievements of my country and nation and our shared values. This was a great inspiration for us," he said.
Mongolia is creating many great things in Asia. Although it is handy to make demonstrations and participate in elections, the difficult thing is to ensure the sustainability of the institutions. Therefore, "the European Union has unhesitatingly supported us right from the start," stressed the President and expressed a gratitude to the EU for its assistance and support in times of the transition in 1990's.
In 2016, Mongolia will host the ASEM Summit and the Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership Meeting, said the President and invited Mr Schulz to attend. "I believe that the EU's achievements, history and challenges will give the countries of our region a great deal of lessons and inspiration," he added.
Mongolia and the EU have been cooperating in many sectors such as economics, society, education, energy and conservation of the environment. Mongolia has been included in plenty of programs and projects that are run by the EU, and has signed a Cooperation Agreement that is expected to strengthen the cooperation ties with the EU member states, the President underlined.
"Appreciation for my speech manifests the EU's respect and recognition toward our 25 years of achievements. In order to strengthen the democracy, Mongolia strives to be a role model in its region by ensuring the rule of law, human rights and transparency. These values are not only for individuals, but also for the world and every corner of it," he concluded.
Elbegdorj Meets EC President Jean-Claude Juncker
Ulaanbaatar, June 10 (MONTSAME) Being with the official visit to France, the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj Tuesday met with Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission (EC).
Mr Elbegdorj said Mongolia has been attaching a great importance to the relations with the European Union, and thanked Mr Juncker for focusing a great attention to the boosting of the Mongolia-EU cooperation.
He proposed expanding the Mongolia-EU economic cooperation by utilizing financial methods of the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the EC, and letting the Mongolian-made agricultural products penetrate the EU's market.
The President also expressed a readiness to implement the Envoy for Development program, and suggested that a concrete project and program on renewable energy are realized.
Mr Juncker accepted the proposals. When talking about the upcoming next year ASEM Summit in Ulaanbaatar, Mr Juncker promised a support to Mongolia.
Mr Elbegdorj underlined an importance of promoting the inter-citizen relations including student exchange.
The same day, Mr Elbegdorj received delegates of the Group of Central Asia and Mongolian Affairs at the European Parliament.
Address by President Elbegdorj to the European Parliament
Strasbourg, France, Tuesday, 9 June 2015
Distinguished Members of the European Parliament,
Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to begin with something simple: thank you.
Thank you, Mr. President, for inviting me.
Thank you, Members of the European Parliament, for giving me this opportunity to share my views with you, the distinguished representatives of 28 sovereign states of this great continent - Europe.
I am the youngest of eight sons. For generations, my family lived as nomadic herdsmen in the western highlands of my country, in the ranges of the Altai Mountains.
My mother and father never dreamt that, one day, their youngest son would speak from this respected podium to the most caring hearts of democracy: the European Parliament.
But this is not about me. I am here to speak for my people and about my country.
Mongolia's Journey to Democracy
The Meaning of Democracy in Mongolia
Elections, government and accountability
Capital punishment and human rights
Empowerment of women
Strengthening Mongolia-EU partnership
Mongolia's constructive international role
French citizen awarded Medal of Friendship in Mongolia
June 9 (infomongolia.com) Mr. Nicolas Bourdel, a citizen of France, was awarded with medal of "Nairamdal" (friendship) by decree of Mongolian President. The Chief of Staff of President's Office P.Tsagaan has handed the medal.
The president's decree says: "Mr. Nicolas Bourdel to be awarded with medal of "Nairamdal" of Mongolia on occasion of 50th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations with France for his contribution to friendship and cooperation between two countries."
During the award ceremony P.Tsagaan said: "Today is the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and France but our relations go back to 13th century. In 1926, many boys and girls of Mongolia went to France to study. They have brought the French culture to Mongolia. I am very glad that Mr. Nicolas Bourdel is doing great job for health of our mothers and their children. Our country highly values Mr. Nicolas Bourdel's contribution. I wish you luck and peace and health for you."
French Doctor Awarded "Friendship" Medal – Montsame, June 9
Mongolia and Australia Agree on Air Services Code Sharing
Ulaanbaatar, June 9 (MONTSAME) The Ambassador of Mongolia to Australia Mr R.Bold and the Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional development of Australia Mr Mike Mrdak have exchanged diplomatic notes in Canberra, bringing into effect the Memorandum of understanding on Establishment of arrangements to permit the provision of air services on a code share basis, signed between the Civil Aviation Authority of Mongolia and the Department of Infrastructure and Regional development of Australia.
The arrangement paves the way for code-shared flights of airlines of both countries on domestic and international routes, opening new opportunities for the bilateral cooperation. The code-shared flights between Mongolia and Australia will strengthen and speed up business-to-business as well as people-to-people links between the two countries, reported Monday the Embassy of Mongolia in Canberra.
The first train to go through China, Mongolia and Russia
June 9 (People's Daily) Every Wednesday at Beijing Station, a green train stops at the platform. People may not notice anything different until they see the emblem of China on the train and its board that reads "Beijing-Ulan Bator-Moscow."
It takes Train K3 130 hours from Beijing to Moscow. The total length of the route is 7,826 kilometers - one fifth of the circumference of the equator. Every Wednesday afternoon, the train welcomes tourists from different places. Many people are excited about taking this trip, always taking photos with the train at the platform before they leave. This scene at Beijing Station has been occurring for 55 years. Yang Jiguang is in charge of the train. At the age of 23, he graduated from college with a degree in Russian and took a job on the train. After 24 years, he is still very excited about his job. " I want to keep working on the train until it's time for me to retire," he says.
$50 million China aid to be invested in health sector
June 9 (gogo.mn) USD 50 million aid from Chinese Government in 2015, will be invested into the improvement of access and quality of medical care services.
In scope of this issue, the Minister of Health and Sports G.Shiilegdamba was assigned to draft a project on "Improving Access and Quality of Medical Care" and the Minister of Finance J.Erdenebat was assigned to introduce the project to the Chinese side.
The aid is expected to be invested to sub projects which aim to expand health care services of households and soums, increase the diagnosis and capacity of central hospitals in aimags and districts, improve the quality of surgical care of central hospitals and vocational training centers, increase access and quality of cancer care, improve the skills of doctors and medical professionals, reported by the Press and Public Relations Department of the State Great Khural.
Non-Refundable Aid of USD 50 Million Will Go to Health Sphere – Montsame, June 9
Delegation of DPRK Ministry of Railways Back Home from Mongolia
Pyongyang, June 9 (KCNA) -- A delegation of the Ministry of Railways headed by Minister Jon Kil Su returned home on Tuesday after taking part in the 43rd ministerial meeting of the Organization of Railways Cooperation held in Ulan Bator.
ILO calls on Mongolia to protect North Korean workers
June 10 (Korea Times) The International Labor Organization (ILO) has urged the Mongolian government to improve substandard working conditions for North Korean laborers at local workplaces, according to the Voice of America, Wednesday.
"North Korean workers at Monglian small-sized textile factories and construction sites are involved in forced labor under working conditions that reach far below the world labor market standard," Sophy Fisher, senior communications and public information officer at the ILO regional office for Asia and the Pacific was quoted as saying.
North Korean workers in Mongolia are allegedly forced to stay at the workplace, suffer delayed payment of wages, and are forced to make contributions from their salaries to their supervisors, she said.
"ILO has recommended Ulaanbaatar several times to correct the exploitative labor conditions," Fisher told VOA.
The officer highlighted that Mongolia has obligations to stop such practices because the country is bound by the ILO's Forced Labor Convention, No. 29, which provides that all necessary measures shall be taken to prevent compulsory or forced labor.
Currently, about 2,000 North Koreans work in the Mongolian textile and agriculture industries, a Mongolian diplomat said at a conference hosted by the CSIS in Washington D.C., December last year.
This number is expected to rise to a maximum of 4,000 according to the treaty between Ulaanbaatar and Pyongyang, he added.
North Korea exports workers and supervisors to earn much-needed foreign currency for the regime.
Their number has soared since Kim Jong-un took power in 2011, now totaling about 50,000 to 60,000, according to recent data published by the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights.
Human rights groups have expressed concerns over virtual-slave labor conditions for North Koreans sent overseas by Pyongyang.
Turkish Cultural Days Starts in Mongolia, June 8-13
June 9 (gogo.mn) Embassy of Turkey in Mongolia is celebrating Turkish Cultural Day in Ulaanbaatar city for its second year during June 08-13.
In scope of this event, Turkish famous pianist Tuluyhan Uğurlu will perform at National Opera and Ballet Theater on June 11 at 08PM. His musical talent was demonstrated when he was four years old and he has performed in over 300 foreign countries.
Moreover, Ebru (traditional Islamic and Turkish painting art, and can be defined as painting on water and transferring this painting onto paper) artist Ayşegül Kavasin will present Ebru painting exhibition at Union of Mongolian Artist on June 12 at 06PM.
During the closing ceremony of the Turkish Cultural Days on June 13, artist Ayşegül Kavasin will introduce Ebru art to the public and chefs from Kempinski Hotel in Turkey will arrive in Mongolia to organize Turkish Food Festival at Chingis square. Moreover, Khurd and Burte bands and Tumen-Ekh ensemble will perform at Chingis square on Saturday.
International award winning five films will be showed during the Turkish Cultural Days at Tengis cinema.
Turkish piano virtuoso to perform in Ulaanbaatar
June 9 (Daily Sabah) Accomplished piano virtuoso Tuluyhan Uğurlu will perform this week in Mongolia's capital Ulaan Baatar as part of "Turkish Cultural Days" organized by Turkey's Embassy in Ulaan Baatar. He will perform "Güneş Ülke Anadolu" (Anatolia: The Sun Land), which narrates Anatolia's 10,000-year- history at the Mongolia Opera and Ballet Hall. At the beginning of the concert, he will share the stage with 5-year-old Mongolian pianist Nandin Otgonbayar. Mongolian media have said, "It is an interesting surprise to welcome a Turkish musician who bears the name of Mongolia's sublime emperor Genghis Khan's son Tolui Khan." Uğurlu also expressed his excitement for the concert. "Following the traces of common history between the Turks and Mongolians began in Central Asia, breathing Central Asia's moorland and touching history through the Orkhon Inscriptions makes me feel inexpressible excitement," he said. Uğurlu added that he has been playing the piano since he was a little boy. "The little pianist who I am going to share the stage with reminds me of my childhood. I am really excited to meet him," he said.
When: June 11
Where: Mongolian Theatre of Opera and Ballet
Social, Environmental & Other
Over 70 Mongolian Actors to Play in Marco Polo Series Season 2
Ulaanbaatar, June 10 /MONTSAME/ Foremost Cultural Figure of Mongolia actress A.Tsegmid has announced that she has been selected for a role in Netflix's "Marco Polo" series.
She said it while receiving the Mongolian Film Academy Award for "Best Supporting Actress" last Sunday.
Another Mongolian to play with her is Foremost Cultural Figure actor Ts.Tserenbold who received the Mongolian Academy Award's "Best Leading Actor" for starring in a "Father" movie. He will play Jakha Khambu, the father of Queen Sorkhugtani – Khubilai Khaan's mother.
An actor B.Amarsaikhan, who played Arigbokh, brother of Khubilai Khaan, in the series has fired the first shot for Mongolian actors to work with Hollywood. According to the executive director of the series John Fusco's recent interview, the second season of Marco Polo will have ten episodes. He will co-direct the film with the Oscar-winning directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg. During the visit of the delegation headed by John Fusco to Mongolia, last March, Marco Polo's Mongolian producer M.Orgil said over 70 Mongolian actors will be selected--four for main roles, 50 for public scenes, and 20—for stunt doubles.
It is expected that the actors who are to play roles of Queen Sorkhugtani, Jakha Khambu and the twelve-year-old Khubilai, will speak Mongolian on screen. The selected actors will head to Hungary for the filming on June 20, and will continue traveling to Malaysia and New Zealand with the movie team until December.
US Ambassador to Address Conference on Building Resilience of Mongolian Rangelands
Ulaanbaatar, June 9 (MONTSAME) The US Ambassador to Mongolia Ms Piper Anne Wind Campbell will address on Tuesday the first interdisciplinary and international scientific conference on rangeland science ever to be organized in Mongolia.
The two-day action "Building Resilience of Mongolian Rangelands", sponsored in part by the U.S. Embassy, unites researchers from the physical, biological and social sciences to discuss the complex issues facing Mongolia's rangelands. These include the challenges of climate change and the effects of economic transitions.
On June 12, in a follow-up workshop focusing on the application of scientific research to policy-making and management, select conference participants will meet representatives from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture; the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism; local government leaders from Tov, Selenge and Dundgobi provinces; as well as staff members from various donor organizations and NGOs.
Among the gathered will be scientists from Mongolia, the U.S., Canada, UK, Germany, Japan, Korea, China and India. The scientific disciplines represented will include rangeland ecology and management, biology, hydrology, anthropology and economics. The conference will feature oral presentations, poster presentations, and facilitated small-group discussions. Research to be presented includes the results of a joint U.S.-Mongolian research project, the Mongolian Rangelands and Resilience (MOR2) Project, which is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation. Students at the conference will also participate in essay, photography, and research poster contests.
Other sponsors of the conference include Utah State University's Reed Funk Foundation Account, the Climate-Resilient Rural Livelihoods Project, The Nature Conservancy, the Sustainable Fiber Alliance, and Land Test LLC. Conference organizers include Colorado State University, the Mongolian Fund for Science and Technology, the Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology, the Mongolian University of Life Sciences, the Research Institute for Animal Husbandry, the Institute of Geography and Geo-ecology, Nutag Action Research Institute, the Center for Nomadic Pastoralism Studies, and the American Center for Mongolian Studies.
Mongolia wins heavy discounts from Gilead on Hep C drugs Sofosbuvir, Harvoni
June 10 (GoGo Mongolia) Ministry of Health and Sport and "Gilead sciences" Inc signed a Memorandum of Understanding on providing drugs to treat the Hepatitis C infection named Sofosbuvir and Harvoni at discount price.
Those two drugs which has been internationally acknowledged will be distributed to Mongolia at discount price worth of USD 400 for one month treatment (Three month treatment is USD 1200.). These drugs are traded at USD 94.000 at the world market and only Egypt and Mongolia are buying it at the lowest price.
Demand for the drugs are three to four times higher than the company`s production plan and its highly demanded at international market.
There are 150.000 patients with Hepattits C infection in Mongolia. In addition, the Minister of Health and Sport stated that these drugs have 96-98 percent success result.
Mongolia Looks to Introduce Robotics Labs in All Secondary Schools
June 9 (gogo.mn) Minister of Education, Culture and Science L.Gantumur handed lego robots to 13 secondary schools and guitar club equipments to two secondary schools.
In scope of "Talent" program implemented by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, robot club was established which aims to develop technical skills of students and to provide primary knowledge of automation.
Lego robots have high importance for developing children`s technical skills and creative thinking based on fun, creative and scientific approach.
It consists of plastic small pieces that can be assembled in free choice, different kinds of gears, wheels, belt-conveyors, central processors which enables programming, variety kinds of electric motors, colors, batteries and sounds.
Further, this robot worth of MNT 1-1.5 million will be handed to all secondary schools.
Moreover, guitar club equipment which aims to develop children`s aesthetics through music and to demonstrate children`s musical talent were handed.
Youth Gain Essential Skills for a Better Life
By Tim Jenkins, UNFPA Communication Officer
ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia, June 9 (UNFPA Mongolia) - "I got ideas for a better life," eighteen-year-old Tsegmid said of his move to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's bustling national capital.
Like many youth in UB, Tsegmid was raised in a nomadic family in a remote district in the countryside. His father was abusive and Tsegmid's options in this environment were limited. Upon completion of vocational school, Tsegmid was faced with a choice: remain in an abusive home with few opportunities or take a chance and apply for an apprenticeship in the big city.
Tsegmid took that chance and earned an apprenticeship through the NGO Huuhdiin Urgoo. Huuhdiin Urgoo identifies underage, at risk youth and invites them from the western provinces to participate in valuable apprenticeships. With support from the UN Population Fund, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Khasu Tsamhag, a local construction company, Huuhdiin Urgoo provides life skills education, shelter and on-the-job training for vulnerable youth.
"Professionally, there are limited opportunities for work experience in the provinces. The apprenticeship was very important.
I came to UB for the apprenticeship. I worked on a construction site in Zaisan (a wealthy district of Ulaanbaatar). First, I started as an assistant, but now I do everything – I finish interiors of buildings, run wiring and even lay tile," says Tsegmid.
Tsegmid, like many youth at Huuhdiin Urgoo, gained invaluable hard skills in the trades alongside essential life skills such as communication, relationship building, and critical thinking.
UNFPA and the Government of Mongolia have established 32 Life Skills-based health education halls, similar to the hall established at Huuhdiin Urgoo, across Mongolia. The "Halls" provide young people with free access to a safe and enabling learning environment.
"I want to stay four years to complete my engineering degree. My dream is to start a private construction company and contribute to the construction sector in Mongolia. I want to be able to support my parents and brother to have a better life," says Tsegmid.
"It's not just a shelter, but education opportunities and apprenticeships. It's about doing the right thing for youth," explains Nordermaa, Director of the Huuhdiin Urgoo NGO.
Huuhdiin Urgoo and Life Skills Education Halls provide youth with a variety of learning opportunities where they can build strong communication and critical thinking skills and strengthen their decision-making and planning skills. Working closely with the Employment Assistance Office and the Ministry of Labour, Huuhdiin Urgoo is able to offer paid employment opportunities and shelter services to underage youth.
"We encourage our youth to have a social conscience. For example, the man going to study engineering at university, after he graduates, we encourage him to support ten youth like him. This way the social good expands further and further," she said.
Private Sector Steps In
We want to promote young Mongolian workers to create Mongolian wealth. It's also important to invest in the countryside by building local skills," says Delgersaikhan, owner and director of the Khasu Tsamhag Construction Company.
To date, 100% of unemployed youth coming into the trades program at Huuhdiin Urgoo have gained employment or moved on to further study. This exceptional success rate demonstrates the importance of apprenticeships, life skills education and on-the-job training for young people. This program is also incredibly innovative because it creates direct linkages between training and private enterprise.
"My business believes in supporting entrepreneurial skills for youth. After the young people gain skills here, when they are back in the countryside, they can lead other workers, such as for painting and construction. They are more confident," explains Delgersaikhan.
Despite an average economic growth of 10% over the past decade, youth unemployment rates in Mongolia remain consistently high. This employment gap stems largely from the fact that youth often lack practical experience and life skills. In addition to supporting programs like Huuhdiin Urgoo, UNFPA is advocating for the employability of youth by strengthening their soft-skills and an increased focus on youth employment in the Ministry of Labour. The work being done at Huuhdii Urgoo and other life skills halls is an integral part of UNFPA's youth development programme that works to help youth take full advantage of Mongolia's growth and development.
UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency that is delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled.
Inspired by Zaya: Yo.Nyamjav, Miss Mongolia 2001
June 10 (gogo.mn) "Future of Mongolia is not just mining. Instead I believe our future is dependent on educated, intelligent and multifaceted youth". I want to proudly introduce those talented and educated young professionals to others.
Since the time I have enrolled in University of the Humanities with major in journalism I have always looked up to this girl as Miss Mongolia and beautiful person. The very first guest to represent the beauty world is the Miss Mongolia 2001, Journalist, Advisor to Deputy Minister, President of Women's Brilliant Club and Vice President of Social Democracy Mongolian Youth Federation Yo. Nyamjav. She is the clear distinction of young and successful woman who can easily joggle between her career and personal life. Even her 7 year old daughter speaks fluent English and was invited as a special guest with her mother. Together we have talked about many things.
For full interview please click here.
Chinggis Khan sculpture built for 2012 Olympics to be brought from London
June 9 (GoGo Mongolia) Chinggis Khan sculpture created by the Russian artist Dashi Namdakov is being brought from England in order to inherit to next generations and promote to the world by learning, studying, preserving, protecting and restoring Mongolian tradition.
It was built in London during the 2012 Olympic Games and China, Russia and USA proposed to buy it.
By bringing this sculpture, national history and tradition will be enhanced and it will contribute to the promotion of Mongolia to the foreign tourism sector.
MP D.Bat-Erdene purchased this sculpture worth of EUR 3 million with his own funds and transferred it into state property.
"Welcome to Mongolia" Ballet Festival to Take Place June 18-19
June 9 (news.mn) The Honored Actor of Mongolia D.Altankhuyag came to Mongolia last week in order to organize the international ballet festival "Welcome to Mongolia" that will take place on 18th-19th of June.
Some of the dancers from the USA, Cuba, Spain, Japan, Kazakhstan, Taiwan, Georgia, and Russia have been invited to participate. In addition, the great choreographer and ballet dancer Pui Fan Lee will perform a dance which he has prepared in honor of D.Althankhuyag. They will dance together. Also, the key motifs of "Swan Lake", "Romeo and Juliet", "Korsar", "Moulin Rouge" will be presented.
Ticket are on sale at the Theatre of Opera and Dance; the price starts from MNT 30000 (cash payment only). The festival team plan to visit Japan after the performance in Ulaanbaatar.
Ulaanbaatar to Host 2016 Olympic Wrestling Qualification Tournament
Ulaanbaatar, June 9 (MONTSAME) The United World Wrestling (UWW), the international federation for wrestling, has announced the dates and locations for the qualification phase of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
According to the list of tournaments, the First "Last-Chance" Olympic qualification tournament of freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling will take place on April 22-24, 2016 in Ulaanbaatar.
Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling will receive 114 qualifiers a piece, spread equally (19) across each of their six weight classes, while women's wrestling will distribute equally (18) across their six weight classes for 108 qualifiers.
Overall the sport of wrestling has 336 Olympic qualifying spots, 18 gold medals, 18 silver medals and 36 bronze medals to distribute at the Rio Games.
The first qualifier for the 2016 Olympic Games will be the 2015 Wrestling World Championships which is being held in Las Vegas, September 7-12. The top six finishers in each weight class will qualify their nation for their weight.
Next, countries will enter their continental qualifiers, but are only eligible to enter athletes at weight classes they did not qualify during the World Championships. For example, if the wrestler from Country X wins the 2015 world championship at the 66kg weight class in freestyle, then Country X will not be eligible to enter a wrestler at 66kg weight category during the continental qualifier or either "Last-Chance" qualifier.
The top two wrestlers from each continental qualifier will qualify their country for the Games. There are four continental qualifiers: Asian, European, Pan-American and Oceania/Africa.
With a total of 14 qualifiers accounted for after the World Championships and continental qualifiers, nations will have two "Last-Chance" qualifying tournaments by which to earn Olympic births. Nations are only eligible to enter at weight classes where they have not qualified for the Olympic Games.
Apart of the tournament in Ulaanbaatar, the second and final "Last-Chance" qualifier is in Istanbul with the top two men and top two women in each weight class earning qualification spots and pushing the totals to 19 for Greco-Roman and freestyle and 18 for women's wrestling.
A Tripartite Commission (Olympic Solidarity) oversees four additional spots, allocated from interested national federations who attempted to, but did not, qualify wrestlers during the initial phase of qualification.
The host country is also given four selections, but forfeits back one selection for each qualifier they accumulate during the qualification phase. These spots are then reallocated to the Tripartite Commission where they are distributed to eligible national federations.
Wrestling at the 2016 Olympic Games will be held in Rio de Janeiro from August 14 to 21.
Shizuoka Prefecture to Host 2020 Olympic Training of Mongolian Athletes
Ulaanbaatar, June 10 (MONTSAME) Mongolia's Ministry of Health and Sport and Japan's Shizuoka Prefecture will collaborate in training Mongolian athletes for 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games and Paralympics.
A related to it memorandum of mutual understanding was signed Wednesday by T.Boldbaatar, a Vice Minister of Health and Sport, and by Kawakatsu Heita, the governor of Shizuoka Prefecture, in Ulaanbaatar.
Shizuoka has expressed a willingness to cooperate with Mongolia in preparing Mongolian athletes of judo, freestyle wrestling and other sports, without charges. Meanwhile, Japan's Niigata Prefecture has expressed its readiness to train Mongolian Olympic athletes of some 10 kinds of sports such as women's freestyle wrestling and swimming, and to render rehabilitation services.
Chinggis Khaan Judo Grand Prix Approaches, July 3-5
Ulaanbaatar, June 10 (MONTSAME) Co-organized by the International Judo Federation (IJF) and Mongolia's Judo Federation (MJF), the "Chingis Khaan" judo Grand Prix tournament has been scheduled this July 3-5 in Ulaanbaatar.
For the time being, some 300 judokas from 50 countries such as Japan, Russia and Georgia have applied for taking part in the events.
By the IJF rule, a winner of the Grand Prix in each weight category will receive 300 points of the Olympic qualification, a runner-up--180 points, the bronze medalist--120 points. A prize fund of the 2015 Chingis Khaan Grand Prix will be USD 100 thousand.
The Muslim Miners of Mongolia
June 9 (National Geographic) Five years ago I wrote a book called Treasures of the Earth, in which I developed an argument around how redefining our relationship with primary geological resources is the most elemental means of charting a pathway for environmental and social sustainability. Extracting resources can bring much pain and promise to the people who are involved or impacted by the process. Nevertheless, the advent of extraction has been an essential part of the development of modern society. The allure of mineral wealth is a common human impulse shared by most global cultures and creeds. Mining rushes are moments of convergence and nowhere is this more apparent these days than Mongolia – that vast land-locked country that once sent hordes of gallant warriors to conquer more than half of Asia. The country is booming with mining professionals from all over the world as one of the world's largest forecasted copper mines got approval to move forward with expansion in mid-May.
The history of mining in Mongolia and the migration of multiple cultures is certainly not new. The mining town of Sharyn Gol in northern Mongolia exemplifies the convergence of cultures that mining booms can instil. During the 1960s, a coal rush brought Kazakh Muslim communities from the far West of the region to this remote locale nestled between rolling grasslands. Islam and Mongolia have intersected for centuries as the great conquering Mongol nomads clashed with Muslim lands in Turkik regions further west. The progeny of these Khans built empires such as the Mughals, which headed back east to reign over South Asia for several centuries. Yet many of those intersections are now mere vestiges of common words in languages rather than substantive cultural connections. For better or for worse, State nationalisms and religious trajectories have taken dominant Islamic and Mongolian societies in different directions.
My first visit to Mongolia was in 2002 when the country was opening up to the world. A majority of the population at the time were living a nomadic existence and moving through the landscape with the seasons. Privatization brought a rush of investors from far and wide, including a little known American investor named James Passin who started buying resource ventures in the country. Through the acquisitions of his Firebird Investments, Passin was featured by Bloomberg media as "The American who Bought Mongolia." Among Firebird's recent acquisitions is the Sharyn Gol coal mine which has also benefited from an investment injection by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
As part of their social engagement guidelines, the EBRD has asked for greater vigilance and mitigation measures to reduce the environmental and social impact of the Sharyn Gol mine. In our field visit to the mine in early June 2015, as part of a research project on responsible mining in Mongolia, we observed some positive efforts at corporate engagement on community issues, although some environmental mitigation measures require better monitoring. In addition to the massive coal pit that marks the area, there are also a range of satellite small-scale gold mines that speckle the landscape around Sharyn Gol. These mines have ecological impacts as well which are not fully captured by the larger impact evaluations of the coal mine. Some of the Kazakh community are also possibly involved in these mines as well as artisanal mining for alluvial gold, which is undertaken by digging deep narrow holes with minimal health and safety concerns. Research suggested that most of the town have recognised that the alluvial gold miners are creating more of a problem then the coal mine. The mainstreaming of artisanal and small-scale mining, including the ethnic minority communities involved, has been the subject of a multi-year project research project funded by the Swiss Development Corporation. Yet the broader sustainability of the Sharyn Gol community and its Muslim miners deserves broader attention.
The governor of the district, Mr. D. Amarsanaa , has been particularly progressive in showing an inclusive attitude towards the Kazakh miners. Although some respondents in our surveys expressed concern about marginalization from the mainstream, the Faith and culture of the 150 or more Kazakh families comprising around 17% of the town's population of around 8000 remains strong. A Kazakh district government official hired by the governor shared with us his family dynamics that reflect the dilemmas of modernization that Sharyn Gol is facing. Two of the Muslim official's seven children have been sent for Islamic learning to a madrassa in Kyrgyzstan where their learning is less pluralistic than the cultural milieu that Sharyn Gol has espoused as a multi-faith community. Cultural displays of music and mirth which the Kazakhs have shared with Sharyn Gol's residents are tempered in the household when his sons visit home once a year.
What future awaits the next generation of Sharyn Gol's residents, particularly its distinct Kazakh Muslims, will be determined by how well the diversification of the town's economy moves forward. Could cultural tourism of Kazakh Muslims complement the extractive economy? Would a paved road that the Kuwaiti government had agreed to fund, partly because of the Muslim heritage of the town, allow for other service sector businesses to move into the area? Could the remediation plan for the coal mine eventually lead to a seasonal agrarian economy with wind power and other renewable arrays to supplement land use similar to what is done in other cold climates? Perhaps Sharyn Gol could even develop vineyards of ice wine grapes similar to cold Quebec as suggested by a young Mongolian researcher, Delguun Maidar, who worked with us on this project. The Kazakh Muslims may disapprove of an alcohol industry but grape could just as well be sold from these vineyards! Might Firebird Investments consider further community investments in making Sharyn Gol a "model mining town" to showcase their social performance and economic diversification for responsible investors? All these questions must continue to be asked and debated as this town, which has endured extremes of communism and capitalism alike, plans for a more sustainable and integrated future of its diverse residents.
Acknowledgements: The research profiled in this article was undertaken as part of an Australian Aid funded research project titled "Managing the impacts of mineral development on women and men and their traditional livelihoods in Mongolia." Research Director of the project at the University of Queensland, Australia was Dr. Isabel Cane in partnership with the Gender Research Centre for Sustainable Development in Mongolia. Further details on all the partners can be found in the report published by the project in English and Mongolian.
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