Thursday, June 4, 2015

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

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Overseas Market

Khan Completes Second and Final Tranche of Private Placement of Shares

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 2, 2015) - Khan Resources Inc. ("Khan" or the "Company") (CSE:KRI) is pleased to announce that it has closed the second and final tranche of its private placement of common shares (the "Offering") announced on May 15, 2015 and the closing of the first tranche announced on May 29, 2015. The Company received aggregate gross proceeds for the private placement of $2,000,000 and issued 5,000,000 common shares at a price of $0.40 per common share. No fees or commissions were paid as part of the financing. On closing the second tranche, Khan issued 900,000 common shares for gross proceeds of $360,000. The common shares issued pursuant to the second tranche of the Offering are subject to usual resale restrictions until October 3, 2015.

Use of Funds

Khan intends to use the proceeds of the Offering to: (i) advance proceedings to enforce the collection of a US$104 million arbitration award (the "Award") rendered in March 2015 in favour of Khan and against the Government of Mongolia; and (ii) for general corporate purposes.

Related Party Transaction

The Offering is considered a related party transaction for the purposes of Multilateral Instrument 61-101 - Protection of Minority Security Holders in Special Transactions ("MI 61-101") because of the participation of certain insiders of the Company. The interest in the Offering and anticipated effect on securities holdings of the related party that participated in the second tranche of the Offering is as follows:


Relationship to the Company

Interest in the Offering

Post-Closing Number of Common Shares, directly or indirectly, beneficially owned or controlled

Post-Closing Percentage of Common Shares of Khan

Amount $

# Shares

VR Global Partners, L.P.

10% shareholder





(See Press Release dated May 29, 2015 for details of the Related Parties that participated in the first tranche of the Offering).

According to MI 61-101, a related party transaction requires formal valuation and minority shareholder approval unless exempt. The Offering is exempt from the formal valuation and minority approval requirements due to: (1) the Issuer is not listed on selected markets as set out in section 5.5(b); and (2) the fair market value of the Offering is not more than $2,500,000 as set out in section 5.7(b) of MI 61-101. A committee of independent directors reviewed the Offering and determined that as a CSE issuer Khan is not listed on a specified market, the issue price of $0.40 is reasonable in the circumstances of Khan and the fair market value of the Offering, in so far as it involves related parties, is not more than $2,500,000. Accordingly, the Offering is exempt from minority shareholder approval and formal valuation requirements of MI 61-101.

The Offering is closing in less than 21 days due to the Company's need to have funds available to advance proceedings to enforce the collection of the Award, which shorter period is both reasonable and necessary in the circumstances. MI 61-101 requires if a material change report is filed less than 21 days before the expected date of the closing of the transaction, an explanation is to be provided why the shorter period is reasonable or necessary in the circumstances.

To the knowledge of the Company, after reasonable inquiry, none of the related parties have knowledge of any material information concerning the Company or its securities that has not been generally disclosed.

Link to release


HAR closed -20% to A$0.012 Wednesday

Haranga Resources AGM Presentation: From Successful Exploration to Developing A Mine

May 29, Haranga Resources Ltd. (ASX:HAR) --



Ø  The largest internationally recognized JORC compliant Resource of 254Mt (Measured and Indicated) in Mongolia.

Ø  Ideally located in the premier iron ore region with power, water and logistics.

Ø  Necessary base for delineating and estimating Proven and Probable Ore Reserves for developing a Mine.

Ø  Resource supports a 5mtpa > production rate.


Ø  Transitioning into a Development - Production phase from a successful Exploration phase.

Ø  Raised $1.8m which will enable the Company to move forward and complete arrangements with traders to fund and develop the deposit.

Ø  Restructure of the Company to move towards an operating mind set that is cost efficient.

Ø  Pre-Mining Agreement with the Mineral Resource Authority of Mongolia is signed.

Ø  The Mining License is expected to be granted within Q2 2015.

Ø  Key milestones towards completing the Project Feasibility Study are being achieved.

Ø  A quality product with specifications suitable for Chinese steel mills is attainable and well tested which supports the project funding.

Ø  Further work to optimize an initial ramp up of mine operation to achieve early production and cash flow is underway.

Link to preso


Haranga Resources: Results of Annual General Meeting

May 29 -- We advise that the Resolutions contained in the Notice of Annual General Meeting were voted on at the meeting of shareholders by a show of hands.

In accordance with section 251AA of the Corporations Act, proxy votes exercisable by all proxies validly appointed were as follows:





1 Adoption of Remuneration Report




2 Re-Election of a Director – Marshall Cooper




3 Re-Election of a Director – Bat-Ochir Sukhbaatar




4 Re-Election of a Director – Amarbaatar Chultem




5 Re-Election of Director – Jack James




6 Re-Election of Director – Michael Riady




7 Ratification of Prior Issue - Shares




8 Approval of 10% Placement Facility (Special Resolution)




As indicated above, Mr Amarbaatar Chultem has not been re-elected as a Director of Haranga Resources Limited.

Link to release

Final Director's Interest Notice – Amarbaatar Chultem (39,202,454 fully paid ordinary shares)


XAM closed flat Wednesday at A$0.125

Bell Potter Update: Xanadu Mines – SPECULATIVE BUY, Target Price A$0.19, Upside 52%

More drilling underway at Kharmagtai

May 29 (Bell Potter) --

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.

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Local Market

MSE News for June 3: Top 20 +0.39% to 13,082.50, Turnover 23.6 Million

Ulaanbaatar, June 3 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Wednesday, a total of 10 thousand and 098 units of 25 JSCs were traded costing MNT 23 million 609 thousand and 509.00.

"APU" /3,401 units/, "Remikon" /2,352 units/, "E-trans logistics" /2,000 units/, "Gutal" /624 units/ and "Makh impex" /586 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "APU" (MNT 11 million 988 thousand and 880), "Gutal" (MNT six million 552 thousand and 030), "Makh impex" (MNT one million 875 thousand and 200), "Gobi" (MNT 692 thousand and 900), "Bayangol hotel" (MNT 550 thousand).

The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 270 billion 269 million 949 thousand and 385. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 13,082.50, increasing 0.39% and the all index of MSE was 932.84, increasing 0.17% against the previous day.

Link to article

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Bank rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy 1,919 Sell 1,935), Khan (Buy 1,919 Sell 1,935), Golomt (Buy 1,918 Sell 1,935), XacBank (Buy 1,919 Sell 1,933), State Bank (Buy 1,917 Sell 1,936)

BoM MNT Rates: Wednesday, June 3 Close




































































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

Link to rates


BoM issues 127 billion 1-week bills at 13%, total outstanding +2.2% to ₮1.15 trillion

June 3 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 127 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


GoM Declines ₮1 Billion Bids for ₮10 Billion 3-Year Bonds

June 3 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 3 years maturity Government Bond was announced at face value of 10 billion MNT and each unit was worth 1 million MNT. Despite of receiving 1.0 billion MNT bid offer, Ministry of Finance didn't exercise the bids.

Link to release


₮26.5 Billion 28-Week Bills Sold at Discount, Average Yield 15.02%

June 3 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 28 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 30.0 billion MNT. Face value of 26.5 billion /out of 34.5 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 15.020%.

Sold %: 88.33%

Announced amount: 30,000,000,000.00 ₮

Sold amount: 26,500,000,000.00 ₮

Received amount: 34,500,000,000.00 ₮

Weighted average yield: 15.020%

Maximum yield of fulfilled bids: 15.450%

Minimum yield of fulfilled bids: 14.790%

Link to release


5-Year €8.5 Million EU Project Signed to Boost Employment in Mongolia

June 3 ( Today, European Union is to sign Memorandum to implement project worth EUR 8.5 million in Mongolia within five years.

The project will start by signing cooperation agreement which is to last from 2015 to 2020 between the Government of Mongolia and European Union.

The Minister of Labour S.Chinzorig representing the Government of Mongolia and Ambassador of the European Union to the People's Republic of China and Mongolia Mr. Dietmar Schweisgut representing the European Union are to participate in the signing ceremony, which will take place in Shangri-La Hotel at 5PM today.

Relevant ministries, ambassadors to Mongolia from member countries of European Union and other delegations are to participate in the ceremony.

Link to article

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Politics & Legal

Mogi: Justice Coalition also demanded OT UDP be changed, giving a 14-day deadline to comply

L.Erdenechimeg: Hope is to reopen Tavan Tolgoi tender to 6 final bidders

June 3 ( Yesterday (2nd June 2015), the working group had a closed meeting to decide, whether to discuss "Tavan Tolgoi" in parliament or not. After the meeting, the leader of working group, Member of Parliament L.Erdenechimeg provided brief information to journalists.

-      It is almost one month since the "Tavan Tolgoi" working group was formed. When is the final decision due?

-      We have received most of the documentation in the past few days. There are, however three exceptions. The sub-group worked on 3000 pages of documentation and has prepared a 50 page conclusion. The first missing document is the English version of the investment contract. I do not understand why it can't be given.  We demand this version in avoid having to the Court of Arbitration. If the Governmental Office completes all documents, the final decision will be in 2-3 days. The second missing document is Government Protocol number 268 which contains the 7 tender selection criteria for companies. In our opinion some criteria have been changed in order to favor one specific company. Therefore, we need to see who exactly has offered what kind of ideas and changes to tender criteria. The third missing document is the financial analysis of the independent experts, which the investor is demanding from us.  But we have already found this information from the internet containing reports and international analysis. Basically we will deliver the final conclusion after 3 days to the Speaker of Parliament.

The conclusion will include that the "Mongolian Railway Company" will own 51%, and must solve the Gashuun Sukhait-Ukhaa Khudag line and eastern railway issues together with the investors. Also we hope that, we can re-announce a tender for the 6 companies which were chosen in 2010. From them, we will select the most suitable company to invest in roads; and give the chosen company to exploration permission at Tavan Tolgoi.

-      There is a rumor that "Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi" will announce a tender to own 51%. How realistic is this information?

-      It is not necessary for "Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi" to be the sole owner . The point is not whether "Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi" and "Energy Resource" are in this tender or not. The tender represents an open opportunity for  every company.

-      So the already existing contract, is not going to proceed?

-      If Government agrees with our conclusions, this contract will be postponed. This contract has violated many legal provisions which have been approved since 2010. That is why Parliament does not need to discuss the "Tavan Tolgoi Investment Contract".

-      Do you mean "Energy Resource", by saying 'the tender to choose one company'?

-      Yes, I meant "Energy Resource".

Link to interview


Mongolia Prepares to Announce Program to Boost Coal Industry

June 3 ( Mining Minister R.Jigjid has said that the Mongolian Government is preparing a "Coal Program."

Also, he currently leads a fortnightly meeting to study the problems occurring in the sector, primarily with coal production and exporting companies and study ways of solving them. The sector is enduring hard times due to coal market recession.

To date, the working group has met three times, and has decided to take payment of natural resources according to coal & coal product classification; this codification was undertaken in cooperation with the Mongolian Customs House.

Currently, they are working on the "Coal Program" to facilitate payment of natural resources at contract prices and also to resolve the problems of coal markets and exports.

Link to article


Parliament Session Agenda for June 3: Standing Committee Meetings

June 3 ( Standing Committee meetings are scheduled for today.

1. Social Welfare, Education, Culture and Science Standing Committee meeting


·         Approval of State Policy on Pension Fund Reform

2. Economy Standing Committee meeting


·         Draft law on urban redevelopment and other relevant draft laws

·         Approval of State Policy on Industry

·         "Smart Government" project which is to be implemented by soft loan of the World Bank`s International Development Association

3. Safety and Foreign Policy Standing Committee meeting


·         Draft law on approval of additional loan of new airport international airport project in Ulaanbaatar between Mongolian Government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency

·         "Education Quality Reform" project which is to be implemented by soft loan of the World Bank`s International Development Association

·         "E-health" project which is to be implemented by soft loan of the World Bank`s International Development Association

·         The ministry of Mining to deliver report on oil

4. State Structure Standing Committee meeting


·         Draft law on Public hearing and other relevant draft laws

·         Administrative Law and other relevant draft laws

5. Application Standing Committee meeting


·         Discuss on citizen application on the dismissal from the civil service without justification

·         Discuss on application from citizens on implementation of law on education

Link to article


Will DP have enough "courage" to dismiss Cabinet again

June 3 ( Mongolia since its adoption of the democratic principles 25 years ago has seen 14 Prime ministers and is now currently having 17th cabinet which named itself as Government for Solution and is led by PM Ch.Saikhanbileg. It is yet unknown if this one is to serve its full period or not. 

It has been three weeks since the MP O.Baasankhuu has announced on his intentions to dismiss the current PM and is doing research. The reasons he mentioned for the possible dismissal were again related to the mega projects in mining sector.

In his announcement he said that PM's standing that Mongolian economy is only to revive with the moving of the mega mining projects such as TT and OT is itself very irresponsible and implies the laziness of the current cabinet and accused PM as working as a representative on one entity.

PM is being accused even after the signing of the  Oyu Tolgoi UG Development & Financing Plan in the United Arab Emirates and moving forward the long stalled mega project. It seems useless having positive impacts of the moving of the underground development of Oyu Tolgoi is to attract investments of USD 6 billion and increase the jobs by 3000 on the market.

Another impact of the agreement signing is that the U.S. dollar rate once soaring to MNT 2,000 is now rapidly depreciating to MNT 1,890.

If MP O.Baasankhuu is to collect the consent of 17 MPs the dismissal issue of the current Prime Minister will become legal.

Although he has 5-6 MPs backing him up he needs more efforts to turn the number into 17. To question how many signatures he collected so far MP O.Baasankhuu replied by beating around the bush that MP G.Uyanga is responsible for sign collection.

While MP G.Uyanga refused to talk on this matter and said that when there is enough signatures she will raise the matter. 

Seeing from the replies of the MPs 17 is the "big" number. DP has dismissed once its cabinet in an effort for bettering the already worsened economy. It is true that contradicting announcements made by the Speaker of the Parliament and the Prime Minister has shed some negative light on DP as if it has internal discord.

This was once been criticized by the Reform Committee Youth under the DP as "DP is having Governance Crisis". Then will DP have enough guts to dismiss its cabinet for the second time? Although the cabinet was established on the coalition base it is hard to push the current Prime Minister from his seat without the voices of the DP members.

The fragile fate of the cabinet is related with the State Great Khural which was always deciding on the fate of the implementing power. If Prime Minister or the Cabinet isn't good enough for the eyes of the 76 MPs, State Great Khural can legally "mess" with the government.

Currently the amendments to the Constitution are being under discussion and the working group members have agreed that the main amendment will ensure the sustainability of the cabinet as with dismissal of the Prime Minister the whole cabinet sees changes.

Which is followed with changes down the structure at the ministries, offices, names and leads to the disruption of the state policy continuity.

Constitutional Amendments Working Group Leader MP N.Batbayar said: "We are discussing to increase the authority of the Prime Minister. Moreover the limitation of the cabinet renewal as well. Working Group members have all agreed that we need more stable state apparatus, which in turn needs the reduction of the cabinet structure and may be having nine ministries."

The same goes with the MPs as those were also expressing the need to ensure the sustainability of the governing power. If the current State Great Khural can approve the Constitutional changes, the cabinet to be formed by the new parliament in 2016 will be immune to the bashing from the MPs.

Moreover, it might enable the Government to work the full term of four years and be concluded at the end of its term and get rid of the constant criticising.

This time it is still unknown if the DP members will have enough "courage" to dismiss its cabinet named Government for Solution. Especially, at the moment when DP gained the opportunity to rule the national for the second time and upcoming parliamentary election any move to ruin their reputation is unwanted. Therefore, DP won't have guts to dismiss its cabinet for the second time.

Link to article


Cabinet Meeting in Brief

Ulaanbaatar, June 3 (MONTSAME) The cabinet meeting on Tuesday discussed and backed a draft resolution of parliament on the maximum number of Mongolian citizens to immigrate to foreign countries, its structure and locations in 2015-2016. A draft relevant decision will be submitted to parliament.

-      The cabinet also backed draft resolutions of parliament on approving a state policy on foods and agriculture and on establishing a free-zone in Khalkh Gol.

-      State Secretary of the Ministry of Population Development Social Welfare B.Otgonjargal was discharged from the post and appointed the General Consul of Mongolia to Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of China.

-      The General Consul of Mongolia in Russian Kyzyl D.Ganbold was discharged from the post. Ms B.Gantsetseg will replace him.

-      The cabinet discussed a draft new version of the law on garbage and decided to convey some proposals to the draft initiators.

-      The cabinet decided to add an extra content clause in compositions of the Mongolian side at intergovernmental commissions for trade, economy, science and technical cooperation. The compositions have been adopted by an appendix of related governmental resolution.

-      The cabinet backed a Mongolia-Brazil intergovernmental note on exemption of short-term visa requirements. An order of the PM will be issued to authorize an official to sign the note.

-      The cabinet backed in principle draft amendments to the laws on legal status of judge and on state service, and decided to convey to the draft initiators proposals for scrutinizing some clauses. The cabinet also backed bills on gene pool of livestock and on livestock and animal health.

-      The cabinet backed a draft amendment to the rule of granting special licenses and tenders, and decided to authorize the state administrative body of geology and mining affairs to approve it.

-      The Minister of Mining R.Jigjid was authorized to sign Mongolia-Russia intergovernmental protocols on altering the 2013 and 2007 intergovernmental agreements on actions of the "Erdenet" LLC and the "Mongolrostsvetmet" joint venture.  

Link to article


Mongolia Looks to Cut 8% Mortgage Down Payment to 10%, Drop Max Size

June 3 ( Minister of Construction and Urban Development D.Tsogtbaatar announced last month on possible changes to the 8 percent mortgage loans.

Mortgage loans currently require the deposit of 30 percent of the total purchase sum and currently the market is saturated as the households and individuals with means have already purchased housings. In order to support the housing project the ministry is conducting studies on possible Government guarantee for the 20 percent and 10 percent deposit program for the rest households short in cash.

Moreover the limitation of the square meter of the housing set currently not exceeding the 80sq.m. might be dropped and anyone interested in purchase of bigger housing could apply for the mortgage loans with 8 percent APR.

According to the official sources the studies are still being conducted and the issue that has created the anticipation in the society might be discussed towards September through the Cabinet session.

Link to article


Pension Reform: Learning from South Korea's Experience

June 3 (Mongolian Economy) Reforming the social insurance law has become a topic of discussion among lawmakers. Representatives from South Korea's National Pension Service were invited to Mongolia to contribute to the discussion, and a seminar under the name "Pension reforms: The Republic of Korea's Experience" was held on May 25 under the initiative of the Social Insurance General Office.

Mongolia's social insurance system currently has two sides: the distribution system and the funds collected through taxes on people's incomes. Parliament will enact reforms to the provisions and policies regarding pension and social insurance under the broader legal reforms of the insurance sector. B.Batjargal, a senior specialist at the Social Insurance Policy Implementation Department, said that the most important provision describes the switch from the current single-payer system to a multi-layer payment system. For example, South Korea uses a three-sided social insurance pension scheme. The seminar was organised in order to learn about it more in depth. This three-layer policy act will be added to the larger policy document that describes developmental goals until 2030. The Republic of Korea introduced this system 40 years ago, and a private pension system was also introduced. Insurance sector officials stated that Mongolia has an opportunity to make reforms by learning from the South Korean experience.

In the past, Korean sailors were not covered by social insurance. To deal with this issue, they took a rather different approach, and their government took measures to pay a certain percentage of the insurance. Similar to this, 10 percent of our country's herdsmen are covered by insurance, so Mongolian officials are studying South Korea's experience in order to broaden this insurance coverage.

In addition, more than 30 thousand Mongolian citizens work in South Korea, but only 12 thousand of them actively pay for Mongolian social insurance. Payments made by citizens living abroad are no different from payments made domestically. As for Mongolian citizens who pay into South Korea's social insurance, they can transfer 100 percent of their money paid to the Korean social insurance to the Mongolian social insurance programme and fully receive the pension benefits.

Link to article


Government assesses implementation of Anti-Smoking Law

June 3 ( In 1988 the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared 31st May as "World No Smoking Day"; this year we marked this day under the slogan; "Day against the illegal sale of tobacco". During the press conference for that day, Member of Parliament L.Erdenechimeg said – Mongolia joined the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control about 10 years ago. It is great news that in 2008, the WHO has informed our Health Ministry that Mongolia is accomplishing implementation of the Tobacco Control Law very well ; just yesterday,  the WHO also complimented the  Minister of Health and Sport for Mongolia's significant contribution  to the Tobacco Control Law.

By joining the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, we are able to improve the legal environment. For this reason, Parliament has revised the Tobacco Control Law in order to protect the population from the negative results of tobacco usage and passive smoking in 2012.  MP Erdenechimeg said - the legal implementation is good.

Link to article


Policy Series: Are There Better Solutions? (IV)

By Mendee Jargalsaikhan

June 2 (Mongolia Focus) There are many possible ways to improve the quality of the policy-making institutions and process to improve mining policies and reduce failed policies. In fact, all politicians are well aware of these possible solutions, but they lack political will and courage to implement them for long-term benefits. Moreover, because this clientalistic political structure is increasingly entrenched, a good principled person talks about moral principles and patriotic deeds, but acts in favor of parochial interests.   Therefore, for a 'win-win' result, policymakers need to look beyond the short-term horizon; investors should avoid supporting 'corrupt' opportunities; and the public (esp., media) must maintain the pressure both on politicians and investors. Thus requires politicians to improve the quality of policy-making processes in order to increase trust among all stakeholders. Here are four possible measures to accomplish that.

The Rule of Law [1]

Politicians, parties, factions, businesses, and the public need to adhere to the rule of law principle. In particular, policymakers, especially, high-ranking politicians, must follow the law, regulations, and standards that are the rules of the game approved by them and their predecessors. Although the rule of law principle does exist and is reflected in the contemporary politics of Mongolia, there are numerous deficiencies. In regards to constitutionalism, rulings of the Constitutional Court were obeyed up to 2000. Since then politicians, especially parliament members and cabinet members began disregarding Constitutional Court decisions. The parliament and its appointed cabinets have override the Constitutional Court decisions on power-sharing between the legislature and executive bodies, electoral procedures, and appointments of politically-affiliated officials to non-political bureaucratic and judiciary posts. Judicial independence is still questionable. There is sufficient evidence to illustrate political and business influences over the judiciary and law enforcement organizations. For example, political parties and factions assert their influence over the judiciary, especially the procurator's office, and over the anti-corruption agency through the presidential office. They also exert influence over the police, marshal service, intelligence, and taxation via the prime minister and cabinet. Finally, because politicians for various reasons do not show respect for the law and rules, the legal culture is still respected by politicians and political parties. Attitudes like 'the Mongolian law is for three days' or 'түгжилдэх' (to renege/to cheat) are popular in society. Therefore, all policy-makers, shapers, and takers should adhere to the rule of law principle. This would certainly have strong implications for improving the mining policymaking process.

The Institutionalization of the Legislature

Parliament must improve its policy-making and revising process. It needs to build up and empower its own non-partisan bureaucracy, especially the standing committees, in order to advance institutional interests (i.e., public interests) rather than parochial, factional, and private interests. It needs to increase incentives to conduct a thorough examination of existing policies rather than encouraging proposing new legislation. It needs to strengthen the accountability of parliament members. What's the current legislative picture? First, it is overwhelmingly represented by business interests in comparison to the parliaments of 1992 and 1996.[2] Second, all parliament members are entitled to introduce a draft bill or changes to the existing legislation. This provides immense opportunities to change any policies and increases the workload for the parliament and staffers. Third, the law-passing process is the easiest because there are very few veto players. With the presence of 39 (out of 76) members, any legislative initiative can be discussed in the general session and passed by only 20 votes. Incomprehensively, members can vote (push voting buttons) on behalf of other absent members. Finally, there are strong monetary incentives for the law initiation. A member can get up to 20 million tugrugs for initiating the bill (i.e., funding for experts and staff).[3] Therefore, the parliament should constrain today's fractionalized, decentralized policy-changing behavior, but should create incentives for proper institutionalization of the legislature.[4]

The institutionalization of political parties. This is another important step to improve policies, including for mining. Today the most powerful political institutions in Mongolian politics are the political parties, especially the two dominant ones. Because they are dominating the political landscape, both parties provide opportunities and protection for politicians, bureaucrats, businesses, and civil society activists. At the same time, these parties are the training ground for future political leaders and bureaucrats. However Mongolian political parties have increasingly become clientalistic and based on patron-client networks, rather than issue-oriented platforms and/or ideologies. In other words, they are weakly institutionalized, although there are some difference between the MPP and DP.  "Party's weak institutionalization is not the only cause of political corruption, but it is certainly one of the causes of party corruption" (Pelizzo, 2006, p. 180). If the political parties are clientalistic and corrupted, then the parliament and government bureaucracies are gradually becoming clientalistic. Although well intentioned laws on political parties were passed by the parliament, it is not adequate until senior leaders of political parties dedicate the will and courage to enforce the official laws as well as parties' own internal regulations and discipline.

Insulation and Professionalization of the Bureaucracy

Politicians need to not only agree on, but also commit to the insulation and professionalization of the bureaucracy. Unless public servants are insulated from political and business interests, policies are unlikely to be implemented and enforced thoroughly and properly. In theory, public servants are supposed to serve as gatekeepers against parochial, short-term interests by adhering to long-term developmental policies. In reality, this would not be the case if political parties, factions, and interests groups competed for the public to protect their own interests, to increase their benefits, and to marginalize their opponents. "Adopting any ideal public service laws and practices in the world" is not helpful, as Spiller (et al) argues, "if patronage involving positions in the bureaucracy remains an important currency used by politicians to reward their partisan base"(Spiller, Stein, & Tommasi, 2008, p. 28). The current regulatory framework for public service and conflict of interests are ideal if politicians, parties, and factions just uphold it. Because party officials and senior bureaucrats are not following these public service laws, regulations, and standards, the current political structure encourages unaccountable, opportunistic, and cozying behaviour by politicians, bureaucrats, and businesses. This also encourages individuals and public servants to seek political party affiliation, and in turn, discredits the merit-based professional public service. Since this is an overall challenge for the public service, the mining sector is also affected. Without insulating public servants from political and business interests and influences, it would be difficult to expect proper implementation and enforcement of mining policies at the national and provincial levels.

[1] The rule of law includes the constitutionalism, independent judiciary, and pertaining legal culture. The most important feature of the rule of law is that politicians must be binded by the laws, rules, and regulations (Fukuyama, 2010).

[2] For total net assets and wealth of the Mongolian parliament members, see "The Wealth of Parliament Redux: What's It Worth?" November 11, 2013, available at:

[3] Interview with parliamentary staffers, December 20, 2014.

[4] I borrow the notion of institutionalization as elaborated by Samuel Huntington. The institutionalization is defined as the process by which organizations and procedures acquire value and stability. The level of institutionalization of a political system can be defined by the adaptability, complexity, autonomy, and coherence of its organizations and procedures. The level of institutionalization therefore can be measured by its adaptability, complexity, autonomy, and coherence. For more on institutionalization, see (Huntington, 1968).

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Shangri-La Opening Affords Ulaanbaatar a Taste of Luxury

by Michael Kohn

June 3 (Bloomberg) Six years after construction began, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts opened its first property in Mongolia Wednesday to target business travelers seeking opportunities in the nation's nascent mining economy.

The 290-room hotel and adjoining retail and office complex in downtown Ulaanbaatar represent a $500 million investment, according to MCS Group, Mongolia's largest conglomerate with real estate and construction businesses, and a joint owner of the development.

Shangri-La opens its doors as the economy slows down because of weak commodity prices and protracted disputes with investors, including Rio Tinto Group, which manages the Oyu Tolgoi mine. Foreign investment in the country tumbled to $389 million last year from $4.45 billion in 2012.

The government and Rio Tinto reached an agreement last month after two years of negotiations to develop Oyu Tolgoi, likely opening the door to $6 billion in new investments.

The Shangri-La opening "is a welcome symbolic event, coinciding with the turn of Mongolia's fate," said Munkhdul Badral, head of market intelligence firm Cover Mongolia.

Construction of the complex, which began in late 2009, was delayed by Mongolia's adverse cold weather, said William Wong, director of communications for the hotel.

High-End Tourists

The property opens amid a dearth of high-end accommodation in the Mongolian capital ahead of the 2016 Asia-Europe Meeting, with delegates arriving in Ulaanbaatar from more than 50 countries.

Rooms at the Shangri-La, located between the ancient Choijin Lama Temple Museum and an amusement park, start at $240 a night.

While primarily viewed as a destination for business travelers, the hotel will also target high-end tourists to a country known for its landscapes, wildlife, Buddhist heritage and nomadic hospitality.

High-end tourists are looking for authentic "travel in the countryside where the travel is rough," said Jan Wigsten, owner of tour company Nomadic Journeys. "Back in Ulaanbaatar, they are looking for creature comforts." Shangri-La helps "with that transition from the city to the countryside," he said.

The second phase of the Shangri-La complex, due to open in the third quarter of 2016, includes two 28-story towers. The new wing will include luxury apartments, retail space and 19 floors of commercial space.

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Cabinet Approves 150 Billion Loans to Hotels in Anticipation of ASEM Summit

Ulaanbaatar, June 3 (MONTSAME) At its regular meeting on Tuesday, the cabinet discussed issues of accommodation and services for those taking part in the upcoming in 2016 ASEM Summit in Ulaanbaatar.

The cabinet ordered the Board of Directors of the Development Bank of Mongolia (DBM) to give loans of 150 billion Togrog through commercial banks to the hotels for furnishing and repair. 

Scheduled in July of 2016, the 11th ASEM Summit is to bring together some five thous. delegates among whom are Presidents, Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers of 51 countries.

Allotted from the DBM's reserve, the loans will be given on a repayment condition to those hotels intending to shelter the foreign delegates. As of present, there are some 450 hotels in Mongolia, ten percent of them satisfy international standards.  

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Scaling Up Wind Energy in Mongolia

June 3 ( The Mongolian government is committed to exploiting the country's rich renewable energy resources to meet the rapidly growing energy demand, to improve energy security and to reduce dependence on electricity imports from Russia.

The Renewable Energy Law which was adopted in 2007 introduced a feed-in-tariff for wind power, currently set at USD $ 8-9.5 cents/kWh. The latest progress to promote renewable energy was the parliament's approval of Mongolia's National Green Development Policy, where share of renewable energy is targeted to reach 20% by 2020 and 30% by 2030 from its current level which is 5% (as of 2013). To meet these ambitious goals in the energy sector, Mongolian government has been working towards improvement of existing laws and regulations to address issues related to implementation of renewable energy. The total electricity production is expected to rise to 1700 МW, which means adding at least 400 MW of renewable energy by 2020. There are also discussions about making Mongolia's vast RE resources available to a broader East Asian market hungry for clean electricity.

In the past two years, the government has signed seven PPAs for wind projects.  Mongolia's first wind project, the 50 MW Salkhit wind farm, came on line in the summer of 2013. As the industry starts to take off, the establishment of technical standards, a functioning market and system operator along with clarification of the legal framework have become necessary.

The key issues holding back investment in the sector concern priority dispatch, which is obliged by the renewable energy law, and grid curtailment. The lack of balancing power and flexible dispatch management make grid curtailment a critical challenge facing the sector. 

The government is currently seeking solutions for these problems. While it has improved the curtailment situation, work needs to be done on how this is dealt with legally and contractually. 

While the Ministry of Energy is working on implementation of the law and testing new technical solutions for the grid, it is an ideal time to transfer knowledge by showing best practice and technical solutions from mature wind markets who have dealt with similar problems. This would help boosting investment in the sector and meeting the objectives set in the renewable energy law.

International conference on "Scaling up Wind Energy in Mongolia" is to be held in Mongolia during June 4-5, 2015 at the Corporate Hotel & Convention Center, a high level workshop with the following objectives:

To provide a platform for stakeholders, including The Ministry of Energy (MOE) and Electricity Regulatory Agency (ERA) and wind developers, to review the current status of the implementation of the Renewable Energy Law and its regulations, against the background of the first wind project having been operational for a year;

To invite European grid companies and regulatory authorities to share experiences on how to implement priority access rules, introducing the grid code, its legal status and content and compensation for curtailment;

To invite stakeholders from other established markets on finance of wind farms in these markets;

To invite potential investors from Europe who are interested in investing in Mongolia.

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Groundbreaking ceremony held for Russia-Mongolia-China highway

June 2 (UB Post) The groundbreaking ceremony for a highway project connecting Altanbulag, Ulaanbaatar, and Zamiin-Uud was held in Zamiin-Uud soum, on Friday.

The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by Zamiin Uud soum Governor M.Bayanmunkh, Head of the Zamiin Uud Customs Department B.Khishigbat, representatives of the Zamiin Uud Free Trade Zone, Deputy Head of the Erlian Road Department Luo Wei, Head of the Dornogovi City Council Ch.Erdenebat, and other representatives from China and Russia.

The attendees promised to support and cooperate on the project, and underlined that the highway connecting Asia and Europe will be vital for Mongolia's future development.

Last Wednesday, Chinggis Land Development Group, the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Mongolian Road Association signed a memorandum of understanding to work to include Mongolian companies in the construction of the highway. The memorandum will allow national companies to participate in the project and cooperate with international corporations.

It has been estimated that the road's construction could create 20,000 to 30,000 temporary jobs, and over 50,000 jobs may be created by trade and service centers, resorts, tourism and business complexes, as well as new settlement zones along the highway.

On March 9, 2014, Chinggis Land Development and the Ministry of Economic Development established a concession agreement on building the highway with build-operate-transfer conditions, without taking any money or guarantees from the government, and that the work would be completed without burdening the state budget.

Chinggis Land Development has to complete the construction work within three years, and transfer it to the Government of Mongolia after 30 years.

The 1,000 km highway will pass through 24 soums of six provinces and two districts of Ulaanbaatar.

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TV5MONDE Lifestyle Channel Lands in Mongolia

HONG KONG, June 3 (World Screen): TV5MONDE has inked its first distribution deal in the Asia-Pacific region for the new lifestyle network TV5MONDE Style HD with Mongolian DTH operator DDishTV.

Under the agreement, TV5MONDE Style HD can now be accessed by more than 150,000 customers in Mongolia. DDishTV offers 90-plus channels around the country. It is currently the only DTH operator in Mongolia, where TV5MONDE Asie is already available.

Alexandre Muller, managing director for APAC at TV5MONDE, stated: "We are thrilled to add TV5MONDE Style HD to DDishTV subscribers. This new partnership will allow us to bring to Mongolian audiences new content and new perspectives in high definition."

Ganbold Dendev, general director of DDishTV, added: "The modern European culture was introduced to Mongolia's nomadic country by Soviet Union at the beginning of the 20th century. Even though there is still a language deficit, people look forward to Western and French culture, especially fashion and lifestyle. We are glad to introduce [for the] first time [a] modern, real French lifestyle channel in our International Package with great support [from the] TV5MONDE team."

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Ulaanbaatar City Looks to Extend Ties with Switzerland

Ulaanbaatar, June 3 (MONTSAME) The Mayor of Ulaanbaatar city Mr E.Bat-Uul Wednesday met Mr Jean-Jacques de Dardel, the Concurrent Non-Resident Ambassador of Switzerland to Mongolia.

They discussed many issues, for example a launching of the "City governance" project to be co-implemented by the UB city and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) this year, making the state services for people in ger (national dwelling) areas quicker and more adequate, urbanization of Ulaanbaatar, the ger areas re-planning, and relevant urgent problems.

Mr Bat-Uul thanked the Embassy of Switzerland for contributing to a development of our capital city and said the city commenced urban development actions with a civil participation," which means that any construction will be done according to the civil opinion". 

He also said the city's administration began implementing indexes of design and safety of living environment of the ger areas people, together with the Asia Foundation, and that it has become a basic plan of urban development. Now it is vital to introduce environmentally-friendly technologies, he added asked the Swiss side for assistance.

He went on that an establishment of satellite cities of Ulaanbaatar was a highlight event because inhabitants of these places decided themselves to become satellites of the UB instead of being districts, Mr Bat-Uul said and expressed a willingness to implement together with the Swiss private sector a related project, under a state-private sector partnership. 

In response, Mr de Dardel said he is glad to visit Mongolia again and to see how the UB city is flourishing, and underlined an importance of the civil participation in the urban development actions. He supported the Mayor's suggestion about collaborating in introducing environmentally-friendly technologies, promoting people's skills, developing the partnership between Swiss companies and the capital city. He also emphasized his country's readiness to cooperate with Mongolia in all spheres.  

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President Receives Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan

Ulaanbaatar, June 3 (MONTSAME) The Mongolia's President Mr Ts.Elbegdorj Wednesday met Mr Rasit Meredow, the Deputy Premier and the Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan, in the State House.

At the beginning of the meeting, Mr Meredow conveyed greetings of the Turkmenistan's President to Mr Elbegdorj and an invitation to him to visit Turkmenistan.

In response, the President expressed thanks for the invitation, and noted that the two countries have friendly relations. He highlighted that the Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan is visiting Mongolia for the first time.

The sides exchanged views on ways of expanding the bilateral cooperation, for instance, studying a chance of supplying gas to Mongolia, developing together the tourism sector, exporting wool, cashmere, leather products, carpets, beef and mutton to Turkmenistan.

They also shared views on learning an legal opportunity for establishing a bilateral intergovernmental commission on economic issues and joining Turkmenistan into the international agreement on the International Think Tank for Landlocked Developing Counties.  

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Turkmenistan Offers to Supply Gas to Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar, June 3 (MONTSAME) After the tete-a-tete meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia L.Purevsuren and the Deputy PM and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan R.O.Meredow signed an Intergovernmental Agreement on Partial Visa-Exemption on June 3.

The agreement facilitates the citizens of the two countries with diplomatic and official passports to visit each other without visas within 90 days. The Ministers also signed an Intergovernmental Memorandum of Understanding and called a press briefing. Mr Purevsuren said this visit is the first high level interaction since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, "our ties with Turkmenistan--who derives from a Turkic empire that once had lived on a territory of Mongolia--had   been boosting in times this country used to be a part of former USSR".

Now Turkmenistan is a rapidly growing economy and the fourth largest reserve of natural gas in the world, he went on. It obtained a status of neutrality in accordance with the UN resolution, he added. The Mongolian FM, mentioning that the Presidents of Mongolia and Turkmenistan met during the SCO Summit in Dushanbe last September and discussed an intensifying of the relations, said, "We have exchanged views on the cooperation in energy, agriculture, tourism and cultural spheres and have agreed on concluding the associated agreements and deals in the near future. Turkmenistan offers to supply natural gas to Mongolia. Our side will consider the issue and give a response soon". In Turkmenistan's Deputy PM and FM Mr Meredow noted that the official talks had touched upon the bilateral relations and an upcoming this year a visit of the Mongolian President to Turkmenistan.  Mongolia is a country that prioritizes peace and promotes development, as it is a member of the United Nations and other international communities, he said. Turkmenistan has consistently been supporting the foreign policies of Mongolia ever since establishing diplomatic relations in 1992. "Our country is interested in developing cooperation with Mongolia in politics, economy and humanitarian spheres," he said.

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Consuls-General to Hong Kong, Kyzyl Replaced

Ulaanbaatar, June 3 (MONTSAME) The cabinet meeting on Tuesday discussed and backed a draft resolution of parliament on the maximum number of Mongolian citizens to immigrate to foreign countries, its structure and locations in 2015-2016. A draft relevant decision will be submitted to parliament.

-      State Secretary of the Ministry of Population Development Social Welfare B.Otgonjargal was discharged from the post and appointed the General Consul of Mongolia to Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of China.

-      The General Consul of Mongolia in Russian Kyzyl D.Ganbold was discharged from the post. Ms B.Gantsetseg will replace him.

-      The cabinet decided to add an extra content clause in compositions of the Mongolian side at intergovernmental commissions for trade, economy, science and technical cooperation. The compositions have been adopted by an appendix of related governmental resolution.

-      The cabinet backed a Mongolia-Brazil intergovernmental note on exemption of short-term visa requirements. An order of the PM will be issued to authorize an official to sign the note.

-      The Minister of Mining R.Jigjid was authorized to sign Mongolia-Russia intergovernmental protocols on altering the 2013 and 2007 intergovernmental agreements on actions of the "Erdenet" LLC and the "Mongolrostsvetmet" joint venture.

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De Facto: Kees Van Baar, Human Rights Ambassador of the Netherlands

June 2 (De Facto) --

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Social, Environmental & Other

Children's Day celebrations hosted at Chinggis Square

June 2 (UB Post) Chinggis Square was transformed into a playground for the children of Ulaanbaatar on Children's Day, June 1, offering entertainment shows and competitions to the city's youngest residents.

At the start of the Central Children's Day Festival, Ulaanbaatar City Mayor E.Bat-Uul said that the city administration tried its best to bring the best entertainment activities to the city's children, as they do every year.

The square was decorated with the 12 signs of the lunar calendar, six mythical heroes from Mongolian fairytales, and several stations for competitions.

Apart from the central festival, all nine districts in the city organized their own celebrations.

Gifts given to 1,000 children living in special care

The Ulaanbaatar City Mayor's Office, Agency for Children and Family Development, and Mongolian Children's Palace (MCP) organized an event to present 1,000 children living in orphanages, care centers, and those with special needs with Children's Day gifts on Tuesday.

From the 1,000 children, 700 were from 32 orphanages and care centers, 200 were children of the staff of the Ulaanbaatar Incorporated Public Service Authority, and 100 were physically challenged children.

Talented young members of the MCP performed at the event to entertain the children who received the gifts.

23 children named Top Students

Ulaanbaatar Deputy Mayor for Social Development Ts.Enkhtsengel honored 23 students who excelled in both national and international academic, arts, and sports competitions. They were presented Top Student awards on Friday.

Ulaanbaatar's Olympiads winners are typically awarded the title every year. Olympiads take place in three stages. Top participants of school Olympiads qualify to compete in regional district Olympiads, and then move on to national competition in Ulaanbaatar.

Law enforcement kept busy on Children's Day

On Children's Day, parents and guardians of 98 children reported their children missing during events at Chinggis Square, National Amusement Park, and National Garden Park.

All police departments were well prepared for crowds and public assistance on June 1, and found and returned young children to their parents as soon as possible.

A total of 125 intoxicated adults were apprehended by police officers on Children's Day and sent to sobering-up stations.

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PM Addresses Meeting of Nat'l Council for Children

Ulaanbaatar, June 3 (MONTSAME) The Prime Minister and chairman of the National Council for Children (NCC) Ch.Saikhanbileg made opening remarks at an expanded meeting of the NCC held Wednesday at the State House.

Chaired by the Premier, the meeting brought together members of the NCC, governors of all aimags and the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar. also heads of the sub-councils, leaders of sections in charge of social, children's and family developments. They discussed a present level of children's development and protection, directions of further policy, a draft document of the policy on children's protection for 2015-2020. These documents lay down a ways of creating of a sub-system of children's development that provides children with social essential services. In addition, the meeting passed a draft resolution of the NCC on some related measures.

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Mogi: what good is $3,000 for a whole school, a months-worth of teachers' salaries?

Every school to receive $3,000 in investment under World Bank IDA project

June 3 (Mongolian Economy) State Great Khural's Standing Committee on Economics began initial discussions about investing in education. They discussed the implementation of the "Agreement on financing the education quality reform project" through a soft loan from World Bank's International Development Association to the education sector within the framework of the "Direction of economic and social development in 2016" act by parliament.

Minister of Education, Culture and Science, L.Gantumur said, "This project's primary objective is to improve the quality of Mongolia's primary education by strengthening school curricula and improving the quality of teachers teaching natural sciences and mathematics."

All of Mongolia's elementary school students, their parents, teachers as well as education policymakers will benefit from this project funded by a USD 30 million soft loan. Thus, all Mongolian schools will receive a funding of USD 3,000 for child development programmes. The project will invest in four main areas: improving the quality of primary education, teacher training, school-competitive grant programme and system management monitoring and evaluation.

The project was planned to be implemented from 2015 until 2020, but it was postponed to 2016 until 2021 due to issues with the approval of the loan agreement. Moreover, these loans are included in the 58.3 percent debt limit. Members who attended the meeting also approved the draft agreement on the millennium challenge compact between the Mongolian government and the US's Millennium Challenge Corporation.

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SM Global Auditions 2015 Head To Canada, China, Russia, Kazakhstan And Mongolia In Search Of New Talent

June 3 (KpopStarz) SM Entertainment will be seeking out talented new trainees throughout the summer months across five countries for its Global Audition this year, namely in Canada, China, Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia.

Super Junior-M Henry, who himself was discovered by one of the agency's Global Audition stops in his home country of Canada, did the honors of announcing this year's search for the next SM Entertainment stars in a video uploaded on YouTube on June 1.

"Ladies and gentlemen of all ages, my name is Henry. And I have some great news for all of you. What is that? SM Town Global Auditions will be held this summer break. Yes."

"And listen carefully, the countries that it'll be held in are China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and... my very favorite Canada."

Henry went on to describe the general eligibility requirements for potential audition candidates.

"Anyone regardless of age and nationality are all welcome. Any talent whatsoever, you're all welcome."

The idol then pointed interested applicants to learn more about the audition requirements and process at theofficial SM Town website.

The last part of the video details the list of city stops for the SM Global Audition such as July 7 in Vancouver, Canada; August 1 in Moscow, Russia; August 9 in Beijing, China; August 23 in Hong Kong, China and several other cities in between.

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Roads Less Traveled: Photographing the Brutal Mongolian Winter

June 2 (The Weather Channell) Photographer Dheera Venkatraman likes to travel to places others might not have on their bucket lists. In fact, he often reads tourist guidebooks and crosses all of the recommendations off of his own list, and does whatever is left.

"Tourists flock to Mongolia in summer, but seldom in the brutal winters, so it sparked my curiosity," Venkatraman told "People do live there year-round after all, so I wanted to see what it was like."

Venkatraman traveled to Mongolia by train from Hong Kong via Beijing, and was able to watch the weather change slowly from pleasant to freezing over the course of a few days. As Mongolia can reach temperatures of -13 to -49 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter, the cold can be dangerous for unprepared visitors. But Venkatraman, an avid winter hiker, was ready for the weather.

"It's definitely not easy to manipulate a camera in extreme cold with thick gloves on," the photographer said. He used liners under his gloves, which allowed him to take off the gloves for a minute or two at a time without a large risk of hypothermia.

Venkatraman listed some of the tools that help Mongolians survive the brutal winter, which included lots of wool, fur, boots, hot Mongolian milk tea and heated, insulated tents. Modern conveniences are far and few in the countryside, where the photographer took some of his most stunning shots.

"Locals are definitely a lot tougher than me, since I grew up mostly in the tropics," Venkatraman shared. "It's definitely not an easy place to live in winter, and by traveling there, I definitely gained a lot of respect for both nature and the local people."

For more information, visit Venkatraman's website.

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6th Floor, NTN Tower
Baga Toiruu, Chingeltei District 1
Ulaanbaatar 15170, Mongolia
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