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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

[MSE on best run since '09; MNT falls 1.1% in 2 days; PSC approved on Block II; and report published on rangeland health]

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

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Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original

 

Overseas Market

TRQ closed -2.66% Tuesday to US$4.03, -7.1% in last 1 month

 

CG closed -1.72% Tuesday to C$6.84, -7.2% in last 1 week

Gatsuurt progresses in parliament

June 16 (gogo.mn) Cabinet submitted to State Great Khural the State Ownership of the Gatsuurt Deposit Resolution draft. Labelled as ''urgent" the draft was received by the parliament two weeks ago and was waiting to be discussed.

The resolution draft provisioned the state ownership of 34 percent which is gaining attention from the party groups and coalitions seated at the parliament. The discussion of which was postponed at the initiation of the MPP group, but through their group meeting MPP members have agreed on discussing the draft by the parliament.

MPP GROUP leader D.Khayankhyarvaa stated that there are two main requirements in the scope of the draft discussion. First, state should own 34 percent for free and if it is not acceptable MPP proposes up to 6 percent on the special program to replace the 34 percent ownership, a 3 percent increase from the proposal submitted by the cabinet.  Secondly, state is required to do beneficial agreements in regards with deposit developments.

DP GROUP on the other hand haven't discussed the draft of Gatsuurt deposit through their meeting. Sh. Tuvdendorj, Deputy Leader of the DP group, stated that the group is still on their stance to proceed with their initial suggestion that during the economic downturn cabinet's suggestion is the best solution. 

"JUSTICE COALITION" leader N.Battsereg expressed their stances as the state should own the portion of the strategic deposits.

Labelled as "urgent" this draft is okayed by the party groups and coalitions for the further discussions by the parliament.

State is to own 34 percent of the Gatsuurt deposit, but will not invest and have costs shared, which leads to having no responsibility at the development of the deposit and instead is to receive royalties according to the draft.

S.BAYARTSOGT, HEAD OF OFFICE OF THE GOVERNMENT, during the Ministerial Hour last Thursday announced explained that the new draft proposal provisions the free ownership of the 34 percent which in turn frees Government of Mongolia from responsibilities such as investments and share of costs for the development of the deposit. Previous draft which provisioned the state ownership at 20 percent, which was seen by the MPs as unnecessary, therefore the corresponding royalties were introduced. This program frees the investment and cost sharing responsibilities and allows the Government to collect the royalties from the time the miner digs the deposit.

The royalties to be collected were based on state ownership of 34 percent and relative to the 5 percent 3 percent is suitable according to the working group conclusions. Total estimates of the taxes to be collected is at 78 percent.

Investors will benefit from the deal until 2019 and since that they will be imposed high taxes, while the royalties will be available for collection from the time the mining operations start.

Parliament seemed as the lock for the bigger projects for quite some time since the operations of the new government. While this week parties and coalition groups at the parliament are being positive on moving forward the projects.

Link to article

 

AKM closed +4% Tuesday to A$0.026

Aspire Mining directors increase shareholdings

June 16 (Proactive Investors) Aspire Mining (ASX:AKM) directors have increased their respective investments in the company through participation in its recent $4.4 million share placement priced at $0.02.

Shares in the company are currently trading at $0.026. Proceeds from the placement will be used to further explore its Nuurstei and Ovoot coking coal projects in Mongolia.

Indirect interests of non-executive director and substantial shareholder Neil Lithgow subscribed for 100 million shares totalling $2 million. This took his total shareholding up to 179,278,501 shares.

Managing director David Paull increased his indirect interest to 12,836,792 shares after acquiring 2,750,000 shares for $55,000.

Non-executive chairman David McSweeney increased his indirect stake by 1,250,000 shares for $25,000, increasing his stake to 15,633,962 shares held indirectly.

Non-executive director Hannah Badenach acquired 750,000 shares for $15,000, bringing her total indirect interest up to 750,000 shares.

The placement includes one free attaching option exercisable at $0.03 with a two year term for every two shares subscribed.

Proceeds will also be used for technical studies and negotiation for rail related agreements for Northern Railways LLC.

Recent Activity

In May, Aspire received a formal invitation to commence negotiations with the Mongolian Government's multi departmental Working Group for a Rail Concession.

The working group comprises representatives from the Ministries of Roads and Transportation, Environment, Finance and Investment Agency.

It has also entered into a Consortium Agreement with China Railways 20 Bureau Group Corporation who will provide its subsidiary Northern Railways with exclusive rights to technology required to construct the Erdenet to Ovoot Railway.

CR20G is a wholly owned subsidiary of China Railways Construction Corporation (HKEx:1186) (XSHG;601186), a Fortune-500 company (US$42.0 billion market cap.) and one of the world's largest international rail engineering construction firms.

Link to article

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Local Market

Mongolia Stocks Rise in Best Run Since 2009 as Mine Dispute Ends

By Michael Kohn

June 16 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia's benchmark stock index rose in the longest winning streak since 2009 as the end of a dispute between the government and Rio Tinto Group boosted confidence in the country's economy.

The Mongolia Stock Exchange Top 20 Index advanced 3.5 percent to 15,149.45, extending a 10-day, 15 percent rally. The gauge's advance this month is the most among global benchmark indexes tracked by Bloomberg.

Mongolia and Rio resolved last month their protracted dispute over funding the underground copper and gold mine at Oyu Tolgoi. The agreement allows Rio to finalize a $4.2 billion financing package for the mine with more than a dozen global banks. A deal to develop the stalled Tavan Tolgoi coal mine, which has also been held up by arguments over debt, could be in place in two months, Byambasaikhan Bayanjargal, chief executive of Erdenes Mongol LLC, said in May.

"We are seeing aggressive buying from local and foreign investors alike," Nick Cousyn, chief operating officer of BDSec, Mongolia's largest brokerage, wrote in an e-mail today.

"Successful resolution of the Oyu Tolgoi underground mine plan caused a bottoming-out of MSE-listed stocks."

The benchmark index slumped for three straight years through the end of 2014 as the economy weakened following a drop in commodity prices and disputes with investors, including Rio Tinto. While the gauge has climbed 2 percent this year, it's still more than 50 percent off its February 2011 all-time high of 32,955.

The Oyu Tolgoi agreement and a new pro-business climate engendered by Prime Minister Saikhanbileg Chimed has also helped the tugrik gain 4.1 percent against the dollar since May 1, making it the world's second-best performing currency, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The planned privatization this year of several state-owned enterprises will provide an additional boost to the bourse, according to Mongolia Stock Exchange Chief Executive Angar Davaasuren.

SOEs that could be privatized include power plants, coal companies and the MSE itself, Angar said by phone today.

(BN)

 

MSE News for June 16: Top 20 +3.52% to 15,149.45, Stocks ₮185.2 Billion, T-Bills 29 Billion

Ulaanbaatar, June 16 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Tuesday, a total of 530 thousand and 087 units of 33 JSCs were traded costing MNT 29 billion 205 million 058 thousand and 911.00.

"Merex" /152 thousand and 800 units/, "Moninjbar" /14 thousand and 429 units/, "Mongol keramik" /13 thousand and 025 units/, "Olloo" /10 thousand units/ and "Tushig Uul" /7,825 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Mongol keramik" (MNT 97 million 233 thousand and 975), "Tavantolgoi" (MNT 16 million 724 thousand and 995), "Merex" (MNT 13 million and 752 thousand), "APU" (MNT 10 million and 662 thousand), "Gazar suljmel" (MNT eight million and 522 thousand).

The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 436 billion 928 million 399 thousand and 305. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 15,149.45, increasing 3.52% and the all index of MSE was 1029.41, increasing 2.34% against the previous day.

Link to article

Link to trading report

 

30 Billion 12-Week Bills Issued via MSE, TDB Capital Fills 65%, Ard Capital 32%

June 16 (Bank of Mongolia) On 16 June 2015, the bond orders of 12 weeks Government bonds with 14.674% annual interest, placed on order book, and Ministry of Finance supplied 300,000 pieces or MNT30.0 billion out of total 458,802 pieces or MNT45.8 billion.   

Bellow member brokerage companies participated in the bond trading as follows: 

Company name

Volume

1

TDB Capital

194,132

2

Ard Capital Group 

97,066

3

Golomt Securities

4,133

4

Daewoo Securities Mongolial

3,108

5

BDSec

1,543

 6

 Standard Investment

 14

 7

 Tenger Capital

 4

 

Total

300,000

Link to release

 

MSE Market Makers Report: Tenger Capital, BDSec, Standard Investment Leads

June 16 (MSE) Regarding the "Market Makers" introduction into securities market by Mongolian Stock Exchange /MSE/, MSE will publish two weeks Market Makers performance report to the public.      

As of 15 June 2015, total of 490 order of the Government retail bonds have been planned to submit and performance of Market Makers shows following results "BDSec"-24.3%, "Standard Investment"-48.0% and "Tenger Capital"-71.8%

As of 15 June 2015                                                           

Securities company

Orders planned to submit

Orders submitted

Percentage

1

BDSec

490

119

24.3

2

Standard Investment

490

235

48.0

3

Tenger Capital

490

352

71.8

4

Monsec

490

-

-

Link to release

 

Maturity Notice: 31.6 Billion 12-Week Treasury Bills

June 16 (MSE) Dear investors, please be advised that the following government bond is about to mature.

Symbol of Government Securities

Amount /units/

Maturity /week/

Form of Interest payment

Interest rate (percent)

Issued Date

Maturity Date

 ZGEB-BL-16/06/15-A0021-0

316,204

12

Discounted

15.435%

2015.03.24

2015.06.16

Link to release

 

MSE CEO to Participate as Panelist at Mongolia Business Summit 2015

June 16 (MSE) The Mongolia Business Summit is jointly organized by the Mongolia Economic Forum and Business Summit Foundation annually. The Mongolia Business Summit of this year will be held at "Ikh Tenger" Complex in Ulaanbaatar on 18-20 June 2015. 

Angar.D, acting CEO of Mongolian Stock Exchange will be participated as a panelist and presented "Mongolian Capital Market Overview" presentation on second day of this event on 19 June 2015. 

Click here to see more information about "Mongolia business summit-2015"

Link to release

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Economy

BoM MNT Rates: Tuesday, June 16 Close

 

 

6/16

6/15

6/12

6/11

6/10

6/9

6/8

6/5

6/4

6/3

6/2

USD

1,882.64

1,872.13

1,862.17

1,863.61

1,863.41

1,866.47

1,869.69

1,877.91

1,890.81

1,896.38

1,901.92

EUR

2,130.30

2,102.21

2,089.26

2,103.18

2,104.63

2,108.64

2,086.20

2,113.87

2,125.18

2,118.16

2,083.93

CNY

303.27

301.51

300.01

300.28

300.28

300.80

301.34

302.50

304.91

306.04

306.89

GBP

2,941.15

2,909.66

2,887.95

2,878.63

2,871.98

2,864.10

2,860.63

2,879.68

2,896.06

2,911.89

2,895.10

RUB

34.56

33.78

33.98

34.30

33.70

33.50

33.54

33.21

34.48

35.90

35.57

Bank rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy ₮1,872 Sell ₮1,895), Khan (Buy ₮1,872 Sell ₮1,894), Golomt (Buy ₮1,872 Sell ₮1,898), XacBank (Buy ₮1,882 Sell ₮1,898), State Bank (Buy ₮1,872 Sell ₮1,897)

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

Link to rates

 

BoM issues ₮187 billion 1-week bills at 13%, total outstanding +7.3% to ₮1.26 trillion

June 15 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 187 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release

 

BoM FX auction: US$16m sold, accepts $65.8m MNT swap offers

June 16 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on June 16th, 2015 the BOM has received bid offers of USD and CNY. The BOM has sold USD 16.0 million. 

On June 16th, 2015, The BOM has received MNT Swap agreement bid offer equivalent to USD 65.8 million from local commercial banks and the BOM has accepted the offer.

See also:

·         FX Auction Statistics

Link to release

 

Partnership for Action of Green Economy Week starts in Ulaanbaatar

June 15 (infomongolia.com) Partnership for Action on Green Economy Week starts on June 15-19 in Ulaanbaatar city, Mongolia. 

In the framework of the event national forum themed "The Green Development Promotion and Implementation of Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE)" will be held to discuss following:

1. The green development policy and actions of PAGE implemented in Mongolia,

2. Macroeconomic model T21 and green development policy review,

3. Indicators for green development and green jobs,

4. Green facilities: green school and parks, 

5. Sustainable procurement, 

6. Green economy education, 

7. Goal of medium-term actions of PAGE to be implemented in Mongolia. 

During the event other sub-sessions will be held jointly with the forum.

On June 18, Environment, Food and Agricultural Standing Committee of the State Great Khural (parliament) and Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism of Mongolia will organize joint high level forum themed "The green development goals inclusion into Mongolian state development plan since 2015: Possibilities and Difficulties of Green Development in Mongolia" at the State Palace.

Link to article

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Politics & Legal

DP caucus discusses Chinggis Bond spending

June 16 (news.mn) The Democratic Party Group discussed the use of the Chinggis Bonds during a regular meeting on 15th June 2015. In the past, the Government allocated bonds to the value of MNT 948.9 billion for industry and MNT 550 billion for the mining sector. Therefore, it became a big stimulus to support exports and to produce goods that could replace imports. In addition the bonds were designed to develop agriculture. For example: MNT 1 trillion of trading was undertaken through the establishment the Agriculture Stock market.  As the result, illegal trading in agriculture stopped, sharp price fluctuations were brought under control and a new environment was created which deliver primary domestic agricultural products to state industries. Also, some building materials have been produced, factories have been built, leather factories have changed their technologies; in short, they have already started to export their products abroad.

When the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) Government was in power, it gave large amount of advance revenue that from the Oyu-Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi mining projects, to the public in cash. The benefits of the Chinggis Bonds cannot be compared to this.

The draft law was presented to Parliament by the Member of Parliament N.Altankhuyag and others. It plans to transfer the Investigation Bureau from under the Anti -Corruption Authority to the General Attorney Authority.

But, the group members are assuming that "Controlling the affairs is the basic function of the General Attorney. If the Investigation Bureau is under the Attorney, it will cause conflicts". Therefore, the final decisional as to who the Investigation Bureau will come under will be resolved at a later state in the further preparation of the draft law.

Link to article

 

Justice Coalition proposes 38:38 majority, proportional election system

June 16 (news.mn) The Justice Union Group chief N.Battsereg and deputy chief Z.Bayanselenge have provided information about yesterday's regular meeting (15th June 2015). The discussions of this meeting were about the General Electoral Law, and Additional Changes to the Constitution. The Justice Union Group approved the Additional Changes to the Constitution draft amendments; but, they stated that they would prefer wider scale observation to take place prior to approving further changes.

Regarding the General Electoral Law, the Justice Union Group proposed selecting 38 members via majority election, and 38 members via the Political Group Lists of the 76 Parliamentary Members. But, the public should select the individual 38 members from the Group Lists by filling in the voting slips, instead of the current situation whereby the heads of the groups select the members behind closed doors.

The chief of the Justice Union Group, N.Battsereg said - We think that, the change to the law is going very well in organizing electoral campaigns.  In the past it was possible for the media to praise someone to the skies or soiling another's good name.  This was an important topic in the past, especially as many TV's and newspapers were being controlled by political groups. That is why we and working team agreed in the changes to broadcast commercial-programs equally on TV.   Also, this is the proper thing to advertise on street advertisements;   promotional material must be circulated equally. In other words, things must be separated from wealth.

Link to article

 

Independent MPs to examine Unity Government's performance

June 16 (gogo.mn) Government for Solution was established half a year ago. Independent MPs at the State Great Khural will start to examine whether the promises made by joint Government of the two biggest political parties are fulfilled. 

This week, Independent MPs to go out and meet with citizens at Narantuul market. Moreover, they will research on the prices for consumer goods.

MP Ts.Davaasuren proposed journalists to come with them in order to deliver the evaluation of citizens on the activity of the Government.  

Link to article

 

Mongolia Intends to Ratify Marrakesh Treaty on Visually Impaired

Ulaanbaatar, June 16 (MONTSAME) The cabinet meeting on Monday discussed and backed a draft law on ratifying the Marrakesh VIP Treaty, and then decided to submit it to parliament.

The Marrakesh VIP Treaty, formally the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities, is a treaty signed in Marrakesh, Morocco, on 28 June 2013.

The treaty focuses on copyright exceptions to facilitate the creation of accessible versions of books and other copyrighted works. It sets a norm for countries ratifying the treaty to have a domestic copyright exception covering these activities, and allowing for the import and export of such materials. 

Link to article

 

Justice, Labor Ministers Submit Bills, Draft Amendments to Parliament

Ulaanbaatar, June 16 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Justice D.Dorligjav; and the Minister of Labor S.Chinzorig Tuesday submitted to the Speaker Z.Enkhbold several bills and draft amendments to some laws.

The list of the submitted documents by D.Dorligjav includes draft laws on advocacy, on notary, on internal troops and on damage fund. The Minister of Labor presented to parliament bills on exemption from customs tax and VAT, on hygiene, on a project on renewing the payment system, and a draft amendment to the law on labor. 

Link to article

 

Speaker tours Agricultural Commodities Exchange

June 15 (infomongolia.com) The Speaker of Parliament Z.Enkhbold had visited Mongolian Agricultural Commodity Exchange (MACE) on June 13. 

MACE is government owned company and was established by 30th resolution of government and 40th resolution of Mongolian State Property Committee in 2013. 

Currently, sheep and camel wool, cashmere, rapeseed (oil plant), livestock and other agricultural raw materials from 32 licensed brokerage companies are being sold on MACE. It has traded 1 trillion 223 billion MNT agricultural goods and raw materials since established. 

The Speaker of Parliament said: "MACE was established to prevent speculations and rapid price increase. Today, we have achieved this goal. MACE is the first step to increase trade of agricultural goods and raw materials of Mongolia on international market. Therefore, next steps of agricultural tasks should be taken quickly and also we should have clear price set in accordance with the international market. It will enable us to have the same success with processed products. We will demand to realize next stages of processing quickly."

Link to article

 

Speaker Receives UN Resident Coordinator Sezin Sinanoglu on End of Her Mission in Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar, June 16 (MONTSAME) The Speaker of parliament Z.Enkhbold Monday received Ms Sezin Sinanoglu, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, in connection with her returning home due to a completion of mission here.

Thanking the Speaker for an audience, Ms Sinanoglu expressed her satisfaction with fruitful implementation of the projects "Strengthening potential of self-governing bodies of localities" and "Supporting the legislative process with civil participation" which are being co-implemented by the Standing committee on state structure and the Parliamentary Office. Ms Sinanoglu said working in Mongolia was great honor, and added her works in last five years in Mongolia was effective.

The Speaker pointed out that a conclusion and advice from an independent group of experts have been issued for the first time on monitoring the Constitution's implementation in frames of the projects on refining upon the legislative process and fortifying the potential of local self-governing bodies. He emphasized an importance of creating a national training mechanism with an aim to enhancing the local self-governing bodies.

Expressing the satisfaction with an intensive development of the Mongolia-UN ties, the Speaker said the UN is a partner of Mongolia to support the country's socio-economic and developmental goals.

The Speaker congratulated Ms Sinanoglu on successful fulfillment of her mission in Mongolia, and wished her success and all the best.

Present at the meeting were A.Bakei, head of the Standing committee on state structure; B.Boldbaatar, head of the Parliamentary Office; and other officials.

Link to article

 

Corruption in India: Lessons for Mongolia?

A Conversation With Asim Arun

By Julian Dierkes

June 16 (Mongolia Focus) One of the things I really like about the broad variety of disciplinary academic perspectives on Mongolia that I come in contact with (for example, a lot of the discussions at the recent Oxford Deserts Conference), is that I get to learn a lot in the process of this contact. The same can be said about different discussions that centre around a specific issue.

Here, I'm writing together with Asim Arun who is an MA Candidate in our Asia Pacific Policy Studies program. Asim is a government officer from India on a mid-career study break.

We were having a discussion about Indian PM Modi's recent visit to Mongolia and the extent to which PM Modi has emerged as a foreign policy actor. This followed on his election more or less on a domestic agenda focused on anti-corruption. This in turn gave me occasion to learn about anti-corruption activities in India from Asim and to think about how these might apply to Mongolia if at all.

Corruption in Mongolia

First, let's set the stage for a discussion of corruption in Mongolia. This is clearly a serious issue. Petty corruption, systemic corruption, as well as grand corruption appear to be wide-spread if not endemic in Mongolia. It is important to note that grand corruption in particular essentially amounts to theft from the Mongolia people.

I have always been amazed by the extent to which corruption seems wide-spread in Mongolia and leads to some of the vast inequalities that can be observed, for example, in the kind of cars that can be seen on Ulaanbaatar streets today. Clearly, evidence is scarce, but there's so much smoke around the topic of corruption that it is unimaginable to me that there isn't a corrupt fire. Note that I'm concerned with corruption somewhat in the abstract here, not with particular cases or individual actors.

Anti-Corruption Efforts in Mongolia

The Civil Will Green Party has probably talked about the scourge of corruption for the longest time among the parties that continue to be active in Mongolian politics. Yet, despite the credibility on this issue by some of its leaders, most notably perhaps MP S Oyun, even CWGP has not – in my observations – made corruption the centre of its agenda or campaigning and appealed directly to the citizenry on the need to address corruption.

The Democratic Party has also talked about corruption for some time and President Ts Elbegdorj has been particularly vocal in this area. Yet, the last several years of a DP-led government have been disappointing in this regard. For the most part, anti-corruption activities seem to have focused on political opponents of the DP, or sometimes opponents of individual DP leaders. The Anti-Corruption Agency has lost some of its independence in this regard and many Mongolians now appear to see it primarily as an agent of the presidency.

If we think of the past several years as essentially a failure and lost time when it comes to the bigger fight against corruption (not that there haven't been successes like the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative or the enforcement of financial reporting by MPs), what strategies can we imagine that might be more successful?

Why India?

Here's where my discussion with Asim was interesting to me as offering some possible lenses on Mongolia: Not only have India-Mongolia relations seen a recent highlight with #ModiInMongolia, but these are two of a rare breed, democracies in Asia. They serve an important signalling function for the rest of Asia, India obviously more so given its size and longer history of democratic governance, but Mongolia as well (as I discussed in a recent East Asia Forum Article, "Can Freedom Go Online in Asia?" with other MAAPPS students Trevor Kennedy, Christina Toepell and Melanie Schweiger).

Not only are Mongolia and India democratic, but they are generally seen as somewhat chaotic democracies. They might also be somewhat similar in the nature of their media: lots of it, but low journalistic standards across a wide spectrum of media outlets. On the issue of corruption, some of these low standards have meant that discussions are focused on scandals and that that the "discovery" of such scandals happens in a tabloid style and is rarely backed up by evidence.

Part of the chaos associated with these democracies is corruption:
In international comparisons, India and Mongolia look quite similar when it comes to corruption. In Transparency International's 2014 Corruption Perception Index, the prevalence of corruption is perceived to be at similar levels in the two countries, as they receive a score of 38 (India) and 39 (Mongolia), ranking right in the middle of the 175 countries included at 85th and 80th, respectively. The Heritage Foundation's Index of Freedom allows a side-by-side comparison of its "Freedom from Corruption" category (which is "derived primarily from Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2010, which measures the level of corruption in 178 countries.").

I many areas, the differences between India and Mongolia are so vast that they almost seem like incomparable cases. Population size and density, religious and ethnic diversity, the existence/remnants of caste society, geopolitical situation, etc.

Yet, there is another big difference between India and Mongolia: in India, corruption has become a prominent political issue that is not just paid lip service to, but that has swayed elections. That does not mean that corruption has been rooted out in India, nor that it is set to disappear any time soon, but there has been significant mobilization around the issue, a context that would seem to be one of the preconditions for any real attempts to address this issue.

A Chronology of Recent Indian Mobilization

With the Right To Information Act (RTI) coming into being in 2003, various levels of the government were forced into transparency and numerous instances of corruption- grand and petty, started coming to light. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) pointed out large-scale state capture corruption in mining where instead of a transparent auction of coal blocks 'allotments' were made to companies in which members of the ruling coalition led by the Indian National Congress had interests. Similarly, the process of allocation of radio spectrum frequencies, another natural resource, was opaque and arbitrary. The CAG estimated the loss to the government in Coal-gate at USD 34 billion and the spectrum scam at USD 30 billion!

While news of such grand corruption occupied prime time, citizens struggled with petty corruption in their day-to-day lives. RTI activism gained support to evolve into a strong civil society movement which reached a crescendo in 2011 with India witnessing a massive campaign under Gandhian septuagenarian leader, Anna Hazare. Anna's prime demand was the creation of a strong anti-corruption agency called Lokpal that, as in Hong Kong and Singapore, would become the main cleansing agent. To silence the growing movement, the Congress-led government reluctantly passed the Lokpal bill in Parliament but did nothing to implement it. Anna's movement lost steam as its prime players could not work together for long and went their ways. A large chunk founded a political party – Aam Aadmi Party (Common Man's Party) and in 2013 could manage 27 out of 70 seats in Delhi's provincial elections. They even formed the government, ironically with Congress' support, but resigned on its 49th day having realized the futility of running a minority government.

Sensing the mood of the electorate, Narendra Modi and his Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) made anti-corruption the main plank of their 2014 federal election campaign and succeeded in sweeping it. In February 2015, fresh elections were held in Delhi and the AAP, this time, won all but 3 seats to the 70 member state assembly! Clearly, anti-corruption is the flavour of the season. In India today, no party can step into an election campaign staying silent on this issue. This bottom-up or demand-driven anti-corruption movement has mounted pressure on the government to reform procedures and cure corruption because the voters are not likely to forgive non-performance on this count.

In contrast, President Xi Jinping's campaign in China is being criticised for employing a top-down approach. Without freedom of expression, democracy and, a vibrant and vocal civil society even if a demand for curing corruption exists, it does not aggregate into a movement. Mongolia has the advantage of the existence of these dimensions of a free society and it should not be difficult for people from all walks of life to come together against corruption in such a way that no political party can afford to ignore the malaise any longer.

Implications for Mongolia

India's example of cosmopolitan, if somewhat urban, anti-graft movement holds lessons and inspirations for Mongolians. State capture or grand corruption can be controlled only by creating a strong and smart agency to track, try and, punish the corrupt actors. Petty or street corruption can be best addressed by creating complaint helplines and then helping the complainant organize a trap by using surveillance cameras in such a way that it becomes legally admissible evidence. This could be done by a government serious about the cure or even an apolitical activist organization. The idea is to bring corruption centre stage. In India, the media played, and continues to do so, the role of a catalyst as prime time TV and front pages of newspapers are occupied by news of corruption and anti-corruption.

An important dimension, where India has not made much of a breakthrough, is eliminating the imperative need for black money for financing political parties. A transparent process of political funding has to be worked out to get rid of systemic corruption which, in turn, needs out of the box thinking by a fresh bunch of people who believe that change is possible.

At the same time, it should be noted on the Indian example, that anti-corruption does appear to hold the transformative potential to mobilize the electorate around a single issue. Whether that leads to a new party like the AAP in Delhi, or forces existing political parties to adopt anti-corruption in its platform as now-PM Modi did in the 2014 general election, on top of civil society mobilization anti-corruption efforts can clearly galvanize the electorate. In the Mongolian context, it's difficult to imagine any of the three biggest political forces, DP, MPP or Justice Coalition, to adopt a credible anti-corruption stance, but the Indian example seems to suggest that existing political forces, especially the CWGP or independents, as well as emerging political parties, may well turn to anti-corruption as a campaign theme. Such a theme would presume that civil society mobilization is not a necessary condition in bringing anti-corruption efforts to the political fore, as we've seen only a limited amount of mobilization around this theme.

In terms of institutional design, Mongolia might consider creating the role of a Comptroller and Auditor General (or expanding that role if it exists to some degree). Rather than making that an anti-corruption role only – and thus locating it within the Anti-Corruption Agency – a broader independent role to assess government accounting and procurement as the Canadian Auditor General has, might offer a number of additional benefits.

While some anti-corruption efforts like the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative are focused on the payments that industry makes to government, there's significant less attention paid to what government does with money that it receives. Scrutiny of some government programs without turning that into a potential instrument for a witch-hunt or partisan persecution, could give greater impetus to transparency efforts in other areas.

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Business

PAM Authorized to Establish PSC with Renova-Ilch on Oil Block II

Ulaanbaatar, June 16 (MONTSAME) At its meeting on Monday, the cabinet authorized the Oil Authority to establish a product sharing agreement with the "Renova-ilch" LLC on the "Khar us II" area of oil exploration.

The contract with the "Renova-ilch" LLC will provide opportunities for financing the exploration at the "Khar us II" area based on working experiences of investors and indicators of the company's financial report. 

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Cashmere's Leading Businesswoman: Khanbogd Cashmere's Gantsetseg

June 16 (Mongolian Economy) We talked with Ch.Gantsetseg, general director of Khanbogd Cashmere LLC, one of the leading cashmere processing businesses in Mongolia. A Mongolian Economy exclusive, this is her first interview with a magazine, as she rarely speaks with the media. She established Khanbogd Cashmere in 1998; since 2005, her company has annually received many prestigious awards—such as 'Top-100' enterprises and 'Reliable tax payer'. Many world-renowned brands use combed cashmere produced by her company.  

How did you start your wool-washing and processing business?

-My professional training is as an economist and I stepped into this business merely by coincidence. I had only about 10 employees when I established my company, but now we have more than 300 employees and have become one of the leading enterprises in Mongolia. Despite being a relatively small enterprise, we achieved great results and we hope to maintain our achievements in the future. Our products are being sold on domestic and foreign markets and we export our products to countries such as the UK, Italy and India. We pay a lot of attention to quality and manufacturing processes because worldwide known brands use our cashmere in their products. Foreign clients set high requirements and always monitor the quality. Our business is growing year by year, alongside our growing number of clients. We locally buy the cashmere, and after that we sort, wash, comb and dry to prepare the products for export. We export our products to Europe by air freight with Korean Air and Turkish Airlines. Also we use the port of Tianjin to transport and sell our products to markets in China, India and South Korea. Domestically we provide more than a dozen cashmere manufacturers like Gobi, Goyo, Buyan, and Eermel with combed cashmere. We had MNT 94 billion in sales in 2013; last year, sales were MNT 100 billion. Because of the global economic situation, sales are expected to decline by 20 percent this year. Domestic cashmere price might fall, following the global market decline.

-Are you planning to expand your business into sectors other than cashmere? What strategies do you use to stay in the black during these troubling times for the economy? 

Other than the cashmere industry, we're setting our foot in the construction and finance sectors. Despite this near-crisis period, our company is following an expansionist policy. Next April we are going to increase the wages of our employees, and we're still hiring more workers as needed. I think our biggest achievement is that we're keeping a stable operation, even though the commodity prices have dropped on the global market.

-How many competitors are there for you in the domestic market?

There are nearly 20 cashmere processing manufacturers in Mongolia. We work together, rather than competing. In the beginning we were competitors, but now we supply each other with products and share our experiences with each other. Over the past two years we've been discussing how to compete on the global market by representing Mongolia cooperatively. Our country has the second largest cashmere stock in the world; we must continue producing quality products.

What's the most unique feature of running a business in the cashmere industry?

I started my business in this sector, so you can say I'm accustomed to it. Thanks to the development of foreign relations, our company supplies 80 percent of Italy's cashmere import. Most of Italy's name brand manufacturers know us. It is our advantage and we need to continue developing this business using our experience.

It's good to hear that major brand manufacturers are cooperating with Mongolian cashmere products. What are you learning from these major brands by cooperating with them?  

We are learning a lot of things. For example, a certain CEO of a foreign company advised us to buy a washing machine for the factory in order to keep the employees clean so they could produce cleaner products, and we bought it for USD 10,000. Foreign partners and clients demand a lot of requirements from us. I think we are successful because we can meet their expectations. At first it was difficult for our employees to meet a foreign company's requirements. But after learning and using their requirements, we found it very useful. Thus, an English expert who works for a global brand has inducted training sessions for our employees. We are not manufacturing shirts that cost USD 100—the end price of our finished product is at least USD 2,000. I consider our business to be growing by following instructions from more experienced people. We are becoming more and more experienced by trying to meet the strict contract conditions of the Europeans.

Is it hard to lead a business as a woman?

Men and women face the same issues and problems when running a business, so there is almost no difference. When you run a business, there are many obstacles waiting for you, you need to overcome it to get results. A businessman must have the skill and ability to overcome obstacles. You can't run a business if you give up easily. My motto is: "Obstacles are there to be overcome". Also a businessman should not get engaged or get mixed in politics, that's just wrong. A businessman must do business, not politics—politicians are there to do that. Many Mongolian enterprises are going bankrupt because they're engaged in politics.

What's your defining business principle?

I demand honesty. Also I demand speed and quickness. I always tell my employees that they must be fast and do their job on time. And we do our work very fast, so fast now that the state can't keep up with us. Sometimes we lose a lot, because of the slow pace of the state and especially because of the General Agency of Specialized Inspection. For example, we exported our products four times before the Lunar New Year. But two exports were not done on time, because the checklist was not provided by the GASI. We lost ten days because of it and we had to pay fines because we didn't supply the products on time. This is an issue for all the enterprises who export their products, not only for us. We wish that export services would become a little more convenient. The government said that they're working on it, but the situation is getting worse. Everyone should be happy, when Mongolia is exporting their goods, especially the GASI. Money is coming from outside, new jobs are being created and we are paying taxes. I'm surprised that the state is not easing the export process. They're getting paid from the tax that we're paying. Today we need to change the way the society thinks. There is no one who wants to work at a factory. Our country will develop if we solve these issues.

At what point did you begin to regard yourself as experienced in business?

I think that I've been adequately experienced in business since 2003. And I consider that I overcame my main business obstacles in 2006. Since 2006, everything's been kind of smooth. 

Besides your work, how do you manage your family as a mother of three children?

I try to be involved in everything if there is spare time or on the weekends. At first my mother watched over my kids, but now we have a housekeeper and she helps a lot to manage my family matters. I have 7 siblings, but I'm the only girl of them. Since I was little I did all the house chores, and it helped me to become a hardworking, honest and prudent person. I grew up in Bogd soum of Bayankhongor province. Our family was not that well off. At that time, goods were quite rare. Recently, I visited the national history museum with my daughter and I saw exhibited there an old clothes iron and traditional leather-making tools like the ones that I used to use. I think that people were more humane back then, even though things were scarce.

Was there a moment when business seemed difficult and made you discouraged?

The cashmere price on the world market fell from USD 90 to USD 37 from 2007 to 2008. I was almost on the brink of bankruptcy back then. This sector is at the mercy of world market price fluctuations. There were many times that I was discouraged. But I didn't give up, as I know there is nothing else for me to do. My principle is that even if I lose this year, I would gain more next year. There is an expectation that the cashmere price will decrease this year, but I am much more prepared this time. In 2014, we finished our export of all the planned raw materials. 

How would you evaluate women's involvement in society today?

I am a member of the board of directors of the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry's businesswomen union. I think our voice is reaching to the society. As for me, I say the things I want to say without any restriction. Some people told me that I'm way too direct and honest. In today's society, we need to let our voices out. Otherwise, the government and the authorities won't want to understand anything at all. As such, the businesswomen of our chamber are cooperating with female members of the parliament. We meet with them in order to help expand women's involvement in society.

How many of your employees are women? How do you support them?

Our factory has nearly 300 employees, and 80 percent of them are women. Nowadays, women are doing men's work. Most of the men are not working; some of the working men are spending their salaries to buy alcohol. But we try to help and maintain our employees' jobs regardless of their gender. Our company's first employees are starting to retire. We provide them with interest free loans. Also we try to help them purchase a house, and we try to support them in their efforts by any means. If we don't provide our employees with help and support, it's hard to maintain them.

What's the processing capacity of Khanbogd Cashmere?

Our factory resides in Songinohairhan district. The factory has a capacity to process over 1,000 tonnes of cashmere per year. We updated our equipment in 2008, and now have over 100 machines specifically for dehairing, washing and wringing.

What's the difference between today's and yesterday's business environment?

The current situation is much harder than back then. The country's development has not progressed that far. In the past it was quite peaceful to run a business, now you need connections to complete your job. Today, it's very hard to do anything without connections. If the state really wants to cease the practice of bribery, it must condemn the receivers and not the givers.

Hasn't the government said that they would support domestic industries?

Yes I heard they said that, but I really don't know when it's going to materialize. We pay VAT to collaborate with local industries. For example, if Gobi buys products from us for MNT 1 billion, we have to pay MNT 100 million in VAT. The VAT law is hindering our collaboration. The draft bill initiated by the President indicates that if local industries collaborate, they will not pay VAT. Also, I support the Ministry of Industry for trying to implement a policy of replacing import goods with export goods. But I really don't know exactly when all of these new laws and policies are going to be implemented. Therefore, I can't say the things that they are saying are materializing. 

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GoGo News Agency, Bloomberg TV Mongolia sign agreement on content sharing

June 16 (gogo.mn) GoGo News Agency and Bloomberg TV Mongolia sign Memorandum of Cooperation

The signing ceremony was attended by G.Gantuya, CEO of Mongol Content LLC and E.Dolgion, CEO of Bloomberg TV Mongolia.

G.Gantuya on the significance of the Memorandum of Cooperation between the two agencies:

-Our news website is accessed by 200 thousand users on a daily basis. Bloomberg TV Mongolia is one of the leading business and economy channels and delivers international standards in economic reporting to Mongolian viewers. Cooperation between our agencies is beneficial for the readers and viewers in Mongolia through delivery of economic, financial and business news and creation of bigger contents for the internet users.

P.Jargal, Vice Director of News Department at Bloomberg TV Mongolia:

-Two leading news agencies of Mongolia have signed the cooperation memorandum. This will set new bars for the media entities operating in Mongolia as well and an opportunity to advance the media sector to new level. Bloomberg TV Mongolia is the part of the international network and this sense we are focusing on international and domestic business and economic developments and the cooperation with the GoGo News Agency allows us to deliver our contents to broader audience.

The cooperation enables the readers to enjoy the expert information on the developments in economy and finance sector through the GoGo.mn site, while quality contents of the GoGo News Agency will be broadcasted through the Bloomberg TV Mongolia channel.

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Ulaanbaatar

Road from Flower Center to SDS to be closed from June 22

June 16 (gogo.mn) In scope of repair works planned on heating lines, roads from Central Post Office intersection to West four road junction to have three stages of closures from June 7 to August 16 as announced by UB city Road Department.

First phase of the road closures started on June 7th at the Central Post Office intersection to the Flower Center intersection. According to the Deputy Head of the Capital City Investment Department S.Tserensodnom, the repair works of the first stage is to be finished on June 22nd few days prior the deadline, making it available to open the road from Central Post Office to Flower Center and start the second phase of the repair works.

From 6 AM on June 22nd road from Flower Center to State Department Store is to be closed.

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Related:

Flower Center Crossroad to re-open on 22nd Junenews.mn, June 16

 

Chinggis Khaan Airport to Build Transit Facility

June 16 (gogo.mn) In view of the upcoming ASEM meeting to be held in Ulaanbaatar city, Chinggis Khaan International Airport is to build transit hall.

Demanded fund for construction of transit hall and expansion of passenger hall at Chinggis Khaan International Airport was approved. 

During the ASEM meeting, 4500-5000 guests and officials are expected to arrive in Ulaanbaatar and the capacity of the existing terminal area will be increased by two to three times by constructing new transit hall and expanding passenger hall.

As preliminary information, high level representatives from 51 countries are to visit in Ulaanbaatar and out of 39 of them will arrive with their private planes. 

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Related:

Chingis Khaan" Int'l Airport to Have Transit HallMontsame, June 16

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Diplomacy

U.S. and Mongolia Sign Agreement to Make Funds Available for Rural Development

June 15 (U.S. Embassy) On June 15, U.S. Ambassador Piper Campbell and Mongolian Minister of Finance J. Erdenebat took the necessary administrative steps to enable the establishment of a significant rural development initiative, supporting the people of Mongolia.  Specifically, Ambassador Campbell and Minister Erdenebat signed an amendment to expand the scope of an Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Mongolia for the Donation of Agricultural Commodities, initially signed in 2000.

"This signing highlights the continued support by the U.S. for a productive and inclusive market economy in Mongolia.  The signing of the amendment creates the opportunity to reinvest development funding originally provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approximately 15 years ago," said Ambassador Campbell.

Funds will be used to implement activities for sustainable rural development by supporting a new "Resilient Communities" project in Mongolia.  Mercy Corps and the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism will collaborate on this program in 16 aimags with activities focused on building capacity for local governance, strengthening linkages to markets, and expanding rangeland management and land use practices that are resilient and adapted to climate change.   

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Kuwait grants first year financing for Mongolia-Kuwait Research Center

June 16 (gogo.mn) Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to Mongolia from Kuwait Mr. Khaled Al-Fadhli handed over certificate of the first year finance to Mongolia-Kuwait Research Center to the Minister of Environment, Green Development and Tourism D.Oyunkhorol.

During the certificate awarding ceremony, Ambassador Khaled Al-Fadhli and Minister of Environment, Green Development and Tourism D.Oyunkhorol noted that the Mongolia-Kuwait Research Center is the real indication of advance in bilateral relations and cooperation of two countries, especially in the field of environment.

The Research Center has 3,000 square meter land and it was constructed by the aid worth USD 3.5 million granted by Emir of Kuwait Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. 

Further, the Research Center will run its operation in the fields of environment, training, research, information, tourism and cooperate with research institutions, universities, colleges and laboratories.

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Iran, Mongolia Keen to Broaden Bilateral Ties

TEHRAN, June 15 (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Mongolia's new Non-Resident Ambassador Dambian Yam in a meeting in Tehran underlined the need for the further expansion of mutual cooperation.

"Given the existing potentials of Iran and Mongolia, there are avenues for the expansion of bilateral ties in different sectors, including economic, trade and academic fields," Zarif said during the meeting in the Iranian capital on Sunday night.

The Iranian foreign minister pointed to meeting his Mongolian counterpart Lundeg Purevsuren on the sidelines of the recent foreign ministerial meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Moscow, and said, "Both countries lay emphasis on the broadening of ties."

The new Mongolian ambassador, for his part, expressed the hope that Iran and Mongolia would boost mutual cooperation in the agriculture and cattle-breeding fields given the two countries' infrastructures and capacities in both sectors.

In September 2012, Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj said Iran and Mongolia enjoy cordial relations and both are eager to expand all-out ties.

Speaking to reporters during his visit from Iran's historical city of Isfahan, Elbegdorj said that cultural relations between Iran and Mongolia are strong and amicable.

President Elbegdorj said the two countries share many cultural commonalities.

He also called for the exchange of students between the two sides in order to share scientific experiences.

In the meetings, Iranian officials and Mongolia stressed the expansion of common grounds.

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United Arab Emirates to Establish Embassy in Ulaanbaatar

June 16 (GoGo Mongolia) PM Ch.Saikhanbileg paid a state visit to United Arab Emirates at the invitation of PM Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum during May 18-20.

During the meeting, number of important issues of bilateral relations were discussed including mutual protection and promotion of investment, avoiding the imposing of double taxation on income, establishment of air communications between two countries and finalized the establishment of an embassy in Ulaanbaatar.

Moreover, State Secretary of the Ministry of Finance Kh.Gantsogt and CIB financial group have signed Memorandum of Understanding on establishment of the investment fund to finance the biggest projects of Mongolia with up to USD 1 billion. 

During the meeting, United Arab Emirates noted that they are ready for investing to infrastructure sector, cooperating in agriculture sector and importing mutton from Mongolia.

In addition, United Arab Emirates expressed its readiness to establish relations between the law enforcement sectors of the two countries and enroll Mongolian experts at short and medium-term vocational training.    

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Related:

UAE Embassy will Open in UlaanbaatarMontsame, June 16

 

Ambassador of Bangladesh Presents Credentials

Ulaanbaatar, June 16 (MONTSAME) The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of Bangladesh to Mongolia Mr Fazlul Karim Tuesday presented his diplomatic credentials to President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj.

After the presentation, the President Elbegdorj received the new Ambassador of Bangladesh.

The parties noted that the Mongolia-Bangladesh relations and cooperation have been developing since the diplomatic relations establishment in 1972, and discussed issues of enhancing mutual relations in economy, trade, agriculture, and textile industry by signing mutual agreements. They also exchanged views on widening the ties in economy, education and cultural spheres.

The Ambassador of Bangladesh Mr Fazlul Karim noted that women's role has been increasing in Bangladesh, for instance, Ms Sheikh Hasina has been elected as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and several other women hold positions at the Parliamentary level.

Mr Elbegdorj wished big success to the Ambassador of Bangladesh.

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New UK Ambassador Presents Credentials

Ulaanbaatar, June 16 (MONTSAME) The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to Mongolia Ms Catherine Arnold Tuesday presented the diplomatic credentials to the President of Mongolia Mr Ts.Elbegdorj.

At the meeting held after the presentation ceremony, the President emphasized that the UK is the very first western country to establish the diplomatic relations with Mongolia in 1963, and noted that Mongolia and the UK have kept their cooperation at a high level.

The sides noted the bilateral cooperation have been progressively expanding in the politics, economy and investment spheres. Mr Elbegdorj said that several British mining companies are cooperating with Mongolia and developing partnership agreements with the Mongolian companies.

"The Mongolia-UK economic cooperation is supported by high-level visits," Mr Elbegdorj said, and reaffirmed that His Highness Prince Henry of Wales has a standing invitation to visit Mongolia.

The President expressed a hope that the UK Prime Minister Mr David Cameron will take part in the 11th ASEM Summit that will be held in 2016 in Ulaanbaatar, and a British delegation will attend events of the 25th anniversary of the first democratic election of Mongolia to be celebrated on July 29, 2015.    

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Cooperation with France in Film Industry

By D. Tuguldur

June 16 (gogo.mn) During the visit to France Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Purevsuren met with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius to discuss cooperation and relations of both countries.

During the meeting Laurent Fabius expressed his interest in enhancing the current relations and cooperation of both countries, specifically emphasizing economic cooperation.

Minister L.Purevsuren emphasized that the ties between the two countries is counted through centuries and also expressed that there are opportunities in enhancing cooperation in agriculture, arts and establishing the partnerships for the private sector.

The meeting resulted in pledge from French side to cooperate in agricultural sector, specifically in the selection of the cows with best French breed, technical assistance, protection of the genetic fund, equipment for veterinary laboratory.  

Ministers both agreed that arts played important role in the relations of the two countries and agreed to cooperate in the film industry legislation.

In the scope of the visit minister L.Purevsuren met with Frédérique Bredin, President of National Center of Cinematography and the Moving Image to discuss the cooperation opportunities. Meeting resulted in cooperation in film industry legislation studies and best practices exploration and organization of the seminar in Mongolia regarding the film Industry Policy. Also the sides have exchanged the views in possible cooperation on the movie Messenger about the famous missionary and explorer Guillaume de Rubrouck.

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Mongolian woman shot in revenge spat

The Mongolian woman was shot four times by a motorcyclist when she was driving in Bandar Utama, Damansara yesterday evening

KUALA LUMPUR, June 16 (BERNAMA) A Mongolian woman was seriously injured after she was shot four times by one of two men on a motorcycle.

The victim was in a Toyota Land Cruiser with a local man when two men on a motorcycle approached them in a suspicious manner at Dataran Bandar Utama, Damansara, in the incident at 5.45 pm.

Petaling Jaya District Police Chief ACP Azmi Abu Kassim said one of them suddenly took out a pistol and shot at her eight times, with four slugs hitting her body and the rest going astray.

"The two suspects rode off. The woman's companion, who was unhurt, quickly contacted the police," he told reporters at the scene of the incident.

Azmi said the victim was rushed to the Damansara KPJ Hospital before being transferred to the University Malaya Medical Centre and was reported to be stable.

"Preliminary investigation found the incident was motivated by revenge," he added.

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'Datuk' in Mongolian woman's shooting had underworld links

KUALA LUMPUR, June 16 (New Straits Times) The Sarawakian 'Datuk' tied up in the Dataran Bandar Utama shooting of a 26-year old Mongolian woman on Monday had links to the underworld.

Petaling Jaya police chief Assistant Commissioner Azmi Abu Kassim said in October last year, the businessman's house in Sibu was shot at and he had been threatened.

"The businessman had also received several threats via phone calls telling him to 'jaga baik-baik' (watch out)," he said.

Azmi added that initial investigations revealed that the 35-year -old man had several past criminal record.

"He previously had a misunderstanding with one of an underworld member he calls 'Brother'. It was related to a business matter," he said adding that the dispute has to do with the shooting incident.

The businessman and the woman identified as Nomin Erdene have been acquainted with each other for over a year now. They met through an app called WeChat and had been in contact since.

Azmi said the target was actually the 35-year old businessman but instead, the victim was shot five times on the shoulder and chest.

"She is in a stable condition and now warded at the intensive care unit," he said adding that police are checking with the Immigration department to find out when the woman entered Malaysia.

On Monday, two men on a motorcycle approached an sport utility vehicle (SUV) near a traffic light at Dataran Bandar Utama before the pillion rider fired eight rounds at the victim.

In the 5.45pm incident, a Sarawakian businessman who was driving the car stopped by the roadside to speak on his phone when the assailants started shooting.

However, the man was unhurt.

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Police identified Mongolian woman assailants

SHAH ALAM, June 16 (New Straits Times) Police have identified suspects involved in the shooting of a Mongolian woman at Bandar Utama in Petaling Jaya yesterday.

Selangor police chief Datuk Abdul Samah Mat said the police also have new leads which will help them solve the case.

"We already have leads on those believed to be involved. We believe that with the leads we have, we will be able to solve this case," he said when met at the handing over of duty from outgoing Shah Alam police chief SAC Azisman Alias to ACP Shafien Mamat, here, today.

Abdul Samah said based on investigation, police was confident that the Mongolian woman was not the intended target.

"The target is the driver. We believe this attack has to do with old grudge and revenge related on past drug related activities between the suspect and the driver," he said, adding that the police are not ruling out the involvement of triads.

Abdul Samah clarified that the victim was hit five times from the bullets fired by the assailants and not four as reported earlier.

"The victim will undergo operation today.

"Fortunately, the shots did not pierce vital organs and her condition is stable," he said.

In the 5.45pm incident, the 26-year-old victim's sports utility car stopped near a traffic light at Dataran Bandar Utama because the driver wanted to answer a phone call when two men on a motorcycle approached the SUV and the pillion rider fired eight rounds at the victim.

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Social, Environmental & Other

National Report on the Rangeland Health Presented to Mongolian Government

This National Report on the Rangeland Health of Mongolia was presented to the Mongolian government on May 28, 2015. The report is the culmination of nine years of partnership between the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation's Green Gold project and several Mongolian ministries, with extensive support from USDA ARS Jornada Rangeland Research unit. The report describes the establishment of a collaborative assessment, monitoring, and rangeland management program organized around ecological site descriptions (ESDs). The key to fully implementing this program will require new government policies to manage stocking rates, which are currently being discussed by Ministries and the Parliament. 

Background on our partnership with Green Gold and the government of Mongolia to develop measurement protocols and ESDs and an interactive map describing interpretations of rangeland condition based on ESDs and state-and-transition models provide additional details. 

National Report on the Rangeland Health of Mongolia - low resolution PDF (7.3 MB)

National Report on the Rangeland Health of Mongolia - high resolution PDF (36.4 MB file) 

For more resources on assessment, monitoring, and ecological site descriptions in Mongolia (in Mongolian), see http://www.greenmongolia.mn.

For more information contact Brandon Bestelmeyer: bbestelm@nmsu.edu

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782 patients being treated for measles

June 16 (gogo.mn) Of total 782 patients at the Contagious Disease Research Center are being treated of the recent outbreak of the measles, of which 493 are having mild symptoms, 107 having severe symptoms and 25 are at critical level.

Last week total of 1381 patients with suspected measles infection have been received at the center of which 209 were hospitalized and 166 patients have been treated and released from the hospital.

This implies that the number of the patients with suspected measles has declined by 300 and number of patients treated has declined by 100.

At national level the number of suspected measles cases reached 16,287 and 723 were confirmed with lab tests.

Additional vaccination of the children is at 92.1 percent as 342,884 children have been vaccinated out of total 371,971 registered.

21 cases of light, 24 medium and 1 severe after vaccination reactions have been registered and consulted by the physicians at the Contagious Disease Research Center.

310 personnel at the Border Protection Authorities and 25 workers at the Nalaikh hospital are being vaccinated as well.

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Reservation Open for Naadam Tickets, $25 for Tourists

June 16 (gogo.mn) Tourist ticket reservation to watch opening of the Naadam festival has started.

Tickets for opening of the Naadam festival is USD 25 and tickets of July 12 is MNT 12,000 while J license for tourist transportation is MNT 20,000.

Official letter for tourist ticket reservation is being received at the City Tourism Department until June 18 and at Ulaanbaatour exhibition which will be held in Misheel expo during June 19-21.

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D.Altankhuyag: Many foreign dancers have expressed desire to participate in our ballet festival

June 16 (gogo.mn) "Welcome to Mongolia 2015" International Ballet Festival led by State Honored Artist D.Altankhuyag is to be organized during June 18-19 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia at the National Opera and Ballet Theater.

Today, D.Altankhuyag who is in charge of production of the festival and the best ballet dancers from USA, Cuba, Spain, Japan, Kazakhstan, Taiwan, Georgia and Russia conducted press conference.

State Honored Artist D.Altankhuyag noted that many ballet dancers have desire to participate in this festival.

23-27 year-old ballet dancers will perform the parts of the internationally acknowledged Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Lady Camellia, Le Corsaire, Moulin Rouge and Traviata.

Previously, the ballet festival was held in Ulaanbaatar in 2011 for the first time and this year, it aims to attract foreign tourists to Mongolia which echoes in the name of the festival "Welcome to Mongolia-2015".

Ballet dancer and choreographer Fang Yi staged a dance for D.Altankuyag and they will perform together at the festival. Moreover, dancers will dance at horse fiddle melody. 

Ballet dancer and choreographer Fang Yi said: "I was inspired by D.Altankhuyag`s rhythm of movement. He shows free and energetic dances. His dance style and movement may be associated with his culture. He can be free and open."

Preparation for "Welcome to Mongolia-2015" which aims to promote Mongolia through classic art has finished and the team of the festival is to perform in Japan after performing in Mongolia. 

Tickets are available at the National Opera and Ballet Theater and only tickets worth MNT 90.000, 100.000 and 120.000 have left.

We are delivering you the pictures of the ballet dancers.

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Designer Mary Katrantzou uses vintage Mongolian postage stamps in spring/summer collection

June 16 (gogo.mn) Mary Katrantzou is the digital print queen of her generation. Her hyper-real designs have been a global retail sensation.

She used postage stamps and bank notes from different countries including Venezuela, Mongolia and Finland for her prints in the 2013 Spring Summer Collection. She used the Mongolian vintage postage stamps for prints called "rodizio" and "sorbonne" which is available on dresses clutches and many different garments.

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Survey finds 89 out of total 372 religious establishments unauthorized

June 16 (news.mn) In 2014 Mongolia conducted its first survey of religious monasteries and churches. The findings have been announced. It was discovered that of the 372 monasteries representing about 10 kinds of religious belief in Ulaanbaatar; 283 are authorized; 89 unauthorized and 234 are operating on a permanent basis. Most of them (61.3%) are Christian churches and assemblies (there are 7 Catholic organizations); 28.5% are Buddhist monasteries. Also, there are also 22 shamanist organizations; and 5 other religious sects including the Baha'i faith, Moonie, Shinto, and Hindu.

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Where the Wild Things Are: Mountaineering in Western Mongolia's Altai Tavan Bogd

Word & Images by Tom Richardson

June 2015 (Climb Magazine) --

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