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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

[Z postpones TT to fall; MPP accepts DP boot; MNT gains for 2nd day; and Mongolia upgraded to upper middle income]

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

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Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original

 

Overseas Market

975 closed -11.11% Monday to HK$0.28, -28.21% in 1 week

Speaker postpones discussion of Tavan Tolgoi until Autumn Session

July 6 (gogo.mn) Cabinet proposed the amendments to the Tavantolgoi agreement, but the issue was rejected by the Speaker Z.Enkhbold as he postponed the discussions until the Autumn Session.

The reason behind the postponing of the discussion of Tavantolgoi agreement was the public opinion that State Great Khural approves most controversial laws and resolutions during the Naadam Festival according to the DP Group Leader B.Garamgaibaatar.

Link to article

 

WOF closed +0.1c Monday to 2c, -55.56% in 2015

Wolf Petroleum: Resignation of Executive Director George Tumur

July 6 -- The Board of Directors of Wolf Petroleum Limited (ASX:WOF) wish to advise that Mr George Tumur has recently been appointed as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary from Republic of Mongolia to Republic of Singapore. This is a full time diplomatic role and Mr Tumur is required to resign from all his listed and unlisted Board positions as part of this appointment.

Mr Tumur remains a supportive shareholder and the Board would like to thank Mr Tumur for his significant contributions as a founding director of the Company.

The Company wishes him considerable success in his new role as Mongolia's Ambassador to Singapore.

Link to release

 

Mogi: Mongolia's hasn't lost Layton yet. ERD closed -3.33% Monday to C$0.145, +38.1% in 2015

Erdene Appoints Layton Croft to the Board of Directors

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - July 6, 2015) - Erdene Resource Development Corp. (TSX:ERD) ("Erdene" or "Company"), is pleased to announce the appointment of Layton Croft to the Company's Board of Directors. Mr. Croft will serve as a non-executive, independent member of the Erdene board, effective immediately.

"It is with great pleasure that I announce that Mr. Croft has joined the Company's Board," said Chris Cowan, Chairman, "As a senior executive in the Mongolian mining industry for more than a decade, Layton brings a wealth of experience in the areas of operating public companies in Mongolia, government affairs, investor relations and community development while living and working in Mongolia. This will prove very valuable as we advance our exciting new gold projects through the development phase."

Mr. Croft is a senior corporate executive with diversified management and extensive Mongolia focused resource industry expertise with more than 12 years in senior roles with several Mongolia and Asia focused companies, including Oyu Tolgoi, as Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Social Responsibility (Mongolia), where he had responsibility for communications, social performance and stakeholder engagement for the Oyu Tolgoi project; SouthGobi Energy Resources, as Vice President, External Affairs and Corporate Citizenship (Hong Kong), where he oversaw investor and public relations, government affairs, and corporate social responsibility; The Asia Foundation as Resident Representative (Mongolia); and most recently Peabody Energy, as Vice President, External Relations - Asia (Singapore). Having lived and worked in Mongolia for a total of 15 years beginning in 1994, Mr. Croft brings deep knowledge of the Mongolia corporate, political and socio-cultural environments. He played a central role in strengthening relational and reputational elements of the companies he has worked with in Mongolia and the Asia-Pacific region, including success in building and protecting the social and political licences to operate at national, regional and local levels. A U.S. native, Layton has lived and worked internationally for more than 22 years in corporate and public-sector roles in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. He holds a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an MA from the School for International Training in Vermont, and an MA from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

Link to release

 

TPO last traded at 21c on 30 June, +2.44% in 2015

Tian Poh: Release of Shares from Escrow

July 6, Tian Poh Resources Ltd (ASX:TPO) -- We refer to the 6,697,248 ordinary shares with an escrow period of 12 months. We advise that these shares will be released from escrow on 20 July 2015.

Link to release

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Local Market

MSE News for July 6: Top 20 -1.57% to 14,378.10, Turnover 59.2 Million

Ulaanbaatar, July 6 (MONTSAME) At the Stock Exchange trades on Monday, a total of 192 thousand 918 units of 18 JSCs were traded costing 59 million 207 thousand and 469.00 Togrog. 

"Remikon" /189 thousand and 642 units/, "APU" /824 units/, "Agro Tech Impex" /500 units/, "Buteelch Uils" /500 units/ and "Gazar Suljmel" / 319 units/ were the most actively traded in terms of trading volume, in terms of trading value were "Suu" (MNT 18 million and 559 thousand), "Gazar Suljmel" (MNT 16 million 843 thousand and 200), "Remikon" (MNT 14 million 412 thousand and 242), "APU" (MNT two million 981 thousand and 400), and "Gobi" (MNT one million and 869 thousand).

The total market capitalization was set at MNT one trillion 365 billion 588 million 378 thousand and 732. The Index of Top-20 JSCs was 14,378.10, decreasing 1.57% and the all index of MSE was 1,000.88, decreasing 0.85% against the previous day.    

Link to article

Link to MSE trading report

 

MSE Weekly Report: MSE ALL -2.34% to 1,009.51, Turnover 434.4 Million Stocks, 10 Billion T-Bills

July 6 (MSE) Mongolian Stock Exchange organized 5 securities trading sessions and made transaction of MNT10.4 billion with daily average transaction of MNT2.0 billion between 29 June 2015 and 3 July 2015.

Share trading:

1,649,563.00 shares of 46 joint stock companies worth of MNT434,409,576.00 were traded.

Most actively traded securities

 

Securities Name

Value /MNT/

1

ETR

E-Trans Logistics

136,954,726

2

APU

APU

83,017,662

3

BNG

Bayangol Hotel

41,161,600

4

HRM

Hermes Center

32,591,111

5

BDSC

BDSec

32,432,350

 Most active brokerage companies 

 

Company Name

Value /MNT/

1

ARD

Ard Capital Group

464,298,092

2

BDSC

BDSec

301,926,482

3

BULG

Bulgan Broker

46,317,166

4

ARGB

Argai Best

9,008,726

5

ALTN

Altan Khoromsog

7,697,729

Government retail bonds trading:

100,000 Government retail bonds worth of MNT10,000,000,000.00 /10 billion/ traded through one trading session.

Most active brokerage companies in government securities trading 

 

Company Name

Value /MNT/

1

ARD

Ard Capital Group

3,772,700,000

2

TNGR

Tenger Capital

3,769,400,000

3

TDB

TDB Capital

2,280,000,000

4

ALTN

Altankhoromsog

96,500,000

5

BDSC

BDSec

35,900,000

As of July 2015, market capitalization was MNT1,382,660,862,103.00 which indicated decreased of 2.09%, and MSE ALL index reached 1,009.51 units which indicated decreased of 2.34% from the previous week.  

Link to release

 

FRC Approves MDR's Name Change to Frontier Land Group, Tsuutaij to Orkhon Khugjil

July 6 (MSE) According to the Article No.: 6.1.1 of Legal Code of Financial Regulatory Commission, the Article No.: 20.1of "Securities Listing Regulation" of FRC, the legal name of "Mongolia Development Resources" JSC changed to the "Frontier Land Group" JSC, "Tsuutaij" JSC changed to the "Orkhon Khugjil" JSC respectively on FRC's listing. 

MSE's listing amendments will be taken according to the "Listing Regulation of MSE". 

Link to release

 

Mongolia Plans Stake Sale in Tavan Tolgoi, Power Plants to Revive Growth

by Lyubov Pronina

July 6 (Bloomberg) Mongolia is planning to sell stakes in 10 state-owned enterprises over this year and next as well as its biggest coal mine as the nation seeks to revive growth and boost foreign investment in one of the world's tiniest stock exchanges.

The government intends to offload holdings in power plants and other businesses, according to Angar Davaasuren, chief executive officer of the bourse. A stake in the $4 billion Tavan Tolgoi coal mine will also be on offer, he said in an interview with Bloomberg News in London on Friday.

Mongolia, the landlocked country situated between China and Russia, is seeking to lure overseas money managers to unlock natural resources which the government says are worth about $1.3 trillion. Economic growth in the country of 3 million eased to 7.8 percent in 2014 -- the first year of single digit expansion since 2010 -- amid weaker commodity prices and high-profile disputes with foreign investors.

"We are seeing the next year with much more optimism" after growth slows to 5.3 percent in 2015, Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg said in an interview in London.

The Mongolian currency, the tugrik, has slumped 35 percent over the past 24 months, while foreign-direct investment plunged from $4.5 billion in 2012 to $400 million last year.

Market Rallies

A deal to develop the Tavan Tolgoi coal mine in Mongolia is expected to be reached within two months, Byambasaikhan Bayanjargal, the chief executive of Erdenes Mongol LLC which controls the coking coal deposit, said in an interview in late May. About 20 to 30 percent of the mine may be offered to international investors in London or Hong Kong in the next two to three years, Davaasuren said on Friday.

The government may also sell 66 percent of the Mongolia Stock Exchange to the public, the bourse chief said. With a market capitalization of $485 million, the exchange is smaller than 85 bourses whose sizes are tracked by Bloomberg.

The MSE Top 20 Index surged 18 percent in June, the steepest advance in the world, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Mongolia is also looking to sell up to $1 billion in foreign debt this year, targeting either five- or 10-year notes, Khurelbaatar Gantsogt, the Finance Ministry's state secretary, said in an interview in London on Friday.

Link to article

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Economy

BoM MNT Rates: Monday, July 6 Close

 

 

7/6

7/3

7/2

7/1

6/30

6/29

6/26

6/25

6/24

6/23

6/22

6/19

6/18

6/17

6/16

USD

1,972.08

1,976.72

1,977.48

1,969.39

1,963.56

1,953.19

1,948.93

1,942.56

1,931.93

1,928.90

1,923.22

1,917.38

1,913.32

1,898.95

1,882.64

EUR

2,180.63

2,193.27

2,186.70

2,190.85

2,191.92

2,167.06

2,182.31

2,174.02

2,163.38

2,172.52

2,191.32

2,175.17

2,170.57

2,137.74

2,130.30

CNY

317.66

318.55

318.70

317.55

316.50

314.42

313.88

312.88

311.18

310.72

309.72

308.80

308.13

305.84

303.27

GBP

3,067.57

3,085.76

3,082.20

3,092.53

3,082.69

3,066.70

3,067.32

3,049.53

3,052.06

3,048.34

3,059.27

3,041.25

3,026.30

2,969.77

2,941.15

RUB

34.95

35.63

35.56

35.35

35.26

35.30

35.55

35.68

35.89

35.76

35.71

35.91

35.58

35.35

34.56

Bank rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy ₮1,955 Sell ₮1,975), Khan (Buy ₮1,955 Sell ₮1,975), Golomt (Buy ₮1,955 Sell ₮1,975), XacBank (Buy ₮1,955 Sell ₮1,975), State Bank (Buy ₮1,953 Sell ₮1,975)

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

Link to rates

 

BoM issues 183 billion 1-week bills at 13%, total outstanding +0.71% to ₮998.9 billion

July 6 (BoM) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 183 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release

 

Mogi: interest is down from 13.5% to 13.4% on 4-week bills

BoM issues ₮50 billion 4-week bills at 13.4%, total outstanding ₮50 billion

July 6 (BoM) BoM issues 4 week bills worth MNT 50 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.40 percent per annum. /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release

 

World Bank Upgrades Mongolia to Upper Middle-Income Status, 2nd Highest Mover in New Ranking

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2015 (World Bank) – The World Bank's latest estimates of Gross National Income per capita (GNI) continue to show improved economic performance in many low-income countries, with Bangladesh, Kenya, Myanmar, and Tajikistan now becoming lower-middle income countries, joining those with annual incomes of $1,046 to $4,125. Mongolia and Paraguay move from lower middle-income status to upper middle-income, a group with yearly income levels of $4,126 to $12,735.

Beset by civil war and a national oil industry at a standstill, South Sudan has fallen out of the lower middle-income classification and back into low-income status, where average per capita incomes are $1,045 or less. The new GNI per capita rankings show that Maldives and Mongolia were the highest movers in the rankings – up 13 and 8 places, respectively. Oman and Timor-Leste fell most from their 2013 ranking – down 15 places for both.

People living in low-income countries continue to fall behind those in the upper per capita GNI brackets, while they earn and consume significantly less than much of the world's population.  

Malawi has the world's lowest reported GNI per capita at $250, while Monaco has the highest, at more than $100,000 – more than 400 times more per person on average than Malawi. In 1990, Malawi's GNI per capita was $180 – in 24 years its average per-capita income has increased by just $70. In the same period Norway, one of the world's wealthiest countries, has seen its per capita income increase from $26,010 to $103,050, an increase of $77,040.

Some countries have also made remarkable progress. In 1990, Vietnam was a low-income country at the bottom of the rankings, with a GNI per capita of $130. Today, the country is reliably lower-middle income, with a GNI per capita of $1,890 – moving up more than 50 places in the rankings over the last 25 years.

The new World Bank figures also show that Argentina, Hungary, Seychelles, and Venezuela have now moved from the upper middle income category to high income, with average per capita income levels now of $12,736 or more.

Gross National Income (GNI) is a broad-based measure of income generated by a nation's residents from international and domestic activity. GNI per capita measures the average amount of resources available to persons residing in a given economy, and reflects the average economic well-being of a population.

Each year on July 1, the World Bank revises the income classification of the world's economies based on estimates of GNI per capita for the previous year. The World Bank also uses the updated GNI per capita estimates in its operational classification of economies that determines lending eligibility.

"While we need to measure development progress in different ways, income-based measures, such as GNI, remain the central yardstick for assessing economic performance," said Kaushik Basu, World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President. "Our latest data show that in terms of this indicator, the world's economic geography has changed a lot. In 1994, 56.1% of the world's population – 3.1 billion people - lived in the 64 low-income countries. In 2014, this was down to 8.5%, or 613 million people, living in 31 countries. It is heartening to see that over the last one year itself four nations crossed over that critical line from the low-income to the lower-middle income category."

In addition to the new income-related data, other indicators have been updated in the World Development Indicators (WDI) database, including estimates of purchasing power parities for 2014, gross domestic product, balance of payments, monetary indicators, military expenditure, CO2 emissions, air traffic, foreign direct investment, merchandise trade, and more.

Note that these are preliminary estimates and may be revised. Country classifications are determined once a year and remain fixed, regardless of subsequent revisions to their estimates of their GNI per capita. 

See the complete list of economies classified by income, region, and lending status here: http://data.worldbank.org/about/country-and-lending-groups

Access the World Development Indicators database here: http://data.worldbank.org/news/release-of-world-development-indicators-2015

Link to release

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Politics & Legal

Parliament Session Agenda for July 6: Caucus, Working Group Meetings

July 6 (gogo.mn) Party Groups and Coalitions seated at State Great Khural have sessions today.

ONE.PARTY GROUPS AND COALITIONS AT STATE GREAT KHURAL SESSIONS:

    DP Group Session at Hall A;
    MPP Group Session at Hall B;
    Justice Coalition Session at Hall C.

TWO. WORKING GROUP SESSIONS:

  • Draft law on criminal and violation and affiliated other drafts discussion by Justice Standing Committee
  • Working Group meeting of Economic Standing Committee on analyzing activities of civil aviation sector
  • To give direction on decreasing sexually transmitted disease and AIDS discussion by Working Group meeting of Standing Committee
  • State Structure Standing Committee meeting on drafting bill of Mongolian long-term development policy.
  • Draft law on monitoring and affiliated other drafts by State Structure Standing Committee
  • Approval of State policy on food and agriculture and draft resolution of State Great Khural on establishing "Khalkh Gol" free zone discussion by Environment, Food and Agriculture Standing Committee
  • Working group meeting on amendments to law and policy on taxes
  • Draft law on supporting production and affiliated other drafts discussion by Economic Standing Committee
  • Draft law on Transparency in the Mineral Resources Sector discussion by Economic Standing Committee
  • Joint meeting of Economic and Budget Standing Committee meeting on trading expenditure  of Government securities

Link to article

 

MPP Accepts DP Decision to Oust MPP from Government

Ulaanbaatar, July 6 (MONTSAME) After having considered the decision by Democratic Party to discharge the Mongolian People's Party representation from the Cabinet of Ministers, the MPP parliamentary faction and the executive council considered it is right to step out from the cabinet, on Monday.

The MPP chairman M.Enkhbold and the head of the party's faction S.Byambatsogt announced their decision at a press release today.

The Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg had presented the cooperation offer to the MPP, "therefore, the issue of dismissal of the MPP ministers should be submitted to parliament by the PM himself," he noted.

Link to article

 

Mogi: Mongolian version

DP Executive Council Decides to Expel MPP from Cabinet

Ulaanbaatar, July 6 (MONTSAME) The executive council of this party (ruling Democratic Party (DP), made a decision on July 3 to expel from the Cabinet the representation of the Mongolian People Party (MPP). 

As the council's acting secretary-general L.Erkhembayar said, such a decision was made on the ground that the MPP "has not been adhering to the Agreement on Cooperation, signed by the democrats and the MPP to elect the latter's members to the Cabinet of Ministers". "The Prime Minister is to decide whether to free or fire the MPP Ministers from his cabinet."

At the press conference on Friday, the DP executive council named five reasons. "Firstly, when the MPP appointed its six ministers and seven vice ministers, some 600 state servants were fired. We had not agreed to discharge state servants by a way of breaching the law."

"Secondly, the MPP through its faction had been spending some 60 percent of plenary meetings only for demanding a dismissal of the previous cabinet, hindering us in forwarding works, and this made us offer them cooperation.

"Thirdly, when offering the collaboration, we believed that this political force would unite with us in appealing to the nation to improve the economy and the life, and the MPP promised to do so, but it began to distort the essence of the works being realized through the state policy and to put a pressure on the people's psyche, and this led to the stagnation all the prospering in 2012-2014 works.

"Fourthly, the MPP has already announced the 2016 election campaign and has begun to hinder the state affairs and to divide the people.

"Finally, the executive council of the DP considers 'Let the DP bear itself all the responsibility and the MPP be the opposition and let the both be judged by the nation in 2016," said Erkhembayar. 

Link to article

 

MRAM halts online license applications for system upgrade

July 6 (news.mn) The Natural Resources Authority has started to receive applications for mining requests for the permission to extract raw materials online. The administrators of the Natural Resources Authority have decided to temporarily halt this service from 6th July in order to upgrade and improve the capacity of the service. The date when the service becomes operational again will be announced on the web site of the Natural Resources Authority – informed the Cadastre Bureau of the Natural Resource Authority.

Link to article

 

Activists shave their heads on Chinggis Square for parliamentary reform

July 3 (UB Post) A group of activists led by State Honored Artist S.Javkhlan and State Honored Athlete Ts.Sharavjamts shaved their heads at a demonstration at Chinggis Square on Wednesday, demanding the resignations of the current members of parliament.

"I love my home country more than my own head," said S.Javkhlan, when he previously announced that he would publicly shave his head as a form of protest against the current parliament, which the activists believe is failing.

The activists agreed that it is time to start acting for a more competent parliament. "We are tired of waiting for this parliament to make effective decisions and work for protecting the land and people of Mongolia. It is time for us to voice our opinions. We are calling on Mongolians to join our efforts. Unless we do, the parliament will never fight for our home country," said S.Javkhlan at Chinggis Square on Wednesday.

The activists highlighted that the current parliament should resign, as it is responsible for the financial recession that has hit Mongolia.

"Mongolia was named the fastest growing economy in 2012. Now, in 2015, we are in a recession only three years after that achievement. We need to dismiss the unfair parliament. We do not need a parliament that does not listen to and support its people and the youth," added S.Javkhlan.

Several NGOs, including Gal Undesten Movement and Let's Save Noyon Mountain Movement, were there to show their support.

Ts.Sharavjamts, a renowned basketball player, said on Wednesday, "I have been supporting S.Javkhlan's activities for protecting the country. Today, I'm taking part in his initiative. My father believed in my efforts and shaved my head himself today. We all have to show our objections now."

Link to article

 

MP Uyanga: IAAC investigating former Prime Minister S.Bayar

July 3 (UB Post) Last April, Member of Parliament G.Uyanga has made public information about houses and accommodations in the United States bought and owned by former Prime Minister of Mongolia S.Bayar. In a press conference, MP Uyanga disclosed that former Premier S.Bayar owns seven luxurious homes in the United States, worth 12 million USD. She then submitted a request to the Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC) to investigate S.Bayar, submitting the documents on his overseas assets. On Wednesday, the IAAC made official statement reporting that the IAAC investigated S.Bayar and gave an official response to G.Uyanga.

Golomt Anti Nuclear Movement NGO, which runs the website golomt.org, sent G.Uyanga 120 pages of documents from a detailed investigation proving that S.Bayar's homes in the United States are registered under the names of S.Bayar's first spouse, O.Gereltuya, daughters B.Nadin, B.Khongor, and B.Badamkhand, and his new girlfriend, E.Suvd. All the homes are three-story, luxury properties with multiple bedrooms. S.Bayar started buying the homes in 2009, after signing the Oyu Tolgoi agreement. The documents sent to the MP suggest that the properties were purchased with laundered money. 

The following is a brief interview with G.Uyanga, her official response to the IAAC's investigation of S.Bayar.

On Wednesday the IAAC reported that it gave you an official response after investigating S.Bayar. What was  the response?

The IAAC delivered an official document that says the investigation is still underway, as the IAAC believes this case needs to be investigated further. Also, the Commissioner of IAAC took explanations and clarifications from me in my office. This means that official criminal procedure has been initiated.

There were a few people who accused you of slander for distributing unverified information to the media before legal authorities could decide on charges against S.Bayar. 

There are no grounds to accuse me. The NGO Golomt Anti Nuclear Movement raised the issue before, but legal bodies did not pay any attention to it, which is strange. Therefore, I intentionally approached press and media in order to put the issue under public scrutiny. I wasn't confident about giving such significant information connected to large-scale corruption and silent money to the investigation authority. The reason is because the corruption network is not only an embezzling network, this has been developed for the perfect set of networks with measures for protection. 

Why do you believe that the investigation of S.Bayar's assets will have a vital influence on the Oyu Tolgoi contract? 

Depending on how the case is resolved, people will see whether or not the IAAC operates truthfully and if it solves the cases of high-ranking authorities fairly. It is a huge, attention grabbing issue that S.Bayar, who promised to bear responsibility for the consequences of the Oyu Tolgoi agreement, has such grand assets.

Link to article

 

Notorious Security Firm Used by Mongolia 'Hacking Team' Compromised

July 5 (Inquisitr) It is just now being reported on Twitter and by CSO Online that Italian security firm Hacking Team has been compromised by parties unknown.

The attack, which took place during the Women's World Cup, resulted in a Torrent file with over 400GB of of internal documents, source code, and email communications being made available to the public. Meanwhile, the attackers have also seized control of Hacking Team's Twitter, defacing it and posting images of the stolen data.

Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist of the ACLU, says that a preliminary analyst of the Torrent's contents suggests that Hacking Team included among their customers nations such as South Korea, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Lebanon, and Mongolia. Hacking Team, which specializes in intrusion and surveillance, has always maintained that they do not do business with oppressive governments.

The tools developed by Hacking Team have been linked to several cases of privacy invasion in the past, by researches and the media.

The Inquisitr reported last month on the recent trend of major hacking attacks.

We will continue to monitor the story as it unfolds.

Update: researchers are beginning to dismantle and examine the data package. Among the finds thus far are an invoice for 58,000 Euro to Egypt for Hacking Team's RCS Exploit Portal, and a video advertising Da Vinci, Hacking Team's top tool, which can be seen here:

Link to article

 

State-sponsored childcare services to be available from January 2016

July 5 (UB Post) Attending members of the Parliamentary session meeting on July 2 approved the law on childcare services, a draft initiated and submitted by President Ts.Elbegdorj, to be enacted in January 2016.

Access to childcare was one of the crucial social issues included in the President's action plan. During his election campaign in 2013, citizens complained about a lack of kindergartens available, and touched upon safety issues for younger children and their rights to grow up with access to quality care and education. Voters also emphasized that the well-being of parents depends on a child's kindergarten and asked candidates in the presidential election to address these issues.

President Ts.Elbegdorj included creating childcare services in his action plan for his term in office, creating a program that ensures safety and children's rights, said the Human Development and Social Policy advisor to the President, R.Bold.

"Even though the government is increasing the number of kindergartens year by year, availability still remains insufficient. All public kindergartens in central areas are overloaded and struggle to operate while meeting state standards. At the same time, one in every ten children from two to five years old stays locked at home alone," he said, and added that this means parents are leaving children in risky situations. Children staying at home alone face greater exposure to health risks, injury in fires, and face a greater risk of drowning.

The purpose of the childcare service program is to support employment, to help families earn livable wages, to let parents run businesses and work without worrying about the safety of their children, and to raise children in healthy and safe environments. The law on childcare service allows the government to tackle the issue facing families with younger children through a new form of social welfare and services with participation from state and private entities.

The Office of the President says that with the approval of the childcare service law, the issue of thousands of children locked at home is being solved positively. Female MPs Ts.Oyungerel, S.Odontuya, Z.Bayanselenge and D.Arvin actively worked toward getting the childcare service bill approved.

Link to article

 

Democracy: A Social Learning Process

By Jargal "DeFacto" Dambadarjaa

July 5 (UB Post) We have believed that if a democratic country ensures transparency in civil service, glass accounts, and a firm accountability system for public servants, the society would naturally fix its faults as the performance of authorities would regularly be assessed through elections.

However, the 25-year history of our transition shows that such conditions are necessary, but not sufficient for establishing a democratic society and a market economy where everyone has an opportunity to grow and prosper.

Although Mongolian intellectuals have been striving to determine the sufficient conditions, there has not been any common agreement or formulation of solutions yet. A potentially good answer was proposed by Professor Paul Collier during an international conference recently held at the University of Oxford in England. After further exploring his idea, I wanted to share it with you.

CONDITIONS FOR NATURAL RESOURCES TO BECOME A BLESSING

The Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), a non-profit organization, held its first international conference in Oxford, England. As Mongolia is a member of the institute, representatives from our government and civic society attended the conference.

NRGI was previously called Revenue Watch. Since being founded, they have been working together with the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative by sharing knowledge and experience, and disseminating information in order to assist countries rich in oil, natural gas, and minerals in better managing their resources.

Natural resources are not created by individuals, but are formed by nature. Therefore, the benefits from natural resources must help everyone in that country build a prosperous life. Natural resources are not meant to serve the interests of a small number of people who have power and authority.

This is why NRGI believes that everything the government does, especially the issuance of permits and the development of laws regarding natural resource exploration, extraction, and processing, their financial information, cash flow, and compliance with relevant requirements and standards, must be transparent. There ought to be accountability at every level.

When the government fails to put these measures into place, only the authorities (a small number of people who have decision making power) get wealthy while the general population becomes poorer. Professor Collier took Nigeria and Ghana as examples.

Such countries spend a great amount unnecessarily when their budget revenue is high. If the revenue gets low, they raise huge foreign loans by issuing bonds. As they do it again and again, when they are not in a position to repay their loans, the government eventually becomes unable to make payments due too much debt. In these countries their natural resources become a curse.

Professor Collier said that in order to turn natural resources into a blessing rather than a curse, the government must be transparent and accountable, but also, the society must be able to learn. He talked about Western European countries, including Germany, to demonstrate that countries who have better social learning have developed more sustainably.

THE RESPONSIBILITY OF SOCIETY

It was a Stanford professor, Albert Bandura, who first developed the social learning theory. He defined social learning as a cognitive process where a society changes its behaviors and adapts to new conditions as a result of observations and needs.

Through a cognitive process, an individual starts developing from a young age, accumulates knowledge and education, learns from mistakes, changes behaviors, and keeps growing. A society follows the same process.

Social learning can take place on the basis of observing the behavior of others, adopting a behavior, or not adopting it. The theory explains that social learning happens as a result of observing the real life examples of other countries, a direct instruction in a specific situation, or in a symbolic manner where real or fictional characters can be stimuli.

In any case, the development of our country, including whether we end up making the best use of our natural resources or not, heavily depends on our social ability to learn, continue doing what is going well, and make a change if things are not going so well. It is time to have a serious discussion about how the development of an individual is closely connected to the development of a society, thus a country.

It is a most decisive time for Mongolia today. The choice between ending up as a country like the Philippines, where the wealth is owned by only a few families, or becoming a democratic, developed country where the wealth is owned by its people will depend on the public's responsible and informed involvement.

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July 1: The day that played with people's lives

July 3 (UB Post) An incident on July 1 left a black stain on the history of Mongolia's democracy seven years ago. Remembering this day causes some Mongolians, particularly the residents of the capital, to feel a chill running down their spine.

This unforgettable incident in 2008 provoked the anger and discontent of many, leading to major disorder, and it took the lives of five civilians. Ordinary people became victims of tensions between politicians, which originated from political parties' unwillingness to accept electoral defeat and begrudging the victory of the winning party with allegations of voter fraud. However, whether one side committed fraud and the other side was outwitted still hasn't been confirmed. Nobody would've guessed at the time that a peaceful demonstration could lead to chaos and end in the loss of precious lives.

In the course of the public disruption, more than 900 people were arrested and some were even sentenced to long-term prison sentences. The president at that time, N.Enkhbayar, showed amnesty and released 11 children and two women who were imprisoned for alleged involvement in the riot that took place on July 1, 2008. The court imposed sentences of 2.6 to 3.6 years of imprisonment on former Major-General Ch.Amarbold, Colonel O.Zorigt , and Colonel and former Chief of Police Patrol Unit Sh.Batsukh of the General Police Department of Mongolia for failing to uphold their responsibilities and causing loss and damage to the nation during the July 1 incident.

It's reported that a large crowd gathered outside of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (currently known as Mongolian People's Party) headquarters out of curiosity sparked from watching the events of that day on television, rather than assembling with political motives to support or oppose candidates from the defeated and winning parties. According to public observation, people frustrated with the state for not being able to settle social issues were seen to be expressing their opinions at the time. Popular opinion suggested that if President N.Enkhbayar hadn't made a public announcement on that day; if B.Jargalsaikhan (more popularly known as Buyangiin Jagaa), O.Magnai and J.Batzandan hadn't held a civil movement from Songinokhairkhan District to Sukhbaatar Square (now Chinggis Square); and if Leader of the MPP S.Bayar had come outside of the MPP building, the building wouldn't have been set on fire, nor would innocent civilians have lost their lives or received substantial injuries.

With the exception of condemning people to prison who acted on orders, no politician or civilian had the courage to come out and take responsibility for what happened that day. The perfect description for the incident would be "one man's loss, another man's gain". After that black day, the two political parties that were battling for political power reached an agreement to co-govern the state. One party put forward the proposal while the other party accepted it with open hands. Basically, it was a political collaboration playing with the lives of civilians – the innocent voters.

Most people would rather avoid any political strikes, demonstrations, and any other commotion than risk being involved in events like those that occurred on that July 1. The incident became a clear warning.

A journalist of Shuud.mn overheard a conversation between two men on a microbus shortly after July 1. One of them asked the other if it was true that three of his classmates were being investigated for being involved in the incident, and the other said that it was true. He continued, saying that his classmates had participated in the election campaign and had acted exactly as his "big brother", one of the candidates, asked him to. He then said, "In fact, who knows if that big brother actually recognizes my classmates' faces or not. My classmate got into trouble after doing something unnecessary. Now, he can't even graduate and has to suffer in jail."

Similar to this example, many youth were investigated and some were imprisoned. Later, most were pardoned with presidential amnesty, but since then, more and more parents have begun to caution their children to not get involved in political demonstrations or go near places where big crowds have gathered. The state handed a couple of thousand MNT to the families who suffered casualties during the riot. Yet, they never found the real culprits of the incident and held them accountable. This incident took away the precious children of five families, and still remains vivid and will remain unforgettable in the hearts of many Mongolians.

Source: http://www.shuud.mn/content/read/454791.htm

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Sculpture of Chinggis Khaan will be placed at National Garden - parliament

July 3 (infomongolia.com) The location of Chinggis Khaan's Sculpture was decided on the session of State Great Khural (parliament) held on July 2, 2015.

The session had first discussion on draft laws to free the sculpture from value-added tax and custom duty. As there were no objections, the State Great Khural has passed the draft laws.

At session, the Speaker of the Parliament of Mongolia Z.Enkhbold has thanked parliament member D.Bat-Erdene for his contribution to the country. D.Bat-Erdene has bought Chinggis Khaan's sculpture by Dashi Namdakov to highlight Mongolian culture and promote tourism in Mongolia.

After the session, it was decided to erect Chinggis Khaan's Sculpture in the National Garden Park.

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Business

PM Saikhanbileg presents at EBRD board, makes case for more investment

July 6 (infomongolia.com) Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg has delivered a speech at meeting of Board of Directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

At the meeting, PM Ch.Saikhanbileg gave detailed information on investment opportunities and sectors suitable for investment also noted that Mongolian government is planning to issue tugrug (MNT, tugrik) bond, the official Mongolian currency. Mongolian government thinks that Tugrug Bond will increase trust of foreign investors to Mongolia and give positive signal on international market.

Mongolia has become a 61th member of the EBRD in 2000. Since then, 53 projects of totally 2.070.2 Euro were implemented with the help of the EBRD in Mongolia.

Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg has proposed to the EBRD to increase its investment volume to Mongolia. In response, Directors of the EBRD have expressed their willingness to collaborate with law sector of Mongolia and support the investment funds, especially private sectors.

During the meeting, Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg has given interview to news agency of European Bank.

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Related:

Mongolian PM Addresses EBRD Board MeetingMontsame, July 6

 

Asia House: Opportunities rife for SMEs in Mongolia

London UK, July 3 (Asia House): HE Saikhanbileg Chimed, Prime Minister of Mongolia, and the Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP, Minister of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, spoke at a conference at Asia House in London about the new and growing opportunities in Mongolia. HE Saikhanbileg Chimed, who was appointed Prime Minister of Mongolia in November 2014, was in the UK to re-engage with existing and potential foreign investment partners.

Mr Saikhanbileg urged UK companies of all sizes to invest in Mongolia, with key areas of opportunity including mining, power projects and infrastructure. He said that "the government of Mongolia is talking about much more than just mega projects" with Mongolian companies searching for partners in the SME field.

Mr Swire discussed his enthusiasm for the UK's relationship with Mongolia, stating that the country is a trusted partner to the UK. Mr Swire highlighted how "Mongolia's GDP has the potential to become one of the fastest growing economies in the world" with the country's economic progression "being a testament to the Prime Minister's vision to his country's future." He spoke about Mongolia's extensive resources which alongside its natural resources include its young demographic.

Mongolia is working to show the world that it is serious about attracting inward investment, a point that remained at the top of the agenda throughout the conference. Following Mr Swire's statement that Mongolia is "an increasingly attractive partner for trade and investment", Jean-S├ębastien Jacques, Chief Executive, Copper & Coal, Rio Tinto supported this point, stating "Mongolia is very much open for business." Mr Jacques discussed the recent agreement signed by the Mongolian government with Rio Tinto and Turquoise Hill Resources on the pathway for the development of the underground mine at Oyu Tolgoi. He said: "less than six weeks ago, the Prime Minister and I agreed on a pathway to develop the second phase of the operation. This is a critical step forward in the evolution of Oyu Tolgoi."

Mr Saikhanbileg and Mr Swire both expressed the benefits that investing in Mongolia could offer to UK companies. Mongolia is estimated to hold more than USD1.3 trillion in mineral deposits however to date, only 25% of the country has been geographically surveyed. This offers a huge selection of opportunities for UK companies operating in the mining exploration, extraction and production industries, as well as those supplying mining equipment and technologies.

In addition, the lack of infrastructure continues to be the biggest challenge in terms of conducting business in Mongolia. However it also offers huge investment potential to international companies looking to invest in the country.

Mr Swire noted that the UK was the first western country to form relationships with Mongolia, forming ties in 1963.

Further speakers at the conference include Gankhuyag Chuluun, General Director, Ard Holdings Group; Masaru Honma Director for Central Asia and Mongolia, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD); Gordon Turley, Development Director – Major Projects, Mott MacDonald and Byambasaikhan Bayanjargal, CEO, Erdenes Mongol.

For press enquiries please contact Lucy Tomlinson on lucy.tomlinson@asiahouse.co.uk or 0207 307 5451.

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Lhamour: The First Mongolian Organic Skincare Entrepreneur – Part 1

By Lorraine Dallmeier

I feel extremely fortunate to be able to introduce you to our guest blogger today – Khulan Davaadorj. Khulan is on a very exciting journey as Mongolia's first Organic Skincare Entrepreneur. She is busy launching her business as we speak and has agreed to come and regularly update us to share her experiences here on my Herb & Hedgerow blog. 

My name is Khulan Davaadorj and I come from Mongolia – the land of the blue sky. I grew up in Europe for around 15 years, mainly in Germany and did my Master's degree in the United States. I was lucky to have had all these opportunities because of my parents, who always gave everything they had to their children, knowing that they never had the chance themselves. I think that parents are the most important elements in forming your path, because through their hard work and honest ways, you get a sense of not what you want to do but definitely what kind of person you would want to be when you grow up.

I was always very ambitious but never really knew what I wanted to do other than something amazing and valuable, which is of course everyone's wish. My biggest accomplishments must have been my selection for a full scholarship to study at Columbia University and an acceptance for an internship at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Those two things happened just within a few days apart and it was the most exciting news I had ever heard in my life.

It was an incredible journey and my first day I remembered I was so lost in the concrete jungle that I felt like in a movie. I started to realize that I wanted to do something that is valuable in the sense that it will leave a positive and long-lasting effect on the people, for now and when I am gone too. Having this opportunity to study and work at these amazing places, I realized I am never going to let myself be a failure in anything I do. I have to be the person that these people as well as my parents trusted me to be and I had to prove myself I was worth it.

I still did not really know what my area would be but I was really interested in energy. Energy is one of our key factors of life. Without it we cannot exist. But at what price do we want to live and grow now and leave the earth at risk? I chose to get into the renewable energy sector and left all my opportunities in the States, my relationship, my everything, to go back to Mongolia to join the establishment of Mongolia's first wind farm. I worked for a year and saw the amazing construction and took part at the opening ceremony. It was really incredible and motivated me a lot. Nevertheless, sometimes when you work for a big corporation and management changes constantly, the vision does not fully reflect what you do on a fully basis.

In the meantime I struggled a lot living in Mongolia alone; away from my family who was in Germany at that time, away from my friends from all around the world and away from my relationship, which was really always key for my constant push for achievements too. It was a struggle because I couldn't cope with the mentality of the people, the daily stress and everything was just totally different. I sometimes felt like a stranger in my own home country. I needed to really get into the traditional system to understand and be a part of it.

I thus wanted to get a feel of what it is working for the government. I worked for a year on a project that initiated Mongolia's first coal-to-liquid plant. Mongolia is now fully dependent on fuel from outside and this project would have been a major leap towards independence and having our own fuel. As everyone knows, the dependence on others for sources of energy is a huge drawback for any economy since fuel prices directly affect every day lives of the citizens. Nevertheless, working for the government was very tough and I must say ruined a lot of things I had. You barely get paid anything, you work overtime all the time and at the end, in a developing country especially, you get exchanged by a random person as easy as changing clothes. So, after all my energy and commitment into that project, I was exchanged by someone without even receiving a notice, with no compensation, no goodbye and no thank you. So, I was kind of perplexed by all my experiences and just couldn't understand where I stand in this world. I felt confused, lost and felt like I did not belong anywhere. I was a citizen of no place. I was thinking of maybe going somewhere. Back to Germany, maybe New York. But somehow I felt like that would mean I am running away. I wanted to seriously leave but something inside me was pushing me to stay and fight hard.

I literally locked myself at home for about 2 months to try and figure it out. I needed to figure out something. My parents had come back to Mongolia to settle down and were both retiring now. I could not let them down, since I am responsible of taking care of them now and I want them to live a happy life. Plus, I had been working my ass off in every single situation throughout my 27 years not to end up like this.

I drew graphs on a piece of paper. It is crazy but true. I started with the top. A dream. So, my dream was to create something valuable. My vision was that that something would have a positive effect on people around me and anywhere in the world and would be long lasting and also not harming the environment. I started to think what is essential for everyone around me – energy and food. But how can I create something totally new and valuable in those two areas? I did not want to work for a huge corporation nor the government anymore. I wanted to finally use everything I had learnt from all my past experiences to create something myself. I was afraid since there are no entrepreneurs in my family nor do we have any business or anyone supporting me directly. I was afraid to maybe loose all my savings (that I had from working as coffee shop waitress to English tutor to essay writer and restaurant waitress every single weekend) just to be another failure. But then again, I thought, I lost many things anyways along the way. I guess once you feel like it is always a lesson learnt to make you stronger and better, then you just start letting go of fear.

So, I established my company called Natural Essentials LLC without really knowing what to do exactly, but knowing that I wanted to tap into something that is essential to every single person around me.

In the meantime I had been researching for a while about skincare mainly because my skin was changing and I couldn't figure out why and the expensive products I was used to putting on my skin in New York were just not fitting anymore. That is why I started taking Formula Botanica classes and I really enjoyed every single one of them and when I finished the diploma, I was so amazed and excited. I was never the girly girl. I had always worked in a male dominated environment. But I started thinking – skincare is super essential and natural skincare is the way to go!

And all this talk about organic and natural skincare is so fitting for Mongolia because we are a country 5 times bigger than Germany but with only 3 million people, making our landscape one of the most natural and beautiful ones ever. I started thinking why I cannot use Mongolian grown herbs and plants for my own skin and actually started researching even more. And then I found amazing insights more and more each day on what I had right in front of my eyes all along.

THIS HAD TO BE IT! I wanted to be the first Mongolian official organic skincare company. So, it was set. My goal is to create a globally known unique and young Mongolian organic skincare brand that uses rich natural resources and gives the skin the natural and true nourishment, as it should deserve. I want to also educate Mongolians about the importance of using natural skincare products and show them that it is possible to create something amazing locally and not just import high cost products.

I invested all my savings and started renting out an office, employing my first team members and renting out a small production facility. I am starting off with bath products since there are none in Mongolia with patented ingredients and local packaging. My brand is called "LHAMOUR" which is a combination of LHAMO – the name of my brother's daughter and AMOUR – representing love. I believe that everything is based on love, the love for your parents, the love for your environment and the love for yourself. If you feel this love inside you, you will definitely love my brand and our products.

Since I am very young and just starting, there are many challenges already occurring on a daily basis. I am trying to share my journey through a blogwww.hulancka.com, which hopefully will empower other young women, especially in developing countries or just any other entrepreneurs who have passion and want to know that there are others just like you too.

So, where I am now and what I will do for the rest of my life is to work hard to achieve my dream of producing incredible skincare products that will create long lasting value, hoping that everyone will feel the passion and love that is being put in every day just to establish that.

Thank you to Khulan for sharing her journey in starting up her exciting organic skincare business! Make sure you check out Khulan's blog over athttp://www.hulancka.com and stay tuned for more updates from Mongolia's first Organic Skincare Entrepreneur.

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Related:

The First Mongolian Organic Skincare Entrepreneur – Part 2 – March 2015

 

Buro 24/7 launches in Mongolia: Building an empire

Digital maven Miroslava Duma launches the ninth edition of Buro 24/7 in Mongolia. We have the inside scoop

July 6 (Buro 24/7) On 3 July, Buro 24/7 officially launched its ninth edition in Mongolia, with an event graced by Russian Buro 24/7 founder Miroslava Duma. Held at the newly opened Shangri-La Hotel Ulaanbaatar, the event was well-attended by the movers and shakers from the capital including politicians and leaders from the country's business, arts, culture and fashion sectors.

Russia and Mongolia have a long history — the arts, languages, traditions and cultures of these neighbouring countries have been intertwined for almost a whole century. This blending of cultures was perfectly captured in the much-coveted invitations that came in the form of Russian matryoshka dolls painted in traditional Mongolian patterns by Mongolian artists.

In addition to attending the launch, Miroslava Duma and Buro 24/7 Russia's brand manager Ekaterina Darma toured the city, visiting historical sites like the main Chinggis Square, The National Museum of Mongolian History and the Gandan Monastery.

Like its sister editions, Buro 24/7 Mongolia, which is headed by editorial director Odgerel Odonkhuu, will report on the most important and interesting developments in fashion, arts and culture. It will focus especially on introducing the fascinating, traditional lifestyle aspects of Mongolia to the world.   

Visit the site here.

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UBCab's A.Naranbayar: Official taxi service should differentiate through its reliable and quality services

July 6 (gogo.mn) Earlier we have delivered the current situation of the unofficial taxi services provided by the individuals in Ulaanbaatar city with the article How much does it cost from Zaisan to Chinggis Khaan Hotel? MNT 5,500 or MNT 10,000?

It is not a secret that even the services of the official taxi services provided by the entities in Ulaanbaatar city leave the residents to wish for good. There are many complaints directed to the official taxi services such as waiting time is too long, sometimes drivers take other customers and the unreliable taximeter.

While there are negative aspects with every service industry, there are opportunities to better and develop and one of such efforts is the mobile phone app developer UBCab company. We have met with the director A.Naranbayar.

The company has worked on the UBCab application for a year in order to improve the accessibility to reliable and quality taxi services in Ulaanbaatar city. In the scope of this work the company has successfully incorporated with the Mongolian Taxi Service Association and Public Transportation Authorities to develop the amendments to the taxi service standards and got it approved.

Amendments to the Taxi Service Standards enables the use of the taxi services based on the technological advancements officially in Mongolia.

-What were the incentives to develop the UBCab application? 

-Ulaanbaatar has become a metropolitan with the population of over 1 million. According to the report of the Public Transportation Authority of last year 5000 taxis are needed in Ulaanbaatar city alone, while currently there are 17 taxi service entities with about 600 taxis in service.

This explains why there are many individuals running for taxis with their own cars. With this much difference taxi service may become extinct in Ulaanbaatar. 

Our aim is to improve taxi services provided in Ulaanbaatar city to a quality level and make it one of the reliable public transportation means which delivers satisfactory services for the residents.

Any city development is assessed by its public transportation accessibility. In this regard, we are happy to cooperate with taxi service entities to build a friendly Ulaanbaatar. 

-Has the app automated all the processes starting from the taxi calling? 

-Current taxi call center involves a lot of human resources and it creates hassle for the clients to go through all those calls and processes. The process includes driver, operator and call center. Client already bears costs even before getting into a taxi.

UBCab app allows to shortcut those processes and save time for the clients. This is not the 'new wheel' at all. This kind of system is already in use  in other countries.

Over 60 percent of the Ulaanbaatar residents have smart phones and access to 3G and they are forced to pay MNT 500 to call to the taxi call center just to hear the answer 'There is no taxi available in your area.'

UBCab app automated the process from calling the taxi and getting to the desired destination.

-UBCab app allows us to save time and money. What are the other benefits of using the app? 

-The App is available for free for Android and iPhone users. It is easy to call for a taxi just by few clicks and the client doesn't have to listen to the call center operator dealing with its taxi drivers as the app will send the information to the closest drivers available to the location of the client. The app regulates the drivers nearby by sending the request for taxi in an orderly manner starting from the closest driver.

For drivers it enables to connect directly with the client skipping the call center. USers of the app barely pay MNT 10 to call for taxi through the use of wi-fi or 3G.

As for the taxi companies the app gives the opportunity to save costs for short wave connection equipment and fees associated with use of those on top of saving costs for the call center operations. With the app companies can focus only on improving their service quality.

With the app, users can be assured if the driver is coming as the map will show the exact location of the taxi approved the order, which makes it easier for the client to see when the taxi will at doors.  

As the client gets into the taxi the app will give out a code to confirm the order. This will eliminate the practices when the taxi driver takes other clients, while the taxi service standard dictates the waiting period to be 5 minutes. So the order is confirmed and ensures that the client gets into the right taxi.

With the current taximeters clients are not sure if the charge for the trip is precise. With the app users can track their trip through the GPS on the map, which will show how many kilometers the trip was. At the end of the trip the app will show the details and exactly how much the customer needs to pay for the trip made. Moreover, the app has the evaluation feature which allows the clients to evaluate the driver and taxi services.

-Does this feature help the taxi company be more responsible? 

-Feedback system by the client allows the taxi companies to improve their service standards. Moreover the data will help to gather information on traffic jams and locations of most orders, reveal which driver is being nice to the clients.

On top of that all the information of the trips made through the use of the app will be sent to the email registered at the system with the initial log in. This will help to improve the quality of the taxi services as the system is very transparent both to clients and the companies using it. 

-How many taxi companies have incorporated their operations with the UBCab app? 

-5 taxi companies with 100 cars are using our app. Our main requirement is that cars to be official taxi service registered ones. Until recently we have been trying out the app and the trial was very successful and we have improved the lacking parts of the service as well.

-How many clients have been involved during the trial period? 

-Currently over 13 thousand users have downloaded the UBCab App and over 100 thousand orders were received, of which 30 percent were fulfilled. Mongolian Taxi Service Association, Fair Competition and Consumer Rights Authority and Public Transportation Authority all have agreed that public transportation entities should be smart system. There are many attempts to introduce different apps which are used in other countries. Our distinction will be the quality and reliability through the use of official taxi services.

During the experiment over 90 percent of the total orders were done through the UBCab app while the rest 10 percent was done through taxi call centers such as 19001616 and 70101616. This trend reveals that UB residents prefer to use smart systems.

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Speaker Tours Local SME Factories

July 5 (UB Post) On Saturday, Speaker of the Parliament Z.Enkhbold visited the factories of Sor Cahsmere and Khishigten Gal to become acquainted with their activities.

Beginning the visit, head of the Sor Cashmere factory D.Battsengel introduced that they are executing all stages of production to make raw materials into finished products.

Sor Cashmere took out a three billion MNT loan at an eight percent annual interest rate for five years from the Development Bank of Mongolia. They spent the money on equipment upgrades. The company bought eight digital knitting machines from German company Stoll. The equipment allows the company to produce 20,000 to 24,000 units of product per year.

Executive Director B.Barkhasvadi told the Speaker that 1.8 billion MNT of the loan has been repaid, and that the remaining balance will be paid according to a repayment schedule.

The company said that expanding the factory's operations also diversified the company's export products and improved their quality. As of today, the company employs over hundred people and processes 60 to 100 tons of cashmere, 200 tons of camel wool, and over 30 tons of yak wool. Sor Cashmere collaborates with over 200 domestic weaving workshops, and exports their products to over 10 countries.

Khishigten Gal produces clothing and beauty products. Khishigtan Gal began studying beauty product manufacturing in 2011. In cooperation with specialized laboratories in the U.S., the company created formulas for products that suit the Mongolian market.

Chairman E.Saruulbileg said that the company sells a few brand name products, such as S'Miss and BB Cream, and that the company aims to expand its beauty product factory.

The following day, Speaker Enkhbold visited the building materials factory of EKhBUTryest, an energy construction company, and became acquainted with the activities of Mongol Bitumen Industrial, which produces the main raw material for paved roads, bitumen.

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Ulaanbaatar

Khusugtun Performance at Choijin Lama Temple, July 9

July 6 (gogo.mn) Choijin Lama Temple Museum is organising "Khusugtun at night's Choijin Lama Temple" event on Thursday July 9th to promote museum tourism in Mongolia. The temple museum has been promoting night visits to the museum since 2011 and each year the events are getting more interesting and attracting more visitors.

Khusugtun is a Mongolian ethnic music band that has grown famous much in Asia for winning 2nd place at Asia's Got Talent 2015. Previous achievements of Khusugtun include performing at BBC Proms Human Planet in 2011, and performing their music at Netflix hit serial "Marco Polo" season 1.

Program of the event:

21:00 – 22:00 Visiting the Temple Museum of Choijin Lama
22:00 – 23:30 Khusugtun performance
23:30 – 01:00 Night visit at the Museum.

Guests will enjoy a delightful evening at the ancient temple museum watching extraordinary Buddhist heritages, listening to wonderful Mongolian music and staying in the garden tasting various Mongolian drinks and snacks.

Ticket price: 80000 MNT

PS: please dress warm for the chilly Mongolian summer evening.

Contact for more info at: +976-9902-6081 and 11-324766. They also have an event created on FaceBook https://www.facebook.com/events/392238350970239/

Khusugtun performances:

Prepared by Zola, General Manager of Mongolian Tourism Association for GoGo Travel. © All rights reserved 2015.

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Naadam Super Show to Bring Rock and Pop Stars to Crocus

Ulaanbaatar, July 6 (MONSTAME) The "Naadam's Super Show" will bring together generations of Mongolia's rock and pop stars at Crocus event hall on this July 10.  

This year marks the 809th anniversary of the Great Mongol Empire and the 94th anniversary of the People's Revolution.

Famous bands will perform, including Haranga, Nisvanis, Chingis Khaan, Khar Sarnai, Camerton, Nomin Talst, Lumino, Lemons and A-Sound, and singers such as B.Sarantuya, S.Naran, B.Bayartsetseg, also a violinist Ch.Delgertsetseg (Degi), along with the best DJs. 

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Diplomacy

MP Batchimeg: Ulaanbaatar Will Provide A Convenient Dialogue Environment for OSCE

Ulaanbaatar, July 6 (MONTSAME) Mongolian delegation, comprising M.Batchimeg and L.Bold MP and Ts.Narantungalag, a head of Foreign Relations Division of the Parliament secretary, is taking part in the 24th Annual Session of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)'s Parliamentary Assembly, in Helsinki of Finland.

This year's theme is "Recalling the Spirit of Helsinki", a reference to the 40th anniversary of the OSCE's founding document, the Helsinki Final Act, signed in the Finnish capital in 1975. 

The OSCE has been expanding to become the largest international organization for security cooperation, conducting now operations also in Mongolia and in countries of Central Asia. Mongolia joined the organization in 2012 as its 57th member, our State Great Khural has become a member of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

In connection with the European Union's sanction against Russia, the Government of Finland denied the visa applications of five Russian MPs, including the chairman of State Duma S.Naryshkin. The Russian side said its parliamentary delegation will skip this session, however, it will attend the OSCE PA meeting in Ulaanbaatar this September. Delegates from Germany, the UK, Austria, Norway, Spain, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Portugal have given speeches at the meeting, criticizing the above decision of the Finnish government.

M.Batchimeg, the head of Parliamentary group for relations with the OSCE PA, said Mongolia will put efforts to create more convenient for dialogue conditions at the Autumn Session of the PA in Ulaanbaatar.

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Pakistan, India, Iran and Mongolia will get SCO membership by July 10

Ufa, Russia, July 6 (Dispatch News Desk): Pakistan, India, Iran and Mongolia will get Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) membership on July 10 while the decision about Afghanistan will arrive after deliberation in the SCO summit scheduled to be held in Ufa Russia during July 8-10.

English language will be included in the list of official languages of SCO as Russian and Chinese are two official languages of the group. SCO cooperation covers wide-ranging areas such as security, the economy, transportation, culture, disaster relief and law enforcement, with security and economic cooperation being the priorities.

According to diplomatic sources, China and Russia have formally approved expansion of the organization after getting consent of other members.

According to details, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Ufa will mark historic expansion of the organization as the first time the grouping is being expanded since it was set up in 2001. Pakistan, India, Iran, Afghanistan and Mongolia are having the status of observers in SCO.

The SCO include China, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan while India, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and Mongolia are observers.

Background and work of SCO:

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Khaan Quest concludes, multinational relationships flourish

TAVANTOLGOI, Mongolia, July 1 (DVIDS) — More than 1,200 service members from 22 nations gathered at the parade field of Five Hills Training Area as the closing ceremony and festivities marked the successful end to Exercise Khaan Quest 2015, June 30, 2015.

The exercise, in it's 13th iteration, is co-sponsored by U.S. Army Pacific and U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, and hosted annually by the Mongolian Armed Forces. Khaan Quest is designed to strengthen the capabilities of U.S., Mongolia and other partner nations in international peace support operations. 

"The challenges we face globally yield unprecedented opportunities for increased cooperation," said Maj. Gen. Greg Charles Bilton, the deputy commanding general of operations for U.S. Army Pacific, during his speech at the closing ceremony. "The nations represented here demonstrate the willingness to develop unified responses and bring together diverse military capabilities to foster and develop more capable peace support forces."

The multinational services worked with one another in peacekeeping and stability scenarios presented during the command post and field training exercise. Both of these exercises provided training through simulated events, such as IED awareness, riot training and combat first aid. 

"A key objective of Khaan Quest 2015 was to enhance professional relationships and improve readiness and interoperability," Bilton explained. "The challenging training environment has greatly enhanced teamwork and fostered long-lasting friendships."

Humanitarian programs were in full swing during the exercise, with approximately 150 multinational medical and engineering service members engaging the community, of which 100 participated from the U.S. Engineering civic action program projects and the health services support engagement extended dental, medical, veterinary and construction-rebuilding services to the local, underserved communities within Mongolia's capital, Ulaanbaatar.

Altogether, the humanitarian outreach programs equipped two local special-needs schools with more than 9,500 feet of perimeter fencing, a basketball court, 6 gardens, and new electrical wiring, windows and doors. Additionally, medical professionals were able to provide patient care to more than 4,800 Mongolian citizens and veterinary services to 330 farm animals.

The relationship between the U.S. and Mongolia militaries is one of mutual respect, and through this exercise it continues to flourish within the military forces and into the communities.

"To our Mongolian colleagues, thank you, again, for hosting this event and congratulations on your success in conducting a phenomenal exercise," concluded Bilton during his closing remarks. "I would also like to recognize the efforts of the civilians, officers and soldiers from Marine Forces Pacific who have led the United States exercise planning effort with our Mongolian counterparts this year as well as the USARPAC and Alaskan National Guard personnel who have contributed to the conduct of the exercise."

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Singapore names its next Ambassador to Mongolia

SINGAPORE, July 6 (CAN): Mr Yip Wei Kiat, concurrently Singapore's Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, has been appointed as the Republic's next Ambassador to Mongolia, announced the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday (Jul 6).

Mr Yip, who resides in Seoul, will present his credentials to President of Mongolia Tsakhia Elbegdorj on Tuesday.

The Ministry said Mr Yip joined in 1993 and served as Director-General (Northeast Asia) from February 2012 to August 2014. Over the last decade he also held several roles including Consul-General in Shanghai from February 2008 to January 2012, and as Deputy Chief of Mission in Beijing from November 2005 to December 2007.  

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Cosplay, J-pop, and udon on Cultural Day of Japan

By Michelle Borok

July 5 (UB Post) On Saturday, the Embassy of Japan in Mongolia hosted Cultural Day of Japan at the National Amusement Park, a day of food, music, sport and creativity celebrating cultural exchange.

Before K-pop there was J-pop, and before there was major corporate interest in Mongolia's natural resources, Japan was in Mongolia, providing aid, investment, training for sumo champions, and diplomacy, first establishing those ties in 1972. Mongolia has lots of diplomatic ties with decades of history, but Japan's Ambassador to Mongolia, Takenori Shimizu, has crafted a very special relationship between Japan and Mongolia during his tenure as ambassador, in appointments that have spanned 38 years. His love of Mongolian culture, people, and the land stands out among the foreign diplomats residing in the capital, and has been beneficial in Mongolia and Japan making great strides in economic partnership in recent years.

The Government of Japan has been investing in the export of Japanese culture for the last few years, focusing on a "Cool Japan" message. For decades, Japan has been the international capital of "cool", but as other countries have joined the race in generating innovations in culture, technology and the arts, and as the hallmarks of Japanese culture have been appropriated and redefined, there is a strong push to remind the world that Japan still has a hold on the championship title.

Japan Culture Day put a spotlight on many quintessentially Japanese cultural exports popular with young people: martial arts, manga (graphic novels), anime (animated films and series), J-pop (pop music), and cosplay (detailed costume tributes to characters from manga, anime, video games and films).

The concert stage at the park was where the main events were held. There was a karate demonstration by a Japanese master, a J-pop singing contest, a cosplay competition, and displays of katana (Japanese sword) sparring. Mongolian winners of the song, cosplay and manga drawing competitions were awarded with the opportunity to travel to Japan.

Aside from the cosplay contestants, guests of the park who were there for Japan Culture Day could be easily spotted wearing colorful cotton kimonos and more modern Japanese fashions, and sporting the same stylish, asymmetrical haircuts found on Tokyo streets.

A tent pavilion offered guests the chance to have manga portraits drawn, watch demonstrations of Japanese calligraphy, learn about travel opportunities, or to try to find a steady hand in a popular Japanese carnival game of scooping up heavy, rubber balls from a pool with a thin, paper "net".

Vendors sold cosplay essentials, and Yamato Dining was serving up authentic plates of Japanese curry and hot bowls of tasty udon. There were also photo opportunities for posing with cosplayers in front of illustrated backdrops, or with Miss World Mongolia, elegantly dressed in a kimono, in front of a backdrop of falling sakura blossoms.

Cultural Day of Japan was free to park guests and designed with care to be family friendly. The day's events were made possible by the Embassy of Japan in Mongolia, National Amusement Park, Japan Endless Discovery, and Japan National Tourism Organization.

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Social, Environmental & Other

Mongolia Renews Labor Agreement with South Korea

July 6 (news.mn) Mongolian Labor Minister S Chinzorig is currently making an official visit to S.Korea where he is having meetings with his counterpart, Korean Minister of Labor and Employment, Lee Ki Kweon. Top on the agenda is discussion of labor cooperation program under which Mongolia supplies an annual quota of workers.

During last week's meeting a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) entitled "Labor Force in Korea - Labor Agreement" was signed. This is a comprehensive document consisting of 17 provisions and 83 clauses. The agreement was first made in 2006 and has since been renewed in 2008, 2011 and 2013.

The Mongolian Government is naturally keen to increase the annual quota. It should be noted, however, that the quota depends upon the specific demand for workers from Korean employers. Over the last five years Korean demand for foreign workers has been decreasing.

As a result of the program, the Mongolian workers gain professional skills and experience during their time in Korea. Upon their return home, the Mongolian Government is providing a range of incentives for them to set up their own companies (small and medium enterprises), including a loan program, tax breaks and equipment purchase support. It should be noted that this is unrelated to the current MoU.

Since the start of the program, Mongolia has supplied 30,000 workers to S.Korea, most of who work in factories. Currently, 8193 Mongolians are working in Korea, 713 people went this year under the labor contract program having first taken a Korean language proficiency test and met other preliminary requirements.

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Yes we Khaan: Fighting for equality in Mongolia

Gay marriage has been firmly in the spotlight recently, but in many parts of the world the LGBT community is still persecuted. In Mongolia, there is a brave transgender activist who is standing up for his community's rights. 

June 11 (No-Yolo) Friday, the 22nd of May 2015 was a momentous day in the history of my country. With the eyes of the world watching, Ireland became the first nation on earth to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote. A small island that had for centuries been held within the moralistic shackles of the Catholic Church and where homosexuality was a crime up until 1992, almost 70% of the Irish population made the decision to embrace fairness and equality by voting "yes". Labelled in the run-up to the referendum as "the civil rights issue of a generation", the overwhelming result was viewed by many as a powerful statement of acceptance towards a section of the population that had been oppressed for so long.

Ireland now joins a list of 20 countries where same-sex marriage is legal; a list that, with the exception of South Africa and Israel, doesn't include a single nation from Africa or Asia. It is also a list that stands in stark contrast to the 80 countries that still have anti-homosexual laws in place, including the 10 countries that believe that homosexuality is a crime meriting death.

One country where homophobic sentiment has seen a rise in the number of violent attacks on members of the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transsexual) community is Mongolia. The enormous Central Asian country, most famous for its ancient emperor Genghis Khaan, has a population of just over 3 million but thanks to a recent mining boom, now has one of the fasting growing economies in the world. A relatively impoverished nation that had been a Soviet satellite state before communism fell in 1991, this economic growth has seen poverty levels drop by 11% in the space of 2 years. But with vast amounts of foreign investment flooding in to the country, it is clear that some are profiting more than most from the country's mineral wealth.

As the Mongolian economy has expanded, the gap between rich and poor has followed suit. This has led to an increase in social tensions among the marginalised of society and an environment that is ripe for extreme right-wing views and accusations against 'outsiders'. As a consequence of this rising disquiet, a number of ultra-nationalist groups have cropped up in Mongolia over the past few years. They portray themselves as patriots and guardians of Mongolian traditions, attacking and threatening those they view as threats to Mongolian 'pure blood'; mainly foreigners, inter-racial couples and members of the LGBT community.

One notable ultra-nationalist group is Tsagaan Khass (White Swastika), whose 100 or so members dress in black uniforms and wear the swastika with pride. In an interview with The Guardian in 2010, the group's leadership spoke of their admiration for Adolf Hitler, hailing the manner in which he fixed the German economy in the 1930s while "preserving national identity". Although the group has publicly distanced itself from violence in recent years (in order to focus on addressing environmental issues caused by foreign mining companies), few within the Mongolian LGBT community believe that the violent attacks and threats have ceased.

One of the small number of activists standing up to this rising hatred is Anaraa Nyamdorj, a transgender man who has been championing gay rights in Mongolia for over a decade and who in 2007 founded Mongolia's first LGBT rights organisation – the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Centre. A fluent English, Russian and Japanese speaker, he has represented Mongolian LGBT human rights both nationally and internationally and was a speaker at the International LGBT Human Rights Conference in Montreal in 2006. He organised the first HIV/AIDS human rights conference to be held in Mongolia in 2007 and has published numerous reports in English and Mongolian on LGBT human rights.

He was also kind enough to talk to No-Yolo about the issues currently facing LGBT and minority rights in Mongolia.

- Could you tell us a little about the LGBT Mongolia Centre; when it was set up, what its aims are and how it has been received in Ulaanbaatar and Mongolia as a whole?

The Center was set up in March 2007 to implement equal rights for LGBT people in Mongolia. Frustratingly, it took us nearly 3 years to get officially registered as a non-government organisation (legal firms had been claiming that the name conflicted with "Mongolian customs and traditions and has the potential to set the wrong example for youth and adolescents"), but since then we have worked tirelessly to engage multilateral platforms and ensure that the Mongolian government recognizes the issue of LGBT rights. This particular engagement tactic is called the "Boomerang effect", and it's especially crucial for social activists that work on behalf of so-called new (for the context) human rights issues, such as SOGIE ( Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity/Expression) issues in Mongolia.

Our work is done on two levels: we serve both the LGBT community and the wider public. Earlier this year we set up programmes dealing with legal, health and youth issues, while we are also in the process of restructuring programmes that we already have in place (such as the Rural Outreach and Advocacy Programmes), or closing programmes that didn't engage sufficiently with the community in question (such as the Trans Programme).

Having campaigned on behalf of LGBT rights since the early 2000's, I must admit that it has taken a long time for other, mainstream human rights NGOs to come on board with SOGIE issues. This attitude still persists, and we often find ourselves excluded from crucial engagements and policy talks on LGBT issues because we were not informed in advance by the organizers. It's a challenge when even fellow human rights defenders see SOGIE issues as superfluous.

- Have attitudes towards sexual orientation changed in Mongolia since the end of communism?

A lot of water has flown under the bridge since Mongolia became a democratic country in 1991, but the biggest problem in terms of attitudes towards sexuality was the lack of information and education on SOGIE issues that was available to the Mongolian public. Until the LGBT Centre was set up, any information on these issues was available solely via the media and pop culture  (movies and foreign tv series, etc.)

The media has played an instrumental – if albeit at times negative – role in shaping attitudes towards sexual orientation by stereotyping LGBT people and using derogatory language to describe us, but this is slowly getting better. We're a long way from living in a society where same-sex unions are recognized on a par with opposite-sex unions, but we're hoping to make headway once the upcoming anti-discrimination legislation is passed. 

-Through your work with the LGBT Centre and running your bar, have many of your members and customers experienced discrimination or attacks because of their sexual orientation?

I don't think there is a single lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans person in Mongolia who could say that they have never faced some sort of discrimination or violence on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Very often, our community members will downplay a hate attack, believing that only an act of physical or sexual violence should be worth reporting, and so they leave out the verbal and psychological attacks when approaching us for help. 

-Have you yourself been the victim of hate crime/attacks? How have the authorities treated these crimes?

I have been subjected to many instances of violence in my life, along with being denied the recognition of my marriage (pre-transition, so it was a same-sex union with my ex-wife who is an Australian citizen, and which made our lives hell when she needed to get her Mongolian visa renewed). Post-transition I was kicked out of my house by my family and denied accommodation by landlords who would not rent to us because of our relationship. I have also been fired and let go of from jobs because of my identity.

The worst hate attack I have experienced came in February 2012 when an ex-boyfriend of my sister's came into the bar I owned at the time and punched me twice in the face, while shouting "So they say you're a guy now. Let's fight it out like men". As a result of the attack, I was left with a fractured orbital bone (eye socket), and was required to go back and forth to the police station where I had to state my case again and again. Although the attacker was found guilty in September 2012 by the first instance criminal court, the Chingeltei District Criminal Court, he was never handed a sentence, not even a fine. A few months later, while I was going through the State Criminal Database, I couldn't even find my case in their files. So he appears to have been exonerated from all wrong-doing.

Many of our community members do not approach the police when attacked for fear of secondary victimization, and rightly so: recently one trans woman went to the police after being defrauded by a taxi driver. Not only was her case never registered and no measures taken against the taxi driver; the woman's hair was pulled by the police officer on duty, which lead to the trans girl becoming indignant and slapping the police officer in question.

Very often, even when community members do report a crime and lodge criminal complaints, we find that our cases are treated lightly, and our injuries, both physical and mental, are belittled. As a result, a sizable number of LGBT victims of these instances of violence will withdraw their complaints because of slow police work and the police officers' attitudes.

- How would you assess the current state of LGBT rights in Mongolia? Is it something that is highlighted in the media or at a political level?

We're fairly happy that we're seeing progress in the LGBT rights situation in Mongolia, primarily thanks to the advocacy efforts we've undertaken on the international stage, notably at the UN Human Rights Council (Universal Periodic Review in November 2010 and May 2015) as well as with various treaty bodies (CAT in 2010, CCPR in 2011 and CESCR in 2015). These engagements have helped ensure that LGBT rights issues are firmly on the agenda of the Mongolian government and our ultimate goal is to see a comprehensive, anti-discrimination legislation passed in Mongolia that will protect every citizen from discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Since supporting our registration as an NGO in 2009, the National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia has been proactive in engaging with SOGIE issues; ensuring that the rights of LGBT citizens were addressed in the 12th Periodic Report on the Human Rights Situation in Mongolia in 2013, as well as in the hate crimes definition in the new draft of the Criminal Code.

Following talks with experts from the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on 4 June 2015, a government representative declared that despite the slow progress being made on protecting sexuality minorities in Mongolia, the government is committed to protecting everyone equally from all forms of discrimination. While we await the results of these talks, we're continuously working to ensure that the 2010 and 2015 UPR reports are implemented. We see continued engagement of all relevant ministries and agencies in charge of specific issues such as education, healthcare and social protection as crucial to achieving our goals. 

- Is there much in the way of Gay tourism in Mongolia?

Tourism is one of the areas of income generation for the country, but there has been little done to create gay-friendly tourism in Mongolia. In 2013, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism passed a sector-wide anti-discrimination policy, but I am not sure to what extent companies are targeting the 'pink dollar'. The Centre wants to do a survey on the Mongolian tourism sector and help train tourist companies on providing LGBT-friendly services starting this year. Let's see how we get on. 

- Along with working on behalf of LGBT right, you also have experience working with refugees; where are the refugees usually from and as a whole, how are they treated and dealt with in Mongolia? Do many get the chance to develop and contribute to society?

Having worked with refugees in Mongolia, I can say that they are, at best, tolerated by the Mongolian government, which continues to completely overlook its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as under its own Constitution. Since the status of refugees is not legally recognised in the population movement frameworks, asylum seekers and refugees are allowed to stay in the country until their asylum application is processed, but in the meantime they are not allowed the same rights that a legally residing foreigner would be allowed (which are essentially the same economic, social and cultural rights that a Mongolian national is entitled to).

Very often, a newborn refugee child's registration causes problems; accessing education and childcare for their children continues to be an issue for our refugees. Because the majority of our asylum seekers and refugees are Inner Mongolians from the People's Republic of China, they are often abused and mistreated by people like their landlords, neighbours and other people who deal with them on a daily basis.

Asylum rights is one of the most backward areas of human rights in Mongolia, with no NGOs dedicated to supporting the rights of asylum seekers or refugees. Being personally committed to refugee issues, I find myself giving advice to asylum seekers from time to time, but I wish I could do more than that. 

-What is your opinion of ultra-nationalist groups like Tsagaan Khass? A Central Asian neo-Nazi group is just so bizarre, particularly given Mongolia's history; what do you think their reasoning is?

Ultra-nationalism that is outwardly and ideologically very fascist, is a whole social phenomenon that deserves its own article. I see this phenomenon as echoing the social disparities and inequalities that have grown wider in our society and left many people on the margins.

The inequality and resulting violence that manifests itself in disadvantaged areas breeds radicalisation of marginalised people, and this is evident in groups like Tsagaan Khass; ultra-nationalism with a fascist face in Mongolia. People are easier to manipulate when they have little or no access to information and knowledge. The very fact that these self-professed ultra-nationalists are often found trying to violently impose rigid gender and sexuality-related norms, proclaiming that what they propagate is based on Mongolian traditions, proves that they have no knowledge of the tradition of tolerance and acceptance of sexuality and gender in Mongolia. Ultra-nationalist movements may call themselves what they like, but the fact remains that they engage in extreme violence.

Link to article

 

Mogi: author is a douche, read last paragraph. Where was the editor on this?

A Surprise-Filled 15th Tchaikovsky Competition: Mongolian Baritone Wins Gran Prix

By Raymond Stults

July 5 (The Moscow Times) This year's 15th International Tchaikovsky Competition came to an end on Thursday and Friday evenings with successive gala concerts in its two host cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg. Taking part in one or both concerts were most of the competition's prize winners, accompanied in each case by the orchestra of St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theater under the baton of Mariinsky general and artistic director, as well as co-chairman of the competition's organizing committee, Valery Gergiyev.

Despite some outstanding winners in violin, cello and voice, especially during the Soviet era, the competition's principal contest has always been that of its pianists. This year's competition proved no exception. Moreover, the group of six that emerged as piano finalists was probably the strongest of any in post-Soviet times. Indeed, every one of them seemed a possible candidate for first prize.

Going into the piano contest, which was held in Moscow, the favorite for top honors was Lukas Geniusas, 24, a popular figure among local music lovers and designated as representing both Lithuania and Russia. But in the critical final round, he followed up a truly brilliant account of Pyotr Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 2 with an understated and rather dull performance of Sergei Rachmaninov's virtuoso Piano Concerto No. 3.

First prize went instead to a virtual unknown hereabouts, 27-year-old Dmitry Masleyev. Though a graduate of the Moscow Conservatory, Masleyev has largely pursued his career in Italy, where he is now an intern at the Lake Como International Piano Academy. Displaying great dexterity and a musical sensibility all too rare among present-day Russian pianists, he produced an utterly phenomenal performance of Sergei Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3.

Geniusas ended up sharing second prize with an extremely promising 19-year-old from the United States, George Li.

Audience favorite among the finalists was Frenchman Lucas Debargue, 24, who showed uncommon technical capability and outstanding sensitivity throughout the competition, but was relegated to fourth and final place. As a measure of compensation, however, he received the special prize awarded by the Moscow Music Critics Association, as a result of which he is due to return to Moscow for a concert in December.

The cello contest, held in St. Petersburg, came up as usual with a strong and diverse group of contenders, eight from Russia and 17 representing 12 countries of Europe, Asia and the Americas. Favored to win was Moscow cellist Alexander Buzlov, 31. But Buzlov's elegant playing was overshadowed by the startling virtuosity of 20-year-old Romanian Andrei Ionut Ionita. Ionita took first prize, Buzlov the third.

The competition's violin contest once produced with such outstanding winners as Viktor Tretyakov and Gidon Kremer. But the six contests held since 1994 have failed to come up with talent even approaching that level, and in three of the six cases, including this year's, the jury has declined to award a first prize. What I heard of the violinists, who competed in Moscow, was of generally good quality, but hardly exciting.

This year's vocal contest, held in St. Petersburg, was dominated by Russians — 24 of them among its 40 contestants — and proved nearly as mediocre as the contest of 2011. Perhaps it no longer really belongs in the Tchaikovsky Competition.

The competition's biggest surprise occurred with the award of the competition's Grand Prize following Friday's gala concert in St. Petersburg. Carrying with it the whopping sum of $100,000, the award was available to be given, or not given, presumably by the combined juries, to one of the first-prize winners.

Either Masleyev or Ionita seemed the likely possible winner. But instead, the award went to Mongolian baritone Ariunbaatar Ganbaatar, 27, who took first prize for male singers in the vocal contest.

From what I heard and saw of Ganbaatar, in person at the Moscow gala and via the Internet, he possesses quite a powerful, smooth and well-tutored voice, together with a very winning manner on stage. But the pair of familiar arias he sang, one from Gioachino Rossini's The Barber of Seville," the other from Tchaikovsky's "The Queen of Spades," I have on many occasions heard sung much more sensitively and idiomatically.

Surely, Ganbaatar could not have been picked by the juries, each of which was fully occupied with its own particular contest throughout the competition and many of whose members scattered to the four winds soon after the close of the awards ceremony last Wednesday. Whoever in fact made the choice, it struck me as possibly more a political than an artistic decision, perhaps meant to boost Russian-Mongolian relations or give the Mongolian economy a shot in the arm by sending Ganbaatar home to Ulan Bator with total winnings, including his first-prize money, of $130,000 (Mogi: what a douche).  

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'The challenges are going to be constant' Welsh explorer who set record walking solo across Mongolia admits he has underestimated next venture

Adventurer Ash Dykes wants to become the first person to walk 1,800 miles through Madagascar

July 3 (Wales Online) A Welsh trailblazer who became the first person ever to walk solo across Mongolia has said he has "underestimated" his next record-breaking challenge.

Adventurer Ash Dykes, 24, has set his sights on entering the record books again by becoming the first person to walk 1,800 miles down the spine of the mountainous and jungle-covered African island of Madagascar.

It will see him dodge deadly freshwater crocodiles, hack his way through dense jungle, traverse five gruelling mountain ranges and cross unforgiving deserts.

But after recently spending 10 days on the island to plan his challenge and trek through the jungles and mountains he has admitted it will be a lot harder than he ever imagined.

'Fully confident I can complete the trek'

Ash said: "I underestimated the scale of this challenge because I had the confidence of completing Mongolia.

"But now I have gone out to Madagascar I have seen how big and steep the mountains are and how incredibly dense the jungle is.

"I have also learned the crocodiles will be waking up from their hibernation during my challenge and will be extremely angry.

"I am feeling much more prepared now and am fully confident I can complete the trek."

Ash was crowned National Adventurer of the Year this year after spending 78 days alone crossing the 1,500 miles of unforgiving deserts and steppe of Mongolia in 2014.

The world's greatest living explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes praised him for the world first and described it as "an example of great determination".

Ash, from Colwyn Bay, met his adventuring idol recently and revealed he told him: "Don't kill yourself this time!"

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Mongolia Tops Chinggis Khaan Judo Grand Prix with Five Gold

July 6 (gogo.mn) Chinggis Khan Judo Grand Prix revealed the champions for this year and athletes earned Olympic Qualification points.

Below is the medal result of countries competing at Chinggis Khaan Judo Grand Prix 2015 Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

 

Nation

1st place

2nd place

3rd place

5th place

7th place

1.

Mongolia (MGL)

5

3

10

6

6

2.

Japan (JPN)

3

2

3

0

2

3.

China (CHN)

2

2

2

2

4

4.

France (FRA)

1

1

1

3

1

5.

Austria (AUT)

1

0

1

2

1

6.

Great Britain (GBR)

1

0

1

1

0

7.

Canada (CAN)

1

0

0

0

0

8.

Germany (GER)

0

2

1

2

1

9.

Korea, South (KOR)

0

1

1

2

1

10.

Sweden (SWE)

0

1

1

1

2

11.

Hungary (HUN)

0

1

0

0

1

12.

Gabon (GAB)

0

1

0

0

0

13.

Iran (IRI)

0

0

2

0

0

14.

Kazakhstan (KAZ)

0

0

1

3

2

15.

Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (PRK)

0

0

1

1

0

15.

Russia (RUS)

0

0

1

1

0

17.

Uzbekistan (UZB)

0

0

1

0

2

18.

Angola (ANG)

0

0

1

0

0

19.

Finland (FIN)

0

0

0

1

0

19.

Kyrgyzstan (KGZ)

0

0

0

1

0

19.

Morocco (MAR)

0

0

0

1

0

19.

Slovenia (SLO)

0

0

0

1

0

23.

Georgia (GEO)

0

0

0

0

2

24.

Luxembourg (LUX)

0

0

0

0

1

24.

Serbia (SRB)

0

0

0

0

1

24.

United States of America (USA)

0

0

0

0

1

Link to article

 

Should You Go to Mongolia in Winter?

March 5 (Go! Girl Guides) As much as that title sounds like a joke, I promise it's not! You can definitely go to Mongolia, but it's not without its challenges. Let's look and see if you're intrepid/crazy enough to brave the weather. Although if you're living on the East Coast of the US right now, you're probably well-suited for a Mongolian trip already!

First, keep in mind that if you go in the summer, you still need to be responsible enough to keep the fire in the yurt going all night in order not to freeze. The importance of this cannot be overstated in winter. On the upside, it's much cheaper to go to a yurt in the winter, and you probably won't need to share you're sleeping space with anyone else. The host family will probably be more attentive to you, too.

Second, of course staying in a lonely yurt is not the only option. The Ice Festival is held each February and is astounding. Lake Khovsgol freezes over, and nomads and locals come together to ice wrestle (!), dog sled and horse sleigh, as well as build huge ice sculptures and hold skating competitions. There are not a lot of tourists or English spoken, but if you can handle -35C and a hefty price tag (we're talking thousands if you want to take an all-inclusive tour), it's worth it.

The last wintry must is the Thousand Camel Festival. Nomads compete in races and polo on their camels, as well as compete to load and unload a yurt off a camel. You can even place bets, and it's easy to get over the language barrier since the camels wear the medals they've won in previous years.

So, should you go? Sure, if you have the money and plenty of Gore-Tex!

Have you been to Mongolia in winter? What would you suggest?

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Top 10 unusual holiday destinations where the terror risk is low: Mongolia

July 2015 (Telegraph) The threat of terrorism is rated "high" in more than 30 countries around the world, according to the Foreign Office, with summer holiday favourites such as Spain and France given the same rating as Libya, Pakistan and Somalia. Here are 10 "low" risk destinations that might surprise you.

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Mongolia

Only 6,000 Britons head to Mongolia each year. Those that do can explore vast, rugged landscapes and traditonal celebrations. "For atmosphere as well as sporting prowess, few things can top Bayan-Olgii's Kazakh Eagle Festival in September, when riders in traditional garb perform hunting displays with their golden eagles in the foothills of the Altai Mountains," says Telegraph Travel's Chris Moss. "Blue Wolf (00976 7042 2772; bluewolftravel.com) is a respected local specialist; Steppes (0843 636 8408; steppestravel.co.uk) can organise trips to the Mongolian Altai."

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This Happened Here Photos: Mongolian Eagles Hunt

July 2 (Discovery News) A small tribe in the Mongolian Altai Mountains hunts with a rather unusual tool... golden eagles.

In the newest edition of Seeker Network's "This Happened Here," two Kasakh members have taken the blindfold off their Golden Eagle so he may hunt for food for their people.

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Resolution Submitted on Celebrating Tsedenbal's 100th Birthday in 2016

Ulaanbaatar, July 3 (MONTSAME) Next year marks the 100th birth anniversary of Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal, the former leader of Mongolia. Ch.Khurelbaatar MP presented July 3 the draft resolution on celebrating this anniversary to the Speaker Z.Enkhbold.

It is more than a mere expedience to give truthful information to the younger generations about the former leaders of Mongolia and their historic roles, as well as the history of modern state of Mongolia, its starting points, policies and goals, actions taken by the new governance and their results. It is also important to study the modern history from a scientific perspective and to reflect on the historic lessons, said Ch.Khurelbaatar MP.

The draft resolution aims mainly at restoring the reputation of the socialist leader, and at immortalizing his deeds in Mongolia's history.

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How Democracy Killed the Mongol Empire

July 2 (E.C. Ambrose) This week-end, we'll be celebrating Independence Day, and all that it stands for:  freedom, justice, democracy.  Enjoy your cookout and fireworks.  This year, we also celebrate another milestone in self-determination, the signing of the Magna Carta by King John of England, acquiescing to the demands of the barons, and paving the way for future battles and statements of rights.  But during that key year of 1215, something else was happening on the borders of Europe, something much more alarming to the citizens of Eastern Europe in particular:  the Mongol Invasion.

These scrappy horsemen from the steppes, under the leadership of Genghis Khan as he is termed in English, determined in 1206 to begin their expansion.  In fairly short order, they had conquered many of the other tribes of the steppes, spreading outward into northern China, up into Russia, and down into the Middle East.  They sent emissaries offering alliances if the people ahead of their movement would surrender willingly, and they destroyed many cities and peoples who did not.

They moved so fast and attacked so furiously that the European border observers, who originally hoped that the strangers might join forces with them against the armies of Islam, became alarmed and began asking for aid from the Pope and the Holy Roman Empire.  The Mongols eventually established the largest contiguous land empire in history, outdone in its size only by the British Empire of several centuries later.

The influence of the Mongolian invasions on history and culture are still being examined these many centuries later–they are both lasting and far-reaching.  What might have happened to Europe if the Mongols had spread, as was their intent, all the way to the Atlantic?  And what stopped them from doing so?

The Mongol system of governance was not simply a monarchy in which the eldest son of the current ruler automatically became the ruler next, and thus passed the leadership down the same bloodline.  Instead, different tribes and factions had the right to put forth candidates, and the most suitable candidate (or the one who had the most allies in the Mongolian heartland) would be acclaimed as the Great Khan.  When Genghis passed away in 1227, therefore, the leaders of the far-flung armies–princes of the blood–had to return to Mongolia to participate in the council to determine the next ruler.

Genghis had four officially recognized sons, but he had designated Ogodei to succeed him, and divided leadership of many parts of the new empire among the other sons and grandsons, and his wishes were obeyed fairly readily.  When Ogodei passed away in 1241, many of the other princes were already unhappy, and the new council took longer, not accepting Ogodei's chosen successor as they had his father's.  Eventually, leadership passed to his nephew, who died on the way to meet a challenger from the same generation, Genghis's grandsons.  This in-fighting among the candidates for leadership resulted in long gaps during which Europe could breathe more easily.  And in the long-term, the system of governance which required gathering in council, debating and acclaiming a leader, rather than merely bowing to a clear successor, resulted in the fragmentation of Genghis's great enterprise.

In-fighting, back-biting, candidates accepting alliances in exchange for power-sharing, struggles to gain enough support to win the council. . .the foundations of democracy, even in such a distant place and time.

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