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Monday, August 10, 2015

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Monday, August 10, 2015

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Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original

 

Overseas Market

Mongolian Dollar Bonds Drop Most in Two Years as Copper Slumps

by Michael Kohn

August 5 (Bloomberg) Mongolia's dollar bonds are sliding at the fastest pace in almost two years as a slump in commodity prices dims prospects for the mineral-rich nation.

Sovereign notes due December 2022 dropped 5.1 percent in July, the biggest decline since August 2013, and have fallen on all but one day in the past four weeks, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The yield has jumped 118 basis points since the end of June to a three-month high of 7.95 percent as of 2:47 p.m. in Ulaanbaatar.

"The bonds' poor performance has been more a reflection of commodity-price softness than anything Mongolia specific," said Matt Hildebrandt, a Boston-based sovereign credit analyst at Eaton Vance Corp., which manages $307 billion of assets. "The bonds are already starting to look attractive."

The rising yields could increase borrowing costs for Prime Minister Chimed Saikhanbileg's government, which is planning a $1 billion dollar debt sale this year before elections in 2016. Copper, the nation's No. 1 export earner, is on the cusp of entering a bear market and the economy expanded at the slowest pace since 2009 in the first quarter.

Copper futures sank to the lowest level since July 2009 on Monday and traded at $5,194 a metric ton in London on Wednesday. A close at that level would be 20 percent less than the high of $6,481 on May 5, meeting the common definition of a bear market. Mongolia shipped $1.15 billion of copper in the first half, while coal was the second-largest export earner at $310 million, official data show.

Mine Expansion

Mongolia's economy expanded 4.4 percent from a year earlier in the first quarter, slowing from 7.8 percent last year and record growth of 17.3 percent in 2011. The tugrik has weakened 5.8 percent against the dollar over the past year.

"Emerging-market currencies and debt are under a great deal of pressure at the moment," said Nick Cousyn, chief operating officer in Ulaanbaatar at BDSec, the country's largest brokerage. "From a long-term perspective, yields on Mongolian sovereign debt are relatively attractive."

The dollar bonds due 2022 surged 8.2 percent in the second quarter as the government and Rio Tinto Group settled a two-year dispute over the funding of the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, the nation's biggest producer of the metal.

Economic growth will start to pick up next year due to election spending and a planned expansion of the Oyu Tolgoi mine, BDSec's Cousyn said. Mongolia's risk premium will narrow, he said.

The vote next year could cause more short-term volatility, said Eaton Vance's Hildebrandt. But as long as the central bank continues to run a prudent macro-economic policy and phase II of the Oyu Tolgoi project moves forward, the medium-term outlook looks constructive, he said.

Link to article

 

TRQ closed -0.61% Friday to US$3.27, -23.95% in last 3 months

Turquoise Hill Announces Financial Results and Review of Operations for the Second Quarter of 2015

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - August 05, 2015) - Turquoise Hill Resources today announced its financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2015. All figures are in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

HIGHLIGHTS

·         On May 18, 2015, the Oyu Tolgoi Underground Mine Development and Financing Plan was signed addressing key outstanding shareholder matters and setting out long-term funding of the project.

·         Following signing of the Underground Mine Development and Financing Plan, Turquoise Hill and Rio Tinto are advancing project financing and updating the underground feasibility study.

·         Oyu Tolgoi achieved a solid safety performance with an All Injury Frequency Rate of 0.22 per 200,000 hours worked for the first half of 2015.

·         Oyu Tolgoi recorded revenue of $421.3 million in Q2'15 on sales of 189,800 tonnes of concentrate, a 1.2% reduction over Q1'15 reflecting lower gold prices partially offset by higher concentrate sales.

·         Turquoise Hill reported income from continuing operations attributable to shareholders of $49.9 million.

·         Turquoise Hill generated operating cash flow of $239.2 million during Q2'15.

·         Concentrate production for Q2'15 increased 64.6% over Q1'15 due to a 20.1% increase in concentrator throughput and higher head grades.

·         In Q2'15, Oyu Tolgoi delivered record-setting concentrate production and throughput.

·         Copper and gold in concentrates for Q2'15 increased 64.6% and 176.7% respectively over Q1'15.

·         Oyu Tolgoi began accessing higher-grade material in Q2'15 and mining and processing of higher-grade ore is expected to continue into the second half of 2015.

·         Turquoise Hill continues to expect Oyu Tolgoi to produce 175,000 to 195,000 tonnes of copper and 600,000 to 700,000 ounces of gold in concentrates in 2015.

·         On July 9, 2015, Oyu Tolgoi marked the second anniversary of its first shipment of concentrate.

·         Turquoise Hill's cash and cash equivalents at June 30, 2015 were $1.2 billion.

Link to full release

 

Turquoise Hill Resources' (TRQ) CEO Jeff Tygesen on Q2 2015 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Turquoise Hill Resources Limited (NYSE:TRQ)

Q2 2015 Earnings Conference Call

August 06, 2015 10:00 AM ET

Executives

Tony Shaffer - IR

Jeff Tygesen - CEO

Steeve Thibeault - CFO

Stewart Beckman - SVP, Operations and Technical

Analysts

Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for joining us today. Welcome to the Turquoise Hill Resources Q2 2015 Financial Results held on August 6, 2015. The call is being recorded and will be available later today for replay.

I would now like to turn the meeting over to Mr. Tony Shaffer. Please go ahead.

Tony Shaffer - IR

Thank you, operator. I want to welcome you to our financial results conference call. Yesterday we released our second quarter 2015 results press release, MD&A and financial statements. These items are available on our Web site and SEDAR.

With me today is Jeff Tygesen, CEO; Steeve Thibeault, CFO; and Stewart Beckman, Senior Vice President of Operations and Technical. We will take your questions after our prepared remarks.

This call will include forward-looking statements. Please refer to the forward-looking language included in our press release and MD&A.

I would now like to turn the call over to Jeff.

Jeff Tygesen - CEO

Thank you, Tony. The second quarter was significant for Turquoise Hill with the signing of the underground agreement with the Mongolian Government. The agreement successfully resolved outstanding shareholder matters and is a major first step towards restarting underground development, which is where approximately 80% of Oyu Tolgoi's value resides.

Second quarter was strong in terms of production with Oyu Tolgoi reaching a number of all time highs. While production in the quarter was very good, we continue to work on a number of improvements which we hope will help to lever even stronger production. This morning I will start things off by providing a high level overview of the quarter. I will then turn the call over to Steeve, who will address the financials, and then to Stewart, who will cover off operations.

So for the second quarter there were a number of key takeaways I want to highlight. First, safety is a major focus throughout Oyu Tolgoi's operation and a critical aspect of our business. During the first half of the year, Oyu Tolgoi achieved a strong safety performance with an all injury frequency rate of 0.22 per 200,000 hours worked. I would like to commend the team at Oyu Tolgoi for being injury free for 88 days of the quarter. For such a new operation, this is a very impressive performance.

Second, revenues during the quarter were essentially flat over first quarter, although concentrate sales increased by 13%. Revenues reflected a drop in gold prices, partially offset by the increase in concentrate sales. Operating cash flow for the quarter was almost $240 million. Third, concentrate production in the quarter was strong as Oyu Tolgoi began accessing higher grade material. Concentrate production was the highest Oyu Tolgoi has seen since operations began due to increased throughput and higher grades. Second quarter mill throughput was also the best Oyu Tolgoi has experienced since the operations began. Increased throughput and higher grades led to significant increase in the production of copper and gold in concentrate over the first quarter. We expect to see improvements in throughput in the second half of the year after work was completed in the July shutdown.

Fourth, mining and processing of higher grade ore is expected to continue in the second half of 2015. Copper production is expected to be higher in the second half of the year than the first half. Gold production is expected to moderate in the second half of the year as grades begin to decline late in the third quarter. We are maintaining our production guidance for the year.

Lastly, following the signing of the underground agreement in May, we are progressing project financing and updating the feasibility study. Steeve will provide more details on project financing but we continue to expect signing by the end of 2015. The feasibility study, which we submitted to the Minerals Council in March of this year, has been tentatively accepted pending the updating of schedules and alignment with the underground agreement. That update is to be submitted to the Minerals Council in September.

Ahead of the final approvals by the respective boards an update in the capital estimate will be completed, we don't expect to see a material change in that update from current estimates. The updated capital estimate is expected to be done in the first quarter of 2016 with Board approval shortly thereafter. Overall, I am pleased with current operations and the progress we are making toward restarting underground development. We are working diligently and as quickly as possible to advance that development.

At this point, I am going to turn the call over to Steeve to discuss the financial aspects in more detail.

Steeve Thibeault - CFO

Stewart Beckman - SVP, Operations and Technical

Question-and-Answer Session

Link to full transcripts

 

Heady Days of Mining Boom Over as 'New Normal' Reigns, Rio Says

By Agnieszka De Sousa, David Stringer, Jesse Riseborough

August 6 (Bloomberg) Rio Tinto Group doesn't see the good old days of booming commodity prices and record profits coming back anytime soon.

China's economic slump and expanding mine output mean "challenging" times for the industry, Rio said in its earnings statement on Thursday. While the company has been insulated by lower costs, it reported a 43 percent drop in first-half profit after iron ore prices collapsed because of a global glut.

"The industry has traditionally been cyclical and people expect that one day the market will return to where it was a couple of years ago," Chief Executive Officer Sam Walsh said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. "We are expecting that the new normal will be somewhere in the middle between where we are now and where we've been."

The world's largest mining companies are confronting a China-led slowdown in commodities demand that's hurting profits and shares. While the industry will eventually see higher prices for raw materials, demand will grow at a pace slower than the past decade, Rio said.

The company posted underlying profit of $2.9 billion in the six months through June, down from $5.1 billion a year earlier. That exceeded the $2.5 billion average of eight analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. It will pay a dividend of 107.5 cents a share.

Rio remains the lowest-cost supplier of iron ore to China, with energy prices and currency rates helping to reduce its cash costs to $15.20 per metric ton, down from $16.20 a ton in the first half of the year, Walsh said.

"The new normal is actually signifying the return probably won't be to the point you left before prices started declining," Walsh told analysts in London today after reporting results. "It will still be a healthy place to be, but not the heady heights."

Link to article

Link to RIO results

Link to RIO results presentation, webcast

Related:

Rio Profit Beats Estimates on Cuts to Combat Iron-Ore SlumpBloomberg, August 6

Rio Tinto Faces Iron-Ore Doldrums Amid Slump It Helped AlongBloomberg, August 6

 

SGQ last traded C$0.60 Wednesday, 1878 closed -1.5% to HK$3.85

SouthGobi Resources Announces Results of Annual Meeting of Shareholders and Changes to the Board of Directors

HONG KONG, CHINA--(Marketwired - Aug. 6, 2015) - SouthGobi Resources Ltd. (TSX:SGQ)(HKSE:1878) (the "Company" or "SouthGobi") today announced the results of the Annual Meeting of Shareholders (the "AGM") held in Vancouver, Canada on August 6, 2015 and the changes to the board of directors (the "Board") of the Company.

The majority of shareholders voted in favour of all resolutions at the meeting as set out in the Company's Management Proxy Circular dated July 7, 2015 and the Supplement to Management Proxy Circular dated July 31, 2015 namely:

·         Fixing the number of directors to be elected at the Annual Meeting of Shareholders at eight. 

·         Election of Aminbuhe, André Deepwell, Yulan (Allen) Guo, W. Gordon Lancaster, Pierre Lebel, Ningqiao Li, Zhu Liu, and Jin Lan (Jacqueline) Quan as directors of the Company. 

·         Appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as auditors of the Company. 

·         Amending the Company's Employees' and Directors' Equity Incentive Plan adopted by the Company on May 11, 2010, and amended on May 17, 2011 (the "Equity Incentive Plan"), including an increase in the number of shares available under the share bonus plan component of the Equity Incentive Plan from 200,000 to 2,000,000. 

The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong has granted SouthGobi a waiver from Listing Rule 13.39(4) which requires that any vote of shareholders at a general meeting must be taken by poll. Therefore this notice does not contain the specific information set out in Listing Rule 13.39(5).

CHANGES TO THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The Board hereby announces following changes to the Board with effect from the conclusion of the AGM.

Messrs. Kelly Sanders and Ted Chan did not stand for re-election at the AGM and ceased to be non-executive directors following the conclusion of the AGM. Mr. Sanders ceased to be chairman of Health, Environment, Safety and Social Responsibility Committee and Mr. Chan ceased to be a member of the Health, Environment, Safety and Social Responsibility Committee.

The Board takes this opportunity to express its sincere gratitude to Messrs. Sanders and Chan for their valuable contributions to the Company.

Mr. Aminbuhe has been appointed as a non-executive director of the Company and Mr. Zhu Liu and Ms. Jin Lan (Jacqueline) Quan have been appointed as independent non-executive directors of the Company.

Mr. Gordon Lancaster, Interim Chair, said, "On behalf of the Board, I want to welcome our new directors to the Company. Each brings significant skills and experience that will be very valuable to SouthGobi as we move forward."

Mr. Aminbuhe is a coal mining professional with diverse senior experience that includes sales and marketing, exploration, logistics, business development and Hong Kong public company disclosure requirements. Mr. Aminbuhe previously held the position of Executive Director at National United Resources Holding Limited ("NUR"), a Hong Kong public listed company operating in China and Mongolia. Prior to his position at NUR, Mr. Aminbuhe was Chairman and President of Inner Mongolia Ejina Jin Yun Kun Tai Industrial Development Co. Ltd., a leading coal trading company operating in China and Mongolia. Mr. Aminbuhe also owned and operated Inner Mongolia Rong Chun Coal Co. Ltd., with its coal mine located in Inner Mongolia of China. Mr. Aminbuhe graduated from the Beijing Institute of Technology with a Bachelor degree in Management Engineering.

Mr. Zhu Liu has had a distinguished career in the shipping industry spanning over 40 years. As former Deputy Chief Executive Officer and President of China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company ("COSCO"), Mr. Liu gained extensive operation and management experience derived from overseeing the company's large multinational logistics enterprises. This position also provided him with unique transportation and logistics industry expertise. While at COSCO, Mr. Liu led the debt restructuring of Orient Overseas Hong Kong Corporation on behalf of COSCO. After leaving COSCO in 1992, Mr. Liu was Chairman of Honor Dragon Corporation Group until 2000. Most recently, he was Managing Director of Hong Kong International Company and Chairman of Beijing Bao Hai Shipping Corporation between 2000-2005. Mr. Liu studied in France, first at the Faculty of Arts of University of Paris from 1964 to 1967 and subsequently at the University of Grenoble. In 1987, Mr. Liu obtained the title of Senior Economist in China and in 1989 was a member of the China Strait Affairs Council.

Ms. Jin Lan (Jacqueline) Quan is currently an independent financial planner and business consultant based in Sydney, Australia. Ms. Quan resigned from an extensive and diverse finance and audit career, with her last position being audit partner with Arthur Anderson in Sydney, Australia in 2003. Ms. Quan has extensive experience in financial consulting services with specialist skills in capital and debt raising, corporate financing, internal audit structuring and risk management and business acquisition planning and implementation. Ms. Quan is a Certified Public Accountant of the P. R. China and a Fellow of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants of U.K.

Link to release

Related:

List of Directors and their Role and FunctionSouthGobi Resources, August 7

 

Xanadu Mines has large scale high grade potential at Kharmagtai

August 6 (Proactive Investors) Xanadu Mines (ASX:XAM) had a strong June quarter with drilling at its Kharmagtai copper-gold project in Mongolia intersecting the highest grades over the longest intervals at the project to date.

Drilling continues to reinforce the potential of the Tourmaline Breccia unit to host high grade mineralisation on a large scale.

This along with the existing Resource of 203 million tonnes averaging 0.34% copper and 0.33 grams per tonne gold is transforming the growth potential of Kharmagtai.

Recent exploration drilling at the Oyut Ulaan copper-gold project has also delivered encouraging results from several different prospects, increasing its scale and potential.

Topping it off, Xanadu is well funded with $4.1 million in cash as at 30th June 2015.

Andrew Stewart, chief executive officer, told Proactive Investors:

"Discovery of the tourmaline breccia mineralisation has been a step change for the project, and next steps for the project are to understand the geometry and scale of mineralisation, and continue to step out and test the mineralisation undercover. 

"At Oyut Ulaan, we plan to undertake some advanced 3D modelling of geological and geophysical data, this integration of many data sets into a common environment will help drill targeting. 

"We are looking forward to getting back to Oyut Ulaan as soon as this work is completed to commence drilling again.

"We will be rich in news flow as exploration progresses at Kharmagtai."

Kharmagtai Copper-Gold Project

The Kharmagtai project is located within the South Gobi porphyry copper province of Mongolia, approximately 420 kilometres south-southwest of Ulaanbaatar (Figure 1), and is one of the most advanced porphyry projects in Asia.

Exploration drilling is currently focused on defining near-surface strike extensions of current deposits and investigating several high-priority targets laying under shallow cover that have the same geophysical response and geometry as existing deposits within the Kharmagtai project.

Thirteen diamond holes have been completed for approximately 5,205 metres in the current phase of the drill program at Kharmagtai that commenced in late April. 

Drilling has advanced the company's understanding of the Kharmagtai project and clearly indicates potential for a large-scale mineralised breccia system along-side the established Resource.

Top results to date are:

-       415.2 metres at 0.63% copper and 0.24g/t gold (0.79% copper equivalent) from 88.8 metres including 243.8 metres at 0.81% copper and 0.32g/t gold (1% copper equivalent) from 242.2 metres;

-       50 metres at 1.84% copper and 0.73g/t gold (2.31% copper equivalent) from 374m including 27 metres at 2.55% copper and 0.94g/t gold (3.15% copper equivalent) from 384 metres; and

-       593 metres at 0.45% copper and 0.23g/t gold (0.6% copper equivalent) from 68 metres including 204 metres at 0.8% copper and 0.36g/t gold (1.03% copper equivalent) from 300 metres.

Importantly this style of breccia mineralisation has significant implications for the growth potential of Kharmagtai as it is a bulk-style of mineralisation with multi-high grade zones not previously identified at the project. 

Oyut Ulaan copper-gold project

Xanadu recently completed 9 drill holes for approximately 2,049.6 metres of diamond drilling and other exploration activities at its 90%-owned Oyut Ulaan project within the Dornogovi Province of southern Mongolia. 

It is strategically located within the South Gobi Copper Belt (which hosts the world class Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project) and 260 kilometres east of Kharmagtai.

Oyut Ulaan is a large and underexplored porphyry district covering about 40 square kilometres and consists of multiple co-genetic porphyry copper-gold centres, mineralised tourmaline breccia pipes and copper-gold/base metal magnetite skarns, within the central part of Mining Licence.

Drilling extended known near-surface high-grade mineralisation at Diorite Hill, discovered shallow high-grade skarn mineralisation at Hulan and discovered new porphyry centre at Temee.

The results of this program are extremely encouraging and indicate Oyut Ulaan is developing into one of the most prospective districts in the South Gobi with a series of prospects at different stages of exploration.

Xanadu will continue its systematic, low cost exploration at Oyut Ulaan. Current drill holes are mostly shallow and widely spaced, and the existing licence is large and relatively unexplored. 

The next phase of exploration will focus on identifying the 'engine room' to this large system.

Analysis

Xanadu Mines could significantly increase the mineral resource base at its Kharmagtai copper-gold project as drilling discovered bulk-style breccia mineralisation with multiple high grade zones.

Follow-up is scheduled to test the best targets in the second half of the 2015 drill program.

An objective is to target any near-surface, large scale porphyry copper potential within the Kharmagtai district.

Appointing well credentialed mining executive Marcus Engelbrecht, ex-BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP), ex-Oceania Gold (TSE:OGC) and ex-Archipelago Resources Plc (AIM:AR) as a Board member will bring further expertise to Xanadu.

Xanadu had $4.1 million in cash as at 30th June 2015.

Link to article

 

KCC closed flat Friday at C$0.025

Kincora Copper gets back to work on its Mongolian properties

Following the resolution of a legal dispute, Kincora Copper has resumed field activities on its Mongolian exploration properties

August 7 (Proactive Investors) Kincora Copper (CVE:KCC) is set to resume field activities on the ground at its copper exploration properties in Mongolia shortly.

The company said that it will conduct infill mapping and geochemistry work on the Bronze Fox and Tourmaline Hill properties, which lie not far from the giant Oyu Tolgoi development currently being undertaken by Rio Tinto (LON:RIO).

There had been some speculation that Kincora might undertake a larger scale exploration programme involving a bigger drilling campaign now that a dispute about some of its licence areas has been cleared up, but the company is mindful that conserving cash in the current equity bear market for mining companies is crucial.

Kincora also said that it is considering "options both inside and outside Mongolia", by which it means potential acquisitions.

These would either be near-term production or assets that were currently in the construction phase, and would thus be in a position to provide early cash flow and an early return.

Having said that though, the company remains in negotiations with Origo Partners, its biggest shareholder, regarding a $2.5 mln convertible note that was due on 19th July this year.

The company said it "remains in discussions" with Origo and that there is "no certainty" that the note will be converted.

The note was issued back in 2012 when Kincora was on a role and Mongolia's reputation hadn't yet been tarnished with the bureaucratic mangle that subsequently severely delayed Oyu Tolgoi.

On issuance the note carried an 8.7% coupon, payable in Kincora shares, and was convertible at C$0.25 per unit, with each unit comprising one share and one warrant exercisable at C$0.40.

The exercise date for the warrants has now expired.

Link to article

Link to KCC release

 

MATD closed +3.03% to 4.25p

Petro Matad prepares for airborne programme in Mongolia

It is designed to unearth targets for future exploration drilling

August 7 (Proctive Investors) Petro Matad (LON:MATD) will next month kick off a surveying programme designed to' high-grade' exploration prospects for a fresh round of exploration drilling.

The airborne survey will assess an area of mountainous desert and steppe, and the company expects to gather around 11,000 square kilometres of data.

"The programme is designed to provide high-resolution gravity coverage, capable of resolving prospect scale structural features, to aid in correlation between 2D seismic profiles and extrapolate structural networks into frontier areas to optimise future exploration work," the company said in a statement.

It will be the first time this approach has been applied to oil and gas exploration in Mongolia, though Petro Matad says it the techniques have been successful in other frontier regions.

Link to article

Link to MATD release

 

YAK closed -4.41% Friday to C$0.65, MNGGF -1.27% to US$0.49

Interview with Harris Kupperman of Mongolia Growth Group

by Mariusz Skonieczny on August 5, 2015 for Classic Value Investors

Link to audio

 

TPO last traded A$0.21 on 21 July  

Tian Poh Shares in Trading Halt Pending Announcement on Acquisition

August 6 -- Tian Poh Resources Limited (ASX Code: TPO) requests a trading halt from the Australian Securities Exchange effective immediately pending release of an announcement of an acquisition.

TPO requests the trading halt last from receipt of this request until release of the announcement. In any event no later than commencement of trading on Tuesday the 11th of August 2015.

TPO is not aware of any reason why the trading halt should not be granted.

TPO is not aware of any other information necessary to inform the market about the trading halt.

Should you have any queries regarding the above request, I would be happy to discuss them with you.

Link to release

 

276 closed +1.64% Friday to HK$0.31

MEC Completes Issue of Shares to Khushuut Road Contractors

August 7 -- The Board is pleased to announce that all the conditions of the Subscriptions have been fulfilled and completion of the Subscriptions took place on 7 August 2015 in accordance with the terms of the Subscription Agreements.

A total of 29,648,181 fully paid Subscription Shares, representing approximately 1.71% of the issued share capital of the Company as at the date of this announcement immediately after Completion, were allotted and issued by the Company to the nominee of the Subscribers at the Subscription Price of HK$0.34 per Subscription Share.

Link to full release

 

Denison Mines Corp. Reports Second Quarter 2015 Results

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Aug. 5, 2015) - Denison Mines Corp. ("Denison" or the "Company") (TSX:DML)(NYSE MKT:DNN) today reported its results for the six months ended June 30, 2015. All amounts in this release are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise stated.

Highlights

·         Executed agreement with Fission Uranium Corp. ("Fission") to create a Canadian focused and diversified uranium company: On July 27, 2015, Denison entered into an agreement to combine its business with Fission by way of a court approved plan of arrangement (the "Arrangement"). The combined company will feature an exploration and development portfolio that will include Fission's 100% owned Patterson Lake South Project (host to the Triple R deposit) and Denison's 60% owned Wheeler River Project (which hosts the Phoenix deposit and Gryphon discovery). The combined company will also have a strong exploration foothold in both the historically prolific eastern Athabasca Basin and the emergent western Athabasca Basin, with a combined land package of over 430,000 hectares and a sizeable base of mineral resources. 

Under the terms of the Arrangement, Fission common shareholders will receive 1.26 common shares of Denison for each common share of Fission held plus CAD$0.0001 per each Fission share in cash. Upon completion of the transaction, the combined company will be named "Denison Energy Corp." and will be approximately 50% owned by the existing Denison and Fission shareholders on a fully-diluted in-the-money basis. The Company also plans to complete a 2-for-1 share consolidation upon completion of the transaction. The proposed transaction, name change, share consolidation and shareholders' approval are expected to be completed in October 2015. 

·         Agreed to the sale of Mongolian interests: On July 29, 2015, Denison entered into a definitive share purchase agreement with Uranium Industry a.s. ("UI"), of the Czech Republic, whereby UI will acquire all of Denison's interest in mining assets and operations located in Mongolia in exchange for cash consideration of $20 million ("the GSJV sale"). Pursuant to the terms of the agreement, Denison will receive an initial payment of $250,000 on closing, expected to occur on or about September 8, 2015, and a deferred payment of $19,750,000 by November 30, 2015. 

Link to release

 

MNHD last traded US$0.25 on August 5

Meet The 'Genghis Khan' Fund Manager

By Kenneth Rapoza

August 6 (Forbes) Mongolia?

Come on. Who wants to invest in Mongolia? Gary Kucher does. He runs Mongolia Holdings, a private firm mainly focused on infrastructure. This year's announcement of the China-led Silk Road has investors like Kucher thinking Mongolia is one of Central Asia's best kept secrets.

These American corporate brand namers are on the same page: Caterpillar, General Electric, Philip Morris, Oracle, Microsoft, Bloomberg, Deloitte, Ernst & Young and Visa all have a presence in Mongolia. Even Google discovered Mongolia recently, a country who's latest recognizable name was emperor Genghis Khan. He died in 1227. But last Monday, Google put Mongolia back on the map.

Kucher's got an idea: bring in high net worth individuals and hedge funds looking for alternative investing ideas to Mongolia. They'll be investing in the backbone to an economy that until recently has been rivaling China in double digit growth rates.

"He saw a need for a distressed asset fund," says his friend Peter Kohli, founder of DMS Funds in Leesport, Va. Kucher's plan is to raise money through a private equity fund known as the Mongolia Fund, targeting infrastructure projects, either already under way or being planned. And buying up out-of-favor firms who need some good old fashioned Western capitalist know-how to keep them solvent.

Kucher thinks he is the guy to sell Mongolia to Americans looking for the next big thing. He is currently the CEO of a large Hertz franchised-equipment rental company in Ulan Bator, the capital city and home to 1.3 million. He set up the Mongolia Fund in 2012 and has been in Mongolia for the past five years. He even left Beverly Hills for it. He spent four years as chairman of mergers and acquisitions shop MB&A Capital there.

The guy's been around. In the 1990s, he brought the Elk Creek and Turf Club Casinos to Cripple Creek, Co. They're now defunct. He was the CEO of South African golfer Gary Player's company Gary Player Golf and got into the big ticket equipment rental business in the early 2000s as CEO of Manex Entertainment in Hollywood.

"I traveled to Mongolia the first time, many years ago, with a frontier markets businessman friend of mine from South Korea and I immediately fell in love with it," Kucher says. "My old friend and business partner, former U.S. Ambassador Michael Ussery, was already a huge Mongolia fan and encouraged me to take a comprehensive look at the nation's economy. I've began traveling back and forth more frequently after becoming CEO of Mongolia Holdings and my expectation and desire is that there will soon be sufficient economic activity in Ulan Batar to keep me there full-time."

What are the opportunities?

An American Chamber of Commerce survey in Mongolia, conducted in January, showed most local businessmen have a negative perception of the business environment there. On the positive side, Mongolians regard the U.S. as its Third Neighbor after China, and are open to American investment. The thinking among Mongolia's business class is that U.S.-Mongolia commercial relationship have room for improvement.

The January survey showed the economy, unemployment, and corruption are the paramount concerns of Mongolians. Almost half of the respondents believe that the country is going in the wrong direction. Two thirds of the people are assessing the current business environment negatively and only a fifth of respondents think that the economy will improve by the second half of the year.

Yet, everyone there is bullish on the government's support of foreign capital flows and that's why Kucher thinks his Mongolia Fund has hit the right niche early on.

Kucher's 'Khan Fund'

First of all, this is not a product for the middle class investor. This is for the high net worth individual with a million dollars to burn in alternatives.

The fund is currently in its early phases, looking for a global asset manager, and gunning to raise around $250 million in capital. Most of it will go to fund infrastructure, rather than investing in stocks on the Mongolian Stock Exchange. Which exists, actually. Since 1991. Its market cap is a paltry $83 million.

"Remember, China has started their own infrastructure bank, much to the chagrin of the U.S., plus there is also the new BRICS Bank. However, instead of being private, these banks are really political in nature and I'm sure have a lot of strings attached. Untethered market based solutions are always better," says Kohli, who will be a partner in the fund.

Here are some thoughts:

The country enacted a new investment law in 2013 that bans discrimination against foreign investors. Both foreign and domestic investors now equally protected under the law.

Last January, a securities rule allowed for custodian banks to enter the market, helping the stock market there mature. Stricter corporate governance measures are also required.

On the commodities side, Mongolia revised its Minerals Law, which reduced royalties by half to 2.5%. Australia's Rio Tinto is partnering with China in a $5 billion project to expand mining. And within 189 countries, Mongolia is actually ranked 72nd in the Ease of Doing Business Index. That's better than China and Kazakhstan, the other Central Asia darling.

Mongolia? What in the World?

Mongolian GDP grew by a record 17.5% in 2011. It grew 12.4% in 2012, 11.7% in 2013 and 7.8% in 2014. Despite 2014 being a sluggish year for the mining industry, Mongolia's mining exports increased by $1.2B thanks to production of the largest untapped gold and copper mine in the world-Oyu Tolgoi, most of it being dug up by Rio Tinto.

Mongolia's government has been taking effective measures to improve the young economy by implementing investor-friendly laws and opening up its resources to investors. Tavan Tolgoi, a 7.4 billion ton coal development, has been granted to an international consortium led by China's Shenhua Energy.  Roughly 80% of foreign direct investment inflows to Mongolia over the past five years went to the mining sector.

Kucher says there are opportunities for private equity investment in agriculture, food processing, energy, real estate and tourism to name a few.

"Mongolia, Russia and China approved a mid-term development road map for tripartite cooperation in July in Shanghai," Kucher told FORBES in an interview. "This is a part of China's One Belt – One Road initiative to minimize its dependence on sea-lanes for transcontinental trade. The Prairie Road program advocated by Mongolia consists of five projects with a total investment of about $50 billion. The projects include a 1000 kilometers expressway connecting China and Russia, a 1,100 kilometer electrified railway, and the extension of trans-Mongolian railways, gas and oil pipelines. The effective joining of China's Silk Road Economic Belt, the Prairie Road, and Russia's Trans-Eurasian Belt Development will make Mongolia the transportation and economic hub of Eurasia."

It will be a tough sell.

Since 2013, in response to softening commodity prices and a decline in positive FDI flows, the government has maintained expansionary fiscal policies and committed to substantial infrastructure projects. During that period, the nominal exchange rate depreciated by more than 40%, driving inflation to double digits, and international currency reserves held by the central bank dropped by two-thirds.

Additionally, borrowing from abroad and access to a bilateral currency swap line with China have helped offset declines in levels of FDI inflow.  The level of Mongolia's foreign debt to GDP is high, relative to other countries.  The country runs a current account deficit, despite recent improvements in the trade balance. China and Russia combined provide two thirds of all imports, and export sales are dominated by China, which accounts 90%. Approximately 50% of Mongolia's export earnings come from copper.

Interested?

Here is Kucher's final pitch.

"Mongolia has enormous economic growth potential stemming from its varied and world-class quantities of natural resources, which have low costs of production and delivery to customers in large, nearby markets.  The monetization of this national wealth is driving investment in infrastructure and value-added industries, for which the 25-year-old democracy recognizes the need for a business environment that can attract the necessary foreign direct investment," he says.

Building out Mongolia is the basic modus operandi of the Mongolia Fund.

Link to article

 

Noble Sees Trust Erode in Battle of Hearts and Mines

Noble shares have gyrated amid accusations aggressive accounting inflated its earnings

SINGAPORE, August 6 (WSJ) — Noble Group Ltd., one of Asia's leading commodity trading firms, is fighting to restore investor confidence as its shares gyrate amid continuing criticism of its financial reporting.

Shares in the Singapore-listed company have more than halved in value since an outfit called Iceberg Research published the first of three reports in mid-February accusing the company of using aggressive accounting to inflate its earnings. Other critics have since joined the chorus, including U.S.-based short seller Muddy Waters and a former senior executive at Singapore's state investment company Temasek Pte. Ltd.

The share slide accelerated in the last two trading days of last week, with Noble losing nearly 23% of its value. The shares recovered all of that lost ground in the first two days this week, then fell back on Wednesday before recovering by 2.7% on Thursday. Noble now trades at nearly half of its so-called 'book value' according to FactSet—usually a sign that investors have lost confidence that a company is worth what it discloses in its accounts.

"That's basically a market verdict on the reliability of Noble's accounting methods," said Craig Pirrong, a University of Houston finance professor.

A second deal that has come under fire is Noble's February 2014 acquisition of Mongolian coal company Enkhtunkh Orchlon LLC, or EO, for US$3.8 million.

After purchasing EO, Noble began to explore the company's 50,000 hectares of land in Mongolia. In a statement to the Singapore stock exchange, Noble later said that it had drilled around 200 exploration holes and identified substantial deposits of coking and thermal coal.

However, in its 2014 annual report, Noble said it had sold the asset last December for US$47 million that it said would be "received in cash and royalties," without providing a breakdown. The sale was made to Australian based miner Guildford Coal. In a statement to Singapore Exchange in June this year, Noble said it had completed the transaction "for aggregate consideration of up to US$65 million." It didn't explain the difference between the two sales prices.

In a January share issue prospectus, Guildford said it would pay Noble $6 million in May as part of the purchase price for the Mongolian asset. In a presentation disclosed on the Australia Stock Exchange in late 2014, Guildford said it had agreed to pay US$6 million cash to Noble and a "per tonne production royalty, payable only on coal tonnes mined and sold, up to a cap of US$65 million.

Yet as recently as last year, the company appeared to be in financial difficulty. In its fiscal year ended June 2014, Guildford had a negative cash flow of 17.6 million Australian dollars (US$12.8 million), according to its October financial statements. Its net debt was A$95.1 million, twice the size of its assets. Its auditors said after the results that there was "significant uncertainty" that the company could continue as a going concern. Guildford hasn't yet published its 2015 results.

The Mongolian deal is one of the clearest examples of aggressive accounting gains recorded by Noble Group, according to one former employee.

"That's the whole problem with Guildford, is that they are just not generating income," said one former Guildford employee with knowledge of the company's finances, who added that while the company is capable of developing the land, it doesn't have the cash to do so. Meanwhile, the mine Guildford owns adjacent to EO has suffered long delays and after more than two years is struggling to turn a profit, the person said.

A Guildford spokesman declined to comment for this article.

Analysts at GMT Research, one of the critics of Noble's accounting, said the trader would have recorded a loss on its sale of EO if it hadn't included royalties in the sale price.

"This is the first time we have encountered future royalties being included as part of the consideration price," it said in a report.

Noble isn't alone among leading trading houses to face pressure on its profits in recent years, amid falling commodity prices and an increasingly competitive industry landscape, although some of its peers saw earnings improve last year as they profited from volatility in major commodity markets like oil.

Link to article

Back to top

Local Market

MSE Weekly Trading Report: MSE ALL -2.01%, Market Cap -2.12%, Stocks 81.1 Million, T-Bills 10 Billion

August 10 (MSE) Mongolian Stock Exchange organized 5 securities trading sessions and made transaction of MNT10,081,118,481.00 between 03 August 2015 and 07 August 2015.  

Share trading:

125,130.00 shares of 35 joint stock companies worth of MNT81,118,481.00 were traded.  

MOST ACTIVILY TRADED SECURITIES

 №

 

Securities Name

Value /MNT/

1

BLC

Buteelch Uils

33,821,100

2

TTL

Tavan Tolgoi 

26,976,420

3

MHN

Mongol Nekhmel 

21,215,935

4

HGN

Khukh Gan 

14,838,400

5

COV

Govi

8,100,820

MOST ACTIVE BROKERAGE COMPANIES IN SHARE TRADING

 №

 

Company Name

Value /MNT/

1

MSDQ

Masdac

68,716,140

2

GAUL

Gauli

26,976,420

3

BDSC

BDSec

21,215,935

4

BULG

Bulgan Broker

14,838,400

5

STIN

Standard investment

8,100,820

Government retail bonds trading:

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

MOST ACTIVE BROKERAGE COMPANIES IN GOVERNMENT SECURITIES TRADING

 №

 

 Company name

 Value /MNT/

1

MSEC

Monsec

5,142,900,000

2

TNGR

Tenger Capital 

4,468,400,000

3

BZIN

Daewoo Securities Mongolia

272,400,000

4

BDSC

BDSec

116,300,000

As of August 2015, market capitalization was MNT1,298,839,971,917.00 which indicated decreased of 2.12%, and MSE ALL index reached 956.44 units which indicated decreased of 2.01% from the previous week. 

Link to release

 

Erchim Engineering to Issue First Insured Corporate Bond

August 6 (gogo.mn) Financial Regulatory Commission discussed 21 issues through its 20th session. During this session the 50,000 insured bonds with face value of MNT 10,000 by Erchim Engineering LLC were registered. These are bonds with interest and principle payments insured by a third party. Insured bonds are usually found as a feature of municipal bonds; they are purchased, underwritten and repackaged by a financial guarantee company who then sells the issue to investors. Funds raised with issuing the insured bonds will be directed at financing the current assets to fund the bid project implementation.

During the session insurance actuary regulations were renewed and approved under "Actuary Services Authorization, actuary standard evaluation and monitoring, assessment and reporting regulation". This document will now regulate the actuary authorization certificate duration, issuance and termination and the renewed regulation imposes increased responsibility for the actuaries. Moreover, the new regulation has eliminated actuary service fees so that the number of actuaries will increase.

Link to article

 

Discounted 10 Billion 12-Week T-Bills on Offer at 14.118% Yield, Closing 8/11

August 5 (MSE) --

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

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

3.    Offering scope of securities: Offering to the public

4.    Type of securities: Government securities

5.    Face value: MNT 100,000 

6.    Discounted price: MNT 96,853.00

7.    Total amounts issued: 100,000 Units 

8.    Short-term securities performance:

 Government Securities name 

 Amount /units/

Value /billion MNT/ 

 Maturity /week/

Form of Interest payment

Interest rate (percent) 

 Starting date of the order

Closing date of the trading 

 ЗГХБ-Б-12-323

 100,000 

10.0

12

Discounted

14,118%

2015.08.05

2015.08.11

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

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

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

Link to release

 

Suu JSC Announces Shareholders Meeting on 11 September

August 6 (MSE) According to the resolution No.: 5 of "Suu" JSC's Board of Meeting dated on 30 July 2015, the shareholder meeting was scheduled to held on 11 September 2015 at 15:00. 

The shareholder meeting will be hold at "Suu" JSC's building, which located in Songino-Khairkhan district, khoroo #29 in Ulaanbaatar. 

Link to release

 

MSE July Report: MSE ALL -4.8%, Turnover 298.9 Million Stocks, 40 Billion T-Bills

August 6 (MSE) Mongolian Stock Exchange organized 20 securities trading sessions and made transaction of MNT40.5 billion between 01 July 2015 and 31 July 2015. 

MOST ACTIVE BROKERAGE COMPANIES

 

Company Name

Value /MNT/ 

1

ARD

Ard Capital Group

485.6million

2

BDSC

BDSec

254.4million

3

GLMT

Golomt securities

89.9million

4

BUMB

Bumbat-Altai

40.1million

5

ALTIN

Altan khoromsog

20.3 million

Share trading: 

553.8 thousand shares of 65 joint stock companies worth of MNT298.9 million were traded.

MOST ACTIVILY TRADED SECURITIES

 

Securities Name

Value /million MNT/ 

1

EIT

"E-Trans Logistics" JSC

88.5 

2

SUU

"Suu" JSC 

25.6

3

TAV

"Tav" JSC

15.6

4

APU

"Apu" JSC

13.3

5

TSA

"Tsagaan tolgoi" JSC

13.2

Government retail bonds trading:

400,000 Government retail bonds worth of MNT40.0 billion were traded through 4 trading sessions. 197 Government retail bonds worth MNT19.4 million were traded on secondary market trading. 

MOST ACTIVE BROKERAGE COMPANIES IN GOVERNMENT SECURITIES TRADING

 

Company Name

Value /billion MNT/

1

GLMT

Golomt securities

16.3

2

TNGR

Tenger Capital

15.7

3

BDSC

BDSec

3.3

4

ARD

Ard Capital Group

3.0

5

MICC

MICC

1.1

Securities Price:

Out of 54 traded stocks, share price of 12 JSC increased, 32 decreased and 10 remained at same price compared to the same period of last month. 

Market Capitalization and MSE ALL index: 

As of July 2015, market capitalization was MNT1.327 trillion which indicated decrease of 5.77% and MSE ALL index decreased 4.8% to 976.14 from Last month. MSE ALL index maximum was 1,013.68, minimum was 967.60 and average was 946.55.

Link to report

 

MSE Semi-Annual Report 2015

Link to report

 

MSE Registers 5th Round of 100 Billion Government Securities

August 6 (MSE) According to the securities register request of Financial Regulatory Commission, Mongolian Stock Exchange registered 5th round of the government securities worth MNT100.0 billion on its listing. The government securities trading has been organized by MSE 39 times and made transactions worth MNT380.9 billion in the past.  

Link to release

 

MSE Sees 207.1 Million in Profits Jan-Jul, Revenue 872.8 Million – Glass Account Report

August 6 (MSE) As of 31 July 2015, "Mongolian Stock Exchange" JSC had revenue of MNT872,770,265.79 and expense of MNT665,680,210.66.  Salary and related other expenses were MNT358,979,443.96 and maintenance and other expenses were MNT306,700,766.70. Overall, total profit accounted to MNT207,090,055.13. 

Link to release

Back to top

Economy

BoM MNT Rates: Friday, August 7 Close

 

 

8/7

8/6

8/5

8/4

8/3

7/31

7/30

7/29

7/28

7/27

7/24

7/23

7/22

7/21

7/20

USD

1,987.92

1,987.84

1,987.99

1,988.03

1,986.27

1,985.06

1,985.06

1,982.42

1,978.80

1,984.84

1,985.06

1,986.88

1,978.29

1,974.79

1,976.44

EUR

2,170.21

2,168.53

2,159.95

2,178.48

2,184.00

2,174.24

2,176.82

2,190.28

2,187.76

2,189.28

2,181.98

2,172.55

2,167.12

2,138.80

2,142.96

CNY

320.14

320.11

320.14

320.15

319.87

319.67

319.68

319.29

318.68

319.64

319.67

319.97

318.61

318.02

318.28

GBP

3,082.27

3,098.18

3,106.20

3,101.63

3,107.02

3,094.11

3,097.59

3,093.37

3,079.01

3,081.56

3,079.72

3,104.50

3,088.80

3,075.34

3,086.71

RUB

31.08

31.35

31.62

31.44

32.00

33.16

33.53

33.26

33.06

34.01

34.21

34.58

34.76

34.66

34.66

Bank rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy ₮1,977 Sell ₮1,991), Khan (Buy ₮1,975 Sell ₮1,990), Golomt (Buy ₮1,975 Sell ₮1,990), XacBank (Buy ₮1,977 Sell ₮1,992), State Bank (Buy ₮1,977 Sell ₮1,991)

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

Link to rates

 

Mongolia Records $22.6m FDI Outflow in 1H of 2015: Central Bank

By Michael Kohn

August 6 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia experienced a net outflow of $22.6m in foreign direct investment in Jan.-June, compared with $377.8m gain in same period yr ago, according to preliminary data from
central bank.

* NOTE: FDI was $2.5b in 1H of 2012 and $1.26b in 1H of 2013

* Inbound FDI in June was $18.3m

* Year-to-date current account deficit at end-June was $216m vs $1.12b deficit yr earlier

* Year-to-date capital and financial account surplus was $236.9m vs surplus of $168.5m yr earlier

(BFW)

 

Mongolia's Foreign Exchange Reserves Rise to $1.69b at End-June

By Michael Kohn

August 5 (Bloomberg) -- FX reserves rise 6% from end-May, according to data posted on Bank of Mongolia website.

* Reserves climb 2.2% year-to-date, up 27.9% y/y

(BFW)

 

BoM FX auction: US$9.6m sold at 1,985, CNY19.2m at 319.84, accepts $54.9m MNT, $30m USD swap offers

August 6 (BoM) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on August 6th, 2015 the BOM has received bid offers of USD 9.8 million in a rate between MNT 1984.00-1988.99 and CNY 25.2 million in a rate between MNT 319.51-320.30 from local commercial banks. The BOM has received the bid offers and sold USD 9.6 million in a rate with MNT 1985.00 and CNY 19.2 million in a rate with MNT 319.84.

On August 4th, 2015, The BOM has received MNT Swap agreement bid offer equivalent to USD 54.9 million and   USD Swap agreement bid offer equivalent to USD 30.0 million from local commercial banks and the BOM has accepted the offers.

Link to release

 

BoM issues 125 billion 1-week bills at 13%, total outstanding -12.9% to ₮491.15 billion

August 7 (BoM) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 125.0 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release

 

Economic Club of Ulaanbaatar Lecture: The Path to Prosperity in Ulaanbaatar

August 6 (Economic Club of Ulaanbaatar) On Tuesday, 11 August 2015, the Economic Club of Ulaanbaatar will present Ken Schoolland, Associate Professor of Economics and Political Science from Hawaii, to speak on the topic of "Trade, Migration and Entrepreneurship: Path to Prosperity" from 12-2.00pm at the Tuushin Hotel.

With experience as Associate Professor of Economics and Political Science at the Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu for over 20 years, AP Schoolland has followed a lifelong interest in politics and economics and shares a passion for finding engaging and fun ways to educate today's youth on the subject.

Having served briefly as an international economist in the US International Trade Commission and the US Department of Commerce, AP Schoolland quickly found that a career in government was not for him and taught in Alaska and Japan, before settling in Hawaii.  He hosted a radio program for the Libertarian Party of Hawaii and ran for US Congress three times.  He currently sits on the board of many democratic and liberal organisations in Hawaii including holding the position of President of the International Society for Individual Liberty.

The topic of AP Schoolland's presentation will be based around the importance of trade and migration to entrepreneurship and economic development. Openness to trade and migration are key selectors for the people and opportunities creating businesses, employment, and wealth.

"I first travelled through Mongolia by train from Irkutsk to Beijing in 1993. I was so impressed with the friendliness of the people and with the sharp beauty of the countryside, that I was determined to return. There will have been changes in those 22 years, but surely the people and the scenery are as beautiful as before. The story of change in Mongolia holds many lessons for a world in turbulent and hopeful times." – Ken Schoolland.

The Economic Club of Ulaanbaatar is just one of the projects established by the Silk Road Foundation (SRF) and provides an opportunity for top business professionals, economists, politicians and decision makers to discuss the major economic issues facing Mongolia.

The session will be moderated by independent economist and President of the Economic Club of Ulaanbaatar, Mr Jargalsaikhan Dambadarjaa (Jargal DeFacto).

For guests interested in attending this presentation, please register with the SRF by 6.00pm Monday, 10 August via email econclub.ub@gmail.com.  Tickets are 60.000 MNT for guests and 40.000 MNT for members, including a two course lunch.

For more information on the Economic Club of Ulaanbaatar, or to become a member, please visit http://econclubub.mn/

Media contact:

Kerry Thompson, Marketing and Public Relations, Silk Road Foundation

9921 5984, econclub.ub@gmail.com

Link to release

Back to top

Politics & Legal

Mongolia's second-largest party booted from coalition

August 6 (AFP) Mongolia's prime minister ousted a key component of his ruling coalition government on Thursday just eight months after it was formed, amid political manoeuvering ahead of parliamentary elections next year.

Lawmakers approved a motion submitted by Prime Minister Chimediin Saikhanbileg of the Democratic Party (DP) to kick out six cabinet ministers from the Mongolian People's Party (MPP).

Almost all of the 46 members who participated in the vote out of the 76-member Great Hural, or parliament, backed the motion amid a boycott by the MPP.

Parliament speaker Zandaakhuugiin Enkhbold declared the decision immediately valid.

Mongolia, a landlocked country between Russia and China rich in gold, copper, coal and other resources, saw its economic growth soar to a high of a stunning 17.5 percent in 2011.

But that has slowed sharply since, dragged down by political squabbling over the role of foreign investment and a slump in global commodity prices.

Coalition break-ups ahead of elections are common in Mongolia, for decades a tightly controlled satellite of the former Soviet Union which shook off communism a quarter century ago.

From 2008 to 2012 the DP and MPP also formed a coalition government, but the DP pulled its ministers five months before the last vote in July 2012. The next elections are expected in the middle of next year.

A "super coalition" of 19 ministers from Mongolia's four main political parties was formed in December in a bid to address the country's faltering economy.

Saikhanbileg's DP, Mongolia's largest party with 35 seats, controls 10 portfolios in the cabinet. Besides the six positions held by the MPP -- the second-biggest member of the legislature with 26 members -- the other three are divided between two smaller parties.

Among those sacked Thursday included Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh, deputy prime minister, and finance minister Jargaltulgiin Erdenebat.

It was not immediately clear who would replace the MPP ministers, though Saikhanbileg -- who has been pushing foreign investment friendly policies since becoming premier last year -- appeared set to continue as prime minister.

The DP last month called on Saikhanbileg to expel the MPP from the coalition, claiming the party was uncooperative and abusing its ministerial powers.

Sandagiin Byambatsogt, the MPP's parliamentary chief, in a statement ahead of Thursday's proceedings blasted the DP for "playing a game" with the country's governance by putting internal party priorities ahead of the country.

Political scientist Erdenebileg Gerelt-Od said that by kicking out the MPP, the DP is gambling that it can reap an electoral bonanza.

"What the DP is trying to do is to make it seem that they are the sole party that brought about positive change if the economy improves," he told AFP.

Link to article

Similar:

Mongolia coalition on the rocks after six ministers axedFinancial Times, August 7

Mongolian premier replaces cabinet members amid instability worriesReuters, August 8

Mongolian parliament dismisses six MPP ministers – Xinhua, August 6

Mongolian Parliament dismisses six ministers despite President's disagreementAKIPress, August 7

 

MPP accuses DP of avoiding the truth about its coalition agreement

August 9 (UB Post) Authorities of the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) made an official statement last Friday, in response to the parliamentary decision to dismiss its party's six ministers from the Cabinet.

At the press conference MPP Chairman M.Enkhbold gave a report on the performance of the cooperation agreement between the MPP and Democratic Party (DP), criticizing the DP's reports of MPP failures:

"Political parties should be able to fulfill their promises and responsibilities. In December 2014, the Mongolian People's Party signed a cooperation agreement with the Democratic Party on over 20 issues divided into five chapters. The most essential issue was the economy. We aimed to recover from the deteriorating economy and repair Mongolia's reputation overseas. The MPP developed a program with around 50 articles to overcome the economic crisis. Altogether, parliament adopted the program with around 70 articles. We discussed the property privatization issue, and adhered to policy not to increase foreign debt. The Finance Minister did a good job and fulfilled his duties well. The debt ceiling reached 58.3 percent of GDP. Therefore, the law on debt monitoring was adopted.

"We established the agreement with terms to carry out measures to develop the Oyu Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi projects, openly to the public and under the supervision of Parliament, by not bringing down the current conditions, as a result of our collaboration. Unfortunately, there was no development or changes to these two projects. The sector in charge, the Prime Minister, and Speaker treated the issue irresponsibly.

"A Tavan Tolgoi draft contract was made by the Cabinet. The MPP holds the position that the draft should be discussed through Parliament and should go further. However, now we see that the Speaker of Parliament was carrying out a policy to stagnate, slow down, and lock down the Tavan Tolgoi project, instead of activating it.

"The Prime Minister signed an Oyu Tolgoi underground mine development deal in Dubai, UAE. The Prime Minister should have introduced the Oyu Tolgoi deal to the MPP faction in Parliament. Even the Speaker holds the same position on this issue. Unfortunately, the deal was signed, not having been presented to the MPP. Later, we approached the Prime Minister for clarification and we never received a response. Today, we still don't know the details of the deal.

"The MPP and DP agreed on jointly redeveloping the bill on economic transparency, setting up working groups from both parties. However, Cabinet discussed the bill and submitted it to Parliament. We support the regulation that business entities disclose their assets and capital and expand production services. The DP should have developed the bill in cooperation with the MPP, but the DP violated the cooperation agreement.

"The agreement includes approving the laws on the Constitution and elections by July 1. However, the working groups of the DP still haven't submitted their drafts to Parliament.

"We did not join the coalition government to have our mouths kept shut. We joined the government to support the right and fix the wrong. During the last eight months we've protested only the bill on economic transparency.

"The DP blames ministers appointed by the MPP for causing turnover of state officials. A total of 24 people were appointed to the Roads and Transportation Ministry, 28 people to the Construction and Urban Development Ministry and 48 new appointments were made within the Labor Ministry. Meanwhile, other ministries with DP ministers had new appointments of 31 to 35 officials. Ministers appointed by the MPP worked within laws and regulations. Factual conclusions should be made concerning the agreement. The DP operated without any responsibility. It avoided making a truthful and factual summary of the cooperation agreement."

Link to article

 

President Elbegdorj Speaks Against Dismissing MPP Ministers

August 6 (president.mn) Today, President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj replied to an official letter on consultation on dismissing some members of the Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg's Cabinet and appointing new Ministers. 

In response to this letter, President Elbegdorj noted: "I have familiarized with the proposal to dismiss six Ministers of the Government of Mongolia. 

I hereby refuse to accept the proposal on dismissing some members of the Cabinet as it can cause negative impact on society, economy, country's reputation in the international arena, and the people's living, and it also might lead to political instability in the country". 

Link to article

Related:

President Elbegdorj refuses to dismiss some Ministersnews.mn, August 6

 

PM appoints acting ministers from cabinet members

August 7 (gogo.mn) In scope of State Great Khural`s resolution to dismiss the MPP ministers, Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg issued an order to appoint acting ministries.

Until the re-appointment of some members of the Cabinet, following MPs (Mogi: ministers) are assigned as acting ministers and to take over the responsibilities:                                                                                                                                                       

  • Mongolian Deputy Minister - Minister of Justice D.Dorligjav
  • Minister of Environment, Green Development and Tourism  - Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Purevsuren
  • Minister of Finance - Head of the Office of the Government S.Bayartsogt
  • Minister of Construction and Urban Development - Minister of Mining R.Jigjid
  • Minister of Road and Transportation - Minister of Industry D.Erdenebat
  • Minister of Labour - Minister of Population and Social Security S.Erdene.

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Related:

PM proposes six new "curator" ministersnews.mn, August 7

 

Who will be the new ministers?

August 7 (gogo.mn) Currently the answer to this question is not available yet.

During the afternoon session of the State Great Khural MPP members of the parliament questioned the substitutes of the dismissed ministers to which both Prime Minister and Speaker had no answers available yet.

Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg and DP leader Z.Enkhbold haven't reached the final settlement on the candidates for the ministers of the cabinet as they are having differing stances whether those to be appointed from within the Parliament or outside of it, where Prime Minister is willing to have new cabinet members from outside of the parliament. Therefore, Prime Minister is bracing himself for calling the DP Naitonal Council Committee meeting to fulfil his wish.

DP National Council Committee has total of 222 members, of which 80 percent are from outside the UB city and in case of urgent meeting announced there are little chances to gather them all at once. Moreover, in order to call for the National Council Committee PM needs to collect signatures from one third of the members. PM is busy working on this side currently.   

Hence, this time the developments are more likely to happen in accordance with the arrangements made by the DP leader again. If Z.Enkhbold sees no need to gather the National Council Committee and might just order to have Executive Council meeting, which has around 30 members, to select the next candidates for the ministers of the cabinet.

Executive Council of the DP consists of the representatives from each aimag and districts of Ulaanbaatar city, party leader, Executive Secretary of the party and Leader of the DP party at the Capital city.

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Parliament Adopts Economic Transparency Bill to Provide One-Time Amnesty to Tax Evaders

Ulaanbaatar, August 7 (MONTSAME) On Friday, the State Great Khural ran final readings of the draft new wording of the Law on Fire Arms and related to this drafts, as well as the draft law on Promoting Economic Transparency. All drafts were approved.

As for the new wording of the Law on Fire Arms, there were no comments or questions from the MPs following the introduction by Ts.Oyungerel MP of the conclusion made by the Standing committee on Justice.

The new wording of the law suggests that all owners of fire arms must receive basic training on how to use weapons, as the number of weapon-owners has been increasing in Mongolia in recent years.

After this, the final draft of the bill on Promoting Economic Transparency, prepared by the Standing committee on budget, was backed by majority.

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Government suspends issuing promissory notes to contractors

August 7 (UB Post) The Ministry of Finance reported that the issuance of government promissory notes for financing projects and measures with over 80 percent completion have been temporarily suspended.

The Parliament of Mongolia decided to issue promissory notes at a five percent annual interest rate through Resolution No.7 issued on January 23, 2015. Following this decision, the Ministry of Finance received proposals for projects and measures that needed financing through promissory notes and issued notes to 81 entities starting on July 30.

Yesterday, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Budget created a working group to review the implementation of projects being financed though promissory notes, and asked the Cabinet to hold funding from the state budget until the review process is complete.

Minister of Finance J.Erdenebat announced that promissory note financing would be temporarily suspended starting from August 7. He said, "We issued promissory notes of 95.2 billion MNT to 81 entities in the past, and we were planning to issue their financing today, but entities have submitted complaints to the Standing Committee, and now promissory note issuance will be stopped and this issue will be investigated.

"We were astonished that the entities were complaining, since we are providing financing to support them. They should appreciate it instead of complain. The Finance Ministry doesn't make decisions alone. We do take proposals, conclusions, and permissions from relevant ministries under consideration to carry out any activity, and we worked in accordance with that principle in order to issue those notes."

The Minister said that if an entity working on a development project in the education sector requested a promissory note, the Finance Ministry collected all detailed information from the Ministry of Education and Science before issuing a promissory note.

Entities need to meet 15 points of criteria to receive a promissory note, and the Finance Minister said that if they don't meet one of the criteria they will not be eligible to receive the special funding.

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Businesses protest government's halt on promissory notes

August 9 (UB Post) Authorities of Us-Erdene LLC made a statement to the press, announcing that they oppose the government's decision to stop the release of promissory notes.

Minister of Finance J.Erdenebat reported that the Standing Committee on Budget decided to temporarily stop promissory note issuance for the financing of projects and measures with over 80 percent completion until a committee can review the implementation of each funded project.

Us-Erdene was founded in 1991, and the company is engaged in digging and repairing wells and building irrigation systems.

In 2014, the company completed the construction of an irrigation system valued at 322.9 million MNT in Uvs Province's Tureg soum. The company handed in verification of the project's completion in October 2014 to the State Commission of Mongolia, but they are still waiting for 82 percent of their financing.

On July 30, 2015, the company received government promissory notes for their remaining financing, but the decision to put the promissory note program on hold was announced three days later.

Director of Us-Erdene O.Purevdorj said, "Our company completed the construction through loans, and nine month have already passed since we delivered the irrigation system to the state commission. We are spending our profit from the project to pay loan interest, and currently we are facing a deficit of 15 percent.

"Us-Erdene has 60 employees, and we have not been able to pay their salaries for the last two months. If the promissory note issue is not be resolved, our staff will suffer and our company will not be able to continue operations."

The company called on the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Budget, and the Finance Ministry to resolve the promissory note issue immediately.

Ikon.mn spoke with the Brigade Commander of Us-Erdene Ts.Battulga for more on the story.

How many entities are in the same condition as you?

I heard that there are 286 entities that didn't receive financing for their completed projects and are in critical condition, as we are. Our company had to receive financing in 2014.

Did you deliver a request for financing?

We did, many times, and we also met with many relevant government officials.

What was their explanation?

They connect the issue to the nation's economic recession. The decision to provide financing through promissory notes was made in December. They also studied and reviewed the issue for seven months. On July 30, we received a certificate for our financing, but the decision was changed three days after we received the certificate.

Is it known when the committee will finish its reviews?

It's not certain yet, but inspecting over 200 entities might take a couple of years. We don't know. Now we need to be concerned about how many will survive among entities that are in difficult situations.

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Draft law on energy conservation submitted

August 6 (gogo.mn) On August 5, 2015, a member of parliament and government, Minister of Energy D.Zorigt presented a draft law on Energy Saving to the Chairman of the State Great Hural (Parliament) Z.Enkhbold.

Since 2012, Mongolia has been facing with shortages of energy sources that are negative factors on rapidly growing construction and mining developments as well as slows the country's economic acceleration, introduces Minister D.Zorigt.

He further said, it is significantly important to implement an energy saving policy in order to provide Mongolia's growing energy consumption in the meantime to constructing new sources of energy production.

Moreover, the draft law on Energy Saving is developed to regulate inter-relations between parliament, government, state administration organizations, board of energy saving as well as certified energy service providers and responsible consumersreported by the Press and Public Relations Department of the State Great Hural of Mongolia.

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Committee to Reform MPP demands response from party leaders on ousted ministers

August 7 (UB Post) The Mongolian People's Party's (MPP) Committee for Innovations released an official statement yesterday, addressing the party's chairman, M.Enkhbold, MPP Secretary-General J.Munkhbat, and Chairman of the MPP faction in Parliament S.Byambatsogt, calling for an official response to the proposed dismissal of MPP members from Cabinet.

The following is the full text of the committee's statement.

"The Mongolian People's Party, which was operating until the end of 2014 as an opposition force [in Parliament], agreed on the DP's cooperation request and co-established the Government for Solutions, in order to implement goals and aims to overcome the economic crisis, to develop the law on elections, to count ballots manually, and to reach solutions for tackling other matters that political parties and the country face.

"However, the Executive Council of the DP made a decision to deport the MPP from the government, claiming that the MPP worked poorly and was politicized. Ever since the decision was announced, the ruling authorities of the MPP have not taken any steps or expressed their positions, and have only been reminding the DP of the cooperation agreement, which now tarnishes the MPP's public reputation and makes the MPP look like a follower, an unskillful and weak political party that only works for positions and offices. Now the time has come to evaluate and take all of this under consideration.

"Therefore, we are making this statement for the ruling authorities of the MPP to promptly carry out the following work as creative and brave steps. Hearing a report on executed projects and giving a summary of the current economic and political conditions would be greatly positive in influencing the results of the 2016 parliamentary and provincial elections.

"Firstly, launch an initiative to get the support of voters and citizens, as the MPP is the oldest political party with a rich history of 94 years. Make the party's financing open to public, and introduce a report on the party's donations, income, and expenses to public.

"Secondly, hold the MPP's third conference immediately to discuss the results of operations in joint government, to hear a report on the work of ministers and vice ministers, and to give political evaluations, and then report about the conference to the public.

"Thirdly, don't approve the adoption of laws that have negative consequences that might harm society, such as the law on economic transparency that frustrates citizens, and a renewed version of the criminal code that protects criminals. Instead, do work directed at ratifying other necessary laws, such as the election law."

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DeFacto: Interim Bureaucrats

By Jargalsaikhan Dambadarjaa

August 9 (UB Post) Following the decision from the National Consultative Committee of the Democratic Party, Parliament led an irregular session last week to replace six ministers and seven vice ministers from the Mongolian People's Party in Prime Minister Saikhanbileg's cabinet. It is such a waste of time and money. In a civilized and democratic country it is the Prime Minister who decides whether to replace several ministers or not. The Mongolian government has become an unstable institution because all power and authority are held by political party factions rather than a coalition of political parties.

When discussing the replacement of Cabinet members, Parliament first talks about the structure of the government, which leads to political parties trading positions of ministers and vice ministers with each other. Eventually, they decide to change the cabinet structure and oust the Prime Minister. Afterwards, they waste six months integrating and disintegrating different ministries and agencies, and replacing signs and nametags. This trend has already been set.

The most woeful thing is that such decisions and changes completely overturn the future and the faith of public servants. When a minister gets replaced, the bureaucrats they appointed are laid off and are replaced with people who share the same political party affiliation, alma mater, or family as the new minister. Those that were let go start filing lawsuits, which is the reason why our courts have too many proceedings these days. The newly appointed bureaucrats only pretend to be doing their job because they understand that they do not possess the required knowledge and experience for it, and are aware that their position is only temporary. Looking forward to the upcoming election, they only organize events and come up with award ceremonies to collect donations for their political party.

The development of a country is dependent on the efficiency of its civil service, which includes the capability, ethics, and discipline of public servants. If that is the case, where do Mongolia's public servants come from?

PUBLIC SERVANTS FOR A YEAR

Mongolia actually has a law on civil service, which sets out in great detail how public servants must be selected for a position, transferred to different positions, and what activities they are not supposed to be undertaking. However, this law, like many other laws in Mongolia, does not get implemented. The authorities violate the law on civil service the most frequently. Newly appointed ministers replace 40 to 50 percent of all employees in their ministry. The replacement is required as most positions are given through the backdoor rather than through a merit-based system.

But politicians do not care about what is going on at this level. As long as they get their piece of the pie, they do not blink an eye as the civil service system continues to sink. Every member of Parliament, an institution which revolves around coalitions and alliances of individuals representing different political parties, secretly or openly desires becoming a minister.

There needs to be an institution that provides training and prepares public servants in the civil service of Mongolia. The time we are living in requires that all public positions, particularly ministers, be filled with professional individuals who have been trained adequately.

Let us have a look at some ideas around how people in the foreign relations branch of government, for example, can be trained. The other branches can also follow these ideas to build their own system. By the end of the first quarter of this year, there were 120 employees based in the main building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A total of 310 people were on Mongolia's diplomatic missions in other countries. The diplomatic resident missions had 232 people, 155 of which were professionals and approximately 80 non-professionals. There have been an increased number of complaints against these so-called diplomats, the non-professionals who were appointed by decision makers, taking up positions, living abroad, and having the government pay for everything.

The recently appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs told such individuals to return to Mongolia, at their own expense, and take a test for their position, which sparked enormous opposition from his own political party and the wider political spectrum. At the end of this upheaval, only time will tell whether or not Mongolia's foreign affairs are brought to a better position, and whether or not there will still be non-professionals appointed by the authorities to a job that requires professional skills.

PREPARING DIPLOMATS

The Rio Branco Institute (IRBr) named after the Baron of Rio Branco, who was the father of Brazilian diplomacy and Minister of Foreign Relations of Brazil one hundred years ago, is Brazil's only school for preparing diplomats. Regardless of how prestigious a school of international relations one has graduated from, one must graduate from the IRBr to work in Brazil's foreign relations.

The IRBr, which is run by the Ministry of External Relations of Brazil, has prepared approximately 2,100 diplomats since it was first set up 70 years ago. Besides training diplomats, the institute provides a career program and frequently welcomes experienced foreign diplomats who give lectures.

Although thousands of young people wish to be enrolled in the IRBr, there are only a few who meet the criteria. The applicants must be a citizen of Brazil, have a bachelor's degree, and have met their civil obligations of military service and electoral participation.

The IRBr entrance examination takes place every year throughout all 26 states of Brazil, at the same date and time. The whole process is open and transparent. The applicants must have perfect fluency in their mother language; therefore they first take a test in Portuguese, then in English, Spanish, and French. Afterwards, there are nine exams in five areas: international relations, history, geography, international law, and economics. The language test, which has around 15 pages, lasts for five hours. The tests on major subjects require applicants to write a 600-word essay answering one main and two follow-up questions. The entrance examination takes place on weekends and lasts for eight months. One has to score 60 to 100 points to pass. Every year the exam is taken by 5,000 applicants on average, only 20 to 30 of which are granted entry to the IRBr.

Passing the exam and being admitted to the IRBr means that the applicant can now become a diplomat. In this sense, the person has job security. Students spend 1.5 years at the IRBr, receiving intense training and classes on international relations, international law, geography, history, economics, and diplomacy. Also, they study an additional language (Chinese, Arabic, or Russian) of their choosing. In the last six months of their study, students spend the morning taking classes, and in the afternoon they intern at relevant organizations of the Ministry of External Relations.

The entry exam is created by CESPE, an independent test center run by the University of Brasília. The author is kept confidential. The selection process is fair and not influenced by politicians and decision makers.

A young diplomat who has just graduated from IRBr starts his career as a third secretary before moving on to second secretary, first secretary, and eventually taking a position as a councilor. Above the position of councilor, there are positions for Minister of Second Class and Minister of First Class. In between these positions, one will continue to receive professional training. For example, in order to progress from second secretary to first secretary, a diplomat must complete intensive training for one month and pass an exam. In order to become a councilor, one must have worked for seven years on a diplomatic mission overseas.

It takes 28 to 30 years to become a Minister of First Class. To do so, one must have worked no less than 10 years on a diplomatic mission abroad and gained extensive experience. This means that one becomes a Minister of First Class by the age of 50 to 55.

The President of Brazil appoints Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary from amongst the Ministers of First Class (very rarely from Ministers of Second Class), which are approved by the National Congress of Brazil. The appointed ambassador will represent the president in a foreign country. Therefore, this role requires a great deal of international relations and academic skills. In order to become an ambassador, one has to complete a doctoral degree dissertation, and present it before the academic council of the IRBr. It takes 8 to 12 months to prepare for this presentation, and one is freed from their daily work for 60 days. The academic work must be assessed by three reputable ambassadors and guided by two instructors. For example, one instructor would be a subject matter expert working in the ministry and the other would be a professor from a prestigious university. Therefore, all Brazilian ambassadors are scholars. More than 700 academic works written by the scholar ambassadors of Brazil have been published since 1978. Every year the IRBr provides training to three to five young diplomats from other countries.

Last year the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia established an Academy of Diplomats for the first time ever. However, it looks like this academy has a handful people, but does not even have a budget and a stamp. A good government starts with good people. Are the most capable, talented, and ethical people being appointed to civil service in Mongolia? No. But why?

Trans. by B.AMAR

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Vicious politics laid bare for all

By B.Khash-Erdene

August 7 (UB Post) This week Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg petitioned to kick six Mongolian People's Party ministers out of his cabinet, citing political agendas on their part to hurt the progress of his "Government for Solutions".

President Ts.Elbegdorj opposed the proposal to dismiss the ministers from the government.

"I will not support the expulsion of six ministers of the Mongolian People's Party in your Cabinet, on the grounds that the request to discharge some members of Parliament will negatively affect the country's society, economy, people's lives, and Mongolia's reputation in the international arena, causing political instability," the President said in his response to the Prime Minister.

Ch.Saikhanbileg's proposal went through standing committees of Parliament on Thursday, and the dismissal of all six ministers have been supported by the majority.

Cornered Prime Minister

It is rumored that during Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg's state visits, from spring up until now, the executive council of the Democratic Party has been meeting to have the Mongolian People's Party ministers kicked out of the cabinet.

Some local news outlets point to Speaker of Parliament and Head of the Democratic Party Z.Enkhbold as the mastermind behind the plot to remove the Mongolian People's Party ministers. The reason being that, reportedly, Z.Enkhbold has been against his party's executive council's decision to keep the ministers of the Mongolian People's Party. It is rumored that Ch.Saikhanbileg has been against Z.Enkhbold from the start, and has even reminded his party that the Prime Minister should be head of his party, not the Speaker of Parliament.

The shot callers of the Democratic Party are rumored to be scheming to have people from their group in Parliament replace the six Mongolian People's Party ministers. Some claim that a threat to the effect of "those who do not support the decision will not be up for reelection next year" has even been laid on the table.

Consequently, Ch.Saikhabileg reportedly had no choice but to issue the proposal to kick out the Mongolian People's Party ministers, though he has been against it from the start.

End of the coalition

Democratic Party members in Parliament have reportedly been "ordered" to vote for the removal of the Mongolian People's Party ministers. Hence, the end has come for the coalition government, which promised to fix all that the G.Altankhuyag's "New Government for Changes" did wrong.

The Mongolian People's Party will not forget the fact the Democratic Party asked them to join when they needed them and then kicked them out, citing that they can't play together well.

The split of the coalition is not necessarily a bad thing according to political observers, as the Mongolian People's Party lost its position as the opposition force in Parliament by joining the Democratic Party. Analysts believe that the unceremonious breakup of the coalition could prompt the Mongolian People's Party to become a better opposition force.

Democratic Party digs its own grave

The dismissal of the six Mongolian People's Party ministers might bring about the temporary upper hand of the Democratic Party. But with the bleak outlook of the current economy and the elections coming up next year, local media are saying that the Democratic Party is driving head first off a political cliff.

The dismissal will, as noted by the President, inevitably cause instability in politics, which will have dire repercussions on the lives of people of the nation.

Whether the speculation that Ch.Saikhanbileg's hands were tied on the matter of the dismissals is true or not, the intentions of the Democratic Party have been revealed. The cat's out of the bag, and certainty in the government has been shattered.

Ordinary citizens and the media can speculate all they want, but what we are seeing has the stench of a carefully maneuvered political game, and it seems that all we can do is watch, speculate, and let the storm ride out itself out.

It is quite evident that in this ugly game of politics, the fate of the nation and its future are not elements up for consideration. Power, position, and money are. What made all these political games and corruption possible are closed doors and unchallenged authority. The UB Post calls for more transparency in the state and encourages the public to voice their opinions freely through media outlets. Readers can contact The UB Post at ubpost@mongolnews.mn, find us on Facebook, or on Twitter at @ubpost.

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Emergency Committee for Winter Preparation Holds First Meeting

August 6 (infomongolia.com) This year, Mongolia has experienced a difficult weather condition during summer period; the pasture growth is patchy and about 50% of the country suffered from drought. Ministries in charge of the situation consider that it main negatively influence the livestock fattening, crop and hay harvest.

Considering the situation, government cabinet meeting has passed a decision to form an emergency committee for winter preparation of 2015-2016 on July 27, 2015. Its first meeting was held in the office of Deputy Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh, who is the head of the committee, on August 05, 2015.

During the meeting, the committee has made a decision to investigate the possible sources of finance for 10.6 billion MNT for the fodder preparation. 8.6 billion MNT is required for filling the State Emergency Reserve Fund through procurement of fodder crops of companies that suffered a loss due to drought and 2 billion MNT for distribution of additional amount of fodder to local reserves of Aimags that may suffer heavy snowfall during the winter and the rest for buying fodder crops from drought free Aimags.

Further, the committee has restricted local companies to export wheat bran from September 1, 2015 until March 30, 2016. Also at the meeting, committee members were introduced the government draft resolution for loan of 80 billion MNT for preparation of flour and wheat seed reserve for 2016 and 180 billion MNT for meat reserve.

The emergency committee has informed that medium term loan program singed between Mongolian government and the Bank of Mongolia in 2012 for stabilizing the price of main stable products will be extended for a year right after its ending date on condition to use its remaining money to create a state strategic food reserve and stabilize the price. The program has allocated 33 billion MNT for private companies for food storage facility improvement, 25 billion MNT for meat management companies and 17 billion MNT for flour industries. Ministers related to the committee think that the extension of medium term loan program will help Mongolian government to keep the price of flour stable.

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2015 Trafficking in Persons Report: Mongolia

Office To Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, U.S. Department of State

28 July 2015

Mongolia is a source and, to a lesser extent, a destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Mongolian men, women, and children are subjected to forced labor, and women are subjected to sex trafficking abroad, primarily in China, Hong Kong and, to a lesser extent, Malaysia and Indonesia. Mongolian men are subjected to forced labor in Turkey, Kazakhstan, the United Arab Emirates, and the Czech Republic. Mongolian women and girls are subjected to sex trafficking in Sweden. Women are subjected to domestic servitude or forced prostitution after entering into commercially brokered marriages to Chinese men and, with decreased frequency, South Korean men. There have been reports over the past five years that Mongolian girls employed as contortionists, under contracts signed by their parents, have been subjected to forced labor and sometimes forced begging in Mongolia, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, and Turkey. The majority of repatriated Mongolian victims in 2014 were exploited in China.

Women and girls are subjected to sex trafficking in Mongolia in massage parlors, hotels, bars, and karaoke clubs. Traffickers sometimes use drugs or fraudulent social networking, online job opportunities, and English language programs to lure Mongolian victims into sex trafficking. NGO reports suggest an increasing number of victims from rural areas are subjected to sexual exploitation in Ulaanbaatar. Previous reports allege Japanese tourists engage in child sex tourism in Mongolia. Mongolian children are sometimes forced to beg, steal, or work in the informal construction, horse racing, animal husbandry, mining, agricultural, and industrial sectors—often with the complicity of family members. The vulnerability of some Filipina domestic workers in Mongolia to trafficking remains a concern, although immigration authorities noted the number of undocumented workers has decreased significantly. Thousands of North Korean and Chinese workers employed in Mongolia as contract laborers in construction, production, agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, factories, wholesale and retail trade, automobile maintenance, and mining are vulnerable to trafficking. North Korean laborers reportedly do not have freedom of movement or choice of employment and receive sub-minimum wages while being subjected to harsh working and living conditions. Chinese workers have reported nonpayment of wages. Corruption among Mongolian officials remains a significant problem in the country, impairing anti-trafficking efforts.

The Government of Mongolia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. In 2014, the government passed five implementing regulations for the Law on Victim and Witness Protection, referred 36 potential trafficking victims to an anti-trafficking NGO for assistance, and promulgated a labor trafficking announcement on social media and television networks. The government maintained limited victim protection efforts in 2014. The government convicted one trafficker in 2014, compared with five in 2013 and began implementation of one of the five regulations necessary to allow for full use of the 2012 anti-trafficking law. During the reporting year, the government reduced funding to an NGO-run shelter, and neither finalized nor implemented the national action plan to combat trafficking.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MONGOLIA

Enact all of the remaining regulations needed to fully implement the 2012 anti-trafficking law and train officials on effective implementation; increase efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses using Article 113, including those involving foreign workers and internal and child sex trafficking cases; investigate allegations of public officials involved in trafficking; allocate more government funds to support anti-trafficking activities, including to NGO-run shelters, other forms of victim assistance and protection, and training of officials; establish formal procedures to guide government officials in victim identification and referral to protective services; cease penalizing trafficking victims for offenses committed as a result of being subjected to trafficking; investigate and pursue claims of forced labor among North Korean and Chinese workers employed in Mongolia; complete drafting and begin implementation of the national plan of action on trafficking; reduce demand for commercial sex acts through proactive awareness campaigns in major transportation hubs; and investigate allegations of child sex tourism.

PROSECUTION

The government maintained its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. Mongolia prohibits all forms of human trafficking through Article 113 of its criminal code. Article 113, which defines trafficking in accordance with international law, prescribes penalties up to 15 years' imprisonment for trafficking offenses, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Article 124—inducing others into and organizing prostitution—is a more commonly used statute to prosecute suspected sex trafficking cases, although it does not require proof that force, fraud, or coercion were used, and it prescribes less severe penalties of up to five years' imprisonment. Due to the misconception among many government officials that only girls can be victims of sex trafficking, authorities rarely use Article 113 or Article 124 to prosecute cases in which boys are the victims. Due to ongoing reforms to law enforcement and judicial institutions, jurisdiction for anti-trafficking law enforcement remained nebulous.

In 2014, the National Police Agency investigated eight sex trafficking cases compared with seven in 2013. Two cases were dismissed, two were referred to local police for further investigation after being reclassified under Article 124, and four remained pending at the end of 2014. One investigation of forced labor pending from 2013 resulted in a conviction under Article 121 (forcing a child to labor) and Article 100 (battery/physical abuse). The Judicial General Council reported one case prosecuted and one sex trafficker convicted under Article 113, a decrease from four cases prosecuted and five sex traffickers convicted in 2013; the offender was sentenced to five to eight years' imprisonment. In 2014, the government funded anti-trafficking training courses, conducted by the NGO Gender Equality Center (GEC), for 370 law enforcement officers in nine provinces. However, frequent turnover among prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement officers continued to undermine the effectiveness of such training. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of officials complicit in trafficking, despite reports alleging officials were involved in some aspects of trafficking.

PROTECTION

The government continued minimal efforts to protect victims. Services for victims continued to be provided principally at two government-funded shelters run by the GEC. The government reduced funding for the GEC shelter during the reporting period; it provided 7.90 million tugrik ($4,000) in 2013 and 5 million tugrik ($2,500) in 2014. NGOs provided the vast majority of protection services for victims, including long-term resources. In 2014, the GEC assisted a total of 49 potential sex trafficking victims, compared with 45 in 2013; 36 of the 49 were referrals from various government agencies. The remaining 13 victims were referred to the GEC by family or friends. Of 49 potential victims the GEC assisted, 14 chose not to refer their cases for prosecution, often due to fears of being punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being subjected to trafficking, including immigration and prostitution violations. The government did not develop systematic procedures for the proactive identification or referral of trafficking victims among vulnerable groups, leaving many victims unidentified and some vulnerable to being punished. In 2014, the Ministry of Justice passed five implementing regulations for the Law on Victim and Witness Protection, which would increase confidentiality and safety measures for trafficking victims. Although the government did not identify foreign victims during the reporting period, the law does not provide legal alternatives for their removal to countries in which they could face retribution or hardship. Foreign laborers in Mongolia, especially Chinese laborers who were vulnerable to human trafficking, were sometimes fined for violating their visa terms and expelled from Mongolia. While Mongolian law does not provide incentives for victims to assist in trafficking investigations and prosecutions, Mongolia established a private victim and witness room at the First District First Instance Criminal Court in Ulaanbaatar, which may increase victim assistance in prosecutions.

PREVENTION

The government made limited efforts to prevent trafficking. The Anti-Trafficking Sub-Council, the government's coordinating body for anti-trafficking efforts, held senior- and working-level meetings during the reporting year, but for the second consecutive year did not finalize or implement the national action plan to combat trafficking. The government continued work with The Asia Foundation to establish an integrated statistical database. Officials developed and disseminated on social media and television networks a public service announcement on labor trafficking and continued to display trafficking awareness posters in airports and railroad stations. In 2014, authorities continued to provide Mongolian citizens traveling abroad with passport inserts that provided emergency information for trafficking situations; these were distributed at major transportation hubs. The government made no tangible efforts to investigate the labor conditions of North Korean or Chinese contract laborers working in Mongolia. The government did not take any measures to reduce the demand for exploitive labor or commercial sex acts or to address allegations of child sex tourism in the country. In 2014, it provided anti-trafficking training for all deployed peacekeepers. The government did not provide anti-trafficking training or guidance for its diplomatic personnel posted abroad.

Link to report

 

Hogan Lovells Legislative Update: 2015 Spring Session of the Parliament of Mongolia

August 10 (Hogan Lovells) During its 2015 Spring Session, which ended on 10 July 2015, the Parliament of Mongolia ("Parliament") enacted 20 new laws, 18 laws revoking existing laws or provisions of laws, amended 64 laws, ratified 16 international agreements and treaties, and adopted several state policies for various sectors. 

Below, we provide a brief overview of legal developments that may be of interest to current or potential investors in Mongolia. 

In general, the legislation approved by Parliament addressed several different areas: (1) supporting domestic production and promoting export, (2) improving financial reporting and the accountability of business entities and public institutions, (3) amending specific tax legislation, (4) supporting the development of specific sectors such as energy and occupational health and safety.   

1. LAWS TO SUPPORT DOMESTIC PRODUCTION

2. LAWS RELATING TO TAXATION 

2.1 Law on Value-Added Tax

2.2 Law on the Capital City Tax

3. LAWS CONCERNING FINANCIAL REPORTING AND ACCOUNTABILITY

3.1 Law on Accountancy

3.2 Law on Auditing

4. OTHER LEGISLATION

4.1 Main Direction for the Privatisation or Restructuring of State Properties for 2015-2016

4.2 State Policy on Energy and the amendments to energy laws

4.3 Amendment to the Law on Occupational Health and Safety

4.4 Amendments to the Investment Law

4.5 Amendments to the Immovable Property Pledge Law

5. CONCLUSION

During its 2015 Spring Session, Parliament approved several important pieces of legislation affecting the economic, social and the legal sectors.   

The legislation aimed to support domestic production, improve financial accountability and other responsibilities, such as in the area of occasional health and safety, of business entities, reduce the role and involvement of the state in various economic sectors as well as to improve the coordination among government agencies in certain economic sectors. Overall, and with some exceptions, we expect the legislation to be favorably received by domestic and foreign investors.   

It is anticipated that Parliament will pass other laws, such as the Law on Trade, the revised Labour Law, the revised Criminal Code and the Law on Promoting Economic Transparency, which will have a significant impact on business entities, during its 2015 Autumn Session, which is preceded by an extraordinary session which commenced on 3 August 2015.    

The Law on Trade aims to create comprehensive legislative framework for domestic and foreign trade as well as trade in special regime zones as currently these are regulated by various sector specific laws.  The draft law provides for the general requirements, the role and responsibilities of those engaged in the trade sector and determine the state policy to promote and facilitate trade. 

The revised Labour Law aims to broaden the scope of the employment law, align certain key terms and rights of employees with international norms, regulate new forms and types of employment and associated remuneration and improve dispute resolution mechanisms.  The draft law is considered by the private sector to be rather restrictive as it imposes a number of new obligations on employers.

Under the existing Criminal Code, legal entities are subject to criminal sanctions for crimes relating to money laundering and financing of terrorism.  However, under the draft revised Criminal Code, legal entities can be subject to criminal sanctions of fines, restriction of right to engage in certain activities, liquidation and expropriation of property for more than 40 crimes.  The draft Criminal Code is currently subject to vigorous debate.

The Law on Promoting Economic Transparency is a form of amnesty law which aims to uncover undeclared income and assets of individuals and legal entities, and ensure their proper reporting and registration without any legal or financial consequences for the individual or legal entity concerned, if voluntarily declared within a certain period of time. The law covers not only tax related matters but also reporting or registration under the social insurance, customs, immovable property registration, legal entities registration and accountancy laws.  In relation to this draft law, the Government has also submitted the draft Law on Economic Amnesty which aims to provide a one-time amnesty for crimes relating to the violation of laws on securities, insurance, auditing, and engaging in prohibited services or trade, illegal use of trademarks or name of a business entity and smuggling.  

Link to full update

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Business

Genie Energy Scaling Back Operations in Mongolia to Preserve Cash

Genie Energy Ltd. Reports Second Quarter 2015 Results

NEWARK, NJ--(Marketwired - August 06, 2015) - Genie Energy Ltd. (NYSE: GNE) (NYSE: GNEPRA) reported second quarter 2015 revenue of $39.5 million, negative Adjusted EBITDA* of $2.6 million, and a net loss attributable to common stockholders of $4.9 million ($0.22) per basic and diluted share.

·         Genie Energy's Afek subsidiary has completed drilling the second well of its multi-well exploratory program in Northern Israel. Hydrocarbons were found in both the first and second wells. While Afek continues to analyze the core samples and other data, the evidence to date is consistent with pre-drilling models that suggest a large resource with the potential for substantial volumes of oil in place. Determination of the nature of the resource, its volume and commercial potential will require further analysis and additional exploratory wells;

·         Genie Retail Energy (GRE), which operates Genie Energy's retail provider businesses, increased its meter base by 19,000 meters during the quarter to 377,000;

·         GRE generated Adjusted EBITDA* of $0.3 million in 2Q15 including the impact of a $1.5 million accrual on a legal matter;

·         In light of the progress achieved by Afek in Northern Israel and abundant growth potential at Genie Retail Energy, Genie Energy is sharpening its strategic focus on these two opportunities. Accordingly, Genie Energy is scaling back operations in Mongolia and suspending the dividend on Genie Energy common stock in order to preserve cash resources. The quarterly dividend on Genie Energy preferred stock has not changed.

Genie Oil and Gas (GOGAS)

The GOGAS segment is comprised of oil shale projects in Mongolia and Israel's Shfela Basin, as well as of Genie Energy's minority stake in a joint venture to develop oil shale in Colorado's Piceance Basin. The oil shale exploration project in the Shfela is not active at present, and GOGAS is scaling back its operations in Mongolia to sharpen the company's focus on the operations at Afek, where there is, potentially, a shorter-term path to commercial operations.

Link to release

 

C-Quadrat Asset Management's Vision Microfinance Funds Issue $5.5m in Credits to Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Georgia, India, Mongolia, Nicaragua

August 5 (MicroCapital) During July 2015, Austrian asset manager C-Quadrat Asset Management issued loans worth USD 6 million via its two Vision Microfinance funds to unspecified microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Georgia, India, Mongolia and Nicaragua. Of this total, C-Quadrat Asset Management invested USD 1.5 million in a microfinance institution based in Cuenca Azuay, Ecuador, that serves rural and peri-urban clients.

Formerly known as Absolute Portfolio Management GmbH, C-Quadrat Asset Management GmbH provides investment and advisory services in the field of microfinance. The firm's Dual Return – Vision Microfinance and Dual Return Fund – Vision Microfinance Local Currency were created in 2006 and report combined assets of USD 266 million under management as of July 2015. C-Quadrat Asset Management is a unit of Austrian fund group C-Quadrat, which manages assets equivalent to EUR 4.8 billion (USD 6.3 billion) as of December 2013.

Link to article

 

Japan Begins Providing Multiple-Entry Short-Term Visas to Mongolians from 10 August

August 6 (news.mn) During the visit of Mongolian President Ts.Elbegdorj to Japan in May 2014, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to provide "multiple-short term visas" for Mongolians. The new visas will come into operation from 10th August.  Previously Mongolians could travel to Japan for 15 days on a single visa; under the new system they can travel to Japan as many times as they wish (for the 15 days) over a period of three years.

Link to article

 

MIAT Adds More Berlin, Frankfurt Flights, UBTZ Plans Express Train to Erlian

August 6 (news.mn) The Director of the "Ulaanbaatar Railway" Mongolian-Russian Joint Venture, L.Purevbaatar has presented plans to launch an express train service with China. The 200 km / hour train will run between Ulaanbaatar and the Chinese border town of Erlian. In addition the national air carrier, "MIAT", has decided to provide additional flights to Berlin and Frankfurt, from September. This is a result of study of passenger trends. The Ministry of Transport noted: "These flights will be direct without passing through Moscow". 

Link to article

 

Mongolia Hopes to Cooperate on Farming with Inner Mongolia

August 7 (gogo.mn) Academic and Research centers of the two countries to cooperate in farming, crop seed, vegetables, fodder plants and  irrigation sectors by connecting businesses in food sector especially in fruit and vegetable trade.

Minister of Food and Agriculture R.Burmaa received the Head of People's Government Baatar and exchanged their views on cooperation between two countries in agricultural sector and further development.

During the meeting, they pointed out that state leaders need to focus on implementation of the talks and discussions in the field of agriculture.

Minister R.Burmaa requested technical assistance from Inner Mongolia for adapting imported meat and milk goats for breeding to the climatic conditions of our country.

Moreover, she suggested specific cooperation proposals such as sorting out and marking the livestock that qualified for Mongolian pasturing livestock industry, strengthening the origin determination system, increasing quality of milk and meat products by producing fodder, receiving technical and methodological assistance in animal health management, organizing training, conducting joint research on trans-boundary animal disease and processing joint program to combat against disease.

In addition, she stated to support the Inner Mongolia's private sector investment to the adoption of high productive breeding livestock and establishment of meat and meat product processing industry in agricultural free zones of Halh river, Dornod aimag. 

Minister R.Burmaa requested to regularly train the Mongolian food and agricultural sector specialists, labs, personnel of research institutions, farmers and engineers in Inner Mongolia and to support the cooperation of organizations operating in the same fields.

Head of People's Government Baatar received the cooperation proposals positively and expressed to establish a Memorandum of Understanding in agricultural sectors of the two countries, reported by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

Link to article

 

Mongolia-Japan Business Forum to Be Held on Agriculture

August 7 (gogo.mn) In scope of memorandum signed between the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Shizouka city, Mongolia-Japan business forum to be held on Aug 07 at 01PM at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

13 entities from Japan are to participate in business forum including food, foreign trade, agricultural consulting, meat sale, real estate, waste, medical equipment, fertilizer production, electric power, green tea production, retirement home, religious items and funeral entities.

Mongolian businesses and industries which operate in similar production are open to participate in the forum.

Link to article

 

G.Bat-Ochir: The more you focus on solutions, the smaller the issue becomes and the bigger the gateway appears

August 9 (UB Post) CMS Group is now ready to introduce a new project, which they developed based on detailed surveys. The main content of the project revolves around the topic, "Mongol Brand". In other words, it's aimed at introducing Mongolia to the world and "rescuing" Mongolia from economic crisis through a national brand product.

The following is an extensive interview with the CEO of CMS Group, G.Bat-Ochir, about the company's project.

CMS Group talked about Mongolia's business environment, its development trends, achievements and shortcomings in a show produced for Creative Mongol Solution Project. What is the significance of expressing the group's position?

Our group's MCRC research organization conducted studies and based on the findings, we aspired towards creating exits, opportunities and solutions for entrepreneurs. I felt that some organizations and individuals were hiding their views and opinions. There's a saying that knowledge isn't kept to be concealed. Consistent to this saying, we undertook the Mongolian Brand goal to the Compete Globally Project and are continuing to inspire new ideas through the Creative Mongol Solutions Show to anyone who can make use of it. Naturally, the time for Mongolia's many products to compete in the world market will come soon. The world market has enough space to add 100 people, not just one person.

For how long was the study conducted?

The MCRC undergoes regular operations, collects data on a daily basis, and documents studies for each branch. It spends considerable time, money and effort for each project by travelling both inside and out of the country to study experiences and consult with professional organizations.

Viewer ratings, comments and shares on social media show that a relatively large number of people watch your show. How do the writers and director define the show's main feature and significance?

When operating a business in Mongolia, people list all sorts of problems, such as saying that the cost of each product is too high due to unsuitable geographic location and expensive raw materials. We all know we have geographical disadvantages as well as high costs.

Just like how each and every room has a way out and each lock has a key, we're seeking solutions, and have made three episodes of the Creative Mongol Solutions. We received much encouragement from the fact that 6,000 people watched the first episode, which is 25 minutes long. Within a week, the 45 minute-long second episode receiving view rates of 90,000 people in just two weeks.  Honestly, it isn't easy to sit in front of your computer watching a 45 minute-long video on Facebook as if watching a television. Some people have noted that this is a record in Mongolia.

Mongolia transitioned to the market economy 25 years ago. This isn't a short period. Yet, we've yet to produce a brand that'll surprise and overwhelm the world. What do you think the reason for this is?

Link to full interview

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Ulaanbaatar

Working Team Appointed to Draft Green Development Strategy Plan for Ulaanbaatar

August 6 (news.mn) The City Mayor of the Mongolian capital has issued an order to appoint a working team for preparing the "Green Development Strategy Plan for Ulaanbaatar". Under the order (A/644), T.Bat-Erdene, the Deputy Director of the Ecology and Green Development of City Administration Office will head the working group. The deadline for the team to present the "Strategy" to the Meeting of City Representatives will be the 4thquarter of 2015.

Link to article

 

Religious festival of Danshig Naadam held in Mongolia on August 7-9

Bishkek, August 7 (AKIpress) - A religious festival of Danshig Naadam will be held on August 7-9 in Mongolia on the occasion of the 380th anniversary of the High Saint Gegeen Zanabazar, the first Bogd Khaan and the spiritual leader who ruled Khalkh in the 17th century and founded the modern capital city of Mongolia.

The festival's opening will be performed in a way of religious service at the Gandan Tegchinlen Monastery of Ulaanbaatar on August 7.

On August 8, Buddhist monks from all monasteries around Mongolia will gather at Chinggis Square to dedicate blessings for the believers.

Danshig Naadam will also include tourism exhibition, stallion and five-year-old horse races, opening of religious dance "Tsam" festival, ceremonies for exalting the state banners and announcing the reincarnation of the High Saint, archery and wrestling competitions and other tournaments among the gathered monks, as well as a concert "Colors of Mongolia".

Zanabazar was born as a son of the Tusheet khan Gombodorj – at that time one of the three khans of the Khalkha Mongols – and his wife, Khandjamts. He became a religious leader of Khalkha in times when Mongolia became a vessel of Manchus.

In 1640, Zanabazar was recognized by the Panchen Lama and the Dalai Lama as being a "reincarnate lama". His Palace located in center point of Mongolia has become the founding place of Mongolia's modern capital Ulaanbaatar.

Zanabazar has been called the "Michelangelo of Asia" for bringing to the region a renaissance in theology, language, art, medicine and astronomy. He personally created bronze statues of Buddha and other gods. Most of his precious artworks are now preserved in museums.

Link to article

 

1,500 Foreign Tourists Expected to Attend Danshig Naadam at Khui Doloon Khudag

August 7 (news.mn) The Ulaanbaatar City Administration is busy preparing for "Danshig Naadam" at the traditional "Khui Doloon Khudag" showground. The new field-stadium with 2100 seats is being built at the site, northwest of Ulaanbaatar, for national wrestling, cultural shows, and other events. Currently, the process of decorating the stage is 80% completed. The cleaning and ground-works at "Khui Doloon Khudag" are completely finished. The weather has being constantly pleasant and there is abundant fresh green grass following the rain of the past days.

The City Administration Authority has conducted a statistical forecast; approximately 1500 tourists will watch "Danshig Naadam" – this does not include Mongolian visitors. Most of the tourists will be from South Korea, and Japan. 2000 police men will work to provide safety of the guests.

Link to article

 

New road to connect Narny Road with 19th micro district

August 6 (gogo.mn) 1.5 km long new roads to connect Narnii Road with 19th micro district are being constructed with the aim to decrease the traffic load of the city.

Two way road is being constructed at tunnel located under the railway in front of National Amusement Park and which will be connected with back road of Apartment KH town under the Peace Bridge from the South and will be connected with National Amusement Park`s intersection from the North. 

Moreover, the road will pass under the Peace Bridge and to be connected with Narnii Bridge.

Due to steepness of the 22 meter long road from tunnel to National Amusement Park has heating line at underground, it cannot be digged down more. Thus, non-slip road plates are planned to be installed at this area.

The construction of the road is at 55 percent. Only jeeps and small vehicles are available due to tunnel has 2.3 meter height. In addition, sidewalk, 1.4 km bicycle road and lighting are to be installed.

The construction of new roads, which is funded with MNT 4.3 billion from the city budget, will be finished within October.

Link to article

 

Statues of UB #7: Lion Monument

August 7 (gogo.mn) There is interesting set of monument in Bayanzurkh district, which welcomes the visitors to UB city from the Eastern aimags and consists of two dogs and a lion. Some people would confuse all those three being dogs, therefore we are delivering the new section of the Statues of UB with more information and background behind of this set of the monument. 

Honestly, I was among those as well. Every time I pass the monument I was thinking: "What a huge monument of dogs," never ever noticing that the middle elevated one was a lion.

The lion depicts the steed of Rich Namsrai, a deity of Bayanzurkh mountain. The lion stands on guard of the blue sky, mother earth and pristine waters and is the guardian of the prosperity and health of the people, resting on a lotus flower facing the east, the rising sun.

29 stairs lead to the pedestal of a lion symbolizing the eternal development and prosperity and is done with the pearl white marble. The dogs on the sides depict the loyal guardians of the household heart, fireplace, Asar and Basar.

The location of the monument has the omen as well as it stands on the intersection of Peace Avenue, Narnii Road and Urgakh Naran Road, symbolizing the intersection of the past, present and future.

Link to article

 

Things to do around Chinggis Khan Statue Complex

August 6 (gogo.mn) End of summer comes to near, yet unexpected rain showers refreshed the landscape and painted it green during the last few days. Therefore, many want to escape from the city to feel and experience the Mongolian summer. For those who are seeking for entertainment and cozy camps to stay, we are delivering you the useful information with the support of Friendly Ulaanbaatar program.

This time, we have visited to the Chinggis Khan Statue Complex, which was built in the middle of the plain field and is the biggest steel equestrian monument of the Great Khan rising 40 meters high.

The complex located in Tsonjin Boldog, Erdene soum of Tuv aimag which is 60km away from UB city to the East. It was officially opened in September 2008 and it is planned to build 200 gers as hotel accommodation, golf course, open theater, pond, sport field and over 10 thousand of planted trees.

Even though the complex is not fully finished yet, there are still many activities to do around the complex and the nearby tourist attraction is expanding each year, which allows you to kill two birds with one stone.

First of all, we suggest visiting Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex and its ticket for adult is MNT 7000 (USD 3.5), ticket for children is MNT 3500 (USD 2).  

Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex offers you museum that exhibits findings of the Bronze Age and Xionglu Empire, giant Mongolian boots and whip, souvenir shops, coffee shops, restaurant and post office shop.

Moreover, visitors are able to walk to the head of the horse through its chest and neck, where they can have a panoramic view of Tsonjin Boldog, the birthplace of Chinggis Khan.

This year, ger camp of the Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex has started receiving visitors, which features hot showers and bathrooms inside the ger. The prices for the one night stay at the ger camp is ranging between MNT 135-165.000 (USD 70 – 90). 

Moreover, you can wear Mongolian national costumes for photo session at MNT 3500 (USD 2) and you can take photos with birds of prey too.

Second spot we suggest you to visit is the monument of Hoelun, who was the mother of Chinggis Khan and the wife of his father Yesuhei. Together with Chinggis Khan`s wife Borte, Hoelun was counted as one of the most trusted advisors of Chinggis Khan. She also took care of war orphans under the orders of her son, adopting them and bringing them into the family as a part of an inclusionist policy aimed at creating loyalty among conquered tribes. It was at her camp that a Tatar made an attempt to kill her young grandson Tolui, but was stopped by Altani and Hoelun's two guards.

Next must-to-do around the complex is to try Autogyro flight. Three km away from the complex, you can fly above the Tsonjin Boldog and Tuul river valley.

Cost for the flight depends on the flight length and is starting from MNT 40.000 (USD 20) to MNT 300.000 (USD 160).

There is one more fun activity left on the way back to the city, it is a karting racing!

Turn left at the 46th milestone at the road back to the UB city. Here you can enjoy racing by karting with your friends, family and children. They have up to 10 cartings and offers you to race with up to 10 people on 365 meters long road. One round costs MNT 5000 (USD2.5).

PS: Karting racing is off on only Tuesday and available during other days from 11AM to 8PM.

Finally, following places are the most attractive ones and there are still many places to visit. Gers nearby the complex are providing Mongolian traditional foods such as huushuur, buuz and are operating during the summer. Moreover, many camps and recreation centers are operating all year round. In addition, on the way to the complex, people are selling the wild strawberry, mushroom, spring onion and other wild fruits. Enjoy your trip and enjoy the rest of the summer.

Stay tuned with us for more detailed information about the camps around the complex and many more.

Link to article

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Diplomacy

Mongolia, North Korea Consider Cooperation in Education

Bishkek, August 6 (AKIpress) - Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia Navaan-Yunden Oyundari received today Thae Hyong-chol, Member of the Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea, the Minister of Higher Education and the Director of the Kim Il Sung University along with the accompanying delegation.

Thae Hyong-chol said that their visit aims at getting familiarized with Mongolian economy, education and society and upgrading inter-parliamentary relations.

Oyundari, in turn, expressed satisfaction with the two countries' long-time friendly relations. She expressed confidence the sides will actively cooperate to implement the follow-up works for the 9th meeting of the Mongolia-N.Korea cooperation commission on economy, sciences and technology.

Link to article

Similar:

Vice FM Meets DPRK ParliamentariansMontsame, August 7

 

Deputy Speaker Gonchigdorj receives delegates from DPRK Supreme People's Assembly

August 6 (gogo.mn) On August 5, 2015, Deputy Chairman of the State Great Hural (Parliament), Head of Mongolia-DPRK parliamentary group at the State Great Hural, Mr.R.Gonchigdorj received a delegation from the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK.

The visiting delegates were headed by Mr.Thae Hyong-chol, member of the Supreme People's Assembly, Head of DPRK-Mongolia parliamentary group at the Supreme People's Assembly, member of Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, Minister of Higher Education and concurrent Head of Kim Il-sung University.

At the meeting, member of the Supreme People's Assembly Thae Hyong-chol expressed his gratitude for a warm reception and acknowledged that bilateral relations and cooperation between North Korea and Mongolia have been lasting many years in mutual partnership history. He added, the visit is aimed to get familiarized with current Mongolia's social and economic situations and to boost inter-parliamentary ties.

Deputy Chairman of the State Great Hural R.Gonchigdorj expressed his satisfaction that the traditional friendly relations and cooperation between Mongolia and the DPRK have been consistent with the interests of the two peoples and been developing sustainably.

During the meeting, Mr. R.Gonchigdorj emphasized the importance of collaboration between organs of legislative powers and the inter-parliamentary friendship groups to enhance bilateral relations. Moreover, he proposed to sign a memorandum of cooperation between Secretariats of two parliaments and the both sides exchanged views on other issues of mutual concern.

Members of the State Great Hural, members of Mongolia-DPRK parliamentary group Mr.O.Baasankhuu and Mrs.D.Oyunkhorol, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the DPRK Mr.M.Ganbold were present at the meeting and the other part was represented by a member of the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) Mr.Ryom In-yun, Deputy head of foreign relations section at the SPA Mr.Kim Kyong-ho, senior official of foreign relations section at the SPA Mr.Ri Chol-su and an expert at the Asian affairs department of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the DPRKreported by the Press and Public Relations Department of the State Great Hural of Mongolia.

Link to article

Related:

Vice Speaker Receives Delegates of North Korean LegislatureMontsame, August 6

Meeting with North Korean representativesnews.mn, August 6

 

Mogi: both Korean assemblies in town

Vice Speaker of Mongolian Parliament Receives South Korean National Assembly Delegates

Bishkek, August 7 (AKIpress) - Vice Chairman of the State Great Khural of Mongolia Logiin Tsog received a delegation of the National Assembly of South Korea on August 7.

The delegates were led by the Member of the National Assembly's group for children, population and environment-protection, Lee Ju-young.

The sides considered bilateral relations and cooperation in various spheres.

South Korea was invited to take part in the Autumn Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which will be held in Ulaanbaatar next September.

Lee Ju-young highlighted that relations between Mongolia and South Korea have been intensifying since 1990, and that this visit aims to upgrade the inter-pariamentary relations.

Link to article

Similar:

Vice Speaker L.Tsog Receives S.Korean ParliamentariansMontsame, August 7

 

South Korean MPs to study opportunities to support Mongolia's child welfare

August 7 (UB Post) Four members of the South Korean parliamentary group in charge of children and population, including Lee Ju-young, Ahn Gyu-bak, Park In-sook, and Hong Ji-man, are conducting an official visit to Mongolia, on August 9 and 10, to study opportunities to support Mongolia, focusing on children's issues.

The MPs will meet Director of the National Authority for Children I.Narantuya and be introduced to the operations of the organization. They will visit the ger area of Bayanzurkh District and are also scheduled to meet MP S.Odontuya, chairman of the parliamentary lobby group for child protection and family development, to discuss issues surrounding child welfare.

Link to article

 

China's Vice Commerce Minister reflects on trade ties with Mongolia

August 7 (UB Post) Deputy Foreign Minister of Mongolia N.Oyundari received Vice Minister of Commerce of the People's Republic of China Gao Yan during a recent visit to Mongolia, where the sides recalled the mutual special attention paid to expanding cooperation in the economy and commerce, and agreed on holding an intergovernmental commission meeting in the near future.

Expressing their satisfaction with the sustainable development of Mongolia-China relations at the strategic partnership level, the parties emphasized the importance of developing advanced relations intergovernmental commission meetings and reviewing the implementation of China and Mongolia's mid-tern program for economic partnership.

Deputy Foreign Minister N.Oyundari thanked the Government of China for granting soft loans and grant loans to Mongolia, supporting the country's development, and shared her views on trade and economic matters.

Link to article

 

Former President Expresses Kyrgyzstan's Desire to Learn from Mongolia's Experience in Mining

Ulaanbaatar, August 7 (MONTSAME) Minister of Mining R.Jigjid received the former president of Kyrgyzstan Ms Roza Otunbayeva last week, on the sidelines of her visit to Ulaanbaatar on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Mongolia's first democratic election.

She said that Kyrgyzstan wants to learn Mongolia's practices in appropriate utilization of natural resources. Mining explorations and other operations have been facing major criticisms in Kyrgyzstan on both levels of the people and the parliament, said Ms Otunbayeva. "Therefore, it is crucial to learn from and localize good practices in this sector", she added.

In response, Minister R.Jigjid said that it took a while for the legal environment to become stable for mining, and that the Parliament has adopted key regulations in Mongolia's mining sector in the past two years. He also gave information on the implementation of the "Long-named law" (Law on Prohibiting Mineral Exploration and Extraction Near Water Sources, Protected Areas and Forests), and the process of issuing mine permits.

Link to article

 

Mongolian Foreign Minister Discusses Bilateral Relations with Counterparts at ASEAN Regional Forum

Bishkek, August 7 (AKIpress) - While being in Kuala Lumpur to attend the Ministerial Meeting of ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) on August 4-6, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia Lundeg Purevsuren met with the heads of delegations from 10 countries to discuss bilateral relations.

He held meetings with the Canadian Foreign Minister Daniel Jean, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su-Yong, Malaysian Foreign Minister Dato' Sri Anifah Aman and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The sides exchanged views on further development of bilateral cooperation, regional and international affairs.

Purevsuren also met with Le Luong Minh, the Secretary General of ASEAN to discuss cooperation.

Afterwards, the Mongolian Minister attended opening ceremony of Honorary Consulate of Mongolia to Malaysia.

Link to article

 

Mongolia attends 22nd Ministerial Meeting of ASEAN Regional Forum in Kuala Lumpur

Bishkek, August 7 (AKIpress) - Mongolian delegation headed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Lundeg Purevsuren took part in the 22nd Ministerial Meeting of ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) that took place on August 4-6 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Purevsuren spoke about Mongolia's position on the regional and international security and the government's activities. He also recalled that Mongolia is co-hosting with Philippines the ARF Seminar on advertizing Mongolia's "free of nuclear weapons" status on September 3-4 in Ulaanbaatar.

ASEAN Regional Forum focuses on preventing disasters, fighting terrorism and transnational crimes, ensuring maritime security, non-proliferation of mass-destructive weapons, disarmament, peacekeeping and defense cooperation.

This year, the session was attended by Foreign Ministers of 27 countries: Brunei, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Philippines, Australia, the U.S., South Korea, India, Canada, Russia, and many others.

Link to article

 

Mongolia to participate in 70th Anniversary Victory Parade in Beijing

August 7 (news.mn) The Chief of Strategy Policy of the Mongolian Ministry of Defense, Colonel G.Saikhanbayar provided some information about the Parade, marking the end of World War II

-       How many personnel are preparing for the 70th Anniversary Parade of the Victory over German Fascism and Japanese Militarism?

China has invited the Mongolian Armed Forces to participate in the 70th Anniversary Victory Parade which will take a place on 3rd September. In total, the Mongolian contingent at the parade will consist of 76 troops. 

-       When did preparation begin?

It began on 15th July, immediately after the Naadam celebration. Currently, training is almost complete.

-       How has training been going process? How do you imagine your parade square in China?

Currently, we are training at the airport. Beijing's Tiananmen Square is 800 meters in length; therefore, we for practical preparation we have been multiplying the runway 3 times.

Link to article

 

US Senate confirms Jennifer Galt as new US Ambassador to Mongolia

Ms. Jennifer Z.  Galt was confirmed on August 5 by voice vote in the US Senate as the new US Ambassador to Mongolia, succeeding Piper A. W. Campbell, who will depart Ulaanbaatar on August 11 to take up a new posting in Washington DC.

Ms.  Galt, a career member of the Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, currently serves as Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou, China. Previously, Ms. Galt served as a Senior Advisor in the Bureau of Public Affairs, 2011 to 2012, and as a Public Affairs Advisor at the U.S. Mission to NATO in Brussels from 2010 to 2011.  From 2008 to 2010, she served as Deputy Director in the Office of Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.  Ms. Galt also served as a Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai, 2003 to 2007 and as Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing from 2000 to 2003. 

Ms. Galt received a B.A. from Colorado College, an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University, and an M.S. from the National Defense University.

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Mongolia Speaker Receives U.S. Ambassador on End of Her Diplomatic Mission

Bishkek, August 6 (AKIpress) - Speaker of the Parliament Zandaahuugiyn Enkhbold received the Ambassador of the U.S. to Mongolia, Piper Anne Campbell upon completion of her diplomatic mission.

Campbell said that she has been putting all efforts in strengthening the two countries' relations and developing cooperation in various sectors.

Speaker Enkhbold stressed that the U.S. is an important "third neighbor" for Mongolia and mentioned several bilateral visits that improved the relations in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

He expressed gratitude for the U.S. initiative to restore the regular meetings of the General Agreement on Trade and Investment and for organizing the first consultative meeting of the Mongolia-U.S. economic policy.

Enkhbold wished Piper Anne Campbell the best of success in her further activities.

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Mongolia to deploy second shift to NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan

August 7 (infomongolia.com) The Second shift of Mongolian Armed Forces to participate in the "Resolute Support" mission in Afghanistan. Above one hundred military servicemen of the new shift have paid tribute to the Grand Flag of the Mongolian Armed Forces on August 06, 2015.

Vice-Chairman of the General Staff of the Mongolian Armed Forces, Major General B.Bayarmagnai, the Chairmen of Strategy Policy Planning and Foreign Cooperation Departments of the Defense Ministry, Colonel G.Saikhanbayar and BrigadierGeneral Ch.Sosorbaram, as well as other officials and relatives of the peacekeepers attended in the ceremony.

Major General B.Bayarmagnai said in his address: "It has been 12 years since Mongolia first participated in peacekeeping operations. During this time, 12,000 troops honorably fulfilled their peacekeeping duties. 95% of servicemen of this shift have direct experience of peacekeeping missions. I want all of you to serve your duties successfully."

Colonel G.Saikhanbayar also wished the troops well, and handed a traditional silver bowl and blue "Khadag" (Buddhist silk scaft) to Lieutenant Colonel D.Sukhbat, the commander of the contingent.

"Resolute Support" is a NATO-led non-combat, training, advisory, and assistance mission consisting of 12,500 soldiers in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, which began on January 1, 2015. It is a follow-on mission to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) which was completed on December 28, 2014.

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Jargal DeFacto Concludes Distinguished Speaker Series

July 31 (U.S. Embassy) The U.S. Embassy's Distinguished Speaker Series ended on a high note last week when renowned writer, blogger and talk show host, Mr. Jargalsaikhan Dambadarjaa, spoke to a packed audience of Mongolian young people about the importance of economic and political freedom. In his remarks, Jargal DeFacto, as he is better-known, challenged these future leaders to think in new ways about the economic, political and social issues currently facing Mongolia.

The U.S. Embassy's Distinguished Speaker Series began in October 2014 and featured nine of Mongolia's most notable leaders in a variety of fields. In addition to Mr. Jargalsaikhan, the speakers were the first President of Mongolia Mr. Ochirbat Punsalmaa, mining expert Mr. George Lkhagvadorj, columnist and political analyst Mr. Batbayar (Baabar), U.S. Ambassador Piper Campbell, the managing partner of Deloitte-Onch LLC Ms. Onchinsuren Dendevsambuu, Member of Parliament and President of United Nations Environmental Assembly Dr. Oyun Sanjaasuren, theoretical physicist Dr. Namsrai Khavtgai, and President of the MCS Group Mr. Od.

Support for the Distinguished Speaker Series was provided by the U.S. Embassy. Focused on the themes of democracy and human rights, business and corporate social responsibility, and health and environment, the series was implemented through the cooperation of the Mongolian U.S. Alumni Network, the Mongolian Young Leaders Program Alumni Network, the Zorig Foundation's Young Leaders Program Alumni Network, the Arts Council of Mongolia's Young Leaders Program Alumni Network, and the American Chamber of Commerce in Mongolia's Young Professionals' Club.

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His Highness the Amir of Kuwait departs Egypt, heads to Mongolia on private visit

August 6 (KUNA) His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah left Egypt Thursday afternoon after partaking in the new Suez Canal inauguration ceremony, heading to a Mongolia in a private visit.

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Social, Environmental & Other

5 Myths About Genghis Khan

Forget all the things you've heard. This is the real Genghis Khan

This post is in partnership with the History News Network, the website that puts the news into historical perspective. The article below was originally published at HNN.

1. He was a one-dimensional tyrant of a 'right wing' kind

A close study of the principal sources (in Mongolian, Arabic and Persian) reveals a personality of the utmost complexity. Depending on mood or context he could be all of the following: shrewd, far-sighted, just, generous, stoical, restrained, iron-willed, multitalented, a man with all the gifts of a great ruler and cowardly, treacherous, devious, ruthless, ungrateful, vengeful and even stupid.

Usually an uncannily sharp reader of men, he could be naïve, as when he was taken in by a Chinese charlatan called Chung Chan, who became his guru and spiritual adviser. But in this respect he was not so very different from those eminent personalities in modern times who have been taken in by 'perfect masters' of every stripe. He was prey to paranoia and jealousy and could fly into terrible rages, but he was also charming and charismatic and attracted a faithful following in the days before he had the power to constrain anyone by fear. As for the popular 'to the right of Genghis Khan' tag, this is of course anachronistic nonsense, since the terms 'right' and 'left' did not appear in history until the French Revolution.

2. He was uniquely cruel, perhaps even a psychopath

The important thing to realize about Genghis was that he may have exceeded in degree, but never in kind, the routine cruelty of the Middle Ages. One could give any number of instances of medieval war crimes: the slaughter of the Song Chinese by their rivals the Jin at Kaifeng in 1127; the massacre of the Albigensians by fellow-Christians at Beziers and Carcassonne in 1209; Edward I's butchery of 8,000 Scots at Berwick in 1296; the 30,000 Hindus killed at Chittor in 1303 by the troops of Ala al-din Khilji; the Byzantine mass blinding of the Bulgars in 1014; the behavior of the Christians at Antioch and Jerusalem during the First Crusade – one could go on and on. Genghis was no more and no less cruel than other victors in his era.

He was not perceived by contemporaries as being exceptional in this regard nor did he have the kind of exceptional contemporary reputation that Henry VIII had in the sixteenth century. He could not rival Tamerlane for slaugherous brutality and can be documented as less bloodthirsty than contemporary Chinese, Khitans or Persians. Many tales of Mongol atrocities were exaggerated by their enemies and critics, especially Arab historians. The Mongols themselves were happy to collude in this black propaganda, as the legend made opponents less likely to resist them and more likely to surrender without a fight. Moral judgements made from a twenty-first century standpoint are of no use in helping us to understand history.

3. His 'surrender or die' policy was an outrageous crime against humanity

This policy has attracted a lot of attention, and various reasons have been adduced for it: the result of a small-scale steppe mentality transposed onto a world stage; because in terms of Genghis's conviction that he had been appointed by God to rule the world resistance to him was blasphemy; because the Mongols feared and hated cities and spent their fury on them once taken; because it was the most efficient way to warn already conquered peoples not to attempt 'stab in the back' revolts as the Mongols pressed ever onwards.

But the simplest explanation is that the Mongols, a far from numerous people, were always obsessed with casualties, so that the best-case scenario was a walkover surrender in which none of their troops died. This explains why nearly all the cities that surrendered without even token resistance received relatively good treatment. It was the fear of casualties that triggered the Mongols's worst excesses. Sustaining large numbers of dead and wounded when besieging a city meant they would take a terrible revenge when the city finally fell, and the fiercer the resistance, the greater the toll of the massacred; sometimes this included every last human being, including women and children and all animals, including cats and dogs. It also explains the policy that so appalled the Arab historians: using prisoners of war in the Mongol front ranks as 'arrow fodder.' But an era that has witnessed the egregious atrocities of the 'Great Patriotic War' of 1941 between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, in a so-called civilized age, not to mention the Holocaust, has no call to single out the Mongols.

4. Genghis and the Mongols were successful because they swamped their enemies with 'hordes,' overwhelming them with sheer numbers

This is one of the hoariest of all myths associated with the Mongols and one of the falsest. Until the time of Genghis's grandson Kubilai Khan, the Mongols always fought from a position of numerical inferiority. Their most famous set-piece victories, against the Russians at the Kalka river in 1222, against the Poles at Liegnitz in 1241 and against the Hungarians at Mohi the same year, all fit into this category. The most famous example of conquest with numerical inferiority came with the defeat by the Mongols (a people of two millions maximum) of the Jin empire of northern China, whose population was probably close to one hundred million. In fact the Mongols achieved their victories because they had achieved a quantum leap in military technology. Other medieval armies simply had no answer to master horsemen firing arrows from powerful bows at distances of three hundred yards; it was probably the first demonstration in history of the primacy of artillery.

5. Genghis is 'the father of us all' –we nearly all descend from the Mongols

Here we enter the arcane world of genetics. Geneticists have established that about 0.8 per cent of the population of Asia has an identical Y-chromosome, indicating the likelihood of a common ancestor, possibly some time around 1000 A.D. This would imply that about 0.5% of the world's population has this common ancestor, and that he has 16-17 million descendants. The easy availability of huge numbers of women to Genghis and his sons, as to no other identifiable Asian personality, makes it likely that Genghis might be this mysterious progenitor. But the theory has not generally been accepted. The difference of a couple of centuries between the dates of Genghis's life and the timing of this putative ancestor could no doubt be explained away, but there are simply too many imponderables to allow such a neat calculation, and even on the best-case scenario the most we would have, without a tissue sample from Genghis himself, is probability. But Genghis as the undoubted common ancestor makes a headline that sells newspapers, and devotees of 'good copy' are not above distorting the argument still further.

Frank McLynn is the author of Genghis Khan: His Conquests, His Empire, His Legacy (Da Capo Press, July 2015).

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Genghis Khan: The Man Who Conquered the World by Frank McLynn, book review: Why Genghis Khan as a great man doesn't convince

August 10 (The Independent) The rise of Genghis Khan astonished his contemporaries. From obscure beginnings on the grassy steppes of present-day Mongolia, he fashioned a mighty army that united various nomadic tribes before overrunning a substantial slice of the planet. Striking south-east, he conquered northern China and Korea. Turning to the south-west, he subdued modern Afghanistan, Central Asia and parts of the Caucasus and Russia. Following his death in 1227, his successors expanded the Mongol empire further, liquidating the remaining Russian principalities, smashing through Poland and laying waste to Hungary and Croatia.

Incredible, indeed, but does it all make Genghis Khan a "great man"? McLynn seems to think so. Genghis Khan was "admirably tolerant" on matters of religion and ethnicity, he writes. He further suggests that Genghis Khan was "unknowingly, environmentally green" on the singular grounds that he reduced the world's population by a significant percentage and turned much of the earth back into uncultivated forest. That's one definition of greatness – but not everyone's and it's not mine.

Of his military genius, there is no doubt. He obilized the entire adult male population of Mongolia into a semi-permanent standing army, divided into units of 10,000 and headed by a praetorian guard. The problem for Mongolia's neighbours was that this gigantic force needed to invade to survive. Because the thin soil of the steppes could not sustain it, its continued existence depended on the relentless conquest of richer lands on which the army could gorge before moving on to the next prey.

From Samarkand to Oradea, in what is now Romania, The Mongols gutted cities once they took them. Artisans and craftsmen were often spared but only for deportation to Mongolia. All the other adult men were killed or enslaved to serve as human shields in the next siege. Mass rape of the women was routine. Thanks to the great stud's own activity in that department, a sizeable amount of the population of Central Asia can claim to be Genghis Khan's own descendants. In the end, the Mongol empire burnt itself out. The predator ran out of prey, basically. Lines became over-extended, the empire cracked into different parts after Genghis Khan's death and the flow of booty and slaves into the Mongol heartland corrupted the old egalitarian values of Mongol society. Whatever McLynn says to the contrary, my thoughts were, thank goodness for that.

Order for £21 (free p&p) from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030

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Mongolian artist wins $20,000 grant from Pollock-Krasner Foundation

By B.Tungalag

August 9 (UB Post) Mongolian artist B.Nomin, who paints in the traditional Mongol zurag style was awarded with a 20,000 USD grant from The Pollock-Krasner Foundation.

The Pollock-Krasner Foundation announced the grant to artist B.Nomin on August 5.

This is the first time a Mongolian artist has been given the grant.

The Mongolian Contemporary Art Support Association and 976 Art Gallery nominated artist B.Nomin to The Pollock-Krasner Foundation.

B.Nomin graduated from the School of Fine Arts in 2005. Symbol-heavy colors and figures in B.Nomin's works comment on contemporary issues – wealth, politics, nature, and human relationships – by placing people from secular society in the world of gods.

B.Nomin's goal is to displace current conventions and encourage viewers to evaluate cultural norms from the point of view of Mongolia's ancient history.

The Pollock-Krasner Foundation was established in 1985 for the purpose of providing financial assistance to individual visual artists of established ability through the generosity of the late Lee Krasner, one of the leading abstract expressionist painters and the widow of Jackson Pollock.

The foundation's mission is to aid, internationally, those individuals who have worked as professional artists over a significant period of time.

The foundation has awarded over 4,000 grants, totaling over 62 million USD, to artists in 76 countries since its inception in 1985.

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One in every two herders is obese reports Social Health Institute

August 7 (gogo.mn) Studies conducted by the Social Health Institute to evaluate the health and living standards of herders revealed that one in every two herders is obese.

Moreover, the results of the studies revealed that in recent 5 years the number of herders has seen decrease by 22.6 percent due to the economic development, social and environmental changes. 

The need to conduct the study was based on the substantial differences of the herders lifestyle and living standards compared to the residents of the settlements, although the technological and technical advancements have been penetrating in their lives during the recent decades.

The study aims at developing the guidelines for the further development of the state policy on improving the livelihood, living and health standards of the herder families.

According to the study:

62 percent of the herders have incomes lower than the minimum wage with income sources from the commodities and products of animal husbandry constituting only 43.1 percent of the total income, but the majority of herders or 75.1 percent is not a subject to constant revenue streams.

Moreover, the herders are taking bath or showers:

  • 41.4 percent once a week,
  • 43.1 percent once in two weeks,
  • 14.6 percent once a month and 91 percent of the total herders have bath at home by warming the water.

In regards with proper sanitation:

  • 3.2 percent has standard sanitation toilet,
  • 53.1 percent has pit-latrines,
  • 43.7 percent has no dedicated space.

Source: Social Health Institute

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Peace Corps Volunteer Trains Mongolian Athletes to Compete in Special Olympics

August 5 (U.S. Embassy) Peace Corps volunteer Jennifer Seller trained three Mongolian athletes for the inaugural Special Olympics in Mongolia held on October 17-22, 2014.  One of the athletes, Ms. Davaajargal, successfully participated in the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games from July 25 to August 2, 2015 and won a silver medal in the track and field category.

At the 2015 games, the Mongolian team of 14 athletes, including Ms. Davaajargal, competed in three categories: table tennis, track and field, and judo. Mongolian athletes are returning home with 4 gold, 4 silver, and 4 bronze medals.

The 2015 games featured competitions in summer sports involving 6,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities from around the world. On this world stage, athletes demonstrated their courage, determination and sportsmanship on the playing field.

Soon after the first Special Olympics in Mongolia, Ms. Seller initiated and organized the Arkhangai Special Olympics in December.  Ms. Seller remarked, "Special Olympics has truly had a positive impact on how disabilities are viewed in the community."

Ms. Davaajargal was selected to be one of seven athletes in a feature aired by ESPN. In April 2015, the ESPN film crew filmed their documentary on-site in Arkhangai. To watch the video, click here. For more information on Mongolian Special Olympics, visit fb.com/SpecialOlympicsMongolia.

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Mongolia wins 12 gold medals at three international taekwondo championships

Bishkek, August 6 (AKIpress) - A Mongolian team of 15 taekwondo fighters and three coaches participated in the Jeonju Open International Taekwondo Championship, Chuncheon Korea Open International Taekwondo Championship and International Children Taekwondo Championship, and showed historic success.

The Mongolian team seized 12 gold, 5 silver and 8 bronze medals from the tournaments.

The Jeonju Open International Taekwondo Championship took place from July 18 to 20 in South Korea, and a total of 4,500 athletes from 37 countries took part in the tournament.

The Chuncheon Korea Open International Taekwondo Championship was held from July 22 to 27 in Chuncheon, South Korea. Over 4,300 athletes from 57 countries competed in the event.

The International Children Taekwondo Championship took place from July 30 to August 2 in Seongnam, South Korea. It attracted some 1,300 athletes from 14 countries.

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Saddle up & ride on to Mongolia: Follow in the footsteps of the legendary Genghis Khan 

HORSE BACK TREKS 

Region: Mongolia

August 6 (The Economic Times) The land of Mongolia boasts of unsurpassed geographical and human diversity, with forest, desert and lake lands inhabited by over 15 distinct ethnic groups. Tourists can enjoy horseback riding adventures to experience the countryside of Mongolia.

Most trekking adventures start from Ulaanbaatar, the capital and take you through the ruins of Karakorum, Erdene Zhu Monastery, a 400 year old Buddhist monastery and Mandal Mountain. Most horseback treks include a traditional tsam-mask dance session, culinary sessions and a day in a nomad village. 

Would you like to follow the footsteps of Genghis Khan? The tour goes back to the 13th century and experience the life of this Mongolian legend. Remember to take pictures of Khentii National Parka beautiful combination of forest, mountain, steppe, rivers and lakes. 

WOW Factor: Horse riding is the perfect way to see Mongolia. Experience nomadic lifestyle first hand to become part of the wilderness. The Mongols have a long and lively equestrian tradition. 

Horseback riding is a tradition among the locals. Spend a day or two with the villagers to get a crash course in the basics of horseback riding. 

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Belgian woman embarks on 1,000 km horse race in Mongolia

August 5 (Brussels Times) On Wednesday, Sophie Wilford, a Belgian-French vet, will set off on this year's Mongol Derby, the longest horse race in the world, 10 days and 1,000 kilometres through the Mongolian steppe.

At 10:00 am local time (3:00 am CET), 38 riders will set off for Erdenesant, 200 kilometres west of Ulan Bator. The race comprises 25 sections, each 40 km long, and the riders will be travelling on a different "semi-wild" Mongol horse for each of these stages. 

"There is scope for a lot of different potential injuries because this is a very dangerous race, not to be undertaken on a whim," said Sophie Wilford in a press release. Sophie has teamed up with Sian, a 34-year-old English paramedic, forming the "Steppe Sisters". The two met in 2014 when they were both part of the Derby ground-team.

The horse race is in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest in the world and aims o raise funds for various NPOs. Sophie WIlford has entered the race in aid of "Agronomes et Vétérinaires Sans Frontières" (AVSF – Agronomists and Vets Without Borders), a French NGO which supports peasant farming in 20 countries worldwide.

The race is modelled on the postal route established by Mongolian ruler Genghis Khan and is being broadcast live on the internet until the expected finish date in Hatgal (northern Mongolia) on August 16th.

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Explore world's emptiest country on two wheels

Big horizons, big adventure and big savings in Mongolia

Book by September 30, 2015, and save US$585

GOA, India, Aug. 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The world's emptiest country, Mongolia, can be explored on a wild-west adventure in 2016, with Extreme Bike Tours offering US$585 savings for adrenalin-fuelled motorbike riders or thrill-seeking pillion passengers who book by September 30, 2015.

Boasting 604,000 square miles in space and a population of just three million, Mongolia is the least densely populated country in the world, with only five people per square mile. This compares with the world's most densely populated country, Monaco, with 48,000 people per square mile, and the United States with 85 people per square mile.

No traffic for more than 60 miles is common in the vast and empty horizons of western Mongolia, where Extreme Bike Tours will run four 15-day guided adventure tours in May and September, 2016.

One of the world's last, true frontiers which few foreigners get to visit, Mongolia straddles ancient cultural crossroads between east and west - an exotic and fascinating destination licensed riders and also pillion passengers with no riding experience can experience with Extreme Bike Tours on the back of classic Royal Enfield 500cc bullet motorbikes.

Riding between the remote, frontier towns of Uliastai and Ulgii, the all-inclusive, off-the-beaten-track tour will see riders eat around campfires and sleep in traditional Mongolian yurts at 'ger' camps along the route which stretches through the Gobi Desert and the Altai Mountains. Along the way, riders can meet nomadic herders, gold prospectors and traditional Kazakh eagle hunters who ride horses and train golden eagles to hunt fox and hare.

Departing the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar on May 9 and 23, 2016, and September 12 and 26, 2016, the 15-day expedition is now priced at US$5265 per person, twin-share or for solo travellers - a discount of US$585 if booked before September 30, 2015. Pillion passengers riding behind friends or crew or in the support vehicle can also travel for only US$4455 - a discount of US$495, if booked by the same date.

Fares include connecting domestic flights within Mongolia, hotel accommodation at the start and end of the tour in Ulaanbaatar, ger camp accommodation on the road, all meals, use of new Royal Enfield 500cc bullet motorbikes and fuel. International flights toMongolia are extra.

Featured on TV's 'Top Gear' program, in 2011, Extreme Bike also offers itineraries to the Himalayas, Tibet, Bhutan, Rajasthan and southern India and from 2016, also Cuba.

Visit www.extremebiketours.com

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The stoutest whitewater in Mongolia

August 6 (Funhog Blob) Not every day in Mongolia is pleasant, but they are almost always interesting. As Pat and I started across the grassland with our boats in tow, it struck me that Jagaa's departure in the jeep came somewhat hastily. But at the moment it seemed there were more important issues at hand, like finding a route to the water.

Off the edge and down fields of wildflowers, we emerged from thick stands of larch onto a moraine field of round granite with a clear mountain stream coursing through. This was the Khagartin (Ha gar teen). Our descent would not be the first, that honor went to the British Universities Expedition several years ago. Still, this was probably the hardest whitewater in Mongolia.

The river was fast and shallow. After berating myself for portaging a rapid that was all clean, I came to see my decision in a better light after watching Pat narrowly pry himself off a boulder. I did the same a couple rapids later. The riverbed was young, and unexpected rocks lurked in every channel.

At a scout, we agreed the move was to split the boulders. I was too aggressive, and stalled on the pillow, sluicing backwards into a submerged rock that flipped me. Trying to roll in the shallows, all motion stopped when bedrock pressed against my back and the kayak pushed down from above, flattening me forward onto my front deck. It wasn't overwhelming force, but the seriousness of the situation was apparent, and I resolved to swim out at the next opportunity. Seconds later my chance came, and I surfaced standing chest deep in a marginal eddy. "Paddle!" I yelled as Pat swept by. It wasn't encouragement, it was an alert to locate my missingblade. He chased it down, and javelin-threw to shore. From opposite ends of a gorge corridor, we exchanged the all-okay signal.

A bedrock sluice, an up-and-over portage, and more paddling brought the Footbridge Gorge. We'd seen a picture of this on Google Earth from back in Flagstaff. The glimpse of whitewater in that photo led us here. Now reaching the long sought location, there was more whitewater than we'd ever imagined.

Another mile led to the Ireg River, below which we floated on a luxurious 400 cfs through a scenic class IV canyon. Emerging into an open valley, we scanned for Jagaa and the waiting jeep. We saw neither. I reached for theories, "Maybe we're late and he's off looking for us." Pat was more resolved for a long wait. "There's a spring downstream where we can get water, and those larch trees will provide firewood." Two hours later we sipped fresh water by the fire. The sky was cloudy. A gentle breeze wafted upstream.

Around midnight, I put on my drysuit, arranged my pfd as a pillow, and announced to Pat wishfully, "I'm crawling in." To deter the occasional mosquito, I draped my sprayskirt over my head. In a half-sleep haze, I could feel the chill of night on my back overpower the warmth of the fire at my belly. When this happened, I'd sit up and place more wood on the smoldering coals, then watch as it smoked into a release of beautiful orange flame.

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Google Street View: Caves of Khamar

August 9 (Roads Across) In the heart of the Mongolian Gobi desert, and just a few miles to the north of the symbolic Khamar Monastery (which is also available in Street View), a crumbling collection of caves and walls greets the visitor. Those were used by monks in 108-day long meditation retreats.

Street View: https://goo.gl/maps/g79hw

 

Inspired by son's death, Jacksonville family helps establish medical mission to Mongolia

Now the family has two children in long-term foster care

August 7 (Jonathan Soud had a thing for faraway places, a hankering for travel.

Through Google's Street View, he would maneuver through Oslo, Prague, Stockholm. Even Nuuk, the capital of Greenland.

His favorite TV show? "Globe Trekker," particularly episodes on Greenland and Mongolia.

"Dad, we have to go here," he'd tell Steve Soud.

Because of Jonathan, Steve Soud, 53, eventually did go to Mongolia.

Because of that, he made it to an orphanage in Ulan Bator, the capital city.

And because of that, a brother and sister from that orphanage are now living in Steve and Cathy Soud's San Marco home, in extended foster care.

In America, Usukhbayar Oyumaa, 13, and his sister Oyundari, 11, go by the names Luke and Anna. Sometimes with a twist.

"Anna's nickname is Anna Banana," Luke said.

"And Luke's is Luke the Duke," Anna said.

They're learning English, making friends. They've learned about Halloween, become familiar with Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, "Star Wars" and Harry Potter.

They've traveled to the White House and DisneyWorld, to the Grand Canyon and Crescent Beach.

Jonathan, who began all this, wasn't there with them. He died of complications from leukemia on Sept. 18, 2010, just four days before his 13th birthday.

But his death, Steve Soud says, set so much in motion.

As Soud traveled last year to Mongolia to get Luke and Anna, he wrote in a blog post how perhaps he and his wife could give the children a chance at a new future.

He also realized this. "After the catastrophic loss of Jonathan, these children in a very real sense offer us a type of redemption: a chance to bring life from death, and to help close the circle between Mongolia and Jacksonville ... "

That proven true. Jonathan's older brother Paul, 25, says his parents have indeed found some redemption and great meaning in all that's happened since Jonathan died.

"They had a lot of love left to give," he said.

COMMON GROUND DURING CHEMO

Pediatric oncologist Eric Sandler and Jonathan found something in common during chemotherapy treatment in 2010.

Mongolia.

Jonathan wanted to go there. Sandler had almost gone there.

Years before, Sandler had spoken with pediatrician Rita Browning, a missionary to Mongolia, about a trip to work with doctors there on childhood cancer. That trip didn't pan out, but the idea stayed with him.

When Jonathan died, Steve Soud, in his grief, saw a chance to act.

"The day Jonathan passed away, I said to Eric: 'We need to make Mongolia happen ... I want you to go to Mongolia as a way to honor Jonathan's memory.' "

Two years later, Sandler was part of a three-person medical team bound for Mongolia. It was funded by money donated to Wolfson Children's Hospitals in Jonathan's memory.

Sandler insisted Soud go too. "It might be part of your healing process," he told him.

Soud began to cry. Yes, he thought. It could help him heal.

So he and his grown children, Natalie and Paul, paying their own way, joined the mission to Mongolia.

Sandler's son Justin came too, and in Ulan Bator he organized a soccer camp at an orphanage that Browning, the missionary, helped run.

Soud came as an assistant coach, and when they arrived it was Usukhbayar — later to be known as Luke — who opened the door for them. What a nice young man, Soud thought.

Later, Soud took a break from soccer and was playing some basketball. Luke joined him in the game. Then up came a little girl.

The boy pointed at her. "Sister," he said.

It didn't take long, Soud said, for him to fall in love with both children.

Cathy Soud said he kept calling her from Mongolia and telling her about these children he'd met.

After he had to say goodbye, he kept their photos on his cell phone. He looked at them often.

Meanwhile, the medical mission to help Mongolian children with cancer has thrived.

Sandler and a medical team leave next month on what will be his fourth trip to the country's sole pediatric hospital.

He's bonded with his Mongolian counterparts. "Seeing how much they can do with the resources they have, and how they work," the oncologist said. "It's the most rewarding thing I do, I think."

ADOPTION NOT POSSIBLE

Once back in America in 2012, the Souds looked into adopting the two children, though that wasn't possible: Though their mother is dead, their father is alive, but not in a position to care for the children.

They thought that was it.

Life went on: They both work at the Bolles School, where Cathy Soud is head of foreign languages and Steve Soud head of college counseling.

Then Browning, the missionary from Mongolia, visited the family. She had adopted two children in Ulan Bator, and one was getting medical treatment at Wolfson.

Are you still interested in Usukhbayar and Oyundari? she asked them.

There was a possibility, she said, that they could be long-term foster parents.

And that's what happened, after some complex arrangements; international foster care is a new concept to Mongolia, Soud said.

He traveled to Mongolia last year for the second time, this time to bring the children to a new home in America.

They arrived Aug. 28, and were soon enrolled in San Jose Catholic School.

Anna spoke no English, Luke a little, but they've picked it up. "They're like sponges," Cathy Soud said.

In conversation, they're shy, though they do get more talkative as time goes by.

They like math at school, the U.S. women's soccer team, the Jacksonville Armada, the Jaguars and Blake Bortles.

They have also have learned to love M Shack, pizza, hot dogs and chocolate chip pancakes.

The Souds say it's important, though, for the children to maintain their Mongolian culture. They celebrate Mongolian holidays and in Jacksonville they have prepared buuc — mutton dumplings — a staple food in Mongolia.

For visitors, they recite the Lord's Prayer in Mongolian.

The Souds aren't sure how long Luke and Anna will stay with them.

Two Mongolian government officials visited their home in June, interviewed the children, checked out their situation.

They said they could stay another year, though Soud had to go back to Mongolia in July, with the children, to ask their father for permission.

He granted it.

For now, it's year-to-year.

"My wife and I are at peace about this," Soud said. "You lose a child, you realize what's in your control and what's not."

They're just enjoying the time they have, seeing familiar things made new through Luke and Anna's eyes.

Take Halloween. The children were puzzled at first: So people give you free candy just by you knocking on their door?

They show a photo album, and point to their costumes last year. She was a bumblebee. He was Superman.

This Halloween? Anna said she'll be either Maleficent or the Black Widow.

And Luke? He thinks about it.

"Maybe Captain America," he said.

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