Friday, September 25, 2015

[MNT ₮1 shy of new low; Golomt custodian goes live; Golomt enters equipment leasing; SMI falls for 19th month; and PM suggests austerity]

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Friday, September 25, 2015

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Overseas Market

EUM last traded A$0.027, September 27

Eumeralla Resources Annual Report 2015

September 24, Eumeralla Resources Ltd. (ASX:EUM) --




During the year Eumeralla Resources Ltd's 70% controlled Myanmar subsidiary, Mawsaki Mining Co. Ltd ('Mawsaki'), received State Government approval for its exploration permit in the State of Kayah. The approval came after successful negotiations with the Office of Chief Minister, Kayah State, State Minister, Ministry of Forest and Mines, both the State Forest Department and State Land Records Department in Loikaw and Office of Township Administration, Hpa-hsaung.

Mawsaki held meetings with Department of Geological Survey and Mineral Exploration (DGSE) to discuss and negotiate the terms of the exploration licence, including the commissioning of an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for approval by DGSE along with a detailed Works Program and Budget. Once approved, Mawsaki held numerous meetings with the Department of Geological Survey and Mineral Exploration (DGSE) aimed at finalizing the agreement, regarding the terms and conditions of the exploration area.

Mawsaki progressed with the process towards being granted the required approvals to clear the way for consideration of the proposed exploration terms and conditions by Cabinet of Union Government of Myanmar.

This approval process is the next step following the successful negotiations over the licence area with the Office of Chief Minister, Kayah State Government, Chief Minister, Ministry of Forest and Mines, both the State Forest Department and State Land Records Department in Loikaw and Office of Township Administration, Hpa-hsaung.

The Company understands that approval by the Union Government will be the final step in the approval process.


In July 2014 the Company engaged Lunda LLC (Lunda) to perform an IP/Res Gradient Survey. Lunda have performed the IP/Res Gradient Survey and completed and submitted the exploration work program to the Mineral Resources Authority (MRAM) of Mongolia as required by the Mongolian government.


The Company received the notice pursuant to Section 249D of the Corporations Act ('249D Notice') from Mr Michael Hynes on 26 May 2015 seeking the removal of Messrs James Hyndes, David Wheeler and Jack James as directors of the Company and the appointment of Messrs Jeffrey Bennett and Campbell Sallabank as directors of the Company.

Subsequent to year end, as announced 24 July 2015, Mr Hynes stepped down from the Board and as CEO, and withdrew his 249D Notice. Accordingly, the resolutions set out in the Notice of General Meeting convening a meeting for Friday, 24 July 2015 were not put before shareholders.

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Local Market

MSE Trading Report: Top 20 +0.27%, ALL +0.17%, Turnover 12.7 Million Stocks

September 24 (MSE) --

Link to report


NRI Financial Solutions for Custodians Goes Live at Golomt Bank of Mongolia

TOKYO, September 24, 2015 Nomura Research Institute (NRI), a leading provider of consulting services and system solutions, announced today the successful go-live of its Custody solution with Golomt Bank of Mongolia, a pioneer among Mongolian banks in introducing initiatives to accelerate development in the regional financial sector.

In August 2014, Golomt Bank became the first custodian bank in Mongolia to obtain the Custody Operations license from the Mongolian Financial Regulatory Commission. The NRI Financial Solutions for Custodians has enabled the bank to establish a fully equipped custodian service offering tailored for a wide spectrum of financial activities with a comprehensive suite of products, services and tools. 

"We went through a careful process of evaluation of all the solution offerings by various vendors before deciding on the NRI Financial Solutions for Custodians," said Zorig Gongorjav, Executive Vice President and Head of Custody Department at Golomt Bank. "We chose NRI for its robust, scalable, flexible and future-ready architecture as well as functionalities that include safekeeping of assets, securities settlement, corporate actions, client communication, cash and treasury management and many others. We are very pleased with the domain experts and experienced IT engineers from NRI Financial Technologies India. They made it possible to launch the solution within only three months by working closely with Golomt Bank personnel."

The NRI Financial Solutions for Custodians, customized for the Mongolian market, combines the mature market sophistication of functionality and design with the flexibility required for emerging markets. Some of the salient features of the solution include:

·         Straight-through processing for trade capture

·         Real-time communication capability with Clearing Corporation, Depository & Clearing Banks for  settlement processing

·         Real-time balance updates

·         Auto matching & notifications

·         Supports SWIFT, XML, XLS and various other data formats

·         High-quality report generation

·         Support for a wide spectrum of both mandatory and voluntary corporate actions, with generation of notifications for entitlements and fail tracking

·         Configurable multi-level authorization of reference data and transaction data

·         Robust and scalable infrastructure to handle high volumes and failovers

"We are thrilled to have been selected by such a leading progressive institution as Golomt Bank," said Toru Watanabe, President, NRI Financial Technologies India. "NRI is committed to bring sophisticated technology solutions to emerging markets to provide robust and highly scalable platforms with the view that establishing world class IT infrastructure can boost investor confidence and fuel market growth."

Link to release


GOLOMT BANK GOES LIVE ON CUSTODY PLATFORMMongolian Stock Exchange, September 25

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BoM MNT Rates: Thursday, September 24 Close


































































































Bank rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy ₮1,990 Sell ₮1,998), Khan (Buy ₮1,988 Sell ₮1,998), Golomt (Buy ₮1,991 Sell ₮1,998), XacBank (Buy ₮1,991 Sell ₮1,999), State Bank (Buy ₮1,987 Sell ₮1,998)

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

Link to rates


BoM FX auction: US$11.2m sold at 1,996, CNY10.5m at 310.66, total outstanding $70m MNT, $20m USD swap offers

September 24 (BoM) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on September 24th, 2015 the BoM has received bid offers of USD 24.0 million in a rate between MNT 1999.20-1999.10 and bid offers of CNY 36.5 million in a rate between MNT 310.06-311.61 from local commercial banks. The BoM sold USD 11.2 million in a closing rate of MNT 1996.00 and CNY 10.50 million in a closing rate of MNT 310.66 respectively.

On September 24th, 2015, The BoM has received MNT Swap agreement bid offer equivalent to USD 70.0 million and USD Swap agreement selling bid offer equivalent to USD 20.0 million from local commercial banks and the BoM has accepted the offers.

Link to release


ADB: Update to Asian Development Outlook 2015 Update

September 24 (ADB) The Asian Development Outlook 2015 Update, published on 22 September 2015, has been updated. The updates relate to estimates of the impact of demand for commodities on various economies in developing Asia, notably Azerbaijan, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia. This update does not affect the regional or country growth forecasts in the Asian Development Outlook 2015 Update.

Link to release


Mongolia Import, Export Both Down in First 8 Months

September 24 (Mongolian Economy) In the first eight months of the year, Mongolia conducted trade with 140 countries, and the total turnover of foreign trade was USD 5.8 billion. Of that, exports accounted for USD 3.3 billion, and import USD 2.5 billion, according to the National Statistical Office of Mongolia.

Total turnover is down by 18.9 percent from the same period of the previous year. Of that, export decreased by 9.1 percent and import by 28.8 percent.

A decrease of USD 391.5 million in mineral product exports and a USD 28.5 million decrease in textile products played a large role in the decline of exports. Export of precious stones, metals and gold increased by USD 49.7 million, and export machinery and equipment and electrical appliances and parts increased by USD 12.3 million.

The USD 325.0 million decline in mineral product imports played the biggest role in the imports decline in the first eight months of the year. In addition, the decline in the import of road, air and water transport parts and electrical equipment and spare parts affected the overall decline.

In the first eight months of the previous year, import and export levels were equal, and the trade balance was zero. This year, the trade balance had a USD 704.8 million surplus. Last month, the foreign trade balance had a USD 100.7 million surplus, which was an increase of USD 28.1 million from the previous month. Foreign direct investment (FDI) decreased by USD 327.6 million from the same period of the previous year; however, financial investments increased by USD 243.6 million from the same period of the previous year.

Last month, exports reached USD 438.7 million and imports USD 338.0 million. This is a decrease of USD 4 million in exports and USD 32.1 million in imports. Exports of goods such as mineral products, precious and semi-precious stones and metal jewelry account for the majority of total exports (86.6 percent), while mineral products, machinery and equipment, electrical appliances, vehicles and vehicle parts accounted for 45.1 percent of total imports.

Link to article


Mongolian downturn intensifies in September - Sales Managers Index

·         Business Confidence registers sharpest drop in 2 years

·         Employment levels fall for 17 consecutive months

·         Companies continue to reduce prices charged

September 25 (World Economics) The World Economics Headline Sales Managers' Index (SMI) for Mongolia provides the most up-to-date monthly assessment of economic activity in the country. It is derived from an average of the Business Confidence, Market Growth, Product Sales, Prices Charged and Staffing Indexes. September's reading remained well below the no-change mark of 50.0, posting 38.6, down from 40.8 in August. This signalled a sharper deterioration in business conditions and the lowest level since April. The index has now been in negative territory for the past nineteen months. An index above 50 indicates growth, while an index below 50 indicates contraction. The downward movement in the headline figure reflected four of its five components. 

Business expectations remained negative during September linked to weak demand, high interest rates and uncertainty over commodity prices. The Business Confidence Index registered 40.3, down from 47.1 in August, the sharpest decline since October 2013. A reading above 50 indicates a general positive business outlook while an index below 50 indicates a general negative business outlook. According to the companies surveyed, business conditions over the coming months are anticipated to be hampered by tough domestic economic conditions.

The Market Growth Index fell further during September, signalling worsening market conditions across the economy and the lowest level since April. At the same time, the Product Sales Index registered the steepest decline since December 2014. Panellists mentioned that reduced domestic demand continued to affect overall levels of sales. 

By contrast, the Prices Charged Index rose to 40.0 in September from 38.5 during August but nonetheless below the 50.0 no-change mark for the eleventh successive month. This indicated that prices charged continued to fall albeit at a slower rate compared to last month. Panellists attributed the fall in prices to continuing declines in global commodity prices such as those of gold, copper and coal. 

In line with marked declines in both sales and market growth, the Staffing Index continued to fall in September and was little-changed from its value in August. This signalled an on-going weakness in labour market conditions across the country. Job losses have now been recorded in each of the past seventeen months


World Economics Chief Executive Ed Jones commented:

"September's SMI data for Mongolia suggests that business conditions deteriorated further across the country, with business confidence, market growth and product sales registering the biggest drops over this period. Staffing levels continued to fall sharply while prices charged fell albeit at a slower pace compared to last month. The general business outlook remains grim, with sales managers anticipating lower growth in the coming months." 

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Politics & Legal

MPP demands details from government on meat export deals

September 24 ( MP S.Byambatsogt, MP J.Batsuuri and MP B.Bat-Erdene of Mongolian People's Party (MPP) has sent an official request letter with five items to Minister for Food and Agriculture on September 23, 2015.

They demand Minister of Food and Agriculture R.Burmaa to give full explanation on wide range of questions regarding the meat export at the plenary session of the State Great Khural (Parliament of Mongolia).

Mongolian meat export has been declining in past few years. In 2014, meat export was dropped by 1.8 thousand tons; it is 13.2 times lower than 2010. In addition, they want the Government to inform what measures are taken to improve the living conditions of herdsmen who are the main meat producers in Mongolia.

Minister R.Burmaa must give full financial details on the meat export plan and the reason why the Government has decided to established state-owned meat factory "Mongol Makh" Cooperation.

This year Mongolia has managed to sign deals on meat export with the Russian Federation, the People's Republic of China and the United Arab Emirates after series of talks.

Link to article


PM suggests austerity measures as budget revenue to fall short 1 trillion

September 24 ( As of first 8 months of 2015, the state budget has fallen short of 600 billion tugrugs. At the end of the year, the number will fluctuate between 900 billion and 1 trillion tugrugs, estimated Ministry of Finance. In relation to the issue, the state budget amendment must be necessarily done prior to approval of 2016 state budget.

Minister of Finance B.Bolor informed at the beginning of "Decision Time" regular meeting held on every Wednesday at PM's room: "Ministry of Finance advises to submit the budget amendment as one of initial discussions at fall session of parliament".

"Current state budget was approved in 2014 and amended in January, 2015. During the budget approval and amendment, we made great efforts of working on the budget expenditures. Unfortunately, overall economic situation had become worse than expected at the beginning of the year. Downturn in commodities' prices had had major impact on the issue. The state budget had extensively grown during 2009-2012, boosted by high commodity prices. Despite certain amendments previously made to reduce the volume, it is inevitable to reduce the state budget again", said Minister of Finance.

According to the law of Government, we must submit state budget on 1st of October. Despite facing difficult economic situation and budget issues, we must figure out ways to increase budget revenues with efficient management.

"Although revenues coming from copper, gold and coal trading are descending, petroleum price currently drops. During certain short period of time, we have two options to make whether to cut petroleum price or to add budget revenues. During the submission of the budget amendment, we must bring issues of raising excise and other duties on petroleum import in order to create revenues in the budget. The government is obliged to deliver "children's money", pension and wages instead of reducing petroleum price. It is major direction we should work towards," said PM Ch.Saikhanbileg.

Also, other revenue sources including privatization of state-owned entities should be studied in combination with management of flexible tax regulations.  During today's economic difficult situation, it is crucial for state authorities and private sector to cooperate on these matters, added PM.

It is time to cut current expenses into bearable level. I suggest freezing additional spending of foreign and domestic trips, training, meetings, purchasing and other expenses as well as cutting wages of high state officials by 30% in last three months of the year. These matters must be examined immediately and submitted at regular meeting of the government. It is necessary to solve these issues without managing expenses related to social welfare, warned PM.

Even though we planned to increase wages in 2015, we are now forced to move the issue to next year's budget. Trade Union and Employers' Association are certain to resist and negatively react to the decision. In relation to this matter, Minister of Labor G.Bayarsaikhan should establish trilateral negotiation with Trade Union and Employers' Association and reach mutual agreement.

Moreover, it is important to take into account in 2016 state budget whether target groups earn social welfare benefits.

Also, not only state officials but also private sector entities should consider of giving up additional wages at the end of the year, and be initiative over reducing expenditures and cutting additional spending, said PM Ch.Saikhanbileg.

Minister of Finance added: "Ministry of Finance will make full efforts in order to manage tax regulations efficiently and increase revenues. Without adding burdens on shoulders of taxpayers, we will work on 2015 budget amendment and 2016 state budget according to PM's instructions."

Press and Public Relations Bureau of Government of Mongolia.

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Mongolia's Golomt Financial diving into equipment leasing

TOKYO, September 25 (Nikkei Asian Review) -- Mongolian lending giant Golomt Financial Group will expand into the leasing business in response to surging domestic demand for industrial equipment.

The company will set up a unit by year-end to handle the capital leasing operation, which will buy equipment and lease it out to companies, according to CEO Bolormaa Luvsandorj. Mongolia's growing mining sector is developing the country's rich deposits of coal, copper, iron ore and uranium. Golomt sees small to midsize businesses wanting to lease more mining machinery.

Golomt is also considering adding construction, farming, industrial and medical equipment to its offerings, and is apparently in negotiations with overseas manufacturers. "We are also considering leasing Japanese-made mining equipment and medical devices," the CEO said.

Along with mainstay Golomt Bank, Golomt Financial Group also has insurance and securities units. As one of the top three commercial banks in Mongolia, Golomt Bank held 4.53 trillion tugrik ($2.27 billion) in total assets as of the end of 2014. The bank runs 99 branches domestically.

Link to article


PM addresses CAREC Investment Forum

Press and Public Relations Department of Government of Mongolia.

September 24 ( In Ulaanbaatar city, Erdenes Mongol LLC and ADB co-organizes Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation /CAREC/ investment forum in order to improve regional partnership, economic climate and competitiveness of Mongolia. 350 delegates from 26 countries attend the forum and share their experience on "How to identify and implement proper investment". Also, high state officials from member countries of CAREC will discuss of identifying ways to improve the investment climate and attract interests from investors, financiers, technology, solution providers.

Prime Minister of Mongolia attended afternoon session of the forum, and expressed his gratitude to Erdenes Mongol LLC, ADB and participants who create opportunities for domestic businesspeople and companies to cooperate and meet with their international peers.

CAPEC is crucial program which not only cares of economic cooperation in the region but also aims to support economic development, especially reducing poverty. Member countries are given a chance to align their activities with others by being involved in the program. Mongolia has been regular supporter for the program from the beginning, he said.

ADB has been major partner of Mongolia for last 25 years, and cooperated on implementing numerous programs and projects. It is wide open for us to advance our cooperation and partner with member countries. Mongolia currently makes a great deal of efforts on executing mega projects to strengthen economy. Number of projects are still in waiting for investors, Prime Minister Ch.Saihanbileg added.

Mongolia is now working on improving legal environment for businesses and attracting interests from investors. It is one of our fundamental approaches to the country's prosperity, PM cited.

Link to article


Shangri-La Asia Interim Report 2015

September 22, Shangri-La Asia Ltd. (HKEx:69) --

OPERATIONS REVIEW (Performance compared to the corresponding period last year)


(a) Hotel ownership

      The Group opened the 290-room Shangri-La Hotel, Ulaanbaatar (part of a composite development project in which the Group has 51% equity interest), in the capital city of the Republic of Mongolia on 3 June 2015.

(c) Property rentals

      Adversely affected by the general depreciation of Asian currencies, the rental rates of investment properties in Singapore, Malaysia and the Republic of Mongolia when expressed in US dollars all recorded decreases ranging between 3% and 15% as compared to the same period last year.

      The office spaces and commercial spaces at the Central Tower in Ulaanbaatar, the Republic of Mongolia (51% owned by the Group) recorded declines in yields of 17% and 20%, respectively.


(ii) Composite Developments and Investment Properties Developments



Total gross floor area upon completion (excluding hotel component) (approximate in square meters)



Group's Equity Interest




Serviced Apartments

Projected Opening

In Mainland China







Parkside Place, Tangshan



Late 2015

Nanchang City Project (Phase I)





Late 2015

Shenyang Kerry Centre (Phase I & II)(1)






Phase II of Shangri-La Hotel, Dalian






Kerry Central, Hangzhou






Putian City Project





China World Trade Center Phase 3B





Jinan City Project





In other countries







Bonifacio Global City, Metro Manila, the Philippines





Late 2015

Sule Square, Yangon, Myanmar





Composite development project in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia






Composite development project in Colombo, Sri Lanka













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Bulgaria to share its experience in metro development with Ulaanbaatar

Bishkek, September 23 (AKIpress) - Bulgaria will share its experience with the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar for construction of a metro, Monitor reports.

The intention was voiced upon agreement between Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev and his Mongolian counterpart Tsakhia Elbegdorj.

For this purpose, the mayor of Ulaanbaatar will arrive in Sofia to get acquainted with the building its metro.

Also, the Bulgarian President spoke about the willingness to build up the bilateral relations with Mongolia in the fields of mining, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, energy, agriculture, information and communication technology, defense.

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President Elbegdorj receives Seoul Mayor on 25th anniversary of Mongolia-S. Korea ties

September 24 ( The Mayor of Seoul, Mr. Park Won-Soo, who is currently visiting Ulaanbaatar at the invitation of Mayor E.Bat-Uul, has paid a visit to Mongolian President Ts.Elbegdorj. During the meeting, which took place on 22nd September, the President congratulated Mr Park Won-Soo for receiving an Honorary Doctorate from the Mongolian State National University. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Mongolia and South Korea, and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of "Friendly Twin-City Relations between Ulaanbaatar and Seoul".  President Elbegdorj also said; "We would like to deepen our relationship, in the direction of real results. Mongolia would like to co-operate in the training of experts in information technology, and to exchange the experience with South Korea, to make Ulaanbaatar into a "Smart City". 

Source: UB City Administration - Media Bureau

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Jeju city to work with Ulaanbaatar on food technology

September 24 ( Officials of the Food Service Department of Mayor's Office of Ulaanbaatar city have received Mr. Park Seong-Yeun, Director of national industry of Jeju city, and Dr. Young Ju of Cheju Halla University on September 24, 2015.

Jeju city delegation proposes to collaborate on food technology and exchange experience on traditional cuisine.

Officials of Ulaanbaatar city supported the proposal and suggested to work with Jeju city administration on improving food security and increase skill of public food service of Ulaanbaatar city.

Link to article


UB to cooperate with S.Korean JejuMontsame, September 24


"Green Days of Autumn" Annual Vegetable Fair Starts Saturday, Chinggis Square

Ulaanbaatar, September 24 (MONTSAME) Annual event called "Green Days of Autumn" will take place in the Chingis Square on weekend, and is expected to continue at Misheel Expo Center on September 29 – October 5. The event is dedicated to the vegetable farmers and consumers, coinciding with the harvesting season.

Green Days of Autumn will also incorporate actions such as Mongolian Organic Foods 2015 and Golden Autumn 2015. The event is to end on October 5, with awarding the best farmers and food companies.

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Speaker Enkhbold visits Sverdlovsk, Russia

September 24 ( Speaker of Parliament Z.Enkhbold pays official visit with invitation by Chairman of the Council of the Russian Federation during September 20-25.

Yesterday, Speaker arrived in Sverdlovsk.

During the visit to the state of Sverdlovsk, Speaker of Parliament received courtesy call by Chairman of Legislative Assembly L.V.Babushkina, Governor of Sverdlovsk state E.V.Kuivashev, PM of Sverdlovsk state D.V.Pasler and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Economy A.O.Sobolev.

Speaker Z.Enkhbold visited Ural Turbine Works and Chamber of Trade and Commerce of Yekaterinburg. Also, he stopped at Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia B. N. Yeltsin, which he graduated.

Attendees of official visit to Sverdlovsk state: Head of Foreign Affairs Department of Parliament Ts.Narantungalag and Chairman of PPRDPM O.Batkhand.

Press and Public Relations Department of Parliament of Mongolia.

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Daylight saving time ends September 26 in Mongolia

September 24 ( Cabinet resolution dated March 9th stated that Mongolia to shift to daylight saving time starting March 28th.

Summer daylight saving time shift started on March 28th and is to end on September 26th by shifting to winter time.

According to G.Batzaya, Specialist at the Standardization and Measurement Department, on the night shifting from September 25th to September 26th at 12AM residents are to turn their clocks backwards 1 hour to 11PM.

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Nature, Environment

After 100 years in captivity, a look at the world's last truly wild horses

September 24 ( In the 1870s, the world's last truly wild horses, known as Przewalski's horses, lived in the Asian steppes of Mongolia and China. But by the 1960s, those wild horses were no longer free. Only one captive population remained, descended from about a dozen wild-caught individuals and perhaps four domesticated horses. Thanks to major conservation efforts, the current population of Przewalski's horses numbers over 2,000 individuals, with about a quarter living in reintroduction reserves.

Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on September 24 have sequenced the complete genomes of eleven Przewalski's horses, including all of the founding lineages and five historical, museum specimens dating back more than a century, and compared them to the genomes of 28 domesticated horses to provide a detailed look at the endangered animals, both past and present.

"The novelty of our approach is to have not only surveyed the present-day genomic diversity of Przewalski's horses, but also to monitor their past genomic diversity, leveraging on museum specimens," says Ludovic Orlando of the University of Copenhagen's Natural History Museum of Denmark. "That way we could assess the genetic impact of more than 100 years of captivity in what used to be a critically endangered animal."

The genomic evidence helps to solve a long-standing debate in horse evolution, regarding the relationships between wild and domestic horses. The ancestors of Przewalski's horses and domesticated horses remained connected by gene flow for a long time after their divergence, some 45,000 years ago, the researchers report. Their populations continued to mix even after humans started to domesticate the horse about 5,500 years ago.

"As a matter of fact, we also show that very early in captivity—in the early 1900s—domestic horses contributed significantly to some lineages of the Przewalski's horse pedigree," Orlando says. "It implies that not all of the surviving Przewalski's lineages represent the gene pool of wild horses equally."

Orlando and his colleagues found the greatest genetic differences between domesticated and wild horses in genes involved in metabolism, cardiac disorders, muscle contraction, reproduction, behavior, and signaling pathways.

The findings also show that the last 110 years of captivity have left a mark on the Przewalski's horses, in the form of lower genetic diversity, increased inbreeding, and, in some cases, the significant introduction of genes from domesticated individuals. In the most extreme cases, about a quarter of the genomes of Przewalski's horses consisted of gene variants inherited from domesticated horses.

But there is some good news: "Even though Przewalski's horses went through an extreme demographic collapse, the population seems to recover, and is still genetically diverse," Orlando says. "There is, thus, hope for [other] endangered populations, fighting similar demographic issues."

The findings also serve as evidence of the importance of ancient DNA evidence in understanding domestication. The researchers say they plan to screen many more ancient horses—both wild and domestic—over time, with the goal of reconstructing the history of horses' 5,500 years of domestication.

Explore further: Ancient wild horses help unlock past

More informationCurrent Biology, Der Sarkissian et al.: "Evolutionary Genomics and Conservation of the Endangered Przewalski's Horse"

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Archaeology of Knowledge: New Archival and Material Discoveries in Mongolia

Conference/Symposium: Center for Buddhist Studies: Institute of East Asian Studies | September 26 | 9 a.m.-5 p.m. | 145 Dwinelle Hall

Sponsors: Institute of East Asian Studies (IEAS)Center for Buddhist StudiesMongolia FoundationDepartment of East Asian Languages & CulturesTownsend Center for the HumanitiesBerkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Consulate General of Mongolia in San Francisco

Mongol spaces have always been heavily trafficked intersections, sites of mediation, and global circuits of people and exchange in the heart of Asia. Recent archaeological work is shedding new light on Mongolia's complex history. Experts from Mongolia who have been working with excavation sites join Berkeley and other scholars in analyzing their discoveries and the implications for our understanding of Mongolia's past. 

A tentative Agenda is attached. Free and open to the public.

REGISTRATION REQUIRED: To register, please visit

This conference celebrates the revival of Mongolian studies and language instruction at UC Berkeley. The generous support of the Mongolia Foundation is gratefully acknowledged. For information on additional Mongolia-related events, including art exhibitions and a dinner and performance following the conference, please visit the Mongolia Foundation website at

Event, or call 510-642-2809 for information (not registration)

Document (PDF)Archaeology of Knowledge Agenda

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Art, Entertainment

John Fusco: Happy 800th Birthday, Kublai Khan

September 21 (John Fusco) This September 23rd marks the 800th birthday of Kublai Khan, greatest of the Mongol rulers (after his grandfather Genghis), brilliant statesman, founder of China's Yuan Dynasty, and, as historian John Man puts it bluntly 'the greatest CEO in world history.'

It's been a privilege to bring this larger than life historical titan to the global attention he deserves (with thanks to the genius performance of Benedict Wong), presently out there in more than 50 countries, moving into Italy, Portugal, Spain, Japan, South Korea, and streaming farther and wider every day . The Great Khan himself once said it was the Mandate of Heaven that he should conquer the entire world; if the aspirations of Netflix come to fruition, he shall finally reach that goal by 2017.

The Khan will be in nearly every country in the world.

So, if only we could time-travel back to the day of Kublai's birthday and experience how his empire celebrated, what a Bacchanalian bash that must've been. One can only imagine, right? Well, no. One doesn't need to imagine because Kublai Khan had a young Venetian guy in his court who didn't miss a thing when it came to chronicling his sovereign's inner life. So, thanks to Marco Polo, we know what KK's birthdays were like.

Let the games begin.

According to Marco, the Great Khan dressed up for his special day "in the most noble cloth of the purest beaten gold." Twelve thousand barons attended and also dressed in silk and gold with pearls and gems sewn into them. Kings who were subject to his jurisdiction offered gifts in his honor. On his birthday, he was a bit like Don Corleone at his son's wedding: Petitioners came from near and far and got in line to see Lord Khan, requesting favors, very often domains to rule. For this particular real estate ceremony His August Personage had a committee that assigned domains to the bearers he deemed worthy.

Also arriving for the epic birthday party were "people of whatever faith they are, all the Buddhists and all the Christians and the Jews and all the Saracens and all the other races of the Mongols who are subject to the rule of the Great Khan. They must make great petitions and great assemblies and great prayers, each to their God with great chants, great lights, and great incense, that he may be pleased to save and protect them."

Kublai and Chabi would then ascend to their rest couch in Chinese fashion as gifts were presented. With so many great kings and barons and sultans bearing outlandish gifts for the Khan of Khans, one wonders what kind of present the young Venetian might have humbly offered to his sovereign and father-figure. While there's no record of such a gift, an argument can me made that Marco Polo gave Kublai Khan the greatest gift of all, the one thing he truly desired.

Kublai, being deeply committed to his investigation into Chinese "treasures" and teachings had a great interest in Taoist mind-body cultivation. In others words: The secret of immortality. This was a common quest back then and someone with the power and hubris of the Great Khan must have allocated a great deal of finance and effort to the investigation of such ancient secrets, a way for him to be Khan forever. Along with his Muslim Hall of Invention, Halls of Calligraphy and Cartography, Astronomy, and halls of multiple arts and sciences, he probably had a Hall of Alchemy with an Immortality Department. And maybe his conscripted alchemists were onto something because Kublai Khan, for all of his orgies and excesses, his goose livers, his plum wine, his obesity and gout, lived to the stunning age of 80. In the 13th century that's an amazing feat.

Yet, in many ways, Kublai Khan has lived 10 times the age of 80. He has lived, thus far, to the age of 800. And right now, in this year of 2015, he is living large. Because the gift that Marco Polo gave to Kublai Khan was, at the end of the day, immortality. While Chinese alchemists were mixing saltpeter, sulphur, and charcoal (by the way, that formula ended up exploding and leading to the invention of gunpowder), Marco Polo was writing shit down. Descriptions of the Khan, his palace, his power, his kingdoms, his 400 concubines of fair complexion. His big fat birthday party. All scholars agree that the west would know very little, if anything at all, about Kublai Khan if not for Marco Polo. So what kind of present do you give to the Khan who has everything -- including one-fifth of the inhabited planet? Immortality. That's what Marco Polo gave to Kublai Khan. And that's what he truly wanted.

Yes, I know, let's not forget Coleridge. That opium-besotted poet gave "Kubla" a little immortality, too, but that Xanadu poem had nothing to do with Kublai Khan (or Xanadu for that matter).

In so many ways, Kublai Khan deserved the gift. From expanding the great Mongol empire across one-fifth of the world, to becoming the longest-ruling Khan in Mongol history, to conquering a 300 year-old dynasty and founding a new one with himself as emperor (but admirably naming his late grandfather Genghis as founder), to creating the concept of public education and paper currency and unprecedented religious tolerance, his earthquake of a life was as epic as his appetites. And so, on this day of his 800th birthday, I'd like to share something of his that I think he'd be proud of. Something that few people know about underneath all of his gargantuan accomplishments and victories. Kublai, the most feared man on earth, loved poetry. And he left us a poem that he wrote one day after visiting a Buddhist temple in Western Peking and climbing a mountain on his way back. Fittingly, this mountain was called Longevity Hill and that's probably why he went up there. As the world's greatest CEO, he probably dictated to a Chinese calligrapher panting his way up Fragrant Hill with brush and rice parchment:

I ascended on Fragrant Hill in the friendly season of spring 
Not discouraged I climbed to the peak and met the Golden Face 
Flowers shone bright rays and auspicious colors gleamed like a rainbow 
Incense smoke wafted like mist and a blessed light emanated 
Raindrops were like bubbles on jade bamboos at the edge of the big rock 
The blowing wind played a song among the green pines at the mountain pass 
In front of the Buddha in the temple I conducted the incense ceremony 
And on the way back I rode a Blue Dragon in the royal carriage.

Coleridge move over. That's not a bad poem, no opium involved (although one never knows).

And Happy 800th Birthday, Great Khan. Many, many more. As Marco used to say when he approached your golden throne, "long live, long live."

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Film Review: Mash Nuuts (2015) Proves Mongolian Cinema Is Ready For The World

Disclaimer: I know the cinematographer of this movie, (shit, Mongolia's really small) but I wasn't paid to promote it and I didn't watch it for free. I didn't even plan on reviewing this film until it happened to be the only film available for my time. 

By Natso Baatarkhuu

September 24 (So Why Mongolia?) --

Film Info

Mash Nuuts (Top Secret), 2015

Thriller / Action

Directed by: O.Bat-Ulzii

Screenplay by: T.Tumur-Ochir

Starring: O.Dulguun, E.Odbayar, E.Aldar, G.Lkhagvatseren, J.Altanshagai

What's it about?

Set in the 1970s of Mongolia, this film is based on a real event of  the mutiny in the Army's Construction Support Unit, which was crushed by an iron fist and silenced to protect the military's reputation.


9th Company meets JSA


Mash Nuuts is a film of whole another level. The film's screenwriting, acting, directing, cinematography and production design are flawless (at least to my excited mind). For the first time, I actually felt confident that this is a film that we wouldn't be ashamed of showing internationally. Because this film is not only well executed, but carries Mongolia's original tone.

Mash Nuuts is in all theaters now.

Link to full review


Exhibition by young painter N.Gunchinsuren opens in Blue Moon Art Gallery

September 24 ( Painting exhibition titled "Feeling" by young artist N.Gunchinsuren opened on September 21 at Bluemoon art gallery.

Artist N.Gunchinsuren`s over 40 masterpieces including portraits of simple person to well known historical people are being showed at the exhibition. Besides describing real people in his paintings, he focused on describing the inner world and professional feature of each people. 

He has graduated from Fine Arts School of Mongolia and he has completed the Academy of Fine Arts in Krasnoyarsk.

"Feeling" is his fourth independent exhibition and it will be continued until September 31 at Bluemoon art gallery.

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Seeking Mongolia's Secret Natural Wonder

By Paula Froelich, Editor in Chief

September 24 (Yahoo Travel) One of the great wonders of Mongolia is a place in the Gobi Desert called The Khongoryn Els, otherwise known as the Singing Sand Dunes.

Towering up to 300 meters high, these skyscraper high dunes are one of only 30 in the world with the exact perfect conditions—the consistency of the sand, the length, the height, the angle to the wind, etc.— to sing… When you climb high enough (and this is no mean feat. Again, they are 300 meters high and while the wind does blow, it's close to 94 degrees out) the wind will whip up and the sand starts to sing.

Marco Polo once described the music at these dunes as, "the sounds of all kind of musical instruments and also the clash of arms." 

It is some of the most beautiful music you will hear… But you have to get there first. And it's no cake walk. Just check out the video! 

Huge thanks to Intrepid Travel for showing me this incredible natural wonder. 

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Enter a photo contest and win a free Mongolia tour

September 24 ( Ulaanbaatar City Tourism Department has announced the 2015 Tourist Photo Competition under the theme "Harmonic UB". Participate now and win a free Mongolian tour!

The purpose of this contest is to expand the tourism of capital city, to improve the destination image of the city and introduce the heritage of UB to the tourists.

Who may enter: Open to all international tourists.

What to enter: Fascinating subject of Ulaanbaatar city's positive image is shown, as well as the city that reflects the kind of positive content.

How to enter: Please submit photographs to and to see photos others are submitting on Facebook event named 'Harmonic UB' tourist photo competition. Submit no more than ten (10) photographs per participant.

Judging: Photos will be judged on composition, technical quality, creativity, and originality by a select panel of organizers and sponsors. Winning photographs will be announced in September 27, 2014.

Contest prizes:

  • 1st place: Certificate, 1595$ trip to the Gobi desert tour: UB-GOBI-UB 2 nights, 3 days
  • 2nd place: Certificate, 1295$ trip to the Huvsgul lake tour: UB-HUVSGUL-UB 2 nights, 3 days
  • 3rd place: Certificate, 895$ trip to the ancient capital city tour: UB-KHARHORIN -UB 2 nights, 3 days

Range of the prize:

1.    The 3 winners will be granted a tour ticket on 27th of September, 2014.

2.    Ticket will be valid from 1st of June of 2015 to 30th of September in 2015

3.    The trip prize will not be replaced by cash.

4.    The winner or 1 representative of them will only go on tour.

Usage of winning photos: Ulaanbaatar city Tourism department and Juulchin tourism cooperation will keep the right to use the submitted photos of winners.

Technical requirements: File requirement: must be in JPEG or JPG format, and must be at least 1,000 pixels wide (if a horizontal image) or 1,000 pixels tall (if a vertical image). Do not use slash for file name "ulaanbaatar/museum.jpg" and special characters "%$@#*()

Other requirements: Please note: Where, when to taken photos and comment, also email address, contact phone number, surname and first name. Photographs must have been shot by the entrant since January 1, 2014 and until September 26, 2014

Deadline for submissions: September 26, 2014

For more information: Click here for Facebook event, Ulaanbaatar city Tourism department and Juulchin Tourism Corporation
Contact us: 976-70108687, 976-77121212, 976-99062751

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6th Floor, NTN Tower
Baga Toiruu, Chingeltei District 1
Ulaanbaatar 15170, Mongolia
P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

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