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Thursday, September 24, 2015

[Tenders announced on privatizations; MNT redescends on low; ADB downgrades forecast; Mongolia prepares for APEC; and Gansukh found guilty]

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

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Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original

 

Local Market

MSE Daily Report: Top 20 -1.2%, ALL -0.68%, Turnover ₮19.3 Million Stocks

September 23 (MSE) --

Link to report

 

10 Billion 12-Week 13.776% Discounted T-Bills Sold on MSE with 24.6 Billion Bids

September 22 (MSE) On 22 September 2015, the bond orders of 12 weeks Government bonds with 13.776% annual interest, placed on order book, and Ministry of Finance supplied 100,000 or MNT10.0 billion out of total order 264,140 pieces or MNT26.4 billion.   

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

Companies' name

Volume

1

Monsec

41,047

2

Tenger Capital

32,746

3

Standard Investment

14,449

4

Argai Best

8,250

5

BDSec

2,206

6

Altankhoromsog

1,134

7

АСЕ & T capital

111

8

Secap

50

9

Daewoo Securities Mongolia

7

 

Total

100,000

Link to release

 

10 Billion 28-Week 13.948% Discounted T-Bills on Offer at MSE

September 23 (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 93,032.00

7. Total amounts issued: 100,000 Units 

8. Short-term securities performance: 

Government Securities name

Symbol

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-28-330

-

100,000

10.0

28

Discounted

13.948%

2015.09.23

2015.09.29

Link to release

 

IMF Discusses Increasing Scope of Government Securities Trading with MSE

September 23 (MSE) At the request of delegations of International Monetary Fund /IMF/, Mr. Angar Davaasuren, acting CEO of Mongolian Stock Exchange /MSE/ received delegations on 22 September 2015.

During the visit, Mr.Angar. D presented operation of MSE, present day of Mongolian capital market and its future development trends. In addition, both parties exchanged the ideas about improvement of Government Securities trading, expanding range for media releases of Government Securities to foreign and domestic investors and increasing number of small investors on Government Securities trading.   

Link to release

 

SPC Announces Tenders for Underwriting, Advisory Services for Power Plant Privatizations

Source: Website of State Property Committee 

September 22 (MSE) According to the Resolution No.: 70 of Mongolian Parliament dated on 03 July 2015, the Resolution No.:330 of Mongolian Government dated on 17 August 2015 and the Order of Minister of Finance, the working group of the privatization for state-owned enterprises has been established. As guidance of the working group, State Property Committee /SPC/ announced the tender offer for choosing the companies that could provide underwriting and advising services on following state-owned enterprises:

•    Thermal Power Plant in city of Erdenet /mse:EDS/
•    Thermal Power Plant in city of Darkhan /mse:DAS/
•    Thermal Power Plant-4 /mse:DGD/
•    Thermal Power Plant-3 /mse:DGS/
•    Thermal Power Plant-2 /mse:DKS 

Link to release

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Economy

BoM MNT Rates: Wednesday, September 23 Close

 

 

9/23

9/22

9/21

9/18

9/17

9/16

9/15

9/14

9/11

9/10

9/9

9/8

9/7

9/4

9/3

http://www.mongolbank.mn/images/iconexchange/usd.png

USD

1,995.28

1,995.17

1,993.66

1,993.59

1,992.50

1,990.09

1,986.49

1,993.94

1,997.26

1,995.73

1,994.89

1,993.35

1,989.47

1,993.28

1,993.93

http://www.mongolbank.mn/images/iconexchange/eur.png

EUR

2,221.35

2,229.50

2,252.14

2,272.09

2,252.52

2,243.63

2,242.15

2,266.41

2,254.01

2,237.81

2,225.50

2,232.65

2,216.27

2,218.82

2,237.39

http://www.mongolbank.mn/images/iconexchange/cny.png

CNY

312.54

313.00

313.03

313.36

312.95

312.41

311.89

313.09

313.33

312.72

312.91

313.24

312.47

313.61

313.71

http://www.mongolbank.mn/images/iconexchange/gbp.png

GBP

3,063.15

3,091.32

3,098.45

3,104.82

3,090.17

3,051.90

3,060.68

3,080.94

3,084.57

3,063.45

3,067.64

3,061.89

3,021.71

3,036.36

3,045.53

http://www.mongolbank.mn/images/iconexchange/rub.png

RUB

30.07

30.17

30.00

30.19

30.60

30.06

29.46

29.45

29.53

29.00

29.51

28.96

28.99

29.58

29.86

Bank rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy ₮1,987 Sell ₮1,997), Khan (Buy ₮1,987 Sell ₮1,997), Golomt (Buy ₮1,988 Sell ₮1,997), XacBank (Buy ₮1,991 Sell ₮1,998), State Bank (Buy ₮1,987 Sell ₮1,997)

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

Link to rates

 

BoM issues ₮84.3 billion 1-week bills at 13%, total outstanding -11.4% to ₮333.85 billion

BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 84.3 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release

 

BoM FX auction: US$11.5m sold at 1,995.1, CNY29m at 311.55, accepts $94.9m MNT, $20m USD swap offers

September 22 (BoM) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on September 22th, 2015 the BoM has received bid offers of USD 26.2 million in a rate between MNT 1989.06-1995.90 and bid offers of CNY 61.0 million in a rate between MNT 311.06-312.6 from local commercial banks. The BoM sold USD 11.5 million in a closing rate of MNT 1995.10 and CNY 29.00 million in a closing rate of MNT 311.55 respectively.

On September 22th, 2015, The BoM has received MNT Swap agreement bid offer equivalent to USD 94.9 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

 

5 Billion 3-Year Bond Auction Receives No Bids

September 23 (BoM) Auction for 3 years maturity Government Bond was announced at face value of 5 billion MNT and each unit was worth 1 million MNT. The Government bond was not sold the due to absence of both competitive and noncompetitive bids.

Link to release

 

15 Billion 28-Week 13.948% Discounted T-Bills Sold with 27 Billion Bids

September 23 (BoM) Auction for 28 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 15.0 billion MNT. Face value of 15.0 billion /out of 27.0 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 13.948%.

Link to release

 

Mongolia Takes A Beating As China's Commodity Hunger Declines

By Johan Nylander

September 22 (Forbes) China's slowing economy and declining appetite for energy, metals and other commodities is bad news for several Asian commodity-producing countries, the Asian Development Bank warned Tuesday.

Copper-rich Mongolia is expected to take the worst beating.

The US and Japan-led bank cut its growth forecast for China to 6.8% from 7.2%, in its new Asian Development Outlook.

Mongolia, exporter of gold and copper, is expected to suffer 2.7 percentage-point drop in GDP due to a 0.2 percentage-point drop in China's expansion.

"The country expected to be most effected by China's falling growth is Mongolia," the bank's chief economist Shang-Jin Wei told reporters in Hong Kong. "It's a pretty big number."

Copper constitutes 36% of Mongolia's exports, which makes the country highly exposed to external shocks arising in world commodity markets.

Mongolia stood out in the analysis because of its strong direct export links with China. Exports of copper provide 16.4% of its GDP, and crude oil and iron ore are other major components of its exports to China, it said.

Kazakhstan, which sells piping oil, is expected to lose 0.5 percentage point. Growth implications for commodity exporters include both reduced trade and a fall in global commodity prices, it said.

Asian Development Bank said softer growth prospects for China and India, and a slow recovery in the major industrial economies, will combine to push growth in developing Asia for 2015 and 2016 below previous projections.

"A shock to commodity demand and prices emanating from a growth slowdown in the PRC […] poses policy challenges to some commodity-exporting economies in developing Asia ," the bank said.

"Maintaining flexible monetary and fiscal policy can help buffer effects on the economy in the short run. Over a longer term, though, analysis highlights the need for structural reform to diversify production and exports and to reduce overreliance on trade in primary commodities."

Link to article

 

ADB Downgrades Mongolia's 2015 GDP Forecast to 2.3% from 3%

September 22 (ADB) --

Bracing for economic headwinds

The PRC and commodity exporters in developing Asia

§  Moderating growth in the PRC raises concerns for commodity exporters. Commodity prices have fluctuated significantly since 2000, but recent trends have been decidedly downward. An index of global commodity prices fell by more than 45% from its peak in April 2011 to the end of August 2015. World prices for crude oil and metals, declining since 2011, fell more sharply in 2014. Just as rising prices coincided with periods of high growth and investment in the PRC, recent price drops mesh with the narrative of PRC deceleration and reduced reliance on investment-driven growth.

§  Commodity exporters heavily dependent on the PRC will lose growth. Lower demand from the PRC will affect growth rates in developing Asia directly through reduced trade and indirectly through lower global commodity prices. The effects will depend on the share of commodities in each economy's export basket, hitting especially those with considerable direct commodity exports to the PRC. For a 0.2 percentage point decline in the PRC's growth, Mongolia, shipping copper, will register an estimated GDP growth decline of 2.7 percentage points. Kazakhstan, piping oil, will lose an estimated 0.5 percentage points.

Impact on Asia's commodity exporters

Mongolia stands out in the analysis because of its strong direct export links with the PRC. Exports of copper provide 16.4% of its GDP, and crude oil and iron ore are other major components of its exports to the PRC. As a result, a slowdown in PRC growth as forecasted in this Update is estimated to drag down growth in Mongolia by 2.7 percentage points, which partly explains the downgrade in the Update to the growth forecast for that economy.

Mongolia

3.1.12 Selected economic indicators, Mongolia (%)

 

2015

2016

 

ADO 2015

Update

ADO 2015

Update

GDP growth

3.0

2.3

5.0

3.0

Inflation

8.9

7.6

7.7

7.6

Current acct. bal. (share of GDP)

-8.0

-5.0

-15.0

-7.0

Source: ADB estimates.

Growth decelerated from 7.8% in 2014 to 3.0% in the first half of 2015. Consumption increased by 2.3% over the same period last year, but gross fixed capital formation dropped by 42.7% because foreign direct investment plunged below 1% of GDP and stimulus was partly withdrawn. Exports declined by 4.5% as a 16.3% increase in copper concentrate exports (13.9% by volume) could not compensate for lower volumes and prices for both coal and iron. Net exports expanded, however, as lower foreign direct investment dragged down imports by 30.3%. On the supply side,  agricultural growth softened to 9.4% and services grew by 0.3%, but industrial growth remained robust at 12.1% as production at the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine picked up.

Consumer price inflation halved to 6.9% year on year in July 2015 from 14.9% a year earlier, reflecting a slowing economy and monetary policy tightened to contain inflation and pressure on the balance of payments. Nonperforming loans reached 5.0% of outstanding loans, and loans past due reached 6.1%, highlighting the need for continued close supervision of the financial sector.

Government revenues decreased by 5.5% in the first 7 months as value-added tax receipts and nontax revenue fell. In the first half of the year, the structural deficit was kept on par with the ceiling for 2015 equal to 5.0% of GDP, while the more important consolidated deficit—including all Development Bank of Mongolia expenditures—remainedlargely unchanged at more than 8% of GDP. To provide a safety margin that aligns with prudent fiscal policy, the authorities need to move quickly to adopt a credible supplementary budget.

The current account deficit narrowed sharply to 6.1% of GDP in the first half of 2015 from 20.1% in the same period last year as the goods and services balance improved. In the first 7 months, gross international reserves recovered by $0.4 billion to $1.7 billion and the togrog depreciation against the US dollar was limited to a modest 5.1%, albeit at the cost of higher external debt.

The growth forecast is lowered for 2015 and 2016, reflecting a deteriorating external environment, drought-affected harvests, necessarily tight monetary and fiscal policies, and, on the positive side, the start of underground works at Oyu Tolgoi in mid-2016. Average inflation will be lower this year than forecast in ADO 2015, and supplyside factors will hold inflation steady in 2016. The current account deficit will narrow more than forecast earlier but widen again in 2016 on imports for Oyu Tolgoi development. Although the poverty rate improved to 21.6% in 2014 from 27.4% in 2012, many people remain vulnerable, as does the economy as a whole, to risks stemming from downward pressure on commodity prices, fluctuating production expected from Oyu Tolgoi and other mines, severe weather that affects crops and livestock, and uncertainty regarding the authorities' success in maintaining tight macroeconomic policies.

Link to full report

 

National Team to Be Established to Prepare Mongolia for Membership in APEC

Ulaanbaatar, September 23 (MONTSAME) In a scope of the preparation of our country's membership to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), a discussion was organized September 23 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, themed "building national capacity to become a member economy of APEC".

Over 30 delegates attended today's discussion from ministries, affiliated agencies and research institutes.

Presentations were given for discussion under topics of Mongolia's involvement in economic integration, process of becoming an APEC economy, and opportunities to enhance trade and investment cooperation with Asia-Pacific countries.

It was resolved to form a national team to be in charge of the official preparation for Mongolia's membership to APEC.

Link to article

 

Empty promises won't save the economy

September 22 (UB Post) As the election of 2016 comes near, the increase of broken promises from candidates will take place. The upcoming parliamentary session will discuss next year's state budget, and it is obvious that candidates in the elections will make beautiful promises to increase the budget's resources. It is a commonly known fact that members of parliament all start acting like they're working when the end of election terms approach.

In two months, on November 15, next year's budget must be approved. The deadline specified in the law is November 15, this does not mean that we can't approve the budget before the deadline. During this two month period, candidates will try to win their elections by talking about expenses to be included in the state budget. Promises like "herders will get paid" lead to inflationary boom-bust economic decline, but it seems like this is irrelevant to those seeking office.

As of August 2015, the state budget deficit was 769.2 billion MNT. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund predict nearly one trillion MNT in deficits by the end of this year. The drop in foreign investment to 44 million USD led to the budget deficit and only three percent economic growth this year.

Coking coal exports, which constituted one third of the budget in the past, fell from 12.2 million to 9.6 million tons, and the price for copper – our country's main resource – decreased to 5,147 USD per ton in the global market.

During this crisis situation, investments for political purposes should be stopped. In the past three years, the government spent 35 billion MNT to refurbish Bayanlig and Buutsagaan soums in Bayankhongor Province and the Eastern Gobi's Zamiin Uud soum. No additional jobs or increased quality of life for those soum residents developed as a result, and migration to Ulaanbaatar still hasn't stopped.

The building of new industries in those soums would have been more beneficial, but by unwritten law, MPs with greater public relations get higher budget allocations each year. National School Number 67 in Ulaanbaatar is operating with four shifts in a day, but the government is building two-story high schools for 1,000 students in Aldarkhaan soum in Zavkhan Province and Tserkhenmandal soum in Khentii Province.

What is the purpose of building a school for 1,000 students in Tserkhenmandal soum when they have a total of 220 students, and only 45 students in Aldarkhaan soum. The state also built a sports gym and a cultural center in a soum that has less than 1,000 children. Modu Company built a 20-bed hospital, 650-student high school, 180-student kindergarten, 150-student dormitory, and an administration and sports complex for the New Soum project. These are clear examples of extravagant budgets for unproductive projects.

The state budget has direct and indirect involvement with the mining industry. This year's budget was estimated to earn 59 percent from the mining industry (around 2.6 trillion MNT), however, the actual profit was lower than what had been budgeted for projected earnings.

In the past three years, the mining sector has fallen, along with minerals prices in the global market. Coming up in 2017, the Chinggis and Samurai bond debts will need to be paid. Mongolia has to have adequate financial resources to pay these debts.

Investment for public projects should be stopped and the government should implement a budget for austerity starting with next year's budget. The Mongolian economy no longer has the endurance to sustain all these politicians' extravagant projects. For this reason, economists suggest stopping spending for next year's budget proposal.

What could happen when foreign investment and public investments stop? Under the new State Budget Law, the Community Development Fund was established. It is likely that politicians will urge allocating some money to this fund. Nevertheless, there are no other decent budget options.

Source: News.mn

Link to article

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Politics & Legal

Advisor to former PM Altankhuyag sentenced to 4.5 years in prison on embezzlement

September 22 (UB Post) Former Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag's senior advisor L.Gansukh was sentenced to four years and six months in prison on Monday at an open trial that continued for five straight days.

The trial for three officials named in the case was originally scheduled at Prison No.461, but took place at the Central Criminal Court of Bayanzurkh, Sukhbaatar and Chinggeltei districts following a request by L.Gansukh and his lawyer, Ts.Baasandorj. The court agreed that the decision to hold the trial in prison was a violation of human rights when the suspect hasn't been proven guilty.

The judges introduced their preliminary plan for sentencing at 11:00 a.m. on Monday. L.Gansukh was to be sentenced to five years in prison, Coal Project's partner company's financial accountant B.Munguntuya to seven years and five months in prison, and director of the company N.Davaakhuu to seven years in prison.

The lawyers of the suspects and the jury reported that they did not think the evidence presented was solid enough to prove the suspects' guilt.

"The prosecutors couldn't prove our clients' guilt. We don't have any information about how the Independent Authority Against Authority appointed the prosecutors in the case. They made up the claim that L.Gansukh and other suspects allegedly embezzled 3.6 billion MNT and had it approved by auditors bribing them. We are talking about life matters and billions of MNT. The prosecutors should be more professional and responsible," said Ts.Baasandorj.

He added, "My client, L.Gansukh, didn't embezzle any money from the Coal Project budget. The state provided a loan to the project and the project repaid it. There is no embezzlement involved in this case."

B.Munguntuya spoke up after hearing the preliminary plan for sentencing, stating "The prosecutors have unveiled all the material they collected today, but they couldn't prove that I embezzled money because the evidence was fake. I am very upset that I am being persecuted. I request that the court issue just decisions and acquit my name."

The final decisions were announced at 9:53 p.m., and the court sentenced L.Gansukh to four years and six months in prison and placed a four-year ban from public service employment. B.Munguntuya and N.Davaakhuu are banned from working in public service for two years and were fined 19.2 million MNT on top of their prison terms.

Eagle and TV9 started the airing of a live broadcast the trial on Monday, covering the trial until its end.

Link to article

 

Speaker Approves Agenda for Autumn Plenary Session of Parliament

September 23 (gogo.mn) Speaker of the Parliament Z.Enhbold issued a decree to establish order of 2015 Autumn Plenary Session Agenda of the State Great Hural.

Below is the order of 2015 Autumn Plenary Session Agenda of the State Great Hural.

1.    Amendments to draft law on pardon dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the beginning of democratic changes and the first and free elections held in Mongolia.

2.    Draft law on Mongolian State Budget 2016

3.    Draft law on Human Development Fund Budget 2016

4.    Draft law on Social Insurance Fund Budget 2016

5.    Draft resolution of State Great Hural on approval of main direction of State Policy on money 2016

6.    Amendments to law on Mongolian State Great Hural

7.    Draft law on development policy, planning and affiliated other drafts

8.    Draft law on Judicial Decision Implementation Law and affiliated other drafts

9.    Revised draft law on Prosecutor organizations

10.  Revised draft law on Police

11.  Revised draft law on criminal code

12.  Revised draft law on violation

13.  Revised draft law on proceedings of the Constitutional Court

14.  Amendments to draft law on civil service

15.  Draft law on joint pension

16.  Draft law on trade and affiliated other drafts

17.  Draft law on property tax and affiliated other drafts

18.  Draft law on legal status of civil service

19.  Revised draft law on labor

20.  Revised draft law on family

21.  Revised draft law against domestic violence and affiliated other drafts

22.  Draft law on child protection and affiliated other drafts

23.  Revised raft law on Child Right and and affiliated other drafts

24.  Draft resolution of State Great Hural on approval of State Policy on food and agriculture

25.  Draft law on organic food

26.  Draft law on waste management

27.  Draft law on monitoring and affiliated other drafts

Link to article

 

Cabinet discusses updating Law on Railway Transport for better PPP

Ulaanbaatar, September 22 (MONTSAME) The cabinet discussed Monday the concept of the bill on Railway Transport and assigned the Minister of Road and Transport M.Zorigt to prepare the draft new wording of the law and to present it to the cabinet meeting in the near future.

The Law on Railway Transport allowed the entities to operate in the railway sector regardless of their ownership statuses, and drew the line between the state responsibilities and regular operations, while reforming the legal environment.

The Ministers considered that Mongolia has been missing an adequate transport system with new regulations, which will provide favorable business environment that promotes the public and private partnership in implementing several important projects to construct new railroads, to connect our railway system to the international network, and to introduce comprehensive logistics services into our transport system.

Link to article

 

Mobile construction complex to build with $9.7m US ExIm loan, 85% guaranteed by DBM

Ulaanbaatar, September 22 (MONTSAME) A mobile complex of construction material will be built in frames of works and measures in the defense sector, which are reflected in the plan of realizing projects and programs of the 2016 government action plan.

The cabinet meeting on Monday authorized the Board of the Development Bank of Mongolia (DBM) to issue a guarantee over 85% of the 9.7 million US dollar loan to be taken from the US Exim Bank to the "Consortium of Defense" state-owned entity at the Defense Ministry of Mongolia.

An obligation was given to B.Bolor, the Minister of Finance, to reflect the money in the 2016 budget in order to cover remaining 15% of the loan.

The mobile complex is expected to have a capability of building up constructions on up to 1,000 square meters a day.

Link to article

 

Swiss Project to "Bring Public Services to Citizens' Doorsteps"

September 23 (news.mn) Under an agreement between the Mongolian and Swiss Governments, both sides have signed to implement a project entitled "Bringing Public Services to Citizens' Doorstep", which is the second phase of the "Decentralization and Governance Support Project". The project is financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and has the aims to define the guidelines, responsibilities and executive empowerment of governmental organizations. It also aims to make solutions and implement activities in order to ensure that citizens have better access to Mongolian governmental structures. The project has 4 components, namely; 1) Policy Support and Research; 2) Strengthening PFM at Sub-National Level; 3) Fostering Civic Engagement at Sub-National Level; and 4) Bringing Public Services to Citizens' Doorsteps. The Administration at the Presidential Authority is the chief partner in the implementation of "Bringing Public Services to Citizens' Doorsteps".

Link to article

 

PM hosts EBRD Board of Directors

September 23 (gogo.mn) PM of Mongolia Ch.Saikhanbileg hosted Board of Directors from European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) yesterday and discussed matters of bolstering two sides' cooperation.

EBRD commenced its cooperation with Mongolia in 2001 and has financed 17 projects and programs with 2.6 million USD as of 2014.

The bank opened its representative office in Ulaanbaatar in 2006 and since then, it has been continuously operating.

PM expressed his gratitude for the bank's support and investment in numerous private sector projects and programs.

Sir Suma, President of EBRD, expressed during his visit to Mongolia in last March that the bank is interested to advance its cooperation with Mongolia, and engage in infrastructure projects being implemented by Government of Mongolia.

Moreover, PM stated: "Mongolia is keen to partner with EBRD on mega projects such as railway construction and financing of energy projects. The country is currently working to establish infrastructure line which connects Europe with Asia. There are massive opportunities in the industry", reported by the Press and Public Relations of Government of Mongolia.

Link to article

 

Govt to pay for transportation of pardoned convicts home

Ulaanbaatar, September 22 (MONTSAME) At the cabinet meeting on Monday, the Minister of Finance was authorized to allot money from the reserved fund for transporting convicts home after they will be released and for other expenses.

Some convicts are expected to be released soon in conjunction with adoption of the law on amnesty on occasion of the 25th anniversary of the first democratic elections and permanent parliament of Mongolia. It has been calculated that 155.1 million Togrog will be required to buy clothes for 676 people, to deliver 1,537 people to their localities, and to pass 725 to local police sections.

Link to article

 

GPS chips to be installed in government vehicles to prevent abuse

September 22 (infomongolia.com) Mongolian government officials have been using their service vehicles provided by the government for their own need in past years. They are usually expensive vehicles with high fuel consumption.

Citizens complain that their expenses are getting burden to them and they should use good quality cheaper cars rather than ones they use now. Especially in time of economic crisis, it is not acceptable.

To resolve the issue, Ministry of Roads and Transportation of Mongolia has decided to install GPS chips in vehicles of officials to track their movement. The Ministry consider that it will stop the officials from abusing the government service.

Link to article

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Business

CAREC Investment Forum to be held in UB on Sep 24, Shangri-La Hotel

September 23 (gogo.mn) CAREC Investment Forum is scheduled to be held in Shangri-La Hotel on September 24th.

The investment forum will give CAREC member countries the opportunity to

·         identify ways to improve the investment climate;

·         attract interest from national and foreign private sector companies -- developers, financiers, technology and solution providers - to invest in the CAREC region; and

·         develop concrete and innovative solutions with Asian Development Bank (ADB), the private sector, government agencies, and development partners to attract investments from potential investors within and CAREC and other industrialized countries.

The Forum will bring together prominent international and national investors who will share their insights on how to identify and carry out good investments, and CAREC high-level government officials who will present business opportunities and priority sectors for investments in their respective countries. International private sector investors will have an opportunity to interact with high-level government officials, domestic and international private companies, carrier and forwarder associations in the CAREC region, and multilateral development institutions. The Forum provides a truly unique opportunity to gain fresh insights whilst networking with possible business partners in Mongolia and other CAREC countries and like-minded international investors.

Through the forum, Mongolia and other CAREC member countries will develop deeper partnerships with ADB, the private sector, government agencies, and other development partners.

The forum is co-organized by ADB and the Erdenes Mongol LLC with the sponsorship of CAREC and support of the Business Council of Mongolia.

Interestingly, the honorable guests of the forum are Prime Minister of Mongolia H.E. Ch.Saihanbileg and the President of ADB Mr. Takehiko Nakao.

For further details on the event, please click here to view draft agenda or visit at www.carecprogram.org

Link to article

Related:

Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Investment Forum to be organized in Ulaanbaatarnews.mn, September 23

 

Chinggis Land Development to Cooperate on Russian Part of Russia-Mongolia-China Highway

September 23 (parliament.mn) On September 21, 2015, Chairman of the State Great Hural (Parliament) Z.Enkhbold was present at the signing ceremony of cooperation agreement between "Chinggis Land Development" Group and Dalstroymehanizatsiya OJSC.

The "Chinggis Land Development" was represented by Group Director Ts.Gantulga and the other part by G.V.Yuryevich to cooperate in construction of highway road on the territory of the Russian Federation. The road project is estimated to prolong 230-300 km starting from Altanbulag (Mongolia) northward to Ulan-Ude and Irkutsk (Russia).

Link to release

 

Domestic companies to independently build 100 km road in Selenge

September 22 (UB Post) Darkhan Metallurgical Plant, QSC LLC, and Peak Development are going to build a 102 km road in Selenge Province, utilizing domestic resources and personnel.

The road will connect Selenge Province's Dulaankhan Station with Khuder soum, and last Sunday a groundbreaking ceremony took place in the presence of Industry Minister D.Erdenebat.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Minister D.Erdenebat presented opening remarks, saying, "Not long ago, the government and Industry Ministry resolved the issue of building the road in Selenge Province, which is a strategic region where metallurgical mining, agriculture, and farming is developing.

"The decision was made all of a sudden. The road construction will not only ease the lives of Khuder and Eruu soum residents, but also contribute to the nation's economic development. It is vital that domestic companies are executing the construction. This will be Mongolia's first 100 km road built independently. The mining sector is struggling for the sector's development, not complaining that the nation's economy is difficult, but we shouldn't be talking about industrial development and not about solving infrastructure issues."

Company representatives highlighted that the road will be the first development project that Mongolians will execute without any foreign assistance, creating over 600 jobs in the region.

QSC will make the necessary investment for the road's construction and the company has established a concession agreement with the Ministry of Industry. Darkhan Metallurgical Plant and Peak Development will provide the necessary technology and equipment, and is collaborating to use their employees for the project.

The road is considered to be one of the biggest developments in Selenge Province, as the province's Javkhlant, Eruu, and Khuder soums have a population of over 10,000. The region is considered one of the country's biggest industrial zones for agriculture and mining.

During the groundbreaking ceremony it was also noted that tourism could be developed in Selenge Province based on the natural beauty of Khuder soum and the hot springs of Eruu.

Governor of Selenge Province S.Burenbat said that he appreciates that long awaited development will be completed with the state and private sector's participation, and emphasized that the development is vital for province residents.

The three domestic companies promised to finish the road's construction in two years. The province's healthcare service providers also expressed their appreciation for the building of the road. Area healthcare officials said that their emergency service vehicles have to drive for three hours to transport their patients to the province's center, but with the new road they will spend only 40 minutes to reach the hospital.

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Ministers discuss opportunities to increase meat export to Russia

September 23 (gogo.mn) During PM Ch.Saihanbileg's official visit to Russia, two sides discussed matters of increasing meat export volume to Russia.

In relation, today "Opportunity to increase meat export to Russia and its market" meeting will be held at Ministry of Food and Agriculture. The meeting attendees: Minister of Finance B.Bolor, MP D.Terbishdagva, Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Purevsuren, Russian Ambassador in Mongolia I.K.Azizov, Minister of Industry D.Erdenebat, Head of Authority of Inspection Sh.Radnaased, Chairman of Customs Authority O.Ganbat, other officials and directors of entities licensed to export meat into Russia.

The meeting will commence at 14.00 pm at the hall of MFA.

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Khanbogd autumn fair demonstrates "Galba" baby camel wool

September 22 (gogo.mn) The annual autumn market organized by the Khanbogd soum government on 25-26 this month at the soum's Galba square will attract local businesses from the Khanbogd, Bayan-Ovoo, Manlai and Dalanzadgad soums.

During the planned event the Center Policy Research (CPR), professional contractor for the Oyu Tolgoi's 'Local Business and Economic Development' program shall present outcomes of its local business support activities targeted at improving local peoples' livelihoods by improving competitiveness and market linkages of the traditional livestock herding as a major source of income and jobs in the Gobi region.

Developing a camel brand product was one of the CPR interventions. Baby camel wool was chosen as the most promising brand products from among 12 wool, meat and milk candidates by using the criteria – the maximum number of beneficiaries (everybody with camels can benefit), compatibility with the Gobi region comparative advantages, and use of feasible but innovative technologies.

The pilot, started from the 2015 wool preparation season has promoted the collaboration between herders, procurement cooperatives/changers and all levels of processors, has proved that hand combed baby camel wool is much more beneficial for every participant in the value chain due to higher yield, quality, prices fetched. Herders from 12 khot ails participated in the pilot by combing 354 baby camels to collect 510.7 kg. of wool.

Baby camel combed wool comparison against traditional sheared wool 

Indicators

Combed

Sheared

Yield per camel, kg

1.44

2.5

Byproduct per camel, kg

1

-

Herders income per kg, MNT

10400

4000

Total income per camel, MNT

18976

10000

Average micron

16

21

Dehairing yield, %

98

94

Scouring yield, %

72

65

Combing yield, %

60

33

Spinning yield, %

91

83

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MYLP London 2015 Forum, 22-24 October: Agribusiness Development in Mongolia

Mongolian Young Leaders Program ('MYLP') is an annual three-day forum among Mongolian students who share the common vision to contribute towards the sustainable prosperity of Mongolia. Since 2009, we have successfully organized MYLP in Washington D.C, San Francisco, Milan, Boston, Istanbul, Vancouver and New York City.

We are pleased to announce that our next program will be held in London, UK on October 22-24, 2015. This year's theme will be "Agribusiness Development in Mongolia". We strive to bring 15 participants from diverse set of studies to exchange views and expertise on agribusiness in Mongolia.

COST

The program covers related costs in London (i.e. hotel, meals etc), thanks to our generous sponsors and contributions by the members of the Mongolian Young Leaders Network. However, participating students are responsible for transportation cost to/from London. Once students are accepted to the program, the organizing team will provide further instructions.

ELIGIBILITY

Participants must be Mongolian students studying at European higher education institutions who have demonstrated leadership skills. Application is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. 

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Application deadline is 23:59 (GMT), September 13, 2015. [Update: Deadline extended until September 20, 2015].

The selection committee will select 15 students from the pool and will notify all participants about the result by September 23, 2015.

Apply Now 

EVENTS

During the program in London, we will be visiting leading UK government institutions and businesses to understand more about their involvement and research in agribusiness.

Participants will attend a panel discussion and hear from top experts - including policy makers, technology advisors, food safety regulators, agricultural investors and environmental activists - on the existing challenges and opportunities in the sector.

The program includes a field trip to visit a UK farm where students can learn practical knowledge about day to day operations of agribusiness.

At the end of the program, participating students, organizers and leading experts will network and students should incorporate their learnings from the program to come up with innovate solutions to current challenges of agribusiness in Mongolia.

THEME: AGRIBUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

This year's theme will be "Agribusiness Development in Mongolia".

Link to event

 

How We Create N.Peal Garments from Mongolian Cashmere

August 28 (N.Peal) --

-       How We Create N.Peal Cashmere: A quick summary of all the processes that go to create our beautiful N.Peal cashmere garments

-       N.Peal - What Is Cashmere? - 1/12: Start the journey here to discover what makes N.Peal cashmere so special

-       N.Peal - How To Harvest Cashmere - 2/12: Now we find out how we harvest the fibre from the capra hircus goats to start to make it into cashmere garments

-       N.Peal - Raw Material And Sorting - 3/12: Next we have to sort the material to ensure quality from the outset

-       N.Peal - Washing Our Cashmere - 4/12: Our cashmere is cleaned so that it is ready to be created into something beautiful

-       N.Peal - Dehairing - 5/12: We have to remove the hair from our cashmere to ensure the finest quality remains for our garments

-       N.Peal - Micron and Length - 6/12: We check micron and length that gives our garments a special quality to touch and wear and reduce pilling that occurs through wearing

-       N.Peal - Dyeing - 7/12: Now it's time to add colour with our huge array of shades, some of which we blend to create extra uniqueness for our seasonal palettes

-       N.Peal - Spinning - 8/12 The fibre is then spun into a fine, consistent yarn that will give a beautiful look and a brilliant touch to our cashmere

-       N.Peal - Knitting - 9/12: We also embrace new technology with our modern knitting machines which allow us to create new and interesting styles alongside our traditional cashmere favourites

-       N.Peal - Linking - 10/12: Once the panels for each garment are created they have to be linked together

-       N.Peal - Finishing - 11/12: The garment is now reaching the final stages, and is steamed to realise the special feel of an N.Peal cashmere item

-       N.Peal - Quality Control - 12/12: And finally, all out items are checked for quality to ensure it meets our exacting N.Peal specifications. It's then ready for you to appreciate every time you wear it.

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Ulaanbaatar

MP Oyungerel presents on waste management at NEA Mayors Forum

Ulaanbaatar, September 23 (MONTSAME) At the North-East Asian Mayors' Forum, a member of the State Great Khural (Parliament) Ts.Oyungerel gave presentation about general management of water, hygiene and sanitations facilities on September 22, Day 2.

The "Green City Development" themed forum of mayors from North-East Asian region has been divided into seven sub-conferences. Ts.Oyungerel MP addressed the sixth conference – "Sustainable urban water management".

She underlined that one of the pressing issues before the capital city is soil pollution, and suggested that the best solution would be building sewage water treatment plants, introducing Ulaanbaatar into western technologies and solutions.

The Second NEA Mayors' Forum was attended by mayors of nine cities of six North-East Asian countries, along with deputy mayors and over 160 delegates from international organizations.

Link to article

 

Relocation of car markets to central complex to finish by October 1

September 22 (gogo.mn) Official demand with a certain deadline has been delivered to relocate 22 entities and individuals operating business affairs of trading vehicles in unauthorized areas called open indoor spaces in the city.

The statement says: "Relocation process to Car Market complex located in 22th auto center in Songino Khairkhan District must be finalized by October 1".

Current open car markets are being visited daily by 6000 - 10000 people, who generally adds traffic load towards market areas. On the other hand, citizens complain that there are numerous separate places where car markets exist, being considered to threaten security and healthy environment of near households.

Thus, all car markets combined will be evacuated and relocated in newly established "Car Market Complex" within this month. The working group appointed to take care of traffic load in the city visited the complex in 15th of September and finalized the matter of relocation.

Link to article

 

Concession awarded to build 90km UB-Aglag Monastery road

Ulaanbaatar, September 22 (MONTSAME) A project will be implemented by a concession contract on constructing a 6.2-km hard-surface road near the "Aglag" monastery located northwest 90 km from Ulaanbaatar city in Tov aimag.

At its regular meeting on Monday, the cabinet authorized the Investment Authority to establish the concession contract with the "Khansuun" LLC, and ordered D.Erdenebat, the Minister of Industry, to manage the contracting process in accordance with laws.

The concessionaire will perform this construction in December 15 of 2015 and will take back the investment from the 2016 state budget.

Link to article

 

WWII hand grenade creates panic in Ulaanbaatar

September 22 (UB Post) A hand grenade was sent to Chinggeltei District Police Department No.1 last Friday. The police closed roads and streets within a 200 meter radius of the building due to safety concerns.

The closed roads and talk about the grenade gave rise to many speculations among the public. A rumor quickly broke out that a hand grenade was left hidden near TEDY Center of Mobicom, near the police department. Some passersby said, "I wonder if there was really a hidden hand grenade here. It was very scary to hear those rumors." TEDY Center was evacuated at around 12:50 p.m., shortly after the police warning was issued.

Chinggeltei District Police No.1 reported later that a Mongolian citizen brought the hand grenade to the police after finding it while traveling in Khalkhgol soum in Dornod Province a few days earlier. The 200 m radius area was closed while the bomb disposal squad from Military Unit No.084 was rendering the grenade safe at the police department. The squad reported to the police that the grenade was active and requested the evacuation of the area in case of explosion during disarmament.

The police didn't announce that the grenade was brought in by a resident and that it was under control of a specialized squad. Residents and security staff of international meetings underway in the city center have expressed concerns about the rumors.

"A resident who recently returned from travel in Dornod Province brought the hand grenade in his car to the police department at around 12:30 p.m. on Friday. The grenade's design resembled those from the 1930s. We closed traffic within a 200 m radius area to prevent casualties in case of emergency. We want to remind the public to report to police if they find explosives and ammunition, without directly transporting them," said Yo.Lkhagvasuren, Senior Communications Officer at the General Police Department.

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Diplomacy

N Korea responds to Mongolia's proposal for talks with Japan

ULAN BATOR, September 23 (Kyodo) A response from North Korea to a letter sent this summer by Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj contained a reference to the issue of Pyongyang's past abductions of Japanese nationals, Mongolia's top diplomat said Tuesday.

Mongolian Foreign Minister Lundeg Purevsuren told reporters that North Korea has replied to the letter, which included a proposal to use Mongolia's capital Ulan Bator as the venue for official talks with Japan on the abduction issue.

Asked if the response contained any reference to the issue, Purevsuren said "yes." But he refused to provide details, saying, "It is not appropriate to talk about it at this time."

The foreign minister said the reply touched on a range of bilateral and regional affairs, and did not disclose whether it was written in the name of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The proposal for talks in Mongolia was made in a personal letter from the president to Kim, which was delivered when his special envoy traveled to Pyongyang in July.

Japan has been counting on Mongolia's good relations with North Korea to help obtain reliable information on the fates of Japanese nationals abducted by Pyongyang agents in the 1970s and 1980s.

In July last year, North Korea launched a fresh probe into all Japanese people residing in the country in return for the Japanese government lifting some of its unilateral sanctions.

But the negotiations have hit a snag and the two countries have not had a formal meeting since last October.

Japan officially lists 17 nationals as having been abducted by North Korea but suspects its agents were involved in many more disappearances. Five abductees were repatriated in 2002.

Of the 12 still missing, until the start of the new investigation North Korea had claimed that eight are dead and four others never entered its territory.

The most high-profile of the eight is Megumi Yokota, who was 13 when she disappeared from a Japanese coastal city in 1977 while on her way home from school.

The Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator was the place where the parents of Yokota were allowed by North Korea to secretly meet with her daughter Kim Eun Gyong in March 2014.

Senior officials of Japan and North Korea also held formal negotiations in the capital in November 2012.

The foreign minister said Mongolia has "good relations with all Northeast Asian countries and will continue to play an active role in the talks between Tokyo and Pyongyang."

Link to article

 

President Elbegdorj to attend 70th Session of UN General Assembly

September 23 (infomongolia.com) On September 23, President of Mongolia left the country to attend the General Debate of the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly taking place in New York, September 25-27, 2015.

President Ts.Elbegdorj will participate in the United Nations Summit for the Adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and will deliver the speech on September 25. Also he will attend and give remarks at the interactive dialogue entitled "Building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions" to be held during the summit.

The President of Mongolia will attend the General Debate of the 70th Session of the General Assembly to deliver a statement on Mongolia's position and top priorities of the government's foreign policy regarding the urgent issues of international relations and present the policies and activities it is implementing in the social and economic sectors.

Furthermore, President Ts.Elbegdorj is planned to take part in the High Level Forum of Landlocked Developing Countries, the High Level Summit on UN Peacekeeping operations, the High Level Event on Engaging People for Sustainable Development and the High Level Summit on Gender equality and Women's empowerment.

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Related:

Mongolian President to attend 70th UNGAMontsame, September 23

 

Speaker Enkhbold Holds Official Talks with Chairwoman of Russian Federation Council

September 22 (parliament.mn) A parliamentary delegation of the State Great Hural (Parliament) headed by Chairman Mr. Zandaakhuu ENKHBOLD is conducting an official visit to the Russian Federation on September 20-25, 2015.

On September 21, 2015, Speaker of the Parliament Z.Enkhbold held a bilateral talk with Chairman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of Russia Ms. Valentina Matviyenko.

At the beginning of meeting, Chairperson of the Federation Council V.Matviyenko thanked Speaker of Mongolian parliament for accepting an invitation to pay an official visit and mentioned that her visit to Mongolia conducted last year was very productive.

During the official talk Ms. V.Matviyenko said, "Congratulate Mongolia on successfully and proficiently hosting the OSCE PA 2015 Autumn Meeting that ended a few days ago. By organizing such an important measure at top level Mongolia has raised its reputation on international arena.

One of the priorities of Russia's foreign policy is to broaden strategical partnership relations with Mongolia, the country is not only geographically located as a neighbor, but also our two states have achieved multilateral cooperation based on friendly and long standing good neighborhood relations. Russia is interested to further broaden partnership with Mongolia and over the past two years, our two countries have been actively working to stimulate partnership.

Also, the role of parliaments to enhance cooperation is vital and thus, it is important to develop partnership not only between relevant Standing committees, but also between Citizens' representatives councils. Besides, we need to pay a particular attention on cross-bordering relations.

Moreover, our two countries have a number of opportunities and resources to expand cooperation in the energy sector. We are ready to increase the power outage supplying Mongolia.

In addition, we need to boost economic and trade relations on the international arena and in this regard, we glad to note that the Memorandum on Trade & Economic Cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Commission and the Government of Mongolia was signed last June that is expected to increase bilateral trade volume.

The Russian Federation highly values the tremendous support of Mongolia shown to the Soviet Union during the Patriotic War and I would like to express again our grateful to the people of Mongolia. It is remarkable that the President of Mongolia and military officers have participated in celebration of the 70th Anniversary of Victory of the Great Patriotic War as marked the end of the World War II.

Dear Chairman of the State Great Hural, the yet resolved issues between our two states are not serious so far and in order to further enrich the content of bilateral cooperation, our country is ready to enhance partnership at all appropriate spheres".

In turn, Speaker of the Parliament of Mongolia Z.Enkhbold thanked Chairperson of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of Russia Ms. Valentina Matviyenko for a warm reception and noted, "Mongolia's top priority of foreign policy is to deepening the traditional and good-neighborly relations with the Russian Federation as well as it is important to enrich the actual content of further developing the strategic partnership between our two countries.

In recent years, the frequent high-level visits between our two countries have been stabilized that provide an impetus stimulus to deepen bilateral relations.

Five days ago, Mongolia hosted the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly 2015 Autumn Meeting in Ulaanbaatar and we glad that a large delegation from the Federal Assembly headed by Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation Mr. S.Ye.Naryshkin has attended the Meeting.

Legislative bodies of the two countries play an important role in the development of bilateral cooperation and cooperation. As you mentioned, I am fully agree with you on increasing Parliament's control on its Government. Just one example to note is an unresolved issue to date regarding a real estate matter, which was agreed back in 2009 (Mogi: what real estate agreement?), that shows how long act our executive bodies. We will pay a particular attention to forward this issue.

Our country as customary is exporting meat and canned products as well as sheepskin coats and other goods to Russia, but we still face obstacles on tariff. It is important to create a favorable environment for our products to export. In this regard, during his recent bilateral talks with Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation S.L.Levin, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia L.Purevsuren was given a positive response to resolve this matter.

Our two countries have a joint three fundamental plants namely "Erdenet", "UBTZ" and "MongolRosTsetMet" that had been established before 1990. The State Great Hural is currently working on adopting amendments to the Protocol established between Governments of Mongolia and the Russian Federation in order to resolve facing problems and forward activities in these joint stock companies.

Since the November 2014, citizens of two countries are reciprocally traveling visa-free that been a profound impact on people-to-people relations. Furthermore, Mongolia is interested to increase the number of attendees in training and vocational programs in Russia as well as to collaborate in educational and research studies".

During the bilateral talks, Chairperson of the Federation Council V.Matviyenko and Chairman of the State Great Hural Z.Enkhbold have also touched upon topics on politics, economy, education, regional and multilateral cooperation issues, where representing Mongolian delegates were present parliamentarians Mr.N.Batbayar, Ms.S.Odontuya, Ms.G.Uyanga and Mr.B.Choijilsuren, Adviser to Speaker of Parliament Mr.A.Gansukh and other officials.

Link to release

 

Speaker Enkhbold Meets State Duma Speaker Naryshkin in Moscow

September 22 (parliament.mn) On September 21, 2015, Chairman of the State Great Hural (Parliament) Mr. Zandaakhuu ENKHBOLD held a meeting with Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation Mr. Sergey Naryshkin.

During the meeting, Chairman S.Naryshkin congratulated the State Great Hural on successfully organizing the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly 2015 Autumn Meeting and extended his appreciation to Mongolia on understanding and providing an opportunity for Russia to express its position during the OSCE PA 2015 Autumn Meeting held in Ulaanbaatar on September 15-18, 2015.

He further said, "We are satisfied with growing bilateral relations, particularly in inter-parliamentary cooperation. Russia is interested to collaborate with Mongolia on international arena including in Shanghai Cooperation Organization".

Speaker of Parliament Z.Enkhbold thanked the Chairman S.Naryshkin for attending the OSCE PA 2015 Autumn Meeting in Ulaanbaatar and sending a video message on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of permanent functioning parliament in Mongolia.

Speaker underlined, "It is important to bring the developing strategical partnership with Russia into newer and actual levels. The 'Mongolian-Russian strategic partnership medium-term program' to implement is on its final stage of processing, which was negotiated during the President V.V.Putin's visit to Mongolia conducted last year.

Our two countries have been cooperating actively in the frameworks of United Nations as well as in international, regional and other institutional spheres. Mongolia submitted its candidacy as a non-permanent member in the UN Security Council election for 2022 and we believe, the Russian Federation would support our candidature. Moreover, we glad that Russia and Mongolia agreed to back each other in the UN Human Rights Council election in 2015".

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Speaker Enkhbold Meets Resource, Agriculture Ministers of Russia

September 23 (parliament.mn) During his official visit to the Russian Federation, Chairman of the State Great Hural (Parliament) Z.Enkhbold held a meeting with Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Russia Sergey Yefimovich Donskoy and First Deputy Minister of Agriculture Evgeny Vasilievich Gromyko on September 21, 2015.

During the meeting, Minister S.Ye.Donskoy stressed, "The stagnant situation in the bilateral trade and economic relations has been in the center of concerns. The role of legislative powers of the two countries is inherent that would directly impact to enhance the situation. The latter Intergovernmental commission meeting between Russia and Mongolia was held in Ulaanbaatar last October and the upcoming is scheduled in November of this year. Today, three Russia-Mongolia joint stock companies are operating in Mongolia namely, "Erdenet", "MongolRosTsvetMet" and "Ulaanbaatar Railway", whereas situation in some industries is very complicated and therefore, we should focus on this issue and to accelerate boosting measures. According to 2014 statistics, the bilateral trade turnover had been decreased by 7 percent compare to the year of 2013. Russia is highly interested to import agricultural products from Mongolia. Nevertheless, we should remark that export of animal husbandry products from Mongolia to Russia has been increased fivefold and coal by over 40 percent respectively".

First Deputy Minister E.V.Gromyko added, "A group Russian experts had worked in all aimags (provinces) of Mongolia and certified those plants that meet hygiene and standard requirements enabling to export meat products to Russia. As of today, there are 37 meat processing plants in 15 aimags have been certified".

Speaker of the Parliament Z.Enkhbold responded, "As of traditional products being exported to Russia, the only reason of stagnation in the bilateral trade is too high customs tariffs that causes a sharp decrease in exports. As a result, Mongolia's total export to Russia estimates at only 3 percent. In the first half of 2015, trade turnover declined by nearly 20 percent. Mongolia borders with Russia by over 3000 kilometers, but today Russia is importing meat from other countries such as Argentina, Australia and other states. In fact, Mongolia has been exporting its meat to Russia over the last 80-90 years. Thus, we should to talk about barriers facing today and reach consensus on increasing meat exports to Russia".

Parties have also discussed issues concerning environment, ecology, and agriculture as well as programs on joint projects.

Link to release

 

Speaker Enkhbold Gives Interview to Russian Television

September 23 (parliament.mn) On the same day, Speaker of the Parliament Z.Enkhbold gave an interview to Russia's "Vmeste RF" channel and during the converse, Speaker noted that promoting transit highways, railways and pipelines through Mongolia connecting Russia and China would be the most economically efficient shortcut for international transport. The trilateral relations have been intensifying in many spheres, such as transit transport, railroads, tourism and energy production.

In addition, Mr. Z.Enkhbold underlined that Russia and China are eternal neighbors of Mongolia and emphasized that the priority of Mongolia's foreign policy is to deepen the strategic partnerships with the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China, based on the principles of mutual respect and good neighbor relations.

Link to release

 

Speaker Enkhbold Receives Leader of Just Russia Political Party

September 23 (parliament.mn) On September 21, 2015, leader of "A Just Russia" political party at the State Duma, Head of the Russia-Mongolia inter-parliamentary group, Mr. Sergey Mikhailovich Mironov paid a courtesy call on Chairman of the State Great Hural (Parliament) of Mongolia Mr. Zandaakhuu ENKHBOLD.

At the beginning, member of the State Duma S.Mironov thanked the visiting Speaker of Mongolian parliament for sparing a time to receive him and during the meeting, the parties exchanged views on bilateral relations of the two countries.

MP G.Uyanga and Adviser to Speaker of the Parliament A.Gansukh were present at the meeting representing Mongolian delegates.

Link to release

 

Mongolia officials visits Colombia to exchange experiences on artisanal, small-scale mining

September 14 (Alliance for Responsible Mining) Artisanal and small-scale mining in Colombia and Mongolia has success stories but also faces certain challenges in the formalization of the activity and in ensuring that it is a responsible and sustainable source of income for miners and their communities. Today a high-level delegation from Mongolia led by the Minister of Mines and composed by the Mineral Resource Authority of Mongolia, and other industry representatives, come to Colombia to meet with a number of important public and private institutions who work in the mining sector in the country to learn from the Colombian experience as well as to share its own.

The visit has been organized by the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) and the Presidential Agency for International Cooperation of Colombia, APC-Colombia, in collaboration with the Sustainable Artisanal Mining Project (SAM Project) of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Mongolia and Colombia are both among the countries where a number of artisanal and small-scale gold mining organizations have reached Fairmined Certification. The Fairmined Standard and Certification System was developed by ARM to encourage the implementation of good social, environmental, organizational and economic mining practices through access to ethical markets. Through Fairmined Certification, ARM seeks to contribute to the transformation of artisanal and small-scale mining and improve the quality of life of the miners and their communities.

The Mongolian delegation will meet with the Minister of Mines and Energy and representatives of other national entities such as the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, the National Mining Agency, the Directorate of National Taxes and Customs, APCColombia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as with the Autonomous Regional Corporation for the Defense of the Bucaramanga Plateau and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. They will also visit the Mining Center of the local institution SENA in Sogamoso, Boyacá, and three mines that are working with ARM in Vetas, Santander.

The meetings will address several important issues on how to achieve profitable and responsible practices in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector to contribute to sustainable development. Among the issues to be discussed are formalization, environmental stewardship, export opportunities and barriers, and how to provide accessible training to miners and professionals working in the sector. Finally, at the meeting with APC-Colombia, opportunities for bilateral cooperation between the two countries will be explored.

This is the second time that ARM facilitates this type of exchange between Colombia and Mongolia in collaboration with the Sustainable Artisanal Mining Project in Mongolia.

Link to release

 

Mongolia and Colombia eye cooperation in mining sector

Ulaanbaatar, September 23 (MONTSAME) Mongolian Minister of Mining R.Jigjid paid a working visit to Colombia on September 15-18. He met with the country's ministers of mining and energy, and vice ministers of environment and sustainable development and of foreign affairs. The meetings mainly considered the illegal mining explorations, artisanal mines, mining companies' relations with local people and investment and tax environments.

Statistical results from a research conducted on 3368 mines in Colombia, 65 percent of the mines were exploited illegally.

Minister R.Jigjid exchanged views with the Colombian Vice Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development P.V.Santos on the environmental impact reduction measures, introduction of more environmentally friendly new mining technologies, and issuance of mining permits.

At the meeting with the Vice FM of Colombia, Mr R.Jigjid pointed out the opportunities of Mongolian-Colombian cooperation in mining sphere.

Colombian side accepted the Mongolian minister's official request to send teachers and specialists to Colombia for training and internships.

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Mongolia and Brazil sign 90-day mutual visa-free agreement

Ulaanbaatar, September 22 (MONTSAME) Ambassador of Mongolia to Brazil Ms Ch.Sosormaa and the Foreign Minister of the Federative Republic of Brazil Mr Mauro Vieira signed September 21 an Agreement on Cooperation in Education between the Governments of Mongolia and Brazil,  a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs,  and an Intergovernmental Note on mutual exemption from short-term visa.

Therewith, the citizens of Mongolia and Brazil are allowed to visit each other visa-free for 90 days on tourism purposes. The year-round visit should not exceed 180 days. This regulation will come into force after 30 days.

With the signing of the above documents, the two countries are now able to exchange teachers, scholars and educational researchers, as well as diplomats.

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Fifth Mongolia-Hungary Intergovernmental Committee Meeting Held in Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar, September 23 (MONTSAME) The fifth meeting of the Mongolia and Hungary Intergovernmental Committee completed here on Wednesday. Chairs of the meeting were the Mongolian Minister of Environment, Green Development and Tourism Mr N.Battsereg and Hungarian Minister of State for Security Policy Cooperation and International Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Mr Istvan Mikola.

The sides exchanged opinions on deepening of the two countries historic relations, enriching the cooperation with economic contents, and on the cooperation in trade, investment, environment protection, education and culture, as well as in agriculture.

The intergovernmental committee agreed to forward the technological renovation at BioCombinat state-owned venture, with funding of 25 million US dollar easy-term credit from the Government of Hungary.

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Sixth Mongolia-Czech Intergovernmental Committee Meeting Held in Ulaanbaatar

September 23 (infomongolia.com) The 6th Intergovernmental Committee Meeting on trade, economic, scientific and technological cooperation between the Governments of Mongolia and Czech Republic was held in Ulaanbaatar on September 22, 2015.

Two sides shared views on politics, defense relations, trade and investment cooperation, along with the cooperation in the international fora.

Co-chaired by Czech Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Mr. Vladimir Bartl and Ms. Z.Bayanselenge, MP and Minister for Construction and Urban Development of Mongolia, the meeting discussed wide-range issues of boosting the bilateral cooperation in other spheres.

The Intergovernmental Committee meeting is the key mechanism in Mongolia-Czech bilateral relations and in determining the potentials and priorities of their future cooperation. Both sides expressed their confidence that the Sixth Committee meeting will play an important role in expansion and development of the cooperation between the two countries.

Within the framework of the joint committee meeting, a business forum is being held with over 80 private sector representatives of Mongolia and the Czech Republic.

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Member of the House of Lords proposed Mongolia as a suitable place for Middle Eastern refugees

September 22 (infomongolia.com) On September 16, 76 years old Meghnad Desai, member of British House of Lords and politician of the Labour Party, has proposed resettling middle eastern refugees in central Asia, in countries such as Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Mongolia.

According to his statement at the House of Lords, United Nations should transfer as many emigrants as possible to central Asian countries because those territories are sparsely populated and he mentioned the cultural similarity between central Asia counties and Middle East, as they are all Muslims.

However, European political experts did not react well. His lack of knowledge about central Asian countries clearly make his statement groundless. The countries that he proposed have restricted freedom of religion and some of them are closed to emigrants.

In addition, Mongolia that he mentioned is predominantly Buddhist.  

Mr. Meghnad Desai is an Indian-born naturalized British economist and politician of the Labour Party of UK. He was born in Vadodara, Gujarat of India on July 10, 1940. He has completed PhD at University of Pennsylvania in 1963. Now he is Professor of London School of Economists, which was founded by him in 1992.

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Health, Education

Mongolia takes first step in becoming liver disease-free by 2020

September 23 (gogo.mn) Mongolia has taken its first step to become liver disease free country within 2020 by conducting training for more than 130 doctors.

The Ministry of Health and Sport in cooperation with National Center for Infectious Diseases and "Gilead sciences" Inc has organized international advanced training titled "Viral Hepatits diagnosis, treatment" for two days.

Gastroenterologist and infectious disease physicians from National Center for Infectious Diseases, I, II, III Central Hospitals, Medical Centers of 21 aimags and nine districts, Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences as well as the biggest private hospitals including Songdo, Intermed, Grandmed, Interferon and Alfa have attended in the training.  

Following researchers and scientists have given presentation at the training;

  • Expert of Infections and Microbiology, Academician P.Nyamdavaa,
  • Internal Disease Specialist S.Narantsetseg,
  • Professor of Medicine at University College London and Royal Free Hospital Geoffrey Dusheiko,
  • Associate Professor of Medicine (Gastroenterology and Hepatology) at the Stanford University Medical Center Mindie H. Nguyen.

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S. Korean foundations set TB aid in Mongolia

SEOUL, Sept. 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's national tuberculosis association and two other foundations have begun a partnership program in Mongolia aimed at fighting and treating the pulmonary disease.

The Korean National Tuberculosis Association, the Chung Mong-Koo Foundation, and the Seegene Medical Foundation held a launch ceremony at the Mongolian University of Science and Technology in the country's capitol Ulaanbaatar on Monday.

"STOP-TB Partnership Korea," established in December 2012, is aimed at eliminating TB as a public health problem. Its partner organizations include the government, nongovernmental and governmental organizations, as well as patient groups.

The three organizations will provide a total of 1.35 billion won (US$1.14 million) annually for state-of-the-art X-rays to detect TB infections and to coordinate the provision of anti-TB medication to the community.

Also, local medical personnel will be sent to Mongolia to train medical doctors and researchers there for TB treatment and prevention.

Mongolia is one of seven countries with a high prevalence of TB in the Western Pacific region, with the mortality rate for TB at 7.2 people per 100,000.

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Engineering, design students team up to bring awareness to dangers of plastic bottles

September 22 (MONTSAME) Four plastic-bottle-objects are hanging now in the Entrance hall of the German-Mongolian Institute for Resources and Technology. They were designed and built by 9 engineering-students of GMIT /The German-Mongolian Institute for Resources and Technology/ and 9 design-students of the School of Fine Arts/Mongolian State University of Arts and Culture during April until September 2015.

The students of both universities worked together in several workshops: Starting from creating a common understanding of the project itself over drafting first ideas and collecting bottles until building and installing the different objects.

Each object is made out of waste plastic bottles used in our daily life. It's almost impossible to imagine a life without plastic. Each year enough plastic bottles are thrown away to circle the earth four times – 50 % of which we used only one time. Plastic bottles shall not be considered as trash anymore, but as a basic material for shaping our living environment. Furthermore, the project supports the crucial idea of creative recycling.

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Society

Social welfare programs in Mongolia - are they helping the poor?

BY JUNKO ONISHI

September 22 (East Asia & Pacific on the rise blog, World Bank) Mongolia's current economic situation is characterized by a combination of falling commodity prices and slowing growth. This heightens the need for the country's social welfare system to protect the poor and the vulnerable from the threatened fall in incomes.

To assess how well the system is performing, it is necessary to consider Mongolia's spending on social welfare - whether it is directed towards poor and vulnerable households, and if the benefits provide effective and adequate protection.

A Look Back at Mongolia's Welfare Programs

Mongolia is among the few countries in the East Asia and Pacific region that spend relatively generous amounts on social welfare programs. In 2013, Mongolia spent 2.78% of its GDP on welfare transfers.

Mongolia's government has over the years developed effective cash delivery mechanisms and maintained an updated poverty-targeting method that has registered approximately 90% of all households in the country. However, social welfare programs are fragmented, with 71 programs administered by the Ministry of Population Development and Social Protection alone.

Programs vary from social pensions for the elderly and the disabled to reimbursements for healthcare and other services. For example, there is a lifetime Mother Hero Program for mothers who gave birth to four or more children, and a generous monthly transfer program to veterans and those accorded state honors. In addition, half of all benefits amounts are distributed through the Child Money Program, a near-universal monthly cash transfer program for all children 18 years and younger, aimed at re-distributing the country's expected mineral wealth to the younger generation.

Poverty Targeting Can Expand Coverage

A World Bank analysis of the social welfare programs in Mongolia revealed that just about half (49%) of all citizens are direct beneficiaries of at least one program, when the Child Money Program is included. Without the Child Money Program, some 19% of the population is direct beneficiaries, with 14% receiving multiple program benefits.

Despite the fact that the government maintains an updated poverty-targeted mechanism, that applies the Proxy-Means Testing approach, all but one program is categorically targeted.

That is, they do not directly target poor or vulnerable households, but instead provide benefits to population groups deemed vulnerable or meritorious (such as the elderly, the disabled, the orphans and their caretakers, pregnant mothers and mothers who have given birth to many children, and  veterans with state honors). The Food Stamp Program is the only program that is currently poverty-targeted. It only covers approximately 3% of the households nationwide.  

In spite of this, the distribution of welfare benefits is, on the whole, pro-poor. It is estimated that over a third (34%) of total benefits go to individuals who are among the poorest quintile in terms of household income. However, individuals who are among the richer 40% are receiving 28% of the total benefit amounts. In comparison, some well-performing states in Europe and Central Asia provide 40% of their benefits to the poorest quintile.

Currently in Mongolia, two-thirds of the individuals among the poorest quintile are direct beneficiaries of a welfare program. However, the benefits size is small. For an average household size of five living at the poverty line, the average household benefit amount received is estimated to be around 12% of the households' post-transfer consumption (consumption taking into account the cash grants they receive). Although there is considerable variation, most welfare benefits around the world represent 20-35% of the poorest households' post-transfer consumption.

The Mongolian government has all the basic tools to make the country's social welfare system a more efficient one that promises a larger impact on poverty. The question is: can the government seize the moment and turn the need for an economic adjustment into an opportunity for social welfare reform? 

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Presentation: Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity in Mongolia (Academic)

Time: 7:00pm to 8:00 pm, 21 September

Speaker: Dr. Julie Koch, Fulbright Specialist and OSU Associate Professor in Counseling and Counseling Psychology

Dr. Julie Koch will share her recent experiences as a Fulbright Specialist working with the LGBT Centre of Mongolia. She will discuss the socio-political history of Mongolia and how that has informed the current climate for persons of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.

Location:

106 Noble Research Center

Price:

free

Sponsor:

College of Education

Contact:

Dr. Julie Koch (julie.koch@okstate.edu)

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Mongolia honours China conqueror Kublai Khan on 800th birthday

ULAN BATOR, September 23 (AFP) - Mongolia celebrated the 800th birthday of epic conqueror Kublai Khan on Wednesday, a source of intense pride in a country trying to highlight its own history after centuries of Russian and Chinese influence.

A week of nationwide celebrations honouring the 13th-century ruler of the largest contiguous land empire in history culminated in Ulan Bator with costumed dancers and musicians performing beneath a giant statue of his grandfather Genghis.

The commemorations were meant to "honour and value the contribution of Kublai Khan to Mongolian and world history", government minister S. Bayartsogt said earlier.

"There was a time when we had to deny our history. However, the new path of democracy Mongolia chose has enabled Mongolian people to restore our history and understand it." The Mongol Empire reached its greatest extent after Kublai conquered China and established the Yuan dynasty in 1271.

Its armies were known for their strategy, tactics, speed - and brutality in the face of resistance. The siege and destruction of Baghdad in 1258 was notable for the monumental scale of the carnage.

After spending most of the 20th century as a satellite of the Soviet Union, which rejected the public honouring of traditional leaders from the pre-Communist era, figures of the Mongol Empire are experiencing a rebirth in popularity.

"Kublai Khan created the map of modern Asia and made China into a world power," author and Mongol history expert Jack Weatherford told AFP.

"Today's world was shaped by Genghis Khan and his grandson Kublai Khan; they were the two most important men of the last thousand years."

The National Museum of Mongolia has been displaying artifacts from the era of Kublai Khan and the Yuan dynasty, with ornate weapons, armour and clothing.

"In Mongolia, Kublai is known as Kublai 'The Wise'," said museum researcher Egiimaa Tseveendorj.

"Genghis Khan is known as a military leader, but Kublai was a king who organised an enormous kingdom, not only by conquering it, but with administration, politics, trade, diplomacy, science, religion and production," she added.

"In the period of Kublai Khan the Silk Road, which facilitated trade with the West, experienced a new era of prosperity."

- My name is Kublai

China also claims Kublai Khan as its own, raising hackles in Mongolia, which is wary of being overshadowed by its giant southern neighbour and biggest trading partner.

The site of medieval Xanadu, which ultimately became the summer capital of the Yuan dynasty and is now in China's Inner Mongolia region, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2012 after an application by Beijing.

"We want to correct history," S. Chuluun, director of Mongolia's Institute of History and Archeology, told a local newspaper.

"It's every Mongolian's duty to inform the world that Xanadu is actually a Mongolian creation."

China is home to twice as many ethnic Mongols as in Mongolia, and some gathered early Wednesday to pay respects at a bronze statue near the Xanadu ruins, known as Shangdu in China.

But Kublai's legacy is more complicated in the country, where Beijing stresses ethnic unity, and there were no official celebrations.

Nowadays Mongolia's citizens are looking for a more personal connection to the once powerful khans.

The latest trend is to name children after past rulers and members of Genghis Khan's royal bloodline.

"In the past this was not popular, but for the last 10 years, many Mongolian children have been given the names of past khans or queens," Egiimaa said.

"I think after this year's celebration, Kublai's name will become very popular for new babies."

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Photo Report: Khubilai Setsen Khaan - 800 Exhibition

September 22 (gogo.mn) In scope of 800th birth anniversary of Kublai Setsen Khan, exhibition titled "Kublai Setsen Khan - 800" is being showed at National Museum of Mongolia until October 20th. The exhibition consisted of 300 archeological discoveries, scriptural findings, and heritage findings of Yuan Dynasty found from Mongolian territory.

Working hours of Mongolian National Museum: Daily 08AM - 08.30PM
Address: West side of the Government House, Juulchin Street, Chingeltei District
Inquiry: (+976 - 11) 326802, (+976?) 70110911

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Inspired by Zaya - N.Gantumur, Chef, Munguu's Restaurant

September 23 (gogo.mn) "Future of Mongolia is not just mining. Instead I believe our future is dependent on educated, intelligent and multifaceted youth". I want to proudly introduce those talented and educated young professionals to others.

Editor E.Ariunzaya

N.Gantumur is just a young man. Even he has qualified as economist and engineer, he learned cook during many years of living and working in Ireland. We talked about his impression of arriving in homeland after spent many years in abroad, his dream and the characteristics of being a chef. Currently, he works as chef at "Munguu's Restaurant" which located in Zaisan. The pasta cooked by him is speechless and yummy.

The full episode can be viewed here.

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Sports

MFF President elected to EAFF Executive Committee

September 22 (gogo.mn) 46th East Asian Football Federation (EAFF) Executive Committee Meeting was held in North Korea on Sep 19. 

President of Mongolian Football Federation (MFF) A.Ganbaatar has attended the meeting which consolidated East Asian ten countries. During the meeting, they discussed on the selection of Member of the Executive Committee.

President of MFF A.Ganbaatar collected 100 percent of votes and selected as member of Executive Committee of EAFF. During the meeting, the President of MFF A.Ganbaatar met with President of North Korean Football Federation Ri Jon Mu and discussed many issues including organizing friendly match between the two countries, inviting North Korea's professional footballers in Mongolia and  involving Mongolian children to North Korea`s national football training center.

Meanwhile, President of North Korean Football Federation Ri Jon Mu expressed his willingness to cooperate with MFF.

Source: MFF

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13 Mongolian athletes qualified so far for Rio 2016

September 21 (infomongolia.com) One by one, Mongolian athletes are getting their qualifications for Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

At the 2015 World Wrestling Championships in Las Vegas, Mongolian athletes S.Battsetseg, O.Nasanburmaa, E.Enkhbayar, G.Mandakhnaran, P.Unurbat and J.Chuluunbat could qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics but the National Team for Wrestling still need six more qualifications.

As of today, Mongolia has 13 qualifications for the Rio 2016 Olympics & Paralympics in Brazil.

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Art, Entertainment

Joint classical concert to be held for 25th anniversary of Mongolia-Korea ties

September 22 (gogo.mn) This year marks the 25th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between South Korea and Mongolia. In scope of this event, many performances are being organized by the Mongolian State Philharmonic in cooperation with artists from South Korea.

National orchestra, which consisted of musicians from Mongolia, South Korea and Russian Federation, was established under the direction of conductor Nu Te Chol and they are on road show from Ulaanbaatar, Ulan-Ude and to Seoul.

The classic concert named "Unity - The Great Power" is to be held on October 03 at 07PM at Concert Hall of Mongolian State Philharmonic.

Mokpo City (South Korea) Symphony Orchestra conductor Yunil Jin, pianists Hyonok moon and Hyunsoo Cho set to play at the concert and Shostakovich symphony No.9 while Francis Poulenk`s piano concert will be performed jointly by the State Philharmonic symphony orchestra and artists from Mokpo city`s Symphony Orchestra.

Tickets for the concert are available at the Mongolian State Philharmonic and worth of MNT 10,000 (USD 5).

For more information, please contact at: 7011-8012, 7014-8012, 8800-4849 and 9904-5517.

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Save the Date: America's Modern Dance Night on September 25, 2015 at 7PM

September 22 (gogo.mn) In collaboration with the Arts Council of Mongolia (ACM), the U.S. Embassy Ulaanbaatar presents the Northwest Dance Project (NWDP) through the Department of State's Arts Envoy Program.

When: Friday September 25, 2015 7:00p.m.
Where: Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet
Tickets: Parterre 60,000₮ Mezzanine 40,000₮

*Tickets are available at MSATOB, ACM and ticket.mn.

This event brings professional artists from the U.S. to promote awareness of cultural diversity and expand international cooperation in the art and cultural sectors. Northwest Dance Project was founded in 2004 by acclaimed dancer, mentor and choreographer Sarah Slipper. The dance troupe is dedicated to the creation and performance of innovative and contemporary new works. NWDP has fostered the creation and premiere of over 175 original contemporary works to date.

For more information on the performance, click here.

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Sound magician: Mongolian composer Zulan modernizes ancient musical traditions

September 23 (DW) In her music, Mongolian composer Zulan combines horse-head violins with overtone singing and Western music traditions. "Amila," her new composition, symbolizes new life and premieres at the Beethovenfest in Germany.

Her avant-garde style is both hip and exotic, and she draws artsy crowds in Beijing, New York and Paris. Zulan is an artist, musician and composer who fashions her own sound cosmos out of Western, Chinese and Mongolian music traditions. Direct but abstract, it combines archaic roughness with the most delicate shades of tonal color.

As the music, so the artist: Zulan's piercings and her short pants are upbeat and modern, her shiny blue platform shoes stylish.

Zulan's full Mongolian name is Munk Zulan, which can translate as "the eternally burning butter lamp." That lamp, a candle of yak butter, symbolizes the state of enlightenment in Buddhism. The name and its connotations fit the artist perfectly, who constantly exudes energy yet has an almost meditatively calm air about her. Everything in the small, 34-year-old woman - and in her music - seems to express strength and decisiveness.

Rehearsing with her band, Mongolism, in Beijing, she seats herself at the piano, tosses back her wild mane of black, curly hair and exchanges a couple of ideas with the musicians. Seconds later, Zulan's universe of sound unfolds. With her strangely rough but gentle voice, she intones a melody and accompanies herself at the piano. The band members chime in.

The sonorous cello blends with the equally full-bodied strings of the Mongolian horse-head violin and Western percussion instruments with Mongolian rattles made of sheep vertebrae. Bamboo and plastic flutes blend with a mouth harp. Then, soaring high above the deep, throaty singing of the male band members, flute-like, is the mildly irritating alchemy of Mongolian overtone vocals.

Music imitates life

Zulan's world is one of contrasts. Her family comes from Inner Mongolia, but she grew up in Beijing. She speaks Chinese and only a few phrases of the Mongolian language of her forefathers. Studying composition under well-known professors from China and Europe, she slowly began to amalgamate her cultural roots - Chinese and Mongolian music - with what she learned of Western music.

She penned chamber music and highly successful film scores. In one instance, her music features in a highly successful Chinese fantasy film produced by her husband, director Wu Ershan. Like such films, Zulan's music plays to a longing in today's China for bygone traditions and heroic cultures in violently beautiful natural settings. Contemporary Chinese are fond of all things Mongolian, considering them a part of their history.

Zulan's music is one of ruptures and bridges. Traditional instruments, overtone singing and Mongolian harmonies are the ingredients of her band Mongolism, mostly made up of Mongolian musicians. The choice of name was deliberately provocative, connoting both "Mongolian" and the derogatory term "Mongoloid" - and the product is not folklore, but rather a musical mutation of traditional elements.

Zulan's Beethoven project

For the Beethovenfest 2015, Zulan was commissioned by Deutsche Welle to write a work for Germany's National Youth Orchestra in the spirit of Beethoven. Visiting the house in Bonn where the composer was born in 1770, she let her impressions of the place flow into the composition. She called it "Amila" - Mongolian for "give life" and the name of her son. While the birth of her son was a turning point in her own identity, her collaboration with the German festival likewise symbolizes a new chapter in her creativity, Zulan told DW.

In the new work, Mongolism's sound environment is extended to a full symphony orchestra while retaining native techniques and instruments. Power and spirit were necessary for the survival of her nomadic ancestors, says Zulan - and remain characteristics of modern culture in her land.

Feeling that energy also in the music of Beethoven, she wants to bring it to life with the young musicians of Germany's National Youth Orchestra.

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Travel

WATCH: Exploring the Dinosaur Graveyard in the Jurassic World of Mongolia

Paula Froelich goes to Mongolia's Flaming Cliffs to hunt for dinosaur bones.

September 23 (Yahoo Travel) Deep in the Gobi Desert is an explorer's dream: a real life dinosaur graveyard. Sixty million years ago, velociraptors and other dinosaurs roamed this part of the earth, which was then a grassy, leafy area. Now a stark desert, it is filled with their bones.

This site, Byanazag, otherwise known as the Flaming Cliffs, is especially famous because in the 1920s, American paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews discovered dinosaur eggs there — proving dinosaurs were reptilian and didn't have live births. Today, discoveries are still made every day.

Related: Class War: Filthy Rich v. Dirt Poor in Mongolia

Unlike sites in other parts of the world, in Mongolia you can still wander around unobstructed on these cliffs. What looks like stone may be bone, but you have to lick it to see.

My guide, Timur Yadamsuren from Intrepid Travel, elucidated: "You have to lick it — if your tongue sticks to it, it is bone. If it doesn't, it is stone." [Note: It is entirely possible Timur was messing with me and just wanted me to lick a bunch of stones, but some did stick and others didn't so…]

Related: Hospitality or Hazing? Surviving a Vodka-Fueled Night in Mongolia 

However, if you do find dino bones (and, according to my sticky tongue, I did), it is illegal to remove them.

"You must take them to the museum or alert the government," according to Timur. 

An added bonus to this graveyard is the landscape, which, not unlike the Badlands in South Dakota, is made up of red and orange sandstone. So when the sun sets and the light strikes the cliffs, they look like they are on fire (hence the name, the Flaming Cliffs). It is a truly magical, mythical place and not one to be missed, especially for those of us who grew up dreaming of dinosaurs. 

Thanks to Intrepid Travel for showing us such a good time in Mongolia!

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