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Thursday, October 29, 2015

[ETG licenses discussed; BDS trades ₮293K; Moody's rates DBM; Doing Biz ranking up; and Mongolia elected to UNHRC]

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

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Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original

 

Overseas Market

EGI closed +15.8% Wednesday on the announcement to US$0.279, TRQ +0.71% to US$2.85

Mongolia Seeks Resolution on Entrée Gold Licenses at Oyu Tolgoi

By Michael Kohn

October 28 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia is seeking to resolve issues related to Entrée Gold Inc., which holds licenses covering a portion of the Oyu Tolgoi deposit, according to a statement on the government website of the Asian nation.

* Options include a negotiated transfer of Vancouver-based Entrée licenses to Oyu Tolgoi LLC, or a 34% ownership of Entrée licenses by the state-owned Erdenes Oyu Tolgoi LLC

* Arrangement discussed during talks between Prime Minister Saikhanbileg Chimed and Oyu Tolgoi LLC board members Byambasaikhan Bayanjargal and Ganbold Davaadorj

* Mongolian law allows government to own as much as 34% of a strategic deposit

* "Significant value would be unlocked for Entrée Gold shareholders" if company's licenses are transferred to Oyu Tolgoi LLC, Nick Cousyn, chief operating officer of BDSec, Mongolia's largest brokerage, says in e-mail from Ulaanbaatar

* Hugo North Extension 'Lift 1' NPV is $110m vs. $17m Enterprise Value for entire company, says Cousyn

* "Probable, indicated and inferred resources for Entrée's JV with Rio Tinto at Oyu Tolgoi approaches 27b lbs of copper according to the company's most recent investor presentation," says Cousyn

* "We have been discussing with our joint venture partners the possibility of transferring the joint venture licences to Oyu Tolgoi LLC since the joint venture was formed in 2008," Greg Crowe, President & CEO of Entrée Gold, said in a statement

* "Our economic interests reside contractually, not as a consequence of being the legal holder of the licences, and it makes sense for the joint venture manager to hold title to the licenses," Crowe said
* Entree is "hopeful that matters that affect Entrée Gold more directly can now also be resolved"

(BFW)

 

Mongolia PM orders to lower Oyu Tolgoi Mongolian director fees to local standards

October 28 (gogo.mn) Parliament of Mongolia approved respectively 34th and 41st resolutions in 2014 and 2015 in order to accelerate Oyu Tolgoi project's underground development and provided the guideline to the government, which is assigned to finalize the matter. In regards to the issue, the government's one of major approaches to overcome economic difficulties is to accelerate Oyu Tolgoi project's next phase development.

Today's topic at regular meeting titled "Decision Time" on every Wednesday was about works related to initiate economic circulation of Oyu Tolgoi reserves' 80 percent.

The meeting attendees are CEO of Erdenes Mongol LLC B.Byambasaikhan and CEO of Erdenes Oyu Tolgoi LLC D.Ganbold, who reported about the underground mine development, financial plan implementation and other facing issues.

List of supply product and services set to be approved by Board of Members and also, local entities will be encouraged to supply their products and services to the company. Moreover, audit and procurement committee will be led by Mongolian side in order to supervise operational costs of Oyu Tolgoi LLC.

At regular Board meeting held in summer of 2015, the management team was founded, in coordination with the investment agreement and shareholders agreement.

The negotiation to finalize the issue of exploitation license owned by Entrée Gold is underway in cooperation with the investor's side. Particularly, there are options whether to hand over the license to Oyu Tolgoi LLC or 34% of the license to Erdenes Oyu Tolgoi LLC. Ministry of Mining and Mineral Resources Authority are providing assistance in relation to the matter.

The investor side forgoes 2% royalty fee and made an amendment to the financial report accordingly. PM assigned officials to firmly enforce laws on such matters.

PM also assigned officials to make a change in salary amount given to Mongolian representatives in Oyu Tolgoi LLC's board. CEO of Erdenes Oyu Tolgoi LLC D.Ganbold said: "We regularly give an attention to this matter and address to the other side." But, the salary of Oyu Tolgoi Board members must be finalized at the shareholders meeting in terms of the rights. The issue has been delayed because of other facing issues being discussed instead. Next time, we will make efforts to get shareholders to finalize the issue at its meeting. It means that Oyu Tolgoi Board members from Mongolia would receive salary adjusted according to regulations of Erdenes Oyu Tolgoi LLC.

CEO of Erdenes Mongol LLC B.Byambasaikhan added: "The cooperation agreement on developing Umnugobi province has been successfully implemented. We have been currently prepared to organize Oyu Tolgoi suppliers forum next week." PM accordingly assigned officials not to register financial support and aid costs on rural areas as debts.

Last summer, the accounting policies documents were approved at Board of Members and Shareholders meetings. Thus, the sides have constantly discussed the issue. Erdenes Oyu Tolgoi LLC will cooperate on these matters with Oyu Tolgoi LLC, Board of Members, Shareholders and Tax Authority of Mongolia. Regular tax investigation is underway at Oyu Tolgoi LLC. Oyu Tolgoi LLC's underground development and financial planning have not forced any change into the agreement.

The investor side has moved into the final step of finalizing investment issues in cooperation with international banks and financial organizations.

Finally, Prime Minister assigned officials to accelerate the underground development and to deliver authentic information about the issues to the public.

Press and Media Relations of Government of Mongolia

Link to article

 

Oyu Tolgoi in-country spend passes US$5.13 bn / MNT10.2 tr (2010-Q3 2015)

·         Strong safety performance continues

·         Maintaining high water recycling rate of over 85 per cent

·         US$192 mn / MNT383 bn in taxes paid for first three quarters of 2015

·         National procurement spend crosses US$209 mn / MNT417 bn for three quarters

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 27 October 2015 -- Oyu Tolgoi LLC today announced its in-country spend, from 2010 to Q3 2015, had passed US$5.13 billion or MNT10.2 trillion.

The latest edition of the company's Performance Scorecard also provided details of Oyu Tolgoi's best-in-class water efficiency and recycling rate, strong safety performance, and latest figures for taxes paid and national procurement spend to-date this year.

Oyu Tolgoi President and CEO, Andrew Woodley, said: "This has, once again, been a strong quarter for us in terms of our safety performance, productivity, and other key measures. We also passed a major milestone – crossing US$5.13 billion in terms of our in-Mongolia spend, including taxes and other payments, salaries, and spend with Mongolian suppliers.

"This latest Scorecard transparently showcases our continuing progress, and is a reminder of not just of how far Oyu Tolgoi has come, but also points towards the company's strong potential for the future."

Oyu Tolgoi continued its strong safety performance in the third quarter of 2015, achieving an All Injury Frequency Rate of 0.31 – better than target and making it one of the best safety performers across Rio Tinto. On the back of this, Oyu Tolgoi also achieved record production in the quarter, improving over Q2 2015 – which had been another record quarter for the business.

The Performance Scorecard is designed to provide regular updates on key parameters around the operation including safety, environmental performance, local employment, supplier spend and taxes paid, as well as broader investments in social and educational projects.

Notes to the Editor:

Conversion rate: US$1 = MNT1993.79 (Source: Mongol Bank, September 2015)

Link to release

 

CG closed -1.84% Wednesday to C$8.02

Centerra Agrees to Granting 3% Special Royalty for 100% Stake in Gatsuurt - Third Quarter Results

To view Management's Discussion and Analysis and the Unaudited Interim Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements and Notes for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2015, please visit the following link:http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/cg1027mdafs.pdf.

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - October 27, 2015) - Centerra Gold Inc. (TSX: CG) Centerra Gold Inc. (TSX: CG) today reported a net loss of $18.1 million or $0.08 per common share (basic) in the third quarter of 2015, compared to a net loss of $3.2 million or $0.01 per common share (basic) for the same period in 2014. The 2015 loss was the result of a non-cash impairment charge of $18.7 million ($0.08 per share) of the goodwill in the Kyrgyz reporting segment. Additionally, the third quarter of 2015 reflects lower operating costs and lower taxes, partially offset by fewer ounces sold and lower average realized gold price1, in the quarter.

For the first nine months of 2015, the Company recorded net earnings of $44.5 million or $0.19 per common share (basic), compared to a net loss of $32.8 million or $0.14 per common share (basic) in the comparative period of 2014, reflecting a 28% increase in gold ounces sold and lower operating costs year-to-date and a non-cash impairment charge of $18.7 million ($0.08 per share).

2015 Third Quarter Highlights

·         Announced positive feasibility study results and the planned development of the Company's 100% owned Öksüt Gold Project, subject to final approval of the Turkish environmental impact assessment (EIA) and receipt of all required permits.

·         Lowered all-in sustaining cost1 guidance for the year to $827 to $875 per ounce sold reflecting lower diesel fuel prices and favourable exchange rates for local currencies at Kumtor.

·         Produced 107,485 ounces of gold in the third quarter, which includes 103,701 ounces at Kumtor and 3,784 ounces at Boroo, and 403,256 ounces of gold year-to-date.

·         All-in sustaining costs per ounce sold1 of $1,089 for the third quarter and $881 year-to-date, which excludes revenue-based tax in the Kyrgyz Republic and income taxes.

·         Cash provided by operations in the third quarter totaled $41.1 million.

·         Kumtor received approval from the Kyrgyz State Agency for Environmental Protection and Forestry of its 2015 annual mine plan.

·         Following the quarter-end, announced the appointment of Scott Perry as CEO, effective November 1, 2015, to replace Ian Atkinson who is retiring and the appointment of Frank Herbert as President.

"In Mongolia, we continued our discussions with the Government regarding Gatsuurt and have agreed to a 3% special royalty in place of the Government acquiring a 34% ownership interest in Gatsuurt. It is our understanding that the Government has recently submitted a revised proposal regarding its ownership interest in the Gatsuurt Project to Parliament for review."

Recent Developments

The following is a summary of recent events affecting the Company. For further information, see "Other Corporate Developments".

Mongolian Operations

·         The Company continued to engage in discussions with the Mongolian Government regarding the development of the Gatsuurt Project and in mid-October agreed with the Government to a 3% special royalty in place of the Government acquiring a 34% ownership interest in the project. The Company understands that the Government has recently submitted a revised proposal regarding its ownership interest in the Gatsuurt Project to Parliament for review. Further development of the Gatsuurt Project is subject to, among other things, receiving Parliamentary approval of the Mongolian state interest in the project as well as all required approvals and regulatory commissioning from the Mongolian Government.

Link to release

Related:

Centerra Gold Announces Quarterly Dividend of C$0.04 per Share – Centerra Gold, October 27

 

Cash at end of quarter A$104K. HAR last traded A$0.004 on 26 October

Haranga Resources Quarterly Activities Report

October 29, Haranga Resources Ltd. (ASX:HAR) -- Haranga Resources Limited ('the Company') is pleased to report on its activities for the September 2015 quarter.

MINING LICENSE RELATED WORKS

Following the grant of its Mining License by the Mineral Resources Authority of Mongolia, the Company has been focusing on the completion of the activities required by the mining related laws and regulations in Mongolia.

(i)  The Land Use Agreement

During the quarter the boundaries of the mining license specified areas were verified and officially registered by the certified contractor appointed by the Geodesy and Land Cadaster Office of Mongolia.

The Land Use Agreement with the Local Government of Eruu and Khongor sub-provinces is now in the final stage awaiting the completion of the report on the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment. The purpose of this agreement is to enable the Company to carry out any development activities in the specified mining license areas.

(ii) The Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment ('DEIA')

During the quarter an independent contractor was appointed by the Ministry of Environment and Green Development ('MEGD') to complete the DEIA, as required by the MEGD.

The first component of the MEGD, the geo-economic assessment, was completed during the quarter. The second component, the full report on the detailed environmental and social impact assessment, is currently underway with an expected completion before the end of the year.

Once completed, the DEIA will be submitted and discussed at the Special Committee of Environmental at MEGD for mine development approval.

OTHER ACTIVITIES

During the quarter, the Company's main focus was the progression of the Selenge Project with a focus on the development stage in order to allow the Project construction to commence.

Link to report

Link to cashflow report

 

Cash at end of quarter A$1.7m. DRG trading -12% Thursday midday to A$0.022

Draig Resources Quarterly Activities Report

October 28, Draig Resources Ltd. (ASX:DRG) --

1 SUMMARY

·         Exploration licences 13581X and 13879X continued to be maintained;

·         Other potential opportunities for the company were pursued; and

·         Cash balance of $1.7 million at the end of the quarter.

Link to report

Link to cashflow report

 

Cash at end of Q A$548K. EUM last traded A$0.027 October 7

Eumeralla Resources Quarterly Activities Report

October 28, Eumeralla Resources Ltd. (ASX:EUM) –

MYANMAR

MONGOLIA

Subsequent to the end of the quarter, the Company engaged Lunda LLC (Lunda) to perform an IP/Res Gradient Survey. Lunda have performed the IP/Res Gradient Survey and are in the process of preparing a report to be submitted to the Mineral Resources Authority (MRAM) of Mongolia. (Mogi: seems like they've done nothing in Mongolia for several quarters)

Link to report

Link to cashflow report

Back to top

Local Market

MSE Trading Report: Top 20 -0.49%, Turnover 300.6 Million, BDS ₮293.4 Million

October 28 (MSE) --

Link to report

 

10 Billion 12-Week 13.871% Discounted T-Bills on Offer at MSE

October 28 (MSE) Buy order of 12 weeks Government retail bonds with annual interest of 13.871% starts from 28 October 2015 until 28 November 2015 through brokerage companies.

Click here to see detailed information of Government retail bonds. 

Link to release

 

10 Billion 52-Week 15%, 15.2 Million 3-Year 15.8% GoM Notes Sold

October 27 (MSE) On 27 October 2015, 52 weeks Government retail bonds worth MNT10,000,000,000.00 with 15.00% annual interest rate and 3 years Government bonds worth MNT15,200,000.00 with 15.8% annual interest rate traded successfully on primary market at Mongolian Stock Exchange.

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

1. One year Government bond 

Companies' name

Volume

1

"Monsec UTsK" LLC

42,959

2

"Novel investment" LLC

42,690

3

"Goodsec UTsK" LLC

14,229

4

"Asia Pacific Securities" LLC

120

6

"Golomt securities BC" LLC 

 2 

 

Total

100,000

2. 3 years Government bond

Companies' name

Volume

1

"Novel investment" LLC

149

2

"BDSec UTsK" LLC

    3

 

Total

152

Link to release

 

Shivee Energy Complex Project to be implemented with China

October 27 (gogo.mn) Project unit responsible for preparations to implement the Energy Complex Project based on strategically-significant Shivee-Ovoo coal deposit is set to be established under "Erdenes Mongol" LLC.

The Minister of Energy D.Zorigt was assigned to establish the management committee of the project unit in accordance with the appropriate legislation, provide technical guidance and to monitor. Executive Director of "Erdenes Mongol" LLC was assigned to finance the operation of project unit and provide the necessary assistance.

Working group in charge of implementing the Energy Complex Project held necessary meetings with Chinese side and introduced the Mongolian law and the legal environment, mining operation of Shivee-Ovoo deposit and water resources.

According to the water supply of project, coal deposit, preliminary engineering plans of power plant and other research, Chinese side expressed its intention to construct a complex with mining with annual capacity of 34 million tons of coal, 9240MW air-cooled power plant with advanced technology and 800 kV DC transmission line with capacity to transit 8 million kilowatt electricity.

By implementing the project our country will be enabled opportunity to produce value-added finished products while Mongolia will be energy producer and exporter country using some parts of the 150 billion tons of coal reserves. Moreover the project has advantage of making positive impact on the economy by attracting major investment using eco friendly and advanced technology, increasing budget revenues and creating skilled personnel.

Link to article

Related:

Shivee Energy Project to commenceUB Post, October 27

 

WHERE YOU CAN MOVE THE STOCK MARKET: MONGOLIA

October 27 (OZY) Pick the right day and almost anyone with a few extra bucks can move the entire stock market … in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Like one day this summer, when trading in the Mongolian Stock Exchange (MSE) totaled $6,943 and a single $70 investment would have raised its trading volume by a full 1 percent. "Individual investors are a big deal here," says Nick Cousyn, chief operating officer at BDSec, the largest stock brokerage in Mongolia.

While many investors know that amid the hurly-burly, developing markets can offer great opportunities, even the boldest tend to overlook the newest exchanges — those so untested they technically can't even be called "emerging" or even "frontier" markets by FTSE or MSCI, the world's biggest stock market index developers. (We'll call them on-the-cusp markets instead.) In Laos, one of Asia's poorest nations, four companies have gone public in the past five years, the latest of which had its initial public offering in December. The tiny bourse in nearby Cambodia doubled in size last year — to include two stocks — and may soon feature a third. At the same time, MSCI says it's considering adding stock indexes linked to more than a handful of countries few investors would otherwise even think of, including Botswana, Ghana, Jamaica, Zimbabwe, Trinidad and Tobago, Palestine and even Ukraine.

Why would anyone want to bother with itty-bitty bourses? After all, investors spooked by the oversize correction of stock markets in China and elsewhere around the world pulled $40 billion from emerging markets in the latest quarter of this year — the biggest three-month cash-out since 2008, according to the Institute of International Finance. Yet some investors still see long-term growth potential in today's nascent stock markets. Even Marc "Dr. Doom" Faber, the renowned Swiss investor, recently said in Malaysia that he'd bet on Asian stocks despite their volatility, given how much more profitable they tend to be than shares in other countries.

Today's on-the-cuspers are working to boost trading volumes by rolling out better tools and training for investors.

It's easy to pooh-pooh the scant selection of stocks in some of these places, but one of the world's oldest exchanges — inaugurated in Antwerp, Belgium, in the 1530s — reportedly didn't offer any shares at all when it first launched, mainly dealing with promissory notes and bonds. Though small at first, it grew into a big, bustling model for other exchanges, including those in London and Amsterdam. Some markets in their early days, such as the New York Stock Exchange, also rose in prominence along with their country's economy, helping legitimize their home base as a global financial center.

Similar hopes drive some of today's on-the-cuspers, which are working to boost trading volumes by rolling out better tools and training for investors. (They're open, surprisingly, to most investors around the world.) Earlier this year, the Cambodia Securities Exchange hosted an event for the public on fundamental and technical analysis, and it says it's been collaborating with universities to offer other training sessions to help grow the country's base of investors.

Yet there's also doubt about whether these kinds of markets bring enough benefits to their host countries, with some decrying them as vanity projects that do little for the broader economy. Oscar Mendoza, a veteran frontier-market investor and founder of Mongolia Asset Management, says countries would be better off developing their infrastructure or strengthening their banks. "The link between a stock exchange and broader socioeconomic development is probably tenuous," says Mendoza. "It can even be harmful."

Look no further than the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority, Cambodia's first publicly traded company. Its share price rose more than 61 percent in the two days after it opened, but it has since fallen and now trades at about 18 percent below the price of its initial public offering. "All these investors are burned," says Thomas Hugger, a veteran investor who runs the Asia Frontier Capital, a fund that invests in markets such as Vietnam, Mongolia and Iraq. (Phnom Penh didn't respond to a request for comment.)

Indeed, high-flying buzzworthy stocks can come back to sting like a bee, and those in emerging markets are especially at risk today. The World Bank recently lowered its growth forecasts for East Asian economies, as some countries there see a strain on resources and trade, and the International Monetary Fund has warned that emerging market slowdowns are souring growth prospects for the global economy. The recent stock crash in China has also raised investor concerns about the viability of other markets with even less transparency, shorter trading track records and a lack of liquidity when someone wants to yank their cash.

But there are also some signs of change. Back in Mongolia, construction recently resumed at Oyu Tolgoi, a giant and mostly unexploited reserve of coal and other resources. It could bring about $150 million in investments every month — around $9 billion by 2023 — a big boost for a country with a $12 billion economy. The MSE jumped by about a quarter in value within a couple of weeks following the announcement, and Cousyn is closely watching its stocks. "We are in the process of taking off," he says.

Link to article

Back to top

Economy

Historic low ₮1,997.26/USD set September 11

BoM MNT Rates: Wednesday, October 28 Close

 

 

10/28

10/27

10/26

10/23

10/22

10/21

10/20

10/19

10/16

10/15

10/14

10/13

10/12

10/9

10/8

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

USD

1,992.12

1,991.30

1,993.26

1,991.70

1,992.26

1,991.98

1,991.22

1,992.53

1,992.78

1,990.36

1,994.64

1,994.43

1,994.63

1,994.45

1,993.59

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

EUR

2,200.89

2,200.59

2,201.46

2,212.68

2,253.54

2,264.68

2,259.14

2,262.12

2,265.99

2,277.57

2,277.48

2,274.85

2,270.69

2,258.02

2,250.76

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

CNY

313.38

313.42

313.81

313.20

313.48

313.93

313.59

313.36

313.76

313.67

314.31

314.81

315.61

314.32

313.83

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

GBP

3,048.24

3,055.25

3,055.37

3,068.31

3,077.05

3,075.02

3,083.60

3,081.25

3,082.73

3,078.29

3,053.99

3,064.04

3,064.55

3,061.98

3,056.77

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

RUB

30.46

31.37

31.89

32.14

31.67

31.71

32.05

32.43

32.49

31.98

31.59

32.05

32.71

32.34

32.02

Bank rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy ₮1,987 Sell ₮1,996), Khan (Buy ₮1,986 Sell ₮1,995), Golomt (Buy ₮1,985 Sell ₮1,994), XacBank (Buy ₮1,987 Sell ₮1,994), State Bank (Buy ₮1,986 Sell ₮1,995)

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

Link to rates

 

BoM FX auction: US$3.9m sold at 1,991, CNY25.3m at 312.71, accepts $20m USD, $7.9m MNT swap offers

October 27 (BoM) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on October 27th, 2015 the BoM has received bid offers of USD 9.5 million in a rate between MNT 1987.00-1994.20 and CNY 52.8 million in a rate between MNT 312.10-313.11 from local commercial banks. The BoM sold USD 3.9 million in a closing rate of MNT 1991.00 and CNY 25.3 million in a closing rate of MNT 312.71.  

On October 27th, 2015, The BoM has received USD Swap agreement selling bid offer equivalent to USD 20.0 million and MNT Swap agreement bid offer equivalent to USD 7.9 million from local commercial banks and the BoM has accepted the offers.

Link to release

 

BoM issues 211 billion 1-week bills at 13%, total outstanding -8.2% to ₮650 billion

October 28 (BoM) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 211 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release

 

10 Billion 12-Week 13.871% Discounted T-Bills Sold with 18.5 Billion Bids

October 28 (BoM) Auction for 12 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 10.0 billion MNT. Face value of 10.0 billion /out of 18.5 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 13.871%.

Link to release

 

Moody's assigns B2 issuer rating to Development Bank of Mongolia

Hong Kong, October 27, 2015 -- Moody's Investors Service has assigned a B2 issuer rating to Development Bank of Mongolia LLC (DBM).

Moody's has also assigned a caa1 baseline credit assessment (BCA) and adjusted BCA to the bank, as well as a B2(cr)/NP(cr) long- and short-term Counterparty Risk Assessment (CR Assessment) to DBM.

In addition, Moody's affirms the B2 ratings on DBM's outstanding foreign currency debt and the (P)B2 ratings on DBM's medium-term note (MTN) program. The debt and the MTN program are guaranteed by the government of Mongolia (B2 negative).

The outlook for all the ratings is negative.

RATINGS RATIONALE

"The B2 issuer rating assigned to DBM incorporates a two-notch uplift from the bank's BCA of caa1, due to our assessment of full government support to DBM in times of need," says Hyun Hee Park, a Moody's Assistant Vice President and Analyst. "Such support mitigates the bank's weak standalone credit strength."

"Our assumption of full government support for DBM is underpinned by the DBM Law, which stipulates DBM's clear public policy mandate and full government ownership," adds Park. "In particular, under Article 4 of the DBM Law, the government is required to maintain sole and direct ownership of the bank."

Proposed amendments to the DBM Law, if approved as scheduled in the 2015 fall parliamentary session, will further reinforce the provision of public support. One of the changes put forward will hold the government responsible for DBM's solvency, by creating a legal obligation on the government to replenish any deficit if DBM's reserves are insufficient to absorb losses.

The negative ratings outlook is in line with Moody's negative outlook on Mongolia's B2 sovereign rating.

Development Bank of Mongolia LLC, headquartered in Ulaanbaatar, exhibited consolidated assets of MNT5.6 trillion (USD2.8 billion) at 30 June 2015.

Link to release

 

Dr. Khashchuluun: Mongolia produced its own problems

October 27 (UB Post) The following is an interview with professor of the National University of Mongolia and economist Ch.Khashchuluun about timely issues.

Mongolbank has created a new term, "new economic balance". Can you explain what this term means?

Raw material prices started to rise in 2000. Prices reached its peak from 2006 to 2013. Economists view this as a mining supercycle. Parliament approved the National Development Policy in 2008, in relation to the mineral price spike and increase of revenue. This policy aimed to improve infrastructure and support sectors other than mining. For instance, Atriin Ayan 3, New Development and Street programs were developed for increasing production.

In less than 10 years, Mongolia's economy grew rapidly, expanding the economy by 10 folds. In other words, Mongolia was able to use its resources, raw minerals and agricultural opportunities to execute various policies aimed at developing the society, the capital and provinces.

Politicians and economists criticized that the economic growth at the time was merely a bubble and when it burst, it gave a heavy blow to the economy. Can you comment on this?

Mining cycle is repetitive and takes turns. Unfortunately, Mongolia lost time delaying major projects for Tavan Tolgoi, power plants, railways, and processing plants until the end of the mining supercycle. Mongolia stumbled upon economic collapse without being able to decrease dependency on mining products or increasing money flow to Mongolia. The policy should be adjusted to the new macro economic conditions. Mongolbank named this situation as "new economic balance".

In other words, Mongolia has to adjust to the new world market situation and develop the nation with a different policy during the current raw material price drop. We could list all the incorrect policy decisions which led local and foreign investors to lose confidence in Mongolia. Compared to Mongolia's economy in 2000, the current economy has expanded and become very large. Mongolia's GDP growth has surpassed Armenia, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan's growth. Therefore, Mongolia must enforce a new policy consistent with the new circumstances.

What is different about the new economic policy?

First of all, it's absolutely crucial to review social policy and welfare. Social welfare should only be focused to target groups. Secondly, sustainable support should be provided for agriculture, intensive husbandry, energy and heavy industrial projects to eliminate dependence on mining. Thirdly, technological innovation has to be promoted. In relation to this, innovation for new biotechnology, telecommunications, and education and science sectors should be developed.

Mongolia needs to start large mines and attract foreign investment more effectively within a short period, in accordance with the Comprehensive National Development Strategy. The government should direct its resources to other sectors.

Mongolia doesn't have the fund to implement the Comprehensive National Development Strategy. How would the government enforce this strategy when it's barely able to provide wages and pension?

I understand that it's difficult to direct resources, which have been put up as collateral for loans, for taking these progressive steps now that the bond money has nearly exhausted. Even so, now is the time to partner with the private sector. In the past six years, the state built up a bunch of dirt piles, insisting that it does things alone. It wasn't able to construct a railway. Coal processing plant and steel mills haven't been established. Politicians were saying they will build an oil refinery, but where has that talk disappeared to? They took away private sector projects, which were going perfectly fine, and made a mess.

The new economic policy should minimize the government structure, and make them more productive and cooperative with the private sector.  The government shouldn't  be pressuring and taking away the private sector's work, but use their resource to save budget. This is what the new economic balance is aiming for. In any case, the Concession Law should be revised and approved urgently. It's possible to resolve school, kindergarten, infrastructure and hospital issues through the private sector. Although the nation doesn't have financial resources at the moment, Mongolia will be able to overcome economic crisis by using future revenue and complete development projects now.

Foreign investment has reached the lowest figure in the last five years. Although investors are still interested in Mongolia, why are they hesitant? Is it connected to China's economic hiccough or domestic political disputes?  

Both have influences. Mongolia has changed governments three times since 2012. Ministers are being changed regularly. Now they've restarted discussions to dismiss ministers and the government. Changing the government and ministers means that Mongolia's state continuity is being lost. This will make the government unable to control, supervise or make correct decisions. An entire sector can collapse along with the dismissal of its minister. Some random people who don't even know what to do are being appointed as ministers.

Never mind foreigners, even locals aren't able to understand which policies are the core of some sectors and what kind of interrelation they have. Instead of wanting to invest, foreign investors would probably consider fleeing from Mongolia once they see our current situation.

Are you implying that Mongolia has brought the current difficulty on itself?

The problems we're facing right now are, without a doubt, our own "production". Strictly speaking, these difficulties are consequences of our negligent and pathetic politicians. It's true that the world mining industry is in a crisis. However, countries aren't listing or revealing the challenges they're facing like Mongolia. Instead, they are battling with their problems discreetly. Every nation is building infrastructure and striving to improve its competitiveness to minimize losses from the crisis. Is there any other country other than Mongolia that's unable to construct a 280 km railway, which has been discussed for eight years? China, for example, is managing its development policy for export incredibly well.

For starters, Mongolia should supply domestically produced cheap electricity to Oyu Tolgoi concentrator  plant and quickly complete the railway for faster coal exportation. It's possible to recover the mining sector and relevant foreign investment if we start projects that'll boost Mongolia's competitiveness.

It's clear that major projects such as Tavan Tolgoi and Gatsuurt will not start this year. Mongolia will have to repay Chinggis Bond starting from 2017. Are there any opportunities for repaying this bond loan?

Parliament discussed issues related to settling debts and passed a policy for it. There are three important issues related to this.

Firstly, the development strategy should be formally approved, its yield should be calculated precisely, and then, bond financing should be executed.  Basically, we should first determine vital projects, calculate their efficiency and yield, and afterwards, allocate appropriate financial sources for those projects. But Mongolia was searching for projects to implement after taking out the Chinggis bond. While ministers seek projects, the interests rate of the bonds continue to increase.

Looking at the previous bond financing, only a small amount had been invested into the industrial sector, making it problematic to continue projects that brought immense amount of revenue in 2012. Mongolia wasn't able to eliminate dependency on mining despite having necessary funds.

What is the most important thing to do now?

It's important to not repeat this mistake ever again. Before anything, the development strategy has to be planned out. Later, investment projects have to be chosen based on that strategy and financial resources need to be mobilized. Secondly, various options for repaying the bonds is being discussed. It's inevitable that Mongolia will have to repay it no matter what condition we're facing. Even if loans are paid off with another loan, it will still come back as another debt after 10 years.  In my opinion, it's best to make realistic estimations for the revenue and expenditure of the next 10 to 15 years and create a specific amount of saving every year. Furthermore, we need to establish a very strict financial discipline. Politicians should start attending and actively participating in regular sessions where fiscal and other important issues are discussed. They should fix their habit of recklessly changing budget plans and starting a bunch of projects.

Mongolia will have to repay a total of 4.4 billion USD from 2017 to 2023. What opportunities does Mongolia have for repaying this? What would you recommend to politicians?

The most important task to do now is to develop and organize the Comprehensive National Development Strategy and planning system extremely well. We should set criteria and begin planning economic and financial resources. Later, we must carefully review improvements. But a government institute to enforce these projects should be assigned.

In the past term, a Ministry of Economic Development was established, but was soon liquidated because they were unskilled. Due to this, it's become unclear who is in charge of the projects the liquidated ministry used to manage. Moreover, the economy didn't improve. Our difficulties and problems have increased because Mongolia hadn't developed an economic strategy. We failed to seize opportunities right before us and the nation started to operate without a vision, policy, regulation or management. Mongolia must turn the tables around now.

Source: news.mn

Link to interview

 

BCM Business Growth Index Falls 9°C to -6°C in Q3

October 28 (The Business Council of Mongolia)

Link to report

 

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Politics & Legal

Parliament Agenda for Oct 27: Standing Committees on 2015 Budget Amendment

October 27 (gogo.mn) --

1. Justice Standing Committee meeting at 09AM.

Agenda:

·         Amendments to law on 2015 Mongolian State Budget, Amendments to 2015 Budget Law for Human Development Fund, Amendments to Budget Law for 2015 Social Insurance Fund

·         Annul the some articles of Law on the Court, annul the some articles of law on legal status of judges, annul the some articles of law on Prosecutor's Office, annun the law on anti-corruption, amendments to law on police, amendments to law on state registration, amendments to law on rehabilitation of victims of false political cases, draft resolution of State Great Hural on determining the amount of wages for the judges

·         Other

2. State Structure Standing Committee meeting at 09AM.

Agenda:

·         Amendments to draft law on Government`s Act, amendments to draft Law on Mongolian Administrative and Territorial Unit and its Administration, amendments to draft law on Automated Election System, amendments to draft law on state audit, draft law on the structure of the Government, draft law on Government members, draft law on annulment of the Law on the Cabinet members and law on structure of the Government, draft resolution of State Great Hural on approval of general scheme for state administrative organization`s system and strucuture

·         Amendments to law on 2016 Mongolian State Budget, Amendments to 2016 Budget Law for Human Development Fund, Amendments to Budget Law for 2016 Social Insurance Fund

3. Budget Expenditure Control Sub-Committee meeting at 10AM.

Agenda:

·         Amendments to law on 2015 Mongolian State Budget, Amendments to 2015 Budget Law for Human Development Fund, Amendments to Budget Law for 2015 Social Insurance Fund

4. Security and Foreign Policy Standing Committee meeting at 02PM.

Agenda:

·         Amendments to law on 2016 Mongolian State Budget, Amendments to 2016 Budget Law for Human Development Fund, Amendments to Budget Law for 2016 Social Insurance Fund

·         In scope of draft law on the status of permanent neutrality, amendments to draft law on Celebrating Public Festivals and Memorable Days, draft resolutions of State Great Hural on amendments to annex of resolution on approval of Mongolian Foreign Policy Concept and amendments to annex of resolution on approval of Mongolian National Security Concept

·         Draft law on joining the European Convention on Extradition

·         To establish working group

5. Budget Standing Committee meeting at 03PM.

Agenda:

·         Amendments to law on budget, amendments to law on special taxes, amendments to law on debt management, annul the some articles of civil service law, amendments to law on preventing the conflict of interest in the public service, amendments to law on Government of Mongolia, amendments to law on anti-corruption, amendments to law on science and technology, amendment to draft law on consession, draft resolution of State Great Hural on approval of general scheme for state administrative organization`s system and strucuture

·         Operation report for 2015 of the Mongolian State Budget, Amendments to draft law on 2016-2017 budget adjustment;

·         Amendments to law on 2015 Mongolian State Budget, Amendments to 2015 Budget Law for Human Development Fund, Amendments to Budget Law for 2015 Social Insurance Fund.

Link to article

 

Parliament Agenda for Oct 28: Working Group, Committee, Plenary Session

October 28 (gogo.mn) ONE. WORKING GROUP MEETING

·         Draft law against domestic violation discussion by Justice Standing Committee sub-working group

·         Amendments to draft law on public service discussion by State Structure Standing Committee sub-working group

·         Draft law on energy saving discussion by Economic Standing Committee

TWO. STANDING COMMITTEE MEETING

1.Environment, food and agriculture standing committee meeting at 09AM.

Agenda:

·         Draft law on 2016 Mongolian State Budget, Amendments to 2016 Budget Law for Human Development Fund, Amendments to Budget Law for 2016 Social Insurance Fund

·         Amendments to law on government special funds, annul some articles of law on air, amendments to law on environmental protection, amendments to law on water, amendments to law on air pollution fee and payments, amendments to law on GMO, annul some articles of law on agricultural products, raw material and exchange, annul some articles of law on soil protection and prevention of desertification

·         Draft resolution of State Great Hural on registering some areas to State Special Protection

·         To hear report by the relevant organizations on current situation of Waste Water Treatment Facility

2. Economic Standing Committee meeting at 09AM

Agenda:

·         Draft law on 2016 Mongolian State Budget, Amendments to 2016 Budget Law for Human Development Fund, Amendments to Budget Law for 2016 Social Insurance Fund

·         Amendments to law on state registration, amendments to law on statistic, draft resolution of State Great Hural on approval of general scheme for state administrative organization`s system and structure

·         Draft resolution of State Great Hural on establishing state-owned shares of Gatsuurt deposit

3.Budget Standing Committee meeting at 12AM

Agenda:

·         Amendments to law on budget, amendments to law on special taxes, amendments to law on debt management, annul the some articles of civil service law, amendments to law on preventing the conflict of interest in the public service, amendments to law on Government of Mongolia, amendments to law on anti-corruption, amendments to law on science and technology, amendment to draft law on concession, draft resolution of State Great Hural on approval of general scheme for state administrative organization`s system and structure

·         Operation report for 2015 of the Mongolian State Budget, Amendments to draft law on 2016-2017 budget adjustment;

·         Amendments to law on 2015 Mongolian State Budget, Amendments to 2015 Budget Law for Human Development Fund, Amendments to Budget Law for 2015 Social Insurance Fund

THREE. PLENARY SESSION

At 02PM:

·         Operation report for 2015 of the Mongolian State Budget, Amendments to draft law on 2016-2017 budget adjustment;

·         Amendments to law on budget, amendments to law on special taxes, amendments to law on debt management, annul the some articles of civil service law, amendments to law on preventing the conflict of interest in the public service, amendments to law on Government of Mongolia, amendments to law on anti-corruption, amendments to law on science and technology, amendment to draft law on concession, draft resolution of State Great Hural on approval of general scheme for state administrative organization`s system and structure

·         Amendments to law on 2015 Mongolian State Budget, Amendments to 2015 Budget Law for Human Development Fund, Amendments to Budget Law for 2015 Social Insurance Fund

Link to article

 

The Gold Dealer Scandal 2: The Second Great Debt

By G. Zandanshatar, former MP, Foreign Minister

October 28 (Mongolian Economy) We sat down with Member of Parliament and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, G.Zandanshatar. He has worked as a guest political science and international studies researcher at world-renowned Stanford University for nearly two years. In recent years, he has been focusing on foreign and domestic policy issues in Mongolia and has been conducting research on debt issues. He is an economist and has worked as a professor at universities and as an economist at Khan Bank and Bank of Mongolia (BoM). Our conversation focused mainly on the issue of Mongolia's debt.

1. The first gold dealer scandal

The central bank of Mongolia suffered a loss of USD 100 million as a result of findings in a case of fraudulent inter-bank transactions 24 years ago in 1991, around the same time Mongolia became democratic. The affair went down in history as the gold dealer scandal because 4.4 tonnes of gold from the state reserves were used to pay for the losses. This gold dealer's scheme was worth MNT 9 billion according to black market rates of the time. It was the first great case of fraud in the history of Mongolia. This was the beginning of when accountability in governance began to slip and economic parasites were born.

2. The formation of the new great debt:

According to the IMF's debt sustainability study, Mongolia is at risk of falling into a liquiditycrisis in the near term, and the data on the matter is still incomplete. Mongolia's current total debt has reached USD 21.6 billion, including USD 1.5 billion from the Chinggis bonds, JPY 30 billion from the Samurai bonds, and MIAT's loans used to purchase aeroplanes. The country's total foreign debt is equal to 180 percent of GDP. Government-related debt (which by current definition does not include the Development Bank's or BoM's debt) has reached USD 3,556 billion; the BoM's debt USD 1876 billion; bank and depository institutions' debt USD 3,352 billion; and loans between entities have reached USD 10,533 billion. Our country's foreign debt first reached MNT one trillion in 2002, and by 2014, it had increased 14-fold and reached MNT 14 trillion. The current reality is that Mongolia's outstanding debt has already exceeded the ceiling of 58.5 percent.

3. The second gold dealer scandal:

MNT four trillion distributed to a few companies under the "Price Stabilisation Programme" and debts on loans going to towards 888 different projects are among the huge external and internal debt. This is what I mean by the "Gold Dealer Scandal 2." The strangest and most unbelievable thing is that our country now has three investment budgets: the state budget, Development Bank loans and BoM loans. What is the reason for not including this huge amount of money in government budget reports, separating and hiding it?

Our economy would not have been in such a state if such massive amounts of loans, debt and spending were put into projects that benefit the economy. The exchange rate with the USD would not have climbed to MNT 2000 if all of these loans were spent on export supportive, import substitutive projects. This year, Mongolia has to pay USD 996 million worth of external debt and then has to pay a total of USD 4 billion in 2016 and 2017. Twenty-four years ago, our country was able to afford to pay for the gold dealer scandal thanks to the 4.4 tonnes of gold remaining from the socialist era. What do we have now? What policies are being adhered to in order to cut inefficient expenditures, to increase taxes and to receive further loans?

The people have the right to demand the details about this debt from Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg and the President of the BoM, N.Zoljargal. There's even a historical precedent of making such demands.

4. Are the government's studies and estimates of the debt in line with reality?

According to the international debt research organisation study, Mongolia is in the list of 14 countries that are at high risk of a debt crisis. We are even ahead of Mozambique, notorious for its corruption. Where are we being dragged by these social viruses of utter irresponsibility, crop loss due to the drought, a crisis of governance, partisan politics and internal quarrels? Perhaps towards a debt crisis. Are there any sound policies or plans to prevent this potential development?

I mentioned that the real government debt-to-GDP ratio already exceeds 58.5 percent. The fact is they have exceeded the debt ceiling, and thus, have broken the law. According to the amendments made to the stability law made on January 20, 2015, government debt-to-GDP ratio expressed using present values must not exceed 58.3 percent in the fiscal year of 2015, 55.0 percent in 2016, 50.0 percent in 2017 and 40.0 in 2018. The surprising thing here is the inclusion of the word "present value" initiated by S.Bayartsogt MP when he was the minister of finance. They must not have taken into consideration the World Bank's recommended level of 40 percent at the time. Today, we cannot solve the debt issue if we do not analyse the problem.

There is almost no country that calculates government debt using present value. The outstanding government debt is MNT 13,006.3 billion in nominal terms. Outstanding debt-to-GDP ratio is 44.2 percent at present value and is expected to reach 58.3 percent by the end of the year. This report is a deliberate attempt to conceal the debt records and create confusion. According to the indicators by the CPIA system that the World Bank uses to measure countries' policies and institutions, the debt ratio reached 57 percent at the end of 2014. Then, how did the government estimate this figure to be 40 percent? They devised their own method and made amendments to the law. If we take into account the World Bank's warning levels, our country's external debt indicators are likely to deteriorate dramatically by the end of 2015.

Until the end of 2011, there was only one type of external debt, which were foreign loans, but starting in 2012, two forms – government external bonds and government guarantees – were added. In other words, the government of Mongolia issued bonds on foreign markets and secured the bonds through the Development Bank for the first time. Government loans accounted for the 100 percent of the external debts until 2011, but government loans accounted for 49 percent, guarantees for 16 percent and eurobonds for 35 percent in 2012. In 2013, government loans accounted for 50 percent, guarantees for 16 percent, and eurobonds for 43 percent in 2013. In 2014, government loans accounted for 44 percent, guarantees for 26 percent and eurobonds for 31 percent.

5. What's the reasonfor suchinefficient external debt?

As for movements in Mongolia's rule of law indicator for the past 17 years, it has fallen drastically since 2004.

As for government effectiveness for the past 17 years, it also began declining rapidly in 2004. On April 29, 2014, S&P downgraded Mongolia's credit rating from BB- to B+, citing the rise in external government debt. They also stated reasons such as an unstable legal and policy environment, decline in exports and increased pressures on the balance of payments by implementing an expansionary monetary policy.

The above graph estimates that 55 percent, or USD 10.8 billion, of the total debt to be public debt, including debts of the government, the Development Bank, and the BoM.

Factors such as forecasts of copper and coal prices on the global market being weak in the medium term, China's economic growth slowing down, Russia and China's mining partnership and import duties on mining products set by the Chinese government are likely to be a significant negative impact on our external debt repayment situation.

6. Conclution and demands

The "People Power" coalition is submitting the following demands to the government and the BoM and demanding a formal response to after it examines the Mongolian government's external debt and future outlook.

First, let's establish transparent glass accounts for debt. The governmet's understanding of debt must be improved. We demand that accurate information about the country's debt be reported to the people via glass accounts.

For this:

А. Accurate debt estimates must be issued according to the methodology of the IMF and the World Bank by unifying the external debts of the government, the BoM, and the Development Bank.

B. International standards that calculate the debt ceiling by nominal value rather than present value must be introduced during the 2016 budget discussions and implemented post haste.

C. The contradicting debt reports from the Bank of Mongolia and the Ministry of Finance must be resolved, and the debts of the Bank of Mongolia must be included in government debt.

Secondly, research and estimates on how to pay the USD 580 million obligation of the Development Bank bonds, the government's Chinggis and Samurai bonds' principal and interest payments to be paid starting from 2017 need to be developed and lincluded in the 2016 budget by the ministry of finance, but only after debt assessments have been made consistent and accurate.

Thirdly, open, public debate based on the status of glass accounts must be organised and facilitated. Expenditures must be slashed. The government needs to urgently develop policies and plans on how to repay the principals of the Development Bank bonds and Chinggis bonds,which will begin to be repaid starting in 2017 and get these plans approved by parliament.

Link to article

 

Judicial General Council warns proposed wage cuts threaten judges' independence

October 27 (infomongolia.com) Mongolian Government has included wage cut of 30 percent for high officials and administrative workers into State Budget Law of 2016 submitted to the State Great Khural (Parliament of Mongolia).

However, court judges did not accept the government decision even though most of officials included in wage cut supported the decision.

"The Government has lowered the social insurance and wage funds of Judicial General Council of Mongolia for 2016 by 10.8 billion MNT (Tugrug) comparing to previous year.

Moreover, the Government has submitted amendments on laws regarding judicial independence from executives, also draft resolution on wage cut for primary and appellate court judges to the Parliament of Mongolia on the basis of anti-crisis measures.

This can lead to misbalance between government branches and destruction of judicial independence.

Court judges are obliged by law not to have any additional financial sources except the salary. Such measures can cause corruption among court judges," said Chairman of the Judicial General Council of Mongolia, Mr. N.Lundendorj during his press conference on October 26, 2015.

According to the press conference, the Government is planning take wage cut of 44-63 percent not 30 percent, and salary of majority of primary judges and chief judge of first instance and appellate judges will be cut by 62-63 percent.

Nevertheless, the act of court judges has caused outrageous reaction among people. A citizen of Ulaanbaatar says: "They still have enough wage comparing to average citizen even after wage cut. Why they do not accept the government decision. The whole country is in economic crisis, and we are all doing our best to overcome the situation. Why they do not show some loyalty to their country. Their statement sounds like a threat."

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Business

Mongolia climbs 3 spots on World Bank's Doing Business Index 2016 to 56th

October 28 (GoGo Mongolia) For the 10th consecutive year, World Bank Group in Washington DC, USA introduced the World Bank Group's annual ease of doing business measurement.

Ceremony to acquaint with report of World Bank was attended by the Ministry of Mongolia S.Bayartsogt, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Mongolia Ms. Jennifer Zimdahl Galt, the World Bank's Country Manager for Mongolia Mr. James Anderson and the representative of the International Financial Corporation (IFC) to Mongolia Tuyen D.Nguyen.

According to the old method, Mongolia was ranked 75th and last year our country climbed up to 59th by new method. This year Mongolia advanced by three places and ranked 56th while placed 6th in Asia-Pacific Region. Singapore ranks number one in the world on the World Bank Group's annual ease of doing business measurement out of 189 countries.

The representative of the International Financial Corporation (IFC) to Mongolia Tuyen D.Nguyen stated that as a result of consistent reforms aimed at creating a favourable environment for business, Mongolia`s position in the list has constantly increasing.

It is good that Mongolia ranks 56th in the world on the World Bank Group's annual ease of doing business measurement while ranking 6th in Asia-Pacific Region. However, we have a potential to improve this position and to create more favorable business friendly environment. State Great Hural has not approved the license law and monitoring law in relation to the ease of doing business. After the approval of both laws, major change to be showed in the business environment and our country will bring us within the first 50 countries on ease of doing business, said the Ministry of Mongolia S.Bayartsogt.

Link to article

Link to Doing Business in Mongolia page

 

Over 100 trade agreements signed at China-Mongolia Expo

October 27 (UB Post) Minister of Industry D.Erdenebat highlighted that during the first China Mongolia Expo, held from October 22 to 27 in Hohhot, businesses from the two countries signed over 100 negotiations and memorandums on enhancing cooperation in industry, mining, and free trade zones, representing 100 billion CNY in trade.

During his state visit to Mongolia last year, Chinese Leader Xi Jinping approved a mid-term program of trade and economic cooperation to boost the two nation's trade turnover to 10 billion USD by 2020. Organizers underlined that the first China Mongolia Expo was an important event for realizing the 2020 goal.

During the event, Mongolian businesses sold their products and pursued partnerships with Chinese businesses. Meat exporters signed a cooperation agreement for eight billion CNY and Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi signed an agreement for a coal distribution and export project with Chinese concentrator plants near the border.

Industry Minister D.Erdenebat said, "Erdenes TT is going to distribute coal to Chinese concentrator plants, namely, the company will collaborate with plants located between Gantsmod and Khaliut. In times when coal demand is in decline, the company's cooperation with Chinese companies will improve their competitiveness." In 2014, Erdenes TT exported 5.7 million tons of raw coal, and planned to export six million tons of coal in 2015. The company believes that by collaborating with Chinese companies their coal export volume will reach 28 million tons.

The first Mongolia-China Expo involved over 800 business representatives from Mongolia's culture, sport, humanity, and business sectors, and over 7,000 representatives from Chinese businesses. Over 230 Mongolian businesses sold over 600 types of products for total sales of two billion MNT. The expo was also attended by Mongolian and Chinese officials from ministries and organizations, governors of Inner Mongolia's provinces and cities, business delegations and representatives from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.

Minister Erdenebat added, "I just visited one of our domestic pavilions, it was crowded and there was no space to stand. I believe that Mongolian businesses showed the two countries the quality of Mongolian products."

During the expo, MP S.Byambatsogt said, "China is a country with highly developed industry. The country exports their products to Europe and Japan, paying high taxes. By investing in Mongolia, building industries, and creating jobs, China will be able to export their products under pleasant tax terms. Mongolia's economy is shrinking, and in times when budget revenue is seeing a shortage, Mongolia needs investment like it needs water and air. Everyone needs to work to develop Mongolia, create economic growth, increase jobs, and produce value-added products."

Mongolian delegates emphasized that Europe and Asia are huge trade markets. They noted that the expo opened up possibilities for Mongolia to profit from the Steppe Road and Silk Road projects, as well as develop the domestic industry sector and create wealth by utilizing the country's raw material resources.

At the end of the expo, Mongolia and China signed a memorandum to organize the expo every two years.

Link to article

 

APNIC Event Wrap: First Regional Meeting in Mongolia

October 27 (APNIC) APNIC held its first Regional Meeting in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia on Monday, 19 October 2015. Around 50 members of the Mongolian networking community attended the half-day event, hosted by the Communications Regulation Commission.

APNIC Regional Meetings (ARMs) are forums where APNIC Members and stakeholders can meet with their peers in their community and neighbouring economies to share their Internet resource management experiences.

Local speakers from Mobicom Networks, Internet Exchange Point of Mongolia, Gemnet, Information Communications Network Company and Sky Networks shared their thoughts on industry topics such as IPv6, data centres, network security and root servers.

APNIC activities included:

·         Tuan Nguyen, APNIC's Resource Analyst (Hostmaster), provided an update on APNIC activities and presented on Internet resources and Internet security including DDoS, ROA and RPKI.

·         Arth Paulite, APNIC's Senior Systems Architect, provided a case study on how to deploy IPv6 based on APNIC's own deployment experience.

·         Tuan and Arth spoke to Members about topics including mitigating DDoS and IPv6 deployment strategies and testing.

·         Arth was interviewed by local media (ETV HD Mongolia) during the event. The interview is below (in Mongolian).  He was asked when can Mongolia start transitioning from IPv4 to IPv6, to which he replied:

APNIC's IPv4 addresses are running out, we highly recommend Mongolia to switch to IPv6 which will enable businesses to sustain their growth. With IPv6, ISPs will be able to provide more IP address assignments to meet their customers requirements.

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Ulaanbaatar

National Committee for Air Pollution Reduction discusses plans, composition

October 27 (gogo.mn) National Committee for Air Pollution Reduction held its regular meeting which was attended by the PM and Head of National Committee for Air Pollution Reduction Ch.Saihanbileg.

At the meeting, they made discussion on amendments to national committee structure and its operation regulation and decided to involve Governors of aimags with air pollution including Uvurhangai, Bayanhongor, Orhon, Darhan-Uul, Umnugovi, Hovd and Huvsgul.

Moreover, they exchanged views on 2015-2016 work plan of committee, 2015 progress report of the Clean Air Foundation, current supply situation of improved fuel briquettes and further actions to improve air quality of the city.

Link to article

 

Car dealers protest at Chinggis Square over forced move

October 27 (infomongolia.com) Ulaanbaatar city administration issued a decision to build one centralized technical trade center in Songinokhairkhan district to reduce traffic load, which is one of the most difficult challenges that UB administration faces.

According to the new plan, all technical markets operating in territory of Ulaanbaatar city were supposed to be transferred to the new "Auto Trade Complex" starting from October 01, 2015.

However, around 60 individual entrepreneurs representing others gathered at Chinggis Khaan Square to protest the city administration's decision on October 27, 2015.

The reason of their protest is that the new trade center does not meet proper standards and was not build according to its original plan introduced to people at first. In addition, it is built in very open cold place near wastewater treatment plant, which create unhealthy condition for both visitors and employees.

Link to article

 

New Ulaanbaatar Airport Construction Progress, 23 October

October 27 (New Ulaanbaatar International Airport Project) --

Link to FB video

 

Opening ceremony held for new Gachuurt Road

October 28 (news.mn) The opening ceremony of a new 11 kilometer road was held on 26th October. The new road is located in Mongolian capital in the 23th, 28th, 20th khoroo Bayanzurkh District, between the "Uliastai Crossroads" and final stop in Gachuurt. The "Uilsiin Zam LLC" has undertaken the road construction works over a three month period. This company will guarantee technical maintenance for three years. The "Ulaanbaatar Brigade" public service company will take general care of this new road. The "Uilsiin Zam LLC" has re-built and widened the old road, and installed two-meter-high bridge lights on both sides of the 8 meter width road at a cost of MNT 6.1 billion.  

Link to article

Related:

Uliyastai-Gachuurt road opensUB Post, October 27

 

Mongolia Rapid-Bus System Set to Begin in 2017, ADB Says

By Michael Kohn 

·         Project to tackle pollution and gridlock in Ulaanbaatar

·         Asian Development Bank to provide $218 million in funding

October 28 (Bloomberg) A modern bus system aimed at tackling traffic and air pollution problems in Mongolia's capital could begin operating as soon as 2017, according to the Asian Development Bank. 

The Manila-based lender will provide $218 million over the next six to nine years for roads and bridges along several Bus Rapid Transit corridors in Ulaanbaatar, Ki-Joon Kim, a senior transport specialist at the Asian Development Bank's East Asia Department, said in an e-mail Tuesday. The money will fund 64.5 kilometers (41 miles) of bus corridors, he said.

A rapid-bus system works like a surface subway, operating on dedicated lanes and making stops at platforms raised to the height of the bus floor. Their cost has made them popular alternatives to subways in developing countries such as Indonesia, India and Colombia.  

A detailed design for the system will be ready by the end of 2016 under the projected timeline, according to Kim. Construction will start in spring 2017, with one corridor to be completed by October 2017, he said.

Downtown Access

Taking cars off the road both eases traffic and can help reduce air pollution in a city already facing high levels of smog. Tailpipe emissions and dust kicked up by cars account for as much as 25 percent of Ulaanbaatar's air pollution, Kim said. 

Pollution is especially bad in winter, when many of the 180,000 families living in slum areas called ger districts heat their homes with raw or semi-processed coal. In the city's northern neighborhoods, daily average levels of particulate matter below 2.5 microns can exceed 270, according to agaar.mn, a pollution monitoring website. Levels over 200 are considered very unhealthy by most international standards. 

The rapid bus system can reduce transportation pollutants by 18%, at a construction cost of $1 million to $5 million per kilometer, the ADB said.

Kim said he expects 10 percent to 20 percent of drivers who live or work along the planned route to switch to the bus system. That could make a difference in a city where the number of registered vehicles had reached 480,000 at the end of May from 80,000 in 2006, according to ADB figures.

The ADB approved an initial loan of $60 million in May to begin construction while the government provided $10 million. An additional $1.5 million in grants will come from the Global Environment Fund for improving emission standards. 

Link to article

 

UB Mayor meets new Ambassador of China to Mongolia

October 28 (infomongolia.com) On October 27, 2015, the Governor of the Capital City and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar, Mr. Erdene BAT-UUL received in his office the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of People's Republic of China to Mongolia, Mr. Xing Haiming.

Mayor E.Bat-Uul congratulated the newly appointed Ambassador and expressed his sincere thanks to the contribution and support provided by China to the development of Ulaanbaatar city. He expressed hope that Ulaanbaatar will expand its cooperation with Beijing and other biggest cities of China.

In response, Ambassador Xing Haiming expressed his satisfaction on growing bilateral cooperation, and said he would be grateful to jointly implement projects and initiatives proposed by the Capital city of Mongolia. He said his country is ready to collaborate with Mongolia and to give assistance in hosting the biggest events such as the 2016 ASEM Summit and realizing an ambitious plan to organize the 2033 Winter Universiade.

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Inspectors shut down 7 gas stations in UB over fire safety violations

October 27 (news.mn) From 14th September to 15th October, the Fire Control Inspectors of the City Emergency Authority conducted an on-site control inspection of petrol stations, located within the city boundaries. During the examination, seven petrol stations, which violated the fire-safety and documentary regulations, were temporarily closed down, in accordance with Art.6.1.5 of the "Mongolian Fire Security Law". These stations will be re-opened, only after they rectify the violations.  

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Diplomacy

Mongolia elected member of UN Human Rights Council

October 29 (MFA Mongolia) Mongolia has been elected as a member of the UN Human Rights Council by winning the votes of 172 UN Member States. The elections took place in New York on 28 October during the 70thsession of the UN General Assembly.

7 countries vied for 5 seats allocated to the Asia-Pacific Group, and Mongolia won the highest number of votes. Also got elected the United Arab Emirates with 159 votes, the Kyrgyz Republic with 147 votes, the Republic of Korea with 136 votes and the Philippines with 113 votes.

Mongolia will serve on the UN Human Rights Council in 2016-2018. It now has an opportunity to contribute to the international community's efforts to protect human rights and work at the global decision-making level.

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State Palace to lit up UN blue on 54th anniversary of membership

October 27 (gogo.mn) (On October 27th) Tonight the Government Building and Chinggis Khaan statue to lit up blue during 07PM-10PM marks the day that Mongolia has joined in United Nations as its 101st member country.

World acknowledged buildings, monuments and memorial sites will be lit in 'UN blue' – the official colour of the UN – to take part in the global celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations.

The celebration kicked off in New Zealand on October 23 and from there a wave of blue is being moved across the countries and continents as monuments around the world take part in the event to commemorate UN Day.

More than 300 famous places are being illuminated in UN blue including Statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio, Great Wall of China, Hermitage Museum, Petra city and Sydney Opera House.

The UN Day has been celebrated since October, 1948 and Mongolia has joined in UN on October 27, 1961 as its 101st member country.

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BRAZIL and MONGOLIA – Mutual Short-Stay Visa Exemption Implemented

October 27 (Peregrine) On 21 October 2015, the governments of Brazil and Mongolia put into effect an Intergovernmental Note on mutual exemption from short-term visas, first signed in Brasilia on 21 September 2015.

What Does This Mean?

Nationals from Mongolia holding valid travel documents are now visa exempt to enter, exit, transit and remain in Brazil for tourism and business purposes for up to 90 days per year, counting from the day of first entry. The maximum period of 90 days may be extended once by the authorities in Brazil for an additional 90 days.

Brazilians can travel to Mongolia visa-free on the same terms.

However, Brazilians and Mongolians must obtain the appropriate visa according to each respective country's law if intending to stay longer than 90 days or to perform any paid activities, for research/internship/study purposes, to perform social work, to provide technical assistance or to engage in missionary, artistic or religious activities.

Action Items

·         Note that Mongolian and Brazilian nationals can enter each other's countries visa-free for up to 90 days for business or tourism, but not for paid work.

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Turkish Ambassador meets Ankara University alumni

October 27 (infomongolia.com) Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Turkey to Mongolia, Mr. Murat Karagoz has met students of all generations who graduated from the Faculty of Political Science of Ankara University.

Graduates from Turkish universities gathers together each year to share their knowledge and experience with each other. This year, students had meeting with Ambassador Murat Karagoz to share his experience.

In addition, there are totally 900 students study at universities in Turkey and 350 of them are granted Turkish government scholarship.

Turkish government grants scholarship to around 50 students for master's degree, bachelor's degree and doctor's degree training at universities in Turkey each year. The scholarship registration starts on march in online form.

The Embassy of Turkey in Ulaanbaatar keeps active relations with Mongolian graduates from Turkish unviversities and holds many activies.

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Health, Education

Red Cross and G-Mobile launch SMS system to deliver life-saving information across Mongolia

October 28 (IFRC) Thousands of people throughout Mongolia are set to benefit from a landmark agreement between the Mongolian Red Cross Society and the mobile service provider G-Mobile Mongolia which was announced today in the capital city, Ulan Bator. Under the partnership, the Trilogy Emergency Relief Application (TERA) will be rolled out in Mongolia, enabling the Red Cross to communicate with at risk communities, particularly in times of natural disaster, by sending SMS blasts to geographically defined segments of the population.

"There are few early warning systems in the sparsely populated rural areas of Mongolia, and the launch of TERA represents a very important addition to disaster risk reduction and preparedness efforts in the country," said Madame Bolormaa Nordov, Secretary General of the Mongolian Red Cross Society. The system gives people instant access to lifesaving information delivered on their mobile phones in areas where previously the only means of issuing emergency warnings was through radio and television.

TERA is capable of sending SMS messages to 600,000 people at once and also enables the Red Cross to gather important data through feedback received from recipients. The project is supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) under its community engagement and accountability programme in Asia Pacific.

"A large part of the Mongolian population are still nomadic herders and live dispersed over large areas, so sending Red Cross volunteers to help them in times of crisis is extremely difficult," said the President of the society, Enkhbold Nyamaa. Delivering messages by SMS ensures that more people receive emergency information without delay.

Mr Baktiar Mambetov, IFRC Regional Development Delegate for East Asia, said a unique feature of TERA is its ability to target SMS at people in specific areas. "The operator simply draws a circle or a polygon onto a map in the graphical user interface, which allows them to send text messages to every active handset within the defined area," he said. Two way communication also means TERA can be used for rapid post-disaster assessment.

"Recipients are given the option of answering multiple choice questions, and the system generates statistical results of the assessment in a graphical format. This feature helps us to gain an immediate understanding of the situation and the local needs"

Parts of Mongolia still have limited mobile phone connectivity, but the coverage is rapidly improving, even in remote rural areas of the country. Now that TERA has been launched, the Red Cross is able to reach almost every household with direct, lifesaving messages.

Examples of messages that can be delivered through TERA include warnings about snow or sand storms, floods and other natural disasters as well as targeted information about where to find medical help, clean water, food and shelter. The messages can also provide information on hygiene, health, livelihood opportunities and how to prepare for emergencies. During times of crisis, it may potentially be used to deliver cash assistance to people affected by disaster.

TERA was developed by the IFRC in the wake of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti to deliver vital and practical messages around health education and disaster warnings.The system has successfully been introduced in several other countries, including Sierra Leone where it has played an important role in delivering messages aimed at raising awareness among people on Ebola prevention and protection.

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MPs review educational resources for children with disabilities

October 27 (UB Post) Member of Parliament D.Arvin visited special schools and kindergartens for visually impaired children on October 23, to determine prospective supervision and implementation measures for legislation related to education, social, and healthcare services for children with disabilities.

Together with her sub-working group members, MP D.Arvin met with school officials and the Parent-Teacher Association of Special Middle School No.116 and reviewed urgent challenges at the school.

Principal E.Enkhzul stated that Special Middle School No.116 operates at a national scale with the enrollment of 95 blind and visually impaired children. She mentioned that despite being a state school, the school is registered under the Sukhbaatar District, which causes various difficulties. Principal E.Enkhzul gave a thorough review of the school and shared various issues related to caretaking, professional help, textbook supply, and financing.

Having only one caretaker at the dormitory makes it hard to operate according to regulations, as 50 out of 66 children living at the dormitory need the caretaker's assistance. The school also faces financial difficulties. Although 38,000 MNT is allocated in the budget for each child's medication costs, this amount is insufficient and limits the school's capacity to focus on children's health, according to E.Enkhzul. The school receives 8,000 MNT per student for textbooks, but it costs 90,000 to 110,000 MNT to publish a single Braille book.

Principal E.Enkhzul asked for MP D.Arvin's assistance with improving the school environment and establishing a special publication center, or providing the school with printing equipment for Braille books.

A working group was assigned with identifying and reporting the urgent issues of special schools and kindergartens to the Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education, Culture and Science. MP D.Arvin instructed sub-working group members to research ways to resolve the challenges of Special Middle School No.116.

Representatives from the standing committee said they would focus on training more special personnel to teach visually impaired children through state policy, increasing the budget for medication for all children living at dormitories, and on resolving the district affiliation of Special Middle School No.116. School officials reminded the state representatives that related organizations need to work actively to expand cooperation for children with disabilities.

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Poor reform threatening higher education in Mongolia

October 27 (UB Post) With many young people searching for options to study abroad, one might come to think, "What is so wrong with studying here in Mongolia?"

Taking aside the incentive of travel, there are plenty of reasons foreign universities attract students. Those studying here are not completely satisfied with the educational reform that the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science's (MECS) policymakers have brought about.

The new policy seems to be about adopting a liberal arts education. The unorganized manner in which it is being managed reminds me of a quote from an article by Dorjgotov on baabar.mn, "Mongolia has shown that they can't copy, let alone innovate."

This reform doesn't support anyone but the authorities. It puts teachers under pressure, and students under even more, because of the students' lack of fundamental knowledge.

The educational reform has put a strain on teachers by making cuts to the essential relationship between student and teacher. Teachers at National University of Mongolia and Mongolian University of Science and Technology are required to fulfill 26 credits, or hours a week, under the new system. Sixteen hours are supposed to be dedicated for teaching each semester, five for scientific work, and five for extracurricular activities such as organizing competitions and promoting their department. Teachers face salary reductions if these guidelines are not met.

The teachers are no longer able to put the amount of time they want into the main core of education: a university's students. "I am trying as much as I can, but I can't do as much as I wish because there are so many things to do," a geology teacher at MUST said.

Teachers don't have enough time. "I feel like I'm in an English speaking country. The teachers are not translating the lectures and they sometimes just butcher the whole thing, trying to lecture by translating an English lecture on the spot," a student at NUM said. "I know that they want us to learn the English terminology, but we first need the lecture to be in Mongolian to understand it," he added.

Adding insult to injury, even with increased hours and tuition increases, teachers' salaries remain the same.

The high school education curriculum lacks correlation with what's required for a university education. "The kids coming from high schools are now unable to talk about literature, history, languages, physics, and what not. How am I supposed to teach a person literature when they have no basic knowledge?" asked a Russian language teacher at NUM.

One NUM student said that she realized her high school education was terrible. "During a lecture, my college physics teacher sometimes skips a topic because 'we must have already learned this in high school', but I haven't and neither have so many of us. In the end, I don't understand those concepts because my foundation is not good enough for this school," she said.

Not only does a the high school curriculum leave students ill prepared, but the university freshman curriculum leaves students struggling in their sophomore year. "My applied mathematics teacher was asking how we could be in that class when we hadn't learned linear algebra yet. I don't know," wondered another student. His teacher had come to NUM from a foreign country two months prior. "The teacher is not fully aware of the system and tells us to complain about this system to the school board," he added.

How do we expect to produce world-renown researchers with this confusing education system that even the teachers don't understand? How, when the education provided in high schools isn't enough, and when the courses don't correlate in between years?

The new reforms and changes to hours have been made by authorities who were appointed by the MECS. Some of the people appointed do not have a background in education but have gone unchecked in making massive changes to the system.

Many misunderstandings have been cleared up this year and the system is improving, some teachers said.

According to students, this year is better because they got assigned homeroom teachers. The previous year, they wandered their campuses with no one to help them. The freshmen this year didn't encounter room mishaps, unlike their upper classmen.

The rise in tuition has brought students some teachers with foreign experience. Things are improving, but how long is actually needed, and how many are supposed to be sacrificed in the name of seeing this transition through ? When will we learn to develop on our own and improve more rapidly?

Mongolia has been unable to take care of her youth and education for quite some time now, and right when the education system was becoming more efficient, the MECS decided to change the system and adopt a whole new one. Change is easy, but a change for the better is difficult.

Education policymakers need a reality check. Stop insisting on so much from the teachers. Instead, hire more teachers to divide the work with the money earned from tuition increases. Focus on the students when your objective is to produce powerful human capital. Manage the correlation between high school and university education.

Mostly, prepare. Study and see if a theory can be applied in real life, and then put it to the test.

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Society

The Real Threat to Mongolian Language

October 27 (UB Post) After hearing about a dispute and fight with people at a bar over Mongolians speaking English in Mongolia, I came to wonder about the reasons speaking a foreign language in public angered so many. (Mogi: I've been a witness and victim to these kinds of abuses, but I'm also conflicted as it's not pretty to hear either two Mongolians speaking only English two each other)

In a world where most languages are threatened in their continued existence, sustainability is hotly debated. Language is used as a great weapon against invading cultures. It was one, a century ago, when we didn't assimilate to Manchurian culture and kept our own way of thinking, thanks to the adaptive Mongolian language.

However, globalization has nearly stopped direct invasions from foreign cultures, and yet, brought upon a more dangerous threat: the threat of losing a nation's unique perspective and way of thinking to global trends.

A fear of losing independence or losing that unique thinking may explain the rage of the people at the bar. However, the democratic society we live in allows us to worship whatever god we want to and to speak whatever language we wish on Mongolian territory.

A person may be fluent in a language but choose to speak a different language for various reasons. Maybe they want to improve their language proficiency, to improve their professional capital; to make jokes or to give special emphasis on a subject; or just because they can. But speaking a foreign language doesn't directly correlate with poor native language proficiency.

If a person can speak Mongolian and a foreign language, there's no real threat to the native language's extinction. What I fear most is the inability of Mongolia to keep up with the pace of the release of new terminology.

Some Mongolian linguists are even viewing Mongolian language as close to extinction in the age of globalization, where useful "new" finds are almost getting older by the day.

It's hard to speak completely in Mongolian sometimes, especially when trying to talk about science or making jokes. It's usually easier for people to speak in a different language rather than stuffing foreign terms in between Mongolian words.

As Mongolian language enthusiasts never stop saying, the Mongolian language has a giant vocabulary. But what are the facts? The new Mongolian language dictionary being authored by the Mongolian Science Academy, which will officially be released in December 2015, has a total of 60,000 words, along with 80,000 compound words. The dictionary includes uncommon words that are rarely used in daily life. If you consider this number as the total number of words in the Mongolian language, it is relatively small. It could be said the largest language in the world is English. According to the Global Language Monitor, in a report published on January 1, 2014, there are 1,025,109 English words. We are 965,109 words behind.

Mongolians are trying to come up with new words for technological terms and very slowly working on this issue, while other countries hold smart language policies which don't require them to sit and come up with different versions of foreign words. Russia, for instance, puts suffixes at the end of foreign words, enabling them to continue the characteristics of their language and still keep up with foreign terminology.

We use words such as "multimedia", "computer", and "nanotechnology" just as they are in English in daily life. This is more detrimental to the language than speaking a foreign language in Mongolia. Provided that those people at the bar really hated hearing English spoken by my friends, and not their faces, it's not only the foreign language speakers who are posing a threat to Mongolian language, but people who are using foreign terms in everyday life. Basically everyone. Since we are not the French, who translate every single foreign word, a proactive language policy is needed in order for the language to exist. If that's the reason people are enraged, that is.

These "language discriminators" don't stop at foreign languages. A recent graduate from the National University of Mongolia, who majored in Mongolian Language Teaching, got a strange reply to a job she applied for. The graduate is from Bayan-Ulgii Province, where they speak with an dialect a bit different from the Khalkha dialect mainly spoken in Ulaanbaatar. The school replied, "We are searching for a teacher who will teach Khalkha Mongolian." On the other hand, according to linguists, preserving accent diversity and dialects is essential to the survival of any language.

I've come to think that maybe it is personal. It's human nature to want to belong and to be a part of something. Those people at the bar couldn't be a part of our conversation, and maybe it made them angry. Or on a bigger scale, maybe it was a reminder that they couldn't keep up with globalization and couldn't be a part of the global community because of their language skills.

Rather than getting mad, and even attacking foreign language speakers, we should demand that the state adopt a better language policy if we want our native language to not go extinct and stay intact for years to come.

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Nature, Environment

 

 

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Sports

City Cup 2015 bowling competition held on 376th anniversary of UB

October 27 (UB Post) On the occasion of the 376th anniversary of Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian Bowling Amateurs Association, Big Bowling Center and the Office of the Ulaanbaatar Mayor co-organized the 7th City Cup bowling competition last weekend.

Over 110 bowlers of 21 teams competed in the tournament.

Topfloor LLC won the team contest, followed by Petro Jump LLC and CAD LLC.

Ts.Lkhasuren of Topfloor LLC won the Top Player prize with 229 points, and was awarded with sportswear.

Bowler G.Otgonbayar won the men's category, followed by B.Enkhbat and N.Batkhuu.

S.Delgertsetseg won the women's category, followed by L.Ulziikhorol and S.Khandaa.

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6th Hakuho Cup junior sumo tournament to start November 8

October 27 (UB Post) The sixth Hakuho Cup, a junior sumo wrestling tournament named after Mongolian Yokozuna (Grand Champion) Hakuho M.Davaajargal, will be held on November 8 at the Central Sports Palace.

Hakuho Foundation and Ikh Shavi Institute will organize this year's Hakuho Cup.

The tournament will be held in six age categories: eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, and 13 to 15.

Wrestler with the best technique, fighting spirit, and dedication will be awarded.

Top eight junior sumo wrestlers will be selected in each category and the junior wrestlers will take part in next the International Hakuho Cup, which will take place in Tokyo, Japan on February 2016.

Registration for Hakuho Cup 2015 started on October 19 and will finish on November 7.

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Art, Entertainment

'Mind Thief' to be screened at Asian World Film Festival

October 27 (UB Post) A 2011 Mongolian film, "Bodliin Khulgaich" (Thief of the Mind), directed by J.Sengedorj, will be screened at the Asian World Film Festival, which is taking place from October 26 to November 2 in Los Angeles, the U.S.

The film will be screened on October 29.

The film is based on the true story of B.Gansukh, who misled former President P.Ochirbat and President of Mongolbank to steal 90 million MNT from the state in 1992.

He was nickname "90 million" as his story shocked the nation. B.Gansukh was sentenced to several years in prison, but managed to escape. He was caught again and his sentence was extended.

The Asian World Film Festival is an initiative by Kyrgyz public figure and filmmaker, Sadyk Sher-Niyaz.

Sher-Niyaz founded the festival in late 2014, after his own experience in running a campaign for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Academy Awards. Sher-Niyaz was the director of the Kyrgyz submission, "Kurmanjan Datka: Queen of the Mountains", which according to Hollywood Reporter was predicted as one of the top 15 contenders.

According to The Wrap, Sher-Niyaz created the festival to help other Asian filmmakers in their Oscar campaigns.

"I created the Asian World Film Festival to fill a void that I noticed was missing in America. There is a wealth of underrated filmmakers from our region that deserve recognition and this festival was designed to champion and promote them," Sher-Niyaz said.

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Trailer: Three Kilts in Mongolia

October 28 (MacDonald Studio) Follow three middle aged dads from Scotland as they embark on the journey of a lifetime. Watch them leave their comfortable suburban lives in Scotland to discover the rugged beauty and rich culture of Mongolia.

From their local Scottish supermarket to slaughtering goats and catching their own fish in the wild, from the warmth of their own beds to the harshness of sleeping in Gers in the wilderness and from short journeys in their own family cars to travelling in excess of 55 hours together in an old cramped van.

Along the way they will meet the proud wrestlers of Mongolia and take them on at the national sport. Dave, Jamie and Robert will wear their kilts with pride as they battle with these greats after only six weeks of training.

The boys will share their highs and lows and come away with a love and respect for the beautiful country of Mongolia that will last a lifetime.

Produced by Air Creations aircreations.co.uk

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Kazakh-Mongolian Poet to Take Part in Second Int'l Literary Festival in Almaty

ASTANA, October 28 (The Astana Times) – The second Polifonia International Literary Festival will take place Oct. 29 – Nov. 1 in Almaty. Kazakh authors and foreign guests will participate in lectures, roundtables and master classes, as well as perform for professional writers and for those who are interested in literature. One of the guests will be Bakhytgul Zarkumar, an ethnic Kazakh who lives and works in Mongolia.

Poet and translator Zarkumar was born in 1974 in Ulaanbaatar. She is a winner of several poetry contests, including one among Kazakh poets living in Mongolia. She is a holder of the gold medal of the Union of Mongolian Youth. She writes poems in the Kazakh and Mongolian languages and translates Mongolian and Russian poets into Kazakh.

She says she was inspired by the atmosphere of Mongolian life and was filled with it since her childhood. "Mongolia is where Genghis Khan was born, the place of pristine nature, endless sky and the proud peaks of the Altai. In general, Mongolian nomadic poetry conveys the free spirit of the people. It is an energetic folk poetry with a strong foundation. It is no accident that Kazakh and Mongolian poetry have much in common. Our peoples have a similar way of life, a common past," said Zarkumar in an interview on the official website of the festival.

The young author has also created a Facebook community – The poetry of Mongolian Kazakhs – where she also posts her translations of modern authors. She started writing poetry at a young age.
Later she became interested in translating. She said she was inspired by Russian poet Marina Tsvetayeva. Later she discovered other Russian authors, including Sergei Yesenin, Konstantin Batyushkov and Nika Turbina.

Zarkuman admits that all her works have a lyrical element. "My poems are my life. I cannot write about feelings I have not experienced. The poet must be honest with himself. If not, it is ridiculous to wait for honesty and understanding from others. In general, I think that the work of any writer grows out of personal experiences," she stated.

The main aim of the Polifonia Festival is to promote reading and the development of Kazakhstan's book publishing and literature, as well the formation of a high-quality literary space in the country. As a result of last year's festival, works of Kazakh writers have gone to Russia, Europe, Southeast and Central Asia. The visitors had the opportunity to get acquainted with the works of writers, philologists and translators of those regions. The event is organised by the Almaty Open Literary School with the support of the City Department of Culture and Almadeniet Public Fund.

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Mongolian State Opera and Dance Theatre to tour South Korea

October 28 (news.mn) The classical music relationship between Mongolia and South Korea, especially in opera is entering its third year. As part of the co-operation, the opera "Lucia di Lammermoor" in a version by the South Korean director An Hu Won was presented to Mongolian audiences on 17th and 18th October. Now Mongolian solo singers and the Symphony Orchestra are going on tour to South Korea, performing "Lucia di Lammermoor" and the "Nutcracker" ballet in Seoul, Busan, and Daejon. The solo singer at the State Opera and Dance Theatre, State Leading Actor R.Dorjkhorol, B.Gombo-Ochir, B.Batjargal and Manager B.Bolor have gone to South Korea, in order to undertake the initial preparation for the Mongolian Gala Concert.

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Madrid Prof., Pianist D.Mendmaa to perform for 376th anniversary of Ulaanbaatar

October 28 (gogo.mn) Professor at Madrid University and State-honored pianist Dorjyin Mendmaa will perform her concert in her homeland for Capital City's 376 anniversary celebrations.

The concert will be organized at 19 PM, October 29 at State Philarmonic Hall, with State Philarmonic simphony orchestra and conducted by D.Nyamdash.

Revenues coming from the concert to be held under the auspice of Prime Minister will be partly invested to the medical treatment of State honored artist N.Butenbayar.

Pianist D.Mendmaa is Head of Spain-Mongolia Community and has been living and working in Spain since 1991.

She graduated respectively Music and Dance college in 1980, Moscow Music School in 1985 and Moscow Conservatory in 1990.

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PHOTO: "Mongolia-Ilkhanate" exhibition

October 28 (gogo.mn) "Mongolia-Ilkhanate" exhibition initiated by Ph.D O.Nyamdavaa and artist S.Chuluunbaatar opens at State History Museum.

The exhibition consisted of nine sections including Mongolian Kings, Main Nine Kings of Ilkhanate and their portrait, works of Il Khans and Gerege.

President Ts.Elbegdorj signed Memorandum to conduct a joint research on history of Ilkhanate which existed for more than one hundred years during his visit to Iran in 2013.

In scope of the cooperation, Mongolian Academy for Science in cooperation with Iranian Education and Research Center of Ministry of Foreign Affairs holds international research conference on October 28-29 in Ulaanbaatar city.

The exhibition is open to the public until October 05th.

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Marco Polo Series Cultural Advisor Byamba: The show has great potential

October 27 (gogo.mn) We had the interview with Mr. Byambadorj Altankhuyag (Byamba), CEO of "Horizon Quests" LLC and Cultural Advisor at Marco Polo TV series. He has been continuously working in tourism industry since 1996. We talked in the interview about the series, how Mongolian traditions and culture features are displayed in the series and other interesting topics.

Let us start our interview with how you became cultural advisor at Marco Polo TV series?

General producer and writer of Marco Polo TV series John Fusco first came to Mongolia with his 13-year-old boy in 2007. The boy had been fond of Mongolian history and traditions since his early childhood, so that he had been asking his dad for many years to travel to Mongolia. He finally convinced his dad in 2007, that if we do not seize the opportunity now to travel to Mongolia, we never do it, when John Fusco with his boy came to Beijing to shoot "Forbidden Kingdom" film. Then, John Fusco took two-week-break from the film shooting and brought his boy to Mongolia. I happened to work as his tour guide in Mongolia. We developed the tour itinerary on our own, which was meant to allow our tourists to experience with firsthand great Mongolian history, culture and lifestyle. Throughout the whole journey, we discussed about not only Mongolian culture and traditions but also ancient kings and their military campaigns. John loves horses; he worked respectively as writers of Spirit animation film and Hidalgo feature film. During 10-day journey that continued from Kharkhorin city to Khustai Hill, we passed by several destinations, related to the Silk Road. When you discuss about the Silk Road, you are drawn to talk about Khubilai Khan. The boy's questions about the history and culture sometimes amazed me because he had very deep knowledge of us, and he might be more informed than Mongolian peers of his age. Instead his dad, John Fusco, just listened to what we discussed and rarely asked questions at first.

Then, he decided to create a movie about Marco Polo during the journey?

John Fusco used to study a lot with a great interest about Marco Polo. Therefore, John might be driven to create something about Marco Polo from the beginning prior to the journey, during which we chatted a lot about Khubilai Khan, ancient Mongolian history and Mongols' impact on world history. I think he was encouraged from then that he should make a film work about the figure. He once told me that I gave him the idea and encouragement to start making the series. Now I am working as cultural advisor at the TV series. In respect to my contributions to the series, one of characters was named as my name and called "Byamba", who is bastard of Khubila Khan, played by Australian actor Talia'uli "Uli" Latukefu.

So, did he reach out to you few years later after the journey and suggest you the job?

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Inspired by Zaya - N.Orgil, Producer, Marco Polo TV Series

October 28 (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

Currently M.Orgil works as Mongolian Service Producer for second season of "Marco Polo" TV series. Also he is known as actor, fashion model and producer. He called for artists and every Mongolians to learn English in order to remind the opportunity to cast in Hollywood movies while promoting Mongolian history and culture. We interviewed on many interesting things including how he became the bridge for "Husugtun" band to participate in "Asia`s Got Talent" show.  For the full interview please click here.

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Travel

Transportation authorities talk winter preparation

October 27 (UB Post) The National Transportation Center organized Winter Preparation Day with the Traffic Police Department last Saturday, in front of the Ministry of Roads and Transportation, to announce how passenger transportation companies were preparing for winter operations.

A total of 52 public transportation companies, 47 intercity and seven cross-country companies, participated in the event, along with the Director of the National Transportation Center and directors, engineers, and bus drivers from Mongolian public transport companies.

Winter Preparation Day also introduced the results of the inspection of intercity public transportation organizations which began on September 20.

A total of 780,164 vehicles have been registered in Mongolia as of October 1, 2015. Currently, 924 vehicles and 1,400 professional drivers have established contracts with 43 companies engaged in intercity passenger transportation services for 67 routes. Officials reported that 1,623,000 passengers had been transported as of October 9, which is five percent fewer passangers than last year.

There are 38 buses and trains, belonging to eight companies, regularly transporting passengers along six routes to three countries. These companies managed to transport 132,800 passengers abroad, which is a 1.1 percent increase compared to last year, according to the National Transportation Center report.

An online meeting between local vehicle transportation centers was held on September 30, to execute, monitor, and intensify the winter preparation of the National Transportation Center. Arkhangai, Bayankhongor, Uvurkhangai, Bulgan, Khuvsgul, and Govi-Altai provinces participated in the online meeting and discussed issues related to winter preparation.

The directors of public transportation companies said that they will try to make this meeting regular, as it provided companies with the opportunity to start measures for cutting costs and transferring to a savings mode for public funds.

Link to article

 

Khubilai Complex to be established at Khurel Togoot Observatory for green tourism

October 27 (UB Post) The Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics of the Mongolian Academy of Science (MAS) is set to develop a large science complex for green tourism, based at the Khurel Togoot Astronomical Observatory.

The institute is planning to name the new complex after Khublai Khaan, and are aspiring to turn it into a discovery center where children and adults can stargaze, learn about astronomy and space sciences all four seasons. By expanding and introducing new services, the project initiators hope to promote the Khurel Togoot Astronomical Observatory among Mongolians and foreign tourists as the observatory is facing challenges in attracting visitors.

The current observatory, established in 1957, is capable of receiving around 20 people at once. The project initiators believe that once it is expanded and a new complex is established, it will be capable of receiving approximately 3,000 people. They said that establishing a special science complex with green tourism will contribute to Friendly Ulaanbaatar Program and help increase the number of foreign and local tourists in Mongolia.

Currently, the blueprint for Khublai Complex has been drafted. The project will be implement from 2015 to 2030, expanding to an area of 50 hectares in total. The institute is aiming to complete the construction work within three years and commission the building by the end of 2018.

The observatory is located 25 km away from the capital on a picturesque high ground near the northeast peak of Bogd Khan Mountain. It's also close to popular tourist hotspots such as Temee Khad, a hiking spot 15 minutes from the observatory and four hours from Tsetsee Gun, the highest peak of Bogd Khan Mountain surrounding Zaisan Memorial, Nukht Resort and Manzushir Monastery. However, the observatory has low fresh water reserves, rundown facilities, and poor road and engineering infrastructure.

The Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics emphasized that all of these issues will be resolved during the construction of the complex. Accordingly, roads and infrastructure will be improved, new bus routes will be developed, and the 2.7 km dirt road connecting Sky Resort to Khurel Togoot Astronomical Observatory will be fixed to create comfortable conditions for visitors. Another advantage of the new complex is increased variety of tourism products and services so that the new complex can operate all-year-round.

Project initiators are setting up new astronomy and discovery workshops and exhibitions, as well as an astronomy research center and museum. They're also searching for adequate solutions for waste and sewage problems to reduce negative impact on the environment and make the complex eco-friendly.

Khublai Complex will consist of seven sections: training area for astronauts, testing sight for rocket launchers and model aircrafts, and an open area to view these trials. Near the testing sight, initiators plan to display smaller models of American, Russian, Chinese and other countries' spaceships, airplanes and aircrafts. Another anticipated highlight of the science complex is an outdoor astronomy theater where summer nighttime stargazing will be available with explanation of the solar system.

The general plan shows that a memorial site for astronauts will be built on 9.44 hectares, rocket launcher and aircraft testing site on 4.12 hectares, outdoor astronomy theater on 12.96 hectares, and an amateur astronomy site where telescopes can be rented will be built in an area of 9.04 hectares. The project managers are planning to construct a parking area for 500 cars in five hectares of land.

The project will require a substantial funding as it will develop a large science and tourism hotspot and introduce many new services. Over 300,000 USD has been estimated for the project preparation work alone. Some construction work will be executed by the private sector to attract investment from them, according to the Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics. They've planned to have private businesses operate shops, exhibitions, restaurants and recreational activities.

For starters, the project initiators asked Minister of Environment, Green Development and Tourism N.Battsereg to have land issues of Khublai Complex sorted. Currently, most of the land around Khurel Togoot Astronomical Observatory has been bought by wealthy people and only a small area has been left untouched. However, this area has been planned to become an apartment complex.

In response, the minister accepted it favorably and expressed that he would assist on resolving land issues. According to the project initiators, the outdoor stargazing facility can be constructed immediately with investment from the private sector once land issues are settled.

Source: Unuudur

Link to article

 

Photo of the Day: Shepherding and Cellphoning in Mongolia

October 27 (The Asia Society) Want to see your images in our Photo of the Day posts? Use Flickr and tag your photos "asiasociety" or simply email your best shots from Asia to photos@theasiablog.org. Be sure to include where and when the photo was taken. We look forward to seeing — and publishing — your submissions!

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