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- MERRY CHRISTMAS -
Friday, December 25, 2015
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
TerraCom: Management Restructure Update
December 24 -- TerraCom Limited (TerraCom or the Company) (ASX:TER) wishes to advise of a management restructure as direct outcome from the implementation of the 2015 strategic review. The Company has transitioned over 2015 from explorer to mine operator and as such is modifying the management structure to best suit the ongoing requirements of the business.
The Company has decided to modify the board composition to ensure clear separation and focus on the differing functions and requirements in the areas of effective corporate governance delineated from strategic development and associated implementation.
Michael Avery remains on the TerraCom board as an executive director with a principal focus on strategy, corporate governance, marketing and stakeholder relations. He will continue to be based in Australia.
David Stone will no longer be a Director of TerraCom board but will remain in a senior executive role reporting to the Board and focused on the strategic development and implementation of TerraCom business strategy. He will also continue to be based in Australia.
TerraCom will add an additional Australian based director to its Board in the New Year.
The Company believes that these structural changes will enhance the capacity to deliver.
The Company also advises that it has re-located its Australian corporate office to 34 Hewitts Avenue, Thirroul, NSW, as part of an ongoing rationalisation of corporate overheads. The Townsville office of TerraCom closed on 21 December, 2015.
Draig Resources: Capital Raising and Board Changes
Placement and Rights Issue to Raise circa $730,000
December 24 -- The Board of Draig Resources Ltd (Draig, or the Company) is pleased to advise that it has entered into a binding fund raising mandate with Patersons Securities Limited (Patersons) to raise up to $730,000 to assist the Company in identifying and assessing new project opportunities.
The fund raising comprises two stages:
- A placement of 9,955,465 fully paid ordinary shares (within the Company's 15% placement capacity) at a price of $0.02 per share to 'excluded offerees' identified by Patersons (the Placement). Patersons have firm commitments for the placement and the proceeds of $199,069 will be received by 31 December 2015 (Settlement).
- A 2:5 Non‐Renounceable Rights Issue at a price of $0.02 per share, to raise approximately $530,000 (the Rights Issue). The Rights Issue will be underwritten on a firm basis by Patersons as to 15 million shares, or $300,000 of the Rights Issue proceeds. A detailed timetable, Rights Issue Offer Document / Prospectus and Appendix 3B pertaining to the Rights Issue will be released shortly.
Use of Funds
It is intended that the majority of funds raised through the Rights Issue will be used for working capital purposes and to assist the company in identifying and securing a new project.
Mr Ray Shorrocks and Mr Guy Robertson will be appointed directors of the Company on Settlement.
MSE Trading Report: Top 20 -0.27%, ALL -0.15%, ₮14.7 Million Stocks, ₮19.2 Million T-Bills
December 24 (MSE) --
MIK Holding Raises ₮37.3 Billion in Largest Ever IPO in Mongolia
December 24 (MSE) Primary market trading of "Mik Holding" JSC 3,106,398 common shares went successful and MNT37,276,776,000 was raised on capital market on 24 December 2015.
Pursuant to the order № 385 of Acting CEO of MSE, "Mik Holding" JSC is listed on I classification of MSE listing board which means "Mik Holding" JSC became the first company which met the listing requirement of I classification of MSE listing board.
MIK Holding IPO Roadshow – Mongolian Stock Exchange, December 23
₮10 Billion 14% Discounted 28-Week T-Bills, ₮250 Million 15.75% 3-Year Bonds Sold on MSE
December 22 (MSE) On 22 December 2015, 28 weeks Government retail bonds worth MNT10.0 billion with 14.0% annual interest rate and 3 years Government bonds worth MNT250.0 million with 15.75% annual interest rate traded successfully on primary market at Mongolian Stock Exchange.
Bellow member brokerage companies participated in the bond trading as follows:
6 months Government bond
Daewoo Securities Mongolia
2. 3 years Goverment bond
Historic low ₮1,997.56/USD set December 11, 2015
BoM MNT Rates: Thursday, December 24 Close
Bank USD rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy ₮1,990 Sell ₮1,999), Khan (Buy ₮1,990 Sell ₮1,999), Golomt (Buy ₮1,985 Sell ₮1,997), XacBank (Buy ₮1,990.5 Sell ₮1,997.5), State Bank (Buy ₮1,992 Sell ₮1,999)
MNT vs USD (blue), CNY (red) in last 1 year:
BoM Mortgage Report, November 2015: +1.3% MoM, +23.5% YoY to ₮3.4 Trillion, 75.3% of Which 8%
December 21 (BoM) --
off issued in
Avg. interest on
Link to full report (in Mongolian)
Construction Ministry signs MOU with Golomt Bank to launch 10% mortgage down payment
December 23 (UB Post) On Monday, the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development and Golomt Bank signed a memorandum on issuing an eight percent mortgage loan with a required 10 percent down payment.
Prior to the decision of the Cabinet to reduce the down payment to 10 percent for real estate purchases, borrowers were required to pay a 30 percent down payment. Head of the Strategy, Policy and Planning Department of the Ministry Kh.Batbold said that there are unsold apartments for 17,700 households throughout the country as of the third quarter of this year. He said, "People want but can't buy apartments because of their financial situation. The decision made by the Constitutional Court led banks to end the annual eight percent interest mortgage loans for an indefinite period of time."
Batbold added that the memorandum established with Golomt Bank will provide people with the possibility to apply for a low interest mortgage loan with a 10 percent down payment, regardless of the decision made by the Constitutional Court. He said that the government will issue a guarantee for 20 percent of the value of the property, and mortgage loan applicants will need to complete the necessary loan application materials.
The Ministry believes that construction companies need to reach an agreement with commercial banks and the issuing of mortgage loans should resume. Commercial banks claim that they can resume issuing the eight percent interest mortgage loans, but Parliament needs to create risk-free loan conditions for banks by amending the Law on Real Estate Mortgages.
It is uncertain when the issuing of the loans will begin again. Last month, commercial banks issued 69.2 billion MNT in new mortgage loans to 1,075 borrowers. The remaining balance of the mortgage loans has now reached 3.4 trillion MNT. Mortgage loan issuance in November was down by 13.9 percent compared to October, and the figure decreased by 14.9 percent in comparison with the same period in 2014.
State Housing Corp. CEO on impacts of ending 8% mortgage loans
December 23 (UB Post) Commercial banks stopped the issuance of the eight percent interest mortgage loan following a decision by the Constitutional Court last week. Many people applying for this loan were alarmed by the sudden decision. In particular, the decision caused many problems for people who wanted to buy an apartment in Buyant-Ukhaa 2 residential area, which is under construction as part of a government program aimed to house target groups.
General Director of the State Housing Corporation (SHC) A.Gantulga was interviewed to find out more about this issue.
How many people have applied for the eight percent interest loan to purchase an apartment in Buyant-Ukhaa 2? How did this decision impact the SHC?
The Constitutional Court's decision is absolute. This decision will be respected and obliged, but I'm discontent with three things. Firstly, we planned to move families to Buyant-Ukhaa 2 starting from December 15, before the new year. Over 200 individuals had been pending a mortgage loan to buy our apartments, according to preliminary estimates. But their hope of moving into a new apartment before the new year has been shattered due to the Constitutional Court's decision.
Nowadays, every development work is connected to a financial chain that pays off loans through more loans. If loans aren't issued, we can't sell apartments, pay Mongolia's bond repayments on time, and we might be unable to provide wages to the people who built Buyant-Ukhaa 2. The Constitutional Court's decision has greatly impacted on the SHC, banks we cooperate with, people who want to purchase apartments, and construction workers. We believed the program would go smoothly as it was commissioned by the state.
Secondly, I'm suspicious that the decision might have had a political influence. The SCH's apartment sales were the only thing that hadn't been influenced by politics and had been proceeding through the law of the free market pursuant to public demands. We have housed 175,000 people through the eight percent interest mortgage loan so far. The only things that need to be stopped are the chaotic politicization and disputes among political parties.
Thirdly, the economy is facing difficulties. Only by moving forward can we overcome this difficulty, not by stopping. The SHC doesn't merely sell apartments, it creates sustainable economic turnover through jobs and procurement. In other words, the SHC is a big player in the Mongolian economy. If the 200 people who had applied for our apartments had gotten mortgage loans, we would've made a circulation of more than 10 billion MNT by paying interest rates of bank loans, providing salaries to subcontractors, and settling previous debts. The chain reaction would have influenced positively on the economy. It's truly unfortunate.
This year, 1,620 apartments will become available via Buyant-Ukhaa 2's 30 buildings. How many people were able to get loans before the eight percent interest mortgage loan was suspended?
Mongolian coal exports tumble 25% in 2015
December 23 (news.mn) During the first eleven months of 2015, a total of 5.5 million tons of coal was exported into China via the Gashuunsukhait border crossing, representing a fall of 50% on last year. Overall, Mongolian coal exports have dropped by 25%; this includes export from the country's most important mining complex at "Tavan Tolgoi". Only coal exports via the Shivee Khuren border crossing remain unchanged. Analysts are unanimous that the reason for the drastic fall in coal exports has been caused by slowdown of the Chinese economy.
An important issue regards the way on which coal is transported. It is clear that rail transport must be used in order to maintain and improve competitiveness.
Currently, there are 15 coal transportation companies operating at the Gants-Mod crossing - a reduction of 19 compared to 2014.
Baganuur Power Plant Construction Breaks Ground
Ulaanbaatar, December 24 (MONTSAME) Official opening ceremony for site work commencement of Baganuur Power Plant took place on December 23. The development is reflected in the Government Action Plan for 2012-2016 in order to meet the increasing electric and heating power demand in the central region.
"This is the first power plant in Mongolia to be built on the neck of a deposit", PM Ch.Saikhanbileg stated while taking part in the ceremony.
In frames of the Government's energy policy, more developments including Booroljuut power plant based on Booroljuut coal deposit, Tavantolgoi Power Plant based on the Tavantolgoi deposit and Eg Power Plant basing on Eg river are expected next.
The site work is being executed by China Nuclear Industry 22 Corporation. The 700 MWT TPA power plant will be commissioned in 3.5 years.
Recently commissioned Amgalan Power Plant and the extension at Third Thermal Power Station had been executed in cooperation with the Chinese companies as well. The Chinese companies are also taking part in the developments at the Eg river and Booroljuut power plants.
Baganuur Power LLC signed a Build-Operate-Transfer concession agreement with the Government last April. With the implementation of Baganuur Power Plant project, 300 permanent jobs and 2,500 temporary workplaces are being created.
Present at the ceremony were also Ministry of Energy of Mongolia D.Zorigt, Minister of Industry D.Erdenebat and the Ambassador of People's Republic of China Xing Haiming.
Expecting Dzud, Mongolia Wants to Supply Canned Meat to UN Refugees
December 24 (gogo.mn) On December 23, 2015, Speaker of the State Great Hural (Parliament) Mr. Z.Enkhbold received a delegation from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations led by Deputy FAO Representative in Mongolia, Mr. Kevin Gallagher.
During the meeting Speaker Z.Enkhbold was told that currently 51.9 million head of livestock is counted in Mongolia and a severe dzud (blizzard) might be occurred in 2016 that usually followed by a particularly hard and droughty summer.
As a result of dzud in 2009, approximately 11.3 million head of livestock perished. Considering such fact, Director-General of "Taij" group L.Ganpurev, who was present at the meeting, said that the FAO in collaboration with "Taij" group and other meat processing factories are ready prepare canned meat to deliver to those countries suffering from famine and to refugees. Moreover, such strategically important food of canned meat would be prepared by about one million head of sheep and goats that can be stored up to five years, say officials.
Press and Public Relations Department of the State Great Hural of Mongolia
China: Hitting the Middle Income Wall
18th December, 2015 (European Council on Foreign Relations) Worries over China's economic performance in 2015 will continue into the future – and are breaking through into Chinese media.
"China: Hitting the middle income wall", edited by Francois Godement and Agatha Kratz, is the latest edition of ECFR's China Analysis, which examines Chinese-language sources to understand the Chinese view on current affairs. The collection examines Chinese responses to a summer of economic turmoil and highlights that, although concerns were staved off in the short term by state intervention, unanswered questions remain over the future of China's economy.
In the collection:
Thomas Vendryes examines thefuture of Chinese manufacturing, which has been the main engine of the growth for the "factory of the world" over the past three decades, While China's official discourse points to a gradual convergence towards a "new normal", there is strong evidence pointed too by Chinese authors about the structural imbalances of China's past growth.
Hongmei Ma explores the policies underpinning China's new plan for industry: "Made in China 2025", a phrase which has become something of a buzzword in China. Chinese authors examine the background to the strategy and assess how it will work in practice.
Agatha Kratz takes a look at the Chinese government's decision to intervene to stop the fall of the stock market in July 2015. While the intervention was successful in stabilising the markets in the short term, it had a high cost in both financial and reputational terms.
She scrutinises Chinese authors who identify both market-related and government-related causes for the market turmoil, and explain why the government's action was only partially successful. These authors also examine the meaning of the rout in the longer term, raising concerns about China's economy and its prospects for reform.
In the final contribution Alicia Garcia Herrero examines several growth scenarios for the Chinese economy over the next five years. The outcome will depend directly on the type of action the government decides to take to support the economy and highlights the fact that it will be the mixture of demand-side fiscal and monetary policies, and supply-side structural reforms that will determine China's rate of growth for the next five years.
MPP expects election law discussions soon after parties reach compromise
December 23 (news.mn) The electoral working group made a decision on 22nd December. The director of the Mongolian People's Party Group in Parliament, S.Byambatsogt, answered some questions.
-The MPP Group called a boycott and has not been attending meetings because of the electoral law argument. It is, however, reported that the chairmen of the parties met and made a decision last weekend. Are we to understand that the electoral law projects will be discussed soon?
-We assume that the electoral law projects might be approved in the near future. According to the law, the electoral law projects must be approved before the New Year. I hope that it will be possible to do this in time.
-Did the MPP obtain what they wanted regarding the electronic voting equipment?
- Not only the MPP, but 21 other parties, both with and without representation in Parliament, have demanded the same thing as us. Furthermore, the concerns which people have regarding the voting machines must be dispelled. Anyway, we have made a deal to organize the control of counting in 50% of all the electoral districts. The new issue to on the territorial division of electoral regions was also discussed.
-What kind of region will it be? How will the division be made?
-Currently, we are discussing that Mongolia will have five regions
-What decisions were made regarding the "Electoral Law"?
-The Standing Committee will discuss the issues at their meeting. A vote on some important solutions is being held.
MPRP nominates two, JC one candidate for Minister of Health and Sports
December 23 (infomongolia.com) It has been already long since the appointment term for a new Minister of Health and Sports has expired. However, the Government still has not appointed a new Minister yet.
The Executive Committee of Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) has nominated another two candidates, Mr. B.Amarsaikhan and Mr. L.Lkhagvasuren, for the position of Minister for Health and Sports on December 23, 2015.
Moreover, Justice Coalition of MPRP - MNDP has nominated Mr. L.Jambaljav, Honored Physician of Mongolia and Professor of Medicine before but he was rejected by Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg.
Another candidate for the seat was Deputy Prime Minister Ts.Oyunbaatar who also was rejected by Prime Minister. Experts say that the reason to reject Ts.Oyunbaatar was that MPRP nominated former President of Mongolia, Mr. N.Enkhbayar for the position of Deputy to Prime Minister.
Standing committee backs extending Economic Amnesty window to February
December 23 (infomongolia.com) The State Great Khural (Parliament of Mongolia) approved the Economic Transparency Law on August 07, 2015 to tackle illegal financial activity in Mongolian economy.
The law grants one-time amnesty for hiding illegal property and capitals and tax evasion, if the subject informed their illegal act by their own will in a given period of time.
The newly adopted law revealed the hidden capital and income equal to 6.1 trillion MNT (Tugrug) and liberated individuals and organizations from the payment of 1.2 trillion MNT in taxes and 352.1 billion MNT in fines as of December 16, 2015.
The Economic Transparency (Tax Amnesty) Law was supposed to end on December 31, but Minister for Justice D.Dorligjav submitted a draft amendment to current law to Speaker of Parliament Z.Enkhbold on December 22, 2015.
Minister D.Dorligjav noted that implementation time frame of the law must be prolonged until February 20, 2016 to increase income to the state budget and cover more people and entities.
At the Budget Standing Committee's meeting held on December 23, the majority of members supported the draft amendment to the Law on Economic Transparency.
Tax Amnesty – deadline put back – news.mn, December 23
MPs Erdenechimeg, Ts.Bayarsaikhan, Battsogt Appointed Chairs of Standing Committees
Ulaanbaatar, December 24 (MONTSAME) At its plenary meeting on Thursday, the parliamentary session discussed and then backed a matter on appointing heads of some Standing committees.
With majority of MPs' votes, L.Erdenechimeg was appointed the head of the Standing committee on environment, food and agriculture; Ts.Bayarsaikhan--on economy; D.Battsogt--on social policy, education, culture and sciences; and A.Bakei--on state structure.
After the appointments, D.Terbishdagva and Kh.Bolorchuluun recommended that the Standing on environment, food and agriculture pay attention to resolving the sewage plant matter of Ulaanbaatar and treat the agricultural sphere "very carefully and precisely".
Online Land Market to Be Launched for Easy Procurement
December 23 (news.mn) The Mongolian "Agency on Land Affairs, Geodesy and Cartography" is to launch an online market to simplify land procurement and ownership. According to representatives of the Agency: "Under this online market, any citizen and organization (from any country) can obtain land via the internet without any difficulty". The online land market will be launched following Governmental approval.
People can participate in the land auction, after transferring pre-payment money and providing personal information to the online market. Assuming the online market is launched, the police, the judiciary, banks and other bodies can access the land information.
Mogi: looks who's wearing the pants these days
"Solidarity" Trade Union Submits Recommendations on Erdenes TT Operations
Ulaanbaatar, December 24 (MONTSAME) On December 24, L.Erdenechimeg MP received leading members of "Solidarity" Trade Union of Erdenes Tavantolgoi JSC in connection with the draft parliamentary resolution on mining operations at Tavantolgoi coal deposit.
Opinions and recommendations are given to policymakers prior to the submission of draft resolution to parliament. The trade union members, including professional engineers and miners, suggest that the draft reflect ways of ensuring stable and favorable working environment for miners in order for them to work at the mine for many years with a greater performance and ban operations which are sorting out the best content coal-beds first.
The miners also recommend building a high-capacity concentrate plant and discover remaining reserves, designating the coal site borders and conducting regular operations and explorations in order to ensure smooth operation of Tavantolgoi mine.
MRAM issues 726 exploration licenses in 2015, contributes ₮47 billion to budget
December 24 (infomongolia.com) The Mineral Resources Authority of Mongolia (MRA) has granted 726 licenses since it launched online application submission service in January 2015.
As of December 23, 2015, there are 3,282 valid licenses in Mongolia granted by MRA, 1,787 for exploration and 1,482 for mining.
According to the Minerals Law of Mongolia, MRA has announced exploration and mining tenders on minerals except water, crude oil, natural gas and radioactive and common minerals in 55 locations this year.
Furthermore, the agency has brought more than 47 billion MNT (Tugrug) to the State Budget as of December 2015 from license granting and other related payments.
Cabinet backs new bill on tourism
December 23 (UB Post) On Monday, Cabinet ministers discussed a draft of a new bill on tourism and approved it on the condition of including suggestions and views shared by ministers. Minister of Nature Environment, Green Development and Tourism N.Battsereg was assigned with developing the bill and bringing it to Cabinet for discussion.
The Law on Tourism was adopted in 2000, and has been amended eight times so far. The bill's authors believe that the current law is not qualified to enable the sustainable development of the tourism sector, lacks legal grounds, and is not sufficiently resolving the issues the tourism industry faces.
The new law will arrange relations between state organizations, private entities, and individuals which are connected to operations in the tourism sector in Mongolia. It will determine the types of travel and guide services available, the participation of state organizations and tour operators, the relations of state-private partnerships, and economic incentives.
Each year, Mongolia receives 400,000 tourists, creating 50,000 jobs and drawing income of some 260 million USD, which makes up 3.2 percent of the gross domestic product.
Register your receipts for 20% VAT refund and chance to win ₮100 million
December 24 (gogo.mn) Revised Law on Value Added Tax will be effective starting next week.
According to the law;
· Tax payers should register their payment information in user system at every payment
· Payment receipt of products and services should be provided to tax payers
· Payment receipt registered in user system should be submitted to the sales integrated system within three days
Therefore, simplified program to print payment receipt was developed for specifics of each products, works and services. Entities must install the program at their cash register machine. Moreover, entities are enabled to use the appropriate version for themselves at ebarimt.mn.
Law on Value Added Tax to be followed starting Jan 1st, 2016. Thus, citizens must get used to take payment receipt of every purchase, warned by the General Department of Taxation. Because the receipts will be the guarantee to win a prize from lottery to be conducted every month. The first lottery will be held in February based on the receipts to be collected in January. More citizens do sales and register their sales at ebarimt.mn, the more opportunity to win a prize at lottery will be increased.
Therefore, you must get receipt verified by tax integrated system and with the number of lottery from every sales from Jan 01. If the entity you get service does not provide the payment receipt, you can report at 1800-1288. Entities not providing receipt will be fined 2% of the revenues from sales, repeated violations will be fined adding two times.
Budget standing committee backs tax exemption on wheat import
Ulaanbaatar, December 24 (MONTSAME) Standing committee on budget at its meeting Thursday backed the draft law on customs and value-added tax exemption for wheat seeds. The draft was submitted a day earlier by Minister of Food and Agriculture R.Burmaa with a request for immediate reading.
On a national level, fallow has been prepared on 335.7 thousand hectares, which requires 48 thousand tons of wheat seeds for the next year's crop planting. State reserves have 28 thousand tons, as a consequence of extremely dry summer. To meet the shortage of 20 tons, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture considered it is suitable to free wheat seeds import fron the taxes.
EBRD supports Mongolia's micro and small businesses with local currency loans
EBRD lending programme boosts MSMEs' access to scarce local currency finance in Early Transition Countries thanks to international donors.
Mongolia's wealth derives mostly from under its rich soil, through a large mining sector. Most finance and business operations are concentrated in the capital Ulaanbaatar, home to half of the country's population.
Mongolia seeks Iran's investment in energy sector: FM
TEHRAN, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia is looking for the investment of Iranians in its energy and oil sectors, the visiting Mongolian foreign minister Lundeg Purevsuren said here on Wednesday.
Beside cooperation on historical, cultural and scientific areas, Iran and Mongolia can cooperate in mining, agricultural and energy sectors, Purevsuren said.
As regard with the economic cooperation with Mongolia, the outlooks of investors should go beyond mere local market of the country, since Mongolia is a gate for big market in the region, he said.
His country is an exporter of oil to its neighbors, therefore the Iranian investors can invest in drilling and extraction of oil and finance in its energy industry, Purevsuren said.
Also, the agricultural and animal husbandry sectors of Mongolia have the capacity for the Iranian investments as it is in possession of some 70 million herds, he added.
For his part, Zarif said that economic areas are not the only focus of Iranian government in its relations with the neighbors and with the regional states, Iran and Mongolia have also held good talks for expansion of mutual cooperation on scientific, cultural and common heritage.
Heading an economic delegation, Purevsuren arrived in Iran on Wednesday for talks with Iranian economic and trade officials.
Iran, Mongolia to expand cooperation on livestock breeding
Tehran, Dec 23, IRNA – Iran and Mongolia agreed to expand cooperation on agriculture and livestock breeding.
Minister of Agricultural Jihad Mahmoud Hojjati told Mongolian foreign minister Lundeg Purevsuren that Iran-Mongolia diplomatic relations are at excellent level, calling for enhanced economic ties.
He hoped for information and experience sharing by Iran and Mongolia in agricultural domain.
After triumph of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran has gained rich experience in agriculture, he added.
Referring to Iran's climate, he said that Iran has limitations about water supplies, adding that optimum use of water resources has been the focus of Iranian planners.
He said that export of farm products last year fetched 6.5 billion dollars and that Iran is one of the exporters of the horticultural products in the region.
He said that Iran gained success in fisheries and animal husbandry, rich experience in seed technology, resistance to coldness, saltiness and diseases, adding that Iran ranks top in terms of aquaculture in the region, being prepared to cooperate with Mongolia in that field.
He said Iran and Mongolia can cooperate in the fields of agriculture, production, science and commerce.
Purevsuren said for his part that since 2012, when Mongolian president visited Iran, there is strong determination for expansion of mutual ties.
He said next Christian year, the 45th anniversary of friendly ties will be celebrated in Mongolia.
Mongolia with five million square meters of land and three million population, has 70 million cattle, he said.
Zanganeh: Iran ready to export oil to Mongolia
Tehran, Dec 24, IRNA - Minister of Oil Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Thursday that in case Mongolia reaches agreement with China, the Islamic Republic of Iran will be ready to export oil to Mongolia through Chinese companies.
Zanganeh made the remarks in a meeting with visiting Mongolian Foreign Minister Lundeg Purevsuren.
In the meeting, the Mongolian foreign minister called for expansion and deepening of relations and cooperation with Iran on oil trade.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to set up short-term training courses for Mongolian workforce in oil related industries, Zanganeh said.
Mongolia is eager to purchase oil from Iran, he said adding that since they have no access to sea, the only option is to be delivered through Chinese companies.
Mongolia with the population of 2,750,000 is customer of 50,000 to 60,000 bpd crude oil which is a very small market for Iran, he said.
Standing committee head meets Ambassador of Kazakhstan
Ulaanbaatar, December 24 (MONTSAME) Head of the parliamentary Standing committee on security and foreign policy J.Enkhbayar Thursday received K.I.Koblandin, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Kazakhstan to Mongolia.
The latter thanked the committee head for the audience and noted that the two countries established the diplomatic relations on January 22 of 1992 and that the President of Kazakhstan paid a state visit to Mongolia in October of 1993. After this, the sides discussed the bilateral relations and cooperation.
Present at the meeting were A.Tleikhan and A.Bakei, head and deputy head of the Mongolia-Kazakhstan inter-parliamentary group.
Over 2,500 N. Koreans forced to work in Mongolia, Poland
SEOUL, Dec. 23 (Yonhap) -- More than 2,500 North Korean workers have been forced to work in Mongolia and Poland under poor working conditions with their human rights being violated, a South Korean civic group said Wednesday.
About 1,800 North Korean workers are being forced to work mainly in Mongolia's construction sector or in sewing factories while around 800 North Koreans are employed in Poland in the shipbuilding and construction sectors, according to the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights.
Marzuki Darusman, U.N. special rapporteur on the human rights situation in North Korea, said in his report that more than 50,000 North Koreans have been forced to work abroad, mainly in China and Russia, as the North seeks to earn hard currency.
The civic group said Mongolia has had close ties with North Korea for a long time and a distinctive geographical location bordering Russia and China where thousands of North Koreans are forced to labor.
Poland had friendly relations with North Korea during the era of the former Soviet Union and it is known as one of two European Union nations including Malta that has hired North Korean workers.
The agency said that North Korean workers in the two countries have repatriated about 90 percent of their salary to North Korea while earning less than $100 per month while working around 12 hours per day.
The center said that North Korean workers are dispatched to labor-intensive sectors in about 20 countries.
"The North's purpose is to earn hard currency to avert economic hardship under heavy U.N. sanctions and $200 to $300 million is presumed to be sent to North Korea annually," it said.
North Korea has long been branded as one of the worst human rights violators with widespread cases of rights abuses such as public execution and torture. Pyongyang has bristled at such criticism, calling it a U.S.-led attempt to topple its regime.
N.Korean workers in Poland, Mongolia face 'rights violations': panel – NK News, December 24
Activists Seek Better Conditions for North Korean Migrant Laborers – VOA News, December 23
Human rights group: North Korea slave force earns Kim Jong Un regime $300M – UPI, December 23
JICA Contract Signed to Build Mongolia's First University Hospital
December 23 (UB Post) Mongolia will soon have its first university hospital, part of the campus of Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences (MNUMS), made possible by grant aid from the Government of Japan.
On December 22, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary from Japan to Mongolia Takenori Shimizu, Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Mutsumi Sato, Minister of Education Culture and Sciences of Mongolia L.Gantumur, and Ulaanbaatar authorities signed an agreement to build the hospital for MNUMS, confirming grant aid from the Government of Japan.
MNUMS started developing the university hospital project and submitted the project request to JICA in 2012. The project aims to reach all people of Mongolia, providing medical assistance and health services at a high level, to improve the quality of training available to doctors and medical interns after graduation, to establish a university hospital system, to diagnose and treat more than three dozen diseases that are not currently being treated in Mongolia, and to carry out nationwide surveys and workshops concerning the health sector.
The New Government of Reforms supported the project in 2013 and issued eight hectares of land in Bayanzurkh District for the construction of the university hospital.
At the agreement signing ceremony, the Japanese side announced that Kanto Construction had been selected to execute the construction of the hospital. Construction will start in 2016 and is expected to be finished in the first quarter of 2018. The 150-bed university hospital will be constructed to Japanese standards.
Food Safety: The Nation's Silent Killer
December 23 (UB Post) Recently, doctors report more and more cases of cancer being diagnosed among the nation's younger population. According to some statistics from the World Health Organzation (WHO), Mongolia is leading in diagnoses of liver, stomach, and esophageal cancers. But what are the causes of these cancers?
The WHO believes that the cause of cancer for four out of five people is related to diet. Food safety and nutrition are vital in assessing a country's national security. Mongolia's food safety policy is based on a provision in the Constitution that states, "a person has the right to live". As a result of cooperation with the WHO, the United Nation's Codex Alimentarius Commission, and other international organizations, the Government of Mongolia and ministries regulating food and health have determined the nation's food safety policy and created a legal environment for regulation.
The government has implemented over 20 projects and programs to improve food safety in Mongolia, one of which is the national Food Safety Condition Program. The program is being implemented in two stages; its second stage will be concluded in 2016. The government is expecting 17 results from the program. Of course, taking any measures towards a better tomorrow is the right thing to do, but there are not many changes that we can all notice in the nation's food sector.
One of the motivations for writing about this issue is children. They are our future, but when I see them buying dried plums from China for 100 MNT and candies for 10 MNT, I get worried. For 10 MNT you can't buy anything in Mongolia except for those candies. Even though the General Authority for Specialized Inspections (GASI) has prohibited the sale of dried plums and other inexpensive dried fruits and candies from China, people don't know much about the policy. They are sold on the street and are available at every bus stop. Prohibiting their sale is one thing, but implementing and monitoring the enforcement of that prohibition is another thing.
Unfortunately, we can see that food safety is not highly prioritized in Mongolia. People and our leadership keep talking about Oyu Tolgoi, Tavan Tolgoi, the economic crisis, and elections. No one really cares about food safety issues. As a mother, I am really concerned about the future of my child. Every parent gives some pocket money to their child, but what they really don't know is that their children use it to buy unhealthy products that don't meet hygiene, storage, or quality standards.
The media rarely reports on prohibited food products and issues concerning food safety, and media definetly plays a vital role in delivering messages to the public. GASI should be cooperating more closely with the media to warn the public. In order to warn us, the Specialized Border Inspection Office of Zamiin-Uud has shared information at their office about products with fake labels and products that don't meet hygiene standards, prohibiting their import to Mongolia, but who knows what kind of products are being focused on when that information isn't made widely accessible?
Mongolia imports over 70 percent of its food from foreign countries. There were even rumours going around that Altan Taria, a Mongolian company, was using flour being imported from China. We've also heard rumors about fake eggs, rice, wine, dumplings with pesticides, toxic pork, and other dangerous food products being imported from China. Mongolia is a country where anyone can import any kinds of food products. In other countries, only licensed entities have the right to import food products under strict controls.
Head of the Specialized Border Inspection Office of Zamiin-Uud D.Munkhjargal said that following the government's decision on increasing excise taxes on alcohol, people started importing alcohol from China. She added, "Laboratory tests showed that the methanol content of these alcoholic beverages from China were high. Vendors need to import products that meet food quality and safety standards, but considering lower prices, they import a great amount of products that don't meet hygiene and quality standards. They need to purchase products from reliable shops in China." She added that over 20 tons of apples with mites were seized and disposed of recently. China doesn't allow their return, as the negotiated list established between the two countries for plants approved for returns doesn't include apples.
Seeing moldy bread on a market shelf is not pleasant at all, but unfortunately, this can be found quite often in Mongolia, even in bigger supermarkets. The sale of expired products and food product storage is another problem. Women are more cautious and usually check the expiration date of any product, but men usually don't. But either way, no matter if a customer is a man, woman, or child, they all should be able to buy products without fear. In Poland, when a food product is about to expire, consumers are warned about it and that product is discounted by nearly 90 percent, even if the date is a month away. Unfortunately, in Mongolia, even if the product's expiration date is the next day, supermarkets won't discount items or warn consumers. This is unacceptable, and relevant organizations need to resolve the issue in order to protect us. Mongolia is also one of the only countries where you can buy products from the future. This especially applies to baked goods. Of course, people prefer the freshest products, that's why producers stamp their products with fake dates, cheating consumers.
As people are getting busier, they rarely cook at home. They choose prepared products or dine at cafeterias or restaurants. Which raises the next question: do restaurants meet hygiene standards? This is also an unresolved issue, and because of this, people suffer from food poisoning. Once in a while, we even hear about food poisoning at schools and kindergartens.
I can't forget to mention skewered meats, khuushuur, buuz, and other foods being sold on the street. This is happening right before our eyes, but why don't relevant organizations take any measures to regulate it? People should stop buying them. Even if it looks delicious, it is an unreliable food for sure.
I heard from a guy who sells mutton skewers on the street that unsold meat is stored and sold the next day. Also, we can see more and more people selling food products from their cars. As vendors claim, these food products are from Russia, and because they're a little cheaper than supermarkets, people do purchase items from street vendors. I am pretty sure that even though the expiration dates of these products are fine, their storage is not.
As New Year's is coming, the Consultation and Information Center of GASI warned the public not to purchase expired products, which can harmful to their health. I am curious how many people have heard about the warning. Instead of warning the public with just one short article, GASI should be taking measures of enforcement directly with vendors and supermarkets.
These things are happening right before our eyes. We all need to be concerned about food safety and make our voices heard by relevant organizations. In order to grow Mongolia's population we need to consume healthy food, because consuming healthy food is the basis for living happily and healthily. I hope that Mongolia's food safety will be improved for a better future.
One dead, two in intensive after Mi-8 helicopter crash
December 24 (gogo.mn) One person was killed in Russian Mi-8 helicopter crash in Nalaih district at around 09pm yesterday, reported by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
The helicopter, belongs to 337th Military Unit, had been conducting its regular training flight while carrying 11 military officers. One person have died and two are in intensive care.
The survivors have been taken to the hospital and being treated.
NEMA and Police Department is working on site and started investigation. The cause of the accident was not defined yet.
Serviceman dies in helicopter crash at Nalaikh – Montsame, December 24
Daycare instructors start training under new childcare law
December 23 (UB Post) In relation to the Childcare Service Law, instructors who will prepare childcare providers have started their training on December 21.
A total of 300 people from 21 provinces are being trained as childcare instructors. They will be teaching five topics, children's rights, hygiene and health, nutrition, support for development and methods of caring for children with special needs.
"They started training at 9:00 a.m. yesterday (Monday) at the Ministry of Population Development and Social Protection. The course will be three days long and the instructors will be teaching a week long course for childcare providers in their provinces and cities. The curriculum standard has been approved. I think the first childcare service will start by mid-February," said Member of Parliament L.Erdenechimeg, one of the initiators of the Childcare Service Law.
The Childcare Service Law will become effective starting January 1, 2016. The law will provide daycare and education to 59,000 children who are unable to enroll into kindergartens. The 2016 budget designated 10.8 billion MNT for the law to provide care for 10,000 children. When the bill was being discussed, Parliament initially planned to allocate 50 billion MNT, but the amount was later cut as the government needed to decrease spending due to the economic slump.
"116,000 MNT will be dedicated for one child per month. If a childcare provider is looking after five children, they will get 560,000 MNT a month from the state. We also set a payment guide for parents, which will not exceed 60 percent of the money coming from the state. So parents can pay approximately 60,000 MNT to the childcare provider," said MP L.Erdenechimeg.
Over 2,000 people applied to become a childcare provider. Approximately 60 percent of registrants are from the countryside, and 40 percent are from Ulaanbaatar.
The criteria for childcare providers are that they must be 18 to 65-year-old Mongolian citizen who has higher than secondary education. They should not be diagnosed with any contagious or mental illnesses or have a criminal record. After a week-long training, childcare providers will receive a certificate.
According to MP L.Erdenechimeg, more than 2,000 jobs are expected to be created through the Childcare Service Law.
"The state is able to finance 400 to 450 thousand MNT for every job that is created," she said.
The law resolves issues concerning not only children but also their parents. It enables approximately 31,000 stay-at-home parents to work, highlighted MP L.Erdenechimeg. The law initiators explain that this will lead to an increase in jobs and employment.
Young girl donates ₮17 million from her concerts to charity
Ulaanbaatar, December 24 (MONTSAME) A pupil from Khentii aimag's Kherlen soum D.Ukhaanzaya collected 17 million Togrog and has donated all the money to humanitarian activities.
Talented for singing, dancing and even contortion girl earned the money from her concerts and gave them to hospitals, maternity house and other socially-beneficial activities.
Her interview was published Thursday on the news.mn website. D.Ukhaanzaya said she had started her first humanitarian actions when her mother told her about poor conditions in the aimag's maternity hospital. She staged her first charity concert in 2013, and then presented money collected to a care house. Money from the second concert in Khentii aimag was donated to this province's central hospital to renovate its beds.
Until today, Ukhaanzaya has staged eight concerts, collecting MNT 17 million. She said she is very happy with helping others.
For her brilliant humanitarian actions, Ukhaanzaya received a prize called "Ene tsagiin egel baatar" /Ordinary Hero of present time/ and became the Top Kid of Mongolia in 2014.
Cultural Heritage Program Launched at American Center for Mongolian Studies
By Michelle Borok
December 23 (UB Post) The American Center for Mongolian Studies has launched the Cultural Heritage Program (CHP) in Ulaanbaatar, with support from the Henry Luce Foundation in the USA.
The program will host several fellows each year in the area of cultural heritage in Mongolia. Researchers will support the documentation and preservation of both tangible and intangible cultural heritages of Inner Asia, with a focus on the people and geographic area that are now in Mongolia.
Dr. Julia Clark, a recent graduate from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh, has been selected as the CHP coordinator. Dr. Clark has been conducting archaeological fieldwork in Mongolia annually since 2007, working primarily in Arkhangai, Bayan Ulgii, Khuvsgul, and Uvs Provinces. She has been the director of the Northern Mongolia Archaeology Project (formerly the Targan Nuur Archaeology Project) in the Darkhad Depression, Khuvsgul Province since 2011. Dr. Clark utilizes a variety of archaeological and ethnographic methods to investigate the introduction of food production and its effect on Mongolia and the surrounding regions, from the adoption of domesticated animals several millennia ago through the present.
One of the many initiatives of the Cultural Heritage Program has been the creation of the Humanities Reading and Discussion Group. The group meets every other Monday to discuss an academic article written in English related to Mongolian culture, as well as provide participants with a chance to engage in written assignments and presentation opportunities. This is meant to mirror graduate school class discussions abroad. The goals of the group members vary, but include the following: improve academic English speaking, writing, and reading; learn about interesting topics; and improve teaching or presenting skills. The topics vary from meeting to meeting, but are all related to cultural studies in some way. The group is free of charge and is open to anyone with an interest in Mongolian culture or academic discussion.
The first two meetings of the Humanities Reading and Discussion Group have taken place. The first article selected for discussion was about the archaeology of the Eurasian steppe and Mongolia. The next meeting will be on January 4, at 6:00 p.m. in the lower level classroom of the American Corner at Natsagdorj Library.
Mongolia to host 15 major international sports events in 2016
December 23 (infomongolia.com) Mongolia will host a number of major international competitions in coming 2016.
Deputy Prime Minister Ts.Oyunbaatar, as acting Minister for Health and Sports, is obliged to organize the events within allocated budget and report to the Cabinet in the fourth quarter of 2016.
The hosting of these events is an opportunity to promote Mongolia to foreign countries and increase its reputation in the international arena, and also it provides a huge chance to Mongolian young athletes to learn and share experience with world leading athletes.
Sports events to be hosted in 2016:
- Olympic qualifying Freestyle Wrestling Tournament
- Sumo World Championships
- World University Archery Championship
- "Chinggis Khan" Judo Grand Prix
- Motocross World Championship
- Asian University 3x3 Basketball Championship
- Asian Youth Chess Championship
- Asian Junior Draughts Championship
- "Chinggis Khaan Cup" Boxing Tournament
- Futsal Club Championship
- "Mongolia Open" Freestyle Wrestling Tournament
- International Ski Competition
- International Biathlon Competition
- "Ikh Nuudel" Chess Tournament
- International Aerobics Competition
Russia, Mongolia to compete in darts tournament in N. China
HOHHOT, China, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- Darts players from Russia and Mongolia will be competing in an international darts tournament slated for next week in the north Chinese city of Manzhouli, local sports officials said Tuesday.
More than 100 players from home and abroad have signed up for the invitational tournament that features steel tip and soft tip competitions.
Top 16 in men's game and top eight in women's game will be awarded, officials said.
Manzhouli, China's largest land port with Russia, takes more than 60 percent of land transportation tasks for China-Russia trade.
Int'l teenager five-a-side soccer tournament kicks off in N. China
HOHHOT, China, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- An international teenager five-a-side football tournament kicked off Thursday in Erenhot, a city of northern China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
Players of 18 teams from Mongolia's Ulan Bator, Zamin-Uud as well as China's Hohhot, Xilinhot cities and other places are participating in the three-day event.
"We have prepared well and look forward to achieving a good result," said Altandorji, coach of a Ulan Bator soccer team.
The tournament, sponsored by Inner Mongolia's local government, is an activity to enhance sports communication among China, Mongolia and Russia.
Erenhot, bordering Mongolia, has been a bridgehead for China's economic, trade and cultural ties with its neighbor.
Olympic champion Kim Jae-bum training in Mongolia for national championship
Ulaanbaatar, December 24 (MONTSAME) Olympic champion and two-time gold medalist of Judo World Championships Kim Jae-bum of South Korea launched Wednesday an intensive training in Ulaanbaatar together with judokas of the Mongolian national selected team.
Together with his assistants, Kim said he is having the training in order to compete in the national championship of his country.
One of the famous judokas of South Korea Kim Jae-bum won a gold and silver medal in the Olympics, two gold and one bronze medals in the World Championships in men's below 81kg category. He also collected seven gold medals in the Asian Games and Asian Championships.
In Mongolia, a new generation's rock 'n' roll rooted in history
December 20 (PBS NewsHour) In Mongolia, rock 'n' roll music symbolized the revolution of the early 1990s that broke the country free from decades of Soviet-style rule. Now, more than 20 years later, the first generation to grow up in the new society is making its own music. In an excerpt of the documentary "Live from Ub," filmmaker Lauren Knapp's reports about young Mongolians using modern music to explore their own heritage.
The Nutcracker ballet closing performances on Dec 26-27
December 24 (gogo.mn) Closing performances of the ballet "The Nutcracker" produced by the State Honored Artist and solo dancer of Boston Ballet Company D.Altanhuyag to be staged on Dec 26, 27 at State Theatre of Opera and Ballet.
Mongolian Ballet Development Fund in cooperation with City Governor's Office have organized the performance of "The Nutcracker", one of the most played ballet around the world during the New Year, at Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet, starting Dec 12.
Solo dancer of Boston Ballet Company D.Altanhuyag is to perform in main role of the closing performances of the ballet featuring artists of State Theatre of Opera and Ballet and talented children.
Moreover, ballet dancers from Russia and Buryatia have been invited to perform in the ballet.
The Nutcracker was reformed under the guidance of new production led by State Honored Artist D.Altankhuyag since last year, whereas displayed with new stage decoration and costumes purchased from "Boston Ballet" company in USA.
Tickets are available now at the ticket office of The Mongolian State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet and www.monda.mn
For more information on the tickets and other issues, please contact at 70110389, 99196609, 88044508, 99024933, 99194570.
Suite 702, Level 7, Express Tower
4 Peace Avenue, Chingeltei District 1
Ulaanbaatar 15160, Mongolia
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