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Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original
MEC Makes Partial Payment to Monnis, Warns of Coal Production Shutdown
January 25 -- This announcement is made by Mongolia Energy Corporation Limited (the "Company") pursuant to Rule 13.09(2)(a) of the Rules Governing the Listing of Securities (the "Listing Rules") on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (the "Stock Exchange") and the Inside Information Provisions (as defined in the Listing Rules) under Part XIVA of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Chapter 571, Laws of Hong Kong).
Reference is made to the interim report 2015 published on 16 December 2015 (the "Interim Report").
As disclosed in the Interim Report, we have been in negotiation for the coal supply contract with our customer. However, the coal market remains weak in general, and this has a marked impact on us in obtaining a coal supply contract for this year in satisfactory terms. We are still negotiating with our customer for a new coal supply contract for the time being. We anticipate the coal price under a new contract, if concluded, will be floating subject to the market price from time to time.
In relation to the claim of outstanding contractor fees by Monnis Mining Equipment LLC, our former overburden removal contractor ("Monnis"), against MoEnCo LLC ("MoEnCo"), our operating subsidiary in Mongolia, judgment has been granted by the Mongolian court in favour of Monnis in the amount of MNT 15.9 billion (Mongolian Tugrik) (approximately HK$61.9 million). The full amount of the outstanding contractor fees has been provided for in the Company's consolidated financial statements for the six months period ended 30 September 2015. As a result of the judgment, MoEnCo has made partial payment of US$500,000 (approximately HK$3.9 million) to Monnis. MoEnCo is now in the final stage of settlement negotiation with Monnis with an aim to achieve an amicable settlement acceptable to both parties.
If the coal supply contract is not forthcoming, our trading prospects will be seriously impacted. These will bring about a temporary shutdown of our coking coal production. By then, only a minimum workforce will be maintained for domestic coal production in the Khushuut Coal Mine to supply coal for the local community in Khovd Aimag, Mongolia. In addition, if the settlement with Monnis could not be reached, Monnis may take enforcement action against MoEnCo, including seizing its properties and assets up to the amount of the unpaid judgment debts and/or winding up application.
Shareholders and potential investors are advised to exercise caution when dealing in the shares of the Company.
Cheng Yu-tung Transfers All Shares in MEC to Family Holding
December 29 (AAStocks) NEW WORLD DEV (00017.HK)'s Honorary Chairman Cheng Yu-tung transferred all his shares in several listed companies with a total value of $3.26 billion to the family holding firm Chow Tai Fook (Holding), Hong Kong Economic Journal reported. Meanwhile, there was a recent change in the stake of Chow Tai Fook Nominee. The news report considered that may involve a family property distribution in later days. The spokesperson from NEW WORLD DEV refused to comment on the private investment in Cheng Yu-tung's family.
The report stated that the transfer included 25.01% stake in GIORDANO INT'L (00709.HK), around 6.66% stake in SHENGJINGBANK (02066.HK), around 46.93% stake in IWS (00923.HK), around 7.71% stake in HSIN CHONG CONS (00404.HK), around 29.22% stake in NEWTIMES ENERGY (00166.HK) and 180.78% stake (including the convertible bonds) in MONGOLIA ENERGY (00276.HK).
January 22 (CEO.CA) Deep below the surface of Mongolia's southern Gobi desert, men and machinery are laying the foundation for a mining enterprise that will drive the country's economy for decades to come.
Mogi: the Mongolia status has been the same for the past many many quarters.
Eumeralla: Quarterly Activities Report, December Quarter 2015
January 25, Eumeralla Resources Ltd. (ASX:EUM) --
The Company understands that approval by the Union Government will be the final step in the approval process and is encouraged by the smooth progress of the Myanmar National Election held on 8 November 2015 and movement to the formation of a new Government. In addition, reforms to the Myanmar Mines Law (1994) continue to move ahead in Parliament, with the final version of the laws expected to be completed in the first half of 2016.
During 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 submitting the report to the Mineral Resources Authority (MRAM) of Mongolia.
Mining Tenements held as at 31 December 2015 per Listing Rule 5.3.3, Mining exploration entities are required to provide the following information in relation to the tenements held.
Summary of Expenditure Incurred per Project
Quarterly Cash Spend
Gauli Securities Leads in Stock Trading Last Week, Standard Investment in Treasuries
January 25 (MSE) Mongolian Stock Exchange organized 5 securities trading sessions and made transaction of MNT1.1 billion with daily average transaction of MNT226.8 million in period between 18 January 2015 and 22 January 2015.
282,501.00 shares of 38 joint stock companies worth of MNT118,580,264.30 were traded.
Most actively traded securities
Most active brokerage companies
Government retail bonds trading:
10,139 Government retail bonds worth of MNT1,013,900,000.00 /1 billion/ traded through one trading session.
Most active brokerage companies for Government securities trading
14 government retail bonds traded on secondary market of Government securities trading and total of 1,400,000.00 transaction has been made.
As of 22 January 2015, market capitalization was MNT1,488,545,638,192.10 which indicated increased of 2.46% and MSE ALL index reached 865.94 units which indicated increased of 0.41% from the previous week.
MSE Trading Report: Top 20 -2.54%, ALL -0.25%, ₮80.5 Million Stocks, ₮9.7 Billion T-Bills
January 25 (MSE) --
₮10 Billion 12-Week 13.56% Discounted T-Bills Sold via MSE, Tenger Capital Covers 97%
January 25 (MSE) On January 25, 2016, 12 week government bonds worth MNT 10.0 billion with 13.560% annual interest rate traded successfully on primary market at Mongolian Stock Exchange.
Below member brokerage companies participated in the bond trading follows:
Historic low ₮2,007.31/USD set January 20, 2016
BoM MNT Rates: Monday, January 25 Close
Bank USD rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy ₮2,001 Sell ₮2,008), Khan (Buy ₮2,000 Sell ₮2,008), Golomt (Buy ₮2,001 Sell ₮2,008), XacBank (Buy ₮2,001 Sell ₮2,008.5), State Bank (Buy ₮2,003 Sell ₮2,008)
MNT vs USD (blue), CNY (red) in last 1 year:
BoM issues ₮138 billion 1-week bills at 12%, total outstanding -23% to ₮305.5 billion, lowest since October
January 25 (BoM) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 138 billion at a weighted interest rate of 12.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
BoM Mortgage Report, December 2015: +0.6% MoM, +20.7% YoY to ₮3.4 Trillion, 75.5% of Which 8%
January 25 (BoM) --
off issued in
Avg. interest on
Link to full report (in Mongolian)
Tracing Economic Growth in Mongolia: Living on Loans
By Hedwig A. Waters
January 22 (UCL) Because of its history with debt, Mongolian culture contains sayings on its negative moral implications. The saying mentioned in Rebecca Empson's blog entry, 'Өргүй бол баян, өвчингүй бол жаргал' ('To be without debt is to be rich, to be without illness is to be happy), alludes to the widespread indebtedness of Mongolians to Qing-era traders in the 18th and 19th centuries. The contemporary Mongolian word for 'loan', zeel, also originated from this period and is derived from the Chinese word for 'loan with interest' (jiè) (Wheeler 2004: 232). Yet, the definition (and moral associations) of zeel has changed considerably historically. During the Socialist-era, for example, prohibition of individual property made formal indebtedness difficult. Instead, this era saw the proliferation of lending, borrowing and trading between family members, friendship groups and acquaintances, which were also called zeel. Utilizing networks (tanil tal) to acquire goods and services was a commonplace occurrence (Sneath 2012: 459).
The multiple meanings of zeel
Mongolians are once again deeply in debt, but the meaning of the word zeel ('loan') has expanded to adapt to the vagaries of this contemporary economy. At its core, a zeel indicates an exchange of money or goods that has a (sometimes indefinitely) delayed reimbursement. Contrary to Western understandings, zeel does not (predominantly) imply an economic transaction between two parties. In fact, similar to the network-building of the Soviet era, Mongolians are simultaneously involved in over a dozen 'loans' in diverse forms like money, dairy products, animals, clothing, and building materials to the bank, their neighbours, their friends, their school, the local kindergarten, etc.
Take the example of Degee, a 31-year-old woman with her own bakery business in the town of Halh-Gol in eastern Mongolia (population roughly 1,687).[i] Like most local small-business owners, Degee took out two currency loans—from the government and from a commercial bank—to finance both her daily expenses (хэрэгцээтэй) and profit-oriented endeavours (үлдэцтэй). Currency turnover is low, she says, so she also engages in a plethora of informal zeel in order to keep her business going in an economically beleaguered community. For example, local government workers, despite having stable jobs, are frequently paid late depending on when the government has money. During this period, many of these workers come to her to get a zeel of goods until their money comes in.[ii] Even the local kindergarten does so, by getting bread and food stuffs from her for the children three times a week to be paid back at the end of the month.
In fact, while talking with Degee in her shop, a herder entered her store. The herder gave Degee dried curds (aarts), in return for a zeel of baked goods she had received—i.e. for having taken bread a few weeks before with a delayed payment. Because of the pastoralist cycle, most herders receive cash during spring, when they can sell the first goods (i.e. wool) produced by their herd that year. Thus, the herder gave her dairy products in order to placate Degee until the herder could pay back the full worth of the baked goods. In addition, the herder left more dried curds at Degee's bakery, for a third-party woman to pick-up at her convenience. This third lady was a trader, and had brought clothing from China and given them to the herder. The curds, left at the bakery, were a (partial) repayment, like an interest, for this zeel of the clothing.
Parliament Agenda for Jan 25: Caucus, Working Group, Standing Committee Meetings
January 25 (gogo.mn) ONE.PARTY GROUPS AND COALITIONS AT STATE GREAT KHURAL SESSIONS:
- DP Group Session at Hall A;
- MPP Group Session at Hall B;
- Justice Coalition Session at Hall C.
PS: In scope of official visit of Prime Minister of Hungary Victor Obman, expanded negotiation between the PMs of two countries to be held at B Hall.
TWO. WORKING GROUP SESSIONS:
- Justice Standing Committee Sub Working Group meeting
- Economy Standing Committee Sub Working Group meeting on Draft law on Transparency in the Mineral Resources Sector
- State Structure Standing Committee Working Group meeting on revised draft law on public service law
- Social Policy, Education, Culture and Science Standing Committee Sub Working Group meeting on revised draft law on children`s right and children`s protection
- Justice Standing Committee Sub Working Group meeting on revised draft law on police department
- Environment, Food and Agriculture Sub Working Group meeting on Animal Health Law
- State Structure Standing Committee meeting on Law on Celebrating Public Festivals and Memorable Days
- Social Policy, Education, Culture and Science Working Group meeting on education law
- Environment, Food and Agriculture Sub Working Group meeting on organic food law
- Standing Committee meeting:
1. Security and Foreign Policy Standing Committee meeting at 2pm.
- Recall some ambassadors and appoint
- Draft resolution of State Great Hural on establishing diplomatic relations with some foreign countries
- Secret issue
Dismissal of PM Ch.Saihanbileg to be Discussed on Thursday
January 25 (gogo.mn) MP G.Uyanga proposed draft resolution to dismiss Prime Minister Ch.Saihanbileg in 2015. The draft resolution must be signed by at least 19 MPs then it will able to be submitted to the State Great Hural.
Independent MPs and some members of MPP and MPRP signed the draft resolution and was submitted to the Speaker of the Parliament. Dismissal of PM Ch.Saihanbileg was planned to be discussed on last Thursday. However, it has postponed due to poor attendance.
Justice Coalition reported that they will not support the draft resolution in accordance with the direct compression and requirements by the Leader of MPRP N.Enhbayar. Although MPs G.Uyanga and O.Baasanhuu announced that they will not change their position.
As MPP Group seated at State Great Hural stated to look back the grounds for the draft resolution, they likely not to support the dismissal of PM.
On Thursday, State Structure Standing Committee is planned to hold meeting and to discuss the dismissal of PM. Dismissal of PM has risk to dissolve the Government for Solution.
Parliament to decide fate of Government - this week – news.mn, January 25
Advisor to Previous PM M.Khuderbaatar Retains Role with PM Saikhanbileg
January 25 (news.mn) Mr M.Khuderbaatar, who previously worked as adviser for the last Mongolian Prime Minister, N.Altankhuyag, has been appointed to the same role for PM Saikhanbileg; he commenced his new job with the "Solution Government" today.
M.Khuderbaatar graduated with a BA in Business Administration at Tokyo Metropolitan University in 2007, with an MA from the Academy of Management in 2010 and with a law degree from the National University of Mongolia in 2012. From 2012 until 2014 he worked as an adviser to Mongolia's 27th Prime Minister, N.Altankhuyag. In 2014, Mr went on to study monitoring at "Griffith University" in Australia.
M.Zorigt: Transportation development depends on Mongolia's relations with China and Russia
January 25 (UB Post) The following is an interview with Minister of Road and Transportation M.Zorigt. He spoke about roads and transportation projects completed last year and plans for this year.
The Ministry of Roads and Transportation does wide-scale development work. Can you tell us what kind of projects were completed for civil aviation last year?
Last year was an important time for defining sustainable development and policy directions, and making large improvements to the civil aviation sector. We completed many progressive works related to aviation personnel, investment and cooperation.
One of the major projects we're implementing for the civil aviation sector is the construction of the new airport in Khushig Valley. This is a comprehensive project that is also related to roads, transportation logistics and railway. The highway to the new airport will be constructed in March. A study is underway for a railway to be built for the development of passenger transportation and logistics. Around a billion USD has been allotted to projects related to the new airport. The airport project has been included in the concession list to increase its investment and social contribution. We're also working to find suitable partners who have been internationally recognized and experienced.
The purpose of the new airport projects is to open an international airport, develop tourism and passenger transportation, as well as improve production and services related to these sectors. We're working to ensure that the full project investment can be retrieved within a specific period, maybe in 30 to 40 years' time. The ministry will meet with the Japanese side within this week to establish a concessional agreement. The negotiations should be finalized by the end of March. Everything related to the staff, operations and equipment of the new airport is being completed at a company specialized in these fields.
State Secretary of the Ministry of Roads and Transportation J.Bat-Erdene recently returned from his business trip to China and Russia. Was there any beneficial negotiations for the aviation sector?
Foreign relations is an important section of the civil aviation sector. Mongolia focuses on two main objectives. The first focus point is to attract investment for enhancing air navigation equipment, ensuring safety and security of aviation companies that conduct flights over Mongolia, and providing necessary services. Mongolia monitors a radius of 30 km at the national level at the moment. The second focus point is expansion of operations and cooperation with China and Russia regarding air transport.
Last November, State Secretary of the Ministry of Roads and Transportation J.Bat-Erdene visited Russia and met with representatives from the Russian civil aviation sector. The two sides were able to agree on a protocol to choose one system for European flights that pass through Mongolia. This means that Russia and Mongolia will co-organize projects to increase the number of airplanes that pass through Mongolia.
Another meeting will be held with the Russian and Chinese sides in February to discuss proposals in more detail and put them to work. Afterwards, experts from both countries will come to Mongolia to assess aviation safety and security.
Is it true that Mongolia will open new air routes?
Mongolia's border with China is longer than the border with Russia. A working group has been assigned to plan routes so that flights from Southeast Asia to Europe can pass through Mongolia and evaluate how Mongolia can increase the number of flights and ensure security. The Chinese working group will come to Mongolia next week and work at the Civil Aviation Authority of Mongolia.
Chinese airplanes headed to the east and back fly around Mongolia. Mongolia has six air corridors with China. At a recent meeting with Chinese representatives, we discussed to open another air corridor and let airplanes headed from Southeast Asia to Europe pass through Mongolia. In general, we annually meet with the Russian and Chinese sides to discuss and determine various issues related to the aviation sector. I'm sure that some progressive decisions will be made at the meeting to be held in February.
What has the ministry done for the railway sector?
Mongolia has only one railway and it is owned by the Ulaanbaatar Railway Joint Stock Company. Domestic cargo makes up 80 percent of the cargo turnover of Ulaanbaatar Railway JSC. This is not efficient. The company is in a difficult condition. The Ministry of Roads and Transportation is working with Russia and China to strengthen the financial capacity of the railway sector and increase profitable cargos.
We've reached an agreement regarding the introduction of transit transportation with our two neighboring countries. Mongolia started a transit transportation of crude oil with Russian Rosneft Company from late 2015. The overall projection shows that it's possible to annually ship 3.2 to four million tons of crude oil through Mongolia. We have to maintain and even increase the amount of transit transportation. The Mongolian side proposed a joint transit transportation company of Mongolia, Russia and China during our recent meeting. The required documents have been developed and sent to the Chinese and Russian sides. All sides will consult on this joint company within the first quarter of 2016. Establishing a joint company will help increase railway transit transportation and enhance financial capacity.
We've been aiming to make profitable decisions for investment issues lately. That's why, the ministry started a project to upgrade alarm and communications systems, which have been discussed for many years. The air throughput will increase by a minimum of 30 percent if the project is successful. Air cargo throughput can even reach 36 million tons a year. Our policy encourages the private sector to invest.
Gashuun Sukhait railway has been causing quite a turmoil among politicians and businessmen. How is the railway development work progressing? Will it be completed within 2016?
The 267-km-long railway between Tavan Tolgoi and Gashuun Sukhait has been discussed for many years. It's become stagnant at the moment. We're discussing to restart the project this year at the government level. We're focusing on attracting investment for it as a railway development project rather than connecting it to a mining project.
Development of roads is an important part of the transportation sector. Tell us about the road projects that will commence this year?
Several roads will be constructed this year with foreign grants and loans. A road will be built between Baruun Urt to Bichigt Town. The road can later be developed into a cross-country road. We hope to connect this road to Russia.
The ministry will focus on the railway construction that will follow this road from Khuut coal mine. The route of the railway will be Khuut coal mine-Bichigt-Choibalsan-Ereentsav soum center- Solovevsk, Russia. As for the western region, a 189-km-long road is under construction from Khovd to Ulgii. This road is strategically significant for Mongolia as it connects our northern and southern neighboring countries.
We're also discussing to add international routes to the highway from Zamiin-Uud border point to Altanbulag soum.
Although Mongolia is a land-locked country, it's important to develop maritime transportation. What is the ministry doing to expand operations of Mongolian registered ships in Singapore?
Maritime transportation has become the backbone of international trade and the global economy. It's more of a relation rather than a transport. Mongolia is engaged in maritime transportation through a joint venture in Singapore. We've established a Mongolia-South Korean joint company at a harbor in South Korea. The ministry is negotiating cooperation proposals for maritime transportation with the USA and other countries.
Financing private sector champions in Mongolia
The EBRD supported the expansion of Mongolian ice-cream maker Teso with local currency lending and business advice.
When in the late 1990s Damjin Odon, his sisters and brothers left behind agricultural trading in their remote village of Western Mongolia for Ulaanbaatar, all they had was a second-hand ice-cream machine in a small rented room - and many challenges.
Link to release (includes video)
Golomt Financial Group Recognized by WEF as a Global Growth Company
January 22 (Golomt Financial Group) Global Growth Companies (GGC), a subsidiary organization of World Economic Forum, consisting of 400 top enterprises from more than 65 countries around the world, has named Golomt Financial Group as Global Growth Company of 2016 representing Mongolia.
Global Finance Magazine Names Golomt Bank as Mongolia's Best Internet Bank of 2015 – Golomt Financial Group, January 21
Naadam Cashmere: The Simple Tools I'm Using to Disrupt a Thousand-Year-Old Industry
Here's how to effectively do business abroad.
We were lucky: we work with people who relate to the core of our business. We all agree on the "why" behind the "how" or "what." We are collaborating on something that requires no translation; it is a belief system. This belief system then has ripple effects from our operation to our customer and becomes the common thread behind everything we do. Trust becomes a given, and the relationship is a bond.
When I show up in the Gobi Desert this June, I will be greeted like a returning family member. With wide smiles and a better understanding of the customs, we continue to do business.
Matt Scanlan is the CEO and co-founder of Naadam Cashmere, a socially-conscious brand that sources cashmere from local herders in Mongolia.
EU: Greening Mongolia's Construction Industry
January 22 (SWITCH-Asia Programme, EU) In recent years, Mongolia's construction industry has expanded rapidly, along the country's development and urbanisation. However traditional construction practice and imports of many construction products have produced a negative environmental impact.
By promoting fly ash-based construction products, the Greener Construction project is innovating the industry offering a cleaner and more sustainable production alternative.
Link to release (video)
Public transportation burdening lives of UB residents
January 25 (UB Post) Even though the public transportation system was improved last year and new technology was introduced, the public is still not satisfied with how the system works. When it is 30 degrees Celsius degree outside, having to wait at least 30 minutes outdoors to catch a bus is really hard, especially for children.
This has become a problem for people who finish their work a little later than the majority. After 7:00 p.m., public transportation becomes rare, even along the central roads. When a bus finally arrives, it's usually full. But in order to get home, people just get in and cram together, like animals. Those who can't get on have to wait for another half hour for the next bus, but it is still uncertain if another bus will come. The later it gets, the more rare buses become. Because it is unbearably cold, people ask each other where they are traveling and take taxis together to split fares.
Crowded buses are good for thieves, many claim that the best place for stealing is public transportation. Passengers need to always be cautious about their belongings. Stepping on someone's foot, or getting pushed is nothing while traveling by bus. We all endure these difficulties when using public transportation, but with the amount of money recently invested in public transportation, why are we being packed in like cattle? We are living in a metropolitan city with over million residents.
After 10 p.m., you can forget about taking public transportation to get home. You do have the option to get on available microbuses that drive like crazy, take a taxi, or walk home. People can't always take a taxi, they prefer buying bread for their family instead of spending their money on taxis. Public transportation should be providing service to people without any problems until at least 10 p.m.
When the new system was introduced it should have considered any issues that might be faced. Of course, there are many advantages to the new smart system. For example, you can find bus routes at some bus stops, but not all. In other countries bus routes and schedules are displayed at all bus stops, and you can easily check how long it will be before your bus is supposed to come. But in Mongolia, even though we don't know if any bus will arrive, we still hopefully wait.
Another problem related to public transportation is that bus drivers drive much faster than they should. When I once saw a picture on Facebook that compared the biggest rollercoaster in the world to Mongolia's public transportation, I thought that the comparison was too extreme. But as I am now a regular bus rider, I do sometimes feel like I'm riding a rollercoaster.
Before introducing the new system, drivers and conductors were getting bonuses based on their fare collection. But now, even though the number of passengers doesn't matter for bonuses, bus drivers still drive like crazy sometimes. When passengers complain and tell drivers to drive calmly, drivers say that if you don't want sit quietly, just get off and take a taxi, which leads me to my next point: the city administration should involve drivers in training to improve their work ethic.
On the other side of the argument, passengers do irritate drivers by asking a bunch of questions. As bus routes are now displayed at most bus stops and more people can easily see which bus goes where, passengers shouldn't be bothering drivers with these kinds of questions. Even though the public is complaining to bus service providers and the city administration, nothing ever really improves. Both sides of the public transportation system, providers and passengers, need to improve their ethics. That's definitely an issue that needs to be tackled to improve the lives of Ulaanbaatar residents.
International Conference on UB Air Pollution Underway at Shangri-La
January 25 (news.mn) At the initiative of Speaker Z.Enkhbold an International Conference "Air Pollution: Effect on Children's Health and Solutions" is being held from 25th to 26th January at the Shangri-La Hotel in Ulaanbaatar.
The conference is being organized by the UN-Children's Fund, the Ministry of Health and Sport, the Ministry of Environment Green Development and Tourism, the National Children's Authority and the Social Health Society. Approximately, 160 representatives from Mongolia, the USA, the United Kingdom, Australia, China, and South Korea are participating in the international conference.
The guests will discuss the damage air pollution causes children - especially embryos; pneumonia and other lung maladies UB children suffer from will also be studied.
It is hoped that the main outcome of the conference will to take solid steps on the basis of expert advice and recommendations in the fields of prevention and mitigation.
New policy to connect people without apartments to empty flats
By D. Jargalsaikhan
January 25 (gogo.mn) Last week, in my article titled "Mongolian Alchemists", I wrote that the authorities are printing MORE MONEY to force development, and it resembles a snowball rolling down from the top of a mountain.
I explained that the way they are printing more money, supporting the demand for housing and granting soft loans with an interest rate that is two times lower than the market rate (eight percent), will eventually increase inflation and add to financial burdens for all taxpayers.
This step is basically encouraging people to purchase apartments that have not been built based on demand in the market, and that do not have any public infrastructure in their proximity. In other words, people are being urged to buy these apartments at more expensive rates before the market naturally lowers their prices.
Soft housing loans are now being provided to people who have a steady paying job and are registered in the formal economy. Now, there is a need to think about the people who are in the informal, grey economy, and how to provide them with housing opportunities.
Here are some thoughts on providing people with apartments connected to basic infrastructure, how to better position the supply alongside supporting demand, and what monetary policies can be implemented to support these objectives.
SOLUTIONS FOR SUPPLY
The main reason why the 30,000 readily available apartments in Ulaanbaatar are not being purchased today is that they are too expensive to buy. Their prices include all bribery that was paid for numerous permits, such as land, construction, and connection to the electricity grid.
Nevertheless, the 200,000 households who are doing everything they can to get into those apartments simply do not have the necessary income.
In order to give these households an opportunity to buy an apartment that fits their purchasing power and needs, the government could enable construction companies to build such apartments by providing a guarantee or agreeing to have Mongol Bank buy bonds from the construction companies after the apartments start getting sold. This way, the government can support housing supply that meets the market's demands.
This measure to increase monetary supply by acquiring bonds is known as quantitative easing.
Furthermore, with the objective of providing housing opportunities to pensioners and people with low or no income, we could follow Singapore's example and have our local government purchase studio apartments for rental.
If we manage to reduce bribery and corruption in the government, people who own extra capital can start buying shares of investment funds, or have involvement by establishing an investment fund through crowdfunding, which has recently spread in Mongolia.
When that happens, the capital market will see improvements, and people will have another choice besides putting their money into a savings account.
Let me mention three of the several steps we urgently need to take in order to effectively resolve the housing issue in Mongolia and get rid of the smog problem by transferring ger districts residents to apartments connected to central heating and sewage systems.
THREE NECESSARY STEPS
First, all land, publically or privately owned, needs to be differentiated and registered. Afterwards, land ownership and use have to be registered while setting out the principles for land use in legislation.
We should have already done this, but the central government and local governments have no desire to implement such projects, or simply do not possess the capability to do so. For example, the authorities are scared to death of publically disclosing who sold the publically-owned Yarmag, to which individuals or companies they were sold to, and what prices they were sold for.
Instead of stopping the embezzlement of Zaisan land carried out by their predecessors, the current authorities are continuing it in Yarmag. The two large political parties are still keeping it secret who is behind it all.
Second, a municipal zone development map needs to be produced and disclosed publically, so that it is clear to everyone where plants can or cannot be built and at which locations free trade zones or public infrastructure are going to be set up. The map can be put online.
Such plans to develop infrastructure should be announced two to three years before the commencement of a project's construction, and any organization that is operating in a zone that is not designated for a particular activity should be imposed with fines.
If we do not have this map and continue to auction land, corruption related to land ownership and use will never go away. This work has not been done because the central government and local dignitaries do not see any advantage for themselves in the process.
A clear example: even though the government has talked for almost 20 years about moving factories that process animal skin out of the capital, nothing has been done.
Third, we need to reduce the size of the informal economy and register all businesses. Mongolia's informal economy is quite big large compared to those of developed countries. It explains why the tax policy we've copied from developed countries is too tough and limits the desire and opportunity of people to do business.
In order to shrink the informal economy, our tax policy needs to be softened while improving the process of registering businesses. For example, we have seen that setting the value-added tax (VAT) at 10 percent and having a smaller population pay it does not resolve the problem.
Most businesses do not pay VAT, and those who pay it are under enormous pressure. Therefore, if we reduce VAT to five percent and have everyone pay for it, the state's tax revenue will see a significant increase.
Although allowing people to receive two percent refunds for their VAT payments is a good step, the informal economy can be shrunk by reducing VAT and having everyone pay it. The work around housing will become more effective if the formal economy has more people and businesses registered as part of it.
If the housing supply truly meets the market's demand, many households will get an apartment. It will also help the construction industry to develop and become more resistant to the crises we are seeing today.
Hungary, Mongolia Strike $25 Million Loan Deal As PM Orbán Pays Official Visit To Ulaanbaatar
January 25 (Hungary Today) Hungary and Mongolia are both successful countries and their governments have an interest in sharing this success, the Hungarian prime minister said in Ulaanbaatar. Viktor Orbán, on a three-day official visit, held talks in the capital city with counterpart Chimediin Saikhanbileg on Monday. "Over the past years, Mongolia has developed at a tremendous rate and Hungary's economic performance is outstanding in European comparison," Orbán told a press conference, adding that Mongolia showed interest in jointly harnessing the two countries' capabilities.
Viktor Orbán said his visit would help to deepen the two countries' friendship and business cooperation. Orbán noted that Hungary reopened its embassy in the Mongolian capital last year. "We have returned to Mongolia," he said, noting that his delegation comprises 50 leaders of successful Hungarian businesses seeking cooperation with local companies. The Prime Minister welcomed the signing of bilateral agreements, including an agreement on Hungary's Eximbank opening a 25 million dollar credit line to finance the revamp of a Mongolian bioplant, a protocol on reviewing contracts, as well as a letter of intent on cooperation between Eximbank and the Mongolian Development Bank.
On Tuesday, Orbán will have talks with Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, as well as with government members. The Hungarian government considers Mongolia a key partner in the region, the Economy Ministry told news agency MTI in connection with the Hungarian delegation's visit to Mongolia. Possible areas for closer cooperation, including food production, agriculture, engineering and vehicle production, urban development, water and waste management, construction, alternative energy and environment protection, the Ministry added.
Five Documents Signed Between Mongolia and Hungary During PM Orbán's Visit
January 25 (gogo.mn) At the invitation of the Prime Minister of Mongolia H.E. Mr. Ch.Saikhanbileg, the Prime Minister of Hungary H.E. Mr. Viktor Orbán is paying an official visit to Mongolia. During the visit the following bilateral cooperation documents were signed:
- The Government of Mongolia and the Government of Hungary concerning the validity of the bilateral treaties between Mongolia and Hungary;
- Agreement between the Government of Mongolia and the Government of Hungary about the establishment of a framework programme for financial co-operation;
- Memorandum of Understanding between the Development Bank of Mongolia and the Hungarian Export-Import Bank;
- Contract of Cooperation between the National registration and statistics office of Mongolia and the Hungarian Banknote printing shareholding company;
- Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between the Ulaanbaatar City Government and the Budapest Waterworks Private company limited by shares.
Prime Minister of Hungary accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Minister of Defence, Minister of Economy, Minister of the National Development, Minister of Food and Agriculture as well as more than 60 business representatives from 40 companies.
In scope of the visit, Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry in cooperation with The Hungarian National Trade Organization (WTO) are to organize a Mongolian-Hungarian business forum on Jan 25, 26.
Mongolia-Hungary economic cooperation will be brought to a newer level – Montsame, January 25
Speaker meets Prime Minister of Hungary – Montsame, January 25
Saikhanbileg: "Hungary can penetrate huge markets through Mongolia"
Ulaanbaatar, January 25 (MONTSAME) Although geographically is far from Hungary and the European Union (EU), Mongolia is placed between the massive markets of Russia and China, so Hungarian businessmen can penetrate into these huge markets through Mongolia.
The Prime Minister of Mongolia Ch.Saikhanbileg said it while addressing a Mongolia-Hungary business forum on Monday at the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, within an official visit of the Hungarian Premier to Mongolia.
Mongolia has more than 60 million heads of livestock, so it can produce and export meat, meat products, cashmere and woolen goods, Saikhanbileg said and emphasized that the country can also process its mineral resources such as gold, copper and coal with progressive technologies and provide both domestic and foreign markets with the products.
Noting that the governments established some important documents, Mr Saikhanbileg said the two countries have big opportunities to collaborate also culture and arts.
"In order to make the investment environment more reliable and favorable, Mongolian parliament has passed a new law on investment," the Premier pointed out and urged Hungarian businessmen to make investments in Mongolia.
The Mongolia-Hungary business forum has brought together over 240 businessmen of Mongolia and 40 of Hungary. At the end of the event, the presidents of the countries' chambers of commerce and industry signed a cooperation contract.
"Mongolian Night" at World Economic Forum
January 25 (news.mn) On 23rd January, as is the tradition, a "Mongolian Night" was held at the 46th World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, the purpose being to introduce the Mongolian economy, investment opportunities and future projects to particpants of the WEF. The event showcases Mongolian art, culture and unique features; it also opens the possibility for world famous companies to consider cooperation.
"Mongolian Night" was attended by Mongolian President Ts.Elbegdorj and the founder of the WEF Dr Klaus Schwab.
Mongolia Night takes over Davos – Montsame, January 25
Mongolian and Swiss Presidents meet
January 25 (news.mn) President Elbegdorj, who is currently attending the 46th World Economic Forum in Davos, has had a meeting with the President of Switzerland Johann Schneider-Ammann.
During the meeting, the two presidents expressed their satisfaction on co-operation development; they also discussed the possibilities of deepening relationships in many directions. Another topic was that of Mongolian achievements in strengthening democracy.
Relating to the topic of "Mongolian Neutrality", which was announced during the 70th UN-General Assembly, President Schneider-Ammann shared the Swiss experience of neutrality which dates back to the end of the Napoleonic Wars; Switzerland declared "Permanent Neutrality" in 1815.
"Mongolia and Switzerland can boost their cooperation in many spheres" – Montsame, January 25
President arrives back home from Davos
January 25 (MONTSAME) The President of Mongolia Mr Elbegdorj returned home on Monday after participating in the 46th World Economic Forum, held in Davos, Switzerland, under the theme "The Fourth Industrial Revolution", from 19th to 23d of January.
On the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Mongolian delegation had organized the "Mongolia night" event to introduce the country's economic environment, investment opportunities and development goals.
The President of Mongolia Mr Elbegdorj and Mr Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, were present at the event.
The "Mongolia night" showcases the unique culture and traditional heritages of the country and opens new cooperation opportunities for both domestic and international companies. The event attracted representatives of possible investors and world giants, namely, Mitsubishi Corporation, Saudi Aramco, Thomson Reuters, Bahrain Petroleum Company BSC, The Financial Times, Carnegie Mellom University and many others.
Mongolia receives new batch of Russian military equipment including T-72A main battle tanks
January 24 (Army Recognition) During a ceremony on December 9, 2015, Mongolia has take the delivery of Russian military equipment including T-72A main battle tanks and modernized BTR-70M APC. This transfer of combat equipment to Mongolia is provided in the framework of military and technical assistance of the Russian Federation.
This shipment of modernized T-72A tanks and accompanying equipment to bolster the defense potential of the country was transferred to Mongolia under the current contract.
The ceremony which took place in the 1st mechanized infantry brigade of the Mongolian army was attended The Russian ambassador and Defense attaché of the Russian embassy in Mongolia.
In the past Mongolia has already received Russian-made military equipment including 100 main battle tanks T-72A, 40 BTR-70M APC, 20 BTR-80 and some military trucks.
The bilateral relations between Mongolia and the Russian Federation have been traditionally strong since the Communist era, when the Soviet Union supported Mongolian People's Republic.
Military-technical and defense cooperation between Russia and Mongolia is seeing intense development and has a rich history, starting in 1921. A great amount of armored and aviation hardware, combat planes and helicopters, artillery and air defense equipment has been transferred to Mongolia in the past decades.
Currently, Russian-Mongolian cooperation in the sphere is based on the Intergovernmental agreement on providing Mongolia with gratuitous military-technical assistance of 2004 and the Russian-Mongolian program of military-technical cooperation in the medium term of 2014.
The BTR-70M is a modernized version of the standard BTR-70 APC with turret, diesel engine and rear hull section of the BTR-80.
The T-72A is a further development of the T-72 which enters in service wit the Russian army in 1979. The T-72A is fitted with a new laser range-finder sight TPD-K1, a new 125mm cannon 2A46, 81 mm smoke grenade launcher system Type 902B, upgraded suspension for improved cross-country mobility and installation of a V-46-6 diesel engine.
This version also had a significant increase in armour protection, especially over the frontal arc of the turret.
Mogi: well, firstly, it's fermented horse milk. Secondly, …
The time Hillary Clinton drank warm horse milk in Mongolia
· Hillary Clinton drank warm horse milk during a trip to Mongolia in 1995
· Clinton said the traditional nomadic drink tasted 'like yogurt that you would leave out for a week'
Des Moines, Iowa, January 24 (CNN) Hillary Clinton once drank warm horse milk in Mongolia -- and it tasted "sort of like yogurt that you would leave out for a week."
As she was headed back to her plane, her doctor raised a red flag.
Vocational training center opens in Bayanzurkh District
January 25 (UB Post) Expert, a new vocational training center, opened in Bayanzurkh District on January 22.
Expert has 14 teachers and nine volunteers. It was opened with support from the district's Labor Department to encourage household production and to give beginner-level vocational training to citizens of all ages. The vocational training center includes courses to prepare tailors for traditional and European apparel, cooks, hairdressers, beauticians, childcare providers, and eldercare workers, as well as offer courses in meditation, acupuncture, and writing projects for small and medium-sized businesses.
Members of Parliament D.Arvin, J.Batzandan, and D.Gankhuyag were joined by Minister of Labor G.Bayarsaikhan in attending the opening ceremony for the vocational training center. "The new vocational training center allows Bayanzurkh District residents to take professional courses, and it supports household production. So you can sell your products, but also get vocational training. I hope you actively participate in their activities, improve your living standards, and increase your income," said J.Batzandan. "The funding for the vocational center was allocated in the 2014 state budget. I am glad there's a center to support micro-businesses," said D.Gankhuyag at the opening ceremony.
A New Mentorship Project Begins in Ulaanbaatar
Ulaanbaatar, January 20 (Global Shapers Community) On December 26, twelve young Mongolians received an email that invited them into a year-long journey of personal development--they were accepted into the inaugural "Young Professionals' Group" of Mongolia Chapter, a character and potential-based mentorship program.
"Young adult professionals face a serious problem throughout their career path due to lack of mentoring and coaching. And that's what we're changing with this program," said Ganzorig Vanchig, co-founder of the YPG-Mongolia chapter and a Young Global Leadership (YGL) member.
The non profit Young Professional's Group was founded in 2000 in the USA. Its goal: to provide character-based scholarship and mentorship to college aged students. Today, the YPG has expanded to a total of 6 chapters India and Mongolia, with a large network of professionals in business, non-profit, medicine, law, education, engineering and government.
"This project's immediate goal is to show the importance and value of mentoring. In the long term, we are aiming for developing a mentorship culture within Mongolian companies, universities and high schools," said Bolor-Erdene Tumurchudur, co-founder of YPG-Mongolia and a Global Shaper of Ulaanbaatar Hub.
When this mentorship program was announced in November 10, 2015, the selection criterias were age range of 20-29, Ulaanbaatar residency and 2 years of professional experience.
Twenty two applications were shortlisted, and out of the many competitive submissions the YPG commission selected twelve mentees. Aside from the standard criteria, the commission gave priorities for candidates with greater impact potential and interest in innovative fields (e.g. big data and green development), and ensured that gender equality was maintained.
"I agreed to be a mentor with YPG because I believe in giving back to the community. And helping younger someone with their career and personal development is a great way to give back. So far, I am impressed with the level of organization from YPG as well as preparedness of the mentees. The mentees were well prepared to speak about their medium term and long term career aspirations as well as their personal strengths and weaknesses. I have already met with my mentee Zagarsuren on Monday this week. Him being prepared allowed our meeting to be effective. I am hoping to make a difference in his life and hopefully will have more information and update for you the reader in the coming months," said Mergen Chuluun, Director of Wagner Asia in Mongolia.
The 12 mentors of the program, who are also gender equal, come from media, business development, mining and 4 other crucial sectors. One of the mentors is even a Parliament member.
"I think that it's a great opportunity for us to learn from an experienced mentors who can provide us wisdom about career challenges and satisfactions and how to enhance our strengths, discover our hidden talents, and expand our professional network." said mentee Jargaldavaa Lkhagvasuren, Enterprise Business Development specialist at Unitel Group.
Aside from one-on-one mentorship, the mentees are to have a group training each month and a bootcamp in the summer. Their first session was in January 16 on Mongolian Media and Current Situation and Media Self-Regulation.
"The January training was entirely well structured, highly informative and very benefiting for all young professionals to think critically about media. On behalf of all mentees, I would like to thank organizers for giving us this opportunity," said Jargaldavaa. "I believe that next trainings will also be beneficial for both our personal and professional development, and our Mentors will share us their own experiences, give us advice and guidance on how to see the obstacles we face in our career path, and how to overcome them."
Award-winning forester helps fight malnutrition while greening the steppes of Mongolia
January 2016 (FAO) --
This is the sixth in a 12 part series of FAO beneficiary stories from RAP countries. This one focuses on a woman in Mongolia who has done a lot to improve forestry and vegetable farming.
Transforming Communities: Empowering Local Women Representatives in Mongolia
· UNDP Mongolia's project "Capacity Strengthening of Local Self-Governing Bodies" (CSLSB) organized the National Training Programme in 2013-2014.
· The first training of its kind in Mongolia.
· Funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
· 7,290 representatives attended the Training Programme in 2013-2014.
· 1518 out of 2204 women representatives attended the "Women Leadership in Local Governance" training or Women's Leadership Training (as of October 2015).
· Regional conferences held in Khangai, Eastern, Central and Western were held to discuss the Law on Administrative and Territorial Units and their Governance (LATUG). Out of the 325 women reps and khural staff, 82 were women.
· UNDP Mongolia organized two study tours to Switzerland for Parliament Members and local government representatives.
Tov, Mongolia, January 2016 (UNDP Mongolia) – After graduating from university in Mongolia's capital Ulaanbaatar, D. Bertsetseg returned to her hometown of Zuunmod soum [subdivision of aimag, or province] in Tov aimag where she worked in education for 30 years. "I came back to my soum to educate the future of Zuunmod–its school students," Bertsetseg explains. Zuunmod soum is situated 43 km from Ulaanbaatar and comprised of more than 4,600 households, with a total population of 16,000 inhabitants.
Bertsetseg was drawn into the politics like many other Mongolians in the times of democratic transition of the 1990s. After working as an election campaign manager, supporting women running for office, and being twice nominated herself, she was eventually elected into the soum's Citizen Representative Hural in 2012.
Following her appointment, Bertsetseg took part in UNDP Mongolia's National Training Programme for all khural representatives. Based on the representatives' self-assessment, the tailored training included core topics such as citizen participation in decision-making, public financial management, ethics, green development, human rights, and gender.
"I have very good impressions of the Training Programme, as we learned a lot of useful things from the Training directly, and also learned from other experiences indirectly by engaging and sharing with neighboring soums," Bertsetseg describes its impact. "What stood out to all of us were discussions on Local Development Fund and community development."
Bertsetseg also participated in the country's first nationwide Women's Leadership Training organized by UNDP Mongolia in 2014 and 2015: "The Training affected us women in a very positive way since there are 14 women representatives in Zuunmod soum hural." The Training will reach all women representatives in Mongolia. Its curriculum includes topics such as leadership, social structure frameworks, power dynamics, and human rights.
"I hope that the Trainings' impact will continue to empower women representatives including their legal knowledge on the decision-making process. Women are the backbone of the family and the bedrock of a community. With more women in power, I believe we would have more harmony, more engagement, less suffering, and less conflict."
Having been involved in UNDP Mongolia's project and its trainings, Bertsetseg established a women representatives' 'Local Leadership Club' in Zuunmod soum hural. "I could see big power that the women representatives involved in the trainings had. I felt we, women leaders, can understand each other and find a common language and solutions. Through the Club, the women leaders will learn and will get involved in community projects and activities. Then they can lead other local women. "
The Club initiated a number of activities in the Zuunmod community. A dancing club for the elderly was started. To engage young people as well, the Club created 'Let's volunteer Zuunmod' program. The volunteer program will mobilize young volunteers and help the local organizations in forming a volunteer network, thus increasing citizens' participation and improving youth's life skills.
Bertsetseg believes that being a part of the soum's khural means "being a responsible leader, ensuring better future for the community, while also voicing people's needs when shaping local policies."
Mongolia: Extreme Winter Condition Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA)
DREF operation n° MDRMN005
Date of issue: 15 January 2016
Date of disaster: 25 November 2015
Operation manager: Baktiar Mambetov, Acting Head of Country Cluster Support
Point of contact (name and title): Bolormaa Nordov, Secretary General of Mongolian Red
Operation start date: 14 January 2016
Operation end date: 14 April 2016 (3 months)
Operation budget: CHF 158,459
DREF allocated: CHF 158,459
Number of people assisted: 1,500 families (7,500 people)
Host National Society(ies) present (n° of volunteers, staff, branches):
Mongolian Red Cross Society (MRCS) has 33 mid- level and over 800 primary level branches working all over Mongolia, it has 12,500 volunteers and 70,000 youth members. MRCS has 7 established regional disaster preparedness centers.
Host National Society(ies) present (n° of volunteers, staff, branches):
Mongolian Red Cross Society (MRCS) has 33 mid- level and over 800 primary level branches working all over Mongolia, it has 12,500 volunteers and 70,000 youth members. MRCS has 7 established regional disaster preparedness centers.
Red Cross Red Crescent Movement partners actively involved in the operation:
The National Society works with International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in this operation
Other partner organizations actively involved in the operation:
Mongolia National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)
A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster
Mongolia is experiencing very low temperatures and heavy snowfall since early November 2015, locally named Dzud1 . According to the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA), snow has covered 90 per cent of the total territory with conditions getting more severe, with the thickness of snow cover between 10 - 40 cm (density 0.12 – 0.24 g/c.cm).
Based on the latest assessment report released from the Mongolian Government in early January 2016, 50 soums (districts) in 16 aimags (provinces) are currently categorized as experiencing Dzud while 120 soums in 20 provinces are on the edge of entering Dzud condition. Some local level governments have already declared Dzud in their respective soums as part of the early warning and preparedness measures.
The Information and Research Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment has indicated that based on the weather forecast, continuous snowfall, snowstorms and temperatures are expected to persist on average of below -25 degrees Celsius during daytime and -38 degrees during night in the coming weeks. These will further affect more than 965,000 people, especially vulnerable herders living in the affected soums.
On a spiritual prowl for the elusive, endangered snow leopard
By Terrence Edwards
January 4 (The Los Angeles Times) High atop a mountain in Mongolia, a team of trackers splits into three groups to check their traps each morning. Their goal: to catch a snow leopard, one of the most elusive creatures on Earth, so rare that few have seen one of the big cats in the wild.
After failing to catch a leopard during the first week of their expedition, the World Wildlife Fund team members are growing anxious. Over three expeditions to track and collar the big cats since summer, they've caught only one leopard. Are they going to end up empty-handed this time?
But as crew members are slurping down steaming bowls of traditional milk tea, they get their first break. A herdsman who has heard about their expedition calls to say that a leopard has attacked his flock of sheep and goats.
The team members know that leopards typically return to the site of an initial attack to feast after nightfall, so they surround a sheep's carcass with snare traps.
Then, they wait.
The following morning, they return to the spot at the foot of Jargalant Khairkhan mountain here in Mongolia's Khovd province. The flesh of the sheep has been entirely eaten away, but no traps have been sprung.
They curse their bad luck — and they marvel again at the leopard's skills of evasion.
Known as the "spirit of the mountain" to locals, snow leopards are rarely seen in the wild because of how well their spotted white fur blends in with their surroundings. Not quite white as snow, as the name might suggest, their fur is still striking — especially in contrast with the crystal-blue eyes found on some.
The big cats are increasingly threatened as developing Mongolia rapidly expands its economy. With just 3 million people in a country about the size of Alaska, Mongolia is the least densely populated nation. Still, the migration routes of wildlife have been cut off as the country lays down more and more pavement for roads and track for rail, and as developments such as mining projects encroach on age-old habitats.
For the snow leopards at Jargalant, and the rest of Mongolia, the biggest threat is encroachment by the country's tens of thousands of herders. An explosion in the number of horses, cattle, sheep and goats has set off a war between nomads and wildlife. To herders, snow leopard attacks on their animals are common and can cost them thousands of dollars.
Of the 4,000 to 6,500 snow leopards the World Wildlife Fund believes remain in the wild, 800 to 1,000 are here in Mongolia. They're listed as endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species.
Mongolia's WWF team has a mission: to protect their range.
Soronzobold was 13 when he caught a glimpse of his first "spotted brother." The snow leopard slunk past a boulder while the teen was tending to his family's livestock in the wilds of western Mongolia.
"It lasted about two minutes, but I've thought about it my whole life," he says.
Soronzobold, who like many Mongolian nomads goes by a single name, remembered his grandmother's advice: Don't try to hurt the elusive feline, even though it poses a mortal threat to the herd. Not that he would have been able to anyway, being so mesmerized by the agile and graceful movements of the big cat.
In the more than two decades since, Soronzobold has encountered endangered snow leopards often enough to hear and see things in the wild that few experts have observed. Now, he's on a mission to protect the animals, putting his specialized knowledge to use for the WWF to monitor the 37 snow leopards it believes inhabit Jargalant mountain.
In November, he welcomed seven WWF staff members into his traditional felt dwelling, known as a ger, transforming the round tent into a base camp for wildlife specialists. It was a bit crowded in the windowless white structure, but the extra bodies kept it toasty while temperatures outside dipped to minus-5 degrees.
The specialists knew they would have to summon all of their patience, and hope for some extraordinary luck.
"It depends on our team and also nature," said Dalannast Munkhnast, a species specialist. "I would say it's a 50-50 chance."
T.Daria becomes Mongolia's first Asian tennis champion
January 25 (UB Post) Mongolian tennis player T.Daria won the girls' singles category at the ITF Asia 14 & Under Development Championships 2016, which is taking place in Bangkok, Thailand from January 17 to 29.
On January 23, she played against Malaysian athlete Elysia Wan for gold and won 6:2.
She is the first and only Mongolian to win an Asian Championship title in tennis.
T.Daria lives in Canada with her family.
The Mongolian national tennis team comprised of three male and three female athletes.
A total of 76 athletes of 15 teams from 18 countries are competing in singles, couples and mixed couples categories at the championship.
Sia Records 'Angel By The Wings' for New Film 'The Eagle Huntress': Exclusive
January 20 (Billboard) Sia is spreading her wings with the contribution of a "girl power anthem" for the upcoming documentary film, The Eagle Huntress.
The Australian artist has recorded a new song, "Angel By The Wings," specifically for the coming-of-age film, which will earn its world premiere Jan. 24 at the Sundance Film Festival.
According to a rep, "Angel By The Wings" is an "uplifting pop song" which "showcases Sia's mesmerizing vocals, inspiring listeners to look up to the sky, before unleashing a powerful refrain of 'You can do anything.' These lyrics, apparently capture the lead character's own "indomitable spirit and positive message of female empowerment."
"I'm incredibly grateful that Sia took the time to write and record this very special song," comments the film's director, Otto Bell. "It's a wonderful vote of confidence for our documentary. I could not have imagined a more fitting, timeless piece of music for the film - it's such a beautiful girl power anthem!"
The Eagle Huntress follows the story of Aisholpan, a 13-year old Mongolian girl who is striving to become the first female eagle hunter in 2,000 years of male dominated history.
The film "not only explores the life of a young girl striving to pursue her passion and break down gender barriers in a very traditional culture," notes the team behind the Jan. 21-31 Sundance fest, "but also provides an engaging glimpse into the lives of this remote community, as they balance their traditional lifestyle with the modern world."
Set in the Altai Mountains of Northwestern Mongolia, it's the first feature documentary from director Otto Bell, and its executive produced by Morgan Spurlock, the filmmaker who scored an Academy Award nomination for his international hit documentary from 2004, Super Size Me.
"Angel By The Wings", written by Sia and Greg Kurstin via Monkey Puzzle Records, won't appear on Sia's new album, This is Acting, due Jan. 29. It's the follow-up to 1000 Forms Of Fear, which debuted at No. 1 in the U.S. and Australia following its release in July 2014.
DAISY RIDLEY SIGNS ON AS EXEC PRODUCER OF THE EAGLE HUNTRESS
January 24 (IGN) Star Wars: The Force Awakens star Daisy Ridley has signed on as executive producer for director Otto Bell's documentary, The Eagle Huntress.
Morgan Spurlock, another executive producer on the film, told Deadline that Ridley joined after seeing part of the film, saying that it uncovers an "epic tale" of "female empowerment."
Ridley later confirmed on Instagram, saying that she knew she needed to be a part of the film "the minute [she] saw The Eagle Huntress." The story, she said, "will speak to millions all over the world."
The Eagle Huntress tells the story of a 13-year-old Mongolian girl—Aisholpan—who is determined to become the first female eagle hunter. Supported by her father and grandfather, Aisholpan trains her first eaglet for the Golden Eagle Festival, where she'll compete with eagle hunters from around the country.
The film will be the first to premiere in the Sundance Kids section of the Sundance Film Festival. Aisholpan and her family will travel from Mongolia for the film's premiere.
Aside from starring in The Force Awakens, Daisy Ridley can be heard as the voice of the lead character in the North American release of the Studio Ghibli film Only Yesterday.
Mongolia Travel Sector Statistics in 2015
Ulaanbaatar, January 25 (MONTSAME) A number of border passers reached 4,859.3 thousand in 2015 by duplicated counting, indicating a 504.2 thousand or 11.6% increase against 2014.
In 2015, some 37 percent of the total passengers passed through the border checkpoint of Zamyn-Uud, 16.6%--through Altanbulag, 16.5%--through the checkpoint at the "Chingis Khaan" international airport, 6.7%--through Gashuunsukhait, 5.4%--through Shiveekhuren, and 17.4--other border checkpoints.
In the same period, 467.2 thousand foreigners entered the borders of Mongolia, showing a decline of 38.5 thousand or 7.6% against 2014. A majority of them (82.1%) travelled Mongolia for up to 30 days, 3.3% of them--for 90 days, and 14.6% of them--for above 90 days.
Some 82 percent of the foreigners visited for tours, 81.0 thousand or 17.3%--for working, studying or for permanent residence.
Against the same period of 2014, a number of tourists from Malaysia increased 20.6%, from Chinese Taipei and from Ukraine--16.9%, from Canada--by 15.6%, whereas a number of tourists from China decreased 8.0%, from Australia—by 6.1%, and from Germany--5.9%.
In 2015, some 68% of the total foreigners who entered the Mongolian borders were from East Asia and Pacific regions, 25.7%--from Europe, 4.2%--from America, and 1.6%--from Middle East, South Asia and Africa.
Some 46% of the total travelers were from China, 15.7%--from Russia, 10.5%--from South Korea, 4.2%--from Japan, 3.3%--from the USA, 3.2%--from Kazakhstan, and 17.0--from other countries.
In 2015, 1,975.7 thousand Mongolians (duplicated counting) visited other countries, 1,642.8 thousand or 83.2% of them travelled for personal matters. In addition, 1,815.7 vehicles passed through our state borders, which is an increase of 77.5 thousand or 4.5% against 2014.
Some 38% of the total vehicles were automobiles, 34.6%--trucks, 24.0%--freight trains and 2.7%--others.
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