Monday, February 8, 2016

[SGK clears Gatsuurt; MNT hits another low; Bogd Bank gets stable outlook; SGK ends autumn session; and DP, CWGP sign MOU on merger]

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Monday, February 8, 2016

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Int'l Market

Mogi: found the text behind the pay-wall

Mongolia delays planned sovereign dollar bond

SINGAPORE, Feb 1 (IFR) - The Government of Mongolia (B2/B/B) has decided to delay a planned offering of US dollar sovereign bonds, according to investors.

However, a source close to the deal claimed the issuer was only waiting for suitable market conditions.

Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, ING and JP Morgan were hired as joint bookrunners and held meetings with investors in Asia, Europe and the US from January 18.

An issuance of 144A/Reg S senior unsecured notes off the sovereign's US$5bn global MTN programme was expected to follow.

Investors said their pricing expectations did not meet those of the issuer and that the deal had been delayed as a result.

However, a source close to the deal said that the issuer was continuing to monitor markets and could launch a deal after Lunar New Year.

Moody's wrote today that falling commodity prices and weaker Chinese growth would put pressure on Mongolia's credit profile.

It has a negative outlook on the sovereign's rating. Mongolia's 2018s were bid today at 88.1 to yield 11.2% and its 2022s at 74.6 to yield 10.4%.

Last year, Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia hired banks for a proposed US dollar issue, while Golomt Bank was also rumoured to be mulling a similar offer.

Development Bank of Mongolia invited banks to pitch for roles on a planned euro-denominated bond. None of the planned deals have come to fruition so far.

Link to article


UPDATE 2-Canada's Centerra given go-ahead to mine Mongolian gold deposit

By Terrence Edwards

Feb 4 (Reuters) Canada's Centerra Gold Inc has received the go-ahead from lawmakers in Mongolia to mine the Gatsuurt deposit after a five-year delay, as that resource-rich country looks to bolster its economic activity and gold reserves.

Mongolia's once-booming economy has taken a steep slide, with the Asian Development Bank estimating 2015 growth at less than 3 percent compared with 17.5 percent in 2011. Mongolia hopes to boost revenue and stimulate growth by advancing projects such as Gatsuurt, despite some backlash.

The parliament passed a bill on Thursday granting the country 34 percent ownership of the Gatsuurt project, with 1.6 million ounces of probable gold reserves, a government website said. Centerra, which also owns the Boroo mine in Mongolia, will hold the remaining 66 percent.

The government can now negotiate final conditions for mining with Toronto-based Centerra, whose stock closed nearly 0.5 percent higher.

"In October, as we announced, we agreed with the government on a 3 percent special royalty in place of the state 34 percent ownership," said Centerra spokesman John Pearson. "This (bill) just gives the government the authorization to put this in place."

Developing Gatsuurt will require "very modest" initial capital investment, said Centerra Chief Executive Scott Perry, because the project will use a mill and other infrastructure at Centerra's existing Boroo mine, which is 55 kilometres (34 miles) away.

Approval comes a year after legislators rejected the first deal, which proposed a smaller government stake in return for larger royalty fees. It also follows an agreement signed last May to relaunch an expansion project at Mongolia's $4-6 billion Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, owned by Rio Tinto .

Centerra has been waiting since 2010 for a decision from the government on whether it could proceed, after a law banned mining at certain areas near forests and water sources, including Gatsuurt.

In December 2014, Gatsuurt was included in a list of strategic deposits exempt from the restrictions, but requiring government ownership.

Environmentalists and conservationists oppose the development, concerned about historical artefacts discovered in neighbouring sites at the Noyon Uul mountain.

The government ramped up efforts to reach a deal when artisanal miners began mining the area illegally.

Separately, on Thursday, a Kyrgyz representative on Centerra's board said Kyrgyzstan may sue the company over its plans to issue additional shares, which will dilute the Central Asian nation's stake slightly.

Equity issues are routine business transactions, said Pearson, who declined to comment further.

Link to article

Link to CG press release


Gatsuurt gold deposit not included in areas under special protection UB Post, February 5


Trafalgar Capital Sells 187 Million MMC Shares On-Market at HK$0.064

Link to notice


TerraCom looks beyond Mongolia

February 4 (World Coal) ASX-listed operator of the Baruun Noyon Uul metallurgical coal mine in Mongolia, TerraCom, is considering options to expand its business through acquisitions in Australia and Indonesia, according to a recent company announcement.

"In order to support the growth and expansion of the company and to de-risk from a single mine and single country operators, TerraCom continues to evaluate cash generative assets for potential acquisition," the company said.

The assets under consideration include a mature mining operations currently in care and maintenance in Queensland, Australia, and a coal mining operation in Indonesia capable of producing 500 000 5py of hard coking coal.

Supply chain optimisation

Meanwhile the company is working to optimise its supply chain in Mongolia, which it hopes will lead to "substantial improvements" in cash margins and profitability with benefits expected to be realised within 1H16. The work will see the company switch to processing coal onsite, saving on VAT and transport cost, as well as improving yield and product quality control.

Financial restructuring

The company also said that it has made "significant progress" in restructuring its balance sheet, reaching agreement with its existing note holders to invest in a new five-year interest-only bond that would require no cash payments until 23 December. It has also secured a new loan of US$5 million from its existing note holders that replaces a proposed AU$7 million equity placement to SPG Investment Holdings.

The new loan "not only provides the company with important additional working capital but also avoids the shareholder dilution that would have occurred had the placement to SPG gone ahead," the company said.

In addition, the company has received conversion notices from holders of 50% of its convertible notes and issues corresponding shares to the converting parties, reducing the company's total debt by US$5 million. The remaining holders of convertible notes will be incorporated into the new bond – extending the term of this debt and eliminating the prospect of shareholder.

Link to article


Draig Resources: Rights Issue Closes Successfully

Placement and Rights Issue to Raise circa $810,000 (before costs)

February 5 -- In accordance with the previously released timetable, Draig Resources Limited's (Draig) 2:5, $0.02 non-renounceable rights issue (the Rights Issue) closed on Tuesday, 2 February 2016.

Under the terms of the Rights Issue, 30,523,954 new shares were offered. 13,125,373 shares were accepted by Eligible Shareholders pursuant to the Rights Issue and a further 14,184,172 shares were applied for by Eligible Shareholders as shortfall shares.

In accordance with clause 8.6 of the Prospectus lodged with ASIC on 12 January 2016, the Directors have resolved to scale back the applications for shortfall shares and will grant shortfall applications equal to or up to a shareholder's entitlement. Under the scale back shareholders will be allocated a further 2,831,858 shares.

The balance of the shortfall shares (14,566,723 shares) will now be placed by the Underwriter, Patersons Securities Limited, to entities where doing so is in the best interests of the Company in achieving its strategic objectives going forward.

Completion of the Rights Issue brings the Company's total raising in the last two months to approximately $810,000 (before costs), placing the Company in a strong position to secure a strategic project this calendar year.

A revised Appendix 3B New Issues Announcement will be released shortly. New shares issued pursuant to the Rights Issue are expected to be allotted on Tuesday 9 February 2016, and the placement of the remaining shortfall shares shortly thereafter.

Link to release


Petro Matad: Result of Annual General Meeting

February 5 -- The directors of Petro Matad are pleased to announce that, at the Company's annual general meeting held today, all resolutions put to the meeting were duly passed.

Link to release


Origo Partners: Results of Shareholder Meetings

February 4 -- On 19 January 2016 the Company posted a Circular to Shareholders providing details of the proposed restructuring of the Company's share capital together with notices convening the General Meeting, the CZDP Class Meeting and the Ordinary Share Class Meeting (together the "Meetings"). 

The Company now announces the results of the General Meeting, the CZDP Class Meeting and the Ordinary Share Class Meeting which were held at 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. today respectively. 

Capitalised terms used and not otherwise defined in this announcement have the meanings given in the Circular posted to Shareholders on 19 January 2016. 

Result of General Meeting

Result of CZDP Class Meeting

Result of Ordinary Share Class Meeting

Shonaid Jemmett-Page, Chairman of Origo, commented:

"The directors of Origo are disappointed with the outcome of the Meetings and believe that the implementation of the Proposals would have been a fair and equitable outcome for all of the Company's shareholders. The Company remains committed to working with its key Shareholders to restructure the payment terms for the CZDPs and to resolving the ongoing dispute with Brooks Macdonald."

Link to full release


EBRD receives "Multilateral", OT "Mining Deal" of the year awards from Thomson Reuters PFI

February 4 (EBRD) The EBRD has been named Multilateral of the Year at the annual Project Finance International awards held by PFI, the Thomson Reuters publication tracing project finance news around the world.

The award ceremony, recognising the highlights of 2015 in the world of project finance, was held in London on the evening of 3 February 2016. A project in MongoliaOyu Tolgoi copper mining development, was also recognised by the award.

In its announcement of the 2015 Global Awards, PFI paid special tribute to the EBRD's investment in Turkey, Egypt, Central Asia and the Caucasus.

The Thomson Reuters PFI award is one of several accolades received by the EBRD in 2015 for achievements in various spheres, from publications such as Euromoney's Trade Finance and the Private Equity Exchange and Awards, to awards given for work in specific countries (notably EMEA countries, Romania and Ukraine) and the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) Corporate Initiative Award for the Bank's environmental and social policy and sustainable development practices. The EBRD's participation in the Oyu Tolgoi (Mongolia) and Shah Deniz offshore gas field (Azerbaijan) projects is also under consideration by two more prestigious trade awards, by Global Trade Review and IJGlobal respectively, which will be announced later in the year.

Ahead of the PFI award ceremony, EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti said: "I am delighted that the EBRD has been chosen for this prestigious award, for the first time in the Bank's history. The award rightly recognises our flexible response within a difficult geopolitical and economic context and the quality and impact of our investments."

The award was received on behalf of the EBRD by the Bank's Managing Director for Energy and Natural Resources, Riccardo Puliti, who said: "The EBRD is a recognised leader in the field of project finance. In dozens of countries, EBRD teams have developed bankable project finance structures which attract public and private long term investors. EBRD-supported ground-breaking projects ranging from the first commercial solar plant in Kazakhstan to a large-scale hospital in Turkey – and many, many more – demonstrate the potential of those industries to other international investors."

Another PFI accolade was received by a project where the EBRD acted as a joint lead arranger. In the Asia-Pacific category, Oyu Tolgoi – the world's largest undeveloped copper deposit in the Gobi desert in Mongolia, close to the Chinese border – was recognised as the Mining Deal of the year. As part of the international financing package of US$ 4.4 billion, the EBRD arranged the largest financing package in its history: a US$ 1.221 billion A/B loan to Oyu Tolgoi LLC. US$ 400 million was provided by the EBRD and the rest syndicated to 15 commercial banks. Oyu Tolgoi LLC belongs to Turquoise Hill, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, and Erdenes Oyu Tolgoi which is owned by the government of Mongolia. The rest of the package comes from lending by export credit agencies, development banks and a tranche from commercial banks covered by the World Bank Group's Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.

Link to release

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Local Market

Mogi: Things look like are going downhill for MSE these days. No trade updates for the past week


B.Ulziibayar: Capital market should be developed before the financial market collapses

February 5 (UB Post) The following is an interview with Chairwoman of the Mongolian Association of Securities Dealers (MASD) B.Ulziibayar, about current situation and ways to develop the Mongolian financial market.

The Mongolian economy isn't in its best condition. Many entrepreneurs have noted that the public purchasing power has noticeably decreased and that the financial market hasn't made substantial developments so far. When the financial market isn't making progress, is it possible to develop the stock market under these conditions?

More people are now aware of the significance of the stock market compared to the past. While the economy continues to face difficulties, only commercial banks are carrying all of the burdens related to finance. Nonperforming loans have exceeded five percent of total loans issued. Reports of banks indicate that the number of overdue loans is constantly increasing. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that the Mongolian financial market, which is entirely based on the banking system, is ready to collapse anytime now. The stock market should be developed to the same level as the financial market. They need to grow together so that the present financial market doesn't collapse. This way, it will become possible to protect the financial market from any economic crisis as it is based on the banking sector and stock market. The stock market isn't well developed in Mongolia. Particularly, the securities market is under-developed, obstructing plans to end risks of the financial system in Mongolia.

The inability to stimulate securities trade is restraining the stock market, according to experts. Is the stock market confronting this restraint because it's impossible to evenly distribute over-concentrated shares? Also, securities dealers are trying to bring forth new types of offers. How accessible are they?

Measures should be taken at micro and macro levels through policy. Securities dealers need to listen to recommendations and advices from experts and professional organizations. Mongolia is in an urgent need to pass a policy aimed to improve the stock market. The Mongolian Stock Exchange has a history of 25 years, but it hasn't grown that much. Whether the stock market can be activated and stimulated depends on the state's support at the macro level. Developing a tax policy can help this market as well.

Link to interview

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Historic low ₮2,018.53/USD set February 5, 2016. Previous reds are rates that set a new low at the time

BoM MNT Rates: Friday, February 5 Close
















































































































































































































Bank USD rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy ₮2,013 Sell ₮2,021), Khan (Buy ₮2,012 Sell ₮2,020), Golomt (Buy ₮2,012 Sell ₮2,021), XacBank (Buy ₮2,012 Sell ₮2,020), State Bank (Buy ₮2,013 Sell ₮2,022)

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

Link to rates


BoM FX auction: US$19.9m sold at 2,018.31, CNY20m at 305.5, accepts $22.74m MNT swap offers

February 4 (BoM) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on February 4th, 2016, the BOM has received buying bid offers of USD 22.74 million and bid offers of CNY 30.0 million respectively. The BOM sold USD 19.9 million in a same rate of MNT 2018.31 and CNY 20.0 million in a closing rate of MNT 305.5.

On February 4th, 2016, the BOM has received MNT Swap agreement buying bid offers equivalent to USD 22.74 million and USD swap agreement selling bid offers of USD 30.0 million from local commercial banks and the BOM accepted the MNT swap agreement buying bid offers of USD 22.74 million.

Link to release


BoM issues 77 billion 1-week bills at 12%, total outstanding +5.1% to ₮454.9 billion

February 5 (BoM) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 77 billion at a weighted interest rate of 12.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


Mogi: other banks are B3 negative; sovereign B2 negative

Mongolia's Bogd Bank Gets First-Time Credit Ratings From Moody's

By Michael Kohn

February 5 (Bloomberg) -- Ulaanbaatar-based Bogd Bank LLC receives first-time ratings from Moody's Investors Service, Moody's wrote in a press release Friday.

* Bogd Bank gets local and foreign currency long-term deposit rating of B3

* Ratings outlook on bank is stable: Moody's

* Bogd Bank currently "has a limited ability to gather deposits domestically,": Moody's

* Established in 2014, Bogd Bank is smallest and newest of Mongolia's 14 commercial banks; assets total 39.2b tugrik ($19.6m) at end-Sept



Bogd Bank establishes correspondent bank relations with Mizuho BankBogd Bank, February 4

Bogd Bank launches internet banking services – Bogd Bank, February 4


Mongolia to take out loans from Russia to import fuel from Russia

February 5 (UB Post) Mongolia plans to take out 1.3 billion USD in loans from the Russian Federation in order to meet domestic fuel demands with imported fuel.

During a meeting of the Democratic Party (DP) held on Monday, party members discussed importing fuel through loans. Some people believe that if Mongolia requires loans to purchase fuel, the economy must be facing real difficulty, but government representatives have dismissed these concerns.

Following the first round of negotiations, the loan line will be up to 1.3 billion USD over 36 months. Industry analysts highlight that as the implementation period for the sub-program on stabilizing retail prices for fuel is ending, the deal will be important for Mongolia. They believe that the loan will create sustainable financial resources for fuel importers and grow Mongolia's foreign currency reserves. It will help decrease the occurrence of price fluctuations for retail fuel, and ensure the sustainability of prices for staple goods, according to the fuel sector's representatives.

MP S.Tuvdendorj said, "In the past, we have been purchased fuel with cash. Because the nation's tax income is lower in the first quarter, Mongolia doesn't have foreign currency to send abroad. We are now ensured with an opportunity to get fuel through loans, without making any payments. That's the main issue of importance. Herders take out loans and buy necessary things, and then they comb goats and repay their debt, the state does the same thing. In the first quarter of a year, an economy faces difficulties; this loan will help in overcoming this difficult time."

Minister of Mining R.Jigjid also commented on the issue, saying, "Generally, we take out loans from Russia. We will take out low interest loans from Russia's bank and buy fuel. Our fuel importers buy 1.2 to 1.3 million tons of fuel annually. They sell fuel in tugrug, and then buy foreign currency with their tugrug. However, sometimes there is a lack of foreign currency. In order to avoid the issue, we are now negotiating to take out loans from Russia and buy necessary fuel from there. It doesn't mean that the state will be involved in the fuel business."

Head of the Petroleum Authority of Mongolia (PAM) G.Ulziiburen weighed in with clarification, telling the public, "This issue is connected to foreign currency. In order to ease burdens for fuel importers, Development Bank of Mongolia is organizing the issue of taking out loans from Russia's VTB Capital. Not all fuel importing companies will take out these loans.  If the negotiations are finalized in the middle of February, three to four domestic importers that meet the requirements of VTB Capital are expected to take out loans.

Link to article

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Politics & Legal

Mongolia Parliament Ends Autumn Plenary Session Ratifying 412 Law, 65 Resolutions

February 5 ( The 2015 Autumn session of the State Great Hural (Parliament) commenced last October 1st is ended as scheduled today on February 5, 2016.

This is the 7th session of this sixth parliamentary election /2012-2016/ and during this term, Parliament of Mongolia held 38 plenary sessions and 131 Standing committee, sub-committee meetings by ratifying a total of 412 laws and 65 resolutions. Among these, 26 separate laws were adopted, 347 laws were amended, ratified 11 international treaties, conventions. In addition, 28 laws were adopted for invalidating subsequent law provisions.

The closing remarks was delivered by Chairman of the Parliament and in his speech, Speaker Z.Enkhbold underlined that during this session several important laws were ratified such as the 2016 Budget law of Mongolia, 2016 Budget for Social Insurance Fund, Human Development Fund, Development Policy and Planning, Energy Efficiency, Joint Pension, Legal status for Customs and Tax Authority, Revised bill on Criminal Code, Elections and Legal status of Mongolian Red Cross Society.

Moreover, elections for the State Great Hural of Mongolia, President of Mongolia as well as elections for Citizens' Representatives Hural of Aimag, Capital city, Soum and Districts are regulated under the revised Law on Elections. In the scope of this revision, these elections will be held same time, where basic principles and procedures are finally determined.

In addition, Parliament Resolution for State Policy on Food and Agriculture as well as Law on Agriculture were approved, which are considerable sectors to pay attention in the rural development.

Link to article


Only 9 out 73 MPs arrive on-time for last day of autumn plenary session

February 5 (UB Post) Members of Parliament are under fire for repeated late arrivals and absences from scheduled meetings. The following is the recorded time of arrival of parliamentary members to Thursday's regular session meeting, which was scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m.

According to the attendance list, a total of nine parliamentarians were absent from Thursday's meeting. Two called in sick, one was away on an appointment abroad,  and six others did not provide any notice for their absence.

Only nine MPs, out of 73 who were expected to come, arrived on time to the scheduled meeting.

Around 93 percent of the attending parliamentarians arrived after 9 a.m., with 24 percent of them (18 MPs) arriving after 11 a.m., 16 of them arriving at 10 a.m., and 24 arrived just before 10 a.m.

Check-in times of parliamentarians for Thursday's scheduled meeting:

Link to article


Parliament adopts Law on Public Referendum

Ulaanbaatar, February 5 (MONTSAME) The State Great Khural (parliament) adopted the new wording of the Law on Public Referendum on February 5. The new wording had been presented to the Speaker Z.Enkhbold on January 14.

The referendum has been proposed by MPs with a purpose of making changes to the Constitution of Mongolia. They were proposing organizing the public referendum last November 26, the anniversary of adoption of the first democratic Constitution.

With the adoption of this law's version, public referendums can be organized on two or more issues by ways reflected in the law approaches and also in online form.

Link to article


DP, CWGP leaders sign MOU on merging

Ulaanbaatar, February 5 (MONTSAME) Democratic Party (DP), the ruling political party, and Civil Will Green Party (CWGP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on their merging, at the Great Chingis Khaan Chamber of the State House. The Chairman of DP Z.Enkhbold and the chairwoman of CWGP S.Oyun signed the document.

The Speaker and DP chairman said, "Our party proposed the CWGP to unite. As a result of prompt action by the two working groups, we are signing an official document today. The two parties have been maintaining similar concepts and positions for many years".

"I, personally, respect the initiative of unity of two democracy parties, as it will be a contribution to promoting of the country's democratic ways, national integrity and interests", said S.Oyun.

In accordance with the Law on Political Parties, the two forces must organize extended meetings of members and get an approval for this resolution from certain decision-making stages within the parties.

Link to article


ASEM 11 – how much will it cost?

February 5 ( On 4th February, Parliament finished the first discussion of the project to exempt the cars which will be used for the ASEM summit from customs duties, VAT and special tax. Following this the draft bill was transferred to the standing committee for the preparation of the final debate pending approval.

During the first discussion, MP G.Uyanga asked: "How much is being budgeted for ASEM?" According to the explanation by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, MNT 20 billion has been budgeted for ASEM. External financial support for the event of between USD 14-15 million is being provided by China and the European Union.

Link to article


Mongolia Parliament Ratifies Intergovernmental Agreement on Dry Ports (IADP)

Ulaanbaatar, February 5 (MONTSAME) Plenary meeting of the parliamentary session on Friday discussed and then passed a bill on ratifying the Intergovernmental Agreement on Dry Ports (IADP).

As the law was adopted, the dry ports can be set up at the border checkpoints of Altanbulag, Sainshand, Ulaanbaatar, Zamyn-Uud and Choibalsan. These border checkpoints are connected to the Asian motorway network and Trans-Asian railway network.

With votes of a majority, a bill was passed on ratifying an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the transportation sector. In addition, a draft law on exemption of VAT was endorsed.

Link to article


New wordings of income tax laws to have immediate consideration

Ulaanbaatar, February 5 (MONTSAME) The PM convened February 4 an irregular meeting of the cabinet to discuss nominations to the best herders and farmers of the country and drafts of legal documents that require parliament's immediate consideration, as its autumn session is soon to close.

These documents include new wordings of the laws on income tax for companies and for individuals. The cabinet resolved to submit them to parliament reading.

A total of 232 amendments have been made to the Tax Law, of which 53 percent has regarded stamp duty and 22--percent tax alleviations and exemptions.

The new wording of income tax laws have been prepared with a vision to promote taxpayers and to create a favorable tax environment that ensures simplicity, justice and rapid economic growth, while satisfying international standards, say the law initiators. 

Link to article


Mongolia awards best herders of the Year of the Sheep

Ulaanbaatar, February 5 (MONTSAME) Out of 140 herders, seven farmers and a herdsmen's group from all 21 aimags, who submitted their statements, 118 herders were named by the cabinet February 4 as the "Best herders", three farmers and one cooperative--the "Best farmers".

The selected best farmers and herders are 33-75 year-old people who are raising their livestock mainly by welcoming new offsprings and overcoming the harsh winter without losses. They are also contributing to a preparation of a new generation of herders and to the prosperity of their homeland. The number of the "Best herder" title holders increased this year, considering that a number of livestock reached 56 million and a number of herding families went up during the last two years to 153 thousand after a decrease of nine consequent years. 

Link to article


Irregular cabinet meeting runs

Ulaanbaatar, February 5 (MONTSAME) The cabinet ran its irregular meeting on Thursday to discuss draft new versions of the laws on adjudication of criminal cases, on implementation of court decisions and related to them bills.

As decided, these drafts will be submitted to parliament after reflecting in it proposals of the Ministers.

- In was also resolved that the Office for State and Governmental Services at the cabinet secretariat for Government will become a budgetary state-run institution, the Museum of Mongolian State History--a budgetary institution. A head of the cabinet secretariat S.Bayartsogt was allowed to take organizational measures and to approve relevant rules.

Link to article


Campaign video or artistic impulse?

February 5 (UB Post) Stirring up trouble before the election is nothing new. After all, it is easier to topple a state that is unstable. But as a citizen of Mongolia, I cannot help but feel contempt for the politicians who are bidding for the upcoming election.

The latest fad is the recently released music video of former parliamentarian L.Gundalai, which has become the new sensation among Mongolian social media users, but nobody is sure if this a campaign ad or an innocent creative endeavor that was poorly timed.

The music video for L.Gundalai's song "Mongolooroi Baigaasai" features the veteran politician, who has been in Parliament since 2000, as a 13th century Mongol warrior. At the beginning of the video, we see L.Gundalai seemingly plan a war, a transparent attempt to evoke imagery from the days of Chinggis Khaan. The video features numerous eye-brow raising and cringe inducing scenes, including one where the parliamentarian shoots an arrow and rides around in the snow with his warrior pals, holding a banner of war.

The lyrics for the song were written in part by L.Gundalai. The song seems to be not-so-subtly pointing to the issues Mongolia is facing.

The song begins with, "I wish the sky would remain blue, and the land would remain green." These seem to be alluding to Ulaanbaatar's air pollution and environmental degradation from mining throughout the country.

And the lines, "I wish my cup of tea would have milk… I wish my state would be stable," are attempts to be subtle about poverty, the bad economy, and unstable politics.

L.Gundalai, who has been elected three times from Khuvsgul Province, declared his intention to run for the 2016 election for Erdene, Orkhon Province, after leaving the Democratic Party in March 2015.

After seeing the video, many Mongolian social media users think that the politician has gone "crazy".

"This Gundalai is incurable," read one comment in response to the music video.

"My jaw hit the floor when I saw this video. Mongolia's politics have gone to s—," said another commenter.

Although the music video was poorly received, excerpts from it, especially the part where the politician from Khuvsgul Province shoots an arrow, have become internet memes. Social media users have been splicing L.Gundalai's music video with footage of violent deaths and sudden falls from movies and TV shows, and the results have been shared by the thousands.

The DMNN Facebook group, a nationalist group with over 48,000 followers, said that the video is a subversive attempt by Gundalai to gain recognition before the election, and warned readers about the dangerous effect it could have. A post on the group's page was critical of Gundalai's "crazy man" campaign as viral or buzz marketing.

"Currently Gundalai's music video has been viewed more than 283,000 times, shared more than 3,860 times, and has over 2,000 comments… In the current dark social environment, where people don't understand what's going on, these kinds of weird, and even unstable, people could potentially be elected," the DMNN post read.

Although Gundalai's music video is a new level of low for those in Mongolian politics, most people believe that this is nothing new and not to be taken too seriously. It isn't likely for someone like Gundalai, who has been a serious politician in the past, to go off script and suddenly begin an artistic career. Most people don't believe he is fit to represent anyone based on the way he acts in public, and he isn't known to be very competent in government positions, having previously been ousted from the position of Minister of Health due to accusations of failed staffing policies, negligence, and poor behavior.

If the music video is going to be the norm for political campaigns, there aren't going to be many options for voters in the upcoming election. If politicians believe that a silly music video and vague promises are all they need to sway the public for votes, they better leave the race right now, because this is downright insulting to the people of Mongolia.

The voters of today are better educated and better informed than ever before. Politicians need to understand the new generation of voters and reevaluate their campaign tactics if they wish to win a seat in Parliament in 2016.

Link to article


Newly appointed judges receive certificates

Ulaanbaatar, February 5 (MONTSAME) The President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj Friday gave certificates to those people who have been appointed the trial and appeal judges and the chief judges.

During the ceremony, the President's decree on the appointments was sounded by Ch.Onorbayar, an advisor to the President on human rights and legal policy.

By the decree, T.Davaasuren has been appointed the chief judge of the civil case appeal courts of Arkhangai, Bayankhongor and Ovorkhangai provinces; J.Oyuntungalag--the chief judge of the civil case appeal court of Ulaanbaatar city.

Others became judges of the trial and appeal courts of the capital city, of Bayanzurkh, Sukhbaatar, Chingeltei districts, and of Bayan-Olgii province. 

Link to article


Parliament adopts laws concerning children's rights and protection

Ulaanbaatar, February 5 (MONTSAME) At a plenary meeting of the parliamentary session on Friday, MPs held final discussions of a draft new wording of the law on children's rights and other related bills. A.Tleikhan presented conclusions and proposals made by the Standing committee on social policy, education, culture and science over the drafts, after which a majority backed their adoption.

The same day, the MPs passed a bill on children's protection and related to it draft laws after the final discussion.

Link to article

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Schedule for trade centers and public service organizations during Tsagaan Sar

February 5 (UB Post) Trade centers and public service organizations will work in the following schedule during the Tsagaan Sar holiday:

Grocery markets» Grocery stores will work from 9:00 a.m. to 12.00 p.m. on February 8; will be closed on February 9, 10 and 11; and resumes to regular operation from February 12.

NOMIN chain stores» All chain stores of Nomin will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on February 8, and will be closed on February 9. On February 10, all Nomin chain stores and supermarkets will work from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. All Nomin chain stores will resume to regular schedule starting from February 11.

SANSAR chain supermarkets» Sansar chain supermarkets will work from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and wholesale stores will work from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on February 8. On February 9, Sansar chain supermarkets will work from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on February 10. Wholesale stores will be closed on February 9 and 10. On February 11 and 12, Sansar supermarkets will work from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and wholesale stores from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., except Sansar-10 wholesale store. Sansar will resume regular operation hours from February 13.

BOSA chain stores» Bosa stores will work from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on February 8, and from 12:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on February 9. Bosa will resume to regular hours from February 10.

MINII DELGUUR chain supermarkets »Minii Delguur supermarkets will open at 8:30 a.m. and close at 10:00 p.m. on February 8. Minii Delguur supermarkets will be closed on February 9. On February 10, they will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and resumes regular operation from February 11.
SKY Department Store» Sky will open at 9:00 a.m. and close at 10:00 p.m. on February 8. It will be closed on February 9, 10 and 11, and starts serving regular hours on February 12.

NARANTUUL Trade Center »Narantuul will operate from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on February 8, and close from February 9 until 19.

KHARKHORIN market» Kharkhorin will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. until February 8, and closes from February 9 to 13.

BARS center» Bars will operate from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on February 8, and close until February 12. It resume regular working regular hours from February 13.

KHUCHIT SHONKHOR trade centers» Khuchit Shonkhor will open at 6:00 a.m. and close at 6:00 p.m. on February 8. It will close from February 9 to 16, and resume regular schedule from February 17.

DA KHUREE auto market» Da Khuree will open at 9:00 a.m. and close at 3:00 p.m. on February 8. It will close from February 9 to 14, and resumes to regular working hours on February 15.

Restaurants and cafes» Restaurants and cafes will work full-time on February 8, close on February 9,10 and 11, and resume regular hours starting from February 12.

Bars, pubs and night clubs »Bars, pubs and night clubs will work from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. on February 8, and close on February 9, 10 and 11. They will resume regular working hours from February 12.

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Mongolia appointed spokesman for UN Human Rights Council working group on Solomon Islands

February 5 ( As the member of the UN Human Rights Council, Mongolia has been appointed as leading spokesman on the working group responsible for studying the state of human rights on the Solomon Islands. This is the Mongolian first major task on UN-Human Rights Council, since 1st January 2016.

The Human Rights Council is responsible for studying specific issues and providing recommendations of the UN member countries as well as work on Universal Periodic Review which is issued every 4 years.  

Mongolia will also work as the leading spokesman in the discussion on Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Uganda.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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Mongolia works as general reporter of UNHRC working group

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Health, Education

UBC Outreach Event: CIRDI's IMAGinE Mongolia Activities

Thursday, February 4, 2016, 15-16:30h
Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia
1855 West Mall, Room 120

IMAGinE Mongolia Outreach

You are invited to learn about the "Integrated Management and Governance in Extractives (IMAGinE) Mongolia" project from the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute (CIRDI).

Project lead, Dr. Julian Dierkes (Institute of Asian Research, UBC), will introduce the planned activities and invite collaboration from graduate students and colleagues who are focused on governance, policy and education related to mining; landlockedness; and Mongolia.

IMAGinE Mongolia is a multi-year project that supports provincial and local administrations in Mongolia with increased information so they can fully participate in the sustainable management of Mongolia's extractive resources.

CIRDI's mission: To improve, in a measurable way, the ability of developing countries to manage and benefit from their extractive sectors in order to catalyze sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty.

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School children explore new cultures with International Speaker Series

February 5 (UB Post) On a frosty Wednesday morning in February, inside the old grey brick building of School No.41 in Yarmag, Khan-Uul District, the staff and children offered a warm and friendly welcome to me. It was -18 degree Celsius outside, but the first floor of the school was filled with the wonderful aroma emanating from the kitchen.

Every day at 10:10 a.m., children form a line outside their classes, and the sound of their constant chitchatting fill the school halls. During their midmorning break, the students do a five-minute exercise to a rhythmic music in the background.

Fifth graders on the third floor wait cheerfully and converse animatedly among themselves in anticipation for the arrival of an international speaker.

"Ta sain baina uu, tavtai moril," the children's welcoming greeting echoes throughout the classroom as the guest speaker, Philippe Long, enters the classroom with a smile. He makes himself comfortable in the class, where he would spend the next hour talking about his culture and sharing the slides he prepared for his enthusiastic audience.

Long greets the children in Mongolian and the excited children are ready to hear more about the guest's culture. The students  hope to get a little glance of the cultures of South Korea, Switzerland and the USA in their classroom. Long is equally excited about sharing his journey, cultures and his experiences with the children.  It is a unique experience for the fifth graders as it is the first time they had a foreign guest.

Ms. Tuvshinbayar, class teacher of the fifth graders, said, "You can see how children's eyes lighted up when the speaker entered, I believe this experience benefits our students and helps them to learn about the world."

The entire class, including the teacher, has numerous curious questions for the speaker. Long is intrigued by the children's questions and happily answers them, including questions that he didn't expect.

A girl with rosy cheeks shares her thoughts on the presentation, "I am amazed to learn about Switzerland and that its citizens actually speak four different languages."

Another student with freckles said, "I really want to be like Long – to work in service of people. I also hope to visit the United Nation's office in Geneva one day."

Every child left the class wanting to learn more from Long.

A couple of boys from the class eagerly invite Long to come back in Spring to play football with them as the speaker had mentioned that he is a great fan of football. All the students were very excited to get Long's signature on their symbolic passport that the International Classroom Connection (ICC) provided as a souvenir, which looks a lot like an international travel passport and featured the flags of South Korea, Switzerland and the USA.

The ICC program has been active in Ulaanbaatar for the past five years. The ICC explores cultural similarities and differences by hosting international speakers in schools and other organizations in Mongolia. The ICC program hopes to develop a deeper understanding of and respect for other cultures among Mongolian general education students. Since its start, the ICC has hosted speakers from 12 countries, including from the USA, South Korea, England, Thailand, Australia, Poland, France, the Netherlands, Canada, the Czech Republic and Switzerland. The ICC hosted 19 speakers at 12 public and private schools to date.

By improving their knowledge of different cultures and countries, ICC strives to help every child to become a true citizen of the world.

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Culture, Society

Mongolia Receives Cultural Heritage Certificate on Coaxing Ritual for Baby Camels

Ulaanbaatar, February 5 (MONTSAME) A ceremony took place on Friday in the Central Palace of Culture to welcome the certificate on registration of the complex rituals of Mongolia for tending livestock, the "Coaxing Ritual for Baby Camels", which has been inscribed in the UNESCO List of Heritage of Intangible Cultural Pieces in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and chairman of the Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO L.Purevsuren made the opening remarks at the ceremony and received the certificate from Mr L.Gantomor, the Minister of Education, Culture and Science.

The FM thanked a team that performed the nomination works and people of Omnogobi aimag who keep the traditions, and granted them copies of the certificate.

The decision on registering the cultural piece of Mongolia was made at the tenth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage held from November 30 to December 4 of 2015 in Windhoek city of Namibia.

Mongol herders perform the coaxing ritual to encourage a female camel to accept a new-born calf or to adopt an orphan. The mother is tied close to the calf and a singer begins a monotone song accompanied by gestures and chanting. The coaxer changes the melody depending on the mother's behavior, which may be initially aggressive, and slowly coaxes her into accepting the calf. Performance of the ritual takes place at dusk or twilight and requires great skill in handling camels, as well as talent for singing and musical skill on the horse head fiddle or flute. Most herdswomen engage in techniques and methods of coaxing, but professional coaxers may be enlisted to undertake the ritual when a singer or musician is unavailable within the local community. The ritual acts as a symbolic medium for creating and maintaining social ties among individual nomadic families and their community. It is transmitted from parents and elders to youth through home tutoring. Changes in the social and cultural environment, however, have negatively affected its viability. Today, motorcycles are preferred to camels as a means of transportation, and increasing migration to urban centers has diminished the number of young herders. The number of cultural bearers is therefore decreasing rapidly as new generations lose touch with their traditional ties to pastoral husbandry.

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NEH Summer Institute: "Modern Mongolia: Heritage and Tradition Amid Changing Realities" 

June 6 - July 1, 2016, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Mongolia looms large in the popular imagination. It is a land of eternal sky with green rolling landscapes, and it is home of Genghis Khan and other powerful cavalries which controlled much of Eurasia between the 12th and 16th centuries. But there is another Mongolia too. Mongolia has, in recent years, become one of the world's fastest growing economies, and Mongolia's cities are in a state of constant development. Mongolia is also one of the world's most successful new democracies. Mongolia's incredible growth and development are largely due to its growing role as a natural resource supplier and as a strategic transit hub. Still, modern Mongolia remains unknown to most, even while it remains renowned for its outsized past of khans and conquest. The goals of this NEH Institute are to supply context for understanding how Mongolia is changing and how modern Mongols are connecting to the past, as well as to provide resources to incorporate modern Mongolia into undergraduate university and college curricula.

We welcome applications from college and university and instructors with some experience in teaching Mongolia, as well as those who have never taught or studied aspects of Mongolia--but hope to. For more information on eligibility, see NEH eligibility criteria.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities

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How to Make Buuz?

February 5 ( WHAT IS A BUUZ?

Buuz is a type of Mongolian steamed dumpling filled with meat. The dish is traditionally served on most public winter holidays including Tsagaan Sar and New Year Celebration. Buuz is prepared in weeks before and left outside to freeze for a while to make it easier to store. A household who has elder has to make more than one thousand buuz for their guests, while  younger families make more than three hundred buuz during the Tsagaan Sar. 

It is also offered at all restaurants and small cafes in Ulaanbaatar. Ingredient of buuz is very simple it includes flour, meat, onion, salt, cumin and warm water. 

Finally, Mongolians say bon appetit as SAIHAN HOOLLOOROI.

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Nature, Environment

British Red Cross: In Mongolia, Beware of the Dzud

February 5 (British Red Cross) No, that's not a typo. It's a rather dramatic weather event.

People in Mongolia are used to harsh winters. But this year the winter is even worse than usual: the country is in the grip of a 'dzud' (pronounced zood) – a hot, dry summer followed by a freezing, windy and snowy winter.

Temperatures average lower than -40° Celsius at night. Can you imagine?

The dzud is a double blow for Mongolians, who rely mostly on raising livestock. First, the grass and wheat that their cattle depend on dry up in the summer drought. Herders cannot collect and store enough food for their animals, leaving them weak and vulnerable.

Then in winter, the animals are unable to dig through the hard frozen snow to get enough to eat and, finally, die.

Problems for people follow – families run out of food, lose their livelihoods and use up their savings to survive.

Since January, the Red Cross has delivered food parcels, warm clothes and fuel to people caught in the dzud to help them cope. Today I am here to observe the distribution.


Oyunbatt lives just 30 kilometres from the nearest 'soum' (town) centre. But the wintry conditions and frozen rivers mean that it takes over an hour to reach the soum even in a 4×4.

Oyunbatt hasn't visited the soum centre for over ten years because he is the only carer for his sister, who has severe physical and learning disabilities. In fact, he can barely leave his home to tend to his small herd of 20 animals.

Despite this, Oyunbatt welcomes the Red Cross when we visit to deliver food parcels for him and his sister.

"This winter's dzud has been a challenge", he said.

"Winter started almost on 20 August: the entire area was covered by snow at that time. We have enough food for the animals to last until February, but it is of low quality because last summer there was no green and mature grass."


Many herders lose all their animals during a dzud and their only option is to move their families to towns and search for casual labour. Many hope that, against the odds, they will earn enough money to buy new animals and resume their lives as herders.

In Darkhan, Mongolia's second largest city, many such migrants live in the 'ger' district, a slum area of traditional round Mongolian tents known as 'gers' or 'yurts'.

To support older people, single parent households and people with disabilities in the area, the Red Cross runs a social care project.

Batbukh, a 53-year-old man who lost his arm at 47, has been unable to find work since. He lives in a ger, heated by a small stove in the centre.

When we visit to deliver warm clothing, the heat from the stove is inviting but this is relative – a bucket of water is frozen at his feet.

Batbukh's disability benefits – around £56 monthly – don't cover his basic needs and in the winter buying fuel is critical. Some people have to resort to burning rubbish they have collected in the streets and suffer respiratory illness or worse.

He tells us that he goes to the Red Cross' social care centre, which provides a refuge from the cold.

People can wash and do other personal tasks there, with assistance if needed. They also have the chance to learn vocational skills or simply to sit and talk to a friendly volunteer.


Today, however, Batbukh is getting felt insulation for his ger along with his regular food parcel and warm clothes.

He is keen to assist the volunteers in fixing the insulation to his ger's roof and quickly begins giving them instructions. This kind of work is something he knows well from his life as a herder turned industrial worker – a common narrative in Mongolia.

As we get ready to leave, I am struck by how well the project is run. Then I see my Mongolian Red Cross colleagues' frostbitten cheeks. They serve as a stark reminder of how harsh life in the dzud can be.

This blog is by Pete Jones, disaster management co-ordinator at the British Red Cross

·         Read more about our work on Mongolia

·         Listen: Why is the Red Cross treating cows?

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Genghis Khan ice marathon in Mongolia

February 3 (DW) Sport now and marathon running is tough at the best of times. But how about doing it in snow and ice, with temperatures of minus 30 centigrade? Oh and wolves are on the prowl too. This is the Genghis Kahn ice marathon in Mongolia.

Link to video


Analysis: Canada leapfrogs Mongolia in Rio 2016 'virtual medal table'

Change in methodology boosts Canadians' chances

February 4 (CBC Sports) A change in methodology has slightly improved Canada's medal hopes at this summer's Rio Olympics, based on data from Infostrada sports

According to the Virtual Medal Table, Canada could win two gold medals — up from one gold in the previous month's predictor — putting the country in 32nd position, leaping ahead of smaller countries such as Mongolia, Uzbekistan and Slovenia.

(The medal predictor table appears on the right-hand side of CBC's Road to the Olympic Games page.)

In the past two monthly predictions, Canada was 39th and 41st.

Infostrada is providing CBC with a medal predictor table in advance of the Games so fans can get a sense of how Team Canada will fare.

It's based on results from world championships, World Cup events and top-level international competitions from 2012 to 2016. But a new change, affecting track and field and swimming, now includes special credit for the top 16 performances achieved since May 2015.

This moves Canadian heptathlete Brianne Theisen-Eaton into a "virtual" gold medal position, according to Infostrada.

"Brianne Theisen-Eaton takes over the heptathlon gold medal position from 2012 Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill because of Thiesen-Eaton's 6808 points in Gotzis last year," explains Infostrada's Simon Gleave. "This is the number one performance in terms of heptathlon points in the period."

The same logic also cost Canada two bronze medals in swimming, with Emily Overholt (400m IM) and Ryan Cochrane (400m freestyle) falling off the virtual podium in the new calculations. 

Canada is now forecast to win 17 medals (two gold, three silver, 12 bronze) in Rio. Gleave points out that if Canada turns a few of the predicted silvers and bronzes into gold, the team could move into the top 20 in the overall medal table.

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Mogi: name is not Kazakh, but looks like we lost a good judoka

Kazakhstan's G.Otgontsetseg Celebrates Career Best at Paris Grand Slam

February 6 (Judo Inside) Galbadrakh Otgontsetseg of Kazachstan seemed to have made the right choice to switch from Mongolia last year. Today at the Judo Grand Slam Paris she was able to meet with her nemesis and former teammate Munkhbat Urantsetseg of Mongolia, in the final U48kg.

In the first final of the day Galbadrakh produced her performance of her career as she defeated former world champion Munkhbat. Galbadrakh, 24, started representing Kazakhstan in August 2015 instead of her native Mongolia which meant that the talented fighter's world ranking points were reset and she started from zero. World number one Munkhbat Urantsetseg renewed her acquaintances with her ex-colleague as the pocked-sized world number 23, Galbadrakh, who made the stronger start as she took the lead with a yuko from a well-executed yoko-tomoe-nage. That score proved to be enough as Galbadrakh earned a superb first Grand Slam gold medal.  

The first semi-final saw double world champion Asami Haruna of Japan lose out to fellow former world champion Munkhbat. Asami was penalised with a shido in the opening minute and Munkhbat was the stronger Asian judoka as she outfought her opponent for all four minutes and won by a waza-ari which was the only score of their contest. In the second semi-final Jeju Grand Prix winner Galbadrakh squeezed past Olympic bronze medallist Charline Van Snick of Belgium with a tenacious display. Both judoka were level on the scoreboard with a yuko a piece after four minutes but the Belgian had been penalised twice while the former registered an unblemished record to secure a place in the final.

Former world champion Kondo Ami (JPN) went out to eventual winner Galbadrakh Otgontsetseg (KAZ) in her opening contest as she submitted to a koshi-jime.

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The IEM Taipei CS:GO champions have been crowned

February 1 (ESL) Today, the Taipei Game Show saw the grand final for the CS:GO tournament at Intel Extreme Masters Taipei. With a ticket to the offline qualifier for the CS:GO Major at MLG Columbus in their hands, both The MongolZ and Renegades had already achieved a lot so far. With a winner's share of US30,000 and a spot at the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship in March on the line however, there was even more to win.

Renegades vs. The MongolZ

Starting on Cobblestone, Renegades had the chance of making the group stage loss against The MongolZ forgotten. However, Machinegun and his team were able to stand strong, starting on CT half. A close 8-7 scoreline in favor of the The MongolZ left room for both teams to build on. After switching sides, it became obvious that it was The MongolZ map choice as they only let two more rounds slip to take the map by 16-9.

After switching over to Inferno it was on Renegades to reply to the strong play of The MongolZ. Starting on T-side, SPUNJ and his team fell to another solid defensive performance from The MongolZ, only scoring two rounds in the process and looking at a 2-13 score line at halftime. Seeing The MongolZ continuing their impressive performance against the favorite, they scored the remaining three rounds in one go, taking Inferno by storm with 16-2.

Taking the Intel Extreme Masters Taipei title only some month after going home as fourth during group stage at the ESL One Cologne Asia qualifier in Kuala Lumpur, is showing a great improvement. They are another interesting team to look out for at Katowice, as The MongolZ join Fnatic, Natus Vincere and other big names in group A of the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship.

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"Blue Pearl" International Ice Festival 2016, Lake Huvsgul

February 5 ( Mongolian winter is not as severe and lifeless as it's told by many. Winter in Mongolia is amazingly beautiful with glittering snow and some good chills, and one can enjoy many exciting adventures and festivals in winter in Mongolia. One of the excellent winter festivals is this annual Ice Festival of the pristine Lake Huvsgul.

The event is renamed as "Blue Pearl International Ice Festival" from this year, and is dedicated to developing winter tourism in Mongolia, raising awareness on sustainable tourism and supporting the livelihoods of the locals of Huvsgul. Governor's office of Huvsgul province and Huvsgul tourism association are organising this year's event.

Besides the traditional horse sled races, Reindeer races, skating competitions, and shamanic rituals this year there will be an Ice Sculpture Competition – artists will create a winter fairyland on the 2-3m thick, crystal clear ice of the Lake Huvsgul, and various performances by the locals and artists of the local theatre. Moreover, an ice fishing competition will be held at Last Frontier camp at the Lake. You may also wish to enjoy a few shots in the Ice Bar with fellow festival goers.

Hot food and beverages, souvenirs, winter & sports clothing trades will be available for spectators & participants during the festival. And everyone can take part in the horse sledding, Reindeer riding and ice skating etc at small charges that will directly go to the local communities.

The dates of this year's Ice festival: 3-4 March.

Location: Dood Modot Khamar near Khatgal Village, Lake Huvsgul.

Brief program of the Blue Pearl International Ice Festival.

Where to stay:

There are several tourist Ger camps (usually with basic washing facilities) near Khatgal village, and a few decent hotels in Murun. Please contact the main organisers for accommodation and other related info.

Contact person: Mrs. Naranchimeg, and Contact numbers: 976-99092273, 99080416, 91004008, 98114408.

Prepared only for GoGo Travel by Zola (Co-founder & Partner of Premium Travel Mongolia LLC.

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Ulaanbaatar Railway Station reopens

February 5 (UB Post) Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg visited the newly refurbished Ulaanbaatar Railway Station and gave opening remarks, during his Decision Hour Meeting on February 3.

Ulaanbaatar Railway Mongolian-Russian joint venture spent 245 million MNT on the renovation of the Ulaanbaatar Railway Station. The renovation started in August 2015. The station now includes a currency exchange center, pharmacy, duty free shop, art gallery, business meeting room, and a reading hall.

The PM thanked Ulaanbaatar Railway for renovating the main halls through its own finances. He noted the importance of the railway station's renovation for the upcoming Asia Europe Meeting.

"The railway station receives 15,000 to 20,000 customers, 22 freight trains, and 20 passenger trains a day. It's of great importance that this station is improving its quality and becoming a more comfortable space for customers," said Ch.Saikhanbileg.

The PM noted the revival of relations between Mongolia and Russia, and said that the President of Russian Railways will visit Mongolia next March to discuss cooperation activities and financial matters of the railway industry.

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