Thursday, March 17, 2016

[GoM borrows $250m; 5% mortgages roll out; PM speaks at AmCham;; APIP acquires Property Frontiers; and DPRK 'not smuggling' thru Mongolia]

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

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4 things we can expect from Mongolia hosting ASEM11

By Narantsogt Baatarkhuu

March 16 (ASEM Mongolia Office) Much of the Internet denizens of Mongolia have often asked, "Why do we have to organize ASEM in Mongolia? What's in it for us in hosting foreign heads of state?" This is an attempt to explore the answers, ruminating on the benefits of hosting Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Although it's worth noting that the nine side events before the Summit, congregating business leaders, students, civil societies, farmers and media professionals from Asia and Europe into Ulaanbaatar are equally important, this article focuses only on the Summit, where the heads of governments and states convene.

Based on the importance of organizing international summits, as developed by Giffard and Rivenburgh (2000), four levels of outcome can be expected when Mongolia hosts the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM11) Summit. The reason the outcomes are considered levels is because the latter outcomes require more civic will and support, whereas the first two outcomes don't require any intervention or contribution from the citizens.

1. Awareness of Mongolia increases globally

2. Mongolia agrees on more FTAs and/or joins economic integrations

3. Impetus to visit Mongolia--tourism increases

4. Mongolia attracts more foreign investment

Link to article


Int'l Market

Mongolia eyes $500m from syndicated loan debut

The government of Mongolia is seeking $500m from its syndicated loan debut and has already received $250m of the funds.

March 16 (GlobalCapital) At the time invitations were sent, the loan size was $200m, with an undisclosed greenshoe according to a banker who received it. Sources reveal the country is now eyeing a total amount $500m from the market.

A $250m five year portion of the total $500m was funded on March 15, they said but declined to disclose the source(s) of the funds. Although the five year tranche was closed earlier this week, lead Credit Suisse is flexible on expanding the syndicate and this part remains open to those interested.

Mongolia looking for the remaining $250m via a three year facility for which a full-fledged syndication is ongoing. The sovereign turned to the loan market after receiving the cold shoulder from bond investors for a proposed 144A/Reg S bond. Bond investors were said to have been demanding a yield of 12% minimum for the five year bond.

In contrast, the country is paying a margin of 625bp above Libor for the amortising five year tranche of its loan. The average life of this part is 4.1 years. Mongolia is offering a margin of 575bp above Libor for the three year bullet. The sovereign is raising the money through its Ministry of Finance.

While macro factors pose a challenge, analysts believe things could improve over the next few years, assuming a boost in income from exports from the Mongolian Oyu Tolgoi gold and copper mine.

A $4.4bn loan for the development of the mine was signed at the end of 2015. The deal, six years in the making, was stalled in 2013 because of a dispute between the Mongolian government and London-listed miner Rio Tinto.

"The resolution ... of the dispute over the Oyu Tolgoi mining project will unlock foreign investment and export revenues over the rating horizon," Moody's wrote in a February 1 report.

Mongolia's loan comes with an undisclosed greenshoe amount. For the three year, banks committing $50m or more earn 125bp as fees and receive the MLA title. Lead arrangers committing $24m-$39m earn 100bp in fees, and arrangers committing $5m-$29m earn 75bp.

For the five year the levels of commitment were the same but the fees started at 150bp for the MLA level, and went down to 125bp and 100bp for the next two levels. Commitments are due by April 1. Proceeds are to go towards

infrastructure developments in the country.

Link to article


Khan Provides Update on Settlement of Its Dispute With the Government of Mongolia

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - March 16, 2016) - Khan Resources Inc. ("Khan" or the "Company") (CSE:KRI) announces that it has received a notice of discontinuance from the Paris Court of Appeal that the annulment proceedings initiated by the Government of Mongolia against the international arbitration award rendered in favour of Khan are now terminated. The Company also wishes to announce that proceedings in the US District Court for recognition of the award have now been stayed pending receipt of the settlement amount of $US70 million.

Mr. Grant Edey, President and CEO of Khan, commented, "Khan and the Government of Mongolia are continuing to progress in good faith towards the receipt of the settlement amount on May 15, 2016."

Link to release


Korea Investment Corp. Increases Stake in Turquoise Hill Resources

March 16 (MarketBeat) Korea Investment CORP boosted its stake in shares of Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd (NYSE:TRQ) by 369.3% during the fourth quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 681,900 shares of the company's stock after buying an additional 536,600 shares during the period. Korea Investment CORP's holdings in Turquoise Hill Resources were worth $1,723,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Separately, Hexavest Inc. raised its position in Turquoise Hill Resources by 48.3% in the fourth quarter. Hexavest Inc. now owns 1,141,740 shares of the company's stock valued at $2,885,000 after buying an additional 371,966 shares during the period.

Link to article


Wolf Petroleum Suspended from ASX Due to Failure to Lodge Half Year Accounts

March 16 (ASX) --

Link to release

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Local Market

MSE Trading Report: Top 20 +0.78%, ALL +0.08%, Turnover 53.2 Million Shares

March 16 (MSE) --

Link to report


15 Billion 12-Week 14.5% Discounted T-Bills, 10 Billion 3-Year 15.75% Bonds on Offer at MSE

March 16 (MSE) Buy order of 12 weeks /3 months/ Government bonds with 14.50% annual coupon rate and 156 weeks /3 years/ Government bonds with 15.75% annual coupon rate have started through brokerage companies and buy order will end on 21 March 2016.

Click here to see the detailed information of Government retail bonds /3 months/.

Click here to see the detailed information of Government retail bonds /3 years/.

Link to release

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Historic low 2,048.18/USD set March 10, 2016. Reds are rates that set a new low at the time

BoM MNT Rates: Wednesday, March 16 Close
















































































































































































































Bank USD rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy ₮2,040 Sell ₮2,048), Khan (Buy ₮2,040 Sell ₮2,048), Golomt (Buy ₮2,040 Sell ₮2,048), XacBank (rates were wrong), State Bank (Buy ₮2,038 Sell ₮2,048)

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

Link to rates


BoM issues 62 billion 1-week bills at 12%, total outstanding -33% to ₮312.3 billion

March 16 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 62 billion at a weighted interest rate of 12.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


Mogi: even the shortest t-bills are now struggling for demand

4.5 Billion 12-Week T-Bills Sold at 14.5% Discount from Available 20 Billion

March 16 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 12 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 20.0 billion MNT and each unit was worth 1 million MNT. Face value of 4.5 billion /out of 14.5 billion bid/ Government Treasury bill was sold at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 14.5%.

Link to release


BoM buys 538.4 kgs of gold in February, 1.2 tons YTD

March 16 (BoM) --




YTD Change





















































Link to data (in Mongolian)

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Politics & Legal

First 104 eligible households receive 5% mortgage loans

March 16 ( The mortgage loan interest has been reduced to five percent from eight percent. However the program will be realized in two phases. In the first turn, residents of re-planned areas and of remote three districts of Ulaanbaatar and all provinces will be involved in the program. Next time, those who are already in mortgage loans with eight percent or new applicants could be involved in the mortgage programme.

Commercial banks have started to grant five percent mortgage loans from yesterday. 

State bank estimated that there are total of MNT 67.3 billion mortgage loans of 1894 households to involve in five percent mortgage loan program. As of yesterday, MNT 272 million of 104 borrowers of which were received five percent mortgage loans.

Link to article


New mortgage rate – the first, March 16


Int'l seminar held in Mongolia on proper management of natural resources

Ulaanbaatar, March 16 (MONTSAME) An international seminar with such a theme commenced Wednesday in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Co-organized by this Ministry and the Norwegian "Oslo" center, the seminar brought together high-level representatives of Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, East Timor and Norway. They are exchanging views and experiences in a development of mining industry, a policy and programmes on the mineral sector.

The FM L.Purevsuren made the opening remarks at the seminar, saying Mongolia intends to share its experiences and achievements, gained in strengthening and boosting the democracy, with other countries, and that Mongolia established the International Cooperation Foundation and is collaborating with Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar in developing the governance, running democratic elections and in proper exploitation of mineral resources.

The Mongolian Minister of Mining R.Jigjid delivered a report titled "Strategy and development of mining industry of Mongolia".

At the seminar, which will continue until Thursday, foreign representatives will speak about a development of the mining sector and challenges in exploitation of mineral resources.

Link to article


Ten new laws were approved in 2015 autumn session

March 16 ( During the autumn session of 2015, the State Great Hural of Mongolia approved ten new laws. 

  • Law on legislation
  • Law of Mongolia on pledges over movable property and intangible property 
  • Law on joint pension 
  • Law on childcare service 
  • Election law 
  • Public hearing law 
  • General administrative law 
  • Law of Mongolia on procedure for administrative cases (revised)
  • Criminal code (revised) 
  • Law on violation  (revised) 

Following laws were published and available at book sales of the National Institute of Justice. 

The State Great Hural of Mongolia discussed and approved total of 412 laws and 65 resolutions in autumn session of 2015. 

26 of which were independent laws, 347 of which were amendments law, 28 of which were revocation of laws and 11 of which were approval on joining the international treaties and conventions. 

Link to article

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Merger creates world's top emerging market real estate companies

March 16 (OPP Today) Asia Pacific Investment Partners (APIP) has merged with overseas investment agency, Property Frontiers to create one of the world's leading emerging and frontier market real estate companies.

APIP is a 14-year old company based in Hong Kong that has grown to become the largest integrated real estate company in Mongolia, with interests in other emerging markets including Myanmar, Kazakhstan, Cuba and China. The announcement was made at the MIPIM property show in Cannes, France.

The combined firms will continue to operate under the APIP umbrella brand, with Property Frontiers becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary and APIP's flagship brand focusing on sales, research and selective co-developments in frontier markets outside of Mongolia. APIP is planning to seek a listing on a major international exchange in the near future.

Lee Cashell, Chief Executive Office of APIP says, "We are extremely pleased to welcome Property Frontiers to the APIP family. With this merger, we see tremendous opportunity to build on the deep research expertise and relationships Property Frontiers has built across the emerging markets property space since their foundation in 2004.

"Our proven ability to complete design-driven property developments in frontier markets such as Mongolia, coupled with Property Frontiers' research-led advisory and international sales network, creates a truly global integrated real estate platform able to execute sales and co-development projects in a variety of emerging markets.

"The combined global database of international property investors and the libraries of emerging market property research and analysis provides the company with an unparalleled foundation for the coming resurgence in emerging and frontier market real estate.

"Bringing our first class development capabilities to new markets outside of Mongolia really sets up APIP for long term success.  We are excited for the future as this transaction allows us to successfully execute opportunities via project marketing, investment and selective co-development in Myanmar, Cuba, Kazakhstan, China and any number of other emerging markets globally."

Ray Withers, who will remain Chief Executive Officer of Property Frontiers following the transaction, is enthusiastic for the prospects of the combined company.

He says, "We founded Property Frontiers with the vision of being pioneers in the emerging market real estate arena. Throughout our 12 year history we have built an award-winning business with a solid record of completing thorough research and diligence and assisting over 2,500 clients to purchase real estate in over 30 international markets as diverse as Argentina, Poland, Belize, the Middle East, Malaysia, Brazil, China, Uganda, and of course Mongolia.

"With this transaction we are delighted to be able to move into the development side of the real estate industry as well. Partnering with APIP allows us to learn from an expert property developer who has a proven track record of success in frontier markets. We have worked together with the APIP team for many years and are delighted to continue the strong relationship as we grow together."

The combined firms will have offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Ulaanbaatar, North America, London and Oxford.  They will seek to become the leading provider of real estate investment opportunities and research products across the emerging markets to family offices, property funds and high net worth individuals.

Hannam and Partners acted as financial advisor to APIP on the transaction.

Asia Pacific Investment Partners is an independent Mongolia-focused operating group that has a range of subsidiaries primarily engaged in property development, property agency and management, financial services and cement production. The company also provides research on frontier property markets and advises family offices on their property investment allocations.

APIP has one of the largest and most highly valued land banks in Mongolia and a 15-year track record of successfully executing landmark property developments within the country.

Founded in 2001 by American venture capitalist Lee Cashell, APIP has been profitable every year and is regarded as one of the most transparent private companies in Mongolia.

Property Frontiers Ltd is a privately owned real estate investment agency based in the UK. Founded in 2004 by management consultant Ray Withers, Property Frontiers offers high-performing international property, buy-to-let and alternative investments to both first time and experienced investors.

Committed to pioneering new global markets and asset classes, backed by independent research and due diligence, Property Frontiers has earned a reputation as a leading investment agency within the international property sector.

The Oxford-based agency has been awarded more top industry accolades than any other international property investment company in business today, with eight Overseas Property Professional Awards for Excellence and six Association of International Property Professionals wins in addition to multiple International Property and Caribbean World Awards.

Ray Withers is often called upon by the international media for his expert market insight and opinions.

Link to article


PM speaks at AmCham Mongolia on government priorities, economy

Ulaanbaatar, March 16 (MONTSAME) The Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg Wednesday held a meeting with members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Mongolia (ACCM), giving a report about priorities of the Governmental policy and economic situation.

Mr Saikhanbileg noted Mongolia is open to business and investments, and emphasized a role of the USA in expanding the economic cooperation of Mongolia.

In 2016, Mongolia was o the 56th place in doing business rate, going up from 76th place of 2015, the Premier said, and pointed out that Mongolia has established the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Japan, and international investors are going to invest USD 4.2 billion to the second phase and construction of underground mine of the Oyu Tolgoi project.

He added that Mongolia has formulated its policy on long-term development, and a draft of package laws on tax has been submitted to parliament.

The Premier underlined the economic development of Mongolia will be ensured when the investment environment is sustainable in the country.

Organized for the third year, the meeting attracted some 70 people including businessmen, officials from the ACCM and diplomats of Embassies in Ulaanbaatar.

The ACCM is an independent membership-driven organization that seeks to build, strengthen, and protect business between the United States and Mongolia and to actively promote Mongolia as a destination for American investment. The chamber is accredited by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as its official affiliate in Mongolia.

Based in Washington, DC, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the largest business federation in the world with over 3 million member companies. Such chambers have been established in over 100 countries in the world.

Link to article

Link to AmCham release

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Districts will issue construction permits for up to 3-storey buildings says mayor

March 16 ( Many works are being done in cycles to deliver transparent and prompt public service, which include stages of transferring authority of some public services to district and micro districts.

Today, Mayor of Ub met with district governors and exchanged views on construction permit issues. In the scope of this action, resolution has been made that district authority will authorize the permit to any building constructions over 3 levels and 3600 cubic meters, and implementing working group has been formed. They believe group of specialized architects and construction engineers can settle and authorize a permit for any construction requests from citizen or entities.

Mayor of Ub will hold meeting with district governors on urban development sectors every Wednesday.

Link to article

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Mongolia denies DPRK smuggling banned goods through country

March 16 ( Last week, "United Press International" (UPI), quoting Radio Free Asia, ran a story entitled "North Korean diplomats smuggling luxury goods through Mongolia – the route is being used to send banned goods to Pyongyang". This story was picked up by Mongolian news agencies.

The RFA source is quoted as saying that "Pyongyang's diplomats are using their passports to carry the goods across the border undetected. Electronic components that can be used in nuclear and missile production are being transported across the route."

The latest UN Security Council sanctions resolution is aimed at the non-weapons trade, in particular expensive goods; it is well known that Kim Jong-un has a particular penchant for elite luxury items. UPI specifically mentions luxury watches, jet skis and snowmobiles all valued at more than $2000 as being targeted. According to the UPI article: "The goods are sometimes listed under a third-party firm or individual to cross into Mongolia from China, and the illegal goods movement is concealed by legitimate businesses".

The Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that the information about illicit activity among N.Korea's diplomats in Ulaanbaatar is unfounded. In the same statement, the Mongolian MFA said that the reports about a secret visit to Ulaanbaatar by the N.Korean Foreign Minister were incorrect.

Link to article


Germany, Mongolia foreign ministries hold political consultation in Berlin

March 16 ( The political consultation meeting between the Foreign Ministries of Mongolia and Germany was successfully held on March 14 in Berlin. The Mongolian delegation was led by Mr. D. Gankhuyag, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, and the German side was headed by H.E. Ambassador Dr. Norbert Riedel, Regional Director for the Asia and the Pacific at the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.

During the consultations, two sides evaluated the current cooperation between Mongolia and Germany in the fields of politics, economy, culture and education. They also exchanged views on the future actions to be implemented as well as issues of mutual interest in the international for a, in particular, the initiative on the permanent neutrality of Mongolia, preparations of the ASEM Summit to be held in Ulaanbaatar, cooperation within the framework of the UN and OSCE as well as strengthening security in North-East Asia.

Link to article


Mongolian and German FMs hold consultation meetingMontsame, March 16


East Kazakhstan Region proposes closer ties with Mongolia's western aimags

Ulaanbaatar, March 16 (MONTSAME) Deputy Premier Ts.Oyunbaatar received March 16 the Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Mongolia K.Kobladin and the governor of East Kazakhstan Region D.K.Akhmetov. The delegates proposed strengthening regional cooperation with the nearest aimags of Mongolia to East Kazakhstan in certain fields such as machinery, food production and others.

Present at the meeting were governors of Bayan-Olgii, Uvs and Khovd aimags, as well as the representatives of BIPEK AUTO-ASIA Group.

Ts.Oyunbaatar expressed a willingness to cooperate and promised a support by involving the Chamber of Trade and Industry of Mongolia. He suggested that the cooperation in archaeological sphere can be of great efficiency.

The deputy PM advised the delegation to have individual meetings with the governors of Bayan-Olgii, Khovd and Uvs aimags to share views on the cross-border cooperation.

He also informed them about an expected "Chess Competition of Nomadic Nations" and wished Kazakhstan to take active part in it.

Link to article


President's Chief of Staff meets representatives of OEEC

March 16 ( On March 16, Chief of Staff of the President of Mongolia P.Tsagaan has welcomed the representatives of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC). The Project Manager of the OECD Eurasia Competitiveness Programme Mr. Gregory Lecomte, Project Co-ordinator Mr. Arnault Pretet, and Policy Analyst Mr. Marco Bianchini were present at the meeting. 

They discussed about the projects and researches being implemented by the European Union to promote Mongolia's small and medium-sized enterprises. A presentation of the project report will be made at the OECD Headquarters in Paris, France, by the end of November 2016. The representatives of the EU, and the officials of banking and financial sectors will participate in the event. 

Mongolia has never made such presentation on the development of its small and medium-sized enterprises and it is deemed as one of the reasons why Mongolia does not attract more investment from the European countries. OECD representatives emphasized the sufficient information on the financing of the small and medium-sized enterprises in Mongolia.

Link to article


First small and medium enterprises report to be presented to OEECMontsame, March 16

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Health, Education

Mongolia struggles to contain measles pandemic

Ulaanbaatar, March 16 (MONTSAME) At the weekly "Hour of Solutions" meeting, the PM Ch.Saikhanbileg received the State Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Sports S.Lambaa and a director of the National Research Center for Infectious Diseases D.Nyamkhuu, on March 16.

The Premier informed them that the cabinet at today's irregular meeting resolved to raise 948.3 million MNT from the Government reserve fund for the measures against the measles outbreak, and accordingly, he assigned the officials to launch vaccination campaign nationwide, involving all 18-30 aged people.

Occurrence of measles cases had been zeroed since 2011 thanks to the series of vaccinations among children aged 3-14 in 1994, 1996, 2000, 2007 and 2012. However, measles broke out in March, 2015, requiring additional vaccination, which eventually took place from June 2015 among six-month to six-year-old children. As a result, the number of cases dropped dramatically.

Nevertheless, most cases of measles have been happening among people aged 18-30, stressed Mr S.Lambaa.

The latter said that general hospitals, pediatricians and emergency departments have been working overtime, and still lack work-force. "We are involving retired doctors, medical personnel and resident doctors. The ministry have been working for providing the overtime benefits of the doctors and nurses", he added.

Link to article


The remarkable Christina Noble - still fighting for the children of the world

March 16 (Yorkshire Evening Post) As her own remarkable story is told on the big screen, Christina Noble tells Stephanie Smith about the children who inspire her.

"Even when I was small, I was a giver. What little I had to give, I still found a way."

Christina Noble has spent her life giving, but not just a little. To date, she has helped more than 700,000 children in Vietnam and Mongolia, taken them off the streets, given them a home, food, healthcare, education, a future, and love.

"I think I was born with that kind of character, otherwise we wouldn't have got through it," she says. "It's the same with the Foundation. It's very hard, a lot of responsibility."

The Christina Noble Children's Foundation is the charity she began in 1991 in Vietnam, after battling to rescue street children from extreme poverty and exploitation. Her story is told in the film Noble, an award-winning biopic, written and directed by Stephen Bradley and starring Brendan Coyle and Deirdre O'Kane.

Currently, the foundation is working on a project for children who have been in Mongolia's children's prison. "My dream is to build something very beautiful but not expensive, so they have colour in their lives. They'll all have their own rooms. I want them to be part of the colour and turn it from something nobody would want to remember into something so beautiful and free, take them from the dark into the light and have fun and laugh, and graduate."

She will too, with help, which she knows how to find. "I've seen it all, kid. I know the world has evil in it, but I also know it has some amazing people in it."

Find out more about the Christina Noble Children's Foundation on Noble can be downloaded from Amazon and iTunes on

Now 72, Christina Noble continues to fundraise and work closely with the children the CNCF helps in Vietnam and Mongolia.

Awarded the OBE in 2003, she won a lifetime achievement award at Woman of the Year UK in 2014 and was nominated by Time Magazine (Europe) as one of "36 Inspiring Heroes of our World'"

She has been awarded numerous medals, doctorates and accolades across the globe in recognition of her work.

Co-founder of Harrogate-based Pure Collection, Nick Falkingham, who has witnessed the CNCF work in Mongolia, said: "It immediately struck me as a charity around which all our colleagues and customers could wrap their arms and get to work to support. All of us at Pure Collection are very proud to be able to give back to a region so important to the cashmere industry."

·         Pure Collection has created a special dragonfly print scarf, left, costing £39, of which £10 goes directly to CNCF. It can be bought at the York store on Stonegate and at

Link to article

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Culture, Society

Thousands take part in largest camel race as part of initiative to increase animal's population in Mongolia

March 16 (Guinness World Records) A huge camel festival in Mongolia earlier this month saw an incredible 1,108 jockeys take to their saddles for a history-making race. 

As part of an ongoing initiative to restore the country's declining population of domestic Bactrian (two-humped) camels, The Administrative Office of the Governor of Umnogovi aimag (Mongolia) organised a succesful attempt at the title for the Largest camel raceever. 

The track in Dalanzadgad city was just over 15 km long, with the fastest animal finishing in 35 min 12 sec and the whole race completed in 1 hr 8 min.

Guinness World Records adjudicator Pravin Patel attended the history-making event to verify the attempt, and was thrilled to present its organisers with an official certificate recognising their success. 

The festival was founded back in 1997 and has since grown into a massive two-day event accommodating two camel races, camel polo and other team sports, poetry contests for children, drawing competitions and many other camel-related activities.

Over the past 15 years camel festivals have been held all over the region and the country has seen a significant and vital rise in the value of of Bactrians. 

The recent attempt almost doubled the previous record-setting camel race, which involved 555 participants and was achieved by the Alxa League Administrative Office of Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region (China) at Tamusu, Alateng Aobao Town, Alxa Right Banner, Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, China, on 19 November 2011.

Link to article


Cutting edge: sword from Chinggis Khan era on display

March 16 ( "Mongolian Soldier" is the name of an exhibition which opened on 14th March. On display are military items and weapons from 13th-14th centuries – the age of the Great Mongolian Empire.

An ancient curved sword, which occupies the place honor at the exhibition, has been receiving a lot of attention. By a decision of the government, this sword has been added to the list of Mongolian Precious Treasures. This sword was found in the Bayanlig Soum of Bayankhongor Province in 1987.

Another interesting exhibit is the Marshal's Sword. The military rank of marshal was created in 1936; the first two holders of the rank being Marshals Kh.Choibalsan and G.Demid. The 96 centimeter-long sword weighs 1.7 kilograms and was specially crafted in the Soviet Union in 1944. Inlaid with 137 jewels, including rubies, emeralds and even diamonds, this remarkable weapon is truly beautiful.

In addition 11 parts of this sword are overlaid with gold and patterned with the traditional Mongolian hammer-like-ornament, known as the "Alkhan Khee" and the symbol of eternal happiness - the "Ulzii Khee", the State Hymn and an image of the Marshal of the People's Republic of Mongolia.

The "Mongolian Soldier" exhibition also shows helmets, shields, bows and arrows as well as portraits of khans. On display are 20 interesting important military documents dating from the Mongolian People's Revolution of 1921.

Link to article

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Nature, Environment

World Water Day: Access to Clean Water for Mongolia's Northernmost Province

March 16 (The Asia Foundation) Traveling in Mongolia during the winter can prove challenging, and our journey last month was no exception. Our team was traveling to the northernmost Khuvsgul province, 700 kilometers from the capital of Ulaanbaatar, to visit communities with which we have been working to improve water quality and access in the area. Like most remote provinces in the country, these residents face severe challenges in accessing clean water on a daily basis. We were surrounded by snowcapped hills and frozen landscapes, the inevitable result of sub-zero temperatures.

Given the lack of access to drinking water in schools and dormitories in rural Mongolia, students generally do not drink water during the school day. Only a small cup of tea once or twice a day is provided, and water for hand washing is scarce. Water sources are located far from schools, and available water is transported from lakes and rivers by jeep or horse cart. In the winter, these water sources are frozen, which makes access even more challenging. Wells are available in some areas even during the winter, but that water needs to be treated as it is not suitable for drinking and can risk heavy metal contamination.

Our team was comprised of two program staff from The Asia Foundation and a water and sanitation technology expert, Dr. Basandorj, from the Water Centre at the National University of Science and Technology of Mongolia. This trip was one of many for us. For the past two years, with support from UNICEF, we have been working with soum (district) governors, schools, and kindergarten management teams, children, teachers, and social workers to provide water filters, training, and guidance to local schools and kindergartens on water and sanitation.

Already seeing results from the awareness-raising aspects of the project, the localsoum governors have begun allocating portions of their local development funds as well as investing their own time and resources to ensure that children have access to clean drinking water.

Governor Munkhuu has allocated 100 million tugrug ($50,000) to improve his community's water supply and sanitation facilities for the schools and kindergartens. "The team provides me with important technical advice on improved sanitation technology and the nano-water filters. I see these as very useful and plan to put these into use in my community for schools, dormitories, and kindergartens as well as public hospitals and the governors' office," he told us.

School directors, doctors, and social workers have also been enthusiastic about the initiative. One school doctor, Ms. Oyun-Erdene, said that as a result of the project's awareness-raising on how clean water is essential to children's health and learning capacity, her local government has allocated 3.8 million tugrug ($1,900) for her school to procure bottled water dispensers for each classroom.

One school manager, Ms. Myagmardulam, recognized the value of training guidance for teaching students about proper hygiene and water usage habits. She noted that this is something that is not traditionally part of the teaching curriculum or culture in rural Mongolia.

In addition to these efforts, our local government partners have launched a series of mini- campaigns to share vital information on the inadequate state of water supply and sanitation in schools and kindergartens, with the objective of increasing urgency for taking immediate action.

Traditionally parents and public officials in Mongolia are more concerned with issues related to the school curriculum and overcrowding. The need for improved water and sanitation, in contrast, has rarely been discussed. Through these awareness-raising campaigns, parents have become some of the strongest advocates for improving water sanitation and hygiene in schools.

Mrs. Mijiddorj, a principal for kindergarten No 11, shared with us how the parents' council quickly acted and brought BPA free bottles from Ulaanbaatar for the children. Members of the parents' council were trained on how to apply a monitoring check-list for the minimum water requirements in schools, kindergarten, and dormitories, and monitoring results are used to improve the WASH minimum requirements.

The head of the Education Department in Khuvsgul, Mr. O. Baatar-Ochir, said that the campaigns have greatly increased the overall understanding of water supply and sanitation issues across the province among local governments, businesses, and parents. While the momentum has been positive, he noted that more is needed to ensure the health and hygiene for the children of Khuvsgul, particularly in regard to building affordable, easy-to-maintain water and sanitation facilities that are operational throughout the long, cold winters. The project's introduction of water filters has been promising in that they are cost-effective, easy-to-use, and require virtually no maintenance costs.

On March 22, we join in marking World Water Day and the significant achievements that communities across the globe like these in Mongolia are making to ensure clean water. We are also reminded on this important day how much remains to be done. Even so, we are heartened to see that the parents and local governments of Khuvsgul province are ready to take on this challenge.

Bolormaa Purevjav is a senior advisor and program manager for The Asia Foundation in Mongolia. She can be reached

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Przewalski's Horses Headed to Russia, Mongolia

March 16 (Transitions Online) European breeding programs are helping keep the critically endangered wild horse from extinction.

Thanks to breeding programs far from its natural habitat, the world's last surviving wild horse species is gradually being reintroduced to the steppes of Russia and Central Asia.

Six, French-born Przewalski's horses that arrived in Russia in November are doing well, Russian Environment Minister Sergei Donskoy wrote 14 March on his Facebook page. The horses are currently living at a nature reserve near Russia's border with Kazakhstan. 

Still, they will need five years of adaptation to the local environment before being released to roam freely across the almost 40,000 hectare Orenburg reserve, TASS reported

Scientists hope to build the Orenburg herd up to 100 animals, AFP says, adding that about 2,000 Przewalski's horses are alive today, a tiny remnant of the herds that once roamed Eurasia from China to Ukraine.

Named after 19th-century Russian explorer Nikolai Przhevalski (pictured), the horses were hunted relentlessly over the years. The species became extinct in the wild more than 40 years ago, the CTK news agency says in an article on Prague Zoo's successful breeding program. That initiative has so far seen 19 Przewalski's horses reintroduced to Mongolia. 

The zoo will transport four more mares to Mongolia's Gobi B protected area, zoo director Miroslav Bobek said. 

Seventeen of the 19 Prague-bred horses are still alive in Mongolia, which Bobek called "a very good result." Twelve of their offspring are also living. 

Around 500 Przewalski's horses live in three localities in Mongolia, CTK says.  

"Prague has played a key role in the salvation of the Przewalski's horse from extinction," Bobek said. 

Despite such international efforts, there is "still a long way before the Przewalski's horse can be considered saved from extinction," Frederic Joly of the France-based Association for the Przewalski's horse told AFP.  

The surviving 2,000 Przewalski's horses all descend from 12 horses captured in the wild. 

The saiga antelope – another iconic, hoofed Eurasian steppe dweller – still maintains a foothold in its natural habitat despite massive poaching and mysterious die-offs. Last year around half of the estimated 257,000 saigas in Kazakhstan died within weeks, possibly from bacterial illnesses after a wet spring. 

The saiga population has fluctuated wildly, rising to 1 million in the early 1990s, and then collapsing to 50,000 in 2012, the WWF says. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature lists saigas as critically endangered.

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NEMA acquires Rosenbauer firetrucks from Austria

March 16 ( Under an agreement between the Mongolian and Austrian Governments, "Rosenbauer International AG", is to supply 28 firefighting vehicles including 16 modern firetrucks which are suitable to Mongolia's harsh climate. Additional equipment is also being provided. Established in 1866, Austria's "Rosenbauer International AG" is one of the world's three leaders in producing fire service vehicles. 

The vehicles are being supplied to Mongolia from "Rosenbauer International" South Korea and will be delivered to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). The vehicles will be sent to the 21 provinces and also the Chingeltei, Sukhbaatar, Bayanzurkh and Songinokhairkhan districts of Ulaanbaatar. The amount the Mongolian Government paid in 2015 was MNT 4.6 billion.

In recent years, the supply of modern disaster prevention and mitigation equipment has increased. Last year, NEMA received MNT 20 billion in state funding for obtaining modern vehicles and technology.

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