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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

[ERD drills & raises; WB optimistic than ADB; MNT gains for 3rd day; $11B Shivee Energy project launched; and police raids Genco office]

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Tuesday, April 11, 2016

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Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original

 

ASEM 11

Round Table highlights growing ties between the UK and Mongolia

Important topics discussed at the Round Table include the Asia Europe Meeting and greater collaboration to tackle illegal wildlife trade

April 11 (British Embassy, Ulaanbaatar) The 12th UK/Mongolia Round Table took place on March 11 in London.

The Permanent Under Secretary Simon McDonald welcomed Mongolian State Secretary Gankhuyag, thanking Mongolia for its support to global peacekeeping from Afghanistan to South Sudan. Mongolia has 40 years experience of Peacekeeping and Simon McDonald commended the Mongolian forces professionalism and reiterated the UK's commitment to strengthen Mongolia's capacity still further.

Secretary of State Ganhuyag thanked the UK for being the first Western Country to establish diplomatic relations with Mongolia; recognising that Mongolia is an important partner for the UK in North East Asia.

The Round Table covered preparations for this summer's Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM), to be held in Ulaanbaatar in July. Simon McDonald congratulated Mongolia on its election to the Human Rights Council, and the positive steps Mongolia has taken to conserve its unique environment. Potential areas for further collaboration between the UK and Mongolia on the illegal wildlife trade were also discussed.

The success of the UK's Chevening scholarship scheme highlighted the growing links between the UK and Mongolia, with both sides agreeing look for further opportunities for collaborative working on culture and education.

The UK and Mongolia noted that the signing of the underground phase of the Oyu Tolgoi Copper mine had sent a strong, positive signal to investors and agreed to strengthen still further economic ties between the UK and Mongolia.

Link to post

 

Int'l Market

ERD closed; +2.3% Monday to C$0.22, +37.5% YTD

Erdene Commences Drill Program at Bayan Khundii Gold Project

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - April 8, 2016) -- Erdene Resource Development Corp. (TSX:ERD) ("Erdene" or "Company") is pleased to announce its Q2 drill program is now underway at its wholly-owned Bayan Khundii gold project ("Bayan Khundii") in southwest Mongolia. The diamond drill program is comprised of approximately 3,500 metres (approximately 30 holes) and will test both strike and vertical extensions of the high-grade gold mineralization intersected in Q4-2015.

"Bayan Khundii has rapidly become the highest priority project for the Company based on its very high grades, excellent metallurgy, wide zones coming to surface, and size potential. This exploration program, which includes a 3,500 metre drill program, extensive geophysical and geochemical testing, and multiple studies in advance of a mining licence application and economic evaluations, will go a long way in characterizing the discovery," said Peter Akerley, President and CEO of Erdene.

Bayan Khundii Gold Project

Gold mineralization at Bayan Khundii has been identified in three separate prospect areas over a 1.7 km trend, with detailed exploration only taking place over a 475 by 300 metre zone in the southwest prospect area, where the Company's Q4-2015 drill program (totaling 695 metres) was completed. Visible gold was observed in 10 of the 15 drill holes and results included several high-grade intersections within a series of parallel structures exposed at surface. The average drill depth of the program was 46 metres, with results including up to 35 metres of 5.9 g/t gold in hole BKD-10 (including 12 metres of 16.2 g/t gold) from surface to the bottom of the hole. The details of that drill program can be found in Erdene's December 14, 2015 news release (click here for link).

Drill Program Objectives (see attached map and cross-sections for reference)

Link to release

 

Erdene Announces $2.5 Million Financing With Sandstorm Gold

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - April 11, 2016) - Erdene Resource Development Corp. (TSX:ERD) ("Erdene" or "Company") is pleased to announce it has signed financing agreements ("Transaction") with Sandstorm Gold Ltd. ("Sandstorm") (NYSE MKT:SAND)(TSX:SSL) that provide total consideration of C$2.5 million to Erdene to advance exploration and development programs on the Company's gold projects in southwest Mongolia.

The Transaction is subject to approval from the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Transaction Highlights

·         Provides funding to Erdene for 2016 projects, specifically drilling of the high-grade Bayan Khundii gold project

·         Sandstorm will provide cash consideration of C$1.0 million through a private placement of 5 million common shares of Erdene at $0.20 per share

·         Sandstorm will provide consideration of C$1.5 million in common shares of Sandstorm for the purchase of a 2% net smelter returns royalty ("NSR Royalty") on the Company's Bayan Khundii gold project and Altan Nar gold-polymetallic project

·         Erdene has a three year option to buy-back 50% of the NSR Royalty for C$1.2 million to reduce the NSR Royalty to 1%

·         Sandstorm to hold the Erdene shares for a minimum of 18 months

"We welcome Sandstorm as an investor in Erdene and view this Transaction as an endorsement of the quality and potential of our Company's flagship gold projects," said Peter Akerley, Erdene's President and CEO. "This financing allows us to create value by completing a detailed evaluation and drilling program at Bayan Khundii in a manner that balances our need for capital with preserving shareholder ownership in what we believe could be a very significant new gold district."

Transaction Summary

Link to release

 

WOF last traded A$0.007 in March 8

Wolf Petroleum Secures A$60,000 Loan Facility from Celtic Capital

April 11 -- Wolf Petroleum Limited ('the Company') wishes to announce it has secured a loan facility from Celtic Capital Pty Ltd.

The salient terms of the facility are:

-       Amount borrowed: $60,000

-       Fees: Nil

-       Repayment date: On or before 30 June 2016

-       Interest Rate: 20% per annum, with a minimum interest amount of $15,000

For further information please contact the Company.

Link to release

 

SouhGobi Resources Annual Report 2015

April 11, SouthGobi Resources Ltd. (TSX:SGQ, HKEx:1878) --

Link to report

Related:

Amended Annual General Meeting Date – SouthGobi Resources, April 11

 

Winsway Applies for Bankruptcy in US; Hearing in May

April 11 (AAStocks) WINSWAY (01733.HKannounced that the debt restructuring with creditors of over US$349 million will be sought in the U.S. under chapter 15 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. 

The court has scheduled a hearing to consider the relief requested in the petition at 10 a.m. (New York time) on May 9, 2016 in New York. The petition seeking sanction of the BVI scheme from the
Commercial Division of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court shall be heard at 10 a.m. (BVI time) on Wednesday 11 May 2016. The petition seeking sanction of the Hong Kong scheme from the High Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be heard at 10 a.m. (Hong Kong time) on Tuesday 17 May 2016.

Link to article

Link to Winsway release

 

Centerra Gold 2016 First Quarter Results Conference Call and Annual Meeting of Shareholders

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - April 08, 2016) - Centerra Gold Inc. (TSX: CG) will host a conference call and webcast of its 2016 first quarter financial and operating results at 10:00AM (Toronto time) on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The results are scheduled to be released after the market closes on Tuesday, May 3, 2016. 

The Company will host its Annual Meeting of Shareholders on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 10:00AM (Toronto time).

First Quarter 2016 Results Conference Call and Webcast

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 at 10:00AM (Toronto time):

Link to release

Back to top

Local Market

MSE Weekly Report: Top 20 +0.55%, ALL -0.39%, Turnover ₮2.5 Billion Shares, ₮9.3 Billion T-Bills

April 8 (MSE) --

Link to report

 

MSE Trading Report: Top 20 +1.14%, ALL +0.69%, Turnover 54 Million Shares, 9 Billion T-Bills

April 11 (MSE) --

Link to report

 

Mogi: at what discount? Should be the same as BoM's similar auction

10 Billion 39-Week T-Bills Sold at Discount via MSE

April 11 (MSE) On April 11, 2016, 39 weeks /9 months/ Government bonds worth MNT10.0 billion traded on primary market at Mongolian Stock Exchange.

Below member brokerage companies participated in the bond trading follows:

 Companies' name 

 Volume 

1

Tenger Capital

50,000

2

Monsec

50,000

Total

100,000

Link to release

 

Mogi: 315.1 million total, by my calculation

Aduunchuluun JSC Announces 100 a Share Dividend

April 8 (MSE) MSE listed "Aduunchuluun" JSC held its shareholder meeting on 24 March 2016 and decided to distribute dividends MNT100.00 per share to its shareholders within second quarter of 2016.

Link to release

 

Tavantolgoin Khishig Securities Co. Changes Name to Teso Investment

April 8 (MSE) According to the Order No.: 69 of deputy director of Financial Regulatory Commission dated on 21 March 2016, "Tavantolgoin Khishig" Securities Company changed its name to "Teso Investment" Securities Company.

Company address: Central Tower, 9 floor door#903, Great Chinggis Khaan's Square-2, Khoroo 8, Sukhbaatar district, Ulaanbaatar

Link to release

Back to top

Economy

World Bank EAP Economic Update: Mongolia GPD Forecast +0.7% in 2016, +2.7% 2017, 6.2% 2018

April 10 (World Bank) --

MONGOLIA

Summary

Growth is expected to remain sluggish in 2016 due to weaker mining production, likely increasing poverty particularly among urban households. The economy faces short-term challenges from a fragile external environment and large external debt repayments, with limited policy buffers. Staying the course on policy adjustment is important to strengthen economic resilience to external shocks and secure a sustainable growth path.

Recent Economic Developments

Growth dropped to 2.3 percent (year-on-year [yoy]) in 2015, with a sharp weakening of investment and exports (Figure 1). Mining GDP grew 13 percent (yoy) on the back of strong production of the Oyu Tolgoi (OT) mine. Non-mining GDP contracted by 0.8 percent, reflecting subdued domestic demand. Growth in agriculture was maintained at 10.7 percent. Manufacturing growth slowed to 1.3 percent, and wholesale and retail services and construction growth contracted by 3.6 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

Exports dropped 36 percent (yoy) in the last quarter of 2015, followed by a 30.4 percent fall in January. Total imports fell by 19.5 percent in January, following a 21 percent drop in the previous three months, with oil product imports halving. Sharp import compression turned the current account into a US$24 million surplus in January, from a deficit of US$130 million in the previous three months.

The balance of payments recorded a US$21.7 million surplus in January, following a US$95.6 million deficit in the final three months of 2015. A moderate current account surplus and a currency swap facility with the People's Bank of China (PBoC) helped ease the balance of payments pressure in January. Foreign direct investment (FDI) remained weak, displaying a US$26.7 million net inflow in January. Gross international reserves declined to US$1,197 million in February from US$1,323 million at end-2015, indicating escalating balance-of-payments pressure in February. The togrog depreciated by 2.5 percent against the US dollar in the first three months of 2016, following highly limited movement in the last four months of 2015.

Bank loan growth continued to contract by 4.5 percent (yoy), and the nonperforming-loan ratio rose to 7.8 percent in February. Headline inflation remained subdued at 2 percent (yoy) in February. Amid tight credit conditions and slowing inflation, the Bank of Mongolia lowered its policy rate by 100 basis points to 12 percent in January.

The on-budget deficit, excluding the commercial project loans of the Development Bank of Mongolia (DBM), reached 5.1 percent of GDP in 2015, close to the 5 percent ceiling of the Fiscal Stability Law (FSL). Budget revenues declined by 5.4 percent compared with 2014 amid slowing growth and falling imports. Expenditures were cut through two supplementary budgets in response to the revenue shortage. Off-budget commercial loans of the DBM also declined to around 2.5 percent of GDP, from 3.9 percent in the previous year. Facing continued pressure on balance of payments and revenues, the government announced that a US$250 million five-year loan had been secured through a syndicated loan facility in March.

Outlook

Growth is projected to slow to 0.7 percent in 2016. Non-mining production will gradually recover with OT's second-phase investment. Mining production is projected to decline due to weaker external demand and lower-grade ores to be tapped by the OT mine. Inflation is expected to stay moderate amid a slow recovery in demand and lower oil prices.

Weak growth in key labor-intensive sectors such as construction and retail services would have adverse welfare impacts, particularly among wage-dependent urban households. The job share of paid workers declined to 47.6 percent in 2015, from 49.4 percent one year ago. Female labor force participation remained at 54 percent, since working-age women among the poor were constrained by child care responsibilities. Loss of wage income is thus expected to raise poverty among urban households that are dependent on a single wage earner in low-skilled jobs, most of whom barely make enough to keep their households out of poverty.

The current account deficit is projected to widen to 9 to 10 percent of GDP in 2016, from 4.8 percent last year, with a sharp drop in mineral exports. The balance of payments will remain under pressure due to the widening current account deficit, while increased FDI inflows and the currency swap facility with the PBoC provide partial buffers.

The fiscal outlook remains weak. Weaker mineral exports are expected to undermine mineral revenues, demanding continued tight spending control to meet the FSL's deficit ceiling of 4 percent of GDP.

Emerging Challenges

Mongolia's long-term growth prospects remain strong, but its resilience will be tested by short-term challenges from the deteriorating external environment, in the absence of proper external and fiscal buffers.

The economic prospects are subject to downside risks from the weak commodity market and China's slowdown. A sharper drop in mineral exports would further dampen growth and erode limited reserve buffers unless foreign capital inflows significantly recover.

With its public external debt rising to 65 percent of GDP in 2015, Mongolia is vulnerable to global financial volatility, particularly exchange rate shocks and tighter refinancing conditions. Strong long-term growth prospects supported by large resource wealth indicate a low solvency risk, but the concentrated debt repayment of US$1,080 million in 2017–18 will likely pose a near-term challenge.

Priorities should be given to reducing external and fiscal vulnerabilities by deepening policy adjustment. The fiscal policy should stay the course on reducing the budget deficit and managing the public debt at  a sustainable level. Monetary policy should stay focused on maintaining price stability, avoid quasi-fiscal programs, and reduce external vulnerabilities by allowing a flexible exchange rate adjustment and safeguarding reserve buffers. Continued efforts to revamp foreign capital inflows are needed.

The weak economic prospects in the near term indicate the growing risk that many households close to the poverty line may slide back into poverty. To preserve poverty gains under tight fiscal constraints, it is important to redesign the social safety nets to mitigate adverse impacts on the newly poor and the vulnerable.

Link to report (Mongolia page 193)

 

Historic low 2,050.85/USD set March 28, 2016. Reds are rates that set a new low at the time

BoM MNT Rates: Monday, April 11 Close

4/11

4/8

4/7

4/6

4/5

4/4

4/1

3/31

3/30

3/29

3/28

3/25

3/24

3/23

3/22

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USD

2,023.91

2,026.93

2,032.89

2,042.75

2,042.49

2,047.17

2,048.79

2,048.90

2,050.73

2,050.77

2,050.85

2,050.69

2,050.15

2,049.36

2,048.62

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EUR

2,310.29

2,301.07

2,326.13

2,320.56

2,325.37

2,329.47

2,331.73

2,322.22

2,317.94

2,293.48

2,291.00

2,288.98

2,288.27

2,293.13

2,303.16

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JPY

18.77

18.64

18.69

18.51

18.50

18.34

18.23

18.23

18.26

18.04

18.06

18.14

18.16

18.23

18.34

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GBP

2,861.40

2,851.18

2,869.53

2,887.43

2,908.81

2,911.69

2,943.39

2,939.25

2,956.85

2,914.35

2,906.16

2,896.91

2,886.92

2,903.33

2,938.85

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RUB

30.17

30.02

30.04

29.79

29.61

29.84

30.64

30.24

30.14

29.75

30.20

29.98

29.65

30.27

30.26

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CNY

312.97

312.81

314.47

315.36

315.67

315.99

316.91

316.86

316.35

315.03

314.87

314.77

314.82

315.48

315.75

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KRW

1.77

1.76

1.76

1.77

1.77

1.78

1.78

1.79

1.78

1.76

1.76

1.75

1.76

1.77

1.77

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SGD

1,504.54

1,500.98

1,508.30

1,508.79

1,505.21

1,514.91

1,517.96

1,518.32

1,516.48

1,496.20

1,497.30

1,495.76

1,496.02

1,499.39

1,505.51

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CAD

1,558.17

1,547.81

1,559.80

1,554.66

1,559.15

1,567.51

1,572.61

1,579.97

1,571.20

1,552.09

1,549.92

1,548.51

1,545.07

1,564.28

1,565.92

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AUD

1,529.27

1,528.41

1,547.54

1,545.54

1,551.37

1,559.53

1,572.14

1,569.76

1,566.76

1,545.77

1,545.83

1,544.48

1,533.61

1,555.77

1,556.03

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HKD

260.89

261.30

262.09

263.35

263.36

263.99

264.20

264.23

264.46

264.38

264.35

264.36

264.26

264.19

264.21

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CHF

2,124.06

2,116.79

2,134.27

2,130.75

2,130.48

2,132.80

2,133.05

2,124.20

2,123.57

2,104.65

2,099.67

2,097.89

2,098.95

2,100.72

2,111.33

Bank USD rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy ₮2,010 Sell ₮2,024), Khan (Buy ₮2,010 Sell ₮2,024), Golomt (Buy ₮2,012 Sell ₮2,025), XacBank (Buy ₮2,012 Sell ₮2,025), State Bank (Buy ₮2,010 Sell ₮2,026)

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

Link to rates

 

BoM declines USD bid, CNY ask offers, accepts $4m MNT, CNY20m CNY swap offers, declines $20m USD

April 7 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on April 7th, 2016, the BOM has received buying bid offers of USD 33.0 million in a rate between MNT 2037.00-2042.00 and selling bid offers of CNY 2.0 million in a rate with MNT 315.36. The BOM did not accept any bid offers.

On April 7th, 2016, the BOM has received MNT Swap agreement buying bid offers equivalent to USD 4.0 million, USD swap agreement selling bid offers equivalent to USD 20.0 million and MNT-CNY swap agreement buying bid offers equivalent to CNY 20.0 from local commercial banks respectively. The BOM accepted the MNT swap agreement buying bid offers of USD 4.0 million and MNT-CNY swap agreement buying bid offers of CNY 20.0 million and did not accept the USD swap agreement selling bid offers of USD 20.0 million.

Link to release

 

BoM issues 216 billion 1-week bills at 12%, total outstanding +25.6% to ₮437.3 billion

April 11 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 216 billion at a weighted interest rate of 12.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release

 

PM: "Mongolia is back and open for business!"

April 11 (news.mn) The 19th Annual Asian Investment Conference (AIC) took place from 5th-7th April in Hong Kong. The AIC, was organized by Credit Suisse and was attended by top figures from the world of finance, economics, and politics, ranging from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to Sir John Sawers, former head of UK's MI6.

The Mongolian delegation was headed by Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg and included the CEO of Erdenes Mongol LLC, the Governor of the Bank of Mongolia.

Mr Saikhanbileg was one of the key speakers. In his address, which took place on the last day of the conference he said: "My message is a simple one. Mongolia is back and is open for business". He did not shy away from the problems of 2015 and domestic concerns over foreign direct investment (FDI) and slumping metal prices, which slowed the country's economy down to a crawl. A number of very positive things have happened since then. The PM, clearly wishing to reassure foreign investors said that Mongolia is "creating a rainbow economy", offering investment opportunities in agribusiness, tourism, health care, construction and power generation. Economic diversification is important to counter the current 80% GDP which comes from raw material exports, which, are subject to international commodity fluctuations.

Mr Saikhanbileg also noted: "the 11th Asian-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit will be held in Mongolia this July. The heads of 53 countries will participate. We hope that Mongolia will create a great stimulus in inter-continental relations. As a result of ASEM, cooperation between Asia and Europe will be strengthened. In history, Mongolia has been a bridge, connecting Asia and Europe".

Regarding the AIC organizers, the PM said: "The Mongolian Development Bank started co-operation with Credit Suisse in 2014. Credit Suisse was the first coordinator of the USD 300 million joint loan and has financed major projects, supporting exports".

Prime Minister noted that the Government has raised USD 750 million as a joint loan, co-operating with Credit Suisse.  During the AIC he held many meetings, including with officials from. Mr Saikhanbileg also gave an interview to Bloomberg TV.

Link to article

Related:

PM Ch.Saikhanbileg says 'Mongolia is back to business'UB Post, April 11

 

SoftBank's Son embarks on power grid project spanning Northeast Asia

TOKYO, April 11 (Nikkei Asian Review) -- SoftBank Group Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son is known for coming up with grand projects that can seem far-fetched at times.

His latest endeavor is to build a large wind power farm in Mongolia and transmit electricity generated there -- enough to supply roughly 6.25 million households -- to Japan and other countries in Northeast Asia through an interconnected power grid that will include undersea power cables.

"I want to establish a power grid spanning Northeast Asia by 2020," Son said. But as great as his vision may sound, he still needs to lay out realistic business plans, including how to charge fees and estimates of sales from the proposed project, in order to realize yet another of his grand dreams.

Japanese telecommunications giant SoftBank plans to start building this year a large wind power farm in a vast barren land of about 2,240 sq. km in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. The project will cost as much as 50 billion yen ($458 million), and will serve as the power source to drive Son's grand energy project.

"While Northeast Asia is the engine of the global economy, the region also emits large amounts of carbon dioxide. If the situation is left unaddressed, humanity as a whole will regret it," he said, stressing the social significance of his new project.

He envisions a power grid spanning Japan, China, South Korea, Russia and Mongolia -- what he calls the "Golden Ring." The project involves installing a total of about 600km of undersea power cables to connect China with South Korea, Japan with South Korea, and Japan with Russia.

When complete, the ring of connected power grids will be used to supply the electricity generated by the wind power farm in the Gobi Desert and other power stations elsewhere to these countries. This may seem like a far-fetched dream, but Son is dead serious.

Multinational cooperation

At the end of March, he attended an international energy conference hosted by the Chinese state-owned State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC). Korea Electric Power Corp. (Kepco) and Russian energy grid operator PJSC Rosseti were also among the participating companies.

SoftBank signed a joint memorandum of understanding with these power companies to create a framework for building an interconnected power grid spanning the region and conducting feasibility studies.

Enormous costs for installing these undersea cables will likely be the biggest stumbling block. It is estimated to cost hundreds of billions of yen to install 600km of undersea cables that will be able to transmit 2 million kW of electricity, equivalent to the output of two nuclear reactors.

For Son, this is not the first time he has formulated such a mammoth power grid project. In September 2011, he proposed what he called an "Asia Super Grid" project aimed at spanning countries, including Japan, Russia and Mongolia, in the wake of the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accidents that hit northeastern Japan in March of that year.

He even carried out an on-the-ground survey, but was unable to win much support at the time. "Many people laughed and told me it was a crazy idea," he said.

But the winds of change started blowing in Son's favor in January this year. SGCC Chairman Liu Zhenya learned of Son's vision and approached him about it. This is because SGCC was also studying a plan to build a power grid network worldwide, an ambitious goal that fall in line with Beijing's pump-priming efforts. In late January, the two men dined together and reportedly hit it off as they discussed the project.

Uncertainty over finances

Still, some observers remain skeptical about Son's humongous project. "It involves sharing grid data with China and South Korea, but I wonder if that will be safe in terms of security," an official of one Japanese power company said. Such concern is widely shared in the industry.

This is because power grid is an integral part of social infrastructure. A leak of power grid data to other countries could raise specters of terrorist attacks or deliberate power cuts.

Another concern is whether SoftBank can actually recoup such a huge investment into power grids just by generating and supplying renewable energy. Unless the company can offer electricity rates lower than the current level even after the investment amount is added, other businesses will find it difficult to show support.

As of the end of September last year, SoftBank was saddled with interest-bearing debts of about 11.9 trillion yen on a consolidated basis. Its capital-to-asset ratio -- a measurement of a company's financial health -- stood at a mere 14% or so. In 2013, SoftBank spent approximately $23 billion to acquire U.S. mobile phone company Sprint, and this acquisition is still taking a financial toll on the Japanese company.

Meanwhile, Sprint has been losing market share to its rivals, putting a further drag on SoftBank's group earnings. This puts into question the company's ability to make another huge investment.

However, Son argues that spending on undersea cables will not weigh on the company's bottom line as such cable lines can remain in use for 40-50 years. "If we divide that cost [by the number of years we use them], it won't amount too much," he said. What's more, the companies supporting the Golden Ring project, such as SGCC, Kepco and Rosseti, are expected to shoulder the installation costs.

Leveraging strengths

Son remains optimistic, as he believes SoftBank's strengths in communications technology can be fully utilized for the planned project.

Adjusting the supply-demand balance is critical for renewable energy. The volume of power output and actual electricity use need to match at all times. An imbalance could disrupt electricity transmission, raising the possibility of blackouts. Therefore, wind and solar power operators are required to have technologies that can change power output levels and supply routes according to the amount of sunlight and wind velocity.

This is where SoftBank will capitalize on its communications technology and flexibly control transmission routes based on the amount of power available.

Its technology can also accommodate changes in the power grid system. In the existing centralized model, power stations transmit electricity to households. But under the new system, households will receive power from a number of small power stations. There is a growing need for a technology that can control power distribution from multiple power facilities. SoftBank believes it can use its experience in the information and communications sector to tackle this challenge.

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Politics & Legal

Police breaks into MP Battulga's corporate office, collects documents on private companies

April 11 (gogo.mn) Right now polices break into MP Kh.Battulga`s room at the Bayangol hotel office and protected the surrounding. According to the source, more than 30 police staffs entered the hotel and conducting a search. 

MP Kh.Battulga and his lawyer D.Purevbaatar were at their room. 

Polices locked the office rooms from inside and not allowing anyone to enter. 

In regards, the General Police Authority to hold press session today at 6pm. 

Reliable source said that polices are conducting an examination with the permission of a prosecutor on Bayalgiin huvi JSC and Tumenhishigten LLC according to the Sainshand complex issue.

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MPRP to mark anniversary of N.Enkhbayar's arrest

April 11 (news.mn) Last Friday, the Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC) arrested M.Munkhuu, the bodyguard of the Chairman of Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP), N.Enkhbayar. According to the MPRP the IAAC arrested the bodyguard for cheating. In the same statement it was said that Mr Munkhuu was at home recovering from a leg injury when IAAC officers came to his house and arrested him.

The MPRP has announced that they will organize a demonstration on 12th April, marking the day four years ago, when N.Enkhbayar was arrested. Z.Bayanselenge and O.Baasankhuu, both MP's, have said that they plan to meet Chairman Enkhbayar's bodyguard.

It will be recalled that in April 2012, former President Enkhbayar was arrested and sentenced for corruption. On 1st August 2013, he was pardoned from serving the remainder of his jail sentence by President Ts.Elbegdorj.

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"Ulaanbaatar Spring": 7000 celebrate birthday of DP

April 11 (news.mn) Last Saturday (9th April), the UB section of the Democratic Party celebrated "Ulaanbaatar Spring" marking the anniversary of the birth of the party; no less than 7000 members from nine districts gathered in the Buyant-Ukhaa sport complex.

Twenty six years ago, on 7th-8th April 1990, the Democratic Party had its first official general meeting, during which E.Bat-Uul, currently mayor of Ulaanbaatar, was elected as the first party chairman. At this landmark meeting, a declaration was made proclaiming democratic ideals, human rights and freedom. In the party charter it was written that, the anniversary of these historical days on which the DP came into being must be celebrated annually.

From this year, the UB section of the Democratic Party has decided to celebrate the anniversary under the name of "Ulaanbaatar Spring". Citizens of the capital have been encouraged to provide the UB section of the Democratic Party with policy recommendations and their own action plan for the city. Therefore, during "Ulaanbaatar Spring", the UB section of the Democratic Party has presented these projects, some of which are already been implemented and others which will be launched in the near future.

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MPP caucus demands apology from PM over MEF speech

Ulaanbaatar, April 11 (MONTSAME) The faction of the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) will not back a bill on state prizes to be discussed by Standing committee and a plenary meeting

"Nowadays system of state awards must be kept," said S.Byambatsogt, a head of the MPP faction, and his deputy N.Nomtoibayar at a meeting on Monday.

According to the President-initiated draft law on state prizes, a title of Hero of Labor will be removed, a title of State Precious is to replace the People's title. The title of State Honored Figure will have only one category. The Erdeniin Ochir Order will be restored after removing the Sukhaabatar Order and the Red Flag Order of Labor Merit as well.

In addition, D.Lundeejantsan MP said the MPP will not support a draft law initiated by Sh.Tuvdendorj MP on adjudication procedure at the Constitutional Court to be discussed this week.

"If we have a practice of restoring decisions annulled by the Constitutional Court through laws, there is no need in the Constitutional Court. This Court is the highest organ of monitoring laws implementation. It is said the Constitution without Court is like a toothless lion," the MPP faction members stressed.

They also criticized some MPs "who attempt to alter the Constitution in a way of working out bills".

The MPP faction demanded that the PM Ch.Saikhanbileg apologize for saying "an irresponsible statement during the 19th Annual Asian Investment Conference (AAIC) in Hong Kong" that was opposing foreign investments".

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DP faction meets

Ulaanbaatar, April 11 (MONTSAME) At its meeting on Monday, the parliamentary faction of the Democratic Party (DP) received information from 15 sub-working groups that must formulate the democrats' pre-election programme.

The DP decided to work out its election programme, making it a continuation of the 'Mongolian-2020" programme, so its final draft is expected to complete at a meeting of the party's national consultative committee, scheduled this April 16, and functional obligations have been given to thes sub-working groups, said B.Garamgaibaatar, the faction's head.

He also said their meeting had decided to postpone an issue of appointing members of the General Election Commission (GEC).

Garamgaibaatar said an expanded meeting of the faction last Saturday considered the party's internal matters related to the election programme and the party's unity.

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PM to make statement on debt at parliament

April 11 (gogo.mn) Prime Minister Ch.Saihanbileg will make a statement on total debt of Mongolia and the Government debt at the plenary session of State Great Hural on Apr 15. 

S.Bayartsogt, Head of the Office of the Government submitted PM`s statement to State Great Hural. According to the statement, total debt of Mongolia reached USD 21.6 billion at the end of 2015, 4.9 of which or the 22.9% of debt accounted the international payment of the Government and Development Bank. 

In other words, the Government debt equals to 52.3% of GDP.

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Politbarometer April 2016

By Julian Dierkes, With BULGAN B

April 10 (Mongolia Focus) Santmaral Foundation's Politbarometer (April 2016) remains the "go-to" political poll for Mongolia. This is because a) it is the only credible poll that has been conducted repeatedly, and b) because it is generally credible.

We have thus previously commented on pre-election polls conducted by Santmaral:

·         June 2012 parliamentary election

·         May 2013 presidential election

Methodologically, the weakest part of the poll remains its limited polling across the country. This year's edition was limited to Uvurkhangai, Selenge, Sukhbaatar, Dundgovi in its countryside sampling. This is particularly a limitation in the polling on specific politicians' popularity as voters may prefer politicians from their aimag in significant numbers compared to the nationwide underlying sentiment.

Most of the results are best interpreted by comparing this year's results to last year's.

Summary Observations

1.    The poll offers little evidence for any growth of "resource nationalist" sentiments. [See my recent post for an argument that that label is useless to begin with.]

2.    Mongolians are feeling generally more confident than last year and particularly so when it comes to questions about democracy.

3.    Populist politicians continue to be the most popular.

4.    Election outlook: many Mongolians are undecided, the MPP is not gaining as much from the DP's stuggles as might be expected, the XUN party may be viable.

"Resource Nationalism"

Many observers will be tempted to look at the listing of most popular politicians, find Ganbaatar, Enkhbayar, Battulga, and Uyanga leading that category and declare this to be an indication that "resource nationalism" is on the rise. Never mind that this label remains problematic and thus appears in quotes here.

Apart from the popularity of these individual politicians, Santmaral includes a number of questions that measure attitudes about the state's involvement in the economy generally and in resource projects more specifically.

When we compare the 2015 responses with the 2016 responses (for Q E5 "What should be the proportion of Mongolian and Foreign ownership in strategic mine deposits") we notice that the share of respondents who want 100% Mongolian ownership of strategic mine deposits has slid from 21.7% to 20.7% at the national aggregate level, but for Ulaanbaatar (where we would deem the poll more reliable and informative, and where we would expect populist arguments to have more potential adherents) that proportion has gone down from 26.4% to 20.3%. This drop seems to be reflected in the gain in respondents who favour majority Mongolian stakes from 58.6% to 64.6% in Ulaanbaatar. And the number of respondents who endorse majority foreign stakes is also up, though only a little. These numbers certainly don't seem to indicate simplistic economic nationalism.

Another question that specifically asks about nationalization (E19. "Some people think that the state should nationalize every Mongolian company") offers a similar conclusion. Nationwide only 1/7 respondents favour such an approach.

Confidence in Democracy

Most observers would probably agree with an assessment that the DP (party and government) struggles have produced much hand-wringing about democracy. The proposals for constitutional reform late last year hinted at this, raising the spectre of dissatisfaction with democracy just as celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the democratic revolution were coming to an end.

Yet, this year's poll suggests that Mongolians are more confident in democracy than they were last year. When asked about the need for stronger leadership, perhaps a proxy for some latent desire for more authoritarian rule, respondents indicated a desire for such leadership at a greater rate (64%) than last year (59%), but endorsements of technocratic government and more democracy are also up around 6-7%. Should we conclude then that voters are looking for more powerful democratic experts, perhaps? Or, are voters simply looking forward to exercising their right to voice a view on government at the ballot box and endorsing strengthened democracy in that context?

Individual Politicians

One of the most-discussed element in the PolitBarometer poll is always the question inquiring for the "Top 10 Politicians". In this listing, there has been remarkably little change over the years. The same group of politicians tends to show up with some regularity, though there are some newcomers and some politicians who drop out as well as some shifts in popularity.

We generally disregard the countryside responses on this question as it is too vulnerable to preferences in specific regions.

Some observations

·         The top names, Ganbaatar, Enkhbayar, "Jenko" Battulga, Uyanga could all be characterized as populists.

·         The scandals and discussion of Ganbaatar and Jenko recently, seem to show that "there's no such thing as bad PR" as they remain popular.

·         Uyanga remains the only women on the list.

·         Compared to last year, Ganbaatar's popularity has declined from 36% to 27%.

·         Pres. Elbegdorj has dropped from 4th to 7th.

·         Bat-Uul, Ulaanbaatar mayor and a possible DP presidential candidate, has dropped out of the top 10 entirely.

·         Speaker of parliament and DP chair Enkhbold Z has cracked the top 10.

·         Amargjargal is now in 5th.

·         The only MPP leader in the Top 10 is Bat-Erdene. Other party officials like Enkhbold M or Khurelbaatar, for example, do not appear anywhere in the Top 10.

In the countryside listing, not that the greatest difference in popularity is for Jenko who is much less popular in the aimags sampled than in the city.

Party Outlook

Apart from particular policy issues and the  popularity of individual politicians, the PolitBarometer is obviously significant as an indication of how the parliamentary election at the end of June may go.

Here are some of the most suggestive results:

·         If you combine "don't know" and "no answer" to form an undecided category that would amount to over 40% of voters. Obviously, that leaves lots of room for movement during the campaign and leading up to the election. Given that 85% of respondents signal their intention to vote (much higher than actual turnout in the last elections) that must give some hope to all political operatives as to their chances to win more votes.

·         (Somewhat surprisingly, perhaps) The MPP does not seem to benefiting from the DP's struggles and factional turmoil to suggest a massive victory like the 2000 election following a DP government. The two "big" parties are favoured by only 15% in Ulaanbaatar. The lack of personal popularity of MPP leaders may be contributing to this, as may the emphasis on Ulaanbaatar in the polling.

·         With a nation-wide share of only 10% of the vote, the MPRP will have to depend on prominent candidates and their chances at first-past-the-post seats to return in numbers similar to the current parliament.

·         Prominent independents generally look to have a good chance at election in first-past-the-post races given the overall division of the electorate.

·         The CWGP scores a very low share of 1.4% nationwide and even in Ulaanbaatar is only selected by 2%. This may be due in part to the on-going discussions of a merger of the CWGP into the DP, but it casts a shadow over the future of the part.

·         The XUN Party (National Labour Party) does seem to be within reach of seats in the Ikh Khural with a 5% share of the vote in Ulaanbaatar contributing to 3.4% nationwide. That will depend largely on some resolution of party governance and recruitment of prominent candidates. But note that given the constant share of the vote for the larger parties, XUN does not seem to be splitting their vote, but rather may be collecting voters from other smaller parties.

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MP Ts.Oyungerel highlights changes needed in public attitude for increasing women's political leadership

April 11 (UB Post) The National Forum on Women's Participation at Decision-Making Level, which took place at the Central Cultural Palace last Monday, covered important topics related to women's political leadership and participation, gender equality in politics, and roles of female MPs in the society.

The forum was co-organized by the Women's Caucus in Parliament, International Republican Institute and Parliamentary Office of Mongolia.

MP Ts.Oyungerel spoke about the forum, current situation of women's participation at decision-making level in Mongolia and related international practices in the interview below.

A conference was held on women's participation at decision-making level last Monday. Mongolia's representation of women in Parliament was ranked 98th out of 190 countries, which was deemed inadequate. What's the reason for this low ranking?

Women have been achieving success at every sector. Mongolian women are leading global rankings in education, health, legal, and engineering sectors. Mongolia has been ranked low at 98th only for women's political participation. The fact that Mongolian women, who have high intellectual potential to lead industries, have been ranked below some countries with the lowest literacy rate in the world is definitely connected to the legal environment.

Mongolia established electoral quotas for women very late during the 2012 election. This is 20 years behind Latin American practices and compared to European practices, it's 50 years behind. On the other hand, we can observe that voters don't recognize the need of women's representation at parliamentary level because it's inconsistent to their attitude and education. Voters' education level is very high. Mongolia is one of the leading countries in terms of its literacy rate, education level, ability to receive information, and information accessibility. We have access to a lot of information and yet, [votes for female candidates] are low because the information provided to voters isn't helping female politicians. If this is changed, it's fully possible to vote for every female candidate.

You led the sub-forum for women's participation at provincial decision-making level. Provincial representatives mentioned at the forum that people aren't very supportive of women's representation at local administrative level and continue to ignore this matter. Can you comment on this?

This sort of thing was talked a lot. N.Narantuya, who gave a speech representing Khovd Province raised issues concerning women's representation in western regions. Uvs and Bayan-Ulgii Province are doing poorly in terms of women's participation. The same goes for Khovd Province. Zavkhan is doing slightly better than other western provinces. The Law on Promotion of Gender Equality must specify quotas for provincial divisions of Mayor's Offices and among provincial mayors. That quota is specified as 40 percent in the law, but there's only one female representative in Bayan-Ulgii and Uvs Provinces. No one is supervising this.

The National Audit Office doesn't inspect the fulfillment of the Law on Promotion of Gender Equality during regular inspections. Opportunities for women's participation at decision-making level is scarce in provinces because the ratio of men and women assigned to important positions isn't monitored. It can be said that regular inspection rounds of the National Audit Office, which controls implementations of laws, is poor.

Head of the Democratic Women's Association (DWA) S.Odontuya and head of the Mongolian Social Democratic Women's Association Ts.Tsogzolmaa gave an interesting speech on pressing issues for women's organizations under political parties.

You managed the women's wing of the Democratic Party (DP) and DWA for five years. What kind of difficulties and challenges did you face?

We couldn't resolve two big challenges for a long time. Making DP leaders of all levels realize, understand and recognize that it's possible to nominate female members was a huge challenge itself. While working as the head of DWA, I spent a long time on introducing and training female members so that they would get included in the list of candidates from the party.

The second issue was related to financial opportunities, which female members of every party encounter. Party's internal and electoral funding is the biggest obstacle and difficulty for women with political aspirations. Women will once again lose their chances to run for elections if this issue is left the way it is now. It's crucial for parties to stop demanding too much funds from candidates.

Is it true that Mongolia has the highest number of female politicians among Asian countries?

No, Mongolia doesn't rank first for its number of female politicians. There are many Asian countries with gender quotas, which specifies that at least 30 percent of government and Parliament seats must be occupied by women. It's different from electoral quota. Compared to other Asian countries, Mongolia is way behind. Our nation received an award for increasing representation of women in the quickest time among Asian countries. In other words, the Mongolian Parliament had three female MPs in 2008, but was able to almost triple this number within four years, when 11 female MPs were elected in 2012.

Women's leadership in politics and businesses has been dropping every year. What's the reason for this?

The number of Mongolian female politicians and entrepreneurs hasn't been increasing.  From another side, other countries' have been rapidly increasing. Rankings of nations show their competition to rank higher. If countries that were ranked below us surpass us, it means that they achieved higher success. If our rank is dropped even though the figures indicate improvement, it indicates that other countries are doing better and that our competitiveness has degraded even more.

Our biggest shortcoming is that we're unable to succeed despite having good gender equality, increasing number of highly educated women, active women's participation in society, and well-trained women in decision-making positions. We've got what it takes to succeed, but we're moving backwards because the society isn't advancing forward. Being able to increase women's leadership in every sector isn't beneficial to only women. Raising successful female politicians is the achievement of the whole public. We're lacking in terms of this type of attitude.

The public continues to believe that female politicians must only help out poor people and build schools and kindergartens. What are the 11 female MPs doing to change this stereotype?

It's going to take a long time to talk about the things women have done and what they achieved in their respective sectors. We worked at the defense, environment, and national security sectors. We've completed a wide-range of projects in terms of education, human rights and children's rights. For the first time, a female minister and a female vice minister have tried managing the construction sector. Considering that the most number of buildings were built under their management, as well as other factors, every sector that was managed by women have seen significant development. Cigarette and traffic regulations were also completed by women. Female MPs personally participated in establishing new mechanisms in the Criminal Code, including new categorizations of crimes and punishment policy.

The female State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, B.Jigmeddash, submitted a draft bill, emphasizing the application of alternative measures of punishment and completely changed the punishment policy. Now, Mongolia has many different types of criminal punishments, including detention, restriction of movement, house arrest, penalty, and penal labor. I believe that this proved that the policy can really change if the State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice is a woman and the Office of Legal Policy is managed by a woman.

Women have impacted greatly on not only the legal environment but also other sectors, but the public notices their participation mainly in family, child, education and health sectors. It's not the public's fault that they anticipate more achievements in sectors where women's participation is more evident.

Sometimes male politicians disregard and look down on female MPs and representatives. Has this attitude of male politicians changed?

Parliament has changed internally. At first, they hardly praised female MPs, but now, they encourage us.

The Speaker of Parliament praised that female MPs always come early for meetings, always take the initiative to lead working groups, and work on the tiniest details of projects. He also commented that it would be good to have more female MPs. Heads of standing committees frequently compliment us, too.

Whenever a difficult law is initiated, MPs encourage female members to work in the working group and in return, we try to meet their expectations. In fact, there's hardly any female MP who hasn't led a working group. We're usually put in charge of paper work and details.

I led three working groups when I was a minister. Even after resigning, I led three other working groups. All of them were for developing laws that had to be approved by Parliament, including draft laws on rights of people with disabilities, pension policy, and child care services.

Foreign female representatives underlined at the National Forum on Women's Participation at Decision-Making Level that most women don't have the courage to enter politics. Why do women fear the political world? Is it related to money or discrimination from men?

They can see many overlapping difficulties. My fear is mainly related to managing the expenses. Besides, male members of political parties don't recognize female members, causing them to lose confidence and enthusiasm. Breaking through the wall of male politicians from provinces and districts is a huge endeavor for women. Some parties welcome women with open arms and they work very successfully. For example the DP group of Bayangol District recruits women and forms a team with strong women. Other party groups should learn from them. Having 10 party groups that support women like the Bayangol District's DP group will completely turn around women's participation in politics.

What will female politicians do next?

In my case, I'm concentrating on waste management and water purification and sanitation. Water and sanitation are issues that women are constantly concerned about even at home. Female MPs are planning to cooperate on putting Tost and Tosonbumb Mountains under a special state protection. I plan to complete these two major projects within the parliamentary spring session.

Source: mmiinfo.mn

Link to interview

 

Government reform is the way out of crisis

By Jargal "DeFacto" Dambadarjaa

April 11 (UB Post) Having continued to decline, Mongolia's economy has almost stopped growing today. Our economy is seeing a deficit of cash, and most businesses, especially those in the mining industry, are not able to pay back their loans or pay employee salaries.

Foreign investment has halted while the budget deficit reaches one trillion tugrug every year. The government is trying to settle its debts by borrowing more from domestic and foreign markets. The five-year bonds that the government has recently issued to the foreign capital market have an interest rate of more than 10 percent, which is more than the rates of commercial banks. It shows how huge Mongolia's political and economic risks have grown.

Unless certain and prompt measures are taken, many companies will go bankrupt because of their debt. It will be followed by the collapse of banks and the government will become unable to pay its employees. Unemployment will spread, the tugrug will weaken, and prices will increase. It will trigger people to move abroad in search of jobs. The economy will slump, and it will have to be formally announced that we are in crisis if another quarter sees negative results.

Representatives of Mongolia's public, social, and private sectors met in Ulaanbaatar last week for an annual economic forum to discuss the underlying cause of the economic decline and how to overcome it.

UNDERLYING CAUSE OF ECONOMIC DECLINE

Mongolia's President Ts.Elbegdorj explains that there are two reasons why our economy has almost stopped growing. One is that politicians were not able to take advantage of a big opportunity by moving the huge mining projects forward when commodity prices were high. He referenced it with the Mongolian phrase "pushing away the butter in your mouth". The other reason is the lack of an accountability system in our politics. President Ts.Elbegdorj said that the politicians were "dancing on the butter they wasted".

On the other hand, Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg explains that there are three underlying causes of the economic decline. The first cause is that Mongolians have an unhealthy mindset when it comes to the economy. The next is that we are destroying more than we are creating. The third reason he outlined was that the accountable political parties are failing to work together.

Speaker of Parliament Z.Enkhbold believes that the reason our economy has heavily declined is closely associated with what is happening in the external environment. He said that the decrease in China's demand made our economy slow down and created uncertainties. Speaker Z.Enkhbold said that the main culprit keeping strategic projects stuck is not the parliament, and that the deal to give the Tavan Tolgoi project to two companies for 60 years with a royalty of only two percent was not profitable for Mongolia.

M.Khaliunbat, who is the executive director of the Silk Road Foundation, said that the economic decline today was caused by crony capitalism. He used the construction and banking sectors as an example, and explained that no business in Mongolia can operate successfully unless it has political ties.

M.Khaliunbat explained that the housing mortgage program is not sustainable in the long run, because it is selling expensive apartments with low interest rate mortgages, while freezing the prices that would have eventually gone down due to excessive supply compared to demand. He noted that the mortgage program is increasing the total assets of the banking sector, and has housing loans making up almost half of all loans, which is resulting in an increase of bad loans. He concluded that the monopolization of the construction and banking sectors is a clear reflection of the interests of politicians who have businesses in these two industries.

It could be seen from the remarks of participants of the forum and those who addressed the audience, that, despite the external factors contributing to the economic decline, the hardships we face today are largely down to the capability and quality of public governance.

SOLUTION TO OVERCOMING ECONOMIC DECLINE

Daniel Kaufmann, a well-known economist and the CEO of the Natural Resource Governance Institute, said in his keynote speech that the economics are crucial, but economic issues are solved only after the economy is integrated into political, economic, and institutional governance.

Daniel Kaufmann defined governance as the set of traditions and institutions by which authority in a country is exercised. More specifically, governance is: 1) the process by which the authorities are selected and replaced, 2) the capacity of the government to develop and implement policies, and 3) the respect of citizens and the state for institutions that govern interactions among them.

It was previously mentioned that the decline in Mongolia's economy traces back to public governance. Therefore, we can see where we need to improve from the definitions of governance above.

The main issue of elections, which select and replace the governing authorities, is that we are unable to assess politicians by comparing what they have accomplished to what they promised and hold them accountable. The free voice of the people and the media are essential to assessing the outcomes politicians have produced. Mongolia is lacking in this area. The authorities have been avoiding establishing an accountability system, while civil society does not demand it.

Although the previous governments have attempted to develop and implement many different policies, we do not have any independent institution that oversees, measures, and assesses the progress and outcome of those policies. Even though the government has its own auditing agency, its operations are heavily dependent on the government.

The structure of the auditing agency is too dependent on politics and is replaced almost every year. Therefore, its institutional capability is too weak and produces minimal outcomes. The people, let alone the government itself, does not trust its agencies. This is the reason why personal interests have prevailed over the rule of law and has been deeply embedded into government institutions.

This situation was discussed and analyzed thoroughly during the economic forum. Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg said, "In order to overcome the crisis, the government has no other choice but to borrow more. This is the only way to ensure businesses have cash and get out of the debt network." However, unless public governance is reinstituted with new principles, it will not matter how much in loans we acquire – we will still be in crisis.

A great opportunity to reform our public governance has come up during this economic decline. If we do not make this reform today, we will never become a highly developed country.

This time period is a golden opportunity for Mongolians to reform our public governance.

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Business

Feasibility study of $11 billion Shivee Energy project presented

Ulaanbaatar, April 11 (MONTSAME) Mongolia is near to become an exporter of renewable energy. The "Shivee Energy" project is one of the planned governmental projects to be implemented with a purpose of increasing energy production.

When the "Shivee Energy" project successfully starts, Mongolia will receive investments of 11 billion US dollars, twice as much as those for "Oyu Tolgoi" project, said D.Zorigt, the Minister of Energy, at a consultative meeting on the project's preliminary feasibility studies and Mongolia-China energy cooperation, which ran April 13 at the "Shangri-La" hotel in Ulaanbaatar.

A power station of 9,240 MWT, a wind farm of 2,800 MWT, and a solar energy station of 1,200 MWT will be constructed. Moreover, a 1,300-km long electric overhead lines of 10,000+800 KWT and a mine of exploring 34 million tons of coal a year will be built. All this is to enable Mongolia to export a value-added and ready products, not a raw coal, the Minister emphasized.

As estimated, the Shivee Ovoo's deposit, covering 29,500 hectares area and consisting of three parts, has 2,708.0 million tons of coal. Three and a half thous. permanent vacancies will be created, and 20 thousand people will be provided with jobs during an implementation of the project, which is co-managed by a unit of the "Shivee Energy" project unit and the "State Grid" Group of China (State Grid Corporation of China), the Minister said.

The gathered for the consultative meeting underlined that it is vital to tackle permission for the project and to ensure a successful realization of the project by improving the correlations of state bodies. Economists emphasized that the related Ministry and its agencies "ought to satisfy the investors' requests for the sake of a good realization of the project". If the Mongolian side makes favorable conditions for the project, the construction is expected to start in 2017.

According to the project, the construction will continue for four years, after which Mongolia would become an energy exporter by the year 2020, the Minister said.

The consultative meeting gathered authorities of the "State Grid" Group who delivered speeches.

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Internet tariffs in countryside to decrease from today

April 11 (gogo.mn) Companies and families in UB use 1mbps internet by MNT 13,000 while local families buy 1mbps internet at MNT 55,000 and local companies buy 1mbps internet at MNT 75,000. 

Local families use 4-5 times less speed internet by 4-5 times higher cost. The Prime Minister assigned to increase the internet speed and its capacity in locals as well as to decrease the tariff. 

In regards, local families are enabled to receive same internet tariff as UB starting today.

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Related:

Faster and cheaper internet outside UBnews.mn, April 11

 

Seaberry Farm opens its first store in UB

April 11 (gogo.mn) One year ago, we introduced "Seaberry farm products" through our Mongol Mind section and today we are happy to declare that they opened its first branch store in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The store has beauty salon which use their own products. 

Seaberry farm products have already opened its branch stores in 12 countries including USA, China, South Korea and Hong Kong. 

They produce and sell beauty products contained seabuckthorn berries grown in Mongolia such as body soap, cream, scrub, shampoo, conditioner as well as health products including tea, seabuckthorn oil extract, honey, juice and pure water. 

Seabuckthorn berries are rich source of omega-7 fatty acids used to make both nutritional supplements and skin care products.

THEY ARE COOPERATING WITH 28 SEABUCKTHORN FARMS 

The seaberry farm products were founded by the father Ch.Dorjsuren, established seabuckthorn farm in Altanbulag soum, Tuv aimag, and his daughter D.Bolortuya, initiated project to produce beauty products contained seabuckthorn oil extract. 

D.Bolortuya came back to Mongolia four years ago, with the purpose of helping her family business by developing new products based on the seabuckthorn oil extract and exporting other products blended with Mongolian-grown seabuckthorn. So she approached with his business partner Donald Siegel, owner of the Turning Point Holdings company with operations in Mongolia.

Currently, Seaberry farm products is cooperating with Bayasakh trade LLC and cultivating seabukcthorn in 65 hectares of land. Moreover, they are cooperating with 28 seabuckthorn farms. 

SEABUCKTHORN BERRIES GROWN IN MONGOLIAN SOIL HAVE THE BEST QUALITY 

D.Bolortuya, CEO Bolortuya of Seaberry Farm stated that I am very happy to open our first branch store in Mongolia. In further, we will introduce seabuckthorn in the world market with more energy and encouragement.

Seabuckthorn berries grown in Mongolian soil have high level of anti aging properties and skin recovery effect. Thus, it is competent in world market and has many customer. 

Organic products have high cost in world market. However they made research on Mongolian market and offering the lowest prices to the customers. 

Click HERE for more on their products. 

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Food merchants and producers want state policy support

April 11 (UB Post) Food producers want the state to implement substantial policy to protect domestic food production from imports, to conduct market studies in order to export domestically-made products, and they want export taxes to be reduced.

Nearly 50 representatives of food producers and traders, including APU, Talkh Chikher, Suu, Makh Market, Khuns Complex, and Darkhan Khuns, attended an open discussion on state policy on challenges facing their industry, which was organized last week by the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) group in Parliament and the Mongolian Food Producers Association.

During the open discussion, food producers spoke to parliamentarians about the vital issues that food producing companies, factories, and entities face. The attendees and organizers shared their views on the state's support and protection of the sector as it relates to national security.

Parliament and the Government of Mongolia have issued over 50 policy documents since 1999 in order to develop production in Mongolia. Even though many laws and policies are in effect, many problems still strike the food sector and domestic producers. The attendees underlined the lack of substantial state policy for the nation to become more independent from the import of food products. They also stated that they want the state to support exporters with loans and taxation policy devoted to food producers so that the industry can become more independent and replace imports.

"The ministry in charge of food should create its policy to train personnel specialized in the food sector. At the moment, we need a specific outline for food industrialization, and specific research, calculations, and planning. The state will firmly support the development of production and cooperation from food producers to create more potential and high quality products," noted MP S.Byambatsogt. The MP said that MPP authorities are initiating a light industry program and are developing a draft parliamentary resolution.

School lunch programs need reform

Director of Milk Company B.Gantulga highlighted that reforms are needed for lunch programs carried out in general education schools. He criticized the state's policy, claiming that it tries to fill the pupils' stomachs rather than feed children good-quality, healthy, and safe food in their lunch programs.

He emphasized the importance of children's health and growth and stressed that milk should be included in the lunch programs of schools and kindergartens. He cited that the average height of children in China increased by six centimeters and tooth decay in children decreased by eight times since China implemented a special program for school children providing them with good quality milk with school lunches. B.Gantulga reminded state authorities that it is time to take care of providing children with healthy nutrition.

Director of Khuns Complex LLC and a member of the Board of Directors of the Mongolian Food Producer's Association D.Oyuntuya represented meat and meat product companies at the discussion. She blamed the unregulated implementation of state policy for the increasing declarations of bankruptcy by meat producers. She explained that meat traders buy cheap meat from herders and sell it at higher prices, destabilizing the value of meat products. She also noted that food producers are under VAT pressure, and stressed that the state does not do anything even though food producers have asked many times to ease VAT.

Representatives of food product companies pointed out that domestically-made cookies cost more than imported cookies. Some Russian-made cookies cost 600 MNT per kg, but domestic cookie producers make cookies that sell for a minimum of 800 to 900 MNT per kg. They explained that VAT pressure impacts the price of domestic cookies, making them more expensive than imported options.

Noting that entities with income of less than 1.5 billion MNT per year receive VAT exemption when importing equipment, the attendees said that entities with income of more than 1.5 billion MNT have more potential to buy equipment, and suggested the amendment of laws related to VAT exemptions.

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Ulaanbaatar

Public transportation companies demand payment from UB authorities

April 11 (UB Post) Public transportation providers are demanding that Ulaanbaatar leadership issue the payment of expenditures for the first quarter of 2016.

Since Saturday, buses have been displaying a sign that reads, "Ulaanbaatar Mayor, give us payment for first quarter expenses. We will distribute salaries and pay off our debts."

Bus drivers explained that because payment for the first quarter has not been resolved, the public transportation companies have gone into debt to pay for fuel. They underlined that an unpleasant relationship has developed between fuel importing companies and the public transportation sector.

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UB city tax falling short of estimates

April 11 (news.mn) Five months have passed since the "city tax" was launched. The tax is levied on the sales of alcoholic drinks and cigarettes and services of bars, restaurants and hotels within Ulaanbaatar.

A total of 5406 legal entities have been registered for paying the tax. Since October 2015, when the city tax was introduced, they have generated MNT 1 billion 58 million. The tax authority had expected MNT 1 billion from city tax, before the end of 2015; a total of MNT 481 million, however, was transferred.

The expectation for the first quarter of 2016 was MNT 577 million; to date only 18% has been generated.

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UB hippodrome: Deputy Mayor to head working group

April 11 (news.mn) Ulaanbaatar Mayor E.Bat-Uul has issued a decree (number: A/270) to set up a working team to study the possibilities and practicalities of setting up a hippodrome in the city. It is considered that a race track could generate revenue. The Deputy Mayor in charge of financial and economic affairs, N.Bataa, has been tasked to manage the work plan and undertake the necessary actions and to report the results by 1st June 2016.

Source: Media Bureau at the City Administration

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A green agenda: EU Ambassador meets Mayor Bat-Uul

April 11 (news.mn) Today, UB Mayor E.Bat-Uul had a meeting with the Eureopean Union Ambassador to China and Mongolia, Mr Hans Dietmar Schweisgut, during which they exchanged opinions about cooperation between the EU and the city of Ulaanbaatar.

At the beginning of the meeting, Mayor E.Bat-Uul said: "Welcome to Ulaanbaatar. I am glad to be able to have a meeting with you. We are always happy to cooperate with the European Union. Many projects and programs are being implemented in Mongolia, with finance of European Bank of Reconstruction and Development. We are currently busy starting projects to make UB a green and eco-friendly city. Therefore, we would like to co-operate with the EU to improve the green development sector and partnership of state and private sectors".

In reply, Ambassador Schweisgut noted: "I am grateful for a great meeting with you. The EU works with many countries including Mongolia. In the future, we will cooperate with UB in many sectors and continue to show support. I am sure that our cooperation will be deepened".

Hans Dietmar Schweisgut is an Austrian diplomat and was appointed in 2014 as Head of the EU Delegation in Beijing covering China and Mongolia.

Source: Media Bureau at the City Administration

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UB city wants EU to cooperate in green developmentMontsame, April 11

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Diplomacy

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to visit Mongolia

April 11 (gogo.mn) Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to pay an official visit to Mongolia on Apr 14 at the invitation of Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Purevsuren. 

In scope of his visit, Mr. Sergey Lavrov will make negotiation with Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Purevsuren as well as to meet with the President Ts.Elbegdorj and PM Ch.Saihanbileg. 

"During this visit, Foreign ministers will approve short-term strategic partnership development programme. This is a important document that covers political, trade-economic and international cooperation aspects between two countries" said the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs press spokeswoman Maria Zaharova, reports RIA Novosti.

Source: RIA Novosti

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Belarusian president awarded with Polar Star order

April 11 (gogo.mn) The Mongolian Peace and Friendship Organization has given its highest award, the "Golden Star" order, to the Belarusian President Mr Alexander Lukashenko on Friday.

The order was received by deputy FM of Belarus, on behalf of Mr. Alexander Lukashenko, in recognition to his significant contribution in ensuring global peace and security matter in Ukraine through the Minsk Protocol.

The awarding ceremony was attended by Mr.Zagdjav, President of The Mongolian Peace and Friendship Organization and consular S.Tsogoo in Minsk and other delegations.

This order is awarded by MPFO to public figures whose contributions made critical impacts in solving local or regional conflicts in peaceful resolutions. Previously the award has been given to the President of Russia, Prime minister of UK and Prince of Japan.

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Peace and friendship organization awards Belarusian PresidentMontsame, April 11

 

Justice Minister D.Dorligjav meets Turkish delegation

Ulaanbaatar, April 11 (MONTSAME) The Minister of Justice D.Dorligjav last Friday received a delegation led by Mr Mehmet Yilmaz, acting president of the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors.

The Minister spoke about bills worked out in frames of the ongoing legal reforms, and discussed with the guest issues regarding structures and functions of the justice bodies of the two countries.

Present at the meeting were Mr Murat Karagoz, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Turkey to Mongolia; Mr Mehmet Sureyya Er, a vice president of the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA); and other officials.

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Mongolian delegation visits Czech Republic

Ulaanbaatar, April 11 (MONTSAME) Mongolian officials have visited the Czech Republic to learn its experience in reforestation, work out a policy on sustainable management, get involved in a workshop, and to expand the collaboration, our Foreign Ministry reported April 11.

The delegation consisted of representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Darkhan-Uul aimag's Sharyn gol soum and associations of forestry and woodworking industry, and of the private sector.

The visit has taken place in frames of a "Genepool development of forest and trees in Mongolia" project being co-implemented by the Mongolian Ministry of Environment and the Czech Agency of Development.

During the visit, the Ambassador of Mongolia to the Czech Republic Mr D.Zumberellham received last Friday the delegation to exchange views on the project. He underlined a significance of the project, which will allow Mongolian experts to study long-year experience of the Czech Republic on management policy and planning. He expressed a readiness to continue and boost the project.

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Gobi Wolf 2016 tests humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities in Mongolia

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia, April 8 (DVIDS) – United States Army Pacific soldiers joined an international team to conduct an earthquake-readiness exercise in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia April 4-8. 

Exercise Gobi Wolf 2016 was a civil-military disaster preparedness and response initiative focused on regional readiness in response to natural and man-made disasters. 

Gobi Wolf is part of the Pacific Resilience Disaster Response Exercise and Exchange program, which focuses on interagency coordination and foreign humanitarian assistance. 

The exercise is designed to test disaster response processes while maximizing realism through a series of scenarios. 

The specific scenario simulated for Gobi Wolf 2016 was a severe earthquake that hit the mining city of Erdenet, the third largest city in Mongolia. 

The simulated earthquake also affected the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, but the epicenter was much closer to Erdenet.

Service members and civilians from U.S. Army Pacific, U.S. Army Alaska, the Alaska Army National Guard, Alaska Air National Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Administration, and the United States Agency for International Development Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance joined more than 100 participants from 30 governmental, non-governmental, municipal and military agencies from Mongolia, the U.S. and international relief agencies to participate in the disaster response exercise and exchange. 

The U.S., Japanese, Republic of Korea and Nepalese service members and governmental civilians served as disaster-response focus group facilitators to international groups, focusing on communication and media support, military support to humanitarian assistance and national emergency management. 

"In addition to supporting the capacity building for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, this is a great opportunity to strengthen relationships and promote interagency coordination with our Mongolian partners," said Andrew R. Benziger, the chief of readiness and contingency operations for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pacific Ocean Division. 

The two primary objectives of Gobi Wolf were to promote interagency coordination and civil-military coordination between the National Emergency Management Agency, the Mongolia Armed Forces, the U.S. and others, and to increase the Mongolian government's knowledge of what would be available to them as international tools and services to support government-led disaster-response efforts. 

Scott Aronson, the senior humanitarian assistance advisor to United States Pacific Command with USAID OFDA said, "Based on the situation on the ground, it can take only a few hours after a disaster to meet the required nation-level agreements for OFDA to begin to respond. We have warehouses throughout the world stocked with disaster response supplies which, based on needs assessments from the impacted nation, we can begin to move into affected areas within a few hours of a disaster."

Mongolia has hosted Gobi Wolf since 2009 and conducted joint exercises with the U.S.Pacific Command, covering disaster scenarios common to Mongolia including earthquakes, train derailment and mining incidents, said Mongolian Brig. Gen. Tuvshin Badral, the chief of NEMA.

"This was a great opportunity to network with other people who would be involved with disaster relief in the event of an emergency," said Uuganbayar Ganbaatar, an airport administrator with the Mongolian Civil Aviation Authority at Ulaanbaatar International Airport.

The four-day exercise included disaster risk and multi-agency capacity briefs, a table-top exercise, and field training events in Ulaanbaatar and Erdenet.

The scenario tested Mongolian search and rescue capability and evacuation readiness by simulating a dam failure.

The exercise evaluated Mongolia's disaster readiness through five separate focus areas, including national emergency management, media relations/communication, military considerations, first responder, and international government and non-governmental agencies.

The five workgroups spent the exercise responding to scenario events to evaluate how the 30 agencies involved would respond to assist affected populations in an actual earthquake. The strengths and weaknesses identified are being recorded and will be analyzed to improve disaster-response planning.

The exercise brought in subject matter experts from Nepal and Japan, drawing on their experience from recent severe earthquakes.

"In disaster circumstances, the international community is ready and willing to offer additional support, and we are pleased that many non-governmental organizations are participating in this exercise as their assistance will also be vital should disaster strike," said Jennifer Zimdahl Galt, the U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia.

Gobi Wolf is part of U.S. Army Pacific's Pacific Resilience program, USARPAC's main platform for identifying best practices and lessons learned across the humanitarian assistance/disaster relief spectrum. Its mission is to enhance all parties' abilities to respond and recover from an emergency. situation.

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Guminsky: Belarus, Mongolia are committed to the peaceful foreign policy

MINSK, 8 April (BelTA) – Both Belarus and Mongolia are committed to the peaceful foreign policy, Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives Viktor Guminsky said as he met with Chairman of the Peace and Friendship Organization of Mongolia Deleg Zagdjav on 8 April, BelTA has learned.

"Both Mongolia and the Republic of Belarus are committed to the foreign policy of peace and cooperation. Mongolia implements this policy relying on the principles of mutual understanding, cooperation, the dialogue of the equals, observing the principle of sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of each other. We have a like-minded policy," Viktor Guminsky said.

He also remarked that Belarus has a similar organization called the Belarusian Peace Fund. The representatives of this fund took part in the meeting with the Mongolian delegation. "The Belarusian Peace Fund and your organization are the first to write a new page in the relations between our countries," Viktor Guminsky said. He stressed that in December 1991 Mongolia was the third country to acknowledge the independence and sovereignty of Belarus. However, the relations between the two countries have not been active enough until recently.

According to the vice speaker, in spite of its territorial remoteness, Mongolia is a like-minded country for Belarus. Viktor Guminsky believes that the trade and economic relations of Belarus and Mongolia have good prospects. Belarus can give a lot to its Mongolian partners in machine-building. The vice speaker was also in favor of stepping up the negotiations regarding the signing of an agreement on personnel training for Mongolia with the Belarusian side. Viktor Guminsky expressed hope that this visit of the Mongolian delegation will give an impetus to the development of the inter-parliamentary relations between the two countries.

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Belarus wants to expand cooperation with MongoliaMontsame, April 11

 

Peace and Friendship Organization of Mongolia to cooperate with Marmara Group Foundation

- From the 19th Eurasian Economic Summit-

April 11 (gogo.mn) 19th Eurasian economic summit took place in Istanbul, Turkey. The delegations from Peace and Friendship Organization of Mongolia are invited to attend the summit annually.

This year, delegations Peace and Friendship Organization of Mongolia led by D.Zagdjav have attended the summit. 

During the summit, Peace and Friendship Organization of Mongolia signed Memorandum of Cooperation with Marmara Group Strategic and Social Research Foundation. D.Zagdjav, the president of Peace and Friendship Organization of Mongolia noted that our two organizations have opened the opportunity to cooperate on wider scale. 

Marmara Group Foundation have organized Eurasian economic summit for 19 years. They are financed by entities and the government. As a peace and dialogue initiative, Marmara Group Foundation continues its efforts since 1985. Marmara Group Foundation, as a possessor of civil thought philosophy, is a force that strives to produce common solutions to common problems through creating campaigns to pressure decision making bodies.

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Health, Education

New sports center opened in Khan-Uul district

April 11 (gogo.mn) Another new sports center opened its door to public at Sports Center west of Buyant-Ukhaa school number 7 in 16th khoroo of Khan-Uul district.

The center employees 18 staffs and currently operates swimming pool, fitness and sauna.

Swimming pool dimension is 7*25; 1.7 - 2 m deep, 3 lines with capacity to receive 16-18 at a time. The pool meets hygiene requirements with sanitation work every 24 hours.

Fitness is equipped with new, standard equipments with capacity to serve 8-10 people per hour.

Sauna has comfortable environment with shower and receiving 1-4 people per hour.

Source: Ulaanbaatar.mn

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Swimming pool and fitness facility opens in Khan-Uul DistrictUB Post, April 11

 

Mongolian State University to cooperate with Prague's Charles University

Ulaanbaatar, April 11 (MONTSAME) The Mongolian State University (MSU) will collaborate with the Charles University of the Czech Republic to expand Mongol language and studies.

The cooperation contract was inked last Friday by R.Bat-Erdene, a rector of the MSU, and by Tomas Zima, the Charles University rector, in Prague. The ceremony was witnessed by D.Zumberellham, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the Czech Republic and teachers and scholars of the university's Institute of Southern and Central Asian studies.

The universities intend to broaden their ties and collaboration by exchanging students, augmenting the quotas of students, holding scientific seminars and meetings, boosting the Mongol studies and language, Mr Zima said.

Mr R.Bat-Erdene also has taken part in the 5th meeting of university rectors of the ASEM countries running in Prague.

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Culture, Society

Ancient mummy unearthed in Mongolia: 6th century Turkic woman was buried in beautifully stitched clothes 1,500 years ago alongside her sacrificed horse

·         Experts believe the body in the Altai Mountains dates back 1,500 years

·         It appears to be the first complete Turkic burial found in Central Asia

·         A host of possessions were found in the grave, offering a unique insight into life in Mongolia in around the 6th century AD

·         These included a saddle, bridle, vase, wooden bowl and ancient clothing

April 11 (Daily Mail) Archaeologists in Mongolia are slowly unwrapping the mummy of a suspected ancient woman found preserved in the Altai Mountains.  

So far only one hand and her feet in modern-looking boots are visible, but experts believe the find dates to around 1,500 years ago. 

It also appears to be the first complete Turkic burial in Central Asia and the remains were found at an altitude of 9,200ft (2,803 metres).

Researcher B.Sukhbaatar, from Khovd Museum, said: 'This person was not from the elite, and we believe it was likely a woman, because there is no bow in the tomb. 

'Now we are carefully unwrapping the body, and once this is complete the specialists will be able to say more precisely about the gender.'

A host of possessions were found in the grave, offering a unique insight into life in Mongolia in around the 6th century AD.

These included a saddle, bridle, clay vase, wooden bowl, trough, iron kettle, the remains of an entire horse, and ancient clothing.

There were also pillows, a sheep's head and felt travel bag in which were placed the whole back of a sheep, goat bones and small leather bag designed to carry a cup.

The first Turkic people occupied a region from Central Asia to Siberia from the 6th century BC.

The first mention of Turks was in a Chinese text that made reference to Turk tribes and Sogdians along the Silk Road. 

The Turkic people developed their own alphabets, had their own language and are known for a number of symbols including wolves and the colour blue. 

In fact, some reports claim the word Turquoise originates from the word Turkish. 

Today, modern Turks live across Asia and eastern Europe. 

In 2003, DNA analysis revealed skeletons found in a 2,000-year-old tomb contained genes found in modern Turks. 

Two years ago, archaeologists found what they believed to be the grave of a Turkic warrior also in the Altai Mountains. 

Turks were buried with treasured possessions, known as 'grave goods' that they could take to the next world. 

In this 2014 discovery, what appeared to be a Turkic warrior was buried with a musical instrument, alongside his horse. 

It was not considered a complete burial due to the lack of other grave goods.  

Commenting on the recent discovery, B.Sukhbaatar continued: 'It is the first complete Turkic burial at least in Mongolia - and probably in all Central Asia.

'This is a very rare phenomenon. These finds show us the beliefs and rituals of Turkics.

'We can see clearly that the horse was deliberately sacrificed. It was a mare, between four and eight years old.

'Four coats we found were made of cotton.

'An interesting thing we found is that not only sheep wool was used, but also camel wool. We can date the burial by the things we have found there, also the type of hat.

'It gives us a preliminary date of around the 6th century AD.'

Archaeologists from the city museum in Khovd were alerted to the burial site by local herdsmen, reported The Siberian Times

The find will help form a deeper understanding of the native Turkic people in ancient Mongolia.'

The grave was located 9,200 feet (2,803 meters) above sea level. This fact and the cool temperatures helped to preserve the grave, which sat three metres deep.

'The finds show us that these people were very skilled craftsmen,' added the researcher.

'Given that this was the grave of a simple person, we understand that craft skills were rather well developed.'

The Altai Mountains unite Siberia, in Russia, and Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan.

Read more: Archeologists find ancient mummy approximately 1,500 years old in Mongolia

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Nature, Environment

Mongolia's herders face a bleak future in the face of livestock losses

April 11 (IFRC) Thousands of herder families are losing their only livelihood on the Mongolian grasslands this year as an unusually severe winter, known locally as dzud, continues to decimate their livestock. In response to the rapidly deteriorating situation, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched an emergency appeal to support the Mongolian Red Cross Society in providing food and cash to 5,100 vulnerable herder families, including the elderly and handicapped who are losing most or all of their animals and have no other means of survival.

"I cried for many days when my only horse died," said Dogoonoo, an elderly woman who lives on the vast grasslands of Tsagaanuur sub-district in Uvs province, one of the coldest parts of Mongolia. "I had a herd of 230 cows, sheep and goats last autumn, but now I have less than 20 animals," said the 72-year-old grandmother. A single tear rolled down her weathered cheek as she looked at the heap of frozen carcasses that was once her flock.

A serious drought in the province last summer severely affected the growth of grass in pastures, and Dogoonoo's animals were too thin and weak to cope with the extreme winter that followed. "For several months the snow was so thick that the animals could hardly find food," she added. "The temperatures were abnormally cold, down to -60C some nights, and the sheep and goats would huddle together in big heaps to keep warm. Many weakened animals suffocated under the weight of those lying on top of them."

Dogoonoo, is not alone in fighting for her survival. She belongs to a tight knit group of five families, a total of 14 people, who have been herding their livestock together, helping each other to cope with the disaster. Just a few months ago their combined herd amounted to 800 animals, but it is very likely that most will not survive by the end of winter. "Only 300 animals are still alive now, and the most difficult period is still ahead," said Sirma, Dogoonoo's daughter in law. "Even if the coldest months have passed there is no grass left underneath the snow, and the animals will continue to starve."

"I cannot even think about what will happen if I lose all my animals," said Amardat, Dogonoo's neighbour. "I am already 44 years old and herding livestock is the only thing you can do on the grasslands. I have been a herder my whole life and I don't know how to do any other type of work. Who is going to hire me in the city?"

His concern about the future is a reflection of the bitter everyday reality that a vast number of former herders have to endure. The severe winter of 2010 killed an estimated 6 million animals and thousands of families were forced to move to urban centres. Many still struggle to survive in extreme poverty and terrible living conditions.

Meanwhile, surrounded by the wide expanses of the steppe and the white mountains on the distant horizon, Dogoonoo has sworn to continue fighting for the lives of her animals until the very end.

"Even if I have only one animal left, I will do everything in my power to keep it alive," she said, hugging a new-born calf that she has taken into the family ger, with hopes of keeping it warm and alive until summer.

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ADB Approves $2 Million for Herders Hit By Mongolian Climate Disaster

MANILA, PHILIPPINES, April 11 – Asian Development Bank (ADB) Country Director Robert Schoellhammer and the Minister of Finance of Mongolia Bolor Bayarbaatar today signed a $2 million grant agreement as part of a United Nations-led emergency response for herders and their families afflicted by a protracted climate disaster in Mongolia, known as a "dzud."

"A livelihood and food crisis has been evolving in many parts of the country due to the dzud, under which an unusually dry summer is followed by a heavy winter snow and plummeting temperatures," said Robert Schoellhammer, ADB Country Director in Mongolia. "Millions of animals that are unable to graze properly face starvation, jeopardizing the livelihoods and even lives of the herders who depend on them for income and food."

According to the National Emergency Management Authority, snow this winter covered 90% of Mongolia's total territory. The government said that at the end of March, about one third of Mongolia's 339 districts were still in severe dzud or near-dzud conditions

The number of animals that died as a result of the heavy snow and cold weather reached 669,000 by the end of March, the government said. The UN feared the number of dead animals could reach 1.2 million during the spring, when—on past experience—weak and starved animals could die in large numbers. From 1999, Mongolia was hit by dzuds for 3 years in a row, resulting in a reported loss of 11 million animals. This year, herders are culling their livestock, rather than letting them die of starvation, leading to an oversupply of meat and skins on the market and sending prices plummeting. 

The UN estimates that more than 225,000 people or 41% of the total herder population are now feeling the impact of adverse weather conditions, including more than 28,000 children under the age of 5. It has indicated that $14.3 million is required for immediate assistance for the most vulnerable herder households.

Under these circumstances, the government requested the grant assistance from ADB's Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund, which was established in 2009 to provide resources to developing member countries for the restoration of life-preserving services to communities affected by a natural disaster. 

ADB's grant complements some $2.4 million being provided by the UN and will help address the most urgent needs of the vulnerable and affected populations, including food, hay, forage, medical supplies, and fuel. 

In Mongolia, ADB approvals amounted to $297.5 million in 2015, including 4 sovereign loans for $275 million, 2 project grants for 6 million, and 17 technical assistance grants for $16.5 million.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48  from the region. 

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Sports

E.Khaliunbold comes third in "California Classic-2016" moto-cross

Ulaanbaatar, April 11 (MONTSAME) International master of sports moto-cross athlete E.Khaliunbold has grabbed a bronze medal in a race of the "California Classic-2016" competitions, which were held last weekend in San Diego, USA.

In the 25A category race he came to the third place after compound results of three races.

"California Classic-2016" is one of the famous moto cross competitions that gather famous athletes.

Before the "California Classic-2016", Khaliunbold had come to fourth place in the southwestern finals of the "Loretta Lynn" race, and to 10th place in the open professional division in the USA.

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Travel

"If you come to Mongolia you'll really like the country."

April 5 (CleverDever Wherever) Three hours into our eight-hour ride, Bulgaa, the saint of all translators had cajoled the vanload of us to sing horse-inspired karaoke.  She managed to entertain and slow down our constant questions about available food choices and flight schedules in one musical stretch of open road. This woman had the patience of a mother of quadruplets. Or maybe more patience, I don't know, I've never met a mother of quadruplets, I'm just guessing here. 

Bulgaa Munkhbat spends the school year teaching English and her summers translating for foreigners when they visit Mongolia. She, like so many others in her country, is extremely proud of her Mongolian culture, specifically the conquests of Genghis Khan. 

She happily accompanied us deep into the Gobi desert and helped us secure camel rides to Terelj National Park in central Mongolia (my favorite) where we watched baby yaks run around the camp; and to the far western city of Karakorum where I snuck away to secure pizza without her language services. Every moment she had a smile on her face, and usually a microphone in hand (mostly for the beloved Mongolian karaoke), filled with pride for her homeland. 

At the end of our trip I had a chance to ask her a few questions about why she feels you should visit Mongolia, and her life there, so read on to find out more about the lovely Bulgaa.

What do you like most about your country?

I'm very proud of my country, because my country has rich culture and history. It's a wonderful country. We have lots of beautiful places to see. Mongolians are very hospitable, very helpful. So if you come to Mongolia you'll really like the country. 

Tell me about the different places that you've lived.

I am from the central part of Mongolia. I am from the Arkhangai Province, which is about 40 kilometers away from Ulaanbaatar, so it's central Mongolia. Central Mongolia is very beautiful. All parts of Mongolia are very, very beautiful. So I know central Mongolia well because I grew up in the central part of Mongolia. 

Throughout your life, what have been some of your most interesting jobs?

Actually, I am an English language professor at University.  So I do guiding in summer. But I love my summer work very much because my summer job gives me more opportunities to meet people from different countries and learn more and travel around the beautiful parts of the country, so I love this work very much.

Why do you think that people should visit Mongolia?

You know, Mongolia is a country of blue sky. We are very proud of Genghis Khan, we are very proud of the horse, and so we have very, very beautiful places to see. So Mongolia I think should be the destination for the tourists. 

What is one of your favorite traditions?

Festivals. The Naadam Festival takes place on July 11-13th. The Naadam Festival consists of contests including horse race, archery, and wrestling, so I'm proud of traditional festivals.

What challenges do you feel you face?

In 1991, Mongolia became a democratic country. So after seven decades of socialism, at that time we had a transition period. During that transition period it was hard to live in Mongolia, so we all overcame difficulties. People are working very hard in Mongolia. It's a developing country, and I hope one day Mongolia will be one of the highly developed countries in the world.

Tell me a little bit about your family, what did they do?

So my mom lives in Ulaanbaatar. Actually she is from countryside, but she moved to UB a long time ago now she is retired. But she supports me because when I do guiding in summer she always wishes me success in my summer job. I have two daughters. My daughters are students at universities, so I have good family. 

Anything else to add?

Mongolia is a wonderful country. Visit Mongolia, enjoy your time in Mongolia, then you will find out a lot about our country and we want you to [come to] Mongolia.

Link to article

From same author:

Pizza: A Mongolian Tale of Adventure and Delirium in Karakorum - CleverDever Wherever, March 8

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Ulaanbaatar 14251, Mongolia
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