Friday, May 6, 2016

[BoM cuts rates; SGK reverts back to 76; CWGP, NLP denied election; MPs jump ship; and Eagle Huntress gains 2nd film]

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Friday, May 6, 2016

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"The 9th Asia-Europe's Parliamentary Meeting was a success!" says State Secretary of the MFA and Head of ASEM Office

May 4 (ASEM Mongolia) The following interview with Gankhuyag Damba, the State Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Head of the ASEM Office of Mongolia, has originally been published in Udriin Sonin daily newspaper on April 28. 

      Asia-Europe Parliamentary Meeting (ASEP) - the first of the ASEM's nine side events – was held in Ulaanbaatar on April 21-23. Which countries' representatives attended this meeting?

      A total of 175 delegates from 30 countries of Asia and Europe, and 5 organizations participated in the 9th Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership Meeting, which was held within the framework of the 11th ASEM Summit.  During the meeting, P. Grasso, President of the Senate of the Italian Parliament, and Sumitra Mahajan, Speaker of Lok Sabha, the Lower House of the Indian Parliament, respectively paid official visits to Mongolia. During the Indian Parliament Speaker's visit, a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between the Secretariats of the Mongolian and Indian Parliaments was signed, and the Indian Parliament plans to retrain and build up the human resource capacity of the State Ikh Khural Secretariat. And during the ASEP9 meeting, a total of 41 meetings were held. For instance, Ikh Khural Speaker Z. Enkhbold, Vice Speakers R. Gonchigdorj and M. Enkhbold met with the Speakers, Vice Speakers and members of Parliaments from Russia, China, Italy, India, Japan, European Parliament, France, Great Britain, Australia, Hungary, Poland, Pakistan, Austria, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Philippine, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Hungary, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Croatia,Laos, Cambodia and Cyprus.

      What issues were discussed and what were some promising propositions at these bilateral meetings with Asian-European representatives?

      During the meetings, many issues on bilateral cooperation were discussed. As of today, 23 European Union countries have ratified the Mongolia-EU Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation signed in 2013, and support was sought for the ratification of the agreement by other countries. Also discussed were such issues as the opening of an EU Representative Office in Ulaanbaatar, attendance of Mongolia in the East Asian Summit meetings, Mongolia becoming a negotiations partner in ASEAN, Mongolia Joining APEC as a member, promoting cooperation with the City of London, opening a major Mongolian exhibition in the Scandinavian countries in 2019-2020 to promote Mongolia, setting up winter sports infrastructure and building up human resources capacity. The issue of social welfare of Mongolians living in Sweden was also taken up, also introduction of progressive renewable energy technology in Mongolia, particularly of wind powered ones from Denmark. Our side also put up concrete suggestions such as the promotion of cooperation in the agriculture sector, in particular, in the dairy produce sector and setting up of a bilateral parliamentary group at the Austrian Parliament. There was detailed exchange of views on such program and projects as trilateral Mongolia-China-Russia cooperation, as well as the Silk Road, Silk Road Economic Zone and Eurasian Economic Union, including the Mongolian-Chinese-Russian Economic Corridor project.

      Representatives to the 9th Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership Meeting noted the growing international prestige of Mongolia?

      The participants countries highly noted the significance of this meeting. Apart from the aforementioned issues and topics, discussions were held on a broad spectrum of issues covering a wide area of sector and interest. They included issues related to extension of ties and cooperation among parliaments, deepening political talks and negotiations, strengthening of multilateral cooperation, regional integration, promoting cooperation in the political, security, economic, trade, financial, educational, cultural and agricultural sectors, such as livestock breeding and crop farming. Discussions also covered issues such as cooperation for the development of sports infrastructure, promoting the tourism sector, humanitarian exchanges, and regional and trans-border cooperation, intensifying ties between businesses and individuals, mutually exchanging business delegations and organizing business meetings. Delegates from South East Asia expressed their support to Mongolia in becoming a partner in ASEAN talks and negotiations, and becoming a member of APEC, and also expressed their readiness to cooperate with Mongolia in this respect, which can be viewed as a major outcome of this meeting. It must be noted that during the bilateral meetings, foreign delegates congratulated Mongolia for chairing the meeting which coincides with the 20th anniversary of ASEM, and for the successful organization of the ASEP9 Meeting.

      Where are we currently in terms of preparation for the ASEM11 Summit?

      First of all, I would like to thank everyone who is involved in the successful preparation for the first of the nine events that are being planned within the framework of the ASEM Summit, those who carried out their duties and responsibilities in an appropriate manner. We would also like to thank the residents of Ulaanbaatar for their understanding and resilience for the introduction of traffic regime in the streets and avenues of Ulaanbaatar during a certain period of time. The Foreign Ministry and the ASEM Office of Mongolia have been able to accomplish a set of concrete work. This included the following: supply information to the ASEM partners, drafting the meeting documents and ensuring they are discussed beforehand by the ASEM partners, carrying out the functions of secretariat during the meeting, managing the e-registration of delegates, managing their pass for entry into the Government House, installing the equipment for simultaneous interpretation during the meeting, ensuring their reliability and mobilizing the simultaneous interpreters.

Whatever the case, the entire public was involved in the organization of the ASEP related activities. We are now preparing for the next meeting scheduled to be held on May 12. Naturally, small issues and problems crop up. And everyone understands that this is linked to the international prestige of the country. Most importantly, the preparations have to be done well.

Link to article


1500 ASEM volunteers to be trained

May 5 ( The representatives of the ASEM-voluntary workers have held a press conference, during which it was confirmed that approximately, 50 volunteers worked at the 9th Asia Europe Parliamentary Partnership Meeting, which took place recently and marked the first official event of ASEM.  Currently, some 1500 people are working on the preparation of ASEM. They are contributing to the transformation of the "ASEM Villa" Complex, laying lawns, and planting trees, working at the National Park, cleaning the city and landscaping.

Here are the details:

-266 people will work for the press and media working team.

-20 people will work for the documentary and agenda management working team.

-300 people will work for the safety, protocol and border crossing working team.

-200 people will work for the transportation, communication and airport team.

-200 people will work for the service-provision, art, culture and food safety working team.

-402 people will work at the ASEM partner hotels.

-106 people will work at the ASEM Villa Complex.

-50 people will work at the Mongol Town.

Link to article


Int'l Market

TRQ closed -0.56% Thursday, results announced after market close

Turquoise Hill Announces Financial Results and Review of Operations for the First Quarter of 2016

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - May 05, 2016) - Turquoise Hill Resources today announced its financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2016. All figures are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise stated.


·         Oyu Tolgoi achieved an excellent safety performance with an All Injury Frequency Rate of 0.21 per 200,000 hours worked for the three months ended March 31, 2016.

·         Oyu Tolgoi recorded revenue of $422.7 million in Q1'16, an increase of 18.9% over Q4'15, reflecting higher gold prices partially offset by lower volumes of concentrate sales.

·         Turquoise Hill generated operating cash flow before interest and taxes of $195.4 million during Q1'16.

·         For Q1'16, Turquoise Hill reported income from continuing operations attributable to shareholders of $118.9 million.

·         In Q1'16, concentrator throughput increased 3.1% over Q4'15 resulting in average throughput of approximately 106,000 tonnes per day for the quarter.

·         Concentrate production in Q1'16 was consistent with Q4'15 resulting from increased throughput and strong copper grades.

·         Copper production in Q1'16 reached a quarterly high increasing 0.5% over Q4'15.

·         As expected, gold production in Q1'16 declined approximately 30% over Q4'15 due to lower grades and the near-completion of mining in phase 2 of the open pit.

·         For Q1'16, Oyu Tolgoi's C1 costs were $0.02 per pound of copper and all-in sustaining costs were $0.62 per pound of copper.

·         Given stronger-than-expected Q1'16 gold production Turquoise Hill has increased 2016 gold in concentrates guidance to 255,000 to 285,000 ounces from 210,000 to 260,000 ounces.

·         Sales contracts have been signed for approximately 95% of Oyu Tolgoi's expected 2016 concentrate production.

·         In Q1'16, the capital estimate of the 2016 feasibility study was completed.

·         Turquoise Hill expects the notice to proceed decision for underground construction in Q2'16.

·         In March 2016, Oyu Tolgoi surpassed 2.0 million tonnes of concentrate shipped.

·         Turquoise Hill's cash and cash equivalents at March 31, 2016 were approximately $1.5 billion.

Link to release


Oyu Tolgoi announces Q1 2016 performance updateOyu Tolgoi LLC, May 6

Turquoise Hill Announces Results of Voting for the Election of DirectorsTRQ, May 4

Rio Tinto says it will cap Australian iron ore production at 360mtSydney Morning Herald, May 5

Du Plessis stalls iron-ore growth as Rio opts for 'any-and-all' debt cuttingMining Weekly, May 5


AKM closed flat Thursday at A$0.006

Erdenet-to-Ovoot line could form part of Economic Corridor

May 5 (World Coal) Government-level negotiations on forming an 'Economic Corridor' rail link between Russia and China via Mongolia are ongoing, according to Aspire Mining's latest quarterly update. Its planned Erdenet-to-Ovoot railway could form the first stage of this new railway.

The Erdenet-to-Ovoot line is being developed by Aspire Mining's subsidiary Northern Railways under a public-private partnership with the government of Mongolia.

As well as forming the potential first link in the Economic Corridor, it would connect Aspire's metallurgical coal project at Ovoot to Mongolia's existing railway system – and onto international markets.

Northern Railways has completed the necessary staged to provide definition of the start of the rail feasibility study and is now seeking funding for this study and the additional work required to support the study.

The proposed Economic Corridor forms part of China's New Silk Road policy, which aims to improve Euro-Asian trade, and Russia's policy of establishing a Euro-Asian economic zone. It aims to improve trade by reducing regulation, improving transport capacity at borders and improving road and rail infrastructure.

Link to article


Aspire looking to buy metallurgical coal assets

May 5 (World Coal) ASX-listed Aspire Mining is actively considering acquiring metallurgical coal assets, according to the company's latest quarterly report, and has teamed up with Asian funders to access potential opportunities.

"There are major structural shifts occurring the metallurgical coal industry at present with the larger companies that participated in the consolidation of the industry by using cheap access to debt […] now significantly weakened," the company said. "Even companies with quality assets are weighed down by these financial burdens".

With most of the major diversified miners are seeking to exit the metallurgical coal industry (with the exception of BHP Billiton) and Aspire's view that the metallurgical coal price has formed a base, the company believes there to be significant potential opportunities to buy metallurgical coal assets.

There has been a steady rise in metallurgical coal prices in 1Q16 with spot prices at a 12 month high of US$99/t FOB Australia for premium hard coking coal. This was driven primarily by an increase in steel production in China, which also increases in demand and prices for iron ore in early 2016.

Combined with continued rationalisation of Chinese domestic supply, Aspire said that it believed the market found its bottom at the end of 2015.

"The company has been reviewing acquisition opportunities for existing and near production coking coal projects both in Australia and Mongolia," it said and has "formed a consortium with Asian-based funders to access these opportunities."

Link to article

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Local Market

MSE Trading Report: Top 20 -0.9%, ALL +1.6%, Turnover 37.2 Million Shares

May 5 (MSE) --

Link to report


Khurd JSC announces 37.2 million dividend, 275 per share

May 4 (MSE) In accordance with the Clause No.: 46 of Company Law of Mongolia, Regulation of Distributing dividends policy of Company and the Resolution No.:04 of Board of Directors meeting dated on 28 March 2016, "Khurd" JSC will be distributed 9 percent or MNT37.2 million as a dividends to its shareholders with MNT275.00 per share.

Link to release

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Bank of Mongolia Cuts Policy Rate to 10.5% on Low Inflation

By Michael Kohn

May 5 (Bloomberg) -- Bank of Mongolia's monetary policy committee cut its policy interest rate 150Bps to 10.5% from 12% due to drop in inflation, according to a central bank statement Thursday.

* Decision made at policy meeting today, rate to be effective May 6

* Annual inflation rate fell to 1.7% in March, lower than the targeted level for nine consecutive months

* Demand-driven and supply-shock inflationary pressures expected to remain at a low level throughout 2016, maintaining the low and stable inflation

* Balance of Payment is projected to have no deficit at the end of 2016, supported by a positive outlook for foreign direct investment in the medium term

* Favorable changes and positive developments in macroeconomic external balance have expanded monetary policy room toward continued easing

* Decision on cautious and monetary easing will positively affect promoting monetary and credit growth, private sector investment and economic activity

* NOTE: Nationwide inflation rate at end-March was 1.7% y/y versus 9.3% year ago; CPI in Ulaanbaatar city fell to 1.1%

* NOTE: Mongolia had $29.6m in foreign direct investment in Jan.-Mar compared with net outflow of $109.2m in same period yr ago



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

BoM MNT Rates: Thursday, May 5 Close
















































































































































































































Bank USD rates at time of sending: Khan (Buy ₮2,014 Sell ₮2,022), TDB (Buy ₮2,016 Sell ₮2,024), Golomt (Buy ₮2,014 Sell ₮2,022), XacBank (Buy ₮2,014 Sell ₮2,022), State Bank (Buy ₮2,013 Sell ₮2,023)

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

Link to rates


BoM issues 10 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding -25.5% to ₮107.85 billion, lowest since Dec'14

May 4 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 10 billion at a weighted interest rate of 12.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


Mongolia's 2015 Inbound FDI Falls 68.2% Y/y to $121.5m

By Michael Kohn

May 5 (Bloomberg) -- Inbound foreign direct investment falls to $121.5m in 2015 vs $381.9m in 2014, according to revised data released by central bank.

* 2015 current-account deficit was $469.1m vs $1.4b shortfall yr ago, reflecting a narrowing of 67%

* Capital and financial account was in surplus of $381.8m, compared to deficit of $1.06b in 2014

* NOTE: Mongolia had inbound FDI of $2.14b in 2013, $4.45b in 2012 and $4.7b in 2011.

* NOTE: 2015 FDI was lowest since 2004, when Mongolia had FDI of $92.9m.



World Bank cautions on Mongolia's spiralling deficit

May 5 (Public Finance International) The World Bank has recommended that Mongolia implement spending controls after its budget deficit in the first three months of 2016 reached two-thirds of the annual target.

The bank said a large revenue shortfall and rising expenditures had led to the rapidly spiralling deficit, and that commodity exports were likely to offer no respite due to continued weak prices.

James Anderson, World Bank country director for Mongolia, said the country needs to strengthen its fiscal position now to remain within "sensible limits" of fiscal stability.

Between January and March this year, Mongolia's deficit reached just over $306m – an almost fourfold increase on the $72m accumulated over the same period last year.

This equates to 2.6% of annual gross domestic product. The annual deficit target is 4% of GDP.

While budget expenditure increased by 24.4% over the same period due to increases in interest payments on government debt, purchases of goods and social welfare spending, revenue collections have fallen.

After decades of poverty and sluggish development, the discovery of vast reserves of high-grade coal, copper and gold the economy began to boom.

This had been expected to triple the country's economy by 2020 and push millions of its people into the global middle class, according to the OECD. But mining revenues have taken a severe blow amid the commodity price slump, with royalties plummeting by 73% compared to a year ago.

This is likely also to cause of a decline in corporate tax revenues, which have halved compared to last year.

The bank said most consumption and import-related taxes are also exhibiting sluggish growth, reflecting this subdued economic activity in both the mining and non-mining sectors. Overall revenues fell by 11% year-on-year following a 3% annual decline over 2015.

While the government has managed to raise $750m through syndicated loans and sovereign bonds, the bank said spending control measures are needed to contain the deficit.

"Overall revenue collections are likely to remain far weaker than the annual budget plan unless the commodity market significantly improves in the near future," the banksMongolia Economic Brief said.

"Spending increases at the current rate would make it difficult to contain the deficit... without abrupt spending cuts in the latter half of the year."

The bank said pressure on the balance of payments – a $125m deficit by February this year – is likely to increase in 2017, with falling exports and large public debt repayments due in the coming year. 

Link to article

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Politics & Legal

Mogi: SGK yesterday night amended the election law, now it's 76 one-seat electoral districts

Parliament accepts Constitutional Court decision on 28 party list seats

May 4 ( Today, the parliamentary session discussed the 5th protocol of the Constitutional Court. As a result of the debate and the subsequent majority vote, it was decided the 5th protocol should be accepted. This means that the practice of appointing 28 of all 76 members of parliament from the party's list of names is a violation of the constitution. The Speaker of Parliament noted that "both Parliament and Constitutional Court hold the same position on this issue. The election will take place on 29th June, as planned. But we have no choice, except in changing the candidature date". Therefore, because of today's Parliamentary decision, the General Electoral Law is required to be changed.

Link to article


CWGP and NLP are unable to attend the 2016 parliamentary election

May 4 ( Total of 13 parties and three coalitions have submitted their proposal to attend the 2016 parliamentary election to the General Election Commission. 

Thus the General Election Commission have examined the relevant documents submitted by the parties and coalitions and came up with the decision to issue the rights to nominate in Parliamentary election to 11 parties and three coalitions. 

According to the registration of the Supreme Court of Mongolia, confirmations were handed over to those 11 parties and three coalitions which are eligible to attend the 2016 Parliamentary election. 

1.    Mongolian People's Party /MPP/

2.    The Democratic Party /DP/

3.    Unity coalition of the Independence and Unity Party /IUP/ and Mongolian Green Party /MGP/

4.    Mongolian Traditional United Party (MTUP)

5.    Khaan Songolt coalition of the Development Program and Mongolian Liberal Party

6.    Republican Party /RP/

7.    Mongolian Social Democratic Party /МSDP/

8.    Freedom Implementing Party  /FIP/

9.    Civil Movement Party /CMP/

10.  Mongolian Democratic Movement Party

11.  Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party /MPRP/

12.  United Patriotic Coalition The United Party of Patriots and Khamug Mongol Labor Party /KMLP/

13.  Mongolian Conservative Party /MCP/

14.  Ard Tumnee Hairlay /Respect the People Party/

Civil Will-Green Party /CWGP/ and National Labour Party /NLP/ are unable to attend and nominate in the 2016 parliamentary election. Ts.Boldsaihan, General Secretary of the General Election Commission stated on this matter. "Parties to attend the election shall submit more than ten documents. NLP have sent incomplete documents. Also they have submitted documents with two different stamps. Only the leader of the party must sign and stamp the documents. According to the National registration office, they have used invalid stamps on the documents. 

As CWGP, they have submitted incomplete documents too. For example, S.Oyun, Leader of the CWGP have not signed the resolutions and she came to make a statement. The party has three leaders. However, proposal to attend the election was signed only Ts.Ganhuyag, Leader of the CWGP. On a meeting held on May 2, Ts.Ganhuyag have not yet appointed as the leader of CWGP."

Link to article


MPs Terbishdagva, Ulaan announces exit from MPRP to MPP

May 5 ( Yesterday, the Members of Parliament D.Terbishdagva and Ch.Ulaan stated that they have decided to leave the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) and to join the Mongolian People's Party (MPP).

MP D.Terbishdagva explained why: "I have been saying that the MPP and MPRP should co-operate. After all, the MPRP grew out of the MPP. These two parties have formed working teams, in order to make an alliance for the parliamentary election – and they have worked extremely well. But even though we have worked so hard, the final decision was not to co-operate. This, therefore, is the initial reason to leave the MPRP. In the future, we will continue to work for the unity of the MPP and MPRP".

MP Ch.Ulaan said: "I still stand firmly on the position that these political forces should work together and forge an alliance, in order to do well at the election - with the same goal and the same views. Therefore, I have decided to join the MPP and leave the MPRP. In the future, we will work to make these two parties one".

Also, when they were asked: "When will you join MPP officially?" they replied:

-First, we will propose to leave MPRP. Then, we will apply to join the MPP.

Link to article


Civil Will-Green Party sets conditions to DP for cooperation

May 4 ( Over the past few days, there has been information that the Civil Will Green Party will to support Democratic Party in the election and will not enter the electoral process on its own. But earlier information states that the Civil Will Green Party officially confirmed to the General Electoral Commission that it will be participating under its own name.

We therefore sought clarification from Member of Parliament, S.Oyun who is the Chairperson of Civil Will Green Party; here is her response: "The Democratic Party has proposed that we support them for the election. In response, we stated that we will accept their offer, if the DP allows us to put forward five candidates for the parliamentary election and three for the City Representative Assembly. The final decision of this matter will be clarified, when the National Consultative Commission of the Democratic Party takes place".

Link to article


President nominates Kh. Enkhjargal as new anticorruption chief

May 5 ( On Wednesday 4th May, the President of Mongolia authorized the appointment of Kh.Enkhjargal as the new director of the Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC). The Anti-Corruption Law states (that - "The director of the IAAC will be appointed for a six-year term, by order of the President of Mongolia" (Provision 21.1).

Kh.Enkhjargal was born in 1964 in Ulaanbaatar and graduated from high school in 1982, from 1982-1987 he studied law at the Military University and from 1995-1996 studied at the State Administration Institute. After this he worked on property issues at the Police Authority of the Nalaikh District, then as Deputy Director at the Police Authority in Tuv Province, the Director of the Police Authority of the Bayanzurkh District in UB and Director of Traffic Police Authority. Currently, he is working as Director of the Information and Technology Department at the General Police Authority.

Link to article


DeFacto Review with Terrence Edwards, May 1

May 1 (VTV) --

1. 2015 amendments to Election

2. 90 independents from across the country enter this year's Parliamentary elections

3. Doctors protesting a law criminalizing patients' deaths

4. Turquoise Hill Resources' approval for project financing from a syndicate of international financial institutions

5. A war for power is taking place in Mongolian government

Link to video


Mogi: relevance to Mongolia?

Bad drivers are a good indicator of a corrupt government

April 23 (Quartz) Traffic accidents kill 1.25 million people per year, and it's well-known that those deaths are disproportionately in low- and middle-income countries. Over at CityMetric, writer James O'Malley has added an interesting wrinkle, by showing a correlation between the number of traffic fatalities in a country and the corruptness of its government.

As an example, he uses Romania, a middle-income country that has recently struggled to root out corruption. However, a better example might be Thailand, which has the highest rate of traffic fatalities in the world and where corruption scuttles international trade deals, or Iran, which has nearly as many deaths and where pressure from sanctions is purported to have spawned billion dollar schemes.

Link to full article


Posthumous award for L.Bolormaa on World Press Freedom Day

May 5 ( Tuesday 3rd May was "World Press Freedom Day". To mark it, the director of the well-known "Mongolian Mining Journal" posthumously awarded journalist L.Bolormaa with the "For the Truth" prize. The prize was officially given to the brother of L.Bolormaa, who sadly passed away not having finishing her reports, by the publication's Marketing Director L.Batbayar.

"World Press Freedom Day" was also marked by the "Globe International" NGO, the Mongolian United Journalists Union and the Open Society Forum, who organized a round table meeting entitled "Right to access information - radical freedom. This is your right". The round table was a lively event consisting of MP's N.Enkhbold, M.Batchimeg and D.Sarangerel, UNDP representative Beate Trankman, UNESCO representative in Beijing Dr. Marielza Oliveira and journalists from Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea.

Link to article


The Limits Of Modern Privacy, Lessons From Mongolia

*Martin de Bourmont is a freelance writer based in Paris. Previously, he spent a year living in Mongolia as a Fulbright grant recipient.

May 5 (World Crunch) Each night I return home to one of the greatest luxuries available to human beings: an empty room. There is no one to speak to if I do not wish to make conversation, and no one to make demands of me as I sit idly in front of my window.

I only became conscious of this privilege when I moved to Mongolia two years ago. Most of my friends there, including those living in apartments and houses, shared one room with the rest of their immediate family. To be alone, they had to leave home.

In a typical Mongolian household, washing, changing, cooking and relaxation all take place in the company of others. There is literally no room for private thoughts.

Perhaps the flipside of this lack of privacy is an apparent fear of solitude. Seeing someone walking alone will strike most as bizarre, or at least not something one would freely choose.

This understanding of solitude as a form of suffering extends even to the most marginalized members of the population. In Khovd, the rural Mongolian town where I lived, there was a mentally disabled man who would spend most of his time at the local airport. He'd approach travelers with a smile, extending his hand, and they'd greet him in return as they would any acquaintance. He'd get paid to carry suitcases and the security guards would shake his hand and give him a friendly on the back every morning. When not at the airport, the man could be seen wandering around the town market. The restaurants let him eat for free and at night a generous relative offers him shelter.

While part of the reason for this munificence stems from sympathy for the man's condition, it is also a symptom of that fear of loneliness. To see a man wandering the streets alone is to bear witness to the worst kind of destitution. Forget cash or real estate: True wealth in rural Mongolia is social.

Historical factors can help explain this state of affairs. In times of great crisis, Mongolians have seen entire societies implode. Before the Soviet Union collapsed, both urban and rural Mongolians depended on the country's status as a Soviet satellite state for bureaucratic employment. These jobs vanished with the end of the Cold War. Deprived of employment prospects, many urban Mongolians flocked back to the countryside in hopes of returning to the nomadic herding lifestyle of their parents and grandparents; and yet many quickly discovered that the collectivist systems that once supported generations of nomadic herders had ceased to exist.

More recently, Mongolian herders have found themselves struggling with an exceptionally harsh and fickle climate. In 2002 and 2010, severe winters known as zud killed millions of livestock.

Unable to survive as herders, those afflicted by the zud and intensifying desertification have begun migrating to the capital Ulaanbaatar in search of employment. The city the former herders discover is expensive, polluted, and — by Mongolian standards — cramped. Finding their footing in such an alien place requires new arrivals to request the assistance of family members and friends already present in the city.

Periods of crisis aside, Mongolian life is inherently collaborative. Those who live in gers, the Mongolian term for yurts, spend a substantial portion of each day maintaining their homes. One must feed the stove coal, wood or dung to keep warm, fetch water to wash and cook with, and regularly sweep the floors in order to keep dust and dirt at bay. Since those who live in gers have work that keeps them away from home for hours at a time — whether as herders, builders, or even university professors — it is important that someone stays at home or at least returns periodically to complete the tasks necessary to keep the ger clean and livable.

Though living in central Ulaanbaatar may now resemble life in Seoul or Beijing, many urban Mongolians living in provincial cities or on the capital's urban periphery continue to live a profoundly communal life. It is not uncommon for Mongolian families to live in one-room apartments composed of a kitchen and a living room. Grandparents living in close proximity will stop by to take care of the family's children during the day and large meals will be taken with friends and family throughout the week.

All this is likely the product of centuries spent living in gers, where one had no choice but to live and work with others every hour of every day merely to survive. Combating subzero temperatures for months, raising large herds, and securing food and water for one's family are not tasks that can be accomplished alone.

In developed Western countries, on the other hand, cooperation and constant devotion to a collective no longer holds much appeal. Instead we see ourselves as unique individuals, whose personal ambitions and experiences merit as much consideration as the aspirations and needs of our communities.

While I, like many of my contemporaries, often deplore what we perceive as the rampant selfishness and narcissism apparent in 21st century Western life, I remain a product of my time and place. I resent being told to think or act in certain ways, even —and sometimes especially if these injunctions are intended for my benefit.

Like most of my liberal-minded American and European friends, I assign great value to my privacy. Protecting one's privacy and finding space for solitude, we believe, are indispensable components of a life worth living.

It is, of course, up for debate how much we truly value solitude, privacy, and independent thought. Each day, we silently acquiesce to government and corporate surveillance as we navigate the Internet. We spend most of our days online not only because we appreciate the vast quantities of human knowledge it stores but because we cannot bear to be disconnected from friends, family, acquaintances, potential romantic partners, the consolations of pornography, and the panoply of corporations that satisfy our endless consumer desires.

We may also wonder if solitude and independence, once achieved, do us much good. In affluent, developed countries, loneliness has become so common that some have begun labeling our time as an "age of loneliness."

Loneliness can damage more than just one's mental health. According to a March 2015 paper published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, "substantial evidence now indicates that individuals lacking social connections (both objective and subjective social isolation) are at risk for premature mortality." The risks to human health associated with social isolation, the study claims, are comparable to those posed by obesity.

Combating loneliness requires not more social interactions, but better social interactions, or what we sometimes refer to as intimacy. Knowing we can depend on others for company, conversation, and aid in times of crisis makes us feel less alienated. We become part of a community, an island of solidarity and affection in a great ocean of human activity.

Mongolians may not have much privacy, but that doesn't mean they lack intimacy. It may well be that the Mongolian understanding of intimacy and affection are best placed in the context of constant, intense social interactions with a wide array of family members, friends, and acquaintances.

An American or European may envy the sense of community shared by Mongolians even as it challenges our modern thirst for privacy. Still, this encounter can be instructive. It can teach us what we actually desire in human interactions: building strong emotional bonds with a group of people while retaining opportunities for solitary contemplation.

Our empty rooms and solitary hours are dubious gifts. While they afford us the time and space to think, the question remains: think about what? When we are shut off from others with whom to share our experiences, our thoughts and impressions may wind up being little more than the reflections of our own eyes.

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Police investigating hacking of 25 thousand entities

May 5 ( Major B.Baatarkhuu, who is director of the Press Department at the General Police Authority, has provided the following disturbing information. He said that they are currently investigating a suspect, known as citizen "T", who has hacked information from 24,783 members of the public and legal entities; he did this by writing 12 different kinds of software which copies the information from their databases. By illegally hacking, he has copied information from the databases via websites primarily connected with IT, online sales and education. Citizen "T" was born in 1997.

Also, the police authority is investigating another suspect citizen "Kh", who was born in 1985. Citizen "Kh" has been involved in stealing money, using the visa cards of foreigners. Police officers have seized 92 visa card imprints and special equipment which reads the card's electronic information.

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Shipping rate request from Mongolia to India by Multimodal

The enquirer requires a shipping rate for Mattress to be despatched by Multimodal and arrive no later than 30/06/2016. The consignment is departing from Mongolia and arriving at India. Full details of this shipping rate request can be found below.

Only Premium members with an office in Mongolia or India can respond to this rate request.

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AmCham Mongolia to Host the Third Annual Trade Mission to the United States

May 4 ( ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia – The American Chamber of Commerce in Mongolia (AmCham) will host its third annual Trade Mission to the United States from June 20-24, 2016 in an effort to strengthen the commercial relationship between Mongolia and the United States. This is an opportunity for Mongolian business executives to develop a strong network in the United States and seize real business development opportunities with American companies. 

The U. S. Trade Mission will have two components:

1. June 20th and June 24th: AmCham Mongolia and its members will engage and build relationships with key U.S. Government officials who focus on the U.S.–Mongolia commercial partnership in Washington, DC.

2.  June 21st-23rd: Participation in the Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce (APCAC) annual policy meetings in Washington, DC. Engage and participate in key meetings with prestigious think tanks & opinion leaders, executive and legislative branch members of the U.S. government as well as outside experts in Washington, DC.

Benefits of the U.S. Trade Mission

  • Rare opportunity to establish valuable networks with American companies and seize business development opportunities
  • Connect with influential U.S. policy-makers, members of Congress, and advocate for initiatives that are important to Mongolia
  • Identify important financing opportunities for your company through direct engagement
  • Strengthen the commercial relationship between the United States and Mongolia and participate in a broader dialogue relevant to business in the Asia-Pacific region

Organizations to Visit

The delegates will visit and directly engage with prominent decision-makers and scholars, such as:

  • White House
  • Brookings Institute
  • Congress
  • Department of State
  • USTR
  • Ex-Im Bank
  • Department of Commerce
  • Overseas Private Investment Corporation
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Asia Society

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Unauthorized billboards to be taken down

May 5 ( Starting today, respective district governor's offices are organizing week long activity to take down any unauthorized billboards. Billboards without proper authorization or don't meet required standards needs to be taken down by owning entities or district will take it down and send cost invoice.

Due to increasing number of billboards, advertisements in Ub, UB city Governor's office restricted putting of billboards and advertisements in some areas of central streets.

Currently, there are some 760 big billboards, advertisement and 269 of them don't have proper permit or do not meet required standards. Of these 269 improper billboards, 69 of them are big and 200 are small and they will be taken down because of the following reasons:

  • Don't have proper permit, unauthorized installation
  • Blocked street cameras and made it difficult to monitor street traffic
  • Violation to traffic safety
  • No legal contract/agreement or fee to district authorities
  • Obstructing in road, infrastructure works

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Prime Minister orders to implement "Good fence" program

Ulaanbaatar, May 4 (MONTSAME( At the "Hour for solutions" weekly meeting on Wednesday, the Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg discussed issues regarding households living in ger areas in Ulaanbaatar.

Thus, the Prime Minister ordered E.Bat-Uul, Mayor of Ulaanbaatar; Kh.Gantsogt, State Secretary of the Ministry of Finance; and B.Battuvshin, Executive Director of the State Bank to implement the "Good fence" program which will give start to the third campaign for re-planning ger areas.

"Reasonable conditions should be created for ger areas inhabitants to benefit from the re-planning campaign. Thereby, infrastructural challenges such as water supply, waste water and toilets must be tackled in parallel," the Prime Minister said.

"In frames of the program, household living in ger areas are able to receive loans of up to MNT 100 million with a five-year term in order to deal with the infrastructural shortages and can pay off the credit with less burden by paying every month a sum not exceeding MNT 100 thousand. In case the amount exceeds MNT 100 thousand, up to 50% of the debt can be resolved jointly by the government and city with help of government funds," said Saikhanbileg.

Firstly, the campaign will target 69 200 households living in the capital's second and third zones with financial fund of MNT 200 billion. The next stage of the program will cover centers of provinces.

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The things you only experience in Ulaanbaatar

May 5 ( Ulaanbaatar is a metropolitan city. Here you will find world brands, cozy bars, fancy restaurants, expensive cars as well as fashionable people. However, we still have the ger-districts, street children, homeless and drunk people and waste too. But you'll find that UBiers are welcoming, kind and extremely generous. They are usually curious of foreigners and love trying to communicate with you, even if they can't speak in English.

However every city has its own uniqueness-- traditions and beliefs. We deliver you the top ten things, you will only see and experience in Ulaanbaatar. It maybe surprise you, but we hope you will be aware of them after reading this article.


Mongolians pay much respect for their elders. They always listen them, help them even give up seat to them on a bus. Most of Mongolians were raised by their grandparents and that might be the reason for this respect.


Mongolians greet people with handshake using their right hands. They say hello as "sain baina uu". Also if someone steps on your foot accidentally, they shake hands for apology and say "uuchlaarai" (means sorry).


Mongolians worship Chinggis Khaan as god and considered him as the founder father of Mongolia. Therefore you will see many faces of Chinggis Khaan everywhere in UB. There are many brand products named Chinggis Khan and monuments. Also our only international airport is called Chinggis Khaan and we have four-star hotel named Chinggis Khaan. You will hear Chinggis Khaan much in UB.


Most of hotels, travels and some services offer higher tariffs for the foreigners. Lately, it has criticized much and companies started to offer same tariff to both foreigners and Mongolians. Such as museums now have same tariff for everyone.


Even women spit in the street sometimes.


You will experience four seasons in a day only in Mongolia. Especially in the spring or autumn, you will feel sun in the morning, rain shower in the afternoon, snow and snow storm in the evening and freezing cold during the night. It would be fun and do not forget to check the weather forecast before you leave.


Just ignore drunk Mongolian man. If you are in a club and Mongolian men become aggressive, you should leave immediately.


Incidences of pick pocketing and bag slashing have been on the rise, so always keep your personal belongings in a safe place especially if you are in crowded areas.


You will see many stray dogs in the street, especially in a ger-area. So be aware of them.


Mongolian women offer milk and milk tea to the sky every morning. In other words, they traditionally greet each day by boiling a milk tea and sprinkling a little bit of it to the sky from their balcony. Therefore the milk may fall on you and your car.

Generally, Mongolia is a safe place to travel and Ulaanbaatar is considered one of the most peaceful place to live.

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Mongolia and China reach agreements in several works

Ulaanbaatar, May 5 (MONTSAME) The Mongolian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr L.Purevsuren and the Chinese Minister of Commerce Mr Gao Hucheng co-chaired the 14th meeting of the Mongolia-China intergovernmental commission for the trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation held Thursday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

The main point of the talks was key elements surrounding bilateral trade and economic cooperation. The sides could reach agreements on a broad range of issues concerning to proceeding projects covering the fields of infrastructure, energy and agriculture that will be funded with soft loan of USD 1 billion from Chinese government, revising bilateral Agreement on Mongolia-China border checkpoints and their regimes in the near future, and organizing the "Made in Mongolia" trade fair in China on regular basis.

During the working visit of Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng to Mongolia, the countries concluded several number of cooperation documents such as a protocol of the 14th intergovernmental commission meeting, letters of exchange on starting construction of two schools within the developmental assistance of China and on commencing a feasibility for a sports complex for the people with disabilities, and a report on transferring facilities to be used for the ASEM11 as well as a cooperation roadmap for establishing an economic freezone crossing the Zamyn-Uud and Erlyan border checkpoints and a credit agreement for a project on construction of road to the new international airport in Khoshig Valley.

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Tov province to cooperate with Liaoning of China

Ulaanbaatar, May 5 (MONTSAME) S.Tsogbayar, Head of the Public administration and management division of the Governor's office of Tov aimag visited Liaoning province of China on April 18-20.

During the visit, the two provinces have agreed to lift up bilateral cooperation to a new level, particularly in fields of education, culture and tourism.

The provinces established a memorandum on trade and economic cooperation five years ago and later, in 2013, co-organized an international business meeting.

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Foreign Minister L.Purevsuren meets French counterpart in Paris

Ulaanbaatar, May 4 (MONTSAME) The Mongolian Minister of Foreign Affairs has met with Mr Jean-Marc Ayrault, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, in Paris in scope of his visit to France, the Mongolian MFA published Tuesday.

The Ministers discussed issues on a possibility of participation of the President of France Francois Hollande in the forthcoming 11th ASEM Summit this July in UB. Mr Purevsuren noted that France is a Third Neighbor and one of the major partners of Mongolia and added that the Mongolia-France cooperation has been intensifying in the political, economic and cultural spheres.

In the light of its goal to diversify its economy, Mongolia aspires to collaborate with France in the agricultural sector, said the Mongolian Minister.

In turn, the French Minister Mr Ayrault emphasized the bilateral relations have been developing dynamically and agreed with his Mongolian counterpart about a high significance of the upcoming 11th ASEM Summit. He said the French side believes that bilateral cooperation would progress in the areas of energy, space and other scientific spheres.

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Ambassador to Indonesia meets president of "Jababeka" Group

Ulaanbaatar, May 5 (MONTSAME) Ambassador of Mongolia to Indonesia Sh.Battsetseg met Tuesday etyono Djuandi Darmono, President of the "Jababeka" Group and cultural envoy of Mongolia.

During the meeting, a plan of actions was approved which have to be performed by the Cultural Envoy in 2016.

The sides also agreed on co-hosting cultural events in Jakarta and founding a Mongolian cultural center in Tanjung Lesung, special zone of tourism in western part of Java Island, in the context of celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Mongolia-Indonesia diplomatic relations marked this year.

Mr Darmono said there is a possibility for Mongolian students to study in the acknowledged "President" university with scholarships noting that this will be a step towards widening bilateral cooperation in the educational sphere. He pledged to provide assistance in establishing contacts between universities and institutes of the two countries and implementing a student exchange program.

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Ambassador to Brazil meets MP Damina Pereira

Ulaanbaatar, May 4 (MONTSAME) Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to Brazil Ms Ch.Sosormaa Tuesday met with Ms Damina Pereira, Chairwoman of Parliamentary women's caucus at the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil.

Ambassador Sosormaa handed over to Ms Pereira a letter of L.Erdenechimeg MP, chair of the Caucus of Women Parliamentarians of Mongolia. They discussed issues on women's political and social participation in respective countries and initiating cooperation.

The Mongolia-Brazil parliamentary groups have been set up at both Senate and Chamber of Deputies of Brazil, said the Ambassador and called for Ms. Pereira and other women parliamentarians to join the groups.

Ms Pereira also invited the Mongolian Ambassador to visit the Parliamentary Women's caucus of Brazil to make a comprehensive presentation about Mongolia.

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Ambassador to Myanmar presents credentials

Ulaanbaatar, May 5 (MONTSAME) Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Mr T.Togsbilguun has presented his diplomatic credentials to Myanmar President Htin Kyaw, in Naypyidaw, the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports.

At the meeting following the official ceremony presentation, the Ambassador conveyed greetings of the Mongolian President to Mr Htin Kyaw and pledged to take every effort to foster bilateral relations and cooperation in all possible areas. 

The Myanmar President thanked for the greetings. He said the government of Myanmar is ready to provide all needed support to the Ambassador during his diplomatic tenure in Myanmar.

Also the Mongolia Ambassador paid courtesy calls on Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar; Mr U Kyaw Tin, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs; and Mr U Myo Nyunt, Chairman of Constitutional Tribunal of Myanmar. The parties shared views on strengthening bilateral cooperation in the fields of politics, trade, economy, law and other areas.

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Ed Jager: Canada has other sectors of interest in Mongolia besides mining

May 5 ( GoGo Mongolia invited His Excellency, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Canada to Mongolia Eelco (Ed) Jager for an interview to talk about his personal opinions, experiences on different subjects in Mongolia and most importantly his mission representing Canada to Mongolia.

Ambassador Jager is the third resident Ambassador from Canada to Mongolia and he was appointed in January 2015 and has been serving since March 2015.

Ambassador Jager received law degree from University of Western Ontaria and worked as lawyer, sales representative in the private sector before joining the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 1999. He has been with the Foreign service of Canada for 16 years, serving in Brazil, Peru, Indonesia in trade sector and acquired extensive experience in international relations.

He is a family man, who likes outdoor activities such as hiking, jogging and walking. Ambassador Jager and his wife Cathy have five children and seven grandchildren.

For more please watch the full interview below.

Mongolia - Canada bilateral relations

Mongolia and Canada established diplomatic relations on November 30, 1973 and celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries in 2013. Mongolia first opened its General Consulate in Toronto in 1998 and the Embassy was officially inaugurated in December, 2001.

Canada appointed its Honorary Consul in Ulaanbaatar on December 1, 1997. In April, 2004 Canada stated to open its Trade Mission in Ulaanbaatar. The first Resident Ambassador of Canada to Mongolia assumed her duty in Ulaanbaatar in 2008 after Canada opened its Embassy.

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Mongolian Foreign Minister: 'Our future is in educating our people, not mining'

May 3 (The Asia House) The Government of Mongolia has turned its attention to diversification of its economy in the light of falling commodity prices and China's slowdown and is now looking for foreign investment in many sectors from renewable energy to education, according to the country's Minister for Foreign Affairs H.E Mr. Lundeg Purevsuren.

Mongolia, only recently the fastest growing economy in the world, is forecast this year to see growth of a mere 0.1 per cent in 2016 and 0.5 per cent in 2017, according to the Asian Development Bank.

In contrast, in 2011, GDP growth reached a staggering 17.3 per cent. Mongolia is possibly the single country in the world that has been the worst affected by falling commodity prices and the slowdown in China, which has also led to decreasing foreign direct investment.

Whilst Mongolia hosts 10 per cent of the world's known coal reserves and has significant copper deposits, FDI plunged from US$ 4.45bn in 2012 to US$ 507.6m in 2014.

Mongolia has to date been reliant on exporting minerals and 89 per cent of its total exports go to China, which is itself experiencing an economic slump.

Before a trip to Oxford University to speak to students about Mongolian foreign policy, H.E Mr. Lundeg Purevsuren gave an exclusive interview to Asia House. He said: "Our economy has to diversify. We have learnt our lessons. We were concentrating too much on the mining sector in the past. Commodity prices are dropping so we need to look at long-term sustainable economic growth. That means investing in non-mining sectors like agriculture and food."

He pointed out there were 60 million livestock in Mongolia.

He said sectors that Mongolia could diversify into included renewable energies, cashmere, leather, food and wool.

"We need to discover global markets for all of these goods. Food will become a major commodity issue in the future. Mongolia can for example provide meat and milk to China and other markets. We have a lot of space that can be used if we can come up with irrigation systems. We would also like to invest in our downstream industries and export not just to our neighbours Russia and China, but also to third markets," he said.

A year ago Mongolia did not have any regional or bilateral FTAS. But in October 2015 Mongolia signed a free trade agreement with Japan, officially called the Japan-Mongolia Economic Partnership Agreement, paving the way for elimination of import tariffs on most products traded between the two nations. Mr Purevsuren said it would also lead to the transfer of knowledge and technology to Mongolia from Japan, and development of supply chains in Mongolia for Japanese industry." He said that apart from minerals, Mongolia wanted to export finished products to Japan.

"The EPA will give us access to the Japanese markets and give the Japanese access to our markets and we hope it will allow the transfer of technology and knowledge, as well as management skills. We have a well-educated workforce and Japan can produce and manufacture in Mongolia," he said.

The main products that Mongolia currently exports to Japan are minerals and textile products and the key products Mongolia imports from Japan are cars, construction and mining machinery.

Used cars currently account for 45 percent of Japanese exports to Mongolia. Trade is still very skewed towards Japanese exports. In 2013 Japan's exports to Mongolia were valued at US$ 288 million and Mongolia's exports to Japan just US21 million. Yet that could be set to change if Mongolia's mineral exports to Japan rise.

The two countries also agreed to work on infrastructure development in Mongolia, including the construction of a rail lines to the Tavan Tolgoi coal mine and Japanese involvement in the project. Tavan Tolgoi is one of the world's largest untapped coking and thermal coal deposits, located in the Umnugovi Province in southern Mongolia.

The Mongolian Government is also working closely with Japan on the construction of a new international airport in Ulaanbaatar which has been financed by Japanese loans and benefited from Japanese technology.

"We hope that the airport will become a regional hub connecting East Asia and Central Asia and South Asia and this will also benefit cargo," he said.

Apart from this FTA with Japan, he said Mongolia was in "quite advanced talks" about an FTA with Canada and had signed a number of agreements and treaties with the USA, whichwere the first steps to an FTA.

He said Mongolia started talks last year with the Eurasian Economic Union, which began with an MoU and they were working on cooperation. "We are expecting China to create a joint research group to study the possibility of a China-Mongolia FTA," he added.

He added there were plans to develop an economic corridor between Mongolia, China and Russia. "We have discussed this programme for two years and now it's ready to sign. It's about infrastructure, transit routes, railway lines and pipelines," he said.

The economic corridor fits in with China's Belt and Road project. "It was negotiated as part of that project, it is the north-eastern part of the Belt and Road project," he said.

Mongolia, which became a multi-party free market democracy in 1990, is set to hold its eighth parliamentary elections on 29 June 2016. The last elections took place in 2012 when the current ruling party, the centre-right Mongolian Democratic Party, won the most seats and formed a government in coalition with some smaller parties.

"Our goal is to get a majority in the June 29 general elections," Mr. Purevsuren said.

"As what we have seen is that it is always hard to work in coalitions. We are confident that we will get a majority because we have developed many programmes for the public including economic programmes for herders. Nevertheless I am also confident that whichever party wins or whichever coalition is formed, the policies we have set in place will continue."

An electoral pact between the country's two main opposition parties, which are splitting the centre-left vote, recently collapsed.

In July Mongolia will host many different heads of state and governments at the 11th ASEM Summit being held in Ulaanbaatar.

The Summit will also be the 20th anniversary since the Asia-Europe Meeting dialogue process was inaugurated in 1996 in Bangkok.

"At this summit we are going to define our strategy for the next 20 years and look at how Europe and Asia will work together for the next two decades and where Mongolia can contribute for greater cooperation. Historically Mongolia has always contributed towards Europe-Asia structures. We built the Silk Road in the 13th century opening up free trade between Europe and Asia and therefore it has always been our tradition to bring together the two continents," he added.

He said that Mongolia was happy with its Observer status of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) (an international alliance that consists of six member states and five observers from Eurasia) and "would stick with that."

"We are happy with that status so we can watch carefully what's going on especially since India and Pakistan are going to take up membership soon, so it's interesting to study more," he said.

He said following his official visit to India in April this year, a credit line of US$1 billion had been extended to Mongolia from the Indian Government.

"We will use this for infrastructure in railways and other sectors," he said.

Why take the loans from India? "India is a regional power traditionally and we see India as our spiritual neighbours. We share Buddhism and agriculture and now we are looking at a new economic cooperation," he explained.

The second phase of theUS$ 4.4 billion Oyu Tolgoi underground mine has begun after the Mongolian Government reached an agreement with Rio Tinto and Turquoise Hill Resources in May 2015 and a Project Financing agreement with 20 international banks and financial institutions to fund the development was signed in December 2015. It is considered one of the largest gold and copper deposits not only in Mongolia, but worldwide. The mine is expected to generate one third of Mongolia's GDP.

"The second phase of construction has started since we have reached agreement with investors after several years of the project being stuck. There were certain mistakes on both sides and we have reached consensus on both sides. We are now happy with the agreement," Mr Purevsuren said.

"The fact the project is going ahead is a good signal not just for the project but for the overall business environment in Mongolia," he added. "Everywhere in the world mining is in trouble since commodity prices have gone down yet the Mongolian Government has managed to reach consensus and sort this project out which is the largest new mining project in the world.

"Critics from the first phase said that locals were not benefiting from it and so we paid attention in this second phase to that to make sure that more local businesses were invited to be part of the project and that more local people will benefit," he continued.

Apart from foreign investment in mining, there were opportunities for foreign companies in sectors such as education, food, downstream industries and renewable energies.

"The future of Mongolia is in educating people, not mining," he said.

But he admitted that the Mongolian market had not yet been discovered by British companies. "We have very minimal interest from Britain right now. But no one is going to invest in a country they know nothing about so one of our policies is to promote Mongolia globally and encourage more tourists to visit and then people might think about investing in Mongolia," he said.

"Mongolia has history, Buddhist heritage and nomadic traditions plus it is an untouched land so we want to promote tourism," he said. He said that Mongolia was putting a lot of effort into its soft power and promoting its sports, sumo wrestlers, culture, history and traditions.

He explained the attraction of investing in renewable energies.

"We have more than 300 sunny days and we could supply clean energy to the whole of Asia. We are part of the Asia Super Grid," he continued, referring to a proposed grid in the Northeast Asian region which would allow for electricity, including power sourced from solar and wind energy, to be sent across that part of the continent.

"We have several solar projects already and we have built our first wind farm. The market is well known. In the 1990s there were several solar programmes developed for nomads. What we want now is foreign investment and technology from foreign companies.

"We could export renewable energy to countries like China. China is the biggest polluter and it needs clean energy," he said.

Earlier in the day Mr. Lundeg Purevsuren took part in a private briefing and roundtable discussion with Asia House corporate members. Corporate members represented at the table included Rio Tinto and G3.

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Russia-Mongolia Joint Drills to Focus on Anti-Terrorism, Reconnaissance

The servicemen of Russia and Mongolia will simulate reconnaissance and counterterrorism operations during joint military drills.

KHABAROVSK, May 4 (Sputnik) — Representatives of Russia's Eastern Military District (EMD) and the Mongolian Armed Forces have chosen reconnaissance operations and illegal armed groups elimination to be practiced at the upcoming Selenga-2016 joint Russian-Mongolian military exercises, the head the EMD's press service said Monday.

"At the second round of consultations on planning the joint Russian-Mongolian Selenga-2016 exercises, the subject of the practical part of the drill was defined. A joint group of troops will practice conducting reconnaissance and search operations in a designated area, as well as blocking and eliminating simulated illegal armed groups," Alexander Gordeev told reporters.

The first round of consultations was held in early February. The sides previously agreed to hold the drills between August 29 and September 7 at the Burduny training range in Buryatia, with some 2,000 service personnel taking part in total. The final round of consultations is due to be held in July.

The EMD will send a tank battalion, a motorized infantry squadron, mortar, self-propelled howitzer and missile divisions, as well as air defense and reconnaissance units, the spokesman said, adding that Mongolia will send an infantry battalion task force, infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers, T-72 tanks, BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launcher systems, mortars and ZSU-23-4 Shilka self-propelled anti-aircraft guns.

The Selenga-2016 will be the ninth joint exercise between Mongolia and Russia since 2008.

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Health, Education

Nat'l campaign against cancer reaches Darkhan

Ulaanbaatar, May 5 (MONTSAME) A medical crew composed of 14 doctors and specialists conducted cancer screening, diagnosis, and surgery in Darkhan-Uul aimag on April 25-30 in the frames of the 6th national campaign against cancer being co-implemented by the National Cancer Center (NCC), the Khan Bank Foundation, and the Mongolian National Public Radio and Television (MNB).

The team conducted screening over 1,558 individuals in high risk groups with pre-cancerous conditions or indefinite diagnoses prepared by the General Hospital in Darkhan. The doctors carried out 116 cytology tests and 13 biopsies, and diagnosed 10 patients with cancer as well as conducted 11 urgent surgeries.

Rural residents diagnosed with cancer tend to go for long periods before getting effective medical treatment. Such free surgeries saves lives and prevents the families of patients from facing financial hardships.

One of the campaign's objectives is to train and improve professional skills of rural doctors and specialists, so fifty doctors and the same number of nurses and health volunteers from 52 soums have been involved in regional training. 22 doctors and specialists from Darkhan-Uul, Selenge, Orkhon and Bulgan provinces have attended another training to upgrade their knowledge.

The team will stay in Omnogobi province which is its next destination until May 7, 2016.

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MP Erdenechimeg submits bill increases excise tax on tobacco

Ulaanbaatar, May 5 (MONTSAME) Member of parliament L.Erdenechimeg Thursday submitted to the Speaker Z.Enkhbold draft amendment to the law on excise tax.

The amendment to the law proposes maximizing the excise tax on tobacco, said the draft initiator.

"The bill is designed in consideration of the obligations Mongolia has assumed with the ratification of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2003. The convention's Sixth article reflects price and tax-related measures that will be conducive to reducing tobacco consumption,  in compliance with which parties to the convention are committed to augment tax on tobacco that is found as an effective approach to minimizing the number of smokers, especially that of youngsters," said Erdenechimeg MP.

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Ambulances to be purchased for ASEM Summit

Ulaanbaatar, May 5 (MONTSAME) The Council (Citizens' Representative Khural) of Ulaanbaatar city has decided to purchase 10 fully-equipped ambulances to be mobilized during the forthcoming 11th ASEM Summit, and an issue regarding exemption of the ambulances from customs tax and VAT has been left open for the consideration of the cabinet.

The information was given by S.Lambaa, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Sports, at the 25th regular meeting of the National council for ASEM Summit preparations held Wednesday. After the event ends, the ambulances will be provided to the Ulaanbaatar First Aid Center, he commented.

Other decisions made at the meeting covered the budget for preparations for the ASEM Meeting of Senior Officials and the Meeting of Finance Ministers, and outputting symbols and souvenirs for international delegates and liaison officers. The latter will be provided with uniforms.

The media and public relations working group made a presentation on domestic TV channels to broadcast the Summit, furnishing of media centers and their services.

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Number of blood donors reaches international average

May 4 (MONTSAME) Mongolia has become able to prepare enough reserve of donor blood thanks to marking the day of donor blood on every 3rd day of months in accordance with an ordinance of the Minister of Health and Sport.

At the initiative of the Mongolian President Elbegdorj, a national campaign called "Let's save lives" started 5 years ago. Within the day of donor blood on Tuesday, some 40 people donated their blood at the Red Cross Society of Mongolia (RCSM).

/G.Bayarmaa , Middle-stage coordinator at the 7th committee at RCSM/.

-I have donated blood 13 times so far since the day of donor blood has began 5 years ago . I urge people to donate their blood because your blood can save many lives.

The event at the Red Cross Society of Mongolia office has attracted many donors including the honored ones in three generations as well as those people who joined the donation for the first time. According to the latest survey, 23 000 donors have been registered in Ulaanbaatar and 34 000 donors—in localities.

/G.Dulmaa , social worker at National Center of Hemotransfusion (NCH)/

-It is considered that if 3 percent of the population in developed nations and 1.5 percent of the population in developing countries are ready to give their blood,  the donor blood reserve will satisfy the necessity in these countries. As for Mongolia, this number has reached 1.5 in Ulaanbaatar. We have overcome a difficult time of lack of donor blood.

The monthly day of blood donation is co-organized by the Red Cross Society of Mongolia, the National Center of Hemotransfusion, the Development Center of Health, the Center of Pathology and the National University of Medical Sciences.

A campaign of collecting donor blood is usually carried out at the National Center of Hemotransfusion. This center is expected to move to a new place which is equipped with the latest progressive technologies. By doing so, conditions will be upgraded to reserve blood and blood products and to augment the reserve.

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Where did my interest in Mongolia come from?

By Julian Dierkes

May 2 (Mongolia Focus) Sometimes people make the mistake to ask me a seemingly straight-forward question about Mongolia. Well, once I get talking, I get pretty excited and it'll be hard to stop me.

So, why is that? Why am I so interested in Mongolia and how did I become interested in the first place?

How I Got Interested in Mongolia

I've been traveling to Mongolia very regularly since 2005, we've been running this blog since 2011, but my fascination with Mongolia goes back further.

I grew up in (West) Berlin. Occasionally we would visit East Berlin and when we did we had to exchange a certain amount of D-Marks for East German Marks. There was generally very little that was attractive for us to spend our money on in East Berlin. Typical purchases were sheet music and pencils, later on we were keen on East German flags and perhaps an FDJ-shirt. Books were also a common choice, in part because German classics were often available for pennies in East Germany and assigned for school back in (West) Berlin.

I must have come across Galsan Tchinag's (Galsan Tschinag as transliterated in German) Eine tuwinische Geschichte on one of these trips, his first book published in (East) Germany in 1981. What a wonderful story teller he is and how he brought me into Mongolian, well Tuvan anyway, settings as a teenager! Curiously, I did not read Fritz Mühlenweg's In geheimer Mission until much later, which would have been another easy to get fascinated with Mongolia as a German boy. I have continued to enjoy Galsan's writings very, very much and had the great pleasure to meet and host him in Vancouver in 2006 when he participated in the Vancouver Writers' Festival on publication of his first English translation, The Blue Sky (see Milkweed Editions for his English books).

So, it was Galsan Tchinag's storytelling about growing up Tuvan in Mongolia and growing up into a shaman and leader that planted the seeds of a youthful fascination with Mongolia in me.

The Japan Connection

The next thread that lead me to Mongolia was Japan. I had started learning Japanese in high school in Berlin and then ended up pursuing it in university at UC Berkeley as well. From Cal, I went to Sophia University (上智大学, Tokyo) on exchange in my third year of university in 1990-91. Turbulent times in the world. My best college buddy, Ross, was also in Japan on exchange at the time, so we decided to travel home (for me) to Berlin from Japan by train. So, at some point in July 1991, we started from Beijing (also a very different city at the time from what it is now, the little I remember of that trip) on the Trans-Siberian trip through Mongolia. And it was breathtaking.

In a way, I thus visited Mongolia for the first time in 1991, but it really was only transit through Mongolia, since we didn't leave the train other than for the 20 minutes that it stopped in Ulaanbaatar. All I recall from that trip is the beautiful landscape (we had glorious, pleasantly warm weather), and the brief run around the square in front of the Ulaanbaatar train station where we encountered the empty shelves that I knew from East Germany. While the trip left a deep impression, I have only a very few photos and memories focused primarily on the existence in the train.

For the next 10 years my attention was almost entirely focused on Japan. After a brief hiatus between my undergraduate degree (Sociology, with a minor in Philosophy) and graduate school when I lived in Berlin and Japan again, I entered Princeton University in 1993 to pursue a PhD in sociology. While I focused on social scientific analyses of Japan and somewhat more broadly, of East Asia, for much of the 1990s, I rarely came across Mongolia in these pursuits. I continued reading Galsan Tchinag when new books were published (as my mother knew of my delight in his writings and kept me up-do-date on his publications, now in united Germany). The only encounter with the region was a job I had as a graduate student producing an index for a book, Rediscovering Russia in Asia: Siberia and the Russian Far East, that Stephen Kotkin and David Wolff at Princeton had co-edited.

My dissertation work on historical narratives in school textbooks in Japan and East and (West) Germany kept me busy for many years and took me for fieldwork back to Berlin and to Japan for a year each.

As I was completing the dissertation, I accepted a fellowship at Cambridge University where I spent 15 months from 2001-2002. Sadly, I had very limited contact with the Mongolia crowd at Cambridge during this period, largely because my interest had not really moved much beyond the early fascination.

Vancouver and my Mongolia Break

In 2002, I accepted a junior faculty (assistant professor) position at the University of British Columbia's Institute of Asian Research where I continue to work today. The position continues to be focused on Japan, but given that I used to teach in our Master of Asia Pacific Policy Studies until recently, and now teach in the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs, my perspective was never focused exclusively and narrowly on Japan, but certainly spanned an interest in Asia and transpacific relations.

At some point relatively soon after I arrived, occasional articles mentioning Mongolia began to appear in Vancouver and Canadian media and I noticed that a significant amount of investment capital was flowing from Vancouver into Mongolian mining. This only intensified as the "discovery" of Oyu Tolgoi pushed Mongolia further onto the radar of journalists and investors. While I didn't know much about the mining industry at the time, I did notice that this was a very concrete link to Mongolia, and also realized that the extractive sector was not only a vibrant sector in Canada broadly, but of particular relevance to the British Columbian and Vancouver economy.

I started paying closer attention to these news items.

In October 2004, then-president N Bagabandi, came on a state visit to Canada and included the Univ of British Columbia on his itinerary.

I was thrilled to be involved in planning for this event. Pres. Bagabandi gave a public address and joined a smaller group in a discussion that included a focus on higher education. During this discussion Pres. Bagabandi invited more people-to-people links between Canada and Mongolia in general, and also called for more academic connections.

Following this visit, I made an argument to colleagues and the UBC administration that we ought to follow up on this invitation and at least investigate whether there were opportunities for collaboration with Mongolian institutions. I was very happy volunteer for such an investigation and thus visited Mongolia properly for the first time in 2005. And thus… my interest in Mongolia grew very quickly.

Focusing on Mongolia

Since my first visit, I've been traveling to Mongolia from 1-4 times per year. I grab any opportunity I can get to visit, really, whether that is conferences, events, or research. Most of those visits have been to Ulaanbaatar, though I've also taken some extended trips to the countryside. I have yet to visit the Gobi, and the Eastern provinces, as well as parts of the West, including Lake Huvsgul.

On these visits, I have had the good fortune to get to know many individuals, Mongolian and non-Mongolian, based in Mongolia. They are the people I speak to regularly to keep up with events in Mongolia. Of course, the rise of the popularity of social media in Mongolia has made the task of keeping up with developments much easier.

My interest has been supported by two directors of the Institute of Asian Research (Pitman Potter, Paul Evans) and has been tolerated by many other colleagues.

Substantively, I have focused on two areas in particular: political development and mining policy. At the same time, the lack of scholarship on contemporary Mongolia abroad means that I have been forced to become somewhat of a generalist, aiming to be somewhat knowledgeable about many areas of Mongolian social relations, not just topics that I focus my attention on.

Political Development

It was by chance that I participated in election observation for the first time in 2008. That turned out to be an eventful election, of course, primarily with the riots in its aftermath. Even prior to this election, I had become interested in political development, however, in part because Mongolia's democracy is one aspect of its contemporary development that makes it stand out among many countries. Given that interest and subsequent participation in election observation (2009, 2012, 2013), I remain fascinated by Mongolia's democracy, including all the challenges that its mixed constitution, corruption, and democratic decision-making brings with it, as it does everywhere where democracy is the form of government.

I do firmly believe (this is more a matter of personal ethics) that democracy is intended to serve the people, and that politicians and the "political system" thus also serve the people. I think that evidence-based policy-making and open communications by politicians about the policies they are pursuing and the reasons they are pursuing them, are important, and I thus follow developments in Mongolian politics through that lens. Political corruption to me is the equivalent of stealing from your neighbour on a large scale, and I find it disgusting. Yet, any points I raise about politics should be based on evidence and given the scarcity of concrete evidence of corruption (as well as electoral fraud) I remain relatively quiet on this issue in public.

I do not have any intention to influence any particular direction that Mongolian politics might take, but I do comment on institutional and organizational questions as well as the  wisdom of specific policies.

Foreign Policy

Given my general interest in Mongolia and in political developments, I have also become quite interested in Mongolian foreign policy. To some extent this interest comes "naturally" through interactions with Mongolian diplomats and foreign diplomats who focus on Mongolia. For me this means that I am particularly aware of interactions between Mongolia and Canada, Germany and Japan. Recently, this interest has also begun to include "digital diplomacy" more broadly.

Mining Policy

One of the great delights of my interest in Mongolia has been the interactions this interest has spurred with colleagues and graduate students at UBC, especially in Mining Engineering.

Curiously, my father – who is also an academic – spent a fair bit of time on consulting projects with the Ruhrkohle AG, Germany's giant coal concern, as it was closing the last of its coal operations in Germany in the 1980s. Other than that, I had no contact or particular interest in mining as a topic of inquiry.

However, as my interest in Mongolia grew after that initial 2005 visit, I quickly noticed that Canada's and Vancouver's main link with Mongolia would come via mining investment. So, I turned my attention to where the money was flowing, i.e. how is the Mongolian government trying to manage resource endowments, and what does that mean for Canadian investments.

With this interest, I soon encountered colleagues from the NBK Institute of Mining Engineering at UBC whose attention had also been caught as it became clearer that then-Ivanhoe Mines' Oyu Tolgoi discovery was a major discovery and vault Mongolia into the club of mining countries.

A number of colleagues in Mining Engineering surprised me by their interest in policy and social science on Mongolia. While technical in their own training and research, they recognize that mining projects often fail due to social and political circumstances, and that their entire industry and profession is under threat from the poor reputation that comes with such failures or sometimes even with successes. Their recognition of a need for better understanding of the economic, political, and social context for mining has been at the root of long-standing collaborations that have led to graduate student projects, teaching, and our collaboration in CIRDI's "IMAGine Mongolia" activities.

Graduate Students with an Interest in Mongolia

One of the crucial "ingredients" in my own interest in Mongolia have been collaborations with UBC graduate students who have pursued an interest in contemporary Mongolia. This blog is one of the most concrete expressions of that interest, but it has extended to my interaction with students in departments across UBC from Architecture to Mining Engineering and our own MA Asia Pacific Policy Studies and Master in Public Policy and Global Affairs. I continue to rely heavily on graduate students in furthering my understanding of contemporary Mongolia.

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This Mongolian Teenager Aced a MOOC. Now He Wants to Widen Their Impact.

This is the latest episode of our new podcast series on the future of higher education. You can subscribe in iTunes to get prior and future episodes.

May 4 (Chronicle of Higher Education) Free online courses changed the life of one super-smart Mongolian teenager. His name is Battushig Myanganbayar, and four years ago, while he was still a high-school student in Ulan Bator, he took a massive open online course from MIT. It was one of the first they had ever offered, about circuits and electronics, and he was one of about a hundred and forty thousand people to take it. He not only passed, he was one of about three hundred who got a perfect score. He was only 15 years old.

He was hailed in The New York Times and other media outlets as a boy wonder, and soon he got accepted to the real MIT campus. It was a feel-good story that matched the hopeful narrative about MOOCs at the time. These free courses were touted as a way to bring top education to underserved communities around the world. The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman soon wrote that "Nothing has more potential to unlock a billion more brains to solve the world's biggest problems." This was the peak of the MOOC hype.

Today, Mr. Myanganbayar remains a fan of MOOCs, but he also has a critique of this knowledge giveaway, and he questions how much good it's really doing for people in the developing world.

After taking a MOOC, "What do you do?" he asks. "If you're just learning for the sake of the learning, the knowledge alone is useless without the opportunity to build, or show, or to use it."

While at MIT, he has continued to take free online courses on the side, especially those on data science to help him with research projects that he's worked on here. Like many students that I've met at MIT, he's focused on trying to solve real-world problems with his student research — he helped build an electronic glove for the blind, for instance — and that's his main problem with how colleges have handled MOOCS.

The courses aren't really an end, after all, they're a means to an end. Why don't colleges do more to help connect students to resources, he asks, to apply their knowledge?

I sat down with Mr. Myanganbayar recently at MIT, at a lounge in Building 10, at the heart of campus. He is now a junior majoring in computer science and electrical engineering, and though he misses his family back in Mongolia, he says this college experience has lived up to all of his hopes about it.

Listen to the full audio. Below is an edited and adapted transcript of the podcast.

Online education has clearly changed this student's life, but he knows he's an outlier. His story has given him a platform, though, and he remains active in things like a Facebook group for MOOC takers in Mongolia. Earlier this year, he even gave a short talk at the World Bank, at a forum about the group's Open Learning Campus project. He says he even got to sit down privately with the head of the World Bank to share his concerns. This MOOC student has plenty to teach about how to use tech to meaningfully expand education.

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Culture, Society

Odds against: Risky course for Mongolia's child jockeys

By Khaliun Bayartsogt

Ulziit (Mongolia), May 5 (AFP) - Racing their steeds across the endless Mongolian steppe, child jockeys as young as seven dream of glory and riches in a country where horses are a national passion.

Yet rights groups warn of a dark underbelly in the sport -- where vulnerable pre-teens face the risk of crippling injury and harsh treatment or even physical abuse by trainers.

Tsendsurengiin Budgarav's hopes turned into a nightmare when he was 11 and had a career-ending fall that shattered his right thigh.

His trainers denied him hospital treatment and insisted he kept quiet, he said. Infection set in but he was not operated on for a year, leaving him almost bedridden. Now 17, he is undergoing a new course of surgery to enable him to walk with crutches.

"I felt so sorry that I fell off that day, I wish I hadn't ridden that horse," he told AFP from a hospital bed, fighting back tears.

He liked the awards and medals of his glory days, he said, but claimed his trainer "used to put out his cigarettes on my forehead like lighting a match".

"I never told my mother about it," he added.

For hundreds of years Mongolian tournaments have showcased the horsemanship skills which helped Genghis Khan's armies conquer a vast swathe of the Eurasian landmass.

Modern races are gruelling tests of stamina for the horses, far longer than even Europe's top steeplechases, so that small children are preferred as riders.

Contests became more numerous and lucrative on the back of the landlocked country's recent resources boom, offering cars and cash for prizes, with some 600 races held annually.

More than 11,000 children are registered as jockeys, according to the government's child protection agency. Some 150 participated in the main official celebrations of Naadam, Mongolia's biggest festival, in Ulan Bator.

Budgarav's mother is an unemployed disabled single parent, and the family lives on her social welfare allowance and her elderly father's pension.

To help pay medical bills after his accident, his younger brother Munkherdene began jockey training, earning a salary of about $75 a month.

Medals from races still hang proudly from carpet lining the inside of the family's ger tent.

But in 2013, he also fell from his horse -- suffering severe head injuries after the animal slipped on icy ground before a winter race, leaving him with persistent headaches and memory loss that prevents him from attending school.

"Since I hurt my skull... my head hurts so badly, and makes me angry," said Munkherdene, now aged 14. "Also I forget new lessons quickly."

- Far from home -

A 2014 UNICEF report said that some 326 child jockeys were hospitalised in 2012, mostly with head or bone injuries.

It surveyed 529 child jockeys, with some five percent saying they had been beaten or kicked by their instructors.

Aspiring Mongolian jockeys leave their families and schools behind as young as seven to learn from trainers, known as "uyach" in Mongolian, who also become responsible for their education.

Critics say they have little recourse if victimised.

A source at the Mongolian National Human Rights Commission, who asked not to be named because his opinions clashed with official statements, told AFP that trainers choose boys from poor families as they are less likely to sue in the event of a dispute or injury, even if they have signed a contract.

"It is hard to live with an uyach far from home, missing family and mother," Munkherdene said, describing a gruelling daily regime of training, cleaning and maintenance work, as well as bullying by his trainer or older child jockeys.

- Political race -

Later this year Mongolia will bring in new child protection legislation, banning kids from winter races, in a bid to curb the number of injuries due to slippery ice-and snow-covered terrain. The law will also mandate punishments for trainers if children are injured in summer contests.

Child protection advocates have long demanded the measure, but close links between government officials and racing events mean enforcement is in question.

Mongolia's Prime Minister Chimediin Saikhanbileg approved a horse race in February where 16 children fell from their horses, two of them breaking their legs, according to the National Human Rights Commission.

In Mongolia the term "uyach" carries significant status, and also applies to racehorse owners who have others train their animals. They include members of parliament and high-profile CEOs, giving the sport powerful supporters, while politicians who own fast horses can expect a warm reception in rural areas where most voters are herders.

Dangaagiin Avirmed, head of the Mongolian United Federation for children told AFP: "The races are being held because decision makers love to watch, and their horses are there. That's why they don't cancel the race, no matter how many children got hurt."

And the sport's appeal also endures for children with few other options.

Munkherdene still hopes to return to the stables despite his head injury, nursing ambitions to become a trainer.

"I will be a good uyach who treats jockey kids with kindness and orders them to wear helmets, and pays them enough," he added.

"When I become a successful uyach, I will heal my mother and brother."

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Mongolian Woman Missing from Des Plaines for More Than 3 Weeks

DES PLAINES, Ill., May 5 (WLS) -- The search in ongoing for a woman who disappeared nearly a month ago in Des Plaines.

There's growing concern that foul play may have been involved.

It's been more than three weeks since anyone has seen or heard from Zultsetzeg Gansukh.

"We have a missing person off the grid," said Chief William Kushner. "Hoping that nothing bad has befallen her."

Investigators say the 35-year-old Des Plaines resident was last seen by her roommates around 10 a.m. April 11 at the apartment they shared in the 400-block of Oak Street in the northwest suburb.

It's now vacant.

Police say Gansukh used her ATM card at a Niles bank before she was supposed to meet up with a friend around noon that day at 51st and Artesian in Chicago.

And according to detectives, she left in her 2001 silver Honda Accord with Illinois license plate Z25959. An image of her car was captured by a surveillance camera around 10:15 p.m. the day she disappeared at 19th and Allport in the city's Pilsen neighborhood.

"We've spoken to the only four people she knew in the U.S.," said Kushner.

Gansukh is a Mongolian national who came to this country in November of 2015 on a student visa to attend a nursing conference. She stayed and worked as a cook at a Korean BBQ in Riverwoods and a sushi restaurant in Glenview.

When she didn't show up for work, friends reported her missing two days later on April 13.

"She was always reliable, hard worker," said Colin Ahn, boss.

Relatives in Mongolia are especially concerned after friends say Gansukh had been surfing several online dating websites. Police say pinged her cellphone, but now it appears it went dead.

Anyone with information about her whereabouts should call Des Plaines police at (847) 391-5400.

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Nature, Environment

Ikh Gazriin Chuluu Nature Reserve divided in inner zones

Ulaanbaatar, May 3 (MONTSAME) The Ikh Gazriin Chuluu nature reserve has been divided in inner zones under a resolution of the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism of Mongolia.

The Ikh Gazriin Chuluu nature reserve is located in Gurvansaikhan soum of Dundgobi aimag.

Baruunsaihan and Orlog mountains areas are included in special zone for protecting their specific landscape formed over thousands of years, wildlife species and plants which are found there. The special zone covers an area of 8776 hectares which is 5.1 percent of the total area of the nature reserve.

The Ikh Gazriin Chuluu, Rocky Mountains are situated in Gobi-Ugtaal and Bayanjargalan soums of Dundgobi aimag. They stretches from west to east covering about 20 kilometers and 35000 hectares. The Ikh Gazriin Chuluu itself is a mountain of granite rock in the Gobi desert with a peak of 1706m high. There are more than 40 caves, named such as Toonot, Aguit, Mother Womb and Rashaant. 

This attractive landscape has high biological diversity. The ancient natural formations and structures of the Ikh gazriin chuluu is main recourse to develop tourism. For this, three tourism areas have been identified which cover a total area of 5723 hectares or 32.5 percent of the total area of the nature reserve.

109850 hectares of area or 62.45 percent of total area of the nature reserve have been included in restricted zone.

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UN provides humanitarian aid to herders

May 4 ( United Nations is providing an aid to Mongolian government with necessary items to help herders who are living in aimags facing difficult winter and spring.  The $2.4 million aid is given from UN Emergency response fund.

Out of this $2.4 million aid, $800.000 thousand is allocated to agricultural aid which the Ministry of Food and Agriculture of Mongolia, Food and Agriculture organization of the UN are joining to prepare and send mending packages for weakened stocks and help herders in those aimags with pasture. 

The aid is being sent to 4390 households of 45 soums in six aimags Uvs, Zavkhan, Bayankhongor, Arkhangai, Dundgovi, Sukhbaatar.

Students and volunteers from National University of Agriculture, Australia and South Korean are contributing in packing and transportation process to help herders in this aid.

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New Khurkhree National Premier League Season Kicks Off Saturday

Khurkhree National Premier League will kick off the new season this Saturday at Mongolian Football Federation's stadium with the reigning Champions Erchim FC against Selenge Press FC at noon. With more than 50,000 USD winning prize money it is the valuable sports competition in Mongolia and season and regular ticket holders will get a chance to win an opportunity to watch Borrusia Dortmund/Manchester United/Manchester city games in July and October.

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"Asashoryu Cup-2016" – this weekend!

May 5 ( The 2nd international free style wrestling competition "Asashoryu Cup-2016" will take place on 7th-8th May at the Buyant-Ukhaa Sport Complex. The competition will be organized according to weight categories.  For example, Boys' wrestling will be organized for: 42kg, 46kg, 50kg, 54kg, 58kg, 63kg, 69kg, 76kg 85kg and 100kg.

Girls wrestling will take place for: 38kg, 40kg, 43kg, 46kg, 49kg, 52kg, 56kg, 60kg, 65kg and 70 kg c.

Gold medal winners for each weight categories will each receive USD 500, silver USD 300 and bronze USD 200. International Coach B.Tumurbaatar will work as general coach for the event.  International coach, Bulgarian Miroslav Gochev, has been appointed as technical representative from United World Wrestling.

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Kickboxer S.Myadagmaa triumphs

May 4 ( On 30th April, the "MKF Ultimate Victory K-1" fighting championship took place between professional kickboxers at the Sunhak Stadium in Incheon, South Korea.  S.Myadagmaa who is a kickboxer in the "Mongol Fight" team fought in the 56kg category. She defeated her South Korean opponent in the first 30 seconds.

She won the fight on knock-out, using her superior strength and technique, after squeezing down her opponent with her knee. In S.Myadagmaa's professional history there are 9 victories and 3 defeats.

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Wrestlers to compete for last Olympic quotas

Ulaanbaatar, May 4 (MONTSAME) Three athletes of the Mongolian national freestyle wrestling team have left for Turkey to take part in the 2nd tournament of the 2016 World Wrestling Olympic Qualification to be held on May 6-8 in Istanbul.

D.Khuderbulga IMS will compete in the men's -97 kg bout, E.Narangerel--in the women's -48 kg, and State Honored Sportswoman O.Burmaa--in the women's -75 kg at the tournament.

Top three competitors in each weight class for the men and top two competitors for the women will be qualified for the 2016 Olympics.

The "First last chance" 2016 World Wrestling 1st Olympic Qualifier which took place on April 22-24 in Ulaanbaatar awarded 48 Olympic quotas. Hungary claimed four Olympic quotas; Armenia, China, Turkey, USA and Uzbekistan--three quotas each; Belarus, Georgia, Moldavia, Poland, Romania, Sweden and Venezuela--two quotas each; other 15 countries--one quota each.

As of today, Mongolia bagged 24 quotas in archery, athletics, boxing, shooting, taekwondo, weightlifting and wrestling. More quotas are expected to be grabbed in judo, boxing, wrestling and cycling.

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Mongolian shooter takes silver in IPC Championship

May 4 ( International Master of Sport Z.Ganbaatar is Mongolia's top marksman in the national team. Together with International Master of Sport V.Gantsooj, who is a world-class coach, Z.Ganbaatar is participating in the International Paralympic Committee's 2016 World Shooting Championship in the Polish city of Szczecin.

Yesterday, Z.Ganbaatar took silver in the prone shooting category. A total of 32 other shooters participated in this category; a British shooter won gold and a Ukrainian took a bronze medal.

The Mongolian Shooting Federation has informed that Z.Ganbaatar has qualified for the Paralympics in Rio.

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Mongolian boy wins 2016 World Deaf Wrestling Cadet and Junior Freestyle Championship

May 5 ( The 2016 World Deaf Wrestling Cadet and Junior Freestyle Championship was held in Tehran, Iran. Erkhembayar Namdagdorj from Mongolia participated and won the championship in 54 kg weight category.

In the first round, he faced and won against Ershatyg Janabil from Kazakhstan and Serhan Dolek from Turkey thus qualifying him for Bronze medal. Erkhembayar Namdagdorj advanced to the finals after strong victory over Andrey Ivanov in the semi-finals.

In the finals, Erkhembayar wrestled against host country's Nasser Karimi and won to become The 2016 World Deaf Wrestling Cadet and Junior Freestyle Champion.

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Weighlifter M.Ankhtsetseg to represent Mongolia in Olympics

Ulaanbaatar, May 5 (MONTSAME) The Weightlifting Federation of Mongolia (WFM) Wednesday announced that it has selected M.Ankhtsetseg to represent Mongolia in the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Summer Olympics.

The athlete from the "Aldar" sports club of the Armed Forces of Mongolia M.Ankhtsetseg became the very first Mongolian woman to win a gold medal in the Weightlifting Asian Championships. B.Enkhtamir will serve as a training assistant for Ankhtsetseg during the Olympics.

Ankhtsetseg Monkhjantsan, 18, has being engaged in weightlifting for eight years. She has set national records 69 times in junior, youths and senior divisions. She gained the title of vice master of sports in 2009, the master of sports--in 2010, and the international master of sports--in 2011.

Previous achievements of Altantsetseg are the 4th place in the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics and the 8th place in the 2015 Weightlifting World Championships.

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Art, Entertainment

Dali and Picasso get warm welcome in Mongolia

Over 200 original paintings and ceramic artworks goes on public display in Ulaanbaatar.

May 5 (Siberian Times) An unprecedented exhibition displaying one of the biggest private collections of Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali is underway until late May at The Fine Arts Museum of Zanabazar. The works are owned by Alexander Shadrin from Russia, businessman, philanthropist, collector and exhibition organiser. 

'Receiving a world class exhibition with astounding magnitude and abundance for the first time, the Mongolian public will be able to explore the true depth of the famous painters' masterpiece paintings and drawings,' said a statement by the museum. 

The diverse exhibition will also feature ceramic works including 'Goat's Head', 'Four dancers' and 'Picador and a Bull' by Pablo Picasso along with lithographs, drawings and sculptures including 'Triumphant Elephant', 'Vision of an Angel', 'Dance of Time I-III' and 'Woman in a flame' from Salvador Dali.

Mr Shadrin, 57, born in the Urals, said the exhibition was brought to Mongolia in honour of Gala Dali, the lifelong inspiration of Salvador Dali. According to his belief, Gala, an ethnic Russian, came from a family with a far-flung ancestor from Mongolia.

'Seeing the remarkable works by the world famous artists with my own eyes feels incredible. I believe the exhibition is a very generous gift to Ulaanbaatar residents, who are ardent for modern arts,' said Bat-Uul Erdene, the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar, who supported the exhibition under the city's campaign 'Hospitable Ulaanbaatar'.

The Fine Arts G. Zanabazar Museum was founded in 1966. The museum is renowned for the works of G. Zanabazar (1635-1724), which include the statues of Sita Tara, the Five Dhayani Buddhas and the Bodhi Stupa. 

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'Ice Age' Director Chris Wedge to Helm 'Eagle Huntress' for Fox Animation (Exclusive)

The project marks the second film spawned from the story of a Kazakh teen girl in Mongolia who broke the falconry gender barrier.

May 4 (Hollywood Reporter) Call it a case of one eagle with two nests. There's a documentary version of The Eagle Huntress that made a splash at the Sundance Film Festival in January and was promptly bought by Sony Pictures Classics. And there's an animated remake at 20th Century Fox Animation, which just gained some added momentum with Ice Age helmer Chris Wedge signing on to direct.

It may seem odd that two different studios — Sony and Fox — will bring to the big screen two versions of the story of a Kazakh teen girl in Mongolia who broke the falconry gender barrier. But this was no ordinary deal.

Fox had been developing a broader film on Mongolian falconry -- the male-dominated tradition of training a bird of prey for hunting -- and the competitions it spawns for at least a year when Sundance announced that it was debuting the YA-friendly, subtitled doc in its kids section (Daisy Ridley quickly boarded the girl-power film as an executive producer and signed on to narrate an English-language version). Reluctant to lose the work already done by Wedge (wearing his producer's hat) and writer Darren Lemke, Fox scrambled to buy animation remake rights.

"In the last several years, I've sold the feature remake rights for many documentaries, but I've not seen­—and I think it is unprecedented—a deal for feature animation remake rights, especially to a major studio," says attorney Marc Simon, an executive producer on the doc who repped the filmmakers. "Two years ago, while packaging the film, director Otto Bell predicted that the documentary would be ripe material for creating an animated feature."

There's no question that SPC's film will come out first given the amount of time it takes to make an animated film. SPC, which paid $2 million for distribution rights in North America, Latin America, Germany, Australia/New Zealand, Scandinavia and Asia, is eyeing a September release, with Ridley narrating. But now that UTA, which reps Wedge, has closed a deal for him to direct, Fox is officially in this falconry contest.

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Playtime 2016 live music festival on Jun 24-26

May 4 ( Playtime 2016 is scheduled on June 24, 25, 26 to mark its fifteenth year of existence. This year the festival will be one of the official events of Hospitable UB an initiative by the Major's Office of Ulaanbaatar. The event will take place in Mongol shiltgeen camp located in Gachuurt village. 

Across the festival site several stages host wide variety of music all day including indie, rock, instrumental, metal and electronic and house music. The main stage Playtime showcases the headliners while the New wave showcases upcoming new music groups. The festival introduced Naglikhaats an electronic music stage and Replay art fair in 2013 to feature local electronic music and recycled art and fashion. Designated tent areas and V.I.P zone are key features of attraction for the festivalgoers. 

The international headliners of 2016 are The Radio Dept (Sweden), Roth Bart Baron (Japan), Charles-Baptiste (France), Catself (Finland), Anna Judge April (Singapore), The You (Japan), Shenanigans (South Korea), Slackers (Russia) and 9596 (Inner Mongolia) and the Mongolian headliners are Nisvanis, The Lemons, The Colors and Ayasiin Salhi. 20 DJs will set the tone at Naglikhaats stage and 15 promising emerging music groups will debut on New wave stage. 

Over the past fourteen years, the festival presented more than 500 music groups and drawn 40.000 people to the festival. The festival has grown its scale from a local live music festival to an international festival since 2013 and presented headliner international music groups at the festival including Peter Hook & The Light (UK), The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (USA), Mono (Japan), Envy (Japan) and Mumiy Troll (Russia). 

Tickets for the festival are not avalable for sale yet. For more information, please click HERE.

Below is the Playtime 2016 Line-Up.

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E.Amartuvshin to stage his solo concert

Ulaanbaatar, May 5 (MONTSAME) Mongolian State Honored Artist and principal soloist of the State Academic Opera House E.Amartuvshin will stage his first solo concert on May 11.

Only classical music are to sound at the concert including eight arias and five romans in Mongolian, Italian and Russian languages.

Choral singers and symphonic orchestra of the State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet, B.Solongo, Mongolian State Honored Artist and general concertmaster and Stefano Salvatori, conductor of Italian La Scala Theatre will participate in the concert.

E.Amartuvshin has numerous international awards including the Dame Joan Sutherland Audience Prize at the 2015, BBC Cardiff singer of the World competition.

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5th International Festival & Symposium of Morin Khuur

May 5 ( The 5th International festival & symposium of Morin khuur is taking place in Ulaanbaatar from 4th May till 6th May 2016. World Union of the Morin Khuur, the Mongol Nations Cultural and Research Foundation and the Arts Council of Mongolia are jointly organizing the festival. 

In the scope of 5th international morin khuur festival, 3rd international symposium will be held today at 10 am under the theme "Morin khuur repertoire" at meeting hall of Petrovis LLC. Foreign academics, researchers, morin khuur learners are welcomed to participate at the symposium as a guest speakers. 

International Morin khuur players from Russia, Japan, China, the United States, South Korea, Germany, France and other countries are participating in the festival and performing concert at the Mongolian State Philharmonic Theatre. 

For more information, please make contact to 319015 or or click HERE.

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New transit hall commissioned at Chingis Khaan int'l airport

Ulaanbaatar, May 4 (MONTSAME) The "Chingis Khaan" international airport has accepted a new transit hall and six parking areas of planes in frames of preparation works for the upcoming 11th ASEM Summit. A ceremony took place to open the new facilities on Monday.

With an area of some 2,000 square meters, the transit hall included arrivals/departure and business rooms, commercial and service spots and recreation room, therefore the airport expanded its capacity to receive about 1,200 passengers per hour, officials said.

Thanks to the new transit hall, the airport has become able to exploit all its capacity and to boost regular flights to cities of neighbor countries, for example, local flights of Chinese airlines can perform flights through Mongolian territories.

Apart from the transit hall, parking areas for nine planes have put into use so far, and the airport's runway has been empowered ahead of the ASEM11.

Mongolia is geographically located in the most favorable place for transit airlines connecting Asia and Europe, so the new transit hall will augment budget revenue from the navigation in a way of increasing the number of transit flights through the airport.

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The Billionaire Explorer's Club: $2 Million Mongolian Hunting Adventure

In search of the world's most extravagant adventures.

May 3 (Maxim) You're rappelling down the crater of a 4,000-year-old dormant volcano in Iceland, hoping to hell the thing really is inactive and you'll find a cold micro brew at the bottom instead of boiling lava. Your arms feel like they're about to snap off and there are still 300 feet to go. Even better, you've actually paid money for this. A lot of it. But all you can think about is recovering in time for the next potentially fatal, deeply satisfying feat—and capturing it all for your feed.

The more dangerous and inhospitable certain parts of the world become, the more determined some of us are to explore them. And there's never been a better time to go in with guns blazing. Hitching a ride on one of the world's first commercial space flights, with no guarantees of returning to Earth the easy way; scaling dizzying heights and then jumping straight back down again with only a wingsuit between you and total oblivion. These things are so much more enjoyable when there's a magnum of vintage Dom Pérignon waiting back in your five-star yurt.

When money is no object, you should be able to go and do what mere mortals can only dream of. And you can, if you know who to talk to and how to write lots of zeros. This fall, for instance, fabled adventure travel company Abercrombie & Kent will debut the first of its new Inspiring Expedition series for those who want to conquer uncharted territory—and do it first-class all the way. It's definitely not for the faint of heart (or wallet), which is just the way it should be.

Geoffrey Kent, the company's founder, chairman, and CEO, came up with the idea, as he says, "to take intimate groups of intrepid travelers for adventures in the most unexplored areas in the world, remote places only accessible by private jet, led by the very best professional explorers." 

His first Inspiring Expedition, three years in the making, will recreate Jacques Cousteau's historic 1960s expedition to Palau in Micronesia, but with world-class amenities that the Calypso's crew, needless to say, never could have imagined. In his journal, Cousteau reported that Palau's colorful underwater walls and drop- offs were, in his opinion, the best in the world.

For high-net-worth individuals, "regular" luxury travel has simply become boring, says Matthew Robertson of U.K.-based Momentum Adventure. "Luxury is too easy to purchase," he explains, "whilst unique and genuinely authentic experiences are very hard to find." This isn't just about having the cash; it's about having thecojones

Robertson specializes in bespoke adventures to remote locales, with ex-SAS and Special Forces personnel (the British military's baddest badasses) providing guidance and security. Forget bucket lists—this is more like basic training for billionaires, Tony Stark stuff all the way. And, being Maxim, we were able to have a couple of itineraries crafted exclusively for our fearless readers. Presenting a selection of the world's most exotic and exclusive adventures, nearly all of which are customizable:

Kublai Khan Mongolian Hunting Adventure. $2,000,000

On this 18-day trip, specialty travel company Urbane Nomads aims to recreate the lavish hunting expeditions of Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, who completed the conquest of China in 1279—and was obviously not a guy who settled for second best. You'll be led by the eagle hunters of western Mongolia, who'll teach you to train the huge birds to take down prey in the wild province of Bayan-Ölgii, on the border of Russia. 

Then you'll try your hand at high-speed archery on horseback, followed by a round of heart-racing Mongolian polo, where things get a little rougher than on the manicured fields of England. A personal chef and butler will accompany you on your private jet and helicopter tour of Mongolia, with movable tents set up for stopovers that redefine standards of luxury in remote places— literally, little five-star hotels that get packed up by hordes of servants each time you venture on.

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