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Monday, May 23, 2016
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Time to translate ASEM plans into reality
The Ulan Bator 11th Summit could be a game-changer to accomplish what could not be achieved so far.
GUANGZHOU, May 11 (The Nation) - For entering into the third decade, greater visibility and rebranding of ASEM themes, strategies and philosophy are basic requirements and if proper homework is undertaken, the Ulan Bator 11th Summit could be a game-changer to accomplish what could not be achieved so far.
KRI closed flat Friday on the announcement at C$0.86. Market cap
Khan Files Second Quarter 2016 Financial Results
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 20, 2016) - Khan Resources Inc. (CSE:KRI) ("Khan" or "the Company") announced today that it has filed its financial statements and management's discussion and analysis for the six months ended March 31, 2016 on SEDAR and has posted these documents to its website www.khanresources.com.
· International Arbitration Settlement - On March 2, 2015 the international arbitration tribunal rendered an award to Khan as compensation for the Government of Mongolia's illegal actions in relation to the cancellation of Khan's uranium licenses in 2009.
o On March 6, 2016, the Company signed a settlement agreement with the Government of Mongolia under which, Mongolia would pay the Company US$70 million on or before May 16, 2016 and all outstanding matters pursuant to the international arbitration award would be resolved and terminated.
o On May 18, 2016, the Company announced that Khan and the Government of Mongolia had signed all of the documentation required for the release of the US$70 million from an escrow account to Khan. The funds have now been received. In addition, Khan's petition for certification of the international arbitration award has now been dismissed.
o The Company is currently in the process of investigating options to distribute the majority of the funds remaining, after discharge of liabilities and obligations, to shareholders in a tax-efficient and timely manner. The process may entail multiple tranches.
o With the receipt of the US$70 million, the Company's primary objectives have now been met, and Martin Quick and Raffi Babikian announced their retirement from the Board. The Company wishes to thank Messers. Quick and Babikian for their valued input and years of service through very trying times.
· Cash - During the six months ended March 31, 2016, directors, officers and employees of the Company exercised 3,205,000 stock options resulting in cash inflow of $1,195,675. The proceeds are being used for legal and tax consulting services to develop procedures of delivering and allocation of US$70 million settlement funds from Mongolia and for general corporate matters. Cash and cash equivalents stand at $1,852,000 as at March 31, 2016.
The following table summarizes financial results of the Company for the six months ended March 31, 2016 and 2015.
Xanadu Mines Issues 3.7 Million Shares to Directors and Employees
Oyu Tolgoi De-Risked: 1st World Rules with Frontier Market Upside
By Nick Cousyn
May 9 (BDSec) Last week, the Board of Directors at Rio Tinto (RIO) gave Oyu Tolgoi (OT) its official "Notice to Proceed," allowing underground construction to begin again after being on hold for nearly three years. While the dispute that caused the initial delay was "resolved" last May via an agreement between RIO and the Mongolian Government, aka "The Dubai Agreement," investors have taken a "show me" disposition toward investing in shares of Turquoise Hill (TRQ) and Mongolia as a whole. Despite an agreed framework to restart underground construction a year ago, shares of TRQ traded as low as $1.55 per share in January, roughly equivalent to capitulation lows last seen in 2008, (Fig. 1) in the midst of the Great Financial Crisis. Mongolia's Foreign Direct Investment collapsed during this lengthy dispute, falling to a paltry $232M in 2015, representing a 10 year low and compares to $4.7B in 2011 (Fig. 2).
In light of these numbers, we would suggest the official restart of OT's $4.9B underground expansion represents a catalyst for TRQ shares (and the Mongolian economy) comparable with the years following the signing of the OT Investment Agreement in 2009. While underground spending will be smaller than the ~$7B invested into Phase 1 (which also included some Phase 2 spending), Mongolian GDP growth and FDI are currently near zero.
We believe a new economic cycle in Mongolia has started, which may persist for some time given that OT Phase 2 immediately goes into production following the conclusion of underground spending. Post the development of "Hugo Lift 2" by ~2025, the total underground investment could approach $6B with the mine producing 3% of the world's copper annually. With these numbers in mind and certainty now provided by the full support of Rio Tinto, we believe Mongolia's worst days are behind it, with much better days ahead.
In terms of the local economy, we are already seeing signs that a recovery is underway. Our contacts in the construction sector report that apartments on the low end have started to sell, after seeing little activity in the last 12-18 months. Capital equipment companies are also starting to see orders and new suppliers are arriving and setting up shop in Ulaanbaatar from abroad.
Mongolia's sovereign bond complex is also rallying and are near its best levels for the year.
Making SouthGobi Sands "pay"
May 20 (news.mn) On Monday 16th May, the Government discussed the issue of the MNT 35.3 billion owed by "Southgobi Sands". The solution, based on the decision of the court was to demand payment of MNT 15 billion in cash to be paid this year and in 2017. The balance of MNT 20.3 billion will be paid back off by "Southgobi Sands" undertaking mining operations free of charge at the Tavantolgoi coal mine. Southgobi Sands will be responsible for all vehicle overheads, salaries, social insurance, staff accommodation and food, electricity, repair of equipment etc. "Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi" LLC will not finance any additional costs.
In order to bring about this solution, suitable conditions need to be created to enable Southgobi Sands to repay the debt; the Ministry of Finance has made a deal with the company for it to continue working on overburden and dumping tailings at the Tavantolgoi coal mine for 50 days.
MSE Weekly Report: Top 20 -1.76%, ALL -1.41%, Turnover ₮121.3 Million Shares, ₮504.4 Million T-Bills
May 20 (MSE) --
MSE Reinstates GoodSec LLC's Brokerage License
May 20 (MSE) According to the Clause No.:83.1 of Company Law of Mongolia, the Clause No.: 5.3.1 of Membership Rule of MSE and the Order No.: 199 of CEO of MSE dated on 20 May 2016, the special permit of "GoodSec" LLC reinstated starting from 20 May 2016.
MSE Registers Eurasia Capital Holdings JSC's Additional 50 Million Shares
May 20 (MSE) According to the Company Law of Mongolia, Listing Rule of MSE, materials and documents of "Eurasia Capital Holdings" JSC for additional share request, MSE registered the additional 50,000,000 shares at MNT100.0 per share of "Eurasia Capital Holdings" JSC and made amendment of its listing, resulting total of 52,270,792 shares at MNT100.0 per share.
Historic low ₮2,050.85/USD set March 28, 2016. Reds are rates that set a new low at the time
BoM MNT Rates: Friday, May 20 Close
MNT vs USD (blue), CNY (red) in last 1 year:
BoM issues ₮38.3 billion 1-week bills at 10.5%, total outstanding +71.2% to ₮67.35 billion
May 20 (BoM) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 38.3 billion at a weighted interest rate of 10.5 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
Mogi: he was later approved by plenary session
S.Lambaa to be appointed as Minister
May 20 (news.mn) Today, the Standing Committee for Social Policy, Education Culture and Science had a meeting, during which a majority of 94.7% voted to appoint State Secretary S.Lambaa as the Minister of Health and Sport. S.Lambaa already has experience in the job, having worked a Minister of Health in the Government of Su.Batbold. Mr Lambaa will work as for Minister for a month until the election.
Standing Committee backs €40 million "ultra-preferential" loan from Austria
May 20 (news.mn) On Wednesday, the Parliamentary Economic Standing Committee discussed the loan project "General Agreement on Financial Co-operation" between the Government of Mongolia and the Austrian Government. As a result of the meeting, the Economic Standing Committee accepted the project and passed on the project findings to the Standing Committee for Security and Foreign Policy.
In the framework of this loan agreement, Mongolia will to receive EUR 40 million as an "ultra preferential" 18 year loan.
Here is a list of the projects the loan will be used for:
- EUR 7 million for upgrading equipment at the National Oncology Center
- EUR 7 million for upgrading the equipment at the National Health Center for Mothers and Children
- EUR 7 million for upgrading equipment and human resources empowerment at the First State Hospital
- EUR 7 million for the Hospital for Special State Staff (project)
- EUR 5 million for upgrading the fire-fighting and rescue equipment at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
- EUR 7 million for the upgrading Ulaanbaatar's fresh water and sewage pipe systems with new technology which does not require the digging of trenches.
Maximum cost of election campaigning increased to ₮4.4 billion
May 20 (news.mn) The maximum cost of the forthcoming parliamentary election has risen due to additional changes to the Electoral Law. The cost of the election has been set at MNT 4.4 billion in accordance with an order issued by the Prosecutor General; compared to the amount set in the previous order of 29th February 2016, this represents an increase of MNT 1 billion. This ceiling cost applies to all the parties and alliances which will be participating in the election. The reason for the increase is related to the increased number of electoral districts.
OSCE/ODIHR opens election observation mission in Mongolia
May 20 (gogo.mn) The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODHIR) today opened an election observation mission to monitor the 29 June parliamentary elections in Mongolia.
ODIHIR was invited by the government of Mongolia to observe the parliamentary elections, in line with the country`s commitments as an OSCE participating State. This is the second ODIHR election observation mission deployed to Mongolia, which became an OSCE participating State at the end of 2012.
The mission is headed by Ambassador Audrey Glover and consists of 11 international experts based in Ulaanbaatar and 14 long-term observers to be deployed throughout the country. The experts and observers are drawn from 20 countries.
The mission will assess the parliamentary elections for compliance with OSCE commitments and other international standards and obligations for democratic elections, as well as with domestoc legislation. Observers will follow campaign activities, the work of the election administration and relevant state bodies, implementation of the legislative framework and the resolution of election disputes. As part of the observation, the mission will also monitor the media coverage of the campaign.
In the course of its observation, the mission will meet with representatives of relevant authorities and of political parties, as well as with representatives of civil society, the media and the international community. On election day, observers will monitor the opening of polling stations, voting, the counting of ballots and the tabulation of results at all levels.
A statement of preliminary findings and conclusions will be issued on the day after the elections. A final report on the observation of the entire electoral process will be published approximately two months after the completion of the election process.
Mongolia has no laws pertaining to offshore accounts
May 20 (gogo.mn) Recently, websites are reporting that General Police Authority is conducting an investigation on politicians with offshore accounts.
However, General Police Authority responded that there is no legislation to examine the politicians with offshore accounts thus we will not conduct any investigation. In other words, Mongolia has no laws pertaining to offshore accounts.
Kyokshyuzan D.Batbayar submitted his application to the Independent Authority against Corruption requesting an investigation.
Additionally, President Ts.Elbegdorj warned politicians with offshore accounts not to run for an election.
Kyokshyuzan D.Batbayar might not run for an election as he is preparing for the retirement ceremony of his friend Tsevegnyam, professional sumo wrestler, that is to be held in June.
But the remaining politicians involved in the offshore account scandal includes S.Bayartsogt, Su.Batbold, D.Tsogtbaatar, B.Delgersiahan and they are expected to stand for election.
Justice Minister reports on recent legal developments
Ulaanbaatar, May 20 (MONTSAME) All of the seven laws which are to be the core reforms in the legal sector almost have been completely passed in parliament, said D.Dorligjav, the Minister of Justice, at the "Hour of Minister" weekly meeting held Friday.
He said a final discussion will start soon to review the draft law on prosecutorial body and authority of implementing of court decisions. Apart from the bill, parliament already passed the laws on the service of law enforcement, on procedure of criminal cases, on conflicts and on crime which will come into force from September 1, 2016.
The Minister reported that the cabinet adopted last week a resolution on some measures to be taken in the General Authority of Archive, therefore the archive organization will move into a new building and will be equipped with the latest technologies.
In accordance with the new law on law enforcement, the training program of the Law Enforcement University was upgraded, so professional policemen will be prepared through two-year course. Moreover, a program was adopted for the School of Administrative Officials for Police and Law Enforcement Bodies, Dorligjav said.
Parliament approves prisoner exchange agreement with Hong Kong
May 20 (news.mn) Today, Parliament discussed the draft law on "Transferring Sentenced Persons between Mongolian and Hong Kong". The law will make it possible for Mongolian citizens who have been sentenced for a crime in Hong Kong to be returned and serve their term in Mongolia. Parliament approved the law project by a majority votes.
During the discussion on this law project, Minister of Justice D.Dorligjav noted that since 2012, approximately 300 Mongolians have been arrested abroad, of whom 130 have been sentenced. For example, nine Mongolians have been sentenced in Hong-Kong, six in connection with drug-related offences and the remaining three for theft. To date, Mongolia has received four nationals, who have been sentenced in China, Kazakhstan and Russia, in accordance with bi-lateral agreements on transferring sentenced persons.
VAT lottery scandal: ₮400 million-winning receipt was fake
May 20 (news.mn) At the beginning of 2016, the Mongolian VAT lottery was introduced. It has attracted a lot of attention, has created several jackpot winners – and now a scandal. We recently reported how Ms Tseyenpil won the jackpot of MNT 400 million, but only realized that she had won after having torn the winning receipt in two, which she went on to tape together. But, on Thursday 19thMay at 15.00 pm, an announcement was made by the General Authority for Custom and Intelligence and General Police Authority, stating that "citizen Tseyenpil who has announced herself to be winner submitted a fake, consisting of parts of two different receipts." Ms Tseyenpil, however, still is claiming that she is still the official winner of MNT 400 million.
B.Baatarkhuu, the media spokesman at the General Police Authority has said that: "We will make a criminal case on this issue", after all, this is the first time when someone has make a fake receipt.
The idea of creating fake receipts seems to be quickly catching on: another alleged winner of MNT 400 million, by the name of S.Altanzul, has submitted a "winning" with a blurred QR code. Therefore, her receipt is undergoing a detailed examination. The director of the VAT "reward" project, R.Otgontulga has said that, "making a fake receipt is impossible, because, the QR code can be identified so easy".
Highlights from ICT Expo 2016
May 20 (gogo.mn) ICT Expo, the biggest information and technology exhibition, has opened at Misheel expo center on May 18. The expo will run for five days, introducing many new, interesting services and products. GoGo.mn is pointing out the following five products being exhibited at the exhibition.
#1 mobiPLAY - OTT service introduced newly to the market by the Mobicom corporation. Customers are able to watch their favourite TV channels and both domestic and foreign contents at anywhere and anytime.
#2 Ninebot mini - Mi Mongolia, an official distributor of the Xiaomi, brings self-balancing scooter, Ninebot Mini. The device can be controlled from 20 meters distance using smart phone. Prices for the device is MNT 1,050,000.
#4 TEMUUKA - Mongolians produced smartwatch which is avaliable both on Android and iOS operating systems. It monitors the heart rhythm as well as measures step. Prices for the smartwatch is at MNT 150,000.
#5 HUREE VR - Huree Media brings VR products developed by themselves to the ICT Expo. You can experience the cat rescue simulator and Janchkhuu hills fight.
Hotel revenue down 1.6% in first quarter, per room down 8.7%
Ulaanbaatar, May 20 (MONTSAME) Revenue of 262 hotels involved in the survey by first quarter of 2016 reached MNT 19.5 billion, which declined by MNT 307.4 million or 1.6% against the previous year.
Average income per one hotel room reached MNT 3.2 million in the first quarter of 2016, indicating a decrease of MNT 305.7 thousand or 8.7% against the same period of the previous year.
In the period, each hotel served for approximately 352 guests who stayed there for about 1.1 days. Approximate revenue of hotels per guest reached MNT 210.9 thousand which increased by MNT 4.6 thousand or 2.2% against the previous year.
Catering service revenue up 2% in first quarter
Ulaanbaatar, May 20 (MONTSAME) A survey on the catering industry involved 642 enterprisers in the first quarter of 2016.
Total revenue of these enterprisers reached MNT 44.2 billion in the above period, which increased by MNT 883.8 million or 2.0% against the previous year. It was mainly due to an increase of the revenue of restaurants by MNT 3.1 billion or 14.1%.
In the first quarter of 2016, the revenue of catering industry per seat reached MNT 1.0 million which went up by MNT 61.5 thousand or 6.3% against the previous year.
Mongolia and South Korea sign several documents on cooperation
Ulaanbaatar, May 20 (MONTSAME) Paying an official visit to the Republic of Korea, the Mongolian President Ts.Elbegdorj and his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye attended Thursday a ceremony of signing cooperation documents, in Seoul.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation with the Korean Foundation for Economic Development Cooperation for 2016-2018 was established between the Mongolian Ministry of Finance and the South Korean Ministry of Strategy and Finance. This document is instrumental for consolidating friendly relations, the financial and technical cooperation, effective exploiting long-term soft loans to be given from South Korea and collaborating in projects indispensable for the Mongolian socio-economic and infrastructure areas.
The MoU determines that priority of bilateral cooperation will be reforms in the public service sector which is based on energy, education, local development, environment and IT technologies.
With the document, the countries agreed to implement several projects with a loan of USD 244.5 million from the government of South Korean Foundation. In accordance with a proposal from the Mongolian side, the projects will be realized on rendering support to the public inter-city and international transportation service, building thermal power stations in ten aimags, empowering the legal sector, smart-education and reconstructing the "Khargia" sewage treatment plant.
Other memorandums of understanding were signed on cooperation in the veterinary and plant quarantine, sports, construction and urban development sectors.
President Ts.Elbegdorj meets with president Park Geun-Hye
May 20 (gogo.mn) The President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj has been officially welcomed by Park Geun-hye, the President of the Republic of Korea at the Blue House.
During the ceremony, the honor guards were formed and the state hymns of the two countries were performed. Then, children holding the state flags of the both countries greeted the President of Mongolia. After having signed the honorable guests' book of the Blue House, President Elbegdorj posed for photo.
Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Purevsuren, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the Republic of Korea B.Ganbold, Governor of the Capital City and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar E.Bat-Uul and other delegation represented Mongolia. Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Strategy and Finance Yoo Il-ho, Minister of Foreign Affairs Yun Byung-Se, Minister of the Interior Hong Yun-sik, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Kim Jongdeok, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Joo Hyunghwan, Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Kang Hoin, Chief of Staff of the President Lee Won-jong and other officials from the Republic of Korea were present at the meeting.
Following the welcoming, the Presidents held official talks and attended the ceremony for signing bilateral cooperation documents. After, Park Geun-hye, the President of the Republic of Korea hosted a state dinner in honor of the President of Mongolia.
President Elbegdorj receives Chairman of National Assembly of Korea – Montsame, May 22
President Ts.Elbegdorj receives Honorary Doctorate from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies – GoGo Mongolia, May 20
President Elbegdorj hold meeting with Mongolians residing in Korea
May 20 (gogo.mn) On the sidelines of the Official Visit to the Republic of Korea, the President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj met with Mongolians residing in the Republic of Korea.
At the meeting, President Elbegdorj noted: "I would like to extend my greetings to the Mongolians who have gathered here. If you have questions or requests, we will be happy to answer them openly. We have few issues to inform. The Republic of Korea has developed information technology and I think Mongolians residing here have no problem with accessing latest news in Mongolia. We discuss several issues when I meet with Mongolians residing abroad. First, we touch upon issues related to our citizens and their children. Recently, we have submitted draft amendment to Law on Citizenship of Mongolia to the Parliament. This draft amendment reflected the requests and suggestions of Mongolians residing abroad. Implementing this draft amendment, we pursued a policy avoiding our citizens to lose their nationality. We decided to pursue this policy. Currently, Mongolia does not register its children born abroad even if the both parents are Mongolian. Now, every child born in a foreign country, if the parents are Mongolian, will be registered and will be issued birth license. If the new citizens will visit Mongolia with their parents, Mongolian passport will be issued to them and it will be free to visit the country. Mongolian children born in a foreign country will be welcomed like Mongolians".
President receives honorary citizenship of Seoul
May 20 (gogo.mn) The President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj is paying an Official Visit to the Republic of Korea at the invitation of Park Geun-hye, the President of the Republic of Korea. On the sidelines of the visit, a ceremony of presenting the honorary citizenship of Seoul to the President of Mongolia has been held.
Following the ceremony, President Elbegdorj met with Mongolians residing in the Republic of Korea.
Multinational Peacekeeping Exercise Khaan Quest 2016 commences with opening ceremony
May 22 (DVIDS) The Mongolian Armed Forces and U.S. Pacific Command are hosting the multinational peacekeeping exercise Khaan Quest 2016, which commenced May 22 with an opening ceremony at the Five Hills Training Area near Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
This year's Khaan Quest, held annually in Mongolia, is serving as the capstone exercise for the United Nations Global Peace Operations Initiative program, which provides pre-deployment training to GPOI partner countries preparing to support UN Peacekeeping Missions and is scheduled to take place May 22-June 4.
The ceremony was attended by the president of Mongolia, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, the U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia, Jennifer Zimdahl Galt, and the U.S. PACOM commander, Admiral Harry Harris Jr.
"(Participants) have come from near and far to our beautiful country bound by a single cause of world peace," said Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj.
"Today, Khaan Quest is universally recognized as one of the most prestigious regional events with ever-increasing reputation, significance and participation."
The needs of people worldwide serve as a constant reminder to us of the necessity of peaceful resolution of disputes and global service, which is the driving force behind these peacekeeping operations, according to Elbegdorj.
After Elbegdorj's opening remarks, Harris addressed the audience, detailing the importance of multinational relationships and training.
"This year's training will take us to the next level," said Harris. "The Five Hills Training Facility will be home to militaries from around the world – about 2,000 soldiers from more than 40 countries. This facility will provide them with a specialized setting to learn and train together and will work to enhance interoperability and develop common tactics. All of this will ultimately enhance our collective effectiveness to support global peacekeeping operations."
After the opening remarks, platoons from participating countries marched past the reviewing stand and flags flown to signify patriotism and the developing relationship between participating countries.
"In 2003, Khaan Quest began as a joint training endeavor between Mongolia and the U.S.," said Harris. "Now, it's a premier peacekeeping exercise involving dozens of nations from around the world. This is a testament to the power of partnership."
The exercise will consist of four main events: Command Post Exercise (CPX), Field Training Event (FTE), Engineering Civic Action Program (ENCAP) projects, Health Services Support Engagement (HSSE) as well as training on critical enabler capabilities such as unmanned aerial systems, explosive ordnance disposal and counter-improvised explosive device (C-IED). USPACOM is the Organization Coordinating Event (OCE) for the exercise and provides command and control for all KQ 16 activities.
The field training exercise aims to hone service members' skills in peacekeeping operational procedures through training in weapons familiarization, small boat operations, survival training and a multinational platoon competition.
The command post exercise aims to support Mongolian modernization goals by establishing and globally deploying battalion assets during peacekeeping operations by utilizing scenario-based exercises.
"The need for teamwork is proven again and again, the most recent examples being the tragic earthquakes in Japan and Ecuador," said Harris. "It reminds us that all nations, no matter how rich or powerful, can use the help of our global community from time to time. And the best time to develop these partnerships is before world events demand them. Harnessing the wealth of capabilities represented by the many militaries here today is a priority. It's a necessity to successfully address the range of transnational threats present in the Indo-Asia-Pacific."
The ceremony closed with a final march past the reviewing stands followed by group photos with the guests of honor in the center of the parade deck.
"The U.S. is committed to the Indo-Asia-Pacific and we work diligently with Mongolia and other like-minded partners to build PKO capacity throughout the region," said Harris. "Mongolia is a model PKO partner, not just with the U.S., but also with NATO and has supported many multinational operations around the world."
For more information about Khaan Quest, please visit the official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/khaanquest. For more information about the GPOI program visit the U.S. State Department's website – http://www.state.gov/t/pm/ppa/gpoi/
Mogi: Russia can deplete Baikal all it wants but god forbid Mongolia builds a single dam
China's Silk Road construction stops short of harming Lake Baikal - expert
The Silk Road Initiative lacks clear environmental safeguards and specific green development guidelines. The China-backed Egin Gol Hydropower Project in Mongolia could disturb the sensitive ecosystem of the lake.
By EUGENE SIMONOV, SPECIAL TO RBTH
May 20 (Russia Beyond the Headlines) Every Chinese person knows about one place in Siberia - Lake Baikal. It is not necessarily famous for its unique biodiversity or for being the deepest lake in the world. Every winter, radio broadcasts warn Chinese listeners about "cold air masses that are moving in from the Lake Baikal..."
Chinese people are beginning to value Lake Baikal and are increasingly coming as tourists to see it. Some Chinese citizens are even investing in the risky tourism business around the lake. Recently China-based Well of the World Inc. proposed pouring Baikal water into bottles to quench Chinese thirst. But this nature-friendly relationship could be severely damaged as the China Export-Import Bank (China EXIM Bank) has pledged a soft loan to Mongolia for a project that may tip the fragile ecological balance of the ancient lake.
On November 11 2015, Mongolia and China issued a joint statement that calls for the development of large industrial projects including in hydropower. For that Mongolia secured a $1 billion loan from the China EXIM Bank, which it intends to use for the construction of the Egin Gol Hydropower Project. A $100 million concession for access roads and bridges has been awarded to the China Gezhouba Int. Co., and construction activity began during the harsh winter months.
The hydropower project is located on the Eg River near its confluence with the Selenge River, the main source of Lake Baikal. Feasibility studies for the hydropower dam were completed 10 years ago under the auspices of the Asian Development Bank in an ill-directed attempt to help Mongolia utilize renewable energy. Although it is obvious that the electricity generation potential of the rapidly drying rivers of Mongolia is 3000 times smaller than that its wind and sun potential, the World Bank followed the Chinese script. It sponsored the MINIS Project that pursues feasibility studies for two more large dams in the Baikal Basin, one of them - Shuren Hydro- is planned on the Selenge River itself.
Mongolian government agencies are looking at 10 more hydropower dam locations on the Baikal Basin justified by need to "de-carbonize" the energy sector and achieve energy independence from Russia.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature reported that the combined effects of the projects on the lake are not fully known and could potentially seriously damage its World Heritage values. The World Heritage Committee discussed the dams that could damage Lake Baikal at a meeting in Bonn in July 2015. The committee set forth requirements for impact assessment of Egin Gol and two other projects, as well as the cumulative impacts assessment of all three dams. The committee requested Mongolia (and by default, China) to not approve any of the projects until all assessments for dams have been completed and reviewed by the World Heritage Center.
So how come China, which is prioritizing a cleaner environment at home and is promoting "green development" globally as a G20 leader, is making such a dangerous mistake and starting work on Egin Gol?
This is a consequence of gaps still present in the design of China's New Silk Road Initiative aimed at integrating the country with all its neighbors. Energy sector investment in Mongolia is one of the pilot projects on the Silk Road. However great it is at boosting new economic cooperation, the Silk Road Initiative so far lacks clear environmental safeguards and specific green development guidelines. Grand plans for "new economic corridors" are not subjected to strategic environmental assessments to avoid pitfalls and select the best alternatives.
Finally, there is no mechanism for consultation with stakeholders living along the Silk Road. Without this, Chinese investors lack information on actual environmental and social risks. Or get it too late as in this case when Gezhouba Co. had to stop construction this spring on the order of supervising agencies. Now they are likely to conduct due diligence on Egin Gol.
Most likely, Chinese agencies pursuing energy cooperation with Mongolia have not yet assessed the environmental effects of various investment options and did not even notice trans-boundary water issues. And then all of a sudden this spring, EXIM Bank received a letter from the people of Russia's Kabansk District in the Selenge River Delta and learned that the project it is supporting may harm Lake Baikal, which is the source of cold winter air in China.
The writer is the coordinator of the Rivers without Boundaries Coalition. Views expressed here are personal and many not necessarily reflect those of RBTH or its staff
Air Astana drops Mongolia flights after permits revoked
May 22 (ch-aviation) Air Astana (KC, Astana) says it has been forced to cancel the launch of its Astana-Ulaanbaatar flights after the Mongolian Civil Aviation Authority (CAAM) unilaterally revoked its flight permits.
The carrier said in a statement that despite having passed a CAAM audit last year and having been granted permission to start the route in March, the regulator suddenly revoked all permits in April.
Air Astana says CAAM's grounds for the revocation which include a lack of airport slots at Ulaanbaatar in June as well as the carrier's alleged blacklisting by the ICAO, are completely baseless.
"The Air Services Agreement [between Kazakhstan and Mongolia] stipulates the three specific grounds on which Mongolia could possibly revoke the permission of a Kazakh-designated carrier, and none of these apply to Air Astana," the carrier said.
The Kazakh government, through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Industry and Development, has attempted to engage the Mongolians but without success.
The 3x weekly flights were to have launched on June 2.
Air Astana's flights to Mongolia have also encountered other diplomatic obstacles, from Russia in particular which intends to charge the carrier for transiting its airspace.
Moscow has argued that even though the flight only passes through Russian airspace for a brief 300km stretch, it counts as a Trans Siberian Air Route and should therefore be charged accordingly. Kazakhstan, however, has asked for overflight fees to be waived on the basis of good-neighborliness. The dispute has been a key issue in recent bilateral negotiations between the two former Soviet republics.
'Modi fan' Mongolian ambassador translates book on Indian PM's campaign to transform India
New Delhi, May 20 (India TV): Prime Minister Narendra Modi's fan following is not only restricted to India but he is also popular among the people of Mongolia and several other countries.
Mongolian ambassador, Gonchig Ganbold, a die-hard fan of Indian PM, has translated a book on Narendra Modi, authored by British Lance Price from English to Mongolian language. The book is - The Modi Effect: Inside Narendra Modi's Campaign to Transform India.
Speaking to India TV, Gonchig, who had met PM Modi for the first time in May 2015, said that there is a lot to learn from India and by translating this book he aims to tell the Mongolian people about how dedicated India's political leadership is.
"India is the biggest democratic country and there is a lot to learn from here. He is bringing changes… but not only one man can bring changes, everybody needs to work together to bring change. This book is very inspirational.. I want to tell people about the works he is doing," he told India TV in Hindi.
The book, he said, will be released soon in Mangolia.
Further he said that HRD Minister Smriti Irani told him about the meaning of his name and his parent's names.
"I have learn a lot many things here.. even the meaning of my name. I met Smriti Irani, she told me the meaning of my name, my father's name's meaning and mother's as well," he said.
India- Mongolia established diplomatic relations in December 1955. India was the first country outside the Soviet bloc to establish diplomatic relations with Mongolia. Since then, there have been treaties of mutual friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
Mongolia supports India's candidature as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council while India supported the inclusion of Mongolia as a full member of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Link to article (includes video)
Belarus Ambassador meets Mongolia MFA's Director of Europe and America Department
May 20 (Belarus MFA) On May 18, 2016 Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus to Mongolia Stanislav Chepurnoy met with the Director of Europe and America Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia Mijiddorj Tsengeg.
The main topic of the meeting was the organization of bilateral events.
The sides also discussed prospects of Belarus–Mongolia mutual relations and implementation of the agreements, the Sides reached before.
Center of Russian Culture and Science turns 40
Ulaanbaatar, May 20 (MONTSAME) Director of the Ulaanbaatar city-based Center of Russian Culture and Sciences Ye.G.Mikhailov gave a report about 40th anniversary of the center marked on Friday.
He emphasized that UB-based Center of Russian Culture and Sciences is the largest one in Asia-Pacific region among the same institutions around the world.
"As Russia and Mongolia have the broad ties in sciences, culture and education, this center prepares students to study in Russian universities and institutes with scholarships. Actually, those students graduated from secondary schools taught in Russian language have more advantage because of language skills," Mikhailov said.
This year, 376 Mongolian students were qualified to study in Russia with the governmental scholarships. Moreover, 40 students who won medals in Russian language Olympiad will study in Russia with the scholarships, he said.
In frames of the jubilee, a photo exhibition named "Through the way of friendship and cooperation" has opened.
'Ulaanbaatar Book Fair' to be celebrated at Chinggis square
May 20 (gogo.mn) As part of Hospitable Ulaanbaatar program 'Ulaanbaatar Book Fair' will be organized at Chinggis square on May 20-21.
This year's fair is organized under the theme "Hospitable citizens who loves book and idolizes knowledge". During the fair, many international authors and readers will be present and interesting cultural activities will take place. Come to Chinggis square to buy many different, interesting books 20-50 percent off their price during the two day event.
Libraries, embassies in Ulaanbaatar, authors, translators, university reps and governmental & ngos will participate this international book fair, reports Press and Public Relations department at the Capital City Office.
"Ulaanbaatar Book Fair" on Chinggis Square – news.mn, May 20
Annual Mongolian studies int'l conference held in Washington DC
Ulaanbaatar, May 22 (MONTSAME) The 10th annual International Mongolian Studies Conference was successfully held on May 13-14 at the Embassy of Mongolia in Washington, DC, the MFA website reports.
The Conference hosted by the Embassy of Mongolia to the United States and the Mongolian Cultural Center has been taking place since 2007 annually.
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the USA B.Altangerel emphasized in his opening remarks: "People's diplomacy has been playing an essential role in the development and promotion of the comprehensive relations and partnership between Mongolia and the United States and a clear illustration of this kind is the annual International Mongolian Studies Conference that we together organize in Washington, DC. The noble deeds you are doing to promote rich history, language and culture, customs and traditions of Mongolia in the United States as well as deepen the mutual understanding and friendship among our peoples are of great impact,"
The Conference has discussed important topics of the Mongolian studies including religion, traditional medicine, calendar system, history and archive, language and literature, translation as well as culture and education. Participating scholars and researchers presented 15 papers on the above themes among others were presentations on "Mongolia's Independence and Sovereignty in the Beginning of Twentieth Century" by Urangua Jamsran of National University of Mongolia, "Reinterpreting Liao Architecture: Mongolia to Korea" by Nancy Steinhardt of University of Pennsylvania, "Historic Geography of Naiman" by Christopher Atwood of Indiana University, "History and traditions of Traditional Medical Discipline school in Mongolia" Tserendagva Dalkh of Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences, "History of Mongolian Calendar Calculation System" by Dr. Munkh-Ochir and "Hazara Mongol, Their Lineage and Some Common Customs with Home Land Mongols" by Ishaq Mohammadi, a Former Chairman of the Hazaragi Academy in NY.
Participants visited Library of Congress (LOC) and were introduced to the Mongolian book collection in Library of Congress. Dr.Christopher Atwood presented the key note address on the Archives and History in Mongolia and America. As Mrs. Susan Meinheit, Mongolian and Tibetian specialist at the Asian Division of LOC said there are about 600 rare book volumes and approximately 10300 monographs about Mongolia in the this Library.
The Mongolian Cultural Centre founded 10 years ago carries out series of activities to promote Mongolian culture in the U.S. and the annual Mongolian Studies Conference and Mongolian language Summer camp school are the main ones.
Ambassador Altangerel also highlighted the Mongolian Government's call for a far-russieaching vision aimed at intensifying Mongolian studies internationally, promoting overseas Mongolian studies, preparing the next generation of Mongolists and strengthening the cultural and language immunity of Mongols, and emphasized the key role and contribution of the Conference participants to achieve these far-reaching goals to support and encourage cultural exchange and communication among people with shared history, language, culture, art and custom, to brand Mongolia as a center of Mongolian studies and to protect and preserve Mongolian heritages.
International festival of language and culture at Chinggis square
May 20 (gogo.mn) International festival of language and culture (IFLC) is taking place at the Chinggis square today. International Turkish Language Association is organizing the festival for the second year.
Today we visited the campuses of Turkey, Great Britain, Japan, China, France, Germany, Philippine and Brazil.
Students of Elite international secondary school and Ulaanbaatar Empathy school introduced the histories and cultures of the different countries. They were wearing national costumes of each countries while having warm conversations with the guests. In addition, people are enabled to taste the international cuisine.
Moreover students of Elite international secondary school performed Mongol flash mob.
S. Korea, Mongolia to bolster cooperation in football
SEOUL, May 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and Mongolia will boost their cooperation in football after leaders from both sides agreed to mutual football development programs, the sport's national governing body said Friday.
The Korea Football Association (KFA) said that its chief, Chung Mong-gyu, had a meeting with Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj and Mongolian Football Federation head Ganbaatar Amgalanbaatar at a Seoul hotel on Thursday night and discussed bilateral cooperation between the two countries in football.
The meeting was arranged by Amgalanbaatar, who also serves as public relations policy advisor to Elbegdorj. They arrived in South Korea on Wednesday for a three-day trip.
"Personally I love football," President Elbegdorj said. "Although football in Mongolia is just at the beginning stage now, some day I hope my country to become a football powerhouse in Asia like the Korea Republic, and would like to see some Mongolian players playing in Europe."
Chung, who is also a member of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Executive Committee, responded that the KFA is ready to help Mongolia's effort to develop football in the country.
"Mongolia has great potential in football, and I personally believe football development is a root of youth development," he said. "I look forward to working together with the president of the Mongolian Football Federation for mutual cooperation, including football exchange programs."
Their meeting followed a summit between Elbegdorj and President Park Geun-hye at Cheong Wa Dae, South Korea's presidential office, in Seoul on Thursday. Both sides signed three memorandums of understanding (MOUs) that include cooperation in the sports sector.
South Korea, semifinalists in the 2002 FIFA World Cup, are currently ranked No. 54 in FIFA rankings, while Mongolia are at No. 203. The South Korean men's team have played only once against the Mongolian side in 2000, achieving a 6-0 victory.
Mongolian Saturday Scorches Through 33 Second Work As Royal Ascot Prep
May 21 (Paulick Report) Mongolian Stable's star sprinter Mongolian Saturday worked at Arlington International Racecourse in preparation for Royal Ascot next month. The winner of the 2015 TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint recently returned from Hong Kong after an unfortunate run in the Group I Chairman's Sprint Prize at Sha Tin Racecourse, where he finished ninth among the world's best sprinters.
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