Wednesday, June 22, 2016

[JS ousts Harding; MEC expects Khushuut impairment; BAN on FPO roadshow; Cousyn expects more MNT gains; and SMI continues to improve]

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

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ASEM's 4th Side Event: Consultative Meeting on Food Security Held in Ulaanbaatar

June 21 (ASEM Mongolia) ASEM Consultative Meeting on Food Security, the fourth side event of the ASEM Summit, concluded in Ulaanbaatar on June 21. The meeting has been attended by a total of 130 participants, including agriculture-responsible government and non-governmental organizations from 17 ASEM member countries, and delegates of international organizations carrying out food and agricultural projects. 

"Food security is one of the crucial issues in the future of Asia and Europe, thus, recommendations from this discussion will be reflected in the upcoming ASEM Summit document," said State Secretary Ariunbold Namsrai of Ministry of Food and Agriculture, who opened the meeting and welcomed the delegates.

The meeting had three plenary sessions, on Food Production, Security, and Nutrition. Speakers included senior officials from Malaysia's Ministry of Health, Spain's Public Health Regional Authority, People's Republic of China's Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Delegation of European Union to Mongolia and China, as well as resident representatives of World Health Organization, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, EU's Support to the Modernization of the Mongolian Standardization System Project. 

"We have successfully discussed issues of food security in Asia and Europe, including transportation and logistics, malnutrition risks for adolescents and infants, obesity, and veterinary disease," said Binderya Batsukh, Chairman of the Meeting and Head of Foreign Relations in the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. "Mongolia has been striving to grow its meat exports, and we have talked about how to prevent from trans-border veterinary diseases, such as foot-and-mouth disease, from the best practices of Kazakhstan, China, and Russia."

The delegates discussed the impacts of climate change for food production, food additives, and genetically modified food production as a biotechnology tool. Another facet of the discussion was focused on health-related issues, including breastfeeding, obesity, and the food produce and product verification issues. The drafting committee issued a protocol of the meeting, which will be submitted for the ASEM Summit on July 15.

Link to article


Biggest food market to be concentrated in Asia

June 21 (MONTSAME) These days Mongolia is hosting ASEM consultative meeting on food security. Three key topics are addressed at the meeting, particularly, the food industry, the food safety and the nutrition.

On the first day of the meeting the participants made presentations on improving food supply in ASEM member states, organic food production of agricultural origin, their guarantee, genetically modified food products and tendency, the food production of animal and plant origin and trans-boundary animal diseases.

In recognizing the fact that Asia is a mega  market for export, the ASEM members is focusing on shaping a flow in this direction. The participants are noting that instead of designing 28 different rules, an only general rule is easier to observe and much conducive to securing food safety.

Link to article


Int'l Market

New Rio Tinto CEO Ousts Rival Harding in Management Reshuffle

·         World's second-biggest mining company prepares for a new boss

·         Chris Salisbury will lead Rio's top earning iron-ore division

June 21 (Bloomberg) Rio Tinto Group's next Chief Executive Officer Jean-Sebastien Jacques is already making his mark with a management reshuffle that'll see a key rival for the top job leave the company.

Andrew Harding, with a 24-year career at the world's second-largest mining business, will depart July 1, London-based Rio said Tuesday in a statement. Currently head of iron ore, Rio's biggest earner, Harding will be replaced by copper and coal boss Chris Salisbury, 49.

The company named Jacques, the then copper chief, to replace CEO Sam Walsh in March in a move seen as a pivot toward growth after years of aggressive cost-cutting following waning prices and faltering Chinese demand. In February, BHP Billiton Ltd., the biggest miner, overhauled management and replaced its heads of iron ore and petroleum.

Mine operators including Rio and BHP are rethinking their organizations as priorities shift to investment and output growth, Ben Davis, a London-based analyst at Liberum Capital Ltd., said by phone. "It's setting out your stall for what you see as important going forward," he said. "For Rio, that's aluminum, iron ore and copper."

'Stronger Structure'

Arnaud Soirat, 51, takes a new role in charge of copper and diamonds in a reorganization of Rio's assets into four product groups. Rio's board last month approved a $5.3 billion expansion to more than double output at the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia.

Salisbury's portfolio will focus on the producer's iron ore operations in Western Australia, with mines in Canada overseen by an energy and minerals unit led by Alan Davies that'll also manage coal and uranium assets. Alfredo Barrios will remain in charge of aluminum, while copper and diamonds operations will be combined.

"Broadly retaining existing product lines should reassure investors that there will be no wholesale changes to Rio's corporate strategy under the new CEO," Dominic O'Kane, a mining analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in London, said in a note.

Chief Financial Officer Chris Lynch keeps his job.

"Our strategy, commitment to balance sheet strength and focus on shareholder returns will not change," Jacques said in a statement. "We are strengthening our structure and delivery."

CEO Walsh is due to retire July 1.

Link to article

Link to Rio announcement


UPDATE 2-Rio Tinto drops iron ore chief amid corporate reshuffleReuters, June 21

Rio Tinto Shakes Up Management After Prolonged Price SlumpWSJ, June 21

Australia's most powerful miner forced out in Rio Tinto reshuffleAustralian Financial Review, June 21


Rio Tinto to reduce gross debt by $3 billion through its June tender offers 

June 21 -- Rio Tinto will reduce its gross debt by a further $3 billion after accepting for purchase a total of $1.252 billion of debt under its Maximum Tender Offer and $1.748 billion under its Any and All Offer. Both offers commenced on 7 June 2016 and are part of Rio Tinto's ongoing capital management. 

The final aggregate principal amount of Securities purchased under the Any and All Offer that expired on 13 June 2016 was $1.748 billion, including the notes purchased under the guaranteed delivery procedures described in the Offer to Purchase. 

The Maximum Tender Offer, which commenced on 7 June 2016 and will expire on 5 July 2016, was oversubscribed at 5pm, New York City time, on 20 June 2016 and therefore $1.252 billion of Maximum Tender Securities will be purchased. No Maximum Tender Securities tendered after the above time will be accepted. 

The following notes will be purchased pursuant to the Maximum Tender Offer: $487.6 million in aggregate principal amount of Rio Tinto Finance (USA) Limited 3.500 per cent Notes due 2020, $337.9 million in aggregate principal amount of Rio Tinto Finance (USA) Limited 4.125 per cent Notes due 2021, $400.8 million in aggregate principal amount of Rio Tinto Finance (USA) Limited 3.750 per cent Notes due 2021, $11.5 million in aggregate principal amount of Rio Tinto Finance (USA) plc 3.500 per cent Notes due 2022 and $14.6 million in aggregate principal amount of Rio Tinto Finance (USA) plc 2.875 per cent Notes due 2022. The Maximum Tender Securities purchased will be retired and cancelled and no longer remain outstanding.

Link to release


Rio Tinto prices Maximum Tender OfferRio Tinto, June 21


Mongolia Energy sees less impairment loss on mining assets

[ET Net News Agency, 22 June 2016] Mongolia Energy Corporation (00276) said it expected a provision of impairment loss in about HK$682.9 million will arise from the mining assets assessment. 

As the impairment loss amount as preliminary estimated is less than that of last year,  Mongolia Energy expects the overall loss of the Group this year will be lower in comparison; however, it still has a significant impact on the results for the financial  year ended 31 March 2016. 

Link to article

Link to MEC release

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Local Market

MSE Trading Report: Top 20 +4.06%, ALL +1.45%, Turnover 64 Million Shares

June 21 (MSE) --

Link to report


Baganuur Holds Roadshow Event for Secondary Offering at MSE

June 21 (MSE) Scope of Privatization of State-owned properties in 2015-2016, the Resolution No.: 70 of Mongolian Parliament and the Resolution No.: 330 of Mongolian Government, "Baganuur" JSC granted permission to issue additional shares to the public by the Resolution No.:233 of Financial Regulatory Commission dates on 15 June 2016, and Mongolian Stock Exchange registered "Baganuur" JSC's additional 9,870,287 shares with nominal price of MNT100.00.

"TDB Capital" Securities Company is the underwriter company of this additional share issuance, and the road show of Baganuur JSC held successfully at MSE's building on 20 June 2016.

By the way, accordance with the Resolutions of Mongolian Parliament and Mongolian Government, there are total of 9 state-owned companies to privatize through Mongolian Stock Exchange in 2015-2016, and privatization of "Mongol Post" JSC  went successfully on January of 2016.

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

BoM MNT Rates: Tuesday, June 21 Close



































































































































































































Bank USD rates at time of sending: Khan (Buy ₮1,938 Sell ₮1,950), TDB (Buy ₮1,942 Sell ₮1,954), Golomt (Buy ₮1,938 Sell ₮1,950), XacBank (Buy ₮1,941 Sell ₮1,951), State Bank (Buy ₮1,942 Sell ₮1,955)

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

Link to rates


BoM declines US$1m bid, $3m ask, CNY2m bid offers, accepts $196.5m MNT swap offers

June 21 (Bank of Mongolia) Spot trade: Commercial banks bid MNT1935.00-1947.00 for USD1.0 million, asked MNT 1949.34-1951.34 for USD 3.0 million and bid MNT 295.50 for CNY 2.0 million respectively. The BOM did not accept any offers.   

Swap and forward trade: The BOM accepted the bid offers of USD 196.5 million of MNT swap agreement from commercial banks. The BOM accepted the bid offers.

Link to release


Oyu Tolgoi Restart Boosts Tugrik, More Gains Expected: Cousyn

By Michael Kohn

June 21 (Bloomberg) -- A restart of construction on the Oyu Tolgoi underground mine has helped the Mongolian tugrik appreciate against the US dollar since April 1 and more gains are expected, according to Nick Cousyn, Chief Operating Officer for BDSec, Mongolia's largest brokerage, writes in an e-mail.

* NOTE: Oyu Tolgoi has drawn down approximately $4b of the project finance facility signed in December 2015

* Tugrik is up more than 5% against the dollar since April 1 and traded at 1,946 on Wednesday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg

* Tugrik expected to reach 1,850 to the dollar within three to six months: Cousyn

* Main reason for gain against dollar is recent FX inflow following completion of agreement on Oyu Tolgoi underground project between Rio Tinto Group and Mongolian govt: Cousyn

* $500m sovereign bond issued in March has also helped to stabilize currency: Cousyn



Mongolia's Recession Eases Further in June

·         Market growth continues recovery trend

·         Price deflation steadies in June

·         Tugrik exchange rate remains a concern for import/export businesses

June 21 (World Economics) The Mongolian recession entered its 28th month in June but there are signals that business conditions are slowly improving. If this trend continues it is likely that the summer months will offer a respite from these challenging conditions. Up to 39.0 in June from 36.9 in May, the World Economics Headline Sales Managers' Index (SMI) for Mongolia indicates easing business conditions across the country. Market growth remains low, but is continuing to build on the upward trend exhibited in the past few months.

Headline Sales Managers' Index

Sales Managers' Index Trends







Business Confidence



Market Growth



Sales Output



Prices Charged



Staffing Levels



Link to release


Mongolia slips 3 spots in global competitiveness to 60th

June 21 ( Mongolia has slipped three places to be ranked 60 out of 61 countries in the annual World Competitiveness Yearbook 2016, recently released by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) World Competitiveness Center.

The ranking, published annually since 1989 and considered the leading assessment of the competitiveness of countries, saw the USA (ranked 3) overtaken as the world's most competitive economy for the first time in three years by China Hong Kong (1) and Switzerland (2). 

Lakshmi Bojoo, Director General of the Economic Policy and Competitiveness Research Center (EPCRC) said that Mongolia is facing a number of challenges in the coming year to become a more economically competitive nation.

As identified by the EPCRC team in the ranking, attracting more foreign direct investment (FDI) is a significant challenge: by the end of 2015 the rate of FDI had decreased by more than 22 times compared to that of 2012.

This year the exchange rate against the USD is likely to weaken further, and improved infrastructure is needed across the country, although this is a process that will take some time.

Being selected to host ASEM 2016 however shows the confidence other nations have in Mongolia's future direction.

In a year where a number of Asian countries suffered significant declines in competitiveness, mainland China dropped back three spots on last year to be ranked 25. Fellow neighbor Russia improved by one to be ranked 44.

"On the whole, there has been a significant drop in Asia's competitiveness since our last ranking," said Professor Arturo Bris, Director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center.

"This general decline has been caused by the fall in commodity prices, a strong dollar and the deterioration of balance sheets in both the private and public sectors." 

Further information on Mongolia's results in the World Competitiveness Yearbook can be found on the IMD's Mongolia profile website. 

Source: Economic Policy and Competitiveness Research Center

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Politics & Legal

Halfway through Сонгууль 2016 Campaign

By Julian Dierkes

June 20 (Mongolia Focus) The election campaign for the State Great Khural election on June 29 is over halfway through its official 18-day period. While it has been an active campaign for the 498 candidates, and visibly so, it has been politically or substantively lackluster.

Political Substance

I have frequently lamented in the past that Mongolian political parties do not offer much of a chance for citizens to give voice to their political views or preferences for the future of the country, as the parties are not defined by political platforms, but rather by personalities and patronage relations.

True enough, this campaign reinforces that impression. Not a single contested issue has really risen to the fore as something that the parties are defining themselves and their campaign around.

When ambitions are stated, they are typically described in such vague and general terms that few policy specifics can be deduced from them. Instead, a candidate's qualifications are announced and opponents' personal qualities are denounced. At the broadest level, the MPP is talking more about the debt that Mongolia finds itself in (and blames the DP for this debt), while the DP is highlighting some elements of transparency in mining governance.

The biggest publicity splash has been the announcement of a Tavan Tolgoi share buyback, but that really is populism in its most naked form, i.e. "hello voter, we'll give you cash!". There has been no policy argument attached to that, nor has the announcement really been questioned in those terms.

Black and Grey Campaigning

On social media (I continue to update the list of candidates' Twitter accounts and I've identified 75 of the 498 candidates), candidates have been quite visible, but mostly just that, i.e. visible. Lots of photos from the campaign trail, some very active tweeting about candidates, some campaign-like tweeting from DP and MPP. Curiously, hashtags remain underused, even by the parties, and the notion of using social media, RTs and hashtags as a way to mobilize voters is also not apparent in the activities that are visible.

To some, the most entertaining news has been the surreptitious video of Erdenechimeg, smoking and seemingly drunk. It's unfortunate as a measure of the quality of debate, but also because she had been a member of the women's caucus that pushed for smoking and alcohol limitations.

Women candidates have not been particularly visible. I was actually quite surprised by an official MPP tweet that had the 20% of candidates who are women barely visible at all. The MPP doesn't strike me as any worse in this regard than the DP, I just found this photo so visually striking at a time when any Canadian politician would be sure to feature women very prominently in campaign photographs.

Link to post


Alcohol sale banned on Election Day

June 21 ( Mongolia's parliamentary election is fast approaching. On Election Day - 29th of June – the sale of alcohol as well as public events are to be banned by decree of the mayor of Ulaanbaatar. During the liquor ban individuals shall not be allowed to sell or serve strong drinks anywhere in the capital.

June 29, has also been designated a special full public holiday nationwide. So, the day off for the large markets has been moved to this day.

Legislative elections are held every four years; they are always a year before the presidential elections. The last was held on 28 June 2012.

Link to article


Election ballot papers are printed under strict security control

June 21 (MONTSAME) Mongolian printing company has already started to print out voting ballots for elections. As of today, the ballot papers printing process is 50%. The ballots are printed on papers with special security features which were imported from Canada. That's why it's impossible to print fake voting ballots, say the authorities of the General Election Commission at the press conference held last week.

Besides that, ballot papers are printed under a strict security control and safeguard by a specialized units of the police and the Central Intelligence Agency. The process of designing, printing, packing and delivering ballots runs in presence of members of working groups, observers of parties, coalitions and NGO's.

The ballot papers for the 2016 parliamentary elections will be counted electronically by special voting machines. As expected, around 2 million voting ballots will be printed and will be sent to the regions 3 days before the elections.

Parliamentary elections will be held in Mongolia on the 29th of June 2016.

Link to article


CSLB Project grants are strengthening citizens' representation in local government

Ulaanbaatar, June 21 (MONTSAME) Capacity Strengthening of Local Self-Governing Bodies (CSLB) Project grants are helping to strengthen Citizens' Representative Khurals (CRKhs) and are enabling local-level councillors to undertake a range of innovative projects aimed at increasing their constituents' participation in decision-making processes, reports SDC office in Mongolia.

In 2015-2016, the CSLB Project awarded 25 grants to local councillors throughout Mongolia. The grants were designed to complement the project's 2013 National Training Programme for local councillors, which focused on such subjects as green development and how to engage with citizens to improve decision-making.

More than 10,000 citizens from 25 aimags, soums and districts took part in grant-related trainings and discussions in 2015-2106, including meetings held by CRKhs on issues related to Local Development Fund (LDF) projects and other policy matters. 

The CSLB Project has been awarding grants for the past two years. Since 2014, 41 CRKhs have received grants totalling MNT 200 million (CHF 95,000).

Expanding on the initial two grant focal areas in 2014-2015 - increasing citizens' participation in local decision-making and improving CRKhs' oversight functions in relation to the LDF – in 2015-2016, three more areas were added:

·         Increasing the capacity of CRKhs to monitor the quality and accessibility of public services;

·         working with underrepresented groups such as women and youth; and

·         an open topic in which local councillors were able to propose their own activities.

"One of our objectives was to show that if local self-governing bodies and councillors are given a modest increase in budget, significant results can be achieved through effective spending and innovative approaches," said B. Boldbaatar, CSLB Project National Project Director and Secretary-General of the Parliament Secretariat.  

Link to full article


SDC's Youth Employment Project will improve prospects for young job-seekers

Ulaanbaatar, June 21 (MONTSAME) Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has informed that its new Youth Employment Project (YEP) will help to improve employment opportunities for young job-seekers in a Mongolian job market characterized by a shortage of skilled labor and a high rate of unemployment.

The YEP, launched on 25 May, is a continuing phase of SDC's Vocational Education and Training (VET) Project, which in the past four years has provided much-needed support for the supply side of the labor market through vocational training schools.

Complementing the VET Project, the YEP will focus on the demand side of the labor market through mediation between jobs-seekers and employers, and support for youth self-employment, with emphasis placed on the development of a conducive policy environment for youth employment, effective employment support services and innovative start-ups that have growth potential.

According to the National Statistics Office, in 2015 unemployment reached 6.3 percent. Reaching almost 17 percent, unemployment is especially high between youths aged from 15 to 24 years.

"I am confident that the new project will help many young people find a job or they will create a job for themselves to stop being unemployed," said Minister of Labor G.Bayarsaikhan at the project's inauguration.

The Minister highlighted the significant contribution of SDC's VET Project to Mongolia's vocational training centers through the development of competency-based training curricula that provided practice-oriented trainings for VET students.

The YEP will help strengthen labor policies and effective employment support services for young people, and will improve staff capacities in delivering employment services to Mongolia's youth.

The project will continue to partner with the Ministry of Labor and other stakeholders to address persistent unemployment among youth.

In order to ensure a consistent approach across its interventions, SDC will continue to harness good collaboration with its other projects and partners in the sector including the Vocational Skills Development Project, VET Partnership NGO and other development partners for better harmonization and coordination.

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Mogi: Let's wait till after elections if this means anything

Tavan Tolgoi power plant: investment solved

June 21 ( The Mongolian Parliament has discussed the draft investment agreement of the Tavan Tolgoi power plant project was presented to the Speaker of Parliament Z.Enkhbold by the Government. Last February, Japan's "Marubeni" Corporation" was selected as the foreign investor for Tavan Tolgoi.  The overall project investment is estimated at one billion UD dollars, 30% of which is in the form of direct investment and the rest in loans from international financial institutions such as banks.

The Tavan Tolgoi power plant will have a generating capacity of 450 MW; this electricity will be used by Mongolia's main copper mine - Oyu Tolgoi LLC. The two mines are located near to each other in the South Gobi. Tavan Tolgoi, is ranked as one of world's largest coal deposits with 1.8 billion tons of proven and probable coal reserves and 7.4 billion tons of resource in accordance to the JORC mineral resource classification. Approximately, 1.5 million tons of thermal coal will be utilized from the Tavan Tolgoi deposit.

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Water levels reach critical level due to heavy rain

Ulaanbaatar, June 21 (MONTSAME) Thunderstorms are expected  in northern region on June 22, some parts of central and eastern provinces on 23rd, in western provinces and western parts of central provinces on 24th, and in some parts of western and central provinces on 25th, according to the Information and Research Center of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment.

The water levels are critical in the rivers Bogd, Zavkhan and Uliastai sourcing from the mountains of Bulgan, Khar But, Khovd and Khuvsgul, and in rivers Selenge from Khentii Mountains, rivers Baidrag and Shargaljuut in Bayankhongor province, and river Ongi of Ovorkhangai province, with threat of flood. In the concern, Deputy Prime Minister and the head of the State Emergency Commission Mr Ts.Oyunbaatar announced a warning on Tuesday.

The heavy rain, which started last night and is on until now, has caused dramatic increase in water levels of large rivers. It is expected that it will continue raining for the next three days. The Deputy PM warned the citizens to take extra caution near rivers and lakes and while driving, not to bring small children near waters.

He also gave obligations to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and local emergency departments to disseminate the flood warning through all means and evacuate families, who are in the flood danger zones.

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Retired Mongolian diplomat detained at Ukraine-Romania border for cigarette smuggling

Ulaanbaatar, June 21 (MONTSAME) A Mongolian national was caught over the weekends at the Djakovo border point of Ukraine while attempting to smuggle 29,145 packs of cigarettes in eight boxes, which were marked as diplomatic pouches. The offender was D.Dokhombayar, a retired official, who worked at the Mongolian embassy in Budapest, Hungary, reported the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia on Tuesday.

D.Dokhombayar had worked at "TechnicImport" and "Mongolimpex" ventures under the former trade ministry, until he was appointed to work at Budapest embassy in 2004. After the end of his first diplomatic appointment in 2007, he was once again appointed to the Embassy and worked there between 2011 and 2015. He retired in August, 2015.

The person, who accompanied D.Dokhombayar is not a foreign services official. The diplomatic pouch signs were false, and are not used in Mongolian foreign ministry and any other diplomatic missions abroad.

"This is the first case in the past 2-3 years in diplomatic services of Mongolia. One should not consider him/herself a diplomat as soon as he or she possesses a diplomatic passport, which is not a criterion for a diplomat", noted FM L.Purevsuden at the press briefing.

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Health Ministry State Secretary meets delegation of Russian Tatarstan Republic

Ulaanbaatar, June 21 (MONTSAME) State Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Sport A.Erdenetuya received Tuesday a delegation led by A.Yu.Vafin, the Health Minister of Russian Tatartsan Republic.

The sides discussed opportunities for boosting cooperation in the health sector and training Mongolian medical doctors and experts in the Oncology Hospital of the Tatarstan Republic.

In briefing about the health sector in Tatarstan, Vafin said his Republic has the population of 3.8 million people, and the life expectancy is 72.8. This country numbers 80 units for rendering first medical aid and some 1,800 small and big-sized health organizations which employ 12 thousand people.

"Tatarstan Republic has succeeded in reducing cardiovascular illnesses among its people and to maximize the life expectancy. Over 4,200 people underwent last year surgeries of coronary arteries successfully. However, we are still in challenges to reduce mortality caused by cancers," he said.

The Tatarstan Minister expressed his satisfaction with starting collaboration with Mongolia, and put forward a proposal to the State Secretary to cooperate in developing chemistry and radiation therapy.

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Health, Education

Scholarship program to be implemented with non-refundable aid from Japan

Ulaanbaatar, June 21 (MONTSAME) The Japanese Grant Aid for Human Resource Development Scholarship (JDS) will continue in Mongolia with non-refundable aid of JPY 555 million or MNT 9.9 billion from the Japanese government.

An intergovernmental note of exchange on the project realization was signed Tuesday by L.Purevsuren, the Mongolian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Takenori Shimizu, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Mongolia. In accordance with the document, 22 Mongolians will be involved in the program this year, 18 of whom must be young public servants. Two persons will be selected from the private sector and other two will study for PhD degrees.

Launched by the Government of Japan in 1999, the JDS aims to support human resource development of countries that transferred to the market economy. As of present, this program has been implemented in 12 countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, China, Laos, Uzbekistan, Cambodia, Vietnam and Ghana. Since 2001 when Mongolia was involved in it, 262 public servants have studied in Japan.

The JDS will be implemented in Mongolia for seven years in two phases.

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Culture, Society

A Change of Address for Mongolia

Mongolia sets precedent with plans for adoption of new three-word address system this summer.

By Peter Bittner

June 21 (The Diplomat) The Mongol Post, the newly-privatized national Mongolian mail carrier, plans to adopt a new and wildly innovative address system this summer in partnership with what3words, a U.K.-based tech company. Each address will be denoted by a three-word phrase representing a specific 9-square-meter GPS coordinate. Effective on August 1, the Mongol Post's new nomenclature aims to help remedy Mongolia's widespread problem of inconsistent addressing and failed deliveries.

The what3words platform translates existing GPS information into a unique, easy-to-remember three-word code, which will be available in Mongolian as well as in English under the new system. For example, the new system would change the address of the U.S. Embassy in Mongolia from its existing address (U.S. Embassy, Denver Street #3, 11th Micro-District, Ulaanbaatar 14190, Mongolia) to constants.stuffy.activism.

In its press release, the Mongol Post cited the high rate of incomplete deliveries as a reason for adopting the new system. The national mail service argued that, as a rapidly emerging market, Mongolia needs "a functioning address system" to sustain its economic development and attract investment.

Mongolia is a country of over 3 million people, 30 percent of whom live nomadically—which presents serious challenges to traditional mail carriers. Even in urban areas, the lack of marked roads and addresses, in combination with poor infrastructure, leads to difficulties in completing deliveries.

It is common in Mongolia for phone numbers to be written on packages in order for deliverers to call the intended recipient for specific directions.

The mail carrier's new partnership with what3words comes after a long search for improvements upon its existing address system. Batsaikhan Tsedendamba, CEO of the Mongol Post, said he believes "what3words is the most user-friendly and optimal technology" of the numerous options the organization considered.

According to the what3words website, about four billion people worldwide lack a consistent home address, and thus are unable to reliably get deliveries, report utility or service outages, or file official documents.

"Having an address is a human right," said Ganhuyag Hutagt, CEO and founder of ARD Holdings, which currently owns a 17.5 percent stake in the Mongol Post.

"This will transform the lives of so many people," said Hutagt, who is also a board member of the Mongol Post, over Skype. Rural and urban residents alike will not only have more reliable mail delivery but will be able to receive faster medical care, emergency services, and even e-commerce drone deliveries due to the more accurate address system, he argued.

Currently, in order to receive mail at residential addresses Mongolians must pay a premium for delivery service from carriers. Citizens often rent P.O. boxes kilometers away from their residences in order to ensure successful mail transport.

It is unclear whether the implementation of the new system would change the status quo of the pay-for-address norms. The Mongol Post did not immediately respond to inquiries regarding the specific details of policies and procedures of the new plan.

"Where addresses exist, they will of course continue to be used; however, Mongol Post will fill in existing gaps by gradually introducing what3words and corresponding technology into Mongol Post's processes" Chris Sheldrick, CEO and co-founder of what3words, wrote in an email to The Diplomat.

Using "what3words will reduce frustrations for consumers, help businesses to be more efficient, and allow deliveries to unaddressed locations across the country," wrote Sheldrick, in regards to the Mongol Post partnership.

The U.K.-based company has implemented its technology in over 170 countries, where it is employed by logistics firms, navigation apps, travel guides, and NGOs. Its technology has been utilized by the United Nations, the World Bank, and others. The system works without an internet or data connection and is available in nearly a dozen languages.

Though an official press release of the announcement was issued on May 23 in both English and Mongolian, news of the partnership in Mongolia has not been very widespread. Though the partnership with what3words was first covered by ikon, a tech-focused Mongolian media outlet, many Mongolians were not aware of the new development or its implications. On the contrary, this past week, the story went viral in the international media. NPRQuartzSmithsonianForeign PolicyLonely PlanetCBC News, and others covered the unprecedented national-level adoption of the new addressing method.

"Weird how its [sic] in [The] [G]uardian but not much in [M]ongolian media," wrote Gantsetseg Gantulga in response to a video from The Guardian.

Not all Mongolians are happy with the upcoming change, or the press coverage of the development.

"I'm unimpressed by the whole thing," said Michelle Borok, editor for The UB Post, who wrote a scathing opinion piece in Mongolia's premiere English newspaper criticizing the new system.

"How is [the] Mongol Post going to make a name for itself by launching this software system next month when their post offices still use handwritten ledgers for every transaction and parcel they handle?" asked Borok in her article.

Nevertheless, those close to the matter are well aware of what is at stake in implementing the revolutionary new address system.

"The world is watching. We're pioneering," said Hutagt.

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Everything you knew about maps is, June 22

what3words reaches Mongolia and AustraliaSpatial Source, June 21

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Mongolian mind athletes head to San Diego for Extreme Memory Tournament

Ulaanbaatar, June 21 (MONTSAME) Mind athletes from the Mongolian Intellectual Academy headed Tuesday for the USA to take part in the Extreme Memory Tournament of top 24 athletes of the world, which will be held on June 24-26 in San Diego.

With a prize fund of USD 75 thousand, the tournament will be held among top mind contestants from Mongolia, USA, Germany, England, Sweden, the Netherlands, the Philippines and China. Being the second largest at the tournament, our team included O.Sengesamdan, E.Purevjav IGMs, B.Shijir-Erdene GM, Z.Tsetsegzul and A.Anudari IMs.

In the previous year's Extreme Memory Tournament, Mongolian athlete T.Enkhjin broke the world record in the "images" contest, and the team was ranked 2nd by collecting the cash prizes after Germany.

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Battsetseg wins bronze medal in Poland Open wrestling

Ulaanbaatar, June 21 (MONTSAME) On the last day of the Poland Open wrestling tournament concluded last weekend, State Honored Sportswoman S.Battsetseg grabbed bronze medal in the women's -63 kg bout.

In the first bout, she had a bye, and then defeated Chinese opponent Hiogan Wang in the second round. In the semi-finals, S.Battsetseg was beaten by World champion Yulia Tkach from Ukraine. In the bronze medal match, our wrestler defeated Moa Nugren of Sweden. Alongside her, another bronze medal went to Bulgarian wrestler Taibe Yusein, a bronze and silver medalist of the World Championships.

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Georgian judokas in Mongolia for joint training

Ulaanbaatar, June 21 (MONTSAME) At the invitation of the Mongolian Judo Association (MJA), qualified judokas of the Georgian national team have arrived here to have joint training with their Mongolian counterparts.

The Georgian group included Amiran Papinashvili (men's -60 kg), a bronze medalist of the World Championships; Vazha Margvelashvili (-66 kg), an European champion; Lasha Shavdatuashvili (-73 kg), 2012 Olympic champion; Avtandil Tchrikishvili (-81 kg), 2014 World champion; Varlam Liparteliani (-90 kg), silver and bronze medalist of the World Championships; Beka Gvinashvili (-100 kg), gold medalist of the Grand Slam; and Adam Okruashvili (+100 kg),  bronze medalist of the World Championships.

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Mountain climbed to summit for the first time in Mongolia

June 21 (Swindon Advertiser) A MAN from Swindon is among the first to have stood on the summit of a Mongolian mountain that is believed to have been off limits to mankind – until now.

Father-of-two Roy Partington has now become one of the first to stand on the summit of the previously un-climbed mountain in Mongolia after an earlier failed attempt. Overcoming many difficulties the group of six finally reached the peak's summit on Monday, June 13.

Among those to have scaled the peak were three women from the UK, a man from the USA and a New Zealand man.

After reaching its peak the team decided to call the mountain Mount Jochi - which means guests in Mongolian and is also the name of Gengis Khrans eldest son. This has now been submitted to the Mongolian Mountaineering Federation with a letter of the names and signatures of those who climbed the mountain.

The 53 year old said he was delighted to have been part of such an unusual feat He said: "It is great memories to tell the grand children as not everyone is fortunate enough to be the first human to stand on an unclimbed mountain these days.

"It took me out of my comfort zone as the expedition was on unchartered territory. A true privilege to have taken part in this."

This was not Roy's first expedition that has seen him take on the world's highest mountain to reach Everest Base Camp as well as Kilimanjaro and Aconcagua – although each of these have recognised routes to their summit and are regularly tackled by climbers.

The expedition Roy applied for was Secret Compass who joined up with a Mongolian expedition company called Mongolia Expeditions. They attempted to climb the mountain twice with the first attempt failing because a member of the team broke her leg when a large rock rolled down on to it.

It is widely accepted that no other human had set foot on its summit before, despite a few attempts.

Roy from Park South said: "It was scary at times and you really did have to push yourself to keep going but the entire team were professional from the outset and we did have connection with the outside world."

The team had Sat-phones to contact full UK doctors who were on standby to give expert advice 24 hours-a-day. Roy also carried a Delorme in Reach GPS system which sent out his exact location via satellite to a website for family and friends.

He returned home to a hero's welcome on Sunday on Father's Day at a special party held at the Swindon High Street Club where he was greeted by his family having landed at Heathrow earlier that morning.

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Hiking trails to be built in Terelj National Park

June 21 ( In scope of cooperation between the Jeju toursim organization of South Korea and City Tourism Department, hiking trails have planned to be built in two tourism and camping areas near UB city.

According to the Friendly Ulaanbaatar program and the order of the Minister of Environment, Green Development and Tourism, olle trail will be built in 6km roads at Chinggis mountain in Terelj National Park while 14km roads at Bogd Khan mountain. 

Jeju tourism organization will fund the project and the trails will be commissioned in July, 2017. 

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Gorkhi-Terelj Nat'l Park to have paved walkwaysMontsame, June 21

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Art, Entertainment

PLAYTIME 2016, June 24-26: Experience the biggest live music festival of UB

June 21 ( The best time to enjoy a music festival is definitely the summer. On June 24, 25, 26, the biggest Mongolian outdoor live music festival "Playtime" to be held at Gachuurt village. Discover the best music festival in Ulaanbaatar and be prepared to feel the unique experience. 

Playtime is an outdoor live music festival taking place annually at Hotel Mongolia in Gachuurt village which is 30 km East from the city center. It usually takes place in end of June or July. 

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).

Across the festival site, three 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 up coming 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. Also, designated tent areas and V.I.P zone are key features of attraction for the festivalgoers. 

There`s camping available - you are allowed to bring your tent to spend the nights at the festival. If you prefer more comfort, you can book gers and beach houses from Hotel Mongolia which is situated in a picturesque landscape directly adjacent to the banks of Tuul river. For the reservation, please contact at 11-323762, 490041. 

Besides the non-stop music, the festival offer you to try Mongolian traditional food khuushuur to burgers and sandwiches, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and many more fun activities.

This year the festival will be one of the official events of Hospitable UB an initiative by the Mayor's Office of Ulaanbaatar. As part of the initiative, the festival is promoting friendly, attractive and lively city of Ulaanbaatar through live music and this would mark the second year of collaboration with the city.

The international headliners of 2016 are:

The Mongolian headliners are:

More than 20 DJs will set the tone at Naglikhaats stage and 15 promising and emerging music groups will debut on New wave stage. Alongside of the new stations of the Replay art fair and a new film program will be introduced this year featuring the ten best films from Underground Film Festival organized by Golden Reel.

Prices for the three-day ticket is MNT 50,000, two-day ticket is MNT 40,000 and one-day ticket is MNT 30,000. Tickets are now available at the all branches of Hi-Fi and Orange CD shops and Also, you can buy the tickets outside of Hotel Mongolia on the day you visit the festival.

In addition, Designer Ariunaa Suri made the festival T-shirts under slogan of Save Mazaalai with the aim to save and protect Mazaalai or the Gobi bear that are near extinct species of animals or endangered species. 

Festival T-shirts are available at Hi-Fi Store and ARIUNAA SURI store and the price is MNT 25,000.

Finally, temperatures during the festival will range from 23C- 27C. It will be hot during the day but at night is it worth bringing warm clothes. 

Free buses will serve from Mongolian Children`s Palace to Gachuurt village starting 9AM on June 24. 

It is definitely the event not to be missed. For more information, please visit at

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International Throat-Singing Festival to be held in Khovd, July 6-9

June 21 ( A festival of Mongolia's famous throat singing, known as "Khoomei", will be held on July 6-9, in Khovd Province. The  Chandmani soum (district), in Mongolia's westernmost province, is considered as  being the birth place of "khoomei". A research conference will also take place. The four-day long competition of throat singing will be attended by soloists and choirs from all around the world.

The festival and competition aims to develop and preserve the performance tradition of "khoomei" by discovering and supporting talented young performers, sharing experiences and elevating the professional level of "khoomei" performers. The IV Khoomei festival is a biannual even.

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