Monday, July 25, 2016

[New cabinet appointed sans 4; OT hires Thiess-Khishig Arvin; MNT near record low; deficit doubles to $0.6B; exports up 76%; and renewable energy deals signed]

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Monday, July 25, 2016

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Int'l Market

TRQ closed -0.57% Friday to US$3.49, -2.24% last week

Oyu Tolgoi output slips as Rio Tinto eyes expansion of Mongolian mine

July 19 (The Australian) Rio Tinto's Oyu Tolgoi mine has reported a fall in copper and gold production as it mined less in areas with higher-grade metals.

Production of copper in concentrate fell to 51,700 tonnes in the second quarter of 2016, compared with 55,300 tonnes in the second quarter of 2015.

Gold production slumped to 70,000 ounces in the quarter, down from 238,000 ounces in the previous corresponding period.

The Mongolian mine is majority-owned by Canadian-listed Rio Tinto subsidiary Turquoise Hill, while the Mongolian government has a minority stake.

Turquoise Hill chief executive Jeff Tygesen said the lower production was as expected, "reflecting reduced mining in Phase 2 of the open pit, which included higher grades of both copper and gold".

During the second half of 2016, gold production is also expected to be lower as the operator mines areas that have reduced grades, Mr Tygesen said.

The company reaffirmed copper production guidance of 175,000 to 195,000 tonnes and gold production guidance of 255,000 to 285,000 ounces during 2016.

Meanwhile, silver production jumped in the quarter, reaching 391,000 ounces, compared with 297,000 ounces during the previous corresponding period.

Rio Tinto has plans to expand the Mongolian mine and more than double its annual copper production, while speculation has also swirled that the Australian giant is trying to increase its exposure to the project.

Link to article

Link to TRQ announcement

Link to OT announcement

Link to RIO Q2 production results


Rio Tinto tipped to continue divestments as quarterly season loomsSydney Morning Herald, July 17

Turquoise Hill sells more SouthGobi shares, stake down to 13.95%  - Cover Mongolia


Scotiabank Reiterates "Sector Perform" Rating on Turquoise Hill

July 19 (The Cerbat Gem) Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd (TSE:TRQ)'s stock had its "sector perform" rating reaffirmed by Scotiabank in a research note issued on Tuesday. They presently have a C$5.00 price target on the stock. Scotiabank's price target indicates a potential upside of 9.41% from the stock's previous close.

Several other brokerages have also recently issued reports on TRQ. CIBC started coverage on shares of Turquoise Hill Resources in a research report on Friday, April 22nd. They set a "sector perform" rating and a C$4.50 price target on the stock. Royal Bank Of Canada reiterated a "sector perform" rating and set a C$5.00 price target on shares of Turquoise Hill Resources in a research report on Monday.

Link to post


Credit Agricole S A Has $310,000 Stake in Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.MarketBeat, July 22

RBC Capital Markets Reaffirms "Sector Perform" Rating for Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.MarketBeat, July 22

Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. (TRQ) Now Covered by Royal Bank Of CanadaMarketBeat, July 20


Oyu Tolgoi awards major underground contract to Thiess-Khishig Arvin joint venture

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, July 21 (Oyu Tolgoi) Oyu Tolgoi today announced the signing of a critical contract for the underground mine development, marking a significant milestone in the continuing ramp up of the construction programme. The contract to execute the Boxcut and Decline for the project has been awarded to a joint venture between Thiess Pty Ltd and Khishig Arvin, a Mongolian civil and mining services company.

The Boxcut entails a major excavation of approximately 240,000 cubic meters of bulk earthworks, which will create an access point and enable development of the decline.

The Decline for the Underground Project entails the construction of two parallel tunnels, each approximately 5.5m wide x 6m high, running approximately 6.5 km from the surface to underground. One tunnel will be used primarily for the movement of people and vehicles, while the second tunnel will accommodate a conveyor system to transport mined material – ore and waste rock – to the surface. The underground development will also include 35,000 cubic meters of mass excavation.

Oyu Tolgoi Chief Development Officer Marco Pires said, "This is a significant contract for the underground project, and all the more so in bringing together international expertise and local partnership that will bring new skills, capacity and expertise to Mongolia helping develop not only Oyu Tolgoi, but more broadly support the development of the Mongolia's mining sector."

Link to release

Link to Thiess release


975 trading +10.8% this morning at HK$0.082

MMC: Petition Adjourned Pending Debt Restructuring Progress, Scheduled to Be Heard in Sep

July 21 (AAStocks) MONGOL MINING (00975.HK) announced that the application for the appointment of joint provisional liquidators over the company on a soft touch basis was heard by the Cayman Court at 10 a.m. on 19 July 2016 (Cayman Islands time).

The Cayman Court has granted an order to appoint Simon Conway of PwC Corporate Finance Recovery (Cayman) Limited and Christopher So Man Chun of PricewaterhouseCoopers Ltd. as joint provisional liquidators of the company on a soft touch basis to assist the company and its existing board of directors with the implementation of the proposed debt restructuring.

The petition has been further adjourned pending progress of the debt restructuring and is currently scheduled to be heard on 1 September 2016.

Link to article

Link to MMC announcement


Cash at end of Q A$77K. HAR last traded A$0.003 on Thursday

Haranga Resources Quarterly Activities Report

July 14 -- Haranga Resources Limited ('the Company') is pleased to report on its activities for the June 2016 quarter ('the Quarter').

Mongolia Operations Update

During the Quarter, the Company's 80% owned subsidiary Haranga Khuder LLC, which holds five Mineral Exploration Licenses, two Pre-mining Operations Agreements and one Mining License for the Selenge Iron Ore Project in Mongolia ('the Project), continued compliance activities required by the laws and regulations of Mongolia in order to maintain all licenses in good standing.

Management continues to consider the strategy of the Company in regards to the Project and the operational options available in order to maintain the Company's position in the Project. Whilst Management is reviewing the current operational status of the Project, the Company remains focused on and committed to the long term progression of the Project's development.

Post Quarter End

On 5 July 2016, the Company announced that it had signed a Binding Terms Sheet with Sanjiv Noronha for an unsecured interim finance facility of AUD$200,000. The facility has an interest rate of 6% pa capitalised monthly with a repayment date of 31 December 2016.

The funds from the facility have been utilised by the Company to satisfy Mongolia exploration and mining license commitments. The remaining portion will be used to satisfy costs associated with future fundraising opportunities the Company is currently negotiating. The Company will update the market in due course.

Link to report

Link to cashflow report


SouthGobi Announces Deferral Agreement With CIC

HONG KONG, CHINA--(Marketwired - July 18, 2016) - SouthGobi Resources Ltd. (TSX:SGQ)(HK:1878) ("SouthGobi" or the "Company") announces the execution of a deferral agreement with China Investment Corporation ("CIC"). The deferral agreement covers outstanding deferred cash interest obligations and associated costs of US$18.8 million as of today and the next Issue Date Anniversary Cash Interest payment of US$8.1 million due on November 19, 2016.

Pursuant to the deferral agreement, the Company has agreed to repay US$1.3 to $1.4 million monthly during July to November 2016 and repay U.S$20.7 million on December 19, 2016. As a consideration for the deferred payments, the Company will pay a deferral fee at a rate of 6.4% per annum to CIC.

Link to article


YAK closed -3.85% Friday to C$0.5, MNGGF +0.91% to US$0.389

Mongolia Growth Group: The Way To Play Mongolian Economic Recovery

By John Polomy


·         A combination of a resource bear market and bad government policy wacked the Mongolian economy.

·         Resource bear market appears to be over and elections in Mongolia have put a new government in power.

·         Mongolia Growth Group owns prime real estate in capital city of Ulaan Baatar selling at a significant discount to NAV.

July 20 (Seeking Alpha) Several years ago Mongolia was the darling of frontier market investors. In 2011 the economy expanded by a whopping 17% on exports of coal and other minerals, mostly to China. Wags were calling the country "Minegolia" due to its several trillion dollars of in the ground copper, coal, gold, and other resources.

However, the shine came off as the Chinese economy began to slow and Mongolia's main exports lost value as prices for commodities entered a bear market.

As the economy began to slow negative sentiment was further exacerbated by poor government decisions. The main one being the passing of legislation banning foreign ownership of strategic assets.

This law being passed to block the acquisition of a coal mining company by a large Chinese mining company. This sent a negative message to foreign investors and foreign direct investment collapsed.

Fortunately the government realised the error of its ways and a new pro business prime minister was elected. He began the long hard road of rebuilding credibility in the Mongolian government and was able to repair quite a bit of damage to the county's reputation.

Nevertheless the damage was done and Mongolia has been mired in a severe recession for a couple of years. Recent elections were held in Mongolia and the ruling Democratic Party was routed severely. The opposition Mongolian peoples party won 85% of the seats in parliament.

The MPP will have a mandate to improve the economy and to implement austerity which the country will need due to the expansion of debt that was incurred by the previous government to compensate for a weak economy.

As they say "it is often better to be lucky than right" it appears that the wind has changed and Mongolia's fortune is changing for the better.

The five year long resource bear market seems to be abating. This is occurring just as Rio Tinto is set to commence the underground expansion of the Oyu Tolgoi copper/gold mine in southern Mongolia.

Although the expansion of the mine will not be complete until 2020, when a copper shortage is forecasted, the $5.3 billion dollars needed to fund the expansion should act as a stabilizer on Mongolia's $12 billion per year economy.

The Mongolian government appears to understand the errors of its past and has been courting foreign investment and has recently got billion dollar commitments from India, Japan, and Korea to invest in various infrastructure projects in the country.

An indication of the positive change in sentiment in the Mongolian economy is the continued improvement of the Mongolian Sales Managers Index which has been in a positive uptrend since the beginning of 2016.

One way for the average investor to take advantage of the improvement in the Mongolian economy is via Mongolia Growth Group (OTCPK:MNGGF). Mongolia Growth Group owns real estate, primarily high street retail and office space, in the capital city of Ulan Batar.

The company has suffered along with the economy in Mongolia as rental rates and real estate values have decreased. Nevertheless, the company is debt free and implemented an austerity program early last year to wrung out all unnecessary costs as a way to survive the economic downturn.

The company just published its annual report and I was impressed with the CEO Harris Kupperman's view that the company would continue to seek out cost reductions as it prepared the company for an inevitable return to growth.

I believe the shares represent a tremendous value at around $.40 per share. The recent book value of the shares is around $1.30 per share which gives quite a bit of room for error.

The company should be the beneficiary of a return to economic growth as many of its properties are located on main streets in the downtown and central business districts.

This is a highly speculative company but one that I believe is now seeing the economic winds shift form headwind to tailwind. Investors with experience in frontier and emerging markets seeking an above average risk/reward would be warranted in giving Mongolia Growth group an in depth look.

Disclosure: I am/we are long MNGGF.

Link to post


Mongolia Growth Group Announces All Resolutions Passed at AGMYAK, July 15


Wolf Petroleum Issues Phase 2 Shares to New Strategic Partner

Link to Appendix 3B


Mongolia Energy Corp. Annual Report 2016

July 21, Mongolia Energy Corp. Ltd. (HKEx; 276) --

Link to report


Notice of Annual General Meeting, August 22 - Mongolia Energy Corp, July 21


Hot Money Fleeing Negative Yields Shelters in Outer Mongolia

·         Exotic markets generate best post-Brexit returns in the world

·         Big developed-to-developing shift only just starting: Ashmore

July 21 (Bloomberg) Terrorism in France, Brexit in Britain, a coup in Turkey -- political convulsions everywhere. So where's the hot money going?

It's going to the world's riskiest markets, where at least investors are getting paid for the risks.

Since Britain's June 23 vote to exit the European Union, dollar bonds of El Salvador, Mongolia and Zambia have returned more than 6.7 percent, exceeding any debt market in the world. Finisterre Capital turned a profit on Iraqi bonds, NN Investment Partners is bullish on Cameroon and Ukraine, and Aberdeen Asset Management Plc is struggling to find sellers of African debt.

"Brexit has triggered another round of yield searching," said Marco Ruijer, who oversees about $7.5 billion of emerging-market debt at NN Investment in the Hague, who also likes Zambia. "There have been big inflows into emerging-market debt and investors need to put some money to work. Everything is just buy, buy, buy at the moment."

Investors flooded emerging markets with $18 billion of cash after the U.K. referendum damped bets Federal Reserve policy makers will be willing to raise interest rates this year amid stagnating global growth. While the first flurry of post-Brexit buying focused on bigger countries like Brazil and Mexico, money managers are now turning to the overlooked, exotic fringe as a refuge from negative rates in the developed world and yields in emerging markets near the lowest in three years at 4.38 percent.

Riskiest Credits

The three top-performing bond markets since Brexit have credit ratings at least three levels below investment grade and yield as much as 10 percent, according to a Bloomberg sovereign bond index. 

"Everything is rallying at the moment, so you have to be more discriminating now than in the past few weeks," Damien Buchet, a money manager at Finisterre Capital in London said in an interview in London on July 13. The hedge fund sold Iraqi bonds after they rallied to 79 cents this month, from 69 cents at the start of May.

Overnight Losses

The strategy of following hot money into the emerging world does leave investors vulnerable to sentiment that can turn overnight. Turkish local-currency bonds have lost 8.1 percent since a botched coup attempt on July 15, wiping out four months of gains in three days. Markets in Brazil, South Africa and Poland have also been caught in selloffs linked to political turmoil in the past year.

Yet stability and safety are no longer a given even for advanced nations. Brexit has exposed the EU's vulnerabilities, while France has been targeted by a wave of terror attacks and the U.S. elections are creating uncertainty.

These unknowns in the developed world are only making the world's biggest investors more bullish on riskier markets. BlackRock Inc. is positioning for a "great migration" into emerging nations by money managers fleeing negative rates. Since Brexit, the yield on Mongolian dollar bonds maturing in December 2022 dropped 240 basis points to a one-year low of 7 percent.

"People are saying, well how actually is the U.K. shooting itself in the head economically going to impact Mongolia?" said Jan Dehn, head of research at Ashmore Group Plc, which manages $51 billion of emerging-market assets. "The big shift out of developed markets and into emerging markets hasn't really happened yet."

Link to article


Viking Mines Quarterly Activities & Cashflow Report

July 21 -- During the three months to 30 June, 2016, Perth-based Viking Mines Ltd (Viking or the Company) activity was focussed on reviewing new mining project opportunities, while progressing Government approval of the sale agreement for the Akoase gold project in Ghana.

1. Akoase Gold Project (Ghana, VKA 100% - reducing to 0% upon completion of sale)

2. West Star/Blue River Joint Venture Gold Project (Ghana, VKA 100% hard rock)

3. Berkh Uul Coal Project (Mongolia, VKA 100%)

During the quarter field inspection of the project area was undertaken by two representatives from the Ministry of Tourism, Green Development and Environment, accompanied by two Company representatives.

This follows a previously reported Government Resolution that licence areas in headwater zones and river basins are to be annexed and revoked. The Company has been advised by the Ministry of Tourism, Green Development and Environment that approximately 53% of the Berkh Uul prospecting licence falls within a headwaters of rivers zone. This government determination impacts upon the Company's current coal resource.

The Mineral Resource Authority of Mongolia (MRAM) and the Ministry of Tourism, Green Development and Environment indicated they were prepared to review the exclusion zones at Berkh Uul. Viking lodged a formal written submission with MRAM and a Government working group has been formed to review the submission.

Viking expects to receive a formal response on the status of the government review process, following the recently completed field inspection, in the next quarter.

4. Khonkhor Zag Coal Project (Mongolia, VKA 100%)

No on-ground work was undertaken on the project during the quarter.

5. Corporate

During the quarter the Company accelerated and intensified its review of mineral project farm-in/acquisition opportunities in the expectation that the final Akoase sale proceeds will be received during the September quarter.

No project reviews are currently at an advanced stage of consideration. Viking will continue to pursue these and any other opportunities, which are complementary to its existing project portfolio and consistent with its core objective to acquire near term production assets with potential to deliver sustainable cash flow.

The Company has appointed corporate adviser Emerald Partners Pty Ltd to assist in the search for suitable new advanced mining projects. Emerald Partners advised the Company on its sale of the Akoase gold project and has previously been a corporate adviser to the Company.

Link to report

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Local Market

MSE Weekly Report: Top 20 -0.38%, ALL +0.5%, Turnover 173.1 Million Shares

July 22 (MSE) --

Link to report


6 Stocks Join MIK in Tier I as MSE Renews Lists

July 22 (MSE) According to the "Listing Rule" of Mongolian Stock Exchange, the listing classification of listed Joint stock companies were renewed. Following chart shows renewed classifications:


Name of Company

Number Code



"Darkhan Nekhii" JSC




"Talkh Chikher" JSC








"Govi" JSC




"Suu" JSC




"Mik Holding" JSC




"Makh Impex" JSC





Link to release


6 Stocks Delisted from MSE

July 19 (MSE) According to the Clause No.: 23, 83.1 of Company Law, the Resolution No.: 323, 277, 217, 256, 404, 384 of Financial Regulatory Commission, and the Order No.: 240 of CEO of MSE dated on 22 June 2016, following 6 Joint Stock Companies delisted from MSE's listing.


Name of Company

Delisted Date

Number of shares

Nominal price



"Gan Teerem" JSC






"Dornod Khuns" JSC






"Aerogeodezi" JSC






"Shinechlel Invest" JSC






"Buudain Tsatsal" JSC






"Monsav" JSC




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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: Friday, July 22 Close
















































































































































































































Bank USD rates at time of sending: Khan (Buy ₮2,038 Sell ₮2,053), TDB (Buy ₮2,038 Sell ₮2,053), Golomt (Buy ₮2,038 Sell ₮2,053), XacBank (Buy ₮2,043 Sell ₮2,056), State Bank (Buy ₮2,038 Sell ₮2,053)

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

Link to rates


Mongol Bank to maintain its monetary policy rate at 10.5%

July 19 (UB Post) The Monetary Policy Council of Mongol Bank has decided to keep the central bank's official interest rate at 10.5 percent.

The council members reported, "The consumer price index annual inflation fell to 1.6 percent as of June 2016, and core inflation has gradually decreased to 2.9 percent, meeting the targeted level. As of the first half of 2016, inflation performance met Mongol Bank's projections."

Mongol Bank believes that the pressure on demand-based inflation will not increase due to short-term economic boosts, and the inflation rate is expected to meet Mongol Bank's assumptions by the end of this year.

The council said that even though the instability of external macroeconomic conditions continues, market risk is expected to be mitigated by improvements to sustainable governance. Foreign direct investment in Mongolia is expected to increase by the second half of 2016, and Mongol Bank predicts that this will support domestic demand and support real economic growth at levels comparable to 2015.

Mongol Bank believes that their decision to maintain the current monetary policy rate will provide possibilities to increase the nation's money supply through loans from the private sector and that it will support the nation's economic activity.

Link to article


BoM issues 326.1 billion 1-week bills at 10.5%, total outstanding +6.2% to ₮1.24 trillion

July 22 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 326.1 billion at a weighted interest rate of 10.5 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


BoM sells US$36m at 2,045, CNY47.5m at 306.66, accepts $41.5m MNT swap offers

July 21 (Bank of Mongolia) Spot trade: Commercial banks bid for USD 60.0 million and the BOM accepted bid offers of USD 36.0 million in a single price of MNT 2045 and CNY 47.5 million in a closing rate of MNT 306.66. 

Swap and forward trade: The BOM accepted the bid offers of buying USD 41.5 million.

Link to release


BoM buys 2 tons of gold in June, 6.5 tons YTD

July 2016 (BoM) --




YTD Change





















































Link to data (in Mongolian)


Mongolia's Jan.-June Gold Exports Soar 76% to 7.1 Tons

By Michael Kohn

July 19 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia exported 7.1 tons of gold in the first half of 2016 from 4 tons in the same period a year earlier, an increase of 76.3%, the National Statistical Office says on its website.

* Value of these exports rose 77.5% to $280.1m from $157.8m a yr earlier

* Copper concentrate exports increased 23.1% to 817,000 tons from 663,800 tons yr earlier, value fell from $1.15b to $916.7m

* Coal exports rose 39.5% y/y to 9.63m tons from 6.9m tons yr earlier; value fell to $293.2m from $309.6m

* Crude oil exports rose 10.8% y/y to 4.18m barrels; value fell to $159.9m from $196.8m yr earlier

* Total exports fell to $2.19b in Jan.-June from $2.37b yr earlier, a decline of 7.5%



Mongolia Jan.-June Budget Deficit Doubles to $572m

By Michael Kohn

July 19 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia's total equilibrated revenue and grants to the general govt budget in January-June were 2.54t tugrik compared with total expenditure of 3.67t tugrik, for a budget deficit of 1.12t tugrik ($572m), according to National Statistical Office release.

* NOTE: Average MNT/USD exchange rate in June was 1965

* NOTE: Equilibrated balance in yr-earlier period showed a deficit of 535b tugrik ($281m)

* Total expenditure and net lending increased 15.4% y/y

* M2 money supply was 11.3t tugrik at the end of June, up 6% m/m and 12.5% y/y

* Loans outstanding were 12t tugrik at the end of June, an increase of 0.6% y/y

* Principal in arrears totaled 831.8b tugrik at the end of June, a 37.7% increase y/y

* Non-performing loans totaled 1.04t tugrik at end-June, a 2.6% decrease m/m and 33.8% increase y/y

* Non-performing loans were 8.6% of total outstanding loans, according to Bloomberg calculations

* Jan.-June trade data:

* $693.8m surplus in first six months of 2016 compares with $531.5m surplus yr earlier

* Exports fell 7.5% y/y to $2.2b in June

* Imports declined 18.5% y/y to $1.5b in June

* June CPI decreased 0.3% m/m, increased by 1.6% y/y

* June industrial production index increased 10.9% y/y

* Natural loss of adult livestock reached 1.24m head in Jan.-June, compared with 421,800 in the yr-earlier period



Mongolia's Budget Deficit Widens With Dip in Commodity Prices

By Michael Kohn

July 19 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia's budget deficit doubled in the first half of the year as low commodity prices continued to drag down the economy while government spending rose ahead of last month's parliamentary election.

The budget deficit widened to 1.12 trillion tugrik ($572 million) in the first six months of 2016 from a deficit of 535 billion tugrik ($281 million) in the same period a year earlier, according to data released on Tuesday by the National Statistical Office. The dollar calculations are based on the exchange rate in each period.

Export revenue declined 7.5 percent to $2.2 billion during the period as prices plunged for Mongolia's main commodities, including copper and coal. At the same time, expenditure and net lending increased 15.4 percent as government spending on roads and infrastructure rose.

The opposition Mongolian People's Party won 65 of 76 seats in the Great Hural. Voters have blamed the ousted Democratic Party for increasing the debt burden while failing to create jobs.

"High levels of spending persisted through this economic slowdown, resulting in a weak currency and an increasing budget deficit,'' Nick Cousyn, chief operating officer for Mongolia's largest brokerage, BDSec, said in an e-mail.

Mongolia's economic growth peaked at 17.3 percent in 2011 as the country's economy soared amid high commodity prices and the development of the first phase of the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine. Growth then slowed as copper prices plunged and Oyu Tolgoi development stalled during a shareholder dispute.

Oyu Tolgoi operator Rio Tinto Group and the Mongolian government resolved their differences late last year.

Recovery Anticipated

"These numbers aren't pretty but the first six months of 2016 should represent the trough of Mongolia's economic slowdown,'' Cousyn said. "We believe Mongolia is currently in the midst of a recovery, though deficit spending will need to be reduced to support the value of the currency and the country's credit ratings.''

Mongolia exported 817,000 tons of copper concentrate in the first half of the year compared with 663,800 tons a year earlier, an increase of 23.1 percent. Still, weaker prices caused the value of copper  exports to slip to $916.7 million from $1.15 billion.

Coal exports similarly rose 40 percent to 9.6 million tons though the value for these exports fell 5.3 percent to $293.2 million.

Gold was a bright spot as these exports rose from four tons to 7.1 tons, with the value of the exports rising 76 percent compared with the year-earlier period.

China bought $1.8 billion worth of Mongolia's exports, representing 81.7 percent of its total export products.

Switzerland was the second-largest buyer of Mongolia's exports, with $160.7 million.



Economic monitor: Mongolia's wistful election wolf cry


Рuly 17 (Asia Times) The Mongolian Stock Exchange, after a 15% fall in the local index, was poised for a comeback after the end-June sweeping victory of the opposition People's Party (MPP) on a business-friendly and experienced technocrat platform. It beat the ruling Democratic Party with 65 out of 75 seats on almost 75% turnout, with the race turning on voter desire to return to "wolf economy" status before the commodity and Chinese crashes under incumbent rule.

The outgoing Prime Minister Saikhanbileg did not even win his constituency, after belated backtracking on mining disputes and banking and fiscal expansion which soured the country's foreign investment reputation and public finances. Growth is barely positive this year and $1.5 billion in external debt repayment of "chingiss bonds" comes due through 2018, as a new administration, with a former Finance Minister holding an advanced economics degree in charge, faces another turnaround task.

The MPP previously handled the crises of the immediate post-communist era and 2008 global meltdown with ample support from the IMF and other donors curbing traditional state control and interference tendencies, but this time it will be tested mainly on its own record of multinational business partnership and reform commitments.

Mining accounts for one-fifth of GDP and 95% of exports, and around 40 listings on the 200-company stock market. Industry experts estimate mineral wealth at trillions of dollars, and the copper-gold Oyu Tolgoi (OT) project, a joint venture with Australia's Rio Tinto, will entail $1 billion annually in capital spending over the next five years.

It entered a second phase of operation in May after prolonged suspension by the former government, which tried to change original deal terms. The impasse, aggravated by the detention of foreign business executives to influence negotiations, caused FDI to evaporate to just $100 million in 2015.

Goaded by multilateral partners including the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, OT's resumption without sweeping contract changes doubled the figure to $225 million in the first quarter.  Another flagship concession, for Tavan Tolgoi's coal deposits, was recently restarted and compensation will be offered to a Canadian operator for a cancelled uranium license.

China has also been a big commodity player, but grew wary over debts accumulated to aluminum producer Chalco. It moved several months ago to reactivate trade and transport links through the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, and proposed a hydropower dam loan over Moscow's objections on environmental and geostrategic grounds.

The MPP, with another stint in office, promises to maintain investment climate predictability and improve the 60th place World Bank Doing Business ranking. It specifically intends to open 100 new factories and create 40,000 jobs, while following sound fiscal and monetary policies.

The chronic budget deficit should be alleviated by higher miner tax collection, and inflation has come down from 9% to 2% the past year, allowing the central bank to cut interest rates. However off-balance sheet spending through banking channels, as with a special state-run mortgage program, has ravaged the sector and broader economic stability, and prompted recent sovereign and industry credit rating downgrades.

Bad loans are 15% of the system, and deleveraging should be a priority with profitability under pressure, according to Moody's latest review. The government Trade and Development Bank, the main external bond issuer, is scrambling to cover debt service and recently acquired Russian mining interests to help the bottom line. Sector consolidation and revamp is an urgent priority dating back a decade when the MPP was last in control, and it barely featured in election rhetoric.


Myanmar was another market greeted with initial enthusiasm upon leadership transition, but after 100 days the business community still awaits the Aung San Suu Kyi government's economic road map, and passage and implementation of new company and financial institution laws.

On slower 7% growth FDI was up 20 % to $9.5 billion for the fiscal year ended in March, with private equity starting to participate in a range of consumer goods deals. Local banks will soon be listed on the nascent Japan-owned Yangon Stock Exchange, which may allow international buyers as regulatory and sanctions complications ease, but after three months in operation wolf-like appetite has turned into an occasional prowl.

Gary N. Kleiman is an emerging markets specialist who runs Kleiman International in Washington, D.C.

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Politics & Legal

Parliament approves new cabinet composition: 16 ministers, 13 ministries

July 21 ( An important session of the State Great Khural (Parliament) session began late last night (22.00pm) and ended in the early hours of this morning (03.00am on Thursday 21st July). Parliament backed the issue of reading the bills for renewing the cabinet structure and composition, presented Wednesday by Prime Minister J.Erdenebat. During the session, the MPs approved the appointment of the Secretary General of the Parliament Secretariat and the President of the Bank of Mongolia.

The bills set out that the new cabinet will have 16 members, including the Prime Minister, the Deputy PM, the Minister of Mongolia (the head of Cabinet Secretariat) and the affiliated ministers.

The composition of the new Cabinet is as follows:

·         Prime Minister

·         Deputy PM

·         Minister of Mongolia, head of Cabinet Secretariat

·         Minister of  Environment and Tourism

·         Minister of Foreign Affairs

·         Minister of Finance

·         Minister of Justice and Domestic Affairs

·         Minister of Labour and Social Welfare

·         Minister of Defence

·         Minister of Construction and Urban Development

·         Minister of Education Culture Sciences and Sports

·         Minister of Roads and Transport

·         Minister of Mining and Heavy Industry

·         Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry

·         Minister of Energy

·         Minister of Health.

Link to article


Mogi: MPP has since withdrawn Ts.Anandbazar, D.Tsengel, J.Tsolmon, G.Unurbolor due to IAAC warning on conflict of interest. The rest have been approved at parliament late Friday night.

MPP nominates ministers

July 21 ( Today Board of Directors of Mongolian People's Party held its meeting and appointed the new ministers of the cabinet. 

Belonging Ministry

Name of the Ministers

Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia


Minister of Mongolia, Head of the Cabinet


Minister of Environment and Toursim


Minister of Foreign Affairs 


Minister of Finance


Minister of Justice 


Minister of Labor and Social Welfare


Minister of Defence


Minister of Construction and Urban Planning 


Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Sports  


Minister of Road


Minister of Mining and Heavy Industries  


Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Indistries


Minister of Energy


Minister of Health


Link to article


President decries dissolvent of Ministry of Industry

July 23 (UB Post) President of Mongolia Ts.Elebgdorj sent Prime Minister J.Erdenebat an official letter asking him to reconsider the proposed structure and composition of the new Cabinet.

Chairman of the President's Office P.Tsagaan held a press conference, where he pointed out, "According to the proposal on the Cabinet's structure and composition submitted by Prime Minister J.Erdenebat, a number of basic functional ministries have been added. It is speculated that through this decision members of Parliament will hold simultaneous position as members of Cabinet."

He went on to say, "The Mongolian People's Party, who claimed an absolute victory in the recent parliamentary elections, used to object to the assignment of simultaneous positions, and used to say that the executive authority and the legislature must have boundaries, differences in  responsibilities, and reciprocal monitoring of each other.

"However, the recently submitted proposal does not comply with their previous position and promise to the public. It also does not comply with the provisions and ideas of the bill on the structure and composition of Cabinet, which was discussed by the previous Parliament. Therefore the President of Mongolia has responded, saying he will not support the proposal.

"Secondly, The President does not approve of J.Erdenebat's proposal to dissolve the Ministry of Industry, with operations that have been stable even though it was established late, and to transfer the ministry's authority and obligations to other ministries.

"The Industry Ministry is functioning, stable, and it has received gratitude from national producers, which proves that Mongolia needs the ministry. The President believes that it is wrong to dissolve the Ministry of Industry, as it was established during the previous Parliament with the intention of preserving Mongolia's economic independence, to help Mongolia become a producer country, to gain more economic independence, and to become an exporter.

"Thirdly, it is believed that a state and governance becomes more productive, sustainable, and energetic when their name, address, structure, and human resources remains intact. The proposal calls for changing the names of some ministries without clear reasons, calculations, or study. For instance, the proposal says the Foreign Affairs Ministry will be renamed the Foreign Relations Ministry.

"The proposal on the Cabinet's structure and composition – a document with 81 pages – does not contain any figures. It was developed without any economic research. It is unclear how many people will be fired and how many people will be employed. Therefore, the President has made a request to redevelop the proposal."

Link to article


Bayartsaikhan Nadmid takes office as Governor of Bank of Mongolia

July 21 (Bank of Mongolia) The nomination of the Governor of the Central Bank of Mongolia for a new term was resolved during the commencement meeting of Parliament this year on July 20th, 2016. Bayartsaikhan Nadmid succeeds Zoljargal Naidansuren to take the office for a new term. It will be effective as of the Parliament resolution.

Mr. Nadmid has received a Ph.D. degree in Economics and graduated labor economics at the State Institute of Economics, Irkutsk, Russia in 1982 and politics at the State Management Academy of Moscow, Russia in 1992.

Mr. Nadmid was a lecturer at the Institute under the Central Committee of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party in 1982-1989 and served as a member of parliament in 1992-2008 and a chairman of Standing Committee on Food and Agriculture, Parliament in 1993-1995, a chairman of the Standing Committee on  State Budget in 2000-2004, a Minister for Finance in 2006-2007, a Head of the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation in 2002-2014 and a chairman of Supervisory Board of the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation in 2014-2016. More information.

Link to release


Ts.Tsolmon appointed Secretary of the Office of Parliament

July 23 (UB Post) During a joint meeting of Parliament and Cabinet, Ts.Tsolmon was appointed State Secretary of the Office of the Parliament, following the resignation of B.Boldbaatar.

Ts.Tsolmon, 43, is an alumni of the University of Exeter and Columbia University, holding a master's degree in law. He studied at Omsk Technology Technicum in Russia from 1988 to 1992, and obtained a bachelor's degree in law from the National University of Mongolia in 1998.

He entered public service in 1993 as a computer operator at the Office of Parliament in 1993.  He was a lecturer at the Law School at National University of Mongolia from 1998 to 2001, and served as the head of the Legal Policy Department of the Ministry of Justice and Internal Affairs from 2004 to 2013. Ts.Tsolmon also has five years of experience as an attorney.

Link to article


Facts about newly appointed Prime Minister J.Erdenebat

July 18 (UB Post) After the 2016 parliamentary elections, carried out on June 29, J.Erdenebat became the 29th Prime Minister of Mongolia. New Members of Parliament supported the nomination of J.Erdenebat for Prime Minister of Mongolia during the first meeting of the new parliament.

J.Erdenebat has served as the Governor of Selenge Province, and has also served as Minister of Finance.

One of the nation's youngest Prime Ministers

The youngest Prime Minister of Mongolia was President Ts.Elbegdorj, who took the Prime Minister's office in 1998 at the age of 35. Before the appointment of Ts.Elbegdorj, parliamentarian M.Enkhsaikhan was appointed Premier of Mongolia in 1996 at the age of 41. J.Erdenebat becomes one of Mongolia's youngest Prime Ministers at the age of 41.

Father to three kids

The 29th Prime Minister of Mongolia has three siblings, an older sister and two younger brothers. He is father to three children. His elementary school classmate Tungalag later became his wife.

Shareholder of four companies

According to the income and assets declaration J.Erdenebat submitted to the Independent Authority Against Corruption in 2015, he is the owner of three real estate properties and holds shares of four companies, one of which he wholly owns. He owns three vehicles, a Toyota Land Cruiser 105, Toyota Highlander, and Lexus 570, which are valued at 116 million MNT in total.

Became a state servant at 22

The newly appointed Prime Minister was hired as an accountant by a private company after his graduation. Later, he entered state service as an inspector with Selenge Province's inspection department at the age of 22. Since then, he has been working for the state for 19 consecutive years.

J.Erdenebat entered Parliament in 2012 and was appointed Finance Minister on December 9, 2014.

Link to article


Erdenet Mining Corporation appoints new first deputy director

July 22 (UB Post) The Board of Directors of Erdenet Mining Corporation (EMC) held a meeting and appointed B.Shinebaatar the first deputy director of the EMC.

B.Shinebaatar has served as the state secretary of the former Ministry of Economic Development and sat on EMC's Board of Directors.

In addition to the general director, and first deputy director, the EMC's leadership consists of deputy directors of production, the economy, trade development, and social affairs.

Link to article


95th anniversary of Montsame: "Accuracy of news is more important than the promptness"

Ulaanbaatar, July 22 (MONTSAME) On the occasion of the historic 95th anniversary of MONTSAME, the first news agency of Mongolia, a scientific conference was held at the information center of the agency on July 22. Keynote speakers were the director A.Baatarkhuyag, former director T.Baasansuren, former director and incumbent Executive Director of the Confederation of Mongolian Journalists S.Altantsetseg, former director Ch.Erdene and the deputy director Sh.Batbold.

Mr Baasansuren talked about the "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" of Mongolia's first telegraphic news agency MONTSAME, first established as MONTA in 1921. He concluded that MONTSAME has made essential contributions to the Mongolian journalism and made the first steps of (1) introducing to Mongolia's journalism the promptness and simplicity of news reporting, (2) promoting and reporting about Mongolia in the world's most common languages, (3) delivering news about important events in the international arena to the domestic audience, (4) engraining the professional news writing and set the trend and perspective, (5) compiling the chronicles of events in Mongolia's history, (6) in dispatching the information about all of the latest and contemporary ideas and inventions and (7) in updating the design of newspapers and journals in Mongolia.

He highlighted that Mongolia were leading the Asian countries by its press freedom until 2000's, since when the press freedom has been degraded.

MONTSAME has lost its status as a regulatory agency of the Government of Mongolia in 1998 and became a public media organization in accordance with the Law on Freedom of Media.

The issue of the agency's status was elaborated by the next speakers, as well. Executive Director of the Confederation of Journalists S.Altantsetseg and the director of MONTSAME A.Baatarkhuyag raised concern about the agency's challenges and outlook.

Former director S.Altantsetseg said: "Accuracy of the news is more important than the promptness", in these times of fast-paced development of information technology.

Link to article


Did (Any of) My Saikhanbileg Wishes Come True?

By Julian Dierkes

July 20 (Mongolia Focus) In December 2014 when the first Saikhanbileg cabinet had been formed, I wrote a personal wishlist of actions I was hoping that cabinet might take.

J Erdenebat was the finance minister in that cabinet. All the more reason to revisit that wishlist now that the election has passed and  Erdenebat's MPP government is forming.

My Wishes Two Years Ago

Below are the topics I focused on in my 2014 wishlist and a quick sense if any of my wishes came trie.

The Economy

Well, OT is back on track. Underground construction is under way and production from the underground part of the mine should rev up in the early 2020s

The economy? Not so much.

Clearly, economic worries have been on top of Mongolians' minds as polls this Spring showed. And, for good reason. Unemployment, poverty, inflation, all these are challenges that persist. They have also led to a huge public debt (mostly papered over through Chinese bridge loans) which severely curtail Erdenebat government's space to manoeuvre or to consider policies that are in any way costly.


No, the grand coalition of the early Saikhanbileg primeministership did not lead to a bi-partisan attempt to actually address corruption.

Public Service

No, public service organization did not improve. There were no significant legislative initiatives in this regard, and the DP's attempts to replace virtually everyone in public service with a patronage, i.e. DP appointment continued unabated.

Higher Education

No, there was no significant action on higher education.

Long-term Risky Research for Diversification

Diversification remains a topic that shows up frequently in economic discussions, it also showed up in the recent election campaign. But, has there been strategic progress in this regard? Not that I can see.

Policy-Making Capacity

No big movement on this topic either. In fact, the election campaign with its lack of clearly identifiable policy differences between the parties illustrated the lack of focus on policy and evidence to determine policy.

A Role for "Repats"

The flurry of initial interest in the XUN party (yes, aware of the redundancy of "XUN party" since the "N" already stands for HAM=party), was also a flurry of mobilization by repats. Yet, the party got derailed, and many repats and other younger professionals seemed very frustrated by the limited choices in a two-horse race.

Support for Aimag Centres

Nothing of the sort.

Nurturing Democracy

This does seem the one element of DP rhetoric that has been pursued most consistently, though perhaps more by Pres Elbegdorj than PM Saikhanbileg.

Initiatives such as the devolution of decision-making to the local level and to citizens' halls continue, though seemingly in a fairly unsystematic manner.

Nurturing Democracy as Foreign Policy

This certainly has been one of the successes were the DP has been able to build on long-standing policy, like the Third Neighbour Policy and amplify that for Mongolia to continue to have a visibility on the global stage much beyond its (population) size or economic significance in the world.

Link to article


From yurt-dwellers to bankers, Mongolians worn out by 'corrupt' politics

Since its inception, Mongolia's parliamentary democracy has struggled with a legacy of corruption and economic misfortune -- and the electorate is now hungry for change. 

By Mari Valdur

July 21 (openDemocracy) Mongolia is known for the nomadic lifestyle of many of its citizens, its mines of global importance and for being an unlikely – if troubled – democracy landlocked by Russia and China. On 29 June, amid deep economic problems Mongolians showed their discontent by voting opposition Mongolian People's Party into the State Grand Khural (parliament) in a landslide victory.

The party took 85% of the seats in the parliament, defeating main rival the Democratic Party, which led a coalition from 2012-2016; about half of the elected candidates are first timers in the Khural. Voter turnout was above 72%, indicative of the electorate's overwhelming discontent, and its appetite for change. The election period raised questions that stretch beyond the immediate economic crisis, making many reflect on the state of democracy, trust and public ethics.

Ger District dwellers' future in the balance

Mongolia was hailed as one of the world's fastest growing economies by publications like The Economist and shortly after the country was hit by a severe economic crisis in 2012 fuelling social discontent. 

Approximately 22% of Mongolia's three million people live below the national poverty line. A large number of those experiencing the hardest conditions are first generation migrants to Mongolia's capital, Ulaanbaatar.

I spent election day with Altantsetseg*, a 32-year-old woman and her husband Ganbaatar, 39 and their family and friends to learn about an event that has caused much frustration and confusion over the past months. The couple was assigned to vote as part of Khoroolol, an administrative district in north-eastern Ulaanbaatar.

They live in an area made up of small houses and gers, round felt dwellings, which lend their name to the informal settlements that surrround Ulaanbaatar. More than half of the capital's 1.4 million inhabitants live in areas, which stretch far beyond the central social housing blocks, new apartment buildings and glass business towers in the main part of the city. There is no centralised water, sewage or heating systems in the slums, and overall infrastructure connections are often unreliable. Ulaanbaatar is the coldest and one of the most polluted capitals in the world during the winter months, as many households burn raw coal to heat their houses.

The years ahead will determine whether a whole new generation will grow up experiencing the same pollution, poverty and growing inequality. These are the stakes for voters like Altansetseg and Ganbaatar. 

From autocracy to democracy

The turbulent economic setting in which the election took place has many causes. The country's economy is dependent on international demand for its copper, coal, gold. The majority of Mongolian exports go the Chinese market, and sluggish growth there has had a severe impact on Mongolian economy. Aubrey Menard reported on this for openDemocracy at the height of tensions in December 2015.

Mongolians largely hold the Democratic Party responsible for the country's huge national debt – and voters expressed their desire for an alternative at the polls. But the history of popular discontent stretches back beyond the recent economic crisis. Before the 1990 'democratic revolution', the Mongolian People's Party led the single-party Mongolian People's Republic, aligning its governance with the Soviet Union. When the USSR began to crumble, massive protests caused the party's politburo to step back, giving way to negotiations between the party, parliament and the protesters and paving the way for the constitution to be reformed and creating a framework for the current multi-party system. 

The Democratic Party formed out of 1990 revolution protesters and is, alongside the Mongolian People's Party, the most prominent of Mongolia's political parties. Although the people's party positions itself centre-left and the democrats centre-right, there are no significant ideological differences between the two. Over the past seven democratic elections Mongolians have mostly voted for the party that is in opposition. 

This year the people's party took 65 seats out of 76, leaving only nine for the democrats, one for the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party and one for an independent candidate. The results came as a surprise as there had seemed to be a lot of support for smaller parties, individual candidates, and indeed the democrats. The elections this summer showed that Mongolia is not yet truly a multi-party democracy: of the 15 parties that were running only three made it to the parliament. And, it seems that a functional opposition will not be forthcoming.

The election system was changed in May from a partly proportionally representative model to first-past-the-post creating a disadvantage for smaller parties. Previously, changes to the election law were prohibited six months before the elections but this point was cut from the legislation in December 2015.

"Our salaries are among the lowest in the world"

I went to vote with Altantsetseg, Ganbaatar and their two young children and was kicked out of the room where voting took place – but not before seeing the impressively rigourous identitfication process, complete with fingerprint scanners and party observers. After the vote we returned to their house on the edge of the ger district. As we were cooking lunch and talking politics we were joined by Ganbaatar's brothers and colleagues, who had also voted that morning. They had recently opened a metal workshop making elegant benches and garden swings in his courtyard.

They indicated that the main sources of pre-election tension were election law, negative campaigning and, unsurprisingly, contemporary anxieties over economic security. Many at our lunch party thought that there wasn't enough information available in television and radio format about the 498 candidates who participated in the election. The main sources of information were leaflets about candidates that were left in post boxes and on doors. They had not received many leaflets because they'd rented out a billboard above their house as advertising space for candidates – convincing leafleteers that the household had already made up its mind. "We had to borrow the leaflets from others," Altantsetseg laughed.

Both Altantsetseg and Ganbaatar voted for the previous prime minister Chimediin Saikhanbileg of the democrats in the hope of seeing change and innovation. 

Everyone seems to put something in their pocket when in power, but Saikhanbileg actually also seems to do something," Altantsetseg explained. In Ganbaatar's opinion this is linked to the similar type of 'double deel' (traditional Mongolian clothing) politics in both parties, referring to the private sector interests of many serving members. "One family is often split between two parties. There are many examples, one brother in one, the other in another party, so that business can go on even if one party loses," Ganbaatar explained. Facing this perennial problem, the new president has made fighting corruption a key policy aim.

Several of the men saw a lack of steady jobs as the main problem, and enthusiastically speculated about the potential boost that investment in industry could bring. "If there were three or four big factories, many people would get jobs," said Ganbaatar's younger brother, Otgonbayar. "While people say it's very nice to have democracy, the reality is that [our] salaries are among the lowest in the world. He added that the government provides very minimal services to citizens: "Only paperwork, basic health services, such things. If someone's baby is very sick, for example, it is your family's problem or you need to look for help from international organisations."

Mongolians across the social spectrum seem worn out and frustrated by a politics of corruption and negative campaigning. People long for a change, responsibility and being able to trust the people they put forward to lead the country. Mandakh is in his early forties and works for private bank. After the results were revealed, he said he was confident that things would get better. "Once [the] economy is fine, everything is good," he said. "I'm quite happy with the results, because the economy will definitely improve. Also, this party said they won't raise any taxes on citizens."

 "The main reason why people voted for the Mongolian People's Party, from my point of view, is because the economy collapsed under this party," Mandakh said. "And it can collapse, right...we all know that gold, copper, coal prices change, can get so cheap...people can understand that." But, he added that people felt the prime minister may have been corrupt and were "insulted".

Mandakh also supported the MPP because of its cadre of highly educated and professionally experienced people – compared to what he ridiculed as the unprofessionalism and buffoonery of the democrats. "When such people lead the country, it is no surprise that the country is in huge debts," he added.

Curiously, the Mongolian People's Party's long past is not necessarily a negative factor for the electorate. Terrence Edwards, a reporter based in Ulaanbaatar, suggests that the it is structurally much stronger than the chaotic democrats, who struggle to unite behind their policies. Although people's party is seen by some as a link to Mongolia's socialist past of stagnant governance and underhand tactics, it is seen by others as the only option 'to get things done'.

At the end of our exchange, Mandakh opined that most acute problem in Mongolian society is that there is no "responsibility" –  an opinion that I heard being discussed over and over again by people of all political views and economic backgrounds. "Mongolia is a small country, almost everyone knows each other through someone. If there is some wrongdoing, and if they get punished, they will find someone to stop from the punishment from being enforced. This system is not working," he added.

* All names of the interviewees have been changed at their request

This article is published in association with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, which is seeking to contribute to public knowledge about effective democracy-strengthening by leading a discussion on openDemocracy about what approaches work best.

Link to article


Mongolian judges spend week in McAllen, Texas, experience court system

McALLEN, July 22 (The Monitor) — Four Mongolian judges walked into Cavender's Boot City on Wednesday. They bought cowboy hats for themselves and gifts for those back home.

Then, they went to a ranch to ride horses, cowboy hats and all. The "Texas horses" were much taller than what they're used to in Mongolia.

Cowboy hats and barbecue is exactly what they wanted out of their trip to south Texas, besides, of course, the legal education. The unexpected, pleasant surprise was Mexican food.

"It was so delicious," Nomin Munkhbayar said. "They don't have Mexican food back in Mongolia."

Munkhbayar was the facilitator for the four judges during their week in McAllen. The trip was sponsored through the Library of Congress. This is the third year of the Open World program, Munkhbayar said. And the Rotary helped out, finishing the trip with a luncheon on Friday.

But for the Mongolians to visit McAllen, of all places in the United States, was especially rare. There were five other judges who also came on the trip, but they spent their week in San Diego.

Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa made the suggestion to the administrative office of the courts, which has a relationship with the Library of Congress, to bring the Mongolians here.

The Rotary Club took care of many daily routines, like meals, transportation and scheduling. The Mongolians were given a tour of La Villa detention facility. They also observed as many different levels of court as possible throughout the week — magistrates, municipal, district, bankruptcy. They also got to attend court proceedings with Hinojosa.

The jury system "amazed" the four judges — that system doesn't exist in Mongolia. They were also impressed with the transparency of the American judicial system compared to that in Mongolia.

"The technology is really great," Munkhbayar said, motioning how high the paperwork stacks up in Mongolia. "We just have tens of thousands of papers."

Toward the luncheon, Munkhbayar spoke about the thrills of the trip for the judges and how much they learned.

"I'm sure their time here," she said, "will be some of the most precious moments of their lives."

Link to article


Video: Mongolian Judges Learn About American Judicial SystemKRGV, July 23


UN Committee against Torture to review Kuwait, Honduras, Burundi, Mongolia

GENEVA (20 July 2016) - The UN Committee against Torture is meeting in Geneva from 25 July to 12 August to review the following countries: Kuwait (25-26 July); Honduras (27-28 July); Burundi (28-29 July);  and Mongolia (2-3 August).

The above are among the 159 States parties to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and so are required to undergo regular reviews by the Committee on how they are implementing the Convention and the Committee's previous recommendations.   

The Committee, which is composed of 10 independent experts, will engage in a dialogue with the respective government delegations. The public sessions, held at Palais Wilson in Geneva, run from at 10:00 to 13:00 and 15:00 to 18:00 Geneva time. The sessions will be webcast at

Further information is available at:

The Committee has scheduled a press conference for Friday 12 August at 12.30 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva to discuss its findings on the respective States. These findings, officially known as concluding observations, will be published here on 12 August:

Link to release


Speaker extend greetings to 27th Summit of Presidents of Law Associations

Ulaanbaatar, July 21 (MONTSAME) The 27th Summit of the Presidents of Law Associations in Asia commenced on July 21. On this occasion, Chairman of the State Great Khural M.Enkhbold delivered greetings to the participants on Thursday, wished the international delegates a convenient stay in Mongolia and expressed gratitude.

It is deeply appreciated that the Mongolian Lawyers' Association is hosting such a major international event of the regional law organization, joined by 30 leaders of the lawyers' associations of 23 Asian countries, although the Mongolian Association itself was established only about 3 years ago, noted the Speaker.

This year's POLA Summit has chosen topics, which draw international and public attentions, such as "Independence of Constitutional Courts: Role of Lawyers and Law Associations" and "Mining and Improving Legal Capacity and Human Rights" for the agenda. "I am confident that the 27th POLA Summit will make progress and have positive outcomes in raising awareness of the public about human rights' violation issues in the regions and on protection of the collective legal interests.", he said.

Link to article


Mongolia to make 3 presentations at WIPO conference in Beijing

Ulaanbaatar, July 21 (MONTSAME) Beijing is hosting a High Level Conference on Intellectual Property for Countries Along the "Belt and Road" these days. The high level conference attracts leaders of intellectual property authorities of Asian, European and Oceanic countries.

Mongolian delegation is presenting three reports for general discussions. Also, Mongolia's intellectual property system is in the spotlight of the World Intellectual Property Organization of the UN and other countries, as it is a rather sophisticated system compared to that of other nations, officials say.

This conference aims at improving the role of intellectual property in society, economy and cultural lives of the world nations, strengthening intellectual property systems and defining the best model system of protection and handling of intellectual property.

While doing so, the conference's purpose is to discover a role-model system and organizations in the field of intellectual property.

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KEPCO, SoftBank, Newcom to jointly develop new renewable energy in Mongolia

July 20 (Pulse News) South Korea's state-run utility firm Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) will develop solar energy in Mongolia in partnership with Japan-based information technology company SoftBank Group Corp. and Mongolian energy development company Newcom Group

According to KEPCO on Tuesday, the Korean company signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to develop new renewable energy in Mongolia with SoftBank and Newcom. They will soon conduct a feasibility study on the development of a 30-megawatt solar power plant in Mongolia. 

SoftBank whose CEO, Masayoshi Son, has been longing for solar power development in Mongolia, will participate in the development project through a stake investment. Son has been calling for the need of eco-friendly power grid in Asia connecting Korea, Japan, Mongolia and China. Under his plan, clean energy produced in Mongolia would be transmitted to the rest Asian countries, a move that is expected to ease electric power shortage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

The Mongolian government has also become more aggressive in developing new renewable energy sources, unveiling its plan to boost power generation from the new renewable energy to 25 percent of the country's total energy output by 2025. With nearly 300 sunny days a year, the East Asian country has favorable conditions for solar power generation, an unnamed official at KEPCO said, adding that the nation with abundant natural energy sources like abundant sun lights and mines has a great potential in new renewable energy development. 

KEPCO signed another MOU for transmission facility improvement and business development with Mongolian state-run transmission company National Power Transmission Grid (NPTG). The Korean company plans to carry out a joint study for power system and capital investment with the Mongolian company. 

"As the East Asian country has rich mineral resources, we would have various investment opportunities in plant construction in the future," said KEPCO CEO Cho Hwan-eik.

Link to article

Link to Softbank announcement

Link to Newcom announcement


KEPCO to Expedite Advancement into Mongolian Energy Market with Soft BankBusiness Korea, July 20


Korea to Build Large-Scale Solar Power Plant in Mongolia

YEONGWOL, South Korea, July 22 (Korea Bizwire) – Mongolian solar energy company  Moshea Eco Energy and Idea Bridge, a Korean asset management firm, finalized a contract earlier this week to build a 50MW solar power plant on 100ha of land near a new airport, some 31km away from the capital Ulaanbaatar. 

The new plant will generate approximately 5 percent of Mongolia's total electricity production, and will be providing power for the new airport. 

The first phase (15MW) of the construction is expected to begin in September and finish by May 2017, whereas the second (15MW) and third (20MW) phases will be completed by the end of 2018 and early 2021, respectively. 

The $100 million cost of the endeavor will be funded by Idea Bridge, while Han Jae-won, chief manager at Yeongwol Energy Station, will serve as the overall project manager (PM) of the entire construction process.

Han Jae-won is among the leading pioneers in the solar power plant industry in Korea, who also played an important role in establishing the 40MW Yeongwol Solar Power Plant, the largest of its kind in Asia. The power plant, completed in 2014, was praised for its high efficiency, thanks to its unique construction method in which the plant's solar panels move according to the moving sun. 

In fact, after visiting the Yeongwol plant in 2015, the CEO of Moshea Eco Energy requested that the new plant in Mongolia be built in "exactly the same manner as the one in Yeongwol." 

Han was also appointed as a technology consultant for Moshea Eco Energy, and will help in exporting Korea's solar power-related technologies to Mongolian counterparts. He was also presented with an achievement award from Mongolia's energy department for his contributions to Mongolia's new and renewable energy development.

"The establishment of the Yeongwol Solar Power Plant played a big role in providing this opportunity to export Korean technology to help build the solar power plant in Mongolia," said Han.

Link to article


Korea Energy Agency Signed MOU with Mongolia for Energy Efficiency, New Renewable Energy

July 19 (Business Korea) The Korea Energy Agency (KEA) announced that it signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to cooperate in the energy efficiency and new renewable energy sector with the Mongolian Energy Development Center (EDC) in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia on July 18.

"The agreement, as part of the Mongolia-South Korea Business Forum, was attended by some 200 people from the Korean economic mission, the Mongolian government and related companies, said the KEA, "Following the signing ceremony of the MOU, KEA president Byun Jong-rip and the head of EDC Yadamjav Purevjav shared their opinions on the current status of the energy efficiency and new renewable energy sector, as well as ways of cooperation."

Through the agreement, the two institutions will interchange consultations so as to set up policies and systems for the Mongolian energy sector, and the information related to energy and climate change. In addition, they plan to develop promising projects of reducing greenhouse gases including a project of improving energy efficiency in electricity generation and industrial sectors.

According to the KEA, Mongolia is working out plans to push ahead with an energy efficiency enhancement project across all the sectors of the country, with the goal of resolving the shortages of electricity resulting from deterioration of the exiting power plants and rapid urban development.

Link to article


Korean discount store chain E-mart opens 1st store in Mongolia on July 28

July 14 (The Korea Times) E-mart will open its first store in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on July 28, as part of its efforts to find a new income source abroad.

The discount store unit of Shinsegae Group said Thursday that Altai Holdings, one of Mongolia's largest business groups, will operate the store.

E-mart and Altai signed a franchise contract in 2013 under which the former will share operational knowhow with the latter. In return, the Mongolian firm will pay E-mart a portion of its sales profit in royalties.

"We directly operate eight stores in China and one in Vietnam, meaning that we did everything on our own to open the stores. It is very time-consuming and requires us to invest a great deal of money," an E-mart official said.

"In contrast, we are entering Mongolia by forming a franchise partnership with a local business to more quickly open a store at lower costs. We will set up two or three more franchised stores in the near future, selling a wide range of consumer goods made by Korean small manufacturers."

E-mart said the store will be the largest retail outlet in Mongolia, consisting not only of shopping areas, but also other stores including a bank, an auto body shop and a hair salon. It will also offer comprehensive customer services concerning product refunds and exchanges and other customer relations matters, just as E-mart stores do in Korea.

"What E-mart offers will revolutionize the Mongolian retail industry. We are confident that we will be the top retailer in the country," the official said. "We will also act as a sales channel for domestic small enterprises seeking to export their goods to Mongolia and other Asian countries."

E-mart said more than 33 percent of what its Mongolian store sells will be goods made in Korea, adding that the store will stock about 12,000 different products from its 320 small business partners back home.

The company expects the store to earn about 30 billion won in sales in its first year.

Link to article


E-mart to launch operations in Mongolia in JulyThe Korea Herald, July 14

E-Mart opens its franchise store in MongoliaThe Dong-A Ilbo, July 15


S. Korea, Mongolia agree to seek free trade deal

ULAANBAATAR, July 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and Mongolia on Sunday agreed to seek a bilateral free trade pact, Seoul's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said, a move to build an institutional framework to bolster mutual trade and investment.

The agreement was reached during a summit between President Park Geun-hye and her Mongolian counterpart Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj. Park is currently in Ulaanbaatar for a two-day official visit after attending the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) that ended Saturday.

During the summit, the two sides also agreed to seek South Korea's participation in Mongolia's 14 projects, including some urban development schemes and infrastructure programs to build power plants and railways, and expand electricity transmission networks.

The projects are estimated to be worth US$4.49 billion in total. To support South Korea's participation in these projects, the two sides signed 20 memorandums of understanding (MOUs), mostly over bilateral economic cooperation.

The signing of the MOUs was the culmination of the efforts that the two nations have made to deepen and widen bilateral ties since they opened diplomatic ties in 1990.

To pursue the bilateral "economic partnership agreement" (EPA), the two sides concurred on the need to initiate joint research on it as early as late this year. The EPA is similar to a free trade deal, and focuses on industrial and investment sectors, Seoul officials explained.

Mongolia is pushing for a "third neighbor policy" aimed at reducing its heavy economic reliance on China and Russia, with the two major powers extending their geopolitical influence over the resource-rich, landlocked country.

As part of the policy drive, Mongolia has recently been striving to deepen ties with South Korea, Japan and the United States. Ulaanbaatar already signed its first EPA with Tokyo in February 2015, which went into force last month.

It took some six years for Japan and Mongolia to have their EPA effectuated after launching joint research on it in 2010. It may take less time for Seoul and Ulaanbaatar to conclude their EPA negotiations, Seoul officials said.

Through the envisioned EPA, the two sides hope to bolster their trade volume that has continued to decline in recent years. Their trade, which stood at $411 million in 2011, dipped to $292 million last year due largely to Mongolia's economic downturn.

Kang Seog-hoon, the senior presidential secretary for economic affairs, said that Mongolia had been reluctant to ink another free trade pact due to the public sentiment against the latest deal with Japan. Mongolians believe the balance of interest in the deal favors Japan.

Of the 20 MOUs singed on the occasion of the bilateral summit, several arrangements aim to create business opportunities for South Korea's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), seeking to advance into the Mongolian market with a population of 3 million.

During her visit here, Park is being accompanied by a large business delegation consisting of 109 South Korean firms, mostly SMEs.

Some of the two-way MOUs are related to infrastructure projects that Mongolia has been carrying out to support its massive development of mines, such as those to build power plants and infrastructure needed to transport mineral resources and expand their sales networks.

Ulaanbaatar's projects to construct power plants and energy transmission networks alone are estimated to be worth $2.7 billion.

The two countries also signed a pact under which South Korean will provide to Mongolia 170 buses, manufactured by South Korean firms, in the form of loans from the economic development cooperation fund (EDCF), a state fund designed to support developing countries.

In addition, the two sides signed an MOU over forestry cooperation to limit desertification in Mongolia and the spread of yellow dust from the Gobi Desert.

Other MOUs aim to bolster bilateral cooperation in mutual investment, new renewable energy, telemedicine, culture, agriculture, antidesertification, social welfare, health insurance, electronic administration, development of mineral resources and other areas.

Link to article


S. Korea, Mongolia hold biz forum

SEOUL, July 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's business community voiced hope Monday to expand economic partnerships with Mongolia and unite the Eurasian countries that have great potential to become a major global economic bloc.

"It is important for Eurasian countries to unite and connect to 'one continent' in order to develop Eurasia to the next level," Park Yong-maan, president of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), said at a business forum held in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar.

Park noted that the Eurasian region has high potential to grow into a major economic bloc on par with the European Union, saying the ties between Seoul and Ulaanbaatar will open the gateway to the possibility.

More than 300 South Korean and Mongolian officials and business leaders attended the event. It included visiting South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

"(The two countries) should begin building up cooperation," the KCCI president said, noting that the countries should establish a civilian network to enhance exchange and strengthen footholds for institutional cooperation.

He said the S. Korean firms will push to increase business ties with Mongolia and other central Asian countries and come up with detailed business plans necessary for each stage of cooperation.

Seoul-based firms also emphasized the importance beefing up cooperation in infrastructure development and new industrial sectors such as renewable energy, according to the KCCI.

Link to article


Pres. Park Calls S. Korean, Mongolians Biz People Modern-day Genghis KhansKBS World Radio, July 18


Sharp to build Mongolia's 1st megawatt-level solar power plant

TOKYO, July 19 (Xinhua) -- Japan's electronics giant Sharp Corp. announced on Tuesday to build a megawatt-level solar power plant in Mongolia with two other partners, the first of its kind in the landlocked Asian country.

Sharp and Japanese trading company Shigemitsu Shoji Co., Ltd., together with a local Mongolian partner Solar Power International LLC will "jointly participate in the first large scale solar power plant business in Mongolia," said Sharp on Tuesday.

An agreement was reached between all parties and a signing ceremony was completed in Ulaanbaatar, said the company.

Construction of the project will start later this month in the northern Mongolian city of Darkhan and the commercial operation date is scheduled on this December, according to the announcement.

With a planned land area of approximately 291,000 square meters, the solar power plant is expected to have installed capacity of 10 megawatts.

Upon completion of the project, clean energy can be supplied and reduction of greenhouse gas emission can be contributed to Mongolia, where coal fire power plants are still heavily relied on as their main energy source, said the Japanese electronics producer.

Earlier, Sharp has accepted takeover bid from the Hon Hai Precision Industry of China's Taiwan, better known as Foxconn. Sharp is reportedly stepping up its solar power business by utilizing the network of Foxconn.

Link to article

Link to Sharp announcement


SPAR, world's largest food retail voluntary chain, announces expansion into Mongolia

Dutch Prime Minister Rutte welcomes deal between SPAR International and Max Group at signing ceremony in Mongolia

19 July 2016 -- SPAR, the world's largest food retail voluntary chain, has announced a new partnership with conglomerate Max Group LLC, to open its first stores in Mongolia. The partnership, which will see up to 60 SPAR-branded multi-format stores in Mongolia by 2020, was made at an official signing ceremony which took place during the visit of the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, to Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar.

Max Group is one of Mongolia's leading retailers operating the existing chain of Max Food Supermarkets.  The new partnership will see these stores transfer to the SPAR brand, and the opening of new SPAR supermarkets from 2017 onwards. The Netherlands-based SPAR International reported global retail sales in 2015 of €33 billion from over 12,100 stores across four continents. Mongolia brings to 43 the number of countries where SPAR has operations globally.

Prime Minister Rutte was visiting Mongolia to attend the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit and to promote trade with the Netherlands in the region. Speaking at the signing of the contracts between SPAR and Max Group, the Prime Minister Rutte, said, "It is greatly encouraging to see a company like SPAR, which started as a partnership of Dutch retailers and wholesalers more than 80 years ago, helping bring retail best practice to the Mongolian marketplace."

SPAR International Managing Director, Tobias Wasmuht said "SPAR is delighted to be launching in Mongolia in partnership with the Max Group. We see Mongolia as a dynamic and rapidly developing consumer market with a growing demand for modern world class food retail. We are highly confident that we can build on our strong presence in the region by leveraging our scale with the SPAR operations in neighbouring Irkutsk, Russia and Inner Mongolia, China. This collaboration combined with our modern retail formats, supply chain and international sourcing as well as investing in the training and development in people locally will act as a significant support structure for the growth and development of SPAR in Mongolia. I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands who were instrumental in facilitating the partnership between SPAR and the Max Group."

Max Group LLC is a family business established in the 1990s which has a wide variety of operations and business interests including supermarkets, fast food restaurants, department stores, real estate, precious metal mining and is the country's largest dairy producer and milk bottler. Max Group LLC already employs over 2,500 people in Mongolia. Max Group President, Ganbaatar Dagvadorj said "Bringing the words leading retail chain, SPAR, to Mongolia is not just beneficial to Max Group it is a big opportunity for Mongolia as well and I am very excited about this partnership. Max is dedicated to bringing the SPAR's commitment to excellence in fresh, passion for quality, outstanding service and exceptional value to consumers in Mongolia."

Prime Minister Rutte gave an interview on location which can be viewed here

Link to release


China and Mongolia look to strengthen agricultural collaboration

July 20 (UB Post) With the aim to improve agricultural cooperation between Mongolia and China's Ningxia Province, a Chinese delegation led by the Director of the Ningxia Chamber of Commerce and Chinese representatives from meat production and processing facilities are going to pay a working visit to Mongolia from July 25 and 28.

In connection with the visit, the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) and Ningxia Chamber of Commerce are going to organize a business
meeting between entrepreneurs of the two countries on July 28.

The MNCCI is now conducting registration for entities interested in participating in the business meeting to exchange views on cooperation opportunities and to establish new business ties at their Foreign Relations and Cooperation Department.

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Eximbank Korea to provide US$44.6 million to Mongolia to upgrade transport system

SEOUL, July 18 (Yonhap) -- One of South Korea's state-run policy lenders announced Monday that it will provide US$44.6 million to Mongolia to help upgrade its transport system.

The Export-Import Bank of Korea said it will use $25 million of its economic development cooperation fund to replace aging buses with new ones in Mongolia and use another $19.6 million to build classrooms equipped with information and communications technology, and develop digital textbooks.

The bank said its projects in Mongolia could help South Korean firms expand their presence in the central Asian country.

On Sunday, the two countries signed a pact under which South Korea will provide to Mongolia 170 buses built by South Korean firms in the form of loans from the economic development cooperation fund meant to support developing countries.

The pact was reached during President Park Geun-hye's visit to Mongolia.

Link to article


Mayors of major Northeast Asian cities to arrive in Ulaanbaatar

July 21 ( The 3rd Northeast Asian Mayors Forum will be held in Ulaanbaatar on 3rd -5thAugust. On this occasion, the delegates will not just be from Northeast Asia; City mayors and deputies from China, South Korea, Russia, Japan, Hungary and France will convene to discuss green city development and eco energy solutions. Participants in the forum will include prominent speakers from international organizations such as UN Habitat, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Asian Foundation.

As a part of preparation of the forum, Donovan Story, a member of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) will make a presentation under the theme 'To aggrandize Northeast Asian policy measures for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)' as well as Nitta Ryuta from a project to curb air pollution in Ulaanbaatar, under the theme 'Measures to reduce pollution emitted by motor vehicles'.

Link to article


Ulaanbaatar Passport offers 'visas' to UB's choice bars and clubs


July 20 (UB Post) When Batjin Boldbat returned from studying abroad in the U.S. last September, he kept hearing the same thing from peers: "there's nothing to do in UB."

Batjin disagrees. And to prove that "there are plenty of things to do" here, he's launched Ulaanbaatar Passport, an amalgam of voucher cards, guidebook, and map artfully and playfully packaged to look like an actual passport.

The passport is the first project released by Tom Incubator, which Batjin co-founded. He now serves as Executive Director and Marketing Officer.

Each page of the UB Passport represents a "visa" to 15 different handpicked bars around UB, with special deals and discounts for each location. Passport holders must present the booklet to redeem their one-time-only discount and receive a stamp.

Batjin jokes, "If you were really drunk, it could seem like 15 different countries."

He adds, "You will get amazing deals at each place, hopefully make new friends, strengthen old ones, definitely be more drunk than before, know the city way more, and if you don't lose your passport, you'll have amazing memories."

The passport features Batjin's favorite bar and hangout, The Green Zone, as well as Revo Bar & Venue, London Pub, Grand Khan Irish Pub, and Los Angeles Lounge. Deals include two-for-ones, free entrance, and/or reduced prices on certain items or the entire tab.

The inspiration for UB Passport was personal. Batjin realized he had spent twenty-something years in UB and yet barely knew what it had to offer. He hopes UB Passport will pull back the curtain on what he now he sees as a city with a lot to offer culturally.

There was also a conscious effort to keep the project non-digital. Eschewing an app or card format, the team opted for a beautifully crafted paper passport created by lead designer Aldar Ganbold and co-designer Dulguunnaran Narabat.

"It's not like the Cloud," Batjin explains, "If you lose the passport, you lose those nights with your friends. But if you keep it, it's like a photo album. You can see it, and hopefully it will bring back memories."

UB Passport is available for 58,900 MNT. Find them on Facebook as Ulaanbaatar Passport.

Those who wish to purchase UB Passport must register on the company's Facebook page or website. There are a limited number of passports available, and the discounts must be redeemed within three months.

The team wants would-be customers to put in a little effort: "We don't want to make the passport or the idea of being savvy or curious cheap," Batjin says. "Not in the money sense, but cheap as in if we print it out in thousands and just throw it out there."

The first installation of UB Passport spotlights bars and nightlife, but Batjin hopes to eventually release passports for museums, cafes, workshops, and other local cultural gems.

Link to article


Coffee shops in UB

July 16 ( The best place for the first date, friends meeting and meeting with partners besides charging your body with good coffee is definitely the coffee shops. Recently, many coffee shops are opening in UB and one might hesitate where to drink coffee? Therefore, we are delivering you the brief information of coffee shops operating in UB.









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Park meets Mongolia's new parliamentary chief, prime minister

ULAANBAATAR, July 18 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye on Monday held talks with Mongolia's new parliamentary chief and prime minister as part of her efforts to strengthen economic and political ties with the resource-rich country.

Park met separately with Miyeegombo Enkhbold, the chairman of the State Great Assembly, Mongolia's unicameral legislature, and then Prime Minister Jargaltulga Erdenebat.

Both Mongolian politicians were inaugurated earlier this month after their Mongolian People's Party (MPP) won a landslide victory in last month's general elections. The MPP bagged 65 seats in the 76-member legislature.

Mongolia has a dual executive system in place. Under the system, the president, elected by a popular vote, takes charge of defense and foreign affairs, while the prime minister, selected by the parliament, leads economic and other domestic affairs.

During her meetings with the two politicians, Park took note of the fact that the bilateral relationship has deepened and widened in various areas including trade, culture and infrastructure development.

Park also called on them to help establish a business environment favorable to South Korean firms pushing to expand their investments in the Mongolian market. She also asked them to support the efforts to "realize the potential of bilateral economic cooperation" through various measures including the signing of an economic partnership agreement (EPA).

During a summit between Park and Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj on Sunday, the two countries agreed to seek the EPA, similar to a free trade agreement. They have decided to launch a joint study on it as early as late this year.

Touching on the issue of North Korea's nuclear and missile threats, Park stressed the need for the international community to put up a united front and faithfully implement the U.N. Security Council sanctions that were imposed in response to Pyongyang's nuclear test in January and long-range rocket test the following month.

In her talks with Enkhbold, Park pointed to active exchanges that the legislatures of the two nations have made, expressing hope that such exchanges would serve as a catalyst for the development of relations between South Korea and Mongolia.

Enkhbold is considered a pro-South Korea politician in Mongolia. He visited South Korea in 2000, 2001 and 2005, when he was mayor of Ulaanbaatar. He also visited Seoul in 2008 and 2009 while serving as vice prime minister.

Link to article


Strong history of South Korea-Mongolia relationship provides backdrop for bilateral summitArirang, July 15

Park receives gift horse from Mongolian presidentYonhap, July 17


Experts see room for improvement in S. Korea-Mongolia economic ties

July 19 (Arirang News) Mongolia has the world's second largest copper reserves and the fourth biggest coal deposits.

So it should come as little surprise that the mining sector is the main driver of the Mongolian economy -- accounting for almost a quarter of the country's GDP.

During its transition from a socialist country to a market-driven economy -- such resources were a stepping stone to achieve economic growth.

Until recently, Mongolia has experienced double-digit growth.

It has now somewhat slowed, due mainly to a decline in raw material prices, as well as slowing foreign investment.

Korea and Mongolia established diplomatic relations in 1990, and have maintained friendly ties in various areas.

Bilateral trade stood at a mere million U.S. dollars in 1990, but surged more than 100-fold to 292 million dollars in 2015.

Investment amounted to 240-thousand dollars in 1994, and jumped to 38.eight million last year.

While growing, the figures pale in comparison to those of neighboring countries, like China, Russia and Japan -- all of which have established strategic partnerships with Ulaanbaatar, a notch higher than the "comprehensive partnership" Korea has with Mongolia.

"Since establishing a comprehensive partnership during the previous administration, we hope President Park's visit will help us develop ties beyond that."

Currently, over 500 Korean corporations operate in Mongolia, and conglomerates like Hyosung Group and POSCO Energy have been involved in infrastructure projects.

More opportunities could be in the works as Mongolia is pursuing a national project dubbed "Transit Mongolia" -- to overcome its landlocked geographic location with a trade, transport and logistics network.

It's also pushing for large-scale infrastructure projects in railway, roads and terminals over the next five years.

"Following summit talks, it's expected that investment will expand in the areas discussed. Whether that be mining or construction. This will also create more jobs. Korea should also be open to other sectors, like ICT."

However, Korea still has to overcome problems, such as a lack of information and expensive transportation costs.

One solution is this is by boosting economic deals.

"Mongolia is also seeking to develop a system for stable and efficient trade and investment. Also, Korea may feel more pressure to establish an Economic Partnership Agreement with Mongolia, as neighboring countries are stepping up interest, and its major rival Japan recently did so."

They add that support is needed from the government level -- by holding regular high level and summit talks to seek opportunities for Korean companies, through partnerships with local firms.

Link to article (and video)


President Park's state visit to Mongolia: On-set interviewArirang, July 18

Park arrives in Seoul after five-day trip to MongoliaYonhap, July 18

Park puts forward direction of S. Korea-Mongolia economic cooperationYonhap, July 18

Park meets S. Korean residents in MongoliaYonhap, July 17

Mongolian version of Park's autobiography republishedYonhap, July 17


Premier Li pledges to expand cooperation with Mongolia

July 14 (State Council, PRC) On July 14, Premier Li Keqiang and Mongolian Prime Minister Jargaltulga Erdenebat held a meeting at the Mongolian Government Palace in the capital Ulaanbaatar.

Premier Li expressed congratulations to the newly appointed Mongolian PM, saying that China and Mongolia are good neighbors, friends and partners, and comprehensive strategic partnership between the two sides is growing.

The two countries respect each other's core interests and major concerns, said the Premier, who added that China respects Mongolian sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, as well as the independent choices of Mongolia for its development path.

The Premier expressed appreciation for Mongolia's firm stance on the "One China" policy, saying he hopes to work with the new Mongolian government to consolidate political mutual trust, maintain high-level exchanges, and increase practical cooperation in various fields, all to bring benefits to people of the two countries.

Premier Li stressed that the economies of China and Mongolia are highly complementary, which brings new opportunities to further cooperation. He said China is willing to carry out the connection of the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative to Mongolia's "prairie" road program, and start a feasibility study soon on a free trade agreement.

He also expressed willingness to expand deep processing of agricultural and animal products, housing and infrastructure construction into new highlights of cooperation, and make new breakthroughs.

China hopes to enhance bilateral cooperation in the financial sector, with efforts to expand currency exchanges, said the Premier, adding that he looks forward to closer cultural exchanges, to enhance understanding and friendship between people of the two countries.

Erdenebat welcomed the first Mongolia visit by Premier Li, who will attend the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in the capital.

Mongolia appreciates China's long-term support of its economic and social development, said Erdenebat. The new Mongolian administration will continue to maintain the traditional friendship and enhance the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.

Economic and trade cooperation is one of the cornerstones of the ties between the two nations. Mongolia is willing to strengthen mutual connections, and deepen bilateral cooperation in agriculture, animal husbandry, energy and mining, infrastructure, and port construction.

Mongolia welcomes Chinese investment, holds a positive attitude toward an early feasibility study on a bilateral free trade agreement, and appreciates China's support in the organization of ASEM by Mongolia, said Erdenebat.

After the talks, Premier Li and Erdenebat witnessed the signing of 15 cooperation agreements in trade, economy, technology, infrastructure, and radio & television.

Prior to the meeting, the Mongolian prime minister held a grand welcome ceremony for visiting Premier Li at Chinggis Khaan Square.

A guard of honor and cavalry in traditional clothing were lined up in front of the Mongolian Government Palace.

Erdenebat greeted Premier Li, then the Premier received flowers from a local Mongolian girl. Erdenebat and Premier Li reviewed the guard of honor together.

Later on, Premier Li and Erdenebat also attended a launching ceremony of a development center for children with disabilities, which was built with help from China.

Link to release

Link to China MFA statement


Chinese Premier's wife donates 1 million CNY in resources to a UB children's homeUB Post, July 18


Vietnam PM's tour of Mongolia charts new course for bilateral ties

July 18 (VNA) Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc left Ulan Bator for Hanoi to wrap up his official visit to Mongolia from July 13-14 and participation in the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit from July 15-16.

The visit holds significant meaning since both Vietnam and Mongolia had new governments, Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son said in a press interview.

It offered a good chance for the two countries' leaders to seek to reinforce mutual trust, cement traditional friendship, and promote collaboration across sectors, particularly trade and economics, he said.

The visit has opened up a new era for Vietnam-Mongolia cooperative ties and reaped specific outcomes, he noted.

First and foremost, the two sides agreed to maintain high-level delegation exchanges at ministerial and sectoral levels as well as improve the efficiency of bilateral dialogue mechanisms to make it easier for across-the-board cooperation.

Furthermore, they concurred to embracing economic and trade links, regarding this as a cornerstone in the bilateral cooperation in the coming time, especially in agro-forestry-fisheries, mining, oil, and garment-textile, in addition to cultural exchange, education, tourism, labour, and protection of citizens.

Last but not least, the two sides reiterated continuous cooperation and mutual assistance at regional and international forum such as the United Nations (UN), ASEM, and ASEAN Regional Forum, to ensure peace, stability in the region and beyond, particularly navigation and aviation safety, security and freedom in the East Sea, and settlement of disputes via peaceful means and in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)

Deputy FM Bui Thanh Son also highlighted remarkable contributions of Vietnam to ASEM 11.

He said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc was the first speaker among three leaders representing 53 ASEM members to deliver a speech at the 15th Asia-Europe Business Forum and he also spoke at a plenary session on "Two Decades of Partnership: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead".

Vietnam's new initiative on creative education and human resource building for sustainable development received warm support from many ASEM members, the diplomat noted.

Participants highly valued Vietnam's practical suggestions to increase ASEM cooperation in the third decade, specifically improving infrastructure, trade, finance, information technology, human resources, and sub-Mekong regional connectivity.

Vietnam also recommended attaching ASEM cooperation with sustainable development goals such as poverty reduction, better social welfare policies, and response to global challenges like climate change, natural disasters, sea level rise, and saltwater intrusion.

ASEM members pledged to continue coordination with Vietnam to realise her initiatives on natural disaster response and skills training for green growth in 2016, Son said.

Participants shared Vietnam's viewpoints to increase dialogues and cooperation in a constructive manner to address any disputes based on international law, without unilateral actions, threats to use or use of forces as these could raise tensions and complicate the situation.

They also agreed to build trust and respect legal and diplomatic procedures in according with international law to maintain peace, security and stability in Southeast Asia, especially in the East Sea , to promote collaboration, connectivity and prosperity in Asia-Pacific and around the world, Son added.

Vietnam also took an active and leading role in implementing numerous cooperation initiatives in ASEM framework over the past 20 years, he confirmed.

On the fringes of the summit, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc met with leaders from other ASEM member countries to discuss concrete measures to enhance cooperation, he added.

He concluded that ASEM is an important cooperation mechanism to promote interests, economic and security concerns among members.

ASEM brought together 19 out of the 25 strategic and comprehensive partners of Vietnam, bringing 70 percent of foreign direct investment (FDI) and global trade value and 80 percent of tourists to Vietnam.

Vietnam has signed and is negotiating free trade agreements with 47 out of the 50 ASEM members, he cited.

Link to article


FM Paolo Gentiloni inaugurates Italian Embassy in Ulaanbaatar

July 15 (UB Post) The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy Paolo Gentiloni inaugurated the Italian Embassy in Ulaanbaatar on Thursday.

Paolo Gentiloni has arrived in Ulaanbaatar to participate in the 2016 ASEM Summit.

During the Italian Embassy's inauguration ceremony, Minister Gentiloni stressed that ancient relations between Italy and Mongolia – dating back to the thirteenth century and formalized in 1970 – have evolved in a very positive way in recent years, both in political and economic terms.

"Mongolia has enormous potential and Italy is ready to support their growth," said Gentiloni, noting that the opening of the Italian Embassy is a great step forward for the development of further close relations between the two countries.

Link to article


Visa waiver agreement signed between Mongolia and Malta

Ulaanbaatar, July 14 (MONTSAME) Prime Minister of Mongolia J.Erdenebat met Thursday with his  Maltese counterpart Joseph Muscat, at the State House.

The Mongolian Premier expressed thanks to Joseph Muscat for visiting Mongolia to participate in the ASEM Summit, and said that Mongolia attaches a great significance to friendly relations and cooperation cultivated with countries of the European Union (EU) in frames of the Third Neighborhood policy. Agreements signed today will contribute to boosting the Mongolia-Malta relations and cooperation, J.Erdenebat said.

The sides discussed potential spheres of bilateral relations and cooperation, and then concurred to collaborate in the trade, investment and education sectors.

Malta will chair the EU from January of 2017, Joseph Muscat said, and pointed out that his country will maintain the cooperation with Mongolia in these fields.

On the sidelines of this meeting, L.Purevsuren, the Mongolian Minister of Foreign Affairs and George William Vella, the Maltese Foreign Minister signed intergovernmental agreements on air services and on exempting diplomatic passport holders of the countries from visa requirements.

Link to article


Russia raises its concerns over impact on Lake Baikal of Mongolia's hydropower plans

Prime minister raises the issue on sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Ulaanbaatar.

July 22 (The Siberian Times) The concern is expressed amid fears that before any planned hydro developments come on stream, Baikal - the oldest and deepest lake in the world - has entered a new period of naturally low water levels which may last for a quarter of century. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree according to which was set a new official 'minimum' level for Baikal is 455.5 metres above sea level. The previous level set in 2001 was 456 metres.

Mongolia has announced plans to build a cascade of hydropower plants, including one on the Selenga (Shuren) River, and two on Selenga tributaries - the Orkhon and Egyin Gol. Russian officials see this as posing a 'serious ecological threat' to Lake Baikal. Up to 50% of its annual water inflow is from the Selenga.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko said in advance of the session in Ulaanbaatar: 'We will certainly speak about Baikal ecology and will continue to discuss collaboration in the Russia-Mongolia-China format and a number of other issues.'

The Russian Natural Resources and Ecology Ministry opposes the Mongolian hydropower project. As previously reported, it managed to persuade the World Bank to put a freeze on financing of the Mongolian hydropower plants and offered Mongolia alternative supplies of Russian electric power. 

Expanding the capacity of the Gusinoozersk-Darkhan power transmission line is seen as an option. 

Another possibility is to make Mongolia a transit country for Russian electric power supply to China.

Lake Baikal is a national heritage of Russia, on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and Selenga is the main tributary of this lake, which means the construction of a dam needs to be coordinated with the Russian government and UNESCO.

The lake contains around 20% of the globe's unfrozen fresh water. In setting a new official level for Baikal, a Russian government document states: 'The low-water period continues in 2016 in the basins of Lake Baikal and the Angara-Yenisei reservoir.

'The level of water in the Angara-Yenisei reservoir did not recover during the 2015-2016 autumn-winter season, thus making possible another threat of an emergency situation in the region, caused by the low water.'

TASS reported citing the government: 'The minimum mark parameter will help ensure stable thermal power and water supply for households and industrial facilities in the downstream reach of the Irkutsk HPP during the low water content period. 

'At the same time, the mark of 457.85 metres will correspond to the statutory threshold level of safety at industrial and hydropower facilities during the high water period.'

Since 1962, the water level of Lake Baikal has been observed to drop below the 456-metre mark 11 times. The record low mark was 455.27 metres in 1982.

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New German Ambassador presents letter of credence

Ulaanbaatar, July 20 (MONTSAME) President of Mongolia Mr Ts.Elbegdorj received letter of credence from the newly accredited Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Germany H.E. Mr Stefan Duppel on Wednesday.

Then, the President held a meeting with Mr Duppel and congratulated on his appointment to Mongolia. Mr Elbegdorj also mentioned that the ASEM Summit has completed with success in Ulaanbaatar and noted that the delegation headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken effective part in the event.

He also underlined that the Ambassador is likely to succeed in his mission for deepening the bilateral ties, because Mongolia is a very open democracy.

Mr Stefan Duppel expressed his gratitude with his appointment to Mongolia and pledged to work thoroughly for widening the ties between our two countries.

Highlighting that Germany is the key partner of Mongolia in the European Union, the President also mentioned that Mongolia and Germany have been maintaining close interactions from earlier times and collaborating in the consolidation of democracy. Mongolia has seen a parliamentary election recently, informed the President and added that the composition of new cabinet is underway.

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Mongolian peacekeepers awarded NATO Medals

July 22 (UB Post) The third shift of Mongolian peacekeepers received the honor of being awarded the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Medal earlier this month for taking part in Operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan.

Many important guests, including Commander of the Kabul Security Force Brigadier Ian Thomas, attended the award ceremony. Mongolian peacekeepers were congratulated by other troops that were present at the ceremony.

Foreign peacekeepers highly complimented Mongolian peacekeepers saying, "It's always encouraging to work together with Mongolian troops. Mongolian soldiers are responsible warriors who never lose focus or sight of their target."

Mongolian peacekeepers showcased the traditional cultures and customs of Mongolia, staging a cultural performance and Mongolian wrestling match at the end of the award ceremony.

Resolute Support led by NATO is a non-combat mission which provides training, advice, and assistance to Afghan security forces and institutions. Resolute Support was launched on January 1, 2015 and since then, three shifts of Mongolian peacekeeper have served in Afghanistan. The mission includes approximately 13,000 personnel from both NATO and partner countries, and operates with one hub in Kabul and four spokes in Mazar-e Sharif (northern Afghanistan), Herat (western Afghanistan), Kandahar (southern Afghanistan), and Laghman (eastern Afghanistan).

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President Elbegdorj speaks to UN Secretary-General on deteriorating situation in South Sudan

July 21 ( Earlier today (21st of July), President Ts.Elbegdorj spoke with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon by phone regarding the security of Mongolian peace-keepers in South Sudan, where there has been a sharp deterioration of the political situation. First of all, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon congratulated the Mongolian President for the successful organization of the 11th ASEM summit in Mongolia. President Ts.Elbegdorj said Mongolian peace-keepers in Mongolia are under pressure and discussed the possibility of moving the troops in a short space of time. The President requested resolute measures to ensure an improved situation regarding supplies and security for the Mongolian troops deployed in South Sudan. 

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said 'the security of UN workers and peace-keepers is important for UN. We are focusing on it. We will discuss your suggestion. I will present your suggestion at the meeting of the UN Security Council. Finally, let us continue to work effectively. Good luck to you'.

They arranged to meet each other at the UN General Assembly conference, which will be held in September.

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Turkish Ambassador: Turkey safeguarded its democracy

July 18 (MONTSAME) In connection with the incident happened in Turkey, where a military group attempted cour d'etat during the night of July 16, Ambassador of Turkey to Mongolia Mr Murat Karagoz briefed Mongolian journalists about the present situation in Turkey, on July 17.

Prior to his statement, Mr Kazagoz conveyed gratitude for the successful organization of the ASEM Summit.

This conflict happened while the President of Turkey Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan was on a vacation in his country home, he began the statement. The Turkish armed forces did not entirely participate in this armed conflict, however, there was a ganged group in the military force, who attacked the National Assembly.

In regard of the situation, the Grand National Assembly called an irregular session and the heads of political parties in the parliament have issued a statement.

In these critical times, President Erdogan appealed the nation that the time has come to protect their democracy from the bandits. The people have fought fiercefully against and stopped the illegal forces in unity of their government.

As for now, some 3,000 military personnel was arrested and a hundred soldiers were killed. With the number of ordinary citizens, number of the fallen totals to over 160, and the wounded, 1,400.

The criminals will be sentenced to proper legal responsibility, stated Mr Karagoz. Eight persons, who organized this coup attempt have escaped to Greece on a helicopter, and asked for asylum. Peace has been restored in Turkey, stated Mr Karagoz. Fortunately, we have not received any sad news of a Mongolian national to have been afflicted by the conflict, he added.

Many countries and international organizations have sent messages notifying their support for the lawful Government of the Republic of Turkey, ambassador of Turkey concluded his statement.

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ASEM summit concludes in Mongolia with declaration to enhance connectivity

ULAN BATOR, July 16 (Xinhua) -- The 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit concluded Saturday in the Mongolian capital with a chair's statement and an Ulan Bator Declaration that emphasizes the need to promote connectivity.

"Enhancing connectivity across diverse domains is an important and commonly shared objective," according to the declaration issued after a two-day event under the theme of "20 Years of ASEM: Partnership for the Future through Connectivity."

The summit, gathering heads of state and government or high-level representatives of 51 European and Asian countries as well as leaders of international organizations, set course for enhancement of the inter-regional process in the next decade while celebrating its 20th anniversary.

"Connectivity will be mainstreamed into all ASEM cooperation frameworks. Given the growing interdependence between the two regions, Asia and Europe cannot be treated separately in any area of ASEM activities," the declaration said.

Representatives also exchanged views on the current regional and global political and socio-economic situation, and discussed ways to address the existing and emerging challenges to peace, security, stability and sustainable development.

"As shifting geopolitics lead to greater uncertainties and volatility in the world, ASEM will reinforce its role as a catalyst for effective multilateralism and a rules-based international order," it said.

ASEM is an intergovernmental forum for dialogue and cooperation aimed to foster political dialogue, reinforce economic cooperation and promote collaboration in other areas of common interest.

The next ASEM summit will be held in Brussels, Belgium, chaired by the European Union, in 2018.


China remains top trade partner for EU among ASEM in 2015

BRUSSELS, July 14 (Xinhua) -- China was the leading destination for European Union (EU) exports and leading source of EU imports in 2015 among the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) partners, accounting for a third of EU exports to ASEM partners, according to data issued on Thursday by Eurostat.

The statistics agency said the figure of EU exports to China stood at 170.4 billion euros (189.3 billion U.S. dollars), accounting for 33 percent of EU exports to all ASEM partners.  Full story

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ASEM11 CHAIR'S STATEMENT - 11th ASEM Summit "20 Years of ASEM: Partnership for the Future through Connectivity"


Statement of ASEM Leaders on International Terrorism, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 15 July 2016


Photo Report of 11th ASEM Summit

July 18 ( Mongolia has successfully hosted the 11th ASEM Summit, attended by 11 heads of state, 23 heads of government, 13 foreign ministers, 3 special envoys, and 2 heads of international organizations. 

12th ASEM Summit to be held in Brussels, Belgium, chaired by the European Union, in 2018. 






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21 billion spent from state budget on ASEM

July 18 (UB Post) Foreign Affairs Minister L.Purevsuren reported that a total of 21 billion MNT was budgeted and spent for infrastructure, landscaping, vehicles, and equipment to provide security for guests, transportation, and organizing the venue for the 11th ASEM Summit.

Upon successfully concluding the hosting of the summit, Foreign Affairs Minister of Mongolia L.Purevsuren reviewed the summit, its outcomes, and significance for Mongolia.

Beginning the meeting, Minister L.Purevsuren emphasized that numerous essential projects, namely the construction of a residential village to accommodate the high level guests and delegates, the improvement of hotel services, landscaping, and the preparation and training of volunteers, were carried out for over a year since the appointment of a national council to organize the 11th ASEM Summit pursuant to a decree by the President of Mongolia.

As a part of organizing the ASEM Summit, 4,400 personnel were involved in advanced training, with 620 people trained in providing services, 15 people were trained in hotel management in South Korea, and 50 people received meeting manager training overseas prior to the summit.

Fourteen people were trained as international conference interpreters in India, six people were prepared in professional financing by the European Union, and nearly 1,100 volunteers received training.

The economic gains from flights, hotel bookings, sales, and service provision have been roughly estimated to be eight to 10 million USD.

L.Purevsuren highlighted that Mongolia is not only gaining a stronger international reputation by successfully holding the ASEM Summit, but the construction, human resource skills, knowledge, and experience obtained by Mongolian participants as a result of the summit will be retained, becoming the foundation to host future international events.

Concluding the press conference, the Foreign Minister noted that nearly 12,000 people provided a helping hand in the organization of ASEM, and expressed his thanks to all participating domestic companies, volunteers, NGOs, state servants, mobile service operators, investors, sponsors, private sector participants, and media outlets.

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ASEM's online content reaches 1 billion readers

July 18 (UB Post) President Ts.Elbegdorj acknowledged reports from the ASEM Business Forum, ASEM People's Forum, Parliamentary Forum, and, for the first time, the Youth Forum. He noted that a closed and attention-grabbing discussion was held in the retreat session, allowed leaders to have a fruitful discussion.

He added, "The people of Mongolia enjoyed the ASEM delegates' presence. Also, through the hard work of media delegates, ASEM-related online content reached more than 1 billion people around the world. It was great exposure for our country."

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Belgium to host the 12th ASEM Summit in 2018

July 18 (UB Post) European Council President Donald Tusk thanked Mongolia for hosting the 11th ASEM Summit and in response to recent developments in France and Turkey, stressed the importance of global dialogue, cooperation, mutual respect, and understanding. "Let the message of solidarity of our entire community in the face of terrorism be an important message to the world. Turkey is a key partner for Europe. The EU fully supports democratic elections and the constitutional government," said Tusk.

Tusk emphasized the importance of collaboration between Asia and Europe, and the opportunity to make a difference together. He also announced that Belgium has been selected to host ASEM12 in 2018.

European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker thanked the host country, remarking that it was his third time in Mongolia. He noted that since his first visit to the country in 1998, "the progress of this country has been marvelous." He complimented the President of Mongolia for hosting and chairing the Summit.

President of Myanmar U Htin Kyaw thanked Mongolia for its hospitality, expressed condolences and solidarity for the people of France, noted that ASEM's formal and informal discussions were fruitful, and that new ideas, including enhancing ASEM's three pillars, were presented.

"Areas of common interest in regional and international scale included non-traditional security issues of terrorism and extremism, the rule of law, and inclusive growth," said President Kyaw. Kyaw also announced that Myanmar will host the next ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting in 2017.

Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico remarked that the traumatic events in Turkey and France had touched all the leaders present, and said, "The last two days showed us how turbulent the times we live in are, and how much the Asia-Europe community is needed." He thanked the Government of Mongolia for its hospitality and mentioned that leaders discussed important topics in the summit's sessions, including climate change, 2030 Sustainable Development Goals,  and disaster risk management.

Prime Minister Fico said "candid and constructive" discussion on a number of issues of shared concern for Asia and Europe were important for the leaders.

After remarks from the ASEM delegates, journalists asked questions about maritime issues, topics important to Mongolia that were discussed, President Juncker's impressions of Mongolia's chairmanship, and whether the coup attempt in Turkey would change its status  and relationship with the European Union.

The President of Mongolia closed the press conference by thanking all Mongolians involved with organizing the summit, including the volunteers, security, service, and government staff hosting 2,500 international delegates and 700 media representatives.

"All the volunteers, all people, learned something from organizing this. That will stay. A young man came up to me yesterday and said, 'We are ready to organize the Olympics now, summer or winter.' We may indeed bid for it in 2050," he said.

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South China Sea and Nice Attack Preoccupy Asian, European Leaders at ASEM

Security issues were at the fore in Ulaanbaatar, but Mongolia shone as a host to the delegates.

By Peter Bittner

July 15 (The Diplomat) The 11th Asia-Europe Meeting Summit kicked off on Friday morning as Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj welcomed leaders from 51 ASEM member countries to Ulaanbaatar, the nation's capital.

The presidents of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Myanmar, South Korea, and Switzerland are among the 10 heads of state in attendance for the two-day event. Other high-profile participants included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

In his opening remarks, Elbegdorj said that his country has placed "a paramount importance on the ASEM Summit, which is currently in the global spotlight."

Elbegdorj's introductory speech focused on commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Asia-Europe Meeting, whose theme is "Partnership for the Future Through Connectivity."

Delegates from the two continents held a moment of silence at the ASEM Summit's opening ceremony for victims of the horrific truck attack in Nice that left over 80 dead during an annual Bastille Day celebration.

EU Council President Donald Tusk said Europe stands by France. "It's a tragic paradox that the subject of this attack were people celebrating liberty, equality, and fraternity. Today we all, Europe and Asia, stand united with the French people and their government. We condemn this tragedy and keep our fight against extreme violence and hatred."

Leaders from across the globe offered their condolences and condemned the terror attack during the Summit, including Chancellor Merkel, who called her fellow delegates "united" in their shock at news of the violence.

The tragedy in France was an important topic, but was not the only significant security issue discussed in Mongolia on Friday.

ASEM was the first major international conference following Tuesday's ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that China's claims on the disputed waters and territories in the South China Sea are without merit.

"It is necessary to have a peaceful resolution for affairs involving the South China Sea," Japanese Prime Minister Abe said in remarks in Ulaanbaatar.

"We should attach great importance to the rule of law and hold onto the principle of not tolerating any attempt to unilaterally change the status quo by force," said Abe.

Before the Summit, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou warned that discussion of the issue at ASEM would not be welcome. China boycotted the arbitration process and claims the tribunal's ruling is unjustified.

A spokesperson from China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the court's finding "void of legality and representativeness" on Thursday.

At ASEM, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay called on all parties to exercise restraint regarding the matter but affirmed his country's respect for the tribunal and its ruling. He urged for a peaceful resolution to the matter.

Following a morning of bilateral talks—there are 80 slated in total over the two days—the delegates adjourned to the nearby Mongolian countryside to enjoy a traditional Naadam sports festival.

The lavish outdoor venue nestled in a sprawling valley was dotted with guest gers, or yurts, a small stadium, and many outdoor booths filled with a wide variety of complimentary food and beverages, as well as souvenirs for sale.

In an hours-long performance for its high-level guests, Mongolia put its finest cultural gems on display. In between the majestic sounds of a traditional orchestra, fully replete with horse-head fiddle, there were wrestling, contortionism, and horse-racing exhibitions, among others.

Mongolia hopes the 11th ASEM Summit will be the first of many major international meetings over the coming years, and that it can capitalize on its strategic location between East Asia and Western Europe by establishing a strong reputation as a premiere global venue.

"Mongolia, located at the conjunction point between Asia and Europe, is ready to facilitate the exchange and connectivity between the two continents," said Elbegdorj.

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ASEM summit overshadowed by Nice, Brexit, South China Sea rowDeutsche Welle, July 15


PM Lee Hsien Loong: EU-Asean trade pact would deepen ties

He hopes recent EU-S'pore FTA will be building block for wider pact with Asean

July 17 (Straits Times) Europe and Asia ought to deepen ties, and a practical way to do so is through a European Union-Asean free trade agreement (FTA), said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.

Such a pact would enhance trade and people-to-people ties between the two continents, but will take some time given the EU has 28 members - 27 if Britain leaves - and Asean has 10 members, he noted.

But it can be worked on, Mr Lee said in an interview with Singapore reporters at the end of a four-day official visit to Mongolia where he attended the two-day Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) Summit.

And he hoped Singapore's recently concluded FTA with the EU would be a building block for one between Asean and the EU.

"We always think if Singapore goes first, others will be watching and may look at it afresh," he said.

"I hope that has some influence on Asean getting started again."

The EU-Singapore FTA will see the elimination of tariffs on imports from Singapore over five years, and was to have come into force last year. But its ratification was delayed after the European Commission sought a European Court of Justice opinion on its competence to sign off on trade pacts.

Depending on the ruling, the FTA may come into force sooner, or may entail a longer process , said Mr Lee.

"But one way or another, this is something which both sides want, and we hope we can bring about within a reasonable time," he said.

Mr Lee met European Council and European Commission leaders attending the summit on Friday, and both sides agreed the Singapore-EU FTA would help strengthen ties between Singapore and EU members.

At the summit, Mr Lee also spoke of his hope for Singapore to be part of an inter-regional trade agreement between Europe and Asia.

The EU and Asean had also started free trade talks in 2007, but suspended them two years later.

Asked how Britain's recent vote to leave the EU could affect any potential future talks, Mr Lee said: "Brexit or no Brexit, Europe and Asia ought to deepen their ties. When you talk about connectivity, it's not just aeroplane flights or fibre optic cables; you must have the trade and the people connections."

But he acknowledged that any negotiations on an Asean-EU FTA would take time, as it would involve the multiple member countries of the EU and Asean.

The EU was Singapore's third-largest global trading partner in 2014, with bilateral trade at $96 billion.

Mr Lee was also asked for his views on his first official visit to Mongolia, where he met Prime Minister Jargaltulga Erdenebat and President Tsakhia Elbegdorj.

He noted that Mongolia had "an ancient past and a glorious history", but was also focused on developing and moving into the future.

Mr Lee also said Mongolia and Singapore are both countries with big neighbours, and both are reaching out to the rest of the world.

"They would like to make friends with countries beyond, including Singapore," he said. "I think there's a certain commonality of spirit there."

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Seoul condemns Pyongyang's attack on Park's anti-nuke remarks during Mongolia trip

SEOUL, July 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Friday condemned Pyongyang's recent attack on President Park Geun-hye's anti-North Korean remarks made during the recent Asia-Europe summit in Mongolia.

In the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) held in Ulaanbaatar from Friday to Saturday, Park called for "denuclearization" of the North, "right changes" in the communist country and "enforcement of sanctions measures" against it.

"We strongly condemn (North Korea) for vulgarly slandering and smearing our head of state with rough words and sophistry," Unification Ministry spokesman Jeong Joo-hee said in a press briefing.

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Pyongyang lashes out at ASEM statement, criticizes U.S. hegemony attempt – Yonhap, July 18

Park's Mongolia trip boosts her drive against N.K. nukes, protectionismYonhap, July 18

President Park wins greater int'l support to denuclearize N. KoreaArirang, July 19


U Htin Kyaw joins ASEM meeting in Mongolia

July 19 (The Myanmar Times) Myanmar's President U Htin Kyaw delivered a speech during the opening session of the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), which took place in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on July 15 and 16.

The theme of the summit, chaired by Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, was "Partnership for the Future through Connectivity". The summit is held every two years, rotating between Asian and European host countries.

On his way to Mongolia, U Htin Kyaw visited the Incheon Free Economic Zone of the Republic of Korea and toured the 33-storey Songdo G-Tower, according to a statement released by the President's Office.

On July 16 in Mongolia, he met individually with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs chief Børge Brende, Indonesian Vice President H Muhammad Jusuf Kalla and Mr Elbegdorj of Mongolia.

This is the third foreign trip for U Htin Kyaw. The previous two were to Laos and Russia in May.

President's Office spokeperson U Zaw Htay could not be reached for comment yesterday about the trip.

ASEM was launched 20 years ago in 1996, in Bangkok.

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Senior Mongolian diplomat elaborates on Mongolia's foreign affairs and ASEM11

July 19 (UB Post) In a world where everything is connected, maintaining friendly and diplomatic international relations is the key for ensuring a safe world. Without effective communication, small misunderstandings can have dire consequences. Diplomats play a major role in forging beneficial relationships and preventing misunderstandings and wars between countries. Ch.Agvaandamdin is a Mongolian senior diplomat with over 38 years of experience in the diplomatic affairs of Mongolia. He has worked in every department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1970, and has visited 39 nations to improve Mongolia's international relations.

Below is an interview with Ch.Agvaandamdin, probing into his thoughts about Mongolia's international relations and the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting Summit (ASEM11), which was hosted in Ulaanbaatar on July 15 and 16.

You've been on five overseas diplomatic missions in the past. Representing a nation is a very heavy responsibility and can be very challenging, with plenty of hurdles along the way. Can you share some interesting insight on your career as a diplomat?

I was appointed to Egypt on my first diplomatic mission, and then Afghanistan. They are rather difficult countries to be assigned to, and a few number of diplomats get the opportunity to work in Egypt and Afghanistan. I worked at the Mongolian embassy in Cairo from 1973 to 1978, during the fourth Arab-Israeli war, also known as the October War. Important figures and venues, such as streets, the president, the Mogamma (a central government building), and bridges, were protected by tanks. All ministries and agencies were surrounded with sacks of sand, windows and lamps were painted dark blue or dark green to dim the light, and soldiers were on standby outside. I worked in an extremely inconvenient environment for five years. I was always anxious as to when the war would come to the capital.

Civil war was ongoing during my second diplomatic mission to Kabul, Afghanistan, from 1987 to 1989. Streets were bombed and the capital was always under attack.

Can you share the history of the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs?

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Jargal Defacto discusses political and economic issues with Finland's PM

July 22 (UB Post) Cooperation with Mongolia in green energy is possible

Independent economist and media personality D.Jargalsaikhan, commonly known as Jargal DeFacto, invited Prime Minister of Finland Juha Sipilä on his "Interview DeFacto" television talk show during the 11th ASEM Summit in Ulaanbaatar.

Below is the transcript of the interview by Jargal DeFacto, where Prime Minister Sipilä talks about Finland's political and economic issues.

Welcome to Mongolia.

Thank you very much.

How was your flight?

It was a nice flight.

You flew by yourself, right?

Yes, I did. Flying is my hobby. I have been a pilot for about twenty years now.

Wow. You are the first leader I've met who has flown a plane to Mongolia. You came last night, right? Thank you for coming to Mongolia. I have a few questions about your country, political issues, and some economic issues. First of all, you are leading a coalition. Finland has been run by a coalition for many years.


Is it hard to run a coalition?

Well, we are used to it. We have always had coalitions, and now we have three parties in my coalition. The cooperation [between the three parties] has been very good.

What are the most recent political issues you've faced?

Of course, we have quite challenging micro issues in the European Union area. But of course, domestically, we have to turn the economy around to a positive road again. This is my government's first target.

You have been a businessman. How do you see the role of the government in the economy? Should it be big and large? What's your agenda now?

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Spain promotes self as 'bridge' between continents at Mongolia summit

July 18 ( At the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Mongolia, Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo outlined the role of his country as a "bridge" between Asia and Latin America. EurActiv Spain reports.

The event, held in the East Asian country's capital of Ulaanbaatar, was attended by  representatives from 51 countries.

The summit began with a minute's silence to commemorate the Nice attacks, carried out on Bastille Day.

Spain's foreign affairs chief, García-Margallo, then met with his French counterpart, Jean Marc Ayrault, to express the Iberian nation's condolences and pledge its support in the fight against terror.

In addition to bilateral talks with India, New Zealand, Singapore, Norway and Mongolia, García-Margallo also highlighted Spain's involvement in the political landscape, through its strategic associations and political dialogues with numerous Asian countries, with the aim of strengthening its diplomatic presence in the region.

From an economic point of view, he referred to increased efforts to promote the Silk Road, Spain's membership of the Asian Bank and the recently-established Yixin'ou rail-cargo line, which connects Spain to China, and has led to cheaper imports.

The rail link has already started to bear fruit, as Spanish exports to China increased by 8.8% in 2015.

García-Magallo also outlined the Latin-American factor of the country's Asia-Pacific relationship and its role as an observer of the Pacific Alliance trade bloc.

In addition to saying that the Asia-Pacific link should intensify over time, the foreign minister also indicated that he has promoted Spain as a "bridge" between Asia and Latin America, during talks with countries like China, Japan and Korea.

"Latin America is a continent that increasingly looks to the Pacific," he said.

The summit is the most important international event to be held in recent history in Mongolia.

Ten presidents, 20 prime ministers, two vice-presidents and two foreign ministers attended, as well as notable European Union officials, like Donald Tusk, Jean-Claude Juncker and Federica Mogherini.

García-Margallo also spoke about connectivity, one of the main themes of the summit, insisting that "there will be no full globalisation without a real physical restructuring of the great continent of Eurasia", adding that these plans can lead to a "more integrated political, social and economic space".

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Kazakh Prime Minister Attends ASEM Summit in Mongolia

ASTANA, July 18 (The Astana Times) ­– Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Massimov travelled to Ulan Bator, Mongolia July 14-15 to attend the eleventh Asia–Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit and hold a series of bilateral meetings.

The topic of the summit was "Promotion of the ASEM Partnership for Strengthening Cooperation." The agenda included discussing the consequences of the global economic and financial crisis, combating traditional threats and new challenges, non-proliferation, energy security, sustainable development, climate change, environment and promoting cultural relations.

Composed of 53 nations, ASEM is an inter-regional open dialogue process where member countries collaborate in the fields of politics, security, finance, economy and social culture. The organisation's discourse addresses issues in each area, with the objective of strengthening the relationship between the two regions in a spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership, according to

"Kazakhstan is lucky to have a leader like President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who actively promotes internationalisation and mutual economic cooperation with all foreign partners. Thanks to his efforts, Kazakhstan has become one of the founders of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). President Nazarbayev initiated establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), as well as the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA)," said Massimov during his speech, reported

He noted in the framework of the Nurly Zhol state programme, Kazakhstan pays significant attention to developing and strengthening of the transport infrastructure linking Europe and Asia under the New Silk Road project promoted by China ".

"Kazakhstan's new railways connect the country with Turkmenistan and Iran, thus providing the shortest route to the Persian Gulf. Also, new railways connect Almaty with the Chinese port of Lianyungang. The Western Europe–Western China transport corridor is coming to completion. I am sure that these improved transport links will strengthen cooperation between the ASEM member states," he said.

At the same time, Kazakhstan is implementing institutional reforms aimed at developing human capital, the business environment, predictability and the rule of law, he added.

The ASEM forum is an effective platform for building global interaction, noted Massimov. He stressed Kazakhstan's location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia defines its role as a bridge between East and West.

"Thanks to modern transport and communications systems, today Europe and Asia compose a united continent of Greater Eurasia, which represents more than 50 percent of the global GDP and 60 percent of the world's population and includes over a third of the world's land. It is our duty to work together in order to restore and promote the development of an open and interconnected Greater Eurasia with our friends in East Asia," said Massimov.

He added Greater Eurasia has the potential and opportunities for collaboration and close partnerships that may benefit theorganisation and the world as a whole.

Massimov met with Czech President Milos Zeman, where the sides emphasised the potential for development of Kazakh-Czech cooperation in mechanical engineering and agriculture. He noted his nation considers the Czech Republic as one of its most important economic partners.

The Prime Minister also met with his counterparts Dacian Cioloș (Romania), Jargaltulga Erdenebat (Mongolia), Mark Rutte (the Netherlands) and Juha Sipilä (Finland) to discuss items of economic, trade and investment cooperation.

Massimov and Erdenebat also addressed issues of strengthening contacts between the countries' business communities. The most promising areas for mutually-beneficial partnerships are energy, agriculture, transport infrastructure, housing, mining and gold and uranium processing.

Massimov met July 14 with Kazakh diaspora living in Ulgii district. Due to the flood in the region four days earlier, he promised the Kazakh government will provide financial assistance to the affected families, as 88.7 percent of the nearly 90,000 residents are Kazakh. In addition, Massimov visited the local museum and drama theatre.

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Health, Education

Korea's BITComputer to provide telemedicine system to Mongolia

July 20 (Korea Herald) BIT Computer has received a 2 billion won (US$1.76 million) order to supply telemedicine system from the Mongolian government, it announced on July 19. 

The government is building a new National Diagnostic and Treatment Center in its capital Ulaanbataar and aims to provide remote medical treatment in cooperation with 12 medical facilities nearby. 

The company already has won the contract for information system for the state hospital. 

BIT Computer is a leader in medical information market in Korea and has been exporting medical information solutions and remote medical solutions to 11 countries including Thailand, Cambodia and Philippines. 

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Harvard Traveling Fellow to research epidemiology of birth defects in Mongolia

July 19, 2016 (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health) — Three students from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health are among the 32 recipients of the Harvard Traveling Fellowship for 2016-17. Fellowships are awarded to graduate students and recent graduates from across the University to support research, study, and travel abroad or domestically.

Corey Prachniak, MPH '16, has begun to explore gender, health, and human rights in Bogotá, Colombia; Laura Goodman, MPH '17, is researching the epidemiology of birth defects in Mongolia; and Yadira Almodóvar-Díaz, DrPH '17, is working to improve the health care system in her native Puerto Rico.

Prachniak decided to pursue public health after earning a law degree in order to be a more effective advocate for the health rights of LGBT people. In Bogotá, Prachniak is exploring how forms of gender-based discrimination, such as denial of gender-affirming care to transgender individuals, violates people's right to health. Prachniak views the Fellowship as an opportunity to combine advocacy, activism, and research in order to make the biggest possible impact.

Goodman, a student in the School's new online/on-campus MPH in epidemiology program, hopes her work will promote policy changes to improve pediatric surgical capacity in Mongolia.  After taking courses first from her home in Sacramento, California, and on campus in June, Goodman is now working with colleagues from the Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences and the National Center for Maternal and Child Health of Mongolia to study the epidemiology of birth defects as part of her MPH capstone project.

Almodóvar-Díaz is working in San Juan at the University of Puerto Rico and with a government-appointed council charged with examining the island's health care system. Through her work, Almodóvar-Díaz hopes to contribute to policy recommendations—such as how to control drug costs while improving efficiency and value for patients—that will especially help vulnerable populations with multiple health conditions.

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Project for people living with disabilities launched with JICA

July 21 (UB Post) On July 20, the Ministry of Population Development and Social Protection and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) launched a new project to promote the social participation of people living with disabilities in Mongolia.

A detailed survey will be conducted among people living with disabilities in Mongolia and a database with their information will be established as part of the project.

Mongolia has approximately 111,000 people registered as living with disabilities. Project initiators plan to determine the exact number of male and female individuals living with disabilities, their ages, their ideal line of work, and other important indexes. In addition to promoting social participation the Ministry of Population Development and Social Protection also expects the project to increase employment, until 2020. During this period, people living with disabilities will take part in the project and assist in accurately identifying the challenges they face. The project's initiators noted that the project will be efficient in improving cooperation between state-owned companies and NGOs working for people with physical impairment, sensory impairment, cognitive impairment, and other difficulties, as well as enhance the capacity of these NGOs.

Many new facilities and developments have been completed in Ulaanbaatar over the past four years to provide better accommodations for people living with disabilities.

One of the project's initiators noted that it's wrong to think that the social participation of people living with disabilities will increase just by building wheelchair ramps, tactile paving for the visually impaired, and buses with special doors, seats, and stairs. They gave examples of the daily challenges faced by people living with disabilities.

"People with hearing and speech impairment constantly need assistance from people who know sign language. Yet, the number of ordinary people who know sign language, and even the number of sign language interpreters, has plunged. The Social Security Law for People with Disabilities, to come into effect in September, specifies teaching sign language and improving the basic sign language skills of the public."

A representative highlighted the importance of giving the same treatment to people living with disabilities as is given to people who don't have physical, cognitive, sensory, or other impairments in terms of employment and income. The Ministry of Population Development and Social Protection and JICA say they hope the Mongolian government will not sit back on these issues and become actively involved in the promotion of social participation of people living with disabilities.

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'Hakuho Foundation' donates ambulances

July 19 ( The 'Hakuho Foundation' is donating fully equipped ambulances to Arkhangai and Uvurkhangai provinces and Erdenesant soum (district) of the Tuv province. These vehicles will help doctors to provide patient care in emergency situations on the road. Japan's 'Toyota motor' company will be responsible for the repair and maintenance of these ambulances.

Hakuho, is the Japanese name of 31 year-old Mongolian national hero M.Davaajargal, who has attained the highest level of "yokozuna" in the sport.

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EY Mongolia contributing to building a better working world one child at a time

EY Mongolia office consists of nearly 100 staff that normally exchange gifts with each other worth approximately US$15 each during the holiday season. However, in 2015, instead of exchanging gifts, they have decided to collect that money to buy gifts to the underprivileged children.

The group that they have decided to support was a small kindergarten located near the dump ground in the city. The parents of the children who attend that kindergarten make a living by collecting items from the dump ground. Mongolian winters are famous for its harshness, where the average temperature is close to -20°C during the day and it get as low as -35°C at night. The kindergarten is located in a ger, a traditional tent-like structure that is heated by coal. The gift exchange fund of EY Mongolia staff totaled approximately US$750, which was used to buy warm socks and gloves, coloring books, story books and some sweets to make a gift package for all of the 20 children that attend the kindergarten. We make a better working world one company at a time and one child at a time.

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'Cultural ambassador': Palmetto Ridge grad headed to Mongolia to teach English

Alex Suarez graduated from Trinity College in May, and is embarking on a new journey as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant.

July 20 (Naples Daily News) With warm clothes, e-books and family just a phone call away, Wi-Fi willing, Alex Suarez is ready to venture off to Mongolia and teach what he knows best – the English language.

Suarez, 21, earned an English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) via the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and plans to spend a year teaching halfway around the world at Khovd University, situated more than 800 miles west of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's capital.

Journey ahead

While the competition was stiff and the application process was tedious at times, Suarez is eagerly anticipating his departure date — July 26.

Once the plane's wheels touch down on Mongolian soil, he'll no doubt experience culture shock and a bit of jet lag.

Khovd, Mongolia, is 12 hours behind Eastern Standard Time. And the mountainous terrain is unlike the sawgrass prairie found in Florida.

Before traveling to Khovd to begin his assistantship, Suarez, along with other scholars assigned to Mongolia, will spend a month in orientation; two weeks at Ulaanbaatar, one week in another city and the last week in a Mongolian ger camp, where scholars will undergo intensive language training and cultural lessons.

Once Suarez steps inside the classroom, he'll teach around 20 hours per week.

"Outside of that we're encouraged to take up projects. And I think with my time I'm definitely going to apply for more funding and learn a little bit more of the language. I want to maybe do some research on health over there and some gender stuff," Suarez said.

He also wants to host Latin dance classes in hopes of introducing Mongolian students to his culture.

Preparing mentally, physically and emotionally

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Culture, Society

The Naadam Festival: Mongolia's Games

This showcase of Mongolian culture has been celebrated for hundred of years.

By Peter Bittner

July 19 (The Diplomat) From July 10-13, Mongolia celebrated the annual Naadam festival. The festivities consist of a number of national ceremonies, concerts, and, most notably, sporting competitions—including those for the "three manly sports" of wrestling, horseracing, and archery. Many other side events, such as shegai, a game involving flicking sheep anklebones, and a variety of carnival games are also popular on the holiday.

The Naadam games have been celebrated for centuries by the nation's nomads and represent Mongolia's living cultural legacy of nomadic pastoralism. Today, the festival is a major tourism draw which attracts thousands of foreigners each year to witness the spectacle.

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Results of the National Naadam Festival

July 19 (UB Post) One of Mongolia's grandest celebrations, the National Naadam Festival, ended this year with great cultural performances and fierce competition among wrestlers, horse racers, archers, and ankle bone players.

This year, the Naadam Festival began on July 11, and marked the 2,225th anniversary of Mongolian Statehood, the 810th anniversary of the Mongol Empire, and the 95th anniversary of the Mongolian People's Revolution.

The following are the results of the main events of the festival, Eriin Gurvan Naadam (the Three Games of Men), which include Mongolian wrestling, horse racing, and archery. Originally, women weren't allowed to participate in these games, but in modern times, women are allowed to take part in archery and horse racing competitions.




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Photo essay: Mongolia's fearless child jockeys race for glory at Naadam

We witness a rite of passage up close at Mongolia's biggest annual sporting event, as children as young as five years old show off their horse riding skills racing across the steppe

July 18 (South China Morning Post) It's 6am and raining when we crawl reluctantly out of our sodden tents, pitched late the night before in Uliastai, western Mongolia, where we have set up camp to watch Naadam, the country's biggest annual celebration. Also known as the "three manly games", the event is a chance for people to show their skills at racing, wrestling and archery, and many dress in their finest clothes for the occasion.

Though the biggest event is held in the country's capital, Ulan Bator, smaller regional celebrations like this offer a chance to get closer to the action.

Crossing the Mongolian steppe in a mud-spattered van

We eat a hasty breakfast and get in the cars, as we've heard the horse race will start at 7am. A long, bumpy off-road wild goose chase follows, as no one we ask seems to know where or when the race will start – not even the tense trainers and jockeys standing around. One policeman snoozing by the barrier tells us he has no idea and not his responsibility, while another sends us in a massive circle which brings us back to our starting point.

Then, suddenly all the cars seem to start driving in the same direction, and trucks bearing race horses rattle behind us, overtaking us in their haste to get to the starting line. We soon find a car park where crowds of locals are gathering, crouching between cars drinking salted yak milk tea, mugs of vodka (both of which they generously share with us to take the edge off the early start) and chewing on boiled mutton chops.

Winners and losers in Mongolia's mining gold rush

The clouds lift just in time for the race to start, and everybody makes their way to the finishing line to cheer the first jockeys galloping in. We can hear them from a distance shouting commands and see them whipping their horses vigorously to urge them on.

The maximum age for a jockey is 12 to ensure the horses don't need to bear too much weight; some of the jockeys are as young as five years old. Helmets were officially introduced in the last couple of years in response to safety concerns, but outside of the capital most continue to ride bare back and bareheaded as they've grown up doing on the steppe. Races go up to some 40km long, and often cover challenging, mountainous cross-country terrain.

Competing in Naadam is an important rite of passage for the boys, who train for years, taking their horses to different altitudes. While not all children in Mongolia will have what it takes to compete, nearly all nomad children will learn to ride.

Survival guide: Mongolia on a shoestring

Horse riding skills and the wisdom to select a good horse are essential to the nomadic life, as is endurance. Once the boys reach their twenties, their role will be to look after the family, and protect them from the cold winter, wolves, thieves and disease. Racing at Naadam epitomises all of these strengths, and is symbolic of the fact a nomad's life is not possible without his animals.

The focus of these races is on the horse – more than the children, who are mere passengers. The jockeys and their coaches sing to the horses to honour them after the race, and bless them by splashing them with airag, fermented mare's milk (white is a sacred colour for Mongolians and considered an auspicious symbol).

Even before the last few stragglers come in, the crowds climb over the barriers and rush to greet the triumphant winner, a beaming 11-year-old boy, and touch the sweat of the winning horse for good luck.

While about 50 horses compete, only the first five receive prizes. And while some of the younger, less successful jockeys struggle to conceal their disappointment, it's clear that the point of this race is in the honour of participation.

Tessa Chan travelled to Mongolia with Tim Cope , author, filmmaker and wilderness guide at World Expeditions ( Full story to follow soon.

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"TOWARDS ATTAINING WISDOM" xylograph registered in UNESCO's Memory of the World

Ulaanbaatar, July 21 (MONTSAME) "Merged Garakhiin Oron" (Towards Attaining Wisdom) Tibetan-Mongolian Glossary xylograph has been listed as a Memory of the World by the UNESCO. The xylograph was created in 1924 in the Agiin Datsan (religious school of Agi) of Buryatia, as initiated by the Mongolian Institute of the Chronicles and Documents – today's Academy of Sciences.

Seven copies are preserved in the Museum of Rare and Precious Books of the Mongolian National Library and others are kept in Tibetan book fund of the library. The glossary was registered by the Government of Mongolia as a unique cultural heritage in 2012.

The creation is unmatched for its great effect on the national philosophy and achievements of  the scientific development, as well as the mesmerizing cultural masterpiece of the nations of the East.

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India VP unveils Mahatma Gandhi's stone statue in Mongolian monastery

Pethub Monastery, seen as symbol of India-Mongolia cultural and spiritual ties, was inaugurated in August, 1999 by Indian Vice President Krishan Kant.

Ulaanbaatar, Jul 16 (PTI: Vice President Hamid Ansari today unveiled a stone statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Pethub Monastery in the Mongolian capital which is seen as symbol of India-Mongolia cultural and spiritual ties. After unveiling the statue of the 'Father of the Nation', the Vice President also went around the monastery founded by former Indian ambassador Kushok Bakula Rinpoche.

Pethub Monastery, seen as symbol of India-Mongolia cultural and spiritual ties, was inaugurated in August, 1999 by Indian Vice President Krishan Kant. Rinpoche named his monastery as 'Pethub', which in Tibetan means a model or exemplary. The name is drawn from the main monastery in Ladakh which is also known as Spituk Monastery and is over 800 years old. (ALSO READ: Vice President Hamid Ansari leaves for Mongolia to attend ASEM Summit )

He founded the monastery after feeling an urgent need to revive Buddhism in the country and for establishing it, Rinpoche chose a tract of land in the city so that it becomes more accessible to the people. Last year, Prime Minster Narendra Modi also visited a monastery in the Mongolian capital and handed over a Bodhi tree sapling to its chief abbott.

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Danshig Naadam & Tsam Dance Festival 2016, August 6-7

July 22 ( We have good news for those who missed the Great Naadam Festival! There's Danshig Naadam & Tsam Dance Festival dedicated to the 381st anniversary of Holy Zanabazar – Mongolia's first Buddhist leader, on 6-7 August. 500 monks from Gandan Monastery will be opening the event with special chants at 6am on 06 August at the Chinggis Square in Ulanbaatar, and the event will continue at Khui Doloon Khudag for 2 full days featuring Tsam religious masked dance, Three Manly Games of the Mongols, musical performances and several other competitions among monks etc.

 It's the second year that Danshig is being organised after the People's Revolution in 1921, and officials claim that it is the revival of the Danshig and even wrestlers, archers and horse trainers are given Danshig titles (according to their achievements). Gandan Monastery is in charge of religious features of the event. Danshig, Zanabazar and Tsam dance all have a long history, so let me try to give brief information here.   

Danshig Naadam originates from the 16th century, when Mongolia was divided into 7 khoshuus (region) after Gersenz Jalair Khaan's (the 16th generation after Genghis Khan) widow divided Khalkha Mongol to her 7 princes. The 7 khoshuus of Khalkha gathered annually at Danshig Naadam and competed with Three Manly Games of the Mongols – namely, archery, wrestling and horse racing. Danshig was an important event, which unified the rupturing Khalkha princes under one roof at least once a year. It was also a religious and political event for the Khalkha Mongols. 

Tsam dance is an ancient ritual of Buddhism, recorded evidences show that Tsam was first performed in 775-881 in Tibet. The word 'Tsam' means a dance of the Buddha (deva) and elements of this dance show as if protectors and deities have physically descended on the Jambudtiva. In Mongolia, the tsam was introduced at the beginning of the 18th century and the first tsam performance in Mongolia was in Erdenezuu Monastery in 1786.

And Zanabazar was born in 1634 as a prince to Tusheet Khan Gombodorj, who was one of the 3 ruling Khans in Khalkha Mongol and a direct descendant from Genghis Khan. It's said that at an early age little Zanabazar showed incredible talent at learning and arts, and miraclous occurences took place in his surroundings. He was crowned as the Buddhist leader of Mongolia at a tender age of 5 in the Central Mongolia (current Uvurkhangai province) and there was a huge Danshig to celebrate.

After the people's revolution in 1921, the Mongols stopped celebrating Danshig Naadam but renamed it simply "Naadam Festival" and have been holding the event annually on 11-12 July to commemorate the victory of the people's revolution. We can assume that today's Naadam Festival is a Danshig, which just lost its' religious characteristics. This Danshig Naadam and Khuree Tsam event is being organised in the framework of "Hospitable Ulaanbaatar" project implemented by the Administration of Ulaanbaatar city, Ulaanbaatar Tourism Department, and co-organised by the Gandantegchinlen Monastery of Mongolia. 

There will be public transport available for the Danshig goers between Ulaanbaatar and Khui Doloon Khudag from several spots (we will post an update once the info is available), and the Danshig Naadam is free of charge for everyone. And of course, there will be "khuushuur" (Mongolia fried meat pie) and drinks sold at Khui Doloon Khudag.

The program for Danshig 2016 is not available, yet. Therefore, we are providing last year's Danshig program to give the readers an idea as the organisers say that it will be pretty similar. Once the 2016 program is available we will update you.


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Religious ceremony on Mt. Otgontenger

July 22 ( Once every four years, a special religious sacrifice ceremony takes place near the peaks of some of Mongolia's most sacred mountains. This year, the Mongolian President and government officials have authorized a ceremony for Mt Otgontenger (22nd of July) and Mt Sutai (24th of July).

Towering at more than 4,000 meters above sea level, snow-capped Otgontenger Uul (mountain), stands on the western edge of the Khangai Mountain range, of which it is the highest peak. In 1992 the government of Mongolia declared Otgontenger as a protected nature reserve. The strictly-protected zone covers an area of 955 square kilometers. Badar Khundaga Lake that lies on Otgontenger Mountain forms a unique feature of this landscape.

The mountain has been a site of religious worship by ethnic groups since VI-VIII century. In 1995, Mongolian President decreed that a religious sacrifice could take place on the mountain once in every four years. Mt Otgontenger, is located 20 km from the nearest camp and 100 km from Uliastai city.

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Korean Wave gets boost in Mongolia

July 19 (Arirang) The Korean Wave has taken most parts of Asia,…. and Mongolia is no exception. 

18-year-old Anukhatan is a self-confessed K-pop lover,… whose room is plastered with posters of her favorite pop stars.

"They are a K-pop group called BTS."

"I bought it in Seoul's Myeong-dong shopping district."

"This is a poster of Exo's Monster."

"Do you wake up looking at all these posters?"

"Yes. I wake up seeing their faces and it gives me energy for the day." 

Anukhatan is just one of the thousands of K-pop fans in Mongolia who regularly gather with friends to eat, share the latest news and show off their dance moves.

Some of the performers can't speak any Korean but that doesn't keep them from memorizing the lyrics and dance routines.

The love among fans for K-pop and Korean dramas has also spurred a passion for learning the Korean language, especially at Ulaanbaatar State University, located in the heart of the capital.

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Bay CWA Mongolia day a hit

There was a big part of Mongolia in Batehaven when the Batemans Bay CWA held its recent International Day.

The day was attended by six branches from the Far South Coast Group. 

Batemans Bay CWA members and friends enjoyed guest speaker Val Leek's story of her trip to Mongolia on the Trans-Siberian train, and Batemans Bay Public School students took part in a Mongolian colouring Competition.

"There were so many entries the judging is not yet complete," Publicity officer Maureen  Kinross said.

Meanwhile, Narooma CWA is having a Mongolian International Day on Tuesday with a 10am start, with funds raised to go to international projects.

If interested please contact either Joanne King on 4476 7461 or Sally James on 44761691 by Sunday. 

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Bankhar are back on the beat as Mongolian herders


July 22 (Sacramento Bee) There's a new khan in town. Scientists are working to re-establish a Mongolian flock-guarding dog called the bankhar, whose powerful demeanor could be said to be reminiscent of the Great Khan, Genghis, the famed and feared 13th-century conqueror.

Their goal? To not only protect the goats, sheep, horses, camels and yaks belonging to Mongolia's nomadic herders, but also to protect endangered snow leopards and other predators such as wolves and bears from being shot, trapped or poisoned for killing livestock. By warding off predators and forcing them to seek wild prey, the bankhar performs double duty as a protection dog, saving lives on both sides.

"More often than not, the physical presence of the dog would be enough of a deterrent to the predator," says Greg Goodfellow, project scientist for the Mongolian Bankhar Dog Project. "Predators might just view the cost/benefit ratio as not significant enough and just move on."

The MBDP is a nongovernmental environmental conservation organization founded in 2011 by Bruce Elfstrom, a biologist by training and CEO of a company that does frequent business in Mongolia. It seeks to bring back the historic use of the dogs as livestock guardians. The practice faded away in the mid-20th century when the government sought to introduce more-modern methods of livestock care.

Elfstrom was familiar with the use of livestock guardian dogs in other countries and wondered why they weren't being used in Mongolia, where predator-livestock interactions were a problem. When he discovered that some people in remote areas still kept dogs for that purpose, he became interested in learning more about them.

Bankhars go way back in Mongolia. When I asked wildlife ecologist and MBDP national project coordinator Batbataar Tumurbataar how long the bankhar has existed, he said, "It's the first dog, which means 15,000 years."

"Is that what the stories say?" I asked.

"It's what DNA says," he replied.

Although there's no way of knowing what early dogs looked like or when bankhars took the form they have today, DNA indeed shows that bankhars, along with other Central Asian dogs such as Tibetan mastiffs, have much more genetic diversity than dogs elsewhere, says Adam Boyko, Ph.D., a geneticist at Cornell University who is studying the evolution and genetics of village dogs around the world.

"It is consistent with these being ancient groups of dogs," he says.

Bankhar are big and athletic, giving the impression that they can move quickly if the need arises. They don't typically bark unless provoked, but when they do, it sends a menacing message. Bankhar have a playful, curious side as well, Goodfellow says, and can be clever escape artists from their kennels at the training facility near Mongolia's Hustai National Park.

Their job is to stay with livestock 24/7, whether they are in pastures or barns. They are fed and watered with the animals they guard to ensure that they don't have any need to leave their charges.

Q: My vet says my 9-month-old Rottweiler is in good shape and not too skinny, but the breeder wants me to put more weight on him. What should I do?


A: I'm with your veterinarian. Large-breed dogs such as Rottweilers need to grow slowly to help prevent development of orthopedic problems such as hip dysplasia. Forcing the still-developing musculoskeletal system to carry too much weight can cause serious problems.

There are a couple of different feeding options for puppies who will be super-size at maturity. You can feed a puppy or adult food formulated specifically for large dogs. These diets tend to be lower in energy and calcium, allowing for slower growth. You can also feed a regular puppy food, but give a little bit less of it.

It's also important not to add vitamin or mineral supplements to your Rottweiler's diet. That can throw off the balance of his food and cause orthopedic problems.


Pet Connection is produced by a team of pet-care experts headed by veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker and Kim Campbell Thornton.

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An interview with TED Translator Indra Ganzorig

July 22 (TED Translators) Indra Ganzorig is a TED Translator and TEDx organizer based in Bangkok, Thailand. Born and raised in Mongolia, Indra attended the country's National University, where she began translating TED Talks into Mongolian. She's helped organize various TEDx events in Mongolia, including TEDxYouth@Ulaanbaatar and TEDxBagaToiruu. In addition to attending TEDSummit 2016, she's recently hosted two TED Translators workshops in Mongolia. We talked to Indra over email about the growing translation community in her home country.

Why did you start organizing TED Translators gatherings in Mongolia?

Before I discovered TED, I didn't attend or organize such gatherings. But in college, one of my professors asked me to translate an event called TEDMEDUlaanbaatar. That experience motivated me to get involved with several local TEDx events and TEDActive 2015, after which I really started to understand the power of community. I think for volunteer work—whether that's translating or any other kind—it's extremely important to build and nurture community, a sense of belonging for the participants. Furthermore, I felt very lucky to have attended TEDActive, and thus responsible to share what I'd learned from the conference with my fellow local translators.

How many TED Translators are active in Mongolia?

Right now, there are five or so regular translators, but we had only three for the last couple months. Recently, though, a lot of new people have been joining our effort.

Also, during the recent TEDSummit, TED's Kazakh Language Coordinator and I discussed organizing a regional workshop with Mongolian and Kazakh translators in 2017. This was because while roughly 95% of the country speaks Mongolian, Kazakh and Tuvan are used heavily in western Mongolia.

Can you give a rough breakdown of the participants? For example, are there more women than men? Do youth get involved?

Most of our participants are women between the ages of 16 and 25, but our latest gathering had about 40% men, which was great. We have a few older translators, but we usually attract young people who like TED Talks and those who want to improve their English-language skills while doing something meaningful for themselves and others.

An important thing to note is that some of our translators work or study abroad, including me, so our gatherings are also a way for us to stay connected to the Mongolian-language community, to home. We're planning to do more activities online to hopefully attract more volunteers abroad.

How are TED Translators gatherings in Mongolia structured? Is there a leader or moderator? How are goals set and tackled?

I usually moderate our workshop gatherings. I also invite guests, such as local TEDx organizers and Mongolian-language professors.

When I hosted our first translators workshop, the atmosphere was very serious, with icebreaker activities, slides and other visuals; I was totally over-prepared, and I didn't allow enough time for collaboration and engagement. So for our second gathering, I abandoned a strict agenda and instead set goals for the group; then we used sticky notes to brainstorm ways to tackle these goals. I'd say we made more meaningful connections in this informal setting than in the sit-down workshop.

Have you noticed an impact from hosting these gatherings?

It's hard to say yet, since we've had only two gatherings, but we've definitely made a lot of new friends. Many of the people who attended the gatherings told me how thankful they were to be brought together like this. Also, because we discussed our current challenges and their solutions at the last gathering, I think everyone involved now has a better understanding of the whole project; we have a good plan to move forward.

What have you learned about the Mongolian translation community through these gatherings?

Some of my responses above answer this question, but I'd like to add that both gatherings served as good reminders of how tricky the Amara platform and translation processes can sometimes be—especially for translators just joining us.

What types of TED Talks are TED Translators in Mongolia currently most interested in translating?

We actually discussed this during our recent meet-up. Shorter talks, for obvious reasons. And it seems like most of our participants enjoy self-help talks and those that examine current social issues. Science talks aren't as popular, because some of the new terminologies in the field don't have Mongolian translations.

What, if any, difficulties or obstacles have you encountered in organizing TED Translators gatherings in Mongolia?

Venue spaces are always challenging. There were over a hundred registrations for each of our gatherings, but I had to turn down most of those people; there's simply no affordable venue space that can accommodate such large attendance. Our gatherings have been free of charge, because I think a price tag would discourage lots of potential translators.

Have you implemented new ideas in the Mongolian-language community after attending two TED events?

Yes, several. I created a map that shows where all our translators live, and I plan to use it for future gatherings and Google hangouts. Also, after delving into the abundance of underused translation resources at the recent TEDSummit, I've been developing infographics that essentially visualize what we have on OTPedia.

If a genie gave you three wishes for the Mongolian-language community, what would they be?

·         I wish we'd stop copying English-language commas in our translations. You see, in Mongolian we don't use many commas, but for some reason our translators insist on keeping all of them. I guess their brains are more English-oriented.

·         A free venue space that can accommodate 50 people, and that also has desks, chairs and super-fast internet.

·         To transcribe and translate more Mongolian talks into English. I believe there are roughly a hundred TEDx talks that were given in Mongolian and still await English translation.

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Embracing Tradition for LGBTI Progress - Anaraa Nyamdorj, Mongolia

July 12 (Alturi) As an open and proud trans man, Anaraa Nyamdorj has led a life seemingly at odds with the prevailing cultural understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity in Mongolia. But Anaraa's life experiences and understanding of the country's traditional nomadic cultures and pre-Soviet Buddhist shamanic traditions brings clarity and confidence to his activism in support of LGBTI human rights.

"I knew when I was 10 years old that I was different but didn't have the words to articulate the troubling feelings about my identity and body," he said. "I was very lucky in a sense that when Mongolia became independent after the fall of the Soviet Union I was able to get a scholarship to attend the National Law School of India University. There I became part of a progressive feminist, queer student group and was embraced for the first time. At that time I began to identify as a lesbian. We engaged on the stories we shared as queer people in repressive societies." Over time Anaraa's personal realization grew to embrace his true trans identity.

Today Anaraa is the Executive Director of the LGBT Centre in Ulaanbaatar. The small nonprofit's staff of four, with very little funding, works hard to increase awareness of, and support for, LGBTI people across the country. Focusing on legal advocacy, health education and youth education the Centre is creating significant generational change.

Their legal advocacy work reaches a milestone this September when a new law targeting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) goes into effect. "We will monitor how police apply the new law. In the past LGBTI complaints were laughed off. We will be able to measure the prevalence of anti-LGBTI bias and be taken seriously. We think the new standalone SOGI law will help with ending the silencing and institutionalization of discrimination. When kids are going to school and not learning about the diversity of people [they] have very narrow ideas and internalized phobias - that LGBTI people don't exist or matter. This law should provide the opportunity to promote our natural diversity along all lines."

The social context of this great stride is complex. Since the fall of socialism and its guarantees of education, healthcare and housing, class and economic divisions have grown along with a significant population shift from rural to urban areas. These new divisions have given rise to a neo-Nazi inspired ultranationalist movement which demands conformity to heteronormative, gender binary identities. As religion was legalized an influx of  western Christian evangelicals and Sun Myung Moon's World Peace Organization have moved into impoverished communities with their message of anti-LGBTI intolerance. "On the one hand Mongolia has a functioning democracy with many freedoms. On the other hand we may lose generations to religious hate," notes Anaraa.

But the religious traditions of Mongolian Buddhism celebrated a two-spirit shamanic culture where gender fluidity was venerated. "The shamans were trained from ages 10 to 12 for rituals and initiations. From what I hear shamans were not living in the gender they were born in. We did have a spiritual dimension to non-binary sexuality and gender identification. During the Soviet period religion was outlawed and there was a huge repression of Buddhist monasteries along with monk purges. As a nomadic civilization we didn't maintain much written tradition and this created a knowledge gap."

Anaraa is personally filling in this knowledge gap through activism and advocacy he hopes will inspire others. "My activism was very personal in the early years with the realization of being different and deserving of rights that I didn't receive. I don't think I would have ever had the guts to do it without the support and encouragement of those I met at university in India. A lot of us don't ever choose to become activists, but some of us take up the challenge when we meet those who support and inspire."

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Nature, Environment

Alexander Camelton Gets Lots of Zoo Love, but It Could Be Curtains for His Wild Kin

Only about 1,000 wild Bactrian camels remain in the deserts of China and Mongolia.

July 18 (Natural Resources Defense Council) Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo welcomed the birth of a Bactrian camel in May. Despite much fanfare, the event was not uncommon. Around seven million Bactrian camels live in captivity around the world. In fact, you probably heard about this particular camelet only because in a stroke of social media genius, the zoo named the newborn Alexander Camelton, in honor of Lin-Manuel Miranda's record-torching Broadway play.

With its two humps, the Bactrian camel is probably not what pops to mind when you think camel. The more common, one-humped variety is the dromedary, a species long ago domesticated. For centuries, dromedaries have been our all-terrain desert vehicles and even instruments of war. Today the species remains popular as a racing animal, beauty queen, and Pauly Shore costar.

Dromedaries went extinct in the wild approximately 2,000 years ago. If something doesn't change soon, their two-lump cousins will join them.

Alexander Camelton's kin once roamed from central China all the way to Kazakhstan, but collectively, wild herds contain a little more than 1,000 members today. They live in a few remote pockets of the Gobi Desert in China and Mongolia, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature considers the species critically endangered—a designation more dire than that of the giant panda.

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Four Przewalski's mares fly from Prague Zoo to Mongolia

Prague, July 16 (CTK) - Four Przewalski's horse mares from the Prague Zoo left for Mongolia, where they would be transported to the Gobi B National Park and released into the wild later, aboard a military special plane in the afternoon.

After two intermediate landings in Kazan and Novosibirsk, Russia, the plane will finally land in Bulgan, Mongolia at 13:35 local time, that is on Sunday morning CEST.

This time, the Prague Zoo in cooperation with the military prepared a double transport. Apart from the four mares from Prague, the CASA military plane will also transport horses internally in Mongolia.

"Let us hope that it will go on like in the previous years. This is a complex and risky operation and serious problems may occur easily," Prague Zoo director Miroslav Bobek told reporters.

The mares, called Heia, Reweta, Nara and Heilige, were all born in 2013 and they come from various European countries. They were selected for the project since they had a high chance to multiply well.

After their arrival in Mongolia, the mares in their transport boxes will be loaded to lorries and driven to the Takhin Tal area in the strictly protected Gobi B where they will be released to special fences for acclimatisation.

Next Wednesday, the CASA military plane will fly from Bulgan to Ulaanbaatar to take another four horses, including one stallion, from the Khustain Nuruu National Park and fly them to Takhin Tal reserve in Gobi B.

The Prague Zoo is one of the main organisers of the transfers of the Przewalski's horses, the last of which was shot dead in the wild 40 years ago, back to its original homeland.

The zoo started breeding the Przewalski horse in 1932. It has kept the international pedigree book of this species since 1959.

In cooperation with the Czech military, the zoo has transported 19 Przewalski's horses to Mongolia, 6000 km away, in the past years. Out of them, 17 are alive. The imported horses have 15 offspring.

The Prague Zoo has organised transport of the rare horses for the sixth time in history.

In the future, it would like to transport the Przewalski's horse from Europe to China in another way.

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Mongolia and Korea working together to tackle desertification

July 16 (Arirang) Rapid desertification has made life in the vast Mongolian desert dunes even harder for nomads who are used to the arid conditions.

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Mongolian Red Cross sends aid to flood-stricken Olgii

Ulaanbaatar, July 20 (MONTSAME) Red Cross of Mongolia has handed over its donation of 100 blankets, 100 mats and 100 water bottles to the State Emergency Commission for the families, who were left homeless after a flood hit Olgii, the center of Bayan-Olgii aimag last week.

"This is all the help we can deliver in our current capacity", said N.Bolormaa, Secretary General of the Mongolian Red Cross. According to her the Red Cross is expecting results of detailed disaster survey, so that they can submit a proposal to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies for more assistance.

Aside from this, the World Vision has donated five gers (national dwellings), "Es Sain" LLC's S'Outlet has shown assistance worth around 15 million MNT of adult and children's clothes.

The aid trucks left for Olgii on July 19.

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26,000 m2 soil decontaminated, drinking water problem resolved in Olgii

Ulaanbaatar, July 19 (MONTSAME) The State Emergency Commission called a meeting on July 19, to present the results of measures taken in connection with the flood that hit Bayan-Olgii province's Olgii city on July 10. Following the heavy rain and hail, the flood hit the center of the most remote western province of Mongolia, sweeping houses of more than 160 families, as a result of which some 700 citizens were left homeless, the Commission's secretary M.Enkh-Amar introduced the situation.

The authorities of the Ministry of Health and Sports have given timely directions through a webinar with the specialists of the Bayan-Olgii health department to provide emergency medical services, especially, psychological support and to activate the surveillance study to prevent outbreak of infectious diseases.

As of today, 26,000 squaremeter area was decontaminated with 7.7 tons of chemicals. The emergency departments resolved to provide full access to transported drinking water.

Head of the State Emergency Commission Ts.Oyunbaatar, the Deputy Prime Minister, assigned the corresponding officials to take necessary measures, including evacuation of households, in order prevent further damage from the potential disaster that can be caused by thunderstorms and storms.

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Mongolian trainee becomes Junior UCI World Champion

July 22 (UCI World Cycling Centre) Never before had Mongolia entered an athlete in the UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships.

So with his participation at this year's edition at the UCI World Cycling Centre (WCC) in Aigle, Switzerland, Tegshbayar Batsaikhan was already making history. Then, on Thursday evening, he surprised more than a few athletes and spectators by racing to victory in the Scratch Race and claiming the rainbow jersey.

It is a fantastic result for this 18-year-old athlete who prepared for the Worlds at the UCI WCC. The Centre's coaches detected the young Mongolian's talent when he attended a short training camp at the WCC satellite centre in Korea in 2015. After studying the data from his performances on the Wattbike (stationary training bike) the coaches contacted the Mongolian Cycling Federation at the beginning of 2016 and invited him to join the trainees based in Aigle.

"Mongolia has no history of track riding, and Tegshy was a complete novice to the discipline," explains the UCI WCC High Performance Manager Belinda Tarling. "In the five months since he arrived in Switzerland, our track coach has worked on both the technical and physical aspects of his training. He is a quick and motivated learner who showed he has the talent to compete with, and beat, the best riders of his age in the world."

She added that there was still a lot of work to do on race tactics and physical development but that he had a very promising future ahead of him.

UCI WCC Director Frédéric Magné added that this success story was testament to the centre's talent identification and training programmes.

"We work closely with out satellite centres in Asia and Africa, and by studying the Wattbike data sent to us we can keep a close eye on the athletes' progress and invite the most promising to Aigle for more intensive, high-level training.

"It is so rewarding to see our athletes improve and realise their dreams."

Batsaikhan's progress since arriving at the UCI WCC has been impressive. Even so, probably few of the athletes or spectators in the velodrome on Thursday evening would have suspected such a performance from this Mongolian lining up against 20 talented athletes from some of cycling's leading nations.

Indeed, he was lucky to qualify for the final, finishing his semi-final in sixth position. But in the race that counted he had what it took and raced into the lead with eight laps to go.

In his still hesitant English, Tegshbayar Batsaikhan could not contain his joy: "I am so happy. I dreamed of the rainbow jersey and now I am wearing one. This is a new story for Mongolia."

The UCI WCC is working closely with the Mongolian Cycling Federation to develop all aspects of cycling and coach education. A one-week coaching course has just been completed in the capital of Ulan Bator.

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Mongolia sees off Olympic team to Rio

July 21 (MONTSAME) Ceremony for seeing off the athletes, who are to take part in the summer Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro of Brazil, took place on Wednesday at Chinggis Khaan Square. President Mr Ts.Elbegdorj, Prime minister  Mr J.Erdenebat and other officials have participated in the event.  

Mr J.Erdenebat said in the opening remarks that Mongolia is sending 42 athletes to the 31st Summer Olympic Games "RIO 2016", and eight athletes to the 15th Paralympic Games.

Mongolian athletes first started to participate in the Olympics in 1964 and since then grabbed 2 gold, 9 silver and 13 bronze medals in freestyle wrestling, judo, boxing and shooting.

Prime minister thanked Preparation committee for the Rio 2016 and the people of Mongolia, who love sport and support athletes, for making tangible and intangible contributions to the successful attendance by the country's team the 2016 Olympic games.

At the end of his speech, he wished the athletes to sound the Mongolia's state anthem and raise the state flags many more times in the "Olympic Sky".

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N.Tugstsogt beats Puerto Rican boxer in first round

July 21 (UB Post) Mongolian boxer N.Tugstsogt earned a victory in his sixth professional career fight against Rafael Vazquez of Puerto Rico on July 16. He defeated Vazquez within one minute and 24 seconds in the first round.

The fight took place in the U.S. at Horseshoe Casino in Mississippi.

N.Tugtsogt is an Olympic silver medalist and has won all four of his fights since he started his professional fighting career last year. He is currently ranked 71st in the super bantamweight of the World Boxing Ranking out of 1,438 boxers.

Rafael Vazquez, nicknamed "Dynamite", is 38 years old. He has fought 18 bouts in his professional career, and has claimed 16 wins and two losses. He is ranked 140th in the world.

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Asian Draughts Championship to be held in Ulaanbaatar on July 20-30

July 22 ( The Asian Draughts Championship is taking place from July 20th to 30th in Ulaanbaatar. One hundred standard draughts games for all age categories are being played in 'B' corpus of the Mongolian State University of Education. Around 200 draughts players from 15 countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, India and Singapore are participating in the Asian Draughts Championship in six age categories.

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Training with the 'unbreakable flower' of Mongolia for Olympics gold

July 20 (Washington Post) Twenty-six-year-old Battsetseg Soronzonbold's name means "unbreakable flower" in Mongolian, and at the upcoming 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, that's what she plans to be.

Soronzonbold is a wrestling world champion and bronze medalist at 2012 London Olympics. She was recovering in a hospital from tonsil surgery when she noticed women wrestling on TV and decided that would be her path, she told Reuters. Now she is testing out moves at a training camp outside of the capital, Ulaanbaatar (and also sometimes on her boyfriend.)

Wrestling is something of a national obsession in Mongolia, and dates back to the reign of Mongolian warrior Genghis Khan. According to ESPN, Khan chose his generals based on their wrestling abilities. Today, a centuries-old sports competition called Naadam sweeps the country every year. It features what are known as the "three manly sports": horseback riding and archery contests, and a competition to find the strongest wrestler in the nation. The contenders begin each match with a ritual thigh slapping and, for the winner, ends with an eagle dance.

Soronzonbold and other female wrestlers are making inroads in what has traditionally been a male-dominated sport. But she doesn't see any barriers. "Now things are very open, people are watching TV and they watch us," she told Reuters.

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Mongolia hosts 2016 Sumo World Championships on July 30-31

July 21 (UB Post) The 2016 Sumo World Championships will be held at Buyant-Ukhaa Sports Complex on July 30 and 31.

Sumo wrestlers from foreign countries will come to Ulaanbaatar to compete in the international championship. Mongolian professional sumo wrestlers competing in Japan will return to Mongolia to cheer for the championship's Mongolian wrestlers.

The poster and tickets for the Sumo World Championships will feature Yokozuna Hakuho M.Davaajargal.

Tickets for the tournament will be sold for 20,000 MNT.

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Mongolian mountaineer conquers Oceania's crown for the first time

Ulaanbaatar, July 18 (MONTSAME) Renowned mountaineer of Mongolia B.Gangaamaa has become the first Mongolian to conquer Puncak Jaya – Carstensz Pyramid, the highest summit of Mount Carstensz in the Sudirman Range of the western central highlands of Papua Province, Indonesia, which is one of the Seven Tops of the planet.

She raised the state flag of Mongolia on the summit, elevated 4,884 meters above sea level, on July 8. B.Gangaamaa left home for Indonesia last June 26.

B.Gangaamaa said: "I started my journey some 20 days ago in pursue of my ambitious dream. Now my endeavor's been justified, the first Mongolian have conquered the continent of the 'oceania'. I have felt with my body and soul the reasons why this very summit called Puncak Jaya is treasured and respected with so much honor", in Facebook.

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Mechanic makes 15,000-mile round trip from London to Mongolia - to carry out 10-minute repair on customer's Bentley

July 22 (The Telegraph) A mechanic took customer service to a new level by going on a 15,000-mile round trip from London to Mongolia - so he could carry out a 10-minute repair job.

Bentley specialist William Medcalf took two flights and then drove through the desert for more than seven hours to help customer Bill Cleyndert.

Mr Cleyndert was taking part in the Peking to Paris motor rally when a wheel bearing failed on his 1924 Bentley Super Sports.

He was two days into the journey in China and with no parts available and his only hope was Mr Medcalf, who had prepared the car ahead of the 8,500-mile drive.

After quickly sourcing the £87 part, Mr Medcalf set off from West Sussex to Heathrow Airport, where he took a flight to South Korea.

From there he boarded another flight to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, at midnight.

He then picked up a 4x4 and set out in the dark on a near-300 mile drive through the perilous roads of Mongolia and into the Gobi Desert.

After reaching Mr Cleyndert's remote camp at 7.30am, he simply removed the wheel and replaced the bearing in a job lasting no more than 10 minutes.

Mr Medcalf said: "Bill suffered a rear wheel bearing failure on day two, which left the car immobile with a seized rear wheel and only had one shot to get across the China Mongolia border.

"If he didn't get across with the other 100 cars he would be able to get a cross at all. There is 2km of no man's land, so ingeniously the car was towed across at walking pace, with the rear wheel supported on a trolley jack into Mongolia.

"Driving in Mongolia is like nowhere else in the world. You have people driving at a closing speed of 100mph in the pitch dark, with full beam on and you're trying to drive safely.

"Then the road suddenly ends and you are in the desert and you have to find the road again, always driving within your headlights. Forty miles per hour is about as fast as you can go and it's quite an experience.

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Stafford half brothers venture from the M6 to Mongolia and back

July 23 (Staffordshire Newsletter) STAFFORD half-brothers Adam and James Rowley have set off on a 15,000 mile journey to Mongolia and back.

The pair are taking on the Mongol Rally car challenge in memory of their grandfathers, who both died of Alzheimer's disease. Last week they started their journey from the M6Toll, their first major sponsor.

Under the rules of the endurance challenge they will travel unaided, driving their 1.2 litre VW Polo, nicknamed Wilson which cost less than £1,000.

Along the way, they will be fundraising for the Alzheimer's Society and the rainforest charity Cool Earth. Adam's grandfather, was ex RAF heavy goods driver Micheal Creame and James' grandfather, Godfrey Bailey, ran a pharmacy in Hednesford.

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Newport man rallies from London to Mongolia for charitySouth Wales Argus, July 24

Trio set off on Mongol Rally adventureNewbury Today, July 24


Downham man to trek across Mongolia in father's memory

July 22 (This Is Local London) A Downham man is taking part in a 10 day trek through Mongolia to raise money for the foundation he set up in his father's memory.

Edwin Lampert set up the Brun Bear foundation last year after the death of his father Mervyn from brain cancer.

He donates all the money raised to community organisations, charities, such as Great Ormond Street Hospital, and animal welfare groups.

Towards the end of his life his father had hallucinations of two bears and asked his son to look after them, so Mr Lampert created the foundation to honour that wish.

Mr Lampert said: "Rather than becoming aggressive or paranoid, he believed he had two bears living with us and those bears were real.

"He wasn't in a vegetative state, he could hold a conversation, but in the middle of it he would say, oh do you know we have two bears?"

The bears were called Bruhilfer and Brunfin, referenced in the name of the foundation, and have featured in children's stories Mr Lampert has written.

The foundation have 'adopted' two bears from the Libearty Bear Sanctuary, Romania, and named them Bruno and Brunsky, and they will feature in future stories.

Mr Lampert said: "They allowed us to name their bears, they're orphans and their mother was probably shot.

"They were only ten weeks old, they wouldn't have survived on their own.

"We provide a share of the funds for their care and welfare, they will be rehabilitated until they can go back in to the wild."

Alongside animal welfare, funds have been donated to Great Ormond Street Hospital and community organisations in Bromley and Lewisham.

Mr Lampert will fly to Mongolia tomorrow (July 22), and begin his trek in Ulaanbaatar.

It is the first "epic" challenge he will take on for the foundation, and he plans to make it an annual event.

He has raised £3,150 through his fundraising page to be split between chosen charities.

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Race through Mongolia dream for Bay woman -, July 22

Air Force captain from Kansas to compete in 621-mile horse race in MongoliaCJ Online, July 17

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Art, Entertainment

Mongolia's first IMAX Theatre opens at new Shangri-La Centre

July 22 ( IMAX, which has 1100 branch theatres all over the world, is ready to open its door in Mongolia. 

Mongolia became the 71st country of IMAX theater installation, stated by the Mr. John Schreiner, Vice President of Business Development, IMAX Corporation. 

Opening ceremony of Urgoo IMAX theatre, located in the Shangri-La Mall, will be held at 8PM today. 

The first film at Urgoo IMAX theatre, the "Star Trek Beyond" is available during 11:40AM to 10:20PM starting Jul 23. Ticket reservation is available at

Adult ticket price is MNT 15,000 while children ticket price is MNT 12,000 and VIP ticket price is MNT 20,000.

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Mongolia's first IMAX theatre, July 22


Jackie Chan's new movie shows Mongolian life

July 21 ( Skiptrace, an action comedy starring Jackie Chan, will be premiered in China tomorrow. 

Interestingly, the film shows Mongolian life such as Mongol wrestler, Mongol deel (traditional costume), Mongol vodka, Mongol dance and Naadam festival.


Hong Kong detective Bennie Chan (Jackie Chan) has been tracking notorious crime boss Victor Wong for over a decade. When Bennie's young niece Samantha (Fan Bingbing) gets into trouble with Wong's crime syndicate, Bennie must track down the only man who can help him: fast-talking American gambler Connor Watts (Johny Knoxville). Bennie races against the clock to bring Connor back to Hong Kong and the unlikely pair embark on an entertaining and perilous adventure from the snowy mountains of Mongolia to the windswept dunes of the Gobi desert.

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Mongolia to host 2016 International Monodrama Festival

July 21 ( In scope of Friendly Ulaanbaatar program, Mongolian Monodrama Centre in collaboration with the State Drama Theatre, State Puppet Theatre and the University of the Culture and Arts to organise "The Parade of Winners 2016" International Monodrama Festival on Aug 15-19 at the State Drama Theatre.

Artists from Poland, Armenia, Russia, England and Mongolia to attend and perform for the festival.




On Aug 15 at 7 PM

I am Edit Piath

Ts.Bayasgalan, an actress of State Drama Theatre of Mongolia, State Honored Actress 

On Aug 16 at 7 PM


Wioleta Komar from Poland

On Aug 17 at 7 PM

Ara the Beautiful

Aram Hovhannisyan from Armenia

On Aug 18 at 7 PM

I am a dog

Natalya Nosova from Russia

On Aug 19 at 7 PM


Caryl Swift from England

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'Your Face Sounds Familiar' winner to donate part of his 20 million prize

July 20 (UB Post) The Mongolian edition of "Your Face Sounds Familiar" became an instant hit this summer, keeping many viewers glued to their televisions. For 10 weeks, eight celebrities were challenged to impersonate randomly chosen iconic music artists and compete to win a 20 million MNT cash prize raise funds for the Mazaalai Foundation. Singer P.Bayartsengel became the first "series champion" of the Mongolian edition of the interactive reality television franchise series developed by Endemol and Antena 3.

For two months, Bayartsengel defied his limitations, transforming himself to become the legendary godfather of hip-hop Tupac Shakur, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, stunning Russian singer Natasha Koroleva, reggae's Bob Marley, singer and bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst, Redfoo of American electronic dance music duo LMFAO, famous Ukrainian singer and composer Vitas, prominent Mongolian singer L.Banzragch, and member of Nomin Talst T.Delgermurun. His final performance, an impersonation of Bruno Mars singing his hit song "Uptown Funk", earned him the grand prize of 20 million MNT.

The following is an interview with the rising star P.Bayartsengel.

Congratulations on becoming the series champion of "Your Face Sounds Familiar".

I'm absolutely elated to have won this award despite being a rookie artist. I believe that viewers gave me a lot of trust and support.

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Travel cash card for tourists will enable transactions in tugrugs

July 18 ( In scope of Friendly Ulaanbaatar program, City Tourism Department in cooperation with State Bank will introduce "Travel card" for tourists which enables transactions in tugrugs. 

Travel card with no holder registration to discounts on the prices of some products or services and it will valid only in Mongolia.

The product offers payment card, information of service centers offering discount and tourist guidebook. 

Travel card aims to solve the payment problems facing with tourists, protect tourist from cash risk, ensure safe travel, support transactions in tugrugs and non-cash payments.

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Travel card for, July 18


The Trans-Siberian Railway is like no other

July 19 (The Weekly Times) THERE's an addiction that sets in while travelling on the Trans-Siberian Railway as you traverse three big countries — Russia, Mongolia and China.

It's called window gazing and there's no cure; you simply don't want to miss the changing landscape that unfurls around every bend.

Twelve days on a train from Moscow to Beijing covering nearly 8000km across seven time zones adds up to the trip of a lifetime and doesn't disappoint.

From dawn to dusk, we glimpse life in big cities, smaller towns and barren landscapes and stop most days to do a tour with a local guide who provides a great insight into the attractions and highlights.

We pass a range of dwellings from drab Stalinist-style apartment blocks to charming gingerbread Russian cottages, the colourful wooden houses of Siberia and the tented yurts of Mongolia.

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Terelj from the sky #1: ARYABAL MEDITATION TEMPLE

July 18 ( We aim to deliver the historical sites and travel destinations around Terelj National Park as series.

First, we offer you one of the meditation temple of Mongolia, the Aryabal temple, which is 60 km away from UB. 

Aryabal meditation temple was built in 1810-s by Mongolian and Tibetan artists in Terelj National Park. In many cases Buddhist monks from Manzushir monastery came to this temple to make meditation. The temple style is more Tibetan styled like white square shaoed and white colored main building and porcelain roofs decorated with Buddhist and religious signs. In 1937-1939 Mongolian communists came to this temple and destroyed it completely and killed some monks from this temple. Later in 2000 Buddhist monks of Lamiran temple in Ulaanbaatar initiated the project to restore this temple and completed the restoration work in 2004-2007. Lamiran temple monks sometimes come to this temple and cater religious service here and in many days of year it is open place for visitors and tourists, who want to thank for the god and do meditation.

The set of 108 stone stairs will lead you to the main temple and 108 small stupas and 108 prayer wheels were placed around the temple. Moreover, signs with 144 Buddhist teachings, written in English and Mongolian, lined the sides of the path.

Ticket price is MNT 2000 for foreigners and MNT 1000 for Mongolians.

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Terelj from the Sky #2: TURTLE ROCK

July 20 ( We aim to deliver the historical sites and travel destinations around Terelj National Park as series.

Turtle rock or Melkhii Khad, 24 meters high natural rock formation, which form looks like a turtle, is located 65 km away from the Ulaanbaatar. Apart from Turtle rock, Terelj has many unusual natural wonders such as Camel rock, Three friends cave and 100 lama`s cave. 

Located at the foothills of a mountain covered of pines, this rocky formation is incontestably a photo opportunity while you're on the road for Terelj. There, it's possible to rent horses, and during the summer, you can also find souvenirs' sellers. It's a good starting point for a hiking that will lead you to the Aryabal meditation temple

Its old name was Mungut Khad (Money Rock). 

"The name Mungut Khad (Money Rock) locals link to the tale of the two Oirad rival heroes named Luuzansharav and Hatanbuuvei. The story started with the evil plot of Hatanbuuvei to defeat Luuzansharav and hiding in preparation of the attack.

However, Luuzansharav found out and decided to run away as he was not strong enough to resist the attack. He asked his wife to run away together. But his wife refused as she was attracted by their wealth. Then Luuzansharav killed his wife and hid the body and all of their wealth in a Turtle rock. 

Locals put wet meat into the gap of Turtle rock during the summer to cool. Since then, gold and silver coins stuck to wet meat and it fell down when someone try to take back. At that moment, sarcastic laugh of a woman can be heard from the bottom of the rock. Thus, locals named that rock as Money rock or Mungut Had"

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Genghis Khan Keeps A Watch Over Mongolia Again

TSONJIN BOLDOG, July 24 (PTI) Genghis Khan, the legendary Mongolian ruler and horseman who invaded half the world in the 13th century, now keeps a watch over the land-locked and scenic country from the steppes.

The huge Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue, part of the Genghis Khan Statue Complex is a 40-metre tall shimmering statue of Genghis Khan on horseback, is currently the biggest equestrian statue in the world.

The impressive theme park is situated on the bank of the Tuul River at Tsonjin Boldog some 54 km east of the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar, where according to legend, he found a golden whip.

The 250-tonne gleaming stainless steel statue of Genghis Khan, who is revered by nomadic Mongolians as a brilliant military leader who unified warring tribes to found the world's largest empire, is symbolically pointed east towards his birthplace.

It is on top of the Genghis Khan Statue Complex, a visitor centre, with 36 columns representing the 36 Khans from Genghis to Ligdan Khan.

It was designed by sculptor D Erdenebileg and architect J Enkhjargal and erected in 2008.

"We Mongolians are proud of this statue," a tour guide said. "We consider him as our hero, our father and our god," she said.

Visitors can walk to the head of the horse through its chest and neck, where they can have a panoramic view of the Mongolian steppes.

According to plans, the main statue area will be surrounded by 200 ger or yurts (a portable, round tent) . The cost of the complex is said to be USD 4.1 million, spent by The Genco Tour Bureau, a Mongolian private company.

The museum, which charges nearly USD 4 per person as entry fee, has exhibitions relating to the Bronze Age and Xiongnu archaeological cultures in Mongolia, which show everyday utensils, belt buckles, knives and sacred animals.

A second exhibition at the museum is on the Great Khan period in the 13 and 14th centuries which has ancient tools, goldsmith subjects and some Nestorian crosses and rosaries.

Inside the two-story base of the statue, visitors can see a replica of Genghis Khan's legendary golden whip, sample traditional cuisine of horse meat and potatoes.

Visitors can ascend to the exhibition hall using a lift at the back of the horse and then walk to the horse's head passing through its chest and the back of its neck from where they can have a panoramic view.

An Indian visitor to the complex, said, the huge statue was highly impressive and the scenic beauty of the Mongolian blue sky and the steppes was breathtaking.

Genghis Khan, 65, had been revered for centuries by Mongols, largely because of his association with Mongol statehood, political and military organisation, and his victories in war. He is regarded as one of the prominent leaders in Mongolia's history and the symbol of Mongolian culture.

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