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Monday, August 22, 2016
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Khan Files Third Quarter 2016 Financial Results
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Aug. 19, 2016) - Khan Resources Inc. (CSE:KRI) ("Khan" or "the Company") announced today that it has filed its financial statements and management's discussion and analysis for the six months ended June 30, 2016 on SEDAR and has posted these documents to its website www.khanresources.com.
International Arbitration Settlement - On March 2, 2015 the international arbitration tribunal rendered an award to Khan as compensation for the Government of Mongolia's illegal actions in relation to the cancellation of Khan's uranium licenses in 2009.
Cash - The major cash inflow during the nine months ended June 30, 2016, was US$70,000,000 of the settlement proceeds from the Government of Mongolia; in addition, officers and employees of the Company exercised 3,680,000 stock options resulting in a cash inflow of $1,407,675. A portion of the proceeds are being used for general corporate matters and legal and tax consulting services to develop procedures to distribute the majority of the proceeds to shareholders. Cash and cash equivalents at June 30, 2016 stood at $87,164,000.
Origo Partners: Dispute Resolution and Proposed Restructuring
August 19 -- Origo is pleased to announce that, following extensive discussions with its key shareholders and further to the proposed restructuring of the Company's share capital set out in the circular sent to shareholders in January 2016, a revised set of proposals (the "Proposals") has been agreed which will be put to shareholders for their approval.
The Proposals would restructure the convertible zero dividend preference shares ("CZDPs") and would provide Origo with greater flexibility to implement its orderly realisation strategy with a view to maximising value on behalf of Origo's shareholders. The key elements of the Proposals include the following:
· The removal of the requirement for the Company to redeem US$12 million CZDPs and the removal of any final CZDP redemption date.
· The accreted principal amount per CZDP be reset to US$1.0526. No rate of return on the CZDPs will begin to accrete until 1 January 2018. In respect of each CZDP still in issue on 1 January 2018, its principal amount of US$1.0526 shall be subject to the accretion of a rate of return equal to 4% per annum from 1 January 2018 to the date on which such CZDP is redeemed. Such return will accrue on a simple and not compound basis.
· Origo's ordinary shareholders ("Ordinary Shareholders") to receive a proportion of all future distributions alongside CZDP Shareholders, as follows:
- in respect of the first US$15 million of distributions, 80% to CZDP Shareholders and 20% to Ordinary Shareholders;
- in respect of distributions in excess of US$15 million:
o until such time as all CZDPs have been redeemed in full, 44% to CZDP Shareholders and 56% to Ordinary Shareholders; and
o thereafter, 100% to Ordinary Shareholders.
· The CZDP conversion provisions will all be removed.
The largest Ordinary Shareholder and the largest CZDP Shareholder shall each have the right to nominate a non-executive director of the Company.
Turquoise Hill Further Reduces SouthGobi Stake from 13.01% to 12.92%
Why Bondholders Are Belittling Mongolia's Crisis Warning
By GAVIN SERKIN
August 21 (Frontera News) They're the titans that set powerful governments trembling. Yet bondholders are evoking little fear among officials in Mongolia. In fact, it's quite the reverse.
While the new Finance Minister's warning that the country is in a "deep state of economic crisis" has sent the currency, the tögrög, tumbling even more than the British pound this month, Mongolia's bondholders soothed against any panic. Instead of yields soaring to levels of distress above 10%, they dropped last week to 7%.
This Mongolian oddity is rooted in the over-spending and borrowing during the boom time of the past several years. The government elected by a landslide in June is determined to bring discipline to the nation's finances by shocking its citizens into realizing they can't afford to keep all of the lights on.
First, the government cut salaries. The Prime Minister, President and MPs will take a 30% pay cut. Lower ranking government officials will lose a fifth of their income. Rank-and-file state employees will be spared.
Now, just contrast such top-down austerity with Italy's "bunga bunga" Berlusconi era or the revolving-door Greek governments abdicating fiscal responsibility to Berlin that sent borrowing costs soaring as bondholders waged war with the PIIGS of the Eurozone.
Consider further the Mongolian central bank's decision to hike interest rates to 15% from 10.5% to halt the currency's tailspin last week. The lack of such bold monetary policy initiative is what set bondholders against Turkey's authorities for years.
Of course, Mongolia isn't Italy or Turkey. With little over 3 million people and an economy similar in size to Albania or Mozambique, it's certainly not too big to fail. Fiercely independent in the model of the nation's founding father Genghis Khan, Mongolians are jealous guards against over-zealous influence from Russia to the north or China to the south. Mongolia can't presume to rely on the support of the International Monetary Fund or bondholders. And this is why the new government is taking its own medicine before it's prescribed.
So far, it's working. For the IMF to provide support it would want Mongolia to raise interest rates and tighten fiscal spending – exactly what the government is doing, Aberdeen Asset Management's Kevin Daly told the Financial Times last week. "If there was an IMF program, that would shore up confidence and act as a backstop, but even without that there is no expectation of default. Investors remain confident of that."
While Mongolia's credit rating was taken down a peg on reduced estimates for economic growth, Fitch noted on Friday that momentum could pick up sharply from increased mining activity.
Away from the crisis headlines, the British-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto is breaking ground on one of the world's largest copper and gold deposits with an investment of $5.3 billion – equivalent to nearly half of Mongolia's $11.7 billion economy. It was the first phase of Rio Tinto's Oyu Tolgoi project five years ago that sent gross domestic product soaring 17%, the fastest annual pace anywhere, as the mining stimulus spurred other industries and consumers.
Continuing this week's Mongolia focus, I'll be getting perspective on recent events from two of the country's biggest investors – Rio Tinto and Asia Pacific Investment Partners, the country's largest real estate firm – along with political risk analysts Alaco. Listen live to the conversation on the Emerging Opportunities radio show this Tuesday from 4:30pm in London and 11:30am in New York, or catch the podcast afterwards right here.
Mogi: MSE website is down.
S&P: Mongolia Long-Term Rating Lowered To 'B-' On Weakening Fiscal And Growth Performance; Outlook Stable
· Mongolia's newly consolidated off-balance sheet spending indicates materially weaker public finances. We have also lowered our GDP growth estimate for the country to an average of 3.2% over 2016-2019.
· Weak exports and investment inflows continue to pressure Mongolia's public finances and balance of payments. Developing institutional effectiveness and predictability also hamper policy responses.
· We are lowering our long-term rating on Mongolia to 'B-' from 'B'. We are also affirming our 'B' short-term credit rating on the sovereign and revising the transfer and convertibility assessment to 'B' from 'B+'.
· The stable outlook balances the country's low-income resource-driven economy, emerging policy environment and fiscal performance, high external risk, and limited monetary flexibility with the prospect that large mining projects could quickly reverse Mongolia's sovereign credit profile during the next 12 months.
On Aug. 19, 2016, S&P Global Ratings lowered its long-term sovereign credit rating on Mongolia to 'B-' from 'B'. The outlook on the long-term rating is stable. At the same time, we affirmed our 'B' short-term credit rating on Mongolia. We have revised the transfer and convertibility assessment to 'B' from 'B+'.
We lowered the rating to reflect our revised view of Mongolia's fiscal performance and growth prospects.
We expect sizable and rising fiscal deficits, reflecting shortfalls in revenues and the inclusion in the budget of spending under the country's price stabilization and public private partnership programs and by the Development Bank of Mongolia (DBM). We expect the rising deficits to push Mongolia's borrowings markedly higher over 2016-2019. Additional weaknesses reflect the country's weaker growth prospects and developing institutional effectiveness and predictability, which together hamper policy responses.
After Mongolia's five years of growth that was among the highest of all sovereigns we rate, we expect the country's growth to slow to 1.3% this year, compared with our previous estimate of 2.6%. We project growth to average about 3.2% through 2019 (4% previously). We expect per capita growth to fall by 1.8% in 2016. We assess Mongolia's economic performance to be similar to that of other countries with US$3,800 per capita GDP. Our lower growth estimate stems partly from the ancillary effects of Mongolia's weaker terms of trade and partly from the country's mixed mining policies, which discouraged foreign direct investment.
The stable outlook balances the country's low-income resource-driven economy, emerging policy environment and fiscal performance, high external risk, and limited monetary flexibility with the prospect that large mining projects could quickly reverse Mongolia's sovereign credit profile during the next 12 months.
This outlook also assumes that official creditor support is imminent to contain balance-of-payment and fiscal pressures.
Upward pressure could build on the rating if the development of the Oyu Tolgoi and Tavan Tolgoi mines accelerates economic growth and improves fiscal and external performances more than we currently expect.
Downward pressure could emerge on the ratings if Mongolia's external liquidity weakens markedly.
Reds are rates that set a new record at the time
BoM MNT Rates: Friday, August 19 Close
MNT vs USD (blue), CNY (red) in last 1 year:
BoM Monetary Policy Statement: Increasing policy interest rate by 4.5 percentage points
Effective date: 18 August 2016
August 19 (Bank of Mongolia) At its meeting on 18 August 2016, the Bank of Mongolia's Board of Directors decided to increase the policy rate by 4.5 percentage points to 15 percent.
Despite the inflation rate being at low level, the exchange rate of togrog against US dollar has depreciated by 7.9 percent since the end of July.
In the first half of 2016, Mongolia's trade balance has improved by 602.0 million US dollar y-oy and the current account deficit has declined by 2 fold. Even though there has been improvements in the balance of foreign currency inflow and outflow as such, further step-by-step actions that are aimed at stabilizing macroeconomic fundamentals, improving the credibility of togrog and increasing the togrog yield are necessary to be taken.
Therefore, the Bank of Mongolia is taking measures to increase the yield for togrog assets in order to safeguard the exchange rate of togrog and to ensure economic stability in the medium term. In addition, policies aimed at ensuring the equilibrium of togrog exchange rate through intensive implementation of adjustments in the fiscal and monetary policy will be pursued.
Mongolia raises interest rate to 15% to fight currency slide – Nikkei Asian Review, August 20
Mongolia's Massive Rate Hike Is Not the Biggest Recently: Chart
August 19 (Bloomberg) On Thursday, Mongolia's central bank hiked its policy interest rate by a remarkable 450 basis points to protect the tugrik, the world's worst-performing currency this month. Hard as it might be to fathom, it isn't actually the biggest increase in borrowing costs in recent years. Rates in Ukraine jumped from 6.5 percent in 2014 to 22 percent in 2015 as Russia invaded the country and annexed some of its territory.
After Mongolia…the five biggest rate hikes in recent history – Fast FT, August 19
Mogi: no sign of hike effect on 1-week bills, yet
BoM issues ₮78.7 billion 1-week bills at 15%, total outstanding -15% to ₮657.7 billion
August 19 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 78.7 billion at a weighted interest rate of 15% percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
Mongolia Declares Crisis as Commodity Bust Hurts Finances
August 19 (Bloomberg TV) The collapse in commodity prices is leaving a trail of victims. Mongolia could be one of the worst hit. They've raised their key interest rate to 15% to prop up the tugrik which is the world's worst performing currency. Bloomberg's Enda Curran reports on "Trending Business."
Commodity Bust Weighs on Mongolia's Finances
August 19 (Bloomberg TV) Mongolia's government faces an economic crisis with a crushing debt burden and low foreign currency reserves. The central bank raised its benchmark interest rate to a record 15% to prop up the currency. Bloomberg's Nick Edwards reports on "Trending Business."
Mogi: It's J. Delgersaikhan, unless he has a twin with a different last name
Economist N.Delgerjargal proposes Stand-By Arrangement for economic recovery
August 20 (UB Post) The Mongolian economy is deteriorating fast according to experts. Economists and researchers are seeking solutions for stabilizing the economy.
Unuudur newspaper interviewed professor of the Institute of Finance and Economics N.Delgerjargal about ways to stabilize the economy.
More and more economists are pointing out the instability of the economy. How do you view the current economic situation in Mongolia?
It's said that Mongolia's economic difficulty started two years ago. The public is split into two groups – people who say the economy is in crisis and those with conflicting opinions. As far as I know, economic challenges started arising a year ago and now, the economy has deteriorated quite a bit. The main indicator of this is Mongolia's weak economy.
As observations show, key sectors went downhill from 2015 and early 2016. The only sectors showing positive results right now are mining, agriculture and trade. There's no improvement in the processing industry.
Basically, indicators of real economic sectors are bad. News about Mongolia's foreign debt burden and low investment has worsened the situation. The weakening economy also impacted the financial market. I see very high risks in the financial market. Positive indicators are scarce in today's economy. Every indicator imply Mongolia's dire state. Currency exchange rate is said to reflect the economy. USD to MNT exchange rate rapidly increased in the past two months.
How has this impacted Mongolia? Can you sum up this issue?
The Mongolian currency is losing its value. MNT has been weak since 2013 compared to other currencies. I'm still observing the latest currency fluctuation. Former Prime Minister Ch.Saikhanbileg's government brought 700 million USD from abroad, lowering USD to MNT exchange rate to 1,950 MNT before the election. Overwhelming victory of one political party at the recent election is improving situations in foreign and local markets. Now, foreign investors see Mongolia in a good light.
Investors believe that the rising of one political party to power has established a united government, making decision-making faster. The Mongolian People's Party promised to establish a professional government. This probably influenced investors as well. There's been some favorable changes in the economy. Yet, the Finance Minister and President of Mongol Bank talked as if the economy has plunged. I think that this caused the USD to MNT exchange rate to swing. Besides that there isn't any reason for the drastic change in USD inflow and outflow.
Foreign and domestic markets were anticipating good news from the new government. Investors are probably becoming more hesitant as more bad news are spread.
Talks about shortage of USD in Mongolia is everywhere. Businessmen and economists evaluate this issue as a result of the new government's action. Do you agree with this?
It's a fact that shortage of USD occurs in spring as business activities increase. This issue stabilizes when Mongolia receives more foreign currencies from cashmere trade in China. A momentary radical rise in the USD to MNT exchange rate was observed last winter due to Tsagaan Sar. People actively engaged in trade to prepare for the national celebration. This time, Mongolia's foreign trade hasn't increased that much. Mongolia's economy is stagnant. The volume of imports and exports has decreased considerably. Extreme shrink in the import volume has created a balance in the foreign trade of Mongolia.
It's true that our nation is facing foreign currency shortage, but it didn't suddenly happen in the last 20 days. Currencies are gradually decreasing. The government has spent all the USD reserve brought before the election. The Mongol Bank doesn't have a foreign currency reserve that could strongly impact the market. Even so, I doubt that the foreign currency short- age has reached to the extent that would increase the value of USD this much. The shortage will become more serious unless we take a strong countermeasure. Prime Minister J.Erdenebat announced to carry out a special economy program.
What kind of measures do you want the government to take? What's your solution for overcoming the current economic difficulties?
For a fact, we need to find an escape plan from any economic challenge. At the moment, we have a limited number of options. Two years ago, I believed there was a way to overcome economic difficulties based on my own assessment. It was possible back then but now, the situation has turned against us. The due date for debt repayment is close and situation in the foreign market is poor. Obviously, finding a way out under such conditions is hard.
I hope the government will do three things. Firstly, I hope the government develops a supplementary budget for 2016, which corrects fiscal expenditure and improve discipline so that it can last for a long time. Although Mongolia's legal environment related to the state budget is considered good, fiscal discipline and planning is still poor. We need to start accurately planning the state budget. If we can't do this, there should be some kind of an accountability system.
Secondly, the government should develop a plan specifying measures to take for reducing potential burden on the state budget. In other words, a comprehensive solution is necessary for guiding what to do and how to relieve foreign debt burdens when the repayment date is near.
Thirdly, a plan is essential in three areas: prevent economic collapse within a short amount of time, put a stop of the collapse in the medium term, and develop the economy in the long term. Of course, a part of this plan will need to specify measures to improve fiscal discipline and ease debt burden.
On top of these things, an accurate monetary policy consistent with the economic development policy is required. I hope these four things are definitely included in the action plan.
Must Mongolia get another loan to improve the economic situation?
A short-term measure against financial challenges is getting a loan. Getting USD by any means is the only way out. We could release another bond on the international financial market. This is an option to consider for overcoming financial challenges. However, it is a problematic option.
The current situation is very different from when Mongolia released Chinggis Bond on the international market at the end of 2012. Since then, Mongolia's credibility dropped, its international reputation fell, and the nation's debt burden, as well as fiscal deficit, continues to increase. These indexes lower Mongolia's changes of getting a loan from abroad. Fiscal deficit alone reached a trillion MNT for three years in a row. The government set an interest rate of 11 percent on the latest bond they released before the election. Yield from Chinggis Bond grew significantly since January 2016. The yield had been decreasing since the election but rose again after an announcement by the Prime Minister. The bond yield is approximately 8.3 percent right now. Releasing a bond now will mean that the interest rate will be high. Changing a bond with low interest rate with one that charges high interest rate is financially unsuccessful and inappropriate.
The second option is to implement international programs such as the Stand-By Arrangement. I was against this program two years ago. Now, there's no choice but to consider it. Mongolia's economic situation deteriorated considerably in the last two years. Now, it's time to implement the Stand-By Arrangement.
Why did you stop opposing the Stand-By Arrangement?
It's become an option to consider for improving the economy. However, it's not the only option. Stand-By is a medium term program with low cost. Mongolia needs more foreign currency in the medium and long term. It is definitely a low-cost option. I can't deny that there will be additional requirements which many are concerned about. We probably will have to work on these areas. I assume Mongolia will be asked to improve fiscal discipline, establish a proper wage system, and tighten the monetary policy.
The previous government planned the state budget under a good strategy aimed to responsibly approve the state budget and tighten it. But the expenditure continued to increase. Some people who ran out of options are considering fixing some fiscal discipline related issues under foreign pressure.
This means that these people are willing to make changes according to restrictions of [foreign] financial organizations because they're unable to do it on their own. These are the two options for bringing USD into the country. Getting a commercial loan means paying high interest rates. The financing with low cost will limit the government activity.
Is it possible for Mongolia to get a long-term loan with low interest rate from international organizations?
The International Monetary Fund's Stand-By Arrangement has multiple options. It has around 20 types of arrangements. Our nation used to frequently get concessional loans from other countries, and during the government led by Su.Batbold, our status changed from a poor country to a developing country.
Now, Mongolia isn't a donatary but a partner country. So we can't wait for donors. Getting a "developing country" status might seem good but on the other hand, it limits our opportunities for getting long-term concessional loans with low interest rates. Unless we approach international financial organizations, we will end up with commercial loans with high interest rates. There are other options for increasing USD inflow, investment and export output. These two options are quite ambiguous. It's impossible to improve export output in just a year. Good news is that the amount of gold reserve increased. The amount of gold purchased by Mongol Bank rose this year. This will boost foreign currency reserve even by a little. However, it's not to the extent that could completely recover Mongolia's economy.
Mongolia's Hangover Needs More Than IMF Medicine
By Rachel Morarjee
August 19 (Reuters Breakingviews) Mongolia looks willing to take the pain to get its economy back on track. On Aug. 18, the nomad state hiked interest rates to 15 percent to defend its plunging currency – higher than Brazil, Nigeria, and Russia.
A newly elected government is already following the International Monetary Fund's austerity playbook by pledging to cut government salaries and slash welfare benefits. An IMF bailout seems like the logical next step.
That would keep the lights on while Mongolia laid the groundwork for a recovery. But a full recovery would mean herding nervous foreign investors back onto the steppe. That will be hard work.
Mongolia's economy has three interlocking problems. First, its fortunes are tightly bound to global commodities demand. In the halcyon days of 2011, foreign investment totalled $4.6 billion and gross domestic product soared 17.3 percent. But the commodities cycle has now turned as China's voracious demand for coal, copper and other materials has sagged.
Second, the country was not disciplined about its newfound wealth. During the boom years the government rolled out generous welfare payments to poor citizens, but failed to rebuild its creaking power infrastructure. Government debt was 30 percent of GDP when the country sought a previous IMF bailout in 2009. It is now more than double that.
Third, Mongolia has alarmed foreign companies. Years of bitter disputes with miner Rio Tinto, which invested in the country's largest copper and gold mine, left others wondering if contracts would be honoured. Foreign investment nosedived to a mere $35 million in the first half of this year. Rio Tinto has now approved a $5.3 billion expansion of the landmark Oyu Tolgoi project. But so far this has not prompted other investors from abroad to come stampeding back.
IMF help would shore up confidence, but would be just the first step in a long fightback.
Link to article (subscription needed)
One-time emerging market darling Mongolia is running out of cash
August 20 (CNBC) In 2012, Mongolia marked its debut in international capital markets with a stunning dollar bond sale that was meant to usher in a new era for the country.
Four years later, the currency is in free fall and concerns are growing that the cash-strapped government will struggle without external assistance.
The reversal of fortune for this sparsely-populated country underscores the impact the slowdown in China is having on economies that have for years depended on supplying raw materials to Chinese factories.
The collapse in commodity prices has taken a toll on the country's once-dominant mining sector. Foreign direct investments into the country's coal- and gold mines have slowed as investors closed their checkbooks.
In first half 2016, Mongolia's gross domestic product (GDP) grew 1.3 percent, compared with the 2.3 percent growth seen in 2015, according to data from Moody's.
Late Friday Asia time, ratings agency Standard & Poor's Global downgraded the country's long-term rating to B-minus from B on a weakening fiscal and growth outlook. It also cut its GDP forecast to an average of 3.2 percent over 2016-19 from a previous estimate of 4 percent. It cut its GDP growth forecast for 2016 to 1.3 percent from a previous estimate of 2.6 percent.
By comparison, World Bank data showed Mongolia grew by as much as 17.3 percent in 2011 at the start of the global mining boom.
The Mongolian tugrik has plummeted nearly 12 percent against the dollar this year, which prompted the Mongolian central bank to lift its policy rate on Thursday by 450 basis points to an all-time high of 15 percent.
The government also announced some austerity measures, in terms of pay cuts for executives and management-level staff at state-owned enterprises.
As of June 2016, Mongolia's foreign reserves stood at $1.296 billion, central bank data showed, which would be equivalent to roughly four months of imports, according to Trinh Nguyen, a senior economist with Natixis.
"Mongolia is having a difficult problem funding itself," Nguyen told CNBC by email on Friday.
"We don't know how much they have left [but] in 2015, Mongolia imported $3.8 billion and in 2014 $5.2 billion ... if we assume they still have $1.3 billion now, then it covers four months ... if that dropped to $1 billion, then the coverage is much lower at three months," she explained.
The precarious foreign exchange position has heightened concerns over the government's ability to repay borrowers.
Thomson Reuters data showed government bonds worth $664.8 million are set to mature in 2017, another $653.27 million in 2018, and $1 billion in 2022.
Many investors have already started yanking funds out of the country.
Bernard Pouliot, chairman of Hong Kong-based financial services group Quam Limited, told CNBC by phone on Friday that he shut down a Mongolia-focused fund last year, valued close to $10 million, which invested in public companies, because he did not see the country bouncing back until 2020. Pouliot started the fund in 2011.
He said Mongolia was too small of a market, and too dependent on politics, to maintain a single-country fund through the on-going slump.
Mongolia a mirror to a global trend
One fund manager, who is still invested in Mongolia, told CNBC that the country's turmoil reflected the broader trend of "ultra-loose" monetary policies adopted by central banks around the world, which led to a debt binge.
"After several years [of low interest rates], you have a situation where many people borrowed too much money at too low rates and now, even at these rates, are not able to repay. That's the dilemma," Michael Preiss, executive director at Taurus Wealth Advisors, told CNBC by phone.
Some analysts are not convinced that the raising of interest rates will reverse the damage.
"We do not consider the announced measures sufficient in themselves to stem dollar/tugrik buying," said Tim Condon of ING in a morning note on Friday, adding a regime change might be needed in order to halt the buying pressure.
Natixis' Nguyen added raising rates is usually effective in low-rate environments. Instead, Mongolia's rates were already higher than most countries.
Instead, it would make raising funds more expensive when Mongolia can least afford it. If the currency continues to weaken, it will also result in higher import costs and inflation at a time when Mongolia's foreign reserves are dwindling.
Too valuable to go bust?
Experts say another rescue from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is likely, with many seeing Thursday's rate hike as meeting IMF preconditions for a program.
"An IMF program is not a done deal," Condon cautioned, however. "Mongolia is a serial borrower from the IMF, which we think raises the odds of the authorities successfully negotiating a program ... a breakdown in negotiations would, we think, trigger a balance of payments crisis."
Mongolia last received a bailout from the IMF in 2009.
But most experts agreed that Mongolia is strategically too important for external parties, particularly China, to not intervene if the government's funding situation worsens.
"They're next door to China and it's much cheaper, if logistics are in place correctly, to ship coal, copper and gold from Mongolia, than from Australia or anywhere else," said Pouliot.
Politically, the Mongolian People's Party returned to power in a landslide parliamentary election on June 30, reported Reuters.
This, Pouliot said, meant there would be some political stability in the country. "They can now take decisions, instead of fighting all the time ...[but] it will take time to rebuild credibility, reserves and their economy," he said.
Possible rebound in commodities
Another potentially good news for the resource-rich country is the rebound seen in commodity prices this year.
"The resources sector [in Mongolia] could potentially see a re-rating," said Preiss.
Adding to the prospect of a pickup in the resources sector was the approval of the development of the Oyu Tolgoi underground mine by Rio Tinto, the Mongolian government and Turquoise Hill Resources, announced May 6, 2016. The project is worth $5.3 billion.
"This is the project that is expected to double gross domestic product ... this could be the largest copper and gold mine in the world," said Preiss.
DeFacto: Georgia's swim
By Jargal "DeFacto" Dambadarjaa
August 21 (UB Post) American swimmer Michael Phelps has won his 23rd Olympic gold medal, setting a new world record at the 2016 Summer Olympics being held in Rio de Janeiro. A total 43 athletes out of the three-million-strong Mongolian population are competing in Rio 2016. Two Mongolian swimmers, B.Dulguun (male) and B.Esui (female), competed in the 50 m freestyle. As every Mongolian turned their eyes to the swimming competition at the Olympics, I finally had the opportunity to dig deeper into the "Georgia swim" and study the nation that has made the Caucasus Mountains home.
Gia Janderi, vice president of New Economic School Georgia, said, "When the Soviet Union disassembled, Georgia slipped into deep economic and political crises. The entire nation struggled, like we were in deep water without knowing how to swim. It took years of effort before we gathered a good amount of knowledge and experience. Having had a bad teacher, we were drowning at times, and coming back to the surface often and then going back underwater. By 2004, we had found our path forward."
In 2015, The Heritage Foundation placed Georgia 22nd out of 178 countries in terms of economic freedom (Mongolia was 96th), 24th in business freedom (Mongolia was 56th), and 48th in freedom from corruption (Mongolia was 78th). Georgia was strongly in the lead among post-Soviet countries, Eastern European nations, and its neighboring countries.
SAAKASHVILI STYLE: GOVERNANCE REFORM
Corruption had fully taken over Georgia in 2003. Having realized that corruption could not continue as it was, the Rose Revolution had started by the end of 2003, and Georgia had a new government by the beginning of 2004. Mikheil Saakashvili, the leader of the revolution, became president, and was re-elected in 2008. These eight years brought about the nation's biggest political and socio-economic change. The Saakashvili swim had the following key aspects:
China-Mongolia-Russia trade route tested
August 19 (China Daily) A pilot route to simplify international freight transportation across China, Mongolia and Russia hit the road in Tianjin on Thursday, aiming to boost economic cooperation and trade between the countries.
"The pilot trip is an effective trial to carry out the nations' top strategic plans in the transportation field, and also a move to deepen economic cooperation in the economic corridor through China, Mongolia and Russia," said Liu Xiaoming, vice-minister of transportation, adding that the pilot trip will coordinate freight transportation policies and standards in the economic corridor, aiming to simplify freight transport procedures along the route.
In July, China joined the TIR Convention, an international system allowing transportation of authorized goods through member states without being subject to customs inspections. It takes effect on Jan 5. Russia and Mongolia are already TIR member countries.
The estimated seven-day trip covering 2,152 kilometers will stop at 11 cities, including China's border city Erenhot, Mongolia's capital Ulaanbaatar and Russia's Ulan-Ude.
A total of nine trucks are participating in the trip - three each from China, Mongolia and Russia.
"It will be a milestone in our trilateral transportation," Liu said.
The route links China's One Belt, One Road initiative with Mongolia's Prairie Road program and Russia's transcontinental rail plan.
"The new route will open the Mongolian and Russian markets for us. For example, when the route opens, high value-added products such as electronic products and tropical fruits can be transported by road from South China, and even Southeast Asian countries, to Mongolia and Russia," said Guo Xin, general manager of Nanjing Xinjinhang Logistic Co, which is participating in the pilot.
"Air cargo is very expensive. Now electronic products from Samsung and Huawei are usually sent to Mongolia and Russia by plane. If the road corridor opens, it would be a more cost-effective alternative," Guo said, adding that the cost of road transportation is about one-tenth of air transportation.
"One truck carrying about 20 metric tons of freight from South China's Guangxi GuangxiZhuang autonomous region to Russia costs about $4,000. But air cargo is calculated by the kilo," Guo said.
China signed road freight agreements with Mongolia in 1991 and Russia in 1992.
Last year, 3.7 million passengers and 24.6 trillion kilo-grams of freight were transported between China and the two countries.
In 2014, President Xi Jinping proposed a China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor. Details were dis-cussed by the presidents of China, Mongolia and Russia, aiming at strengthening regional ties and boosting trade.
New China-Mongolia-Russia Route Paves Way for Global Transit – Sputnik, August 19
China-Mongolia-Russia trade corridor pilot caravan launched ahead of TIR implementation - International Road Transport Union, August 18
Mongolia, Russia, China test border inspection and transit times – UB Post, August 19
SPAR International Partners With Max Group To Open 60 Stores In Mongolia
August 19 (European Supermarket Magazine) SPAR have announced its new partnership with Max Group LLC, with a view to opening 60 new stores across Mongolia by 2020.
The partnership was made official during a visit to the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, where a signing ceremony took place.
Max Group is a lead retailer in Mongolia with a string of chains of Max Food Supermarkets across the country.
The partnership with SPAR will mean the transfer of brand, with new SPAR branded stores opening as early as 2017.
The Dutch retailer has reported global retail sales of €33 billion in 2015, from 12,000 stores spanning four continents.
At the official signing ceremony in Ulaanbaatar, Dutch 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."
Third Annual 2016 American Days Expo, September 24-25, Misheel Expo
Ulaanbaatar, August 19 (MONTSAME) AmCham Mongolia's third annual 2016 American Days Expo, co-hosted by the United States Embassy in Ulaanbaatar, will take place on September 24-25 at Misheel Expo Center, Ulaanbaatar.
The two-day exhibition will have a special emphasis on showcasing hundreds of U.S. products and services to the public at large and aims to build broader awareness of the capacity of companies in Mongolia that are offering world-leading expertise and technology.
The second annual 2015 American Days Expo was a huge success featuring over 80 exhibitors and nearly ten thousand visitors. This year, AmCham is anticipating even more exhibitors and visitors. The 2016 American Days Expo is open to any company who distributes or sells an American product or services, the AmCham website says.
AmCham members who distribute an American product or service are entitled to one premier booth for free and a special Early Bird Rate is available until August 31, 2016. In addition, returning exhibitors receive a 10% discount on booth fees. This exhibition will provide its participants with opportunities to exhibit and sell your goods and services to a large consumer audience including the general public, wholesale buyers, and fellow members of the business community; to elevate the visibility of your organization and gain valuable exposure; to identify real business development and networking opportunities; and to participate in the event program and showcase your company to an engaged consumer audience with minimal financial investment.
Foot and Mouth Reports: Mongolia, Zimbabwe Hit by Disease
August 19 (The Cattle Site) - Few outbreaks of Foot and Mouth Disease have been reported in recent months, but Zimbabwe and Mongolia are the countries that have reported the disease, in cattle and goats.
Mongolia's outbreak affected 43 cattle on a farm in the Govi-Sumber region. Three animals died as a result of the outbreak. Quarantine, movement controls and screening are all being used to control the disease.
The allure of Mongolia: Mirage or opportunity?
Rich in 80 diverse minerals, Mongolia piques miners' interest.
June 29 (Accenture Consulting) Mongolia is richly endowed with natural resources, with commodities such as copper, gold and coal making up the majority of the country's exports. Even with only 15 percent of the country fully mapped, the World Bank Group states that there are over 6,000 deposits of around 80 different minerals in Mongolia1. Of the 400 deposits that have been defined, 160 are in production2.
The country has a highly favorable investment climate by frontier market standards, with broad-based political stability paving the way for investor protection and a strong legal framework. Significant infrastructure development, aimed at facilitating mineral exports, should boost the country's mining sector over the coming years.
Interest in Mongolia Awakens
Mongolia's legal framework drew concerns when 106 mining licenses were revoked in 20133, and those concerns were compounded by a parliament that at times failed to consult the wider investment and business community on new legislation. However, in 2014 the country expanded the area available to mining and exploration to 20 percent (from roughly 8 percent), by lifting a 2010 ban on new licenses4.
The Mongolian government also recently resolved an ongoing dispute with Rio Tinto-owned Turquoise Hill Resources5, ending a three-year stalemate over revenue sharing and the foreign investor's role in the Mongolia's mining sector6.
Other recent policy changes and actions by Mongolian government have increased its attractiveness as an investment destination:
· In a bid to revive investor interest in its mining sector, a wave of reforms to the country's 2006 Minerals Law in February 2015 and July 2014 were approved7,8,9.
· Previously, the government was entitled to an equity interest in a mineral deposit of between 34 and 50 percent10. However, now there is an option for the government to either exercise the right to equity or impose a special royalty in lieu. This option allows the state's equity interest to be transferred to the license holder.
· In May 2016, one of the world's largest undeveloped copper projects (Oyu Tolgoi)11, received approval for expansion. The Oyu Tolgoi mine in the South Gobi Desert of Mongolia is one of the world's largest and highest-grade copper and gold mines.
Despite periodic bouts of resource nationalism, Mongolia is expected to be more accommodating towards multinationals in the coming quarters. With China consuming about 80 percent12 of all Mongolian exports, there is room for further growth, as the government is unlikely to press ahead with policies that would further jeopardize investment in the face of China's economic slowdown. There is a view that, irrespective of the winner of the elections in June 2016, the major political parties do not have any political motivation to disturb or to bring any big large, sensitive changes into this investment agreement now13.
Gradon Architecture reveals designs for Mongolian shopping centre
Gradon Architecture has unveiled its design for a £20 million regeneration project in the heart of Mongolia's capital city
August 19 (The Architects' Journal) The practice, founded in Tyne and Wear but now with a studio in Mongolia, has received planning approval for Galleria UB, a high-end shopping centre in a disused former print works on Ulaanbaatar's central square.
The exterior of the building, which is on Chinggis Square close to Mongolia's parliament building, will be restored and the interior revamped to create two floors of modern retail space. Work is due to start on site in March 2017, with completion scheduled for early 2018.
'Mongolia, and Ulaanbaatar in particular, are changing very quickly, and it's hugely exciting to be involved in shaping the future of the city,' said Gradon technical director Tanja Smith, who manages the practice's Mongolian studio. 'Galleria UB is in a prime location and will offer an unrivalled shopping experience to both tourists and residents alike.'
Gradon set up in Mongolia last year and believes it was the first UK practice to do so. In its first 18 months, the Ulaanbaatar studio has worked on projects including the masterplan for the £200 million Four Seasons entertainment, residential and commercial complex and the £20 million Tugulduur shopping centre, both in Ulaanbaatar.
The firm, founded by Graham and Donna McDarby in 2009, also has studios in the North East of England and Northern Ireland, and is expanding its operations at both these bases through phased recruitment.
It plans to add four or five members of staff, including architects and architectural technologists at both professional and graduate level, to its two-person studio in Derry, which opened in July last year. It will recruit up to three people at its office at Ryton, near Gateshead.
Must visit place of UB: DINOSAUR MUSEUM
August 19 (gogo.mn) Mongolia is a country of dinosaurs and has a rich treasury of their remains. Central Museum of Mongolian Dinosaurs enables you to see the Cretaceous period paleontology findings and other priceless findings.
The centerpiece of the museum is a 3m-tall, 5-tonne, flesh eating Tyrannosaurs Bataar, a cousin of T-Rex. This particular specimen made international headlines in 2012 when it sold for over USD 1 million at an auction in Texas. The Government of Mongolia protested that the fossil had been illegally smuggled out of Mongolia and demanded its return. The legal battle ended when a US judge ruled in favor of Mongolia.
The museum also includes examples of Velociraptors, Protoceratops and a nest of Oviraptor eggs.
Interestingly, museum exhibits are able to be presented in 3D, using mobile application named "Mongolian dinosaur museum". Also, English speaking guide is available.
Please note that only one hall is open to the public now and the other halls are being repaired. However, it is a must-see place if you are into dinosaurs.
Working hours: Daily 10AM - 7PM (Summer timetable from May 15 - Sep 15)
Daily 9AM - 6PM (Winter timetable from Sep 16 - May 14)
Address: Former Lenin Museum, Independence square, 5th khoroo, Chingeltei district
Inquiry: (+976 - 11) 7000171
Ticket: Adult - MNT 3,000, Student - MNT 1,000, Child - MNT 500, Photo - MNT 5,000
Two people dead in deadly crash that splits car in half
August 19 (GoGo Mongolia) Road Police Department reported an accident happened today at 8:25AM on road from city to summer house area, near Zunjin store.
Citizen T was driving the Subaru was going the wrong way and crashed into driver of T.Allion.
Wrong-way driver died at the scene and the driver of T.Allion died after taken to the hospital in serious condition. Also, two people injured.
Mongolian and Canadian MPs exchange ideas
Ulaanbaatar, August 19 (MONTSAME) Members of the State Great Khural N.Amarzaya, A.Undraa, B.Saranchimeg and L.Enkhbold received delegates headed by a member of the Canadian House of Commons Brad Trost.
Noting that Mongolia and Canada have been maintaining long-standing friendship, the latter said he has come here to promote inter-parliamentary ties.
The MPs shared their views about promoting responsible mining, environmental rehabilitation, ecological growth and intensive farming, and expressed interest to learn Canada's practices and expertise.
Bundestag member Tankred Schipanski visits Mongolia
Ulaanbaatar, August 19 (MONTSAME) A member of the German Bundestag (parliament) Tankred Schipanski visited Mongolia on August 13-17.
In frames of the visit, Mr Schipanski gave a lecture themed "Internal democracy of political parties and youths' role in politics" to participants of a program for young political leaders, which is implemented by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS). Furthermore, officials including Mr Schipanski; Dr Daniel Schmucking, the KAS permanent representative to Mongolia; and Dr Gerd Foerch, acting deputy director of the project on Mongolia-Germany Joint Institute of Technology at the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) legged the institute.
Mr Schipanski also met with D.Terbishdagva, a member of the Mongolia-Germany group at the State Great Khural of Mongolia; D.Murat MP; and S.Oyun, chairwoman of the "Zorig" foundation, exchanging views on present political matters and the bilateral cooperation.
This meeting was followed by another trilateral meeting hosted by J.Batsuuri, the Mongolian Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Sport with Mr Schipanski, the Bundestag member; and Stefan Duppel, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Germany to Mongolia.
Chinese TV dramas in Mongolia: Can entertainment become political?
By John Holland
Political neutrality does not serve Mongolia's economic interests
By Zhao Jianglin
August 21 (Global Times) Mongolia made the headlines this month over its economic issues. "We have come to a situation where we may not be able to afford to pay salaries and the operating costs of government departments," Mongolian Finance Minister Choijilsuren Battogtokh said in a televised address to the nation Tuesday, attempting to introduce a task force to deal with the current economic plight.
In fact, an economic crisis has been brewing in Ulan Bator for a long time. Unlike other Central Asian countries, Mongolia's heavy dependence on the export of coal and other mineral resources makes its economic situation closely linked to commodity prices and its economy is therefore easily put at risk. The ongoing economic crisis was directly triggered by the decline in the prices of minerals in the international market. With a small population, Mongolia is more prone to be subject to international economic risks than other bigger ones.
Mongolia's permanent neutrality has brought both positive and negative effects to its economy. Generally speaking, small states like Mongolia can hardly stand on their own feet and need exterior support for domestic development. Neutrality eliminates the likelihood of Mongolia being sandwiched between China and Russia and it tilts toward neither China nor Russia, but as a result it will affect its economic assistance from both countries. This doesn't benefit Mongolia's economy.
In fact, Mongolia could have had better economic performance if it hitchhiked on China's rise. While Russia needs to rely on other countries for development due to its disrupted economic structure and is hence unable to boost others' economic growth, the Chinese economy runs the other way around.
Japan and South Korea, unhappy to see China developing natural resources in Mongolia, have attempted to obstruct Beijing-Ulan Bator resource-related pacts. Despite the fact that many Chinese enterprises are eager to invest in Mongolia, a number of Chinese projects there have been halted, which had inflicted heavy damages to Mongolia's economy.
The current economic crisis is the combined result of Mongolia's unbalanced economic structure and exterior factors. Mongolia should have taken advantage of China's rise to make up for deficiencies in its economic structural, but it missed the opportunity.
At present, the Mongolian government is confronted with a number of challenges that need urgent solutions. Apart from inflation, unaffordable governmental expenses and debt problems, Ulan Bator has to fundamentally transform its economic structure.
However, the nation is not financially capable to address the current difficulties and will have to turn to other states for help. Urgent economic aid from other countries may save Ulan Bator from its temporary plight, but cannot offer a fundamental solution to the nation's crisis.
Mongolia has to readjust and improve its ties with China for its future development. Being neutral politically does not necessarily mean complete economic neutrality. It also needs to transform its economic structure. Being a member of World Trade Organization, Mongolia needs to enhance domestic investment and environmental protection, and encourage foreign investment to develop a diversified economy.
What Mongolia is undergoing can happen to countries that have a similar economic structure to Mongolia and rely heavily on the export of resources. It can draw upon more experiences in its neighbors and other countries to help it walk through the crisis.
The author is a senior research fellow at the National Institute of International Strategy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.email@example.com Follow us on Twitter @GTopinion
"Feel China" project helps Mongolians better understand China
ULAN BATOR, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- The cultural exchange project "Feel China" to help Mongolians better understand its southern neighbor kicked off Thursday with a show on the charms of China at the National Gallery in the Mongolian capital.
Fine pictures, 3D films, Virtual Reality (VR) experiences, a book fair and an interactive performance of Chinese intangible cultural heritage at the show, among others, offered the audience a multidimensional and vivid way to understand China's history and its modern vigor.
"When I traveled to China, I visited the Chinese emperor's palace and now I visit the Temple of Heaven in Mongolia using VR technology. It is amazing," said Zolboo, a 27-year-old Mongolian businessman.
The 3D film on China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region excited the 28-year-old photographer Uugansukh.
"I can see camels. I can see a beautiful natural environment. It can show everything in 360 degrees," he said.
More than 300 people, including state and local government officials from China and Mongolia, diplomats and figures from various fields of Mongolia attended the opening ceremony and visited the show titled "Beautiful China."
The project "Feel China" will last through Aug. 30. It will also feature the 7th China-Mongolia press forum and a show on the 12 Chinese zodiac signs as well as present programs such as the best Chinese children's dramas.
Late on Thursday, the performance at Ulan Bator's central palace of culture by a children's choir from Hulunbuir of China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region won applause from a more than 1,200-strong Mongolian audience.
Famous ethnic Mongolian singers from China who are also popular among Mongolians entertained their Mongolian fans with live performances and even popular Mongolian songs.
"We come here to watch live performance of Uudam, our favorite singer. He is very cute and talented," Battsetseg Namjil, a Mongolian teenage fan of the young singer Uudam, said before the performance.
To reward his Mongolian fans, Uudam had promised in an interview with local media to sing the popular Mongolian song 'Mother in the Dream' for his Mongolian fans.
"They love this song," he said.
Media forum boosts mutual understanding between China, Mongolia
ULAN BATOR, Aug 20 (Xinhua) -- An annual China-Mongolia press forum that is now in its seventh year has helped the people of the two countries better know each other, giving a boost to the bilateral relations.
Chinese and Mongolian media representatives gathered on Saturday in the Chinggis City, capital of Mongolia's Khentii province, for the forum with the theme of "deepening media cooperation and creating a bright future."
Addressing the forum, Cui Yuying, deputy director of China's State Council Information Office, called on the media organizations from both countries to boost their exchanges and cooperation.
"We have had frequent exchanges of visits at the high level between our two countries. We have had close cooperation in economy and trade, and we have had robust people-to-people exchanges," she said.
"The friendly cooperation between our two countries is now at its best," she added.
The forum gathered more than 90 representatives from some 30 Chinese and Mongolian media organizations, including those from the People's Daily, Xinhua News Agency, China Radio International, as well as Mongolia's national news agency Montsame and its national broadcaster.
Cui called on the media organizations of the two neighboring countries to work together to lead the bilateral relations in the right direction, tell great stories of the bilateral cooperation and deepen the practical cooperation between them.
Held annually since 2010, the China-Mongolia media forum has now grown into an important channel to help the peoples of the two countries better know each other. It has led to a number of practical cooperation projects with win-win outcome, and the cooperation mechanism has been upgraded as the cooperation was expanded and enriched over the years.
Munkhtuul Banzragch, editor of Montsame, said that Mongolian and Chinese journalists have been sharing their experience and views at the forum and that the media organizations have strengthened their cooperation as the cooperation between their countries expanded enormously over the past decade.
She said some media organizations have agreed to cooperate with each other and conduct public survey.
"This is very important step for uplifting the cooperation between the media organizations of Mongolia and China," she said.
The forum this year is also part of the "Feel China" project, which is held under the framework of a China-Mongolia cultural cooperation agreement signed between the governments of the two countries.
Bilateral cooperation between China and Mongolia have expanded in recent years with win-win outcome. Observers said that there is still great space for the two neighbors to further expand their cooperation and that more robust people-to-people exchanges can be a boost.
The "Feel China" project is co-sponsored by China's State Council Information Office, the government of China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the Chinese Embassy in Mongolia and Mongolia's Ministry of Culture to help Mongolians better understand its southern neighbor.
0.6% of Mongolians have rare blood types
August 19 (news.mn) More than 100 type of blood have been listed in the world, according to World Health Organization (WHO). Mongolians have a total of eight blood types, namely A+- B+- O+- AB+-. More than 70% of Mongolians have А, В blood types with positive Rh factors, while 0.6% have rare blood types with negative Rh factors. The rare blood types exit mostly in the western provinces of Mongolia, whilst those living in the eastern provinces have almost no negative Rh factors in their blood.
Early this year, the National Blood Center of Mongolia imported a very important piece of machinery which can store bloods at -10C for ten years.
Mongolian population's 0.6% have rare blood types – Montsame, August 19
'School Police' project to continue in new academic year
August 19 (news.mn) As a part of the 'Happy City' programme, the 'School Police' project will continue this coming academic year. The project has been undertaken at 180 schools in UB since 2013. More than 14 thousand parents have participated in the 'School Police' project which has proved successful in reducing school crime and road accidents.
11th Int'l Congress of Mongolists concludes
Ulaanbaatar, August 19 /MONTSAME/ The quinquennial International Congress of Mongolists successfully took place on August 15-18 in Ulaanbaatar under auspices of the Mongolian President.
Under main topic "Mongol studies and sustainable development", this year's Congress was organized with five sub-meetings entitled "Studies of Mongolian language and script", "Studies of Mongolian history", "Studies of Mongolian culture and literature", "Studies of Mongolian socio-economy" and "Studies of Mongolian foreign relations".
Minister of Foreign Affairs Ts.Monkh-Orgil concluded the Congress and made the closing remarks. In his speech, he expressed thanks to Mongolists who are contributing to a development of Mongol studies at an international level and wished them success.
"National language, history, heritage and tradition are the pillars of existence of any nations, therefore works of Mongolists make important directions for Mongolians to know and cherish their heritage and inherit them to the next generation," Monkh-Orgil said.
Took place for the first time in 1959 in Ulaanbaatar, the international congress of scholars on Mongolian language and script made the foundation stone of the present International Congress of Mongolists and also founded the International Association of Mongol Studies.
Diving into the Mongolian youth
By Apolline Beucher
August 21 (UB Post) When I asked my friends in France what they thought were the characteristics of our generation, right before leaving for the "Land of the Blue Sky", what first came to mind was that we are permanently connected.
Wherever we go, our phones are always around, ready to make a call to ask what bar we're meeting at that night, or to catch up with a person we met over the summer break who lives on the opposite side of the planet. I, a French 18-year-old politics student, genuinely cannot picture my life without my smartphone today, even just to get the news headlines when I wake up in the morning. The second thing that popped up was our endless afternoons and evenings, sitting at the same terrace, discussing everything and nothing, simply savoring each other's company.
Curiously enough, I assumed the Mongolian youth would be much different. In French schools, we are taught about this land as being a developing country, backwards in the technological and sociological fields. Therefore, I was fairly surprised to arrive in UB and observe the streets with my European eyes. What I saw were teenagers on the sidewalk disconnected from reality, their eyes glued to screens, music replacing the sounds of the city in their ears; similar to the French youth.
Chatting with my host sister, with whom I spent five weeks, I found out she had the exact same rituals as me, the same kind of bars she is loyal to, the same need to go out and gather with friends. Stating that I had noticed a lot of women in the street wearing high heels and elegant dresses, she responded, "There are all types of people in UB. They dress like they want: punk, hippie, or more classic, like in Europe. UB is a very European city!"
Speaking about the use of tobacco, we shared the same views, "What I don't like is when I see teens of fourteen or fifteen outside, smoking their cigarettes as if they need it to be cool kids. I don't mind the fact that they smoke, it is enjoyable, but why are they acting like they are older?" This is apparently a rather new phenomenon here, whereas it has been this way for a pretty long while back in France. It only reminded me that "Western culture", as we like to call it, is not always the best influence.
In terms of religion, there is a clear difference between my parent's generation and my own, which is also visible in Mongolia. I, personally, do not believe in anything, even though I technically am a Christian considering my baptism at four. My host sister declares, "I am a Buddhist because my parents are Buddhists themselves, but honestly, devoting yourself to gods when you see what is going on in the world… Young people believe in other things, like fashion or beer!" she laughs.
She told me one thing that caught my attention though, "We have to remember where we come from, even if we live in the city center, and keep up with our main cultural values. This is why I love going to the countryside and sleeping in a ger some weekends." The cultural values she talks about are obvious to foreigners who visit Mongolia. The very well-known sense of hospitality in the Mongolian countryside is particularly reflected in UB by the taxis who are, in fact, regular residents, stopping if they see someone in need of a ride, in exchange for a bit of money.
The Mongolian diet is also derived from nomadic roots. Indeed, UB is the coldest national capital on Earth, with an average annual temperature of -13 degrees Celsius in winter. It gets much colder in the northern provinces of the country. Thus, survival depends on the consumption of a great amount of meat and flour, and I must say I struggled being a vegan here!
Moreover, it seems like globalization and foreign investment play a crucial role in the development of Mongolia's youth. Like the French youth, Mongolia's young people learn English, Chinese, or Korean in order to study abroad and eventually be able to work for international companies. But ultimately, many end up coming back to their country. "We have to provide our families, otherwise, we are just selfish. I can't imagine abandoning my parents, and most people here, they continue living with their parents even when they are married, because family is what counts the most in Mongolia." explains my host sister.
Even though today's young people in Mongolia are growing up in a very different world from the socialist one their parents grew up in, remains from the Soviet era are flagrant when it comes to the divide between individuality and the sense of community. I would definitely not say that France's young people make abstractions of their families, but when thinking about their future, their personal success comes first, no matter where in the world they have to go, and how many times a year they get to see their family. More and more, most of them never even come back to live in France. I am one of these examples, studying in England, with a year abroad in Germany, and planning to do my masters in South Africa, never to come back "home". I believe the divergence is that I know I can always rely on my family, and they can always rely on me, but, contrary to my host sister, I do not feel the need to physically be with them.
Another aspect, and maybe the last one, of how our two cultures differ, is the way kids are raised at home. I have a brother who is two years younger than I am, we have been raised in a very similar way; our parents have imparted the same values to both of us, and we both have the same rights, the same duties, and the same freedom in the domestic arena. My brother has never played with toy cars, nor has he ever practiced any sports, and when he was in his first years, he liked to try on my princess costumes. That was absolutely fine with my parents, while here I get the feeling that things are different.
From my French perspective, each individual has a role to play, attributed to them by society. Here, a son will go out at night with his male friends to play basketball and practice boxing. A father will watch television and ask his daughter to bring him his food when the refrigerator is right behind the sofa. A mother will go grocery shopping and cook, and a daughter will wash the whole family's clothes. This scheme is followed on a daily basis, and thus, the youth takes over this organization, which is how families were structured in France a few decades ago.
The principal thing I have learned here is that, throughout the world, our generation is similar in a lot of ways, and its primary attributes are its interconnectedness and its will for freedom that has the power to change the world. Clearly, we all do not share the same culture, and some values are in total opposition from one side of the globe to the other. But for most of us, the desire to discover new horizons is deeply engrained, and each individual is a mix of diverse influences, bringing about a whole new kind of unity.
Statistics: Natural Disasters and Accidents in July
Ulaanbaatar, August 19 /MONTSAME/ 107 people died and 910.4 thousand heads of livestock and animals were lost due to 2,845 disasters and accidents occurred in July of this year.
2,433 construction fires (Mogi: Montsame means building fires) and 71 cases of rabies and 67 cases of sheep small pox were recorded.
The damage caused by the construction fires amounted to MNT 5.7 billion and totally MNT 311.9 million was exploited to abolish aftermath of disasters and accidents.
In the period, 67 people died from drowning in rivers and lakes, 22 people--from fires in constructions; seven people--from artisanal mining and rock falls, four people--from water flood; three people--from forest fires; two people--from thunder and heavy fall of snow and severe storms.
The number of disaster and accidents declined in July 2016 by 950 against the previous year.
Mogi: boo to the NBC announcers, bravo Slate!
The Wrestling Controversy That Led a Mongolian Coach to Remove His Pants
August 21 (Slate) If you somehow missed the bronze-medal men's freestyle 65-kilogram wrestling match on Sunday afternoon in Rio de Janeiro, then, brother, you missed something really special. The match itself was fine. The aftermath, however, was one of the most memorable and bizarre spectacles of the 2016 Summer Olympics. It involved an early celebration, a penalty point, and two angry coaches stripping half-naked in protest, narrated all the while by two befuddled announcers who couldn't believe their eyes. I can't emphasize enough that you need to watch this for yourself. The timestamps below correspond to the timecodes on the NBCOlympics.com livestream, which you can find here.
1:32:39: With 18 seconds remaining in the bout, the judges award Mandakhnaran Ganzorig of Mongolia a seemingly decisive point, putting him up 7-6 over Uzbekistan's Ikhtiyor Navruzov. A bronze medal is in sight for the Mongolian. This is a big deal—Mongolia has won just two medals in Rio.
1:32:48: Navruzov's coach runs on to the mat to protest the decision to give Ganzorig a point. "Ooh, very very unhappy there, and that's going to not work out well at all for Navruzov's coach, who's been given a caution there and told to make his way off the mat and back to the coaching area," the announcer says. "Clearly, emotions running very high in the concluding seconds of this bronze-medal final here." And how!
1:33:28: With six seconds left in the six-minute match, Ganzorig darts away from Navruzov. As the final seconds tick away, the Mongolian wrestler raises and shakes both fists in triumph. As Ganzorig evades and celebrates, Navruzov looks disgusted, raising his own arms in an incredulous gesture. The match ends. Ganzorig's coaches embrace their man in exultant celebration.
1:33:53: Hold on! The referee has awarded Navruzov a penalty point. The score is now 7-7. Do they now go into sudden death? Are there penalty kicks? No! The Uzbek wrestler wins because he scored the last point in the match. Navruzov wins the bronze!
1:34:11: Navruzov emits a victorious scream. Why did he get the penalty point? "And that may be because Ganzorig Mandakhnaran was not engaging at the end, and refusing … was not actually making contact and was fleeing the hold," the announcer speculates.
1:35:03: Ganzorig's coaches take to the mat to lodge a protest. Ganzorig kneels on the ground and buries his face in his hands.
1:35:33: Off screen, someone—presumably one of Ganzorig's coaches—starts screaming "Why him? Why him? Why? Why him? Why? Why? Why?"
1:35:54: With a mighty "No!" one of Ganzorig's coaches angrily removes his shirt and warmup jacket and flings them to the mat, to the great delight of the crowd. "And we have … an extremely dramatic scene here," says the announcer.
1:35:58: That coach, Byambarenchin Bayoraa, removes and throws his shoes. Another coach, Tsenrenbataar Tsostbayar, tries to restrain him.
1:36:25 : The second coach, Tsostbayar, changes his mind and starts to remove his own shirt and jacket. Soon, both coaches are half-naked. The crowd goes wild. Tsostbayar is much less fit than Bayoraa. "This is wrong," says the announcer. "We will not see these men again in international wrestling. There is no doubt about that."
1:36:50: Tsostbayar has now stripped all the way down to his tight black underwear. He pats his stomach and dumps his discarded clothes in a pile on the judges' table. If he gets blackballed from wrestling, he can surely find a position on minor-league baseball manager Phillip Wellman's coaching staff.
1:37:14: Tsostbayar drops to his knees. "Get. Off. This is now absolutely ridiculous," says the announcer. "Leave immediately." These announcers are such narcs.
1:37:33: The referee's attempt to hold Navruzov's hand up in victory is interrupted by Bayoraa, who has shown great discretion by not removing his pants. He is holding a single shoe. "The sport is bigger than this. This is the Olympic Games, gentlemen," says the disgusted announcer. The crowd chants "Mongolia!" The crowd has the right idea here.
1:37:51: Ganzorig comes to the middle of the mat to briefly embrace Navruzov. "That's better. That's good," says the announcer.
1:38: The détente is short-lived, as Ganzorig refuses to leave the mat. He drops to his knees and stares up at the sky. In the background, a man in a dark suit remonstrates with Tsostbayar, who is still in his tight black underwear.
1:38:21: The judges award Navruzov another penalty point, bringing the final score of the match to 8-7 in the Uzbek wrestler's favor. Ganzorig, still on his knees, still on the mat, defiantly shakes his head.
1:38:44: Ganzorig leaves the mat. The official raises Navruzov's hand in victory. Navruzov emits a hearty scream.
1:38:58: Now Ganzorig too removes his top, meaning the entire Mongolian contingent is half-naked. He is also crying. This is really the worst possible way to lose an Olympic medal. Watching at home, Lindsey Jacobellis says she's never seen anything so sad (probably).
"So there is now confirmation of the bronze medalist, after extraordinary scenes here in Carioca Arena 2," says the announcer. "Scenes very much out of character with the rest of the wrestling competition here at Rio 2016. Scenes that have not at all fitted in with the way the program has conducted itself."
1:39:30: Navruzov's coach slings the wrestler over his shoulder and takes him for a victory lap. Both men are fully clothed.
1:39:40: In the background, Bayoraa throws his shoe at the celebrating Uzbeks. He misses. He drops to the mat in exhaustion.
1:39:53: Tsostbayar has put on his pants.
Mongolian weightlifter tests positive for testosterone
August 21 (Reuters) A Mongolian weightlifter was disqualified from the Rio Olympics on the last day ahead of the closing ceremony in what was the Court of Arbitration's final decision during the Games, sport's highest court said on Sunday.
Chagnaadorj Usukhbayar, 19, who competed in the 56kg category but did not finish, tested positive for testosterone, becoming the seventh athlete to test positive for drugs during the Olympics in Brazil.
"In total, the CAS... dealt with seven doping cases," it said in a statement.
"Although its office in Rio will close today, the CAS Anti-doping Division will remain active from Lausanne.... to handle any applications referred by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) in relation to positive doping tests reported in the last days of the 2016 Olympic Games."
The Rio Games end later on Sunday.
Rio 2016: Mongolian weightlifter disqualified after failed drug test – BBC Sport, August 22
Olympic silver medalist D.Sumiya talks about her win in Rio
August 20 (UB Post) Mongolians were disappointed with the Olympic judo tournament results, but 25-year-old International Sports Master D.Sumiya lifted everyone's spirits by seizing Mongolia's first medal from this year's Olympic Games taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The world's number one ranking judoka in the women's 57 kg division, D.Sumiya, won an Olympic silver medal six years after joining the Mongolian national team and became the first female judoka from Mongolia to win an Olympic medal. Journalists were eager to get an exclusive interview with her, but she refused to speak to the press until the final day of the judo tournament. Below are excerpts from interviews with D.Sumiya conducted before she left Brazil for Mongolia.
D.Sumiya was scheduled to arrive at Chinggis Khaan International Airport on August 18, but her flight was delayed by one day. She arrived in Mongolia at 6:00 a.m. on August 19.
You have become the first female judoka from Mongolia to win a medal from the Olympic Games. Not to mention, you are the only judoka to win a medal at Rio 2016. The Mongolian people are giving you plenty of love, compliments and encouragements, in particular the Mongolian Judo Association and Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports are very proud of you. How do you feel?
Thank you very much. The judo tournament has ended, and today [August 16] the national judo team is leaving the Olympic village. We will stay at the training base, located 50 kilometers from Rio de Janeiro, for two days before flying back to Mongolia.
It's true that the Mongolian public had high expectations from judokas. Not only Mongolians, but everyone around the globe expected Mongolia to do well at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. I'd like to underline that though our team won one medal, we had more than one opportunity to win a medal. I was pleased with the fact that Mongolian judokas were competing every day at the Olympics. Mongolian judokas qualified for medals almost every day. We all saw disappointing games with our judokas letting the chance to attain a medal slip from their grasps. It was truly regrettable, especially Mongolian judoka M.Urantsetseg's match.
Don't you agree with the saying, "victory is attained by many but a defeat is shouldered by one"?
It's difficult to express it in words. Today (August 16) for example, L.Otgonbaatar is staying here to get a shoulder surgery. (Mongolian judoka L.Otgonbaatar received an injury to his left shoulder during the contest for a medal placement in the men's 90 kg division).
I fell into deep depression in 2014 after losing the contest for a bronze medal at the World Judo Championships. It was very hard for me mentally. I was anxious until I won a bronze medal from the 2015 World Judo Championships, held in Astana, Kazakhstan. I couldn't accept my defeat for nearly a year. I hope the Mongolian public understands that there are times when we win and times when we lose.
Including the Asian Judo Championships, Asian Festival, World Championships and the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, haven't you been winning medals from large competitions practically every year since 2013?
Judokas participating in this year's Olympic Games were trained exceptionally. In my case, I won a bronze from the 2014 Asian Festival, another bronze from the 2015 World Judo Championships, and won gold from the Asian Olympic Qualifier.
You completed in four matches before fighting for a bronze medal. Your opponents were all very strong, with most of them being Olympic and World Championship medalists. Who was the strongest among them?
I had my ups and downs like any other athletes. You can't succeed by sitting idly. I didn't come this far on my own. I'm very thankful to the Head of Military Unit No.0119, Colonel Kh.Lkhagvasuren, who's been supporting me since I began doing judo. I'm very grateful to coaches of the national team. I was sad that people criticized my coaches after the match. Probably we who are always beside them know how much effort they put into training athletes.
I hope the public can understand their efforts and value their hearts that beat for the national team. We will forever try to repay the efforts of President of the Mongolian Judo Federation Kh.Battulga and everyone in the federation. An athlete's achievements and the value of their Olympic and World Championship medals are closely linked to President Kh.Battulga. Soon we will return to Mongolia. I will meet everyone with a smile.
Sports Minister J.Batsuuri receives Rio silver medalist D.Sumiya
Ulaanbaatar, August 19 (MONTSAME) Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Sport J.Batsuuri met Friday D.Sumiya, a State Honored Sportswoman and silver medalist of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
When D.Sumiya landed on the airport, she was welcomed by her family members, relatives and friends. The Minister congratulated her on the brilliant success in the Olympics.
Our judoka won a silver medal in the women's -57 kg contest after being defeated by Rafaela Silva of the host country.
RIO2016: Olympic silver medalist D.Sumiya arrives in Mongolia – GoGo Mongolia, August 19
Olympic medalist D.Sumya returns home to hero's welcome – news.mn, August 19
Semi-biographical film about judoka D.Sumiya to be screened
August 19 (UB Post) "Tsagaan Khadag", a semi-biographical drama film about the life of silver medalist of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics and bronze medalist of the World Championship 2015 D.Sumiya, will soon launch in cinemas in Ulaanbaatar.
Hulegu Pictures made the film before D.Sumiya headed to the Rio 2016 Olympics. J.Sengedorj directed the film.
Actress T.Jinjmaa played D. Sumiya. The film will feature a broad range of notable actor, including B.Bazarragchaa, O.Oyun, N.Yalalt, B.Shinebayar, B.Batmend, and O.Anujin.
D.Otgondalai receives his Olympic medal
August 19 (UB Post) Winners of the men's 60 kg boxing event of Rio 2016 were announced on August 17. Brazilian boxer Robson Conceicao claimed gold medal in the men's 60 kg, and silver medal went to Sofiane Oumiha of France. Mongolian boxer D.Otgondalai won bronze medal. Winners received their Olympic medals on August 17.
The following is an interview with D.Otgondalai after he received his Olympic bronze medal.
Congratulations on winning the 26th Olympic medal of Mongolia in history. How are you feeling?
Thank you. I was very sad after losing the silver medal match. But now I am okay. Every fight in the ring was difficult. I will go home with an Olympic medal. I am very happy.
What will you say about your opponents?
A total of 28 boxers competed in the men's 60 kg category. I had a bye in the first round. It means I had three matches overall. My first opponent was a boxer from the Netherlands. He was younger than me. We fought before. I lost 3:0 in our first encounter.
At the Olympics, I won because I studied him a lot.
In the second fight, I fought against an Algerian boxer. He ranks fifth in the world. I was very confident that I would win. I defeated him as planned.
In the match for silver, I was very surprised by the judges' verdict. But I am very satisfied with the overall result. I would have defeated the Brazilian boxer if I had won against the French boxer in the silver medal match, because I know the Brazilian's technique.
Mongolian audiences who were watching your match couldn't agree with the judges' decision. They said you should have to won the match and should have fought for gold.
I lost my mind after losing the silver medal. As I told you before, I was very confident that I was winning during the first two rounds.
Yesterday, I watched the videos of my fight. The judging was really unfair, but everything is finished now.
Did you meet the French boxer after the fight?
Yes, I met him in the doping test room.
Did you talk to him?
No, I didn't. I couldn't even look at his face. But that is not the athlete's fault. The decision was made by the judges.
Lots of people are criticizing boxing judges. What do you think?
This kind of situation happens in every tournament. During international tournaments, some boxers cheat to win. There are a lot of boxers who became victims of unfairness.
Nepal's Three Star on a flying start in Mongolia beating Erchim FC
KATHMANDU, Aug 21 (Republica) Ruslan Three Star has made a winning start in the AFC Cup play-off qualifiers, beating host Erchim FC 2-0 in Ulaanbaatar on Sunday.
Martins and Bikram Lama scored a goal each for the national champion. Nigerian striker Martin opened the scoring in the 14th minute utilizing the defensive error of the Erchim goalkeeper. Captain Bikram Lama doubled the tally in the 76th minute in scoring off the header from Sunil Bal's cross.
Three Star will face Cambodian opponent Nagaworld FC on August 23 in the second match of the qualifiers.
Naga head to Mongolia for AFC Cup qualifying after beating Police
August 19 (The Phnom Penh Post) Striker George Kelechi's 82nd-minute goal ensured a 2-1 win for NagaWorld over National Police in a Metfone C-League tie at the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday as the casino-backed side prepared for a trip to Mongolia for the three-team AFC Cup 2017 playoff qualifiers beginning early next week.
A 39th-minute goal from Sok Sovanarithy gave Naga a 1-0 first-half advantage. Police equalised with a 50th-minute strike from Michael Osei Tutu, but Kelechi's late goal sealed the victory for Naga.
With this win, Naga retain their third spot in the league behind leaders Boeung Ket and second-placed Ministry of National Defence, but more importantly coach Meas Channa's side relished the victory as an encouraging sign ahead of their first fixture in Mongolia against Nepal's Three Star Club on Tuesday.
Naga will take on local champions Erchim FC in Thursday's final game. The winner of the playoff will move up to the next stage of the competition. While expressing his delight with the outcome of the Police game, coach Channa stressed the importance of performing well in the playoffs.
"We missed out on the Hun Sen Cup, we are well off the league pace with nothing much left, so this is our big chance to prove we are worthy Cambodian representatives," he said.
Narooma resident Terry Cassells heading to Mongolia for Noble Challenge
August 19 (Narooma News) For 10 days in September, Terry Cassells – a Narooma resident – will be participating in the Mongolia Challenge run by the Christina Noble Children's Foundation – a small charity achieving much for vulnerable children in Mongolia and Vietnam.
In addition to individual donations, Terry will be holding a fundraising Trivia Night at the Narooma Sports and Gamefishing Club on the evening of this Saturday, August 20 at 6pm. Charlie Bettini to host.
The Noble Challenge will involve Terry testing his mettle – along with 22 other participants from Australia, the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Canada, the United Arab Emirates and the US – over three active sections of mountain biking, hiking and horse riding.
The specific purpose of Terry's participation in the Challenge is to raise money for the Blue Skies Ger Village in the capital, Ulaanbaatar. The Village is a flagship project of the Christina Noble Children's Foundation in Mongolia.
Genghis Khan, horses, wolves and gers epitomize the traditional Mongolian nomadic way of life. Sadly, this way of life has been coming under severe economic pressure in recent times, resulting in high levels of migration from the countryside to the city.
Many flocked to Ulaanbaatar, living in the city's ger districts with limited employment opportunities and little access to basic utilities like running water, sewerage and electricity. Unfortunately, as is often the case in communities blighted by social adversity, it is the children who suffer the most.
The Blue Skies Ger Village directly addresses this blight by providing a safe and loving emergency shelter for street children, orphans and other children at risk in the capital. It's one of many projects through which the Foundation seeks to break the cycle of poverty and give all children the childhood they deserve … by providing them with the necessary medical care, education and shelter to live and sleep in peace, surrounded by love.
Terry is aiming to raise $6,000 for the Village by participating in the Mongolia Noble Challenge. All the money raised will go directly to the Foundation.
To help Terry help the children, he is asking for sponsorship in the Mongolia Noble Challenge.
To make fundraising easy and transparent, the Foundation has created Terry's own online fundraising page on the Everdayhero fundraising platform. Every donation is recorded on this page, along with any message of support donors may wish to make, with all donations going directly to the Foundation.
To make a donation, go to his fundraising page at this link, and then click the Give Now button:
To get more information …
Christina Noble Children's Foundation
B.C. woman shares three-way tie in epic Mongolian horse race
Heidi Telstad, a lawyer from Langley, B.C., talks to Metro about yurts, marmot holes and bonding with other riders on the longest horse race in the world
August 20 (Metro News) It's a little like the Tour de France, but in Mongolia, and instead of bikes, horses.
The Mongol Derby, which winds across deserts, plains and mountains across Mongolia, takes 14 days to complete and bills itself as the longest horse race in the world. This year Heidi Telstad, a corporate lawyer from Langley, won the race in a three-way tie with two other competitors.
Race participants ride wild Mongolian horses and need to be prepared to navigate their way to each station. Around 40 people compete each year.
Telstad used the race to raise $2,900 money for epilepsy (click here to go to her donation page). Metro caught up with Telstad via Facebook chat as she waited in Seoul, Korea on a six-hour layover on her way back to British Columbia.
M: How long do you ride each day? What is the terrain like?
HT: The Mongol Derby is based upon the ancient postal/messenger system of Genghis Khan. Having short legs of 35 km for each horse to gallop was the most efficient method of getting messages around Mongolia.
Sometimes our horses were in shape and we could gallop most of the way. However, more often than not our horses were fat and out of shape so we would have to manage our horses according to their ability. We would go fast when the ground was flat and trot slowly up the mountains with lots of breaks for the horses to eat and drink.
M: Where did you stay along the route?
HT: Each urtuu (station) was hosted by a Mongolian family. They would have extra Gers (yurt tent) put up if we were going to sleep at that particular urtuu for the night. Will (a competitor Telstad rode with) and I tried to visit with each family for a few minutes and sample the wonderful food they had prepared for us.
When we camped out we had to hobble our horses and tie them to a pole or other structure that we found. The horses were 100% our responsibility during the night and we had to make sure they were fed and watered as well as not lost during the night.
M: What was your goal going into the race?
HT: I hadn't gone into the race to win. I just wanted to do really well. The terrain is very dangerous with millions of marmot holes everywhere. That's how a lot of accidents happened. You would be running along and all of a sudden your horse would fall in a hole and either stumble or flip.
M: What was your strategy? Does slow and steady win this type of race — or do you need to go fast?
HT: Slow and steady does not win the race. You might not even finish going slow. The field can't get too spread out because of the lack of medics. They will push the stragglers up a few stations to keep them in the race. They'll get a completion but not a placing.
M: Did you bond with your fellow competitors?
HT: I bonded with every single rider in one way or another. When something happened we dropped our race plans and helped one another. We held each other's horses when we needed to tighten a saddle or take a toilet break. Yes, we were competing against one another, but we were all in it together.
M: What is it like to ride a wild Mongolian horse?
HT: I rode 29 different Mongolian horses during the race. I could feel almost instantly when a horse was slightly off and would go lame if I kept riding him. So I returned some horses right away. If I was too far from the station then I would get off the horse and lead them into the next station to avoid any further lameness. Our game plan was not to incur penalties or hurt any horses in our care.
HT: How did you train for the race?
M: My training regime was pilates 3 times a week to keep me balanced and strong. I was recovering from a car accident and a fall from my horse so I found that pilates helped me a lot more than physiotherapy. (And I rode) as many different horses as possible in different terrains around B.C. and the United States.
Coventry doctor's son to drive 10,000 for charity in memory of sister
August 19 (Coventry Obverser) THE SON of a Coventry doctor is driving more than 10,000 miles from the UK to Mongolia to raise vital funds for charity in memory of his sister.
Utkarsh 'Kash' Dandekar, whose father Dr Uday Dandekar is a consultant cardiac surgeon at University Hospital (UHCW), is taking part in the Mongol Rally challenge to raise money for Delete Blood Cancer following the death of his younger sister Riya Dandekar, who tragically lost her battle with cancer aged just 21.
Describing the challenge as an 'epic road trip', 25-year-old dental student Kash from Solihull and a group of friends are driving through 18 countries on two continents – including France, Romania, Georgia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tajikstan, Russia – to Mongolia in a 22-year-old VW Polo.
Amy Amazon raises almost £15,000 for charity
August 19 (Stornoway Gazette) Travelling through 11 countries to successfully complete the 36 day, 13,000km Peking to Paris Rally, Lewis couple Claudine Bloom and Andrew Twort were delighted to cross the finish line in 14th place from 115 competitors.
The rally, known as 'Driving The Impossible', took Claudine and Andrew from East to West as they left the Great Wall of China on June 12 to drive their 1965 Volvo Amazon, 'Amy Amazon', through Mongolia, Russia, and over the Alps through Europe to finish in Paris on July 17.
Land Art in Mongolia and Instagram Selfies in Edinburgh: Global Arts Guide
August 19 (New York Times) --
Dariganga and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Land Art Mongolia Various venues, through Sept. 20
Yoko Ono, Marc Schmitz and herman de vries, and the Mongolian artists Munguntsetseg Lkhagvasuren and Chinzorig Renchin-Ochir are showing or making monumental land art pieces on the fringes of the Gobi desert this month for this biennial. After they create the works in the desert, videos and photographs of their art will go on display at two venues in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, the Statehood Museum (from Sept. 2 to 20) and UMA Art Gallery (Sept. 3 to 20). landartmongolia.com
Edvard Munch's artworks to be displayed in Ulaanbaatar
August 18 (UB Post) Ulaanbaatar City Mayor S.Batbold received Honorary Consul in Norway Kjetil Krane on August 16 to discuss future cooperation.
Honorary Consul Kjetil Krane said during the meeting, "The 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Norway will be held in 2018. Within the frames of the 50th anniversary, we are planning to open an exhibition of famous Norwegian painter Edvard Munch in Ulaanbaatar. I would like you to cooperate on this. Currently we are working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Education, Culture, Sciences and Sports."
Ulaanbaatar City Mayor S.Batbold responded, "We are ready to open Norwegian famous painter Edvard Munch's exhibition in Ulaanbaatar. We will form an organizing committee and support the exhibition. We would also like to organize Mongolian Cultural Days in Oslo, Norway for the 50th anniversary. We also want to exchange experiences in urbanization, transportation, and logistic sectors."
10 Images From Mongolia That Will Have You Wanderlusting
By Nick and Darice (Goats on the Road)
August 18 (Travel Pulse) Mongolia is a destination that is well and truly off the tourist trail. Sure, the famous Trans-Mongolian Railway passes through this vast country, but apart from taking that trip, not many people travel to Mongolia - which is a shame!
For nature lovers, you'll find glistening lakes, rolling hills, and sandy dunes. For culture buffs, you can enjoy the Buddhist temples, unique traditions and of course, the famous Naadam Festival.
We spent a month in Mongolia and that wasn't nearly long enough - there are too many incredible things to see and do! Here are 10 photos from Mongolia that will have you wanderlusting over this beautiful country.
In Mongolia, a man's best friend is his horse. In fact, it's traditionally said that a Mongol without his horse, is like a bird without wings. Horses play a large role in daily life as well - for riding, producing milk, and for eating. There are over 3 million horses in Mongolia, meaning they outnumber the humans!
The Gobi Desert is a topographical wonder. Here you'll find rolling sand dunes, dry, flat plains, rocky gorges, and during the winter, there is ice in this desert! Going on a trip to the Gobi Desert will be a highlight of your travels in Mongolia.
Mongolia is one big campground. The people here are nomads and move from place to place with their "tents" (gers). As a traveler, you can camp wherever you want as well!
The Mongolian version of camping. These are gers (yurts) and a few times every year, they take down the gers, pack them up and move to another pasture. Their livestock follows as well. It's said that half of the population still lives nomadically.
READ MORE: Trekking Into The Unknown Mongolia
The kids in Mongolia are adorable! And, depending on where your travels take you, you might be the first foreigner they have ever seen.
The Naadam Festival is like Christmas for the Mongolians. This is a time for feasting and drinking with friends and family, and for the games. Wrestling is the main event at this festival - look at the size of this man!
There are 3,060 lakes in Mongolia. This is the beautiful Tsagaan Nuur (White Lake). Here you can stay in small hotels along the lake's shore, or, strap on your backpack and hiking boots and trek here from a nearby village.
Can you see why this rock is named "Turtle Rock"?! You can find this massive turtle-shaped rock in Terelj National Park, which is located about 25 miles from the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. There are great tourist camps set up here as well, where you can see what it's like to sleep in a ger.
Gers interspersed between wooden homes. This is the last bit of countryside you see on the Trans-Mongolian Train before entering into the sprawling, smoggy city of Ulaanbaatar.
These cliffs in the Gobi Desert are dubbed the Flaming Cliffs, due to their red-orange color at sunset. This is where the first discovery of dinosaur eggs was made!
Have you been to Mongolia before? If not, did these photos inspire you to visit?!
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