Monday, August 29, 2016

[MMC liquidators like restructuring; Tavan Bogd seeks to delist SUL; MNT halts 1-week winning streak; and Moody's downgrades to B3]

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Monday, August 29, 2016

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Int'l Market

975 trading -8% mid-Monday at HK$0.104

MMC Debt Restructuring Not Implemented; Hearing on 1 Sep

August 26 (AASTocks) MONGOL MINING (00975.HK) announced that the joint provisional liquidators (JPLs) submitted the report to the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands on 25 August 2016 (Cayman time). The conclusions reached in the report, based on the JPLs' work with the company's management and their investigations into the company and its financial position, include: in the event that an appropriately termed debt restructuring is not effected, and the company and the group go into insolvent liquidation, the recovery to creditors is estimated to be significantly limited, etc.

A hearing at the Grand Court has been scheduled on 1 September 2016, at which the report will be considered, in conjunction with all other available information, to determine the next steps with respect to the debt restructuring.

Link to article

Link to MMC announcement


MMC: Interim Results 2016

August 26 --


For the six months ended 30 June 2016, Mongolian Mining Corporation ("MMC" or the "Company") and its subsidiaries (the "Group") b, compared to USD71.8 million for the six months ended 30 June 2015.

For the six months ended 30 June 2016, the total sales volume of the Group's primary product, washed hard coking coal ("HCC"), was 0.6 million tonnes ("Mt"), representing 20.5% decrease compared with 0.7 Mt of HCC sold for the six months ended 30 June 2015 and 32.8% increase compared with 0.45 Mt of HCC sold in the second half of 2015.

The loss attributable to the equity shareholders of the Company for the six months ended 30 June 2016 was USD61.7 million, compared to a loss of USD79.1 million for the six months ended 30 June 2015. The basic loss per share attributable to the equity shareholders of the Company amounted to USD0.67 cents for the six months ended 30 June 2016, compared to the basic loss per share of USD0.85 cents for the six months ended 30 June 2015.

Major contributing factor of the Group's net loss position was the decrease of average selling price ("ASP") and sales volume of coking coal products due to prolonged tough market conditions in China as coking coal price continues to be negatively impacted by global supply and demand imbalances.

The board (the "Board") does not recommend the payment of dividend for the six months ended 30 June 2016 (dividend for the six months ended 30 June 2015: nil).

Link to results


MATD closed -3.3% Friday to 2.95p

Petro Matad: Interim Results

LONDON, 26 August 2016: Petro Matad Limited, the AIM quoted Mongolian oil explorer, is pleased to announce its unaudited interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2016.

Financial Summary

The Group posted a profit of USD 0.1 million for the six-month period ended 30 June 2016, which compares to a loss of USD 1.74 million for the comparable period in 2015. The profit recorded reflects cash calls received in 2016 from BG Group (Shell) to fund operations under the farm-out agreement prior to receipt of BG Group's exit notice. The Company's cash balance at 30 June 2016 was $0.49 million, which compares to a cash balance of $2.51 million on 30 June 2015.

As reported in the announcement of 11 August 2016, $10,005,303 has been received from Shell's affiliate, BG Mongolian Holdings Limited (BGMH) and a further $5 million is payable upon Mongolian Government approval of the reassignment of BGMH's interest in Blocks IV and V to Petro Matad. Following receipt of these funds the Company will be in a position to execute its exploration program for the next twelve months.  

Operational Update 

As announced on 29 April 2016, BGMH issued an Exit Notice to the Company which formally advised of their intention to relinquish their interests in Blocks IV and V. Upon receipt, the Company commenced discussions with Shell/BGMH which ultimately resulted in an agreement on exit payments to be made by BGMH, as summarized in the above Financial Summary. With the exit payments provided by BGMH the Company will be able to continue with the previously planned Block IV and V exploration programs. 

Following the Company's acquisition of 1085 kms of 2D seismic in Block IV in the fourth quarter of 2015, seismic operations were suspended for the winter. In May 2016, seismic operations recommenced in Block IV with the acquisition of 174 kms of 2D "infill" seismic. These lines were acquired to better define leads identified during the acquisition program in Block IV in late 2015. The combined seismic acquisition from Block IV has been processed and is currently being interpreted. The Company is encouraged by results to date, and has already identified a series of leads. The Company is confident that a number of drill-ready prospects will emerge. 

Following completion of the Block IV program, a 2D seismic acquisition program commenced in early June 2016 in Block V consisting of 402 km, of which 245 km have now been acquired. Due to dynamite quality issues the program was suspended in early July. The seismic contractor is in process of acquiring new dynamite charges and the remainder of the program is expected to be acquired during September and October 2016. The remaining seismic program is aimed at de-risking leads and defining a potential drill location in Block V. Processing of data acquired to date is underway and interpretation and prospect generation is progressing. 

The leads inventory of both Blocks IV and V will be peer reviewed and qualified prospects will be high-graded to drill-ready status prior to exploration drilling, expected in mid-2017. Further details on the planned exploration program will be announced once specific drill locations have been chosen. 

Scouting information suggests that there are several rigs within Mongolia that are capable of drilling exploration wells to the depths that the Company will be targeting. Well engineering and preparation of the rig tender documentation are in process and the Company expects to issue its drilling tender before the end of 2016. 

Further operational updates will be provided in due course.

Link to release


Petro Matad: Why Its Worth Gambling On


·         Petro Matad explores for oil in Mongolia.

·         Petro Matad have two oil wildcats in the next 8 months.

·         BG was their partner until Shell bought BG and exited their blocks.

·         Shell is paying an exit fee to Petro Matad 1.3 times Petro Matad's Market capitalization.

By Robert Whelan

August 25 (Seeking Alpha) Petro Matad (OTCPK:PRTDF) (MATD: London) is a microcap onshore oil exploration company with exploration blocks in Mongolia. It has two upcoming (next 8 months) oil drills in a region abandoned by the Russians after the fall of the Soviet Union, which was an oil producing region but it remains totally underexplored. They have just received $10 million from Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) (NYSE:RDS.A) (NYSE:RDS.B) because Shell, as Petro Matad's partner on the blocks, exited the blocks in April this year due to corporate restructuring after the Shell-BG Group takeover. That $10 million, together with an additional $5 million which will be paid once the Mongolian petroleum authority assigns the full block ownership back to Petro Matad, represents 1.3 times Petro Matad's current micro-market capitalization of only $11.3 million. This 1.3 times "cash-backing" of Petro Matad's net worth, Petro Matad now owning 100% of blocks Shell-BG were 78% invested in and the fact that Petro Matad now have enough cash for 2 oil drills on their blocks in the next 8 months, make compelling reasons to take a small speculative punt on the stock.

More about Petro Matad

As a microcap; its share price came off all-time lows earlier in the year of about $0.025 or £0.02 and today stands at $0.04 or £0.03 and with 287 million shares in issue, its market capitalization stands at $11.3 million or £8.6 million. Mongolia is sandwiched between Russia to the North and oil hungry China to the South. Mongolia is 2.25 times the size of Texas and a good synopsis of oil production from Mongolia is presented on the Petro Matad website here.

How did I hear about Petro Matad?

I was reading the oil and gas news in July and noticed that Shell (yes, the Big Shell we all know, Royal Dutch Shell!) were exiting its exploration blocks in Mongolia where it had shared a 78% stake with Petro Matad (22%). Shell were exiting for corporate reasons only, not due to the prospectivity of the block. It was actually BG who farmed into the blocks in 2015 and their new owners, Shell decided to exit, not for geological reasons, but they were streamlining their new subsidiary BG all over the world. (see Petro Matad's April press release over Shell's exit here)

In the original BG Farm in agreement dated April 7th, 2015 (here), BG agreed to fund a $28 million work program which included 2 exploration wells and carry Petro Matad for free as well as paying Petro Matad $4.5million in cash. All this was agreed with an international backdrop of declining oil prices and is quite intriguing that BG would eye up and bid for those particular oil blocks at such a time.

So what's so compelling about Petro Matad?

Petro Matad needs to drill 2 oil wells on blocks IV and V within the next 8 months and has just received cash in the form of a block-exit fee from Shell, of $10 million. Shell having just handed back Petro Matad their 78% share, bringing Petro Matad's share in the prospective blocks back to 100%. Shell have also agree to pay a further $5 million to Petro Matad as soon as the petroleum authority in Mongolia confirms Shell's exit from the blocks. In the recent June 30th operational update, Petro Matad made the following observation about the oil prospects on the blocks.

"Seismic processing is underway and the preliminary results are very exciting. There is no doubt that a number of viable and exciting drillable prospects will emerge as interpretation continues."


·         This is a bet, not an investment - the eventual result will be binary - a hit or a miss within the next 8 months. However the very low starting point we are at now, with a market cap of $11.3 million and $15 million in cash including the upcoming Shell payment of $5 million, you basically get two free shots at oil discovery from a micro-cap. The liquidity is low on the pink sheet stock however and I recommend investing in the London Market (ticker MATD), especially with the strong dollar, where the stock is much better followed and has an average liquidity of about $156,000. This is not something you invest your life-savings in, this is a bet, albeit backed up by Petro's large cash balance relative to their market capitalization, and 2 paid-for oil drills in the next 8 months.

·         Petro Matad is a micro capped company as mentioned above and only a very small amount should be bet on future price appreciation. (From either an oil discovery in the next 8 months on either of their two wells or from another farm in pre drill.)

·         Geological risk is always something to be aware of but BG farming into the 78% of the blocks in April 2015 gives me the third party verification that I need to be comfortable on betting on Petro Matad. However do note that geological chance of success on true wildcats is rarely over 25% anywhere in the world.

·         Funding risk is also mitigated by Petro Matad now having the cash to drill their two wells on Blocks IV and V with that cash representing 130% of Petro Matad's market capitalization.

Upcoming events

·         Results of the current 2D seismic program over blocks IV and V. (for photos of seismic campaign, click here) (for the latest operations update, click here)

·         Well drilling sometime before July 17.

·         Shell to pay $5 million additional exit fee to Petro Matad. (this could be confirmed as received any time within next few months)

·         Having had Shell as a partner, Petro Matad may choose to Farm out the blocks again but management are keeping their cards close to their chest in this regard.


The reason Petro Matad is especially compelling is that its market cap ($11 million) is roughly 75% of its cash ($15 million) if you include the $5 million due from Shell . On top of that, Petro Matad now have two upcoming funded oil drills in a totally under-explored country with a history of oil production. Petro Matad is a gamble for punters with a huge risk reward pay off in the event of success. Market capitalizations of microcaps with oil wells have been known to multiply between 5 to 10 fold on successful drilling. What I like about Petro Matad is that even if the company was wound up today, there'd be $15 million due back to shareholders, which would represent $0.05 or £0.04 per share. However I'm only here for their oil drills and a multiple of my gamble should it pay off, however I have a very small amount invested as it is ultimately a binary hit or miss speculation.

Disclosure: I am/we are long PRTDF.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: I am long Petro Matad. The opinions expressed here are solely my opinion and should not be construed in any way, shape, or form as a formal investment recommendation. Investors are reminded that before making any securities and/or derivatives transaction, you should perform your own due diligence. Investors should also consider consulting with their broker and/or a financial adviser before making any investment decisions. This article is not to be construed as financial advice.

Editor's Note: This article covers one or more stocks trading at less than $1 per share and/or with less than a $100 million market cap. Please be aware of the risks associated with these stocks.

Link to article


TER last traded A$0.022 on Friday

TerraCom: Foster Stockbroking Corporate Services Engagement

Augusts 29 -- TerraCom Limited (TerraCom or the Company) (ASX: TER) is pleased to announce the engagement of Foster Stockbroking Pty Ltd (FSB) to provide corporate advisory and capital market services.

Under this engagement FSB will immediately commence the preparation of institutional research coverage on TerraCom.

There is no cash retainer or payment to FSB for the provision of these services but the Company has agreed to issue to FSB a total of 30,000,000 unlisted options in two equal tranches as follows:

·         15,000,000 options with a strike price equal to $0.03 and with an expiry date of 31 August 2018; and

·         15,000,000 options with a strike price equal to $0.045 and with an expiry date of 31 August 2018.

The Company has also reached agreement with FSB for up to AU$ 1.0 million placement which will be filled by their private and institutional clients. The Company will be utilising its existing capacity under listing rule 7.1 whilst it is available to issue these shares.

Key details of the placement are as follows:

·         The issue price $0.0215 per share which is a 2.3% discount to the closing price on the trading day being Friday the 26th August 2016; and

·         The placement completion date is Thursday 1 September 2016.

This small placement should reinvigorate interest in Australia for the Company and further broadens the strong investment support base for TerraCom when combined with recent similar leading placements in Europe and Asia.

Company Chairman Mr Cameron McRae stated that "the engagement of FSB is an important part of the establishment of a strong and diverse investor base which should build on the interest in Australia and already being generated in Asia and Europe". He went onto say that "the recent positive restructuring of the balance sheet has enabled the Company to focus and make significant progress toward becoming a global independent mining company operating in three countries and is confident of further positive news flow on this progress shortly".

Link to release


Mongolian Tugrik Meltdown Seen Cooling Down Myanmar Kyat: Chart

August 26 (Bloomberg) The freefall in Mongolia's exchange rate may be cooling down the Myanmar kyat, which had been the world's best-performing exotic currency this year until the tugrik started its epic 14 percent slide to a record low. The crisis that saw Mongolia's new government struggle to pay salaries is a "wake-up call" for investors to be cautious about Myanmar, says Hirofumi Suzuki, an economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. in Singapore. The two countries -- one to China's north, the other to the south -- have wide current-account deficits and are dependent on exporting commodities to their giant neighbor.

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Local Market

MSE Weekly Report: Top 20 -3.32%, ALL -2.45%, Turnover ₮39.6 Million Shares, ₮349.9 Million T-Bills

August 26 (MSE) --

Link to report


Tavan Bogd Launches 888.6 Million Offer to Buy Remaining 32.3% Gazar Suljmel JSC Stake

August 25 (MSE) "Tavan Bogd Trade" LLC, owns 44,251 shares or 67.7 percent of "Gazar Suljmel" JSC (MSE:SUL) is making tender offer to buy rest of 21,111 shares from small shareholders at MNT42,091.00 per share.

Price per share:                                 42,091 /forty two thousand ninety one/ tugrik

Starting date to receive sell order: 2016.08.25

Closing date to receive sell order:    2016.09.25

Date of purchase:                              2016.09.30

Tender offer made by:                       "Tavan Bogd Group" LLC

Address:                                              Khan-Uul district, Khoroo #3, Chingiss Avenue, Head office building of Bogd Group, Ulaanbaatar.

Tel:                                                      976-11-345225, 976-99104677  

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BoM MNT Rates: Friday, August 26 Close
















































































































































































































Bank USD rates at time of sending: Khan (Buy ₮2,240 Sell ₮2,270), TDB (Buy ₮2,240 Sell ₮2,270), Golomt (Buy ₮2,240 Sell ₮2,270), XacBank (Buy ₮2,225 Sell ₮2,248), State Bank (Buy ₮2,240 Sell ₮2,270)

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

Link to rates


BoM declines USD, CNY bid, ask offers, accepts US$54.3m MNT swap offers

August 25 (Bank of Mongolia) Spot trade: Commercial banks bid MNT2230.00-2245.00 for USD1.1 million, asked MNT2253.00-2254.00 for USD6.0 million and bid MNT333.00-336.30 for CNY10.5 million, asked MNT338.75-338.85 for CNY1.8 million respectively. The BOM has not accepted the offers this time.    

Swap and forward trade: The BOM accepted the bid offer of USD 54.3 million of MNT swap agreement.

Link to release


BoM issues ₮139.75 billion 1-week bills at 15%, total outstanding +19% to ₮382.75 billion

August 26 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 139.75 billion at a weighted interest rate of 15 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


BoM issues 65 billion 12-week bills at 17%, total outstanding +23.2% to ₮345 billion

August 26 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 12 week bills worth MNT 65 billion at a weighted interest rate of 17 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


Consolidated Loan Report of Banking System

August 25 (Bank of Mongolia) --

Link to report


Moody's downgrades Mongolia's sovereign rating to B3, places it on review for further downgrade

Singapore, August 26, 2016 -- Moody's Investors Service has today downgraded Mongolia's government issuer rating to B3 from B2, and initiated a review for further downgrade.

The key driver for the downgrade is the sharp deterioration in fiscal metrics, which Moody's does not expect will reverse materially in the next few years. Compounded by weak growth and already very low foreign exchange buffers, this will significantly exacerbate fiscal challenges and liquidity risks facing the government.

The review will allow Moody's to assess the speed and effectiveness of the policy response to these heightened challenges, and their implications for growth and the management of external liquidity, which would depend partly on the availability and cost of external financing.

Moody's expects to complete the review within three months.

Concurrently, Moody's has downgraded the government's senior unsecured debt rating to B3 and the senior unsecured MTN rating to (P)B3. The review for downgrade also applies to these ratings. The short-term issuer rating remains unchanged at Not Prime.


Link to release


Mongolia tightens belt as debt payments loom

Asian country launches cost-cutting measures after new government reveals dire state of finances

By Lucy Hornby

August 25 (Financial Times) Mongolia's new government has revealed a budget deficit equivalent to nearly one-fifth of economic output, underlining the dire financial conditions that have sent the currency tumbling.

Even after stringent cost-cutting measures outlined by the Mongolian People's party, which won a landslide victory in last month's elections, the country faces a gap between its revenues of MNT5.34tn ($2.67bn) and MNT9.7tn ($4.87bn) expenditure — a shortfall equivalent to 18 per cent of gross domestic product, well above the 4 per cent statutory limit.

Mongolia, with a population of 3m and GDP of some $12bn, is heavily dependent on mining and commodities exports, mostly to China. A surge of mining investment helped it repay previous IMF loans early, but the more recent downturn in copper and coal prices has dealt a heavy blow to the economy.

The country also faces hefty debt repayments beginning in March, when a $580m bond issued by the Development Bank of Mongolia comes due. It must repay $1.7bn-$1.8bn over the next two years, including a swap agreement with China's central bank.

"Our priority is to bring discipline and order to our finances, to make sure the public gets the full picture and understands the reasons for our actions," said Tsend Munkh-Orgil, foreign minister.

The budget includes cuts in civil service salaries, higher taxes and a later retirement age. Other social payments from funds set up during the height of the mining boom have run dry, including subsidies for students and the popular universal "child money" of MNT20,000 ($9) per month for every family.

"While we expected increased fiscal pressure, we did not expect the budget situation to be as critical as recently reported," said Yolanda Fernandez, representative for the Asian Development Bank. "The government is going to face two challenging years."

The Mongolian People's party government has not formally requested assistance from international donors, but observers expect that it will after the budget is approved and the new government draws up a plan later this year.

A delegation from the International Monetary Fund also visited this month — Mongolia previously tapped the IMF in 2009 and paid off the $232m loan early thanks to strong prices for coal and copper, its main exports.

The government's revelations have not surprised Erdenebayar, owner of a quiet lunch restaurant in the middle of the Ger District, the sprawling settlements that ring Ulan Bator, the capital. "I can tell from the sales I make and the lives of my customers," he said.

Lunch patrons chimed in on the question of the child money and Mongolia's high interest rates — raised to 15 per cent this month to staunch the currency tumble. Nergui, a single mother of five teenagers, said she was looking for extra hours at the wholesale market where she works as a cleaner and would recruit her children to take on some of the jobs. "The money was a big help for me," she said. "Quite a few families I know only have child money to rely on."

Nationwide, family income is down about 10 per cent year-on-year and unemployment is rising due to the downturn in mining and construction. "People say the government has a lot of debt and can't pay," Erdenebayar added. "The prime minister said it will stabilise by November, and I hope so. If not, the winter will be a lot worse than now."

Link to article


Proposed budget amendments will cut state benefits and raise taxes

August 26 (UB Post) The Cabinet submitted  amendments to the 2016 state budget to Parliament on Wednesday that include cuts to welfare spending and increased taxes on income and imports. The proposed amendments set budget income at 5.3 billion MNT and spending at 9.7 billion MNT, with a deficit of 4.4 billion MNT.

Eight months have already passed since the former parliament approved a projected income of seven trillion MNT and spending of 7.9 trillion MNT in 2016. The nation's net loss has reached two billion MNT. The Finance Minister made a troubling but objective report that this amount is expected to reach five billion MNT by the end of this year.

The new Cabinet's amendments are expected to have a significant impact on civic life. Under the 2016 budget amendments, welfare allocations for university students will be suspended, and only 60 percent of Mongolian children under 18 will receive monthly state welfare allowance. Also, personal income and business income taxes will be increased.

Retirement age to be increased in phases

In correlation with the increased lifespan of the average Mongolian, the retirement age and pension payments need to be raised under  the proposed amendments. The government plans to set income tax at 9.5 percent, increasing it by one percent in 2017, and 0.5 percent the following year.

By increasing social insurance payments, lawmakers anticipate a decrease in financing for the Social Insurance Fund.

Joint pension allowance to be suspended, doctor bonuses postponed

The former Parliament adopted a law on joint pensions, but it was not implemented. Under the law, financing for the Pension Fund was to increase by 53.3 to 75.6 billion MNT annually. The new parliament has submitted a bill to nullify the law.

In addition, according to the Law on Medical Service and Assistance, healthcare facilities are obliged to issue a bonus equivalent to six months' basic salary to its staff once every five years. Under the law, a total of 1.5 billion MNT was allocated for bonuses from the 2017 state budget. It has been estimated that some 1.3 billion MNT is to be issued annually to the board members of province hospitals under the  bonus program. The government believes that these incentives will put pressure on the already strained budget and have developed a proposal to postpone the enactment of the law.

Only 60 percent children's money to be issued

The state's welfare of 20,000 MNT for children, which has not been distributed since last June, is to be issued only to targeted groups of children under the 2016 budget amendments. Only 60 percent of all Mongolian children under the age of 18 will continue receiving 20,000 MNT each month based on their household living standards.

The remaining 40 percent of Mongolian children will begin  receiving state welfare again in 2019 along with outstanding welfare allowances.

The government also plans to reduce expenses for childcare. The 2016 state budget allotted 10.6 billion MNT for childcare. Only 6,175 children were enrolled in the childcare program and 746.1 million MNT has been spent so far by the state. Therefore, the government believes the allotted amount for 2016 childcare service can be lowered by four billion MNT.

Student welfare suspended

Monthly welfare of 70,200 MNT issued to students with a GPA above 3.0 is to be suspended. By suspending the allowance, the government will save 11.7 billion MNT in 2016 and 33.7 billion MNT in 2017. They have also decided to temporarily postpone allowances for vocational training school students adjusting the allowance to the state's budget potential, and will focus on taking measures to promote employment after graduation. With these changes, lawmakers expect to save 9.6 billion MNT.

The state proposes covering only 50 percent of  public transportation fees for students  to save 12.5 billion MNT annually. The state will also be postponing its scholarship program for Mongolian students studying at the world's top universities for the next three years.

In 2016, a total of 33.1 billion MNT was approved for the state's scholarship program, with 7.3 billion MNT to be spent on carrying out intergovernmental scholarship programs, 11.5 billion MNT spent on  tuition for students admitted to the top 100 universities in the world, and 4.5 billion MNT budgeted for other activities.

Individuals with annual income above 30 million MNT to pay 25 percent tax

The benchmark for increases to personal income tax was set at 30 million MNT under the proposed budget amendments. Under the amendments, an individual with an annual income above 30 million MNT is to pay a 25 percent income tax.

In addition, the authorities plan to introduce a system to withdraw taxes from savings interest at commercial banks. In 2007, when Mongolia's economic growth began slowing down and savings were low, interest on savings was made exempt from taxes in order to promote savings among the public. However, with the exemption from taxes, commercial banks started offering higher interest rates on savings. Economists believe that this is one of the primary reasons why loan interest rates at commercial banks are high.

If these amendments to the 2016 state budget are approved, some 60.1 billion MNT will be generated for the state budget.

Royalties for gold to be increased

According to the existing royalty law, when gold is deposited at Mongol Bank, 2.5 percent of its value is withdrawn as payment for exploiting mineral resources and up to five percent value is collected for additional minerals payments. The law is effective until 2019.

The amendments aim to impose a five percent tax on mineral resource exploitation with minerals submission, as well as the 0-5 percent payment for additional minerals payments, depending on the mineral's value and processing, increasing taxes for  gold miners. The proposed amendment aims to make the law effective in 2017.

The Finance Ministry expects to collect 38.7 billion MNT in 2017 taxes with the changes in place.

Import taxes for alcohol, cigarettes, and cars to increase

Lawmakers plan to accumulate nearly 100 billion MNT by increasing taxes on alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, and cars. According to the proposed amendments, some 411,400 vehicles are now registered in Ulaanbaatar, becoming a source of air pollution and drastically increased traffic congestion. Government officials want to increase special taxes on imported cars by three to 15 percent depending on the vehicle's year of manufacture. Furthermore, they want to set  taxes on imported alcoholic beverages and tobacco at 20 percent.

Salaries for high ranking officials to be reduced

In addition to proposed budget cuts, lawmakers aim to make cuts on spending on salaries for high ranking state officials. Salaries state servants who rank higher than province governors, their deputies, and chairmen of civic councils, will be cut by 30 percent starting on  September 1. The salary cuts will impact 256 state servants, saving 557.9 billion MNT from state budget spending.

The government also expects to save 1.6 billion MNT by reducing the salaries of 1,977 state administrative officials by 20 percent. In addition, the salaries of 519 judges will be also reduced.

Luxury spending by directors to be cut

Under the proposed amendments to the 2016 state budget, officials plan to save 90 billion to 100 billion MNT annually by eliminating spending for luxuries high ranking state officials. The State will no longer pay for cell phone bills, will not carry out maintenance work at state institutions (except for schools and hospitals), and will not purchase new vehicles for state use.

Link to article


Government expects to increase eight types of taxes

August 26 ( The Government, led by Prime Minister J.Erdenebat, introduced its plan to lower budget deficit by rising eight types of tax rates and slashing salaries for executives of state-owned enterprises to the member of parliaments. If the plan wins majority support from MPs, the plan will come into effect immediately. 

Personal income tax (PIT)

The taxes will be imposed on individuals with annual income of more than MNT 30 million. If individual gets monthly salary higher than MNT2.5 million, individual will pay 25 percent of taxes. Therefore, individual with MNT 4 million salary will pay 10 percent of taxes on MNT 2.5 million and 25 percent of taxes on remaining  MNT 1.5 million. 

Currently, individuals pay 10 percent of PIT in Mongolia. According to the survey conducted by KPMG global audit service in 2016, average PIT rates in Asian countries stands at 28 percent, in European Union at 39 percent and OECD member countries at 42 percent while average personal income tax rates of the world stands at 33 percent. 

Tax on savings income

The taxes on saving income will effect on Jan, 2017. 


Vehicle excise duty will be increased depending on engine capacity and aging


MNT 750,000 will be levied on vehicles with 1500 cubic centimeters or less engine capacity

Current tax rate is MNT 725,000

MNT 1,520,000 will be levied on 0-3 year old vehicles with 1501-2500 cubic centimeters engine capacity

Current tax rate is MNT 1,450, 000

MNT 2,250,000 will be levied on 4-6 year old vehicles with 1501-2500 cubic centimeters engine capacity

Current tax rate is MNT 2,175,000

MNT 3 million will be levied on vehicles with 2501-3500 cubic centimeters engine capacity

Current tax rate is MNT 2,9 million 

MNT 15 million will be levied on 0-3 year old vehicles with 4501 cubic centimeters engine capacity

Current tax rate is MNT 10,150,000

Excise taxes on alcoholic 
beverages, tobacco products 

Excise taxes rates on alcohol and tobacco will be increased by 20 percent 


The Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT)

Gold explorers to pay 5 percent of MRRT 

Current rates of MRRT is 2.5 percent 

Import duty rate for importing old spare parts

Tas rates will be increased to 20 percent 

Current tax rate is at 5 percent and it is common in Mongolia to assemble car by importing old spare parts 

Luxury property tax

50 percent of Immovable property tax will be imposed on apartments that are more than 150 square meter

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Politics & Legal

Government withdraws bill on increasing social insurance premiums

August 26 ( Irregular session of the State Great Khural held today and discussed the 2016 supplementary budget and next years budget projection. 

Majority of MPs supported the proposal to increase some kinds of tax rates. However, MPs refused to impose 12.6 percent of social insurance contributions on both employee and employer. Current rate for social insurance contributions stands at 10 percent. 

MP Ts.Garamjav noted increase in social insurance contributions will bring heavy burden to entities with more than 300 employees. Entities will not be able to offer pay rises in further. Instead, we should raise revenues by increasing the number of entities paying social insurance. 

The Government recalled the draft law on increasing social insurance contributions after 5-hours of discussion.

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Asia Foundation wants cooperation to fight against corruption

August 25 ( Head of Security and Foreign Policy Standing Committee J.Enkhbayar, Head of State Structure Standing Committee N.Enkhbold and MP A.Undraa received today the representatives of Asia Foundation, a nonprofit international development organization. 

During the meeting, the parties have exchanged views on projects and programs to be implemented jointly by the Asia Foundation, State Great Khural, the Government and NGOs. Currently, Asia foundation is working in 18 countries while operating in Mongolia since 1990 to strengthen democracy, promote good governance and transparency, empower women, reduce corruption and focus on environmental restoration.

Representatives expressed their willingness to expand cooperation in strengthening democracy, and good governance while fighting against corruption.

The meeting was attended by Meloney Lindberg, The Asia Foundation's country representative, Suzanne E. Siskel ,Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Gordon Hein, Senior Vice President, Programs, Sagar Prasai, Country Representative, India, Dianna Fernandez, Deputy Country Representative, Mongolia.

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Parliamentarians meet Asia Foundation's delegationMontsame, August 25


Cabinet approves Erdenes Mongol's board composition

Ulaanbaatar, August 25 (MONTSAME) The cabinet meeting held Wednesday discussed and approved a new composition of the "Erdenes MGL" LLC's Board of Directors.

Pursuant to the decision, the Board included deputy head of the Cabinet Secretariat for Government; State Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism; head of the Cabinet Secretariat's department of monitoring and internal audit; head of the Finance Ministry's section of State Income; head of the Mining and Heavy Industry Ministry's section of foreign cooperation; and executive director of the "Erdenes MGL" LLC.

Three independent members will be selected under an open selection.

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B.Lkhagvaa appointed as new Consumer Protection Director

August 25 ( Yesterday (24th August), the Mongolian Cabinet approved a court ruling to dismiss D.Munkhtur as director of the Authority for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection (AFCCP). Subsequently, B.Lkhagvaa will be appointed as the new AFCCP director.

The Unfair Competition Regulatory Authority (UCRA) was formally established in 2005. At the end of 2008, the name was changed to the "Authority for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection (AFCCP)" following the addition of consumer protection issues to the authority's functions. The AFCCP enforces Competition Law, Consumer Protection Law and Advertisement Law.

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Deputy Customs Chief Appointed

Ulaanbaatar, August 25 (MONTSAME) In accordance with decisions of the cabinet made Wednesday, Yo.Bat-Erdene was appointed as deputy head of the General Authority of Customs.

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Government plans to lay off 20 thousand civil servants

August 26 ( At a non-regular session of the State Great Khural, held earlier today (26th August), MP's discussed the approval of the 2016-2020 governmental action programme. At the meeting Finance Minister B.Choijilsuren, announced the plan of laying off 20,000 civil servants in an attempt to put breaks on the swelling public sector wage bill. But the government will focus on creating new jobs for the unemployed civil servants.

In total, 179300 people work as civil servants; this represents a 40 thousand increase compared to 2012.

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Head of Russian Railways to visit Mongolia

August 26 ( Oleg Belozerov, head of Russian Railways (RZD) will visit Mongolia in September in order to attend the XXV plenary meeting of the coordinating council on Trans-Siberian Transportation. For first time, the meeting is to be held in Mongolia. Officials from Russia, China and European railways will come to Ulaanbaatar in September.

Mongolia, China and Russia have been exploring the concept of creating a joint transportation and logistics company, extending the three-party meeting on railway transport into a regular consultation mechanism, arranging a targeted volume of transport freight, and constructing two new transit railway corridors linking Russia and China.

Belozerov, 45 years old and a native of Ventspils, Latvia, has worked in the Russian Ministry of Transportation since 2009. In April 2014 he was elected to the Russian Railways board of directors. As Vice-Minister of Transportation, Oleg Belozerov curated the program of the country's transportation system development, which had been ratified by Prime Minister Dmitrii Medvedev in April 2014.

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Smart Oil Investment Ltd. Granted Product Sharing Contract

Ulaanbaatar, August 25 (MONTSAME) --

-       The cabinet meeting on Wednesday discussed a draft law on compensation of the pension insurance commission for herders and freelance businessmen. The Ministers backed the bill in terms of concept and considered as necessity to scrutinize the bill and make clear the implementation term.

-       B.Baatartsogt, Head of the Department of Mineral Resources and Oil was authorized to establish a product-sharing contract with the "Smart oil investment limited" LLC.

-       The cabinet discussed and backed in principle a draft amendment to the law on pension and allowance given from the Social Insurance Fund (SIF). If the amendment is passed, the law will come into force on January 1, 2017.

-       A.Tsogtsetseg, the Minister of Health presented final results of the 4th national program on reproductive health. She was obliged to formulate a new version of the program in fourth quarter of this year.

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Capacity of power plants to be increased

Ulaanbaatar, August 25 (MONTSAME) In frames of works for providing regions lacking in energy with electricity and ensuring the winter preparations for 2017-2018, permanent capability of the #3 thermal power station in Ulaanbaatar will be maximized by 250 MWT, and the power plant in Dornod aimag's Choibalsan--by 50 MWT.

At its meeting on Wednesday, the cabinet tasked the relevant Ministers to commence a project on maximizing the capability of power plants and to resolve financial matters.

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Mongolia's Youth Movement Celebrates 95 Years

August 25 ( On August 25 1921, the Mongolian National Youth Movement was established under the formal group named of the "Mongolian Revolutionary Youth Union" (MRYU) – initially consisting of only seventeen members. Such prominent people as Kh. Choibalsan, one of the political leaders of the Mongolian Revolution and Ts. Gursed, a well-known intellectual of that time were among early members.

In 1921-1931, the MRYU started strengthening and intensifying its activities. In 1946-1952, the foreign relations of MRYU developed and participated in over twenty events organized by the World Democratic Youth Union and International Student Association.

In 1960-1970, the foreign relations of MRYU expanded further and young Mongolians attended many conferences, meetings and seminars which were held in Warsaw, Vienna, and Moscow. In 1967, the 9th session of the International Student Association was held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and was attended by delegates from 115 organizations and over 80 countries.

By the end of the 1980s, changes and reforms started in Mongolia and young people were at the forefront in leading the democratic movement. The Mongolian Youth Federation was founded on January 18, 1991. The MYF joined the World Assembly of Youth (WAY) in April and the Asian Youth Council in June 1993.

The Mongolian Youth Federation is a national non-governmental organization of young people which organizes a range of activities with the ultimate aim at providing them with support and help in the protecting common rights and interests of Mongolian young people. This includes improving self-development, physical and ethical education and helping resolve the social-economic challenges in education, health, employment and other issues.

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54 vehicles purchased for ASEM transferred to government agencies

August 26 ( Budget expenditure has risen by MNT 2.3 billion this year. What was the reason of increased budget expenditure?

This year we have organized ASEM 11th meeting while took part in Rio 2016 Olympics which might be caused the budget expenditure. 

According to the glass account of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which obliges the public bodies to make all transactions of the public expenditures and procurement over 5 million MNT (approximately 2,300 USD) open to the public on their websites, products bought in June in scope of ASEM organization have reached MNT 538 million. 

In addition, Mongolia purchased 52 pieces of Toyota Prius, installed police package equipment by total of USD 1,671,904 (per price is USD 32,152) and two Mercedes Benz with USD 258,222 for ASEM organization. The 52 vehicles were transferred to the General police department while two Mercedes Benz were transferred to the State security service.

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Thinking about democracy in Mongolia

By: Randy David

ULAANBAATAR, August 28 (Philippine Daily Inquirer)—Invited to participate in a forum in Mongolia this last week of August, I instantly said yes, motivated mainly by a wish to experience what it is like to stand on the main capital square of this vast landlocked Asian country, sometimes called the Land of the Eternal Blue Sky.  Known for its cloudless skies, with an average of 257 cloudless days per year, Mongolia is like the end of the earth whichever direction one looks. The cold and sparse landscape is mesmerizing in its beauty and breadth.

The country's infrastructure is still basic. Beyond Ulaanbaatar, its highways are few, and straight and narrow.  But the interesting places outside the capital city are accessible to travelers, who are basically invited to chart their own path on the still unmarked grassy steppes. Perfect for off-road riding, I thought to myself. At once, I imagined myself crossing the vast tundra on a motorcycle to search for birds in the countless river valleys that mark the Mongolian terrain.

But, I began to have second thoughts about going after I read the materials that had been sent to me by the organization behind the forum—the Sydney-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), an intergovernmental organization that supports the building of democratic institutions.  I was asked to join a panel discussion on the role of social movements and leadership in the transition to democracy. Suddenly, I was no longer sure if I had anything hopeful or inspiring to say about the democratic project in the Philippines, given what has been happening in the country since the recent presidential election.

The purpose of the forum was to bring together individuals who had witnessed and participated in such transitions. The Philippines is generally recognized worldwide as one of the trailblazers of the democratization process because of the Edsa People Power Revolution in 1986.  Countries like Mongolia and Indonesia had theirs not too long after. The trigger for the 1990 Mongolian peaceful democratic revolution was the collapse of Soviet socialism in 1989. For Indonesia, what precipitated the downfall of the corrupt and autocratic rule of General Suharto was the 1997 Asian economic crisis.

I met fellows of my generation from Nepal, Bhutan and Fiji who had inspiring stories to tell.  Hearing them, I felt ashamed of the times when I had silently doubted the authenticity of our own struggle and minimized its value as a beacon for other democratic transitions.

The highest moment in these transitions is the same everywhere—massive crowds gathering spontaneously in public squares, singing and dancing and listening to speeches, while waving banners that signal the rebirth of freedom. The hard work begins soon after. There is a need to bring the various stakeholders together so everyone starts on the same page. An interim leadership has to take command and direct the course of events leading to the writing of a new constitution and the conduct of general elections. The role of the military is weighed and defined during these crucial moments.

The international IDEA believes that the issues and questions that the key players in these democratic transitions are bound to face are often unique to the particular context from which they arise.  But, at the same time, they are also very much typical.  Other nations can learn a lot from the solutions that those who came ahead formulated with great difficulty and danger.

The growing list of titles published by the organization attest to the broad range of lessons it has synthesized from the experiences of various countries all over the world.  Examples of these are the following: "From Authoritarian Rule Toward Democratic Governance," "A Practical Guide to Constitution Building," "Politics Meets Policies: The Emergence of Programmatic Political Parties"—and many more.

What they represent is a clear attempt to simplify the complex passage to democracy by breaking it down to its basic stages and corresponding tasks, and offering models from other countries.  But the overriding principle in this process is always to nudge the sovereign people to define their own substantive responses to the issues before them—in accordance with their own understanding of their nation's needs.

One of the panelists in the forum observed that it takes about 40 years before a democratic system may be pronounced to be stable and fully institutionalized. I am not sure how the number was arrived at, but it prodded me to count.  Postwar Philippine democracy was only 26 years old when Ferdinand Marcos ended it in 1972.  The democracy we restored at Edsa in 1986 is 30 years old today.  That's 10 years short of 40. Perhaps we should not be surprised then if the type of democracy we have put in place has remained fragile. It has strengthened oligarchical rule and failed to significantly improve the lives of the many.

Still, it remains a puzzle to me why we should choose a strongman to solve our problems at this time, rather than slowly build on the gains of a three-decade-long practice to create stronger and functional institutions.

The Ulaanbaatar forum left me with more questions than answers. But I came away from the discussions feeling renewed and hopeful.  For once I understood what Niklas Luhmann meant when he referred to democracy as "an evolutionary achievement of society." A nation must grow into democracy. Unlike us, the Mongolians who spent centuries defending their land against their powerful neighbors know only too well how long it will take them still to complete their own democratic transition.

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Mongolia set to harvest enough wheat to supply domestic flour need

Ulaanbaatar, August 25 (MONTSAME) At a cabinet meeting held Wednesday, a preliminary balance of harvest for this autumn was presented.

According to the balance, Mongolia is expected to harvest 501.0 thousand tons of grain, of which 482.1 thousand tons of wheat, 174.7 thousand tons of potatoes, 117.5 thousand tons of vegetables, 32.5 thousand tons of oil plants, and 43.4 thousand tons of fodder plants.

It has been estimated that 320 thousand tons of wheat is required for producing flour which fully provides the country's needs a year. By the balance, the country is possible to provide the domestic needs with flour produced from wheat to be harvested in this autumn.

The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry reported that six thousand tons of fuel is expected to be needed for harvesting works.

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Freight and passenger statistics in first seven months

Ulaanbaatar, August 26 (MONTSAME) In the first seven months of this year, 10,729.3 thousand tons of freight and 1,554.3 thousand people (duplicated counting) were carried by railway transport.

Compared to same period of the previous year, the size of carried freight increased by 157.2 thousand tons or 1.5%, while the number decreased by 128.9 thousand people or 7.7%.

The revenue from railway transport reached MNT 233.7 billion in first seven months of 2016, reflecting an increase of MNT 19.8 billion or 9.3% against the previous year.

In the period, 1,721.6 tons of freight and 366.5 thousand people (duplicated counting) were carried by air transport. The size of freight increased by 146.9 tons or 9.3%, while the number passengers on air transport also went up by 12.9 thousand people or 3.7% compared to same period of the previous year.

In the first seven months of 2016, the revenue from air transport reached MNT 157.4 billion which has increased by MNT 16.0 billion or 11.3% against the previous year.

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Domestic trade increases in first half

Ulaanbaatar, August 26 (MONTSAME) In first half of this year, 25.6 thousand or 38.0% of 67.4 thousand entities were doing business in the whole and retailing sales nationwide.

Total selling of the both whole and retailing sales reached MNT 5,297.0 billion in first half of 2016, increasing by MNT 91.3 billion or 1.8% against the previous year. The sales of whole trade went up by MNT 284.8 billion or 10.8, whereas retailing sales declined by MNT 193.5 billion or 7.5% against the previous year. 92.1 per cent of the total whole and retailing sales were performed in the capital city.

In the period, total sales of the commercial sector decreased by 5.4-21.6% in Selenge, Khentii, Orkhon, Tov, Darkhan-Uul and Zavkhan aimags, whereas it increased by 0.7% to 2.2 times in other aimags and Ulaanbaatar city.

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Seminar: How to Start Your Own Clothing Label

August 25 (UB Post) WRM Fashion Studio has recently opened its WRM Fashion & Art Training Center. During the opening ceremony of the center, WRM Fashion Studio and 93//KIDULT Studio will hold a training on "How to start your own clothing label" on August 27 at Cue+ Bar.

Attendees will tour around the office of WRM Fashion Studio and 93//KIDULT Studio. Afterwards, a lecture will be presented at Cue+ Bar.


WhereCue+ Bar

When: August 27, 5:00 p.m.

Admission: 25,000 MNT

More Information: 90058866, 91112503

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Speaker meets GEIDCO chairman

Ulaanbaatar, August 26 (MONTSAME) Speaker of parliament M.Enkhbold received Thursday Liu Zhenya, chairman of the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO) and the China Electricity Council (CEC), in the State House.

Beginning the meeting, M.Enkhbold expressed his satisfaction with sharing views with the GEIDCO chairman on establishing a regional-level energy network in Mongolia.

"Mongolia has high reserve of energy, and the energy sector plays an important role in the Mongolia-China cooperation. Last years, we were able to realize mega-projects and programs, but they have not been implemented due to political and financial reasons," the Speaker said.

The Speaker pointed out that Mongolia, China and Russia are talking to build developmental railways that will connect the infrastructure of the three countries. The three countries are focusing attention to bringing their collaboration in five directions--auto road, airways, railways and pipelines of gas and liquid fuels. These works will be realized when the countries reach a consensus, Enkhbold said.

Expressing thanks to the Speaker for the audience, the GEIDCO chairman gave some information about a China's initiative on founding Global Network of Energy, a plan of establishing the Energy Network of Northeast Asia and the "Shivee-Ovoo" project on energy export.

"Energy consumption of China, South Korea and Japan account for about 65% of the total consumption in Asia. It is expected that the China's consumption will go up by nine trillion KWT, South Korea--by 12 trillion KWT, and Japan--by 0.7 trillion by the year 2030. It means that the energy market will definitely broaden, and it is important to building up the competitive energy network," Liu said. He emphasized that the Shivee-Ovoo project energy export is capable to boost the bilateral cooperation in economic and energy fields, and to become a competitor in the Northeast Asian energy market.

Liu also mentioned that Mongolia is possible to be connected with an energy infrastructure network and to boost mutually-beneficial cooperation in energy and renewable energy industries because the country is geographically closely located to countries with high consumption of energy.

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China-Russia trade corridor pilot shows readiness for future TIR roll-out

Ulan-Ude, August 26 (FOCUS) The China-Russia pilot trade caravan has achieved its objective to successfully test the 2,200km overland trade route between China, Mongolia and Russia, ahead of the upcoming implementation of the TIR System in China, the press office of IRU announced.

It completed its journey in Ulan-Ude, the capital of the Russian Federal Republic of Buryatia, where the caravan was warmly welcomed at a closing ceremony by the Deputy Transport Minister of the Buryat government and delegations from Russia, China and Mongolia.

The pilot caravan was an important milestone in preparations for the implementation of TIR in China, which will facilitate trade between Asia and Europe. The world's only universal customs transit system, TIR has been in operation in Russia for over 30 years and in Mongolia for more than 10 years. 

China's recent ratification of the UN TIR Convention will significantly increase the potential volume of international trade in the region and provide new trade routes with access to the sea for Mongolia and other landlocked areas in Russia and Central Asia. 

The caravan, organised by the transport ministries of the three countries and supported by IRU, comprised of nine trucks travelling together over the so-called ancient tea route.

A roundtable in Ulan-Ude at the end of the journey brought together over 80 participants from public authorities and business to evaluate the caravan and to plan ahead for future cooperation between the three countries. 

Increased collaboration and information exchange between China, Mongolia and Russia on customs, administration, transport and technical needs will help continue the necessary harmonisation in transport regulations and processes that IRU has long championed to improve mobility, trade and economic development.

It was agreed at the roundtable that the trade route is already operational and adequate for future TIR transits. Some improvements in road infrastructure in certain areas were identified and would be improved. Launching a working group comprised of representatives from the three governments and possibly private sectors would help to further develop communities and economies along the route.

Dmitry Cheltsov, who leads IRU's work in Eurasia, highlighted during the roundtable that "IRU will work closely with the Chinese government to help make TIR operational there, supporting new efficient and faster transport routes between China, Russia and Europe."

Pengcheng Qu, who leads IRU's work in China and South East Asia, said "TIR has been used for more than 60 years in many countries and has been proven to reduce transit time transport considerably. We look forward to seeing these benefits in China and its regional trade partners."

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Tropicana brand to be sold in Mongolia

GN Beverages LLC is planning to introduce Tropicana juice in the local market in 2017, after its recent success with PepsiCo's Sting energy drink brand.

By Mainbayar Badarch

August 26 (Foodnews) The main aim of the company is to produce this global brand at a realistic local price.

Mr. Enkhjin, head of marketing and sales, said the company is studying concepts, marketing policy, customer awareness, taste and packaging of this brand and preparing

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Ulaanbaatar City to cooperate with the EBRD

August 25 ( Ulaanbaatar city mayor S.Batbold met Svetlana Radchenko, the senior infrastructure banker for Russia and Central Asia at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) earlier today (25th August). They discussed cooperation on a solid waste reprocessing plant for UB and public transportation.

Strengthening resilience by supporting the business climate and private sector growth is one of the EBRD's key priorities. The EBRD has invested more than €1.3 billion since it started working in Mongolia in 2006 in projects from energy and small business, to industry and financial institutions.

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Finding home in the ger district

By Alexander McNab

August 26 (UB Post) Ulaanbaatar is a city known as a cemetery of nomadism, a place where wandering people have gone to settle down inside four cement walls in towering apartment blocks, but for Froit van der Harst, the entrance into U.B. was only a continuation of over a decade of placeless-ness.

After working on a cruise ship and spending 10 years moving his yurt across Europe, van der Harst says, "I don't care so much about home anymore. I've been to too many places."

Van der Harst spent his first 10 years in Mongolia battling against the permanency of the residential design of the capital city, moving around from room to room in the built area of the city.

It was paradoxically only after moving to a neighborhood whose very namesake is nomadic that van der Harst finally found himself settled.

"We are now breaking the record," van der Harst says of his khashaa (property) in the ger district. "Before, I never stayed nine years in one house."

He lives on a dead end street on Gandan's Lower East Side behind a khunsnii delguur (grocery store) and a walled-in canal where he dumps his dirty water.

Drunks and dogs loiter lackadaisically on the trashy dirt road outside, the latter clutter the empty silence of the night with unending barks.

Although van der Harst is originally from Netherlands, the story of how he arrived in the ger district is, actually, quite Mongolian. Economic necessity drove van der Harst away from his itinerant existence, and so he sought out a spot on the city's gritty edge to start a new life and a new business.

Van der Harst makes yurts. His company, Euro-Yurts LLC, was founded in 2007, the same year he moved to the ger district. Euro-Yurts manufactures and exports Mongolian-style yurts to Europe, an enterprise that van der Harst decided to center at his home in Tuul 1 ger area. A wooden sign above his door advertises the business.

The ger district, he explains, was the only place suitable for his company headquarters. A large pit that he dug in his khashaa holds three shipping containers, which he uses for company storage. The second floor of the two-story, wooden house he created is his workshop. His yard is just large enough and flat enough to pitch his biggest yurt for his customers and still allow them room to walk around it.

The space and convenience of van der Harst's ger district property can never be replicated by an apartment.

Van der Harst knows though that, to many people, his choice of neighborhood may seem odd, amazing even.

"'Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. You live there,'" Mongolian people often say to him.

"'Gotta live somewhere,'" he replies.

Crime, poverty, and lack of infrastructure keep many of the city's foreign and native residents from even visiting the ger district, and van der Harst is well aware of these challenges. After all, though he is only a few steps from the pavement of Ikh Toiruu, he has to live with dirt road district problems.

"You live without running water. We have walking water," van der Harst says. "I'm moving water all the f**king time in all different states, and it's a daily thing. People in a house don't think about that."

Van der Harst and his Mongolian wife Bolor Balchindorj collect rainwater during the summer and at least once a week visit one of the many local pump houses to buy even more clean water.

The rainwater they use for showering and laundry. The shower has to be filled from buckets just before and just after it's used. During wintertime, they bathe about once a week at a communal wash house.

Two to three times a year, van der Harst is burgled.

In the ger district, the fresh smell of wind after the rain is sacrificed to flooded pit toilets that overflow and release a fecal stench into the already polluted ger area air.

He hears babies crying from sugar withdrawal.

The ger district, he explains, is not a district. It's a slum, a disgrace, he says.

"It's sh*t, but it's the reality," van der Harst says. "But we also have a lot of freedom. I can play my music as loud as I want. I can pee in the neighbor's garden." He laughs. "They won't even notice."

Van der Harst believes that most people are too hard on the ger district, exaggerating its deficiencies so much that they cannot recognize the beauty of its community.

"70 percent [of people in the ger district] are hard-working people trying to get by, trying to get out of here, but at the same time, they love their piece of land with the basketball ring," he says. "People are painting their fences on the outside, which is a sign… We're all poor… But the people wash themselves, and they have jobs, and they take care of the streets and the dogs and the babies."

Van der Harst knows the people, his neighbors, other folks struggling through the annually broken government promises of heating and sewage before the end of the summer.

In the khashaa next door, a woman in her forties sells cigarettes and chewing gum on the side of the road. Her grandmother lives on state pension. The grandfather is in the countryside, tending horses perhaps.

There was a family that was here for six months. They came to the city to have a baby. They've gone now.

Two to three of the families on the other side don't work. They're all living on welfare.

Van der Harst knows his neighbors, but he doesn't connect with them.

"This community is made of tenants," he explains. "These people come and go."

Also, there is a language barrier. No one in his community speaks English, and van der Harst admits that his Mongolian is very bad.

However, even if they could speak to each other, van der Harst feels that they wouldn't have much to say.

"You have to understand these people have no education," he says. "They don't know anything relevant for a conversation except for the weather and the bus routes have changed."

In fact, van der Harst feels that, perhaps, the most common thing about him and his fellow ger district residents is their location. His neighbors don't know what he does or why he lives there. They only ever speak to him to ask to borrow his tools.

He calls them orcs, a term derived from the name of the goblin-like creatures in J.R.R. Tolkein's fantasy trilogy "The Lord of the Rings". It is commonly used by some Mongolians to derogatorily describe people from the countryside.

"You wanna go have dinner with an orc," van der Harst asks rhetorically, explaining the exclusion of himself from his neighbors.

Van der Harst says that his neighbors perhaps have learned something from him, passing by and looking at the straightness of his house's walls, seeing how his door closes and locks with a key, but he doubts that they've noticed.

"Orc people are always very busy being orcs," he says.

Van der Harst doesn't feel that he has been enriched at all by his community.

"They never swept my street," he says. "I'm the only one in the whole street with a broom."

Nevertheless, van der Harst says "this neighborhood is mine… I'll stay here and, maybe, die here."

In spite of the fact that van der Harst doesn't have too much of a connection to homes, he works to make his plot of land feel like his own.

He has a sofa, where in the afternoon he takes naps. He rebuilt the second floor of his home and will redesign his house again when he gets heating and sewage. He has installed an indoor toilet, plans to create an indoor shower. He's made a doorbell, a light above the entrance, a black flag with the letter "Ф" flies above his rooftop.

He gardens tomatoes, cress, tobacco, sunflowers, and buckwheat. This summer, he found a worm.

"That's a super good sign. I mean, could you be happy seeing a worm?" he asks. "I saw a worm in my garden, and I didn't bring that worm myself. It chose to live there."

As van der Harst speaks, I think that this worm isn't too different from him. He, a foreigner, chose to live here in this country, in this city, in this slum. Maybe, that's a good sign too.

The darkness has enveloped the monastery's lower east side. Van der Harst catches me looking out at the landscape of city lights, twinkling not so far off in the distance.

He says something like "it's beautiful, isn't it?".

"The view from my apartment is just of another apartment," I confess.

"They don't know what they're missing," van der Harst says of apartment people. "They don't know."

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Remarks by Ambassador Jennifer Zimdahl Galt at Colorado Springs World Affairs Council

August 26 (U.S. Embassy) Good evening. Thank you, Karen, for the kind introduction.

I am delighted to be here tonight. I had a rare opportunity to travel to my home state, and it is always a pleasure to return.

I am grateful to the World Affairs Council for inviting me to speak this evening. I truly appreciate your interest in international affairs, especially in a world where global issues are increasingly complex, and international relationships are increasingly interdependent.

Tonight, I would like to comment on U.S. policy and priorities in the Asia-Pacific region as they relate to Mongolia, where I have had the privilege of serving as Ambassador since last September. 

Mongolia calls itself the "land of eternal blue sky," and in many ways it reminds me of home. A country of three million people, vast open rangeland home to 56 million head of livestock, and ample sunshine to warm cold winter days when temperatures hover around -40 Fahrenheit, it is an inspiring place.  In Mongolia the descendants of Chinggis Khaan are enormously proud of both their rich history stretching back millennia and their modern democratic progress.

I should emphasize that I am not the only Colorado-Mongolia connectionDenver and the capital city Ulaanbaatar are sister cities, a scientist from Colorado State University is engaged in sustainable rangeland research in Mongolia, and Aurora-based Wagner Equipment Co. is one of the largest U.S. businesses with operations in Mongolia.

As you know, President Obama's "rebalance" to Asia is founded on the idea that the region is of intense interest to the United States, and our political, military, and economic resources should be aligned with those interests.

The United States recognizes that our security and prosperity are inextricably linked to the Asia-Pacific region.  It is home to nearly 60 percent of the world's population and accounts for about 40 percent of the world's trade.

These are the reasons why we have sought to strengthen our ties with allies; deepen engagement with emerging powers and partners; prevent conflict; promote democracy and human rights; and increase trade, investment, and economic growth.

Mongolia is one of our key partners in the region and in our rebalance

It is a partner with which we want to deepen our already robust engagement. 

It is a small post-Socialist state that chose in 1990 to become a democracy and today values this system of government as much as we do.  In fact, this past June, Mongolia held its eighth round of parliamentary elections and soon thereafter completed its 14th orderly transition of power in its 26 years as a democracy.  This is a remarkable achievement, particularly given Mongolia's tough neighborhood, sandwiched between Russia and China.

Given our shared emphasis on democracy, as well as the value the United States and Mongolia both place on protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms around the world, it is in our long-term interest to continue to enhance our partnership with Mongolia politically, militarily, and economically, which in turn will help strengthen Mongolia.

Politically, Mongolia's position as a democratic state squeezed between two less democratic neighbors – Russia and China – makes it an important partner in the overall U.S. strategy in Asia.  Secretary of State John Kerry underscored this point during his June 5 visit to Ulaanbaatar, publicly describing Mongolia as an "oasis" of democracy in the region.

He made clear that the United States values Mongolia's commitment to democracy and its mentorship of other emerging democratic states, such as Burma.  To illustrate our strong support for Mongolia's democracy, Secretary Kerry announced a new $2.5 million program that will help build Mongolia's next generation of democratic leaders by connecting young leaders with their counterparts in the United States and selected countries across Asia. 

U.S. support for Mongolia's democratic institutions includes efforts to expand our people-to-people ties, including through a number of mutually beneficial, U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs such as Fulbright and the International Visitor Leadership Program.  These initiatives send approximately 45 Mongolian government officials, civil society representatives, and scholars to the United States every year.

Our support for Mongolia's continued growth as a democratic state also includes a robust Peace Corps program.  More than 120 Peace Corps volunteers serve in every one of Mongolia's 21 provinces teaching English, working in public health, and helping to empower young people.

Earlier this month, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the arrival of the first Peace Corps volunteers in Mongolia with Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet.  Secretary Kerry met with a group of current and former Peace Corps volunteers while in Ulaanbaatar in June, expressing gratitude for their "remarkable service" helping to build the "bonds of friendship between our countries."  From my own interactions with our Peace Corps volunteers, I am proud to say they are extraordinary Americans, giving of their time and talents far away from home.

During his visit, Secretary Kerry also acknowledged Mongolia's leadership in international fora, including the UN, the Community of Democracies, and the Freedom Online Coalition.

Where the UN is concerned, we were pleased to support Mongolia's election to the UN Human Rights Council last October.  We are now working closely together in this important body to advance our shared goals of promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

In July, Mongolia demonstrated its continued commitment to playing a positive role on the international stage by hosting the Asia-Europe Meeting Summit, which brought together top leaders from 51 countries.  Under Mongolia's chairmanship, summit participants reiterated their commitment to promoting the rule of law, human rights, and economic growth.  They also agreed to continue working together to fight terrorism and violent extremism, mitigate the effects of climate change, and address other common challenges. 

While the United States did not participate in this event, we encouraged Mongolia's leadership and willingness to engage with partners across Asia and Europe.  We also worked closely with Mongolia to support its security-related preparations for the summit, including by training two cohorts of Mongolian officials at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu. 

Militarily, Mongolia has proven a valuable partner

Its peacekeeping troops are universally respected and are deployed in some of the world's toughest spots.  It has pledged still greater support for UN peacekeeping operations through the creation of internationally deployable engineering and logistics companies, and we are working closely with the Mongolian Armed Forces to help build this capacity. 

Mongolia's annual Khaan Quest multilateral peacekeeping exercise gets bigger every year – in May, more than 40 countries and 2,000 military officials participated in or observed the event – and its Five Hills training center just outside Ulaanbaatar is rapidly becoming a premier international training facility. 

Mongolia has also been a valuable contributor to coalition operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, where they were with us almost from the start.  The Mongolian Armed Forces served alongside our troops for five years in Iraq and are still with us in Afghanistan.  Indeed, Mongolia is one of only three Asia-Pacific nations – the others being Australia and New Zealand – still providing troops to the NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.  This clearly demonstrates that the Mongolian Armed Forces punch above their weight and are one of our strongest partners in the region.

Economically, Mongolia stands to become an increasingly valuable partner.  I have made reinvigorating the U.S.-Mongolia economic relationship one of my highest priorities as Ambassador and have worked hard to put our economic ties at the forefront of our bilateral relationship.  

I hope that one of our signature accomplishments in the near term will be the full implementation of the U.S.-Mongolia Transparency Agreement, which will facilitate increased bilateral commercial engagements and send a strong signal to both U.S. and foreign investors that Mongolia is ready to do business. 

The agreement sets out the measures that the United States and Mongolia will take to ensure transparent drafting and implementation of policies, legislation, and regulations affecting trade and commercial activities.  This will make the Mongolian regulatory and legislative process clearer for both domestic and foreign investors. 

While working toward the implementation of this agreement, the United States has supported Mongolia's stated interest in diversifying its economy beyond the exploitation of its vast mineral resources, and we are working to bring U.S. resources to non-mining sectors. 

This year, we have focused on the agricultural sector, recognizing Mongolia's potential to develop a competitive export industry and supply neighboring countries with meat and other animal products. 

We have coordinated technical assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that will help build Mongolia's capacity to develop agricultural exports.  We are also telling the story of Mongolia's agricultural potential to U.S. companies.  In June, we hosted a U.S. trade delegation to explore opportunities for private investment in agriculture, and we are hopeful this event will lead to new business partnerships that will benefit both the United States and Mongolia.

Next year, I hope to bring a delegation of U.S. companies to Mongolia to look into trade and investment opportunities in the renewable energy sector

Our efforts to expand our economic ties include support for numerous U.S. franchises, as well as the sale of U.S. construction equipment, consumer goods and food items, security products, medical services, military equipment, movie and television products, cars, and much more. 

As I hope my remarks have made clear, our partnership with Mongolia is robust and forward-lookingDeepening our partnership politically, militarily, and economically will remain a U.S. priority.  I am convinced that continued U.S. government and private sector engagement will help us achieve our long-term goals of enhancing Mongolia's economic vitality and strengthening its democracy. 

In 2017, when we mark 30 years of U.S.-Mongolia diplomatic relations, I am confident we will have much to celebrate and new avenues of cooperation to explore.

Thank you very much once again for the invitation to meet with you this evening.

I would be happy to answer any questions you might have. 

Thank you.

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Video Remarks by Ambassador Jennifer Zimdahl Galt to the APCSS Inclusion WorkshopU.S. Embassy, August 23

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Health, Education

New Burn Treatment Center to be built with Kuwaiti financing

August 26 (UB Post) During its regular Wednesday meeting, the Cabinet decided to devote grant aid from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development to build and equip a new burn treatment facility.

The nation's Burn Treatment Center was first commissioned in 1957 and was condemned in 2009 after review by the State Specialized Inspection Agency. With no place to provide care, the center operated out of leased space at Mungun Guur Hospital before moving operations with a limited number of beds to the National Trauma and Orthopedic Research Center.

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Mongolian Fitness Parade 2016, August 27

August 25 (UB Post) The Mongolian Fitness Parade 2016 will be held at the square in front of the National Circus on August 27.

The after party of the Mongolian Fitness Parade 2016 will be held at Mint Night Club at 22:00 p.m. on August 27. Rapper Gee, singer Khulan, fitness models, and DJs will perform at the after party.


Where: Front of the National Circus

When: August 27, 3:00 p.m.

Admission: Free

Link to article


Hungary to augment number of scholarships to Mongolian students

Ulaanbaatar, August 25 (MONTSAME) Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to Hungary Z.Batbayar met Tuesday with Palkovics Laszlу, the Parliamentary State Secretary of the Hungarian Ministry of Human Capacities on higher education affairs.

The sides discussed issues of quotas for 100 Mongolian students to study in Hungarian universities and institutes with governmental scholarships in accordance with a cooperation agreement between the Mongolian Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Hungarian Ministry of Human Capacities. Then the parties concurred to augment the quota for Mongolian students.

The dignitaries discussed 30 Mongolian pupils to study at conservatories under a cooperation agreement between the Mongolian College of Music and Dance and the Vienna Konzervatуrium in Budapest, as well as four children to study at the Ferenc Puskas' Football Academy.

The sides also shared views on activities of the Department of Mongol and Central Asian studies at the Eotvos Lorand University and the Center of Mongol studies.

The Ambassador emphasized that the two countries are possible to bring their relations and economic cooperation into a new level and to boost the cooperation in agriculture and spheres.

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Afterschool activities available in Ulaanbaatar city

August 25 ( New school year is about to start in just a weeks time. We have inquired information on the extracurricular activities available for students available in Ulaanbaatar city.




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Educating for a democratic society

By Anita Fahrni

August 26 (UB Post) Rozoon Enkhbat is a publisher and owner of Admon Press, and has long been intensely involved in discussions about education in Mongolia, making public criticism of the present system. He has watched closely for changes in the approach, for democratization in the schools, and for better textbooks. Having studied the ability of very young children to learn, as well as the philosophy of education, he is critical of present attitudes found both in families and in the Ministry of Education.

Anita Fahrni, with the Swiss Program for Language Instruction and Teacher Training, spoke with Enkhbat about education in democratic society.

What recommendations can you give to parents of very young children?

One always hears that young people today are different from those of earlier times. However, things always change. What is not discussed are the conscious changes which should be made. What has been purposely changed for the better? Nothing!

Children are not simply a product of nature; they are part of our society beginning at birth. This societal part of raising children is sadly neglected and is not supported by our government. To prepare a child for his or her part in the social environment takes a special effort, a special attitude, a conscious will. Unfortunately, this need is not recognized.

How can parents best prepare their child for school?

In preschool and kindergarten there is much that must be done by both parents and teachers, as much of a child's education takes place at this early stage. Learning letters and numbers is not important. Important is the awakening of the child's sensitivity, awareness, curiosity, and fantasy. The child can learn to listen carefully to music, to sounds, to feel rhythms, to move harmoniously. The basics of language can be taught through fairy tales, through stories, and creative activities. Caring and respect for one another can also be taught this early.

Schools here seem often to lack the right material, the good books for pupils. Teachers are not given the freedom to adapt their teaching to their pupils.

The education system here is extremely authoritarian, with pressure and a tight curriculum coming from the State. There is no room for independence. Thus, teachers wait for orders from above.

One sees this especially clearly after elections. Everything changes. Teachers and directors are afraid of losing their jobs and simply wait to see what will happen. Proper development of the system from top down is impossible. Change must be initiated and grow from the bottom up, from those most affected by the system, those most closely involved.

Here, everything is set; the content is unimportant, the content is bad. No one dares contest it. Education is used by the political parties as a stage, to show at election time what the party members have done. It is all show. Real work on how or what is taught hardly takes place.

Reading, learning to read for pleasure as well as for specific knowledge, does not seem to be a priority in this system.

Yes, that is true. One hears many sayings about books: Mongolians honor books, love books. However, we don't read them!

In Switzerland, where I live, the content of the school curriculum is discussed intensely by teachers, parents, and those in the state departments of education. Are the teachers and parents involved in such decisions here?

Over the past four years, it was heard that the Ministry of Education had written a new curriculum. It was praised on TV, in the press. No discussion took place. We tried to meet with the authors to discuss plans, without success. Why won't the Ministry talk with us? No one understands this unwillingness to discuss the curriculum publicly.

You are critical of the results as seen in the textbooks now required for use. How could they be improved?

The curriculum cannot be improved without the involvement of the teachers and parents, the people most closely affected by the plans. Now the situation is worse than it was under socialism. I see no democracy whatsoever in the present education system. Everything is run with money: buying and distributing computers seems to be "education policy". Those who actually know what improvements could be made are not asked.

Do you see reasons for optimism in the present situation? Are improvements possible?

Improvements can be expected only if the politicians in power have the will to make them. That is not the case, although a lot could be done. I do what I can, but it seems to take forever. The government does not support what is good, good suggestions or good efforts. The Ministry disregards these totally.

Whether optimistic or pessimistic, I will continue to fight for a better education for all Mongolians, no matter whether I will be successful or not. I don't see hope for the necessary changes soon; the all important political will is lacking.

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It's Time For a Summertime Dream: The Soaring Crane Summer Camp  - Helping 6-16 year olds

August 23 (The Veloo Foundation) The Soaring Crane Summer Camp has been a dream since the beginning.  

It has been the goal to be able to deliver a programme that is fun, interesting, important and life changing to the older children from the dump community and other disadvantaged children who don't currently see a way forward to a meaningful, productive life.  

Imagine a camp where you get to visit a replica of a 13th Century Mongol Warrior camp and handle their weapons, wear their armour and hang out in exact replicas of their lodging?  

Imagine then crossing the wild steppe to another part of the village to learn about the history of religion, philosophy and writing.  

Imagine being able to visit the largest equestrian statue in the world and get to climb up onto the head of the horse!

Imagine wearing fur and jewels and skins like your ancestors did and seeing what traditional handicrafts were like in the 13th century.  

Then imagine you get to milk cows, make dairy products, ride horses , hike, draw, and play in the river.  And you get to think about and dream big for your future. You get to think about your past and the past of your people and with pride plan your own future.  

This is Soaring Crane Summer Camp. It is designed to ground the campers in their wonderful history while encouraging them to seek their own personal greatness by taking control of their own future.  It is designed to provide the spark!

Summer 2016 will go down with Veloo Foundation as the summer when it all came together.  As the summer when, with the help of some great people and wonderful companies we were able to really integrate our programmes in order to  help all  the children: 3 -5 year olds at the kindergarten and 6 - 16 year olds at the Soaring Crane Summer Camp.

This is how it works:

Staff from the kindergarten work at the camp in the summer, the 16 -19 year olds who study in our Tourism English Programme work there as tour guides for volunteers - folks coming to  trek with Horse Trek Mongolia who choose to stay and volunteer as an add on to their trek. The children's programme is overseen by our local NGO partner, the Communication Development Centre's Baacandorj. The kids?  Well they come from some of the toughest, hard scrabble homes around . In addition, we have hired a young herder to manage our herd of 8 cows from which we get milk, cheese & yogurt for the camp and will also be getting meat for the kindergarten.  Next year the children will also be planting and caring for a whole veggie garden to enhance their life skills AND provide food for the camp and the kindergarten. All in all , it's just a simple thing.  Win. Win. Win.

Thanks to Genco Tour Bureau, Oyu Tolgoi, Erdene Soum , Nomadic School of Business and with a number of Volunteer English Teachers & Soaring Crane Camp counsellors we're able to offer the amazing programme as outlined in the brochure below.

What goes on at the camp?  Check out our brochure below - be sure to scroll to the 2nd page!

Each year there will be an add-on week at the camp when we hire it out to a school or similar group.  The plan is that that will cover the few operating costs that we have.  Win. Win. Win.  Please contact us if your group is interested in booking the week for 2017.

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Culture, Society

Schedule of Equality & Pride Week Activities

August 25 (UB Post) The LGBT Centre in Mongolia will hold its annual Equality & Pride Days from August 26 to September 4. This annual event is very important to the LGBT community, at this is a great chance to show the visibility of the community and to show what they stand for.

Below is the schedule of Equality & Pride Days:

Opening of Equality & Pride Days (Voices for equality concert)

When: August 26 at 7:00 p.m.

Where: National Garden Park

Admission: Free entry

Equality March 

When: August 27, 11:00 a.m.

Starting point: Sukhbaatar Square

For: All human rights supporters

"Beyond the Blue Sky", the fourth LGBTIQ film festival in Mongolia (Day 1)

When: August 27, 1:00 p.m.

Where: Peace and Friendship Palace

For: Everyone, free entry, donation box

Pride Parties

When: August 27, 9:00 p.m.

For: Everyone above the age of 21

Where: hasn't been decided yet

Dress Code: Colorful

Thematic discussion on "Well-being and LGBTI People"

When: August 29, 3:00 p.m.

Where: American Corner

For: Everyone, free entry

Launch reception of the "Arts for Rights" exhibition 

When: August 30, 5:00 p.m.

Where: Pearl Art Gallery

For: Invitation only

"Arts for Rights" exhibition 

When: August 30 to September 5

Where: Pearl Art Gallery

For: Everyone, free entry

Book launch event "My Friend is LGBT"

When: August 31, 3:00 p.m.

Where: American Corner

For: Everyone, free entry

Open Day at the LGBT Centre 

When: September 1, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Where: The LGBT Centre

For: Everyone who wants to get to know more about the Centre

Thematic discussion on "Arts & LGBTI People" by special guest

When: September 2, 3:00 p.m.

Where: Pearl art Gallery

For: Everyone, free entry

"Beyond the Blue Sky", the fourth LGBTIQ film festival in Mongolia (Day 2)

When: September 3, 5:00 p.m.

Where: Peace and Friendship Palace

For: Everyone, free entry, donation box

"You Have a Right to Marry" mini-play (LGBT Theatre Project)

When: September 3, 7:00 p.m.

Where: Peace and Friendship Palace

For: Everyone, free entry

Pride Picnic 

When: September 4, 10:00 a.m.

For: All volunteers and others who made the third Equality & Pride Days a reality

"Heaven is Here" ballet

When: hasn't been decided yet

Where: State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet

Entry fee: 20,000 MNT

For: Everyone

Shop pride! Support LGBT rights by buying handcrafts and clothes made by allies and friends 

When: August 13 to September 3

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Events to be held in scope of Equality & Pride DaysGoGo Mongolia, August 25


Adapting to climate change to save Mongolia's ancient herding culture

By Terrence Edwards, IFRC

August 25 (IFRC) As they have done for millennia, Mongolian herders continue their ancient nomadic way of life, driving their livestock between pastures, subsisting on a simple diet of dairy and meat.

For generations they have been able to survive in one of the harshest climates in the world, but rising temperatures, desertification and the increasingly erratic weather brought on by climate change are now threatening their livelihood.

"This winter was really harsh and especially spring dragged," said G Amartuvshin, a lifetime herder in Uvs Province who lost 30 sheep and 10 cattle to starvation and extreme cold.

"We couldn't get enough hay and fodder and the situation became really bad."

This summer, Amartuushin's family and tens of thousands of other Mongolian pastoralists are recovering from an extremely taxing winter disaster. More than 800,000 animals died last winter as a consequence of extreme winter temperatures, heavy snowfall and a summer drought that seriously affected winter pastures. This type of disaster is unique to Mongolia and known locally as dzud. Temperatures in Uvs province dipped below -50 Celsius and heavy snowfall made travel impossible.

"We had very little food and medicine during the dzud this winter and we really feared that our family would not survive," said Amartuvshin.

In March, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) launched an emergency appeal to support the Mongolian Red Cross Society in providing the worst affected herders with food and other necessities to ensure their basic survival.

During the winter, the national society handed out 192,000 Tugrik (about $100) in cash to 300 families throughout Uvs. Another 240 families received bundles of food parcels and 64,000 Tugrik.

Every summer, Ts Amartush, a young university student, spends his vacations with the family, herding what is left of their flock on the grasslands of Uvs Province, one of Mongolia's most remote regions.

Resting outside the family ger, a traditional Mongolian herder dwelling, he's still adjusting to the slow-paced days on the steppe.

"Right now, I don't see myself as a herder, but I'll decide after I graduate from university," he said, adding that he's discouraged by the frequent natural disasters unique to Mongolia.

Now as winter has already passed, the Red Cross is revisiting the homes it supported and helping them to better prepare for the next inevitable disaster.

For example, in July the Red Cross distributed barometers to herder families to help them monitor sudden weather changes.

"Herders want more technical innovation that can be adapted to their ancient livelihood," said Madame Nordov Bolormaa, secretary general of the Mongolian Red Cross Society.

"Up-to-the-minute updates on weather and the quality of pasture could be real game changers that can save families the loss of their animals."

The Mongolian Red Cross, supported by the IFRC, also organizes workshops together with herders, Red Cross volunteers and other members of the dzud affected communities.

The workshops seek to come up with recommendations on how the Red Cross can help them to be better prepared for future challenges related to climate change, including better use of modern technology to improve safety and provide early disaster warning.

As summer draws to an end, Amartuvshin will be leaving again for his university in Ulaanbaatar, 1,300km away from the endless grasslands where his forefathers have always lived.

He worries about his family and how they will fare without him. "Most people believe that next winter will be harsh," he said, citing a belief based on Mongolia's lunar calendar.

"It will be up to the younger generations to adapt to this changing world to prevent this cherished culture from disappearing," said Amartuvshin, including making use of technology and modern knowledge.

"We're ready to help if there's any way."

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'We have nothing but our reindeer': conservation threatens ruination for Mongolia's Dukha

One of the world's smallest ethnic groups is finding its cultural traditions on the wrong side of Mongolian law, putting its very existence in peril

August 28 *(The Guardian) n the Mongolian taiga, or snow forest, a few kilometres from the Russian border, a group of 250 reindeer herders preserve their traditions with care. They dwell, as their ancestors did, in the forest, where they live by hunting, gathering and drinking the milk of their animals. But the creation of a protected area to preserve the wild environment may threaten their survival.

Two men, one battle

Ganbat and Tumursukh were born in the same village in the middle of the taiga, about 50 years ago. Reaching the snow-covered forest region in the country's north-east takes two days by car from the nearest city, Murun, and then a journey by horse or reindeer – including passage across Khovsgol lake – all without encountering a soul beyond the odd elk or lynx. The two men, now fathers and respected elders in their communities, have dedicated their lives to this vast expanse of boreal forest. Their eyes light up when they speak of it.

"I'm proud to have been born in this region," says Tumursukh. "My father took me to the forest as a child, and I learned to know it and to love it. When I had the opportunity to leave and study in Ulaanbaatar [Mongolia's capital], I wanted to come back. I waited several years before realising my dream: being named manager of the regional protection of Khovsgol by the ministry of the environment.

"In 1987, I was able to establish the first protected area in the region and save a part of it from mining exploitation. In the 80s, industrial outfits began to come into the region. The companies mined the mountain [Urandush in the Jankal range] for phosphorus. We fight to preserve our environment again these threats. The taiga is precious and fragile. It's home to rare and endangered species of flower, to snow leopards, elk, ibex … The government has understood and has begun to preserve it."

Sitting beside his wife in his ortz, a felt-lined tipi made of wood, Ganbat says: "The taiga is our life. We don't know how to do anything other than live with it. We have always taken care of nature – this is what our ancestors taught us. Our role is to testify to our love and respect for the taiga. We've taken care of our reindeer since before Mongolia existed, they are our pride."

The taiga is fragile. Ganbat and Tumursukh are aware of this and fight daily for its survival. Despite this common cause, the two men have different backgrounds and their approach to conserving the taiga is bringing them into conflict. 

Tumursukh, who is an ethnic Mongol, is responsible for the natural reserves of the region and is a fervent opponent of mining in the area. Mining has driven Mongolia's recent economic boom, which has propelled the country to middle-income status. But mining the rich subsoil has also caused environmental degradation and ravaged the land

Ganbat is a Dukha, one of the smallest ethnic groups in the world, comprising about 250 people. A reindeer herder, hunter and protector of the traditions of his people, he watches over his community and their traditional lands. He is the oldest man in the Dukha camp, a respected sage to whom the group listens.

Originally from Russia, the Dukha (who are also called Tsataan in Mongolian) are closer in traditions and way of life to Laplanders, the reindeer herders of the Arctic, than to Mongols of the steppe, as they are nomadic.

These Dukha nomads move their ortz according to the migrations of the reindeer in these wild mountains – the only environment favourable to their animals. They don't grow crops, or raise animals other than reindeer. They don't eat the reindeer, using them only for their milk and for transhumance.

It was only after the second world war that the Dukha established themselves definitively in Mongolia. "Our fathers were accustomed to migrating where they wanted to within the taiga," says Buyantogtoh, Ganbat's sister and the group's doyen. "We knew no frontiers, and went wherever our reindeer had sufficient pasture. Then the war broke out, and the Russian soldiers wanted to recruit our men to go and fight far away from us. We fled to the south. Then they closed the borders, and we stayed on this side, in Mongolia."

From state hunters to poachers

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Mongolia's first Catholic priest to be ordained in Ulaanbaatar on Sunday

August 27 (Vatican Radio) Joseph Enkh will be ordained to priesthood by His Exc. Mgr. Wenceslao Padilla, CICM, Apostolic Prefect of Ulaanbaatar on August 28. The new priest has chosen for his ordination the motto: "Deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow me" (Lk 9, 23). According to Fides, "More than 1,500 people have confirmed that they will participate in the celebration, which will be a very special moment for the Catholic Church in Mongolia and for the whole society", says  Fr. Prosper Mbumba, CICM a Congolese missionary in the Asian country.

Don Joseph Enkh was ordained a deacon on 11 December 2014 in Daejeong (South Korea), where he received his initial formation, and returned to Mongolia in January. Since then he has been carrying out his pastoral experience, serving in various parishes of Mongolia. On Monday evening, August 29 Joseph Enkh will celebrate his first Mass in the same Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul in Ulaanbaatar

The Church has been growing in Mongolia following decades of Communist rule, during which the free exercise of religious freedom was not permitted, therefore restricting opportunities for the Catholic Church to spread the Faith. But the new democratic government of Mongolia established in 1992 has been welcoming the Church's presence and the work of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart (CICM) missionaries.

Upon arrival, Bp. Padilla, a native of the Philippines, and other missionary priests found that Mongolia struggled with issues such as alcoholism and domestic abuse and almost no government programs to help them.

The priests started from scratch with zero parishioners in 1992, with the first baptisms taking place three years after their start in 1995. Today, the bishop is the leader of about 1,000 Catholics and three parishes.

There are also 54 missionaries that are part of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart who are from various countries and are working to build up the Church's influence.

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Enkh-Baatar "will be a bridge between the Church and the Mongolian people", August 25


Turkic Academy and National Museum of Mongolia Establish Partnership

August 26 (International Turkic Academy) The president of the International Turkic Academy Darkhan Kydyrali and the director of the Mongolian National Museum Dagvaadorjiyn Suhbaatar signed the memorandum of understanding.

Two organizations will develop cultural ties and create necessary conditions for cooperation in museum affairs and museum studies and carry out joint academic research projects, archeological surveys.

The director of the Mongolian Museum S.Dagvaadorjiyn expressed his interest in establishing long-term partnership and exchanging scholars and experience.

Mr. Kydyrali, in his turn, supported an initiative to open mobile exhibition on cultural legacy of Mongolia of Hun, Sak and Chingis Han periods during Expo-2017 Fair.

The Deputy Secretary General of the Turkic Council Abzal Saparbekuly attended the MoU signing ceremony.

National Museum of Mongolia has been established in 1924 as People's museum. Until 1991 it was named as "Museum of Revolution". It is one of the biggest museums of Mongolia with largest museum collection.

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Chinggis Khaan in modern Mongolia: Hero worship or personality cult?

By John Holland

August 26 (UB Post) Chinggis Khaan has long been both an esteemed and venerated figure in Mongolian society. However, Western observers have claimed that respect for him has developed into religion, even a cult. Is this true?

I arrive at the Chinggis Khaan Equestrian Statue at Tsonjin Boldog, 54 kilometers east of Ulaanbaatar. Standing 40 meters high, it is the largest horse riding statue in the world. The statue is covered with 250 tons of stainless steel, and gleams magnificently on this beautiful sunny morning. Completed in 2008, the monument is just one of many icons to a man who, not more than 20 years before, was anathema to public discourse. In fact, one finds Chinggis Khaan's image or name not only on monuments, but on just about everything. Tourists can land at Chinggis Khaan International Airport, exchange their currency for bills of 500, 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, and 20,000 Mongolian tugrug (all with Chinggis Khaan's face on the front), use the money to take a taxi to Chinggis Khaan Hotel, and later take a photo of his statue at Chinggis Square (now returned to the name of Sukhbaatar Square), all the while enjoying an energy drink with Chinggis Khan's face on it. Yet, even this list does not include all the buildings, streets, monuments, statues, pictures, clothing, food, and drink products that feature him as well, many of which emerged after the fall of communism in 1990. Chinggis Khaan's birthday is even celebrated as a national holiday. Being credited with founding the great Mongol Empire, the largest contiguous empire in history, he remains, for many Mongolians, a national hero.

Indeed, whenever I asked about Chinggis Khaan, I got almost the same answers from people. "Every Mongolian respects him a lot," said Urnaa, an employee at a travel agency in Ulaanbaatar. "Chinggis Khaan is not just Mongolian, but a world person." One Mongolian college student was perhaps the most direct with me. "We respect him 100 percent," she declared. Undoubtedly, Mongolians hold Chinggis Khaan in very high regard, but exactly how far does this all go?

In the minds of Western scholars and media, Mongolians seem to lavish so much praise and admiration on Chinggis Khaan that some Western scholars and media maintain that a cult of personality has developed, even going so far as to treat him as a deity. One can see this thinking simply from the titles of published article. In 2003, BBC News published  an article entitled, "Mongolia's cult of the great Khan". In November 2015, Discover Mongolia published "The Worship of Genghis Khan", with a subheading of "Genghis Khan almost a cult in Mongolia".

On this phenomenon, Isabelle Charleux of the French National Centre for Scientific Research writes:

"The apex of the Chinggis Khan fever was reached in 2006 with the 800th anniversary of the foundation of the Chinggisid state. This was accompanied by a plethora of new images of him: bronze and stone statues, paintings, etc. in a huge variety of contexts… Chinggis' portrait appears on currency and postage stamps and now represents the nation: it is even offered to foreign countries as a diplomatic gift, and meetings between Mongolian and foreign presidents take place before his statue. Chinggis Khan's effigy exalts the glory of the Mongolian nation, and serves as a model, a leader and a god for officials and students. A new state cult was invented… based on the Khan's symbols, and his effigy was used in state rituals."

Finally, John Man, author of "Genghis Khan: Life, Death, and Resurrection", talks about the Mausoleum of Chinggis Khaan in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, in China. He contends it is a place where Mongolians can go to practice their religion of Chinggis Khaan worship, both making offerings, and praying to him, as though he were a god.

Is all this talk about a cult of personality and worship of Chinggis Khaan accurate? To start with, what is a cult of personality?

Although the term was first used with political connotation by Karl Marx, Nikita Krushchev further popularized it in his "On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences" speech, in which he criticized a wide range of Joseph Stalin's policies, and charged him with fostering a "cult of personality", also translated as "cult of the individual". It arises when one (usually a political figure) is presented to the public, through media, laws, and rallies as a kind of superhuman, godlike being to be admired, followed, and sometimes even worshipped. This is all for the purpose of enhancing or sustaining that individual's political power. Concerning Stalin, Kruschev denounced these actions, so characteristic of his reign, calling them "impermissible and foreign to the spirit of Marxism-Leninism."

Besides Stalin, other individuals accused of fostering a personality cult include Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, Kim Il Sung, Mao Zedong, and Nicolae Ceaușescu. The term is usually used in reference to leaders of totalitarian regimes, often while they are still living or in power. On the other hand, "personality cult" can also be used for dead individuals — such as Lenin and Mao — who are still useful to an existing regime, as well as for democratic figures — like British Prime Ministers — as political scientist Richard Crossman has discussed.

So, in the modern definition of the term, is there evidence of a cult of personality around Chinggis Khaan? Well, to start with, he is dead; so, we are examining actions by the Mongolian government and people, relating to his reverence, and he is clearly revered. First, he is ubiquitous. As aforementioned, he or his name can be found on places, money, art, products, food, and drink — practically anything. There is a national holiday in his honor. The oldest surviving Mongolian literary work, "The Secret History of the Mongols", is regarded as a classic and is all about him. If a foreigner knows nothing else about Mongolia, they probably, however, have heard of Chinggis Khaan.

Second, Chinggis Khaan is not only ubiquitous, but he is idolized, sometimes as deity. In an article by The Independent entitled, "The cult of Genghis Khan", an Amraa Mandakh is quoted as saying during an interview that he "worshipped Genghis Khan". A Mongolian sumo wrestler living in Japan recently stated, "Genghis Khan is our hero, our father, our god." Finally, Kh.Lkhagvasuren, president of Chinggis Khaan University, made the claim, "For Mongolians, he's almost like Jesus Christ. They feel very close to him. They feel attached to him." At least a few people give Chinggis Khaan transcendent status.

Third and finally, Chinggis Khaan is not only ubiquitous and idolized, but he is sanitized. At Tsonjin Boldog, when I asked my tour guide whether Mongolians ignore the bad things about him, she replied that it's not that they ignore them, they just don't care. "There are a lot of bad things. There are good things about him, and bad things. I have read a lot of bad things about him… We know it. Our attitude towards the bad things is, We know it. So what?… There's nothing to do now. It's already happened. I think that's the attitude." When I asked her why Chinggis Khaan had to go conquer all the countries he did, she replied, "I think he just wanted to expand the territory. Maybe he wanted to unite the world, to talk in a good way. Or maybe, in a bad way, he wanted to enlarge his power." When I asked an Ulaanbaatar businesswoman the same question, she seemed to respond with equal indifference: "The rules of that period were not the same as today's." Finally, a Mongolian blogger by the name of Nar Amar has posted on the question-and-answer site Quora, "He killed so many people, but Mongolians don't care… Even today, most Mongolians want to kill Han Chinese, Koreans, and Vietnamese." Although opinion may be different as one travels afield, in Mongolia, the question of who Chinggis Khaan was elicits almost nothing but praise.

If one were to judge solely from the past few paragraphs, one might conclude that there is a personality cult around Chinggis Khaan. Granted, most leaders who promote their personality cults are also ubiquitous, idolized, and sanitized; yet, when compared to other examples, the argument becomes more complex. First of all, Chinggis Khaan does not enjoy the mandated honor found in other regimes. During the heydays of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao, all their countries' national anthems featured their names. This is not the case for Chinggis Khaan. In North Korea, every household is required to hang pictures of both Kim Il Sung and Kim Jung Il on their walls, and they are fined if the pictures are found to be dusty. In Mongolia, one can spit on Chinggis Khaan's picture if one wishes — with no punishment. In China, Mao is on all paper currency with a value of one yuan or more. In Mongolia, Chinggis Khaan shares the bills with the "Father of Mongolia's Revolution" Damdinii Sükhbaatar. Also, in China, one can be arrested for speaking negatively about Mao. In Mongolia, one has freedom of speech, even for Chinggis Khaan. Nicolae Ceaușescu gave himself such titles as "Conducător" (Leader) and "Geniul din Carpați" (The Genius of the Carpathians), and had songs sung for him on his birthday, praising his supposed supernatural qualities. No such tributes are demanded by the Mongolian government for Chinggis Khaan. So, when one compares the actions of the worst instances of cult of personality, national respect towards Chinggis Khaan is rather mild.

Furthermore, Chinggis Khaan's adulatory following is not that pervasive. Despite any declarations of praise and worship from certain individuals, such attitudes are rare, and people admit that. When I asked my tour guide, she knew of no one who performed any religious ritual for Chinggis Khaan. Munkhbat, an overseas student in Russia, told me, "We don't pray to him like a god." An Ulaanbaatar native named Tim, however, expressed how it does happen, albeit rarely: "Maybe some people, I think, but it's not common. I know on Facebook I saw some people do that, but it's not really common." One can see that the land is not peppered with Chinggis Khaan shrines and temples, as it is for Buddha.

Lastly, Chinggis Khaan is dissociated from current government success. Whichever party the Mongolian people vote into office does not rise and fall based on opinions of Chinggis Khaan. Just last month, the opposition Mongolian People's Party took back power from the incumbent Democratic Party in a landslide election win. How much did the voters' decision have to do with Chinggis Khaan? Most probably not at all. Yet, usually where there is a personality cult, the leader and the government are inextricably connected, and when one falls, so does the other.

If not a deity or personality cult (generally speaking), why is Chinggis Khaan so respected among Mongolians? After all, historical figures of other democracies are rarely given the distinction he is, even if they were great conquerors. One reason is that Chinggis Khaan provides a ready-made solution to Mongolia's identity problem. Dr. Alicia J. Campi of the Woodrow Wilson Center explains:

"Mongolia is trying to establish itself as a viable democratic, western-oriented, free market economy with a unique and valuable native culture. It is seeking to redefine its national identity and world image in terms that inspire its own people and at the same time revise any negative image left from its imperial past 800 years ago. The key to this search for a new identity appears to be the redefining and renewal of the symbol of Chinggis Khan, the founder of both the Mongol state and nationality."

Dr. Ts.Tsetsenbileg of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences agrees: "Genghis Khan, if we acknowledge him without bias, can service as a moral anchor. He can be Mongolia's root, its source of certainty at a time when many things are uncertain." The last Mongol rulers came under Qing rule in 1691, and for 300 years Mongolia was dominated by either Beijing or Moscow. After the fall of communism, Mongols needed a central rallying point, and it was Chinggis Khaan who filled that void.

Well, is there any personality cult? Although held as larger than life by Western standards, Chinggis Khaan is not the imposed Supreme Being one finds in the worst of dictatorships. He may be found everywhere, and admired to the point where any wrong he did does not matter, but he is no dictator. Any real deification of him is hard to find, and he really has nothing to do with government policy. If there is a cult, it is only among the few, and it is certainly not mainstream.

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Nature, Environment

Mongolia | Nomad Proudinaction

August 24 (NoMad) I quit my job and i decide to follow a dream. A dream made of roads, places and different people. One way ticket to Asia and 6 months around 8 Conutries in 27.500 km. Sri Lanka, North India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, China and Mongolia.

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Interview: Paul Watson, Co-Owner, Bayangol FC

August 26 (Coaching Network) "Football is an International Language". A phrase coined by Mauricio Pochettino, which some have branded a cliché, but is still true none the less.

Football is the world's most popular sport and is played truly internationally across all continents and borders. Not matter what the language, cultural background, gender or race, football speaks to all people. From the Champions League to the Kosovan Superliga. Football is football, its one game no matter where its played.

In this interview we catch up with Paul Watson, the co-owner of Bayangol FC, a team in the Mongolian Premier Division. Paul is a journalist by trade, a former coach, author of Up Pohnpei and now the head of an aspiring club in Mongolia….and all this at the tender age of 32!

1) How did you get involved with Bayangol FC (It's a long way from the UK)

At the age of 25 when I was playing at low semi-pro level in England and struggling for games, me and my mate decided to find the lowest ranked international football team and try and play for them. We ended up contacting the FA on the tiny Micronesian island of Pohnpei in the Pacific. They said that playing wasn't an option because their team had disbanded but if we wanted to come out and set up and coach a team they we were on. So we did and led the island to its first win in a friendly game against a club team from Guam. After that I was approached by Enki Batsumber who was trying to set up an anti-corruption football club in Mongolia and had heard about Pohnpei in the news. He offered me the chance to set up and coach Bayangol FC.

2) What attracted you to becoming involved with a team in a relatively unknown footballing country?

I have seen that football can make a real positive social difference in many countries and felt that this project was important in Mongolia where football had been run badly and many teams weren't interested in developing young players or giving fans a chance to watch honest, good football. There was so much potential in Mongolia but it wasn't being given a chance.

3) What sort of structure or facilities do you have as a Premier Division side?

No teams own their own ground in Mongolia, except for the champions Erchim, who are run by the national Power Plant and have their own stadium. Everyone plays at the Football Federation facility which is astroturf because the weather is so cold most of the year round that grass wouldn't be possible. We have had to build from the ground up, we didn't even own any footballs when we started out and equipment is always in short supply in Mongolia.

4) What is the standard like in the Mongolian Premier Division? What would the English comparison be?

It's tough to compare but it would be something like the Ryman league or maybe even a little lower. On so many levels there just isn't the same football knowledge or tactical awareness from a young age. Things that players in Britain take for granted just aren't taught at a young age. That's what we're trying to address by working with young players.

5) What are the challenges and benefits in running a club in Mongolia?

The benefits are that there's massive room for growth and improvement. A football club can make a real difference in Mongolia and give kids a chance to achieve something through sport. The difficulties are multiple and sometimes very hard to fight. Money is always tough and running an ethical club often makes life more difficult for various reasons.

6) Is there a vision in mind for football in Mongolia? Does the FA want to progress the game there?

The FA is new and wants to change things. They came in relatively recently after the old corrupt regime was indicted. The vision that my club wants to achieve is for young players to have local role models, a national team to aspire to being part of and for Mongolians to have a local club to support that they are proud of.

7) What are your aspirations for your club?

We want Bayangol FC to be financially stable and self-sufficient while developing local talent. Obviously it'd be nice to win the Mongolian Premier League in the future and to get access to Asian competition, but the real priority is to create talented players who can then maybe even go abroad to become the first fully professional Mongolian players.

8) How can people help support the work you are doing there?

We are currently running a crowd funding campaign that allows people to buy shirts, scarves and even become a part of the board if they are interested enough! We massively appreciate any support we get and it really does make a difference.

This is the address:

We thank Paul for his time in taking part in this interview and wish Bayangol FC all the best for the future –

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Mongolia to award "gold medal" to controversial wrestler who lost in Rio Olympics

ULAN BATOR, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia's Professional Freestyle Wrestlers Association said Wednesday that it will award a "gold medal" to a freestyle wrestler who lost in a match at the Rio Olympic games.

The association said they are raising funds to award a "gold medal" to Mandakhnaran Ganzorig, who lost to Uzbekistan's Ikhtiyor Navruzov in the 65kg freestyle bronze medal match last weekend.

In the match, Mandakhnaran started to celebrate prematurely in front of his opponent and stopped wrestling in the last few seconds of the match. As a result, Mandakhnaran was deducted points as a penalty and the Uzbek wrestler was given the victory by the judges.

Mandakhnaran's coaches considered the decision unfair and protested by stripping off their clothes in front of the judges. The protest was widely aired and discussed by international media.

In Mongolia, many supported the actions of the coaches and saw the judges as favoring the Uzbek wrestler.

Sports journalist Shijirbat Sosorbaram said, "The judges violated the rules and deducted points from Mandakhnaran and it is not fair. I have seen wrestlers from other countries celebrating prematurely and they were not given a penalty."

"We want to give a bronze medal made out of fine gold to Mandakhnaran who was robbed of his medal by the actions of the judges," said Dashzeveg Altankhuyag, a governing board member of the association.

"We ask public to donate for the medal. We will award the medal to him on the 29th of August in front of the Sports Palace. So far, we've collected 20 million tugrug (around 8,988 U.S. dollars) from the public," said Altankhuyag.

The incident was widely covered by Mongolian media and commented by social media users who supported both the wrestler and the coaches' actions.

However, not everyone agreed with the association.

A Mongolian social media user named Enkhhe Battjargal said, "It is clear that he lost because he was not wrestling when he should have been. And it does not make sense to organize a public campaign to award a bronze medal made out of fine gold."

"We have to learn to lose. If we really have to raise funds, it is better to help the needy such as orphans, the disabled and the socially vulnerable class," said Battjargal.

In Mongolia, baring one's chest is a traditional sign of an honest fight and protest.

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Genghis Khan Polo Cup 2016: Finals in Mongolia are coming up!

August 26 (Polo+10) Tomorrow the finals of the 10th Genghis Khan Polo Cup will take place at the Genghis Khan Polo Club in Mongolia. In the match for the first place, Altai-Himalaya, including Celine Louis Lawrence (GBR, -2), Johann Smula (CZE, -1), Ang Tshering Lama (NEP, -1) and D'Artagnan Giercke (GER, 1), will fight against Yaba Daba Doo, consisting of Munkhzul Hurelbataar (MGL, -2), Russell Tyre (GBR, 0), Joe Arber (GBR, 0) and Myagmarjav Adiya (MGL, 0). Though Altai-Himalaya will enter the match as the red-hot favourite of the tournament it is all up in the air.

In the match for third place POLO+10 with Thomas Wirth (GER, -2), Dolgorsuren Batoyun (MGL, 0), Ich Tenger Giercke (GER, 0) and Rinchen Oldokh (MGL, 0) will encounter Intrepid Polo, including Francesca Smith (GBR, 0), Hormoz Verahramian (IRN, -1), Amaglan Togtoh (MGL, -1) and Dorjpalam Battomur (MGL, 0).

The match for fifth place will be played between Adastra Polo with Katriona Shrives (GBR, -2), Ochiroo Battur (MGL, -1), Sumiya Dawaadorj (MGL, -1) and Bilguun Buynjargal (MGL, 1) and Genghis Khan Polo Club, consisting of Tamir (MGL, -1), Nyamka Dovchin (MGL, -2), Battur Tseweldorj (MGL, 0) and Byambsuren Adiya (MGL, 0).


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Nepal's Three Star qualify for AFC Cup play-offs

Kathmandu, August 25 (The Himalayan News Service) Nepal's Three Star Club have qualified for the 2017 AFC Cup Play-off round as they topped the Group B in the qualifiers in Mongolia today.

Three Star, who were not in action today, finished as group winners with four points after hosts Erchim FC defeated Cambodia's Nagaworld FC 1-0 at the Football Centre MFF, Ulaanbaatar.

Davaajav Battur scored the match winning goal for Erchim in the injury time of the second half. With the result, Erchim finished as group runners-up with three points behind Three Star, while Cambodia's Nagaworld were at bottom of the group with one point.

Three Star defeated Erchim 2-0 in their opening match on Sunday and played a 1-1 draw against Nagaworld on Tuesday.

Three Star waited for the result of the match between Erchim and Nagaworld to know their fate for the next phase of the qualification.

Nagaworld needed to beat the hosts with more than two-goal margin to finish first ahead of Three Star on better goal difference.

"We had to defeat Erchim by huge goal margin to get into the next phase. The players did not meet the expectations and failed to play confidently," said Nagaworld head coach Meas Channa.

Nevertheless, the result brought happiness among the team members of Three Star team.

"I am delighted with the achievement and all credits for the success go to the players who put in their full efforts," said Three Star head coach Meghraj KC.

Similarly, skipper Bikram Lama also expressed his happiness and said the success was the result of team effort of players, coaches, managers and supporters.

Meanwhile, FC Dordoi Bishkek of Kyrgyzstan from Group A and Tatung FC of Bhutan from Group C qualified for the play-off rounds.

The play-off will be played in January next year where a total of eight teams will compete for the group stage round. Other teams and venue are yet to be decided.

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'Erchim FC' wins glory, August 26


Mum of Scots stunt rider Danny MacAskill completes 'bone-shaking' 10,500 mile Mongol Rally

August 26 (Herald Scotland) The mother of cycling legend Danny MacAskill has completed her own daring adventure after she drove 10,500 bone-shaking miles of the Mongolian Rally.

Anne MacAskill, 67, said she'll never moan about potholes in the UK again after driving through Eastern Europe and Asia.

She and her friend Kay Simpson, 70, finished the rally last week in their battered, green two-decade-old Renault Express.

And the pensioner pair won a prize for being the oldest competitors on the rally in the process.

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Father and son enjoy Peking to Paris road trip with a big twist

August 25 (Daily Telegraph) IT ALL started with a phone call to Terrigal's Adam Jackson in October 2013: "Hey Adam, are you interested in participating in the 2016 Peking to Paris endurance rally for classic cars?"

"It was a very tiring and gruelling journey with many highlights and photos, mostly of Mongolia, and seeing an orange Holden Monaro in the desert," Murray said.

"After five weeks, we had travelled from the Great Wall of China through the Gobi desert in Mongolia, across Russia (mostly Siberia), with stops in Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy and St Moritz in Switzerland. Many cars were broken in the deserts of Mongolia and there were numerous accidents in the time trials.

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Art, Entertainment

Vertifight Mongolia 2016: Electro Dance Championship, August 28

August 25 (UB Post) The Mongolian Electro Dance Association will hold Vertifight Mongolia, 6th Electro Dance Championship, on August 28 at the National Amusement Park.

Vertifight is the biggest competition of electro dancers in Mongolia. Official staff member of Vertifight Mongolia Kai, founder of Dream Big Family Temuka, and others will judge the event.


WhereNational Amusement Park

When: August 28, 12:00 p.m.

Admission: Free

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Opening Ceremony of Art Mongolia Center, August 27

August 25 (UB Post) The official opening ceremony of Art Mongolia Artist Studio and Gallery Center will take place on August 27. The center is located next to Gazarchin Institute, 16th micro district.

Mongolian live music bands Mohanik, Rec On, Rosewood, Aravt, Something's Brewing, and Homosapien's, as well as beat maker Bodikhuu and singer Bilguun will perform at the opening.


Where: Art Mongolia Center

When: August 27, 5:00 p.m.

Admission: Free

More Information: 98555553, 88060713

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What You Need to Know About Visiting Mongolia: All Your Questions Answered

August 17 (Wendy Perrin) The allure of Mongolia is evident as soon as you start looking at pictures of it: snow-capped mountains, wide-open plains, wild horses, fairytale reindeer, modern nomads. But it also has a certain mystery to it. What do you need to know about planning a trip of a lifetime to this sprawling but sparsely populated country? We talked to Jalsa Urubshurow, Wendy's Trusted Travel Expert for Mongolia, to answer your FAQs. Jalsa—who splits his time between Mongolia and the U.S.—has been a recognized champion of sustainable, eco-friendly travel in a country fast becoming a tourist hot spot and has served as an advisor to all seven of Mongolia's prime ministers and two of its presidents.

For more on him and his unique approach to Mongolian travel, check out his Insider's Guide to Mongolia or contact him through our site to be marked as a VIP.

When to go?

I like spring, fall and middle of summer," says Jalsa, a Mongolian-American who was among the first to offer highly customized trips here. "It's not oppressively hot. You'll get into the high 80s or maybe 90 in the Gobi desert." Jalsa also recommends visiting during the Naadam, a festival of horseracing, archery, and wrestling held early every summer (noted by UNESCO as a tradition of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity), and the Golden Eagle Festival in October, when the Kazakhs, Mongolia's largest ethnic minority, show off their centuries-old tradition of hunting with trained eagles.

Who can go?

Anyone. Jalsa can tailor trips to all levels of activity. Altitude isn't an issue either.

How long do I need for a trip?

If you've got 11 to 12 days, you can see three ecosystems.

What to pack?

Layers. Even though summers are mild, temperatures can drop below freezing at night in some areas, so bring a warm coat and several layers you can put on and peel off as necessary.

Trekking shoes. The terrain varies greatly, but no matter where you are, comfortable shoes are a must. If you're horse trekking, long boots will protect your legs from chafing.

Flip-flops or shower shoes. You'll need them at most ger camps.

For more packing tips, see Jalsa's list.

What will I do and see?

Mongolia offers a wide range of landscapes, activities, and cultural experiences. You can hike in the Altai Mountains; horse trek through the northern region's forests and meadows; visit a paleontology lab to learn more about Mongolia's famous dinosaur finds; receive a private blessing from a lama at Ulaanbaatar's Gandan Monastery; taste huushuur, traditional fried dumplings usually filled with meat, at dinner with a Mongolian family; and much more. Read Jalsa's Insider's Guide to Mongolia or our "Why Is Everyone Talking About Mongolia and What Do You Do There?" for more ideas.

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