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Tuesday, August 2, 2016
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TRQ closed -3.5% Monday to US$3.43
Rio Tinto to Appoint Armando Torres as Oyu Tolgoi MD
By Michael Kohn and David Stringer
July 28 (Bloomberg) -- Torres to take post MD of Oyu Tolgoi under a restructure of leadership at mine, according to an internal e-mail from Rio's top copper executive Arnaud Soirat seen by Bloomberg News.
* Current Oyu Tolgoi LLC CEO Andrew Woodley will report to Torres and then leave the operation later this year
* Oyu Tolgoi consolidating reporting lines for existing operations and the site's underground development project
* The appointment of Torres was first reported by the Australian Financial Review.
* NOTE: Rio last month appointed new heads of copper and iron ore in a sweeping management reshuffle.
* NOTE: Rio and partners in May approved a $5.3 billion expansion of Oyu Tolgoi
* NOTE: Rio controlled-Turquoise Hill Resources owns 66% of Oyu Tolgoi
Turquoise Hill Stake Lowered by UBS Asset Management
July 26 (MarketBeat.com) UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. decreased its position in Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. (NYSE:TRQ) by 9.0% during the first quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 1,902,960 shares of the company's stock after selling 188,686 shares during the period. UBS Asset Management Americas Inc. owned about 0.09% of Turquoise Hill Resources worth $4,885,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.
Several other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also bought and sold shares of TRQ. Norges Bank acquired a new position in Turquoise Hill Resources during the fourth quarter worth $18,271,000. D. E. Shaw & Co. Inc. raised its position in Turquoise Hill Resources by 13.6% in the fourth quarter. D. E. Shaw & Co. Inc. now owns 3,464,337 shares of the company's stock worth $8,800,000 after buying an additional 414,833 shares during the last quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC raised its position in Turquoise Hill Resources by 31.7% in the first quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC now owns 1,182,000 shares of the company's stock worth $3,034,000 after buying an additional 284,500 shares during the last quarter. PM CAPITAL Ltd acquired a new position in Turquoise Hill Resources during the first quarter worth $2,024,000. Finally, Global X Management CO LLC raised its position in Turquoise Hill Resources by 25.4% in the fourth quarter. Global X Management CO LLC now owns 572,085 shares of the company's stock worth $1,451,000 after buying an additional 115,937 shares during the last quarter.
Turquoise Hill Stake Cut by Sumitomo Mitsui Trust – MarketBeat.com, July 31
KCC last traded C$0.335 on July 29
Kincora Copper slashes debt after private placing
The group's largest shareholder Origo Partners Plc agreed to 6.6mln shares to settle an outstanding C$2mln convertible note.
July 29 (Proactive Investors) Kincora Copper Limited (TSX:KCC) today raised C$1mln through a private placing to fund its advanced consolidation and exploration strategy, whilst slashing C$2.9mln of debt.
CWPC Signed a Strategic Cooperation Agreement with SouthGobi Resources, etc.
July 26 -- Tight grasp of new opportunities brought by expanding strategic partnership between China and Mongolia, CWPC expands markets in East Asia. On July 22, 2016, China Western Power Industrial Co., Ltd. and Zigong Youhua Science & Technology Group signed a strategic cooperation agreement with SouthGobi Resources and Ulan Bator Buride Real Estate Company on quality coal resources development, energy corridor establishment between China and Mongolia and urban infrastructure construction, etc. Mr. Liu Yongxiang, Deputy Party Secretary and Mayor of Zigong, on behalf of municipal party committee and government of Zigong, extended his warmest congratulations on signing this agreement. Chairman Li Renchao, President Yang Jun from CWPC and other senior leaders of partners attended the signing ceremony.
SouthGobi Resources is an international enterprise which got listed in Canada and Hong Kong and it owns and operates the largest monomer 1/3 coke coal mine which is located in Southern Gobi, Mongolia and it is also one of the biggest enterprises in Mongolia.
Sichuan Youhua Science & Technology Group is a large enterprise group and its businesses cover equipment manufacturing of conveying equipment and pumps, etc., commercial real estate development, municipal infrastructure construction, financial investment and management, etc.
Ulan Bator Buride Real Estate Company is the biggest real estate company in Ulan Bator, capital of Mongolia. (Mogi: largest?)
This agreement refers to several different projects on electric-power power plant construction, coal transportation and construction and urban planning and construction. It is the first time that CWPC has cooperated with enterprises in Mongolia. It has important strategic meaning to establish an energy industry corridor between China and Mongolia. Successful signing of this agreement manifests remarkable superiority of CWPC in solutions of energy conservation & environment protection and new energy based on energy equipment manufacturing and EPC projects.
Construction and operation of these projects will build a supporting point of core power supply of economic corridor between China and Mongolia, improve clean utilization of coal resources in Mongolia, promote its economy development, let people in Mongolia enjoy the prosperity brought by the cooperation between China and Mongolia and will be beneficial to improve natural environment and power source structure in North China, especially Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.
Adhering to advantage complementation and win-win principles, CWPC will form strategic alliance with other partners on electric-power power plant construction and build resounding brands of Made in Zigong and Made in Sichuan, seeing Mongolia as a center, aiming at establishing an energy corridor between China and Mongolia, improving living conditions of people in Mongolia, exploring quality coal resources and serving the society .
975 closed +6.7% Monday to HK$0.08
MMC: Change of Registered Office Address
July 28 -- Reference is made to the announcement of Mongolian Mining Corporation (Provisional Liquidators Appointed) (the "Company") dated 21 July 2016 that the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands has granted an order to appoint Mr. Simon Conway of PwC Corporate Finance Recovery (Cayman) Limited and Mr. Christopher So Man Chun of PricewaterhouseCoopers Ltd. as joint provisional liquidators (the "JPLs") of the Company on a soft touch basis to assist the Company and its existing board of directors with the implementation of the proposed debt restructuring.
The registered office address of the Company in the Cayman Islands has been changed to the offices of PwC Corporate Finance & Recovery (Cayman) Limited, P.O. Box 258, 18 Forum Lane, Camana Bay, Grand Cayman KY1-1104, Cayman Islands with effect from 27 July 2016.
Cash at end of quarter A$46K. WOF closed flat Monday at A$0.015
Wolf Petroleum: Quarterly Activities Report
July 29, Wolf Petroleum Ltd. (ASX:WOF) --
On 14 June 2016, Wolf Petroleum Limited ("the Company" or "WOF") announced that it had agreed terms for the funding of up to $3.2 million from China Sam Enterprise Group Co., Ltd. ("SAM Group").
The key terms include:
· 4,000,000 ordinary shares at $0.01 per share ("Phase 1 Shares");
· 72,450,000 ordinary shares at $0.01 per share ("Phase 2 Shares");
· 243,316,000 ordinary shares at $0.01 per share ("Phase 3 Shares")
· and up to 242,907,013 options ("WOF Options") subject to shareholder approval; and
· the appointment of up to three SAM Group nominees to the board of WOF. Two existing members of the Board intend to resign from their existing roles.
On 27 July 2016, the Company announced that it had completed the issue of the Phase 1 Shares and the Phase 2 Shares to the SAM Group. The Company has now issued a total of 76,450,000 shares to the SAM Group for a total fee of $764,500. The Company is currently preparing a notice of meeting seeking approval from shareholders for the issue of the Phase 3 Shares and the WOF Options to the SAM Group. The general meeting is expected to be convened in early September 2016.
SAM Group is committed to assisting WOF in the development of its existing projects, the SB, Jinst and BU blocks. SAM Group is not a related party of the Company.
As announced on 11 April 2016, the Company secured a loan facility from Celtic Capital Pty Ltd for $60,000. The Company has now repaid this facility in full (principal and interest).
As announced in the last quarter, the Company executed a settlement deed and placed the settlement amount in trust with the Ngaanyatjarra Council (Aboriginal Corporation) (NCAC) solicitor. The settlement amount has now been paid in full and in final settlement of the claim.
Strategic Partner SAM Group Takes 19.93% of Wolf Petroleum
Cash at end of Q A$12.2M. XAM closed +2.5% Monday to A$0.205
Xanadu Mines: Quarterly Activities & Cashflow Report
July 29, Xanadu Mines Ltd. (ASX:XAM) --
Broad spaced RC drilling at Kharmagtai yields encouraging results
· Regional RC drilling identifies multiple significant anomalies under shallow cover;
· Copper-gold mineralisation identified in numerous targets tested over a five kilometre strike of the Kharmagtai intrusive complex;
· Reconnaissance exploration, field mapping, and infill geochemical sampling are ongoing; and
· Copper and gold recoveries at greater than 90% within tourmaline breccia mineralisation from preliminary metallurgical test work.
Drilling confirms significant high-grade oxide gold discovery at Oyut Ulaan
· Diamond drilling confirms high-grade oxide gold mineralisation extends below surface trenches to a depth of at least 25m;
· High grade gold mineralisation hosted in multiple stacked epithermal vein arrays with coarse visible gold;
· The full extent of the discovery is still unknown with mineralisation remaining open along strike and down dip;
· Exploration continues to identify new zones of gold mineralisation which have not yet been tested with drilling; and
· An exploration program is being planned to demonstrate the full potential of the project.
Strong financial position following successful A$12.2 million placement
· Xanadu completes placement to raise A$12.2 million at a placement price of 20 cents per share;
· Strong support from existing institutional and sophisticated investors, including the introduction of well-regarded institutional investors to the register;
· Major shareholders participate in placement, continuing their support of the Company;
· Xanadu funded to continue exploration at its flagship Kharmagtai copper-gold project and new gold discovery at Oyut Ulaan; and
· Cash and cash receivables of A$13.1 million.
Cash at end of Q A$419K. AKM closed flat Monday at A$0.016
Aspire Mining: Quarterly Activities Report
July 29, Aspire Mining Ltd. (ASX:AKM) --
Northern Railways Investment Update
· On 24 June 2016 the Presidents of China, Russia and Mongolia signed off on a Trilateral Programme to develop an Economic Corridor between the three countries. This programme includes the establishment of a new Northern Rail Corridor connecting China with Russia through Mongolia.
· Aspire owns 90% of Northern Railways LLC, a company that has a 30 year Concession to build, operate and transfer the Erdenet to Ovoot Railway. This Railway is specifically included in this new "Northern Rail" Economic Corridor.
· Being part of this Corridor now places the Erdenet to Ovoot Project as a priority funding project for development banks and funds established to support the build out of China's One Belt One Road policy.
· Northern Railways LLC and its advisers continue discussions with potential funders of the feasibility study for the Erdenet to Ovoot Railway.
Tavan Tolgoi and Aspire to Cooperate on Blending Initiatives.
· On 23 June 2016 the Company announced that it had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi JSC, the owner of the world class Tavan Tolgoi Coking Coal Mine, Mongolia's largest deposit.
· The MOU contains steps to eventually complete a feasibility study to blend Ovoot Coking Coal with non-coking coals from Tavan Tolgoi to produce a blended coking coal.
· Seaborne metallurgical coal prices have held their March quarter gains with cuts to domestic Chinese coking coal production helping to lift Chinese domestic prices
Cash at end of quarter A$408K. TPO last traded A$0.165 on July 13
Tian Poh: Quarterly Activities Report
July 29, Tian Poh Resources Ltd. (ASX:TPO) --
• The Company held its AGM with three directors leaving the Company and a new director appointed.
• Coupon interest payable on the USD convertible notes was capitalized and the maturity date of the USD convertibles notes was extended to 5 January 2019 in consideration for the conversion price being reduced to 7.5 cents.
• The Company progressed with pre-feasibilities studies of its Nuurst Project.
Nuurst Coal Project
The Company continued with its assessment of the feasibility of developing the Nuurst Coal Field.
Following Mr Guangru Tian and Ms Jia Tian not being re-elected as directors at the AGM on 30 May 2016 and the resignation of Mr Darragh O'Connor on the same day, the Company Secretary, Mr Michael van Uffelen, was appointed as a director of the Company by the board.
The AGM approved the issue of 1,360,000 shares to directors in lieu of salaries and fees and the extension of the maturity date of the USD convertible notes in consideration for capitalizing interest of USD 99k and reducing the conversion price to 7.5 cents.
The Company sold a portion of its holding in a listed company and is exploring funding options for the next stages of development and progression of the Company's projects.
Cash at end of Q A$1.15M. TER closed flat Monday at A$0.014
Terracom: Quarterly Activities & Cashflow Report
July 29 -- TerraCom Limited ("TerraCom" or the "Company") (ASX: TER) is pleased to present its quarterly activities report for the period ended 30 June 2016.
· The outcomes from the 2015 Strategic Review are progressing across operational and corporate levels as summarised as follows:
· Balance Sheet Restructure
o Issued on Euroclear the 5-year interest only bond with a face value of US$129 million, and an additional secured note for US$12 million with repayment linked to the Company's free cash flow.
o US$27.0 million interest and deferral fees irrevocably waived.
o Outstanding US$5 million Convertible Note rolled into bond which had this been converted to equity this would have represented a 48% increase in the number of ordinary shares on issue. Dilution of existing shareholders has been avoided.
o Commissioning of the new supply chain into Chinese hard coking coal markets has delivered improved yield results, middling's recovery and ash control on BNU Coal to generate additional value within the coal chain.
o A price increase in hard coking coal has been achieved for Q2 2016 sales.
o In the second quarter of 2016, TerraCom's Mongolian subsidiary Terra Energy LLC (Terra Energy) has been granted a fifth exploration licence in the Uvs region by the Minerals Resource Authority of Mongolia (MRAM). TerraCom will commence work in this area with prospective targets of outcropping evaporate and associated brines.
· Business Development
o Reached agreement to acquire the Blair Athol Coal Mine (mine) in Queensland, Australia from the Blair Athol Coal Joint Venture (BACJV). The acquisition price is AUD$1 and TerraCom will receive AUD$80m from the BACJV to meet Blair Athol Coal Mine's rehabilitation liability as determined by Queensland's Department of Environment Heritage Protection in November 2015. The Company plans to submit the application for the transfer of the Mining Lease for the consideration of the Minister for Natural Resources and Mines.
o Positive progress made on a potential acquisition of a cash flow positive asset in Indonesia to supplement cash flow.
CORPORATE STRATEGY AND OPERATING ENVIRONMENT
Cash at end of Q A$342K. EUM last traded at A$0.035 on July 28
Eumeralla Resources: Quarterly Activities Report
July 28, Eumeralla Resources Ltd. (ASX:EUM) --
During the quarter, the Company prepared and submitted its Environmental protection plan to the local government authority Dashbalbar Soum Governer and Soum Environmental Inspector, Dornod province and prepared and submitted its Exploration plan for 2016 to Mineral Resources Authority (MRAM) of Mongolia.
Furthermore, the company engaged El Yu En Di Ei LLC (Lunda) to perform Geology Mapping, with the mapping being completed in May 2016.
On 5 April 2016 the Company issued the Entitlement Issue Prospectus for a renounceable entitlements issue of approximately 52,499,439 Shares at an issue price of $0.025 on the basis of nine (9) new Shares for every eight (8) Shares held by Shareholders on the record date, to raise approximately $1,312,486 (Offer) before costs.
On 11 May 2016 the Company announced it received valid acceptances under the Offer for 9,869,080 new shares with a shortfall of 42,630,359 shares.
The Offer is fully underwritten by Lead Manager, Broker, Underwriter and Corporate Advisor, CPS Capital Group Pty Ltd (CPS) who is presently attending to placing the shortfall.
The mandate also engages CPS to seek to introduce potential assets that EUM may be interested in acquiring and to provide general ongoing corporate advice.
On 6 May 2016, the Company announced the appointment of Ms Nicole Fernandes as Non-Executive Director and Mr Jack James as Joint Company Secretary of the Company. Furthermore, the Company advised that Mr Jack James resigned from the position of Non-Executive Director.
On 12 July 2016, subsequent to the end of the quarter, the Company advised Mr Jack James resigned from the position of Joint Company Secretary.
DRG closed +18.75% Monday to A$0.038
Draig Resources: Quarterly Activities Report
· Cash balance of $1.982 million at the end of the quarter
· Ongoing review of new opportunities
July 27 -- Draig Resources Limited (ASX: DRG) (Draig or Company) is pleased to provide its Activities Report for the quarter ended 30 June 2016.
During the quarter the Company continued to look for and assess new investment opportunities.
These opportunities were both in the resource and non-resource sectors. A number of these opportunities were taken to an advanced stage but did not end up proceeding.
The Company is currently evaluating projects in the resource sector.
In parallel, the Company continued to maintain the two exploration licences in Mongolia.
The Company had a cash balance of $1.982 million at the end of the quarter.
Asia Resources: Annual Report 2016
July 27, Asia Resources Holdings Ltd. (HKEx: 899) --
(v) Disposal of Infinite Nature group
On 25 March 2015, the Group has entered into a conditional sale and purchase agreement with the purchaser Mr. Tan Shaliang, an independent third party in respect of the sale of 100% share equity of Infinite Nature Limited and its subsidiaries ("Infinite Nature group") at a consideration of HK$1,000,000. The Infinite Nature group is majority engaging in iron mining business in Mongolia. (For details, please refer to the announcement dated 25 March 2015). The disposal of the Mongolia iron mining business was subsequently completed on 31 March 2015.
Origo Partners: Result of AGM (Replacement)
July 27 -- Origo announces that at its annual general meeting held earlier today all resolutions proposed were duly passed. However, Resolution 5, which was to propose the disapplication of shareholder pre-emption rights over a maximum of 124,724,044 equity shares, was not put to the meeting.
Trading The Chaos: One Hedge Fund Manager's Strategy
July 18 (Capitalist Exploits) Today I have for you a recorded conversation with Harris Kupperman (Kuppy), a friend of mine who manages Praetorian Capital, a Florida-based hedge fund. Kuppy is one of a clutch of guys who I call on to stress test my views and vice versa. Sometimes we disagree, though more often than not we don't.
· What Kuppy bought the weekend after Brexit.
· A trade you can still put on to profit from the Brexit fallout.
· Kuppy's current views on emerging markets.
· What asset Kuppy thinks is "gold on acid".
· How he's positioned and has been playing repeated crisis events.
Link to article (and audio)
MSE Weekly Report: Top 20 +0.88%, ALL -0.24%, Turnover ₮2.6 Billion Shares
August 1 (MSE) --
MSE Trading Report: Top 20 -0.63%, ALL -0.36%, Turnover ₮16.3 Million Shares
August 1 (MSE) --
Mongol Post Announces Shareholders' Meeting on September 9
July 28 (MSE) According to the Resolution of the shareholders meeting which held on 22 July 2016, new shareholder meeting announced.
Location of shareholder meeting: 2016.09.09, Meeting room of "Tuushin" hotel at 10:00 o'clock
Registration date: 2016.08.26
Issues will discuss:
1. To renew company's charter accordance with Company Law
2. To void appointment of Undarga.L, Independent member of BoD
3. To nominate independent new member
4. To void decision for Resolution No.: 2016/02 of BoD's "To distribute dividends to state shareholders" dated on 8 April 2016, and to present about issue to shareholders.
Nearly ₮100 billion in trading conducted at MSE in first half
July 27 (UB Post) The Mongolian Stock Exchange (MSE) presented its 2016 half-year report on Tuesday, and underlined that it organized trading of 98.6 billion MNT, 85.3 billion MNT (86.6 percent) of which was made up by government bond sales and 13.2 billion MNT (13.4 percent) by shares sales.
The report shows that the MSE has a total of 58 member companies, 43 of which are authorized to participate in trading. The authorization of 15 companies has been temporarily suspended, while 34 companies are participating in the MSE's trading from
overseas. Six companies were removed from MSE registration in May 2016. MSE registered companies are expected to issue 15.4 billion MNT in dividends to their investors from their 2015 profits.
In the first six months of 2016, the MSE successfully organized the initial public offering (IPO) of Mongol Post JSC, raising 12.6 billion MNT. The MSE also made changes to its regulations when it became a self-regulating organization. The MSE joined a declaration for implementing a company governance codex among the nation's top 20 companies.
The MSE also underlined that it has begun cooperation with the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry to help its members draw in financial resources through the MSE.
On January 2016, the MSE marked its 25th anniversary. In February, repayment of Mongolia's first insured Erchim Bond was made. In order to attract foreign investors and promote Mongolia's biggest companies abroad, the MSE organized the Mongolia-London Business Forum in March 2016.
In June 2016, APU, Suu, and Ulaanbaatar Buk JSC divided their securities, which analysts say helped the companies to advance their market assessment and liquidity by 3 to 50 percent.
Reds are rates that set a new record at the time
BoM MNT Rates: Monday, August 1 Close
MNT vs USD (blue), CNY (red) in last 1 year:
Mongolia Records $361.7m FDI Outflow in June: Central Bank
By Michael Kohn
July 29 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia experienced a net outflow of $361.7m in foreign direct investment in the month of June, compared with $66.4m gain the same month a yr ago, according to
preliminary data from the central bank.
* NOTE: FDI in May was $175.1m according to preliminary data
* Inbound FDI was $38.9m in the first half of 2016 vs. $50.2m yr earlier
* YTD current-account deficit at end-June was $93.6m vs. $334.4m deficit a yr earlier
* YTD capital and financial account was a surplus of $178.4m, compared to surplus of $394m a year earlier
Nation's balance of payments deficit declines by 65 percent in 2016 – UB Post, July 29
BoM issues ₮319 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding -5.6% to ₮909.1 billion
August 1 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 319 billion at a weighted interest rate of 10.5 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
BoM sells US$28.2m at ₮2,071.5, CNY37.5m at ₮311.5, accepts, $64.5m MNT swap offers
July 28 (BoM) Spot trade: Commercial banks bid for USD and CNY. The BOM sold USD28.2 million at the closing rate of MNT 2071.50 and CNY37.5 million at the closing rate of MNT 311.50.
Swap and forward trade: The BOM accepted the bid offers of USD 64.5 million.
PM J.Erdenebat: Special economic program to be implemented
August 1 (GoGo Mongolia) We deliver you the speech of Prime Minister J.Erdenebat at the appointment of ministries.
Dear Speaker of the Parliament,
First of all, I would like to thank for resolving and discussing the structure of the Government.
Since this moment, the Government will report the real analysis and try our best for the sustainable development of the country. The Government will be prompt and transparent.
The cabinet will immediately discuss and submit to the State Great Khural that the Government`s operational programs and implementation of MPP`s platform.
As for the Prime Minister, I would like to express my own principle.
Our Government prefer the decision making, speed of implementation and creative work in order to not lose the people`s hope.
Mongolia is faced with a difficult social and economic situation. The most significant measure to overcome the economic crisis is to find out the main reason. Therefore, current economic reality and consolidated budget will be introduced to the people and the State Great Khural. Then, special program will be approved and implemented.
The Government will take steps focused on creating secure legal framework for investors. We need to give special attention to a new level of economic relations with the international banks and financial institutions as well as countries in development cooperation.
Mongolians say that autumn comes after Naadam. We need to begin winter preparation and processing of supplementary budget. Newly appointed ministries should immediately get acquaint with the sector and intensify the work process. For instance, Minister of Mongolia should work in Bayan-Ulgii aimag to eliminate the flood damage and the Minister of Finance need to manage the revenue performance, financial situation and debt as well as comply with the supplementary budget preparations.
We need to continuously and promptly provide state services to the public by managing the vacation of state servants and stabilizing the operations of the Ministries, agencies, Governor`s offices of aimags and the capital city.
We will intensify the preparation and repair of secondary schools, universities, colleges and vocational training centers. Also, we should not miss any action to be taken immediately to prevent infectious diseases.
We have lot of significant works to implement including stabilizing macro economy condition, recovering economy, overcoming governance crisis, employing citizens, increasing income, supporting target groups with government policy, supporting the business of private entities and forwarding infrastructure projects.
Time will not wait for us. The biggest party of Mongolia must do what they said and fulfill its promise. Let`s work in honest manner for a better life and sustainable development of our country by keeping the state tradition and continuity.
Thank you for your attention.
Meat prices dropping
July 31 (UB Post) The Ulaanbaatar Statistical Office presented data on meat and food prices, comparing current prices to prices from the previous week, and announced that the prices for meat have decreased.
Prices for bone-in mutton were down by 422 MNT, mutton by 250 MNT, bone-in beef by 233 MNT, beef by 589 MNT, bone-in horse meat by 150 MNT, and the price for horse meat dropped by 300 MNT compared to the previous week.
The report involved data for 37 products from 17 markets in six districts in Ulaanbaatar. The data shows that prices for 16 products were stable, while prices for 18 products had decreased, and prices for three products went up in one week.
The price of Altan Taria's high quality flour was 1,200 to 1,500 MNT per kilogram. First-grade flour was sold for 1,000 to 1,300 MNT per kilogram, and the lowest grade of flour ranged from 780 to 1,000 MNT per kilogram.
The report shows that prices for domestically grown potatoes was 800 to 1,800 MNT per kilogram. Potatoes were cheapest at Tavan Erdene Market at 800 MNT, while Orgil Supermarket sold potatoes at the highest price of 1,800 MNT per kg. Prices for domestically grown carrots ranged from 1,900 to 3,300 MNT per kg.
Mongol Bank's first deputy president appointed
July 31 (UB Post) During the parliamentary session held on July 30, O.Erdembileg was appointed the First Deputy President of Mongol Bank.
O.Erdembileg was born in 1976 in Ulaanbaatar. In 1998, he graduated from the National University of Mongolia as an economist. In 2002, he earned his master's degree in economics for development from Australian National University.
From 1998 to 2007, he worked as a specialist and chairman in departments within the Ministry of Finance. From 2007 to 2013, he served as an economist and senior economist at the International Monetary Fund, and from 2014 to 2015, he worked as the advisor to Golomt Bank's Board of Directors. In 2015 he served as Deputy Director of Golomt Bank.
Battered Mongolia looks to mining, property markets for revival
July 29 (CNBC) Just two short years ago, Mongolia basked in a vibrant economy with a sizzling growth rate of nearly 8 percent.
These days, the economy has all but flatlined with the slump in commodities, but some say hidden gems may be getting lost in the current bout of gloom.
Mongolia's credit rating is considered speculative, and its battered economy is debt heavy. However, the country has vast reserves of coal and gold: International Monetary Fund data show that Mongolia ranks alongside Chile, Peru and Australia as one of the world's most mineral-rich economies.
Those attributes haven't helped keep the economy from falling into dire straits, with 2016 growth not expected to top 1 percent, while its debt load nearly doubled from $11.7 billion in 2012 to nearly $23 billion in 2015.
"Macroeconomic policies have been poor in recent years, which led to a very rapid debt buildup," Nicolas Jaquier, London-based economist focusing on emerging market debt with Standard Life Investments, told CNBC in an interview.
"As such, Mongolia is now one of the most indebted frontier markets," he said. "And as a result, its credit rating has been downgraded several times over the last couple of years."
Despite a moribund mining sector, a new government has encouraged some investors who see glimmers of hope in the country's battered property category, where a construction boom has faltered along with the broader economy.
Lee Cashell, founder and CEO of Asia Pacific Investment Partners, a firm the develops and invests heavily in Mongolian real estate, told CNBC recently that high-end retail and residential real estate is experiencing a recovery in prices and demand.
"The residential market is the next most exciting opportunity in the country, offering an average rental yield around 8.7 percent," Cashell said, speaking about the amount of rent a property owner can earn before expenses. "With a bit of effort, you can find distressed opportunities that can yield more than 12 percent."
Cashell added that the property market is being boosted by expatriate citizens working in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's capital city. The amount of expat rental properties there is very limited with most of the recent additions to the residential market being low-cost housing over the past few years, he said.
"Therefore, expat rental property sales prices are also expected to increase in the short to medium term," Cashell said. The market is being helped by Oyu Tolgoi, a large scale mining project in the Gobi Desert, and the gradual return of foreign inflows — which World Bank data show plunged from $4.7 billion in 2011 to $195 million last year.
"The residential market is almost exclusively rented out by expats and due to the signing of the second phase of Oyu Tolgoi and return of foreign direct investment into Mongolia, the number of expats in the country is expected to increase dramatically over the next couple of years," Cashell said.
Mining is also an area of potential growth, given the increased production of copper and gold. Mongolia's government has struggled to deter illegal bullion mining, but multinational giant Rio Tinto recently announced a $5.3 billion expansion of an investment in the country's copper sector. In addition, the country signed an export financing deal with Russia's VTB Bank worth $300 million. Those deals might also boost additional foreign interest in the country, analysts say, with some caveats.
The sector "is being developed mainly by large international mining corporations, such as Rio Tinto and Chinese state-owned enterprises," said Standard Life's Jaquier, and slowing demand from China could ultimately snuff out a nascent recovery in mining.
Mongolia gropes for path out of economic hangover
By Renata Legierska, Alaco
July 27 (FT beyondbrics) Over the past five years, few other countries have experienced the highs and lows of the global economy as acutely as Mongolia. In 2011 the country was on the radar of virtually every investor interested in Asian emerging markets.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated that Mongolia's GDP would grow by 17.5 per cent that year – largely on the back of the Oyu Tolgoi (OT) project, a gigantic copper and gold mine operated by Rio Tinto – and continue at 14 per cent through 2016.
The mining boom spurred growth in several other sectors, including financial services and construction. By 2012 Ulaanbaatar was a booming town with rapidly rising skyscrapers and a growing expat community. The atmosphere was intoxicating.But a massive hangover has stretched into 2016. The sharp fall in global commodity prices and a decline in demand from China, which had bought more than 90 per cent of Mongolia's exports, took its toll.
Making matters worse, Mongolia's leaders called into question the validity of various investment agreements and mining rights, prompting several foreign companies to exit the market and discouraging others from entering. In 2012 foreign direct investment (FDI) in Mongolia amounted to $4.45bn, but by last year it had declined to just $121.5m. In January 2016 the World Bank cut its annual growth forecast for Mongolia to 0.8 per cent.
When the expected windfall from mining projects failed to antalizing, the government turned to borrowing. Initially, when growth forecasts were still strong, borrowing was easy.
In 2012 the government sold $1.5bn worth of sovereign debt known as Chinggis bonds. The offering was ten times oversubscribed and the government earmarked the proceeds for ambitious infrastructure projects, adding to the excitement about the pace of the country's development.
But as government revenues began to tumble and interest payments shot up, the country had to keep borrowing to manage expenditures. Mongolia's public and private debt doubled from $11.7bn in 2012 to more than $22.6bn in 2015. Hitherto muted speculation about the possibility of a sovereign default or an IMF bailout has gone mainstream.
The public loss of confidence in the government resulted in the crushing defeat of the ruling Democratic Party (DP) at the hands of the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) in the July 8 parliamentary elections.
And for now, the election outcome and the new leadership is instilling some optimism among investors. Jargaltulga Erdenebat, who served as minister of finance between 2014 and 2015, became prime minister and vowed to stabilise the economy and introduce fiscal discipline.
Erdenebat is credited with settling a long-running dispute with Rio Tinto, which led to the suspension of work on the OT project. If the mine becomes operational by 2019, as is now planned, it will account for more than 30 per cent of Mongolia's GDP.
But while the new government has boosted investor confidence, there are signs of challenges ahead, both internally and externally. Erdenebat has already clashed with president Tsakhia Elbegdorj over cabinet appointments.
The dispute stems from the appointment of Tsedev Dashdorj to oversee the mining industry and of Battogtokh Choijlsuren to manage Mongolia's debt. The president has long argued that members of parliament should not hold ministerial posts, but the there are no legal provisions against it. These early signs of tension are troubling, because for Mongolia to find a path to recovery, it needs a strong and unified leadership and coherent policies.
Apart from internal challenges, Mongolia is confronted by momentous changes sweeping through the region and its future will depend on relations with its chief economic partners: Russia and China.
The three countries are bound by strategic agreements to promote cross-border trade and jointly develop transport infrastructure, the most recent one signed in Tashkent on 23 June by Mr Elbegdorj, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, and Xi Jinping, China's president. Mongolia will host the next round of talks, on the implementation of a trade corridor between the three countries, in the autumn.
So far, the tripartite co-operation is in line with the individual policies of the three countries: China's One Belt, One Road initiative, Russia's Trans-Eurasian Belt Development, and Mongolia's Steppe Road project.
But Mongolia is by far the weakest partner and it might not have the weight to resist pressure from its more powerful neighbours. A first sign of tension was evident at the 23 June meeting, when Mr Putin asked Mongolia to abandon construction of the $1bn Egiin Gol hydropower project. The Egiin Gol plant would include a dam on the Eg River, a tributary of Mongolia's Selenge River, which flows into Russia's Lake Baikal, the world's deepest freshwater lake.
The Egiin Gol project is temporarily on hold because the China Export Import Bank is withholding funds until a compromise with Russia can be found. Moscow claims its chief concerns with the project are its environmental impact, but Ulaanbaatar fears Russia's motivations are political and economic, as it supplies the bulk of Mongolia's electricity.
Whatever the solution to the stand-off, it will be important because it may well set the tone of Mongolia's future co-operation with its powerful partners.
After years of turbulence, Mongolia is once again a tantalising investment frontier. Short of cash and desperate for investment, the government appears determined to nurture relations with key foreign partners and repair its image among investors.
Mongolia's economic recovery will depend on the government's ability to negotiate delicate agreements. Many of the government's past failures stemmed from making rash decisions and an inability y to accurately assess its bargaining power.
The new government needs to develop a long-term strategy and implement rational, measured policies. It has the benefit of hindsight and experience of past mistakes – hopefully Mongolia's leaders have learnt from them.
Renata Legierska is a Senior Associate at Alaco, a business intelligence consultancy
Erdenebat's final cabinet nominations approved
August 1 (UB Post) On Saturday, parliamentarians discussed the Mongolian People's Party's nominations for the heads of the four ministries that were being overseen by acting ministers and approved the nominations of General Secretary of the Federation of Mongolian Horse Racing Sport and Trainers P.Sergelen for Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry; former Ulaanbaatar Mayor G.Munkhbayar for Minister of Construction and Urban Development; Chairman of the National Dermatology Center A.Tsogsetseg for Minister of Health; and economist P.Gankhuu for the Minister of Energy.
The Cabinet of Prime Minister J.Erdenebat is to operate with 13 ministries and 16 ministers, with seven ministers holding seats in Parliament and nine ministers appointed from outside Parliament.
Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry P.Sergelen:
General Secretary of the Federation of Mongolian Horse Racing Sport and Trainers P.Sergelen graduated from the Finance and Economics Institute, and studied professional training to study livestock gene pools, livestock registration management, development policy for small and medium-sized enterprises, and information technology in the United States, Hong Kong, Italy, and Singapore. He was the General Director of the cultivation company Buudain Ur from 2010 to 2014.
Parliamentary members advised P.Sergelen to focus on vaccination production issues, recalling that state-owned Biocombinat only produces enough vaccines for only 30 percent of the nation's livestock population; to expand livestock raw material markets; to pay attention to exporting Mongolian livestock; and to create factories based on animal husbandry. They also reminded the newly appointed minister of demands to establish livestock processing workshops in provincial soums to carry out the first stage of raw material processing in provinces, as the cost of livestock raw materials has dropped by 80 percent since 2012.
Presenting the minister's seal, Prime Minister J.Erdenebat stressed, "The action plan of the ruling MPP says that the agriculture sector will be one of the priorities of Mongolia. We will adhere to a policy to improve the lives of Mongolians by developing the agriculture sector. The action plan of the Cabinet is to be approved soon. Hereby, the state of Mongolia is giving you strong accountability, trusting in you to develop the sector by proposing many provisions to the Cabinet's action plan related to agriculture."
Minister P.Sergelen promised to make radical policy and functional reforms to the ministry.
Construction and Urban Development Minister G.Munkhbayar
Prime Minister J.Erdenebat told newly appointed Minister G.Munkhbayar that he wants the dysfunctions of the construction sector to be fixed, and to make substantial contributions to the development of the sector by carrying out various measures to intensify the construction sector's development.
A graduate of Ural Polytechnical University in Sverdlovsk, Russia, G.Munkhbayar (52) is a former Ulaanbaatar Mayor.
Minister of Health A.Tsogtsetseg
Former Health and Sports Minister S.Lambaa wished success to the newly appointed Minister A.Tsogtsetseg defining her as a person who can lead the health sector excellently, recalling her previous success and leadership in the field.
"As a person who acknowledges the achievements and errors of the health sector, and the operations and structure of the health sector, it is essential to start my duties promptly," said the minister, noting that she is receiving a great responsibility in becoming not only the head of the health sector but also the Health Minister for three million Mongolians.
Parliamentarians advised A.Tsogtsetseg to implement the Healthy Mongolian Citizen program, to pay attention to specializing and improving the skills of doctors, and to commission hospital buildings facing incomplete construction.
A.Tsogtsetseg has been working in healthcare for over 30 years. An alumnus of the National University of the Health Sciences, A.Tsogtsetseg became the Chairman of the National Dermatology Center in 2003.
Energy Minister P.Gankhuu
Economist Gankhuu obtained an Master of Arts degrees in economics from Sydney University and Senshu University of Japan.
Having rich experience working on energy projects and programs, P.Gankhuu is considered to be a specialized, skillful individual who has worked in the finance and investment department of the former Petroleum and Energy Ministry and served as acting chairman of Energy Authority.
Cabinet complete: Four remaining ministers appointed – news.mn, August 1
Prime Minister assigns duties to his new Cabinet ministers
July 31 (UB Post) Prime Minister J.Edenebat has assigned duties to his new Cabinet ministers, instructing them to take action on changes to some governmental agencies in order to eliminate functional overlaps and bureaucracy within the state's administrative bodies, and to make state services prompt and to improve their quality.
The newly formed Cabinet will operate with 10 regulatory agencies and 17 implementing agencies.
The Prime Minister called on the new ministers to promptly begin the operations of governmental agencies which are being newly formed or re-organized, finalizing the operational strategies and structural changes being made to these agencies and their programs. New and existing governmental agencies with over 100 staff will operate with one deputy chairman, and agencies with less than 100 staff will operate without a deputy chairman, unless stated otherwise by law.
Considering demands to run the operations of governmental agencies with additional support, the ministries must adhere to having units of organizational structures function without deputy directors and without subdivisions in their departments, with no less than seven personnel in each department.
Additionally, the chairmen of governmental agencies will not be allowed an on-staff advisor, and should only be permitted access to the state's smaller-sized, low-fuel consuming vehicles when executing their duties to save on budget expenditures.
Under the changes to the Cabinet's composition and structure, the composition of the National Emergency Management Commission has been adopted. Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia U.Khurelsukh was appointed as chairman of the commission, and the Defense Minister will serve as deputy chairman.
B.Enkh-Amgalan, Mongolian General Council to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, has been removed from his position and appointed Senior Advisor and Head of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia.
Heads of Agencies to work without advisers, use compact cars – Montsame, July 28
109 personnel to be cut under changes to Cabinet – UB Post, July 29
Prime Minister J.Erdenebat's Cabinet holds its first meeting
July 29 (UB Post) During the first meeting of Prime Minister J.Erdenebat's Cabinet on July 27, the Prime Minister assigned duties to the ministers and asked for researched feedback on a number of pending issues in upcoming regular meetings.
The minister's have been asked to conduct research and provide reports on the following issues:
1. Cabinet's 2016-2020 operational program needs to be developed in, adhering to the Mongolian People's Party's action plan.
2. A study is to be conducted on reducing interest for pension loans for seniors and introduced in a Cabinet meeting.
3. A study is to be conducted on lowering income taxes for entities with an annual income lower than 1.5 billion MNT to 1 percent and a report on the study should be presented.
4. An amendment is to be drafted on extending the term of the adoption of the amended Criminal Code and addressing controversial provisions in the law.
5. A study is to be conducted on making the pension threshold for herders five years less.
6. An amendment to change export taxes on raw materials from livestock will be developed.
7. The Student with Income project will be implemented, allowing students to work part time during their studies.
8. Issues around publicly held Erdenes-Tavan Tolgoi shares need to be reviewed in the context of the nation's economics.
9. A study is to be conducted on the selling of 49 percent of Erdenet Mining Corporation's shares, with feedback reported in an upcoming Cabinet meeting.
10. Preparations for winter and the upcoming academic year for schools and kindergartens are to be carried out promptly.
Appointment of new ministers controversial among parliamentarians
July 27 (UB Post) The 11 new ministers of the Cabinet officially took office on Monday, after the Prime Minister submitted nominations for the new ministers with the omission of four of his original nominees, but the final appointments have still resulted in controversy.
The following are comments from some parliamentarians on the appointment of the new ministers submitted by the Mongolian People's Party.
MP J.Enkhbayar, member of the MPP:
"Discussion about the election results still hasn't died down. I hope MPP authorities remember what they promised when they met the voters. The MPP's promise that gained great trust and support from the voters was to appoint highly educated, specialized personnel to all levels of state service. To be honest, we do not approve of the appointments for ministers. We [the MPP] are not keeping our word. The bottom line is, a political party is not a company. It should hold governance, making its foundation the public's support. We should not leave the nation's wishes behind."
MP J.Batzandan, Deputy Chairman of the DP group in Parliament:
"The MPP took over governance promising to compose a professional Cabinet. But, in reality, the MPP appointments are exactly the opposite of what they promised. Unprofessional people have been appointed to chair the professional ministries. For instance, they are appointing an individual who is not a lawyer as Justice Minister, and a someone who is not an economist as Finance Minister. Most of the newly appointed ministers of the MPP are sponsors of the MPP who donated large amounts of money to the party. The MPP has started trading state positions to businessmen. The foundation of mixing business and state affairs has been laid.
MP S.Javhlan, the sold independent member of Parliament:
"I remember the MPP started opposing the issue of multiple roles in the parliament in 2008. MPP supporters and members held a protest at the central square opposing the practice of individuals holding multiple roles in the government.
"But today, the actions of the MPP are contradicting their promises and their efforts. The MPP does not stand firm on their promises and views.
"Generally, I think that even if an individual holds a single or multiple roles in government, he or she should have a heart when executing his or her roles. But I don't see enthusiasm and commitment. I believe that with several committed and enthusiastic people, state affairs could be successful."
MP O.Baasankhuu, member of the MPRP:
"According to the law, a bill on the structure and composition of the Cabinet should be submitted to the President, and should receive a response within three days of its submission. The President has the authority to veto the proposal.
"Generally, what I see now is that the MPP group in the parliament is making all its decisions outside of the law. This resembles 1990, when one political party used to govern the state."
New government, wry public
July 26 (UB Post) Government ministries and agencies are expected to see drastic structural changes in relation to the formation of the new government headed by Prime Minister J.Erdenebat.
With 11 out of 16 ministers receiving approval from Parliament, and four nominees being rejected by the Independent Agency Against Corruption for conflicts of interest, the broad strokes of J.Erdenebat's cabinet have already been laid out for the public.
Though the Mongolian People's Party, which won 65 out of 76 seats in Parliament, said it would avoid double deel appointments (assigning parliamentarians to positions in Cabinet), some of the newly appointed ministers hold seats in Parliament.
In the span of Mongolia's history, the cabinet has usually had 10 to 16 ministries, with former Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag's cabinet being the largest.
The newly appointed Prime Minister has formed 13 ministries, which is right bang in the middle of the size of the average cabinet, and some local media believe that if he keeps the number of ministers wearing double deels low – let's say no more than 50 percent – he might gain some favor with the public right from the get go.
So far, seven members of the J.Erdenebat Cabinet are parliamentarians. This is a considerably low number when you realize that the previous two cabinets each had 19 ministers, largely comprised of parliamentarians. Altankhuyag's cabinet had 17 MPs and Saikhanbileg's had 15.
Double deel alone isn't the issue. The cabinet is supposed to be formed of industry experts and specialists, but the new cabinet seems to be lacking in this area. A clear example is the appointment of Finance Minister B.Choijilsuren, who studied telemechanics and automation at Ural State Technical University in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Politicians such as MP J.Batzandan of the Democratic Party noted that it was strange for the government to appoint a non-specialist to oversee the country's finances and economy, especially in a "time of economic downturn".
It must be said that B.Choijilsuren is a successful businessman and a veteran politician who joined Parliament in 2008. He is the Director of Khurd Group, one of the leading businesses in the country. But at the same time, it does not give me confidence as a citizen of Mongolia to discover that someone who specializes in telemechanics is to oversee our country's finances. Losing public confidence so early in a government's term isn't a good sign.
Now that lists of names are being tossed around sporadically for the remaining four ministerial positions (including the Deputy Prime Minister's position), and heads of state organizations are being switched at the whim of a few, the public grows increasingly resigned about what they suspect to be government appointments that are directly correlated to monetary contributions made to the ruling party.
Though it is busy forming itself right now, the question remains: How will the new government operate and what will it be its main policies? Will it try to undo everything the Democratic Party-led cabinet did? Will it move in a completely different direction and abandon all the unfinished projects that are pending decisions? Or will it learn from the previous government, expand on its plans, and work to correct its mistakes? These are the questions that will give us a glimpse into what the country will look like by 2020.
So much is still unclear at this point. International headlines, such as "Mongolian president clashes with new prime minister over cabinet posts" by Reuters, does not boost investor confidence in Mongolia, especially when it needs it most with slowing economic growth and dwindling foreign investment.
The best thing I can say about the previous governments led by the Democratic Party is that they carried out a lot of work. And the worst that can be said about the last two governments is that they did a lot at a ridiculously high price.
The country is knee-deep in debt and repayment burdens are about to take their toll starting next year. What we need now is a stable government of professionals that are able to evaluate the current situation correctly and carry out an effective action plan that will raise the living standards of the people. Can the new government deliver?
List of governmental agencies
July 31 (UB Post) ---
1. General Intelligence Agency
2. Information Technology, Post and Telecommunications Authority
3. National Development Agency
4. State Specialized Inspection Agency
5. National Emergency Management Agency
6. Agency for Fair Competition and Consumer Protection
7. Agency for Standardization and Metrology
8. General Police Department
9. General Authority for Border Protection
10. General Staff of the Mongolian Armed Forces
1. Authority for State Property Policy and Management
2. Agency for Meteorology and Environmental Monitoring
3. General Authority of Customs
4. General Authority of Taxation
5. General Authority of State Registration and Intellectual Property
6. General Archival Authority
7. General Executive Agency of Court Decisions
9. General Authority of Health and Social Security
10. General Agency of Labor and Welfare Services
11. Family, Child and Youth Development Agency
12. Authority of Land Management, Geodesy and Cartography
13. Authority of Physical Education and Sports
14. Authority of Arts and Culture
15. Civil Aviation Authority
16. Authority of Minerals and Petroleum
17. Authority of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry
A. Ariunzaya appointed new head of National Statistical Office
Ulaanbaatar, August 1 /MONTSAME/ The newly appointed chairwoman of the National Statistical Office (NSO) A.Ariunzaya received the seal and office on July 30. The seal was handed by the former chairman S.Mendsaihan, and the latter wished success to her works.
Ms Ariunzaya graduated the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and a college in Germany between 1996 and 1999, and has defended a master's degree in Leibniz University of Hanover in 2005, and graduated from the National Academy of Governance of Mongolia in 2015, majoring in public governance.
She worked as a human resource and insurance manager and chief manager at Mongol Daatgal Compnay between 2005 and 2015, and head of the Strategic Planning Department and Economic Policy Department of the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) since 2013.
Present during the office receiving were D.Sumiyabazar MP.
Former President N.Enkhbayar appeals for provision of an attorney
July 27 (UB Post) Chairman of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party and former President of Mongolia N.Enkhbayar has filed another appeal with the Association of Mongolian Attorneys to issue an attorney to defend him.
On Monday, the Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC) delivered its sixth subpoena to N.Enkhbayar asking him to appear for a testimony. According to the IAAC, N.Enkhbayar has been identified as a suspect in a crime, in accordance with several provisions of the Criminal Code, and needs to testify in front of the agency's officials.
N.Enkhbayar claims that the IAAC is accusing him of crimes with a political agenda, and is asking the Association of Mongolian Attorneys to find him a highly-professional and experienced attorney to represent him.
PM J.Erdenebat receives his first MP policy inquiry
July 27 (UB Post) First-time Member of Parliament M.Oyunchimeg has submitted an official inquiry to Prime Minister J.Erdenebat, asking for detailed clarification on the state's policy on access to public education, which will be discussed during a parliamentary session to be held prior to the start of the new academic year.
MP M.Oyunchimeg asked for information about the current access to public and private kindergartens and schools in Mongolia, kindergarten and school enrollment, and the state's policy on children who have been left behind in early childhood education. Details were also requested concerning the implementation of enforcement of the Law on Childcare Service, and the current status of enrollment for children who have been left at home without a caregiver. The MP asked about the preparation of individuals who want to run childcare centers, and sources of the state's financing for implementation of the law.
The MP also requested an update on Lunch Project, which was to be carried out in schools and kindergartens. The project covered the provision of food to kindergartens, food safety, and measures to be taken to increase the salaries of school and kindergarten teachers.
The inquiry also included an update on efforts to improve the quality of textbooks, their printing, and student access to textbooks.
"Erdenet is Property of the People" movement leaders meets MP D. Damba-Ochir
Ulaanbaatar, July 28 /MONTSAME/ Member of the State Great Khural D.Damba-Ochir received Wednesday representatives of the policy council of the movement. The latter informed the MP that they are submitting an inquiry and a demand to the Parliament, Cabinet and the National Security Council, and official letters to the authorities of the Erdenet Mining Corporation (EMC) and the Mongol Copper LLC.
The movement coordinator Ts.Altanshagai said: "We, citizens of Erdenet, contest the purchasing of EMC's 49%, which belonged to the Russian government, 'behind curtains' by allegedly the daughter company of Trade Development Bank (TDB) under organization of the Ch.Saikhanbileg's cabinet, without discussing this issue by parliament". He noted the movement views that EMC should be the shared property of government, people and private sector.
The official letters request a thorough and official explanation on the legitimacy of the purchasing, the funding sources for the deal, and on the investors of TDB.
Member of the movement's policy council D.Tsagaach underlined that the EMC staff and generations of its workers consider that a certain amount of the 49 percent shares should be sold to the people, and that this demand has been reflected in the official letters and inquiries.
In response, D.Damba-Ochir MP mentioned that many people have approached him with EMC issue, and, the members of parliament have been likewise giving their opinions during the recent parliamentary meetings.
As per the request of Parliament on establishing a working group to ascertain this matter, the Cabinet have set up a working group headed by Minister J.Monkhbat, he informed. "I am hopeful that the working group will clarify the veracity, only after which the cabinet can consider appropriate measures that should be taken", he noted.
DeFacto: New government, old crisis, and solutions with principles
By Jargal "DeFacto" Dambadarjaa
July 31 (UB Post) After the long Naadam break and the ASEM Summit, the Mongolian People's Party (MPP), which has an overwhelming majority in the parliament, is still missing four ministers in their newly formed cabinet, despite having meetings day and night.
It looks like the MPP Steering Committee is still having internal battles about replacing the four candidates who were supported but ruled out due to conflicts of interest, as determined by the Independent Agency Against Corruption (IAAC). The new government will have 15 ministers and 11 ministries. So far, seven out of the approved 11 ministers have "double deel" status, meaning they also hold a seat in Parliament.
The public is crying out for the fulfillment of the MPP's promises to establish a professional government without double deels. Even President Elbegdorj tweeted, "Can't say that the new government is a professional government. No need to talk about single deels and accountability. Money and power have prevailed over principles and promises. How fast their eyes and ears became shut."
There are heated discussions in the media about what constitutes a professional government, how ministerial positions are going to those who made the biggest donations to the party, and whether or not those who have devoted their fullest to the party should be given a ministerial seat.
Mongolians now expect that if the government is formed with the "right" people, the economy will recover, jobs will be created, and livelihoods will improve. However, it all depends on the role and involvement of the government in the economy. Therefore, it comes down to how the ministers will work, rather than who they are. Instead of the Prime Minister forming his cabinet, it is the parliament that currently makes de facto appointments of ministers. It weakens the power of the executive branch and diminishes the Prime Minister's accountability.
It is becoming increasingly evident that Mongolia's society has huge gaps in the understanding of the role of the government.
MAIN ROLE OF GOVERNMENT
The belief that the government is the institution responsible for solving all problems is leftover from the failed experiment of the socialist era. Twenty years ago, having failed at this experiment, we chose a path to establish a democracy and a market economy where human rights are protected.
However, instead of fully understanding the true qualities of democracy and implementing them step by step, Mongolians still worship the government too much. As a result, we are being deceived by politicians who tell the people that the government creates jobs and solves everyone's problems. This has led to the economy always being in crisis mode.
The current crisis is a consequence of the regulatory policies pursued by the government for the last 15 years. We are currently strangled by a huge debt that was raised to make up for the public funds stolen for all these years due to the increased involvement of the government in the economy. Today our private and public debts combined (22 billion USD) are double the gross domestic product (approximately 10 billion USD). The budget deficit keeps increasing as the economy grapples with debt and interest payments. In the last four years, our budget deficit has reached one trillion USD every year, and it is 1.1 trillion USD as of the first half of 2016.
What revives and develops the economy is not the government, but the private sector. Similarly, what improves livelihoods is not the government, but the people and individuals themselves. The government does not create jobs, and their main role is to provide the private sector with an environment that allows for free competition and encourages businesses to create jobs.
It has been a long time since every Mongolian state-owned company started running deficits, used the public budget to make up for losses, and acquired soft loans from the government. In other words, the government was giving money to unprofitable companies instead of using the funds to resolve problems. The government is doing what the private sector is supposed to do while not allowing them to do it. The structure of state-owned companies needs to be changed, their monopolies in all industries have to be erased, and free market principles need to be followed.
The biggest mistake that has always put our economy in decline is the government policy pursued for the last 20 years to set, control, and restrict the prices of consumer goods. The low interest housing loans, price stabilization program, and agreements to set fixed prices for fuel – which were all implemented by the previous government – are an attempt by government officials to replace free market regulations with something else.
Using bureaucratic means to maintain market equilibrium has never worked. It is because the equilibrium is regulated most effectively by prices, profits, and expenditure. Only such economies are impacted the least by a crisis.
We will never be able to get out of this crisis unless we change the structure of our economy, let the market set its prices, and make public governance transparent.
WHAT CONSTITUTES A STRONG GOVERNMENT?
Our government has never let free market mechanisms work freely. Besides the lack of understanding and knowledge, the government has been protecting certain interest groups. As a result, the fruits of development have not reached every household. What has been missing is strong government and leadership to get us out of crisis and establish justice.
The concept of the state in a democracy is a completely different institution compared to the understanding Mongolians have historically had. The state services that existed under socialism have been replaced with public services. The people have been slowly realizing that the government is not an apparatus above us, but it is an institution we establish, and it should work for us while we provide oversight of its activities.
What strong government means is that the representatives that we elect are passing laws and ensuring their implementation. Today, those who were elected by us are not working for us, but protecting their personal interests and getting wealthier from election to election. This is why our economy is still in decline.
Political parties are the only institution that have the right to acquire ruling power through democratic elections. Without revealing how political parties are funded and how they trade seats and power, Mongolia will not develop. When anyone can buy seats in the government by making donations to political parties, the government will never be able to let the market regulate itself.
Without free market regulations in place, the economy will not recover and livelihoods will not improve. The government is always looking for channels that they can use to manage public properties in an advantageous way and steal from public funds. The common perception that government positions are an award presented to people who devote themselves to a political party shows how obsolete our thinking and actions are.
Therefore, political parties and all other public governance institutions must have transparent "glass" accounting and operations. The state's immunity from corruption requires transparent, fair governance.
Without making decisions with principles such as letting the market regulate itself, minimizing government involvement in the economy, and freeing up prices, the new government will not be able to get the economy out of its crisis anytime soon.
IOM Mongolia Marks World Day Against Trafficking in Persons
July 30 (UB Post) The incidence of human trafficking in Mongolia is significant, particularly of young women and girls who are sexually exploited for commercial gain. Since 2007, IOM has been working with local civil society organizations to provide direct assistance and reintegration support to Mongolian victims of trafficking, and to support the government and other organizations to combat human trafficking.
In January this year, IOM Mongolia launched a two year project aimed at Protecting the rights of vulnerable migrants and victims of human trafficking in Mongolia. The initiative is co-funded by the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) of the European Union. Key Mongolian counterparts include the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, Immigration of Mongolia, the National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia (NHRCM) and mining companies.
"The project focusses on the southern mining impacted areas of Mongolia of Umnugobi and Dornogobi" said IOM Chief of Mission, Mr. Pär Liljert. "The development of the mining industry in southern Mongolia and the consequent increase in migration towards the mining sites has intensified the risk of irregular migration, including cross-border human trafficking. There is a need for increased awareness, improved coordination and capacity, and for direct support for vulnerable migrant women and victims of human trafficking."
As part of the project, in April this year IOM trained over 100 officers who are involved in the protection of victims, the provision of responsive services, and prevention of human trafficking. Participants included civil society organizations, social workers from child and family development centres, and local immigration, police and administrative officials. The training workshops were held in the southern Dornogobi and Umnugobi provinces, and in the capital, Ulaanbaatar.
The project includes direct assistance to victims of human trafficking including shelter and reintegration support, awareness raising campaigns for vulnerable migrants, truck drivers and high school students, livelihood skills training and small income generating grants for vulnerable migrant women, and the establishment of a migrant resource centre in Umnugobi province.
The project is being run collaboratively with local project partners, the Mongolian Gender and Equity Centre (MGEC) and End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT).
Alibaba's Jack Ma wants to cooperate with Mongolian businesses
July 28 (UB Post) At a meeting with Speaker of Parliament M.Enkhbold on Wednesday, Founder and Chairman of China's largest e-commerce website, Alibaba, Jack Ma expressed his willingness to collaborate with Mongolian entrepreneurs.
Beginning the meeting, the Speaker said that he met with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang during the ASEM Summit, and discussed possibilities for implementing several projects to ensure the sustainability of business and investment relationships between the two countries.
"The Mongolian People's Party won the elections, and now comprises its government, implementing state policy. Because we've adhered to unpleasant policy for businesses and foreign investors over the last four years, many entities have closed their doors. We will change this situation and focus on creating a pleasant business environment, and providing sustainable support to businesses. I heard that you will give a speech to Mongolian entrepreneurs. I hope you will give them an understanding of strict business principles," said Speaker M.Enkhbold.
Ma thanked Speaker M.Enkhbold for the reception and for his contribution to developing business relations between Mongolia and China.
Ma said, "The first time I came to Mongolia was in 2013. After three years, I've noticed many changes to society and economic conditions. I am happy to have the chance to talk with you about Mongolia's business environment and its changes. I feel more motivated. The global economic crisis is brining many negative influences, but we still need to look for more possibilities. We are transferring to a technological era.
"Mongolia is a country with vast territory, great natural resources, and a small population. As you said before, Mongolia's foreign policy wasn't creating trust in foreign investors. We have conducted many studies and collected a lot of information about Mongolia in the past. I believe that Mongolia needs to improve its business conditions and develop its service and infrastructure sector. In the future, there will be internet and high-tech competition among the youth. Alibaba Group is interested in cooperating with Mongolian businesses in the service, agriculture, investment, and tourism sectors."
The meeting between Ma and Speaker M.Enkhbold was attended by MP D.Sumiyabazar, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Department of the Office of the Parliament Ts.Narantungalag, and other officials.
Live Video Coverage of Jack Ma's Lecture on Success to Mongolian Youth – GoGo Mongolia, July 27
Young Mongols Series: Entrepreneurship
By Aubrey Menard
July 29 (Young Mongols) What challenges and opportunities exist for entrepreneurs in Mongolia? Learn more about startup culture and hear about one tech company that's trying to solve urban mobility through technology.
Featuring interviews with Ider-Od (Startup Mongolia), Amar (EasyRide), and Azjargal (Women Entrepreneurs).
Mongolia's 5 western provinces to export meat to China's Ningxia
July 28 (Montsame) Leaders of the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry met today (July 27) with the chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of the Ningxia Autonomous Region of People's Republic of China, Mr He Zhengrong, and representatives of meat factories and companies of China.
The sides considered issues on establishing trade representatives and commercial points and providing discounts for imports and exports. The Chinese Ningxia agreed to cooperate with Mongolia's 5 western provinces on meat trade, confirming with Memorandums of Understanding thereon established with Khuvsgul and Bayankhongor provinces.
In accordance with the MoUs, Chinese region and Mongolian provinces pledged to support the "Silk Road Economic Belt" Initiative of China and to coordinate it with the "Steppe Road" initiative of Mongolia. Ningxia is to make investments and cooperate with Khuvsgul and Bayankhongor in the mining, land farming, animal farming and reproduction, refrigerated transport and tourism. The two sides have opened opportunities to exchange high-level visits and business events, and for Mongolia to join the China-Arab trade fair, which takes place in Ningxia.
Ulaanbaatar Railway provides clarification on train accident in Darkhan
July 27 (UB Post) Ulaanbaatar Railway reported on Tuesday that the train No.2504, which was transporting wood and wooden materials from Russia to China through Mongolia, crashed on July 23 in Darkhan, and five of its wagons went off track.
Ulaanbaatar Railway representatives said that the cause of the accident hasn't been determined yet, but noted that the railroad could have softened due to a two-day
heavy rain in Darkhan.
"The accident didn't cause any injuries or damage to the environment. After the accident, authorities of Ulaanbaatar Railway took prompt measures, and recovered the train. Currently, the railway traffic transportation is progressing normally," said Ulaanbaatar Railway's deputy director in charge of occupational safety and protection Ch.Erdenedalai.
The train maintenance and recovery was made from July 23 to 24, and a total of 7.8 million MNT was spent to reconstruct the damaged 40 meter railway. The freight carried out by the train was transferred to other trains to deliver it to China on time.
A working group of police and intelligence agency investigated to find whether there were external factors involved in the accident, but concluded that no external factors were found.
However, the final conclusion will be made on July 27, and Ulaanbaatar Railway will discuss its conclusion during its emergency meeting. Ulaanbaatar Railway representatives also said that Mongolia will have to pay a compensation to Russia as the train belongs to Russia.
"The train was commissioned between 1980 and 1997. Depending on its usage, Russia will determine its damage and report to us. We will discuss and resolve the compensation. Because the freight was delivered to China safely on time, we don't have any payment issues with China," said Erdenedalai.
Prior to Saturday's accident, only two train accidents were registered in Mongolia in 1984 and 2006.
Telecommunications and postal revenue up 2.6% in first halft
July 27 (UB Post) Bloomberg TV Mongolia reported that the income of the nation's telecommunications and postal sector have reached their highest point in the last three years.
The National Registration and Statistical Office reported that the income of the sectors' companies equaled 363.4 billion MNT as of the first half of 2016, which was a figure up by 2.6 percent in comparison to 2015.
In the second quarter of 2016, the sectors' revenue reached 194.2 billion MNT, which was a result up by 15 percent over the first quarter, and up by 6.2 percent compared to the same period in 2015.
The majority of the combined revenue was generated by mobile phone service providers. They earned 239.3 billion MNT as of the first six months of 2016, making up two-thirds of the sector's income.
The number of mobile phone users, which has drastically dropped since the third quarter of 2015, started increasing in the last quarter. As of the end of 2016, over 3.5 million mobile phone users were registered, which was a figure up by 3.6 percent compared to the same period in 2015.
Mining advocate talks about Mongolia's mining sector challenges
July 29 (UB Post) Udriin Sonin spoke with executive director of the Mongolian National Mining Association D.Enkhbold regarding a broad scope of issues concerning the nation's mining sector.
Is investment in mining still poor?
The external situation is the same; we haven't observed any changes in the internal environment.
A new cabinet has been formed. What are the most important decisions needed in the mining sector in your opinion?
The Mongolian People's Party is creating its cabinet, and appointing chairs of standing committees. In the mining sector, there are some issues that are wholly dependent on the government. We don't have any possibility to directly influence external conditions. Of course, the external condition will improve someday. But before that, we need to take measures to advance the internal conditions. Firstly, we need to regulate taxes that are being charged under the guise of fees. The situation within mining companies is challenging.
Even though the mining sector is in critical condition, people still don't accept that the mining sector is carrying Mongolia on its back. The truth is that the mining sector will drag the nation's economy in the near future. People need to understand this.
If Mongolia wants to develop its mining sector, it shouldn't be charging taxes and fees at all stages. Ministries and government organizations initiate and charge fees from mining companies at will. Even the Mongolian Customs charge 1,500 MNT per ton of export. Although it is named "fee", they bring more costs to companies than taxes. We tried to resolve this issue through three stage courts.
The government has the ability to resolve this issue that is bringing mining companies to failure. The Finance Ministry is an organization with more power than Parliament and the government. They don't have any interest in going easy on taxation. Of course we do understand that there should be taxes, but the government needs to ensure connection between its agencies and regulate the fee issues.
Do you meant to say that ministries are charging more from mining companies through fees than taxes. Is this what you meant?
For instance, they charge 170 million MNT for issuing water evaluation, which is inappropriate. This is a separate issue from water consumption.
The Finance Ministry might explain that it is needed for generating the nation's state budget. But we just want tax and fee issues to be more regulated and to pay equal amounts in good and bad conditions. This is what investors are looking at. A fee is charged also for coal export, as it pollutes the air when burnt. It is hard to understand why they charge this fee as the coal is going to be burnt in China.
Is mineral exploration license issuance still suspended?
Yes. There is one big mistake in license issuance. The government announced exploration areas without negotiating it with local governors. When local governors don't agree, license issuance does not progress.
As the government has already decided, is there a possibility to lower the power of local governors?
We could choose such an option, as Mongolia is not a federation. But this issue has two sides. Because mining activities have many features, investors want friendly cooperation with local governing bodies. That's why there is only one solution. The law should state "Exploration area will be announced after negotiations with local authorities". That would resolve everything.
What are the projects that the new cabinet should move forward with immediately to improve the nation's economy?
Projects that have already started, such as Oyu Tolgoi shouldn't be slowed down. As for the Tavan Tolgoi project, its mine is working. We don't have any detailed information about whether the feasibility study for Tavan Tolgoi's water reserve was completed. Quite a time has passed since it was said that Tavan Tolgoi will be developed further. Without resolving its infrastructure, talking about Tavan Tolgoi is useless.
Are you talking about the railroad?
Yes, there is no one interested in building Tavan Tolgoi's railroad, except China. When the prices for coal were high, over 10 companies were competing for the Tavan Tolgoi tender, but now it became history.
What are other projects that need to be advanced apart from Tavan Tolgoi?
The Gatsuurt issue is being resolved by court. The issues around Gatsuurt are badly influencing Mongolia on the international level. Because Centerra Gold is a company with public shares, it needs to introduce its environment and social responsibility studies in accordance with requirements from international stock exchanges and its investors. One of its introductions was made ahead of the National Naadam Festival.
MPs are saying that signing of the agreement for Oyu Tolgoi's underground mine held in Dubai was incorrect. Mainly members of the Mongolian People's Party are touching upon this issue. What is your position?
It is impossible to conclude if it was correct to sign the agreement. This agreement was signed because of necessity. If this agreement wasn't signed, we would have faced more difficulty today. Thanks to Oyu Tolgoi, other mining companies are moving forward. Domestic companies such as Khasu Megawatt and Khishig Arvin signed a major contract for the underground mine development. Mining has a great influence on the economy. Especially, it is definite that moving Oyu Tolgoi will bring notable changes to the economy.
People are voicing their suggestions and objections to the 49 percent ownership of the Erdenet Mining Corporation. Some of them believe that the government should have bought the company and then decided what to do with it. What is your opinion?
It is not as if the government is selling its ownership to others. This issue isn't dependent on us; this was Russia's Rostech's decision. They decide whether to sell their shares or not. Russia has the right to say that "you don't have the right to get involve in this issue, we are selling our own ownership". But Russia reported that it will make negotiations with Mongolia.
Gold is one of the major export products of Mongolia. There are expectations that prices of gold will increase by the end of this year.
Recently, prices of gold have slightly dropped, but it's not dropping below 1,320 USD [per ounce]. There are high expectations that gold prices will rise by the end of this year. Especially the U.S. presidential election will have a great influence in this issue. It is good that prices of copper are not dropping below 4,900 USD. We have included some positive projections in the state budget. But coal prices are still poor.
When will the Discover Mongolia investors' conference take place this year?
We plan to organize the forum from September 8 to 9. This year, Discover Mongolia will be held under the slogan "For Sustainable Condition". Of course, the forum will touch upon issues concerning the mining sector and difficulties. We hope that the new cabinet will cooperate in organizing the forum. This year, Discover Mongolia will be held after the elections, that's why investors will be interested about policies of the new cabinet.
Mongolia: New Frontier for an Old Industry
Sukhgerel Dugersuren is the Executive Director of Oyu Tolgoi Watch (OT Watch), which monitors the impact of mining in Mongolia. Front Line Defenders worked with Sukhgerel to prepare material for a chapter of the forthcoming nonfiction graphic novel about human rights defenders challenging extractive industries around the world. Below is an excerpt from the book and context provided by Sukhgerel.
July 7 (Front Line Defenders) Mongolia is a new star on the extractive industry's stage. Being brand new means it does not have the necessary legal framework, norms and standards aimed at protecting the environment and the rights of local communities.
The World Bank leads a team of international financial institutions, namely the International Financial Corporation (IFC), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Asian Development Bank (ADB), that are financing mining and supporting infrastructure projects.
Owing to this support, the mining sector is booming nationwide regardless whether there is water in the Gobi desert or that minerals have to be transported on bare soil through national protected areas.
The Government is 'issuing' laws as demanded by mining corporations, or as they prefer to call themselves — foreign investors. In the past one year, the Government eliminated the Law on Prohibiting Mineral Extraction and Exploration in Headwaters of Rivers and Forest Resource Areas (also known as 'The Law with the Long Name'). (Mogi: the law was slightly amended, not eliminated) This law was passed in 2009 thanks to the efforts of a decade-long civil society struggle.
According to the World Bank, mining has led to rapid economic growth in Mongolia. But the reality for people living near the mines is different. Pollution has had an impact on everyone, but the people who have suffered the greatest impoverishment are the nomadic herder communities. Their life-sustaining pastures, water springs and seasonal camps are being lost to open-pit mines and the road building, waste dumping and water extraction that come along with this industry.
The nonfiction graphic novel featuring stories of HRDs challenging extractive industries will be published by Front Line Defenders in 2017. Artwork for the Mongolia chapter by Jon Sack.
Link to article (and comic)
Mongolia and China to expand collaboration in various business sectors
July 29 (UB Post) Chinese representatives led by the Director of the Ningxia Chamber of Commerce (NCC) visited Mongolia from July 25 to 28, to discuss a broad scope of issues concerning cooperation between the two countries.
Yesterday, the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) and NCC organized a business meeting between entrepreneurs of the two countries, to exchange views on business environments, society and the economy, and to discuss opportunities for cooperation in the future.
To support the implementation of the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative and connecting it to the Mongolian Steppe Road initiative, the parties discussed and shared views on expanding trade, investment, and tourism sector collaboration between the two countries; and to cooperate in supporting economic development, improving social development, and citizen involvement in society.
During yesterday's meeting, Chinese delegates signed cooperation agreements with Bayankhongor and Khuvsgul provinces, and with Zavkhan Province's Zavkhan Food Group. Through these cooperation agreements, Mongolia and China hope to boost bilateral cooperation by working together to organize trade fairs, international forums, and conferences.
The meeting took place in the presence of the Deputy Head of the MNCCI, Director of the NCC, and other business representatives from the two nations.
Mongolia's first E-mart opened on July 28
July 29 (The Korea Herald) The first E-mart in Mongolia welcomed customers on July 28.
The South Korean retail giant's first discount chain opened in Ulaanbaatar, the first big box store in Mongolia. Instead of directly operating the outlet, E-mart has signed a contract with SKY Trading, a local distribution unit of Altai Group. It exports the brand, operation management manual and products for a royalty, a first for Korean enterprises.
Taking over 7,590 square meters, the store almost exactly brings its Korean version to the Mongolian capital, letting the customers experience Korean shopping culture at home, where Korean culture is enjoying popularity, said E-mart.
More than 3,500 customers came to the store by 3 p.m. on the official opening day, and the store had to limit their entrance as many as six times. During its "soft opening" period, from July 26 to 27, the hypermarket posted 400 million won (US$353,515) in sales, about three times its estimate.
"About 12,000 items from over 320 Korean companies will be exported," said a company source. About one-third of the merchandise on sale is Korean.
"The sales figure might not be as big as that of a branch in Korea, but as the initial response was explosive, we are seeing a very large growth potential," he added.
KOPIA discusses agricultural development in Ulaanbaatar
August 1 (UB Post) Last Friday, authorities of the Korean Project of International Agriculture (KOPIA) Centers in Asia held a meeting in Ulaanbaatar to discuss agricultural improvement in developing countries.
KOPIA is a set of programs being realized in 20 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, aimed to introduce modern agricultural technology in developing countries, increase their agricultural exports, build capacity and expand their foreign friendly cooperation.
During the meeting, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Mongolia Oh Song said, "KOPIA Mongolia Center, since its establishment in 2014, has been successfully leading the Elite Seed Production Project for cereal crops, which are planted on 90 percent of Mongolia's crop farming fields. By introducing the technology for the production of elite seed to the crop farmers, harvesting can go up by 25 to 30 percent".
The Ambassador said that KOPIA Mongolia Center has launched projects in three sectors, and said he hoped the Mongolian side would make contributions to help Korean agrarian technology to penetrate Mongolian agriculture.
He presented the meeting attendees with progress made by the KOPIA Cambodia Center, which has led KOPIA communities around the world in performance in 2015. The center has been implementing a project on model chicken farming to improve the incomes and financial independence of farmers. With the successful introduction of corn planting and meat chicken farming expertise, the cost of chicken fodder has been reduced by 23 percent and the loss of chickens went down from 27 to 5 percent. Ambassador Oh said that under the project a total of 43,000 USD has been saved and that the organization is dedicated to improving the financial independence of vulnerable farming households.
Directors from KOPIA Centers in Mongolia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Myanmar, and Laos took part in the meeting.
Takung Expands Trading Platform Access Into Russia, Mongolia, Australia and New Zealand
HONG KONG / ACCESSWIRE / July 28, 2016 / Takung Art Co., Ltd. (TKAT), an online platform for acquiring shared ownership units in Asian and Russian fine art, jewelry and precious gems (collectively, "artwork"), today said it has introduced its platform for trading to residents of Russia, Mongolia, Australia and New Zealand – the company's first major expansion of operations outside of China.
Calling the move "one of the landmark events in the history of the company," Chief Executive Mr. Di Xiao said he believed the expansion could add new registrants and diversify the mix of listings on Takung's trading platform, and, in time, generate higher trading commission and listing fee revenue.
The new registrants will utilize the company's existing trading platform to buy and sell ownership units of Takung's listed artwork in Hong Kong dollars. The company, Mr. Xiao added, plans to start hosting events in all four countries to educate their citizens about Takung's business model of shared art ownership and how they can participate and invest through the Takung platform.
To further stimulate trading interest, said the CEO, Takung will add selected portfolios from these countries to its platform, which now numbers 131 artworks including three Russian painting portfolios and eleven Mongolian paintings.
"We are thrilled with the expansion of our trading platform into these four new markets," said Mr. Xiao. "We look forward to working with the various authorities in each nation and creating the most conducive environment for the success of our unique shared ownership trading model."
This, in turn, he said, could help create investor demand for the platform in other parts of the world.
Takung's total transaction value for the first six months of 2016 reached US$2.09 billion, a 308 percent increase on total transactions of $510.95 million recorded in the comparable year-ago period.
Flood puts Bayanzurkh District underwater
August 1 (UB Post) The streets of the eastern part of Ulaanbaatar, the Bayanzurkh District, were left underwater due to heavy rainfall on July 29, which continued from 7:55 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sukhbaatar, Chingeltei, and Bayangol districts in the northern part of the city also reported damage from the heavy rain.
Basements were impacted by the flooding and small cars were washed away along a 300 meter stretch of road east of Chinggis Hotel in the 3rd Khoroo of Bayanzurkh District, a 250-meter-long road outside of the Wrestling Palace, a 150-meter-long road east of Sun Bridge, as well as a road near Buyan LLC.
The Bayanzurkh Emergency Department received many flood-related reports from khoroos 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 18, 19, 22 and 27 in Bayanzurkh District. A 30-member team of emergency workers were dispatched to remove water from streets and roads with four vehicles and to provide assistance to flood-affected families.
Other reports were sent from Monel Street, Dund Dari Ekh, Altan Ulgii, Shar Khad, Duurgiin, Selbe Street, Erdene Tolgoi Street, Military Town, Golden Vill Apartment Town, Zuun Khuree Apartment Town, Building 57, Building 93/A, Building 38/A, Bayanzurkh District Tax Department, Tsetserlegjilt LLC, and Council Street.
The Bayangol District Emergency Department sent five emergency workers with one vehicle to help residents in the 22nd khoroo who were reported to have been hit by flooding. The team removed water from roads and apartments and gave necessary advice to local residents.
Reports of large volumes of water coming into buildings were sent from khoroos 1, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, and 14 on Sukhbaatar District, Khandgait Street, Khangain Street, east Selbe Street, Chingeltei Street, Rashaant Street, Building 44, Building 27, and Building 32/B. The Sukhbaatar District Emergency Department dispatched 11 emergency workers and two vehicles.
PHOTO REPORT: Flash flood drowns UB
July 29 (GoGo Mongolia) Heavy rain battered UB city at 8PM yesterday have caused roads to sink in a water. Especially, cars stuck in flood water at the Eastern parts of UB city and the East roads of Chinggis hotel.
City Emergency Management Authority and Traffic Police Department have taken emergency measures in Bayanzurkh district where it has the worst condition.
Due to hot temperatures, temporary heavy rains have pounded the past days. Except UB, Hutag-Undur soum of Bulgan aimag, Uvurhangai aimag, Erdenesant soum of Tuv aimag were flooded.
Therefore, residents are warned to use safe bridges, not allow their children to play near river and not to spend their free time near river.
UEMA issues extreme heat and flood warnings
August 1 (UB Post) The Ulaanbaatar Emergency Management Agency (UEMA) issued a warning to the public about extreme heat and flood risk expected to occur throughout the country over the next few days.
According to a report from the Information and Research Institute of Metrology, Hydrology and Environment, there will be rain in Ulaanbaatar on August 1 and 3. The temperature at night in Terelj National Park will range from 8 to 13 degrees Celsius, while in districts of Ulaanbaatar it will range from 15 to 20 degrees Celsius, and will reach 29 to 36 degrees Celsius during the daytime.
The UEMA suggests that the elderly and children do not go outside in the extreme heat unless necessary.
The UEMA warned the public to stay regularly updated on weather conditions, to travel on reliable bridges and river crossings, not to swim in rivers with strong currents, to be particularly aware of the safety of children around lakes and rivers, to avoid bodies of water when intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, and to avoid traveling near rivers and lakes because water levels have increased due to heavy rains.
The UEMA also warned households living in ger districts to prepare for flooding by building dams to keep flood waters away from their homes and property.
Japan's Tottori City to develop grand golf in Ulaanbaatar
August 1 (GoGo Mongolia) City Mayor and the City Governor S.Batbold received Tottori City Mayor Mr.Miyavaki Masamichi today.
They discussed on cooperation with Yurihama city of Tottori on developing grand golf in Ulaanbaatar city.
Tottori city is putting their effort to develop grand golf and number of people playing grand golf have reached 3 million, stated by Mr.Miyavaki Masamichi. Moreover, the Tottori city is preparing for organizing the World Grand Gold Championships, which is expected to be attended by 40 countries, in Japan by 2021 and they have planned to open international federation of grand golf. Anyone who is interested in grand gold can be trained and Mr.Miyavaki Masamichi noted that it is a healthy sport.
Tottori city has cooperated with Tuv aimag since 1996. In scope of the cooperation, complex tools and instruments of grand golf were gifted.
City Governor S.Batbold stated that Tottori city is very close to my heart. When I was working at Governor`s Office of Tuv aimag in 1997, I was attended to "Japan expo". Number of people playing golf in UB have increasing day by day. Therefore, we are ready to cooperate with your city to develop golf in UB near Tuul river. We are working to develop foreign relations of UB city more. Thus, we are supporting to establish friendly relations and exchange experiences.
Free buses will serve to Hui Doloon Hudag during Danshig Naadam, August 6-7
July 28 (GoGo Mongolia) In scope of Friendly Ulaanbaatar program, City Governor`s Office in collaboration with Buddhist temples and monasteries will organize Danshig Naadam and Tsam Dance Festival 2016 on Aug 6-7 at Hui Doloon Hudag.
Northeast Asian Mayors to Discuss Green Growth at 3rt Annual Forum
July 27 (Montsame) The Third Annual Forum of Northeast Asian Mayors is taking place on August 3-5 at the Tuushin Hotel, Ulaanbaatar. The upcoming forum expects mayors from China, Russia, S.Korea, Japan, Hungary and Turkey, as well as representatives and keynote speakers from international organizations, to exchange their views and practices on urban green development and green energy solutions.
In particular, the Country Representative to Mongolia of the Global Green Growth Institute, Mr John Lyons is to present a GGGI study report and the Deputy Mayor of Manzhouli to talk about the current state of the green growth of the city.
Also, the speeches will be given by the Resdient Coordination of the United Nations to Mongolia and the Country Manager of the UNDP, Ms Beate Trankmann on "Role of Cities in Ensuring Sustainable Development", the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of France to Mongolia, Ms Elizabeth Barsak – on "COP21 against Climate Change", the director of Beijing Municipal Development and Reform Commission, Mr Lu Yan on "Consistent fight against climate change, creation of first class cities with the power of regional cooperation", and by the Director General of the Climate and Environment Bureau of Busan, Mr Lee Geun-hee on "Green Energy Policy".
Mongolian NEMA officers to cooperate in peacekeeping in South Sudan
August 1 (news.mn) A total of 28 officers of the Mongolian National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) are to join the United Nations peacekeeping force in South Sudan. The NEMA specialists will cooperate with the VI rotation of Mongolian peacekeeping troops. The director NEMA, brigadier-general T.Badral participated in the farewell ceremony which was held on 29th July.
Women take up 5% of Mongolia's South Sudan peacekeeping contingent
July 27 (Montsame) Motorized infantry battalion of 850 military personnel to serve as the sixth contingent of Mongolian peacekeepers in the Republic of South Sudan paid tribute to the General Banner of the Armed Forces on Wednesday.
The military group, commanded by Colonel B.Bat-Erdene, has over 700 personnel from 40 units of the Mongolian armed forces and 100 personnel from the specialized duty units – the Border Protection Unit, the General Police Department, the National Emergency Management Agency, the General Agency for Court Decision Implementation and the Law Enforcement University.
More than 40 percent of the group are skilful military staff with experience in peacekeeping operations, and 5 percent are women.
Since 2012, a total of 4,250 peacekeepers served in operations in South Sudan.
Mongolia, S.Korea parliament offices establish cooperation document
Ulaanbaatar, July 28 /MONTSAME/ The Secretary General of the State Great Khural office, Mr Ts.Tsolmon and the Secretary General of the office of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, Mr Woo Yoon-keun signed Thursday a Cooperation Protocol between the Parliament offices.
After the ceremony of signing the document, the guests and delegates got au fait with the results of the project "E-Parliament", realized with the non-refundable aid from the Government of S.Korea.
In scope of the project, complete set of latest technology equipment for broadcasting the parliamentary meetings has been installed in the chamber of the State Great Khural.
These include, 16 digital cameras, 18 loudspeakers, 230 microphones and five monitoring systems, an independent server and other related devices.
These technologies allowed the public to have insights into not only parliamentary meetings, but also meetings of the standing committees.
The project was launched in 2012, and commissioned in September of 2014, a year before the planned completion.
Belarus Ambassador meets the new Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia
July 29 (Belarus MFA) On July 29, 2016 the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus to Mongolia, Stanislav Chepurnoy, met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, Tsend Munkh-Orgil.
During the meeting, the sides discussed prospects for the development of Belarus–Mongolia relations, primarily in the sphere of economy, the possibility of the expansion of the bilateral legal framework, as well as the exchange of visits.
New Deputy PM meets Indian Ambassador
Ulaanbaatar, July 28 /MONTSAME/ Deputy Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh received Ambassador of the Republic of India, Shri T.Suresh Babu on Thursday. The latter congratulated the Deputy PM on the victory of the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) in the 2016 parliamentary elections.
Mr Khurelsukh highlighted that last year's official visit of Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, to Mongolia has lent a great impetus to upgrading bilateral ties, and noted that the opening of one billion USD credit line for Mongolia was of great importance for stimulating the economic cooperation between the two countries. He emphasized that there are opportunities to expand bilateral cooperation in economic and commercial fields, especially, in agriculture and animal husbandry, and asked the Ambassador to render a support in this matter.
Recalling the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in livestock health and dairy products in the margin of the Indian PM's visit to Mongolia, Ambassador Babu proposed that the MoU can be subjected for bilateral agricultural cooperation.
Deputy PM U.Khurelsukh extended his request to send specialized professionals to India for capacity building training, and noted with appreciation that the number of Mongolian students to receive Indian government scholarships each year has gone up from 150 to 200 owing to Narendra Modi's visit.
Ambassador Suresh Babu handed over to Deputy PM Khurelsukh the invitation of the Minister of Home Affairs of India to attend the Asian Ministerial Meeting on Reducing Disaster Risks, to take place in New Delhi.
Foreign ministries of China and Russia congratulate Ts.Munkh-Orgil
August 1 (UB Post) The Foreign Affairs Ministers of Russia and China have sent congratulation letters to the Mongolian Minister of Foreign Relations, Ts.Munkh-Orgil, following his appointment.
Recalling the many years of friendly cooperation and mutual understanding between Mongolia and Russia, Foreign Affairs Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov told Ts.Munkh-Orgil that cooperating productively on broad matters of international and regional interest will strengthen Mongolia-Russia's strategic partnership.
Noting that Mongolian and Chinese relations and cooperation has been successfully and steadily developing in all sectors, Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi affirmed that he would cooperate with Ts.Munkh-Orgil on making the two countries' strategic partnership go forward. In his letter, Foreign Minister Wang invited Minister Ts.Munkh-Orgil to visit his country at his convenience.
Ts.Munkh-Orgil, 52, is an alumnus of the International Relations Institute of Moscow, and obtained a graduate degree from Harvard Law School in 1996. Speaking Russian, English, and French, Ts.Munkh-Orgil is a professional diplomat who served as an attaché for the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Mongolia from 2004 to 2006. He has served as Minister and Deputy Minister of Justice and Internal Affairs, and has been elected to Parliament three times.
Northeast Asian Think Tank opens in Ulaanbaatar
July 29 (Montsame) Northeast Asian Think Tank opened on July 28, under the Institute of History and Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences of Mongolia, at the initiative of the Institute for the Humanities of Japan, with an aim of studying the social and historic processes in the Northeast Asian region.
The Mongolian Academy of Sciences have inked a cooperation agreement with the Japanese Institute for the Humanities on January 22. In accordance with the document, Mongolia have assumed a commitment to promote expansion of collaboration of scholars and academicians in Northeast Asia, and to create a new platform of cooperation for deepening the studies on the regional history, culture, society, economy and politics. The Think Tank enables Mongolian scholars to study own country's history at the regional level, as well as to take active parts in the international and regional programs, implemented by Russia, Japan, China and the Koreas, highlighted D.Regdel, the first Vice President of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences.
Professor Narifumi Tachimoto, Director-General of the Research Institute for the Humanities and Nature of Japan, said that the institute has been implementing three programs on Chinese Studies, Indian Studies and Islamic Studies. In light of the expansion of these programs, we launched a Northeast Asian Studies Program. "Mongolia is located in the heart of this region, so has the full capacity to become the key research base for Northeast Asia", he noted.
Doors of the Northeast Asian Think Tank are open to all scholars and academicians of all institutes of the Academy and the university professors of Mongolia.
Joint Mongolia-Russia "Selenga-2016" military exercise approaching
Ulaanbaatar, July 27 /MONTSAME/ Mongolia-Russia joint military field exercise under the code name "Selenga-2016" is commencing late August. The exercise will incorporate training of destroying illegal armed groups, emissary and searching operations.
Battalions of tanks, mortars and mine-throwers, squadrons of security and missile, companies of motorized infantry, and military unit of air defense are planned to engage in the exercises.
As a result of the negotiations during the preparation meetings for "Selenga-2016", representatives of the Mongolian Armed Forces have reached an agreement with the leaders of the Far Eastern Military District of Russia on organizing the exercise on the Russian territory.
The joint exercise will continue until mid-September.
Jargal DeFacto has an all-round talk with Estonia's Prime Minister
July 28 (UB Post) Below is the transcript of the interview by Jargal DeFacto, where Prime Minister Rõivas elaborates on his country's affairs, technological advancement, e-governance, and Mongolia-Estonia relation.Prime Minister of Estonia and the Leader of the Reform Party Taavi Rõivas was interviewed by independent economist and TV personality D.Jargalsaikhan, commonly known as Jargal DeFacto, during ASEM11, hosted in Ulaanbaatar on July 14 and 15.
Welcome to Mongolia!
Thank you very much.
The media says you are the youngest prime minister and the youngest leader of a country not only in the European Union, but also here in ASEM too.
Thank you. As a fact, it is correct. In fact, I talked to the President of Mongolia and he said that when he first became prime minister, he was about the same age as I was.
I remember that time, Mongolia had a lot of young leaders. Now, they are becoming mature just as the democracy is, I hope. I have a few questions about your country because of the similarity [between our two countries] and the location of your country is very much appealing to Mongolians. I have visited [Estonia] several times and I really understood the similarities, in particular the stamina that you have that we can use and we can learn from you in Mongolia. Please tell us what makes [your] economy boom and about the fast economic growth in Estonia.
Czech President explores Europe's security issues and more during DeFacto interview
July 27 (UB Post) The UB Post has another interview by independent economist and TV personality D.Jargalsaikhan, more commonly known as Jargal DeFacto, for today's Prime Interview.
This time, Jargal DeFacto interviewed President of the Czech Republic Miloš Zeman about global issues, crises, and the Czech Republic's stable economy.
The interview was taken during the 11th ASEM Summit, hosted in Ulaanbaatar on July 15 and 16.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
How do you view the ASEM Summit hosted here?
If I may be frank with you, the basic idea of ASEM is excellent. The problem is that this idea is sometimes underrated by the plenty of polite phrases and many concrete measures but there are exceptions. For instance, exchange of young people and youth have very positive ideas which are really realized. On the other side, just now, we have discussed the problem of terrorism. We condemn terrorism. It is understandable but it is not enough. Do you know about the situation in Nice?
Mongolia reviving a historical bridge between Europe and Asia
By Jargal "DeFacto" Dambadarjaa
July 28 (GoGo Mongolia) Jack Weatherford, a professor of anthropology at Macalester College in Minnesota, wrote in his 2004 book "Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World" that Mongolians established the first-ever bridge connecting the civilizations in Asia and Europe in the 13th century. He went on to write that 200 years later, Europeans attempted to revive the highly profitable foreign trade that was set up by Chinggis Khaan's descendants.
Although the summit – at times – seemed to be almost too big and overwhelming for a country like us, who has less political weight, we had nice, unique days where Mongolia showed its neutral status, promoted our nation, culture and history, and proved that we are a peaceful country where these types of meetings can be held.
It was a big step towards developing tourism, in particular "convention tourism", which could be a very promising area of growth for Mongolia. Convention tourism includes events and meetings related to fields such as sports, arts, and business.
These events are usually held in countries that have good communications, hotels, and transportation infrastructure, and where the security is ensured, catering and entertainment services are good, and people are friendly. Convention tourism is a relatively profitable business.
As long as planning and preparation are carried out well, Mongolians proved that we can receive 5,000 people a day. In the framework of organizing the summit, many projects took place, including setting up a villa designated for receiving high-profile visitors, building up capacity at hotels, and preparing skilled staff and volunteers. A total of 4,400 people were given technical training, 620 received training in Mongolia, 15 learned more about hotel management in South Korea, and 50 were sent to other countries for capacity building.
With funding from the European Union, 20 people were given professional training (14 received their training in India) as interpreters for international conferences, while over 1,100 people – including students – were trained for translation. Approximately 500 people from the police and the intelligence agency were given special training on security matters.
It has been estimated that we generated revenue of eight to 10 million USD from flights, hotels, goods, and services for ASEM guests. In 2016, 21 billion MNT was spent from the public budget for organizing the summit. The costs were for venues, transportation services, renovation projects, infrastructure, and security equipment.
However, if you take into account the inkind contributions and donations from the private sector, and soft loans provided to hotels and service providers, there has been a total expenditure of hundreds of millions of MNT. The government should compile these numbers and publicly disclose them in a report.
International events of this scale – especially when foreign heads of state are attending – should not be held in close proximity to or at the same time as elections. This time, the newly appointed Prime Minister had dozens of meetings and signed many documents with cabinet ministers who were shortly to be replaced.
Furthermore, this type of event should be organized not in summer months, but at some time after mid-September. It helps ordinary tourists to have greater freedom in booking flights and finding accommodations, which will help us to extend our tourism season, increase the number of tourists we receive, and generate more revenue.
Also, it should be considered to have high-level delegations from 2-3 countries attend the National Naadam Festival and open up opportunities for informal talks. In general, more focus should be directed at public diplomacy. Also, the opportunity for the media to meet with delegations from other countries was limited during the ASEM Summit.
It was also demonstrated that if Mongolians try, we can receive visitors in a great environment, where the city is clean and well-organized. The streets had no rubbish lying on the ground, while taxis were clean and the drivers were wearing white gloves. This is something that we should keep on doing.
Also, if required, translations for taxi drivers can be done through internal radio communications.
Street names, traffic signs, bus stops, and building addresses need to be both in Mongolian and English. If the people and the senior leaders of the government are bilingual, it would make human interactions much more interesting and effective.
May the people of Asia and Europe be good friends, and the connection be much stronger. May more of our friends travel on this bridge Mongolia has revived.
Building New Solidarities in Mongolia: Asia-Europe People's Forum 2016
July 28 (Transnational Institute) Between 4 and 6 July, over 750 activists, academics, social movements and civil society representatives from all over Asia and Europe gathered in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to share national and international struggles, exchange ideas and build new alliances during the Asia-Europe People's Forum (AEPF).
The event, organised ahead of the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting for heads of states (ASEM), offered a valuable space for activists from both regions to share experiences and develop proposals for common coordination and actions. For TNI, which was co-initiator of the very first 1996 AEPF in Bangkok and has had a presence at the event ever since, the meetings in Ulaanbaatar provided a valuable opportunity to continue building convergences on shared struggles and connect with likeminded movements.
For 20 years, the AEPF has provided a unique and dynamic platform for dialogue and exchange between European and Asian people's movements. Its first edition was organised by social movements to create a counter voice to the first ASEM meeting in 1996 in Bangkok and to stress the importance of a people's voice during such summits. Since then, the AEPF has become a recurring bi-annual event preceding the ASEM meetings, which is organised alternatingly in Asia and Europe. Its network has expanded over the years, with new movements and organisations being mobilized with each meeting. The aims of the AEPF are to strengthen activists' networks across Europe and Asia, analyse issues of common interest and provide people's networks with a channel for critical engagement.
This year's AEPF was kicked off by an opening ceremony in Mongolia's presidential palace on Genghis Khan Square, the heart of the country's capital city. Speeches by the Mongolian president, representatives from the national and international organising committees and other activists highlighted the importance of the forum for giving a voice to thousands of people across the two continents. The ceremony included a strong declaration on behalf of Ng Shui Meng, the wife of Sombath Somphone who coordinated the 2012 AEPF in Laos and whose forced disappearance remains a great concern to activists from both Asia and Europe. Somphone's disappearance exemplified the fierce repression and criminalization that many activists are dealing with in their struggles today. His wife's declaration therefore signified a symbolic start towards three days of exchanges and network building aimed at strengthening those struggles and countering such repressions in the future.
Over the course of three days, more than 500 Mongolians from all over the country, together with 250 international guests were active in a large number of workshops and meetings. The workshops were organized around seven thematic clusters that encompassed current global struggles such as climate justice; land and resource grabbing cases and peace and security issues. Moreover, space was also provided to discuss more recent developments such as China's growing influence both in Asia and globally, or the 'Brexit' vote and its implications for progressives across the world. These issues led to vigorous, and at times heated discussions between both Asian and European participants. Especially the active participation by Mongolian civil society members and academics, whose engagement and critical approach to national and international policies was inspiring, made for lively debates and interesting exchanges of experiences and further proposals. Many of the discussions during the workshops also showed how Mongolia's socio-economic and political governance issues related to major concerns in both Asian and European countries.
Since the 1990's, Mongolia's economy has been the subject of a widespread liberalization programme aimed at opening up the country's markets and allowing in foreign investment. Like many other countries, Mongolia's transition to a market-economy in the past decades has led to increasing wealth inequalities along with increasing corporate influence. Due to the country's abundant natural resources, foreign direct investment has been focused almost exclusively on the extraction industries, with coal, gold and rare earth minerals much sought after. Minerals represent about 80% of the total value of the country's exports. In the past years, transnational corporations from mostly Western countries have become a dominant player in the country's mining sector, thereby extracting the country's wealth while grabbing land and resources and causing environmental degradation and social conflicts. Mongolian governments have made attempts in the past years to regulate the mining sector. However, a new study from TNI that was launched during the AEPF shows how foreign companies have answered these attempts with investment claims at international arbitration courts.
Mongolia's struggles share a familiar pattern in both Asian and European countries, where the increasing neoliberalisation of policies and society has marked a preference of the market over the interests of people and the environment. In this context, the contributions by Mongolian participants gave rise to interesting discussions on how to work together to counteract these developments in both regions and support affected people at local level. The struggle of Mongolian social movements against investment claims and trade and investment deals brought local struggles in convergence with for instance the European battles against TTIP and CETA, and the joint resistance against EU-Asian countries agreements and TPP, the trade and investment agreement between Pacific countries and the United States.
With a special focus on the mining industry, there was an interesting dialogue between mainly Asian countries resisting the extractive industries. These discussions focused on the vulnerability of countries to protect their territories from Transnational Corporations and the struggles of communities to prevent companies from taking their lands and livelihoods or causing environmental damages. Mongolian, Philippine and Kyrgyzstani together with German, Romanian and British activists discussed how to better prevent destructive mining, reject the myth of responsible mining and develop common campaign strategies against mining giants operating in their respective countries, which are the same in most of the cases. Participants also identified the threat of trade and investment agreements to their struggles, through the possibility for TNCs to sue states and undermine peoples' resistances.
The common challenges to tackle the climate crisis and move towards a sustainable energy model were discussed among organizations from both regions, who exchanged experiences of their local strategies and planned some common proposals to stop false solutions, promote real solutions and demand urgent action from governments.
In order to better understand the struggles and promote exchange with anti-mining activists, but also to reflect upon the activities of small-scale miners in Mongolia, TNI members and other European activists also had the chance to travel to Mongolia's rural areas in the days following the AEPF, to engage with and learn from both sides. The trip included meetings with artisan and cooperative miners as well as social and environmental activists resisting the damaging operations of transnational mining corporations.
After three days of intense but refreshing discussions, a Final Declaration was presented, which reflected the ideas and outcomes of the forum. Some notable issues drawn up in the statement included a call to ASEM countries to put pressure on the Lao government in order to ensure that Somphone and his family receive the justice they deserve and to put pressure on the military regime in Thailand to return to a democratic and just state respectful of human rights. Another key issue included in the declaration was a strong call upon the ASEM governments to support the campaign for a treaty to stop corporate impunity. The Final Declaration was ultimately presented during the opening ceremony of the ASEM11 on 15 July.
Cardiac Arrythmia patients can now be treated at home
Ulaanbaatar, July 29 /MONTSAME/ A team of Mongolian doctors have succeeded in conducting electrophysiological tests and radiofrequency catheter treatments for three male and three female arrhythmic patients between this July 18 and 22. Before this, arrhythmia was one the 39 diseases that was not treated in Mongolia.
The team of doctors has been working for five months at the Shastin III Hospital of State, under a name "Professional research team on arrhythmia operations". Complete set of equipment, required in the electrophysiological tests and radiofrequency catheter treatments and worth MNT 1.2 billion, has been installed in the hospital.
Mongolia to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week
August 1 (GoGo Mongolia) World Breastfeeding Week is kicking off this week. The global network aims to protect, promote and support breastfeeding worldwide based on the Innocenti Declarations, the Ten Links for Nurturing the Future, and the WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding.
This year's WBW theme is "Breastfeeding: A Key to Sustainable Development", which provides a broad, relevant, and inclusive approach that enables the breastfeeding movement, and beyond, to connect with a variety of development issues over the next 15 years (through 2030) for maximum impact.
The following events will be organized for WBW.
• On August 2, an open house will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 8:000 p.m. at the National Park in Ulaanbaatar for pregnant women and parents interested in getting advice on proper ways to feed infants and young children.
• On August 3, parliamentarians will hold discussions on the impact of supporting parents with breastfeeding infants. Breastfeeding is considered the most effective and inexpensive way of saving a child's life.
Children who are exclusively breastfed are believed to be 14 times more likely to survive the first six months of life than non-breastfed children. Starting breastfeeding on the first day after birth can reduce the risk of newborn death by up to 45 percent.
Breastfeeding advocates also believe that breastfeeding supports a child's ability to learn and helps prevent obesity and chronic diseases later in life. Recent studies in the United States and United Kingdom point to large health care savings resulting from breastfeeding, given that breastfed children fall ill much less often than non-breastfed children.
In Mongolia, according to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2010 survey, approximately 66 percent of children under the age of five months were exclusively breastfed. In 2013, this figure dropped to less than 50 percent, concurrent to an increase in disease among children as well as high child mortality rates in that same year.
Dr. Enkhtuvshin providing education on treatment for Hepatitis C
Ulaanbaatar, July 29 /MONTSAME/ Enkhtuvshin's mother was a doctor. This did not prevent her from having years of ill health and, ultimately, dying from cirrhosis caused by chronic hepatitis C. He spent the final five years of his mother's life caring for her as well as he could, during which Enkhtuvshin also started developing symptoms of liver disease. Knowing the importance of getting tested, he did so in 2012 and was diagnosed with hepatitis C.
Enkhtuvshin says, "It was extremely difficult for me to be diagnosed with hepatitis C since I lost my mother to the same disease. However, at the time I knew that new medicine was coming. I have been waiting for it to arrive ever since. I also took the opportunity to learn about hepatitis C from information I gathered from the internet, which was all in English."
Enkhtuvshin began hepatitis C treatment in early 2016. New hepatitis C medications are in tablet form, and a full course of treatment lasts only three months. In Mongolia, the first people began treatment in November 2015. After only six weeks of treatment, the virus was completely gone. Unfortunately, Enkhtuvshin already had cirrhosis and therefore needed further treatment.
"I feel good," says Enkhtuvshin, "but I cannot be selfish and spend lots of money on treatment." So Enkhtuvshin next started to set up a nongovernmental organization to work on reducing hepatitis C infection in Mongolia and to work towards providing a cure for everyone. His vision is to have future generations free from viral hepatitis.
Enkhtuvshin says, "Treatment is not inexpensive, but the price is reasonable. From 2012 to 2015, when I was waiting for new medicine, I had treatment to improve my immunity so that my liver wouldn't be harmed. In fact, that treatment was more expensive than the current medicine cost."
Enkhtuvshin is now working on a project to provide awareness and education and to encourage people to get tested. The project is called Buten [Whole] Liver Mongolia and seeks to provide testing in provincial hospitals, including viral load testing. More than 1000 people have participated in the project so far, which has been working closely with the provincial health departments in Mongolia.
Many people in Mongolia have lost their family members because of hepatitis; it has significantly affected the country. More needs to be done to provide awareness and education on the impact of the disease and prevention and treatment options.
Says Enkhtuvshin, "Let's get tested and get diagnosed. If you are infected, then get treatment; if you are not infected, get vaccinated. We're trying to cure as many people as possible in Mongolia, working in collaboration with various organizations, including from both the public and private sectors. This also means providing training for the community, since our teachers have been the people with hepatitis themselves. These people are volunteering their time, and they are starting to have a real impact by reaching many in the community and providing vital education.", wrote the World Health Organization (WHO) on the World Hepatitis Day, observed July 28.
Civil society and medical professionals raising awareness of hepatic diseases – Montsame, July 29
Lotus Children's Center: Summer Newsletter
July 30 -- Welcome to our second newsletter of the year! Let's have a look at the latest goings on at Lotus since the end of Spring and see how the children have been spending their summer.
Y60 Nissan Patrol
Volunteer Group Day Visit
Lotus Election 2016
Mongolian Cricket Seed Appeal
OPPORTUNITIES TO HELP
Maggots in crew member's eyes
American scientist Albert Yu-Min Lin was in Mongolia to find Genghis Khan's tomb when a member of his team woke up with maggots in his eyes
August 1 (Straits Times) You may find Albert Yu-Min Lin, an Emerging Explorer of the National Geographic Society (NGS), galloping on horse-back in Mongolia or analysing data in a cutting-edge laboratory.
Both activities are part of his quest to find the long-lost tomb of Genghis Khan - the fearsome Mongolian conqueror of the 12th century.
Dr Lin, 35, an American research scientist at the University of California, San Diego, will be coming to Singapore on Aug 30 to give a ticketed talk about the compelling evidence he has found of the tomb's location in Mongolia, as well as about his other technology-enabled quests for Mayan sites in Guatemala and the missing MH370 plane.
Speaking to The Straits Times over the telephone from San Diego, where he is based, Dr Lin says the stories he will tell are reminders that the age of exploration is still here.
"The world is full of wondrous things and magical uncharted landscapes about which we should be curious. We can now apply technology in a way that they couldn't 100 years ago," says Dr Lin, who holds a PhD in materials science and engineering.
He uses a host of high-tech noninvasive tools - such as thermal- imaging systems, ground-penetrating radars and remote sensors - to aid his search.
This is necessary as many Mongolians believe any disturbance of the sacred tomb could trigger an apocalyptic curse.
"This technology allows us to learn without breaking traditions set by people living there," says Dr Lin, whose research is funded by the NGS/Waitt Institute for Discovery, the National Geographic Expeditions Council and the university as well as industry and private support.
He has also benefited from the National Geographic Society's Emerging Explorer Programme, which recognises inspiring scientists, conservationists and innovators and supports each with a $10,000 grant to achieve his full potential.
Apart from relying on technology, Dr Lin has also harnessed the power of people - by crowdsourcing and having 28,000 volunteers analyse millions of satellite images in search of the tomb. When large groups of people agree on "hot spots" of interest, his team would investigate those areas.
"Crowdsourcing is the ultimate way of getting people to understand and be part of the whole process," says the father of two young children.
1. You use a lot of tools that are quite technical. Is your show just for the converted?
No, I think the show is much more about the human experience of being curious and overcoming obstacles. It's about going into the unknown with a sense of purpose - and emerging with that feeling that we are all explorers.
2. What has been the biggest problem you have faced in your research?
I always think of it as more of an opportunity. Archaeology requires physically searching, but 800 years ago, Genghis Khan decreed that the mountain and its surroundings were forbidden to anyone outside the royal family.
People still pay tribute to this and have strong beliefs that nothing should be disturbed physically.
By using technology, we can get over some of the challenges and look at ways of exploring that are more respectful to those cultures.
3. What fascinates you most about Genghis Khan?
The guy came from nothing. By any measure, you would never expect him to be the one to change the world. But in one lifetime, he was able to create the largest empire in history.
What interests me most was what allowed him to have that kind of leadership and so much loyalty in the people around him that they still worship him today.
4. You have trekked solo through places such as Pakistan, Tibet, Cambodia and Mongolia. Which has made the most impact on you?
Everywhere I go is so different. But there are also unifying similarities like how the spirit of the human condition is positive.
The nomadic culture in Mongolia had a profound impact on what was important to me. I lived for several summers with a nomadic family who taught me so much. As a nomad, you live by the land.
When you go back to city life, you realise your "priorities" are not that important and things you took for granted are fundamental.
5. Have you encountered any danger on these adventures?
Once in Mongolia, one of our crew woke up with maggots in his eyes, so the solution was a slab of raw meat on his face to make them move away from his eyes.
These expeditions are adventures into the unknown. There are untravelled landscapes and things trying to kill you.
But you can also get hurt just walking down the street. I'd rather not fear the world of nature, but embrace it.
6. As a National Geographic explorer, you sound like a real-life Indiana Jones. Is the day-to-day as exciting?
It's pretty wonderful. My greatest joy has been spending every day with my main job as a scientist.
To be curious and to follow that curiosity is awesome. The day- to-day is fun.
7. What are the advantages and disadvantages of crowdsourcing?
The human mind's ability to understand, perceive and look for patterns is powerful - maybe more so than computer algorithms. The most powerful thing is that we can solve big data challenges.
Crowdsourcing, especially in science, also creates a channel for people to participate in the frontiers of questions we are trying to answer.
One challenge may be that we get bored after a while, so maybe we don't do as much as a computer. But the downside - I've never thought about it that way. What's better than people working together?
8. How would you like to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as a good father. My kids are so important to me - they're the future explorers. I'd like to be remembered in their eyes as an explorer.
My parents were incredible and also scientific explorers - my father is an astrophysicist and my mother took on an adventurous life with him.
I'd like to be remembered like the ones who inspired me - never to have given up my passion.
Compelling evidence that equine flu virus can infect humans – review
July 30 (Horsetalk.co.nz) Strong evidence exists that the equine influenza virus can occasionally infect humans, according to scientists, who suggest closer surveillance for novel flu viruses among horses is warranted.
"The historical, observational, and experimental data are compelling in supporting the premise that equine influenza virus infections occasionally occur in man," Tai Xie and his colleagues reported in a scientific review.
"While in recent years, human infections with equine influenza viruses have not often been associated with signs of infection, the propensity for influenza A viruses to change makes these viruses worthy of our attention," they said.
The singled out the H7N7 strain, last isolated in horses in the late 1970s, as a particular risk.
Mongolia, they noted, has the largest horse-to-man population ratio in the world and has often suffered large flu outbreaks among horses. For instance, a 1983-84 H3N8 outbreak affected an estimated 891,000 horses, causing 176,000 deaths.
After anecdotal reports suggested children in Mongolia developed respiratory illnesses after exposure to horses with flu infection, members of the review team conducted a prospective study to investigate human infections with equine flu virus.
From 2009 to 2011 they enrolled and followed 439 Mongolian adults, many with occupational exposure to horses, for evidence of equine flu virus infection. In all, 100 developed an influenza-like illness and were investigated with molecular and viral culture studies for influenza. Thirty-six cases (36%) were identified as influenza A infections but none had evidence of equine flu virus.
However, examination of body fluids upon enrollment, and at 12 and 24 months later, revealed that about 40 participants had detectable microneutralization antibody titers against A/Equine/Mongolia/01/2008(H3N8).
The Naadam Festival Brings Mongolia's Gobi Desert Alive
July 29 (Blouin Artinfo) In few countries is the national festival so deeply associated with its past, and so relevant to its present, as in Mongolia. The Naadam Festival celebrated in the capital Ulaanbaatar each July, is a UNESCO-inscribed Intangible Cultural Heritage. Some suggest its origins date back to sports played by the army of Genghis Khan, as a way of testing strength and skill and the oldest surviving Mongolian language book, The Secret History of the Mongols mentions all three main sports of the festival – horse racing, archery and wrestling. Today, the main festival marks the 1921 revolution that created the modern country.
Sampling a slice of Mongolian culture – The Statesman, July 27
The Herding Life in Mongolia
A look at the daily life of nomads 100 km outside of Ulaanbaatar.
July 28 (The Diplomat) Mongolian herders have maintained a nomadic lifestyle for millennia, long predating the rise of Chinggis Khan in the 12th and 13th centuries. Today, roughly one third of Mongolia's population lead pastoral livelihoods, though many families are moving closer to urban areas to take advantage of greater access to markets.
On July 1-3, Peter Bittner of The Diplomat traveled to Bornoor and Bayanchandmani sums, or administrative districts, roughly 100 kilometers outside of Ulaanbaatar. Below are glimpses of the daily lives of the herders he met with. (Due to the conditions of his travel, the subjects in the photos cannot be identified.)
Stunning performance brings Genghis Khan to life
July 27 (China Daily) Some 800 years ago, Genghis Khan united most of the Mongolian tribes with his then invincible cavalry.
Nowadays, Forever Genghis Khan, an equestrian show in a natural setting, is performed by some 50 horsemen from Mongolia.
The show is staged at the Shenquan ecological tourist site in Togtoh county, about 90 kilometers southwest of Hohhot, the capital of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region.
Amid the neighing of horses, the clanging of swords and axes and the yelling of soldiers, the 50-minute performance, which comprises six acts, tells the story of the rise of Genghis Khan.
The show opens with the childhood friendship between Temujin, later acknowledged as Genghis Khan, and his chief rival Jamukha. The boys play together, and both dream of becoming the ruler of the Mongolian steppe.
When the two boys grow up, they both become the leaders of their tribes. When Temujin's wife is kidnapped by an enemy, Jamukha helps Temujin.
But the friendship between the two young men starts to break when Temujin is chosen to become the Khan, and battles ensue.
During a key battle, Jamukha is betrayed by his followers, and is captured by Temujin.
Although Temujin offers to renew his friendship with Jamukha, the latter asks for death, saying there is room for only one sun in the sky, and one lord for Mongolia.
"We performed the show in Jeju island in South Korea from 2008 to 2012," says Uurtsaikh, 39, who is the head of the equestrian team Khaadiin Khaan, which means king of kings.
Together with other Mongolian horsemen, Uurtsaikh and his team performed for Chinese President Xi Jinping, during his state visit to Mongolia in 2014, and received high praise from Xi.
The following July, Uurtsaikh's team was invited to perform in Hohhot.
Chen Jun, the manager of the Shenquan ecological park, then watched the performance and was also impressed by the team's equine prowess.
After negotiations, Chen introduced the performance to the park.
"The show promotes a cultural exchange between China and Mongolia," says Chen. "And we are trying to find more opportunities for the show."
In order to showcase authentic Mongolian culture, all the props and costumes are from Mongolia.
However, the horses used in the performance are from Inner Mongolia, so the riders had to spend weeks to get familiar with the animals before the show was launched in China.
"The most important thing about the performance is that the man and the horse should be one," says Uurtsaikh.
Though the performers are between 17 and 27 years old, some of them have more than 10 years experience of horseback acrobatics.
The show is performed twice daily between May to October.
Meanwhile, Chen and Uurtsaikh hope to take the performance to the southern provinces of China.
As for other plans, Uurtsaikh says: "We will put on a new show this September, featuring the historic Battle of the Thirteen Sides between Temujin and Jamukha."
In that battle, Temujin and Jamukha organize their troops and allies into 13 groups.
Speaking of the crowd response to the show, Uurtsaikh says: "In South Korea, Mongolia and China, the audiences are different, but the response of applause is the same. "And that's what encourages us the most."
THE HISTORY OF THE HAMBURGER
(National Geographic Channel) The roots of the hamburger go all the way back to the time of Genghis Khan.
World Buddhist women gather in Mongolia
August 1 (news.mn) The III International Buddhist Women's Conference begins today (August 1st) at the Gandantegchilen Monastry in Ulaanbaatar. More than 300 women from 15 country are participating in this event. The director of the 'Asral' Centre Willy Minder, the deputy of the Russian Federation's Tibet Centre N.A.Berkenheim and professor Vesna Wallas of Santa-Barbara University in California as well as delegates from Mongolia's Bayan-Ulgii, Uvurkhangai and Khovd provinces will make presentations. Entitled, the "Way to Enlightenment", the Buddhist conference will last three days.
NEMA submits names of citizens to President for bravery awards
Ulaanbaatar, July 28 /MONTSAME/ At the press conference today (July 28), chairman of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Brigade General B.Badral extended gratitude to the ordinary citizens, who are extraordinarily brave and witted, for rescuing precious lives from flood and fire. Deputy PM and NEMA have submitted a proposal to the President on awarding these citizens medals "Shudarga Juram".
He expressed confidence that the President would accept this proposal.
For the latest example, native of Chuluut soum of Arkhangai and soum's Falcon (wrestler's title) L.Buyannemekh rescued 7 passengers, who were locked in the cabin of Starex mini-bus that had stuck in the river while crossing the River Chuluut on July 11. The bus passengers were in a critical condition, informed NEMA Chairman.
Accordingly, the NEMA awarded L.Buyannemekh with a Diploma of Honour.
Nowra CWA embrace Mongolian culture
August 1 (South Coast Register) Nowra CWA held an International Day recently.
Members, visitors and guests enjoyed lunch on the day while finding out some interesting facts on the country of study Mongolia.
Children from the Nowra Christian School were able to present a powerpoint presentation and then received a certificate to each winner for participation.
Guest speaker Mary Owen spoke of her travels through Mongolia. Some members were attired to suit.
Any inquiries about branch activities phone 44210227.
Hot weather ahead for Mongolia
August 1 (GoGo Mongolia) Temperature in UB city have reached 37C today while temperature in Gobi aimags have reached 39C.
Hotter days are ahead through the rest of the week. Especially, temperatures are heating up in Tuv, Gobi and Eastern aimags, National Weather Service reports.
Rain is expected on Friday. However, temperature will reach 25-29C during that day.
Rain with thunderstorm is expected in Central aimags on Aug 3, Northern parts of the country on Aug 4, some parts of the country on Aug 5-6.
Winds will reach 18-20m/s at Western and Central aimags on Aug 3, most regions on Aug 4, Southern regions on Aug 4 and Altai mountains on Aug 6.
Low temperatues ahead in Western aimags and Northern parts of Central aimags on Aug 3, Northern parts of the country on Aug 4-5. Temperature in Altai and Huvsgul mountainous areas will reahc 6-11C at night, 18-23C at day. Temperature in Orhon, Selenge river valley, Gobi and steppe will be 16-21C at night and 28-33C at day. Day temperature in other regions will be 24-29C and night temperature will reach 11-16C.
Korea initiates Mongolia into forestry
July 27 (The Korea Herald) The Korea Forest Service signed a memorandum of understanding last week with Mongolia's ministry of environment, green development and tourism to jointly combat desertification, according to KFS officials.
The agreement, which was made during Asia-Europe Meeting in Ulaanbaatar, reads that both countries will be in cooperation to contribute to afforesting Mongolian regions where the locals suffer from air pollution caused by its rapid urbanization.
"We are pleased to promote amity with Mongolia through afforesting the deserts from which sandy dusts to Korea come," KFS Minister Shin Won-sop said at the ceremony.
Both sides also confirmed that Korea will provide support with a joint research project and transfer technologies of afforestation and pest control, Seoul officials said.
The KFS has been engaged in foresting Mongolia for nearly a decade. It launched a project called "Korea-Mongolia Greenbelt Project" in 2007 to turn the wastelands into green lands. Korean and Mongolian governments established a local organization to plant trees in deserts, mostly the Gobi.
"Mongolia is a country with a long history of nomadic life, which means they were in no need to afforest the lands. In contrast, Korea is renowned with its advanced forest administration skills," a KFS official told The Korea Herald.
"Now they need partners to offer advanced expertise for a settled society. Korea sees advantages from reducing sandy deserts from the Gobi desert, but is also proud to make social changes to our neighbor."
The project indeed encouraged the Mongolian government to go through changes. In 2010, the government established a tree-planting day in 2010. They revised the forestry legislations and carried on campaigns to plant millions of trees last year, the official added.
The project will be completed this year leaving 3,000 hectares of vast forests, equivalent to the size of 3,000 soccer stadiums all combined.
Korea's reforestation expertise under global spotlight – The Korea Herald, July 27
This 4-Foot-Tall White-Naped Crane Is Declining Quickly in Mongolia
July 29 (Care2) The white-naped crane is hard to miss standing at over over 4 feet tall with its signature grey and white striped neck, but new research reveals that this could be their last stand in one of their last strongholds.
Drying Wetlands, Disappearing Cranes
Data taken from 2000 to 2001 in the Ulz River basin in Eastern Mongolia revealed 42 territorial pairs, which was already worrisome for a Vulnerable species. The most recent data taken between 2010 and 2011 (which also visited the basin and other key breeding sites nearby) is even more problematic with only 17 pairs in a total population of approximately 5,500 to 6,500 individuals. Mongolia matters because the country's home to close to half of the global breeding white-naped cranes.
The drastic decline in breeding crane pairs could be linked to severe drought. The cranes thrive in wetland ecosystems, preferably with "tall wet vegetation and low grazing pressure (to allow for nesting)." But an extended drought showed that over a 10-year period, "Several lakes and whole stretches of river that supported cranes in 2001 were completely dry by the 2010 survey, and unsuitable for breeding cranes," says the WCS.
This research, coupled with other data, suggests that white-naped cranes' global population is declining. Research from December 2015 said that the "global extent of natural wetland declined by 30 percent between 1970 and 2008," according to the United Nations Environment Programmer and World Conservation Monitoring Centre. The cranes are also threatened by hunting, direct disturbance, disease, pollution and pesticides.
Consequences of Disappearing Wetlands
Unfortunately, the ramifications of wetland decline go much deeper than white-naped cranes' nesting areas. While the causes of wetland decline vary (including hydrologic alteration, urbanization, industrial development, mining, agriculture, etc.), the consequences reverberate through entire ecosystems from the flora and fauna to human health.
Martin Gilbert, a WCS Wildlife Veterinarian, warns that "[a]lthough white-naped cranes may be one of the most visible inhabitants of Mongolia's wetland communities, their habitat is critical for a whole suite of highly threatened flora and fauna. The declining numbers of cranes is alarming, and may signal wider problems, affecting many more species." Nomadic herding communities are particularly vulnerable. As the United Nations Environment Programmer and World Conservation Monitoring Centre explains, humans depend on wetland ecosystems for crucial water security, food security and erosion control.
Sign and share this petition urging Mongolia to protect precious wetland habitat for white-naped cranes, humans and the local flora and fauna.
Statement of Concern on Snow Leopard Population Estimates
July 25 (Snow Leopard Trust) We are happy to see the comprehensive book on snow leopards and their biology that was published earlier this summer (1).
However, a group of authors state in a chapter of this book (2) that the global snow leopard population may be significantly higher than prevailing estimates. This claim and its implications, which have been highlighted in a press release (3) and have been covered in several media articles, are scientifically unconvincing.
We believe that conservation of endangered species should be guided by the best possible science. In the case of the snow leopard, only few rigorous population and distribution studies exist, and most of the population estimates are based on extrapolations.
Any such extrapolation must be applied with utmost care and a thorough understanding of its limitations and pitfalls. An uncritical use of survey methodologies, on the other hand, can lead to incorrect conclusions, and, as a result, a slackening of conservation efforts, with potentially grave consequences for the species.
The prevailing range of global estimates of the snow leopard population varies between 3920 and 7500. These estimates have come from various local and regional sources. In the above-mentioned book, on the other hand, the authors estimate that in just 44% of their global range, there may be between 4,678 and 8,745 cats – implying there could be twice as many in the total range.
This estimate, which is largely based on data assembled for a conservation meeting in 2008, has significant flaws.
Velociraptor Needs Your Help
July 27 (GotScience.org) Velociraptor! The name strikes excitement into the hearts of dinosaur enthusiasts far and wide, just as the coyote-sized predator's fearsome visage would've excited its contemporaries.
Oviraptor, Protoceratops, Pinacosaurus and many others lived alongside this dromaeosaur in the windswept deserts of Mongolia in the late Cretaceous period, about 71 to 75 million years ago. Its ecosystem occupied a region of today's Gobi Desert known as the Flaming Cliffs, a veritable hotbed of fossils valuable to local markets and to science alike.
Thanks to the little fellow's charisma and a healthy dose of pop culture influence, Velociraptor has earned a place as one of the most well-known dinosaurs today. Few people, however, are familiar with the strife caused by fossil poaching in rural Mongolia. This practice hurts both the scientific endeavor to describe these fossils and the local citizens, whose communities should be able to benefit from the riches locked away beneath their land.
Unfortunately, greed and self interest have driven an increasingly lucrative black market for Mongolia's fossils, and many wonderful fossils have been cut off from the benefits of preservation and public display.
But all is not lost. Beginning in fall of 2016, an expedition led by the nonprofit Institute for the Study of Mongolian Dinosaurs (ISMD) will combat fossil poaching in rural Mongolia. The ultimate aims are to preserve fossils such as Velociraptor and to educate local people about the value and significance of these fossils. The ISMD, led by paleontologist Bolortsetseg Minjin, also helps to repatriate illegally exported fossils and will be extending science outreach events and education via a mobile museum. A long-term goal of the institute is to build a permanent museum in the Gobi desert.
All of these goals are very ambitious, and will not be easy! That's where you, kind readers, come in. We are raising money for this endeavor through an IndieGoGo fundraising campaign. Contributions will fund a four-week expedition to conserve fossils, educate children, and travel to various communities near important fossil sites. The following list is taken from the campaign website and outlines what your contribution will be used for:
· The 2016 Moveable Museum tour through the Gobi, Ulaanbaatar, and western Mongolia
· Outreach events that will reach at least 800 kids in three different regions
· Travel, room, and board for a team of six, including two drivers and two educators
· Maintenance, gas, tires, insurance, parking, and registration for the Moveable Museum
· Translation of the Moveable Museum exhibits into Mongolian
· An English/Mongolian website about Bayanzag, a popular fossil quarry
· Documentation of the current state of fossils at Bayanzag
· A kids' fossil hunt (in an area pre-screened for anything of scientific value)
· A community survey to help us develop plans for a permanent museum
· Fossil conservation training sessions near important fossil quarries
· Illustrations of Mongolian dinosaurs for education and outreach
· Campaign overhead costs
Donations of as little as $5 will secure your name on the website as thanks. Contributions between $10 and $45 will get you stickers, mugs, T-shirts, and posters, all featuring scientifically accurate artworks of the incredible dinosaurs that once called Mongolia home. Larger donations are rewarded with a variety of fossil pendants and reproductions, includingAllosaurus claws and Stegosaurusplates, and $160 nets a framedVelociraptor canvas print, featuring my paleoart.
I am tasked with creating the paleoart that will accompany the website and merchandise associated with the campaign. For a generous $1,200 donation, I am offering an exclusive commissioned artwork of any dinosaur of your choosing! This will include a fully-colored background and is available either as a high-resolution digital image or a physical painting to hang in your house. Samples of my work, for interested parties, can be found here.
The importance of this campaign cannot be overstated. With less than two weeks left in the fundraiser, we are still in desperate need of support and signal-boosting. In addition to awesome merchandise and original paleoart, a contribution of even just a few dollars is a way to show you care about combating fossil poaching and, more importantly, it actually makes a difference. Your contributions go directly to educating rural communities and conserving fossils. These beautiful specimens and their eons-old secrets need our protection now more than ever.
Mongolian flag raised at Rio
August 1 (news.mn) Mongolia is scheduled to compete at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. So the state flag of Mongolia, with the national Soyombo symbol, has been raised in Rio for the XXXI Olympics. The flag-raising ceremony was held on 31st of July.
The retired Brazilian professional women's basketball player Janeth Arcain participated in this event and congratulated the president of the Mongolian National Olympic Committee and the athletes. All 207 National Olympic Committees have qualified for Rio-2016 Olympics. The Mongolian National team will be participating in the Olympics for the 13rd times.
Rio 2016: Mongolian athletes' schedule
July 31 (UB Post) The Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games will start in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on August 5. A total of 43 Mongolian athletes will compete in ten sports events at this year's Olympics.
Weightlifter U.Chagnaadorj recently qualified to compete in the Rio 2016 as a Russian weightlifter was eliminated due to doping.
Below is schedule of Mongolian athletes.
Mongolian postage stamp launched for the 31st Olympics – UB Post, July 31
VIDEO: Mongolian wrestler, S.Battsetseg at Rio 2016
July 28 (GoGo Mongolia) Watch the inspiring, emotional story of Mongolian wrestler girl, BATTSETSEG Soronzonbold. She is two time World Wrestling Champion, Olympic Bronze medalist.
S.Battsetseg to wrestle in Women`s freestyle 63 kg at the 2016 Summer Olympics. May she get to the peak to Rio Olympic Games, that all Mongolian desire.
Mongolian weightlifter takes Russian's place in Rio 2016
Ulaanbaatar, August 1 /MONTSAME/ Chagnaadorj Usukhbayar, 19, has become the first Mongolian weightlifter to ensure a passage to the summer Olympic games after 20 years since the Atlanta-96 Games. In connection with the doping case of the Russian athletes, their rights to take part in the Olympic games have been transferred to athletes from Serbia, Croatia, Belgium and Mongolia.
U.Chagnaadorj is to be challenged in 56 kg weight category, and made the number of Mongolian Rio Olympians 43.
16-year-old Mongolian swimmer to compete at Rio 2016
July 27 (UB Post) The youngest athlete of the Mongolian Olympic team will be swimmer B.Yesui. She will represent Mongolia in the women's 50 m freestyle swimming event of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
She currently studies in 10th grade of School No. 4 in Orkhon Province. She is a member of the Mongolian national swimming team and Khangarid Sports Committee.
B.Yesui has been training in the swimming sport since she was six. She is an experienced athlete who competed in the Incheon 2014 Asian Games, Swimming World Cup 2014, and 2015 World Aquatics Championships.
The young swimmer also broke the state record in the women's 50 m freestyle swimming event with a finish time of 29:51 during an international open tournament held in Singapore in 2015.
B.Yesui prepared for the Olympics at the Azura Swimming Pool in Miami, USA for a month. She is currently in Mongolia and reportedly is wrapping up her training.
Mongolian Olympic team gets set for training in Brazil – UB Post, July 27
Host Mongolia becomes runner-up at World Sumo Championships
August 1 (Montsame) Amateur sumo wrestlers from 23 countries were challenged at the 21st Sumo World Championships over the last weekend, the first-ever to be hosted by Mongolia.
The male and female athletes competed in team and solo categories. At the team competitions, took place on July 30 (Day 1), the Russian men's team beat the Mongolian team with 3:0 points and became the champion. The second runner-up was the Japanese team.
Mongolian men's team has put B.Turbold, O.Usukhbayar and U.Byambajav against the Russian team at the final match for gold.
World's only two-time women's sumo champion is born from Mongolia
Ulaanbaatar, August 1 /MONTSAME/ On July 31, Day 2 of the 21st Sumo World Championships, Mongolian athletes grabbed two Gold, one Silver and three Bronze medals in solo category. On Day 1, Mongolian men and women's team secured Silver medal.
In heavy weight, B.Turbold (men's) and Kh.Sunjidmaa (women's) won Gold medals. Thus, Kh.Sunjidmaa became the first-ever woman sumo wrestler to become twice world champion. O Munkhtsetseg (women's) grabbed the Silver, and U.Byambajav (men's), B.Badral (men's) and B.Batchimeg (women's) won the Bronze medals.
Runner-ups in the women's heavy weight category were athletes from Ukraine, Japan and Russia.
Mongolia remains on top in Asian draughts rankings
Ulaanbaatar, August 1 /MONTSAME/ In the Asian Draughts Championships 2016, Mongolian draught players have championed in 11 categories out of the total 13 in the 100-standard. Magnai Ravjir grabbed the gold medal in open men's category, which challenged 24 players from five countries.
He was followed by State Honored Athlete (Title) D.Erdenebileg, the five-times champion of Asia, and Great Master D.Battulga.
Mongolian participants won 1-3 medals in every category from Mini-Cadet's to Veteran's. Mongolia has been leading the ranking in 100-Standard Draughts of Asia for the past five years.
Mongol Rally raised £16 million for charity since 2014
July 29 (Montsame) Ed Blackwell and Mike Parlby, both 22, are taking part in the Mongol Rally, hailed as the greatest motoring adventure on the planet. The course sees participants cross two continents and 19 countries, covering 10,000 miles on mainly rough terrain, in 'farcically small vehicles'.
Ed, from Callington, and Mike, of Yelverton, will have to traverse mountains, deserts and steppe with no backup, no set route, and driving a 0.8-litre Daewoo Matiz.
The pair have entered the rally to support the Max Levene Trust, a fund set up to help a young man left paralysed after breaking his neck in a rugby accident in 2010.
Ed and Mike have also chosen to support the Backup Trust, a charity which helps those affected by spinal injury, and in addition a proportion of their sponsorship will benefit the Mongol Rally's chosen charity Cool Earth, writes the Cornish Times of UK.
They are two of the many adventurists, who are travelling and raising money for those in need. The Mongol Rally started to take place each summer in 2004, with three key rules: teams need to have very small and rubbish cars, no support crew and have to raise at least a thousand GBP for charity.
Since the beginning of this rally, starting from Europe and ending in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, total of 2,915 travelers crossed the 19 countries and 10,000 miles and raised GBP 16 million, so far.
Jamestown duo drives classic car on epic race from Peking to Paris
July 28 (The Jamestown Press) Two Jamestown men have completed "the most extraordinary journey in a motorcar," driving their classic 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air 8,500 miles from Peking to Paris in 36 days.
"It was unbelievable," said Chris Pike, who drove alongside neighbor Jeff Urbina for the lion's share of the trip. "We were tracking these routes that these crazy Italians were driving in 1907."
Pike and Urbina started their epic journey June 12 from the Great Wall of China. The men traveled through Mongolia, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and France.
The sixth annual Peking to Paris Motor Challenge combines terrible road conditions, racetrack jaunts and constant mechanical repairs. More than 100 cars competed, and the drivers must pack their own camping gear and spare parts, especially extra wheels.
Cotswold rider flies to Mongolia to take part in brutal 1,000km challenge for charity
August 1 (Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard) A RIDER from the Cotswolds set off to take part in the toughest horse riding challenge in the world on Sunday.
Rosie Bathurst, 24, has travelled to Mongolia to take part in the 1,000km Mongol Derby, all in aid of a charity that supports vulnerable veterans.
The former Westonbirt School pupil will be riding semi-wild, unpredictable horses and has only five kilograms of luggage to live out of during the ten day challenge
The gruelling course recreates Genghis Khan's legendary empire-busting postal system, with riders racing for 10 days, changing horse every 40km, and living with herders or camping under the stars.
English Stand-Up Comedy Night, August 4
July 31 (UB Post) UB Comedy announced a stand-up comedy night on August 4 at Revo Bar, Seoul Street. Stand-up comedy is a relatively new form of comedy in Mongolia, which is a comic style where a comedian performs in front of a live audience, usually speaking directly to them.
Tenuun's Summer Concert, August 3
July 31 (UB Post) Singer G.Tenuun is organizing a concert titled "Tenuun's Summer Concert" at Black Pearl Restaurant in the National Amusement Park on August 3.
After Tenuun's concert, MNG Event will hold a party until 4:00 a.m. on August 3.
Where: Black Pearl
When: August 3, 8:00 p.m.
Ticket Price: 20,000 MNT
More Information: 99707387
Grand Opening of VLVT Entertainment Lounge, August 3
July 31 (UB Post) The grand opening of VLVT Entertainment Lounge will be held on August 3.
Sunrise Festival 2016, August 5
July 28 (UB Post) Sunrise Festival Mongolia 2016 will take place at the National Stadium on August 5.
State Honored Artist D.Bold, singer of Haranga Kh.Lkhagvasuren Cultural Merit Worker B.Amarkhuu, Kiwi band, UFO band, long song singers, trumpeters, and drummers will participate in the Sunrise Festival 2016.
DJs of MNG Event will play their best summer anthems. This year's Sunrise Festival will include a stage art, LED, light, robot, and sound shows.
Where: National Stadium
When: August 5, 6:00 p.m.
Ticket Price: 30,000 MNT
More Information: 88118308
'Live from UB' in Mongolia
July 31 (UB Post) "Live from UB", a documentary made by American journalist Lauren Knapp, will be screened at Tengis Cinema on August 6.
"Live from UB" shows Mongolia's capital city through the eyes of its boldest musicians. Beginning in the 1970s, rock music was the catalyst for freedom, the vehicle for international curiosity, and now, the medium for Mongolian nationalism.
It follows the story of Mohanik, one of today's most promising independent bands, as they create a new sound for their country and discover what it means to be Mongolian today.
Where: Tengis Cinema
When: August 6, 6:00 p.m.
'Art Vision' brings together Mongolian artists living around the world
July 27 (UB Post) Q Art Gallery opened its new branch at the recently launched Shangri-La Mall on July 22 with the group exhibition "Art Vision".
During the gallery's opening ceremony, General Director of Q Art Gallery J.Bat-Undar said, "Q Art Gallery has been cooperating with artists and art lovers since 2012. We have been organizing charity and fundraising events, and supporting and promoting artists since our establishment. This time, we've opened our new branch at Shangri-La Mall. I thought there must be an art gallery at Shangri-La because it is an entertainment and shopping center."
"Art Vision" was curated by the International Association of Mongol-origin Artists and Creators (IAMAC), an organization founded by Q Art Gallery, and brings together artists of Mongol-origin who live around the world and are united in a vision for the development of Mongolian art.
The mission of IAMAC is to promote Mongolian art around the world; to bring together artists, creators, critics, sponsors, collectors, and art connoisseurs of Mongol origin; to integrate the voices of Mongols and all Mongolian art supporters around the world; and to make contributions to the development of the art of Mongols.
The participating 12 artists living and studying abroad include S.Zayasaikhan (Japan), B.Otgontuvden (Russia), photographer B.Bat-Orgil (Russia), post modern artist Kh.Ariunzaya (Kazakhstan), M.Ganbold (Australia), graphic artist G.Zazaa (Germany), and illustrator Kh.Suren (Italy). They are displaying over 30 abstract, surrealist, and modern artworks in the exhibition.
The following are brief interviews with two of the participating artists.
Museum of Morin Khuur in Inner Mongolia displays Altai zither
July 27 (UB Post) The Museum of Morin Khuur in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia has officially placed the Altai zither, a rare Mongolian musical instrument, among its exhibits on July 16.
Head of Mongolian folk group Burte D.Ganpurev, who restored the Altai zither, handed the instrument to the museum.
D.Ganpurev played the Altai zither at the concert for students of the Art College of Inner Mongolia, during the introduction of the instrument at the college. Kalmyk Today newspaper reported that the concert hall was packed with audiences.
The 1400-year-old Altai Zither is an ancient nomadic cultural heritage and was found at an archeology dig in a tomb in Jargalant soum, Khovd Province. It is the first musical instrument to be found in Mongolia.
Altai zither was introduced in Yakutia, Buryatia, Turkey, Germany and France. It has been placed at the Sate Philharmonic of Elista, Republic of Kalmykia.
Over 42,000 visitors so far have entered Mongolia in 2016
July 27 (UB Post) The Ulaanbaatar City Tourism Department reported that a total of 42,823 individuals have visited Mongolia as of June 2016, which was a result up by 9.7 percent over the same period in 2015.
The data shows that Mongolia has attracted more visitors from Japan, the U.S., Russia, Kazakhstan, Germany, Australia, France, and the Republic of Korea, while the number of visitors from China and Great Britain have decreased in comparison to last year.
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