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Monday, September 5, 2016
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MSE Weekly Report: Top 20 -0.7%, ALL -0.42%, Turnover ₮55.3 Million Shares, ₮651.8 Million T-Bills
September 2 (MSE) --
BoM MNT Rates: Friday, September 2 Close
MNT vs USD (blue), CNY (red) in last 1 year:
BoM issues ₮203.8 billion 1-week bills at 15%, total outstanding +14.3 to ₮510.8 billion
September 2 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 203.8 billion at a weighted interest rate of 15 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
Mongolia parliament considering adding 2nd tier personal income tax
September 2 (gogo.mn) Newly formed Government, after the 7th Parliamentary election, introduced its plan to lower budget deficit by rising personal income tax rates. The plan has not yet approved by the State Great Khural (unicameral parliament of Mongolia). If the plan wins majority support from MPs, the plan will come into effect immediately.
At the moment, the Mongolian economy is facing a very difficult situation. Therefore, newly formed Government introduced some measures to tackle the tough times, which included plan to increase personal income tax rates.
Individuals with monthly wages higher than US$ 909 (2.5 million Mongolian Tughrik) will pay 10 per cent personal income tax on its up to US$ 909 income and pay 25 per cent personal income tax on its additional income. An average monthly wages in Mongolia stands at US$ 363 (800,000 Tugrik). However, people to pay 25 per cent personal income taxes account 1.6 per cent of total employed people in Mongolia. As a result, the budget revenue has projected to be increased by US$ 27 million annually starting 2017.
But first, the plan has to be discussed at related Standing Committee meetings and approved by the State Great Khural. Currently, State Great Khural has recalled the plan. Of course, the Democratic Party (DP) is the most powerful opponent to the plan, initiated by the Mongolian People`s Party which became the majority in State Great Khural winning 65 seats out of 76 in the 2016 Parliamentary election.
DP group considered that increase in tax rates is wrong policy.
Member of DP Group, MP D.Erdenebat noted: "It is a wrong decision to increase tax rates during economic difficulties. Instead, we should expand the number of taxpayers. Majority of people is paid less than US$909 as monthly wages".
Citizen Chuluuntsetseg said "We have sufficiently educated and learned more than others to get monthly salary of more than US$ 909. But it is unfair to pay more taxes than others".
The plan will be finalised in the next few days. But the exact time and final decision have not yet clarified. If the plan wins majority support from member of parliament, the plan will come into effect immediately.
The Balancing Act of BOT
September 4 (UB Post) Mongolia's monetary policy interest rate has increased by 4.5 points to reach 15 percent. Mongol Bank will present July's preliminary balance of trade (BOT) performance report on Monday. As cuts to the state's budget expenditures are being discussed, the nation's balance of trade will become an increasingly important economic indicator. Balance of trade shows what a nation has created, the income earned from foreign exchange, what was exported, and what payments were made for foreign trade.
BOT can reflect the general state of the economy. As of July 2016, Mongolia's BOT showed a 166.2 million USD loss. Compared to the same period in 2015, the deficit was 43 percent less in 2016, equivalent to 125.3 million USD.
Balance of trade has seen continuously decreasing losses over the past 20 months, which has had a positive effect on economic stability. Considering this data, some economists have noted that our economy is in healthy balance.
Last month, international trading account gains increased by 50.8 million USD, whereas revenue account loss decreased by 218.1 million USD. It definitely affected economic stability.
The current balance of trade equilibrium, as of June 2016, has a loss of 96.3 million USD.
Subsequently, losses increased twice according to the preliminary performance report in July. However, Mongolia's BOT has maintained a positive outlook. Mongol Bank announced that they are refusing to use non-traditional monetary policy tools, and will be presenting a preliminary performance report at the end of each month.
As of July, capital and financial equilibrium had a profit of 399.5 million USD.
However, profit fell by 22 percent (111.3 million USD) from the same period in 2015.
This was attributed to decline in profits of 154.5 million USD for the nation's investment portfolio.
These losses represent a lack of foreign direct investment in our economy.
To recover equilibrium for the balance of trade and to turn around the current economic
situation, the U.S. dollar plays a highly valuable role. The economy has recently recovered from balance of trade pressure, and again, the economy is facing the burden of a budget deficit.
A number of economists state that our economy is growing but remains vulnerable. A current account deficit means that the value of a country's imported goods and services is greater than the value of the goods and services it exports.
Last year, BOT deficit decreased by 469 million USD.
We expected to have a positive balance at the year end, but the sudden increased deficit in July makes a positive balance seem doubtful.
The monetary policy statement issued by Mongol Bank's board of directors noted, "Mongolian foreign trade balance improved by 602 million USD in the same period of the previous year compared to the first half of this year; the current account deficit decreased by double [last year's deficit]."
According to this statement, foreign currency inflow and outflow shows positive signs for the economy. If BOT continuously declines and foreign direct investment rises, the MNT
exchange rate against USD will decrease and slow down the stress of rising exchange rates.
Currency exchange rates have a direct effect on foreign trade balance. As a result of the exchange rate, we risk facing enormous losses. The loss will affect the inflation rate and our quality of life. Mongol Bank says that this is why they have implemented monetary policy tools to maintain BOT over the past three years. As a result, we have had the positive numerical outcomes in the economy mentioned above.
Mongol Bank drastically increased the monetary policy interest rate to increase return on MNT. Economists have stated that this will help stabilize the exchange rate and the economy.
It is also expected that Mongolia will see a 400 million USD profit inflow from investment in the second phase of the Oyu Tolgoi project.
Oyu Tolgoi's investment and new monetary policy are the key factors to seeing the balance of trade without losses at the end of the year.
Prime Minister meets World Bank Executive Director
Ulaanbaatar, September 2 (MONTSAME) Prime Minister J.Erdenebat received Friday Heenam Choi, the Executive Director of the World Bank (WB), representing 14 countries including Mongolia to the WB Board of Directors.
Mongolia has been cooperating with the WB and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for 25 years since the country joined them in 1991, the Premier said, and expressed thanks to the organization for implementing a number of projects and programs in all economic spheres and for rendering technical assistance.
The Premier pointed out that the government of Mongolia has worked out a program on overcoming current economic difficulties, and plans to take actions for trimming tolerable expenses in order to reduce the budgetary deficit.
"The government of Mongolia is closely collaborating with international banking and financial organizations in overcoming the economic difficulties in a short time. I believe that the WB will provide Mongolia with policy advice on the matter," J.Erdenebat said. He expressed the willingness to take a developmental policy credit from the WB with an aim to overcome the difficulties and to recover the payment balance and budgetary deficit.
"There many projects and programs with brilliant ideas on development of Mongolia, but very few of their feasibilities satisfied requirements of international investors, banking and financial organizations. So, Mongolia wants to have support from the WB for working out internationally-standard feasibilities," the Premier said.
In turn, the WB Executive Director appreciated the governmental actions to prevent worsening of the economic condition, and then said that the WB will back the current policy of the Mongolia government on overcoming the economic difficulties. Heenam Choi also said he will convey to the WB Board of Directors the Mongolia's request on taking the policy credit.
D.Ariunbold appointed CEO of Erdenes Tavantolgoi
Ulaanbaatar, September 2 (MONTSAME) Upon the decision by the Board of Director of the Erdenes Tavantolgoi JSC, D.Ariunbold has been appointed the executive director. He worked as a director of MONTSAME News Agency between 2000 and 2008.
D.Ariunbold graduated from the University of Science and Technology, the National Academy of Governance and Charles Sturt University of Australia. He has defended master's degrees in management and technical studies.
Invest Mongolia conference to be held on Sep 5-6
September 2 (gogo.mn) Invest Mongolia Conference is scheduled to be held on Sep 5-6 at Shangri-La Hotel, Ulaanbaatar.
Invest Mongolia is one the of the largest events on Mongolia, which serves as a platform of bringing in people from the Government, key industries' players, financial institutions, global investors and medias attracting more than 1000 delegates where they get a chance to talk about several socio-political and economic development throughout the year.
This year will be particularly important to attend due Mongolia experienced the Parliamentary Election in June and hosted ASEM 11th meeting in July.
WHAT'S NEW THIS YEAR?
- The assessments of the Action Plan in the next 4 years and whether the new Government will take investor friendly measures
- What did Asia–Europe Meeting (ASEM) mean for Mongolia and the rest of the world?
- The progress and its impacts of OT underground and other major projects to the economy
- The launch of AIIB and its involvement to the infrastructure development in Mongolia
- The Mongolian Banking Industry and the Bank Strategies
- The foreign Investment in Mongolia: Concerns & Opportunities
- The outlook of the Bond Market and the challenges of the refinancing
You can also register online at the events via the below links. The registration is free of charge.
Click HERE for online registration.
"Invest Mongolia" int'l meeting approaching – Montsame, September 2
IFC Partners with Golomt Bank to Boost Mongolia's Trade Industry
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, August 31, 2016 — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is providing a trade guarantee of up to US$10 million to Golomt Bank. This will help the bank to support businesses, especially SMEs, to solidify import and export relationships within the energy, agriculture and commodity sectors.
"This engagement will help Golomt Bank to address the increasing demand for trade finance, particularly as Oyu Tolgoi's phase two ramps up," said Mr. Ganzorig Ulziibayar, CEO of Golomt Bank. "IFC is a valuable global partner to help us, and our clients, connect with international correspondent banks through this trade facility."
"Greater access to trade finance will help companies in Mongolia, especially SMEs, import and export their goods, strengthening and diversifying trade links between Mongolia and partners around the world," said Tuyen D. Nguyen, Resident Representative for IFC in Mongolia.
Since GTFP's inception in 2005, the award-winning program has provided over 18,000 trade finance guarantees to support more than $30 billion in emerging markets. The program includes more than 500 bank partners in nearly 100 emerging-market countries. Examples of transaction-specific guarantees include letters of credit, trade-related promissory notes, accepted drafts, bills of exchange, guarantees, bid and performance bonds and advance payment guarantees.
Construction Minister Speaks about Policy Priorities with Industry Reps
September 2 (UB Post) Yesterday, Minister of Construction and Urban Development G.Munkhbayar held an open discussion with representatives of NGOs from the construction sector to present the Ministry's priorities and exchange views about future activities.
At the beginning of the meeting, the Minister introduced his team members, and highlighted that the Ministry now consists of professionals.
"A total of 7,000 companies own special licenses in the construction sector. Even though the Construction Development Center issued 1,400 new special licenses, companies that requested licenses are not commencing their operations. We will work to issue licenses online in the future. Construction companies also have to build schools and kindergartens, in addition to thinking about profits. At that time, the State Commission will grant licenses," Minister Munkhbayar said.
The Minister underlined that he will focus on construction technology. He said, "Everyone knows that in constructions being built in Ulaanbaatar and the provinces, occupational safety and fire safety are a concern. A fire can break out at any time during and after the construction process. That's why we want to find a solution for this issue. In order to do that, we will establish a factory that produces stone wool insulation. The wool will be fire-resistant. Now we are using foam for insulation. Our priority is to support factories that will produce stone wool insulation, and export their products in the future."
Minister Munkhbayar said that the Ministry will also pay attention to engineering solutions. "For many years, we didn't improve engineering. Engineering is directly connected to ger district redevelopment. When I was the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar, I worked on a tunnel system for the ger district; an underground city. I will continue this job. If we establish five pipelines underground, it would mean that we would not have to break up roads to change pipelines," he noted.
The Construction Minister also said that the Cabinet will continue issuing eight percent annual interest rate mortgage loans. He added that the working group in charge of the mortgage loan program will make a decision on the program's future regulations. The working group is also studying the possibility of lowering the interest rate and monthly repayment requirements in the provinces.
The open discussion was led by authorities of the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development, and MPs A.Undraa and Batzorig.
Mongolian and Czech businesses to meet in Ulaanbaatar on September 14
September 2 (UB Post) During a visit to Ulaanbaatar by representatives from the Czech Republic led by Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Miloslav Stasek, to be held from September 12 to 15, the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) and Czech Chamber of Commerce will organize a meeting for businesses from the two countries.
The event will take place on September 14, at 10:00 a.m., at the MNCCI's Conference Hall. Businesses and entrepreneurs from the two countries will hold roundtable meetings and individual meetings to discuss cooperation.
The Czech delegation will consist of businesses and entities representing the food, mining, construction, engineering, banking, insurance, mediation, transport, automotive, heating and cooling system, and heavy industry mechanism sectors.
The MNCCI is now registering domestic entities interested in taking part in the event to explore new business opportunities, set up partnerships, and expand their businesses.
Smart Conference to bring global marketers to Mongolia
September 2 (UB Post) On September 14, the Mongolian Marketing Association (MMA) is hosting Smart Conference, where international and national professional marketers will deliver presentations about a broad scope of issues concerning marketing, such as global marketing trends and innovations, brand concepts and values, and the latest information about marketing based on real examples and case studies.
Various workshops on using proper survey methodology for making marketing decisions, utilizing technology, and successfully organizing campaigns will be organized as part of the conference.
Smart Conference organizers underlined that through their participation, businesses will be able to meet marketing professionals and exchange experiences.
Asian Energy Super Ring Opens Up New Horizons for Economic Growth
A project to connect the energy grids of Russia, Japan, China, South Korea and Mongolia took center stage during Friday's session of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.
September 4 (Sputnik) Facing a growing demand for energy, the Asia-Pacific countries are trying to diversify their energy resources, and here Siberia and the Russian Far East, with their huge deposits of natural gas, oil and surplus electricity, could be put to very good use in a variety of joint energy projects.
An Asian energy ring to bring together the energy systems of Russia, Japan, South Korea, China and Mongolia is one such project that was discussed in Vladivostok.
In late March, Russia's Rosseti Company, the China State Grid Corporation, the Korea Electric Power Corporation and Japan's Softbank Group agreed to establish and interconnected energy system to encompass the entire region of Northeastern Asia and eventually to build a number of separate energy bridges, including one between Russia's Sakhalin Island and Japan.
Speaking on the sidelines of a GAZTECH conference earlier this year, the International Energy Agency's former director Tanaka Nobuo said that after the disaster at Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant in March 2011, Japan shut down almost all its nuclear power stations, thus making the country dependent on energy supplies from abroad.
"Without nuclear energy we have become too dependent on fuel supplies, above all from the Middle East, but the current political instability there is a big risk, that's why we are diversifying both our energy resources, such as oil, gas and coal, and the countries where we are buying fuel. Staking on natural gas imports, we could shift our focus from the Middle East to suppliers in North America, Australia, the ASEAN countries and Russia, which could become a major supplier," he said.
That said, Tanaka Nobuo still believes that the project of a joint energy grid in Asia is both economically feasible and would help the countries to resolve existing geological problems through a dialogue.
Meanwhile, a 360 megawatt hydro now under construction in Sakhalin could easily accommodate the island's energy needs and could also sell surplus electricity abroad.
In an exclusive interview with Sputnik, Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anton Inyutsyn said that "if the sides have interest and benefits, the project has chances to be implemented."
"The sides' consent as well as unification of investments and qualifications are not the only things necessary for implementation of the projects, which also demands a fundamental study of technical and economic indicators, risks assessment, regulatory and pricing issues and many others," Inyutsyn added.
Japan's new course on promoting closer ties with Russia is opening the way to more Japanese investments into new and existing projects in the Russian Far East which, for its part, could offer Japanese companies highly attractive terms of investment into the advanced development territories and the Svobodny seaport in Vladivostok.
Japanese businessmen have nine territories in the Russian Far East to choose from and where to invest their money and enjoy tax breaks and administrative preferences.
By the way, Chinese investors have already chosen such a territory in Amur region to invest.
Energy, transport, agriculture, timber processing, medicine – these are the priority areas of Russian-Japanese cooperation, and the energy bridge to be built as part of the Asian energy super ring could be a key area of mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries.
The Asian energy super ring project prescribes the unification of energy systems of Russia, Japan, South Korea, China and Mongolia. This ring is expected to consist of separate energy bridges, one of which can connect Russia's Sakhalin with Japan.
Mayor of Ulaanbaatar visiting Ulan-Ude
Ulaanbaatar, September 2 (MONTSAME) Mayor of Ulaanbaatar city S.Batbold is paying an official visit to Ulan-Ude city of Russian Buryatia Republic.
This is the first visit of S.Batbold abroad after he was selected as the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar city. He was invited by the Ulan-Ude city's Mayor A.M.Golkov on occasion of the 350th anniversary of the Russian city.
At a meeting, A.M.Golkov emphasized that Mayors of over ten cities of Russia as well as high-level officials have been invited to partake in the anniversary events. Governors of Mongolian Darkhan-Uul, Orkhon aimags and singers of the Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet have been invited, he added.
Many Mongolians have graduated from universities and institutes in Ulan-Ude, A.M.Golkov noted, and expressed his satisfaction with the visit of the Ulaanbaatar Mayor to Ulan-Ude and attaching great importance of the Mongolian government to the anniversary.
At the end of the meeting, S.Batbold invited the Ulan-Ude Mayor to visit Ulaanbaatar.
Mongolia-Russia-China Economic Forum 2016 approaches
Ulaanbaatar, September 2 (MONTSAME) In the vision of promoting the Belt and Road Initiative, Erenhot of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China will be hosting the approaching Mongolia-China-Russia Economic Forum and trade fair. The Ninth Mongolia-China-Russian Economic Forum will be organized under a theme "Establishing economic corridor and promoting coherent development".
The event aims to support the trilateral trade partnership, humanitarian exchange, cultural tourism and cross-border regional economic cooperation. Along with the official high-level meeting, side events and conferences will be held on the cross-border logistics, electronic trades, tourism, culture and education and cooperation in banking finance innovation.
In the economic forum, Mongolia will be represented by delegates from some 40 companies, while 270 entities are taking part I the exhibition. The previous year's theme was "Promoting Silk Road Economy and Establishing Economic Corridor".
Russia and China are the main trade partners for Mongolia. The country has made exports worth USD 2.5 billion, of which 1.2 percent went to Russia and 85 percent to China, as of the end of July. As of the imports (USD 1.8 billion), Mongolia imported 24.5 percent from Russia and 33 percent from China, according to the National Statistics Office.
Mongolia, China and Russia to Hold Economic and Trade Partnership Forum – UB Post, September 2
ACMS welcomes Mongolian President Elbegdorj at University of Pennsylvania on Sept. 23
September 2 (American Center for Mongolian Studies) At the recommendation of the ACMS, Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj will give a special lecture at the University of Pennsylvania at 4:00pm on Friday, September 23rd, 2016. The University of Pennsylvania houses the ACMS US office, and is an emerging center for Mongolian Studies in North America.
President Elbegdorj will be welcomed to Philadelphia by Mayor Jim Kenney, Senator Bob Casey, Congressman Joe Pitts (Chair of the US-Mongolia Friendship Caucus) and other dignitaries. He will attend a concert given by the Philadelphia Philharmonic orchestra, which will be visiting Ulaanbaatar on a special tour in summer 2017, the first US orchestra to visit Mongolia. President Elbegdorj will then give a special lecture at 4:00pm at the University of Pennsylvania in conjunction with the opening of the Perry World House, a global exchange center on campus, and in recognition of the role of the ACMS and University of Pennsylvania in fostering Mongolian Studies.
Mongolia wants to broaden cooperation with Belarus in several spheres
Ulaanbaatar, September 2 (MONTSAME) Deputy Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh received Friday S.Chepurnoi, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Mongolia, in the State House.
The Deputy Premier noted the Mongolia-Belarus relations and cooperation have been widening, and expressed the willingness to expand the collaboration in the areas of animal husbandry, agriculture, land farming, mining, transportation, road and industry.
In 2015, Mongolia exported goods of USD 73.5 thousand to Belarus, and imported products of USD 18.0 million, so the countries are possible to augment their trade turnover and to widen the economic cooperation, U.Khurelsukh underlined.
The Ambassador noted that mutual high-level visits have been regularizing, and expressed his satisfaction with successful cooperation in the agricultural and mining sectors. He said Belarus aspires to maximize kinds of products and facilities supplied to Mongolia.
Young people from SCO Countries assemble in China
Ulaanbaatar, September 2 (MONTSAME) The First Youth Campus of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's members and observers took place in the last week of August through a travel around Beijing, the Inner Mongolia and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Regions of China.
In the action, organized by the Communist Youth League of China, nine young people represented Mongolia. The Youth campus attracted young representatives of SCO Members – Russia, China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, and observers – Afghanistan, Belarus, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan, to act as a platform for discussion about partnership and friendship between the members and observers, consolidation of ties, and to exchange of opinions on the pressing in the globe. The participants attended various events and got familiarized with Chinese culture.
The First Youth Campus' vision was to give young people better knowledge about China's culture, cooperation with other countries, its foreign policy, the Belt and Road Initiative, in order to improve understanding between the above 12 countries through close ties between youth.
This meeting was initiated by the Chinese leader Xi Jinping, and is to be held for the next four years.
Mongolia-Russia joint military exercise ongoing
Ulaanbaatar, September 2 (MONTSAME) The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and Mongolia are holding a joint military exercise, dubbed Selenga 2016, at the Ulun Burduny training complex in the Republic of Buryatia, located in the south-central region of Siberia, Russia, according to local media reports.
The joint military drill, which began on August 30 and will last until September 7, involves around 1,000 military personnel and 200 vehicles and aircraft on both sides. The objective of the exercise is to enhance interoperability and cooperation between the Russian and Mongolian militaries in combatting insurgents and terrorist groups.
In detail, on the Russian side a tank battalion, a motorized infantry company, a mortar battalion, howitzer self-propelled artillery and rocket batteries, air defense, reconnaissance, and NBC (nuclear, biological, and chemical) protection units, are participating in the exercise. The Mongolian military is present with a number of motorized infantry companies, armored personnel carriers, a tank platoon, and a mortar and a rocket battery.
The military exercise is running according to plan so far. "During the joint training, units of the Eastern Military District and the Mongolian armed forces practiced tactical groups' movement on approach routes and the organization of communication between the units. The Joint Staff of the exercise command agreed [on] the command and liaison signals common for both sides," a spokesman for the Russian Eastern Military District told TASS news agency on August 31.
Last year's exercise was smaller and involved 90 vehicles and aircraft on the Russian side, and 54 on the Mongolian side. Russian aircraft included Su-25 attack aircraft, Mi-8 helicopters and Mi-24 helicopter gunships. Mongolia sent 72 main battle tanks and a battery of BM-21 multiple rocket launchers. In total, around 900 military personnel participated on both sides. This year will also see a number of Russian Su-24M2 tactical bombers participating in a simulated attack against enemy armor formation.
The Selenga military exercise has been held annually since 2008. Up until 2011, the drill was first and foremost a live fire exercise, but it gradually expanded to include more complex tactical scenarios including amphibious assaults and tactical landings during river crossings. The number of troops from sides participating in the drills has varied over the years. In 2011, 700 Mongolian soldiers participated, whereas in 2012 that number went down to 300.
Mongolia is pursuing a foreign policy of neutrality between Russia and the West and has also increased cooperation with NATO countries over the last few years. Mongolia has been host to the Khaan Quest multinational military exercise, co-sponsored by the U.S. Pacific Command, with participating militaries practicing peace support operations at the Mongolian Armed Forces Five Hills Training Area and in the city of Ulaanbaatar.
Russia and Mongolia have two separate military-technical assistance agreements signed in 2004 and 2014 respectively. Recent military hardware deliveries included around 100 T-72A main battle tanks as well as 400 BTR-70M and 20 BTR-80 armored personnel carriers, among other items. From 1991-2015, Russia exported military equipment to Mongolia estimated to be worth around $107 million. During that period, Mongolia received Mi-17E transport helicopters, V-600 surface-to-air missiles, and S-125M "Pechora-2M" air defense systems, next to the armored vehicles mentioned above, reports the Diplomat Magazine.
Schools and kindergartens welcome over 800 thousand children
September 2 (MONTSAME) The three months summer vacation has ended and the new academic year of 2016-2017 has begun. On Thursday, Prime Minister J.Erdenebat attended the opening ceremony of a new school year held in the secondary school #7 in the suburban district of Ulaanbaatar and extended his greetings. He remembered that he completed the first and second grades of this school and that the school was on almost uninhabited hill and was named the Workers' District School.
He informed that the newly formed government is going to submit the draft of program on educational sector to the Parliament. Improving access to the preschool education and general education institutions are the most important objectives of this program, Prime Minister added.
Across the country some 255 thousand children are attending more than 1,300 kindergartens, 561.6 thousand pupils are attending secondary general education schools, 164 thousand students are attending colleges and universities and 10.1 thousand students are attending 308 lifetime learning centers. Among them there are, 69 thousand first-graders.
- Attending school is fun. I like my schoolbag very much. It is interesting to put various things in it. I want to make a lot of friends. I do not exactly know who is going to be my desk partner.
- I received several training on personal development. Responsibilities have become higher as my grade advances. I would love to make my parents happy by being an excellent student.
- I have played outside very often. Sometimes, my mom would scold me for not doing summer homework. However, she took me to many places because I have cast in a movie.
- What movie was it?
- I have played the main role of "Nuden Sondor" movie. It was very hard to stand outside in the morning cold. My favorite part is the part where dad and I have played with bubbles. Please, watch my movie.
Free student buspass application to end on September 6
Ulaanbaatar, September 2 (MONTSAME) Requests for free bus-ride pass and its extension will be received at the universities and high schools and the passes will be handed out, between 12th to 18th of this month, informed Thursday the Municipal Departments of Education and Labor and "Ulaanbaatar Smartcard" Co. ltd.
Procedure for free bus-ride pass usage of 2016-2017 for university, high school and college students that was approved by the public council will be organized as follows.
The eligible student will need to inform the school to order the pass. The schools and universities will approve the requests to compromise to the limit stated by the procedure in order for the Department of Education to grant the pass to high schools and universities. As for colleges and vocational training centers, the Labor department will vouch for the grant.
The students who received the pass in the last year will have to extend in order to use the pass for 2016-2017 academic year. The approved list of students from high schools and universities will have to be submitted to the Ulaanbaatar Smart Card to request the extension, while the vocational training centers and colleges must inform the Department of Labor.
Fee for free bus-ride pass will be MNT 3,600, while the extension will cost MNT 1,000.
Ts.Uuganbayar, the legal advisor of the Department of Education said on the matter "Total of 57,681 students have received the free bus-ride pass last year. The pass will be issued for the second time this year. The reason why we started receiving the requests after the new academic year is to provide every student with equal chance. The request for new pass and its extension will continue without further delay from today."
L.Amarjargal, the specialist responsible for the Department of Labor's student program "Last year, the department received requests from 32 vocational training centers and colleges in Ulaanbaatar. Among the approximate number of 13,200 students, around 12,400 students have been issued with a pass. We're planning to give extension and re-issuance for some 12,000 students from those 32 institutions".
Health Ministry, Nagoya University to maintain close cooperation
Ulaanbaatar, September 2 (MONTSAME) Vice Minister of Health L.Byambasuren met the Vice President of the University of Nagoya of Japan, Professor Ichihashi to discuss about co-operation, on September 2.
Ten graduates of Japan's "Young Leader" scholarship program, which started cooperation with the Ministry and involved 16 ministry officials over the past years, are currently working at the ministry. Last March, the Ministry of Health and the University of Nagoya established a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation. The vice-minister showed her interest in sending doctors and specialists for short-term training.
Representatives from the University of Nagoya also noted that they're eager to continue the current programs on human resource on medical care management and the listed programs on the MoU.
The scholarship program is offered to specialists from around 10 countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Laos, Cambodia, Poland, Hungary and China.
Mongolia's nomads: masters of their destiny in a changing world
What does the future hold for the next generation of nomads? Join us as we follow traditional herdsmen and their camels on a trek across the vast plains of remote Western Mongolia
Words and pictures: Tessa Chan
September 2 (Post Magazine) One piece of advice if you're planning a trip to Mongolia: never ask a local, "When will we arrive?"
Bird's eye view: see Mongolia like you've never seen it before
French village school uses Mongolian ger to tackle overcrowding
September 4 (UB Post) A village in northern France is using a Mongolian ger to accommodate extracurricular activities for its students.
The Three Keys School in Boëseghem, French Flanders, has seen its student body grow from 90 to 150 in ten years and needed a cost-effective solution when they discovered the school needed a new classroom. The ger cost 70,000 EUR and includes a wood floor, providing a 63 square meter classroom for up to 20 students.
Quentin Callewaert, the school's director, praised the lighting, sound, and practical design of the ger. The village's mayor, Danielle Mametz, first thought of the home of the ancient nomads to solve the school's classroom problem, having enjoyed a stay in a ger. Mayor Mametz says the ger "will help open the students to another culture" and takes pride in the innovative and culturally rich addition to the school.
The Story of an Alcoholic
By Elise Honningdalsnes
September 4 (UB Post) Chimgee was already four drinks down when the phone rang. It was her husband. After three days of silence he finally called her, but what he said was the last thing Chimgee wanted to hear.
"I can't live with you anymore," he said.
When she asked him why, he offered no more of an explanation than "I just can't," before hanging up on her. Chimgee pored herself another drink, it was already 2:00 p.m. and her daughters would soon be home.
Chimgee used to drink before her husband left, but suddenly when she was left alone with their two young daughters in their home in outer Ulaanbaatar, she went into a dark place and alcohol became the only solution. Not a day went by without heavy drinking. "I drank heavily, I was always drunk," Chimgee says about her past.
In Mongolia, there are more licensed points of alcohol sale per person than in any other country in the world. The issue of alcohol abuse has gone so far that it has been labeled a national security and it is one of the major public health challenges in the country. It is said that Mongolia has nine months of winter, and it is commonly known that depression hits harder in the dark.
Elena Kazantseva, coordinator of the National Health Program, says that people living in isolated, colder places are more likely to suffer from depression, and alcohol is often the easier solution. Most cases at the mental health hospital are cases of addiction, and then especially alcohol abuse.
The woman who greets me when I arrive is a beautiful lady in her 40s. She looks good and she has a pretty smile on her face. You would never expect her to be an alcoholic with
many drunken years behind her. The former university teacher has been through a lot.
"I destroyed everything, I lied and stole from my daughters," she says, "I knew their father gave them money, so I used to go through their clothes and things to find money. When they asked me about it I pretended that I didn't know what they talked about."
As many others in Mongolia and worldwide, Chimgee struggled with drinking problems.
"I'm a different person when I hit the bottle, I have so many bad sides to me when I drink," she says. Chimgee has now been sober for more than five years, and she attends regular Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) meetings. Usually she goes to the women's group twice a week.
There is only one women's group in Ulaanbaatar, but there are about 20 groups that men can attend. Women are also welcome to these meetings, but many choose to stick to the women's group because many of them have had bad experiences with men and alcohol. Men in Mongolia drink five times as much as women.
"Every day I used to go to the bar where I drank vodka with the guys. They did dark things to me and I hated them because they're bad people," Chimgee says without going into depth. "Usually, at every meeting we hug each other. In the beginning I used to run out of the meetings whenever a guy tried to hug me. Now I don't mind at all, I actually like giving them hugs," Chimgee says laughing.
AA is not very well known in Mongolia and many people don't know where to go for help with their problems. Chimgee wouldn't have found AA if she hadn't begged her doctor for help.
"One day I realized that I had to stop drinking, I was ruining my daughters' lives and I couldn't bear it anymore. Still drunk I went to the hospital where I told the doctor that I had a problem, I just couldn't stop drinking. She told me that there was no medicine that would cure me, but she suggested going to AA," Chimgee says. "I didn't know what AA was, but she told me about it and said that it would probably help me. My first reaction was that I wouldn't meet such awful alcoholics, especially not the men!"
There is a well-known stigma when it comes to alcoholics in Mongolia. Chimgee says that the label is hard to deal with sometimes as people tend to look down on people with drinking problems.
"For normal people it's very hard to understand, but alcoholism is a mental and a behavioral disease," she says, "I think that I drank so much because it made me feel better, I'm more social when I drink. Usually I'm shy, but I turn into a social and fun person when I drink."
When a family member drinks heavily, it affects the whole family.
"My daughters have suffered so much from my alcoholism. I realize that me being drunk all the time for so many years, really affected them. I wasn't there and they couldn't trust me," Chimgee says, "I can never make it up to them, but every time I manage to get my hands on some money, I give it to them. My daughters now trust me, they know I'm sober and they know I'm there for them. I'm as honest as I can with them and tell them stories."
Another member of AA, Bat, found out about AA through a friend.
"I was living on the streets, it was after the change of power in Mongolia and times were rough. I drank every day, I wanted to drink myself to death," he openly tells us.
When walking around Ulaanbaatar today, you will see plenty of drunk men in the streets. No matter the time, you will find them sipping on their vodka bottles and talking loudly to the foreigners, inviting them for a drink. Many of these men have been kicked out of their homes due to their drinking problems and violence.
Bat spent years on the streets and only realized what way his life was going when his best friend died. He has now been sober for 13 years and he is now married to another member of AA. Together they have two kids and a happy home.
AA is a support group where people have to come voluntarily. They help each other through hard times and they always listen when you're ready to talk.
"I'm not happy, but now I feel better about myself, I have so many friends in AA and I like to share my experience with them. I'm not sure if I'll ever be happy, I destroyed so much and I always wonder that if I hadn't gone through this period, maybe I could have been a good wife and a good mother," Chimgee says.
"It's very hard to tell these dark stories, but sometimes we just have to look back and be open about it, it is a common problem," she says.
Note: Some names in this article have been changed for privacy.
Lee's Lowdown: The Mongolia Bike Challenge!
by Lee Rodgers
September 4 (PezCycling News) Lowdown: They say a change is as good as a rest, well Lee Rodgers has taken it to the next level to tackle the Mongolia Challenge for the fourth time. This week's Lowdown is not the normal Lowdown, but you have to try something different from time to time and Mongolia looks pretty good.
I remember sitting with the other participants of the 2013 Mongolia Bike Challenge by Selle SMP, my first time at the event, all wide-eyed and electrified at the prospect of racing my brand new MTB (it had been 20 years since I'd ridden an MTB, never mind raced one). I looked up at the staff in front of us with a sense of marvel, wondering just how in the heck they got to be so fortunate to be working on a bike race here, of all exotic places…
Fast forward to today, and I've just returned from my 4th consecutive MBC, having worked on the last three as the Communications Manager and official coach for the event. All that came about thanks to an article I wrote back in 2013 about my experiences riding through the Mongolian landscape, dealing with a double whammy of dysentery and influenza, but still having an amazing time, in spite, if you can believe it, of having to drop my bibs every 20K over the first four days. To be honest, I still need to pinch myself every once in a while to believe that I get to go to such an intriguing and astonishingly beautiful place every year, to work and to meet up with my friends, the race director and the rest of the MBC crew, and to meet the fresh faces, the adventurers and dreamers who make up the participants.
The MBC is indeed a bike race, and though it's not UCI-affiliated (a conscious choice on behalf of the race founder, Willy Mulonia, to keep the event as unmolested and intimate as possible), the top of the field fight hard for the coveted Pink Jersey of GC leader. Whilst there are no UCI points on offer there is a huge dollop of kudos that comes from winning an event that was once described in print as "the hardest MTB race in the world."
This year saw an up and coming rider, Payson McElvceen from the USA, fairly dominate two veterans of the event, Italian national team rider and one time winner of the MBC, Nicholas Pettina, and Canadian Cory Wallace, who rode to victory a record three times on the Mongolian steppe. These three in particular, with Yuki Ikeda of Japan rounding out fourth place, rode hard all week and delivered some exciting riding.
However, the true spirit of the Mongolia Bike Challenge by Selle SMP expresses itself not just through the top guys, but with every single rider who sets out on the six stage journey, and this is especially true of those who come in perilously close to the cut-off time each day, like one of our Italian riders who on Stage 2 came in exhausted, almost falling off his bike, but whose first thought was to check with the referee that he was not over the limit.
The man literally had tears in his eyes, but they were soon tears of joy when he had just scraped in.
Then there was the Dutch rider who, incredibly, was diagnosed with Parkinson's eight years ago and had to stop on the trail to take his medicine every three hours. He had two 'episodes' out on the trail that he just had to wait and deal with, then, like the warrior he is, he got back on his bike and set off once again.
"I travel and do these kind of events," he told me, " because sometime soon I won't be able to do this anymore."
Remember him next time you don't feel like riding.
Any discussion of the Mongolia Bike Challenge would not be complete without a mention of the landscape. I smile as I use the word 'landscape', because it doesn't even one close to the quire ridiculous majesty and sheer scope of what is presented before you out on the trail.
Never mind the wild horses that run alongside the riders, nor the huge buzzards and eagles above, nor the mysterious yaks that sweep over the steppe looking as though they've escaped from a set of Star Wars, the land here is the dominant character in the narrative of these MBC and in the nature of the experiences people have on a daily, moment by moment basis.
Most places we go to, we get there and we experience the place, eat some local grub, take some photos me head on home. Yet with Mongolia, it's as though the land first rolls itself out in front of you, and then somehow encompasses all of your senses. It almost gets into you, bringing with it not just unforgettable views but a sense of possibility and freedom that I personally have never experienced anywhere else.
It's a uniquely unifying experience and it is one I keep returning for.
We want more people to come experience this amazing place, and to encourage all those people we meet who tell us that the MBC is 'on the bucket list' but who might think the event is too much to chew, we trimmed the race from seven days to six and cut the longest stage from over 170km to 134km.
The time limit is usually 10 hours for the longer stages and 8 for the shorter and just about everyone who turns up manages to make the cut unless for an injury. One female rider from the UK had only been riding for a few short months, but it was her mental fortitude that kept her going.
Again, this is the Mongolia Bike Challenge. It's these amazing people achieving these amazing feats in this amazing place.
I want more people to come to experience all this. It's not a sales pitch, none of us on the crew, from me on to the director, are getting rich out there – not in a monetary sense, that is.
Anyway, I, we, hope to see you out there one day.
Thanks for reading.
Race info: www.mongoliabikechallenge.com
Lee Rodgers is a former professional road racer on the UCI Asia Tour circuit now racing MTB professionally around the world. His day job combines freelance journalism, coaching cyclists, event organizing and consulting work. You can keep up with his daily scribblings over at www.crankpunk.com.
How Three Indians Fought All Odds To Drive From London To Mongolia In A Tata Nano
They were raising money for children in Indian shelters.
September 2 (The Huffington Post) No one thought they could do it. Engineers and auto industry specialists had told them it was impossible. Even they weren't completely sure that their tiny car--a Tata Nano Twist--could make it through 18,000 kilometres in rough terrain from London to Mongolia over a gruelling two-month schedule.
Yet, on Thursday, the three Bengaluru-based friends--Sunaina Pamudurthy, Binoy John and Bhairav Kuttaiah--ended their 48-day trip across 13 countries, five mountain ranges, three river crossings, and a massive desert to reach the finish line in the 2016 Mongol Rally. All this to raise funds and awareness for children in Indian shelters.
It was Kuttaiah who had first heard about the rally. In a Whatsapp conversation last August, the criminal lawyer asked Pamudurthy and John if they would like to do this together. Kuttaiah and John were childhood friends, and they followed rallies closely. Pamudurthy had gone to college with them in Bengaluru, but they had met only once they graduated, about five years ago. They had travelled together in a road trip earlier, Bengaluru friends driving up to Coorg. Last year, they took part in the Singapore Grand Prix. But this would be dramatically different.
Travel like a local with Ulaanbaatar tourist board & what3words
September 2 (what3words) The Tourism Board of Ulaanbaatar are now listing 3 word addresses to ensure tourists can easily discover all the delights of the Mongolian capital.
With 3 word addresses and the UB tourist board it is simple to find all the places you might want to see and really travel like a local.
Why Weddings in Mongolia Are So Much More Fun
August 31 (The Insatiable Traveler) I remember musing that a wedding planner would think I'd lost my mind. Wrestling? You want wrestling at your wedding?! Her shock giving way to complete bewilderment and horror when I followed up with…..and by the way, we'll want a horse race too.
I scanned the Kazakh celebration and grinned. The wrestlers were introducing themselves by strutting around the large ring performing a series of traditional choreographed moves. Raising their hands towards the sky a la Rocky, then they'd squat bringing their arms down and out like wings on a plane, slowly turning so that they could be viewed by all the spectators.
The crowd cheered. The double wedding (two brothers and their brides) was in full swing.
When we arrived (a small, merry band of travel photographers led by Timothy Allen) the nuptials had already taken place. We filed out of our rugged Russian vans and found ourselves in a valley in the middle of nowhere surrounded by the snow-speckled mountains of the Tavan Bogd National Park in western Mongolia.
Except for a few gers where guests ate and relaxed, the entire gathering was outdoors. At the crest of a hill a 100 yards away, dozens of guests' horses were grazing. Yes, there were some Land Cruisers and few old motorbikes, but the main mode of transportation in the Altai Mountains is the horse. It was if we'd been beamed back to the wild west circa the 1800's.
The wedding party sat at the far end of the ring behind a table barely two feet off the ground topped with food and bowls of fermented mare's milk. A mix of casual and glam, the men wore suit jackets and dress shirts open at the neck, while their new wives wore frilly white gowns embellished with embroidery or lace. One bride wore a tall pointy hat with a train straight out of an old school fairy tale.
Overseeing the proceedings, a good-looking man wearing a pseudo tuxedo was the master of ceremonies. He would sing, then bring various friends and family up to toast the couple using a microphone and PA system loaded on the back of an old Russian flatbed truck. Occasionally, someone would play an instrument or couples would get up and dance something resembling the box step. All the while, and this went on for a couple of hours, the newlyweds sat at the makeshift dais, patiently presiding over the merriment. And that included wrestling.
Agii Makhsum, our wonderful fixer and translator, a man with a grin so big that his eyes disappeared, said that no Kazakh would consider having a wedding—or large party for that matter—without wrestling. It's the most important attribute of the culture's historic "Three Manly Skills," which also includes horsemanship and archery. It's said that Genghis Khan made his warriors wrestle to keep in shape.
Many of the matches took place simultaneously. Three or four pairs of wrestlers would go at each other until one was flipped or tripped or muscled to the ground and their shoulder pinned to the dirt. Sometimes they'd begin forehead to forehead, grabbing each other in an uncomfortable embrace that was a akin to a simultaneous wedgy, both waiting for the other to make their move. Slowly the number of competitors dwindled until the last two squared off against each other in a final round.
For me, the matches weren't the only thing that entertained, the wrestlers' uniforms were a show unto themselves. On the bottom, a competitor sported a speedo-type turquoise brief called a shuudag. On top he wore a Shodog: a vest with sleeves that covers the upper and lower arms leaving the chest and shoulders free. (Legend has it that the original Shodog covered the chest but a feisty female wrestler bound her breasts and competed with the men, won the competition and embarrassed everyone involved. From that day on the Shodog has been open in front so that no one would ever be fooled again.)
On their feet, the men wore a pair of Gutal: fancy almost knee-high boots made from beautifully tooled leather with a curved, upturned toe. When not in the midst of a competition, they donned a round cap with a point that looked like the top half of an unopened champagne bottle.
A few of the wrestlers were lean, lanky fellows, but most were big beefy men with stomachs suggesting they swallowed a basketball. For better or worse, their uniforms seemed to be one size fits all.
The wrestlers competed for a motorbike (first prize), a horse (second prize) and a yak (third prize), paid for, like the wedding itself, by the father of the grooms. After the winners were announced it was time for photographs, and everyone wanted to be a part of the action. The Kazakhs LOVED having their photographs taken and more often than not they'd stop us and ask for a photo.
Next up: The races!
Wanna travel in time?
September 2 (gogo.mn) Time machine might be just a science fantasy. However, we are time travelers scientifically. But we travel in only one direction, to the future.
Specifically, we can see our own past. Even speed of light is the fastest possible speed, our brain spend certain time to process incoming data.
That is why everything we see depends on the past. We have never seen the present and we will never see it. How about traveling to the past using our skills gifted from the god?
This is the astronomical observatory of Mongolia, Khurel Togoot, which is located on the Bogd mountain, about 15 km south-east of the capital city or east side of Sky Resort. The Khurel Togoot is the name of the site.
Here you can be a tourist traveling to the past by observing the stars and planets. First of all, you will attend astronomy lesson which describes where we exist, where are we heading and who is living next to us. Scientists will tell you the best interesting facts. I bet you will like astronautics.
Following you will see stars, moon and planets with telescope. You can observe two planets at once depending on several variables, including telescope capacity, planets location and weather condition.
Saturn is visible this month and Jupiter is not able to be observed for a while depending on its location.
Except planets, it is interesting to observe the sun and moon with telescope. For example, half moon looks very unique and it can be seen 300 times larger than its actual size.
Explosion and storm on the sun`s surface can be viewed by telescope with special filter. Therefore, you are enabled to watch the sun during the daytime while observing other planets and moon during the nighttime.
First of all, you need to contact to the astronomical observatory of Mongolia, Khurel Togoot and ask for perfect time to visit. Note that you should come during sunset, if you would like to telescope Saturn.
Astronomical observatory of Mongolia, Khurel Togoot had been closed to the public until 2013. But it is now open to the visitors on every Friday and Saturday. Also, you can visit with group of more than seven people on other days of a week.
It has maximum capacity of 50-60 people and has four telescopes. The entrance fee is MNT 7000 per person. Contact: 85050577
In addition, you can spend the night at the Khurel Togoot hotel. Prices for room with two single beds is MNT 60,000 and room with six single beds is MNT 80,000. Reservation is available at 91183342.
Sweet Gobi Geolodge – Relish Luxury in the Steppes
September 2 (gogo.mn) Mongolian countryside is not all about basics when it comes to accommodation. Besides simple home stay at a nomadic family, or staying in the Gers of tourist camps with more or less the same standards, travellers can also embark themselves in lavishness at several spots across the country. Sweet Gobi geolodge is located in the steppes of Central Mongolia – only at an easy 4 hour drive from Ulaanbaatar to the west, and is well-known in Europe for offering a unique and eco-friendly experience and pleasant stay in the traditionally decorated Gers - jewel of the Mongolian nomadic architecture.
Nestled at a few kilometers from the geographic center of Mongolia, the Sweet Gobi geolodge offers a unique view on the sand dunes of Elsen Tasarhai, and the Sacred Mountain Khogno Khan - revered for centuries by the Mongols and place of worship for Buddhist monks and shamans. There's a possibility of biking, horse riding, camel riding or hiking for adventure lovers. The 13th century Mongol Empire capital city Karakorum is only at 1.5 hour drive.
In the Sweet Gobi Ger scented with incense of pine needles, you will want to wrap yourself in the warmth of the stove during cool summer nights while watching the starry skies through the Ger rooftop. Each of the Gers is 28 sq.m, and traditionally furnished all for the comfortable stay of guests. The king size bed with cotton sheets and cashmere blanket will help you finish your nights perfectly. Also guests can enjoy good quality tea or coffee any time of the day in the Gers.
The cuisine at Sweet Gobi is a wonderful combination of the local & western cuisine, buffet breakfast is served from 6am till 10am each morning. For lunch guests love devouring excellent local lamb or beef seasoned with aromatic herbs, and varieries of fresh salads are also served. Vegetarians are also well taken care of at Sweet Gobi geolodge, just inform the Chef when you arrive. Good choice of French wine is also offered.
Sweet Gobi geolodge does not only offer accommodation & food, but also they're famous for their "Step & Spa". Inspired by the nature beauty and tranquility of Mongolia, Step & Spa service is sensual, therapeutic and ecological all at the same time. Spare yourself some time for rejuvenating your energy and dive into a good night's sleep after a body massage with a few drops of essential pine oil.
Sweet Gobi geolodge management says that they'll be open until the end of September. For more information about Sweet Gobi geolodge or reservation, please contact the friendly Mongolian, French or English speaking staff at +976-70115534, you may also want to email them at email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org or visithttp://www.outofnowhere.asia.
Suite 303, Level 3, Elite Complex
14 Chinggis Avenue, Sukhbaatar District 1
Ulaanbaatar 14251, Mongolia
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