Wednesday, September 7, 2016

[AKM jumps 67%; ERD commences drilling; GoM withdraws tax bills; Byamba to resign; World Bank urges discipline; and WPP publishes Mongolia report]

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

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Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original


Int'l Market

AKM closed +66.7% Tuesday to A$0.03

Aspire Mining receives interest from China Development Bank to fund railway

September 6 (Proactive Investors) Aspire Mining Ltd (ASX:AKM) has received an expression of interest (EOI) from China Development Bank to fund up to 75% of the engineering, procurement and construction contract to build the Erdenet to Ovoot Railway in Northern Mongolia.

The EOI comes after the Erdenet to Ovoot Railway was recently included in the new Northern Rail Corridor which is to connect China and Russia through Mongolia.

CDB intends to provide a non-binding term sheet in relation to the provision of a long term debt facility subject to being satisfied with the first stage of the bankable feasibility study. 

Aspire is the largest coal tenement holder in Mongolia's Northern provinces and is the 100% owner of the Ovoot Coking Coal Project which is the second largest coking coal project by reserves in Mongolia.

The Ovoot project development is dependent on the construction of the Erdenet to Ovoot railway which is being progressed by Aspire's subsidiary Northern Railways.

China Development Bank

China Development Bank (CDB) is a Chinese Government owned policy financial institution that provides medium to long term financing facilities that serve China's long term economic and social development strategies. 

CDB notes that it is the world's largest development finance institution and the largest Chinese Bank for foreign investment and financing cooperation, long term lending and bond issuance. 

It was ranked 87 Fortune Global 500 in 2015.

Erdenet to Ovoot Railway

Production from the Ovoot project can coincide with the commissioning of the Erdenet to Ovoot railway.

Aspire recently commenced the first stage of the rail feasibility study to extend Mongolia's national rail network from the city of Erdenet to its flagship Ovoot Coking Coal Project in Mongolia.

The 547 kilometre extension has recently been included in a new Northern Rail Economic Corridor connecting China and Russia through Mongolia as part of China's One Belt One Road Policy.

Northern Railways has formed a consortium with two subsidiaries of China Railways Corporation to progress the development of the Erdenet to Ovoot railway – China Railways 20 Bureau Group Corporation (CR20G) and China Railway First Design Survey and Design Institute (FSDI). 

CR20G is the nominated engineering, procurement and construction contractor and FSDI has been contracted to undertake the bankable feasibility study

FSDI has commenced the first stage of a bankable feasibility study, which is due for completion by 31 December 2016.  


The EOI received from CBD confirms the importance and value of the Erdenet to Ovoot railway being included in the recently announced Northern Rail Economic Corridor.

This interest from CBD increases the certainty of the railway's construction required for the development of Ovoot, which in turn can unlock value for shareholders.

Subject to the completion of a feasibility study, the Erdenet to Ovoot railway may receive priority funding from China's Policy Banks, Sinosure, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and funds such as the Silk Road Fund.

The stock is up 55% intra-day trading at $0.028 and 150% year to date.

Aspire's inclusion in the Economic Corridor in late June has been a key price catalyst for the stock.

Link to article

Link to AKM release


ERD closed +9.4% Wednesday to C$0.35

Erdene Commences Q3-Q4 Drilling Campaign on Its 100%-Owned High-Grade Gold Projects in Southwest Mongolia

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - Sept. 6, 2016)Erdene Resource Development Corp. (TSX:ERD) ("Erdene" or "Company") is pleased to announce it has commenced its Q3-Q4 2016 drilling campaign at its 100%-owned high-grade gold projects in southwest Mongolia. Drilling commenced on September 5, 2016 at the Company' Bayan Khundii Gold Project ("Bayan Khundii"), and will be followed by drilling at the Company's Altan Nar Gold-Polymetallic Project ("Altan Nar"), 19 kilometres to the northwest of Bayan Khundii.

The first phase of Erdene's Q3-Q4 campaign will consist of approximately 5,000 metres of drilling designed to test the boundaries and build confidence in the continuity of the high-grade gold zones within the main mineralized trend at Bayan Khundii. Initial assay results from the first phase are expected in early Q4.

The size and design of the second phase of Erdene's Q3-Q4 drilling campaign will be determined following the Company's in-depth analysis of new data collected from an extensive technical evaluation completed in August 2016 at Bayan Khundii and Altan Nar. The independent geological evaluation, which was conducted by renowned consultants with expertise in epithermal and porphyry mineral deposit systems, has given Erdene valuable insights into the geology and mineralizing processes that led to the formation of the Bayan Khundii prospect and the Altan Nar deposit. It is expected that the second phase of the new drilling campaign will focus on the largely untested and highly prospective region within the 1.7 kilometre Bayan Khundii trend, and also resource expansion and scout drilling at the 5.6 kilometre Altan Nar trend.

"We are very pleased with the results of the independent expert evaluations. They provided key insights leading to the generation of new exploration targets, and further enhanced our understanding of the nature and significant exploration upside of our two flagship gold projects," said Peter Akerley, Erdene's President and CEO. "Our ongoing drill program has been designed to test these targets and better define the limits of the main mineralized zones. We anticipate the first batch of results to start arriving in early October, with results continuing throughout the fourth quarter of 2016."

At Bayan Khundii, geological, structural, petrographic, clay spectral and fluid inclusion data observations point to two separate thermal events that post-date the deposition of a thick sequence of volcanic tuffs. The first thermal event was a high-temperature metasomatic event that resulted in a widespread potassic and localized advanced argillic alteration. This was presumably associated with the emplacement of a granitic intrusion, possibly at depth below Bayan Khundii. The second, later thermal event led to the deposition of low sulphidation epithermal mineralization, with associated widespread alteration (green illite) of host tuffs and the deposition of quartz-adularia-sericite gold-silver veins and breccias. Mineralization included both very high concentrations of gold (e.g.: 187 g/t gold over 1 metre in drill hole BKD-01), and wide intervals of low to moderate concentrations of gold (e.g.: 5.3 g/t gold over 63 metres in drill hole BKD-17).

The tuffaceous units at Bayan Khundii are predominantly covered by a younger sequence of Cretaceous age sandstone-conglomerate sedimentary rocks and overlying amygdaloidal basalts. The identification of green illite-altered tuffs, exposed in erosional zones over a 750 metre by 1.5 kilometre area, coupled with strong induced polarization resistivity response at depth beneath the Cretaceous units, indicates that Bayan Khundii's epithermal system may be more widespread than the main exposed areas at surface, where much of the exploration has focused to date. Information generated in regards to potential tilting of the mineralized zone, vein intersection symmetry and structural offsets has been factored into the current drilling to test targets under Cretaceous cover and at depth below the extent of drilling in the main Bayan Khundii mineralized zone.

At Altan Nar, recent geological, structural and clay spectral observations have confirmed that the deposit is an intermediate sulphidation, base metal-carbonate, gold-silver-lead-zinc epithermal deposit. Mineralization is hosted in angular, matrix-supported hydrothermal breccias and quartz-manganese carbonate veins, with associated white mica alteration envelopes within altered andesite flows. Mineralized and hydrothermally altered vein-breccia zones are structurally controlled. Textural, mineralogical and geochemical evidence indicates that multiple mineralizing events were focused along structures.

Link to release


TerraCom: Finalisation of Placements

September 6 -- Finalisation of Placements TerraCom Limited (TerraCom or the Company) (ASX: TER) is pleased to announce the finalisation of the AUD$ 1.1 million placement to three large and prominent Eastern European based private investment companies, led by Light Speed Commercial Inc. (Light Speed Commercial). The final issue price calculated was $0.0206469 (rounded to 7 decimal places) which has resulted in 55,407,834 fully paid ordinary shares being issued (including 2,131,071 issued in lieu of cash commissions).

TerraCom is also pleased to announce the finalisation of the AUD$ 1.0 million placement to private and institutional clients of Fosters Stockbroking Pty Ltd (FSB). The final issue price was $0.0215 which has resulted in 44,411,629 fully paid ordinary shares being issued.

Further to the announcement released on 29 August 2016, the Company has issued FSB with 30,000,000 unlisted options in 2 equal tranches of:

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

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

The shares and options have been issued utilising the current entity's capacity under listing rule 7.1 and 7.1A.

Link to release


Coking coal over $US150 a tonne

September 7 (The Australian) Coking coal prices have continued their astonishing push higher, rising to more than $US150 a tonne as China cuts back on production and steel demand remains strong.

As of yesterday, spot prices for Australia's second biggest export, after iron ore, were up 51 per cent since the start of August, and the price has not fallen during any session since August 2.

On Monday night, premium coking coal prices rose $US11, or 8 per cent, to a 3½-year high of $US152.20, continuing a run up from below $US80 in March. The gains have come after China cut annual statutory working days for coalmines from 330 to 276 to ease overcapacity, while scheduled maintenance hit Australian production and Chinese steel demand continues to grow.

BHP Billiton, the world's biggest exporter of coking coal thanks to its Queensland mines, does not expect the price gains to last.

"The price we're really surprised at, versus six months ago, is actually metallurgical (coking) coal," BHP's Singapore-based markets vice president Huw McKay told reporters.

"We understand that what's going on in met coal, very clearly, is a supply side shock."

BHP's most senior coal executive, the BHP Mitsubishi Alliance asset president Rag Ugg, told The Australian last week that the miner expected prices to fall before the end of the year as new supply came on.

UBS this week raised its coking coal price forecast for this year by 10 per cent to $US96 a tonne and for next year by 13 per cent to $US101. Smaller miners have been lifted by the gains. Stanmore Coal, which bought the mothballed Isaac Plains coking coal mine for $1 last year, was up 7.5c, or 19 per cent, to 47.5c yesterday, almost doubling its share price since the start of August.

Mongolia-focused junior Aspire Mining was up 1.2c, or 67 per cent, to 3c, after a well-timed announcement that it had received an expression of interest from the China Development Bank to fund its Erdenet to Ovoot rail project in Mongolia. The project is part of a new rail corridor connecting China and Russia through Mongolia as part of China's One Belt, One Road policy.

Most analyst forecasts for coking coal remain at around $US80 per tonne for this year, illustrating the surprising extent of the gains.

This year's budget is factoring in prices of $US91 a tonne, which most pundits saw as overly optimistic when it was released in May, while Queensland has budgeted for $US88 a tonne.

For BHP, every $US10 per tonne move higher in the average annual coking coal price represents extra earnings of $US420m.

Link to article

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Local Market

MSE Trading Report: Top 20 +0.25%, ALL +0.09%, Turnover 7 Million Shares

September 6 (MSE) --

Link to article


BDSec Leads in Stock Trading Last Week, Novel in T-Bills

September 5 (MSE) Mongolian Stock Exchange organized 5 securities trading sessions and made transaction of MNT141.1 million with daily average transaction of MNT707,084,827.00 in period between 22 August 2016 and 26 August 2016.

Share trading:

135,428.00 shares of 32 joint stock companies worth of MNT55,289,367.17 were traded.

Most actively traded securities


Securities Name

Value /MNT/



















Talkh chikher


 Most active brokerage companies 


Company Name

Value /MNT/















Undurkhaan investment




TiDiBi Capital


Government retail bonds trading:

6,603 government retail bonds traded on 5 market of Government securities trading and total of 651,795,460.00 transaction has been  made.  


Company Name

Value /MNT/



Novel investment




Daewoo Securities Mongolia 


As of 02 September 2016, market capitalization was MNT1,398,604,639,524.32 which indicated decreased of 1.73% and MSE ALL index reached 834.43 units which indicated decreased of 1.67% from the previous week. 

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BoM MNT Rates: Tuesday, September 6 Close
















































































































































































































Bank USD rates at time of sending: Khan (Buy ₮2,205 Sell ₮2,230), TDB (Buy ₮2,200 Sell ₮2,230), Golomt (Buy ₮2,205 Sell ₮2,230), XacBank (Buy ₮2,210 Sell ₮2,230), State Bank (Buy ₮2,200 Sell ₮2,230)

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

Link to rates


BoM sells CNY5m at 332, accepts US$75.2m MNT swap offers

September 6 (Bank of Mongolia) Spot trade: Commercial banks bid MNT 2195.00-2218.00 for USD12.3 million, asked MNT 2213.00 for USD 12.0 million and also bid MNT 329.00-332.15 for CNY 59.0 million respectively. The BOM sold CNY 5.0 million with a closing rate of MNT332.00.

Swap and forward trade: The BOM accepted the bid offers of  USD75.2 million swap agreements.

Link to release


BoM issues 315 billion 1-week bills at 15%, total outstanding +39.9% to ₮714.8 billion

September 5 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 315 billion at a weighted interest rate of 15 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


Mongolia's General Government Debt to Reach 90%, World Bank Says

By Michael Kohn

September 6 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia's general government debt in nominal terms is projected to reach more than 90% of GDP stemming from high deficit and exchange-rate depreciation, a sharp rise from 66% of GDP in 2015, according to a report released by the World Bank.

* General government debt includes the sovereign-guaranteed Trade & Development Bank debt and outstanding debt of the build-transfer projects

* Bank of Mongolia's recent policy rate increases won't be effective if the government continues to run a large deficit and with reliance on BoM funding; most pressing challenge for BoM is to delink monetary policy from fiscal activities: World Bank

* Flexible exchange rate would help absorb external shocks; intervention would be ineffective against underlying pressure from loose economic policies and external imbalances, while also reducing foreign exchange buffers: World Bank

* Recent sharp depreciation of the tugrik largely reflected a $400m outflow for the purchase of Erdenet mine shares, elevated excess tugrik liquidity and weak market sentiment

* Improving external refinancing environment for future debt repayments requires strong policy adjustment to restore sustainable fiscal management: World Bank

* Mongolia's recent announcement of accurate fiscal situation is a "significant step toward a credible fiscal consolidation" and revised revenue projections seem "largely realistic, based on conservative assumptions": World Bank

* Budget deficit in the first seven months reached over 8% of annual GDP, far exceeding annual budget deficit target of 4% of GDP

* Comprehensive and strong fiscal consolidation plan should include all remaining off-budget programs including Housing Mortgage Program and Development Bank of Mongolia's off-budget corporate lending programs


Link to World Bank report

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Politics & Legal

Government withdraws bills related to tax increases

September 6 (GoGo Mongolia) Newly formed Government, after the 7th Parliamentary election, introduced its plan to lower budget deficit by rising personal income tax rates. However, the Government decided to recall clauses related to tax due to political decision of MPP group today. 

The clauses related to tax were as following:

Personal income tax (PIT)

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

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

Tax on savings income

Tax will be imposed on individuals with savings of more than MNT 20 million.


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


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

Current tax rate is MNT 725,000

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

Current tax rate is MNT 1,450, 000

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

Current tax rate is MNT 2,175,000

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

Current tax rate is MNT 2,9 million 

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

Current tax rate is MNT 10,150,000

Excise taxes on alcoholic 
beverages, tobacco products 

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


The Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT)

Gold explorers to pay 5 percent of MRRT 

Current rates of MRRT is 2.5 percent 

Import duty rate for importing old spare parts

Tax rates will be increased to 20 percent 

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

Luxury property tax

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

Link to article


Government proposes to revoke Joint Pension Law

September 6 (GoGo Mongolia) Ministry of Finance have decided to submit proposal to the Government to revoke law on joint pension. 

Main idea of the law is that one will be able to get a part of the pension his/her deceased spouse used to receive. Nevertheless, this will not cover those who was not married, was 20 years older than the deceased, who was not working and/or paying social insurance commission.

Elders have submitted proposals to the Ministry of Finance for several times expressing that they do not want to get the pension of their deceased spouse. 

Minister of Finance B.Choijilsuren stated at the plenary session of State Great Khural: "Technically, law on joint pension leads criticism due to Mongolians have superstition and belief. Elders are not interested to get the pension of their deceased spouse. Our Ministry have received several proposals to revoke the law and we decided to submit that proposal to the Government". 

Link to article


Mongolia's Erdenes Mongol CEO Byambasaikhan to Leave Position

By Michael Kohn

September 6 (Bloomberg) -- Erdenes Mongol CEO Byambasaikhan Bayanjargal will leave his position next week, according to an e-mail from the executive.

* Byambasaikhan has been CEO since Feb. 2015; says he'll continue as chairman of Business Council of Mongolia

* NOTE: Erdenes Mongol holds nation's stakes in key state-owned mining companies, including Erdenes Oyu Tolgoi and Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi

* Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi CEO Bilgee Tumur replaced by Ariunbold Dorj, according to statement on company website; Bilgee held position since Nov. 2015

* NOTE: The Mongolian People's Party defeated the Democratic Party in June elections, setting stage for changes among executives working for the govt

* Batkhuu Dorj, head of Foreign Cooperation Division of the Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry, did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment



President vetoes parliamentary resolution to withdraw bills on crime, law enforcement, domestic violence

Ulaanbaatar, September 5 (MONTSAME) On Monday, the President of Mongolia, Ts.Elbegdorj vetoed the 26th parliamentary resolution on withdrawing draft laws on criminal procedure, on law enforcement actions, on the prosecutorial organ, on performance of court decisions and on combating family violence.

This resolution was sent to the Presidential Office on August 31, 2016.

"The law on the parliamentary session rules has a clause pointing out certain reasons for withdrawing bills such as in case of a non-standard formulation or issuing bills and parliamentary decisions on certain matters is unnecessary. As for these bills, they are considered as adopted laws in accordance with the 24th article of the law on parliamentary session rules. Withdrawing these already approved bills under the parliamentary resolution violates the principle of respecting laws and might create a wrong practice shaking the continuity of the state. So, the President of Mongolia put a veto over whole clauses of the parliamentary resolution pursuant to the Constitution of Mongolia, the laws on the President of Mongolia and on the parliamentary session rules," said Elbegdorj and urged the parliament to heed the veto.

Link to article


S.Byambatsogt: We will follow policy to protect investors

September 5 ( Today MP and Minister of Justice S.Byambatsogt held press session on problems facing to foreign investors and protecting investors from burden of administrative and legal institutions. 

According to the order issued by the Prime Minister, a working group led by Minister S.Byambatsogt, to examine bureaucracy, burden and groundless investigation conducted on the investors have established

He noted that the working group will receive complaints to a bureaucrats and burden of state and legal institutions until Sep 15th. 

He stated: "Investment stood at USD 4.7 billion in 2011 and it has decreased to USD 36 million as of first quarter of 2016. In other words, foreign investment has lowered by 130 times in last for years. Event, bureaucracy of civil servants is not the only reason to this, we need to examine. Clear and stable state policy attracts foreign investors. Newly formed Government will follow policy to protect investors from bureaucracy and illegal burden. This working group has established with the aim to support taxpayers and wealth creators". 

Email to receive complaint letters from investors:

Phone to receive complaint call from investors: (51)-263682

Currently, 200 foreign and 5000 domestic individuals were banned from traveling outside the country and the reasons will be notified soon.

Link to article


Foreign businesses blamed both DP and MPP

September 5 ( first panel on the current economy and the Action Plan by the Government for the next four years has finished. 

Panelists: N.Enkhbayar, Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister, Ch.Khaschuluun, CEO of Mongolia Oil Shale Association, Terrence Ortslan, Manging director, TSO & Associates, Bill Bikales. CEO, Bikales Advisors, A.Undraa, Parliament member.

The panel was moderated by Graeme Knowd, Managing Director, Moody's Investors Service.

Foreign panelists attending the Invest Mongolia international conference blamed DP and MPP for economic crisis faced by the country. 

They considered that economy worsened due to the wrong competition between the ruling parties. Instead competing each other to win the election, DP and MPP should have helped each other to tackle the economic downturn. Now the Government should seek long-term measurement to overcome crisis. 

In other words, it is better to choose a way to stabilize the economy for long-period. 

MP A.Undraa noted that Oyu Tolgoi LLC gives us opportunity to learn automation and robotation. I see optimistic future with economy but we need to be aware. 

Panelists expressed their hope for economic policies of Government action plan, which will be submitted to the autumn session of State Great Khural. They hope that the Government will submit brief and complex policy, covers all sectors. 

Compared to the previous years, both foreign and domestic representatives are attending the conference. Next panel on Mongolian banking industry and Bank strategies is scheduled at 2:20PM.

Link to article


Mongolia-Germany forum discusses women's participation in politics

September 6 (GoGo Mongolia) 14th annual Mongolia-Germany forum was held today at Shangri-La Hotel, Ulaanbaatar under the theme of "Strengthening democracy through the women`s participation in political decision-making level". 

The forum was organized by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) and Mongolia-Germnay Forum NGO. This year, Mongolian and German 200 representatives of politics, economy, civil society and citizens. 

The opening remarks were given by the first presiident of Mongolia and Head of Mongolia-German Forum P.Ochirbat, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Germany Mr Stefan Duppel and Country represantative KAS Dr. Daniel Schmucking. 

Moreover, honored guests of the forum were Christine Lieberknecht, former Minister President of the state of Thuringia, R.Amarjargal, former Prime Minister of Mongolia, MP L.Bold, MP Terbishdagva, MP A.Undraa, MP Z.Narantuya, B.Zolzaya, CEO of Women for Change NGO, H.Nomingerel, Chairmain of the Board, Women for Change NGO and Ms. Beate Trankmann, UN Resident Coordinator in Mongolia. 

The attendees have exchanged their views on women`s participation in politics decision-making level with the aim to bring new inspiration and idea to the society of both Germany and Mongolia. 

Link to article


State Emergency Commission discusses winter preparation works

Ulaanbaatar, September 9 /MONTSAME/ Chaired by U.Khurelsukh, the Deputy Premier, the State Emergency Commission (SEC) held Tuesday its very first meeting after the new cabinet was formed.

At the meeting, the SEC members heard reports on the course of winter preparation works, weather forecast for the 4th quarter and the present state in sectors of food, agriculture, transport, road, energy and health. Related decisions were made after the reports.

For overcoming the upcoming winter, 1.2 million tons of hay and 100 thousand tons of various kinds of fodder should be prepared. As of today, herders prepared 284 thousand tons of hay which is 24% of targeted size. For the emergency reserves, 32 thousand tons of hay and 13 thousand tons of fodder should be stored, and 3722 tons of hay and 504 tons of fodder have been prepared today.

Relevant officials were tasked to take necessary actions for the winter preparation in the energy, road, transportation, for preventing illnesses and diseases of livestock, reserving fuel and ambulances.        

Link to article


DeFacto: Fakestan

By Jargal Dambadarjaa

September 5 (UB Post) Our parliament had an irregular session start last week. The authorities concluded that the social, economic, and fiscal state of the country are difficult and in crisis mode. Key economic indicators have worsened over the last four years. The budget deficit went out of control, and our trade deficit kept rising. We saw a decline in purchasing power, foreign investment, and tugrug exchange rates. M.Enkhbold, Speaker of Parliament, said that the cut in Mongolia's credit rating and the absence of foreign direct investment show how much faith investors have lost in Mongolia.

During the session, Members of Parliament discussed a proposal to increase taxes, which is supposed to get the nation out of this difficult situation. They are about to increase taxes without determining the cause of the economic crisis. It looks like pouring water into a bucket without patching the holes in it first. People also say that attempting to impose higher taxes on the private sector, which is already under huge pressure due to the weakened tugrug, is like getting kicked by a cow after trying to milk its empty teats. We – the people – should see beyond the debates of politicians who keep blaming each other, determine the cause of the crisis, and demand that the government fix the problem.


The crisis our country faces today is not an economic one, but one of governance. What caused the crisis is corruption. Stealing from public funds, the misuse of power, and serving personal interests while holding public offices have flourished in Mongolia since the 1990s. Although the voices became louder as corruption expanded, we were never able to reduce corruption, but we have been seeing it develop in different forms, the negative consequences of which have now put our economy in a dire state.

The biggest cases of corruption started with the privatization of state properties, continued with the trading of land in Ulaanbaatar, reached a high through mining licenses, and continue today with the distribution of bond funds. The political institutions that allowed corruption to reach this stage are the Mongolian People's Party (MPP, formerly known as the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party) and the Democratic Party (DP). Under the names of these political parties, only a handful of politicians have assumed senior positions in the government over many generations of corruption.

Democracy does not exist in these two institutions. These political parties are a collection of different factions varying in their wealth and power, and the people of Mongolia have been paying for the costs of corruption each faction has created. Instead of making the true culprits of corruption pay for economic damages, the MPP has decided to continue milking the people.


Instead of patching up the biggest hole in the bucket by getting rid of corruption, the MPP is trying to fill the broken bucket by increasing taxes. It is a step backwards, but the short-lived ministers and officials in the government do not care. During an economic crisis, taxes should remain the same, and even lower taxes should be offered to companies that have increased employment. The MPP government is trying to increase the social insurance tax by five percent and receive 26 percent of people's salaries. Our social insurance rates are already considered to be some of the highest in Asia. If the rates are increased now, it will lead to large companies making cuts to their workforce. This will push up the unemployment rate, which is already at 17 percent today. Studies suggest that when the unemployment rate is 20 percent, crime rates increase.

On the other hand, Mongolians currently spend 21 percent of their salaries on social insurance. We need to think about what quality of service we receive in return, and what a small portion of our taxes cover the payment. Raising personal income tax to 25 percent is not targeting the rich, but destroying the middle class, which is a capable workforce that lives on their salaries. Also, if you decrease the salaries of everyone who is earning more than 1,000 USD a month, it will shrink the base of people paying social insurance fees. Compared to countries with a similar cost of living, Mongolia is an expensive place.

These proposed policies for taxes will chase the skilled workforce away from the country and shut the door on foreign investment. In other Asian countries, a progressive tax of 25 percent is imposed on people with an annual income equivalent to 160 million MNT in Japan, 220 million MNT in Malaysia, and 500 million MNT in Singapore. A major cause of the current crisis is our budget policy. Our nation is strangled by debt because we have acquired a lot of foreign loans, but have failed to use them wisely. In order to pay for the interest on these loans, domestic loans with even higher interest rates were raised. This triggered the value of the tugrug to fall sharply and disrupted the balance of payments.

The political parties that have had ruling power have repeatedly made populist promises and successfully put the nation in a debt crisis by trying to deliver populist policies. When they distributed the money that came from government bonds, they did not forget about their own interests.

The fact that the MPP does not want to talk about this is because many of the companies they own have not paid up for the interest on these bonds. Sinking companies that are already struggling to operate in a corrupt environment, rather than holding corrupt officials accountable, is a truly dishonest move. People who eat and drink as much as others but disappear when the bill arrives are often referred to as "fake" people. A nation where government officials eat and drink but make the people, who did not join in their extravagant parties, pay for everything can be called "Fakestan". B.AMAR

Please visit D.Jargalsaikhan's website,

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Mongolia no longer a wait-and-see market: BrandZ

A BrandZ study offering advice for market entry highlights how Mongolia has more in common with Indonesia than it does with neighbouring China.

September 5 (Campaign Asia-Pacific) There are more differences than similarities between consumers in Mongolia and neighbouring China, although both countries celebrate Lunar New Year in a huge way, according to a BrandZ report released by WPP & Y&R Mongolia.

Ulaanbaatar has more in common with Jakarta, as both cities have enjoyed a fairly sudden surge of affluence from rapid development that both have struggled to keep pace with—explaining the immense traffic jams and impossibility of parking. In addition, spending in each country is being led by young, open-minded and digitally enabled consumers.

While Mongolia is a country better known for its vast wilderness and harsh climate than its market potential, a mining boom has grown its GDP to rates as high as 17 percent in recent years, creating a ready pool of affluent consumers to be sold to.

The report highlights 6 key factors for brands looking to establish themselves in Mongolia:

Inform and inspire: Mongolians are well-travelled and have been exposed to brands not yet officially launched in the market. There has been a strong propensity to travel among Mongolians due to a nomadic past.

Expect contradictions: Mongolia is different from other Asian or Central European markets. A largely Buddhist population with a strong Russian influence, consumers are diverse and live with seemingly contradictory values. The contradiction is the co-existence of Western inspiration and national pride in 'pan-Mongolism'. However, take note that Genghis Khan references are overused by brands.

Ride on technological infrastructure: Leapfrogging is prevalent in certain sectors, as consumers go straight to mobile internet over laptop or desktop. Internet banking is rolling out fast, and e-payment is also commonplace.

Tap into social media: TV still dominates as a mass-medium, but online advertising is growing rapidly and remains a largely untapped opportunity for marketers, especially Facebook.

Centre marketing efforts on Ulaanbaatar: Business starts and ends in the Mongolian capital. Both the super-rich and middle classes are almost exclusively living in the capital, and most affluent consumers are 30-plus of age.

Don't go cheap: Cheap doesn't mean good. A decade on the receiving end of cheap products has aroused suspicion and a preference for quality goods. End-of-season sales can cause discontent for consumers who had paid full price for a product two months prior.

David Roth, CEO for EMEA and Asia, The Store:

"Mongolian consumers and the businesses that cater to them are hurdling stages of development that took years to pass in other markets; they are bypassing bank branches in favor of smart phone apps, and many emerging local brands are putting their advertising spend straight into social media."

Here are a few graphics selected from the report, which goes into great detail on media usage, economic factors and more. (Click any of the images to see a larger version.)

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Don't mention Genghis KhanWARC, September 7


Baganuur mine: top marks on homework assignment

By D. Bekhee

September 5 (Mongolian Economy) The time for the Baganuur mine to step onto the international arena has come, as the fundraising document of the company is now ready. The technical and economic feasibility study to attract global investment and offer proposals to investors has been completed. Over the past two years, the company conducted additional geological surveys and explorations and increased their coal reserves by 274 million tonnes. Now the Minerals Council has recorded the mine's total reserves at 812 million tonnes. If the mine can operate for approximately 60 years (according to estimates) without interruption, 10 million tonnes of coal can be extracted annually.

The Baganuur mine is Mongolia's largest coal mine and supplies about 60 percent of total domestic consumption. The first feasibility study of the deposit was developed by the Giproshakht Institute of the Soviet Union about 40 years ago, while a consortium made up of Australia's Runge Pincock Minarco and Mongolia's Bal Chuluu LLC developed the new feasibility study this time around. Issue concerning the mine's expansion, increase of reserves and operational period have much significance as Mongolia's energy consumption is increasing year by year. Coal miners and the entire energy sector are more than glad about an additional 60 years of operation during this period when establishment of new power stations and sources are being discussed. Expansion, modernisation and investment into the mine will proceed in accordance with international standards, representing the beginning of new era for Mongolia's mining sector.

The exploration and feasibility study of Mongolia's largest coal mine was developed in accordance with international standards. In addition, a globally respected auditing firm handles the company's financial reporting. By doing so, the investment proposal for the mine's expansion and modernisation can be offered to international investors. "We have done our homework in accordance with international standards. Now the work to raise mining investment remains to be completed by Erdenes Mongol LLC," stated CEO B.Byambasaikhan. Erdenes Mongol is the parent company of Baganuur JSC and is working to strengthen corporate governance at the company. A handover ceremony was held at Baganuur mine where the Executive Director of Baganuur JSC, M.Otgonbayar, thanked the World Bank, Baganuur JSC's staff and foreign and domestic companies that developed the feasibility study.

According to the new feasibility study, it is estimated that USD 160 million will be required for the expansion. B.Byambasaikhan said that this sum will be raised from the global market within the coming years. Today, the mine is capable of producing 3.8 million tonnes per year, while it will be able to produce up to 10 million tonnes per year after the expansion.

Baganuur District in Ulaanbaatar has population of 30,000. Many of the residents work at the mine, and many more are affected directly. Approximately 1,000 people work at the Baganuur mine, and the company plans to hire 300 additional personnel, according to the new feasibility study. This major player in the Mongolian energy sector produced its 100 millionth tonne of coal last year and has determined its next half-century of plans and goals.

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Vice Minister of Mining and Heavy Industry visits ETT, UHG, TTL, OT

Ulaanbaatar, September 6 /MONTSAME/ Vice Minister of Mining and Heavy Industry Kh.Badamsuren worked Tuesday at the coal mines of West and East Tsankhi at the "Erdenes Tavantolgoi" LLC, the "Ukhaa khudag" coal mine and the concentration plant at the "Energy Resource" LLC and a coal mine of the "Tavantolgoi" company.

After visiting coal mining sites, he exchanged views on urgent problems with the mines' authorities. He provided them with professional and methodological advice. He also visited the Gashuunsukhait border checkpoint to learn the present condition of the coal transportation.

Afterwards, the Vice Minister attended a consultative meeting with participation of local authorities and mining companies in Omnogobi aimag's Tsogttsetsii and Khanbogd soums, including MPs and head of the Citizens' Representative Khural elected from Omnogobi aimag, the aimag's and soums' governors who shared their opinions about maximizing the coal exploration and export, improving a development plan for the mining infrastructure and collaboration with locals.

When at the "Oyutolgoi" LLC, the Vice Minister shared his views with the company's leaders and experts, and then attended an opening of a 35 km paved-road between Khanbogd and Oyutolgoi. 

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AASSA organizing scientific conference on green growth here

Ulaanbaatar, September 6 /MONTSAME/ "Role of Scientific Field in the Green Growth" international scientific conference is being organized on Wednesday in Ulaanbaatar, by the Association of Academies and Societies of Sciences in Asia (AASSA), Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of Education, Culture, Sciences and Sports.

The Association affiliates 34 scientific institutions of more than 30 countries. It was established in 2012 to promote cooperation between scholars and scientists.

The Mongolian Academy of Sciences is an active member of this association, having its president as the member of Board of AASSA.

The scientific conference is to bring together over 60 scholars from Mongolia, South Korea, Russia, China, Nepal, Bangladesh and Iran, and will consider 15 scientific papers. 

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Neighboring countries to discuss tourism alongside Silk Road

Ulaanbaatar, September 5 (MONTSAME) The International Silk Road Tourism Conference is expected to take place in Ulaanbaatar on October 13-15.

The participants – scholars and tourism professionals from the neighboring and geographically connected countries, will consider the current state and future perspectives of the regional tourism, and the global practices.

The event is to attract more than 300 delegates.

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ADB intends to accelerate BRT project on public transport

Ulaanbaatar, September 5 (MONTSAME) Mayor of Ulaanbaatar city S.Batbold exchanged views on an investment program on developing public transportation of the capital city and a project on bus rapid transit (BRT) when he met Monday with Robert Gayle, director of the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) Northeast Asian division of transportation.

The project and program on the public transport development of Ulaanbaatar are being co-implemented by the ADB and Ulaanbaatar city's administration. Although the sides signed a document on starting the project in 2014, the implementation course is running slowly, so the ADB intends to accelerate the project and program's realization in near future, Robert Gayle said. He added that the ADB aspires to commission the first corridor of the BRT in UB by next year.

The Mayor said the Ulaanbaatar administration will provide all conditions for implementing the project because the public transport is a critical issue in Ulaanbaatar which is the most populous city in Mongolia. He added that Ulaanbaatar wants to carry out a joint research on planning routes and stations of the public transport, correlating it with the BRT project.

In response, Robert Gayle reported that a three-day workshop on empowering the public transport development will be held late October, and it will present a policy document concerning the public transport of UB.

The sides expressed their willingness to collaborate in accomplishing the BRT project which will bring a progress the capital city's public transport.

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How the State House of Mongolia was built

September 6 (MONTSAME) Offices of the President and Parliament as well as the Government and its secretariat are headquartered in the State House of Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar.

The foundation of the building was first laid in 1947. Some 300 Japanese war prisoners completed construction of the west side foundation of the building by October 1947. A total of 1200 people participated in constructing the building which was concluded in 1951. 

Since then, the new State House has been occupied by offices and secretariats of the State Baga Khural and other various state organs, including the former 'Unen' (meaning Truth) newspaper, a government propaganda newspaper, state court and Mongolian Writers' Union.

A mausoleum of D.Sukhbaatar, one of the founders of the Mongolian People's Party and one of the leaders of the People's Revolution of 1921 was added in 1954.  Later in 2004, the mausoleum was dismantled. Replacing the mausoleum, a grand monument of Chinggis Khaan as well as a State Honorary Complex were built in 2006 on the occasion of the 800th anniversary of the Great Mongol Empire and the coronation of Chinggis Khaan. 

Now, the statue of Chinggis Khaan is guarded by two of his most loyal generals Muqali and Bo'orchi. Interestingly, until it was painted white in 2007, the State House of Mongolia had been referred to by local residents as "Grey Palace" due to its former grey color.

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'Politically sound, need to expand economic ties' – Mongolian FM on relationship with Russia

September 4 (RT) Mongolia has excellent political relations with Russia as there are no unresolved issues. But in terms of economic and trade cooperation the two nations have not tapped their full potential, Foreign Minister of Mongolia Munkh-Orgil Tsend told RT.

The 2nd Eastern Economic Forum was held in Russia's Far Eastern city of Vladivostok from September 2-3. The event brought together over 3,000 people from 60 countries. More than 200 agreements worth at least 1.7 trillion rubles (over $26 billion) were signed at the forum, according to Russia's Far East Development Minister Aleksandr Galushka.

READ MORE: 2nd Eastern Economic Forum kick starts in Vladivostok

RT met with Munkh-Orgil Tsend on the sidelines of the event to discuss cooperation in the region and, in particular, ties between Moscow and Ulaanbaatar.

RT: How has the Eastern Economic Forum 2016 gone for Mongolia?

Munkh-Orgil Tsend: It has gone very well. We have come here to accomplish basically two goals. We wanted to see some of our Russian counterparts; we had to see our friends from the Ministry of Transport, railroad authorities. We have set up some meetings with our business partners from Russia, China. And we have accomplished that goal completely. We had very productive meetings with Russian ministers. For example, we had a 10-15 minutes chat with my colleague Sergey Lavrov and we discussed some issues of bilateral relations. 

Secondly, we came here to see what is happening in the region because we know that Asia-Pacific is the biggest region in the world. It houses close to 60 percent of the world's population. And it is home to some of the strongest and most dynamic integration processes in the world. And Mongolia as a nation wants to be integrated; we want to be involved in this process. We have learned a lot and we have established some new contacts, we have renewed some old contacts. Basically, we have accomplished all the goals we came here [for].

RTSpeaking of integration, there are new projects planned, including Asian Energy Super Ring, which involves Russia, China, Mongolia, South Korea and Japan which will integrate energy systems of these countries. What are your thoughts on this? How viable is it for Mongolia, in particular?

MOT: I think it is a very viable project. We are involved in active discussions with Russia and the People's Republic of China on integrating our own grid systems into a system that will help us both economically and industry infrastructure wise. I was very interested to learn what has happened so far, what are the plans for the future. And we want to be involved in the process as well. So I think from that perspective we will be keeping a keen eye on this project and we will work actively in the future to get ourselves involved in the process.

RTMongolia and the Soviet Union always had very close relationship. Where does the relationship between Mongolia and Russia stand right now? What is on top of the agenda between Russia and Mongolia?

MOT: Politically, we have excellent relations. Basically, there are no unresolved issues. But in terms of economic and trade cooperation we have not tapped into our full potential. And that still is on the top of our bilateral agenda. We have a number of government agreements by which we regulate our trade but we still want to be actively pursuing and expanding those relations. We are currently involved in negotiations with Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and in October or November we are planning to have negotiations with Viktor Khristenko on how we can get closer relations with [EEU]. We are thinking of starting some preliminary negotiations on possible free trade agreement with [EEU]. But it is all in the pipeline and we think that it is a very important process…

That's a big integration process that is taking place on this big continent. And for Mongolia it is very important and it is very much in our national interests to be linked and to be involved as much as possible with this integration processes.

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FM Ts.Munkh-Orgil holds talks with Russian politicians in Vladivostok

Ulaanbaatar, September 6 /MONTSAME/ Minister of Foreign Affairs Ts.Munkh-Orgil attended the Eastern Economic Forum which took place in Vladivostok of Russia on September 2-3. The forum has been organized under auspices of the President of the Russian Federation.

The Minister have taken some updates on the Russian economic situation, especially, the economic growth in the Far East, regional economic policies and positions in Asia and the Pacific, and the measures for attracting investments from the regional countries.

During the economic forum, the FM Ts.Munkh-Orgil held bilateral meetings with the Russia Minister of Natural Resources and Environment and chairman of Mongolia-Russia Intergovernmental Committee S.E.Donskoy, Minister of Foreign Affairs S.V.Lavrov, the Head of the Sakha Republic E.A.Borisov, the Deputy Minister of Transportation O.V.Tsydenov and the President of the Russian Railways JSC O.V.Belozerov. 

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Mongolia-Russia Conference of Young Scientists taking over UB

Ulaanbaatar, September 5 (MONTSAME) The Second Mongolia-Russia Conference of Young Scientists is commencing today (September 5) in Ulaanbaatar, on the occasion of the 95th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The event is incorporating the scientific conference with a sports festival. The side fora will be held under themes of geology, geography, society, agriculture, biotechnology and medical science.

From Russia, more than 70 delegates from the Siberian branch of the Academy of Sciences of Russia, University of Irkutsk, the National University of Technology of Irkutsk, and the Irkutsk University of Agriculture are taking part. Mongolia is being represented by over 500 young scholars from 25 institutes, including the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sciences and Sports, the Academy of Sciences, the Mongolian University of Science and Technology, the University of Education and the University of Agriculture.

The first conference, held in Irkutsk in May, was attended by 108 young scholars from Mongolia.

The second conference is to last for five days.

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Eighth forum on trilateral trade and economic cooperation held

Ulaanbaatar, September 6 /MONTSAME/ A delegation headed by D.Tsogtbaatar MP participated in the 8th Forum of Mongolia-Russia-China Cooperation in Trade and Economy held on September 2-4 in Erenhot, Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region of China.

At the opening of the forum, D.Tsogtbaatar MP sounded a message from the Mongolian President, ahead of B.Battsetseg, the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs who delivered a speech, emphasizing that developing the equal and friendly cooperation with neighboring Russia and China is one of the priorities of the Mongolian foreign policy. She said Mongolia is thankful to China for hosting the annual meeting with an aim to boost the trilateral relations and cooperation, and welcomed successful realization of some works agreed by the countries.

Mentioning that a list of 32 projects have been approved after the three countries' Presidents concurred a program on setting up an economic corridor, the Vice FM said these projects reflect a number of works to create a trans-boundary network of railway and auto-roads, to intensify the cooperation in transit transportation, to render customs tax advantages to Mongolian export products and to abolish non-tariff hurdles.

As a democratic country that is geographically located in a connecting area of east and west, cherishing peace and having independent and multilateral foreign policy, the Mongolian government adheres to a position in contribution to the political stability, the continuity of foreign policy and a progress of the regional and international development. She added that Mongolia maintains a state policy which cherishes its interests, respects the neighboring countries and boost the win-win cooperation.

B.Battsetseg believes that the trilateral forum will significantly contribute to developing the collaboration of border regions, bringing it into a new level and opening new opportunities for companies to create new markets and partnership.

In scope of the forum, the Mongolian delegation was received by Yun Guangzhong, Deputy Head of Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region; Wang Jinzhen, the Vice Chairman of the Council of China's Foreign Trade; and Luo Qing, chairman of the Party Committee of Erehot. The Mongolian side appreciated actions of the trilateral forum, and then asked the China's side to make activities of the customs, quarantine and inspection authorities quicker in order to boost the Mongolia-China trade and economic cooperation, to support businessmen, to provide them with discounts and to resolve some problems faced to them in the commercial area of Erenhot.

Following the meeting, the delegation legged the Consulate of Mongolia in Erenhot and visited the forum's exhibition halls and a commercial zone.

This year's forum brought together representatives of some 100 companies advertising their products and services.    

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Speaker M.Enkhbold meets Senate member of Italy

Ulaanbaatar, September 5 (MONTSAME) Chairman of the State Great Khural M.Enkhbold received Monday a delegation led by Antonio Razzi, a member of the Senate of Italy.

Beginning the meeting, the Speaker extended on behalf of the Mongolian parliament and on his behalf condolences to Italy on loss of many lives due to a strong earthquake hit the central area of Italy last month.

M.Enkhbold emphasized that Mongolia attaches a great importance to the relations with Italy and considers the country as one of the Third Neighbors of Mongolia.

"Our relations and cooperation have been intensifying over the recent years. A visit of the Mongolian President to Italy and an official visit of Pietro Grasso, the President of the Italian Senate to Mongolia were a vivid evidence of the boosting of the bilateral relations, and these visits have contributed to progressing the ties," the Speaker said. He then underlined an importance of the legislative bodies' ties for enhancing the cooperation in all spheres, and said the Mongolian parliament will continue backing it.

The Speaker highlighted an importance of opening the Italian Embassy in Mongolia for bringing the bilateral relations into a new level, and said it is vital to host meetings of the Mongolia-Italy intergovernmental commission in near future and to realize agreements reached between the countries.

The bilateral relations can be enriched with economic contents, the Speaker said, and asked Antonio Razzi to pay attention to broadening the collaboration by encouraging businessmen, promoting light industry, tannery and the infrastructure.

In turn, Antonio Razzi thanked the Speaker for the audience. He pointed out that opening the Embassy in Mongolia was a long-year aspiration, and underlined the countries have a big potential to widen their relations.

Noting that a development of Mongolia has been progressing at a high pace, the Senator said Italy is able to cooperate in the infrastructure sector of Mongolia and on an economic corridor to be created among Mongolia, Russia and China. He added that his country is one of the leading countries in leather processing, so Italy aspires to cooperate with Mongolia in this industry.

At the end of the meeting, the Speaker conveyed his greetings to Pitero Grasso, the President of the Senate. 

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Members of Mongolia-Italy parliamentary group receive Italian senate delegation

Ulaanbaatar, September 6 /MONTSAME/ Head of the Mongolia-Italia group in the State Great Khural (Parliament) of Mongolia A.Undraa MP, members B.Batzorig, G.Munkhtsetseg, N.Oyundari and Ts.Tsogzolmaa MPs received Monday the delegation, led by the member of the Senate of the Italian Republic.

A.Undraa MP wished the delegates a convenient stay in Mongolia, and extended condolences on losses of precious lives in earthquake that hit the central part of Italy.

Recalling the attendance of 2 senators from Italy in the 9th Asia Europe Parliamentary Partnership Meeting (ASEP), held in Ulaanbaatar in May, and the official visit of the President of the Senate to Mongolia, A.Undraa MP noted that Mongolia sees these as an indication of greater focus from Italy on the relations with Mongolia.

In response, Mr Razzi thanked the MPs for the warm welcome and extended gratitude to the Ambassador of Mongolia to Italy Sh.Odonbaatar for his role in organizing this visit to Mongolia.

The sides continued the meeting with discussing potentials of cooperation in trade, economy, culture, leather processing and organic food productions.

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Vice Foreign Minister meets Ambassador of India

Ulaanbaatar, September 5 (MONTSAME) Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs B.Battsetseg met Friday Suresh Babu, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of India to Mongolia.

The Vice FM noted that the Mongolia-India relations and cooperation which are based on the historical and cultural ties and common democratic values have been progressing under the strategic partnership principle. The Ambassador congratulated B.Battsetseg on assuming her office recently, and shared his views concerning the bilateral cooperation.

At the meeting, the parties talked about projects and programs to be co-implemented in the areas of trade, investment, culture and education, and actions needed for intensifying the realization.

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Non-resident ambassador to Argentina presents credentials

Ulaanbaatar, September 6 /MONTSAME/ Non-Resident Ambassador of Mongolia to Argentina Ch.Sosormaa has presented her diplomatic credentials to Mauricio Macri, the President of Argentina, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported last Friday.

Following the presentation, the Mongolian Ambassador paid a courtesy call on Patricia Gimenez, the Deputy Chairwoman of the Chamber of Deputies (lower house of Argentinian parliament), in the Congress House.

The parties discussed an issue of setting up an Argentina-Mongolia friendship group at the Chamber of Deputies, and they agreed to collaborate in this matter. They also exchanged views on organizing mutual visits of the legislative bodies' leaders on occasion of the 45th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic relations marked this year.  

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Best Argentinian agricultural technologies might be introduced in Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar, September 6 /MONTSAME/ Non-Resident Ambassador of Mongolia to Argentina Ch.Sosormaa has attended a meeting on broadening the bilateral cooperation in the agricultural sector with Argentina.

It has been co-organized in collaboration with officials of the Argentinian Ministry of Agriculture and the International Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During the meeting, the Argentinian side pointed out that its government will involve Mongolia in the technical cooperation program. Upon doing so, opportunities opens for Mongolia to learn Argentinian best technologies and experiences in the agricultural sector, particularly, implementing joint projects and programs on genetics of livestock, biotechnology, bio-engineering, vaccination of foot-and-mouth disease, and preparing experts.

One of the leading countries by the agricultural industry, Argentina has highly developed the industries of meat and leather processing and growing of organic vegetables. Argentina is also the first country in the world to be fully freed from foot-and-mouth disease of livestock. In 2016, the country has successfully implemented  some 200 programs in 52 countries in frames of the South-South Cooperation.          

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Mongolia workshop focuses on increasing women's roles in Asia-Pacific security sector

The Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies and the Mongolian Institute for Strategic Studies co-hosted the event. Fifty-five participants from the Asia-Pacific region represented military, law enforcement, and civilian government agencies.

Titled "Addressing Institutional Impediments to Inclusion in the Security Sector," the workshop enabled participants to evaluate case studies from the region, analyze remaining hurdles to inclusion and craft recommended courses of action. 

"Security sector effectiveness depends, in large part, on adequate representation of the viewpoints of those supported — the groups and communities impacted by associated policies and actions," said DKI APCSS workshop lead Dr. Lori Forman. 

DKI APCSS Director retired Lt. Gen. Dan Leaf added, "This workshop was the next big step in the DKI APCSS campaign to enable inclusive security sector governance. A diverse group of extraordinary practitioners and academics aggressively identified institutional impediments to a more complete representation of women in the security sector. They learned with and from each other, formed a strong basis for future collaboration, and identified specific actions they will take to make their organizations more inclusive."

Participants — 23 men and 32 women — hailed from 14 countries and regions to include Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Burma, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, Mongolia, the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, and the United States (Guam). 

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Mongolia's Contribution to a Nuclear-Weapon Free World

Viewpoint by Dr. Jargalsaikhany Enkhsaikan*

This is a slightly abridged version of the Mongolian Blue Banner NGO President Dr. Jargalsaikhany Enkhsaikan's address to the Astana Conference on August 29 to mark the 25th anniversary of the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site.

ULAN BATOR, september 6 | ASTANA (IDN-INPS) - Abolition of nuclear weapons is an ambitious goal that reflects seven decades of peoples' aspirations and hopes to do away with this weapon of mass destruction. The paradox of the post cold war period is that though the number of nuclear weapons has been reduced, the number of states possessing such weapons has increased.

Also the risk of their use is higher due to nuclear deterrence doctrines, revival of the rhetoric and spirit of the cold war, testing of hypersonic means of delivery of such weapons, hair trigger alert systems with very short time to make decisions, introduction of a dial-a-yield technology that lowers nuclear weapon use threshold.

Nuclear weapons are omnicide weapons and as such they are a threat to all peoples. Archive materials show that humankind was spared of nuclear annihilation more due to luck rather than policy of deterrence. The future of humankind cannot depend on luck or on policies of a few.

The humanitarian initiative has underlined yet once again the devastating medical, environmental and humanitarian consequences of the use of even of a tiny fraction of such weapons. They are dangerous suicide bombs for the humankind, while those that possess them can be considered as potential suicide bombers. Hence in the struggle to abolish nuclear weapons, active participation of every state is needed and not only of nuclear-weapon states or their allies.

Mongolia's case

During the cold war Mongolia was allied with one nuclear-weapon state and hosted its military bases. As such it was held hostage to the tense relations between nuclear-weapon states and could have easily been drawn into their armed conflict.

After the cold war, when circumstances have changed, it abandoned the policy of relying on such alliance and has opted to ensure its security primarily by political and diplomatic means, in line with the logic and imperatives of common security.

Thus in 1992 it declared its territory a single-State nuclear-weapon-free zone (NWFZ). As a result of consistent and persistent policy as well as broad international support, today Mongolia enjoys an internationally recognized nuclear-weapon-free status.

In 2012 in their joint declaration the five nuclear-weapon states (P5) pledged to respect the status and not to contribute to any act that would violate it. The joint declaration is a Mongolia-specific assurance reflecting its geo-political location. It ensures that Mongolia would not be used as a pawn in future geopolitical nuclear rivalry.

In practical terms it means that its vast territory of 1.5 million square kilometres will be a zone of confidence and stability and not a "grey zone" or a destabilizing factor. This demonstrates the potential role of each member of international community in strengthening national and regional security. The almost two dozen states and territories that due to geographical or some other factors cannot form part of existing or new NWFZs could benefit from such experience and avoid becoming "grey zone". Therein lies the practical importance of Mongolia's contribution and experience.

Mongolia's legislation

Mongolia's nuclear-weapon-free status is not only a political understanding and arrangement with the P5. It is based on its national interest and national legislation. Thus in 2000 Mongolia adopted a legislation that defined the status at the national level and criminalized acts that would violate the status. The Government regularly informs the Parliament on its implementation. Based on such reports, in 2015 the Parliament passed a resolution aimed at making the status an integral part of a regional security arrangement.


Based on its experience, Mongolia has signalled its readiness, on an informal basis to work with others to see if and how a nuclear-weapon-free zone could be established in Northeast Asia (NEA), an essential element of a comprehensive approach to security in that delicate and sensitive region. As Mongolia's President has pointed out at the High-level meeting on nuclear disarmament in 2013, establishing a NEA-NWFZ would not be easy and would require courage, political will and perseverance; however it is doable, if not right away. The geopolitics in the region and prospects of a possible regional arms race require that a special attempt be made to find ways and means of establishing a NEA-NWFZ.

Blue Banner activities

As an independent civil society organization established in 2005, Blue Banner has worked with its Government to promote Mongolia's status nationally and internationally. Today Blue Banner is making research on a number of issues. It is working on developing appropriate measures to link Mongolia's status with East Asian regional security and stability. It is also working together with other NGOs and think tanks of the region, including with Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition of Nagasaki University (RECNA) on a comprehensive approach to establishing a NEA-NWFZ.

Blue Banner believes that in this day and age a mere absence of nuclear weapons on a territory of a state does not mean that the territory would not be drawn into or used in nuclear rivalry or conflict. When time and space have become decisive factors in military planning, the territory of a NWFZ could be used in military planning, preparation or execution.

Hence Blue Banner is researching feasibility of a broader approach to understanding/interpreting the meaning of NWFZs (i.e. not just physical absence of nuclear weapons) that would also exclude involvement in tracking, homing on or involvement in nuclear-weapon use infrastructure.

As member of Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) network, Blue Banner is working with other Northeast Asian CSOs, in the framework the recently established track-II Ulaanbaatar process, to create a space and venue for inclusive regional track-II dialogue and help generate practical ideas, i.e. serve as a "laboratory" of useful ideas and proposals that could help address such issues as of the situation on the Korean peninsula or establishing a NEA-NWFZ.

In short, contribution of all states is needed to create a nuclear-weapon-free world.

*Dr. Jargalsaikhany Enkhsaikhan has had an impressive career in government service representing Mongolia at home and abroad. He was Ambassador-at-Large in charge of Multilateral issues in 2013-2014. He was Advisor to the Organizing committee for Ministerial meeting of the Community of Democracies held in 2013 in Mongolia. From 2008 to 2012, he was Mongolia's Ambassador to Austria and Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). From 1996 to 2003, he served as Permanent Representative of Mongolia to the United Nations in New York – after having worked at the Mission as Diplomatic officer from 1978 to 1986. [IDN-INPS – 06 September 2016]

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North Korean laborers struggle in Mongolian recession

[North Korean Overseas Labor Investigation ]

Last month, Daily NK dispatched a special coverage team overseas to investigate reports of human rights abuses involving North Korean laborers in China, Russia, and Mongolia. After rising to power, Kim Jong Un has significantly increased the number of North Korean laborers sent abroad. In doing so, North Korean human rights abuses have emerged as an international issue. For its part, Daily NK will issue a series of six reports that delve into the abuses and labor conditions faced by North Korean workers sent to the foreign currency earning operations abroad that provide funding for the regime.

September 6 (Daily NK) In the midst of a long-term recession, many Mongolian construction firms that employ North Korean laborers have suspended operations. Managers dispatched from North Korea have stepped up and hired their fellow countrymen as workers in a bid to earn foreign currency despite the downturn.   

Some of these businesses are outward facing, and some even face South Korean businesses. The North Korean-run firms are not avoiding contact in such cases, and are even seeking them out for contracts, thus revealing the need to acquire foreign currency no matter the situation.  

A source in Mongolia with knowledge of the operations spoke with the Daily NK special coverage team on site, noting, "North Korean business managers have been affected by the worsening economic situation here in Mongolia. That's why they're meeting with any and all business people - be they Mongolian or South Korean - in order to arrange a contract and deliver laborers. In the process of doing so, they collect an honorarium of 50 dollars a head." 

This new trend indicates that the foreign currency earning managers from North Korea are skating on thin ice. Even though the stated goal is to earn money for the regime, contacting South Koreans is considered a security risk and is strictly forbidden. Doing so can earn one a conviction for espionage, resulting in severe punishment. 

According to the source, State Security Department operatives in the region can also earn a significant amount of money by participating in the schemes involving South Koreans, so they are turning a blind eye to the practice. However, they might also become implicated in a future investigation, so they sometimes submit a report to the authorities in order to prevent become tangled in accusations later on. 

"Because of this, some North Korean managers come face to face with political pressures and then suddenly vanish," he said.

Explaining the context that led to this development, he added, "These managers are under intense pressure to submit large amounts of loyalty funds to the authorities back home. That's what caused them to go to this extent: going so far as to contact South Koreans. They've become lodged between a rock and a hard place." 

In search of operations that employ overseas North Korean workers, Daily NK's special coverage team traveled to downtown Ulaanbaatar. Upon arrival, the team discovered that most of the construction sites had been temporarily shut down.  

One worksite that continued operations was at a building called 'The Plaza.' Once there, Daily NK inquired about the current state of North Korean workers to the manager affiliated with the site, who said that for the most part, the managers give Mongolian workers the day shift, relegating the North Korean workers to the night shift.

"The laborers tend to be reclusive and tend not to contact foreigners. They don't even deal directly with me," he added. "They say that the North Koreans work at night to reduce the security risk of contacting foreigners." 

When asked about how economic trends affect the workers, the manager said, "When the economy was still doing well, buildings were shooting up all over this city. But now that things have taken a turn for the worst, most construction operations are at a standstill. It's hard for even Mongolian workers to find a job these days. Keeping that in mind, who is going to hire a North Korean laborer?"

In relation to this, a Seoul-based NGO called the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights (NKDB) also visited worksites in Mongolia recently. "We can confirm that many construction sites in Ulaanbaatar have been affected by the recession and are currently not active. In response, some North Korean laborers dispatched to the area are choosing to go home, or are staying around the site, going into debt," the organization's related report read. NKDB estimated that approximately 1,500 laborers are currently in Mongolia.   

In response to the income streams lost by the ailing construction industry, the North Korean foreign currency strategy has shifted. And this explains the presence of the oriental medicine doctors. Mongolia's medical system has some prominent insufficiencies, and so North Korean oriental doctors with acupuncture experience have been welcomed in downtown hospitals. Locals explained that some of the doctors have earned a good reputation and have increased their rates to capitalize on the name brand recognition. The authorities are exploiting the doctors by taking a large cut of their income: approximately U.S. $2,000/month.     

The special coverage team visited a hospital in Ulaanbaatar called "АЧИТ ЗХ ЗМНЗПЗГ." There, they found six North Korean doctors. A person associated with the hospital said, "The North Korean doctors are known for their skills and highly regarded by their patients." 

The special coverage team was also able to briefly dialogue with two North Korean doctors as they left the hospital. They were not shy, saying, "Are you young people from South Joseon [South Korea]? "I'm from Pyongyang." At some point, we'll have the chance to see one another again." Through the curtain, the special coverage team was able to peep at the doctors' respective desks. On top of both were items that looked like tablet PCs and mobile phones.

Restaurants in Mongolia are focusing on attracting and maintaining customers. There are three North Korean restaurants in town. Because of the recession, many other restaurants in town have closed down. Compared to China, however, the impact of the international sanctions has not been as debilitating. 

In addition, it is also said that when North Korean restaurants in Mongolia get South Korean customers, they are extremely pleased, giving out free side dishes such as kimchi. The situation is a bit more sensitive in China because it has garnered a lot of international attention. But in Mongolia, the staff tend to go out and greet customers in a very direct and friendly manner

The source said, "Of course they are warned that South Koreans are 'poisonous.' But the general attitude is, if we can earn money, everyone is welcome. The situation is a bit more sensitive in China because it has garnered a lot of international attention. But in Mongolia, the staff tend to go out and greet customers in a very direct and friendly manner."   

*This article has been brought to you with support from the Korea Press Foundation.

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Health, Education

WHO-UNDP joint team working to conduct non-communicable disease research

Ulaanbaatar, September 5 (MONTSAME) Joint team of the World Health Organization and the United Nations Development Programme are working in Mongolia between September 5 and 9 to conduct a situational analysis and research on both national and regional level for the purpose of increasing investment in the combat against noncommunicable diseases.

Vice Minister of Health L.Byambasuren welcomed the team at her office on September 5 to discuss ways of cooperation in attracting more investment and raising the policy-makers' awareness of the prevention and monitoring of noncommunicable diseases, and in kick-starting the cooperation between the stakeholders.

Senior officer of the WHO Dr Nicholas Banatvala noted the rate of noncommunicable diseases and the death caused by these diseases are higher among the people in their 40s. Therefore, he said, the team decided to issue a business case recommendation about noncommunicable diseases.

The team consists of economists, international and national consultants specialized in social development. After the careful research and analyses, it is expected to compile a customized model of economic efficiency for the nation's combat against noncommunicable diseases.

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Non-communicable disease rate has greater impact on country's growth, than imagined

Ulaanbaatar, September 6 /MONTSAME/ Head of the Parliament Standing Committee on Social Policy, Education and Sciences L.Enkh-Amgalan MP received September 5 the World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Mongolia, Dr Soe Nyunt U and a joint team of the United Nations specialized agencies.

The UN members have agreed on the fact that the key factors of the major development problems in most countries are the rate of noncommunicable diseases, socio-economic growth and poverty. Therefroe, the team intends to launch a program on the combat against and prevention of noncommunicable diseases in Mongolia between September 7 and 11. The team is to complete studies and economic estimations on the intended frameworks for attracting investment and raising the policymakers' awareness to early detection and prevention of noncommunicable diseases,

Dr Soe informed the hosts it is the second visit for the team members to Mongolia, succeeding their research on the rate of Hepatitis B and C infections in Mongolia.

"We formed this team in 2013 in order to support the UN activities. Noncommunicable diseases are divided in major parts, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, airway disease and diabetes. These diseases are mainly caused by substance abuses, unhealthy diet and lack movement", noted Dr Nick Banatvala, Senior Adviser to the Assistant Director General, Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health, WHO.

According to last year's studies, Mongolia has increasing death rate caused by noncommunicable diseases and it is evident that the death rate is affecting economic difficulties. Especially, the 34 percent premature death in the population aged below 70 years is a critical indication. The major cause (43%) of the premature death was cardiovascular diseases, the main factor of which was smoking. Some 48% of Mongolian men smoke, which is a relatively higher rate of smoking compared with other countries. Also, 40% of men and a quarter of women has hypertension. Mongolia leads the Asian countries by obesity.

 The problem of noncommunicable diseases is not only a health sector concern, but also one of the governance and administration, highlighted Dr Nadia Rasheed, Team Leader for HIV, Health&Development of the UNDP.

Mr L.Enkh-Amgalan MP expressed gratitude for the team visit to Mongolia and underlined their visit found an important timing being coincided with the development of four-year action plan of the Government of Mongolia.

Objectives are included in the 2016-2020 action plan for compiling a nationwide program on combat against noncommunicable diseases, which comprises involving greater number of people in the early detection, diagnosis, treatment and care. The Government has set a goal to double the financing for the health sector, noted the MP.

L.Enkh-Amgalan MP pledged the Standing committee's support for the activities of the joint team in Mongolia.

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Mongolia's progress on local health program appreciated by WHO

Ulaanbaatar, September 5 (MONTSAME) Vice Minister of Health L.Byambasuren received Monday the World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Mongolia, Dr Soe Nyunt U. The latter gave updates on the WHO-assisted programs in Mongolia, and detailed information on the progress on the Program on Strengthening the Local Health System.

The program's main goal is to improve the management of health services in the localities, building human resource capacity and access to quality healthcare.

Dr Soe said on Mongolia, that the country is a role model of the tangible progress on the local health program for the regional countries, and mentioned that it is possible to nominate Mongolia as an agenda to the 2017 or 2018 WHO Asia and the Pacific Committee Conference.

After presenting the project on introducing the internet-based portable diagnostic equipment to the emergency departments of Mongolian medical institutions, he expressed his gratitude for the fact that the project and the Government action plan to involve as many people as possible in the early detection of diseases.

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One more university that prepares journalists

September 5 (Mongolian Economy) The Institute of International Media and Journalism has opened its doors at Mongolia International University (MIU).

MIU conducts all their classes on English throughout the four academic years and is confident that the number of students at their new institute will rapidly grow by producing future journalists and media staff with high-level proficiency in English and modern media technology.

On September 2, the opening ceremony of the MIU academic year was held in the form of an international symposium on the topic "Current trends of the press and media." The MIU administration, Confederation of Mongolian Journalists and the Mongolian National Broadcaster cooperated in organizing the symposium.

Mongolia's first university class majoring in journalism began on September 1, 1960 with 34 students – 60 years after countries abroad began preparing journalists. There are now 19 universities and colleges with journalism programmes, with a total of 1,500 students.

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Culture, Society

From Phobia to Hope: On the Rights of Sexual Minorities

By Otgonbaatar Tsedendemberel

September 6 (GoGo Mongolia) The word "phobia" in English, derived from the Greek word "phobos", means fear or aversion. On the one hand, people dislike things they are afraid of. On the other hand, one could be afraid of something unknown and even feels strong dislike towards it. As American author H.P. Lovecraft puts it, "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear. And the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."

Today in Mongolia there are those who accept and positively perceive the rights of sexual minorities or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community, whereas there are others who stigmatize and dislike them. These are the people who do not have adequate understandings and information about the LGBTI community members, while believing in word of mouth, incorrect interpretations and even propaganda concerning the community, thus blindly denying the sexual minorities. And all of this has to do with the above-mentioned fear of the unknown. This is called homophobia and transphobia, referring to fear or hatred towards homosexual and transgender people, respectively.

Because there was no information about sexual minorities and no platform to discuss these issues openly, transparently and reasonably, LGBTI activists and NGOs started carrying out activities since the second half of the 1990s and as a result situations got somewhat better. International human rights law, UN treaties and conventions, as well as basic principles prohibit discrimination, hatred and unequal treatment of individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

However, when being vernacularized on the ground these international human rights ideas face various rejection and resistance. Despite us, humankind, having black, white or yellow skin, having various religions such as Buddhism, Christianity, Muslim, etc., being developed, developing or poor, having a democratic society, communism regime, or authoritarian governance, or living in a nomadic civilization or urban culture, we have our inherent, natural human dignity and deserve to enjoy the rights we are born with, no matter what. All the people eat and drink, wear clothes, love each other and suffer and feel happy. But it is often the case that there are some issues that are not accepted at certain historical times at the national level due to these political, social, economic or cultural factors and differences.

When this happens, local cultures, customs and traditions are usually used as an excuse. This is the case in Mongolia as well and when we discuss LGBTI rights, some people react that this should not be happening in our country. In fact, it is not true if we say we Mongolians are the nation without its sexual minorities. In 2013, the Undestnii Toim magazine dedicated its whole edition No. 37 (188) of September 16 2013 for the first ever Pride Week of Mongolia (from 2014 it was called Equality and Pride Days) focusing on the rights of sexual minorities and its journalist wrote on the subject matter by doing research and from many different perspectives. One of them keenly observed the masterpiece "One Day in Mongolia" painted by B.Sharav in which two men are depicted having sex and the journalist concluded that "this could well be an answer to those who view that same-sex relations were imported from the West along with democracy."

In line with the Mongolian saying "look into your own chest of drawers, instead of looking for something from other households", it is clear that we need to study what kind of local practices and habits we had in terms of sexual minorities in our social and cultural frameworks. As the masterpiece "One Day in Mongolia" reflected the ordinary lives of Mongolians of that time, it aimed to describe life as it was. Besides painting and arts, our scholars should look into the human relations and characteristics from sexual minorities' viewpoints in shamanism and religion as well.

On the other hand, from linguistic and cultural standpoints, it might be hard for some people to vernacularize the concepts and subjects and to get accustomed to saying foreign terminologies such as LGBTI, giving the impression that we are about to domesticate something that had not existed before. During a post-screening discussion of the LGBT film festival of the 2013 Pride Week, a cultural studies and linguistics professor said that "as long as the social phenomenon exists, there must be a word specifically for that phenomenon in that language" which I vividly remember. Therefore, one can say that the roles of linguistic scholars and researchers are also becoming important on the matter.

In many Asian countries, there is a rich history of sexual minorities in terms of their native cultures and traditions. For instance, since transgender communities such as hijras in India, kathoeys in Thailand and warias in Indonesia have long existed in their societies, establishing their social status and being organized into proper social groups and units, LGBTI people in those countries, especially the above-mentioned communities are most likely accepted without much trouble and the concept about their existence is in line with the social and cultural norms. 

In case of Mongolia, LGBTI community did not just emerge thanks to the democracy since 1990, so we need to acknowledge that the sexual minorities existed during the socialist era and long before that. In order for this to happen, we need to study and do research in the fields I mentioned above, dig deep into our historical facts and resources and look into our 'chests of drawers'. LGBT Centre of Mongolia who organizes Equality and Pride Days has been documenting the stories and narratives of LGBTI community members in the past and I hope that the circumstances and realities of those sexual minorities who had to 'hide' during socialism would become clearer through their oral histories and documentations.

The only way to overcome fear of the unknown is to charge oneself with knowledge and information. As I said before fear is an emotion, but one will be able to see things in a broader sense, if this subjectivity could be complemented with objective nature such as facts, evidences and scientific knowledge. Fear and hatred would not bring about any positive results, but by understanding each other, accepting diversity of one another and feeling the value of co-existence, I think that we could reignite the hope for joint development in the future.

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'I'm scared about what I'm doing next but to not be scared breeds complacency': Ross Kemp reveals why his new series takes him to meet Nazis in Mongolia – and how Brexit threatens his show's future 

·         Former Eastenders star spoke to people celebrating Adolf Hitler's birthday 

·         He saw parallels between their racism and the rhetoric of Donald Trump 

·         Actor visited Kurdistan, Colombia, Mozambique and US-Mexico border

·         He also revealed that he may have to cut shoots short because of Brexit 

September 6 (The Daily Mail) Ross Kemp has met Mongolian Nazis as part of his new TV series.

The latest season of his show Ross Kemp: Extreme World has taken him to the Far East, where he spoke to people who were celebrating Adolf Hitler's birthday. 

And the former Eastenders actor said he could see parallels between their racist nationalism and the rhetoric surrounding Donald Trump's campaign for the US presidency, as well as the rise in reports of racial abuse after the referendum in the UK.

He said: 'Because of the internet there has been a big growth in the populism of people like Trump because it's very simple, it's "We don't like you, we are going to build a wall and that is going to keep you out and solve all our problems".'

'In the past, politics was more complex than that but there has been an oversimplification of what is going on and I think Nazism is pretty simple in its basic points. There are parallels to be drawn between that.

'We were drawing comparisons in the simplistic way people can gain support now, especially through the internet, with simple, obvious statements.'

Kemp, 52, is about to start filming the next series of the show, which will take him to another dangerous part of the world.

He said: 'I'm scared about what I'm doing next but to not be scared breeds complacency.

'All the places I've said I wouldn't go to I've been to. Where we are going next, some people go and come out but some don't.'

But that won't stop him getting close to the action. He added: 'I'm not a dry reporter, we are down there saying 'oh f***, that was close'.

'There aren't many current affairs documentary series at the moment so I'm thankful I'm in a rare position to have lasted this long.

'We are talking about doing something else but I am loath to leave it.'  

Kemp revealed the financial pressure Brexit has put on his ability to make documentaries.

Ross Kemp: Extreme World begins at 9pm tonight on Sky1.

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Nature, Environment

Mining operations at Orkhon's headstream halted

Ulaanbaatar, September 5 (MONTSAME) Officials from the Ministry of Mining and the General Agency for Specialized Inspection paid a site visit to the head stream of River Orkhon, located in Tsenkher soum of Arkhangai Province last weekend. At that time, the river was flowing red, because of the excavation in nearly 13 km long area alongside the river shore.

The officials have submitted a demand to the mining company to hold meetings with the local residents to hear their opinions, to pass all required documentations, to allocate the pre-payment for rehabilitation to the state budget, and to ensure blocking leakage of waste water to the river.

The company's activities are stopped until all demands will be fulfilled.

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Mongolia's most beautiful swan lake dried up

Ulaanbaatar, September 5 (MONTSAME) Lake Ganga, the precious inset of the steppe of Dariganga, has been dried up, without leaving a pond to host a swan this autumn. The lake, covers only 4 square kilometers of area used to be a home to endangered species of birds, such as whooper swans and white-naped cranes. Each fall, Lake Ganga welcomed a thousand swans, which made an extraordinary attraction for national and international tourists.

Out of the 21 springs that fed the lake, only two survived. It was known to the public that the water level of the lake has been going down. Nevertheless, "the locals did not pay enough attention to this problem", criticize some sources of media.

It is an enormous load for such a small lake to act as a drinking water source for 180-200 thousand heads of livestock. The reason of lake's evaporation was mainly the reduction of variety of unique plants and bushes, which supported the very stream of the springs that fed Lake Ganga.

Adding fuel to the fire, this summer's average temperature has exceeded the multi-year average, and the rainfall could not reach 20% of the multi-year records.

Moreover, the surrounding small lakes – Kholboo, Zuun Kholboo, Tsagaan, Ulaan Toirom, Erdene, Sumt and Khoshmog – have been dried up, and the herdsmen brought their animals to Lake Ganga out of water shortage.

The Ministry of the Environment and Tourism has made decision to commence an urgent research on the underground water reserve of the area and study the possibilities of cloud seeding.

The local environmental conservation department has made several, but unfortunate attempts to retain the lake's water level by accumulating snow water and collecting waterweed.

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Donation campaign organized in UK to save wild Bactrian camels

Ulaanbaatar, September 6 /MONTSAME/ A donation campaign was organized on September 4 by John Hare, head of the Wild Camel Protection Foundation (WCPF) in Kent Country, the UK with an aim to support a center for saving wild camels in a reserved area of Mongolian Gobi.

Money earned from the charity will be exploited for helping wild camels in Mongolia overcome severe winter and providing them with hay and fodder.

The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the UK N.Tulga made the opening remarks at the campaign which attracted representatives of the Union of Mongolians in UK, Mongolians from London, Manchester and Nottingham.

During the event, a concert, wrestling competition and race of Mongolian Bactrian and Arab camels were organized. In addition, Mongolians in the UK offered guests with Mongolian cuisine.

The WCPF, a United Kingdom registered charity, with Dr. Jane Goodall DBE as its Honorary Life Patron, was established in 1997. It is also registered in the USA as a non-profit organization.

The WCPF's sole aim is to protect the critically endangered wild camel (Camelus ferus) and its habitat in the fragile and unique desert ecosystems in the Gobi desert in north-west China and south-west Mongolia. It is the only charitable environmental Foundation in the world which has this exclusive objective.

The WCPF has raised funds from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and from international organizations, private foundations, individuals, companies and dedicated WCPF members. The WCPF is continuously fund-raising and organizing activities to raise much needed funds to continue its vital work.

With support from the Mongolian Ministry of Environment, the WCPF established a wild camel breeding center in 2002 together with the Mongolian Commission for Endangered Species (MCES) and carries out actions to augment the wild camel population.       

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5th Annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival Thursday through Sunday

September 5 (Steamboat Today) Steamboat Springs — Calling all craniacs!

The fifth annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival returns to locations in Steamboat Springs and Hayden Thursday through Sunday.

In addition to the traditional guided crane viewings, workshops and speakers, this year's festival will offer a broader perspective on the numerous crane species — not only the local sandhill crane — according to Nancy Merrill, an event organizer and president of the Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition.

"We are expanding our focus this year," said Merrill, who met the event's keynote speaker, Nyambayar Batbayar, or Nyamba, during a trip to Mongolia.

Nyamba is director and research biologist for the Wildlife Science and Conservation Center of Mongolia and has written a field guide about birds of Mongolia and research papers that have influenced conservation policy in the country.

Nyamba will discuss Asian species of cranes.

Speaker Barry Hartup, director of conservation medicine at the International Crane Foundation, will discuss the endangered whooping crane, the only other North American crane other than the sandhill.

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Mongolian president defends two controversial wrestling coaches

September 5 (IANS) Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj on Monday defended the two controversial wrestling coaches who stripped during the Rio Olympics protesting the decision of judges that gave victory to Uzbekistan's Ikhtiyor Navruzov over Mongolian wrestler Mandakhnaran Ganzorig in the 65kg freestyle bronze medal match.

"The Mongolian people should fight against injustice and conspiracy, corruption wherever these are. The Mongolian people should protect honour of Mongolia wherever they are," Elbegdorj said as he received top Mongolian athletes and the two wrestling coaches here.

"I see actions of our two coaches as such action of fight. I don't know what else could have been done."

In the match, Ganzorig started to celebrate prematurely in front of his opponent and stopped wrestling in the last 10 seconds of the match. As a result, Mandakhnaran was deducted points as a penalty and the Uzbek wrestler was given the victory by the judges, reports Xinhua.

Mandakhnaran's coaches considered the decision unfair and protested by stripping in front of the judges.

In Mongolia, although many supported the actions of the coaches and saw the judges as favouring the Uzbek wrestler, some criticised the wrestler for losing patience in the match.

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Elbegdorj: Protest of wrestling coaches at Olympics was rightMontsame, September 5


"Athletes from Kazakhstan could represent Mongolia at international competitions"

Ulaanbaatar, September 6 /MONTSAME/ Member of parliament O.Baasankhuu received Tuesday medalists of the Rio 2016 Olympics, their coaches and officials, in the State House.

Present at the meeting were D.Sumiya, a State Honored Sportswoman and Olympic silver medalist; G.Otgontsetseg IMS, an Olympic bronze medalist, who have represented Kazakhstan; B.Pagva, the vice president of the East Asian Judo Union and the Judo Association of Mongolia; Kh.Erdenet-Od, coach of the national team of Mongolia; and B.Enkhbaatar, a coach.

The parliamentarian congratulated the Olympic medalists on their brilliant success, and wished them become Olympic champions in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He highlighted that G.Otgontsetseg's victory represents all Mongolians although she grabbed the Olympic medal, representing Kazakhstan. He applauded growing accomplishments of Mongolian athletes at international arenas.

B.Pagva thanked the parliamentarian for the audience, and underlined a political support to success in sports.

"Our athlete won an Olympic medal, representing Kazakhstan. The physical culture committee of Kazakhstan informed us about a possibilty of sending 2nd class athletes to compete for Mongolia at international competitions of sports which have not become highly developed yet in Mongolia. This is a chance to develop winter sports in Mongolia," he said.

Apart from the athlete import issues, B.Pagva pointed out Mongolia is one the brink of losing its right of hosting the annual Chinggis Khaan Grand Prix tournament due to a financial problem, so he asked the MP to focus attention to tackling the financial matter for the competition.

"Ulaanbaatar has been successfully organizing the Chinggis Khaan Grand Prix annually for four years. It has been selected twice as the top contest by the International Judo Federation. We promote our country to over 180 countries through hosting this competition," he stressed. 

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Mongolian Steppe International Marathon organized successfully

Ulaanbaatar, September 6 /MONTSAME/ The Mongolian Steppe International Marathon, with the mission to promote healthy and active lifestyles was held successfully on September 4, the Khan Bank website reported Tuesday.

The marathon took place with assistance and sponsorship by Khan Bank Foundation, under its aim to support public health and to promote Mongolia as an international destination.

A total of 2,500 athletes from Mongolia and athletes with disabilities competed at the amateur and professional level in the Mongolian Steppe half marathon. Winners were awarded in each category and two winners of the half marathon received a "Racing Horse" prize.

Khan Bank Foundation expresses its sincere gratitude to all the marathon participants, professional and amateur athletes, and Khan Bank employees for their active participation in the Mongolian Steppe International Marathon.

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Mongolia Women's National U-14 Football Team returns home from training in Japan

Ulaanbaatar, September 6 /MONTSAME/ On 21 August, the U-14 Mongolia Women's National Team returned to their country finishing all programmes of their training camp which started from 12 August at the Matsushima Football Centre, Miyagi prefecture.

The team had total of 7 training matches during their camp in Matsushima. On 18 August, the team played against Miyagi Phoenix, the over 60's Men's team which Coach of the U-14 Mongolia Women's National Team IKI Yoji used to play for, and they had the memorial first victory by scoring the first goal. Between the training sessions, the players enjoyed bathing at the beach near the camp venue for the first time, sightseeing in Matsushima and staying in a Japanese-style hotel at a hot spring. They experienced the different culture of Japan.

During the camp, some media such as Kahoku Shimpo and Miyagi TV visited the camp venue to interview Mr. Iki and the team. The camp became a well-known event in Miyagi prefecture.

IKI Yoji, Coach of U-14 Mongolia Women's National Team commented: "In this camp, I wanted the Mongolian players to experience Japanese women's football. We had good opponents for the training matches so I think they had very good experiences. What is missing in this national team is attention to moving the ball around. We will have to plan how we encourage the players to understand to improve this issue for the future. They also need to understand the basics of football as well as the sense of consideration to their teammates. I would like to express my gratitude to JFA, and Miyagi Football Association for welcoming us in this opportunity. We will keep working hard for the future of Mongolian football, maximising what we have learned here".

Ulzibayar Badamkhatan, Captain of U-14 Mongolia Women's National Team said: "This time, we enjoyed the training matches most of all. We also had chance to know Japanese culture and customs as well as football. The gap between Japanese women's football teams and us is big, and as our Coach Iki told us, Japanese players are well united. Their sense of teamwork is very strong. I would be happy if we can come back to have this type of training camp in the future"., reported on Tuesday.

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Tata Nano helps 3 friends complete 18,000 km Mongol Rally (Route details and 30 images)

September 5 (Rush Lane) Three friends from Bangalore, completed the 48 day challenge that took them from London to Mongolia in a Tata Nano.

Sunaina Pamudurthy, Binoy John and Bhairav Kuttaiah, three friends in the age group of about 22-25 years, have successfully completed one of the toughest long distance rally in the world, and that too in a Tata Nano Twist.

The trio and Nano drove across 13 countries, 5 mountain ranges and 3 river crossings besides the massive Mongolian desert all in an effort to raise funds and awareness for children in Indian shelters.

Their choice of a vehicle had engineers and specialists in the auto industry in a quandary as to whether such a feat could be a success, but the trio put such negative speculation to the test and emerged victorious.

The 48-day schedule from London to Mongolia was first heard off by Kuttaiah. A criminal lawyer by profession, Kuttaiah roped in Pamudurthy and John. The three are college mates and close friends besides avid rally aficionados and have taken part in the Singapore Grand Prix last year.

In order to participate in the Mongol Rally, you need to have a vehicle which is powered by a engine smaller than 1,000 cc. This led the friends unanimously point their finger in the direction of Tata Nano. With the team and car decided, the trio named themselves as the NanoMADs. They are the first Indian team to participate in Mongol Rally with an Indian car.

Various modifications were made to the Tata Nano to ensure its performance in the rally. These modifications included sump guards on the engine and fuel tank besides a Global Positioning System tracker to guide them through unknown territory. A 300 liter roof box for storage of travel equipment and a 22 liter jerry car for storage of fuel was also part of the changes made to the Nano.

The 2 month long Mongol Rally is an annual affair. It brings people from different parts of the world together, for a greater cause – raise atleast GBP 1,000 (INR 1 lakh approx) for charity. All teams must generate that much funds. NanoMADs decided on generating funds for MAD (Make A Difference, an organization which provides shelter for under privileged children).

The rally starts from London, and goes through France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Russia to finally reach Mongolia.

Below is their journey in images.

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Art, Entertainment

Russian violinist Pavel Milyukov to stage solo concert in UB

Ulaanbaatar, September 6 /MONTSAME/ In the light of the celebration of the 95th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Russia, solo violinist of the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, the famous Pavel Milyukov is to stage Night of Solo Concert at the Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet of Ulaanbaatar on September 9, Friday.

Pavel Milyukov will perform entrée of Folk Feast by D.Shostakovich, a concert fantasy inspired by Carmen opera by Bize and Sarasate, and Violin Concerto by Brahms.

The concert tickets are being sold at the cashier of the opera and ballet theatre, at prices MNT 50,000; 75,000 and 100,000. 

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Mongolian contortionists wins Silver Cup at Moscow Circus Festival

Ulaanbaatar, September 6 /MONTSAME/ The contortionist girls from the Mongolian Circus Development Center have brought home the Silver Cup of the Moscow International Circus Festival, which took place in the Capital city of Russia on September 2-5.

Their "Avatar" (film)-themed performance has been directed by the State Honored Figure of Arts of Mongolia and State Prize Winner of the Russian Republic of Buryatia Ts.Selenge.

The 15th circus festival of Moscow was dedicated to the honor of the 95th birth anniversary of the famous Russian actor Yurii Nikulin. Contortionists from more than 20 countries, including North Korea, China and Russia took part in the event. 

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On Set With Jo Korer And Her Bespoke Costumes For Netflix's 'Marco Polo'

September 7 (Footwear News) Jo Korer had no easy task when she was brought on to update the costumes for Netflix's hit show "Marco Polo." The veteran costume designer (who's work includes everything from "The Duchess" and "Hell Boy II") had her work cut out reimagining costumes for a historical period when there was little record of fashion as we know it, and even fewer pieces left from season one carrying over.

Korer talked about her costume strategy and working with her team for 17 hour days to pull the bespoke fashions together.

How did you get inspired? 

There are no photographs of course and there is very little record or reference. I sort of had to reinvent the wheel because [in Mongolia they] just wore robes. I flew to there and learned about the history of the period. Then I was very careful to stay true to what was available at that time and in that location. For example, places where you did get wonderful stones and certain rocks we'd use for only certain characters, like in the North you couldn't get lapis or coral, but you could get wolf feet.

How did you want this second season to be different for Marco Polo?

Marco was 17 when he left Venice and it took almost four years by ship to reach the Silk Road before he got to Kublai Khan. He would have just been over 20 years old. When he left Venice he was a boy, and unworldly and untraveled boy, but by the time he met Kahn he was a mature man. For Marco Polo's character, we had to sexy him up based on his age and what he's seen now. He's becoming an accomplished warrior and we needed to show that.

What was one of your biggest challenges? 

Everything was literally handmade, and I mean every single principal costume and many of the extras. We really had to do this carefully and keep it rooted in history. It was tough because Mongolians really only wore robes, so it was really challenging in season two to really change the look. My team worked extremely hard and we had crew in from Budapest, Australia, Slovakia, Italy, South Africa and New Zealand.

You had a real challenge in season two trying to outfit the various tribes too.

This season revolves around the [coup initiated by Kahn's cousin] Kaidu. All the tribes have to come to the vote and hear each speak. That took months of travel, but for me what was challenging was showing six or seven new tribes from Mongolia from different areas. I put the ones from the West more from the desert with colors in the sand colors and with metal work and mosaic of stones. The North were more cool blues and furs of grey wolf and white wolf.

How was the footwear designed for the show? 

The boots in season one were a bit tough to wear because they were very traditional Mongolian. They were slip-on and baggy and had a tendency to stretch, so they were hard to fight in. I scoured the world to find boot makers and had samples made in several countries. I decided to go with a boot maker in Budapest. We designed them in the Mongolian style and but narrowed them for more of a riding boot style. The actors had several fittings and were literally bespoke made for them.

Did the actors love their new shoes?

We made it a bit of a celebration when we got the new boots. We put all the actors in them and put on some music and the actors started dancing. They were so happy. The footwear is important — if an actor is uncomfortable or can't walk it's hard to depict the characters.

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Traveling Mongolia Is Easier Than You Think.

By Alex Erdman for Fathom

September 3 (Forbes) Many consider Mongolia to be one of Earth's last frontiers, a destination so far and remote that only the most experienced of travelers can get there. Alex Erdman of bespoke travel consultancy Local Foreigner thinks that, with a little guidance, it's an obtainable travel dream destination. 


For intrepid travelers, there may be no greater thrill than having the chance to explore a destination seemingly untouched by tourism. Mongolia is an explorer's dream, with natural wonders like the Gobi Desert and annual festivals such as Naadam. Due to its remote location, Mongolia sits low on many Westerners' travel wish lists. Tourism has grown at a slow but steady pace.

On a recent visit to the Southern Gobi Naadam Festival in Dalanzadgad, I was one of six tourists out of 10,000 spectators. Experiences like this feel authentic and intimate due to such ratios, and photographers can find endless inspiration in the country's people, landscapes, and religions.


Located between China and Russia, Mongolia is roughly the same size as Alaska and is completely landlocked. The capital, Ulaanbaatar, is in the country's northeast region along with Lake Hovsgol, which is known for its Taimen fishing. Much of the north exhibits a Slavic influence from neighboring Russia, which occupied the country from 1924 to 1990. The Gobi Desert occupies the southern part of the country. In the west, Kazakh influences can be felt in the region's dress and customs, which you may recognize from their famous Eagle hunters.


For adventurers with a limited amount of time, a visit to the Southern Gobi Desert is a must and provides the quintessential vision of Mongolia complete with open steppe and gers galore (the Mongolian word for yurt). Aside from photography, my days were filled riding camels on the steppe, adventuring through the sand dunes, visiting dinosaur digs, interacting with local families, and setting up camp for the evening.

We also had the opportunity to visit a local Buddhist temple and hang out with a monk who lived deep in the hills of the Southern Gobi. It was a deeply emotional experience; he told us of the persecution of the Buddhist clergy by Russians during the occupation and how few temples and followers survived. His temple was built entirely by hand and believers carried stones and wood up 1,800 steps to the top of the mountain in order to rebuild their place of worship.


While the endless views across the Gobi are epic, the memories I treasure most from my trip are the people I met. A highlight came when our group made an impromptu trip to a local family's ger the night before the Naadam festival. Driving down a dirt road, our guide asked which home we wanted to stop by — a challenge to prove the hospitality of the general population. We selected one at random, and the car took off in that direction. A couple in their late 20s answered the door, along with their three children, one of which was a five-week-old newborn.

The parents took us in, sat us down, and fed us delicious fried dough (boortsog) while we conversed about life on the steppe. It was real and unscripted unlike so many "home visits" offered through hotels and guiding companies. This family expected nothing from us but gave us everything. It was a beautiful insight into Mongolian culture and a cherished memory that will stay with me forever.


Mongolia is a versatile destination that has everything from cultural to outdoor activities. I would suggest trying a range of experiences.

1.    For those traveling in July or October, the Naadam and Golden Eagle Festivals are a must. At Naadam, locals participate in three main competitions: archery, wrestling, and a 30km horseback race.

2.    Horseback riding can be experienced all over the country, but I suggest heading to the desert or just outside Ulaanbaatar in the Gun Galuut Nature Reserve. Spend the morning riding with locals. In the afternoon, head out on foot to look for endangered Argali Sheep.

3.    Itineraries in the South Gobi should always include a night of camping. While not the most luxurious of accommodations, spending a night under the open sky stargazing and telling stories with friends was one of the most gratifying experiences of my trip. We woke up at dawn to catch a glimpse of the sun rising over the sand dunes before eating a delicious breakfast prepared by our chef.

4.    The Yol Valley, along with various other sites in the Gobi, are perfect for moderate hikes. It offers one of the few spots to catch a glimpse of glaciers (even in the summer) and often leads to tiny surprises like petroglyphs and beautiful vistas.

5.    Anyone who grew up interested in dinosaurs will relish in the opportunity to join a dig or visit one of the sites dotted throughout the desert. Activities can range from a casual hike to the top of the Flaming Cliffs, the spot where Roy Chapman Andrews found the worlds first intact dinosaur eggs, to a multi-day dig with a current expedition.

I highly recommend that travelers use an operator while they are on the ground in order to coordinate flights, hotels, and experiences. I used Nomadic Expeditions and had a fantastic time.


Mongolia offers a diverse range of accommodations from basic ger camps to a newly built Sofitel in downtown UB. For more adventurous travelers, renting an old Soviet van and crossing the Gobi is the preferred option. For travelers that want some of the world's creature comforts, the Three Camel Lodge in the Southern Gobi is one of the most fantastic ger camps in the country. At one point we stood just 30 minutes from the property next to 5,000-year-old petroglyphs, looking down at a landscape that probably looked exactly the same as the day it was painted.

In downtown Ulaanbaatar, the Sofitel is set to open this year and will be the country's first true 5-star accommodation. Until then, The Blue Sky Hotel is the best option for foreign visitors. For those who wish to head north to Lake Hovsgol or West, I recommend consulting with an operator to help guide you through your choices. Many of the accommodations in these regions are basic and often times they need to bring in their own gers for larger parties.


There are multiple flight routes from the US to Mongolia with the most popular being through Russia and China. However, most travelers will appreciate the range of airlines flying through Beijing and Hong Kong rather than just Aeroflot.


Mongolia is a vast landscape, and travelers should be prepared for just how much driving is involved. Like many third-world countries, roads can be rough, with three-hour drives often feeling closer to eight. Mongolia is a developing country, with over a third of its population migrating into Ulaanbaatar and a rapidly expanding economy due to exportation of natural resources. This development will improve the roads eventually, but for now, don't forget to pack your Dramamine. The best way to travel throughout the country (aside from those extreme adventurists) is to work with a ground operator for all of your transportation logistics.


The best time of year to visit is June to August as the Naadam Festival is a highlight in July, and the weather is warm and mostly dry. Those who wish to see the Golden Eagle Festival should travel in October. Low season lasts from October to April. Most ger camps close when the weather gets cold.


Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, by Jack Weatherford.

Before They Pass Away, by Jimmy Nelson.


High Adventure: Hunting with Eagles in Mongolia

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