Thursday, September 29, 2016

[GoM raises ₮40B in t-bills; MNT sets another low; JICA, EBRD to finance Tsetsii wind park; and Mongolia's competitiveness unchanged]

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

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Int'l Market

Turquoise Hill Reduces SouthGobi Stake to Below 10%

Link to disclosure


TerraCom: Funding Secured to Support Blair Athol Mine Commissioning

September 29 -- TerraCom Limited (TerraCom or the Company) (ASX: TER) is pleased to announce that it has secured US$12m in new funding (the Facility) to support the commissioning of the Blair Athol Coal Mine.

The Facility will be provided according to a progressive drawdown schedule linked to pre-agreed milestones and cashflow requirements in order to expedite the commissioning and start-up of the mine. The Facility incurs interest of 9% per annum and is split into two parts: (i) US$3m repayable over 12 months from the date of commissioning and (ii) US$9m provided on a rolling basis for 5 years. The Facility is being provided by an international group with in-depth knowledge of the Australian mining sector.

Link to release

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Local Market

Mogi: again, no trading report today.


GoM Sells 40 Billion 28-Week T-Bills at 16.903% Discount with 50 Billion Bids

September 28 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 28 weeks maturity Government Bond was announced at face value of 40.0 billion MNT. Face value of 40.0 billion /out of 50.0 billion bid/ Government Bond was sold at discounted price and with weighted average yield of 16.903%.

Link to release


GoM Rejects 35 Billion Bids for 60 billion 39-Week T-Bills

September 28 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 39-weeks-Government bill was announced at face value of 60.0 billion MNT and each unit was worth 1 million MNT. 35.0 billion buy bids has received by banks and Ministry of Finance rejected all the bids.

Link to release


GoM Rejects 2.5 Billion Bids for 5 Billion 52-Week T-Bills

September 28 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 52-weeks-Government bill was announced at face value of 5.0 billion MNT and each unit was worth 1 million MNT. 2.5 billion buy bids has received by banks and Ministry of Finance rejected all the bids.

Link to release

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Historic highs: USD=₮2,277.62 (2016.09.28). EUR=₮2,568.17 (2016.08.19), JPY=22.68 (2016.08.18), GBP=3,183.26 (2014.08.13), RUB=54.32 (2014.06.27), CNY=₮341.81 (2016.08.18), Reds are rates that set a new record low at the time.

BoM MNT Rates: Wednesday, September 28 Close
















































































































































































































Bank USD rates at time of sending: Khan (Buy ₮2,277 Sell ₮2,284), TDB (Buy ₮2,268 Sell ₮2,282), Golomt (Buy ₮2,268 Sell ₮2,282), XacBank (Buy ₮2,282 Sell ₮2,284), State Bank (Buy ₮2,268 Sell ₮2,282)

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

Link to rates


BoM issues 139 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding -5.5% to ₮693.15 billion

September 28 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 139 billion at a weighted interest rate of 15.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


Mongolia ranks 102th in Global Competitiveness with no progress made

September 28 ( Today the Open Society Forum NGO introduced the Mongolian rankings at the Global Competitiveness Report for 2016-2017, published by the World Economic Forum. However, Mongolia still remains steady compared with the previous years.

This year, no progress were made to the Mongolia`s competitive strengths. Mongolia collects 3.8 score out of 7 and ranks 102th place out of 138 countries.

The Global Competitiveness Report assesses the competitiveness of 140 world economies. Using a mixture of quantitative and survey data, it ranks countries overall by combining 113 indicators grouped under 12 pillars of competitiveness: institutions; infrastructure; macroeconomic environment; health and primary education; higher education and training; goods market efficiency; labor market efficiency; financial market development; technological readiness; market size; business sophistication; and innovation.

In 2015, Mongolia collects 3.8 score and ranks 104th place out of 140 countries. After joining the report, Mongolia has collected 3.2-3.9 score which proves that Mongolia has not made significant changes to its competitive strengths.

Mongolia showed progress in following four indicators in 2016 compared with the previous years:

  • Macroeconomic stability,
  • Financial market development,
  • Technological readiness,
  • Higher education and training - 0,1 score.

Increase in cellular phone users, internet speed and number of internet users has affected the technological readiness progress.

Decrease in inflation and 5.9 per cent inflation rate has positively affected the Macroeconomic stability indicator.

Following four competitiveness indicators have dropped:

  • Business sophistication,
  • Goods market efficiency, 
  • Labor market efficiency, 
  • Institutions.

Four indicators including infrastructure, financial market development, innovation and business sophistication did not reach 50 percent score that must be taken. However, Mongolia has listed in the first 50 countries with following indicators:

  • Flexibility of wage determination (ranks 4th )
  • Strength of investor protection (ranks 8th )
  • Internet speed (ranks 17th )
  • Hiring and firing practices (ranks 19th )
  • Total tax rate (ranks 23rd)
  • Internet users (ranks 32nd)
  • Quantity of education (ranks 38th)
  • Quality of math and science education (ranks 40th)
  • Number of procedures required to start a business (ranks 41st)
  • Availability of scientist and engineers (ranks 47th)

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Politics & Legal

"Combating Gender-Based Violence in Mongolia" Project Officially Launched

September 27, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (UNFPA Mongolia) – Today marked the formal launch of the "Combating Gender-Based Violence in Mongolia" project, co-funded by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Mongolian Government. The launch was held at the Soyombo Hall of the Best Western Tuushin Hotel, Ulaanbaatar.

Opening remarks were made by Byambatsogt S, Minister for Justice and Home Affairs and Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative, followed by signing of the official project documents in the presence of representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Relations and the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation.

Genderbased violence (GBV), particularly domestic violence (DV), remains one of the most serious and lifethreatening human rights violations in Mongolia and in the world. A 2015 assessment conducted by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights revealed that GBV, particularly DV, is prevalent and widespread. Furthermore, while concrete data on GBV prevalence is scant, indicative national data reveals an upward trend in cases of GBV. While important progress in improving the legal environment to effectively deal with GBV has been made in recent years, it is necessary to provide technical and financial support to the Mongolian government to ensure meaningful and lasting change regarding GBV.

The project then aims to achieve the following results:

1)    Create knowledge about the current situation of GBV and its causes across the country through data collection ;

2)    Raise public awareness and sensitize decision-makers to the issue of GBV; and

3)    Improve and expand response and support mechanisms for GBV survivors.

"We are excited to partner with the government in order to seriously address the issue of GBV and to promote human rights, particularly for the nation's women and girls, " says UNFPA's Naomi Kitahara. The project launch comes a month after the recent one-year anniversary of the worldwide commitment to the UN Global Sustainable Development Goals. "Mongolia's Sustainable Development Vision and Government Action Plan 2016-2020 have strong commitments towards eliminating DV in Mongolia. Through this project, we will work together to specifically address Goal 5, which is to achieve Gender Equality, and to meet the target for eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030. It will also help achieve Goal 16 which is dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels."

About UNFPA ( UNFPA is the UN agency delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. UNFPA Mongolia currently implements the 5th Country Programme 2012-2016, closely in line with the United Nations Development Assistance Framework for Mongolia.

Link to release


International IDEA and General Election Commission to work on handbook for IT Use in Elections

Ulaanbaatar, September 28 (MONTSAME) On Tuesday, members of the State Great Khural and heads of the parliamentary Standing committees on State Structure and on Environment, Food and Agriculture N.Enkhbold and Ts.Garamjav received a delegation from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA). Head of the delegation and IDEA Senior official Adhi Aman informed that the institute comes up with a cooperation proposal for the Mongolian Election Committee on developing a handbook on use of information technology in elections.

Mongolia has been elected the chair of the International IDEA for 2016, thus committed to share its democratic experiences with other countries. In this spirit, the visiting delegation is holding a roundtable meeting on the IT use during elections on September 28.

Mongolia joined the International IDEA in 2011, and was elected to the Administrative Council in 2013. As the chair for 2016, Mongolia hosted the annual meeting of the council at home under the theme: "Learning from democratic transitions in Asia and the Pacific" on August 25 and 26.

Link to article


Jobs cut at State Great Khural Secretariat

September 28 ( The State Great Hural (Mongolian Parliament) has established its own Secretariat. Because of the current economic problems, 10% of the jobs at the Secretariat have been axed, leaving a total of 178 staff in its seven divisions. Previously, there had been a total of 197 staff in eight divisions.

The State Great Hural Secretariat is an independent and professional state administrative unit that provides professional, advisory and other services to the supreme power of the state, the State Great Hural of Mongolia, in excising its powers to draft, adopt and pass the laws.

The main function of the Secretariat is to provide comprehensive advice, assistance and services to the State Great Hural, the highest organ of the state power, for performing its legislative and oversight duties while implementing its mandate.

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JICA, EBRD to finance 50-MW wind project in Mongolia

September 28 (SeeNews) - The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have signed financing agreements to support the construction of the 50-MW Tsetsii wind farm in southern Mongolia.

The project developer, Clean Energy Asia LLC, announced the deals today, saying that the wind park is expected to commence operations in December 2017. This is the first dollar-denominated project finance debt transaction by JICA via its Private Sector Investment Finance scheme in the renewables sector.

The plant will be built in the Tsogttsetsii district, or a so-called soum, in Mongolia's Umnugobi province, also known as aimag. It will consist of 25 units of 2-MW turbines.

Clean Energy Asia is 51%-controlled by Mongolian conglomerate Newcom LLC, while the remaining shares are held by Japan's SB Energy Corp, a unit of SoftBank Group Corp (TYO:9984). Newcom previously invested in the development of Mongolia's first wind project -- the 50-MW Salkhit wind farm, which started power generation in 2013.

Last year, Mongolia approved a national power policy that includes targets for a renewables share of 20% by 2020 and of 30% by 2030.

Link to article

Link to EBRD announcement

Link to JICA announcement


Vestas Wins Tender to Build 50MW Wind Park in Mongolia's Gobi

By Michael Kohn

September 28 (Bloomberg) -- Vestas Wind Systems A/S won a tender to supply 25 turbines for a wind farm in Mongolia's Gobi Desert, advancing a project that will supply renewable energy in an area more widely known for its enormous reserves of fossil fuels.

In addition to supplying turbines, Vestas has been named the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the 50-megawatt Tsetsii wind farm, Sarnai Chuluunbaatar, project officer for Clean Energy Asia LLC, wrote in an e-mail.

Mongolia has set a target to derive 20 percent of its energy from renewables by 2020. More than 90 percent of the country's energy currently comes from Soviet-era coal-fired power stations located in the capital Ulaanbaatar, one of Asia's most-polluted cities.

While Mongolia's coal is close to the surface and relatively easy to mine, the sparsely-populated, North Asian country is equally known for its abundant sunlight and strong winds that rake the Gobi Desert, as well as fast-flowing rivers the government is trying to dam for hydro power.

Agreements Signed

The $128 million wind farm is the first project of Clean Energy Asia, which is 51 percent owned by Ulaanbaatar-based Newcom and 49 percent by Japan's SB Energy, which is SoftBank Corp.'s energy arm. Financial agreements were signed Wednesday in Ulaanbaatar, according to a statement released by Clean Energy.

The project is 70 percent funded with debt supplied by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Japan International Cooperation Agency, according to Newcom Finance Manager Undrakh Otgonbayar. The 30 percent equity comes from SB Energy and Newcom.

EBRD's portion includes $25 million to finance the project and an additional $746,125 grant to upgrade a nearby substation, Nandita Parshad, head of power and energy utilities at the EBRD, said in a phone interview.

"Mongolia has enormous potential for renewable energy," said Parshad. "It comes with challenges though, because of its heating needs. Renewables can help with electricity demand, but Mongolia still needs fossil fuels for heat."

Tsetsii Plant

The Tsetsii plant, 540 kilometers (336 miles) south of Ulaanbaatar, is less than 30 kilometers from Tavan Tolgoi, Mongolia's largest coal field. The plant should be completed by December 2017, according to Sarnai.

The power purchase agreement with the government is valid for 25 years with a tariff of 9.4 cents a kilowatt-hour. Power will be fed into the national grid.

Tsetsii is Newcom's second wind farm. In 2013, it completed the 50-megawatt Salkhit project at a cost of $120 million, marking the first time in 30 years that a new power plant was connected to Mongolia's central grid.

Ferrostaal Industrial Projects GmbH is also slated to complete a wind farm in late 2017. The 54-megawatt Ferrostaal project will be built in the East Gobi town of Sainshand.

Mongolia has a power-supply capacity of 1,130 megawatts, consisting of 88 percent coal with diesel and renewable energy each generating 6 percent, according to Clean Energy.

The Tsetsii wind farm will displace 230,000 tons of greenhouse gas annually, and will save 180,000 tons of coal and 1.2 million tons of water, according to the Clean Energy website.

By developing renewable energy in the Gobi, Mongolia is attempting to join a so-called Asian Super Grid, an effort to connect power systems across vast areas of East and South Asia.



Russia, China to Open New Cargo Route Through Mongolia By 2017

Russia and China plan to open a new cargo transit corridor through Mongolia by the end of the year, Alexei Dvoinykh, the head of the Russian Transport Ministry's Agency of Automobile Transport, said Wednesday.

MOSCOW, September 28 (Sputnik) — Cargo volumes traveling between Russia and China have been growing rapidly, with Russian haulers set to benefit greatly from the new route that will cut the distance between western Russia and southern China by over 1,000 kilometers (600 miles).

"The signing is planned as early as December this year…According to preliminary estimates, the cargo flow will increase 17-20 percent due to the rearrangement of transport movement. Later, increases of 10 percent per year are possible, which is, in general, in tune with the average yearly Russian-Chinese foreign trade increase," Dvoinykh told the Izvestia newspaper.

Currently, traffic between the two countries is restricted to bordering regions and may only take place along international routes. The new agreement will allow Russian cargo carriers to reach Beijing and the port city Tianjin in contrast to the current practice of hauling cargo to the nearest border town, according to Dvoinykh.

The new route will stretch between the Siberian city of Ulan-Ude, pass through the Mongolian Capital Ulaanbaatar and head for Beijing.

Cargo volumes, which have amounted to 1.9 million tonnes in the first eight months of this year and have already surpassed total figures for 2015, have been substantially driven by Russian agricultural and processed food exports to China, as well as wood exports, the automobile agency head added. Cargo traffic between Russia and China is also set to increase further to the east. Earlier this month, Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov said that the Amur Bridge Project connecting Russia and China will be completed by 2018.

Link to article


New Tianjin road cuts transportation time, cost to Mongolia, Russia

September 28 (China Daily) For traders and buyers in Russia or Mongolia who order fresh food from China will see soon the transit time reduced by two-thirds to three days, as the China-Mongolia-Russia international road freight route was launched in Tianjin last month, which aims to shorten cargo transportation time between Tianjin, Mongolia and Russia.

It usually took more than 10 days for goods to reach Mongolia and Russia from Tianjin by rail before the international road freight route was established, and the options were limited as mostly storage-tolerance goods could be transported to maintain the quality of the goods.

Now the situation has changed as Tianjin is accelerating the construction of China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor by eliminating the traffic bottleneck of road transport.

So far, Tianjin has been connected to two kinds of transport routes, namely rail transport and road transport, which both directly go to Ulan Bator of Mongolia and Ulan-Ude of Russia.

"Not only the transport time but also the cost will drop significantly," said Guo Xin, general manager of Nanning Xin Jin Hang Materials Co Ltd.

Starting from Guangxi, trucks can exit to Mongolia or Russia through Tianjin port whereas previously they needed to drive extra 1,000 kilometers via Sui Fenhe port, he added." At least 10 percent cost is reduced."

"Shortly, our company will import fish produced in Lake Baikal and Russian beer that are popular with Chinese, shortening the transport time will also lead to reduction in sales price."

Jia Kefu, secretary of party branch of Tanggu dangerous goods carriage yard of Tianjin Transportation Group Binhai Co Ltd, said: "Freight can directly reach Mongolia or Russia without a double transfer." His company used to trade goods to Mongolia, and goods must be transferred to local trucks.

"Special cross-border pass and frontier office will be set up on the China-Mongolia-Russia international road freight route to save clearance time," said Zheng Ping, vice-director of Tianjin Municipal Transportation Commission.

The three regions - Tianjin, Mongolia and Russia - are forging closer economic ties as cargo transport lines are continuously being improved.

"We plan to set up a logistics park located in Tianjin to promote the trade between Tianjin and Mongolia, and design of the logistics park has already begun," said Bart Kiki G, minister-counselor of the Mongolian embassy in Beijing.

"More vegetables and fruits from Tianjin will be exported to Mongolia with a good cold-chain logistics system to form," he added.

Link to article


Border crossings to close October 1-3 for China National Day

September 28 ( According to an inter-governmental agreement, the Mongolia-Chinese border crossings will be closed during the Chinese national holiday from the 1st-3rd October.  Both the Chinese New Year and National Day holidays are three days long. The People's Republic of China was founded on 1st of October in 1949 with a ceremony at Tiananmen Square. The agreement does not affect the railway entry crossing at Zamyn Uud; the international train schedule will not be affected.

Link to article


Iran Plans Meat Import from Neighbors, Mongolia

TEHRAN, September 28 (Tasnim) – An Iranian official unveiled plans for importing red meat from some neighboring countries as well as Mongolia.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Ali Akbar Mehrfard told Tasnim on Wednesday that the ministry has decided to import meat from Mongolia and a number of neighboring countries, including Armenia, whose climate is similar to Iran's.

The official also unveiled plans for increased supply of frozen Brazilian beef to meet the market's demand ahead of the lunar month of Muharram.

During the upcoming mourning ceremonies in Muharram, Iranian Shiites traditionally cook food for charity (called Nazri) and distribute it among the neighbors, family and poor people.

Free food is also offered to people participating in the mourning ceremonies.

The plans for the import of red meat follow an August report by the FAO office in Iran, mentioning a great annual loss of red meat in Iran.

In Iran, at least 100,000 tons of red meat is lost in the supply chain annually, which if reduced would lead to the country's self-sufficiency in red meat production, FAO representative office in Iran said.

Iran produces 950,000 tons of red meat and 1.75 million tons of poultry meat on an annual basis, which when taking into account the import of 100,000 tons of red and poultry meat each year, results in a total figure of 2.8 million tons of meat in the country.

Although the meat loss figures in Iran are relatively low, the country still loses 300,000 tons of red and poultry meat in the form of waste.

Link to article


German-Mongolian Corporate Days 2016 to be held October 11-12

September 28 ( German-Mongolian Corporate Days 2016 will be held on Oct 11, 12th at Shangri-La hotel, Ulaanbaatar. 

The Integrated Mineral Resource Initiative (IMRI), The German-Mongolian Business Association (DMUV) and the German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation (GIZ) are jointly organizing the event for its sixth year. 

Organizers noted that the Corporate Days including conference and exhibition are the most important event for German the both German and Mongolian companies. The overarching goals of the event are to increase awareness about the Mongolian market and its potential among German enterprises, to foster networks between Mongolian and German clients and businesses, and to build new contacts to decision-makers on both sides.

This year, more than 50 German and Mongolian companies will attend the event and deliver information on the latest technology and management methods as well as exchange experiences with their own partners.

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Mongolia to host JCI Asia-Pacific Conference in 2017

September 28 (UB Post) Junior Chamber International (JCI) Mongolia confirmed that it will host the next JCI Regional Congress for Asia and Pacific (ASPAC) from June 8 to 11, 2017, in Ulaanbaatar.

On September 23, after the appointment of the new National President of JCI Mongolia, B.Naranjargal, a memorandum of cooperation in organizing ASPAC 2017 was signed with Ulaanbaatar Deputy Mayor in Charge of Green Development and Air Pollution J.Batbayasgalan. Deputy Mayor J.Batbayasgalan emphasized that JCI is a world-class non-profit organization that unites, guides, and motivates young people in bringing about social and economic development, international cooperation, goodwill, and understanding. He said that the Ulaanbaatar Mayor's Office will actively support the organization of next year's ASPAC in Mongolia.

He added, "Organizing ASPAC 2017 in Ulaanbaatar is a fantastic opportunity to promote Mongolia, in particular Ulaanbaatar, to the rest of the world. Through the conference, we will be able to improve national economic circulation and currency turnover, and enhance the social engagement of young people and the private sector."

So far, nearly 4,000 JCI representatives have registered to participate in the regional congress.

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Foreign Minister visits Japan

September 28 ( Mongolia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ts.Munkh-Orgil, is currently visiting Japan. Yesterday (27th of September), he met with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida. At the meeting, the two foreign ministers agreed to strengthen economic ties between Japan and Mongolia after a bilateral free trade accord came into force in June. "Mongolia is an important regional partner that shares principle values" with Japan, Kishida said.

During the meeting they discussed the decade-long ongoing issue of Pyongyang's abductions of Japanese nationals, the Foreign Ministry said. Mongolia has diplomatic ties with North Korea while Japan does not. Ulaanbaatar has served as a convenient venue for Japan-North Korea talks over the abductions issue on several occasions.

Furthermore, Japan and Mongolia have agreed on coordinated action to press North Korea to stop its nuclear and missile programs after the reclusive state held its fifth nuclear test earlier this month despite international condemnation.

Following North Korea's latest nuclear test on Sept. 9, Japan is seeking a fresh U.N. Security Council resolution to impose additional sanctions on North Korea, stressing the need for the international community to send a strong message that it will not tolerate further provocation by North Korea.

Link to article


Foreign Minister on visit to JapanMontsame, September 28


Deputy Premier meets US Ambassador

Ulaanbaatar, September 28 (MONTSAME) The Deputy Prime Minister, Mr U.Khurelsukh received the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the USA, Ms Jennifer Zimdahl Galt on Tuesday. The Deputy PM expressed satisfaction with the flourishing bilateral ties in politics, defense, economy and education.

He noted the defense cooperation constitutes the major part of the bilateral ties, and applauded success achieved in organizing international military exercise dubbed "Gobi Wolf".

Mongolia has been aspiring to attract the USA's and its other third neighbors' economic interests to itself, and attaches a great importance to signing the second compact agreement with the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

Underlining that the 25th anniversary of the launch of operations of the US Peace Corps in Mongolia is being marked this year, the Deputy PM extended gratitude for the volunteers' commitment and contribution to English language education, healthcare and overall growth of our country.

Mr Khurelsukh conveyed a proposal to expand the cooperation with the US in agriculture, energy, high tech industries and investment in infrastructural projects.

Link to article


Mongolia and China to collaborate on establishing scientific park

Ulaanbaatar, September 28 (MONTSAME) Minister of Education, Culture, Sciences and Sports of Mongolia J.Batsuuri paid an official visit to China upon the invitation of Chinese Minister of Science and Technology Wang Zhigang, on September 23 and 24. The sides have reached an agreement in principle on establishing the first scientific park in Mongolia.

Both sides applauded the deepening understanding between the two countries in science , technology and innovation, in scope of the One Belt - One Road Initiative.

The Mongolian and Chinese officials have agreed to establish joint technological incubator and technological transmission center, to implement major projects in scientific field and exchange and train young specialists.

On the sidelines of this visit, the Minister held a meeting with the Mayor of Shanghai Yang Xiong and discussed possibilities of cooperation with Shanghai in the cultural sphere. Minister J.Batsuuri also took part in the Pujiang Innovation Forum 2016, and briefed the participants on the current state, future objectives and policy towards the fields of science, technology and innovations.

Link to article


Deputy PM, Polish Ambassador discuss cooperation in mining and emergency

Ulaanbaatar, September 28 (MONTSAME) Deputy Prime Minister U.Khurselsukh received Ambassador of Poland Michael Labenda on September 27.

The Deputy PM highlighted the significance of the Intergovernmental Economic Commission in expanding of bilateral relations, and expressed hope that the Polish side would open its embassy in Ulaanbaatar in near future.

The sides exchanged opinions on the possible cooperation with Poland, which has a rich experience in coal and copper mining, in extractive industries, as well as in joint emergency exercises and capacity building training.

Link to article


Ambassador to Italy presents credentials

Ulaanbaatar, September 28 (MONTSAME) The Ambassador of Mongolia to the Republic of Italy, H.E. Mr Ts.Jambaldorj presented the letter of credence to the Italian President, H.E. Mr Sergio Mattarella on September 26 at Quirinale Palace, Rome.

After the official ceremony, the Ambassador conveyed greetings of Mongolian President Ts.Elbegdorj to President of Italy S.Mattarella. Ambassador Jambaldorj noted there is abundance of opportunities to promote further cooperation in trade, economy, culture and education between Mongolia and Italy, which have been maintaining close ties since Marco Polo's expedition to Mongolia in the 13th century, and pledged his close collaboration for strengthening bilateral relations in every sphere.

The President, Mr Mattarella asserted he recognizes the importance of the newly opened Embassy of Italy in Ulaanbaatar this year, and expressed his confidence upon the new Ambassadors' contributions to intensifying cooperation between Italy and Mongolia. He responded to the greetings of the Mongolian President with his heartfelt appreciation.

Link to article


Polish Ambassador meets State Secretary of Foreign Affairs

Ulaanbaatar, September 28 (MONTSAME) The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Poland, Mr Michael Labenda was welcomed Tuesday by the State Secretary, Mr D.Davaasuren at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The sides touched upon opening the Polish Embassy in Ulaanbaatar, and some cooperation matters.

The meeting began with Mr Labenda congratulating Mr Davaasuren for being appointed to the office.

The dignitaries exchanged views on a wide range of issues concerning the establishment of EUR 50 million credit agreement, founding a joint research center for paleontological and geological studies and launch of "2+2" education exchange program between the National University of Mongolia and the Warsaw University.

Link to article


Mongolia's Small Country Diplomacy and North Korea

Can Mongolia solve one of the most vexing security issues in the Asia-Pacific?

By Bolor Lkhaajav

September 29 (The Diplomat) "Landlocked" Mongolia may become a problem solver in the Asia-Pacific. Whether its Ulaanbaatar's small country diplomacy or its non-nuclear weapons state (NNWS) status, both regional and international actors recognize Mongolia's accountability and transparency in the global political arena. Mongolia's involvement in international peace missions, multilateral dialogues, and regional peace and security cooperation has marked both the country's development and the openness of its foreign policy approaches.

In the past six months, the world has seen repeated evidence that the North Korean nuclear issue has turned into a prolonged crisis. Numerous agreements, economic sanctions, and unilateral approaches have had no effect. Those in the West may not feel the immediacy of the threat, but in the Asia-Pacific it is a ticking bomb. North Korea's repetitive "rogue" acts not only threaten regional peace and security but also jeopardize both political and economic solutions to overcome its protracted desolation. While neighboring countries, China, Japan, and South Korea are seeking deterrence, Mongolia may become an integral part of stabilizing the Korean Peninsula with its small country diplomacy.

One way to look at North Korea's nuclear crisis is to separate nuclear weapons state (NWS) from non-nuclear weapons states (NNWS). In this regard, North Korea's position highlights the level of threat it perceives from NWS such as the United States, its allies under the "nuclear umbrella" Japan and South Korea, and even China. Mongolia, as a NNWS, is positioned to act as a possible peacemaker, like Norway. Indeed, information from WikiLeaks suggests it has already served as a go-between, conveying messages from North Korea to the United States.

Mongolia-North Korea relations date back to the Korean War of 1950-1953 and continue to this day. Mongolia's earliest diplomatic engagement with North Korea dates back to 1988, when two countries signed a Legal Assistance Agreement for the development of civil society and criminal justice legal framework. After Mongolia's peaceful democratic revolution in 1990, Mongolia and North Korea's political systems diverged. Mongolia's peaceful democratic transition could have been a perfect model for Pyongyang's own political transition.

While the Mongolian government condemns North Korea's dangerous moves, Ulaanbaatar continues to believe in peace negotiations, seeking stable diplomatic and economic solutions to overcome political, economic, and civil issues on the Korean peninsula.

Since the Korean War, Mongolian foreign policy has believed in the peaceful unification of Korea; thus Ulaanbaatar kept diplomatic dialogues open for both South and North Korea. In 2015, Mongolia and South Korea has celebrated the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations and integrated civil and economic ties. While keeping good relations with South Korea, Mongolia continues to push for international talks with North Korea.

As of Mongolian foreign policy objectives moved beyond the good neighbor policy toward Russia and China, North Korea was to become one of its development routes via economic ties. As Mongolia strives to diversify its economy through its "third neighbor policy," this very agreement could turn into a diplomatic bridge to unlock North Korea. In 2009, Mongolia's Ministry of Road and Transportation signed a transit agreement with the North Korean authorities to utilize the Rajin Port for export purposes. The agreement would allow Mongolia to ship 25,000 tons of coal to North Korea. By the same token, the transit agreement highlights the fact North Korea is willing to open up at some level with a NNWS, non-threatening country such as Mongolia.

From a security standpoint, Mongolia's position in the Asia-Pacific is to push for renewed Six Party Talks over North Korea's nuclear program. Since early 2013, Mongolia's Foreign Ministry has been active in its support for a peaceful solution and has been recognized as a possible mediator to the international community.

In June 2014, Mongolia hosted the "Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asian Security," an international Track 1.5 conference to promote stability, peace, and security, as well as economic cooperation with North Korea. The gathering of 35 representatives (including those from Mongolia, Russia, China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, the United States, Germany, and the Netherlands) at this dialogue illustrated the importance of the international coalition and its dedication to solving the prolonged nuclear issue. On the home front, the hosting of such an important conference highlights the accountability and transparency of Mongolia's status in the international political arena.

In August 2015, during a meeting with North Korean deputies, Mongolian parliamentary members expressed their hope for peaceful negotiations and further cooperation in multiple sectors.

Ulaanbaatar has put itself in a significant position to mediate future negotiations to stabilize the Korean Peninsula. The great conqueror Genghis Khan once said: "Those without far-sighted goals suffer from constant obstacles." The Mongolian government continues to believe in the peace and security of the Asia-Pacific and is using its small country diplomacy to pursue the ultimate breakthrough with North Korea.

Bolor Lkhaajav is a foreign policy analyst with a Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies.

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Health, Education

Charlie Rose: Schwarzman Scholars

September 14 (Charlie Rose) Steve Schwarzman, chairman and C.E.O. of Blackstone, introduces the Schwarzman Scholarship program, along with inaugural students J.R. Thornton, Annabeth Gellman, and Enkhmend Gereltogtokh.

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Culture, Society

Mongolian and Indian scholars gather in Ulaanbaatar on Chinggis Khaan's legacy

September 28 ( International research conference on "Chinggis Khan, his legacy and Indian culture" attended by the Mongolian and Indian scholars are being held on Sep 28-29th at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

Sessions on following topics are scheduled at the conference. 

  • Traditional concept of Chinggis Khaan,
  • Chinggis Khaan and Modern Mongolian Identity,
  • Buddhist Dimension and Indian Culture 

The Indian Council for Cultural Relations in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Embassy of India, National University of Mongolia, Language and Civilization University are organizing the conference.  

A 17 scholars and researchers led by President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations will participate in this academic event.

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Mongolian and Indian researchers convene to discuss the legacy of Chinggis KhaanUB Post, September 28

Chinggis Khaan, his legacy and Indian cultureMontsame, September 28

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Nature, Environment

Deputy FM extends thanks to Red Cross and Red Crescent societies

Ulaanbaatar, September 28 (MONTSAME) The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has provided humanitarian assistance of MNT 1.6 billion (approximately USD 704 thousand) to some 25 thousand people from 5,400 livestock herding families in 2016.

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms B.Battsetseg extended gratitude for the above aid and overall humanitarian assistance the IFRC has provided to Mongolia for the past years, during her meeting with the visiting IFRC Secretary General Elhadj As Sy on September 27.

The sides considered continuation of the technical assistance by IFRC to Mongolian Red Cross Society on capacity building and disaster prevention.

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CISM president to visit Mongolia

Manama, Sep. 28 (BNA): International Military Sports Council (CISM)'s president Abdul-Hakeem Al-Shennou will visit Mongolia Republic where he will meet Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj.

Al Shennou will discuss the launching of the Sport & Peace Project for Far East Countries which includes North and South Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam and Mongolia.

Mongolia is the most perfect place to host this annual event, pointing out that the launching of this event on real ground will be a grand coronation of CIMS's objectives regarding universal peace, Al Shennou said.

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Art, Entertainment

Mongolian beauty crowned "Miss Tourism Queen International 2016"

Ulaanbaatar, September 28 (MONTSAME) Anu Namshir was crowned the winner of this year's edition of the Miss Tourism Queen International beauty contest, held in China between September 18-28. Following her, five beauties were named the "queens" of each continent.

Second place went to Belgium, Caro Liliane F. Verla, while Belarus, Darya Koleychik, followed in 3rd place (Darya was a top 8 finalists in Miss Eco 2016, earlier this year in Egypt). Poland's Joanna Agnieszka Jochemczyk was 4th and Thailand's Pimchanok Jitchoo completed the group of finalists in 5th place.

The winner Anu Namshir is to receive US$ 10,000 in cash as prize.

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Mongolia to host 'Face of Beauty International' Sep 23-Oct 9

September 28 ( Mongolia is hosting the world's fifth most important beauty competition "Face of Beauty International-2016". Naturally, this will be a big advertisement for the country. Beauty contestants from 60 countries will be participating in the competition. The "Miss Mongolia Consulting" NGO is acting as the general organizer of the competition. The winner will receive a cash prize of USD40 thousand.

Beauty contestants from more than twenty countries have already arrived in Ulaanbaatar. Ukrainian 'Human Barbie' Valeria Lukyanova has been included on the referee panel. Under the theme 'Save Mazaalai' (referring to the endangered Gobi bear) the beauty competition will last from 23rd of September to 9th of October. Miss E.Urangoo from Mongolia, currently is listed third with 652 points.

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'Don't Look At Me That Way'

September 28 ( The newly-released film 'Don't Look at Me That Way' will debut at the Red Hero VIP Cinema in Ulaanbaatar on 1st of October.

"Don't Look At Me That Way" won the Most Promising Talent Award at the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2016 and Grand Prize at the Taipei Film Festival. The film had its world premiere at last year's Munich Film Festival where it won the Fipresci Award 2015. In January, B.Uizenmaa, who produced this adult drama, won the award for Best New Director at the 37th Bavarian Film Festival, receiving a 10,000 EUR prize.

Mongolian born, German-based B.Uizenmaa produced the film in 2006.

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At Land Art Mongolia

By Lewis Biggs

London Book of Reviews, Vol. 38 No. 19 · 6 October 2016; page 21 | 1684 words

At Chinggis Khaan International Airport a driver and minder were waiting. We climbed into an old Nissan saloon and set off across Ulaanbaatar for a settlement in the south-east of Mongolia, about six hundred kilometres away. Not long out of the city, we passed a gigantic equestrian statue on a stone podium: Chinggis Khaan. We broke at midnight to eat in a roadside café with walls in gorgeous fake marble reminiscent of Mies van der Rohe's Pavilion for the 1929 World Fair in Barcelona. I was bound for the fourth Land Art Mongolia biennial, a kind of residency or production workshop for nine Mongolian artists and nine from the rest of the world. The campsite, we were told, was near Dariganga, in the lea of Altan Ovoo, a volcanic hill and a famous pilgrimage site for both Shamanists and Buddhists. The artists and organisers had arrived ten days earlier. The road was good until around 4 a.m., when the tarmac ran out. Most of the journey from there was on dirt roads. And mostly we were lost. Whenever we saw a gur, we headed for it, got directions, and set off again, only to lose our bearings and inquire at the next one.

The venue, it turned out, was a former Soviet youth camp by a small lake near the volcano. I was shown to a family gur, 14 feet in diameter, a palace for a single guest, with a spread of vinyl – herringbone parquet effect – laid on the grass floor. Food was prepared. A goat was flayed and the hooves removed; the skull, shoulders, ribs and smaller pieces were stitched back into the skin along with some black stones the size of a fist, and the package was baked. When it was done and cut open, a geyser of juice spurted into the air and everyone pitched for a gobbet of bone and flesh. The hot stones were passed quickly from hand to hand. The women rubbed the grease on their necks and forearms, a remedy for wrinkles.

The 18 artworks were spread across the landscape in various stages of production or dissolution. Several were sculpted from animal bones, and burning dung was a common feature. I worried that these materials were 'over-expressive', but realised soon enough that wood is unobtainable on the grass steppe (Mongolians may well find wooden sculpture over-expressive). There were several live events. A Swiss artist contributed an enormous kite to carry a ceremonial 'gift', a canister of food and drink, to Altan Ovoo. A team of six men hoisted it into the air, and though it flew OK, it didn't reach the mountain. Later by the fireside, Dashdondog Badam, a painter – also a shaman – chanted from the sutras and went into a trance, in honour of the mountain, now visible in silhouette against a starlit sky. She distributed dried herbs and vodka to throw on the fire as a libation; quite a bit of the vodka was drunk by the guests. Badam told me later that her great-grandmother had been a shaman, and that several of her family – she's one of ten siblings – are Buddhists. Buddhism seems to entail upward social mobility while shamanism is more about insisting on your roots. I guess Badam, a successful painter, is a syncretist with two-way mobility.

Unable to sleep beyond five in the morning, I prowled around in the dark waiting for sunrise, when there was a performance by Munguntsetseg Lkhagvasuren, another member of the Mongolian nine. She had collected a stock of horse hair and spun it into thread, from which she'd crocheted a large net. She set up a tall pole near the camp, from which she draped the net like a limp windsock, then set off down to the lake, about five hundred metres away. Swatches of beautiful coloured fabric were threaded into the net and someone lit a dung fire, which produced a thin wisp of white smoke. Munguntsetseg then emerged from the lake and took up a series of ritual poses at the pole, turning around it and trying to insinuate herself into the net.

The plan, the following day, was to pack representative relics of the newly made artworks into the coach, to show at the Mongolian Artists' Union gallery in Ulaanbaatar, along with documentary photos of the event. There were lengthy delays, as the artists decided what to take or not: Munguntsetseg's net and cloth would fit, but the pole was too big; the gift-kite was abandoned, and the cord donated to the campsite supervisor's wife, who wanted it for tying down gurs. Badam's shaman kit – drum, masks and all – were easy to pack. An installation of a dead tree and a lot of sheep's wool by Gambat Enkhjargal was abandoned. Edgar Endress, an artist and academic from Chile, took back the wooden parts of his large ladder sculpture, but left the metal and wire supports. In Ulaanbaatar he paid an artist to paint the steps with traditional decorative designs.

Back at the Chinggis Khaan Hotel, I read that the Mongol Empire was 'the largest contiguous land empire in history' (24 million square kilometres, second only to the British Empire by area) and second largest by proportion of world population (24 per cent). Mongolia, 750 years later, has a land area of 1.5 million square kilometres and around three million citizens, a significant minority of whom live and work outside the country, many of them in South Korea, which they prefer to Russia or China. Even if all three million had remained, the population density of Mongolia would be 1.9 persons per square kilometre (in the UK it's 269). We were lucky to come across any gurs at all when we got lost on the steppe.

In Ulaanbaatar I had a conversation with Gambat Enkhjargal, who had installed the dead tree on the vast fleece. She grew up in Mongolia, completed her education in Utah, and became an artist on her return. Not a 'traditional' Mongolian artist like Badam, whose paintings play on Buddhist forms, often with mandala-like compositions; and not a socialist realist, although a number of successful painters and sculptors survive from the communist era. Both the traditional and realist genres are taught at the art school that's now a part of Ulaanbaatar university, so why be a land artist? Perhaps because anything perceived purely as a 'craft tradition' in galleries and markets beyond Mongolia will have a more limited reception than works in an international idiom. In the 1980s artists outside the G7 countries understood that they were less visible if they didn't speak or write in English, but at the end of that decade, the big Paris showMagiciens de la terre led the art institutions of wealthier countries to accept that the 'contemporary' idioms of land and performance art (though rarely painting or sculpture) were continuous with ancient forms in other cultures. A Buddhist stupa on a mountain top or a Peruvian desert drawing could now be considered a form of land art, and a shamanic trance – as Joseph Beuys recognised early in his career – a kind of performance art.

Gambat felt she 'had to' become an artist, in defence of her culture. It was simply more relevant, or effective, to frame her concerns in terms of the global cultural economy. She is not the only artist to take this view: the first Land Art Mongolia biennial was in 2010. She worries that in thirty years' time her 'country will not exist'. She doesn't mean the state, the territory, or even the landscape. Her anxiety is about the pastoral way of life, to which everyone I met is fiercely attached; she is dismayed by the pace of destruction. (It was as she spoke that I began to see the point of the performance in Dariganga with the net and the pole: the artist was tethering herself to a fragile culture, announcing full membership.) Gambat says that she and other Mongolians who studied abroad feel 'like tourists in our own culture'. Later we went in search of a meal in Ulaanbaatar. We ended up at the Grand Khaan Irish Pub.

Going to and from the Artists' Union gallery, I found a metered cab. The driver wanted to bargain a price, but the meter ran anyway. It had an LED display with an energetic little horse. The horse galloped when the car was moving, and stopped when it came to a halt in traffic.

At the gallery there was a show of paintings from Japan, South Korea and Mongolia. The Mongolian works are obvious even to the untrained eye: invariably there is a horse somewhere in the composition. The gallery manager was about to strip out the show to make room for the Land Art Mongolia exhibits. She spoke fluent Spanish, having worked for five years as a contortionist with a circus in Barcelona. According to her, 'all the big circuses from America and Europe recruit in Mongolia' because Mongolian women are famously flexible. That afternoon, during a debriefing at the gallery with the media and a small audience, the non-Mongolian artists confessed that their understanding of 'nomadic' culture had changed. Fluidity, not mobility, now struck them as the central point. They had found a way to customise their experience as a lesson in mixing up disciplines and crossing boundaries. I can see how they might: the steppe is empty and undifferentiated; there are no boundaries, no landmarks, only herds of animals that appear and disperse in a matter of moments; in this space thoughts and contradictions quickly coalesce into a kind of fuzzy, feelgood humanistic ball. Afterwards, at the top of a tall building in the city centre, we gazed at a massive chalk drawing of Chinggis Khaan's head on a grassed slope at the edge of the city: a monumental piece of land art, neither mobile nor fluid.

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The Philadelphia Orchestra Performs for the President of Mongolia

September 28 (WRTI 90.1) His Excellency President Elbegdorj — the leader of the growing democracy situated between China and Russia — spent last Friday, September 23rd in Philadelphia, following the conclusion of his work at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. 

(Listen: WRTI's Meridee Duddleston speaks with Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj on Friday, September 23rd, 2016.)

The visit was initiated by Philadelphia Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore, and it was an opportunity for President Elbegdorj to preview the ensemble invited to perform in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar in June, 2017.

The U.S. and Mongolia have had diplomatic relations for three decades. But, by all accounts, The Philadelphia Orchestra's Friday afternoon concert was the first time a major American orchestra has played the national anthem of Mongolia.

(Video: Performance)

In turn, the concert was a chance for President Elbegdorj to get a sense of the musicians and conductor who will travel to Mongolia for the very first time as part of their next Asian tour.

President Elbegdorj arrived for a full day in Philadelphia. In the morning, he was honored by Mayor Jim Kenney and Governor Tom Wolf at City Hall, made a stop at the Liberty Bell, and then attended a luncheon at the Kimmel Center.

Following his appearance at the Orchestra's afternoon concert, President Elbegdorj dashed off to the University of Pennsylvania, where he gave a lecture at the American Center for Mongolian Studies.

With the fall of communism in the early 1990s, and the rise of a democracy, Mongolia is highlighting its long history with renewed vigor. President Elbegdorj's visit to Philadelphia fell on the 801st birthday of Mongolia's famous ruler, Kublai Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan.

The president pointed out how, in the 1200s, Kublai Khan established the first orchestra in Mongolia and built a world network of cultural ties. And because of that, he noted, this day had added and great meaning.

In the 1970s The Philadelphia Orchestra broke ground by performing in the People's Republic of China at the behest of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and President Richard Nixon.

Since then, the Orchestra has deepened its ties to Asia. The visit to Mongolia in 2017 will build on its unofficial role as a cultural ambassador in the Far East.

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Why This Artist Believes Being A Good Person Is Key For A Good Business

September 28 (Forbes) Lily Stockman lists "good luck, mild delusion and unconditional support" from her partner as the key things that led her to the path of becoming a professional visual artist. But the painter and co-founder of Block Shop Textiles also credits strong female mentors for her career success.

"Having female mentorship has been an enormous help in my adult life," Stockman tells me. "When my sister, co-founder of Block Shop Textiles, and I were toying with the idea of moving from the east coast to Los Angeles, we set up meetings with five women who we thought were running interesting businesses there. What choices did they make that set them on their path of success? How big was their team? How did they want to grow over the next five years? Why is Los Angeles a good place to get a small company up and going? Those five meetings led to a new circle of friends, got us our bookkeeper, first wholesale accounts, and a major collaboration. These women are not just friends, but also tremendous resources and generous mentors."

Stockman goes on to state that in the art world, it is harder and more difficult to find this kind of comradeship.

"It's a much more solitary endeavor," Stockman, who splits her time between Los Angeles and Joshua Tree, California, says. "But that's where the value for a Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) actually is so important. In the institution of academia, one can find mentors, allies, people you can turn to throughout the course of your career to ask, 'Am I doing this right?'"

And Stockman knows the value of having a strong educational background to draw on– both inside and outside traditional academic institutions. After graduating from Harvard University, Stockman, who got her MFA at New York University (NYU), completed an apprenticeship in Buddhist thangka painting in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

"I've wanted to go to Mongolia my whole life," Stockman reflects. "I think that bee in my bonnet came from a National Geographic article on the ice maiden some archeologist found buried in the tundra in the early nineties. A nomadic matriarchy on horseback? Sign me up. I Googled "study abroad Mongolia" when I was a sophomore in college and applied to the only program that existed and spent five months studying there…More than anything, Mongolia helped me realize I have the disposition of a desert person: I like to be able to see what's around me. I like a wide view."

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MIAT participates in JATA Tourism Expo

September 28 ( Mongolian National Airlines (MIAT) participated in the 'Jata Tourism Expo' which was held from 22nd September to the 25th September 2016 at the Tokyo Big Sight in the Japanese capital. In addition to MIAT, the Mongolian Travel and Tourism Association, Mongolian tour agencies such as Juulchin, Jiguur, New Clover, Nadeshko, Ragusa and MJ International as well as the Gobi Company took part in the event. As a result, it is hoped to increase number of Japanese tourists to Mongolia.

The four-day event showcased a huge range of products and services connected to the travel and tourism industry. 'JATA Tourism Expo', which is the largest Asian promotional event of its kind is by Japan Travel and Tourism Association. Travel companies and airlines from over 100 countries as well as tourism companies from all of Japan's 47 prefectures participated in the event.

In 1991, the very first Japan tourists arrived in Mongolia on a charter flight provided by MIAT. The national carrier has been conducting regular flights to Japan since 1996. Currently, MIAT provides seven flights between Tokyo and Ulaanbaatar each week.

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Instagram snapshots: Ben Stanton in China and Mongolia

September 28 (The Guardian) On the road for the past three years, Aussie Ben Stanton has recently been on a train trip from Beijing through Mongolian desert to central Russia

Elsen Tasarkhai, Mongolia

The Mini Gobi desert is a stretch of sand dunes in the middle of the Mongolian steppes. I set up a tent at the base of the biggest dune I could find and the next morning woke to freezing temperatures, and dragged myself out of bed to catch the sunrise.

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