Monday, September 19, 2016

[GoM returns to auction; MNT down 0.6% last week; and Mongolia celebrates Tsedenbal's anniversary]

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Monday, September 19, 2016

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Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original


Int'l Market

WOF last traded A$0.012

Wolf Petroleum: Notice of General Meeting, 19 October, Perth

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Local Market

MSE Weekly Report: Top 20 -1.73%, ALL -1.2%, Turnover 4.4 Billion Shares, ₮480.3 Million T-Bills

September 16 (MSE) --

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GoM Offering ₮5 Billion 12-Week 15.7% Discounted and 15 Billion 28-Week 16.4% Discounted T-Bills via MSE

September 16 (MSE) Buy order of 12 weeks Government bonds with annual interest of 15.70%, and 28 weeks Government bonds with annual interest of 16.40% starts from 16 September 2016 until 20 September 2016 through brokerage companies.

Click here to see detailed information of 12 weeks Government bonds.

Click here to see detailed information of 28 weeks Government bonds.

Link to release


Mongolia Sells 127.5b Tugrik in Government Securities Auction

By Michael Kohn

September 16 (Bloomberg) -- The Bank of Mongolia sold 127.5 billion tugrik in a government securities auction, according to a statement published on the Ministry of Finance website.

* NOTE: Bank of Mongolia official exchange rate is 2,244/USD

* Bids received totaled 182b tugrik

* Weighted average of accepted interest rate was 15.84% for 12-week maturity, 16.465% for 28-week maturity and 17% for 52-week maturity

* September bond auction is first since April according to Ministry of Finance website


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USD/MNT historic high ₮2,265.28, set Aug 18. Reds are rates that set a new record at the time

BoM MNT Rates: Friday, September 16 Close
















































































































































































































Bank USD rates at time of sending: Khan (Buy ₮2,238 Sell ₮2,250), TDB (Buy ₮2,238 Sell ₮2,250), Golomt (Buy ₮2,236 Sell ₮2,247), XacBank (Buy ₮2,235 Sell ₮2,252), State Bank (Buy ₮2,238 Sell ₮2,250)

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

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BoM issues 149 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding -1.4% to 421.5 billion

September 16 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 149 billion at a weighted interest rate of 15.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release


Number of unemployed decreases

Ulaanbaatar, September 16 (MONTSAME) In August of 2016, about 29,932 people were registered as unemployed. Compared with July records, the number of unemployed decreased by 612 (2%). Against 2015, unemployment fell by 492 (1.6%).

In the second quarter of 2016, a total of 576.5 thousand employees of 37.2 thousand business entities are reported to have paid social and health insurance fees, according to the social insurance payment report by the General Health and Social Insurance Authority.

In the second quarter of 2016, an average monthly salary per employee was MNT 888.0 thousand which shows increase by MNT 34.1 thousand or 4.0 percent compared with the same period of the previous year and by MNT 16.6 thousand or 1.9 percent compared with the preceding quarter.

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Politics & Legal

Premier attends opening of Eroo River Bridge

Ulaanbaatar, September 16 (MONTSAME) Prime Minister J.Erdenebat attended an opening ceremony for the new bridge of River Eroo, in Eroo soum of Selenge province on September 16. It is safe to say that this bridge is of strategic importance for Selenge, as it handles heavy traffic of loaded-with-harvests trucks during the peak of harvesting season of autumn.

The old bridge caught fire in 2005 and went out of operation.

The "Ganguur" and "ZZB" companies commenced the construction of 272 meters long steel-concrete bridge at Eroo river in 2015, and has commissioned the bridge two months earlier than planned.

The Prime Minister is on a working tour through eastern provinces. He held a meeting with the representatives of citizens of Selenge province on Thursday. Afterwards, he has headed to Darkhan-Uul province, to meet with land farmers, herders and state officials in Orkhon and Khongor soums.

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Speaker welcomes Yu.Tsedenbal's son

Ulaanbaatar, September 16 (MONTSAME) Chairman of the State Great Khural (Parliament) M.Enkhbold welcomed at the Government House Ts.Zorigt, a son of late Marshall Tsedenbal Yumjaa, and his family, to pay respect and congratulate on the 100th birth anniversary of his father.

The parliamentary resolution was issued a week ago on solemnly marking the milestone anniversary on the national level, noted Mr Enkhbold. The three-day celebration aims at realistically analyzing and promoting to the younger generations the deeds and accomplishments of Yu.Tsedenbal during his 44 years of ruling the country. In those years, Mongolia's independence had ensured through becoming a member of the United Nations, he remarked.

Yu.Tsedenbal's son Ts.Zorigt thanked for the welcoming and congratulated on the absolute victory in the parliamentary elections. "Events should be described just as they were in the history. I am grateful for the decision to celebrate my father's 100th birthday at higher level and delighted to be back in my homeland to celebrate my father's anniversary. It is a significant event for the history of Mongolia. My father had fought for the prosperity of his country with sincere intention. I think, thanks to his efforts, Mongolia had grown at an excellent pace", said Mr Zorig.

Present at this meeting were Chief of the Cabinet Secretariat J.Monkhbat, Ch.Khurelbaatar and N.Tserenbat MPs, along with the delegates from the Tsedenbal Academy.

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Is dual citizenship right for Mongolia?

By B. Dulguun

September 16 (UB Post) Minister of Foreign Affairs Ts.Munkh-Orgil endorsed dual citizenship for Mongolians and confirmed last week to address citizenship-related problems of Mongolians living abroad through a bill on dual citizenship.

In the past 16 years, more than 4,400 Mongolian children were born abroad, according to the National Registration and Statistical Office. These children should naturally be registered under Mongolian citizenship just like their parents, but majority of them have German or American citizenships as Mongolia doesn't permit dual citizenship.

At present, there are some 130,000 Mongolians facing citizenship-related problems overseas and every year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs receives ceaseless requests, urging a favorable legal environment for dual citizenship for Mongolians, according to Minister Ts.Munkh-Orgil. He explained that this was a matter of Mongolia's national security and that a new legislation would be formulated to settle this issue.

"Many Mongolians living abroad ask to let them stay under Mongolian citizenship because they want to be able to travel to and back from Mongolia to meet their families and maintain their connection to Mongolia. Dual citizenship is prohibited according to the Mongolian Nationality Law. In the past, the President of Mongolia submitted a draft bill related to this matter. Soon, the Professional Government will complete and submit a draft bill to regulate dual citizenship. This matter will be resolved one way or another," stressed Minister Ts.Munkh-Orgil.

This statement was one of many surprise decisions by the new ruling party, the Mongolian People's Party. As mentioned by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, President Ts.Elbegdorj submitted a draft bill on Mongolian nationality to Parliament earlier this year. Ts.Munkh-Orgil says that approving the bill would immediately kick off a policy to bring back Mongolians living abroad to Mongolia and issue the Khukh Unemlekh (Blue Certificate) for authorizing their permanently stay. However, the President's Office clarified that the draft bill doesn't touch on dual citizenship or on providing legal environment for it.

Dual citizenship was a hot topic after the parliamentary election in 2012. Back then, Member of Parliament and former Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Bold expressed a strong opposing view on dual citizenship, saying, "I will never allow Mongolia to become a place where people go back and forth or become a victim of another country's hidden agenda".

When prodded further, L.Bold explained, "Geographically, we border with two big nations. Mongolia's  population is small but it has vast resources. Dual citizenship is allowed in large countries like the USA and small countries in Europe, which have similar development, culture, and have several neighboring countries. Mongolia's current status will never change."

Experts in this matter hold the same position as L.Bold. They believe that dual citizenship would amplify risks of sudden changes in the demography especially when you consider Mongolia's meager population of slightly over three million people. For this reason, Mongolia specified in the Constitution to not allow dual citizenship.

Dual citizenship offers certain benefits and privileges, such as the ability to live and work freely in two countries, own property in both, and travel between the countries with relative ease.

Currently, 58 countries allow dual citizenship, including Austria, Australia, Bangladesh, Denmark, the USA, the UK, Switzerland, South Africa, Egypt, Iraq, Italia, Israel, Spain, Ukraine, Sweden, and Sri Lanka. However, these countries started enforcing a policy to restrict dual citizenship for ensuring national security.

Countries which Allow Dual Citizenship

The following countries allow the acquisition of another citizenship:

On the other hand, 16 countries don't allow dual citizenship, including China, Japan, Indonesia, Myanmar, Norway, and Kazakhstan. There are two main reasons these countries don't permit dual or multiple citizenship. Firstly, dual citizens have more disadvantages in terms of legal rights, as they are obliged to obey the laws of both countries. For example, there is a potential risk of double taxation. Secondly, dual citizenship is considered a threat to national security because allowing the freedom to become a multinational billionaire in Mongolia will attract tons of people. Experts explain that the Mongolian nationality could perish in the future if people of various nationalities permanently settle in Mongolia using dual citizenship.

Countries which Do Not Allow Dual Citizenship

The following countries do not allow the acquisition of another citizenship:

The Mongolian government attempted to establish dual citizenship several times before and each time, it was dismissed. This time, it has progressed much further than before and the current government plans to submit a draft bill on dual citizenship in the parliamentary fall session, according to sources close to the issue. Approval of the draft bill is undeniably highly anticipated by Mongolian children and young people. However, is it right to approve something that has a potential to lead to the loss of the Mongolian identity for the sake of some 130,000 Mongolians who no longer live in their home country?

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Mongolia – Japan's Rubbish Heap

– Why Mongolia's relationship with its beloved Toyota Prius is a toxic one –


September 18 (UB Post) Mongolia is embracing mass-market grey imports from Japan. This easy solution to get Mongolians cheap wheels will soon result in Mongolia being one of the biggest landfills for cars and dangerous waste in Asia.

Mongolians have fallen in love with Japan's Toyota Prius, and are importing them to the country at the speed of light. Today, Priuses make up more than 13 percent of the passenger vehicles on Mongolian roads, according to government registry statistics. Last year, Mongolians imported just under 20,000 Priuses, which makes up 52.5 percent of Mongolia's total vehicle import.

You would expect Mongolians to have jeeps, pickup trucks or motorbikes due to the sometimes rough landscape in the country. However, you would not expect them to be using hybrid cars. The unofficial car of Mongolia can be seen everywhere, even parked outside of a ger in the middle of nowhere. In Ulaanbaatar, three in five cars are suggested to be a Toyota Prius.

The main reason why Mongolians love their imported Toyota Priuses is because they easily start in the cold. Temperatures during winter in Mongolia often range from negative 20 °C to negative 40 °C, and this sometimes make it problematic for gasoline cars to start if they've been parked for a while.

Another reason why Mongolians love these cars is the price tag. Imports of second-hand hybrid cars to Mongolia are tax-free, making old Priuses from Japan the most affordable car there is on the market. A questionable fact about these cars is that they have the steering wheel on the left-hand side, while Mongolians drive on the right-hand side, leaving more room for accidents in the traffic.

Japan imposes high tax rates on older cars to keep its automotive manufacturing economy moving and they therefore sell off their old cars very cheap. Today, mass-market grey imports do make sense for developing countries such as Mongolia. But in the long run, Mongolia is becoming a massive dump for Japan's old scrap, whilst at the same time boosting Japan's car industry even further.

At present, Ulaanbaatar has severe pollution of both soil and air. This is generated from waste which has been improperly disposed. As the capital city has expanded so rapidly, there are not enough dumpsites for the waste produced in the city and people therefore dispose of their rubbish elsewhere. This means that battery packs and other dangerous goods can be found and used as toys by children. This puts children in danger and can lead to major accidents.

In Ulaanbaatar, it has been reported real-world fuel economy numbers of seven to nine liters per 100 km, which is at least 50 percent worse than what Toyota advertises and drivers report that batteries last less than 10 years, less if used irregularly.

Even though hybrid cars easily start in the cold, they do not work as intended in cold climate. They work as regular gasoline cars, with a massive battery pack pushing the car to use even more fuel than normal cars. These old cars also come with worn out batteries, that needs to be dumped somewhere not long after being imported to the country. This means that Mongolians are basically paying Japan to take care of their dangerous waste.

It makes sense to drive Hybrid cars during summer, as it is cost-effective. However, Mongolia has a long and cold winter, meaning that car owners lose more than they gain by driving these cars. In cold places such as Mongolia, hybrid cars are not a good investment as it turns out to be expensive and it also affects the environment, contributing to the severe pollution in Mongolia's capital city.

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City Council Renames Main Square to Sukhbaatar

September 16 ( Ulaanbaatar's central square, currently known as Chinggis Square, is returning to its original name. Yesterday (15th September) the members of the Municipal Citizens' Representatives Khural (council) agreed upon restoring its former name.

The square was originally named in honour of the Mongolian revolutionary hero D.Sukhbaatar shortly after his death in 1923. However, in 2013, it was re-named after Chinggis Khaan, the founder of the Great Mongol Empire 800 years' ago and now every Mongolian`s pride and idol. This decision was strongly opposed by the Mongolian People's Party (MPP), as well as the descendants of D.Sukhbaatar because it was done without public consultation.

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Central square re-named after D.SukhbaatarMontsame, September 16


"2016 Ulaanbaatar Book Fair" opens on Sukhbaatar Square

September 16 ( The opening ceremony of the "2016 Ulaanbaatar Book Fair" has held on Sukhbaatar Square earlier today (16th September). During the fair, many interesting events for visitors and tourists are being organized, including an international culture exhibition, the "let's talk about books and drink coffee" event, a "reading celebration", meeting with children from all over the world, and an honorary ceremony for respected national writers. Books will be on sale and publishing companies are offering a 20%-50% discount. Finally, people can buy books signed by their favorite authors.

The purpose of the event is to increase people's interest in books, encourage the public to read and learn to enjoy books, and attract readers all over the world to Mongolia as part of the Friendly Ulaanbaatar Program.

Link to article


Ulaanbaatar book fair stagedMontsame, September 16


Difficult Times to Be a Driver

September 16 (UB Post) It is no secret that being a driver in UB is not an easy experience. The traffic and the culture of rushed driving, coupled with the loose compliance with traffic laws, all make it a stressful experience. Now, the resurgence of towing and the checks being conducted by the police just add to the ever-growing list of things drivers have to worry about.


Just recently, it seemed like towing had gone out of style and booting tires was the new method for dealing with parking violations. After a few months, the tire boot method went as quickly as it came, primarily due to its ineffectiveness and the complaints that came with it. Now that booting tires is a thing of the past, towing companies have come back with a punch. They are towing cars at an alarming rate, almost as if to make up for the lost time.

An investigative report done by Ugluunii Sonin observed towing companies operating near Bagshiin Deed, a central area of the city. In that area are several universities, as well as a cluster of both private and public hospitals. The report suggested that towing companies tend to target hospitals and areas that are known to not have adequate parking. The towing companies have the right to tow any vehicle that they feel is obstructing traffic. According to the article, they define that term very liberally and have hauled away many vehicles that were not blocking the road or any cars. They are being criticized for shooting fish in a barrel, or preying on easy targets such as people visiting hospitals.

It is important to note that these towing companies are private. Taking this into account brightens the picture and makes it a bit clearer. Since their primary objective is to make a profit, it is easy to understand that they would try to tow as many vehicles as possible, even if some are not actually violating any laws. A lack of regulation combined with companies looking to profit leads to drivers getting the short end of the stick.

Since the towing companies are contracted by the government, they do have procedures they have to follow. The procedure states that before a vehicle is towed, tow trucks must spend five to ten minutes announcing on their loudspeakers that they are about to tow a vehicle. Then, if the driver does not arrive within five to ten minutes, they must take pictures of the interior and exterior of the vehicle before towing. The report by Ugluunii Sonin stated that towing companies haul an average of 90 cars a day, 150 on busy days. It is clear then, that the proper procedure for towing is rarely followed. Even in light of all this information, it is my personal belief that towing companies are necessary. UB already has enough traffic without people leaving their cars clogging up roads. Towing is not the problem; how they do it is the problem. The root of the problem is the lack of regulation of these businesses. We have seen time and time again that if a business that is for profit is left unregulated, there is no telling what they will do to increase their profit margin. It is no different with drivers; if left unregulated, we have seen that they will park their cars anywhere.


Starting on August 29, police began performing routine checks on random cars to see if they are up to standard. The standards include the overall state of the car, headlights, and even its appearance. Going even further, they have started to check for fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and warning triangles. The random checks are supposedly going to continue until September 30.

Between August 29 and September 30, police officers have the right to stop any vehicle and conduct checks. Since the checks have started, the number of fines issued has increased dramatically. This has led to many people becoming suspicious that these random checks are not an attempt to improve the standards of vehicles, but rather a method of raising more money for the state budget. It is hard to deny these claims outright. The way the checks were announced and are now being executed has rightfully raised suspicion. The announcements of the checks was especially sudden. Drivers were not given advanced notice and there is no precedent for these types of inspections.

This move is being called "The four billion MNT oppression", and not just by anybody: Member of Parliament T.Ayursaikhan was credited with coining the term during a press conference. People argue that if the goal of these inspections was to improve the standards of vehicles, the police would not have started handing out fines as soon as the decision to conduct the inspections was made. It is hard to argue with that train of thought.

It is entirely possible that the government is trying to kill two birds with one stone: enforcing vehicle standards while also raising capital for the state budget. It is no secret that the bonds Mongolia has issued will need to be paid off starting in 2017. It is apparent that the government is working to raise capital to help Mongolia pay off the debts it has incurred and for the bonds it has issued. However, there are better ways to raise capital than to funnel money from unsuspecting drivers.

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Railways, Trans-Siberia discussed in Ulaanbaatar

By S. Otgontsetseg

September 16 (Mongolian Economy) The Plenary Meeting of the Coordinating Council on Trans-Siberian Transportation (CCTT) concluded in Ulaanbaatar on September 15. Several reports and speeches, on topics such as information technology, infrastructure, and harmonization of regulations, were presented during the two-day meeting.

Founded in 1997, the CCTT has proven to be competitive on international levels and is actively focusing on electronic train shipment, postal items delivery and door-to-door service during this time when e-commerce is developing globally.

Meeting participants included Rune Arnoy, CEO of Narvik Port; Jean Luc Dufournaud, representative of the International Railway Transport Committee (CIT); and V.P. Jukov, representative of the OSJD, among other. Speakers relayed that it is a necessity to cooperate with member organisations in order to improve the competitiveness of the Trans-Siberian Railway by creating new products such as "Electronic Train", "Guaranteed Transport and Logistics Product", and "Security Train." These are designed to ensure the security and safety of transported freight, simplify paperwork, facilitate exchange of information through electronic methods and integrate information with other transportation systems.

At the end of the meeting, Secretary General of the CCTT G.I. Bessonov presented the CCTT Secretariat report on the implementation of decisions of the 24th PlenaryMeeting held in Austria and spoke more about projects to be implemented next year.

Three organisations joined the CCTTas members during the PlenaryMeeting in Ulaanbaatar. In addition, the CCTT has removed the membership of companies that failed to pay membership fees as the CCTT is a non-commercial transportation association funded by its members.

"Currently, the CCTT has 93 members and 46 of them have permanent status. This structure is enough. The CCTT's budget has not changed for several years and we will work with a budget ofCHF760,000 in 2017," said G.I. Bessonov.

The CCTT has established two working groups in areas to improve the competitiveness of the Trans-Siberian routes, and to introduce information technology advancements in all sectors of international transportation. The organisation also supports the initiative by L.Purevbaatar, Chairman of Ulaanbaatar Railway JSC, to make transfer clearance documents electronic. The working group to cooperate with Mongolia will be headed by L.Purevbaatar.

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China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor focuses on 7 areas

BEIJING, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- China, Mongolia and Russia will cooperate in seven areas to build a trilateral economic corridor, according to guidelines released this week.

The three neighbors will improve transport facilities by expanding land, air and sea connections, said the guidelines issued by the National Development and Reform Commission.

They plan to renovate ports of entry and overhaul customs procedures for easier clearance.

The three countries vowed closer cooperation in energy and mineral resources, high tech, manufacturing, agriculture and forestry.

They agreed to expand trade at border regions and widen services trade, and eyed more cooperation in education, science and technology, culture, tourism, medical care and intellectual property.

In addition, they promised to strengthen cooperation in environmental protection and push partnerships of local governments and border regions.

The guidelines were signed in June in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, following a meeting of Chinese, Mongolian and Russian leaders. 

Link to article


China, Mongolia, Russia to build economic corridor

September 17 (Xinhua) China, Mongolia and Russia will cooperate in seven areas to build a trilateral economic corridor, according to guidelines released this week.

The three neighbors will improve transport facilities by expanding land, air and sea connections, said the guidelines issued by the National Development and Reform Commission.

They plan to renovate ports of entry and overhaul customs procedures for easier clearance.

The three countries vowed closer cooperation in energy and mineral resources, high tech, manufacturing, agriculture and forestry.

They agreed to expand trade at border regions and widen services trade, and eyed more cooperation in education, science and technology, culture, tourism, medical care and intellectual property.

In addition, they promised to strengthen cooperation in environmental protection and push partnerships of local governments and border regions.

The guidelines were signed in June in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, following a meeting of Chinese, Mongolian and Russian leaders.

Link to article


Cuba, Mongolia pledge to expand economic, trade ties

September 17 (Xinhua) Cuban and Mongolian presidents expressed their willingness to expand economic and trade ties between their countries on Thursday. 

The meeting between Cuban President Raul Castro and his Mongolian counterpart, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, took place in a cordial atmosphere, according to a governmental release published by the Cuban News Agency (ACN). 

Speaking highly of the bilateral relations, Castro and Elbegdorj agreed on the need to strengthen the cooperation. 

The two leaders also compared notes on other issues of common concern. 

"With this visit, both countries hope to expand bilateral cooperation in various areas and bring us closer despite the geographical distance,"the Mongolian president said at a press conference shortly after arriving at the Havana airport late Wednesday. 

During his stay in Havana, which will last till Sunday, Elbegdorj is scheduled to meet with other government officials and visit sites of economic, social and cultural interest. 

Cuba was the first nation in Latin America and the Caribbean to have established diplomatic relations with Mongolia in 1960.

Link to article


President of Cuba Holds Talks with Mongolia CounterpartCuban News Agency, September 16

President Begins Official Visit to the Republic of CubaGoGo News, September 16

President Ts.Elbegdorj meets Raul, September 16


Mongolian Armed Forces, U.S. Marines begin NOLES 2016

FIVE HILLS TRAINING AREA, Mongolia, September 12 (DVIDS) – The Mongolian Armed Forces and U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific began participating in the Non-Lethal Weapons Executive Seminar (NOLES) 2016, scheduled to be held in Mongolia, September 12-23.

NOLES is a regularly scheduled field training exercise and leadership seminar sponsored by U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific and hosted annually by various nations throughout Asia-Pacific. In its 15th iteration, this multinational event is designed to promote awareness and effective use of non-lethal weapons as a tool to maintain order in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, low-intensity conflicts or civil unrest scenarios.

Non-lethal weapons are explicitly designed to incapacitate equipment and personnel while minimizing fatalities and permanent injury to personnel, and undesired collateral damage to property. This capability is preferred during rescue missions, for force protection in civil disturbances, while controlling rioting prisoners of war, for checkpoint or convoy operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, or in situations in which civilians are used to mask a military attack.

In addition to participation from Mongolia and the United States, Mongolian Armed Forces has invited military leaders from 25 nations to participate in the multinational seminar as an opportunity for all participating nations to enhance interoperability and strengthen military-to-military partnerships through cooperation.

Link to article


1st visually impaired JICA staff member dispatched abroad to Mongolia

September 16 (Yomiuri Shimbun) Emi Teruya, who is visually impaired, is known for her extraordinary ability to take action. As soon as she thinks of a place she wants to visit, she just gives it a go with her white cane.

Last year, she climbed to the top of Mt. Fuji with a friend.

"Without trying, I'll never find out what I can do and what I can't do," said Teruya, 45. This attitude helped her seize an opportunity with the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Last month, Teruya left Japan for Mongolia on a JICA mission, becoming the first visually impaired staff member in its 62-year history to serve in a long-term overseas program.

She will spend two years there as one part of a three-member team to promote opportunities and participation in society for the disabled, at the request of Mongolia.

Originally from Urasoe, Okinawa Prefecture, Teruya was born with weak sight. As her retinal disease worsened, she became completely blind five years ago.

Teruya began working for JICA in 1996. Using her own perspective and experience as a visually impaired person, she has passed on her know-how in supporting the disabled by inviting those engaged in such activities in developing countries to training courses in Japan.

In Mongolia, job opportunities for the disabled are still scarce. Teruya's mission there is to have the voices of the disabled realized in policies through her own research and human resource development.

"In more improved environments, we, the disabled, can expand our possibilities. I want more people [in Mongolia] to know about this," Teruya said.

It is also the first time for her to live on her own outside Japan.

"The longer I stay there, the more I expand the scope of what I can do on my own. I want to learn the language as well and I am just so much looking forward to my new life [in Mongolia]," Teruya said with a smile ahead of her departure.

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CWA Mongolia Cultural Day Report

September 16 (Nyngan Observer) This year the CWA Country of the Year is the fascinating country of Mongolia and members were treated to an informative afternoon about this small but vital country last Tuesday afternoon.

Once again, the posters the St Joseph's students had on display were remarkable.

Most of us know very little about Mongolia, but it was obvious that the children had a rich understanding of its history, geography and culture by the time they had completed their posters. 

Many thanks to Marie Kinsey and Catherine James for judging these posters.

The children from Nyngan Public School presented an informative powerpoint on the country including beautiful slides and photos of the delicious food they made.

As a judge I learnt a great deal about this country which I hadn't known previously. We wait in anticipation for the divulging of next year's Country of Study! 

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Health, Education

Healthy breakfast menu-2

September 16 ( The Public Health Institute issued the customized breakfast menu-2, suited for Mongolians. It includes grain bread, fried egg and a glass of raisin juice, which has total of 395.7 kcal.

The institute designates that average adult's energy intake should be around 2,100-2,500 kcal a day, of which 20-25% must be taken from breakfast. Advantages of having breakfast improves focus, strengthens mental power, increases learning and adaptation skills and immunity from negative factors of the environment.

Link to article


Man who stared Death in the face

Mongolian's survival after being in vegetative state for months is a tale of hope, kindness, resilience

September 18 (Straits Times) The sun is about to set, casting a golden glow on the rugged landscape of the Gobi Desert. I am standing at the foot of the Khan Bayanzurkh mountain in Sainshand in the province of Dornogovi in Mongolia, and looking at the summit with dread.

The locals call it Wishes Mountain. The spirit of a Gobi lord is believed to live at the top, and if you walk three times around the ovoo - sacred stones placed in a heap to serve as an altar - and toss vodka and other offerings, whatever you wish for apparently will come true.

To get to the peak, standing at 1,070m, I would have to navigate a pathway with a gazillion steps, a prospect my tired body does not relish. I have been up since 6am, and spent about seven hours travelling nearly 500km from Ulaanbaatar to Sainshand; my butt is sore from sharing the backseat of an SUV with two other people.

Unfortunately, Mr Damdindorj Puntsagdorj - or Damdin, as we know him - is already making his way up the mountain with nary a pause. His energy beggars belief, especially as he has spent more than seven hours behind the wheel, at times steering the SUV through intestine-jolting terrain.

Then again, what is scaling a puny mountain for a man who, just two years ago, was in a vegetative state, vacillating between life and death for nine months?

He is the reason I am in Mongolia with four of my Singaporean friends. We wanted to see the man who stared Death in the face and came back with a tale of hope, kindness and resilience.

It all started on Jan 5, 2014, when Damdin, 52, arrived in Singapore with his wife Otgo, 51, son Nagy, 29, and daughter Anu, 15, for a family vacation.

That night after dinner, the former deputy director of the Research Institute of Animal Husbandry in Mongolia grappled with a massive migraine. His face turned ghostly white and he started vomiting.

Because they were staying in a hotel in the Bugis area, his son took him to Raffles Hospital, where he collapsed. A CT scan revealed that he had an aneurysm which resulted in a bleeding stroke.

Another stroke hit two months later. He went into a coma twice, and was in a vegetative state during the six months he spent at Singapore General Hospital and Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

A strapping Mongolian who tipped the scales at 110kg before this, he lost more than 40kg during this period.

According to his family, he also once stopped breathing and had 10 operations to, among other things, secure the aneurysm, manage brain infection and treat cerebrospinal fluid build-up.

Dr Nicole Keong was one of the doctors who treated him in Singapore.

"He was critically ill for most of his stay here and his medical management was complex," says the neurosurgeon at the National Neuroscience Institute.

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Nature, Environment

Council meets on earthquake prevention actions

Ulaanbaatar, September 16 (MONTSAME) Third meeting of the Permanent Council for Prevention of Earthquake Disaster, headed by the Deputy Prime Minister, was held September 16 at the State House. In conjunction with forming the new cabinet, the composition of this council has been renewed as well.

Some 80% of the territory of Mongolia's sedentary centers are located in seismically active zones, where 80% of the total population live. In the first eight months of August, 29 thousand quakes have been recorded in overall, of which over 1,000 occurred around Ulaanbaatar. The number of earthquakes increased by 30% against last year, said Deputy PM U.Khurelsukh and added that certain measures should be taken to heighten the emergency readiness.

The council decided to forward purchasing of necessary technology, equipment and instruments, proposing the parliament to exempt these goods from duty and value added tax, and resolved to conduct triple check on old buildings and hospitals.

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American spends August racing horses across Mongolia

September 16 ( Julia Stewart of Washington, D.C., has competed in the 2016 Mongol Derby, a horse race that currently holds the Guinness World Record title of the longest multi-horse race in the world.

The Mongol Derby was founded in 2009 by a UK-based group called "The Adventurists". The course is 1,000 kilometers, or 621.37 miles, long, and recreates the horse messenger system developed by Genghis Khan in 1224 through the Mongolian-Manchurian steppe, a temperate grassland zone. The exact course changes every year and the is unmarked. Riders are given a series of GPS coordinates to guide them to each horse station - certainly an improvement which Genghis Khan would have approved. They have 10 days to complete the race.

Riders switch horses approximately every 40 kilometers. The horses, which belong to families who live along the course, are semi-wild.

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Team's epic 10,000 mile drive delivers ambulance to needy

September 16 (Wharfedale Observer) TEAM from Ilkley have successfully completed a 10,000 mile adventure to deliver an ambulance to Mongolia.

One Steppe Beyond - made up of 24-year-old twin brothers Matthew and William Wild and their friends 23-year-olds Megan Hampton and Oliver Hayes - represented Yorkshire in the 2016 Mongolia Charity Rally.

The Mongolia Charity Rally is an epic 10,000 mile pan-continental roadtrip for charity across three mountain ranges, five deserts and many barren and inhospitable lands.

The team who met at Ilkley Grammar School purchased and prepared a 4x4, and on July 8 set of from Ilkley, to drive it 10,000 miles to Mongolia to deliver vehicle to registered charity Go Help in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.

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Asian Bodybuilding Champion G.Gansaruul shares her secret to success

September 16 (UB Post) G.Gansaruul became an inspiration to many women with weight problems who want to change their appearance. Within five years of training in bodybuilding and fitness, she went from weighing 104 kg to 60 kg. Not only did she change herself but she also won a bronze medal at the World Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championships in 2015, a bronze medals from the Asian Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championship (ABPSC) in 2015, and a gold medal from this year's ABPSC.

G.Gansaruul spoke about how she achieved her amazing physique in detail in the following interview.

Congratulations on winning your first gold medal from an international competition, the 50th ABPSC, held last week in Thimphu, Bhutan.

Thank you. I feel so happy that I won first place at my third ABPSC. I participated in this championship for the first time in 2014 and came in fourth place. Last year, I won a bronze medal in the athletics category. I achieved my goal this year. It's my first gold medal from an international event.

I'm very grateful to the Mongolian Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation, Power Nutrition Brand, Perfect Body Club, and trainers Ganbaatar and G.Jamts, as well as my family and friends.

Every athlete dreams of winning international, regional and world competitions. It must've been a dream come true moment for you?

Indeed. I won the national bodybuilding and fitness championship this year, so I was fully prepared and was confident that I would win the ABPSC. I was deeply moved while wearing a gold medal around my neck and hearing the Mongolian national anthem while standing on the podium. Our national anthem has a wonderful melody. Without realizing, I shed tears of happiness.

Countries had sent their best athletes to the ABPSC. The compeition must have been fierce, right?

Yes, absolutely. Champions of 2014 and 2015 competed in my category. I feel even happier that I defeated the best athletes in Asia.

Ten Mongolian athletes took part in this year's ABPSC and returned with six medals. You inspired everyone by becoming the first Asian champion of Mongolia in this sport. Our team consisted of 10 people. In total, we won two gold, three silver and one bronze medal. G.Ugalztsetseg also became a champion.

You and G.Uralztsetseg won medals at the World Bodybuilding Physique Sports Championships last year. It must have been difficult to earn a bronze medal and become one of the world's top athletes. Can you tell us about your journey?

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AirBnB on the Mongolian steppe, where tech meets tourism

TOV PROVINCE, Mongolia, September 16 (Nikkei Asian Review) -- On the vast green Mongolian grasslands, something interesting is happening: Enterprising nomadic herders have started using AirBnB to reach out to a world beyond their pastures, promoting their humble yurts as accommodations to a growing number of intrepid tourists.

It is a startling and unlikely move in Mongolia, where the digital divide is great. According to the World Bank, only 27% of the population uses the internet, and low income families, the elderly and those in rural areas often lack access. Still, some nomadic herders are jumping over the divide to connect to a global market, promote their unique lifestyle, book homestays, and generate additional income streams for their households.

"We got into tourism because we wanted to show our nomadic lifestyle and traditions," said Oyunchimeg Shuurai, a nomadic herder who offers her family's yurt, called a ger in Mongolian, as tourist accommodations.

Oyunchimeg, her husband, and their three children live in an idyllic pastoral setting 80km outside the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. The family has been hosting tourist homestays since 2004, but this is their first year listing their ger on AirBnB. Although they only listed it for the peak tourism season between June and August, they received an enthusiastic response.

Dual attractions

It is a trend that holds some significant implications for the national economy. AirBnB combines two sectors that the Mongolian government is keen to develop: the digital economy and tourism. In a nation that is overly reliant on mining, with mineral and metal products making up roughly 90% of the nation's total exports, policymakers see the necessity of diversifying the economy.

Although still in its nascent stage, Mongolia's digital economy has begun growing in recent years, but only in fits and starts. While tech penetration is widespread in some ways, access to the internet still lags far behind most Asian countries. While Mongolia ranks a surprising fifth in the world in terms of mobile phone use -- with an estimated 5 million mobile subscriptions in a country of just 3 million people -- only 1 million people have access to the internet, according to official statistics from March.

This structural problem will likely inhibit AirBnB tourism from taking off quickly among herders. Currently, the few nomadic herders who are using AirBnB are not only forward-thinking but also privileged. They are lucky enough to have internet access and the language skills to write listings in English -- or have family and friends who do. But Oyunchimeg thinks the digital trend will take off sooner or later.

"It'll grow soon," she said. "More herders are using the internet. My husband uses it on his mobile phone every day to check the weather."

This is the way it starts in a place like rural Mongolia: Small, innovative habits based on daily necessity give way to grander designs. Almost every nomadic herder in Mongolia now has a solar panel array, which provides power for common items like mobile phones and televisions with satellite dishes. Some have also invested in portable washing machines, refrigerators, and freezers -- all of which run off of gas generators or solar-fed batteries. But when one leads a nomadic life, minimalism is an asset -- too much "stuff" can bog you down, and immobile technology infrastructure, such as fiber optic cables for fast internet, is useless. Only wireless internet connections can fit easily into a nomadic lifestyle.

As a result, the Communications Regulatory Commission of Mongolia is rolling out 4G LTE mobile technology across the nation this year. The national postal system is also adopting "what3words," a global positioning system that organizes the world into three-square-meter plots, to boost e-commerce among nomads who do not have fixed addresses.

Meanwhile, Mongolia's tourism industry is small, but ambitious expansion plans are underway. According to a 2015 World Travel and Tourism Council report, Mongolia's tourism sector directly contributes $254 million to gross domestic product, far behind the world average of $19.4 billion. Mongolia saw only 415,000 international visitors last year, but national efforts to rework tourism regulations, attract investment, and build essential support infrastructure are aimed to more than double international arrivals to 1 million by 2017. With AirBnB offering a direct marketing and sales tool to draw tourists, enterprising nomads like Oyunchimeg can also get a piece of the tourism pie.

On the grassy steppe in Tov Province, Oyunchimeg greets all of her guests standing outside her ger, dressed in her best blue deel, or traditional Mongolian robe. She presents each guest with a blue scarf, a sign of respect. Guests are ushered into the family gerand offered salty milk tea and traditional Mongolian snacks. It is a welcome gift for most guests, who have traveled over bumpy dirt tracks for more than an hour to reach the homestead.

Her AirBnB guests seem surprised and delighted to have found a unique and deep cultural experience so easily and cheaply.

"I didn't realize it was even an option," said American guest Anna May Imbrie, 24, one of Oyunchimeg's first AirBnB guests. "You couldn't get away with something like this in America," she added, noting how most Americans would shy away from inviting strangers for an immersive homestay.

Imbrie and her friend Sophia Hegmann, both English teachers in South Korea, came to Mongolia on a week-long holiday in July. They wanted a nomadic experience in the countryside during the annual Naadam Festival -- a national holiday celebrating traditional Mongolian sports -- and spent two nights in Oyunchimeg's extra ger,feeding baby goats, going horseback riding, and watching local horse races. For guests, AirBnB homestays in the Mongolian grasslands embody a new, do-it-yourself kind of tourism that shuns package tours and puts a premium on "authentic" experiences.

The herder families, on the other hand, seem willing -- if not eager -- to show their lifestyle and traditions to the world. These homestays foster a kind of cultural exposure that many nomads otherwise would likely never get. Oyunchimeg says that her family and her tourists learn from each other, and the cultural exchange and foreign language skills will benefit her youngest child, who is four. She is also proud that AirBnB tourism is helping her family remain financially solvent as herders, allowing them to keep their free-spirited lifestyle so close to nature.

"We're happy that we're helping to preserve this lifestyle," she said.

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Mongolians to pay tribute to Steve Nash

September 16 ( At the initiative of Mongolian National Mountaineering Federation and Mongolian Aeromodelling Sport Association, a candle-lit vigil in memory of British paraglider Steve Nash. The event is to be held at the National Parkin Ulaanbaatar on 18th of September at 20:00.

Steve Nash, 53, from Cheshire, was killed after being stabbed in the chest.  His body was found on September 1st in Arkhangai Province, central Mongolia. A 31-year-old man, previously identified only as 'T', was found with £300-worth of local currency and a passport believed to have been taken from Steve Nash. Police spokesman confirmed suspect had escaped from jail, where he was serving time for theft.

Steve had been journeying across Mongolia with a friend, Gareth Aston, but had been forced to continue solo after his companion retired with an injury. The pair had been crossing the Khangai Nuruu mountain range on their paragliders - a challenge they had previously attempted 10 years ago.

Mr Nash had twice competed in the Red Bull X-Alps race, considered to be one of the world's toughest adventure races. Participants must complete a 1,000km route across the mountain range by foot or paraglider.

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