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Thursday, September 8, 2016
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OPP closed +809.1% on Wednesday to 2.50p
Origo Partners: Posting of Circular, Proposed Restructuring, Notice of Meetings and Restoration of Trading
September 7 -- On 19 August 2016 the Company announced that, following extensive discussions with its key shareholders and further to the proposed restructuring of the Company's share capital set out in the circular sent to shareholders in January 2016, a revised set of proposals, which would restructure the Company's convertible zero dividend preference shares ("CZDPs"), had been agreed which would be put to shareholders for their approval.
Origo now announces that a circular is today being posted to Shareholders (the "Circular"), providing details of the proposed restructuring of the Company's share capital together with notices convening: (i) a general meeting of the Company to be held at 33-37 Athol Street, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM1 1LB at 12.30 p.m. on 26 September 2016 (the "General Meeting"); (ii) a CZDP class meeting to be held at 33-37 Athol Street, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM1 1LB at 1.30 p.m. on 26 September 2016 (the "CZDP Class Meeting"); and (iii) an ordinary share class meeting to be held at 33-37 Athol Street, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM1 1LB at 2.00 p.m. on 26 September 2016 (the "Ordinary Share Class Meeting" and together with the General Meeting and the CZDP Class Meeting, the "Meetings").
The Proposals, if approved by Shareholders, would also serve to settle the ongoing disputes with Brooks Macdonald.
The Meetings are being convened for the purpose of seeking shareholder approval for the Proposals. A copy of the circular being sent to shareholders will be available on the Company's website (www.origoplc.com) shortly.
Further details of the Proposals are set out below.
Capitalised terms used and not otherwise defined in this announcement have the meanings given in the Circular.
As further explained in paragraph 8 below, and following, inter alia, the publication of the Circular (which contains full details of the Proposals and the likely implications for the Company should the Proposals be rejected), the Company also announces that that trading in the Company's securities on AIM is expected to resume at 7.30 a.m. on 7 September 2016.
Mongolia on Cusp of 6th Bailout- Is The Sky Falling?
By Nick Cousyn, Chief Operating Officer at BDSec JSC, Mongolia's Largest Broker and Investment Bank
September 7 (Frontera News) The media frenzy surrounding Mongolia's current economic crisis is akin to what was seen in 2011-2012, when newswires were filled with stories declaring the country the world's greatest economic growth story. At the time, there seemed little that could go wrong, Mongolia was posting massive GDP growth, commodities were booming and investors were flocking to the country en masse. In retrospect, with hindsight being 20/20 and all, commodity markets during this time were topping out and the Government of Mongolia (GOM) was about to start an illadvised war with their largest investor Rio Tinto over the Oyu Tolgoi mine. For a country nicknamed "Minegolia," the aforementioned proved deadly to its growth story, yet positive headlines continued in earnest into 2013:
· "Rio set to open mammoth Mongolian mine" – ABC News, February 2013
· "Booming Mongolia: Mine, all mine" – The Economist, January 2012
· "Mongolia: A speculator's fantasy" – Fortune February, 2011
· Mongolia targets global mining role as investments soar – BBC News, April 2011
Today, the media are in an equal but opposite frenzy, focused on Mongolia's current economic and fiscal crisis. But in reality, Mongolia has been in a perpetual crisis which began in August 2013, when Rio Tinto halted underground construction at Oyu Tolgoi due to the GOM's attempts to unilaterally re-negotiate the project's Investment Agreement. For anyone who was watching, Mongolia has been running large budget deficits since 2012 and using international debt markets and Chinese swap borrowing to finance it. Yet only recently has the GOM acknowledged these issues and the media firestorm begun:
· "This country went from boom to economic nightmare in 5 years" – CNN Money, August 2016
· "The Land of Genghis Khan Is Having an Epic Economic Meltdown" – Bloomberg, August 2016
· "From 'Minegolia' to a country in crisis" – The Globe and Mail, May 2016
· "Economic imbalance leads to Mongolia crisis" – Global Times, August 2016
A barrage of headlines (positive or negative) regarding stocks, currencies and/or countries has long been considered a contrary indicator. This was certainly the case with Mongolia in 2011-2012, when stock prices, sentiment and Mongolia's Tugrik were at all-time highs. This dynamic was actually studied in 2007 by a group of professors at the University of Richmond, where they aggregated headlines from stories in Business Week, Fortune and Forbes over a 20-year period. What they found (unsurprisingly) was that positive cover stories appeared following periods of strong performance, whereas negative stories followed periods of very poor returns.
Companies receiving the most positive coverage had, to that point, outperformed the index by 42.7%. Those companies receiving negative coverage, had underperformed by 34.6%. The performance after cover stories suggest these headlines are useful as contrary indicators, since the most negatively portrayed companies beat the market by an average of 12.4%, whereas the media darlings outperformed by only 4.2%. Hence, overwhelmingly positive stories generally indicate stocks have topped out, whereas negative stories in many cases call the bottom. Since Mongolia seems destined for a bailout (be it the IMF or the Chinese), we looked at how GDP performed historically post IMF assistance. In Figure 1, we have listed average Mongolian GDP growth for 1, 3, and 5 years post an IMF bailout.
In summary, with commodities and emerging markets having bottomed earlier this year, an economic recovery in Mongolia should be expected in 2017. Key to this recovery will be the GOM's ability and appetite to push forward with the ETT mine development, which would show the world Mongolia is indeed "open for business." A deal for ETT would unlock funding for rail and a power plant, lowering costs to produce and transport coal, while driving ASP's as much as 100% higher from current levels. It would also yield $3B-$5B in project development and investment. Despite sitting on as much as 10% of the world's total coal reserves, Mongolia has achieved little in improving transportation and infrastructure for this critical commodity in the last 10 years. Our bet is that this is going to change and with it, the overall fortunes of the country.
MSE Trading Report: Top 20 -0.23%, ALL -0.08%, Turnover ₮8.6 Million Shares, ₮100 Million T-Bills
September 7 (MSE) --
MSE Renews Top 20 List: 6 Out, 6 In
September 7 (MSE) Pursuant to the Regulation named "To calculate securities' price index" of Mongolian Stock Exchange, the Top-20 Index of MSE were renewed.
On new Top-20 index, 14 Joint Stock Companies remained and "BDSec" JSC, "Khukh-Gan" JSC, "E-Trans-Logistic" JSC, "Hai Bi Oil" JSC and "Shivee Ovoo" JSC were removed from Index. Following JSC's added on renewed index: "Suu" JSC, "Mik Holding" JSC, "Mongol Post" JSC, "Telecom Mongolia" JSC, "Material Impex" JSC and "Remicon" JSC.
Name of Company
# of days
in trading /123/
GENCO TOUR BUREA
ULSIIN IKH DELGUUR
Reds are rates that set a new record at the time
BoM MNT Rates: Wednesday, September 7 Close
MNT vs USD (blue), CNY (red) in last 1 year:
BoM issues ₮179 billion 1-week bills at 15%, total outstanding -2.4% to ₮697.8 billion
September 7 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 179 billion at a weighted interest rate of 15 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/
World Bank Warns on Mongolian Debt
September 7 (Bloomberg TV) Mongolia is saying it is in an economic crisis, mired in slowing growth with a soaring budget deficit. The government has tried to get things back on track, but the World Bank says what it is doing isn't enough. Bloomberg's Dulamkhorloo Baatar reports on "Trending Business."
New head of Parliamentary office's media and public relations division appointed
Ulaanbaatar, September 7 (MONTSAME) The Parliamentary Office has appointed S.Batbaatar the head of its media and public relations division.
S.Batbaatar is a founder of the "Government News" newspaper. He has worked as editor-in-chief of the "Government News", local correspondent of the "Ardyn Erkh" /People's Right/ and "Onoodor" /Today/ newspapers, the vice president of the Confederation of Mongolian Journalists and the Union of Mongolian Journalists of Sport, chair of the Media Service of Government and executive director of the Unlimited Media Group.
Standing committee head holds meeting with green development NGO
Ulaanbaatar, September 7 (MONTSAME) Head of the parliamentary Standing committee on environment, food and agriculture Ts.Garamjav; and member of parliament Ya.Sodbaatar held Wednesday a consultative meeting with officials of a NGO on countryside green development.
At the meeting, the sides discussed issues of the Policy Council of Civil Society (PCCS). The Standing committee head emphasized a requirement of promoting the civil society role in the decision-making procedure, and expressed her position on setting up a council of environment conservationists and cooperating with them.
The NGO officials talked and exchanged their views on opportunities for sharing information with the Standing committee on environment, food and agriculture and for collaborating in realization of the governmental program.
Ts.Garamjav MP said she will focus attention to reflect proposals from civil society organizations in bills and policy documents to be discussed at the parliamentary session and to enhance cooperation between the public service and civil society. The parliamentarian added she will work closer with the PCCS.
The meeting was attended by delegates of civil society organizations, international organizations, provinces, scholars and researchers.
How Gifts Grant Candidates Power
By Lauren Bonilla, on 31 August 2016 (UCL) --
This blog is the fourth in a series of posts about Mongolia's 2016 parliamentary elections that were held on June 29th.
Lauren Bonilla and Tuya Shagdar co-authored this blog. It is based on our collaborative research on the social life of political gifts and cash transfers in the Mongolian economy. We are currently writing a larger journal article on this topic and will present our research at the Emerging Subjects project workshop to be held at the National University of Mongolia on November 15th, 2016.
According to Mongolia's election law, parliamentary candidates are permitted only 18 days to campaign prior to the day before Election Day. A short campaign period is meant, in theory, to curb excessive campaign spending and reduce the pre-election politicking fatigue of citizens. In practice, however, the campaign season extends well before the 18 days. For months before the parliamentary election, aspiring candidates employ an array of novel and costly tactics to attract public attention and support, notably though the giving of gifts.
In May, we (Tuya Shagdar and Lauren Bonilla) travelled to the geographic fringe of Mongolia in north-western Uvs province to study parliamentary election politics and rumours of gift-gifting before the official campaign period was set to begin. It was a heated time for us to be doing research on the elections. We learned this immediately when we arrived in the capital of Uvs, Ulaangom. When we attempted to snap photos of the Democratic Party (DP) headquarters and the fleet of slick black Land Cruisers parked outside of it, a man in his twenties working for the party ran towards us and aggressively questioned what we were doing. After warning us not to take photos and calming down a bit, he said to us, "You know what kind of period it is, right?" (Yamar uye baigaag medej baigaa biz dee).
Gifting in a Time of Crisis
Actually, for many people in Uvs the heat of the elections began to blaze after the beginning of the fire monkey lunar year in February. Astrologists predicted that it was going to be one of the coldest and snowiest winters in Mongolia's recent history, and this turned out to be true in Uvs. Herders struggled to keep livestock alive as temperatures dropped below 40 degrees Celsius and deep snow prevented livestock from accessing pasture. The physical, psychological, and financial effects of the harsh weather event, known as a dzud, were compounded by the absence of cash following a season of poor meat sales.
This difficult period provided an opening for aspiring parliamentary candidates to strategically make themselves known to both voters and to the political party they sought a nomination. Everyone we talked with in Ulaangom and a rural district in Uvs, Bokhmoron, talked about the "assistance" (tuslamj) that they or people in other districts received from individuals vying for a position a parliament.
The assistance families received was more than mere aid. Take, for instance, the packages that Odongiin Tsogtgerel of the Teso Group distributed throughout rural Uvs. Teso is a nationally-recognized food import and manufacturing company named after a district in Uvs (Tes) and run by a family originally from there. The company distributed an estimated 30,000 MNT (around USD $13) worth of prepacked noodles and rice to households throughout the province. On a number of occasions families hosting us prepared soups using the Teso products they received. Perhaps they valued the food items and reserved them for special guests, or maybe they thought that we, unlike them, would actually enjoy eating carrot-infused processed noodles.
"Discover Mongolia" mining investors` forum on Sep 8th-9th
September 7 (gogo.mn) Discover Mongolia, the leading mining investors` forum will be held on Sep 8-9th at the Corporate Convention Center in Ulaanbaatar.
It is an exciting time for Mongolia's mining companies to gain a competitive advantage on the back of its unique geographic location to China and its potential to explore world class mineral deposits. Mongolia's junior miners have outperformed its counterparts in 2016 on the back of strong exploration results. While Oyutolgoi mine expands its underground potential, the Government of Mongolia resolved a major investment dispute in international courts. The 2016 general election results provide for a single political party to form the Government hence we believe stability could well be achieved. The organisers have formulated this year's Mining Conference to provide insight into the new Government's planned actions within the mining industry as well as focus on key projects that have shined in international capital markets.
For the full agenda for the two day event, please click HERE.
Mongolia and Brazil to hold their first business meeting in UB
September 7 (UB Post) The Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) and Brazil-Mongolia Chamber of Commerce are going to organize the first Mongolia and Brazil business meeting on September 19 in Ulaanbaatar.
The Brazil-Mongolia Chamber of Commerce was officially established in June by the Brazilian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to help develop trade, investment, and business cooperation between the two countries.
The business meeting will be attended by Brazilian meat processing and investment companies that are interested in introducing meat and meat product technology and processing, producing potato-based ethanol, and bio-fuel production.
The MNCCI is now registering domestic entities interested in taking part in the event to explore new business opportunities, set up partnerships, expand their businesses, and to meet with some of Brazil's leading entities and businesses.
GoGo News Agency joins Asian News Network
September 7 (gogo.mn) GoGo News Agency signed cooperation agreement with Asian News Network (ANN), one of the world`s biggest media alliances and it enables opportunity to deliver the most trusted and reliable source of domestic news for international readers.
Signing ceremony was attended by G.Gantuya, CEO of Mongol Content LLC and Mr. Torben Stephan, Director KAS Media Programme Asia.
ANN was founded in 1999 with seven members and now it comprises 21 leading media, mostly leading national English-language daily, from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia including The Daily Star, China Daily, The Jakarta Post, Japan News and The Nation. ANN's main activities are daily exchanges of news, photos and a host of other collaborations.
GoGo news agency was founded in 2007 and dedicates its actions towards trustworthy, most up-to-date, unbiased, independent news spread about Mongolia. In addition, we prepare major articles and coverages which cover social, political and economic sectors.
GoGo Mongolia was launched in 2015 with the aim to broadcast and publish Mongolian social, economic and political news to the world. Today we are proud of being the main news source for English-speaking people.
Thus, we are very pleased to cooperate with the world`s biggest media alliances.
Speaker of Canada Lower House to Visit Mongolia on September 7-10
Ulaanbaatar, September 7 (MONTSAME) Speaker of the House of Commons (lower house) of the Canadian Parliament Geoff Regan will pay an official visit to Mongolia on September 7-10 at the invitation of M.Enkhbold, the Chairman of the State Great Khural.
During the visit, the Speakers will hold negotiations. After paying a courtesy call on the President, the Canadian Speaker will meet the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and members of the Mongolia-Canada inter-parliamentary group.
Besides the meetings, the countries will sign several documents such as an intergovernmental memorandum of understanding on development assistance and a memorandum of understanding between the parliamentary offices.
The delegation will meet Canadian businesspeople in Mongolia, and will get familiar with some projects being implemented by the Canadian Foundation.
It is considered the visit will contribute to broadening the bilateral relations and cooperation and to bringing the ties into a comprehensive partnership volume.
Mongolia considers Canada as one of its Third Neighbors and a big partner in North America. The Canadian government has made a decision to implement projects and programs on cooperation for development in Mongolia. Scheduled in coming four years, these projects and programs cost USD 55.4 million and aim to upgrade the management for the mining exploration sector and mineral resources, to support transparency of public services, to promote the competitiveness of productions of cashmere and yak wool and to improve the wealth and food safety.
Seminar on supporting public diplomacy between Mongolia-S.Korea held
Ulaanbaatar, September 7 (MONTSAME) In frames of the ongoing Cultural Days of South Korea in Ulaanbaatar, a seminar entitled "Mongolia-South Korea public diplomacy" was held on Tuesday.
The Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, B.Battsetseg made the opening remarks at the seminar. She noted 2016 is special year for top-level reciprocal visits of state leaders were hosted, and pointed out that Mongolia attaches a significance to strengthening the national security, protecting the vital interests, fortifying its position at the international fora and implementing the foreign policy goals through its soft power principle. The Mongolian government pursues a policy on intensifying the promotion of Mongolia abroad through the cultural bonds, she went on.
During the event, the Vice FM held a meeting with Oh Song, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Korea to Mongolia; and Ko Hen Dong, the Ambassador of the South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on public relations affairs.
Taking place annually, this year's Cultural Days of South Korea in Ulaanbaatar will last until September 12 with a key purpose to provide the Mongolian and Korean people with a chance to know each other's culture.
Pyonyang in Ulaanbaatar: Exploring a Restaurant Run by the North Korean Government, in Mongolia's Capital
September 7 (Huffington Post) My husband has always been fascinated with North Korea. In his words, "It's probably the most different place on Earth. Like the Galapagos Islands... but for people."
I have to say, I never saw the appeal. To me, North Korea just seems cold... and depressing. The only way to access it is as part of an organized and strictly scripted tour, where assigned handlers whisk you down deserted streets, show you the same few monuments, and deposit you back to the single designated 'tourist hotel' in the capital. To me, travel is all about interacting with the people and the culture, and unfortunately in North Korea the price for seeking out such experiences is punished by detention, labor camps, and diplomatic incidents. No, thank you.
Still, it's hard not to harbor a curiosity for the hermit kingdom, which for decades has stood practically alone in staunch opposition to, and isolation from, the outside world. So, when my husband and I heard about a mysterious "Pyonyang Restaurant" in Ulaanbaatar, where we were staying a few nights on a recent trip, we were intrigued.
OK, so here's the deal with this establishment. It's not just a restaurant that serves North Korean food; it's a restaurant that's run by the Government of North Korea.
Apparently, North Korea owns a chain of over 100 Pyonyang Restaurants across a dozen or so countries that have diplomatic ties with its government (for those not up on North Korean geography, Pyonyang is the name of the capital). In addition to Mongolia, there are Pyonyangs in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Malaysia, and several in China.
The restaurants are large moneymakers for the North Korean government, and provide hard foreign cash currency that is otherwise difficult to come by. Some say they are fronts for Room 39, a North Korean agency dedicated to acquiring and laundering foreign currency for the government. The staff consists of attractive, highly educated North Korean women who serve traditional dishes and also perform songs and dances from the Motherland in between courses. Photography is generally prohibited.
We had to check this place out.
Our journey started with a quest to find the restaurant, which turned out to be located on the 4th floor of an otherwise nondescript office building, down a dark alley and facing a largely abandoned parking lot. Once we stepped out of the elevator though, an entirely different scene unfolded: a huge, ornate, and almost completely empty restaurant hall decked out with paintings of the North Korean countryside, Christmas lights, and a fish tank. Up front was a portrait of Kim Jong Un, and a small gift counter selling North Korean 'memorabilia' at severely inflated prices. A book of North Korean stamps ran for $120; a novel written by Kim Jong Un sold for $60. We bought the cheapest item available - a small pin from some 2004 sporting event in Pyonyang - for $5.
Next to the merchandise booth was a confusing 'gallery' containing North Korean replicas/adaptations/interpretations of famous paintings like the Mona Lisa, also for sale. Past the gallery, in the front of the dining area, was a large stage set up for a full 10 piece band, and decked out with glittering LED and icicle lights.
We were greeted by a beautiful and effusive North Korean (I assume) waitress wearing a neatly pressed contemporary outfit and sky high heels. She handed us an impossibly huge menu, containing over 500 numbered items.
We were on the hunt for authentic North Korean food (though not for the dog soup, which is apparently sold at these establishments; as a side note, we did not see this on the menu). After a good 20 minutes of scanning the menu, we settled on Pyonyang cold buckwheat noodles, a pork and kimchee dish, and a forest mushroom plate.
The food was delicious. We particularly enjoyed the pork and kimchee, which had a nice kick to it, and was also full of juicy, fatty bits that my husband would not touch and so they were all mine. The cold noodles were a little challenging in texture - kind of glassy and slippery - but unique in flavor, with bits of burdock thrown in for crunch.
By the time we finished up, it was past 9 p.m., and we were afraid "the show" would not be held that evening, perhaps on account of there being only 3 parties patronizing the restaurant that night. But our fears were unfounded: suddenly, the lights dimmed, and our waitresses emerged, decked out in traditional North Korean outfits.
The set started with what I assume was a North Korean folk song, following which one of the waitresses stepped forward and belted out an Adele-worthy opera rendition of another unfamiliar tune. Next, a pair of waitresses performed a choreographed song and dance routine during which they impersonated wind-up toys, moving in staccato and freezing in stiff, unnatural positions.
After a few more songs in the same vein, the full troupe of waitresses came up on stage and assumed their seats behind the instruments. At that point the show was briefly interrupted by a large group of confused-looking tourists who had wandered in and were milling around by the gift shop. They were promptly seated by the guitarist waitress, who then just as quickly resumed her place on stage.
And, they were off: a North Korean waitress jam band. OK, they weren't quite Phish, but they were really good, and completely in sync!
With that, the show was over. As we were leaving, a couple of waitresses walked us out. As we approached the elevator, one asked if we were Russian. This made sense - most of the Caucasians in Mongolia are from Russia.
"No, we are from the U.S." I explained.
"From America," my husband offered.
A look of surprise flitted across her face (or perhaps I imagined it?) but she quickly recovered her smile.
"We had such a great meal. May we take a picture with you?" I chanced.
"Oh no no, sorry, we are working," they replied in unison.
As we walked back to our hostel, shivering in the late evening Ulaanbaatar chill, my husband and I didn't talk much. We were both preoccupied with the unexpected heaviness of what we had witnessed.
We came to the restaurant for a show, a joke, a spectacle. For the chance to snap some stealth photos and revel in the ruin porn of a forbidden city. Instead, we saw through a perfect, smiling veneer, oppression.
These beautiful, talented women, relegated to performing to an empty restaurant in a city at the end of the world. The beefy "security guards" - several waitresses at Pyonyang Restaurant outposts have recently defected - hovering just offstage. The 500-item menu, nonsensical in economic terms. The gallery of propaganda they shill. And through it all, they never broke character. Even in the open, relatively cosmopolitan city of Ulaanbaatar, the grip held.
"Snap a photo from under the table," I whispered as the waitresses performed their marionette dance, suspending their wrists high above their dangling fingers and turning a painted smile in our direction. "The goons aren't looking."
My husband gave the women a long look, shuffled his feet uncomfortably, and put the phone in his pocket.
Speaker Series: Bees, sand and water: healing and an 'everyday extraordinary' in contemporary Mongolia
September 13 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
For many late 19th and early 20th century thinkers, the modern condition was one synonymous with increasing rationalization and secularization. They predicted a growing 'disenchantment of the world,' a banishing of the mystic or mysterious as humans increasingly separated from and sought mastery over the natural world. However, instead of simply a disenchanted 'modern' world, what we see are concurrent processes of re-enchantment; within the socio-historical trend toward modernization are spaces re-imbued with wonder and mystery.
While wonderment represents one well-worn path to understanding re-enchantment, others have framed the concept in terms of ordinary, hidden features of life that hold great capacity for transcendence: an everyday extra-ordinary. In this paper, I explore what an 'everyday extra-ordinary' might mean with regards to healing in contemporary Mongolia. I employ 3 examples: sand, honey bees and water. Practitioners and patients at mineral springs (rashaan) and their healing centers (rashaan suvilal), sand healing centers (elsen suvilal) and apitherapy clinics described to me feeling a sense of wonder, reverence and magic for the element(s) responsible for the transformation. However, their sense of wonderment was not separate from the value placed in scientific description and proof about how such techniques work.
By considering dis-enchantment (an illumination) and re-enchantment (a re-imbuing with mystery and wonder) as concurrent, interrelated processes, one is positioned to question a modern vs. traditional dichotomy implicit in many narratives that circulate in late- or post-socialist contexts concerning a 'revival' or 'reflorescence' of 'traditional' customs or religiosity.
About the speaker: Elizabeth Turk
Beth is a current doctoral candidate in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge (Selwyn College) researching healing in Mongolia's "age of the market." She earned her Master of Arts degree in Sociocultural Anthropology from Columbia University in 2013.
For the past 6 months, Beth has been an ACMS Cultural Heritage Fellow exploring the role of legends, stories and histories surrounding mineral springs (rashaan) as they create meaning for the people who frequent them with the purpose of health improvement or maintenance, relaxation and amusement.
Beth first arrived in Mongolia as a Fulbright scholar in 2010-11 conducting research on shamanic healing rituals in Ulaanbaatar. Since that time, she has been working with the ACMS and would like to thank everyone there for their continued support over the years, especially her language instructor Dr. Tsermaa Tomorbaatar.
Nothing Could Prepare Me For Filming Mongolia's Shocking Subculture Of Fascists
By Ross Kemp, Actor and leading documentary producer and presenter
September 7 (Huffington Post) Mongolia is a country I have always been intrigued by. It seemed to me an impossibly exotic place with a wild independence of spirit that allowed it to maintain an ancient nomadic way of life despite being wedged between China and the once mighty Soviet Union. Perhaps inspired by a sense of romanticism, I imagined Mongolia as a nation of proud horsemen inspired by the legendary deeds of Genghis Khan riding the steppes, drinking vodka and living in felt tents. So I was quite taken aback by images that had emerged from Ulan Bator of Mongolians in Nazi uniforms. Looking more closely we began to sense that this curious and alarming phenomenon was actually a symptom of a nation going through the kind of painful changes that many nations with small populations relative to their land mass experience in the face of globalization and climate change. Sitting on some of the world's largest reserves of coal and wedged between Russia and China, it seemed Mongolia could be falling victim to the curse of resources. We decided to investigate.
Arriving at the Bayangol Hotel in downtown Ulan Bator, the significance of Mongolia's resource riches were immediately obvious - from the suited Chinese businessmen holding whispered meetings in the lobby to the more gregarious Australian mining engineers cracking jokes among a group of Mongolian women downstairs in the basement bar. And the effect of the mining boom on Mongolia's fragile democracy was also soon made apparent. As we settled in to the bar to meet our local fixer and plan the shoot, the big screen TV (which was tuned to a news channel owned by Buttulga Khaltmaa, the same politician and businessman who owned the hotel we were in) began to show pictures of a SWAT team amassing outside our front door. We left our drinks and went out to the car park to find a crowd had gathered to watch as armed police raided Khaltmaa's office. Shortly afterwards the fixer discovered that first his wife had been arrested because of her association with Khaltmaa. It seemed Khaltmaa had become embroiled in a corruption scandal driven by his criticism of the government selling off Mongolia's natural resources to foreign investors. Not for the first time making this series, the story had come to us.
Within hours of our arrival we were at the centre of a Mongolian media storm - the entire country's press were soon camped outside our hotel with a large number of Khaltmaa's supporters - including most of the national wrestling team each the size of a small family car. To say the least it was a surreal moment for us, but for our fixer it was a good deal more serious. The next day he decided to take his son and leave the country. Our translator was next on the list and after a tense few days being shadowed by the security services he too was arrested and taken in for questioning.
The next day, the first day of our shoot, was April 20th - Hitler's birthday. We had heard that Mongolia's far right groups sometimes gathered to celebrate the event with a procession through town. Nothing, however, could have prepared me for the sight that greeted us on a patch of waste ground on the edge of the city. Dozens of Mongolian Nazis were gathering in cars and motorbikes - dressed in replica SS uniforms. Filming this event was to open a window on a shocking subculture of fascists not afraid to use violence to preserve what they saw as the purity of the Mongolian race against pollution by foreigners. Amidst the proliferation of extreme nationalist organisations, we discovered one group, led by a seven times national wrestling champion who took it upon themselves to patrol Chinese businesses. We filmed with them as they tore across the countryside in a cavalcade of muscle cars their black bomber jackets emblazoned with a Swastika inspired insignia launching raids on remote rural brick factories where they suspected illegal Chinese migrants were working. And we learned from one victim of vigilante violence how the anti-foreign sentiment was growing throughout the population.
The more we talked to members and supporters of these far right vigilante groups the more we heard complaints of how their natural resources were being sold out from beneath their feet by a corrupt political elite and about their fear of being taken over by their vast and powerful neighbor to the south. As in many poor or middle income countries sitting on vast mineral wealth, the income generated by the sale of natural resources in Mongolia tends to make a small elite fantastically rich without transforming the economic prospects of the majority. Combined with the visible presence of international business owners and migrant workers, this has led some to adopt extreme nationalist views. But in Mongolia there is a further twist to this familiar tale.
Mongolia is one of the most vulnerable countries on earth to climate change. The fragile grasslands which sustained the nomadic herding way of life for millennia is very sensitive to changes in rainfall and temperature. Over the past twenty years the decline in summer rain and the increasing frequency of winter storms has driven tens of thousands of herders off the land to seek work in the capital. The steady stream of new arrivals in the tented slums that surround the city only serves to increase the sense among some that Mongolia is a country under threat, a country at risk of losing its identity. There is an enormous irony in the fact that burning their huge reserves of coal is only serving to speed up the process that could soon see the end of the way of life many Mongolians regard as their defining characteristic.
Ross Kemp Extreme World begins on Wednesday 7th September at 9pm on Sky1
MNSEC discusses winter preparation
September 7 (UB Post) On Tuesday, the Mongolian National State Emergency Committee (MNSEC) held its first meeting since the parliamentary election in June.
The meeting covered winter preparation work of the food and agriculture, and road and transportation sectors, as well as a report on animal diseases, ongoing projects, and other seasonal issues.
The Cabinet's ministers say that are paying extra attention to this year's winter preparation as meteorologists expect the upcoming winter to be extremely harsh.
EXCISE TAX ON DIESEL FUEL HINDERS WINTER PREPARATION
An additional 12 billion MNT was included in the amended 2016 state budget for road maintenance and repair, reminded the Minister of Roads and Transportation.
As of September 5, Mongolian thermal power plants reportedly have sufficient coal reserves to last 21 days with regular work load. Experts explained that this amount of reserve could exhaust within a week with heavy workload. Thermal Power Plant (TPP) No.2 has enough coal reserves to last two weeks, TPP No.3 for 13 days, and TPP No.4 has sufficient reserves for 11 days, according to officials.
The Ulaanbaatar Railway is facing challenges in restocking mined coal reserves as Russian oil giant and major petroleum supplier of Mongolia, Rosneft Oil Company, will conduct a scheduled maintenance operation between September 15 and October 15.
At present, 2,940 tons of diesel fuel is being held at Sukhbaatar border station due to pending payment of excise tax, which is causing difficulty in meeting the coal quota for September.
"Economic difficulty and raised excise tax on coal has stopped transportation and is hindering winter preparation work," Roads and Transportation Minister D.Ganbat said.
ELECTION AND BACKBILLS DELAY POWER PLANT MAINTENANCE WORK
In the energy sector, a government working group is managing winter preparation work, says Energy Minister P.Gankhuu. However, the sector is still facing difficulties.
Ulaanbaatar Electricity Distribution Network and other companies delayed their maintenance work due to this year's parliamentary election. The energy sector is taking special measures to finish maintenance work as soon as possible, the minister reported.
Reportedly, thermal power plants in Uvs, Khovd, Dornogovi, Selenge, Sukhbaatar and Khuvsgul provinces are accumulating debt as local consumers aren't paying electricity bills on time. The Energy Minister complained that these delays in maintenance work and pending bills have made it impossible to cover coal transportation, electricity and fuel expenses.
Energy Minister P.Gankhuu proposed getting a loan from the state budget for the required financing for the remaining repair work at coal deposits in Baganuur and Shivee-Ovoo.
China-Mongolia international horse racing kicks off
HOHHOT, China, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- A China-Mongolia international horse racing kicked off on Tuesday in Abaga Banner (County) of Xilingol League, northern China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
The three-day race has attracted more than 200 competitors from China and Mongolia with their 500 horses, who will compete in 11 events including horse racing, horse taming and lassoing horses, organizers said.
"It is the first time that I witnessed a series of horse racing competitions between the riders from both China and Mongolia," said local herder Temuchiletu. "I feel excited to be a participant in the next day's event in which I will show my lassoing ability."
Abaga Banner is home to a sort of black horses that are mainly fed in Inner Mongolia's Xilingol League.
Chinggis Khaan Basketball Cup – 2016 kicks off
September 7 (MONTSAME) The 'Chinggis Khaan Cup – 2016' began today at the Central Palace of Sports. This basketball competition was hosted by the Mongolian National Basketball Association for the first time last year. 8 teams from Mongolia, China, ROK, DPRK and Russia are playing at this competition.
To be specific, 4 foreign teams are from the Republic of Buryatia of Russian Federation, Hohhot of People's Republic of China, Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. From Mongolia, the 1st and 2nd national teams, and 1st and 2nd selected teams for Asian University Basketball Championships which are going to be hosted in Mongolia soon in this month.
"Our competition gets more competitive and broader this year. We are organizing the 'Chinggis Khaan Cup' to invite foreign teams to our country and give more opportunities for players to see where they are, and improve their techniques. It is also a great chance for us to discover young talents and to evaluate our team. We plan to hold the Chinggis Khaan Cup annually" said Mr S.Tulga, Secretary-General of the Basketball Association of Mongolia
"Our team was here last year, but it's my first time in Mongolia. I think, this is a good opportunity to strengthen our relations with Mongolia and other participant countries. This tournament will definitely help develop basketball sport in these countries" said Mr Pak Chon Jong, Secretary-General of DPRK Basketball Association. The national team of the DPRK, participating for the second time, has brought 2 new players this year.
The competition rounds up on September 11.
G.Gansaruul wins Asian Bodybuilding Tournament
Ulaanbaatar, September 7 (MONTSAME) Mongolian athlete G.Gansaruul has won gold medal in the 50th Asian Body Building Tournament underway in Thimphu, Bhutan.
She competed in the women's -60 kg category of athletics. This is her first gold medal of the Asian tournament. Last year, she won a bronze medal in the WBPF World Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championships held in Bangkok, Thailand.
Once Gansaruul said she started exercising in 2011 in order to shed weight after having much fat. "I strictly decided to lose weight when I was poked by insulting words from my friend. Finally, I have reached this success so far," she said.
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